2018-2019 Arrowverse Roundup - Week 15 Review


This week, we had a series regular leave, a long time villain get more powerful, and a director who is used to timey wimey stories lay out another strong one. There will be a short hiatus after this week for some of the shows, so you'll have time to catch up if you haven't!

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.


  ***

Arrow - Episode 7.13 - "Star City Slayer"


This episode was jam packed. It had a payoff from early in the season, a huge reveal in the flashforwards, and an unceremonious exit of a key cast member.

All three of those things could have been the sole focus of the episode. But the episode juggled all three, and for the most part, did them justice. Curtis being written off the show was a bit abrupt, especially with how cordial the exit was. Echo Kellum wanted to do other things, and spend time with his kids, so they let him go. Seeds could have been planted much earlier. One could argue that they were, with his dislike of the way ARGUS handles things, but it they were subtle at best. Kellum is already teasing his return though, so I expect him to pop up again here and there next year.

Stanley from Slabside ended up being the serial killer they were looking for. The episode was a strong pay off of all the time we invested in the character. The actor, Brendan Fletcher, did the deranged/crazy thing incredibly well. He got sent back to Slabside, where Diaz happens to be when he doesn't work for ARGUS. It would be surprising if that didn't play into future stories.

Speaking of future stories, we always saw Dinah with a scar on her neck, and seemingly having a loss of her Canary powers. It was surprising to see how that happened this early on. Maybe it was just to double down on the fact that this future is real and this future is going to happen.

The soap opera side of Arrow came out too. We met Katherine MacNamara's Maya a few episodes back, and it turns out her name is Mia. Mia Smoak. She is Felicity's daughter. Interesting she doesn't have her father's name. William went to live with his grandparents, and apparently never came back, since he goes by Clayton - which is his grandparents' last name. Oliver's kids are really trying to disassociate themselves with him.

The show is going on a short hiatus, and it left things in quite a state. 1 character fundamentally changed forever, 1 character revealed who she really is, and one character was written off the show, all in 43 minutes. When Arrow swings, it swings for the fences!

*** 

Black Lightning - Episode 2.13 - "The Book of Secrets: Chapter Three: Pillar of Fire"


Black Lightning took a big step forward too, in making Tobias even more powerful than he ever was before. They also wrote someone off, but a bit more permanently than Arrow did.

RJ Cyler had a small guest run on the show that has now come to an end. Perhaps that is because he has been cast in DC's Swamp Thing. Either way, for Tobias to just kill him like that in an exploding car is ice cold. 

Jen did something very stupid, but when you step back and realize she is an emotional 16 year old who just suffered a huge loss, it make sense. The real conflict will be Jefferson against his girls. They will want to do things one way, he will want to do things another. Gambi and Lynn will be stuck in the middle.

They had all but abandoned the Jefferson/Garfield High/Teacher/Principal thing, but it came back with a vengeance.

Storylines are converging, and the rest of the season should be streamlined. Tobias selling metahumans to the highest bidders, and the Pierce family trying to stop it. A simple story, but an intriguing one. The show could get even better this way.

The only semblance of a "b-plot" right now is that of Anissa's girlfriend Grace Choi. The mysteries surrounding her do keep getting better, and the build-up keeps getting bigger. That just means the payoff has to be worth it. Hopefully it is.

Every episode of Black Lightning feels different. There is no cookie cutter formula and "monster of the week" like there is on Arrow, or The Flash. The show tells one large story, and it is what makes it stand out from its counterparts. If the rest of the season sticks the landing, it will be a pretty strong season overall. 

***

The Flash - Episode 5.14 - "Cause and XS"


This was very reminiscent of one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes called "Heaven Sent". The story was similar, but it is also because Rachel Talalay directed both episodes. The Groundhog Day formula is tried and true, but it can also get stale if there are no stakes behind it.

It was a pretty Flash-less episode actually. They wrote Barry out quickly, and the rest of the cast had to pick up the slack. I am not sure if this is still recovery from the Elseworlds schedule or not, but it is strange. On the bright side, Carlos Valdes was back as Cisco...for now.

Nora messing things up and trying to fix them, and then just making things worse is her M.O. It is getting a bit stale. We seem to have entered the "tread water until the finale because we would do better with 15 episodes but have to do 23" stage, but at least this entry was an entertaining one.

The most infuriating thing is Nora's reliance on Thawne still. She found out he murdered her grandmother. Still fine. She found out he was her Dad's enemy. Still fine. She found out that Thawne ripped Cisco's spine out of his chest. Yes in an alternate timeline, but he still did it, and shows he capable of it. But that's still fine for Nora. Of course Eobard Thawne has ulterior motives. He's Eobard Thawne - The Flash's signature villain!

There were some pretty unique shots from what the show usually churns out. We should celebrate Talalay every chance we get. She even has a producer credit on the show now! It is nice that the show recognizes a valuable asset.

Next week looks like a very expensive episode. Perhaps that is why Grant Gusting was missing most of the episode - he could film the next one at the same time. King Shark and Gorilla Grodd? Yes please. That will be a fun one. Probably still filler, but fun nonetheless.


*** 
This week, the best episode was Arrow. They did a lot of great work on that show. It was quite the opposite of filler. They crammed 3 episodes worth of story in there. Here's to the future. (Quite literally.)

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