Wednesday, March 8, 2017

REVIEW: The CW's 'Supergirl,' 'The Flash' and 'Legends of Tomorrow' (March 6-7)

Reviews for The CW's Arrowverse shows from March 6-7:

The CW's Supergirl - Episode 2.15 "Exodus"
The CW's The Flash - Episode 3.15 "The Wrath of Savitar"
The CW's Legends of Tomorrow - Episode 2.13 "Land of the Lost"

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 - "Exodus"
As Alex searches for Jeremiah and Kara investigates a series of alien kidnappings, the sisters realize they must break the rules to foil a new Cadmus plot. In an effort to get Snapper Carr to run a story that would help her stop Cadmus, Kara agrees to set up an interview between Snapper and Supergirl. Written by Paula Yoo & Eric Carrasco and directed by Michael Allowitz

"Exodus" is simply one of the strongest episodes Supergirl has ever produced. That's more than a little weird when Supergirl is largely just a sidekick to the main stories. This hour is all about Alex Danvers. Chyler Leigh is just so good on this show. That was true last season but she has really stepped it up this year. It's great to see her as this multi-dimensional character who has evolved over time. It's also great to see her as a badass action hero taking on Cadmus by herself and trying to free the abducted aliens. This story also gets into a powerful analogy with real-life politics about rounding up illegal aliens and sending them back to where they came from - even though they were fleeing those worlds for serious reasons such as war, famine or persecution. It's empowering to see Alex and Kara stand up against those fears and support the inclusion of aliens throughout the world. It's through their bond as sisters that ultimately saves everyone as well. That's the power Supergirl drives on to stop the ship from take off. And elsewhere, it's great that there are consequences to Kara going rogue as a reporter. For this week, the show takes journalistic integrity seriously for once. Her job as a reporter hasn't been that important so far this season. Becoming a blogger probably won't be any better. But it all felt like earned plot developments as well that never distracted from the main story with Alex. A

The Flash - "The Wrath of Savitar"
While training with Barry, Wally starts to have visions of Savitar, which he hides from the team. A dangerous secret threatens Barry and Iris' happiness. Written by Andrew Kreisberg & Andrew Wilder and directed by Alexandra La Roche

How does The Flash creative team not get tired of telling the same story over and over again? Once again, this episode is defined by the characters keeping secrets from each other. Their distrust of each other is what leads to the return of Savitar. It's frustrating because this has all happened before. An evil speedster has preyed on their insecurities and fears. And now, their evil proclamations have come to pass. The show thinks it's so clever by making it seem like Savitar's rise was the big plan all along. And yet, it's lame because it's the same conventions as previous season-long story arcs. Before this episode, it never felt like Savitar was the big bad for the season who needed to be unmasked. He was the god of speed. He was more than human. But now, that seems like a mystery the show wants the audience to invest in. Is it to obvious to believe that Savitar is Wally? He is now trapped in the speed force for recklessly running into a situation without knowing all the facts. Sure, the rest of the team wasn't too helpful because they lied and hid things as well. All of this could just be motivation for his rise as a villain. The speed force could change him and make everything Savitar says about Barry's future true. Of course, Savitar is a scary sight and that final battle with Barry is effective. But the show just doesn't seem to be evolving at all. Just repeating the same mistakes and problems over and over again. C+

Legends of Tomorrow - "Land of the Lost"
After capturing Rip, he forces the Waverider to crash, leaving the Legends stuck seventy million years in the past. Ray lads Amaya and Nate to recover a vital piece of the ship. In an effort to get the "good" Rip back, Rory suggests they enter Rip's mind, but what Sara and Jax discover in his subconscious is not pleasant and they must fight evil versions of themselves. Nate and Amaya continue to get closer, but it could cause serious ramifications. Written by Keto Shimizu & Ray Utarnaachitt and directed by Ralph Hemecker

The Rip Hunter of Season 1 wasn't a compelling character. The Rip Hunter of Season 2 has wonderfully shown off Arthur Darvill's versatility as an actor. And yet, the story arc is essentially about the Legends trying to get Season 1 Rip back. He was the captain of the team. And now, he has the crucial piece of information about the final piece of the Spear of Destiny. Restoring him to "normal" is the only way to stop the Legion of Doom from being able to rewrite reality. The team has grown a lot without Rip as leader. Sara has proven herself to be a worthy captain of the ship. So, it should be interesting to see how Rip coming back as his normal self will shake up the team. Will it restore the awkward dynamics of Season 1? Or will the show continue to find a fun, new spin on things? That's a question for the future. This episode is really fun when Sara and Jax head into Rip's mind to pull his true self out. It's a fun capper filled with evil versions of the team. Plus, Gideon appears in human form which just goes to show just how essential Amy Pemberton is to this show. Sure, the Rip-Gideon kiss is weird. But it's a nice ridiculous detail thrown on top of a really fun and engaging story. The side mission with Ray, Nate and Amaya is less successful because it's defined by the show suddenly remembering that another version of Vixen exists in the timeline. So, it's mostly just a new obstacle to get in the way of Nate and Amaya as a couple. But still, Amaya taking on a dinosaur is pretty badass. B+