Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Starman Plays Batman: The Enemy Within - Part 3

In which we investigate the Riddler's puzzle, outsource the job to Lucius Fox, meet Lucius' even more brilliant daughter Tiffany and run into our old friend John after a very unpleasant interview with the Agency. Also, stuff starts to go wrong. Horribly.


Arrow Episode Guide: Season 7, Episode 19 - Spartan

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




Plot

Armed with new information on the killer of Emkio's mother, Oliver hopes to turn his sister away from the Ninth Circle. Unfortunately, a sudden setback will leave Team Arrow at a disadvantage and send Diggle looking for help from an old military contact he has a bad history with. Meanwhile, Felicity is approached with an interesting offer regarding her company, only to have the Ninth Circle steal her latest invention for their own purposes.



Influences

The Green Arrow comics of Benjamin Percy (The Ninth Circle and Emiko Queen) and Chuck Dixon (the Cygnus X-1 weapon)


Performances

Ernie Hudson is a fun presence as General Stewart.


Trivia

Alena makes reference to a Dr. Will Magnus wanting to buy Smoak Technologies. Felicity describes him as the world's greatest expert on robotics. First appearing in Showcase #37 in April 1962, Dr. Will Magnus was the scientist who created the super-powered robots known as the Metal Men.

Diggle's stepfather is revealed to be a Marine General named Roy Stewart. It is worth mentioning that there is a long-running fan theory that John Diggle is the Arrowverse equivalent of John Stewart - a career soldier who became a Green Lantern. This would seem to confirm the idea, as it was suggested that John Diggle, on Earth-90, had become Green Lantern.

Diggle makes mention of his father dying during a secret mission to Vlatava. In the DC Comics Universe, Vlatava is an Eastern European nation with a long history of religious and sectarian turmoil. The entire country, with the exception of its president and Count Vertigo (the last surviving member of its royal family) was killed by The Spectre.

The Ninth Circle is after a biological weapon dubbed Cygnus X-1, which is said to be a bacteria that can eat through anything. This sounds similar to Mutajek 9-9 - a self-replicating biological weapon from the Green Arrow comics which could eat through any form of plastic and destroy a city in minutes. In the Where Angels Fear To Tread storyline, Oliver Queen died trigger an explosion that prevented a Mutajek 9-9 bomb from being detonated over Metropolis.


Technobabble

The item Virgil and his men were sent to purchase was an ARGUS vault drive, triple-level encryption or eyes-only documents

Felicity says the vault drive contains a security failsafe protocol to prevent it from being hacked that isn't the same as the ones used by ARGUS. She recognizes them as belonging to the Defense Intelligence Agency.

The Galaxy One helmet is powered by a module made of an alloy proprietary to Galaxy One. In order to access its workings, Felicity must get one of that exact make of module.

With enough pressure at a steady pace, a shoelace can saw through hard plastic.

Cygnus X-1 was meant to genetically engineer a bacteria that could consume the byproducts of nuclear fission. Instead, it created a bacteria that would eat through nearly anything.


Dialogue Triumphs

Virgil: (eying Alena as she wields a keyboard like a club) Pistol beats keyboard, darling.

(General Stewart enters into the Bunker)
Stewart: So this is where you people work? Impressive.
Oliver: How did your men end up at Smoak Tech, General?
Stewart: Several months ago, the DIA  got wind of a Ninth Circle mole inside ARGUS. Since then, we've made it a point of tracking their activity, including the theft of that drive, which led us to your friend Virgil.
John: Wait. Wait. Wait. I thought you said you didn't know anything?
Stewart: I said I couldn't -tell- you anything.

Alena: What happened to Archer putting Smoak Tech on the map?
Felicity: Well, that was before I realized all the bad that she could do. I wanted to invent something that would help save the city, and instead I made something that can destroy it.
(Felicity freezes up in horrified realization.)
Felicity: Oh, my God. I'm a mad scientist. Oh, my God, no. It's so much worse than that. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. I'm my dad!
Alena: I am your friend who has some real-life experience working with evil geniuses, and you need to trust me on this one - you are not one of them, okay?

John: Oliver told me the truth about Vlatava... about my father. Why did you let me believe a lie? You let me hate you.
Stewart: Every child deserves to believe that his father is a hero. And believing it, you became one. If he could see you today, I know he would be so proud of you.
John: If I'm a hero It was all because of you, Sir.


Continuity

Virgil appears for the first time since 714, leading the group of Ninth Circle soldiers trying to buy a high-security ARGUS vault drive.

When Felicity accidentally fries the drive before they can figure out what the Ninth Circle was after, John Diggle says he has a contact with the Defense Intelligence Agency - the DOD department who encrypted the vault drive.

John's contact is revealed to be General Roy Stewart - John's step-father.

General Stewart denies knowing anything about the Ninth Circle and says he can't tell them anything about what is on the drive since John lost his security clearance after he quit ARGUS.

Felicity is still trying to get Archer rebooted.

Robotics expert Dr. Will Magnus is apparently interested in buying Smoak Technologies because of Archer. Apparently it sounds similar to an AI he's been working on for years.

Smoak Technologies is attacked by the Ninth Circle and Virgil.

Felicity and Alena are saved by General Stewart's men, but the tablet holding Archer is stolen.

General Stewart lied about not knowing about the Ninth Circle and reveals the drive contained a list of DIA Special Agents in the field.

John has never gotten along with his step-father. He later tells Oliver this is due to Stewart being his father's commanding officer on a Vlatava, where he died and the report of the mission making it sound like Stewart left his men to die while escaping himself

John also says that Stewart was a harsh man, who had him and his brother run through the same Spartan-style training drills that he did as a marine in a bid to make them tougher. He said he didn't care if he was liked, so long as they were strong.

Only one of the DIA agents is unaccounted for. When Team Arrow goes after him General Stewart and Diggle are ambushed and abducted by the Ninth Circle.

General Roy Stewart has been, over the course of his career, the thrice-decorated Commander of the 1st Recon Battalion, Commandant of the USMC, the head of DARPA and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

According to Felicity, the botched mission where Diggle's dad died was actually a huge success and part of why General Stewart was asked to head DARPA.

The Ninth Circle wanted General Stewart for his knowledge of a project called Cygnus X-1. It becomes clear they intend to use Archer to find the DIA personnel who have access to it and follow them to steal it.

Oliver gives John the unredacted files describing his father's death. According to them, John's dad was negligent, got two other Marines killed and the only reason anyone survived was because of General Stewart's leadership.

Felicity deletes Archer rather than let it be used by the Ninth Circle.

Oliver tries to tell Emiko about Dante's setting up her mother's assassination, but she doesn't believe him.

The Ninth Circle gets away with the Cygnus X-1.

John makes his peace with General Stewart.

Alena makes a back-up of the root files of Archer. She says they can rebuild but Felicity argues against it. Judging by the way Alena looks at her flash-drive, she disagrees.

Emiko kills Dante, saying she learned the truth about how he arranged for her mom ti die.  He says it was to make her stronger by destroying the final piece of her old life.

Mia gives Felicity the helmet she took from the Galaxy One soldier in 718.

The bombs The Canaries stole are secure and William is making sure they can't be exploded remotely.

Roy and Dinah are setting up a perimeter around the last Canary Nest.

Felicity needs a unique power module to access the helmet. Connor and Mia go to retrieve one.

The Deathstrokes are a gang that control part of the marketplace in Central City. Only certain people can get into their territory.

Connor has a UV tattoo that allows him to go into Deathstroke territory.

John Diggle Jr. is revealed to be the leader of The Deathstrokes. Connor says that he rebelled against their parents teachings.

Before their off-camera encounter, Connor hadn't seen JJ in over a year. They used to be best friends before JJ rebelled against their father.

Mia forgives JJ for lying to her while working in his deep-cover identity.

Mia and JJ have to evade the Deathstrokes that JJ apparently sent after him.

Felicity determines the helmet connects its wearer to Archer, effectively giving them an AI-driven sixth sense. An army of soldiers with tech-enhanced armor could easily destroy the Canaries, according to Felicity.


Untelevised Adventures

Connor Hawke's meeting with JJ takes place off camera.


The Bottom Line

A lackluster and largely forgettable episode, that does nothing to advance the plot until the final two minutes. Even then it doesn't really change much beyond letting us know WHY the soldiers killing The Canaries are so awesome and Dante dying... though it is unclear if Emiko is going to turn on the whole organization or use the Ninth Circle to make the whole world burn. Alas, thinking on next week's episode is more entertaining than this one.

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 4, Episode 12 - The Eggplant, The Witch & The Wardrobe

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




Plot

 As Nora Darhk and John Constantine reluctantly join forces to combat Neron, Sara must save Ava from her own personal purgatory while battling her own inner demons. Meanwhile, as Ray and Nate go to investigate Hank's "special project," Zari gets unsolicited advice from everyone regarding her feelings for Nate... even Mick!


Influences

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (title), Jurassic Park (Nate calls his father's idea for a magical theme park Jur-Magic Park) and What Dreams May Come (the hero going into Hell to rescue the person they love).


Goofs

Shouldn't there be someone besides Ray in the Comms room watching the prisoners?


Performances

It's a brief moment, but the scene near the end with John and Ray watching over an unconscious Nora is a good bit of silent acting for Brandon Routh and Matt Ryan, where a lot is said without anything being said based on the pauses and body language.


Artistry

The design of Ava's purgatory and all the various doll boxes is nice.


Trivia Of Tomorrow

The realm in which Ava is trapped is described as a purgatory and not part of Hell. In some Christian traditions, Purgatory is a realm reserved for sinners who aspired to Heaven but did not repent before death. They are allowed to work off their sins by suffering for a time before being allowed admission to Heaven.

Purgatory, it should be noted, is different from the state of Limbo, which is typically reserved for innocents who were unworthy of Heaven due to a lack of faith.


Technobabble/Arcana

Nora Darhk can track a person's whereabouts with a sample of their blood.

According to John, demons require a mortal vessel in order to operate on Earth. Typically they possess a willing host (i.e. a magician who bargains for power in exchange for letting the demon take control for a time)

If the soul attached to a mortal body is not willing to let the demon inside, it has to force its way in, sending the soul into a purgatory of sorts. The purgatory is made up of the worst fears and nightmares of the soul, wearing it down until it gives in to the invading demon or becomes lost. Typically, the soul only has a certain amount of time to escape this purgatory.

It is possible for a magician to send another person into this purgatory, but there is nothing they can do to protect that person once they are there. The ritual John uses to do this requires that he make a circle around Sara and Ava using some sort of ash and a chant in Latin.

Nora uses the word limbo to describe the dimension that Sara and Ava are in. This suggests that this state is different from Limbo and Purgatory which are specific realms referred to by various religious denominations.

John has a charm that can prevent Neron from speaking. Combined with the right chant, it crates a golden ball of light that can knock Neron out.

Sula the Wolf Witch spoke of how it was possible to smother a demon by freeing them from its earthly vessel, like a fish out of water.

Dogs can sense the presence of a demon possessing someone and will react violently in their presence.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Nora offers to help Sara track Ava through her connection with Neron.)
John: Demons communicate. He'll know your past. How susceptible you are. You're a liability.
Ray: She's not a liability! She's a survivor. Unlike you, she's turned her dark experiences into a  source of strength! Not an excuse for alcoholism or chain smoking! She also saved your life.
(There's a pause as John rolls his eyes and Ray realizes he might be white-knighting a bit too hard.)
Ray: Sorry. Would you like to add anything?
Nora: No. That about covers it.

Nate: My dad made a deal with a demon to open a theme park?!

Sara: I've died, lost my soul and escaped a demon realm. I'm pretty sure I can handle Ava's purgatory.

Mick: Where's Sara?
Zari: She's with Constantine and Nora trying to find Ava.
Gideon: Actually, they've just returned and Mr. Constantine has called a team meeting in the lab.
Charlie: He can do that?
Mick: No.
Zari: (sighing) Let's go, dummies.
(Zari leaves the room with Charlie and Mona following behind her. Mick sits down and begins eating Zari's abandoned meal.)

Ava: Look, you're allowed to want things sometimes, Sara.
Sara: But what if I can't be the person that you need?
Ava: Let's be honest - neither of us needs anybody, right? But you are who I want.

(Mona is trying to get Zari to send Nate a sexy text with Emojis. Zari is reluctant. Mick is at his typewriter working while this is going on. Suddenly, Mick pulls out a page.)
Mick: Here. Use words.  It's erotic but vulnerable.
(Zari looks hesitantly at the typewritten page.)
Zari: Okay. Let me see it.
(Zari takes the page and reads it.)
Zari: (To Mick, coolly) I am not saying "bulge."

(Nora gets shaken as Neron talks directly into her head again.)
John: (suspiciously)
You alright there, love?
Nora: Yeah. I just need some coffee. I'm fine.
(Nora gets up and moves past John to the next room.)
John: And I'm sober.
(John take a pull from his whiskey.)

Neron: (describing John Constantine) Cocky cowboy wearing his hangover like a ten-gallon hat.

(As Ava and Sara take their leave of the Emoji conversation, as Zari fights Charlie and Mona for her phone.)
Ava: You know, we should probably talk about whether or not we want kids.
Sara: Eh - let's wait until the other eight are old enough to handle it.

John: I'm not asking for forgiveness, Des.
Desmond: (coldly) Good.
John: (moving to cut him off as he tries to walk away) Just wait... wait, Des.
Desmond: You saved me, Johnny. I'm grateful for that. But it doesn't change anything.
John: I know. (holds up a mind eraser) You know I can make it all go away, Des. Make you forget.
(Desmond just look at John.)
Desmond:
No. You sent me to Hell. (pauses) That's something we're both going to have to live with.
(Desmond walks to the Time Bureau exit and doesn't look back, as John just stands there.)

(Ray and John are watching over an unconscious Nora)
Ray: I couldn't let her get hurt again.
John: Oh yeah, well, you just rolled straight in there like a knight in shining armor, and nearly got her killed.
Ray: (quietly) I didn't mean to.
(There's a long pause. It's clear John is thinking about Desmond and his own actions trying to save his boyfriend.)
John: (commiserating) Yeah, I know.


Continuity

Sara finds her and Ava's apartment ransacked.

John confirms that Nora Darhk didn't kill Hank - it was Neron.

Nora says that she developed a connection to Neron she can use to track him.

John does not trust Nora because he thinks shes susceptible to being influenced by demons after being a host for Mallus.

Nora does not trust John because he abandoned her to the Order of the Shrouded Compass in 310.

John, Nora and Sara determine that Ava was kidnapped two weeks ago.

Nora is able to sense that Ava was thrown against a mirror, which broke, before being strangled.

Nate has Gary help him start shredding all the documents involving Hank's plays for Heyworld.

Gary says he feels like Erin Brockovich, though Nate rightly points out that they are the bad guys attempting a cover-up in this scenario.

Ray tells Gary and Nate that Ava is missing

Gary is confirmed to be Jewish, as he makes reference to having a dream about Ava driving him to Schul.

Gary goes off to take care of Ava.

Ray tells Nate about Hank's deal with Neron.

Nate tells Ray about the plan for Heyworld.

Nate gets a phone call from a man named Mikey T. who is overseeing the construction of the theme-park at Buckwood Downs.

Nora tracks Ava to a cheap motel called The Sleepaway Inn. She's alive but non-responsive.

John guesses that Neron is preparing Ava to become a demonic vessel - either a replacement for his current body or someone else.

John sends Sara into Ava's personal purgatory.

Ava's personal purgatory resembles an IKEA-like store called MegaStör.

Mona declares that Zari and Nate's couple's name should be Natari.

Gary says he will watch after Sara and Ava while the rest of the Legends are dealing with John, Charlie and Nora go after Neron.

Mikey T. recognizes Nate as he shares his dad's jawline. He says Hank talked about how great Nate was all the time.

The construction team is currently working on a dragon's lair and a unicorn rodeo/jousting arena.

Nate tells Mikey T. to start tearing down the whole park.

After Gary starts taking care of Ava and talking out-loud about how he is there for her, Gary appears in Ava's purgatory as one of the employees.

Gary in Purgatory suggests that Ava and Sara check out the wardrobe department.

Sara and Ava have to put together a wardrobe in order to make a doorway out. The wardrobe falls apart when Sara just tries to put it together intuitively. Ava insists on using the directions but they wind up having pieces left over. Eventually the door opens when they agree that what they made together doesn't have to be perfect to work.

Neron whistles "Pop Goes The Weasel" as a continual tick.

Charlie, Nora and John are able to trap Neron by having Charlie pose as Ava.

Nora and John lock Neron up in a cell at the Time Bureau and within a magic circle.

Neron tells Nora and John that all he's doing is fanning the flames of what mortals do to themselves when Nora asks if he's trying to inflict fear and anger on humanity.

Gary in Purgatory tells Ava and Sara they have to choose the right mattress to move on. He also says they have to get out of the store before Tabitha shows up.

Sitting on the mattresses ages Sara and Ava . The two wind up arguing over price vs. reliability and the test ultimately leads the two to discuss that they aren't afraid of committing to each other or growing old with each other but that Sara has issues with planning for the future and Ava can't face the future blind. They pass on when they agree they don't need each other but they do want to be with each other, no matter what.

Sara and Ava once went on a date to an escape room together.

When Nate learns that Neron has been captured, he locks himself in the cell with him.

Neron tells Nate that Hank was an unfortunate snag in his plans. He had no interest in building a theme park - that was all Hank's idea.

Neron gave Hank power in exchange for access to an army of nightmarish creatures that could terrorize people into giving up their souls.

Ray just barely stops Nate from breaking the circle around Neron. Nate snaps out of his rage when he punches Ray and realizes he's being manipulated.

Sara and Ava wind up in a mock-up of their kitchen where the realities of real life (washing dishes, garbage,light fixtures breaking, bills to sort through) keep piling up and threatening to overwhelm them. Ava disappears after Sara dismisses her declaration that she wants a life with Sara and to have hobbies and something outside her job as a "time-traveling superhero" even if that means dealing with the boring stuff. Sara refuses to go to the suburbs and recycle until she dies.

Sara escapes into an aisle full of Ava clones, all set up in boxes like Barbie dolls. The variants include Sexy Ava (low-cut dress), Healthy Ava (aerobics outfit), Fun Ava, Exploring Ava (astronaut), Luxurious Ava (sunglasses and fancy dress) and Assertive Ava (soldier).

Mona tries to get Zari to compose a sexy emoji message to send Nate.

Mick writes a romantic message for Zari to text Nate.

Nora goes to Neron, apparently ready to make a deal.

Neron claims to be capable of bringing Nora's dad back from the dead. He confirms that Damien Darhk is in Hell and that he misses his daughter.

Neron makes reference to his Tabitha being on Earth soon and how they'll put John away for good. It was his intention to make Ava into a vessel for Tabitha.

Ray convinces Nate that he should be proud of the man he helped Hank to become in all the time they spent together at the end. This inspires Nate to stop the Heyworld from being destroyed.

Nora seemingly turns on John and gets ready to free Neron.

Sara flees the aisle and, once the lights are out and she's refused to pic one of the other Avas, she goes into the As-Is section of the store. It is here she finds the real Ava. This test was born over Ava's anxieties over being a clone and how Sara could have any other woman, so why would she want her when she's nothing special?

This revelation - that Sara sees her as someone unique - gets Sara and Ava out of the purgatory.

The alarms go off as Neron leaves Desmond's body, as Neron prepares to enter Nora. Ray sees this from the comms room.

In his natural form, Neron looks like a black smokey clowd with glowing red eyes and a red heart.

It's at this point we realize this was a planned trap and that Constantine was playing possum.

Together, Nora and John attempt to hold Neron in place. Unfortunately, Ray charges into the room, distracting John, which breaks the spell.

Nora releases a blast of violet energy that seems to drive Neron off but also knocks her unconscious.

Zari ultimately decides to just ask Nate out for a date directly. She regrets this immediately.

Nate changes into his Steel form to stop a wrecking ball from destroying the dragon lair. Unfortunately, his phone is destroyed in the process, so he doesn't get Zari's message.

Zari chickens out on asking Nate out after she goes to ask him about the text.

Desmond says he wants nothing to do with John and nothing from him.

Desmond also refuses John's offer to erase his memory of all the time he spent in Hell.

Nora is stable but unresponsive after the battle with Neron.

John promises the unconscious Nora that he won't abandon her this time.

Neron is revealed to have taken refuge in Ray's body, as he begins whistling "Pop Goes The Weasel."


Location

Ava's Apartment - Washington DC - 2019
The Sleepaway Inn - Washington DC - 2019
The future site of Heyworld - Washington DC - 2019
Time Bureau HQ - Washington DC - 2019


The Bottom Line

A bit of a waste of most of the cast, who have nothing better to do than harass Zari about her love life. The purgatory scenes also fall flat due to the erratic pacing and the unnecessary (for once) addition of Gary adding levity where it really should be tenser. The bits with John and Nora almost make-up for it. As it is, this episode is far from bad, but it's not as great as the rest of the season so far.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 18 - Crime and Punishment

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




Plot

With Supergirl declared Public Enemy Number One, Ben Lockwood starts looting the DEO Armory for weapons to arm the Children of Liberty over Alex's objections.As Lena and Supergirl go to Stryker's island in search of evidence that might lead them to Lex Luthor, Kelly encourages James to turn to someone about his PTSD.


Influences

"The Late Mr. Kent" episode of Superman: The Animated Series. (Clark has better luck pursuing a case as Clark Kent than Superman.)


Goofs

I can readily believe that there are anti-alien bigots who will ignore a man trapped in a burning car to try and pull a citizen's arrest on Supergirl while she's in the middle of trying to save someone. I cannot believe, however, that anyone would be so stupid as to try shooting Supergirl with an ordinary pistol after she apparently killed the heavily armored personnel protecting the White House.

It also seems a little unbelievable that the man whom Supergirl saves from said burning car, while being shot at, immediately turns on her and says he doesn't understand why she's saving him after what he saw on the news. Honestly, this whole episode feels like it was written by someone who only reads Marvel Comics the way the public is easily misled.

It's incredibly out of character for Brainiac-5 not to over-analyze every aspect of a mission before starting it, so it is hard to believe he would get into the vault containing the DEO Alien Registry before he considered the mathematical odds of his actions making situations worse and the probability of Ben Lockwood finding some other way to go after alien civilians.

Somehow, the random man with the gun is exceeded in his stupidity by all the random prisoners in Cell Block D who think they can punch hurt Supergirl with their bare hands or a crowbar. (At least Supergirl rolls her eyes at this too.)

The biggest news story in the world is that Lex Luthor is still at large, but nobody thinks there is a connection between this and Supergirl apparently attacking the White House, despite everything Lex has done in the past to try and discredit Kryptonians?


Performances


As over-the-top as it is, Robert Baker's performance as Otis the Metallo is just plain fun. And his execution on the "something's not right..." gag with Kara is perfect.


Super Trivia

Lex Luthor's chessboard has a lock on it that is opened when the board is set in a configuration of a checkmate maneuver known as Anastasia's Mate.This is a real-world chess maneuver that occurs when a rook and a knight are used to trap the opposing king between a friendly piece and the edge of the board. Some variants, such as the one Lena builds, add in a queen.

While Lena is inspired to think of the maneuver because of Lex's pet nickname for her (he called her Anastasia in reference to the famous lost princess), the pattern has been in existence for more than 200 years and was named after an 1803 novel which made reference to it - Anastasia and the Game of Chess.

Brainiac-5's plan to delete the DEO alien registry is similar to one enacted by real-world American librarians in the face of the passage of the Patriot Act. Among other civil-rights violations, the Patriot Act authorized federal agencies to demand the library lending records of any suspected terrorist without a warrant. The American Library Association responded to this by changing their policy to discourage libraries from keeping such records in the first place. This prompted one FBI official to complain that "radical militant librarians" were making it impossible for them to do their jobs.


Technobabble

Supergirl suggests that Lex's duplicate Supergirl is the result of a shapeshifter, a hologram or an image inducer. Lena dismisses all three ideas because the heat signatures don't match.

Paragraph 4, Sub-Section A of the DEO charter requires a Presidential order to comply with any request to hand over alien technology to non-DEO government personnel.

The Superman Signal Watch has a fail-safe to warn anyone who can hear it of an ambush. The fail-safe is activated by pushing the button to activate the alarm twice. Pushing it once delivers a regular distress call.

The server containing the DEO alien registry is located in a vault on sub-level 5 of the DEO's base in National City. It is protected by a voice-identification scanner, a retinal scanner and armed guards before the elevator leading to the sub-level.

Brainiac-5 is able to use his image inducer to scramble a retina scanner so his eyes look like those of someone else.

Bilateral stimulation is a technique used to calm people with anxiety.

Lex had some kind of sensor set-up in his cell that would alert him if someone with Kryptonian DNA entered it.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Supergirl hears a man calling for help in the distance.)
Supergirl: Someone's in trouble. I have to go.
Alex: But you heard the President. It isn't safe!
Supergirl: If the government wants to stop me from helping people, let them try.

Lena: (on Lex) He's sick and he's twisted but at least he's consistent.

Lena: (reading Lex's diary) Lena craves my attention. Pathetic. If she knew how brilliant she was, she wouldn't need it.

(Otis walks through the prison library, looking for Supergirl. Instead he finds Cara Danvers hiding between two bookcases.)
Otis: Where'd Supergirl go?
Kara: I don't know, but I - I saw a red blur go through that door.
(She gestures to the dining room exit and Otis starts to walk off. Suddenly he stops and takes a step back to Kara.) 
Otis: Wait a minute...
(Close up on Kara looking nervous, clearly afraid Otis has somehow seen through her disguise.)
Otis: D Block's for guys only. What are you doing here?
Kara: I - um - I'm a reporter. I was doing an interview in the dining hall when the guards rushed us out. (pulling herself up) The article's on prison reform. Maybe you'd care to comment?
Otis: (shaking his head) I don't trust the press. They always parachute into crises like this without any context for the lager systemic issues at play.
(Otis walks off as Kara shakes head head in disbelief at her good fortune.)

Steve Lomeli: What is it they say? The pen is mightier than the sword?
Kara: Hmm. Maybe even mightier than a cape.


Dialogue Disasters

(Supergirl is trying to save a man trapped in a burning car. A man with a pistol keeps shooting at her, despite her pleading for the three people to help her save this man or at least stop shooting at her.)
Man 1: She's going to kill us!
Man 2: Not if I kill her first.
(Man 2 continues to try and shoot at Supergirl, despite her catching all his bullets)


Continuity

President Baker institutes a sun-down to sun-up curfew. Humans caught out after dark will be cited. Aliens will be detained.

Supergirl saves a man from a burning car, despite being shot at by some random man with a pistol who tries to do a citizen's arrest. Despite this, the man is confused as to why she save dhim and scared of Supergirl, saying his daughter used to look up to her.

Alex accounts for the Bizzaro Supergirl from 112, to make sure the Supergirl duplicate is not her.

Lena learned from her mother that Lex had been coming and going from his cell at Stryker's Island for months.

Lena tracks the Cayman Islands bank account of the Stryker's Island warden and confirms several payments from Lex's accounts.

The Warden admits to taking money from Lex but has no idea where he is now.

The Warden agrees to let Lena and Supergirl inspect Lex's cell for two hours in exchange for his husband being left out of things when Lena reports his crimes to the police.

Lena identifies the image Lex etched into his cell wall as Hannibal Crossing the Alps.

When they were children, Lex and Lena left hidden messages for each other inside of their chess pieces.

Lex left a message for Lena inside the White Queen of his chess set in his cell. On a rolled up piece of paper, Lex left the date 7/16/18 and a photo of her test subject from 407. Lena says the date is a reference to July 16th, 1918 - the date of the execution of the Romanovs.

Lex used to call Lena "The Lost Princess" in reference to Anastasia Romanov.

Lena realizes that Lex's chessboard has a hidden lock on it that requires her to set-up a checkmate pattern called Anastasia's Mate in order to open it.

The panel under Lex's chess set conceals his diaries.

Lena says Lex left his diaries behind to torment her since he'd know the last thing she'd want to do is get inside his head and go through old memories.

Ben Lockwood is now Secretary of the Department of Alien Affairs, his previous position as director having been elevated to a Presidential Cabinet post.

Lockwood demands any weapons that could be used against Kryptonians and that the DEO assist him and his men in ambushing Supergirl.

Alex refuses citing a DEO Protocol that requires a direct order from the President to hand over alien weapons to non DEO personnel.

Colonel Haley orders Alex to give her the signal watch that Supergirl gave to her, as she begins preparing the weapons for Lockwood's return.

Alex gives Colonel Haley bad instructions for using the watch, which will warn Supergirl that the signal is a trap.

Brainiac-5 suggests deleting the DEO registry of alien citizens before Lockwood demands they hand it over as well.

James has an appointment with one Doctor Park, who is apparently the best PTSD psychiatrist in National City.

Kelly meets with Alex, who asks her for advice on handling Colonel Haley and convincing her to defy Lockwood's orders.

Kelly tells a story about a jerk CO she had while in the military and how she learned to work him by appealing to his concern for his men's safety rather than moral concerns.

One of Lex's diaries details his pay-offs to the guards and inmates. Another runs through Superman's many failings. A third is an inventory of every mistake Lena has made since she was four years old.

James is showing the same black veins running through the skin on the back of his neck that Adam developed before he developed superpowers.

Lex Luthor's next-door cellmate was a man named Steve Lomeli, who was imprisoned for stealing data from the US Department of Defense that proved the military was using illegal drones and leaked that information to the press. He doesn't like Supergirl, seeing her as a narcissist who thinks she's above the law.

Brainiac-5 has not spoken to Nia Nul since they kissed in 415.

Nia gives Brainy a hard time about him refusing to tell her about her descendants in the future but still expecting her to tell him the future.

Nia lies about Brainiac not destroying the registry, to make him realize that he should destroy the registry.

Alex tries to convince Colonel Haley that following Lockwood's orders would violate the spirit of the American military and asks her to consider her daughter. This angers Colonel Haley, who has also figured out that Alex lied about using the signal watch.

Otis Graves goes to the Warden of Stryker's Island after one of Lex's alarms senses that Supergirl is in his cell and kills him.

Otis releases all the prisoners on Cell Block D and tells them he'll free whoever can subdue Supergirl.

Lena gives Supergirl a Kryptonite shield that should protect her from Otis's refined Metallo body.

Supergirl welds Lena into Lex's cell to protect her from the prisoners while she fights her way to Otis.

James suddenly develops super-hearing, super-sight and crushes a metal lamp with one hand while having another PTSD attack after a gun-shot goes off on the TV behind him, after he returns to his office after his first therapy session.

One of Lex's journals talks about how Lena stole their father's favorite fountain pen for Lex. It was given to him by the King of Jordan.

As children, Lena and Lex sought shelter in a tree house when Lionel Luthor was drunk, since he couldn't climb into the tree.

Lex told Lena that when they were grown up, he was going to build a house for them where they'd always be safe in the mountains behind their home.

Lena recognizes the mountain in Lex's etching of The Alps as being, not one of the Alps, but the mountain he pointed out to her when they were younger.

Lena discovers the mountain conceals a button, which reveals a secret passage out of the cell.

Kara is able to escape from Otis by changing back into her Kara Danvers clothes and claiming to have been interviewing inmates on prison reform when the riot started.

Steve Lomeli stops another inmate from stabbing Kara with an improvised knife after she identifies herself as Kara Danvers with CatCo Magazine. He reveals himself as a fan of her writing and says he writes the only newsletter in Stryker's Island - "The Not So Free Press"

Lex apparently contact the National Guard, informing them that Supergirl was at Stryker's Island.

Kara knocks down all the fighting inmates with one shockwave generated with a clap of her hands, putting them all on the ground before the National Guard starts opening fire.

The tunnel in Lex's cell leads to a secret lab.

Amertek electronics on are a work-bench in the lab. This is the same corrupt company whose executives The Red Daughter severed in 416.

Lex has monitors in the secret lab that show the DEO's desert facility as well as his cell.

Otis lies about Luthor's cell still being in order when he calls.

Lex triggers a self-destruct in Otis' Metallo body which makes him explode, releasing a Kryptonite gas throughout the facility. Supergirl and Lena barely outrun the cloud and escape through a side tunnel out of the prison.

Nia has a nightmare vision of Brainiac-5 being grabbed by Children of Liberty while at the DEO.

Nia calls Brainy and tells him not to delete the registry. He says he already did, but he's holding a copy of it in his brain just in case they need it later.

Brainy says he was wrong to ask Nia to try and view the future on his behalf - mostly because the moral imperative to do the right thing is more important than any calculation but also because she's not very good at interpreting her dreams yet and the odds of him being arrested are 3 to 2 against.

Lockwood returns with his court order and sets his ambush. However, Colonel Haley pushes the button on the signal watch twice.

When Alex asks her about this later, Colonel Haley says it had nothing to do with what Alex said and everything to do with her daughter having nightmares about the martial law and the fact that her favorite teacher, an alien, has disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

The news is now reporting that Supergirl tried to free the prisoners at Stryker's Island.

Supergirl decides she needs to lie low for a while, despite what Alex and Lena think, and find another way to fight Lockwood and President Baker.

James calls Kelly, tells her about his seeing and hearing things from a distance, and how they need to talk to Lena.

President Baker authorizes Lockwood to deputize the Children of Liberty.

Otis was put back together by Eve Tessmacher after being blown up.

Kara interviews Steve Lomeli with the understand that he'll be an unnamed source. He reveals to her that he hacked the prison Wi-Fi and was able to back-up the computer in Lex Luthor's secret lab as a result.


Location


Stryker's Island - Metropolis.


The Bottom Line

A bit of a mixed bag, overall. When the episode is good, it is very good and the interactions between Lena and Supergirl,, Supergirl with Steve Lomeli (in both her identities) and Alex with Colonel Haley is golden. Braniac-5 and Dreamer's storyline is okay, if it a bit rushed, but it says a lot that I hadn't noticed that they hadn't interacted in three episodes.

The worst part of the episode is everything involving James and his sister, which instantly drags the plot down to a snail's pace. I know many people complain that James is a wholly unneeded character, but adding his sister into the show has only aggravated the problems with his scenes feeling tacked on.

Ironically, for all the problems this episode has with logic and people trying to hurt Supergirl who should really know better, some of its best moments involve Robert Baker hamming it up as Otis Graves and being appropriately stupid when it comes to seeing the obvious. Cheap as his resurrection is, it's actually a relief that such an amusing character wasn't killed off so casually. 

Friday, April 19, 2019

Starman Plays Batman: The Enemy Within - Part 2

In which we start kissing up to Amanda Waller, explore the Bat Cave and you get to watch me read the newspaper some more. Fun stuff, eh kids?!