8:15am PT by Sydney Bucksbaum
DC TV Watch: 'Supergirl' Boss Goes Inside That Powerful 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, and Fox's Gotham. For DC TV Watch's milestone 100th column, we're celebrating with a complete overhaul of the structure, streamlining things as we move forward so you don't miss any crucial information, speculation and more on every DC Comics show.
The big news: As Mercy (Rhona Mitra) and Otis Graves (Robert Baker) reveal President Marsdin's (Lynda Carter) alien origins, a wave of intolerance and hatred toward all aliens reaches peak levels in National City. Witnessing Brainy (Jesse Rath) get attacked in a pizza store spurs cub reporter Nia Nal (Nicole Maines) to push James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) to have CatCo take a pro-alien stance. She comes out to him as transgender in an emotional scene in which she explains that in times when people are getting hurt just for existing, staying silent isn't justice and taking a stand is the right call. She should know, as she's lived her whole life being attacked for who she is.
What this means: This week's episode, "Fallout," lays the groundwork for Nia's journey toward becoming TV's first transgender superhero. But what's more important is how Supergirl is handling her more human story as a transgender woman. "It's very important for her to speak her truth," executive producer Robert Rovner says of Nia's choice to come out to her boss. "She chose him because it was relevant to the position she was trying to articulate. I think they have a great relationship. It’s great that we have James really taking control of CatCo in a stronger way this year. As Kara [Melissa Benoist] is a mentor to Nia, so is James." And that Easter egg moment of Nia dreaming while falling asleep at work is indeed a tease of what's to come as she becomes the DC Comics superhero Dreamer later this season.
Other noteworthy moments: Lex Luthor is officially coming to Supergirl, as The CW series is working on casting the iconic DC supervillain. After three seasons of teases, Superman's (Tyler Hoechlin) greatest nemesis is debuting on the show not for some big fight with Kara's cousin, but rather to tie into Lena Luthor's (Katie McGrath) arc. "It’s a big Lena story this season,” Rovner says. "[Lex] weaves into the narrative we’re telling. We’re excited about the possibilities of who might step into the iconic role."
And while Supergirl has always been a political series, this week's episode felt particularly relevant when it comes to transgender rights, and battling hatred and intolerance. "The whole season we’re exploring stuff that is happening in the country and how Supergirl is dealing with a divided nation," Rovner says. "How she can try and heal it; how people can speak up and speak out. Our country feels divided. Supergirl is a character that has always tried to use hope as a weapon to combat hate. We wanted to both use that platform to create a dialogue about what’s happening in our nation and [show] how a character like Supergirl can speak to that. We’re exploring all sides of the issue. This might seem political, but what she’s speaking about is treating each other with kindness. ... Some of the sides make things divisive, but Supergirl is looking for a way to unite people, not divide us."
That's why the next episode is the origin story for the season's antagonist, Agent Liberty (Sam Witwer), who has been stirring up anti-alien hatred in the present. "It adds a level and depth and you understand why our villain is our villain," Rovner says. "[The episode shows] what brought him to this place of being so against aliens. It helps keeps everything more balanced than it might have been."
But the most pressing issue of the next episode is saving Supergirl, who was hit with a kryptonite bomb and fell from the sky thanks to yet another alien terrorist attack carried out by the Graves. "It’ll take the whole team to try and save her,” Rovner says. "And once they do, they'll rally to figure out what is now gaining much greater momentum: this fear of aliens. It sets the stage for everything that comes this season."
The big news: In another win for onscreen LGBTQ representation, the flash-forwards on this week's Arrow reveal that Oliver's (Stephen Amell) son William (Ben Lewis) is gay. And even better, the reveal is treated as just a normal piece of information, stated offhand in a comment about his ex-boyfriend. More of this, please!
What this means: While not much else is revealed in this week's flash-forwards, what little information is teased proves that adult William has a lot going for him. He's a tech titan working on affordable magnetic levitation; despite his "commitment issues," he seems to have a healthy love life; and he is able to follow a GPS tracker all the way to Roy (Colton Haynes) on Lian Yu. Roy uses the tracker to find Oliver's old bow and arrow buried in a grave on the island, along with a note that Roy reads and promptly burns before telling William they're going back to Star City. The promise of what's to come in the future Star City is great, especially if it means finally getting to learn what happened to Roy and Thea (Willa Holland) or getting to see any other characters aged up.
Other noteworthy moments: The Longbow Hunters make their debut, with Silencer (Miranda Edwards) ironically being the most noisy of the three iconic assassins. Her tech allows her to knock out all sound around her to an eerie degree, especially when she comes up against both Canaries. Laurel's (Katie Cassidy) Canary Cry doesn't make a dent against Silencer, but when combined with Dinah's (Juliana Harkavy), they are able to destroy Silencer's tech. This sets up a nice alliance between the former enemies, as it will take both of their powerful sonic screams to take on this Longbow Hunter moving forward.
Another alliance worth watching is that of Felicity's (Emily Bett Rickards) and the FBI agent who put Oliver behind bars. Frustrated with Diggle (David Ramsey) and ARGUS letting Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) get away during a mission, Felicity joins forces with the woman who destroyed her life. The enemy of her enemy is now her friend, and there's no telling how long this will last. Expect major sparks in the interim.
Legends of Tomorrow
The big news: John Constantine (Matt Ryan) may have helped the Legends in the wonderfully wacky season four premiere, but he's not a Legend just yet. Something happened in his five months away and it's haunting him ... literally, as some evil force left the message "I'm coming for you, Johnny" on his mirror. Expect this mystery to prevent him from joining the team right away.
What this means: Ryan is a series regular this season, so Constantine is definitely here to stay. But executive producer Phil Klemmer didn't want him to just immediately move onto the Waverider, and thus a new mystery was born, separate from his NBC live-action origin series. "Between dropping off the dragon's head and knocking on Sara [Caity Lotz] and Ava's [Jes Macallan] door in the middle of the night in the premiere, he lived a very eventful five months," Klemmer says. "He was in a pretty good spot, relatively for Constantine, but we wanted him to be darker, more troubled, more mysterious. That's something for the audience to have to unravel: What happened to Constantine during the off-season and why has he changed?"
Other noteworthy moments: Thanks to Gary (Adam Tsekhman) from the Time Bureau being a late bloomer, his virgin blood is enough to help the Legends defeat a murderous, hallucinogenic-spitting unicorn from killing any more hippies at Woodstock in one of the time-traveling series' best episodes. Legends of Tomorrow is definitely going full crazy this season, and the premiere is only a small taste of the hijinks Klemmer and company have cooked up for this year.
The big news: In a massive twist from the comic book source material, this year's big bad, Cicada (Chris Klein), is not David Hersh. While Hersh is a terrorist who is now locked up thanks to Barry (Grant Gustin) and Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy), he is not a metahuman and therefore not the villain who keeps stealing their powers.
What this means: Thanks to Nora's knowledge from the future, the STAR Labs team knows that Cicada was never caught by The Flash or any other superhero who tried to take him down, and he's arrived earlier in the timeline than he's supposed to. Coupled with this massive deviation from Cicada's comic book origins as the cult leader Hersh, there's no telling where The Flash is going with Cicada's real identity. The fresh mystery is breathing new life into the series after just a few episodes.
Other noteworthy moments: Nora is definitely hiding something from her parents. Despite having spilled the "whole" truth about why she's traveled back in time, what happens to Barry in the future and what she did to alter the timeline, there is another mystery that only Sherloque Wells (Tom Cavanagh's latest version of Wells) seems to suspect. It turns out that Nora may have been working with someone else who told her to help Barry destroy the satellite in the season four finale. But who could that be?
The big news: Tobias Whale (Marvin "Krondon" Jones III) has finally been caught by the police.
What this means: Jefferson Pierce's (Cress Williams) goal for the entire first season was to bring down the man who killed his father. Now that Whale has been arrested by the police with enough evidence to put him away for life, this changes everything for Jefferson. Will he be satisfied that Whale has been brought to justice officially, or will he still be aiming to kill the villain? Will Jefferson be tempted to hang up his Black Lightning suit for good or will he find a new mission to fight for? And will Whale somehow figure out a way to be set free? Was this all a part of his plan?!
Other noteworthy moments: Khalil (Jordan Calloway) crosses a line he might not be able to come back from in this week's episode, and it is all an accident. While enforcing some of Whale's orders on some The 100 lackeys, his ego is bruised when one calls him "Tobias' bitch." When he tries to show how strong and formidable he is on his own, he accidentally kills one of the gang members. He plays it off like he meant to do it, but the incident clearly rattles the teen, who is still struggling with being good or evil. Is he too far gone or will Jennifer (China Anne McClain) be able to bring him back from the edge?
The big news: Gotham already revealed the first look at Shane West's Bane.
What this means: It's the final season of Gotham and the Fox drama clearly isn't holding back, unveiling the first look at the iconic villain months before the season is even set to debut. After months and months of secrecy where producers refused to even hint at who West is playing, the photo reveal was a true shock. Gotham is ready to go out with a bang, not a whimper, spoilers be damned.
Supergirl airs Sundays, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow air Mondays, The Flash and Black Lightning air Tuesdays, all on The CW; Gotham returns midseason on Fox.