Losing My Powers
Arrowverse 2021 Season: Week 15
Two of our four current shows in 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. aren't even running this week. Both The Flash and Batwoman are off so we don't have a whole lot to cover. Or, put another way, at least our choices for what to cover this time around are pretty easy to determine: Supergirl and Black Lightning. Honestly, I doubt I would have covered either of these episodes this week if they weren't the only thing on, but here we are...
Yeah, let's get into it:
Supergirl, Season 6, Episode 5: Prom Night!
Of the two episodes this week, Supergirl's "Prom Night!" (which, sadly, doesn't actually feature the Prom just yet) is the better of the two. This one is tight, it's focused, and it manages to setup a clear through line while also adding tension and drama. It's not the best episode of Supergirl by a long shot, but it was zippy and fun. It helps that the episode dodges out on a lot of the main storylines going on in the show to focus on a tale told in the past... more or less.
To track Kara in the present, where she's trapped in the Phantom Zone, they need some of her DNA. Despite everyone I've talked to saying, "just go grab her hairbrush," Team Supergirl decides the best way to do this is to go back in time to a time when Kara over-extended her powers and was vulnerable. Brainy and Dreamer hop onto Brainy's Legion ship (which hails from the year 3000 AD) and use it to go back to when Kara and Alex were still teenagers. They know Kara will fly up and smash a meteor, destroying it but using up too much of her own power, making her weak (and a little bloody in the process). Grab that DNA and, boom, instant tracking.
Only issue is that their ship somehow gets damaged during the trip (no explanation for how) and the first people on the scene when the ship lands are teenage Kara and Alex. Brainy and Dreamer have to hide who they really are (so as not to off-set the timeline in the future), so they spin a tale of being aliens from a doomed planet that have a day to get their ship fixed and back up in the air before they lose their convoy and can't rejoin the others. That leads the whole Teen Supergirl Squad to run around town, stealing supplies, all while some other alien has flown to the planet to capture himself a Kryptonian, and Kara is the perfect target for his plans.
This episode gets a lot of credit from me in some regards. The change of place and time period give the show a fresh air, as does bringing back the young versions of Kara (Izabela Vidovic) and Alex (Olivia Nikkanen), last seen two seasons prior for a previous blast from the past episode. The show in the present has gotten bogged down under all its characters, and overbearing storytelling, and, frankly, stupid storylines, so it's nice to take a break from all that, strip the show back some, and just enjoy a fun and perky episode of the show without all the cruft.
That said, this show does suffer from a fair bit of baggage all the same. There's so much going on in this episode, from the main plot of trying to fix the ship, along side needing to find a way to collect Kara's DNA (seriously, maybe just steal of tooth brush), the alien pirate there to collect Kara (and anyone else he can grab) for his space menagerie, and then a young Cat Grant trolling around Midvale for a scoop. There's a lot going on and not all of it has time to properly breath in the episode.
Yes, the episode is actually a two-parter so we'll get even more time for this long, sordid tale to spin out, but I feel like some of that is because this show didn't know how to trim stuff back and tell a tighter story. I like what's going on here, but I think I would have liked it more if it were just a little more streamlined. Don't get me wrong, this is still a tighter and more focused episode than some of what we've recently seen from this series, but it just feels overloaded. A little too much all at once.
Still, it is fun to hang out in the past in Midvale. The young actresses really do have a handle on these characters and the transition from the present to the past is pretty damn seamless. This show really can do a lot right when its puts its mind to it, this episode maybe just needed a little more massaging to be truly great.
Black Lightning, Season 4, Episode 9: The Book of Ruin: Chapter Four: Lyding
Meanwhile, this episode of Black Lightning is just awful. Seriously, this is another tedious chore of an episode that plods around, not really doing much of anything right up until the last ten minutes when it finally finds some energy and puts all its cards on the table. But to get to that point you have to slog through 35 minutes of not much of anything (not to mention the previous eight episodes this season leading up to all of it). It's just so awful, a real waste of an episode.
For the first two-plus acts of the episode, we spend time watching the Pierce family spin around as Tobias and his flunkies slowly tighten their grip (and I do mean slowly). Jefferson is, of course, under investigation by some hired FBI stooge for a trumped up charge of embezzlement, but the episode doesn't really move him forward at all. Instead somehow it spins out a tale that Lynn was somehow using that stolen money to fund her research -- research, bear in mind, she was hired to conduct, quite legally, by Tobias. You would think they'd have paperwork on that to prove, "yo, this didn't happen," but no, instead Lynn ends up getting arrested because no one on the show has (a) heard of documenting anything or (b) calling a lawyer.
Actually, has anyone on this show called a lawyer yet? Jefferson has known about all this for a week but he doesn't seem to have anyone defending him. A lawyer is step one when you're under investigation for something, even if its just a public defender, but he doesn't seem to have one at all. Lynn doesn't either, so when she gets arrested at the end of the episode as part of the embezzling sting (for some trumped up charge of "denying civil liberties" which... what?) you have to wonder where the hell logic went because it's not here at all.
Not that anyone on this show is acting logically. Jennifer ignores all warnings, and common sense, and goes and puts herself into a stupid situation, nearly getting nicked by the cops. Jennifer has always been headstrong on the show but this is beyond that; this is just stupid. But then Anissa isn't above being dumb either, finding a co-worker dead at his apartment and, after she touched the corpse, the door, the floor, and a bunch of other stuff she runs off without reporting the crime. That's not suspicious at all, girl.
The best part of the episode is at the end when Tobias manages to depower all the metas in the city leaving hero on the show defenseless. This is a neat idea, a solid twist, but it comes out of nowhere. Somehow he's able to do this because Lynn took the blood from a meta that dampens powers, turned that into a serum, Tobias stole it, hooked those vials up to a machine that conducts free, wireless energy that could power the city and, somehow, serum plus generator creates a meta dampening field. Something seems very off with the science there.
I think I understand what the show is trying to do, to take Jefferson all the way to rock bottom so that he can fight his way back out (to rise, as the show likes to put it, like Black Jesus) and save the day, defeating Tobias once and for all. But to get this the show is twisting itself into knots to justify all its actions. None of the characters are acting sensibly, or even like themselves, and things just happen for the sake of the end goal. The show has never been that great at its storytelling, but this episode is perhaps one of the dumbest, and one of the worst, the series has yet produced.
Elsewhere in the 'Verse
- We should, in theory, have all our shows back next week... but we'll see. Sometimes the CW changes its schedule on the fly so we'll play it by ear.