Already at the End?
Arrowverse 2021 Season: Week 24
This week 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. was a surprising one because we reached the end of Batwoman and her second season with absolutely no fanfare. The way the series was building, it felt like we'd have a few more episodes (especially since we were only on episode 18 of the run) but, nope, while everything else (that wasn't already announced to be ending) continues on, Batwoman Season 2 came to an end this week.
Obviously we're going to cover that, and one other episode, in this week's report:
Batwoman, Season 2, Episode 18: Power
As noted above, the conclusion of Batwoman's second season came much more quickly than I expected. It honestly feels like it came unexpectedly for the writers and producers as well since this episode feels like a mad scramble to tie up all the storylines of the season in one episode instead of three or four. A lot happens, not all of it has time to breathe, and in general it feels pretty rushed. It's not a bad episode, per se, but it certainly does feel like it needed to be two or three episodes at least for it to properly get the time to tell its stories right.
A lot of this comes down to the fact that last episode felt like something of a build up to a major arc. Kate revealed that she wasn't really Kate yet (but still working as Cercei), had stolen all the Bat-gear from the cave, and was aligned with Black mask to her evil "father" could work to control the city. I'd expect the arc to follow would be an episode of build up as Roman Sionis hatched his plan on the city and the city fell to chaos in the first episode of the new arc. Then Batwoman and her team would fight to stop Roman's plans and bring his part of the story to an end. Then, finally, there would be an episode that focused on Kate/Cercei as the team worked to restore her memories and save her (and, in the process, save their city from her evil plan to dump hazardous, toxic, evil-villain waste on the city). That's three solidly paced episodes with a build up of tension across them.
Instead just about all of that (aside from Cercei taking over her father's position so she can be the villain of the last episode) happens all in about 35ish minutes (with the last 5 minutes devoted to the team cheering themselves on for saving the city once more). And, then you have to factor in that the episode also crams in a reveal of Luke Fox now as Batwing, and we're looking at a severely overstuffed episode.
As I said, it wasn't bad -- it certainly had energy, and the episode never slowed down -- but considering how much the season wanted to do with Roman, a character that only really finally became our big bad in the last couple of episodes, wrapping him his arc so quickly undermines the strength of the character. Apparently he was supposed to be our big bad but he never got the time, or focus, this season to be anything more than an also-ran.
I think the issues I'm feeling all stem from the fact that the season effectively had four villains: Roman, Enigma, Safyiah, and eventually Cercei. Yes, they were all rotating around each other -- Roman was aligned with Safyiah, has Cercei/Kate as his goon, and used Enigma to brainwash Kate -- but that was a lot of divided focus without the main villain's plan ever coming to the fore. Even last month I was still wondering where the plot line was going, and now suddenly it's already over.
The season lacked focus, and that's what held it back. The search for Kate was the season arc, so Kate needed to be the focus, but Cercei as a character only came into her own in the last few weeks. We needed to have a three-part arc to the season -- searching for Kate, the rise of Roman, and then Cercei as the real power behind the throne -- and that would have kept the momentum going throughout the season. The last few episodes were good, and this episode is fine enough, but it's too crammed in, too quick, too neat and tidy.
So, again, I feel like the writers were expecting 20 or 22 episodes and then, late in the season they learned, from the CW, they were only getting 18. That's the only explanation I have for why this episode is so crammed full. This episode, like the whole of the season, was fine, and watchable, but not as strong as it could have been. It's not a great finale, in large part because you don't think it'll be a finale until suddenly Roman is defeated and the team is cheering. We need more, and sadly the only way we're getting that is with a new arc in the next (and supposedly) final season of the show.
The Flash, Season 7, Episode 15: Enemy at the Gates
Over in Central City, we had the fourth "one-off villain" episode, although this one supposedly is the first part of the larger arc (the last three episodes actually being part of an "Interlude" for the series, three episodes that aren't part of any major arc and, instead, just let the season breath). I actually rather liked this episode, and the last few that came before, simply because it didn't really feel like they were tied into any greater story. The series finally calmed down, got a chance to be happy and fun, and it benefited from this. Now, though, we're going into an arc and it has me worried.
In this episode, Godspeed (the future, white-colored speedster) is back, and he's brought friends -- five other Godspeeds. Together they chase the Flash all around the city and nearly kill him, twice. The team try to find ways to defeat the Godspeeds but nothing works. And then, suddenly, six other Godspeeds show up, and all the Godspeeds start fighting, all before all twelve of them disappear. What could it mean? Is there a future war of the speedsters coming up? Well, yes, presumably that's what we're building to, and the focus will all be on Godspeed.
I have to admit I'm not sure what this all spells for the show. Some of the best seasons of the series had Barry and Team Flash) battle against evil speedsters. Reverse Flash is a great villain (although he's been overused in later seasons), and Zoom was decent. That said, Savatar was a weak villain, and he pretty well spelled the down-slide of the series from there. Godspeed, meanwhile, has never felt like a real character, just some jokey speedster that shows up, gets defeated, and then goes back to the future to lick his wounds and plot a new attempt at killing the Flash.
Adding in 11 more Godspeeds doesn't help matters. Instead of seeming scary and cool, it just looked goofy. I was watching the episode and then looked over at my wife, commenting that, "this feels like an episode of Power Rangers." It had 12 dudes in head-to-toe rubber costumes, punching at each other, and she and I agreed. "They look like Putties," the nameless goons on that old show. It was a bad look, and a bad energy, for this episode.
That's not to say the episode was bad, as it did have some decent character beats and a bit of humor. It also, weirdly, had a lot of phone calls where Barry dialed up Iris, we never saw or heard from Iris, and then Barry hung up (all of those calls were about the couple potentially being pregnant, but Iris was nowhere to be seen). Something was very much off this whole time, and while I didn't hate the episode, and appreciated its focus and attempts at fun, it just didn't quite work.
The Flash is an uneven show, even at the best of times now, but hopefully this arc can continue it's slight upward trend from the last few weeks. The Godspeeds, though, need to get cooler if they're going to carry an arc.
Elsewhere in the 'Verse
- Legends of Tomorrow took a trip back to the Wild West for a fun and breezy episode where the team took on a Tremors style ground-monster in a light-hearted romp. It didn't really have much plot in relation to the big arc (whatever this will be this season), but it was a fun episode where we just got to hang out with these great characters. Well done.
- Superman & Lois, meanwhile, was off for the week, and will be off next week as well. And the Legends will be joining it next week, meaning we'll only have The Flash to keep us company.