Stories established? Good! Let’s see how these shows play around with what they’ve been building…
(1.02) Stronger Together
Episode 2, can the show hold together it’s charm?
Well… this was a weaker outing and this time the show’s insistence on bringing up sexism is starting to hold the show back. Especially when the character is a SUPER girl, trying to do much with her and sexism turns pretty quickly into a space whale aesop. Not only that but bringing it up too much leads to fridge moments where the viewer’s mind might head towards tacky jokes. (i.e. “Her character isn’t acting very consistent – but then women are just flaky, eh?”) Worry about the stories and characters first!
And it kind of bugs me that in this episode about her “finding her wings” (so to speak) we see her make efforts to start small and work her way up, without ever bringing up the possibility of her cleaning up after prior saves. (like say… getting the plane out of the river?) Or that she needed to learn the lesson this week of “raw power is good, but skill is useful” when she should have learned that after last week’s monster tussle! Especially after showing such eagerness to be a hero in the pilot, I was disappointed that she demonstrated such stubbornness this time to actually mastering the craft.
The Monster of the Week was practically offensive to me. Here we have a near perfect opportunity for the heroes to recruit someone (“work with us, we’ll feed you”). To try and make it somewhat believable, they have it kill a guy at the start, even though he’s just EATING something we want to get rid of in the first place. The thing’s doing us all a solid! It’s like the Pishtaco from Supernatural, why are we trying to kill this thing? It’s doing more to help us than most pets we spend money on! Too bad they didn’t take out the time spent on those sexism asides and replaced it with a discussion on the implication and handling of aliens and what should be done (plus if you do it right, it could end up being relevant to today while being timeless and not anvilicious – you know, quality art).
Finally, it bugged me that Hank didn’t try stabbing the villainess with the K-Knife in the heart instead of the arm. One would think they would realize that if a Kryptonian is dangerous enough, you need to take them out as soon as you get the chance. Then again his red eyes (and the comic book history of the name) hint that he may be up to something. Here’s hoping the later reveals explain this scene rather than just another instance of character shields protecting the antagonist (I’m getting real sick of that being the case lately).
But overall I like the idea of the episode, of Kara learning that just having the abilities isn’t enough (experience is important) even if the execution was imperfect. The supporting cast isn’t bad, but still hasn’t gelled or pop off the screen the way my other shows in this post have (and Arrow) though Kara & her sister work well.
Final Grade: I like to grade on a curve but since this is now two episodes, it’s a bit hard to at the moment. So objectively, this is about a C.
(2.05) The Darkness and the Light
Look, this episode was about 1 thing and 1 thing only. Yes you can talk about Earth 2s and alternate versions and stolen kisses… but at the end of the day, this episode was entirely about:
Dr. Harrison Wells.
The drama of the team trying to deal with a man wearing the face of their prior enemy was… well it was what I like watching comic mediums for. Intellectually you know he’s innocent of the crimes he died for, but emotionally he’s still wearing the face of a guy that tried to kill you. Only 1 person on the entire show as far as we know ever knew who the original Wells ever was, otherwise the man we & team Flash knew was replaced by an outright evil man. Which makes Cisco “he wasn’t as much of a jerk” take on extra implications, as you realize, of course the villain in disguise wasn’t a jerk, he didn’t want you guys to suspect him! Ironic that it’s usually those who are trying to deceive that are the nicest. Though given what little we did see of Wells in season 1, it seems safe to say that he probably was nicer than E2!Wells. On the other hand, something has happened on Earth 2 and the experience of it seems to have pushed that Wells more into Dr House territory. For all we know, our Wells might have become rougher around the edges if he had survived the loss of his wife or the STAR Labs explosion.
All in all it brings in a good spice to the usually solid Flash team. We don’t need constant conflict, but shaking things up and letting a new equilibrium settle is good to keep things from getting stale. Welcome back, Tom Cavanagh. We look forward to seeing what you’ll do next…
Final Grade: A-
(2.05) Love & Basketball
Remember what I said last week about the Flash? That was iZombie this week – standard until the very end where it all goes GAH!
This was the Liv and Major show this week and, again, I’m liking that the show doesn’t take their romance for granted but is actually putting some work into it instead of relying upon designated couple status. This was also a great episode to demonstrate just how far Major had fallen over the past season and makes you want to see him get back to the “saint” he was.
Except of course that seems unlikely as the Max Rager company all but slapped a “Bought out by Umbrella Corp” sign on its front door. They have their hooks to deep into Major to let him find redemption easy and it isn’t help that their slowly entangling Liv as well. Again I’m finding myself really looking forward to seeing whether Liv & friends will team up with either Blaine or Evil Co against the other, or if we’ll witness a 3 way war.
Speaking of, I’ll admit that Blaine is slowly winning me over as his little frenemy bit with Ravi was hilarious. I am sad Major didn’t get a chance to wield the anti-Z juice. It would be awesome if we got to see him play the Q to Major’s Bond as they oppose a zombie outbreak.
Case of the week was ok, if a bit on the cartoonish-stereotypes side of things. We’ve learned a bit more about Babineaux and took a big step in what should be him joining the fold on the secret of Seattle. All things considered, this was a pretty light and fun episode.
… Which means something probably about to go down next week…
Final Grade: C+.