Tuesday, March 27, 2018

REVIEW: The CW's 'Legends of Tomorrow,' 'iZombie' and 'Black Lightning' (March 26-27)

Various The CW reviews for March 26-27, 2018:

Legends of Tomorrow - Episode 3.16 "I, Ava"
iZombie - Episode 4.05 "Goon Struck"
Black Lightning - Episode 1.10 "Sins of the Father: The Book of Redemption"

In 2018, it's impossible to watch every scripted show out there. There are over 450 of them. It's even more impossible to even provide adequate coverage of some of them. Great shows slip through the cracks. Some shows take awhile to figure themselves out. So as a way for me to provide more coverage, I'll just be writing some paragraph reviews of the various shows that aired new episodes on The CW from March 25-26, 2018. Enjoy!

Legends of Tomorrow - "I, Ava"
Written by Ray Utarnachitt & Daphne Miles and directed by Dean Choe

The show set up a big twist with Ava a couple of weeks ago. It felt really annoying at the time. It was a contrivance meant to distract the team while putting a little wrinkle in Sara and Ava's relationship. Last week proved just how great a couple they are - right before Sara decided to end it because she can't trust herself around other people right now. So, it does seem like this story pops up in order to keep Sara involved with time travel business. She's tasked with figuring out where Ava has disappeared to. That in turn leads to the reveal that she is actually a clone from the future. Her file and memories were wiped by Rip for mysterious reasons. He doesn't appear here at all. So, he can't explain his actions. But it's also a lot of fun seeing Ava and Sara kick ass side by side once more - even though they are facing off with an army of Ava clones. That's creepy and a fantastic visual. Meanwhile, the other stories feel like the show moving the pieces into place for the end game of the season. It's basically important that the heroes and villains keep going back-and-forth on who controls which totems. Amaya gets hers back but Kuasa loses hers after she is killed. That's the big emotion of this hour. Kuasa decides to value family above all else. She wants to prove to her grandmother that it's the most important fight. They have a duty to honor their people and the world that they come from. It's nonsense to continue fighting this war in time. But it's also a lot of double-crossing with it always being unclear what to make of Kuasa. It's ultimately tragic what happens to her. Mallus revived her and then killed her as soon as she acted against him. But it also serves as a powerful motivation for Amaya going to 1992 in order to prevent the attack that completely wipes out her village and separates her from her grandchildren. It feels like a plan that could go awry in so many ways. She's jeopardizing the timeline by altering her future. That could be exactly what Mallus wants as well. Finally, the Zari-Mick story is mostly in the background. But it's fantastic to see a superhero observing Ramadan. That's not seen a whole lot and has power from it being a superhero who values her faith. B

iZombie - "Goon Struck"
Written by Bob Dearden and directed by Joaquin Sedillo

This is a really dark and twisted episode. It's the hour that brings all of the central themes of the season so far together to ensure that nothing can be the same moving forward. This season has wanted to keep things operating the same as always. And yet, that's impossible to do because of the new world order. It's a story wrapped up in a lot of obvious comedy with Liv eating the brain of a hockey player. There are some really weird Canadian and French jokes throughout this hour that don't really land well at all. But it's such a powerful moment when Liv gets a vision revealing Blaine to be the killer only to learn that she and Clive still can't arrest him for his crimes. It's a stark realization when she learns that the people in power in New Seattle commissioned Blaine to take out Renegade and her crew and are able to have their own investigation that ultimately clears him of that crime. It makes it seem like the Seattle police department is no longer relevant or necessary. Chase Graves is the one controlling this city. This hour also does a phenomenal job in exploring the moral burden of the choices he's making. He is trying to protect zombies at all costs. He's trying to find a way for humans and zombies to coexist. But he's also willing to do anything to stay alive for as long as possible. That means kidnapping the daughter of the general in favor of nuking the city and turning her into a zombie. It also means actually using the zombie guillotine to kill Renegade for scratching the people she's smuggling into the city. He obviously doesn't want to do it. It's an action that will forever change his perception in this city. He has followed through on his threat to kill zombies for violating the rules. It makes him seem like a dictator. The audience has a fuller understanding of his complexity while also knowing just how difficult the system has become for him. It also draws a clean line of opposition between Liv and Major. Major is fully supportive of the actions Chase needs to take in order for zombies to thrive. His story with Don E feels random and unexplained for the majority of its running time. But it does all come together in the end in a satisfying way - with the lingering threat of Don E being seen as a zombie outside the city. Meanwhile, Liv is visibly moved by Renegade's execution and decides to replace her as the compassionate smuggler. It's a new job that will carry with it a ton of risks. And yet, it also has the potential of making her feel fulfilled and useful in a way that the police job no longer provides. B+

Black Lightning - "Sins of the Father: The Book of Redemption"
Written by Pat Charles and directed by Eric Laneuville

Black Lightning is becoming precariously close to having too much plot. Tobias Whale was billed as the big bad for the season. And now, he hasn't even been seen for a couple of weeks. His position has essentially been filled by Proctor and the ASA. Now, those stories are obviously connected. But the show is also juggling a lot. It shows just how complicated all of these personal relationships become because it's rarely just one thing that demands the characters' attentions at a given moment. Jefferson became Black Lightning again in order to inspire hope. But here, a woman is throwing garbage cans and microwaves at Black Lightning while Jefferson Pierce makes more of an impact mentoring a young kid he finds selling drugs on the corner. Everything ultimately does connect back to the missing children from 30 years ago and the history of Jefferson's relationship with Gambi. Everything still connects in a way that is easy to follow and understand. As such, I have the confidence the show will pay things off in the end with every major story that is happening. It's just a little cause for concern right now in an episode that is certainly moving the pieces around. Gambi is taken by Proctor and tortured. Jefferson rescuing him has the potential to mend that relationship while also outing him as Black Lightning to the ASA. It's a pivotal moment. Right now, Gambi is injured and the Pierce family needs to go in hiding for a little while. Sure, it will probably be suspicious that a family is living in Jefferson's father's house for the first time in years. But it's billed as a safe space right now. The world is growing more and more chaotic. The show manages to control that chaos by having a firm understanding of the history of this world. This is a story that has been developing in Freeland for three decades. Jefferson and company have always played a part in it. And now, that history is informing their present actions because they know just how important it is to succeed in being the heroes this city deserves. It further proves just how strong the character development has always been on this show because the creative team is putting in the time and effort to flesh everyone out - while also enjoying a good twist as well with the reveal that the vice principal has been working for the ASA and scouting the kids with abilities. B