Arrowverse Roundup - Week 11 Review
This week in the Supergirl, The Flash and Arrow we saw advancements of old story lines, true intentions, character evolution and deeper relationships formed. In other words, everything you are supposed to see this deep into the season. As for Black Lightning, the strong start became stronger. Continue reading to see my reviews for all four episodes that aired this week. As always, there will be plot points that will be discussed that might be spoilers if you have not watched them yet.
You can see all of this season's reviews right here.
Supergirl - Episode 3.11 - "Fort Rozz"
"An all female Suicide Squad team assembled by Supergirl" is really all you needed to say to sell me on this episode. Boiled down to its essence, that is what this episode was. They had to go to a planet where Supergirl would be powerless, and where it was fatal to men. So Kara gathered a team of females. With her sister sidelined, the choices were limited.
Her team consisted of Imra which was a given, and then she went and recruited Psy and Livewire. The arc of both villains were great but here is where this idea runs into issues. Being in a shared universe presents wonderful opportunity and storytelling possibilities, but it also creates problems. If logistics were not an issue, there is no reason that Supergirl wouldn't have used her world-hopping device from Cisco, to ask for Caitlin Snow's help, or Dinah Drake's or Sara Lance's. I get why they didn't appear from an outside standpoint, and their absence created a wonderful story for Livewire, but in-universe - the fact that they didn't even consider it or give a throwaway reason on why they couldn't get help from one of their friends on another world didn't make sense.
The story of Reign is making progress, and the internal struggle of Sam and Reign sharing a body is an intriguing element. I like that Sam is unknowingly fighting back, and that Ruby is a big part of that. Ruby will be key in defeating Reign, it would be a supreme disservice if she isn't.
Speaking of Ruby, her time with Alex in this week's B-Plot was sweet. Especially after the big deal the show made about Alex wanting children. In a twist of irony, the thing that Alex and Maggie broke up over (children) was the thing that helped her heal from the breakup. Alex spending time with Ruby was the best thing for her. I am glad they haven't abandoned that story line completely. While options are limited with lack of an actor, the text message was a good catalyst. Plus, because of that we got to see Sam be confused in front of Alex. I hope Alex takes her to the DEO to run tests or something, and they discover her secret. I have a feeling it will be soon, and that it will be used as the cliffhanger when Supergirl goes on a short hiatus so that Legends of Tomorrow can finish up its third season.
Lena Luthor was in one quick scene, but someone conspicuously missing from this episode was James Olsen. As the show has evolved, they have lost a place for him, especially with more story being focused on the DEO and Kara's home life. We've seen hardly any of her work life lately. The opening voiceover reminds us shes a reporter for CatCo, but it seems insignificant at this point. James was a love interest, then a vigilante. Now he's neither. The Guardian is not needed with the Legion of Super-Heroes there. If Reign kills someone of the main cast, my money would be on James. I would rather them pull a Wally West, and have The Guardian join Legends of Tomorrow but we all can't have what we want can we?
The episode showed what hope can do. It had a very Star Wars-ian feel to it, with that being an underlying theme. In fact there was even a parallel to The Last Jedi with Livewire being sucked out of a spaceship, and then was able to use her power to bring herself back in.
They are using Braniac 5 very well, he's a great comedic foil. Similar to C-3PO in the Star Wars franchise. Him bickering with Winn was fun to watch. Let us hope that the blossoming bromance between them lasts longer than just his season.
Overall, the episode was a pretty strong entry. The off-planet adventures have been memorable in Supergirl's run, and this was no exception.
The Flash - Episode 4.11 - "The Elongated Knight Rises"
The Flash has doubled down on being "lighter" and more fun, and sometimes it is to its detriment. Other times, it gets the campy nature absolutely spot on. As shown by Supergirl this week, campy television can still be fun sometimes. The Flash reinforced that statement this week.
Ralph Dibny took front and center this week to take on The Trickster. It was the young son-of-Mark-Hamill's-Trickster Trickster named Axel, but still The Trickster nonetheless. He was sprung from prison by his mother, played by Corinne Booker. The significance of that casting is that Corinne Booker played Prank, the wife of Mark Hamill's Trickster in the original early 90's Flash television show. This version of the show has always been kind to that version, referencing it often.
The reason for all that of course, is that Barry is still incarcerated. I wonder, if things had panned out differently, what the show would be like if he got put in there while his dad was still in there as well. It would be an interesting dynamic, one that I am sure is tempting to do somehow, but wouldn't have the same effect now that Barry's father is dead.
Hartley Sawyer who plays Ralph does bring a levity that the show requested. I was sad that Julian (Tom Felton) didn't return, but he is dark and brooding, and wouldn't really have much to do on this new bright, optimistic team.
When Prank was talking to her son, I could really relate to what she said about his father on a human level. When I was a child, I idolized my father, and took my mother for granted, even though she did way more for me. I think a lot of people go through that, so to see them bond over that hit a few notes with me. The bad part is that she "stopped taking her medication" and became more insane than her son was, which kind of put a damper on that nice character beat.
The story with Barry was almost the "b-story" this time, but it was blended together so well that you could make arguments for both. The stories bled into each other, so it felt cohesive. We got to meet a man in prison who was saved by Barry's father. He was played by former WWE star Bill Goldberg, and I look forward to seeing more of him. He had a grand entrance, with a fight scene, and they managed to throw some humanity in there as well. Next week it looks like we will get even more of that, so I am glad they aren't wasting his talents.
There were some fun little things peppered in too, like Wells calling Ralph "Disney" which is a wonderful nickname for him. It was usually the other Wells that gave the nicknames, but this one works. The biggest surprise was seeing the Beebo toy again! It was a macguffin in an important Legends of Tomorrow episode, and it appeared here again, though in a less important role. Little stuff like that will always get mentioned here if I catch it, because I love things like that. Another great thing is how Cisco and Wells get Killer Frost to come out of Caitlin. It only happens when she is scared or angry, so this time they yelled out a name of a school bully she had when she was a kid. What didn't make sense to me though, was how she went back to being Caitlin when the handcuffs were slapped on her as a hostage. Were they special "meta-dampening" cuffs or something? It wasn't clear. She'd definitely be more scared or angry at that time so you'd think Frost would be even stronger.
Heart to heart conversations are the - ummm - heart of The Flash. Most of the time, especially in the early seasons, they would always be between Joe and Barry. The participants have changed throughout, but that element has remained. This time it was Barry and Ralph, and it was just as effective. It peeled back layers on both of them, and evolved them one step further.
Ralph finally got his big moment to shine, and a new, official super suit and code name to boot. It was sullied by the speech he gave before saving the day. It was literally him just repeating what Barry told him. It came off as a kid repeating a confidence booster his dad told him or something. It wasn't a big epic coming-of-age speech, it felt out of place. But, The Elongated Man is officially a hero now, and whether he continues on this show, or lives on in some other fashion in this fast growing, sprawling universe, Ralph Dibny has made his mark on The Arrowverse, and isn't done yet.
Next week, Ralph and Cisco get shrunk in what looks like another "Let's put the brakes on the DeVoe story because we have 23 of these episodes to do and not enough of that story" filler episode, but still a fun one to watch. We'll see.
Black Lightning - Episode 1.02 - "Lawanda: The Book of Hope"
I went into this episode fully expecting to hear a "My name is Jefferson Pierce..." voiceover, but we didn't get one. I am still holding out hope that we will get it once the set up is over. This was a strong second episode, but it was still set up to get Jefferson to a place where he can begin with the phrase "My name is Jefferson Pierce..." and then end with the phrase "...and I am Black Lightning!"
This episode begins with Jefferson not being able to get out of bed due to pain. It reminded me of Wolverine from Logan or a few iterations of the older Bruce Wayne. It is something we really don't see Oliver Queen - and especially Barry and Kara - deal with. Black Lightning is fast becoming one of the most unique voices The CW has, and in ways that were unexpected outside of the obvious ones. There was even a scene near the end where he made a joke about taking the stairs instead of the elevator because he needed as much exercise as he could get. Stepping into things like that instead of shying away is the best choice for the identity of the show, and if they continue to do that, Black Lightning will shine for a long time.
However, that also makes me wonder if a shift is coming. As I mentioned previously, this was originally meant to be a Fox show. Now that it is on The CW, I wonder if it is going to slowly start to focus on the girls (who become "Thunder" and "Lightning") with Jefferson becoming "The Man in the Chair" and only get in on the fight occasionally. It could have a Batman Beyond vibe too it, and that would be nice as well. Maybe the shift was planned all along, even when it was going to be on Fox, but it does seem like they are planting seeds for it to go that way, with Jefferson becoming the support to his daughters who become heroes.
The episode was great. It was strong too, and I am glad that it was able to stand on its own instead of being the second hour of a two part premiere. However there were a few things that didn't sit right with me. First is that it was never made clear if Jefferson's daughters know he was Black Lightning. There is evidence in the two episodes to support both. I don't think they do, but they've never come out and said it explicitly. Another thing was that Jefferson was very clearly able to find Lala when the police had lost him. At that point, Jefferson didn't want to get involved as Black Lightning, so why not just anonymously call the police and say where he is? The last thing was when Ms. Fowdy (Skye P. Marshall) welcomed back Jefferson to the school like he had been away since they rescued his girls. However, there were several scenes before that where he was at the school. There was the meeting in the gym with some parents, and a conversation with Inspector Henderson in the hallway of the school near his office. There were scenes of him coming home from work before Ms. Fowdy said "Welcome back". Maybe they moved that scene to later than originally planned, but it didn't make any sense to me. Luckily though, the positives outweighed the negatives!
The soundtrack to the show - which can make or break the best or worst scripts is stellar! I even enjoy the songs I don't know. It enhances the ambiance of the world they are building.
The show is starting the journey of several relationships, the most interesting one being that of Jefferson and his estranged wife. That will they/won't they will go on for a long time. Both of his daughters have relationships, and I can see them being potential story beats and maybe even blossom into full sidekick/supporting characters in the future.
I hope we see Jefferson embrace Black Lightning again, and we can get the ball rolling on his journey. This will he/won't he is necessary to set up his journey but shouldn't be dragged out because in a show called Black Lightning, we all know we are going to have Black Lightning!
Next week's episode should be the last of the set up I think. It has a similar title as this week, but instead of "Hope" it is "Burial". I look forward to continuing this journey!
Arrow - Episode 6.11 - "We Fall"
Week 11 of this season of The Arrowverse has come to an end. To cap it off, we closed a story line presented since week 1. Two teams (OTA and NTA) learned to coexist, and stakes are higher than ever.
But let's start with the important things first. Namely, a LOST reference dropped by none other than LOST alum Michael Emerson. His character, Cayden James used a fake name, and that name was "Ben Gale". Ben Gale is a mix between Ben Linus, his character in LOST and an alias he used: Henry Gale. I'm a recovering LOST addict, but it still put a smile on my face to hear them reference it. As far as in-universe references, William has a Flash back pack, and Oliver mentioned that Cisco made Diggle a new suit. Spartan 3.0 looks the best so far, so Cisco did a good job.
The only problem with that is if Oliver asked Cisco to make Diggle a new suit, that meant that Oliver had no plans to give up the hood again. Which means he wasn't just lying to his son, but lying to Diggle as well. Luckily though, they didn't drag out the "Promise to his son" story line anymore. William found out that Oliver has been suiting up again, and they dealt with it head on. It was a bit anti-climactic, but the scene we got with William watching Oliver fight on the screen, while Felicity was talking to him about love, was absolutely incredible. It was shot, edited, and mixed beautifully. It is absolutely one of the best scenes in all five Arrowverse shows combined, from a technical standpoint.
I don't know how I feel about Vincent's story. On the one hand, I like redemption stories. On the other, I remember what he did to Team Arrow during the Prometheus hunt and stuff, and not sure if I want redemption to come that easy. This could be another trick of course, and he's a triple agent like Mac in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (yeah, I just made that reference. Sorry. It's been a long week). But he did save Rene, (who seems to need saved a lot), and that says something regardless of who his allegiances are with.
They brought Adrian Holmes back as Pike, just to kill him off in one quick scene. We needed to see someone we know die I guess, and he was expendable. But if this sets up a series of events that returns Quentin Lance to the SCPD, then I'm all for it. Thea has been back, but hasn't had much to do. I am hoping that when *HIGHLIGHT FOR SPOILERS* Roy Harper returns *END SPOILERS*, it provides a catalyst to propel Thea into a new story.
This episode was the first instance of seeing the divided teams working together. They are being cordial and helpful to each other, and that will either slowly build into them repairing their relationships, or make it deteriorate faster, and pull them apart even more. Either way, by the end of the season, we are going to have one Team Arrow again, it just might not be the same iteration we see now.
William had his own chance to shine as well. When they needed to evacuate their bus in the tunnel, he served as leader and got everybody out. The young actor who plays William, Jack Moore, did a very good job channeling Stephen Amell in that scene. If they wanted to go a Bruce Wayne/Damien Wayne route in the show, Jack could pull it off.
The last little thing worth noting was when Curtis's T-sphere activated for the first time, it made a noise identical to BB-8 in Star Wars. That just might be Star Wars obsessed mind overreacting, but it stood out to me.
I am glad that the show has avoided having Cayden James kidnap William so far. Prometheus did it last year, and that would be too much of a retread. There is more than one way to hurt Oliver Queen, and hurting his city is more entertaining to watch.
There are still many elements at play, and with the season at about its halfway point, they need to start making progress on them. Let's see what happens next week.
What was your favorite episode or moment this week?