Another week of Season Finales, this time all from CW shows. And maybe I’m just being an incredibly cranky bastard lately, but I really only liked one of them. Again! Come on, finales, stop letting me down!
As always, SPOILERS, SPOILERS EVERYWHERE.
The 100 had a problematic third season: sometimes exciting, sometimes infuriating. I’d had doubts that Jaha’s subplot was ever going to pay off, but boy, did it ever: I loved almost everything about the AI storyline. I was less enthused, unfortunately, with the first half of the season; which means pretty much anything Pike brought to the table. My most serious Season 3 complaint was not Lexa’s death, but Bellamy’s OOC choice to participate in the grounder massacre. The 100’s MO has always been characters making hard choices, and I like that they sometimes make the wrong ones. But I still have to buy the choices, and I just never quite did with Bellamy. The 100 fumbled this execution almost as badly as they fumbled Finn in Season 2, and I find I’m even less willing to forgive them this time around.
Still, the finale itself was enjoyable. I always figured one of our main players would end up putting the chip in their head, and I’ll admit, I really wanted that person to be Raven. (Because she’s the best, and also because I was always bummed they never really went anywhere with the fact that Raven was the only person who could throw off ALIE, at least initially.) Clarke, sadly, was the incredibly obvious choice. I was way more interested when she was just the ‘flame keeper,’ not ‘temporary inheritor of the flame.’ Still, her taking the chip meant we got a better sendoff for Lexa, and while Lexa’s death didn’t personally trouble me to the extent it angered much of the fanbase, it was still really nice to see her return, kicking all kinds of ass. Damn you, Walking Dead spin-off, for taking Lexa away from us.
Other random notes:
A. Oh, Paige Turco, don’t make me tear up. Come on, don’t . . . damn it, Turco.
B. I’m not a medical professional (I only work with them) but I remain skeptical about the validity of this blood transfusion. Also, why exactly does Murphy have to be the one to pump the heart? Shouldn’t the only doctor in the group be doing important things like that? Oh, I see, the doctor’s too busy looking at Clarke’s face and saying things like “fight it” or “stay with me” or whatever she actually says. Yeah, okay. That makes sense.
C. Seeing Clarke and Jasper and everyone else in a modern-day city was a little jarring, but also kind of neat.
D. I see that electrocution is once again being used to conveniently hold off our enemies instead of frying them dead. Oh, handy electrocution.
E. I love that Monty somehow remains the optimist of the show, despite the fact that he had to kill his mom twice during this season. Still, I think maybe it’s time for Jasper to pull his head out of his ass and comfort Monty for once next season? I do love this exchange, though: “I’m sorry I stabbed you/I’m sorry I shot you.”
F. I don’t know why everyone’s looking all horrified that Octavia killed Pike after all; that was obviously how this story was going to end, and thank God, too. If we’re supposed to be hinting that Octavia is going to emotionally suffer from this decision next season, like, oh, she has a guilty conscience now, or killing Pike has left her more emotionally hollow and evil or whatever, I don’t buy it. Pike needed to die. I’m just happy no one else did. We had enough death this season. (I do wish we could have seen Indra, but at least we got verbal confirmation that she made it.)
I’ll definitely be back for next season (have to see how that whole potential nuclear apocalypse plays out, after all), but I’m hoping The 100 is a little less problematic next season. Maybe less of our heroes engaging in genocide for obviously stupid reasons?
FINALE GRADE: B+
SEASON GRADE: B
Oh, that was just dull. Arrow started out the season pretty strong for me, and there were, as always, a lot of moments and characters I enjoyed. Curtis is a great addition. Neal McDonough, as always, is a goddamn delight. I could watch Domestic Oliver forever, and who doesn’t like Donna Smoak and Quentin Lance? Plus, when Felicity was on, she was ON.
But fourth season started fizzling out in the middle, as it is wont to do. Between Oliver’s dumb ass secret, Oliver and Felicity’s annoying breakup, Felicity’s miracle cure, and the flashbacks that, at this point, I’ve actively started tuning out . . . yeah, we had problems going into this finale. And there was an idea in “Schism” that I really liked, with everyone ending up in almost exactly opposite places from where they were a year ago, but because the execution throughout the season was so flawed, it all kind of fell flat for me. It seemed like it took forever for Andy to die, but Diggle’s turn to the Dark Side afterwards somehow still felt rushed, and seriously, Lyla. Even if he wasn’t lying about the whole ‘murder vs. self defense thing,’ come on: Diggle killed his brother, what, a month ago? Shit, I’m still upset about mean things people said to me last decade. Why are you so surprised he isn’t back to normal yet?
Thea, too, has just been all over the place. I don’t think the show has any idea what to do with her, which is annoying. I could potentially really like Thea if the creators could just settle on a decent storyline for her. Oliver’s stop-and-go journey towards the Light could use a fair bit of work, too. (It’s nice that Felicity stayed with him, though, despite the fact that they aren’t currently together. Emotional maturity? What a concept for this show.)
And as great as Damien Darhk has been, that’s entirely because Neal McDonough is a charming madman who I would watch read the phone book, presuming he could find one. By the end, his whole plan and dead wife and death-to-the-world shtick were all pretty boring. Worse, I couldn’t buy into Oliver’s speech, like, at all, and it had nothing to do with the acting. The speech was just so hilariously mistimed and silly. I’m really all for the idea of the Green Arrow being an inspiration (instead of a symbol of violence and fear and all that), but dude, a hint of practicality would not go amiss.
And while I’m totally down with the concept of HOPE defeating DARKNESS, Jesus Christ, you guys. This might have actually beaten out Supergirl in ridiculous word repetition, which probably shouldn’t be so surprising, considering this is a Greg Berlanti show. And Berlanti’s superhero shows have a lot to recommend, they do, but he and all his writers should have to sit in a dark room listening to nothing but yowling cats and endless bagpipes until they’ve figured out a way to write a script that has no key thematic word used more than three times per episode. Preferably less.
But why get worked up, right? After all, who knows if any of this even happened? Thanks a lot, Barry Allen. (See below.)
FINALE GRADE: C
SEASON GRADE: B-
I disliked this finale. A lot.
Zoom, unfortunately, ended up being a pretty underwhelming villain, which is sort of what I feared from the very second I heard Tony Todd had been cast. Tony Todd has an amazing voice. Tony Todd has the voice of an evil and wonderful god. Anybody that does not match up to the glory that is Tony Todd’s voice is just setting himself up to be the next Darth Vader letdown. But in fairness to Teddy Sears, he was actually much more enjoyable once he became a villain. (As Jay Garrick, he was white rice on vanilla ice cream slathered on eggshell wallpaper.) A decent villainous performance, unfortunately, does not make up for the most boring of villain agendas, and 99% of this finale felt like it had no real stakes. This was a huge letdown after the tremendous threat that Zoom has been all season.
And Barry continuing to have the worst plans of all time did not help at all.
Frankly, I cheered when the rest of the team knocked Barry’s ass out and locked him away because, seriously, Barry’s plans are AWFUL. I feel sorry for the kid, and Grant Gustin does a hell of a job selling tears (like, he is really good at it), but Barry’s total failure to understand the potential consequences of his actions just kills me dead every time. This is actually worse than the Terrible Time Travel Plan of last season, except . . . oh, we’re . . . we’re going back to that, too?
Look, last season I was a little disappointed that the show didn’t having Barry rewrite time and reboot the whole universe, mostly because that would have been a pretty exciting shake-up. This season, however, I did not want that shakeup. This season came with a lot of things I really, really liked, like pretty much everything about Cisco’s meta-human powers, the multi-verse and all its potential, and, of course, Earth-2 Harry. I would honest-to-God watch a spinoff with just Earth-2 Harry and Cisco. I don’t know what the Harry Cisco show would be about, but by God, I would watch every second of it.
But now . . . who knows? Obviously, Barry still has to become The Flash somehow, otherwise the show will have significant problems. And the multi-verse has to stay open, or we can’t do our already-promoted four-show-crossover extravaganza. But who’s building the particle accelerator? Will Eobard-Thawne-Harrison Wells still kill Original Harrison Wells? Will I even get Earth 2 Wells? (I MUST. I MUST have him.) But how will Eobard know to kill Harrison Wells if his time remnant isn’t captured by the Flash team and told basically, well, everything? That’s how Eobard knows to kill Harrison, isn’t it? And that’s how he knows to hire Cisco for sure. Even if he does build the particle accelerator, who knows if Cisco is around to get affected by it. What if Cisco isn’t a meta-human anymore? (THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE.) And how will this affect the other superhero shows because it totally would. Everyone on Arrow is dead right now if Barry isn’t The Flash. Is everyone on Arrow dead right now, Barry? Did you kill everyone, you little shit? Actually, I’m pretty sure Kendra and Carter from Legends of Tomorrow would probably be dead too, so who the fuck even knows what just happened on that show. Vandal Savage is probably still alive. Then again, if Barry doesn’t save Team Arrow, that means Team Arrow can’t stop the nuclear apocalypse, correct? Everyone is dead right now, Barry, and it is ALL YOUR FAULT.
At this point, I’m hanging onto the hope that Barry’s rebooted timeline lasts for all of one episode before he realizes what a terrible mistake he’s made (or Rip Hunter and his Merry Team of Time Bandits shake some sense into him) and he fixes everything. Normally, ambitious cliffhangers that get easily resolved in one episode are a big annoyance for me, but honestly, I think it might be the best solution here.
Other things I’d like to see in Season Three:
1. More Iris being awesome and less of Iris as a love interest, because I’ve basically lost faith that anyone on a Greg Berlanti show can be both. I mean, except for Patty, of course, who was a way better fit for Barry, which is why we stupidly and unceremoniously shoved her ass out the door, of course. Iris, though, has had some pretty stellar moments this season, and exactly none of them have revolved around her potential romance with the Scarlet Speedster.
2. Jesus Christ, fix Caitlin. Commit to her being evil, or continue her post-Zoom PTSD, or give her any storyline that doesn’t revolve around a man, but something needs to be done about her, pronto, because she is an entirely useless character at this point who can’t even be counted on to not suddenly become horribly racist on occasion. Yeah, Flash, I haven’t forgotten that.
3. Less stupid decisions, especially from Barry? But I suspect that’s asking way too much.
4. More Cisco and Harry, Earth II. They’re the primary reason this season is getting as high of a grade as it is, despite the Zoom letdown and the Utter Fail of Caitlin Snow. They are the reason I get excited to watch The Flash every single week. THE HARRY AND CISCO SHOW FOREVER!
FINALE GRADE: C-
SEASON GRADE: B+