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. This week, The CW announced the end of an era as Arrow will officially conclude with next season. Plus, all the Arrow-verse series finally aired new episodes!
The big news: It’s officially the end of an era, as Arrow will end with season eight.
What it means: The series that created the Arrow-verse is responsible for shaping the state of comic-book fare on TV today, kick-starting a new wave of small screen adaptations. But it couldn’t last forever. The next and final season will be shortened, consisting of 10 episodes, enough to get the series to the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover as well as wrap up its individual show storyline and say goodbye to all (or most? more on that below) of the characters. The annual crossover event usually happens around episode 8 or 9 each season (although there’s no guarantee Crisis will follow this trend), meaning the Arrow series finale will rightfully be its own beast, separate from the massive adaptation coming next fall.
But as The Hollywood Reporter speculated earlier, when the network announced next year’s crossover at the end of this year’s Batwoman debut crossover, the timing of the Arrow ending lining up neatly with the Crisis event reveals a lot more about the future of the Arrow-verse (and Arrow itself) than initially meets the eye. Crisis is the comic-book arc that all the Arrow-verse shows have been building toward for the past five years, and fans got a taste of what’s to come in this year’s crossover when Oliver made a deal with alien threat The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) to save the lives of Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and The Flash (Grant Gustin).
Those two heroes are the main deaths in the Crisis comic book arc, but since it’s unlikely that The CW would kill off two of its biggest stars, other heroes are probably going to fall in their place if the shows don’t pull any punches with the on-screen adaptation. And Oliver seemed to trade his life for theirs in a moment that happened off-camera, knowing that while Barry and Kara were “good” enough to stop whatever threat is coming in the next crossover, he deserved to die more than they did.
So, real talk: it’s more than likely that Oliver is not going to make it to the end of Arrow alive. He’ll probably die in the Crisis crossover (along with another hero to balance out the odds), giving Arrow one or potentially two episodes after that (depending on when the Crisis crossover is slated to air next fall) to mourn his loss and send off the show in a way that honors the hero’s legacy. But while Oliver’s death is a way for the long-running series to go out in a blaze of glory, that doesn’t mean every Arrow character will be forced to say goodbye as well.
The Arrow-verse has become well known in sharing its characters across all four series: Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow (plus the upcoming, likely-to-be-ordered-to-series Batwoman, currently in production on its pilot). Some characters, like Katie Cassidy, briefly jumped shows for mini-arcs, while others, like Caity Lotz and Brandon Routh, swapped series for good. Depending on which actors are still game for playing in the Arrow-verse, this might not be the last fans see of original favorites. And taking into account how Arrow has jumped forward into the future with the flash-forward storyline in season seven, aging up some characters and introducing a new generation of vigilantes, the show still has a future even long past its series finale if characters end up continuing onto different shows. (Also solid evidence Oliver is going to die in this crossover: he’s talked about in the past tense in the future storyline as if his death happened a long time ago, rather than Felicity’s [Emily Bett Rickards] “death” that happened recently, and which the characters don’t believe actually happened.)
But at this point, there’s no way of knowing what the shared universe has in store for the fans. It’s all just speculation based on the comics and trends set forth by the shows over the past five years.
Other noteworthy moments: All this series-ending talk kind of overshadowed this week’s new episode, but that wasn’t that big of a deal, since the hour wasn’t really all that game-changing. Yes, some major events happened, like Felicity finally, officially confirming her pregnancy. And Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) got thrown back in prison and set on fire. (Is he dead? Unclear.) Diggle (David Ramsey) took the fall for the Ghost Initiative’s failure, meaning he’ll likely get thrown out of ARGUS. The mysterious (and total snooze-fest so far) Dante (Adrian Paul) has some kind of close connection with Emiko (Sea Shimooka), who might be planning a betrayal of Oliver. And the flash-forwards revealed that Connor Hawke (Joseph David-Jones) is actually Diggle’s adoptive son, not his biological child John Jr., and siblings William (Ben Lewis) and Mia (Katherine McNamara) bonded over their parental issues and found a mini-cassette that Felicity hid for them. So, some revelations happened, but nothing mind-blowing.
The big news: Gotham would never (could never) kill Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), so any week that promotes his “death” doesn’t really have the stakes to back up a life-or-death storyline. But this week’s outing, directed by cast member Erin Richards, had fun with the idea of “killing” Gordon by having him hallucinate a trial for his life. It was a high-concept experiment that worked only because the show really went for it and leaned in to the campier elements that have always been Gotham‘s strong suit. And while Gordon (of course) made it to the end of the episode alive, the show had one more surprise up its sleeve: a short time jump of one month into the future for Gordon and Lee’s (Morena Baccarin) wedding!
What it means: While the city is still no man’s land and the gangs are running wild, that doesn’t mean Gotham can’t celebrate happier moments. The GCPD was decked out in candles and white flowers, while all the remaining good guys gathered for the joyous occasion. It was a long time coming (with more than its fair share of bumps in the road), and Gordon and Lee have finally come full circle by getting back together officially, with no more questions or complications…except for, of course, Barbara (Richards), offended by Gordon not even inviting her to the wedding, doubling down on her plans to leave Gotham with her and Gordon’s baby. Sure, she knows Gordon will hunt her to the ends of the earth for his child, but at this point she couldn’t care less.
Other noteworthy moments: Love was definitely in the air on this week’s episode, as Bruce (David Mazouz) and Selina (Camren Bicondova) went on their first date, only for it to be oh-so-rudely interrupted by Ivy (Peyton List). Once they defeated her, a month later at Gordon and Lee’s wedding, they finally kissed. Will Gotham end with Batman and Catwoman as an actual item? Or is this just going to further complicate their fate as future enemies?
The big news: Supergirl rounded up her Super Friends to go against antihero/supervillain group The Elite in a total geektastic throwdown episode.
What it means: Even just hearing Kara utter the words “Super Friends,” was enough to send a shiver down any comic-book fan’s spine. While this season has dealt with heavier and more complicated, realistic themes, like modern patriotism, terrorism, prejudice and hatred, this week’s outing, “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice and the American Way?”, proved that Supergirl still has what it takes to have some real fun with the source material. Manchester Black (David Ajala), freshly sporting his purple hair from the comics in a fun nod to his origins, broke out of prison to form The Elite, ripped straight from the comics as well. The Elite is a group of supervillains including returning players Menagerie (Jessica Meraz) and an invisible Morai alien and joined by new instant-favorite The Hat (Louis Ozawa Changchien), a British Asian Earth elemental armed with — you guessed it — a magic hat. As wacky as that sounds, it was all pretty identical to the deep-cut comic-book group. They were targeting the government in a totally lethal way, which goes against everything Kara stands for, so she rounded up Brainy (Jesse Rath), hero-in-training Nia Nal (Nicole Maines) and a back-in-the-saddle J’onn (David Harewood) for a pretty evenly matched fight (aside from that pesky magic hat). It was a delightful mix of camp and truly terrifying action, which is always Supergirl‘s sweet spot.
Other noteworthy moments: In a slightly more terrifying bit of escalation, the president of the United States (Bruce Boxleitner) is now fully capable of building a giant space laser and sending it into orbit without anyone knowing, even his closest adviser. That seems like something that would need just a tad more oversight, no? Especially if it can get so easily hacked and aimed at the White House itself. Who wants to bet that the POTUS has been a sleeper agent all along for the Children of Liberty (or something even more insidious)?
The big news: The Flash got tripped up in its own morals as the finished metahuman cure storyline came to a ridiculous crescendo.
What it means: When Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) first floated the idea of creating a cure for metahumans, it instantly became the Chekhov’s gun of The Flash season five. Team Flash promised that if it was created successfully, they’d never use it as a weapon. It was only meant for volunteers. Obviously, it was going to be used on someone who didn’t volunteer, because of course. But in this week’s episode, when Barry used it on King Shark to save Cisco’s life, instead of getting thanked, he was yelled at for going against their rule. When someone’s life is on the line, one would think that kind of black-and-white morality would get a little grey. But then the metahuman cure storyline took a laughable turn at the end of the episode, when Barry “learned” his lesson and announced he was going to ask Cicada (Chris Klein), the murderous big bad of the season, if he would like to take the metahuman cure. What part of him using his metahuman powers to enact revenge on metahumans through serial murder makes it seem like this guy would be willing to give up his one weapon in his one-man crusade? This is just too unbelievable, that all these super smart people would think that’s a good idea.
Other noteworthy moments: Metahuman cure antics aside, this week’s episode was a true master class in CGI on a TV budget as The Flash brought to life an episode-spanning King Shark vs. Gorilla Grodd fight to end all fights. It was epic, it was campy, it was all kinds of destructive and it was just purely awesome. This is The Flash at its best.
The big news: Lala (William Catlett) returned once more in a surprisingly intense hour.
What it means: For those keeping track at home, Lala has now been killed and brought back to life twice, and it seems like he’s getting even more mentally unstable each time he’s resurrected. This time, he tried to find the truth about his friend’s murder, leading him to a tense, emotionally wrought and anxiety-ridden showdown with Jefferson (Cress Williams) who helped him recover his memories. Turns out Lala was the one to kill his own friend as a way to get status with Tobias (Marvin “Krondon” Jones III). That turned out not so great, as Tobias has now killed him twice as a reward. At least he now has a purpose with his third life: he’s vowed to kill Tobias. Maybe the third time will be the charm?
Other noteworthy moments: Black Lightning is really going off-book when it comes to Grace Choi (Chantal Thuy). The show has given her shape-shifting powers (albeit ones she can’t control) that oscillate between turning into an older man or some kind of jungle cat? That’s definitely a change from her comic book powers of super-strength and invulnerability, but her arc is only just getting started. There’s no telling where this show is going from here when it comes to Grace and her Outsiders origins.
Jennifer (China Anne McClain) started to get her own supersuit in this week’s Black Lightning, but it isn’t until next week’s episode that she finally suits up for the first time as Lightning. This moment has been a long time coming, and quite the different journey than her sister went on to become Thunder. How long will it take the family to come together as one team, Black Lightning, Thunder and Lightning?
Note: Supergirl airs Sundays, Arrow and Black Lightning air Mondays, The Flash airs Tuesdays and Legends of Tomorrow returns in April on The CW. Gotham airs Thursdays on Fox.