Superheroes are just like us! They deal with unrequited love, have bouts of over-inflated ego, and go through growing pains. The last one is especially detrimental if they don’t have a good team at their back. This week’s Superheroes on TV column covers teamwork — who’s doing it well and who needs improvement.
CBS opened its doors to a CW crossover event when Barry Allen found himself in National City, saving Kara Danvers’ life. Perhaps the two quirkiest superheroes on TV, it was so much fun to see Kara and Barry interacting! He burst into this different universe (playing into the Infinite Earths theory) while he was testing out ways to up his speed. Their kinship was immediately apparent, and before the episode even hit its stride, I found myself wishing this duo could be a regular occurrence.
I wouldn’t necessarily call Barry seasoned, but he’s seen his fair share of villainy and tribulations. His experience in such a cohesive team environment is a direct contrast to Kara’s inexperience in forming battle plans: where she relies on her super human strength, Barry relies on his intelligence to beat bad guys.
While things start off with a heavy dose of playful curiosity, eventually, Barry teaches Kara that she can’t do this job alone. After a failed attempt to take on both Livewire and Silver Banshee without a plan, Barry (with the help of Winn and the DEO) refashions the earbuds Cisco made for him to wear when he was fighting the Pied Piper. Yet even with their new tech, they still aren’t able to overtake both villains until the citizens of National City step up to Supergirl’s defense. Proving there’s no limit to the number of folks who can appear on any give team.
Team Flash works so well together that Barrys from different times can fit seamlessly into the mix. While I sometimes (read: nearly always) questions Barry’s judgement, at least I can trust the rest of the team to keep him on track.
It was fun to see them go back in time to old Harrison Wells (who remains far superior to actual Harrison Wells). He feels even more villainous in “Flashack” than I remember from the first season, but he’s so great at toeing that line between Wells and Thawne.
Barry himself has come a long way from the impulsive kid from season one. He’s now embraced the role of team leader and has no problem urging his team to push themselves so that he can test his limits. But despite his best efforts, he dramatically alters the time line as evidenced by the time wraith on his tail.
Cisco and Caitlin are forced to work with the Pied Piper in order to come up with a way to beat the wraith. Meanwhile, Thawne pegs future Barry as an imposter almost immediately, yet they are still forced into working together to get rid of the wraith.
“Flashback” serves to show us that sometimes we even have to work with our enemies to reach a common goal. But there’s no such thing as free information and every partnership comes at a price; be it in the present or as a future catastrophe.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow seems to have cornered the market on team-traveling through time. After Chronos interrupted their plans and forced the Waverider to leave Kendra, Ray, and Sara in 1958, we see what happens when a string of decisions has a massive effect on the “present.”
“Left Behind” chronicles what transpired in the two years since half our team was abandoned. They are forced to adapt and blend in; something that Sara cannot do as well as Ray and Kendra. After 6 months, Sara leaves and winds up back in the League of Assassins where she feels is the only place she fits in. Ray seems to be the only one who has settled into his new life: he enjoys being a professor, he loves the life that he and Kendra have built together, and he’s resigned himself to move forward instead of relying on the hope that Rip and the rest of the team will come back for them.
Despite the bombshell that Mick is actually Chronos, “Left Behind” hangs its hat on the team dynamic that seems to have FINALLY solidified. It took 9 episodes before this team was finally able to get on the same page and actually work together for one, cohesive purpose. Snart was taken by Mick/Chronos and froze his hand off to get back to the team before they killed Mick. The rest of the team worked like a team to best Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins and save Sara in the process.
It was refreshing to see the selfless nature of the team, and how they all put their egos aside to do what they all agreed was in their collective best interest. Perhaps this is the turning point in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow; and for the sake of the series, I certainly hope this team dynamic stays and gets stronger.
I am enjoying the extrapolation of the existence of infinite earths. The Flash (and by default all other series connected to it) is leaving room for an arsenal of of possibilities. The potential characters, team-ups, story-line directions are, for lack of a better word, infinite! With Legends getting its legs and Supergirl hitting its stride, our superheroes on TV is shaping up to finish strong as we near the end of the regular season.
Supergirl returns with “Myriad” on April 11th, at 8/7c on CBS.
The Flash takes a small break and comes back with “Versus Zoom” on April 19th, at 8/7c on The CW.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow keeps the momentum going with no more breaks before the season finale. Catch “Progeny” Thursday, April 7th, at 8/7c on The CW.
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