(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 other week! Warning: this Clock Tower is filled with spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.)

Twenty-two-episode arcs always have lulls. Those lulls are especially prone to occur mid-season or before a major event, which is why it’s so weird that every single show in the Arrowverse absolutely knocked it out of the park this week. Whether it’s with Crisis lead-ins or the heroes doing what they do best, everyone brought their absolute A-game to the table. 

Standing Up for What’s Right Always Means Something

James Olson hasn’t always been given the screen time he deserves on Supergirl, but he’s never not been a critical part of the show. Whether it’s as a photographer, an Editor in Chief, or The Guardian, everything James has brought to the table has mattered both from a series and character perspective. It was unclear exactly how the Super Friend would be exiting the show until this week, when the writing team made it clear that the answer to that would be “incredibly, while you sob into your Jitters.”

Corruption is everywhere, but it can feel its most potent in a small town. Someone mediocre tyrant who couldn’t make it in the big city swoops in, buys everything up, and ruins a lot of folks’ lives. No one comes to save them, because who would ever care about such a thing? That’s exactly the situation that James and his sister Kelly stumble upon when they flee to Calvintown to escape Ma’alefa’ak.

After uncovering the corruption and finding that no one in town, even his old mentor, is willing to stand up to it, James decides that Andrea Rojas isn’t the only one who can buy a paper and turn it on its side. And so, a young man inherits a camera, just as James did when he was young, and James Olson becomes Jimmy once more. Happy trails to Mehcad Brooks while he’s on his Mortal Kombat journey! Here’s hoping that this goodbye was just a “see you later!”

It’s Your Fate

Whole lot of conversations about fate bouncing around this week, particularly in The Flash and Arrow. Outside of the whole Crisis situation, Speedy makes her triumphant return to the show and decides to take her destiny into her own hands. After besting the one and only Talia al Ghul for the sword of The Dragon, she deems that The League of Assassins will now be a League of Heroes. She also tells her brother that maybe he should stop focusing so much on what fate’s telling him he’s got to do, and reminds him that no matter how many times he says “this is different” she’s still going to be around to save him. 

Meanwhile, over on The Flash, Cisco is not about to let his best friend just up and die. That unwillingness extends so far as being willing to let another man die in order to save him, which goes over swimmingly with Barry. Things get ironed out, of course, but not before there’s a small horde of zombies and a friendly skirmish or two. 

Yikes.

I never want to write this section, but here we are again. This time the honor goes to The Flash, where everyone wants to condition Cisco to as the new leader of the team. Tiny problem: Iris West-Allen is already that leader. Crisis isn’t the first time that her husband has disappeared, and likely won’t be the last. I love Cisco Ramone with all my heart, but the position isn’t exactly open and to just gloss over Iris’ past leadership is a little exhausting. 

Daily Planet Breaking News

This week featured some exciting news for The Arrowverse! Our girl Batwoman has been picked up for a full twenty-two-episode season, meaning we’re going to be seeing a lot more of Kate and that crazy sister of hers. Additionally, there may be far more Lois and Clark in our future! The CW has reportedly ordered Superman and Lois, a series that will be exactly what it says on the tin. Friendly reminder that Kent-Lane family is currently on Argo so Lois doesn’t, y’know, die when she has their baby. 

Oh, I’m Sorry—Did You Need That Heart?

No one should have to watch Joe West cry. When Joe West cries, we all cry, and that’s exactly what The Flash writers made sure happened this week. You see, Joe’s been taking his son’s death with an alarming amount of grace since finding out Barry would have to sacrifice himself to save the multiverse. That all came to an end this week. “Bar I’m not ready. I’m not ready for this. I know you say it has to happen but—” is a real sentence we had to hear come out of Joe’s mouth as he sobbed over the future death of his son and excuse me, I did not sign up for this. 

I know you wanted to get misty eyed during Arrow, too. Wish granted! A heartfelt goodbye between Thea and Oliver got those tear ducts nice and primed for JJ Diggle to straight up skewer Zoey in 2040. Sorry, Mia. We know you weren’t ready to lose your brother, so we took your sister away instead. 

It’s All Coming Together

At least, the timelines are! While Zoey died in Mia’s arms, Mia, Connor and William were zapped back into 2019, presumably by The Monitor. Where’s Zoey? Probably still bleeding out in 2040. It’s a stressful situation all around for Team Arrow both past and present, but we cut away before any real moments can take place. That is with the exception of Mia Smoak seeing her father in person for the first time in her sad, broken, little life. A moment that definitely didn’t make me cry all over again.

Future Team Arrow being brought back in time to be with what’s left of Original Team Arrow both serves The Monitors purposes, and opens the door for the backdoor pilot that will feature Mia, Dinah, and Laurel that’s to air later this year. 

How Did Bruce Do It? 

He didn’t. That’s the point. Batman is one of my favorite heroes. At his best, he ushers in incredible conversations about mental illness, escalation politics, and more. But Bruce Wayne is broken in so many ways. Kate Kane is in the beginning of her superhero journey. As she struggles, she finds herself either asking how Bruce made something work, or being told that Bruce would never be doing what she was doing. 

While we were able to quickly move away from comparisons between Supergirl and Superman, Kate doesn’t share the advantage of protecting a different city than her complicated cousin. If these comparisons have to continue, it’s my hope that they’re countered every time with the fact that Bruce isn’t around, or that he was broken, or, again, how that’s exactly the point. 

That’s What She Said

I just needed a space to acknowledge Talia’s “Not one, but two women to wield my father’s sword? He would be aghast,” line. Suck it, Ra’s. The ladies are running the show now! 

Monitor Watch

Not a whole lot of Monitor appearances this week, but plenty of mentions! Oliver’s little quest to Nanda Parbat was to gather information on the cryptic god. Not a ton of personal information was to be found, but they did learn that The Monitor may not actually be trying to prevent The Crisis. When Oliver parts from Thea and Talia, he’s still not quite sure what he’s going to do. Harrison “Nash” Wells seems pretty sure of him plan though.

As is custom, this new iteration of Wells has been a mystery. We’re back to a serious version, which is certainly my personal favorite, but he’s also got a very fun dashing vibe to him this go around. He bugged Cisco. He was very unhappy. It was hilarious. More importantly, Wells traded Ramsey’s (ultimately useless) miracle cure for a device to help him find what he was on Earth 1 looking for: The Monitor. The episode cuts before we find out anything more, but Nash definitely just invited himself on in there. More on that next week I suppose! 

I Will Go Down With This Ship

Everyone calm down! Brainy and Nia made up. Meanwhile, Kate and Reagan didn’t even last an episode. It’s currently unclear if we’ll see Kate play playgirl as a front or of she’ll keep herself off the board while she deals with little miss Alice. Either way, we’re rooting for you girl! 

Ralph’s search for the elusive Sue continues after an uncharacteristically broody episode from Team Flash’s Love Expert™. After butting heads with Iris and dealing with Barry’s impending doom in his own way, Dibney’s back on the trail! He says it’s not like he’s looking for a wife but we are for sure gonna see some smoochin’ when he finally finds his girl! 

Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel

All of the Arrowverse having such a strong week means that there’s something to look forward to across the board next week. With that said, I think my most anticipated episode is going to be Arrow’s “Present Tense”. I’m an easy mark for father/daughter stuff, so probably prepare yourself for some sappiness in next week’s column. 

Supergirl hasn’t punched Andrea Rojas through the moon yet, but I’m still holding out hope. Fingers crossed we learn more about the new Wells and The Monitor alike as the explorer continues his quest on The Flash, and it looks like we’ll finally see Batwoman dive into Alice’s backstory as well. Much to look forward to, so little time! 

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