2018-2019 Arrowverse Roundup - Week 6 Review


This week we had a full slate again! A slate that included two Gotham City references, a drunk cyborg, and an inadvertent Stan Lee tribute. The episodes were very strong this week, making it one of the best that the Arrowverse has seen.

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 4.05 - "Parasite Lost"

This episode marked a shift in the series. The DEO is now being run by the government, and it seems like Kara finally sees the extent of the anti-alien sentiment throughout the country.

It looks like J'onn might have finally found a place. A private detective fits him much better than pacifist running support groups. That way he can be used as a consultant through the DEO - if the anti-alien Colonel Haley doesn't find out about it.

The "alien of the week" was Amadei, and he was a healer. He was also a father, which is a big theme throughout these shows. The allegory of all the alien hate for immigrants in the real world is a powerful one. Supergirl is tackling it head on here.

We haven't checked in on the Russian version of Supergirl, and that's because there has been a ton more story to tell. The episodes have been jam packed.

The relationship between Alex and Colonel Haley has been interesting. It wasn't instantly antagonistic, and the reason is because Alex is human. The anti-alien sentiment is the biggest theme of the season.

The episode set up James investigating the "Children Of Liberty" under the ruse of Guardian joining them. Agent Liberty is our big bad of the season, so it is a fun way to get him to interact with our main cast in different ways.

Nia Nal and Brainy are getting closer, in the most adorable way possible. That is a relationship that will blossom as the season goes on.

The way Alex handled Jensen was the human way, a way that J'onn - an alien - taught her. The way Colonel Haley, the human, wanted to deal with it, was to kill him. It was a strong point, in an episode of strong points!

Overall, this was a strong episode. There wasn't a ton of filler. It seemed that every point made, and every action that happened will have ramifications in the future.


***

Arrow - Episode 7.05 - "The Demon"


The Demon was finally revealed! It was Talia Al Ghul! That was a fun reveal that was obvious in hindsight. Talia did mention she ended up in prison because of something in Gotham. Whether that alluded to the fact we are seeing Gotham City and Batwoman in the Arrowverse soon remains to be seen.

Laurel2's redemption started with Quentin, and is continuing with Felicity. They are making a great team, and were helping Oliver more than he knew.

Oliver's journey down to Level 2 was productive. It let him mend fences with Talia Al Ghul, and started the journey that looks like will eventually get him released. It was obvious that he couldn't stay in jail forever, or there is no show. But rushing him out would have been a mistake. I like that they committed to it, and will let it play out naturally.

Talia's escape was a wonderful sequence. The hallway fight between her, Ollie, and the guards was great. Every good superhero property needs a hallway fight.

The ARGUS stuff with Curtis and Diggle seemed like fluff. But now it feels like it is leading to something. Not only that, but it was essential to Curtis and his journey. His confidence didn't allow him back on the field again, but he overcame that, and now he is realizing that is where Mr. Terrific truly belongs. I have faith that Team Arrow will one day reassemble - even if it's for a short time (if the flashforwards are anything to go by, vigilante's are never welcome back), and Curtis will suit up with the rest of them.

Speaking of the flashforwards, there were none this week. There was no new Green Arrow, or any sign of Rene either. Like Supergirl it seems that Arrow had a ton of story to tell this week. It's a good move that they aren't forcing the flashforwards every week. We only get pieces when they fit and when we are supposed to know things. No treading water.

Logistically, Oliver should get out of prison before the crossover - if only because he shaves his goatee off for the crossover. So he will be out in the next 3 episodes. That is a nice chunk of the season. It's one of the most intriguing storylines the show has ever had, so dedicated a third of the season to it is great.

We got a little tease of Diaz going after Anatoly, and it doesn't look good for him. I love Anatoly, I am glad we get to see him again, but things seem dire. Maybe it will be a way to incorporate the ARGUS stuff into the Diaz story.

Overall, the episode did a lot of leg work for the future. It was captivating at nearly every turn. If the season can keep churning out episodes like this again and again, then we are all in for a treat.

*** 

Legends Of Tomorrow - Episode 4.04 - "Wet Hot American Bummer"


The Legends at a summer camp is the perfect episode. They stressed "the buddy system" and once again, the show did some fantastic character work. Constantine and Ava seemed to be on the same wavelength about things. They've had a tumultuous history, but it seems like they will get agree on more than just their taste in women.

Ray would be the perfect camp counselor. The short time he was with the kids, he had the most positive influence out of all of the Legends.

Rory bonded with new Amaya to the point where she signed up to help them with all of the magic stuff. Zari didn't have much to do, but she still got a few one liners in. Nate was MIA, but thats because Nick Zano was dealing a personal issue.

If this episode did anything though, it once again reiterated what an absolute mess of a person Constantine is. But it also shows that his heart is in the right place. He didn't even hesitate to use himself to save a kid, even though it put him in a much worse state. Whatever the end game for the character is, it will tie in to the realm that they are sending back all of the monsters. So Constantine will need the team to help him. He does seem to have a soft spot for kids after having "lost one".

The Swamp Thing references were on point. They referenced him without using him, since he's occupied over on the DC Universe App. But of course they did it pure Legends style, and made it campy and ridiculous.

This episode makes me wonder how much the new Amaya got into Rory's head. Will he feel like he's in prison now? Will they go their own way? Is she influencing him for a different end game? There are many fractures in the team, and the cracks could go any which way.

We finally got a glimpse of Nora Darhk at the end. From the little we've seen, she is living a legitimate life. How Ray will find her is anyone's guess. But if she uses any magic, then there can probably be some sort of detection. Courtney Ford is a series regular, so we will see her again. (She is also the real life wife of Brandon Routh, so their chemistry is real!)

Overall, this one was a bit darker than the last few, but it still had a lot of fun to offer. Even though it was darker and more serious, it was necessary, because of all the story and character work it did. It still was light in tone compared to Arrow which was on right before it, but kids in cages is a more serious topic than a wicked fairy godmother.

***

The Flash - Episode 5.05 - "All Doll'd Up"


This was a superb episode of television. At first, I was getting really sick of Nora's ineptitude. It was stale already. But the rest of the episode more than made up for it.

Cisco actually had some powerful and meaningful character development! His powers are causing him pain, and he used them anyway to help Caitlin. It was laid out very well, and it packed the emotional punch that was intended.

One of the strongest aspects of "All Doll'd Up", is that we actually got to see the other side of Barry Allen - the CSI side. We don't see it nearly enough. It's like with Batman, when we get to see him be a great detective. It is nice to see that aspect of the character. To see Barry out of the Flash suit, and solve problems as a genius CSI was really great.

Speaking of really great, this was one of the best "monsters of the week" we've ever had. Ragdoll was properly creepy, properly evil, and properly fun, cinematically speaking. Some of the shots were ripped straight out of a horror film.

The jam-packed episode even made a ton of progress on the mystery of Caitlin's father. I haven't researched "Khione" yet, but I don't know if it is a made up thing for this show, or it's established in DC lore already. The episode offered us a chance to remember Professor Stein (R.I.P.) too, because we got to visit his old office.

There was a Gotham City reference as well - right after one was made in Arrow. That can't be a coincidence if you know what is to come....

One thing I didn't like was Nora calling herself a hero. The egotistical attitude doesn't work for me. "I'm a hero, you know, like Dad". Supergirl had similar lines in it a couple weeks ago. They are cringeworthy.

The best part of the episode was completely unintentional though. They paid tribute to Stan Lee by making a Spider-Man reference. It was filmed months ago of course, but the timing was impeccable.

The Iris/Nora relationship took a big step forward too. It was really nice to see Nora find love for her mother again.

Overall, the episode was a strong one. It got a lot done, and was entertaining at the same time. More episodes need to be like this. We got a little bit of everything.


***

Black Lightning - Episode 2.05 - "The Book of Blood: Chapter One: Requiem"


The episode started with the death of Peter Gambi. Kind of. I mean it certainly seemed like he died, and everyone else thinks he did too. The sequence was very reminiscent of Nick Fury's "demise" in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Here's the thing though, James Remar, who plays Gambi is still a series regular. If they were going to kill him in episode 5, he would have been demoted to guest star for season 2. So I don't buy the death for a second. 

With that being said, his perceived death needs to matter. It needs to be a catalyst for other things, other important things, to happen. So far, the only thing that it has brought is Anissa closer to Grace, but Grace doesn't want to be hurt again. Grace has something strange happening with her too, so that is something that will be explored as the season goes on.


It does seem like they are laying the foundation for a Khalil redemption story. We'll see how that goes. I thought he would be a great ally when he was first introduced, and I was wrong. But maybe not. Maybe I was just early.

Henderson is coming around to becoming an ally to Jefferson after learning his secret. I enjoy that character and am glad he will have more to do.

Jefferson getting drunk - and getting in a bar fight - is totally out of character for him, but that is the point. Every man has his breaking point, Jeff is right at his. The problem is, things seem like they are about to get worse. Him being able to handle things going forward will be interesting to watch.

There is a new phenomenon happening. Not just Grace, but there is this new silver liquid found in people. Anissa discovered it twice. Something strange is going on, and it might have to do with Tobias's elusive briefcase.

The way Black Lightning advances the story is great. The "Book" and "Chapter" subtitles are well earned because it truly does feel like just one piece in a larger story. There are some standalone things in there, but the continuity is strong.

Overall, the episode was strong. I wish the credits didn't spoil the story, but not everyone will notice that, so it'll fool some people. The strong storytelling is worth a look at this show. Don't sleep on it, you might regret it later.

***
This week, I have to give my favorite episode to The Flash! Arrow was a close second. But The Flash was a superb hour of television, that fired on all cylinders. What was your favorite episode of the week?

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