This Week In The Arrowverse: 10/29/2018 – 11/04/2018: “What In The Disney Hell Is This?”

Supergirl 4×03: “Man of Steel”, Arrow 7×03: “Crossing Lines”, Legends of Tomorrow 4×02: “Witch Hunt”, and The Flash 5×04: “News Flash” reviews

 

It’s been another wonderful week in the Arrowverse!

Well, not so wonderful if you’re Iris West-Allen, and just found out why your daughter hates you. Or if you’re Kara Danvers, getting the whole atmosphere turned poison on you and all. And saying Oliver Queen didn’t have a wonderful week is a redundant statement.

But the Legends fought a fairy godmother and Ray got turned into a pig! So, yay?

 

Supergirl - Man of Steel 3

Supergirl 4×03: “Man of Steel” review

“Man of Steel” is something Supergirl has never done before.

It’s not simply a shakeup of the show’s format, focusing all its attention on a guest character, charting his story over the course of two years, with (outside of the prologue and epilogue) only cameo appearances from its main cast. What makes it truly unique among Supergirl episodes is that it cares about telling the villain’s story.

Supergirl has never given its bad guys much development. They’ll have an established motive, so their evil acts don’t seem like pure randomness. Maybe they’ll get a few personality quirks, and occasionally one of them will have a person that they love, giving them at least a little depth. But we’re never supposed to really care about the villains, to find anything to sympathize with in how they became the way they are. They’re there to be booed and hissed at and get clobbered by Supergirl in the third act.

But with this one episode, Agent Liberty has received more character development, been more fleshed out as a human being, than all of Supergirl’s other villains combined.

A character who’s been nothing but a man in a mask till now is revealed to have been an ordinary college professor, with an ordinary family, and a belief that, hey, humans and aliens getting along can’t be so hard. But as we track his life, seeing the events of the last two seasons through his eyes, we see how a good man can come to believe the worst of aliens, of “the other”, until violence seems like the only answer.

We see how, piece by piece, the good life his family had built for themselves comes crashing to ruins, with aliens somehow responsible every step of the way, and with the clear understanding that what’s befallen this family has fallen upon many others, the off-screen victims of two years of sci-fi adventure. We see him turn to the government, the media, the business world for some sort of aid. And we see our main characters, representing those institutions, respond with condescension or blithe compassion, expressing how sorry they are, really, but not enough to do anything to help. They’ve got a supervillain to fight or an alien world to contact or a karaoke night to rock, while the little guy is left with nowhere to turn.

When we see our villain put on his mask, and commit to being Agent Liberty, it comes not as a drastic response to a single tragedy, but as the natural escalation of years of harship. In seeing how he became the way he is, the viewer is asked to wonder if, put through that same wringer, they would emerge any better. That sort of emotional engagement with a villain, a recognition that they’re driven by the same desires and weaknesses as any of us, is something Supergirl has never been interested in before, but here dives into with aplomb.

There are some folks who see a danger in building too much sympathy for Ben Lockwood, the man who will become Agent Liberty. His descent from empathetic college professor to alien-murdering extremist is a blatant metaphor for white Americans who, faced with economic hardship, have taken refuge in xenophobia, blaming immigrants and minorities for their misfortunes. To make the circumstances behind his transformation too sympathetic risks sending the message that xenophobic hatemongers have a point.

Certainly, he’s given far more reason to fear aliens than his real life counterparts have been given to fear immigrants. While much of his ire towards aliens directly mirrors conservative talking points (steel plants laying off workers as technology advances, blaming foreigners for stealing their jobs, feeling that neither the media nor academic institutions care about their problems), much of it is also rooted in the specific history of aliens on Earth that Supergirl has established.

Most aliens we’ve seen have some sort of superhuman ability that really does make them more inherently dangerous, and makes them difficult or impossible for humans to out-compete. And the mere fact that they traveled across solar systems to get here means they have access to technology beyond anything on Earth, a far cry from real life immigrants, who frequently come to America from much poorer nations. And, of course, there’s the fact that aliens have almost conquered or destroyed Supergirl’s Earth three times in the last three years.

Ben’s story begins shortly after first season finale, when some evil Kryptonians tried to mind-control all of humanity using Myriad. Then, mid-way through, the Daxamites invade Earth, and the Lockwood family becomes refugees, fleeing Daxamite enforcers. And, near the end, Reign plunges to the Earth’s core, causing devastating earthquakes, and coming within a hair’s breadth of destroying the planet so more evil Kryptonians can claim it as their own.

It’s a dizzying transition, to go from scenes about laid off-workers and diversity in the workplace, that could almost word-for-word be happening in America today, to scenes of people running in fear from all-powerful enemies bent on their enslavement or destruction. Given what we’ve been shown of how helpless Earth is in the face of alien might, Ben’s comparison of their situation to Native Americans facing the arrival of Europeans . . . it’s not without merit.

All these factors, combined with the sheer indifference his plight receives from anyone in authority, paint Ben’s reasons for his fear and hatred with earnest sympathy. Yet never, I feel, does it ask us to sympathize with what that fear and hatred lead him to do.

Because when Ben sets on the path to become Agent Liberty, he’s not trying to make the world a better place. He calls his followers a “support group”, but we see no evidence that they’re doing anything to help people who have been hurt by aliens. He’s not trying to fix anything, because whether the threat facing humanity is an alien armada or the changing face of industry, stopping it is beyond his power.

Sharing a beer with his dad’s buddies after the old man’s funeral, they all agree that someone should do something about these aliens. But what can they do? Ben’s answer: they can burn down the Nth metal plant that cost them their jobs, and kill any aliens inside.

Destroying a factory won’t make Nth metal cease to exist, won’t stop steel from being inferior next to it. And even if it could, the steel mill has long since gone bankrupt and been physically destroyed. What he’s doing won’t help anyone. He can’t give these workers back their jobs, no more than he can fight off a Daxamite army or stop a World Killer from terraforming the Earth.

But he can burn down this factory. It’s stupid and senseless, destruction without a purpose, but it’s doing something. It’s fighting back. Not accomplishing anything, not making anyone’s lives any better, merely satisfying his own urge for some sort of action, a way to prove that he’s still in control of his life and his world. The aliens he needs to worry about, the Reigns and the Rheas, they’re well beyond his reach. All he can do is target those aliens too weak or helpful to ever be a threat, because they’re all he has.

We can sympathize with what Ben Lockwood has gone through, we can understand why he feels the way he does, without having any doubt that his actions are thoroughly wrong. As Agent Liberty, he’s not a tortured soul taking drastic actions to protect his world. He’s a bitter and frustrated man who’s lashing out at the innocent, because he’d rather do something evil than nothing at all.

Stray Observations:

  • Obviously, all this great character work would fall flat if they didn’t have an actor who could carry a whole episode almost by himself, and make such a stark transition feel believable. Luckily, Sam Witwer was more than up to the task. I know the title, “Man of Steel” is just a cheeky reference to Superman mixed with the Lockwood steel business, but between Witwer’s performance here, his classical square-jawed handsomeness, and the haircut they have him sporting . . . he’d make a pretty good Superman, don’t ya think?
  • I was going to call this the best episode Supergirl has ever done, but then I remembered that “Crisis on Earth-X, Part 1” exists. It does say something that my favorite episodes of Supergirl are the ones least like an episode of Supergirl.
  • With how this episode used a flashback to tell a story far removed from the sets and actors we usually see on this show, I was reminded of last year’s “Welcome to Midvale”. I realize both episodes were created as a way to give the main cast a lighter workload, but the break from the norm has made both feel very fresh and energized, and I hope these become an annual tradition.
  • As much as I praised this episode, I’ll admit: the amount of attention paid to the youngest Lockwood’s bike made the tragedy of their home being destroyed a bit more comedic than was likely intended.
  • With Earth’s atmosphere flooded with kryptonite radiation, I can’t help but wonder what that means for the Kara doppelganger over in Europe. Given this show’s love of blatant topicality, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they tie that into the Agent Liberty plot by revealing that Mercy and Otis’s group is being funded by Russian Kaznian operatives looking to sow instability in the West.

 

Arrow - Crossing Lines

Arrow 7×03: “Crossing Lines” review

Sometimes, reviewing a TV show week-by-week, you come across an episode that just doesn’t give you much to talk about.

It’s not that nothing happened in this episode. If that had been the case, I could have easily churned out several hundred words about how boring it was.

No, a lot of stuff happened, and most of it was exciting. But none of it was so exciting, or frustrating, or perplexing, or this-opens-up-a-lot-of-possibilities-going-forward-ing that it feels worth spending too much time talking about. And while there is a central theme running through the episode, about characters crossing lines (both moral and legal) in pursuit of their goals, it’s not really developed enough for me to expand much on here.

Felicity betraying Agent Watson is the only real surprise in the bunch (and even that was telegraphed heavily before the reveal came). Oliver getting himself sent to the barely sketched out Level 2 in pursuit of a lead, that’s no more than we’d expect from him; same goes for maiming a couple of corrupt prison guards. And Lyla’s crossed line, and what she’s crossing it to achieve, is so nebulously defined that it’s hard to invest in.

Basically, while there was a lot of decent-to-good stuff in this episode, no one aspect of it seems worth spending more than a paragraph discussing. So, while I apologize if this seems lazy, let’s skip straight to the Stray Observations.

Stray Observations:

  • Slabside is beginning to feel a bit more fleshed out and imposing as a setting. Brick turning it into his private kingdom, the apparently-worse-than-death conditions in Level 2, a mysterious power broker called the Demon: it’s creating a locale I’m interested in exploring.
  • Any bets on who “The Demon” is going to be? A completely new character? Someone we’ve seen on the show before? I’d be thinking Talia al Ghul, just ‘cause of the name, if Slabside didn’t seem to be an all-male facility. I’d like it to be Jason Blood, human host of the Demon, Etrigan, but that doesn’t seem likely.
  • Did the writers or director forget that Sampson’s not supposed to feel pain? They obviously remembered him enough from Season 5 to bring him back, but not well enough to remember what his whole gimmick was.
  • Diaz continues his streak of always, always getting away no matter what. Though him calmly collecting what he came for while the Longbow Hunters fight the heroes was admittedly a baller move. And the writers seem to realize he needs something to up his threat factor, hence the superstrength serum. Do you suppose it’s Mirakuru, or something new?
  • Liked the Silencer, and liked that Team Arrow is getting on the “give our bad guys codenames” bandwagon in Oliver’s absence
  • It’s always nice to see Lyla back, even if, as I mentioned above, her “crossed line” and what she was trying to achieve were way too vaguely defined. I am intrigued by possible corruption high up at Argus, but you’ll have to check out My Big Crazy-Ass Theory at the bottom of this post for more on that.

 

Legends - Witch Hunt 1

Legends of Tomorrow 4×02: “Witch Hunt” review

Any show that’s been on for over fifty episodes, even one that shakes up its premise and rotates its main cast as much as Legends does, is going to find itself repeating certain story beats. You’ll be watching a brand new episode, yet (if you’re a long-time fan) you’ll find yourself going, “Haven’t they done that before?”

That’s not a bad thing, necessarily. A lot of fun can be had seeing a series take an idea it’s done before and exploring different ways it could play out. However, in “Witch Hunt”, we have an episode that seems to be made of little but ideas that Legends of Tomorrow has done before. And instead of taking those ideas anywhere new, each one just leads into another story beat recycled from previous episodes.

We’ve got Zari wanting to save the innocent victims they meet, timeline be damned, and coming into conflict with Sara. We’ve got the Legends confronting the prejudices and injustices of a historical time period. We’ve got one of the Legends losing control during a fight and almost killing a bunch of people. And we’ve got them giving a big speech about hope and being a better person to one of the guest characters, helping to save the day. Even the Salem Witch Trials setting is something Legends has already done, albeit briefly, back in Season 2.

None of these reused ideas is, by itself, a bad thing. They were all very well executed in this episode, and they have such potent dramatic cores that you can see why the show keeps returning to them. But having so many of them in one episode, the whole thing was left feeling a bit by-the-numbers. There just wasn’t anything new or surprising.

Except the fairy godmother. She was forking brilliant.

The show toyed with the cute-and-colorful-fairy-tale-creature-is-really-super-violent idea last week, but this one takes it to a whole ‘nother level. It’s not just that Cinderella’s fairy godmother exists, it’s quite clearly Disney’s Cinderella’s fairy godmother (with just a whiff of Mary Poppins), right down to the “Bippity Boppity (REMOVED FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS)”. She calls everyone dearie, talks with sugarplum sweetness even while planning mass murder, and she not only bursts into song, she creates her own, diegetic musical accompaniment. She’s completely at odds with the darkness filling the rest of the storyline, which makes her even more hilarious. Even world-weary occult master John Constantine was not prepared for something like this.

Add in the wrinkle where she can’t do anything malevolent herself, only grant the wishes of a scared but good-hearted child, and you’ve got a very distinct and original foe for the Legends to fight. That raises this episode up considerably, and means Legends’s winning streak remains unbroken. Still, if some of the imagination that went into the fairy godmother had gone into making the plot less of a retread, this episode could have gone from being good to being great.

Stray Observations:

  • In the B-plot, Nate is crashing at the Time Bureau, but if they can’t give an awesome presentation, they’ll but shut down! And, oh no! The person they have to present to is Nate’s dad, and those two do not get along at all. It’s such a sitcom-like plot, and I loved every second of it.
  • Ray and Nate’s bromance being so deep they can communicate across species is the most absurd thing this show has ever done (and that’s saying a lot) but damn if it wasn’t hilarious.
  • It looks like the show will be splitting its focus a bit, where we’ll be following both the Legends on the Waverider, as well as Nate, Ava, and Gary back at the Time Bureau. It’s an interesting shakeup to the show’s format, but Nate and Ava being buds is such a surprisingly great combo, I’m all for it.
  • Gary is some important big-wig’s nephew, right? It’s the best explanation I’ve got for why, out of all the Time Bureau, he gets to be Ava’s Number Two.
  • As of this episode, every female Legend has had a moment where they lose control of themselves in battle and almost does way too much violence. Is there a stereotype about that?
  • That said, Zari sucking the breath out of the lungs of a whole crowd of people? That’s definitely one of the most amazing and genuinely chilling uses of superpowers we’ve seen on this show.
  • I’ve had this theory for a while that they’re going to use John Constantine’s appearance on Legends to loosely adapt the story where he sold his soul to some demons to cure his lung cancer. In a lot of sell-your-soul-to-the-devil stories, the devil comes to collect your soul on a certain date, something like seven years to the day since you made the contract. I’m thinking John may have made such a contract, but is hoping that, as long as he’s traveling through history, he’ll never actually reach the point in time where his soul is due, and get off on a technicality.
  • This season is being more explicit about the ties between the Time Bureau and the U.S. government, with their headquarters being in D.C. and their funding coming from the Department of Defense. Given that Zari comes from a future where an arm of the U.S. Defense Department has seized control of the country and gone fully dystopia, you’d think she’d feel pretty uneasy about that. But that, too, is best saved for My Big Crazy-Ass Theory down below.

 

The Flash - News Flash 3

The Flash 5×04: “News Flash” review

Cisco Ramon did not appear in this week’s episode of The Flash, only receiving a quick mention about being at his parents’ house. Due to Jesse Martin’s back injury, Joe West only appeared in a couple brief scenes, neither of which required him to move at all. Cecile Horton also only appeared in two brief scenes, though she at least got to use her latent mind-reading a little bit. And while Caitlin Snow had slightly more screentime than those two, she mostly just helped deliver exposition during group scenes, only getting one short scene where she displayed any character (and her ongoing search for her father went completely unmentioned).

Yet, despite so much of the cast being absent or sidelined this episode, “News Flash” never felt like it was missing anything (well, other than a Cisco-generated codename for its villain). Barry, Nora, and Iris working together to stop a bad guy, and in the process dredging up some family dysfunction, while Ralph and Sherloque investigate Cicada, proved more than enough to fill up an entire episode.

Which shouldn’t be surprising, because The Flash’s extended cast is huge. With nine regular characters this season, sometimes a few of them will need to be shoved off-stage if the rest are going to get the space they need to tell a satisfying story in 40-something minutes.

But how did the cast get to be so large? Partly its due to the main cast established in the pilot episode (aside from Rick Cosnett’s Eddie Thawne) sticking with the show all this time; it easily has the lowest cast turnover of any series in the Arrowverse. But even with that consistent and reliable main cast, The Flash has always felt the need to add a couple new characters to the ensemble each season.

There’s a new villain each season, of course, as well as new versions of Harrison Wells. But each season, we also get a character who seems designed to be a new, permanent addition to Team Flash: Wally West, Julian Albert, Ralph Dibny, and now Nora West-Allen. Not all these additions stuck around for long, obviously, but enough of them have that the cast has begun to feel a little bloated.

It’s not hard to see why fresh blood is regularly injected into Team Flash. We’re coming up on one hundred episodes of this show, and with so many characters having been present for all those episodes, character dynamics could easily become stale. A new character will (hopefully) develop their own distinct relationships with each of the previously established characters, keeping things feeling fresh and alive.

But new characters bring something else, even more crucial, to the show: conflict.

As I’ve gone into before, The Flash is a show about family, about people who sincerely love each other and get along through good times and bad. There’s been conflict between them, of course, whether it’s Caitlin embracing her inner ice queen, Barry keeping his Flash identity hidden from Iris, or Cisco blaming Barry for everything in early Season 3. But our characters are such loving and good-hearted people, their feelings never stay hurt for long, they always forgive and make up in the end, and learn a lesson from the mistakes that pushed them apart. Sure, some characters have had to learn the same lesson multiple times, but it seems the writers’ have twigged that the fans really, really hate that, so lately we haven’t been seeing the same old conflicts play themselves out.

Now, you could theoretically make a version of The Flash where there were no major conflicts left among the main cast, where all the drama comes from external forces. But not only could that get dull, there’s far too much soap opera in the show’s DNA for that to ever be a realistic possibility.

Enter: new character. They don’t have an established history with our main cast. They haven’t been through a bunch of conflicts with them before and learned to iron out their differences. They’re allowed to clash with the rest of the heroes, to not necessarily like all of them, to not follow the unwritten rules about how members of Team Flash should behave, and they can cause the rest of the Get Along Gang to experience angst, irritation, resentment, or just plain confusion.

Every new cast member has served this function, bringing chaos and conflict to a group in danger of growing too comfortable with each other. Not all these additions have worked as well as was hoped. Julian Albert disappeared after a single season, and doesn’t seem terribly missed. Wally never became as interesting or as integral to the show as his comics pedigree would suggest. And while Ralph has grown to be a popular addition to the cast, for much of Season 4 his prominence felt a little forced, and his role as the perpetual screwup often forced Barry into buzzkill lecturer mode.

But now, in Season 5, we have Nora, and it looks like The Flash has finally gotten its new character alchemy down pat. In just four episodes, Nora has not only re-ignited The Flash’s sense of fun and excitement, but in this latest episode, has created some of the most emotionally powerful drama between our main characters since I-don’t-know-when.

Which is strange, because in many ways, she’s really just a do-over of Wally. A close family member to two of our main characters that they didn’t even know they had. A novice and somewhat reckless speedster who gets training under Barry. Someone bearing serious angst because of one parent that they never knew and another parent who’s kept a terrible secret from them. So why is Nora such an engaging presence, while Wally (despite having his moments) never quite gave the show new life the way Nora has these last four episodes?

Partly it’s due to how they’re connected to the other characters. Wally’s emotional connection was primarily to Joe, with Iris coming in second, and only very distantly to our main hero, Barry. If you watched Season 2 of The Flash without knowing from the comics or cartoons that Wally is destined to become a speedster superhero, he’d seem like a wholly tangential addition to the show. Nora, being the daughter of the lead character, just feels more important than the lead character’s quasi-adoptive brother. There’s also the fact that, while Barry and Iris never met Nora before now, she has a lifetime’s worth of memories of Iris, and grew up hearing stories about her father the Flash, giving her a connection to them beyond some shared DNA.

But a big part of it is also how they were presented to us. When Wally first appeared, all his angst and prickly relationships with his family were thrust front-and-center, and remained so for the duration of Season 2. We didn’t even get a hint that he could become the quippy, fun speedster from the comics until the start of Season 3, and his transformation into a hero was so tied into that season’s dour storyline, he never seemed to fully become what he was supposed to be.

By contrast, Nora came on the scene a fully-fledged, if inexperienced, hero. She already had her powers, her own costume and codename, and a boundless sense of fun and excitement at how amazing the world of superheroes could be. The show worked hard to make us like her, make us enjoy her presence, before gradually introducing the darker family drama surrounding her. It wasn’t until a good ways into the season premiere that we found out she never got to know her father, and while there have been hints all along that something is off between her and Iris, we don’t get the horrible backstory until now, when we’re invested enough in the relationship for what happened to hit home.

If the whole season continues to focus on Nora as heavily as these last four episodes have, she could wear out her welcome. Just as some characters had to be shoved aside to make room for this week’s stories, at some point she’ll need to step out of the limelight a bit and let the others have their turn. But for now, Nora has proven to be the best addition to The Flash since the series began, and is helping to deliver the mixture of giddy fun and earnest drama that made Season 1, at its best, so great, and that fans have been clamoring for a return to ever since. So to her, I say: godspeed.

Stray Observations:

  • I only briefly touched on the Ralph and Sherloque B-plot, but their banter was quite a lot of fun, and did a nice job establishing Sherloque as a good addition to the team. That he’s an insufferable, arrogant genius, but perfectly willing to give props to Ralph when props are due, is a nice twist on the character type we’ve come to expect from a Wells.
  • Iris and Barry are pretty quick to assume future-Iris must have had a good reason for dampening Nora’s powers, but they’ve both given and received so many pep talks about trusting yourself, it’s no surprise that Iris has taken that advice literally, and is trusting her future-self.
  • While I don’t disagree that what Iris did (will do? will have done?) must have been out of love, that doesn’t necessarily make it a good decision. I’m hoping future episodes have Iris remember the times Joe kept secrets from her out of love. Like not telling her Barry is the Flash, or, y’know, faking her mom’s death. The Wests are really bad about being honest with their kids, is what I’m saying.
  • I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the same episode we find out about the power dampening chip, we also find out Nora is gay. While Barry and Iris are perfectly chill about that revelation, the way Nora describes what the power dampening did to her, how it left her feeling that she was different from everyone else but didn’t know why, feeling that it was a tool to control her and keep her from who she really is . . . using superpowers as a metaphor for being gay is a long and respected tradition. I wouldn’t be surprised if sometime this season we get the line, “Have you tried not being a metahuman?”
  • Now that Nora’s getting out of her parents’ orbit a bit, I hope she and Caitlin hang out. They could definitely swap some stories about mothers.
  • Our bad-guy-of-the-week (I’ve read online that she was supposed to be called Spin, but, again, there was no Cisco around to name her) was a fun one-off baddie. More interesting than just another meta looking to rob places or get revenge, anyway.
  • Metaobjects is an interesting route to go, and opens up some possibilities, but it could also raise a few too many questions. Like, if Team Flash recovers a bunch of metaobjects from the bad guys, they could amass quite an arsenal of basically-magic equipment, enough so that you start to wonder why they can’t use it to solve all their problems.
  • The whole West-Allen breakfast scene was hilarious, but the best moment was Iris telling Barry, “I’ll make you a banana.” His confusion over that statement, and her sticking to it . . . it felt very real.
  • As for why Iris might have placed that power dampener inside Nora, well, that brings me to a special segment I like to call . . .

 

My Big Crazy-Ass Theory

Okay, this is a theory concerning where The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow may be heading.

Last season on Legends, it was established that Zari comes from a future where Argus controls the United States in an authoritarian regime, and among their many crimes against humanity, is rounding up all known metahumans for imprisonment and barbaric experiments. So far this season, Legends has been reminding us of this fact each episode, and by showing us a young Zari in the year 2018, driving home that her crapsack world isn’t that far in the future (in her introductory episode, Zari mentioned that metahumans have been illegal since 2021, which is only a couple years away).

Meanwhile, on The Flash, we have a villain who is obsessed with killing metahumans. We also have a reference to Central City’s mayor resigning, in a way that’s so shoehorned in, and so irrelevant to everything else in the episode, it has to be setting up a plot point for later. Most likely a new mayor character, or a mayoral election, or both, will figure into this season’s story arc.

And over on Arrow, we have Lyla’s vague allusions to something sinister going on at the highest levels of Argus.

Put all this together, and I can’t help but wonder if the Arrowverse shows (at least the ones set on Earth-1) are all building up to the rise of Argus and anti-metahuman hysteria.

Unless Cicada is pulling a Sylar and gains something tangible from murdering metahumans, it’s likely his killing spree is based on some sort of hatred of them. And if The Flash’s story arc this season involves Central City’s mayoral office, then one plot point could tie into the other, and discrimination against metahumans could become a mayoral candidate’s public policy. And if this occurs at the same time as Argus is making a turn from shady to outright villainous, as Lyla indicated, then we could be seeing the conditions that give birth to Zari’s future, a future where metahumans are outlawed and Argus rules with an iron fist.

I realize the reasons this is unlikely. The Arrowverse has never been interested in this sort of long-term interconnected storytelling. The closest they’ve come was Flashpoint causing the Diggle baby to change genders and for a message from future Barry to show up on the Waverider. But if they were to try something this ambitious, I think it could really pay off for them.

Obviously, any sort of effort to ban metahumans would have a big effect on The Flash, since so much of the cast falls into that category. But on Arrow, it could function like most Argus stories: something that occasionally gets an episode focused on it, but doesn’t normally fall within the orbit of our largely non-powered vigilantes. And Legends hops to different time periods so much, they’d only have to deal with Argus taking over America when traveling to the present, or when dealing with Zari’s backstory, not when they’re saving the Wooly Mammoths from Buffalo Bill or what-have-you.

So they could have this storyline stretch across all three shows, but without it feeling like all of them were doing the same thing all the time. And by having it affect so many different characters on different programs, the threat could feel far more massive than any individual show’s effort to build up its own villain. Plus, it would be a way to make these series feel like they’re all part of the same world without having to strain the actors with loads of crossover appearances.

And, you know, topical commentary and all that, blah blah blah.

That’s my big crazy-ass theory. Any thoughts?

 

MVP of the Week: Ben Lockwood

Supergirl - Man of Steel

Both the weakest and yet most interesting villain Supergirl has done.

Question of the Week: What are your favorite format breaking episodes? Ones that do something radically different from the structure or subject matter we normally get from these shows. Like one that’s mostly dream sequences, or that’s an extended flashback to someone’s childhood, or that takes place mostly in the split second after a nuclear bomb goes off.