Oh, The Metahumanity! (Winter Break Edition)

Mid-season finales abound this week, and all three took their strengths and stretched them too far for my tastes. And I'm a little behind on the Jessica Jones, so that'll have to be part of a separate future update.

The Flash: "Running To Stand Still"

Flash tried to be goofy fun while moving the plot forward, and was probably the most successful of the three at what it tried for. Except for the bomb thing.

Look, there is a fine line between goofy comic book super-science and sloppy fucking bullshit. It's a line that The Flash has danced around for a season and a half, but the bomb thing in the winter finale dove so deep into the sloppy fucking bullshit side that it actually distracted me from Mark Hamill's glorious pseudo-Joker overacting. Do you know how difficult that is? That is very difficult, so trust me, the bomb thing was deeply fucking stupid.

Also stupid, the weird, inexplicable lack of any kind of followup to last week's "Patty walked into Star Labs, shot Harrison-2, and was ushered out by Joe" bit. You'd think someone would have mentioned that. I mean, Patty did a little tiny bit to Barry, but other than that, nothing.

Arrow: "Dark Waters"

Arrow tried to be incredibly dramatic, and ended up just being irritatingly manipulative. Here is a rough transcript of the essential core of this episode.

"Hey, remember how we started the season telling you someone's gonna die? It's gonna be here!"

"Everyone's in danger! One of 'em might die! Nope!"
"Holday party's being shot up! One of 'em might die! Nope!"
"Felicity, Thea, and Diggle are in gas chambers! One of 'em might die! Nope!"
"Detective Lance showed up when he was supposed to stay behind! Maybe it'll be him! Nope!"
"Maybe it'll be Malcolm Merlyn! Nope!"
"Maybe they'll shoot Felicity during the proposal! Nope!"
"There's almost no episode left, so here's Ollie and Felicity in a limo in a hail of bullets! Here we go!"
"Psyche! Preview shows Felicity in the hospital. NOBODY DIED YET, SUCKERS."

With The Gravestone hanging over the audience's head for the entire hour, nothing much actually happened. Dhahrhkh did fun villain stuff, Ollie looked tortured a lot, and Team Arrow forgot they knew another supergenius who could decode an encrypted phone while Felicity was captured. The rest of the time was just setting up situations to make the audience wonder if someone was gonna get killed now, and then nobody got killed now. I'm glad it's not going to be Felicity, but goddamn was the whole pricess irritating.

Agents of SHIELD: "Maveth"

Agents of SHIELD, meanwhile, went for the Epic and came up short. A lot of Blue Planet action, and stormin' the castle, and it was all mostly fine except, you know, when it wasn't. Here's an idea, show. Don't go out of your way to establish that a portal can only be open for 61 seconds instead of 73 seconds, then have your characters stand around doing Drama Faces and Having Moments over the course of about five minutes, with the portal being open that whole time and also a little extra off-screen time. It's fucking distracting.

Basically, thinking even the tiniest bit about how the last ten minutes of this episode worked at all makes the whole thing collapse in on itself. Just accept the new status quo of Dead Will Hunting and Grant Ward: Zombie God and wait for Agent Carter to start up. Props to the melting bullets gag, though