Really, ok little bit of an odd time for a filler episode especially considering we don’t have that many episodes this season. So, “Shogun” an episode that really kind of screwed over the team in a couple of different ways as there are secrets and lies now being kept from the team as well as one of them seemingly losing their abilities. This will obviously effect the team in a bunch of different ways, but I just cant see how this episode is meant to actually influence the season as a whole beyond simply fracturing the team. We should be focusing on the bigger season plot and not simply making our team go to fun places simply because they are super cool. Even more so I am left wonder how exactly the team is supposed to grow from their time in feudal Japan other than simply gaining some new tricks.
So I guess there were two big stars in this week’s episode, Ray and Nate and while both had a decent amount to do I am left wondering where we go from here. I do find myself for some strange reason liking the arc Ray is taking this season and discovering that The Atom is more about Ray Palmer than the tech he is building. Brandon Routh is doing a great job of showing how Ray feels like the most useless member of the team and how that is affecting him psychologically. We could easily see this spiral out or turn into a death wish, instead we get Ray actually acting rationally as he is aiming to make his entire team stronger rather than only himself. This shows that Ray has indeed grown from season one where he was merely the class fuckup, now he is partially competent and willing to help the team grow.
Nowhere is this clearer than with Nick Zano’s Citizen Steel. Nate unfortunately took a minor step back this week despite developing superpowers as retreaded his arc. We know he is excited to now be able to like life to the fullest, we don’t need him to have an existential crisis every episode about how he is a hemophiliac. It was enjoyable the first time, now it just feels like beating a dead horse hoping to get different result. Despite the retread of material it was cool to see Nate “Steel On” and take on the shogun with Ray. His powers are unique as they are tied to his emotions and since Nate can’t fully control those, his abilities will be in flux. My only hope is that moving forward Nate will develop an actual plot and not simply be retreading the same arc week in and week out, that would be super lame.
As for the female portion of the team both Sara and Amaya manage to get some decent material with Sara developing in decent leader and Amaya adapting to the way this team works. Amaya actually witnessing just how rowdy and unorganized this entire squad is made for some decent humor, especially in her learning to trust Mick. We all know that Mick is not the easiest man to get along with but having Amaya learn to begin to get over her animosity was a solid start. Hopefully moving forward Amaya will bond with each member of the squad in her own special way, or you know kill them all with her mystical animal powers.
Unfortunately the weakest aspect of this entire was also the most interesting one as Jax and Stein explored a secret compartment on the ship. Not only did they discover a massive cache of weapons that will probably come in handy in the future, but also a message from Barry Allen of 2056. This is interesting for two reasons as it confirms our Barry does have some knowledge of the Legends and their mission, but even more important Barry’s message comes after the events where he disappears from the timeline as well as the events of “Star City 2046”. What is so frustrating about all of this is the fact that Stein and Jax are keeping what I can only assume is critical information from the team about the villains they are chasing. There is a time and a place for all of this, but when the entire future hinges on any tiny bit of information it seems like a stupid idea to hide everything from the team.
Make no mistake this was a really solid episode, however this show can’t afford to tread water.
Final Grade B+
+Ray had a stellar plot
+Vixen was great integrating into the team
+Nate learning how to use his powers
+Everything involving Mick’s love of ninjas
-Nate’s arc was a slight retread of last week
-Jax and Stein keeping secrets
-The plot treading water this week
-Nice Katana reference at the end, this also makes me wonder why Katana is not on the team.
-There is just something so enjoyable about Mick’s love of ninjas.
-Sara Lance “League of Assassins, class of 09’” may be my favorite joke of the season.