Arrowverse Recap: A Mixed Bag of Tremendous Highs and Series Lows

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 try to bend the rules of time more than they normally do, Batwoman hands in her cape,  Team Flash tries to save an assassin, and Superman and Lois take us back to the beginning of their story in…

This Week in the Arrowverse!

[Spoilers Ahead]


Batwoman S02E17: “Kane, Kate”

Out-of-Context Quote of the Week is from Black Mask: “Didn’t like the speech huh? I worked on it all night.”

After the Bat-team finds the brainwashed Kate Kane again, they decide to… immediately let her roam free. She takes advantage of her lack of supervision to visit Black Mask. It’s revealed that not only does Kate still believe she’s Black Mask’s daughter, but she’s also planning to steal crucial items from the Batcave. Since none of the Bat-team suspects a thing, she’s easily able to subdue Sophie, Mary, and Luke with barely any effort and squeeze all the stuff she needs into one tiny duffel bag. This undercover Kate plot could’ve been fun if anyone had been at least a tiny bit skeptical. But since there’s no conflict to any of her goals, the plotline falls a bit flat.

Unfortunately, Alice’s subplot doesn’t fare that well either. While she’s grieving Ocean, Mary visits her in hopes that the villain will help her sister recover memories. But Alice tries to threaten Mary into reviving Ocean… somehow. After this weird twist, Alice isolates herself until she gets a visit from her old boss Safiyah. For some reason, the villainous queen thought it would be a good idea to talk to the Wonderland villain alone, and during the same conversation where Safiyah tries to justify sending someone to kill Ocean, she tries to convince Alice to come work for her again. To no one’s surprise, Alice rejects the offer and immediately stabs Safiyah with a knife that will leave her unconscious until it’s removed. Considering what the two have done to each other, it’s unclear why either villain would leave the other alive. Alice simply walks away from the unconscious Safiyah to fight another day, I guess.

Although the strongest of the three plotlines belonged to Ryan this week, it wasn’t without its flaws. In the wake of Kate’s return, Ryan immediately decides she’s no longer needed, quits being Batwoman and moves out of her apartment. While I like the idea of yielding to the old guard, it seems weird that she’d abandon her post before making sure Kate was physically and mentally up to it. During Ryan’s retirement, she’s framed by the GCPD and brought to Black Mask. After making it very clear that he knows her civilian identity, he sends her away so she can… die somewhere else. Once again, it’s another weird case of a villain not attacking a vulnerable opponent they want to get rid of. Fortunately, this mistake allows Ryan to escape police custody and return to fight Kate in the Batcave. Unfortunately, Ryan can’t stop Kate from leaving with a bunch of dangerous items that include Bane’s strength-enhancing venom and a Poison Ivy plant that Safiyah desperately needs. Admittedly, I’m interested to see what Black Mask does with all these items next.

Final Thoughts: A potentially strong story was muddled by illogical decisions from the heroes and villains that went from threatening to ineffective within the same scene. Although there were interesting plot turns throughout, the overall story fell pretty flat.

 

Legends of Tomorrow S06E07: “Back to the Finale Part II”

Out-of-Context Quote of the Week is from Sara: “Why would I help you? Cause I died and you cloned me? I die once a year and my girlfriend is a clone.”

This week’s episode picks up moments after Sara found out that her original body was gone and she was now a clone. While she’s able to brush off the idea of dying pretty easily, she becomes a lot more unsettled when Bishop tells her that he turned her into an alien/human hybrid. He also reveals his intentions to create an army of Sara clones full of alien DNA that he can use to conquer the universe. While Bishop’s plan is still pretty childish (so much so that Sara calls him out on it), it still would be bad news if he was able to pull it off. Fortunately, Sara is able to escape and reunite with Rory, Gary, and a bunch of good clones. They decide to blow up the generators that keep the planet safe in order to stop Bishop’s plan in its tracks.

Back on Earth, all of the Legends still believe that Sara is dead. Behrad decides to break the number one rule of time travel and go back to a time the team already visited to try to prevent Sara from being abducted by Bishop in the first place. His ambitious plan leads to a bunch of fantastic scenes. The past version of Ava gets herself blackout drunk so that she won’t remember seeing the future Legends, Spooner meets and bonds with Sara for the first time, and Behrad tries to fix the timeline with an exploding mannequin. All of their shenanigans culminate in a scene where a future version of Nate that has an eye patch, Constantine’s coat, and the gravelly voice tells to them to stop trying. This excellent version of Nate gets the team to accept the reality that their captain is gone.

While they prepare to say goodbye, Sara attempts to clone a human version of herself that she intends to send back to Earth while she stays behind. But she soon discovers that making the clone with the computer will also allow Bishop to spread his consciousness throughout the universe. In a surprisingly heartwarming scene, Rory (of all people) encourages Sara to abandon the cloning idea and just come home as she is. She decides to accept her alien nature and destroy the computer holding Bishops consciousness. As Sara, Rory, and Gary try to escape the planet, Kayla puts herself in the line of fire so they can get away. Hopefully, they’ll mount a rescue mission to save Rory’s new love interest later on. The rest of the episode is dedicated to Sarah finally reuniting with the team she’s been separated from all season. Once everyone knows she’s alive, she bends on one knee and finally proposes to her girlfriend Ava with a moving speech. After all the tragedy and strife that she’s gone through, the story ends on this happy beat.

Final Thoughts: While Bishop’s plan is still pretty silly, his evil plot doesn’t take away from how great the rest of the story is. The Legends pull off their signature mix of hilarious and heartwarming to make an unforgettable episode.

 

The Flash S07E14: “Rayo de Luz”

Out-of-Context Quote of the Week is from Sue: “She’s gotta realize that sharing a back alley yin yang tattoo doesn’t bond you for life.”

While Barry and Iris run out of town for lots of alone time, and Frost goes on a solo mission, the rest of the members of Team Flash have to deal with the meta assassin Ultraviolet. But there’s an added wrinkle: Since Ultraviolet is Allegra’s cousin, the goal is to try to save the assassin instead of taking her to jail. Although the idea of redeeming a villain is pretty well covered at this point, this plotline stands out for actually giving us a good reason why the heroes care. Ultraviolet has burned lots of people, but she was still Allegra’s only family growing up, and the heroine isn’t willing to throw that connection away. She’s forced to reconsider her point of view when Ultraviolet ambushes her and Chester at CC Jitters (which must have tremendous insurance because it’s attacked basically once a week).

Fortunately, they are saved by my new favorite character: Sue Dearbon. Her cynicism and blunt delivery are a great contrast to the hopeful Team Flash (it helps that Natalie Dreyfuss gives a thousand percent in every scene). I especially love the moment where Chester, Caitlin, and Allegra say they can handle Ultraviolet between the three of them, and Sue gives the exact same skeptical expression I had. Surprisingly, the team manages to capture Ultraviolet—who reveals that she’s after the doctor that illegally experimented on her, leading Allegra to immediately let her out so they can fight together. During a training session, Chester is nearly killed by a stray blast from Ultraviolet, but he’s still willing to help Allegra find her cousin. Once again, the show does an effective job at making Chester a more well-rounded character.

Allegra tracks her cousin to a warehouse full of goons. While Sue takes on the majority of the bad guys on her own, Allegra confronts her cousin. It turns out that Ultraviolet made a deal with the doctor: He will heal her in exchange for killing her cousin. Allegra levels up to a powerful supernova form and is able to win the day. Even after all of that, she still refuses to take her cousin to jail and vows to help her. Thanks to the careful build-up to this conclusion, the episode was one of the better examples of redeeming the villain. And speaking of, Joe spends most of the episode trying to find out what happened to make the chief of police Kramer hate metas so much. Not only does he get through to her, but they actually agree to team up to catch a dangerous villain. Their well-acted scenes together left me intrigued to see where this plotline goes.

Final Thoughts: Although Team Flash’s tendency to redeem villains can get tiring, Allegra’s journey to save her cousin was compelling, and had a good balance of light and darkness. And it helps that National Treasure Sue Dearborn is around to make every scene she’s in a hundred percent better.

 

Superman & Lois S01E11: “A Brief Reminiscence In-Between Cataclysmic Events”

Out-of-Context Quote of the Week is from Tal-Rho: “It’s good you’re awake, Kal-el. Now you and I can discuss your terms of surrender.”

After the intense and climactic battle last week, Superman & Lois decided to slow down and take us to the beginning of Superman’s career. The flashbacks begin by showing a teenage Clark having an emotional meeting with his holographic father for the first time in the isolated Fortress of Solitude. The two decide to begin his Superman training. After a fantastic transition where Clark instantly goes from a young boy to a man while running, he returns to society to start his hero work. We get another great emotional beat when Martha Kent gives him the cape and costume that she made for him. He immediately takes the costume, saves a boy, and proudly tells the kid that his mother made the suit. The show does a fantastic job explaining Superman’s relationship with his parents in ways I haven’t really seen in live-action before.

The middle section of the episode focuses on Superman and Lois’ burgeoning professional and romantic relationships. While I did enjoy the calm and sweet nature of the scenes, I did find myself craving a little bit more action and follow-up to the major events that went down last week. Fortunately, Superman starts seeing a shadowy figure that hints that this may be more than a flashback episode. After he relives the birth of his sons, it’s revealed that this walk through Superman’s past was actually part of Tal-Rho’s latest scheme: The villainous Kryptonian was exploring his brother’s memories to identify all of his weaknesses while trying to understand why anybody would protect the earth. This twist alone helped elevate what could have been a straightforward episode.

Since Superman is still weak from last week’s encounter, Tal-Rho is easily able to knock his brother out. Over in Smallville, Jordan finally gets a relationship upgrade with Sarah. Unfortunately, the happy feelings are short-lived—Tal-Rho shows up in Smallville and immediately tries to execute Clark’s family. A weakened Superman shows up just in time to… surrender. Surprisingly, Superman immediately concedes to save his family and agrees to go with his brother. While they talk, we get a quick flashback that shows Tal-Rho’s holographic dad treating him brutally while passing on dangerous ideologies: It’s exactly what the evil Kryptonians intend to do to Clark. As Superman is hit with a painful beam that will presumably get him to comply with Tal-Rho’s orders, Lois calls up John Henry Irons and tells him to get ready to go after the Man of Steel.

Final Thoughts: While the flashback episode was fun, there were a few times where the pace crawled to halt. Fortunately, the episode made up for it with a stunning twist and sobering finale that pulls you into the overall story once again.  We’ll see where things go when the show returns on July 13th.

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 about DC Animated movies weekly wherever you listen to things @ Yet Another DC Animated Podcast.

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