Each week, we break down the biggest moments from Supergirl, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Black Lightning, and Arrow — both here on EW.com and on SiriusXM’s EW Live every Friday during Superhero Insider.
This week, Supergirl revealed the birth of villain, The Flash tackled fake news, Legends of Tomorrow faced a fairy godmother, and Arrow continued to explore Oliver’s life behind bars. Meanwhile, Black Lightning reminded us why the human drama is just as important as the superheroics. Here are the highlights:
I’ll admit that I was skeptical about whether or not Supergirl would be able to pull off an episode that delved into Agent Liberty’s origin story, and I’m glad I was proven wrong because “Man of Steel” was pretty great. Of course, part of the episode’s success is due to Sam Witwer’s perfectly grounded performance that never felt too on the nose. Then, there’s the writing! Going into the episode, I was concerned that it would paint a sympathetic portrait of Ben Lockwood, a.k.a. Agent Liberty. Thankfully writers Derek Simon and Rob Wright avoided that pitfall, and included enough details that helped us understand how this open-minded college professor became a dangerous, xenophobic supervillain but didn’t make his actions seem excusable. Yes, Ben Lockwood suffers, but the most important loses are the result of his or his father’s actions. For example, Ben didn’t lose his job because of aliens but because he ignored repeated warnings about his nativist rhetoric, and his father’s steel company went under because he refused to modernize. Finally, and this goes without saying, but part of the episode’s success come from just how timely it felt.
Related: Read our recap here, and watch David Ajala’s debut as the DC Comics antihero Manchester Black here.
Arrow continues to stress the brutality of Oliver’s stay inside Slabside Maximum Security. This week, Oliver embraced his savage side once again when he fought Derek Sampson inside of Brick’s prison fight club. Sure, he didn’t kill his opponent, but he broke or at least dislocated both of his arms in a way that looked and felt incredibly painful. Honestly, it was very reminiscent of the ruthlessness with which Oliver faced other foes in season 1, which I imagine is the point since the stars and writer have already talked about how this season resembles that first one. Based on everything we’ve seen so far, we’ll have to start bracing ourselves for Oliver to reckon with everything he did to survive in prison once he makes it out.
Related: Read our recap here, and get the scoop on Psycho-Pirate’s Arrowverse introduction in the crossover here.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
At this point, this shouldn’t come as a surprise but Tala Ashe, who plays Zari, stole the show on this week’s Legends of Tomorrow. In “Witch Hunt,” the Legends traveled to the Salem Witch Trials where they faced both a fairy godmother and a more human evil: unjust persecution. Zari ends up being the most affected by the setting because she knows how fear can lead to violence given she watched the same thing happen to metahumans and others in her time period. Watching what’s going on the 16th century Salem pushes her close to the edge and she comes very close to killing all of the puritans. The show cuts some corners to get to that point — as my Superhero Insider cohost Shirley Li points out in her recap — but Ashe’s powerful and emotional performance more than make up for that.
Related: Read Shirley’s recap here, and check out what Maisie Richardson-Sellers has to say about her new, Not-Amaya character here.
Of all the Arrowverse shows, The Flash tends to be the one that avoids doing anything too topical or inspired by current events, so that’s why Tuesday’s episode “News Flash” ended up being quite surprising. Team Flash found themselves up against Spencer Young, a.k.a. Spin, a blogger who used a dark matter-infected cell phone to create headlines that hypnotized people and made them do whatever she wanted. The storyline’s message was very clear: people are easily manipulated by media. Unfortunately, the episode just throws buzz words like fake news and doesn’t try to take that idea a step further. Thankfully, the rest of the hour wasn’t as disappointing because we finally found out why Nora dislikes her Iris — it turns out Future Iris put a dampener in Nora that suppressed her powers — which lead to some great acting from both Jessica Parker Kennedy and Candice Patton.
Related: Read our recap here, get the details on Jesse L. Martin’s reduced presence on the show here, and check out EW’s first look at LaMonica Garrett as The Monitor in “Elseworlds” here.
One of the things I love the most about Black Lightning is that it manages to make Jefferson Pierce’s life as a
principal teacher just as interesting when he’s Black Lightning. Case in point: The most affecting part of this week’s episode was the scene in which Jefferson blew up at the school’s new principal when he expelled a student for starting a fight without a warning. Of course, Jefferson believed the student deserved another chance, and watching them fight for the student was incredibly powerful. The fact that Jefferson is a teacher is an important aspect of the character in the comics, and I’m glad the show continues to embrace that.
Related: Read Christian Holub’s recap here.
Listen to Superhero Insider
Supergirl airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET; Arrow airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET, followed by Legends of Tomorrow at 9 p.m. ET; and The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET, followed by Black Lightning at 9 p.m. ET. on The CW.