The Flarrowverse Round Up - 2016-7 Week 10
So how about those ugly-looking aliens then? After giving The Dominators a could fashion mid-90's “Welcome to Earth” it’s back to business for the separate shows as they concentrate on their own mid-season finales (except Supergirl -- that’s already broken for Christmas). So what can we expect? A Prometheus unmasking? Barry screwing up the timeline yet again? A Legion of Doom formation? Well there’s only one way to find out (okay, technically there are loads but let’s just go with it) as we round up this week’s action. Which will....
CONTAIN SPOILERS...... but absolutely no calls to boycot a new Star Wars movie for its lack of white washing (I’m gonna need two facepalms for that one)
STAR OF THE WEEK - Stephen Amell, Oliver Queen
Mr Amell rarely has a bad episode but this week, his dramatic performance really stood out as he was being lured into the trap by Prometheus and the tragic aftermath. As soon as the mask was lifted his physical reaction conveyed the magnitude of his grief and guilt.
The Flash “S3E9 The Present” –
When new evidence connects Julian to Alchemy, the team finally learn who has been behind the masked but are surprised to learn Julian has no memory of it. Trying to dispose of the Philosopher’s Stone gives Barry an unwelcome glimpse into his future with Savitar while Joe finally accepts Wally becoming a hero.
What was good?
In a standing shot, Savitar still looks too much like Megatron but in fighting motion he looks spectacular and throwing Jay Garrick into the mix was incredible: our first real taste of John Wesley Shipp in action as Jay. He also filled his usual father/mentor role perfectly. Speaking of Earth 3, giving us Mark Hamill as a Joker-styled Earth 3 Trickster.... well that was a merry Christmas indeed. The whole exposition and revealing of Julian’s back story was very well-delivered thanks to some terrific performance work from Tom Felton. Despite being the split personality comic twist that many expected, combining that with a possession twist still kept it interesting. This worked especially well when expanded towards a similar process with Cisco. Although they haven’t explained everything yet, all that we were given about Julian, Alchemy and Savitar was logical and well-thought out. I loved the link to Savitar phone call: ominous and unnerving. The show’s approach of changing Savitar into a speedster equivalent of X-Men’s Apocalypse (not the Oscar Isaac version) also works well. It makes us view him as an entity rather a person making his actions more important than his eventual identity. It was overdone in places but overall, the traditional Christmas theme to this episode had a positive affect (let in Catlin Snow). Nog drunk HR in the final scenes was unexpectedly hilarious.
What wasn’t so good?
The fact the whole HR training Wally relationship boiled down to one brief scene was disappointing and leaves HR once more without a purpose in the team. The Barry & Iris subplot felt out of place. While Barry becoming more protective after seeing the future makes sense, obtaining their new home must have taken place before this episode (Realtor agents are not speedsters!), which made it seem more inconsequential.
Where is it going?
“One shall betray you, one shall fall, one shall suffer a fate worse than death”. The latter seem clear from the 5-month future glimpse (aka at the season finale point). By this Harry Potter-esque prophecy, Iris will die and that to Barry, is a fate worse than death. As for the betrayer prior episode, teases would point to Catlin but we’ve now seen that Cisco is susceptible to influence so it could be him. Or a third choice from leftfield is Joe; Savitar forces Joe to betray Barry or he’ll kill Wally instead. Speaking of Wally, he’s finally on full sidekick field duty. It also seems like Julian will be joining the team, at least when Savitar comes back, out of guilt for his own actions. We may also see more Jay Garrick (and presumably Jessie Quick) team ups in the remaining episodes to take on Savitar.
Arrow “S5E9 What We Leave Behind” –
When Prometheus attacks Curtis, the team realizes that Prometheus knows their identities, making them desperate to stop him before anyone else gets hurt. Clues start point towards Oliver’s early days as The Hood and a name he crossed off his father’s list. Detective Malone gets just as determined when Felicity is jeopardy and Evelyn reveals her true colours.
What was good?
This was rather dark for a Christmas episode but considering The Flash went well festive, it feels right for Arrow to take it down a notch. Plus the first act delivered some good seasonal moments like Oli referring to the Dominator dream events of the episode being like watching It’s A Wonderful Life (and of course, Die Hard is his favourite Christmas movie!). This episode had the best flashbacks all season with the trip back to Arrow Year One. Oli frequently looked downright menacing in his old Hood approach, which played perfectly into the idea of being perceived as a villain for such actions. David Ramsey nailed Dig’s old school wisdom speech and seeing a classic case of Oli lying unconvincingly to get help from a pre-team Felicity was a real treat. We could definitely do with revisiting this is a future episode. Evelyn’s pre-betrayal faking is wonderful, right down to her hand made Christmas decorations. The lead up to the final Prometheus confrontation was one of the best sequences all season as the fresh bodies of Prometheus were positioned perfectly to map out perfectly to The Hood’s original attack on the building to kill Justin Claybourne. It balances good fight action by being immensely dark and creepy. By the time Oli reaches Prometheus on the roof, it feels like a video game boss battle --we have no doubt, it’s on.
What wasn’t so good?
While Oli and Prometheus have a good fight in the factory, they look too similar in the low light which makes it harder to keep track of them when the camera cuts. The Curtis/Paul material in isolation was good but when was the last time we even saw Paul on screen? As a result it doesn’t carry the impact it should when the pair split.
Where is it going?
Well... we heard Laurel was coming back but that was a shock to see her in this episode. Considering that team members make many references to Flashpoint throughout the episode, that feels like the best explanation for her return at the moment. I have to admit I was expecting a Prometheus reveal but the mystery continues. As for his identity, with Billy’s death my top suspect switches back to being DA Adrian Chase. A critical factor of the climatic revenge setup was Oli going in with his killing on his mind so that he would kill Billy by mistake. As such, many of the proceeding events were mere grooming towards it. What was the biggest push? It was Chase grabbing Oli as the Mayor and talking him into issuing a shoot-to-kill order for the police on Prometheus. He planted that crucial idea while Oli was so distracted with everything else..... Yes, I can hear you, “what about Vigilante”. I still think that Chase is Vigilante as per his comics persona but there’s no reason why he can’t be both. We haven’t seen them together yet and it would explain why Vigilante didn’t appear this episode as Chase was busy on Prometheus duty. In fact, Vigilante reinforces Chases’s actions in this episode. The whole Vigilante character could have been designed to push Oli back towards a violent/killing approach by showing someone else using it in practice. It would appear that Dig is getting arrested again following that setup phone call (was Lyla under duress?) but it looks like Speedy will be returning to active duty in replacement of Artemis. That could head towards a Speedy Vs Artemis showdown. Oliver mentioned being taught a particular fighting move by a woman in Russia. That sounds like it will be the introduction to Talia al Gul.
Legends of Tomorrow “S2E8 The Chicago Way” –
The team check out a time aberration in Al Capone’s 1920s Chicago, which turns out to be a trap set by Eobard Thawne, Damien Darhk and their new colleague Malcolm Merlyn to recover the amulet they stole from Thawne. Mick starts seeing hallucinations of Leonard Snart while Stein confesses to Sara about his new daughter.
What was good?
Legends has a terrific habit of fully committing to its period set episodes. As such the classic gangster setting is wonderful from the noir-styled visuals, the re-worked theme music and all those Untouchables references; right down to Brandon Routh’s sketchy Sean Connery impression. Ray and Nate pitting history against film knowledge was hilarious. It was also fun to see the team Tommy Gun wielding as Mick gets them embracing the criminal way (“I’m Clyde, she’s Bonnie”). Merlyn was introduced well to the Legion by pledging his strategic strengths rather than just his fighting ability by successfully baiting the team into a trap. He also gets the most interesting arc of the dastardly trio so far by offering to change history and give Sara a similar alternative life to her Dominator dream fantasy. Making Merlyn a little more sympathetic not only taps into the best material from his time on Arrow but creates a more varied dynamic within the villain ranks and even sets Sara up for one of her best ever lines, “I’ll take a nightmare that’s real over a dream that’s a lie”. Finally, the episode managed maintain a nice balance of historical fantasy versus science fiction elements thanks to the battle aboard the Wave Rider and some much needed anti-speedster tech by used by the team (otherwise the Reverse Flash becomes too overpowered).
What wasn’t so good?
While the classic gangster setting was great, the guest staring Isaac Keoughan wasn’t the most convincing Al Capone. While the show was never going to rival the portrayal of De Niro, they could have at least found someone more compelling (Jon “The Punisher” Bernthal even played him in Night at the Museum 2). Some of the material concerning Stein’s daughter was a good but the end results were a letdown. This had all the potential for heartbreaking and tragic developments only for Sara to give Stein a free pass over it. Hopefully, that won’t be the end of it but right now it’s a disappointment.
Where is it going?
The Legion of Doom gets closer as Merlyn joins their ranks (and going after the Spear of Destiny..... nice). Although Mick is hallucinating Snart, this is the first episode in which all four villains appear. As for Mick’s hallucination, Gideon implies in a passing joke that she/the ship’s medical facilities have repaired brain damage in Mick previously. These hallucinations could be a side effect. We see Eobard Thawne sparing Vixen when a device on his wrist goes off (“lucky girl”). That would appear to be a gizmo alerting him to someone so significant enough to his own timeline that he shouldn’t kill them (like Barry Allen). That could setup Vixen for a similar pivotal style role against him like Hawkgirl was to Vandal Savage last season. It also links into his purpose for the Spear of Destiny, to change reality so can finally safely kill Barry Allen. Welcome back Arthur Darvill (he was tied up filming the UK show Broadchurch which he stars in)! It’s a wonderfully cryptic return as 60s film director. This could well be his destination following the first episode’s time scatter protocol. There’s also a sense from the scene that he’s not himself or at least doesn’t know he’s Rip Hunter. This could be an amnesia side effect or maybe even a deliberate move by Rip to erase his own memories knowing that they were key Thawne’s plans. This movie version of himself could be a manifestation of his subconscious where parts of his old self still linger. The most awesome case scenario is when the Legends find him by watching the movie he’s making and investigating it as a lead.