Arrowverse Recap: An Identity Crisis on Infinite Earths

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 give Constantine the spotlight, The Flash family unites against Godspeed, and Superman and Lois deal with the aftermath of the invasion of Smallville in…

… This Week in the Arrowverse!

Legends of Tomorrow S06E10: “Bad Blood”

Out-of-Context Quote of the Week is from Spooner and Constantine: “Only people who are worthy may drink from the fountain.”  “Yeah, yeah, typical prophecy malarkey.”

This week’s installment of Legends opened with a tense meeting between Constantine and a vampire. After he tricks her into standing in a dangerous magic circle, she offers him the map that leads him to a source that can restore his powers—and an ominous red vial that could give him a temporary magic boost. This strong opening effectively establishes that Constantine’s story is going to be darker than the average adventure. His plotline gets better when he grabs Spooner and they follow the map to that hidden source of magic. The two cynics have great chemistry together. And since neither has any powers at the moment, it feels tenser than the usual Legends outing every time they run into trouble. Eventually, Spooner is captured by armed men while Constantine escapes. Although he’s tempted to take the vial, he decides to try and rescue her another way.

The stakes aren’t… quite as high for the rest of the Legends. Since the alien from last week has grown into a tough teenager, most of the Legends are stuck trying to keep the strong animal at bay. Meanwhile, Rory has to come to terms with this new pregnancy. Neither plotline takes too many risks. The majority of the jokes about Rory’s pregnancy pretty much amount to people pointing and laughing that he’s pregnant. And we don’t even get to see the alien until the final minutes of the show. Although there is a sweet bit where Lita “Rory” convinces her dad to get medical attention, it was pretty much the only major plot point of consequence. While I don’t normally don’t mind a fun Legends side story, this episode’s B-plot just felt tacked on.

Thankfully, the Constantine team plotline does the heavy lifting this week. After Constantine gets Spooner out of danger by masquerading as an Italian priest, he realizes that a local boy holds the key to unlocking his magic. They just need to get him through a wave of soldiers. When Spooner presses the sorcerer about his willingness to put a child in danger, Constantine breaks down and admits that he feels worthless without magic. His desperation only increases when he discovers the source of magic that he was looking for has dried up. In a last-ditch attempt to get back to normal, Constantine tries to transfer the magic from the boy to his own body. But the magic deems Constantine unworthy.

Left with no other alternative, he drinks the red vial he’s been carrying and goes on a murderous magic spree against his remaining enemies. Constantine enjoys the power so much that he later sells the soul of a villain to get more red vials. And to cover up his tracks, he enchants Spooner to make her forget the details of the entire adventure. This final dark twist was a sobering way to cap off Constantine’s story so far. Over the span of a few episodes, he’s gone from an amusing magician to a dark ticking magical time bomb. The only question is: Who will get hurt when Constantine’s plan blows up in his face?

Final Thoughts: Legends fumbled the comedic B-Plot by playing it too safe. Constantine and Spooner definitely carried the episode with a strong, engaging, and dark story.

 

The Flash S07E18: “Heart of the Matter, Part 2”

Out-of-Context Quote of the Week is from Bart: “Oh, somebody did my nails. Must’ve been Caitlin.”

Flash kicked off the season finale by finally confronting the villain Godspeed. The antagonist who started a war in Central City, forgot his identity, became Bart Allen’s nemesis, and is meant to kill Jay Garrick in the future, finally revealed an intricate grand plan…. No, I’m just kidding.  Godspeed revealed that he has been doing all of this just so he can get faster. After weeks of build-up, it was kind of disappointing to see that this was all about running. And while we’re on the subject of characters that they let down, Allegra once again got the short end of the stick: A single pep talk with Chester is enough to convince her to stop grieving her cousin’s death for a moment and go back to work for Team Flash. It’s still unknown whether anyone else on the team even knew what she was going through. But it’s clear that the story sped through Allegra’s plotline to get to everyone else. Fortunately, the rest of the cast fared better.

In the middle of the chaotic Godspeed war, Joe gets captured by one of the clones. Just when it looks like he’s about to meet his end, Kramer moves as fast as Flash and saves his life. This act confirms that she is a meta-human who can copy the ability of other super-powered people. It was fun to see her character arc start with trying to take away powers and end with her realizing that she could potentially have any super ability she wanted. And now that she’s walked a mile in the shoes of the people she’s tried to persecute, she decides to leave the police force. Considering how much Kramer has been built up, I doubt this is the last we’ll see of her. As she comes to terms with her new powers, the speed force gives out free power-ups to the entire Flash family—Bart, Young Nora, Jay Garrick,  Speedforce Nora, Flash, and even Iris all get to show off special moves against the Godspeed power rangers. While the CGI and choreography were great, it was just an appetizer for the main course.

Godspeed agrees to stop the war if Barry gives the villain some organic speed. After Flash complies, Godspeed becomes seemingly too fast to stop. So, Barry calls in a ringer: Reverse-Flash. The trio of speedsters proceed to summon lightning lightsabers and start dueling each other. Yes, this scene is absolutely ridiculous and over-the-top. But it’s just so much fun to see Barry fight alongside his worst nemesis in order to stop something worse. After the two defeat Godspeed, Reverse-Flash immediately tries to take down Barry, but the Flash is too fast for him. It was incredibly cathartic to see that Barry had physically and emotionally moved miles ahead of his arch-nemesis. As Reverse-Flash ran from the battle, you could truly feel how much Barry had grown. After all this doom and gloom, the episode ends with Barry renewing his vows with Iris. Impulse blows us away one last time by demonstrating his innate singing ability. Instead of teasing the next season or big bad, the episode ends with Barry and Iris sharing a kiss and basking in their love.

Final Thoughts: The Flash finale didn’t give satisfying conclusions to the serious stories it set up for Allegra or Godspeed. However, it provided great fanservice by bringing a medley of historic characters into the final fight and letting Reverse-Flash steal a scene. While it wasn’t a perfect finale, it had enough crowd-pleasing elements to hold fans over until the next season.

 

Superman & Lois S01E13: “Fail Safe”

Out-of-Context Quote of the Week is from Clark to Lois: “We both play fast and loose with journalistic integrity from time to time.”

Although Superman’s evil brother Tal-Rho is finally inside of a Kryptonite jail cell, the heroes’ worries are far from over. The entire town has questions about the brainwashing plot that just happened—and the Kents all have to pay a price for keeping secrets. While Lois is forced to hide key story details from her boss at the newspaper, Jonathan can’t even go out on a date without being asked about what happened to Smallville. As the paranoia spreads through the town, Kyle, Lana, and Sarah Lang are all forced to take the brunt of the attack. Their lives are thrown for such a loop that they start making plans to leave Smallville. Since the series spent the last episode getting us to sympathize more with the Langs, seeing them lose even more allies leads to a few great dramatic scenes. But they’re not the only ones trying to live with their choices.

Last week, it seemed like Sam was a little too quick to use Kryptonite weapons on Superman. This episode does a great job of walking him back from that bright green extreme. Not only does he offer to rid the world of these weapons, but he also gives a sincere apology to Clark. And when Superman asks his father-in-law to keep the Kryptonite weapons on deck, Sam calls Lois to let her know that he’s concerned for Clark. It was great to see Sam as a more three-dimensional character again. Unfortunately for the Kent family, Sam’s call drives a wedge between Clark and Lois. Superman fears that he’ll lose control again. At the same time, Lois is scared that the weapons will fall into the wrong hands. Their conflict is tense, smart, and well-acted. And they’re able to reach a great compromise by agreeing to give the Kryptonite stockpile to Irons. Although he’s reluctant at first, he’s willing to take on the burden for Superman. Seeing him go from trying to slay Superman to giving Clark a respectful fist bump was a great way to bring his journey full circle.

The remainder of the episode was focused on expanding a little more on Tal-Rho’s backstory. We see him forced to execute a fatal mission in secret while watching his brother fly around as a noble hero. There are also hints that Tal-Rho was meant to sacrifice himself to restore Krypton. While the episode does a great job at exploring his emotional turmoil, it’s still extremely unclear what his next move is.  We know that his head is probably full of the minds of a bunch of Kryptonians, and he was somehow able to break out of a Kryptonite prison with some blue energy. But his endgame is pretty vague. Hopefully, we’ll get a little more clarity on goals next time. Because since the story ends with Tal-Rho seemingly siphoning energy from the sun, the next phase of his plan should spell some serious trouble for Superman.

Final Thoughts: While Tal-Rho’s imprisonment was brief and his plan extremely vague, his time in jail gave us more insight into how he became so bitter. The rest of the episode was full of great character work (especially for Sam Lane), realistic conflicts, and story arcs that came full circle in well written and surprising ways.

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.

citation

Back to the top of the page

9 Comments

Subscribe to this thread

Post a Comment

All comments must meet the community standards outlined in Tor.com's Moderation Policy or be subject to moderation. Thank you for keeping the discussion, and our community, civil and respectful.

Hate the CAPTCHA? Tor.com members can edit comments, skip the preview, and never have to prove they're not robots. Join now!

Our Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.