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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, Gotham ends its five-season run while the Arrow-verse series continue to ramp up to their respective season finales.
The big news: Gotham ended its five-season run by finally introducing Batman.
What it means: The series finale of Fox’s Batman prequel series aired this week and took place entirely in flash-forwards 10 years in the future, when Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) finally returned home to Gotham after leaving in the previous episode to learn how to better protect himself and the ones he loved. The hour focused on Bruce’s grand return for the reopening of the new Wayne Tower, and yet he wasn’t shown until the very last scene in which Commissioner Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) and Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee), standing next to what would become the Bat Signal, looked up to see a man dressed as a bat on the top of a building. The episode instead followed everyone else in their new reality a decade later. Read more about why Gotham chose to pull back on Bruce Wayne for the series finale in our chat with showrunner John Stephens here.
Other noteworthy moments: So if the series finale was all about everyone else in Gotham, where did they end up? Exactly where they are in the comics. Gordon was now the Commissioner, and he even had his iconic mustache … until everyone made him realize how ridiculous it looked and he shaved it off. Nice nod to the comics while still staying grounded in that specific Gotham tone!
Barbara (Erin Richards) was now known as the Queen of Gotham, without having any ties to the criminal underworld at all. She went legit, bought tons of parcels of land on the cheap after No Man’s Land and became a real estate mogul. It seems motherhood really did change her.
Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) and Riddler (Cory Michael Smith) were arrested not long after the end of No Man’s Land — despite teaming up with Gordon and fighting for the good guys — and spent most of the past decade in prison/Arkham Asylum. Penguin was released in the series finale, but Riddler was broken out by who he thought was his BFF Penguin. But it turned out to be Jeremiah’s master plan: He had also been residing in Arkham for 10 years, pretending to be a vegetable but really was biding his time until his “BFF” Bruce returned to Gotham. That’s when he revealed his new personality: J, or as we know him, the Joker. He planned to blow up the new Wayne Tower, but was foiled by Barbara and an older Selina Kyle (played by Lili Simmons to age up the character), now a fully realized Catwoman.
The showdown between Gordon and the Joker took place at none other than Ace Chemicals, because it always goes back to Ace Chemicals. With an assist from Batman in the shadows, Gordon was able to stop the Joker. It was an easy solution, and the procedural storyline was flimsy as the episode mostly aimed to prove that every character has now become their comic book personas. The prequel series took fans right up to the real Batman canon. Batman and Catwoman even had a tense romantic moment where Bruce spoke to Selina from the shadows, kicking off their iconic complicated relationship from the source material.
It took five years, but the city and all its residents are finally at the point where Batman’s debut felt right. It’s just disappointing that right when the show becomes the best version of itself is the time that it has to end. A Batman prequel series can’t continue when Batman officially arrives, now can it?
The big news: The public and president of the United States (Bruce Boxleitner) have completely turned against Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) as a result of Red Daughter (Benoist again) attacking the White House in a Supergirl costume. But was this the POTUS’ plan all along?
What it means: Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) has had a hand in every single plot point from this season from the beginning, so it’s not that far of a stretch to think he positioned the president to become president in order to manipulate him from the shadows. Lex was behind President Marsdin (Lynda Carter) being outed as an alien, which allowed the new POTUS to assume her role, and he’s very decidedly been anti-alien from the jump. His dogged pursuit of Supergirl fits right into Lex’s plans. He even deputized the Children of Liberty, the same group that’s been acting as homegrown terrorists all season long! Will Supergirl have to kill the President before this season is over? That wouldn’t exactly help her public image.
Other noteworthy moments: Could Otis (Robert Baker) actually be one of the smartest characters on Supergirl? OK, that’s definitely a no, but he did have one of the best moments of the series so far when Kara was using her human reporter disguise to trick him into believing she wasn’t Supergirl when their kryptonite-enhanced fight became too much for her. When she asked him for a comment about prison reform during the prison riot, he sneered at her and said, “I don’t trust the press. They always parachute into crises like this without any context for the larger systemic issues at play.” Mic drop, much? He’s so clearly been painted as a dumb-dumb this whole season and then he drops a banger like that?! Incredible. It’s also a nice turn to see Kara relying on her reporter side to save the day after deciding to have Supergirl lie low until she can turn the public opinion back to her side. Reporters have just as much power as superheroes!
Legends of Tomorrow
The big news: This episode had it all: intensely complicated and intimate relationship work for Sara (Caity Lotz) and Ava (Jes Macallan). High-stakes action with the demon Neron (Christian Keyes) that resulted in Ray (Brandon Routh) unknowingly getting possessed by the demon. Even Nate (Nick Zano) continued to process his grief for his father while Zari (Tala Ashe) continued to inch their romantic relationship forward a bit more.
What it means: While that seems like too much for one episode, somehow Legends managed to weave all those storylines together into one cohesive arc. Each character’s plot was connected to the next while simultaneously keeping them separated into mini-teams. There are a lot of moving parts but it’s still clear how they all fit together. And no character’s emotional journey was short-changed in exchange for action and excitement. We still got the slow, meaningful moments between Sara and Ava as they worked through their personal issues and realized for the first time how they have a future together, 50 years down the line. It was a nice callback to Ava’s realization of how it felt to be a child for the first time (since her discovery that she’s actually an AI whose memories of childhood were all programmed). It was also a relief to see Sara and Ava get back together, as their relationship has become the true heart of Legends and one of the very few positive LGBTQ onscreen representations on TV.
Other noteworthy moments: The fact that Ava’s personal purgatory turned out to be none other than a massive IKEA-like store was oh-so-relatable.
The big news: Surprising family drama for Diggle (David Ramsey) adds yet another character evolution to the already complex makeup of Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) best friend and closest ally.
What it means: After seven years, you’d think we already knew all there was to know about Diggle. But it turns out that he had some major daddy issues, not about his blood father who died in combat but about his stepfather General Stewart (Ernie Hudson). Oliver (and viewers) didn’t even know that Diggle had a stepfather, let alone one so high up in government. But when their pursuit of the Ninth Circle led them to General Stewart, it finally allowed Diggle the chance to process his grief for his father, learn the truth about how he died and find a new appreciation and respect for the man who actually raised him and taught him everything he knew after his real father’s death. It all culminated in a highly emotional moment where Diggle let down his guard and let General Stewart into his heart, decades after he first came into Dig’s life. Even the most mature, moral member of Team Arrow still has a lot to learn!
Other noteworthy moments: Unfortunately the Diggle family drama didn’t end there. In the flash forwards, we learned that Dig’s blood-related son John Jr. (who has yet to be seen as an adult) is actually the leader of the Deathstroke gang, pushed toward the life of a criminal because he rebelled against his father’s expectations. Dig’s adopted son Connor (Joseph David-Jones) went in the opposite direction and joined the new version of the ARGUS good guys organization. The two brothers were on opposite sides of the fight, and John Jr. even tried to have Connor killed in the flash forwards this week by sending his Deathstroke goons after Connor. Hopefully Dig will appear in the flash forwards soon to bring his two sons back together.
Back in the present-day storyline, Oliver was able to finally tell Emiko (Sea Shimooka) the truth about how her mentor Dante (Adrian Paul) was the one who killed her mother, and she handled the news … not well. She straight-up murdered Dante in revenge. But while Oliver believes learning the truth will finally help Emiko see the light and come back to the good guys, he really doesn’t know her as well as he thinks he does. She’s likely just going to double down on being a villain. Remember, she’s not a lackey working for an evil organization; she’s the leader of the Ninth Circle and can order the organization to do whatever she wants. She’s likely going to be the big bad for the rest of the season. Oliver’s blindspot for family just hasn’t allowed him to realize that yet.
The big news: The Flash fam splintered as Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton) argued over how to deal with Nora’s (Jessica Parker Kennedy) betrayal while Nora went completely evil thanks to Eobard Thawne’s (Tom Cavanagh) manipulations.
What it means: Watching Barry and Iris fight is never fun. Watching that fight get to as raw of a place as it does in this week’s episode was simply gut-wrenching. It felt almost too real and there were moments that felt like both characters went too far and the damage seemed irreparable. But because this is Barry and Iris, they found ways to compromise and make up by the end of the hour … but it was too little too late for their daughter. Nora had already tapped into her anger and rage to use Thawne’s opposite of the Speed Force, the Negative Speed Force, to go back in time to the present, and her glowing red eyes signified that using that more evil power has changed her. This was clearly Thawne’s plan all along: corrupt his nemesis’ daughter at her core. But as Iris realized earlier in the hour when she went to the future to try and fix things with Nora, Thawne has actually come to care for Nora like a daughter himself. Perhaps that’s why he tried to stop Nora from accessing the Negative Speed Force at the last possible second: He realized he didn’t want to corrupt the girl he now sees as his daughter. He had second thoughts. But it came too late. Has his impending execution actually softened his heart and put him on the path toward attempting redemption? He’s got a long way to go, but helping save Nora would certainly help.
Other noteworthy moments: This week’s hour also featured family drama for the Snows, as Icicle (Kyle Secor) returned to try and turn Caitlin’s (Danielle Panabaker) mother, Carol (Susan Walters), into a cold metahuman, rounding out their Snow pack family. Icicle’s human side Thomas broke through, however, to save his daughter and wife, at the last second. And Thomas paid the ultimate price for it, sacrificing his life to save theirs. But it was all too little too late again, as a test showed that Carol is now indeed a metahuman … and is completely unaware of it. Will she develop an evil ice persona or will her powers manifest in a different way?
With Kara retiring Supergirl for the time being, Supergirl is finally allowing Nia Nal’s Dreamer to take center stage. It’s a moment that’s been in the making all season long, and even though Dreamer has been out in the fight for many episodes, viewers have yet to see what she can really do as a superhero. Sunday’s episode looks to finally showcase her abilities in a Dreamer-focused hour. Watch the trailer for the episode below.
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.
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