This Week In DC TV: It’s A Girls Fight Out On ‘Supergirl’

Last week marked the return of the Arrowverse from the holiday break.  While it was good to see our core characters from Supergirl, The Flash, and Arrow, the big draw upon the return of the DC CW was the introduction of Black Lightning.

Taking a cue from Netflix’s Luke Cage in tone and style, Black Lightning gave us a fresh new hero, one that feels more like in our world, a world of poverty, police brutality, gang violence, and Black Lives Matter, than one in the world of metahumans, fantasy, and aliens.  Everything happening is relevant.  When Jefferson Pierce was stopped by the police, most black folks watched holding their breath with hearts beating quickly, because this is a situation that has happened for many throughout the country in a similar fashion, and the end result isn’t always as rosy.  Taking a cue from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns comic which defined how we view Batman, Jefferson Pierce is living a life of comfort, away from being the hero Black Lightning.  However, decay and gang violence has returned to Freeland (basically Trump’s apocalyptic version of Chicago), and Jefferson Pierce has to once again become Black Lightning when his daughters fall victim to The 100, the city’s most notorious gang.  The first episode was exciting, and proves that the show will have some legs.  At this point, it’s going to operate independent of the rest of the Arrowverse, but we all know there needs to be channel-wide crossovers for sweeps week.

The rest of the Arrowverse shows performed well-ish.  Supergirl had Kara spend most of the episode in a coma after her fight with Reign, so in stepped the Legion of Superheroes.  Mon-El and his gang of aliens and cyborgs from the future helped keep National City afloat from the carnage that Reign was “raining” down on the city.  The weak part of this week was surprisingly The Flash, as we had to deal with the trial of Barry Allen.  Thanks to The Thinker’s schemes, Barry found himself framed for the Thinker’s own murder (he really transferred his consciousness into another body), as all evidence pointed towards Barry being the culprit.  Rather than use his powers (or even reveal to the world that he’s really The Flash), Barry just sucked it up and was sentenced to life in prison, he also now has to be in the same cell his father served in.  Arrow marked the first episode with Team Arrow officially split up.  However, there’s still a cyber-terrorist who is hell-bent on making Oliver and Star City suffer under his control.  Although he really didn’t want to accept it, Oliver needed his former teammates help to solve a problem.  Realizing that they still worked well together, he wanted to mend fences and have them join up as a cohesive unit once again.  However, the offer was rejected by Rene, Curtis, and Dinah, and they decided to form their own team.  Both decided that they would each do their own to keep the city safe, and stay out of each other’s way.

So how did the Arrowverse go this week?

Supergirl: “Fort Rozz”

Now that Kara’s back and at 100%, there’s more for her to do to keep National City safe from Reign.  In order to do so, she needs some help.  In fact, this help she needs will be of folks she doesn’t necessarily trust.

In order to figure out a way to defeat Reign, she will need to seek out Jindah Kol Rozz, a Kryptonian priestess.  However, Rozz was held in a prison that Kara had thrown into outer space to keep Earth safe from its inhabitants.  The big problem, the jail is now orbiting blue star.  In order for Kara to have her powers, she needs to be near a yellow star.  Being near a blue start will render her “normal” and not able to really do anything.  Another problem with blue stars, the radiation from it is lethal to anyone who is not a woman, so no help from Mon-El or J'onn J'onzz.  Kara will need some superpowered girl power if she’s going to succeed.

Naturally, Mo-El’s wife Imra (Saturn Girl) is more than happy to help Kara out.  She has superhuman strength and telekinesis, so she’d be good in a fight.  But they need more firepower.  It looks like there’s not that many “good” superpowered people in National City with an X chromosome.  She’s going to need to put together her own “Suicide Squad.”  

Her first recruit is a waitress at a diner who dissing her customers, getting their orders wrong, or just completely ignoring them, so not at your friendly neighborhood diner (or maybe depending on what city you’re in).  Turns out the waitress is none other than Livewire, Supergirl’s metahuman nemesis who can control and transform into electricity.  To Kara’s surprise, Livewire is more than eager as Reign’s M.O. has been killing the bad guys, including people she considers friends.  Kara’s next recruit is Psi, the psychic bank robber currently in DEO custody.  She’s the loose cannon that needs to be watched as she can use her psychic powers to do whatever she wants, even facilitate her escape.  For the time being, they will need her to wear a dampener to keep her powers in check.  She’ll have to prove herself.

For the most part, they are good, no big problems.  They all operate under Kara’s leadership, even if she didn’t have powers when they made it to the space station near the blue sun.  when a solar flare stops communications with the DEO, the girls are all on their own.  Oh, and the space prison is on it’s way to the sun, so no pressure to fix everything.  Irma tries to fix the station’s communications, while everyone else tries to find Rozz in the prison.  To make matters worse, Reign somehow knows what they are up to and flies to the station.  This means that Reign’s powers are different from Kara.  Reign being a Worldkiller has to have another source of her powers.  However, they show established that Samantha is Kryptonian, so she should be depowered, right?

To everyone’s surprise, Reign kills Rozz, instead of protecting her.  Because Kara is depowered, there’s little she can do to turn the tides.  It’s up to Livewire to really hold her own against the Worldkiller in this fight.  However, she’s no match against Reign and she, fatally, suffers the consequences, RIP Livewire.  Irma got taken out early when Psi’s power was activated and she attacked Irma by accident.  Livewire does her best, but Reign is Reign.  Irma decides a last Hail Mary would be to let Psi loose.  She uses her psychic powers on Reign.  This proves to be the ace in the hole as Reign reverts to Samantha and sees a vision of her daughter Ruby being pulled away into blackness.  A sobbing Samantha wakes up not realizing where she is and flees.  Winn and Brainiac 5 manage to finally fix communications and ensure that the team can escape the prison.  The episode ends with another Worldkiller becoming activated, meaning that there will be even more problems down the road for Kara.

The Flash: “The Elongated Knight Rises”

With Barry in jail and no hope for parole, Central City still needs a protector.  Boy, it would have been a good idea to have kept Wally, Flash writers!  But rumor has it, he’ll show up on Legends of Tomorrow, so we won’t mark this as a complete sin…yet.  Anyway, Central City needs a protector.  Lucky for Team Flash, they have a backup hero, Ralph, AKA Plastic Man.  While Ralph isn’t strong on the hero part of being a hero (a corrupt cop-turned sleazy private eye turned-metahuman hero), he’s all they got.

The episode starts with what appears to be Ralph’s usual heroics, he stops a hostage situation with a bomber by first using his elastic powers to remove the hostages when the bomber’s back is turned.  He then confronts the bomber throwing a bunch of one-liners.  When the bomber decides to set off the explosion, he simply grabs it and absorbs the bomb.  Iris later points out that it wasn’t the best choice as he could have been hurt.  Ralph thinks his powers render him unable to be hurt, so he arrogantly tells the rest of the team that he saved the day.

Barry’s situation isn’t so great.  He tries to keep his head down and avoid any problems in prison.  But it’s prison, you’re gonna have a few problems here and there.  Barry on paper is not prison material.  He’s 150 soaking wet, not really the type of person that will be able to survive a world with people with access to nothing but weights and time.  Barry does his best to not use his Speed force powers, so he’s liable for some trouble.  Lucky for him, he has a guardian angel.  Just as a bunch of prisoners are going to give Barry the warm welcome, they run into Big Sir, played by former WCW/WWE pro wrestler Bill Goldberg (Goooollldbeeeerrrrg! Goooollldbeeeerrrrg!), who protects Barry from them by promptly kicking their asses.

Later on, Sir reveals that Barry father Henry helped save his life when his appendix burst and only prisoners and staff could save him.  Thanks to Henry, he was able to survive, so he feels he owes Barry’s father and does what he can to protect the young man.  It doesn’t hurt that he’s Bill Goldberg and the size of a metahuman in real life.  Later on, the same prisoners try and kill Sir, but this time Barry uses his powers (briefly, and not too look like The Flash) to help save Big Sir.  The character Big Sir was a mentally handicapped super strong supervillain from DC comics, but it looks like the producers will give another take on the character.  It looks like Barry will try and recruit the members of Team Flash to help with Big Sir’s appeal, could that possibly backfire against Barry?

Ralph meets his match for the first time this episode in the form of the Trickster.  No, we didn’t get Mark Hamil to return once again to reprise his now iconic character.  He’s a little too busy reprising his most iconic character in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  Instead, he has to deal with the Trickster’s son Axel, who is eager to impress his (most likely) non-caring absent father, but picking up the torch and terrorizing Central City.  One of The Trickster’s many crazy weapons is acid, the one thing that seemed to hurt the once though invulnerable Ralph.  The thought of being a hero is fine and dandy when you think nothing can harm you.  The fear of actually dying now has sunk into Ralph’s mind, and as a result, he wants to call it quits.  

Ralph completely unsure of himself uses his Plastic Man powers to sneak his way into prison and asks Barry for his advice.  Barry reveals to him that of course, he himself gets scared, but part of being a hero isn’t your powers, but your dedication to helping people, even at your own risk. 

With Baby Trickster working with his equally insane mother, they hold innocents hostage, so Cisco and Caitlin (force to become Killer Frost is an amusing way) spring into action to stop them.  Unfortunately, they laid a trap for them and then they joined the hostage pool.  Just then, Ralph (with his brand new costume) comes in and decided that it’s time to be a hero.  The Tricksters are just about to throw a pool of acid on Cisco and Caitlin, so Ralph forms his body to become a shield to protect them, at his own peril as it would probably kill him.  Lucky for him, Harry is able to render it inert, but Ralph’s act of heroism shows that he’s ready to play in the big leagues.  He even finally gets a superhero name: The Elongated Man (not what I would have gone with), and he’s a little disappointed.

Black Lightning: “Lawanda: The Book of Hope”

Black Lightning’s pilot episode was outstanding.  As stated before, it has everything you would love in a serious black-centered superhero show.  It wasn’t shy about dealing with some serious issues.  While Luke Cage feels like blaxploitation movie as a television show, Black Lightning feels more modern day in the style and execution.  So, did it just have a good first episode?  Or would the show have legs and keep the greatness (or as Black Twitter would say #blackexcellence ) going?  Once again, Hells Yeah!  The second episode went even further down the rabbit hole and continued to deliver the goods.  

Jefferson Pierce came out of retirement to take on the notorious 100 gang to save his daughters when they were taken hostage.  This gave people in the community hope, but that doesn’t mean that Black Lighting was officially back.  Jefferson’s trying to get his wife back, and Black Lightning is a red line for her.  He feels that he did what was needed to save his daughters and would only be Black Lightning if their family was threatened.

But what about anyone else’s daughters?  At first the title of the episode “Lawanda: The Book of Hope” seems to make no sense, but the episode focuses on Lawanda, a single mother, who after losing her husband, lost her daughter as well.  Her daughter, like Jefferson’s, was taken by The 100 and forced into sexual slavery at their motels.  She just didn’t have someone like Black Lightning to save her.  Lawanda endlessly tried to get her daughter rescued, even at her own peril.

And that leads to one of the things that separates Black Lightning from the rest of probably all the CW shows (besides The 100), they don’t mind taking some lives.  Lawanda’s death serves to show a cold hard reminder about gangs within an urban city, they. kill. people.  All this woman wanted was the safety of her daughter back, but her harassment of the gang and bringing the news and police involved, led to LaLa killing her.

This frustrates Jefferson because he feels guilty over her death.  He told Lawanda not to get involved as he would try and work out a diplomatic solution with LaLa to save her daughter.  He also realizes that he cannot be Black Lightning just for his own selfish purposes, he owes the community he lives in to help it, even if it’s at the destruction of his marriage.  He officially dons his costume and storm LaLa’s penthouse, takes out all of his soldiers and proceeds to beat the brakes out of the criminal.  LaLa is only saved by the police who arrive, forcing Black Lightning to escape.

His children are processing their kidnapping in their own way.  His eldest daughter Anissa is the daughter who we spend most of the episode with.  For one, it’s revealed that she is gay.  Before everyone starts griping “They are making everything gay on the CW,” first off, shut up.  Gay people exist and they are finally getting their representation in mainstream television.  “They’re here, they’re queer, get used to it.”  Secondly, this is 100% accurate with the comics.  As Thunder, she has an extensive relationship with Grace Choi, who was already cast for the show, so revealing her character as gay is following the comics to the letter.  She’s puzzled by her super strength as well.  Her girlfriend (who is not Grace, which means a breakup is bound to happen) talks it up as adrenaline and a sink that was already going to break.  However later on when the pharmacy she’s at it being robbed and she’s held at gunpoint, she launches the robber more than 10 feet with ease, we know that she’s about to follow in her father’s superhero footsteps.  His other daughter Jennifer, continues her rebellious streak.  She’s now taking up drinking.  Just like her older sister, she has a romantic life, and her once best friend reveals his feelings for her and she does the same.  However, he’s not a fan of her going through all these extremes as a means of rebelling against her father, especially since all he has done was love her and take care of her.  Will she also go through a new superhero journey?

With LaLa arrested by the police, and Lawanda’s cell phone showing her murder, LaLa is done.  This means that his boss Tobias will not be too happy.  Looks like Tobias has a few cops in his pocket as he is able to walk into the jail and then kill LaLa in his cell.  Shame, LaLa was an interesting character.  Speaking of interesting, Tobias looks to be a very unique character.  He’s a black albino, who runs a black gang, but his inner circle is only white people, and he is constantly talking down to his black subordinates.  It looks like we will see an “Uncle Tom” or a “Self Hating Negro” in charge of the most dangerous black gang.  Could bring up all sorts of issues within the black community, especially colorism.

Arrow: “We Fall”

With the team officially broken up, Cayden James finally makes his move on Star City, and it’s up to both Team Arrow and the Outsiders (great name for Curtis’ team for DC comics fans) to stop him.  They also have to work together in order to do it.  While they are on their own, they probably will all get back together before the season ends.

James shows his force of strength as he takes over many of Star City’s electrical systems.  With everything connected to the Internet nowadays, a true “hacktiterrorist” would have a field day with any major metropolitan city.  Of course, in real life, there are redundancies within redundancies to make sure that doesn’t happen….right?  Police Chief Frank Pike is killed in an elevator accident as well as countless other people throughout the city.  As Mayor, Oliver needs to reassure the public that everything’s OK, but as the Green Arrow, he has to find a way to stop Cayden James before he unleashes total hell on the city.

One of Curtis’ T-Spheres starts to receive weird messages.  Curtis decides to investigate further to discover that Dinah’s former partner/lover-turned-vigilante-turned-supervillain, Vigilante sent Curtis a message.  Vigilante shows up for a meeting with Curtis where he warns him that Cayden James is planning on attacking the city subway system.  Curtis pulls an Oliver type of move, not telling the team until he can vet the intelligence.  While on paper, this makes sense, this is the type of thing that the new team hated Oliver doing.  For a team that was going to be making decisions collectively to avoid some of the problems of Team Arrow, Curtis is already setting them up for failure by repeating the same mistakes Oliver made.

While Oliver is trying to prepare the city for an eventual system-wide terrorist attack, he gets an unexpected visitor, Cayden James himself.  Under an alias, he gets the chance for a one on one with the mayor.  His demand is simple: $10 million a month.  Oliver issues the usual “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” that all politicians use.  James reveals that he wants to bankrupt Oliver and the city with these demands.  He also reveals a little more about his motivations against Oliver/Green Arrow.  He previously reveals that Oliver was responsible for his son’s death, but in a fit of rage, he reveals the date that his son died.  This allows Oliver to try and figure out who his son was.  Through his brainstorming with Felicity and Diggle, Oliver states he couldn’t have killed James’ son because he was in Hub City at the time trying to get Dinah to join Team Arrow.  So how did his son die if the Green Arrow wasn’t in town?  My money’s on Diggle impersonating Oliver to keep the city safe.

Team Arrow discovers that James was trying to attack people trying to leave the city, which includes Oliver’s son William.  Oliver and Diggle manage to save everyone from bombs going off, but Williams learns that his father has broken his world and is continuing work at the Green Arrow.  Of course, this angers the young kid.  He spends a little time with Felicity afterward and she tells him of the good his father does.  William is swayed and even calls his father a “badass.”  

As Mayor, Oliver decides to tell the public about James’ plans and tells citizens to head to designated “safe zones” that are devoid of technology to wait out the storm.  James knew that Oliver was going to do this, so he then sends teams to attack.  Thanks to Vigilante’s warning, both Team Arrow and the Outsiders are able to come to the rescue and thwart his plans.  Oliver however, knows it’s a temporary measure and gives the OK to pay the ransom.