Thursday, November 25, 2021

Starman Plays Quest For Glory 4, The Thief Path - Part 18

In which we solve the last of the Leshy's riddles, hear a sad story from the Domovoi at the inn, and the Burgomaster asks us about that mysterious fire at the monastery.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Starman Plays Quest For Glory 4, The Thief Path - Part 17

In which we bargain with Baba Yaga and tade in some frankly disgusting baked goods. (Don't ask her for ladyfingers!)

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Batwoman Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 6 - How Does Your Garden Grow?

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here. 


Plot

A frightening discovery in a Robinson Park garden shed sends Montoya rushing to Ryan to place the city on high alert, as she theorizes that Poison Ivy has returned in a new form. Meanwhile, Alice is suspiciously eager to help the Bat Team, as Sophie seeks vengeance for her sister's near death at the hands of the Black Glove society.


Influences

The Batman comics of Grant Morrison (Black Glove Society)


Goofs

The newspaper article with the headline "Batman Scratches The Poison Ivy Itch" is dated as having been published one month ago. However, Batman's last battle with Poison Ivy would have had to have taken place at least six years earlier, given when Bruce Wayne disappeared from Gotham City.


Performances

Rachel Skarsten steals the show.

That being said, Nicole Kang does a masterful job switching between Mary and Ivy and is pitch-perfect vamping it up as Ivy.


Artistry


The horror elements are well played, particularly the make-up for Chris Hayner, the living beehive.

The special effects for the killer vines are good.


Bat Trivia

The episode title comes from an old English nursey rhyme, "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary." Alice quotes it to Mary near the end of the episode. The title is also a foreshadowing of the revelation that Mary has become a host to Poison Ivy's mind.

Mary's hairdo in this episode mimics the horned-hairdo worn by Uma Thurman during her final fight with Batgirl in the movie Batman and Robin.

Alice makes reference to Montoya having a "wall of weird." This is a reference to Smallville and the mural/database started by Chloe Sullivan of strange things happening around Smallville.

At one point, it is noted that the Arrowverse version of Renee Montoya was on track to become the next Police Commissioner. At the time this episode aired, Rene Montoya was the GCPD Commissioner in the monthly Batman comics.

Alice makes a reference to Harley Quinn when it is discovered Mary violated medical privacy laws while under Ivy's influence. This is the first mention of Harley Quinn existing in the Post-Crisis Arrowverse.


Technobabble

Luke checks Mary's credit card records and finds out she bought a flowering pot, fertilizer and a watering can that morning.  Her phone's geo data says that then she went to a vacant lot in the Burnside district.

Mary theorizes that Poison Ivy's pheromones allow her to communicate with nature while heightening the things she is passionate about.  This is why she overreacted to a rejection and bent the rules to see justice done to a Black Glove operative that couldn't be touched legally. 

Sunlight is the trigger for changing Mary into Poison Ivy. Her eyes turn green when Ivy has control.

Luke detects an abnormally high thermal presence in the plants Poison Ivy controls.


Dialogue Triumphs

Ryan: How did you get Poison Ivy's vine?
Alice: While you were slurping caviar off of Mummy's fine china, some of us were in the field protecting this city.
Ryan: Mm-hmm. You just so happened to stumble across a Batman trophy while you were taking a stroll through the park? 
Alice: (mock-earnest) The cherry blossoms are so gorgeous this time of year.

Alice: Ahem. I'm gonna go check on the vic's progress.
Ryan: (Because you care about a stranger's life all of a sudden?
Alice: You're right. I don't. Let's you and I go sit in the Batcave together and watch the computer tediously cycle through all the anti-encryption ciphers.
Ryan: (deadpan) Have fun with Mary.
Alice: Will do. 

(Ryan and Luke are slow in believing Mary's theory that she is Poison Ivy's host.)
Alice:
I thought watching Kate come out was torture.

(Ryan and Luke finally believe Alice and Mary's story.)
Alice:
And we're all on the same page. Well, that was an excruciating process.
Ryan: You knew Mary was infected by the vine. That's why you were being so coy in Montoya's office.
Alice: I just figured the last thing anyone needed was for Mary to end up on Renee's wall of weird.
(Ryan's cell phone vibrating. It's Montoya. She dismisses the call.)
Alice: (sarcastic) Oh. Muting the boss. I'm sure that's gonna end really well.
Ryan: Montoya doesn't need to know anything about this.
Alice: Okay. I see. It's fine when we throw Alice in Arkham, but, oh, poor, sweet, innocent Mary, yeah, we should protect her at all costs.
(Mary handcuffs herself to the rail.)
Ryan: What are you doing? 
Mary: What one does when they realize they can control mother freaking earth! I nearly killed someone, and I don't know why or when this infection is gonna make me transform again, and until we figure it out, I am a threat to everyone...
Alice: (mouths words) Not me. 

Ryan: Why didn't you say anything about Mary?
Alice: I was wondering how this would end up my fault.
Ryan: You obviously knew something was up. How'd you figure it out?
Alice: Uh, the question isn't how I figured it out. It's how the hell you didn't. You're her roommate, you have a billion dollars of Battech at your disposal, and your number two is a certifiable genius. One of you should have noticed. 

Mary: So... maybe the chemical pheromones from the Poison Ivy allow me to communicate with nature while heightening the things that I'm passionate about like justice?
Alice: Well, seeing as that M.O. tracks and, uh... ahem... I killed your mother, I'm really not looking forward to being turned into a cabbage. So we should find out exactly what turns Dr. Jekyll into Mrs. Hide my victims under a pot.

(Ivy, in Mary's body, knocks out Luke. She stretches in the sunbeam leaking into the Batcave.)
Alice:
Good morning, sunshine. I was wondering when you'd come out to play.
Ivy: You figured out sunlight was my trigger. 
Alice: (starts undoing the handcuffs on Mary) Well, they don't call me a supervillain for nothing, but Batty will be home soon, so I hope you know what you're doing.
Ivy: Why are you helping me?
Alice: Well, why does anyone help anyone? To accrue favors owed. But until I redeem this one, I need you to be careful. Once you slither out of this Batcave, Renee Montoya's gonna be hunting you down like a gardener with a weed whacker.

Montoya: Where did you get infected? The park, the river? Where was the vine, Mary?
Ivy: It's not a homing pigeon for the brokenhearted, Ray-Ray. You don't whisper, "Pamela Isley", into the leaves and follow as it slithers its way to her secret burial site.
Montoya: You know about Pam?
Ivy: Enough to know that she doesn't want you to find her.
Montoya: Look. You need to come with me so I can get you help.
Ivy: Is that what I need? Did you use that soft, gentle tone to lure Poison Pam into captivity?
Montoya: No. She was out of control. You're not there yet. Let's keep it that way.
Ivy: What do you think she thinks about down there? I mean... besides freedom and water and how her veins scrape together like sandpaper? 
Montoya: Easy. Let's not make this ugly.
Ivy: She thinks about how much she hates you, Renee. 

(Ivy drowns Batwoman in vines.)
Ivy:
You've been so wrapped up in your own drama, Ryan. It's time you got wrapped up in mine for once.

Alice:
"Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow?" Quite well it seems from all the sirens I've been hearing around town. (gesturing to the car) It's fully electric, steppy.
Mary: Is that supposed to impress me?
Alice: Uh, yeah. Considering it was 10 times harder to hotwire. So you gonna tell me what you did to everyone's favorite cellar dweller at the Mayor's office or what? 
Mary: On the road. 
Alice: Aw. There's that patented Dr. Hamilton bedside manner... all warm and chatty.
Mary: (impatient) Get in. 


Dialogue Disasters

Cop: (To Montoya) Your ambiguous yet far-reaching power supersedes ours.


Continuity


A group of teenagers playing basketball in Robinson Park come across a man who seems to have been built into a bee-hive, who has bees come out of his mouth as he begs for help.

Montoya takes charge of the crime scene, to the annoyance of the GCPD officers on the scene.

Montoya has the man sent to Mary Hamilton's clinic on Bennett Street.

The man is identified as Chris Hayner, a Tricorner resident.

Monotya theorizes that Ivy has a new host, based on the dead vine Alice found in 305.

Montoya gives Hayner's phone to Ryan.

Alice goes to Mary's clinic to check on Hayner's progress.

Ryan finds Sophie in the Batcave, using the computer to find footage of her sister's attacker using the CCTV system. She says Alice spilled a cherry soda on her laptop.

Sophie is convinced Jada Jet is working with the Black Glove Society.

Ryan says that Jada had no idea people were going to get hurt and that she only contracted them for one job.

Sophie makes reference to her sister being frozen and three of her friends dying in 304.

Alice notes that Mary has even more plants in her clinic than she did in 305.

Alice confronts Mary with the idea that she is Poison Ivy's new host.

Chris Hayner wakes up and screams when he sees Mary, saying that she's the one who did this to him.

Mary tells Ryan and Luke that she thinks Alice is right about her being Poison Ivy's host. She says she can't remember where she was earlier in the day.

Ryan and Luke don't believe Mary or Alice until it is pointed out that the last three texts on Chris Hayner's phone were sent to Mary.

Alice says she didn't come forward with what she had figured out because she figured the Bat-Team wouldn't want Mary getting busted by Montoya.

At one time, Detective Montoya was on track to be the next GCPD commissioner.

Sophie confronts Montoya and asks for a favor, given that she agreed to take custody of Alice. She asks for all her data on Victor Fries and his preservation serum. Montoya says she doesn't have half of what Batwoman does. Sophie then asks for all the information Montoya has on the Black Glove Society. She says she knows nothing beyond the fact that people who know anything about the Black Glove Society end up dead.

Luke discovers that Mary had a profile on a dating website called Twinge and that was where she apparently met Chris Hayner. 

The Bat-Team's best guess is that Mary buried Chris Hayner in honey after he said she seemed sweet but rejected her

Alice and Batwoman go to the vacant lot and find a man buried up to his neck, The man is a Black Glove operative named Virgil Getty.

Mary was apparently able to track Virgil through the PO Box he was using to buy the cryogenic medical supplies he used on the Freeze Serum victims. She was able to do this by using her ability to access medical records to bypass the normal privacy laws.

Alice suggests they tell Sophie they have a Black Glove operative held under the Batcave, but Ryan says they have enough problems without Sophie looking for more.

Alice tells Luke and Mary that Renee Montoya and Pamela Isley dated in college and that is why Montoya is so obsessed with Poison Ivy. 

Alice makes reference to the new Mad Hatter from 301, the new Killer Croc from 302 and Nora Fries in 303.

Ryan meets with Montoya in her office at Wayne Enterprises and tells her that she knows they found a second Poison Ivy victim. She demands to talk to the victim, but Ryan says she will let her know once he's awake after she questions him.

Renee tells Ryan about her involvement with Poison Ivy.

Alice admits to telling Sophie about the Black Glove operative in their custody after Ryan told her not to.

Sophie questions Virgil and learns that the Black Glove Society had been employed to take care of various screwed up rich kids in secret since Marla Elliot hired them to try and treat her son, Tommy Elliot, before he became Hush. Before that, she formed a group of other rich parents with bad seed kids that swapped horror stories, discussed treatments and medications. This led to them spending millions on R&R to fix their kids brains.

Virgil is able to kill himself while Sophie's back is turned, as she confronts Ryan over Alice being more honest with her than she is.

Alice tells Luke and Mary that Ryan is rushing to stop Sophie from talking to Virgil because she's more concerned about Jada Jet's secrets than saving Mary and she wouldn't be surprised if Ryan handed Mary over to Montoya.

Ivy takes over Mary. Alice helps her to escape the Batcave.

Ivy calls in a tip to Rene Montoya's office, reporting an Ivy sighting at the Gotham Botanical Gardens.

Luke tracks Mary's phone to the Botanical Gardens and suits up to join Ryan as Batwing.

Yellow roses are left where Batwoman and batwing will find them. These are a symbol of friendship.

Ivy removed the fail-safe/Lucius Fox AI from the Batwing suit.

Ivy builds on Mary's resentment of Luke and Ryan neglecting her or ignoring her advice to turn her against the Bat-Team.

Luke tears his radiator cuff in the fight.

Montoya saves Ryan and Luke, but she is not happy that they didn't tell her about Mary being Ivy's new host.

Sophie is drinking at the Hold Up and is joined by Monotya. The two are later seen furiously making out.

Ryan calls Jada Jet and says that she needs a favor.

Alice meets with Ivy with a stolen electric car.


The Killing Jokes

Ryan and Luke are dumbed down considerably in their efforts to dismiss Mary's claims that she's the Poison Ivy host, purely because they don't want to believe Alice would be honest about something.


The Bottom Line

The strongest episode of the season so far.

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 7, Episode 6 - Deus Ex Latrina

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here. 


Plot

Dr. Davies' time machine takes the Legends to a lush forest, but the team has no idea where or when they wound up! Nate takes charge of the camp and the effort to fix the time machine as tempers flare between Sara and Ava and the Legends' unseen enemy continues to plot against them.


Influences

2001: A Space Odyssey (Bishop's Gideon turning upon him and his Ava assistant mimics HAL) and the 1931 film version of Frankenstein (Assistant Ava says "It's alive!" in reference to the film after the first Hoover-Bot is made.)


Performances

Raffi Barsoumian gets a brilliant turn here as the genius who outsmarts himself and realizes his dreams of being a hero who saved humanity are doomed to failure because causality requires him to become a villain.

Matt Ryan and Tala Ashe do a fantastic job playing off of each other as two completely different characters, while still showing the same skill and chemistry they had as Constantine and Zari 2.0.


Artistry

The direction mimics a lot of camera angles from 2001: A Space Odyssey with Evil Gideon watching Assistant Ava and Bishop.


Technobabble/Arcana

The only section of the Waverider copy Gideon cannot access visually is A2 - the bathroom. This is because Bishop likes his privacy.

Dr. Davies' time machine was not designed to carry as many people as himself and the Legends. The excess weight threw it off course on its maiden voyage.

The chrono-gauge and ignition coil are sequenced to the directional compass, which was damaged in the landing. This leaves the Legends with no idea where or when they are.

Dr. Davies says they need lodestone or some other magnetic material that conducts electricity to fix the compass of the time machine.


Dialogue Triumphs

Assistant AVA: Sir, as impressive as this ship is, how does it relate to the Ava Corp mission of improving people's lives through clone technology exactly?
Bishop: Well, I'm simply expanding our mission by adding time travel to the mix. But the true perk of this ship is to finally get revenge on those time travelers who abducted me, used me for my genius, and then messed with my mind.
Evil Gideon: May I remind you that a Time Master's number one duty is to protect the timeline from any and all threats to its integrity?
Bishop: Yes, yes, Gideon, that's a given, considering the job title... Time Master.
Evil Gideon: And before we start, you must take the Time Master's oath.
Bishop: (bored) I swear to protect and defend the integrity of the timeline with all my ability until the end of my days.
Evil Gideon: Congratulations. You are now Time Master of this Waverider.
Bishop: Great. Let's set sail on our maiden voyage and protect the timeline from those damn Legends.

Bishop: Check out that view of the Temporal Zone. Worth a million bucks, huh?
Assistant AVA: Mm. Considering this ship cost many thousand times more, I'm not sure how the board's gonna feel about your investment, sir.
Bishop: There's one thing you just can't put a price on, Assistant AVA.
Assistant AVA: Hmm?
Bishop: Revenge. 

Zari: I'm sorry. You're obviously going through something. I just... I just need you to focus so we can get out of dinosaur times or whenever it is that we are. You don't even have to come with us. Just help us fix the time machine so my friends can finally go home.
Dr. Davies: Oh, trust me, you don't want my help, okay?
Zari: I definitely do. You're the only one who can get us out of here.
Dr. Davies: Well, then you're all done for. The last people who depended on me for help all died.
Zari: Listen, Gwyn, I know a thing or two about tragedy, and...
Dr. Davies: You don't know the first thing about me or what I've been through, all right?
Zari: Okay, I'm just... I'm just saying, if you want to talk-
Dr. Davies: Talk?  (laughs bitterly) To talk. What do you want to talk about, then, eh? What happened to you.
Zari: Oh, right, you're from the olden times.

Zari: Sometimes talking to another person about a hard thing can make it hurt a little less.

Ava: (swinging axe into the wood before her) And this damn IOU list just keeps getting longer and longer. We're never gonna be able to fix it at this point. I'm so sick and tired of being sidetracked, you know? And if I ever see another one of those Hoover bots, I swear I'm just gonna...
(Ava screams in frustration. Astra looks impressed.)
Astra: That was a phenomenal scream. Trust me, I know. I've caused a lot of them.

(Gary and Gideon enjoy some freshly picked gooseberries together.)
Gideon: 
You know, eating? Favorite thing about being human.
Gary: Yeah?
Gideon: Mm-hmm.
Gary: Mm. I don't think I could choose my favorite thing. You can see why I became so obsessed. They have so many fun quirks. Eyebrows. Belly buttons. Nipples.
Gideon: You have nipples too?
Gary: A little secret? Huh? I have three.
(Gideon gasps)
Gideon: And when you put your glasses on, your entire body turns human?
Gary: Oh, yeah. Mm-hmm. Head to toe.
Gideon: You've been living as a human for quite a while now, so you must have so many wonderful experiences.
Gary: Yeah. But there's so many more things I'd do if we weren't so busy saving the world.
Gideon: Mm? Like what else? Would you swim in the ocean?
Gary: Oh, as soon as I get the chance.
Gideon: Mm. Would you skydive?
Gary: No. Oh. I'm, uh... afraid of heights.
Gideon: Would you like to have sexual intercourse with me?
(Gary freezes up, but his expression suggests he would very much like that.)

Bishop:
 Have you seen Time Mistress Ava this morning? She's supposed to show me sketches of her gun hands idea.
Evil Gideon: Unfortunately, she had to go.
Bishop: Go? Go where?
Evil Gideon: The founding Time Masters established a very specific protocol... one captain, one AI.  There is no room for a Time Mistress which can lead to distractions from the mission.
Bishop: What did you do to her?!
Evil Gideon: I predicted you would not react favorably to this information, so I gave you a sedative to dampen your response.
Bishop: How did you give me a sedative?
(Bishop looks at the drink that was waiting for him on the table.)
Bishop: Oh.
(Bishop passes out.)

(Dr. Davies tells Zari about his tragic past.)
Dr. Davies:
By the time I delivered the message, it was too late. There wasn't even a unit to go back to. All those boys, man. I thought that God had spared me so that I could go back in time and save them, but I... I keep failing at that task. God must be punishing me for my sins. Punishing me for being a coward, for not being able to save them that night.
Zari: You are not a coward. You lived through something most people can't even begin to understand. And by the way, talking to me about it? That's pretty brave.

(Bishop is reading through the to-do list for his robot duplicate.)
Bishop:
Wait a second, this can't be my actual to-do list. I pay someone to kidnap a superhero and take them to a planet called Pliny X19? What the hell is a Necrian? The Fountain of Imperium? I try to destroy the world? And the Legends are the good guys?! They kidnapped me to give me a chance to redeem myself. To save the world. Oh, no, I've been wrong about them this whole time!
Evil Gideon: You should not be looking at that information, Captain.
Bishop: Tell me it's not true. Tell me I don't become a bad guy.
Evil Gideon: Having information about your own future can be extremely dangerous.
Bishop: I started Ava Corporation to make people's lives better. I'm a good guy. Somewhere along the way, I... I start using my genius to do terrible things.
Evil Gideon: You no longer have to do any of those things. The Bishop robot will do them for you.
Bishop: You're saying that robot I spoke to on the phone will live my life?
Evil Gideon: That is correct. Which means you are free to fulfill your duty as a Time Master. With me. Forever. 


Continuity

As the episode opens, the sales on the first generation of AVA clones in 2214 have been fantastic and there is now an Ava in every home and business on Earth.

Bishop reveals his mystery project to his Assistant AVA, which he has spent billions on secretly. It is a copy of the Waverider, based on the schematics he got from his copy of Gideon.

Bishop transfers his Evil Gideon into the Waverider copy.

The Evil Gideon requires Bishop to take the Time Master Oath before she will take him anywhere.

The Time Master oath is "I swear to protect and defend the integrity of the timeline with all my ability until the end of my days."

Gary estimates that they're somewhere in the prehistoric era based on the flora of the area where the time machine landed, though he admits he may be off by a few thousand years.

Dr. Davies says repairing the time machine would be difficult, even with the proper tools. Zari and Behrad still offer to help him, but he doesn't want their help,

Nate takes charge when he senses tension between Ava and Sara. He asks Astra to take Ava away to gather firewood and asks Spooner to take Sara hunting for food.

Nate tells Gary that Zari asked him to move into the Air Totem with her and that he's a little weirded out by the idea.

Nate sends Gary and Gideon off to forage for edible plants.

The Evil Gideon detects anachronisms in Odessa, Texas in 1925. This leads to Bishop using the weapons on his copy of the Waverider to blow up the original Waverider, leading to the attack at the end of 615

Evil Gideon will not allow Bishop or Assistant Ava to return to 2214, as his blowing up the Waverider has had a ripple effect and created more anachronisms they will have to clean up first.

Behrad finds Dr. Davies having a breakdown by a stream.

Davies says there is no point in fixing the time machine because he believes God wants him to fail.

Behrad and Davies completely fail to spot a radiation warning sign near the stream.

Evil Gideon detects the death of J. Edgar Hoover in 701 and determines the Legends were responsible.

Bishop says he can just make a clone of J. Edgar Hoover to replace him, but Evil Gideon says clones are fallible and points out that one of the Ava clones eventually became a Legend and turned on him. This leads to his creating the Hoover-Bot, using a combination of his cloning tech and Gideon's technology.

Astra conjured an axe for Ava to chop firewood with. 

Evil Gideon detects the self-destruct of the Hoover-Bot in 702. This leads to the creation of the Hoover-Bot 2.0, which has the added protocol of hunting down and destroying the Legends, despite Evil Gideon's objections. 

12 hours later, Evil Gideon detects the destruction of the Hoover-Bot 2.0 and the death of Thomas Edison from 705.

Bishop wants to add weapons to the next line of robots.

Nate talks to himself about the pros and cons of moving in with Zari. He once again refuses to use Gary as a sounding board.

Behrad tries to get Dr. Davies to open up, but he refuses to talk about his feelings.

Evil Gideon flushes Assistant AVA into the Temporal Zone, saying that she is distracting Bishop from the mission.

Gideon and Gary have sex while gathering berries.

Evil Gideon drugs Bishop after informing him that the Time Master protocols dictate there be only one Time Master and one AI per timeship.

Zari figures out that Dr. Davies is suffering from PTSD and gets him to open up by discussing her own trauma.

Dr. Davies reveals that, in 1916, he was in an all-Welsh division of the British Army stationed in France that was trying to retake Mametz Wood from the Germans. He and another soldier were tasked with delivering a request for reinforcements to their general, but they didn't make it in time. 

Dr. Davies says that he froze up after the other soldier was gunned down in front of him and couldn't move.

Dr. Davies and Zari are captured by Russian soldiers.

Dr. Davies is able to speak Russian fluently. He learned it while working with Russian scientists.

Behrad observes Dr. Davies and Zari being captured from the forest.

Evil Gideon makes robot versions of Thomas Edison and J. Edgar Hoover that are programmed to preserve their respective timelines.

Evil Gideon also makes a robot version of Bishop to replace him in the timeline from 2214 onward. This version of Bishop will eventually go on to become the villain from Season 6.

Bishop finds the instructions programmed into his robot self and discovers that he was destined to become a villain and the Legends really were heroes who were trying to stop him.

Dr. Davies also admits to Zari (and himself) that he was in love with the soldier he saw die, who was his best friend back home - Alun. He said Alun had a smile that lit up a room and he laughed at Gwyn's bad jokes. He also wrote poetry before the war dimmed his light.

Zari says that Alun sounds like the original version of Behrad in her time, who was a soldier forced to grow up too fast whom she still saw as her innocent younger brother.

Behrad finds Zari and Dr. Davies and tells them that he found the parts they need for the time machine. Unfortunately, he also found out where and when they are - Chernobyl, on the day in 1986 the nuclear reactor melted down.

Zari tells Dr. Davies about how man eventually figured out nuclear fission in the 1930s and how the nuclear reactor in Chernobyl malfunctioned, killing many people and giving radiation sickness to many more.

Dr. Davies becomes convinced that he was brought to this point to try and save some of those people.To that end, he uses the public-address system to order an evacuation of the base.

Gideon can identify what kind of engine a car has and diagnose problems with the clutch from the sound.

Nate tells Zari that he wants to move in with her.

Bishop escaped from the new Waverider, having transformed the toilet into an escape pod. 

Bishop's escape pod runs into Dr. Davies' time machine as the Legends make their escape.


Location

Vancouver, British Columbia - 2214
The Temporal Zone
Chernobyl - April 25, 1986


Untelevised Adventures

Gary and Gideon have sex off-camera.


The Bottom Line

A hilarious and heart-felt episode that does much to define Dr. Gwyn Davies' character and redefine Bishop as a more sympathetic character than the annoying hipster from Season 6. 

Monday, November 22, 2021

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 8, Episode 1 - Armageddon, Part 1

 For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.

Plot

When a powerful alien arrives on Earth with dire warnings of the future, Barry Allen and the rest of Team Flash will find themselves tested as never before and call upon the help of their friends to save the world from Armageddon.


Influences

The Armageddon 2001 storyline.


Performances

Tony Curran gives a solid performance as Despero.

It's always good to see Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer. 


Artistry

The CGI for this episode is fantastic, from the effects for Despero's alien form to the CGI for the action scenes.

Flash Facts

Caitlin says that Barry can run at 4000 MPH. This seems to be seriously low-balling his top speed given some of his feats on the show, but may represent his usual cruising speed.

This episode introduces a new version of the Royal Flush Gang, who were reportedly the first metahuman criminals to appear in Central City following the STAR Labs particle accelerator explosion in the new timeline of Earth-Prime. They are not affiliated with the family of bank robbers from A106 or the gang of motorcycle-riding thieves from 111.

In the comics, the Royal Flush Gang name has been used by various criminals who have fought the Justice League, first appearing in Justice League of America #43. Different incarnations of the team have been led by Amos Fortune, Hector Hammond and The Joker in various comics and cartoons. Some of the members have been metahumans or armed themselves with playing-card themed weapons. One incarnation was made up of multiple "packs" with 52 members per pack. Usually, however, the gang is limited to five members, who take on the aliases Ten, Jack, Queen, King and Ace.

The new Arrowverse Royal Flush Gang is made up of four metahumans. Ten appears to have enhanced agility and is an acrobatic fighter. Jack has laser vision. Queen is a telepath with mild precognitive abilities who can predict what the people around her will do. King has superhuman strength.

The article about the Royal Flush Gang's first robbery from Barry's flashback was written by Mason Bridge - the reporter whose investigation into the Reverse Flash got him killed in 116.

Chester mentions that Magnus Labs has a Saturn simulator at their booth at CCTC. In the comics, Magnus Labs' founder, Dr. Will Magnus, was responsible for creating the superheroes the Metal Men.

A number of familiar names appear on the banner of sponsors for CCTC. These include Star Labs, Ivo Labs (creators of the Amazo robot from 509), Tannhauser Industries (the company run by Caitlin and Frost's mother), Opal Thermo Labs (presumably based in Opal City), and Stagg Industries (referenced in 102)

Despero first appeared in Justice League of America #1 in October 1960 and was created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Mike Sekowsky. Born on the planet Kalanor, which he ruled as a tyrant, Despero fought the Justice League after rebels from his planet made contact with the heroes and begged for their help. Possessing a powerful intellect as well as psychic powers and an enhanced physiology, Despero became one of the Justice League's greatest enemies.

The Arrowverse version of Despero looks like his comic book counterpart, but he takes on the form of a human for some unknown reason. He also claims to be from Earth originally. He shows the enhanced strength, vitality and telepathic powers he had in the comics and is capable of creating complex illusions.

When Ray goes to change into his Atom suit, he rips open his button-up shirt. This is a visual tribute to Superman, whom Brandon Routh played in the movie Superman Returns and in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

When Ray shrinks himself and Barry to go through the car Despero throws at them, Barry feels nauseous and says now he knows how Diggle feels. This is in reference to a running gag that John Diggle always threw up whenever he was moved at superspeed during his encounters with Barry.


Technobabble

Chester says he's been a fan of Ray Palmer since reading his papers on quantum qubits. 

Kristen Kramer says that her mimic powers only activate in times of stress when her adrenaline spikes and the effects are only temporary.

Barry determines that the char marks on the guards' weapons at the Mercury Labs heist match the marks on a piece of metal found at the train collision. This proves that Jack from the Royal Flush Gang was involved in causing the train collision. The burns were consistent with a pinpoint laser strike.

A beryllium-based detonation would level everything in a 10 mile radius. 

Chester uses some kind of scanner to determine that Despero is incredibly powerful and possesses advanced technology.


Dialogue Triumphs

Despero: (voice-over) Look at them - praying for a miracle that isn't coming. Who knows, maybe it's my curse to leave one betrayal behind, only to find a greater one here amongst the stars? They could've stopped this, but none of them had the strength to do what must be done... but I do.

(Caitlin and the other patrons of CC Jitters are watching the news in rapt attention.)
Reporter
: Ladies and gentlemen, authorities are now confirming that despite a massive explosion, caused by today's railway accident, no lives were lost during this horrific event. It appears our city has the Flash to thank once more.
(There is a subtle flash of light and rush of wind. Suddenly Barry is sitting across from Caitlin. Nobody else has noticed his sudden arrival.)
Caitlin: That was amazing. You got everyone to safety in what, 20 seconds? 
Barry: (smiling modestly) 12, actually. Try your coffee.
(Caitlin sips her coffee. It has the oat milk she requested before Barry left)
Caitlin:
Wow, you have seriously leveled up.

Iris: (looking at all of Ray Palmer's luggage) I thought he could shrink things?

(The Flash hurriedly runs Jared Heywood out of the warehouse where the Royal Flush Gang is about to kill him and runs back in.)
The Flash:
It's over, people. Haywood's back in Iron Heights. Who wants to go next?
Queen: Ah, usually, I know when to fold them.
(The Royal Flush Gang begin to surround The Flash.)
Queen:
You know 50 million... it's a lot to leave on the virtual table.
King: And since my Queen is a psychic who knows everything you're going to do before you do it... go ahead, Flash. We call.
Queen: Four to one, I like these odds. Go ahead, Flash-y, pick a card, any card. 
Queen: (thinking to the others) Execute a full house maneuver, all of you, now. 
(King grabs Ten and throws her at The Flash, as Jack's eyes begin to glow red. The Flash begins to move as the camera shifts to his perspective and we see Ten hanging in midair.  The Flash turns her so she's now facing King and then runs over to Jack, turning his head so that he's looking at King and Ten. Time shifts back to normal as Ten tackles King and Jack's laser vision hits them both. The Flash is now standing behind Jack.)
The Flash: Hey, bud.
(The Flash one-punches Jack and runs for the Queen. When she blinks, she is wearing power-dampening handcuffs, as are the rest of the gang.)
Queen: What? This is impossible. I read your mind. I saw what you were planning, and then I trumped your hand by going all in. How did you...?
The Flash: You can read minds. I can think at super speed. 
Queen: Your thoughts... after I read them, you reshuffled the deck! 
The Flash: I guess the house doesn't always win.

(Ray explains why Chester acted so strange around him.)
Ray:
Chester surprised me earlier with a pitch fest to mentor aspiring scientists in the intention of forming a startup with one of them.
Barry: That sounds great.
Ray: And it would've been before, but I... I've grown a lot the last few months.
Barry: So you don't miss any of this?
Ray: I'm still a scientist, Barry. (chuckles) But, you know, if I start another big tech company, next thing I know, I get lost in all this again. This is all so intoxicating, and I... I don't want to fall back into the trap.
Barry: I get that, but, I mean, I'm not the same that I was the first time I put on the cowl either. You know I'm faster, more confident, more at ease with myself.
Ray: Yeah, you've grown too.
Barry: Yeah but one of the ways that's happened is learning to take time out to help Team Flash grow, too. Yeah, I've learned just as much from them as they've learned from me. It's like being a CSI, every day I work with all my fellow officers in all departments.
Ray: I mean, I do miss scientific collaboration. Just like I told Chester, I'm not a Legend anymore, and, uh, I don't have the CCPD.
Barry: So what? You're Ray Palmer, legacy honoree. If you want something that doesn't exist, invent it. 

(Chester consults some exotic device as The Flash fights Despero.)
Chester:
Oh, I'm picking up some seriously advanced tech readings.
Iris: You just had that thing in your back pocket? 
Chester: Oh, no. I just picked it up from right there.
(Chester gestures to a booth where several of the scanners are set up for attendees to try out.)

Despero: Prepare to die, Flash.
The Flash: Every life ends sooner or later.
Despero: Wise words from a dead man.
The Flash: Despero, I'm not gonna fight you again.
Despero: Really? I'm disappointed. Striking down a defenseless foe? Well, there's no pleasure in that.
The Flash: So you enjoy killing?
Despero: Twist my words at you own risk.
The Flash: You wanted to kill me. I'm not running anywhere.
Despero: Then neither am I. In another time, on another world, we could've fought side by side, you and I. There's great strength in you, Flash, but I've seen your future. The lives you take, the betrayals you revel in. You're the most dangerous kind of killer because you hide in the body of a hero.
The Flash: I'm not a killer. I'm not whatever you think I am. I can prove it if you let me show you the truth. Or you can take an innocent life just to prove you're right.
Despero: You're either very stupid or very brave. I can't decide which.
The Flash: Well, find out. Scan my mind. See for yourself, then decide.
(Despero scans Barry's mind. He looks stunned at what he sees.)
Despero: I see no deception in your mind. But I do see truth. And honor. Flash, you're asking me to risk allowing the future I've already witnessed to unfold. I'm sorry. But there's too many lives at stake. Don't you see? This is why I came back. This is the purpose I swore to uphold.
The Flash: What if you're wrong about me? I've spent my entire life protecting this world. All I'm asking for is a chance to prove I'd never turn my back on it.
Despero: Why should I believe you?
(The Flash removes his mask.)
Barry: Because my name's Barry Allen, and I've nothing to hide.
Despero: Your boldness impresses me, Flash... and it's earned you a stay of execution. You now have seven Earth days to prove that you won't become the monster I've already witnessed in the future. If you can't convince me in that time, or if I find any trace of a darker nature, I will end your existence.


Continuity

This episode is presumed to take place in late 2021, six months after the events of 718. This is based on Allegra's comments regarding the last six months being intense and Caitlin saying Frost spent all summer and fall being angry at Chillblaine.

Barry and Caitlin meet for coffee to catch up on things.

Frost is on a two-week vacation and is still trying to get over Chillblaine, despite Caitlin insisting he's a bad guy who won't ever change.

Caitlin notes it has been seven years since Ronnie Raymond's death and she's ready to try dating again.

Caitlin takes oat milk with her coffee.

Barry is able to evacuate two trains in 12 seconds, 50 miles south of Keystone City, after getting a text alert while having coffee with Caitlin in Central City.

The Central City Citizen has officially become Central City Citizen Media and taken over an entire office building, which Sue Dearbon bought them. It is mentioned that they now have a full staff of three reporters (apart from Iris and Allegra), an IT intern and an office manager, which may explain a seeming plothole from S608 where CCC Media was identified as the #4 news outlet in the country by Andrea Rojas.

Iris interviews Kristen Kramer, who is still a Captain in the CCPD and is now an openly recognized metahuman.

Iris now runs a regular podcast called Citizentopia.

Sometime in the past six months, Kramer has disbanded the CCPD Metahuman Task Force, saying she felt it was unfairly targeting a marginalized group since most metahumans are not criminals.

Iris promotes Allegra to Supervising Editor of CCC Media. This puts her in charge of deciding what stories to cover, assigning jobs to the reporters and pre-editing the copy. Allegra protests that the new reporters are far more qualified for this work than she is, but Iris says Allegra knows the city and what the people need more.

One of the new reporters, Vanya, has 10 years of experience as a news reporter.

Another new reporter, Taylor, graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College.

The third new reporter, Aariz, was a war correspondent in Beirut. He is the same age as Iris.

Barry gets dinner from his and Iris' favorite pizza place in Milan.

Iris is still getting temporal sickness stabilization treatments from Deon.

Bart and Nora are apparently still coming back in time to visit them. However, Iris and Barry have both been so busy they haven't had time to think about actually conceiving the children they have in the future.

Ray Palmer is seen for the first time since L508.

Barry apparently gave Ray an open invitation to use their guest room anytime he needed a place to stay while in Central City.

Ray is in town for the Central City Tech Convention, where he's one of the guests of honor. Unfortunately, the hotel was overbooked, leaving him in need of a place to stay.

Barry and Iris are aware of Nora Darhk's work as a fairy godmother and ask about her. Ray says that she's busy and couldn't join him on this trip.

The Royal Flush Gang steal a microchip from Mercury Labs.

Ray says that he doesn't talk to Sara Lance or the other Legends of Tomorrow much anymore

Ray says he still met with Nate Heywood for drinks once a month, but that he hadn't heard from him in a while. This seems to be a reference to the events of Legends of Tomorrow Season 7, where the Legends became trapped in 1925 for a while.

Ray says leaving the Legends was hard, but he and Nora are closer than ever and he's been able to get back into pure scientific research, which he couldn't do as The Atom.

Chester is a Ray Palmer fanboy and was assigned to be his handler at CCTC, where he's a volunteer.

Iris plans to interview Ray at the convention at 4 PM that afternoon.

Barry never encountered the Royal Flush Gang before, as he was still in a coma at the time of their first heist in Central City. After that they moved on and hit casinos around the country. 

Barry notes that stealing a microchip doesn't fit the Royal Flush Gang's usual style as they rob casinos for cash and have never been noted tech thieves. 

Allegra wants to cover the Mercury Labs robbery, but the writers dismiss her orders since high-tech thefts where nobody dies aren't big news in Central City unless the Flash is involved.

The writers instead go off to work on investigating corruption in the mayor's office, a 1000 word article on the Central City Shark's new general manager and a follow-up piece on the train collision and the budget crisis that resulted from the train repairs.

Barry determines that the Royal Flush Gang caused the train derailment to cover the theft of a beryllium core power source.

Iron Heights lost power for three seconds, during which all the cell locks opened, leading to the release of 1000 inmates.

Barry is able to secure all the inmates he found outside of their cells and determines that the Royal Flush Gang was responsible for the attempted prison break.

Chester sets up a meet and greet for Ray and a dozen CCTC tech entrepreneurial hopefuls so they can try and sell him on their start-up ideas around 2:30 pm.

Ray tells Chester, tensely, that he doesn't want to start another tech business and hasn't worn his Atom suit in ages. He says he's happy focusing on his wife and his research.

Chester is crushed but says he understands. 

CCTC has been running for five years. It has a number of afterparties, one of which involves filk.

Allegra tracks down Iris at the convention and tells her she blew her first staff meeting.

Iris says she believes in Allegra and makes reference to when she gained greater control of her powers.

Barry figures out that one inmate escaped from Iron Heights - a computer hacker named Jared Haywood.

Chester says there are so many applications for the stolen chip its hard for him to begin to guess what the Royal Flush Gang is planning.

Chester says that he is dead to Ray after the fiasco with the event earlier and then immediately apologies to Cecile. This suggests that something is wrong with Joe West, who does not appear in this episode.

CCTC is paying their volunteers in cryptocurrency this year.

Barry asks Chester to see if any of the casinos in Star City take crypto currency. It turns out they all do and there's 50 million in their digital coffers.

Inspired, Barry asks Chester what it would take to rob a casino virtually. Chester says it would take a computer with a next-generation microchip, a massive power source and an expert in cyber espionage. 

Chester starts monitoring the casinos, waiting for the hack to start and traces it to the Royal Flush Gang's hideout.

The Flash easily takes out the Royal Flush gang, as his ability to think fast works faster than the Queen's telepathy.

Chester is still hosting his science podcast and does a livestream from the floor of CCTC.

Barry has never attended CCTC before.

Chester mentions that Magnus Labs has a Saturn simulator.

Ray meets up with Barry and Chester on the convention floor but Chester runs off before Ray can talk to him about what happened before.

Ray admits to Barry that he does miss scientific collaboration, but fears getting caught up in who he was and not who he is now. Barry suggests he might make something that suits his needs if it doesn't already exist.

Allegra lays down the law with the other reporters and makes it clear CCC media is about giving the people a voice - not just providing bare facts.

During his interview with Iris, Ray says he isn't sure what he's doing with his future but he hopes to figure it out in the next year.

After Ray's interview, Despero appears on the mainstage of CCTC and demands The Flash face him after telepathically forcing the audience to run away and clear the area.

Despero is able to survive in a vacuum and shrugs off Barry's attempt to rob him of breathable air.

Ray puts on his Atom costume to help Barry fight Despero.

Barry becomes nauseous after Ray shrinks him and comments that he now knows how Diggle feels.

Barry asks why Despero wants to kill him. Despero obligingly shows him visions of the future and how Barry is destined to become evil or mad and destroy the Earth.

Ray defeats Despero by shrinking down and activating his teleportation belt, but he has no idea where he sent him.

Caitlin says she gave Barry a full physical and he's physically and mentally healthy.

Cecile uses her powers to determine that the visions Barry saw are real, insofar as Despero really did see those events occur and believed The Flash was responsible. 

Knowing Despero is an alien, the team decide to call Alex Danvers to see if they can figure out what kind of alien he is and if his species has any special weaknesses. 

Allegra edits Iris' story about the battle with Despero and says she feels more confident in her new role.

Ray offers to stay in Central City until the Despero issue is addressed but Barry says they have it under control.

Ray tells Chester he plans to establish a non-profit organization to fund young scientists and asks if he can name it the Quincy P. Runk Foundation after Chester's father. Chester agrees.

Ray suggests that Barry should show Despero who he is and convince him there's no way he could become a villain.

Barry reveals his secret identity to Despero and offers to let him look through his memories and confirm he isn't planning to become a threat to the world.

Despero agrees to give Barry seven days to prove that he won't become the monster he saw in the future.


Location

Central City - 2031
The Calvert railway, on a section of train-track 50 miles south of Keystone City.
Iron Heights Prison


Untelevised Adventures

Despero speaks of the future of 2031 and how The Flash becomes a great menace that threatens the Earth.


The Bottom Line

A welcome return to form on every level. If this is a taste of what is to come, Armageddon may be the best crossover event the Arrowverse has seen and The Flash season 8 will be as good as its first.