Let's hop into this weeks Arrowverse Recap!
Batwoman Season 1, Episode 7 - Tell Me the Truth
Meagan Tandy stars in CW's 'Batwoman'
Photo Credit: TV Promos – YouTube
In Episode 7 of Season 1, Kate and Luke are on the trail of a new mercenary in Gotham, dubbed The Rifle (played by Garfield Wilson). In the process, they are reunited with Julia Pennyworth (played by Christina Wolfe), the daughter of Alfred Pennyworth, and an old acquaintance of Kate's, who now works as a spy. Kate is also dealing with Sophie now believing her to be Batwoman, attempting to convince her not to reveal her identity, while also flashing back to her and Sophie's romantic past.
Meanwhile, Alice and Mouse recruit The Rifle to eliminate the scientists who created the gun that can pierce Batwoman's armor. Elsewhere, Catherine attempts to reconcile with Jacob, as well as Mary, who is beginning to believe she is alone in trying to hold the Hamilton-Kane family together.
'Batwoman' works when it actually decides to allow its characters to move forward (same could be said about all the Arrowverse shows), and this week wound up being one of the better episodes of this season. Proving me wrong from last week, this week wasn't so much Jacob and Kate so much as it was Sophie and Kate. As mixed as I've been on Sophie as a character over the course of the season, I felt the way they handled the flashbacks was very sincere. We finally get to see Sophie outside of her commitment to the Crows, and it helps further her feelings that we know she has towards Kate.
But it's not just the prototypical "this person knows the secret identity and will they reveal the secret?' There's the scene in the restaurant, which is a fascinating exploration of the two – one who is completely out sexually and one who we seem to believe is still figuring out her own – and the ending scene, where Sophie's speech to Kate gets flung back in her face. They haven't moved past their feelings, but, at the very least, we get to see the relationship progress instead of filling up time for multiple episodes.
I also really liked the character of Julia; she's got a lot of charisma, great dynamic with the other characters, and I'm a bit sad that we won't be seeing her as often on the show (it does bring up the question of if Earth-1's version of Alfred is still alive, who I'd also love to see included). Mary as well gets some emotional beats, including a heartbreaking line about wanting to hold her family together. The show has been doing a good job easing us into the idea of taking Mary seriously, and I love that she feels like the emotional center to Kate's demons.
Alice continues to be a fascinating figure on the show, but this episode really gave me a sense of how she and Mouse are legitimate threats. I did not expect the twist with Jacob at the end (though I probably should have), but with those kinds of abilities and weapons, whatever they're planning for the city, Alice wants Kate to be a part of it. Maybe she still cares about Kate or maybe she's just using her, but it feels more credible than just goofy caricatures killing people on occasion.
(Also, was not expecting the A.R.G.U.S reference…at least it's something tying it into the Arrowverse)
I liked a lot of this week's episode, but I'd be lying if I said everything is interesting. For one thing, carrying over from last week, Luke seems to be more and more of an afterthought to this show in terms of an actual character. Granted, Luke doesn't have a huge tie to this week's story, but even with Julia's past with Luke being referenced, you'd think the writers would give Camrus Johnson, who is giving a good effort, something more to work with? Same thing with Catherine, and she actually gets things to do this week, but with the Jacob twist, none of it feels sincere, and we're back to square one.
The next episode we're getting is going to be the pre-Crisis finale, and my worries about this show's continuity are starting to rear their heads, I just don't want it to feel jarring to the story they've been setting up because I'm invested enough as it is.
Overall, I give 'Batwoman' Season 1, Episode 7 a score of 8/10.
Supergirl Season 5, Episode 7 - Tremors
Katie McGrath and Melissa Benoist star in CW's 'Supergirl'
Photo Credit: TV Promos – YouTube
In Episode 7 of Season 5, Lena uses a LexCorp event as bait to lure out Leviathan, who appears in the form of Rama Khan (played by Mitch Pileggi), whose abilities allow him to manipulate the earth around him. Together with Alex and Brainy, Lena and Kara determine that some of Lex's weapons are being stored in the Fortress of Solitude, and could be used to defeat Rama Khan. However, Lena has her own agenda involving Kara's aunt's Myriad device, and risks revealing the truth to Kara.
Meanwhile, J'onn begins to have visions of Malefic and seeks counsel from the spirit of his father, M'Rynn (played by Carl Lumbly). M'Rynn reveals that Malefic was not sent to the Phantom Zone and is being held somewhere in the city, but J'onn may have to make a sacrifice to redeem him. Elsewhere, Leviathan attempts to kill Alex and Brainy using Rip Roar's body as a bomb. Injured, the two continue their search for Leviathan's base, while Kelly grows worried over Alex's line of work.
Ok…people…THIS IS WHAT I'VE BEEN CRAVING. Season 5 of 'Supergirl' has not been firing on all cylinders and I credit a lot of that to overcrowded storylines and narrative delays, but the season premiere and last week's "Dangerous Liaisons' prove that this season is great when it has a clear, dynamic focus. 'Tremors' might be the standout of all of them.
Before we get to "THAT," there were a couple of other things I want to mention. Yeah, remember my complaining for a month now of "GIVE ME LEVIATHAN?" Well, we get Leviathan in this, or more accurately, a member of them in Rama Khan. As a shadowy leader, he works pretty well, but despite his abilities, I didn't think he was that interesting (minus a legitimately funny "Avatar: The Last Airbender" joke from Alex)
Speaking of Alex, she gets an interesting storyline this episode, though it does seem pretty much out of nowhere. We get to explore Kelly's trauma about getting close to someone who could get killed every day, and it's pretty sweet in looking at Alex's commitment to helping Kelly help their relationship. With everything else in the episode going on, it does feel a bit tacked on, but it never took away from everything else.
Then there's J'onn's storyline and I'd argue it ends almost as emotionally as Kara and Lena's (be patient, its coming). Anytime J'onn and his father get some sort of philosophical discussion is great, but this continues J'onn's arc in a very satisfying way. J'onn has to open his mind up completely to a captive Malefic, but risks losing his life in the process. It's an amazing parallel between him and his father, and the eventual reconciliation between J'onn and his brother is incredibly satisfying (I do have a theory that Lena may wind up killing him by utilizing her Q-wave tech, and I really don't want a quick redemption followed by death, seems overdone)
A lot of fans (myself included) have been waiting to see the fallout of Lena's arc and my goodness this episode delivered. Sure, the writing's a bit on the nose, but the confrontation between Kara and Lena at the end of the episode is absolutely heartbreaking from both ends, and both Melissa Benoist and Katie McGrath deliver some of their finest work in the series in this scene.
I've heard a lot of people debate whether Lena is a villain or not now that Kara knows where she stands (my take: she's not), but really, I don't think it matters when you examine their relationship. Lena is coming from a place of true betrayal and, even if her reasoning is a bit hazy (Kara would never bring someone to the Fortress if she didn't trust them), her conviction isn't, especially after last week shedding a light on that conviction. You can't look at Lena's background and not think that after that many hits, maybe getting up and risk-taking another beating doesn't sound so wrong?
But then you have to look at Kara too, who in the midst of everything she's had to deal with this season, now knows that her best friend can never trust her again. Leviathan, who? Her best friend just stole one of the deadliest weapons on the planet just to make Kara feel some semblance of pain. What a shot to end on; Kara trapped in the reprogrammed Fortress of Solitude, numb to anything except Lena's words ringing through her head, I'm getting goosebumps just writing about it. We know she'll get out somehow, but would she really want to after all that.
Overall, I give 'Supergirl' Season 5, Episode 7 a score of 9.5/10
Black Lightning Season 3, Episode 6 - The Book of Resistance: Chapter One
Nafessa Williams, Cress Williams, Christine Adams, and Adentipo Thomas star in CW's 'Black Lighting.'
Photo Credit: The CW Network – YouTube
In Episode 6 of Season 3, Anissa is treated by Gambi after being infected by Painkiller. Gambi believes he has can make a cure, but if not, Anissa has little time to live. Anissa refuses to tell her parents, and begins to worry both Gambi and Grace, with whom she is becoming closer with. Jefferson, while dealing with the aftermath of Tavon's death, becomes increasingly frustrated with Agent Odell's deal about not going out as Black Lightning. Lynn, believing that Tobias is more trustworthy than Odell, gives him a list of all the metas in ASA custody.
Meanwhile, Jennifer meets with Brandon, who reveals himself to be a metahuman who can control the earth around him, and is seeking revenge against Dr. Jace and the Markovians. Elsewhere, Chief Henderson attempts to recruit Jamillah Olson to the Resistance, and the Markovians attempt to infiltrate the ASA through Col. Yuri Mosin (played by Thomas Belgrey) and the teleporting metahuman Instant (played by Tosin Morohunfola).
Hey, would you look at that? Between 'Supergirl' and 'Black Lightning,' earth powers are all the rage this season apparently!
The start to the new "Book of Resistance" storyline is starting off strong enough. Jefferson's conflicts after Tavon's death, on top of his own experience with police brutality, have inevitably turned him into a bit of martyr for the community. We've always seen the weight of the other characters taken on by Jefferson and, with the Markovians becoming ever-the-more present in Freeland, Jefferson has to look around him and see what can really help; it's a great theme in Season 3 that I've really been enjoying.
I also love how Gambi's storyline seems pretty standard at first, and then leads into something much more promising. Anytime we see Gamib just being a good uncle is great family television, but the ending sequence of him confirming the toxin was used by Khalil and that the latter's grave is empty - wow, that's really promising. Not only is this confirmation that this is the real Khalil and not some ASA clone nonsense, but it brings into question when/if Jennifer will find out about Khalil's new allegiance, and how Brandon and his seemingly tandem abilities may tie into that revelation.
Also, it seems like we finally get some semblance of insight into the Markovians, and it's kind of cool, albeit not all that threatening. It's nice to see Dr. Jace back in the fold (played by Jennifer Riker), but compared to Tobias and Agent Odell, I didn't feel nearly as threatened by Col. Mosin or Instant. Maybe that's what the show (and Jamillah's speech at the end) have been getting at?
My biggest issue with this episode is the framing. If you're going to frame your story around Anissa's videotape to her family, make sure we remember that in the end! I had to go back to realize what everything was tying into because there's a lot of story points going on here. I'm not sure if that makes Anissa's illness less important, but it does frame it that way, and that's a bit disappointing considering all the time we get to focus on her at this point. Speaking of the Pierce family, Jennifer seems to be getting one or two scenes every episode and, considering how prevalent she was in Season 2, I'm honestly a bit surprised.
(Also, if I have to see another depiction of a journalist getting in someone's face with a camera...Jamillah, seriously? You're smarter than this!)
Overall, I give 'Black Lightning' Season 3, Episode 6 a score of 7.5/10.
The Flash Season 6, Episode 6 - License to Elongate
Hartley Sawyer, Danielle Panabaker, Candice Patton, Grant Gustin, and Tom Cavanagh star in CW's 'The Flash'
Photo Credit: The CW Network – YouTube
In Episode 6 of Season 6, Barry wants to make sure Ralph can be the hero of Central City after his upcoming death. To make sure he attends the ceremony, he teams up with Ralph on a lead regarding the Sue Dearbon case, where they encounter an arms deal, led by Remmington Meister (played by Carlo Rota) and the return of Ultraviolet (played by Alexa Barajas).
Meanwhile, Allegra discovers Nash Wells, falsely believing him to be the deceased Harrison Wells. Nash believes that Allegra's abilities can be used to open a barrier underneath Central City, believed to be the hiding place of The Monitor, and is willing to reveal the secrets of the multiverse in exchange. Elsewhere, Cecille and Killer Frost attempt to help a now-stable Chester Runk regain his life, the former of whom is trying to prove her worth as a metahuman lawyer.
'The Flash' is interesting because, amongst Arrowverse fans, it seems to be the show where filler is the most "accepted" amongst the season's offerings. For myself, I'm partially in that boat; the show is so entertaining because of its characters and I'm fine taking an episode off the main plot for an episode (even though that main plot has been consistently interesting). But 'License to Elongate,' for all of its charm, feels like it amounts to little, even as a filler episode.
The main Barry/Ralph plot is one big riff/homage to James Bond (however you want to look at it), and...it works alright, I suppose. It's kind of fun to see Ralph play the straight man as he's so good at, the 007 references are kind of charming, and any scene we get with drunk Barry (or just pretend drunk Barry) is automatically funny. That sense of admiration that the two of them have for each other wound up keeping me involved, at least, on a purely entertainment level.
Cecille's storyline almost works; that being that even with experience, there's always room to learn. Yet I couldn't help but feel like there's more potential in her helping affected metahumans than what we actually get. That's not even touching Killer Frost, who basically has a few quick lines and no sense of purpose, (despite the fact that Danielle Panabaker herself directed the episode) and why Iris and Joe aren't featured in the slightest.
I also wonder why on earth Chester is back in the fold, because I don't see him as anything other than the bottom of the barrel of the ecstatic science nerd trope we've seen in these shows. I guess the scene where he comes into his own confidence kind of works in the end, but it's not nearly enough, and if he's joining S.T.A.R Labs, so help my patience.
Even the Allegra/Nash Wells storyline, which does have big ties to the main plot feels remarkably plain. We've just discovered a way to expose one of the most powerful beings in the multiverse, with the first thing we see in the episode setting up that story, and it ultimately feels unimportant, even with Allegra coming to grip with her abilities. I also sound like a broken record, but I don't care how cool an "Indiana Jones-type multiversal myth-buster" sounds, Nash is a jerk so far.
Look, if nothing else, Bloodwork makes a return next week (seemingly targeting Ralph), and the Crisis is looming closer for Barry - I don't like this episode, but I can tolerate it every once in a while.
Overall, I give 'The Flash' Season 6, Episode 6 a score of 5.5/10.
Arrow Season 8, Episode 5 - Prochnost
Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, and David Nykl star in CW's 'Arrow'
Photo Credit: The CW Network – YouTube
In Episode 5 of Season 8, Mia and William join Oliver and Laurel on a mission to Russia to recover the plans for the pulse wave weapon. There, they meet/reunite with Anatoly Knyazev (played by David Nykl), who has returned to Russia to rebuild his life as a bartender. The group track down the general selling the weapon to a fight club in Moscow, but Oliver's past life in the Bratva threatens the lives of the team, and the trust his children have in their father.
Meanwhile, John tracks down Roy Harper (played by Colton Haynes), who has been hiding out as a mechanic in fear of not being able to control his bloodlust. Believing there's hope for him, John recruits Roy to help him steal the plutonium for the Russian weapon. Elsewhere, Lyla appears to Laurel, asking her to steal the weapon plans for The Monitor.
Put yourself in my shoes: 'Arrow' drops one of its best episodes ever in 'Present Tense' and then wait two whole weeks for the follow-up? Does 'Prochnost' follow through? Well, kind of. It's not this season's best, but it does deliver 'Arrow's consistently excellent fight choreography and some good character development that I'm glad we're getting now instead of letting the characters wallow in melodrama.
One of the reasons I loved 'Present Tense' so much was that it allowed Oliver and his kids to confront their shared legacy, and be able to confront it as a family. This week, we get more of that, and its great development for the Queen family, though admittedly more around Oliver and Mia than William. Though she's too stubborn to admit it, she's always had the iconography of Oliver's achievements looming over her, and it's interesting to see her push herself to the limits, only to realize that she's not her dad, and has to be different to work with him.
Oliver gets some very interesting work in this episode: he gets to properly be a father, and it throws him for a loop. You can argue that he's being the overprotective parent and just not listening (the Malcom Merlyn comparisons are looking pretty stark at the moment), but I saw him more as wanting to find his own humanity when face-to-face with it.
This week gives us the return of a few key characters, including Anatoly Knyazev who, in my opinion, is the best supporting character on 'Arrow' (minus Lyla of course). I love his return, because it feels consistent with his character in Seasons 2 and 3, a mix of dry wit and sardonic vengeance, rather than later seasons where he comes off as a bit of a jerk. We get to see true reconciliation between him and Oliver, recognizing each other as equals, and that payoff after this long is really satisfying.
Laurel's arc in this episode is especially well-earned, as the writers seem to finally be painting her shift to the good side as respectful. She's learned that she can only be what she is, and hope that it's good enough (paralleled in her speech to Mia).
I'm glad the Lyla/Laurel interaction panned out the way it did, because I was so worried we were just going to pull a Season 7 and bring Laurel back to bad again. For a character who was introduced as a kind of mustache-twirling antagonist, Earth-2 Laurel has come a long way, maybe even more than her Earth-1 counterpart, and the confrontation with Lyla at the end feels all the more satisfying.
That being said, there are a few things I wasn't totally into. I love that Roy is back on the team and dealing with his own demons, and yet his reconciliation of his bloodlust feels uneasily quick. Yes, we know the team will welcome him back, but I hope we see Roy's inner rage manifest at some point later on, as I don't think a pep talk with John will do the trick.
On top of that, I don't love how simplistic 'Arrow' makes its Russia storylines. I get it – the Bratva are a prevalent criminal organization – but after eight seasons, you can't do anything with them besides scary guy with gun, you know Oliver is smarter than this, don't you?
Overall, I give 'Arrow' Season 8, Episode 5 a score of 8/10