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!

DC Television Universe, Episode Fourteen, Arrow, Season Six (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 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 fourteenth 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 14, “Arrow” – Season Six, the DCTU Panel’s Review and Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Arrow_season_6_title_card

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 fourteenth 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 (DCTU) Series, Episode Twelve, “Crisis on Earth-X” Bonus Review and Recap (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 January 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.  After specially requesting a separate recording to discuss (read: laud) the four episode mega-crossover Arrowverse event “Crisis on Earth-X,” our panel herein provides said bonus review and recap of the 2017 crossover of casts from CW series Arrow, The Flash, 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 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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