Is This the End?
Arrowverse 2019/2020 Season: Week 21
And here we are, what could be the last week of the 2019/2020 season. Right now The Flash, Batwoman, and Supergirl have all future episodes listed as "TBD" for release, while Legends of Tomorrow has it's next episode listed as April 7 (and, for all we know, that could get pushed back). Hell, the only shows that aired this week were Supes and Bats all because those episodes were in the can. It's still hard to know how all of this is going to shake out.
For now, as we've been saying, we'll cover what's in front of us, but it could end up that the rest of this coverage is just Legends until the start of next season... or we could just find even that show is stopped and we have nothing to report. That will be... interesting. We'll see what happens as it happens.
Batwoman, Season 1, Episode 16: Through the Looking-Glass
Last week Batwoman killed someone. It was August Cartwright, the evil doctor who imprisoned Beth for all those years and who, through the torture by his own hand (as well as the hand of his Grandmother, who Alice called "the Queen of Hearts") Beth went mad and became Alice. What was revealed last week, and what caused Kate to attack the doctor and kill him, was the discovery that not only did the young Beth survive the fateful car accident all those years ago, but also that their mother did as well. And then August chopped off her head and kept it in a freeze for years. So Kate killed him and, honestly, I can't blame her.
Now, Kate is dealing with the repercussions of it, from the weight of killing th guy to the worry that she could become just the Alice. And then Alice wanders in and asks for Beth's help in saving her adopted brother, the insane Mouse, freeing him to Arkham where he's currently being held. The two team up, pull a bit of a heist to get into the asylum, and they make it all the way to Mouse in his isolated cell. Then, at the last minute, Kate locks Alice in the cell too (despite their previously agreed upon plan), and leaves. It's a bit of shock, and a real heel move with Kate.
Of course, the obvious reason Kate locked Beth away is because she sees what her sister represents and wants to, effectively, lock that side of her away. She feels like killing a very bad guy somehow crossed a line, a line Bruce would never have crossed (despite struggling with it, as we're told). And maybe that's true, but anyone who's been watching all these shows in the ArrowverseWhen it was announced that the CW was creating a show based on the Green Arrow, people laughed. The CW? Really? Was it going to be teen-oriented like everything else on the network and be called "Arrow High"? And yet that one show, Arrow has spawned three spin-offs, various related shows and given DC a successful shared universe, the Arrowverse on TV and streaming. probably doesn't five a shit. Like, at all.
Bear in mind that Oliver, over on Arrows, was killing dudes left and right for years (then gave it up, then went right back to killing). We're already primed to think that any killing of a dude that's bad enough is totally justified. Just because Bruce didn't do it, Kate is holding herself up to a standard not everyone else in the 'verse also follows. Hell, Oliver is venerated now, but Kate can't kill the one dude who basically ruined her family, broke her sister, and killed her mother? That seems sketchy as shit, like they're saying, "killing dudes is cool if you're a dude but ladies have to be better than that."
Meanwhile, as Kate grapples with a non-issue, there's a mole inside the Crows that, for whatever reason, was fixing convictions and now is covering up their mess. I have to admit I don't care at all about this story because the Crows are still not a well defined entity. They're a replacement for the cops but they still seem ineffectual and completely outmatched for the villainy in Gotham. Of course, if they weren't would we need Batwoman? If the Crows have to dissolve and give the jobs back to the police I wouldn't care at all. We're her for the Bat, not the Birds.
Overall, a rather underwhelming episode. It doesn't promise a bit change in the relationship between Alice and Kate (that is, whenever the show returns), but then the last time we had a big moment like that, when Kate picked Beth-2 over Beth-Prime, we said the same thing and then everything went back to normal once again. Who knows if Alice will be so forgiving this time, but I bet you she'll get over it real quick.
Supergirl, Season 5, Episode 16: Reality Bites
Supergirl opens with the reaction to the news that Jeremiah, the father of Alex and Kara, is dead of a heart attack. We don't actually see Jeremiah (because he was played by Dean Cain in the past and now that actor is persona non grata in Hollywood for being a Trump-loving douche-munch), but we do get to deal with the fallout as Kara wants to go to the funeral but Alex is angry at her father for all the times he abandoned her and put the needs of Kara above everyone else. Fair enough.
To deal with her pain, or at least get away from it for a while, Alex enters the Obsidian VR world where she becomes her own version of Supergirl, flying around, fighting crime, and solving everything with her fists. It's freeing. However she spends so long in there, and comes to love it so much, that she not only gets trapped in the machine but forgets, altogether, what reality actually looks like. So her girlfriend, Kelly (who also works as a lead doctor on the VR project), has to go in and save her from the evil VR world.
Credit to the show, this was easily the least cringey VR episode its done yet. The rules of the VR world are starting to come together and while it still felt fake, it felt as fake as everything else on the show so, in a way, it fit the reality of Supergirl. The episode uses the problems with the VR would to establish the stakes for the season moving forward and to let us know just how evil Obsidian (aka Leviathan) really is. That's good, and something that probably should have happened a couple of episodes ago (and not, oh, six episodes before the end of the season).
Problem is that we still don't understand where the season is going. Is Lex the bad guy (he's name-dropped enough here) or is it Obsidian? Are they really working together, or is Lex working against them? How will it all tie up, or is this a two season arc? We don't understand the stakes even now which is making it hard to care about the show at all. It's not that the show is densely packed with too much plot just that none of it, even now, is clearly coming together in a logical way. We have a lot of story and not enough time to finish it all.
That said, if Supergirl really does end next season, which the rumors say is increasingly likely, the it may be that Lex is here to grow into the villain (once again) for next year. Finish off Leviathan now, and then let the show end its run with Lex (before Lex bounces over to the Superman and Lois show to continue being his awesomely evil self). We'll have to see.
As a bit of fan-service wish fulfillment, "Alex in Wonderland" is decent. It's fun to see Alex as Supergirl, and the actress (Chyler Leigh) clearly has fun with the chance to play the superheroine. Her actions in the simulation may kick off the rest of the story this season but beyond that, her one-time run as Supergirl is fleeting an insubstantial. Fun enough, but knowing she wants to be Supergirl doesn't really change our understanding of the show. So it's fun but weightless, a problem that sometimes plagues this show in general.
Elsewhere in the 'Verse
- Next week we get to see if Legends really is continuing for the foresee about future or if this week really is the end for now. Tune in next week to find out...