Thursday, November 23, 2017

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 7 - Thanksgiving

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




Plot

Oliver is ready to celebrate the Thanksgiving season - both in public as Mayor and in private with Felicity and William. Twin terrors threaten to ruin the holiday, however - Cayden James' activating the next phase of his master-plan and Agent Watson making a move to arrest Oliver for being The Green Arrow!


Influences

The Green Arrow comics of Benjamin Percy. (Oliver Queen having to be Green Arrow while facing murder charges.)


Goofs

The new SCPD building is referred to both as a new precinct house and a new HQ. Possibly it is acting as a temporary HQ, but either way six weeks seems like an amazing turn-around time on getting a new building refitted.

It is unclear just why in the names of the many ridiculous gods of the DCU Cayden James is employing Black Siren. It beggars belief that a master-planner like James would risk working with a loose cannon like Black Siren. His plans require subtlety and Black Siren is a murderous psychopath who kills when she gets bored and uses her powers around explosives in defiance of his orders.

For that matter, it's unclear why Black Siren is working as hired muscle for James in the first place. He may have saved her from Lian Yu, but nothing in Black Siren's character has suggested any sense of gratitude or camaraderie.

The sudden fight between Curtis and Felicity over their company's resources is unnecessary drama in an episode that is already tense enough. Felicity herself says it best - "We don't have time for this right now."

Felicity says that the new drug used to awaken Thea from her coma was a new form of Zolpidem. Zolpidem is a powerful sedative used to treat severe insomnia - the exact opposite of what one would want a coma patient to take!


Performances

There's several great dialogues throughout the episode. Quentin talking with Dinah. Dinah talking with Ollie. Curtis talking with John. And Oliver talking to John. The ensemble are all firing on eight cylinders this time around.


Trivia

Cayden James steals nano-thermite from a company called Sunderland Corp. In the comics, Sunderland Corporation was a scientific research firm which first appeared in Swamp Thing.

Curtis catches Cayden James breaking into Amertek. In the comics, this was the company which employed John Henry Irons as a weapon's designer before he became the hero Steel.

The bomb Cayden James creates is hidden in Corridor 52 of Starling Stadium. This is yet another nod to the number 52, which shows up repeatedly in various DC Comics properties.


Technobabble

Nano-thermite is a metastable intermolecular composite - a reactive particle. It is highly explosive when combined with the proper accelerate.

A City District Attorney cannot act as legal counsel to a Mayor accused of a crime in Star City.

Black Siren steals 100 pounds of polymer-bonded explosives.

The nano-thermite, when combined with the explosives, creates a thermobaric weapon which disperses a cloud of fire and pressure cooks everything within 200 yards.

Felicity saw one of Cayden James' algorithms that was based on traffic patterns which could be used to extrapolate population movement.

Felicity cross-references the crowd's pattern with the cloud's path of destruction.

Curtis creates a particle cloud sim.

The drug used to awaken Thea from her coma was a new form of Zolpidem not yet available on the market.


Dialogue Triumphs

John: We have to focus. This might be the most difficult thing we've ever had to face. If people think The Green Arrow is in prison, then the flood gates will open. Now, more than ever, we have to protect this city! If the criminals here think that it's open season, then this city will become a war zone.

(Oliver is lying on the bunk in his cell. Dinah walks up to the bars.)
Dinah: Tell me what you need.
Oliver: I need some sleep.
Dinah: I think I can do one better. FBI transfers can be lost. Locks can be left open.
Oliver: I appreciate that. But if I make myself a fugitive, then... obviously I'm making William an orphan.
Dinah: (nods) Gotta do it the right way.
Oliver: Yep. I've gotta do it the right way.
Dinah: Okay. Good night.
(Dinah leaves Ollie alone, as he stares at the ceiling.)

(Felicity has just discovered that Curtis was using their company's implant design on John without consulting her first.)
Felicity: You injected our friend with our company's proprietary technology and you didn't think to, I don't know... involve me in that at all?!
Curtis: I thought "Lone Ranger" was just the way we did things here at Helix Dynamics. You know? The name of the company you picked without consulting me?
(There is a long pause.)
Rene: I'm gonna... work on an algorithm over there, while I figure out what an algorithm is.

(Oliver walks into John's hospital room. He finds him struggling to stand from his bed.)
John: I told Felicity not to bother you with this.
Oliver: Which part? You being in the hospital? The experimental steroid? Or... the nerve damage... that has affected you for months? (pauses) Are you going to be alright?
John: I'll be fine. I didn't want you to worry, Oliver. Which is why I didn't tell you-
Oliver: No. No, John. You didn't tell me because you knew I'd never let you go out there compromised. And that I'd certainly never let you compromise the team. I've been mad at you before John, but this... is the first time I've ever been disappointed.
John: Oliver, you gave up the right to judge me when you gave up that hood.
Oliver:  You don't get to claim the moral high ground here, my friend.
John: Oh, I'm not, Oliver! But I apologized to the people who I endangered. The team, Oliver. The team! My obligation begins and ends with them. I don't owe you a damn thing!
Oliver: For the sake of our friendship, I hope that's the withdrawal talking.
(John glares at Oliver and slowly brings himself to stand.)
John: I put on this hood because you asked me to.
Oliver: Don't blame me for this!
John: I'm not blaming you, Oliver. I blame myself. For putting your needs, your goals, even your family above my own. I've done that from the very beginning. That was my biggest mistake.
Oliver: That was your biggest mistake?  Mine was trusting you to be The Green Arrow.
(Oliver turns around and leaves the room.)


Continuity

The new SCPD HQ has been completed, after being blown up six weeks earlier in 601.

Oliver refers to the public belief that Roy Harper was the first Arrow - part of the plan to save Oliver from jail in 319.

Curtis injects John with a prototype for fixing his nerve problem, modeled on the spinal implant that cured Felicity's paralysis.

Curtis Holt was a Cub Scout.

The new District Attorney of Star City is a man named Sam Armand.

Jean Loring - who represented Moira Queen during her murder trial - is seen for the first time since 207. She is acting as Oliver's lawyer on the charges the FBI has brought against him.

Oliver is facing seven counts of murder, among other charges.

Oliver is released on $5,000,000 bail and a $500,000 bond.

Felicity is able to pay the bond, using the first round of investments from her and Curtis' company.

Curtis catches Cayden James breaking into Amertek. This is the military/industrial firm in 502 that was the target of Ragman's vigilante acts.

Amertek has twenty chemicals in their possession that could be used as an accelerator for the nano-thermite.

John's implant fails at an inopportune moment.

Felicity was never told about John's condition, following John telling the rest of the team in 606.

Dr. Schwarz guesses that John is suffering from withdrawal from the drug he was taking.

John still has not told Oliver about his condition.  Oliver learns about it after Felicity tells him.

Curtis and Felicity determine that James' most likely target is Starling Stadium - a 35,000 seat arena where Billy Joel will be playing that night.

Rene is a Billy Joel fan.

Dinah tells Quentin about how Vigilante is her ex-boyfriend. Quentin, in turn, tells Dinah about how he had a chance to kill Black Siren in 601 but didn't take it.

Oliver apologizes to John for not thinking about John Jr. before asking him to become The Green Arrow.

John's tests show that the nerve damage in his arm spread to his back. If he continues to work in the field, he may wind up permanently paralyzed.

John refers to the events of 508 and how - in a world meant to give him his perfect life - he was The Green Arrow.

Wild Dog is accurate enough as a knife-thrower to set off a fire alarm by throwing a dagger at it.

Cayden James blames Green Arrow for costing him his son and intends to seek revenge on all of Star City for what Green Arrow did.

A boy named Owen Post has Cayden James listed as the father on his birth certificate. Post disappeared two months after Cayden James was taken into custody by ARGUS.

Cayden James leaks the video footage of Team Arrow attacking his men, who are dressed as fake cops, to the Internet and it starts trending. The vote on the Star City anti-vigilante measure is that same day.

Thea Queen awakens from her coma.

William has learned how to cook somewhat.


The Bottom Line

A harmless bit of filler that doesn't do much but end some minor subplots while setting up new ones. The series is basically treading water here but the performances from most of the cast are strong enough you won't care.

Batgirl #17 - A Review

Years ago, a case involving designer drugs, The Mad Hatter and the first friend Barbara Gordon made after moving to Gotham City brought Batgirl and Robin together. Now, Nightwing has joined with her again as a new villain called The Red Queen has come out of the woodwork seeking revenge. Can Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon work past their old wounds to save the day?


There's not much I can say about this issue without spoiling one of the best multi-part stories I've read in some time. It's a credit to Hope Larson's skill as a writer that she can tell two stories set in two different points in time so well, much less two mysteries! She also has a great handle on the characters of Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon .

The artwork is equally impressive. Chris Wildgoose is an amazing penciler, who draws a smooth action sequence. Both Jose Marzan Jr and Andy Owens do a fantastic job keeping the inks uniform. Mat Lopes's colors leave every panel popping. Even letterer Deron Bennett adds to the visuals in surprisingly subtle ways.

The Final Analysis: 10/10. A perfect conclusion to an amazing arc.

Legends Of Tomorrow: Season 3, Episode 7- Welcome To The Jungle

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


Plot

Sara Lance is still in a coma, but The Legends are still committed to fixing anachronisms while their Captain recovers. Traveling back to the time of The Vietnam War to investigate reports of a monster killing both American and Viet-Cong soldiers, Nate and Rory run into a familiar face from Rory's past.


Influences

Various Vietnam War movie tropes, particularly Apocalypse Now.


Performances

Dominic Purcell delivers a great performance here, as Mick Rory is forced to understand the abusive father he hated and what made him into the man he knew.


Artistry

There's a great shot of Rory staring at a bonfire that is a nice visual nod to Apocalypse Now.

There's some great moments in the script, with Rory confronting his daddy issues and Zari getting a touching scene with a female VC villager working with Grodd who lost her parents and brother in the war and is desperate for an end to the fighting.

The CGI for Grodd is impressive for broadcast TV.


Trivia Of Tomorrow

The episode title comes from a 1987 Guns N' Roses song.

Much of the plot and imagery of this episode is inspired by the 1979 film Apocalypse Now, which detailed an American Army Captain being sent into Vietnam at the height of the war to kill a rogue Colonel who had set himself up as a god among the survivors of a local tribe. Nate directly name-drops the film at one point. 

Nate gives Rory the alias Officer Schwarzenegger. This is a nod to actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, famous for playing gun-totting soldiers in many films. Nate later mentions the movie Predator, which - while not set during The Vietnam War - was filmed as an allegory for it and starred Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The three figures Stein recruits to help him solve the problem with The Firestorm Matrix are Sir Issac Newton, Galileo Galilei and Marie Curie. All three are prominent physicists who were also masters of other disciplines. Newton was a mathematician, Galileo an astronomer and Curie a chemist.


Technobabble

Stein attempts to find a salient stimulus - a noise or sound that provokes an emotional connection - to bring Sara out of her coma. In this case, he attempts to beat on a training dummy with Sara's escrima sticks.

Stein says that there must be a theorem that supports the deceleration of the subject's rate of fission to individually power the thermacore. Madame Curie says there is only one way to safely split the thermacore but it would leave both Stein and Jax powerless.

Grodd creates a communications jammer which blocks all comms around his village.

By freezing a mine trip-line, a person who pulled the wire should be able to step away from it.

When Sir Issac Newton knocks out Sara, he says this proved his Laws of Motion. Indeed, knocking a person unconscious does prove all three of Newton's Laws of Motion. The first law states that an object will stay in motion until another force affects it (i.e. Newton knocking Sara out). The second law states that Force equals mass times acceleration (i.e. when you hit someone, the faster and bigger you are, the more it will hurt). The third law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. (i.e. Sara was going to hit Martin, Newton hit her first.)

Ray rebuilds the Molecular Hyper Compressor. (i.e. shrink ray)


Dialogue Triumphs

(The team discusses what to do while Sara is in a coma.)
Rory: How about you drop me off on an island full of beautiful women like Zari did with that Helen chick?
(Everyone stares at Zari.)
Zari: Rory, you weren't supposed to say anything.
Amaya: Wait, you didn't take Helen back to Troy where she belongs?
Zari: That's what The Time Bureau does. We - we - do something different.
Nate: No, we do it different... ly.
Ray: Yeah. More messy.

Rory: You know why I've never seen a shrink?
Nate: Why?
Rory: I don't regret killing my old man.
Nate (shocked) What?!
Rory: That's right, Pretty. You heard me. I let my old man burn to death. How's that for tough love?
(Rory walks off, leaving a stunned Nate behind.)

Ray: Look, I'm sure it's not easy learning that your granddaughter is in league with Damien Darhk. If you ever want to talk about it-
Amaya: What happened to men? When did you all start talking about your feelings?
Ray: Uh... early 90s?

Jax: I've never told anyone this before but... I'm scared.
(Jax turns to look at Sara, still in her coma.)
Jax: I don't know who I am if I'm not a part of Firestorm. But then you've never had any super-powers and that's never stopped you from being the most kick-ass person I've ever met.
(There is a long silence as Jax just watches Sara, as if waiting for a response.)
Jax: Well, good talk, Captain.
(Jax take's Sara's hand and pats it gently before turning around and leaving the room.)

Zari: Where are we taking Grodd when we return him to where belongs?
Ray: Well, last I heard he was in an ARGUS prison.
Zari: Wait... he's just another persecuted meta?
Ray: Okay, I know you're not a fan of ARGUS, but Grodd is a psychopath. And... well, a giant gorilla!

Rory: My whole life I saw him as a monster. Blamed him for all the sick things that I've done. But now I see... I'm worse than him. Should have been me that burned in that house.

Zari: I know what it's like to lose the people you love in a senseless war. It makes you desperate. But if you really want peace, it starts with you.

Stein: I swear to you, if I die today because of a telepathic gorilla, I'm going to be very upset!

(Rory is in a stand-off with his own father.)
Rory: I've got nothing to lose. But you do. You get to go home. But if you kill these people, you'll hear their screams forever. Then one day... when you have a family... you won't be able to look them in the eye. Because this day - this act you're about to commit - will be burned in your memory forever.
(Sgt. Rory lowers his gun. Rory sucker-punches him, knocking him out.)
Nate: Why did you do that?!
Rory: I always wanted to!

(Jax examines the minefield between where he and President Johnson are and safety.)
Jax: Follow my lead. And, uh, if I don't blow up, path's clear.
President Johnson: And if you blow up?!
Jax: Then you're on your own, Sir.

Stein: Where is Captain Lance when I need her?
(Sara steps onto the bridge. Her movements are slow and forced.)
Stein: Sara! Were you just waiting for the right moment to make a dramatic entrance?!
(Sara continues her slow steps. Stein notices something is odd about her behavior.)
Stein: Are you all right?
Sara: There is no Sara.
Stein: What?!
Sara: (pulls her escrima sticks) Only Grodd.
(Sara takes a swing at Stein as he nervously backs away.)
Gideon: It appears that The Captain is under some kind of telepathic control.
Stein: (sarcastically) Really, Gideon? Do you think so?!
Sara: I claim this ship for The New God! Kneel before Grod-
(Sara is cut off suddenly as Sir Issac Newton sneaks up on her and hits her across the back of the head with a frying pan.)
Sir Issac Newton: Oh, how I do love proving my laws of motion!
Stein: (tiredly) Please save that lecture for another day.


Dialogue Disasters

"One Nation Under Grodd!"


Continuity

As the episode opens, Sara is still in a medically-induced coma, though she has just been taken off of sedatives.

Zari told Rory the truth about where she dropped off Helen of Troy in 306 - a secret Rory lets slip to the rest of the team.

Zari shows the team that there is no anachronism in Troy, despite Helen's absence.

The anachronism in 1967 Vietnam is a Level 8. Gideon reports that both American and Viet-Cong soldiers were disappearing amid reports of a monster in the jungle.

Ryan Sanders was the sole survivor of the group of soldiers attacked in the opening scene.

Mick Rory hates jungles.

Mick Rory's dad, Sgt. Dick Rory, fought in the Vietnam War. He was a Green Beret.

Mick tells Nate about how he killed his own father - a fact we first found out in 112, where it was also suggested that Mick's father was abusive.

Jax's favorite desert is his mom's pecan pie.

Professor Stein has formed an advisory board made up of Sir Issac Newton, Galileo Galilei and Marie Curie to help him ponder how to give Jax all of The Firestorm Matrix. They are unable to find a solution that will not depower both Stein and Jax.

Nate refers to the events of 202 and how he got to meet his own grandfather thanks to time travel.

Ong Troi Moi - The New God uniting Viet-Cong and American soldiers - is revealed to be Gorilla Grodd, last seen in F314.

Grodd's plan to assassinate President Lyndon Johnson while he is in Vietnam will bring about the start of World War III. This escalates the anachronism level to 10.

For saving President Johnson's life, Jax is rewarded with Ladybird Johnson's secret pecan pie recipe.

Jax still thinks his mom's pie is the best.

Damien Darhk rescues Grodd from falling to his death, teleporting him through time to Central City 2017 with his rune stone.


Location

3 Klicks East of Khe Sanh, Vietnam - December 1967
Central City - 2017


The Bottom Line

A shockingly good episode considering Caity Lotz - usually the glue that holds the show together - is absent for 95% of it. In fact, this may be one of the best episodes ever. The script gives most of the cast some honestly good dramatic moments and nobody is forced to act like an idiot to make the plot or jokes work. Dominic Purcell steals the show, however, and the effects work on Grodd is fantastic.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 7 - Therefore I Am

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




Plot

Barry comes face to face with the mysterious "DeVoe" he was meant to find... or does he? The unassuming, wheelchair-bound professor hardly seems like the criminal mastermind his future-self warned him about, but the truth is stranger than even Barry Allen might suspect. Unfortunately, the rest of Team Flash thinks Barry is tilting at windmills.


Performances

Neil Sandilands and Kim Englebrecht exhibit great chemistry together as The DeVoes. Indeed, they're far more sympathetic than most of the regular cast in this episode.

It's always a treat to watch Tom Cavanagh play Eobard Thawne playing Harrison Wells.


Flash Facts

The episode title is a partial quote by French philosopher and scientist Rene Descarte, who famously said, "I think, therefore I am."

In the original comics, Clifford DeVoe was a lawyer who turned to masterminding crimes for a gangster after growing disillusioned with his job. By contrast, the DCTVU version of Clifford DeVoe is a college professor who had an idea on how to make people smarter using advanced technology.

The Thinking Cap was The Thinker's primary tool in the original The Flash comics. In addition to increasing his already considerable intelligence, The Thinking Cap gave Clifford DeVoe telekinetic and telepathic powers. It is worth noting that DeVoe did not create The Thinking Cap on his own. Originally, he stole it for his own dark purposes.

The DCTVU version of The Thinking Cap was envisioned by DeVoe, but his wife built it, along with the rest of his equipment.

Barry makes a reference to his Spidey-Sense tingling regarding DeVoe. This is a reference to The Amazing Spider-Man from Marvel Comics, who possessed a precognitive power that warned him of immediate danger that he dubbed his Spider-Sense. He usually noted these warnings by saying his Spider-Sense was tingling.

At on point, DeVoe claims to have solved The Riemann Hypothesis. In mathematics, the Riemann Hypothesis is considered the most important unresolved problem in pure mathematics by some mathematicians. The Riemann Hypothesis, along with Goldbach's conjecture, is part of Hilbert's eighth problem in David Hilbert's list of 23 unsolved problems.

DeVoe also claims to have solved the 15th of David Hilbert's Unsolved Problems - Rigorous Foundation of Schubert's Enumerative Calculus.

When asked to solve the mystery of who was Jack The Ripper, DeVoe mentions Aaron Kosminski - a London barber who suffered from schizophrenic and delusional tendencies. Aaron Kosminski is indeed one of the more popular suspects among the many theories as to who was Jack The Ripper and he was indeed a barber with a history of schizophrenia and delusions who was housed at the Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum.

The nurse whom DeVoe names as the real Jack The Ripper- Catherine Jewell - is entirely fictional.

Wally makes a reference to fighting a starfish from outer space while in Blue Valley. This is a reference to Starro The Conqueror - a frequent enemy of the JLA in the comics. Indeed, Starro was the first enemy The Justice League of America faced in their first appearance in The Brave And The Bold #28 (Februrary 1960).


Technobabble

Marlize DeVoe once taught a class about turbulent flow rates.

Water flowing through the axis of a tube is called laminar.

The Thinking Cap, once completed, did not have a power source capable of providing energy for so sophisticated a prototype. This led to The Thinker and The Mechanic deciding to make use of the STAR Labs Particle Accelerator.

Marlize DeVoe says it is more likely that a Higgs-Boson bridge will open when the STAR Labs Particle Accelerator is activated than that a black hole will open in the middle of Central City.

Shortly after his intelligence was first enhanced, The Thinker solves Riemann's Hypothesis, Hilbert's 15th Problem and the standard conjectures on algebraic cycles.

Clifford DeVoe's gastrochemius muscles begin to degenerate after his intelligence is enhanced. This is consistent in patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), though Clifford's degeneration is far faster than in a normal ALS patient.

DeVoe states that an increase in complex fasciculation potential explains the axonal membrane hyper-excitability. When gamma wave activity exceeds 50 hertz, his acetylcholine receptors draw away from his nerve receptors instead of toward them.

Life expectancy for a typical ALS patient is 2-5 years. With DeVoe's chronodispersion, it would be half that. Complete paralysis will come first.

Clifford asks his wife to build a temporal vortex distortion chamber - i.e. a time machine - to stop him from ever having enhanced his intelligence. Instead, she builds some manner of life-support chair that can extend his life.


Dialogue Triumphs

Clifford: Nothing matters to them if it's not digestible in YouTube videos of talking babies or inane pet tricks.
Marlize (enthusiastically) Have you see the husky singing Like A Virgin?

Clifford: Here's the thing. I love teaching. It gives me the opportunity to broaden perspectives. But you can't just inspire people to be better. You somehow need to change the way people think...

(Barry is trying to convince the rest of the team that DeVoe is their man.)
Barry: He likes samurai!
Cisco: Who doesn't?!

Barry: Guys, I'm telling you, Clifford DeVoe... he's not what he seems.
Cisco: That could just be the wheelchair. I mean-
Barry: (shocked) No!
Cisco: (giving Harry the side-eye while jerking a thumb at him) - you do kinda have a bad history...
Harry: (annoyed) That wasn't me.

(Eobard Thawne, masquerading as Harrison Wells, is taking questions from the crowd.)
Thawne Wells: Yes?
Marlize: Those protesting this accelerator believe it could open a black hole in Central City. But is it not more likely to cause a benevolent phenomena like a Higgs-Boson bridge?
Thawne Wells: The only phenomena that will occur this evening is one that has been calculated to the tiniest detail, to the tiniest decimal point.
Marlize: So you've foreseen every possible outcome?
Thawne Wells: Yes, I have, Miss...?
Marlize: Mrs. Marlize DeVoe
Thawne Wells: (trying to place the name) DeVoe? DeVoe? (suddenly remembering) I expect that would make the gentlemen to your right your husband... Clifford DeVoe?
(Clifford DeVoe nods politely.)
Thawne Wells: I'm a big fan. Of your work. Sir. I expect it will have an enormous impact on our future. Thank you for coming, Professor. Good luck.

(Clifford and Marlize have been left alone by their doctor, following the news of Clifford's lethal diagnosis) 
Marlize: This doesn't make sense!
Clifford: My mind is drawing energy from my body. Like a parasite feeding on an ailing host. We're so close to everything we've ever dreamed of, only for it to be ripped away by this body.
Marlize: No, no, no! We can stop this, Clifford!  I'll never give up!
Clifford: (bitterly) 2600 individuals developed the metagene. They use it to rob jewelry stores and summon tornadoes. I use mine to save humanity and I'm condemned. Dying wasn't part of our plan.
Marlize: Shhh!
(Marlize hugs Clifford tightly.)

Clifford: You may be The Fastest Man Alive, Allen. I'm The Fastest Mind.

(The Thinker and The Mechanic are watching Barry and Iris on a monitor.)
The Mechanic: You're really going to let them get married?
The Thinker: What is knowledge without love?
(The Mechanic smiles, taking The Thinker's hand and squeezes it.)


Continuity

The Mechanic's name is revealed as Marlize DeVoe. She is The Thinker's wife. She has two doctorates - one in mechanical engineering and one in advanced robotics. She also makes the best macaroni and cheese in the world.

The Thinker and The Mechanic were both professors at Central City University.

The Thinker teaches history.

The Mechanic teaches engineering. One of her specific classes is Introduction To Fluid Mechanics and Physical Thermodynamics.

Clifford DeVoe grew up in South Africa. He studied history and econometrics at the University of Johannesburg before taking a teaching position at Oxford. It was there he met Marlize and the two fell in love. He came to Central City four years earlier, after being offered a tenured professorship.

DeVoe denies knowing Ramsey Deacon (402), Becky Sharpe (403) or Ralph Dibny (404). He does acknowledge knowing Mina Chaytan (406) - they were colleagues at Central City University before she abruptly quit. He refers to her as an animated woman.

DeVoe has a painting of a samurai in his living room which resembles the Samuaroid from 401.

The feudal history of medieval Japan is one of Clifford DeVoe's specialties.

Clifford DeVoe speaks fluent Japanese, French, Italian and Mandarin among several other languages.

There are 1122 DeVoe's in Central City.

Both Cisco and Harry are fans of the film Zatoichi - The Blind Swordsman and consider it's Criterion Collection to be the best box-set ever.

The Mechanic completed construction on The Thinking Cap just before The STAR Labs Particle Accelerator Explosion in 101.

Barry steals Clifford DeVoe's mug from work to get a DNA sample. Testing shows that he is not a metahuman.

Cisco and Harry determine that Clifford DeVoe has no criminal record, pays all his bills and mortgage on time, has a reasonable 401k plan, donates to The Sierra Club and volunteers as a Big Brother with a local orphanage.

Caitlin says that her colleagues at Oxford recall DeVoe as being a bit absent-minded, but generally likable.

Cisco attempts to vibe Clifford DeVoe's coffee mug. He has a vision of The DeVoe's eating dinner and confirms that Malize DeVoe does make fantastic mac-n-cheese.

The Amazing Spider-Man apparently exists as a fictional character in The DCTVU.

Eobard Thawne, masquerading as Harrison Wells, apparently recognized Clifford DeVoe's name when The DeVoes attended the press conference before the activation of The STAR Labs Particle Accelerator. He said the was a big fan of The Professor's work and wished him luck in the future.

Thawne's line about "everything being calculated to the tiniest decimal point" is a callback to a similar line The Thinker said in 406.

Despite seeing the problems with The Particle Accelerator (which Thawne had planned), Clifford decides to go through with his plan to power The Thinking Cap using the energy released by The Particle Accelerator when it explodes. The energy output stops his heart, his wife barely able to restart it with CPR after he is struck by lightning while wearing The Thinking Cap just as the dark matter wave hits him.

DeVoe files a harassment complaint against Barry. Eventually, this becomes a 500 foot restraining order.

DeVoe claimed to have determined who the true Jack The Ripper was.

DeVoe develops an accelerated case of ALS as a side-effect of the process that enhances his intelligence.

DeVoe says that 2600 individuals developed The Metagene.

Barry discovers the camera hidden in the head of The Samuraoid. He breaks into The DeVoe's house looking for a connection, during which point he is caught on camera.

Barry is suspended from the CCPD for two weeks.

DeVoe knows that Barry is The Flash and of the existence of The Council of Wells'. He says he is comfortable telling Barry the truth of who he is because he has already foreseen everything Barry and his allies can do.

Wally West returns from Blue Valley, which he left for in 403.

Cisco officially dubs Clifford DeVoe The Thinker. DeVoe foresaw this, saying there were 4900 possible outcomes of his confrontation with Barry including one where he was dubbed The Teacher. He says he likes The Thinker better.


Location

The flashbacks depicting Clifford DeVoe's life take place in Central City, starting four years earlier.


The Boomerang Factor

It's hard to say what's worse in this episode - Barry's stupidity in breaking into The DeVoe's home at regular speed and not keeping his face covered, the rest of the cast's sudden unwillingness to trust Barry's instincts or Iris's concern over Barry's sudden paranoia being limited to complaining about him disrupting their wedding plans.


The Bottom Line

It's probably a bad sign that this episode has made me far more sympathetic of The DeVoes than The Allen-Wests. Suffice it to say the script does a great job of developing The DeVoes into a loving couple in the span of a few flashbacks and you wonder why the writers haven't been able to do the same with Iris and Barry over the last few seasons. Barry loses 50 IQ points and forgets how to use his powers to stay hidden, Iris is turned into a total bridezilla incapable of supporting the man she reportedly loves and everyone else... is just kind of there. Much like this episode in general - it's just kind of there.

Injustice 2 #33 - A Review

Harley Quinn is free of Ra's Al Ghul's clutches, but she's not out of the woods yet. First she has to return Lucy - the daughter she gave up  - to her "mom". Then she has to return to her own awkward homecoming. Meanwhile, Ra's Al Ghul - bested but not defeated - works with his allies to activate their latest weapon in the war on Western Civilization.



It is a struggle for me not to spoil everything awesome within this comic in a bid to get you to read it. And why aren't you reading it? Have you not been paying attention all the other times I've written of how well Tom Taylor portrays these characters? How wonderful Bruno Redondo's character expressions are and how he hides little references in the backgrounds? How Juan Albarran's inks find the perfect balance between merely outlining and overshading the original pencils? How skillfully Rex Lokus uses a variety of palettes and gradients to create the perfect finishes?

Even if you haven't, I do love this comic and writing about it. So please believe me when I say (again) that this series is a must read for all lovers of the DC Comics Universe. Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy fans in particular will love this issue.

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10.