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RTF Review: Tales From the DC MulTVerse #18

rtf-review-tales-from-the-dc-multverse-18

We have a few trips left through the Arrowverse left this season, so lets see what Tales From the DC MulTVerse stood out this week:

SUPERGIRL:

“Between Ben Lockwood’s new push to stir up the anti-alien movement and the Elite’s desire to target Lockwood and his minions, Supergirl is concerned about the safety of the American people – both human and alien. When Lockwood organizes a rally, the aliens decide to peacefully protest. Brainiac and J’onn join the alien march while Supergirl and Dreamer patrol to keep everyone safe. Meanwhile, James picks up his camera again to cover the march for CatCo, and Hayley assigns Alex a job that clashes with her beliefs. When The Elite and Ben Lockwood stir up trouble at the rally, Supergirl is forced to take a stand.” (The CW)

Last week ended in a shocker, where the President made Ben Lockwood the Director of Alien affairs.  With this new found power, the man behind Agent of Liberty, organizes a press conference, to make an announcement that he wants to present the motion to abolish the Alien Amnesty act and send the aliens back where they came from.  To counter act this hate Braniaac – 5 stages a protest.  Aliens march on the site of Ben’s press conference.  Supergirl, Nia and J’onn join the march, in civilian and in Kara’s case, Kryptonian robes.  In their superhero wardrobe, they are accepted aliens because they are superheroes.  Them standing amongst other aliens, in plain clothes, shows that not all aliens are as evil as some see them,  It also shows that the superheroes don’t view themselves as better than, or on loftier ground compared to other aliens, or humans. They are trying to be citizens of Earth, just like every other alien they walk hand in hand with! This is why Supergirl and her cousin are such great characters.  They can inspire with the simplest, most peaceful gesture, just as much as they do with their powers.

Our heroes do eventually have to get less peaceful, when Ben Lockwood’s hate speech incites his audience to start getting violent throwing bottles at the alien marchers.  Matters are made worse, when The Elite arrive and The Hat starts handing out weapons to the alien protesters, to fight back at the Children of Liberty. Manchester Black increases their numbers, by using a device he stole from the Fortress of Solitude, which allows him to make holographic multiples of himself.  Our heroes suit up and try to gain control of the situation.  This fight was beautifully shot.  Watching that scene unfold, you really get a sense of the volatility and unpredictability of the chaos.  The use of the song “Mad World” and slow motion effect, really add to the tension of the moment.  Music really is a big component in telling a story and eliciting an emotion in film and television.  The most moving part of the whole episode, is when you have certain segments of the human and alien factions, just tying to escape the chaos.  When these human and aliens start helping each other to safety, you can’t help get a little choked up and overcome with emotion. Unity, compassion and togetherness, are what we should all strive for and hope to achieve.  This episode clearly played on today’s political climate and it feeds perfectly into the episode.  I’ve been 50/50 on the political bent of this season, and sometime Supergirl ham-fists political pot shots into its content, but that’s not what this is.  Also, it’s ridiculous, that even a giant key can’t keep The Elite out of the Fortress. That place definitely needs a security update. Maybe Jon Peters was right about those polar bears! 😉

Supergirl provided a great lead in for this weeks Tales From the DCMulTVerse.  It’s always nice to start on a positive note.  Beyond that, this episode sets the table for Lex Luthor’s Arrowverse debut.  I can’t wait to finally share my thoughts on Jon Cryer’s performance.

Score: A-

BLACK LIGHTNING:

“Tobias initiates the first step in selling his army of metas, Jeff sets down some ground rules to his daughters, and Lala and Lazarus have a chat.” (The CW)

With both his children being super powered and running around in costumes as vigilante’s, it makes sense that Jefferson would set some ground rules.  The fact that it took to the tail end of Season 2, surprised me a little.  He has 3 stipulations, if his daughters are to continue to operate as Thunder & Lightning.  Those rules are: 1. Maintain a secret identity, 2. Always partner up and 3. Absolutely do not kill.  Anissa and Jen balk at this one.  They, specifically Jen, are adamant that Freeland would be better off with Tobias dead.  Jefferson is unwavering on this issue and the girls reluctantly agree.  The issue has come up about superheroes killing, given Zack Snyder’s comments regarding Batman.  In the case of Black Lightning, I absolutely understand Jefferson’s point of view.  He’s trying to instill in his daughters, that despite their powers, they aren’t God and shouldn’t decide who gets to live or die.  Furthermore, killing would make Jefferson or his daughters, just as bad as Tobias Whale.    However, having seen Tobias Whale’s actions over the course of two years, the girls are right, Freeland would be better off if he were dead.  For the nature of Black Lightning, my stance on killing will depend on circumstances and how it all unfolds.

There are scenes with Lala and his Viktor Frankenstein, Lazarus.  In the bible, Jesus brought Lazarus back to life.  On Black Lightning, it is Lazarus who does the resurrecting.  A very clever bit of wordplay and flip of religious imagery is at work here, and I like it.  Lala and Lazarus discuss how his resurrection capability, makes him a prime candidate to kill Tobias.  Last week I didn’t recognize who Lazarus was.  He was a member of Lady Eve’s inner circle and wants revenge for her death.With his place in Black Lightning lore re-established, his aiding of Lala makes absolute sense.  On his way after Tobias, Lala comes into conflict with Cutter.  When she realizes that her blades have no effect on him, she runs to inform Tobias, urging him to leave Freeland.  Before he does,  Tobias sets one of his Meta’s loose, on a press conference the Councilman of Freeland is holding.  This attack is a showcase of Tobias’ metahuman weapons for potential bidders and buyers.  Pyromaniac Joe is selected for the job, and after burning the Freeland councilman, he attacks the pipes, causing the neighborhood to burst into flames.  Black Lightning and Thunder arrive on the scene, containingg the fires with and electrical force field and beating back Joe, until Tobias pulls him back.  This was a cool looking fight and had appropriate level stakes for a penultimate episode, before a finale.  Speaking of Tobias, Jen tracks him down with Gambi’s help.  As she approaches his getaway vehicle, fully suited up, the suit begins to overload with her electrical energy, leaving her screaming in pain, while Tobias escapes.  Leaving one of our heroes in danger, is also a captivating plot point, leading into a finale.

Whether Black Lightning sticks the landing with its season 2 finale, remains to be seen.  However, this episode advances the story and leaves the viewer eager to come back to see how this chapter of  the story ends. This episode is another top shelf story, in the Tales From the DC MulTVese library.

Score: A

ARROW:

“Team Arrow attempts to work with the Star City Police Department but much to Oliver’s frustration, things don’t go as planned. Meanwhile, Dinah gets some life-changing news.” (The CW)

This episode showed us what a team up between Team Arrow and the SCPD looks like and it doesn’t look good in the beginning.  This episode is called “Training Day” and it fits given that the team are basically learning the ropes, regarding standard practices such as chain of command, evidence collecting and analysis, as well as making arrests.   Oh and they’re not allowed to wear their costumes, but instead these SCPD covert ops uniforms. That are fairly bland.  Their first mission, to interrupt the Blackout Gang killing members of a rival gang with cutting edge bullets, that are toxic and disappear within their victims.  Waiting for a lead, the legal, old fashioned and then clumsily trying to establish the chain of command while in the field, causes the arrest to get botched and the Blackout Gang to get away.  Honestly, this did nothing but make the SCPD look bland and ineffective.  More to the point, in a nutshell highlights why I don’t watch police procedurals.  Back at SCPD, tensions rise when Team Arrow are reprimanded for their screw up, with Dinah siding with the Mayor.  Felicity suggests going back to their vigilante ways, to prove that it works, forcing the SCPD to change.

Back at a restored bunker, with Felicity’s hacking, Team Arrow goes after the manufacturer of the bullets,  James Midas, of Midas Medical.  Team Arrow is able to capture Mr. Midas but all their hard work is for not, as the SCPD must let James Midas go on a technicality, after Oliver violated protocol and threatened Midas , saying he’d submerge Midas’ face in acid if he didn’t confess.  So far, this episode shows us that Traditional Police work and straight up vigilantes, doesn’t work.  So, what’s the middle ground.  Well according to this episode, it’s Dinah Lance.  She arrives at the bunker, telling the team, that she no longer has her canary cry. Team Arrow reminds her that she is still their Canary, cry or not.  They get another chance to arrest James Midas, as he tries to dispose of the chemicals to make the bullet.  This time Team Arrow is successful.  Weirdly, the only difference in their approach, was having Dinah lead the operation, and read James Midas his rights, once caught.  After all the effort to  to show how both the law and vigilantism don’t work together, that seemed far too easy, and a bit of a cop out, in my opinion.  Out of all this, the Mayor agrees that the Anti-Vigilante act would be revoked and that Team Arrow could wear their costumes on missions.  This whole segment was anti-climactic for me.

The most intriguing parts of the episode were the end moments.  Laurel discovers, courtesy of Bronze Tiger, that Emiko Queen killed Diaz.  Clearly, she’s not as altruistic as her mission for justice for her mother, makes her out to be.  Also in the future flash forward,  William and Mia find Felicity’s final message, on an audio tape. After listing to the message, which tells them to give co-ordinates to Team Arrow and get out of Star City, they decide to go over the wall and into The Glades..  This will lead to the much anticipated episode set in the future, which I look forward to reviewing.  In terms of Tales from the DC MulTVerse ranking, this episode of Arrow is solid but unspectacular.

Score: B

THE FLASH:

“With the meta-cure ready to use, Barry and the team figure out a way to convince Cicada to take it; Killer Frost steps in to help with the plan; Joe eases back into work.” (The CW)

This episode starts very ominously, with Eobard Thawne telling Nora that she is upon the day, where The Flash is to confront Cicada. However, he warns that Nora’s actions and presence in the present have created a new timeline and he has no idea how the battle will unfold.  Back in the present, with the cure fully adjusted and complete, The Flash makes one last ditch effort to appeal to Cicada, by showing him the world of violence and death, he is leaving for his niece.  Cicada is having none of it and attacks The Flash.  Luckily, Killer Frost breaches in, fights Cicada back, sending him on the run.  Team Flash, spearheaded by Nora, suggest The Flash appeal to Cicada on a more human level.  Man to man, as opposed to costumed identity to costumed identity.   Aided by evidence collected by Grace’s doctor, Dr. Ambers, it is revealed that Grace is a metahuman.  When Barry reveals his identity to Cicada and tells him his niece is a meta-human.  He is visibly shocked and overtaken with emotion, vowing to take the cure, to provide his niece with a future without heat, and showing that he is accepting of meta-humans. Dr. Ambers injects the cure and it works almost immediately.  Most seasons at some point, involve The Flash out running his adversaries, in some way or another.  Seeing Barry/The Flash appeal to one of his villains humanity and heart and it actually working, was great. Truly a welcome change.

Just after the  cure is administered, the lights go out, a cloaked figure dressed like Cicada, crashes through a window and takes out all the members of Team Flash, before absconding with the original Cicada.  As an old school wrestling fan,  this was reminiscent of an Undertaker entrance, a coincidence I quite enjoyed.  The new Cicada reveals herself to the original Cicada as an alternate reality, adult version of his niece.  This was the payoff to Eobard Thawne’s earlier warning and I was absolutely captivated by the reveal.  The fact that she motored through Team Flash, as if they were pylons, makes her out to be just as, if not more formidable than the original. In a cool bit of legacy casting, adult Grace is played by Smallville alumni Sarah Carter, who played Alicia Baker.  This was a great episode of The Flash, that sets the third act of the season to be an unpredictable thrill ride.

Score: A+

Next week in Tales From the DC MulTVerse, we’ll talk about Lex, Arrow in the future, the season finale of Black Lightning and more of Cicada 2.0!

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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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