Arrowverse Roundup - Midseason Finales - Week 9 Review
The midseason finales are here! The Arrowverse is taking a hiatus for the holidays so they should all end on an explosive note that leaves fates up in the air. For the most part they did that. But some were forced, some didn't need happen, and others were frustrating. After the highest of highs were achieved on the Crisis on Earth-X crossover, the finales were a bit disappointing in some aspects. Continue reading to see all of my thoughts on the four episodes, and as always beware of spoilers if you haven't watched the episodes yet!
You can see all of this season's reviews right here.
Supergirl - Episode 3.09 - "Reign"
A common theme of these CW superhero shows is to leave our titular hero down and out. That hasn't really happened to Supergirl to the extreme that it has to the other heroes - until now. She faced off with Reign and was left in a comatose state due to Reign's superior powers.
I am always hard on villains who aren't fleshed out properly. There is nothing that bothers me more than a mustache twirling, empty villain with no motivations. So embedding Sam Arias into the lives of all of our characters was a good idea. Making her not aware of her alter-ego was another good choice.
The Lena Luthor/James Olsen relationship took a step forward, and I never thought I'd ever see a Luthor/Olsen being romantically involved. It sort of works here though. What doesn't work, is the Mon-El/Kara relationship now. It brings the show down. I am not against relationships on these types of the shows at all. But Supergirl should be about Supergirl, and Mon-El sort of took it over last season. They had an opportunity to move on, and they haven't. Maybe with the "Legion of Superheroes" coming to help fight Reign, it will give Mon-El a new role that hopefully works better.
There was a sweet moment with Mon-El's new wife Imra, who was trying to bury the hatchet with Kara, but that didn't go over well with Kara. Now this is evolving into a full-fledged love triangle, and the only way it ends is if Imra dies so Mon-El stays in 2017. I just hope the entire show isn't dedicated to the triangle. Again, relationships are fine. They add depth and humanity to the characters. But the show needs to be more than that.
One of the weirder episodes this season was the whole Kryptonian religion thing with Chad Lowe. I am glad that there was a point to it, and it played into the story as a whole.
The climax was two Kryptonians fighting while destroying things in the city. Sound familiar? It was very Man of Steel-esque except with color, and they actually showed them in the buildings not hurting any humans.
The tag was Sam's daughter running downstairs excited for Christmas, with Sam having her back turned. Something wasn't quite right, as shown by her clenched fist. She went to turn around and the episode ended. I don't think a show like Supergirl is going to kill a little girl on Christmas Day, but we'll see if they have anything surprising planned when the show returns next year.
I hope when the Legion of Superheroes establishes themselves in lieu of Supergirl since she is in a coma, that Guardian is able to help. The James Olsen as Guardian was a huge story line last season as well, and we have barely seen any of it this season. I love the Guardian, and while he'd be better suited on Arrow or even Legends, I would like to see him get his due on this show!
This was the last Supergirl of the year, and while it had its issues, it was a strong entry in the season. We'll see how it all comes together next year!
The Flash - Episode 4.09 - "Don't Run"
It was a common tradition on The Flash to have a Christmas episode that starred Mark Hamill as The Trickster. He wasn't in this one, but The Flash had other business to handle, and Hamill was busy filming a low budget sci-fi flick about battles in space or something....
But like Supergirl, The Flash left our titular character in a dire situation at the end, when he was accused of murdering DeVoe, after DeVoe had transferred his consciousness and intelligence to a younger better body.
They showed the aftermath of the crossover - more so than Supergirl did. Iris seems a bit jealous - or maybe even bitter - that Oliver and Felicity got married at the same time they did. She seemed more upset about that than actual literal Nazis. Another wonderful character choice for Iris West... However, them wanting to return Oliver and Felicity's gift of a cappuccino machine was funny. If Harry Wells (rest in peace) was still around he would have been over the moon that it was in the office!
Other non-Arrowverse references included a Seinfeld nod to Festivus, which is one of my favorite contributions to pop culture Seinfeld has ever made. Also, like Supergirl, a bit of an earlier ridiculous plot point from earlier made its way back - and that is Cisco's modifications to Barry's suit. We got to see the flotation device embedded in his suit that essentially saved his life when he fell from a high distance into the water.
Caitlin had a great story this week, being kidnapped by Amunet (Katee Sackhoff) - not for Killer Frost, but for Caitlin Snow's skills as a doctor. It was kind of a sweet twist to show the importance of Caitlin herself, who felt like Killer Frost was more important, especially after Dibny went on about how great she is. Like Sam/Reign in Supergirl, Caitlin and Frost are two entities sharing the same body. One doesn't remember what the other does. We'll see how both play out on their respectful shows, but I hope its not a virtual carbon copy.
Speaking of Dibny, he is growing on me. He is making leaps as a character, and I can see him really coming into his own as the season progresses. Plus, with Barry now out of the picture as he is incarcerated, they are going to need the Elongated Man to help out!
I did enjoy the way the two main stories - Caitlin's and Barry's bled into each other, and were connected. A lot of times A and B plots really aren't connected, which is okay. So you don't always expect it. This was a nice twist. The new actor, Kendrick Sampson has a quiet demanding presence similar to Neil Sandilands (the original DeVoe) that would be sufficient as The Thinker the rest of the series if that is what they want to do.
I know that Barry won't stay in jail for long, especially if Wally West still won't be around, but I look forward to seeing how they will clear his name. These CW superhero shows run parallels really well, and for him to be in jail for a murder he didn't commit - with a knife no less - is just like his father before him. It is a little on the nose, but it can be done well, and hopefully it is.
We shall see if it is next year when The Flash returns for its spring run!
Legends of Tomorrow - Episode 3.09 - "Beebo the God of War"
Legends of Tomorrow didn't end like Supergirl and The Flash leaving our heroes in an impossible situation, instead they wrote out yet another character in what seems to be a concerning trend the Arrowverse is developing.
Franz Drameh - who plays Jax, the second half of Firestorm has left the show now. Victor Garber wanted to leave to do a gig on Broadway, and instead of creatively writing a way for Franz to stay without him, they just wrote him off as well. To be fair - I don't know for sure if Franz didn't want to leave as well, but it doesn't seem like it. This comes just week after Keiynan Lonsdale (Wally West/Kid Flash) was written out of The Flash and David Ramsey being reduced to a 3 minute cameo in the biggest crossover this universe has ever had. It is a disturbing pattern that is evolving and it needs to be highlighted.
As for the rest of the episode, it did what it needed to, setting up the tail end, and giving some extra closure that we didn't get before. We see Martin Stein again - but this time as a young man. An anachronism caused him to be transported to the time of the vikings, but not before he was able to get a Beebo doll for his daughter. It was a Black Friday type situation in a store in 1992, and there was one on top of a shelf. Stein tried to outsmart the group and took a toy bow and arrow to shoot something to make it fly and hit Beebo to send it toward him. The reason I bring this up is because as soon as Stein grabs the bow, it cues the Arrow score, which is my favorite Arrow Easter Egg yet. It was subtle enough to be missed by most, but appreciated all the same.
It opened up the opportunity for Jax to have some closure, and even tried to do a Back to the Future and write him a letter to try and create a loophole to save his life. If it had worked, it would have definitely taken away from the impact of Stein's death, but the journey was nice.
As Nate pointed out, they keep running into younger versions of themselves, or people related to them, which can't be a coincidence. That will come into play later with Mallus perhaps. If he is in alternate dimension maybe he will force the Legends to be in one as well to protect history.
If it wasn't for the Jax debacle, the story here would be Wentworth Miller's return as Leonard Snart. He is Citizen Cold from Earth-X instead of Captain Cold from Earth-1, and he is a good guy. Almost too much so. He tries to make the Legends cope with Stein's death by using a puppet of Stein to talk to them. He wants Mick to stop drinking, and he is giving Sara advice on how to lead. It is a far leap from the Snart that we knew. But Wentworth Miller is one of the best things to happen to the entire Arrowverse, so sending him out as a good guy is a nice thing to do.
I do like that Leo realized he couldn't change Mick into the Mickey he had on Earth-X. Yet they were still compatible as friends. People change all through their lives, and yet the people who were in your lives long ago you can still find common ground with. In these politically charged and heated times, it is a nice message to reinforce - that friendships can withstand a lot.
It seems Jax is being replaced quickly. Ava Sharpe from the Time Bureau seems to be lined up to break away from them and join the Legends. Or at least pop in and out when the plot suits it. There is definitely a relationship between her and Sara that is blossoming and begging to be explored. Then at the very end, Constantine pops into the Wave Rider! He had met Sara before when she got resurrected in Arrow. He needs her help, but I think it will go the other way too, and have Constantine help with Darhk and his magic again. It will open up a bunch of interesting possibilities. We'll see how that plays out next year when the show returns for the spring!
Arrow - Episode 6.09 - "Irreconcilable Differences"
Arrow was the only Arrowverse show this week that ignored Christmas. We had wedding parties, talks of birthdays, but not Christmas. The reason is that it had to shoe-horn so much stuff in that came out of nowhere, it had no time for trivial things like Christmas.
Rene AKA Wild Dog has been one of the best additions to Arrow in a long time. It was the shot in the leg the show needed, and gave a fresh character to the show. While great, Dinah and Curtis are Laurel and Felicity 2.0. I am not trying to diminish their characters whatsoever, they are wonderful additions as well. But Rene was the real fresh blood the show needed. So what the writers did to him this week was disgusting.
Maybe "disgusting" is harsh - but it was literally out of nowhere. After everything they went through together last year with Evelyn, I can't see Rene doing what he did - even if it involved getting his daughter back. There were no seeds planted early one either. It was like they had a sudden change of heart of where the story should go and they had to alienate the new three from the old three as quickly as possible.
The stuff with Rene was even more frustrating after the beautiful speech he gave at Oliver and Felicity's wedding party. You could see the evolution and layered nuance of his character - only to have it be flushed completely down the toilet a little while later.
Thea is back in action - as a sister. She isn't able to fight or anything much, but she's a good sounding board for Oliver now. The heart to heart they had was nice - and missed, but it was so out of nowhere because of the events with Rene that it was difficult to enjoy.
The wedding party scene was nice though, with Thea and Rene getting closer, and Thea reminiscing about Roy, who I hope we see again this season. He was great, and it's been far too long since we've seen him. With Team Arrow in shambles, I expect now is a perfect time for him to pop up too.
Even if they wanted to bring him back in this episode, I don't think their budget would have allowed it - both of Felicity's parents appeared. So did nearly every main villain we've seen this season, who all seem to be working for Michael Emerson's Cayden James, including Vince - Dinah's ex partner. They also brought back Oliver and Felicity's neighbors from Ivy Town, back when they ran away with each other in what might be the deepest cuts the show has done yet.
Some other things to note: The Upswipes app was mentioned again, it seems to be an Arrowverse brand that they like to use a lot, like how The Simpsons uses Duff beer. Also, Oliver and Felicity's first dance as a married couple was to Etta James's song "At Last" which is a little nod to the fandom and the Olicity fans.
The other story, that of Cayden James having Quentin Lance kidnapped so Team Arrow would steal something for them felt rushed too. Lance seemed to be able to win Earth-2 Laurel over fairly easily, and while I did think there was a chance he could die, since people left in the other shows this week, my gut told me he wouldn't. All that was smoke and mirrors to show that Cayden has a team of people, and to show that he has cameras in the Team Arrow base. That also means that he knows everyone's identities, and is manipulating (or can, if he hasn't yet) the FBI investigation into Oliver Queen.
Arrow has been strong this season, but it suffered from the questionable shoe-horned plot decisions and bad pacing. The humorous burger scene right after the heavy scene of Ollie kicking Rene off the team did not work like it should have. Every other midseason cliffhanger felt earned. Even Legends which wrote out a character they had no business writing out, at least had seeds planted earlier and made sense on some level.
Arrow abandoned the story line of Ollie's promise to his son to not be the Green Arrow anymore. Diggle's story of healing is on hold. We heard nothing about Rene's fight to get his daughter back until the very end of this, which we found out was apparently successful. We never got his journey to get there. It seems like they used a Mad Lib to try and write an impactful finale, and it backfired.
The other shows should have intriguing returns next year. Arrow? It will still exist next year. It fell so far in so short of a time, which is a shame. Maybe they were trying to spin too many plates; or had a last minute necessary change because of something we don't know behind the scenes that necessitated all of these baffling choices.
I hope the break gives Arrow the time it needs to get back on track when it returns for the second half of its sixth season next year.