Let’s Talk Arrowverse – It’s Like Cheers Meets Thunderdome

Batwoman 3×10: “Toxic”

When you think about it, it’s amazing how much Batwoman has reinvented itself over the course of three seasons. Obviously, there was a big shift going from Season 1 to Season 2, what with changing the lead character and all. But Season 3 has shifted the show yet again.

The first season was built around the Kane family psycho-drama, and the second went all in on socio-political commentary. There are still elements of those in play, and the show can still get quite dark (oh, poor sweet Mary, you are in for a time) but the season has overall had more of a focus on fun superheroics.

Bringing villains with genuine superpowers into the mix is obviously part of that; fighting giant plant vines can’t help being a little goofier than fist/knife/gunfights. But there also seems to be a general shift in approach. While Poison Ivy has some fraught history with Renee, and is motivated by social/ecological problems, this episode doesn’t go as heavy with that as it would in seasons past. Compared to, say, August Cartwright or Safiyah, her story wraps up with remarkably little trauma for all involved (except, again, for poor sweet Mary).

And I’m for this change. Looking back, one of the biggest things Batwoman has struggled with has been keeping the heightened superheroics it occasionally trots out from getting lost in the morass of dark!angst!darkangstydarkness!, and it’s nice to see them leaning more into the other side of things.

  • Mentioning Coryana just reminds me that Safiyah’s still laying somewhere in a Gotham junkyard, with a magic dagger in her heart that will bring her back to life if someone pulls it out. I wonder if that’ll ever get brought up again.
  • So … they’re not even gonna try locking Alice up anymore, are they?
  • I like that when Jada tried ruining Ryan’s career earlier, and here when she tries ruining Batwoman’s, she doesn’t spread lies about them. She just tells the public about the genuinely shady stuff they’ve done. She may be doing it for revenge and to assert dominance, but she’s not, y’know, wrong.
  • It bears saying one more time: poor, sweet Mary.

Legends of Tomorrow 7×10: “The Fixed Point”

Definitely my favorite episode of the season so far!

The Fixed Point is one of the most creative things they’ve done with time travel in a long time, and helps build a nice little mystery heading into the climax. What’s more, by making it a bar where people drink and socialize before heading into action, it provides a natural opportunity for the characters to spend time just talking with each other, which leads to lots of great moments. Nate supporting Sara, Spooner and Zari bonding, Ava helping Gwynn work through his my-religion-says-what-I-am-is-a-sin thing: all fantastic stuff.

And they put in so many hilarious bits, too! Nate’s diagram, Gideon’s existential crisis, Sara’s Wile E. Coyote schtick, “Topics”. An absolute hoot.

I could go on a long while listing everything I loved about this episode, but I’ll try to limit myself to just a few more:

  • So good seeing Matt Letscher back as Thawne. And, hey! We finally got an explanation for how he came back to life between Legends Season 2 and Crisis on Earth-X. Still don’t know how he gets his speed back and out of his fixed point guardian role (and it’s entirely possible this season will kill him off again) but those are easier to handwave than being erased from existence.
  • Spooner being asexual … kinda saw it coming. She’s been around almost two seasons now, and not only hasn’t she been paired up with anyone, they’ve never given her any of those obvious these-two-like-like-each-other hints that the show always does when setting up a couple. That might be an Arrowverse record.
  • It’s been a long time since we’ve seen any time travelers that weren’t the Big Bad of the season, but just normal folk who happen to have a time machine. I think the last one we saw was the Mama Dominator who came to pick up Gumball.
  • It’s subtle, but I like the implication that, in the original timeline, Ferdinand was assassinated on the first attempt, and our recorded version of history, where the assassins botch the whole thing, only to improbably succeed while out for lunch, is the result of time travelers screwing things up, and Time/Thawne screwing ’em back down.
  • Ava talked about “if there’s a God”, but, like, the Legends have encountered multiple gods and divine artifacts before: the ashes of Kamadeva, the mystical blood of Jesus, frat boy Dionysus. Plus, y’know, there’s Hell, right there outside the door. Not much room for agnosticism in the Arrowverse.
  • Legends of Tomorrow often reminds me of The Good Place, and Gideon freaking out over there being something about time travel she doesn’t understand? Definitely reminds me of Janet struggling with not knowing something “because the whole point of me is that I know everything!”

Superman & Lois 2×03: “The Thing in the Mines”

Things are still progressing slowly (got that streaming service style whole-thing’s-a-stretched-out-movie pace going on), but I’m liking most of what we’re getting.

  • Everyone was betting it was Doomsday down in the mine, so it being Bizarro (but, like, Goth Bizarro) was a nice twist.
  • A dangerous cult recruiter named Allison you say? Tell me more, show set in Smallville.
  • “Is there anyone else you can call?” Most of the time, I’m cool with stories ignoring the whole shared universe thing when it would get in the way of heroes handling stuff on their own. But, c’mon, don’t call attention to it!
  • Speaking of the shared universe, I wonder if all superpowers in this series will come from Krypton in some way, despite so many other options out there. Like, the military’s knockoff Supermen: were they all exposed to X-Kryptonite, or do some have different origins and powers?
  • And speaking of X-Kryptonite and powers … please tell me Jonathan’s just looking for evidence about what’s going on there. Please tell me we’re not in for a steroid metaphor plot.

Question of the Week: What’s been the most egregious “they really should have called in another hero for this” moment?