2018-2019 Arrowverse Roundup - Week 2 Review


The flagship show of the Arrowverse is back! Along with Supergirl of course. Arrow was intense, and Supergirl had a lot of great seeds planted for the future. The Flash made me worried and Black Lightning made me cry! My full review of each episode is below.

You can read all of this season's Arrowverse* reviews right here.

*Yes, I know Black Lightning is not in the Arrowverse officially. But neither was Supergirl...until it was. I am including it here for convenience sake.

***

Supergirl - Episode 4.01 - "American Alien"

Supergirl wasted no time getting to it! The first thing we see is that Superman is off-world on Argo, so Supergirl is expanding her reach beyond National City. It felt like it was set up to make it seem like Kara was overworked and stress, but she was actually quite content, and had her life in balance for the first time since she became Supergirl.

Protecting the world, instead of just National City, is quite the change for Kara. She isn't the only Danvers that has a change though - Alex is now director of the DEO, and seems to be doing okay, except with Brainy.


I loved the character of Brainy last year. I was thrilled when Jesse Rath was promoted to series regular. But it will take some time to adjust from Winn to him. We get help with that, because it's the same thing that Alex is going through. I know this show well enough to see that they are planting seeds for a relationship between those two. Not romantic, but a protective brother/sister one, similar to what Alex had with Win.

Even though Alex replaced J'onn, J'onn is still very much in the picture. He is a pacifist now, helping other aliens cope in a world that hates them. Effects wise, it is cheaper this way, since they do not have to show him in his Martian form. But I can't see them keeping this up the entire season. He surely has to get back in the fight eventually if he stays on the show....

Supergirl has always been relevant to our real world. Like Black Lightning, it is great at tackling uncomfortable issues. This time, Supergirl took the immigration debate head on. Literal illegal aliens were being attacked because people didn't want them in their country, even though they were just trying to live a peaceful life. Sound familiar?

If you are someone who thinks politics should stay out of super hero stuff, you are out of luck. For one thing, that is pretty much what comic books have always been for. They always tackled the social issues, from the Vietnam War to 9/11. Another: If you think basic human rights are "politics," then you need to rethink the definition. But I digress...

We got to meet Nia Nal, who will become the Arrowverse's (and TV's) first Transgender superhero! She made an impressive debut, and she definitely has some of the same characteristics as Kara. It will be fun to watch her evolve into a hero.

Lena and James are still together, yet they still keep secrets from each other. James knows that Kara is Supergirl, and Lena secretly helped get James acquitted of his charges of being Guardian without his knowledge. Those things will catch up to both of them in the end.

The big bad - Agent Liberty - was set up, and he looks very ominous. We also got a tease of the other, Russian, Supergirl, and if its a lose adaptation of Red Son, then that will be fun too.

The premiere planted a lot of seeds. Hopefully the can deliver on all of them in interesting ways. The show has had pacing problems in the past. I hope they learned to avoid that this time.


***

Arrow - Episode 7.01 - "Inmate 4587"


Out of all of the returning Arrowverse shows, the flagship show was the one I was looking forward to the most. For the most part, it didn't disappoint. The episode took the time to catch up to all of the characters after 5 months. Team Arrow has never been more spread out.

Laurel 2 took Laurel 1's old job. Dinah is a police Captain. Rene is teaching boxing. Curtis is working for Diggle at ARGUS. Diggle is still division leader at ARGUS. William and Felicity were in witness protection, and Oliver Queen is in prison.

Like J'onn on Supergirl, Oliver is trying the pacifist approach. If that lasted long, there wouldn't be much of show. Sure enough, it didn't even last until the end of the first episode. Ricardo Diaz is back, and he made a coordinated attack on Felicity and Ollie at the same time. Intercut fight scenes are cool by default, and the one with Ollie in prison and Felicity at her home was done quite well.

Felicity wants to fight. She's determined to fight. It felt like they were planting seeds to have her become a vigilante once Team Arrow gets reassembled. It might shed some light on something Stephen Amell tweeted back in August:


(She did have a "superhero" suit in an episode of Legends, but this might be different one).

The episode flowed well, which is worth noting. For the sheer amount of characters they had to cover, that can be tough. 

The new inmate that befriends Oliver is important. He was only ever called "4587" and "Arrow" before that. To hear himself be called Oliver, coupled with the attack on his family, has driven the pacifism from him, and it seems like he will now officially fight back.

There is someone masquerading as the Green Arrow in Star City though. While we don't know who it is, the obvious guess might be the best one: Roy Harper. Colton Haynes is a series regular again this year. The only problem with this is that you think he'd reach out to Diggle or Felicity if this was the case. We know he gets back in the fight, because of that last scene, but back to that in a moment.

Of course, it could be one of the Longbow Hunters pretending to be him under Diaz's orders. Maybe they are wiping out the competition for him, and making the FBI the enemy again. Diaz likes playing long games, and it is definitely something he would do.

I was not expecting that ending, with an older William finding Roy on Lian Yu. That is not the last we will see of that, but it makes you wonder what the end game is. Flash forwards are tricky (just ask LOST), and the end game can hurt in the long run. If we get a resolution, then it loses some of the mystique in the present day, when the story continues after they are done showing us the flash forwards. But I have faith. It is all going to relate together, just as the flashbacks did. Maybe the whole show will take a time jump in the future, and Ben Lewis, who plays older William will become a series regular. Perhaps a deeper analysis of this needed elsewhere.

I was hyped up for the premiere, more than I have been in a long time. For the most part, it lived up the hype. It feels like Arrow is going for broke this year. Hopefully they stick the landing.


***

The Flash - Episode 5.02 - "Blocked"


Some episodes have the "A" plot and the "B" plot blend together nicely. This was not one of those episodes. Caitlin, Ralph, and Cisco had a light and airy plot, trying to get Cisco over his ex, but it just didn't resonate. 

A big reason for that is we've seen Cisco grieve for his dead brother. That didn't seem as severe as this did. It just makes the character and the writing feel all over the place. The other is that it was a weak plot, but it was also the most plot of the episode. The relationship between Nora and Barry is still at the forefront, which makes the story paper thin. The character development train is full steam ahead - the plot train is broken at the station.

We did get a little bit on the big bad this season - Cicada - played by Chris Klein. We saw a bit more the fight from last episode, and saw that he is a seemingly normal person with a regular job. That mystery will slowly unfold, but the show needs more. The Scooby-Doo "monster of the week" formula is not working out yet. Last year it worked because they were all part of DeVoe's plan, and so they were fleshed out a bit, and had an arc for a few episodes.

A complaint I had last week was resolved quickly though, which is good. I didn't think Barry and Nora keeping the secret of Barry's disappearance from the rest of the crew was a good thing. They didn't either apparently, because they told everyone. That was a smart move, for it to be lingering over the show would have hurt it. I still think Nora is hiding things, particularly pertaining to Iris, from everyone, but we'll find that out in due time.

Joe West needs more to do. He is the advice booth from Peanuts right now. He is helping Cecile with losing her powers, and Barry with parenting. While I will never ever say anything bad about the "heart-to-hearts" that Joe and Barry have, I wish he had more to do than just that at the moment. Jesse L. Martin is one of the best actors on the show. To squander that talent should be against the law.

There is a whole soap opera going on with Caitlin and her parents. But that seems to have a ton more story potential than Cisco's heartbreak. I am confident Killer Frost will return. I hope the journey getting there is enjoyable.

Still no sign of any sort of Harrison Wells. But Tom Cavanagh is still a series regular, and he will definitely show up. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later, because having Cavanagh on our screens is a blessing.

Overall, not a very memorable episode. Hopefully the stories get stronger from here on out.

***

Black Lightning - Episode 2.02 - "The Book of Consequences: Chapter Two: Black Jesus Blues"


The good folks over at Black Lightning are doing some incredible work. This was the second best episode of the week. You feel for every character on the show, including the one-off guest casts. The stories aren't cookie-cutter. It is a different type of superhero show, and it is better for it.

The story of Issa coming back from the dead and his family abandoning him is heartbreaking. Like The Flash, the character journeys are at the forefront, but unlike The Flash there is still a rich story they are involved with, even if its unknowingly. Issa's "truth serum" made for some intense moments between the Pierce family too. Issa chose to live out the short time he has left, instead of go back in the pod. The contrast of that to Wendy Hernandez's journey, where she did end up back in a pod, was just smart writing.

Anissa and Jefferson are butting heads more and more, and with Anissa having a new fling (or is it a legit girlfriend? It was unclear) and running into her ex at the same time, makes it seem like her life is going to implode soon. All of these different factors are coming into play for her.

Tobias is on a mission. He wants to weaponize the metahumans. He killed his own brother to do so. He seems more determined than ever, and more dangerous too.

The music was on point again, and I appreciate the little things, like seeing their super suits on display. Unless I'm mistaken, that is the first time we saw them on mannequins and on display, like the ones in the Arrow cave.

By far the best part of the episode was when Jefferson told his students he wouldn't be principal anymore. The scene actually made me shed a tear when he was walking away and the students turned the tables on his own saying. A student asked him what Jefferson always asks them: "Where's the future?" Cress Williams was better than he's ever been in that seen. He's had a lot of great and powerful scenes - including the one with Jennifer in the bathroom last week. But this? His best. Emmy worthy good, and that is just episode 2. What will the rest of the season hold?


***
What was your favorite episode of the week? Mine was Arrow, but Black Lightning was a close second. Next week, Legends of Tomorrow returns, and we officially have a full slate!

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