Well, DC TV has gotten big, huh? How big? So big that we are going to have to herd all of DC’s shows into one handy weekly guide so we can keep track of everything that’s going on across the DC Multiverse. So, at the end of every week, we will have your compressive DC scorecard. So grab a beverage and your Green Lantern jammies, and join us as we look back at the DC TV week that was.
At long last, we found out exactly what was in Maxwell Lord’s room 52. It was Bizarro! Not the backwards imperfect duplicate of Superman Bizarro and certainly not the comedic foil of the Silver Age. The Bizarro DC fans met this week was a horrific double of Kara Danvers, one driven to destroy by her maker, Maxwell Lord. This Supergirl Bizarro was intensely frightening and tragic, a monster made from the genetic material of a once human young girl. It also made a killer opponent for Kara, one that not only displayed Supergirl’s might but her compassion as well. As dangerous as Bizarro was, Supergirl was determined to help the creature, not destroy it. This highlighted the goodness within Kara, and this series is at its best when it does just that. Of course, like most threats, Bizarro also played havoc with Supergirl’s love life as the constant menace of Kara’s duplicate put the kibosh on the budding relationship between Kara and Adam Grant. This was all much to Cat’s chagrin as she kind of liked the idea of her assistant dating her suddenly not so estranged son. Yet, by episode’s end, Kara and Adam were no more. In truth, the whole breakup scene was almost note for note the same breakup scene we saw between Patty Spivot and Barry Allen a week ago on The Flash, but it was still rather sad as that Adam is a heck of a kid. The only negative of this episode is that it was very Maxwell Lord-centric and this TV version of Lord is still just ‘Lex Luthor lite’ rather than being his own thing. So far, here is just not much character there when it comes to Max Lord and let us hope the next few weeks address this issue. The DEO got to see some action as Alex’s sharpshooting helped take down Bizarro. Now, Kara’s kindness paid off as Bizarro has grown fond of her perfect twin. I’m sure it won’t be long before Bizarro wakes from her Blue Kryptonite stupor but until then, this was one heck of a debut.
3 ½ stars
The Flash Season 2 Episode 12: “The Fast Lane”
This week on The Flash, we were introduced to a new metahuman threat- the sticky and evil Tar Pit, but this intro played second bill to the fascinating character development involving Harrison Wells and the cast’s newest player, Wally West. First off, Tar Pit looked like a rejected Grimm design and probably was one of the biggest pushovers the Flash has faced to date. We started off with an X-Files-like flashback of Tar Pit being dumped into, well, a tar pit by two skells. You know what happens next, right? The particle accelerator explodes, Tar Pit is infused with his powers, revenge, fights Flash, rinse repeat.
Other than looking like a hastily rendered Ben 10 villain, Tar Pit just served as a backdrop to the conflicted tale of Harrison Wells. You see, Wells’ daughter was still being held on Earth 2 by Zoom and now Zoom wanted Flash’s speed. So Wells had to commit the ultimate act of betrayal and steal Barry’s power in order to appease Zoom. So Tar Pit should have been a pushover but alas, with Wells’ devious actions, the goopy threat gets the jump on Barry.
Add to this a storyline involving Iris West trying to prevent her newfound brother Wally from competing in any more street races. Now, I haven’t been the biggest fan of the whole Fast and Furious subplot for Wally. It seemed unneeded and clichéd, but it all tied together nicely this week with Tar Pit looking for revenge against the scumbag promoter of the races and Iris getting caught in the middle. Barry’s speed malfunction caused Iris to be seriously hurt in a battle with Tar Pit. A guilt ridden Wells confessed, but instead of being shunned by Team Flash, Barry and company agreed to help Wells against Zoom. This just showed how selfless Barry and his pals truly are as, even though Iris got hurt thanks to Wells actions, doing the right thing and helping Jesse Wells still took precedence over punishing Wells.
Everything wrapped up as Wally and Iris bonded thanks to Iris’ actions and Joe got closer to his son. Hopefully, this will put an end to the racing thing. I do kind of like Wally being a lover of speed for reasons that should be obvious to Flash loyalists, but street racing is so cliché these days that I could have done without it. With the racing thing in the rearview, maybe we can get to know Wally as a person a bit more. As for Tar Pit? Yeah, Cisco made a grenade and Barry beat the villain in like a second flat. So indeed, Tar Pit was one dopey looking shmuck loser, but the rest of the episode fleshed out Wells and Wally in very effective ways. Wells’ internal struggle was of particular poignancy.
Arrow Season 4 Episode 12: “Unchained”
Another new villain introduced this week as the Calculator came to Arrow. At first, the Calculator seemed like a one off villain, a way to pad the season as we wait for the final showdown with Damien Dahrk. Calculator seemed like a way to test Felicity Smoak’s acumen as she was coming to terms with being confined to a wheelchair. He seemed like a villain that, with Felicity’s help, Team Arrow would dispatch in a neat little 44 minute package. While Oliver and company did foil the Calculator’s plan of destroying Star City, it looked like this criminal genius may stick around for a bit.
The Calculator wasn’t the only challenge Felicity faced this week as she also had to guide her way through a presentation on Palmer Technology’s new clean energy battery. It was important to her company buy she just couldn’t muster up enough confidence to do it, not while she was stuck in that chair. But when she was in the midst of her struggle with Calculator (it was like the most intense Twitter war ever, with bombs and guns instead of memes and emojis), she found the old Felicity confidence to not only stop the Calculator’s plan, but also, she found the gumption to give that oh so important business presentation. Of course, she had some help from Michael Holt who provided her with the strong words that allowed Felicity to woman up and beat her self-doubts. Man, I like Holt. We got to see him spring into action this week and he even held his own against a very tough opponent (Holt used a T-sphere this week, you guys. It was glorious). Who is that opponent you ask? It was none other than a returning Roy Harper who at first was being blackmailed by the Calculator to steal all the components he needed to build his city killing bomb. Oliver was able to free Roy but the fact that the Calculator knew that Roy was alive meant that he could expose Queen as the Arrow.
Harper had some other tough times to deal with because his dear love Thea Queen was dying thanks to the waters of the Lazarus Pit wearing off. Malcolm Merlyn stood by Thea’s side as she slowly faded and in a wonderful scene, Harper and Thea renewed their vows of star crossed love. Such a tragic but sweet end. After all, Thea was fading fast and Harper had to go back into hiding. But it seemed that the recently escaped Nyssa Al Ghul had the solution to Thea’s dilemma and even promised to give it to Oliver in return for the life of Merlyn. So Oliver must kill the suddenly altruistic Merlyn in order to save his sister. Now, that’ a cliffhanger.
Harper and Nyssa weren’t the only returns this week as we also saw the return of Katana as the deadly swordswoman had to take on Nyssa. Oh, and we also witnessed the return of Shado. Sort of. In the flashbacks, when Oliver was being tortured, he received a dream visit from Shado who told him to confess everything to that Russian woman Oliver has being paling around the island with all season. Now, the island flashbacks still do nothing for me and are really just going nowhere. They are distracting and there doesn’t seem to be any real stakes to anything that happens to Oliver in those ponderous recollections. But that was the only fly in the ointment in an episode of returns and revelations. Revelations? What revelations? Oh, just the fact that the Calculator is still out there and closer to Felicity than anyone could have imagined. Big twist at the end of this one, don’t miss it!
3 1/2 stars
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Season 1 Episode 3: “Blood Ties”
For a time travel show, this series hasn’t really done much time travel thus far. Here we are, episode three and we are still in 1976. Once again, the plot was separated into three distinct storylines. First, you had Sara Lance and Rip Hunter trying to take out Vandal Savage’s finances, second, you had the Atom shrinking down to go on a Fantastic Voyage through Hawkgirl’s body to save her life, and third, you had Captain Cold and Heat Wave stealing a rare gem in order to change history.
As it has been every week, the Len Snart segment was the most effective because Captain Cold is truly the Han Solo of DC TV. He is layered, hilarious, and kickass but with enough vulnerability to make him interesting. This week, Cold stole the gem in order to change history and keep his father out of jail. You see, the senior Snart went to jail for stealing the same gem, and when he got out he became abusive to the Snart kids. So, Cold wants to prevent that and tries to change time. Of course, time has a way of righting itself and it was rather heartbreaking when Snart failed to change his past. Let me tell you, when Cold met his younger self, the character changed right before our eyes. The brash, cocksure rogue became a beacon of pain and desperation and in those few seconds, Cold became one of the deepest characters on DC TV.
Meanwhile, after almost two seasons of waiting, we finally got a true Atom adventure. I suppose it’s inevitable that when you have a shrinking hero, you have to do a Fantastic Voyage riff, but seeing Atom using his shrinkage mojo to save Hawkgirl was a blast, especially since the take away from it all was the strengthening of the relationship between Palmer and Martin Stein. Stein is really taking on the elder statesman role of the group and it’s a blast to watch.
Rip Hunter probably should be the one to serve as de facto leader, but he remained pretty incompetent this week, getting played by Savage at every turn. This week, Hunter did manage to defeat Savage, preventing Savage from desecrating Hawkman’s corpse, but not before shouting out the names of the Time Master’s murdered family, essentially providing the past Savage with the names of people he will need to murder in the future. Ooops. Rory, what have you done? Meanwhile, Hunter partnered up with Sara Lance who is suffering from the same Lazarus Pit bloodlust as Thea over on Arrow. Hopefully, that little story arc won’t seem too redundant moving forward. Another fun episode, and by the end, our Legends were headed out of 1976 and into the Reagan era, so onward and upward.