Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 2 - The Book of Consequences: Chapter Two: Black Jesus Blues

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



Plot

One Green Light Baby escapes into the Streets of Freeland as another struggles to contain a horrible power that seems to turn everyone around him against him. As Lynn struggles to help the one and Black Lightning searches for the other, Jefferson Pierce struggles with how he can break the news to his faculty and students that he is stepping down as principal of Garfield High.

Meanwhile, Jennifer struggles to contain her new powers, Anissa revels in a new romance and her newfound celebrity status as Thunder, Khalil tries to work his way back into Jennifer's life and Tobias Whale starts to tie up some loose ends as he gets ready to make a play to take over the international weapons market with a new item - metahuman soldiers.


Influences

Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands (the idea of Tobias Whale as an arms dealer), the movie Dead Poet's Society (the ending is a tribute to the end of the movie) and the Milestone Comics Universe.


Goofs

Grace is reintroduced back into the show as quickly as she was removed from it last season, all so we can have a little bit of drama regarding Anissa's love life.


Artistry

The jazz soundtrack in the opening sequence is fantastic.

The effects work of Jefferson being battered around by the wind is great.


Technobabble

Lynn says that Wendy Hernandez may have had a psychotic break and is hallucinating.

Gambi says that Wendy Hernandez has the power of aerokinesis - wind control.

Issa Williams is revealed to have the power to make people unable to not speak the truth when he makes eye contact with them.

Lynn says that the metagene destabilizes the body's cells and then the cell's change fundamentally, giving a person superpowers. When a person's metagene is formed artificially by taking Green Light, the cells won't re-stabilize. This means that eventually the cells in the body will break down and the Green Light Babies will all die. Keeping them in the pods can keep them in stasis until a cure is found.


Dialogue Triumphs

Napier: You're an icon in this town, Jefferson.
Jefferson: (skeptical) Uh-huh.
Napier: And they can't have you... criticize after the fact.
Jefferson: I volunteered to resign for the good of the school. Why would I undermine that?
Napier: You can't even be reluctant. You've got to be 100%
(There is a long pause as Jefferson realizes why this is such a big deal.)
Jefferson: He's white?
Napier: ... yes.
Jefferson: And the board - the board is afraid of the backlash? From Parents? Students? The media? Because he is coming to a predominantly black school, playing the white savior role?
Napier: ... yes.
Jefferson: Come on, man! You couldn't find another black person? Someone who truly understands where these kids are coming from?
Napier: He's highly qualified Jefferson-
Jefferson: If he's so damn qualified, then why do I have to shuck and jive for Massah Lowry?
Napier: (testily) And tap dance. And moon walk. This is a chance to save your reputation.
Jefferson: No. No! Don't spin me, brother. We've known each other too long for that.
Napier: 'Cause we've known each other, I'm reminding you. You didn't handle your business. So now tongues are wagging. And you need those tongues wagging in the right direction. I'm your friend, bro. Get out of this alive. Alright?

Tobias: Remember when we did that loud-mouth reporter?
Marcellus: (thinking but then smiling in recollection) Yeah. Yeah! (snaps fingers) Pierce! Alvin Pierce!
(Tobias nods as Marcellus laughs.)
Marcellus: You called him an Uncle Tom and made him eat every story he wrote until he choked on them.
(Tobias starts laughing as well.)
Marcellus: (laughing) 
Oh, boy. I never forget.
Tobias: (not laughing anymore) I was hoping you wouldn't... remember.
(There is a deathly silence. Tobias stands up.)
Marcellus: I'm a loose end.
(Tobias only nods, looking honestly regretful.)
Marcellus:
I love you, man.
(Tobias goes behind Marcellus, rubs his shoulders and then hugs him.)Tobias: And I love you too, brother.
(Tobias quickly snaps Marcellus' neck and leaves the room.)

(Issa and Jennifer test how his power only works when he's looking at a person.)
Issa: What's your favorite color?
Jennifer: Red.
Issa: (confused) Really?
Jennifer: Nope. (teasingly slaps Issa) Let's try again.
Issa: (shrugging)  Umm... do you like ice cream?
Jennifer: I hate it. (sighs in relief) Thank God, I can still lie!
Issa: Yeah, the truth isn't always good.
Jennifer: Fastest way for me to get in trouble is to tell my parents a truth they don't want to hear.

Jefferson: I need you to hear me. I wanted to be the one to tell you so that you know that I... I still have love for my students. Okay look. It is a fact the school was attacked. It is a fact that I... that I was not here during the attack or its aftermath. The board has decided that these facts are unacceptable. And they're right. I accept full responsibility for the consequences of my actions. As I would expect from each and every one of you. But. I'm not going anywhere. I am honored to remain at Garfield as a teacher. And I will give my full support to the new principal. Thank you. For always teaching me.
(Jefferson steps away from the microphone and starts to walk off stage.)
Student: Where is the future?
(Jefferson stops and looks out to the crowd.)
Jefferson: Right here.
Students: And whose life is this?
(Jefferson takes a step toward the front of the stage.)
Jefferson: Mine.
Students: What are you going to do with it?
(Jefferson walks back up to the microphone.)
Jefferson: Live it. By any means necessary.
(The students cheer as the whole crowd slowly stands up and applauds, as Jefferson slowly smiles.)


Continuity

Both Painkiller and Tobias play chess, but Tobias is a much better player.

Tobias blames Painkiller for Synoide's death.

One of the ASA scientists Lynn is supervising is killed when a Green Light Baby who vomits energy breaks his pod and dies. This frees Wendy Hernandez - a Green Light Baby with aerokinesis powers.

Gambi determines that all of Wendy Hernandez' family is dead. He begins watching the mall and rec center where she hung out, her best friend's apartment complex and the house where her grandparents used to live.

Neither Anissa or Jennifer have had menstrual cramps since they got super powers.

Anissa goes to a concert for a singer named Zoe B. The two wind up spending the night together.

Jefferson has pictures in his office where he is shaking hands with President George W. Bush and President Barak Obama.

The replacement principal is a man named Mark Lowry.

Jen pushes Painkiller off the roof when he first comes to her. She then tells him to go away, even after he tries to explain that he owes Tobias for everything he did to help him.

Tobias kills Marcellus - his former second-in-command, who is currently living in an old folks home - after he reveals that he remembers Tobias Whale killing Alvin Pierce.

Black Lightning and Thunder help to clear an accident scene caused by Wendy Hernandez. Black Lightning drains the energy from the downed power lines and cars and Thunder opens up the cars the EMTs can't get into.

Thunder high-fives the people in the street and bows as they cheer, much to her father's annoyance.

Lynn brings Issa Williams (aka The Body Bag Boy from 201) to eat dinner with the rest of the family.

Jennifer is still smoking in secret.

Anissa runs into Grace Choi (last seen in 104) at a party at Zoe B.'s penthouse, where Grace is working as part of the catering crew. She has apparently not called her for some time.

Tobias meets with Detective Summers - a cop on his payroll - and kills him.

Issa is told about the instability of his metagene and how he has two choices - be locked in a pod and put into stasis or take his chances living a normal life and hoping Lynn can find a cure before he dies.

Black Lightning is able to bring Wendy down with a low level electric shock.

Issa elects to stay free and live with his parents while getting regular check-ups with Lynn.

Wendy elects to be put back into cryogenic storage until a cure can be found.

Jefferson announces that he is resigning as principal at a school assembly, but that he will remain at Garfield High as a teacher.


Untelevised Adventures

Painkiller was apparently there when Syonide died in 201, covering the rear of the parking garage.


The Winick Factor

Anissa has suddenly become a full-of-herself player after having seemingly started a relationship with Grace last season.


The Bottom Line

A lot of subplots this time around, but they all get about the same amount of time to be developed. This is fair but unfortunate, given that watching Jefferson deal with his job and Tobias killing his underlings is far more entertaining than watching Anissa hang around the pool of her new girlfriend's Penthouse - largely because Anissa's characters seems to have shifted drastically over the past two episodes. By contrast, Jennifer gets to show some surprising maturity in helping Issa with his issues. Hopefully the two will get to interact some more because there's some great chemistry between their actors.

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 2 - Blocked

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




Plot

The search for a metahuman thief going after high-tech weapons leads Team Flash to a confrontation with the mystery man they come to call Cicada.


Influences

The Flash
comics of Geoff Johns (character of Cicada) and Van Jensen (character of Block)


Goofs

Why don't Barry and Nora go running after Block once the block around Nora fades?  Though they're some distance away, Block still has a big, obvious truck full of guns to move and they should easily be able to track her down at super-speed.

Gratifying as it is to see Iris doing actual journalism for a change, one wonders why the CCPD hadn't thought to check the body-cam footage of the injured officers to figure out what killed Gridlock.

Barry says a 10-61 is the police code for taking a coffee break. This does not correspond to any Police 10 Code System used in the United States (It could be different in the Arrowverse, or Barry is lying to keep Nora from running off half-cocked.)

If the events of the episode are happening in sequence, Barry and Iris are able to track Block using the Doppler radar BEFORE she actually uses her powers and creates a traceable pocket of compressed air.


Performances

Carlos Valdez, normally the cheerful comic relief, does a fantastic job capturing how depression can make a person numb.

Danielle Panabaker gets a nice, subtle performance here, showing Caitlin as clearly being sympathetic toward Cisco while simultaneously trying to mask her own desire to avoid dealing with the questions around why her father faked his death.


Flash Facts

The character of Vanessa Jensen (aka Block) is based on a Flash villain who is alternatively known as The Block or The Human Block. First appearing in DC Sneak Peak #1 (May 2015), Block was one of the Acolytes of Zoom - a team formed by Eobard Thawne to hunt Barry Allen across time.

The comic book version of Block was an unnamed Maori woman living in Melbourne, Australia who was struck by lightning and acquired the ability to alter her body's density by using the Speed Force to slow the molecular motion in her own body, compacting the atoms and making them denser and stronger. She was later able to apply this ability to the air around her, creating solid forms and could even drain the Speed Force energy from other people.

The Arrowverse version of Block is a woman with the name of Vanessa Jensen. This seems to be a tribute to writer Van Jensen, who co-created the comic book version of Block. She has the power to create "blocks" of solidified air that are so dense a speedster cannot vibrate through them.

Cisco says "Holy Kafka" when he sees that one of the steps on Ralph's guide to getting over a break-up is Metamorphosis. This is a reference to a novella by Franz Kafka, which centers around a man who wakes up one day to find he has transformed into a giant cockroach.

The Arrowverse version of Cicada is shown to have the power to negate the powers of other metahumans. He also has telekinetic control over his special daggers and appears to gain enhanced strength and durability after he drains the power of another metahuman. This differs dramatically from the comic book version of Cicada, who basically drained the life in general from people (not just metahumans) and didn't gain any special abilities beyond an extended life span from doing it.

Cisco compares Cicada's command of his dagger to Thor's command of Mjolnir - the magical hammer he could summon to his hand in the Marvel Comics.


Technobabble

Cisco bought a new spectral tachyometer to try and get rid of Nora's negative tachyons.

Cisco and Gypsy's powers linked them together through pan-dimensional spacetime. As such, Cisco is still feeling her presence in response to everything he does and can't use his vibe powers because of his depression regarding their break-up.

Nora makes reference to a scene-wide modified bosonic frequency field - a device that somehow enables CSIs in the future to handle materials on a crime scene without risking contamination.

The flesh cube is far denser than a pound of flesh, weighing more than Barry can lift despite its small size.

Block manipulates atoms to create concentrated air molecules in cube form. These cubes are incredibly dense and the space between the molecules is so compact that there isn't enough wiggle room for a speedster to vibrate through them.

Barry says that speedsters need to know about physics, aerodynamics and trajectory formulas to truly use their powers effectively.

The key to Higgs particles isn't their mass but the effect they have on the mass of other particles.

10-61 is the police code for an officer requesting permission to go on a coffee break. (In APCO Police 10 code, 10-61 is the signal for Stopping A Suspicious Vehicle.)

Nora and Iris realize they can track Block by measuring the atmospheric pressure with a big barometer (i.e. Channel 52's Doppler radar.) and find a six block radius where the conditions are the same as an extreme atmospheric system.

Caitlin says that the levels of concentrated dark matter around the wounds left by Cicada's dagger on Cisco's hand are unlike any she's ever seen before.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Nora has just confessed that she lied about being trapped in the past.)
Cisco: Are you kidding me?! Do you know how many credit card points I just blew trying to get rid of your negative tachyons? I just bought a brand new spectral tachyometer when I could have my Fiji get away. (pauses and sighs)  Not that... not that I have anyone to go with. Anymore.
(Ralph opens his mouth.)
Cisco:
I'm not taking you to Fiji, Ralph.

(Ralph asks Cisco to vibe Caitlin's dad's faked death certificate.)
Cisco: (depressed) Cisco is not available right now. Please leave a message.
Ralph: (without missing a beat) Oh! Uh, hey Cisco? It's Ralph. Hope you're doing well. Just, get back to me. I need you to vibe this as soon as possible. Bye-bye!

(Caitlin and Ralph discuss how to cheer Cisco up as if he weren't there.)
Cisco: Please stop caring about me.

(Nora spots the flesh cube that once was Bobby Moretti.)
Nora:
What is that?!
Barry: That, I haven't gotten to yet, but it looks like somebody wanted their pound of flesh.
(Nora reaches down and touches the cube.)
Barry: Nora, wait!
Nora: What?
Barry: What are you doing? You can't touch that! You'll contaminate the evidence!
Nora: Sorry. You mean you don't have a scene-wide modified bosonic frequency field to avoid cross-contamination?
Barry: I don't even think we have some of those words yet!

(Caitlin is trying to get Cisco's attention but he is so depressed he is totally zoned out. Ralph waves her off and leans in close to Cisco.)
Ralph: (whispers) Han shot second.
(Cisco jumps out of his chair and grabs Ralph by the shirt, suddenly furious.)
Cisco:
THAT DOESN'T EVEN MAKE SENSE!

(Barry asks Joe how he can stop Nora from going over the top in trying to impress him.)
Joe: Bar, all the information that this girl has on you comes from that museum. There are literally statues of you on pedestals. How much do you think she wants to impress her hero?
Barry: So what do I do?
Joe: Well, show her it's okay not to be perfect coming out of the gate. There's no short cuts. It takes time to get things right. And that's not failure. That's life. Also, show her that, no matter what, you're always going to love her. That's what parents do.

Cisco: Why don't you want to investigate your dad's death certificate?
Caitlin: (sighs) Because. If it's true? If he has been alive this whole time? It just means he doesn't want to see me.
(There is a long pause as Caitlin stares at her cinnamon roll and Cisco tries to think of something to say. Finally, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out Ralph's list.)
Cisco: Step 27: Accept that she isn't the love of your life, because if she were, she'd still be in it.
Caitlin: Pretty deep for Ralph Dibny.
Cisco: (snorts) Yeah. Granted, it took him 26 swings before he could hit the ball.
(Caitlin laughs)
Cisco: I don't know. I think he might of knocked it out of the park with that one. (sighs) Gypsy isn't the one. I know that. And there's no amount of new clothes or crazy makeover distractions that can change that fact. Because some truths you can only hide from for so long. And the truth is it's too late for me to change things with her. But it's not to late for you. It's not too late for you to change things with your dad.
Caitlin:(quietly) But what if he doesn't want anything to do with me?
Cisco: If he doesn't, wouldn't you rather face that truth instead of spending the rest of your life wondering?
(Caitlin bites her lip and wipes a tear away.)

Barry: Sometimes for people with our abilities, the most impressive feat is restraint.


Continuity

Cicada is seen recalling his battle with Gridlock, while sitting in a locker room at some sort of factory.

Nora tells the rest of Team Flash that she lied about being stuck in the past.

Nora also shows them the 2049 newspaper article about how Barry never came back from disappearing in 2024.

Cecile's telepathic connection to Jenna is still fading.

Bobby and Bruno Moretti are the biggest arms dealers in Central City.

Vanessa Jensen was one of their former employees. She was in Iron Heights prison for four years. She was affiliated with the East Street Skulls gang.

Vanessa crushes Bobby Moretti into a small cube.

Nora poses as an intern that Barry hired to help him with his case backlog.

Captain Singh tells Iris that William "Gridlock" Lang was killed en route to Iron Heights.

Ralph has written a book, The Book of Ralph, which has one page devoted to his 27 step plan to getting over a failed romance. We don't get to see the whole list, but what we do see includes...

1. Shark cage diving (Make sure you have no paper cuts)
2. Positive Affirmations.
3. Watch "Beaches" and paint your toe-nails. (Pastels look best.)
4. Rearrange your record collection autobiographically. (After 3 months, arrange by color.)
5. Give your best bud $20 every time you think of your ex. (Go to ATM first.)
6. Attend a Corgi beach festival (bring treats!)
7. Take a hot air balloon ride to Star City.
8. Hit the gym - twice a day!
9. Eat an entire pizza.
10. Goat yoga.
11. Rent a Vespa. (Try to look cool on it.)
12. Metamorphosis. (not like The Fly)
13. Storm out of wherever you are.  (Slam doors if possible.)
14. Go "find yourself" in Thailand. (First, find Thailand)
15. Fly a kite in a lightning storm.
27. Realize she isn't the love of your life. If she were, she'd still be in your life.

Officer Matthews was one of the officers guarding Gridlock. He is a fan of Iris' blog. He tells her about Cicada's attack on the convoy delivering Gridlock to Iron Heights. He says he was beaten up but Lang seemed to be the only target as he was beaten and stabbed.

Cecile wants to use Harry Wells' Mental Activity Dampener 2.0 so that she can keep reading Jenna's thoughts. Joe is against the idea.

Nora didn't know that Barry spent some time in prison during his battle with The Thinker. She says there was nothing about that in The Flash Museum and apparently Iris didn't tell her about that. (This suggests that Barry Allen's secret identity is not public knowledge in the future.)

The East Street Skulls are involved in drug-trafficking, gun-running and armed robbery. Barry says they make The Hell's Angels look like a knitting club and that he ran into a few of them while he was in prison.

Cisco has not relaunched Sally, The STAR Labs satellite yet.

Vanessa Jensen is dubbed Block by Cisco.

Ralph says his 27 step process doesn't start really kicking into effect until Step 17.

Ralph has a personal stylist named Bruce.

Cisco's cousin is not John Stamos.

Cisco eventually asks why they just don't ask Joe to look into the falsified death certificate instead of depending on his Vibe powers. This causes Caitlin to tell Ralph and Cisco to forget about the certificate.

Nora asks Barry how to do a super-sonic punch like in 106.

Nora says the high-school textbooks of her time cover physics that haven't even been discovered in 2018.

Nora refers to the events of 115 (when Barry stopped a tsunami) and 202 (throwing lightning at a sand demon).

Nora attempts to throw lightning and throws Barry through a blackboard by accident.

Barry set the gym on fire with his fourth grade science fair project. He built a robot with wheels instead of making a baking soda volcano like everyone else.

Caitlin admits that she's trying to avoid investigating her dad's faked death because she's afraid he wants nothing to do with her.

Barry shows Nora some video footage of his failures to show that he screwed up as The Flash quite often.

Nora and Iris realize they can track Block by using the local news station's radar to find pockets of compressed air.

Block is tracked to the corner of Pacific and Davies.

Nora realizes that Block can't use her powers when she is tired. This allows her to dodge her blocks and wear her out.

Nora runs Block to the hospital after she is stabbed by Cicada.

Cisco is unable to pull Cicaca's dagger from the ground and burns his hands on it when Cicada summons it back to his hand.

Cicada is about to kill The Flash when Nora returns and shouts out "Dad!" For some reason, this (or the sight of Nora) causes Cicada to stop in mid-strike and he walks off before anyone can stop him.

Cisco tries to vibe the fake death certificate for Caitlin one more time. She has a vision of her mother standing there as it was filled out.

Iris identifies the weird noise of Cicada's breathing as the same noise she heard on the video of Gridlock's murder.

Nora recognizes the name of Cicada.


The Bottom Line

A typical villain-of-the-week episode with a largely forgettable villain. Thankfully, the focus on Team Flash and the comedy trio of Caitlin, Cisco and Ralph more than make-up for it. The only unfortunate thing is that virtually all of the cast is sidelined so that Iris can be the one to uncover Cicada's existence, which undercuts the fact that the show is finally allowing Iris to act like a real journalist instead of the "team leader" who is calling the shots at STAR Labs. Still... baby steps.

Despite that one issue, this episode works quite well on every level and Nora manages to maintain the right balance between earnest and annoying. Cicada also gets one heck of an introduction, though the effort to humanize him at the start is rather strange. Still, a strong start to the season so far.



Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 38

In which we investigate a land-snatching operation, stumble across an honest-to-goodness ghost story, catch a lecture at the local university and have several strange conversations in the local pub.


Arrow Episode Guide: Season 7, Episode 1 - Inmate 4587

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


Plot

Five months have passed since Oliver Queen was revealed to the world as Green Arrow and imprisoned in Slabside Maximum Security Prison. Now, as he tries to keep his head down earn time off of his sentence, the rest of Team Arrow must continue the mission to save Star City, despite crime boss Ricardo Diaz still being at large and the new city government being more concerned with stopping vigilantes than career criminals. And in the midst of all this, a new Green Arrow emerges...


Influences

Supermax (David Goyer's unproduced "Green Arrow in prison" movie) and the novel The Count of Monte Cristo (parallels to Oliver's life, as it centers around a man who adopts a new identity to avenge himself on those responsible for ruining his former life and is unjustly imprisoned.)


Goofs

Shouldn't Rene and Zoe be in Witness Protection as well?  Rene's secret identity isn't really a secret anymore and while Felicity and William may be bigger targets, Diaz would probably go after them as well. (Then again, Rene isn't the type to abandon his neighborhood, as we see given his new job.)

Why, of all things, is Felicity working as a barista? Couldn't she find a tech job working from home that would pay better, take advantage of her talents and limit her exposure in public?

Ignoring how Black Siren shouldn't be able to convincingly masquerade as a lawyer, why on Earth would she be rehired to work for Star City's District Attorney's office? The real Laurel Lance was outed as the first Black Canary after her death and the new government of Star City is allegedly anti-vigilante to a fault. It seems strange then that they would let their DA's office be run by an ex-vigilante!

How does ARGUS let Diaz slip through their security AND let him get away?


Performances

There honestly isn't a bad one to be found here, but Emily Bett Rickards slays with the steel in her performance as she declares that she is going to start fighting back in the final scenes.

Most Improved: Rick Gonzales as Rene Ramirez. For some reason, Rene didn't grate on my nerves the way he usually did. I think it's because all of his macho posturing is gone. Rene had always been ready for a fight in the past but two years seem to have taught him what is worth fighting for and Gonzales perfectly captures Rene's realization of what a true warrior's role is. His interactions with Zoe and his students do more to humanize Rene in two minutes than every scene with the character to date.


Artistry

The fifth segment fight-sequence which cuts between Oliver in the prison shower and Felicity fighting Diaz may be the best in the show's history.


Trivia

The opening scene showing William running through the woods is a reference to the opening of the first episode.

Oliver Queen is imprisoned in Slabside Maximum Security Prison. In the original DC Comics universe, Slabside Penitentiary was the name of a maximum security prison for Metahumans, which first appeared in Green Lantern #51 (May 1994). It is nicknamed The Slab, because those who are sent there only leave it once they are "on the slab". (i.e. dead)

The new title card sequence shows a grey arrow with a sound of cell doors closing.

The town where Felicity and William now live is said to be named Hope Springs. In the DC Universe, Hope Springs is a small town in West Virigina, which first appeared in Green Lantern Vol. 3 #1 (June 1990)

The coffee shop Felicity works at is named Radu's. Radu's was also the name of the Greenwich Village coffee shop which Green Lantern Kyle Rayner frequently hung out at and lived above. It was owned and operated by Radu Stancu - a Romanian immigrant and ex-soldier, who was also Kyle Rayner's landlord. In the DC Rebirth reality, Radu's now seems to be a popular chain of coffee shops, as Wally West was seen drinking coffee with his ex-girlfriend Magenta at a Radu's location in Keystone City.

Ben Turner (a.k.a. Bronze Tiger) was killed in Issue #12 of the Arrow: Season 2.5. This would seem to confirm that the Arrow comic books are not considered canon by the writers of the television show, or, at least, that the Suicide Squad story that included Bronze Tiger isn't. (Of course, it's entirely possible that one of Barry Allen's trips to the past changed the timeline so Bronze Tiger survived.)

The only book in Oliver's cell is a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. The story centers upon a merchant sailor who is unjustly accused of treason and thrown into prison without trial. While there, he learns that he was framed by three men - a rival for the affections of his fiancee, a jealous co-worker an a corrupt judge. With the aid of another prisoner he escapes, claims a lost fortune and reinvents himself as The Counte of Monte Cristo before returning to France and engaging a quest for revenge that sees many people, guilty and innocent, harmed. Parallels can be drawn between Oliver's current situation (unjust imprisonment) and his life (a man becomes something else in a bid to fight the evil men who ruined his life and the lives of many other people.)

One of the names on the new Green Arrow's list is "Nicholas Ko-."This might be Nicholas Kotero, who was the first criminal Oliver Queen ever faced as Green Arrow in the post-Crisis era. Kotero was another castaway on the first island where Ollie was shipwrecked, who Oliver deduced was lying about his identity. Kotero revealed himself as a Ted Bundy-style serial-rapist/killer who had gotten lost at sea while fleeing prosecution. He would emerge years later after figuring out that Oliver Queen was Green Arrow, kill one of the ladies Oliver was dating at the time and force Oliver into another confrontational in Green Arrow Annual #7. Kotero would go on to become an enemy of the Connor Hawke Green Arrow, masterminding a scheme to start a new American Civil War along racial lines.


Dialogue Triumphs

Oliver: I'm focusing on what I can control.
John: What's that?
Oliver: Keep my head down. Hopefully shorten my sentence.
John: That's smart. I think that's a good play. But I worry about the toll that's going to take on you, Oliver.
Oliver: Cuts heal, John.
John: Not physically, bro. Keeping passive? Not fighting back? Never been who you were.
Oliver: I've always done what I had to do. Right now? This is what I have to do.

Jason Stent: I want to talk to your captain!
(Dinah enters the room.)
Dinah: You sure about that? Because Officer Anastas is a lot more patient than I am.

Rene: Self defense isn't about being violent. It's about being focused and disciplined so you can protect yourself and the ones that you love.

(Jason Stent is lying on the ground, helpless as the new Green Arrow moves in.)
Jason Stent: Please! I'll give you anything!
New Green Arrow: I have what I came for. Jason Stent, you have failed this city!

Felicity: (To Oliver) I love you. And I will always, always wait for you. But I can't let what happened to William and I happen again. I can't. I have to fight back. You, of all people, understand that.


Continuity

Another inmate named Stanley asks Oliver for protection. He refuses to give it.

Ben Turner (aka Bronze Tiger) was last seen in 216.

Danny "Brick" Brickman was last seen in 421.

Derek Sampson was last seen in 521.

The first target of the new Green Arrow is an arms dealer named Jason Stent.

Officer Nick Anastas is still dating Curtis Holt.

John Diggle has been visiting Oliver in prison once a week for the past five months.

William and Felicity are confirmed to be in Witness Protection.

Diggle is overseeing their security personally and has upped them to 24/7 surveillance since he last talked to Oliver a week earlier.

The FBI and ARGUS are still hunting for Diaz.

Felicity is working as a Barista at Baru's Coffee in a town called Hope Springs. She is using the name Erin.

Dinah Drake is now a Captain in the SCPD. She has quit being Black Canary.

Jason Stent has been accused of fraud, racketeering and embezzlement.

Rene is teaching self-defense classes at a community center in The Glades. He has quit being Wild Dog and his secret identity has been exposed to the world.

Brick, Bronze Tiger and Sampson have a side-hustle that requires three men. They try to pressure Ollie into replacing Bronze Tiger.

Rene witnesses the new Green Arrow taking down an illegal gun deal run by Freddie Medina.

Medina is later revealed to be working for Jason Stent

The customer Felicity helped with his programming asks her out. She turns him down, but doesn't explain that it's because she is married.

Black Siren is still impersonating Laurel Lance. She has become District Attorney of Star City.

All of Team Arrow gave up being vigilantes.

John Diggle has been using a lot of ARGUS resources to search for Diaz and gotten into trouble for doing so. He says that he wants to catch the new Green Arrow before the FBI thinks it is something Oliver planned in advance.

Curtis is now the head of Research and Development and ARGUS.

Curtis is able to track Jason Stent's dealings on the dark web and find out he is liquidating all of this inventory of weapons.

Oliver lets Brick and Sampson menace Stanley after Oliver refuses to work with them.

The SCPD tries to set a trap for the new Green Arrow at Jason Stent's arms deal.

The new Green Arrow uses a voice modulator to disguise his voice.

Rene, as Wild Dog, creates a distraction that helps the new Green Arrow escape the police.

Oliver is having a reoccurring nightmare of Felicity and William being hunted through the woods of Lian Yu by Diaz.

Diaz breaks into Felicity's home as Diaz has a gang jump Oliver in prison.

Diaz somehow escapes before ARGUS can move to capture him.

Oliver does not have at-will phone privileges.

Felicity sets William up at a private boarding school in Cambridge.

Felicity says she is getting out of witness protection because she is sick of hiding and not being able to protect herself.

Rene and several other small business owners in The Glades were mysteriously given money. The total of the donations equals the amount of money stolen from Jason Stent at the trap for Green Arrow.

Dinah reveals that she knows Rene helped the new Green Arrow escape, but agrees not to turn him in this time.

Thea gave Felicity the Hozen Oliver gave her in the first episode before she left town.

Felicity gives the Hozen to William.

Oliver starts a fight in the exercise yard, apparently having gotten sick of keeping his head down.

The new Green Arrow has a list of targets, similar to The List Oliver Queen used in Season One.

There are a series of scenes that show a young man paying a Chinese ship captain to take him to an island. After the young man finds the grave marker of Robert Queen, it is revealed the island is Lian Yu. The young man is then captured by a hooded figure, who threatens to kill him until the young man says his name is William Clayton and that he has the Queen Family Hozen. The hooded figure then reveals himself as an older Roy Harper. This reveals that the flash-backs are actually flash-forwards to 20 years in the future.


Location

Slabside Maximum Security Prison.
Hope Springs
Lian Yu - 2038


The Fridge Factor

Averted in the case of Felicity, whose attack at the hands of Diaz seems to be prompting her to take control of her own life and become a vigilante in her own right as opposed to being the damsel in distress whose only purpose in the show is giving Oliver angst over his inability to protect her.


The Winick Factor

Diaz is still the same invincible criminal mastermind who is somehow able to overcome the combined efforts of multiple police organizations and break into Felicity's home and evade capture with ease. He is less master criminal and more slasher-movie killer, only without Freddy Kruger's sense of humor.


The Bottom Line

A solid start for the season, despite many of the same old problems being there. Chief among these are the fact that Diaz can't be a convincing threat without a whole lot of plot convenience and the show's writers continuing to have to twist the laws of reality to justify Black Siren not having been sent to a secret ARGUS holding facility.

Ignoring the IWVS (Invincible Winick Villain Syndrome), the writing is greatly improved. New Team Arrow in particularly is much more likeable, with Curtis being allowed to be funny without it seeming in appropriate, Dinah being handled like a hardened professional and Rene acting like a father and a mentor without being a jackass.

The twist at the end with the revelation that we are seeing Flash-Forwards is something I don't think anyone saw coming, though this does explain the show-runners' statements that we would see Roy Harper have a role in the new season but that they wouldn't negate the wonderful send-off he and Thea Queen got last year. This still leaves us with the question of who the new Green Arrow is, but the season is still young...

Monday, October 15, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 37

In which we go looking for a collection of riddle chests we missed in Chapter One, stumble across an obscure side quest we can't complete until Chapter Three and find this Max Feeber character the Prince's tax collector mentioned before.