8:15am PT by Sydney Bucksbaum
DC TV Watch: Decoding Those 'Supergirl' Cliffhangers
Welcome back to The Hollywood Reporter's weekly DC TV Watch, a rundown of all things DC Comics on TV. Every Friday, 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 and Fox's Gotham. Note: Legends of Tomorrow and Gotham did not air new episodes this week.
Goodbye for now | Heading into a nine-week hiatus, Supergirl didn't hold back when it came to cliffhangers. Sam, aka Reign (Odette Annable), managed to take the second Worldkiller Purity (Krys Marshall) to the Fortress of Sanctuary to begin their search for the third Worldkiller. Lena (Katie McGrath) realized what was wrong with Sam's missing memory and rage blackouts, but it's unclear whether or not her guess is accurate. Mon-El (Chris Wood) and Imra (Amy Jackson) faced some real marital issues, and she revealed that the Legion had ulterior motives for their mission, of which the details weren't shared with Mon-El.
Lucky number three | With Reign and Purity down, Supergirl has one more Worldkiller to introduce with Pestilence. So far, the series is leaning into the idea of hope when it comes to Kara's potential for saving them. Having their Worldkiller identities separate from their human ones means they can ultimately be redeemed if their human side manages to overcome their Kryptonian consciousness. That happened with Julia winning over her Purity side, and she sacrificed herself to Reign to save Alex (Chyler Leigh). That may fit in nicely with Supergirl's season three theme of humanity, but it doesn't jibe with their comic book history. Sure, when the Worldkillers survived Krypton's destruction, they woke up with no memory of their origins. But they still knew their names and purpose. There was no chance for redemption for these bloodthirsty warriors hellbent on conquering planets. Will the third Worldkiller on the show be more on par with the source material than the previous two? Or will Pestilence be another empathetic human with a villainous alter ego waking up inside of him/her?
Trouble in paradise | Last week it was a relief to see Kara and Mon-El openly discussing their relationship and getting to a place of friendship. After half a season of watching Kara mourn their breakup, only to have his marriage to Imra thrown in her face, it was about time they could move on from awkward run-ins at the DEO. But Supergirl took one step forward and three steps back by having Mon-El confide in J'onn (David Harewood) about how his marriage was only to unite the Legion. It was political, not emotional. Mon-El and Imra only grew to love each other in time and it wasn't like the epic romance he shared with Kara. Couple that out-of-left-field admission with Mon-El confessing to Imra that he still has feelings for Kara, and it's clear that Supergirl is beginning to pave the way for a romantic reconciliation between Mon-El and Kara. If the writers were committed to that reunion, it would be far more interesting to see it happen under more complicated circumstances. What if Mon-El and Imra had a passionate start to their relationship, and Mon-El still couldn't get over his feelings for Kara now? It's realistic to have romantic feelings for two different people at the same time, and much more interesting to watch play out. But sanitizing Mon-El and Imra's formerly strong union by making it a political move is just too easy and overall a creative mistake.
Under the influence | In only three episodes, Black Lightning has tackled racism, Black Lives Matter, gangs and gun violence. And this week's episode didn't hold back in its depiction of the impact of drugs in communities and its far-reaching effects. Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) had to use his day job as a principal and his night job as Black Lightning to save one of his students from a new street drug called Green Light, and the visual of Black Lightning carrying the boy out of a drug house was chilling. But while it is cathartic to see Black Lightning punching out the bad guys, it's far more thrilling to see Jefferson dealing with consequences in the light of day, at work and with his family. If the fledgling series can shift the balance to show more of that realistic and complicated struggle, it would be a step in the right direction.
New face | In keeping with creator Salim and Mara Brock Akil's vision, Black Lightning introduced a new character that doesn't have any ties to the comic books. Tobias Whale's (Marvin "Krondon" Jones III) sister Tori (Edwina Findley) arrived in Freeland at the end of this week's episode, and she seems just as sinister and dangerous as her brother. But without any source material to go off of, there's no telling where her story is heading. Perhaps something is about to go wrong in their brother-sister relationship, leading to a war that brings new meaning to sibling rivalry. If these two formidable crime bosses go head-to-head, the fallout could be catastrophic for Freeland.
Changing it up | After transferring bodies into Dominic (Kendrick Sampson), The Thinker (formerly played by Neil Sandilands) used his updated chair to take over another metahuman's body. Now The Thinker has taken over Becky Sharpe (Sugar Lyn Beard), the meta who can control luck. Arguably the most powerful metahuman The Flash (Grant Gustin) has faced, it was extremely compelling to see her arc play out this week. Locked up in Iron Heights, she had seriously seen the error of her ways and vowed to never use her powers for evil again. Barry helped nudge her along her hero's journey, and the chemistry they shared as friends who didn't deserve to be locked up was sweet. But now that The Thinker is in her body, it gives Beard a chance to truly shine as a supervillain in stark contrast to her former alter ego Becky. Plus it's the first time The Flash's main big bad is female, which is truly about time. Hopefully The Thinker stays put in Becky's body longer than he did in Dominic's and this isn't just a short arc.
Bad romance | Perhaps the story beat was meant to show just how far gone The Thinker is and the fracturing of his marriage. But watching him drug his own wife Marlize (Kim Engelbrecht) to make her more loving and agreeable to his choices was absolutely horrifying. She had started to doubt his plan after he murdered someone for no apparent reason, and he didn't like that. He may have only danced with her while she was under the influence, but the sheer act alone of taking her agency away from her was unforgivable and extremely problematic given the #MeToo movement happening now. The consequences for his actions need to be severe, and The Flash should absolutely not gloss over the fallout. When Marlize finds out what he's done, will this be the point of no return for their marriage and working relationship? This could be exactly what Team Flash needs, if Marlize turns against her husband as a result and helps them take him down. But putting a female through this kind of trauma just to further the plot isn't something to be celebrated.
Blink and you missed it | Did you catch that split-second crossover with The Flash? In this week's episode of Arrow, Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Diggle (David Ramsey) needed to get to Cayden James (Michael Emerson) fast, and Oliver had an idea of how to get there. He called in a favor and a certain familiar red bolt of lightning appeared to whiz the two Team Arrow members off to their destination. That might have been the quickest crossover yet, but it was a clever way to have the main characters of two shows share some screen time. Sure, Gustin didn't actually appear onscreen (or even film the scene), but Barry Allen was there so it counts. However this does open up a Pandora's Box of questions: why doesn't Oliver call on Barry's skills more often if it was this easy for him to take a quick trip to Star City and help out?
Bait and switch | Arrow pulled off a true surprise twist in this week's episode. The hour primed viewers with flashbacks to Cayden James and Alena's (Kacey Rohl) first meeting and their time working together at Helix, as well as his reason for getting arrested by ARGUS, so all signs pointed to Alena as the real culprit behind Cayden's son's death. The episode followed all the trope rules of revealing a surprise villain, so even though it would have been a "shocking twist" reveal of Alena ordering the hit, it was actually expected. But Arrow completely threw out the playbook and revealed Ricardo Diaz aka the Dragon (Kirk Acevedo) as the real mastermind behind it all. He set up Cayden to target Oliver so Star City would be ripe for the taking, and he was then able to swiftly move in and take control over everything. He then killed Cayden, in the middle of the police station, no less, a truly impressive feat. This reveal finally gives some real teeth to the classic DC Comics villain. He had so far been lacking in living up to his comic book namesake on the series, acting like just a henchman following orders. Now it's clear that he's more of a force to be reckoned with than anyone thought. This was a smart move that not only packed a real punch of a surprise, but it honors the comic book history of one of DC's most infamous villains. What Arrow has up its sleeve for the rest of the season is now truly anyone's guess.
Gotham returns this spring on Fox. The Flash and Black Lightning air Tuesdays, Arrow airs Thursdays, Legends of Tomorrow will return on Monday and Supergirl returns Monday, April 16, all on The CW.