DC Television Universe (DCTU) Series, Episode Eighteen, “Elseworlds” Bonus Review and Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

CPU! final-01

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in February 2019, our DC Television Universe or DCTU panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – reconvenes Around the Water Cooler for the eighteenth episode of our DCTU ongoing series. After specially requesting a separate recording to discuss the three episode mega-crossover Arrowverse event “Elseworlds,” our panel herein provides said bonus review and recap of the 2018 crossover of casts from CW series Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl. If you have not watched any of the DCTU/Arrowverse to date, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite).  Until next time, until next episode…buh bye! 

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

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PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 18, the DCTU Series Panel’s Bonus “Elseworlds” Review and Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: The DC Television Universe or DCTU Series Panel – Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – plus Chief CP Kylie as moderator.

What: “Elseworlds,” the three-episode 2018 Arrowverse crossover event melding cast members from “Arrow,” “The Flash,” and “Supergirl,” three of the four shows that comprise the so-called “Arrowverse” on the CW, otherwise known as the DC (Comics) Television Universe or DCTU.

When: The “Elseworlds” crossover began on December 9, 2018, with The Flash (8:00 PM) and concluded on December 11, 2018, with Supergirl (8:00 PM).

Where: The action is primarily set in the DC Comics Universe, specifically in Central City (The Flash), Star City (Arrow), Gotham City, and on Earth-38 (Supergirl), specifically in the fictional town of Smallville, Kansas, and in the North Pole, where Superman’s Fortress of Solitude is hidden.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching each of these shows, listen to our DCTU series in full by clicking the floating box at the top right of our website header, the picture of the couch full of TV watchers, to search for all of the prior DCTU series episodes.  As for why we are covering this crossover separately, read on!

How – as in How Was It?

The Specially Formulated For Your Viewing Pleasure “Elseworlds” Crossover rating scale:

***** – HOLY SMOKES! This is the BEST. CROSSVER. EVER!!!!!

**** – Intriguing.  Please make more, CW/Arrowverse producers.  You get better each time, though you’re not perfect yet.

*** – It was fine/okay.  Nothing special.  There were parts I liked and parts I didn’t.  Allow me to explain.

** – Meh.  I was bored.  Nice idea, but the execution left something to be desired.

* – Not your best, Arrowverse.  Stop trying!

Elseworlds = 3.9, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

“Elseworlds” introduces the characters Kate Kane aka Batwoman (Ruby Rose) and Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch) to the Arrowverse as well as the fictional Gotham City. In the crossover, Oliver Queen aka the Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), Barry Allen aka the Flash (Grant Gustin), and Kara Danvers aka Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) are drawn to Gotham City to confront Dr. John Deegan (Jeremy Davies) over his work at Arkham Asylum.

THOUGHTS

This is the eighteenth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Because we have reached double digits for this massive series, from here on out, we are only going to embed prior episodes from the immediately previous season at mid-season or only the previous episodes of the show in particular that we are covering if we are covering any of the series individually, which you can listen to for reference in advance of the current podcast episode.  All of our episodes, however, are searchable here at the website or, for audio-only types, you can find our page at our file host, the Internet Archive (archive.org), which has all of our episodes compiled in one handy menu.  It’s pretty nice, actually.  If you feel so inclined, please also donate to the Archive, so garage podcasts like your humble CPU! can continue to thrive.  For now, here are the DCTU series episodes since the DCTU 2018 Mid-Season Roundup:

DCTU Series, Episode 11, the DCTU 2018 Mid-Season Roundup

DCTU Series, Episode 13, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season 3

DCTU Series, Episode 14, “Arrow,” Season 6

DCTU Series, Episode 15, “The Flash,” Season 4

DCTU Series, Episode 16, “Supergirl,” Season 3

DCTU Series, Episode 17, the DCTU 2019 Mid-Season Roundup

Our cheeky and feisty and full DCTU panel, again this year, specially requested a separate discussion to dissect the three episode mega-crossover Arrowverse event entitled “Elseworlds.”  Why, might you ask? Well, we might answer. The panel, by and large, yet again, enjoyed this season’s crossover event, particularly due to the fact that it was so jam-packed with all of the nerdy, DC Universe goodness, plus a staggering, possibly record, number of Easter Eggs and pop culture references outside of comic books (DC or otherwise). The panelists additionally felt, yet again, that a separate recording was necessary to digest all of the wonderful everything included in this special event.  Our DCTU panelists, therefore, talk about their mostly positive assessment of the crossover of casts from Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl, though some of our panelists might have exhibited more qualms overall with this crossover as compared to last year’s entry, “Crisis on Earth-X.” Give us a listen below, and let us know if you agree or disagree with our thoughts!

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in February 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the “Elseworlds.” Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, our Once Upon a Time panel returns – for the last time – to the Water Cooler, in the second of two final triumphant discussions, to Look Back at the entirety of the long-running fantasy series and to say goodbye, both to the series and to each other (for now).  Stay tuned!

PARTING SHOTS

Ultimately, our intrepid DCTU panel proffered more mixed reactions to “Elseworlds” than they did to “Crisis on Earth-X,” the all-series crossover event from 2017.  The general consensus noted that this three episode event was a bit more uneven in terms of pacing and story plotting, though alternatively, it was positively giddy and/or stupid with DC Comics and other pop culture-related Easter eggs designed to keep engaged viewers rapt for hours of repeat viewing. While the panel generally believes that the writers did well to limit the number of “Arrowverse” characters that appeared in “Elseworlds,” there also seemed to be more of a struggle on the part of the writers to utilize even those characters featured in the most meaningful of ways. This struggle was most visible in relation to Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl, who seemed to be along only for color commentary, “adorkable” charm, and to act as a liaison for the real draw, her cousin Superman (guest: Tyler Hoechlin). The crossover also did little to advance the stories of any of the individual Arrowverse series’ seasons proper, though it did seem to function as the unofficial second act of an arguable trilogy beginning with “Crisis on Earth-X” and ending with the teased crossover event of 2019, “Crisis on Infinite Earths.”

Still, according to all panelists who saw Justice League in theaters, “Elseworlds” continues to reign supreme compared to most DC cinematic vehicles, despite its small screen medium. On the other hand, some of our panelists, such as Kyle and Spencer, struggled with what they considered to be an anticlimactic introduction to Kate Kane aka Batwoman; some of our panelists, such as Kristen and Chief CP Kylie, lamented the pacing in the Supergirl chapter; and some of our panelists, such as Nick and Kyle, struggled with the written motivations of the villain, the Monitor, while postulating that the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” event teased for the end of the year will not be an exact copy of the major DC comics story of the same name.  Aside from other extremely minor nitpicks, however, the panel particularly enjoyed the extended screen time shared by Oliver Queen and Barry Allen in the “Freaky Friday meets Quantum Leap” Flash chapter as well as the protracted appearances of Clark Kent aka Superman and dream girl Lois Lane. Because of these aspects, as well as the high quantity of Easter Eggs (estimated to be more than 100 over the course of the three episodes), the panel highly recommends watching “Elseworlds” to anyone who loves superhero/comic book adaptations, particularly from the DC universe, and to anyone who loves action television and cinema in general.  In addition, since the CW provides the opportunity to watch the three episodes separately from the main series within which they aired, and since the episodes can largely be viewed and understood without needing to see episodes before or after them, the panel believes that anyone who has not watched the crossover and would want to watch it simply has no excuse or cause for delay, especially since the CW app is free to all.

LOOKING AHEAD

The four Arrowverse shows returned or will return from their mid-season hiatuses as follows:

The Flash: Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 8:00 PM
Supergirl: Sunday, January 20, 2019, 8:00 PM
Arrow: Monday, January 21, 2019, 8:00 PM
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Monday, April 1, 2019, 9:00 PM.

On January 31, 2019, the CW renewed all four Arrowverse shows for an additional season, all of which will likely premiere some time in fall 2019 and likely in or around October, if the trend from prior seasons holds.  In the meantime, the DCTU podcast panel will next convene around the CPU! water cooler, most likely in Summer 2019, to begin the annual series of four end of season recaps for each of the four Arrowverse shows.  Until then!  Stay tuned!

DC Television Universe (DCTU) Series, Episode Seventeen: 2018-2019 Mid-Season Roundup of “Arrow,” Season 7; “The Flash,” Season 5; “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season 4; and “Supergirl,” Season 4 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

CPU! final-01

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in February 2019, our DC Television Universe or DCTU panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – reconvenes Around the Water Cooler for the seventeenth episode of our DCTU ongoing series. The panel was also subjected to (now for) something kind of different but mostly the same here at CPU!  We decided to check in with each other in advance of this season’s end, when we will visit each show’s current season in four episodes, one for each show, by rounding up our thoughts so far about all of the Arrowverse shows.  We play games and aspire to reach our usual level of spiciness and hi-jinks!  Our panelists talk about their current, sometimes cursory, assessment of the progress of Season 7 of Arrow, Season 5 of The Flash, and Season 4 of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. If you have not watched any of the DCTU/Arrowverse to date, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite).  Until next time, until next episode…buh bye! 

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 17, the DCTU Panel’s 2018-2019 Mid-Season Roundup (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: The DC Television Universe or DCTU Series Panel – Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – plus Chief CP Kylie as moderator.

What: “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” and “Supergirl,” the four shows that comprise the so-called “Arrowverse” on the CW, otherwise known as the DC (Comics) Television Universe or DCTU.

When: 

  • Arrow currently airs Mondays at 8:00 PM; Season 7 premiered on October 15, 2018.
  • The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8:00 PM; Season 5 premiered on October 9, 2018.
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow airs Mondays at 9:00 PM, though it is currently on hiatus; Season 4 premiered on October 22, 2018.
  • Supergirl airs Sundays at 8:00 PM; Season 4 premiered on October 14, 2018.

Where: The action is primarily set in the DC Comics Universe, specifically in Star City (Arrow), Central City (The Flash), National City (Supergirl), and throughout space and time (“Legends”).

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching each of these shows, listen to our DCTU series in full by clicking the floating box at the top right of our website header, the picture of the couch full of TV watchers, to search for all of the prior DCTU series episodes.  As for why we are covering four shows at once (for now), read on!

How – as in How Busy Are We? – THOUGHTS

This is the seventeenth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Because we have reached double digits for this massive series, from here on out, we are only going to embed prior episodes from the immediately previous season at mid-season or only the previous episodes of the show in particular that we are covering if we covering any of the series individually, which you can listen to for reference in advance of the current podcast episode.  All of our episodes, however, are searchable here at the website or, for audio-only types, you can find our page at our file host, the Internet Archive (archive.org), which has all of our episodes compiled in one handy menu.  It’s pretty nice, actually.  If you feel so inclined, please also donate to the Archive, so garage podcasts like your humble CPU! can continue to thrive.  For now, here are the DCTU series episodes since the DCTU 2017 Mid-Season Roundup:

DCTU Series, Episode 11, the DCTU 2018 Mid-Season Roundup

DCTU Series, Episode 13, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season 3

DCTU Series, Episode 14, “Arrow,” Season 6

DCTU Series, Episode 15, “The Flash,” Season 4

DCTU Series, Episode 16, “Supergirl,” Season 3

In this episode, our cheeky and feisty and full and otherwise busy DCTU panel was subjected to (now for) something kind of differently but mostly the same.  We decided to check in with each other in advance of this season’s end, when we will visit each show’s current season in four episodes, one for each show, by rounding up our thoughts so far about all of the Arrowverse shows.  We play games and engage in additional snarky shenanigans, however, which reach our usual level of spiciness and hi-jinks, but you know me – I don’t want to oversell it!!  Our panelists talk about their current, sometimes cursory, assessment of the progress of Season 7 of Arrow, Season 5 of The Flash, and Season 4 of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl.  Give us a listen below, and let us know if you agree or disagree with our thoughts!

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in February 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the current seasons of all four Arrowverse shows. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next week, our DCTU panel returns to the CPU! water cooler for a special, bonus, specially recorded, specially requested episode during which we discuss the Arrowverse’s 2018 mega crossover television movie event, “Elseworlds,” for which we “saved” discussion about said crossover specifically for this specially special bonus episode, as you will hear advertised throughout tonight’s episode.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

(New Questions Only; All Questions, New and Old, Will Be Addressed End of Season)

1) Echo Kellum, who plays Curtis Holt aka Mr. Terrific on Arrow, is leaving the cast in this next half season (remember: we do not discuss the next half, if that half has already started airing, in the Mid-Season Roundup). How is Mr. Terrific written off the show?

2) What is the point of the “flash forward” story line, and why are the Arrow writers introducing it so late in the game? Are they really so hard up for material? Is Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) really dead in this future? If not, where did she go, and what the hell is happening? Is this future on another Earth or on our Earth? Where is Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) in this future?

3) How will Oliver encounter the New Green Arrow (NGA), and what will he learn?

4) Why do we care about the Longbow Hunters? Aren’t they kind of lame?

5) What is Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash’s (currently played by Tom Cavanaugh) plan on The Flash? Why is he using Nora West-Allen aka XS (Jessica Parker Kennedy), Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Iris West’s (Candice Patton) daughter from the future, for his evil? Or, is she working for him and why?

6) What is the little journal, containing presumably Speed Force writing, that Nora is carrying around with her?

7) How much longer will Orlin Dwyer aka Cicada (guest: Chris Klein) be a factor? The panel has some decidedly mixed reactions to him.

8) If Neron is the Big Bad on “Legends,” will we be meeting any Green Lanterns or related? How did John Constantine (Matt Ryan) piss him off?

9) What is Biff, er, Henry Heywood’s (guest: Tom Wilson) master plan? Capture magical fugitives…and then what? What is the top secret plan to which he keeps referring?

10) Why is Mona Wu (Ramona Young) a thing? What is her purpose? What is Gary’s purpose for that matter?

11) Will Nate Heywood aka Steel (Nick Zano) ever leave bureaucracy and rejoin the Waverider team?

12) Why is Desmond’s death a fixed point in time? Why is Neron, wearing Desmond’s face, interested in Hank Heywood?

13) Why is Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) truly experimenting with Black Kryptonite/Harun-El on Supergirl? What is she really hoping to accomplish?

14) Will we see more of Clark Kent aka Superman (guest: Tyler Hoechlin) or Lois Lane (guest: Elizabeth Tulloch) on this show?

15) Just how many versions of Parasite are there in this universe?

16) How much more of a factor will Ben Lockwood aka Agent Liberty (guest: Sam Witwer) be this season?

17) Why does Kara Danvers aka Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) even need the DEO? Superman isn’t employed…

18) Why should we care about Nia Nal aka Dreamer (Nicole Maines)?

PARTING SHOTS 

The panel proves to be truly all over the place, when reacting to the Arrowverse’s current season, in the episode at hand; what the panelists are able to agree upon is that the Arrowverse is equally all over the place in terms of quality and watch-ability, which produces a panel discussion pockmarked by a decidedly reduced exhibition of enthusiasm.  Half of the panel regards The Flash as the continued shining jewel of the multiverse, while the other half of the panel believes that Legends of Tomorrow has improved so masterfully, it is now the best of the four series.  Half of the panel finds Arrow to continue to flounder at the bottom of the heap, despite being the show that started it all, while the other half of the panel cringes, with rising disappointment, at the plummet in quality that Supergirl has seemingly experienced this season.  Notably, all members of the panel agree that the latter show has experienced a shockingly marked decline in entertainment value and in engagement, with a ham-fisted social allegory that clubs one over the head to the point of tedium and an apparent struggle to find new cohesion as cast members change and as, even, older characters transform and veer away dramatically from what they appeared to be in earlier seasons.

The panelists further enjoy the show about the Scarlet Speedster and the show about the non-legendary Legends most, believing that they boast consistently entertaining humor, tight ensemble casts, and an enjoyable and ingenuous addition in the character of Constantine.  Similarly, the panelists, by and large, regard the show about the Emerald Archer to be marginally better this season compared to previous seasons, with less recycled story-lines and squandered story potential, but continue to struggle with the overall story direction and their personal disinterest in the story itself, having felt disengaged for several consecutive seasons. Plus, they are starting to worry at what the writers, producers, and network might try to do if Stephen Amell leaves the cast, believing that no version of Arrow can survive without him.  More than ever, the panel has expressed growing dissatisfaction (if not outright resentment) at the thought of having to continue to watch both Arrow and Supergirl for this paneleven as the panelists look forward to what the second halves of The Flash and “Legends” seasons might bring to our collective viewing experiences.

LOOKING AHEAD

The four Arrowverse shows returned or will return from their mid-season hiatuses as follows:

The Flash: Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 8:00 PM
Supergirl: Sunday, January 20, 2019, 8:00 PM
Arrow: Monday, January 21, 2019, 8:00 PM
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Monday, April 1, 2019, 9:00 PM.

On January 31, 2019, the CW renewed all four Arrowverse shows for an additional season, all of which will likely premiere some time in fall 2019 and likely in or around October, if the trend from prior seasons holds.  In the meantime, the DCTU podcast panel will next convene around the CPU! water cooler to discuss the 2018 mid-season crossover event “Elseworlds,” which will publish next week.  Until then!  Stay tuned!

Gotham: Season 4B, “A Dark Knight,” Part 2 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in October 2018, our panel of staunch Batman and comic book enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and Nick – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 4B, covering the second half of the arc entitled “A Dark Knight,” of Gotham. If you have not watched any of Gotham, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Gotham,” the Season 4 End of Season Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Gotham” is a crime drama centered on events and characters inspired by the Batman franchise/DC Comic Universe, which airs on Fox, though it is currently on hiatus.

What: “Gotham,” a crime series developed by Bruno Heller and primarily based upon the characters of to-be Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), the real life identity of Batman. As originally conceived, the series would have served as a straightforward story of Gordon’s early days in the Gotham City Police Department. The idea evolved not only to include the Wayne character but also to tell the origin stories of several Batman villains, including the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), the Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), Catwoman (Camren Bicondova), Poison Ivy, Two-Face, the Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Hugo Strange, and the Joker.

SYNOPSIS

A new recruit in the Gotham City Police Department named James Gordon (McKenzie) is paired with veteran detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) to solve one of Gotham City’s highest-profile cases: the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne. During his investigation, Gordon meets the Waynes’ son Bruce (Mazouz), who is now in the care of his butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee). Eventually, Gordon is forced to form an unlikely friendship with Bruce, one that will help shape the boy’s future in becoming Batman.

When: The Season 4 finale aired on Thursday, May 17, 2018, at 8:00 PM.

Where: The action is set in the fictional metropolis of Gotham City, the primary setting of the Batman franchise.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episodes embedded below!

As for CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie, I picked up this show when shopping for pilots during the 2014-2015 TV season (a yearly ritual for this viewer and this blog, no matter how far behind I am).  I said:

“This is one of the most anticipated pilots of the new season, by critics, fans, and this blogger.  First, as a DC girl, Batman is my second favorite of their properties, after Superman, of course. Second, picking up the story from this prequel point is potentially brilliant; this could be must-see TV for a long time to come, folding in a Smallville like examination of the rise of Batman and the foes he fights, all from the perception of to-be Commissioner Gordon.  I’m super excited for this one and can’t wait to see a full episode.

I asked some fellow panelists to join me in evaluating how effective Gotham is in its storytelling muster and how successful it has been serving as the “prequel” it has become. Scroll down, and take a listen!

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

If you haven’t caught up on CPU!’s Gotham coverage, which we’ve been covering (more or less) since its auspicious beginnings, listen via the embedded links below:

Seasons 1-2A

Season 2B, The Wrath of the Villains

Season 3A, Mad City

Season 3B, Mad City/Heroes Rise

Season 4A, A Dark Knight, Part 1

Earlier this year, our Gotham panel, consisting of Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and Nick, compared notes on the first half of the fourth season, encompassing the first half of the arc entitled “A Dark Knight.” The season’s first half introduces Sofia Falcone (Crystal Reed), daughter of Carmine Falcone, as a new player vying for control of Gotham City’s criminal underworld; Penguin’s “Pax Penguina;” the Riddler’s perceived loss of his intellectual sharpness after being melted from the ice in Penguin’s Iceberg Lounge; Bruce Wayne’s dabbling in vigilantism and subsequent spiral into darkness, despite Alfred’s struggle to prevent otherwise; the plots of Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig), presumably preparing Bruce to be his successor; the new criminal alliance between Selina Kyle, Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas), and Barbara Kean (Erin Richards); Harvey Bullock’s (Donal Logue) fall from grace and Jim Gordon’s ascension to captain of the central office of the GCPD; Lee Thompkins’ (Morena Baccarin) new role as gang boss who also happens to treat her charges medically; the introduction of Solomon Grundy, formerly Butch Gilzean (Drew Powell); and the appearance of new criminal sociopath Professor Pyg.  The second half of this season continues the “Dark Knight” arc by exploring Bruce’s redemption with Alfred and his rekindled friendship with Selina; Jim’s struggle to maintain order in the GCPD; Barbara’s hold over “The Demon’s Head” power; the reemergence of Butch’s consciousness from the Grundy shell; Edward Nygma’s ongoing struggle to master his “Riddler” half while pining for Lee Thompkins; and Jerome Valeska’s break from Arkham, with Penguin, Mad Hatter, and Scarecrow in tow, ready to cause Joker-Not-Joker chaos all over the streets of Gotham City. How did the panel regard the second half of the fourth season, given Gotham’s track record for lack of continuity and highly uneven storytelling?  Listen to the embedded link below to find out.

This podcast was recorded in October 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of the fourth season and all episodes that have aired to date. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we finally launch a new panel – one which we’ve been advertising for over a year, though the panel’s recording luck has been about as robust as the luck of the show we’ll be discussing – when we Look Back at high-concept Netflix science fiction vehicle Sense8. Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions/Predictions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: Will Penguin and Riddler have a falling out, which motivates them toward their most sociopathically driven selves?

ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 2: Surprisingly, Penguin and Riddler stayed friends, supporting each other on occasion in this half of the season.  Penguin ended up in Arkham after confessing to the murder of Galavan to cover for Jim. Strange brainwashed him (if you want to call it that) into submission; Penguin ended up finding his real dad (played by Paul Reubens), who had fallen victim to a gold-digging former waitress and her sociopathic children. When the presence of a biological son emerged, the new wife poisoned Penguin’s father, who seemed to understand Penguin as no other could.  This murder, once discovered by Oswald, brought out the old Penguin, rather suddenly and menacingly. In the meantime, when Lee began to ask questions about the deceased Miss Kringle not picking up her paychecks, making Jim aware that there was a possible crime to solve, Nygma embraced his most Riddler-esque tendencies and staged riddle-filled capers and committed more murders before Jim finally caught him, clearing Jim’s name and landing Nygma in Arkham.  The moral is: Penguin and Riddler found their psychoses independently of one another, which is a shame because they are infinitely watchable together.

NOT SO FAST! ANSWER AS OF MID-SEASON 3: Well…it seems their mutual affection and cordial friendship have taken a controversial turn.  Penguin, as it turns out, develops a romantic devotion to Edward after Ed offers Penguin some admiration and validation for achieving victory in running for mayor despite being a well-known criminal mastermind, enthralled as Ed is by Penguin’s ability to manipulate the people of Gotham.  In the meantime, Ed only has eyes for women, specifically any and all women who bear more than a passing resemblance to Miss Kringle, the GCPD employee with an affinity for poodle skirts that he strangled in season 2. When Barbara Kean informs Ed of Penguin’s misplaced devotion in an effort to start trouble, a devotion which causes Penguin to order a hit on the Kringle doppelganger Isabella, who could very well have been Ed’s sociopath soulmate, Edward vows to destroy good old Oswald in revenge.  I imagine Ed’s penchant for riddles and a war with Penguin are going to get him where he needs to go to be the fully realized Riddler, while Penguin is pretty much Penguin, angling for power and acceptance but struggling to attain and keep it, the thematic undercurrent of this particular antagonist. The panel hopes that a war between these future arch-villains would be great, but we’re more than a little worried about the ability of this show’s writers to capitalize upon their own potential.

ANSWER AS OF END OF SEASON 3: Ed’s gone full-on Riddler, and the two arch-villains’ enmity has peaked.  The show allowed the war: Ed works with Barbara, Tabitha Galavan, and Butch Gilzean to try to take down Penguin. Ed eventually gives up on those yokels and shoots Penguin, leaving him for dead, which gives him enough guilt, reluctant confidence, and logic loops to ascend? descend? toward adopting the official moniker of “The Riddler.”  Penguin, nursed back to health and the world of the living by a surprisingly botanical Ivy, declares his revenge, complicated by his love and devotion for Ed. Penguin manipulates Ed’s slavish devotion to completeness and detail – and his ego – such that Penguin freezes Ed, with the help of Mr. Freeze, noting that the chunk of ice known as “The Riddler” would feature prominently as a centerpiece in his to-be-opened Iceberg Lounge.  The podcast panel generally approves of most of this story-line and can’t wait to see “The Riddler” get out of the ice and cause his puzzling and enigmatic mayhem, with Penguin, Gotham City, and everyone.

ANSWER AS OF MID-SEASON 4: Ed’s number one fan, Myrtle, manages to unfreeze him from the titular iceberg in the Iceberg Lounge, but the effect of being flash frozen leaves Ed somewhat brain-addled himself.  He loses his sharpness of wit and intellect, at least temporarily, and cannot seem to evoke muscle memory related to the formulation, remembering, and/or deduction of the answers to the most basic, child-inspired riddles.  While Myrtle patiently nurses Ed back to some semblance of health (and pays for her devotion at the end of the barrel of one of Victor Zsasz’s well-aimed guns), Penguin, who reunites with a vengeful Ed fleetingly, decides not to kill him, figuring Ed’s apparent lack of smarts and presumed ensuing suffering, as he grapples with losing what made him arguably exceptional, to be the greater revenge than Ed’s out and out murder.  So, I guess that’s something.  Also, I think Penguin and Riddler are now, finally and officially, enemies or, at least, competitors… Thus, it may be time to abandon this question.

NOT SO FAST! ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 4:  Though Ed visits Penguin in Arkham, primarily to gloat about the fact that Ed successfully (in his mind) sublimated his Riddler side after falling in love with Lee, while Penguin remains incarcerated and tortured, somewhat, by his Arkham cell neighbor Jerome, Penguin sees signs of the more ruthless and calculating Riddler during this brief visit.  As a result, he sends Ed a note with an embedded riddle, which helps to evoke both the Riddler persona, back-seating the more benign Edward, but also Riddler’s loyalty to Penguin, such as it is.  Riddler, thus, breaks Penguin out of Arkham, and they seem to be friendly again – at least, until Penguin tries to manipulate Ed into double-crossing Lee; however, Ed/Riddler, two personalities in love with one woman, leaves Penguin vulnerable to arrest while robbing a bank originally targeted by new crime boss Lee, who is acting like a sort of Robin Hood by committing burglary to distribute wealth to the poorer residents of the Narrows in Gotham.  Where does this friendship land by the end of the season?  That answer is unknown, since Riddler finds himself highly obsessed with Lee, and Penguin’s fate intertwines with the chaotic and maniacal Jerome.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

2) REPEAT QUESTION: Will Riddler’s riddles get more complex and mind-twisting?

ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 2: Riddler’s caper riddles, as he began to frame Jim for the murder of a police officer, were potentially more complex.  Mind-twisting? Eh.  Marginally more mind-twisting, perhaps.

NOT SO FAST! ANSWER AS OF MID-SEASON 3: Though Ed told fewer riddles in this half season, his ire has been irked (see above).  We can only imagine what a provoked and forlorn Ed might riddle when the riddles finally and continuously come.

ANSWER AS OF END OF SEASON 3: He got there!  He just needed a worthy adversary…which he finds in “Foxy” Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) and secondarily in Penguin.  Now, if only Batman was around…

NOT SO FAST!  ANSWER AS OF MID-SEASON 4: As stated above, Ed suffers a minor cognitive setback as a result of being frozen by Mr. Freeze’s icy weaponry.  Lee informs Edward, however, that there is nothing physically wrong with his brain, and that his condition is presumably psychological, a fact made evident by the reemergence of Edward’s schizophrenic struggle with his Riddler identity, who returns to talk to him from the other side of the mirror again.  The panel expects a full return of the Riddler any day now, as long as he is able to sort out his feelings for Lee, even if she sorts them out for him.

ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 4: Once Riddler sublimates Edward Nygma, allowing his sociopath half free reign, he tells better riddles than the recently-frozen-now-thawed version of Ed, whose brain was affected by the flash-freezing process of Mr. Freeze’s freeze gun.  The panelists, however, still find Riddler’s riddles quite lackluster compared to riddles voiced by other versions of the Riddler that we have watched in the past.

3) REPEAT QUESTION: Are the writers going to treat the nascent Ivy character (who the podcast panel presumes will be Poison Ivy) better?

ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 2: Well…this answer is in the eye of the beholder.  Ivy was starting to grow plants in this half of the season and helped Selina and Bruce in some of their escapades, but the pundits have announced that the show is recasting the part. Ivy will apparently be older and sexier, like the Poison Ivy most people know.  The panel is at a loss as to how this could be rendered believable in the story, especially as the writers are not batting at any kind of decent percentage right now in terms of consistency with the source material or, even, with following any of the rules they set up for themselves in this version of the Batman mythology.

NOT SO FAST! ANSWER AS OF MID-SEASON 3: Is making her randomly grow into an awkward, teenage sexpot via the touch of an Indian Hill escapee with the power to make things rapidly age and to drain life constitute treating her better?  Listen to the podcast episode for our panel’s verdict.

ANSWER AS OF END OF SEASON 3: Ivy’s on the struggle bus; she’s strange, awkward, and not especially better as a teenage sexpot.  The panel struggles still…

NOT SO FAST!  ANSWER AS OF MID-SEASON 4: Ivy tries to help Penguin in the face of competitors who challenge his position, as the one and only crime boss in Gotham City, and of wavering police involvement, but he mistreats her, owing to the fact that she is kind of needy and not that bright.  As a result, Ivy decides to ally with a gang who tries to take down Penguin’s “Pax Penguina” license scheme by taking Penguin down himself and robs some sort of potion store or apothecary, in which the audience sees her drinking some of the inventory.  Plus, the producers have announced, through the typical TV pundits, that the part of Ivy is again being recast and will soon be played by Peyton List (Frequency, The Tomorrow People), a dire prospect for this Chief CP.  Moreover, panelist Spencer believes that the first episode returning from the mid-season hiatus will address Ivy’s newest transformation.  What the hell is going on with this character, you ask?  We ask the same question, repeatedly apparently.  Sadly, we also currently have no answer, so this particularly robust question and answer section grows and grows – in confusion and in length – and presumably like Ivy’s plants, if she ever gets that botanically savvy in the end.

ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 4: Peyton List plays a more adult, more “developed” version of Ivy, who, after ingesting all of the apothecary’s chemicals at mid-season, permanently alters her body chemistry, such that her kiss – and even the scent of her pheromones – are literal poison to anyone to whom she offers a smooch or a whiff of her natural scent.  Plus, Ivy, on a vendetta to avenge every put-upon plant in the concrete jungle that is Gotham City, grabs hold of a sample of Lazarus Pit water on hold and under experiment at Wayne Enterprises and uses it to create a lethal plant that she unleashes on a benefit dinner hosted by the Wayne Foundation.  Unfortunately, though her antics draw the focus of the GCPD and of a Bruce Wayne still contemplating life as a vigilante, the show does not make clear what happens to her after this ploy to let loose killer plants among Gotham’s elite.  The panel assumes she has been arrested and is probably subsequently thrown into Arkham, but this is not confirmed, and, frankly, the bigger infraction is the show’s continued interpretation of this character as some sort of plant-obsessed mutant with questionable sex appeal and very little brain.  Listen to the podcast episode for additional ranting.

5) REPEAT QUESTION: When will Bruce have his inspiration to be Batman?  And how will that happen if he didn’t see bats when he fell into the cave?

ANSWER: Still waiting… And it’s concerning.  Bruce, after his trials with the Shaman and Ra’s (and his League of Shadows) in Season 3, starts Season 4 by dipping his baby toes into vigilante crime fighting – with billowing black trench coat, balaclava, and the ability to quickly climb sides of buildings to boot – and, with a little help from Lucius Fox, who creates some conveniently fashioned bulletproof armor to protect Bruce’s adolescent bod.  Unfortunately, however, Ra’s distracts Bruce via his own side plot to ensure that Bruce will inherit the embalming knife of Demon’s Head status, thereby rendering Bruce Ra’s’ successor.  Thus, via manipulation and threat against another adolescent only trying to help and, in so doing, to befriend Bruce, Bruce ends up stabbing Ra’s with the knife, and it seems the seemingly immortal character of Ra’s wastes away into dust and ash as a result of the knife piercing his flesh.  Bruce takes his decision to murder Ra’s, even in an attempt to protect his friend (who Ra’s kills anyway), hard and descends into a dark void of guilt, self-pity, and belated grief for his dead parents, replete with hard partying and spoiled billionaire brat behavior. All the while, the young Mr. Wayne turns his back on his initial attempts at vigilantism and all while still seeing no bats, much to the chagrin of the podcast panel (listen to the episode for details…and rants).

NOT SO FAST! ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 4: Though Bruce’s vision does not seem to clearly indicate that he should later assume the persona of a crime-fighting man dressed as a bat, Bruce finally – FINALLY – sees bats this half season.  This alleged epiphany occurs after Bruce’s exposure to a duplicitous Ivy and her chemically altered physique, who visits Bruce (and Selina) at Wayne Manor for the purpose of obtaining access to Wayne Enterprises and to the aforementioned Lazarus water or, more accurately, to the division housing the project that just happens to be working with that water sample.  Bruce does not, however, seem to immediately process this vision of a swarm of bats and a hooded, dark figure, blurred by the effects of Ivy’s poison, beyond believing that he sees a shadowy, seemingly unaffected glimpse of his future.  Thus, it is quite unclear as to whether Bruce has connected the dots, especially since our panelists and discerning viewers are not clear that the dots have been connected for the audience.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

6) REPEAT QUESTION: When will Selina have her inspiration to be Catwoman?  She can wait awhile, but since everyone is finding themselves much sooner than they should be, the writers might as well give Selina the idea to be a cat. Maybe she’ll take whatever drug Ivy’s got going on and get all sexy feline on us.

REPEAT ANSWER: Still waiting… but she continues to learn whipping skills from Tabitha and is quite the prodigy with this unusual weapon.  Also, she displays cat-like reflexes while walking the edges of rooftops and seems to be significantly smarter than gal pals and partners in crime, Tabitha and Barbara.  Yet, inspiration is fleeting for all of our junior Gotham characters so far, and this fleetingness disturbs the CPU! Gotham panel greatly.

7) Is Joker-Not-Joker Jerome really Proto-Joker, and will we see him again in Season 4?

ANSWER: This question forms the subject of some significant debate in this podcast episode.  Panelists Kyle and Spencer wholeheartedly believe that the producers, as well as Cameron Monaghan, the portraying actor behind Jerome Valeska, have gone on record to say that Jerome is not the actual Joker, and that the audience is slated to see the character and individual who would become the Joker in the coming half season.  Panelist Hilary, with some hesitant agreement by Nick and Kylie, feels that the rumored protesting of Jerome-as-Joker is a red herring or deflection from the fact that he really is the Joker or some early version of him, given the fact that Mr. Monaghan is really one of the best almost-Jokers (and real Jokers) our panel of Batman fans has ever watched.  In short, this is still a question, but we will see Jerome in Season 4B because we saw him in Season 4A talking to Penguin through the wall joining their adjacent cells in Arkham.

NOT SO FAST! ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 4: Jerome Valeska, after escaping from Arkham Asylum, initiates a grand-scale caper, fueled by a sense of anarchy and a tinge of revenge, with the intention of harming Bruce Wayne and his (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) surprisingly sane-seeming secret twin brother, Jeremiah Valeska (also played by Monaghan).  Jerome even goes to the effort of kidnapping city officials and wiring them with bombs, which, when triggered, explodes only their skulls.  He then places these hostages on display on the stage of a well-attended music festival in Gotham City, while demanding from Jim Gordon that he produce Bruce and Jeremiah.  Jim and officers of the GCPD pursue Jerome, however, and Jerome flees.  Jim chases him to a rooftop’s edge; Jerome topples over the edge and, before plummeting to his apparent death, tells Jim that he will not be forgotten because his antics planted a seed, an idea, that will live on in the dark alleys and mean streets of Gotham City. Plus, though Gotham’s producers recently claimed that Jerome is not the Joker, they pretended for a time that Jeremiah was, even styling Jeremiah after a cross between Jack Nicholson’s Joker from the 1989 Batman film and a comic version in which the Joker’s personality is inexorably altered after Batman falls into a long-term coma, which is somehow mirrored by Joker.  Now, the producers are proclaiming that Jeremiah is not the Joker either, though Jeremiah survives the season.  Thus, Jerome is dead, Jeremiah is crazy but allegedly not the Joker, and Gotham City is besieged by darkness and anarchy following Jeremiah’s efforts to destroy Gotham.  Where does that leave the prospect of an actual Joker appearing on Gotham?  Your guess is as good as ours.

8) Will Bruce finally see freaking bats already?

NEW ANSWER: Yes, Bruce finally sees the freaking bats this season.  Now – does he understand what the bats mean to him and his future in the end?  That answer is very unclear and very unknown.

9) Will Ra’s al Ghul be the “Big Bad” of Season 4?  What is the prophecy to which he referred, and what does it mean for Bruce?

NEW ANSWER: Though Ra’s makes his presence known, both in life and in alleged death, the arguable “Big Bads” of Season 4 are the Valeska twins, as their plans, schemes, and insanity dominate the second half of Season 4.

The prophecy, however, remains unexplained, though Ra’s al Ghul, who does come back to life temporarily owing to the mystical and magical efforts of his League of Shadows, repeatedly suggests that Bruce will become a “Dark Knight of Gotham,” and that it is the mission of Ra’s, with help from a doting Jeremiah, to help Bruce realize this destiny.  Unfortunately, Barbara, through her piece of this disjointed story, manages to manipulate Bruce into taking Ra’s al Ghul’s life again, so if this prophecy is to be explained, it is doubtful that the explanation will come directly from him any time soon.  Unless he is resurrected a second time in Season 5.

10) REPEAT QUESTION: Will Selina go full on Catgirl in Season 4?

SOMEWHAT REPEAT ANSWER: She has not so far, but she has made progress.  She’s got ambition, she’s got whip skills, and she’s got brains and survival instinct more finely honed than the brains and instincts of her partners, Babs and Tabby.  

11) REPEAT QUESTION: Where did Hugo Strange end up nowadays?

NEW ANSWER: Hugo was in the wind, but Penguin quickly tracks him down and appeals to him to help change a more conscious Butch from a Solomon-looking Butch to a Butch-looking Butch.  He appears in one episode in the latter half of Season 4.

12) Generally speaking, and notably, our Gotham panel is loathe to ask further questions or to make predictions because the writers, in their quest to be unpredictable and “non-canon,” have taken the story to wild places with little satisfying payoff for the viewer in the end.  Everyone is sort of bracing themselves for the coming season while cherishing the few truly enjoyable nuggets about this show, mainly in character/performances.

ANSWER: This is still true.  Though the panel feels that Season 4A improved upon and corrects for several of the ills of many of Gotham’s past half seasons, the writers and producers have also proven themselves to be less than adept at capitalizing upon story momentum or developments that offer some sense of logic and/or dovetailing with the Batman canon, even as the show and its creators profess to be off canon – a trend that returns with a vengeance in Season 4B.  This decline, again, stirs strong feelings in our panelists and makes for consistently spicy discussion.  

13) Where is Scarecrow?  Jonathan Crane achieves his full transition in this most recent half season, but what happened to him?  Was he caught and returned to Arkham Asylum?  Is he at large?  Where did he go?  Especially since the producers are also re-casting this part.  What the hell is going on with the Scarecrow character?

ANSWER: Scarecrow, as it turns out, was caught and returned to Arkham as of the mid-season hiatus. In addition, as it turns out, Scarecrow is fully Scarecrow, obsessed with creating gasses and liquids that produce the gamut of mind-altering effects, often punctuated by fear and/or impulses of insanity.  He does not have a huge part in this second half of the fourth season, but he does give Jerome Valeska a 100 percent guaranteed, Scarecrow-endorsed gas that Jerome tries to release, via a blimp, onto the city but for the in-the-moment heroics of Penguin.

14) How long will it take for Bruce to realize that he is spiraling and circling the drain known as rock bottom?  How much time must the audience wait for Bruce to find Alfred again?

ANSWER: Not long.  Bruce snaps out of his spoiled brat phase after about three episodes and tries to reach out to Alfred, though Alfred is reluctant to forgive his then-former master at first.  The panel cannot truly blame Alfred.  Bruce’s “wild child” phase was tedious.

15) Will Jim Gordon be able to maintain his position as captain of the Central GCPD without betraying his secret alliance and/or dalliance with the plotting Sofia Falcone?

ANSWER: He manages to not only remain GCPD Central Captain, but he also keeps his “relationship” to Sofia largely secret, though he does inform Harvey Bullock of the morally questionable manner in which he obtained said captaincy.  Yet, it is Harvey, who is understandably somewhat resentful of Jim in light of his own fall from grace and loss of respect in the eyes of his fellow GCPD officers, who convinces Jim to keep it all a secret and to “live with it,” so that it will motivate Jim to do better; to do right by the GCPD force, which works hard to maintain tenuous order in Gotham City; and to make amends for all of the rash decisions that this version of the Jim character has made prior to this point.  Jim, wishing for Harvey to stay un-retired/un-resigned, follows his friend’s advice.

16) Will we see Fish Mooney again?  The panel votes no and hopes she is dead for good and for real.

ANSWER: So far, Fish’s current iteration of death seems permanent.  Let’s hope it stays that way.

17) What is Sofia Falcone’s endgame, and how long will she hang onto to her position as leader of the underworld?  Will we watch her become her comic-inspired identity, The Hangman?

ANSWER: Ultimately, Sofia wants what all of Gotham’s various crime syndicates and crime bosses want: control of the power and the wealth (such as it is) of the City.  Unfortunately, her hold on Gotham is brief.  When she decides to go after Lee and her claim as “Doc” to the Narrows, manipulating their relationship as brief sisters-in-law until Lee’s fingers are broken while Sofia forcibly takes the Narrows from her, Lee enacts revenge, particularly when Sofia threatens to off Jim, by shooting Sofia in the head, which apparently puts her in a coma without killing her. If Sofia is destined to become her comic book persona, the Hangman, we have not yet seen this transition.

18) Is Ra’s al Ghul actually dead?  What was with his interchange with Barbara in prison?  Why did her hand glow?  Is his essence in the embalming knife?  Is it in Barbara’s hand?  Is it actually in Bruce, a reflection of his current darkness?  Has Bruce achieved the status of “successor to the Demon’s Head?”

ANSWER: Yes, at the start of the second half of Season 4, Ra’s is actually dead, though in a very mystical sense.  As it turns out, Ra’s did voluntarily offer the “power of the Demon’s Head” to Barbara while in prison in the first half of the season.  This means that though the essence of Ra’s al Ghul may be tied to the embalming knife, the “Demon’s Head” in Gotham’s vision is a manifestation of mystical power, not a translation of Ra’s al Ghul’s actual name.  We do not know if Bruce lives up to be Ra’s al Ghul’s professed successor or if he holds some of the darkness of the Demon’s Head close to his own heart; we do know that the League of Shadows resurrects Ra’s al Ghul for the purpose of retrieving the Demon’s Head power from Barbara, who does not know how to use it and who does not actually inspire confidence in her band of would-be ninja followers.  Imagine that.

19) Will the Riddler persona reemerge from the vexed and confused Edward Nygma?  Soon?

ANSWER: Yes, Penguin is able to coax the Riddler half of Edward Nygma to the forefront relatively quickly, within the first three episodes of the second half of Season 4.  Ed is still experiencing a psychological tug-of-war between these two distinct sides of himself, but the Riddler definitely has a claim to some of the territory of the shell housing both halves of this troubled but intelligent mind.

20) Is Jerome Valeska actually the Joker?  Or, is he the model for a watchful new individual who will be inspired by and who will adopt a Jerome-esque version of the Joker persona?  What will Penguin and Jerome do together after joining forces in Arkham?  Will they involve other well-known inmates in their plot(s)?

ANSWER: Since Jerome seems to have met his likely permanent end, and since he delivers a speech that addresses this very issue before meeting that grisly, permanent end, and since Jeremiah does not channel Jerome’s more maniacal and chaotic traits, the panelists believe that Jerome is most likely meant to be a model for some watchful individual, waiting to be inspired by his frenetic brand of hullabaloo.  Penguin and Jerome form an uneasy alliance after Jerome essentially tortures Penguin for fun while in Arkham, though he claims that he is testing Penguin to see if he is anything more than “boring.”  Though they ultimately have some well-timed help from Riddler, with Penguin’s prodding, both Penguin and Jerome break out of Arkham, along with Mad Hatter and Scarecrow.  Subsequently, Jerome forms a “Legion of Horribles,” of which Mr. Freeze and Firefly are also members.  This Legion of Horribles plans to assist Jerome in his attack on the City and in his quest of vengeance against his twin brother and against Bruce Wayne, after the latter’s confrontation with Jerome in the House of Mirrors in Season 3.  Fortunately or unfortunately, however, Penguin musters enough moral fortitude to narc on NotJoker; Jerome’s comrades, chiefly the Hatter, suss this duplicity out, and Penguin is thrown onto the blimp meant to crash land into the streets of Gotham with Scarecrow’s poison gas.  Yet, a quick thinking Jim gets cowardly Penguin to do the right thing in the end, though with Jerome’s apparent death, their friendship and alliance seems decidedly ended as well.

21) Will Lee and Jim reunite, and how?  Will Barbara Gordon be conceived on this show, and who will be her mother – Barbara Kean, even though she is crazy in this show, or Lee?

ANSWER: Lee and Jim do not reunite romantically, though both confess to each other how much they care for the other in this broken relationship. Unfortunately, for now, Edward Nygma obsesses over Lee, a fire which Lee only seems too happy to stoke, at least as long as it serves her sudden purpose of crime sprees and villainy.

So far, Barbara Gordon does not seem to be the speck of an iota of a concept on this show, at present.

22) Will Ed make a play for Lee?  Will her (inevitable, one would hope) rejection of him lead to the reemergence of the Riddler identity?

ANSWER: Yes, Ed makes a grand romantic move toward Lee after she impresses him by solving some of his riddles, when he hosts a sadistic sort of game show in the Narrows called the Riddle Factory, which often ends up in the contestants’ maiming or death.  Unfortunately – and somewhat revoltingly – Lee does not outright reject Ed, at least not at first.  She confesses that she does not love him, and though she later proposes that they run away from Gotham City together, as Jim once proposed to her, she changes her mind about that proposal, much to Edward’s stabbing chagrin.  As in, he literally stabs her and she him.  They do not die, however, but, instead, end up on tables in front of a salivating Hugo Strange.  The panelists are not happy or optimistic about this particular plot development.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

23) Is Professor Pyg actually dead?  Alternatively, the producers have allegedly said that Michael Cerveris’ Pyg is not the true Pyg.  If he is not, who is, and will we see him?

ANSWER: So far, the Pyg, fake or not, is gone from Gotham. Will we see Pyg, either the version we have come to know or the alleged “real” version, before the end of the series?  Time will tell.  Maybe.

24) What happened to the young orphan cared for by Penguin, the boy known as Martin?  Will he become a factor in the future, assuming Victor Zsasz hid him as promised and as requested by Penguin?

ANSWER: Sofia Falcone imprisons Martin with some of her goons; however, with help from a newly reemerged Riddler on top of his game, Penguin is able to steal Martin back from Sofia’s clutches and to stow him in an allegedly safe place, the viewer knows not where.

25) Will we see Tommy Elliott, Bruce’s old/new friend, show some indication of his future Hush persona?

ANSWER: Tommy Elliott does not appear in the second half of Season 4.  Will we see Tommy take on a “Hush” like visage before the end of the series?  Time will tell.

26) Did Tabitha succeed in jogging what is left of Butch out of Solomon Grundy’s addled brain?

ANSWER: Yes, Tabby beat Butch right out of Solomon’s head.  Butch is lucid at the start of the second half of Season 4, though he is very much itching to be cured of his Solomon malady from a physical perspective.

27) Will Jim succeed in bringing Harvey back to the fold?

ANSWER: Yes, Jim is able to convince Harvey, who temporarily works as a bartender during his temporary resignation from the force, to return to the police department when Jerome Valeska lets loose on Gotham City.  Harvey is not exactly happy about it, though he seems to come around by the end of the season.

New Questions

1) Panelist Kyle indicates in our podcast episode that Season 5 will, largely, be based upon the series of Batman comics known as “No Man’s Land,” which tells the story of Gotham City in an anarchic state not regulated by a present Batman.  The main villain of this story, at least as inspired by the films directed by Christopher Nolan, is Bane, who will now be played by Shane West.  How can this story make sense when Batman has not yet been part of Gotham? How will Bane’s existence make sense?

2) Barbara, Tabitha, and Selina’s club, a redo of Penguin’s Iceberg Lounge, is called the “Sirens.”  At the end of the season, Barbara, leading the female half of the League of Shadows and with a newfound angst against men, declares war on men as the “Sirens.” Is this meant to be an Easter egg or homage to the Sirens of the comics – or do the producers intend to go through with the previously rumored transition of making Barbara some version of Harley Quinn?  How can the Sirens be the Sirens without an accurate (or free) version of Poison Ivy or a fully realized Catwoman?

3) Will we see Bruce Wayne become Batman in this coming season?  Panelist Kyle has learned that by the end of the season, the show will jump ahead ten years.  What will finally inspire Bruce to take that step toward the shadowy figure of his vision?

4) Will we see a third potential Joker (Not Joker) this season?  Who will it be?  Is Jeremiah Valeska gone for good?

5) What in blazes is Hugo Strange going to do to Lee and Ed?  PLEASE, DO NOT TURN THEM INTO SOME SORT OF SIAMESE TWIN/JOINED AT THE HIP MUTANT EXPERIMENT!

6) Will we see Sofia Falcone again?  Will she become the Hangman this half season?

7) Jeremiah Valeska shoots Selina near the end of the season.  Will this motivate Selina to become Catwoman to preserve her remaining eight lives (in homage to Batman Returns)?

8) Is Butch Gilzean/Solomon Grundy actually dead?  If so, does Gotham not know anything about the Solomon Grundy character?  Chief CP Kylie predicts that Butch/Solomon cannot possibly be dead, and that we will see him again before the end of the series.

9) Is Ra’s al Ghul permanently dead?

10) How can a small, ragtag group of cops led by Jim Gordon, and a nascent Batman/Bruce Wayne, possibly take on a city overrun with enterprising super-villains and otherwise unruly, unsavory anarchists?

PARTING SHOTS

The CPU! Gotham panel and all of its panelists continue to identify moments truly loved and moments truly hated while watching and while discussing the second half of Season 4 in this latest podcast episode, though the panel also universally feels that the show’s writers and producers once again failed to capitalize on positive momentum created by the first half of the season. As the panel discussion demonstrates, none of the panelists reacted positively to the second half of Season 4 overall, though some panelists responded better to certain moments, such as a larger role for Cameron Monaghan’s many versions of Joker/NotJoker, Bruce Wayne’s relationships with Alfred and with Selina Kyle, and Harvey Bullock’s personal redemption.  In fact, finally, all panelists have unanimously reached the point of hating the direction of the show and of being impatient with the show’s “two steps forward, four steps back” approach to character progression, an approach which proves more frustrating than titillating or, minimally, entertaining.  Still, all panelists persevere, finding our discussions about the controlled disorder of Gotham endlessly engaging, even when the show itself is not, and if we do say so ourselves.

Further, the previous unrest among the panelists, given the writers’ track record to date, still produces a variety of emotions and trust issues, preventing most if not all panel members from being able to recommend watching the show, in good conscience, to anyone, especially now.  The panel is still open to a story that seems to follow a consistent set of rules, no matter how much of a deviation it might be from the Batman comics or franchise proper, as long as the writers do not continue to change the direction of the show to compensate for “Twitter reaction.”  In fact, most of the panel finds this half of the fourth season to be the show’s new low point, even as it, still, contained some engaging moments of entertainment. The panelists, as such, continue to advise the writers to revisit not only the Batman comics but also their original blueprint for the show and to adhere to a structure and story continuity for the show that rightly capitalizes upon the amazing – and the strongest – performances of the cast, which the panel universally agrees are good if not phenomenal.  Also, the writers should continue to track their own continuity and not turn what is one of the tightest and most enjoyed (and most widely known) comic book properties into an absurdist’s take on the story, or they will alienate viewers.  The panelists implore Gotham’s writers to end on the best moment possible, and one safely based in the canon, while maintaining continuity with the paths already explored on this series, so as to provide at least our viewers and panelists with some sense that this exercise of watching five grossly uneven seasons, in terms of writing and direction, is all worth something in the end.

LOOKING AHEAD

Gotham has been renewed for a fifth and final season, albeit a shorter one at thirteen episodes, which is slated to premiere on Fox on Thursday, January 3, 2019, at 8:00 PM. The Gotham podcast panel will next reconvene following the series finale, at which time we will also Look Back at the show as a whole and offer our final, post-mortem ruminations related to the five tempestuously uneven seasons of this Batman prequel – which, unfortunately, could ultimately become a roast, if the show does not significantly and convincingly rebound in these up and coming, remaining thirteen episodes.  Stay tuned!

NEXT CPU! LIVE!

CPU! is going live again!!!  CPU! will next be LIVE at Grand Rapids Comic-Con. for our third annual appearance at the Con, on November 10, 2018, at 7:00 PM!  In that live podcast (also streamed to our Facebook page), a brand new panel will gather together to debate the multifaceted, multi-generational universe behind Star Trek. This panel will also seed a new ongoing series panel for the podcast!  Like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter and Instagram to keep abreast of all the details, but here’s the art for it for now!  Stay tuned!

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DC Television Universe, Episode Sixteen: Supergirl, Season Three (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in October 2018, our DC Television Universe or DCTU panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – reconvenes Around the Water Cooler for the sixteenth episode of our DCTU ongoing series.  In this episode, the panel discusses Season 3 of the Arrowverse’s final spin-off, Supergirl. If you have not watched any of Supergirl, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
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