Four Color Television - Supergirl / Arrow - Week 4 Recap / Review
The Four Color Ark
DC/CW Television Week Four Part Two
Supergirl Season 3, Episode 04: “The Faithful”
Two years ago Thomas Coville’s life was over. His wife had left him, his job was falling apart and Coville (Chad Lowe) found himself at rock bottom, drunk on a plane that had lost multiple engines and was going to crash. Coville looked around to see people praying, and looked on them with contempt – and then suddenly the plane righted itself and landed in the water. He looked out the window onto the wing and saw a woman pull herself out of the water before taking off into the sky. That was the day that Kara Danvers chose to become Supergirl.
Today, Samantha Arias is acting as both the CFO of L Corp and as Ruby’s mother at a soccer game – trading off phone calls and pretending to watch her daughter play. Suddenly another mother comes up and starts talking about how both Samantha and Ruby are special, that they were chosen, and that the pair should come to a meeting of a very special group. The woman hands Samantha a pamphlet with a Kryptonian glyph on it. Later that day Lena and Kara are on an outing and meet up with Samantha at L Corp when Kara notices the glyph and asks if she can take the pamphlet, Samantha lets her and Lena invites Samantha to join them later that evening for a girls night Kara is hosting – Sam agrees.
Back at Catco Winn and James see Kara investigating the pamphlet and see that it has distracted her greatly, she informs them that glyph on the front of it is the symbol of Rao: the god of Krypton. The two agree to join her at the meeting listed on the pamphlet, and the three go to a small gathering area where Coville reveals himself as a priest of sorts presiding over a meeting of people who all worship Supergirl. Each member of the church was saved by Supergirl, and each now worship her as a prophet of Rao. Later that night Kara has to excuse herself from girls night to stop a massive fire, only to discover the fire was set by a member of Coville’s cult that wanted to be blessed by Supergirl.
Kara goes to Coville under the guise of writing an article for Catco Magazine about his group, but Coville instantly recognizes her as Supergirl and shows her that he has a kryptonian artifact holding the sacred texts of Rao – the backbone of Krypton’s faith. Supergirl tries to convince Coville that his views are dangerous and that she doesn’t support them, but he dismisses her as having lost her way in Rao and offers to help her return to his grace.
Supergirl realizes that the artifact Coville found was part of a probe that Kryptonians had sent out to teach other cultures about life on Krypton, much like the Voyager probes we humans launched in the 70’s. She has Winn look for Kryptonian power sources like the ones used on these probes and Winn finds it, in a stadium during a football game – and worse the energy signature is unstable. Coville has built a bomb, knowing that Supergirl will come and will disable the bomb “anointing” the people in the stadium and finding her way back to Rao. Supergirl arrives on the scene but before she can stop the bomb she collapses in pain and agony due to exposure to Kryptonite. Coville’s followers recognize that Coville is crazy and flee, Coville himself attempts to disable the bomb and fails. Alex arrives and is able to get the Krpytonite away from Supergirl, but she is still too weak to take the bomb and fly it far enough away in time. Supergirl uses her heat vision to melt a massive hole deep into ground, expending her powers and collapsing on the ground; Alex forces Coville to help her push the probe into the hole and the bomb explodes deep below the surface of the earth – but the shockwave of the explosion shakes the massive ship in the ocean that Supergirl glimpsed in Epsode 1 of the season.
Kara visits Coville in jail, still he worships her and believe it is his role in Rao’s plan to put Supergirl back on her path. Kara, Alex and Lena join Sam at a school pageant of Ruby’s and Alex breaks down – finally revealing to Kara that she wants to be a mom and that Maggie doesn’t want kids. Later that day in her bathroom at home Sam looks in the mirror and sees Kryptonian writing all over her skin. She collapses on the ground as an eerie cloaked figure tells her that “one day [she] will reign.”
If Flash gave us the best episode of the CW/DC TV week – Supergirl delivered the second best with this incredibly eerie look at the idea of people who would turn Supergirl and her powers into an article of faith to be followed. It’s unsettling, but incredibly powerful, to consider the idea that people would view her as a legitimate miracle. That people would see her and Superman as true saviors and instruments of God’s will – and possibly gods themselves. Chad Lowe gives a truly unsettling but ultimately completely believable performance as Coville – this cult leader who just wants to pray to someone that will actually answer his prayers. For the first time in quite a while this episode usued the character of James effectively by having him tell a story of the first time Superman saved him, a first hand account not unlike those being shared by the cultists that shows how easy it would be to come around to the idea of a Superman or a Supergirl as a god.
Episode 04 MVP: Chad Lowe* as Coville. His belief is so utterly believable and unsettling. Fascinating performance in an amazing episode.
Arrow Season 6, Episode 04: “Reversal”
In a swanky club in Star City, Black Siren seduces a guy and lures him into an alley where she uses her sonic scream to kill him. Elsewhere in Star City, Oliver and Felicity are out on their first date as Olicity version 2.0 and are discussing how to balance their relationship and Felicity’s Team Arrow responsibilities when Curtis calls about the dead guy. When Felicity gets to the bunker Team Arrow is already on the case, Dinah is on scene with the SCPD and has already ID’d Black Siren as the killer and are looking into ways of tracking her. Felicity heads home and calls Oliver to meet her there for some “desert,” but when she gets home she discovers she is not alone. Alena from the hacktivist group Helix is waiting for her to ask her help in stopping Cayden James the cyber terrorist from killing millions of people. Laurel kills her second victim and the team hits the streets to try to find her.
Oliver shows up at Felicity’s apartment just as Alena and Felicity are about to leave to try to use the tech infrastructure at the abandoned Helix site to track Cayden James – but first they need to get their hands on a ghost drive. Alena knows a tech dealer named Amnesiac who operates out of a rave. Black Canary kills her third victim, by introducing herself as Dinah- but Curtis has discovered a way to track her via the use of her sonic scream – and victim number three pings this tracker. Team Arrow arrives too late to save the target but just in time for a Black Siren vs. Black Canary rematch. Alena and Felicity make it to the rave and the man calling himself Amnesiac and just when it looks like the deal might go wrong a man in a mysterious mask shows up and beats up Amnesiac and his goons. That man, of course is Ollie, who saved the day but managed to skunk the deal. Felicity steals a ghost drive and tells Oliver to stay out of it, Alena and Felicity head to Helix.
Team Arrow has noticed a strange pattern with the kills, each of the victims led a boring and invisible life and had no priors – it was almost like each of them had a fabricated identity. Curtis admits he isn’t good enough to hack their real identities, but Felicity could. Meanwhile though Curtis has a theory on how to better track Black Siren. Diggle calls Felicity who explains to him that she is dealing with the Cayden James problem and feels guilty because she convinced Team Arrow to break him out of the A.R.G.U.S. Black site in the first place. Curtis finds Black Siren, standing with a familiar man very near to where Felicity currently is. Diggle realizes who the man is and mobilizes the team.
Meanwhile in Helix, Black Siren and a large group of goons bust the place up trying to kill Alena, and Cayden James (Michael Emerson) finally reveals himself to Felicity. Team Arrow shows up just in time and joins the fracas, managing to chase off Black Siren and James’ goons but not before Alena is wounded in the attack.
Felicity makes sure Alena is safe and stable in the hospital and helps to find the identities of the three Black Siren victims. It turns out that they are the three people who have access to the black site known as “The Vault” where the servers that contain the entire global internet are stored, and Cayden James’ plan involves bringing down the internet. Felicity writes some code that will track the location, but it will take time to locate. Diggle sends the distraught Felicity home, where after a bit Oliver shows up to give her a pep talk about how she can deal with her guilt and how she should push forward and make the situation right in the present – the kind of speech she usually gives to him.
Curtis locates the vault. James and his team are already there, using stolen fingerprints off of the three victims to access the massive facility. Shortly afterwards Team Arrow arrives and discovers that James has somehow reprogrammed the servers to explode. Felicity begins hacking what James has done, but James makes it so that she must hack the bomb from the same terminal he set it up on. The team fights and provides cover for her to get to the location, but she lacks the guidance she needs to get there. Suddenly a voice comes on comms telling her where to go, Oliver is in the Bunker and he performs the Felicity role of Overwatch and guides Felicity to the location. Felicity hacks while the team fights. Black Siren and Diggle have a face off that is about to go badly until Rene swoops in and saves Diggle. Felicity stops the bomb, but all the goons get away.
Felicity meets with Alena in the hospital, where Alena suggests that Felicity and Curtis should use their startup to further develop a mass producible version of the spinal implant that Curtis built to allow Felicity to walk again. Alena also gives Felicity permission to steal the name Helix for her company which she now names Helix Dynamics as she offers Alena a job. Cayden James reveals to Black Siren that the whole plot was a feint to get Felicity to do some hacking on the vault that would set the stage for the next phase of his plan, and he then gives Black Siren some tech that will prevent Curtis from tracking her sonic scream again.
Finally at Felicity’s apartment Oliver and Felicity are about to finally have the “desert” they’ve been trying to get to all episode when Oliver’s phone rings. On the other end is Slade Wilson, and he is asking for Oliver’s help.
All is again right with the world; Arrow has delivered the third best episode of the DC/CW Television week in a week featuring highlight episodes from all four series. I hesitate to say that this episode dropped in quality, just that the other series rose to meet it (and in two other cases exceed. This episode was effectively the Felicity version of last week’s Diggle centric episode where the former sidekick is in the position of needing emotional support from a retired Oliver. This one plays just as well, but gives Emily Bett Rickards a chance to play a bit of the tortured and guilt ridden hero the way that Oliver usually does. The team is behaving like a well oiled machine, and the new status quo for Team Arrow is quite enjoyable. There is no further exploration of Diggle’s doping plot, but no one will be upset if that is a slow burn arc. Michael Emerson finally appears as the cyberterrorist teased last year, and while that certainly works I still feel it was a missed opportunity not to put him in the role of Vic Sage as The Question.
Episode 04 MVP: Emily Bett Rickards* playing some serious guilt and anger as a Felicity forced to test her limits.
Next Week: Morgan Edge Vs. Lena Luthor on Supergirl. Barry’s Bachelor Party Vs. Iris’ Bridal Shower on The Flash. The Legends Vs. a Vampire on Legends of Tomorrow. Slade Wilson Vs. Everyone on Arrow.