(Welcome to The Clock Tower, where we’ll break down the goings on of the The CW network’s Arrowverse. We’ll touch on things like themes, cultural impact, lead-ins to major events, ships, and more every week! Warning: this Clock Tower is filled with spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.)
As we get closer to the second half of Crisis on Infinite Earths, we also quickly approach the ending of Arrow. The series has certainly had its ups and downs over the years, but with it came a whole universe of shows. Each one’s unique from its brothers and sisters, and yet they all fit together quite nicely. Though that’s no different from their comic book counterparts, some extra levels of difficulty come into play when you’re working in television rather than on a page.
With the end of the show that started it all drawing near, I thought we’d switch up this week’s Clock Tower and take a look at some of the best moments, characters and shots The Arrowverse has had to offer so far.
Martian Manhunter Reveal
It’s rare that a superhero show surprises its fans. It’s even more rare that it surprises those of us who work to review them all year round. With Comic-Con and rumor mills and behind-the-scenes scoops, it’s just not something that happens very often anymore. Enter one Hank Henshaw, the firm but caring authority figure at the DEO. Folks who’d read the comics knew the name, and prepared themselves for the eventual emotional devastation of him becoming Cyborg Superman. Supergirl made sure to play into those fears as well.
Then, out of the blue, these jerks are like “hey what if he wasn’t? What if he was, instead, a beloved, oreo-loving, green martian?” Reader? I lost my mind. Not only did it mean we wouldn’t lose the beloved David Harewood from the series. It also meant we got to see J’onn fricken J’onnz in a live-action format for the first time.
The DCTV Trinity of Oliver Queen, Barry Allen, and Kara Danvers will forever warm my cold little heart. While we’ve finally seen Oliver step into the role of Green Arrow in his last several seasons, he’s played Batman for basically the majority of his run. His humor (and his cooking) didn’t start coming into play in full force until Beth Schwartz took over as showrunner. Bless her and her incomparable team for that.
Every team needs a straight man, and Oliver acts as just that in contrast to Barry and Kara’s never-ending wells of hope. Each crossover group hug is a thing of beauty, and I’m definitely not sappy over the fact that we won’t have any more after this year.
What’s So Wrong with “Girl”?
Cat Grant is one of the very best parts of Supergirl, and the most unfortunate casualty of the move from CBS to the CW. No judgement on Calista Flockhart. If Harrison Ford were my husband I most certainly wouldn’t be schlepping up to Vancouver for months at a time to film. All the same, Cat gave us many parting gifts, up to and including her speech on “girl”.
We’ve already spent a good hunk of a recent Clock Tower gushing about Supergirl and Batwoman’s incredible pairing, but I can’t not include it in a list talking about the best things that have happened in The Arrowverse. Both the Bat Family and The House of El represent the idea that there is power in a symbol. Supergirl and Batwoman have finally given us a live action depiction of just what those symbols can do if they work together.
By giving these two characters a sisterhood from the jump, The Arrowverse has given more meaning to the likely inevitable (and hopefully brief) war between the two. I’ll always prefer these two symbols work together. With that in mind, a battle between them can be done well provided you give them the required relationship first.
Mick and Ray go to Prison
The friendship between Ray Palmer and Mick Rory is much like the majority of Legends of Tomorrow: something I never knew I needed, but don’t know how I’ll ever live without now that I’ve had it. Ray’s unbridled goodness paired with Mick’s, well… if you’re reading this list I assume I don’t need to describe Mick’s demeanor.
Mick’s the type of gent who assumes anyone soft is also weak. You can imagine what he thought of Ray. That is, until Ray intentionally antagonized the guards in the Gulag so they’d start torturing him rather than his teammate. What sparks from there is an unlikely partnership of the best kind. One that will unfortunately be coming to an end once Brandon Routh exists the show at the end of this coming season.
Leonard Snart’s Entire Arc
Since he’s only acting as the voice of the Waverider, I haven’t had a whole lot of opportunity to gush about Leonard Snart. The Arrowverse has excelled at shifting villainous backstories into heroic futures from the beginning, but Snart is my favorite example of it by a mile. He’s just so calmly annoyed by destiny throwing him down the path of a hero, and it makes the entire closing of his arc hilarious, fun, and tragic. His dry wit is missed, but a huge shoutout to Wentworth Miller for choosing his mental health and the right path for himself.
The Musical Episode
Former show choir girl here to report that she will forever support any and all musical episodes of any show across any genre. I don’t care if it doesn’t make any sense, has no narrative purpose, or drives away from the overall point of the content. I want musical everything. And it just so happens that The Arrowverse is chock full of ridiculous vocal talents.
Grant Gustin (Barry Allen) and Melissa Benoist (Kara Zor El) shared the screen long before they donned their super suits. Glee might be long gone, but their talent and on-screen chemistry remains. The musical crossover between the two shows was exactly as fun as you’d expect. It also made sure to make use of actors like Jeremy Jordan (Wynn Schott), John Barrowman (Malcolm Merlyn), and more. There are no plans for another musical episode in The Arrowverse’s future, and that is a crime!
The introduction of Nia Nal into The Arrowverse canon was big. Not only had they elected to make Dreamer a trans woman, they also made the right call and cast a trans woman in the role. Nicole Maines doesn’t just play a trans superhero on television, either. Before she was an actress, she and her family were taking on wrongful bathroom bills in the historic Doe v. Clenchy case.
Though I wish Dreamer had more screentime in the current season, it’s impossible to deny the sheer importance of her introductory arc. The mantle of Dreamer can only be taken up by a woman. By making Nia Nal transgender in their canon Supergirl went a long way to say loudly and proudly that trans women are real women. It’s unfortunate that stories like it are still so rare, but I’m glad to have it in a show that matters so much already.
Sara Lance and Alex Danvers Ripping Their Skirts to Fight Nazis
Crisis on Earth-X doesn’t get the love it deserves. Then again, I’m a pretty easy sell. My favorite heroes fighting nazis, even if those nazis are their counterparts from other earths, will always grab my attention. Bonus points will be granted if there’s a fun, casual lesbian arc. Enter Sara Lance (who is bi, yes), and Alex Danvers. One’s a free spirit who will sleep with anyone she sees fit regardless of space, time or location. The other’s straight laced, recently out of the closet, and wound tighter that a compression coil. It’s a trope, and it’s one that works.
Fast forward to the day after their little tryst, and the two are literally ripping their formal attire to better kick the asses of nazis. Barry and Iris’ wedding scene is perfect for a myriad of nazi-punching reasons, but this is certainly my favorite of the lot.
Felicity. Megan. Smoak.
This entry is listed as the character because I couldn’t pick just one of her moments. I love Arrow, but man oh man was it bad for a few seasons. Felicity Smoak’s warmth, wit, and endless babbling was the only thing that kept me going through those rough seasons. Even when you take all the crying she was forced to do into consideration.
Felicity has been the show’s conscience and heart from the jump. What was meant to be a one-off appearance turned into a founding member of Original Team Arrow (OTA). The rest, as they say, is history. Her presence has been sorely missed during Arrow’s final season. Thankfully, The Bitch with Wifi will be returning for the series finale.
The Undertaking and the Death of Tommy Merlyn
It’s been, like, seven years since Tommy died and I still get emotional every time Colin Donnell’s name comes across the screen. As far as I’m concerned, he’s just as much a member of OTA as John Diggle or Felicity Smoak. All three of them had to put it all on the line to help create The Green Arrow we’re finally enjoying in his last season, one of them just happened to die for it.
The Undertaking might have happened years ago, but it’s difficult to pin down a finale more relevant to the series. Tommy’s sacrifice is used as a pivotal turn in Oliver’s decision to use murder as a reasonable means for justice. Or at least mostly. Ollie will still mess up a few times before it’s all said and done, but that’s just the theme of the show!
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