We’re recapping this week’s Arrowverse episodes: Supergirl 3×19 “The Fanatical” and The Flash 4×23 “We Are the Flash.”
This week in the Arrowverse, Coville’s Kryptonian cult rears its head again and Team Flash has its final battle against The Thinker.
‘Supergirl 3×19 ‘The Fanatical’
Communication is the thematic undercurrent of this episode, as various characters struggle with how much to communicate to others while others deal with a lack of communication in their lives.
Kara starts out frustrated that James told Lena about Supergirl asking him to sneak into her lab since it’s hurt the relationship between Lena and Supergirl, but James stands his ground; he can’t afford to keep secrets from someone he’s really come to care for. And his honesty was rewarded because Lena opened up to him about making Kryptonite.
Kara is forced to accept that her desire for Supergirl to be on friendly terms with Lena is about making herself feel good, not about what is best for Lena. (I still think things would go more smoothly if she told Lena the truth, but maybe that bridge has already been burned.)
Meanwhile, James is forced to reckon with the possibility of being outed as Guardian. When a runaway from Coville’s Cult of Rao, Tanya, makes her way to James with Coville’s journal, hoping he can give it to Supergirl, he takes her under his wing. But in a confrontation with her pursuers, his helmet is shot off.
Tanya is thrilled to see James, a black man, acting as a hero for National City — though it haunts her to see cops pointing guns even at him — but the cultists get footage of James without his helmet on and threaten to out him if he doesn’t turn Tanya and the journal over.
James decides to hold a press conference and reveal himself to get ahead of the enemies; he doesn’t even consider giving up Tanya. And he shows how thoughtful he is when he talks to Lena about knowing the dangers of being a black vigilante — he was first harassed by cops at the age of seven, so he understands the risks.
But he also feels empowered by the idea of National City knowing they are being protected by a black man. And though he’s not forced to out himself in this episode, he tells Kara that he’ll eventually reveal himself because he saw how much it meant to Tanya to see someone like him as a hero.
This is your weekly reminder that James Olsen is a good man.
Anyway, Tanya gives herself back to the cult, but Mon-El sneaks in with her. The cult is trying to create another Worldkiller, and Lena realizes that the rock they’re using would help them cure Sam. However, the rock is destroyed in the conflict. This would be disappointing, but Lena and Winn traced its energy signature and found a match in an asteroid five light years away.
Road Space trip! Mon-El joins Kara on the trip; he tells J’onn that he wants to tell Kara how he feels, but he also knows that doing so would be selfish. So, we’ll see how that goes. (Needless to say, I’m not thrilled.)
Meanwhile, Ruby continues to grieve her mother. Alex tries everything she can think of to lure her out of her shell, but it takes an outing with M’yrnn — and teaching the Martian elder to play foosball — to wake her up. This is Alex’s first real taste of motherhood, and she’s actually pretty good at it!
I just hope Alex looking after Ruby won’t take away from the sisterly relationship with Kara that is the backbone of this series.
‘The Flash’ 4×23 ‘We Are the Flash’
Before jumping into the recap, I’d like to appreciate Team Flash thinking about asking their other super-friends for help with the Enlightenment. Marlize promptly explained that Clifford had accounted for all the possibilities so there was no point — and that’s fine!
There are simply times in this shared universe when it seems like a simple phone call would save a lot of trouble. So, those couple of lines of dialogue were appreciated.
Anyway, back to the episode. Emotional bonds were indeed the inevitable downfafll of The Thinker, who struggled at times to account for why people — including his wife — behaved irrationally in response to deep emotion. Clifford DeVoe was an extreme example of why textbook smarts shouldn’t be the only smarts we rely on in life.
(It turns out to be Harry, whose brain is somewhat fixed by the end, who provides the ideal solution; he’s not as smart as he used to be, but he’s still in touch with his emotions. He has balance.)
Admittedly, I more expected it to be the bond (or lack thereof) between Clifford and Marlize that eventually took him down — and in a way it was, since she left him and joined Team Flash — but overall the day was saved by the strength of the bond shared by Team Flash, including its newest member: Ralph.
That’s right, Ralph returns. Ralph is a character I’ve struggled to warm up to this season; especially at the beginning of his tenure on the show, his presence felt completely tone deaf in our #MeToo atmosphere. And though he moved away from much of his crudeness, I just never felt that emotional connection to him.
But I can be happy for Barry that, for once, he doesn’t lose a loved one in a season finale. (Every year I worry about Joe West, but he survived another one!) Instead, the opposite happens: an assumed-dead loved one returns.
More than that, a new life entered the world as Cecile went into the fastest (haha) labor ever, giving birth to baby Jenna Marie West. Even Wally returns to see his new baby sister and tells Joe about how he’s come into his own among the Legends. (It’s true; they treat him well on that show.) There’s so much love to go around!
So yes, the bonds of love and friendship — hence the title “We Are the Flash” — help Barry bring Ralph out of DeVoe’s mind and take back control of his body. And when Marlize depowers the chair, DeVoe is defeated for good.
But DeVoe left the team with one final problem: the S.T.A.R. Labs satellite is crashing to earth. Team Flash does their best to protect civilians from the debris while Barry tries to build up enough speed to destroy the satellite mid-air.
He wasn’t going to be enough on his own, though, so we watch time rewind before Barry is joined by a second speedster in taking the satellite down.
This second speedster turns out to be the Mystery Girl. She comes to the West house wearing Iris’ speedster jacket and reveals herself to Barry and Iris’ daughter, Nora, from the future. And she has made a big mistake — previewing what season 5 will be dealing with.