2018-2019 Arrowverse Roundup - Week 3 Review


Legends Of Tomorrow returned this week, which means we have a full slate! This week we had a prison escape, a prison fight, a murderous unicorn, a new old face, and a villain put in prison! Read my reviews of all FIVE shows 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 4.02 - "Fallout"

This was a big episode, in the sense that it was one that saw the downfall of the President who finally resigned. It was exactly what the Graves siblings wanted to happen, and it seems that they are the recurring villain of the season. Agent Liberty is too, but since they are working together, the Graves seem to be the real villains.

Speaking of which, Rhona Mitra who plays Mercy Graves, was doing a ton of mustache-twirling acting. Almost everything that she said sounded cliche. I hope it was growing pains in figuring a character out, because I don't know if I can take a whole season of that.

Nia Nal protected Brainy when he was nearly attacked for being an alien. She is already making a difference at CatCo, and it's pretty great to see. She came out as a transgender female to James, at the same time that Supergirl had to hide herself in front of Lena Luthor. It pained Kara not to be able to be herself. But she felt she had to keep a secret. The metaphor was put right on front street, but it was an effective one. Nia's journey in becoming a superhero is starting out strong. I assume that is why Brainy thought she looked familiar - something about her in the Legion archives no doubt.

Nia is not only furthering her own journey, but that of Brainy and James as well. Both are in better places because of her. It is great character development, and writing done well.

On the other hand, they are absolutely squandering J'onn. You have the freaking Martian Manhunter at your disposal! This should be easier than they are making it. I don't mind his journey of honoring his father's wish of him to be a pacifist. But the execution of it isn't impressive. They are forcing scenarios for him to interact with other cast members. I hope he returns to the fight - or at least a useful role within the DEO - sooner, rather than later.

The episode did bring us one of the most iconic shots of the entire series though. It was of Supergirl holding the flagpole, with the American flag waving. It is a really spectacular shot, that just oozes symbolism.

"Fallout" had a lot to deal with, and it was a bit of stumble in the attempt. The episode certainly wasn't as strong as the premiere overall, but it had some great stuff in it nonetheless. The strongest parts are the new characters though, Brainy and Nia.They will have the most interesting journeys this year.


***

Arrow - Episode 7.02 - "The Longbow Hunters"


The premiere of Arrow was nearly perfect. Momentum helped this episode a lot, but it wasn't as strong. It still did a lot of work for a lot of characters though. 

The new voice over intro was a nice touch, having the whole spiel, then ending in "I am Inmate 4587." It will change several times this season, I'm sure.

We were finally introduce to the Longbow Hunters! The three are definitely threats to be reckoned with, but from what I saw of them, they really don't need Diaz at all, which makes me wonder why they have an alliance with him. There has to be a pretty compelling reason for why the Longbow Hunters, who could easily defeat Diaz it seems, would work for him.

The show has to juggle Oliver in prison, his team outside of it and flashforwards. It gets a little unevenly paced in places, but the character work happening is strong. Oliver is finding himself in prison again. Laurel and Dinah are slowly mending fences. It was great to see both Canary Cries happen in unison. They both have their love for Quentin Lance in common, and that will be the bridge to their friendship.

Felicity is a controversial character at this point, and this episode will do her no favors. I understand that she is more determined than ever to catch Diaz, and wants to fight. But she doesn't need to tread as softly as the rest of them. Her potentially joining the FBI seems ridiculous at first, but it could pay off. What better way to get her husband out of prison than from inside the organization that put him there? I wouldn't be surprised if that is her end game.

I thought we would see Roy in present day when I heard that Colton Haynes had joined the cast as a regular again. But it seems he will just be in the flashforwards which are not going away. That is by far the most intriguing story of the entire season so far. William and Roy are leaving Lian Yu much sooner than I thought - we will see them in future Star City next week! Or, at least on the way there. The endgame of this story still baffles me on what it could possibly be. I am excited to find out though.

Oliver joined a prison gang! Kind of. Brick (Vinnie Jones) has information he wants so he got rid of Yorke the cop, in the only way he knew how, without killing. He caused himself pain, for that officer to be removed. No one doubts the depths that Oliver will go to save his family, but it'll be interesting see what he has to do next. How many more prison fights can we see before boredom sets in?

Arrow is wasting no time. They are getting right to the point. We've seen Diaz go against Felicity, and now Diggle. Who is next? If all of these very separate stories coalesce into one coherent path, that will be a huge feat for the show, and may give Arrow its best season yet. 

*** 

Legends Of Tomorrow - Episode 4.01 - "The Virgin Gary"


Legends Of Tomorrow wasn't back for five minutes and we already had The Beatles and Paul Revere! The most ridiculous show on TV was back with a wacky, yet poignant episode.

Ava and Sara are taking their relationship to the next level. Sara has evolved a ton since we first saw her on Arrow. She's grown more, suffered more, learned more, and loved more. Her life as a Legend is now getting in the way of that, as opposed to the other way around. I hope that doesn't spell trouble for Ava. But if she dies, and they bring another one in (she is a clone after all), it could open up all sorts of possibilities for Sara.

The show is becoming more meta too. Early on Ray Palmer said that if they caught monsters that "it would be good for ratings". He meant Time Bureau ratings, but the double entendre worked.

I was surprised that the show threw shade at Keiynan Lonsdale too! He left The Flash to become a series regular on Legends only to leave Legends shortly there after. Zari's joke poked fun at that. The show is pulling no punches.

We finally got to learn a bit more about Nate - we met his parents. His father, who he has issues with, is played by Back To The Future star Tom Wilson. With Amaya gone, Nate can finally gain some depth in his character. We knew his grandfather was part of the Justice Society, and he looked up to him, but that was about it. It makes sense that he would take to his grandfather so much after seeing his relationship with his father.

The plot had the team stopping an evil unicorn from murdering everyone at Woodstock, and using elements from people like Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix to conjure a spell to stop it. That is not a sentence I ever thought I would write. That is the only reason it is in here. That, and also to point out that characters were front and center over story this time.

This episode gave us the term "Sparkle-Sauce" and I will never forgive them for it. But if "The Virgin Gary" proved one thing - it's that the tail end of last season was not a fluke - Legends Of Tomorrow has found it's identity and will always embrace it going forward.

None of that stopped the episode from being thoughtful and dramatic though. The character journeys are the start of something deeper, and Constantine has his own problem to deal with, which I'm sure will last throughout the season. 

It was actually quite a smart move to put this on after Arrow. Legends of Tomorrow is a great pallet cleanser to the darker and more serious tone of Arrow. The pairing is a great one. You'll get a bit of everything Monday nights.

The Legends are back, and the world is a better place because of it!


The Flash - Episode 5.03 - "The Death Of Vibe"


On the surface, this seems like a run-of-the-mill episode. But "The Death Of Vibe" actually gave us quite a lot. There was a ton of good stuff on Wells, Cicada, Caitlin, and Nora.

Let's start with Wells. We saw Herr Wells again, in a quick cameo, and he was our introduction to Sherloque Wells - the one that will be with us the rest of the season it seems. It must be nice for Tom Cavanagh to have something different to do, but he is running out of viable accents. The thing with Sherloque is that we've seen a weasely con of a Wells in HR before. The introduction path was similar. But he is a much different person, so it should (hopefully) be different from here on out.

Due to Nora, Cicada is a different person on this Earth than he is on every other Earth. Orlin is his name here, and he has a very sick comatose daughter. His motivations for eliminating all metas are suddenly becoming clearer. The Flash attempts to flesh-out their villains every season. They give the villains depth, complexity and even a bit of humanity. It looks like it will be no different here. I haven't seen Chris Klein in anything since American Pie. So to see him do some harrowing, serious acting is fun.

Caitlin is tied up in this mystery surrounding her fathers fake death. Presumably all of this will lead to the rebirth of Killer Frost. But it's nice to give Caitlin something substantial. It's a great mystery, and its being executed almost flawlessly right now. Hopefully the payoff is just as great.

It's pretty ironic that for an episode with his name in the title, Cisco/Vibe had the least impact. It felt like having to fake Vibe's death was a chore instead of a natural story choice. I assume most people knew that the show wouldn't write out one of its most popular characters. Real deaths in the show, like Henry Allen and HR are kept on the down low as well. So to put it on front street, had to be a red flag that it would be a trick. Even with Cisco still alive and well, I doubt we will see Vibe in the field anymore. The reason will be revealed later, I'm sure. Like it would be a very easy solution if Vibe was there, but he can't because he's dead...

Ralph got a bit of great development too. He let his guard down and was real in front of Caitlin, even though he was embarrassed earlier by a meme. He also did as much detective work as Sherloque did. That rivalry could get uglier before it gets better though.

Nora was Nora was Nora. But Sherloque revealed something very interesting. She has an accomplice. Whether that is future Iris, Joe or someone else entirely remains to be seen. But I haven't ruled out the possibility of a more sinister doing. What if a villain sent her back to mess with timeline? Thawne again? Or someone trying to change history in their favor? I would love if that were the case. It is possible that Nora is an unwilling pawn in this because the villain is playing to her weaknesses. There are many ways this could go, and it doesn't seem like its as cut and dry as we thought previously.

Overall, this was a strong episode just because of what it managed to accomplish. Juggling that many story threads can be messy, but "The Death Of Vibe" handled them great. It was definitely an improvement over last week's.


***

Black Lightning - Episode 2.03 - "The Book of Consequences: Chapter Three: Master Lowry"


Something huge happened this week. Tobias was finally caught! The scenes leading up to that didn't lend themselves to it though. It happened quite suddenly. In fact, it doesn't even seem clear as to how it happened. If Black Lightning can work on one thing - it is the editing. There was a lot that happened in the episode, none of which had to do with "Master Lowry", which was a strange title choice.

The scene where Jefferson finally meets Principal Lowry was significant, but it he was barely in two scenes. Everything else happening was way more important.

Outside of that though, there were some strong elements. It seems like the redemption of Khalil has slowly started. When he was first introduced, I thought he'd be a powerful ally, and I was dead wrong. But maybe there is hope for my dumb theory yet. He's a well written character, and it's nice that he is a series regular, so we see more of him.

The relationship between Henderson and Jeff is tumultuous at the moment. Henderson is reacting like anyone would. The characters that are written on this show are grounded in reality more than most.

Other characters are getting highly personal journeys. In fact, there can be several minutes where we don't even see Jefferson. I wonder if they will slowly shift him to supporting, while his daughters become the focus. They are getting the most time right now. 

Anissa is figuring out her personal life, while she becomes more and more separated from her dad's philosophies as a hero. Jennifer on the other hand is still coping with what seems to be the most powerful powers of all. The question of whether she wants to burden the responsibility as a hero, or live as normal a life as possible is slowly unraveling. She could take the Spider-Man route - live as a hero and deal with homework, relationships and stuff like that, or not bother with it.

Using the "chapter" method this season means they are playing the long game. There is way less Scooby-Doo "monster of the week" type stuff. It certainly helps the show, as does the short season. That means every episode will have something impactful in it. Every episode matters. For the show to do something huge like capture Tobias in the third episode is a testament to that.

The writers do a great job making the audience invested in these characters. Every characters gets the time they deserve. I feel sorry for people who slept on this show, it is doing some wonderful work.

***
This week my favorite episode was probably tied between Legends Of Tomorrow and The Flash. I feel Arrow will dominate my "favorite of the week" this season, so it's nice for the others to get a win.

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