Posts Tagged Barry Allen
We’re back from the break!
Starting on the right foot, Supergirl would have easily won this week with Legion of Superheroes with my favorite new cast member, Brainiac 5. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten Streaky the cat either. That doesn’t make The Flash the winner either with The Trial of the Flash, which was a bit of a downer to watch and only spared some levity for Killer Frost’s appearance. No, the winning episode this week goes to the really thunderous introduction of Black Lightning as it debuts with The Resurrection. Not because it was funny or dark but because it brought some real issues to the foreground first and a real need for a return of the superhero motif.
Let’s begin with the Girl of Steel.
Highs, Lows and Quarl Dox:
- Supergirl’s fallout from the battle with Reign is not waved away. She is deep in a coma, one where her conscience seems trapped in her personal comfort zone. That which is her loft.
- This is where newcomer Quarl Dox a.k.a Brainiac 5 (Jesse Rath) really steps in as a breath of fresh air. He’s quirky, he’s funny, he’s supposed to be crazy smart yet charming as a button. He’s also playing against type as he might feel like the trope of the computer-alien but he seems to really care about healing Kara.
- Oh yeah, Mon-El is still in the show. Is he? Guess he is. He’s all Back-To-Future-Doc-Brown here talking about not getting involve to prevent altering history blah blah. Imra gets one brownie point for making him change his mind and joining the fight.
- Streaky the cat finally appears! The feline who is comic-book-canon believe it or not, is Kara’s mascot. Too bad it’s just in memory, but he would’ve been the most adorable thing in the show had we not have Brainiac 5.
- We get a scene of J’onn J’onzz playing Kara which means it’s really a scene of Melissa Benoist doing some David Harewood impersonation. You know what? Melissa sold it.
- No, I’m still not sold on Lena and Jimmy Olsen as a couple. It’s not the worst thing in the world but it feels kinda forced. Also, it means that Lena’s storyline right now is going to be Jimmy Olsen. I prefer to see her making power plays, bringing down other would-be billionaires and so forth.
- Thomas Coville is back. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Who? The preacher-like character that seems to know more about the Kryptonian culture than anybody else. Seems he will become an ally of Reign. Yes, Chad Lowe does a decent job creepin’ him up, but I fail to see him as a real threat. Definitely not compared to Reign (Odette Annable), so I don’t think he really adds that much to the equation.
Guess we don’t want to miss the trial of The Flash…
Highs, Lows and Courtroom Drama:
- Well… I’m sorry to say The Flash finishes last of the three this week. I wasn’t really amped for a courtroom drama and we all know that Barry was going to go to the slammer.
- I literally guessed it right down to the point that Barry was given his Dad’s old cell. You knew the show was going there since the midseason finale.
- Cecille Horton momentarily suspends her duties as district attorney to act as Barry’s lawyer. She does ok, but again the only possible ending here was Barry getting convicted. Anything else would just throw out the entire threat of DeVoe and his seemingly infallible master plan.
- The saving grace for me is that moment in which Cisco and Harry Wells have to help scare Caitlin Snow into bringing forth her alter ego, Killer Frost. That was a funny scene and that was the only entertainment I got from the entire episode.
- Have you notice how Killer Frost is often called up to intervene but for some silly contrivance the effects of her actions have to be minimized? In other words, she’s suddenly the obvious solution to a problem but the show will not let her win the day because it has to be The Flash who wins? I know this sounds jaded but it keeps happening almost every time she’s called to action.
- I did like the scene in which Joe West is willing to sacrifice his morals and his sense of justice for his son. He doesn’t do it, but it was a powerful scene because it illustrated in Joe West’s resolution what parents are willing to sacrifice to save their children. To see Joe like that was just heartbreaking.
- There’s a small scene in which Barry interrupts Iris and apparently pulls her into a dimensional pocket of speed just to talk to her. Yes, it was cute. Still, not enough to uplift the show.
- The rest of the show, weighted heavily due to the impending trial was a little bit of a bore. I mean, not only predictable but it just felt dull for the most part. Even the baddie of the week, nuclear meltdown and all, was a bit of drudge to sit through.
And now for the newcomer and best episode this week… Black Lightning!
Highs, Lows and Avenging Justice:
- Black Lightning did not come to play by the same rules than previous CW superhero show. Freeland is so much closer to the real world where racism, injustice, corruption, prejudice and choices are all compromises that real life African-Americans face every day.
- As a matter of fact, we’re given a front seat to the life of Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams), a retired superhero, an African-American living in a city that feels it could exist anywhere in the U.S. of A and divorced father of two young girls. That means he has to deal with being stopped by the police, a daughter that gets in trouble for protesting the system, Annisa (Nafessa Williams) and a daughter that just wants to get in trouble, Jennifer (China Anne McClain).
- Jefferson does not want to go back to heroics. His alter ego was just seen as a vigilante. He’s trying to patch things up with ex wife Lynn (Christine Adams) with whom he still has a lot of chemistry. She’s also one of the few that knows his secret.
- The other person and accomplice to Jefferson’s heroics is Peter Gambi (James Remar), a tailor which makes Jefferson’s Black Lightning suit amongst other gadgets. Essentially a mix of James Bond’s Q and Batman’s Alfred. He’s also something of a mentor.
- Jefferson Pierce is an interesting character. In a different setting, a superhero does most of the important talking while the secret identity smiles knowingly. In this setting, Jefferson is a true member of the community while Black Lightning is a force of nature, the means to deliver an avenging brand of justice that then disappears in the night. There are no parties thrown to honor Black Lightning.
- As the school principal, he’s also a man that makes compromises as he keeps the gangs away in person. Already an imposing figure, it’s really hard for him to back down from confrontation even as a former student turned drug dealer admonishes one of his child workers.
- Eventually Jennifer’s antics get both her and her sister in trouble, resulting in Black Lightning’s comeback. First in a club and then in a motel where both Jennifer and Annisa are kidnapped. The danger is then all too real, and even Jefferson’s apparent friendship with police inspector Henderson (Damon Gupton) doesn’t seem to matter.
- Black Lightning himself is a presence, a threat to enemies both from the underworld and the corrupted law enforcement of Freeland. But it’s actually Jefferson Pierce who’s the hero and the inspiration to the community that surrounds him. Unfortunately for him, the criminal underworld is now alert to both.
- Finally the only thing that seemed an ill fit was the villain, Tobias Whale (Marvin “Krondon” Jones III) who makes an almost James-Bond-esque appearance as he feeds a lowly minion to his piranhas and later on shoots drug dealer Lala with a freaking harpoon gun. Then again, it’s too soon to judge him on such a brief appearance.
That will do for now.
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.