Feb 1 – 5
Looks can definitely be deceiving in the world of superheroes, especially in this week’s superhero-ridden lance of television. You know the rules: 5 shows, 3 rounds, and only 1 victor.
Let’s get started.
They may be Legends (not really) but that means squat in the ring and Legends of Tomorrow are the first to get KO this week. (Yet again. They trying though.)
The Pain: Legends is running into the same problem that The Flash has had this season, cohesion. Even with the death of Hawkman (huraah) they still have a large number of players on screen. This makes the meshing of all their different storylines into a larger cohesive one that much more difficult. They did give it a good old college try though. Dr. Stein and Dum Dum Palmer had the job of eliminating the pieces of the dagger still floating about in Kendra’s body. (Attempted murder of Vandal Savage: Round 1 did not turn out well for the Hawks.) Jackson, Snart and Rory, went on a side mission to steal an emerald. (At least Snart knows he can’t change the past now.) And Sara and Rip went after Vandal Savage’s fortune alone. (That didn’t turn out to well.) While all those different storylines coalesced together in the end, it would maybe be better if all the different groups were working towards one goal from the beginning to the end of each episode? (Just a thought.)
The Pleasure: Rip Hunter and Sara Lance are arguably the two most compelling characters on Legends. They are my two favourite characters on the show. Both have a richly compelling backstory, a captivating storyline, and that hint of darkness that I love some much in a character. Neither of them believes they are whole, monsters they call themselves. Rip has lost his family and part of himself in the process and Sara, Sara was murdered, resurrected, and then had to have her soul resurrected by Constantine. (You can thank your sister for that, Sara.) The two of them work really well together, pushing and pulling each other back when needed and supporting the other when that darkness creeps in. I really enjoyed the dynamic between the two of them, more so then all the other mini-team ups that have occurred so far. If Hawkgirl weren’t the one destined to kill Vandal Savage, these two would probably get the job done. (And probably a lot quicker.)
Lingering Questions: Men of Steel die and Dark Knights fall, but what happens to the Green Arrow, Rip? Did anyone else think of Dum Dum as a Magic School Bus on a field trip into Ralphie’s body as he dived into Kendra’s body? (The Magic School Bus is way cooler than Dum Dum though.) You think Nyssa would be willing to share some of “The Lotus” with Sara to vanquish her bloodlust? Or would she require Sara to kill Merlyn too? Do you think Dr. Stein will ever remember Dum Dum being one of his students? (My guess, probably not.) Doesn’t Snart seeing the younger version of himself mess with timeline? How large do you think Savage’s cult is? When did Vandal Savage become a vampire? Why you trying to be Edward Cullen, Savage?
Cementing itself in fourth place this week is The Flash.
The Pain: When they introduced Zoom at the beginning of the season, they kind of set up all the other metahuman villains to fail in the fright department. This week’s metahuman villain, aka Tar Pits, reminded me of a villain that you would see in an episode of Scooby Doo. He melted when splashed with water and was frozen out of existence. He even looked the part at the end when Barry and Joe caught up to him outside the CCPD precinct, all big and wobbly like. I’d rather have Zoom continue sending villains through the rift for Barry to battle every week. At least those villains were a little more scary and unpredictable. Were headed over to Earth 2 next week, maybe they have some scarier ones. At least they still has Robbie Amell.
The Pleasure: The storylines on this week’s episode actually intertwined rather than crashing against each other! (I know. I’m surprised too.) I guess this is what happens when Jay Garrick doesn’t show up on screen. (He should stay off screen more often. You know like to the point where he doesn’t show up at all.) The issue of trust underscored the episode. The drama within the newly formed West family merged with the villain-of-the-week plot that in turn merged with the Harry Wells and Team Flash plot. Seeing Barry work with Harry, seeing the conflict arise between the two of the, seeing how that ultimate plot revealed itself (big props to Harry for revealing his true plan) was enjoyable to watch. Listening to Barry’s speech at the end of the really tied together to plot points of the episode. It flowed, felt balanced, cohesive, and connected. It was one of the better episodes so far this season.
Lingering Questions: Is the Flash emblem on Barry’s suit fitted via a magnet? I mean, how else did Harry pull it off so easily? Who does Harry like better, Barry or Cisco? Did Barry send Iris get well flowers or a card at least? Do the hospital rooms in Star City and Central City look mighty similar to anyone else? Who doesn’t think Felicity Smoak is a super genius hacker? Where does Harry Wells sleep at night? You think they’re going to pack snacks for their Earth-2 field trip next week?
Not even Bizzaro (or as I have renamed her FrankenGurl) could stop Supergirl from landing in at third place this week.
The Pain: Supergirl has got some relationship issues. The only real relationship that I am willing to throw 100% of my support behind is the relationship between Kara and Alex. They’re sisters, they’re each other’s rock, they care and support the other, they push each other to be and do better, and underlying their relationship is a level of trust that no other relationship on the show comes close to. (I mean, Kara did tell Alex to take the shot even though Alex didn’t have a clear line of sight. That’s trust.) That kind of trust and communication is needed when you fight evil aliens and a megalomaniac billionaire on a daily basis. I can’t wait to see how Kara and Alex’s relationship progress as the show moves forward. Kara and Adam were cute together, they had chemistry and potential, but not enough trust to continue. At another point in time a relationship between the two could’ve worked out. The Kara-Winn-James triangle came into play once again. I’m not a fan of this storyline. I really didn’t need to see it play out like it did in this episode. Kara is young and still discovering who she is. She deserves to have some fun and not be tied down to anyone yet.
The Pleasure: FrakenGurl lives and is ready to take on Supergirl. Thanks to Maxwell Lord, billionaire inventor and body snatcher extraordinaire. Too bad for Lord and his god complex that while able to change the physiology and the face of the women he kidnapped, he couldn’t rewrite her moral compass completely, no matter how hard he tried. (Shock therapy, anyone?) Lord also out-played his hand when he decided to threaten both Kara and Alex. One thing that you really shouldn’t do is piss off both Danvers sisters, it’ll land you in DEO prison. Whether Lord turns out to be the Big Bad (well, human Big Bad) this season on Supergirl is still up in the air, but he is definitely solidifying himself as a major player that Kara will likely face again and again this season and possibly in future season.
Lingering Questions: Did anyone feel like they were watching Alien at the end of the episode when Kara being to investigate the weird egg-shaped plant on her coffee table? Where did it come from? Who sent it? And what is it supposed to do? Is James going to break up with Lucy? Will Winn reveal anymore of Kara’s tells? How long are they going to keep Lord locked up inside the DEO? Does Lord want to stay in DEO lock up to gain more knowledge about alien life on Earth? Was that his plan all along? What happened to the other six girls that Lord body snatched? Will they ever find a cure to save FrankenGurl?
Arrow was filled with familiar faces in this week’s episode, but even the biggest “reveal” couldn’t keep it from being knocked out in second place.
The Pain: The past never seems to stay in the past on Arrow. (Except if you’re Tommy Merlyn and Moira Queen, then you’re deader than dead.) Not even a hallucinatory vision of Shado could save the island flashbacks this week. I really don’t think anything can save the island flashbacks at this point. The island flashbacks have been clunky, ill timed, resting upon one-dimensional characters, with tenuous connective plot points to the current storyline being told in present time. They suck, plain and simple. They really suck. These flashbacks need to be put into a grave and never resurrected. The effects of Thea’s dip in the Lazarus Pit once again reared its ugly head. This time, however, it’s killing her rather than making her a feral killing machine. (I didn’t see that coming, tbh.) The only person with a cure to Thea’s bloodlust and survival is Nyssa who won’t give it up unless Oliver helps her kill Malcolm Merlyn. (Doesn’t that sound like a fun family reunion?) Malcolm Merlyn’s fatherly duty weren’t the only ones mentioned. Oliver’s frequent trips to Central City have not gone unnoticed either. (This is totally not going to come back and bite Oliver in the ass in the future.)
The Pleasure: Who runs the world? Felicity Smoak. I love watching Felicity taking on her CEO role and doing the best she can in that role. She never asked to be CEO but that doesn’t mean she isn’t going to do and be her best at it, life-changing injury or not. (I love that Curtis is Felicity’s Hype Man and was there when her doubt started to resurface.) The world-changing product that Felicity promised at the beginning of the season is finally delivered for the world to see and it’s a pretty nifty product. (If only Apple could invent such a product. I wouldn’t have to constantly charge my iPhone.) It’s that product that brings not only Roy Harper back to Star City but also Felicity’s father as well. Papa Smoak was finally revealed! (Took them long enough!) Turns out he’s not such a great guy. (Surprise, surprise.) Papa Smoak aka The Calculator, went head to head with Felicity in a tech off where she pwned his ass. (Those scenes were a delight to watch btw.) While the reveal wasn’t a complete surprise, I still joyfully squealed when Felicity uttered “Dad?” Papa Smoak is finally here. I cannot wait to see the Smoak family reunion.
Lingering Questions: Can we please have more Oliver parkouring across Star City? Please? Oh, and more showy entrances for the Green Arrow too. I miss badass Oliver. What exactly is the “Lotus”? A mystical plant? A serum derived from a plant? How will it save Thea? Could it be used to heal Felicity? Is Tatsu dead? Or did she join up with Nyssa? (I’m hoping it’s the latter but with Arrow killing off all the characters that will appear in the Suicide Squad movie, I don’t have much hope.) Stop killing off your WOC characters, Arrow! Why doesn’t Nyssa just kill Malcolm herself? Stage a full-scale mutiny, girl! Why did Papa Smoak want to blow up Star City? Is Papa Smoak working along or is he working with Damian Darhk? Is Darhk pissed that the Green Arrow stood him up for their little get together? How in the hell is Oliver explaining his frequent trip(s) to Central City? I mean how many times can he use the Barry/Zoom excuse?
Taking back the top spot and knocking out all her competition this week is Agent Carter! Peggy & Co. had a “jarvelous” good week diving into the past and playing a good game of good cop/bad cop.
The Pain: Not enough exploration of Peggy Carter’s past prior to appearing in Captain America. While is was fascinating to discover that Peggy was once engaged and to be wed, it was even more fascinating to discover that she worked as a code breaker at Bletchley Park. (Having spent time studying the history of Bletchley Park during my undergrad, this was pretty exciting bit of info.) This adds yet another layer to an already incredibly layered and rich character that is Peggy Carter. Peggy has this entire history prior to becoming an SSR agent and they’ve barely scratched the surface of it. I wish they could have explored more of it in this episode but they do have six more episodes to go before the end of the season. Who knows? (Also I wouldn’t mind seeing more of her brother, Michael. Just saying.)
The Pleasure: Like it or not, our pasts have a certain hold on us. Most of the time it helps inform our present and future, and other times it consumes us. Consuming every molecule, every train of thought, living and breathing beneath our skin until there is nothing left but the past and the memory of the present. We head dived into the past this week on Agent Carter, exploring the lives of Peggy Carter and Whitney Frost (nee Agnes Cully) and witness how their pasts have shaped their present and possibly their future. The duality between these two characters, their pasts, and their current roles as protagonist and antagonist will be central to how the rest of the season plays out.
Whitney Frost is a complex character, and that’s not including the fact that she is now a vessel for Zero Matter and can consume living things when she’s angered. Her past as Agnes Cully and how she became Whitney Frost has been one of the prominent questions that I have had this season and this episode delivered. Agnes didn’t have the picture perfect childhood; she was the daughter of a single mother, they lived on meagre means, living in a town that few seldom left. She didn’t have many options, especially for someone with her level of intelligence. What she did have was a drive to learn and create and that is what drove her to leave and never look back. Agnes never bowed to her mother’s wishes, never bowed the social conventions of the time and what was expected of a woman. Agnes fought for herself, for respect, for control, and that fight still continues as she tries to control the Zero Matter that now resides within her and her place in the world.
We already know the ultimate fate of Peggy Carter thanks to Captain America: Winter Solider but this week we got to explore her past in a way we never seen before. Even as a child, you can already see the hints of the hero that Peggy will become, slaying the dragons to save the princess and saving the day. Peggy’s intellect brought her to Bletchley Park where she worked as a code breaker and subsequently where she met her fiancé (ex-fiancé now). Peggy learnt to mask her true self, becoming the lady that her mother expected of her, and even turning down an opportunity to join the SOE in the process. It was her brother Michael (hello Mr. Carter, aren’t you handsome fellow) that encouraged her to take the chance, drop the mask, and shed the shackles of convention and join the SOE. It is Michael’s death on the frontlines that triggered Peggy to end her engagement and become a British field agent and ultimately the hero she is today. The dichotomy between Peggy and Whitney sharpened this episode. While Peggy had dropped her mask, Agnes donned a literal one. The blows that these two women will come to this season, and possibly next episode will definitely be interesting to witness.
Lingering Questions: How many animals does Howard Stark own? Flamingo. Koala. What’s next? An anteater? What is that crack that Dr. Wilkes sees? Is it a crack in space and time? Is it the crack that is appearing on Whitney’s face? Is it a way out or is it a portal to yet another realm? How much do you think Sousa likes playing good cop to Peggy’s bad cop? I wonder how many other medical vaccinations Howard Stark has hidden away? What’s Peggy and Sousa’s next move now that they know who is in the Council of Nine and it’s connection to Masters and the US War Department? What are they going to do with that sample that Sousa secreted away before the SSR was audited? When are we going to learn about what happened the tension between Peggy and Sousa? Whitney may have consumed the Zero Matter, but how long till the Zero Matter consumes her? (Especially with the body count she’s racking up.) Also can we have more of Michael Carter? (I place the entire blame of my affection towards Richard Armitage and Max Brown on the TV show Spooks.)
Thank you for reading this week’s Superhero Showdown. Join me next week as I spout more of my thoughts about the comic book shows I’m currently watching on television. 😉