Saturday, 13 February 2016

REVIEW: FLASH 2-12 & 2-13, plus SUPERGIRL 1-13


The Harrison Wells/Zoom storyline is easily the most compelling part of this season. Barry seems to be dealing with Patty's absence pretty well, and maybe he should be paying for this a little more, but still, it looks like he's growing up as a character. He's far more mature than anyone else here when it comes to dealing with Wells and his, self-admittedly, inevitable betrayal. Even as they have come to accept "Harry," the other member of Team Flash treat him as if he's a version of the villain from last year, who was, in fact, a completely different character pretending to be Wells. Only Barry seems to actually be treating him as an individual, and even he keeps banging on about "the other Wells."

The other half of this episode, the West family shenanigans, is frankly quite dull. At least Iris gets to be a bit more proactive now, having vanished into the shadows for much of this season. However, I'm really finding it hard to give a damn about wannabe-speedster Wally. Tar Pit makes a fun baddy, if a minor one, but that's rather the point. Not a bad episode, but nothing stand-out either.


Now, that was just tremendously fun. The first episode set primarily on the alternative Earth-2 has all the cliches you'd expect of a parallel universe story, but they're cliches because they work. Pretty much everyone we give a damn about gets an alter ego in this episode. Alt-Barry is enthusiastically nerdy and embarrassing, but he's still had more luck in his love life, being married to Detective Iris West (who's rather more fun than her Earth-1 counterpart). Barry should have speed-smacked alt-Joe while he had a chance, though. Cisco is on top form here, both in his regular guise and his evil alternative self (a spoiler, yes, but surely not a surprise?) plus Caitlyn actually has a presence for the first time in a good while. Her evil self, Killer Frost, is a bit naff but she and Deathstorm make a fun team, and regular Caitlyn gets some better material than she has in some time. Good to see Jay making a difference as well. The only person I was desperate to see was Earth-2 Patty, but I guess Shantel VanSanten really has left for good.

The cliffhanger is a belter, and indicates we'll finally be moving forward with the Zoom storyline (my money is still on Earth-2 Henry Allen). There are some great little Easter eggs as well. Barry's call to his mum was beautifully played, but I was still buzzing from seeing Bruce, Hal and Diana on his speed dial. Plus, the journey through the vortex ("I think my third eye just opened!") had glimpses of 90s Flash and this young lady...


Supergirl has been mining the Superman mythos heavily lately, having given Kara her own version of Bizarro last week, and now following it up with an episode based on one of the most popular Superman stories, Alan Moore's "For the Man Who Has Everything." That's a big story to be emulating, and wisely, the scriptwriters don't try to simply recreate it here. Rather, it's reworked for Supergirl, with a change of focus. The original focused primarily on Superman's imagining what might have been, had he lived on Krypton, and his realisation that it wasn't the paradise he might have imagined. Supergirl, however, remembers living on Krypton, and her fantasy is more about the life she once lived and the family she has lost. The episode is just as much as about Alex's reaction to the situation as Kara's, and the bond of family they have. There's also a focus on how life on Earth might be Kara's life now, but it's still an alien way of life to her, and something of a facade. She's neither Supergirl nor Kara Danvers; they're both characters she plays. I'd be interested to see more made of the similarity between her situation and that of Henshaw/Manhunter.

Maxwell Lord is still a weak villain; even with their preening and pompous dialogue, Non and the Kryptonians are far better foes for Kara. Not sure if I buy Hank pretending to be Kara really works, but Melissa Benoist is rather brilliant at playing Hank-as-Kara.

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