This Week in the Arrowverse: Oct 18th - 20th (REVIEW)
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
The second full week of our time with the Arrowverse, we can now say the DC Comics television universe on the CW is in full swing. This week we have the super cousins tangling with a new threat courtesy of CADMUS, The Flash faces Alchemy continuing to hand out powers like candy, Green Arrow and his new team combat a new designer drug on Star City streets, and the Justice Society of America has a few questions for our favorite timey-wimey Legends.
On Supergirl, Kara and Clark continue to save lives and protect National City. While in the red and blue tights, it’s business as usual for Kara… her day job has become exponentially more complicated when the man in charge of Cat Co’s reporters doesn’t even bother to recognize Kara as a member of her team. To make matters more complicated, Cat Grant has opted for a leave from Cat Co; leaving Kara without her her biggest supporter at her day job. It was reported that Calista Flockhart wanted to step away as a series regular when the show moved production from LA to Vancouver, a move that could have lasting repercussions for a show that has been quite well received since its CW debut.
CADMUS begins making moves with their Metallo project, transforming the formerly dead assassin John Corben into the super-powered Metallo… complete with a chest full of Kryptonite. This new threat proves to be almost too much for the Girl of Steel, even the Man of Steel struggles against Metallo.
Clark is arguably worried about Metallo and his Kryptonite fueled powers. One reason he refuses to work with the D.E.O. is because they continue to store Kryptonite in their armory like another weapon. So when Hank Henshaw/J’onn J’onzz assured Supes that the D.E.O. has all the Kryptonite on earth, Clark’s trusting nature is tested when he questions how CADMUS could get ahold of Kryptonite when supposedly the D.E.O. has it on lock-down… the answer turns out to be a mole within the D.E.O. supplying CADMUS with this radioactive green rock. This harkens back to Superman’s little feud with the Martian Manhunter which felt shoehorned into the first episode.
When CADMUS makes themselves known to the public, outlining their plans to liberate mankind from the “terror” of “aliens,” they double down on their efforts… sending John Corben to National City to distract while a second Metallo attacks Metropolis. Divided they fall… most likely what CADMUS hoped for, but what they didn’t expect was the D.E.O. helping out, with Martian Manhunter backing Superman in Metropolis and the Danvers sisters tangoing with John Corben in National City.
A good evolution for the series, Kara seems more at peace with her role as National City’s superhero and her new role as a Cat Co reporter. James Olsen assumes the role Cat had, but I still worry how the series will continue without fan favorite Cat Grant in almost every episode.
Jumping to Central City, a new meta faces off with the Scarlet Speedster when a familiar face returns with speed powers in tow. Harry and Jesse make their way to Earth Prime when it’s revealed that Jesse’s intimate run-in with the dark matter explosion left her with the ability to tap in to the speed force. This arguably leaves Wally feeling a bit cheated, partly because he was hit by the same dark matter and is yet to be able to speed around Central City.
Alchemy has been busy, granting Frankie Kane the powers she had in the Flashpoint Universe. Frankie makes her debut when she sends a light pole through her window, directed at her abusive foster father. In this world, Frankie exhibits a split personality disorder; when she’s herself, her character is a shy teenager with a sweet demeanor struggling with anxiety… though as Magenta she turns into a brash angsty teen with a serious chip on her shoulder, a mind set on revenge, and the ability to telekinetically lift heavy objects.
Back at STAR Labs, the team struggles with testing Jesse’s powers while good ol Harry struggles with his daughter wanting to join Barry on his crusade. Wally has his own problems to deal with, the metahumans who had powers in Flashpoint have been dreaming of their life there. It was seen in Edward Clariss and even Frankie Kane talked about the dreams. It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that Wally West is also having the same dreams.
Wally pulls some irresponsible shit this episode, when chatting with Jesse about how her powers awakened, Wally stands in the way of an oncoming car attempting to awaken his speed force. This doesn’t sit well with both Joe and Barry, and part of me feels like Wally will continue to pursue Alchemy to unlock the powers he had in Flashpoint.
As for the villain of the week, Magenta has taken full control and attempts to crush her abusive foster father and anyone in the hospital with him. Lifting a tanker out of the bay and literally holding it over the hospital, Barry’s gotta find a way to stop her while keeping the tanker from rendering an entire hospital into a steaming pile of rubble. When he can’t do it alone, Jesse steps up to the plate when a reluctant Harry finally comes to peace with his daughter and her gift. In true Harrison Wells fashion, he sends her off with a “run Jesse, run” and the young speedster zips off to fulfill her destiny.
Introducing Magenta and Jesse Quick to the Arrowverse feels like a strong first step to another superhero team-up. I’m sure Wally will eventually get his powers, could this be the first step to seeing an Arrowverse version of the Teen Titans? It’d be a great way to bring back Deathstroke, lord knows he was one of the best aspects of Arrow season 2.
Speaking of Arrow, the team is beginning to come together when Stardust, a brand new designer drug, hits Star City streets. Former WWE Superstar Cody Runnels makes an appearance as Derek Sampson, the mind behind the drug aptly named after the actor’s alter-ego in the WWE. Oliver tries to play it by the book, but Rene Ramirez tries to tell him that he may know where they are manufacturing the drug. Oliver being the stubborn ass that he is, he doesn’t accept Rene’s street intuition and instead wants his team to canvas the streets looking for clues. It’s Oliver at his most quintessential… my way or the highway.
On the mayoral front, Oliver’s administration is in some hot water when a news outlet reports on the drunk former police Captain Quentin Lance being appointed deputy mayor. Last episode, Thea offered the job to Quentin before discussing it with Oliver. This of course adds another layer of stress to a situation already rife with the secret sauce to make an already irritated Ollie even grumpier.
Rene gets Evelyn to tag along on a reconnaissance mission, hoping to track down Derek Sampson and prove to Ollie that he knew what he was talking about. This little field trip inevitably turns from bad to worse in the blink of an eye. Forced to fight their way out, Sampson is killed when Rene dumps him into a vat of mysterious chemicals. Arguably, Ollie is pissed when he finds out that a “vigilante in a hockey mask” offed Derek Sampson.
The Russian flashbacks have been particularly good this season, it’s like for a season that already started on such a high note… Arrow continues to get better each week. Oliver questions why Anatoly had to kill the other men who participated in the bell test. If you remember, last week Oliver was able to finally ring the bell with the help of the other men… who were promptly executedright after. I don’t know what to make of Anatoly, on one hand he’s brutal and very KGBeast like… but when he reveals that the other men weren’t merely innocent recruits… but rather hardened criminals who deserved the punishment… the KGBeast is seeming more like an anti-hero than the villain I expect him to be from the comics.
Back in present day, Derek Sampson’s death turned out to be only temporary. The vat of chemicals pretty much made him into a meta-human, granting super strength and the ability not to feel pain. Sampson wants to create a whole team of super-powered thugs to take control of Star City’s underworld from Tobias Church. As the flashback’s begin to emphasize the brotherhood within the Bratva, Oliver comes to realize that he needs to rely on his team. Realizing that despite Rene’s monumental fuck-up, Oliver was also partly at fault when he refused to consider Rene’s connection to Star City’s streets. The new team mobilizes for the first time and we get our first glimpse at Curtis Holt as Mister Terrific and Evelyn Sharp as Artemis. Now with a team again, Ollie is able to apprehend the super powered drug pusher.
Outside the hood and mask, Mayor Queen takes another step closer to reestablish his trust in people. Officially appointing Quentin Lance as the Deputy Mayor and somehow building an administration around men who never seem to shave. While it may seem like everyone is winning… Felicity continues to struggle with the fact she had a hand in destroying Havenrock. Coming clean with Ragman, the stunned expression before walking away leaves us in the dark with what happens next… guess we gotta wait.
Now a DC week on CW isn’t complete yet without closing it out with some Legends of Tomorrow. Last week on the premiere, as the Legends were leaving 1942, they are stopped by the JSA, a secret government agency of superheroes. We first caught wind of the JSA last season when Rex Tyler confronted the Legends after crash landing the Waverider. This group consists of their leader Hourman/Rex Tyler, Commander Steel/Henry Heywood (the grandfather of our Nate Heywood), Vixen/Amaya Jiwe (the grandmother of the Arrowverse’s Mari McCabe/Vixen), Dr. Mid-Nite, Obsidian, and Stargirl.
As a better organized team, the JSA quickly mops the floor with the Legends, capturing them to further question who they are and what their plans are. This being 1942, the concept of time-travel sounds odd at best to the JSA. When the Legends are released though, they discover a time aberration that threaten’s the livelihood of the JSA; especially for Dr. Nate Heywood. The JSA are attempting to retrieve a mysterious package from the Nazis but are subsequently killed in action.
The cause of the JSA and their destruction? Most likely because of a serum Eobard Thawne gave to Baron Kreiger. This serum amplifies his strength and resilience, making him into an unstoppable mound of muscle. It’s very reminiscent of venom, the serum Bane uses to pump himself up.
The Legends mobilize themselves and jump all in, Martin Stein is appointed the de facto leader… mostly by the circumstances of being old and white. Especially with Rip out of the picture, the team needs a leader. This doesn’t flow as planned, while they do manage to retrieve the mysterious amulet… Baron Kreiger knocks out Vixen and Raymond Palmer, taking the duo captive. Despite the team urging Martin to turn back and rescue them… Martin is forced to make the call for retreat. The burden of being a leader weighs heavy on Martin… especially when the Legends learn that the US plans to bombard the base Baron Kreiger is holding Palmer and Vixen at.
Martin can’t take it anymore, and in most likely the most expected part of this episode… Martin gives the title of Team Leader to Sara Lance. Though she may be a former assassin with a flexible set of morals, the White Canary is the likeliest one of the bunch who could fill the leadership role in Rip’s absence. Of course they refuse to abandon Ray and Amaya, the combined forces of the JSA and the Legends make a rescue mission that much more possible. At the Nazi base, Baron Kreiger is forcing Ray to reverse engineer the serum, something Ray gladly obliges to save Amaya. Of course, being the hero that he is, Ray doesn’t plan to just hand the secret to superpowers over to the Nazis. Instead he plans to use it on himself to give him “real” super powers… outside of his suit.
While the Reverse Flash plays a pivotal role in this episode as the villain, he never confronts the Legends. With a metahuman as powerful as Eobard Thawne, I have a feeling the Legends may be in over their heads. The US Government commences bombardment of the Nazi base as the JSA/Legends team make a daring rescue. While the good Baron meets his end at the hands of an explosion, Nate and his grandfather Henry are wounded. This wouldn’t be that big of a deal with the future-tech on the ship, but Nate is a hemophiliac; so even the slightest cut can mean a death sentence. Gideon’s tech for some reason can’t repair Nate’s cells fast enough… which honestly doesn’t make sense to me. Last season, Leonard Snart lost his hand and Gideon was able to recreate his hand at the cellular level, but a case of hemophilia is enough to render Gideon’s tech useless?
Despite the inconsistency, this does serve to give Nate his powers. In the comics, he’s known as Citizen Steel… a name obviously derived from his grandfather Henry “Commander Steel” Heywood. Ray Palmer doses Nate with the super serum he tweaked and developed in captivity, giving up his chance to be “super” but also saving the good doctor’s life.
A surprise ending gravely wounds the JSA as Eobard Thawne decided to take matters into his own hands. Something that could affect the timeline gravely.
Ups and downs this week, overall consistent though. The second episode of Legends didn’t hit the same notes the first episode did, the lack of Reverse Flash in this episode felt a little wasted. Supergirl and The Flash stayed consistent with the dual Metallo battle being the highlight of the two shows. To be honest, and I didn’t think I’d say this but… Arrow really won it for me this week. The flashbacks made alot of sense with the current events, and the inauguration of the new Team Arrow was a sight to behold. If you are a WWE fan, this past Arrow was doubly significant for you, with Cody Runnels and Stephen Amell getting their rematch… but instead of Stephen stepping into the ring… Runnels dives in to the superhero world. I just hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Derek Sampson.