[Review] - DCTV: Arrow And The Flash, Seasons 4 And 2, "The Candidate" And "Flash Of Two Worlds"

Courtesy of Warner Bros Television
I feel like the on-going theme of these discussions is going to be: the good, the bad and the ugly. Because that is what we get week to week on these two shows: some good, some bad, some ugly. The good seems to heavily favour the Flash, the bad seems to weigh heavily on Arrow, and the ugly is spread between the two in the form of just terrible plotting decisions. But both shows are now diving into the meat of their seasons, both shows are showing an amazing confidence in their arcs by moving forward in both quite aggressively, and both shows are giving us enough to be excited about at such an early stage of the season.

Oh, and before we begin, a quick show of hands... who else no longer gives a shit about what happened to Ollie on that island?

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that are quite a bit smaller than when Barry wears them.

I have a problem with Patty Spivot. and it's the sort of problem that is absolutely a problem of success. Patty is likable. Very likable. She has great chemistry with Barry and Joe, has the right balance of enthusiasm and motivation, and seems to hold just the right amount of prejudice to eventually lead to drama. and this is my problem: it's all too artificial. Spivot is designed to be a likable character. Designed even to be a popular character. The writers have seen the success of characters like Sisco and Felicity, and decided that they would make a character that the audience would like, rather than having the audience discover the character for themselves, as they did with Sisco, or have the actor discover the character, as was the case with Felicity. Spivot is utterly bereft of happy accidents. She, as a character, is a cold calculation. And worse than that, she's an utterly transparent one. I can practically foresee her entire arc this season. She and Barry will grow closer, which will bring her into drama with Iris, whose feeling for Barry will grow as her grief over Eddie lessens. That will inevitably bring Iris and Joe into conflict - again - because Spivot will have proven herself worth of Joe's trust.

I would like to think that perhaps the writers will throw us a curve, and that rather than taking her down a fairly identical road as they took Iris last season, they might have Spivot and Barry develop more of a sibling relationship. perhaps have Spivot become involved with Jay, and have the drama come from his inevitable return to Earth-2. But I'm not willing to give the writers that much credit just yet. And why? Well, less than thirty minutes after introducing this Mary Sue of a genius science superhero enthusiast, they had her get kidnapped by the baddie, strapped to a bomb, and need to be rescued. So writing straight from the fifty year old play book? I guess the benefit of the doubt has to be that they'll be writing from the CW Drama Manual too. Prove me wrong show, prove me wrong. But I doubt they will, since they've also decided to take Cisco's power (not perceiving timelines, but being able to remote view anything along a person's timeline by touching them) in the "no one can know" direction. And can I say FUCK I hate it when characters hide a revelation for fear of how others will react just to create unnecessary drama. So what if Dr. Wells made you this way Sisco. He made Barry. He made Firestorm. He made every metahuman you've encountered, good or bad. You're team is unlikely to get judgey. At least, I assumed they wouldn't, but then again, Barry did lock Jay in the baddie box, so...

On the other side, you have an increasingly unstable Star City, and aside from the superstitious and cowardly lot that it normally attracts, the presence of Dahrk and H.I.V.E. is not attracting another breed of criminal: the kind that likes to audition. This puts Team Arrow in the middle of a fight between normal level criminals, super criminals, and the regular folk who are now completely terrified to do anything about it. The most immediate result of this battle is that Arrow joins the legion of shows that have cast Jeri Ryan in a guest role, and then proceeded to utterly waste the opportunity. The woman is a better actress than the bulk of your cast, and you essentially give her five lines, a hug, and the directions to the door? All for what, Ollie to decide that he's the only one who can run for mayor because he's the only one who won't be scared of Dahrk's goons? Pretty much the bulk of his character development over the past three seasons has been his desire to keep his family out of danger, and now he's stepping into a job where the previous occupant had their daughter kidnapped and nearly killed. My sympathy for future grave-side weepy Ollie lessons the more that it becomes clear that he sucks at making the right decisions.

I also have to question Damien Dahrk's plan. Last week, he said it was to see the city burn. But it has to be more than that, right? Why would Captain Lance join up with him if he knew he was intending on scraping the city off the underside of his boot. Why, in fact, is Dahrk putting boots on the ground when it seems like he could just Jedi curb stomp the entire city from a distance. We are seeing a lot of Dahrk very early on, and that leads me to believe that the writers have a bigger twist in store. That Dahrk is just the beginning, that there is a reason he is putting a personal touch on Star City, and that he won't simply spend the next eight months sending goon after goon into the wood chipper. I wouldn't be surprised if, by Christmas, Dahrk is revealed to be just the messenger for a bigger bad. that is the way the baddies on this show have worked in the past, and I can't see why it would be any different here.

Back in Central City, Flash spared no time being brought up to speed on the existence of Earth-2, the presence of bleed sites throughout the city, through which any number of Earth-2 metas can slink through, and that this year's Vicious Velocitator is from Earth-2 himself. It also wasted no time in bringing back Harrison Wells. the question now is, is Zoom merely the Earth-2 Reverse Flash? That seems a lazy approach. Somehow I doubt that Earth-2 Wells is Thawne. In fact, I'd prefer it if he were just Wells. A different Wells, perhaps a bitter Wells. Certainly a Wells that Team Flash will have to content with at some point, but I suspect that whomever Zoom is (Hunter Zolomon or otherwise), Wells' presence at this stage is more a Red Herring than a warning sign. Again though, both shows are showing their cards very early on. This is a new tactic for both shows, who have traditionally used more of the 23 episodes a season to drag these plot lines out. By showing us so much so fast, does this mean that we're in for tighter arcs this season, or just more twists along the way?

Finally, we have the problem with Legends of Tomorrow, and right now this is a problem for Arrow than for Flash. Both shows are contributing equally to the anthology series, which is great. Except that the characters Flash is contributing are alive. And the characters Arrow is contributing are meant to be dead. Felicity's entire storyline so far has been dealing with the repercussions of Ray's death (even if it did provide an introduction to Mr. Terrific in a much changed form), a death we know didn't happen because he's the Atom, and he's getting his own show. Likewise, we know that Sara will rise from the grave between now and the spring. At least with Stein, we only know of his involvement in the series, leaving Ronny's death a continued mystery. What this means for Arrow is that plot lines that are meant to have some gravitas or mystery to them have none. Felicity can struggle all she wants to make Palmer Tech a success, but it all just seems like playing in puddles until Ray rebiggens himself and makes an honest splash.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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