Arrowverse, DC, TV

RTF Review: Tales From the DC MulTVerse #15

rtf-review-tales-from-the-dc-multverse-15

Supergirl was on a mini hiatus.  Therefore, this week Tales From the DC MulTVerse, will consist of 3 shows.  Let’s start with a landmark episode:

ARROW:

“As a camera crew follows Oliver and team around to talk about their past as vigilantes and what the Green Arrow means to Star City, Oliver must also deal with William’s return from boarding school as well as a new threat to the city.” (The CW)

This was a milestone episode of Arrow, episode #150 to be exact.  Not many shows reach this number, so it’s something to be applauded.  To celebrate the occasion part of this episode features a documentary crew following Oliver and Team Arrow around.  Current episode footage is interspersed with footage from the documentary, in which we see current and past characters/cast members discussing Green Arrow and vigilantism in Star City.  We see interviews with Thea, who has left Star City.  We then see the deceased Quintin Lance sharing his thoughts on the matter.  Even Sara Lance takes a break from time traveling , to say a few words.  It was nice to see my favourite OG Black Canary from this universe and my favourite female character, from the Arrowverse.  The best part of the documentary footage is an interview with John Diggle, from 2012, categorically denying that Oliver Queen is the Green Arrow.  Cut to a more recent interview clip, where Diggle is haphazardly walking back his 2012 comments.   The other hilarious interview was Barry Allen, pretending to be shocked, surprised and previously unaware, that Oliver was the Green Arrow.  When I was younger, when a show reached a milestone, the episode would just be the lead actor, speaking behind the scenes and showing a series of “greatest hits” clips.  We’ve come a long way in that sense.  I think the documentary is a great conceit and having Kelsey Grammer narrate, gives it an air of legitimacy.

This episode is more than a faux documentary though.  Team Arrow has to reunite, after Emiko Queen, Oliver’s sister the other unsanctioned Green Arrow, is taken hostage by an anti vigilante criminal known as Chimera.  Oliver noticeable rattled, finally tells the team that Emiko is his sister.  Diggle is a little surprised it took Oliver this long to divulge this information to him.  When you think of it though, they haven’t shared much screen time together this season, so this makes sense.  Thinking about this, made me remember what a great tandem Oliver and Diggle are and how much chemistry both actors have.  I miss this duo.  This is a problem when the likes of Team Arrow, Team Supergirl and Team Flash, become as overpopulated and bloated as they have.  Team Arrow track down Chimera and as they search the location, notice he has a penchant for collecting vigilante’s masks. Once they encounter Chimera, we get a fantastic fight scene, that is from the point of view of the documentary filmmakers, as they are chronicling the event.  Arrow continually ups the ante with the fight scenes.  This may be my second favourite fight scene of the season, after the prison break fight gauntlet scene, teaming up with Bronze Tiger.  They rescue Emiko, but Chimera temporarily gets away.  During their second encounter, after Chimera attacks a Town Hall meeting on Vigilantism.  Team Arrow prevails but not before Dinah Drake reveals herself as the Black Canary, when she uses her canary cry to save the Mayor.

Chimera’s identity is revealed to be just a vigilante fanboy, who did this because he loves vigilantes and wanted to collect their masks.  And I thought some superhero fans on message boards and Twitter were nuts.  While I was intrigued by this decision, I was hoping Chimera would be more than an insane fanboy.  At the end of the episode, the mayor begrudgingly deputizes the rest of Team Arrow, so they can do their thing, and protect and save Star City. This episode was great and after 7 seasons and 150 episodes, it’s amazing that episodes can still reach this level of quality.  After this episode, I’m so excited for the back half of the season and I hope all the readers of Tales From the DC MulTVerse are too!

Score: A+

BLACK LIGHTNING:

“Jennifer grieves in the aftermath of Khalil’s death, and Odell saves Lynn from an abduction. At Garfield, Jennifer and Jeff both confront Lowry, while Anissa is surprised by a sudden turn of events with Grace.” (The CW)

This episode starts by immediately putting Lynn in danger. She and Anissa are attacked by a convoy of armed assailants but are rescued by Lynn’s authoritative, condescending boss Agent Odell! Rattled and full of questions, Lynn’s incident gives the viewers some exposition.  Odell tells Lynn she was attacked by Markovian agents, who have their own meta human program and are in Freeland, trying to steal meta-humans, or anyone with knowledge and know how, to speed up and further along their progress.  Odell makes plans to move the remaining Pod-Meta’s. Tobias catches wind off this, and puts plans in motion to use the crazy doctor he has on staff at the ASA, to help him obtain the meta’s in stasis.  I love the mention of Markovian’s, as it expands the DC universe even further.  Also does this mean that at some point down the line, this opens the door for Brion Markov, Geo Force to make his presence known? Here’s hoping! Markovian’s appearing on Black Lightning, has some synergy with Young Justice Season 3Black Lightning played a key role in that DC Universe streaming show, and the main portion of the plot, involved meta-human experimentation and trafficking in Markovia.  I’m not sure that this synergy was planned but it’s cool none the less.

Jennifer is trying to deal with grief over Khalil’s death. At school, she sees her fellow students have organized a makeshift  memorial in honor of Khalil. As she would walk by, the sight of it would comfort her.  That is until she saw janitorial staff disposing of it, at the behest of the Principal Lowry.  Jennifer is furious and sits in the middle of the hallway, blocking janitors from removing it.  Students congregate on the scene and when Principal Lowry notices the commotion, he arrives on the scene, he demands that the memorial be removed and that commemorating a criminal who attacked the school is not acceptable.  Jennifer decries him a racist and gives a powerful speech, relating to the Black Lives Matter movement. The speech was recorded by all the students.  Jennifer is suspended for her passionate defiance of her Principal!  I’m glad Black Lightning got back to this kind of storytelling.  The series in particular, is at its best when it is reflecting our world and making social and political statements.  I feel like the show somewhat got away from that this season, to it’s detriment.  At Khalil’s funeral, Jennifer is literally holding back her burning desire for vengeance.  I don’t think it will be long before she joins her father and sister, in the quest to bring Tobias Whale to justice. This episode may have been weak in the action department, but it’s strengths everywhere else, add another positive entry for Tales From the DC MulTVerse.

Score: A-

THE FLASH:

“Barry and Ralph must go undercover as criminals in an illegal black market to purchase a device that could help them stop Cicada. Once inside, Barry and Ralph find their morality tested as they slip deeper into the criminal world, eventually having to choose between committing a crime, or losing the means to defeat one of their greatest foes. Meanwhile, Iris investigates a lead on Cicada’s whereabouts and ends up in a dangerous situation.” (The CW)

This episode of The Flash is split up into 3 segments.  The first involves Barry and Ralph Dibny going undercover, working for a gang run by a villain known as Goldface.  That name sounds like a rejected idea for the wrestler, who eventually became known as Golddust!  Our heroes are undercover to gain a device that will neutralize Cicada, long enough to force the meta-human cure on him.  However, because they are new to the organization, Goldface wants them to prove themselves.  The test is for them to steal a 3D printer for organs that is scheduled to leave Ivo Labs, before it arrives at hospital.  Of course, Barry and Ralph can’t go through with it.  Stealing something that could help save lives from patients who need it, is a line  they won’t cross.  Did anyone expect anything different to happen, when two heroes go undercover?  We’ve also seen Barry as a”criminal” before.  In “Elseworlds” with Oliver, and in a previous season, when he stole a weapon from Star Labs.  The fact that Barry and Ralph, don’t get the device they need, makes this plot segment, a waste of time.

Continuing the trend of being a waste of time, Nora tries to play matchmaker for Sherloque Wells, when she realizes he knows she has an accomplice and that her intentions for traveling to present day aren’t what they seem.  So she ties to set him up with the Earth 1 version, of the woman  he married 7 times on different Earths.  She contacts his other wives to get insight on Sherloque.  Instead, all she does is cause problems for him, as now they all know what Earth he’s on and threaten to send Breacher after him, to collect their alimony.  They tried to recreate the Council of Wells gag from past seasons but fail miserably, because they don’t explore the different Earths these women are from.  They don’t even tell us which Earth each woman hails from.  Aside from clothing, there’s very little differentiation.  The only interesting aspect of this portion of the story, is the fact that we realize that the Earth 1 version of Sherloque’s wife is a meta.  This achene’s Nora’s endgame, of Sherloque redoubling his efforts to stop Cicada, instead of investigating her.

The only enjoyable part of this episode, was Iris investigating Cicada.  She actually finds his house, gets inside and does some snooping.  Eventually, Cicada comes home to find her.  She concocts a report that she’s writing a story about lead in the water supply.  When Cicada realizes this is all a rouse, he corners Iris and goes in for the kill, but Iris stabs him with a pen, where his dark matter wound is, giving her enough time to get away.  I loved this because, seeing Iris be an intrepid, investigative and fearless reporter, is what I’ve always advocated for.  Also, the fact that she is able to fight off Cicada and get away, before even calling Barry, was a welcome sight!  I saw flashes (pun intended), of the comic book Iris West and it was wonderful.  For my money, this was both a weak episode of The Flash as a whole, but had the best Iris West moments and scenes, in quite some time.

Score: C+

That’s it for this installment of Tales From the DC MulTVerse.  While you wait for next week, check out the podcast version, Tales From the DC Multiverse: The Podcast. Where we cover shows not focused on here, as well as film and comic books!

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Adam Basciano

I'm a long time fan of superheroes. I love DC and really like Marvel. Will be contributing comic book review columns, to Revenge of The Fans.

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