Deadshirt Is Watching…is a weekly feature in which Deadshirt staff, contributors, and guests sound off on the television shows we’re tuned into, from intense dramas to clever sitcoms to the most insane reality shows. This week: The Flash and Supergirl!
Max Robinson is watching…
Season 2, Episode 6: “Enter Zoom”
Tuesdays at 8pm on The CW
The second season of CW’s The Flash has thrown so many curveballs at us this season—Earth-2 duplicates, alt-Flash Jay Garrick, A FULLY CGI KILLER SHARK!—and it’s not even half over. But “Enter Zoom” as a whole may be the best bit of blindsiding this show’s done to date.
For the most part, this episode revolves around a pretty fun, low key premise: Barry and Team Flash (including the Earth-2 version of Harrison Wells) want to take down Earth-2’s literal speed demon/season boss bad guy Zoom while they still have the element of surprise on their side. To do this, they recruit Linda Park (Barry’s ex and Iris West’s coworker) to pose as her own Earth-2 doppleganger Dr. Light (Zoom abducted Dr. Light and blackmailed her into trying to kill Barry last episode, it’s a whole thing). “Enter Zoom” even opens with a dramatic flashforward sequence where Dr. Light appears to have taken down The Flash, probably the closest network television will ever come to replicating a classic silver age comic book cover (besides uh this).
The episode itself is fun but fairly unremarkable at this point, aside from a very nice scene in which Barry reveals that he’s The Flash to Linda as a show of trust and support. Then, after the plan to lure Zoom out into the open fails, the episode gets interesting: Zoom, voiced with perfect modulated menace by Tony Todd, does show up and proceeds to beat The Flash to a pulp in front of the entirety of Central City. The episode ends with Zoom humiliating and brutalizing an untested, unprepared Barry a la Darth Vader/Luke fight from The Empire Strikes Back. Worse: When Barry wakes up in the hospital, he’s seemingly paralyzed below the waist. “Enter Zoom” felt like a pretty major tone shift for this otherwise fairly light season and was a great way to establish Zoom as a legitimately terrifying threat.
Episode Highlight: Aside from Barry getting his ass handed to him, Tom Cavanagh as Earth-2 Harrison Wells angrily demanding to know what the newly super-powered Cisco “vibed from him” was (intentionally? unintentionally?) hilarious.
Joe Stando is Watching…
Season 1, Episode 3: “Fight or Flight”
Mondays at 8 PM on CBS
I’ve felt that Supergirl has been pretty strong from the start, and this episode continues to strike a good balance between the mythology-heavy action that’s the hallmark of DC’s TV projects and the lighter, funnier tone that sets this show apart. One thing I love about Supergirl is that the soap opera elements, like love triangles or conflicts with her various bosses, aren’t played like B-plots. Kara’s desire to prove herself and set herself apart from Superman is the core thread of this story, so it’s less about “can she defeat Reactron” and more about her place in the world. Establishing the conflicts in terms of the characters’ personalities is a solid move that not only cuts off fanboy complaints (why couldn’t Superman just save her, etc.) but also helps to develop James Olsen from just being her handsome mentor into a real character, with flaws and complexities. We didn’t get a musical montage this week, and some of the dialogue still feels a bit clunky to me, but Supergirl already knows what kind of upbeat, uplifting show it wants to be, and it’s batting a thousand for me so far.
Episode Highlight: I liked the show’s take on Reactron a lot, as a grizzled, beaten up Iron Man, and framing him as a powerful villain who had gone toe-to-toe with Superman before was a good touch. Benoist continues to be charming and wonderful, of course, but I really liked the use of Superman here, as well. It’s going to be a while before they cast an actor and give him a full appearance, I imagine, but the instant messaging bit was a nice way to incorporate him without having him steal the show. The writers clearly have a really good grasp on Clark that informs how they write Kara and James, and having him as a distant but caring figure is a solid, faithful take.