Oh, The Metahumanity! (May 11-14)

Two season finales down, one to go. Wasn't enough time to get both a Powers and a Daredevil in, thanks to my stupid cold. Luckily, I pre-write most of these as I watch them so all it takes to get them up on the site is a quick intro and proofread.

AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.:

Fuck yes. That was spectacular. There are small details one could quibble with if one were a joyless A.V. Club type, but if the job of a season finale is to wrap up this year's big plotlines in spectacular fashion, and set the wheels turning for next year, then "S.O.S." gets an "Exceptional" on its performance review.

I'm going to miss the shit out of Kyle MacLachlan, though. His season-long performance as Cal has been one of the highlights of my TV week since he joined the cast. But oh, what an ending he got. I mean, the last half of this season was basically built around a series of non-stop face/heel turns, to use wrestling terminology, but it's the combination of the changes in Raina, Cal, and Jiaying that really made this ending sequence sing for me.

It's probably still too early to talk about the four major developments for next season without spoiling - for those who've seen it, I'll refer to them in a non-specific way as "hand", "fish", "team", and 'blob" - but the portents for Season 3 are very exciting indeed. Especially fish.

THE FLASH:

I'm not sure how I feel about this episode. I want them putting more effort into their Arrow crossovers - this is the third one in the second half of the season that makes no goddamn sense given the airing schedule of Arrow.

More effort in general is what could have helped this plot, which seemed to largely make things happen without showing their work. Finding Eddie was almost an afterthought. Beating Wells was anticlimactic. The breakout was cool whenever Captain Cold, Cisco, or Golden Glider were talking, and the rest of the time I was struggling with a lot of dark/night shots of villains of the week I barely remembered 'cause I couldn't remember who any of them were or what their powers were.

I mean, I do appreciate a Flash show that goes to the effort to make sure its classic villains end up coming back for further fights in true comic book fashion, instead of the traditional killing them / imprisoning them forever after the first go-round we usually see. But it was pretty clumsy and hushed. And it gives me a bit of trepidation for next week, because time-travel and past-changing are tricky, difficult things to pull off, and I'm worried about how they're going to use it.

ARROW:

That actually worked pretty well. Except for, once again, the horribly miscast Ra's Al Ghul, delivering lines written for Ra's and sounding like, well, an Australian fry cook. None of the Flash stuff makes any goddamned sense whatsoever timeline-wise, of course. The stuff with Oliver's identity was a bit convoluted and a bit heavy-handed - good luck keeping track whether he's Oliver Queen or not as the episode progresses.

And I'm sure the show's creators and writers think each of the existential and personal crises Oliver's been through are different and unique snowflakes, but I'm having a tougher time distinguishing the various times he's learned that he can't do everything himself and must rely on his friends and loved ones.

But I like where they stopped the season and I like where they could pick the next season up. If nothing else, it's a HUGE casting upgrade for Ra's Al Ghul should they decide to use him again.

DAREDEVIL (Episode 8):

I think they've taken the "Kingpin is a dark mirror of Daredevil" thing about as far as I'm comfortable with. What's much more interesting in this episode is the role of Vanessa, who's clearly instrumental in turning the Wilson Fisk of the series into the Kingpin we all know. Both sartorially and also giving him the grounding and that extra little something he needs to cement his position atop the Hell's Kitchen criminal underworld.

The Matt/Foggy/Karen/Ben story is finally crossing, but it's very mid and really just an accessory to Fisk's story in this episode. With five to go, it's about time for the show to kick into gear again. We've had a couple episodes of lull while we do character stuff, which is fine, but we don't have time for too much more of this if we want a nice satisfying plot resolution.

BONUS: LEGENDS OF TOMORROW TRAILER:

Here's the trick to superheroes, Hollywood. All you need to succeed, ultimately, is to (a) not be stupid, and (b) nail the tone. And if you nail the tone, we'll even forgive you a little bit of stupid, if it's part of the tone. For example, Flash villain names.

Legends Of Tomorrow, the WB's new team-up show starring Atom, Firestorm, Hawkgirl, White Canary, Rip Hunter, Captain Cold, and Heat Wave, appears to be nailing the shit out of the tone for a time-traveling DC team romp. Let's hope they cast Vandal Savage better than they did Ra's Al Ghul.