Best Iteration of Live-Action Superman in Years, Maybe Decades Depending on How You Feel About Brandon Routh in Superman Returns: This is still Supergirl’s show no doubt, but that only compounds how impressive its version of Superman has been. Tyler Hoechlin delivered what two DC movies haven’t in only two episodes. He’s charming and makes you believe in the hope that Superman represents. He’s the Superman we can believe in.
Cast MVP: Normally I’d give it to Jeremy Jordan’s Winn, since he’s the Cisco of Supergirl, but we’re going to give it to Chyler Leigh as Alex for doing the heavy lifting on what has been a largely sloppy coming out storyline for her character. The writing of her arc largely felt lazy, like the writers didn’t know what else to do with her character this season, but Leigh has sold all the emotional scenes throughout and made it stick. Sloppy representation is better than no representation I suppose.
The Flash 3.09 “The Present”
Flashing(hehe) back to Julian Albert aka Dr. Alchemy’s past, it turns out he found Savitar trapped in a box four years ago in a crypt all Mummy style. Tom Felton says the words “Philosopher’s Stone” and we see you buddy, never stop cashing in on Harry Potter. Speaking of cashing in, Mark Hamill can cash in on playing Trickster any episode he wants, he’s always a delight.
Barry hops over to Earth 3 for help from Jay Garrick about information on Savitar, who was the first human granted access to the speedforce, labeling himself the god of speed. (Sidenote: in the current terrific run of Flash Rebirth, they’ve introduced a villain called Godspeed. I don’t know if they’re going to eventually get to him – I hope they do – but in a world of easter eggs, simply having the words god and speed in the same sentence is enough to stoke the fires of speculation. Plus, the Godspeed storyline requires a certain amount of history for a crucial plot point, and we’re already in season 3. We’re getting there.)
Hipster Wells is training Wally, and Wally blows their cover in an eager attempt to join Barry in the field. Alchemy is attempting a plot to restore the powers to all metas from Flashpoint. While Savitar is giving a speed whooping to Garrick, Barry reclaims the stone, causing Savitar to retreat and discovers Julian is Alchemy. Only problem, Julian can’t remember a thing about being Alchemy, he thinks Flash is trying to set him up. Barry believes him, but in order to convince Julian he wants to help, he unmasks himself. Cisco keeps seeing the ghost of Dante, who eventually convinces him to open the box to re-unleash Savitar, but luckily Caitlyn convinces him to shut it before Savitar can kill Barry and Wally. Turns out, in the future Barry will trap Savitar for all eternity, which is why he’s trying to stop him now. They decide to toss the stone and its box into the speed force to make it disappear. Only problem, doing so knocks Barry into a future 5 months from now where Savitar kills Iris in front of Barry, laying the groundwork for the next half of the season. For Christmas they all give Wally a Kid Flash suit. Julian and Barry squash their beef and Barry gets his job back. Caitlyn dips into her Killer Frost powers to give everyone a white Christmas and Barry gives Iris their own apartment. A merry Flashmas for all.
Cast MVP: Normally I’d give it to Carlos Valdez in his endlessly hilarious and emotional performance as Cisco, he always gets the best lines. But at this point, we’re going to give it to Tom Cavanagh, now in his third different and distinct iteration of Harrison Wells. Each season he creates a whole new Wells, and he’s always terrific. I know these shows aren’t after Emmys, but at this point Cavanagh deserves some sort of thank you treat.
Best Show: The Flash is still the best show of the bunch, as it always has been. It’s emotional, funny and constantly gripping and thrilling.
Arrow 5.09 “What We Leave Behind”
After being conspicuously absent from the crossover, Artemis is back doing dirty work for Prometheus. What’s kind of interesting is that Prometheus doesn’t actually want to kill Oliver, he just wants to make his life shitty so he wishes he was dead. To make up for her duplicitous activities, Artemis gets the team their own stockings.
It’s nice to see Paul getting some screen time here. He’s largely been offscreen, almost a trophy LGBT character just there to show Curtis is married. Prometheus kicks the shit out of Curtis, mortally wounding him and prompting Paul to have doubts about what Curtis has been up to night after night. The two have an emotional couple of scenes together with their marriage hanging in the balance, and following the admission by Curtis that he is Mr. Terrific, Paul needs some time away.
Through some digging, they discover Prometheus is the son (or daughter, we haven’t seen anything yet to really indicate otherwise) of a shady pharmaceutical businessman named Claybourne that Oliver killed back in year one. This season of Arrow has been about legacy, so a villain like Prometheus makes sense, a representation of the dark side of Oliver’s legacy. They track Prometheus to the abandoned building that Claybourne worked out of, where Oliver and Prometheus can finally have a showdown. Prometheus destroys an arrow with a throwing star, which was pretty dope. The fight scene between Oliver and Prometheus is pretty exciting, because they are just throwing all their weight at each other with each move and punch. Artemis reveals her betrayal when she helps Prometheus escape and tells the team that the city needs saving from Oliver. (I like that they are playing with Artemis’ arc in season one of the excellent Young Justice, where she infiltrates the group of youngsters as a secret agent for her evil family before deciding to side with her team and save them.)
When Oliver tracks him yet again to another prominent Claybourne related location, Prometheus has staged the place to resemble the layout of the men Oliver killed the night he killed Claybourne, complete with a dope escalator fight. Prometheus tricks Oliver into killing Billy Malone by dressing him as Prometheus. You ever had to tell your ex-fiance that you accidentally murdered her new boo? Felicity is pretty quick to forgive Oliver, immediately acknowledging the blame on Prometheus.
The final sequence is impressive, with Oliver monologuing about how he ruins everyone’s life he comes into contact with as shots of Felicity grieving, Curtis breaking down over Paul and Diggle getting caught by the military. Also quick note, I like that Oliver’s favorite Christmas movie is Die Hard, because it’s mine too.
Man they better have some good explanation for Laurel coming back from the dead. Like Susan better have done some Poison Ivy shit and gave Oliver hallucinogenics with that kiss. Like I know that pretty much everyone comes back from the dead on this show, as Felicity self-acknowledges “almost every Wednesday” but you have to let some characters stay dead. When Laurel showed up last week for the 100th episode/crossover, it worked. It was a fitting goodbye to her character and what she meant to Oliver. You have to let death mean something, if you just keep on bringing people back from the dead it loses its dramatic effect quickly. It’s okay to just leave her dead.
Most improved Show: I was really tempted to give this to Legends of Tomorrow or Supergirl, but Supergirl was for the most part really good throughout it’s season in Lois and Clark territory on CBS, and Legends of Tomorrow recovered in the final four episodes of season one and has continued the promising momentum. Arrow, however, sucked last season. It just sucked. But it’s great and fun again now.
Best Villain since Deathstroke: Tobias Church. He is sadly no longer with us, a decision I fear may be for the worst. Prometheus and Vigilante are both interesting and exciting in their own right, but Tobias Church was just so much fun to watch with Chad L. Coleman’s exuberance and charisma. I really wish they hadn’t gotten rid of him so quickly.
Best New Member of Team Arrow: Ragman. Easiest choice. No question. His name’s goddamn Ragman. RAGMAN. He wears magical rags, which do pretty much whatever he needs them to do. Whoever created Ragman was crazy smacked when they wrote him, and I salute them.
Legends of Tomorrow 2.08 “The Chicago Way”
When the hot new boy band the Legion of Doom shows up in 1927 Chicago with the newly added Malcolm Merlyn, they saddle up with a d-list Al Capone actor to set a trap for the Legends. The Legends catch the alterations, so they track down Elliot Ness, who sadly is not Kevin Costner, but the episode still features several hammy Untouchables references.
The best thing about Amaya’s power is that her amulet makes the noise of the animal when she chooses it, so we get to hear a dolphin repeatedly shrieking as she jumps into the water and I was laughing so hard at that whether the show wanted me to or not. Rory begins to hallucinate Leonard Snart, which is great because I’ll take any chance I can for Wentworth Miller to luxuriously ham it up as Captain Cold. Give the man his paycheck.
Eobard disguises himself as Stein and acts as a Trojan horse for the Legion of Doom and Sara brokers a deal by giving the amulet to get the real Stein back. After uniting the pieces of the amulet, the Legion of Doom discover it’s a compass that leads to the Spear of Destiny, a spear used to pierce Jesus Christ on the cross that can apparently also be used to rewrite reality. I sincerely hope this leads to an episode where the Legends have to save Jesus. How incredible and ridiculous would that be? Also, Rip Hunter finally returns as a movie director in the 60s?
One of the best shows on right now, also on the CW, is Jane the Virgin. In it, Jane’s father Rogelio De La Vega is a telenovela star, and his current show is called Tiago Through Time. It’s an endearing work of self-congratulation, as his character goes throughout time to intervene on important moments in history, because if he wasn’t there they wouldn’t happen and the world would end. Legends of Tomorrow has basically become the closest thing to actually having Tiago Through Time on television, and as long as it keeps it up I’m there.
Best Use of Damien Dahrk: A villain like Dahrk was never meant for Arrow, he uses goddamn magic after all. Plus with how coke-fiend silly McDonough plays him, he was always meant for a show like Legends that operates on that spectrum of silly and ridiculous. In fact, this season has been a great recycling process for all three of the Legion of Doom. Malcolm Merlyn shouldn’t have outlasted 3 seasons on Arrow, and Eobard spent most of his time as Tom Cavanagh on The Flash.
Cast MVP: Caity Lotz. I’ve written a little before about how she’s owning this season, but let’s continue the shoutout. She’s embraced the leader role on the show well, and in the process has really shown off her comedic chops in how she plays Sara as the “always hitting on chicks” archetype on the team.