8:15am PT by Sydney Bucksbaum
DC TV Watch: Colin Donnell Returns For Emotional 'Arrow' Episode
Welcome back to The Hollywood Reporter's weekly DC TV Watch, a rundown of all things DC Comics on the small screen. Every Saturday, we round up the major twists, epic fights, new mysteries and anything else that goes down on The CW's Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and Black Lightning. This week, Arrow brings back Colin Donnell's Tommy Merlyn for an emotional hour that set the stage for the season finale.
The big news: Tommy (Colin Donnell) returned in the penultimate season seven episode as a hallucination while Oliver (Stephen Amell) was trapped under a building. Tommy wasn't real, but the emotional payoff his appearance had on Oliver truly was.
What it means: Despite the fact that episodes based on hallucinations rarely work because the stakes are just too low (most of this episode didn't actually happen in the real world; it just happened in Oliver's head), "ghost" Tommy seemingly had quite an effect on Oliver. There were some painful callbacks (like Oliver's close call with the rebar!) that reminded both Oliver and viewers what we all lost with Tommy's season one death. And with one episode left in the season, we'll know just how much of an effect his "return" in this week's hour had soon as Oliver's final showdown with Emiko (Sea Shimooka) looms. Tommy tried to convince Oliver to break the cycle they were stuck in by not seeking out revenge on his sister for not stepping in to save his father all those years ago. The question of revenge vs. forgiveness has always been a major part of this show, and mixed in with Oliver's blind spot of family, his ultimate decision of how to handle Emiko in the upcoming finale is going to set the stage for Arrow's final run of 10 episodes next season. And with Emiko stealing a weapon that could destroy Star City (and her newfound realization that Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) is pregnant), the personal stakes for Oliver have never been higher. The city he's spent years defending and the family he's spent years building are now threatened by his own family. He's going to have to finally make a choice once and for all in the upcoming finale: revenge or forgiveness?
Other noteworthy moments: Not much else happened in this week's hour, as it mostly took place inside Oliver's head. But a few developments did take place, namely with Arrow planting the seeds for Rickards exiting the series after this season. Felicity vented to her friend about not wanting to make her own children's lives as miserable as hers was because of her parents, and her friend gave her some advice: take her life "offline" to protect her kids. Is this how Arrow is going to write off her character? Is she just simply going to go into hiding for the final season? Even with the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover coming up? Seems a little too flimsy, but we'll find out next week for sure one way or another.
The big news: So much. Honestly this week's installment felt like it could have been two (or even three) separate episodes instead of having all this plot crammed into one. There were some solid emotional storylines that were overshadowed by the frantic plot development. But essentially the most important development is that Ben Lockwood (Sam Witwer) now has superpowers thanks to the Harun-El.
What it means: It's not that surprising that Agent Liberty ended up with powers, as the writing had been on the wall since Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) started experimenting to see if humans could become supers. And as soon as James (Mehcad Brooks) successfully got a handle on his own newfound powers, the clock started ticking down for the No. 1 alien/superhero hater to get powers of his own. How this is going to affect his status as the leader of the Children of Liberty remains to be seen since he's now essentially the same as any other alien. But his personal vendetta against aliens is still going strong and he now has the means and clearance to act on it as violently as he wants, which is not great!
Other noteworthy moments: All season long, THR has speculated on whether President Baker (Bruce Boxleitner) was either just a pawn for someone else's more evil plans or if he was a villain himself. In this week's episode, we got our answer. He's definitely working with Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) and has been working against the aliens this entire time. Through her journalism skills, Kara (Melissa Benoist) discovered a mole working within his cabinet and did her civic duty by warning him. Her reward? To get a bag thrown over her head on his orders. His motivations are still unclear and his ultimate plan is still unknown, but with only two episodes left in the season it's becoming clear who Kara's real enemies are.
With so much action and so many plot developments, it can be easy to overlook some of the quieter, more character-driven moments in this week's episode. But it can't be overstated just how impactful both Kara and Alex's (Chyler Leigh) storylines were this week. Kara grappled with finally telling Lena the truth about her double life as Supergirl, and came this close to revealing it by taking off her glasses but decided against it at the last second. She promised that as soon as Lex was behind bars, she'd finally tell Lena everything. It's looking more and more likely that moment could come this season, regardless of whether or not Lex is put back in prison by season's end.
And Alex almost became a mother! She was chosen by a 17-year-old pregnant girl to adopt her baby, but the young mother changed her mind at the last second and kept her child. Alex went through a roller coaster of emotions, all the highs and extreme lows of almost becoming a mother only to have it ripped away from her so brutally. The only good thing to come out of that painful experience was how close she became with Kelly (Azie Tesfai), who was her support throughout the entire experience. It's clear that Supergirl is laying the groundwork for a romantic connection between these two women but hopefully it doesn't completely eclipse Alex's continued desire to become a mother.
Legends of Tomorrow
The big news: Constantine (Matt Ryan) was sent to hell to try to save Ray's (Brandon Routh) soul from the demon Neron.
What it means: Despite Constantine almost killing Demon Ray multiple times, it was actually Mick (Dominic Purcell) who inspired Constantine to not give up on trying to find a way to save Ray. He voluntarily fell to Hell while Neron got his love Tabitha (who turned out to be the evil fairy godmother from earlier this season!) out of hell. Neron seems to be happy but there's no telling where his plans go from here for the Legends/humanity. The task of saving Ray is all the Legends care about for now, however. With the team's focus split between Ray and the mess at the Time Bureau, Neron's going to have a pretty big opening to do ... whatever he wants. Not a good place to be with only two episodes left in the season.
Other noteworthy moments: Speaking of the Time Bureau, Gary's (Adam Tsekhman) cursed nipple turned the government agency into a figurative hell, literally "nip-notizing" all the agents to be his mindless slaves with a secret eyeball hidden underneath his recently reattached nipple until Mona (Ramona Young) bit it off. This is an actual storyline that played out on primetime television, in case there was ever a worry that Legends would ever get stale or boring. Four seasons in and a wolf-woman is biting off a cursed nipple eyeball. Wild.
And in the midst of all that, Zari (Tala Ashe) and Nate (Nick Zano) found time to sleep together for the first time, consummating their will-they-won't-they relationship after finally kissing in last week's episode. It's good to know that no matter how crazy things get for the Legends, they still find time for romance. That's like a story ripped from Mick's own writing.
The big news: Eobard Thawne's (Tom Cavanagh) ultimate plans were revealed, and it all came down to saving himself from his prison execution.
What it means: While the explanation behind Thawne's manipulations with time travel can get pretty complicated, that's exactly why Team Flash didn't figure it out sooner. It was actually Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) who, using his private investigator skills, finally put all the pieces together. Grace (Sarah Carter) became the new Cicada after Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) messed with the timeline, all so that Team Flash would be motivated to destroy her metahuman power-dampening dagger. That's because the dagger is currently being used in the future to suppress Thawne's Reverse-Flash powers in prison. By destroying the dagger in the present, it's erased from the timeline in the future, thereby allowing Thawne to access his speedster powers and escape from prison, thwarting his execution. Ralph realized all this right when Barry (Grant Gustin) shot the special mirror gun at the dagger. There's no way of knowing if Barry successfully shot it before Ralph yelled at him not to or if he missed, but it's likely that Thawne will escape to once again become Team Flash's Big Bad. And after everything he's accomplished and put into motion, all from behind bars, he's kind of earned that honor. He'd be an epic villain for Barry to face once more, especially this new, evolved version.
Other noteworthy moments: Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) has always been the strong moral center of The Flash, but for the first time ever he wavered in his convictions in this week's hour. In a surprisingly poignant moment, he started to doubt himself when he got overwhelmed trying to help save all the metahumans from Cicada's targeted attack. And just as how Joe is usually the one to inspire with pep talks, it was his wife Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) who helped him realize he was strong enough to handle anything. Joe and Cecile have always been a strong couple, but by swapping their circumstances and allowing Joe to show vulnerability and have Cecile be the one to lift him up was a compelling twist.
Despite seemingly being written off Arrow only a few episodes back, Katie Cassidy is already back as Earth-2's Laurel Lance, aka Black Siren, for the season finale, "You Have Saved This City." Watch the trailer for her return below:
Note: Supergirl airs Sundays, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow air Mondays, The Flash airs Tuesdays and Black Lightning will return for season three, all on The CW.