Apr 4 – 8
Destiny. Fate. Is it inevitable? Is it set in stone? Do our choices matter in the grand scheme of thing? Can we change it? Can we change the future? Can we become the masters of our fate? Or are we already walking on a path that has been determined already? These were the questions asked, pondered and answered on the superhero-ridden lane of television this week. You know the rules: 5 shows, 3 rounds, and only 1 victor, except there are only 3 competitors this week, so a battle royale it will be.
The entire premise of Legends of Tomorrow is based on the idea of changing the past and/or the present, in order to save the future from annihilation by the hands of Vandal Savage. And that is what the team attempted to do this week as they headed into 2147 to stop the rise of Vandal Savage from inside the Kasnia Conglomerate. Unfortunately for the team, none of their plans worked out as they thought it would and they subsequently did more damage to than they could have ever thought possible. Whoops! Legends of Tomorrow land in the bottom spot this week.
The Pain: The S.S Ray and Kendra took a few hits this week with the re-emergence of a former immortal love via flashbacks, a possible love child, and autonomous robots. Like I’ve previously stated, I’m not a fan of this relationship. Why? They feel manufactured. Yes, the two of them spent two years together, falling in love and becoming this couple, but we didn’t get to see any of it. We only saw the start, bits of the middle, and the Waverider’s interruption of Ray’s proposal and nothing else. What Ray and Kendra do have, however, is a solid partnership between the two of them. They work quite well with one another (not surprising since they make up 2/3 of Team B) and they did so to convince Dr. Bryce, aka not Ray’s great, great, great (I forgot how many greats) granddaughter. (Total waste of Jewel Staite btw.) I understand why Ray and Kendra want to move forward with their relationship, they chose each other, they fell in love with one another, thwarting the destined immortal love between Kendra and Carter, but I honestly don’t know if it is sustainable in the long run. Kendra’s admission that she felt like she was cheating on Carter with Ray and the flashbacks to her previous life (lives) may be a stumbling hurdle the two of them need to jump over and over again and may not overcome.
The Pleasure: While the adventure into 2147 may have turned out disastrously for the team, and subsequently, all of humanity as well, it did force to team to draw its line in the sand. Cold-blooded murder, especially that of a child, a child whom they knew would go on to kill billions, was an act none of them were willing to commit. (Well, maybe Rory but he did have his brains scrambled by the Time Masters.) The concept of the mission and the actions of each member of the team really drove home the realities of what they are attempting to do. Each and every one of their actions has a consequence, sometimes those consequences are small and a blip on the continuum of time and space, and other times it brings the forth a genocide upon humanity that wasn’t supposed to occur for another few years. The team is still trying to figure out how to stop Savage, they are going to stumble and fail, but their failures are magnified and potentially more damaging than they could have ever thought. They are learning the lessons of what time travel entails and the costs of killing Savage. As of right now its Savage is winning and the team must find a way to stop him before he kills more of them,
Lingering Questions: Who knew Gideon could see into their dreams? Do you think Snart would have actually killed Per Degaton if given the chance? Is Smoak Technologies in control of Star City in 2147? Will Snart and Rory be able to repair their friendship? Will they be able to bring Rory back from the depths that the Time Masters plunged him in? Who knew Ray had a brother named Sydney? And why the hell hasn’t he been mentioned before? Who is possibly under the masks of “The Hunters”? Will the team be able to thwart “The Hunters” or will “The Hunters” pick some of them off?
Death came a knocking on Arrow’s door (as it has always done every season) on this week’s episode and took with it someone who, logically and for all intents and purposes, was the only plausible character death that could cause the needed ripple of impact needed. While this may not have been the intended path for Laurel Lance from the get go, her death paves the way for a more dynamic, and shall I say, better future for Arrow. Arrow comes in at second place this week.
The Pain: For an episode that was lauded as a game changer, the “end of an era”, it certainly did not feel like one. It was kind of underwhelming, actually. Many had predicted that it would be Laurel Lance in the grave, some even from the very beginning of the season, and they were right. I was a little bit pessimistic about who it was going to be in the grave in the beginning, I knew it was going to be a Lance but I didn’t know which one. The anvil-sized clues of Laurel’s demise have been dropping since Arrow returned from hiatus, the pivot towards repairing a pseudo-friendship with Oliver, the conversations with Quentin, and putting Quentin on the stand pretty much spelled out her demise. Laurel’s path had really reached its end, she became a version of Black Canary, helped guide her sister towards her destiny as a hero, and with her death help cement the end of Damian Darhk and push Team Arrow into the light. Maybe it was all those small hints prior to the actual conclusion but Laurel’s end wasn’t as visceral as I thought it would be. Sayonara, Laurel. I can’t say I will miss you.
The Pleasure: With the demise of Laurel by the hands of Darhk, it sets up what will most likely be an action-packed and character-driven end to Arrow’s fourth season. Each remaining member of Team Arrow will be affected differently by Laurel’s death. From what we’ve seen via the flash forwards, Oliver, while impacted by Laurel’s death, will be the one to spearhead the team’s drive towards ending Darhk without succumbing to the darkness that historically has clouded him after such a death. For Thea, it will drive home the recognition that Malcolm Merlyn is a bad guy and one that cannot remain in her life. For Felicity, it will be another loss that she never expected and possibly push her farther away from Team Arrow and into the role of CEO and the path she intends to take Palmer Technologies on. For John, Laurel’s death will have the greatest impact, not only because he has lost another teammate but also the guilt he will feel over Andy’s betrayal. The darkness that will begin to engulf John is nothing we have seen before. The clash between the Diggle brothers is one that has been teased throughout the season and the outcome is one that I am nervously anticipating.
Lingering Questions: Who else was missing seeing Felicity Smoak’s face throughout the episode? Hands up. Who is Ruve Adams going to appoint as Star City’s district attorney next? May I suggest bringing back Hot Paul? Who else was not surprised by numbers that Oliver garnered from the write-in ballots for Star City mayor? What did Laurel ask of Oliver prior to her death? How long had she been carrying around that photo of herself in her wallet? How will they kill Darhk now since he had his powers restored? Who else is excited for Oliver to journey to Russia in the flashbacks for season five?
Agents of SHIELD showed this week that the future, if we’ve witnessed it, is one that is set in stone and unchangeable but the circumstances surrounding our fates may not be the ones we imagined it to be. A challenge was set forth in from it SHIELD to change a future that had already been witnessed by Charles Hinton, an Inhuman, with the powers of premonition and no one knew what to expect. Especially when it was revealed that Grant Ward was ALIVE, sort of. Agents of SHIELD flies into top spot this week and victor in this three-way battle royale.
The Pain: Life throws curveballs at you. You never expect them and you can never fully prepare for them. But Melinda May tried with everything she had in her when Andrew Garner walked into and surrendered to SHIELD’s custody. May and Andrew’s relationship is one that I’ve enjoyed watching from the very beginning. They have chemistry, a history, and a dynamic between them that is undeniable. Theirs is a relationship that is filled with betrayal, heartbreak, mistrust, but most importantly, with love. I was excited when May brought on Simmons to help further her search for Andrew. Not only did we get to see more bonding between May and Simmons, as well as all their intellect and skills firing on all cylinders, but we also got to see a side that we don’t get to see very much, their vulnerable side. It’s a side that we don’t see much of from May. You could see the hope and the anguish flow through May’s eyes as she said goodbye to Andrew while the possible vaccination ran through his veins. May never expected to say goodbye to Andrew like this, she never expected to say goodbye to Andrew at all. And it was definitely not something that I was expecting to see. I hope this isn’t the last time we see Andrew Garner on AoS.
The Pleasure: One of the greatest strengths of AoS the is its ensemble cast and the dynamic they generate together, which was once again was on full display this week. With Daisy Skye at the helm, the team tried desperately to stop the premonition that Skye had seen when she touched Charles in that alleyway before Hydra kidnapped him. The team tried desperately to stop the outcome that Skye had seen from occurring, they barred Skye from leaving the base, FitzSimmons had Skye recount everything that she saw and remembered, and the entire team even tried prep and train to take infiltrate the building in which Charles was being held, but the premonition that Skye saw still came to fruition. Everything that Skye witnessed came true, but not in the way any of them expected to. The synergy of the team in trying to change the future is really what made the episode work as well as it did. Malick and Zombie Ward may have escaped but the team survived to fight another day, for now.
Lingering Questions: What did Malick see that made him so afraid when he touched Charles? What did Skye see the second time she touched Charles? What is Zombie Ward’s endgame? Who is the SHIELD agent hurt of dead in the flash forward? Will Simmons’ continue to work on a vaccine against the Inhuman gene? How will May handle the loss of Andrew? How will Coulson deal with the knowledge that Ward is back and possessed by the entity they were trying to keep on the alien planet?
Thank you for reading this week’s Superhero Showdown. Join me next week as I spout more my thoughts about the comic book shows I’m currently watching on television. 😉