Superhero Showdown #17

May 16 – 20 

An undercurrent of hope ran through the superhero-riddled lane this week. From Oliver Queen realizing the power of hope to Barry Allen who had a little too much hope, to the Agents of SHIELD trying to rediscover hope, and the not so Legends of Tomorrow seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. You know the rules: 5 shows (now 4), 3 rounds (now 2), and only 1 victor.

Let’s get ready to rumble.

Round 1: 

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Penultimate, huh? The Flash is about to run into the finale of its sophomore season and it’s not really a run, it’s not even a jog, it’s more like they copy pasted from another show in the DCTV universe and threw some pizzazz into it and went “ta da” and hoped we didn’t notice. (Many people noticed.) The Flash lands in the last spot this week. (And I don’t see it getting out of here anytime soon.)

The Pain: Where to begin? The speed force not only gave Barry back his powers, it also inflated a detrimental sense of hope within him. Barry’s behaviour and attitude starkly contrasted what Barry had previously felt and displayed throughout the season. It felt like someone had switched Barry’s personality with that of another Barry’s (maybe Earth-3’s). Barry felt off, and in the episode that leads up to your finale, you should not see that in the main protagonist. This plays, again, into the issue of consistency that has plagued the show all season long. The death of Henry Allen and the rise of Wally West brought about a sense of déjà vu, mirroring the death of Moira Queen and the rise of Roy Harper on Arrow. The devastation of Henry’s death pales in comparison to that of Moira’s. There was no emotional kick, no wrenching of your heart as you watched as Zoom take away Henry’s life in front of Barry. Henry has weaved in and out of The Flash. A more devastating and dastardly choice on Zoom’s part was if he were to have taken Joe or even Harry instead. The metapocalypse wasn’t as apocalyptic as it should have been. I mean, when Malcolm Merlyn and Slade Wilson can individually destroy more than the metas collectively, you got to ask yourself if they were really trying. The Flash’s battleship was most definitely sunk in what was supposed to be its penultimate episode of the season.

The Pleasure: Wally West’s driving skills. 

Lingering Questions: How is Barry & Co. going to defeat Zoom? What is happening on Earth-2? Will Cisco’s powers become even stronger? Do Jesse and Wally have powers that are just dormant at the moment? What will become of Harry and Jesse after Zoom is defeated? Will they stay on Earth-1? Will Barry and Iris’s date end disastrously? Will Barry throw Central City into another crisis like he did last season?

Rating: 1/5

 

RIP

The third time was a charm for the Legends (almost) of Tomorrow as they finally accomplished what they had set out to do at the beginning of the season as Vandal Savage finally met his ultimate end. A renewed sense of hope surged through the team as fate fell in their favour, that and the use of time travelling spaceships and alien technology. Legends of Tomorrow flew into third place this week.

The Pain: I guess redundancy was key when it came to killing an immortal like Vandal Savage but it was it really necessary? All season, the team worked under the assumption that either Kendra and/or Carter had to kill Savage with a piece of weaponry that was present at the time of their first deaths. Kendra and Carter both tried, with no success throughout the entire season. Current timeline Carter even lost his life in one attempt. By having the entire team, split across three different time periods, all working together, simultaneously to finally kill Savage, pretty much wiped out much of the worth of that entire storyline. I understand why they decided a team kill would be better than just having Kendra and/or Carter end Savage themselves. All members of the team lost something in this battle with Savage. This was more than just ending a psychopath’s rampage, it was revenge, it was justice, it was the end of the culmination of all the loss and pain and time that each member of the Legend’s team had given. Was it a satisfying ending for the team? Yes. Was it a satisfying end to a watching all of these different storylines form and emerge throughout the season? No. Vandal Savage is finally dead, but the Legend’s team definitely took a longer and meandering path to get there. 

The Pleasure: With the death of Vandal Savage the need for the Hawks ended and I, for one, am grateful. For two characters that were supposed to carry much of the show’s weight, because they were part of the reason that Savage rose to power in the first place, they didn’t do a fantastic job. They were boring. There was no connection, no pull, and not enough chemistry for fans to invest themselves into their storyline other than the need for their abilities to kill Vandal Savage. Sara, Rip, Snart, Rory, Stein, Jax and even Ray outshined them. They weighed on the show and on the other characters, dragging them down. The bits that were interesting about both characters did little to outweigh monotony that they brought as well. The loss of Kendra does have its cons since the show loses 1 of its 2 female characters and 1 of its 2 POC characters in one fell swoop. How the show is going remedy this loss has yet to be seen. With the loss of the Hawks into their winged sunset, it will allow the show to grow, to focus on the remaining characters and propel those storylines forward. We may very well see the Hawks again as Legends moves into its second season. But for now, that chapter has come to an end.

Lingering Questions: Who is Rex Tyler? How did Rex Tyler come into the possession of the Waverider? Why did Rory tell him to come to 2016 Central City? Will he join the team? Will any other members join the team? How will the Justice League of America play into the second season of Legends of Tomorrow? How will the team go about protecting the timeline?

Rating: 2/5

 

Round 2: 

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Damian Darhk’s ark may have been nuclear radiation-proof but it was certainly not vigilante-proof (or Anarky-proof) as we saw in this week’s episode of Arrow. Darhk’s plans for world decimation came to an explosive end, Lady McDarhk met her maker, Olicity had a brief (too brief) hug, and Star City was devastated once by another giant sinkhole. Arrow takes over the runner-up spot this week.

The Pain: The continuing saga of how Malcolm Merlyn proved once again why the title of “best father of the year” should never end up in his hands, ever, continued this week. By now we all know the drill, Malcolm manipulates Thea, usually with a mind-bending drug, and prods her to do his bidding, all in an attempt to “protect her”, which actually ends up putting her in greater danger and precipitates the need to rescue Thea from said situation. The sheer fact that we can solidly predict every move that this overplayed storyline adds to the exhaustive nature of its continuance. This storyline needs to end. Malcolm Merlyn needs to meet a grizzly end, preferably one at the hands of Thea who he has manipulated time and time again. Malcolm is not a father, he is a power-hungry man, who is willing to do any and everything to move one step further up the power ladder, even if that means stepping on the body of his daughter to do so. Merlyn’s storyline has been played out too long; it’s no longer enjoyable but a nuisance. Malcolm Merlyn has got to go, alongside all the storylines connected to him.

The Pleasure: Two of the core foundations of Arrow are its gritty grounded action sequences and its focus on the core relationships (like OTA and Olicity) that helped build the show from the ground up. We got a taste, a small one albeit, this week and it was marvellous. The action sequences since Team Arrow downsized by one black leather-clad member has been some of its best in the last two seasons. They are smooth, efficient, effective and amazing to watch on screen. The running sequence of the Green Arrow and Spartan through suburbia, fending off Darhk’s Ghosts was absolutely exquisite and highlights the prowess of these two vigilantes, whose moves have been put on the backburner thanks to the addition of more leather-clad vigilantes into the Arrow cave these last two seasons. The interrelationships of the characters of the show really make Arrow what it is. It creates this solid foundation that allows you to dive deeper and become immersed in their lives, you come to care for them and worry about them just like they do each other. We care about what happens between Oliver and Felicity. We care about Diggle’s state of mind. We care about the families of the Queens, Diggles, and Smoaks and we got to see some of that this episode. Hopefully, it will continue in the finale.

Lingering Questions: How will Oliver Queen newly found hope inspire others in Star City as it begins to crumble to the ground? How will the team defeat Damian Darhk? Will Darhk really force Felicity to restart Rubicon? Will Donna and/or Echo be used as blackmail against Felicity? Will the team return Darhk’s little girl to him? Does said little girl also have powers? Will Olicity reunite by the finale? Will Diggle be able to swallow the anger and guilt that surrounds him? Will Noah return? Is Oliver Queen Star City’s new mayor? Are you glad that we won’t ever have to see these horrific flashbacks ever again?

Rating: 3.5/5

 

May

Agents of SHIELD concluded its third season with a stellar two-hour episode that was full of everything you wanted in a season finale. There was action, suspense, tears, death, and some light at the end of the tunnel. The Fallen Agent was finally revealed, (and hallelujah because it was not one of my favs!), HiveWard finally felt what the grasps of death felt like after evading it for so long, and the team faces some of its most difficult moments yet. Agents of SHIELD takes the top spot this week.

The Pain: HiveWard’s death was written in stone the moment that Coulson crushed Grant Ward’s chest on that alien planet. There was no way that HiveWard could survive the season, just no way. This creature had wreaked too much havoc, too much destruction, was too powerful of a being to sit on the sideline or be locked up for eternity. That being said, Ward has been a part of SHIELD since the very beginning. He had been an integral part of the show and the reveal of his true allegiances in season one just threw the show into overdrive and pushed it forward. He has been the one antagonist that has plagued the team since season one and to see him go is both satisfying and a little melancholy. I will miss Brett Dalton’s pun-filled live tweets during Agents of SHIELD the most, though.

The Pleasure: It’s amazing to see when a show lives up to what it has promised and promoted and Agents of SHIELD certainly did that with this season’s capper. You could feel the suspense, the unease that ran through the episode. The pacing of the episode was spot on. No one knew who the fallen agent was, and the constant handoff the cross necklace and jacket just made your palms sweat in anticipation. (It definitely did mine.) Every character gave this episode all they had. From the newest members like Elena, Lincoln, and Mack to the veterans like May and Coulson, you could feel this energy from them. The Terrigen bomb going off within SHIELD HQ was just magnificent, as our agents ran and shielded themselves from the “Primitives” and their inhuman strength. Skye breaking out of containment and confronting HiveWard and asking to take her back was just a gut punch to witness. The team did what he or she had to do to survive and it brought to light what each and every agent is capable of. Beyond all of the destruction and fighting that went on, there was also this emotional core that the episode orbited around. Each of them was facing unknown circumstances, none of them knowing what was going to happen next, or who they were going to lose and that added to the climate of the episode. There was a lot riding on this episode, as it is now the only Marvel show on primetime television on air and Agents of SHIELD delivered. This episode brought an end to one overarching chapter of the show and readies itself for a new one when season four begins later this year, and I, for one, am excited to see where they go.

Lingering Questions: What happened in that six-month time jump? Where are the other team members during this time jump? Who is the new head of SHIELD? Why are Coulson and Mack hunting Skye? What is Dr. Radcliffe doing? Is he or the disembodied voice he was speaking to the enemy for next season? Will we ever see Lincoln or Ward again? Is Hyrda finally defeated or will another head rise again? What do you think is going to happen in season four of Agents of SHIELD?

Ratings: 4.5/5

 

Thank you for reading this week’s Superhero Showdown. Join me next week as I spout my last thoughts this season about the comic book shows I’m currently watching on television. 😉

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