Jan 18 – 22
It’s a bird? It’s a plane? No, it’s not Superman, no matter how hard they to wedge him onto a TV show, it’s the official start Superhero Showdown, a weekly review of the comic book based shows on television. Here is how it’s going to go: 3 rounds, 5 shows, and only 1 victor.
Let’s get started.
First one to be knocked out of contention is The Flash. Animals seem to be the big theme on The Flash this season and that trend continues in its mid-season opener with the illusive “Turtle” metahuman.
The Pain: The bloat continues. Balance is a delicate thing. One wrong move and the empire can come tumbling down. The additions of new characters hasn’t made that balancing act any easier for The Flash this season, it’s actually made it worst in my opinion. The divergence of all the different storylines, all jockeying for time, does not a cohesive story make. That may change in coming episodes as Patty Spivot leaves Central City, and Barry, for better pastures and the impending doom of Jay Garrick’s illness. The Flash needs to double down on its core characters and expand those storylines rather than throwing all of its characters up in the air and hoping none of them come splattering to the ground. The metahuman villain of the week, aka “Turtle”, wasn’t as compelling of a villain as he could have been, he was all slow and no scare.
The Pleasure: Harrison Wells and Cisco Ramon. They rarely disappoint. Every time these two are on screen, either zinging each other or working together, they draw you into the story being told. They both have equally compelling storylines and when they mesh, like it did when Cisco offered to vibe for Wells, it makes it even more captivating considering what both of these characters have faced. I would like more Wells & Ramon team up please!
Linger questions: Where’s Zoom? When is Wally West going to return? Is Jay going to die? (Struggles to hold in the giddiness at this possibility.) Is Turtle dead? What’s Harrison planning now? Where is this season actually going?
Legends of Tomorrow flew onto our screens in its series premiere this week but is the second competitor to be KO. I went into Legends already a little weary. The show had a lot to establish in its opening episode with nine main characters, their back stories, and setting up the over arching story for the season, all fitted into a one-hour time slot. It was a lot to do.
The Pain: Too many characters, not enough screen time, not all great storylines. Legends had to firmly establish all nine characters in one episode and some of those characters definitely triumphed over others. Hawkgirl and Hawkman continue to be my least desirable two of the nine characters. Yes, their story serves as the ignition to the entire series but it does little to draw me into either of the characters. All nine members of Legends need to learn to work together in order for this show to work. The Doctor Who vibes that I felt while watching did not help with ground the show either. But that’s really a given since Rip Hunter, Time Master, is a really reincarnated Rory Pond with time traveling powers. (I know it isn’t but let me have some fun.)
The Pleasure: Rip Hunter was definitely the stand out character of the show. Everything that is happening, the creation of the team, the time traveling, it’s all happening because Rip Hunter’s family was murdered by Vandal Savage (the big bad of the entire show) in the future, and he is determined to change that fate. No matter the cost. I’m down for that. Surprisingly, I didn’t hate Ray Palmer as much as I had before. It was probably because Dr. Stein kept taking down his ego at every opportune moment. (Spy Daddy can tear anybody down.) The team up of White Canary, Captain Cold, and Heat Wave was fun to watch. (They can definitely hold their own in a bar fight.) And Jackson gave the rallying cry that all of the characters needed to continue after finding out that they weren’t actually Legends but nobodies in the future.
Lingering Questions: How did Rip get his hands on Gideon AI? Is the Time Counsel going to send more Cybermen after the team? Where are they going next? What are they going to do with the body of Hawkman and Hawkgirl’s deceased son? Are any of these characters going to bite the bullet this season? Did I sense some sparks between Sara and Snart? And why isn’t there a therapist for all the characters in the DCTV universe? They could also all use some therapy. Berlanti & Co. should start a DCTV universe web series where all these characters go in and see a therapist on a weekly basis. It’d probably be a funnier series than the superhero office comedy planned on NBC.
Third one out of the ring is Supergirl. This week’s episode entitled “Childish Things”, which probably could have been renamed “Sins of the Father”, was not the KO that Supergirl was looking for. But it does set up the groundwork for the coming episodes and storylines in the future.
The Pain: Relationships. Boy is in love with girl, girl thinks boy is her best friend while pinning for another boy but she can’t quite admit it yet, the other boy is in a relationship with another girl, original boy kisses girl and admits feelings to said girl but girl doesn’t reciprocate said feelings. Still with me? Good. The romantic relationships all took some hits this week, some more than others. (FYI: I’m not fan of any of the ships on the show currently.) I don’t see any other purpose to Lucy and James’s relationship other than serving as an obstacle to a Kara and James’ relationship. The episode could have done without it their relationship posturing. The turn in Kara and Winn’s relationship was inevitable, but unexpected at this point in time. How they choose to proceed will be interesting to watch. Supergirl hasn’t chosen its ultimate couple yet. And honestly, it doesn’t need to in my opinion, at least for the time being.
The Pleasure: Relationships. I’m thoroughly enjoying the tête-a-tête between Alex and Maxwell Lord. The chemistry between those two can light a good number of torches. And Lord’s caller ID for Alex, aka Mata Hari, was pretty on point. Alex is a badass and I love it. I am looking forward to Alex taking his ass down a few notches though. Kara and Alex’s relationship is one of my favourite things about the show. It’s genuine and based in their love and trust for one another. I want to see more of it. Also more Kara and Henshaw training please.
Lingering Questions: What is Lord planning with Jane Doe and Project Phoenix? What other powers does Henshaw have in his arsenal? What is Lord going to do now that he knows Supergirl is Alex’s sister? What is Alex going to do to Lord when she finds out he’s been spying on her?
Not even a third proposal, the second with a ring, between Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak could save Arrow from coming in at second place this week. Sorry Oliver, I guess diamonds can’t save everything…
The Pain: Not enough Felicity Smoak! Plain and simple. Felicity Smoak has, over the past four seasons, come to dominate the screen in every episode of Arrow. She has a gravitas (due in no small part to the amazing talent that is Emily Bett Rickards) about her that draws every character into her orbit. Like the sun, she emits a light, captivating you, drawing you in, making you believe the story that is unfolding on screen. Without her, darkness falls and it makes Arrow, which is already a darkly saturated show, even drearier. I would have gladly seen certain scenes (like ones based on hypocrisy) diminished in return for more scenes of say Felicity and Donna discussing the choices of get-well flowers that were delivered to her. The thought of Arrow without Felicity Smoak (and EBR) is a dire one, and one that I cannot imagine because I would have stopped watching long ago if it were and waved my Marvel flag like a mad woman.
The Pleasure: Felicity Smoak. The talent that Emily Bett Rickards emanates on screen playing Felicity Smoak is an amazing thing to witness. Even in the few scenes we saw her in, she captured us, drew us in, made us feel her pain, her sorrow, her fear, and her strength, and that was just in one scene all in just one tear. She makes everyone around her better, draws him or her up to a greater level of consciousness, and makes the experience of watching the screen so much better. The Olicity scenes in this episode were better for it. Vows were uttered, a ring was slipped onto a finger, and a kiss sealed the love between these two individuals. It was a beautiful, heartbreaking scene, to watch. More so because we know this happiness will not last. (Limos, right?)
Lingering Questions: Did I sense some weird amorous vibes between Thea and Anarky? When will we get more Delicity scenes? (We need more! So much more! We have been deprived for far too long.) What else is Andy going to give up the more that he and John are beginning to reconcile? When are they finally going to confirm Big Mouth is the one in the coffin? WHERE IS THE RING? Did Felicity drop it into the bowl of rocks as she exited the loft? Is the ring on Oliver? When are we going to get Olicity limo sex to counteract all the bad that has happened to those two in limos?
The victor in this week’s Superhero Showdown is Agent Carter! In a two hour special, Peggy Carter roared back onto our screens and she has been so greatly missed. If the first two episodes are any indication of how the rest of the season is going to go, then strap me in and hit the gas!
The Pain: Can I say nothing? Or do I have to say something? I got nothing. I liked it all. Well except Sousa about to marry someone else, but more on that later.
The Pleasure: I was like a glutton; devouring every morsel of television Agent Carter was giving me. Peggy makes the move sunny Los Angeles and the office of Agent Sousa who now leads the West Coast branch of SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve), leaving behind NYC and Agent Thompson to interrogate Dottie Underwood. (Agent Thompson gets an F in interrogation.) Already situated and waiting in LA is Edwin Jarvis and Vernon the Pink Flamingo. The case starts out with the body of a woman found frozen in a lake that spans the course of both episodes. It’s an interesting case that opens the nefarious world of Isodyne Energy run by Calvin Chadwick to Peggy & Co and the world of Zero Matter. The season opener ends with the deconstruction of Isodyne Energy and the disappearance of Dr. Jason Wilkes. Turning Peggy’s brief jaunt to LA into a permanent one
We are introduced to a number of new characters in the opener. One of them is Ana Jarvis, the forever heard but never seen wife of Edwin, who is an amazing addition in my opinion. The developing friendship between Peggy and Ana is one that I’m excited to see as the season progresses. Plus she made a garter that also doubles as a holster. (Thumbs up in my book.) We are also introduced to Dr. Jason Wilkes, the now missing scientist from Isodyne Energy that proves to be an asset to Peggy as the case develops. He is also the first POC recurring character on Agent Carter (hurrah)! Hopefully they’ll be able to rescue him soon. Calvin Chadwick and Whitney Frost take turns as the protagonists, with Whitney being the true brains behind the Zero Matter project and possibly its earthly vessel.
One of the things I love about Agent Carter is that it always it doesn’t shy away from issues like sexism, or ageism, or racism. All of which were touched on in the season two opener. The show displays women and all their emotions, their strengths and weaknesses, in all its different forms and doesn’t apologize for it. Women are strong, and powerful, and smart and cunning, but like all human beings we possess vulnerabilities and fears and a whole host of other traits. We are human. We are fallible. And I love that the show runners and writers on Agent Carter aren’t afraid to show those things, in both sexes.
Linger Questions: Is the Zero Matter the same substance that has appeared on Agents of SHIELD and thus a portal to another world? Who are the guys with the pins? Are they Hydra or another network? What’s with Thompson’s FBI mentor? Is he Hydra? Why are they removing Dottie from SRR custody? I wonder if Tony deployed the same type of mechanisms in his cars before he got serious with Pepper? Sousa’s almost fiancé can’t be that nice right? Is she another member of the Black Widow 1.0 program? Can Peggy and Jarvis have some more sparring sessions? I want Peggy to hand him his ass just for fun. Is Jarvis ever going to capture Vernon the Flamingo? (Probably not.)
Thank you for reading this week’s Superhero Showdown. Join me next week as I spout more of my thoughts about the comic book shows I’m currently watching on television. 😉