This Week on TV, May 28, 2016

Spoiler Alert!

We had only three shows from my lineup this week, and all three were finales.

Alas! We say farewell for several months! 😛

Gotham was the strongest, I think. Many moving parts, building tension, and an “uh-oh” moment to keep us waiting for next season.

The Flash was all right, but culminated in an “oh, no!” moment.

Arrow could have been better, but managed to cobble together something fairly decent.

I have to say, I am looking forward to next season!

Unfortunately, and I will be announcing this again come next season, I have to drop several shows from the lineup of my running commentary. I simply have some new and pressing demands on my time and I do not believe they will go away, nor do I want them to. So, as I have to trim things down a bit either way, I have elected to go with the entire Arrowverse, all three shows at once: Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow. I may change my mind, but unless I do, I will not be commenting on them next season.

So… now that’s out of the way, let’s get into these three, eh?

gotham-logo-screencapGotham

“Transference”

So, Strange’s Gordon impersonator delays the GCPD’s raid on Arkham for a couple hours. Exactly how no one was more suspicious of Gordon’s sudden “flu,” his gravelly voice, his repetition of what they all say, not to mention how Bruce and Fox kept not turning up… well, I can only surmise that they trusted their eyes to much and their instincts too little. I thought Bullock might have been suspicious, but he biffed it when he asked about having Falcone on a gurney while everyone was trying to kill them (last season finale). He should have substituted Penguin in the question instead. It’s when you change the details of the stories that the more obvious fakes can be weeded out. But, then again, they’ve never dealt with someone whose face was like jelly or clay.

Fortunately, Barbara stopped by at Penguin’s request to ask Gordon for info about Arkham and Strange, and it became very obvious very quickly that she was dealing with a fake. It doesn’t get much more obvious than suddenly having the hots for the crazy girl that nearly killed your fiance while hating on the fiance after having told her that you can never forgive that. In the fake’s defense, Barbara is very easy on the eyes, and self-control is not the greatest feature found in Strange’s carnival of monsters. After she slapped him, to a visual result that left the entire GCPD in shocked, unbelieving silence, the charade was finally over, and the cops came swarming back towards Arkham.

That, however, would have done little good in the end if not for the ingenuity of Team Bruce.

Strange interrogates Gordon in a simple, straightforward way: dosing him with truth serum. Very potent truth serum. As a warm-up, Strange takes Gordon through some of his personal demons, like his guilt over various things, why he’s still on the case of the Wayne murders, etc. He’s made to face the truth that he has failed the woman he loves, if only in the fact that he has not gone to find her. Instead he’s sacrificed everything, and all for a cause he’s on the brink of losing. But Strange slips up. In trying to determine if Gordon knows about a secret council, the Court of Owls, he himself reveals its existence.

Riddler’s interrogation goes fairly well for Riddler. He determines, easily, that Bruce and Fox do not know who truly runs Wayne Enterprises any more than Gordon. This done, he gases them, knocks them unconscious, throws them in with a drugged-up Gordon. Unfortunately for him, as he’s trying to make his case to Strange that he can be useful to the man, Strange reveals that he has no intention of employing a madman – yeah, like Strange can really talk about madness – and locks him back in his cell. Even more unfortunately for him, and everyone else in the building, there is a self-destruct bomb about to go off, destroying everyone and everything within while likely dispersing radioactive material across a wider area.

That may be the work of the Court of Owls, and activated by their order, but it’s the crisis with Fish Mooney that causes Strange to initiate the countdown. She finally, after several attempts, manages to get hold of Peabody just as she’s supposed to be sedated for transport, and thus has her ticket to freedom. But Strange knows his monstrous creations very well, and doesn’t intend to let one of them get free now that security has been compromised. He’s so dedicated to containing them that he’s willing to die rather than let them run loose. So he cuts his losses, starts the countdown, and runs for the exit, casually ordering the captives’ deaths on the way out.

That, however, is what Selina was waiting for. A moment of high stress, which she makes worse with her defiance. Strange orders Freeze to kill her, and Selina begs Firefly to save her. They fight, Strange gets caught in the literal crossfire – running between the two warring parties of fire and ice qualifies as a very bad idea – and Selina frees her friends while everyone’s distracted. Unable to convince Strange to halt the countdown, Fox and Gordon head down to the bomb while Selina gets Bruce out. The two men have no idea what to do, and are about to make a mistake when Peabody awakens and says, “Water.” Of course, it’s obvious she’s asking for water, but the two men are so on edge as the countdown gets ever closer to zero that they assume she’s giving them an instruction, so they open it up and pour water onto the circuitry, frying it. Day saved. And joke made.

Fish manages to escape by driving the bus full of monsters, and as the GCPD has converged on Arkham a second time, their pursuit of the actual bus is a bit sparse. Still, they have it in their sights, and they can catch it. Except for the part where Butch unleashes a gatling gun on the bus and cop car both. Though he’s not much for Penguin’s new fetish for decorating with the decapitated, rotting head of the woman he murdered after feeding her children to her, Butch has some serious hardware to work with now, and Penguin wants to repay Strange, who he thinks is on the bus, for his Arkham experience.

Fish emerges to everyone’s shock, and her very touch makes Penguin faint dead away while Butch, with the gatling gun and several armed thugs, turns and flees from the dead woman walking around.

And then some homeless woman happens by some time later and unlocks the bus, letting all of Strange’s horrifying monsters out into the streets of Gotham. One of these monsters looks and sounds astoundingly like Bruce Wayne. Which is a mystery with rather terrifying ramifications I can hardly begin to elaborate on.

So, Strange is carted off, the Court of Owls is angry and about to get angrier, Bruce is now aware of their existence, the monsters are loose, and Gordon is leaving Gotham for awhile, to go after Thompkins, believing Bullock’s got this.

…uh, no, Gordon, I am fairly certain Bullock does not got this!

Oh boy… next season looks to be pretty hectic!

Flash-TV-Show-Teaser-TrailerThe Flash

“The Race of His Life”

Henry Allen is dead, murdered before his son’s very eyes.

Barry Allen, the Flash, is justifiably furious and unleashes that fury on Zoom in a speedster brawl across the city. He gets close. He gets very close, but Zoom pulled his time remnant trick again. Barry was left defeated again, though Zoom said he was almost ready. He was almost ready to be like Zoom.

So Team Flash is left in mourning, and Barry seems to have lost it. When Zoom challenges him to a race, he’s ready to take him up on it just to make him suffer. When the team learns that the race is tied to the destruction of Earth-2, and all of the alternate Earths, and Barry immediately decides he has to race Zoom… well, they don’t take it too well. They’re right, he’s not thinking clearly, as he’s risking everything without giving them any assurances. So they trick him, lock him up in the particle accelerator, and go after Zoom alone.

They do a pretty good job, all things considered. They slow Zoom down, they lure him where they want him to be, they restrain him, tranq him, knock him through the Breach to Earth-2. All without Barry’s help. But Zoom takes Joe with him, and the team seals the Breach behind him. It’s a high price, one of their own, one of their dearest, but also a small price, losing only one man to save the world. But the weight of that cost is something Wally and Barry, who were both left out of these decisions, cannot accept. Wally lets Barry out, and Barry takes command again, just asking his team to trust him.

While Joe is Zoom’s captive, we finally get a proper chronology of what the heck has been going on for this entire season. Hunter Zolomon became Zoom, brought the world to its knees, but wanted more, wanted to be faster. He created the Velocity drug and became powerful enough to run between worlds, but he was dying now. He defeated one world’s Flash and took his speed force, but he was still dying, and now he craved being a hero as well, so he took that Flash’s name and look, Jay Garrick, and used a time remnant to be both hero and villain in the public eye. Then he wanted Barry’s speed, and eventually got it, and now he wants to conquer all of the Earths in existence, by destroying them while proving he is the fastest man alive.

More, more, more. That’s Zoom. Always craving more, destroying more. He’s an empty darkness trying to fill itself by devouring everything, doomed to remain empty anyway.

Unfortunately for Zoom, this would seem to be his last race. Barry was at a severe disadvantage, but he used Zoom’s trick against him, creating a time remnant. He stops Zoom, and beats him down, while the remnant contains the reality-destroying explosion, at the cost of his life. Then the time wraiths show up, and they are much angrier with Zoom than they are with Barry. That was Barry’s plan, to break the rules and get the attention of a higher authority, letting them take a beaten-down Zoom screaming into Hell.

Very clever, if also desperate. It got the job done.

So they free the man in the iron mask, who turns out, as I predicted, to be the real Jay Garrick, and Henry Allen’s doppelganger, which I did not predict but which made perfect sense. The real Garrick happily destroys his mask and takes Zoom’s helmet, taking something from Zoom for once, in the hopes of turning it into a symbol of hope as it had once been. Garrick takes Wells and Jessie home to their world, the idea being to then search for his own world from there.

I was feeling a bit disappoint, I must admit, at how we’ve seen neither Wally nor Jessie become speedsters this season despite the writing on the wall. But I was more disappointed with what they had Barry do next, to end this season.

Iris is ready to be with Barry, but Barry is feeling too broken, having finally come to terms with his mother’s death only to be thrown back into his suffering by the death of his father. Me, I say we have loved ones in order to lean on them when we’re feeling broken, and then to be leaned on when they are feeling broken. Barry disagrees with me on that, apparently, wanting to fix himself alone. And then he makes a cataclysmic error: he runs back in time again, this time saving his mother and beating down the Reverse-Flash.

…that, right there? That’s the sound of a galaxy-sized crap coming down on your head.

Barry knows the dangers of time travel, even over the course of a day or half a day. But now he’s gone all the way back to his childhood and altered everything that’s happened since. Crap. Crap. Crap.

Heck a way to end the season, by having your hero make the worst mistake ever.

Arrow-logo-header-Season-4Arrow

“Schism”

So, Damien tries to force Felicity to give him Rubicon so he can destroy the world. Apparently, he sees the part where he’d be killing his own daughter as reuniting her with her mother, sparing her the agony of growing up without her. Which is interesting, given his wife’s final words were to save her daughter. Curtis gets a bit hurt, putting himself between Damien and the women (good man! …sucks to be overwhelmed, but good man!) and then Team Arrow arrives and fights with Damien and the ghosts, Thea even threatening to kill his daughter, but Damien takes her and Felicity’s laptop.

All at once, there are thousands of nukes in the air, making their way to targets all over the globe. Felicity tries to stop it, but Damien’s ghosts burst into the lair and shoot it all up before she gets a proper chance. That’s happening at about the same time as Lyla’s Argus agents are getting mowed down by Damien in the nexus chamber. Everyone’s sinking into despair, but Curtis sparks hope anew, telling Ollie how the Green Arrow gave him hope the night he appeared, the night before he was going to pack and move out of the city. Inspired, Ollie goes out and calms the raging mob with a few words, a speech. It helps very much when Curtis and Felicity are magically able to keep a nuke from destroying the city. Everyone cheers. Ollie has united the city with hope.

In fact, that is how Ollie wins the day. Damien’s power has gorged on the deaths of a small town, so Ollie is empowered by an entire city’s renewed hope. He faces Damien and his ghosts, with Lyla, Digs, and a vast mob backing him up.

I have to admit, here, it felt like we were treading old ground again. We’ve already seen Damien without his magic, having to fight fair. We’ve also already seen a city-sized mob facing down a gang of criminals, with the armed criminals not using their guns for some reason, last season with the arc that introduced Brick to the show. Still, it was cool for hope and despair to clash like that, with hope outnumbering despair.

That darkness and despair is something Ollie know very well. We see in the flash backs, Taiana went nuts while their enemy was so very strong. They won, but then Taiana realized she was losing her mind and begged Ollie to kill her. He did. And then he called Amanda Waller and got the last survivors off the island. No idea what will happen next in the flashbacks, but they do need to get Ollie stranded on that island again somehow.

Back in the present, Ollie finally has the upper hand on Damien. The city’s hope lets them fight on an even playing field, and Ollie is the better warrior. Meanwhile, Felicity convinces her ex to stop Damien, even at the cost of his life, which he does, and she finishes the job, sending all the nukes into space. Without his power and with his plans thwarted, Damien is at Ollie’s mercy. And this time, there is none. Damien cannot be contained like Slade was, so Ollie kills him.

There was simply no other way. That’s what war is.

In the aftermath of their victory, almost everyone is a wreck in some way. Digs has to deal with how he killed Andy, Thea has to question if she’s truly meant to be a vigilante as she’s so exuberantly been even when threatening a little girl’s life, and Lance has to deal with Laurel’s death and the demise of his career. Everyone’s leaving, at least for a little while. Only Felicity and Ollie are left, standing in the middle of a ruined lair, and Ollie has been elected mayor after he rallied the city in a moment of crisis, which may diminish his vigilante viability somewhat.

Team Arrow is greatly diminished, the city is in ruins again, and there’s no telling what’ll happen next.

If there is one thing I wish they’d done differently in these last two episodes, it would have been to wrap up the Anarky subplot completely. Instead, he, and who knows how many others of their old adversaries, is running around loose somewhere. Sheesh!

Also, where’d they put that Black Canary wannabe?

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