Let's hop into this week's Arrowverse Recap!
Batwoman Season 1, Episode 8
Nicole Kang and Ruby Rose star in CW's 'Batwoman'
Photo Credit: TV Promos – YouTube
In Episode 8 of Season 1, Alice and Mouse make their move, kidnapping Jacob and having Mouse impersonate him at the Gotham Humanitarian Ball that Catherine is being honored at. Mouse immobilizes Sophie and Tyler, while (disguised as Jacob) convincing Mary to come to the Ball to support the family. He attempts to convince Kate as well, but she and Lucius deduce that "Jacob" is an imposter, leading Kate to make another effort to spare their family.
Alright, last call for storylines before the crossover takes over all of our lives next week! In all seriousness, I actually found a good amount of content to like this episode, even if I have issues with it as a mid-season finale.
Jacob, for as little as he actually appears in the episode, gets some very important developments. Captured by Alice, he has to confess to her that he didn't do a DNA check the bones all those years ago, not only because he trusted Catherine, but because he couldn't keep waking up every day with hope for him and Kate. Granted, we got that a few weeks ago as well, but this is the first time we hear it from Jacob to Alice, allowing the truth to be out in the open between our two opposing forces.
For all of Alice's know-how and scheming, I've wanted to see the character utilize those resources to make her feel like the overarching threat that the show wants us to view her as…and boy did this week deliver on that. She gives Kate every reason in the book to hate her; kidnapping the woman she loves, drugging their dad, framing him for murder, poisoning her sister-in-law, and forcing Catherine to take her own life to save Mary's.
All of these things put Kate and Jacob's meeting at the end in a more pivotal context. Despite not knowing her identity as Batwoman, Jacob and Kate are on the same page now, maybe even allowing that darker rage of Kate's predecessor to step ever closer to the surface.
(Little side note, KATE IS JEWISH, YES! I mean…we knew she was Jewish, both from the source material and her mother's gravestone, but she says herself that she and Beth had Bat Mitzvahs. It's a minute detail, but I'm so happy this is legitimately included.)
But then there's the big story as well; Alice poisons Catherine and Mary, with Catherine giving her own life to save her daughter (in a move that reminded me of 'Arrow' Season 2 to a degree). I was surprised how well that sequence worked, given how I've never been a die-hard Mary fan and how I've rarely liked the Catherine character.
Part of it may have to do with Alice's development as a villain, but I also think the way the death is framed – that being around the merits of choices and the decisions parents will make for the sake of their children – worked rather effectively for me. Specifically, it puts Mary in a very interesting spot; her faith in Kate is seemingly lost at the moment, and that bubbly personality is blocked off by greed. I think by season's end, the two will have made up, but for a mid-season tease, I was impressed.
Remember two weeks ago when I made the argument that 'Batwoman' would feel the most out of place when it came to addressing "Crisis" next week? Yup, I was right. We'll get into that Nash Wells bit in a minute, but coming immediately after Kate and our main characters are seemingly drowning in sorrow, that kind of tease really came out of left field and not in a way that feels cohesive.
Speaking of feeling out of place, Sophie and Tyler's storyline should have happened earlier than this. Again, if we're moving into new storylines in the second half of Season 1, our characters have to be in different places than they were at the start.
But while I felt a connection to Kate, Jacob, and Mary's traumas, linking there's to Sophie's by the end of the episode feels out of place, even if Sophie is now in a place to more directly interact with Kate. In addition, I know I sound like a broken record, but can Luke please get some attention? We're midway through the first season, and Kate's second-in-command is the least interesting character thus far.
Overall, I give 'Batwoman' Season 1, Episode 8 a score of 7.5/10.
Supergirl Season 5, Episode 8
Melissa Benoist, Jesse Rath, and Chyler Leigh star in CW's 'Supergirl'
Photo Credit: The CW Network – YouTube
In Episode 8 of Season 5, Alex and Brainy rescue Kara from the re-programed Fortress of Solitude, only to learn of Lena's actions. Kara tracks Lena and Hope (played by Andrea Brooks) to one of Lex's old safe houses, where Lena threatens Kara with kryptonite cannons, though she resists using them. With information from Malefic, the team debates on how to deal with Lena's plan. Kara believes that Lena can still be reasoned with, while Alex is prepared to take a more aggressive approach to prevent the Myriad weapon from being used.
Meanwhile, Rama Khan, seemingly beginning to lose trust with Leviathan, tracks down Andrea in an effort to use her abilities to cause another cataclysm on Earth. Elsewhere, Malefic begins to bond with J'onn in an effort to find his purpose with his freedom.
After Lena's gut-punch of a reveal to Kara, I was sincerely wondering where the mid-season finale would take us this week. Thankfully, it goes exactly where I was hoping it would; not canceling their war, but providing a solution to their battle at hand, in this case, the Myriad weapon.
Lena and Kara continue to be the most interesting aspect of this season, and I love the back and forth we get with this. It feels like a legitimate conflict between estranged friends; deep, visceral, and uneasy to settle. Just in the opening few minutes, I kept thinking "don't do it Lena," and realizing that the show has more to tell between these two than just another Super/Luthor story.
We understand Kara's love and compassion for Lena, and her belief beyond hope that Lena can be reasoned with. Yet, Lena isn't a villain, she's just broken, and again, who can blame her? I love that the show acknowledges those ideas of morality and trust, leading to that great line from Lena, "sometimes the good guys don't win."
You could argue that this makes Alex the antagonist of this episode, but for as much as I love the Danvers sisters, I equally love when the show paints Kara and Alex as distinctly different characters. It's why Alex goes to J'onn for guidance
Speaking of J'onn, I cannot stress how happy I am with how his story goes here. Sure, he helps deal with Rama Khan's plans, but his newfound brotherhood with Malefic is so lovely. They feel like equals now, both needed in the battles that come in this episode, and Malefic even has J'onn's faith that he can bridge the gaps between the two groups of Martians. It's probably just a way to take his character out of the mix for a while, but it's touching to see the two brothers try anew, for both their sakes.
I actually only have a few issues with this episode, even if one of them might be pretty sizeable going forward. You remember how I've been screaming and moaning "GIVE ME LEVIATHAN!" right? Well…maybe I should have been patient. As I thought about the episode, while I'm glad it ties into this episode, the Leviathan and Rama Khan stuff is still a bit too ambiguous for the scale we get this week. Rama Khan's big doomsday plan involves Andrea's still-unclear abilities and destroying National City...because of course, it does. Don't misunderstand me, I still want to heavily explore who Leviathan is, but given the weight of Kara and Lena's conflict, this just felt shoved in.
In addition, I do have to wonder about that tease with The Monitor and J'onn, mostly in regards to how Season 5 has, in some senses, been framed as just as much J'onn's story as Kara's. Then there's one of the obvious issues I've had with Season 5: its over-packed roster of characters. Nia and Will are nonexistent in this episode, but you'd think with Malefic at the center of this story that Kelly's abilities somehow might've been involved?
Overall, I give 'Supergirl' Season 5, Episode 8 a score of 8/10.
Black Lightning Season 3, Episode ?
Nafessa Williams stars in CW's 'Black Lightning'
Photo Credit: The CW Network – YouTube
In Episode 8 of Season 3, Henderson reveals that Major Williams has taken over the ASA from Major Grey, who was injured in Black Lightning's attempt to smuggle metas out of Freeland. Williams is attempting to renovate an old apartment tower into ASA barracks, with the only tenant refusing to leave being Henderson and Jefferson's old teacher, Mrs. Sheppard (played by Andrea Frye).
Meanwhile, Anissa's abilities have returned, and she and Gambi discover the ASA is covering up national news coverage of Freeland as a SARS epidemic. While Gambi goes to city limits to attempt to get a message to the rest of the world, Anissa joins Jefferson and the Resistance as Thunder to protect the apartment complex. Elsewhere, Jennifer and Brandon attempt to learn more about their abilities, while Tobias attempts to convince Lynn to let him help her protect the pod kids.
'Black Lightning' is the only show of the Arrowverse this week to not be on its mid-season finale. Frankly, I think that's a great thing, because this episode set up so much great story content for next week, and a great story regardless. It's so great to see Jefferson acting as part of a team, and with Henderson no less. It isn't given as much attention as I think it should, but seeing the two of them come to terms for their city feels earned this time around.
Jefferson has seen so many of his friends and family affected by the occupation, and that conversation with Mrs. Sheppard, while a bit too preachy, feels like something that would convince him to hop into action. It's also incredibly satisfying to see Jefferson knock out Major Williams (who I keep forgetting is just as threatening a metahuman as he is an ASA operative) as a statement to the ASA.
Hey, Thunder is back too! It's terrific to not only see Anissa back in the classic costume, but also standing side-by-side with her father, as last week gave us the building blocks to reform their partnership. I almost wish we'd gotten one of those cheesy group shots of Jefferson, Anissa, and Henderson standing with the Resistance, but this show's smarter than that, so I'll be patient.
I think it's pretty much safe to say that Brandon is this shows equivalent of Geo-Force from the comics, and I appreciated the scenes we got with him and Jennifer. Speaking of Jennifer, I see her as more of a mentor to Brandon rather than a potential love interest (although, again, we are talking about The CW).
Then there's Tobias, in the background of the episode playing mind games with Lynn. As little as Season 3 has utilized him, this episode reminded me how terrifying Marvin Krondon Jones III can portray this character. I found myself being just as scared for our characters if Tobias went free as I did if the ASA occupation continued – its two different fronts of antagonists to keep in mind as a fan (although the Earth Wind and Fire joke about Black Lightning was quite funny)
However, we have to get into the negatives, and they are here, albeit not as prevalent as I'd feared. For one thing, the aforementioned Khalil. As satisfying as seeing Anissa break Painkiller through a wall is, I can only suspend my disbelief so far. Really? We're doing the "no one recognizes Clark as Superman if he wears glasses? Anissa, you are so much smarter than that. On top of that, Jennifer still has no idea Khalil is around. Now, if the teaser for next week has anything to say about it, she very well might, but for an episode that sets up so much for this point in the season, that felt underwhelming.
Also, we have to talk about Lynn's arc. If the show is trying to comment on drug addiction and family discourse, this is one of the lazier setups I've seen. The last thing I want is for Lynn, who has proven an incredibly capable female character in the past, to have this of all things be her journey this season. Lastly, is it just me, or does this show keep using the same footage for its pre-episodes? It's a bit of a nitpick, but it's starting to feel annoying.
Overall, I give 'Black Lightning' Season 3, Episode 8 a score of 9/10.
The Flash Season 6, Episode 8 -
Candice Patton and Grant Gustin star in CW's 'The Flash'
Photo Credit: TV Promos – YouTube
In Episode 8 of Season 6, Barry, under the control of Ramsey, begins to infect the citizens of Central City with the Bloodwork virus. Cisco, Frost, and Iris lock themselves at S.T.A.R. Labs using a force field that Cisco created in case The Flash ever turned against them. While Frost and Joe aid the police in holding back Ramsey's forces, Cisco reveals he has created a device that harnesses radiation that could be used to eliminate the virus from Barry. But Iris argues that Barry may not survive with what little time he has left before the Crisis.
Meanwhile, Cecile and Kamilla are trapped in a building, but Kamilla realizes that Cecile's empathic abilities can be used to help them avoid the infected. Elsewhere, Nash Wells has reached the shelter of The Monitor, who offers him answers if he submits himself willingly.
Like "License to Elongate" a few weeks back, "The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Part 2" is a bit of a genre-centric episode, in this case, that of zombie films (which, given Ramsey's abilities, felt like an inevitability). But with some carefully placed story beats, I actually thought this worked quite well as a mid-season finale, and a surprisingly poignant set-up to "Crisis."
As we find out, Barry didn't necessarily submit to Ramsey, but rather allowed Ramsey to take him over so that Barry could attempt to show him the error of his ways more naturally. While you might be thinking that that's far too big of a risk for someone like Flash to do (and it is), if you put yourself in Barry's shoes, it feels a bit nobler.
Barry knows that his time is shorter than ever, and if he can somehow convince one last person to turn to good, he knows that that can mean so much, no matter how much time is available. We've seen the parallels between him and Ramsey multiple times throughout the season, and the climax with Barry attempting to reason with Ramsey through the latter's mother actually felt quite sincere. But in the end, Barry realizes that Ramsey has become too powerful and too unhinged to listen to anyone and has to put him away. In a way, Barry's saved the city, but not for long and from someone who, in the end, didn't want to change.
In addition, that kind of zombie movie aesthetic may not look amazing, but it works for the tone of the episode. Ramsey's army feels like a legitimate threat; you can't kill them because they're just innocent people, and you can't fight them because they're powered by a madman. Yet it also doesn't succumb to clichés as much as I thought it would.
I thought when Joe was brought to Star Labs, we'd have to deal with him being infected, infecting the rest one by one, and all the other tropes from tired zombie stories. There's also a very cool one-take sequence with Cecile and Kamilla that I thought was very well-paced for that kind of tension, color me impressed!
Another important aspect is the ending of the episode is the ending, with Barry sitting with his family and loved ones one last time before the mystery of the Crisis reveals itself. On the one hand, it's not as broad as I think I would've liked to see a scene like this, but it doesn't really have to in the end.
As Cecile notes, Barry's greatest strength is hope, and I came to realize in this scene how much this season has built on that idea. Time after time, Barry has been the one giving the team hope in the darkness, and this feels like an appropriate end. I still don't think Barry properly dies in the Crisis, but if he did, I don't think I'd be too mad with this as his send-off.
As far as things I didn't like, this season may be suffering from a bit of overly-ambitious effect work, at least in its last few episodes. I've heard some people say they liked Bloodwork's monster form and, while I've seen worse, it's a bit lacking compared to works like Savitar or King Shark, and knowing that Ramsey can become this disfigured means that we'll have to expect something like that later on in the season (at least, for WHEN Ramsey comes back).
In addition, where on Earth was Ralph? We just saw him dubbed the new hero of Central City and it's (at least to the characters) Barry's date of death and he is nowhere to be found. It didn't hit me until about halfway through and then it started to get on my nerves based on Ralph's arc throughout the season. Even for as great that ending scene was, Ralph is nowhere in sight, what the heck?
I also thought the eventual "cure" for the Bloodwork virus felt a little bit convoluted. That's nothing new for 'The Flash,' I should expect that. But when you get into all the nonsense about combining this radiation device with Ramsey blood with Caitlyn's tech with Allegra's abilities; it all starts to feel a bit too convenient for the characters, and we as the audience just go "well, at least the bad guys are gone, let's see what comes next."
Overall, I give 'The Flash' Season 6, Episode 8 a score of 8.5/10.
Arrow Season 8, Episode 7 - Purgatory
Katie Cassidy, Stephen Amell, and David Ramsey star in CW's 'Arrow'
Photo Credit: TV Promos – YouTube
In Episode 7 of Season 8, Oliver, John, and Laurel are transported to Lian Yu. They reunite with Mia, William, and Connor, who were brought there by A.R.G.U.S agents, as well as Lyla, who reveals that The Monitor has brought them there to build a weapon on the island. Dinah, Renee, and Roy are transporting the plutonium needed for the weapon onto the island when they are shot down by a missile.
While looking for their friends, Oliver and Laurel learn that the missile was the work of a seemingly resurrected Edward Fyers (played by Sebastian Dunn) and Billy Wintergreen (played by Jeffrey Robinson), Oliver's enemies from his early days on Lian Yu. Also seemingly alive is Oliver's mentor, Yao Fei (played by Byron Mann), who attempts to aid Team Arrow in their attempts to build the weapon as Fyers' army draws closer and Lyla's warnings of the oncoming Crisis become more clear.
Think about this for a second: with the crossover, the spin-off pilot, and the finale all set to air in January, this is the last "regular" episode of 'Arrow' we'll ever see. It's actually kind of interesting to view the episode in that mold, but doesn't distract at all from the story and stakes of this episode. I wouldn't quite put this on the level of 8x4, but this is probably my second favorite episode this season.
Certain Season 8 episodes have felt like spiritual connections to past seasons, and this one feels a bit in line with a fair amount of the Season 5 finale: the overarching trauma of Lian Yu, Oliver's connections to his kids, the entirety of Team Arrow being involved, and there's even a mention of Adrian Chase blowing up the island all those years ago.
That sense of a team is very prevalent here, and I was surprised at how much we get from all of the characters involved. Laurel gets to be a strong mentor, Dinah gets to be an expert tactician, William gets to live up to the Smoak name by constructing an impossible weapon, and Yao Fei provides a great mirror back to Oliver's origins on the island. Even Roy, who gets sidelined by a pretty gruesome amputation scene, gets a great moment with John about his devotion and place within the team that 8x5 wishes it could match in terms of sincerity.
We also finally get to see the confrontation between John and Lyla and, again, it works so consistently with their relationship. I've it before: John and Lyla are the couples that lasts because, through all of their differences in priorities, they always are there to better each other. John, in particular, gets an amazing moment of clarity this week, having finally needing to come to grips with not being able to change things out of his control.
Then there's Oliver's goodbyes to the team (and don't try to twist words, he's saying goodbyes whether he dies or not). All of them have something great to offer to the story, but it's his meeting with Mia, at the gravestones of everyone he lost on the island and passing the torch onto her, that really brings this episode together. Goodness, Mia has come such a long way from her melodramatic days in Season 7, hasn't she? Having finally had that sense of familial protection towards her dad, she finally has clarity on the burden of her parents, and on Lian Yu no less. Yeah, it's all a bit overdramatic and played for tears, but it got me hooked more than I'd been.
However, it's taken me up until this point to realize that Season 8, for all the amazing content it's delivered on, has had a bit of a recurring issue, that being its villains. Compared to 'The Flash' Season 6, 'Arrow' Season 8 doesn't have an overarching human antagonist like 'The Flash' does with Bloodwork.
The threats of the Crisis are far bigger than any of Oliver's past enemies, and Oliver and the team are laser-focused on that. As a result, while it's cool as a fan to see Grant Wilson, China White, and now Edward Fyers as one-off antagonists to explore 'Arrow's history, it also comes with having to try to frame them as legitimate threats, and it's becoming a factor of the show that I'm least invested in.
There's also a couple of other smaller issues I have with the episode. For one thing, for all the great opportunities our heroes get to further the story, Renee and Roy feel shoved to the side and have little to contribute other than their goodbye scenes with Oliver. Also, if Yao Fei is right and the revived characters are those who were there at the start, I do fail to see why Shado, a character directly tied to those past events, wasn't included.
Finally, I also thought there was a missed opportunity for a Diggle family discussion; we get something in the forest, but it feels like a bit of an afterthought to come clean about J.J. and Connor's disputes in the future (actually, now that I think about it, Connor hasn't gotten that much attention has he?)
Overall, I give 'Arrow' Season 8, Episode 7 a score of 9/10.
BONUS: Crisis on Infinite Earths: Teases and Official Trailer
Photo Credit: TV Promos - YouTube YouTube
If you've been keeping up, you might be wondering "why no mention of the 'Crisis' hints?" Well, I figured that, with the crossover coming next week, I'd share some of my quick thoughts in this bonus section, both for the in-show tidbits and the recent trailer that dropped.
Some of you may think I'm being unfair to 'Batwoman': why am I criticizing the lack of crossover foreshadowing, when 'Black Lightning' has done nothing up to this point? The simple answer is that 'Batwoman' is on Earth-1, in-universe with 'Arrow,' 'The Flash,' and 'Legends of Tomorrow,' with dozens of built-in threads to tug on. It's almost as if it should never have been on Earth-1, and a certain someone has been seething with anger about this for over a year (I won't dare say whom).
That being said, Kate's introduction in last year's "Elseworlds" crossover does seem to have critical importance leading into "Crisis," with Roger Hayden a.k.a. the Psycho Pirate having an apparent knowledge of the Crisis and being imprisoned in Arkham Asylum. Minus Kate, I highly doubt that we'll see any of the other characters of 'Batwoman' pop up in "Crisis," but who knows? Maybe Luke is secretly a meta-human, that'd at least be kind of quirky.
We got a couple of "Crisis" teases this week: The Monitor appearing before J'onn to warn him, and the reveal of Lex Luthor's revival after Season 4. I've always been curious why Malefic was 'Supergirl's tether to the events of "Crisis" and it seems to be for J'onn to take a more active role than I initially thought.
The really cool bit comes with Lex Luthor being alive. In the comics, Lex's "good" counterpart plays a key role in the story, but here, it seems as though The Monitor requires him to step up on his own. If anything, this makes me question what role Lena has in the Crisis, as she is credited for the 'Supergirl' episode. Maybe he is just that crazy intelligent to save the multiverse, or perhaps there's a shred of regret for hurting Lena that makes him more sympathetic than other portrayals of Lex Luthor?
We'll get to the trailer, but for right now, 'Black Lightning' is doing its own thing, with very few references to any kind of larger DC multiverse.
That is, except for the promo for next week's mid-season finale, which seems to indicate that Gambi will discover the existence of parallel universes, and possibly an evil version of Jennifer. I really hope that this doesn't interfere with the main Season 3 storyline, as it sounds like a big risk at the eleventh hour to introduce this kind of story element, but I have three years of hope that this can work.
'The Flash' has literally been teasing about "Crisis" since Episode 1 of the series, so if you've been watching this show, you probably have a pretty good base for what to expect from Crisis.
The end tag with Nash Wells was shown at the end of every show (except 'Black Lightning'), but I'll mention it here since I feel it ties in the most with this show. It's a cool and very well-shot scene for an Arrowverse show ("Crisis" apparently has a higher budget than the rest of the shows). It's also the scene that finally made me legitimately curious about the Nash Wells character, albeit it does feel a little bit too blatant of a bait-and-switch.
Speaking of Tom Cavanagh, apparently, he's also set to appear as Reverse Flash at some point during the crossover, who, when we last saw him at the end of Season 5, said to Barry "see you in the next Crisis" - spooky.
Aside from the Nash Wells teaser, the Lyla reveal might be the biggest tease to "Crisis" we got this week. Lyla has officially become Harbinger, a cosmic-powered being, to serve The Monitor just as the Crisis arrives on Lian Yu. Right now, we seem to have the idea that Lyla, Oliver, and Mia will be the main players from 'Arrow' in Crisis, but that's also forgetting about the weapon that Team Arrow had built this episode.
What is that weapon for? I have no clue, but it may have something to do with the Anti-Monitor towers that are crucial to the Crisis in the comic series. Perhaps a power source for stabilizing different universes? If there's one thing 'Arrow' specifically has taught us, it's that The Monitor is not entirely a good character and his goals may be very different than our characters, Lyla or not.
THE TRAILER AND OTHER THOUGHTS:
Ok, this article is way too long already, so let's just list off some of the really cool stuff the recent trailer seems to indicate about the crossover:
- Argo City (Kara's mom) is destroyed, and possibly Earth-38 (Kara's Earth) as well
- Mia apparently playing a larger role fighting alongside her father
- Kevin Conroy as a live-action, Kingdom Come-esque version of Batman, seemingly Kate's future cousin
- Tom Welling back as 'Smallville's Clark Kent, but not confirmed to don the Superman costume...yet.
- The apparent foreshadowing of the deaths of both Oliver and Barry, if not more characters
- And my personal "scream like a fan" moment: Black Lightning and The Flash…teaming up? WHAT?
What did you think of this week in the Arrowverse? What do you think might happen in the second half of these seasons, and what does "Crisis on Infinite Earths" have in store?
Want to follow me on social media? Follow me on Twitter and IG @TheMovieKing45