This Week in the Arrowverse: Nov 21st & 22nd (REVIEW)
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
It’s Thanksgiving week on the Arrowverse… and weirdly with no Arrow in sight, or any glimmer of a Legend. A short week with just Supergirl and The Flash. Kara faces an unlikely foe and Barry & co deal with Caitlin’s rising Killer Frost tendencies.
Supergirl opens with our titular hero facing off against J’onn, proclaiming that he is going to kill her before cutting away to the moments leading up to this final battle. Mon-El is still locked away by Cadmus, despite attempting a daring escape… he turns back to his cell when it looks like Cadmus has J’onn prisoner as well. This of course explains the whole deal with that opening scene, the one who was fighting Kara was the real Hank Henshaw.
When they first introduced Hank Henshaw last season, I was sure that somehow he would be the villain and we’d get a glimpse of Cyborg Superman. While I was delighted that they were able to use Hank Henshaw as a platform to introduce Martian Manhunter to the Arrowverse, I always hoped that they took the Hank Henshaw character in a more comic book traditional route. In a way, I got my wish this week on Supergirl.
Outside of Kara’s troubles, James and Winn have jumped all in with their Guardian endeavor. With James acting as the muscle and Winn being his man behind the scenes. While Guardian has quickly become National City’s golden boy, the high is short lived when the new vigilante is accused of murder.
Phillip Karnowsky, the comic book villain known as Barrage, has been killing criminals who he feels have somehow cheated the system. From drug charges to murder, if somehow you got off from an otherwise serious sentence, Karnowsky has you in its sights. To clear his name, James tries to hunt down Karnowsky and despite James being a rookie hero… he somehow was able to incapacitate him and turn him over to the authorities. Personally, I felt the Guardian bit was the weakest link on this episode. While his debut was certifiably bad ass last week… I’m not totally sold on Jimmy being a superhero yet. I guess we still have a whole season to see how that will pan out.
At the D.E.O., J’onn is having visions of his family; he even almost shoots a fellow D.E.O. agent when he hallucinates seeing a White Martian. Upon further testing he pieces it all together, figuring out that M’gann isn’t who she said she is. Confronting her, J’onn goes full on revenge martian mode on the White Martian. Despite saving his life and even upon learning that she wa so disgusted by the senseless killing that she blatantly disobeyed a kill order. This didn’t mean a thing to J’onn and years of festering revenge put him over the line. While he does manage to get the upper hand, he gladly doesn’t kill her. Personally, I feel that J’onn is way too hard on M’gann at this point. Maybe I’m craving the uncle/niece relationship they had on Young Justice (one of the reasons I DO NOT SHIT J’onn and M’gann… ewww) but it seems like a good start of healing. On the side though, Alex discovers that Winn is working with the Guardian and the poor guy spills the beans… yeah yeah… secret identity blown… but honestly the whole Guardian bit was weak.
As for Kara, while she attempts to track down Guardian she is delayed when Lillian Luthor (the mother of Lex and Lena) sends her a message to meet at Cadmus. It’s here that we return to the fight that started the episode with Supergirl facing down Hank Henshaw as a cybernetically enhanced cyborg. We get the first glimpse of Cyborg Superman when Kara’s heat vision tears away at Hank’s flesh… revealing a robotic skull underneath. She’s dispatched fairly easily and tossed into a cell right now to Mon-El. It’s here we discover the reason why Lillian Luthor wanted Kara there, to force her to solar flare and render herself mortal. Last season, when Supergirl fought Red Tornado, she lost her powers briefly when she tried to overexert herself… draining herself by using too much heat vision. By threatening to kill Mon-El, Kara reluctantly agrees to Lillian’s demand… allowing them to draw her blood. Now, it’s here that the episode begins to get a bit interesting. Jeremiah Danvers returns to help Kara and Mon-El escape, before seeing the two of them off he decides not to go with them to help cover their escape. While both Kara and Mon-El make it, Kara has the displeasure of being forced to tell Alex about how they had to leave Jeremiah behind. When the D.E.O tries to attack the location, Cadmus has already up and vanished.
Back at home, the gang seems to be recovering with Kara even getting her powers back. A spark begins to form between Kara and Mon-El, with the later expressing and interest in Kara. As for Cadmus, we learn that their ultimate goal was to use Kara’s blood to infiltrate the Fortress of Solitude in the hopes to discover the secrets behind Project Medusa.
Continuing on the super powered train, we jet on over to Central City where we pick up right where we left off from last week. Savitar has Flash pinned and he literally speeds him through time and space to aggresively kick his ass. Back at the abandoned warehouse, Wally is trapped in a sort of cocoon, like meeting Alchemy is this normal caterpillar becoming a super speedy butterfly. Back at home base, Cisco and Caitlin try to track Barry down, eventually finding an invisible Savitar laying all kinds of smackdown on the Flash. Caitlin uses her powers to freeze the big bad before he retreats. Something that spells much of the conflict for the remainder of the episode. Winter is here… and Killer Frost is coming to town.
While dealing with Caitlin’s impending turn for the villainous, Team Flash is concerned with another problem… Wally trapped in a cocoon. After touching Alchemy’s mysterious stone, Wally was encased in a cocoon that I no doubt is meant to unlock his oncoming super powers. While the team struggles to deal with Wally trapped away, Caitlin begins to slowly fall down her Killer Frost rabbit hole. She tortures the Alchemy cultist the CCPD had in custody and even kidnapped Julian Albert to help her find Alchemy… the reason being? Caitlin believes that if Alchemy can grant people meta-human powers, then he can also take them away. This icy new Caitlin is further pushed when Barry confronts her, after he knocks Julian out, Caitlin lays it all out there… telling everyone, Cisco included, that the reason for all these changes are because of Barry meddling with the timeline. She blames Barry and him creating Flashpoint for the reason her powers are manifesting, even pointing out that Dante wasn’t dead until Barry created Flashpoint.
This begins to create yet another rift between Barry and Cisco. I don’t know about you but I am beginning to get sick of the back and forth. I get it that Cisco is upset and arguably so, he lost his brother. But this back and forth… friends then not friends then friends again to not friends. The Cisco/Barry frenemy hour has run its course in my opinion and personally I just want them back at one a la season 1 & 2. As for the other arch-frenemy, Barry is able to neutralize Caitlin and they lock her away in the pipeline. It’s sad because for all the metas they’ve locked away, Caitlin was the last person I thought would inhabit Barry’s personal Lian Yu.
Of course, things cant just be complicated… they have to be complicated with a side of trouble. When Joe forcibly breaks open the cocoon, Wally emerges practically blanketed in the Speed Force. The newly minted Kid Flash is vibrating in a blur, as he runs off the team realizes that they are going to need Caitlin to help find Wally. And here is where it gets interesting, Barry releases Caitlin and the two have a good ol fashioned stand-off. Barry truly believes that Caitlin doesn’t want to hurt him and he dares her to take his life. Consumed by her Killer Frost powers, Caitlin creates an icicle and holds it over Barry’s heart. In a moment of clarity, she drops in and embraces him. It’s gonna be some kind of trouble if she ever goes full bad-guy, but at least for now Caitlin is still on the side of the heroes. Thanks to Caitlin, Team Flash was able to find Wally and get him back to normal.
Back at HQ, Team Flash begins acclimating Wally to his new life as a speedster. It looks like he’s taking it well and is well on the way to be the hero he’s destined to be. After the whole ordeal, Barry pleads with Julian not to turn Caitlin in… Julian agrees under one condition, that Barry resign. Julian said that because of Barry’s “broken” moral compass, he isn’t fit to be a member of the CCPD. Barry resigns and leaves the lab that birthed him as the Flash… though it’s at the episode’s end we get the biggest bomb dropped; Savitar begins calling out to Julian, revealing that Alchemy has been Julian this whole time!
Overall, a short but awesome week of DC Superhero goodness. Both episodes felt equally strong. It’s next week I look forward to most! Strongest point this past week was the whole Killer Frost arc, but still both episodes were great with pushing the story forward.