Jan 25 – 29
Another week and another strode down the superhero-ridden lane of television we go. At least Superman didn’t manoeuvre his way in again this week. You know the rules: 5 shows, 3 rounds, and only 1 victor.
Let’s get started.
Flying out of the ring first this week is Legends of Tomorrow. The band of not-so-legendary Legends took a trip back to 1975 and nearly screwed everything up. (Those poor people in 1975 Norway and 2016 Central City, they would have been obliterated off the map.)
The Pain: Ray Palmer. (Or as I have now renamed him, “Dum Dum Palmer”.) I really didn’t think Dum Dum could get anymore obtuse or hindering than when he was on Arrow. I was mistaken. While throwing down with some of Vandal Savage’s henchmen, Dum Dum lost part of his ATOM suit. One would think that would be okay. You know, it’s only a little piece of a million-ish dollar suit, co-built by Felicity Smoak. No big deal. Well, turns out it’s a pretty big deal. That little bit of suit not only contained missiles but it would also be the basis for weapons of mass destruction that would incinerate Central City in 2016. No big deal. Not only that, but Palmer tried to show off his breaking and entering skills. Too bad he’s hasn’t got any. Dum Dum needs to play to his strengths, building tech and trying to throw punches as equally as powerful as Sara, and learn everything else before he attempts it. Maybe he’ll have better luck next week?
The Pleasure: They killed one off! (*Happy dance*) They actually killed one off. I was pleasantly surprised. Goodbye Hawkman! You won’t be missed. You ain’t no Phil Coulson! Hawkman’s death serves as the impetus that finally unites the Legends and cements their mission to kill Vandal Savage. Good for them. I enjoyed the team ups this week. Dr. Stein, Jackson and Sara gave me some good laughs. (She knocked out Young Stein with a bong.) Captain Cold and Heat Wave were at their best, snarky and being bad. The Hawks figured out the Ancient Egyptian incantation on the dagger that needs to be said in conjunction in order to kill Savage once and for all. (Didn’t work out too well for them though.) On the plus side, they did learn that it must be Hawkgirl that kills Savage with the dagger. That’s good, I think.
The Lingering Questions: What was Rip doing while everyone else was gallivanting around in 1975 trying to steal a dagger and procure an Alpha particle tracker? Does the fabrication room inside the Waverider remind them of the TARDIS wardrobe? Didn’t Damian Darhk look all snazzy in his dark silver pearlescent suit in 1975? Will the body of Hawkman be stored next to his cryogenically frozen son now? A dead Hawkman means no more flashbacks to Ancient Egypt right? The next question I’m about to ask is questionable (I preface this by saying that I’ve been sorted into Slytherin, twice. No offence to those in Slytherin). If killing the Hawks is what gives Vandal Savage his powers and immortality then why don’t they go back in time and kill every version of the Hawks before Savage does? If Savage can’t kill them, he can’t gain more power and immortality thus making it easier to kill him. (I know the answer is because that wouldn’t be the heroic thing to do and this is a show about heroes and Legends but it’d be easier, less collateral damage, faster probably and a hell of a lot more logical.)
Not even the return of the Reverse Flash could save The Flash from ending up in the fourth spot this week.
The Pain: Confusion. Everybody was confused this week. The Reverse Flash was confused. Barry was confused. Joe was befuddled. Caitlin was really confused by Jay. Iris kind of had it figured out. Patty finally figured it out. Cisco had his goggles. Harrison was the only one with his shit together (sort of). The muddiness of having so many characters on screen (a total of 11 this episode) and the clash of all their storylines does not a good episode make. The Flash needs to make centralize it storyline considering we’re already halfway through the season and I’m still not sure of the actual direction of the season is. The bloat is starting to shrink. Not enough though. I thought having one Jay Garrick was bad, but now there are two?! Why must the TV gods do this to us? Why couldn’t Earth 1 Jay Garrick be dead instead of Hunter Zolomon? WHY?!
The Pleasure: Cisco Ramon and Harrison Wells do not disappoint. They really don’t. The banter between the two of them this episode was brilliant. It was the only time that I genuinely smiled and laughed during the episode. (Slurp, Cisco, slurp!) The bromance between the two of them reached maximum levels this episode. I know that Harry’s main focus is rescuing his daughter but I do think he genuinely cares for Cisco. I mean he was really the only one freaking out when Cisco started to disappear through time. (That moment of hesitation, Barry? Smh.) Also, see you later, Patty Spivot. Good luck at forensic science school. Don’t really wish to see you again any time soon.
Lingering Questions: What was the whole purpose of the Patty Spivot storyline other than having someone for Barry to date this season? Was that the purpose? Who is going to be Joe’s new partner now? Was it really smart to trick Barry like that, Patty? How did Caitlin think she was going to get the cells from Earth 1 Jay Garrick for Earth 2 Jay Garrick? Was she going to knock out and kidnap the poor bastard? Ask him nicely? Get Barry to speed around him and steal his cells? I really want to know how she was planning to do it. Also Turtle the metahuman is dead so that answered one of my questions from last week.
Timing out in third place this week is Agent Carter. Peggy put up a good fight this week, taking out her would be assassin, standing up for herself and her principles against Thompson and his questionable ways, and dealing with Howard Stark. (I will forever praise Jarvis’s energy and patience for dealing with all that is Howard Stark because I would have slapped him to the moon and back.)
The Pain: The emergence of Thompson in LA was something that I knew was probably coming but not something that I was particularly looking forward to. He’s the character that embodies the typical white male behaviour and characteristics of the mid-20th century (and some today. Here’s looking at you, Trump.) I’m not a fan. I mean he flew all the way from New York City to ‘suggest’ that Peggy retract certain statements in her report concerning Jason Wilkes and Isodyne Energy. Thompson is dedicated to his job as an SSR Chief, but he’s also dedicated in moving up the ranks in US intelligence sector. He questions but doesn’t question enough about the actions and motives of the people he associates with, especially that of his FBI buddy Vernon Masters. Thompson reminds me a little Grant Ward from Agents of SHIELD, in that they have both put their trust in individuals with questionable agendas that could lead them astray from what they originally planned. We all saw the darkness, the vengeance, and the thirst for power envelop Ward in AoS, could the same happen to Thompson?
The Pleasure: One thing that remains a constant in Agent Carter is that appearances are never truly what they seem. The party don’t start till Howard Stark walks in, or so he likes to think. Peggy and Howard’s friendship is one of the highlights of the show for me. Yes, he’s a womanizing egomaniacal billionaire but he recognizes intelligence, talent, and authenticity in others. He recognizes Peggy for what she brings to the table and trusts and respects all of her abilities. Treating her as an equal and not discounting her merely because of her gender. Stark’s presence comes in handy this episode by helping Peggy infiltrate the Arena Club (the old boys club of the Council of Nine) and discovering that Dr. Jason Wilkes is alive, sort of. (Wilkes is alive, yay!) Stark’s occasional appearance on the show is for the best, any more Stark and Peggy would probably clock him with her right hook every episode. The discovery that Whitney Frost is Agnes Cully, aka the brains behind Zero Matter, was the biggest delight of the episode and possibly watershed moment of the season. Agent Carter proves time and time again that appearances aren’t always, as they seem.
Lingering Questions: Now that we know Wilkes is alive, how are they going to bring him back safely to this realm? I wonder what Stark will discover while he’s in Peru? I wonder what Jarvis would think would he discover that he is a disembodied voice in the future working for Stark Junior? The Zero Matter residing in Whitney swallowed her director, does that mean he’s trapped inside of her? Or is he in another realm like Wilkes? How did Agnes Cully become Whitney Frost? And why?
Supergirl lands solidly in second place. This week’s episode saw Supergirl take a backseat and letting her superiors, Hank Henshaw (aka J’onn J’onzz) and Cat Grant, take the spotlight. It gave us an in-depth look at two supporting characters that possess a significant amount of influence over Kara and a journey into how our pasts shape our present.
The Pain: This was one of the better of Supergirl’s episodes so far. It had very few faults. My face rarely went into its I-don’t-like-it crinkly wince throughout the episode. The only part of the episode that felt slightly contrived was the board office scene between Cat, James, and Lucy. I know why it was in the episode but it really didn’t have to be there. I mean, why wouldn’t Cat send her best photojournalist into the field if she lost her go-to one to Vanity Fair?
The Pleasure: The past can be painful, leaving one full of regrets and scars that never truly heal, especially when it involves people we love. Sometimes it can inform us, and sometimes it defines us. Kara is in favour of the former and helps J’onn and Cat realize that throughout the episode. Kara looks up to J’onn and Cat, she’s always seen them in as enigmatic, logical, and wise authority figures (most of the time). They have always helped guide her, push her, even when it was difficult. Little has she seen either of her bosses in such a frazzled, ill-prepared state as she did in this episode. Yes, Kara has superpowers and is a daughter of Krypton but that’s only one facet of what makes her a hero. She has the power to inspire others and she does that in this episode, she helps J’onn and Cat see another way to move forward, to not let the pain, the regrets, the scars of the past define or alter the individual they are at their core. The CGI graphics and action sequences worked together brilliantly this episode.
Lingering Questions: When did James change his emergency beacon to contact Kara instead of Clark? (I’m for one is very in favour of this.) How many White Martians are left? Are they hiding on Earth? Are they beneath Earth’s crust waiting to strike just like they were on Mars? Will we see Kara and Adam’s date? How’s Winn going to respond to that? Who is the person masquerading around as Supergirl? What’s the connection to Maxwell Lord and his Project Phoenix? Will it be Supergirl versus Faux-Supergirl in an all out brawl in next week’s episode? (Probably.)
Coming in at top spot this week and serving up some mighty fine ass whooping is Arrow. The episode returned to its core and my, was it glorious! So glorious! Whenever Felicity Smoak and John Diggle take center stage it’s always a good thing. This episode reminded me why I fell in love with the show and what kept me coming back for more especially during those dark periods.
The Pain: They killed Amanda Waller. I did not see that coming. I really didn’t see that coming. I always thought that Amanda would go down, guns blazing, taking out as many people as she possibly could. I did not see her going down with a single bullet to the head. It was a shocker, as the writers and producers planned it would be. The loss of Waller on Arrow, most prominently due to her appearance in the new Suicide Squad movie (yay to seeing Viola Davis on screen, boo to the separate DCU TV and movie universes) was something that I was expecting but more in the way they would just stop mentioning her, not killing her on screen. For all her faults and questionable decision-making, Waller represented a different type of female and one of colour on screen in Arrow. She didn’t take bullshit, she did what she had to do, the lives many were more valuable to her than the lives of a few, she ruled ARGUS with an iron fist. But who else would you expect to run a black book government organization that operates with zero oversight that’s dedicated to the protection of the United States of America? RIP Amanda Waller, you’re questionable ways will be missed.
The Pleasure: Arrow is at its best when it concentrates on its core, the core being Oliver Queen, Felicity Smoak, and John Diggle. This episode was definitely one of its best this season by far. The flashbacks were not of Lian Yu! (Can I get a hallelujah?) The island flashbacks have been a drag this season, slowing down the pace of the episodes and boring us with characters that have no character. This episode’s flashbacks gave us a glimpse into the dynamic between the Diggle Brothers prior to the stalemate occurring between them today. It also gave us a link between the island flashbacks in the form of Baron Reiter, aka the head of Shadowspire/the dude looking for the mystical mojo on Lian Yu. These have been the best flashbacks so far this season, and there wasn’t even a shark involved! I love that Diggle’s arc is finally coming into the forefront. John Diggle deserves to be spotlighted. He is a hero, a husband, a father and the moral compass of Team Arrow. We’ve waited a long time for this and it is definitely not disappointing. (Unlike the arc of another costumed person. That was a dark period that I would like to forget.)
Goth Felicity and Felicity, in multiple scenes together, it was a sight to behold. Seriously! Felicity Smoak is one of the strongest, if not the strongest character on Arrow but that doesn’t mean she is invulnerable or infallible or wholly secure in herself. (I mean who actually is on this planet?) She is a human being and we got to see a very human side of Felicity in the form of her former Goth self. Goth Felicity projected all the fears, all the insecurities, all the doubts, the questions, the loss, that have been plaguing Felicity since her shooting that she had thought she had buried long ago. It’s easy to look at yourself in the mirror, but its terrifying when that image, that version of yourself that has long been buried, reappears and snaps back at you. I felt the genuine fear, the doubt, and the sense of loss of control flow from Felicity as she faced off against herself in that loft. I also felt the strength, the confidence, the determination and empowerment that Felicity embodied as she rolled into the Arrow cave and took charge of the situation at hand like she always does. Felicity’s ability to compartmentalize is one of the fascinating aspects about her, and I feel that may very well come into play in future episodes the season. Felicity finally, finally, got her codename as well! All hail Overwatch!
Olicity has been a delight to watch this season. (Barring The child incident. I still want to throw a shoe at Oliver’s head for that decision.) Both of them have come so far since the very beginning, both individually and together as a team. They know each other, intimately, in every way possible. And we saw that this episode. We saw the love, the strength, the understanding, the trust and the belief that the two of them have in the other. We saw it all, none more poignant than in the scene where Felicity rolls into the Arrow Cave and gives Oliver that very good speech. You could see the struggle that both of them felt but you also saw the strength that resides within the both of them. Being a hero isn’t easy. Being a hero and trying to have a normal life, a normal relationship if even that much harder. But the two of them defy all odds. They somehow, in a world of over 7 billion people, found each other, lost themselves in each other and found themselves in each other. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be ups and downs. Olicity is currently on an up, a very delirious up, and it’s magical to watch. But what goes up must come down and I am preparing myself for that steep fall.
Lingering Questions: What’s Rubicon? Is Lyla going to be the new head of ARGUS now that Waller is gone? (Please, so we can move Big Mouth out.) Does and/or how much does Andy know about Lian Yu? Is there a greater connection between Andy and Oliver than John? Is this the last time we will be seeing Goth Felicity this season? Is the cure to Felicity’s spinal injury mystical? Will it have anything to do with what Shadowspire was looking for on Lian Yu? Can we please have Oliver, Diggle, and Lyla action sequences? The three of them kicked everyones ass this episode and it was glorious! I wonder what Curtis was thinking when he dropped Felicity off in the middle of the night at Oliver’s campaign office?
Thank you for reading this week’s Superhero Showdown. Join me next week as I spout my thoughts about the comic book shows I’m currently watching on television. 😉