May 23 – 27
As Adele says, “This is the end. Hold your breath and count to ten. Feel the Earth move and then hear my heart burst again. For this is the end. I have drowned and dreamt this moment.” The respective seasons of Arrow and The Flash has come to an end. Revelations were made, uncertainties were bolstered, none of our couples had a happy ending, and Barry Allen royally screwed himself. It is a head-to-head battle between Arrow and The Flash, and only one can be the victor. (I think you can already guess who that is.)
Let’s get this battle started!
All was revealed in The Flash’s sophomore season finale. The man in the iron mask was unmasked, Zoom’s true intentions were disclosed, i.e. a foot race between Barry and himself, the members of Team Flash bid their separate ways, and Barry became the literal definition of insanity. At its best, the finale was a mess. At its worst, it burned down the entirety of the last 45 episodes of The Flash. (Which, depending on your preference, could be a horrible thing or a great thing, I’m leaning towards the former side.)
The Pain: Inconsistency has been a problem that has plagued The Flash this entire season and this episode did nothing to lessen that problem, it actually added to it and stamped it into the show’s DNA. The reveal of the man under the Iron Mask was not a surprise but a succinct end to that plot-holed filled mystery that ran through the later half of the show. It also redeemed Jay Garrick’s status as a Scarlet Speedster. I can understand how the foot/speed race between Zoom and Barry raises the Speed Force/superpower element of the show but I found it incredibly childish. After all the lives lost, all the destruction and pain that was caused, they decided to run against each other to see who was the fastest? For reals? (In addition: the CGI for the latter half of the season hit a new all-time low.) Even the way the Barry defeated Zoom, using Time pseudo-Dementors was incredibly convoluted. I understand that were working with the multiverse, the space-time continuum, and the Speed Force but really, that’s how Zoom was defeated? The worst part, however, was neither Zoom or Jay Garrick’s fate but that of Barry’s choice to once again run back in time to save his mother. (Just like he did in last year’s season finale, which consequently opened up the portal between Earth-1 and Earth-2.) In a previous episode, Barry had finally accepted that he couldn’t save everyone, including his mother. There was a conclusion to that dissonance that Barry felt and in less than two episodes all of that acceptance was swept away for what? For nothing? For the ability to have a Flashpoint on the show? For Barry to make the same mistake again? To sweep away the sacrifices that Ronnie Raymond and Eddie Thawne made last season? I just do not understand Barry’s decision-making skills to attempt what he failed last time around the same time, again. Barry’s choice obliterates all others, all the sacrifices, all the pain and destruction and loss. Stupid choice, Barry, stupid choice.
The Pleasure: Harrison Wells and Cisco Ramon have been my absolute favourites this season. They brought life to the screen whenever they appeared. Whether it was together or individually, it was wonderful seeing them on screen. These two characters opposite one another had this chemistry and energy that just elevated the scene. From their dialogue, their body language, the quick rapport, they just moved in sync with one another. We got to see another side of Harrison Wells this season, Earth-2’s Harrison Wells to be exact. Harry Wells was both very similar and very different from the Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne that we got to know in season one. I love Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) in any iteration so seeing him again in season two was an excellent treat. While Cisco Ramon still the remains the epicentre of laughs and genuine smiles on The Flash, he has also grown incredibly over the last season. Cisco has accepted his metahuman status and has slowly learnt to control and expand his incredible metahuman powers, becoming central in the race to capture Zoom and stop his plans for worlds’ domination. Between the laughs, the heartfelt moments, and the father-son relationship, Harry and Cisco became my source of joy over this last season and I am very thankful to them and the actors who portray them.
Lingering Questions: I have many, many questions about The Flash. The biggest and most prominent of them all, is why? Why? Why Barry? WHY?
Arrow ended off its fourth season with Oliver Queen crowned as Star City’s mayor, Team Arrow fractured, Damian Darhk dead, Malcolm Merlyn still alive and kicking, and all of our favourite couples in completely different places from where they were at the beginning of the season. Family and mysticism were the overarching themes in the fourth season of Arrow and neither was succinctly concluded as the curtains drew to a close and the lights flickered out. Arrow is victorious in this week’s head-to-head showdown.
The Pain: All bang and not quite enough substance would be an apt description of Arrow’s season finale, and possibly this entire season. The overarching themes of family and mysticism hung heavy upon Team Arrow and it all came to a head in this episode. Oliver Queen ignited the hope not only within himself but also in the people of Star City to help defeat Darhk and his Ghosts in an all-out battle on the streets. (Did anyone else think how badly outnumbered the citizens of Star City were against the Ghosts? I mean it was very considerate of the Ghosts to not to start firing off their semi-automatic weapons into the charging crowd.) While Oliver was throwing down in the streets, Felicity worked to stop 15K+ missiles from plunging the Earth into a nuclear winter and she did, saving billions in the process while yet again putting herself on the line. The rest of Team Arrow took over the slack and everything in Star City was right as rain at the end, not really, though. While the action was in this episode was sublime, the pacing, the flashbacks (thank god those are over), the concentration of individuals storylines of the characters felt jammed together and fell prey to the need to wrap everything up and progress another storyline. This isn’t a new issue for Arrow but it’s one that increasingly become more and more problematic and glaring as season 4 has gone on. The team is broken, the city is broken, and Olicity is still separated but let’s take a page out of Oliver Queen’s book and hope for a better season 5, and also Bratva flashbacks. (I really want Bratva flashbacks and also for Olicity to get back together. I need both of those things to happen.)
The Pleasure: Oliver Queen has been a divided man since he returned to Starling City four years ago from Lian Yu. Over the last four seasons, he has tried to come to terms with these two separate parts of himself, Oliver Queen and the Green Arrow/Arrow/The Hood. For the longest time, he held onto these two parts, separating, and thus keeping his entire self in the shadows. (I stand by the statement that the entire DCTV universe could do with some professional counselling.) This season has been a journey for Oliver. He started out in a place where he was in utter happiness and peace, a place that we have never witnessed before and he had never been before. Over the course of the season he has reached heights he never thought possible and hit lows that we thought he would never venture down again. (Yes, I’m still bitter about the Baby Mama storyline and I will be for a long time.) The emergence of the Green Arrow was the first step in both unification and understanding of the two separate parts of himself. But this unification was far from being perfect. He’s tried to learn from his mistakes and grow, even doling out advice to those around him. By stepping up, harnessing the light and the hope that he has within himself, and becoming Star City’s mayor, Oliver is once again unifying these two separate parts, the man the public sees and the man that wants to do right by his city. This is another step in Oliver becoming the hero he is destined to be but he knows that he cannot do it alone and he won’t. It’s going to be interesting to see Oliver in the mayor’s office as we head into season 5.
Lingering Questions: Do you think Donna and Quentin are coming back? Will they still be together? What will Thea do now that she is no longer a vigilante? Will she return to being a club owner or go down another path? Where did Malcolm Merlyn disapparate to? Will he be returning in season 5? Why did Diggle reenlist in the military? Does he believe this is his penance for killing his brother or is there another reason? Will Felicity wrangle Palmer Technologies from the hands of its board or will she strike out and start Smoak Technologies? How will Oliver handle being Star City’s mayor? Who else would like to see a limited summer series of Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak, kicking ass and taking down the criminals of Starling City?
Thank you for reading this week’s Superhero Showdown. If you have been reading along all season, thank you very, very much. This is the finale of my weekly spouting of thoughts on the comic book shows I’m currently watching on television. Check back later this week as I compile, compare, and contrast all of the entire seasons’ of the comic book based TV shows I’ve been watching in a Grand Superhero Showdown. 😉