DC Series Roundup: 1/29

I’m trying something different, again. It’s really hard to write about three shows with anything resembling consistency, so I’m going to try cramming all three in one post, that I will update Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night. So let’s start with Tuesday.

THE FLASH: “The Reverse-Flash Returns”

While what we ended up with was a bit of a letdown after the exciting stinger at the end of last week’s episode, it’s still very fun to see Matt Letscher back as the original flavor Reverse Flash. Even more enjoyable were his truncated and terse interactions with the rest of the cast after Barry beat the unholy shit out of him and locked him away, Cisco and Harry being my personal favorites.

The Barry-Patty plotline verged into the painful this week, with the show falling back on the old “superhero is a dick to a person he cares about for no discernable reason” schtick. Patty had already figured out that Barry was the Flash, so him pretending otherwise and literally driving her away was just stupid and felt like a deliberate attempt to write Patty off of the show, which is in itself confusing, since Shantel VanSanten was perfectly fine in the role.

Cisco’s temporal fluctuations or whatever were equally confusing, and the brief Caitlin/Jay scene was frustrating in its fan wankery and utter pointlessness. That being said, this was a great-looking episode, and whenever Barry was actually the Flash, quite fun.

Episode Grade: B


ARROW: “A.W.O.L.”

Never overlook a John Diggle episode. He’s been the heart of the show from the beginning, and keeping him involved went from afterthought to concern to all out necessity. We should all hold out hope that he’s not in the casket future Oliver (and no one else) seems so upset about, but if he is, episodes like this are what we should remember him by.

Similarly, this is a bit of a throwback flashback episode, with the exploits of Diggle and his brother Andy tied directly into the episode’s big boss (who was responsible for the death of Amanda Waller in what was undoubtedly another mandate from DC’s overlords). David Ramsay and Eugene Byrd are starting to develop a very brotherly chemistry, with Andy in particular really rounding out his place in the ensemble. The show really needed a morally ambiguous ally, a Venom to Diggle’s Spiderman, if you will.

Throw in some weird but not entirely unwelcome stuff with Felicity’s hallucination of her past Goth self, giving voice to her doubts about being able to carry on in a wheelchair, and we have another signal in the growing line of evidence that this show is returning to form.

Episode Grade: B+


 

LEGENDS OF TOMORROW: “Pilot, Part 2”

Tonight’s episode, Part 2 of the pilot, is a much more breathy hour than the first. It takes its time, trying to flesh out the characters (or at least the characters worth fleshing) a bit more while solidifying the ensemble format. There’s a lot of potential for satisfying interactions here, and we’re still only just starting to explore them. At this point, any combination of Heat Wave, Captain Cold, The Atom, White Canary, Dr. Stein and Rip Hunter has been quite fun, and Jax was similarly fun reacting to young Martin Stein tonight.

On the plot front, we have the team striking out on their own, against Rip’s advice (he spends the rest of the episode drolly mocking their failures on the Waverider), to stop Vandal Savage (with a very welcome guest appearance from 1970s Damien Darhk) from selling a nuke. After part of Ray’s suit is left behind, Gideon (the ship’s AI — a lot of characters here) reveals that Savage reverse-engineered the tech to take over the world in 2016, so everyone but the Hawks goes out to stop him: Heat Wave, Cold and Ray break into Savage’s home to steal the dagger he first killed Carter and Kendra with, while Stein, Jax and Sara enlist the help of Young Stein to track Ray’s tech.

After a series of mishaps, the entire team converges on Savage’s mansion. Firestorm briefly subdues Savage while Carter and Kendra confront him. After being stabbed, Savage pulls the blade from his stomach and reveals that Kendra is the only one who can kill him with it before killing Carter. Kendra is similarly wounded, but the team manages to save her. The team regroups and decides to continue hunting Savage, setting us up for the rest of the season.

Other than that, Hawkman and Hawkgirl have almost been their own (significantly worse) show, so the former’s death was hardly earned. If anything, it was welcomed. Nothing against Falk Hentschel, because the role he had really was a non-starter. He’ll show up again, I’m sure, but it’ll be nice to see one of this couple get some time to become their own character before being forced into a timeless romance, and I’m glad it’ll be Ciara Renee.

Episode Grade: B+

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