Four Color Television - Supergirl / Arrow - Week 3 Recap / Review
The Four Color Ark
DC/CW Television Week Three Part Two
Supergirl Season 3, Episode 3: “Far From the Tree”
Alex and Kara are discussing the upcoming Wedding Shower that Eliza Danvers is throwing for her daughter when J’onn shows up to inform the girls that he will be unable to attend the party because of last week’s mysterious summons from M’gann. Supergirl immediately tells J’onn that if he’s going to Mars, she is definitely going with him so that he doesn’t have to face that journey alone – even if it means missing her sister’s shower; Alex likewise says she would go in a heartbeat if she were able to survive the conditions on Mars. J’onn takes Supergirl to a garage where he keeps a 1952 Chevrolet Convertible which also happens to be his spaceship; and explains to an incredulous Kryptonian that he comes from a race of shapeshifters, so why should she be surprised that their technology can shapeshift as well. With that the ship transforms back into a spaceship and the two launch for their rendezvous with M’gann. In National City, Eliza has made a home cooked meal for Alex and Maggie and the three are discussing Alex’s childhood which leads to the sensitive subject of Maggie’s parents who we learned in season two had disowned her as a teenager. The result of this discussion is the most haunting description of a parent’s homophobia ever shared on prime-time television.
Meanwhile on Mars, Kara and J’onn make contact with M’gann and the other members of the White Martian resistance who inform J’onn that there is another Green Martian who still lives, J’onn’s own father M'yrnn J'onzz (Justice League Animated J’onn J’onzz Carl Lumbly) who has been held prisoner by the Whites for two hundred years while the Whites torture him to discover the location of a religious relic that is a psychic weapon capable of allowing the Whites to track down and kill all of the resistance members. J’onn attempts to speak with M’yrnn, but M’yrnn refuses to believe that this man before him is really his son – he believes the Whites are trying once more to get the staff’s location from him.
On the advice of Alex, Maggie reaches out to her father and invites him to their wedding shower. J’onn attempts once more to get through to M’yrnn, but the powerful telepath will not open his mind to J’onn and he still believes it to be a trick. A conflict explosively interrupts things at the resistance HQ; Supergirl, J’onn and M’yrnn flee. Meanwhile on Earth Maggie’s dad Oscar (Carlos Bernard) visits briefly at the party and seems to be attempting to make a real effort to get to know his daughter, until he sees her with Alex. In disgust he runs out, Maggie chases him and he informs her that he refuses to support her choices.
Supergirl manages to get through to M’yrnn, M’yrnn psychically bonds with J’onn and the two embrace each other. M’yrnn informs J’onn and the resistance where the Whites are digging for the staff. Supergirl and The Resistance show up in J’onn’s spaceship (in full 52 Chevy mode blaring some Britney Spears) and a brief battle ensues for the staff. The Resistance wins the day and decides to give the staff to Supergirl and J’onn to make sure that they protect it from the Whites and the Resistance. Maggie confronts her father and tells him that she does not need his validation and that she cannot condone his bigotry. Supergirl, J’onn and M’yrnn return to Earth.
Supergirl seems at last to be regaining its footing after two weak first episodes, and it has done so by doubling down on making this episode about Supergirl’s central narrative metaphor: Family. J’onn’s arc with his father is very well handled, but I wonder how well the Martian culture sequences play to an audience that hasn’t steeped themselves as thoroughly as I have over the years. M’yrnn J’onzz is an intriguing character brilliantly portrayed by Carl Lumbly, which brings that extra layer of awesome when taking into account that Lumbly spent years as the voice of J’onn J’onzz on the animated Justice League and Justice League Unlimited series’. The incredible pathos of the very REAL homophobia and bigotry of Maggie’s father is incredibly heartbreaking – particularly the story of how he disowned her as a teenager and the explanation why all these years later. Supergirl doesn’t shy away from taking on real world issues, and it’s incredibly strong when it does.
Episode 03 MVP: My inner fanboy wants to say Carl Lumbly owned this episode left right and center, but Floriana Lima* played her struggle with her conflicting emotions toward her father and his actions so expertly that she frankly broke my heart a little. Opportunities for nuanced performances like this don’t often come up on superhero television, and I’d be remiss to not call this one out.
Arrow Season 6, Episode 3: “Next of Kin”
John Diggle makes his debut as Green Arrow in a staggeringly violent, but well controlled outing where the entire team works well together, of course it can’t remain that simple – but that is how it begins. Samanda Watson shows up the next day to harass Oliver about the goings ons, pointing out rightly to Oliver that for some reason this new Green Arrow isn’t firing any arrows and that she isn’t fooled into getting off Oliver’s trail.
Mercenary Onyx Adams (Chastity Dotson) and her team break into Kord industries to hack their computers, and Detective Drake is on the scene immediately to investigate. Working with Curtis and Felicity Team Arrow uncovers that Onyx was hacking them for delivery schedules and is targeting a truck that is carrying a consignment of gas. Oliver spends some time with William and discovers that his son is incredibly nervous about a math test he feels unprepared for. Oliver gives William some bad advice and William gets a little prickly toward his not so academically inclined father. Team Arrow discovers that Onyx and her Special Ops team are after a toxic gas compound and it seems they want to go after a former member of their team.
Diggle and team suit up to stop the truck heist, but it goes spectacularly bad – at exactly the wrong moment Diggle freezes and fails to make a choice that allows Onyx and her team to get away with the gas they intended to steal. A very pissed off Rene comes to Oliver to demand that he return to the role of Green Arrow because Diggle is failing and the consequences could be disastrous. News of the heist is all over the place and the city council is seriously considering an anti vigilante bill that would criminalize Green Arrow and his team specifically.
Oliver asks Felicity to tutor William in math and gives Diggle a pep talk to try to get him from sulking too much over the previous night’s failure. Oliver informs Diggle that there wouldn’t be a Green Arrow without John’s influence; wearing the hood was initially just about vengeance for Oliver, but it was Diggle who had showed Oliver that he could use that identity to help people in need. Oliver encourages Diggle to believe in himself. Felicity tutors William and the two get along extremely well.
Diggle and team suit up and go to an event where Onyx’s target is, and are confronted with a gas distraction and a team of Special Ops soldiers that divide the team. Diggle doesn’t hesitate this time, he gives orders like a seasoned pro and goes after Onyx –taking both her and her target into custody. Rene apologizes for doubting Diggle, but Dig understands completely. The team celebrates their first win under Diggle’s leadership; Curtis and Felicity unveil what they’ve built: a crossbow that fires full arrows instead of bolts so that non archer Diggle can finally and truly be The Green Arrow. Oliver uses a legal loophole to buy time to prevent the city council from approving the anti vigilante legislation by making a motion that it become a city wide referendum so that the people can vote on the measure. Dinah gives Diggle a compliment on his leadership. Oliver swings by Felicity to say that he wants to finally be with her and have her be a part of William’s life – there is some implied Olicity sex and all is right with the world. In a shadowy alley, a man pays a drug dealer a lot of money for some doses of a drug. The man reveals his identity, with his arm trembling John Diggle opens the case and injects himself with a dose –steadying his hand.
Another week where Arrow takes the top spot in my ranking of the four shows with a tour de force performance by David Ramsey as a John Diggle struggling to decide how best to honor Oliver’s request to become the Green Arrow. Seeing John, who has often been the second in command, struggle with how to step into a leadership role and struggle with how to be as sure of himself as Oliver was in the role is an excellent sort of deep breath before the series dives down deep into wherever it intends to go next. Putting Quentin Lance and Oliver Queen in the position of actually attempting to figure out how to distance themselves from Team Arrow publicly is a masterstroke. The final fight where we do get to at last see Diggle’s Green Arrow in all his glory fighting with Onyx in the limousine is so staged in such a way that it doesn’t resemble any of the amazing Stephen Amell fight sequences we’ve seen over the course of the previous five years – or for that matter the two attempts in this episode for Diggle to duplicate those kinds of scenes. Through the action scene, Diggle is finally able to make the role his own.
Episode 03 MVP: David Ramsey* for trying to figure out how to move forward as Green Arrow.
Next Week: Supergirl meets a creepy cult. Barry meets a dirty cop. Ray meets himself. Team Arrow meets Black Siren (again.)