Warning: spoilers for Supergirl 3×01, The Flash 4×01, Legends of Tomorrow 3×01, and Arrow 6×01
These are my musings on the latest episodes of the DCTV CW shows. I will try to post such musings at the end of each week. Feel free to completely disagree with me in the comments, as most of this is based purely on my own opinion and preferences.
An interesting side effect of Kara’s cold attitude in this episode was how cheery everyone else seemed by comparison. Part of the reason the tonal shift in The Flash season 3 didn’t work was because everyone was dragged down by Flashpoint. The character who provided the most comedic relief, Cisco Ramon, was traumatized by his brother’s death and blamed Barry for it, even more so after he discovered that his brother was alive before Barry created Flashpoint. Then the replacement comic relief, H.R. Wells, sacrificed himself in the end to save Iris. While I consume drama like it’s chocolate (probably the reason I watch anything on the CW, really), it doesn’t always mean the show itself is good, or that it benefits from being “darker” or “edgier”. With Supergirl, however, all of this “edginess” is thrust upon Kara, while characters like Winn, Alex, and J’onn all get to continue to be their bright shining selves. Which is ironic in Alex’s case, as this fantastic exchange highlights.
Winn: “[Kara] goes from being little miss sunshine to…well, Alex, basically.”
[J’onn grunts in agreement]
Alex: “What? I’m not like that!”
J’onn: “Oh come on, Alex, your unrelenting seriousness is one of your best qualities.”
Alex [as J’onn and Winn walk away]: “I’m not like tha–I’m not!“
The non-Kara-related dramatic aspects of this episode were still in the tone of the show as a whole, with Alex being reluctant to agree to a big wedding because of the fact that her father couldn’t walk her down the aisle. This resolves in a tear-jerking but heartfelt way with Alex asking J’onn to be the one to walk her down the aisle. And the writers don’t forget to give us something to giggle about in this scene either; right after Alex asks him and we all start tearing up, she commands J’onn, “Don’t cry. If you cry, I’m gonna cry, and everybody here’s gonna know that we actually can cry”.
Though I loved the episode as a whole, it makes me wary of the rest of the season because the weakest part was Kara. The show never made me care enough about Karamel (the relationship between Kara and Mon-El) to make this aftermath feel earned. I cared more about the dynamic between Kara and her aunt than between Kara and Mon-El, and in this case, Mon-El isn’t even dead. The only good thing that came from this angle in the episode was when Alex was leaving Kara’s apartment, heartbroken about Kara pulling away from her, and said, “Kara Danvers is my favorite person. She saved me more times than Supergirl ever could so just think about that while you’re trying to get rid of her”. If we have more Danvers sisters moments like this, I might just be able to make it through the season.
- Winn: “Cool car chase. Very fast. Very furious.” He’s such a nerd and I love him.
- Cat: basically all of her comments were slams on current US politics. It was fantastic.
- glad that the thing that brought Kara back to Catco is Lena ❤
- NOT glad that the thing that brought Kara back in the water was her hallucination of Mon-El (would have been a great moment for Alex to jump in and save her, or maybe J’onn if Alex saving her isn’t realistic enough)
- Seeing Lena and James together and sticking up for each other was fantastic. Doesn’t mean I want to see them as a couple though. Really hoping the writers don’t go that route.
- Very excited about the next episode. I’m a sucker for “facing your fears” episodes in superhero shows. I just hope that Mon-El doesn’t make an appearance.
So much about this episode points towards their return to season 1 Flash. Even before Barry’s return, the tone was light and hopeful, which we saw little of last season. The team consisting of Vibe, Kid Flash, Iris, and Joe is a treat to watch, and something I had been looking forward to during the hiatus. I knew from set spoilers (and from the episode promo, let’s be honest) that Barry would come back this episode, which was a disappointment because I had hoped that they would have at least a few episodes with the team trying to cope without him, and these first few minutes with the fight with Peekaboo proved that they could have pulled this off, bringing Barry back in time for the four-show crossover. However, this show has always been and most likely always will be about the Barry Allen iteration of The Flash, so the safest route for the writers to take was to bring him back as soon as possible.
That being said, I don’t think everything is back to normal now, or even back to whatever normal was in season 1. Nor should it be. There need to be consequences for bringing Barry back from the speed force, whether that’s from the speed force itself (I don’t think Caitlin and Cisco were able to fool the god-like speed force that easily) or from Barry’s time in the speed force affecting him in some way (I don’t believe for a second that he truly doesn’t remember anything that happened between going into the speed force and saving Iris from the Samuroid). I’m glad that his return from the speed force is so closely entwined with the season’s Big Bad (the Thinker); this’ll ensure that his return has season-long consequences, even if they are indirect.
- The fact that it took Cisco the entire episode to think of the pun “Samuroid” amuses me to no end
- I thought that both Iris and Cisco’s attitudes towards bringing Barry out of the speed force were believable and valid. Iris wanted to respect Barry’s wishes, and she was scared that Barry wasn’t even alive anyway. Meanwhile, Cisco was willing to do anything to get him out, even if that’s detrimental in the long run.
- BLASTING LADY GAGA AGAIN. They really ARE bringing us back to season 1, aren’t they?
- It was great seeing Caitlin back, especially with her interactions with Cisco, but I’m also looking forward to whatever they’re planning on doing with Killer Frost.
Legends of Tomorrow
Legends of Tomorrow really knows where it fits in all of these shows, which is surprising given it doesn’t have a main character and its roster keeps changing. They’re the goofballs, the lovable hilarious idiots that shouldn’t be able to function as a team but somehow manage to save the day in every episode.
While I was hoping that the “we broke time” thing would last longer, it only makes sense that a time-traveler like Rip would show up to fix the mess right away. It doesn’t appear to be over completely, however, as the entire first episode was dedicated to an anachronism and future episodes promise to host anachronisms of their own. What I’m most curious about, however, is what exactly happened to Rip in those five years to turn him into such a stickler for the rules. Something scared him. Is it Mallus? How are the Legends responsible for Mallus being a threat, as Agent Sharp says?
- Very excited for Constantine to show up, though I’m curious how they’ll manage to mix the tones. Constantine himself is a wise-cracking lovable idiot who fits well into the dynamic, but his area of expertise fit well on the darker Arrow.
- Sara and Mick’s friendship is the best, honestly
- From a purely aesthetic level, everything looks different from earlier seasons, and I’m not just talking about Rip’s hair. Are they using different cameras? Different lighting? Different color palette?
Going into this episode, I had no idea how they would deal with the “who died on the island?” question. I thought perhaps they spend the beginning of the episode on the island, therefore keeping everything chronological. Instead, they used what happened on the island as flashbacks interspersed throughout the episode. I was afraid this would drag out the reveal, a reveal that would surprise next to no one. For people like me who can’t help themselves and eat up any new information about the season, we already knew that essentially everyone would live (including Dinah, Wild Dog, and Black Siren). The writers were smart in this aspect, keeping up a level of suspense for those who didn’t already know who survived, but also revealing people one by one so that they didn’t drag it out for those who knew Samantha was the only one to die.
This episode also gave me hope that they didn’t just use the blowing-up of the island for shock value at the end of last season. There are real consequences to it. Thea is in a coma. Diggle is struggling, either from PTSD or from some shrapnel from the explosion (he wasn’t just shaking with the gun, his shoulder was in pain too, and we never got to see how he got back up after the explosions knocked him down; a deliberate omission if I ever saw one). Oliver is trying to be a father to William. Despite lackluster writing at the base level (of all four season premieres, this had some of the most cringe-worthy lines), the organization of the episode and the plot was great and promises a strong season arc.
- The show is still dark, still melodramatic, THE WAY I LIKE IT
- I just KNOW I’m gonna hate this “Oliver Queen is the Green Arrow” thing, because the reveal is one of my favorite tropes and this show keeps botching up the reveal to the public. The reveal to Tommy in season 1 remains one of my favorite Arrow moments. But Ollie has been “outed” as the hood/arrow/green arrow THREE TIMES now, at LEAST. They’re probably going to sweep this one under the rug as well. I REALLY HOPE THEY DON’T. I NEED THIS ONE TO STICK.
- okay Mr. Terrific is SO COOL. I love his T spheres! And his costume! Just….he’s so cool
- Always love me some Wild Dog.
- Can Dinah and Black Siren always face off? Please? They are great
- I hope they never lose Paul Blackthorne. He is by far their best actor, and he makes everyone else better around him.
The Main Takeaway
As these were all season premieres, their main job was to set up each season, whether that be in tone, change of cast, or main villain. The main challenge will be dealing with the consequences of the major changes they have made. With Supergirl, that is with Kara’s character shift after having to send Mon-El away. With Flash, it’s the consequences of pulling Barry out of the speed force. With Legends of Tomorrow, it’s cleaning up the anachronisms and finding out what Rip is keeping from his old team. With Arrow, it is the fallout of the explosions on the island, specifically for Diggle, William, Thea, and Black Siren. Hopefully, these changes will lead to strong and interesting plots that develop the characters and pique our interest.