Let’s Talk Arrowverse – Black Lightning Can Breathe in Space

Batwoman was off this week, but we still had Black Lightning, The Flash, and Superman & Lois, and, boy, was there some bonkers technobabble this week.

I thought Black Lightning’s talk about shifting energy states, reconstituting particles, and 3D printing a person was wild, but then The Flash came along and said, “Hold my beer.” Barry’s new speedthinking ability, aside from making him a total dick, also let him rattle off a whole season’s worth of nonsense science in a single episode. Compared to that, Superman & Lois saying Clark can “hear all the vibrations taking place in the collective sonic frequency” is downright plainspoken.

Some random thoughts on each episode:

Black Lightning 4×05: “The Book of Ruin: Chapter One”

  • I see Black Lightning is carrying on Arrow’s tradition of calling in Barry to superspeed-assist with small errands, but never when actually facing the bad guys.
  • I’m surprised they recast Jenn like this. I’d heard her actor was leaving the show, but since this is the last season, I figured they’d just write her out. At this point, we’re only going to have the new Jenn around for eight episodes.
  • The Pierce family is just the worst at marriages, huh? I’ll grant Jefferson and Lynn that they’ve got some very complicated issues they’re working through that would put any relationship on the rocks. But Anissa? You’ve been married to Grace for, what, a week? That is both way too soon to be this emotionally distant, and way too long not to tell your parents you have a wife now.

The Flash 7×02: “The Speed of Thought”

  • Wow, when they made a bust to hang Nash’s belt on, they went all in on the abs and pecs, huh? I mean, I’ve never seen Tom Cavanaugh shirtless, but I suspect that bust was being generous.
  • Here’s the thing about speedthinking: when you give that power to Barry Allen, God Emperor of Bad Decisions, you’re just enabling him to make twice as many bad decisions in half the time.
  • I wasn’t a fan of Barry’s superspeed brain sapping away his emotions. A character’s personality being altered by some external force can be interesting, if it either draws out a side of them we normally don’t get to see, or makes them act so outrageously out of character it’s amusing. This didn’t do either.
  • It was also kind of a retread of Clifford Devoe’s deal from Season 4. Given they referenced the Thinker’s chair at one point, it’s weird they didn’t point out to Barry how he was falling into the same trap.
  • All that said, I do like how they’re just running with the absurdity of different substances having their own emotions. Thawne built the Negative Speed Force out of negatively charged tachyons, so it causes all manner of negative emotions; the artificial Speed Force was built out of inert elements, so it renders all emotions inert. They’re one step away from introducing the Emotional Spectrum and canonizing green as the color of courage.
  • And I can’t end this without saying how awesome that Speedster Frost fight was. I just … I had a big grin on my face the whole time that was happening.

Superman & Lois 1×03: “The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower”

  • This episode’s climax was a very interesting development for the show. Till now, everything that happens in Smallville has been very grounded and down to earth, with the only fantastical elements being Superman himself and the day-saving he does elsewhere in the world. Establishing that the crooked businessman exploiting the town has superpowered assassins on his payroll (‘cause this is the Arrowverse, so of course he does) adds a new wrinkle to the small town drama.
  • Do you ever think about how lucky the heroes are that the bad guys they run into always happen to be on about the same level as them? Like, if Black Lightning or the Green Arrow had been investigating Morgan Edge, and they ran into a thug strong enough to toss around Superman, they’d be pancakes right now.
  • While it’s good to see Lois doing her intrepid reporter thing, I kinda felt bad for her editor. The Smallville Gazette is clearly hanging on by a thread, it just doubled its payroll costs by hiring Lois, and now that new employee refuses to work on any story except one that might not produce usable articles for weeks, if ever, and in the meantime is all but inviting a powerful billionaire to sue her for slander. That is not a good position to be in.
  • Between the discussion about using powers during football, and local newspaper lady getting a Wall of Weird going, this really cements that they’re going for a Smallville-but-they’re-all-grown-up vibe.
  • I’ve just now noticed that the versions of the episodes I’ve been watching on the CW’s website are labeled as Extended Cuts. Anyone know how they differ from the broadcast version?

Question of the Week: Of all the ways the Arrowverse has written actors out, what’s your favorite? Suddenly has a new face? Heroic sacrifice? Mysterious disappearance? Took a job out of state? Inquiring minds want to know!