Tuesday, June 13, 2017

#warehousewatch: Giant-Size Superhero Special

A screencap of Barry Allen and Kara Danvers sitting on a pile of flour sacks in a warehouse. They both wear 1920s clothing: Barry, a dark three-piece suit, and Kara, a black full length evening gown with a glittery bodice and elbow-length gloves.
Where better to set your musical episode than a series of warehouses?

Welcome to #warehousewatch, in which we track the most integral thing on the CW Network: the warehouses! This giant-size super-special installment takes us from the start of March through to the season finale of the CW’s three biggest superhero shows: THE FLASH, SUPERGIRL, and ARROW. A second mega post will cover JANE THE VIRGIN, LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, and THE VAMPIRE DIARIES through to their finales, with a look at the first few episodes of iZOMBIE. And since I’m waaaaaaaay behind on both THE 100 and THE ORIGINALS (those pesky The series), they’ll each receive a separate, full-season report at an unspecified point in the future.

If you missed the previous posts in this series, you can find them under my CW Scholarship tag.

As always, I’ve organized this vitally important scientific data by show and by episode, and I’ve counted warehouse appearances rather than individual warehouses. There are also lots of spoilers in the mix. You may wish to skip the episodes you haven’t seen yet and/or go straight to the stats section at the bottom of this massive, unwieldy post.

The Flash, Season Three

  • Episode Fifteen:
    • Joe brings a milkshake to Iris’s warehouse apartment and gives her a pep talk about loooooooove.
    • Iris asks Barry to meet her at their warehouse apartment so they can talk about his proposal, which she’s recognized was totally just a way for him to change the future. Dammit, Barry.
    • Wally confronts Savitar at a warehouse/factory complex that might be the mill we’ve seen before. It goes about as well as you’d expect (ie, Savitar throws him into the speed force).
    • Barry rushes to the warehouse/factory complex. He’s too late to save Wally, but he and Savitar do get to crash through one of the warehouses together. Awwww.

  • Episode Sixteen:
    • Barry and Iris talk about their relationship in their warehouse apartment. Barry decides they should go on a break, since he’s seen a lot of TV and he knows how well that generally works out.
    • Non-warehouse-related sidebar: does anyone maintain a master list of superheroes who date and/or marry their adoptive sisters, or is there no need for such a thing because it’s just, “Nightcrawler and TV’s Barry Allen”? Because I’ve gotta say, this trope skeeves me out and it’s kept me from investing in Barry and Iris’s relationship. It might be different if Barry didn’t actively call Joe his father and Wally his brother, but since he does… yeah. It’s skeevy.

  • Episode Seventeen:
    • Barry mopes around Cisco’s warehouse apartment, watching musicals and thinking about his dead mother. Classic superhero move, and also foreshadowing. Is Barry about to get sucked into a musical dream world that’ll help him clarify his feelings for Iris?
    • Barry and Kara find themselves in a nightclub located in a refurbished warehouse. They’ve been sucked into a musical dream world and must now sing and also dance, with help from those among their shows’ cast members who’ve got musical theatre backgrounds.
    • Gangster Stein kidnaps Barry and Kara and takes them to--you guessed it--the warehouse lair he shares with Gangster Joe. The two of them want Kara and Barry to find their missing daughter, Fake Iris. Because who else would you hire for this gig besides a couple of nightclub singers? None of your goons could do it, that’s for damned sure.
    • Fake Iris finds Gangster Joe and Gangster Stein in their warehouse lair. She wants to tell them she’s in love with Fake Mon-El, because Barry ain’t the only one who’s got some romantical woes to work through via the power of song.
    • A huge fight goes down outside the warehouse nightclub. Death! Woe! Forgiveness! The power of love! Look how many musical tropes are also superhero tropes!
    • Barry finds Iris in their warehouse apartment and sings a second, more sincere, proposal to her. It’d be real sweet if it weren’t for the whole raised-as-siblings thing.

  • Episode Eighteen:
    • Abra Kedabra, our techno-magical villain of the week, murders some security guards in a tech company’s warehouse after they interrupt him mid-heist.
    • Barry and Joe investigate the warehouse crime scene.
    • Turns out, Abra Kedabra’s building a time machine in a warehouse. If this season of superheroic TV has taught us anything, it’s that warehouses are the absolute best places to do anything related to your time machine.

  • Episode Nineteen:
    • Barry and Iris talk things over in their warehouse apartment. He’s determined to plan his well-advised trip to the future while she’s worried about how Joe will cope with her impending death. She asks Barry to make a lot of promises that he’ll soon learn he’s gonna break, because this season has also driven home how Barry Allen ain’t the most reliable guy on the block.
    • Barry visits his warehouse apartment in 2024 and finds it both abandoned and trashed; the fate of every warehouse. Beardy Future Cisco finds him there and fills him in one all the awful stuff that’s happened since they failed to prevent Iris’s death.

  • Episode Twenty:
    • Killer Frost and Savitar confer in an abandoned warehouse they’ve clearly taken as their lair. Gotta respect the rules of supervillainy, yes?
    • Killer Frost abducts Cecile and takes her to what I think is a different abandoned warehouse. (You probably don’t want to lead your enemies straight to your lair at this point in the game.) The team tracks them there. Fisticuffs ensue.

  • Episode Twenty-One:
    • Killer Frost finds Amensiac Savitar huddled in a corner of their warehouse lair. Remember, kids, it ain’t a proper superhero drama unless somebody gets amnesia. Bonus points if they have amnesia and an evil twin at the same time, as is in fact the case from Barry’s point of view.
    • Iris takes Amnesiac Barry back to their warehouse apartment so they can recharge and discuss his scientifically induced memory loss.
    • Savitar regains his memory in his warehouse lair. He’s pretty triumphant about it, as one expects of a guy who runs around in glowing metal armour.

  • Episode Twenty-Two:
    • Iris and Barry lie awake in their warehouse apartment, worrying about the future. When Barry rushes off to get something for her, Iris takes the opportunity to record a secret message on his phone.
    • Savitar and Killer Frost hang around their warehouse lair, being villainous and discussing their dual identities.

  • Episode Twenty-Three:
    • In a flashback, HR tracks Iris to Savitar and Killer Frost’s warehouse lair. When their escape attempt goes south, he uses his image inducer (or whatever DC calls it) to switch places with her.
    • Barry confronts Savitar in a warehouse filled with both cars and shelves, as so many warehouses-cum-garages are. He offers to help Savitar find a way to keep on living now the team has erased the future Savitar comes from.
    • Savitar returns to his dedicated warehouse lair and shares his plans with Killer Frost, who’s still his willing minion, and Cisco, who he’s kidnapped.
    • Gypsy vibes Cisco out of Savitar’s warehouse lair and straight into Barry and Iris’s warehouse apartment. It’s a two-for-one warehouse scene!
    • Barry and Iris plan their wedding in their warehouse apartment, until a sky quake hits and Barry has to go to time prison to stabilize the Speed Force. That’s gonna put a major kink in their plans.

Supergirl, Season Two

  • Episode Fifteen:
    • Alex and Maggie play pool in one part of the warehouse bar while Winn introduces James to Lyra over at the bar itself. Of course, Cadmus’s goons disrupt everything when they leap in and kidnap Lyra. Frickin’ Cadmus, man.
    • The fight spills into the alley outside the warehouse bar. Alex and Maggie take a prisoner with James-as-Guardian’s help.
    • Jeremiah and Lillian work on Project Exodus in yet another of Cadmus’s warehouses. This one’s attached to an old LuthorCorp naval company, which you know Lena’s gonna be happy about.
    • Later, Lillian schemes against Lena from the comfort of her naval warehouse. Crime Lord Mothers. Sigh.
    • In her own warehouse (apartment), Kara decides to publish her Cadmus expose on her own blog even though her editor refuses to touch it.
    • Alex breaks into Cadmus’s Warehouse of the Week in search of Jeremiah, who she’s sure isn’t as evil as he looks.
    • Jeremiah fills Alex in on Cadmus’s big plan. You’ll be shocked to learn he did it to protect her. (Next season, I’m gonna track all the “I did it to protect you” scenes on the CW.) (No, I lie, that’s too much work.)
    • Secure in her warehouse lair, Lillian prepares to launch Exodus in response to Kara’s article (which I guess got really good traffic even though it’s on a brand new blog), but Alex moves to blow up the warehouse before the ship can launch. All warehouses that don’t eventually become abandoned and trashed must be blown up. It’s in the official rules.
    • Jeremiah fights Hank Henshaw while the warehouse tries to blow up around them. DRAMA.
    • Winn and Lyra enjoy an emotional reunion in the warehouse bar (which I still think should get a name that’s a clear reference to the Bronze. Get on that, SUPERGIRL writers).
    • Kara and Mon-El have a heartfelt talk in her warehouse apartment.

  • Episode Sixteen:
    • Kara and Mon-El watch GAME OF THRONES and have a cutesy moment in her warehouse apartment, but his parents ruin it when they hijack the airwaves with a nasty message demanding his immediate return. Dammit, Space Tyrant Parents.
    • Alex, James, and Winn shake some people down at the warehouse bar as part of their search for Lyra, who’s done a runner after framing Winn for art theft. Dammit, Lyra.
    • Winn talks Lyra into letting him come along when she confronts the art theft ring in their obligatory warehouse lair. It all goes wrong and James swoops in to fight the head of the cartel.
    • Kara returns to her warehouse apartment to find Mon-El in a confessional mood. She breaks up with him on account of how he’s secretly the prince of a loathsome empire and that’s something you should really tell your partner before your Space Tyrant Parents come along and do it for you. Dammit, Mon-El.

  • Episode Seventeen:
    • Kara zips out of her warehouse apartment to fight an alien menace that’s trying to take her down because somebody put a bounty on her. Who might that’ve been?
    • Mon-El invites his parents to the warehouse bar so he can ask them to remove the bounty on Kara (who took him back during the death-woe-forgiveness part of THE FLASH’s musical episode). They deny placing it and try to guilt him into coming home with them, in the manner of Space Tyrant Parents everywhere.
    • Kara, James, and Winn try to revive game night at her warehouse apartment, but it all falls apart when Mon-El comes in and is promptly mind controlled to kill Kara. Psychic bounty hunters are such a pain. Their fight spills out of the apartment.
    • James and Winn watch the fight from the warehouse apartment and use a technological doohickey to discover the psychic bounty hunter’s whereabouts so they can take him down.
    • Kara and Mon-El clean up her warehouse apartment in the wake of the fight. Mon-El thinks they should run away together like Romeo & Juliet, because he hasn’t reached the play’s tragic ending. Kara thinks they’d better just have a talk with his Space Tyrant Mother (who, by the way, I’m totally counting on my Crime Lord Mothers of the CW list). (Did you ever doubt there was a list?)
    • After the Space Tyrant Mother talk goes super well, Kara and Mon-El debrief in her warehouse apartment and talk about ethics and suchlike. It’s important to discuss these matters with your Former Space Tyrant Boyfriend.

  • Episode Eighteen:
    • Kara tries and fails to bake things in her warehouse apartment. Luckily, Lena interrupts her before she can do any further damage. Lena’s ex, Jack, is holding a tech announcement event related to a project they worked on together, and she wants Kara to come along for emotional support. Because the CW understands that actor overlap is the best thing, Jack is played by Ravi from iZOMBIE.
    • James fights a villain in an alley near a warehouse before he returns to his van to debrief with Winn and Lyra (who’s sorta joined their crimefighting team, much to James’s dismay).
    • Kara meets a source at the docks, and there’s a warehouse across the water in the background which totally counts. Unfortunately for the source, the car they’re meeting in blows up.
    • Kara enters her warehouse apartment, furious with herself for failing to save some more sources who were eaten by nanites. She talks about it with Mon-El, who’s finished R&J and moved along to Harry Potter.
    • Winn and Lyra meet up at the warehouse bar (which I think might’ve got a redesign?) so he can tell her James wants her off the Guardian team. Awkward.
    • Jack has a lab in part of his company’s personal fancy warehouse! Lena goes there to confront him about how he faked the human trials for his product, but he has no idea what she’s talking about. Turns out, he’s being mind controlled by his villainous CFO. Poor dude.
    • The CFO delivers a villain speech detailing her master plan. She tries to infect Lena with the nanites, but luckily Kara shows up to fight the swarm while Lena tangles with the CFO.
    • James and Winn have a moment in their team van, which is parked outside a warehouse.

  • Episode Nineteen:
    • Alex, having been recently kidnapped, wakes up in a plexiglass cell in a warehouse basement.
    • Alex manages to hack her warehouse cell’s security camera so she can send a message to the DEO.
    • In a separate abandoned warehouse basement, Kara finds a countdown clock that tells her how long it’ll be until Alex’s warehouse cell fills with water.
    • Alex tries to break out of her warehouse cell, but she’s mostly underwater so she has zero luck.
    • Kara and Maggie show up just in time to break Alex free.

  • Episode Twenty:
    • James disrupts an alien drug deal outside a warehouse.
    • Young Marcus, an alien kid James befriends, tracks his fugitive mother to a warehouse where she’s hiding with many others of their species.
    • In their warehouse hideaway, the aliens feel the effects of the portal device Rhea, Mon-El’s Space Tyrant Mother, has conned Lena into helping her build.
    • The scene cuts back and forth between James’s attempts to keep the aliens safe in their warehouse and a larger superhero battle at Lena’s lab.

  • Episode Twenty-One:
    • The DEO sets up at the warehouse bar after their office tower is compromised.
    • Kara brings Cat and the President to the warehouse bar after Rhea shoots their plane down.
    • Kara finds Cat in the warehouse bar’s alley and talks to her about how she doesn’t want to execute the President’s orders without trying to save Lena and Mon-El, both of whom Rhea has abducted. She seems to think this confessional period will leave her secret identity intact, which would be more of an issue if Cat didn’t obviously already know she’s Supergirl. Cat is the smartest, after all.
    • Kara brings Lillian and Hank Henshaw to the warehouse bar so they can talk strategy.

  • Episode Twenty-Two:
    • Kara dreams she’s in her warehouse apartment, sharing memories of her mother with Mon-El.
    • Kara and Rhea’s fight sends them crashing into a warehouse (or maybe an office building with a warehousey aesthetic.

Arrow, Season Five

  • Episode Fifteen:
    • Oliver and Anatoly fight some gangsters in a hospital’s obligatory warehouse.
    • Vigilante assembles a gun in an abandoned warehouse while he watches the news.
    • Diggle, Curtis, and Rene track Vigilante to what appears to be a different abandoned warehouse, located right across from City Hall. Star City is serious about its abandoned warehouses, y’all.

  • Episode Sixteen:
    • Felicity’s Helix contact, Elena, gives her an introductory tour of their warehouse lair.
    • Oliver confronts Adrian in a parking garage that’s clearly also a warehouse. The CW used a lot of those this season. Or make it was the same warehouse parking garage over and over and over again, because the rent was cheap.
    • Felicity returns to the Helix warehouse lair and learns she’s expected to scratch their back before Elena will help her anymore. These underground organizations are so demanding.
    • Felicity returns once again to the Helix Warehouse to ask them to help her search for Oliver.
    • Who, to no one’s surprise, Adrian and Talia are holding captive IN AN ABANDONED WAREHOUSE fitted out with some prison-like areas.
    • There’s also a monastery full of white pillar candles at one point during the episode. Been a while since ARROW featured one of those. Likewise, we haven’t visited any of the ancient temples beneath Star City this season.

  • Episode Seventeen:
    • Adrian tortures Oliver in the warehouse prison.
    • In a flashback, Oliver and Anatoly talk Bratva politics while they stroll through the organization’s warehouse complex.
    • In the warehouse prison, Adrian makes Oliver look at pictures of people Oliver’s killed before Adrian fires arrows at him. ARROW is such a bad show to be on if you don’t want people to fire arrows at you and/or force you to confront your past sins.
    • New scene; new warehouse torment session. Adrian really, really wants Oliver to confess to something.
    • In a flashback, Oliver tortures a gangster in what looks an awful lot like a warehouse basement, except it’s got a stained glass window so maybe it’s not? Do Russian warehouses use a lot of stained glass?
    • In the present, Adrian throws Evelyn into the warehouse cell with Oliver and demands Oliver kill her.
    • After some time elsewhere, we cut back to the Oliver/Evelyn fight. Neither one of them wants to kill the other. Adrian’s less than pleased about this, so he enters and seemingly kills Evelyn himself.
    • For a while, we cut between non-warehouse flashbacks and snippets of Adrian tormenting Oliver until Oliver eventually confesses he killed all those people because he wanted to, not because he had to. Adrian gloats over the revelation, while Evelyn reveals she faked her own death to pile the guilt on Oliver. Been a while since anyone did that, too. It’s like ARROW’s aiming for all its Greatest Hits in the lead-up to the finale.
    • Later, Oliver wakes up in the warehouse prison, free to walk through the open cell door.
    • Since apparently I’m noting white pillar candles, too, there’re a lot of them at the Bratva funeral Oliver attends during one of the flashbacks. I think we’re at another of those points where the CW higher-ups decided to remind the ARROW props department they’re contractually obligated to use a certain number of WPCs per season.

  • Episode Eighteen:
    • Felicity consults with Elena in Helix’s warehouse lair and determines Adrian wears a digital image scrambler that prevents him from being photographed while he’s in his Prometheus guise.
    • Felicity uses the Helix warehouse to further investigate the scrambler tech. She’s sure she can find a way to break it, but she needs an example of the scrambler to work with.
    • The team interrupts the Bratva stealing diabetes drugs from a medical laboratory’s warehouse.
    • Felicity strategizes in the Helix warehouse until Curtis, who’s tracked her via nanobots he slipped into her muffin, shows up with the scrambler device for her to work from.
    • In a flashback, Oliver helps Anatoly rob a Russian warehouse.
    • The team breaks into a warehouse they suspect Anatoly will hit to steal more components for this ├╝ber-drug he’s building. A fight ensues, as we all knew it would.

  • Episode Nineteen:
    • Felicity does some work for Helix in their warehouse lair. In exchange, Elena helps her discover a possible lead on Prometheus.
    • Felicity returns to the Helix warehouse to confront Elena about how she straight up murdered a dude in an elevator. You just can’t trust your friends not to murder people in elevators. Not when you’re a character on ARROW.
    • At the Helix warehouse, Felicity tries to convince Elena not to attack Argus.
    • Helix preps for their Argus raid in a warehouse staging area that appears to be separate from their regular lair.
    • Felicity, Elena, and the rest of Helix hit a SECRET ARGUS WAREHOUSE filled with shipping containers in which Argus illegally detains prisoners. The people of Star City find so many ghastly uses for warehouses, y’all.
    • Felicity returns to the Helix warehouse and finds it empty of everything except a screen on which she receives a Skype call from Elena. Helix is cutting all ties with her now she’s helped them achieve their objective.

  • Episode Twenty:
    • No warehouses. What is this what’s happening what does it mean

  • Episode Twenty-One:
    • Curtis and Dinah stake out some gangsters who were released because all Adrian’s convictions have been overturned on account of how he’s a supervillain. They’re working out of a warehouse, as all respectable Star City gangsters do.
    • The gangsters pull away from their warehouse, but Curtis and Dinah can’t tail them as planned because they need to rush off to rescue Oliver and Diggle. Bummer.
    • The gangsters attempt to rob a warehouse full of chemicals, but the team interrupts them. Fisticuffs ensue.

  • Episode Twenty-Two:
    • No warehouses. GASP.

  • Episode Twenty-Three:
    • No warehouses, but the set designers compensate by delivering an ancient temple full of white pillar candles and a hell island. It’s a three-for-one of important ARROW tropes!

Some Conclusions:

During this period, these three shows alone delivered 104 warehouse scenes across 26 episodes. ARROW aired three warehouse-free episodes, but everyone else utilized the CW’s favourite setting in spades.

Holy warehouses, Batman! Except it appears nobody’s allowed to say “Batman” on any of these shows, no matter how often they allude to him.

THE FLASH did the least to bolster the warehouse cause. It aired a mere 28 warehouse scenes across the back 9, resulting in an average of 3.1 warehouse scenes per episode. A respectable total in the realm of TV as a whole, but a relatively laclustre performance for a superhero show.

ARROW came in second. Despite its three warehouse-free episodes, it aired a total of 32 warehouse scenes across its back 9, for an average of 3.5 warehouses per episode. This is a remarkably poor showing for the one-time King of the Warehouses.

Good thing SUPERGIRL was on hand to take up the mantle. SUPERGIRL aired only 8 episodes after the hiatus, but it packed a whopping 44 warehouse scenes into them for an average of 5.5 warehouse scenes per episode. Excellent work, SUPERGIRL! You’ve officially replaced ARROW as Queen of the Warehouses thanks to your hero’s warehouse apartment, the warehouse bar everyone hangs out in, and a slew of baddies who respect the number one rule of supervillainy: You Gotta Have A Warehouse Lair.

Or a couple dozen warehouse lairs, in Cadmus’s case.

All together, the three shows featured an average of 4 warehouse scenes per episode thanks to SUPERGIRL’s generosity. Team-ups always have been a staple of the genre.


  1. Do you think,these are all different warehouses, or are there only like a dozen warehouses that are rotated through CW shows?

    1. I've gotta admit, I have poor individual warehouse recognition, but I'm pretty sure they reuse the same sets over and over. There was one factory that definitely cropped up across a few different shows last season, and I think a lot of the "warehouses" are actually parking structures they dress up to look warehousey.