Another week, another collection of superhero battles worth bingeing over the weekend. The Pop Break staff is here to let you know what you can expect from The CW’s DC series… take a look!
Supergirl — 4×06, “Call to Action”
Talk about your awkward Thanksgiving dinner conversations. The gang gets together for the holiday and continues to discuss viewpoints on this anti-alien world they are living in. They talk about non powered individuals vs. powered individuals. They talk about the new “Children of Liberty” and how their dogs can now sniff out aliens. Adding to the awkwardness, Nia is obviously lying about suffering from Narcolepsy, yet I’m not sure what’s going on there.
My assumption is that she is super powered or going to develop powers shortly. And to top things off, Lena and James are being that couple in the middle of a fight the whole time. Calling it now: Lena is going to try to give herself super powers and slowly become a super villain. (Everybody gets powers!) Speaking of villains, Manchester Black checks in and starts straight-up murdering the Children of Liberty. Let’s face it, he’s the anti-hero this show needed.
There were lots of bright spots in this episode as Kara takes on Agent Liberty in a unique format: a Counterpoint news show! I will say that this is another fresh approach by a superhero show, and I love all of the constant real world parallels. Lockwood naturally spins everything Kara says, but there was a great performance by Benoist here as she holds her own.
Meanwhile, CW spends the big bucks on CGI in an epic Dragon vs. Supergirl fight, even though, in true Supergirl fashion, they naturally become friends. I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention Braniac’s confrontation with the Children of Liberty where he essentially “beats them up with physics” as he says. In a scene reminiscent of Quicksilver’s big moment in X-Men: First Class, the music kicks in and he (in slow-motion) dodges the villains so they end up beating each other up. Fantastic scene.
Meanwhile, I’m FINALLY happy with this James Olsen character. He’s going into enemy territory to help find middle ground with these Alien haters. He’s trying to use his role as Guardian to help the situation, and I’m cool with this plan. Lena is not. He wants to be the bridge between the two sides. Ultimately, it leads to him essentially being outnumbered and captured by the Children of Liberty. He has gotten in over his head. The preview for next week makes it seem as though Guardian joins up with the Children of Liberty, but I’m calling it as a HUGE misdirect. We’ll see.
—Rob Crowther IV, Staff Writer
Arrow — 7×06, “Due Process”
This episode confirmed it. There is nothing that Arrow can do that will ever make Ricardo Diaz interesting. Fortunately Anatoly Knyezev (David Nykl) lived to fight another day, but the cold open where Diaz tortures him with a flamethrower for his past betrayal would, in any other villain’s hands have been brutally hard to watch. But thanks to the wet blanket that Kirk Acevedo’s acting, the scene was just a big yawn that only served to tell us the KGBeast (now with his official title) is still alive.
“Due Process” seems to be finally wrapping up the Diaz storyline, thank God. His plan to destroy Star City was revealed and the whole fractured team joined (out of costume) forces to take him down in their own minimized recreation of the climax from Mission: Impossible – Fallout. At long last Diaz was captured, so maybe I’ll stop seeing his face soon. Although seeing the new Green Arrow get all the credit for the capture was priceless.
I don’t want to focus on Diaz because his entire presence on the show, especially now, has been as a means to an end. As a villain he means next to nothing, but his persistence presents the conflicts that develop and reveal our principal characters. As the stakes got more desperate we got to see Felicity commit once again to being willing to do whatever it takes to take Diaz down.
This time we actually saw what that looked like as she nearly got Anatoly killed to get information on his doomsday device. Anatoly gave her some really bad advice about no more half-measures, but I am glad she did maintained the good inside her and did not kill Diaz when she finally had the chance (even though part of me really wanted her to).
It turned out to be a good thing she did not kill him, because apparently Laurel has leveraged a deal for Oliver’s freedom if he helps with the case against him. The fact that Laurel even did that is a testament to the level of character development she has undergone because Oliver was a complete jerk to her this episode. When she argues for his appeal in front of the judge it shows how far she has come into being a real lawyer standing up for what’s right.
Granted, she nearly throws it all away when she does not get what she wants, but Dinah reminds her of her own progress and she reconsiders, right before serving Oliver his disgust and disdain right back to him. Laurel is the best character of the season, and her changing relationship with Felicity, Dinah and Oliver is what is making this season special. It doesn’t feel like Oliver is about to be released, but that might have something to do with his own current predicaments.
Inside Slapside, Oliver takes it upon himself to solve a murder to get Stanley out of solitary. Investigating Dunbar’s death was way too easy and the entire thing felt off. Turns out Stanley might not be as weak and helpless as he convinces Oliver he is, but due to his hero complex, Oliver couldn’t resist helping him. It’ll be interesting to see where the Stanley character goes from here now that Oliver is onto him, and how big a role he really has.
Finally, the flash forwards gave a glimpse into the decades-later goings on of Felicity Smoak (Smoak-Queen?). The backstory Dinah and Zoe provided us has all the makings of Felicity faking her own death, and I don’t buy it for a second. Nor do I believe she was actually on the verge of committing mass terrorism and slaughter of Star City. Her security system for her underground base (in which the entrant had to recreate Oliver’s famous tennis ball arrow accuracy) was another delightful callback to the show’s first season, and it’s great to see how smart William has become in thinking like his stepmother despite not being able to out-think her (yet).
—Matt Gilbert, Staff Writer
Legends of Tomorrow— 4×05, “Tagumo Attacks!!!”
After last week’s low point, “Tagumo Attacks!!!” proves that Legends still has something left in the tank. The main plot of the episode is perhaps the best use of the Fugitive concept so far this season. Like “Witch Hunt,” “Tagumo Attacks!!!” takes a period and location interested in a specific supernatural creature and brings that creature to life. Unlike the Legends’ encounter with a fairy godmother, however, this episode doesn’t undercut itself with an unnecessary twist.
In fact, the twist regarding Tagumo’s creation adds greater depth to the episode’s look at Japanese monster movies in the 1950s. While the focus on a legendary filmmaker is perhaps too similar to “Raiders of the Lost Art,” using both time travel and magical creatures to comment on the nature of art and the expression of trauma marks a welcome return to form for the series.
Of course, this being Legends of Tomorrow, that somewhat nuanced storytelling is surrounded by plenty of absurdity. Nate (Nick Zano) and Ava’s (Jes Macallan) Thanksgiving adventure is definitely a B plot that offers little more than humor and an indication that this episode aired a few days before Thanksgiving. There is some charm here though. When examined by itself, these segments are campy and easy to roll your eyes at. But the shenanigans at the Time Bureau feel very much like a Hammer Horror film from the 1950s; considering the main plot of the episode takes place in 1950s Japan film studio, this focus on B movie material is somewhat genius.
“Tagumo Attacks!!!” is far from award winning programming, but the episode makes clever use of its setting. For the first time this season, Legends truly realized the dramatic and creative potential of combining mythical beasts and time travel.
—Josh Sarnecky, Staff Writer
The Flash— 4×06, “The Icicle Cometh”
The more we dive into Killer Frost’s origin, the less faith I have in the writers’ ability to tell its story. On a thematic level I get it. Season five is all about fatherhood, in all its forms and stages. This episode finally answered the question as to the whereabouts of Caitlin’s long lost father and his reason for leaving. What’s more, the end of the episode all but guaranteed that Thomas Snow will continue to be a presence weighing on Caitlin’s mind in the weeks to come. The point in which she momentarily overcomes DeVoe’s mental block and unleashes Killer Frost is, no denying it, utterly badass. But this whole concept of curing Thomas and Caitlin’s ALS resulting in split personalities that also include ice powers is quickly becoming a very long walk off a very short pier.
Granted, learning Khione is simply Killer Frost’s secret identity of a sort is a lot better than attempting to explain how Caitlin is actually some reincarnated ancient god (for now). But the Killer Frost arc is paradoxically becoming harder to believe the more the series attempts to contextualize it. It is great to have the half-character back on the show, though. As the moment in which Caitlin finally reconnects with her is an excellent beat for both characters. Also, shame on Cisco for taking the low-hanging fruit of calling Thomas “Icicle” when “Iceotope” was right there.
Meanwhile, Sherloque and Ralph track down a lead on the identity of Cicada and salvage the S.T.A.R. Labs satellite core (Sally) to make a new and improved fully functioning array. The episode ended with the team on the verge of learning Cicada’s real name just as the man himself discovers he’s getting stronger.
We also learned Orlin Dwyer has a knowing accomplice in his serial killer crusade against the meta humans of the position that they are too much of a danger to the public to let live. Team Flash’s theory that Cicada is a father was confirmed, further bolstering the fatherhood theme of the season. And for that reason, I am calling it now: as the only character who truly understands fatherhood and parental love, Joe West is going to defeat Cicada.