2019-2020 Arrowverse Roundup - Week 2


This week we had the start of Arrow's farewell tour, more Crisis preparations, and people being challenged in ways that they aren't used to.

Below is a breakdown of all of the Arrowverse stuff that aired this week. It is part review, part speculation, part analysis, and part rambling. It is organized in the order they aired throughout the week, so feel free to scroll down to whatever ones you watch. If you want to get caught up, you can use my Arrowverse Viewing Order guide to help you navigate!

You can read this season's previous breakdowns here.

  ***

Batwoman - Episode 1.02- "The Rabbit Hole"


Normally the standard television formula calls for the second episode to repeat the pilot almost beat for beat. While "The Rabbit Hole" had some similar beats, it still was able to move Kate's journey, and her various relationships forward. The modified Batman suit she is wearing is still clunky and awkward looking. Hopefully the suit seen in Elseworlds will be making an appearance soon. It seems they are slowly building to it, but it needs to happen sooner rather than later.

The mystery of Alice/Beth is being put right on front street. It is actually refreshing that the audience was keyed into it. It's good that they aren't trying to draw it out too long. There is still some mystery with Beth's background as to why she has taken this Alice persona, so the show still has some secrets. Of course, with the show revealing that Catherine has ulterior motives too, it has a lot on its plate at the moment.

Batwoman is already doubling down on the Kate/Sophie love triangle. It wouldn't be a CW show without it, though they could try it once. Sophie isn't doing herself any favors with the audience by selling Kate out, but that will change eventually.

Beth is really leaning into the Wonderland references, even going so far as to quote the novel. It's a great novel, and it works in this context. The episode was much better paced than the pilot. Everyone got a little time to find their own, and the emotion was much better than in the first episode. Dougray Scott and Gracyn Shinyei who plays young Kate, were the emotional anchor of the episode. They both did a good job conveying the frustration, loss, anger, and sadness over losing Beth.

It was a little too on the nose for Luke to show her two of Batman's gadgets, and those are the exact two that were needed a bit later in the show. That could have been a bit more subtle, but nothing has been subtle in this show yet, so maybe that was too much to expect.

The show is certainly headed somewhere, but it is as of yet unclear just where. Hopefully there won't be too many detours before getting to the destination.

***

Supergirl - Episode 5.02- "Stranger Beside Me"


Lena is making Supergirl's version of Ultron, which should end just like you think it does. Lena's story took up a lot of the episode, and she didn't really interact with anyone in the main cast. It looks like she will be stuck down in that lab a long time, even with her turning Eve into an AI body for Joy.

That was one villainous thread presented throughout the episode. The other was J'onn's brother, who was more of the focus. But the trip through J'onn's mind, seeing some Martian history and stuff, was the best part of the episode. If Martian Manhunter ever got his own spinoff, it would be great to see it as a prequel during the Martian Civil War. It seems we are getting pieces of that here though, and they overshadow everything else in the episode.

Relationships took the forefront too. Both Brainy and Nia's relationship, and Alex and Kelly's relationship were explored. It couldn't be two more different relationships, but it showed that they both genuinely cared for each other. 

Kara's battle at CatCo seems like it is the more difficult one for her than her battles as Supergirl. She's a serious journalist, who now works at what essentially is a tabloid. She has to battle with people who do not have integrity, including William Day. Day is very petty, but the scene of him helping out at a soup kitchen was supposed to show he has a good heart apparently. That also means his motives aren't clear yet, but Staz Nair does a good job with the character.

James Olsen has some potential gigs lined up that would be life changing. It was announced that Mehcad Brooks was leaving the show, so one of those, either senator or Smithsonian curator will probably pan out, allowing his exit. But an exit like that would also leave the door open for him to make guest appearances in the future.

While the story of J'onn's brother is at the forefront, and will provide plenty of emotion, it is Lena's that will be the real heartbreaker. Last year, there were two villains and one dominated the first half of the season, while the other was just teased until the hiatus. This season might be on a similar path, until everything is tied together at the end.

*** 

Black Lightning - Episode 3.02 - "The Book Of Occupation: Chapter Two: Maryam's Tashbih"


Things are moving at a record pace on Black Lightning. The intensity has ramped up, and things are more dire than ever. The two scenes the episode ended on are as about as dark as The CW willing to go. Khalil and Jennifer will forever be intertwined, and it was fitting that things ended with them going down two very different paths.

Khalil is Khalil no longer. Instead, he is fully Painkiller, working for the ASA. The test mission they sent him on was heartbreaking. There is no humanity left. On the other hand, Jennifer has so much humanity. She is trying to maintain order in her school, and things are getting out of hand quickly. The yin/yang of it all was a powerful way to show how divided Freeland is.

Lala is immortal it seems, and he is slowly taking back his turf. It feels like they are setting up a battle between the 100 and the ASA. That would be an interesting turn of events, and if done correctly, pretty powerful. He has a vendetta against Tobias, as do most. While we were offered a glimpse of Tobias last episode, he is very much not a factor at the moment. If people were wondering if the show could survive without Tobias, the answer is yes.

A war against the media is very relevant to what is going on today. The one reporter fighting the media restrictions is named Jamillah. Jamillah Olsen. Olsen. There is a very prominent character in DC lore with the first initial of J, and the last name of Olsen. It could just be a fun easter egg, or maybe there is a bigger connection there. With Crisis on Infinite Earths coming, maybe we could see Mehcad Brooks make his way to Freeland as James Olsen.

Last season there was a weird standalone story concerning two groups, the Sange and the Perdi. They are coming back into play now, as predicted. To wrap all of those threads into one cohesive story is quite impressive. Black Lightning has always felt more cohesive and together than the other DC CW shows.

It is nice to see Henderson have something substantial to do. He is losing power as Police Chief, and has to obey the ASA, while secretly trying to undermine them at the same time. It's fun to watch.

The show has put in the work to ask if the Markovians were real, or just something made up so Odell could manipulate things the way they wanted. This episode showed that the Markovians do seem real, though that could still be an Odell set up. Even if it is, Jefferson and his family are going to have a lot on their hands when they figure out what is really going on.

Just like how Arrow couldn't keep Oliver in prison forever, the same goes for Jefferson. He can't stay in this facility forever. There will have to be some catalyst in order for him to suit up as Black Lightning again. The perfect balance is needed. Too soon, and the stakes don't seem big enough. Too long, and the show loses a big piece of its identity. 

Overall, "The Book of Occupation: Chapter Two" was a very strong episode. The show is building some nice momentum, hopefully it doesn't get squandered.

*** 

The Flash - Episode 6.02 - "A Flash Of Lightning"


This episode had one of the biggest disconnects between the A plot and the B plot in the history of the show. Normally one is more interesting than the other, but this divide was quite jarring.

The A-plot had Barry coming to terms with his impending "death", and was exploring a way to stop it, even going so far as to attempt time travel, visit another Earth, and get the expertise of another speedster. On the other hand, you had the standard "villain of the week" plot that would have been much more at home in season 1 or 2. The end game was to give Iris yet another employee for her newspaper, so at least it had a purpose. But most if not all Arrowverse fans know Crisis On Infinite Earths is coming. Facing that head on is thrilling, so the other stuff seems lackluster in comparison.

The character work done in the episode was quite strong. Especially for the women. Frost is getting to know herself, and the team is adjusting to having her around more instead of Caitlin. Her journey is an interesting. She is not a new character, but she still needs to be figured out. Ralph and Cisco have been particularly great with her, and it brings an inherent sweetness among all of the doom and gloom.

It is also nice to see Cecile have a story beyond carrying a baby, which is such a cliche arc for a female character to have. For her to quit being the DA, and become a defense attorney is an organic move for such an empathetic character. It also opens the door for a bunch of new "misunderstood" metas to appear on the show, which means they all could become potential allies and friends of Team Flash when needed.

Iris is used to a death sentence, but her positive attitude is very much in character. She had a dire one, and they literally bent the future to their will to save her life. It makes sense that she would feel that they can do the same thing for Barry.

While Tom Cavanagh's new iteration of Wells is still missing, another staple of the The Flash returned this week, and that was the Joe West and Barry Allen heart-to-hearts. Their emotional moments are the heartbeat of the show, and while they are far less frequent than they used to be, they are still needed from time to time. 

The momentum heading towards Crisis is getting faster by the week, it has already changed the Arrowverse forever, and it hasn't even aired yet.

***

Arrow - Episode 8.01 - "Starling City"


The final season of Arrow didn't pull any punches. The intro reflected the pilot in a lot of ways, but was just different enough for long time fans to feel a bit uneasy. From the first glance at Batman's cowl on Lian Yu, it was clear that audiences were in for a treat.

Oliver is going to different Earths to take the place of that Earth's Oliver Queen, to collect different things for the Monitor to help prevent the Crisis. That premise could sustain the entire season and provide some very entertaining results.

It was nice to see a lot of early characters back, like Tommy Merlyn and Moira Queen. The twist with Tommy was an obvious one, but it didn't stop it from being compelling emotionally.

It feels like season 8 will not only be a prologue to Crisis On Infinite Earths - more so than even The Flash is, but also a love letter to the show itself. This won't be the first time we see familiar faces pop up, or the first time characters we know will play alternate versions of themselves (the Adrian Chase version of The Green Arrow was particularly inspired).

The best decision in the episode was to have Earth-1 Diggle, Oliver's Diggle, come to help him. That brotherhood is the foundation on which the show was built. David Ramsey is also the only member of Original Team Arrow left, now that Emily Bett Rickards is no longer on the show.

The end of the episode showed exactly what the Crisis will do to countless Earths. We saw the same effect in Barry's visions on The Flash. It makes a lot of sense why the Arrowverse's 2 biggest shows are now on the same night, back to back. They are the only ones dealing with the impending Crisis, and should be seen together. Supergirl and Black Lightning take place on a different Earths, and Batwoman still hasn't caught up to the present yet. 

Arrow will be able to do things that not many shows are afforded the opportunity to do. They know the show is ending, so they don't have to keep anything for later. They can tell any story they want to. Crisis is going to change everything, so they can do some bold things and retcon it later.

We only have 9 more episodes of Arrow left, ever. Let's hope they stay as strong as the premiere was.

***

The best episode of the week was Arrow's premiere. It could be the anticipation, or the knowledge that it is going away, but it struck a chord on almost every level. Fans of the show are in for a treat this year. It will take a lot for the other shows to beat it.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Justice League - Review

Blade Runner 2049 - Review

Logan Lucky - Review