|Cage isn't a man... HE'S A MACHINE! Wait. Wrong show.|
Luke Cage: "You Know My Steez" (12% Stupid)
The one problem with the Netflix Marvel series being so successful is that, with the knowledge that more seasons are probably inevitable, there's no need for closure. And so Luke Cage Season 1 ends with almost ZERO CLOSURE.
Basically, the episode is split into thirds. We have the final fight with Diamondback and his dollar-store Justin Hammer punching suit, which Luke resolves by turning "let him punch me until his battery runs out" into a philosophical point about hate. We have The Aftermath, where Luke Cage is brought in for questioning, makes a speech that pays off all the times people called him "corny" over the course of the season. And where Mariah beats the murder rap by using Misty's phone to lure the only witness out to be shot in the head by Shades.
And finally, we have For The Future Setups. There's a hint that Pops' shop will become the Hero for Hire office. There's Luke being taken away by the feds for his prison escape. There's Claire Temple promising to get Matt Murdoch on Luke's case, so I guess we know what the first episode of The Defenders is gonna be about. There's Luke and Claire kissing, because I guess Luke Cage is going to bang his way through at minimum the Marvel Netflix Universe. Good thing he's not Jeri Hogarth's type. And there's Evil Mad Superdoctor visiting Diamondback in the hospital. So, of the three main villains this season, one is dead and sympathetic. One is free and scheming. And one is about to get experimented on. ALMOST ZERO CLOSURE. But it was still really fucking good, so I forgive it.
The Flash: "The Present" (40% Stupid)
This episode of The Flash raises a vitally important question about the DC multiverse. Can you just go and put someone's name on a lease without their consent? I honestly have no idea. It seems like that shouldn't be possible. I wouldn't know, of course, because I've never asked someone to move in with me by renting a place without consulting them and then telling them "this is our new place baby, isn't this romantic?" Sure, it's romantic, until the closets are too small, the kitchen has an electric range, and the water pressure is shit, Barry. Maybe that's why she leaves you for Savitar.
Cisco is this week's victim of The Flash's overall mission statement as a series: "Family Makes You A Fucking Moron". Wally, who's been a victim of this in general since he was introduced, and in specific since he got powers, finally gets let off that particular hamster wheel and gets his Kid Flash outfit, which presumably means light taps on the chest by super villains won't shatter his bones anymore.
Anyway, they figure out Julian is an unwilling puppet of Savitar by The Flash's version of a trust fall, which is Barry taking off his mask AGAIN. Anyway, Savitar is the first meta to ever be given speed powers and is also from the future where Barry sent him "into eternity" so they decide to chuck Savitar's magic stone into the Speed Force or "into eternity" and nobody makes the connection. Savitar also gives the rote standard villain prophecy - a traitor, a dead person, and someone who'll suffer greatly. Yay. Then Barry sees Savitar kill Iris in five months time, because spending half a season teasing a character death was so entertaining on Arrow. Learn some new fucking tricks, superhero show.
Arrow: "What We Leave Behind" (5% Stupid)
The midseason finale of Arrow actually gained 15 points for the completely ridiculously situation-specific flashback that didn't actually happen in the first season where Diggle mentiones "unintended consequences", making him a hindsight prophet or something. Plus, more of Arrow's mission statement, "Guilt makes you stupid."
But it earns it back by turning Promootheus into the best Arrow villain since Slade Wilson, with easily the best supervillain plan in CW show history. There's a meticulous mad genius to how he's fucking with Oliver that's intellectually delightful and emotionally horrifying at the same time. Dude made Oliver kill his ex-fiancee's new boyfriend and made the mayor kill a cop at the same time. That's some evil, evil shit.
I am reserving judgment on the final LAUREL twist until we actually learn what it is. They've set themselves up a very small, very hot ring of fire to try to jump through, so I hope they know what they're doing here.
Agents Of SHIELD: "Laws Of Inferno Dynamics" (10% Stupid)
My one big problem with this episode is that I don't actually see how the revelation that Evil Uncle was stealing matter from other dimensions actually played into the final plan. Everything that happened could have happened regardless of that except for the long, distracting conversation while they worked to send the nuclear bomb into the dimensional portal.
Apart from that, solid, competent climax stuff here, as they close the Ghost Rider half of the season and move on to the "hey, maybe it wasn't such a great idea to upload a Book Of Evil into a robot and then leave it there" half of the season. I'm especially enjoying the way they're handling the Mace-Coulson dynamic. They're treating Mace as someone very similar to Coulson, but who we're seeing from the outside, and not the inside, so he seems shady and underhanded and Up To Shit, which is how we'd be seeing Coulson if he weren't #1 on the call sheet. But in the end, he's trying to do what's best for SHIELD< only with a slightly different perspective and skill set.
We leave this episode with Ghost Rider in Hell, Mack and Yoyo on the Smooch Train, and Evil Ada having replaced Agent May with an Evil May LMD while the real May is locked in a closet. This show has done Someone's Impersonating May once before, so I hope they have new tricks up their sleeve.