This was a very interesting week! Legends of Tomorrow had its first season finale, and all the rest are rapidly building up towards each of theirs. No Gotham this week, but Once Upon a Time, Castle, Agents of Shield, and Grimm all delivered. Though Arrow and The Flash have been flagging of late, they did a respectable job. Legends is definitely going off my lineup come its second season.
Huh. I have to say, I didn’t see that one coming.
It turns out that Regina and Zelena met once when they were very young. Regina got hold of her mother’s wand and got seriously hurt, and Cora needed someone else of their blood to heal her. Zelena did so easily, and the two were live sisters from that moment on. Then they discovered that they really were sisters, and Cora decided to bury the secret a second time, by ripping them apart and erasing their memories.
In the present, Regina is desperate to protect her sister from Hades, so she turns to Cora. Zelena is just barely tasting redemption and thinks that such could be found for her if she redeems the god of death. That being a highly-dangerous long shot at best, Cora and Regina intervene. Their first plan is to erase her memories of Hades, but Zelena sees through it, so it devolves into arguing again. At which point, Cora decides to undo her mistake of so long ago, restoring their lost memories, letting them finally, at long last, really be sisters.
With that act, Cora is able to find some peace within herself, and she’s ready to face judgment. After all she’s done, it doesn’t look good. But it seems that when one is ready to face it, with peace within, that is when the judgment is merciful. Cora goes into the light, redeemed in death. Which makes Regina reconsider. I mean, if Cora could be redeemed, even after her death, then why not Hades? Perhaps letting him find true love is the answer after all.
Elsewhere, directly contrasting this, Charming has a showdown with his brother. Said brother and Cruella were hoping to kidnap Zelena’s baby, use her to bargain their way out of the Underworld with Hades. That did not turn out so well, as Charming and Hook were able to come to the rescue, and the brother was sent into the bay, into the River of Lost Souls. And now Cruella is on her own.
Interesting detail: the rivers of hell apparently flow out, finding spots to surface in the mortal worlds. There was one from Lethe, River of Forgetting, near Cora’s royal home. So I have to wonder. We’ve seen other waters with magical powers, including the powers of restoration. Where do those come from? And could those waters, say, be used to save the people trapped in the River of Lost Souls?
Finally, Rumple has determined a course of action which he hopes will achieve his ends. Put simply: he uses his father, Peter Pan, to kidnap Zelena, just as she’s arriving for a dinner date with Hades. I’m guessing he’s using Cruella’s idea: kidnap and bargain.
Alan Masters. The man who will not stay dead.
First he’s poisoned, and he dies. Then he’s alive again. Then he’s electrocuted, and he dies again. And he comes back again. Finally, he is shot straight in the head at point-blank range. And he dies. Again. And he comes back again!
Does this guy have nine lives or something? I mean, wow! They made it hilarious, especially with Laney’s frustration – to quote Sherlock Holmes, “It is a matter of professional integrity!” – and Castle’s escalating, outlandish theories, but, wow! That guy is freaking immortal or something! 😀
He’s also extremely dense. I mean, when you die and come back, you are getting a new lease on life, and he doesn’t even want to make the most of it? Yeah, I understand, there’s no shame in living the humble life in service to the community, and there’s nothing wrong with being comfortable in the routine of it, and it’s an admirable trait to be able to shrug off bad things and just keep on trucking. But come on! If you are supposed to be dead but are still alive instead, then it’s a good idea to actually live! It’s no bad thing to stop, to reflect, and to actually strive to improve one’s life, ya know?
To Alan’s credit, he does bring dignity to his job. He might take the hardline on almost everything, but, as a safety inspector, I’d say that’s something you want the guy in charge to be: unforgiving when it comes to things that put people at risk. In short, he is an upstanding, moral man of integrity who takes his job seriously and does not care what enemies he makes in the process. Good man. And when he’s stumbling into a surprising scenario where doing his job right would damage the interests of multiple large and deadly drug-running gangs, well… the entrepreneur behind this little endeavor decides to just kill him. Fortunately, Alan Masters does not stay dead! 😀
And for such a humble man, his little superhero adventure is filled with the classic characters! The mentor, in Castle, the villain, in a gangster, and the damsel… who is actually a femme fatale and the real killer, Alan’s immortality notwithstanding. And in the end, he forms a new friendship with Laney, the doctor who pronounced him dead twice! 🙂
Elsewhere, the overarching Loksat conflict is heating up and about to come to a head!
Vikram found Caleb Brown was in town at the same time Castle was tracking Loksat during his lost time. Unfortunately, that tripped some digital wire Brown had in place and he came by looking to talk and or threaten Beckett into dropping it and/or running away. Instead, she appealed to his idealism, his genuine thirst for justice. He eventually relented, and explained how he gets his orders: via cell phone, at a regular time. He give Beckett the phone so she and her best people can rig it to track Loksat’s call next time. He’s throwing in with her, a move that could very well get the lot of them all killed.
That’s some definite heating up of the suspense, there, just in time to set up whatever will happen in the season finale! 🙂
Lots of threads, lots of balls in the air, and lots of very talented juggling! 🙂
They boil down to two sides, though: Shield and the Hive.
To start, the Hive has Giyera off doing its bidding somewhere, and it has Daisy. Daisy does a lot of opening up to it, having found a connection she never knew before (and rightly should never have been exposed to). Together, Daisy and the Hive quickly recruit others. There’s Alisha, the multiplying redhead we’ve seen a couple times now, and James, the Inhuman-wannabe who gets turned and given the power to make things explode, kind of like Gambit from the X-Men. From James, the Hive gets the other piece to a device which, combined with the orb, becomes “the only thing that can destroy” the Hive.
That makes perfect sense. The Kree wouldn’t be so stupid as to create something like the Hive, with its Inhuman army, without creating some sort of counter-measure. I’m guessing the Hive just managed to keep them from using it, and then the humans and Inhumans weren’t able to use it themselves for whatever reason. It probably hid the device for that exact reason, unable to destroy the machine itself.
The Hive also picks up a scientist, a trans-humanist, which is a fancy way of saying he’s trying to leave his humanity behind to become something greater through artificial means. The Hive wants this scientist to recreate the experiment that created it, so it can end all conflict and such. How much you wanna bet that would be the end of individual free will, eh? It’s what Hydra has always been after, and they probably got the idea from their false god.
Shield, led by Coulson, is trying desperately to both catch up and get ahead of the Hive. They pull off a wonder and get back into the fight much sooner than expected, but they’re trailing, and tempers, and other emotions, are flaring.
They go for Alisha, but too late. Seeing what Alisha did to herself for the Hive, Coulson benches Lincoln, making it a priority to keep him away from the Hive at all cost, much to Lincoln’s chagrin.
They follow the trail of Daisy’s earthquake, but too late, only in time to know the Hive took something important, and just in time to walk into an explosive trap, which unveils Coulson’s energy shield in his artificial hand. 🙂
Fitz, Simmons, and Mack go for the same scientist the Hive is after. They want his help to cure Daisy and the others, he being well-versed in anti-parasitic research. But the Hive takes him right out from under them, giving Simmons some words supposedly from the deceased Will, and giving Fitz a warning from Daisy to stay away because someone on their team is going to die.
Shield’s not doing so hot, but they’re hanging on by a thread. They’re even moving forward in some ways, as Coulson reflects on his similarity to the Hive in what he asks of his people. Also, Fitz compares going all the way with Simmons to crossing the event horizon, which is fairly romantic, really, and appropriate.
And all of this while Talbot organizes a massive international strike against the whole of Hydra’s newly-revealed infrastructure, courtesy of Malick. Talbot really should have realized that if Coulson didn’t want in on that, of all things, then the situation must have been truly dire. Still, he did quite well. The episode ends with a complete victory, Hydra finally wiped out. Again.
It also ends with the Hive assembling in a vacant town it just bought them with Malick’s fortune.
“Back to Normal”
Barry had it really good as the Flash. So many things about his life, large and small, were improved! Now… it’s back to the old way of doing things. The normal way. The less pleasant way. And even still, without his speed, he’s determined to help people and bring metahuman criminals to justice. That is quite admirable of him.
Wells is pretty much in a panic now, since Zoom can come and go between the worlds as he pleases, so he finds his daughter Jesse again, determined to protect her… somehow. I mean, it’s not like hiding in obscurity where even he doesn’t know could possibly protect her from Zoom’s wrath, right? And he has such a stellar record of fighting Zoom and coming out on top, right? Yeah, not so much. I’d probably just leave her in hiding, myself, but, then again, I am not a father.
On the way back from trying to convince her to come back to Star Labs, Wells is intercepted by a metahuman. This one, a victim of Earth-1’s particle accelerator explosion, blames Wells, not know he has the wrong Wells, which was really Eobard Thawne from the future anyway, and… ok, too complicated to explain to the guy trying to kill him, and the point still stands! Wells is still guilty of unleashing hell on his world and he’s done nothing to make it right! He has a lot of suffering to his credit, and he hasn’t paid that debt at all. So, by the end of the episode, he’s decided to get Barry’s speed back by recreating another particle accelerator explosion.
…there are so many ways in which that is a bad idea, but, then again, they’re not really spoiled for choice, are they? Desperate times, desperate measures.
Speaking of, Cait is being kept by Zoom because the man is insane and has fixated on her. She easily falls for Killer Frost’s lie about an alliance, and only survives after helping her break out of her cage because Zoom gets back just in time and kills Killer Frost instead. She’s officially warned to leave Zoom’s last remaining prisoner, the masked man, alone, or he dies. Oh, and he decides to take her home, to her world, so he can conquer it.
…yeah, about that really bad idea involved in getting Barry’s speed back. Can we implement that sooner rather than later? When the speeding devil is coming straight at you, time tends to be of the essence, ya know? And between another explosion and Zoom’s unrestrained rampage across the world, I’m thinking another cosmic catastrophe is probably the lesser of two evils!
On the bright side, maybe now we’ll get another couple speedsters like, say, Kid Flash and Jesse Quick? Not only would that be most interesting going into the finale and next season, but even Zoom would be in trouble if he had multiple speedsters to deal with simultaneously.
Arrow‘s has gone significantly downhill in the last two seasons, especially the last season and a half. As such, saying this was one of the most powerful episodes of the season may not seem like much, so to make myself clear: I’d say it goes right there alongside the “old” Arrow episodes.
Laurel is dead, but they’ve had so many folks come back from the dead that it actually makes sense to toy around with and dismiss that idea immediately. Still, it feels very raw for them to already have a “new” Black Canary, even she is basically a copycat and a thief. The girl’s name is Evelyn, I think, and she tole Laurel’s Canary Cry collar. She also, within hours, bypassed Cisco’s security so she could use it and turned the volume way up, even hit her first bunch of criminals and stole their guns. If nothing else, this girl has initiative.
It turns out that Evelyn was there the night Ollie rescued his friends from Damien. She and her parents were among the drugged-up “volunteers,” her parents having been sent into the gas chamber, so she’s plenty angry towards Damien and HIVE and everyone connected to them, but also mad at Ollie and the others for failing so completely to save them.
I note she attacked Alex because he “works for them.” While he does publicly work for Damien’s wife, I can’t help but suspect something more. I’ve always been a little suspicious of Alex and Evelyn’s anger towards him makes me even more so. Sure, she’s a bit unhinged and unrestrained, but I didn’t see her direct that anger towards anyone else who did not deserve it in some way. She attacked Damien’s wife and she screamed at Ollie, but she didn’t try to hurt anyone else at that party except for the guards. So where does Alex fit into things? Why is she so angry at him in particular? Is he truly a clueless innocent, or is he part of HIVE? It would make sense for Damien to have someone inside Ollie’s campaign, after all.
Evelyn’s anger is pretty well-matched by Team Arrow’s. Everyone is blaming himself or herself in some way. Digs is so mad that he let his brother blindside him that he attacks Damien’s wife, the mayor. Felicity wasn’t there, doing anything to help. Ollie is the leader and now he’s failed, leaving Damien once again empowered by the idol. And even worse, the mayor is dragging their names, especially the Black Canary’s through the mud, even while praising Laurel’s memory. But Ollie’s not about to let that stand, so he says a few words at her funeral.
Speaking of, the flash backs this episode are of a time right after the first season, just after Tommy’s death. They have his funeral, and Ollie is so consumed with guilt that he can’t give the eulogy. After that, however, they spend some time talking and, soon enough, Laurel is thinking of the future. She intends to do things, help the city, etc. Ollie is so weighed down by his failures that he runs away to Lian Yu.
This time, Ollie doesn’t run away. He takes a stand for Laurel, outing her identity as the Black Canary, the real one. That’s gonna burn the mayor for spitting on her name, I really hope.
Amidst the action, everyone had to deal with their sorrow as well, and I like how they stumbled but pulled together. Felicity, Ollie, Digs, they all needed each other, though Thea didn’t get much attention in that respect. Nyssa returned to support Ollie and Lance. Laurel’s mom came back and, like Lance himself, wanted a miracle so desperately. The mixture of sorrow and pride in their eyes as Ollie revealed Laurel’s secret, protected her name and her legacy, made for a powerful moment.
Season finale coming up, and while this hasn’t been a stellar season, I think it might be one of the more complex. I mean, look at the lineup for the two sides. Damien is likely going to clean house at HIVE, getting rid of the people who forsook him, but he still has the organization and its resources at his command, not to mention his wife acting as mayor. Opposing him is Team Arrow, bereft of Laurel, with a rookie, rogue copycat in her place. Thea has her father to deal with, and Digs has his brother. Things have gotten very personal for Team Arrow, and now they’re determined to kill Damien.
The question is how. To do so, they need to get past that idol, which Ollie knows, and which is very representative of the darkness he’s long wrestled with, and must now confront and overcome.
…and something has just occurred to me. They can’t bring Laurel back with the Lazarus Pit, but when Damien broke from the League to create HIVE, he took some of those waters with him. I’d bet he still has them. So… maybe they can bring Laurel back after all?
At last! The first season is finally done and over with!
The team attacks Savage at the height of his power, in the heart of his armies. He should be the definition of “prepared” for them, but things go mostly like they always do: they sneak in, they attack, they fail, they retreat, the get ready for the next round. In the process, they see what the local world is like, with an almighty, world-spanning superpower on one side and some ragtag refugees on the other. And naturally, when the odds are clearly so imbalanced, that is when Savage drastically needs his experimental super weapons, right? Cue the giant robot, which cues the giant ATOM, coached by Jacks.
Savage has a daughter. No surprise, really. The surprise is only in his choice to keep her around. She serves him, of course, and is utterly devoted to him. Then a five-minute conversation with Cold turns her against Savage and his entire empire, when she finds out he was the one who released the Armageddon virus. So she joins the rebels. Instead of, say, sharing the truth with the world and turning his entire empire against him.
How to kill Savage permanently: use something that was present at the time of the fatal disaster in Ancient Egypt. They find a bracelet, melt it down, and there’s somehow enough of the gold to encase the whole head of her mace in it. While the others take on Savage’s army, Kendra takes Savage one-on-one, because why bother teaming up against the immortal with thousands of years of fighting experience who could take on both the Green Arrow and the Flash simultaneously? …oh, right, they’ve been killing him every couple of episodes, haven’t they? Sort of diminishes how threatening he is, ya know?
But before she finishes the job at long freaking last, she’s interrupted by the brainwashed reincarnation of Carter. Savage claims he, and only he, can restore Carter to his true self, but why would he do that? Not only is he spiteful enough to make this his last revenge, but as long as he does not do it, Kendra has to keep him alive. So now they have the immortal tyrant on board their time ship. I know I’ve advocated imprisoning him Antarctica or something like that, but those would be brief moments of having him aboard, with a clear plan in mind and a limited window of opportunity for him to get out and take over the ship.
Now they have him imprisoned (which, why did they never do that, again?) with no idea what else to do with him. How much you wannna bet he gets out and takes over? How much you wanna bet it’s partially because of the interference of the Time Masters?
We’ll just have to wait and see next season… after one of the single most lackluster cliffhangers in history.
…yeah, I’m definitely dropping Legends of Tomorrow from my lineup.
“Taming of the Wu”
Not the best title for this episode, I think. True, it featured Wu and the others learning about his lycanthropia, but it didn’t involve much “taming.” I mean, within moments of the mind-shattering and world-altering revelation that he’s basically part werewolf now, after several experiences, including one that was fatal for his attacker (a petty criminal who joined Black Claw), which demonstrate his apparent lack of control over this… well, he kinda just goes, “I’ll just have to control it.”
Slight biff on Grimm‘s part, that.
And for something so momentous happening to one of our favorite characters, they put it into an episode that was really very packed with so many other things going on, most of it involving Black Claw.
First and foremost is Diana. She is a young, rapidly-aging, extremely-powerful little girl, with a savage temperament and an incredible lack of patience. She has her daddy now, and she wants her mommy. When said mommy can’t come with her right then, she gets very upset, throws things around at speed with her mind, and mind-stalks her, even impersonating her daddy at one point, until she agrees to come “home” to her. That girl is getting scarier and scarier by the episode.
Meisner and Trubel are both back in town, arriving just in time to confirm that Black Claw took Diana and killed her guardians. They tell Eve this mere moments after she’s had her first run-in with the rapidly-maturing girl. The mind-stalking thing touched on the lingering connection between Adalind and Eve/Juliette, and the girl responded to the “intrusion” by cracking Eve’s mirror in the shape of a skull. Not only does she have power, but she’s utterly lacking in reason and restraint, which is exactly what you don’t want in something that could well be unstoppable.
While Nick is basically running from emergency to emergency, the shadow of Black Claw rises all around him. The criminal following Wu was Black Claw, Renard has thrown his lot in with Black Claw, Hank’s girlfriend is Black Claw (saw that one coming), and Adalind meets with a client who turns out to be Black Claw and pressures her into joining Renard and Diana even while he conceives of recruiting Nick to their cause or killing him and/or Adalind if either does not join them. Black Claw is all around Nick and his friends, like a pair of massive jaws beginning to close, fangs sinking into flesh.
And Adalind’s decision? Hers has to be the most impossible of situations. Diana wants her and is very mentally unstable. She wants Diana too, even without the Black Claw pressuring her and threatening her family. But she can’t leave her son behind and can’t take Kelly away from Nick. She’s damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t. But she makes her choice, and takes Kelly with her. Mind you, with Diana involved, distance and unfamiliarity may be all that protects Kelly from his half-sister’s jealousy and capricious wrath, but that’s yet to be seen. She takes her son, and leaves Nick a note, explaining herself. Interestingly, the note fades as he reads it and leaves only the words, “I have to protect you,” before those, too, fade.
She’s doing the best she can to protect both of her children and Nick.
So, with the finale looming over us, we are, once again, seeing our characters thrown together into a shrinking box. Just the way we like it! 🙂