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This week's TV rundown

So much angst, it's got a lot of fic muses hopping..

Supergirl 2x11
This episode was definitely better than the last couple; I liked a lot of the character stuff or at least I have some new perspectives on stuff and the plot was fairly well handled. I wasn’t bored even if some stuff was a touch on the convenient side and I feel like the show wants me to ship things I don’t necessarily ship.

Here’s the thing, this episode helped me get Kara’s current conflict in a way I hadn’t been before. I get feeling like everyone else is moving on with their lives and that that movement is away from you. That as a reason for her kind of dickish behavior to Jimmy and Wen over the Guardian issue does make it a bit more understandable. And as it being her arc this season it...kind of works; Kat left, Clark had a life to go back to, J’onn has M’gann, Alex is with Maggie, she no longer has much connection with Jimmy (or Wen really). But the last one is a problem because she’s the one who chose that and the reasons still don’t make a lot of sense and has hardly been explored. I commented much earlier in the season that Kara’s civilian life doesn’t seem that important any more so it’s kind of jarring when she brings it up as something she’s focused on because she hasn’t been. But in connection with all the other things...maybe that’s intentional; it’s one area where she probably could feel move proactive but she doesn’t prioritize it and so it ends up contributing to her stuck feeling. I’m not sure I like this as a character arc, but at least I have a better read on what the arc is now, though no more idea how it resolves than I ever did.

I can’t quite tell if the show wants me to ship J’onn/M’gann or to read them as family. Since to me they’re uncle and niece I feel kind of awkward that the show seems to be leaning shippy. I really do like her idea of going back and trying to reform Mars, I’m not sure her character had quite enough development to get there but as an end (or more likely temporary end) I like it.

My big thought with the episode was a big realization that live action just isn’t the right medium for the characters they have here. All five of the main combatants in the final fight could fly and have superhuman strength, four of them can shapeshift, as well as Kara’s plethora of other powers; that fight should have been way more interesting than it was. Also, in this version of things, is the power heat vision or laser vision, because heat vision against Martians seems like a useful skill.

Agents of SHIELD 4x13
I...don’t think I liked that one. I guess there just wasn’t enough May or May-bot to give me many thoughts. I really hope at some point we do get more of a look into what May’s been going through in all this, I was really excited to see her in Bahrain related illusion and then just nothing. Maybe Agnes will wander from her side of the Framework and help May actually leave it.

Coulson’s side of the plot was emotionally satisfying in a lot of ways (from that he really wants to fly off the handle the way he did last season but he’s working to keep it in check, to him grabbing onto hope with both hands in the end, all of which is him finally just accepting how he feels about May), and it gave us some real insight into what Radcliff’s motives have been (though I’m not crazy about the hints at where Aida’s character is headed); though I have two questions. 1) Since when was May-bot with them for weeks? I might let them stretch it to two weeks but with the dates established a couple episodes ago I’m not even sure I buy that. 2) Was there a SHIELD memo that maybe everyone should start reminding May and Coulson how totally in love with each other they are? (And if there was, did Fury send it somehow, because he’s got to be damned tired of how long it’s taking Philinda to happen?) Because while I’ve been sure for years that the whole staff assumed they were together no one has commented on it until recently and now everybody can’t stop commenting on it.

The action plot wasn’t actually a terrible idea, but about the only parts I liked were with FitzSimmons. Skye is an asshole throughout the plot and I’m not 100% sure the writers realize it (I’m also not quite sure they don’t as her lines felt deliberately awful but the show has a history of not recognizing it when Skye is awful). There’s something a Catch-22 issue there, she’d be even more difficult to stomach if we had to see more of her but by seeing so much less of her this year I’m having a hard time grabbing onto any arc she has going on. Mace also hasn’t really been enough of a character for his plot to connect, and they really should give more indication of why now his super serum is starting to break down and possibly kill him since he evidently didn’t have any trouble in the months until now. I’d buy it if they just said it was a matter of time, or that he’d been on it consistently since he started taking it and having it pass out of his system he now can’t be sure his body could take it again, but they should give me something. I’m not crazy about removing Nadeer as an antagonist, I’ve always felt the show didn’t do enough exploration of politics in the MCU when it’s positioned to do a lot more and now they’ve stopped it again. Though I’m not saying it isn’t a fair end and, well...an Inhuman *was* responsible for her death so we’ll see how that goes.

As for Radcliffe’s big plot, I’m getting some Matrix-y vibes, though also what little I remember about the villain plot Caprica about giving people eternal life in a digital world. Neither way do I feel good about this, not that I think I’m supposed to; but I also don’t entirely see how he got from robots to digital immortality, especially without us seeing him exploring both for a while.

The Flash 3x12
I’m a little torn on how to rate this one; on one hand it was about an average to maybe slightly better than average Flash episode; problem is, my opinion of the average Flash episode is that it’s boring, with characters I don’t care about and situations that offer no real tension or meaning. I don’t like these characters, I don’t enjoy watching them, I don’t connect with them, I don’t find them interesting, and none of their conflicts mean anything to me. I do have a new idea why this season feels so much less to me than previous seasons (I had issues with previous seasons, but it’s gotten way worse this time), and it’s because the scenes I did kind of like were all about people encouraging/mentoring other people; Barry and Wally’s big emotional scene actually worked for me in spite of my usual dislike for both characters; and Julian (who is honestly 20x more interesting than any other character on this show right now) with Caitlyn; and a little bit of Joe’s stuff. This show has always been very heavy on the mentor-protégé type relationships until this season, where they’ve shortcut actually developing that relationship between Barry and Wally, or giving Caitlyn anyone she can turn to about her powers, or even Cisco needing guidance to further develop his as they compressed that into last episode. This season has been so slipshod at everything I can’t give them credit that says they recognized Barry was a terrible mentor until they thought of it for this episode and will probably have it all be better without actually showing growth sometime later.

Problem with a shared universe is I don’t feel like I can give this up even though I kind of want to at least move it to marathon watching. There probably will be good episodes sprinkled in, but my baseline opinion has gotten pretty low.

Legends of Tomorrow 2x11
I did enjoy that one, there was a fair bit of good character work and stuff I really want to see consequences of in coming episodes. I’m not crazy about the fact that the show has basically had Amaya be a prop for basically all the men of the ship at this point where she could have been paired off with anyone (except I guess Stein, but he’s already married). This episode just seemed to be Nate’s turn at maybe being into Amaya, and it came out of nowhere but maybe this time it will actually be something. I also have some issues with this show’s very changeable stance on historical racial issue, we had a slavery is horrific episode this season and then turn around and act like it’s not that big a thing in this episode. And what was Sara’s undercover identity that she wasn’t paying Nate’s wife, unless she was either trying to be provocative or realized this was a Nate/Amaya episode? Plus you know, Washington had slaves and all that.

But I really liked Jax and Sara’s character stuff this episode. And what it will probably do to Rip when he’s real-Rip again; because whatever I waffle on Sara’s feelings for Rip being, and however much I’m willing to waffle on the romantic level of it, Rip *loves* Sara and just shooting her was already going to mess real-Rip up, straight up killing her like that...this is going to be messy and I’m going to probably love it. But I really like Sara getting a chance to save Jax from going down the road she did (she would have been about his age when the Gambit went down); I’ve been liking their growing bond all season and this was a really good part to it. Though I do think she was partly saving Rip, she’s not that ready to give up on saving him.

Also, as if Sara didn’t have enough reason to murder Malcolm and Darhk, add in them turning Rip against her. And Malcolm, damn, how many times does he have to proxy-kill Sara Lance?

Arrow 5x12
I want to say I liked that, a lot actually, but something is holding me back from saying I loved it. A lot of the character work with OTA was really good, and I really like Oliver and Dinah’s relationship because she’s really on his level in a lot of ways, same as I like Felicity and Rory’s relationship, and I have to say I think I like this development for Rory. I’m even glad we’re getting new movement on Susan’s investigation into Oliver since that had seemed to be dropped for a while. I didn’t actually dislike the Rene and Lance plot either, it worked to break up the other plot and was fine for both characters; didn’t love it but it was fine.

This episode was just really...angry. At least the first half or so, everyone seemed more angry than seemed right. I get why in each case, it was just a lot to deal with all in the same episode. And some of the concluding bits didn’t hit with me as much as maybe they should have.

I have thoughts on the big OTA semi-breakdown scene, but my words can’t quite get to describe it. They’re all kind of right and they’re all kind of wrong. Getting down in the muck with Oliver should be their choice (and I personally really liked watching Felicity’s turn to the dark side, it felt a long time coming in a lot of ways) but they do deserve to continue living lives where they don’t take those steps; Oliver deserves to live a life where he doesn’t have to keep taking those steps either or feel like he’s dragged his best friends down with him. I don’t feel like Oliver was judging them (John more than Felicity probably) and that’s good, because he hasn’t got a leg to stand on and he knows it, but he needs them to be better than him. And considering the Prometheus part of the equation I’m more on Oliver’s side than I probably would normally be. I do support writing Digg and Felicity having their own battles with the darkness, and writing wise this is exactly the time to do it, but for those in text it has to be harsh to watch.

Where is Thea at this point, I’m starting to worry about her? When did OTA tell the recruits that Oliver is a member of the Bratva; that might have been an interesting conversation (I’m also still waiting for Nyssa to show up and having to explain that situation). Did I catch right that Oliver basically forced through a bill that gave Star City a Russian sister city just so they could go visit it? That seems likely to raise some questions, especially since several of the Star City vigilantes showed up there (they also weren’t nearly careful enough keeping the bad guys from hearing them use their real names). Why does a mayor have a privet intercontinental jet, that seems suspect; and even if I buy that doesn’t that resource have to be at least a little accounted for? And if there was a flimsy reason for them to be in Russia, wouldn’t there end up being photos taken...including Oliver and his ex-fiancé, his friend recently suspected of arms-trading suspiciously there when a nuke almost went off, and a few randos that I’m sure have no cover story for why they are on this outing with the mayor?

Look, the character work in this episode is really pretty good, but the logic not so much.

So I didn’t do a season wrap up of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I have thoughts but I’m not satisfied with trying to write them out; maybe at some point, but for now I want to talk about some non-superhero shows.

Jane the Virgin 3x10
So yeah...I’ve expected since the whole “Michael would love Jane until the day he died” thing happened that Michael would end up dead at some point. I’d kind of set it aside when they got married because at that point it could happen at any point and be accurate, but I’m also not entirely surprised that card got played. I guess we’re actually watching “Jane the Widow” now. And are they going to actually stick with the time skip, because that makes it 2020 on the show and this isn’t Parks and Rec where they’re just going to dive in and do ridiculous things with the near future. Emotionally I’m kind of okay with not having to watch the immediate fallout from this, because I’m sad enough now and grief always hits me harder than the actual deaths do; but I’m also not real sure I see it working in narrative. Then again, I can see all the reasons to do it, skipping past Raf’s legal trouble, have kid characters rather than babies to deal with, have Jane reasonably in a place where she’s ready to be back in the world rather than slowing going through the process. I’m wildly conflicted...and sad, very sad.

Reign 4x01
This could be interesting viewing this season, because if my understanding of things is correct, they would have started production before they knew this would be the last season, but probably weren’t done when word came down. Watching this episode I’m not sure they ever thought they were getting another season, at least in Mary’s arc as history seems to be practically at her door already; I’m still not sure how they cover so much ground in only one not-quite-full season, but they’re banging the drum of her being headed for a downfall pretty hard; which is really an awkward position to be in with a long running show since our heroine cannot win, can’t even walk away content to stop playing.

They also have to fit in her having a kid this season, kind of historically important that they cover that.

I’m not even sure if I liked this episode, I think I did, but this is a hard show to judge episode to episode; and an episode that makes the steady march towards what we know as history so...tangible, I have an especially hard time judging on its own. It’s average for this show, which means I enjoyed it, but most potential deeper thoughts will be as plots play out.

I still want my custody battle between Mary and Narcisse for John, I think as Mary is also godmother she has more claim, but Narcisse is in England to exert authority on the issue. I will also say that this is basically exactly how I pictured a CW Darnley. Just amazingly conventionally attractive.



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