Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The 'Supergirl'/'Flash' Crossover Is 2016 TV's Most Delightful Event So Far

I don’t do TV episode reviews/reactions, but I have to make an exception for Supergirl season 1 episode 18, entitled “Worlds Finest.”  It’s just that awesome.  In fact, so far, it’s probably the most delightful thing I’ve seen on TV this year – yes, even counting Sherlock: The Abominable Bride and Daredevil Season 2.

If nothing else the episode is the anti-Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  It’s gratifying, not disappointing.  It’s upbeat, not gloomy.  Most importantly, it’s overwhelmingly fun, not depressingly messy.  Actually, “Worlds Finest” is a likely reference to “World’s Finest”, a nickname for Batman and Superman as a duo (as well as the title of their first comic book series together).   Now, having Batman and Superman together in the big screen should have been a “World’s Finest”; instead, who would have thought that seeing Supergirl and Flash together in the small screen would turn out being more rewarding and thrilling than that.

The mere fact that it’s a Supergirl/The Flash crossover is already a big deal.   This isn’t the same as having an Arrow/The Flash crossover since they are both in the same network (The CW) and set in the same universe.  Supergirl, however, was made for a different network (CBS), and thus, set in a different universe entirely.  But because The Flash intelligently introduced the DC multiverse – at least in TV – and the concept of inter-universe travel, crossovers between DC shows, despite belonging to different networks/universes, can now happen.  And this episode is groundbreaking for being the first of such inter-universe crossover.

If the showrunners want to do it – and I wish they would – they can have characters from previous DC TV shows to meet up with characters from current ones.  How cool would it be if Smallville’s Oliver Queen/Green Arrow – played by Justin Hartley – meets up with Arrow’s Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Stephen Amell)?  How amusing would it be if the Grant Gustin Flash meets the Flash of the old 1990 series, played by John Wesley Shipp, who happens to be currently playing the role of Henry Allen?  Will the 2014 The Flash’s Barry Allen be mindblown by the similarities in appearance between his father and the 1990 The Flash’s Barry Allen?  These may be farfetched wishful scenarios, but it’s possible for them to happen nevertheless – the Supergirl/The Flash crossover reaffirm this.
Grant Gustin and Melissa Benoist have immaculate on-screen chemistry, and the episode’s success is basically hinged on this.  Watching them was pure glee (yep, the pun was intended).  I love how their respective characters became fast (pun intended once again) BFFs.  I love that they both have charmingly geeky, bright personalities that they effortlessly became drawn to each other.  Though they didn’t have a romantic connection, they nonetheless projected adorable synergy and affinity with each other, similar to what Barry Allen had with Patty Spivot or Felicity Smoak.   This was very refreshing since superhero crossovers usually involve initial obligatory brawls before the team up happens.

I also enjoyed that Barry Allen connected with Winn Schott.

The writing for the episode is solid, but not at all free of dumbness.   But I’m always prepared to cut a script some slack if it keeps itself consistently entertaining – which it did.  The story allowed the Flash to fit perfectly with the tone of Supergirl’s world and to explore it organically, while giving him and Supergirl plenty of fun scenes together, for, as what was already mentioned a while ago, this episode primarily worked because of Gustin and Benoist flawlessly feeding off each other.  Also, there are a couple of notably enjoyable quotes along the way (“All four of you standing there doing nothing – you look like the attractive, yet nonthreatening racially-diverse cast of a CW show.” Ha).
My only tiny nitpick about this episode was that they cut the funny handshake scene shown in the trailer for this episode (see GIF above).  There was, however, a slightly similar scene wherein Kara pressed Barry’s shoulders, and the director probably cut the handshake scene short since the joke would have been redundant.  But I wouldn’t have mind; I wish it hadn’t been cut.  But again, it’s just a tiny nitpick.

I don’t know if showing “Worlds Finest” shortly after the release of Batman v Superman was the intention all along or just a convenient coincidence.  Either way, it’s quite timely.   After having some bitter discontent with BvS, I needed this delightful feel-good team-up between Flash and Supergirl.  And I hope this won’t be the last.

Now, if only we can get a Flash/Supergirl crossover musical special to happen next… 

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