written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
Running a little behind thanks to being SUUUUUUPER busy last week, but here goes the week in review for October 10th through the 13th. This is it, the first week with the Arroverse and its full lineup! Last week we covered the season premiere for both The Flash and Arrow, this week the DC Comics train continues with the season premiere of Legends of Tomorrow and the CW debut of (the formerly on CBS) series Supergirl.
Starting off with Supergirl, the season picks up right where the season 1 finale left off. A Kryptonian pod falls to earth. With the introduction of seemingly a new Kryptonian, J’onn J’onzz introduces Kara to a brand new D.E.O. headquarters… well, brand new to her. In place of the dungeon-like D.E.O. of the first season, the second season is like a brand new start for a series that arguably should have been on the CW in the first place.
Much of the principle cast returns but the biggest addition to the cast is Tyler Hoechlin as Clark Kent/Superman. This is the Superman we need and deserve. In the runtime of one episode, the Arrowverse Superman blows the Snyder-Cinematic Superman out of the water. He’s charmingly clumsy as Clark Kent and all smiles and heat-vision when Superman. When watching season 1 of Supergirl I mentioned how the show captures the style and substance of the Richard Donner films. Hoechlin’s Superman is incredibly reminiscent of the Christopher Reeve’s portrayal, so much that I could almost hear the classic John Williams score in my head.
Not content to be just a side or guest character, Superman helps Supergirl out as the duo attempt to resolve the circumstances around the sabotage of a shuttle launch. The key name attached to their investigation is Lena Luthor, the adopted sister of Lex Luthor. While Supergirl hopes to believe that Lena Luthor isn’t involved despite her namesake… Superman isn’t as easily convinced.
Outside of the cape and tights, Kara is struggling with balancing her life as both Kara Danvers and Supergirl. Promoted from being Cat Grant’s assistant and now open with her feelings towards James, she has to manage all the aspects of her life coming up “Kara” while also playing the hero for National City. It’s tough when every time she tries to get a moment alone with James… something comes up; and for Supergirl, something coming up is less a small inconvenience and more a matter of national security.
As a premiere episode, it fires on all cylinders. I enjoyed the first season but always felt it didn’t belong on CBS. Here on the CW, Supergirl feels at home. With Cadmus back in the picture, this looks to be quite the rocky season for the Super-cousins.
On the Central City front, the second episode of The Flash this season sees Barry coming to terms with this brave new world. Despite returning much of the timeline back, the world he comes back to is very different than the world he left behind. Iris and Joe have a strained relationship, Cisco is struggling with the death of his brother Dante, and even Caitlin Snow is exhibiting a bit of an “icy” demeanor. If the events of last episode’s “Flashpoint” is like the comic event of the same name, this brave new world is the Arrowverse’s New 52. Much of the same but just different enough to make a dent.
Even Arrow is treated to the Flashpoint Paradox treatment. In this brand new timeline, Sara Diggle has been erased from existence, replaced by John Diggle Jr… who made his first appearance last season during a Legends of Tomorrow episode where the Digg progeny takes up the mantle of Star City’s Green Arrow.
This episode also marks the introduction of Tom Felton’s character, Julian Albert. Barry’s lab is no longer just his, Julian Albert has been Barry’s partner for the last year and according to Team Flash… Barry just can’t stand that guy. Of course the feeling is mutual with Julian Albert holding just as much disdain for Barry. The CCPD is investigating the appearance of human husks littered across the city, the fault of this season’s big bad Alchemy.
With a broken a team, an unfamiliar partner, and a whole new world unfamiliar to the world he left behind… one would think it can’t get worse right? But it can, Edward Clariss is back with his speedster powers in tow. Thanks to Alchemy, Clariss is given back his powers as well as the memories he had from the Flashpoint universe. With the Rival firmly planted in this new world, Barry struggles with whether he should come clean with Team Flash or just try to live his life as if he did nothing.
John Wesley Shipp returns in a cameo role as Jay Garrick. When Barry tried to run back in time yet again, Garrick stops him and imparts some Flash to Flash advice. Forced to live with this new world, it looks like the ripples felt from Flashpoint will continue.
A bit of a frustrating episode, much of the joy that’s felt from episodes of The Flash aren’t represented in “Paradox.” There’s some heavy themes here, especially with the formerly happy-go-lucky Cisco shuffling along dejected and riddled with grief. With this world solidifying, it looks like this is the world we are stuck with now… how else it will affect the Arrowverse is still yet to be seen. Personally, I think we can expect to see it during the big crossover event this year.
On to the dark and brooding world of Arrow, again a second episode, “The Recruits” has Oliver going all in with training this new team. Curtis Holt, Rene Ramirez, and Evelyn Sharp are summoned. Oliver, still on his dark and brooding kick, dives all in with training to almost vicious levels. Oliver tasks the three to simply ring a bell behind him, but of course he whips some ass and his new recruits just can’t get past him.
On the mayoral front, Oliver is drumming up a deal with AmerTek Industries to fund a relief event when a mysterious rag-wearing man attacks an AmerTek executive. In the most surprising bit for me as a comic fan and fan of this show, I was pleased to see them dig deep with the roster of DC characters. Ragman is traditionally a vigilante, a hero who seeks to right wrongs and uphold justice.
As per usual, the flashbacks are relevant to the current events. Back in Russia, in order to join the Bratva, Oliver is tasked to complete the same bell exercise he’s forcing his recruits to do. We finally get to see a glimpse of Anatoly’s brutal nature. For the comic book initiated, Anatoly Knyazev is the villain KGBeast. When we last saw Anatoly, he was simply another prisoner on the island… perhaps we’ll finally get the villainous KGBeast this season.
As far as the new team is concerned; Curtis, Rene, and Evelyn are far from being the team Oliver needs. Part of the blame… actually most of the blame… belongs with Oliver and his brand new/hard-nosed approach to crime fighting. He isn’t being the leader he was before Laurel died.
Ragman’s backstory gets a bit complicated as it was revealed that his vendetta against AmerTek is linked to the the destruction of Havenrock. Those who watched Arrow last season will remember this as the city Felicity was forced to divert a nuclear warhead to in order to save Monument Point. It was a matter of saving millions at the expense of tens of thousands. As Oliver attempts to recruit Ragman to his crusade as well, I worry how Felicity’s hand in sacrificing a whole town will affect the team dynamic… in particular how Ragman will react when and if he learns the truth.
Back to another season premiere, Legends of Tomorrow returns with the team already in peril. Dr. Nate Heywood burst in on Oliver Queen with some details about the Legends. Scattered throughout time, culminating in a nuclear explosion in 1942… two years before the atom bomb was invented.
Dr. Heywood and Oliver Queen discover the Waverider beneath the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of New York. Mick Rory was stuck in stasis with no one else from the crew anywhere in sight.
We get our first glimpse of this seasons villain, or rather, villains. Damien Darhk pre-Star City death is dealing in nuclear weapons with the Russians. Someone is toying with the timeline and of course the Legends are the ones who plan to stop him. Of course Sara Lance has an entirely personal reason to track down Darhk, she feels that if she can kill him in the past then Laurel will never have died.
The hunt for Darhk goes two-fold, as the Legends surmise that he plans to kidnap Albert Einstein to develop his nuclear bomb AND Sara has been tracking him since the last season ended.
This episode felt very reminiscent of Doctor Who, more so than anything in the previous season. Arthur Darvill’s time as a companion seems to fit well with his role as the Legend’s Captain. The explanation surrounding Mick Rory being the sole crew member left behind stems from a contingency plan Rip put into pace to safeguard his team, warping them to different points in time while placing Rory in stasis. Tasked to bring the band back together, Mick Rory plays team leader while tracking down the rest of the Legends.
As for the future of the team, Rip is nowhere to be found and I feel that Rip Hunter’s absence will be one of the core themes this season… along with this brand new Legion of Doom. Darhk’s time-altering partner is introduced when in a flash of red lightning, Eobard Thawne throws his hand in with the mystic former member of the League of Assassins. The episdoe closes with an appearance from the Justice Society of America… complete with… Vixen? It looks like it’s the same Vixen from Arrow last season. I’m a little confused how she plays into the JSA. Are the JSA time travelers as well? Is this an alternate timeline? As per usual, the end of an episode leaves more questions than answers.
What this week did was solidify what the CW and DC Comics can achieve. All individual shows that pick at each other a little bit here and there. The Arrowverse is set up to be pretty damn exciting this year, in no small part to how well these shows all work as stand-alone series as much as part of a greater universe. NOW, on to next week!