2018-2019 Arrowverse Roundup - Week 18 Review

This week we had a serious cliffhanger, an inevitable showdown, a team back to basics, and big season-changing reveal. This is the last time we will have this exact line up in a long time (maybe ever). You can read my reviews of the 4 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 4.14 - "Stand And Deliver"


Every now and then Supergirl goes above and beyond, and knocks it out of the park. That is what happened this week. The social commentary presented throughout the season has been strong, but the specifics of this episode were the series' most poignant yet.

Comics have always been a commentary on the world we live in. All of the 70's editions were responses to the Vietnam War. Properties based off of comics are no different. In today's day and age and when immigrants and the press are constantly attacked and portrayed as enemies, people will have things to say about that. "Stand And Deliver" did that extraordinarily well.

A lot of characters were challenged. Alex had to protect Lockwood, who she vehemently disagrees with. Kara had to decide whether she wanted to publicly pick a side or not. James had to decide where CatCo Wordwide Media stood. But no one got challenged more than J'onn Jones.

Manchester Black is challenging J'onn and his beliefs more than ever before. It seems that Manchester has finally broken J'onn, as he is going full "Manhunter" to find him. I am pleasantly surprised by J'onn's journey this year, because after he left the DEO, it seemed nobody knew what to do with him at first.

The show used the Martian Manhunter effects sparingly, because they are expensive. But that is also because it seems they used all their money on music. The song choice was on point during the episode. They used real songs, not just scores. I tend to like scores more, but if you find the perfect song, it can work just as well. This episode nailed that.

The Fortress Of Solitude is getting a ton of play in recent episodes. Since Elseworlds, it has popped up on numerous occasions. It will be interesting to see if they can find a way to get Lex Luthor in there.

The episode ended in a very shocking way - with James Olsen being shot. I do not think that he will die, or that he is being written off. But this could bring about some interesting things. Maybe he will want the super serum that Lena is developing? Or maybe it will be a rallying point for humans as alien allies. It's been a while since we've had a good cliffhanger that wasn't on a finale of some sort. It was a bold move, I hope it is not squandered.

Overall, this was one of the better episodes of the season. Let's just hope it wasn't all for nothing.

*** 

Arrow - Episode 7.15 - "Training Day"


Team Arrow is back for the first time in a long time! Last year they were divided. This year they were torn apart. Now after a short stop over at the SCPD, Team Arrow is finally reassembled. 

The team working for the police was never going to work. It was also hindering why people wanted to watch the show - to see pretty people in cool costumes beat up bad guys. This episode did the work of bringing back the basics, while not disrespecting any of the work laid out before it.

The future story made some progress too. It looks like next week will be an all-2040 story. Mia and William are the legacy that Oliver Queen leaves behind. With the announcement of the show ending next season, their story becomes even more emotional. We see that Oliver essentially failed. The city is worse than it was before. Their kids never got a normal life. Regardless of the fate of Oliver - whether he dies in Crisis or not, it doesn't seem like a very good happy ending for him.

Dinah can no longer use her Canary Cry, but as we see from the flash forwards in 2040, she never stops being a vigilante. Arrow doesn't work without vigilantes. Despite their best efforts, the show needs at least one (preferably more) vigilante to be what it is supposed to be. So "Training Day" is great because it took us farther than we've ever been from that, to getting back to the very thing that makes the show tick.

Diggle finally knows about Felicity being pregnant, and that gave them an opportunity to plant the seed for Smoak Technologies. Curtis leaving did the same thing.

Michael Jai White returned, and provided information about Diaz's death. I do not believe that Diaz is actually dead. Instead I am more tempted to believe it was a ruse to escape, and he will team up with Emiko, whose character took this weird turn into being the big bad of the season. I hope White's story isn't done yet, he would be a fun character to join Team Arrow in the ultimate redemption arc.

Next week looks like a game changer. There are only 18 episodes of Arrow left total (not including the episodes of Crisis that are part of the other shows involved), so things that happen are going to be permanent. Let's hope it sticks the landing, because if any landing was most important, it is this one.




*** 

Black Lightning - Episode 2.15 - "The Book Of The Apocalypse: Chapter One: The Alpha"


When Black Lightning first aired, it always seemed like the endgame would be the two daughters as the main characters and superheroes. That it started with Jefferson, and would shift. Well, that shift is almost complete. All 3 are powered, all 3 nearly established. So Jefferson established rules.

Usually shows aren't great at writing teenage girls, because the writers are predominantly adult men. But Jennifer is written well. She swiftly ignored Jefferson's rules, as any 15 year old girl with abilities and pain would.

The show has been slowly building to this confrontation with Tobias. Jennifer wants him. The NSA want him. La La wants him. He has his worked cut out for him. Luckily the show laid the ground work to make him formidable and now he has his own meta-human army.

The penultimate episode of the season is often better than the finale in a lot of shows. This episode was pretty good. But Black Lightning always marched to the beat of its own drum, so we could be in for a treat.

The problem is, with the introduction of resurrection via La La, none of the deaths will hold as much resonance as they could. Khalil could come back. If someone finally kills Tobias next week? Who cares. He can come back still. They've done it with characters before. Other than that, this has been a stellar season.

The shorter seasons work well for the series, the story has been strong all season. Let's hope next week's episode sticks the landing.

***

The Flash - Episode 5.16 - "Failure Is An Orphan"


The best part of this episode is that Jesse L. Martin is officially back and a crucial part of the story! That really was the best part - because the twist was seen a mile away.

Zack Stentz wrote the episode. He is a veteran Flash writer, having written one of the best episodes of the series "The Runaway Dinosaur". But Stentz strengths are character interaction and emotion, which is why he was the perfect one to write this episode.

While Joe West was written back into the show last week, this week he was really part of things. The episode gave us something we haven't had in a long time: A Barry-Joe heart to heart conversation. It really was the backbone of the episode, which is appropriate, since that relationship is the backbone of the series. 

We are getting closer and closer to Barry discovering Nora's secret. The return of Thawne has been an absolute highlight of the season. Nora's secret keeping ability has been one of the most annoying parts of the season. So for this to be almost over is a relief. Something has been changing time, and that could very well be future Grace. 

As soon as they revealed that Grace was a meta, it was obvious what the twist was going to be. Maybe I watch too much TV. But it was effective nonetheless.

Tom Cavanagh is a gem of a human being. I've enjoyed Sherloque much better than I thought I would, and his older, broken Thawne is better than it ever was. He is doing double duty this year, and the show is better for it. The inevitable reunion between Barry and Thawne has the potential to be amazing. Hopefullly they do not squander it. As for Sherloque, he is going to prove what kind of detective he really is when he inevitably outs Nora. I hope Cavanagh remains with the show for years to come.

***
The best episode this week was Supergirl. The message, the impact, the cliffhanger, it was all done to perfection. It is what superhero television is supposed to be. Great stuff.

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