Arrow took a forward step this week. We were long overdue for a break from Laurel, and we got it. Thank goodness for small mercies.
With that said, I still had some pretty glaring issues with the episode. Cupid was far more corny than clever. Her performance never quite reached Count Vertigo levels of overacting, but it came closer than anything should. That, in combination with her tendencies to spout clichés about love gave her a very formulaic feel, like she could have been credited as Generic Crazy Stalker #1. I think the tipping point for me came when she was about to say, “If I can’t have you, no one can.” She didn’t get to finish the statement, but we all know it’s what she was going to say.
Speaking of formulaic plot devices, I thought that’s exactly what we got with the Ollie/Felicity/Palmer angle tonight. I can live with a love triangle, but I rolled my eyes when Ollie walks in to tell Felicity how he feels, just in time to see her locking lips with Palmer. That gave the episode something way too close to a Saved by the Bell feel.
Thea’s storyline with finding a DJ for the club bored me. It was underdeveloped, and the fact that she let the guy who’d been creeping her out all episode kiss her? That made me wonder if this was the same Thea who’d been training as an assassin in Corto Maltese just a couple episodes ago.
The flashback sequence also fell a little flat. If you read DC comics (not necessarily Green Arrow), you probably know where they’re going with the nice Japanese lady, and this week’s flashback seemed to serve little purpose but to fake that part of their audience out.
I realize that’s an awful lot on the negative side, but there were some positives here, too. Getting our first glimpse of how Palmer will become who comic book fans know he will be was nice. There was also an interesting teaser for more to come with regard to The Suicide Squad, but the real teaser is the upcoming Flash/Arrow team-up episode.
All in all, season 3 hasn’t been nearly as good as season 2. The writing on this show needs to even out. They need to let character development take more than a commercial break. Felicity is in danger of becoming little more than a bone for two dogs to fight over, and we need some scrap of conflict (other than tired romance angles) to carry through for more than an episode. It seems they’re forgetting Ra’s and Malcolm. They need those central conflicts to simmer, and fill the role that Slade did last season.
Verdict: It was better than last week, but it’s still not meeting the standard it’s set in the past.
Arrow has no direction this season. It fires darts every which way: ARGUS, League of Assassins (Ra’s Al Ghul), Merlyn, Thea (Speedy), Brother Eye, and Suicide Squad. These are just a few. The creators must think that if they fire enough darts, they’ll eventually hit a bull’s-eye. I liked the addition of The Flash last season—because I knew The Flash was getting his own series—but this season has introduced too many heroes (some even in flashbacks): the new Black Canary, Wildcat, The Atom, and Katana. Even the villain at the end of this week’s episode was more of a stinger for The Flash. Sure, he could serve as an Arrow villain, but he’s part of The Flash’s rogues. Arrow needs to be more than a Superhero/Supervillain way station.
This was a decent episode. We get some flashbacks to Barry’s childhood, though there really wasn’t anything surprising in it. The tie-in with the villain of the week felt a little contrived.
One of my bigger complaints with the show is that Barry really should just tell Iris already. The situation with the villain coming after her seemed to want to support the logic in maintaining the ruse, but I’m not sold.
All of this was made much worse by Barry revealing his identity to the villain/former bully at the end. I just can’t accept that he’d risk letting an enemy (even a neutralized one) know his secret, but not Iris.
I understand the story with Harrison Wells is the show’s long game, and it’s an interesting one, but I feel like they need to give us something new with it. The ending sequence adds a wrinkle to the equation, but if they string it out too much more, they’ll run the risk of telegraphing the punch.
Verdict: A decent–if not particularly impressive– episode.
This was a weak episode of The Flash. The flashbacks gave us nothing. This episode’s main villain didn’t progress the running story arc. The episode even felt out of place. Why wasn’t this villain in the pilot? Or at least in the episode right after the pilot? We even get regurgitated lines of narration, but it’s delivered in Iris’s voice this time. This week served as a place holder for things to come. I did like the introduction of Reverse-Flash/Professor Zoom in present day Central City, but I have to agree with Jim: Harrison Wells only has until the mid-season break to reveal his plot (at least to the viewers) before his scheming becomes telegraphed.
Gotham continued circling the drain this week. At this point, I’m beginning to suspect the writers actually have some moral objection to subtext.
Harvey Dent’s introduction to the show was absolutely cringe-worthy. His miraculous ability to turn a troubled kid’s life around in 30 seconds had all the syrupy nonsense of a GI JOE public service announcement with none of the nostalgia.
There was absolutely nothing in the scenes between Bruce and Selina that wasn’t awkward. Her mix of street-wise truisms and forced vulnerability rang completely false. I actually rolled my eyes as she told young Bruce that her mother was a government operative.
The plot of the show was no less problematic than its execution. We’re never told why it’s necessary to break one specific bomb-maker out of prison. Are there suddenly no more bomb-makers left in the world?
Probably the single most offensive aspect of the episode was its continued insistence on exploiting the “lipstick lesbian” angle. We learn that Barbara has left Jim because she wants to be away from Gotham and the GCPD hazards, but we’re shown she’s just moved on (or back to) her old flame, who happens to be a different GCPD cop. The two ladies’ end-of-show makeout session isn’t just shoddy writing, it’s a transparent attempt to draw the attention of 13-year-old boys who can’t figure out a way around their parents’ internet porn blocks.
Verdict: This show is now only valuable as accidental comedy.
I was going to make snarky comments about this episode but I’ll leave that for Jim this week. Let’s just say that nothing works on this show. Absolutely nothing. I will focus on this episode’s ending. Bisexuality does not equal infidelity. Gay is not synonymous with unfaithful. Neither is lesbian. Gotham airs this scene just two weeks after LGBT history month ends and a month after National Coming Out Day. It’s shows like Gotham that further stereotypes, hindering marriage equality. JK Geekly is no longer reviewing Gotham.