Wednesday, April 26, 2017

REVIEW: The CW's 'Supergirl,' 'The Flash' and 'Arrow' (April 24-26)

Reviews for The CW's Arrowverse shows from April 24-26:

The CW's Supergirl - Episode 2.18 "Ace Reporter"
The CW's The Flash - Episode 3.19 "The Once and Future Flash"
The CW's Arrow - Episode 5.19 "Dangerous Liaisons"

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 - "Ace Reporter"
Lena's ex-boyfriend, Jack Spheer, comes to National City to unveil his big breakthrough in nano-technology, which has the potential to eradicate all diseases. Lena asks Kara to attend Jack's conference with her for support. When Kara sees Snapper in attendance, she's inspired to tap back into her reporter skills and questions Jack on his discovery, which ultimately leads to a bigger investigation that puts everyone in danger. Written by Paula Yoo & Caitlin Parrish and directed by Armen V. Kevorkian

It's definitely a problem that I'm much more invested in the Kara-Lena dynamic than Kara and Mon-El, right? That friendship just happens so naturally even though there is still all this big tension about Lena being a Luthor. With Mon-El, it's still too forced and it really only works because of Chris Wood. Of course, Mon-El is just a small part of this episode. Instead, most of it plays as perhaps an original story for Lena taking a turn to the dark side. The show has definitely gone back-and-forth on whether to do that with her. It was previously teased that she was playing a long con that no one else even knew about. But here, it's genuinely moving to watch as Kara is there to support her in the aftermath of having to kill the ex-boyfriend she's still in love with. That's just a solid moment. But that tease with Rhea has me very worried about the state of Kara and Lena's friendship moving forward, which is the exact reaction to have. Meanwhile, the James-Winn-Lyra plot is mostly just there. It gives them something to do in an episode that's not really interested in anything outside of Kara and Lena. It's also not surprising that Kara got her CatCo job back either because the show didn't even bother to take out that detail in the opening narration of each episode. B+

The Flash - "The Once and Future Flash"
Barry travels to the future to find out Savitar's still unknown identity in the hopes of saving Iris. Upon his arrival in 2024, Barry encounters future versions of his friends who, following the death of Iris, have become very different people, profoundly impacted by their showdown with Savitar. It will be up to Barry to infuse a sense of hope back into the team, as he proves to be the hero his future friends have been waiting for. Back in 2017, the hunt for Killer Frost continues. Written by Carina Adly MacKenzie and directed by Tom Cavanagh

The show is making such a big deal out of the mystery of Savitar's real identity. It's setting up some huge expectations that the ultimate reveal can't possibly deliver on. So, it only gets more and more frustrating that each episode says that this is the week Savitar is unmasked only to delay the reveal until the next one. It's lame and very manipulative. The show has just gotten so stale because this is the exact thing it did in the first two seasons. The revealing of the big bad's true identity definitely altered the tone of those two seasons. But it was a necessary moment that brought everything into focus as well. In specifically talking about this episode, Barry's trip to the future is perfectly fine. It's largely about him accepting his promise to Iris to care for Team Flash should Savitar kill her instead of him learning Savitar's identity. He also gets a good enough lead to potentially change the future. But it's not all that exciting or necessary. The fight with Mirror Master and Top is especially lame and predictable. It's largely the same as the previous time The Flash battled those two. Meanwhile, Killer Frost is now on the loose. But that's a danger for a future episode as well. B-

Arrow - "Dangerous Liaisons"
Oliver, Team Arrow, ARGUS and the SCPD kick off a citywide manhunt for Adrian Chase. Helix tells Felicity they have a way to find Chase but they will need something big, and illegal, from her in return. Written by Speed Weed & Elizabeth Kim and directed by Joel Novoa

Helix has been a major part of this season of Arrow. They were a place for Felicity to go to outside of Team Arrow in order to cope with Detective Malone's death. She's gone down a dark path this season that has been interesting. It's all informed by the numerous times throughout the years of her standing by Oliver even when he makes a potential dangerous decision. This episode is all about Felicity doing something wrong in order to potentially do something right. The manhunt for Chase seems like the immediately focus for this episode. And yet, that's not the case at all. Instead, it's about a war between Helix and ARGUS. That's fascinating. It puts Felicity firmly on the side of Helix and working against the rest of the team. She's doing so because she believes it's necessary to find Chase. She's ultimately right in the end but it comes at great personal cost. That's very devastating and rewarding to watch. It puts tension in the team that shouldn't be fixed right away either. Of course, it's likely that it will considering Chase has infiltrated the Arrow lair with Oliver and Felicity inside. Elsewhere, the Quentin-Rene subplot is fine but very detached from the rest of the episode. Also, it's never adequately explained why Rene isn't with the rest of the team during the big action sequences. B+