DC on The CW Recap: This Is Halloween

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Our favorite DC on The CW shows used the week of Halloween to give us aliens, monsters, and guys dressed in costumes aplenty. There were a few tricks (HipsteR Wells is a phony!) and plenty of treats—here’s to you, Tom Felton—as the shows took a look at historical and modern day prejudices and the idea that the greatest threats are the monsters we are capable of being toward one another.

All images by The CW.

Supergirl, Episode 2.04 “Survivors”

Jim: Are the producers being perhaps a little heavy-handed in having both the martians be African-American in their human identities? Or was the decision to have Miss Martian also be a person of color driven by their desire to match up every character with a possible romantic partner?

Lisa H: Personally I think it was the latter. It IS a CW show…everyone needs to pair up!

Jim: Of course, anyone who knows the comics (or who watched the Young Justice cartoon show) knows where the Miss Martian story is going. She’s got a secret….

And while we’re discussing romantic pairings, where are they going with Alex and Maggie? Is it just flirting, does Alex see it as just undercover work, or are they going to actually follow that story to its natural conclusion?

Lisa H: I vote romantic relationship for Alex and Maggie! Their chemistry is fantastic!

But more important in my mind this week is, why are we suddenly in the movie Men in Black? I mean seriously, we went from only having Kryptonians and Fort Rozz escapees to having a United Nations of aliens in National City not to mention one is the President of the United States. Are they all escapees from Fort Rozz? What’s the endgame here? Is it that the writers think Supergirl can only fight aliens, much like Barry can only fight metahumans? What happened to a good old fashioned super villain a la Lex Luthor? (Yes I know he’s in jail here. My point stays the same.)

Jim: Yeah, we’re definitely having a rather sudden alien population explosion. Is this what Trump is rattling on about? Are there any alien races out there who (a) don’t look like ordinary humans and (b) don’t have shape-shifting powers? How does that giant green guy with the spikes shop for groceries?

The Flash, Episode 3.05 “Monster”

Jim: Maybe Julian will turn out to be interesting after all. Felton gave a good performance in the scene where he reevaluates his prejudices.

Lisa H: Agreed. Such an excellent performance, filled with nuance. I’m interested to see where they take the Julian/Barry relationship. How long until Julian is on Team Flash? Because, let’s be honest, keeping his secret identity secret is not something Barry, or really anyone in the Berlantiverse, does well.

Joey: Felton’s performance… just… wow. Excellent work. I mean, we saw hints of his range and ability in Half-Blood Prince, but this was by far the best acting I can remember seeing from Tom.

Will: And it’s not really surprising considering his background compared to most of the other actors. And yeah, they are going to bring him over any second now. I thought for sure at the end Barry was going to cave and tell him as an explanation for why he’s always disappearing. Worst secret identity keeper ever.

Jim: Nobody in the whole show is very clear on the whole secret identity thing. It seems like every episode, somebody bellows out “BARRY!” at the Flash in public.

Joey: Strong outing overall. Caitlin slipping further toward the dark side. The villain of the week turning out to be a scared teenager who was just lashing out, not because he doesn’t fit in, but because he’s constantly been bullied for not fitting in (in a city full of meta-humans, a school shooting is too small time, I guess). And, while I still can’t stand HipsteR Wells, at least now we know why. He’s a fraud!

Jim: Whaddaya wanna bet they send him back to Earth-19 and grab another Wells from another world?

Lisa H: I kinda love that idea. It could make things highly amusing. Bring me a different Wells every week!

Jim: Like I said before, I’m totally on board with “Crisis on Infinite Harrys.”

Lisa H: I think there was a lost opportunity here. Bullying is such a huge problem in Middle and High Schools across the nation and addressing it a bit more would have been a nice use of the platform. As it was, it was kinda a throw away since the focus was on Julian.

Will: Agreed. This was a great opportunity to talk more about bullying and how it affects people and what can be done about it, and they totally dropped the ball.

Jim: On the flip side, it was also a chance to talk about how many bullies are actually all noise, and in reality are powerless, frightened and alone. They only have the power we give them. Not to point fingers at anyone in the current public scene….

Arrow, Episode 5.05 “Human Target”

Jim: I was a big fan of the Human Target when it was a Fox show. For some reason , I’m not so on board with this guy, possibly because he has such a distinctive accent and cadence that I couldn’t buy him being able to perfectly mimic Ollie, the Russian goon and a whole bunch of other guys. And even if he could, he might fool a crowd at a press conference or walking the stairs leading up to the hit, but talking up close and personal with people who know Ollie very well, not so much. Especially given that he’s a few inches taller. Thea’s not dumb, despite her history of dumb choices.

Joey: So long, Tobias Church. We hardly knew ye.

Like you guys mentioned earlier, why is it that Supergirl is continuously pitted against aliens, Barry against meta-humans (particularly speedsters), and Ollie gets these archers? Didn’t we do this in season one, with Malcolm Merlyn as the Dark Archer? I know we have the big Dominators crossover coming up, but can we get a non-powered threat in the Lex Luthor mold (no, it doesn’t have to be Lex) who casts a shadow over both Central City and Star City? Someone who has the passion, intelligence, and resources to really push our heroes? If nothing else, expand the Legion of Doom concept, which we’ve yet to see really play out, from Legends of Tomorrow and bring it to Arrow and The Flash.

Jim: To be fair, Green Arrow never really had a great “Rogues Gallery” the way the Flash did. Before Denny O’Neil got to him, Ollie was a B-list Batman knockoff; millionaire playboy who cavorted around in a themed costume with an array of themed weapons, an arrowcar, arrowcave, arrowplane (see what they did there?), sidekick, etc. His villains were a parade of generic thugs, weak-sauce low-rent costumed villains, and disposable criminals borrowed from other heroes’ library. Denny remade him into a modern-day Robin Hood politically and socially in addition to the costume theme; he sent Ollie after corrupt politicians, evil corporations and despotic one-percenters, with relatively few costumes involved. After his death and resurrection, they’ve finally started giving him his own twisted fan-club of opponents who dwell as much on fighting him as they do on perpetrating evil for their own gain. Relatively few of them have been very interesting, and too many have been archers. The show is drawing from the comic, and the source material just isn’t there for the villains. But Green Arrow has never been about the villains.

Lisa H: While I agree, it would be nice to see our heroes fight a different type of villain, it seems as though the current foes are building toward the huge four episode crossover that’s happening later this season. If I remember my comics correctly, the White Martian, Prometheus and Dr. Alchemy all interacted at one point, although I don’t think it was all three of them together.

Okay I had to go look it up, cause it was bothering me that I couldn’t remember. Prometheus did in fact work for Dr. Alchemy when Prometheus Curt Calhoun. And it was the second Prometheus who uses the White Martian’s ship. Phew. I feel better now.

Point being…it certainly seems that the individual shows’ villains will be working together at some point this season. Justice League vs. the Legion of Doom (lead by Lena Luthor) anyone?

Joey: Maybe. If I remember correctly from the pieces floating about the interwebs, Supergirl is going to be plucked from her earth to help in the crossover. Like, there’s a regular Supergirl episode on Crossover Monday that ends with the team at STAR Labs opening a portal and bringing her to Earth-1 for Crossover Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (making it essentially a three-part crossover, since Supergirl still takes place on what the producers dubbed last season “Earth-CBS”), so I don’t know how much the White Martian will play into the crossover, but we shall see. Crossover Week is this month, during November sweeps, right?

Jim: I assumed it would be a case of somebody saying the team needs more power to fight the big-bad, and Barry going “I know somebody. Remember when we tested that doohickey?” Next scene, there’s Kara going “Wow, STAR Labs is sooo cool!”

Joey: I think it’ll be close to that. More like, “Aliens? I know an alien…”

One idea I am digging right now is the thought that Barry’s jacking of the timeline has done more to impact the Arrow universe than just swapping Diggle’s offspring’s gender. One theory making its way through the fandom is that Prometheus is a timeline altered Roy Harper. Thoughts?

Jim: At the moment, Arrow is pretty much the only show that’s going to see any ripples from Barry’s monkeywrenching; Supergirl’s in another universe and LoT is creating their own timeline tangles. Hey, maybe it wasn’t Barry’s fault! Maybe Flashpoint is actually a butterfly effect from some dumb thing the Legends did. In any case, I hope Prometheus isn’t Roy; I’d rather it be some guy that Ollie didn’t even know he’d pissed off. Sort of the male version of Cupid, where a casual encounter has a huge impact. I want Roy to show up stoned, one-armed, and swinging a dead cat. (There’s one for the fanboys.)

Joey: “Remember that time you cut in line at the DMV, Green Arrow? Well, the guy you cut in front of was… my brother. And he totally hated you for that for like two days. So, here I am to avenge him!”

Legends of Tomorrow, Episode 2.04 “Abominations”

Joey: Very socio-political episode from the “big dumb fun” show in the lineup.

Jim: If you’re going to do a time-travel show, you really need to police the anachronisms. An African-American male in 1863 is not going to ask a group of strangers “who are you guys?” Or are we meant to assume that the crew’s “Babel Fish” translators also handle slang, jargon and colloquialisms? Along the same lines, I seriously doubt that General Grant is going to instantly and fully accept the notion of a woman as captain, immediately treat her as a peer, and offer respectful advice. He’s going to be a condescending nimrod and tell the pretty little lady to go home and tend to her knitting and let the big strong men handle the dirty work of war. Even after she brings him a zombie head. I’m perfectly okay with time-ships and confederate zombies, but get the people right.

Joey: I’m okay with the Legends using modern colloquialisms, as long as the historical figures call them out on it and not gloss over it. Could be add some drama to a situation due to miscommunication or humor when a historical figure takes a Legend literally, or vice versa.

Jim: At least Jefferson’s experience with the slaves felt real; he was really shocked to discover just how brutal and inhuman it was; his speech about having been black his whole life really set up that realization. I’m glad they didn’t gloss over that the way Agent Carter did with the black scientist in the 1940s and casual interracial dating in public. Um, nope. It was actually illegal in most places. Our ugly racist society used to be a whole hell of a lot uglier and more racist, and at least Legends of Tomorrow is acknowledging it somewhat.

What did you think of last week’s episodes? Have a theory about the upcoming crossover or a thought on any of the above conversations? If so, share them with us in the comments. Maybe something you add to the discussion will be mentioned in next week’s recap.

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