Laurel. Laurel is what was wrong with this episode. Watch any scene. Was Laurel in it? Then it was bad. Her telling Diggle she thought he’d understand her need to be part of the fight because he lost his brother? No, Laurel. Diggle was sad, but Diggle was a sad Green Beret. You’re a sad sorority girl. Having Diggle on the radio so you can go out and play ninja was stupid on every conceivable level. She feels responsible because she failed and someone was killed in front of her? Good. She was responsible. That was not a moment where I sympathized with the character, it was a reminder of why I can’t stand her. Ollie’s flashback material was pretty good, and it did serve to demonstrate why his old Hong Kong partner would risk so much to save him, and why Tatsu would help him. That part of the episode was effective.
I watched part of this week’s episode with my wife. She doesn’t follow Arrow and after one minute she asks me, who’s the whiny girl? I told her Laurel, and unfortunately, she has the same middle name as our daughter. But beyond the shoddy acting rests some terrible writing. Laurel’s a pod person. She has to know her father will find out her sister Sara’s dead, and no good can come from her hiding the truth from him—and she’s piling on the nasty by pretending to be her sister. Furthermore, Captain Lance’s heart condition serves as a plot device. The writers love secrets, so they superimposed a reason for Laurel to keep Sara’s death a secret. Bad on you, writers.
I liked the flashbacks, too, but part of what Arrow has lacked this season is the braided effect of telling two stories: one in the present and one in the past. I hope I’m missing something, but this season’s flashbacks serve only to justify what’s happening in the present. They don’t build up to anything else. I hope they’re building up to something big. Perhaps ARGUS. But ARGUS is so far on the backburner that we’ve only seen them twice in the present—and one of those times was during the Flash/Arrow crossover and no one cared about ARGUS.
Arrow continues to flounder, and the creative team’s solution is more Laurel. That’s like asking for more cow bell during Beethoven’s Fifth.
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This was another villain of the week episode, but I think it did a lot to work in ongoing threads. The introduction of sound as a weapon paves the way for Cisco to become Vibe in the future, if they decide to go that way, and I really like the development with Dr. Wells. His collapse after using his powers shows that his use of a wheelchair may not actually be a complete ruse, and I’m really glad they introduced the concept of the speed force. Finally, I am really excited about the budding confrontation between Detective West and Dr. Wells. It’s a conflict that has potential to really complicate the show in an interesting way, and give fodder for two of the strongest actors on the cast.
Pied Piper tied into Team Flash’s past very well. He came off as a villain of the week, but I see him as a factor in future episodes, and that’s saying something given Pied Piper’s status as a secondary or even tertiary villain. I also liked that Dr. Wells has limitations as the Reverse-Flash. Given his collapse, he couldn’t possibly be behind the current Reverse-Flash’s exploits. Or could he? I’m not sure if the creative team plans to give Reverse-Flash a time-traveling ability, so Dr. Wells could be reformed with someone new inside the yellow jumpsuit. I think that – on some level – Wells is sincere with wanting to guide Barry, so it could be another running a red streak.
And I love that the father-figures in Barry’s life serve as internal monologues. A miniature devil and angel on your shoulders is cliché, but while Detective West and Dr. Wells function in that way, they do so with a twist. Nothing as mundane as good versus evil for the battle of Barry’s soul. Throw in the occasional Henry Allen – Barry’s bio-dad – and you get another level of internal struggle. While West and Wells could face off directly, I don’t think the show needs it. And then we go full circle to Pied Piper. He’s an example of what happens when Wells attempted a father-son relationship.
Another strong episode that flashes past its CW-DC Universe big brother (Arrow) by using a slow build in relation to Wells/Reverse-Flash, while throwing in a new villain.
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Have I mentioned I think Hayley Atwell is hot? I think Hayley Atwell is hot. This week’s episode of Peggy Carter, however, was not particularly satisfying. Once again, I like the characters here (not just Hot Atwell, I mean Hayley Atwell), but they need to be given more to do, and even more to say. What I thought I was getting into with this show was an exploration of the earliest days of SHIELD, but what I’ve been given is a lot of over-cooked 1940s clichés, heavy handed lectures about chauvinism, and forced references to Captain America.
If you want to hear more of Jim’s Peggy Carter dreamin’, you can find him on fanfiction under the penname Hotwell.
Long showers aside, I agree with Jim. The writers do a fine job with the characters not in the SSR, but these characters sit around and do little above putting out small fires. I’m hoping that changes next week, after seeing a preview of the Howling Commandos and Carter in Russia. I don’t know how they get there, but that’ll be a fun ride. (Fingers crossed.) I also get that the show is based in the 1940s, so some references are needed, but Agent Carter suffers from a cliché mountain which detracts from the show. I liken it to the first thirty minutes of Titanic. There are 53 references of the ship’s unsinkableness. That’s about fifty-two references too many.
Fun enough of an episode, but Agent Carter needs to leap away from Cliché Mountain.