Arrowverse Recap: Heroes Find Problems That They Can’t Just Punch Away

The CW’s robust lineup of DC Comics-based shows—oft dubbed the Arrowverse—can be a lot to keep up with. Join us weekly as Andrew Tejada keeps you current on all that goes on in their corner of TV Land!

The Legends get a crash course in magic, Batwoman goes to war with the crows, The Flash bids farewell to one of their own and Superman & Lois deal with a looming threat above on…

This Week in the Arrowverse! (June 6th-8th)


[Spoilers Ahead]


Batwoman
S02E15: “Armed and Dangerous”

Out-of-Context Quote of the Week is from Mary to Alice: “So you came here to warn me out of the goodness of your empty chest cavity?”

This week’s episode of Batwoman picks up right where the last episode left off: Luke Fox was shot by a Crows security officer and is now fighting for his life in the hospital. Mary tries to get him a cure, Batwoman goes after Tavaroff and Sophie confronts her old boss/head of the crows Jacob Kane. Although Alice runs around and bothers people, her role is so minimal in this episode that we can move onto the bigger conflicts. Since Mary has access to the flower that seems able to heal pretty much everything, all she needs to do is get it to Luke in the hospital—but she finds his room guarded by two Crows officers. In a surprisingly entertaining sequence, her old friend Wolf Spider swings in and stealthily delivers the Cure. I’m happy to see they made a full recovery after being hit by the Crows and got a little sneaky payback. I honestly hope to see more of them!

Meanwhile, Batwoman confronts Tavaroff as soon as she learns that he shot Luke. But he gets his allies to—and I’m not making this up—hit her with a car. (Seems to be the go-to move of the corrupt Crows.) As Ryan recovers, Sophie says that there’s only a limited amount of time before they get their hands on footage that will incriminate Tavorff. As Batwoman tries to get it, Sophie has a tense talk with her old boss Jacob. She has a satisfying conversation that finally addresses all the issues with the Crows that have been glanced over so far. Jacob is so inspired by the speech that he brings Tavoroff into his office to confront him, but the cornered Tavaroff immediately tries to kill Jacob (in the Crows building of all places) and get away scot-free. Batwoman misses her chance to get video evidence so that she can save Jacob in the nick of time. In the wake of this incident, Jacob immediately disbands the Crows.

Although I don’t know if he can lay off an entire company of people overnight, I’m positive his sudden choice diminished Sophie’s character arc a bit. She quit the Crows a week ago to make a statement, but now that the organization no longer exists, the weight of her decision doesn’t feel as heavy.

While Sophie’s decision to leave at least still made some sense, it’s harder to see what they were doing with Luke—throughout most of the episode, he’s trapped in an office within his subconscious. He’s told that if he tries to see his father in this limbo state, he’ll instantly die. The show spends surprisingly little time in this reality with Luke, and at the end of the episode, he decides that he’s had enough of the prejudice in the world and wants to die… however, he wakes up instead. It was such a heavy decision that I wish they would have taken more time for us to see what was going on with Luke before he made it. Now that the show has established he is in a very dark place, hopefully they will take the time to dive into these issues instead of just having him move on to the next fight.

Final Thoughts: Batwoman found some success this week by addressing issues with the Crows and by making good use of its ensemble to move the story forward. But although the story was centered around Luke, the show let him down this week by rushing through his scenes so fast that his character arc felt like an afterthought.

 

Legends of Tomorrow S06E05: “The Satanist’s Apprentice”

Out-of-Context Quote of the Week is from an Ava clone to Sara: “We’ve got all fifteen seasons of Wynonna Earp cued up for you.”

This week’s episode focused on two characters that have been separated from the main group for some time: Sara and Astra. We see the leader of the Legends barely recover from the poison alien Amelia Earhart dealt out with the help of a last-minute antidote. While she’s securely tied up, Bishop (the guy who captured her) lays out his goals. While his habit to break out in dance is quirky and all, his movements can’t distract us from his convoluted plan: He basically wants to make human-alien hybrids that he can rule over with Sara and his army of clones by his side. But if Bishop knows as much about Sara as he claims, he’d probably know that she wouldn’t go for this at all. She demonstrates this point by trying to convince one of the clones that they have free will and should help her escape. Although Sara is shocked when the clone betrays her, it seems pretty obvious that she wasn’t going to be able to turn one of Bishop’s servants in one day. It’s also a little out of character for Sara to trust a stranger (even if said stranger has her fiancé’s face) so quickly.

And speaking of people trusting others too quickly, let’s talk about Astra. We see her struggle with job hunting and ignorant neighbors while living in Constantine’s rundown house. A frustrated Astra then stumbles across a sorcerer named Aleister Crowley trapped in a portrait. She agrees to free him and put him in Constantine’s body in exchange for magic lessons, but after teaching Astra a couple of basic spells, he immediately betrays her. Since Astra spent her upbringing in Hell surrounded by liars and demons, you would think she would be more on her guard about warlocks who were trapped inside of paintings. But once again we have a character acting slightly out of their normal personality to set up an inevitable betrayal and showdown. Fortunately, Astra and Crowley’s confrontation is extremely entertaining.

When the Legends arrive in the middle of her lessons, Astra transforms them into magical objects. This gives us a funny Beauty and the Beast set up where the characters are trapped in objects that suit their personalities. (my favorites were the endearing candle version of Behrad and flip phone Zari). This comparison is really driven home when Crowley transports everyone into a beautiful 2D animated world where Astra has to struggle not to sing. In order to stop the villain, she learns one of her mother’s spells that allows her to purge magic from a person. She sings the incantation as the Legends (still in their object forms) attack Crowley. Once Astra puts Crowley back in the panting, Constantine reveals that the spell has drained his magical abilities. It’ll be interesting to see how being depowered will affect him in the long run. The episode ends with Sara killing Bishop—only for her to wake up later and see he’s seemingly fine. Does he have a clone, too?

Final Thoughts: While I appreciate Legends focusing on two underused characters, their individual storylines were fairly predictable. Astra and Sara are better served by having at least one or more Legends to play off of. Also, the show should do more 2D animation parodies when it can.

 

The Flash S07E12: “Good-Bye Vibrations”

Out-of-Context Quote of the Week is from Caitlin and Cisco: “We didn’t want your last day to be a tearfest.” “Caitlin, have you met us?”

The Flash took a break from trying to defeat a big bad so it could say goodbye to one of the original cast members, Carlos Valdes, who plays Cisco Ramon. This also came with the departure of his girlfriend Kamilla. Initially, the show followed the blueprint of a standard farewell episode: Cisco tells everyone that they’re leaving out of the blue, and they have surprised but reserved reactions. This leads him to wonder if he was ever wanted in the first place, and to the eventual reveal that his team was trying to hide their emotions so that he could leave. Fortunately, the middle of the episode brought something back to The Flash that hasn’t been seen in awhile—goofy fun.

A villain named Rainbow Raider (who rocks an awesome multicolored jacket) uses her powers to make people extremely happy and susceptible to suggestion. Her ability allows her to go on a crime spree across the city and eventually, both the Flash and Cisco get hit by her attacks. This leads to scenes of Cisco running around like a kid and Barry break-dancing for no apparent reason. It’s a ridiculous reaction to a campy villain that I couldn’t help but root for. I couldn’t remember the last time that Flash just had fun with one of the members of its rogues gallery. Although it could get tiresome if they did it every week, this is a nice change of pace from the recent storylines.

Rainbow Raider eventually gets serious and tries to pilot a blimp to drop very sharp jewels and money on top of a football game. Once Team Flash gets on the blimp, Cisco has to stay behind and pilot it while Barry saves everyone. Mecha Vibe manages to pull it off at the last second in a suspenseful scene. In a throwaway line, the Flash reveals he can get Rainbow Rider a job instead of a prison sentence; it’s a weird flex from him, but if it keeps a rogue in play for the future, I’m okay with it. The episode ends with dual farewell parties: While it was nice to see them say goodbye to Kamilla, it was Cisco’s scene that was really full of warmth. Cisco, Caitlin, Barry and Joe West sing Poker Face, the song playing when Barry first woke up from the lightning. It felt like we were watching the actors just having fun together for one last time, the perfect cap to Cisco’s farewell.

Final Thoughts: The Flash give us a fun episode with a low stakes villain and some solid comedic beats. At the same time, it managed to craft a heartwarming  farewell to Cisco Ramon.


Superman & Lois
S01E09: “Loyal Subjekts”

Out-of-Context Quote of the Week is from Jonathan: “I can never be scared of my family no matter what powers they have.”

Superman & Lois double down on their investigation of the shady businessman Morgan Edge. The episode hammers in how much of a threat he is by showing a scene from a first-person point of view where someone walks into his office to improve their life. We then see a woman named Emily get strapped into a machine that allows Edge to put the mind of a Kryptonian inside of her body. Although she’s a minor character, the show does a great job at making us feel sympathetic for her by showing how desperately she needs to help her family by entering Edge’s program. While Superman is trying to get more intel on her, he hears an armed robbery in progress happening in another country. After arriving, he’s stunned that bullets seem to hurt him.

Superman realizes that his father-in-law’s experimental Kryptonite gas gave him a super-cold. And to make matters worse, this illness was passed over to Jordan. Once again, the show shows that Kryptonian powers can be hell. Jordan loses control over his ice breath and slowly starts freezing from the inside, so Superman is forced to fly his son to the Fortress of Solitude for some very painful laser therapy. Meanwhile, Sam Lane visits Lois and Jonathan. Both of them call him out for crafting weapons that could hurt their family in two very effective and emotional scenes. Despite how wrong Sam’s actions are, you can still see his point of view and feel a little bad for him. Luckily, he gets a chance to make it up.

Emily and another nameless resident of Smallville try to use their newfound Kryptonian powers to kill Lois, but Sam comes in with a full arsenal of anti-Superman weapons he apparently keeps in his car and helps keep them at bay. Kyle, the father of Jordan’s love interest Sarah, suddenly arrives to help—we learn his body has also been partially taken over by a Kryptonian mind. It’s also revealed that the first person POV we saw earlier was actually Kyle’s. It’s a fantastic bait-and-switch that came with a very satisfying payoff. After Superman pushes Kyle out of the way, Edge decides to meet the hero in person. The episode ends with the final shocker that Edge also has Kryptonian powers and seems ready to use them. Although I suspected he had some kind of abilities to keep other Kryptonian employees at bay, this was still a great ending.

Final Thoughts: Superman & Lois keeps up its incredibly strong run with an episode that takes as much time building its minor characters as it does breaking down its major ones. The story also does a fantastic job at crafting a interesting threat that will test the heroes physically and emotionally.

Andrew Tejada is an NYC native so there’s a 90 percent chance this was written on the subway. When he’s not consuming movies/tv, he’s pitching his Static Shock screenplay to anyone who’ll listen. Andrew can also be found talking/yelling about DC Animated movies weekly basically wherever you listen to things @ Yet Another DC Animated Podcast. 

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