Little more than halfway through, 2018 is already proving to be a great year for superheroes on the small screen. The CW’s Arrowverse and Netflix’s Marvel slate continue to deliver quality programming, along with several other great superhero shows across broadcast, cable, and streaming. The future has never looked brighter for superhero television. Here are some of the best superhero moments of the year so far.
Humanity Rises Up — Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Trapped with their teammates in a dark future decades after the Earth has been cracked apart, Mack and Yo-Yo attempt to organize a resistance against the ruthless alien race that rules the tattered remains of humanity. At first, the humans have no interest in fighting, choosing to sell out the Inhumans that Kasius so desperately needs. After saving the human population from the roach-like Vrellnexians, Mac and Yo-Yo convince the humans that the only way any of them can survive is to band together and fight.
They realize a frontal assault won’t work because Kasius has rigged the human living areas to explode. Mack and Yo-Yo then orchestrate the ultimate con job on Kasius, stalling for time as the fledgling rebellion removes every explosive. Playing on his enormous ego, they trick the self-proclaimed god into blowing up his own Inhuman laboratory. To add insult to injury, only by working together were the humans — a race Kasius insisted would always turn on each other — able to overcome their oppressors.
Black Lightning’s Back — Black Lightning
When gang members kidnap his daughters, retired superhero Jefferson Pierce takes up the identity he had left behind years ago. He takes out the kidnappers at a motel with the confidence of a man who’s done this countless times. He doesn’t return because it’s fun or because he’s addicted to the thrill. Like a true hero, he returns because his daughters — and his city — need him, despite what that may cost him in the end.
Pierce, a middle-aged father and high school principal, fought for years as Black Lightning to protect the citizens of Freeland. He gave up the superhero life for the sake of his family and to repair his failed marriage. When we first meet him, he’s not a kid exploring new powers. He’s a man fully aware of the physical and emotional cost of being a superhero. Skipping the origin story, we instead see someone new — a superhero post-retirement. A hero who knew when to quit and never regretted that decision.
Jeri’s Revenge — Jessica Jones
After discovering she has ALS, a fatal illness, emotionally-guarded attorney Jeri Hogarth allows herself to open up to homeless former nurse Inez Green. Later, Green convinces Jeri she knows a healer, Shane Ryback, who’s also an inmate. Skeptical, Jeri takes a chance and gets Ryback released. He performs a healing ritual, and, although she feels better for a time, she discovers it was all a scam when she finds her apartment cleaned out and Green gone.
Devastated, she pulls herself together and tracks the couple down. She confronts Green, pretending to be concerned for her and convincing her Ryback is only using her. She even offers Green a gun to defend herself. When Green goes back into the apartment, Jeri waits in her car for the inevitable gunshot. She then dials 911 to report a shooting, taking down the con-woman she allowed herself to trust. When we last see Jeri, she has fully embraced the ruthless determination she so briefly tried to set aside.
“I am the Green Arrow” — Arrow
For six years, Oliver Queen kept his other life hidden from the rest of the world. Even his family and closest friends took a while to learn the truth. Still, Oliver struggled against impossible odds — including the public scrutiny of the Mayor’s office — to keep his identity secret. That all ended after Oliver struck a deal with FBI Agent Watson to rid Star City of Ricardo Diaz, a man who had nearly the entire city in his pocket.
Once Diaz’s organization was destroyed, and Diaz had fled, Oliver kept his end of the bargain, staring into a camera and stating unequivocally, “I am the Green Arrow.” It was a powerful and life-changing moment for a man who relied on secrecy and deception nearly as much as his arsenal of arrows.
Tandy’s Phone Call Loop — Cloak and Dagger
Having entered the catatonic mind of former Roxxon employee Ivan Hess, Tandy and Tyrone find themselves inside a time loop, reliving the last few minutes before the oil rig explodes. They can get out at any time, but when Tandy discovers the voice of her deceased father on the other end of a phone call, she refuses to either leave or work to stop the loop, choosing to stay in the memory.
Tyrone leaves but returns just minutes later to discover Tandy’s been stuck in the loop so long she barely remembers anything else. He convinces her to ask her father something Hess wouldn’t know. Tandy realizes the illusion when he tells her there’s no one in the car with him. The moment tragically underscores the loss and grief that are at the core of these two young people and highlights their unique bond and the strength that comes from trusting each other.
Beebo vs. Mallus — Legends of Tomorrow
The crew of the Waverider spent most of this past season trying to stop the rise of Mallus only to decide that the way to defeat him was to let him manifest. With the combined power of the six Totems of Zambesi, the Legends create a being of pure light and goodness that, of course, looks just like a giant Beebo doll.
Cuddly as he is, Beebo wastes no time attacking Mallus, ultimately destroying him with a hug. The final battle serves as a fitting end to the show’s best season yet. It’s exciting and tense, it highlights how this group of misfit loners has become a family, and it’s utterly ridiculous in the best way possible — everything you want Legends to be.