Archive for category Arrow
Superhero Weekly’s Finale Thoughts: Supergirl persists. The Flash’s finish line. Arrow returns to Lian Yu.
Spoilers will not stay in the Speed Force.
The sophomore season of Supergirl started with the arrival of Mon-El. His story has permeated the second season, sometimes a little too much in the forefront. That being said, eventually the show found a place for him, right at Kara’s side but more important as a support character rather than a main one.
Lena Luthor became the real breakout character to both engage Kara and move the Supergirl mythos forward. Contrary to the Clark/Lex antagonist dynamic, Kara/Lena are closer to partners right now. That means that Lena’s agency could change, which might be interesting at some point but we haven’t exhausted the rich stories that can come out of their friendship. I hope the show doesn’t hurry to turn them against each other.
Alex and Maggie Sawyer got off the ground awkwardly, shakily and sometimes a little corny. That was perhaps the best way to depict a real relationship. It matured the show and grounded it a lot more. Sometimes the drama was played up to use for a storyline (the typical one of them neglects to trust the other, they have a silly fight, they make up at the end) that was unnecessary. But other times like in Alex, being apart show them as a couple even more than being together.
Cat Grant is back and so is the blurry filter. The important thing is she can still be the best mentor that Kara can ask for. And yes, we’ve all been saying it since Season One, she knows Kara is Supergirl. How could she not?
We’ll leave more achievements/disappointments for the Finale Thoughts, but perhaps one of the most obvious things of note was the political content. The show is an escapist fantasy where we dream of superpowers and heroics, yet it’s not a stranger to show its cards in the political arena. This season it was anything but subtle, specially in Resist. Perhaps it was a condition for Calista Flockhart rejoining the cast, given she’s the biggest conduit for these messages. I’d prefer they exercise some restraint and go for the center than lean too much to either side.
The Flash finale had a little of everything. You do see a lot of what looks like alternative finales almost taking place. The strangest one is the whole redemption of Savitar that takes place in the middle, because it goes nowhere. Fortunately they had an open ended finale for Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost that I am dying to talk about.
First, we clear the air of the sadness of the passing of a main character and switch to the passing of a secondary one. The only clue we had about HR Wells switching places with Iris was the moment he looks at Savitar’s broken off talon. Other than that, it’s the face hologram thing which does not explain how it works on Iris. Either the range is a million miles, around corners and through walls or he should’ve built one for Iris first. That being said, we just skipped over a mountain of sad to have a hill of sad as HR Wells dies. He wasn’t a coward after all.
The whole reaching out to Savitar shouldn’t have worked from the beginning. They’ve approached him before to stop him and it works now because… They’re really certain? It was a bit patronizing. Also the whole “he’s not going to kill Iris because killing her will not make him a God anymore” does not make sense.
First of all, Killer Snow gets to defeat Vibe. Yes, Savitar stops Cisco as he needs him to sabotage his plans. Sorry, I mean to alter the Speed Force Bazooka. The fact that Cisco makes the changes with alterations, well… Savitar was a complete idiot not to see that coming and that part is just weak. But I did love the Killer Frost resolution. She’s given the formula and she then makes her own choice. And what her choice turns out to be, is not turning back into Caitlin Snow or remaining Killer Frost. She decides to make a new path of her own. You want to talk female empowerment? This is Cait-Frost choosing to make her own identity and not just drinking the blue Kool Aid.
Arrow has been all over the place this season. Part of me was hoping against reason that the finale was not a complete mess. Part of me knew that they would try to pull all the stops and end up running around from showdown to showdown. And yes, they do aim to please so they hit a few marks, then run around from showdown to showdown. The most honest thing I can say is that a partial mess is still a long way from hit.
It’s a brawl and we know all the contestants. Putting all these characters does not necessarily make for an epic finale. Black Siren finally goes against the new Black Canary. Deathstroke switches sides fooling everyone and then fools everyone again. Felicity and Oliver have a kiss because what the heck, we’re throwing the kitchen sink too.
And then we have a very messy finale where there’s a lot of bombs and a remote trigger and a sabotaged plane and a kidnapped son and… Okey, for the sake of making a coherent story I really wish they’d pick one challenge worth the episode. It also doesn’t seem like the challenges are not even solved? The finale is a mess because it’s a mess. Unfortunately, Arrow has missed its target.
- The first big one is that given the other shows I’d love to cover and the superhero theme fatigue, I can’t really confirm I’ll be doing the Superhero Weekly when all this shows’ next seasons roll along. Either it’s back in an even shorter form or it’s not back at all.
- There has been times that Supergirl has being about as subtle as a brick on their political message, specially when Calista Flockhart rejoined the cast in Resist.
- In case you never noticed this in season one, they use a CGI blur when they do close ups of Calista Flockhart. They’re trying to be tastefully restrained with it when she’s with someone else, otherwise everyone looks like a Maybelline ad.
- “So for the millionth time, I’m lost in all this time travel stuff.” Joe West would be excellent at CinemaSins. He speaks for the audience here, but I gotta love a good time travel paradox. As long as I can follow the entire loop. Otherwise it’s a lot of exposition.
- Caitlin Snow’s arc was seldom a fair one, but Killer Frost gets some justice. Instead of taking the antidote, which would mean rewriting her DNA so she can be the person her former friends miss she chooses to walk her own path, more fully in control of herself. That’s a great ending for her character but it also means we could be losing Danielle Panabaker from the main cast.
- Savitar’s big twist is that he was a future version of Barry, a time remnant and able to know everything Barry knows, even if the time changes. The armor was just silly.
- Barry joining the Speed Force is perhaps something that he’d eventually had to do, but for an episode that already has had many finales, it’s a bit of an overload. That being said, it was kind of cool as a cliffhanger. Perhaps he’ll learn some tricks.
- Do I really need to talk about Arrow? I have a soft spot for the characters, and for days of old, but the whole psychological torture of Oliver is stressing as fuck. There’s no other way to put it. And no, there’s literally no way that Chase prepared everything in a short time, which means he either had hundreds of people helping him or took a few years to set each thing and somehow nothing went wrong ever.
- Black Siren finally gets to face the new Black Canary. She also gets a stick to the face courtesy of Quentin Lance. See? That was a plus.
- Talia and Nyssa finally face each other off. Of course, Talia can’t die here. Nyssa still gets to win though.
- Chase kills himself. Chances are you’ll run into him on Legends of Tomorrow. That was a joke. Kinda. Who knows. The thing is his death also triggers explosions all around the island. As in, the whole island blows up. You know what? A nuke would’ve been more believable.
- Obviously, everyone is not dead. You can’t start a show from complete scratch with just the main character.
- I think for once, I would have ended Arrow with the flashback story, at the point where Oliver calls his mom from the boat that rescues him.
That will do for now.
Superhero Weekly: Supergirl gets political in Resist. The Flash burns up Infantino Street. Arrow goes Missing.
Spoilers will try to remain non-partisan.
I can’t say the same for Supergirl this week. Resist is filled with political messages from the beginning to the end. Most of it comes from Calista Flockhart’s returning Cat Grant, as she lounges from Airforce One to her office at CatCo dispensing speeches on female empowerment and obvious digs at a certain reality star president. Yes, Cat can be really cool, but shouldn’t cooler heads prevail? Is this the moment? Am I taking Cat too seriously?
Lynda Carter is back as President Olivia Marsdin. That was pretty amazing casting, but can we talk sense of a moment? Why would the President of the United States decide to head straight towards an armed conflict? Airforce One does not have offensive capability. It barely has any defensive one. This is not a secret. The fact that it gets blown up does not surprise anybody. Cat (who keeps dropping names like if her life depends on it) survives thanks to Supergirl. The president survives thanks to the fact that she’s an alien. The crew of the plane and the members of the Secret Service that were in the plane didn’t make it. Not the wisest of moves.
Still, the ladies have this one. Lena Luthor, my favorite character, remains the smartest mind in the room and she is on point to the end. Rhea perhaps was the weakest link, driven by ego and emotion. Even Lillian Luthor was far more effective in her choices than the Daxamite Queen. Cat demonstrates she’s still the Queen of All Media.
It was filler for most part of the episode. The Flash recruits Captain Cold, once more removed from time. Argus holding a piece of Dominator technology. And all for naught, as the spectacular cannon doesn’t really have enough kick to trap Savitar to the Speed Force.
But let’s focus on what was done right, and that means the two scenes I liked. First, is the ambiguous speech delivered by Killer Frost to Savitar as he repairs his suit. Is that Caitlin Snow peeking from behind Killer Frost’s words?
And second is that dark and haunting swan scene. Seeing Iris’ video message to Barry as he runs that short distance that feels like light years away was a tug at the heartstrings. Yes, it was dark and tragic but to quote a certain Grand Admiral, “but it was beautifully done.”
Meanwhile in Arrow, Chase is in prison but he has minions about. Evelyn Sharp is back and so is Black Siren. That also means we get this heartbreaking moment in which Quentin Lance has to see one of his dead daughters come back to life just to learn it’s not her. That was cruel and unusual punishment.
Chase also has the help of Talia’s Al Ghul faction from the League of Assassins Catalog. That means Oliver will soon find himself enlisting Malcolm Merlyn, and further down the line, Nyssa Al Ghul. He also has a very clear idea of where he’s taken his prisoners. Lian Yu island should consider advertising with some travel agencies. It’s starting to become a popular destination.
The big cliffhanger at the end was worth waiting all this time for. In the hidden underground prison of Lian Yu, Oliver recruits his last asset. It’s Deathstroke himself.
- I know everyone has a political agenda right now, and I’m not a fan of certain president that will go unnamed, but I feel Supergirl has played a little too much political fan service, specially in this episode.
- Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) returns. Yes, she’s a rocket but you don’t interrupt a speech between two leaders of different worlds because you think you know best. I’m aware all parties were female but a) Rhea was acting like a conqueror b) President Marsdin was demanding a surrender without having the advantage and c) Cat decided to interrupt? Sorry, but that was an ego trip on Cat’s part. I usually enjoy those, but not when the stakes are this high.
- On the other hand Cat still rocks it as Supergirl’s mentor. That was an inspirational speech.
- I’m on the fence of the galvanizing speech that moves everyone to resist, it’s a bit of a throwback to one that Cat made on season one, and I guess with that history it works.
- President Olivia Marsdin (Lynda Carter) is all but asking Rhea to shoot her down. Was that really a strategy? Was that really smart? What about the other people that died on that plane?
- “At least tell me you’re still a democrat.” Cat Grant still gets the best lines. I know exactly why Calista was going for a full roast, and I don’t like the guy either but is this the platform? It doesn’t fit the scenario either, with Lynda Carter cast as the President. Was New Daxam supposed to be North Korea?
- I was expecting Cat to figure out that James is the Guardian in no time. Yes, you can see his eyes. Also, I had a bit of a hard time telling him apart from the other stormtrooper rejects.
- Surprisingly, it’s Lillian Luthor of all people who seems to put her politics outside for the cause. Well, until she decides to betray them at the very end. To quote Supergirl, at least she is consistent.
- Mon-El finally is a secondary character, which works better for him.
- That ending, with Superman suddenly destroying the positron cannon and knocking aside Kara, let us know that we’re seeing a Krypton vs Krypton battle on the finale. I guess we’re going for a mind-controlled Kal El.
- The idea of hiding Iris in Earth Two was smart. I have a smarted idea that should’ve occurred to someone the moment you heard that Argus had meta dampeners. HIDE IRIS IN ARGUS. Nobody has superpowers in there, correct? Okey, then keep her there!
- Actually, if you got Layla to give you the Dominator device, why not ask for a sample of one of those dampeners so you could really trap Savitar? Cisco, I’m looking at you dude.
- I disagree with Barry. Killer Frost is not immediate danger of death. Cisco could have helped in that fight and vibe Iris to safety. That fight between Killer Frost and Vibe should’ve happened on a different night.
- Yes, it was a beautifully sad and haunting death scene, but here’s the problem now. It loses its merit if you bring her back. I know we all want Iris back, but it almost feels like a shame to undo that scene.
- Arrow has gone back and forth with Damien Dah- sorry, my mistake. Let me start over. Arrow has gone back and forth with Adrian Chase a lot lately. He’s still one step above Damien, because Damien was just fucking annoying and boring. Chase still manages to do crazy in a slightly more interesting way.
- Olicity shippers rejoice, they’re almost back together.
- The flashback story has Oliver being drugged by Konstantin Kovar. My money was on him being Prometheus earlier in the season.
- Deathstroke is getting a get-out-of-jail card. Something tells me he won’t be going back to it.
- All three finales next week, and I’m actually glad since I need a break from the CW/DC universe. I don’t know if I will follow all three series again next season. I’m a little superhero-ed out, but I’ll pull through just for one more episode of each.
That will do for now.
Superhero Weekly: Supergirl in a City of Lost Children. Flash, Cause and Effect. Arrow Honors Thy Fathers.
Spoilers could invade any moment.
I’ve been very critical of Supergirl‘s mix and match storytelling recently, but tonight it was like watching a new show. The floor seemed to belong to Guardian in the beginning, but thankfully ends up being more about James himself. Lena Luthor is fooled by alien queen Rhea. And the Earth seems to be in the grips of a Daxamite invasion. What role do the Phorians play? This is definitely a story longer than a single episode. How did it play?
Overall it was pretty good. The Guardian grappled with the very essence of his identity: he’s there to instil fear. No, I didn’t miss the reference, but let’s not tackle that just yet. So instead of the Guardian, we get James Olsen using his humanity to help out. His difference of opinion with J’onn J’onnz was something I never thought I’d see. I think this was an episode where I actually liked Mecah Brook’s performance as James Olsen again.
Queen Rhea’s game of getting Lena Luthor to create her gate was not necessarily all a game. She’s a villain and a mother, there’s something of herself she actually had to give to make a real connection with Lena. Should we be worried? Yes, she’s motivated by emotion but not controlled by them. Her confrontation with Mon-El was not one of villain to superhero, but of mother to child. Mon-El points a gun at his mother, something that feels inherently wrong. That was a powerful scene, but Supergirl is not the kind of show in which Mon-El shoots his mother.
James manages to free the Phorians through his connection with the kid Marcus. The fact these were innocent people, massively affected by a huge expensive project rings like a warning against technological development without restrictions. On top of that, Rhea never meant to use the portal to go home but to bring forth all Daxamites to Earth.
The Flash loses his memory after what I can only call a very stupid idea from Cisco and Julien becomes a complete mess. They attempt to block Barry’s short term memory and end up giving him amnesia. Of course, it’s really just an excuse to give Grant Gustin a little acting exercise. Nevertheless I found “Bart” entertaining and it was a fine performance. All done? Okey, now let’s jump to my favorite thing.
Killer Frost makes a grand appearance. Apparently Savitar has lost his memory as well by consequence. The former Caitlin, Miss Frost if you’re nasty, has come with an offer. She will help them get Barry back to full restored RAM status which will also give Savitar back his mojo. And here’s the reason why she can help – she’s still a scientist. I found that incredibly cool because even as the Killer Frost persona, she’s still got mad science skills. Also, any other other hothead meta would have gone for destruction and mayhem since she has nobody to answer to now. Instead, she’s done her own cold calculations and knows she’s better off with Savitar around. I myself can’t be sure. She could have taken over the city easily with an inexperience Flash and no boss bossing her around.
The thing is, Caitlin Snow is still in there. Cisco tries to bring her in by talking about some old anecdote regarding the particle accelerator. The fact that she remembers already gave us the idea that Cait is somewhere in there. I really thought Killer Frost could’ve taken on the fire while they sorted Barry out. And we did get a little scene with her eyes turning back to normal for a second. That means we’ll get Caitlin back at some point. And although it will be a happy moment, she’ll be back in the background. In the meantime, enjoy having Killer Frost while you can.
Finally, while they keep trying not to fall in love, Tracy Brand and HR Wells design a trap for Savitar. Too bad they need 3,86 Terajoules to turn it on.
Meanwhile in Arrow…
Well, the temporary good news – and I say this because I’m fully aware that there’s two episodes left this season – is that finally Olivier squares off with Prometheus/Adrian Chase/Simon Morrison and takes him down. How this all comes about is a lot of exposition but not really much excitement. Oliver gets a box that contains a body encased in concrete. He gets a video showing his father, Robert Queen, struggling with the guy who ends up falling in concrete. Yada yada Adrian is working with Derek Sampson to build a bomb that would cause a strain of tuberculosis to-
Enough already. Unfortunately, making the story convoluted doesn’t quite add anything to it. Tiresome, but the whole thing ends when they catch up to the bad guys and bring them down. For this, Oliver dons once more the Green Arrow costume and fights Prometheus. To knock the wind out of his sails, Oliver also reveals that Simon/Adrian’s father tried to disinherit him because he was insane.
Of course it looks too easy because after all this trickery, there’s a good chance Adrian Chase planned to get caught because we need more drama. I was just glad to see Thea Queen back. Unfortunately, the episode fails to bring much excitement even when Prometheus is finally behind bars.
- James telling Marcus over and over that he won’t leave him alone. It’s another case of individual will against unsurmountable power. Always works in fiction, but in real life you can’t just overpower something by willing it. Still one of the best scenes this week.
- Mon-El pointing a freakin’ gun at Rhea was a powerful scene. You could tell that’s what he was talking about when he said he needed to pick something up before they leave. I don’t think he could have pulled that trigger. Having him kill his mother couldn’t really happen in this show, nor it should. This was another great scene this week.
- Was the Phorians’ power tied to the same kind of energy the portal used by accident or design?
- The Phorians are the key to sending the Daxamites back to where they came from.
- Killer Frost rules. A cold, level headed super-villain that knows when she needs to ally herself with the good side to move things along.
- It’s obvious we’re going to get Caitlin back and that’s the reason the show is making sure Frost does not live up to her “Killer” moniker.
- To activate the “Speed Force Bazooka” they need 3,86 Terajoules. Anybody else thought this was a play on the 1,21 Jilowatts needed for the Flux Capacitor in the DeLorean from Back To The Future? No? Just me then.
- Sorry, Cisco. It’s not a closed loop. On the big fight with the future Flash, Savitar leaves one time-remnant-Flash to go back to the past and become Savitar. But that means he still remains moving forward in time after that. Not a closed loop! To be a closed loop, the future Savitar would have to travel to the past himself.
- After mentioning the incredibly over-the-top energy requirements of the Speed Force Bazooka, we’re taken somewhere where a red glowing stone seems to promise that kind of power. And the supposedly fearsome, but obviously CGI figure of King Shark seems to guard it. Definitely looks like a boss level.
- This week’s Arrow episode is similarly named to Season 1, Episode 2: Honor Thy Father. They just made it plural: Honor Thy Fathers. No reasons were given.
- In what seems to be the last time we’ll get flashbacks, Anatoly is dropping Oliver on the island of Lian Yu to be rescued. Enter Konstantin Kovar (Dolph Lundgren), ready to mess up Oliver’s plans the moment he’s alone.
- Thea Queen (Willa Holland) returns. We don’t see her don the Speedy gear anymore, but we know it’s there. Basically she gets to learn what her father left for her in a video several years ago, but only after she first learns he covered up a man’s death in concrete.
- Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra) can be an impressive villain when the script allows for it. But setting traps and false trails doesn’t really pay off if all we get is running around until the next encounter. A little personalization would have made much more impression.
- All this talk about Simon Morrison/Adrian Chase/Prometheus reminds me that we haven’t seen Vigilante again.
- The backstory with Rene Ramirez not showing up to the hearing to regain his daughter’s custody seems like adding more weight to a plot that already has too many threads. And I’m with Quentin on this one, it’s just frustrating to hear Rene talk about his daughter being “better off without him.”
- Make a bigger deal about Oliver putting on the suit. Here’s an off the cuff idea: you could have used the voice of his father as Oliver puts on parts of the suit, gets his bow, dons the mask and time the full reveal just as his father ends up saying “you can save this city.” You could’ve had a genuine moment there, and you let it go.
- Of course we’re not done with Prometheus yet, but I really don’t think this is going to be a satisfying conclusion at this rate. We’ve gone back and forth way too many times at this point.
That will do for now.