Back for Another Jaunt Through Time
Arrowverse 2021 Season: Week 16
With this week another of our shows returns. Legends of Tomorrow returns, picking right back up from the cliffhanger that closed out last season, and it just as irreverent as ever. We'll get into a full review of that season premiere, along with the latest episode of The Flash as well.
We're almost to a point where all the current Arrowverse shows are running at the same time. We just need Superman & Lois again and we'll have the full set. Wow.
Legends of Tomorrow, Season 6, Episode 1: Ground Control to Sara Lance
When last we saw the Legends, Sarah had just been taken up in a beam to an alien mothership and warped off to parts unknown. Meanwhile the rest of the crew got drunk and failed to notice she was missing. We pick up the next day as everyone suddenly realizes, "oh, crap, Sarah is missing," and, after talking to David Bowie back in the 1970s (you know, as you do), they learn that aliens have kidnapped their dear leader. What are they going to do?
Well, Ava goes into manager mode and puts together a checklist. She sets Constantine on doing magic, Rory goes off to get drunk, Behrad gets stoned, and she kicks back while all the team members do (or not do) what they're best at. This eventually leads them to learn about a girl, Esperanza "Spooner" Cruz, who, years prior, had been abducted by aliens and implanted with tech that made her hear their signals. The team goes to enlist her aid and, after some initial confusion, eventually brings her up to the ship to be the newest member of the team. Now they have to track down Sarah and save her from whatever fate has befallen her.
That fate: to be forced to travel the galaxy with annoying office idiot Gary who, apparently, has been an alien all along. That's... okay, that's pretty odd. There was a lot I liked about this episode but I'm going to have to say that the Gary twist this episode doesn't make much sense. He's been a steady character on the show for years and have never once had anything close to a back-story that fit this new story for him. He can turn into a "human" by putting on his glasses, which let him shape change, but I swear we've seen him without his glasses on before. Hell, he once lost a nipple and that nipple didn't suddenly turn into an alien nipple.
Maybe this is a weird detail to harp on but it's a big change to a character that doesn't really fit the established continuity of the show. This was my one big gripe, but the rest of the episode was decently fun. Maybe not one of its best episodes -- it's all table setting for the season to come -- but enjoyable in its own, goofy way. The biggest thing I could say was that, despite all the weirdness and aliens, nothing really stood out this premiere. I don't have a ton to talk about beyond, "hey, the Legends are back." It was fine, and fun, but it didn't really stand out.
I don't think the show is at the point where it's time to retire it, but with recent announcements that Dominic Purcell's Mick Rory / Heat Wave will be leaving the show sometime this year, and the show starting to feel like its just doing the same thing again (we're traveling through time to fight aliens instead of demons, or magical creatures, or anomalies), maybe it is time to start thinking about an end game. I like this show but this is the first time since the original season that I'm starting to wonder if it's done all it has to do? I guess we have a season to watch and find out.
The Flash, Season 7, Episode 8: The People V. Killer Frost
Speaking of shows that have long since run their course: The Flash. Woof, this show. So this episode was all about Killer Frost (or, just Frost now), who turned herself in to authorities last episode so she could face punishment for her crimes. Apparently in just a week she already decided not to have a trial, just plead guilty and go right to sentencing. Ignoring the fact that this is a ridiculous turn around for trial like this (we should have taken months before we even got to this point), the sentencing trial is an absolute joke.
The point of the episode is to put Killer Frost in a position to have to either take the "meta cure" (anyone remember that from a couple of seasons ago?) or spend time in prison. The D.A., backed by the governor's agent, wants to force Frost to take the cure and be "normal". Frost doesn't want to as being "normal" isn't being her. SO, in the end, she decides to take the who discussion off the table; the authorities want to ensure she can't be a danger to anyone ever again, then she'll just spend life in prison.
Really? How is that a solution? That's a gross over-reaction and a failure to make the punishment fit the crime. A good lawyer could argue that it's cruel and unusual, even if the criminal agreed to it. Plus, if she's in prison she's going to be without her powers, as power dampeners will be on her the whole time, so how is this any different? What did she actually manage to accomplish with this stupid and futile gesture? Not much at all, besides some hollow drama for the episode.
Beyond that, though, it just feels like a cop out; Frost will likely have to be broken out of prison, for one reason or another, and then the authorities will finally realize she's a hero and commute her sentence. There is no way this sticks for any length of time because The Flash isn't a smart enough show to handle this kind of story properly. Hell, if the show really wanted to tackle this properly it would have done it before, when Frost and Kaitlin were stuck in the same body, so that a dose of the cure would have actually meant the death of Frost. Doing it now feels, yeah, really dumb and hollow.
Meanwhile, the B-plot for the episode feels utterly stupid. Flash and Nora get a signal from the Star Labs satellites warning them of the location of Strength Force monster Fuerza. When they find her, though, she's just a girl, working at a volunteer site. Nora wants to kill her, Flash doesn't, and eventually Flash is able to convince the girl to come to Star Labs and get tested to see what her powers really are. Once it's revealed Fuerza is actually in this girl, Nora attacks and seemingly kills her, revealing that Nora is no better than any of the other "force leaders".
Okay... so what was the point here? We just spent three weeks building her up as a character and learning to trust her, and now the show throws all that out, rewrites her character (seriously, she was acting like a completely different person this episode), has her betray everyone, and then kill someone. What is the point of it? Is it supposed to show there's evil in the Speed Force? Is it supposed to be a reflection on Barry somehow? I fail to get any of it. It's just a stupid twist for the sake of a twist.
And yeah, that tracks. This episode is all about big, stupid, idiotic gestures that amount to nothing and feel like they come out of left field. This is a bad episode in a bad season of an increasingly bad show. Damn.
Elsewhere in the 'Verse
- Supergirl continued its two-parter from last week with Brainy and Dreamer still stuck in the past trying to fix the time line and get Kara's DNA in the process. This second half of the episode honestly wasn't nearly as much fun as the first half, lacking the thrill or energy of the previous episode. I do like the younger actors here and still think a "Midvale" show could work in the 'verse, but this episode doesn't work as well as it should.
- Batwoman, meanwhile, was forced to team up with Alice to save Angelique and Ocean. And then it was revealed (to us, not the heroes) that Black Mask used Enigma's mind-control powers to reprogram Kate into his dead daughter for... reasons? I gotta admit, this season of the show has really started going off the rails since the mid-point. The last few episodes, this one included, have really sucked. Wow.
- And Black Lightning, of course, just sucked. We ended last season on a cliffhanger, and then this episode erases all of that, like a bad serial from the 1950s pulling a cheat to save its heroes. The the episode just meanders for 40 minutes, amounting to absolutely nothing in the end. So, a standard episode of this bad show. Seriously, this whole week of the 'verse just sucked.