Superhero Insider: The Flash, Arrow raise the stakes as Supergirl prepares for Lex Luthor
This week’s Arrowverse shows upped the ante, with some introducing major twists (sorry, Jimmy Olsen!), while others saw new villains take the stage (hello, Cicada, version 2.0!). Below, the major takeaways from the latest installments.
The Girl of Steel faced tough competition this week against Manchester Black’s elite, and though her eventual decision to join the march for Alien rights was heartwarming — and very season 1-y — the resolution involving James’ photo (and Mean Girls‘ Jonathan Bennett changing his stripes in under five seconds) felt too clean and simple. Still, the show did an admirable job using its comic-book DNA to reflect real-world politics, and it deftly handled character development in the middle of it all: Nia Nal’s growth as a hero was particularly well-drawn, as was J’onn’s decision to go full Manhunter. And as for that cliffhanger with James? I for one can’t wait to see if that twist pays off and finally sparks a compelling story line for Mehcad Brooks. Hey, Jon Cryer shouldn’t be the one to chew all the scenery starting next week… — Shirley Li
Is being a vigilante — gasp — bad?! Arrow‘s been spinning its wheels for a long while over this question, and it’s weighed down this penultimate season long enough. This week, Team Arrow’s officially deputized by the SCPD (which does not have the sterling reputation the show keeps saying it does), and it leads to growing pains that mainly affect Dinah, who struggles to find her footing as both captain and Black Canary. Still, the resolution to the episode feels rather unresolved: After all, what exactly made the SCPD so cool with having them continue to play dress-up and shoot people as they solve cases? Why did Felicity record a tape of all things for her children? To borrow a phrase from an entirely different universe, we should be in the endgame now, but it just doesn’t feel like it yet. Maybe next week’s episode, which looks to tackle the origin story of Mia “Blackstar” Smoak, will shed some much-needed light. — S.L.
The last few episodes of Black Lightning — and perhaps season 2 as a whole — could be readily summed up in the last few minutes of this week’s episode, when Jennifer Pierce (China Anne McClain) attempted to attack Tobias Whale (Marvin Jones III). Instead, Jennifer’s new suit overloaded and she missed, leaving her quivering on the ground as Tobias got away. With one episode left to go in the season, it’s unclear how all of the various story lines will reach anything resembling closure — especially since Tobias is the show’s only effective villain. He has personally hurt pretty much every other character (including Jennifer) in the deepest ways, but how could they possibly kill him off? Guess we’ll find out next week. For now, at least we got to have some fun with a new meta in the form of Heatstroke (Esteban Cueto), a flame-powered pod person that Tobias intends to be the first member of his metahuman army. — Christian Holub
Looks like Cicada has leveled up. The O.G. Cicada (and Chris Klein’s supervillain growl) may be no more, but this episode’s finale really threw a wrench in things for Team Flash and for whatever Nora and Thawne are cooking up. I’m into the idea of Barry and company reckoning with the fact that they can never truly stop any villain, especially as Biggest Bad Thawne is clearly positioned to do something-or-other in the next seven episodes. Only thing is, I hope the show doesn’t lose sight of Nora’s development — this week, she was clearly scrambling to keep up with her dual missions, but barely had any time to grapple with the possibility of going back to her present. She’s got a lot to learn, so fingers crossed Barry soon gets to deliver to her one of his pep talks that impressed even Joe (in a rather sweet scene this week). In the meantime, I’ll take a cup of that XS-presso! — S.L.
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Supergirl airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET; Arrow airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET, followed by Black Lightning at 9 p.m. ET; and The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.