DC Television Universe, Episode Fifteen: 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 fifteenth 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
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

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PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 15, “Supergirl” – Season Three, the DCTU Panel’s Review and Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Supergirl” is a superhero action-adventure drama based on the DC Comics character Supergirl (Kara Zor-El), created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino, which currently airs on the CW, fall to spring Sundays at 8:00 PM.

What: “Supergirl,” a series developed by Ali Adler, Greg Berlanti, and Andrew Kreisberg (the latter two having previously created Arrow and The Flash) and starring Melissa Benoist in the title role.  This series is considered a spin-off from Arrow and is part of the so-called “Arrowverse.” Supergirl is a costumed super-heroine who is the cousin to Superman and one of the last surviving Kryptonians.

SYNOPSIS

Kara Zor-El (Benoist) was sent to Earth from the doomed planet Krypton as a 13-year-old by her parents Zor-El and Alura.  Alura gave her instructions to protect her infant cousin Kal-El, and informed her that she, like her cousin, would have extraordinary powers under Earth’s yellow sun. Kara’s spacecraft was knocked off course by a shock wave from Krypton’s explosion and forced into the Phantom Zone, where it stayed for 24 years. During this period, time stopped for Kara, and when the spacecraft eventually escaped the Phantom Zone, she still appeared to be a 13-year-old girl. By the time the spacecraft crash landed on Earth, Kal-El had grown up and become Superman. After helping her out of the craft, Superman took Kara to be adopted by his friends, the Danvers family. The series begins eleven years later, when the now 24-year-old Kara is learning to embrace her powers after previously hiding them.

When: Season 3 aired from October 9, 2017, to June 18, 2018, on the CW.

Where: The action is primarily set in the fictional National City, presumably a West Coast location in the DC Comics Universe.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode covering Season 1 via the link below!  It should be noted that CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie previously picked up this show during the 2015 Fall Preview, noting:

Pro: Melissa Benoist doesn’t offend me.  As the erstwhile Marley on Glee, she’s actually the only [new] New Direction-er that didn’t annoy the pants off me.  Pro: Dr. Lexie Gray (Chyler Leigh) plays Kara Zor-El’s adopted sister, and her departure was one of a series of missteps that paved my shark-jumping abandonment of Grey’s Anatomy. I missed her.  I do believe the “adopted sister” motif deviates from the canon slightly, but then again, Supergirl does not enjoy the consistency of the threads underlying the Man of Steel’s long history.  Pro: James “Jimmy” Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) is black.  Hey, that doesn’t often happen.  Pro: this is not Smallville’s version of the same character.  I despised their take on Supergirl and the actress who played her.  Con: this seems very teen drama relatively speaking; despite Kara being 24, according to the synopsis, Marley grows into her cape in her own version of Smallville? Could get very old very quickly and be a bit too derivative of the Superman tellings.  Con: Ally McBeal herself (Calista Flockhart), post-face-lift and scary contacts, plays the editor.  Con: who could they possibly stunt cast as cousin Kal-El, i.e. Supes the Man himself? Because they should stunt cast him, even though they’ve already said they won’t.  I think they must (is that who Dean Cain is playing…someone freaking page Tom Welling already!?  Or, Henry Cavill if one must).  The pros outweigh the cons as far as adding it to my already miles long list, plus it’s a DC property, so I’m along for the ride.  I just hope that the earnestness that Melissa Benoist brings to her roles renders her a convincing “Kara Zor-El.”

How – as in How’s It Going? – THOUGHTS

This is the fifteenth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Here are only the prior Supergirl episodes in the series; as we flush out seasons of all Arrowverse shows, older episodes will be searchable via the website – click the upper right dialog box in the header, the picture of the couch full of TV watchers. Listen to each episode here:

DCTU Series, Episode 5, “Supergirl,” Season One

DCTU Series, Episode 8, “Supergirl,” Season Two
DCTU Series, Episode 11, the DCTU Mid-Season Roundup, 2017
In our last DCTU episode, our cheeky and feisty DCTU panel – namely Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – continued addressing the most recent full seasons of each of the four “Arrowverse” series in order of the airing of each season finale by discussing the fourth season of The Flash. Tonight’s episode finds the panel returning to the Water Cooler for the final time this go-round to talk the third season of Supergirl, in the fifteenth episode of our DCTU series.  The discussion herein heavily dissects the season-long focus on villain Reign (Odette Annable), on the overwhelming and largely tedious meditation on romance (in this more than any other Arrowverse show), and on how the National City section of the Arrowverse is faring as a whole.  In fact, the panelists note that, as much as DC’s Legends of Tomorrow improved this season, Supergirl, in terms of production and writing quality and overall entertainment value, traveled in quite the opposite direction, so much so that the panel spent a large amount of this discussion arguing over which property could be considered worse right now, in our would-be expert opinions: this spin-off version of the “Superman” universe or Arrow, which has not consistently been a draw for our DCTU panel for several seasons now.  The discussion, therefore, is certainly spicy, as always, and may even be borderline harsh; however, the panelists, especially those devoted to the “Superman” and “Supergirl” side of DC, find this deterioration in quality and in story direction to more than a little disappointing.  Moderator and Chief CP Kylie, i.e. me, described this plummet in presentation as “soul crushing.”  Hey, I really love the Superman/Supergirl legacy and mythos and am on the struggle bus when it comes to the current direction of Supergirl, the show’s behind-the-scenes difficulties this season notwithstanding.

This particular episode was recorded in October 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of Season 3 of Supergirl. 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! Our next podcast episode will return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as our Marvel’s Defenders Series panel (the same, superhero/comic book minded members of the DCTU panel) returns to the Water Cooler to discuss Marvel’s Iron Fist, Season 2.  Please note that we recorded our review and discussion of Iron Fist’s second season before the cancellation announcement that Netflix made last week; as such, our Marvel’s Defenders Series panel will return in the near future to engage in not only a review of Daredevil, Season 3, but also a post-mortem discussion on the fate of Danny Rand and his predominantly immortal company.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Will the show explore more of Winn Schott’s (Jeremy Jordan) relationship with his father, notable Superman villain Toyman, in the future?

ANSWER: The answer to this question entirely depends upon the meaning of “explore.”  You see, gentle listener, apparently the Toyman reaches his untimely end and passes away, gently, gleefully, and relatively peacefully in Season 3. Winn, James aka “Jimmy” Olsen (Mehcad Brooks), and Kara attend his dad’s funeral, where one of his devotees allows the erstwhile Toyman’s toys to run amok and threaten, particularly, Supergirl in the process.  When Winn arrives at his father’s funeral, however, he is reconnected with his estranged mother, played by Laurie Metcalf, who tells Winn that his father threatened her life and her son’s if she continued to try to see her child after she also attempted to extricate herself from her abusive marriage to her ex-husband, Winn’s father, and the super-criminal known as Toyman.  Winn does not believe his mom at first, after hearing from his father throughout his childhood that his mom abandoned him, but this renewed connection does allow Winn to understand more about his mother and less about the motives of his father, a complex man with an unexplained love for toys.
Jeremy Jordan, however, has dropped to “recurring” status for Season 4 of Supergirl, as Winn’s portraying actor decided to return to his roots on Broadway.  So, the chances of further exploring the Toyman’s son’s family history seem pretty bleak right about now.  Plus, the panel questions whether the Toyman’s death is fact or fiction and, frankly, permanent; after all, he’s a relatively important “Superman” villain.
2) Will the Guardian story line continue?  The panel universally dislikes it but sees the glaringly apparent issue surrounding the character of James Olsen, namely that on this show and without Guardian, he has nothing left to make his character worthwhile.  Will Winn get into costumed crime-fighting as James’ sidekick?
ANSWER: The Guardian story line continues this season, evincing universal winces and groans from all six of our DCTU panelists, who find the James aka “Jimmy” Olsen character painfully superfluous.  The panel’s reactions range from feeling strongly that this depiction of Jimmy is not true to the comic stories (because James is not a tall drink of water like Mr. Brooks in those stories) to the fact that the writers and producers are trying too hard to make Jimmy/James fit into the overall narrative of Supergirl, which is somewhat scattered on its own as it is.  What we can confidently confirm, however, is that Winn avoids costumes while serving as Guardian’s sidekick, preferring his level of superhero assistance to remain Batcave-like and confined to the comfort of a surveillance van on loan from the DEO.  Not everyone is ready to barrel head-first into the fight, after all.
Only Jimmy.
3) Is Jeremiah Danvers (Dean Cain), Alex’s (Chyler Leigh) father and Kara’s adoptive father, in league with Lillian Luthor (Brenda Strong) and Cadmus or not?  The panel is confused by his story development.  He also has cybernetic enhancements.  Is he being groomed to be the real or actual or next Cyborg Superman?  Is Hank Henshaw (David Harewood) truly Cyborg Superman, even though he doesn’t appear to be channeling Superman at all?
ANSWER: Unknown.  Though Lillian makes a triumphant return in Season 3, in a failed attempt to seemingly make amends with her adoptive daughter Lena (Katie McGrath), Jeremiah Danvers does not return.  Thus, we do not know where he stands regarding his cybernetic enhancements or his relationship to Cyborg Superman/Hank Henshaw.
4) Will Lena Luthor be driven to evil impulses, either by her genetic link to Lionel or by her grooming from scorning adoptive mother Lillian (since, spoiler, Lena’s biological mother was a mistress of her father Lionel’s), as her brother Lex was?
ANSWER: Though Lena still walks on the good side of the moral coin, she clearly displays the genetic ambition and need to control the powerful items and people around her, almost to the same ego-maniacal level of her brother.  She is quick to learn how to fashion Kryptonite and to subdue “World Killers” raised from ashes by Kryptonian witches.  She seems capable of quite a lot…but she is not evil.  Yet.
5) Will Supergirl ever visit her cousin Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) in Metropolis and help him out?  Will Superman appear next season?  The panel enthusiastically votes yes – and sooner rather than later – to this eventuality.
ANSWER: Clark Kent aka Superman does not appear in Season 3.  He will appear in Season 4, however, especially in the Arrowverse crossover event entitled “Elseworlds.”  Stay tuned.
6) Will Mon-El (Chris Wood) return from his wormhole trip?  Will he be able to return to Supergirl’s Earth, despite the trace amounts of lead that Supergirl allowed to be released into the atmosphere?  Or, will he land on a different Earth in the multiverse, as Kristen predicts?  Or, will he find the Green Lantern Council and be made a Green Lantern, as Kyle noted is a possible, comics-inspired pathway for him?
ANSWER: Mon-El returns and sets up the dopiest love triangle this side of Bermuda.  You see, when Mon-El emerges from the wormhole, he finds himself several centuries into the future, where he ends up co-forming a ragtag team of super-powered beings known as the Legion of Superheroes, or, simply, the Legion.  He also gets married to Imra Ardeen aka Saturn Girl when he does not believe he will ever see Kara again and out of an alliance-forming arrangement with her Saturnian family.  By the time he returns, the elevated lead that eliminated the Daxamites is gone, so he is able to survive.  Yet, the Legion decides to return to the past to stop what is known as Blight, an advanced form of a being called Pestilence, a World Killer sent from Krypton to destroy Earth by uniting with Reign, a female character not dissimilar to Doomsday in the “Superman” stories.  Mon-El, though, stays very much in this universe, around this version of Earth, and comes nowhere close to becoming a Green Lantern, which would have been far cooler than the story we were served up this season with respect to his character.  Listen to the podcast episode for the panel’s spicy reaction (despite panelist Kristen fanning herself) to the return of Mon-El.
7) Who is Reign?  If Reign becomes Supergirl’s foe in Season 3, will we also see her transform into – or be accompanied by – an appearance of Doomsday, since they are similar characters?  Was the epilogue shown at the end of Season 2 similarly timed to when Krypton collided with its sun, or was Reign sent to Earth thousands of years earlier, as Kyle noted also occurred in the comics?
ANSWER: Reign is created by a trio of witches on Krypton who believe that she will take over Earth and make it suitable for Kryptonians to resettle.  Part of this edict also involves stopping Supergirl, since these witches fully knew that both Kal-El aka Superman and Kara Zor-El aka Supergirl were also headed toward Earth when Krypton collided with its red sun.  Reign is not accompanied by Doomsday in Season 3 (that would have made the story far too complicated, really).  The epilogue of Season 2 shows the birth of Reign, but the story as depicted on the show seems to suggest that Reign was fashioned by the witches, who survive Krypton’s demise, shortly before the destruction of Krypton, at or around the same time Kal-El and Kara are sent to Earth, and that Reign is sent to Earth shortly thereafter.  There is, at least, no suggestion that can be gleaned from Season 3 supporting the idea that the witches and/or Reign herself are thousands of years old.  Plus, Reign is subjugated as a latent identity or being within what appears to be a human woman named Samantha Arias, who begins to lose time and memory as the Reign persona emerges through the actions and alleged magic of the witches.  Listen to the podcast episode for further details.
8) Is Cat Grant back for any length of time?  For how long exactly – and why?
ANSWER: Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) does not appear in Season 3.  We are kind of okay with that.
9) Is the show trying to lead the audience toward seeing J’onn J’onzz aka Martian Manhunter (David Harewood) and M’gann M’orzz aka Miss Martian (Sharon Leal) as a possible romantic coupling?  Will Miss Martian be back?
ANSWER: The panel continues to struggle with this question, particularly as M’gann entices J’onn to return to Mars, where he not only discovers a rebellion of White Martians aiming to overthrow the other White Martians, but that his father is still alive and being held captive by the mean White Martians; M’yrnn J’onzz is played by Carl Lumbly, best known for his role on Alias. So, Miss Martian returns, but her relationship to J’onn is still somewhat nebulous as far as their mutual level of affection.  As for the existence of a large population of White Martians on Mars, this gets some of our panelists, who are particularly passionate about the Martian Manhunter character, pretty hot.  Listen to the podcast episode for their reactions.
10) Are Winn and Lyra (Tamzin Merchant) still together?  Do they have to be?
ANSWER: Lyra does not return in Season 3.  I guess that relationship was short-lived.  Mercifully.
11) Will we see any other Superman rogues of note, including Brainiac, Zod (as not a silver Kryptonite-induced hallucination), Lex Luthor, Doomsday, etc.?
ANSWER: We see Brainiac-5, an offshoot of the Brainiac hive but a good guy, playing as a member of the Legion.  Other than that, the main villain on the season is Reign, with secondary appearances by Livewire and the introduction of a Supergirl-exclusive villain, Psy.
12) Will Superman have to help Supergirl fight off Reign?
ANSWER: Superman does not return to Supergirl on-screen in Season 3; however, when Reign makes her play for world destruction near the end of the season, there is mention that Superman is off trying to stop some of the after-effects of Reign’s actions in Madagascar.  So, he is helping his cousin.  We just don’t get to see it, this time.
13) Why is the show changing the Martian Manhunter story so much?  Are the extra Martians real?  Where is the story involving Manhunter’s father going?
ANSWER: The extra Martians are real, and panelist Kyle will not stand for it!  The Manhunter’s dad, M’yrnn, was captured by the White Martians because he holds the secrets and history of their people; however, when J’onn brings his father to Earth with him, the viewer learns that M’yrnn is dying of natural causes anyway, which induces him to lose his memory and faculties, in a very Alzheimer’s-like way.  M’yrnn, then, must psychically bond with J’onn to preserve the Martian knowledge of their family history and the religion that M’yrnn serves, but M’yrnn is not able to complete the psychic transfer.  He, instead, offers to help Superman in Madagascar in sacrifice to save the Earth.  RIP, M’yrnn.  We hardly knew ye.
14) What will Reign do to National City and to Earth 38 now that she is “awake?”
ANSWER: She causes a bunch of mayhem, mess, and destruction, as her genetic mission is to destroy the world and to remake it in Krypton’s image.  Supergirl, with help from her friends and family, however, saves the day, and Reign is no more.  If you want to learn how, watch the season!
New Questions
1) Are they truly gearing to launch a new “Superman” television show with the potential and foretold return of Superman, as played by Tyler Hoechlin, and the casting of Lois Lane with Grimm alumna Elizabeth Tulloch, as the panel and the press have speculated and/or reported?
2) Is the Kara double that appears at the end of the season a “Bizarro” version of Supergirl?  Or, is the show appropriating the “Red Sun” Elseworlds story originally attributed to Superman?
3) What is J’onn J’onzz going to do now that he has stepped down from and has presumably left the DEO?  Will the Martian Manhunter still feature on Supergirl at all?  Is Mr. Harewood requesting a recurring status like his cast-mate, Jeremy Jordan?
4) Since James Olsen reveals to National City that he is Guardian, and since Winn has left the DEO to go to the future with Mon-El, will James still be Guardian?  The panel rejects this potential future.
5) Where is the relationship between James/Jimmy and Lena going?  Will Lena become evil like her brother, Lex?  Will we get to see Lex this coming season, in any form?
6) How is it that Lena learned to make Kryptonite and so fast?  Will she make other colors of Kryptonite, since she reproduced the Black Kryptonite from Argo City in addition to the garden variety irradiated Green Kryptonite? What is she planning to do with the Black Kryptonite she makes at the end of Season 3?
7) Will Kara communicate with and/or visit her apparently alive mother Alura (Erica Durance) further?  How?
8) Since Brainy (aka Brainiac-5) decides to stay in the past and to help Supergirl and her friends, and since he alludes to “the evil one” of his AI “relatives,” will we see Brainiac Prime in Season 4?  Is the Kara double a Brainiac creation? Is the Kara double Brainiac him/itself?
9) Presuming that Livewire does not truly die but transforms into the all-electricity version of herself in Season 3, will we see her in this true form in Season 4?
PARTING SHOTS
Friends: Supergirl Season 3 really lost the DCTU panel this go-round.  While some panelists continue to believe that Arrow remains the worst of the Arrowverse four on the CW, some of the other panelists, your main moderator and Chief CP included, regard Supergirl as having taken a spectacular tumble in quality and in overall entertainment value, to the detriment of the entire series and more-so than the series from which it spun off.  Though all panelists remain appreciative of Benoist’s portrayal of the “Girl of Steel,” owing to her winning charisma and “adorkable” pastiche, the panel is struggling far more with the need for the James/Jimmy Olsen character and with many of the arcs of the supporting characters, including Alex’s (Chyler Leigh) maudlin struggle to come to terms with her identity as a gay woman and with what she wants as a working female in today’s society; the neutering of the Martian Manhunter character and the general confusion around how any Martian still survives apart from him; and now, with the departure of Jordan from series regular status, the impending lack of Winn, who many of the panel deem to be the “Cisco of Supergirl.” 
Plus, the panel quickly reached consensus around the success of Reign as a villain, in that every panelist thought she was a failure.  Not only was her portraying actor, Annable, seemingly unequal to the task of creating a formidable presence as a Doomsday-like being capable of destroying an entire planet, but the story around her was poorly written and poorly directed, rendering the entirety of Season 3 into what felt like one bad exercise in high school theater.  Furthermore, the focus on romantic relationships on Supergirl, particularly, has only served to bog down and to stymie the show’s creative potential; unlike the other Arrowverse shows, romance is a main, rather than a supporting, theme of this program, which becomes tedious and repetitive, at least in the opinions of all of our DCTU panelists. The panel now only tepidly recommends Supergirl to fans of comic books, particularly from the DC universe, and of the character of Supergirl/Kara Zor-El (or even Superman/Kal-El/Clark Kent); to fans of the other Arrowverse shows; to fans of comic books who can also tolerate romantic comedy formulas, as the series continues to be somewhat derivative of rom-com tropes (those fans might be the happiest of any potential viewers, truly); and to young girls and female fans who champion “girl power” and who might find a solid idol in Kara Danvers/Zor-El aka Supergirl.  The panel cautions, however, that Season 3 is a veritable let-down, in all senses of that turn of phrase, and should not be used as a measurement bar by which to score the success of the entire series.
Because of the panel’s struggle with Season 3, the panel is apprehensive about the future of Supergirl.  Will the already over-extended producers and writers of the Arrowverse and particularly of this show see the missteps and recover, or will Supergirl steadily decline in quality and in story logic as Arrow has consistently done since its own third season?  Ultimately, so our panel opines, here’s hoping Season 4 improves dramatically, or Supergirl will find its “on the bubble” status more than burst when it comes time for the CW to continue this franchise of four at the end of the current TV season.
LOOKING AHEAD
The fourth season of Supergirl premiered on Sunday, October 14, 2018, at 8:00 PM on the CW!  The DCTU podcast panel will next chat Supergirl and all of the other Arrowverse entries during our mid-season roundup of the Arrowverse, which will occur in or around January 2019, in Episode 16 of our ongoing series.  Until then!

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 Fourteen: The Flash, Season Four (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 fourteenth episode of our DCTU ongoing series.  In this episode, the panel discusses Season 4 of the Arrowverse’s first spin-off, The Flash. If you have not watched any of The Flash, 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: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 14, “The Flash” – Season Four, the DCTU Panel’s Review and Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “The Flash” is a superhero/action/mystery drama centered on events and characters inspired by The Flash franchise of the DC Comic Universe, which currently airs on the CW, fall to spring Tuesdays at 8:00 PM.

What: “The Flash,” a series developed by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and Geoff Johns, based on the DC Comics character Barry Allen / The Flash, a costumed superhero crime-fighter with the power to move at superhuman speeds. This series is considered a spin-off from Arrow. The series follows Allen (Grant Gustin), a crime scene investigator who gains super-human speed, which he uses to fight criminals, including others who have also gained superhuman abilities.

SYNOPSIS

After witnessing his mother’s supernatural murder and his father’s wrongful conviction for the crime, Barry Allen (Gustin) is taken in by Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) and his family. Allen becomes a brilliant but socially awkward crime scene investigator for the Central City Police Department. His obsession with his tragic past causes him to become an outcast among his peers; he investigates cold cases, paranormal occurrences, and cutting-edge scientific advancements that may shed light on his mother’s murder. No one believes his description of the crime—that a ball of lightning with the face of a man invaded their home that night—and Allen is fiercely driven to vindicate himself and to clear his father’s name. Fourteen years after his mother’s death, an advanced particle accelerator malfunctions during its public unveiling, bathing the city center with a previously unknown form of radiation during a severe thunderstorm. Allen is struck by lightning from the storm and doused with chemicals in his lab. Awakening after a nine-month coma, he discovers he has the ability to move at superhuman speeds. Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanaugh), the disgraced designer of the failed particle accelerator, describes Barry’s special nature as “meta-human.” Allen soon discovers that he is not the only one who was changed by the radiation. Allen vows to use his gifts to protect Central City from the escalating violence of meta-human and other criminals. He is aided by a few close friends and associates who guard his secrets.

When: Season 4 aired on the CW from October 10, 2017, to May 22, 2018.

Where: The action is set in fictional Central City, one of the primary settings of The Flash franchise.  The action does branch out in the occasional crossover with Arrow to Star City (formerly Starling City) and, occasionally, to other dimensions in a “multi-verse.”

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the first Flash podcast episode via the embedded link below!  It should be noted that CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie previously picked up this show during the 2014 Fall Preview, noting:

The DC comics universe is attempting some major expansions now that Marvel is push and shove proliferating on big and small screens everywhere.  The Flash is a classic hero; he was given an appearance on Smallville, and there is some crossover with Arrow, which I’ve decided to catch up on, since the CW is offering DC Comics a chance to implement those crossovers. Also, I like the choice for the title role.  The Flash is a non-flashy guy, almost DC’s equivalent of Spider Man, given an extraordinary ability, as opposed to several.  It could be an engaging new take on an old superhero story.

How – as in How’s It Going? – THOUGHTS

This is the fourteenth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Here are only the prior The Flash episodes in the series; as we flush out seasons of all Arrowverse shows, older episodes will be searchable via the website – click the upper right dialog box in the header, the picture of the couch full of TV watchers. Listen to each episode here:

DCTU Series, Episode 3, “The Flash,” Seasons 1-2

DCTU Series, Episode 9, “The Flash, “Season 3
DCTU Series, Episode 11, the DCTU Mid-Season Roundup, 2017
In our last DCTU episode, our cheeky and feisty DCTU panel – namely Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – continued addressing the most recent full seasons of each of the four “Arrowverse” series in order of the airing of each season finale by discussing the sixth season of Arrow.  Tonight’s episode finds the panel returning to the Water Cooler to talk the fourth season of The Flash in the fourteenth episode of our DCTU series.  The discussion herein considers the success of Golden Age villain “The Thinker” (Neil Sandilands), the introduction of Ralph Dibney aka Elongated Man, the continued dual nature of Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker), and how the Central City section of the Arrowverse is faring as a whole.  In fact, the panelists’ typically unanimous and stalwart support of The Flash as the best of the CW’s DC Universe offerings began to wane a little this time, with some of the panelists expressing dissatisfaction with repetitive story-telling and questionable character decisions, while other panelists still see The Flash as the most consistent and, therefore, most enjoyable property of the four Arrowverse shows.

This particular episode was recorded in October 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of Season 4 of The Flash. 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 DCTU panel returns a final time (for now) to the proverbial Water Cooler to discuss Season 3 of Supergirl, as our Arrowverse revisits continue.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) How; when, particularly within our timeline; and where on Earth Prime will Barry return from his journey into the Speed Force following the events of Season 3?

ANSWER: Barry returns to Central City six months after entering into the Speed Force, roughly equal to our timeline but, perhaps, a bit ahead of the game, considering the pop culture references that Cisco (Carlos Valdes) frequently makes. Barry emerges from the Speed Force with help from Team Flash, against Iris’ (Candice Patton) orders as Team Captain, as she tries to hold to Barry’s instructions not to rescue him prior to his entry into the Speed Force. The Team decides to extract Barry from the Speed Force when Cisco and Wally aka Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale) realize that they are struggling to keep the evil meta-humans in Central City at bay without The Flash. So, with the help of an item that Cisco calls a “Quark Sphere,” the Team liberates Barry; though they are on the Central City outskirts to execute this metaphysical disruption, Barry emerges mid-downtown.  Barry is not cognizant of his surroundings for quite some time; only when Iris is in danger does he regain his faculties and sense of the normal passage of time.  What’s more, the opening of the Speed Force causes a release of dark matter to affect a bus of ordinary citizens just trying to live their ordinary lives – until they are made extraordinary by this exposure. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

2) How much time will have passed while Barry is gone, and what will have happened to the other characters left in Central City, particularly Iris, Wally West aka Kid Flash, Joe, and Cisco Ramon aka Vibe?

ANSWER: Six months pass while Barry is in the Speed Force.  Iris has been elevated to captain/commander of Team Flash while trying to soldier on without Barry.  Kid Flash and Vibe try to lead the superhero brigade in Central City with occasional help from a less enthusiastic Killer Frost, who emerges every so often when an emotional reaction is triggered for Caitlin.  Joe, in the meantime, marries Cecile and prepares to have a child, as Cecile is quite pregnant at the start of this season.

3) Is Caitlin Snow, in fact, fully transitioned to Killer Frost?  Does this mean she will be Barry’s enemy permanently?  What is she involved in while Barry is away?

ANSWER: No, Caitlin is not permanently Killer Frost – or vice versa.  Caitlin and Killer Frost are two separate, disassociated personalities within the body of one woman.  Neither personality has a hold over when she emerges or disappears into that woman’s body.  In any visage, though, both Caitlin and Killer Frost act as friend/ally or reluctant ally (respectively) to Barry and to Team Flash.  We learn later in the season, however, that Caitlin seeks help in suppressing Killer Frost, and/or Killer Frost seeks help in not being suppressed, with the help of a meta-human called Amunet aka the Blacksmith, played by Katee Sackhoff.  Let’s just say that “Cait” walks on her wilder side and lives to regret some of her decision-making – and by her, I mean both Caitlin and Killer Frost.

4) Will we see another dimensional doppelganger of Harrison Wells?  Or, will Earth 2’s Harry return for a long-term visit, since his daughter, otherwise known as Jessie Quick, is currently on Earth 3 in Jay Garrick’s stead?

ANSWER: Harry Wells, the Earth 2 version of Harrison Wells, stays for the length of Season 4; however, he returns to Earth 2 at the end of the season for reasons discussed below.

5) Is Julian gone for good?  Will we ever see Doctor Alchemy again?

ANSWER: We have not seen either Julian or Doctor Alchemy again (yet).  We have not even seen Draco Malfoy!  We would be happy to see any version of him, as long as the face is still Tom Felton’s.

6) It has been announced that Wentworth Miller, who plays Leonard Snart aka Captain Cold in the Arrowverse, is filming his last episodes for the CW DC universe.  Will he appear on The Flash, and how will his final appearance take shape?

ANSWER: Yes, Wentworth Miller appears on The Flash one final time as Leo Snart, the Earth X version of Mr. Snart, to whom we are first introduced in the Crisis on Earth X crossover event that aired in December 2017.  Leo is a happier, gay version of Leonard – he is marrying The Ray, after all – and finds time to counsel Barry through a period of grief, when Barry believes that Ralph Dibney is the latest fatality of the Thinker’s serial murders of the bus meta-humans.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

7) Who will be the season-arching villain for Season 4?  Which of Flash’s rogues will appear and/or return in the fourth season?  Will they appear together, as panelist Kyle would like to see?

ANSWER: The season-arching villain of Season 4 is Golden Age “Flash” baddie Clifford DeVoe aka The Thinker, who is determined to be the smartest man on Earth Prime.  The Thinker, however, does not work well with others, so we do not see him join forces with any other big “Flash” villains.  Gorilla Grodd, however, returns for a visit in Season 4, and the panel is always happy (and impressed) when they see him.

8) Will Barry and Iris finally get married?

ANSWER: Yes.  In the mid-season crossover, Crisis on Earth X, Barry and Iris finally chuck it all and tie the knot – and then get upstaged by Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) in what the panel has deemed to be the biggest “dick” move of Ollie’s career, which we have discussed in prior DCTU episodes.

9) Will Barry Allen/The Flash emerge from his framing for murder by The Thinker unscathed?  The panel believes that he will end up in the ARGUS/Iron Heights facility for some time as the Thinker originally seemed to intend, but what is The Thinker trying to do?

ANSWER: Ultimately, yes, Barry succeeds in un-framing himself but not without a tidy prison sentence thanks to the Thinker in the meantime.  Barry is saved at his appeal by a shape-shifting Elongated Man, who morphs into the initial version of Clifford DeVoe in order to show the presiding judge that the murder/DeVoe’s death are fake.  Barry spends about three episodes in Iron Heights before achieving absolution.  As for what the Thinker is trying to do, it appears that each step in his nefarious master scheme, including ejecting Barry from the Speed Force, creating a bus full of meta-humans, framing Barry for his not-murder, and subsequent events, was designed to position Barry to be a host for Clifford’s consciousness while simultaneously rendering the world catatonic with some brain-busting satellites under control of STAR Labs as part of what DeVoe labels an Enlightenment Machine.  The panel is not certain that the show executed the best possible storytelling while making use of the Thinker as a villain, but Barry’s framing occurs due to DeVoe’s master manipulation, or so he asserts during the season.  Does it all make sense?  The panel spends considerable time discussing the conceivable answers to this question in the podcast episode.

10) Why does Amunet (Katee Sackhoff) matter at all?  The panel finds her somewhat lame, and panelist Spencer takes special issue with her accent.

ANSWER: Well, as far as we can guess, Amunet really only matters because she is able to fashion a “bomb” out of some metal she has to carry around in a bucket in order to use her special ability.  Panelist Kyle calls her “Discount Magneto.”  Panelist Spencer remains offended by her accent.  The rest of the panel continues to cry “lame” at the very thought of her.  Sorry, Katee.

11) Will Harry Wells have to square off against The Thinker in his new, BrainStorm meta-body?

ANSWER: Unfortunately, Harry never gets the chance to go up against the Thinker meaningfully by himself and, certainly, not while the Thinker is occupying BrainStorm’s body.  Harry sets out on a quest to become as smart and as quick-thinking as the Thinker by inventing a “thinking cap,” which does not look dissimilar to the contraption that Doctor Emmett Brown fashions in 1955 in Back to the Future. Harry, as he expands the programming of the device, becomes addicted to it, so much so that he asks Gideon, in the white room, to enhance the cap so that he might be able to stop the Thinker.  Despite Gideon’s protests and warnings, Harry forces the artificial intelligence to go forward with the enhancement process; however, it backfires as she originally estimated and fries Harry’s synapses.  He spends the remainder of the season trying to rewire his brain back to some semblance of intelligence, so that he does not lose thoughts, memories, and sense of self, though even he recognizes that he will never be the stellar mind he once was upon regaining some normalcy of cognition.  It is for this reason that he returns to Earth 2 and to his daughter Jessie.  

New Questions

1) Will Gorilla Grodd return?

2) With the appearance of Nora, Barry and Iris’ daughter from the future, how much time will she spend on the show, and which comic story are they trying to channel?  Is it Flashpoint Redux or something else?

3) Will Ralph become a permanent member of Team Flash?

4) Will the Trickster, as played by Mark Hamill, ever return?

5) Will we see other Barry/Iris future generations, such as Nora’s son Bart Allen, who becomes another incarnation/version of Flash in the comics?

6) Will the show return to more of a classic format: strong villain, an advisory version of Harrison Wells, and Barry being the primary speedster? The panel votes yes; some panelists hope profoundly that the Nora character will not be overused or become too omnipresent in Season 5, though those panelists might be facing profound disappointment as a result.

7) What is the writing that Barry uses when he emerges from the Speed Force, and that Nora is using near the end of the season?  Does it mean something?  Is it important? Is it Kryptonian? Is it something else?

8) Was Cecile’s meta-ability of being able to read minds exclusive to just her pregnancy, as Caitlin initially theorizes, or is Cecile some lingering type of meta herself?  Alternatively, will her baby daughter one day be a meta?

9) Who is the new female speedster that Jay Garrick said he was training as he transitions into retirement from being Earth 3’s Flash?

10) The show is seeding the idea that Caitlin might have always had Killer Frost in her, and that her disassociated personality might not have been caused by the particle accelerator explosion in Season 1.  What did cause that split in Caitlin’s past?  How is she able to manifest freezing powers because of it?

11) Will we learn more of what happened to Barry while he was in the Speed Force in Season 5?

12) What is Nora’s “big, big mistake?”  Helping her future dad in the past? Or something else?

13) Will we get to see Eobard Thawne aka Reverse Flash next season (with a plausible explanation as to how and why)?

14) Who will be the season-arching villain for Season 5?  Which of Flash’s rogues will appear and/or return in the fifth season?  Will they appear together, as panelist Kyle would like to see?

PARTING SHOTS

The CPU! DCTU panel continues to universally recommend The Flash to fans of comic books, particularly from the DC universe, and of the Flash franchise, though now some of the panel’s members are growing more restless with The Flash and what they consider to be two weaker seasons compared to the show’s strong two first seasons.  Still, most if not all of the panel continues to believe, generally, that even casual comic book/superhero fans will find something to love in what the panel primarily regards to be the Arrowverse’s most consistent if not best series.  The panel also continues to universally praise the ensemble cast as the series’ most solid feature and the general direction of the show, though, with the publication of this episode, there are some panelists who quibble with writing decisions, particularly around the third season’s main villain, Savitar, and the fourth season’s villain, the Thinker.  As several panelists note in tonight’s episode, however, even though this season might not be as mesmerizing as Seasons 1 and 2 (though the panel unanimously agrees that Season 4 surpasses Season 3 in quality, in lieu of the stumbling around the “Flashpoint” story line in the last season), the weakest seasons of The Flash still surpass the strongest seasons of many other series, including at least one of the other Arrowverse series.  The panel, though, remains overall appreciative of the faithful and loving adaptation of a hero who may not have received the same star treatment as his Justice League compatriots and co-founders, Batman and Superman, at least in modern memory.   Further, the panel will always laud Grant Gustin’s portrayal of Barry Allen readily and enthusiastically over the film version played by Ezra Miller, which the panelists spend some time discussing yet again, vis-a-vis network and corporate interference with regard to the Arrowverse.  As always, take a listen and see if you agree with the panel’s general thoughts on these controversial matters.

LOOKING AHEAD

The fifth season premiere of The Flash aired last night, on October 9, 2018, and while it is too early in the season to hear about renewal announcements, The Flash is expected to be a network mainstay for some years.  CPU!’s next DCTU episode will focus on the third season of Supergirl and will publish next week.  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the blog, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes in the DCTU podcast series as well as of new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review.  Thank you!🙂

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!  Stay tuned!

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DC Television Universe, Episode Thirteen, Arrow, Season Six (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 July 2018, our DC Television Universe or DCTU panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – reconvenes Around the Water Cooler for the thirteenth episode of our DCTU ongoing series.  In this episode, the panel discusses Season 6 of the  Arrowverse namesake, Arrow. If you have not watched any of Arrow, 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: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 13, “Arrow” – Season Six, the DCTU Panel’s Review and Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderated by: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Arrow” is a superhero/action/crime drama centered on events and characters inspired by the Green Arrow franchise/DC Comic Universe, which airs on the CW.

What: “Arrow,” a series developed by writer/producers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg that is based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow, a costumed crime-fighter created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp. The series follows billionaire playboy Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), who, five years after being stranded on a hostile island, returns home to fight crime and corruption as a secret vigilante whose weapon of choice is a bow and arrow.

SYNOPSIS

The series follows Oliver Queen (Amell), billionaire playboy of Starling City (now Star City), who spends five years shipwrecked on the mysterious island of Lian Yu. Upon his return to the city, he is reunited with his family, including his sister, Thea Queen (Willa Holland) and friends. Oliver awkwardly survives his days back in the city by rekindling his relationships, while he spends his nights hunting down and sometimes killing wealthy criminals as a hooded vigilante. Thea, John Diggle (David Ramsey), and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) assist Oliver in his crusade as does his ex-girlfriend, Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy); flashbacks show how Oliver spent his time and gained the skill-set that he uses as (now) the Green Arrow.

When: Season Six aired on the CW from October 12, 2017, to May 17, 2018.

Where: The action is set in the fictional metropolis of Starling City, the primary setting of the Green Arrow franchise – though as of Season Four, the city was finally re-branded to be Star City like in the comic books.  The action does branch out in flashbacks to international locales, including Hong Kong, the Middle East, Russia, and a fictional island called Lian Yu.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the first DCTU podcast episode, where our panel covers the first two seasons of Arrow, via the embedded link below!  It should be noted that CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie was hesitant to watch it, feeling somewhat loyal to Justin Hartley’s portrayal of the Green Arrow on Smallville, which ended in 2011, while Arrow premiered in 2012.  Also, the Chief CP is pretty leery of character fatigue in comic book properties of late, which may be the subject of a separate podcast or blog entry.  So, what finally convinced me to watch it in the end? Other than a few good recommendations from viewers like you, listen to that first podcast episode to find out the reasons why I finally picked up the show in the end.

What kept me watching, though, is a different question.  Try this on for size:

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How – as in How’s It Going? – THOUGHTS

This is the thirteenth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Here are only the prior Arrow episodes in the series (as we flush out seasons of all Arrowverse shows, though, older episodes will only be searchable via the website – click the upper right dialog box in the header). Listen to each episode here:

DCTU Series, Episode 1, “Arrow,” Seasons One and Two

DCTU Series, Episode 2, “Arrow,” Seasons Three and Four

DCTU Series, Episode 10, “Arrow,” Season Five
DCTU Series, Episode 11, the DCTU Mid-Season Roundup, 2017
In our last episode, our cheeky and feisty DCTU panel – namely Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – began addressing the most recent full seasons of each of the four “Arrowverse” series in order of the airing of each season finale by starting with the third season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.  Tonight’s episode finds the panel returning to the Water Cooler to talk TV universe progenitor Arrow following another rocky, inconsistent, and somewhat bloated Season Six in, this, the thirteenth episode of our DCTU series.  The discussion herein evaluates the success of the Green Arrow’s season nemeses: Cayden James (Michael Emerson), Ricardo “The Dragon” Diaz (Kirk Acevedo), Earth 2’s Laurel Lance aka Black Siren (Katie Cassidy), and Anatoly Knyazev (the analogue to the comics’ KGBeast); the tedious number of (sometime) Green Arrow sidekicks; the continued trials of Oliver Queen as Star City Mayor as the FBI zeroes in on his vigilante secret identity; and a season ending that, again, could either reset everything we know about the Arrowverse’s namesake show or could be another overwrought but ultimately anticlimactic finish to another largely anticlimactic season.  In fact, for most of the panel, the assignment to watch Arrow as part of this podcast series remains “begrudging” territory, as nearly all of the panel, at this point, struggles with Arrow, and their waning affinity for it, more than with any of the other Arrowverse entries. Unlike last season, however, most if not all of the panel is losing hope that the writers will find the story center again, return to the excellent story execution of the first two seasons, and breathe new energy into this now late-life series.
This particular episode was recorded in July 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of Season Six of Arrow. 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 Doctor Who panel returns to the Water Cooler after a long absence, ready to digest the most recent Series 10 while simultaneously anticipating the Doctor’s latest incarnation, with the departure of Peter Capaldi and the regeneration into controversial Thirteenth form Jodie Whittaker fully past-tense occurrences.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Who, if anyone, survives the destruction of Lian Yu by a suicidal Prometheus, since everyone but Ollie and his son William presumably stood on the island rigged with dynamite, triggered to explode by Prometheus’ “dead man switch” and self-imposed death, at the end of the fifth season?

ANSWER: The real question is who, if anyone, does not survive the Lian Yu explosion because, shockingly, the only seemingly confirmed casualties from the exploding island: Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), who died via buried land mine prior to the big explosion, and Prometheus, who offed himself in front of Ollie and William.  In other words, every single character that was on that island survives.  And they say miracles don’t exist.

2) Does Oliver choose to raise his son in the wake of this explosion, since William’s mother follows Ollie to the island after learning that William has been kidnapped by Prometheus?

ANSWER: Yes, Oliver chooses to raise William with Felicity’s (Rickards) help.  They have some adjustment pains at first, mostly because William is scared to lose his father after island explosions and the death of his mother just prior to those explosions, as well as learning that his dad is the Green Arrow, but they manage to do alright on the whole.

3) Presuming that Felicity survives the explosion, are Ollicity back on, in their on/off again relationship?  The panel, particularly panelist Kristen, votes that the writers pick one of the two statuses and stick with it for these charismatic and chemically engaging lovers.

ANSWER: As a matter of fact, Ollie encourages spur of the moment nuptials – by upstaging Barry Allen and his now wife Iris from The Flash in what any reasonable person would have to admit is a bit of a dick move – and weds Felicity in the “Crisis on Earth X” crossover episode, the ninth of the season, immediately following Barry and Iris’ “I Do’s.”  So, Ollicity is officially married, but this fact does not mean that the two lovers have left all the drama behind.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

4) Is Malcolm Merlyn truly dead?  Prior to the overall explosion of Lian Yu, Merlyn sacrifices himself by moving on to an old landmine in place of Thea (Holland), who triggers the mine during her rescue (after Prometheus and allies manage to kidnap Green Arrow’s entire posse and whisk them off to Lian Yu for the explosive season climax).  The show offers a scene in which we hear what is presumed to be the explosion of the landmine, but it occurs off screen, creating the possibility of a Merlyn who has once again escaped death.  If he does, will we learn how he did it?

ANSWER: So far, Merlyn is still presumed to be truly dead, as he does not appear in any of the Arrowverse shows this season.  Will he ever appear again, and will anyone explain how Merlyn might have escaped both a dormant land mine and an exploding island if he does?  The panel is at a loss to even predict any eventuality surrounding Merlyn at this point.

5) Is Deathstroke (Manu Bennett) back for good?  How will he affect Ollie/Green Arrow in future, now that he is presumably less psychopathic and Mirakuru-enhanced?

ANSWER: Deathstroke does not stick around, as DC parent company Warner Brothers pulled the rights to the character – again – at some point, either as a result of or in the wake of the Justice League movie.  Yet, Slade Wilson returns this season for the purpose of cashing in on his and Oliver’s shared history and of asking Ollie for his help in finding Slade’s son, Joe; unfortunately, Slade’s son was so affected by the loss of his father, he decides to become just like him.  Slade and Oliver confront a crime syndicate only to realize that Joe Wilson is the head of the outfit.  In addition, he moves, dresses, and acts much like a junior Deathstroke.  Joe reveals that he saw Slade commit murder long before he ingested Mirakuru, the drug that addled Slade’s brain and made him a villain in Season Two.  When Slade attempts to explain to his son that he was paid to take out the person in question, as he worked as a paid assassin at one point, Joe refuses to offer forgiveness, and the two fight until Oliver intervenes.  In addition, Joe informs Slade that Joe has a brother Grant, another son about which Slade never knew.  After Joe escapes, Slade leaves Oliver with the intent of finding both of his sons.  Slade also hopes that he can earn his sons’ forgiveness, though Slade does not leave Ollie without imparting a few words of wisdom to his old friend about Oliver’s relationship with his own son.

6) Will Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy), the new Black Canary, survive her stint in the leather jacket and black mask – she was one of the posse on the exploding island?  Black Canaries have a high mortality rate on this show.

ANSWER: Dinah aka Black Canary the Third lives to fight another season – a whole other season.  She’s still flying around Star City, in other words, much to most of the panel’s chagrin.

7) Will we see the al Ghul sisters and the League of Assassins again?  Will Talia become more interesting and more like her comics counterpart?

ANSWER: Talia has not returned, so we assume that she remains as boring and as wooden as ever.  On the other hand, Nyssa returns to Star City, seeking Thea, who Nyssa says is the heir to the Ra’s title, given her biological father, Malcolm Merlyn’s, presumed death.  The only problem is, the League of Assassins has all but become non-existent, though some of its former legion unite to create the Thanatos Guild, a new ninja outfit that believes that Malcolm left Thea a key, in the form of a mathematically sealed cubic puzzle, to unlocking great treasures.  The Guild’s belief comes to pass; Malcolm, it seems, stored away a map to several other Lazarus Pits that apparently exist, and Thea, upon learning this truth, decides to leave Star City to seek their locations and to possibly right some of the wrongs committed by her father.  Yet, Thea’s departure also coincides with the departure of her portraying actor, Holland, who decided not to renew her contract option for the next season of the show.  The panel, incidentally, overwhelmingly feels that Thea’s permanent departure from Arrow is long overdue.

8) Now that the flashbacks and Ollie’s past have caught up to the events beginning the series in the first season, will the series continue to employ flashbacks to tell Oliver’s story?  Or, will the portions seen by the viewing audience finally all be in the present?

ANSWERS: While occasional flashbacks continue to appear in Season Six, they are largely few and far between.  The show and its writing and producing team apparently elected not to pursue the flashback storytelling structure that guided the overall framework of the first five seasons of the show.  As such, most of the events in every episode in Season Six occur in the present/the actual real-time setting of the characters and not in the past.

9) Which villains will we see next season?  Who will be the season “Big Bad?”  Will any of Green Arrow’s traditional rogues return, including Count Vertigo, Clock King, etc. (panelist Kyle is very concerned)?

ANSWER: The Big Bads initially appear to be Cayden James, Ricardo “The Dragon” Diaz, Black Siren, and KGBeast/Anatoly.  The Dragon is an actual Green Arrow villain, though, as panelist Kyle confirms, the Dragon we see on the show is “Dragon” in name only and nothing like the Dragon character in the comics.  What’s more, the Dragon double crosses the others, or, at least, James, to become the overarching villain on the season, though this move, from the vantage point of the show’s writers, turns out to be less than successful, according to the reviews of our DCTU panelists.

10) Did Artemis survive the Lian Yu explosion – and will she see the error of her ways and join Green Arrow’s team in good faith, provided that Oliver is in a forgiving mood?

ANSWER: Okay – so there was one confirmed death.  Artemis definitely seems to be truly dead, ultimately resulting in yet another wasted Green Arrow character.  Though none of the panelists suggested that they miss her.  And, really, how many characters have actually stayed dead (other than the Queens’ parents)?

11) Provided that Thea also survives the explosion, and despite donning the red hood for the fifth mid-season crossover episodes, is she done being Speedy for good?

ANSWER: Thea dons the “Speedy” hood one more time in Season Six for the purpose of rescuing Roy Harper aka Arsenal from the clutches of the Dragon’s minions, who capture him in order to suss out Green Arrow’s whereabouts, and all in the name of love for her fugitive boyfriend.  Roy left at the end of Season Three after pretending to the public that he was the “Arrow,” an earlier incarnation of Ollie’s secret identity, and in light of the fact that his portraying actor, Colton Haynes, elected to pursue other projects.  Once Roy is successfully rescued by an impetuous Thea and her brother, even as Roy notes that she’s wearing his outfit, Thea appears to hang up the red hood for good just prior to her departure with Nyssa (Roy leaves with Thea in the moment, though).

12) Does Oliver remain Green Arrow as Season Six begins?  How does he juggle mayoral duties with vigilante duties without a team?  Does he recruit even more new team members?

ANSWER: Fortunately, the number of Team Arrow members fluctuates throughout Season Six but never grows in number beyond the core team of Oliver, Felicity, Dig (Ramsay), Rene Ramirez aka Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez), Dinah, and Curtis Holt aka Mr. Terrific (Echo Kellum).  Also, though Ollie starts the season as Green Arrow, despite the ongoing suspicion of federal law enforcement officials that he is the Green Arrow, Oliver convinces then-fugitive Dig to don the green hood in order to deflect that suspicion, and so that Ollie can spend time balancing his duties as mayor as well as his new role as father to William.  This decision leads to some discord between the two longtime friends; Dig, who suffered degenerative nerve damage to his wrist in Season Five, becomes too used to being the Green Arrow or something and somehow uses his stint in the green spotlight as a sublimation and as compensation for frustrations about his own life.  When Dig slips up in the field because of his progressively worsening nerve damage, however, almost leading to injury of one of his teammates, Oliver takes back the Green Arrow mantle for the sake of practicality, leaving Dig to grow surprisingly resentful about Oliver’s return to vigilantism once Felicity and Curtis replicate the chip in Felicity’s back and implant this new cure into Dig’s wrist.  One of the leading sources of drama this season, in fact, is Oliver’s struggle to balance vigilante activities, mayoral duties, and being a stable parent to William, and this struggle leads to various other ramifications for Team Arrow, though whether or not the panel cares, in the end, about these ramifications is up for debate.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

13) Please bring back the salmon ladder.  We are sure that Ollie is stressed out and needs to work on his upper body.  Shirtless.

ANSWER:  There was no salmon ladder at all in Season Six.  WHAT IS GOING ON HERE, TEAM ARROW?!  Producers, writers, Stephen!  You’ve gotta use what you got!  You’re on shaky ground (listen to the episode for panelist rants on the subject)!

14) What is Cayden James’ (Michael Emerson) end game on Arrow?

ANSWER: James seeks vengeance against Oliver because Cayden is led to believe that Oliver killed his son.  When Felicity and her hacker friend find evidence to show that Oliver was not in Star City at the time of his son’s murder, James decides instead to exact his revenge on the whole city by detonating a large bomb.  He does not get the chance, however, as Team Arrow successfully stops him.  While James is incarcerated, however, the Dragon gets the drop on him and, double crossing him, slits his throat.  Thus, Cayden’s game is ended in no way he planned.

15) For how long will Roy Harper/Arsenal (Colton Haynes) be back on Arrow, since his return to the show was announced in the media?

ANSWER: Roy Harper appears in 2 of 23 episodes in Season Six, when the Dragon’s men find him and torture him to get to Oliver and when Roy helps Thea realize her Thanatos Guild/League of Assassins destiny.  Yet, it was announced, again, in the media that Colton Haynes is returning to Arrow as a cast regular for Season Seven.  What can it all mean?  How will it happen?  That is one of the panel’s main questions going into the seventh season.

16) Did Warner Brothers/DC truly retract Arrow’s ability to use the character of Deathstroke again due to the Justice League film?  Is Manu Bennett gone indefinitely again?

ANSWER: The short answer to both questions is “yes.”  The panel universally agrees that corporate involvement in the Arrowverse has overwhelmingly adversely affected the universe’s four constituent series, particularly Arrow.

17) Will Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) end up having to stand trial for being the Green Arrow?

ANSWER: Yes, he stands trial, though master of disguise Christopher Chance (Wil Traval) appears during the hearing as Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) and confesses that he is the Green Arrow, leading to an acquittal for Oliver, at least of the charges surrounding his vigilantism and, at least, briefly following the trial.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

New Questions

1) The panel members, largely bereft of hope for improvement of the overall quality of Arrow, did not ruminate upon many questions going into Season Seven.  The biggest question on several panelists’ brains centers on why Roy Harper returns to Star City and how he reintegrates into the new team.

2) How will the show survive without Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne)?  Quentin (spoiler) dies at the end of the season after he takes a bullet for the team; his portraying actor left Arrow and joined the cast of a new show coming to NBC called The Inbetween. The panel reacted negatively to his departure, believing Mr. Blackthorne to be one of the most consistently engaging parts of the show throughout its lifespan, other than Oliver/Stephen Amell.

3) Oliver, in Iron Man fashion, announces to the Star City public in the season finale that he is the Green Arrow as part of a deal he makes with the FBI in order to guarantee the agency’s help in defeating the Dragon, in exchange for Ollie’s confession of illegal vigilante activity.  The last few moments of the finale find Ollie in federal prison.  Panelist Kyle has read that the first episodes of Season Seven will feature the “Longbow Hunters” and a widely panned story line from the comics called “Supermax.”  How long will the audience be forced to watch Oliver in prison?  What effect will these so-called “Hunters” present to Star City?

4) Will Dig take up the Green Arrow mantle once more while Oliver is in prison?

5) Will William follow the trajectory of Connor Hawke in the comics?  What is William’s purpose on the show, except to complicate Oliver’s life (and presuming he has a purpose)?

6) Will Black Siren return in Season Seven?  In what capacity?  Why would she care to do so if her almost family and almost father no longer exist?

7) Diaz survives his most recent encounter with Oliver and escapes; he even watches Oliver’s city-wide proclamation that he is the Green Arrow on television through gritted teeth.  It seems as though Diaz is tougher than the average crook, which is fueled by some precedent set by the comics-version of the Dragon.  Will Diaz return in Season Seven?  How will he affect Oliver and the rest of Team Arrow?  Will he somehow affiliate with the Longbow Hunters; will he make another attempt on Oliver’s life?  Or, is his character finished on Arrow?

8) Where does Anatoly go in the end?

9) Will we see more crossovers with the other Arrowverse properties – apart from mid-season – next season?

10) Will any of Green Arrow’s other traditional rogues return, including Count Vertigo, Clock King, etc. (panelist Kyle has all but lost hope)?

PARTING SHOTS

Our DCTU panel universally agrees that Arrow Season Six did not fare much better than Season Five in terms of storytelling quality.  The panelists opined that the season’s pacing and writing were choppy and disjointed, and many of the panelists describe Arrow and the obligation to watch it as a “slog.”  Though half of the panel saw potential in the four villains introduced this season, all panelists proved largely appalled that the Dragon a) as a routine mobster, proved to be such a challenge for Team Arrow, particularly Oliver, and b) outsmarted the other members of his alliance, the formation of which was never even slightly explained by any of the characters and/or dialogue, a huge oversight on the part of the show’s writers.  The panel continues to offer mixed reviews surrounding the Green Arrow’s sidekicks, with all panelists struggling to understand the purpose of each of them or why and how they continue to remain a team at all, what with all of the soap opera internal strife they seem to instigate. The panel members almost fully agree now, however, that Arrow continues to flounder and stumble, owing primarily to sloppy story mapping and despite the steady (and handsome) portrayal of the Green Arrow by Stephen Amell as well as the superb production values marking the Star City based quadrant of the multiverse.

LOOKING AHEAD

The seventh season of Arrow is slated to premiere on Monday, October 15, 2018, at 8:00 PM on the CW.  CPU!’s next DCTU episode, which will focus on the fourth season of The Flashwill publish in the fall, closer to that series’ season premiere date.  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the blog, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes in the DCTU podcast series as well as of new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review.  Thank you!🙂

DC Television Universe, Episode Twelve, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, 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 July 2018, our DC Television Universe or DCTU panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – reconvenes Around the Water Cooler for the twelfth episode of our DCTU ongoing series.  In this episode, the panel discusses Season 3 of the second Arrowverse spin-off, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. If you have not watched any of Legends, 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!

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