This Week in the Arrowverse: Jan 30th to Feb 1st (REVIEW)
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
Another week… more Arrowverse! Personally I’m already liking how they condensed it to three nights! Next step will be to push Arrow to 9PM Mondays to make way for more, but I digress. Let’s get the ball rolling here… lots to talk about! Livewire returns for the first time on since Supergirl game to the CW, Gypsy makes her Arrowverse debut on The Flash as an Earth 19 bounty hunter, the Legion of doom take center stage in tis episode of Legends of Tomorrow, and Oliver decides to make good on his promise to Laurel.
First to Supergirl, when we last saw them… Mon-El decided to take up the mantle of a hero, now the guys still doesn’t have a suit or even a code name yet (personally I’m hoping they call him Valor) but he begins training to be Kara’s partner. Meanwhile, Winn and James struggle with how to tell Kara about Guardian and the fact that this duo has been fighting crime behind her back.
Bringing back Livewire is a great throwback to the CBS series. Aside from the main baddies, Livewire stood out as the best villain Supergirl faced when she was on CBS. Broken out of prison, mind you a prison that wasn’t really fit for housing metahumans, Kara goes crazy when she realizes that one of her first metahuman rogues is free to cause all manner of destruction again. Meanwhile, M’gann collapses from an apparent psychic attack, forcing J’onn to move her out of her cell and into a hospital bed.
There’s alot going on here this episode; Livewire escaping, Guardian and his secret, Mon-El making “CW eyes” at Kara, M’gann on the brink of death. So let’s keep up.
Starting from the top, Livewire’s escape was less Prison Break and more Taken. A mad scientist is hell bent on draining Livewire’s powers and developing super soldiers he can sell to the military. While it was nice to see Livewire back again, the whole kidnapping angle fell flat for me. Through this were were able to get a scene with Mon-El willingly leaving a civilian unprotected to save Kara… something Kara doesn’t take too kindly to. Cue the “CW eyes” he keeps making to Kara, while I dig this coupling… honestly way more than Kara X James from season 1… I just hope the focus doesn’t shift completely to the romance, otherwise we’ll get the train wreck that was Arrow season 3 and 4 what with the whole Olicity garbage.
As for Guardian’s secret, James finally agrees with Winn that they should come clean with Kara. While James had every intention to tell her, when he hears that Mon-El is taking up the mantle of a superhero… James gets a bit more tight lipped than he was originally planning to be. Kara doesn’t find out until Mon-El abandons a civilian during a battle with a pair of faux Livewires and Guardian takes the brunt of an electrical blast… knocking him out.
As for Mon-El, he’s been making those “CW eyes” at Kara ever since the midseason finale. It’s obvious that he’s falling for her, going so far to abandon his prime directive to help save Kara from being double teamed by the faux Livewire duo. This doesn’t sit well with Kara, forcing her to go so far as to doubt his intentions to be a hero and his dedication to the cause. As for my take on the romance, I’ll welcome it in digestible portions… but as I said earlier, I hope this doesn’t go the route Olicity did on Arrow. I still like Mon-El and I remember when I really liked the Felicity character.
M’gann and her arc, while not the central focus of the episode, was the highpoint of it. Facing a psychic attack, J’onn is forced with two choices; to let the M’gann die or to mind meld with her to help save her life. Originally hesistant, J’onn watched as his people were systematically annihilated by the White Martians. Though M’gann had said that she grew disgusted by her people, J’onn just can’t forgive her. This conflict is resolved fairly easily when J’onn finally finds the strength in himself to help her. He sees into her mind to relive her memories, J’onn learns the truth about M’gann and her rebellion. She refused to kill a Green Martian child and subsequently killed her own people to try and protect them. J’onn forgives her and M’gann says that she truly wanted to be his friend.
Livewire’s story here is resolved when the three finally get over themselves to work together. First Guardian and Mon-El attempt a rescue, but when the tables are turned on both boys… Kara jumps in to save them. Working together is the first glimpse of a team of heroes working outside the Earth 1 Arrowverse, and something that I hope can continue to thrive in the coming years. Though M’gann is as they say out of the frying pan, she’s dumped immediately into the fire when she reveals that the psychic attack that incapacitated her came from her own people, looks like next week we’ll see the team go up against White Martians.
Zoom zoom to Central City for now, while Barry is still hellbent on figuring out a way to save Iris from her fate, H.R. is thrust into a dire situation thanks to a bounty hunter from his home world of Earth 19. Gypsy makes her Arrowverse debut with a set of powers that vary greatly from her comic book counterpart.
In this adaptation, Gypsy has an ability similar to Cisco’s. She creates vibrational blasts that can knock someone back and can manipulate breaches much in the same way Cisco can. When she catches up with Team Flash, she explains that H.R. Wells is guilty of a crime on their world. In a bit of narrative that seems like a commentary on the current political climate in the US today, Earth 19 was visited by people of another Earth who attempted to invade their planet… this nearly wiped them out but also prompted the world of Earth 19 to enact a strict ban on inter-dimensional travel, no ones comes in and no one leaves. With H.R. writing a new book, his transmissions back to his home Earth tipped them off to his whereabouts.
When Team Flash discovered that H.R. going back home means that he will be executed for his crimes, they step in to challenge Gypsy to a fight… to the death. Though originally Barry was planning to step forward, Cisco gets a bit ahead of himself and agrees to fight Gypsy. Now locked into an agreement, the crew has 24 hours to get Cisco battle ready. Apparently, even though Cisco has trained a bit, he hasn’t really applied himself as a superhero… looks like this is the episode to officially get Francisco Ramon to step out as Vibe!
Meanwhile, Iris has gotten a bit reckless with this new knowledge that she isn’t going to die for at least four months. She hunts down a dangerous story with the help of her brother, living up to the Flashpoint destiny of a brother/sister crime fighting duo. This doesn’t sit well with either Barry or Joe, but really there is no roadmap to the future here… perhaps Iris and her new brazen attitude could be just the thing to tip the scales.
As for Cisco and his oncoming fight with Gypsy, after a failed attempt by Barry and H.R. to ambush her before the bout, Cisco is now locked in but it seemed like the guy was confident in his abilities. Facing off against someone with similar powers to his own made for an interesting fight. Utilizing the the ability to bounce around the multiverse, the fight bounces around to Earth 2 and even right though the Cat Co offices in National City. It was a fun nod to their abilities and the overarching multiverse, I like cute little nods to the rest of the world in these shows… it was a fun fight and one that had me smiling the whole time. Eventually Cisco does beat Gypsy but instead of killing her… cuz ya know, homie don’t play that game… he spares her. This could also be because it seems like they are pushing for a Vibe X Gypsy coupling in future episodes. It was adorable and personally I hope Cisco can FINALLY get the girl, it didn’t work out with Lisa Snart and especially didn’t work out with Hawkgirl… the guy is due for some romance in his life!
It was a fun episode and one that sits at the top of this past week, with Barry realizing the answer was in front of him the whole time… since Wally’s rate of improving his speed is leagues ahead of Barry, next week we get the Flash taking Kid Flash through all of his abilities. Could this be a nod to a future where Wally West eventually takes up the Flash mantle?
As for our favorite time traveling band of heroes, this week’s episode of Legends of Tomorrow was a bit different than the last. Namely, we’ve mostly followed the Legends through their adventures, but with Rip/Phil taken by the Legion of Doom… the Legends are at a loss with how to track him down. This time, the bad guys take center stage with the episode following the Legion of Doom through most of it.
Rip/Phil is tied down with both Merlyn and Darhk taking their own turns at extracting the information they need. Eventually they discover that Rip had a safety deposit box at a Swiss bank. So while Thawne continually runs in and out of the picture, seemingly without a reason, the two former League of Assassin members try to play nice in this dangerous game of supervillain team-up. It’s a common theme in comics that when supervillains team up, much of their downfall comes from fighting amongst eachother. Supervillains aren’t known for their ability to play well with others, a fact that is further proven when both Merlyn and Darhk begin to distrust their speedster partner and even come close to slitting eachother’s throats.
As for the Legends, the team needs to find a way to decipher the amulet. Martin Stein calls on his daughter Lily to help the team, believing that she has the skills to make future tech, Gideon, interface with ancient tech, the amulet. This all gets instantly more complicated when Lily discovers the truth of her conception. Mick accidentally spills the beans and Lily learns that Martin originally never had a child, a fact that devastates the young scientist to her very core. Though it does end up resolving itself, it’s a big leap forward for Martin’s character and hopefully with this we can see more Lily in future episodes.
But back to the bad guys! When Merlyn and Darhk agree to find Rip’s safety deposit box without Thawne’s help, despite a rather comical setback, they eventually force Thawne’s hand to reveal just what it is here is running from… and here is where Legends gets extra awesome in my opinion. Do you remember watching the season finale of The Flash last season? When Zoom is taken by the time wraiths he is practically turned into a zombie, creating the Black Flash. In the comics, Black Flash is the personification of death for speedsters. We saw in last season during the “Runaway Dinosaur” episode of The Flash that the Speedforce was a heaven-like place, sort of like an afterlife for metahumans tied to the Speedforce. Black Flash is the Grim Reaper for speedsters, after Barry pulled Thawne from the timeline to create Flashpoint, a remnant of Thawne is who we see here with the Legion of Doom. It’s believed that the Black Flash is necessary because speedsters are so fast they can literally outrun Death. Thawne has been running all over because if he stays in one place too long, Black Flash will find him and officially erase him from existence.
Though we are used to seeing Eobard Thawne as a cocksure villain of sorts, it was fun to see what it is he fears. When the Legion is face to face with the Black Flash, we see it on Thawne’s face an expression he’s never shown to Barry or even when he was originally erased from existence. A face of pure dread, this unadulterated fear was a welcome change for the character. Proving that even a superpowered speedster has something to fear. When the Legion finally incapacitates the Black Flash, albeit briefly, this seemingly uneasy partnership evolves into a true supervillain team… something that means a rough road ahead for the Legends.
Finally we get to Arrow, picking up shortly after the events of the last episode. Team Arrow is hellbent of finding a worthy candidate to fill Laurel’s mask. Not content with letting Black Siren, the evil Earth 2 version of Laurel, being all that remains of Laurel’s legacy… they scour the world to find a worth Black Canary. Oliver immediately strikes most of the candidates his team brings to his attention, that is until they come across Tina Boland, a metahuman with impressive hand to hand combat skills and a Canary Cry eerily similar to Black Siren’s. In a short flashback scene, we see that Tina was an undercover cop for CCPD, while undercover she infiltrates the criminal organization of one Sean Sonus… a name comic fans will recognize as the Green Arrow/Black Canary villain Discord. While undercover, they discover that she’s a cop and as the Particle Accelerator explodes… they murder her partner and lover in the process. Fast forward three years, and Tina has made a name for herself as a vigilante while also hunting down the men that killed her partner.
Meanwhile, circumstances were looking grim for John Diggle but a silver lining ends up presenting itself when Adrian Chase discovers that the NSA has an ongoing investigation into General Walker. Though the DA initially dismisses hope when he tells Oliver that Walker has some friends in high places and the NSA investigation has been ground to a halt. But of course, we have Felicity Smoak who is all too eager about getting the chance to hack the NSA. With Felicity and Rory handling business at home, Oliver and the remaining recruits head to Hub City to find Tina Boland and discover whether she has what it takes to fill Laurel’s place on the team.
The flashbacks follow what happened after Talia al Ghul saves Oliver from certain death. She presents herself as “Talia” and doesn’t really reveal her name, I imagine that she won’t reveal her name to him in an attempt to keep the continuity of season 3 in tact… but anyway… Talia saves Oliver and tasks him with killing one of Kovar’s top bread winners, a man who deals mostly in trafficking young girls. In one of the most impressive action sequences in a very long time, Oliver goes full on John Wick taking down a veritable army of armed thugs before trapping Kovar’s man in his limo, after literally pistol whipping the man to death, Talia finally tells Oliver why she saved him. While it was assumed that the Green Arrow was born on Lian Yu… the flashbacks this season show him getting his full season 1 thru 3 suit from Talia… along with the five years long opening catchphrase, telling Oliver that he needs to find purpose for the monster inside him… that his monster “has to be someone else… something else” (roll credits). Okay, I admit that was a bit cheesy.
Jumping back to present time, Felicity is like a kid in a digital candy store getting to hack the NSA with Oliver and company (sans Rory) tackling find the potential Black Canary recruit. I’ve already covered the flashback sequences so I’ll focus here on Felicity’s hack and the Hub City stuff going forward.
Tina Boland has been tracking down the men who killed her partner and lover, after Oliver unsuccessfully attempts to recruit her to the team, Oliver calls on a friend to help. Giving CCPD Captain Singh a call, Oliver asks about Tina Boland… a rather funny sequence where Oliver has Barry zip into Singh’s office to put a post-it note on his computer verifying that he is indeed the Green Arrow happens next… Singh convinced this is the bonafide Emerald Archer gives Ollie the skinny on Tina Boland, going so far as to requesting him for any information if he can find her, saying that “he’s always had a soft spot” for Boland.
After a second attempt to bring Boland on board fails, ending with her Canary Crying one of the men working with Sonus to death, Boland faces Sean Sonus but with rather unsuspecting results. The Dark Matter wave gave Boland her Canary Cry… but it also made Sean Sonus a metahuman, the latter having the ability to control sonic waves… a similar power to Boland’s but executed a bit differently. Before Sonus can shoot an incapacitate Tina in the head, Oliver saves the day. The team realizes that they need to take down Sonus, after Tobias Church died it left a power vacuum in Hub City… something that Sonus used to his advantage to push a dangerous narcotic called “Slide.” Though initially Boland brushes Team Arrow off, eventually she agrees to let Oliver and Rene join when in a surprising twist… Oliver reveals his identity to her, a risk but a risk that paid off.
The fight culminates on what I call “the CW’s favorite rooftop” and after using the sonic dampener to strip Sonus of his powers… Oliver and company easily mop up the rest of his men, leaving Sonus in Tina’s crosshairs. Unfortunately, Oliver couldn’t talk her out of killing him… I say unfortunately becasue Sonus is another case of a throwaway villain. The Arrowverse has thrown away a good number of their villains and with this being the first team up of Green Arrow and a new Black Canary, it’s a shame that one of their villains… Discord… just fades with many of the others they just kill off.
As for Felicity and her hack-a-thon, after unsuccessful attempts to locate the NSA file, she decides to scour the dark web for any data she can use to exonerate John Diggle. The past comes back full circle when another hacker prowling the dark web asks if she is “Ghost Fox Goddess” a tragically embarrassing hacker handle she used in her “Dark Felicity” days.
Deciding to meet in real life, this hacker turns out to be like a Felicity clone… down to the talking too fast and slightly neurotic personality. She turns over a thumb drive with the data she needs but not before commenting on how Felicity had seemingly “sold out” after going corporate. She said that she is part of a hacktivist collective called Helix and urged the “OG GFG” to come back to the world that made her famous. The name Helix does have comic connections, but this could be just a name they are using. In the comics, Helix was a supervillain organization comprised of six children who were experimented on by Dr. Benjamin “Mister Bones” Love. If this Helix organization will be a more grounded group of hackers collected by someone going by the handle “Mister Bones,” I can see this taking Felicity down a dark path… personally, I’d like to see Felicity break bad a bit, forcing Oliver and his team to take her and Helix down.
As the episode closes, Tina Boland visits Oliver at the Mayor’s office. The theme of second chances is prominent the entire episode. This could be her second chance since after killing Sonus she didn’t feel the relief she hoped for. Revenge is a fickle mistress and one that Tina Boland can now say she has experience with. Personally though, this last scene is what sold me on this new Black Canary… when she tells Oliver her real name. See, Tina Boland was an alias she used undercover… her real name is Dinah Drake… the same name as the original Black Canary.
I was sold this week, after a rocky week last week, I can honestly say I enjoyed every episode this week on the Arrowverse. For the first time ever this season, I can say that my top show this week was Arrow! The bad ass gun fight from the flashbacks to throwing some serious comic cred into the hunt for a new Black Canary. I’m ready for what the future holds. I still miss Katie Cassidy on the show, I wish they gave her Black Canary the same level of love as they have given this new one in just one short episode… but we can’t keep looking back, Black Siren will still be a fixture which give us the chance to see her back on the show in one way, shape, or form.