|"Who does your hair?"|
Wow; I’ve let this one drag on, haven’t I? Well, I blame NaNoWriMo. Also, you may note that, due to the significant limits on co-watching time, Hanna and I have not progressed with Arrow this past month.
Supergirl moves onto more familiar territory as Kara gets her shit a little more together in the wake of Mon-el’s departure, with a quartet of episodes balancing monster of the week face puncher with arc plot and personal development. ‘Triggered’(1) sees Supergirl go up against a metahuman psychic who immobilises people with their own worst fears, forcing Kara to confront both a lingering claustrophobia resulting from her long trip through space in a flying coffin and her dread that she has doomed Mon-el by condemning him to the same or a similar fate. The villain of the piece, Psi, is an interesting take; a metahuman who has weaponised her own pathological fears to attack others. Sadly, she doesn't have a chance to develop much more personality than that.
|When Martian was in Egypt land,|
Let my Martian go.
Then in ‘Far From the Tree’, Kara accompanies J’onn back to Mars, where the Staff of Kolar, a religious artefact of stupendous power, is about to be used by the White Martian authorities to eradicate the rebels within their own ranks. In order to locate this artefact and keep it from the hands of the White Martian authorities, J’onn has to reconnect with a man - well, a Martian - that he thought was long dead: His father, the Green Martian scholar-priest M’yrnn J’onzz (played by animated Martian Manhunter Carl Lumbly.) While J’onn tries to convince his father of his true identity, M’gann struggles to control her rebels, some of whom wish to use a forbidden process to force the knowledge from the mind of even one as powerful as M’yrnn, at the risk of fatal damage to the subject.
|"All you need to do is accept Supergirl as your personal saviour."|
‘The Faithful’ examines the messiah complex so beloved of Zack Snyder, but with a far more critical eye. A man in crisis faces death in a plane crash, but this is the plane that Kara saved to protect Alex, beginning her career as Supergirl. Collecting Kryptonian artefacts, he stumbles on a holy text and forms a cult, worshipping the Kryptonian god Rau and his emissary, Supergirl, and planning on detonating a Kryptonian obelisk as part of a plan to reveal Supergirl’s miraculous nature to more people. Finally, in ‘Damage’, Morgan Edge reveals that National City’s children are suffering from lead poisoning as a result of Lena’s anti-Daxamite bomb. Lena succumbs to guilt, but Kara and L-Corp CFO Sam – more on her below – trace the poisoning to deliberate contamination of a children’s swimming pool. Lena confronts Edge, but before she can ‘be a Luthor’ and shoot him, a goon knocks her out and she is trapped in a plane with barrels of the deadly chemical, heading for a reservoir. Cue Supergirl.
The big personal plot running through these episodes is, I won’t lie to you, a bit of a bummer. ‘Far from the Tree’ features another parental reunion, as Maggie reaches out to invite her father to her bridal shower. He comes, and makes an effort to get along, but in the end proves unable to accept Maggie’s sexuality. It’s a painful, but perhaps realistic moment, and allows Maggie to realise that she doesn’t need his approval any more. With that out of the way, it’s full steam ahead for a happy ever after, or would be if they didn’t break up two episodes later. Again, it’s not an unreasonable storyline – having gone very rapidly towards marriage, they suddenly discover a divisive issue, in this case, children and whether to have any – but it’s still gutting, especially given that they show less sign of trying to save the relationship than Barry and Iris.
We also get to know Sam – a talented orphan and third member of Kara and Lena’s sisterhood – and her daughter Ruby. Sam may have superpowers and shares dreams with Kara, and after the Kryptonian pod explodes, rousing someone from stasis elsewhere, Sam begins having visions of script written all over her skin and a creepy robed figure telling her she will soon Reign (so, that’s not good.) Morgan Edge reappears, and affirms that he is not just powerful and ruthless, but actually amoral to the point of being a psychopath, willing to poison literally hundreds of children to get at Lena.
Finally, these episodes give us a rare religious focus, with the worship of Rau, and of the Martian god Kolar and his two sons – Deimos and Phobos, one the culture-bearing father of all Green Martians, the other the weapon-obsessed progenitor of the White Martians – each getting a fair chunk of an episode. Perhaps unsurprisingly given its politics, the show comes down in favour of personal piety, but sceptical of organised religion and dogma.
In ‘Mixed Signals’, Barry’s day job leads to the trail of a software designer turned remote control assassin Kilg%re. Then, in ‘Luck be a Lady’, the Flash goes up against Hazard, a woman who can manipulate chance. Realising that neither of these metahumans was in Central City for the accelerator meltdown, Team Flash track them to an intersection where a bus was confronted by Barry exiting the Speed Force, bringing a wash of Dark Matter with him. In other news, Barry and Iris work through some issues(2) regarding his departure into the Speed Force(3), and Cisco’s relationship with Gypsy progresses. Also, Harry Wells returns to bring Wally a ‘breakup cube’ from Jesse, prompting Kid Flash to decide that he will walk the Earth, like Kane in Kung Fu.
|TFW your girl's dad is pissed at you, and he's Danny Trejo.|
‘The Elongated Journey into Night’ pays off much of the above. Team Flash learn that the driver of the bus in question killed himself, and a check of the evidence reveals that one of the passengers – who paid with an IOU – was former cop Ralph Dibney, who was fired after Barry proved that he had planted evidence. It is revealed that Dibney has stretching powers, and when the corrupt Mayor fails to have him killed and then abducts Joe, Dibney helps to save the day, earning him a spot as trainee hero and team jerk. Also, Gypsy’s father, Breacher, shows up to hunt down Cisco for daring to date his daughter, and Joe breaks the news that he and Cecile are going to be having a baby.
|Hey, evil British goth Starbuck!|
Finally, ‘Girl’s Night Out’ brings us to the stag and hen(4) parties for the West Allen wedding. Dibney crashes the former and turns a quiet night out into an evening of steak and strippers, enlivened by a phial of ‘get the Flash drunk’ potion, Cecile’s daughter appearing on stage as part of her research into the authentic female experience for her novel, and a bar fight. The real action, as the title implies, is with the hens, as Caitlin’s former boss Amunet(5) tries to rope her back in to help market the tears of one of the bus metas, triggering the return of Killer Frost. Iris, Cecile and Felicity Smoak (yay!) throw in to help defeat the metal-slinging mobster, and Iris is able to help the Caitlin and Frost personae to find some kind of a balance.
In the world of arc plots, Dibney tells Barry that he was put onto the Mayor by a man named DeVoe, which Barry recognises as the name of a future nemesis mentioned by both Abra Kadabra and Savitar. Also, DeVoe turns up in person in his flying wheelchair, like he’s Davros or something(6), to recapture the Weeper so that he can fulfil his purpose.
|"Well, this will be embarrassing in the morning."|
‘Freakshow’ takes the Legends to the early days of PT Barnum’s travelling show, where they accidentally release a sabre-toothed tiger thanks to a failure of Ray’s new shrink ray, and Barnum tries to deploy them as freaks instead. This leads to another run-in with Agent Stick-Up-Her-Butt, and I swear she and Sara will either kill each other or shag by the end of this series; possibly both(7). ‘Zari’ takes the crew into a near-future in which ARGUS brutally enforces a series of metahuman control laws, to rescue a woman named Zari Tomaz from a water-wielding sorceress named Kuasa. Zari, a super-hacker as well as the inheritor of an amulet which allows her to control winds, is initially reluctant to accept the Legends help, but warms up to them and eventually accepts an offer to travel on the Waverider instead of staying in her particular temporal shithole.
|For all its flaws, the show does a splendid job of making Ray both a tragic|
and a heroic figure.
In ‘Phone Home’, the disappearance of Ray leads the team back to the 80s, where the young Ray has adopted an anachronistic baby Dominator he calls Gumball. Watching Ray see his childhood from the outside is heartbreaking, as he recognises that his ‘friends’ were actually bullies, and that his mother struggled with his odd nature far more than she ever let on. Nate, who seems to have evolved from a sensitive, cerebral sort with incongruous might powers, into an occasionally brilliant meathead jerkass, flirts with Mrs Palmer and ends up making out with a Dominator Queen. Deciding that his Pollyanna attitude is hurting the team, Ray tries to convince his younger self to man up and reject his love of Gumball, but nails-hard emotional shut in Zari is moved by Ray’s genuineness, and convinces him to try things the kid’s way, which involves saving the alien while re-enacting E.T.
There is a final scene where the Legends step out in costume to go trick or treating with Ray and give the kid some cache, and it's kind of delightful.
|"Just in case."|
Finally, for this time, ‘Return of the Mack’ brings Rip Hunter back to the Waverider, hunting for a vampire. His real quarry, however, is Mollus, a vast transtemporal evil, who is manipulating a cult run by Stein’s identical ancestor, Sir Henry Stein(8) and a dubious medium who seems to channel Zari’s brother despite him not being dead yet. The cult aim to resurrect Damien Darhk, and do so after Rip uses a security protocol to prevent the Legends interfering(9) and so removing the possibility of Mollus showing his face(10). In the resulting brawl Zari owns her power, a bunch of Time Bureau agents are killed, and Sara rats out Rip’s unauthorised investigation.
Also, in ‘Phone Home’ Mick and Jaxx think Stein is a rat, but discover he is just trying to keep in touch with home and be there when his grandchild is born. This shows a softer side of Mick – in contrast to hijacking candy from Ray’s bullies at heat gun point at the end of the episode – who also turns out to be reading Dracula and to carry a stake with him at all times on the off-chance he might get to kill a vampire. Zari is a good addition to the team, improving the gender balance while also holding her own as a member of the team, despite not yet having a full handle on her powers. I don’t think it would be necessary, but if they’re angling for a relationship between her and Ray, they already have more chemistry than Ray and Hawkgirl ever did.
Rip and Nate have both turned into tools. Not sure what’s up with that.
(1) This is Supergirl, so I doubt it is coincidence that the title is a term misused to label feminist responses as emotional outbursts.
(2) I was amused to note that their therapist had a magazine on the table featuring Oliver’s outing as Green Arrow.
(3) Although it seems a little harsh for Iris to call going into the Speed Force to save all of creation including her ‘abandonment.’
(4) Batchelor and batchelorette, I suppose.
(5) Mad props for a never-caught crime boss using the name of the ‘Hidden One’, incidentally.
(6) And he is very Davros.
(7) While the conflict is more professional and less lethal, I get the same feeling with James and Lena in Supergirl.
(8) Well, he says he’s a knight, but since he wants to attach the ‘sir’ to his surname, I don’t believe him.
(9) He accuses Sara of lacking perspective, which is pretty classic pot and kettle.
(10) Which he doesn’t, instead possessing his agent, the time-travelling medium.