There were a lot of similar themes this week, which I enjoyed. But there was also Lucifer.
Lucifer – Lucifer, Stay. Good Devil.
There is nothing complicated about Lucifer. It’s a bad procedural crime drama with a lame supernatural twist. The characters are not deep or complex, and neither is the story. So I have no idea why this episode started with three separate recaps that all delivered the exact same details. Also, am I the only one bothered that Lucifer said he hates liars? Wouldn’t the father of all lies be thrilled with a charlatan preacher scamming tourists for money? This show is full of bad writing, but that is just really stupid. As a character, Lucifer is somehow less than one dimensional. He wanders around, stumbling into police investigations, telling everyone who he is, and claiming one special power that doesn’t seem to work all the time. Oh, and he levitates stuff with the power of bad computer graphics. The trope of a cop letting a civilian assist with a case works best when the civilian is competent in some way. Lucifer has yet to prove himself as such. He’s an entitled kid throwing a temper tantrum. Of course, given the mythology, that does make sense. It just doesn’t make for a great tv show. I also don’t like the concept of Lucifer chatting with and then banging the therapist. It’s weak. It’s too human. What’s the point of having a supernatural character and then making him basically useless? There are a lot of ways that this could be a better show. And I doubt that any of them will happen.
Supernatural – Don’t You Forget About Me
Remember a few seasons ago when Supernatural tried a back door pilot and it failed horribly? They finally figured out how to do it right. This was not only a great episode of Supernatural, but it introduced a character dynamic that would be perfect for a spin off. Plus, it was a great way to recover from last week’s lousy episode. And I loved seeing Sam and Dean in a home environment with Jody. Beyond being funny, it was a great reminder of what the Winchesters have sacrificed for their chosen career. As monster of the week episodes go, this was solid. It utilized characters and details from the show’s extended mythology and furthered their stories. Supernatural has always been focused on the Winchesters, but they are nothing without their support crew. Something I’ve missed for the past few seasons is seeing the boys work alongside their family. Unfortunately, I think that this won’t be a continued feature. Since there wasn’t more than a brief mention of the larger plot, there’s not much else to look at in this episode. It was focused on family and it delivered. Secondarily, it touched on what really motivates a monster. The vampire that hunted Alex was hell-bent on revenge. Yet he made a point of saying several times that he was a good man before he was turned. He made use of his new powers to exact revenge. But did those powers turn him evil? I don’t think so. Supernatural has taken lengths in the past to show viewers that not all monsters are bad. It’s always about the choices people make. It certainly wasn’t what this episode was about, but it’s good to know that the show still acknowledge this fact. It’s easier to simply say that the monsters are bad and should be killed. But that’s not always the case. Supernatural is not a show of black and white, and that’s what keeps it interesting after all these years.
iZombie – Fifty Shades of Grey Matter
This was the first good episode of iZombie in a while. It also featured the first good cooking montage in a while and I loved the meta joke about the surprise cameo by Kristen Bell! Like other great episodes of this show, the criminal case and zombie brain shenanigans took a back seat to the larger plot. Unfortunately, the larger plot hasn’t been featured with any clarity recently, so I was a little fuzzy on some of the details. iZombie would benefit from a Supernatural style recap when necessary. A lot happened in this episode. Blaine got some great screen time and witty quips, which is always entertaining. Progress was made on several different criminal investigations, but the details of those cases have gotten lost over time so I was confused about what exactly was happening. I appreciate a complex plot, but there needs to be more focus on those necessary details to keep viewers engaged. iZombie is a clever show. But it gets stuck in its own cleverness at times. Genre shows work best when the unique aspects they exploit support a quality plot. That quality exists in iZombie, but it gets lost in its comic book roots. However, I haven’t lost faith in the show yet. After a wonderful first season, the show has been bouncing between extremes. I think it will eventually settle into the correct groove. I just hope it happens soon.
The Flash – Fast Lane
I like that Earth 2 Wells is very distraught about what he’s doing to Barry. It adds some needed depth to the character. His priority is his daughter, but he still felt the need to confess. He is unapologetic for his actions. This makes for a truly dynamic character and story line to watch develop. But I’m a bit confused about his plan. The show hasn’t defined what the Speed Force is, just that speedsters can access it when they run. I don’t get how it can be siphoned off and transferred. Ultimately, the answer is “because comic books”. I liked a lot of this episode. But some of it was on the dumb side. Ok, just Iris. She walks into trouble and then acts surprised when things go badly. Yes, it’s a standard comic book trope. But from a story telling perspective, it’s boring and predictable. Like most episodes of Flash, the villain of the week didn’t matter. It just was just the lubricant to grease the wheels of the larger story. And unlike, iZombie, Flash knows how to do this correctly. It didn’t feel like the show was wasting time on the villain just to give that aspect of the show’s foundation screen time. Everything fit together smoothly and delivered an entertaining show. I enjoyed the nods to Arrow. And I liked the slow build up of Wally. I don’t know if the show will ever make him a speedster, but there’s enough there to appease fans. And I am thrilled that the gang is finally making progress towards visiting Earth 2. This is all I’ve wanted ever since the finale of season one. These will probably be the highlight episodes of this season. This episode felt very preachy. On two different fronts, it told viewers the importance of being a family. It’s nice to see Flash focusing the story on interpersonal relationships and not just super hero stuff, but it’s also not necessary to be taught this lesson repeatedly. However, that’s a very minor complaint on an otherwise good episode.
Arrow – Unchained
Cadmus! A parkour chase! So many returning characters! Really, the only low point of this episode was the jail break. The hidden dagger served no point. But other than that, this was a fantastic episode with great action scenes. Even though only a few elements tied into the larger plot, this did not feel like a filler episode. And it delivered some hugely surprising moments. To say nothing of the fact that it made the Calculator a cool bad guy. This episode is a perfect example of why I am such a huge Arrow fan. The only thing that I think is missing right now is the dual life that Oliver leads. It was there in the first season, but it has faded. It’s slowly returning, but it isn’t a focus. I see why it’s being done this way. This season was a reboot of the story, in a way. Oliver left behind his more brutal ways and is trying to improve both of his personas. And by doing so, he’s reestablishing his secret identity. But it’s a slow process. And this season introduced a villain that is directly challenging all of Oliver’s efforts. Arrow has always been about consequences. Oliver clearly wants to change his life, but he is faced with an enemy that is forcing him to make near impossible choices. This is why I love Merlyn acting as an advisor of sorts. He’s still an enemy, but is experienced in committing himself to a path of action even when all options are equally bad. Arrow loves throwing its viewers for a loop, so I’m sure that more surprising things are in store. But what’s certain is that it will not be easy.
The Legends of Tomorrow – Blood Ties
Hey, another confirmation of the two big guys in capes. And a Fantastic Voyage homage. And Sara tearing it up in period outfits. Only three episodes in, and someone has already tried changing their own history. That was expected. Legends continues to be willing to embrace the crazy shenanigans of both the time travel and comic book genre. I love every second of it, but I cannot believe that the show will be able to sustain itself for long with this type of pacing. Beyond all the fun of big fight scenes and cult members chanting away, the best part of this episode was the reveal that Rip created the very problem that sent him on this mission. Again, that is not a surprise. I fully expect more of this to happen as the show moves on. Legends is a little over the top when it comes to the drama between the team members. But it fits with the tone of the show. Interestingly, for all the preaching about not changing the time line, Rip is totally on board with shooting every random thug that crosses his path. I guess this is the one exception to making sure that the team doesn’t have any impact on the past. The next episode has the team headed to the 80s. If they keep skipping through the decades like this, the show won’t last very long. Maybe they will end up bouncing further into the past or future? There’s been a lot of hints dropped about other DC heroes making appearances. Hopefully, Legends will evolve into a fun exploration of the rest of the DC universe, and not just be contained by what was established with Arrow and Flash. Speaking of which, I hope there will be a glimpse into the lives of Barry and Oliver along the way.