Wednesday, May 3, 2017

REVIEW: The CW's 'Supergirl,' 'The Flash' and 'Arrow' (May 1-3)

Reviews for The CW's Arrowverse shows from May 1-3:

The CW's Supergirl - Episode 2.19 "Alex"
The CW's The Flash - Episode 3.20 "I Know Who You Are"
The CW's Arrow - Episode 5.20 "Underneath"

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 - "Alex"
Alex is kidnapped and the kidnapper threatens to kill her unless Supergirl releases a notorious criminal from prison. Supergirl and Maggie have always had different approaches to apprehending criminals but this time they must work together to save Alex. Rhea has an interesting proposal for Lena. Written by Eric Carrasco & Greg Baldwin and directed by Rob Greenlea

This is easily one of the strongest episodes of the series to date. It almost completely falls apart because of its bland and forgettable villains (which I didn't know was possible with Gregg Henry) and sloppy resolution. But it somehow works because of the terrific character moments. Pairing Kara and Maggie together for the main story proves to be excellent. It's them both fighting to save the person they care about the most in this world: Alex. Alex has some terrific moments as well in trying to get out of this prison she's trapped in. It's so emotional and profound to watch as Maggie goes on quite a journey here. Maggie and Alex have been great as a couple this season. But most of the time things are seen from Alex's perspective as she adjusts to falling in love. Here, Maggie is the driver of the story. It reveals how much she truly cares and loves Alex. That's what makes it one of the best couplings on any show at the moment. And Kara doesn't let those feelings get in the way of her own relationship with Alex. B+

The Flash - "I Know Who You Are"
Barry and the team meet Tracy Brand, a scientist who may be the key to stopping Savitar. Unfortunately, Killer Frost is also after Tracy so Team Flash must battle their old friend, which proves to be particularly difficult for Cisco. Joe and Cecile's relationship takes a big turn. Written by Bronwen Clark & Joshua V. Gilbert and directed by Hanelle Culpepper

I just don't care about anything that's happening on this show right now - which is so disappointing as I remember how great that first season was. For awhile now, it's been making a big deal about Savitar's true identity. That reveal finally arrives in overly dramatic fashion in this episode. It plays as this life-changing, mind-bending reveal that would stun the audience. But that's not the case at all. For me, I just didn't care who he really was. For others, Barry from the future has been a leading candidate for awhile now. So that only further proves that the show doesn't understand how the audience is watching the show. They'd be wise not to do mysterious identities with the villains next season. At least, Danielle Panabaker is having fun as Killer Frost. That shot of her traveling through the city with The Flash chasing her is pretty ambitious but effective. The angst of everything else though is just really souring. C

Arrow - "Underneath"
Things get intense when Oliver and Felicity are trapped in the bunker together. Lyla and Diggle deal with their marital issues. Written by Wendy Mericle & Beth Schwartz and directed by Wendey Stanzler

Much like the previous episode, the hunt for Adrian Chase really isn't the priority this week. That's surprising and different. It's a welcome difference too because it allows the focus to be on the characters instead of a simple escalation of the big bad villain of the year. This is largely just a bottle episode of Oliver and Felicity being trapped in the bunker. It's laughable that it's now impossible to escape when it's always been so easy to break into before. But it's also a really strong episode for Oliver and Felicity. A lot has happened in the last year between them. And yet, they haven't really talked about any of it. So it's powerful and important that they do so here as they are fighting to escape and stay alive. They clash over the same issues but they walk away with a better understanding of the other as well. At times, it seems like things are leading to a full-on romantic reunion. That happens in the flashbacks. But it's nice that it doesn't happen in the present yet. It probably will but Oliver still has some things to figure out about himself and Chase. A-