2019-2020 Arrowverse Roundup - Week 13


This week marks the end of Arrow. Everything else that happened in the Arrowverse seems insignificant, even though so pretty good stuff happened. There were storylines coming together, doppelgangers and decoys, and things that will have ramifications in the future.

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 1.11- An Un-birthday Present


Superhero shows, fantasy shows, and sci-fi shows can make things happen that other types of shows cannot. So a lot of these shows are able to "have their cake and eat it too". Batwoman is now in that camp with Beth/Alice. Since there is a Beth from another Earth, Kate can have her villain and her sister at the same time now.

The episode was pretty predictable, but still enjoyable. They are trying to spin a lot of plates, but things are coming together. Sophie is still dealing with being true to herself, at the same time as Kate is, just at different levels. But they fell into the same trope that hurt them in the early episodes. They blatantly put something on front street, this time, that Kate saved Beth from the car in the alternate Earth. Then later, Beth is stuck in another car, and Kate can't save her, but tries anyway and then succeeds. You could see it coming a mile away, but it made its point.

"An Un-birthday Present" also offered another look at young Beth, and her evolution into Alice. It made sense the way it happened. She was facing trauma, shut herself off, and became someone different. It has happened before in times of trauma. Flashback stories are staples of Arrowverse shows, especially early on. 

It was fun to see Rachel Skarsten do two roles. She was able to make each unique, while still keeping similarities. Duality was a big theme of the episode, and of the series so far, and having alternate versions of the same person drives that home.

One of the more glossed over moments of the episode was Jacob in prison. He is becoming darker and darker, and is losing a bit of himself in there. He needs to get out of prison soon though, so he can interact with the rest of the cast.

The show is nearly at its halfway point, so hopefully it doesn't tread water too much before it wraps up the story for the season.

***

Supergirl - Episode 5.11 - Back From The Future - Part One


It was nice to see Winn Schott back, and get a glimpse of what the future is like. Jeremy Jordan slipped back into the role well. He also got to play an evil doppelganger of himself, which must have fun for him.

Nia had some much needed character advancement, and her powers have evolved too. Getting word of her descendant being in the Legion, in the wake of her break up must have been great too. She knows that she will have a legacy and most likely a strong relationship that results in children.

We were gifted with another episode with Jon Cryer again, who is always a highlight. The best live action Lex is the highlight of every episode of Supergirl that he appears in.

Lex v Leviathan: Dawn of Justice is going to be awesome, until he realizes he can be in control of it and it turns into "Lexviathan". I expect the character to shift from Supergirl to Superman & Lois, or do double duty on both. But for now, Crisis retooled things to make Lex even more dangerous than he was, because everyone believes him to be a hero.

J'onn created the Tower, which is a staple of the DC universe and the Justice League. Having them lean into all of the lore that Superfriends, JLA, and the rest of the team up stuff has is wonderful. It is a gorgeous looking base of operations, that I hope is in the show for a long time. Having that be a shared set for Superman & Lois would be awesome too.

Winn was able to stop Evil Winn by getting through to himself. But with a "Part One" in the title, there was an expectation of more, and sure enough, the cliffhanger means he didn't quite succeed.

William Day was one of the most unlikable characters at the beginning of the season, but the reasons for that were slowly revealed. Post-Crisis, he is a bit lovable, and is definitely being set up to be a love interest for Kara. We'll see how far it goes, I could see it going either way.

There was a lot to mine from this episode, but it was another strong post-Crisis entry. That event really did a lot for Supergirl, more than any other show really. Hopefully it continues to be as strong through the rest of the season.

***

Black Lightning - Episode 3.11 - The Book Of Markovia: Chapter Two: 


Everything is finally coming to a head. It is officially the Pierce family vs the ASA. Grace is back in the fold. Jen found out about Khalil. Lynn did something rash under the influence of Green Light. All of the stories that they have been telling all season, and some even earlier than that, had some sort of culmination this episode.

Lala and Lady Eve are two season 1 story lines that took a bit of a hiatus but are now back with a vengeance. This show is so self contained that even though it is part of a bigger universe, the seemingly small characters get big story lines. 

Jen confessed to killing people for Odell to Jefferson, and he snapped. He didn't snap at Jen though, he snapped at Odell, and finally took a stand. The standoff with Bill Duke's Odell was incredible. Then the entrance of Khalil complicated things.

It was a stroke of genius to introduce TC, who now serves the purpose of restoring and redeeming Khalil. It is brilliant how "Seinfeldian" the show is, with all of the seemingly separate story lines coming together for one big conclusion.

There are only two more episodes left of the season. The shortened season is certainly a blessing. The story is tighter than it ever could be with 23 episodes. It doesn't really get confused or muddled. Everything has a purpose. The body fat on this show is near 0%. The stuff that seemed like filler earlier, comes back and is important later.

Jen is mad at her family about Khalil, but the Brandon friendship complicates things. If Khalil gets restored, that is a love triangle that will take a while to sort out. Brandon is way more likable than Khalil, who has had huge swings in both directions. So it will be interesting to see what way the story goes.

The show has done an amazing job at giving every single character an arc and a way to service the story. While an episode can feel disjointed at times because it jumps around, it always comes together in the end. Nothing proves that more than this episode. Lynn breaking Tobias out is a huge moment. It is awesome that Tobias is still part of the show. Him and Lynn both got captured by the Markovians. That is going to provide an interesting dynamic between the two of them. Especially if Lynn starts going through withdrawals again. I wasn't a fan of the Lynn addict story, but it is getting a bit better now.

It is exciting to see what the next 2 episodes will bring, before Black Lightning calls it a season.

***

Arrow - Episode 8.10 - Fadeout


Ending a show is tricky business. More often than not, it never quite sticks the landing, and people are left disappointed. The answers given are not what people wanted, and then the threads left open are things people wanted closed. Arrow did not fall victim to that. It was a damn near perfect send off for the show that created an entire universe of material.

The finale showed the return of Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity - and many, many others. Lots of people were brought back to life because of Oliver's sacrifice. Then you had characters like the Al Ghuls who finally got to share some screen time. Barry Allen and Kara Zor El showed up too, completing the holy trinity of the Arrowverse.

The episode was emotional, poignant, powerful, and kick ass. There was a flashback to a fight that was one of the series' best. The coordination and framing really did the whole stunt team and crew justice. It was breathtaking. They truly saved one of the best fights for last.

While a lot of people had a lot of emotional moments, the entire emotional center of the episode rested on the shoulders of John Diggle. More so than Felicity or Mia. More so than Barry or Sara, who were there when he died. More so than Tommy or Moira, people who have new lives because of him. Diggle was there from the beginning, survived it all, and anchored the entire narrative of the finale. It was David Ramsey's best acting work. It was Diggle's best character moment. When it was time time eulogize Oliver, Felicity turning to Diggle and saying "It should be you" was one of the most emotional lines of the episode. Diggle's eulogy was beautiful, relevant, and tied the entire series, all of the spinoffs, and the future of the Arrowverse together.

Of course, some of the best fan service moments were with Diggle too. He finally did the salmon ladder, claiming it was "easy", which was a fantastic tension-breaking moment. Then of course, before he moved to Metropolis (which hopefully means he appear in the Superman & Lois show), he got a Green Lantern ring which could have very exciting future possibilities.

Almost everyone who meant anything to the show was back. There were a few notable exceptions: One was James Sheridan as Robert Queen. But the show did a good job explaining why, and there was a flashback to archive footage that showed him from season 1. The second was Manu Bennett as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke. But he was shown in a flashback using archive footage as well. The third one though, was John Barrowman as Malcolm Merlyn. While he was a villain, he also sort of became an ally at times. We were also shown an alt-world Merlyn that wasn't evil earlier in the season, so that could have been a thing too. It would have been really amazing to see Barrowman return to Doctor Who and Arrow in the same week. But we can't have everything in life now can we?

The end coda was beautiful as well. Oliver and Felicity getting to spend time in the afterlife together was the only way this show could have ended. There was a definitive ending, yet opportunity for the future. There was a solid story told, but with wiggle room for retconning. Arrow did something remarkable in its 8 years on TV, and we will see its influence for many years to come with all of the shows that exist because of it.

***

It's not fair to do this week, but the best episode was obviously Arrow. To crack a near perfect series finale is an insurmountable to task. To do one that doesn't just affect your own show, but a whole slew of other content in a shared universe is monumental. They knocked it out of the park, and I'm so glad it will be rewatchable for years to come.

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