Superhero Showdown #16

May 9 – 13 

Left or right. Yes or no. Up or down. The decisions we make may not always have the outcome we desire. We can try and control all the differing variables of the situation, we can make educated guesses, we can even try to tip the scales in our favour, but sometimes the outcomes are never what we expected. Our heroes faced triumph and loss in the aftermath of their decision-making on this week’s jaunt through television’s superhero-riddled lane. You know the rules: 5 shows (now 4), 3 rounds (now 2), and only 1 victor.

Let’s get to it.

Round 1: 

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The end is nigh for the Legends (not really) of Tomorrow and Vandal Savage is still on the loose. The team faced off with the Time Masters’ Counsel and escaped but by the skin of their teeth and a sacrifice that no one saw coming. The devastation of the loss will spur some into action as more blood is spilt as we ramp up to the season finale. Legends of Tomorrow lands in the last place this week.

The Pain: Death was always a possibility when each member of Team Legends signed up to travel through time to stop Vandal Savage. I just never thought Leonard Snart would meet that end. To say that his death will have a profound impact on his teammates and on the show doesn’t really cut it. Snart (and his portrayer Wentworth Miller) brought an immense amount of gravitas to the show that few others could. He drew you in, made you interested, made you laugh, and made you care about what was happening on the screen. Snart was an anti-hero. Yes, he did bad things, he stole, he cheated, and he lied, and looked out only for his own. But he also followed a code, a code he followed to the very end. Snart’s decision to sacrifice himself in order to destroy the Time Masters’ oculus to save his team, to save the world, and to save Rory was the pinnacle display of who he was and it was both brilliant and terrible to see. RIP Leonard Snart, may you steal all the diamonds in the night sky in your afterlife.

The Pleasure: The end is nigh. Only one more episode remains in the freshman season of Legends of Tomorrow and I, for one, cannot wait. It’s been a rocky first season for Legends and it has not fully found its feet quite yet. The main objective of the season was to hunt down Vandal Savage and stop his reign of terror and stop him from killing the wife and child of Rip Hunter. To that purpose, the team has utterly and horribly failed. They did try, but with time literally on his side, Savage continued his reign of terror and murdered the wife and child of Rip Hunter. (I still cannot get over the Kendra not ending Savage’s life when she had the chance. I just can’t. You could have ended it all but you let it slip through your fingers because of Carter. WHY?!!) The other objective of the season was for each character to discover who they were meant to be and what they were meant to do, and they have, to a certain degree. We can only wait and see who will make it out of the season still breathing and fighting.

Lingering Questions: Did they forget that they have to return their infant selves to the correct time periods or all be erased from their timelines? Why are aliens attacking the Earth in the future? Where are these aliens from? Can Rip and the Time Masters not have called the Doctor for help? Will the team finally end Savage’s life? Or will they let him slip from their grasp once more? Will you watch the second season of Legends of Tomorrow?

Rating: 2/5

 

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The past, present, and possibly the future collided head on with Barry Allen as he swept through the Speed Force chasing after a darkened figure while the rest of Team Flash worked to bring him back while simultaneously fending off a zombie metahuman. It was all in all a day’s work for Barry & Co. really. The Flash runs into third place this week.

The Pain: Consistently continues to be one of the major stumbling factors on The Flash this season and this episode, like many before it, highlights this exact problem. Three different plot lines run throughout this episode, rescuing Barry from the Speed Force, fending off a zombie metahuman attack, and dealing with a dark-matter induced medical emergency. All three of these plotlines sprouted from the same source, the localized particle accelerator explosion that was supposed to help Barry regain his powers. All three were unforeseen situations no one could have predicted when the explosion occurred. (But really, they set off a particle accelerator explosion. Did they really not think there would not be unforeseen circumstances? I mean that’s how Barry got his powers in the first place.) The cohesiveness between the three plotlines was not as consistent as they could have been, each dragging down the other throughout the episode until Barry returned home from the Speed Force (powers intact) and Jesse waking up in Star Labs. Balance, consistency, and cohesiveness are three things that The Flash needs to double down on to revive its episodes but with only two episodes left, it may be up to season three to tackle those problems.

The Pleasure: Barry Allen is back to being the Scarlet Speedster. Barry’s reunion with his powers was not an easy task. There was a lot of running and chasing on Barry’s part and a confrontation and acceptance that he has been avoiding since the season one finale. The dark figure that Barry chased throughout the Speed Force was himself, a symbolic metaphor of Barry accepting who he is and his limits and capabilities as a speedster, as a hero, and as a human being. Barry’s decision to go back in time and save his mother from the hands of the Reverse Flash last season, a decision whose consequences have plagued and created the whole premise of the second season, was something that Barry had yet to confront but which he had to in order to move forward. Barry is a hero, but even heroes have limits and Barry is being to learn that he isn’t invulnerable, he isn’t immortal and he is certainly not all knowing. It was honestly refreshing to see, considering the majority of The Flash has been dedicated to showing how straight-laced and capable Barry is. 

Lingering Questions: How is Barry & Co. going to handle all the metahumans that Zoom has brought over from Earth-2? Will Caitlin escape Zoom’s grasp? Are Jesse and Wally speedsters now? Will they help Barry in defeating Zoom? How will Barry & Co. return the metahumans from Earth-2 to Earth-2? Is Cisco going to open a giant portal from Barry to throw them through? Will anyone die this season?

Rating: 2/5

Round 2:  

AoSSkyw

Failure and success were the names of the game on this week’s episode of Agents of SHIELD as both Team SHIELD and Team HiveWard had some real hits and some real misses. Captain America: Civil War Easter eggs were sprinkled here and there, SkyeWard 2.0 reached a new level of creepiness that it had not before and SHIELD HQ had it’s second Inhuman breakout. Agents of SHIELD takes over the runner-up position this week.

The Pain: One of the prime directives of Inhumans, according to Lincoln that is, is that each Inhuman is created for a singular purpose, a singular destiny, in which they and only they can fulfil. We’ve seen this directive play out through the season, especially in the episode in which the Charles, the Inhuman with prophetic powers, directive was to save Daisy from Malick’s attack. Turns out, Charles wasn’t the only one. Lash, aka. Andrew Garner was an Inhuman with immense power as we have seen throughout the season. His abilities allowed him to extinguish other Inhumans, making him one the biggest threats to any Inhuman, especially HiveWard (one of the first Inhumans). Unfortunately, for him and Team SHIELD, and the human race, Lash’s actual directive was to save Skye, which he did. Lash used his powers to draw out the HiveWard’s parasites from within Skye, removing her from HiveWard’s sway and turning her back into regular Skye. But in doing so, Lash sacrificed himself in the process. The death of Lash was unexpected. His entrance was also unexpected. (A+ job to May and Lincoln for concocting the plan to put Lash in the jet instead.) I was still holding out hope that FitzSimmons could turn him back one day. Unfortunately, that was for nought. Here’s hoping that his ultimate sacrifice will help bring down HiveWard and his diabolical plans once and for all.

The Pleasure: One of the great things about Agents of SHIELD is that it found its footing early on in the latter half of its freshman season and has remained grounded in it so far. There is cohesiveness, a balance (especially difficult with such a large ensemble cast) that few other shows in the same genre have. From the Captain America: Civil War Easter eggs drops, to the Easter egg drops from Agent Carter to the balance of each character and the opposing sides of Team SHIELD and Team HiveWard just in this episode proves how well not only the storylines have been written and laid out. There was no stumbling, no confusion, and no packing plotlines too closely together. There was just a smooth sailing course to the whole episode, a flow that made watching the episode an enjoyable experience. Some of Agents of SHIELD’s best episodes of the entire series so far have occurred this season and hopefully, that continues as we reach its two-hour season finale.

Lingering Questions: Elena giving the necklace to Mack is a total red herring right? Who is the fallen agent? Will there be more than one fallen agent? What is the destiny that Lincoln must fulfil? What is Skye’s destiny she must fulfil? What are the destinies of the other Inhumans on Team Secret Warriors? How will Team SHIELD defeat HiveWard and his Inhuman human babies? Will Dr.Radcliffe switch sides now that he knows the consequences of his actions in helping HiveWard? Will this be the last we see of Ward? What kind of cliffhanger can we expect after last season’s finale?

Rating: 3.5/5

 

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Consequences were high as HIVE moved one step closer in accomplishing Genesis in this week’s episode of Arrow. Decisions were made, Team Arrow gained a new edition, two father-daughter reunions occurred, and Thea’s still trapped in under the dome. Arrow takes the top spot this week.

The Pain: Who knew under the dome Arrow-style and Arrow flashbacks could be as equally as boring and draining? (I certainly didn’t think they could but this episode proved me wrong.) The flashbacks this season have been Arrow’s worst to date. While they have tried to merge the actions and consequences of the flashbacks with the current storyline, the disconnect between the two has been glaring. The flashbacks have been clunky, ill-plotted, ill-timed, poorly acted by some, and painstakingly boring. Each and every time a flashback pops up on screen it drags the episode down instead of elevating it as it should. The same can be said for what happened under the dome this episode. Malcolm Merlyn came calling to visit his one and only daughter to not only placate her on being trapped under the dome but also alerting her to a psychopath that has gotten into the dome, bent on destroying it from the inside out. While the action sequences that occurred under the dome were well done there was little meat to the plotline, even with the death of Alex via electrocution thanks to Anarky. I, for one, will be quite happy when we leave Lian Yu and Arrow under the dome behind.

The Pleasure: There is a magic, a chemistry that exists between Original Team Arrow (Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity) that no other team has come close to and was clearly visible in this episode as the team worked to take down Rubicon and stop HIVE from starting a nuclear winter on Earth. The entire episode showcased how well oiled the OTA is, even with the addition of Noah Kuttler to the team. From the support and belief that each member of the team has in each other, to the infiltration of Palmer Tech to steal the computer needed to hack the Rubicon system, to hijacking Star City’s data farm to harness its power to stop nuclear warheads from leaving their silos in countries that should and shouldn’t have nuclear warheads, this was the OTA at their best. But even they have their limitations. Team Arrow cannot stop every bad guy or every maniacal action of an evil organization. They will always do their best to do so but they can’t every single time, and that is not their fault nor is it their ultimate duty to. (I mean none of them are getting paid to do this except Lyla.) One of the greatest difficulties that heroes face is the decision to save some and not others. It’s a hard decision, an excruciating one as we saw in this episode. The impact is profound on every person that has to make such decisions. We can only hope that Team Arrow comes out the other side bruised and battered but not fallen at the end of it all. 

Lingering Questions: What will the fallout (literal and figurative) of the nuclear explosion in Havensrock? Will the team discover where Thea’s been all this time? How will the team get under the dome? How is the team going to defeat HIVE and foil Genesis? Will a reunion between Oliver and Felicity occur before the season is over? Will Diggle tell Lyla the truth surrounding Andy’s death? What will Team Arrow do for money now since Felicity is no longer the CEO of Palmer Tech?

Rating: 4/5

 

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. 😉

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