Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 53

In which we seek a cursed artifact of the god of evil to smite our enemies but still have quite a fight for ourselves as we make our way to the city of Armengar.


Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 6 - The Book Of Blood: Chapter 2 - The Perdi

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




Plot

As Jefferson and Anissa confront the strangeness in South Freeland, Tobias orders Painkiller to take out Reverend Holt. Meanwhile, Lynn must deal with the aftermath of the deaths of half the children in her care and Freeland's response to the news.



Influences

Romeo and Juliet
(the conflict between two houses and the forbidden romance between children of both houses), the Black Lighting comics of Tony Isabella and the series Batman and the Outsiders (character of Looker).


Artistry

The fight between Tobias and Painkiller may be the best in the show's history in terms of cinematography and sheer brutality.


Trivia

Emily Briggs aka Looker first appeared in Batman and the Outsiders #25 in September 1985. A mousy, quiet bank-teller who lived an ordinary life with her husband, Emily was abducted by the people of an underground civilization known as Abyssia. It was revealed that Emily was the last of their royal line and that she was destined to undergo a transformation that would coincide with the passing of Haley's Comet. For some reason, this triggered Emily's metagene, causing her to develop immense psychic powers, peak physical prowess and stunning good looks. She would later be attacked by vampires and turned into one, though her powers protected her from the worst of the traditional vampire weaknesses. She could be exposed to sunlight and holy objects have no effect on her, but she still must ingest blood to survive and no other form of sustenance can sustain her.

The Arrowverse version of Looker seems to be a metahuman, whose powers are similar to vampirism in that she can infect other people with an element that makes them super strong and super fast. She is a racist who took over South Freeland, creating her own race of Sange with superpowers who took over the city and forced the black residents into the woods.

Mention is made of the nation of Markovia in a radio report Gambi hears while he is shaving. In the comics, Markovia is a fictional nation in the DC Universe and home to the hero Geo-Force, who was part of the Outsiders along with Black Lightning.


Technobabble

South Freeland is made up of two groups - The Perdi and The Sange. The Sange are white folks with powers who terrorize South Freeland and call the other folks, mostly black folks, The Perdi.  The Sange live in South Freeland proper. The Perdi live out in the woods. The Sange are also gun-runners and have been doing so for 30 years, shortly after a woman called Looker came to South Freeland.

Looker controls something she calls The Element - the silver substance that came out of Deacon when he died. It is this Element that turns ordinary people into Sange.

The Element can be transmitted to children at conception. This is why Looker senses that The Element wound up in Anaya's babies after Deacon impregnated her.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Gambi questions the thug who was hired to kill him.)
Thug: I don't know who hired me! I got paid! I did the job.
Gambi: Obviously you didn't do the job. Or you wouldn't be sitting there.

Rev. Holt: If I'm wrong, you can take that money and buy your own clinic. Name it after your momma, for all I care. But you're not getting mine. Understand? Now, if I'm right - and I know I am - you can tell Tobias I said he can keep his money... and he can kiss my holy ass. You understand?

Tobias: (To Painkiller) Stop thinking. You're not very good at it. Just do what I tell you.

Painkiller: Yo, why are you even giving me the time of day?
Jennifer: This whole Painkiller thing is not you. We've all been through a lot. Plus, I don't want you to make any more mistakes. 'Cause you've made some bad decisions this year. Like, really bad.
Painkiller: I also made some good ones too.
Jennifer: Oh yeah? Like what?
(Painkiller takes her hand and kisses it.)


Continuity

Looker is revealed to be a woman of power in South Freeland, who has built up a network of people who are "part of her." out of former drug addicts and local officials. One of them, Jake, refuses to do her bidding, saying that she is worse than The Drugs And The Perdi and has the "worms" crawling under his skin pulled out. This kills him instantly, leaving a dried out husk behind. The worms come out as a silvery liquid, like what came out of Deacon when he died in 205.

Looker asks her followers to "follow The Element."

Gambi is revealed to be alive. We see him torturing one of the men hired to kill him, before shooting him after figuring out he doesn't know anything.

Dr. Jace's actions in 205 resulted in the deaths of 14 Green Light Babies.

Reverend Holt is the pastor of the Freeland United Methodist Church.

Rev. Holt refuses to take Tobias' money, recognizing Councilman Parker as his stooge.

Tobias orders Painkiller to kill Reverend Holt.

Painkiller discovers that Tobias was behind the attack that saw him paralyzed in 103.

Lynn only has 18 patients left - 14 children injected with the original vaccine and 4 users of Green Light. A near-riot breaks out at the press conference where she announces this and tells a grieving father they can't announce which children are still alive yet.

A radio report mentions a war in Markovia following the mysterious death of King Victor and the battle not going well for the Royalists.

Gambi is revealed to have survived the assassination attempt on him by the use of a trap door in his van.

Anissa finds Anaya and informs her that Deacon is dead. Her father has no idea who Deacon is.

Lynn is ambushed by the grieving father from the press conference, rear-ended in her car as he runs out and starts pounding on the class while trying to show her a picture of his daughter.

Painkiller tells Jennifer that Tobias is why he was paralyzed and that Tobias asked him to kill Reverend Holt.

Jennifer says she will help Painkiller to figure things out after he says he's only staying with Tobias because he has nowhere else to go.

Anissa delivers Anaya's baby only to discover that she's having twins. She winds up having one light-skinned baby and one dark-skinned baby.

Jefferson discovers that Anissa went to South Freeland as he visit Gambi's shop and sees her tracker lighting up on the computer.

A man named Joshua is revealed to be Deacon's killer. He was jealous that Anaya chose Deacon over him, as they both apparently impregnated her at the same time.

Anaya's mother tells Joshua that by killing Deacon, he has started a war.

Painkiller tries to scare Reverend Holt into leaving Freeland. When that doesn't work, he shoves him down and leaves, after Reverend Holt isn't scared even after being half-strangled to death.

South Freeland is run by two factions - the super-powered Sange gun-runners and the Perdi farmers. A woman called Looker controls The Sange.

Anaya says most of The Sange don't want to be Sange and had it forced upon them by Looker.

Anaya says Looker hates the Perdi and will stop at nothing to get her babies.

Tobias beats up Painkiller and threatens to kill him unless he kills Rev. Holt and his own mother.

The Sange are revealed to have super speed and super strength and Looker seems to control them as if through a hive-mind.

Gambi assists in the fight with The Sange remotely using an armed drone.

Jefferson speculates that Looker is a metahuman and one of the original kids who got the Green Light vaccine like him.

Anaya gets away with to Freeland with the white baby.

Anaya's parents and the other baby disappear.

Painkiller visits Jennifer and tells her he is going to go away.

Anaya's black baby is given to Looker, who becomes determined to get the white baby as well.


Location

South Freeland.


The Winick Factor

The apartheid metaphor for The Sange and The Perdi is really clumsy and heavily forced.


The Bottom Line

Jefferson says it best. "This is some weird stuff." While it's easy to see how the show runners might want to avoid the standard vampire tropes in regard to introducing Looker, the silver liquid element is as weird as the fact that South Freeland is ruled by a metahuman gang and nobody knows it or had done anything about it despite the government being shown to he heavily invested in controlling metahumans. Hopefully this will get explained in more detail next week. As is, the best parts of this episode involve Jennifer and Painkiller and not the actually superhero stuff.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 6 - The Icicle Cometh

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





Plot

As Iris, Nora and Sherloque follow a lead on Cicada, Barry, Cisco and Caitlin continue the pursuit of Dr. Thomas Snow, making a shocking discovery about him and Caitlin's Killer Frost persona.


Influences

The JSA comics of Geoff Johns (character of Icicle)


Goofs

What happened to the spare cold gun Cisco and Caitlin had? Why not use that to cool off Caitlin's dad instead of hacking a DOD laser array? (Perhaps, unlike in the comics, the cold gun doesn't quite reach absolute zero?)

Why did all of Team Flash run or teleport into a site they knew was at near-absolute zero? As Icicle says, "You people are not as smart as I thought." They could have at least put ski-masks on!


Artistry

The Icicle/Killer Frost fight is well shot and the effects work is great.


Flash Facts

The Icicle is a codename that has been used by one DC Comics hero and three villains, all of whom are related.

The first Icicle, Dr. Joar Mahkent, was a physicist who invented a freeze ray that reduced the temperature of ambient moisture. He first appeared in All-American Comics #90 in October 1947. He turned to crime using his invention, became an enemy of the first Green Lantern Alan Scott and joined the first incarnation of The Injustice Society. He later died during Crisis on Infinite Earths, having been one of the villains who attempted to save reality by storming the laboratory of the renegade Oan scientist Krona.

The second Icicle was Cameron Mahkent, son of Dr. Joar Mahkent. He first appeared in Infinity Inc. #34 in January 1987. Cameron was a mutant, who developed a natural ability to alter the temperature of the area around him thanks to his father's exposure to the radioactive elements that powered his gun altering his genetics. Though he took his father's name and was a career supervillain who joined both a new Injustice Society and The Secret Society of Supervillains, Cameron cared little for the legacy of his father or The Injustice Society - he was just a self-professed bad person who enjoyed hurting people and taking what he wanted. Cameron was far more ruthless than his father, taking no pains to avoid killing innocents in his crimes. Despite this, he still teamed up with the JSA to retake the world from The Ultra-Humanite, after the other villain successfully took over the world.

The third Icicle was a man named James Christie, who was said to have been Joar Mahkent's grandson. He adopted the original Icicle's gun and costume and continued his legacy of super-villainy. He was defeated by his sister, Doyle Christie, who briefly took up the Icicle name to become a crime fighter. However, their stories are likely out of canon, having not been referenced since the two characters appeared in The Flash Vol. 2 #56-58.

The Arrowverse version of Icicle is a dark alter ego of Dr. Thomas Snow in much the same way that Killer Frost was an alter ego of Dr. Caitlin Snow. He has the same powers to lower the temperature around him that she does.

In the first part of the episode, Cicada fights and kills a woman who has the power to turn her upper arms into large blades. This seems to be a nod to Razorsharp - a character introduced in Robin Annual Vol. 4 #2 (1993) who was created as part of the Bloodlines event. (Special thanks to James Hanifen for the information!)

Thomas Snow mentions three scientists with whom he maintained contact after he faked his death - Louise Lincoln, Victor Fries and Harrison Wells.  In the classic DC Comics, Louise Lincoln was the second villain to use the name Killer Frost and Victor Fries became the villain Mr. Freeze.


Technobabble

Cisco used an impact extrapolation algorithm to predict where 46 locations where the dark-matter infused shrapnel landed and where Cicada must have been when he was injured.

Caitlin measures the amount of dark matter in Cisco's system, determining the levels of concentration were higher than anything she'd seen before. This leads them to conclude that the metal that made Cicada's dagger came from the core of Sally The Satellite. This means that rather than checking 46 locations, they just have to find where the core shrapnel landed.

The dermis of Thomas Snow's skin is crystallizing and spreading across his body, due to a cryogenic malignancy and a somatic mutation. It is not contagious but it is rewriting his genetic code. It spreads whenever his emotions spike and will eventually kill him.

Thomas Snow reveals that he determined Caitlin had the genetic marker for ALS at a young age. He tested his cryogenic cure for ALS on her after trying it on himself. He made alterations to try to make it safer, but it still caused Caitlin to develop a disassociate identity, which he called Khione.

Caitlin suggests creating a serum based on her cells to stabilize Thomas' body. This would require his atoms to stop oscillating, by reducing his body temperature to absolute zero.

Thomas says that, in theory, his body should be able to withstand sub-zero temperatures.

Barry suggests using a laser-cooling array to freeze Thomas and notes the DOD just built one outside of Central City. This decide is capable of creating isotopes that can freeze carbon dioxide.

Cicada is said to have abrasions and possible internal injuries after his last fight.

Caitlin's serum, if given to a normal human, will repress their other persona. If given to a cryogenic metahuman, however, it will forever kill off their human side.

Absolute Zero is -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit. (-460 rounded down)

At extreme cold temperatures, a person won't see their breath because their is no unfrozen moisture in the air.


Dialogue Triumphs


Cisco: (talking to himself) You all think I can just hack anything, huh?
(Cisco looks up and sees a picture of himself, Caitlin, Barry and Harrison Wells.)
Cisco: (confident) Yeah. I can hack anything.

Icicle: My daughter! You've returned!
Killer Frost: You aren't my family. (gestures to the rest of Team Flash) They are.

The Flash: You're not alone anymore.
(Killer Frost changes back to Caitlin)
Caitlin:
Neither am I.


Dialogue Disasters

All of Cecile's attempts at playing tough.


Continuity

Cicada's dagger also acts as a metahuman detector. We see him use it to go after a woman who can change her upper-arms into long blades.

FEMA set up medical treatment sites after the Enlightenment.

Sherloque is reluctant to have Nora come with him and Iris.

Ralph goes to get Joe to go to FEMA to get a list of fathers who got medical treatment at their sites after The Enlightenment. He winds up taking Cecile instead.

Cisco locates the Tannhauser black-ops site where Thomas Snow was last seen one week after his reported death. It is in the far north, practically at the North Pole.

Thomas Snow says he stayed in contact with three scientists after he faked his death - Louise Lincoln, Victor Fries and Harrison Wells. It was Harrison Wells who gave him a full video uplink to STAR Labs, which let him watch the events inside the building but it left him unable to make contact through it. It also only started working again recently.

Thomas Snow began experimenting with cryogenics to cure his ALS and he quarantined himself for everyone else's safety. He was able to freeze the progression of the disease but has yet to find a cure. He was able to survive for 20 years by carefully preserving his rations and spending months at a time in cryogenic suspension.

The FEMA assistant field director refuses to give Cecile and Ralph any information without a warrant.

Cisco is suspicions of Thomas' story.

Thonas has missed cherry soda, popcorn, Jitters coffee and peanut butter and jelly waffles.

Thomas suddenly collapses in the middle of his walk with Caitlin, his arm icing over as he passes out.

Thomas is responsible for creating Caitlin's Killer Frost persona, having used an experimental ALS cure based on cryonics on her. The cure worked, but it caused her to develop a disassociative identity and gave her a metahuman power to generate intense cold.

Cicada's daughter's name is Grace Gibbons.

The doctor treating Grace seems to hate metahumans.

Cecile is not a Trekkie.

Iris gives Nora instructions on how to make a vortex, like Barry did when he fought King Shark in 215 and when Iris fought "The Hotness" (aka Eric Fry) in 416.

Cisco returns to Thomas Snow's lab and accidentally vibes an image of him putting something into a container of liquid nitrogen.

Cisco finds frozen skin grafts in Thomas Snow's lab. This leads him to speculate that Thomas Snow did develop a second personality and that the crystallization of his skin went further than he admitted.

Thomas Snow admits that he had been using the skin grafts to cover his face, hands, arms and chest to cover up further outbreaks of his condition.

Cecile and Ralph realize the FEMA assistant director has been pocketing the money from various claims and used them to buy himself a Lamborghini.

Cicada is seen passing out after returning from the hospital with some kind of medication.

Caitlin realizes, a bit too late, that the messages from her father were from his human self and not his metahuman personality.

Caitlin is able to change into Killer Frost once again when she realizes that the freeing cold of near Absolute Zero isn't affecting her. She is able to beat back Icicle and destroy the serum before he can use it.

Caitlin realized that her mother and father were probably trying to protect her from Icicle.

Cisco suggests that when DeVoe attacked Killer Frost, he didn't rewrite Caitlin's DNA to take away her powers using Melting Point's powers in 418. Instead, he used the telepathic powers of Brainstorm to create a mental block that kept her from changing into Killer Frost.

Cisco suggests using Harry Wells' mental activity dampener as a means of communicating with Killer Frost so that Caitlin can eventually transform at will again.

Iris, Nora and Sherloque recover the core of Sally and confirm it has a lightning-shaped piece of shrapnel missing.

Ralph and Cecile determine that three children were hit by shrapnel on the night of the Enlightenment. One of then was a 10 year old girl named Grace Gibbons.

Cicada's real name is revealed as Orlin Gibbons.

In the final scene, the doctor discovers Orlin in a weakened state. She offers to treat the wound in his chest but he says that it is making him stronger.


The Boomerang Factor

Everyone suddenly forgets that extreme cold stops superspeed from working and that ordinary people can't function at -200 below either.


The Bottom Line

A rare episode that gives us more answers than questions. We now know the truth of Caitlin's powers and her father's story and how Cicada became who he is. The only real questions now are what happens next with all of this.  Still, the whole thing feels a little flat due to a lack of action and our characters having to be total idiots in order for the villain to be a threat. Still, the ensemble acting is solid enough and it's worth it to have Killer Frost back.

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 4, Episode 5 - Tagumo Attacks!!!

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




Plot

The trail of the latest fugitive leads to Tokyo, where the timeline has been altered after the city was destroyed by a giant octopus in 1951. While most of The Legends are dealing with that, Ray goes off in search of Nora Darhk while Nate and Ava have an awkward Thanksgiving dinner at the Heywood house.


Influences

The Kaiju genre of film (giant monsters, primarily Japanese in origin, ala Godzilla), the movie Groundhog Day (Gary makes reference to this and how he keeps repeating the same scenario with Mona) and the movie Jaws (Sara's reference to needing a bigger time-ship, sea monsters, etc.)


Goofs

A real Renaissance festival would be unlikely to allow anyone to carry a real sword in public without it being peace-bound so it could not be drawn.

Ishiro Honda was a soldier in the Japanese army and he did have nightmares of his time during the war. However, he was not stationed in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped on it, as this episode suggests. At that time, he was being imprisoned in a Chinese interment camp somewhere between Beijing and Shanghai. (It is possible he just had nightmares based on the Hiroshima bombings despite not having been there.)

It should be noted that Ishiro Honda was one of Godzilla's "fathers" and that the original idea of a giant monster movie centered around an octopus started with special effects producer Eiji Tsuburaya. Honda did co-write the eventual screenplay for Godzilla with Takeo Murata, which transformed the giant octopus into a giant lizard.


Artistry

The cinematography of the episode mimics that of Ishiro Honda's movies, filmed low to the ground with a wide-angle lens to make the figures in certain key shots look bigger.


Trivia Of Tomorrow

The title-card logo for this episode is written in Japanese.

Ishiro Honda - the director who filmed the Fugitive monster in this episode - was the real-world director of the first Godzilla movie in 1954. He also filmed Rodan and many other classic Kaiju movies.

In the episode, Honda describes his creation of the monster Tagumo as a way to grasp the horror of the atom bomb. This reportedly was what truly inspired the creation of Godzilla and other Kaiju monsters and made the movies so successful in Japan.

While he is dyning, John Constantine says the name Dez.  John had two friends named Dez in the original Hellblazer comics. One, Dez Ridley,  was a friend of John's who was kidnapped by neo-Nazi gang leader Charlie Patterson and beaten to death due to his black skin and his association with John in Hellblazer #66. Dez was also the name of a hacker John hired to investigate a disruption of ley lines through England. This Dez got too close to the truth and had his hands cut off as punishment in Hellblazer #111.

Hank Heywood says the phrase "Let's make like a treat and leave." This is a reference to actor Tom Wilson's most famous role as Biff Tannen from the Back to the Future films, where the villainous Biff would routinely flub the old saying.


Technobabble/Arcana

Baba Yaga is a witch from Slavic folklore. Different stories depict her as a villain who eats children, but she does show up in some legends as a neutral figure who might use her magic to help those who seek her out. She is most famous for her hut, which stands on chicken-legs and for flying in a giant mortar and pestle

The Time Bureau uses double doses of elephant tranquilizer to keep captured Fugitives subdued.

Brigid was the Celtic goddess of art, creation and healing. Her book is capable of making fantasy into reality.

Life force is the most potent form of energy in the universe. Nora describes John as a batter that's almost too far gone to be recharged. The only way she can use her powers to save John's life is by sacrificing someone else's.

A Kaupe is a malevolent Hawaiian spirit with a canine head. They are said to call out at night, luring people to isolated locations before killing them.

A Chupacabra is a creature born of the folklore of Mexico, the southern United States and the Caribbean. It feeds on the blood of livestock animals, particularly goats.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Zari walks into Mick's room, where he is crumpling up a piece of paper in frustration while sitting at a typewriter.)
Zari: Hey.
Mick: Closed door means stay out!
Zari: Sorry. Sara called a team meeting and-
(Zari realizes that Mick is working on his novel.)
Zari: Were you...?
Mick: Yes! I was watching porn.
Zari: (dryly) On a typewriter?

Gary: Say hello to Baba Yaga. We caught her trying to eat Chinese gymnasts at the 2008 Olympics.
Baba Yaga: (in Russian, as she lunges at Henry) I will peel the skin from your face!
Henry Heywood: What did she say?
Gary: Just a... typical Russian greeting.

(Upon seeing the footage of the giant octopus)
Sara: Guys? I think we're going to need a bigger time-ship.

(Ava is trying to cover-up Nate's absence.)
Ava: Do you know what we would do in my family? We would actually go around and list all the things that we're thankful for.
Dot Heywood: What a lovely idea!
Grandma Violet: (grumbling) I'm thankful I'm still breathing.

Nate:What does a Kaupe, Chupacabra and a Baba Yaga eat?
Mona: That would be Hawaiian barbecue, Birria and Veal. Babies, more precisely, but veal will do in a pinch.
(Nate just looks at her.)
Mona:
I read a lot.

(Ishiro Honda is shivering as the shrunken Tagumo moves in on him. Suddenly, a woman with a sword is standing between him and the monster. She has three breasts, leather armor that highlights each one and a determined look as she twirls her sword, nods to Mick and engages Tagumo. Zari, Charlie and Sara look on in shock.)
Mick: Meet Garima - Queen of Thanzanon.

(Garima strides over to Mick.)
Mick:
Hi. I'm Mick.
(Garima grabs Mick and kisses him forcefully. He grabs a hold of her and responds in kind.)
Zari: (reading from the book of Brigid) "With the monster vanquished, Garima and her beloved Buck made passionate love in the ruins of the city."
(The Legends all smile at this romantic ending as we hear the sound of  the set being destroyed. Ishiro Honda looks horrified as Zari, Charlie and Sara slowly come to look disgusted.)
Sara: Okay. Let's go. Now.
(Everyone hurriedly leaves the set as we hear the sounds of loud banging. Dealer's choice as to whether or not that's a euphemism.)


Continuity

John is still near death following the events of 404. Ray says that magic may be the only thing that can save him and suggests finding Nora Darhk.

Sara recalls a fugitive her father had spent years tracking, only to discover he was living not a block away from SCPD headquarters. This inspires her to search 2018 near the Time Bureau for signs of Nora Darhk.

Mick is seen working on his novel, first referenced in 311.

The Time Bureau has multiple teams besides the Legends working to subdue fugitives, all of them trained by Nate.  They are currently in the middle of building a holding facility to contain them all.

Ava is invited to dinner at the Heywood house.

Nate does not enjoy Thanksgiving, associating it with drunken family fights.

Charlie says the giant octopus is not a fugitive and she's sure it's a man-made monster - a mutant created by radiation.

Nora is working as a serving wench at a Renaissance festival in Reston, Virginia.

Nate has a cousin named Patty, who has two uncontrollable sons, Tyson and Chris.

You should not play cards with Nate's grandmother, Violet.

You should not mention Barack Obama to Nate's uncle Rich.

Rich is also apparently a heavy drinker, who goes for the expensive booze first.

Mona, the delivery person from 403, appears again. It is revealed that Gary has blanked her mind regarding the purpose of the Time Bureau every time she has delivered food to him.

Mona's family all live in Los Angeles, so she is spending Thanksgiving alone.

Gary asks Nora to spend Thanksgiving with him in the Time Bureau office.

Mona is a vegetarian.

Nora agrees to look at John Constantine, since she feels she owes Ray for helping her escape from the Time Bureau.

Charlie says that the fugitive is not the giant octopus but a leather-bound diary that is an agent of Brigid - i.e. a book that can make fantasy into reality. The book is also attracted to creative types and finds its way to them. It was intended to be Brigid's gift to humanity, letting them bring dreams to life.

Ishiro Honda confirms that he found the book while location scouting and that the giant octopus was born of a recurring nightmare he had. He calls the creature Tagumo.

According to Charlie, the only way for the creations of Brigid's journal to be destroyed is for their story to be played out in full. This means that the monster will disappear once Tokyo is destroyed.

Nora says that her magic powers came from her father and that she's resisted using her power for fear of being corrupted by it. As such, she refuses to heal John and John says it is better she stay clean and not fall off the wagon.

All the fugitives being kept in the Time Bureau escape captivity while Gary is having his "date" with Mona.

Mona recognizes the Kaupe.

Mona is able to suggest take-out that would correspond to the diets of various mythological monsters.

John says the name "Dez" while he is weak and hallucinating.

Nora has a vision of the dark-skinned man who is apparently hunting John. When Nora asks who he is later, John just says "The past."

Nora feeds off a live-wire and channels the energy into life force to save John.

Mick uses Brigid's book to bring one of his characters to life to fight Tagumo - Garima, the three-breasted warrior queen of Thanzanon.

Mick takes the book of Brigid with him after advising Honda that "lizards are King." This apparently inspires the creation of Godzilla - King of the Monsters.

Honda likewise advises Mick that three boobs is enough when he ponders a fourth breast for Garima.

Charlie buys Sara a new bottle of booze as an apology for everything she drank from Sara's personal stash before and says she's satisfied that Sara isn't as ruthless as she pretends to be.

Mona is hired on by the Time Bureau as a creature wrangler.

Nora says she isn't afraid of her magic for the first time in her life.

Nora turns herself in to the Time Bureau.

Mick's writers block is cured and he finishes another book about his protagonist Buck and Garima.

John locks The Book of Brigid in his chest.

Henry Heywood gets a call from someone. He tells them the Fugitives can be controlled and says Project: Hades is go.


Location

Tokyo - 1951
Reston, Virginia - 2018
Washington D.C - 2018


The Bottom Line

A brilliant holiday special. The bits with The Heywood family come off a little too cliched, though that's likely by design and the jokes they set up later make it all worth it. The Nora/Ray subplot seems a little underdeveloped but we'll hopefully get to see the two interact more. Everything else, however, is top-notch. This has got to be the only show where a battle between a three-breasted alien warrior queen and a giant octopus would be just a footnote rather than the centerpiece of the action and I am so thankful it exists.

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 7, Episode 6 - Due Process

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




Plot

Felicity continues her odd alliance with Black Siren, who tries to use the power of the District Attorney to get Oliver Queen a new trial. Meanwhile, a guard at Slabside is murdered and everyone is a suspect, but the focus of the official investigation falls on Oliver Queen's one friend in prison, Stanley.


Influences

Supermax (David Goyer's unproduced "Green Arrow in prison" movie)


Goofs

Black Siren says that the FBI failed to keep their end of Oliver Queen's plea-bargain since Ricardo Diaz is still at liberty. It was pointed out repeatedly by Agent Samandra Watson that Oliver's surrender was contingent on the FBI bringing down Diaz's empire - not capturing Diaz himself.

Apart from that, Black Siren's plan is just idiotic and seems to confuse an appeal with a dismissal. She asks for Oliver's conviction to be overturned for reasons that have nothing to do with his original trial and the fact that he helped to expose corruption inside the prison he was being held in and was beaten for his trouble, while troubling, has no relevance to whether or not he was guilty of the crimes for which he was convicted or whether he made a plea-bargain in bad faith.

Additional: Everyone seems to have forgotten that Laurel Lance was once Oliver Queen's long-term girlfriend and Black Canary before her apparent death. Both of those should have been reason enough for a judge to deny "Laurel" the right to represent Oliver Queen in court, due to the massive conflict of interest.


Performances

Emily Bett Rickards continues to slay as she showcases Felicity's sliding down the slippery slope of idealism.


Artistry

The action sequences with the silenced sound and muffled effects continue to impress.  In fact, the whole of the fifth-segment action sequence is well blocked and well directed.


Trivia

This episode introduces a former KGB associate of Anatoly's named Pytor Roslov. This was also the name of the head of the KGB in the graphic novel Superman: Red Son, who was that world's equivalent of Pete Ross - Clark Kent's best friend growing up on Earth Prime.


Technobabble

There is a color variation on the hologram map of The Glades Felicity sent William. He thinks that is where she wanted them to go.

Felicity uses a Cyrillic dictionary to attack the table of hashed password to hack Roslov's computers.

BETAB-500 is a top of the line aerial explosive that can cut through concrete like it was nothing. Diaz buys two of them. It is later revealed that this particular model of the BETAB-500 is a newer model that can be attached to a pipe, like a gas line.

The bombs are wired together in such a way that they must be deactivated simultaneously. Otherwise, the other bomb is triggered. Each linking device is protected by its own cryptokey.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Black Siren tells Oliver that she is handling his defense.)
Oliver: Felicity would have told me if she was working with you. And the only reason that you would ever help me - or anyone - is if there was something in it for you.
Black Siren: That's not true!
Oliver: Yes, it is. You're the reason that Diaz got away in the first place. Do you remember?
Black Siren: (bitterly) You know the Ollie that I knew? He had a hard time taking responsibility for his failures too.
Oliver: You know what's amazing? (pauses) You are nothing like her. So go ahead and pretend to be Laurel. My Laurel. For as long as you want. You never will be. Ever. (pauses) Stay away from my wife.
(Oliver slams the phone down and gets up, walking away.)

(Diggle is trying to figure out how ARGUS, The SCPD and Felicity's team all wound up at the same ambush.)
Black Siren: We planted a tracker on The Silencer's belt. Obviously Diaz must have found it and was using it as bait against us.
Dinah: (To Felicity) How did you manage that? You were nowhere near The Silencer at The CDC!
Curtis: That thing at the CDC was you guys?!
Rene: Uh - Felicity wasn't near her. I was. We snuck her out together.
Dinah: So you two captured The Silencer?!
Rene: But Felicity and Laurel were the ones that tortured her.
Black Siren: Actually, I convinced her not to. You're welcome.
Diggle: (To Felicity) So now you're working with Laurel?
Black Siren: I'm standing right here!
Dinah: To be fair, she did help shut down that illegal psychiatric program at Slabside.
Rene: (To Dinah) Wait. Hold on a second. You're gonna give me crap about working with the new Green Arrow and meanwhile you're siding with the Black Frickin' Siren?!
Black Siren: Again. Still here.
Felicity (To Rene): You're working with the new Green Arrow?!
Curtis: Guys! I think that the whole point of this is that maybe we could pick up our phones a little more, huh? Shoot a text. (suddenly annoyed) Yeah. I am totally talking about the fact that everyone forgot my birthday last week!
Felicity: (having lost all patience) Your party is next week! Act surprised! Okay. Now that all of our deep, dark secrets are out, do you think we could switch our focus back to the psycho who just tried to blow us up?!
Anatoly: (having been sitting quietly watching this argument unfold) Sounds like good idea.

(Anatoly has said he is not helping ARGUS and that he intends to go somewhere tropical.)
Felicity: I think it's really hard to travel when you're on Homeland Security's Most Wanted List.
Anatoly: Yes, but I am on no such -
(Comprehension dawns as he turns around to regard Felicity)
Anatoly: You are threatening me?
Felicity: Call it an enthusiastic suggestion.

Felicity: I am willing to do whatever it takes to end this!
Diggle: But then what?  Felicity, I've known you for a long time and you are a good person. But I've been to the front-lines and I know exactly what that does to people. I just hope that when this war is over... you still come out a hero.

Anatoly: Regret. Guilt. These are demons you choose to live with. A trade you make to get what you want. How bad do you want to kill Ricardo Diaz?
Felicity: More than anything.
Anatoly: Well then you embrace demons. No more half measures. When I work with Oliver in Russia - he was not villain. But he did what needed to be done. You remind me of him then.
Felicity: What would that Oliver have done in this situation?
Anatoly: He would have ended Diaz. And he wouldn't care about the cost.

Dinah: (To Black Siren) Did you even bother to listen to yourself in court? You spoke from your heart. Big surprise, by the way - you do have one.

(Black Siren has just told Oliver that they lost his appeal.)
Oliver: Must be difficult to win a case when you're not a real lawyer.

(Felicity sees Anatoly drinking from a flask outside the police station.)
Felicity: Vodka?
Anatoly: What, because I am Russian? That is stereotype!
(Anatoly looks at her before offering her the flask.)
Anatoly:
But, da. Yes. Vodka. I only have a bit left.
(Felicity waves it away.)


Dialogue Disasters

Black Siren: I don't want your thanks. I didn't do this for you. I did this for me. And no, I am not your Laurel. I'm not the old Laurel. I'm me! Everyone has good and bad inside of them and you can't put people in one box or the other. Ever.


Continuity

Diaz tortures Anatoly, saying he isn't killing him until he uses him to destroy Oliver Queen.

Level 1 has new guards that conduct cell-checks every half hour. The inmates also get less yard time.

Stanley hasn't suffered too much, apart from Brick having it out for him since he was the only one Brick could get to after Oliver shut down Brick's fight club in 703.

Dunbar, the guard in Brick's employ, got a slap on the wrist for his part in running the fight club. Still, he has turned on Brick and started harassing him.

The entire Bratva was apparently killed, according to chatter on the dark web.

Diaz sets up a trap using The Silencer's belt and Felicity's tracker to try and take out Team Arrow, ARGUS and Dinah's SCPD team.

Officer Dunbar is killed and Stanley is blamed and sent to The Hole.

Pytor Roslov is a former KGB agent with ties to the Russian military and a former associate of Anatoly's. Anatoly says that Diaz contacted him about a weapon capable of destroying a city.

Anatoly agrees to help get information on what Diaz bought in exchange for safe passage to The Maldives.

Oliver finds the knife used to kill Dunbar hidden behind a loose tile in the prison shower.

Dinah goes to watch Black Siren's petition hearing.

The federal judge denies Black Siren's petition to appeal Oliver's case, though she does agree there needs to be an investigation of Slabside's treatment of its prisoners.

Bronze Tiger's prints are found on the knife that killed Dunbar.  He is thrown in The Hole, while proclaiming his innocence.

Dinah says that she didn't believe Black Siren's talk of changing until she heard hear speak about how hard it is to be a hero when nobody expects you to be one.

Dinah stops Black Siren from killing the judge who ruled against Ollie.

Felicity determines that Diaz is planning on using a gas plant to set all of Star City on fire by blowing up the gas lines and setting them on fire with the BETAB-500s.

The new Green Arrow joins the fight against Diaz at the gas plant, stopping him from triggering the bomb and knocking him out.

The Longbow Hunters escape, but Diaz is captured.

Black Siren tells Oliver that the appeal failed but that the judge ordered an investigation of Slabside.

Felicity makes good on her promise and gets Anatoly a fake passport with the name Jason Brown.

Anatoly gives Felicity his gun and advises her not to look back now that she's captured a dragon.

Felicity almost kills Diaz but is stopped by Black Siren.

Black Siren tells Felicity that she made a deal with The Feds - if Oliver agrees to help them with their case against Diaz, he can go free.

Stanley is released back into general population.

Oliver asks Stanley how he knew the weapon that killed Officer Dunbar was Bronze Tiger's knife when he was in The Hole when word got out that Dunbar was stabbed to death. This indicates that Stanley was the real killer.

William doesn't drink.

Felicity was murdered several weeks before William went to Lian Yu.

Felicity became a vigilante and started calling herself The Calculator. She cut ties from the rest of Star City's heroes. Dinah says that she was running in dangerous circles.

William and Zoe apparently knew each other pretty well before William left Star City. He calls her the girl who loves getting into trouble. She calls him the boy who has to know everything.

Roy says that the message he found in Oliver's bow in 702 that convinced him to come to Star City was something called The Mark of Four.

Roy says that he and Dinah should keep the Mark of Four secret from the rest of the team.

Dinah says nobody has seen William Clayton in years and they have no reason to trust him. Unlike Roy, Dinah doesn't think the fact that he is Oliver's son makes William trustworthy.

Felicity has a lock on her hideout that requires three bouncing balls be shot with arrows to deactivate the security system. This is a nod to how Oliver used to train in the Pilot episode.

The last file Felicity accessed were structural maps of key buildings in Star City, including city hall, the central library and the old Rockets arena. There are also semantics for explosives and the money to build them. This would result in destroying all of Star City that is not The Glades.

It is unclear if Felicity was part of the plan to blow up Star City and got cold feet or if she was trying to stop the plan and summoned help when she got in too deep.

Feliicty's last call was to someone called Blackstar.


Untelevised Adventures

Diaz is said to have killed all the Bratva off-camera.


The Bottom Line

A solid episode, that finally gets Team Arrow on the same page and shows what happens when our heroes actually work together and stop keeping secrets from one another. It has a few flaws, particularly in how it handles an appeal trial, but I'm willing to forgive this given the whole thing subtly shows what a crappy lawyer Black Siren is and how she has no interest in redemption or being a hero. Much as I loathe the character, I find her embracing her wickedness far more palatable than the wishy-washy "will-she-or-won't-she" redemption arc from last year.

Strangely enough, the flash-forwards this time fall kind of flat, with no real new information being revealed and a lot of mysteries (like this Mark of The Four) that don't give enough clues for the viewer to guess at their meaning. Still, not bad at all.