CW Ends DC Seasons On Bogus Cliffhangers

It was very courteous of ABC to air the latest Agents of SHIELD finale a week before these. You know the drill by now: Full SPOILERS for Supergirl, The Flash, & (Green) Arrow from here on out! (Click here for Legends of Tomorrow finale review.)

Remember how excited I was about the CW Supergirl being an improvement over the CBS version when the season premiered? Those were the good old days, before Mon-El ruined everything. Well the finale almost reached those heights because it brought back Cat Grant! The show got better as soon as Calista Flockhart returned, regardless of how cringey half of her dialogue was. Cat instantly knowing Guardian is Jimmy was priceless. Sadly her CatCo pink panther got destroyed again.

It would’ve been perfect if President Olivia Marsdin was born in the US to alien refugee parents. Instead they had to make the progressive woman POTUS an unconstitutional cheater. She also decided to fly Air Force One directly at the Daxamite mothership after mouthing off to their Queen, which went as poorly as you’d expect. The only purpose this served was to deliver the dearly missed Cat Grant back to National City & tell Alex the DEO has a secret proton cannon on its roof.

This alien invasion may be a bit more generic than last year’s, but it was executed less haphazardly. The nice thing about a Daxamite invasion is that they can be killed with regular bullets! Alex’s slide & jump gunfight into Supergirl’s arms is her coolest moment. Suddenly the DEO has a proton cannon on its roof? I could’ve done without Superman being whammied by Silver Kryptonite into thinking Supergirl was General Zod. (We had Diet Zod last season; he was a total Non-entity.)

With Martian Manhunter incapacitated, we still don’t get the answer to where Lucy Lane, the DEO Co-Director, is. We also don’t hear from her father or Diet Lex Max Lord, both of whom seem like they’d be Cadmus cronies. We don’t even see Jeremiah “I’m also a discount Cyborg-Superman” Danvers or Colonel Jim “not Guardian” Harper, who are definitely members. Cadmus claiming credit as the world’s saviors is going to be interesting next season. At least Miss Martian returned.

Queen Rhea bleeds Green Kryptonite just because she was on the closest planet when it exploded, which is not how any of that works especially since none of the other Daxamites do. It just makes their Aarin’nn Haelar Dakkam Ur less one-sided. At least she gave Lena some glamorous gowns before disintegrating. Earth-38 is now Earth Everyone Has Lead Poisoning.

The most important part of the finale is that Mon-El finally left Earth forever (until he joins the Legion of Super-Heroes in the thirtieth century)! He didn’t exit on a heroic sacrifice aside from giving Supergirl the okay to poison his species away. Mon-El didn’t even claim his responsibility to lead the Daxamite diaspora into an abolitionist age. While it’s good that he didn’t upstage Supergirl in her own show, it also doesn’t validate his flat “redemption” arc. It just reinforced that he was eating up valuable screentime that could’ve gone to better characters. (Season two had plenty of flaws, but he was the most prominent. Many could be tied to Ali Adler no longer producing.) We still don’t know why Daxam’s Prince has a birth name that implies he’s part of the Kryptonian House of El. (His real name in the comics is Lar Gand, just like the late King Space Hercules. He was given the name Mon-El by Superman or M’onel by Martian Manhunter, depending on which DC reboot you’re on.)

Poochie

I was worried that the CW’s Valor would be about him.

A flashback reveals Kryptonian Bene Gesserits sent something to Earth in yet another pod. ENOUGH WITH THE POD CLIFFHANGERS ALREADY!

 

A major complaint about the The Flash’s third season is how dour it’s become, but I don’t see it. It feels as consistent as ever.  Spider-Man The Flash has always been an upbeat show with dark overarching threats & a hero that feels responsible for everything. I never thought it’d be fridging Iris permanently because it’s a show that finds solutions to improbable problems weekly. More focus on Iris’s reaction to her “imminent” death would’ve helped sell it more.

Wally losing the powers he already has just because Barry gets retrograde amnesia makes no sense, but it was a fun filler episode. Then Barry asks ARGUS Director Lyla to borrow some Dominator tech to power the Speed Force Bazooka. When she says she doesn’t trust him with it, he actually asks her if it’s because he erased her daughter! The resulting Captain Cold & King Shark heist is so much fun! But how did Flash find Snart in Siberia 1892 when the Legends of Tomorrow never went there in season one? I will let it slide since I want as much Shark ‘n Snart on TV as possible! (Greenlight that series, CW!)

There was some concern over whitewashing Savitar when leaked pictures of The Rival were mistaken for him, but Greg Berlanti explained they hadn’t cast Savitar yet. (At least it’s presumed the mysterious comics Savitar is Southeast Asian, unless he’s supposed to represent cultural appropriation?) He lied, because an evil time remnant of Barry Allen is Savitar with Tobin Bell providing his disguise voice. This feels more egregious than the White Canary’s name being foisted upon Sara Lance by her sister since Savitar was implied to be a unique character at the outset. The unmasking itself was underwhelming because it’s too similar the previous Big Bads. So the mysterious Philosopher’s Stone is made of calcified Speed Force? I’d argue that’s not how the Speed Force works, but then I recalled that the Speed Force actually does do anything the writers need it to do.

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Aside from bringing her to Earth-2, the STAR Labs team is shockingly bad at keeping Iris safe. If ARGUS has power dampeners (then how’d King Shark instantly regenerate his paw?), why not keep Iris there? Why does the Flash send Vibe, who can teleport, away to confront Killer Frost right when he’s trying to keep Iris from being shanked? He knows from the future that Killer Frost destroys Vibe’s hands, so it’s like he’s not even trying to subvert predestination anymore.

Leave it to HR, the writers’ avatar, to think of a lateral solution. HR takes Iris’s place using his transmogrifier & sacrifices himself. Good job making use of that seemingly innocuous plant & payoff doodad! Much like The Doctor in the Teselecta, this keeps the appearance of a predestined death in place without having to cheat with resurrection. This may be the one moment in the entire DCCWverse where time travel is logically consistent.

I really liked how they tried to defeat Savitar with compassion. Of course he betrayed them, but Vibe was clever enough o sabotage his stolen Speed Force Bazooka. The F-Lash vibro-pushed Savitar out of his Megatron suit & exploded it from the inside! Then Iris shot him in the back just before he was erased from existence anyway just to give her something to do. (Jesse Quick didn’t participate in the conclusion because she’s preoccupied with making sure Earth-3 is crime free. Plus she lost the coin toss to Gypsy.) Combining empathy, technobabble, & over the top action is my favorite solution!

Does Killer Frost killing Zoom Black Flash count since he was already a zombie? I was hoping she’d unambiguously murder some folks, but Julian miraculously beat the odds to not be fridged! I’m glad she rejected the cure because she makes better unsupported ice slides than Iceman & dresses with more panache too. Caitlin’s prolonged journey to becoming Killer Frost was pretty dodgy, but the end result is worthwhile. I’d prefer she stay a supervillainess or at least an anti-heroine, but if she does return as Ice (a completely different superheroine in the comics) then they really need Natalie Morales as her Fire!

I’d care more about Barry’s mandated Speed Force vacation if him returning to reclaim his job from Wally at the start of next season wasn’t a foregone conclusion. Regardless, it was the best of this week’s DC finales.

(Green) Arrow is my favorite TV show about an unqualified millionaire with undisclosed Russian ties who becomes a politician while gaslighting the media! When people say the show is finally as good as it was during its season two halcyon, I anti-concur. The episodes may be less sloggy, but the quality is still subpar. Compared to the other DC series, the threats this season just aren’t engaging.  Fighting ninja assassins is Green Arrow’s bread & butter, so Prometheus (who was clearly a late stage retcon to the original five year plan) does nothing to impress me. With this much experience, Ollie needs to be pitted against foes with completely different skills & powers to make it a challenge. While the season three & four flashbacks meandered, the meaty Russian flashbacks have been rushed. The retcon that Ollie was wearing a wig & fake beard when he was rescued off Lian Yu may be the dumbest thing this show has ever done.

I liked the birthday party. Not only did it have a Lord Mesa cake, the characters weren’t glum for once! This show needs more palate cleansers like this for contrast. The big highlight of last year was Thea becoming Speedy, so I’m not pleased they’ve done everything possible to sideline her. Wild Dog is kind of like how Arsenal should’ve been: spunky not wooden. His interactions with Hoss Quentin have been delightful even if another gun-toting vigilante is unnecessary.

Prometheus is still doing every evil mastermind trope in the book but with such little personalization. His winning streak just makes Green Arrow look like an nincompoop! Green Arrow still honorably complies with his every demand instead of trying to out-maneuver him. Oliver doesn’t even have the sense to knock him out to prevent him from triggering the ludicrous amount of bombs he festooned the island with via dead man’ switch! He didn’t even have the foresight to break Prometheus’s arms & legs to keep him from committing suicide! Why must Green Arrow become inept whenever he gives up murder for Lent? This was only an excellent season if you wanted to watch the protagonist lose constantly to the same guy!

After much confusion, Manu Bennett returned as Deathstroke! Unfortunately Deathstroke is less fun when he’s a remorseful ally, but it was great seeing him in a colorful costume slicing up useless ninjas. (If that’s the level of pupils Talia pumps out, it doesn’t validate Prometheus being indomitable.) Captain Boomerang returns too, but he already sold out to Prometheus. Since both were prisoners in the same room, why didn’t Deathstroke warn Green Arrow? If Green Arrow didn’t even trust him with a weapon, why bother recruiting him at all? Sadly he only gets to throw a single boomerang before he & Merlyn get blown up by a landmine … off-screen.

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“Na na na na na na na na … GREEN ARROW!”

Remember last season when Black Canary III Artemis seemed like a cool character? Well not only is her sudden devotion to Prometheus still unjustified, she instantly gets thrown in a cage to explode like a chump. Talia al Ghul’s (apparently a bunch of mute ninjas cost less than her in the penultimate episode) & Black Siren’s motives are only marginally better. At least they get some action scenes, particularly the dueling Canary Cries cancelling out. I appreciate that the writers wanted to have a more personal endgame this year, but it feels hollow since the supporting adversaries are just glorified henchmen without personal stakes. Unlike Savitar, Prometheus isn’t even slightly sympathetic so there’s no emotional nuance to the Big Bad either.

I wanted to like this season finale. Finally getting all the heroes & villains in one spot to kick the tar out of each other would’ve been a very cathartic payoff, but it barely delivered on that in favor of melodramatic conversations about everyone’s bad dads. Unlike earlier finales that found something for everyone to do, the heroic hostages barely did anything. Instead of destroying Starling City again, all of Lian Yu goes boom along with the entire supporting cast! DON’T WASTE MY TIME WITH THIS CHEAP STUNT! It rings completely false as a cliffhanger since practically all of them will return next season with minimal injuries. Merlyn’s plan half-succeeding at the end of season one felt earned & tragic. This feels like a parody of edgy TV. YOU HAVE FAILED THIS SEASON FINALE!

Next week: We don’t know yet!

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