Crisis Management: “Crisis On Infinite Earths Parts 1-3”; Black Lightning Week 9

IT’S HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Somewhere in time, little Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim lay in their beds dreaming of heroes. They got their shot to tell their hero story when The CW wanted to follow up Smallville with a more grounded superhero story and landed on a Green Arrow show, that was basically a Batman show with a touch of Lost.

I don’t think when Oliver Queen became something else, they had this cold open in mind (How could they? No one could have predicted this), but it’s spectacular. The Monitor explains the explains the origin of the multiverse, and we jump to Gotham, on Earth-89, the Batsignal blares in the red sky, then it’s Earth 9, where Hawk and Robin (TITANS!) gape at the same. The Ray on Earth-X (no Citizen Cold though. Damnit!) And then Earth 66, New York City, where an aging Dick Grayson (BURT WARD) gasps, “Holy Crimson Skies Of Death.”

The Crisis has begun. I’m sitting on my couch in Montclair, New Jersey, sipping on a cup of coffee, sobbing. TV has always been my main source for the DC heroes who are my favorites. Reruns of Batman, afternoon syndication of Batman: The Animated Series, Saturday morning first run of Batman Beyond , then Smallville and then The Arrowverse.

Anyway, let’s move on to the rest of the first episode. Which is good, though, doesn’t quite live up to that spectacular opening.

Part 1 (Supergirl, Season 5, Episode 9)

Lyla as Harbinger is travelling around gathering the heroes. Before she can get to Earth-38, Kara, Alex, J’onn and Brainy try to reach out to Argo in order to warn Clark and Lois what’s about to happen. We flash to Argo where they’re playing with baby Jonathan. After the warning, Clark, Lois, and Alara (Seeing Elizabeth Tulloch and Erica Durance hug was another tearful moment!) Tyler Hoechlin continues to be amazing as Clark. The new parents and grand aunt put the baby in a pod and send him towards Earth, quoting Superman the movie. SO MANY TEARS!

The other intros work in their way, Kate shaking down a Wonderland gang member, Barry surrendering, knowing it’s time, Sara and Ray losing at bar trivia due to a time anomaly Ray created at Woodstock. (The most Legends-y intro they could possibly get.) Oliver and Mia on the beach in Lian-Yu.

They get to Earth-38 and Alex and J’onn spearhead an evacuation to Earth-1, Alex recruiting Lena to build the portal. (Will Lena see Lex? I hope so!) Meanwhile, Brainy has tracked Jon’s pod to Earth-16, Star City, the year 2046. Sara, Lois and Brainy go to get the baby, and Sara and Oliver have a moment of resolution. She assures him that their trip on The Queen’s Gambit was lifechanging and magical. Again, I cry.

On Earth 38, the heroes make their stand, fighting shadow warriors. Also Oliver gives Mia a Green Arrow suit. They don’t save Earth-38, but they do evacuate something like 3 billion people. Which is exceptional. But in the fight, Oliver is mortally wounded.

That’s right, in the first episode of Crisis On Infinite Earths, Oliver Queen, The Green Arrow, dies. It’s emotional, but I’m guessing there’s still more to think about. Anyway, I cried a lot.

The episode had a lot to do setting things up. I do wish Clark and Ray seeing each other for the first time had gotten a bit more of a beat. But I guess we’re saving that for the Kingdom Come stuff. Which I’m OK with. Seriously though, that cold open was amazing, it’s a high bar for the rest of the crossover to clear.

Part 2 (Batwoman, Season 1, Episode 9)

I mentioned in the intro that I mainly associate my DC fandom with Batman: The Animated Series and Smallville, which is how I knew this episode was going to be a lot for me. It’s also a heavy Sara episode, and includes Constantine, and Mick Rory, and an alternate Waverider where instead of Gideon, Leonard Snart is the AI.

So, I like this one.

Anyway, The Monitor tells our heroes that they need to find the paragons across the multiverse. (While Baby Jon cries.) We have two already, Kara is the paragon of hope and Sara is the paragon of destiny, they need to find a Kryptonian who is the paragon of truth, and the paragon of courage, “The Bat Of The Future.” Lois, Iris and Clark go looking for Supermen, and Kate and Kara go to find a future version of Bruce Wayne.

Meanwhile, Lex gets his hand on the book of destiny and is a step ahead of the the Super-team, trying to kill all the Supermen. When they reach The Kent Farm of Earth-167, (Smallville) that Clark is chopping wood, and Earth-38 Clark notes that he could do that with his bare hands. They tried to suss out if he’s the Supes they’re looking for, but then Lex shows up.

Clark kind of sighs loudly as Earth-38 Lex begins lecturing him about their destiny as enemies, living parallel lives, written in the stars, and then he reveals some Kryptonite which DOES NOTHING, because this Clark gave up his powers to be a dad. OF COURSE HE DID. The Clark Kent of Smallville hated being a superhero. He and Lois walk into the house, living happily ever after, which kind of sucks but is also a nice ending for them.

On Earth-96, team find the supermen, goes to the Daily Planet, where they encounter an older Clark again, this one, who looks like Ray Palmer. It’s a tremendous gift to see Brandon Routh be perfect as Superman once again, this Supes having lost everyone he ever loved to a chemical attack by The Joker. (Like Ryan Reynolds, Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, Routh was good casting let down by a bad movie) Lex shows up and makes the two Supermen fight eachother. Once they get his head on straight they bring him back, he’s our Paragon of Truth. (Fun detail, Lois is charmed by all of the Clarks, not just hers. She gets kinda flirty with Welling and Routh.)

In Gotham of Earth-99, Kate and Kara hit Wayne Manor, where they find a shirtlesss Luke Fox and Bruce in an exo suit. (That we hear Kevin Conroy’s voice before we see him is a nice touch. We learn that is this reality, Bruce was irrevocably injured after killing Superman, and Kate tried to follow in his footsteps and was killed. Conroy is perfect, obviously, and his switch from tired cynicism to unhinged evil is pretty great. After Kara confronts Bruce, a fight ensues and Bruce dies. After returning to the Waverider it’s revealed that Kate is in fact the Paragon of Courage. I AM SHOCKED I TELL YOU! (Also on a fun note, Kara thinks Luke is cute, which Kate thinks is weird. Luke is cute, and if Kara stays on Earth-1 I could see them developing into something. Though developments elsewhere suggest the multi-verse will be destroyed.)

Speaking of Earth-1, Mia and Sara need to find a Lazarus pit because Mia is determined to resurrect Oliver, they find one on Earth-18, which is guarded by Jonah Hex, they fight him and it’s awesome, and Constantine does a spell to restore his soul, it doesn’t work, so that’ll be fun. Barry is on this errand too, but he doesn’t do much but mope.

Black Lightning: Season 3: Episode 9: “The Book of Resistance: Chapter 4: Earth Crisis”

Like Supergirl in past crossovers, Black Lighting’s role is going to be limited, and the show has always kind of done it’s own thing anyway, but they do a great job of using the trappings of Crisis, to explore their themes of family, war and the cycle of violence. Jen finds herself confronted with a red sky and goes into a coma, where she is brought to an in between place, confronted by two alternate versions of herself. Earth-1 Gen, who poisoned Freeland’s water supply to cure metas and wound up in ASA custody, and Earth-2 Jinn, who fully embraced the path that our Jen is on, becoming a living weapon for Odell.

Earth-1 is a real bummer for the Pierce family. Because of Gen’s activities, Anissa opted to stay closeted, because this Jeff is much more political and a criminal and a lesbian would be too much of a liability. (Oddly, Earth-1 Alex was closeted as well. We’re so used to Sara, Nyssa, Ava, William and Curtis, perhaps the Team Arrow is more tolerant than the rest of their world. Is Earth-1 really conservative? Captain Singh is married to a man though…but Sophie stayed closeted in the military…) Lynn and Jeff never got back together, and an ASA raid on Christmas Eve gets Jeff shot and killed.

Earth-2 tells a familiar story, Jinn actually reminds me a lot of Not-Laurel, she’s all bravado and murder to cover up her soft beating heart. Things turn so that she herself winds up killing her father, on Odell’s orders, while she recites, “Who’s life is it? What am I going to do with it?”

Our Jen tries to calm her doppelgangers and learns that she needs to stand up for herself, and that her family is the most important thing, but she doesn’t wake up in time, and the world is consumed by the Crisis, as Jeff is blinked out of existence. (My guess, he’s on the Earth-74 waverider which is currently parked on Earth-1.)

Part 3 (The Flash, Season 6, Episode 9)

I once joked but didn’t really joke that I would just watch a show that was John Diggle yelling at people. Bad guys, good guys, people who were too slow delivering food. Each episode would begin with Digg staring someone down and saying, “Now, you listen here,” and THANK GOD, his arrival on The Waverider, finding out that Oliver died and was resurrected and that Lyla was missing, lead to him yelling at both Sara and The Monitor. In fact his rant to Mornobu even began with that epic “No, you listen, I am not losing Oliver and Lyla.” (My joke was, “Now you listen here, my wife and children are hungry and we ordered this pizza 45 minutes ago with a promise that it would be in here in 30.” Said pizza guy would then retreat in tears, but Lyla and Baby Sara or JJ depending on where on the Flashpoint timeline you are, would have pizza.)

We’ll get to Diggle who inexplicably still doesn’t have a Green Lantern ring (WTF?) in a bit. We’ll start with yet another spectacular cold open, The Huntress (ASHLEY SCOTT! From the Birds Of Prey show I do not care for!) runs from an anti matter wave, talking over com to Oracle (who I did like on that show!) saying she won’t make it, she loses contact before she gets there.

Back on the Waverider, after Digg hands Sara here ass. (Metaphorically, he probably couldn’t beat her in a fight, let’s be honest here. He’s good, I love him, but he can’t beat her.) The heroes regroup, and discuss their next steps. Ray announces that the Paragon Detector is ready. HOORAY! They find out that the other paragons are Honor (J’onn), Love (Barry. BARRY AND IRIS’S LOVE OUTSHINES THE SUN!) and Humanity (Ryan Choi!) Iris, Ray and Ralph head to Ivy Town to find Ryan Choi, who immediately fanboys out on Ray. (As he’s likely to pick up the Atom Suit when Routh leaves, this is a fun intro for him)

The Monitor gives Cisco back his powers bascically because, “Your reasons are stupid, You’re Vibe.” (I agree with The Monitor and Cranky Cisco is fun!) so Cisco, Killer Frost and Barry head to find the source of the Anti-Matter Wave. (This is after Pariah and and Lyla, now infected by the Anti-Monitor fight. Poor Digg.) When they find it, they are SHOCKED, SHOCKED I say, to find The Barry Allen of Earth-90 (John Wesley Shipp!) powering the Anti-Monitor’s weapon with a cosmic treadmill. They free him but that basically activates a suicide mode. OH NO! Also appearing as if from nowhere, Jefferson Pierce! Jeff quickly freaks out that he was the only one saved. “Lynn, my daughters!” But he helps the Flashes and their friends shut down the ray, but it’s not quite enough. The Flash of Earth-90 decides to take our Barry’s speed in order to save him and run out the clock. Barry objects, strenuously, but Barry-90 does his thing, and we get a quick clip from The Flash as his story ends.

After all of this Jeff and Barry bond, talking about their fathers, their odd situations and quoting Dylan Thomas. That the surviving group of heroes view themselves as those raging against the dying of the light is wonderful. Fighting that darkness the hardest is Kara, who is considering teaming up with Lex to use the book of destiny to rebuild their Earth. Kate talks her down, telling her that she’d fight her if she needs to. The way they’re mirroring the traditional Batman/Superman relationship with these two is great, twisting to fit Kara and Kate in ways that it never quite would with Bruce and Clark. Kate eventually confesses to Kara that she’s carrying Kryptonite, which she stole from the Bruce of Earth-99, Kara says that she trusts her with it.

While all of this is happening (this episode is PACKED) Digg, Mia and Constantine go to Earth-666 and get a pass to Purgatory from Lucifer (Tom Ellis! I don’t watch Lucifer but my understanding is that I would probably like it a lot.) Turn out purgatory is Lian-Yu! Convenient! They find Oliver, Digg gives him a lecture about brotherhood and being their for eachother, and he finds himself again, but then they are confronted by Jim Corrigan, (THE SPECTRE) who explains that Oliver has to become…Something Else. (My name is Oliver Queen…)

As the Anti-Monitor succeeds in wiping out Earth-1, our paragons are taken to The Vanishing Point. (See Legends.) As they begin to get their bearings, Clark-96 begins to fall and disappear in red light, and he transforms into Lex! Kara is pissed but they have bigger fish to fry, they have to restore the universe.

And that’s it. That’s the cliff hanger, all worlds have been consumed 6 heroes and Lex Luthor have to stand.

We’re checked out until January 14. I’m really glad I managed to keep up this season, y’all. Particularly glad I reinvested in Arrow, as Mia has been a delight in the crossover.

Random Notes:

  • Lois despairs being in the middle of the greatest news story in history and not being able to report it. The Monitor nods that this is indeed quite a lot, she then asks him for his story. He gives her bits of it, and remarks that he sees why she’s the greatest.
  • The cameos were pretty wonderful. People we’ve heard might be around but we haven’t seen yet includes Lynda Carter. Welling and Durance’s scene has really grown on me and Conroy was perfection. Burt Ward kicking things off and Ashley Scott getting her due was incredible. Truly though, John Wesley Shipp & Brandon Routh owned the returns. Shipp’s history on The Flash as Henry Allen and Jay Garrick does contribute to his hitting home, and Routh getting to redeem his Superman was such a gift.
  • I continue to be worried about Jen and Khalil. I will always worry about Jen and Khalil
  • Non DC-Verse cameos include Wil Wheaton as a doomsdayer and one of the guys from The Tick, also Ryan Choi is played by Osric Chau who played Kevin Chen on Supernatural, and so now I’m going to be worried about him a lot too, because Kevin was a very worrisome character.

OK, Thanks everyone for putting up with my ramblings this half season. Thanks especially to my IRL friends and family and coworkers who nodded politely while I went through twitch fits regarding the Arrow catch up.

Whether I track the back half of the seasons is going to depend a lot on how things shake out in January. We’ll talk.

Crisis Management: Batwoman, Supergirl, Black Lightning & The Flash Week 8; Arrow Week 7

Batwoman: Season 1: Episode 8: “A Mad Tea Party”

Things have come to a head between Kate, Jake and Alice this episode. Kate has to finally accept a few things about her sister and in the process they lose something that while strained was probably precious to them.

Alice declares she’s about to have her greatest tea party, while torturing Jake, Mouse is impersonating Jake at the moment and there’s a big fancy Gotham Gala about to hit which is honoring Katherine. Kate is refusing to go, despite Mary’s urging that they’re still a family.

Poor Mary.

ANYWAY, Alice captures Mary and Katherine at the gala and forces them to drink poisoned champagne which leads to Katherine’s death after confessing that she was trying to spare Kate and Jake pain, by faking Beth’s death confirmation. Mary is devesated, and through Mouse’s machinations, Jake is imprisoned. Kate assures her father that she’s done believing in Alice. Beth is gone, in her place just a monster.

Batwoman kick copious ass in this episode, but it’s not a real Kate focused one. Sophie and her bland husband who’s gonna die anyway (he can hang out with Tommy and Eddie, it’ll be fine) come to an understanding that Sophie needs to decide where she stands re: Kate before they can move forward.

I’m grateful that they seem to be coding Sophie as bi or pan, rather than a closeted lesbian. It’s a frankly refreshing take on a pretty bland love triangle. (Revenge also did this well.) (Watch Revenge) I am otherwise unenthused by anything involving Sophie and hope once the universes consolidate Kate and Alex Danvers can get something going. Or Kate and Nyssa Al-Ghul. Or Kate and Ava. Or Kate and Sara. Look, there are tons of badass AWESOME queer ladies to pair with Kate in this universe is my point. We don’t need Sophie who’s kinda blech.

Supergirl: Season 5: Episode 8: “The Wrath of Rama Khan”

Rama Khan (Mitch Pileggi) is ready to use the alignment of the planets to create a new Pompei. Kara needs to stop him. Meanwhile, Lena is going to use Myriad to do something? Stop people from being evil? I’m really not sure what Lena’s plan here is. But whatever, Kara stops both of them.

Alex, being the voice of reason, explains to Kara that Lena’s being a bit of a hypocrite here. Lena didn’t tell them about Reign, Lena didn’t tell them about any of her work. She keeps secrets too. I’m with Alex. The Lena/Team Supes trust loop has never really existed. Kara however, still wants to help her friend. She does, but Lena just takes it as an L.

Helping defeat Lena, is Mala’fa’ak. He uses his ability to incept to cancel out Myriad. It works! J’onn sends him back to Mars to help M’gann in the fight. The brothers part as friends. THEN! The monitor shows up and tells J’onn he passed his test. Hooray! J’onn is basically like “DAFUQ?” But understands something is about to happen. The Monitor walks into a pocket dimension where he is keeping Lex, who he assures him will soon be a hero!

I’m SO GODDAMNED excited for more of Jon Cryer’s Lex, who surprised me so much last year. He’s not Michael Rosenbaum who is my favorite, but he’s quite good. Also Rama Khan is killed by his partner and Andrea dies to I think? Anyway, that’s where we’ll pick up in January.

Black Lightning: Season 3: Episode 8: “The Book of Resistance: Chapter 3: Pale Horse”

Lynn falls.

She’s agreed to help Tobias to take down the ASA. While I get why she’s doing it, her marriage with Jeff already being strained, I don’t know how it will survive this. She agrees to give him more powers to help him escape. Terrible plan Lynn.

Jeff, Henderson and Anissa take a stand trying to keep the apartment building where Jeff and Henderson grew up from becoming the ASA’s quarters for soldiers. Seeing Black Lightning and Thunder standing together again really warmed my heart. They win, and push back the ASA, but there will undoubtably be consequences here.

Jen and Brandon do some research into Doctor Jace, finding out she’s no longer in Freeland. Brandon is furious and nearly explodes them. Jen agrees to help him get a read on his powers, explaining that they have to funnel their anger rather than simply lash out, as she did in her grief for Khalil. (Metaphors abound on this show but that’s a pretty clear one for anger to justice conversion.)

Speaking of Khalil, he’s deployed against Anissa and it throws her. This Week’s Worrying About Jen & Khalil meter is about a 6. They’re status quo right now, still in danger, they’re always in danger but nothing new. In fact, Anissa knowing about Khalil lowers my worry about him meter significantly.

Gambi and a pod kid who’s a technopath and goes by T.C. use an old radio station to blast out the message to the general public what’s actually going on in Freeland. We shall see in the new year what that means.

The Flash: Season 6: Episode 8: “The Last Temptation of Barry Allen Part 2”

Ramsey reveals his plan to “Cure” all of hummanity using the particle accelerator and The Flash as his crux. Meanwhile the whole team decides they need to get Barry back so he can die properly. Or something.

Look, there’s a lot of running around in this episode a lot of “who’s really talking here?” And, well, Nash finds his way to The Monitor’s lair. Or something. I think Nash might actually be chasing the Anti-Monitor, thinking that it’s the Monitor, but I could be wrong.

The fact is, after how great “Part 1” was, this was kind of a let down. I love that the team is still refusing to give in to Barry’s death. Again, because Barry ain’t gonna die. Oliver is. Probably.

Arrow: Season 8: Episode 7: “Purgatory”

Oh boy! Oh boy you guys! Chrissy and I used to joke about Lian-Yu being The Island from Lost, because we thought it was funny. (Also, you can’t tell me that Arrow’s flashback structure wasn’t a straight rip off!) And oh boy, did this episode feel a lot like an episode of Lost, but in a good way.

Oliver has to come to grips with what Lian-Yu did to him and for him for the zillionth time, but again, this season being the victory lap and having the added zip of Mia and William makes it all hit harder. I really am all in for Green Arrow And The Canaries especially if William is going to be around.

Oliver makes Diggle promise to keep Mia and William together after he’s gone so that’s really nice. Also he finally lets Oliver go, knowing he can’t always be by his side. Roy loses an arm and notes that it was worth it, because he feels connected to something again. think it’s worth it because even if it’s only for a few episodes I am here for Roy Harper’s Robot Arm.

Digg and Lyla are having a bit of a time. Their marriage has always been an interesting balance given their work. Now that she’s gone all in on The Monitor, he’s not so into the way things are going. I don’t really blame him for that. Lyla eventually disappears and comes back as Harbinger.

I actually think that she’s an excellent pick for this role and I can’t wait for next week.

YOU GUYS NEXT WEEK IS CRISIS (PART 1) I’m so excited! Are you excited? Get excited! Kevin Conroy! The return of Routh and Welling! OOOHHHH BOY!

Crisis Management: Black Lightning & The Flash Week 7, Arrow Week 6

We’re so close now. This is a light week. (No Supergirl or Batwoman.) I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving! Let’s get into it.

Black Lightning: Season 3: Episode 7: “The Book Of Resistance: Henderson’s Opus”

Police Chief Henderson is an interesting character for Black Lightning, because he’s not an antagonist, he’s not on a parallel track and yet he compliments Jefferson Pierce and Black Lightning so well. These are two men with history, and Cress Williams and Damon Gupton do exceptional work walking the line between resentment and friendship whenever they interact and the explosion of that int his episode is something to behold.

Henderson plants a car bomb that he intends to detenate on the ASA after he smuggles out some teenage metas. The bomb is then diffused by Black Lightning. He confronts Jeff about it and they trade MLK quotes and decide they have to go their separate ways. It’s breathtaking.

Jen and New Kid (who is as I noted last week, is disappointingly not Virgil Hawkins. PULL THAT TRIGGER YOU COWARDS) realize their powers are complimentary and it’s really cool. They’re still in a will they or won’t they fight pattern, but I like them together, if only Jen weren’t still hung up on…

Khalil. Poor, brainwashed, absolutely terrifying Khalil. Lynn and Gambi find him at The Pit and Lynn decides she needs to save him. She learns all of his memories are still there she just needs to access them. (Reenie’s “Worried About Jen and Khalil Meter This Week Is a Solid 7, they both seem physically safe at the moment, but they’re in tough spots)

Anissa is still healing, so she asks he father to take over her escort duties on The Underground Railroad. This includes smuggling Grace, who is stuck in her terrified teen persona. They say their goodbyes and by completing the mission Black Lightning has regained some of the trust of the community. Yay!

The Flash: Season 6: Episode 7: “The Last Temptation Of Barry Allen: Part 1”

This is an exceptionally good and creepy episode of The Flash. After being attacked by Bloodwork last week, Ralph is needs a transfusion of Speed Force blood, so Barry donates. It seems to work, but then Barry winds up in a coma.

Barry comas are great. While in the coma, he communes with The Speed Force in it’s Barry’s Mom form, he is also tempted by “The Devil” who looks a lot like Ramsey Russo. There’s a terrifying Thanksgiving meal with a bloody Lasagna. Seriously this scene is creepy and gross and AMAZING. Next Ramsey shows Barry all the people who have died because he’s the Flash, ending with himself, and then the life he could have if (when) he survives the Crisis. It’s a good life. Life with Iris and Nora, his friends happy. Ramsey says he can give him this.

Barry doesn’t waver until the Speed Force pops up again, then he loses it on her. Tells her he hates his random fate, he’s done. Look, I’m a Catholic with a literature degree. I attended Religious instruction my entire life and Catholic High School and Jesuit University. I love a good biblical allusion in my fiction. (emphasis on good. There are plenty of bad ones) This episode is named for one of the BEST literary depictions of Jesus’s humanity of all time, in my opinion. Last Temptation is controversial but it’s also beautiful and faith affirming. Even if I didn’t know that movie inside and out, the nature of my education and personal experience means I can spot Christology metaphors a mile away. Barry’s, “Let this cup pass me,” moment is perfectly in line with his journey on this particular tropey axis. It’s about his life, the people he loves and in acceptance, about his fate as The Flash. I liked this scene a lot. “Not as I will, but as you will.”

Anyway, Barry wakes up and it turns out, he was infected by Bloodwork, OH NOES! But this is part 1, we’ll see what happens in Part 2.

Arrow Season 8 Episode 6: “

This was a good episode. I was happy to see Paul Blackthorne again. I’m always happy to see Paul Blackthorne as Quentin Lance. But let’s be honest, The Arrowverse shouldn’t touch the Groundhog Day concept again since they perfected it on Legends with the insanely good, “Here I Go Again.”

Oliver and Laurel have to learn a lesson about how fate is unavoidable. So, The Monitor sticks them in a time loop alternate universe where Quentin lived and they try to save him one last time, over and over again. When they learn that they just can’t, they can’t save everyone, Lyla on The Monitor’s behalf let’s them out.

It’s a straightforward episode that absolutely made me cry. (Because Paul Blackthorn) but nothing really special, and again, the Arrowverse already perfected the Groundhog day episode.

When Laurel and Ollie accept the inevitable, they exit a tent and it turns out the whole team is on Lian-Yu….YESSSSSSSS!

I hope everyone is having a nice Thanksgiving. I’m probably at my Aunt Mary’s house while your reading this and my brother, cousin and I are likely arguing about how Watchmen is going to turn out.

 

Crisis Management: Batwoman & Supergirl Week 7; Black Lightning, The Flash Week 6 & Arrow Week 5

The Crisis looms closer and closer now, you guys. Let’s get into it.

Batwoman: Season 1: Episode 7: “Tell Me The Truth”

“Batman trusts no one,” is my least favorite characterization of the caped crusader.

Really? No one? What about Alfred Pennyworth? Or Jim Gordon? Or Dick Grayson? Or Lucious Fox? Or Barbara Gordon? Or Jason Todd? Or Tim Drake? Or Damian Wayne? (OK, maybe he doesn’t trust Jason on Damian…) Or Clark Kent? Or, or, or? The list goes on. Batman trusts a lot of people, so Kate’s insistence, that he doesn’t trust anyone feels off. (I will grant it seems we’re sans Gordon and Robins in this universe.) (Which feels off, where the hell is Jim Gordon?)

Anyway, we’re going with it, and we learn form Julia Pennyworth (Yay!) that Kate pushed people away and we soon learn why. Back when they were going to be expelled Kate and Sophie decided to stand together, but it was Jake who talked Sophie out of it. OH NO! Anyway, Kate now distrusts her father even more, and she and Sophie are beginning to mend their fences. It helps that Julia poses as Batwoman to fool Sophie.

This is great, btw, and one of my favorite old school Batfamily shenanigans.

Anyway, Julia is in town tracking an assassin who Alice hired to kill the scientists that made the bullets that can pierce bat armor. Turns out they both have orders from someone higher up. We shall see how that leads up.

Mary is freaking out about their parents divorcing and Kate is like, ‘yeah, it’s nuts, but I’m totally NOT Batwoman I just have 0 time for this.” Poor Mary.

Supergirl; Season 5: Episode 7: “Tremors”

MITCH PILLEGGI! How have we gone this long on a show about a secret government agency that works with Aliens that’s shot in Vancouver, without getting Director Skinner up in this bitch? Pilleggi plays an ancient Alien who after a crash landing was tasked with keeping Earth safe.

Like literally the planet, not the people of earth like Kara and Clark. People are in the way of that. Also he’s got a colleague who wants to use tech to do it, which leads me to beleive she’ll be hooking up with Lena really soon. Anyway, he fights Kara, which is fun. (Also, there’s a reference to the biblical Leviathans, but then my CSD brain just went, “NO NO NO, He fought LILITH! The Leviathans were a DIFFERENT season.”) And after the fight, which takes place at the Fortress of Solitude, where Kara takes Lena, looking for a weapon to beat Pileggi alien.

After the fight Lena finally turns on Kara, which, it’s early in the season for that. Kara is floored. And while I absolutely see Lena’s side of this, I’m just not sold on it as anything other than villainous motivation. Kara is clearly contrite about the secret keeping, she feels awful. Has felt awful. And now she’s locked in an ice prison.

Alex and Kelly talk about Kelly’s feelings around Alex’s very dangerous job. Alex is the best girlfriend. Kelly is fine. We don’t do much with Brainy this week, no Nia at all, no Andrea or William either.

J’onn on the other hand has a conversation with his father regarding what to do about Malaf’a’ak. I’m thrilled by this because David Harewood and Carl Lumby always do such wonderful work. Phil Lamarr is great too. Anyway, J’onn learns that Lena is holding his brother and goes to apologize/rescue him. We’ll see how this goes, but once again, the Supergirl ethos of leading with compassion comes through here. It’s a good story.

Black Lightning: Season 3: Episode 6: “The Book Of Resistance: Chapter 1: Pale Horse”

Anissa is dying, so that’s great for my stress level. While fighting the ASA or Markovians? who even knows anymore, she was hit by a dart that contained an anti meta poison, so she can’t heal and it’s killing her. Whoops! She doesn’t tell anyone and makes Gambi promise not to, because they’re GOING TO CURE HER DAMNIT. She gets in a fight with Jeff and she is not the only one.

Lynn is spending more and more time at the ASA experimenting on and talking to Tobias and this is really really fucking with her head. He’s doing the whole, “we’re not so different, you and I,” thing and she’s all,”EXCUSE ME?” and then when Jeff goes out as Black Lighting again she freaks out at him and moves out of the house. Lynn, you’ve got to get your head on straight.

Also! Black Lightning’s back! Hooray! So in response to Tavon’s death, Jeff decides he’s done taking things sitting down and fights a bunch of ASA agents. Odelll threatens to take the girls and Jeff is all, “What are you going to do? Kidnap my children and NOT have me fry your ass?” It’s awesome.

So, New Kid with the good hair is not Virgil Hawkins. (WHY DO I KEEP HOPING? WHY DO YOU KEEP LETTING ME DOWN SHOW? Also I know that if Static were to show up, it would be reasonably big news in the nerd community) He is teaming up with Jen to avenge his mother. Oh, Jen

The Flash: Season 6: Episode 6: “License To Elongate”

This is the kind of episode of The Flash that I really really love. It’s silly comic book fun where Barry and one of his teammates go on a side mission where they work together and get shit done.

This time, it’s Ralph. Barry has decided to give Ralph the mantle of Central City’s main hero, but before he can tell him, Ralph gets a break on searching for Sue Dearbon (who’s been cast! HALLELUJAH!) and isn’t going to be around for the big announcement. So Barry goes to help him.

What follows is a delightful spy adventure where Ralph and Barry bluff their way into a high stakes poker game and stop a death ray. It doesn’t matter so much, but it’s pure delight. Ralph accepts his role as the hero of Central City and gets another clue towards finding his future wife.

Meanwhile, Nash and Iris’s former criminal intern, Allegra work on getting into The Monitor’s cave. Tom Cavanaugh looks very good as this version. Like, I’m into it. I was not expecting it. Anyway, they fail, and he looks at her longingly annnddd she’s defintely someone’s doppelganger on his earth.

Cecile helps New Guy, Chester ask his crush out and it’s adorable. Cecile has low key become my favorite character. I’m not sure when it happened, but she’s just great.

Anyway…

Arrow Season 8: Episode 5: “Prochnost”

Oliver’s back in Russia! Yay! Anatoly meets William and Mia! Super yay! Dig pulls Roy out of his normal life and they blow stuff up! BEST EPISODE EVER! (At least back half speaking.) Oliver brings his kids to Russia to get what they need to stop the monitor. (God, Oliver and Barry need to have a chat) Anyway, in order to get their bomb plans, Oliver has to reenter the Bratva fight club. Mia suggests that she do it instead which frankly might have been a better plan.

Anyway, they get caught, Laurel and Anatoly get them out, they fight again for the plans. Which Laurel has agreed to give to Lyla and The Monitor. Obviously Laurel doesn’t do that because she’s a good guy now, or whatever. She tells Lyla to come clean but Lyla doesn’t and Dig finds out anyway.

Also Roy decides to stick around. HOORAY! ROY! (I still love that Roy’s fake normal person name is Jason.) (Also, give Dig a Green Lantern Ring Already You Cowards! And put him on The Waverider. This is my grownup Christmas list.)

Next week Supergirl and Batwoman have the week off. Which is nice for me, as this weekend I’ve got family stuff all over the place. (Sister is getting married! VERY FUN!) But we’re so close to the end here, to Crisis.  Two weeks. Also, when the new year stars, we’ve got a fun watch project ahead of us! We’ll talk about it soon!

A bunch of Crisis pictures came out this week, including Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne, and my brain’s been on overdrive and I can’t process it yet.

Crisis Management: Batwoman & Supergirl Week 6, Black Lightning Week 5

The Flash And Arrow had the week off, so we’re publishing early! Also, I’m changing the schedule anyway. “Crisis Management” is moving to Thursdays for now, so “Fangirl Loves Star Wars” coverage of The Mandolorian can go on Mondays. (I enjoyed the pilot very much, but the show is normally going to drop on Saturday, so Mondays), but this week, with no Flash or Arrow we can do Wednesday.

Batwoman: Season 1: Episode 6: “I’ll Be Judge, I’ll Be Jury”

We’ve entered, the “wait who knows who the hero is?” stage of Berlanti-verse season 1. I think at this point, Luke, Alice and Sophie are the only ones who know that Kate is Batwoman. Which is fine, I just hope Mary doesn’t get left off in Lena/Iris- land being the last to know for no discern-able narrative reason. (OK, it’s paying off with Lena this year.)

Speaking of Mary, the fandom seem to have latched on to her as a favorite and I totally get it. It also really really reminds me of Felicity in the early days of Arrow, in the best way. Mary is super competent but she’s also oodles of fun, which given how dark and dour the rest of the show is why she’s become so popular. This week, she’s treating Sophie, and trying to hold her, once she realizes Sophie knows who Batwoman is.

Kate meanwhile, is fighting The Executioner, a former executioner who has decided to take Gotham’s corrupt justice system into his own hands, eliminating the cops and judges who turned him into a murderer for executing people who were actually innocent.

It’s a really really good Bat-villain model. Also, one of those The Executioner is out to exonerate, is the guy convicted of killing Lucious Fox, so Luke is understandably perturbed at Kate for ruining his closure.

Alice and Mouse get into a fight about Kate, and how Mouse feels Alice wants to replace him with her. But no, Alice just wants Kate to join them, and possibly control her? I’m not sure what her plan is.

Jake promises Kate that they’ll get Beth back, and also he’s hunting Batwoman. I am fine with Jake not knowing Kate is Batwoman. I know in the comics he does and is her tech guy, but we have Luke here, we don’t need that.

Supergirl Season 5, Episode 6: “Confidence Woman”

Like Barry going on vacation on The Flash last week, this week’s Supergirl focuses on Lena and Andrea’s friendship to give Melissa Benoist her time to film Crisis. (Kara only appears in a few scenes and only one as Supergirl)

The theme of this week’s episode is “POWERSUITS” (not really, but there are a lot of them.) Lena reflects on her long history with Andrea, who befriended her at boarding school shortly after her mother’s death. Theses two women, crushed by familial expectations and united by genius and drive, make a great team. As young women they go on an adventure to find a legendary amulet that might help Lena reign Lex in. (Jon Cryer makes a quick reappearance and is delightful.)

Andrea finds it and uses it to help her suicidal father rather than handing it over to Lena, and as such, sells her soul to Leviathan. (She’s the mysterious shadow assassin. TWIST!) When Lena finds out it ruins their friendship, and Lena runs away to National City. We also get some time with Kara showing Lena opening herself up to people again, but the episode gives us context for both Lena and Andrea and their motivations.

In the end, they team up again, though Lena is still playing her cards close to the vest. (You really can’t blame her.)

The flashbacks aren’t as strong as the last year’s Young Kara and Alex episode, but it’s still good. (Lena and Andrea don’t have the foundation that Kara and Alex have).

Black Lightning Season3, Episode 5: 

I realized that I’ve been complaining about a lack of actual Black Lightning on Black Lightning in the recent weeks because of course, like the other shows, Cress Williams had to be shooting Crisis, so needed the break. Even more so since Black Lightning shoots in Atlanta rather than Vancouver.

Anyway, he’s still sidelined this week, although Jefferson gets a good moment here, standing up to the ASA team that is trying to put down a student protest on the school steps. He wins up beaten and Jen tries to rush in and save him, only to have adorable new kids Randy stop her, absorbing her powers. (He also lends her a jacket which gives off some static that jump starts her earlier. I’m formulating a theory but I don’t dare to hope.)

Khalil meanwhile, fights some guards. I continue to worry about him, but the show gave me one less kid to worry about by killing off Tavon. WTF show? The Chief gets the Reverend and a few others together and they decide to organize their resitance efforts. Jen goes back to work for Odell, who continues to be suspicious of Anissa.

Anissa leaves Grace with Gambi and it’s adorable. Grace is doing better, but not all the way better and Anissa is starting to chafe against the leadership of the free zone. Lynn has a long talk with Tobias who has definitely figured out the deal with the Pierce family but you know…she continues to deny it.

In Crisis connection, I hope that, in other world travellers tradition, Jeff notes that a certain John Diggle reminds him of someone…his brother in law…also named John…perhaps?

OK, so we’ll talk again next Thursday. Crisis is creeping up fast, and with Disney+, I think we’re going to have a bunch of Nerd Homework in the next few months. (I’m already knee deep in Gargoyles but we’ll talk about it soon.) Whether I keep covering the DC Shows after Crisis is still up in the air.

Crisis Management: Batwoman, Supergirl & The Flash Week 5, Arrow Week 4

This week we got a teaser, the most important part of which was seeing Brandon Routh is that super dope Kingdom Come Superman costume.

He looks really really good. Also, on Saturday, Aless and I expressed our annoyance that Michael Rossenbaum turned down being in Crisis because “they didn’t have a script yet,” which like, does he need a script? He makes a speech about “destiny” and “the thin line that separates heroes from villains,” and then Welling looks off into the distance with his face scrunched like he smelled a fart. Cut. End of Smallville portion of the crossover.

Anyway, this week’s episodes, let’s talk.

Batwoman Season 1, Episode 5: “Mine Is A Long And Sad Tale”

We finally learn how Beth became Alice. After the car accident a disturbed loner who’s abused son needs a friend, so he kidnaps Beth. After a near miss where Jake and Kate fail to find her, Beth and John, the mysterious Mouse, latch on to each other and Alice In Wonderland to escape the hell that they’re stuck in.

Alice tells her story to Kate, who is trying her best to understand what’s going on and also doing that superhero thing where her failure to save someone close to her even under pretty reasonable circumstances becomes the defining moment of her entire life and mission to fight crime.

Meanwhile, a frustrated Mary gets drunk and shows up to Kate’s office to confront her about how she’s a good person and Kate’s fixation on Alice, her “real sister” is hurtful. The reasoning for the scene is only OK, but an at the end of his rope Luke having to deal with Drunk Mary is awesome.

Oh, also Jake does manage to save Kate from Alice, but it’s too late for Alice who’s committed to Mouse as her new family, rather than the people she feels failed her.

Supergirl Season 5, Episode 5: “Dangerous Liaisons”

Kara loops new guy William (ehhh) into The DEO’s search for Leviathan, under the auspices of investigating Andrea. They are bonding, I am reminded of how much I miss Mon-El.

Alex and Kelly meanwhile are coming up on their “date-a-versary” whatever the hell that means, but it is an excuse for them both to realize that their scary dangerous lives are just all the more reason to further committ and also ride motorcycles together. (Seriously, did someone look at Alex’s entire life and just say, “she’s great! It’s all great! How can we make it even gayer?” I’m not complaining. Just saying.)

Meanwhile, Kara and her cool pants and neat bangs, and J’onn fight an assassin with Doc Ock arms who it turns out is (GASP) controlled by Leviathan who are, if you missed it, coming.

Oh, also Andrea’s creepy VR contacts launch and I know this is going somewhere Leviathan related, but for the moment it’s stupid and unfocused and it’s really hard for me to care.

Also, Lena tricks Malaf’a’ak, and now she’s studying his brain. I wish this had gotten more screen time.

The Flash Season 6, Episode 5: “Kiss Kiss, Breach Breach”

Breacher is back! YAY! I love Danny Trejo.

Of course he’s back because Gypsy is dead, which boo. She was murdered and The Collectors think that it was Cisco. OH NO!

Cisco and Kamilla and Breacher go about solving Gypsy’s murder, and Cisco doesn’t think he can do it. He also makes a Barry AI, which is adorable. Barry and Iris are on vacation, and I know that the Barry-light episodes is so Grant Gustin can film his Crisis stuff, and the show is doing OK by it, and we only have a few more weeks, so I’m hoping Barry gets some fun things to do in the back half of the season.

Anyway, they solve the murder and it was Echo, who is an alternate Cisco. DUN DUN DUNNNNN. Anyway, Cisco clears his name but does have to live with the idea that Gypsy died thinking he killed her. But he and Kamilla say I love you! Yay!

Frost confronts Ramsey and he offers to turn her into a blood monster. She passes but confirms his evil-ness. Ramsey is actually a pretty fun big bad, and I especially like that his connection is through Caitlin and Frost, rather than Barry’s future.

Joe and Nash (our new Wells) get stuck in the sewers below Central City, looking for The Monitor. We’re still not sure why Nash is looking for the Monitor, but Joe doesn’t care, because you know, it’s Joe, he’s just looking to bond/protect his family. He explains that the current need for faith in his life is that Barry’s death won’t be in vain. It’s a good scene because Jesse L. Martin and Tom Cavanaugh are incredible. Even if it’s a little contrived getting them to be alone together is always welcome.

Arrow Season 8 Episode 4:

I love when Arrow gets on it’s high horse about murder. It’s so much cognitive dissonance since the initial episodes of the show were just Oliver running around murdering people, a habit he has not really broken. Oliver still murders people pretty regularly. 

Anyway, this week’s “Don’t Murder” lesson goes to Mia. Everyone gets really cool, really quick about the future kids showing up. It’s weird but they’re dealing with a bunch of weird stuff anyway, so they all just kind of roll with it. (It’s weirdest for Connor since Dif and Lyla haven’t adopted him yet.) Mia, William and Connor agree not to reveal the future to their parents, especially Rene and Dig, who might not be cool about the whole “JJ murders Zoe” situation. Eventually everything comes out though and they all brood at each other.

Mia though is definitely up for killing CURRENT (5 year old) JJ in order to save FUTURE  (not 12 year old) Zoe. Laurel tells her that murder is always a bad plan. (Again, Laurel murders people kind of a lot) and Oliver tells Mia he wants them to be a family.

William is thrilled to be back in the life he voluntarily vacated at 12, which is annoying on a plot level but adult William is so damn cute, that I excuse it. He also comes out to Oliver who reveals that he was aware of William’s sexuality but wanted to give him time and space to come out on his own, and hates that they never got that time. Anyway, the episode ends with Dig and Conor doing sword training, The Queens eating grilled cheese sandwhiches and Rene running for city council, while agreeing to let Dinah train Zoe.

Oh also, the Minitor recruits Laurel to betray Oliver and get her Earth back.

I’m guessing this isn’t going to be that straightforward.

No Black Lightning this week. And hey! Tomorrow The Mandolorian premiers! I’m still thinking I’ll stick with Mondays for Crisis Watch and do Fangirl Loves Star Wars on Wednesday or Thursday. We’ll see.

In The Face Of Adaptation: Watchmen

Alan Moore wrote Watchmen to be unadaptable.

This is the common wisdom and it’s probably true, since Alan Moore has notoriously hated every adaptation of his work save the Justice League Unlimited take on Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow? (He’s right, it’s both a fantastic episode and a great adaptation. It’s also my favorite thing he wrote, but I’ve never read Swamp Thing…)

I read Watchmen in college, as a burgeoning closeted comics geek, it was an acceptable starting point. Watchmen wasn’t a comic book, (the horror!) it was literature. 

I didn’t get it. I saw the movie. I liked that fine. But still, didn’t get it.

I read Watchmen again a few years ago, after diving headlong into comics and superhero fandom.

I got it that time.

It’s a brilliant work.

I still don’t quite get the movie.

Also, while recognizing Watchmen’s greatness and even liking the book itself, the way the comics industry learned all the wrong lessons from it continues to piss me off. Not everything needs to be Watchmen. 

Anyway, why revisit this graphic novel that I’ve always appreciated more than I actually liked? Because HBO is airing a TV show based on it obviously!

Rather than adapt that which cannot be adapted (how does one show all of time happening to Doctor Manhattan at once on film? ONE CANNOT!) Damon Lindelof has opted to further explore the deeply interesting world that Moore created.

Watchmen the show, takes place in an alternate 2019, the 2019 of the Watchmen, where a culture shaped by masked vigilantes and accelerated technology and President Robert Redford. Of course bits of our history still happened, so the world is both alien and familiar.

And I was wary. Being not crazy about Watchmen, and even more nervous at attempts to do more with it, I didn’t know what to expect going in.

It’s good. It’s damn good. It’s thoughtful and darkly funny, and opaque, and uses TV the way the novel uses comics.

Also Regina King is the shit.

Anyway, I’m curious how the whole thing ends up, but I’m super intrigued with how things are going. Now that Adrian Veidt and Laurie Blake are in the mix, I’m even more excited for how things are going to progress. Doctor Manhattan’s appearance feels imminent. Or not, an anticlimax of  that sort would be both very in the spirit of Watchmen and Lindelof’s pedigree.

We’ll see.