Arrow‘s mid-season finale moves beyond the Vigilante and Invasion! story arcs to center its attention back on the season’s looming big bad, Prometheus. Offering flashbacks to Oliver‘s (Stephen Amell) early days as Starling City’s vigilante (his costume has certainly gotten better), “What We Leave Behind” begins to fill in gaps about who Prometheus is and why he has a vendetta against Green Arrow (although I would have been more impressed if they actually tied it to First Season episode rather than filming new scenes). From their encounters it’s obvious the Church didn’t tell the villain anything he didn’t know, as Prometheus would have had to know Oliver’s identity years ago to retrace the man’s steps and train with at least one of the same masters (which doesn’t quite jibe with the villain’s actions since arriving in Star City as he only begin to focus on Oliver after Church’s deathbed confession).
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. hits the halfway point of its season with “The Laws of Inferno Dynamics” which wraps up the extended arc featuring Ghost Rider with a final confrontation between S.H.I.E.L.D. and Robbie Reyes (Gabriel Luna) and the increasingly powerful Eli Morrow (José Zúñiga). The dire situation does call for S.H.I.E.L.D. to put all its meta-human resources in the field, and while Daisy (Chloe Bennet), Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley), and the Director (Jason O’Mara) each have a part to play, in the end it comes down to Coulson (Clark Gregg) buying Robbie enough time to end the situation. The episode also has a odd piece of fan service with a mention of Ghost Rider’s previous host, which doesn’t seem to track with S.H.I.E.L.D. not knowing (and not believing) the truth about how Robbie’s powers work for almost the entire season. While a nice nod to fans, the scene seems completely out of place (as does the team’s bitch session about their boss in the middle for prepping to save Los Angeles from nuclear destruction).
The music stardom of Josie and the Pussycats gets off to an inglorious start as Josie, Val, and Mel hit the road for their first concert outside of Riverdale. Excited to be a traveling band for the first time, the girls get a rude awakening when their first show turns out to be a dive bar full of bikers and criminals who attempt to trick the band into agreeing to stay indefinitely almost ending the Pussycats’ journey before it even gets started.
For its Christmasy mid-season finale The Flash pulls out all the stops and delivers the best episode of the season so far. Along with Barry (Grant Gustin) and company discover Julian‘s (Tom Felton) secret, the episode enlightens the viewers on who Savitar is and why it seems he’s targeted Barry. With Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Barry burying the hatchet during the Invasion! crossover, here Barry and Julian are able to make peace as well, and finally all of Team Flash gets on-board with Wally joining the family business. God bless us, everyone! All that plus a guest-appearance from as Jay Garrick, and even a cameo from Mark Hamill, what more could you want for Christmas?
Werner Herzog‘s new documentary takes viewers on a journey through the Internet. With stops as its birthplace and interviews with creators and early users, Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World also examines current uses for the tool in robotics and automobiles as well as the voyeuristic and bullying aspects fed by the anonymity of its users (in one of the documentary’s most emotional interviews).
The journey also makes a stop in Green Bank, West Virginia where all transmissions are restricted by the law and at a hospital for Internet addiction. Looking further the film also discusses solar flares, hackers and internet security, dreams, missions to Mars, and the possibility of artificial intelligence. While not as cohesive as I’d like at times, nonetheless Herzog delivers a fascinating historical journey on the Internet and how it has affected humanity, for both good and ill, since its creation. Like it or not, it’s firmly woven into our daily life, and Herzog pulls up the rug to show both its more troubling aspects as well as where it might lead us in the future.