Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 2 - Stranger Beside Me

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




Plot

Faced with the mystery of a brother he has no memory of existing, J'onn turns to Kelly Olsen and her new mind-scanning technology at Obsidian Tech for help in sorting through his past. Kara, Alex and Brainy give chase to the mysterious Malefic, only for Kara to run afoul of her new co-worker William Day, who seems to be stalking Kara. Meanwhile, Lena begins a new experiment with an unexpected test subject... Eve Teschmacher!


Influences

The Martian Manhunter comics of John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake.


Goofs

It seems unlikely that Mars would have characters named Phobos and Deimos in their mythology, just like the Ancient Greek legends of Earth. (Phobos and Deimos are the sons of the war god Ares and gods of Panic and Dread respectively.)

The dubbing for James in his Guardian costume sounds ludicrous, being too growly and almost unintelligible.


Artistry

The special effects used to create J'onn's psychic mindscape are well executed.


Super Trivia

Brainiac-5 makes reference to an alien race called the Euphorians, who he says have a similar brain structure to Martians. In the DC Comics Universe, Euphorians are the dominant species of the planet Euphorix. They resemble humans, save that some Euphorians have no pupils in their eyes and some have hair that is naturally pink or purple. Like humans, Euphorians do not have any innate superpowers, though there are members of the species who developed powers as a result of genetic mutation or alteration. Some Euphorians are also capable of utilizing magic.

J'onn makes reference to Malefic creating something called H'ronmeer's Curse, that killed off most of the Green Martians and eventually ended the Martian Civil War. In the comics, H'ronmeer's Curse was a psychic plague Malefic created that was passed through the Martian hive mind by any Martian attempting to telepathically link to another. This was due to Malefic being jealous and isolated, having been born without a Martian's natural telepathy. It was later revealed that Malefic did have telepathy at one point, but his memory and ability to use it were removed after he psychically raped his sister-in-law.


Technobabble


Fa'ra'too'rik is a psychic punishment inflicted through the Martian hive mind on brothers who fight one another physically.

Q-Waves are a form of radiation located between X-Rays and Gamma-Rays which are used in treating psychic trauma. Brainy says they weren't discovered until The Late Dark Ages, but is then informed that Kelly uses them as part of her work at Obsidian Tech. It should be noted that

Non Nocere is the Latin phrarse for "Do No Harm."

The VR lenses developed by Obsidian North create a link between what the brain sees and what it wants to see, creating a blank slate. Lena believes she can use this link to direct the blank slate to impose rules on the viewer.

Q-Waves scans maps and catalog a persons memories, creating pictures that depict the memories as a series of rings, like the rings on the base of a tree that has been cut down. The rings show breaks and irregularities at points where a person suffered from severe brain trauma.

Q-Waves are measured in biohertz. Doses of Q-Waves are administered in increments of 20.

A dose of 80 biohertz could permanently erase a person's mind.

One component of Obsidian North's contact lenses is a Lumus pixellator.


Dialogue Triumphs

Lena: Hope, could you hurt someone?
Hope: I am incapable of causing pain. It is against my prime directive.
Lena: Exactly. Because you were built in the very image of perfection. You have no selfish inclinations.Your base code is morality, empathy, and logic. Humans and aliens, however, are flawed. They are driven by their emotions. They lie, cheat, and hurt each other to protect themselves. But it's not their fault, it's just how they're programmed. I am going to make them better with Project Non Nocere.
Hope: Do no harm.
Lena: I'm going to rid humanity of its instincts to hurt each other.
Hope: But you cannot reprogram organic creatures.
Lena: The VR lenses create a link between what we want and what we see, constructing a blank slate in the brain on which a new world can be projected. If I can find the source of that link, I can redirect the blank slate to have one single rule.
Hope: Non Nocere. Do no harm.

Brainy: Nia! You are welcome. I assume you received the pizza delivery?
Nia: Thank you for the pizzas but my dress is bursting at the seams, and I'm pretty sure I have heartburn.
Brainy: (romantically) Hmm, yes. My heart also burns.


Continuity

Alex's signature breakfast is poached eggs, crispy bacon, fresh whipped cream, and blueberry pancakes.

Kelly is deathly allergic to blueberries - a fact she discovered when she nearly died after eating some when she was 4.

Kelly always carries an epi-pen with her, in case of an allergy attack.

Kelly doesn't liked poached eggs. Bacon and whipped cream, however, are two of her favorites.

Nia's favorite breakfast is burritos with chorizo and crema. Her preferred brand of coffee is "Nitro," which she takes with an extra shot of cold brew.

Kara thinks Andrea Rojas bough CatCo was a means of getting an advertising platform for Obsidian North.

In the day since he quit CatCo, James has been approached by a group that wants to back him in a run for the open race for a new state Senator.

James was also offered the position of the media director of the Smithsonian Museum.

According to J'onn, there were two brothers, Phobos and Deimos, in the early days of Mars. Their rivalry and bloodshed was the reason for the split of the Green and White Martians. To prevent this ever happening again, a curse was placed on the Green Martians, which psychically inflicted pain on brothers who fought each other. This is known as Fa'ra'too'rik.

J'onn says there is no cure for Fa'ra'too'rik on Earth.

Brainy says that, in the future, psychic traumas are treated with Q-Waves.

Kelly uses Q-Waves in treating her patients at Obsidian North.

Males is revealed to have a White Martian ally on Earth.

Lena's new project, Project Non Nocere, will rid humanity of their instincts to hurt one another. Lena intends to accomplish this through studying Obsidian North's contact lenses and using them to find a way to reprogram people organically.

It is revealed that Lena abducted Eve Teschmacher in 501.

Andrea Rojas starts requiring all of CatCo's writing to be submitted through a portal that can only be accessed by certain special tablets .

William Day's wife is a lawyer.

Andrea assigns Kara to write a piece on the fashions worn at her Pulitzer Prize award ceremony and demands it be done by lunch, after Kara pitches a piece on the state Senate race.

Eve says that she was recruited by Leviathan at age 16, because she was deeply in debt after her parents died and she had no other way to finish paying for college.  She does not, however, name the organization as she says they would kill her and Lena if they even thought Eve had exposed them.

Brainy overdoes it trying to deliver Nia's favorite lunch, leaving her with enough Bento boxes to build a fort around her desk.

Kelly works with her patients to create a sort of mind palace where they feel safe. For J'onn, the palace takes the form of his office. His altered memories take the form of books with blank covers and no names on the spines.

The Battle of L'Zoril M'nt and Battle of C'arel were two major battles of the Martian Civil War.

One of the blank books in J'onn's mindscape opens a secret passageway revealing a Martian door Opening it leads J'onn into a void where his memory should be.

According to J'onn, only another Martian would be capable of erasing his memory but altering the mind of another is the greatest sin in Martian culture.

William Day looks suspicious when Kara leaves in the middle of the day. As she does this, he was looking at photos of Andrea Rojas with someone named Dr. Niles Jarrod.

William Day calls in a favor with the NSA to have Kara's phone tracked.

J'onn guesses his parents might have made him forget Malefic existed

William Day follows Kara's phone signal into the sewers, seeing Supergirl fighting the White Martian before running away.

J'onn recalls that Malefic created a poison called H'ronmeer's Curse, which weakened the Green Martain forces, killing many and basically winning the Martian Civil War for the White Martians.

Before they fell, the Green Martian High Council sentenced Malefic to be banished to the Phantom Zone for his crime.

William Day finishes Kara's article for her and turns it in. This results in Kara being assigned to edit copy rather than writing, since the copy editor department is overworked.

Andrea Rojas is able to get into Lena's secret lab.

Lena's assistant is the girlfriend of Andrea Rojas' best friend.

Andrea had trackers installed in the contacts she gave Lena and determined she was taking them apart trying to figure out how they worked. She takes the borken pair, says Lena will never own another one and that it she tries a stunt like that again then Lena will be the big story rather than owing her one.

Eve points out she could have called for help when Andrea was in the lab but didn't and says that proves she can be trusted.

Brainy sends Nia far too many of her favorite pizza for dinner.

Nia tells Brainy to lay off the food and find other ways to express his love.

Nia says she enjoys stupid buddy comedies, Taylor Swift, quiet nights in and poetry.

 Alex sees through Malefic's disguise immediately when he masquerades as Kelly.

Kelly is allergic to blueberries, hazelnuts, bees, and cats.

Brainy sneaks into Nia's apartment and reads her poetry as she is falling asleep.

William Day is revealed to volunteer at a homeless shelter, after Kara tells him off for trying to sabotage her at work.

Malefic says that he has no power to incept (i.e. enter another person's mind telepathically)

Lena uses Hope to alter Eve Teschmacher's mind, letting Hope take over her body.


The Bottom Line

A decent enough episode, though the focus is on J'onn rather than Kara and almost everything in the Lena subplot is far more interesting than Kelly and Alex's romance and Nia and Brainy's comic relief. Still, it does a lot to develop Malefic and it mostly harmless and inoffensive.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Batwoman Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 2 - The Rabbit Hole

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




Plot

With Jacob Kane and The Crows more determined than ever to bring down Alice and the Wonderland Gang, Kate faces a frightening possibility - what if Alice is her long-list sister, Beth? As Kate explores this possibility and continues to make use of Bruce's old tech, she must discover who she can trust, particularly when Mary has her own secrets and Sophie seems to have figured out Kate is Gotham's new vigilante.


Influences

Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams.


Performances

Rachel Skarsten delivers a great performance as Alice/Beth, finding just the right balance between mad genius and vengeance personified.


Bat Trivia

There's a tree stump in the middle of the Bat Cave under Wayne Enterprises. In the comics, Kate's lair also had a tree stump in the middle of it.

The parking garage through which Kate accesses the secret garage entrance to the Bat Cave looks very similar to the underground bunker where Lucius Fox worked in The Dark Knight trilogy of movies.

When Sophie asks Kate if she is Batwoman, Kate says that if she were going to dress up and dramatically save people she'd do it as Wonder Woman. This is the first indication that Wonder Woman exists in the Arrowverse, even as a fictional character. (It should be mentioned, however, that the Amazons and Themyscira were confirmed to exist on Earth 1 in L306.)

Reference is made to Robinson Park - the Gotham City equivalent of Central Park in the comics. It is named in honor of legendary Batman artist Jerry Robinson.

Kate uses "Waffles" as a code-word to prove that Alice is Beth, as the two sisters always went to the same park after-school on Fridays and got chocolate waffles at a nearby snack stand. This character note is taken directly from the Batwoman comics, where the two sisters got chocolate and waffles (their favorite food) on their birthday before being abducted by terrorists.

At one point one of The Crows make reference to the Kubert District of Gotham City. This is likely a nod to Andy Kubert - a notable artist, famous for his work on Batman and Son and the Neil Gaiman story Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader? It could also be a nod to Joe Kubert, Andy's father, who is more famous for his work on various war comics, but did draw a number of milestone covers for various Batman titles before founding The Kubert School for comic book artists.

The explosion which allows Alice to escape occurs on Loeb Bridge. This is a nod to writer Jeph Loeb, who wrote The Long Halloween and Hush.

It is said that the fragments which were determined to be part of Beth's skull were found at Miller Farm. This is a nod to writer Frank Miller, who wrote The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One.

Vesper Fairchild makes a joking reference to Robin's high school graduation as to why Batman might not have shown up to investigate the bombing of the Loeb Bridge. This is the first time Robin has been confirmed to exist in the Arrowverse.


Technobabble

Wayne Enterprises owns a thermal cycler and Polymerase Chain Reaction mixers, which are used to separate and amplify DNA. These could be used to compare two DNA strands to see if they match.

Batman's gear includes a laser saw that can cut through anything and a rebreather that lets a person breathe underwater without a SCUBA tank.

The Bat-Suit has a built in defibrillator, but no auto-dry function despite costing $10.8 million to make.


Dialogue Triumphs

Alice: Tell me you found my favorite knife.
Dodgson: No luck.
Alice: What the hell did I do with it? It is so much more fun unveiling my evil plan when I can flip it about for cadence.

(Luke is trying to scare Kate out of using the gear in the Bat Cave)
Luke: See, these aren't toys. These are one-of-a-kind, dangerous tools which even I don't know how to use. I don't how to use half the stuff in here because it's not meant for me. It's meant for Batman.
Kate: You know who you sound like?
Luke: I'm sure you'll tell me.
Kate: Lucius Fox.
Luke: Trust me. I am a far cry from my father.
Kate: (dryly) Oh, I know. He was actually useful.

(Alice sits on a swing, regarding Kate.)
Alice: Well, look who finally figured it out.
Kate: Are you my sister?
Alice:  Mmm. Who in the world am I? Now that is the great puzzle, isn't it?
Kate: Did you know I was gonna have your knife tested for DNA?
Alice:  You had my knife? (laughs) And here I've been going around using this charmless contraption. (idly plays with a butterfly knife)
Kate: You didn't have your guys jump me?
Alice: Jump you? Kate, we're sisters.
Kate: Prove it. Let me test your DNA before the Crows kill you.
Alice: I already proved it. I'm here. I knew the password, "Waffles." Our favorite spot. We used to come here after school on Fridays and gorge our faces in chocolate-covered garbage. How else would I know that? (pauses) Unless... oh, dear. Did the press mention that you and Beth used to come here as part of your silly, little tradition, and did I read an old article online?

Alice (V/O): It may have taken you years, sweet, darling Kate, but you found me eventually Even if I'm not the girl you expected me to be. I had my secrets just as you have yours, but do be careful, my dear sister. Putting on that suit and all the darkness that comes with it makes you just as crazy as me.


Continuity

This episode opens four days after the events of 101.

According to Kate, practically everyone in Gotham was searching for Beth the day after she disappeared. Eventually it was just her and her father... then just her.

Kate tells Jacob about her theory that Alice is Beth. She also shows him the knife with the garnet stone in it that matches the one from her necklace.

Jacob insists Beth is dead because fragments of her skull were found at Miller Farm.

Alice breaks into the house she grew up in and kills the elderly couple that lives there now. The address of the house is 1472 Norman Drive.
Read more: https://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/view_episode_scripts.php?tv-show=batwoman-2019&episode=s01e02.

Kate approaches Sophie for help in scanning the knife she took from Alice for a DNA sample.

Kate and Sophie are attacked by men in Wonderland Gang masks, who take Alice's knife back.

Kate asks how they knew she had the knife in the first place, but this question is largely ignored.

Kate determines that one of Mary's patients works for Alice and that she fought him as Batwoman the night before. She uses him to deliver a one-word message to Alice - "Waffles."

Kate tells Sophie about her plan to lure Alice out and prove that she is Beth, asking her to stall The Crows for a few hours. Instead, Sophie betrays her trust and tells Jacob Kane about what Kate is doing.

Kate blamed herself for Beth's disappearance, because she got out of the car while Beth climbed into the front seat to check on their mother before their car fell off the bridge.

Alice tries to make Kate uncertain whether or not she really is Beth, saying that she might have read an article which spoke about Kate and Beth's Friday habits.

Alice cuts herself to give Kate a DNA sample, just before The Crows show up.

Alice seems to feel honestly betrayed that The Crows showed up to what Kate said would be a secret meeting.

Dodgson attempts to kill Mary in her secret clinic. Kate shows up to save her as Batwoman.

Someone bombs the transport taking Alice to Arkham Asylum.

Kate frees Alice from the transport she was trapped in, but is knocked out after The Crows throw something explosive in between her and Alice.

Kate is revived before The Crows find her thanks to Luke triggering the defibrillator in her suit.

Mary doesn't tell Jacob about Dodgson attacking her or that Kate told her about her plan to track down Alice and prove she was Beth. This shows that, ironically, Mary was more worthy of trust than Sophie, whom Kate thought she could trust.

Jacob Kane threatens to have Kate arrested for aiding and abetting if she doesn't drop the idea that Alice is Beth.

It is revealed that the information that Beth's skull fragments were found at Miller Farm came from investigators employed by Catherine Hamilton.

Catherine Hamilton is revealed to be behind the attack on Sophie and Kate. Presumably she was also responsible for the bomb that nearly killed Alice.


The Bottom Line


Another solid episode which thickens the plot and adds further depth to the core cast. The heel-turn with Catherine Hamilton is perhaps not as surprising as it might have been once (Every CW Arrowverse show has had a mentor be revealed to be someone they weren't at this point.) but the acting is believable and the story well paced.

Starman Plays Fallout - Part 29

In which we finally retrieve the books Miles the Chemist needs, after much backtracking as I try to remember where I accidentally sold the damn things. We also pay a largely pointless visit to the Followers of the Apocalypse, before acquiring the best armor in the game.


The Flash Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 1 - Into The Void

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



Plot

As Barry and Iris cope with the loss of their daughter, Nora, Team Flash faces their most dangerous threat yet, as small black holes begin opening up all around Central City. Meanwhile, Killer Frost has a brush with death that may forever change her relationship with Caitlin Snow and a new villain is born.


Influences

The 1980 Flash Gordon movie (music and the black hole sequence) and The Flash comics of Mike Baron (character of Chester P. Runk) and Joshua Williamson (character of Ramsey Rosso/Bloodwork)


Goofs

How did Godspeed get to the past when he can't run faster than sound, according to Cisco?

Iris lies about why she was at the junkyard for no good reason. Surely Barry of all people would understand her wanting to save the jacket she eventually gave to their daughter in the future? Besides, that, this sets up a major plot convenience as Iris starts investigating junkyard robberies to hide her lie and stumbles across the story of Chester P. Runk.

How does Ralph know about Superman's Fortress of Solitude? (Maybe Barry told him about it after the events of Elseworlds?)

Team Flash shouldn't be surprised they don't hear from Barry while he's inside the black hole, given that the radio signals (or whatever they use to let Barry hear them when he's moving faster than sound) wouldn't be able to escape the pull of the black hole.


Performances

It must be noted again what a fantastic job Danielle Panabaker does in playing off herself and in having made Killer Frost and Caitlin into two distinct characters with different body language, even ignoring their different physical traits.


Artistry

The entire sequence where Barry enters the black hole is brilliant, stylistically made to resemble the slow-motion fight scenes from Flash Gordon.


Flash Facts

The title of the episode is taken from a line in the 1980 Flash Gordon movie - "Pathetic earthlings. Hurling your bodies out into the void, without the slightest inkling of who or what is out here."

As the episode opens, Ralph is out of town, tracking a missing woman named Sue Dearbon. This is the maiden name of Sue Dibny, aka Mrs. Elongated Man in the comics.

Chester P. Runk first appeared in The Flash #9 in February 1988 and was created by Mike Baron and Jackson Guice. A morbidly obese but brilliant cosmologist, Runk felt isolated from the world and grew to hate the popular people around him. After earning a full scholarship to MIT, Runk developed a matter-transfer machine. While testing the device, intending to teleport himself across the city, the machine imploded and wound up inside of Runk, somehow bonding with him.

This gave Runk the ability to create a controllable black hole, but he had to keep feeding dense materials into the hole to prevent it from devouring him. This brought him into conflict with the Wally West version of The Flash, whom Runk sucked into the black hole along with several other people who annoyed him. This led to the discovery that Runk's black hole led into an otherwise empty universe. After convincing Runk to let him and the other people trapped in his universe go, Wally helped Runk to find a positive use for his power, starting a legal business to dispose of garbage, toxic waste and other things people wanted to disappear forever. Runk and West became friends and lived together for a time after Runk became wealthy enough to buy himself a mansion.

The Arrowverse version of Chester P. Runk is not morbidly obese, but is a brilliant scientist who hosts a show about science on a Twitch-style streaming network. Building his own equipment out of abandoned gear he finds in a junkyard, he develops a controllable black hole in his final episode. As in the comics, the black hole bonds with Chester and his conscious mind causes it to manifest in places that are important to him until Team Flash helps reunite Chester's mind and body.

Ramsey Rosso first appeared in The Flash #29 in October 2017 and was created by Joshua Williamson, Pop Mahn and Christian Duce. Born with severe hemophilia that limited his ability to play as a child, Rosso was brilliant but his inability to survive in the world limited his academic pursuits so that he eventually took a job with the Central City morgue. It was here that he began researching a cure for hemophilia, using blood samples from metahumans that were taken as evidence. Rosso developed a formula that gave him a number of superpowers relating to controlling the flow of blood.

As Bloodwork, Rosso is capable of transforming his entire body into a living flow of blood. He can constrict or enhance the flow of blood in others' bodies, causing it to congeal or burn instantly. He also claimed to be invulnerable and did appear to be resistant to cutting implements. The Flash was able to stop him, however, by shocking him with a controlled lightning blast. His chief weakness is that his powers are tied to his own heart-rate and he loses control the more agitated he becomes, transforming into a hulking monster with little sense of reason if he becomes too worked up.

The Arrowverse version of Ramsey Rosso is a research oncologist rather than a coroner. An old friend of Caitlin Snow's from medical school, nothing is said about him being a hemophiliac in this episode. Instead, he is motivated by the death of his mother to cancer and her acceptance of death as inevitable. While we do not see the results of his experiments to create a cure for her type of cancer in this episode, it is clear that he will become this universe's version of Bloodwork.

When Ralph returns to STAR Labs, he reveals that he just came from Opal City. In the comics, Ralph and Sue Dibny eventually settled in Opal City to become that city's protectors after the 7th Starman Jack Knight elected to retire from being a superhero.

Joe retrieves a theft report from the Leawood and New Brighton junkyard for Iris. Leawood and New Brighton are the names of districts in Central City in the comics.

Ralph makes reference to Superman's Fortress of Solitude, when he calls Killer Frost out on isolating herself in a "Snow-tress of Solitude."

The music Cisco plays as Barry enters into the black hole is Flash's Theme by Queen. As Cisco notes, this has never been more appropriate as the plot of the Flash Gordon movie saw Flash Gordon travel into a black hole and another universe.


Technobabble

Cisco is working on building a Mental Augmentation Chamber (i.e. The MAC) which will allow Barry to tap into the Speed Force to boost his cognitive abilities. This would allow him to see every possible outcome to a scenario at the same time, effectively allowing him to "speed-think" even faster than he can now.

Cisco says that the junkyard where the black hole first manifested is awash with gamma rays and magnetar fields.

Rachel Rosso is said to have HLH - Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocystosis. HLH is a rare disease, sometimes acquired by cancer patients. There are two types of HLH: familial and acquired. Familial HLH accounts for about 25% of cases and the condition is passed from parent to child. HLH causes certain kinds of white blood cells to attack other blood cells, resulting in the body slowly failing as it destroys itself. Ramsey claims the median survival rate after diagnosis is 2-6 months.

Chester P. Runk builds a gravitational wave emitter powered by a modulated neutrino charge in his lab. It is this device that allows him to create a small black hole.

Cisco creates an inverse mass angular momentum disruptor - i.e. the stellar grenade. He believes it can be used to collapse a small black hole safely, making it implode by reversing the mass-collecting properties of the black hole.

Normally, stimuli enters the brain through the sensory area, goes up to the temporal lobe, and then back around through the rest of the brain. In Chester's brain, the impulses start in the right area, but halfway through their rotation they just vanish, becoming an energy pulse of negative ionic energy inside the black hole. A negative ionic energy map Cisco makes of the black hole shows this pulse moving halfway around the black hole. This proves that the energy pulse is Chester's conscious mind.

Since Chester's synaptic energy has a negative charge, Barry theorizes he can use the positive charge of the lightning he generates as The Flash to act as a magnet and attract Chester's mind to him.

Containing the energy of a human mind requires the superconductive wiring and filaments from a quantum computer. Cisco retrieves this from Nora's spare gauntlet and threads it into Barry's costume, so that he can retrieve Chester's mind from the black hole.

According to Barry, The Speed Force is a billion times stronger than any gravimetric force. This may not be a precise measurement, but it is strong enough to allow Barry to run into a black hole without being crushed to death instantly.

The structural integrity of The MAC is such that it can be used to contain synaptic energy, making it a handy container for rejoining Chester P. Runk's mind and body.

Chester has to remain inside The MAC for 4-6 weeks for his molecules to restabilize at the subatomic level.


Dialogue Triumphs

Ralph: Having Caitlin's memories isn't the same as having your own.
Killer Frost: Like you'd know anything about that.
Ralph: I know it sucked sitting cour-tside for "The Thinker Show" when he hijacked my body, and I think that you've been going through something similar since Thomas died. And after being at that funeral, seeing that woman live the last days of her life to the fullest, I think that made you want want to start living your best life right now.
Killer Frost: (sharply) That's not my gig! Okay? (quieter) I fight the bad guys, keep Caiti safe, and then go back in my cage. I just have to deal with it.
Ralph: Have you thought to ask Caitlin how she feels?
Killer Frost: What's she gonna say? "Go ahead, Frost, take the wheel." (scoffs)
Ralph: There's only one way to find out.

(Barry begins running around the black hole, picking up speed.)
Cisco: I've been saving this for the right moment - since day one.
(Cisco hits the space key on his keyboard. Flash's Theme from Flash Gordon begins blaring through STAR Labs' sound system.)
Iris: (rolling her eyes) Really, Cisco?
Cisco: The guy is running in and out of a black hole!
(There is a long pause as Iris considers this.)
Iris: Good point.

(The Monitor appears before Iris and Barry.)
Barry: What do you want?
The Monitor: For your universe to survive.
Iris: The plinth you destroyed it. You destroyed Nora's message.
The Monitor: An unfortunate side effect. But I needed to discourage you.
Barry: From doing what?
The Monitor: Hoping. Your determination is boundless, Flash. It is one of your greatest qualities but you cannot avoid the coming Crisis.
Iris: Barry has five years before he vanishes.
The Monitor: No longer. December 10, 2019. On that day, he will answer the call and make the ultimate sacrifice. Soon this world will fight for the fate of all the known universes.
Barry: I'm not gonna leave my family. There has to be a way to stop what's coming.
The Monitor: I am sorry, but events have been set into motion that you cannot possibly comprehend.
Barry: I don't need to understand them! Just tell me what I can do.
The Monitor: To survive? You can't. In order for billions to survive this coming Crisis, the Flash must die.


Dialogue Disasters

Cecile: Baby Jenna is napping like a little angel and I have creamed corn, I have candied yams, I have collard greens. Baby, let's eat! (The delivery of this line is just indescribable and mere text cannot do justice to how badly Cecile tries to sound cool while saying it.)


Continuity

Apart from the opening scene, which takes place immediately after the ending of 522, this episode takes place four months after the Season 5 finale.

The final message Nora left for Iris and Barry seemingly causes a power surge at STAR Labs that seems to short out Gideon and destroys the data drive the message was saved on. This is presumably a side-effect of the paradox of Nora's existence being resolved, but is later revealed to be the work of The Monitor.

Godspeed, last seen in 518, makes an appearance. In the four months since Nora's death, Godspeed has apparently traveled back in time and begun plaguing Central City.

The Godspeed Barry catches is the fourth one Team Flash has stopped in the past four months. None of them have been the real August Heart. All of them have been unable to speak except in odd electronic-sounding noises, which Cisco calls "modem speak."

The Central City Citizen has a couple of hundred-thousand subscribers.

Ralph is a vegetarian.

Ralph is still out of town, tracking a missing woman named Sue Dearbon. He is either in Peru, Monaco or Texas.

Barry has become a workaholic over the past few months and is anxious to test the Mental Augmentation Chamber Cisco is working on.

Barry leaves the party early to investigate a break-in at Eastside Industrial.

Iris leaves the party to take a call, after asking Joe what happened to several old boxes she kept in his garage.

Caitlin leaves the party early to go to the funeral of one of her old teachers, Dr. Rachel Rosso. She was one of Caitlin's mentors in medical school, who reportedly saw a lot of herself in Caitlin, as they were both overachievers.

Dr. Rachel Rosso had a son, Ramsey Rosso, who is also a medical doctor, specializing in oncology.

At the funeral, Ramsey describes his mother as having always pushed him to keep going no matter what pain he experienced, telling a story about her helping him get back on his bike after he fell and hurt himself. This story is later revealed to be a lie and Ramsey was truly disgusted with his mother's acceptance of her cancer diagnosis as untreatable.

Iris goes to a junkyard in search of the boxes Joe threw out. She retrieves the purple jacket she wore when she had speed powers in 416, which would eventually be given to Nora and become part of her XS costume.

While Iris is at the junk yard, she is nearly swallowed by a mysterious black hole.

Iris lies about why she was at the junkyard, saying that she was following up a tip on a series of junkyard robberies.

The data Cisco retrieves from the first black hole site results in more data than anyone has ever acquired about black holes before.

Ralph returns wearing a tux, saying that he just came from Opal City, where he was working undercover among the wealthy elites all summer.

Ralph apparently agreed to take the case to find the missing Sue Dearbon after her parents begged him to take it when every other private investigator said it was hopeless. Ralph says he took the case because they looked so sad and desperate. In a reflection of how Ralph's character has changed in the past years, the fact that they're ludicrous wealthy and paying all his expenses does not come up.

Caitlin has been having random "frost outs" with her powers suddenly flaring up all summer. She had two in the days following Rachel Rosso's funeral.

Iris eventually does go investigating reports of thefts at the junkyard to see if there's a connection to the black hole that nearly ate her.

Caitlin likes her lattes with a bit of cinnamon. According to Ramsey, this is the same way his mother liked them.

Caitlin credits a letter of recommendation from Dr. Rachel Rosso for getting her a job with STAR Labs.

Ramsey said that his mother developed HLH as a result of her cancer and her blood literally boiled her insides to death. This inspired him to start working on a cure for the condition.

Ramsey did develop a cure for HLH, but it requires dark matter as a bonding agent. He asks Caitlin to help him get the dark matter he needs for a trial but Caitlin refuses, saying his process could turn people into metahumans against their will.

A second black hole opens at C.C. Jitters. Barry just stops Caitlin from being sucked into it as The Flash.

Iris discovers the connection between the two black holes, finding that the one person arrested for stealing from a junkyard who didn't fit the profile of a thief was a man named Chester P. Runk, who has a science show on-line.

In his last show before being hospitalized in a catatonic state, Chester apparently (and accidentally) created a small black hole in his lab.

Chester has a crush on a waitress named Natalie, who works at C.C. Jitters.

Caitlin says the last time Killer Frost refused to take over her body and her powers went wonky was right after her father's death in 519.

Ralph theorizes that Killer Frost is afraid of dying in the wake of so much recent death, having never really had the life experience to cushion the blow of the revelation that she is mortal and won't live forever like Caitlin has.

Ramsey acquires a black market dark-matter gun from an illegal weapons dealer.

Iris finally tells Cecile about how she was at the junkyard trying to get her jacket back.

Iris realizes that the throbbing of the black hole's corona corresponds to the beat the catatonic Chester is drumming out.

Ralph gets Killer Frost to emerge by faking an emergency in STAR Labs' reactor.

Ralph changes his assessment, guessing that Killer Frost wants a life of her own outside of being Caitlin's alter ego.

Caitlin led her debate team in high-school to back-to-back championships.

Barry admits that he's been throwing himself into his work the past four months to avoid having to think about Nora's death.

Cecile is able to bench her own body-weight and is able to carry Chester into The MAC by herself.

Cisco has been saving Flash's Theme from Flash Gordon to play for the perfect occasion. He decides that Barry going into a black hole is that occasion.

Barry is able to enter into the black hole and retrieve Chester's mind.

Chester's mind is restored but his eyes now glow with orange energy.

Chester has to remain inside The MAC for 4-6 weeks. Thankfully, he is more than happy to hang around STAR Labs in the meantime. He plans to ask Natalie out as soon as he can.'

Caitlin agrees to let Killer Frost take over their body and live her own life outside of being a superhero.

Ralph takes up the job of Killer Frost's life coach. He has a newly written Book Of Ralph Vol. 2.

Ralph suggests Killer Frost pick a new name for herself. He suggests Anne, which is the middle name of his mother.

Ramsey Rosso is revealed to have 99% of the cancer markers his mother did, suggesting the real reason he is so desperate to find a cure. He injects himself with his cure and it does seem to start removing the cancer markers from his DNA. It also causes his arm to become coated with some kind of black liquid, which causes him to scream.

Barry sets up a display case in the Time Vault to hold Nora's jacket.

The Monitor appears to Barry and Iris and tells them that the date of Barry's disappearance has ben pushed up to December 10, 2019. He also says that for the multiverse to be saved, Barry must die and this fate cannot be avoided. 


Untelevised Adventures

August Heart (aka Godspeed) apparently traveled back in time at some point in the past four months and began causing damage around Central City. He has also apparently been giving super-speed to other people, having created four decoys under his control, who are incapable of speech.


The Bottom Line

A solid season opener, mainly sold by the fantastic Flash Gordon sequence and the chilling tie-in to Crisis at the end. The subplots are being set-up but Bloodwork is a largely underwhelming big-bad in the face of what we know this season is building toward. Still, a good start overall.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Starman Plays Fallout - Part 28

In which we go back to the Deathclaw Breeding Grounds and successfully speak to the Gun Runners without teleporting into a Deathclaw orgy afterwards. We also speak with Blades and discover that - shockingly - the work camp full of armed guards who keep telling us we're being watched are NOT good guys!