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 week! Warning: this Clock Tower is filled with spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.
So the world’s falling apart and you’ve turned to your superhero stories for comfort! Welcome! This week tackled a bunch of “fun” topics like murder, transphobia, and prematurely saying goodbye to longtime friends because contracts were about to expire and networks felt the need to write them off. Fun stuff! By and large, everyone did a solid job. The Flash is the only series that’s currently struggling a bit in the narrative department, but I think they ultimately have a point. Let’s dive in!The Farewell
One of my first pieces here at /Film was an article lamenting what Legends of Tomorrow would lose by saying goodbye to Ray Palmer and Nora Darhk. One is a constant beacon of hope and optimism, even in the darkest of times, the other a symbol insisting that your trauma doesn’t get to define you. The idea of losing them has been heart-wrenching since it was announced.
While the writers did their best to give a good reason for the departure and a solid farewell episode, it did little to make the farewell any easier. Obviously, the most difficult part of this story was always going to be seeing Ray say goodbye to Nate.
The SteelAtom friendship is, to this day, one of the best on-screen depictions of male friendship I’ve ever seen. There’s not an ounce of toxicity to it. It’s just bros being bros doing bro stuff all the while loving each other as fiercely as all men should be allowed to.
We all watched the same show, I’m not going to recap their goodbye. We all saw it, most of us ugly cried. It sucked. I will miss Ray and Nora forever.Dream on Dreamer
No I’m not sorry for getting Cascada stuck in your head. This week’s episode of Supergirl finally buckled down and gave us some Dreamer content. While it was worth the wait, let’s not go another half season without giving the gal something to do, yeah?
Nia decides to take things into her own hands after a transphobic creep starts targeting trans women to get to Dreamer. He doesn’t think that she’s the right kind of symbol for his “good” and “right” community. When you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes, and Mr. “Good” – no, his character name wasn’t even worth remembering – played a real, real stupid game.
We fittingly see Dreamer angrier than we’ve ever seen her in the past. There is a plague trying to wipe out her community, and she’s going to eradicate that plague no matter how hard Kara pleads with her to let a system that’s consistently failed her and her trans brothers and...
Stephen Williams, whose directing credits include episodes of Watchmen, The Walking Dead, Lost, and more, is set to helm Universal’s new monster movie Don’t Go in the Water. There are zero plot details at the moment, but it’s safe to assume from the monster movie distinction and the title that this is going to be some sort of aquatic horror movie – and we could always use more of those.
Variety has the scoop on Don’t Go in the Water, described simply as a “suspenseful monster movie” from director Stephen Williams. Stranger Things producer Shawn Levy is producing, along with Dan Levine for 21 Laps Entertainment, while Adam Kolbrenner will produce for Lit Entertainment Group. Adam Rodin is executive producing.
Williams directed two Watchmen episodes – “She Was Killed by Space Junk”, which featured the now-infamous giant Dr. Manhattan dildo, and “This Extraordinary Being”, one of the most memorable episodes of the series, in which Regina King’s Angela relives her grandfather’s memories via a drug trip. That episode was highly renowned for its unique visual style, so it’s great to see Williams branch out into a big movie. Save for 1995’s Soul Survivor, all his other credits are in TV.
I wish I could tell you more about the Don’t Go in the Water plot, but there simply isn’t anything to tell. However, the title certainly suggests this is some sort of aquatic horror film, and that’s a sub-genre I always enjoy. Earlier this year we saw the release of Underwater, a surprisingly fun undersea monster movie starring Kristen Stewart.
Other entries include DeepStar Six, Leviathan, Deep Rising, and more. Hell, you can even include every shark movie under that banner as well – all the Jaws flicks, The Shallows, Deep Blue Sea, and so on. The only real prerequisite is that the plot involves unlucky characters either on a boat or in some sort of underwater location being plagued by danger. It doesn’t even have to be monster-based danger. There’s Dead Calm, where the danger is Billy Zane. Hell, go ahead and include Titanic in there, I don’t care. There are no more rules anymore, folks. Anything goes these days.
Though “The Plot Against America” took its time to get going, it’s full steam ahead for David Simon’s Philip Roth adaptation by Episode 4 — but to what end? With just two episodes to go, the drama has certainly flared up: The Levin familial bonds are being pushed to the brink as Sandy falls increasingly under Lindbergh’s spell, with the help of Aunt Evelyn and her new boyfriend Rabbi Bengelsdorf. The lines have been drawn, and it’s not looking good for either side. While this was by far the most exciting episode so far, it still feels as though Simon is obligingly following Roth’s outline rather than forging his own path.
In both the novel and the series “The Plot Against America,” there’s an unmentioned but implicit rhetorical question reaching out from beyond the page and screen. To borrow from the musical “Cabaret,” one of the only pieces of pop culture to artfully grapple with this unthinkable dilemma: What would you do? If a fascist were elected president of your country, if your sister started dating one of his shills, if your son was secretly sketching his visage by flashlight — how would you behave? Would you flee to Canada, organize the resistance, or stick your head in the sand and hope for the best?
The fourth episode hones in on these questions with laser-like precision, enjoying the fruits of the preceding three episodes that felt, both in retrospect and in real time, mostly like set-up. Having returned from his “Just Folks” adventure in Kentucky, a Hitler Youth-esque recruiting tool of Rabbi Bengelsdorf’s John Turturro design, Sandy has quite literally become the poster child for assimilationist Jews. Evelyn Winona Ryder proudly features him in a brochure for the program, against Bess’ Zoe Kazan wishes.
Sandy’s transformation has been building since the pilot episode, which ended with him surreptitiously sketching Charles Lindbergh from of a newspaper clipping. Having planted the seeds deliberately, the show earns its most uncomfortable moment so far when Sandy spits at his parents, calling them “ghetto Jews — narrow-minded ghetto Jews.” His transformation is complete. When Bess slaps him across the face, it’s hard not to let out a silent cheer. Your Jewish firstborn becoming a Nazi sympathizer may be the rare instance when a kid deserves a good wallop.
Less effective is a Shabbas dinner argument between Herman Morgan Spector and Bengelsdorf, where Herman puts aside any last shred of civility to tell the Rabbi what he really thinks of his man Lindbergh. Maybe it’s the fact that only the men are talking while the women make sidelong glances of...