Our long international nightmare is finally over! As the prophecy foretold by last week’s entry brought to you by the letter T, DC shows (well, not Legends of Tomorrow) have returned! Dare ye brave assorted
Stephanie Browns SPOILERS below?
“How The Riddler Got His Name” focused on Edward Nygma torn betwixt a desperate cry for help & self-actualization. (According to Gotham, he did not steal his persona from a fortune teller machine.) This episode gave me major Hannibal vibes, not that I mind. Driven mad with guilt over his revenge scheme against his best friend being too successful, Nygma vicariously punished himself by murdering a bunch of people that couldn’t measure up to the Penguin. With Bruce Wayne not quite Batman yet (give it until the season finale), Nygma settles for Jim “The Worst” Gordon as hiss defining arch-nemesis. Fortunately for everyone, Gordon was indisposed at a boring subplot this week. When Nygma sends a riddle via singing fruit telegram to the GCPD (he hasn’t developed envelopes festooned with question marks yet), it’s intercepted by none other than Lucius Fox! Matching wits against his predecessor finally gives Fox something substantial to do! As a fellow overqualified genius, Fox is sympathetic to Nygma’s predicament & politely advises him to get psychiatric care to cope with his grief (hopefully at someplace more helpful than Arkham).
Playing up the mystery of the Riddler’s identity as he masterminds the underworld seems like it would’ve been the obvious route to go for, but the main cast already know Nygma’s psychotic. Rather than giving everyone amnesia, which would’ve been a perfectly Gotham move, the show commits to the Riddler not caring to keep his secret identity secret. (We’ll see Babs & Tabs run the city’s underbelly next week.) Since the Riddler’s crimes are usually motivated by a desperate need for public recognition (the Riddler prefigured the social media age by several decades), this bold choice lines up with Batman canon. Fox pointed out this was a counter-intuitive strategy, but I’m excited to see how the bold as brass Riddler lives up to the challenge of being a legitimutant supervillain. What’re the odds DST makes another non-Minimate Nygma in his swanky Riddler threads? (In the meantime, there’s an unlicensed 12″ Jerome.)
So as not to deprive us of Penguin, the dearly departed Mayor Oswald Cobblepot appeared to the distraught Nygma in hallucinations & even wore a tophat for the first time during a very rushed musical number. Much like being stabbed in the stomach & falling off a cliff can’t keep Oliver Queen or Octavia Blake dead for a full episode, his death lasted 3/4 of an episode. They probably should’ve saved that obvious reveal for next time in favor of a full song.
It feels like I’ve despised every episode of Supergirl since “Luthors,” but “Ace Reporter” broke that streak by focusing on Lena Luthor again. I was concerned about them giving Lena an ex-boyriend (did the show already max out on lesbians?) in obscure supervillain Biomax, but Katie McGrath’s chemistry with Rahul Kohli is on par with hers with Melissa Benoist. (Does McGrath just have chemistry with everybody?) I was pleasantly surprised that he was a pawn of his venture capitalist partner with the glowing earbud of evil. So Lena punched her out because she’s a Luthor! Or maybe the real villain was Earth-38’s FDA for not bothering to verify Spheerical Industries’ (the company with balls!) specious human testing trials, although I resent the Seth Rogen-lookalike whistleblower’s assertion that Biomax was definitely harmful rather than potentially so. Supergirl freeze-breathing a nanite swarm was cool! They pretended CatCo minus Cat Grant is still relevant, though I would’ve preferred seeing Alex’s Thursday morning knife practice. Even Mon-El wasn’t obnoxious this episode! The worst part was how Lyra’s personality wildly shifts from one episode to the next. Too bad next week looks like a ripoff of The Cell minus all the stuff I love about The Cell. Even the undiluted The Cell shouldn’t be a challenge for the Maid of Might since she’s pals with Martian Manhunter!
When you think to yourself “well that future isn’t so depressingly dystopian” is when you know you’ve been exposed to dangerous levels of sci-fi. I really liked how bright & shiny The F-Lash’s future costume will be! It’s right up there alongside Tom Cavagnagh’s directing outfit! Now that’s what to wear to a post-book reading menage a trois! (He’s also making a documentary about robbing banks with Grant Gustin.) Unfortunately Mirror Master & The Top still don’t have costumes, but at least they didn’t have to wear an embarrassing sadness wig like “The Once & Future Flash.” (Oliver’s wig has been getting around like The Tick’s moustache!) I really hope Barry solves the problem caused by time travel by traveling back in time again to reboot the timeline into one without Savitar. Barry’s actually got a good record of fixing things via intuitive chronal interference (saving Central City from Weather Wizard’s tidal wave, preventing Vandal Savage from vaporizing the casts of two series, redeeming Pied Piper into a superhero who doesn’t hang out in STAR Labs, & even Flashpoint seemed pretty chill while Wally was taking care of business) despite what hilarious “DAMN IT, BARRY!” memes would lead you to believe. At this point it’d be harder for him to screw up worse than the Leg-Ends of Tomorrow.
(Green) Arrow was by far the weakest of the week, but IT HAD NO FLASHBACKS?! Even “Invasion!” had some flashback footage spliced into the simulation that substituted. Out of all the present day stories that could’ve benefited from not being truncated to make room for flashbacks, they picked this one? “Dangerous Liaisons” was just a lot of forced conflict over who was less morally compromised. I still don’t get why Felicity is ride or die for Helix. (After Hannibal & The Magic Ians, I almost didn’t recognize Kacey Rohl as someone that wasn’t murdered by a ravenous serial killer.) Unless they’re queen of a robo-bee swarm, I’m fed up with nefarious hackers! Coding an algorithm to track anybody by their heartbeat, especially without a sample of the specific heartbeat searched for, on the fly is complete poppycock! Why is Dig suddenly aghast at ARGUS’s black site prisons when it’s been imprisoning supervillains without due process for years? Since she knew security had been breached by Helix & their goal, why didn’t Lyla ask Team Arrow to guard the correct installation? Oliver quitting being the Green Arrow would be more resonant if he wasn’t already back to being a vigilante but in generic black with a gun. Must we wait until the season finale for him to return to his signature costume & weapon again? I wish the Russian mob had been allowed to assassinate Prometheus to spare us this wheel-spinning. Way to botch a week of otherwise solid DC entertainment, (Green) Arrow!
No wait, that dishonor goes to NBC for unceremoniously deciding not to air the last few episodes of Powerless! Also Young Justice season three & a live action (Teen) Titans show will only be available through a brand new paid subscription service for DC media. (Because the CBS All Access model with only The Good Fight while Star Trek: Discovery is still in pre-production is such a great value!) They’d better not be yanking episodes off the networks’ sites to pad it out! Why must we always pay extra for theoretically nice things?