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RTF Review: Tales From the DC MulTVerse #17

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While we learned that next season will be Arrow‘s last, this week on Tales From the DC MulTVerse, there’s a full compliment of shows.  So let’s get right into it.

SUPERGIRL:

“Manchester Black breaks out of prison with the help of his new team, the Elite. Supergirl tries to apprehend Black and his team while dealing with a shocking new development involving Ben Lockwood.” (The CW)

This episode is the Supergirl TV series adaptation of Superman #775.” What’s so funny about Truth, Justice and the American Way.”    In the story, the  super powered group the Elite, come to Metropolis to take on and take care of meta humans, by any means necessary.  They even go so far as killing.  In the book, they constantly claim that Superman is obsolete and out of touch.  To them, they are the future of heroism.  In that book, Superman has to prove to himself, the Elite and the citizens of Metropolis, that his brand of heroism is what’s right and just and that it is relevant.  After last episode’s disappointment, I’m happy to say that The Elite were given a respectful portrayal, and accurate rendition of these characters.  Manchester Black has gone full on badass, complete with purple dye job.  After recruiting The Hat and Menagerie, the Elite stage a prison break and form their group,  The Hat uses his 5th dimensional head garment to teleport his cohorts out of prison. The creative team behind Supergirl handle The Hat and his 5th dimension antics, far better than they did Mxyzlptlx.  To be fair, I despise that character.  Still I found his antics much more tolerable, impressive and entertaining. I still find Menagerie a freak of the week and annoying, but she’s much more suited in this group, than having an episode all to herself.

The Elite go on TV and broadcast their physical assault of a Children of Liberty alien hater.  They also steal some jewelry for their troubles, with Manchester Black criticizing Supergirl for being a goody two shoes, suggesting she stick to the small crimes. Manchester Black, before signing off, informs the world that the Elite will be taking down Operation Claymore, the government satellite, that will soon launch, with the intent of shooting down any alien crafts that enter U.S. Airspace.  Supergirl organizes a group of “Superfriends to thwart The Elite.  That group includes Martian Manhunter, Braniac 5, Dreamer and Alex Danvers.  The scene where The Superfriends and The Elite pair off and begin fighting is great, specifically Martian Manhunter vs, Manchester Black.  Despite J’onn’s quest for peace in his lifestyle, Martian Manhunter brings the fury and violence out when faced with Manchester Black.  J’onn had him beat, until The Hat used his abilities to lift Braniac 5’s Legion Ring and gives it to Manchester Black.  Manchester Black flies to the satellite, with the hopes of changing it’s trajectory, so it will strike and decimate the White House. Supergirl, after being given her space suit tech flies up and destroys the government satellite and battles with Manchester Black.  This aerial battle was reminiscent of the third act battle in Captain Marvel and for my money, is one of Supergirl’s best visual effects sequences ever.  Despite Supergirl saving the day, The Elite get away, surely to menace another day.

It amazes me how good this episode was, compared to last week for me.  This wasn’t a blow by blow adaptation of Action Comics #775, but the themes and characterizations are 100% all there and given the respect they deserve.  Supergirl is back in the good books of the Tales From the DC MulTVerse. Here’s hoping it never falls so low in my rankings, as it did last week, ever again.

Score: A

ARROW:

“After months of covertly pursuing Dante, Diggle and Lyla finally have a solid lead on the elusive terrorist, so they deploy the ARGUS Ghost Initiative to apprehend him. Meanwhile, Oliver tries to bond with Emiko.” (The CW)

Thee episode starts with the dream of Diaz killing Felicity.  It’s the same dream Oliver had earlier in the season.  However, this time it’s Felicity having the dream. My question is, why do the Arrow writers keep teasing me with something I’ve wanted to see happen for years?  Kidding aside, when Diggle tells Oliver and Felicity that Ricardo Diaz is on the Ghost Initiative, aka, the bargain basement Suicide Squad, Felicity turns to Laurel, telling her the original plan to kill Diaz is back on!  Laurel continually tries to dissuade her.  In those moments, Laurel discovers Felicity is pregnant, and instantly goes grocery shopping for healthy foods.  If you would have told me a couple of years ago, that Earth 2 Laurel would have been the first person to learn of Felicity’s pregnancy, or that they’d become close confidants and friends, I would’ve laughed in your face.  However, I’m so glad it happened.  The relationship took time to develop and the two actresses has great chemistry.  Also, is it me, or does it seem that Felicity doesn’t really have a female friendship on this level? Usually, her closest friends have been her male counterparts.  I’m as shocked as anyone else, that I’m enjoying this friendship as much as I am.

I thought Oliver trying to endear himself to Emiko by finding her mother’s shooter and then attempting to take them out, while keeping Emiko at bay felt like dejavu,  He’s done this with all his teammates or people in his life.  They argue but ultimately come together, Oliver realizes the error of his way’s and they worked together again.  Wash, rinse and repeat. The Oliver and Emiko stuff had me tuning out at moments.  Another aspect of this episode that had me tuning out was the Ghost Initiative scenes.  We see the team training/fighting with each other, when Diggle reveals that they’ve got a lead on Dante, and it’s time to go out for a mission and bring him in.  The issue here is that instead of seeing our Suicide Squad rejects at the embassy tracking Dante, we see Oliver, Diggle, Lyla, Felicity and Diaz as the group we see trailing Dante.  What is the point of setting up the Ghost Initiative, when you’re not going to use them when it matters.   Anyhow, surprising no one, Diaz double crosses ARGUS and our heroes, warning Dante he’s being set up, who gets away from capture.  However, Diggle prevents Diaz from getting away and he is thrown back in prison.There were only two elements of this story that I enjoyed, particularly at the end.  Emiko meets with Dante, revealing, he has set up her whole meeting with Oliver and is happy they are getting along. It’s all going according to plan.  But what is their plan? What is their endgame? Also, at the end of the episode, Diaz is lit on fire, courtesy of a mysterious figure, outside of his cell? Who was this.  Was this the work of Dante? Or, could it have been Laurel, looking to kill Diaz, securing the safety of Felicity and her child? I need answers.

Aside from a few aspects, I found this episode of Arrow a disappointment.  For me, it’s the worst of this year, for this show.  From here on, I hope that Arrow starts a new streak of quality on Tales From the DC MulTVerse, stretching from next week, to its series finale next year.

Score: D+

BLACK LIGHTNING:

“Jeff receives a visit from a former student, Anissa goes looking for Grace, and Jennifer gets a new suit.” (The CW)

Lala returns from the dead again, and heads to Freeland High School, to question Jefferson about his friend and fellow 100 gang member, Earl’s death.   He’s forgotten the details but blames Jefferson.  Holding Jefferson at gunpoint, he demands answers.  When Jefferson says he doesn’t know how Earl died, Lala shoots him in the shoulder.  Instead of retaliating with his Black Lightning powers, he tries to calm Lala down and recount Earl’s past, leading up to his death.  It is here, where Lala remembers that he executed Earl out of mercy, after Tobias found out that he snitched to the police.  Going to the police, was something Jefferson advised Earl to do so.  In a way,  both Lala and Jefferson are culpable in Earl’s death.  Lala to a larger degree of course.  When Lala was deciding whether to kill Jefferson or not, the ghosts of the people he killed that are now a part of him, are at war with each other.  The way the push and pull him physically as they fight, is quite entertaining to watch.  Lala decides not to take his revenge out on Jefferson but to instead, find and kill Tobias.  We get flashback scenes detailing how he was resurrected.  We see a doctor/ scientist placing, pieces of skin and possibly body parts, into a vat of a chemical solution, which causes a reformation of a full bodied Lala.  This was one of the most visually disgusting scenes, I’ve ever seen on a CW superhero show and it was cool!

Anissa continues her search for Grace, finding the apartment of her step brother.  He warns her not to search for Grace, as she will only find trouble.  After basically being pushed out the door, Anissa returns as Thunder and kicks the door in, believing Grace is in there.  What we get is a close quarter fight, where the step brother pulls off some impressive martial arts moves.  In moments where the two aren’t in visible distance of each other, the audience see Grace’s step brother shape shift.  It’s really Grace.  To get out of  the situation, Grace transformed into an animal and leaps out of of a window.  I don’t really know anything about Grace, so finding out she can shape shift and seeing her powers in action and it was a fun, unexpected reveal.  Hope we get more info on Grace, for either the rest of season 2 or in season 3.  Jennifer remains focused on becoming a superhero, specifically the costume.  She is obsessed, with looking good in the costume, and impresses on Gambi, to make the costume look cool.  Yes, Jennifer has grown as a character, but I’m glad this is still part of her character.  You want evolution in a character, not a total reinvention. The evolution for the character comes  when Jennifer and Gambi are testing the limits of her power.  She’s being playful at first but when her powers get out of hand, she has a panic attack of sorts.  After calming down, she admits that she can’t rush into this superhero thing.  I absolutely love this small but pivotal moment.

This is a really strong episode that brought back to characters I enjoy, in Lala and Grace.  With two episodes left to discuss this season, this episode of Black Lightning feels like the calm before the storm here at Tales From the DC MulTVerse.

Score: B+

THE FLASH:

“When Gorilla Grodd attacks Central City, Barry and friends find themselves teaming up with King Shark; when they hit a snag, they bring in Dr. Tanya Lamden to try to reach the man behind the shark.” (The CW)

This was an episode and battle teased for a few seasons now.  After introducing both characters, the face-off between King Shark and Grodd is here.  First, we pick up with King Shark, who’s training with his Earth 1 counterpart’s wife.  She’s able to communicate with him, via a technical device called the telepathic crown.  This device makes King Shark’s mind more human than shark.  Seeing an Earth 2 transplant rekindling a relationship with his Earth 1 wife’s doppelganger, mirror’s Sherloque Wells marrying different versions of his wife, on different Earth’s.  The only difference is, King Shark and Dr. Tanya Lamden are making it work. While Sherloque has failed miserably.  His own fault mind you.  Team Flash arrives at ARGUS to get permission to test the now completed metahuman cure on King Shark, but when they as him, he goes nuts and attacks them, specifically Cisco.  To save Vibe, The Flash injects King Shark  with the cure, without permission.  The cure works and King Shark is turned back into a human. The cure wasn’t a strong enough dosage, to keep the Shark at bay, so Team Flash works on a stronger dosage, to keep Shay human.  In human form, Tanya is resistant to get closer to Shay because she can’t deny her feelings.  Sherloque convinces her to embrace her feelings, and she and Shay share a passionate kiss.  We even see her sitting by his tank after he decides to return to King Shark form permanently.  They even share a “Shape of Water” moment at the end of of the episode.  The fact that Sherloque Wells was basically the matchmaker this episode, was hilarious, given his problems with love.

As for why Shay doesn’t take the second cure, reverting back to King Shark, that’s due to the fact that Gorilla Grodd has returned.  He mind control’s Vibe and Killer Frost, and steals the telepathic crown, in order to control all of Central City.  What I really appreciate is that the episode ties Grodd’s escape back to the Enlightenment event, when the  power at ARGUS went out, giving Grodd enough time to command guards to release him.  With his increased power,  he’s too much for The Flash & XS, to take down on their own.  To atone for his past evils, Shay decides to not take the cure again, returning to his King Shark form, helping to save Central City.  This fight sequence is incredible.  We see King Shark and Gorilla Grodd leap tall buildings.  Throughout the course of the third act battle, traverse the tops of buildings and rooftops as if they are part of a playground jungle gym set.  Two scenes that really stand out to me, are when they lunge and actually collide with each other.  As a longtime wrestling fan, I swore I saw King Shark do a behind the back suplex to Gorilla Grodd.  The visual effects people really stretched the budget as much as possible for this and their efforts paid off, as it looks absolutely fantastic.  It looks better than Henry Cavill’s upper lip in Justice League and Steppenwolf all together.  Given The Flash budget, it shouldn’t look better in anything in the first ever Justice League movie, yet it does.  My only problem is that the fight seemed incredibly short to me.  I understand it was budgetary reasons most likely but still a slight letdown.

The Flash this week easily takes the crown of best episode, on Tales From the DC MULTVerse. I love that I actually live in a world, where I’ve seem King Shark and Gorilla Grodd fight in live action, on screen.  Sometimes the world is wonderful.

Score: A+

Season finale’s for the DC TV series on The CW, so I believe we’re going to have exceptional quality television to discuss and review on upcoming installments of Tales From the DC MulTVerse.

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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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