It’s hard to believe that it’s already February, right? There are only a few short months of this season left, and the return of Gotham is right around the corner. Winter is just settling in where I am, and this realization makes it seem that much colder.
Supernatural – Love Hurts
After last week’s fantastic episode, this one was a bit of a let down. It wasn’t a bad episode at all; it was a standard monster of the week that featured a nod towards the larger plot line. Nothing changed and no new details were revealed. Both the monster and the person behind the attacks were intriguing, but they have been handled in typical Winchester fashion so further development is unlikely. The only interesting facts in this episode are the reveal of Dean’s true desire and his continued willingness to sacrifice himself for the mission. Neither of these facts are new, but they serve as a reminder for Dean’s struggle. They also remind viewers that for the past few seasons, the Winchesters have been focused on fixing the problems that they started. This has actually been the cycle of events ever since the boys stopped the apocalypse. In trying to accomplish one major task, the Winchesters unleash something worse, sometimes by accident, sometimes willingly. On one hand, this is an easy way to keep the plot moving forward on a show that’s been on for eleven seasons. It’s also a cheap storytelling technique, but after getting invested with these characters for eleven years, I’m willing to let that slide. But this pattern really defines the theme of Supernatural. Sadly, that theme is the never-ending cycle of failure. As much as love Sam and Dean, these boys have just been causing more problems for themselves. While it’s not directly related, the loss of Bobby certainly happened at the start of this downward spiral. Family has always been an important part of Supernatural. It’s what started this entire story. The show has demonstrated many times that family is not just defined by blood relation. But recently, the boys have been on their own. This lack of family is not the cause of the Winchesters’ problems, but it is definitely a factor. I hope things will turn around for the boys soon, but it probably won’t.
iZombie – Physician, Heal Thy Selfie
For the first time in the history of iZombie, the brains Liv ate did not relate to the crime of the week. Instead, her weekly quirks were just a running joke. This certainly maintained the established pattern of the show but it also pushed the crime to the background of the episode, thus demonstrating the fact that it is only a vehicle for the rest of the plot. Unfortunately, as I’ve said for the past few weeks, that plot is complicated and doesn’t always get the attention that it needs. The major development in this mess of details this week is the connection between Boss and Blaine. This isn’t anything new, but it does bring Boss back into the spotlight. He’s always been lurking in the shadows, but now he might play a larger part. I might have missed some details, but I am confused on his connection to the zombie plot. Blaine was working for him when the infestation started. And there is a relation between the drugs Blaine was selling and Max Rager. But is Boss part of that relation? It’s been made clear that DuClark is the apparent mastermind of the zombie plague. But I would not be surprised if the iZombie team has more surprises in store for viewers. Speaking of surprises, Major continues to get himself into more trouble as his web of deception spreads. After the heartbreaking moment of giving up Minor last week, I really didn’t know what to expect from Major’s story arc. Continuing to the the international corporation run by a crazy man who is not only starting a zombie plague but also clearly planning something bigger is not a good idea. He’s trying to do good by not killing the infected, but he’s giving them false hope of a cure that might never come. I am sure that the eventual reveal of his actions to everyone, including Liz, will be a disaster. Honestly, I don’t expect a happy ending for anyone in iZombie.
Lucifer – The Would-Be Prince of Darkness
When Lucifer first premiered, I said that it was better than Gotham. I now retract that statement. It’s just as bad. Lucifer certainly doesn’t feature the goofy shenanigans, but it does feature nonsensical characters with motivations that shift randomly and make no sense. All police procedurals wave away reality, especially when they have a gimmick driving the plot. But the bounds of this trope are being stretched to the limit with this show. Lucifer whips out his supernatural mojo constantly, and the detectives just stare dumbly, trying to puzzle it out. Lucifer consistently interferes with the criminal investigations, explaining his actions with a lame “the ends justify the means” argument. But nothing he does actually helps solve any crime. The detectives have all the evidence, Lucifer is just there to provide flavor and commentary. Side characters like the mysterious fixer randomly spout exposition and act in complete contradiction to their established persona. Lucifer himself is a badly written and defined character. Almost every line of his dialogue is a sledgehammer of insult to the viewer with constant references to Christian mythology, just in case anyone forgets the gimmick of this show. However, his desire to punish the guilty does not line up with the origins of his myth. This is also the second time that Lucifer makes a statement that he dislikes liars, which makes absolutely no sense. And his motivational shift towards seeking justice is a very lame part of the humanizing process the show is trying to force upon the character. In fact, the secondary story to this episode, the identity theft, existed only to highlight the fact that Lucifer is softening. And to make some bad jokes. Lucifer is not a good show. It started with an intriguing concept, but there is no quality to support the story. I cannot see Lucifer being renewed beyond this half season. But Fox has a history of doing things that don’t make sense.
Arrow – Sins of the Father
This was a great episode for several reasons. While it did not deal directly with the primary plot of this season, it did serve to advance that story. The two twists at the end were incredibly surprising and will absolutely have terrible consequences in future episodes. But more important than the action and story, this episode brought up an argument that is fundamental to the superhero genre: what is the line between villain and hero? As seen in the exchange between Felicity and her father, it is very easy to identify the similarities between both types of action. Felicity is performing the exact same activity as her father, but she is considered a hero while he is not. The simple answer to this debate is motivation. With the motivation of helping people and serving the greater good, heroes can justify their actions. But does that define right versus wrong or good versus bad? In my opinion, no. Individual perception of an action does not define the truth of where the action falls on the right/wrong or good/bad spectrums. The best example of this is Merlyn. Everything he does, in his view, is right. He is the hero of his own story. But many times, the things he does are very bad. A genre show on the CW is not the best place to hold this debate, and it will certainly not come to an ultimate conclusion, but I am thrilled that this topic is being recognized in the super hero genre. Arrow has proven itself time and time again that it is both willing and able to dig into the deeper story behind the masks and action scenes. That is why I continue to defend Arrow as the best show in this genre to date.
The Flash – Welcome to Earth-2
This is the episode that I’ve been waiting for since the end of season one and I loved every single second of it. Not only did it deliver all the fun alternate reality tropes, but it locked in the DC Multiverse for the TV series. There were so many awesome easter eggs crammed into this episode! It also reinforces the point that Reverse Flash from season one was probably from an alternate reality and not just the future. I love the style of Earth-2. The fact that it’s got more advanced tech but still runs on a 50s aesthetic is perfect. The reveal of all the different versions of known characters was not a surprise, it’s all been teased for months. But it was still tons of fun. Of course, it also provided some sad and dramatic moments. I enjoyed the back and forth between the action on both Earths. And the cliff hanger certainly left me excited for next week. This episode was mostly devoted to dropping fun easter eggs, but it also keep the plot moving, which was long-overdue. As well as Flash handles villain of the week episodes, it does even better with solid, plot-filled episodes. One of the aspects of this episode that I liked the best was the sudden realization that Earth-2 Wells shares a lot of similarities with Malcolm Merlyn. They both have more knowledge and experience than the heroes. They both are taking on dangerous and deceptive tasks to save their daughters. The difference, in my opinion, is that Wells knows what he’s doing is wrong. Merlyn justifies his actions and defines his own version of right and wrong. Wells accepts that he has to be the bad guy in order to save his family. Flash has been the shiny spandex counterpoint to Arrow, but I am impressed that it can still handle deeper plot lines and character development arcs. As this Earth-2 arc resolves, I hope to see more surprise cameos and different versions of known characters. I’m also hoping that the work on the speed drug will get some other speedsters in the mix. The framework has already been laid for two specific family members to step into the Speed Force. And ultimately, wouldn’t a speedster showdown be a great way to end season two?
Legends of Tomorrow – White Knights
Has anyone else noticed that Rip is really bad at time travel and team leadership? Or that Sara and Snart are the two voices of reason in all of these shenanigans? And does anyone else think that the random Time Master showing up isn’t exactly what he claims to be? So far, Legends is more about misadventures of the team instead of successful super heroes fighting an immortal villain. This is where the show differs from its parent programs. The heroes on Arrow and Flash are competent and their teams are well-established, if occasionally dysfunctional, families. This creates an interesting problem for the Legends team. They are dealing with problems of far greater scope than the other CW heroes, but their ability to function effectively is far less. I am sure that this hurdle will be overcome in the near future, but for now it’s here to stay. Hopefully, this will not be the source of every problem in every episode as the show moves forward. As of right now, I am not a fan of making both Sara and Kendra uncontrollable rage monsters. It’s a feature of the plot that needs to be dealt with in small doses, as is seen on Arrow where it all started. Sara, as the established character, seems much more capable of dealing with this. Kendra is not only brand new, but is also central to the plot. She has a lot of responsibility in the story, and she hasn’t yet proven herself capable of dealing with everything. This new development might be a step too far. But overall, I like what Legends is doing. It’s willing to deliver stories that span multiple episodes. It works with flawed characters and puts them into difficult situations. And the main plot is steeped in comic book tropes. I am excited to see what happens next in this story, but I don’t know if it will survive more than a season or two.