April 11 – 15
Fear. It’s one of the most primal and innate emotions that human beings feel. It has been central to our evolution and survival on this vast blue planet we call Earth. But there is a distinction between survival and living. And living means sometimes facing those fears, those changes, those perceived threats and dangers and overcoming them. Fear was what our heroes faced on this week’s superhero-ridden lane of television. You know the rules: 5 shows, 3 rounds, and only 1 victor. Arrow and The Flash are still on hiatus this week so it will be a battle royale between the 3 remaining competitors.
Let’s get ready to rumble.
The Legends of Tomorrow hitched a ride into a town called Salvation, hoping to find some salvation themselves from the Time Masters’ mercenaries known as “The Hunters”. Trouble was, this gang of misfits tends to find trouble or trouble tends to find them and that’s how they end up trounced first in this week’s battle royale.
The Pain: Call this episode what you may but underneath all the get up of the Wild West, the gun slinging, and the towns’ people of Salvation, this week’s episode was a filler episode. A slightly overhyped filler episode that brought in the likes of Jonah Hex to beef up it up, which unfortunately didn’t really work. It fell flat. The concept of the episode sounded reasonable from the get-go, the team travels back in time in hopes of escaping the mercenaries out for their blood. They get to experience life in the Wild West, go horseback riding, drink moonshine, and wear cowboy hats. Fun times, one would say, especially if you’re Dum Dum Palmer who really got to live out one of his fantasies in this episode. But the excitement fizzled out before the standoff even began. Defeating a gang of gun-slinging bandits, finding a past self (Doesn’t that mess with the timeline, Kendra?), and saving a child from tuberculosis (Yes, I know, he’s H.G. Wells.), really pales in comparison to a head-to-head battle with Vandal Savage. Now, I’m not saying they have to fend off Savage every week (I kind of am) but a little more excitement would have been nice. Also, having the likes of a character like Jonah Hex and not exploring him further feels like a very wasted opportunity. At least the Time Masters are going to give the team a run for their money next week.
The Pleasure: Was I remotely surprised that Rip Hunter has a past with Jonah Hex? Kind, of. Was I surprised that Hex welcomed Rip from a right hook to the face? Not really. (I feel like a lot of people would like to take a good swing at Rip’s face.) Learning about Rip’s past and what brought him and essentially this band of people together in order to destroy Savage really is the basis of the show and getting to explore that nugget is definitely one of the highlights of Legends. Beneath the cold, icy exterior that is Rip Hunter there lies a ferocious beating heart, one that is willing to do just about anything to return to his family with the help of a group that he now considers part of his family as well. Watching Rip square off against the head of the Stillwater gang was pretty exciting to watch. However, there was no doubt that Rip would be walking away from the shootout alive, though. (Can’t really take out the only captain of the ship. Sit down, Dum Dum Palmer.) Hopefully, as the season winds down, we’ll be able to learn even more and discover if Rip’s son, Jonas, is really named after Jonah Hex (or possibly someone with Jonas as their middle name?).
Lingering Questions: Who is ready for “The Pilgrim” to journey into the past and throw in some excitement and danger? (I am.) Who is she going to go after first? Will she actually get one of them? Or will she be sent packing just like her comrades before her? How will they protect their younger selves? How much longer will Kendra and Ray’s relationship drag on now that she knows that Ray’s fate is most likely doomed? (I’m hoping soon, tbh.)
Confronting ones’ fears is not an easy or enviable task. It’s even more frightening when those fears involve death by an alien that was transported through an interplanetary portal in the body of a deceased Grant Ward. But that is exactly what the agents of SHIELD and Gideon Malick did this week and no one came out the other side unscathed. Agents of SHIELD secures the runner-up spot in this week’s battle royale as they experienced their own Paradise Lost.
The Pain: I really hope that, that Kree artifact was worth going through all the trouble to get it, Daisy Skye and Lincoln. The entire division of Lincoln, and Skye especially, from the main team as they infiltrated the newly decommissioned agricultural site that Hydra had overtaken was a questionable choice considering the small amount of intelligence the team had on the site and what it actually contained. Wouldn’t having two of your Inhuman agents along with you into such a situation be prudent and wise? Skye and Lincoln’s solo mission showed the greenness that still colours Lincoln and his emersion into SHIELD life, and to a certain degree Skye as well. Skye is still trying to balance her powers as an Inhuman, her responsibilities as a SHIELD agent and the new leadership role that she now assumes, she’s definitely getting better at it with each mission. Lincoln still has a long way to go before he is a fully certified and capable agent, his use of powers while sometimes necessary don’t always bode well for others and himself. Only time will tell if the Kree object that Skye and Lincoln absconded was worth all that Inhuman muscle use. (Skye using her powers to blow up all those landmines were pretty awesome, though.)
The Pleasure: The parallels between Zombie Ward and Satan in Paradise Lost is not lost amongst the warring between SHIELD and Hydra, it actually exemplifies it. Ward is tempting the members of Hydra with untold knowledge and power, turning them all into willing snakes, and drawing him into his ultimate endgame. Gideon Malick now fully comprehends that magnetism and the danger that it entails. The death of Stephanie Malick by Zombie Ward (nee Nathaniel Malick) brought to full force the power and fear that Gideon held all along. (I, for one, did not see Zombie Ward killing Stephanie. Killing Gideon and turning Stephanie into his pawn after? Maybe. Killing her in order to exact the most painful type of revenge against Gideon? Did not see that one.) Slowly and surely, Zombie Ward will begin brandishing his power and fear tactics and forcing more than just Hydra to submit to his will. Coulson & Co. better get on that and stifle his growth before he can get even more dangerous and then there will be no stopping him.
Lingering Questions: It would not be a season of Agents of SHIELD without Melinda May serving out a can of ass whooping and booting the person to the curb, right? Will Gideon Malick be willing to work with SHIELD to bring Zombie Ward down? What are Hydra’s, and more importantly, Zombie Ward’s agenda and end game? What did Hydra remove from the agricultural site and what does it have to do with what Hydra has planned? Where did Giyera take the team too? How will Skye and her band of ‘Secret Warriors’ rescue them?
Supergirl came back swinging this week after its short hiatus to finish off the season. Fear can be debilitating, insidious. It changes our cognitive skills, forces us to make instant decisions that are sometimes unwise and possibly damaging. Kara faced off against those fears induced by Myriad and Non this week that left us on a cliff’s edge and taking the victor’s spot this week.
The Pain: Maxwell Lord. Good guy or bad guy? Max has rarely shown his hand when it comes to his darker, sinister self this season, the creation of Bizzaro being one of his most overt. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of becoming even sinister and villainous in the future. I’ve previously voiced the belief that Max may be the Supergirl/Kara’s long game nemesis, similar to the relationship between Oliver Queen and Malcolm Merlyn on Arrow. Max is a man driven by anger, vengeance, ego, and fear. The combination of such has the potential for some calamitous consequences. That potential almost bloomed into a full-on catastrophe this episode as he worked on a kryptonite-based bomb to kill Non and his cohorts. Max is walking a fine line between hero and villain with every move he makes to save National City. His intentions while based in sincerity and goodwill have been marred and without people like Kara and Cat to help pull him back he may have the potential to fall, which isn’t an entirely bad thing since he could be a great antagonist for Kara. I guess we’ll have to wait and see whether Maxwell Lord remains Supergirl’s friend or become her ultimate foe.
The Pleasure: I’ve talked about how much I loved watching the relationship between Kara and Alex blossom, a close second to that relationship is the one between Kara and Cat which was on full display this episode. Cat can handle the most difficult of situations, she can handle pretty much whatever you throw at her, and she has faced down her fears and come out the other side the victor. She’s arguably one of the most level-headed characters on Supergirl and Kara needed that rational thinking as National City came under Non and Myriad’s spell. Kara and Cat have a very symbiotic relationship both as Kara and Cat and Supergirl and Cat. They’ve both helped each other become better, stronger, and more connected to their needs and wants and that growth has been a delight to witness. Cat being Kara’s ‘angel’ and Max being Kara’s ‘devil’ this episode really showed the struggle that still wars on inside Kara to be the hero she knows she is capable of being, she helped her face her fears. Decisions, especially ones involving life and death situations, are difficult and not easily made but slowly and surely Kara is learning to make the right decisions. Heroes need support, the game is not a one-man game as evident by all the other comic book based television show currently on the air. Luckily, Kara has the support of Alex, Hank, Cat, Winn and James to help her make the decisions to be the hero that she and National City knows she can be.
Lingering Questions: Kara pulling out that Kryptonite bullet was pretty boss-like? Superman too human to fend off Myriad was a bit hilarious, right? Will the Kara, Cat, and Max’s plan to stop Myriad work? Will Cat finally discover that Kara is Supergirl? How will Kara defeat Indigo once and for all? Will Kara defeat Non? Will Eliza Danvers find out her that presumed deceased husband might actually be alive? Is Hank alive? Will Kara actually fight Alex? Will it end badly? What will happen in the season one finale? And will Supergirl be picked up for a season two?
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. 😉