Mar 7 – 18
Is it better to emerge from the darkness of night, footsteps unheard and shadows hidden, or arise in a blinding booming light for all to see? That’s the question that all try to answer on superhero ridden-lane in this supersized two-week showdown. You know the rules: 5 shows, 3 rounds, and only 1 victor. Due to Arrow and The Flash’s mini-hiatuses we have altered showdown this week and are down to 3 shows and thus a battle royale it shall be.
Let the battle begin!
Tossed out of contention first is Legends of Tomorrow who faced off against some fine-feathered meteorite-infected foes in 1958 Pleasantville (Harmony Falls), USA and they that was just the tip of the iceberg.
The Pain: The Legends (still-working-on-that) of Tomorrow are generally seen as one complete team, but in reality it seems to be made up of two separate teams, Team A and Team B. Players on Team A consist of: Rip, Sara, Snart, and Stein. While the players on Team B consist of: Dum Dum Palmer, Kendra, Rory, and occasionally Jackson (who can swing into either team depending on the situation). When comparing the two teams, Team A generally comes out on top. They carry a significant amount of the weight, the action, and chemistry that appears on the show. They have a depth that which Team B lacks. Team B just isn’t as exciting or interesting as Team A, which is worrisome considering the amount of time Dum Dum spent on Arrow and basis of the show resting on Kendra’s connection with Vandal Savage. (I still find the relationship between Ray and Kendra forced, filled with absolutely zero chemistry.) Team B has got to pick up some of the slack if it wants to catch up with Team A or they are going to be left behind in the dust. Oh wait, that partially happened already.
The Pleasure: All in all, it was not a bad episode. The Legends were tasked with infiltrating Pleasantville, USA circa 1958 in order to discover what had attracted Vandal Savage to this exact place and time. The episode infused together a multitude of different elements in a single episode. Rip and Snart dalliance as faux-FBI agents investigating the disappearances and murders gave the show a film noir feel. The work of Sara and Stein at the hospital infused the show with some hope and a dash of romance. (Fun fact: Nurse Carlisle is played by the same actress that was Emily Bett Rickard’s body double in the mind bending episode of Arrow that featured Goth Felicity.) Jackson’s immersion into the local high school and friendship with one of the persons’ on interest gave us a taste of the 1950s and the racism that existed in the US then that still persists today. Dum Dum and Kendra went all out, becoming a married couple and the new neighbours of the Savages, in order to suss him out of hiding. Between the monsters, real and those of human creation, the teams had their worked cut out for them as the tug-of-war continues between the team and Savage’s plan for world domination.
Lingering Questions: How did Chronos find the team in 1958? Where did the Waverider go? And are Rip, Snart, Stein, and Jackson still on it? What are Sara, Dum Dum, and Kendra do now that they are left stranded in Pleasantville? How does the team return to save them? When will they return? Where is Rory? And is he still alive? How will they finally kill Savage? Is the show worth its weight now that we are half way through the season?
Coming in at second place and returning to the ring with a mean right hook (episode 11) and rear uppercut (episode 12) after a significant hiatus is Agents of SHIELD. We left off with Coulson & Co. returning from the alien planet with a tag along in the guise/body suit of Grant Ward aka Zombie Ward. Let’s just say Zombie Ward is a lot more than just hangry.
The Pain: The ‘too much to do, too little time’ syndrome seems to have infected Agents of SHIELD just a bit. Hopefully they’ll be able to shake it sooner rather than later like it has done previous seasons. Agents of SHIELD has a lot to accomplish in the amount of time its been allotted. The most important goal post that AoS must sail through is setting up the oncoming collision between Team SHIELD and Team Hydra. Both sides are collecting intelligence, drawing up battle planes, and gathering Inhumans in preparation to face off against one another in the near future. Inhumans are a growing part of the MCU and their origins and continued growth will be continue to play central part within AoS as it goes on, but it must be cautious of not allowing it to overtake the core of AoS, which is its characters. Alongside those storylines is the possibility of a spin-off, Marvel’s Most Wanted, starring Bobbi and Hunter that AoS must set up in the coming episodes. The cherry of top of this teetering ice cream sundae, continuing the storylines of what made AoS unique, Coulson, May, Fitz, Simmons, Daisy (she will always be Skye to me), and Ward (now Zombie Ward). AoS definitely has a full agenda in the latter half of its third season but it has the track record to prove that they can handle it, hopefully.
The Pleasure: While the main team of AoS has changed and become larger with each new season, the cohesion and unity of The Team still exists and continues to do so in a magnificent way. AoS is an ensemble show. Each character connects with the others and they all knit together to make the show better. It’s not a show that shies away from letting a particular character shine, the Simmons focused episode earlier in the season is one of the best AoS has ever produced. But it still has a cohesion about it that makes it work. Throughout the two returning episodes, we got to see a little of each character shine through. From Coulson, to May, to Fitz and Simmons, Skye (Daisy), Bobbie, Hunter, Mack, hell, even Lincoln, has had a small sliver of time to shine. That’s one of the things I enjoy about the show, that even with so many different characters operating together we still get a sense of who each character is and what they are striving for within the crazy world that is the MCU.
Lingering Questions: Where did Mack disappear off to in the most recent episode? What are Bobbi and Hunter planning to do while on the tail of Malick while he is in Russia? Why did the Russians offer up a sanctuary space for Inhumans so quickly and easily? How large do you think the Secret Warriors are going to get? Who else thought those Inhuman handcuffs looked like those 90s snap bracelets? Now that we know that Zombie Ward holds all the memories of its previously possessed bodies, how do you think he’ll proceed? Do you think he will go after Simmons? Skye (Daisy)? Fitz? Coulson? Do you think he’ll even go after them or just continue with his plan to take over the world?
The victor in this week’s battle royale is Supergirl, who came in swinging thanks to a full dose of red kryptonite infused attitude. And if you didn’t get out of her way, well you might end up like Cat Grant and get thrown off your own building. Supergirl, indeed!
The Pain: I’ve previously stated my dislike of the pseudo-ships on Supergirl. First, was the triangle of Winn/Kara/James and then there was a square of Winn/Kara/James/Lucy. After that was the triangle of Kara/James/Lucy. Now Winn is paired off with Siobhan, temporarily at least, and Lucy has dumped James and quit CatCo opening up the doors for a possible union of Kara and James. I’m not entirely opposed to Kara and James getting together, they could possibly be a great couple. I am, however, opposed to how we got here in the first place. Maybe the writers/producers who were unsure of how to proceed with the possible ships at the beginning of the series or they just wanted to throw everything at the wall and see what stuck but how they’ve proceeded is somewhat messy. I would like to see how they move forward and if a union between Kara and James is possible in the future. I am, however, adamant that none of these relationships will compare to the impact that the relationship between Kara and Alex has on Kara’s growth and journey towards be the ultimate hero she in meant to become. The relationship between these two women is the foundation of the show. Yes, it might crack as it has with the reveal that Alex killed Astra, but these cracks will heal in time and it will make both of them stronger for it.
The Pleasure: I seriously enjoyed seeing Kara completely poisoned by the red kryptonite (aka Special K). Melissa Benoit just took what was asked of her and ran with it for this episode and it was brilliant. They dichotomy between Kara and Special K-Kara was palpable. They walked different. They had different mannerisms and patterns of speech, and entirely different styles of dress. Special K-Kara had some incredible outfits that I absolutely adored, that were so different from how Kara usually dresses. Even the outfit that she wore as Supergirl while full of Special K was so different from the iconic suit that screams Supergirl. What even excited me more than the fashion was that they allowed Kara to be prickly, standoffish, selfish, and slightly sociopathic, which is something that we rarely get to see in women in television, especially in a leading role in a comic book based show for a variety of patriarchal and out-dated reasons. We got to see Kara’s dark side, a side that we’ve never seen before, a side that she, herself has kept hidden and buried. Being a superhero, having that kind of responsibility, that burden, placed on a person is hard, add that on top of everything else Kara deals with on a daily basis and they are lucky she didn’t get even wilder while jacked up on the Special K.
Lingering Questions: What was Maxwell Lord thinking when he created the red kryptonite? Did he really think he could lure Non into a trap with a satellite? How epic was it that Hank revealed his true identity to save Alex and Kara? How is Hank going to get out of DEO jail? Who takes over the DEO now that he is in jail? Alex? What does Siobhan do now that she has no job prospects anywhere? What kind of revenge do you think she’s planning for Kara? How do you think it will backfire on her? (Pretty badly considering she becomes a villain in the process.) Do you think Lucy will pop back up? Where is Non? What is Myriad?!? How do you think Kara will earn back the trust and respect of the people of National City?
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. Next week sees the return of Arrow and The Flash but Legends of Tomorrow continues its mini-hiatus. 😉