Leading to the (Shortened) Finale
Arrowverse 2019/2020 Season: Week 24
It's been a crazy season for the ArrowverseWhen it was announced that the CW was creating a show based on the Green Arrow, people laughed. The CW? Really? Was it going to be teen-oriented like everything else on the network and be called "Arrow High"? And yet that one show, Arrow has spawned three spin-offs, various related shows and given DC a successful shared universe, the Arrowverse on TV and streaming., although most of that craziness has been due to the Coronavirus and not anything in the actual shows themselves. We had a long gap with the shows not updating and production on previously filmed episodes taking longer than originally scheduled. And now we're already getting to the finales as shows are ending two to three episodes early. Both Supergirl and The Flash had their seasons reduced to 19 episodes while Batwoman will eke out one extra episode on top of that, and then that'll basically be it for the season.
We'll check in with Supergirl, which returns from hiatus this week, and Legends of Tomorrow this week, and then next week we already get to start in on finales for the year.
Supergirl, Season 5, Episode 17: Deus Lex Machina
After a long break due to the virus shutdown, Supergirl returns with an episode focused entirely on Lex Luthor. In construction this is similar to last season's Lex-focused episode, "The House of L", where we explored Lex's actions behind the scenes culminating in his big take over. Here, again, we follow Lex over the course of the season as he puts his plans in motion and grows in power, his machinations guiding the heroes every step of the way.
I really enjoy this version of Lex, played by Jon Cryer. He's delightfully evil, with just the right hint of charisma. It's a Lex you hate but also enjoy just because of how creepy and slimy he can be, and it's clear that Cryer enjoys playing this character so much. Reportedly, when "Crisis on Infinite Earths" was in production, Cryer contacted the producers about how he could participate in the mini-series, despite his character already being dead, and that then led to talks about bringing him back and the heavy again for the next full season. The man loves his character and it shows.
Unfortunately it doesn't really feel like the show truly knows what to do with Lex now that they have him back. It created a great setup for him, putting him in charge of the D.E.O. and having him working, publicly, as an ally of Supergirl (despite really working against her, of course, behind the scenes). Everything he does is in service of himself and his long-standing goal of wiped the Kryptonians off the planet. We understand this, and it's consistent with the character, sure, but it's also not new. Nothing he's done, really, is any different than stuff he did last season; the set dressings might have changed but this is the same Lex we've had all along.
That's a major problem with this episode, in fact. It follows the same format as "The House of L" to a tee, right down to the use of "My Way" once again as Lex's song. We get to see him pulling strings, guiding the heroes, getting everything to line up just the way Lex wants. And yet it's all been done before. Nothing Lex is doing here is new or original or different. Hell, him being in charge of the D.E.O. isn't all that different from him being the leader of the U.S. (with a puppet president in the Oval Office) -- again, the set dressing is different but his actions are exactly the same.
What's worse is that neither the show, nor it's characters, have learned from any of their dealings with Lex. They went through all of this last season but here we are, once again, with Kara and Lena failing to talk to each other, keeping secrets and jumping to conclusions. Everything about the plotting of this season relies on characters making assumptions and failing to talk when a simple conversation could solve many problems. Lex is able to do what he does because everything is acting so dumb and we already know they can do better because, last season, they took their heads out of their asses eventually and defeated the evil bald man.
I like Supergirl and, in theory, I really enjoy having Lex around to act as a heavy. He's the best villain the show has ever had, by a large margin. Now they just have to figure out something new for the guy to do.
Legends of Tomorrow, Season 5, Episode 11: Ship Broken
The last few episodes of Legends of Tomorrow have focused on assembling the Loom of Fate. Last week the crew grabbed the final piece so this week Charlie puts them all together so she can try and weave fate and revive Behrad (who was killed two weeks ago by Atropos). Unfortunately the weaving fails because, apparently, Charlie can't control all the power of the Loom on her own -- she needs her sisters to help her out. The energy discharge from the failed attempt also seems to knock the ship for a loop, depowering the Waverider and taking all its time travel systems offline. Yes, that means we're in for a bottle episode as the crew is basically all stuck on the ship for the entire episode.
Everyone assumes all the problems are Astra's fault, that she somehow has been pulling strings so she can try and steal the Loom for herself. Astra wasn't behind in (everything is actually caused by a hellhound Gary brought on the ship because Gary is a complete idiot), but Astra does begin plotting and planning about how she can use the Loom for her own devices. She works to convince Zari to assist her since Zari wants to get her brother, Behrad, back at all costs. Meanwhile, Sara, who was knocked out in the battle with Atropos a couple of weeks ago, awakens but is blind. She does, however, now have the power of future sight, a benefit she uses to assist in the current problems on the ship. Oh, and Mick is working on bonding with his daughter and, well, they just kind of hang around on the ship just because.
Of all the shows we've been watching, week to week, it feels like Legends not only has the best plan for where it's going but also the energy to do it in a lively and creative manner. I have, of course, extolled the praises of this show every time I get the chance because, frankly, this is the best (funniest, smartest, most enjoyable) show the Arrowverse has to offer. I can't comment enough about how amazing it is that this show has gotten so good considering how dire it was in its first season. That will always be impressive.
This week very much feels like setup for the last couple of episodes in the season. Charlie needs two other people to help her use the Loom of Fate -- three Fates used it originally, thus three people are needed now. Astra, as a leader of Hell (and a girl who was trained to potentially be the next Fate) is an obvious choice to take on the role. Sara, with her new future sight, also seems like a solid choice for this position. I'm sure the show will waffle back and forth about it for a bit, but it's clear where everything is headed at this point, I'm sure.
The question I have, then, is what this could mean for Sara and her future on the show. If she officially becomes a Fate will she stick around on the Waverider or will Sara (and her actress) depart the series? Could we have a version of this show next season where Mick Rory is really the only original character left in the crew? How weird would that be? And what kind of time/magic/Hell crimes would we be investigating in that version of Legends?
This is what I really enjoy about the show: it's been willing to reinvent itself year to year, always coming up with some new hook for the story to hang off of. While the other shows in the 'verse always go back to a normal status quo year to year, very rarely shaking things up until some new villain arrives on the scene (usually to go through the same old motions), Legends has the freedom and desire to change things up at every turn and be a different dhow from one season to the next. Just the fact that we could potentially lose the women who is, effectively, the lead of the series speaks volumes about the fact that we just never know what's going to happen on this show. It's great.
Needless to say I'm seriously looking forward to the last episodes of this season. I could probably give up on The Flash and Black Lightning, maybe just binge Supergirl and Batwoman once their seasons were over, but Legends would pull me back week after week.
Elsewhere in the 'Verse
- The Flash has to deal with the fact that Mirror Master is out in the world and so the show... largely ignores its big villain and plods around on a side story about a villain no one cares about, Pied Piper, for the whole length of the episode. And this was the penultimate episode of the shortened season. Wow, guys, way to really lower expectations. Ugh.
- And then Batwoman also really didn't accomplish much. Kate and her crew need to get Lucius's journal so they spend the whole episode plotting a way to steal it back from Tommy Elliot (who stole it when he had Lucius killed), only to then lose it anyway, putting them right back where they were at the start of this episode. I like this show but episodes like this aren't doing it any favors.
- Next week, The Flash is the first of our shows to reach the end of this shortened season, so we'll be covering it's impromptu season finale. And then, soon after, other shows will drop off and pretty quickly we're going to be at the end of the season. Dang.
- Finally, in other news, DC's Swamp Thing, their one season noble blunder that aired on the DC Universe streaming service and was canceled before it even got going, has been resurrected months later. In a deal between Warner Bros. and CBS, the show will come back for a second season on the CW. No word yet on if the first season will be rerun on the CW in preparation for the second season, and no official air date has been set for the show. It's not really an Arrowverse show as "Crisis" clearly marked Swamp Thing as taking place on a different Earth, but I wouldn't be surprised if we eventually get a crossover between shows at some point now that it's at a new home.