This Week in the Arrowverse: Oct 31st - Nov 3rd (REVIEW)
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
The Arrowverse this week was choked full all kinds of action. An illegal alien fight club on Supergirl, a Godzilla level monster runs amok in Central City on The Flash, Rene is held captive by Tobias Church on Arrow, and the Legends channel their inner Rick Grimes on Legends of Tomorrow.
On Supergirl, when Alex and Maggie discover the body of a dead alien in the trunk of a car, a simple murder investigation turns to hunting down details about an illegal fight club where aliens fight for the entertainment of National City’s elite. Run by Supergirl comic villain Roulette (Dichen Lachmann) the revelation of how aliens are negatively viewed by humans as nothing more than entertainment is further made complicated when M’gann M’orzz, the female green martian J’onn met last episode, is revealed to be one of the main attractions of Roulette’s fight club.
Meanwhile, Mon-El is still being held and observed at the D.E.O. with Winn managing much of the observation. J’onn J’onzz assures Mon-El that this is mostly for his protection… but I felt that this was meant more so to protect the citizens of National City from an unchecked alien with super powers. Despite people from Daxam being kissing cousins to Kryptonians, Mon-El has only exhibited super strength at this point… no flight or heat vision yet.
On the green martian front, when Alex and Kara inform J’onn that M’gann is competing in Roulette’s illegal fight clubs, he does not respond kindly to the news. Immediately rushing to her and calling her out for her actions. To J’onn, he feels like M’gann doesn’t realize how she is being used… but to M’gann she justifies her participation as a way to make a living and stay alive on a planet that views her as a second class citizen. I’m still waiting for the shoe to drop with M’gann and J’onn. For the comic book initiated, you all know who Miss Martian really is.
A bit of a fun part this episode has Mon-El showing off his lost puppy side. Tricking Winn to helping him sneak out for a night on the town. After appealing to Winn’s vanity a bit they end up at a bar with Mon-El accidentally injuring one man in an arm wrestling match gone wrong, and then breaking a man’s hand when the guy tried punching Mon-El in the face.
The overarching alien fight club story made for some of the best action they have ever choreographed on Supergirl… including last season. The final action sequence of the episode had J’onn J’onzz forced to fight against M’gann. While i enjoyed the action this week, I felt like they didn’t utilize Roulette as well as I hoped. After arresting her, a mysterious benefactor has Roulette released from police custody. Here’s hoping this isn’t that last we’ve seen of Roulette.
As the episode closes, Kara decides to take Mon-El under her wing… hoping to fulfill the mission she wasn’t able to with her cousin. As for the Martian duo, J’onn visits M’gann and makes peace with her. After J’onn leaves, she morphs into her true form… that of a white martian. For those who don’t know, White Martian’s were the evil aliens who committed a massive genocide to the Green Martian populace of Mars.
Overall it was a fun episode and one of the best this week. Supergirl has really been firing on all cylinders ever since Kara came home to join the rest of her CW brethren.
On The Flash, a giant monster terrorizes Central City with Barry trying to figure out what in the world is going on. At the same time, Caitlin Snow enlists the aid of her equally genius mother to help with the manifestation of her powers.
To be honest, there wasn’t much from the Flash this week. Most of the episode revolved around their new Dr. Wells, the Earth 19 originating H.R. Wells, and with Caitlin’s struggle coming to grips with being a meta-human.
While lacking much speedster action, the episode does manage to develop quite a bit. Barry finally decides to tackle the situation involving Julian Albert. Since to this new post-Flashpoint Barry, he doesn’t remember anything from the last year of dealing with Julian, he tries to understand why is it that he distrusts him and all meta-humans (the Flash included) with such fervor.
Jumping to H.R. Wells, Cisco finds it incredibly hard to trust him. Something just doesn’t sit right with Earth 19’s Harrison Wells and while they don’t have concrete proof of it, both Cisco and Barry are left fairly uneasy with H.R. and his weirdly sunny demeanor. As for Caitlin, her mother is running tests on her powers trying to figure out just what she can do. I don’t know what they intend on doing, but I have a feeling that after last season and Caitlin’s encounter with her Earth-Two doppelgänger, the good doctor is a bit spooked with her powers now manifesting. I’m a bit worried because I’ve loved Caitlin as a member of Team Flash and would be heartbroken if she turned evil. Perhaps she could be a new super-powered member of Team Flash. Cisco has embraced being Vibe, perhaps Caitlin can be less the villain and more a partner for Barry.
There was alot of funny this weak, but to be honest this ended up feeling like the weakest episode of The Flash across the entire run. Even the powerless Barry episodes last season which felt like they dragged on and on weren’t nearly as lackluster as this one. The resolution of the monster this week served nothing to move the Alchemy plot forward, but did add a little to flesh out the Julian Albert character. When Team Flash discovers that the monster is in fact a hologram meant to cause panic, Julian discovers the person who was controlling it… a teenager with a serious chip on his shoulder. When Julian nearly shoots the kid, the Flash and his intervention serve to keep Julian from doing something he would surely regret. Back at homebase, Julian finally opens up to Barry. The two seemingly make up, starting over and surprisingly enough go out for a drink. Caitlin doesn’t get much of a resolution on her end with her mother warning her that the more she uses her powers the less likely they can reverse them. H.R. Wells played out as this episodes main source of comedy, while the Team was uneasy about good old H.R., at least it wasn’t as bad as the whole Wellsobard bit. Instead of being an evil sort of betrayal, H.R. comes clean with the team. He isn’t the genius that Harry or even Wellsobard was, instead he is like the Steve Jobs of STAR Labs on Earth 19 with an unnamed partner as his Woz. He’s the face and the idea man, something that differs greatly from the genius level Wells we are used to.
As I said, this was the weakest episode of The Flash in recent memory… almost as bad as some of the Arrow episodes from season 3.
Speaking of Arrow, how good was last week’s episode? A battle on two fronts that produced the return of longtime team member… and the capture of one of the new recruits. This week, Rene is in the hands of Tobias Church. Team Arrow is desperately looking for Wild Dog. The best part of this whole episode is the return of John Diggle! When we last saw him, Digg was adamant about leaving Team Arrow behind. He hung up the Spartan helmet and reenlisted in the Military, despite all this and John’s need to atone for killing Andy, he finally gets over himself and comes home… though it’s not like he has a choice what with him being now on the run from the US Government.
When the team saves Rene, Tobias Church doesn’t put up much of a fight. It’s at this point that Rene reveals that in being tortured he gave up the identity of the Green Arrow… way to f’n go Wild Dog… it feels like ever since his debut, this guy has been a constant screw-up.
With this, the Team needs a contingency plan so John Diggle calls on an old friend while Team Arrow tackles uncovering the nature of Tobias Church’s overarching masterplan. To make matters more difficult, as Mayor, Oliver is dealing with being roadblocked on his proposal to build affordable housing while facing constant criticism from the media. Honestly, if it wasn’t for Thea being there, I doubt Ollie would have been able to function as well as he has so far.
When everything seems to be going well for Mayor Queen, he secures his affordable housing proposal and even convinces Susan Williams to hold back on any negative press of his administration for at least a month. Armed with the knowledge of Oliver Queen being the Green Arrow, Tobias Church hires a hitman to kill Mayor Queen. In a hail of bullets, Oliver is laid out and the Mayor pronounced dead. This of course is a rouse.
The friend John Diggle called on, Christopher Chance the Human Target makes his official Arrowverse debut. A master of disguise, he literally becomes his target, acting as a diversion for any subsequent hits. The character was heavily modified on FOX when Christopher Chance was first introduced in his own series (short-lived, only lasted two seasons) the Arrowverse Chance is panel-for-panel his comic book counterpart. On a show like Arrow that tends to play fast and loose with some of the source material, it’s nice when they keep characters true to the original.
As for Tobias Church and his plans, the team discovers that after killing the Mayor, Tobias Church would mobilize the heads from the drug trade in various other cities… creating a network around the Star City ports. The entire team, Spartan included, mobilize on Church and his operation. Oliver faces off with Tobias himself, immobilizing him and taking the crime lord into custody.
As for the flashbacks, Ollie is fully integrated into the Bratva to the chagrin of some of its more fervent members. When a disgruntled member of the Bratva attempts to have Oliver killed, Christopher Chance, on the orders of Anatoly, save Oliver before walking away and taking off his mask. Guess that was how they are connecting the flashbacks this week.
Now, with the Tobias Church situation handled… Mayor Queen still faces some troubles. Susan Williams acquires a photo from five years ago, with Oliver Queen in Russia while the rest of the world thought he was still in Lian Yu. As for Tobias Church, Prometheus makes good on his promise… killing the former crime boss as he’s being transported to Iron Heights.
When it comes to the timey wimey element of the week of DC shows, on Legend’s of Tomorrow the team ends up in the middle of the American Civil War… with one key difference, the Confederate’s have zombies.
As ridiculous as the premise sounds, please bare with me because this week’s episode of Legends turned out to be hands down the best and overall most powerful episode this week. When the team tries to save courier running away from a pack of the undead, the courier’s unexpected death creates a big time aberration that the Legends need to clean up. While facing the undead may seem like a pretty big obstacle for the Legends, Jax and Amaya are forced to face something equally abhorrent and far more realistic, the racism and slavery of the Confederate South.
But before we get serious, let’s focus on the whole zombie bit first. A time pirate crash lands in 1863, and when Confederate soldiers happen upon his escape pod, the poor sap turns and ends up infecting a good portion of the Confederate army.
The team ends up split after their first encounter. Jax and Amaya decide to take it upon themselves to be the infiltration team, Jax assumes the identity of the dead courier, a free black man from the North, who was tasked with discovering confederate plans. With Jax and Amaya being the team’s African-American members, they work best as spies since they are virtually invisible… able to blend in with the rest of the slaves. Sara and Nate track down General Ulysses S. Grant to warn them of the oncoming hoard, and back on the Waverider… Ray is trying to craft a cure for the whole zombie thing, especially with Mick getting infected.
While incredibly ridiculous, this episode also turned out to be one of the most powerful episode’s all season. While the episode’s title “Abominations” could be applied to the walking dead, I felt that as horrid as flesh eating corpses are, the true abomination is the climate of racism. Jax and Amaya face the worse of the three separate teams. It’s one thing to read about slavery, but as an African-American person who grew up in modern times, to actually live through this is incredibly jarring. Jax takes on the worst of it, his anxiousness is felt even in Martin Stein. Though Stein had warned Jax that this may not be the best time to leave the ship, he did so anyway, thinking that he could handle it. While infiltrating a plantation, Jax catches the ire of the plantation owner… landing him in chains with other slaves. It’s here that Jax encounters the worst of America’s history. While these people are seen as less than human, Jax finds strength in how despite the circumstances… they refuse to lose their dignity.
Nate and Sara are more direct in their approach, taking on an army of the undead with General Grant’s battalion having their back. On the Waverider, Ray and Martin try to avoid an infected Mick as Ray develops his cure. Discovering that he can administer the cure through the air, using a fire extinguisher as a delivery method. Hands down one of the funniest lines in the entirety of the Arrowverse and what I would call part of Mick Rory’s greatest hits, when a zombified Mick rushes Martin and Mick gets a face full of fire extinguisher cure, the now cured Mick is in top of Martin and says “Professor, what’s going on? Was I just trying to kiss you?”
Legends of Tomorrow was exciting, poignant, and funny this week. When judging the week as a whole, this episode wins it for me this week. While Arrow was very good and Supergirl was a damn near perfect episode… Legends of Tomorrow has been on a roll as of late, and this episode especially, what with the current climate we face in the US today, it seemed fitting.