Wednesday, March 1, 2017

REVIEW: The CW's 'Supergirl,' 'The Flash' and 'Arrow' (February 27-March 1)

Reviews for The CW's Arrowverse shows from February 27-March 1:

The CW's Supergirl - Episode 2.14 "Homecoming"
The CW's The Flash - Episode 3.14 "Attack on Central City"
The CW's Arrow - Episode 5.15 "Fighting Fire with Fire"

Due to the demands of Peak TV, it is becoming more and more difficult for this website to devote the time to full length episodic reviews. And yet, there are still thoughts to be had about the ongoing adventures on a number of series. As problematic as they may be, the Arrowverse shows on The CW are having interesting and engaging seasons at the moment. So I thought it would be good to still write down a couple of brief thoughts about each episode on a weekly basis. Of course, you can still expect full reviews for premieres and finales. If The CW should make screeners available, those episodes would get detailed analysis as well. But for now, this will be the way to continue to provide content for these shows while also being a lighter workload for me.

Supergirl - "Homecoming"
When Jeremiah Danvers is rescued from Cadmus, Alex and Kara are thrilled to have their father back. The Danvers arrange a family dinner to celebrate but things go awry when a suspicious Mon-El starts to question Jeremiah about his sudden return. Written by Caitlin Parrish & Derek Simon and directed by Larry Teng

Kara and Mon-El's relationship has been overwhelming as of late. It feels that way because it's been taking up a lot of time in each episode while largely hitting the same beats over and over again. They share a nice moment, Mon-El messes things up by doing or saying something wrong, Kara doesn't know if she can trust him again, Mon-El says he'll change in the future and they reconcile. It's gotten annoying. This episode follows that same trajectory. But it also feels like the first time Mon-El is suppose to be right in his actions. Of course, it's easy to believe his distrust of the situation with Jeremiah. It's not surprising at all when it's revealed that he's a double agent working for Cadmus. And yet, all of this barely matters because the emotional dynamics of this episode work phenomenally well. Jeremiah and Cadmus' returns give the show a new sense of purpose and momentum. That has been missing during this middle stretch of the season. It's genuinely heartbreaking to see everyone realize that Jeremiah is no longer the man they thought he was. That's devastating especially for Alex. Chyler Leigh really delivers an incredible performance here. Her refusal to doubt her father could be seen as naive but it also makes sense considering how much she has wanted him to return. And that final moment with Maggie is so great because it is so brief but devastating. Alex barely has to say anything and Maggie just gets it - a lesson that Mon-El is slowly learning as well thanks to solid relationship advice from Winn! B+

The Flash - "Attack on Central City"
When Grodd and his army of gorillas bring the battle to Earth-1, The Flash and team must find a way to stop them before they destroy Central City. Gypsy returns to join the fight. Jesse Quick decides she wants to stay with Wally on Earth-1. Directed by Dermott Downs with story by Todd Helbing and teleplay by Benjamin Raab & Deric A. Hughes

The return of Grodd two-parter has been really ambitious for the creative team of The Flash. The show should always be this ambitious. There are a lot of really fun and compelling moments in "Attack on Central City" as well - like Joe with metal on his head and the dynamic between Cisco and Gypsy. And yet, most of it gets bogged down by Barry questioning whether or not he should kill Grodd. It's a mainstay of the superhero genre. Can a person be a killer and a hero? It's a question Barry has dealt with before - and has used Oliver and company as justification as well. But here, the show doesn't really add anything new to the debate other than constantly underlining that there is always another way. In this case, that means Barry is able to save Central City from Grodd by bringing Solovar from Earth-2 for an epic gorilla vs. gorilla final showdown. That's a pretty awesome sequence and makes so much of this episode worth it. And then, there is the awkwardness that comes from Jesse trying her dad she wants to stay on Earth-1. There is just something off with Harry for the whole episode. The writing embraced his off-putting and mean-spirited qualities more so than normal. Yes, it was great seeing Harry spar with H.R. but that quickly got old and one-note fast. And lastly, it's good that no one seems to be agonizing about the future as much as before. Barry proposes to Iris which I guess is nice. That seems like uplifting progress but most of this episode still felt too dour. B

Arrow - "Fighting Fire with Fire"
Oliver faces his biggest challenge yet as mayor. Felicity continues down her dark path with Helix. After Vigilante attacks Oliver while he's acting as the mayor, Diggle leads the team in a mission to stop Vigilante once and for all. Written by Speed Weed & Ben Sokolowski and directed by Michael Schultz

Prometheus' identity has been a huge mystery this season. So, it's a shocking moment when the audience learns that it's Adrian Chase behind the mask. He's been the one torturing Oliver all season long. It makes sense that he befriends him in the mayor's office to then make the inevitable betrayal hit even deeper. And yet, it's an odd reveal too. Most of the audience was probably expecting Adrian to be Vigilante. That's how it plays out in the comics. Plus, it would get him involved in the action on the show while still allowing the Prometheus reveal to be someone with a longer history on the series. So much of the Prometheus arc has been about connecting this season to the early days of Oliver being a vigilante in Star City. With it being Adrian, it doesn't quite have the impact of a character history the audience already knows. So his motivations will need to be established pretty quickly moving forward. And with Adrian being Prometheus, does anyone care about who is Vigilante? He's been a recurring presence as well but has been less important than Prometheus. He appears here solely to give some drama to Oliver's impeachment. Without him, it would be an open-and-shut case because Oliver is guilty of these crimes. He still agonizes about what to do and ultimately throws the Green Arrow under the bus. That should increase the pressure heading into the final stretch of the season in some interesting ways though. B