Arrowverse Roundup - Week 22 Review
This week was a good one! Legends of Tomorrow had their season finale, while Black Lightning's penultimate episode aired to get us ready for the finale next week. The Flash made its triumphant return with one of the best cameos in the history of the show, and Arrow had an episode so strong that it almost made me forgive what they did last week. Almost. You can see my in depth thoughts below, and as always, there will be spoilers for the episodes if you have not seen them.
You can see all of this season's reviews right here.
Legends of Tomorrow - Episode 3.18 - "The Good, The Bad and The Cuddly"
The season finale of one of the most ridiculous shows on TV happened this week, and it didn't disappoint in delivering maybe the most ridiculous thing ever.
How would you defeat a demon from another dimension? With a soft cuddly teddy bear of course!
But lots of things happened before that, including what looks like the end for Rip Hunter. His death did seem rushed, but not because the show wasn't willing to spend the time needed, it felt like it was actor availability. Regardless, since Arthur Darvill is a Doctor Who alum, I always want to see more of him. With Constantine mentioning that the Legends opened other doors by releasing Mallus, perhaps the Time Drive Rip used sent him through one of those, and it isn't the last we've seen of him. I hope that is the case.
The relationship that Ray formed with Nora paid off, by him helping Damien save his daughter. Unlike Rip, this seems like it is truly the end of Damien Darhk when he took Nora's place to be the vessel for Mallus. But he's come back to life twice now. It wouldn't surprise me, whatever his fate is. That being said, I do think we will see Nora Darhk again, having been given a second chance by Ray. So it is a safe bet that we will see at least one Darhk next season.
The Legends needed help, and Ava delivered. Ava brought Helen of Troy, a different (nice) Kuassa, and an OG Legend - Jax. For Jax, it has been 5 years since he was last on the Waverider. He has a daughter named Martina, named after his friend Martin Stein. That means Jax knows what is going on with Barry Allen and Oliver Queen in 5 years. Maybe not specifically, but things that the press are covering about them. It would have been cool to throw that in, but then there would be pressure to conform, and I understand not having one show determine things in another.
Someone else that helped, was Jonah Hex, as the Legends went to Salvation, North Dakota to hide. Jonah and Zari had a flirtatious relationship, and with fluidity of the members of the Waverider, I wouldn't be surprised if we see Jonah Hex more regularly, or have Zari choose to live there with him at the end of next season or something like that.
Speaking of which, Amaya finally went back to her village....again. This seemed more permanent than last time ***SPOILERS*** but Maisie Richardson-Sellers is a series regular again next year, so who knows how that story will play out now. ***END OF SPOILERS***
Mallus brought some friends too. He had Caesar, Blackbeard, and Leif Ericson's sister help him. Romans, Pirates and Vikings working together. Absolute insanity.
To defeat everyone, the six totem bearers had to form a being to fight Mallus. That being was straight from the Ghostbusters text book. Nate, pulling a Ray Stantz, thought of Beebo, and then the most ridiculous scene you will have seen on TV this week had a big fluffy teddy bear fight and defeat a demon.
After that, the strongest season of the show so far was coming to a close, but they made it come around full circle - The Legends went back to Aruba, where all of this started. They were relaxing until Constantine found them to set up their new mission for next season.
Overall, the finale was a satisfying conclusion to a fun season of television. The only thing that didn't happen that I wished did was that Jax got to stick around and become Firestorm through the use of the Fire Totem. But we can't have everything.
Next year, Constantine joins the team full time! That will be fun. It will be difficult to top what they did this year, but I look forward to watching them try.
The Flash - Episode 4.17 - "Null and Annoyed"
Full disclosure: This is a huge Kevin Smith house. He has helped me, and saved me in ways I can't explain here. So anytime he gets to direct something in the Arrowverse, I am happy. This time though, he actually appeared on screen, in a role very reminiscent of the one that made him famous.
It was a good call, airing this show *after* Legends of Tomorrow. There was some ridiculousness to it, but it seemed tame after the Legends finale. This was the first episode back from a short hiatus, and they hit the ground running. The curtain got pulled back on Marlize DeVoe's struggle, and how the Thinker is essentially drugging her to stay. That was the most intriguing part of the episode to me. I want more of that journey, and how Marlize will fight the drugging. I do think she is the key to helping defeat the Thinker, and will come to help Team Flash in the end.
Barry and Ralph had to face a meta who could make things float. That is where Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith came in - they played security guards with remarkably similar traits to Jay and Silent Bob, who were moving something that this week's bus meta wanted. They were in 2 scenes, but it was fun to see. For the record, Smith didn't shoehorn himself in. The executives asked him if Jay and himself would do it. Smith didn't want to, but did it so Jay could.
Another part of the story that resonated with me was Ralph using comedy as coping mechanism, because I do the exact same thing. The journey Barry and he took to get Barry to understand was something that needed to happen between them, and their friendship is stronger for it now.
Danny Trejo returned as Breacher for the B-plot. Those bits were a bit long in the tooth for me, and I wanted to get back to Barry, Ralph and Marlize. But the Breacher story was important for Cisco's journey, and while I can't imagine him leaving Team Flash, the offer of him to replace Breacher will probably be important later. The part that bothered me though, is how Breacher opened a breach to get to Cisco if he has no powers.....that didn't make sense to me.
When I mentioned ridiculousness earlier, it is because there were like 12 whoopee cushion jokes in the episode, including Ralph turning into a huge one for Barry to land on when he was falling.
I did one of Ralph's jokes about being a comedy troupe in Washington and calling themselves the DC Comics. Kudos to whoever wrote that line.
When the episode ended, I thought we were back in season 1 for a moment - Harry Wells is frustrated he can't get smart enough to out think the thinker. The episode ended with him in Evil Wells' (Thawne's) secret chamber, and accessing Gideon. It was very reminiscent of season 1, and while I don't think Wells is evil, it was certainly meant to raise eyebrows.
There are about 7 episodes left. We're on the homestretch. That means filler becomes less and less. Smith directed a fun episode, but next week's looks like one of the darkest ones of the season.
Black Lightning - Episode 1.12 - "The Resurrection and the Light: The Book of Pain"
In my experience with watching TV, a lot of seasons have a better penultimate episode than finale. Breaking Bad is the perfect example of this. This episode of Black Lightning was pretty great, but I'll wait until the finale next week to really see if this was better.
For starters, Tobias is back! The show is better with him in it, and now all of the villains: The ASA, LaLa, Khalil, and Tobias are coalescing into one singular threat.
Lynn and Jefferson's relationship took two steps forward and one step back. They became intimate again, with Lynn finally making piece with their life. Then Jefferson got angry because he was offended that Lynn was helping Jennifer suppress the super power gene. So there is still a chance, but the happiest they had was gone as fast as they found it.
As mentioned above, Khalil returned too, and he was up and walking again, fully corrupted by the ASA. The climax had him attacking the school he attended, to draw out Black Lightning and Thunder.
Tobias and Jefferson finally went to head to head, and this time, Jefferson came out worse. He actually died, only for Jennifer to save him with her lightning. That will be an important part of her journey, she'll probably be less interested in suppressing her powers now.
The Pierce family are confined to a safe house of Gambi's. The ASA and Tobias are winning right now, and things look dire. The show is written well. For example, The A-Plot and the B-Plot in The Flash were very clear cut this week. The stories here kind of all blended together flawlessly. It was one big story, instead of 2 separate stories running concurrently.
Something has to give next week. Not everyone can make it out alive. Tobias, LaLa, Gambi, Henderson, or someone has to die. Of course, we've seen that death doesn't mean much right now, as LaLa came back but that can't happen every time.
It would be a safe bet to think some of the lesser characters do, like Khalil, Proctor, or Fowdy, but one of the big characters have to also, right?
I guess we'll see when quite a strong season of Black Lightning ends next week.
Arrow - Episode 6.18 - "Fundamentals"
This episode was much better than last week's. I understand why everything happened, to get him to this point. But I wish it was executed better. Oliver Queen was Ebeneezer Scrooge, but was visited exclusively by his ghosts of Christmas past.
I usually love when things come full circle. That is what they tried to do here, but it felt forced to get to this point. Self contained - this episode was very strong. So let's focus on that.
Oliver is alone, he does seem more destitute than ever. But visions of Prometheus - Adrian Chase - appeared to taunt him. The visions were caused by him being drugged with Vertigo. It was partly the dark side of his conscience manifesting, but it is always an effective device to use. Its too bad that they couldn't get everyone - get evil Merlyn, evil Slade, Ra's Al Ghul, Damien Darhk, and Adrian Chase. Even his parents, Thea, and Roy would have worked. But logistics isn't their fault. What they had to work with was great.
I've said this before, the opening credits always wreck the surprises. The impact of Adrian Chase showing up would have been way better if his name didn't appear before he did. That is not Arrow's fault - it is a SAG thing. Stephen Amell agrees.
Quick commercial aside... The union rule that specifies a “special guest star” needs to appear in the opening credits despite her/his appearance being a surprise is the opposite of a good rule.— Stephen Amell (@StephenAmell) April 13, 2018
Quentin Lance is now Mayor, which feels way more natural than Oliver being Mayor does. I hope that stays for a while. It would be better for the Mayor to be a friend of the Green Arrow, than actually being the Green Arrow.
The scene in the bunker between Lance and Oliver was incredible. It was a very powerful scene, between two people who have been with the show since the very beginning, and have had a long and tumultuous relationship. It is an underappreciated relationship on the show, and one that should be explored more. It was by far the best scene of the episode. The actors involved, Paul Blackthorne (Quentin Lance) and Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen) seemed to have felt the same way.
Is the #Arrow ep tonight the one with my fave @StephenAmell scene we’ve done together ?— Paul Blackthorne (@PaulBlackthorne) April 13, 2018
Sat in the bunker having a heart to heart ?
Working with @PaulBlackthorne - in the rare moments where we get an extended scene - is always terrific. Lie detector in S1, Van in S3, Apartment in S4... always love it!— Stephen Amell (@StephenAmell) April 13, 2018
Like the ending of The Flash, this week's Arrow had a season 1 vibe, due to the obvious call backs. With how intertwined the two shows are, I am curious as to whether this was intentional or a massive coincidence. Either way, it was a fun treat.
So if Oliver is on this quest alone now, what will the other cast members do? They had minimal screen time already this week, to do that two weeks in a row is an insult to the great cast. I hope everything starts coalescing back together again next week.
Season 5 was one of the strongest seasons Arrow has ever had. This season has been a bit of a misstep, but if they can finish off strong and fix their mistakes, then we will be in good shape for the newly announced season 7.