Four Color Television - CW/DC TV Week 12 - Recap / Review
The Four Color Ark
DC/CW Television Week Twelve
Supergirl Season 3, Episode 12: “For Good”
Someone tries to kill Morgan Edge by blowing up his car, and Edge thinks it was Lena Luthor. James and Kara immediately jump into investigator mode and start trying to figure out who tried to kill Edge, because they both know deep in their souls that Lena would never do such a thing. Elsewhere Alex enters into caregiver mode to perform some tests on Sam to discover where her missing time goes. Lena struggles with the fact that her friends keep talking about how she would never try to kill Morgan, when she knows that she did try to kill him once before. She admits as much to her friends, and they stand by her – but not before an attempt is made on her life through a poisoned cup of coffee. James chases down who poisoned Lena while Kara races her to the medical facility at the DEO. Alex manages to save Lena’s life and Kara returns her to the CatCo offices. Lena wakes up and the info from James and Kara leads her to discover that the person who attempted to kill Morgan Edge is none other than her own mother Lillian. Lillian plays the maniacal mother just wanting to protect her daughter, and Lena leaves. Kara and Lena figure out where Lillian will strike and go to try to save him. Lena offers to spare him if he just confesses to having tried to kill her earlier, and he records a confession just as a brilliant light display made up of drones turns deadly and starts targeting people at Morgan Edge’s cocktail party. Lillian arrives and one of the drones transforms into the Lexosuit, Supergirl and Lillian do battle and Mon-El has the idea to have Winn reprogram the other drones to attack Lena’s suit. In the end Lillian is taken down by her own drones, Morgan and Lillian both go to jail and Sam gets her test results. Now that she knows there isn’t anything wrong with her, she admits her issues to her friends and they agree to stand by her.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Corporate titans battle it out, blah blah blah… LILLIAN LUTHOR WAS WEARING THE LEXOSUIT! This episode could have featured Kara in a room with Lena talking about toast for 35 minutes so long as the rest of the episode featured Lillian Luthor in the iconic green and purple battlesuit Lex Luthor built to fight Superman in the early 1980’s. As for the back and forth between Morgan Edge and Lena Luthor, it was all very empty and predictable, it was in fact so generic that I’m not sure if this plot wasn’t recycled from an episode of Smallville – it certainly feels familiar. What it was though, was perfunctory – like this was a beat that the writers simply wanted to wrap up and move on from. Frankly I couldn’t blame them if that were the case, this take on Morgan Edge hadn’t really gone anywhere or done anything since his first appearance. Though this episode did give us our first Maxwell Lord reference since Season One, which was nice. With just one more episode to go before Supergirl goes on an extended hiatus, let’s hope that next week doesn’t fizzle like this one did.
Jeremy Jordan provides the usual support, but the glee with which he discusses the Lexosuit makes him a true standout in this week’s episode (and perhaps the only one in this dud.)
The Flash Season 4, Episode 12: “Honey I Shrunk Team Flash”
Barry and Big Sir have become buddies in prison, and their conversations lead Barry to learn that Big Sir was falsely convicted of a crime he didn’t commit – just like Henry. Barry asks Team Flash for help in working the decades old case to try to exonerate his friend. Meanwhile on the outside, Cecille’s pregnancy hormones have interacted with some latent dark matter to give her temporary metahuman powers, particularly the ability to read minds – which causes some awkwardness with Joe who doesn’t want every one of his stray thoughts to be read by his girlfriend. The new mayor is on site to dedicate a new Mercury Labs building, when the building itself mysteriously vanishes, in fact it was shrunk down to the size of a lego toy and taken by Sylbert Rundine (Derek Mears) a meta with the ability to shrink objects. Ralph, Joe and Cisco investigate Rundine and while he is attempting to escape he uses his powers to shrink Ralph and Joe. Joe uncovers evidence to suggest that maybe Rundine is the person who framed Big Sir, and Cisco names Rundine: Dwarfstar. Barry tries to convince Big sir that he and the S.T.A.R. Labs team have found the guy who really committed his crime and that they will get him out of Iron Heights, and while he is resistant at first: eventually Big Sir starts to have hope again. Harry reaches out to Felicity for some schematics of Ray Palmer’s shrinking tech and reverse engineers it to figure out how to fix the now six inches tall Ralph and Cisco – the problem is he rushes into it and actually makes their cells even more unstable. A frustrated Harry tries and tries to figure out the problem, but it just isn’t making sense and his friends are hours away from death. Cisco gives Harry a pep talk about how he can save them and how he can save Barry from his situation in Iron Heights, Harry realizes that Rundine’s powers work differently than Palmer’s technology and figures out how to fix Cisco and Ralph. Cecille and Joe visit a counselor to try to work through the tension over Cecille’s powers. Harry, Joe, and a still shrunk Cisco and Ralph then track down Rundine and try to get him to use his powers to unshrink Cisco and Ralph. A fight ensues and a back and forth of powers until finally Rundine tries to shrink Harry – but the particles intersect with Cisco and Ralph making them big again. Rundine is taken in but refuses to confess to Big Sir’s crime. Barry breaks the bad news to Big Sir, who takes it in stride and thanks Barry for trying. Later that night Barry uses his powers to take Big Sir to a small Japanese village he’d said he’d always wanted to visit. Barry’s use of powers to free Big Sir came with a big price, Warden Wolfe had a hidden camera pointed at Barry’s cell and it captured him using his speed to escape. Wolfe drugs Barry and has him dragged to the metahuman wing of Iron Heights, where he calls Amunet Black and claims he’s captured a very big fish for her.
To begin with: I’ve met Derek Mears the stuntman/actor who plays Dwarfstar in this weeks episode of The Flash, and he is super cool. If you ever get a chance to meet him at a convention, you should definitely take it. That bit of personal connection out of the way: THIS is finally what we’ve been waiting for – a Flash episode with a humorous premise that still takes itself seriously. That said, this episode did feel a little barebones, but that straightforward narrative worked to give us time to breathe a little and have some important character beats. Taking the time to see that Harry feels responsible for failing Barry, to see that Cisco is still the calm center of Team Flash – watching over teammates like Harry when they reach their breaking points, these moments are a great reminder of why we fell in love with this team in the first place. There are however some things that don’t work. The initial premise that pregnancy has given Cecille powers is a unique one, but the way it plays out over the course of the episode feels a bit uneven. I suspect that the inclusion of this storyline with a known pregnant character getting temporary abilities is meant to sow another seed in the suspected Iris pregnancy storyline. The big thing that doesn’t work though is the ending with Barry using his powers to help Big Sir escape Iron Heights to a quiet Japanese village where he can live out his days in peace. On the surface this seems like a good concept, but this is meant to be the same Barry Allen who multiple times actively chose not to use his powers to help Henry Allen escape Iron Heights. I get that Barry is disheartened by the inability to set Big Sir free, despite knowing for certain that he is innocent – but Barry has been at that same crossroad before and kept working the case: certain that he could exonerate the wrongly accused. Of course, the use of his powers to free Big Sir sets off the big end of episode twist, where Warden Wolfe of Iron Heights is revealed to be an incredibly intelligent by desperately corrupt individual. The Big Sir stuff feels out of character, but the result is such a well-played twist that I somewhat must forgive the out of character moment.
Carlos Valdes returns to top honors this week with a nimble performance where he is given some gut bustingly funny moments and the heaviest emotional scene in the episode, all while being six inches tall.
Black Lightning Season 1, Episode 03: “Lawanda: The Book of Burial”
The episode begins with Lawanda’s funeral, which serves as a rallying cry for Reverend Jeremiah Holt (Clifton Powell) who is tired of allowing The 100 to run Freeland’s streets and intends to march with 100 others to try to shut down the nefarious gang. Inspector Henderson tries to talk the good Reverend out of his plan, but Holt just makes it very clear just how trustworthy the police of Freeland really are. Jefferson also attempts to talk the Reverend out of the march, but is informed that this is all inspired by the resurgence of Black Lightning. Jefferson and Gambi work up some new tech for the Black Lightning suit so that Jefferson can protect the march. Anissa is exploring her newfound superpowers and falls in with a comic book fan named Grace Choi (Chantal Thuy) who invites her to a Superhero costume party at a bar. Other Pierce daughter Jennifer decides that she is ready to have sex and announces it to her parents, leading to much liberal consternation and a plan to get Jennifer on birth control. Tobias Whale goes before Lady Eve (Jill Scott) who is calling him on the carpet for letting the Black Lightning situation get out of hand, and for allowing the Reverends march in the first place – a somewhat subservient Tobias promises to deal with the situation. Gambi and Jefferson set up a barricade to shift the parade route of the march, and Jefferson provides overwatch as a mass of protestors march to take back their streets. Tobias has put a gunman in the crowd, not to assassinate the Reverend but to kill protestors indiscriminately to make people fear speaking up. Black Lightning stops the shooter and the crowd begins to sing Amazing Grace – but Tobias Whale is nearby with his henchwoman Syonide (Charlbi Dean) whom he orders to shoot Black Lightning. Syonide misses and shoots the Reverend, the bullet tears through him and Jennifer’s boyfriend. Black Lightning gets away before the cops show up, Jennifer races to the hospital to be with her potentially dying boyfriend: Anissa and Lynn travel with her to comfort her – and Tobias Whale has done the one thing he wanted to avoid: he has created a martyr in the form of Reverend Holt.
The third episode of a television show is usually the episode where we slow down the pace of the ongoing plot and take some time to give a little development to secondary characters; Arrow did this by having a sharpshooter targeting Oliver Queen so that we could explore Diggle’s backstory and put Oliver in more scenes with his family; Flash delved deep into the backstory of Caitlin and Ronnie; Supergirl had a villain beat the Maid of Might up drastically – giving us time to explore the gang at CatCo reacting to Supergirl through Kara. Black Lightning’s ‘take a breather’ certainly spends a little time getting to know the Pierce children, but I wouldn’t say that a massive protest march and an assassination attempt could be considered “slowing the pace.” What we do get is more of Freeland holding Black Lightning and Jefferson Pierce to a standard most superheroes are not held to, and some intriguing questions about the show itself and its place in the broader televised DC Universe. What exactly is the nature of The 100 if Tobias Whale isn’t entirely in charge; is it some sort of city-wide cabal that runs much deeper than just an oppressive street gang? Does the 100 answer to Kobra, or has Lady Eve been reformulated to be something even more sinister? What happened with Whale and Black Lightning? Where does Black Lightning fit into the cosmology of the CW/DCU when the character of Grace Choi holds up an in universe copy of The Outsiders # 16 to show to Anissa Pierce? Does this hint at a broader multiverse approach where Black Lightning is on its own Earth and the events of other Earths are published as comic books (which is a staple of DC Multiverse theory,) or is this just a cute nod to the fact that Black Lightning, Anissa and Grace are all members of The Outsiders? Does it mean anything at all? It’s nice to spend a little time building up the relationship between Gambi and Jefferson, and to build on the mystique of the 100.
Finally I can give this title to star Cress Williams for his brilliant scene attempting to discourage a young man from having sex with his daughter. Classic and very well handled Principal Pierce.
Arrow Season 6, Episode 12: “All for Nothing”
A.R.G.U.S tries to get into Star City to track down James’ bomb, but he takes them out immediately. It has been eight days with the city cut off from the rest of the world, and nerves are starting to fray. Team Arrow is scouring the city trying to find James’ bomb, but they are not having any luck. The Outsiders are working with Vigilante to try to take James down from the inside. Oliver and Diggle manage to track Vigilante and are about to capture him, when The Outsiders show up to let them know that Vigilante is under cover. Felicity comes up with a plan to use the sniffer from season 5 to get intel directly from James’ servers, but it has to be installed manually. Vigilante agrees to the mission and goes in with the device, meanwhile Felicity and Alena hunker down to go through all of the data. Vigilante gets in, gets the device installed but is immediately found by Cayden James. He stalls for time, and manages to transmit all of his data to Team Arrow: but he’s been made. James has his guards bring him in, and Anatoly begins to torture him – which is incredibly hard to do to a man who heals damage instantly. Alena and Felicity discover the footage used to frame Oliver for the murder of Cayden James’ son, and begin a lengthy analysis of it. Vigilante’s coms get turned on and everyone in the Foundry hears him screaming as Anatoly tortures him, Felicity discovers the location of the bomb. Dinah demands the team go in to extract Vigilante, Oliver says they need to get the bomb – Dinah rightly points out that if it were Felicity or Lilah being held by the bad guys there would be no arguing with Oliver or Diggle that they would go in. Oliver relents and lets her leave, and her team agrees to go with her. Ollie and Diggle go to the bomb site which is far too big for the two of them to search alone. The Outsiders go to try to rescue Vigilante and get into a fight with Cayden James and his guards. There is a small explosion and Dinah is trapped under some rubble, Vigilante is about to pull the rubble off of her when Cayden James and Black Siren arrive. Black Siren forces Vigilante onto a spike and on orders from James kills him with Dinah watching. Black Siren sonic screams into his ear into his brain liquefies. Anatoly lays a trap for Oliver that distracts him long enough for Anatoly to load the bomb on one of five trucks and escape. Rene and Curtis pull Dinah out of the rubble and take her back to base, after a while – still shaken by the death of her former partner and ex boyfriend – Dinah asks if Oliver got the bomb. Curtis explains he didn’t, and Dinah falls apart over the idea that Vigilante died for nothing. Oliver ultimately comes to her apartment to explain that because of Vigilante they have acquired an incredibly amount of information that will help them stop Cayden James, but she isn’t having it. She states that she feels Vigilantes methods were correct and she vows to kill every member of Cayden’s team: starting with Black Siren.
It is REALLY hard not to get caught up in comparing this episode with The Dark Knight Rises, the set up is exactly the same. No one can get into Star City, no one can get out of Star City, there is a bomb roving the city ready to go off at any moment and it’s now just a waiting game until the bomb goes off. I guess that as the television show inspired by Nolan’s Dark Knight, it was more or less inevitable that Arrow would end up mining the same territory once again – but this feels very on the nose. Also, I said it last week but it feels much more apt after this episode: the stakes are now way too high for episode 12 of the season. Next week Cayden James is threatening to blow the nuke, that feels like a season finale kind of plot beat, so I’ve once more literally no idea where Arrow is going this season. This is a nice change of pace, that even when the show is overly referential it is still surprising. The continued tension between The Outsiders and Team Arrow plays very nicely, though I’m not entirely sure that the flashbacks throughout the episode ever actually earn any kind of good will on Vigilante’s behalf. It’s interesting to see that having his back against the wall has turned Oliver back toward his own worst impulses. Rather than the confident, self-assured Green Arrow from the first half of the season; the situation with Cayden James has pushed Oliver back to the version of himself that skulks around the foundry plotting how best to confront Ra’s Al Ghul from Season 3. Will lightness return to Oliver’s life? I certainly hope so, but this particular journey has given us a glimpse at something far beyond the stoicism of years 1-5, we now see all the cracks in the veneer and the real Oliver just below the surface – and that’s a new place for Arrow. I suspect even more now that there will be a change up of villain in the next few episodes, and we’ll get a surprise introduction of whoever framed Oliver for the death of Cayden’s son.
Juliana Harkavy once again takes top honors for bringing a sense of sad reality to an episode that showed the entire five year arc of her relationship with Vigilante – from their meeting at the CCPD to his death at the hands of Black Siren. She brought some real powerful emotion to this episode.
NEXT TIME: Supergirl vs a Worldkiller. Warden Wolfe tries to sell Barry to Amunet Black. Anissa Pierce joins her father in the fight for Freeland. Black Canary plans to take revenge on Black Siren