Let's hop into this week's Arrowverse Recap!
*Note: 'The Flash' will not return until Feb. 4th, so no coverage of that show for the next few weeks.
Batwoman Season 1, Episode 10 - How Queer Everything Is Today!
Ruby Rose and Camrus Johnson star in CW's 'Batwoman'
Photo Credit: TV Promos - YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSIaYKKD9pQ
In Episode 10 of Season 1, Kate and Luke go back to work in the aftermath of the Crisis. Their first major problem is set in motion when a train is hacked by a mysterious criminal known only as The Terrier (based on the animoji used as an alias). This sends Gotham into a panic and forces Kate to go out without Luke's tech assistance. Things get more complicated when the media begins to imply that Batwoman and a young officer named Slam Bradley (played by Kurt Szarka) are dating, with Kate wishing she could come out as a lesbian crime-fighter. At the same time, Alice is convinced by Mouse that the only way that Kate will join their gang is if she gives up being Batwoman, and she believes this new hacker can help.
Meanwhile, Mary is attempting to find a medical expert in Gotham who will testify in David's trial that he is potentially telling the truth. She finds more and more, however, that most people, her friends included, think she's dealing with a form of psychosis as a result of her mother's death. Elsewhere, Sophie, now in command of the Crows, attempts to track down the mysterious hacker while facing her own emotions in the midst of her and Tyler's divorce.
'Batwoman' is our first return to the Arrowverse after "Crisis on Infinite Earths" and its actually a really good story to come back with. The biggest reason for this is the reveal of the central narrative between Kate and the mysterious hacker, revealed to be a young high schooler named Parker Torres (played by Malia Pyles). At first, I kind off rolled my eyes at the notion of a character this young being the level of hacker she is, but I slowly went away from that as we got more into her story. Parker was outed as a lesbian by an ex-girlfriend with her parents hating her as a result, and it makes for a great kind of dynamic.
We have Kate, who is openly out but still wearing a mask as Batwoman, and Parker, who buys into societal pressure believing that she could never see herself represented that way. The episode not only does great work in exploring coming out and the complexities of it, but also has some great jabs at lacks of LGBTQ representation in television and shipping culture, and I hope with her knowing of Kate's identity we see Parker pop up again in the future. Also, is it just me, or is Alice more insane then usual this week? She defiles Kate's step-mom's grave, almost reveals Kate's identity to the world, and nearly bombs a high school dance...in one episode.
Then of course, there's our first big 'Crisis' reference at the end of the episode: another Earth's version of Beth show's up in Kate's office, seemingly normal. Despite some of the chatter I've seen, I hope we see alternate Beth for the rest of the season. Think about the interactions and repercussions that could happen with both Beth AND Alice in Gotham. What does Kate think of having both sides of her sister in the same space, or Mary, or David? In terms of trying to address "Crisis" and distinctly tie 'Batwoman' into the greater Arrowverse, this is probably one of the options I would have preferred if you'd laid them out.
I'm so glad that Kate and Mary seem to have reconciled by the episode's end, although I do hope she finds out about Batwoman sooner rather than later (I really want the trinity of Kate/Luke/Mary), as well as more of Sophie's new role as leader of the Crows (which isn't that interesting at the moment, at least to me). I will say that the scene where Mary attempts to get the professor to testify is startlingly naive. You're trying to convince us that in the aftermath of "Crisis" where an anti-matter god attempted to destroy the multiverse that someone wearing a skin mask is "science fiction?" You could hide from greater issues in the Arrowverse in the first half of Season 1, when 'Batwoman' was so disconnected from everything else, but if you're really trying to show those world-building tendencies despite being completely contrary to the world at large, it's not going to work.
Overall, I give 'Batwoman' Season 1, Episode 10 a score of 8/10.
Supergirl Season 5, Episode 10 - The Bottle Episode
Melissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh star on CW's 'Supergirl'
Photo Credit: We Got This Covered - YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JE-vBcWa5iU
In Episode 10 of Season 5, Kara adjusts to the aftermath of "Crisis on Infinite Earths." This includes J'onn restoring the memories of Alex, Nia and the other heroes, as well as confronting Lena, who is revealed to have retained her pre-Crisis memories as a result of Lex's deal with The Monitor. In this new reality, Lex is considered a hero, working alongside Lena and Kara as head of both LexCorp as well as the D.E.O. Things take a turn when it is revealed that survivors of other Earth's were transported to Al's Bar, including multiple versions of Brainy. When one mysteriously dies, warning out heroes to "not let him open the bottle," an investigation begins. However, it is revealed that another one of the Brainys had bottled his Earth before its destruction using his ancestor's technology, and is looking for a way to release it.
Meanwhile, Lena is confronted by Lex, who wants to work with her on Non Nocere. She still doesn't trust Kara and her friends, but is also conflicted about siding alongside Lex, especially with their mother, Lillian (played by Brenda Strong) seemingly siding with Lex as well. Elsewhere, Andrea meets with her college mentor Gemma (played by Carla Buono) to discuss Obsidian's new launch, not knowing that she is actually one of the heads of Leviathan.
In terms of the impact of "Crisis," Supergirl feels like the most obvious evidence of results, between Lena/Lex's new dynamic, William's new vendetta against Lena instead of Andrea, and of course, the mystery of the multiple Brainys. Jesse Rath deserves a lot of credit for his performances this week, having to go through the enitre gambit of Brainy's personalities and history with a mix of charm and hidden tragedy, and special shout out to Jesse's sister, Meaghan Rath, for stepping in as a very distinct version of the character as well.
I also believe that Lillian will be revealed to be working with Leviathan, as both Lena and Lex have connections to every other character and area of interest on the show with the exception of the shadowed organization. It could also give a reason for Lex and Lena to have a common foe, both in their mother and this secret organization. In addition, next week begins a two-parter with Jeremy Jordan's Winn Schott returning to the show, or at least, a version of him. I can't say I'm ecstatic at the idea of a comic-accurate Winn Schott as Toymaker, but then again the episode that turned me on to 'Supergirl' was Season 1's episode with Winn and his dad, so I keep cautious hope for this return.
But through all of that, I also have some concerns going forward. For those who haven't been following adamanently (most of you), I've been hyping the Leviathan plot line, and I still am, but I hope it turns out different than what was foreshadowed in the first half of Season 5. Not because it's not interesting, but because it presents a larger universe problem. You can't have the most secret society in history be revealed at the end of the season and NOT have repurcussions across the other shows, it's not something like the Court of the Owls in the comics where it's only Gotham because, as has been said, "Leviathan is everywhere." In addition, as excited as I am to see Lex pop up more in the season's second half, I do hope that Lena retains her importance as a character. Maybe that's making bad assumptions, but I really hope that Lex continues to be more the puppetmaster than the major antagonist.
*Also...writers...PLEASE don't make William Kara's love interest, NO MORE, PLEASE!
Overall, I give 'Supergirl' Season 5, Episode 10 a score of 8/10.
Black Lightning Season 3, Episode 10 - The Book of Markovia: Chapter One: Blessings and Curses Reborn
Cress Williams, China Anne McLain, and James Remar star in CW's 'Black Lightning'
Photo Credit: DCTV Heroes - YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srGyYbh4y1s
In Episode 10 of Season 3, Jefferson returns to Freeland after his adventures with the other heroes. He reunites with Jennifer, now seemingly herself again, but she is bent on killing Agent Odell after her experiences with her multiversal dopplegangers convinced her that he needs to be out of the picture. Relaying their experiences to Gambi (who warns them of new changes being possible with Earth-Prime's formation), he replaces Jennifer's A.S.A suit with his own, while Jefferson is called in to help Anissa and Henderson deal with a new A.S.A operation. Odell and Major Grey have authorized the pod kids to be implanted with control chips to fight the Markovians, with Anissa leading the operation to save them.
Meanwhile, Jennifer finds Lynn acting strangely, but is distracted by an earthquake revealed to be caused by Brandon. Going to help stabilize him, the two are captured by the A.S.A, who believe Jennifer has switched sides. Jefferson reunites with Lynn, discovering that she has seemingly become addicted to her Green Light samples while attempting to scold Jefferson for his activities as Black Lightning. Elsewhere, Gambi encounters Baron (played by Christopher Ammanuel), a technopathic meta who believes Gambi can help him.
While 'Black Lightning" has the least certain connections to the fallout of "Crisis," it surprised me this week by casting those connections aside in a way that feels plausible. After all, Jefferson and Jennifer are the only ones that remember pre-Crisis Freeland, and even though the obvious shared universe connections are more apparent, I strangely didn't feel like I needed them, as the stakes are high enough as they are.
One of my favorite aspects of this week is seeing Jefferson interact with Jennifer and Anissa. Jennifer's allegiances to Odell, while giving her a sense of tension within the narrative, have started to feel stale in the past number of weeks. To see her flat-out toss aside the potential versions of herself she saw during the crisis is kind of exciting, and makes me hopeful that she'll stand with Jefferson more in the future. I certainly would like to see her be a bit less murder-happy, but still, it's at least nice to see her developing a bit more at last (seriously, she seems a bit too eager to get rid of Odell early on, even with Odell's clear antagonistic tendencies).
As far as Anissa goes, we also get some great dialogue as well, specifically around who is considered the face of The Resistance. It's nice to see Jefferson working as a team during "Crisis," coming back and realizing that he does need to toss off the reins to people he trusts, while Anissa gets to continue working as a leader for her own cause that she clearly is more certain of than her father (though I do agree with Jefferson that Thunder needs to make a return).
We don't really get that many A.S.A connections this week, other than Major Grey pushing Lynn's associate to finish the metahuman cure, sadly with very little Odell aside from the beginning and end of the episode. This is while Lynn herself continues to spiral into her Green Light addiction, and can we deal with this storyline sooner rather than later please? It started out interesting, but I'm really hoping by next week we actually get some delving into addiction and work reliance that Lynn seems to be personifying.
Arguably the least affected by the events of "Crisis," the one big twist we seem to get at the end of this episode is the reveal that Lady Eve is not only the one who hired Gambi's killer, but may also be alive in this new timeline. If you need a refresher, Lady Eve (played by Jill Scott) was Tobias' boss in Season 1 before Tobias took over The 100, so having her back in the fold could be an intriguging twist.
If I'm being honest though, I don't think I want her to play a big role, as we have the A.S.A occupation, Brandon's history, Lynn's addiction arc, and even Lala still running around somewhere with The 100 to deal with. That said, I would be very intrigued if we're setting up some sort of resurgence of The 100 in Season 4 going up against Tobias, which sounds legitimately awesome.
Overall, I give 'Black Lightning' Season 3, Episode 10 a score of 7/10.
Arrow Season 8, Episode 9 - Green Arrow and The Canaries
Juliana Harkavy, Katherine McNamara, and Katie Cassidy star in CW's 'Arrow'
Photo Credit: We Got This Covered - YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lS_2DaRYaIM
In Episode 9 of Season 8, Laurel, now in Star City 2040, attempts to track down a kidnapped Bianca Bertinelli (played by Raigan Harris), the adopted daughter of Helena Bertinelli a.k.a The Huntress. She runs into Dinah, now singing at a local bar. Dinah reveals to Laurel that she woke up in 2040 after Oliver's funeral, with seemingly no references to the Black Canary in this time period. Laurel shows her a news clip from a year later, saying that the seemingly crime-free Star City will be under seige by new threats very soon.
Meanwhile, Mia is now a socialite in Star City. She's recently graduated college, is engaged to John Diggle Jr. (who is not Deathstroke in this timeline), and has no memories of her Pre-Crisis life. Attempting to get through to Mia, Laurel uses a ring crafted by Cisco Ramon that uses J'onn's memory restoration abilities in order to "wake up" Mia. Remembering everything, including her succession of her father's mantle, Mia reluctantly teams up with Laurel and Dinah to find Bianca and the truth about this new timeline.
The writers have used Episode 9 as more of a backdoor pilot, as the CW is exploring doing a follow-up series to 'Arrow' featuring Mia, Dinah, and Laurel, depending on the response of this episode. For myself, as odd as it sounds, I don't love to pilot, but there's enough stuff in here for me to potentially be excited about a series. As far as things I like, despite my foreshadowed issues with the set-up, I like the resulting comrodery between Mia, Laurel, and Dinah. Mia still feels like the core of the story, but we get that sort of dualing surrogate parenting of the more understanding Dinah and the more cynical Laurel. Considering that they all have memories of Oliver's legacy, that puts them all on a page that we can get behind.
I also like a lot of the threads we seem to get by the episode's end. I didn't buy into the J.J./Mia romance, but I do buy into that they now both have their pre-Crisis memories and may have to play along with that romance. I think I just bought into the idea that she and Connor would get together pre-Crisis, but if this is setting up some kind of arc for Connor in an eventual series, I think I could get along with that. Then there's the arrowhead connection, if William has anything to do with it, and also, we may have a potential new Huntress in Helena's adopted daughter, Bianca.
However, my big overarching issue with this episode is actually something I've brought up before with 'Arrow:' 2040 is just...not that interesting of a time period. I understood in Season 7 the gimmick of using flash-forwards instead of flashbacks for storytelling, but for as intrigued as I was, I never really got invested in the 2040 characters (Mia, Connor, etc.) until the time travel shenanigans in the second half of Season 8.
At least before this, Star City 2040 had some sort of distinct production aesthetics to it; here, there's no reason for it. It simply feels like putting it in the future as an excuse for Laurel to be the one in charge, Dinah to be erased from 2020, and Mia to not remember her history, and that isn't NEARLY as interesting to me as keeping them in the modern day. Remember in 2020, everyone knows Oliver Queen is the Green Arrow and is dead, so why not utilize that sense of surprise and have Mia be mentored by all of her new colleagues on Earth-Prime?
If nothing else, I hope that next week's series finale gives a few tidbits to make this choice a bit more worthwhile (but make no mistake, I want the 'Arrow' finale focused on Oliver and 'Arrow's history, NOT fill-ins for backdoor pilots). As is, even with its gaping issue at it's center and Season 8's amazing streak to follow up, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the new Green Arrow team up with dual Black Canaries, if for no other reason than hope to carry on Team Arrow.
Overall, I give 'Arrow' Season 8, Episode 9 a score of 6/10.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 5, Episode 1 - Meet The Legends
Brandon Routh and Caity Lotz star in CW's 'Legends of Tomorrow'
Photo Credit: TV Promos - YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5dFo7pbTSw
In Episode 1 of Season 5, the Legends are now world famous celebrities after saving the world from Neron in Season 4, with only Sara and Ray having memories of the pre-Crisis events. Ava authorizes filmmaker Kevin Harris (played by Adam Beauchesne) and his film crew to make a documentary on the Legends, in an attempt to keep their federal funding and transparency to the public. Sara has trouble keeping a straight face between the constant filming as well as her team's apparent disintrest in her experiences during the Crisis and Oliver Queen's death. This coincides with the team's new mission, where a timequake has been detected in Imperial-era Russia and centered around the mysterious Grigori Rasputin (played by Michael Eklund).
Meanwhile, Ava struggles to be there for Sara, Mona is finding a new role as Mick's publicist for his Rebecca Silver novels, and Nate winds up in Rasputin's castle, seemingly with visions of a mysterious woman. Elsewhere, Constantine and Gary discover that some of the most deadly souls in history have escaped from hell.
It may have been a bit of a wait (and still no clear explanation for the lack of 'Legends' presence during "Crisis on Infinite Earths"), but the Arrowverse's beloved team of misfits are back on our television sets. Coming off of Season 4, it was going to be interesting to see the Legends as world-class celebrities (which seems to not be rewritten by "Crisis"), and while the season premiere is not perfect and seems to move far too fast at points, it's still 'Legends' doing what it does best.
It seems as though a lot of the strengths of Seasons 3 and 4 are being carried over into Season 5; great character interactions mixed with oddball humor and psuedo-historical road trip dynamics, and frankly, I'm all for it. As surprised as I am that we haven't gotten a Rasputin episode before, this feels like the opportune time to do it with he coming Hell plot lines, and Michael Eklund (who actually appeared WAY back in 'Arrow' Season 2 as The Dollmaker) does a pretty good job at reflecting the madness of the character.
As far as our team themselves, its great seeing them back in action, and with certain character moments that I think offer a lot of promise throughout the season. Mona seems to be developing some interesting dynamics with Mick in regards to the latter's writing career, Ray gets both the biggest laugh and most gruesome moment of the episode, and, as always, more John Constantine is ALWAYS a positive (seriously, Matt Ryan is doing phenomenal work, I can't wait to see what kind of role the character will play).
But by far the most interesting character is Sara and her continued relationship with Ava. The back half of Season 4 really developed them a lot as a couple, and I'm completely on board with their chemistry at this point. I also love that Sara gets a moment to vent some of her trauma from "Crisis," understanding why Ava attempts to keep her safe, but also sad that she can't seem to find comfort in her friends.
Not everyone is treated equally though; Charlie basically disappears five minutes into the episode to who knows where, Behrad (Zari's time-swapped brother played by Shayan Sobhian) gets some sweet moments that still aren't that compeliing, and even with his team-up with Constantine, I still can't stand Gary. I also will fully admit that, for as fun as a 'Legends'/'The Office' hybrid as this episode is, something about it doesn't feel like the right approach for a season premiere, especially in that we do get some great character moments that are kind of drowned out by some of the documentary gimmicks.
That only gets escalated by the lack of set-up for some of the seemingly major plot elements of Season 5 (Constantine returning to hell, Zari possibly being alive somewhere in the timeline, Mick and Mona's writing dynamic, etc). It doesn't take away any of the momentum or fun of the episode, but it doesn't necessarily feel like the best starting point, even if that winds up being unfair by the next few episodes. I hope that, as we get deeper into the season that we keep some of the time travel shenanigans without losing some of the great sense of mystery and development from Season 4.
Overall, I give 'Legends of Tomorrow' Season 5, Episode 1 a score of 8/10.
What did you think of this week in the Arrowverse?
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