Re: DC Superheroes on TV (CW & HBO Max)

ireactions wrote:

It's possible that FLASH could only book the LEGENDS actors for a day or two or weren't able to book them all in the same filming slot or could only get them to film insert shots (like in SMALLVILLE's ninth season when all the returning guest-stars were mostly talking heads on Watchtower's video screens). We don't necessarily know the whys.

Yeah, and let's be honest - it's a minor miracle that Flash is getting any episodes at all.  It could've easily been cancelled along with Legends and Batwoman with all the nonsense happening at WB.  And even if that wasn't happening, with a Flash movie (allegedly) happening this year, they could've gone for a clean break and just said the Arrowverse is done.

And while it's not what I would've done, I appreciate that the Flash is working to make sure that we do get some level of closure with the rest of the Arrowverse.  It's their show, and they could've done whatever they wanted.  So even making the effort is a gift to the fans.  Just like with Michael Rosenbaum, any scene in the Smallville finale was appreciated and made me truly happy.  That we're going to get Oliver and Batwoman and the Legends back is really cool.

Have any other guests been announced?  Supergirl?  Superman?  Our boy Ray Palmer?

Of course, it's entirely possible that Eric Wallace just can't imagine THE FLASH's final season not having 13 episodes with Barry Allen experiencing 13 separate crises of confidence and needing 13 individual motivational speeches from 13 different characters in order to get back on his feet for 13 episodes in a row.

I don't usually do this, but this made me laugh.

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Stephen Amell (Oliver), David Ramsey (Diggle), Nicole Maines (Dreamer), Javicia Leslie (Ryan) are booked. There are also returning Flash actors (Lonsdale, Letscher, Parker Kennedy).

But the Legends... there haven't been any announcements to indicate that Caity Lotz, Tala Ashe, Jes Macallan, Matt Ryan, Ramona Young, Olivia Swann, Lisseth Chavez or Adam Tsekhman have signed on to at least cameo.

All we have to go on is Wallace saying, "All the Legends at least are all going to appear in an episode" while specifying that there won't be a LEGENDS series finale. Which has me wondering if the actors are only going to do some B-roll (like the Season 9 finale of SMALLVILLE with the Justice League as talking heads on screens) or have old footage put into a montage.

No word on Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford, but to be fair, they were featured pretty heavily in the ARMAGEDDON crossover.

I didn't think about it before, but it's true to say that THE FLASH getting a short final season is a miracle. BATWOMAN and LEGENDS got cancelled because the studio leases had expired and Warner Bros. didn't want to renew the studio rentals at what would have been a higher rental rate.

THE FLASH could have just as easily been a victim of WB-Discovery's penny pinching, and the fact that THE FLASH's final season is 13 episodes instead of 20 indicates that WB-Discovery very much wanted to minimize any further expense on the CW superhero broadcast slate.

I think it's understandable that with James Gunn wanting to do a unified slate of movies, TV shows and video games all set in the same universe, it doesn't make sense to keep the Arrowverse going. And the CW warned all the DC showrunners that THE FLASH, BATWOMAN and LEGENDS were looking at series finale situations in 2022.

THE FLASH planned for a series finale but got a renewal notice in time to change their plans. BATWOMAN did a soft cliffhanger to hedge its bets, LEGENDS gambled on getting a renewal and both got cancelled. LEGENDS' showrunner, Keto Shimizu, apologized profusely and told fans to blame her and not WB or CW.

Oooh, the S9 premiere of THE FLASH is on Netflix now! Hopefully, I can still log into this account I share with my sister even with Netflix coming down on password sharing.

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FLASH's Season 9 premiere was okay. Some good character work with Iris disliking how her future is entirely too known to her and being irritated with Barry wanting Iris to follow every hint of the future to the point of everything being obnoxiously predestined and controlled. FLASH notes that the show has always been about Barry's mysterious future whether it was CRISIS or Nora 1.0 or Nora 2.0 and Bart and how that can become extremely trying on Iris trying to live in the now. Some good jokes. Some nice character beats in Barry and Iris' marriage.

It was nice. It was fine.


And back to my rewatch: the Season 6 premiere of SUPERGIRL has Supergirl cut a deal with Lex: she demands that he cease his attempt to eradicate 50 percent of the global population. Supergirl says, "I'll give you what you've always wanted. Me. I think your obsession with me outweighs your desire to kill half the world."

... this doesn't make sense. In Season 4, Episode 15, the episode's cliffhanger is Lex in a helicopter and Supergirl entering his flight path. "We meet at last," Lex remarks, establishing that Lex and Supergirl have never met, never had a conflict involving each other.

Throughout Season 4, Lex loathes Supergirl the way he hates any Kryptonian, and he sees her as a pawn to stage an assault on America (via Red Daughter) and take credit for foiling it, but at no point has Lex ever obsessed over Supergirl or wanted to possess her or defeat her in the intensely personal manner in which he hates and despises Superman. Superman is established as a threat to Lex's ego; Lex wanted to be seen as the world's saviour. Supergirl, while terrific, is seen by the world as young, inexperienced, naive, well-intentioned, powerful but hardly on Superman's level. Supergirl is a junior superhero still.

Lex hates Supergirl the way I hate cryptocurrency; I dislike it on principle, but I'm hardly obsessed with anyone in crypto. The show tries to note that Lex is obsessed with showing up Kryptonians in general, but SUPERGIRL's "Rebirth" dialogue positions that as an obsession specific to Kara and... it just plays oddly. It's not the first peculiar note for Lex in Season 6.

Still, given the circumstances in which this episode was cobbled together (portions filmed in a previous season, trying to finish it under COVID protocols with no access to a pregnant and absent Melissa Benoist), I'm surprised it holds together as well as it does.

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I went back to the Season 1 SUPERGIRL premiere and... wow, this is a significantly different show in some subtle but distinct ways.

The budget of Season 1's earlier episodes is clearly higher. There is a lot more outdoor location filming in Los Angeles than in the Vancouver years. Supergirl has fight scenes outdoors in desert locations and on highways instead of inside factories/studio sets with generic pipeworks).

Flight is more in evidence: there's more effort to have Supergirl hovering in combat and in various scenes where the later seasons mostly had flight being a method of transport. Overall, the effects budget is clearly 2 - 3 times more than the CW seasons: there are hyperdetailed renderings of Supergirl saving a plane rather than the motion blur minimalism of Seasons 2 - 5 for such scenes. In addition, the DEO and Catco are filled with 50 - 100 extras whereas the CW scenes would have maybe 10 - 20.

Funnily enough: Seasons 2 - 5 were constantly coming up with silly psychological excuses for why J'onn J'onzz and other Martians were affecting a human appearance and why J'onn's memories of Mars always had the Martians looking human. Season 1 was probably the only time the show would have had the resources to make heavy use of the computer generated martians.

The main distinction is the performances. Melissa Benoist's Kara is played so young in the pilot. Kara is unsteady, insecure, shaky, hot tempered, a little unstable. I recall that by the start of Season 2, Kara had become a more seasoned relief worker with an easy self-confidence and the hyperactive neuroticism would only come out in comedy scenes. Benoist plays Season 1 Kara like a teenaged girl, but starting in Season 2, Benoist began transitioning to playing Kara with more maturity and Kara by Season 3 is finally a grown-ass woman.

Strangely, Alex is the least different. Chyler Leigh found Alex's hyperconfident demeanor pretty early on in the pilot. The only distinction: for some reason, the pilot strongly highlights that Alex is a biologist with expertise in alien biology and microbiology, but the show never really used Alex's scientific background much.

For the most part, Alex is played as a master tactician, a cunning warrior, a brilliant strategist, more Maggie Beckett than Quinn Mallory (or, if you prefer, more Sara Lance than Dr. Caitlin Snow). Instead, Lena Luthor would become the scientist on the show and Alex's scientific skills would be abandoned in favour of her combat skills. Alex is the soldier while Kara is a firefighter.

The one thing that is a complete disaster, that does not work at all... it's absurd for James Olsen to be telling Kara that Superman is proud of her, for James to be handing over a cape on Superman's behalf. It makes absolutely no sense that Clark is using Jimmy as an intermediary like Superman would be afraid to talk to his cousin in person and has to hide behind a friend.

I'm not sure how this could have been different as the WB licensing department would not grant SUPERGIRL the right to use Superman and have him on camera until Season 2. However, Tyler Hoechlin's appearances as Superman in Season 2 make the absent Superman of Season 1 look ridiculous.

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Episode 1.02 of SUPERGIRL has a Kara/Alura fight scene that's incredibly close to some of Superman's fight scenes on SUPERMAN AND LOIS with intense use of superpowers (heat vision, freeze breath) and intense punching.

I think that SUPERGIRL's lightweight, romcom tone made the budget cuts for Season 2 easier to accept because even though SUPERGIRL had some intense superpowered physicality, it was really about the characters and their relationships and less about the spectacle.

Also, as I recall, the failure to acquire an LA tax credit meant that the show was hit by severe budget issues in the second half of the season, so the downturn of the visuals actually started in Season 1 which probably softened the blow of Season 2 having even less money.

Re: DC Superheroes on TV (CW & HBO Max)

ireactions wrote:

FLASH's Season 9 premiere was okay. Some good character work with Iris disliking how her future is entirely too known to her and being irritated with Barry wanting Iris to follow every hint of the future to the point of everything being obnoxiously predestined and controlled. FLASH notes that the show has always been about Barry's mysterious future whether it was CRISIS or Nora 1.0 or Nora 2.0 and Bart and how that can become extremely trying on Iris trying to live in the now. Some good jokes. Some nice character beats in Barry and Iris' marriage.

It was nice. It was fine.

Yeah, it's fine.  I think when you deal with Barry, this was another lesson he needed to learn.  If he can't change the future, at least he can chronicle it to keep people safe.  I don't think this was an hour wasted of Barry's story.

What's weird about these time loop episodes is how often people die.  We've seen it on Star Trek, in Supernatural, in tons of sci-fi shows like this - do characters let up their guards because they know they're in a time loop?  Is this just all their bad luck crammed into one pocket universe?  Because whether it's Sam and Dean or Barry, they always are killed in these time loop episodes much easier than they would be in other episodes.  I don't think this challenge was unique or dangerous enough to kill Barry again and again and again.

I know it's fun to kill off the Flash a bunch of times knowing that there are no stakes.  I just think it's a weird situation because, narratively, it feels forced.

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The Nerds of Color say that they misquoted Eric Wallace:

Eric Wallace:
It’s disappointing to me. But we just don’t have the bandwidth.

I had hoped that we’d have 20 episodes. My original concept was to have at least one — if not a two parter — that wrapped up LEGENDS OF TOMORROW. A little crossover: we get them back, we get them out of time jail, all these good things, Booster Gold.

When we found out we only had 13 episodes, that was no longer possible.

All the Legends at least are all going to appear in an episode. … the-flash/

Since then, Nerds of Color posted an update to the article:

CORRECTION 2/7/2023, 6:05 PM: An earlier version of this article incorrectly quoted Mr. Wallace as saying “All the Legends [of Tomorrow] at least are all going to appear in an episode.” There is no confirmation of all the Legends returning in The Flash.

I'm not sure how this incorrect quote somehow made it into the interview, I don't know how someone could mishear or mistranscribe that, but regardless, it has been withdrawn and it looks like no LEGENDS cast are booked at all for THE FLASH.

I have heard that Brandon Routh will be appearing on QUANTUM LEAP. Probably not playing Ray Palmer.

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Continuing my rewatch of SUPERGIRL. It's pretty obvious that once Cat Grant surmises that Kara is Supergirl, she isn't actually fooled by J'onn J'onzz impersonating Supergirl to meet Kara in Cat's presence. Cat becomes far more sympathetic and encouraging to Kara and Supergirl afterwards.

The peculiar duplication of SUPERGIRL is... strangely not as irksome as on a first viewing. When watching the original broadcasts, it was bizarre that Kara Danvers was a junior intern and a high ranked secret agent of a federal emergency bureau; a superhero with a secret identity that was only a secret to Cat Grant; a nervous bookworm and an hardy warrior, etc..

On a second viewing... From a characterization standpoint, however, it works that Kara has both a capable soldier and a nervously naive girl inside her.  But practically, Kara's civilian job as an assistant, while making Kara more 'normal', seems like a complete waste of time; Kara flat out dismisses her assistant job in the pilot as not being worth her time.

And yet, the Catco setting has become such a fixture of SUPERGIRL after six seasons that when rewatching Season 1, Catco feels warmly familiar. It'd be weird if it weren't there now in this rewatch.

SUPERGIRL was reportedly having budget problems in the latter half of the first season. I personally found the episode budgets pretty lavish and extensive until episode 18, "World's Finest" when Grant Gustin appeared as Barry Allen and then half the budget seemed to disappear in the Flash's wake.

With "World's Finest", fight scenes suddenly seem to be missing critical effects shots, coverage of fight scenes is strangely missing with the heroes and villains filmed in separate and isolated shots, key moments of physical interaction oddly missing.

A fight scene inexplicably cuts off with the Flash and Supergirl firing wind at the enemies; then we cut away to the Flash and Supergirl having inexplicably fled the scene, running away from the supervillains they were trying to catch. A key moment has firemen saving the Flash and Supergirl; we never see the firemen arrive and they're obviously not in the wide shots. The producers remarked that the budget issues were manifesting earlier with villains constantly confronting Kara in her apartment set, but there were a lot of intense outdoor action sequences in the pre-"World's Finest" episodes. The money seemed to run out here.

Episode 19, "Myriad", the penultimate episode of Season 1, seems to be a bottle episode. The majority of the episode is set on standing sets (the Danvers house, Catco) or in a black void of nothing. Supergirl's flight avoids any extensive wire work in favour of filming Melissa Benoist from the chest up, and the only costly action is J'onn and Indigo having a fight in a parking lot.

The episode works really well to build drama and to assert that violence isn't an effective solution towards the mind control of Myriad, but after "World's Finest" couldn't seem to pay for a complete fight scene in Episode 18, the avoidance of superpowered scenes in "Myriad" looks less like a writing choice and more like a budget shortfall.

I can't remember how well the finale went; I remember it being good, but I wonder if it suffered from the financial crisis that 18 and 19 seemed to experience.

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This is really interesting.  I watched Supergirl in between season one and season two, ahem, via a website.  I remember it being good, but I don't have the eye for noticing stuff like you do.  There's just about a 0.0% chance I ever rewatch Supergirl, but I am enjoying remembering a lot of the early stuff.

I do wonder how things would've gone if Supergirl had been a huge hit for CBS.  I guess she still would've had crossovers?

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Well, the main production problem with SUPERGIRL on CBS: CBS budgeted for a Los Angeles tax credit that, for some reason, didn't come through. The show had been spending like it was Season 3 of SLIDERS on a lavish FOX budget only to abruptly discover it was actually Season 5 of SLIDERS on a shoestring Sci-Fi Channel budget. Production was suddenly underfunded. They finished the season, but it was financially impossible to stay in Los Angeles.

I'm not sure any level of ratings success would have allowed CBS to fund this Los Angeles-filmed show without the LA tax credit. And I can't see CBS funding a Vancouver-filmed version of SUPERGIRL because CBS requires a certain level of ad sales to make a show worth their investment, and SUPERGIRL could not command that level of ad sales and would have had to start charging less.

I guess, if SUPERGIRL had gotten its tax break and had huge ratings, CBS could have kept it. Cat Grant and Maxwell Lord would have stayed in the show because Callista Flockhart and Peter Facinelli wouldn't have been facing a move to Vancouver.

Mechad Brooks was not happy playing Jimmy Olsen and was ready to quit after Season 1. He didn't think Jimmy had much to do, didn't think he had any romantic chemistry with Benoist. Production didn't wish to keep him against his will and was willing to release him from his contract. However, the move to Vancouver made Brooks decide to give the show another chance; it's likely that Season 2 would have had Brooks written out by request if it had stayed in LA.

I'm not sure SUPERGIRL could have participated in crossovers beyond Arrowverse stars guest-starring in individual episodes of SUPERGIRL if it had stayed on CBS. "World's Finest" was very difficult to film because Grant Gustin would have had to fly from Vancouver to Los Angeles and film within a tight window before being flown back to Vancouver for THE FLASH. It would not have been feasible to regularly fly the stars of ARROW and FLASH between LA and Vancouver more than once a year.

I don't think Alex would have been gay in a CBS version of the second season because the first season was clearly pairing Alex up with Maxwell Lord and Peter Facinelli's departure opened other doors for Alex that led to her coming out.

A CBS version of SUPERGIRL would have maintained a very high budget and probably been only a few steps behind the visuals we get in SUPERMAN AND LOIS rather than the artful speed-blurring of the CW version of SUPERGIRL.

We may still have gotten Chris Wood as Mon-El as the actor is LA based, but I don't know if we would have gotten Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor. There was certainly interest in the Lena Luthor character, but the presence of one somewhat amoral technology industrialist (Lord) may have made Lena Luthor unnecessary; Lena may have been cast more as an outright villain to contrast with Lord merely being egotistical but decent (ah, very, very, very deep down). They may have cast Lena differently and probably not promoted her to a regular role.

I don't know if we would have gotten Tyler Hoechlin as Superman. While Hoechlin works in Los Angeles and Vancouver, the addition of Superman to SUPERGIRL appears to have been due to WB wanting to give CW reason to take on a show that CBS had found untenable. The ability for the CW to market SUPERGIRL as featuring a newly cast Superman (and at a far lower rate than expected) made SUPERGIRL extremely attractive to the CW network.

I can't see this happening if SUPERGIRL had stayed on CBS; a WB would have demanded a huge licensing fee for CBS' SUPERGIRL to feature Superman and SUPERGIRL was making do with CG models and body doubles filmed at a distance.

I don't know if SUPERGIRL could have ever become a big hit. I love Supergirl, but fairly or unfairly, Supergirl is seen as a derivative character who is always adjacent to Superman. Any SUPERGIRL TV show feels like a spinoff to a SUPERMAN television series even if Superman at the time did not have his own TV show.

Fairly or unfairly, Supergirl is not a cultural icon like Superman. Superman is a global phenomenon, a media giant, a multimarket empire of films, shows, stageplays, musicals, novels, radio shows, action figures, costumes, and toys. Supergirl is his cousin and Supergirl is a fundamentally niche property. While FRASIER became independent from CHEERS, the name "Supergirl" forever defines Kara as adjacent to Clark Kent. There's a bit of a glass ceiling on Supergirl as a character.

Fairly or unfairly, there was always going to be the sense that the SUPERGIRL television show existed because Berlanti Productions couldn't get the TV rights to Superman. And that only changed in 2020 when the DC film division got stalled on doing any more movies with Henry Cavill and WB decided that the Superman license might as well be bringing in some more revenue on TV since it wasn't bringing any from movie theatres.

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SUPERGIRL's Season 1 finale... had a little more money than the two bottle episodes before it, but not that much. The superpowered fight scenes are still a bit minimal, with most of the money going to Supergirl throwing the giant Kryptonian prison into space.

I'll have more to say about it later, but I will note how darkly amusing it is: at the end of episode, the entire DEO thanks Supergirl for saving their lives. We're never going to see any of these extras or anonymous DEO Agent #3s again once the show moves to Vancouver.

At the end of the episode, Maxwell Lord has a sinister moment where he hands over the Myriad mind control components to General Sam Lane; we're never going to see Maxwell Lord again and Sam Lane's next appearance is as an alternate on SUPERMAN AND LOIS and Myriad will return in Lena's hands.

At the end of the episode, J'onn J'onzz says he intends to work with Lucy Lane to run the DEO; we're never going to see this Lucy again, only her alternate on SUPERMAN AND LOIS.

At the end of the episode, Kara gets a new office; this office didn't make the move to Vancouver. Kara will be back in the bullpen next season.

At the end of the episode, Alex vows that she will find Jeremiah Danvers (Dean Cain); that's not going to turn out well onscreen or in real life.

At the end of the episode, Jimmy and Kara kiss; this gets instantly deep sixed in Season 2 and the show never refers to it again like they're embarrassed about it.

Well. I guess it could be worse. At least nobody got shot and exploded after getting their brain sucked out.

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SUPERGIRL's first season finale is a very solid piece of work. The threat of Myriad is resolved with a truly stirring speech from Supergirl, beautifully performed by Melissa Benoist.

The writing has many shining moments. There's J'onn J'onzz silently revealing that he could have escaped the DEO at any time but chose to stay to help the humans and the DEO against the Kryptonians. There's the extremely well-written dialogue where Alex establishes that Kara can't survive in outer space and that her flight abilities wouldn't allow her to generate thrust to return to Earth should she enter orbit and escape planetary gravity.

The finale also establishes the futility of violence: Supergirl has the same powers as the Kryptonians, so combat would be pointless and the day has to be won with strategy, tactics and sacrifice as Supergirl gives up her own life to remove Myriad from planet Earth. The shot of Supergirl floating away into space only for her pod to come to her rescue with a glimmer of Alex in the cockpit is beautiful, as is the soft transition to Kara waking up in the DEO lab.

However, all this writing noting that superpowered combat wouldn't accomplish anything at times looks less like high minded ideals and more like a budget crash. SUPERGIRL at one point has Kara demand to know where the 50 or so superpowered Kryptonian soldiers are and why she doesn't have to fight them; it's explained that they're all in their sleeper pods preparing to leave Earth, so J'onn and Kara only have to fight General Non and Indigo.

The fight scenes are quick and to the point with J'onn ripping Indigo apart while Kara and Non firing heat vision back and forth with minimal wirework and fight choreography. The writers do a solid job of hiding the shortfalls and it all felt suitably epic when this first aired, but on a second viewing, I can see the bare budget even though I admire and enjoy how the writers are doing their best to cover for the shortcomings of their accountants.

This minimalist approach to superpowers and visuals is pretty much the scale of the show once we settle into Season 2.

It's a bit alarming that we started SUPERGIRL's first season with a hyperdetailed rendering of Kara saving a crashing plane in the pilot. Now the finale has blurs of CG and two actors glaring intensely at each other with ray beams as they stand in the desert outside LA.

The cliffhanger has a spaceship crashing to Earth and Kara and J'onn investigating the crash. Kara is astonished to see that the spaceship is just like her own Kryptonian pod; it's a fascinating mystery to lead us into Season 2. However, one can't help but note that using a Kryptonian pod allowed SUPERGIRL to reuse the same CG spaceship model and the same physical prop they've had since the pilot, an unavoidable design choice since SUPERGIRL couldn't afford to create a new ship design or build a new prop.

Money issues also seem to have struck one of the closing plot developments of Season 1: the unseen President of the United States declares that J'onn J'onzz is pardoned for impersonating a federal agent and commanding a federal defense agency, and furthermore, J'onn is now officially installed as director of said federal agency. This is absolutely nonsensical on every level except the one on which it was originally intended: we were supposed to meet the President much earlier in Season 1 and get some rationale for this bizarre turn of events.

Episode 11, "Strange Visitor from Another Planet", featured Senator Miranda Crane, an publicly anti-alien politician who changes her mind about anti-alien legislation after Supergirl saves her. It looks like this character was originally meant to be President Olivia Marsdin, to be played by Lynda Carter.

Furthermore, the episode was to reveal to the viewer (but not the characters) that Marsdin was an alien who'd deliberately presented an alien-hostile platform in order to publicly 'change' her mind to puncture anti-alien prejudice and start the path to human and alien unity, much in the same way J'onn impersonated the alien-loathing Hank Henshaw to imprison violent aliens and protect peaceful ones.

This would then explain why President Marsdin would pardon J'onn and reinstate his command at the DEO. Unfortunately, due to the show's financial issues, Carter couldn't be booked until Season 2. The show decided to save Carter's character and plot twist for later, but in doing so, SUPERGIRL lost its rationale for J'onn getting his old job back.

I like the Season 1 finale a lot, but I can certainly see how the Los Angeles production had become unworkable.

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In Season 1 of SUPERGIRL, J'onn is exposed as a Martian pretending to be human. He is captured, imprisoned, and told that he will be sent to "Cadmus" which J'onn describes as the unit of the US Department of Extranormal Operations that performs dissections and eviscerations of aliens in order to kill their races more efficiently and also to co-opt and reproduce their powers. Cadmus is the reason why Superman refuses to work with the US government or the DEO.

In SUPERGIRL's Season 2 premiere episodes, National City is attacked by Cadmus, now described as an anti-alien terrorist organization that declares the US government to be an enemy of Cadmus for the United States' systemic sympathy for alien refugees and for the announcement of the Alien Amnesty Act granting refugee status to interstellar newcomers. Cadmus has no association with the US government.

There are moments in television that can truly only be summed up in a single, succinct word:


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I wonder how that stuff happens.  I know they changed networks, but this stuff is easily trackable.  You could just have the unit go rogue.  It's still part of the government, but now it can be evil.

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My guess would be that there were originally some extra scripted lines in Cadmus' broadcast manifesto, some dialogue about how, "We are Cadmus, we will no longer follow the leadership of the United States government. If government won't protect its human citizens, we will. If government won't eradicate the alien menace, we will."

The CW was hoping that viewers who'd skipped SUPERGIRL on CBS would be drawn to watch a season premiere featuring Superman, viewers who may not have seen the previous episodes describing Cadmus as a DEO-associate. My guess would be that going into Season 2, there was some thought that new viewers might be confused by the complication of Cadmus being a government agency that is no longer a government agency.

Rather than invite the audience to grapple with that complexity, SUPERGIRL elected to just present Cadmus as a terrorist organization and not mention that Cadmus had previously been a partner branch of the DEO and I imagine those lines were cut from the script.

This is also noticeable in the mild retcon to Superman's schism with J'onn J'onzz and the DEO where the reasoning for why Superman won't work with them is altered to say that J'onn's kryptonite armanents are the conflict. "You can't offer friendship with one hand while holding kryptonite in the other," Superman says, making no mention of refusing to have any association with Cadmus.

I would think that Superman would have had some dialogue indicating that he'd learned Cadmus had originally gathered the kryptonite that the DEO was now keeping, using that as an example of how agencies don't keep the same leaders with the same scruples forever.

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Another inconsistency between SUPERGIRL's first and second season: when Jimmy Olsen and Winn Schott show up in the DEO desert base, every DEO agent flips out. It's a massive security breach to have two journalism employees in a covert, black-operations, off the books, officially non-existent spy operation. J'onn is furious at their presence and throws them out, but grudgingly tolerates Jimmy frequently venturing into this top secret base every time he wants a heart to heart with Kara.

Then we go to Season 2... and pretty much anyone is allowed to come into the DEO and wander the premises. Mon-El, an alien refugee with a shaky backstory, is basically allowed to live there. Maggie Sawyer, a National City police officer, is injured and Alex Danvers brings Maggie to the DEO for medical treatment instead of taking Maggie to... a hospital.

Winn is hired to work at the DEO, but he's apparently allowed to use DEO materials and a DEO van and DEO computers to help James become a vigilante superhero and Winn never has to account for using alien technology, DEO hardware and DEO vehicles for his hobby project. Jimmy keeps going to the DEO to hang out with Winn. Winn keeps describing his workday and various projects to Jimmy despite Winn's work and projects being part of a black-ops, off-the-books government operation. J'onn brings a random bartender to the DEO for no apparent reason beyond the show not having the budget to construct another set as a neutral gathering place.

The DEO has gone from being a secret base to basically being the National City public library. It's very, very, very funny. I love it.

Also, I was wrong when I said that none of the DEO agents who thank Kara for her valour are seen again. Vasquez (the shorthaired DEO agent played by Briana Venskus who also plays Piper on AGENTS OF SHIELD) is still appearing at the DEO throughout Season 2. She will stop appearing eventually, however; she probably decided it didn't make sense to keep flying to Vancouver to guest-star when she was guest-starring on AGENTS OF SHIELD in Los Angeles without needing a plane to get to the set.

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Hilarious inconsistency between Seasons 2 and 4 of SUPERGIRL:

In Season 4, the President of the United States demands to know Supergirl's civilian identity and when Supergirl refuses to give it, he fires her from the DEO. Later in the season, it's declared that at the DEO, only J'onn, Alex and like three other anonymous DEO agents know that Kara Danvers is Supergirl.

Except in Season 2: Kara is constantly walking around the DEO in her glasses and plainclothes. One might wonder if Kara has a civilian job at the DEO in addition to being Supergirl, but Kara rips off her shirt to reveal the Supergirl costume underneath in several scenes while surrounded by DEO staff.

Kara is addressed as "Kara" by various DEO personnel like Agent Vasquez. Alex and J'onn call her "Kara" while DEO extras are walking back and forth through the operations bay. At one point, Mon-El announces to the DEO at large, "Kara and I are dating!"

Supergirl being Kara Danvers is clearly not a secret when every janitor and short order cook who clocks in at the DEO is allowed to overhear all this. There may have been some cut dialogue about J'onn periodically wiping DEO agents' memories of The Secret, but as it stands, this is another massive continuity error across entire seasons, and... I think it's just great.

I don't know why Quinn being nearsighted in the Pilot but having perfect vision afterwards bothers me but this error delights me; I have to assume that I just really like Melissa Benoist's Kara and will tolerate anything to hang out with her.

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From a budget standpoint, I find that the two Season 2 premiere episodes of SUPERGIRL, both episodes featuring Superman, might be better viewed as a special television event production separate from the rest of Season 2. These two episodes are clearly budgeted at a higher rate than the rest of the year.

After Season 1 had Superman texting Supergirl, Season 2 opens with Supergirl struggling to save a crashing space shuttle and Superman actually shows up in person to help her. The aerial sequences are astonishing with Superman and Supergirl battling drones in the airspace of National City and keeping a collapsing building from falling apart. The special effects are dense, lavish, detailed and expensive.

This premiere also adds extra effects to a Season 1 sequence. The Season 1 finale had Kara and J'onn investigating a crashed Kryptonian pod that looked exactly like Kara's pod (same CG model and physical prop). Season 2 actually shows the pod crashing and creates an additional action sequence of Kara saving civilians caught in the pod's flight path.

Slider_Quinn21 noted that some of the Metallo makeup was not great and it wasn't, but the shots went by so fast that it didn't seem to matter too much (at least to me).

However, one area where SUPERGIRL is clearly preparing for a cheaper season: Superman and Kara are no longer fighting supervillains who are capable of flight. Season 1 had a lot of Kryptonians fighting Supergirl, Kryptonians who could fly and had the same powers. Season 2 has supervillains who are mostly on the ground, meaning Supergirl has to land to confront them.

After the two episode Season 2 debut, the series starts to cut down on flight-driven action sequences. Kara is fighting people on the ground rather than in the skies, justfiying it through supervillains who can't fly. But even when J'onn is fighting another Martian, the fight is kept on the ground even though both characters can fly. In general, Kara flies less; her habit of hovering above the ground for conversations is reduced to nearly nothing.

Season 2 clearly has less money to build new sets every week. Season 1 would often have the characters in a new location or an indoor set built just for the episode: Maxwell Lord's office and labs, train stations, an outdoor desert combat training location, a toy factory. Season 2 cuts down: villains lounge in vaguely defined warehouses or facilities with lots of pipeworks. There's an effort to move as many scenes as possible to the DEO location's operations bay and medical centre. Mon-El seems to live there. A reporter, a city cop and a bartender can walk in whenever they want to hang out in this top secret, off-the-books, black-ops federal facility that is a closely guarded secret restricted to the highest echelons of government.

However, all this trimming is clearly trying to make it so that when a standout, lavish, wirework driven action sequence is needed, it's significant and impactful. Episode 15, "Exodus", is one of the most impressive episodes of SUPERGIRL ever made and it seems that I somehow missed it on its original airdate and missed chunks of it when rewatching the second half of Season 2 on streaming in summer 2017. (I was having some internet service issues at the time.)

Looking over my posts from the era, it seems I didn't see the second half of this episode because I kept saying that Jeremiah Danvers' motives weren't explained when they were; I distinctly remember thinking the last time we ever saw Jeremiah was J'onn impersonating him to see if Alex would help Cadmus if Jeremiah asked (and when Alex agrees to help Jeremiah, J'onn suspends Alex from the DEO). Clearly, that's when my CW app went down and when my ISP cut out.

"Exodus" is an epic episode. Since Season 2, Cadmus has been plotting some terrible endgame with alien refugees that involves Alex's father, Jeremiah Danvers (Dean Cain). Jeremiah is revealed to be helping Cadmus with their plans, causing Alex to go completely insane after this betrayal. "Exodus" reveals that Jeremiah was helping Cadmus retrieve and rebuild spaceships to forcibly deport alien refugees away from Earth which Jeremiah considered to be preferable to Cadmus wanting to kill them.

"Exodus" is where Alex Danvers' scientific background as a medical doctor and a biologist seem to disappear entirely from the show. Alex delivered some technobabble in Season 1, but it's been less and less as we get into Season 2 and this week, Alex goes from being Dr. Caitlin Snow with combat training to commiting fully to being a female version of Tom Cruise in the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE movies. Alex becomes a tactical genius of masterful improvisation.

Alex, suspended from the DEO, goes rogue in hunting down Cadmus: she interrupts a Cadmus-organized round-up of alien refugees and tracks down the Cadmus base where the first alien deportation ship is loaded with aliens and soon to launch and will reach lightspeed after exiting Earth's atmosphere.

Alex gets captured on purpose so she can inform the Cadmus ringleader that she's planted 10 bombs around the entire facility to destroy it. When Cadmus doesn't believe her and sets the ship to take off, Alex sets off the first two bombs; when Cadmus reveals the takeoff can't be turned off. Alex sets off all the bombs to prevent any further spaceship launches. Jeremiah betrays Cadmus and tries to help Alex, but gets knocked unconscious and his fate is left ambiguous. Alex boards the ship just as it achieves lift off, hoping to stop it from inside.

It's here that we come to Season 2's standout action sequence: Alex discovers that she can't take control of the autopiloted spaceship about to transport her and 500 innocent aliens to the other side of the galaxy. The DEO has no space travel capacity and no means to retrieve them; Season 1 established that Supergirl can't even fly outside of Earth's orbit.

Supergirl arrives on the scene as the ship is in stratosphere and tries to stop the ship with superbreath and a layer of ice. The ship, being built to withstand the cold of space, smashes right through the ice. Supergirl flies to the front of the ship, sees Alex through cockpit viewport and the sisters lock eyes. Supergirl launches herself at the front of the ship, trying to force a 100 million kilogram spaceship with engines that can achieve lightspeed back to the ground.

It's here that Season 2's scrimping and saving since the Season 2 premiere is all put on the screen. The special effects are stunning: the ship breaching mesosphere, Supergirl's face breaking with physical agony as she tries to push the ship back, Alex looking on from inside the ship, and the two Danvers sisters mutually realizing, to their horror: Supergirl isn't strong enough to push the rising ship back down to Earth. Kara's power has reached its limits.

The effects are very important, but it's the acting from Melissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh that makes them meaningful. elevating the moment from Supergirl pushing a heavy object to a horrific revelation of defeat: Alex is helpless and Kara has pushed her body to its limit and it isn't enough. If Kara keeps fighting the ship, she'll just be driven into orbit with it and suffocate in space.

Then Alex puts her hand to the viewport glass and Kara instinctively does the same. Both realize that Kara can't live without exerting every last drop of strength to stop the ship. Kara pushes again and realizes while she isn't stronger than the ship, she's stronger than its engines and generates enough opposing force that the ship's thrusters stall and blow out from the resistance, leaving the ship adrift in thermosphere and gradually descending.

It's an astonishing combination of effects, editing, music and performance, and this was absolutely the very best place for SUPERGIRL to blow its effects savings for the year even though we still have seven episodes left in Season 2.

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Because of Slider_Quinn21, I now have to look at every Season 9 episode of THE FLASH and ask: is this story more important than resolving LEGENDS OF TOMORROW? And watching Season 9, Episode 2, I have to ask: why did we need an entire episode of Team Flash not resurrecting Caitlin Snow and effectively killing off Caitlin and Frost?

The story plays almost as though THE FLASH suddenly lost the performers who play Caitlin and Frost except Danielle Panabaker is still on the show and still on contract. This removal comes off as completely nonsensical and pointless. Why is THE FLASH introducing a new regular character in its final season when they have little time to build and explore this new role?

I just don't understand it. With only 12 episodes left, why isn't THE FLASH simply getting what is left of its cast and characters back onscreen with a minimum of fuss, but instead actively removing two cast members even when the actor is still being paid to film? Why isn't the final season of THE FLASH featuring Dr. Caitlin Snow being a biologist and medical doctor and featuring Frost being aggressive and reckless? It would have taken a lot less screentime to resurrect Frost and bring back Caitlin than the whole episode it took to deep-six Caitlin and Frost.

Was this really more important than resolving LEGENDS OF TOMORROW?

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One peculiar thing about SUPERGIRL: every season accomplishes something wonderful that no subsequent season could repeat or maintain. Season 1 achieved Superman-style aerial combat on a TV budget with Supergirl. By the end of Season 1, this had become unaffordable and Supergirl is mostly fighting earthbound foes from Season 2 onward.

Season 2 managed to give Kara Danvers a meaningful romance, something SUPERGIRL was unable to ever accomplish ever again in any subsequent season. The Mon-El/Kara romance worked on every level: it was a triumph of scripting where Mon-El had a really distinct individuality beyond being a supporting character for Kara. It was a triumph of performance with the actors showing why Mon-El could reach Kara in all the ways Winn Schott and Jimmy Olsen weren't as suited.

It was a triumph in real life: Melissa Benoist throughout Season 1 had been falling apart in her abusive marriage and staggered into Season 2 having initiated divorce proceedings and fled to Vancouver, Benoist met actor Chris Wood as he played Mon-El and clearly, what was onscreen was present in real life too. Benoist says that Wood loved her and taught her to love herself as well, and they got married three years later.

Why did the Mon-El/Kara romance work, and why couldn't the show ever find a new romance? Well, it helps to look at why Winn and Jimmy didn't work out with Kara. Winn's attraction to Kara is played as Winn seeing himself reflected in Kara. He's anxious, insecure, silly, goofy, humourous and loves board games; that's basically Kara's identity too.

The issue with that is that Winn didn't bring anything to the table that Kara didn't already have. Winn and Kara cancelled each other out romantically which was why Kara enjoyed spending time with him but never felt romantic tension with him. Noticeably, Winn's girlfriends after his failed pass at Kara had a certain ruthlessness and killer instinct (Silver Banshee, Lyra the art thief) which Winn himself lacks.

And on Kara's end: the bubbly, emotive girlchild personality was a part of her, but it was not the entirety of her character, just a civilian identity. The Supergirl identity is a relief worker and warrior and that's a part of her that Winn could never really reach. Winn was only compatible with Kara Danvers, not Supergirl.

Then we have Jimmy. Kara admired Jimmy as someone who exemplified all the confidence and security and clarity of moral and professional purpose that she herself wished she had. Jimmy was also tall, muscled and beautiful. Kara crushed on Jimmy hard.

But as Kara grew more confident and capable and began to clamp down on her youthful anxiety, she started to develop a similar problem with Jimmy that ruled out any romance with Winn. Jimmy and Supergirl were becoming incredibly similar to the point where they were cancelling each other out, and Jimmy also lacked the laidback goofiness that Kara enjoyed in civilian life. Once they were on an equal level, it became a friendship.

So then we come to Mon-El. It certainly helped that Mon-El was, like Kara, and alien and had some superpowers to join her in crimefighting. However, superpowers alone didn't really make him Kara's equal: Mon-El's superstrength and invulnerability didn't compare to Supergirl's flight, heat vision, x-ray vision, superspeed, etc..

Mon-El was someone who ultimately came to enjoy fun as much as heroics and could speak to both Kara Danvers and Kara Zor-El. He was the only person with whom Kara ever felt comfortable getting drunk.

He was also a survivor of a planetary apocalypse; he was open to stepping into the life of a superhero but also willing to enjoy civilian life on his own terms. He had a lot to learn, starting out with a certain hapless entitlement where, without malice, he would often offload his work on anyone he could and seize any attempt for hedonism over work; but he was also able to accept criticisms and find a better work-life balance. He wasn't evil, he was just lazy.

Mon-El is further exposed when Kara dumps him and Mon-El still chooses to be a hero even if he's going to be doing it without Kara in his life, finally proving his mettle and resilience. Mon-El could be both a hard partying hellraiser and a thoughtful observer of life, and he had a certain focus on self-preservation first that created a lot of fun tension and conflict between him and Kara.

Mon-El was particularly enriched as a character when his snobby, elitist, homicidal, planet-invading, slave-owning parents showed up; it became clear that Mon-El was a glowingly positive and good-hearted soul at his core because despite these two murderous human traffickers being his parents, Mon-El only turned out a little spoiled without any of the selfish cruelty exemplified by his mother and father.

Mon-El had a distinct and understandable approach to life: he would always save his own neck first and save himself before he got to work saving other people. In contrast, Kara rarely thought of herself in a crisis.

This small distinction made him different from Kara but also compatible, whereas Winn's goofiness and Jimmy's heartfelt sincerity were always too similar to Kara. This was effective from a writing standpoint, allowing Mon-El to be his own character and not just Kara's boyfriend, and it made Mon-El's mentality and philosophy individual. It was perfect.

Of course, since it was Season 2 and Melissa Benoist was on contract for six seasons, it seemed far too early for Kara to settle down and SUPERGIRL elected to send Mon-El into the future, creating a tragic love story where he validated Supergirl's legacy while never able to reunite with her; by the time he could make it back to the present, he had moved on and even gotten married to someone else.

SUPERGIRL would never again be able to create a love interest as well-suited to Kara. Ultimately, the Mon-El character proved to be a unique blend of hiring an excellent actor who was so perfect that Kara loved his character and Melissa Benoist loved the performer. The Mon-El character was an interesting mix of being non-maliciously self-serving while having a certain innocence and goodheartedness that would always win out. The Mon-El character had a certain penchant for hedonism matched with a sweetness and warmth that made him alarming but also unthreatening.

Any male character after Mon-El would always pale in his prospects with Kara and on some level, the show knew that, not even bothering to introduce any boyfriends for Kara for two years. Season 5 brought in William Dey as a love interest. And while William was a wonderfully performed and charmingly scripted character, the writers couldn't find a way to have him connect to Kara Zor-El and Kara Danvers, and ultimately, Season 6 chose to present William as merely a friend.

The only character who really stood a chance of being a good match for Kara after Mon-El was Lena Luthor, but for reasons that need their own post, this was unfortunately not to be.

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ireactions wrote:

Because of Slider_Quinn21, I now have to look at every Season 9 episode of THE FLASH and ask: is this story more important than resolving LEGENDS OF TOMORROW? And watching Season 9, Episode 2, I have to ask: why did we need an entire episode of Team Flash not resurrecting Caitlin Snow and effectively killing off Caitlin and Frost?

I'm doing the same thing.  While I thought the first episode was silly, I think it was a milestone on Barry's adventure.

This didn't seem to accomplish anything.  If Caitlin is gone, it's a really rough way to write off someone who was on the show 8 years.  If she's coming back, what was the point of this?

Although I like that it was essentially Tuvix but this time Tuvix gets to live.

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I posted earlier about how SUPERGIRL doesn't do well when attempting to confront real world issues without allegory or metaphor. … 854#p13854

I'm at the two part Season 2 finale of SUPERGIRL and... SUPERGIRL isn't that great at dealing with reality in general. By this, I mean that when events on SUPERGIRL prompt a response from the US federal government, that response makes no sense in both our reality and the reality of Earth-38.

In the Season 2 finale story, the Daxamites stage an invasion of Earth, attacking National City. Since Earth-38 is presented as similar to our Earth with a semi-sensible representation of government, one would expect a US military response: blockade National City with fighter jets to isolate the airspace, prepare a surface to air missile response to take on the Daxamite mothership, dispatch soldiers to defend and evacuate civilians, and then we go from there.

Instead, SUPERGIRL decides that the United States response to an alien invasion of a major US city is to... fly Air Force One in the general direction of the alien ship. With the President aboard Air Force One.

Let's note that Air Force One has no armaments of any kind and no sane military strategy would have you throw your unarmed leaders at an invasion force.

SUPERGIRL also decides that the person who will be negotiating with the Daxamite invasion leader will be... the White House public relations director, Cat Grant, as opposed to literally anyone else with something resembling diplomatic skills and experience working with aliens.


SUPERGIRL is a very well-meaning, earnest, sincere show that wears its heart on its sleeve, but SUPERGIRL does better when it stays out of reality and confines its situations within the superhero bubble of National City.

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The Season 2 finale has Lena Luthor build a device that can seed the entire atmosphere of planet Earth with trace amounts of lead to render it uninhabitable for the Daxamite invaders, forcing them to leave. This device is a cube that's about the size of the blu-ray set for all 15 seasons of SUPERNATURAL and SUPERGIRL genuinely wants us to believe this little square space heater sized object can instantly spread lead through the entire planet.

Strange things happen when the majority of the effects budget is blown on Supergirl pushing a giant spaceship back down to Earth.

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SUPERGIRL at the end of Season 2 and the start of Season 3 is having a few collisions with reality. SUPERGIRL seems to have no sense of how the US military works and also has no sense of how federal security and counterintelligence agencies would handle a human resource crisis. SUPERGIRL also seems oddly unaware of how big planet Earth is.

Season 2 of SUPERGIRL has a finale that seems to collide with the reality of how the United States would actually respond to an alien invasion and the reality of SUPERGIRL's cable budget. Season 2's finale has the US President fighting aliens on the frontlines and Lena Luthor dosing planet Earth's atmosphere with an anti-Daxamaite poison using a single desktop device that's smaller than a fish tank.

Season 2's finale was, despite some peculiar storytelling choices in military strategy and technological scale, emotionally resonant. All the character arcs are spectacular: Kara can save the world, but she has to render Earth uninhabitable for the love of her life, Mon-El; she has to put him back in his Kryptonian lifepod and launch him away from Earth. The contrivances to reduce a global alien invasion to being confined to National City were... contrived. However, the contrivances were to serve a low budget and also for character beats that made sense emotionally even if the plot itself didn't always make sense.

One has to wonder why the writers weren't finding a more sensible reason to have President Marsdin present in National City than having Marsdin nonsensically leading the US Air Force into battle with the unarmed Air Force One -- such as Marsdin having deliberately ensured being in town to prep DEO defenses against the Daxamite invasion she'd been expecting.

One wonders why the writers didn't establish that putting low level amounts of lead throughout Earth's atmosphere was going to be accomplished with a global network of satellites venting exhaust and that Lena's thermos-sized machine was to link and activate the satellites, not to accomplish the entire planet-sized job from Lena's desk.

Season 1 was very capable in reducing SUPERGIRL's plots to the budget at hand. The Season 1 finale came up with reasons for why the Kryptonian soldiers were reduced to two. The Season 1 finale presented the Kryptonian attack on Earth as a psychic weapon that could be rendered with actors performing headaches so that pyrotechnics weren't needed. SUPERGIRL was good at building ramps over potholes of plot to justify scenes that would otherwise be irrational.

Why did these skills seem to desert SUPERGIRL in Season 2?

It seems to me the problem is the presence of unrepentant sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg, the showrunner for SUPERGIRL, and the absence of Ali Adler, the original lead writer. Season 1 of SUPERGIRL had its scripts led and overseen by the brilliant Adler (CHUCK, GLEE, NO ORDINARY FAMILY, FAMILY GUY) who had a lot of experience in managing stories to fit low sitcom budgets. But Kreisberg had been sexually harassing and verbally abusing his staff, including Adler. Adler reported Kreisberg to human resources and her complaint didn't move forward. Adler quit SUPERGIRL. I've heard that as of the filming of Season 2, Episode 8, Adler refused to spend another moment on SUPERGIRL and moved into a CBS development deal, taking her away from the CW, from SUPERGIRL and from Kreisberg.

Adler retained an executive producer credit on Season 2 and it seems that her story outlines remained, but Kreisberg took over fleshing them out into full scripts. The stunning Episode 15 would appear to be the finale for Ali Adler's writing on the show.

Adler's story ideas took SUPERGIRL to the end of Season 2, but Adler wasn't shepherding her stories from outlines to scripting to filming. As a result, the Season 2 two part finale seems to feature Adler's emotional points (the President revealed as an alien, Kara having to rescue Lena and Mon-El from the spaceship that Alex has to destroy, fighting a mind-controlled Superman, Kara sacrificing her life with Mon-El to save Earth) -- but not Adler's ability to plot the connective material between the big setpieces and emotional conflicts.

Thanks to the characterization, Season 2 feels like a success, but that success is on some very shaky writing. Kreisberg clearly recognized the value of Adler's character beats, but he also clearly didn't have the skill to move the story from A to B without a lot of clumsiness along the way.

That clumsiness also seems present as we go into the Adlerless Season 3 of SUPERGIRL: Season 3's first two episodes show Kara to be absolutely traumatized by Mon-El's loss. Kara keeps flashing back to her mother (now played by Erica Durance and it's great to see her). Kara keeps remembering the terror and helplessness when she was 12 and stuffed into a metal tube that was shot into orbit while her planet exploded behind her.

Kara is consumed with guilt that she's now done the same thing to Mon-El, sending him off to dangers unknown. Melissa Benoist's performance is painful to watch.

Kara is coldly unresponsive to the civilians she saves as Supergirl, blank and unable to meet her deadlines as a reporter. Kara is avoiding her friends, cancelling every outing with Lena Luthor and avoiding the weekly game night. When Jimmy, now Kara's supervisor at Catco, reminds Kara to meet her deadlines, Kara is volatile and aggressive. When Alex asks Kara to connect with her friends and sister, Kara is abrasive and declares that Kara Danvers is a failed experiment and that attempting to live a human life has been a mistake.

It's a very strong character arc where Kara's unprofessionalism at Catco continues after best friend Lena Luthor buys the company. Lena sweetly suggests that Kara take a leave of absence to deal with her grief over Mon-El (whom the world knows was dating Kara, not Supergirl). Kara lashes out at Lena and snarls at Lena to only speak to Kara about work and not personal matters; Lena agrees and informs Kara: Kara is missing meetings. Kara is treating work orders from her employer as an inconvenience. Kara's behaviour at work is unacceptable.

Kara softly says she'll get to work on Lena's assignment. Later, Kara apologizes to Lena, thanking her for being a great friend and a great employer, and Kara recognizes that something inside her is fundamentally broken that has to be addressed.

SUPERGIRL's Season 3 character arc is fine. Kreisberg is solid with characterization. But the plot makes no sense. Kara Danvers is an employee of the Department of Extranormal Operations, a federal emergency response bureau. Kara Danvers just fought in a war. Kara Danvers is on active duty. Kara is a federal employee with the highest levels of federal security clearance; there is no way that the DEO would not be putting her in mandatory psychotherapy after Season 2 for survivor's guilt (she thinks Mon-El is dead), for combat trauma (she had to fight Superman) and for grief.

I understand that two episodes of Kara lying on the psychoanalyst's couch would not be the greatest use of Supergirl and her superpowers. But it's ridiculous to think that J'onn J'onzz, a federal emergency response manager, would allow Kara's trauma to go untreated. Or that Alex Danvers, a medical doctor (license unacquired), would leave Kara to deal with all these serious mental health issues on her own. Or that President Marsdin would allow a trauma victim with superpowers to keep working in a high securlity clearance government role without counselling sessions.

Once again, the issue here is rationalization to justify the more irrational story points. Adler would have understood that Kara would be seeing a DEO therapist; Adler would have found a way to have the therapist report that Kara was not a danger to anyone but deeply depressed over issues that Kara wasn't willing or able to verbalize, enabling the story to proceed with Kara trying to manage her grief alone.

Kreisberg seems rather dismissive of mental health care in real life and on his shows. And in a fictional context, it made sense that Oliver Queen wasn't seeing a therapist because he had a secret identity to protect. Barry Allen also had a similar situation. But Kara Danvers was working for the federal government as a secret agent and her sister was a physician (albeit having never been licensed).

It makes no sense that psychotherapy is never even discussed, and it speaks to Kreisberg's mindset where psychological problems are to be addressed with force and catharsis in the course of dominating life's problems rather than seeing a doctor.

It's noticeable that in Season 4, SUPERGIRL introduces a psychotherapist and neurologist in the Kelly Olsen character -- a development that could only happen after Andrew Kreisberg had been fired off the Arrowverse the previous year.

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Every season of SUPERGIRL seems to do something new that no subsequent season could maintain. Season 3 is really the only season to change Supergirl from being superhumanly nice to a more complicated character. Supergirl in Season 3 is deeply depressed.

The loss of Mon-El and the grief of sending him away has left Supergirl traumatized like Barry Allen. The guilt is making her distant and aloof from her friends like Oliver Queen. Season 3 is where Supergirl's character starts to become dimensionalized beyond niceness; we see that she withdraws, that she wants to subsume herself in an alternate identity, that she's lost joy in helping people or being Kara Danvers at Catco, that she's unable to handle a 9 - 5 job effectively and becoming difficult to work with for the DEO; she stops even wanting to be Kara Danvers.

It lasts two episodes and then Kara starts to recover, regaining most of the Melissa Benoist charm but with occasional moments of depression and sadness. Then Mon-El returns, but what was seven months for Kara has been seven years for Mon-El and he's gotten married and moved on while Kara hasn't. In a twisted way, helps Kara recover fully. She knows that Mon-El is alive and well but their relationship is over. Also, Mon-El has become a serious-minded, heavy-hearted hero without the mischief and hedonism that made him a good match for Kara's goofiness and Supergirl's heroism. He's effectively a different character played by the same actor.

The upshot of this: Kara as a more downbeat and sad character just didn't work for SUPERGIRL and they let it ride for two episodes and then started shifting back. The reason I think it's for the best: Melissa Benoist, as an actor, isn't like Grant Gustin when playing tragedy. Grant Gustin's sense of tragedy is haunting torment that he has Barry run to escape, it's very dynamic and troubled. And Melissa Benoist, as an actor, also isn't like Stephen Amell who conveys howling rage in a state of upset. Benoist can do anger, but she doesn't really do seething anger for every second of every minute; instead, her anger comes out in massive bursts and then she's spent.

Melissa Benoist playing Supergirl with a Barry/Oliver sized grief and trauma isn't empathetic like Gustin or riveting like Amell; it's simply depression. And Benoist's depression for Supergirl is in fact really distancing. It's hard to connect with Kara or Supergirl when Benoist plays this version of the character because Benoist's body language and expressiveness become completely flattened out, giving no real information to the viewer. For Benoist, depression isn't about increasing the sadness or the anger; it's instead an absence. This doesn't play to Benoist's strengths as an actor who's all about the physicality whether it's pushing a spaceship or bounding through Catco.

This seems to lead into Season 4 where the writers seemed to realize that Kara Danvers doesn't really need to be too heavily written or characterized. The writers decide to just let the character be heroic as Supergirl and a bit silly as Kara and very passionate about helping people in both personas and have crazy things happen around her.

The writers stop trying to give Kara an arc of feeling downbeat and working to triumph or self-discovery or overcoming a personal weakness. This version of Kara doesn't actually need that because this Kara has Melissa Benoist's screen presence and charisma and ability to generate empathy from the viewer. Melissa Benoist will handle the characterization after Season 3 and the writers leave it in her hands.

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THE FLASH 9.03, "Rogues of War", has an interesting, endearing story about the Flash trying to get (semi) reformed criminals to help him outheist some thieves trying to steal parts to build a time machine. It's engaging and fun and enjoyable... but wouldn't we rather have had Barry spring the Legends from time jail to run this job for him? Also, I couldn't remember who the Carver character was which may be my fault and not the show's.

I'm really enjoying how Iris remains in charge of Team Flash; meanwhile, Barry recruits a group of criminals and can't get any of them to follow his leadership. Jaco, the least malevolent of the bunch, is crushed when Barry confesses that he doesn't trust him. Barry can't even keep Pied Piper in line and Pied Piper is supposedly on Barry's team. That was hilarious. Barry is good at lots of things, but he doesn't have the natural authority of Oliver Queen or even Kara Danvers.

Former barista Jaco realizing that Barry is the Flash because they have the same coffee order is hilarious. Barry's embarrassment at his secret identity screwup is hilarious.

I am really confused about a bunch of things. Khione has joined the team to do interior decorating, having no scientific, strategic or combat skills; why is she there beyond giving Danielle Panabaker her contractually required screentime? Why is no one mourning Dr. Caitlin Snow? Barry's friend and personal physician is DEAD. Was there a funeral? Did anyone tell her mother? Why did Eric Wallace remove Caitlin and all of Caitlin's relationships from the series and replace Caitlin with a blank slate of nothing?

Why did Allegra engage in flirting with Chester for Season 8 only to avoid him after kissing him? Why does Chester keep trying to talk to someone who kissed him and for whatever reason regrets it? Chester is a bottomless well of fun, cleverness and easygoing charm; surely he doesn't have to stick within Team Flash for dating prospects.

The ending was... I guess, interesting. It's good to see a certain someone back even if she doesn't seem to be herself.

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The tail-end of SUPERGIRL's third season is *weird*. There is no sense of what the Season 3 plots are really about beyond Kara wandering around fighting three supervillains; there is no clarity as to what the new characters of Season 3 represent beyond their immediate plot purposes.

Season 1's Kryptonian invasion arc was about Kara trying to reconcile her anxiety and need to be more assertive: assertiveness sometimes comes out as destructive anger or the inability to work with others and Kara has to find the right balance.

Season 2 was about how women support other women (and sometimes men) and sometimes fail to: Queen Rhea supports no one and nothing but guises her selfishness in the language of female empowerment; Lena supports everyone and everything but has trouble trusting and being trusted; Supergirl thinks supporting people is to assume they're just like her and has to learn to accept and embrace difference.

Season 3 started out with the theme of Kara starting to lose touch with her humanity, taking on the inhuman Worldkillers who have no humanity -- and then it just degenerates into superhero plot points without having much to say about what it means to be human.

The reason for this is pretty obvious: showrunner and unrepentant sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg was well-deservedly fired from SUPERGIRL for unrepentant sexual harassment of his writers. He was off the show by Episode 3.12 and the remaining episodes of Season 3 come off as a novel where the original author died after writing half of it and the second half was written by someone else who had no idea where the story was supposed to go.

Unrepentant sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg introduced Samantha Arias and her daughter Ruby. Sam is a childhood friend of Lena's; Sam is a single mother; Sam is L-Corp's new financial officer; Sam is unknowingly a genetically engineered Kryptonian Worldkiller sent to 'purify' the planet Earth. Unrepentant sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg also brought Mon-El back but this is a Mon-El who's lived seven years since Season 2 and is now married to Imra, the telekinetic superhero Saturn Girl from the 31st century. Unrepentant sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg set up some mysteries: what is the Worldkiller's purpose on Earth? What are Mon-El and Imra's reasons for coming back to 21st century Earth?

Unrepentant sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg got fired before he could bring these plots to a conclusion. The answers provided by his successors suggest that they didn't know what unrepentant sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg had planned. Some have speculated that unrepentant sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg had left outlines that his successors refused to use in order to avoid paying him any further story or teleplay fees, but the awkwardness in resolving the Season 3 story elements suggests that their ex-boss was too busy harassing them to provide them with his plans.

Sam Arias unknowingly transforms into Reign, a Kryptonian Worldkiller whose powers are... the same as Supergirl's except Reign beats Supergirl to a pulp and is presented as stronger. All well and good -- but what exactly is the purpose of the Worldkiller? It's said that the Worldkiller is to "purify" the Earth for Kryptonians by brutally murdering criminals -- but what's the endgame after Reign has presumably killed all criminals?

Other Worldkillers include Purity and Blight who seem to be more interested in clearing all humans off Earth through physical violence -- but why? Surviving Kryptonians in Season 1 lost interest in Earth. Later in Season 3, Kryptonians are shown to be perfectly capable of creating new settlements like Argo City. And even if Kryptonians wanted to extinguish all human life, they could use Myriad's Q-waves to shut down all human brains.

By comparison, three super-superpowered Kryptonians punching humans to death one by one is highly inefficient.

It's unclear what these Worldkillers are meant to accomplish. The Season 3 writers seem to have no idea what the Worldkillers were supposed to be and Mon-El and Imra's secret mission to stop the Worldkillers' plan of something or other is just baffling.

The Sam Arias character is also awkward. Unrepentant sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg was strangely sloppy in introducing this new character in Season 3. Sam is described as a childhood friend of Lena's in the same episode where Lena says that she's never had any friends. Sam is an accountant and defined by constantly walking into rooms describing how she just accomplished some vague financial goal for Lena at L-Corp. Sam is suddenly in Kara Danvers' circle at the weekly game night and Kara is talking to Sam like they've been friends for years when, to the audience, Sam is a stranger.

It's hard to get a read on Sam's character because Sam's role on the show is to spout vague business terms and be present in mother-daughter scenes with 12 year old Ruby. Is Sam cunning like Oliver? A people person like Iris? Relentlessly practical like Diggle? A problem solver like Mary? An agent of chaos like Kate Kane? No idea, the show never presents Sam as anything beyond a mother.

Unrepentant sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg doesn't know how to define Sam and doesn't know why Lena and Sam are friends. I can't tell if Sam is cunning or clever or full of empathy or who this character is beyond being a loving mother.

It's almost as though unrepentant sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg simply had an infatuation with actress Odette Annable and wrote a role for her; Sam's human persona is almost irrelevant beyond being Ruby's mother. Sam is simply the human face of Reign like Davis Bloom was for Doomsday in SMALLVILLE -- except Davis Bloom had characterization: he was a paramedic (and so relevant to superhero combat situations); he was assertive and compassionate but with a dark anger.

In contrast, it's hard to pin down anything about Sam and the character only functions because Odette Annable can infuse her own humanity and warmth into the role. Sam is a pleasure to watch because Annable is great, but Sam is a non-entity.

After unrepentant sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg was fired, the post-Kreisberg writers elected to focus on the Reign persona and mostly kept Sam locked in a hospital bed or dreamscape until Supergirl could save her. Then Sam and Ruby were written out of the show.

Ruby Arias is also written pretty vaguely but adequately. She's an insecure but kind 12 year old girl and she and Alex Danvers form a bond as Alex babysits and protects her from Reign. Alex seeing Sam and Ruby together makes Alex realize she wants to have her own children.

What were unrepentant sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg's intentions for Sam and Ruby? It was reported that Odette Annable was signed for one season, but Ruby's actress, Emma Tremblay, was signed for two years. It seems Kreisberg meant to kill off Reign and Sam and have Alex adopt Ruby. The writers seemed to find this too brutal and instead spared Sam, eliminated Reign, and sent Sam and Ruby off to happy endings.

Towards the end of Season 3, the writers clearly realize they can't wrap their heads around the Worldkillers, Sam, Reign, or Ruby. At the same time, they have to keep spinning their wheels with these elements until the Season 3 finale.

As a result, the writers decide to focus on something they can appreciate: they focus on the Kara and Lena friendship. They have Lena and Supergirl at odds over Lena having Kryptonite and other anti-Kryptonian armaments that Lena uses to fight the Worldkillers. The shift in focus to Lena and Supergirl at odds while Kara remains Lena's best friend is amusing, bizarre, funny and painful.

It's utterly detached from the Worldkillers; the Worldkillers are defined by a rejection of all emotion and compassion and relationship, in some ways reflecting Kara's emotional distance at the start of Season 3. The Lena/Supergirl/Kara conflict, however, isn't about emotional distance but emotional entanglement where Kara, Supergirl and Lena find themselves at times unknowingly battling different sides of their best friends.

The Kara/Lena focus works very well. There's a hurtful moment when Supergirl tells Lena that she's sorry for getting upset with Lena over Lena's anti-Kryptonian weapons and hopes they can still be friends; Lena disbelievingly snaps that they've never been friends and has no idea why Supergirl thinks they've ever done anything but work together.

It's a hilarious inversion of the SUPERMAN movies where Superman always makes a point of not recognizing the name "Clark" whereas Supergirl constantly forgets that people who are close to Kara may consider Supergirl a stranger.

The post-Kreisberg writers seem to have no idea what the hell unrepentant sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg was doing with Season 3; the post-Kreisberg writers are awkwardly trying to turn SUPERGIRL: THE WORLDKILLER WAR into SUPERGIRL: KARA AND LENA.

The post-Kreisberg writers feel better equipped to write KARA AND LENA. They're excited about KARA AND LENA. They're passionate about KARA AND LENA. And they're just grudgingly working through the last episodes of THE WORLDKILLER WAR until they make it all Kara and Lena all the time in Season 4.

It works out beautifully in Season 4 -5, but Season 3 is truly awkward in changing course.

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So Berlanti got all the benefit, apparently

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I have to say, I don't really understand what Guggenheim was after. Didn't Guggenheim leave Warner Bros. and Berlanti Productions back in 2020? It looks to me like his current development deals are with Amazon and Netflix. I'm not sure why James Gunn would have a meeting with a very successful and prolific TV producer like Guggenheim who is under contract to competitors of Warner Bros.


SUPERGIRL in Season 3. I'm at the final three episodes and there's a certain cognitive dissonance where the scripts are so heartfelt and passionate and earnest about the characters, but the stories themselves don't know what point they're making. Reign beat Kara Danvers to a pulp and targets a little girl for death, but Kara is able to talk Reign out of it by saying that Reign only targets the "sinful" -- but how does that relate to Reign's role in an alien colonization of Earth?

The Reign character is very confusing, and yet, the writers still manage to wring some powerful scenes out of a character they don't really understand. There's this great scene where Reign is becoming immune to Lena's Kryptonite and Lena is urgently hoping that Supergirl will return from space in time with the unique MacGuffin to which Reign is vulnerable.

From "Dark Side of the Moon" (3.20)

REIGN: "How much longer do you think you can hold me?"

LENA: "Long enough."

REIGN: "Long enough. For Supergirl to return. That's right. I see you, Lena Kieran Luthor. I see your anger, your fear, your distrust. The only way to end me is to kill me. And Sam. And I don't think you have the stomach for that. There's no one to pray to. There is no God. There is no Rao. There is nothing except you and me, and that kill switch you think I haven't noticed. The one that will end me before I end you. You're strong, ruthless. You are so much darker than you realize."

LENA: "You wish."

REIGN: "I don't have to wish. I'm standing right here. I can see it with my own eyes. The same eyes that will set fire to you and your world if you don't press that button and end me. Supergirl is your Hail Mary."

SUPERGIRL: "Lena, we're here."

It's a great scene. Odette Annable is terrific at Reign's monologue and Katie McGrath's fear is palpable -- but it doesn't make any sense because why is Reign goading Lena into killing her when Reign could silently wait for her growing immunity to Kryptonite to enable her escape?

Then there's 3.21, "Not Kansas", where SUPERGIRL attempts to say something about gun control and just looks ridiculous. Look, I'm an anti-gun, pro gun control person, but even as someone who sees little to no complexity in this issue, SUPERGIRL's lack of nuance ends up vastly overplaying its hand. As the DEO hunts down an active shooter who has DEO-weaponry, J'onn and Jimmy confront a gun manufacturer and launch into lengthy lectures about gun control. 

This is yet another situation where SUPERGIRL is acting like Earth 38 is the real world when it clearly isn't. I don't think Earth 38's world of ray guns and forcefields and futuristic medical technology and Guardian-style body armour of compact design is a world where guns pose the same threat. J'onn and Jimmy's comments about guns -- while mirroring my own exactly -- seem like they belong to the real world rather than the world of Earth 38, and it comes off as a silly lecture from two fictional characters.

The scene where J'onn confronts the shooter is bizarre because the scene presents J'onn as courageous and heroic in being unarmed except we know that J'onn is immune to bullets and even if this is advanced DEO weaponry, J'onn's intangibility means he's in no danger. The strange thing is, rip out the speeches about the evils of guns and Jimmy's bizarre claim that soldiers and cops only need to carry shields, and SUPERGIRL almost has something meaningful to say on the subject.

"Not Kansas", 3.21

J'ONN: "I'm unarmed."

SHOOTER: "Who are you?"

J'ONN: "Just someone who wants to talk."

SHOOTER: "Yeah? Well, it's too late for that now! No one wanted to listen to me before, but they are gonna listen to me now! This is the only way for me to be heard!"

J'ONN: "If you pull that trigger, no one's going to listen to a thing you have to say."

SHOOTER: "They took everything from me! They lied to me! They never respected me!"

J'ONN: "You think that gun gives you respect? Fear is not respect. You've got something loud and ugly there. You think that's going to make people hear you?"

SHOOTER: "I need it!"

J'ONN: "You don't need it."

This is actually pretty good, but it's baffling that the invulnerable J'onn wasn't swapped out for Jimmy. And this scene is surrounded by others where a Martian and a man in a metal suit are talking about gun control in a world of spacepods and fifth dimensional imps. The episode is too 'loud' in its message to come off as anything but absurd.

SUPERGIRL is a show that wears its heart on its sleeve and says what it has to say at maximum volume. This is extremely powerful when writing supervillain rants and superhero calls to action, but when applied to real world issues, there's a need for underplayed subtlety and SUPERGIRL is not good at subtlety. Most superhero shows aren't, being exaggerated, larger than life fantasies.

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I finished Season 3 of SUPERGIRL, a season where the survivors of unrepentant sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg are reeling and staggering from the impact of his crimes and his baffling writing decisions that he left unfinished when he was fired. One of those odd decisions: he hired Erica Durance to play Supergirl's mother, Alura Zor-El. This was a very strange choice because the character had been totally resolved by Season 1, had made one cameo in Season 2, and was also dead. She wasn't needed anymore. Why did he feel the need to recast this character for Season 3?

Alura had been in Season 1 flashbacks, holograms and had her twin sister portrayed by Broadway star Laura Benanti. Due to her Broadway commitments, Benanti had to leave SUPERGIRL. During her run on the show, Alura Zor-El was initially remembered by Kara as the perfect mother and a brilliant scientist.

However, Kara soon discovered her mother was a complicated woman. Alura had known that Krypton's ecological crisis would blow up the planet; she imprisoned the (admittedly violent) revolutionaries trying to prevent the planet's destruction. She created Fort Rozz, a prison in which Kryptonian dissidents and aliens were sentenced to life imprisonment whether dangerous or not, attempting to suppress any dissent on Krypton. Alura had supposedly been trying to use diplomacy to prevent Krypton's end; the destruction of Krypton proved that she'd been a fool and a failure, a hypocrite and a liar, effectively a climate change denier. Her only shred of redemption: before Krypton exploded, she sent a 12 year old Kara to Earth.

The character was effectively demystified and also dead; why did unrepentant sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg hire a new actress in order to bring Alura back?

Curiously, Erica Durance didn't have anything particularly positive to say about her time on SUPERGIRL. "It was fine," she told Michael Rosenbaum on the INSIDE OF YOU PODCAST, a politely neutral, unspecific statement that would suggest to me that unrepentant sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg hired her because he was attracted to her and that he targeted her until he was fired and Durance finished out her time on SUPERGIRL without him. Unrepentant sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg was notorious for bragging about only hiring attractive men and women as writers or as actors.

Erica's version of Alura is introduced in the Season 3 premiere in Kara dreaming of her mother and Erica replaces Benanti in the recap sequence of Kara being sent to Earth, appearing in various flashbacks and in one peculiar scene where a teenaged Kara is reprimanded by a DEO agent for using her powers in public. The DEO agent is played by Erica Durance whom Kara mistakes for her mother, but Agent Noel Neill says it's just a coincidental resemblance and speaks with a vaguely Southern accent. Agent Neill is revealed to be J'onn using Alura's face to try to give Kara some closure.

It's here that I note something: Erica Durance is fabulous. It's odd because Durance, while excellent as Lois Lane on SMALLVILLE, was really playing herself: a loud, caring, fun-loving, excitable, goofy charmer. Any time Durance had to play the regal Isis or the analytical Chloe Sullivan (in Lois' body), Durance could not deliver a convincing performance. Since then, Durance had clearly taken some acting lessons; Durance disappears into Agent Neill's character, kindly yet commanding, and her performance is particularly meaningful when the show reveals that Durance in this scene is actually playing the Martian Manhunter.

Then in episode 3.20, "Dark Side of the Moon", Kara and Mon-El take a spacecraft five lightyears away from Earth searching for a radiation signal that will lead them to a MacGuffin that can stop the main Season 3 villain. Kara and Mon-El discover a dome in space containing the Kryptonian city of Argo, the one city of Krypton that was saved. Alura is in the city and Kara finds herself facing down her mother. Her mother the climate crisis denier, the war criminal who imprisoned Kryptonian revolutionaries warning of planetary ecological crisis, the failure who imprisoned the people trying to save Krypton in Fort Rozz and failed to save Krypton herself. Her mother the racist who taught Kara to hold all people from the planet Daxam -- like Mon-El -- in contempt.

Alura is overjoyed to see Kara and embraces her, grief-stricken for having given Kara up for dead. Alura recognizes Mon-El as the prince of Daxam and welcomes him to Argo, declaring that the former prejudices between Krypton and Daxam are meaningless now. Alura declares that Fort Rozz was her greatest mistake and is comforted when Kara tells Alura that the prisoners were freed. Alura is racked with shame for failing to save Krypton, noting that her efforts only succeeded in saving the city of Argo and she ran out of time to save the rest of the planet. Alura helps Kara in retrieving the MacGuffin needed to save Earth.

And just like that, the writers effectively decomplicate and simplify every aspect of moral ambiguity for Alura and eliminate any and all conflicts between Kara and Alura, making Alura simply the adoring and loyal mother, destroying what was a very complex character. The best that can be said is that Erica Durance is again excellent, playing Alura's love and warmth and joy and regal nobility perfectly.

The writers write strong scenes but without much purpose. What was the point of bringing Alura back to life and hiring a new actress to play Alura only to remove all the complexities that made Alura interesting? But that isn't actually their fault.

The Season 3 writers didn't choose to bring Alura back. It was a choice forced on them by unrepentant sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg that they were stuck with even after he was fired in the middle of Season 3 because Erica Durance was contracted as a recurring guest star and production was obligated to get their money's worth or pay her without having her appear. The writers had no choice and had to bring Alura back to life; the actress was going to get paid and TV studios frown on paying performers to not perform.

And while Durance has become an excellent actress since SMALLVILLE, there's a goodhearted warmth to her regardless of her role. In contrast, Laura Benanti played Alura with a certain cunningly calculated demeanor (and her twin sister Astra with a volatile rage).

Durance and Benanti have very different energies; it's hard to believe that any version of Alura played by Durance would have committed the Benanti-version's war crimes, so the writers had to write a fundamentally decent Alura for Durance to play. Alura wasn't a climate change denier; she had a plan to save Krypton that worked to save Argo City and would have saved everyone else had time not run out. Alura hated jailing people for calling out the climate crisis and had hoped to free them after non-violently saving the planet. Alura wasn't evil. Alura just failed to save everyone and only succeeded in saving some.

It's noticeable that Kara's dead mother being alive isn't really put to much use after Season 3. Alura doesn't appear in Season 4 at all. Season 5 kills Alura off in CRISIS to add a familiar face to the mass body count of the multiversal cataclysm; Alura is resurrected offscreen at the end of CRISIS and we get a few updates that offscreen, she's still running Argo City and reunited with her husband in Season 6. But Durance only made one onscreen return in CRISIS. SUPERGIRL's post-Kreisberg writers didn't know what to do with Alura and steered clear of her.

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THE FLASH, 9.04, "The Mask of the Red Death, Part 1" is... pretty solid for the most part. There's a lot of intrigue with the Red Death, Javicia Leslie's performance is also very good for the most part, there's some excellent character work where Barry's terrible leadership in 9.03 is counterbalanced by his more than adequate people skills in this episode when he convinces an enemy to make a better choice. I would say this episode was probably necessary and it's understandable that this wasn't something that could be sacrificed to focus on the Legends.

But... there is some truly ghastly acting from Javicia Leslie throughout. Her delivery of some of Michael Keaton's lines from the 1989 BATMAN film is bizarre, pausing between sentences as though wanting the viewer to fully appreciate that the words coming out of her mouth are words Keaton spoke in 1989. They come off as non-sequiturs that are totally unrelated to the rest of the scene. And Leslie reduces her character to whiny wailing at the end of the episode and seems childish.

Since Leslie was excellent in conveying Ryan Wilder's maturity throughout her two seasons of BATWOMAN, I have to conclude: the editors and sound designers are adding too many pauses in Leslie's line deliveries and the directors are either giving her terrible direction or using bad takes. I don't feel a performance this bad can come from Leslie alone; she's a talented, trained, practiced professional and the clumsy work on display here is Kari Wuhrer amateurism that cannot be Leslie's fault.

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Yeah the "let's get nuts" one was especially awkward.  And I guess maybe Javicia is playing Ryan a little extra crazy, and she doesn't know how to do that?

But I read a good point on one of the TV blogs - maybe they didn't have the budget for it, but it would've been really cool to see flashbacks for Ryan's story.  Even if it wasn't true, it'd be cool to see Flash attacking Batwoman with an army of Rogues behind him.  They could've used the same Rogues that were already in the episode to save money so it would've just been a matter of getting the Batsuit (or altering the Red Death suit) and using the actors for an extra scene.

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I agree that we needed to see at least some shots of the BATWOMAN/FLASH WAR that gets recounted in dialogue. While actors are very important, at the end of the day, this is 2023 and TV is a visual medium. It is no longer adequate to present large scale wars through two actors describing offscreen events. Even body doubles in the costumes surrounding Batwoman in slow motion shots with the faces obscured by shadow and glare would have sufficed.


Regarding the terrible acting: I'm willing to give Javicia Leslie the benefit of the doubt and say that the director and the editor(s) are letting her down. (I wouldn't give that same trust to Kari Wuhrer.)

I used to think of Serinda Swan (Zatanna on SMALLVILLE) as one of the worst actresses on TV. She was always posing for the camera, thrusting or preening, clearly putting no thought into her character's feelings and motivations and intentions and relationships, treating acting like she was posing for still images for a magazine photoshoot. She was a ghastly Zatanna and I saw her in a few other shows. The best that could be said of Serinda Swan: she was pretty enthusiastic about all her characters and seemed very pleasant to work with on set, unlike Kari Wuhrer who was neither capable nor pleasant.

A couple years ago, there was this new show, CORONER, shot in my hometown of Toronto. Very interesting murder mystery procedural set in Toronto. And Serinda Swan was the lead actress, the title character. I avoided this show like the plague but accidentally tapped it on Netflix one day.

Serinda Swan was excellent: she plays a deeply unhappy crimesolver who discovers her dead husband had gambled away the family savings and house shortly before he died of a heart attack. She has a severe anxiety disorder after her husband's death; she is struggling to manage her deeply depressed son; she is starting a new job where she's always surrounded by dead bodies -- and Swan really sells the character's grief and professionalism and shakiness and talent for solving murders.

At one point, Swan has a panic attack and her stirring performance nearly set me off on a panic attack.

At this point, I realized: Serinda Swan is a great actress, always has been -- she was just getting terrible direction. On CORONER, she had some creative control: she's had her long supermodel hair cut to a short and almost boyish length. She's wearing business casual blouses and trousers and jackets instead of fishnets and swimsuits. None of the posturing and posing of her past work is present; those clearly weren't the performances Swan wanted to give. Her work on CORONER shows true talent.

I have to think that, given how well Javicia Leslie performed on BATWOMAN, the poor moments on FLASH are not Leslie's doing but rather her directors and the editors.

Again, I wouldn't give Kari Wuhrer this level of trust.

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"The Mask of the Red Death Part 2", THE FLASH 9.05, is a baffling misfire. THE FLASH is full of great story ideas and strong characters, but ever since Season 5, the stories never seem to land with coherence or resonance. The Red Death takes over Central City, but despite having a two parter, THE FLASH is unable to articulate what that means for anybody: civilians barely appear, there are no news reports, there is no sense that STAR Labs is particularly affected, and the Red Death doesn't seem to engage in any real action after this supposed takeover. The Red Death is defeated by Ryan Wilder showing up with a well-aimed batarang.

The approach to time management is bizarre: Ryan Wilder was "missing" last episode and shows up this week without explanation. Ryan's scenes are rushed and hurried despite THE FLASH having two weeks to give all scenes plenty of space to breathe. There is no sense of the Red Death being a particularly dangerous threat to anybody outside of draining Barry of his speed and even that is emphasized as temporary. And the Red Death's defeat is so hurried and perfunctory that it seems completely forgettable and forgotten by the end.

Showrunner Eric Wallace seems to see writing television as an exercise in stalling and delaying. Barry needing a motivational speech every week stretches out the stories. Allegra and Chester kissing and then avoiding each other is nonsensical for the characters, but it drags out their romantic arc. Wallace never devotes enough screentime on dramatic climaxes and payoffs or giving the primary Ryan Wilder more scenes, but assigns far too much time on filler scenes of Joe and Cecile having arbitrary emotional crises over where to live. The sequence of the Flash defeating the villain he's been contending with for five weeks is tossed away; scenes of the Red Death making threats she doesn't carry out drag on and on.

The Red Death was all talk and considering how simple and straightforward her defeat was, I don't see why THE FLASH spent five episodes on it instead of devoting some time to the Legends. The only thing that was particularly successful: it was nice to see Barry bringing in new allies from his former enemies list -- but even then, I think I would rather those allies have been the Legends.

It's not easy to come up with meaningful threats against a speedster, but the Red Death was particularly weak.

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Yeah, I thought it was a bit of a mess too.  I don't understand what's happening with the Joe storyline or the Chester/Allegra storyline.  I don't know why they're doing a separate Khione storyline.  I get that Joe deserves a proper sendoff (and I think that's what we're getting here?), but characters moving away is always a weird way to leave the show.  If the Flash is in danger, it'd be super easy to get Joe back (and he'd want to come back).  Not only does he have multiple speedsters in his family, but they have teleportation technology.

The Chester/Allegra stuff has been dragging out for multiple seasons.  Why are they acting like they're in middle school?  And maybe the Khione stuff will end up paying off, but I don't see how this helps pay off Caitlin's story at this point.

Do we think this Red Death story was written before Batwoman was cancelled?  I kept thinking that it probably works if this story was going on with Batwoman still on the air.  Maybe Batwoman was missing for an episode or two, and then she shows back up at the end of episode 5 and then makes it to Central City on time?  There's also almost no wrapup of her story so I feel like it was written before and not adjusted?

It would be like getting Jerry O'Connell back for season 5 of Sliders for one episode and they have him play some sort of conman version of Quinn who doesn't even help Diana split Mallory.  And at the end of his episode he says "good luck with that or whatever" and it's played off for laughs.

We got Javicia back for two full episodes plus a cameo, and they didn't resolve anything.  No cameos from her team.  No update on what's going on.  And you're right, why even make her missing if they weren't going to address why she was missing.

It was cool to see her back, but it felt really empty.  Maybe it's better that the Legends aren't coming back.  Our head canon may be better.

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According to interviews, FLASH showrunner Eric Wallace called Javicia Leslie after BATWOMAN's cancellation and invited her to join THE FLASH for a two parter.

I think that as a FLASH showrunner, Eric Wallace is a really strong manager but a weak storyteller.

He's managed COVID and production issues well: writing out Tom Cavanagh, Carlos Valdez, Jesse L. Martin in ways that let the actors easily guest-star. He's brought in more characters so that Grant Gustin doesn't have to film as many days. He's written multi-episode absences for Iris and Caitlin/Frost so that Candice Patton and Danielle Panabaker could leave the FLASH bubble, visit their families, and then quarantine before returning to the bubble. If Eric Wallace had been running, say, the third season of SLIDERS, I imagine John Rhys-Davies and Sabrina Lloyd would have been in the fourth.

Wallace has real trouble creating conflict on Team Flash. It's definitely hard to have conflict when everyone on the team is a good-hearted altruist, but pre-Wallace showrunners were able to have conflicts emerge from characters having very different mindsets and approaches towards crimefighting.

Wallace lacks that nuance: Joe decides to move without consulting Cecile so they can fight about it. Barry has his weekly crisis of confidence so someone can console him. Allegra is in love with Chester but avoids talking to him so there can be more scenes to angst about it.

Wallace struggles with villains. None of his villains from Bloodwork to the mirror entities to the Forces have ever felt like real threats, and the Red Death is the latest in the long line of dull antagonists. The Flash needs villains who render his speed useless or as a handicap.

To be fair, the Flash takes an unusual mind to come up with threats for a speedster and Wallace doesn't seem to be that mind. THE FLASH comic was notoriously difficult to write. A strong TV version of THE FLASH needs a showrunner who has both creative vision and the managerial skill to make that vision affordable and performable.

It's a shame that Geoff Johns was too busy with DC films and STARGIRL to take over as the showrunner on THE FLASH in Season 6. He's written a lot of FLASH comics and would have had the right mindset. Also sadly, FLASH visionary comic book writer Mark Waid was distanced from DC for most of the FLASH TV show's lifespan and his affinity was always for Wally West, not Barry Allen. I don't know if Waid would do TV as he seems mostly comic book focused, but he would have been a great story consultant for coming up with threats for a speedster.

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Yeah, the villains for Flash have always been a problem.  And even then, I don't understand the fight scenes in the Flash.  Barry usually just runs around people in a circle.  I rewatched the first fight between a corrupted Barry and Oliver (in the very first crossover), and if you think about it, Oliver should have literally no shot.  Barry is just running around in circles giving Oliver a mathematical chance of hitting him (however small it would actually be).

A speedster should be able to easily kill Oliver without Oliver even knowing about it.

Even when it's speedster vs speedster, I think some sort of "Flashtime" fight scene would've been better, but it's usually just the two speedsters running next to each other across a CGI city.  For the most part, I just tune out when action scenes happen in the Flash.

One thing I'm shocked about is that they only did a couple episodes with a depowered Barry.  I think slowing down Barry should've been a major storyline for an entire season.  Let Barry face someone like Mirror Master without his speed.  Let him fully show he's a hero without it.  I know it's the Flash and that's his thing but come on.

I'm also sad that they never adapted this storyline - they could've easily done it with Oliver or Joe.  (Credit to TF or you, whoever told me about this.  It's now one of my favorite comic stories ever). … h-rebirth/

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How would "The Button" have been rewritten for the Arrowverse? Would "Flashpoint" have featured Barry encountering a version of Robert Queen who had become the Hood while Oliver died? The way Thomas Wayne became Batman in the FLASHPOINT comic book story after Bruce and Martha died in this alternate timeline? Would Robert Queen have sought to reverse time, give Barry a letter to give to Oliver? Would "The Button" have steered into a crossover with THE FLASH and the WATCHMEN TV show?

... I wonder.


I watched THE FLASH 9.06, "The Good, The Bad and the Lucky" and as a viewer, I have to wonder why this story was more important than rescuing the Legends. Eric Wallace said that 13 episodes was not enough for him to focus on characters who weren't leads on THE FLASH. But this is a filler storyline because Grant Gustin seems to have only worked one day on this episode: Barry's at the beginning and at the end.

As someone who has some understanding of television, I understand why Eric Wallace told this story. Grant Gustin has been a on a downward spiral of exhaustion since Season 5. This is why the show has brought in more characters and deemphasized the Flash; it lets Grant Gustin work a little less. And for the final season of THE FLASH, Wallace felt that there should be one episode where Danielle Nicolet (Cecile) and Kayla Compton (Allegra) received near-exclusive focus if only so they could have something for their reels when they seek their next job.

Wallace also wanted to bring back the Becky Sharpe character because he clearly disliked how this sad woman was murdered for her luck powers in Season 5 and liked actress Sugar Lynn Beard, so he used the CRISIS time shift to justify her resurrection and gave her a new story and a happy ending.

I understand all that, but as a viewer, this is a really dull and pointless episode. Cecile has a moment of angst and gets a sappy motivational speech to get out of a rut and do what she was going to regardless. It's almost as though the beat sheet simply had a placeholder page that read: Cecile can't get it together for Reason for Emotional Paralysis To Be Added.

Cecile's angst is over being a mother, except... Cecile being a mother in no way informs any of her character decisions on the show. She isn't driven by a desire to take care of people or to train the inexperienced or to anticipate people's challenges. The story is about Cecile and Allegra finding the MacGuffin that's causing poor Becky Sharpe's problems; Cecile being a mother is just conversational filler. Becky Sharpe never gets a moment where she comes into her own power and seizes her destiny; the plot just happens around her.

The story doesn't have anything to say about luck, either. The story is simply about giving Grant Gustin a break and giving Nicolet and Compton some attention to make the actors happy.

I don't dislike Eric Wallace at all as a person, but his stories are very weak. And I would much rather have seen the Legends this week instead of Cecile and Allegra. At the same time, I understand why Eric Wallace would refuse to do that and instead devote the hour to two of his regulars and give them some moments in the sun. (It's a rather dim, flickery sun.)

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Yeah, I had the same thought.  I don't disagree with any of the choices he made (giving Gustin a break, giving Becky a happy ending, and giving Cecile and Allegra something to do), but I agree that the story was bland.  And, again, I think they could've had their cake and eat it too.  Just like the Red Death could've easily given the Flash a worthy adversary and wrapped up Ryan Wilder's arc, this episode could've been about the Legends and still accomplished all those goals. 

Maybe Kid Flash (as the link between these two) shows up to Star Labs to recruit Barry to save the Legends and finds that only Cecile and Allegra are there.  With no time to spare, he takes the two of them on an adventure.  And maybe Becky comes because plot.  And so Cecile, Allegra, Wally, and Becky have so stage a break-in to rescue the Legends.  Maybe the Legends are separated into separate jail cells and so a) there are opportunities for each of the heroes to showcase their abilities and b) the Legends that were available for filming could show up and some people get rescued off-screen by Legends that were already rescued.  Maybe Booster Gold can show up, but he doesn't have to.

Cecile can still have her crisis of faith in being a good mom because sometimes superheroes get wrangled into rescuing other heroes from time jail and missing a birthday breakfast.  But that's basically all you'd have to shoehorn.

I know Wally is showing up later so the Legend can be anyone.  Maybe Ray Palmer.  Maybe Nate.  I don't remember who got arrested and who didn't.  But the story is pretty flexible.  And there's the added bonus that maybe it's a happy ending for Allegra - maybe she and Chester join the Legends at the end of the season.

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So, for the most recent two episodes, the critical, urgent stories that Eric Wallace had to tell instead of resolving LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, the stories Wallace felt were absolutely vital within the limited span of the final 13 episodes of THE FLASH:

Chilblaine learns the obvious and straightforward lesson Khione can't be a replacement for Frost, a realization that could have happened as a C-plot but for some reason, this gets stretched out for the entire episode. Meanwhile, Iris has a crisis of confidence over some arbitrary issue and needs a sappy motivational speech from Dreamer to get her to do the obvious and straightforward.

Barry and Iris deal with a building inspection; meanwhile, Allegra and Chester have a minor emotional issue and avoid talking about it for no apparent reason beyond stretching out the story.

Character arcs so trite and simplistic they could be covered exhaustively in a teaser -- and a building safety check. These are the essential stories for two episodes of THE FLASH that Eric Wallace could not do without in the final season of THE FLASH.

Why!? Why!? Why!? Why!? Why!? Why!? Why!? Why!? Why!? Why!? Why!? Why!? Why!? Why!? Why!? Why!?

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Yeah I meant to write about this more.  I think Wallace, in saying that he didn't have time for other stories because he had to focus on Barry....was either a blatant lie or him covering for a situation he didn't have control over.

Maybe he told the fans something that wasn't true or maybe he felt like they couldn't turn over any episodes of the Flash to wrap up the Arrowverse, just like Superman & Lois isn't interested in doing, just like Batwoman or Legends wouldn't have been interested in doing.

But, man...none of these episodes seem all that crucial to Barry's journey.  He isn't in a lot of them, and the ones he is in don't feel important.  I'm sure he's learning lessons, but this season isn't really adding up to much.  And I don't feel like Barry is a better man, a better father-to-be, or a better superhero because of any of this.

If they needed Grant Gustin to have a break, there plenty of stories to tell.  No offense to Dreamer, but her story didn't need to be added to ahead of the Legends or Batwoman.  And we don't need so many episodes about Allegra and Chester, and their story seems like it's written for middle schoolers, not adults.

Wrapping up a show is hard.  Wrapping up a whole universe is almost impossible.  At the moment, the Flash is failing at both.

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I just can't get past how Allegra and Chester's emotional dilemma is perpetually: they like each other and avoid talking about it for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

It brings to mind the antithesis of this: an episode of AP BIO where a high school student, Sarika, tries to blackmail her arrogant biology teacher, Jack Griffin, with photos. The photos show Jack having warm, flirty moments with Lynette, the payroll officer at the school. Sarika believes Jack will be horrified if the pictures are distributed.

Instead, Jack is delighted by the photos. "I'm a grown-ass man," Jack informs Sarika. "I don't get embarrassed when I like somebody."

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ireactions wrote:

I just can't get past how Allegra and Chester's emotional dilemma is perpetually: they like each other and avoid talking about it for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

Yeah, that's what I mean it's written for middle schoolers.  I watch a lot of TV and when two characters like each other, someone makes a move and it's accepted and then they're in a relationship.  There might be minor issues when it comes to major steps in the relationship and I assume that Allegra might have a little apprehension about those that get close to her dying, but these characters are adults.  They can get over the simple fact that they like each other.

The problem with some of these storylines is that they're repetitive.  Chillblaine and Khione are doing the same thing, it seems.  Barry and Iris have similar issues to Joe and Cecile.

Maybe they should've had Chester switch powers with Allegra and she has to help him navigate it.  And maybe he teaches her about running point so he can be out in the field.  Now they're spending time together but it's not "Do You Like Me: Check Yes or No" - they're literally stepping into the others shoes and learning the other's deepest interests.

I just don't understand what this season is doing.  I would think a final season would be about legacy.  Or moving forward from having a fun superhero life in your 20s to having a family in your 30s.  Maybe Barry starts actively working for Team Flash to replace him (for the most part) so he can be a father?  Or maybe he looks to transfer his speed to someone else so that Central City can still have a Flash without Barry constantly putting his life on the line? 

Maybe they do the Azrael story where Barry finds a new Flash and he ends up being a psycho.  And Barry, no speed, has to take down the Flash.  Or maybe we spend the whole season with Barry working to find a new Flash and realizes that he doesn't have to give up his speed to be a good parent.  I don't know, I'm just spitballing and I've only been thinking about it for five minutes and the CW isn't paying me smile

But training a replacement allows Grant Gustin to be gone for a certain time, allows for the other castmembers to grow, and allows for fun new stories that make season nine feel like season one.

But, sure, let's keep figuring out if people in their 30s know how to navigate a crush.

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As a positive person, I would like to share an example of a slow-burn romance that, unlike Allegra and Chester, is mostly effective. CASTLE features arrogant loudmouth crime novelist Richard Castle nonsensically partnered with a homicide detective, Kate Beckett, a straightlaced, systematic crimesolver. For four seasons, Castle and Beckett were constantly avoiding any discussion of romance even though they were obviously in love by the first third or so of Season 1. They were like Allegra and Chester except with Allegra and Chester, the question is: why won't they talk about their feelings? With CASTLE, the question is more appropriately, why would they ever talk about their feelings?

Castle may be in love with Beckett, but his juvenile nature makes it impossible for him to approach a woman he truly respects and admires with anything but frivolous quests and hapless attempts at crimesolving, and Castle is on some level horrified that the woman of his dreams isn't a fun loving goofball but a rigid, regimented law enforcement officer.

Beckett may be in love with Castle, but Beckett is appalled by the chaos that Castle brings into her life and perpetually aghast at Castle's recklessness, pranks, and inability to take anyone or anything seriously. Beckett is horrified that she is in love with this lunatic and never wants to admit it to anybody ever.

I will concede that in the middle of Season 4, however, this really did get tiresome and I was relieved when Castle and Beckett finally started dating at the end of Season 4.

There are ways to do a strong slow burn romance and THE FLASH seems to readily avoid all the ways to do it with Allegra and Chester.

As for story ideas for the final season of THE FLASH... I would have just made every episode a cheery revisiting of a different part of the Arrowverse. Star City. Gotham. The Wave Rider. Freeland. Port Oswego. Resolve the GREEN ARROW AND THE CANARIES storyline, save the Legends, find Bruce Wayne, get Kate Kane and Ryan Wilder sharing the Batwoman mantle, revisit Black Lightning, settle the NAOMI storyline. That's 8 - 10 episodes there and the three part finale could be the final battle of the Flash and the Reverse Flash.

It's not like Eric Wallace has anything much to say about the Flash and Iris anyway. And with a wider range of Arrowverse settings, well, it's like what Slider_Quinn21 says with SLIDERS: it writes itself.

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So the Oliver episode.  Some quick thoughts:

- I don't know the constraints that Stephen Amell was under, but I wish we could've gotten a couple more episodes with him.  I think his role was cool.

- I guess I'd forgotten how much I missed him.  I thought he was great.

- I think Wally West is one of the big misses for this series.  Keiynan Lonsdale isn't a problem.  Not at all.  But I wish they could've either found a place for him or picked an actor who could've been a part of the series for longer.  I would've watched a Wally West show.  I thought he was fun on Flash and great on Legends.

- The Barry/Oliver stuff and the Oliver/Diggle stuff was fantastic.  I'm glad it ended the way that it did, and I'm actually pretty glad that it wasn't a time travel thing.

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I liked 9.09 more than the rest of the season so far, but there were some odd glitches that reflect either a lack of diligence or a lack of skill on showrunner Eric Wallace. At Barry's party, Wally West is present, Cecile is present... but Joe West isn't. Does Joe not like Barry any more? Maybe I missed it, but I didn't even hear a throwaway line to explain it.

At Barry's party, Diggle decides that a celebratory event is the best time to give Barry the bow of Oliver Queen, a moment that would be more appropriate at a funeral or a memorial reunion than at a birthday party in a room filled with people. What the hell was that?

Oliver tells Barry that Barry wants to die and stay dead and Barry accepts this observation, a very odd claim. I think what the episode means to say is that Barry doesn't think he deserves to return to life when Frost and Caitlin weren't resurrected, but that's not quite what Oliver's words seem to say, so there's a strange lack of precision in the dialogue. Once again, we have a character hesitating to engage in a straightforward course of action to stretch out the story.

It was good to finally get some onscreen reaction from Wally to the death of Jesse Quick, but it was odd that Wally was searching the multiverse for some vague "enlightenment" instead of trying to see Jesse again. I also have to note that Wally being 'jealous' of Barry and accusing Barry of stealing Joe and Iris was pretty silly when Barry never knew that Wally existed, and while it's meant to be unreasonable, Eric Wallace has a tendency to create conflicts like this that are absurd in their irrationality even when no one is being mind controlled.

Aside from that, it was fine. Thankfully, Eric Wallace didn't spend all of Amell's screentime on an alternate universe doppelganger and only bring the real Oliver in for a few rushed scenes at the end. Thankfully, Eric Wallace didn't have Bloodwork claim to have taken over the city / planet / universe / multiverse with no way to sell it convincingly onscreen. Sendhil Ramamurthy did a better job of underplaying Bloodwork; I wish this subtle, capable actor weren't being directed to such a one note performance on THE FLASH. The fight scene with Bloodwork felt sizable. I liked how Bloodwork was cured rather than killed.

Oliver had some nice moments of assurance and kindness to Barry along with his usual exasperation with Barry's mild neediness for hugs and self-esteem boosting. The reunion between Oliver and Diggle was good.

I should say: I haven't hated anything in THE FLASH this season. It's not like Season 3 of SLIDERS. It's not offensive. It's just dull. This week was livelier than most episodes of this season.

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I think there were enough character moments in the episode that I was willing to forgive most of the issues you had.  I was just happy to have Stephen Amell back.  I think the Arrowverse has struggled to replace Amell as the leader/godfather/whatever of the universe.  I honestly don't know who would've stepped in, especially if Gustin wanted his screentime reduced.  Maybe the shows needed a Nick Fury type who wouldn't star in anything but would've been a consistent presence in all the shows.

Off the top of my head, I would cast Tom Welling as Maxwell Lord.  If not him, then maybe Jensen Ackles.

Maybe that guy could've been Diggle, but they would've needed to commit to the idea a bit more.  One episode per show wasn't enough.


I wonder if the "Barry wants to die" idea is a meta reference to Grant Gustin.  By all accounts, Gustin wanted Barry to sacrifice himself at the end of the show, perhaps by becoming the lightning that gives his younger self his powers in the past.  It would have a sort of narrative balance that I can see working, but it would essentially be a similar ending to Arrow where the hero would be dead and the rest of the world would have to move on without him.

The producers allegedly convinced him that it wasn't the right ending.  Just like Oliver convinces Barry he needs to live.

I think this storyline is...fine?  I think heroes would have a survivor's guilt of sorts.  I actually think that could've been a more-ongoing storyline this year.  Then, it might've had more of an impact when it came to a head, and it wouldn't have felt like it came out of left field.

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I forgave most of the issues too.

I liked how Oliver assured Barry he wasn't wasting his life with some very simple questions.

I would have been happy with Diggle having a longer arc in all the shows instead of what was really an extended cameo.

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I'm really not sure what this final season of the Flash is supposed to be.  The showrunner complained that they only got 13 episodes and then proceeded to waste so much of it.

Episode 1 was good/fun.  The next four were...fine?  I don't think the Red Death needed to be two episodes.  I think Red Death is a cool idea and I'm glad they got to play with it, but it felt like a bit of a waste.  The "interlude" episodes were a waste.  I don't think Dreamer needed to be on this show (even though I like her).  I didn't like the luck episode.  I didn't think the time bandit episode was great.

I loved the Oliver episode.

And now we have this 4-part finale.  But what is this story?  Why is it four episodes?  Couldn't this have been a two-parter?  It's been two hours of television (not including commercials) and I'm not sure I could tell you much about what happened in parts two or three.

This is their show, and they were allowed to end it however they wanted.  Maybe they're really proud of this season and how it ended, but it feels like such a dud of an ending.  Maybe everyone will come back for the finale, but where's Cisco?  Where's Wells?  We get Eddie Thawne, but he's the big bad for the whole show?  And they kept talking about having to get Barry's story right, but Barry is barely in any of these episodes.

I know it wouldn't have been fair to the Flash, but I wish they'd had a 13-episode season of a show called Arrowverse.  Wrap up the Legends, wrap up Batwoman.  Give us glimpses into the world of Supergirl and Arrow.  Bring back who you can and make whatever work.  And then end with Barry and his story.  Or give the other shows one episode each and give Barry 6-7 episodes.  I don't know.

But if Grant Gustin can really only be there for 25% of 13 episodes then they shouldn't call this show the Flash.  And with so many stories left to tell, why are we wasting so much time on this?

I'm sorry.  I stood by the Arrowverse for a long time, and it's sad that it's ending this way.

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THE FLASH won't be available to me on Netflix until tomorrow, but I'm sorry it didn't rise to the occasion.

1,611 (edited by Slider_Quinn21 2023-05-19 06:52:13)

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ireactions wrote:

THE FLASH won't be available to me on Netflix until tomorrow, but I'm sorry it didn't rise to the occasion.

I mean it's fine.  I'm probably holding it to unfair expectations.  I just know that they could've wrapped up the Flash or they could've wrapped up the Arrowverse, and I don't know if they're doing a great job at wrapping up either.  Maybe they have a great finale that will turn it all around.

Oh and very minor spoilers - they have a scene set in 2049 (maybe 2047 - late 2040s) and they barely did any aging makeup for any of the characters.  It was hard to tell when certain scenes were set because they didn't even attempt to separate the timelines.  When you watch it, let me know if you thought it was as bizarre as I did.

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I found the episode seriously unengaging even though parts of "A New World 3" seemed to be written by Slider_Quinn21. SQ21 has regularly observed the futility and pointlessness that Eddie Thawne's Season 1 sacrifice has developed; Eddie killed himself to stop Thawne, but Thawne came back in Seasons 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 and 10 and he was the lead villain for Season 2 of LEGENDS. Eddie's sacrifice became meaningless and Eddie returns and, observing how his one attempt to make a difference really made no difference, he falls apart. A tragic, painful story -- so why can't Eric Wallace pull it off?

Once again, Wallace has made some bizarre strategic choices. This is Part 3 of a four part series finale storyline for THE FLASH, but the title character was only in one scene of Part 2 and is missing from half of Part 3. Why was Gustin's absence used this way? Why not film the case of the week episodes with less Gustin and devote all of Gustin's full-time weeks to the finale arc? With Barry being the center of Part 1 but missing in Part 2 and for half of Part 3, there is no way for the viewer to focus on Eddie's plight. Eddie feels like a distraction, a way to fill in time until we get to whatever scenes Gustin filmed in two days of the filming week.

Setting scenes that are 26 years from the present day with no aging makeup is baffling to me. Season 3 made some effort to have a future version of Barry wear an absurd wig to look older; Season 10 makes it a joke with Cecile remarking on how she doesn't look any older. It's another distracting, visually incongruent storytelling choice and I don't understand that either. I didn't have any trouble determining when scenes were set due to storyline implications, but it's still bizarre. 

The second half of the episode, when Gustin comes back, desperately tries to act like this is Barry's show again, but it unbalances the episode. Eddie goes from being suspicious of the Negative Speed Force to becoming its acolyte seemingly between shots of Barry warning him, and Eddie goes from being a grieving man horrified by the pointlessness of his existence to a brainwashed cultist.

I don't know why Eric Wallace misuses his time with such unforced errors. It is absurd to schedule the filming of two of the season finale arc episodes during a time when Gustin's availability would be limited instead of filming them when Gustin is there in full force. It's as absurd as getting Javicia Leslie to play Ryan Wilder but having her only play the actual Ryan in two rushed scenes. It doesn't make sense.

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Yeah, I don't want to throw this all on Eric Wallace, but this already feels like a boring spinoff of the Flash with a bunch of characters I struggle to care about.  If they really didn't have Grant Gustin this much, I think they should've done something else entirely with this season.  Having Barry bounce back and forth and be missing for huge stretches is distracting. 

Again, it's their show but there's tons of ways they could've worked around Gustin being gone.  Maybe every episode has an Arrowverse guest star (which would make the Batwoman and Dreamer stuff more consistent).  Team Flash featuring Spartan / Oliver / Dreamer / Cisco / Kara / Black Lightning / Vixen / Wally / Constantine would be fun.  Or maybe focus the entire season on this alternate world where Eddie and Iris are together and have him slowly succumb to the forces of darkness.  And then Barry returns for the final four episodes to reclaim his life.

I don't know.  Not this.

Again, maybe the finale will make it all make sense.

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Two things:

Maybe it's a trick, but Cisco isn't returning for the finale.  I don't really buy that they couldn't make the scheduling work. … &ei=16

Sounds like Wallace is hoping someone else will wrap up the Arrowverse for him … OGBliubC3D

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I don't know what to say about that. It's possible that Carlos Valdez was just busy, but Valdez has apparently been wanting off THE FLASH since Season 5.

I think it's safe to say that there was some toxic behaviour on set due to the original showrunner; I think it's likely that there was also a high level of physical exhaustion which is why Grant Gustin is constantly absent. I have to wonder if 5 - 7 years is really the best length for a show and it's best to just let the show end and let the actors leave rather than having them keep coming into a sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth year at increasing rates of burnout and attrition and absence.

Why didn't Valdez drop everything just to show up and say goodbye? I wonder if maybe he felt he and Cisco already said goodbye, I dunno. It's weird. Maybe there'll be an eleventh hour B-roll appearance. Maybe we'll hear him over the phone.

But I have to say, I am deeply disappointed in Eric Wallace's stewardship, from passing on doing an ARROWVERSE finale to claiming 13 episodes wasn't enough space to resolve LEGENDS only to spend two episodes meandering with an alternate Ryan Wilder and two episodes on grown adults Chester and Allegra unable to talk about how they like each other and introducing a new character in Khione despite the short run and devoting one episode to Barry and Iris navigating a building code inspection. A building code inspection. A building code inspection.

... Inexplicable.

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ireactions wrote:

I don't know what to say about that. It's possible that Carlos Valdez was just busy, but Valdez has apparently been wanting off THE FLASH since Season 5.


Why didn't Valdez drop everything just to show up and say goodbye? I wonder if maybe he felt he and Cisco already said goodbye, I dunno. It's weird. Maybe there'll be an eleventh hour B-roll appearance. Maybe we'll hear him over the phone..

Well, Valdez spoke fondly of the Flash a couple of months ago.  He said he "couldn't imagine a scenario" where Cisco didn't play a role in the finale.  He said he hadn't watched the Flash since he left because he didn't like the idea of his friends having fun without him.  He said it was "heartbreaking" that he wasn't coming back.  If he had an issue with the show, he didn't seem to mention it in the interview.  And maybe he's just being professional and doesn't want to trash anyone.

I just know that Michael Rosenbaum was done with Smallville but came back for the finale.  I do think Cisco's ending was good and maybe there's nothing more to show.  But Cisco might be one of the best characters in all of the Arrowverse, and I'm sad that he won't be coming back.

There's absolutely narrative reasons to bring him back.  And if he couldn't come back for the finale, they should've brought him back for another episode.  I would've watched an entire episode about Cisco.

I would love to know some of the behind the scenes chaos that happened on this season.

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Honestly, I don't really get why Cisco even left the show from an in-universe standpoint. One of the most baffling things I've ever seen was Cisco saying he would be horrified if in a decade, he were still building superhero gear at STAR Labs like working at STAR Labs was somehow beneath him or unworthy of him. I'm not saying we all have to want that job, but building safety equipment for firemen and surgical gear for nurses and doctors is pretty wonderful, and I never understood why Cisco seemed so sick of it or sick of STAR Labs given that he seemed to like everyone there even after his first boss turned out to be a murderer and his ally turned out to be a serial killer and that whole Flashpoint thing.

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I mean....sure.

I've struggled with the Flash for a while now.  I think Grant Gustin is really good in the role, and I think the show was really likeable.  The problem I've had, essentially from the beginning, is that Flash in the Arrowverse sorta breaks things.  Barry inside of the Arrow universe should be unstoppable.  What's the point in being a guy with a bow and arrow if there's another guy who can run fast enough to go back in time?  Barry and Oliver could be fighting two different people on two different sides of the planet, and Barry could end both fights before anyone knew what was going on.  Barry could end crime in Central City and Star City and be home for dinner.

And, yet, to keep Oliver relevant, they had to straddle this line where Barry is super fast but can still lose to the right guy.  They even had Barry lose to Oliver (on his own show no less!) in the first fight between the two.  Which is fine.  Batman has been a top 3 guy in DC despite having no powers.  Maybe being rich and a good fighter is on the same level as being a speedster.

On Barry's show, they dealt with this in two ways.  One, in the spirit of Smallville, having Barry fight a constant line of metahumans that can give Barry trouble.  And two, having Barry fight someone who is just as fast (OR FASTER!) than him.  First Eobard Thawne, then Zoom, then Savitar.

But the problem with that is that if you have a super fast guy fighting a super fast guy, it just looks like a regular fight.  So what ends up happening is some sort of race.  The two speedsters chase each other until the fight is just over.  We see this dozens of times in dozens of fights.  And to be honest, I just sorta tune out in the third act of a lot of Flash episodes.  The fights, at least to me, have never been visually interesting.  It's simply the end of an episode that has to happen.

After Savitar, the show tried to change things up.  But it never quite worked.  I think the most interesting thing to do with Barry is take away his speed - make him a normal guy still trying to be a hero.  The show played with this a few times but never really committed to the idea.  It's a show about a fast guy, even if that fact is both the show's greatest strength and its greatest weakness.

The show quickly got stale and never really recovered.  While Arrow experimented with different things (magic! alternate worlds!), the Flash never felt comfortable enough to change what it considered its bread and butter.  It was always pretty good but it rarely became great.

Then, it was forced to play its biggest hand (the one it had been toying with from day one) too early.  Barry is able to escape his fate in the form of Crisis...and then the show just kept going.  Barry's greatest fight was already over but the show just kept going.  Cisco left.  They kept giving Danielle Panabaker and Tom Cavanaugh different wigs and accents to play around with.  We met Barry's future kids.  It wasn't from a complete lack of trying but nothing really worked.

As we've already talked about, this season has felt like a waste of time.  Now the solo show in the Arrowverse, the Flash had a chance to be really unique.  Maybe it could be a conclusion to the whole Arrowverse!  Maybe it could use its time to wrap up both Legends and Batwoman, two shows cut down unfairly.  But despite talking a big game about the possibilities, the showrunner said, since they only had 13 episodes, they had to focus on Barry's journey.

Which, as I've said, is fair.  It's the Flash.  Not Arrowverse: the miniseries.

But how do you finish Barry's journey?  What does the end of the Flash, not the Arrowverse, look like?  To me, I think it should have been the story of Barry's hero's journey ending.  He became a hero when he was young.  He had fun with it.  He met the love of his life.  He struggled to be married and be a hero because even he can't be two places at once.  And now he's going to be a father.

Maybe it's time to stop putting his life in danger.

As I've mentioned, I think that's what I would've done.  Follow in Oliver's footsteps and start to plan for his own retirement.  Build a team and tarin a successor. 

Instead, the show just sorta ran in place, adding nothing to Barry (outside of the idea, in the premiere no less, that Barry can't just follow a script written by the future).  Not only were we not telling a story about Barry, we weren't even watching Barry a lot of the time.  We were focusing on Barry's supporting cast, which (like Arrow) was now B and C string team members.

This even continued into the finale, where Barry is missing half the time.  It's great that Allegra got a suit and Cecile got a codename.  It's great the Chester found love.  It's great that Dreamer was able to conquer something, even if it never came up during her own show.  It's great that Becky, a character I didn't remember, was able to have some sort of redemption arc.

But wasn't this Barry's story?

Now the finale.  And the problems we faced we continued to face.  We brought back a bunch of speedsters and they all ran around.  It was neat for XS to defeat Savitar.  But the rest of the fights were a bunch of characters fighting other characters they barely ever interacted with.  And Barry gets Eddie, a guy he's barely dealt with this season (after not seeing him for 8 years).  Reverse Flash, a character we have been repeatedly dealing with and is consistently referred to as Barry's greatest foe, gets beaten by Allegra.  I know Barry already defeated Thawne once and for all but still.

And so I was sorta bored the first couple acts.

The rest of the episode was nice.  Barry becomes a father.  Joe and Cecile get engaged (although I thought they were already married?).  No Bart.  No Cisco.  We get Caitlin back, which at least means she wasn't unceremoniously written off off-screen.  And Barry shares his speed with some new heroes.

It's a happy ending.  And it was...fine?  I'm happy that everyone was happy.  I'm glad the universe ends on a happy note.  But I don't know...the Flash was just never able to recreate the magic from season one.  It was great and then just was good the rest of the way.  And good is good.  There's no shame in good.

I will miss the Arrowverse.  I will miss Barry.  But this was a show that probably should've ended two years ago with Crisis.

Re: DC Superheroes on TV (CW & HBO Max)

I won't be able to watch THE FLASH on Netflix until it's available tomorrow night. And yet, THE FLASH has been so uninteresting that I didn't even worry about spoilers.

I'm sorry the finale wasn't good. I'm sorry it let you down. Please try to take some comfort in knowing that at least nobody got their brain sucked out followed by getting shot and exploded (well, except that mostly happened to Harry, but a shade of him lived on to restore the original Dr. Wells). Please try to remind yourself that at least nobody got sent to a rape camp and then transformed into the jukebox machine from the movie BIG. Please try to remember that at least nobody got merged with an alternate universe double and then got 'lost' (well, except that sort of happened to Harry too, I am sensing a theme). Please try to remember that the show at least did not end on a cliffhanger that will never be resolved (I'm assuming, I have not seen the finale yet).

Re: DC Superheroes on TV (CW & HBO Max)

I thought the FLASH finale was okay. A lot of stuff happened. A lot of villains were in the mix. There were a lot of matchups and fight scenes. After 12 episodes where the characters seemed to stand around talking and doing little or nothing, there seemed to be more momentum for the finale. It didn't feel like a finale. It didn't feel like a summation of ten seasons of storylines and character arcs. It felt... it felt almost like a season premiere after the previous season's cliffhanger finale. It was alright. I would have even called it good had the 12 episodes before it not been so lax, uninspired and dull.

I think THE FLASH has definitely been hit by either a budget cut or, more likely, a lack of budget increase matched with inflation (and once again, Temporal Flux's dire warnings about inflation from a couple years ago have come true). The finale seems to have benefitted from a lot of the previous 12 episodes being cheap bottle episodes

Certainly, the cast get paid more every year which means that every year, without a budget increase, there is an ever-diminishing amount of money for special effects, sets, locations, guest-stars, fight choreography -- which may be why episodes 1 - 12 were often defined by inaction and stalling.

It may also be why the LEGENDS didn't return and receive a finale story; the 13 episode budget, already stretched thin with contractual salary increases and no budget increase, couldn't extend to hiring the cast of LEGENDS without more episodes where the budget could be reallocated for the LEGENDS actors.

The series finale clearly had a lot more money that had been previously scraped out of previous episodes.

But regardless, Eric Wallace's stewardship over the FLASH's final hours was rather weak. Two episodes of Javicia Leslie not playing Ryan Wilder; largely wasting Grant Gustin's screentime whenever he was even in the episodes; clumsy and whiny 'arcs' for Chester, Allegra and Cecile; nonsensically replacing Caitlin with a new character who could not be fully explored in a short and final season.

Certainly, Wallace's resources were limited, but even what he had seemed to be wasted. The only real winners this season were the redemption of the Flash's old villains; Barry revisiting the night his mother died and making peace with it; and the finale being an okay episode livened up by action, action and more action.

I think CRISIS was probably indeed the natural endpoint for this show which, unfortunately, outstayed its welcome. Too many actors had left, too many replaced by thinly characterized stand-ins. Allegra is characterized by avoiding conversations for no apparent reason; Chester is generically goofy; Cecile is generically insecure. Caitlin was absent despite the actor being present. And by the end, even the Flash was often absent from THE FLASH. The show became tired and weary and a bit of a chore to watch.

But again, at least it didn't turn out as badly as, say Seasons 3 - 5 of SLIDERS. THE FLASH was only ever below average and puzzling as opposed to being offensively poor and embarrassing.