Wednesday, March 22, 2017

REVIEW: The CW's 'Supergirl,' 'Legends of Tomorrow' and 'Arrow' (March 20-22)

Reviews for The CW's Arrowverse shows from March 20-22:

The CW's Supergirl - Episode 2.16 "Star-Crossed"
The CW's Legends of Tomorrow - Episode 2.15 "Fellowship of the Spear"
The CW's Arrow - Episode 5.17 "Kapiushon"

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.

If you're looking for a review of this week's musical episode of The Flash, you can find it here.

Supergirl - "Star-Crossed"
A new villain comes to National City, putting Supergirl on high alert. Winn's girlfriend, Lyra, gets Winn in trouble with the law. Maggie attempts to help Winn but old loyalties get in the way. The Music Meister attacks Supergirl. Written by Katie Rose Rogers & Jess Kardos and directed by John Medlen

It's been difficult to really connect with Kara's romance with Mon-El for a number of reasons. First of all, her being flustered about love is just a lame characteristic that has already been done too much. But more importantly, it was hard to see it as genuine and real knowing that Mon-El was harboring a secret. It's not surprising to the audience that it's revealed he is the Prince of Daxam. It's a reveal that has been a long time coming. And yet, it is suppose to be a surprise to Kara. She's completely thrown by it and no longer knows if she can trust him. But it's a case of the audience already being so much ahead of the characters that it drains the excitement out of the story. This is a necessary episode because it puts it all out in the open. Mon-El's moment with his parents showing how different he has become while on Earth is strong. Hopefully, the series will be able to build on that. Elsewhere, it's lame that Winn's girlfriend once again turns out to be a criminal. That's what happened last season. And now, it's happened with Lyra. Sure, this situation is more complicated because she was forced into stealing artwork. And yet, it feels like a story the show has told before. It builds a new dynamic in that relationship moving forward though. B-

Legends of Tomorrow - "Fellowship of the Spear"
The Legends must devise a plan to retrieve the last remaining fragments of the Spear of Destiny from the Legion of Doom. They find themselves in France at the height of World War I faced with the knowledge that they must destroy the mystical object. They enlist the help of a soldier by the name of John Ronald Reuel Tolkin and find that the Spear is leading them into the heart of the war. The team must all resist the temptation of the Spear, and the return of a former teammate. Written by Keto Shimizu & Matthew Maala and directed by Ben Bray

For Legends of Tomorrow to do a J. R. R. Tolkin episode in the same season as a George Lucas episode, it could have been very lame and repetitive. Fortunately, the stakes of this episode are much different than the earlier one this season. The legacy of The Lord of the Rings isn't in jeopardy just because the team recruits Tolkin for this mission. But more importantly, this hour is about Mick Rory and his relationship to the team. It has been fascinating to see him this season without a partner. He doesn't want to be a hero but he's still a part of the team. He's done a number of heroic things this season - like motivating George Washington into action. And yet, the team still looks at him like a criminal who needs to be controlled during each mission. That's what makes the appeal from the returning Snart so appealing. It marks a return to villainy for both Captain Cold and Heat Wave. Those characters have evolved a lot over the series. This doesn't feel like a backslide though. Instead, it's a moment where they want to control their own destinies. The Spear of Destiny allows them to do that. It just means the Spear goes to the Legion of Doom as well. That gives them more power than ever before. Of course, that means the legends will get to play around with alternate realities for the remainder of the season. That should be fascinating to see. B+

Arrow - "Kapiushon"
Prometheus goes to great lengths to break Oliver. In the flashbacks, Anatoly becomes worried about Oliver's increasingly violent tendencies, which come to a head in a brutal confrontation. Written by Brian Ford Sullivan & Emilio Ortega Aldrich and directed by Kevin Tancharoen

 has always been considerably darker than the other shows in its extended universe. Yes, The Flash has gotten pretty dark and depressing as well lately. But it's a tone that works between on this show with these characters. This is probably the darkest hour of the show yet as it fully embraces Oliver's killer tendencies. Is is it particularly surprising that Oliver wants to kill people? No. He has grown a lot as a character since his days in the Bratva and his killing spree in Starling City as the Hood. That's where Adrian is basing all of this on. And yet, it still feels like a big deal because it truly breaks Oliver down. He's a broken man by the end of this episode. It doesn't feel like he'll ever be able to come together again - which may open the narrative up to whatever Adrian is planning next for Star City. The ending works. The middle stuff is less great. Who really cares about Evelyn? Whether she lives or dies isn't that great. Meanwhile, the final climatic fight with Kovar in the Russian flashbacks is exciting. It's a thrilling fight with Anatoly also commenting on how much Oliver has changed. It shows the cost of death as well. And yet, it's disappointing that this isn't the end of the flashbacks for the season. It would have been satisfying if that was it. But no, Kovar survives somehow thanks to Malcolm Merlyn and become an even more powerful villain. That's a twist that wasn't all that necessary. B