This Means War
Arrowverse 2021 Season: Week 25
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. takes a bit of a break this week with two of the shows, Legends of Tomorrow and Superman & Lois off. That leaves us only with The Flash which... oof... we'll get into that in just a bit.
We only have one episode to recount this week, so let's do this:
The Flash, Season 7, Episode 16: P.O.W.
After three or so pretty decent episodes, as The Flash took a bit of an "Interlude", we get back into the meat of a story this week as the Godspeed Civil War ramps up and... yeah... we're back to the usual terrible storytelling for the show. It's not that the concept of all of this -- multiple Godspeed clones coming back to the past from the future to search for their creator, as control of their creator means control of their own future -- is a bad story idea. It's just that the show, as has been the case for the last few seasons, really doesn't know how to tell its own stories well.
The big issue here is that things just kind of happen and then the characters throw out some kind of technobabble explanation for it to bandage over the results. They capture a Godspeed using a device from ARGUS (courtesy of Diggle, here for an episode as he makes his Arrowverse world tour) and then the Godspeed breaks out of the meta containment units at STAR Labs. How? "Oh, their powers are derived from a meta formula so they aren't really metas so the containment can't contain them." Radio signals are blocked in the building? How? "Oh, Allegra is doing it just by being there." On and on the show comes up with dumb scenarios and then tries to paste over it and the only reason I can think is because the show is in a rush to tell a full story in the span of a tiny pod.
With last season (in and around "Crisis on Infinite Earths") and this season the show has gone to telling its stories in pods (or, as the producers call them, "graphic novels"). That means that instead of one big, overarching storyline, the show tells littler pods in the span of six to eight episodes. We're in our fourth big pod here and the show feels like it has more story with these Godspeeds than it knows what to do with, so it's just burning through all of it as fast as it can. It's great that the show is trying to keep up its momentum (ironic on a show called "The Flash"), but it's doing it while sacrificing characters, story, and logic.
Part of the issue is that the Godspeeds aren't really characters, they're cyphers. We get to speak to one finally today but he never takes off his mask, never really says anything personal, never grows into an actual, flesh-out character. I want, and need, more from my villains and right now the Godspeeds aren't doing it. Instead of growing these white speedsters the show is just throwing out one concept after another with the characters never sitting still or figuring out, well, anything. Crap just happens.
Last week's Godspeed episode worked because it told a tight and focused story. We don't really get that here and we need it. Searching for some character we've never heard of before isn't a story, it's just another plot device. Barry tries to travel to the future for information but ends up blocked by the Godspeeds and has a talk with Dion, the Still Force avatar. That's not part of a story, it's just more random crap spewed out to fill time. Nothing really happens in this episode but boy do the characters sure run around a lot.
This show can still give us decent (if not great) episodes. "P.O.W." is not one of them, it's just another episode of The Flash that wastes its own time, and ours as well.
Elsewhere in the 'Verse
- All our shows should be back next week, so we'll get a properly full week of episodes which, right now, means... three. We'll see what we cover when next week rolls around.