We recap this week’s Arrowverse episodes: Legends of Tomorrow 3×18 “The Good, The Bad and the Cuddly,” The Flash 4×17 “Null and Annoyed,” Black Lightning 1×12 “The Resurrection and the Light: The Book of Pain,” and Arrow 6×18 “Fundamentals.”
This week in the Arrowverse, the Legends take on Mallus in a final battle, The Flash takes on a meta who can make people float as if filled with helium, Black Lightning and Thunder take on the newly-returned Tobias, and Oliver deals with losing his team.
‘Legends of Tomorrow’ 3×18 ‘The Good, The Bad and the Cuddly’
Legends of Tomorrow makes its living by doing crazy things, but the season 3 finale may just be the craziest hour of the show to date — and to good effect. One would think that the Legends taking on an army of pirates, Romans and Vikings in the Wild West would be enough, but then the totem-bearing Legends came together to form
Voltron a giant… Beebo.
That’s right; the Legends went Ghostbusters with the Furby knockoff-turned-running joke in the Arrowverse. And I could not stop laughing. The sound effects with the giant toy squeaking with each step, it deflating when Mallus jumped on its chest, the Sara-infused fighting style, the heart-shaped explosion as Beebo bodyslammed Mallus into a cuddly oblivion…
It was perfect.
Shockingly, though, Beebo was not the only thing to happen in this episode. At the beginning of the episode, Rip seemed to sacrifice himself, taking the time drive and destabilizing it to injure Mallus and give the Legends time to escape. I have a hard time believing he’s really dead, as he pulled a similar move at the beginning of season 2 and ended up lost in time with amnesia.
Amaya also returned to Zambesi once the battle was won. However, she did not want her memories erased because she couldn’t bear forgetting everything, especially Nate. The moment of Nate walking away from her, telling himself not to look back, made my heart clench.
We also saw Jax, who is a husband and father now, return. Jax named his daughter Martina after Stein. I cry. Also arriving to help the Legends were Kuasa, whose changed history turned her into Vixen, and Helen of Troy, now an Amazon-trained warrior. I really love Helen and would love to see more of that character. They also teamed up with Jonah Hex, as they hid out in the Wild West. And Ava, of course.
Meanwhile, Damien was provided some measure of redemption when he sacrificed himself to save Nora from Mallus. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing that character again, as Neal McDonough is utterly delightful, but the show did a nice job of pushing Damien to feel and understand the pain he caused others, especially Sara and, most importantly, Nora. Does this erase his murder of Laurel? Of course not. But it concludes a distinct arc for the character that he never got on Arrow.
The episode closes with the team hanging out in Aruba until Gary (cosplaying as Constantine) and Constantine himself arrive to kill the mood. Constantine drops a dragon head in front of the team and declares that by opening the door to let Mallus out, they let out all kinds of other monsters.
‘The Flash’ 4×17 ‘Null and Annoyed’
In Team Flash’s return from hiatus, they face another bus meta: Null, who can make people float. It’s a fairly run of the mill meta-of-the-week episode. Meanwhile, Cisco and Caitlin try to help Breacher, whose abilities are going out, and Ralph uses humor as a coping mechanism for his fear of The Thinker.
Barry is increasingly frustrated with Ralph’s inability to take things seriously, emphasized by the repeated fart jokes. I was sympathizing with Barry on this point, though the episode seemed to want us to think Barry was over the top with his criticism. I’m glad the show is actively lightening its tone, but come on.
Not to mention, Barry’s obsession with sticking to plans made me think of Snart’s advice: make the plan, execute the plan, expect the plan to go off the rails, throw away the plan. Did Barry forget this? He comes around by the end of the episode, though, when Ralph joins him in the field and Barry, who is stuck floating, encourages him to improvise to defeat Null and save him when he falls to Earth.
Meanwhile, Caitlin finds Breacher’s abilities are failing because he’s aging. Though the news is initially hard to hear, Breacher decides to retire. Seeing the ever-tough Danny Trejo in touristy clothes is hilarious. Before he vanishes, though, he asks if Cisco wants to take his place.
In perhaps the most interesting plot of the episode, Marlize discovers that Clifford has been drugging her with the Weeper’s tears to keep her compliant. However, that shock pales in comparison to the realization that she has figured this out numerous times before, leaving herself messages, only to be drugged again and have her memories altered.
For all that the DeVoes have seemed like a perfect couple, this is eventually going to be the breaking point; I’ve felt for a while that Marlize would be key to defeating Clifford, and this is another step in that direction.
‘Black Lightning’ 1×12 ‘The Resurrection and the Light: The Book of Pain’
Tobias, recovered from his wounds, returns to Freeland with a mission from the ASA (which treated him): capture Black Lightning. Proctor believes that Black Lightning is a survivor of the ASA’s vaccine, and he wants to study the meta. Tobias is unhappy about this, but he has his own plans.
The ASA supplies him with an ally as well: they have given Khalil, who now sports some intense dreads, a spinal implant. The darkness in Khalil that caused Jennifer to break up with him shows up in a confrontation with Jefferson as well as in his attempt to get back together with Jennifer.
However, for as angry as Khalil is at the world, that good kid who first started dating Jennifer still peeks through in his hesitation to wreak havoc at the school or his warning to Jennifer to get far away. His has been a tragic situation, so I hope he can find a measure of peace moving forward.
The showdown at the school is the intense climax of the episode, as Thunder takes on Syonide and Black Lightning takes on Tobias. Thunder’s powers render Syonide’s weapons useless, leading to a hand-to-hand fight. However, when Syonide figures out that Thunder is vulnerable as she takes her breath, the match evens out a bit. Thunder still gets the upper hand, and it’s awesome seeing Anissa come into her own so well as a hero.
Meanwhile, the big shock (pun intended) of the episode comes when Khalil uses a dart to knock out Black Lightning’s powers. Tobias holds him tight while Khalil hits him so hard that he stops Black Lightning’s heart. Thankfully, Jefferson has a daughter who can create energy; Jennifer shocks Jefferson back to life.
Jennifer is initially frustrating in this episode, as she sets her parents against one another. But we watch her guard go up with Khalil, showing that she’s thinking critically, and when the school is under attack, Jennifer tries to manifest her abilities to help her sister and father rather than flee. This might be the turning point to her becoming a hero.
The Pierces and Gambi hole up in a cabin so Jefferson can be treated. Meanwhile, with Black Lightning apparently dead, Proctor wants Thunder either alive or dead. And Tobias meets with Lala — but he isn’t surprised to see a man he murdered walking around. In fact, he has plans for Lala.
‘Arrow’ 6×18 ‘Fundamentals’
Felicity has proof that the fired DA and police captain were crooked, but Oliver doesn’t have a good way to explain how he got this information. I think he should have said he got it from Joe West at CCPD — Team Flash would vouch for him — but whatever. And when he meets with one of the city council members, he’s dosed with Vertigo, though he doesn’t realize it until Adrian Chase walks into the Arrowcave.
This episode serves as a reminder of what a great villain Chase was. Josh Segarra and Stephen Amell work so well off of one another.
The Vertigo hallucinations force Oliver to work through his recent losses. He loses his temper with William and Felicity seems to kick him out. He hallucinates a fight with Chas and a trip back to the Queen mansion where he sees Laurel. He’s confronted by Laurel and NTA at the hospital. He’s barely coherent in front of the city council. He imagines Diaz killing Raisa then stabbing him.
This leads to him donning his season 1 Hood outfit to take out Diaz. Luckily, Felicity tracks him down and is able to reach him before he does something suicidal. The lesson that Oliver takes from this is that all his pain comes from being part of a team. Laurel wouldn’t have died if he hadn’t let her become the Black Canary (an idea that I take issue with). Rene wouldn’t have gotten hurt if he wasn’t part of the team (but that injury’s on Rene, honestly).
As strong as the performances are, story-wise, I hope this is setting up Oliver learning the wrong lesson. So much of the show has been about pushing Oliver to open up, to be part of a team. Letting his walls down to people like Diggle and Felicity has helped him heal from his trauma. Isolating Oliver plays right into Diaz’s hands — in which case, I suppose, Chase’s presence as the devil on Oliver’s shoulder makes perfect sense.
So, Oliver is going to return to the fundamentals of his season 1 mission: being a solo vigilante. I don’t expect that to go very well.