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Sunday, December 4, 2016

My Thoughts On The DC CW Crossover

Last week was the big crossover between the four DC TV shows on CW (what's been dubbed the DCW Universe by io9) and I thought it delivered what the writers promised, even if CW's advertising was misleading.

CW promoted it as starting on the Supergirl episode, when it was really just the last few seconds of the show when the crossover came into play (though it was teased in a couple of earlier spots), but the writers and producers said that the crossover would actually get underway with The Flash episode.

I thought the episodes of Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow each delivered in their own ways and the overall storyline arc worked so well that I could forgive some of the minor issues that the episodes had. Trying to balance so many different characters and cover multiple storylines and milestones was a challenge, but I think the creative team behind the DCW Universe pulled it off.

Some random thoughts about the crossover.

* It was great to see the Flashpoint arc started on The Flash addressed in a major way. Starting with Barry Allen having to own up to how much he screwed up the timeline, to getting a good pep talk from Oliver Queen about how Ollie might have done the same thing given how he lost his parents, to Barry coming through to save the rest of the heroes when they are subjected to mind control by the Dominators, all leading up to Barry willing to sacrifice himself to ensure the world remains safe from the Dominators, was great writing and story telling. And that his fellow heroes were unwilling to let Barry sacrifice himself, regardless of what happened, showed how much they valued Barry not just as a hero, but as a friend. Well done, Berlanti, Guggenheim and company.

* The 100th episode of Arrow didn't devote much time to the crossover plot, but boy, did they ever find a clever way to tie in the Dominators storyline to the ongoing saga of Oliver Queen and the other characters who originated on Arrow. By far, the best scenes were those between Oliver and Thea, in which each of them saw things differently at first with this "reality" in which they were united with family and loved ones they lost, to the point that Oliver was fine with Thea staying behind so she could be happy. True, they shifted quickly back to her joining with Oliver and the others to escape, but it led to a satisfying fight scene in which Thea, Sara and Oliver each get to vanquish a personal demon, and then they, Ray and Diggle having to escape from a spaceship (something I don't think anyone could have anticipated on Arrow when it first launched) only to be rescued by the Waverider was so cool.

(By the way, Thea has been nothing short of awesome this entire season, from being the perfect conscience for Oliver in reminding him about his duties as mayor, to her refusal to give up on Quentin Lance and his battle with alcoholism, to her whole arc in the crossover with the touches of how much she wants to come out of retirement to fight aliens and being the one who figures out how to launch the alien cruiser to escape. She has become my new favorite character on Arrow, because she's been so well written this season.)

* The Legends episode wasn't centered around the LoT cast, but it's understandable. Still, they managed to find enough to give the Legends their due, as they have to go back in time to get more information about the Dominators, plus you had the subplot with Martin Stein realizing he now has a daughter he doesn't remember (one that came from him telling his younger self to not ignore his wife). I do think the Stein storyline with his daughter was a bit awkward, but never saw it as Stein wanting to erase her from history as much as it was Stein finding it hard to relate to her knowing how her existence came to be. We shall see how things get resolved on Legends now that his daughter will be a recurring character.

* It would have been nice to have Supergirl featured more, but when you consider she's the one who could mop up the bulk of the situations the heroes found themselves in, it's understandable. It only leads to the issue of some fans being unsatisfied because the most powerful of the heroes gets shortchanged. This was the case in the animated Justice League series, in which the criticism was that "Superman is a wimp" because the writers kept having him taken out of battles so they can give other characters their due. Here, the case was "Supergirl is a bench warmer" in which there are several instances of people not trusting her or feeling awkward around her, so she's off to the side in important scenes. With that said, the writers still found enough ways to get her involved, ranging from her having fun in the training sessions (in which the other heroes learn how much she lives up to her billing as Supergirl) to the interplay between her and Heat Wave (the antihero of the Legends and the one person you figure Supergirl would hardly consider to act like a "good guy"), there was plenty to enjoy about her involvement. We'll get to see a Supergirl crossover with The Flash later in the season, but they planted some seeds to make you want to see the eventual Supergirl crossover with Arrow.

* Having the crossover end with a moment between Ollie and Sara was a great reminder about how this whole thing got started. Had it not been for the success of Arrow, there would be no Flash series. And if it hadn't been for the popularity of Sara's character, there might be no Legends of Tomorrow. And all of that was what led to Supergirl becoming reality and the DCW Universe being what it is today.

* The Ray Palmer "she looks like my cousin" line about Supergirl was a great "geek out" moment, tipping the hat to Brandon Routh (who protrays Palmer) and his previous role as Superman.

* And, of course, the crossover had to close with Ollie and Barry, each relating to what they experienced and how much better they've become for it.

I haven't been this thrilled with live-action superhero material since The Avengers hit the screen. Some minor issues aside, the crossover delivered and then some.

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