This is a big week. Heroes Reborn ends and my favorite DC shows all return. Also, I want to make a quick comment about Galavant. It’s several episodes deep into the second season and I love every second of it. It’s full of goofy self-referential and meta humor and it doesn’t take itself seriously. There are wonderful guest stars and fantastic musical numbers. Plus, how can you not have a crush on Timothy Omundson and Joshua Sasse?
Heroes Reborn – Project Reborn
Once again, everything that happened in this episode makes no sense. While trapped in a computer program, a tentacle thing has to attach to Tommy, who then zaps an entire city to the future while still keeping them in their same special positions. After seeing everything that has happened so far, Tommy has the stupidity to ask what’s happening when he meets his temporal doppelgänger. By the way, that infinite hallway scene featured some of the worst effects of this entire series. And how many times does this kid have to lose his memories to figure out his powers? Luke decides to sacrifice himself for absolutely no reason, claiming a destiny that has never been brought up. Phoebe reveals character motivation from no-where, in yet another example of a subject that should’ve been part of the show since the beginning. The fate of the world is in the jazz hands and screams of a blonde who has never received one moment of training even though that’s all anyone every talked about. Tommy catches Erica monologuing. There are multiple references to an infinity of practice, but the most common phrase from almost everyone is “what’s happening”. Noah gets a horrible ending. Other Tommy uses Hiro’s sword in the dumbest way possible, then reverses everything, thus eliminating the paradox that only just now got mentioned. Also, why did they waste the screen time of him zapping certain people back or away or whatever when he just used the machine a minute later to zap everyone back? The most pointless character gets to narrate a topic that should’ve been a focus for the entire show. A few happy endings get overshadowed by a desperate attempt to provide a hook for a continuation.
Ultimately, Heroes Reborn was a failed experiment. Its success depended on the first run that left pretty much every fan disgusted. It was plagued by horrible acting and worse special effects. The plot lacked any sense of structure. Really, the show was made up of big scenes that barely connected to each other. The drama was forced and fake. There was no chance for the audience to ever connect with a character and have any sort of emotional impact from the events on screen.
My biggest complaint with Heroes Reborn was the lost opportunity to dig into interesting philosophical debates. The entire show could’ve been about what is means to be a hero. It could’ve focused on choices and consequences. Or the idea of free will versus destiny. Yes, these ideas were there, but they were an afterthought. Consider this: was Erica actually doing something wrong? In the end, Tommy became her executioner by, according to her own logic, erasing her from existence. Is he in the wrong? What consequences does he have to deal with? All of these deeper concepts and more were lost in the attempt to appeal to an audience that didn’t really care. The title of this final episode seemed like a plea for its continuation. I am glad that Heroes Reborn is not getting renewed.
Supernatural – The Devil in the Details
This episode picks up immediately where the last one ended, which is not something I expected. I also did not expect the goofy dream sequence, and I loved it. Even with all the drama, Supernatural still has a sense of humor. And I very much appreciate the “road so far” flashback. Supernatural delivers a fairly straightforward plot, but there is a lot of information crammed into most episodes. One of the things that Supernatural has perfected over the years is an effective refresher. This episode featured lots of Dean growls, which is a wonderful thing. The reveal about Rowena was predictable (I think I pointed it out right here last time) as was Amara’s survival. I liked a lot about this episode, but once again, it was an “everything stays the same” episode. At least, it appeared to be until those great twists right at the end. Wow! I was not expecting any of that. I also really enjoyed the fact that Lucifer was the one character calling out Sam for all his faults. Sure, it’s all lies and manipulation, but the best deception is based upon truth. Has Sam been heroic? He’s certainly doing good things, but ultimately there is a lot of selfishness driving his actions. Hopefully, this is a topic that will come up again as the show continues. I’m disappointed that even after giving him screen time in the flashback, there is still no mention of the third Winchester brother. But I absolutely love the writers for calling out the ludicrous concept of the other show about the Devil, coming soon to another network. The second half of this season will clearly be headed towards some big moments. It’s safe to say that there will be a big reveal with a dash of betrayal along the way to the final showdown. Unfortunately, I think that these types of big moments are just not as good as the stories that Supernatural used to feature. In the earlier seasons, the stories felt more important and dramatic. I think that they also seemed to more completely woven into the plot lines of the other episodes. However, I haven’t gone back to watch older shows in a while. Maybe I’m just remembering the past with fondness. Either way, I’m looking forward to what comes next. I was genuinely surprised by what happened in this episode and for the first time in a while, I’m not really sure what will develop from it.
The Flash – Potential Energy
This was a drama-heavy episode. The family struggles of the Wests and the Barry/Patty relationship issues took center stage. However, the villain of the week still managed to fit into the primary plot of figuring out how to fight Zoom, which is still the same basic plot from last season. But comic book plots are known for repeating themselves, so it’s not such a big deal. Flash continues to deliver a quality program. It’s a solid balance of action, drama, and humor. The supporting cast have very specific roles and they perform them perfectly. The big twist for this week is the return of a certain speedster but it’s not as dramatic as the show wants it to be. He’s clearly from. Earth-2. But I’m sure that his appearance will be the focus of next week’s episode. I was hoping for more cross-dimensional adventures sooner this season. However, it’s probably a smart move to dish out this aspect of the show slowly. Flash is successfully introducing the crazier side of comic books to the television audience, so floating into the deep end is better than jumping. Whatever Flash decides to do, I’m sure that it will be a success. The show has figured out a solid formula and is sticking to it.
Arrow – Blood Debts
Amping up the drama and danger is par for the course in Arrow, so that part of the pitch for the mid-season return felt pointless. What is interesting, however, is the return of the flash forward and the newly revealed details. With the prime suspect of the grave’s occupant now confirmed as surviving, the mystery just got exciting. Also intriguing is an absent piece of jewelry in the near future. What’s not as interesting is the flashbacks. I’ve always enjoyed Oliver’s past being revealed in this way. However, the prime story line is pretty engaging this season, so the breaks to look back are a little frustrating. But it is a good way to pace the main story, so I appreciate it for that aspect. Sadly, the dramatic moments in the flashbacks lose some impact when the audience knows that the main character isn’t in any real danger. In general, this was a typical episode of Arrow. Nothing amazing happened, but it wasn’t boring. What I enjoyed the most is Oliver’s struggle over returning to his more brutal habits. I enjoy the depth of character it provides, even if it’s still fairly surface level. This is a CW show, after all. Also being explored is the line between hero and villain. Oliver is questioning his motives and actions in this fight against Darhk. And Darhk, with all of his grand evil plans, has some sense of honor and good form. This is a debate that I love. Are superheroes actually the good guys? They certainly do good things. But when it comes to motivation and methods, the line between comic book heroes and villains is razor thin. Arrow might not explicitly explore every aspect of this debate, and it certainly doesn’t do it full justice, but it at least is attempting to demonstrate things like the impact of choice and consequences. This is just one of the reasons that I enjoy Arrow so much.
Legends of Tomorrow – Pilot Part 1
If Arrow is the dark gritty side of comics and Flash is the shiny silly spandex side, Legends of Tomorrow is the off the rails bonkers insane fun side. It’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Who and pure stupid fun. The show starts with the required team-gathering montage and then jumps right into the time travel craziness. If this episode establishes a standard for the rest of the season, there will be lots of bad jokes about the different periods the characters visit, every cliche of the drama will be exploited, and all the potential problems about time travel will get hand-waved away. Already, no-one cares about having the right money of 40 years ago or random people showing up in futuristic clothing. Darvill is a perfect center point to the team, acting as a leader who’s part cowboy and part hero with a mission. And while Time Master might be a poor man’s non-copyright version of Time Lord, I don’t care. He’s wonderful. The big twist of the episode, and it’s predictable resolution, is suitably CW drama fodder, but it works for a show like this. Legends seems like it’s written to be fun, nothing more. Events of a show like this are not exactly predictable, but it has to rely on the tropes of both comic books and time travel. So we’ll probably see everything from paradoxes to big effects-driven fights. Personally, I am really excited to see who the mysterious time traveling bounty hunter will be. I’m hoping for a dramatic reveal of it being an alternate version of another character. Unlike the other DC shows, Legends is based on the functionality of the ensemble cast. Luckily, all of these characters have already been introduced, defined, and established. They already have roles to slip into. That will be the saving grace of Legends. If this show had started fresh with a cast this size of all new characters, it would’ve had to waste entire episodes letting viewers know who was who and why they were part of the events. If events in the pilot had happened without all the set-up from Flash and Arrow, this episode would’ve been terrible. But Legends was established smartly. The show is slated to run for 16 episodes. While it might not have the legs to stand on its own yet, I think that it can be successfully supported due to the foundation of Flash and Arrow. The question becomes how long the story be carried on before it gets tiresome. Will Legends have an endpoint or will the time travel shenanigans continue? I loved every second of this pilot episode, so I will willingly watch while either possibility plays out.