The only really good thing that I can say about this week is that Lucifer is over. For now.
Blindspot – In the Comet of Us
Hey, there’s nothing like starting an episode with a joke at the expense of a massively popular game with players who are one of the show’s target demographics. Thanks, Blindspot writers. I’m glad that you don’t mind exploiting gamer stereotypes for a punchline. The joke was funny and fitting to the character, but it was cheap. Last week’s episode wasn’t the best and this episode didn’t start out much better. I honestly didn’t like it at all when I first started watching. The FBI team made some bad choices when dealing with the situation, for no explanation or reason other than it needed to happen to drive the plot. And then some more weird things happens, like Weller scaling the building. Also, the eventual reveal of what was happening seemed confusing. This was a “ripped from the headlines” moment, even if it did come a few years late. The situation was tragic and, unfortunately, all too real. But the point was made that the victims didn’t plan to hurt anyone. The weapons and bombs make that point difficult to accept. This point is small, and can be explained away by the impact of trauma. This episode also seemed to continue to pattern started last week of focusing on individual character stories. I didn’t like it last week, and I started out not liking it this week either. But as this episode played out, the style grew on me. I ended up enjoying it. There weren’t any great moments (except that tailor scene) but there wasn’t anything entirely terrible. I did enjoy a few of the character facts that were revealed. Overall, it was another one of those “nothing happens” episodes, which is unfortunate. By this point in the season, I need to see more development of the actual mystery. Also, the one thing that really bugged me was the paper bag full of cash. Given the fact that this scene seemed to happen on the same day, there’s absolutely no way that a bank would simply hand over that much cash, or even have it available. Silly, I know. But it’s just something that ruins the reality of the show.
Lucifer – Take Me Back to Hell
The finale of Lucifer comes with no resolution or explanation. Instead, it delivers awkward exchanges, laughably bad police drama, a pointless brawl, and a poor attempt at a cliff hanger that tries and fails to deepen the plot. This episode is a great demonstration of everything wrong with Lucifer. The police drama side of things falls flat. It lacks quality and does nothing to engage the audience. Things just happen. There’s no sense of continuity. The supernatural genre side of things is equally lacking. The facts are ill-defined. Instead of supporting or driving the plot, they are just confusing. Facts are randomly presented without any logic. This element is based upon a mythology that the average person is very familiar with, but core aspects are changed without explanation. Yes, Lucifer has the right to establish its own fictional rules and continuity. However, the show has no clear foundation. One of the two main elements of the show (police drama or supernatural genre) has to be solid for a mash-up show like Lucifer to function successfully. My opinion aside, however, Lucifer is somehow popular. The cast has an entertaining dynamic. The concept is engaging to a casual viewer who doesn’t over-analyze the core components. There is a certain appeal to the premise of Lucifer, and the beautiful people acting at each other makes the show easy on the eyes. I wish that the show had more substance than flash. The supernatural or urban fantasy genre is making a comeback. I am very happy with this. But I also feel that shows like Lucifer, while appealing to the average viewer, are hurting the genre more than helping it. I hope that there is an improvement in the next season.
Supernatural – The Chitters
It’s been a long time since the Winchesters ran into other hunters. It was a part of the show that I always enjoyed. And specifically in this episode, I enjoyed both the relationship that these new hunters shared and that they were able to find a happy ending to their struggle. The Winchesters have been cursed for the last few seasons with on-going problems. When Supernatural first started, the boys had a clear agenda and a direct plot to follow. The ultimate resolution of that plot expanded and took some strange turns, but there was still a logical continuity from season to season. Recently, however, each resolution has introduced another bigger and more dangerous opponent. There’s an attempt at logical progression, but it’s a stretch. The hunters in this episode reminded me of the Winchesters back in the early seasons. They were focused and dedicated. And instead of getting involved in another problem, they found happiness after achieving their resolution. Obviously, this can’t work for the Winchesters because then there would be no Supernatural. But it’s nice to see that the fictional world of Supernatural isn’t equally depressing for everyone. Other than that, this was a typical monster of the week filler episode. There was the required mention of the larger plot at the start and end. As always, this plot format works for Supernatural, but it is frustratingly predictable. I want the resolution of the Darkness plot line, even though I absolutely know that either it will stretch into next season or will yet again spawn another bigger problem. Lately, the best parts of Supernatural, except for a few randomly entertaining episodes, have been the season premiers and finales. I’m looking forward to what I hope will continue this trend.
Arrow – Canary Cry
Tragedy aside, I’m really bothered by the fact that this random doctor is now aware of at least two of Team Arrow’s secret identities. And people in the Arrow universe are very capable of figuring out who’s behind the mask when a few details are revealed and connected. But that’s a minor complaint. A bigger problem is Lance’s wig in the flashbacks. Arrow does not have a good history with wigs. But again, these are very minor issues in a show that I very much enjoy. This was an intensely emotional episode. I am not ashamed to say that I felt the impact of this sorrow. Arrow has always been about the people behind the masks. It is a testament to the skill of the writers and actors that this loss can be felt with such realness. While ultimately nothing happened in this episode to advance the larger plot, it was not a disappointment. This episode was about character development. It was about dealing with loss and blame and sorrow. It was about turning those emotions into dedication towards achieving resolution. It was also, unfortunately, about delivering a big gaping plot hole. The mysterious girl that took on the Canary identity was never explained. I hope that happens soon. I also refuse to believe that Laurel will stay dead. The nature of her death in the hospital was far too suspicious and there’s too much magic being thrown around. But that being said, I hope that she is not brought back. I think that it will cheapen the events of this episode.
The Flash – Back to Normal
Watching the team deal with a villain of the week without the Speedforce was interesting. And the episode remained entertaining and engaging even with out the super speed. But the show doesn’t work without the Flash being the Flash, so of course there’s going to be some science magic whipped up to get Barry his speed back. Furthermore, with this development in the works, there’s a really good chance that the other potential speedsters that have been introduced are going to get a chance at joining the fight. Speaking of fighting, now that Zoom has been unmasked, I think that he’s less of a threatening villain Yes, he has the power. But now his motivation is known. As I mentioned last week when the reveal occurred, he is no-longer a compelling character. He’s just a crazy guy with super speed. I’m still looking forward to the ultimate show down, but Zoom is not the imposing figure of terror that he was previously. More than anything, I want to know the identity of the guy in the mask. I’m disappointed that for all her intelligence, Caitlin couldn’t figure out his coded tapping. This also makes me want to try to decode it myself. Maybe someone on the interwebs has already done so. I don’t doubt for a second that the season finale will deliver a resolution for the Zoom confrontation while revealing another larger source of danger from the multiverse. Given how well Flash embraces its comic book roots, I am really looking forward to what happens next.
Legends of Tomorrow – Leviathan
You can mark “reverse the polarity” off your genre bingo card. And “giant robot” too, but that’s not one that I was expecting. It certainly fits the goofy nature of the show, but it doesn’t fit with the style established for Savage so far. It’s also unfortunate that the main fight was resolved in the exact same way that all fights between giant things are: with punching. Sure, there were some lasers thrown around here and there, but it all boiled down to fisticuffs. I have nothing against giant things hitting each other, but it’s a frustrating trend of the genre. There were some interesting elements of this episode. For example, how Rip is more focused on revenge than saving people. Or how by this point in the series, every character has resigned him- or herself to a very limited role. In the first few episodes, characters argued and struggled. Now they all just fulfill their jobs. There should be a sense of cooperation like this in a team-based series, but I didn’t want it to go so far so fast. This episode also featured what I think is the show’s biggest blunder. Legends could have very successfully explored the debate of whether or not Savage was truly a villain and if his domination over humanity was actually a bad thing. The show could have started out with Rip telling the story of how terrible Savage’s reign was, but then the heroes could have only seen his virtue. To me, Savage has always been a very subtle character. He has always played the long game and worked through other villains to disguise his ultimate plan. I think this show would’ve been so much more interesting if every time the team found Savage, he was actually doing something good. The dynamic between the team and Rip would’ve been much more intriguing. As it stands, Rip is still a liar and blinded by his focus, but since Savage is clearly the bad guy, it’s all forgivable. The big twist at the end of this episode was pretty easy to see coming and wasn’t very exciting at all. Honestly, I don’t care about the Hawk sub-plot of Legends. It’s the most “soap opera drama” element of the show and it hasn’t engaged me at all. Also, ending the show with Savage captured might be the biggest mistake yet. Any excitement that has been built for the ultimate Team of Legends versus Vandal Savage showdown has been destroyed by a very anti-climactic fight. Savage never could’ve stood in combat against the team, but I was anticipating a finale where Savage used his cunning and planning to effectively combat the team’s brute force. And as there are still three episodes to go in the season, the finale must either take a completely different direction or fall back on the oldest trope of all and let Savage escape. Whatever happens, I’m still interested, just disappointed.