Comic week – 4/22/16

This time Supergirl is up on our finale block while Flash & Legends carry on without iZombie.

Also, fair warning, you’ll probably notice a lot of complaints, but some high grades.  The good had the favor in the ratio to bad but the bad does require some discussion.

the Flash 2.18 – Versus Zoom

Yes!  The final showdown with an evil speedster that makes last season’s…

Wait, episode #18?  But the season has 23 total!

Ok sure, I didn’t expect the guy to be down for good this time.  But… Remember how back earlier in the season (episodes 6 & 7!) I said I wished Barry’s speed issue had taken a little more than one episode to fix?  Now what do we see at the end of this episode and in the trailers for the next?  Barry unable to run!  Good night I know shows will repeat themselves sometimes when they get long enough, but I can’t recall the last time I watched a show repeat itself in the same season!  Why?  Why not just do 2 episodes of him powerless the first time?  Or not bother with a “non-problem” and do the 2 episode struggle here?  Grrrr

And it wouldn’t be so bad if the entire sequence was so poorly done.  I just have to quote from TVTropes as they put it best:

 

Idiot Plot: Barry finally is fast enough to fight Zoom on equal footing and has a plan to beat him. And he does. And when he does instead of taking him to the pipeline ASAP he has a casual conversation with Zoom that would make Blofeld proud. Zoom uses this to escape but before he does he states that “family is a weakness”. Barry doesn’t take the hint and instead of going to his house where Zoom obviously went, he searches the city giving Zoom enough time to capture Wally, to use him as bargaining chip to exchange for Barry’s speedforce. When Vibe find out exact location of booth Wally AND Zoom they agree to Zoom’s deal rather than trying to rescue Wally. Zoom then grabs the Idiot Ball and releases Wally before Barry’s speed is even extracted, leaving himself with no bargaining chip and yet NO ONE considers double-crossing him. They follow the deal to a T, knowing perfectly well what kind of monster Zoom is and how dangerous would he be with Barry’s speed AND that without it they’d have no way to stop it.

 

Not to mention that Zoom get’s demon eyes and talks about “the DarknessTM” before escaping.  Let’s see… Supernatural this season is fighting the DarknessTM, I know from trailers that Arrow has been talking a lot about the DarknessTM, and now Flash has a reference to the DarknessTM.  For Barry’s sake was there a memo going around Hollywood that all villains this season had to be the DarknessTM?  If I don’t see one magic missile cast by SOMEBODY this season, I’m going to be super pissed.

Yes I am a little disappointed that Jay Garrick turned out to be purely fiction (time displaced fiction at that) but there’s still hope we’ll get one from another universe.  Though I see them confirming that Zoom IS in fact Hunter Zoloman, so I hope some pants are on fire over there in the writers’ room.

Final thought: So injecting yourself with Velocity 9 is bad, but injecting yourself with Tachyons is good?  Anyone want to try explaining that?  Because I certainly can’t.

Otherwise performances continue to be stellar with a nice moment between Joe & Wally this episode, and you can tell Teddy Sears is having fun now that he gets to be full on villain.  I kind of want him and Eobard have an eating contest with the scenery.  (No, I don’t Mark Hamill there – the other two actors need a chance to win now.)  Effects were pretty good too so all that pushes it to a final grade of B-.

Legends of Tomorrow 1.12 – Last Refuge

I hark frequently on the “rules” of fiction and increasingly Legends is demonstrating why.  I know you won’t go to jail for breaking these rules (as you would for breaking the law) nor suffer injury (as you would for trying to break physics) but breaking them is worse: it makes your story weaker if not pushes it right into suck territory.  And that’s worse because your jail record might be forgotten, but art can outlive ya.

One of the primary rules is, if you’re doing something fantastical, establish your rules and ABIDE by them.  Otherwise you have things like in this episodes which can be summed up as: “We found her!” *fight scene* “We found her again!” *fight scene* “Oh no, she turned off the plot things that make us able to find her.”  Why did she do that then?  Why didn’t she do that at the start?  If she’s supposed to remove a younger self with minimum disruption, why attack Sarah Lance in a CROWDED POLICE STATION? (besides we’re-trying-to-pack-as-many-terminator-references-in-act-one-as-possible)  Why not… go to when she was ALREADY DEAD and take her body?  Just… keep it from coming back to life?  I mean Heatwave’s attack made sense, he was alone, a tragedy just happened, you could kill him and even make it look natural by tossing the body into the house fire.  What about that time Ray was working on his suit was presumed dead?  Wouldn’t that be a great time for the Pilgrim to strike?

Then there’s the whole bit that the Pilgrim can shrug off bullets but being hit by a metal stick hurts.

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White Canary’s metal stick and bullets both work the same way people: velocity.  Did Arrow establish the girl as having superstrength because otherwise Sarah should have bounced off the Pilgrim like those bullets.

Anyway, I wish this show ran it more like a detective series (which they kind of started off with) where the protagonists and antagonists both had to try and work for clues with the proverbial needles and haystacks.  I mean do you know how much I wish Rip had a map of the world on a wall with string over it as he tracked Vandal’s movement through history?  Then here we could have things similar, with the heroes trying to remember, “what would be a moment in my past the Pilgrim would likely strike?” with their timing tension explained as the necessity of kidnapping the past self (for safety!) as close to the undisruptive moment as possible.  The “time solidifying” thing is just getting annoying as it seems like every time they pull it out it’s pretty much the equivalent of the writers walking onto the set and going, “oi! let’s speed this up then!”

Rest was pretty good with at least some examination of the characters.  I thought the show did very well with Jax and his father… only then to have them spoil it by overplaying it at the end.  I mean it’s not like I like to see fathers ripped from their family, but for the show to have tension we need to believe the heroes can fail – there needs to be loss.  So far the only loss has been Carter.  Had it been revealed that the Pilgrim was always the ultimate cause of Papa Jax’s death (and it was blamed on the war because… who would believe time traveler) it would have added real weight to the show and possibly opened up paths in Jefferson’s & Stein’s relationship, that the latter could be the father the former lost.  Still I give it all a A for the final grade because that’s where the show has set the curve for now.

Supergirl 1.20 – Better Angels

So.  Season finale.

“Alright everybody!  We have an hour to fill and we’re down to $5 in our special effects budget.”

“Let’s put Chyler in a raving glow-stick outfit and have her fight Melissa.”

“What like in the mud?”

“Nah with swords and stuff!”

“Brilliant!”

*filming*

“That gave us 5 minutes, what else do we have?”

“Character examination?”

“World building?”

“Speeches!  Lots and lots of speeches!”

“Brilliant!  Let’s go with that last one!”

Seriously though… I’m tempted to start up a drinking game with this episode.  Take a shot every time someone talks about how “you are totes awesome!” – no, the “you” in the previous bit is irrelevant since I think the episodes goes, Alex – Supergirl – Humanity – Supergirl – J’onn – Supergirl – Alex – Supergirl – Janitor – Supergirl – Supergirl – Supergirl.  I may have lost track at some point.

And the solution in the first act is to make people feel?  But jumping off a building didn’t make Winn or Jimmy feel anything?  Being grabbed by their friend and saved from certain death made them feel nothing like watching her give a speech on TV did?

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Then J’onn defeats Indigo by ripping her in half.  Indigo… who we’ve seen build herself from tiny bits and pieces.  Does anyone on that show know how shapeshifters work?

And don’t bother helping Supergirl during her stare down with Non, J’onn.  What if she burned herself out like the time she fought Red Tornado and was mortal for a day?

If this episode was about… thirty minutes, it probably would have been great.  But 45 minutes with speech after speech about how wonderful and special and great everybody is… it almost makes one want to rebel against the show and start thinking negatively about everyone. (but I’m showing restraint…)  I mean where are things supposed to go from here in future seasons?  Is everybody going to praise everybody else even more and more until we have 20 episodes of endless circle jerking?  Restrain yourself when it comes to in-show praise, people – less is more!

For me personally I want to mark this episode a D, but given the curve the show has established this is about… a B final grade.  Season analysis coming soon.

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