Arrowverse Recap: Underrated Heroes Get Time to Shine

The CW’s robust lineup of DC Comics-based shows—oft dubbed the Arrowverse—can be a lot to keep up with. Join us weekly as Andrew Tejada keeps you current on all that goes on in their corner of TV Land!

The Legends have to stop an alien from invading a sitcom, The Flash and his kids continue the Godspeed war, and Superman and Lois try to keep hope alive as their enemies get closer to victory on…

…This Week in the Arrowverse!

[Spoilers Ahead]
Legends of Tomorrow S06E09: “This is Gus”

Out-of-Context Quote of the Week is from Imran: “It’s My life onscreen. I know it’s not for everyone, but for those that get it, it’s life-changing.”

Shortly after the Legends forget Behrad’s birthday, their new alien detection system tells them that a spaceship is going to land in Vancouver. Fortunately for the team, that’s exactly where Behrad’s favorite show “Bud Stuy” was filmed. This seemingly wacky setup offered a surprising amount of depth: Over the course of the episode, we find out that “Bud Stuy” is a stoner sitcom that stars two Muslim actors named Imran. Although the show was canceled after only two seasons in-universe, Behrad championed the show. He insisted that seeing the duo onscreen made him feel seen and gave him license to be himself. I love that the show took time to explore how important diverse shows can be to traditionally underrepresented groups. They further develop this idea after Spooner accidentally sends an adorable alien hurtling toward the set.

The cute alien (nicknamed Gus Gus) is added to the show in an attempt to boost ratings. But it ends up pulling the attention from the diverse leads and changing the nature of the sitcom. And since the show was so influential to Behrad’s development, he goes from a fun-loving Legend to an uptight businessman. Seeing the Legends rush to save him makes it clear how important Behrad is to the team dynamic. And while his plotlines haven’t always connected with what his teammates were going through, his journey has a direct effect on his sister Zari. The original “Hacker” version of Zari has been trapped in the wind totem for a while, and since she lost Behrad early on in her timeline, she greatly appreciates every moment she has with him. The new Zari decides to stay in the totem so the hacker can live in the real world for a while. It’s exciting to see the original Zari get justice and finally get back into the spotlight.

While Behrad and Zari were making huge strides, Mick Rory got an unexpected visit from his daughter Lita. When she announces she’s pregnant, the hothead doesn’t take the news well. At one point, Sara is worried that Mick will burn Lita’s boyfriend to a crisp. But he surprisingly bonds with the boy while admitting that he misses his alien fling, Kayla. While it was nice to see Mick open up, his side-plot felt largely disconnected from the rest of the episode—and it also ended with the bizarre twist that he’s pregnant with Kayla’s alien baby (or possibly babies). Legends has definitely dived into weird territory like this before, but it’ll be interesting to see how Dominic Purcell’s Rory pregnancy will factor into the rest of the season. Since Purcell is due to leave the show at the end of this season, it’s likely the baby will be a major part of Rory’s decision to leave the ship.

Final Thoughts: While Rory’s story this week was mainly set up for later plot points, the show did right by Tarazi siblings. Seeing a version of Zari get agency and Behrad champion diverse representation in media made for a feel-good episode with strong messages.

 

The Flash S07E17: “Heart of the Matter – Part 1”

Out-of-Context Quote of the Week is from Cisco (after saving the lives of three speedsters with his Vibe gauntlets): “I leave Central City for five seconds.”

The Flash kicked off its milestone 150th episode by flashing forward to the future and giving us a scene where Nora and Bart West-Allen fight Godspeed. While Nora takes after the tactical aspects of her dad, Bart’s cockier and tends to follow his impulses. The actors have great chemistry that immediately make them feel like believable siblings, and Bart’s suit looks absolutely awesome in live-action next to his sister Nora’s costume. While the two get along fairly well, Barry is not a fan of his future son’s impulsive nature. The father and son consistently butt heads about who calls the shots and what to do about the Godspeed War. It felt a little tiring to get another plotline where Barry clashes with his kids so soon after the extended “Force children” arc. Fortunately, Bart brings an interesting wrinkle to the conflict.

We discover that Godspeed kills Bart’s “uncle” Jay Garrick in the future. Actor Jordan Fisher really makes us feel the young speedster’s pain and desperation to avenge his mentor’s death with an effective performance. It also helps that original live-action Flash actor John Wesley Shipp returned to reprise his role as Jay Garrick. Although he spends a good chunk of the episode at the mercy of a bunch of Godspeed power rangers, he still lit up the screen every time he appeared. Hopefully, we’ll get to see him and guest star Cisco bring an end to this extended speedster war: While the mystery surrounding the Godspeed clones was fun at first, the show has drawn it on so long that I just want answers. Since Barry found a way to get in touch with the original Godspeed this week, we should get a concrete end to this storyline soon.

While the main speedster plot raced along, the other two plotlines moved at a slower pace. Joe and Kramer were given just a few minutes to continue their team-up story. Although Kramer recently found out she might be a clone, metahuman, or both, we don’t get much time to see her truly process this revelation. And after they spend an entire episode getting to Central City, they’re immediately caught up in the Godspeed War. Their plotline didn’t fare much better than Allegra’s; after she spent multiple episodes trying to help her cousin Ultraviolet leave behind a life of violence, Ultraviolet was unceremoniously killed last week. It takes nearly the entire episode before Allegra tells one person that she suffered a major loss. I’m still unsure why they spent so much time building the dynamic between the cousins just to tear it down so quickly. The fact that only one of her friends noticed something was off felt like Allegra was barely connected to the team. When the speedster war ends, they should start focusing more on her character’s journey.

Final Thoughts: Flash sped through potentially interesting plotlines in its quest to continue the long-running speedster war. But the presence of legacy characters like Cisco and Jay alongside new additions like Bart kept an uneven episode entertaining.

 

Superman & Lois S01E12: “Through the Valley of Death”

Out-of-Context Quote of the Week is from John Henry Irons: “If hope is what you need, you’ve got the wrong guy.”

In the last episode, Superman agreed to let a Kryptonian mind take over his body to keep his family safe. This week we found out that Clark had actually agreed to let General Zod into his head: Superman spends the majority of the episode trying to keep the Kryptonian villain from taking complete control. While Clark struggles to keep the General out, his allies debate on whether or not they should take down the blue boy scout permanently. Lois believes there’s still hope, but her father Sam and John Henry Irons are ready to use deadly weapons against Superman. While it’s not surprising to see Irons vote for a violent solution, I didn’t expect Sam to side with Irons so quickly. Mr. Lane has spent the season learning how to trust Superman more. Seeing him this eager to take out Superman seems like a big step back in his ongoing character development.

While Superman’s allies are still debating what to do, the Lang family is under heavy fire from the townspeople. Both Kyle and Lana Lang unintentionally participated in Morgan Edge’s brainwashing scheme. Although they definitely made mistakes, it’s hard not to feel bad for the family as they endure verbal attacks and vandalism. Their struggle to stay positive in the wake of all the hatred directed towards them is genuinely compelling. While their storyline felt natural to the overall plot, John Diggle’s arc didn’t fit nearly as well. I’ve loved seeing him pop up on the other Arrowverse shows, but he was given so little to do in this particular episode that I wondered if he could have been better utilized in a different plotline. He doesn’t get much time to make a splash here before the show returns to the main conflict.

After Jordan uses his super-hearing to find out where his brainwashed dad is being held, Jonathan and Lois separately try to convince Irons to spare Superman’s life. Both conversations are well-written and highly emotional. While Jonathan reminds Irons that Clark is a father, Lois tearfully reveals to Irons that she’s married to Superman. Irons has both of these conversations in mind when he suits up to fight Clark in another beautiful fight sequence. After Superman becomes vulnerable to attack, Irons decides to encourage him to break through his brainwashing. The appeal works and the duo immediately work together to capture Morgan Edge/Tal-Rho. Right before they catch him, the villain seems to enact another stage of his plan: Judging by Tal-Rho’s grinning face in jail, the next part of the scheme is going to be a doozy.

Final Thoughts: While this Superman & Lois episode didn’t make the best use of Diggle or Sam Lane, the rest of the character work was spot on. Henry Irons and The Lang family both shine in an emotional and high-stakes episode.

Andrew Tejada is an NYC native so there’s a 90 percent chance this was written on the subway. When he’s not consuming movies/tv, he’s pitching his Static Shock screenplay to anyone who’ll listen. Andrew can also be found talking about DC Animated movies weekly wherever you listen to things @ Yet Another DC Animated Podcast.

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