DC Entertainment has entered a new era expanding their universe into several different television series on network television. As a huge fan of DC Comics, I’m excited to see some of my favorite characters and story lines depicting weekly on the small screen. Let’s recap and discuss what happened last week for DC on TV.
Gotham – “Viper”
Viper begins with Bruce, but that’s after a fairly long recap that reiterates just how any characters and stories this show is trying to maintain and pull together. But back to Bruce…Alfred asks him what happens if he can’t get revenge for the murder of his parents. Bruce admits he doesn’t want revenge. He wants to understand how Gotham works; how and why the corruption has become so widespread, including within Wayne Enterprises. This opening scene proves the obsessive tendencies and exemplary detective work that Bruce Wayne is known for. However, it is slightly alarming how grown-up this young Bruce appears, particularly after he wakes up rumpled from falling asleep researching. This becomes even more apparent as a (dirty) Wayne Enterprise employee tries talking to him like he’s a kid.
Then we get to the main story of the episode. A man with a mangled ear is handing out small green vials. Each person inhales the substance, experiences euphoria, incredible strength, and then a painful death resulting from all the calcium within the body being consumed. It is a swift death and therefore not exactly sustainable for the drug trade. We learn that this version was actually created at a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprise for use as a pharmaceutical weapon (the refined version with the kinks worked out is known as Venom!)
This episode has brief appearances from Selina Kyle, to the dismay of Harvey Bullock whose lunch is disturbed, and Edward Nygma who is disturbingly fascinated with the drug. We also see Fish Mooney train her ‘weapon’ in some rather confusing and disturbing scenes. The episode provides a payoff here by showing Liza as she interacts with Falcone. That is bound to be a rather creepy storyline as it continues (watch and you’ll understand why). Meanwhile, Maroni discovers how much of an asset Oswald Cobblepot can be. The setup for the coming war between Maroni and Falcone with the related players (Fish and Cobblepot) jockeying for position is brilliant and more interesting that Gordon’s storyline at this point.
As an aside, the writing continues to have flashes of humorous brilliance. I definitely had a burst of laughter when Gordon and Bullock try to get the last bits of information from a dying professor. Bullock yells, “What’s altruism?” Gordon gives him a look and says “charity.” The facial expressions on both Gordon and Bullock are priceless.
This episode was hit and miss for me. I’m enjoying the set-up, but I want more payoff now. Doubtless, the payoff will be well worth it (at least I hope so) when we finally get there. I do like seeing Bruce develop and can’t wait to see what he does with Wayne Enterprises. The brief appearances of Selina and Edward feel forced as they are serving as reminders (“Het remember us? We’ll be big villains too someday!”) And we’ve yet to see that little Ivy Pepper again. But the good news is that the series has been picked up for the full 22 episode order. So there’s definitely more to come.
The Flash – “Things You Can’t Outrun”
First, I have to say Grant Gustin is absolutely adorable as The Flash. Second, the writing on this show is amazing. There are so many lines I want to savor and tuck away for that perfect moment. Just consider the some of the dialogue this episode begins with.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re the slowest kid in gym class or the fastest man alive; every one of us is running. Being alive means running; running from something; running to something or someone, and no matter how fast you are there are some things you can’t outrun; some things always manage to catch up to you.”
We then get to the main villainy of the episode. The Darbinyan crime family is having a public meeting of the minds in a restaurant. But then a (creepy) man locks them in and proceeds to transform into a mist and everyone dies. Turns out, this man was in the process of being executed in the gas chamber the night of the particle accelerator mishap and is now a meta-human bent on revenge against those that put him to death. We see several flashbacks to that fateful night for various reasons, including the reason Ronnie Raymond, Caitlin Snow’s fiancée, died.
This episode sees Barry struggle with not being able to save someone and we are treated with more amazing dialogue. Detective West tells Barry, “The guilt that weights on you when you make a mistake…Some things you can’t fight. Some things you just have to live with.” Barry internalizes and repeats part of that statement to Caitlin. “Some things you can’t fight.” But of course Barry figures out how to fight that ephemeral mist (by basically outrunning and tiring the creepy man out) and comes out on top. The Mist is then imprisoned within Star Labs on the level of the particle accelerator. IT will certainly be interesting to see that make-shift prison of theirs fill up.
I’m still loving The Flash. It’s got such a great mix of the science with the supernatural and continues to provide that hopeful tone even among some tough lessons. The Flash has also been picked up for a full 22 episode season. So that’s even more good news!
Arrow – “Corto Maltese”
Just a tidbit to get us going: In DC Comics history, Corto Maltese is a country off the coast of South America and it was previously mentioned in Arrow as the country where Deadshot operated. Now on tot the episode.
The team heads down to Corto Maltese with the primary goal of bringing Thea home. Diggle went along because Lyla sent him to find out what was going on with an operative who never checked in. And of course, the operative didn’t simply go AWOL. Nope, he has actually turned on ARGUS due to his hatred of Amanda Waller for the things she made him do. The operative is trying to sell information about ARGUS operatives and other soft targets, essentially wives and children. (Which, can we just pause for a moment about how the focused on the “women and children” bit? Lyla is a woman and she’s an operative not a soft target. And heck, ARGUS is run by a ruthless woman.) So, Ollie, Roy, and Diggle have to stop the data from being sold. It was nice seeing the Arrow fight without his hood and leathers, he even used a gun. And at Roy’s shocked look told him, “I never said I didn’t know how to use one.” It was also comical to see Roy’s shock at the bows fashioned from parts of their hotel room. Oliver is certainly resourceful. They have success in this mission, but until the last moment did not know whether they would be successful in bringing Thea home. It will definitely be interesting to watch Thea with her newfound strength and calmness back in Starling. It’s also more than a little ironic that she left because of all the secrets and now is keeping some whoppers of her own. Tat will be an interesting storyline to watch,
Meanwhile, in Starling City Felicity reports to work and discovers she has a he office and her own executive assistant. Her first task is to recover data from the Applied Sciences division’s destroyed server (remember when Oliver and Co. blew it up?). And of course when she does recover the data, there are plans for weapons. That’s going to certainly create some future problems…
Constantine – “Non Est Asylum”
First, I want to offer full disclosure that this was my most anticipated show of the fall television season. I’m a huge fan of Constantine and am really hoping this show succeeds. That said, the news that came out about them rewriting the ending of the pilot to restructure the show going forward (i.e. removing the character of Liv and adding in Zed) was troubling. That said, having now seen the show. I think that was a fantastic decision and will help keep the show alive.
The premiere begins in dramatic fashion with Constantine receiving shock therapy, voluntarily, in an asylum which he committed himself. When one of the doctors reads the titles on his business card (“Exorcist, Demonologist, and Master of the Dark Arts”), Constantine reacts with “Master…should change that to petty dabbler. I hate to put on airs….” In this one scene, you can see that Matt Ryan has got Constantine’s character down to a T. It’s perfect. And it only gets better.
The episode then goes on to provide some truly terrifying scenes. Darkness is coming and it going after Liv, the daughter of one of Constantine’s old friends. The atmosphere and the cinematography are incredible. There is a scene where a poor medical examiner is attacked and we get flashes of the street art. The effects are pretty incredible too throughout the episode, like when Constantine again meets the angel, Manny, and the rain freezes.
I don’t actually want to recap too much of this episode because I think you should watch it for yourself to give it a try. But having watched it, I’m very glad they’ve removed Liv. She was too weak to be interesting and go head to head with Constantine. Zed can and will be interesting to watch. The Constantine canon provides so many things that will be interesting to watch on the screen. And knowing that DC will be bringing Dr. Fate into things is truly exciting. Who else got super excited seeing the helmet?
I will leave you with this picture from E Online. Who wore it best?
Coming Up Next Week
We’ve got episodes teasing Scarecrow, Felicity interacting with Barry again, This week’s bound to be another interesting one in the realm of DC on TV. I’m extremely grateful that Geoff Johns is a proponent of payoffs from every Easter Egg. He wants to see connection and not just an Easter Egg for the sake of an Easter Egg. As such, we are bound to see Dr. Fate, more Deathstroke, and even Gorilla Grodd. That’s some major stuff to look forward too!