It’s a Post-Crisis Hard NOC Life this week as Dominic and Keith break down the epic, five-episode crossover on The CW.
It goes without saying that we are very excited for this winter’s Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover on The CW. On the most recent edition of DC TV Classics, I even suggested that Warner Bros. should consider cutting together all five episodes of the crossover into a feature-length format and release a proper Crisis movie on home video.
Hard NOC Life is switching up the schedule! On the first Monday episode of the pod, Keith and Dominic do their best to keep up with all the news in nerd pop.
On a new episode of Hard NOC Life — which was recorded before the reveal of Brandon Routh as Superman! — Keith and Dominic get excited about all of the Superman, especially the inclusion of Smallville in this fall’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover on The CW.
After a grueling week in San Diego, Dominic and Keith return to take stock of all of the bombshells that dropped during Marvel Studios’ lauded Hall H presentation. Plus, Keith speaks to A Wave Blue World VP of Sales and Marketing Lisa Wu and illustrator Steenz — who’s working on an upcoming anthology for AWBW this fall — live at the annual NOC Comic-Con meetup.
Over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend in the Nation’s Capital, Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment held the first ever “DC in D.C.” event, bringing together the stars and creators of television and comics to celebrate and honor the diversity of the DC Universe’s superheroes. We also finally announce a Patreon and ask you for your support!
So last weekend Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hit theaters and proved to be a box office hit. For those who want my thoughts on the film, you can read about them here and here. As was the case with Man of Steel, it seems very fashionable to snark on BvS and the DC Cinematic Universe in general. My theory is that the Marvel films are shiny new toys by comparison to the DC franchises.
This isn’t to say that DC and parent company Warner Brothers are above critique. They aren’t. Neither is Marvel and parent company Disney. I both enjoy and take both companies to task for different reasons when it comes to their comics and films. However, not all of the major complaints have been as valid and they definitely illustrate a double standard at play when it comes to Superman specifically.
We’re not going to do this recap like past ones. Mainly because the last episode of Arrow, “Brotherhood,” aired two weeks ago. Also, because I’m not Connie, whose recap game is much stronger than mine, there probably won’t be any Hamilton references either. Instead, we’re just going to touch on the main points as we prep for the second half of the Flarrow crossover tonight.
Felicity hasn’t showered in a week, Sara woke up from her soul coma, and Ray returns in this week’s Arrow, “Lost Souls.” As we’ve discussed before, most of this season of Arrow (and somewhat The Flash) has been set up for Legends of Tomorrow. I don’t have a problem with this because it’s been moving our characters forward all season (as we see especially this week with Olicity), but I wondered today what would happen to the season when they don’t have Legends to work towards. But that’s a question for another day. Let’s base jump into this thing like Curtis and Felicity!
In which I attempt to be fair, yet critical of this episode of Arrow, while remaining hopeful about the road ahead.
I came away from “The Fallen” feeling conflicted. I spent a week trying to figure out how to discuss my conflictions, but I ran out of time and energy. But I will say that the big theme of this episode (not the plot itself, but watching it) is the weight of expectation. All of the things that happen in this episode were things we knew were going to happen. Either because the episodes prior were driving it there, or because the promos basically told us everything. We came into the episode knowing that Thea would be resurrected, Oliver and Felicity would get together, and Oliver would officially join the League. With these expectations met exactly in the way we imagined, it may have led to disappointment.
So we’ll discuss the plot as usual and we’ll open up the comments for what went right and wrong in this episode and how it might affect the rest of the season.
Central City buzzed with excitement this week when Team Flash teams up with Team ATOM (Team ATOM consisting solely of Arrow‘s Felicity Smoak and Ray Palmer) to tackle CC’s new bee problem. The bees, however, aren’t the only stings felt by our favorite Central citizens: Barry hesitates whether or not to talk to Cisco and Caitlin about his Wells theories, Eddie and Iris are on the road to couples counseling, and Cisco is feeling some bad vibes concerning Dr. Wells. Are we sure that bees are the only bug problem? Surely, there have gotta be spiders, too, because everyone is tangled in a GOTDAMB WEB OF LIES.
I got several notifications during both the East Coast and West Coast airings of this episode that said, “You were right.” And even though the following act proved me both right and wrong (somehow…), I feel so validated and honored that people listen to me. And that I am right.
If you’re reading this recap, then you’re going to be spoiled for the exit of a major character on Arrow. Continue at your own risk.
Sadly, I’ve already used “The One Where Everybody Finds Out” as an subtitle, so I was forced to come up with other options, despite this being the true moment. (Lance is Ross, who finds out last of the last.) So, today’s recap title comes from (in truth, the John Legend song, but more appropriately) the Leonard Cohen song of the same name. Among the lyrics1:
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
I was going to go with a honeymoon themed subtitle, but it wasn’t working and seemed on the nose, but then I noticed that there were a lot of scenes between duos in this episode (Diggle/Lyla, Diggle/Deadshot, Felicity/Oliver, Felicity/Ray, Oliver/Ray, etc), where each couple sorts out some major problems in their relationships, so I went “Couples’ Therapy” instead.
Well. That happened. This week’s Arrow threatens to turn the show in a whole new direction. I can’t even begin to guess where they take things next.
Getting to the episode itself, after watching it, I (and trusty Flarrow sidekick Christelle) went back to see a Facebook post Stephen Amell put up earlier in the week to describe the episode.
Where do I even begin? There’s the remains of Team Arrow (or whatever it may become without the Arrow to guide them — oh, haha, get it?); the future of both the A.T.O.M. and the Canary; Malcolm, Thea, and everyone’s inability to disclose important deaths; the whitewashing of Brick; and of course: the revival! I think I’ll just go in that approximate order, and throw some flashback plot in there too (sorry, for now, they’re not my favorite thing).
WHAT A (MID-SEASON) FINALE!!
There are definitely some parallels to previous mid-season finales: Malcolm Merlyn, a tense battle, a moment of death for Oliver are all running themes in these fall finale episodes. I can’t say it was my favorite though, for a few reasons: I think I knew too much going in. Everyone knows Oliver can’t take Ra’s Al Ghul! And I think Stephen teased at some point (I’ve watched a lot of Stephen Amell Q&As okay?) that the episode might end over a cliff. Also, the other two major focuses of this episode were Laurel and Ray and if you didn’t know my feelings on them before, you’ll find out now, so that also dulled by excitement. BUT overall I am happy with what this episode means for the journey the rest of the season will take.
I have a lot to say about the end and the journey it will lead to, so I’m going to try keep the actual recap portion as short as I can. This episode is merely transition and shirtless ab fights than anything anyway.
Seven episodes into season three of Arrow and one thing is clear: the universe that is being assembled on The CW is the most consistently entertaining take on DC’s heroes I’ve ever seen in live action1. Coming in to “Draw Back Your Bow,” I was actually expecting it to be one of the weaker ones of the series (and trust me, there were some weak spots, but more on that later) because I didn’t think Cupid — played convincingly by Amy Gumenick — would be a compelling enough villain. But by and large, the quality of the episode was up to par with the rest of the season so far.
Arrow just keeps knowing it out of the park this season! This is the second Oliver-light episode of the season and it hits just as strong as a typical Ollie-centric episode does. Everyone’s been waiting for more information on everyone’s favorite (and I mean everyone) IT girl and we got loads of it tonight. From the appearance of Mama Smoak to Goth Felicity in the flashbacks (and a tease into her imagination — Dominique Ansel apparently didn’t think of cronuts first), we learned more about Felicity in this episode of Arrow than we have in the past three seasons.
I can admit when I’m wrong. At the end of last week’s episode of Arrow, when it was revealed that Thea has been training on the island of Corto Maltese1 with her biological father Malcolm Merlyn, I thought the follow-up episode would be a slog to get through.
Fortunately, episode three — titled, fittingly, “Corto Maltese” after the fictional island nation in the DC Universe — was a pretty great hour of television and moved a lot of plotlines forward for what is increasingly looking like an action-packed season of superheroing.
We are definitely living in a golden age of superhero television. Last year, we dedicated an episode of Hard NOC Life about the topic of comic book adaptations in prime time, but this season has seen a dramatic increase as the first three days of the week are chock full of superheroes — with DC heroes dominating the landscape1. And while Gotham on Fox and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC get all the press — because they’re on major broadcast outlets — those two shows should be taking notes from The CW, the network that does superheroes better than anyone.
I’ve already sung the praises of The Flash. Not to be outdone by their newly arrived companion, the third season premiere of Arrow kicked off with one a hell of an episode! Fortunately, Rodrigo was live-tweeting along with all of the other Arrowheads. Warning: there be spoilers ahead!
Zack Snyder cast Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman for the upcoming Man of Steel sequel, thereby ending months of speculation about the possible portrayal of DC Comics’ oldest nod to feminist virtue and grrl power. Previously seen by American audiences in the recent Fast & Furious movies, Gal Gadot’s casting has been met with equal praise and derision. My initial response is hearty, heartfelt, and honest.
I told you so.