Wednesday, May 17, 2017

REVIEW: The CW's 'Supergirl,' 'The Flash' and 'Arrow' (May 15-17)

Reviews for The CW's Arrowverse shows from May 15-17:

The CW's Supergirl - Episode 2.21 "Resist"
The CW's The Flash - Episode 3.22 "Infantino Street"
The CW's Arrow - Episode 5.22 "Missing"

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 - "Resist"
Supergirl grapples with whether or not to obey the President's orders regarding Rhea's latest actions. Cat Grant returns to National City. Written by Jessica Queller & Derek Simon and directed by Millicent Shelton

There have been a lot of disparate parts this season on Supergirl. Not all of them have worked. But overall, it's been a remarkable improvement over the first season. However, it didn't have a central narrative in the same way that The Flash or Arrow did. It wasn't always clear what this season was building towards. Well now, it's abundantly clear. Rhea has invaded Earth with her Daxomite army. It's a story that somehow manages to tie together everything that has been important this season and have it work. That seemed impossible. And yet, "Resist" is probably the best episode this show has ever done. It works so effectively because of the strong focus on character and emotion this season has had. It allows the grand, sweeping moments of action to actually mean something. Plus, it also provides a strong commentary on real-life politics and the need to resist in the face of bigotry. This hour also reveals just how important Cat Grant is on this show. Her absence wasn't as problematic as it could have been this season. But it's amazing to see her back interacting with these characters. She doesn't miss a beat. Her entrance on Air Force One is great. Her conversations with Supergirl and Winn are terrific. She's just so inspiring to watch. I wish the show could use her more. Plus, the setup for the finale is excellent with it being a fight between Supergirl and Superman. A

The Flash - "Infantino Street"
With only 24 hours left until Savitar murders Iris, Barry struggles to save the woman he loves and makes the choice to use any means necessary to do so. Realizing he has one option left to save her, The Flash turns to Captain Cold for help. Directed by Michael Allowitz with story by Andrew Kreisberg and teleplay by Grainne Godfree

This is a better episode than what most of this season has been. And yet, the show can only be so good when it's in the middle of telling this story. The day of Iris' death has finally arrived. The audience has seen it play out so many times over the last dozen episodes or so. We know how it's going to go. Plus, the fact that it occurs in the penultimate episode of the season likely means the show has some trick up its sleeve to revive her in the finale. So, all of this ultimately feels too drawn out and manipulative. It will feel even more so once the events of the finale are seen too most likely. Moreover, I've basically had enough of H.R. this season. Hopefully, he's contained to this season of the show just like all the other variations of the character that Tom Cavanagh has played. Meanwhile, the appeal of this episode largely comes from Barry teaming up with Leonard Snart. It's best not to think about the time travel mechanics of it all - especially since Barry said he'd never do it again. It's just a lot of fun seeing these two together as Snart brings out the bad in Barry while Barry brings out the hero in Snart. It's a good pairing and a reminder of how fun and amusing this show is capable of being. B-

Arrow - "Missing"
Black Siren returns to help Chase. Felicity organizes a birthday party for Oliver. Lance is furious after Rene misses the custody hearing for his daughter. Written by Speed Weed & Oscar Balderrama and directed by Mairzee Almas

Oliver has questioned whether having friends fighting alongside him gives him his strength or makes him vulnerable for almost the duration of the series. It's been a central theme of the show. Just how open is Oliver to the world around him? It's been even more of a central theme this season because the story has been bringing everything full circle. "Missing" is an effective episode of the show because it has a solid awareness of everything that has happened across five seasons. This seems like the end of a key chapter for these characters. They are facing their craziest foe yet in Chase. He has assembled an evil army to help him. So now, Oliver has to find allies of his own after the members of his team are taken from him. It makes for some strange bedfellows. It reveals just how far Oliver is willing to go in order to rescue his friends. He's willing to work with Malcolm, Nyssa and Slade Wilson. Any of them have the potential to betray him in the middle of this fight. He can't trust them but now needs to. It's an interesting dynamic to set up leading into the finale. That's largely what this episode is. It's just establishing everything it needs to in order to have one final showdown on Lian Yu in next week's finale. It's an effective escalation of tension as well. The potential fallout should be very interesting and intense to watch. B+