The Flarrowverse Round Up - 2016-7 Week 8
With both Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow on break this week as the show’s level up in their Invasion starting blocks, it’s more of a half round up this week. Thankfully, both Supergirl and The Flash are on form this week. Here’s how it went down that will....
CONTAIN SPOILERS....... but no shock matches over in 85 seconds after 2 spears and a jackhammer.
STAR OF THE WEEK – Brenda Strong, Lillian Luthor
When we first glimpsed Strong as a mysterious Project Cadmus scientist, she was good. When we learned that she was Lena’s mother and a Luthor, that was great. This week, she gives us some genuine deluded villain brilliance that’s wonderful to watch as she monologues about how Superman turned the public against her noble and righteous son Lex. The scenes of Kara captured in Cadmus really feel like to show producing its own version of a classic power manipulated Clark and Lex dynamic. More of that please, and be quick about it.
Supergirl “S2E7 The Darkest Place” –
When Cadmus use the captured Mon-El to lure Supergirl into a trap she soon finds herself in a world of trouble. A kill crazy copycat sees the public turn on Guardian leaving James and Winn to clear his name. J’onn struggles increasing hallucinations of Martian images while Alex calls Maggie out on her friend zone swerve.
What was good?
A lot happened this episode but right from the skipping flashback start, Glen Winter’s narrative handles it all very efficiently. Even more sedate moments like Alex’s coming out monologue to Maggie don’t dwell any longer than they need to making for a very fluid episode. As great as last season’s Hank Henshaw/Martian Manhunter was, it had some disappointed because it seemed to write the comics Cyborg Superman Hank Henshaw character out of the show. However, his reintroduction here as a Cadmus works very well in providing a solid formidable foe for Supergirl to tangle with, while also letting David Harewood break out Tom Cavanaugh level multiple character work. They also get a bonus for the Terminator style head injuy with Hank’s cyborg eye glaring away. My commendations to Mechad Brooks’ stunt double, the Guardian action and fight choreography looks fantastic and seeing James do some street level heroics gives the show a more rounded feel; and the sidekick Winn routine is still hilarious. Plus, an opponent with a mini gun arm.... what’s not to like? The Miss White Martian reveal happened earlier than expected (the show really isn’t wasting any time this season!) but produced some great action of the pair slugging it out and twist of J’onn getting white washed was a good one. Alex’s emotional journey continues to impress and is almost becoming the emotional backbone of the show.
What wasn’t so good?
I liked that they brought Jeremiah Danvers (and Dean Cain) back as his “not dead after all” return has always felt like it will happen. That said, the episode delivers him in almost a causal fashion and not early as a big a moment as it should have been. It should have been spitting Mountain Dew and the TV over this. Instead it was very “meh”.
Where is it going?
The final moments would imply that original recipe Hank Henshaw will be sticking around as a major villain this season (which is awesome). As well as following up project Medusa (the title of next week’s episode) we can certainly expect him to replace J’onn J’onzz at the DEO as part of a takeover plot (going full circle from the Martian stealing his identity). This could well coincide with J’onn’s White Martian mutation problem taking him out of the picture so that Kara and Alex can’t use to him to oust the imposter. The other big return was Jeremiah Danvers but it comes with a big question: Was that really him? From the early Hank impersonation on Mon-El, we see that Cadmus can produce convincing human replicas and it would certainly explain their convenient escape. Mon-El mentions that their cell bars were made from Nth Metal. This is the first mention of the substance on the show that could also be foreshadowing to a Hawk Man/Girl appearance. Speaking of Mon, his final lines make it clear to the point of idiot proofing that the show is going for a Kara/Mon romantic arc.
The Flash “S3E7 Killer Frost” –
When Savitar is destroying Barry, Cisco and Catlin use their powers to save him but proves to be the tipping point in Catlin’s inner battle against her Killer Frost persona. This sees the team go all out to save her. Joe struggles with the uncertainty of seeing Wally cocooned leading him to drastic action. Cisco deals with Flashpoint revelations while Julian charges a high price for keeping Catlin’s secret.
What was good?
Straight out the gate, the Flash Vs Savitar spectacle was incredible. The visual effects look beautiful but most importantly, it felt like a firm one up on Zoom decimating Barry early last season. It’s a good progressive villain escalation from season to season, which is what we want. Although some moments felt a little strange, I really liked this halfway “Catlin Frost” version of the character for the way it utilised Catlin’s scientific mind in application of the frost powers. Stabbing Barry in a clinical muscle tendon: that was genius. It gave Daniel Panabaker some fantastic material to work with and she did an impressive job switching between both personalities. Joe also had a great episode. His best moments tend to come from being a father rather than a detective and all of his out of character, rash and aggressive actions made for excellent viewing. Director Kevin Smith clearly understands the different character emotions at work in this episode and gets the most out of them. Catlin drops the Flashpoint dead brother bomb on Cisco to hurt Barry and it’s well explored throughout the episode, and leaving things uncertain between them was a nice touch. Finally, although it had a little ulterior motive to it, I felt that Julian forcing Barry’s resignation was the best in character moment of the episode. Tom Felton puts enough emotion behind his dialogue to make us understand that Julian has a genuine point in that Barry is unfit for duty because he lets personal bias sway his pursuit of justice.
What wasn’t so good?
I found the resolution of Wally’s transformation underwhelming. Joe giving into parental fears and frustrations to break him out early was a great twist.... that equated to almost nothing. There really should have been some lasting consequences to these actions like limitations on Wally’s powers or maybe even some loss of memory. The whole twitching out of sync hangover felt like a real cop out. This episode also seemed to be at a loss over what to do with HR. Tom Cavanaugh felt underutilised.
Where is it going?
Well, the signs have been there since his first episode but seeing Julian Albert confirmed as Doctor Alchemy is still something as a shock. The way Savitar asks him to “become my servant” still points towards the split personality twist form the complex. Although in this case, it might be that Savitar is projecting part of himself into Julian to become Alchemy (Savitar seems to have the same voice). We also get some very interesting expansion on Savitar himself. Both the big guy and his follower speak of “his return”. Combing with the fact that only Barry (and now Julian?), can see Savitar might suggest that he’s somehow out phase with this reality, probably in a related fashion to Wally coming out of the cocoon. A passing Savitar quote also caught my attention, “You are the past whereas I am the future”. Could that be a hint towards the comics arc of a Reverse Flash secretly being Barry himself from the future? As for Catlin, there is no indication that her little “Mother of Dragons” problem has been cured. Add that to Cisco’s vision of a big costumed Vibe/Killer Frost showdown and the cultist implying Savitar has big plans for Catlin implies we definitely haven’t seen the last of Killer Frost this season. Wally’s Kid Flash status seems confirmed and promo shots for Invasion show him yellow suited up. With Jessie Quick and Jay Garrick established that sets us up for quite the Flash family team up.