2019-2020 Arrowverse Roundup - Week 9


This week brought midseason finales, final stands, new identities, and preparation for Crisis On Infinite Earths!

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 1.08 - A Mad Tea Party


Batwoman handled its midseason finale by killing off a main cast member. Catherine Hamilton died at the hands of Alice, and divided everyone more than ever. Catherine is dead. Mary is broken. Sophie is single. Kate is angrier than ever. Jacob is in prison. These are all the work of Alice, and she has definitely won this battle.

There were some cool Batwoman fight scenes this episode, including a hallway fight. It isn't a real superhero show without a hallway fight. Her staffs are a nice touch. It was also nice to see Kate be a detective, and figure out that Mouse was acting as Jacob. She is like her cousin in many ways.

The systematic destruction of Kate and her world is pretty impressive. It is a lot like Baron Zemo in Captain America: Civil War. The villain may not be physically imposing, but can defeat the heroes mentally and psychologically.

It is amazing that there has only been 8 episodes. The work that has been done - especially after the lackluster pilot - has been strong. Mary is one of the best characters, and her emotional arc has been some of the strongest work on the entire show. She is the best character, and it looks like it will continue to be that way.

Sophie and her husband came to an understanding. She still has feelings for Kate, and it is affecting things. That love triangle isn't going away anytime soon, it's a CW staple. But at least there is progress with it.

Kate built herself up as Batwoman. Alice killing Catherine is going to knock her down a few pegs. She is going to lose herself in it, and will take steps backwards before she begins to progress again.

If any good came of Alice's heinous act, it is that Kate and Jacob are pretty much on the same page now. Getting those two closer is going to pay off in dividends.

Like Elseworlds, the episode before the crossover teased the crossover itself. This time it was with Wells in Central City. He was enveloped by the door he was trying to open. He might indeed become Pariah, which would make sense as to why he looks like that. 

***

Supergirl - Episode 5.08 - The Wrath Of Rama Khan


While Supergirl's midseason finale didn't kill any of the main characters, it still did a ton of character work. This episode explored hope, betrayal, heartbreak, the human spirit, redemption, and friendship all masterfully.

Kara's unwavering optimism can sometimes be a bit much. But this week it was earned, and was in defense of a character that audiences have come to love. It was great that both sides were relatable. Everyone has taken the Alex side of things where you are more calculated and using your brain. Everyone has also been on the Kara side of things, making decision with your feelings and your heart.

The Lena story was at the forefront. So was the Rama Khan/Andrea story. So was the Malefic story. Everything was intertwined nicely. Andrea found redemption. She was used by Rama Khan, and finally took a stand against him. With J'onn saving her, she probably has a new outlook on life that will benefit team Supergirl.

Lena still seems to care about Supergirl, even though there was betrayal on both sides. She refused to let Lex's defenses kill her. That is all the wiggle room Kara needs to mend the relationship. It is going to take a lot to mend it though, so the work needs to be as strong to mend it as it was to break it. Lena also made the point to say, once again "I am not the bad guy", which is totally something a bad guy says.

Leviathan is still very much in play, and that mythology is fun to explore. It is great that the show can dive deep into the Superman lore from the comics. Now with a Superman show on the way, it can just build off of the work Supergirl is doing now.

The whole Malefic thing was a test from The Monitor. That is a cool tie in, and suggests that J'onn will have a huge role in Crisis. The Monitor has a ton of stuff up his sleeve. He is working Barry and Oliver, he was testing J'onn, and he has Lex Luthor in a purgatory type situation. He wants help from Lex, who I'm sure will give it.

This was a solid midseason finale. The pace and momentum of the season so far has been great, hopefully that will continue next year.

***

Black Lightning - Episode 3.08 - The Book Of Resistance: Chapter Three: Battle of Franklin Terrace


There are certain tropes in entertainment that never get old. A "last stand" is one of those. Last stands are always fun, and when they are done correctly, it is usually the highlight of the story. That is exactly what happened on this episode of Black Lightning.

This episode restored the hope that was missing lately. There were a lot of triumphs to be had by the Pierce family. Jefferson doubled down on his stand. Along with Henderson, he won a victory over the ASA. He got his old apartment building back, that was occupied by the ASA. An old teacher inspired him to do so. You could tell how much this teacher meant to him, and why he himself is an educator. It was a really strong moment, and the hump that Jeff needed to get over.

Anissa and Khalil had round 2, and Anissa came out triumphant. She also found out it was indeed Khalil that she was fighting, which will be important later. It was nice to see Anissa as Thunder again, after a long period as just Black Bird.

Gambi was able to get word out as to what was actually happening in Freeland. The news said there was a SARs outbreak, instead of the truth. That triumph mixed with Jefferson's liberation were the victories that the team needed.

Jen also had a victory, in getting closer to Brandon. Brandon has always been calm, cool and collected. He lost his temper, and Jen saw similarities with herself in him. They are getting closer, and have a very similar history too.

Lynn was the only one without a victory. She is fully addicted to Green Light now, and almost damaged her chances at an escape trying to grab more of the drug. She wasn't able to keep a hold of her bag as Gambi rescued, so the withdrawals will come soon. As great as the victory for everyone was, this is going to break the Pierce's worse than anything.

The twist with Commander Williams at the end was cool, but the solution was a bit anti-climactic. It was rushed, and not given the time it deserved. The episode also ended rather suddenly. There wasn't a lot of time to bask in the glory of their victory, it just sort of ended by saying "let's liberate the city now".

Overall, it was a great episode, and it should lead to even more interesting things in the future.

***

The Flash - Episode 6.08 - The Last Temptation Of Barry Allen, Pt. 2


Sometimes an idea is much better than the actual execution of that idea. Having "The Last Tempation of Barry Allen, Pt 2" be something of a zombie apocalypse story is a great idea. Let's see how the different characters would deal with that! But unfortunately it is bogged down with a ton of unnecessary techno jargon, and there wasn't a scene in the episode that didn't have an entire monologue of exposition.

The villain, Ramsay Rosso, gets more mustache twirling as the season goes on. He is not as deep or thought provoking as some of the previous villains. "Dark Flash" is an interesting idea, but has already been done to death. Whether it was Thawne or Savitar, that concept has been used to pretty great affect. So for this 1-Dimensional Flash to appear was disappointing.

It was hard to get past the exposition, which lasted until the very last second. I mean this was real dialogue in the episode: "It worked" (The audience knows that, we see Ramsay in a cage.) "Now it's time for our next fight" (Like we thought the next episode was just going to be them sitting on a beach). Audiences have handled time travel, alternate universes, doppelgangers, aliens, and all kinds of weird and wacky theme. The show does not need to hold our hand as much as they are.

There were some positives in the episode though, like Allegra's big heroic moment. That character is becoming more and more important to Team Flash. It sucks that Ralph was nowhere to be seen, but it was nice to see Allegra and Kamilla with stuff to do.

Kamilla and Cecile work well together. Their attempted escape was fun, but they never brought that story to a conclusion. We were told via exposition that they needed to make it to Star Labs, and the next scene we see them there. That was it.

Cisco and Iris worked some stuff out. It was a preview of how to operate without Barry around. They have come to understand each other a bit better, which is good.

What saved the episode from being a complete disaster, was the end scene with the entire cast in a room, all sort of eulogizing Barry to his face. It was a great emotional and heartfelt moment that the show is best at.

This was not the sprint around 3rd base into home that was expected to precede Crisis. Instead it was more of an injured player limping into home. It still scored the point, but it wasn't very pretty.

***

Arrow - Episode 8.07 - Purgatory


Arrow only has a handful of episodes left. It can't afford to make any mistakes. Yet "Purgatory" seems to hold one of the biggest disservices the show has made to a character yet.

Nothing will ever beat the disgusting, lazy, and anticlimactic way the show disposed of Diaz like he was a unnamed crony for a "villain of the week" episode. But what Arrow did to Roy Harper was close.

Yes, the Green Arrow lore has the loss of an arm. The two are intrinsically tied together. There is a way to shift that to another character outside of Oliver, so it is still part of the show, but in a different way. The way they did it is not that way. Roy losing his arm was shocking. In that sense, it worked. But afterward, there was no emotional payoff. 

That should have been the focus of the episode. Roy's anger for being dragged back into this (after being brought back from death), and losing so much. Oliver's guilt over it. Diggle's frustration that everything he has tried has failed to go his way lately. That would have been compelling stuff. Instead it was a side note in an episode that didn't need it.

The story they wanted to tell was good enough. It was about making Lyla Harbinger. It was about Oliver facing his past and his future at the same time. It was about closure and facing the inevitable. The Roy tragedy felt shoe-horned in. It was such a cool moment to see everyone suited up on Lian Yu, but Roy's absence was felt.

Between William, The Legends, and Cisco, the tech exists to give Roy a new arm. So he won't have to deal with being disabled. It would be the emotional and mental part of it all. Roy's been through enough of that, and unless he transfers to another show, there isn't enough time to deal with it. So it seemed to be done just for shock value, which is a shame.

Oliver's one-on-ones with everyone were the best part of the episode. Diggle and Mia's in particular were quite powerful. You could feel the closure, and the inevitability of what was going to happen.

It sucks that there was such a big damper on the episode, because like The Flash, the idea of this was really powerful. It was the execution that fell short.

No more messing around. It is finally time for Crisis On Infinite Earths

***
The best episode of the week was actually Batwoman. That was surprising, given the anticipation for both The Flash and Arrow. But both of those episodes squandered their potential.

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