Television Tuesday :: personal favorites of the DC TV ladies

24 May

By drift partner, as always re: this subject, because I have… not seen any of these things.

DC TV has been somewhat iffy at best in its treatment of its female characters, much like DC comics themselves. However, that doesn’t mean that I love them any less, or that they don’t deserve love, especially the ones who have gotten their own arcs. So I’ll take some time to discuss some of my favorite ladies and my favorite things about them.

  • Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) is the patron saint of queer girls, long may she live. She started out on Arrow, as the younger sister of Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), who was presumed dead after Oliver’s boat crashed on the island. But because this is a comics show and no one ever truly dies, she resurfaces in season 2 under the moniker of “The Canary,” having been a fully trained member of the League of Assassins. Then there was some bullshit where she slept with Oliver Queen because Arrow sucks and Oliver can’t get within ten feet of a woman without putting her under the spell of his penis or something, it’s so gross. Anyway. So Sara works as her own vigilante for a while, then joins Team Arrow fully as Black Canary, and her ex Nyssa from the League of Assassins comes back and tries to get her to rejoin them, and these were the most interesting episodes of Arrow, obviously. She goes with her eventually, then returns to Starling City in the season 3 opener only to get shot with an arrow.
    • You have to understand something about me and Arrow. I was really only watching it because I felt like I had to give every superhero show a chance, and I clung to every girl because Oliver is the actual worst, and Sara and Felicity were my only reasons to stay in season 3. Somewhere in season 2 I actually started to enjoy myself, so I sat down to watch 3×01 pretty excited about where it was going to go. And then they shot Sara and I said FUCK THIS and have never gone back since. Arrow has earned my hate forever.

Anyway. So I swore off Arrow and thought, that was that. Then I guess they brought her back for a while, and I still said, nope, not watching that shit again. Then she got confirmed for a new show called Legends of Tomorrow which was spinning off of both Arrow and Flash and I said “hmmmm.” I ended up actually loving it, but in the beginning it was complete trash and I was only watching for the ladies. Sara was a particularly bright spot in the early days of the show, getting into bar fights with her new best friends Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) and Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell) and flirting with everyone she came across and becoming good friends with Kendra (Ciara Renée). In one episode, she is responsible for the sexual awakening of a lesbian played by Ali Liebert. She also takes no shit from their captain Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) and is generally up for any fight at all and I love her so much. Unfortunately she left in the season finale, so I’m not sure what the next season will be like, and I’m sure as hell not going back to Arrow again, but I had a glorious 16 episodes of her again and that was enough.

  • Iris West (Candice Patton) is a miraculous character and she honestly deserves better than The Flash, which is a show I love with all my heart but which needs to learn how to write its women better pretty much all of the time. But despite that, Iris is a star. She is a tough, hard-working journalist who originally broke the stories on the Flash and she is unwilling to take shit from anyone, even Barry (Grant Gustin) or her dad (Jesse L. Martin). She has had a life full of heartbreak, after her mother abandoned the family at a young age and then her fiance died at the end of season 1, but she doesn’t allow this to make her bitter or angry. Or rather, she channels her negative emotions into her work and she is allowed to have a (albeit small) emotional arc when her mother resurfaces in season 2. Despite her anger towards her mother, she accepts her brother Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) into the West family even though he is initially hesitant and distrustful. And she loves Barry, even when Barry is quite frankly being an asshole and needs to get it together. I do wish that the show had allowed her to be more angry at him, because I think that at times he was a dick to her and he needed some anger directed at him, but I love their friendship and relationship all the same. Frankly, it’s easy to see why Barry’s been in love with her since he was a kid. Oh, and did I mention they racebent her in the show? She’s black, which caused a bunch of racists to be very angry, and they cast Candice Patton who is a hilarious badass and takes absolutely no shit from anyone. Iris is, I suspect, the “safest” of the DC girls who aren’t technically the stars of their own shows – they wouldn’t kill her because she and Barry are endgame. And I’m so glad of that because I never want her to leave.
  • Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) is a living sunbeam. Supergirl in the comics has always tended toward the lighter side of things, from what I’ve read, and she could be seen as a female version of Superman, but I think her story is more complex than that. As a teenager, she was sent in a separate pod from her cousin Kal-El to protect the child when they both reached Earth, but her pod was lost in space and she was in cryosleep for something like 30 years. When she finally landed on Earth, she was a teenager and her cousin had grown into Superman, and she found herself unsure of what to do next. In the comics, she’s much more involved with Clark and the rest of the Justice League, but in DC’s weird hands-off approach to TV, she communicates with Clark through IM exclusively, and has her own team of not-so-superpowered friends. Kara struggles to reconcile her inherent faith in the goodness of people with the terrible things she sees happen every day, and her need to help people with her own emotional and mental health. It’s weird, because I think a lot of people find it frustrating that Kara is so unfailingly good (and there is an episode where she becomes a Bad Girl due to red Kryptonite, which the show doesn’t shy away from showing the consequences of), but I don’t think that’s fair at all. First of all, the show does address that she struggles with self-doubt and with wanting to just take a break and be normal sometimes, and second, I don’t think inherent goodness means a character can’t be complicated. Kara is good-hearted and kind, but she is also reactionary, often anxious, and headstrong. She’s not a pushover, she’s a well-rounded character. I’m so glad she’s getting another season because I need ten more seasons with her.
  • Kendra Saunders (Ciara Renée) was introduced in The Flash as a barista who Cisco (Carlos Valdes) had a vision about. It turned out that she was actually the reincarnation of Chey-Ara, an ancient Egyptian warrior priestess who was in a doomed romance with Khufu, a prince, reincarnated as Carter Hall (Falk Hentschel). The less said about him the better, because he is the worst. Kendra is great though, because she is not having any of this reincarnation-past lives bullshit, and most of that episode and the followup Arrow episode is about her coming to terms with the fact that this is her fate and accepting her identity as Hawkgirl. Then they both went to Legends, where Carter lasted four episodes and promptly died and I laughed and laughed. The rest of Kendra’s arc was partially about her coming to terms with her dead lover – which I did not understand why she was so sad because he was literally the worst, but I guess fate or destiny or whatever – and also being a reincarnated rage goddess, basically. The best moments were when she just let herself rage at her target because those were just so gratifying to watch. As mentioned before, she and Sara struck up a friendship that I wish they’d gotten to explore more, but which was pretty touching (Sara, too, struggles with inner rage and with vengeful feelings). But yes, she is a ball of rage and love and hope and I love her. She got to kill the guy who killed Carter and who had been stalking them throughout lifetimes too, which was deeply satisfying. I’m sorry she won’t be coming back for Legends season 2, but I guess if her and Hawkdouche are happy, that’s fine by me.



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