8:15am PT by Sydney Bucksbaum
DC TV Watch: 'Arrow' Brings Back Key Character With Heartbreaking Twist
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 Colton Haynes as Roy Harper in the present day storyline with a heartbreaking twist.
The big news: Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) returned to Star City for the first time in the present-day storyline after only being seen in the future flash forwards so far, and he's not doing well.
What it means: While the entire hour mostly focused on the SCPD interrogating Team Arrow about two transit workers who were murdered during one of their ops, it all turned out to be a misdirect. Team Arrow wasn't really to blame, and neither was Emiko (Sea Shimooka) or her Ninth Circle terrorist group. Team Arrow was actually covering up for Roy, who flew into a blind rage and beat the innocent metro workers to death in the most brutal and horrific way possible. When Oliver (Stephen Amell) found Roy with literal blood on his hands and a feral look on his face, he correctly guessed what was going on: During Roy's trip abroad with Thea (Willa Holland) and Nyssa (Katrina Law) hunting down and destroying the Lazarus Pits, Roy died (shot by an arrow no less, and that irony is not lost on Roy). Thea and Nyssa brought him back to life with a Lazarus Pit, and he's currently suffering the bloodlust we've seen from Thea and Sara (Caity Lotz) in the past after their resurrections. However, Roy's is worse: the lotus elixir that helped calm others' Lazarus madness didn't work on him because of the trace amounts of mirakuru still in his system.
It's a brilliant way to bring Roy back in the present-day storyline and give him something new to work with. It also explains why he came back to Oliver and left Thea: he needed help from his former mentor. And Oliver is giving it to him, getting Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) to lie to her bosses at the SCPD, covering for Roy's murders and blaming it all on Emiko. But what Oliver and Dinah didn't know was that Emiko got the security footage of Roy murdering the two transit workers and sent it to the SCPD, exposing Roy as a killer and Team Arrow's perjury (including Dinah). As if that wasn't enough to decimate whatever goodwill Team Arrow earned from Star City and the government and police, Emiko then trapped Team Arrow in an abandoned building and blew it up on top of them right after confessing to Oliver that she had the chance to save their father from the Queen's Gambit explosion and didn't. Now that's a way to get revenge, twist the knife even further and end an episode.
Other noteworthy moments: This week's episode, "Confessions," was unique in that it was all one storyline throughout the entire hour. The structure, however, was quite clever, as Arrow flipped the script on how it uses flashbacks. The story was told through flashbacks, as each member of Team Arrow sat in the interrogation room at the SCPD, each one filling in new gaps of the story only to then be revealed as one massive lie to cover up Roy's actions. The twist was jaw-dropping, but it also rendered the first three-quarters of the episode useless. It was a fine line to walk and the payoff was mostly worth it.
The big news: Nia Nal (Nicole Maines) finally embraces her superhero destiny as Dreamer to fill void left by Kara (Melissa Benoist) not suiting up as Supergirl.
What it means: Nia has been suiting up as Dreamer for many episodes now, but it wasn't until "American Dreamer" that fans finally got to see what she's really capable of. Those lightning whips and energy blasts were so badass, and the fact that Dreamer is able to hold her own and defeat whole armies of Children of Liberty goons says a lot about how far she's come in her training. Plus, she came out to all of National City both as a superhero, a half-alien/half-human and a trans woman on national TV to help sway public opinion about how aliens aren't the enemy. It was an incredibly powerful moment for the character and the season, and hopefully has lasting consequences for the alien prejudice and genocide currently being sanctioned by the government.
The only downside? Nia seems to be leaning fully into "superhero quips," tossing out extremely campy and cheesy one-liners after every move in a fight. She's excited to finally be embracing her superhero-ness, which is to be expected, of course, but these lines are just ... too much. Either the writers need to be more subtle or clever with their quips or Nia needs to pull back on delivering so many because at this point, it just takes you out of the scene each time. And that's a real loss, because Supergirl is really delivering on the action in fight scenes this season, such as the one in CatCo after Dreamer's interview concludes. That might rank up there with Supergirl's all-time greatest action set pieces.
Other noteworthy moments: After getting some telepathic therapy care of Brainy (Jesse Rath) and his sister Kelly (Azie Tesfai), James (Mehcad Brooks) finally has his PTSD and panic attacks under control, which means he has his new Harun-El powers under control. He jumped into the CatCo fight to end it with his super strength, which was epic. But it now has painted a huge target on his back and alerted Ben Lockwood (Sam Witwer) that humans have the potential to get superpowers. Who wants to bet this all ends with Ben getting superpowers of his own? The writing is clearly on the wall, and that's the only way to make Agent Liberty even more terrifying now that he has the power of the White House on his side.
Plus, Ben's going to be even more dead set on killing aliens now that one murdered his wife. His crusade just got more personal. Thankfully his son seems to be having second thoughts on the whole "all aliens are roaches that need to be killed" philosophy. All it took was seeing his friend getting attacked and realizing he cared about someone who is an alien. That's like a man only caring about sexual harassment by viewing women in terms of how they're related to him, but whatever. Anything to get a Lockwood on the side of aliens is a good thing.
Legends of Tomorrow
The big news: There's so much to love about this week's bonkers hour, but perhaps the most brilliant and crucial development is the often-overlooked and taken for granted Gary (Adam Tsekhman) going to the dark side, accepting a deal from the demon Neron (now played by Brandon Routh, as the demon possessed Ray Palmer) to become "whole" again. That meant having his cursed nipple, literally crawling across the floor like an actual inchworm, becoming reattached to his chest. Just another Monday on Legends of Tomorrow!
What it means: While Gary has always been presented as the comedic relief for both the Legends and Time Bureau, there was always an underlying note of unease to his character. He's someone who goes into a bathroom stall to cry at work and walk out with a giant, disingenuous smile on his face. Having him getting revenge on those who wronged him in the past, despite him never standing up for himself and letting those around him know how he felt used by everyone, feels like the show is sending up the idea of the toxic "nice guy" stereotype. Gary believes that he's a nice guy who deserves to be treated better by those he admires and likes when he hasn't treated others with that same respect. Now, he's made a deal with a literal demon, turned on those he used to call his friends, even Constantine (Matt Ryan) who was trying to save Gary, but that nipple and the idea of being "whole" again was too attractive for Gary to pass up. Now, Neron has full possession of Ray and ensnared Gary in his web. There's no way of telling where Legends is going from here but it's clear that the writers are pulling no punches and going full crazy this season. There's no way it should work, and yet it does with that particular brand of Legends wackiness.
Other noteworthy moments: It shouldn't be overlooked that while Gary's deal with Neron could have been avoided, Ray's acceptance of Neron's possession of his body couldn't. Neron played on Ray's deep-seated emotional fears of loneliness. Fans have seen Ray's childhood and how desperate he was for friends. Now he has friends who have become his family. Neron making Ray try to kill his "Time Bro" Nate (Nick Zano) was his Achilles' heel, and so Ray sacrificed his own life and safety for his friend's. It was heroic and completely heartbreaking, and again, it worked on a deep emotional level despite all the goofy physical comedy happening in those scenes.
Plus, Nate and Zari (Tala Ashe) finally sealed the deal on their will-they-won't-they after a hilarious Indiana Jones-inspired mission that turned into the perfect first date. It's only taken a few episodes but they're already becoming one of the best couples on this show. And Nate definitely needs a new buddy after Ray became lost to Neron.
The big news: Nora's (Jessica Parker Kennedy) trip to the dark side with the Negative Speed Force was short-lived, as her actions were all in service of a way to stop Cicada (Sarah Carter).
What it means: After joining up with young Rogues to pull of a heist, Nora proved she didn't have what it takes to be a real villain. Her short jaunt to the dark side was really all for show, as she just needed people with technology to help her get past the metahuman dampeners guarding the safe holding the weapon she needed to defeat Cicada. It's a good thing The Flash didn't dwell on the whole "evil Nora" arc for too long, as multiple seasons of evidence prove that Nora's love for her parents and her parents' love for her are stronger than one misstep, even if that misstep did involve a betrayal with Eobard Thawne (Tom Cavanagh). But Barry (Grant Gustin) writing off Nora so quickly felt incredibly disingenuous. It gave Iris (Candice Patton) a nice moment to be the one to put the West-Allen family back together, but hopefully Barry is done with giving up on the people he supposedly loves and trusts the most. And though it may seem impossible, could this whole storyline be paving the way for a shaky alliance between Barry and Thawne? Time with Nora seems to have softened Thawne in ways never before seen, and sharing that connection with Nora could lead to some kind of redemption for The Flash's ultimate villain. Or this could be the biggest misdirect in making fans think that Thawne is redeemable only for him to pull off an even bigger betrayal down the line after Team Flash likely saves him from his impending execution.
Other noteworthy moments: Thanks to Nora, now Team Flash has a way to destroy Cicada's dagger, with a piece of technology forged from the same satellite that gave Grace and the dagger powers. That hail Mary came just in time though, because Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) and Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) discovered that Cicada stole their metahuman cure prototypes that are fatal for anyone who takes it. That means she now has a way to kill every metahuman in Central City.
Some of the Arrow-verse series are heading into their penultimate episodes of the season, so expect big action, major twists and emotion on Arrow and The Flash next week as each show sets the stage for the season finales. Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow each have three episodes left this season.
Note: Supergirl airs Sundays, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow air Mondays, The Flash airs Tuesdays and Black Lightning will return for season three on The CW.