Wednesday, February 20, 2013
As we close in on the finale, we check back in with two characters I have enjoyed from the get-go. Sportsmaster and, especially, Cheshire. It's been eight episodes since Cheshire vowed vengeance on Kaldur while Sportsmaster wanted to nail Black Manta in order to protect his rep and finally, we get pay off. All the while Nightwing investigates what happened on the War World last week.
This title wasn't kidding. Things get more complicated, and in some cases it actually helps, as in the case of Sportsmaster and Cheshire invading Black Manta's submarine. Had they not invaded there would have been no way for M'Gann to escape without Artemis and Kaldur compromising themselves. In this plot, we also get some of the series' best choreographed fight scenes, as well as two family dynamics that are as different as night and day.
Sportsmaster's relationship with his children is strained to the point where recovery seems extremely unlikely. Does that mean I believe him when he says his rep is all he cares about? No. But the fact that the guy is so incapable of acknowledging even some care for either of his daughters is very telling. Cheshire may put on a tough front when she tells Artemis that she only wanted someone to babysit Lian, but she's admitted before that she loved her sister. Does Sportsmaster's rep really mean more to him than his daughters? I would say yes, because he goes so out of his way to protect it, he won't acknowledge that he wants to avenge her at all. It doesn't mean he doesn't want to avenge her, but I do believe him when he says his rep comes first.
Contrasting that is Black Manta. He genuinely cares for Kaldur. He's been affectionate and he doesn't care who sees it and who knows it. The guy may be a dangerous and murderous supervillain, but he is still genuinely a father. And, try as I might, I find myself feeling sorry for him knowing that the son he genuinely loves is playing him for a chump. But I can't feel too sorry, because I refuse to let myself forget what Black Manta is and what he represents. And, yes, like Sportsmaster, I do enjoy seeing somebody play the Light for chumps now.
The B-plot of this episode is the aftermath of the previous. The team is now missing, all except Nightwing, Blue Beetle (and now the free Miss Martian). While it isn't action-packed, it's a lot of fun to watch Nightwing do some real detective work to deduce what happened in the last episode. Although I do think the Reach overplayed their hand in their public honoring of Blue.
On that note, I've seen some people complain about the lack of world reaction to the Reach having a fleet on Earth after lying about only having the single ship. I don't think this is a detail the producers of this series would ignore. We'll likely see some reaction very soon.
Four more to go.