CW Superhero Roundup: Tickle-Me-Elmo is my god now


In this weekly feature, we’ll offer up brief recaps of each of the CW’s ever-increasing stable of interconnected superhero shows – Supergirl, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Arrow. We’ll offer up brief recaps as well as some of our light impressions on each episode.

Supergirl S3E9 “Reign”

The team’s holiday celebrations are cut short when mysterious symbols begin appearing around National City. Kara investigates, learning about an ancient Kryptonian prophecy about a World Killer. Suspecting Morgan Edge’s involvement, Lena does her own sleuthing, joined by James, and sparks fly between the two. Kara struggles with Mon-El and Irma’s presence. Sam struggles to stay in control, but loses out to her new persona, Reign, leading to an inevitable clash with Supergirl. 

I really only have two things to call out in this episode, which is generally a strong one – first, I completely understand the narrative motivation in establishing Sam as a friend to the group before transitioning her into (presumably) the season’s main antagonist – it’s a smart move, and makes sense. But having Kara describe her as one of her best friends like she does in this episode…it doesn’t track. Lena makes sense, as we’ve had a season of buildup in that relationship, but Kara and Sam have shared maybe two or three scenes so far this season. We either needed to seed this more to this point or we needed to kick the “best friend” can down the road a few episodes. It might be a minor quibble, but it’s a line that really dug its way into my brain and annoyed the hell outta me.

The other note is that last battle, which is strong as hell. I lamented previously about my apprehension that this show seemed to be doing a Kryptonian (or Kryptonian-esque) as a primary villain for the third year in a row, and that apprehension still stands. Still, this climactic fight goes a long way toward establishing Reign as a formidable opponent, and a big part of that is just how badly Supergirl loses here. I’m not quite celebrating seeing our hero bloodied and bruised, but this is the first time we’ve seen Supergirl lose quite this badly. It’s a striking visual and it sets up Reign as a real threat, and I’m interested to see where we go from here.

The Flash S4E9 “Don’t Run”

Amunet Black returns and kidnaps Caitlin, forcing her to perform surgery on a metahman, Dominic Lanse, who has telepathic powers, so Amunet can sell him to a powerful client. DeVoe captures Barry. As the team searches for the two, Iris must confront the fact that they only have so many resources to devote. Barry seizes on an opportunity and escapes, battling and seemingly defeating the Thinker. Caitlin and Dominic escape with the help of Cisco and Ralph, and the reunited gang assembles to celebrate the holidays. All is not well, however, as Barry learns; Amunet recaptures Dominic to deliver to her client – DeVoe, who transfers his consciousness into Dominic’s body…and leaves his newly-vacated corpse in Barry’s apartment, just in time for the police to arrive.

This one zagged on me hard – The Flash ends the strongest of any of the shows this week. The entire final scene is fantastic, and “Barry arrested for murder” is a hell of a way to take off for the holidays. Still, it is a shame to cut Neil Sandilands loose so soon – he’s been a presence all season, but it’s really just the last two episodes or so that we’ve really been able to see him do his stuff, and he’s been a really great villain who manages to feel human. I was really looking forward to seeing his version of DeVoe square off with Barry for a while longer, and I’m not completely convinced newcomer Kendrick Sampson can step into that dynamic comfortably as DeVoe 2.0, though I am willing to be proven wrong. 

That said, the rest of the episode is fine; I’m not completely sold with Amunet as a recurring villain but I am completely down with the criminally underrated Katee Sackoff on my TV screen, especially in a role that lets her chew as much scenery as she does here. On another note – seriously, give Ralph Dibny a proper costume already.

Legends of Tomorrow S3E9 “Beebo the God of War”

The Legends, joined by Snart from Earth-X, look to distract themselves from Stein’s death by fixing an anachronism, eventually landing on one in Viking-era North America. Unbenknownst to them the anachronism is a younger version of Stein, who found himself stranded in time with a popular children’s toy – which the Vikings have seen fit to worship as their god, leading to them permanently settling the continent and thus changing history. Dispatching Beebo and rescuing Stein is easy enough, but must then content with Damien Darhk, who poses as Odin to convince the Vikings to stick around. Jax wrestles with whether or not he should warn Stein of his fate, and his place on the team without his Firestorm powers.

Not Legends’ strongest showing, but “Beebo” is another in a series of examples of this show being the section of the Arrowverse where imagination is allowed to run wild. A Tickle-Me-Elmo being worshipped as a god is a great idea, and Neal McDonough as Odin is hilarious (though I’m not convinced that’s completely intentional). It’s a lot of fun, and the show knows that this is a bit of a goofy premise, which is appreciated. The sequence where the team runs through the various ways Sara’s encounter with Darhk might go is a cute bit, and Ray-as-Beebo urging the soon-to-be-Christian Vikings to believe in science is extremely good.

I don’t have much else to say, really; this is a fun episode, but not one that This appears to be where we part ways with Franz Drameh’s Jefferson Jackson, which I guess isn’t that surprising given that he’s not really a superhero anymore (but does feel a bit weird given we’ve spent a bit of time with Jax learning he doesn’t need superpowers to be helpful on the team). See you at the crossroads, my man.

Arrow S6E9 “Irreconcilable Differences”

At Oliver and Felicity’s wedding reception, Lance learns that the FBI has a smoking gun in their investigation – a member of the team willing to testify that Oliver is the Green Arrow. Shaken, Oliver asks Felicity and Diggle to trail on the newer members of the team – Dinah, Rene and Curtis – to root out the mole. Laurel kidnaps Quentin and Cayden James uses him as leverage to blackmail Team Arrow into stealing a component from ARGUS. When confronted, Rene is revealed as the mole, who flipped under threat of losing his daughter. But Curtis and Dinah aren’t too keen on having been spied on, leaving the team fractured – just in time for James to put together his own team of ne’er-do-wells.

This episode is…fine, I guess, but easily the weakest of the week’s finales. It’s solid enough, but more predictable than usual. Dinah is an obvious red herring, Rene is the most obvious person to have flipped, and for the most obvious reasons. That isn’t exactly bad, per se, but we’re not really doing anything interesting here. I do like that we’re starting to do something with Laurel beyond standard villany, and it’s nice to see her bond with Quentin, but even that feels a little bit by-the-numbers. And I’m honestly sort of baffled that the big reveal leaving us off for the year is Cayden James’ B-list Legion of Doom (the Legion of…Dread?). It’s literally just…an assemblage of regular dudes with varying degrees of history with the show, and literally none of them are surprising (though I’m always down for more Kirk Acevedo, I’ll admit). 

Next week: Nothing! The shows are off for the holidays, but next year – Kara’s in a coma! Barry’s framed for murder! The Legends exorcise a demon!