Wednesday, March 29, 2017

REVIEW: The CW's 'Supergirl,' 'The Flash,' 'Legends of Tomorrow' and 'Arrow' (March 27-29)

Reviews for The CW's Arrowverse shows from March 27-29:

The CW's Supergirl - Episode 2.17 "Distant Sun"
The CW's The Flash - Episode 3.18 "Abra Kadabra"
The CW's Legends of Tomorrow - Episode 2.16 "Doomworld"
The CW's Arrow - Episode 5.18 "Disbanded"

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 - "Distant Sun"
A large bounty is put out on Supergirl and aliens from far and near attack National City intent on taking out the woman of steel. Alex and Maggie run into Maggie's ex-girlfriend, Emily, who is in town for a week. Hank gets an interesting order from President Marsdin. Written by Gabriel Llanas & Anna Musky-Goldwyn and directed by Kevin Smith

This episode operates under the belief that Mon-El has changed as a person over the course of the season. It's effectiveness relies solely on if the audience believes that. Is he as bad a person as he was earlier this season? No. Is he as bad as his parents? No. But he has gotten very tiring as a character which makes it hard to invest in him and Kara as a couple. And yet, the show continues to spend so much time with him. He's essentially become the co-lead of the series. That will probably only continue now that Queen Rhea has made her turn into supervillain. It's disappointing that she's essentially a one-note villain here. Teri Hatcher brings so much energy and passion to the role. But her actions hardly make this seem like a healthy family unit. They just show how evil she is! Similarly, Chris Wood's charm and charisma is enough to easily overlook Mon-El's flaws over and over again. But after awhile, those problems still persist and haven't really changed at all. They are just slightly different now. Meanwhile, the less said about Alex and Maggie's story the better. That was truly awful. It had one sweet moment but the rest was too awkward, nonsensical and boring. C+

The Flash - "Abra Kadabra"
The Flast battles Abra Kadabra, a villain from Earth-19, who makes him a tempting offer - release him and he'll reveal Savitar's true identity. Desperate to save Iris, Barry considers taking the deal but Gypsy breaches in to capture the villain for her own reasons and during the melee, Abra Kadabra manages to escape. Barry is furious that Gypsy interfered but Gypsy refuses to back down, forcing Cisco to take sides. Julian is still a bit cold towards Caitlin but when she is severely injured in a battle with Gypsy, he rushes to her side. Directed by Nina Lopez-Corrado with story by Andrew Kreisberg and teleplay by Brooke Roberts & David Kob

Abra Kadabra is certainly the most entertaining villain-of-the-week the show has featured in a long time. He's over-the-top in a way the show really needs at this point. And yet, almost all of this episode is disappointing and depressing. It's once again just endless teases of Iris' pending death and Savitar's true identity. No progress is made on either front which is just really frustrating. The show has established them as the big mysteries of the season. However, I just don't care at all. Plus, Barry's big decision in the end to travel to the future to find answers shows that he still hasn't learned his lesson when it comes to time travel. It will always have consequences that he can't anticipated that will only make his life worse. Plus, the hour also ends with the tease of Killer Frost emerging. The moment doesn't really land though because the show has done such a poor job explaining why using her powers suddenly makes Caitlin evil. She is the only metahuman where that has been the case. The show just wants to accept it as fact even though there should be more of a explanation for why that's the case. Even the Cisco-Gypsy romance sours in this episode with her being one-note and hellbent on revenge while he is just coming on way too strong. It's really not appealing. C

Legends of Tomorrow - "Doomworld"
After obtaining the Spear of Destiny, the Legion of Doom rewrites reality, leaving the Legends changed, perhaps forever. Frightfully, the Legends' and the world's hopes rest with Rory, but being the "hero" is not easy for him. There is tension within the Legion of Doom and the reason why the Spear of Destiny needs to be destroyed is revealed. Written by Ray Utarnachitt & Sarah Hernandez and directed by Mairzee Almas

Alternate reality episodes are a reliably strong premise. They allow the creative team and actors to embrace different qualities with the characters and storytelling. "Doomworld" doesn't really work because it plays things too boring and safe. The reality that the Legion of Doom creates isn't a whole lot different than the actual present-day. They are just happy in their lives and have power. Moreover, this episode is just way too chaotic and trying to focus on too many characters. That means certain moments land in weird and awkward ways. It seems like this season is building to Mick Rory needing to choose which side he's on. He's gone back and forth with such frequency though that it no longer really means anything. Meanwhile, Amaya's death doesn't work because it seems completely unlikely that it'll actually stink. Instead of being emotionally devastating to bring weight to the season finale next, it plays as a cheap trick to amplify the tension of the story. Plus, the exclusion of Rip in all of this seems like an oversight on the Legion's part. Him being obsessed with baking on the ship is amusing but it probably would have been better if he just wasn't seen at all until the final reveal. Of course, there are some bright spots as well - largely including the jokes the Legion deliver to one another. B-

Arrow - "Disbanded"
Diggle and Felicity are shocked by Oliver's decision to call on the Bratva to help take down Prometheus. Concerned the Bratva may overstep, Diggle has a hard conversation with Oliver about what happens if things go south. Felicity learns something shocking at Helix. Written by Rebecca Bellotto and directed by J.J. Makaro

Oliver believing the team is better off far away from him is a story the show has told before. And yet, it feels differently this time because Oliver really is a broken man. Just because this hour focuses on him accepting the team once more, it doesn't immediately fix him. It's important to note that he doesn't want to wear the Green Arrow outfit because it seemingly represents the man he doesn't want to be but knows that he is. He'll have to work his way back to that. That's interesting emotional material for the character. Plus, it's fun to see Anatoly in Star City. It shows how far Oliver is willing to go to stop Adrian. He may be broken but he still wants Adrian taken out. This episode largely just highlights how people have changed. Anatoly isn't the same man who was interacting with Oliver in the Bratva five years ago. Meanwhile, Oliver and Felicity have different mentalities about their new teams. This episode doesn't always add up to a whole lot with these observations though. It's largely just important that Adrian is revealed to be Prometheus to the rest of the world. Him being on the run will probably only make him more dangerous though. B