Monday, December 5, 2016

Oh, The Metahumanity! (Invasion Week)

They're about to have a pointless fight!
Crossover time! Next weel will kick off a probably lengthy break in Oh, The Metahumanity, as the mid-season finales of everything are on deck, and I only have one more episode of Luke Cage to go. And no, the crossover didn't make me want to watch more Supergirl. Even if it is probably better than Legends of Tomorrow.

Luke Cage: "Soliloquy Of Chaos" (0% Stupid)

I don't care. It's manipulative, it's unrealistic, and the bit where we see Harlem donning bullet-hole hoodies while Method Man raps a Luke Cage-specific track fucking WORKED. It is, in many ways, the most triumphant note of the series to date, and one I'm not sure the finale can top. In a show largely about the dynamics of power, this was a moment about the power of the people. And sure, for the most part, the people don't actually have power, but we don't have superheroes either, so I'll give the show a pass on that.

A bunch of plot stuff happened to set up the finale, but I'd have to read a recap to remember which bits were in this episode, because it's that scene that really stuck with me.

The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow:  "Invasion!" (20% Stupid)

This crossover is at its best when it's focusing on the big plot and action stuff, and at its worst when the individual shows' extant flaws get focused on. In the case of The Flash, it's Mopey Cisco and Let's Not Train Wally. The former of these makes sense given what's happened to the character, but is being handled in the worst, most pouty way possible. The latter is just fucking stupid. Ease Wally into it. Let him practice on small stuff. Give him a friggin' suit. Portray him as, say, as durable as Barry is, instead of OH MY GOD HE'S NEARLY DEAD after being picked up once and dropped. Problem solved. NEXT.

Speaking of problems being solved instantly, Arrow's entire episode is problem solving, from "how do we not break the budget making three episdes fighting CGI aliens" to "how do we do a retrospective for our hundredth episode" to in-storyline problems that appeared out of nowhere only to be dismissed even more frivolously. Wild Dog hates superpowers even though he fights with a guy with superpowers? It's OK, Supergirl saved him so he's OK now. Thea wants to stay! No, wait, she doesn't! For what it was, it wasn't an awful hour of television, but the bullshit aspects seems like more of a Flash kind of thing.

The Legends of Tomorrow finale suffered similarly by focusing on an ongoing personal plot from the show - apparently Dr. Stein's own time meddling gave him a daughter that's the one thing in the entire trilogy that's not Flashpoint's fault. This plays out incredibly predictably and mildly annoyingly. Bobo Colossus now has a stupid costume, Ray got his suit back after I gave up on the show, and most of them still don't know what they're doing.

The actual Invasion! wrapup was weird and stupid and leads to at least 10 of the 20 stupid percentage points these earned. There's a rooftop fight with aliens that serves zero purpose, and a weird alien pain device that serves almost as little purpose, because ultimately the aliens leave because Firestorm turned their metahuman-killin gbomb that will also I guess kill a bunch of non-metahumans and I guess do something about all the trained assassins and supersuits and dudes with helmets and guns into water. At least there wasn't some hive mind bullshit involved, but this wasn't much better.

Agents Of SHIELD: "Deals With Our Devils" (8% Stupid)

The dual track structure this week, where we see events unfold from both sides of a dimensional rift, one side of which has trapped Robbie, Coulson, and Fitz, works really well. My only real knock for this episode is that it's an AoS trope, characters trapped/stranded/presumed dead. They acknowledge that, at least, and solid performances are delivered all around.

There are some major plot developments as a result, as well. Everyone knows Ada is a robot now. Fitz knows Director Mace is up to some shit. Robbie spent some time in Hell settling scores for Ghost Rider, apparently. And the robot knows dimensional magic in a manner not dissimilar to Dr. Strange and is making some kind of interdimensional brain, which I'm sure is a much better idea than wiping the memories of the computer that read the BOOK OF ULTIMATE EVIL.

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