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TV Review: Arrow S6E10 Divided

Oliver discovers one of Cayden’s secrets; he decides to team up with an unlikely ally to defeat him; Dinah spends time with Vince.

Arrow returns after its break and the team is fractured. Can Oliver go it with just Felicity and Diggle? And what about the rest of the former Team Arrow members?

Cayden is still going after Ollie and it turns out he’s recruited a hell of a lot of individuals to make his plan happen. There’s lots of attacks on Oliver and his attempts to attack back, which doesn’t go well.

But, through all of those distractions the episode is really a lesson that Oliver can’t achieve his goals with a small team and has to try to get back everyone he either booted or quit. Can he put away his pride and do what’s needed?

The episode is solid in that it doesn’t play out how you’d expect. There’s moments where the episode absolutely surprises and the fact it doesn’t go the way I thought is a good thing. The episode as a whole though lags a bit. There’s a lot here that just feels very extraneous and a leaner more streamlined episode would have helped things a lot. It feels like an hour show with about 15 minutes of important things.

It’s been a bit since the last episode and this return isn’t quite there to get me excited for the rest of the season. The series feels like a lot of its steam has been taken out of it and things are stumbling along.

Overall rating: 7.05

Black Lightning Lights Up The CW with Solid Ratings

Black Lightning debuted this Tuesday for The CW delivering solid ratings for the channel. The show scored a 0.8 rating among adults 18-49 and 2.31 million views. It retained all of The Flash‘s audience, its lead in. The show was behind other channels though in the same time slot. It wasn’t too far behind Fox’s LA to Vegas which had a 0.9 and a repeat of NCIS: New Orleans for CBS, also 0.9. It tied The Mick at 9:30 on Fox which had 0.8 and 2.3 million viewers.

It was the best rating the The CW this season in the time period and highest-rated debut since Legends of Tomorrow in January 2016.

(via TV By the Numbers)

TV Review: Black Lightning S1E1 The Resurrection

Retired vigilante Jefferson Pierce gets pulled back into fighting crime as his alter ego Black Lightning.

If there’s been one comic television property this season I’ve been excited and counting down to, it’s Black Lightning, the latest entry into the world of DCTV on the CW. Created by Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden, the character debuted 1977 in Black Lightning #1 and featured a former Olympian returning home to teach at a school and dispense justice against a local gang called the 100.

With some small tweaks, the show so far has taken the basic building blocks of the original character and updated him. And that update, is an impressive one taking on today’s socio-political issues head on. Black Lightning’s greatest strength may be the fact at how unflinching it is at speaking the truth. The episode makes that apparent in its first few sequences with Jefferson Pierce and his kids being pulled over by police who have “mistaken” Pierce for a recent robber, at least that’s the excuse they give him. Police harassment and brutality isn’t a topic many television shows are willing to tackle but this one isn’t pulling punches.

At the recent “DC in D.C.” event co-creator Mara Brock Akil said the series was developed in a moment of what was happening in Black communities and that’s apparent from the first episode. But it’s the way that it’s done which is fascinating. While Pierce is battling for his community by creating a safe zone in his school, he’s dragged by his politicized daughter. And then pulled fully in due to activity of the gang. It’s a clash of generations in many ways and how this dynamic is explored going forward will be interesting.

How the show differs itself from the other DC Comics shows is fascinating as well. The use of music, the direction, the show’s style sets itself apart. It’s telling a unique story in a unique style compared to its sibling shows. The violence too differs with the prevalence of guns and the impact of those bullets. The show is willing to push things in interesting ways when it comes to its lead too. One particular scene has Pierce in a shower with the camera panning down delivering a sexy moment for the viewers.

The cast is fantastic with Cress Williams leading the show in the title role and coming off as a father and adult who’s of a different time and way. Again, the generational is emphasized as in how he conducts himself compared to his daughters. Everyone though is solid in their roles and hopefully everyone gets their moments as the series plays out.

The first episode is a solid one planting a flag and making a statement that’s clear as to what we can expect from it. This isn’t your typical comic adaptation, it has something to say and isn’t afraid to do so. A socially and politically aware debut that entertains as much as it gets you to think and take notice.

Overall Rating: 9.0

TV Review: The Flash S4E10 The Trial of The Flash

As Barry’s trial for murder of Clifford DeVoe begins, Iris and Joe must decide how far they are willing to go to kepp Barry out of prison.

The Flash does its impersonation of a classic story putting Barry Allen on trial for murder. With the episode going on, fans are teased with two things, will Barry’s identity be revealed and how will his city survive if he’s found guilty?

The episode does a solid job of teasing out the trial in a will he or won’t he be found guilty way? The episode delivers just enough so it’s not obvious as to what the result will be and if the series will deviate from comics at all and forge it’s own path. It also delivers a solid emotional punch with Barry and Iris and the prospect of him leaving her so soon after marriage.

The downside of the episode is it doesn’t do a good job arguing his innocence enough and generally feels like it lies down. There’s some push but it almost feels like the writers weren’t sure how to mount a good defense. It could also be intentional to show how far ahead DeVoe is when it comes to his plans.

There’s a meta, Fallout, and all of that is clearly set up so that we are presented with a city without Barry. The show might have been a bit stronger focusing on the trial and leaving that aspect out.

As the episode went on, it’s clear as to where it’s all going and the result of the trial isn’t that up in the air. The good is, where this is all going is something new for the show and breaks it from the usual fight bad metas. The episode isn’t the best but has its moments and most importantly it drives the second half of the season into a new direction.

Overall Rating: 7.65

Recap: Supergirl S3E10 Legion of Superheroes

Supergirl S3E10 Legion of Superheroes starts off with comatose Kara receiving a visit from Braniac 5 in the loft of her mind following her defeat at the hands of Reign. In the real world, Braniac 5 keeps the team abreast of her condition while simultaneously keeping tabs on Kara and her mind. Reign seems unfazed by her brush with Supergirl and is trying the balancing act of her Reign duties and her mothering duties. Reign seems at ease taking her message of violent justice to the streets and with Supergirl out of commission she fights evil, her way, through most of the episode unchecked.

Mom-El takes himself and the legion off of the playing board because he doesn’t want to endanger thier mission and the timeline. The legion clues them in on what happens to the future with little insight into how to protect themselves besides the knowledge that Reign eventually leaves earth but, the earth suffers catastrophic losses and gets plunged into the dark ages.   Braniac tries to prepare Supergirl mentally for reentry into the real world so that she can help the fight against Reign but, since nothing ever goes according to plan, she doesn’t wake up,

Kara can’t find her way out of her mind and no matter how hard she tries to fight her way out, her emotions won’t allow her wake up and Braniac 5 doesn’t seem to be able to help her. Reigns attacks a methlab and the cops who show up. Back at the DOE the Legion goes into more detail about why they can’t interfere and explains that if they help and lose the future could be lost as well. J’onn J’onzz has to do friendship duties for Kara by being her doppelgänger so that Lena doesn’t catch wind that Kara is Supergirl, forcing him to endure girl talk from Lena who is having a bit of a dilemma with the start of her relationship with James. Luckily, the conversation ends in time for our favorite Martian to help the team with their plan to stop Reign.

With the help of a kryptonite necklace they momentarily are able to subdue Reign but, it doesn’t work for long and she escapes, injuring Alex in the process. Meanwhile back in Kara’s brain , her and Braniac 5 notice that there’s something off about her apartment and try to walk through her feelings and memories to figure a way out. Alex figures out where Reign is headed and the Legion decides to suit up and help the DOE take her on since Supergirl is still unavailable. When Reign hits the prison she runs into Supergirls former stan.

The Legion makes thier enterance to Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer, something a Jersey Girl like me couldn’t help but be impressed by. During the battle Braniac 5 multitasks, fighting the battle, helping Supergirl escape her brain and, doing a crossword puzzle. Kara eventually gets Braianc 5 to focus on the battle and his parting words are the key to her escaping her mind, which is evidenced by her finding a literal key shortly after his departure. The battle gets pretty intense and Reign has the super powered members of the team on the ropes as Kara awakes and heads out to join the battle despite the risk to herself. Kara is victorious after one good surprise hit and deals this battles final blow to Reign in the form of a kryptonite injection.

The episode wraps up with Mon-El and Kara having a sweet moment that hinges on goodbye , Jimmy and Lena having a heart to heart and one of the sweetest kisses I’ve ever seen and, Alex and Kara sharing some sister time. The wrap up was a perfect ending to  a stellar hour and, brought us back to the human element of the series which was the best way to end the teams involvement this time around. But, since the writers like to keep us on our toes, we get some stellar foreshadowing through a shot of the needle Supergirl used to “defeat” Reign and the mention of the team of Kryptonian powered allies that are ready to step out of the shadows to help help her on her purification quest.

Overall, this episode was a nice reentry into the Supergirl universe after a long break. There wasn’t a moment that wasn’t needed to propel the story forward and even with its ominous dark tone, it remained entertaining and fun. The writers have mastered good storytelling, mixed with just enough action, and the way they provide subtle character notes through short conversations, photos or moments keep us attached. There are so many ways the story can go now and I’m here for each and every one of them, with my popcorn at the ready.

Rating: 8.8

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