[Heh. Better get this posted before the next Wednesday rolls around.]
It really was a disappointing week, if the only shows you’re watching are The Flash, Agents of SHIELD, Arrow, and Supernatural. I gave the week a .275 battering average. It’s not great in baseball, and it’s worse in entertainment.
Supernatural: Paint It Black (1016)
I became so restless with this fragmented episode, I did something I rarely do with Supernatural. I fast-forwarded to near the end. What seemed to be three separate stories, one of which seemed to be pure exposition and one barely tolerable to watch, finally came together, more or less, but it took its toll.
Everyone seems to agree that Rowena has not only worn out her welcome, she’s weakened Crowley as a character. No longer is he the all-feared King of Hell, he’s become a manipulated little boy. He’s no longer fun to watch. And while we did get a bit of a payoff at the end, with a hint of a Men of Letters vs. Witchcraft battle to come, it means Rowena will be around for a while.
The other two story lines—that of Dean and Sam investigating post-confessional suicides, and a nun talking to another nun (who turned out to be a ghost)—eventually came together in a gruesomely entertaining way, but the time it took to get there was longer than my patience allowed.
Jensen Ackles had an opportunity to show us the range of Dean’s personality and the depths of his despair. It’s always nice to see what he can do with great material. Dean seems to be racing towards death as the way to fix his problem with the Mark of Cain. I just hope the arc will give us something more than a rehash of season 3.
Arrow: Suicidal Tendencies (317)
It was the best episode of the week. Or should I say best two episodes? And therein lies the problem. Two interesting stories that each deserved its own treatment—particularly the one showcasing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder—crammed into one hour of television.
While Oliver and company were dealing with fake Arrows in Starling City, Diggle and Lyla were spending their honeymoon in some fake country with Deadshot and a red-headed young Mary Campbell Winchester (i.e., Amy Gumenick).
The faux-Arrows are killing in retaliation for Oliver not accepting the job of Ra’s al Ghul. The story is moderately complicated by Ray Palmer, who’s completed his ATOM suit and is now flying around the city, supposedly fighting crime, but mostly fighting the Arrow and trying to frame Oliver for the murders.
Ray (upon seeing Oliver walk into his office): Arrow.
Oliver: Super Suit.
The episode seems to be setting up the arc for the rest of season 3.
Elsewhere, Lyla is called away from her honeymoon for a mission in some “Fake-istan.” What would a honeymoon be without the groom, so Diggle volunteers to go with her. Floyd Lawton, aka Deadshot, and nutcase Carrie Cutter (Cupid) provide backup. Floyd saves Carrie’s life, so at least her love-obsession has transferred from Oliver to Lawton.
The flashbacks this week are of Floyd Lawton, the soldier who returned home without being able to leave the war behind. And it does a nice job of highlighting just one of the effects PTSD can have on it’s sufferers.
Over the seasons, Lawton has become a somewhat sympathetic character. His flashback gave us not only an insight into how he became Deadshot, but also introduces the mysterious H.I.V.E. and who its first victim is to be. (Hint: it’s John Diggle’s brother, Andy.) Those familiar with the DC Comics universe know about HIVE, but since I am one of the uninitiated, I do not. (I do know I’ll no longer be putting periods between the letters.)
Arrow’s creators and writers have taken care to be consistent with HIVE, Lawton, and Andy Diggle; the storyline is apparently setting up the Big Bad for season4. (David Ramsey mentioned at a fan event that next season will be about HIVE.) I look forward to seeing how this plays out. Just don’t muck it up, Marc Guggenheim.