Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow had their season two premiers last week, bookending the dark and brooding midweek episodes of The Flash and Arrow with light-hearted and likable affability. Jim and Joey have their thoughts about the highs and the lows of last week’s episodes, as well as what they hope grows and transpires from their favorite characters.
Supergirl 2.01, “The Adventures of Supergirl”
Jim: There was obviously a lot of behind-the-scenes retooling done and they weren’t entirely successful in smoothing over the renovations. There were a number of arbitrary changes made, and in several cases, they seemed to come out of nowhere, motivated more by production decisions than by organic development of the plot. But, since most of the changes are welcome improvements, I’m willing to overlook the sometimes clunky machinations they used to bring them about. The show is still primarily about how appealing and likable Melissa Benoist is in both her identities and, fortunately, they found a Clark Kent/Superman who could keep up with her.
Joey: If Barry Allen is like pudding, then what is Kara? She is much more likable than Barry. When she stumbles, she picks herself back up. She is eager and enthusiastic where Barry is self-pitying. The writers of The Flash and, to an extent, Arrow, should take a look at the ratings that the season premier of Supergirl pulled in and see how much more appealing a lighter tone can be, especially in light of current real-world events and a nasty election season. Give us a fun distraction for an hour a night!
The Flash 3.02, “Paradox”
Jim: At some point, Barry is going to have to just call up Rip Hunter and say “Um, can you come over and take a look at this timeline? I think I broke it…. I’ll buy you a beer if you can come fix it. Please?”
Joey: Is it me, or is this pudding getting a little stale? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed “Arrow Cameo Week” on The CW. I also dig Draco Malfoy as Barry’s professional rival. That said, why does a speedster versus speedster fight always include running around the city? Just running. Run here, run there, run up a building, run in a circle. Run run runny run run. Throw a punch, then run some more. Now, I’ve not been in a lot of fisticuffs, but I’ve never seen a fight that involved that much movement.
The bigger issue I have is this… you know how many comic readers get fatigued with the crisis leading to cherry-picking the characters from different worlds or timelines to reboot the new world or timeline with, over and over again? Like, we’ll take this version of the character’s origin story, meld it with this version of the costume, sprinkle in these powers, mix, and bake at 350 degrees for four or five years until we reboot/rebirth/retool the character again. Why would someone take that and apply it to television? With multiple Earths and countless fractured timelines to pull from, this early-season premise feels like a mess.
I know I’ve stated it before–I’ve already stated it in this article–but I’m hoping we get away from gloom-and-doom and get to a more fun and hopeful The Flash. Right now, The Flash looks and feels, tonally, too much like Arrow, and it shouldn’t. Unless that changes, I have a feeling I’ll be ditching The Flash after the big four-way crossover event during the November sweeps.
Arrow 5.02, “The Recruits”
Jim: Is it wrong that I like Ollie and Felicity a whole lot more when they’re not “Ollie & Felicity”?
As to the team, I’ve liked Curtis for a while, looking forward to seeing him become Mr. Terrific. Wild Dog has a belligerent likability about him (loved the whole “we gotta rethink this code-name” thing). They didn’t give Evelyn anything to do yet, so while I’m sitting here going “Yay, Maddie!” I know everyone else is wondering “What’s her deal?” Do people even remember that she was the fake Black Canary last season? Will they recognize her without the blonde wig? So far she has no powers, no costume, no back-story; at the moment, she’s just kind of “the girl” on a team that’s already had too many of those. I sure hope they get around to her soon.
Joey: You’re spot-on about Evelyn being little more than the token girl on the team right now, and I, too, hope that gets remedied soon. I will, however, give the producers points for assembling a diverse group of characters for Team Arrow 2.0. I’ll also give them credit for ditching a lot of the mystical mumbo-jumbo of the past two seasons and getting back to a little more grounded storyline, Ragman being the exception.
We need a villain in the season two Deathstroke mold… someone who challenges Ollie both physically as well as strategically. Someone who threatens him personally as well as professionally. In the meantime, I’d settle for the inexplicable, welcomed, and utterly nonsensical return of John Barrowman. Again.
As with The Flash, I’m holding out until the crossover next month, then will decide whether Arrow maintains a place on my DVR or not.
Jim: I just made this argument elsewhere with regard to the Marvel movies: the secret is simple. The heroes can be as funny and goofy as you like, and the villains can be as generic and interchangeable as can be, as long as two things are true: the villain poses a credible threat and the hero has to work to beat them. Most especially, they have to outsmart the villain and pull out an unexpected (but based in plot developments) surprise move to win. We’ll happily laugh at Ant-Man or the Flash, as long as we believe in the end that they faced an uphill fight and won. Let the villains be dark and grim. Let them be straight out of Frank Miller’s worst nightmare. The heroes don’t have to be.
What I really want to see out of the new team is a team of people who like and trust each other, and who force Ollie to lighten up and have some fun being Robin Hood. They’ve left that task to Felicity alone for too long, and Ollie has dragged Roy, Thea, Laurel, and Diggle down into his pit of despair one by one. Maybe this team can drag him out.
And I really hope Evelyn turns out to be a smartass.
Legends of Tomorrow 2.01, “Out of Time”
Joey: Again, I liked the device of using cameos by the stars of Arrow as the surrogate for the audience in The Flash and here on Legends to get everyone up to speed. I enjoyed the pure goofiness of the characters in the different time periods, from their work as a team in 17th century France to their various solo outings (I was totally expecting Ray to turn and play fetch with the T. Rex). I am a bit disappointed that kidnapping Einstein wasn’t more fun on screen than it turned out to be.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the Legion of Doom comes together. Another shot of Reverse-flash and, later, Malcolm Merlyn, in the week is a good thing. It appears we’ll be without Rip’s scowl for a while and replacing it with Dr. Heywood’s charm, so I’m really pulling for Legends of Tomorrow to have a fun, off-the-wall season.
What did you think of last week’s episodes? Now that all four series are back, what are you hoping to see unfold this season? Post your thoughts in the comments below?