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Superheroes on TV: Well Laid Plans 

Superheroes on TV: Well Laid Plans
Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

Plans. Heroes and villains alike have plans; and more often than not, nothing ever goes according to them. But can heroics be boiled down to a matter of who’s the better planner?

DC's Legends of Tomorrow
Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

The entirety of the first season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is wrapped up in stopping Vandal Savage. Rip Hunter, flawed leader of our hodgepodge of heroes and anit-heroes, is a plan-making machine. Week-to-week is trial and error to see if THIS TIME will be the one plan that works. Of course, it isn’t until the season finale that the good guys finally prevail. Yet, if we’re being objective, Savage and the Time Lords had a much better plan of action for saving the world.

Sure their plan involved killing millions in order to save humanity, but once the grand scheme was revealed, it was hard to deny the logic in their cold calculations. And when their plan of Savage ruling the world in order to stop an alien invasion fell apart, Savage adjusted his mindset (and objective) quickly enough to mobilize a new plan. For as terrible a human he is, Vandal Savage is devout in his preparations.

So how is it that the well-prepared Savage is finally defeated by a team that bumbles its way to a lucky break? It suggests that luck supersedes planning any day of the week, but if that were really true, then where’s the story in that?

Savage did have an “unfair advantage” because he was manipulating the future, but he was in a league of his own all season. Even when he was captured, there was never a moment when you felt like he didn’t have the upper hand. For him to finally come to an end the way he did felt like the writers had gotten just as sick of this season as I had. Wrap it up, get rid of Savage, and let’s start over for Season 2. If you’ve watched Legends from the beginning, there’s no way the heroes should have come out on top. Their poor planning and even worse execution forced them to rely on luck to get the job done.

Hawgirl says goodbye
Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

While the season finale did completely box up the Savage story line, it also meant the end of the line for Kendra and Carter. According to Deadline, Ciara Renee has left DC’s Legends of Tomorrow as a series regular. Executive producer Marc Guggenheim even said, “We went through the team, made a list of all the characters and started to think of stories for them. When we got to Hawkman and Hawkgirl, we had trouble coming up with stories.”

I beg your pardon for the digression, but it was painfully clear that the team behind Legends never had a clue what to do with Hawkgirl. How they managed to take one of the strongest (mentally) female characters in the DC universe and turned her into a mousey sidekick is beyond me. Shayera Hol, specifically the version from the Justice League animated series, is my absolute favorite version of Hawkgirl. As such, I understand that my disappointment in Kendra is biased, but there was still plenty of good material for Legends producers and writers to work with.

The introduction of Rex Tyler and the Justice Society of America at the very end is, however, quite promising for Season 2. Back in 2013, The CW confirmed it was developing an Hourman series. With no recent updates on this series, is it safe to guess that instead we’ll see more of Mike Ross Patrick J. Adams as this DC Hero in the next season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow?

Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW
Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

Where Legends throws planning to the wind, Arrow has gotten quite good at ruining plans. Despite being able to put a stop to city crushing plans, it’s too bad their timing hasn’t gotten any better. Here we are on the precipice of “us vs. them” as Oliver and Darhk prepare to square off one more time for the fate of Star City, and possibly, the whole world.

Would that mean that no one is better at counter-planning that Team Arrow? When Damien Darhk promises to launch nukes, they don’t try to “stop Darhk.” They’re better served by stopping the nukes from reaching their targets. It’s a minor adjustment, but it makes a world of difference. When compared to Legends, Arrow spent a season climbing a ladder to reach the top while Legends tried everything but the obvious path to the top.

With Tevat Noah destroyed and Ruve dead, Darhk and Oliver are on track for one last head-to-head showdown. After a balanced back and forth all season, this impending fight seems well-earned. Since everyone’s plans have been scuttled, it will be interesting to see how the Arrow season four finale plays out.

Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW
Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

If Legends clumsily (if not accidentally) found its way to the top, and Arrow climbed the ladder one rung at a time, The Flash was already at the top and their goal was to keep any villains from reaching them. When it comes to planning, no one does it better than Team Flash. They’re running with a coordinated front from CCPD, each other, and the rest of the DC heroscape. After some struggles at the beginning of this season, they have come together as a well-oiled machine and it shows.

To be fair, the plan for the majority of this season has been to “stop Zoom.” While not wildly different from Legends, The Flash just seems to execute their plan much better. Through some quick thinking, Cisco and Harrison came up with a way to stop all of the people from Earth-2 at once. Everyone, including Zoom, Harrison, and Jesse. They worked together, built the necessary parts, and executed their plan perfectly. Unfortunately, like any good villain, Zoom found a way out, abandoning all of the metahumans he’d brought to this earth with him. But that’s what makes this Barry/Jay relationship work so well on screen. It’s almost like they’re playing the “anything you can do, I can do better” game better than I could have imagined.

After the huge blow that Zoom has dealt Barry, the Season 2 finale is going to require Barry to dig deep and make sure he’s in the right head-space to take on Zoom for, hopefully, the last time. That alone will require a great team effort to keep Barry in check. But that’s the beauty of The Flash — Barry has a full complement at his disposal. With each tragedy, Team Flash gets stronger; which results in better, more precise planning.

Will Barry finally be able to end Zoom’s reign of terror? Find out in The Flash season two finale, Tuesday, May 24th, at 8/7 on The CW.
Is there even going to be a Star City after Oliver and Darhk face off? The Arrow season four finale airs Wednesday, May 25th, at 8/7c on The CW.

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