This Week in the Arrowverse: Jan 24th to 25th (REVIEW)
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
WE. ARE. BACK! My favorite super week of super shows returned this week on the CW! Supergirl deals with boredom after busting Lillian Luthor, Barry has been troubled by the vision of the future, the Legends and the Legion both chase down the man who looks very much like Rip, and after the insane midseason reveal of Laurel in the Arrowcave… could this really be her (ofc it’s not… thanks to previews that give away too much… but anyway).
Jumping first to Supergirl; since dismantling CADMUS and putting Lillian Luthor behind bars, Kara has been busting garden variety criminals. While of course it is her duty to protect National City, this leaves our favorite female Kryptonian a bit bored. Mon-El takes a job at the local alien bar, still trying to find what it is that he wants to do on Earth.
Kara’s boredom is lifted when a hysterical mother comes to Cat Co hoping for some help finding her missing daughter (played by Harley Quinn Smith). While Snapper immediately dismisses this as simply another case of a runaway kid, Kara decides to look deeper into it. Before I continue, I do feel the need to comment on the mother’s intention to go to Cat co. While it was mentioned that the Police wrote it off as just a runaway kid, I don’t get how the thought process of this woman went from “going to the cops” to “maybe this magazine will help me.” Also, I may be slightly confused with what they actually do at Cat co. I get that it’s a media conglomerate, but how far does the reach go?
While investigating, Mon-El tags along… speaking of Mon-El, while he does act more affectionate toward Kara since the last episode, there hasn’t been more development on his feelings for Kara. The whole lovers angle is yet to be explored; I’m sure this will be something touched on in future stories, but they left us with some unanswered questions since the kiss from the last episode. Okay, back to my recap, so Mon-El tags along on Kara’s investigation. The case of missing people turns extra terrestrial when Kara and Mon-El discover that those missing were all part of a medical study and transported to a distant planet to be sold as slaves. Roulette returns as the human link to these alien slavers and the people they take. What bugs me about using Roulette as one of the antagonists is that it doesn’t make sense to me, I get it that Kara shut down her underground fight club operation, but though Roulette is a bad person… she doesn’t strike me as the type to sell out her own species for the sake of a buck.
Making matters worse, when Kara and Mon-El arrive on the alien planet, they discover a red sun. For the uninitiated, Kryptonians (and Daxamites) gain their power from Earth’s yellow sun. Red suns, like Rao the sun Krypton orbited, doesn’t grant them powers… essentially making them as fragile as humans on Earth. Without her powers, Kara and Mon-El have to rely on their wits to save the prisoners and escape the planet. This leads to a scene where Mon-El is inspired by Kara, despite not having her superpowers she stands up to the slavers… getting attacked in the process. The people she came to save rise up and help her, disarming the captors and giving them a chance to escape. Back on Earth, Alex goes nuts when Kara vanishes. This affects her relationship with Maggie when Alex coldly pushes her away. As the episode comes to an end though, the DEO does find their way to the alien planet… saving Kara, Mon-El, and all the people who were taken.
Maggie does come back to Alex, she deduces that Kara is Supergirl when she realized how frantic Alex got when Supergirl went missing. Mon-El decides to be the hero Kara always wanted him to be, but the future holds something grim for the super-duo. The mysterious aliens who appeared at the end of the last episode return to the slaver’s planet, asking about Mon-El and learning that he’s on Earth.
Jumping to Central City, things seem all good on the speedster front but the vision of the future still haunts Barry. Barry and Iris are now officially living together and though Iris does suspect something may be up with Barry, he doesn’t outright say it. Wally has been training under Barry since Christmas and the Kid Flash is shaping up to be quite the strong addition to their team of superheroes.
As for the rest of the cast, H.R. is set on opening the STAR Labs museum much to the chagrin of a still surly Cisco (we’ll get him back someday I hope) and Caitlin continues to worry about her powers taking hold of her, turning her to the villain she so desperately doesn’t want to be.
Despite their worries, things seem to be okay for Team Flash… that is until Jared Morillo aka Plunder makes his move. When Barry went to the future, he sees a news headline of the Flash apprehending Jared Morillo before he helplessly saw Savitar murder the woman he loves. When facing off with Plunder, Barry hesitates ever so briefly. This hesitation ends up giving Plunder the chance to attack him before Wally swoops in to save him. This doesn’t sit well with Barry and the elder speedster unfairly chastises Wally. Everyone else on the team notices this change in Barry and they defend Wally. Barry tries to mask it as Wally disobeying his order to “observe” in the field, the rest of the team doesn’t buy it… Iris the most.
Plunder troubles aside, the team also has to open the STAR Labs Museum that same night. Tensions run high for everyone, Barry snapped at Wally and Cisco just can’t seem to say anything nice about H.R. and his little project. Speaking of H.R. a bit, I’ve grown to really like his character immensely. He’s so different from Wellsobard and Harry it’s like we get a completely different character in him. When Cisco puts him down, I liken that to watching my best friend kick a puppy. While I adore Cisco and he is still one of my favorite characters in the entire Arrowverse… he just kicked a puppy! It’s mean and H.R. outright tells him so. Their opening night fails and Barry decides to show Iris the time vault and the newspaper article that used to say was written by Iris West-Allen.
Learning about her grim future, she breaks down in front of Barry and he promises that he will protect her. Finally we get some fast action from the speedster, lately he’s been walking down Oliver Queen levels of angst in his own upbeat way. They tell the team (minus Joe) about the future and Barry explains to Wally that the reason he was so short with him was because of this vision of the future. Cisco vibes Barry back to the future to once again watch these events unfold, but something is different this time… in telling the team he changed the future ever so slightly with H.R. now perched above a building aiming a rifle at Savitar. With this they realize that the clues are in the news headlines, starting with apprehending Morillo and bookending with Killer Frost still at large. Realizing they need to alter these headines, the first step is changing the circumstances around Morillo.
Of course they can’t let a dangerous thief armed with future tech loose on the city, Barry tasks Wally with being the one to take down Morillo. When Wally apprehends him, this should change the headline to Kid Flash… not the Flash… apprehending Plunder. Getting to work on the rest of the headlines, they start with bringing Julian on board with the hopes that he being there can keep Caitlin from going full supervillain and Cisco finally stops acting like such a douchenozzle and helps H.R. make the STAR Labs Museum a success. Ending with a mysterious traveller exiting a breach all Terminator style, we are going to have to wait till next week to see what that is all about.
But that can wait for now, when we last saw out time traveling buddies they gave up the amulet to the Legion of Doom and an American director who looks very much like Rip Hunter is filming a movie about… well, Rip Hunter and the Legends.
When a seemingly inconsequential time aberration turns up in 1967 Hollywood, the Legends mobilize after realizing that the amulet they gave up is the key to finding the Spear of Destiny, the Holy Lance that was used to stab Jesus as he died on the cross. It’s said that the Spear of Destiny has the ability to rewrite reality itself, while seemingly like a time aberration… rewriting history can’t be undone. Mick and Martin stay behind when Mick confides in him about his recent Leonard Snart hallucinations.
As for Rip, we know that in order to protect his friends he sent them to various time periods as the Waverider handled auto repairs, but what we learn is that he rewrote his entire personality by physically interacting with the Waverider’s time drive. After he grabs a seemingly innocuous piece of wood from a locked box, he rewrites his entire self into Phil… a film student in Hollywood. The piece of wood was actually a piece of the Spear of Destiny, which leads both the Legends and the Legion right to his movie studio. When both factions find Rip at the same time, the Legends try to save Rip amidst a hail of blaster fire from Darhk and Merlyn. Rip/Phil’s propmaster George is injured in the tussle and both groups disperse when the local Police arrive.
Now in police custody, Rip/Phil is a sitting duck. So course the Legends need to save their captain before Darhk and Merlyn discover his whereabouts. This time, the Legends get there first and with Martin pretending to be a psychiatrist, Sara and Mick join him to retrieve their former Captain. The Legion does manage to catch up, but thanks to the Waverider and Ray’s impeccable timing, they save Rip/Phil and discover that the film that he was producing came from repressed memories from his time as Rip Hunter. They discover that Rip/Phil had the Spear of Destiny all along and that he was using it as a prop in his film, a prop he left with his propmaster George… now here is where the episode gets really interesting…
On the Waverider, both Ray and Nate begin forgetting everything that makes them who they are. Ray seemingly forgets his scientist background and Nate forgets that he was an archeologist. It’s here that we discover that Rip/Phil’s propmaster George was George Lucas, and after his near brush with death he gives up film school all together. This would already be a damn shame to the geek community but more so to the Legends. See, Ray Palmer is inspired to become an inventor after watching Star Wars and Nate Haywood follows the path of an archeologist after watching Raiders of the Lost Ark. This time aberration doesn’t only rob us of Luke Skywalker and Indiana Jones but also robs Ray and Nate of their potential… and eventually their super powers. While you can make a case for this also meaning the prequel trilogy and Crystal Skull also never get made… but still, a world without Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark is not a world I want to live in.
Flash to the end of the episode, after saving George from the Legion of Doom and in effect convincing him to be a director again, both Atom and Steel are back. They retrieve both the Spear of Destiny and the amulet despite a considerable opposition from a fully formed Legion of Doom. Though the win was great, the one loss is being unable to save Rip/Phil when he is taken by the Legion.
Swinging to Star City, last time we saw Oliver and co they faced a betrayal from one of their own and the death of Detective Malone. All of which they blame on Prometheus (who is yet to be unmasked). But on the bright side, Laurel is alive and well… surprising both Oliver and Felicity at the Arrowcave. Laurel explains that her return is thanks to Sara and the Legends discovering a way to save her without creating a time aberration, a bit of a thin argument but okay. This heartwarming reunion is cut short when Felicity tells Ollie that John has been taken back into custody by the military, despite running from it before… John decides that he will fight this. After living as a fugitive, he doesn’t want to be a fugitive anymore… but he’s going to need all the help he can get.
They throw a party for the newly resurrected Laurel, but the festivities are literally shattered when Felicty tries to run a DNA sample on Laurel’s glass. Though the DNA test does come up positive, she realizes that this Laurel isn’t the laurel they lost… and just like that we discover that Prometheus somehow broke into STAR Labs and helped Black Siren (Earth Two Laurel Lance) escape from the pipeline. With the cat out of the bag, remember initially only Felicty knew about Laurel’s E2 evil twin, not only does Team Arrow need to deal with John wrongfully detained and with Prometheus and his crusade to crush Oliver Queen… but now a meta-human wearing the face of one of their loved ones is free in Star City.
I feel I need to say this… because what in the actual f**k happened here? I was blown away by the midseason finale reveal, but the way the showrunners are using this is outright wrong. This entire episode felt like a symbolic win for the Ollicity fanbase, as if the Tumblr crowd rallied behind it. There was so much Ollicity vibe coming from this episode, I sure as hell hope they don’t pull that crap on me again.
As for John Diggle, Oliver asks a favor from DA Adrian Chase to represent John. Despite going up against a decorated and corrupt Army General, he does somehow get Diggle to stay in his custody. Realizing that there is no way John will get a fair trial, and he will likely be killed before even going into the court system, he whispers for John to punch him… essentially layer on the charges of assaulting a public official and turning over jurisdiction of his case to the city. It was an ingenious move and honestly I’m beginning to really like the Adrian Chase character. As I’ve said in earlier reviews, I really think he is Vigilante so it’ll be a shame when and if the DA is eventually unmasked.
The flashbacks made for one of the best parts of the episode, after his attempt on Kovar’s life the last we were in Mother Russia, Oliver is taken by a high ranking Bratva who is in league with Kovar. Basically it seems like noone is his friend here. Getting his ass beat it looks like Oliver could have met his end here.
Back in the present, Black Siren has already escaped them once and after getting her back into custody she escapes again. The thing is that really bugs me is that Black Siren’s second escape attempt was orchestrated by Felicty. She laces Black Siren’s water with nano trackers and hopes to use that to track down Prometheus. I like Felicity, but this push and pull just feels like the producers going back and forth to please Team Laurel and Team Felicity but failing to really do justice to either… and where the heck has Susan Wells been all episode? Oliver honestly hopes to find some light in E2 Laurel, though trusting supervillains is never the best course of action, we learn that E2 Laurel comes from a very similar background to E1. She loved Oliver from E2 but when he died on the Queen’s Gambit she moved to Central City to get a fresh start… here is where she got her powers and here is where she fell to the darkness.
Facing off against both Black Siren and Prometheus, Team Arrow eventually takes down Black Siren but leaving the season’s big bad to escape. As the episode comes to a close we get two cliffhangers for next week. In the present, Oliver realizes he still hasn’t kept his promise to find a new Black Canary… a mysterious woman at a bar takes down two guys with a Canary Cry like power. In the past, we get a scene featuring Talia al Ghul saving Oliver from his near death. Overall, this was a letdown of an episode and one that failed to capitalize on the major twist at the midseason finale.
While I am glad my favorite super week is back again, we are hitting that second half stride where the shows can either continue to excel or start sucking pretty hard. Hoenstly, Arrow has been fantastic all season so I won’t hold this episode against them. Legends of Tomorrow is fast becoming one of my favorite shows with this second season reaching almost season 1 Flash levels of hype. Next week we continue with all their adventures, but damn does it feel good to be back.