Supergirl 4×20: “Will the Real Miss Tessmacher Please Stand Up?”, Arrow 7×21: “Living Proof”, The Flash 5×21: “The Girl with the Red Lightning”, and Legends of Tomorrow 4×14: “Nip/Stuck” reviews
This week in the Arrowverse, Gary Green is all the man we need.
Supergirl 4×20: “Will the Real Miss Tessmacher Please Stand Up?” review
Gary Green did not appear in this week’s Supergirl. That’s an almost unpardonable offense right there. What episode could ever be complete without his dry wit, steely resolve, noble spirit, and Hemsworthian physique?
But even if, for some perverse reason, the episode wanted to proceed without Gary Green, couldn’t it at least have found room for Lex Luthor or Red Daughter?
I understand why Lex has been offscreen for a while now; they could only get Jon Cryer for so many episodes. But Red Daughter is just Melissa Benoist doing a Russian accent; she could easily have been in this episode, or in either of the last couple episodes, yet for some reason she isn’t. Perhaps Supergirl’s trying not to blow its wad too soon, but by keeping its major villains off-camera for so long, this deep into the season’s endgame, it’s starting to feel like the story has stalled out.
Two weeks ago, we had an episode where Kara and Lena went looking for info on Lex at a (supposedly) secure facility. They found a bunch of documents they had to search through, as well as a secret room and a disguised button, but were interrupted by one of Lex’s minions, and had to flee before the place blew up. And now, we’ve got ‘em doing the same damn thing, just replacing “prison” with “military base” and “Otis Graves” with “Eve Tessmacher”.
Why are they going through such achingly similar story beats? Well, the show’s trying to keep the Lex & Red Daughter plot going, but until those characters start appearing again, that story can’t really advance. So instead of moving the story forward, we’re stuck with Kara and Lena verrrrrrrrrrry slooooooooowly piecing together a bunch of information that we, the audience, already know. To keep that from being completely boring, Eve or Otis gets thrown into the mix, giving us a few fight scenes and some big explosions, creating the illusion that stuff is happening.
It’s not until episode’s end, when President Baker reveals his villainy, that we get an actual development in this storyline. That’s intriguing, to be sure, but it feels like we could have gotten here in half the time. Or at least, spent a lot less of that time on our heroes looking through files and walking down grey, concrete corridors.
If they can’t get Jon Cryer back until the finale, and if Melissa Benoist doesn’t want to do a Russian accent every week . . . well, as amazing as those two were in “Red Daughter”, maybe it was a mistake to build a major story arc around characters who can’t actually appear for most of it.
Although, they could always just recast those parts. But, you might be wondering, who could possibly be a better Lex Luthor than Jon Cryer? Or pass convincingly as Melissa Benoist’s double?
Why, Gary Green, of course. He’s all the man we need.
- Alex’s story this episode was weird. It gave us some nice bonding between her and Kelly, and it remembered that Alex wanting to be a mom is supposed to be this whole big thing. But did she seriously leave the DEO leaderless while they’re in the middle of martial law? Or not get any calls or texts about what Ben Lockwood was doing in her absence? And what is up with Kelly? She’s only known Alex a few weeks; most people won’t even help you move that early in the friendship, but Kelly’s accompanying Alex out-of-town to await the birth of her potential new baby, which is like three or four tiers beyond that.
- It seems all but certain that Kelly will be Alex’s new love interest, but it would be kinda neat if the Arrowverse could have two lesbian or bisexual women meet each other without hooking up.
- Sam Witwer delivered an amazing performance this week. The way he plays Ben Lockwood, as a man still half in a daze even as he goes further than ever with his crusade, taking any sort of action he can so he won’t have to deal with his wife’s death . . . it’s so masterfully done, I’m tempted to call it Gary-esque.
- Between the episode title, the shoehorned in exposition about Kopy’s powers, and the glitchy, ditzy Eve in Kaznia, did anyone not see the Eve-with-Kopy’s-powers thing coming?
- I’ve seen the weapon-concealed-in-heel-of-shoe trope before, but Lena may have the most elaborate and badass example ever. Though, shouldn’t she have taken off her other heel, too, for the sake of balance?
- Don’t know where this James-with-superpowers plot is heading, but seeing Nia gleefully testing his invulnerability is fantastic stuff. “Now, I’m gonna hit you with this, and we’re gonna see what happens.”
- Kara seems pretty certain there’s good inside Red Daughter, saying she’s what Kara could have become if her pod had landed somewhere different. Except we’ve already seen what becomes of Kara if her pod lands in a totalitarian regime: you get Overgirl, and Kara didn’t seem to eager to find the good in her.
- Given my whole review last week was about frustration with Kara keeping her secret identity from Lena, the ending here where Kara almost reveals it but backs out at the last second . . . GAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRGH!!!
- Gary Green is all the man we need.
Arrow 7×21: “Living Proof” review
Gary would have given Oliver much better advice.
Look, I’m sure we’re all excited to see Tommy back. It’s been far too long since Oliver hallucinated him into existence. Those two have terrific rapport together, and Hallucination!Tommy can cut through Oliver’s bullsh*t and get to the heart of him like no one else can. All their scenes together are a joy to watch . . . so long as you don’t pay attention to what Tommy’s actually saying.
Because if there’s one lesson that Oliver does not need to learn, it’s “Put your family first.” The guy has been doing almost nothing but that since the series began. Tommy urges Oliver not to give up on Emiko because she’s his sister, but giving up on his sister would actually indicate growth on Oliver’s part. It would show that he’s stopped putting his incredibly screwed up family on a pedestal, that he’s no longer letting his loyalty to them keep him from doing what’s right for the city.
If Gary Green, that unimpeachable font of wisdom and sparkling bon mots, had been in this episode, he would have told Oliver that an unreasoning devotion to his family has always been one of his central character flaws. He’d remind Oliver that Tommy died, not just because he refused to see his father as a villain, but because Oliver refused to see his own mother as a villain. Oliver knew that Moira was involved in a criminal enterprise for months prior to the Undertaking, yet until the last minute, he failed to pursue this lead, not wanting to find anything that would incriminate his mother. And because of his loyalty to her, over five hundred people, including Oliver’s best friend, were killed.
Gary might also have reminded Oliver of the events of Season 3, where everything that happened with Ra’s al Ghul, including Oliver joining the League of Assassins, was born of his obsessive need to protect Thea. Not just protect her from actual harm, but protect her from seeing her birth father, Malcolm Merlyn, killed, assuming she would have the same instinctive and unbreakable attachment to family that he has. How many people died because Oliver relentlessly put his sister first?
Time and again, Oliver has prioritized those he considers family over everything else. Even Roy, though he shares no blood connection, is someone Oliver felt he absolutely had to protect, even if it meant covering up two murders, turning Team Arrow into wanted criminals, and destroying everything they’ve worked to build over the last year. If you’re part of Oliver’s family, he will protect you, no matter how stupid or insane it may be.
So when we saw Oliver put an arrow in Emiko’s chest, it’s a shocking moment. But more, it felt like a transformative moment. Oliver had at last reached a point where family did not trump everything else. A point where stopping a villain, an unrepentant murderer, someone planning mass destruction for the pettiest of reasons, had to come before his own feelings of loyalty. In taking his own sister’s life, Oliver seemed to have reached a turning point, to become a different sort of man than the one he’s always been. It was a thrilling and, if I’m being honest, satisfying moment to witness.
But it didn’t happen, of course. Killing Emiko was just another hallucination. And by episode’s end, Oliver’s hallucinations have convinced him to turn away from that course. They’ve convinced him to double down on his unquestioning loyalty to family. Convinced him to gamble the lives of everyone in Star City on the hope that he can get Emiko to redeem herself, because she’s family, and she has to come first.
That is beyond frustrating; it’s maddening. They’re taking Oliver’s most persistent flaw, and acting like it’s a virtue. They brought him to the cusp of genuine character growth, breaking him from his old patterns and obsessions, only to steer him back to his old ways harder than ever, all the while expecting us to go, “Whew, glad we dodged that bullet!”
Gary would be very disappointed.
- Normally, after the “Previously on . . .” segment ends, the sound cuts out and the screen very briefly goes black before the episode proper starts. Here, since “Living Proof” picks up right where “Confessions” left off, the transition is made so seamless, you’d be forgiven for not realizing right away that the “Previously on . . .” had ended.
- Do you suppose the Archer-controlled kill-bot program being called “Zeta” was a reference to Batman Beyond spinoff The Zeta Project? And did you ever think you’d see anything reference The Zeta Project?
- This episode also had Alena actually say the words “Justice League”. That’s a first for the Arrowverse, right?
- While I’m sure it’s because Colin Donnell just happens to have a beard right now, I like to think that Oliver imagined Tommy with a beard to give him a sense of wisdom and authority he never really had in life.
- Gary Green is all the man we need.
The Flash 5×21: “The Girl with the Red Lightning” review
This is another Gary-less outing, folks. With all the timey-wimey crap going on in this story arc, surely our man Gary ought to be on the scene, cracking heads, cracking wise, and showing everyone how a real man of action fixes a time paradox. If Team Flash had called in Gary, this whole Cicada storyline could have been cleared up ages ago. Lord knows it could stand being cut short.
I don’t want to rag on Cicada too much this week, because for this episode, she serves her purpose well: an imminent threat that forces Team Flash into action, throwing together a lot of half-baked plans, hoping to find one that sticks. It’s just that, we’re in the penultimate episode of the season, and it feels like at this point, there should be a more to Cicada than just that.
Her personality remains very thinly developed. We’re shown that she’s filled with anger (which, obvious) and that, despite her physical age, she’s still very much got a child’s mentality going on, lashing out at metahumans in what is, essentially, a giant temper tantrum. That’s a good starting point for developing a villain, but there’s not enough time here to do much with it. Cicada (both versions) remains a very two-dimensional character, without much in the way of supervillain pizzazz to make up for it.
And as a threat, while she’s clearly badass and has a plan to kill thousands of people, she doesn’t quite feel end-of-season main-threat dangerous. I know not everyone enjoyed the Thinker as much as I did, but at least his ultra-super-next-level intelligence and horde of stolen superpowers created genuine “How can our heroes possibly beat this guy?” tension. Cicada’s tough, but not so tough that Team Flash can’t beat her in a straight up fight, without needing any fancy, outside-the-box tricks. Even her big superweapon is just a little handheld sphere; it doesn’t pack the same visual menace as the Thinker’s satellite array or Zoom’s giant multiverse-ending ring.
We’ve been watching Team Flash tangle with one version of Cicada or another all season, but neither version has ever felt compelling enough to justify so much focus and importance being placed upon them. And maybe that’s because, in the backs of the writers’ minds, they knew she wasn’t going to be the real villain of the season.
That honor, of course, goes to Eobard Thawne. While we’ve all suspected it, we at last have confirmation that Thawne has engineered the whole Cicada plot, using our supposed main villain as a pawn to free him from a death sentence. The moments where Ralph starts putting together what Thawne’s planning, those are the moments where this episode truly comes alive, where it feels like we’re watching the buildup to an epic conclusion for the season, rather than the run-of-the-mill-but-with-slightly-higher-stakes vibe running through most of the Cicada plot. And it is so frustrating when Barry brushes aside Ralph’s Thawne-related revelations to focus solely on Cicada.
Gary would have listened to you Ralph. He knows what it’s like to be unappreciated in the workplace, and how to make Barry and the others finally start respecting you. Tell me, how attached are you to your nipples?
- So which do you like better for Grace’s nickname: Cicada 2 or Shecada?
- All my griping aside, the big Team Flash vs. Cicada battle at CCPD was pretty cool.
- Cisco just sent the core of the Star Labs satellite, a piece of advanced technology filled with dark matter (and possibly the digitized consciousness of the Thinker) into some unknown part of reality. That will certainly never bite them in the ass! I did like that he at least took some safety precautions while testing the Mirror Gun, though.
- It’s super weird that Sherloque and Rene’s romance happened entirely off-screen, right?
- Do you suppose the writers are planning to give Joe a promotion? It’s the only reason I can think why they devoted so much of this episode to him having to display management skills.
- If I may speak on a purely prurient level for a moment: I want Jessica Parker Kennedy to never not be wearing that green shirt.
- Gary Green is all the man we need.
Legends of Tomorrow 4×14: “Nip/Stuck” review
Aw, now this is more like it. I managed to endure Supergirl, Arrow, and The Flash this week. I even managed to enjoy them, despite their complete lack of Gary. But Legends, at last, gives us what we all came here for: the man, the legend, the man, Gary Green.
Well, it gives us a little of him.
We start off with some classic Gary, marching into the Time Bureau, taking care of business, showing everyone who’s boss. But then he disappears for most of the episode, only returning near the end when that wretched, horrible, contemptible traitor Mona gets her performance review. The middle portion of the episode is sadly lacking the magnificence that is Gary. Instead we get a low-key Invasion of the Body Snatchers riff (well, from Mona’s perspective; obviously she’s completely mistaken and the “nipnotized” people have only been awoken to the Truth and the Light that is Gary Green). And it’s interesting and funny in places, but not quite enough is done with it, not until the climax when our hero Gary finally faces off with her.
A similar pattern is followed in the other two plots (I’m not sure why I’m discussing them, since neither of them involve Gary, but oh well). Whether it’s Constantine held captive at Stonehenge, the Legends being snowed in at the Donner Pass, or delusional Mona feeling surrounded at the rapidly Gary-ized Bureau, this is an episode about characters being trapped somewhere and needing to come to an emotional realization about themselves to escape. The Legends need to learn how important Ray’s optimistic spirit was to their group, Constantine needs to accept his own heroic nature, and Mona needs to start seeing her Wolfy side as an ally rather than an affliction.
All these moments of realization are fantastic, and the episode kicks into high gear, both dramatically and comedically, once they arrive. It’s just the time spent building up to these moments isn’t quite as exciting. It’s never boring, there’s still lots of fun stuff happening, but seeing our characters trapped and threatened with death or “nipnotizing” never feels as desperate or dangerous as it was probably meant to. The Legends are supposedly freezing to death, but it never feels like they’re being much more than inconvenienced, and while Mona thinks something seriously wrong is going on at the Time Bureau, no one there is doing anything different other than saying “Gary Green is all the man we need” (which, c’mon, he is all the man we need).
It doesn’t feel like the episode’s heart is really in showing us characters trapped in desperate circumstances. It’s only when they start busting out of those circumstances that the episode truly becomes great, whether it’s John bonding with the Puca, Mick and Sara realizing they’re the last of the original Legends, everyone playing Cards To Save The Timeline, or the unimaginable horror and tragedy of Mona biting off Gary’s nipple (Never Forget, Never Forgive).
- Gary Green is all the man we need.
- I’m disappointed in Ava for so quickly turning on Gary to side with Mona’s preposterous conspiracy theory about demonic hypnotism. Still, she coined the word “nipnotize”, so I can’t be entirely upset with her.
- Gary Green is all the man we need.
- Based on that ending scene . . . Hell is just Detroit with a red filter?
- All the man we need is Gary Green.
- Nora’s first day at the Time Bureau was a hoot. How many photos do you suppose they had to take of Courtney Ford before getting one that looked that believably awful?
- Gary Green = All The Man We Need
- The Fairy Godmother being Tabitha was a surprise and a delight, especially when she started sucking face with Neron!Ray. It’s gonna be interesting to see her as a good guy now, helping protect Gary from Mona’s relentless persecution.
- Who is all the man we need? Gary Green!
- Some might see Gary’s behavior in this episode as a parallel for sexual harassment, or draw comparisons between him and Evil Peter Parker from Spider-Man 3. Such people are liars and crackpots, and we shall speak no more of them!
- Because Gary Green is all the man we need.
MVP of the Week: Gary Green
He’s all the man you need.
Question of the Week: Is Gary Green all the man we need?