DC Series Roundup: 2/25

This week’s mini-recaps of The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow.

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THE FLASH: “King Shark”

We open up directly after the final events of last week’s episode: Jay is “dead,” the breaches are CLOSED, and nothing they can do will change that.

So, after a voiceover from Barry, we move an indeterminate amount of time later (I’m guessing a few weeks?) to find King Shark escaping from an ARGUS facility and making his way to Central City. Diggle and Lyla (the new director of ARGUS!) make their way into STAR Labs to warn Barry, and for once, he’s going to be proactive about it.

So of course he goes to hang out with Wally West and work through some especially awkward foster brother inadequacy issues. So of course King Shark attacks, since he evaded all of ARGUS and Barry’s own attempts to track him. After a brief fight, Barry tells him that the breaches are closed. Zoom cannot help or hurt him any more. So King Shark runs away, and Team Flash goes on the offensive. They lure KS to a location on the waterfront, which swiftly backfires. But Flash challenges King Shark, eventually electrifying the surrounding water and shocking him into submission.

Our secondary plot deals with Barry, Harry and Cisco’s attempts to deal with (and conceal) exactly what happened to them on Earth-2. Predictably, Barry and Cisco spill the respective beans to their respective interrogators (Iris and Caitlin) about what their doppelgangers were like and what happened to them.

The tertiary plot involves Wally being jealous of the love and attention Barry gets, and it doesn’t really go anywhere, aside from finally letting Barry and Wally interact a little. It’s not bad per se, just sort of rote.

Eventually, Barry gathers everyone in Team Flash and apologizes for his selfish decision to go back in time last year, and all the pain that choice has wrought. Owning up to that choice, he promises that they will find a way to get back to Earth-2 and defeat Zoom.

Of course, it’s no surprise when it turns out Zoom is actually somehow Jay Garrick.

  • Barry and Diggle have a good rapport, and it’s always nice to see the Arrowverse going out of its way to use Diggle.
  • This show isn’t always what I’d call subtle, but it’s a nice little bit of foreshadowing when Wally mentions Iris and Joe talking about Barry as though “he walks on water,” only for Barry to basically do exactly that later.
  • Almost too many Jaws references to list, but my favorite is probably Cisco referring to himself as Quint and Harry almost immediately reminding him that Quint dies.
  • I used “of course” a lot here, but don’t let that make it sound like I was bored. King Shark himself looked great, and one of this show’s best attributes is how well it plays itself into and embraces comic book plots.
  • Judging by that long, slow motion shot in the water, the show was as aware of how good King Shark looked as I was.
  • I laughed pretty hard at Caitlin pretending to be Killer Frost to trick Cisco. Danielle Panabaker is adorable.

Episode Grade: B+


ARROW: “Taken”

So Damien Darhk is pissed off. How does he show this to our green-hooded friend? By gloating to Oliver and Felicity that he’s taken William. “Who’s William?” Felicity understandably asks, and it’s to her credit that Season 4 Felicity, while upset, doesn’t spend the entire episode destroying its momentum moping about it.

Things move along at a fairly brisk pace, with Oliver almost immediately snapping into action and recruiting Vixen (since Constantine is “in Hell…literally”), played very ably by Megalyn Echikunwoke, a hero from Detroit he’d had a run-in with in the  past. Since I never got around to watching CW’s Vixen animated miniseries, I don’t really know what’s going on with her, but she makes a good first impression here. Vixen is an interesting character to use for live action, because her powers can be either very easy or VERY difficult to portray. The show opts for the simpler, probably easier route, and I think it’s the correct one.

Anyway, the other major guest appearance tonight is from William’s mother, Samantha (Anna Hopkins), who does her best to stem the growing tide of resentment Felicity is feeling towards Oliver by assuring her that Oliver’s choice was not his to make.

Things really kick into action when the Arrow, with Vixen’s help, storms Darhk’s penthouse, only to find that William is gone. Neal McDonough is on full display here, as he goes from bemused at the Arrow’s dogged insistence on fighting him, to intrigued by Vixen’s amulet, to briefly confused by said amulet briefly overpowering him and forcing him to use his full telekinetic power to escape. Having a villain who actually enjoys being a villain (remember how genuinely excited he was by the Flash?) is a breath of fresh air for this show and the greater superhero genre in general. I especially liked his bubbly phone call to Oliver after their confrontation (he sounded like Dave Chappelle’s impersonation of an overly friendly white person).

Since this is an episode where everyone suddenly makes sense, Vixen quickly deduces that Darhk must have some sort of magical totem, gets Lance to draw her a picture of it, and successfully tracks it. Samantha gets a nice moment where, after Oliver asks her whether to go after Darhk’s power or accept his deal, she says to take him down. The heroes confront Darhk, Vixen takes his idol (“well…that happened”) and destroys it before he chokes Oliver, Thea and Laurel out with his powers. Arrow almost immediately takes him down, a result that would be disappointing if it were the season finale, but of course it isn’t, so it works for me. Darhk is confused and thrown off by the loss of power, and Oliver is, as we’ve established, probably the best hand-to-hand combatant in the Arrowverse.

In the flashbacks, that guy Oliver killed comes back as a ghost somehow, and the evil mercenary guy uses him to test Oliver! Then they go into a big cave or something! It’s fine. This whole season’s flashback has been just that. Fine. Nothing more.

The episode wraps up with a few “revelations,” first with William telling police that he was taken by “a man with a missing arm.” (which, in case the hilariously loud League of Assassins musical cue didn’t tell you, means Malcolm). Thea confronts him, and he officially goes back into cackling villain mode after she rejects him, which is a development this show has needed for a long time now.

Secondly, Felicity leaves Oliver. She understands that the choice he made was difficult, and she doesn’t particularly blame him for it, and since this is the episode where everyone makes sense, she decides that he’s not ready. Then, she literally walks out of his office (with the new chip that Curtis made for her), which is ridiculous, but sort of powerfully so.

Finally, Oliver leaves a goodbye message for his son’s 18th birthday, wherein he reveals first that he is his father, and second that he is the Green Arrow. This is nice, since it validates Vixen’s point of view (she thought that Oliver being part of his son’s life was dangerous) and also sets us up nicely for tomorrow’s Legends plot, which takes place in future Star City.

Episode Grade: B+


 

LEGENDS OF TOMORROW: “Star City 2046”

And what a shitty Star City it is. After being overrun by the second Deathstroke (Grant Wilson, Slade’s son and the eventual Ravager), the city lays in ruin, with biker gangs controlling the streets. So of course, in the episode’s most interesting subplot, Mick Rory almost immediately makes himself a gang leader and starts wreaking havoc on the wasteland. When Deathstroke shows up and commands him to kill Rip and Sara, Snart tries and fails to get him to change his tune, resorting to knocking him out cold. Snart and Mick started this show as thick as — well — thieves, so this is an interesting wrinkle.

In the episode’s least interesting subplot, Ray and Jax are both smitten with Kendra! And they go about it in the least subtle way possible: by hitting on her relentlessly. There’s a fun little bit where Stein uses his psychic link with Jax to successfully run interference with Ray, but that’s about it. Kendra is the very definition of an undefined character. “She’s quirky, and funny,” Ray espouses, making me think maybe he’s confusing Kendra with Sara.

Speaking of, in our main story, Sara and Rip ally themselves with the future Green Arrow (Connor Hawke, but in a fun twist, Diggle’s son and not Oliver’s), and search for some random invention of Felicity’s that can repair the Waverider. When they search the Arrow Lair, they find a bearded, one armed Oliver Queen. Stephen Amell does his level best to sound like an old man, but his makeup is doing no favors. So when Connor gets kidnapped by Deathstroke’s men, Rip and Sara argue about whether or not to save him. Sara bails and enlists Oliver’s help.

So they interrupt Connor’s execution, the rest of the team flies in to make the save, and the two Green Arrows kill Deathstroke. It ends a little abruptly, and the entire episode *really* struggles with this show’s budgetary restrictions, but it worked for me as a fun side story that had nothing to do with Vandal Savage.

Episode Grade: B

These three shows are off until the week of March 22nd, so I’ll see you then, I suppose.

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