Four Color Television - CW/DC TV Week 7 - Recap / Review
The Four Color Ark
DC/CW Television Week Seven
Thanksgiving may slow us down, but it will never prevent us from delivering the DC/CW Recap Review!
Supergirl Season 3, Episode 7: “Wake Up”
Seismometers in National City have detected some sort of event in the city and DEO scanners have determined that it was caused by a spaceship that crashed her thousands of years ago. Kara, J’onn and Winn go to investigate and discover an incredibly advanced vessel with stasis pods being protected by a trigger happy, bearded, and somehow no longer affected by atmospheric lead: Mon-El. Samantha, meanwhile, has embraced the fact that there is something wrong about her and decides to go visit her adoptive mother for answers. Despite having disowned Samantha for getting pregnant with Ruby in the first place, adoptive mom decides it is time to let Samantha know the truth and takes her to the barn to show her the pod Samantha arrived in – which ejects a glowing pulsing crystal for Samantha. Back at the DEO Mon-El is being cold to Kara and it turns out that while 7 months have passed on Earth, Mon-El has experienced 7 years and is being cryptic about the time travel shenanigans that brought him back to Earth. After an escape attempt that goes badly Mon-El admits he travelled into the far future of the 31st Century, but still refuses to give up any details of what brought him back to the 21st Century. Samantha goes on a journey deep into the desert with her mystery crystal and it constructs for her a Kryptonian fortress not unlike Clark’s Fortress of Solitude. Inside she learns that she is a Kryptonian weapon, and her mind is reprogrammed by the fortress. Mon-El convinces Winn to help him get back to the ship by saying that Kara’s future is at stake, ultimately Kara shows up while Winn and Mon-El are attempting to revive someone trapped in one of the stasis pods. Mon-El reveals that the woman they revive is Imra Ardeen, his wife in the 32st Century – and known to Comic fans as Saturn Girl.
Yay, Mon-El’s back… I know some people were missing him, but frankly I was glad to have without the character for the previous six weeks of stories. I’m torn n the way this episode went down, because as a lover of DC Comics Time Travel I really love a good Legion story, and this was the episode that finally paid off the appearance of the Legion flight ring way back in Season One. Hell this episode introduced Saturn Girl for goodness sake, but it did it by returning to us a terrible Mon-El. Samantha’s discovery of her own Kryptonian origins were fascinating in that they made sure that her experience on earth more closely mirrored Clark’s than Kara’s: crash landed in a small farm town, taken in by a farmer, true origins hidden, raised to be normal, given a crystal that creates a fortress – Reign is every bit the anti-Superman. Given that Season Two established that Superman’s most dangerous villain to date was Zod this is a nice touch – establishing that Superman faced a Kryptonian who had more in common with Supergirl and vice-versa. Anytime these writers use a standard trope from the Superman lore to highlight the differences between Kara and Clark I am always on board. Seeing more interplay between M’yrnn and J’onn J’onzz is awesome and I demand that we are given as much of them as possible throughout the rest of Season Three. Coolest moment of the episode though was J’onn preventing Kara from tunneling to the Legion ship by phasing himself, her and Winn through the ground.
Episode 07 MVP: For the first time this entire season the recipient is Melissa Benoist* who plays the emotional damage of dealing with Mon-El’s return perfectly. For someone who has been actively shying away from being Kara Danvers – she dove straight back into her glasses/ponytail identity when Mon-El returned.
The Flash Season 4, Episode 7: ”Therefore I Am”
We pick up where we left off last week with Joe and Barry interviewing Clifford DeVoe and his wife. What follows from this seemingly normal couple politely answering Joe’s questions is an episode told half in the present and half in flashback.
Flashback Five Years Ago: Clifford DeVoe is an absent minded professor who has a dream of being able to better deliver knowledge to the college students he teaches, his wife Marlize is a mechanical genius and the two together are working on a plan that will change the way everyone receives knowledge. Central to that plan is a device that Clifford has dreamed up and called his “Thinking Cap” which will enable to his mind to be flexible enough to deliver the knowledge he wishes to deliver. Marlize builds the device but there is no means of powering it, except Clifford postulates that a failure of Harrison Wells’ Particle Accelerator might generate enough exotic matter to power his device. Marlize and Clifford attend the same pre ignition press conference for the accelerator that Barry and Iris attended and even ask a question of Wells himself, who intimates that he knows how Clifford DeVoe is (which of course really means that Eobard Thawne knows who Clifford DeVoe will become.) The particle accelerator explodes and electricity charges up DeVoe’s thinking cap but the emergence of his meta-gene has a side effect. While giving DeVoe an incredible increase in knowledge – it also gives him an advanced form of ALS that is destroying his body. Marlize builds a device that will enable him to live longer.
The Present: Clifford and Marlize DeVoe present themselves as a perfectly normal couple in order to throw Team Flash off their scent, but the only one who is never shaken is Barry himself. Despite everyone doubting him he persists in trying to investigate the DeVoes, so they report him to Captain Singh as having harassed them. He breaks into their home to try to gather information, and is caught on film in the process – so they initiate a restraining order. Just when no one believes Barry, he decides to follow his gut and confront DeVoe who reveals that he knows Barry is the Flash and that he is manipulating everyone. He taunts that he is many many steps ahead of Team Flash. Barry returns to S.T.A.R. Labs and tells the gang what’s up, Wally returns from Blue Valley and everyone begins preparing to take down DeVoe – after Barry and Iris’ wedding.
The second they step out of their self-imposed Stepford story structure where each scene must have a punchline to “keep things light” the Flash writers deliver this brilliant introduction to The Thinker and his origins. Neil Sandilands and Kim Engelbrecht fantastically create a deep and believable relationship that is every bit the mirror image of Barry’s relationship with Iris – full of deep and abiding love and support – and the kind of teamwork that makes challenging choices together. The setup for who they are and what they have become together is brilliantly laid for the payoff of the season plot, but I’m not entirely sure it is well served by this “the Villain is so hidden that no one believes the hero” trope episode. When he finally does monologue with Barry about how far behind him Team Flash really is, Sandilands chews all the scenery and some of your living room with it in an absolutely chilling performance. Barry reacts to it in a way that shows he is starting to grow beyond the fear that allowed Thawne, Zoom, and Savitar to get the better of him. This episode also gave us a glimpse at the Eobard Thawne version of Harrison Wells – and quite a glimpse it was. Showing us that Thawne recognized The Thinker and supported him in his process of testing his thinking cap shows the truly deep, long term planning that Thawne undertook in preparing the Particle Accelerator to create Barry earlier than intended. Best moment of the episode was the throwaway line upon Wally’s return to S.T.A.R. Labs where he mentions fighting a starfish from outer space, otherwise known to DC Comics fans as Starro: The Conquerer.
Episode 07 MVP: Neil Sandilands who imbued his Clifford DeVoe* with SO MUCH MALICE, and yet so much pathos. He left himself so open that truly his motivations could be coming from anywhere, and his hatred of Barry could be motivated by anything: we just know he is a force to be reckoned with.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 3, Episode 7: “Welcome to the Jungle”
With Sara still unconscious the team uses random selection to discover which anachronism to try to fix, and that leads them to Vietnam to discover a mysterious creature in the jungles of Vietnam that is shifting the outcome of the war. The team begins tracking down the strange creature, and it doesn’t take long to discover for Ray, Zari and Amaya to discover that a shadowy cult has formed deep in the Jungle worshipping something they say is as powerful as God. Nate and Mick hook up with some Green Berets who are hunting the same creature they are, only to find that the leader of this team is Mick’s own father Dick Rory (Evan Jones.) Meanwhile Jax discovers that Martin Stein has collected the greatest minds from history and are trying to find a way to safely split Firestorm. Ray, Zari and Amaya find the shadowy creature and discover it is none other than Gorilla Grodd. Mick and Nate deal with Mick’s complicated emotions over meeting his father again, and ultimately the team discovers that Grodd’s plan is to capture LBJ on his visit to Vietnam and launch World War III. Jax runs off without Martin to try to save LBJ’s life, Amaya tries to convince Grodd to go back to his home time willingly but he runs off to try to steal the Waverider. Jax saves LBJ from a field of landmines, Mick manages to not murder his father, Stein protects the Waverider, Sara wakes up and Damien Dahrk pulls Grodd to the present to save him from the Legends. LBJ gifts Jax with Ladybird’s Pecan Pie recipe as a reward for his heroism
Gorilla Grodd in an Apocalypse Now referencing jaunt through the Vietnam War is the last thing I expected, but exactly what I needed. The team tracking him through the jungle is not nearly as important a focus of the episode as the Mick vs. his Dad conflict which really gives us the Kurtz-y feeling we all want from an episode set in Vietnam. The appearance of President Johnson was just strange, and I have so many questions: starting with: why was he in an Army uniform? Johnson was himself a Navy man, and we have photos of him visiting Vietnam in regular clothes – so I’m REALLY unsure who made this production decision, but it was supremely strange. I love that Grodd is now aligned with Damien Dahrk, this could lead to some amazing things as this years Legion of Doom is shaping up to be way more fun than last years.
Episode 07 MVP: Guest Star Evan Jones* who plays a version of Dick Rory that paints a very easy picture of why Mick would have burned his father alive.
Arrow Season 6, Episode 7: “Thanksgiving”
It is Thanksgiving in Star City and the Mayor is busy giving meals to the homeless with his son and girlfriend, when suddenly Agent Samanda Watson shows up to arrest Oliver Queen on charges of murder, assault, breaking and entering, etc. etc. etc. all stemming from his activity as Green Arrow. Thankfully though, John Diggle is currently fulfilling the role of Green Arrow and recognizes that if the criminals of Star City believe that Green Arrow is in prison – they will come out of the woodwork and take to the streets. Oliver prepares his legal defense, and Team Arrow prepares to defend Star City in his stead. Meanwhile Cayden James and Black Siren break into a chemical plant and steal a nano polymer that will serve as a major component of a bomb. Oliver is released on bail, and Mr. Terrific injects his new prototype into Diggle in an attempt to repair his nerve damage. Team Arrow takes the field to try to prevent a second Cayden James/Black Siren heist – but Diggle collapses instantly in incredible pain. Team Arrow is not able to prevent the second heist and now Cayden James has the components he needs for a massive bomb. With Diggle in the hospital Team Arrow has to finally let Oliver and Felicity in on the nature of Dig’s secret drug use and his long standing nerve damage. Oliver and Diggle have an altercation where both men say some things they’ll come to regret, but eventually Oliver circles back to apologize to Diggle for pushing him to become the Green Arrow, but Diggle admits he wants to be Green Arrow and apologizes for going about it wrongly. Oliver takes over as Green Arrow temporarily and leads the team to try to stop James’ Bomb – which we discover is planted at a Billy Joel concert. James has planted fake cops, and Team Arrow engages them while Oliver tracks the bomb to its source where he meets Cayden James himself. James admits that the bomb is a fake and he was using it to get Oliver’s attention so that he can monologue to the hero about why he intends to take down Green Arrow. Cayden James says he lost his son because of Oliver – and that he will have his revenge. James’ team manages to escape and Team Arrow realizes it was way too easy to take them down… because it was all a set up. Footage of Team Arrow fighting cops has gone viral and it has an effect on the anti-vigilante legislation vote, fearing that Team Arrow is anti-cop: Star City has voted to make vigilantism illegal. The team prepares for the worst, Oliver and Diggle completely bury the hatchet and finally Thea comes out of the coma she has been in since the explosion on Lian Yu at the end of Season Five.
For two weeks in a row: Arrow was not the best hour of DC/CW Television – this week having been narrowly edged out by The Flash. Guys, I think… I think I’ve finally fallen truly in love with Arrow and I’m not sure what to do about it. For years it was my least favorite and I gave it so much shit, but here it is: being awesome… AGAIN! This was the episode where Oliver Queen’s house of cards finally collapsed in truly spectacular ways. Getting arrested, the threat of a trial, the passing of the anti-vigilante legislation, Diggle’s secret finally coming to light, having to take up the mantle of Green Arrow again temporarily, nothing in this episode is a good thing for Ollie – except of course for Thea waking up. God help me I even liked the Billy Joel cameo, especially in the context that Rene is a huge Billy Joel fan. Much like the President Johnson thing on Legends, I’m just really curious why they decided to hold the election in Star City on the Friday after Thanksgiving – that’s just an odd thing to do and makes no American electoral sense. It was great to see a little family Thanksgiving time, and seeing little pieces of the dynamic form like John telling William to call him John but Oliver telling him to stick to Mr. Diggle. I think if Arrow keeps telling stories this good, I’ll have to eat an incredible amount of crow someday for all the bad things I said about it.
How often do TV shows suddenly get good in Season Six?
Episode 07 MVP: In an episode full of fantastic performances from every single member of this cast, I’m going to give this one to the person who week after week for the last six weeks has almost won this title: Rick Gonzalez*. Rene/Wild Dog continues to be a massive high point in every single episode, but his snark and humor were on point this week.
NEXT WEEK: THE. BIGGEST. EVENT. OF THE SEASON!