Monday, May 21, 2018

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 19 - The Fanatical

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




Plot

A former disciple of The Cult of Rao named Tanya escapes from what remains of the fanatical group, with a journal that may hold the key to freeing Sam from Reign's influence.As Kara and Mon-El start to investigate the cult, James tries to protect Tanya, only to have his identity as The Guardian exposed. Meanwhile, Alex and J'onn try to get Ruby and M'yrnn out of their respective shells with a day out.


Influences

The movie Ransom (Winn refers to the plot in discussing James' plan to out himself before The Cult of Rao does.)


Goofs

Kara's hypocrisy about being upset that James would chose to not lie to his girlfriend over indulging her paranoia is horribly out of character. Her justification that she's protecting Lena by denying her that knowledge doesn't hold water either, given how Lena is already at risk as the outspoken leader of a major company and scion of a family of famous criminals. Mon-El somehow manages to top this with his line (which Chris Wood doesn't sound like he believes either) about how lying to Lena is noble because it is meant to protect her.

It defies all the laws of ballistics for Olivia to shoot The Guardian in the face and to have his helmet just open up and bounce off his head in the manner we see.

James' justification for revealing himself to the world is nearly as nonsensical as Kara's reason for hiding who she is from Lena. Granting that representation is important, James would be put in a lot more danger by revealing his secret identity than Kara would. And the idea that Kara is somehow protecting her friends doesn't really wash given that all her friends are, with the exception of James and Lena, government agents who are continually risking their lives and at risk from their association with Supergirl anyway.


Performances

While the Guardian subplot of this episode feels entirely tacked-on and far too preachy, Mehcad Brooks still does a fantastic job delivering his speeches.

While it's totally unbelievable that Ruby just accepts M'yrnn's talk about what Mars is like with no cynicism at all, Carl Lumbly does a fantastic job with the dialogue.


Super Trivia

The two books on child psychology that Alex is reading in an effort to relate to Ruby are Kids & Trauma by Emmet Falconer and Coping With Emotional Childhood Trauma by Agnes Debinska. These are not real books, but they are clever nods to two members of the Supergirl production team. Emmet Falconer is a boom microphone operator on both Supergirl. Agnes Debinska is a set designer on Supergirl.


Technobabble

Lena's latest plan to cure Sam utilizes a biolistic delivery system, usually used for overwriting genes in crops.

Kryptonian cels are closer to plant cells than one might think, due to how they process sunlight.

Lena's process takes particles of heavy metals, coats them in DNA, and then uses that to overwrite the Reign DNA with Sam's. It doesn't work, but Lena insists it should with the right metals and the right vectors.

The cell Lena put Reign in has a refractive scatter field. This prevents anyone from seeing into the cell or being able to see out of it, even with X-Ray vision. The wavelength interference of the force-field hurts any Kryptonian who looks at it.

The ashes and wall-markings Mon-El finds in the Cult of Rao hide-out resemble the remains of a body caught in a nuclear bomb. As Kara notes, there is nothing on Earth that could destroy a body in that manner without also destroying the building around it.

Tanya's father and brothers were all shot by the police.

J'onn says that the brain of a Martian wearing a psychic inhibitor is basically identical to that of an ordinary human.

J'onn says he read about a study which said that playing three-dimensional video games can reverse the decline of dementia.

As M'yrnn points out, the word Arcade originally referred to a series of arches carried by columns or piers, a passageway between arches and a solid wall, or a covered walkway that provides access to adjacent shops in Ancient Rome.

The woman whose ashes Mon-El found was not killed by a nuclear bomb. After Lena identifies the reside, she determines that it was generated by a heavy metal reaction. The heavy metal in question is not one found on Earth.

Kara recognizes the formula for the otherworldly metal from Coville's Journal. It is the chemical composition for the stone used to make The Rock of Yuda Kal.

Kara guesses that The Cult of Rao was using The Rock of Yuda Kal to make a new Worldkiller.

The Cult of Rao van has some kind of scrambler on it that keeps it from being tracked by The DEO.

The recipe for making a Worldkilelr includes one oronc of Sedenach dust and seven lak-mar of nitrogen.

Mon-El is able to generate a frequency only Kara can hear using a Kryptonian Sunstone.

The Rock of Yuda Kal was drained of all its power. Luckily, Lena and Winn copied its charged radiation signature and found a sample of the same rock five light years away from Earth.

Reign's Pestilence powers act like an anti-virus scanner to Kryptonite, slowly allowing Reign to develop an immunity to it.


Dialogue Triumphs

Supergirl: I don't - I don't like this tension between us, Lena. And I know it's my fault. I know James told you what I asked him to do and... look, I feel terrible about it. I made a huge mistake. And I'm sorry.
Lena: (cooly) Well, it's easy to admit your mistake when you've been exposed.
Supergirl: (quietly, taken aback) That's fair. (pauses) I just don't want one mistake to ruin our friendship, that's all.
Lena: It won't.
Supergirl: (smiling in relief) Good.
Lena: We don't have a friendship, Supergirl.
(Supergirl's face drops.)
Lena: All this time we've been working together, it's been about work. We have a mission to complete. And I'm not about to let any tension between you and I get in the way of that. Are you?
Supergirl: Of course not.
(Lena moves past Supergirl, who bites her lips and turns to follow her.)
Supergirl: I - I - I just hope, um, when we solve this, we can work to rebuild our trust.
Lena: Why is it so important to you that we're friends? I have friends, Supergirl. Friends that don't scheme behind my back or lie. Given my family history, they know how painful that would be. They also know I would never enter into a friendship with anyone who's already breached that trust.
Supergirl: ... understood.

(The cultist puts handcuffs on Mon-El.)
Mon-El: Owie.
Cultist: We'll deal with you after the ceremony's done.
(The cultist turns his back on Mon-El.)
Mon-El: Just one question.
(There is a noise of handcuffs clanking. The cultist turns around to see Mon-El standing there, now in his costume.)
Mon-El: Do you, by chance, know where I can find the Rock of Yuda Kal?
(The cultist draws his gun. Mon-El snags the man's gun hand with his cape and pulls the man close, placing him in a sleeper hold.)
Mon-El:
Soooo... no?


Dialogue Disasters

Kara: I'm supposed to stand for Truth! How am I supposed to be truthful? Really truthful? 
Mon-El: Well, if you tell Lena the truth, you'd be doing it to make yourself feel better, not her. So maybe, in this case, it's uh...not telling her the truth that is the noble thing. It's a sacrifice you're making to protect her.


Continuity

Kara refers to what Lillian Luthor said in 221 about how Lena would never forgive Kara for lying to her if she ever found out Kara was Supergirl.

Tanya, a former member of the Cult of Rao, steals Thomas Coville's journal, and takes it to James Olsen. She says that she thinks The Cult is using it to build another bomb, like in 304.

Tanya was a linguistics and semiotics teacher, who helped Thomas Coville to learn Kryptonian. She was the only person who knew how to read Kryptonian besides him in The Cult of Rao.

Tanya says that Thomas Coville just disappeared and it was believed that he died serving Reign. Coville was last seen in The Fortress of Sanctuary in 312.

In his last communication with The Cult of Rao, Thomas Coville said that they had been worshipping the wrong god and that Reign, not Supergirl, would be their salvation.

Alex buys a 1962 Item - a vintage bike she always wanted.

Sam is allergic to cats.

Mon-El finds evidence of The Cult of Rao building an advanced nuclear weapon that destroys bodies but leaves inanimate objects intact.

Olivia - one of the cultists from 304 - is seen again as she leads the raid on CatCo to recapture Tanya. She apparently took over the cult after Thomas Coville disappeared.

James had Cat Grant's private elevator altered to hide a storage space for his Guardian armor.

James's face is revealed when The Cult of Rao break his helmet and the police show up.

Tanya recognizes the jewelry Mon-El found in the ashes as belonging to a woman named Liza who was her friend. 

M'yrnn has a PTSD panic attack watching a video game that involves shooting aliens.

The Rock of Yuda Kal is a statue of the ancient Kryptonian goddess of life, which Coville found in Addis Ababa.

Lena says the Kryptonian mineral used to make The Rock of Yuda Kal is what she needs to cure Sam.'

James says he was seven years old the first time he was put in handcuffs. He and his cousins were arrested at a resort while playing hide and seek. James was the youngest at 7. The oldest cousin was 11.

There are no cork trees on Mars.

Mon-El goes with Tanya when she turns herself into The Cult Of Rao, pretending to be some random guy who thought their van was an ride-share vehicle.

One of the ingredients to make a Worldkiller is Sedenach dust. The planet Sedenach was mentioned in 209 as home of The Bismuth Mountains - a place of great beauty with natural crystal staircases.

Olivia transforms herself into a new Worldkiller.

When Supergirl touches The Rock of Yuda Kal, it causes her to lose control of her powers, as her heat vision turns on and she cannot shut it off. Mon-El is able to handle it just fine.

Supergirl is able to remove The Rock of Yudal Kal from Olivia's hand with a focused heat vision blast.

James tells Kara that he intends to reveal his identity as The Guardian to the world someday, on his terms.

Ruby dyes her hair with blue tips.

Reign is becoming immune to Kryponite. Lena guesses that she can only keep her contained for a few more days at most.

Mon-El tells J'onn that he wants to admit that he still has feelings for Kara, but that telling her will only serve to make him feel better. J'onn agrees it is best to keep it quiet.

Kara and Mon-El borrow J'onn's spaceship to retrieve the charged Rock of Yuda Kal.

The end of the episode reveals that Thomas Coville is still alive, as he arrives at the site of the ritual to turn Olivia into a Worldkiller.


The Kryptonite Factor

Why can't Kara reveal her secret identity to Lena? Well, because that would solve all her problems immediately. And her justification that confessing the truth now would cause Lena to abandon her completely does not excuse the original lie.


The Bottom Line


A series of poorly written scenes are saved by some fantastic acting. I know it's a running gag about how the heroes of The Arrowverse never seem to remember the lessons about how much trouble keeping secrets from the team causes in the long run, but it is taken to truly ludicrous extremes in this episode as everyone justifies everyone else's lies with some incredibly flimsy logic.

The most vexing thing is that every moment of this episode feels like filler, even the bits that nominally tie into the main plot! The revelation that more Worldkillers can be made is never treated with the gravity it deserves and the grand irony is that the best performances involve the least necessary parts of the story (i.e. Carl Lumby's speech about Mars, James' talk about how rough is is for black superheroes, etc.).

The main problem in all of this is that James' story as Guardian has been so deeply buried by the events of Season 3 and the Cult of Rao hasn't been referred to in so long that there's no sense of urgency like there is with Ruby's life being threatened and Sam slowly becoming more and more like Reign. At least Kara finally realized the hypocrisy of her refusal to share her secret identity with Lena but it's likely too late to do anything but be another source of drama as we wait for the day Lena inevitably goes "full Luthor" in response to Kara's betrayal of her trust.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 23 - Life Sentence

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



Plot

With a new ally on his side, Green Arrow may be able to bring down Ricardo Diaz and save Star City, but even though the war may be won, not everyone may survive the final battle...


Influences

The Green Arrow comics of Judd Winick (invincible villains who win even when they lose) and Jeff Lemire (character of Ricardo Diaz, mention of Longbow Hunters)


Goofs

Again, one wonders why Diaz hasn't just killed Black Siren by now? It seriously undercuts the idea that he's a dangerous lunatic who overacts to any slight or act of treachery if he spares a dangerous metahuman serial killer with no qualms about killing who turned on him once or if he has enough coherence to try using her as a bargaining chip to manipulate Quentin.

I know Agent Watson is meant to seem unreasonable, but she's not wrong in pointing out that Black Siren is a known murder, a wanted criminal, a fugitive from justice and that the only person who believed her "I could be good" act is Quentin. And even he isn't buying it anymore and is just pissed because he does not want to see someone who looks like his daughter die yet again.

How in the name of the many ridiculous gods of the DC Universe did Diaz survive getting blasted off a roof by a concussive sonic blast at close range, after being beaten half to death to Green Arrow and still manage to survive a water landing to swim away to safety?

Why doesn't the FBI arrest Black Siren? (Did Oliver's deal give her immunity too?)

How did Black Siren get a hold of Sara Lance?

Why had nobody told Sara about Black Siren?

Katie Cassidy's expression (or lack thereof) as everyone else is having an emotional response to the news of Quentin's death and Oliver's arrest defies belief.

So... the next step is Team Arrow exposing Agent Watson for refusing to do her job without a quid pro quo, right?


Performances

Paul Blackthorne gives a stellar final performance as Quentin Lance.

Caity Lotz's presence in this episode is largely wasted, but she does a fantastic job with the brief moments she has.

Stephen Amell has a great performance here, but the scene between him and Paul Blackthorne as Oliver once again calls Quentin the father he never really had is truly heart-breaking.


Artistry

Good effects work and choreography on the opening fight scene, particularly in regards to the Canary Cry effects and the T-Sphers are used.

The script is solid, with a reoccurring theme of Oliver making his peace with everyone and shaking hands with them.

The lighting and rain effects during the final Green Arrow/Diaz fight look good, even if the slow-motion effects are a bit much.


Trivia

Once again, the title card only features Oliver's arrowhead symbol and not all the symbols of the other Team Arrow members.

The Longbow Hunters were a villain group formed by Ricardo Diaz during Jeff Lemire's run on Green Arrow, made up of villains who had a grudge against Green Arrow. The line-up included Diaz himself, Brick, The Red Dart, Killer Moth and Count Vertigo.

In The Arrowverse, The Longbow Hunters are some legendary group that Diaz has made contact with. Anatoly has heard of them but thought they were just a myth. Oliver says that they are three assassins whom even The League of Assassins were afraid of. The last one reportedly died in The 1950s.

Oliver makes a second Green Arrow costume for John, saying there's no rule that there can't be more than one Green Arrow.  For a time in the comics, there were two Green Arrows, with both Oliver Queen and his son, Connor Hawke, using the name. The same legacy ideal applies to Flashes, with both Barry Allen and Wally West using the name The Flash in the current DC Comics Rebirth reality. Even before that, there was the Jay Garrick Flash working with his younger counterparts.

Ricardo Diaz's third hideout is said to be an abandoned chemical factory on the border of Pennytown. In the Green Arrow comics by Benjamin Percy, Pennytown was a borough of The DC Comics version of Seattle. It also the name of a district in Star City in The Arrowverse - one that has fallen on hard times and lies near an airfield, but is not as bad as The Glades.

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


Technobabble

Felicity is given control of the FBI's Keyhole Satellites.

The bombs in Diaz's booby trap are said to be made of Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) As a dry solid, TATP is an extremely sensitive white crystalline powder that can explode under heat, friction or mechanical shock. Being difficult to detect and made from reasonably common chemicals it has gained notoriety as a weapon used by terrorists, some of whom have dubbed it ‘The mother of Satan’ because of its instability.

Felicity is able to piggyback of a radio signal going to the explosives, saying she can probably fool the triggers into thinking the people inside the warehouse aren't moving by cloning the signal. She winds up having to bounce the signal off of several satellites, delaying it long enough for everyone to flee the warehouse.

Oliver was able to get close enough to Diaz for long enough for a digital sniffer that Felicity made for him to read Diaz's drive. They have all the information on his entire network.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Green Arrow is addressing the FBI agents and everyone else in SCPD HQ. His mask is off and his hood is down.)
Green Arrow:
Diaz clearly has a third base of operations we don't know about.
Wild Dog: Yo, Hoss? Mask?
Agent Watson: Mr. Queen and I have come to an understanding. Even if we didn't, your identity is hardly a well-kept secret, Mr. Ramirez.
(Wild Dog pulls of his mask.)
Wild Dog:
So... you're done trying to throw us in jail?
Green Arrow: Everyone has immunity from prosecution, Rene. The FBI recognizes that Diaz is the clear and present danger.
Wild Dog: Better late than never, I suppose.

(John looks down at the second Green Arrow costume Oliver made for him.)
John: I really thought I wanted this mantle. It means something. (looks up to Oliver) You've made it mean something. When our city looks at it, it gives them hope, Oliver. And it would be diminished if there was more than one.
Oliver: For everything along the way... thank you.
(The two shake hands.)

Oliver: When I first met you, (chuckles) I didn't think you were much more than a thug in a - heh - ridiculous costume.
Rene: You're no prize yourself, hoss.
Oliver: I judged you. For far too long, I judged you. And that was a mistake. I'm sorry. I think that you're a good man, Rene. I think you're the type of man this... this city deserves.
Rene: I know it seems like I don't give a crap about what anyone thinks. But this means a lot.
Oliver: Good.
(The two shake hands.)

(Quentin hangs up his phone and looks straight ahead.)
Quentin:
Anyone ever tell you it's rude to sneak up on people?!
(Behind him, Oliver has the decency to look embarrassed as he walks around in front of Quentin.)

(Oliver asks Quentin to trust him when he says he can save Black Siren.)
Oliver: We've known each other for a very long time, Quentin.
Quentin: (snorts) A lifetime. Yeah. We've come a long way, you and me.
Oliver: (smiling) It's been getting better, since the first time you arrested me.

Oliver: The FBI's only objective is Diaz. They're going to do their best to keep Quentin safe, but they don't care if Black Siren is collateral damage.
Dinah:Your point?
Oliver: My point, Dinah, is that it's up to us to keep her safe.
(Dinah gives Oliver a side-eye glance.)
Oliver: I know you have put your vendetta aside for the sake of the mission.
Dinah: And you want to make sure I keep it that way?
Oliver: I want to say thank you.
(Dinah looks stunned.)
Oliver: It takes a very big person to not... seek vengeance for someone they love. If I haven't always been sensitive to that, I'm truly sorry.
Dinah: I'm sorry I was so hard on you. (pauses) You know, the truth is... I respect you more than you could ever know. You've put together a team of heroes. That's no small thing.
(They shake hands.)

Felicity: What is going on?
Oliver: What do you mean?
Felicity: I mean you've been doing the Oliver Farewell Tour all around this place, including giving John "The Hood". You know, everyone is wondering what did you have to give Watson to get her to give us immunity? I'm just going to go out on a limb here... and guess that it was giving up being The Green Arrow.
Oliver: ... sort of.
Felicity: You can't be serious! What happened to becoming your best self?
Oliver: I don't know if I believe that anymore.
Felicity: Oliver, this is who you are! You can't let Watson get in the middle of that!
Oliver: She's not. It was my idea.

Quentin: You did good, Oliver.
Oliver: Thank you, but it's not over yet.
Quentin: It is for you.
(Oliver looks at him and just raises an eyebrow.)
Quentin:
Am I wrong?
(Oliver shakes his head.)
Quentin: I've been dealing with Samanda Watson for months. There's no way she was gonna help you without strings attached. (sighs) But those strings, Oliver... that's a hell of a sacrifice.
Oliver: I had to look at the way I've been doing things. It's not working. I lost my city. I lost my team. There's a penance for that.

Oliver: Quentin, I hope I took the time to tell you , uh... you're a really good father.
Quentin: So are you.
Oliver: (choking up) I had a good example.
Quentin: Yeah, your dad was a good man.
Oliver: (on the verge of tears) I'm not talking about my dad.
(Quentin looks surprised but just nods.)

Felicity: During your trial, you said that you didn't want to go public, because you wanted a life after Green Arrow. This is that life! You could-
Oliver: I wanted to stop Diaz. And I wanted to save you and William more.


Continuity

The FBI and Star City's vigilantes all attack SCPD HQ and Diaz's hideout together.

Oliver secured immunity from prosecution for all of Star City's vigilantes.

Lyla, John Jr., Zoe and William are at the NORAD Bunker.

Oliver makes another Green Arrow costume for John, saying there's no rule that there can't be more than one Green Arrow. John refuses it, saying that having more than one would diminish it.

Anatoly gives Oliver the address Diaz gave him for the meeting with The Longbow Hunters.

Diaz threatens Black Siren to get Quentin to kick the FBI out of Star City. Quentin refuses.

Diaz somehow gained access to a metahuman power inhibiting collar.

The address Anatoly gives Oliver turns out to be a booby-trapped warehouse full of explosives. Wild Dog and Agent Watson are trapped inside when the trap triggers.

Diaz figured out that Anatoly was the traitor and promises to take days to kill him.

Ricardo Diaz can speak some Russians.

Rene becomes shell-shocked again, after nearly dying pulling an FBI agent who was paralyzed with fear from the exploding warehouse.

Oliver tells Quentin that he was able to beat the lie-detector five years earlier by controlling his heart beat.

It is revealed that Quentin has had a pacemaker ever since Season Three.

Quentin tells Diaz that The FBI is tracking him by satellite when Diaz doesn't bring Laurel to the meeting site and insists that Quentin hold a press conference to order The FBI to leave Star City.

Oliver realizes later that Quentin told him about his pacemaker, so that Felicity could track it, because Quentin knew that Diaz wouldn't honor his agreement and that he'd be searched at his meeting with Diaz.

Diaz's third hideout is revealed to be an abandoned chemical plant on the border of Pennytown - a district of Star City when has been mentioned before in 405 and 505.

Quentin is shot by Diaz when he refuses to deliver his press release.

Diaz is about to shoot Black Siren when The FBI and Star City's heroes arrive.

Black Canary removes Black Siren's collar and helps carry Quentin out of the base.

Green Arrow has Diaz beaten when Black Siren sonic screams him off of the roof and into the bay.

Diaz escapes, but Oliver got to him close enough with a digital sniffer to get all of the information from his drive.

Oliver hands the information on Diaz's network over to Agent Watson, who says that Diaz escaping doesn't alter their deal. Oliver says he is aware of that.

Quentin is septic as a result of his wound. He asks Rene not to call him Hoss at his funeral if the surgery goes bad.

Black Siren called Sara Lance to tell her she might need to come be there in case her father died.

Sara Lance had apparently not been told about Black Siren's existence.

Quentin Lance dies during his surgery.

Oliver is revealed to have made a plea bargain with the FBI - turning himself in and a full confession on a list of federal charges in order to save everyone else.

Felicity refers to how they broke John out of prison in 504.

Oliver says he's being transferred to a Supermax and that Agent Watson has already threatened to arrest the rest of Team Arrow if he ever tries to escape.

Oliver confesses to the public that he is The Green Arrow.

The prison Oliver is sent to is Slabside Maximum Security Prison


Location

Slabsite Maximum Security Prison


The Winick Factor

Heavy. From the invincible villain who accomplishes his goals even in defeat (Diaz has gotten Oliver Queen out of office and into prison is still running The Quadrant, even if he's lost his foothold in Star City's government) to the government officials that are more concerned with bringing a good guy down than serving the common good.


The Bottom Line

An ugly, bittersweet mess. There's a lot of good moments here, but they are moments that should have come earlier in the season and only serve to telegraph what is blatantly obvious - that Ollie sold himself to save the rest of his team. The grand irony is that after everyone else except Felicity abandoned him, he chose to sacrifice himself to save everyone... except he one person he should have spoken to before making this kind of decision. Then again, Ollie wouldn't be Ollie if he didn't do the wrong things for the right reasons for the sake of protecting people who don't need his protection.

It's apparent now that they are are going to use Season 7 of Arrow to play out the "Green Arrow in prison" movie that David Goyer never got to make. Hopefully that will be short-lived, because as the first few episodes of the middle half of Season 4 of The Flash proved, things get dull when your main hero is in prison.

Apart from that, it's pretty clear what happens next. John bcomes the new Green Arrow. Roy Harper comes out of hiding to help. Diaz continues to be invincible. New Team Arrow will kinda just be there. And they'll probably use Quentin's death to fuel Black Siren becoming a hero.... even though by all rights she should be in jail with Ollie, if only for having facilitated Diaz's escape.

I suppose it will be too much to hope that this was all according to plan. That Black Siren and Diaz are still working together and that everything we saw before was a play. That Black Siren didn't blast Diaz but carried him to safety with her cry (a trick we've seen Black Canary do) and that all of this is just to get her in with the rest of Star City's vigilantes so Diaz can stick the knife in later.

Unlikely, I know, but that thought will keep me warm over the next few months.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 22 - Think Fast

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




Plot

When The Thinker attacks the ARGUS facility holding Fallout disguised as John Diggle and starts using him as a battery to fuel The Enlightenment, it falls to Team Flash to stop him. The problem is that after the death of Ralph Dibny and Caitlin's depowerment, Barry is reluctant to risk the lives of his friends any further. But The Flash can't face The Thinker alone... can he?


Goofs

As the episode opens, Barry, Cisco and Irish are checking space launch facilities for signs of DeVoe... apparently having forgotten that with his gravity control powers, DeVoe shouldn't have trouble getting his satellites into orbit.

It's a bit weird that Caitlin refers to Ronnie as her fiancee since they did get married. (Albeit it for only the better part of a day.)

Caitlin tells Dr. Finkel that her father died of ALS, yet in 211, it was said that he died of multiple-sclerosis - a similar but distinct condition. (Perhaps this is another thing that was changed by Flashpoint?)

Caitlin says that Melting Point's DNA powers could allow him to trick a DNA scanner. There's no evidence of this from anything we saw Melting Point do in earlier episodes. Perhaps it could be done, but he'd need to have a sample of the person's DNA for that to work.

Barry suggests absorbing electrical current to boost his speed. It has never been suggested that he is capable of doing this while in Flashtime.

Iris West is officially the worst reporter/detective in the world if she has to be told that the best way to find someone in hiding is to search territory that is familiar to them... or their apartment.

So... ARGUS just stands by and does nothing for 12 hours as a metahuman terrorist takes over one of their secure facilities and begins trying to push a living nuclear bomb towards exploding? (I am beginning to see why Oliver Queen didn't think to call them in to deal with Ricardo Diaz over on Arrow sooner.)


Performances

David Ramsey has a brief but fun moment playing the disguised DeVoe.

Both Grant Gustin and Carlos Valdes give powerful performances as Barry and Cisco unload on each other about their respective burdens regarding the current situation.


Artistry

The sequence of The Thinker storming the ARGUS site to Hallelujah is perhaps the best of the season. The music, the effects work and the fight choreography all work together perfectly.


Flash Facts

Barry mentions Blackhawk Island as a potential launch site for one of DeVoe's satellites. In the original DC Comics Universe, Blackhawk Island was the base of operations for The Blackhawk Squadron - a team of made up of the pilots of many nations, led my a mysterious man called Blackhawk, who flew against the Axis Powers during World War II.  The original Blackhawk comics were second only in popularity to Superman during World War II and have the distinction of being one of only four DC Comics series (the other three being Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman) to see continuous publication from the 1940s through at least the 1960s.

Cisco makes reference to The Thinker being a "one man Legion of Doom" and says that means they have to send in The Superfriends. This is a reference to Challenge of the Super Friends - a 1978 superhero cartoon starring various DC Comics heroes and villains, who made up The Legion of Doom and The Super Friends. Apparently some form of this cartoon series exists on Earth One in The Arrowverse, which is interesting as two of the main characters in the original cartoon were The Flash and Captain Cold.

The theory that Caitlin and Cisco propose about how Barry can lend his speed to other options is perfectly in-line with how The Flash's powers work in the original comics.  Wally West developed the ability to temporarily loan The Speed Force to other people. He could also drain the velocity from objections already in motion to boost his own acceleration or accelerate them using his own speed.


Technobabble

In order for The Thinker to place five satellites into a synchronous orbit around The Earth, he will need to do so from an airfield south of the 39th Parallel.

The Thinker plans to use a shrunken Fallout as he goes nuclear as a battery to power up his satellites before launching them.

The floors of The Castle are equipped with motion-activated electro-shock plates. Each plate administers a 70,000 volt shock. Their activation pattern is randomized every few hours. The plates also cause an electrical explosion when touched.

Caitlin and Cisco theorize that Barry does not just tap into The Speed Force when he moves - he generates The Speed Force, like he's generating electricity to power an aura that protects him from friction.

Barry's physical touch, while helping him to focus his ability to lend his aura to other people, is not necessary.

Caitlin guesses that they would only last 55 milliseconds of real time before they lost the aura after Barry let go of them, but they think that would be ample time to rescue the hostages while Barry chased down The Thinker.

Caitlin theorizes that the increased presence of the hormone Relaxin in Cecile's body is causing her to inhabit minds rather than just reading them, causing her to act like people her telepathy connects to. She gives her an albuterol inhaler to try and calm her down.

The Cold Gun will not operate in Flashtime, due to a need to offset the friction.

Cisco builds an wrist-mounted ice-shooter (Barry calls it The Frost Bite) for Caitlin to use in lieu of The Cold Gun. It solves the friction-offset problem of the cold gun by shooting ice. Cisco is content to call it an Ice Shooter, but Caitlin doesn't like the name.

Upon seeing Harry, The Mechanic confirms that he is in the penultimate stage of The Enlightenment and that he will soon lose his memories completely and be a total blank slate to be molded by The Thinker.


Dialogue Triumphs

("John Diggle" starts to pass through the gates into the ARGUS site. Suddenly, the phone of one of the guards goes off, playing a stream of rap music.)
"John Diggle": Modern music. (scoffs) So lacking in the harmonic resources necessary for expressiveness.
(The headset of the guard starts playing George Handel's Hallelujah instead. We see Diggle's eyes flash purple - a sign that it is really The Thinker using Kilgore's technopathy.)
The Thinker: For profundity.
(The guards began to gasp as if being choked.)
The Thinker: Timpani in Handel's orchestra weighed 140 pounds. The exact gravitational force that I am now exerting on your lungs.
(Quick cut as the guards collapse to the ground. The Thinker now has the face of Clifford DeVoe.)
The Thinker: Music Appreciation 101. This evening's recital will be conducted by... your beloved professor.

(Caitlin is trying to talk to Dr. Finkel about Killer Frost.)
Dr. Finkel: So "your friend?" Is... she with us here right now?
Caitlin: Oh no! I'm not schizophrenic. She's more like... another personality.
Dr. Finkel: Disassociative Identity Disorder. That IS usually caused by trauma and... from your history you've had quite a bit.
Caitlin: Yeah. I did see my fiancee die. Twice. And then my next boyfriend turned evil.
Dr. Finkel: I actually meant childhood trauma. Tell me about your father.
Caitlin: My dad? He was the best. Loving. Supportive. Always pushed me to get smarter.
Dr. Finkel: And how did you feel when he passed?
Caitlin: He had ALS. He was always hiding his symptoms from us. He never wanted us to see him suffer.
Dr. Finkel: Sometimes when we're young, we repress things that scare us...
Caitlin: Oh, I'm not repressing anything from my childhood! My missing friend just appeared a couple of years ago.
(Caitlin's phone goes off inside her purse.)
Caitlin: It's my adult life that's got me like this.
(Caitlin looks at her phone.)
Caitlin: I'm so sorry. I have to go. Umm... do you charge by the hour?
Dr. Finkel: (forced polite smile) For you and your friends? The quarter hour.

Joe: Okay. So, I've got snacks. I got clothes for you. I got clothes for the baby. (snaps fingers) Damn! I forgot something!
(We hear the sound when Cecile's telepathy activates as Joe heads for the stairs.)
Cecile: Joe! We are not going to need a katana at the hospital!
Joe: Okay, so you're in my head again. And it is entirely possible that we get attacked by samurai at the hospital.

(Regarding Wally not returning his calls.)
Joe: He's literally on a time machine! So he has no excuse to not show up on time to meet his new baby sister!

Barry: It takes more than ten hours to learn Super Speed, okay? You guys could die in there.
Cisco: And if you don't take us, we'll die anyway. Our brains get wiped and that's it! That's the end of our world!
Barry: No! Losing both of my best friends and having it be my fault? That's the end of my world! You may think it's worth the risk, but I couldn't live with myself.
Cisco: (angrily) Barry. You cannot sideline us because of what happened to him.
(Cisco points to the picture of Ralph among the other Bus Metas) 
Barry: All right. I don't need another therapist.
(Barry gets up and starts to leave the room.)
Cisco: Look, we all lost somebody, okay? But that never gives us the excuse to shut each other out.
Barry: I said, drop it! Alright?!
Cisco: You think you're the only one who feels bad about Ralph dying?
Caitlin: Guys...
Barry: You know he came to see me in Iron Heights? He told me he was afraid. He warned me he wasn't ready. But I pushed him anyway! I said to go back out there and do my job! My burden!
Cisco: We made the Bus Metas. We gave Ralph his powers. You want to talk about burdens?! I started this!
(Barry stammers trying to speak but Cisco keeps going.)
Cisco: I shot that bazooka! I opened up The Speed Force! And I didn't do it so that you could stand here and tell me that you're going to save the world alone! Again!
Barry: (sighs) I ... I know. I know that. And I know we're running out of time, and... I can't do this by myself, but... everybody I've tried to teach has ended up worst than when I found them.
Cisco: And what about Ralph? Was he worse? You taught him that when his back was against the wall and the world was ending around him, he could always make the choice. Make the choice to be a hero! We deserve that same choice! All we need is someone to show us how.
Barry: (looking to Caitlin, who has been quiet this whole time) You guys really want to do this?
Caitlin: It's not a burden if we shoulder it together.

(Team Flash is running through the plan.)
Caitlin: And I'll protect the ARGUS agents from the blast, using this (looking at the device on her wrist)... ice shooter?
Cisco: (nodding) Ice Shooter.
Caitlin: Do I have to call it an ice shooter?
Barry: I thought "Frost Bite" sounded good.
Cisco: Guys, it solves the friction offset problem by shooting ice. Therefore it is an ice shooter.
Barry: (raising a hand at Cisco) Relax.
Cisco: It's just not that hard!

The Thinker: "Once upon a time, in some remote corner of that universe, there was a star, upon which clever beasts invented knowing."
The Flash: You're quoting Nietzsche at me?
The Thinker: You destroyed a satellite! Top Marks... quick boy. You can destroy a thousand more and you will still march closer to The Enlightenment.
The Flash: (sarcastic) I forgot what Nietzsche said about wiping minds. I must have skipped Philosophy class that day...
The Thinker: Did I teach you nothing this year? Did nothing pierce your thick cowl?! Think of it! Or rather, don't. You'll only end up hurting yourself, so let me explain...


Dialogue Disasters

Iris: She stabbed me with a katana, Harry! Our lives are what we have to lose! We can't save anyone if we're all dead! We are going to bring her in and we're going to stop her so she doesn't hurt anyone ever again! (Truly, the noble and heroic spirit of The Flash at play here.)


Continuity

The Castle - the ARGUS Black Ops Site holding Fallout - is hidden inside of Wellbiss Paper Products, 1000 miles from anything.

The passwords at ARGUS appear to be built around the names of musicians and foods. (Elvis Banana, Hendrix Spaghetti.)

The Castle uses DNA scans to identify their agents. Presumably The Thinker uses Kilgore's powers to overcome the scanner or Ralph Dibny is capable of replicating someone on the molecular level with his shape-shifting powers.In either case, reference is made to the events of 322 and how one year earlier someone (i.e. Barry Allen and Len Snart) broke into an ARGUS base using s personal transmogrifier.

The Thinker is able to bluff his way into The Castle pretending to be ARGUS Agent John Diggle.

The Thinker somehow knows about John Diggle's injuries from A601 and the experimental microchip used to treat his nerve injuries.

One of the ARGUS scientists at The Castle is a follower of Iris' blog and attempts to post about DeVoe attacking the base.

Team Flash checks Cape Canaveral, Space-X, The Xichang Space Center and Blackhawk Island for signs of The Thinker attempting to use them as launch sites for his satellites.

Apparently, the cartoon SuperFriends exists in some form on Earth One. This was already suggested in Legends of Tomorrow's second season when Nate Heywood called the villain team made up of The Reverse Flash, Malcolm Merlyn, Damien Darhk, Heatwave and Captain Cold "The Legion of Doom" in honor of some cartoon he liked as a kid. Cisco actually mentions The Superfriends fighting The Legion of Doom, however.

Harry's memory has deteriorated to the point that he forgot about Iris's blog, forgot that she asked him to proofread her latest article and forgets Cisco's name. He also seems to be losing control of his fine motor functions, tripping over a chair he claims "jumped right in front of him."

Iris's blog about The Flash has over 400,000 views. Iris is fielding sightings of both The Thinker and The Mechanic.

Caitlin is now seeing Dr. Finkel about her separation issues with Killer Frost.

Caitlin's father dying of MS (or ALS) was first mentioned in 211.

The running gag of John Diggle throwing up whenever he is moved at super-speed continues.

Barry has apparently mastered the trick of absorbing electrical current while in Flashtime to fuel his speed.

The Thinker has six ARGUS agents (five guards, one scientist)  held hostage, suspended by his gravity control powers over the electrical plates in the entrance of The Castle.

Wally has missed over a dozen calls regarding being there for Cecile's delivery.

Cecile is apparently now imprinting on the thoughts of people telepathically. This causes her to talk like a stoner pizza delivery boy. (This is revealed to be the source of Barry's "This house is bitchin" comment from 401.)

Harry suggests that Iris can locate The Mechanic by researching her past and figuring out where she might go to feel safe, given her apparent falling out with her husband.

Cisco and Caitlin suggest that Barry bring them into Flashtime with them and that they can rescue the hostages before they freeze up.

Cisco encountered difficulty trying to open a breach in Flashtime in 415. He has apparently figured out a way to compensate for the usual lack of time that makes creating a breach in space-time impossible (or at least very difficult.)

Cecile says she sensed Caitlin was trying to ignore something big and suggests she has to confront it.

The Mechanic is finally given a full name - Marlize Malan.

Marlize Malan was born in Cape Town, South Africa. She graduated with a PhD in inflationary theory and engineering. She was tenured as a professor of Engineering at Oxford.

Harry suggests trying to turn Marlize and use her love for her husband and desire to save him from himself to stop The Thinker.

Caitlin prescribes an albuterol inhaler to try and calm Cecile down to where she won't imprint on people with her telepathy. Instead, it causes her to become focuses on one mind, thinking that she is Joe. Joe is able to bring her back to being herself

Caitlin has a repressed memory of getting her leg stuck in her bike and falling while young and getting hit by a car.

Iris eventually tracks Marlize Malan to England.

Team Flash has one extrapolator left. Iris takes it to go to England.

Fallout dies when his body goes nuclear.

Barry's plan works and he is able to destroy one of DeVoe's satellites.

The Thinker explains that his ultimate goal is not to destroy intelligence but destroy emotion, having concluded that it is the father of all error. He says Love is the worst emotion of all.

Cisco helps Caitlin to vibe into her repressed memory. She finds out that she somehow transformed into Killer Frost as a young girl - decades before The STAR Labs Particle Accelerator Explosion.

DeVoe utilizes the Gideon AI in the Time Vault, his stolen Dark Matter, the battery made of the shrunken Fallout containment chamber and STAR Labs satellite to begin the Enlightment.


Location

The Castle - an ARGUS Black Ops site hidden 1000 miles from anything.
Oxford, England.


The Bottom Line

Too much to cover and not enough time just about sums up this episode. Unfortunately, the best parts are the ones that have the least to do with the actual plot, to the point where the scenes with DeVoe and Barry and Iris feel like distractions from the fun bits with Joe and Cecile or Caitlin's efforts to restore Killer Frost. Even the cameo appearance by David Ramsey as John Diggle seems totally tacked on and unnecessary despite being one of the episode highlights.

Really, the biggest problem with this episode - and this season as a whole - continues to be the ridiculous lengths that the show has taken to try and make Iris into an active member of the team. Note that I have no objections to Iris helping out (and indeed I criticized the show for not doing that in earlier seasons) but she could do far more good as a reporter giving Barry Allen tips on where he could so some good than as a cheerleader on her blog.

Given that the next episode is called We Are The Flash, I doubt this will change anytime soon, particularly since this episode doesn't bother to draw any ironic parallels between Iris's thirst for revenge on The Mechanic and the path of revenge on the warlords who destroyed her work that drove her into agreeing with The Thinker. But whatever...

Monday, May 14, 2018

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 18 - Shelter From The Storm

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




Plot

When Reign begins to hunt for Ruby in an effort to destroy what remains of Sam's personality within her, Alex will take up the role of Ruby's guardian. Meanwhile, as Kara and J'onn seek out Sam's mother in search of any information that might help them reach Sam within Reign, The Legion of Super-Heroes prepare to return to the future.


Influences

Superman: The Movie (elements of Lex's panic room under his mansion in this episode resemble Lex Luthor's lair in the movie)


Goofs

In 307, it was said that there were six total Legionaries in suspended animation on the Legion ship including Mon-El.  This episode, Imra says that there were seven Legionaries who were infected by The Blight and put into suspended animation, not counting herself, Mon-El and Brainiac-5. While nothing says that all of the infected Legionaries had to be on the ship, why put any of them on the ship at all? (It enabled Brainiac-5 to check and make sure The Blight was defeated in the future, as none of them would have shown signs of infection if they succeeded.)

Again, the question of the paradox caused by The Legion going back in time to prevent the incident that inspired them to go back in time in the first place, is completely ignored.

Brainiac-5 claims that there have been 783 uninterrupted Major League Baseball seasons since before the current year of his time. This is impossible, unless The Legion came from the year 3238, as the date given for the disaster that uprooted all civilization on Earth back in 310 was 2455. Even then, that assumes that the MLB got regular games up and running again within a year of society collapsing. (Maybe Earth had started colonizing space by that point, and the MLB continued playing on colony worlds?)

Alex's gloved finger doesn't quite hit all the buttons as she is keying in the code to reveal Luthor's mansion.

Patricia Arias must have been storing oily rags, gasoline cans and surplus US Army napalm in her attic for it to explode as quickly as it did after Reign was thrown into it.

I know Superman is once again off-limits to DC Comics Television shows, but you'd think Kara would remember there's ONE other person on Earth who might want to have a say in what is happening to what Kryptonite still exists?

Kara's suddenly losing all trust in Lena because of the Kryptonite issue is even more annoying and illogical than last week. (At least this time she apologizes and admits she was wrong.)

Give Lex Luthor's notorious paranoia and the security precautions we've seen at his other secret facilities, it seems highly unlikely his private mansion would only be protected by one keypad and a hologram with nothing to prevent him from being overheard. His arch-enemy does have super-hearing, after all. Never mind that the panel being destroyed shuts off the hologram...


Performances

Betty Buckley is quite frankly wasted in her role as Patricia Arias.


Super Trivia

Imra says that the first Legionnaire to fall prey to The Blight was Chameleon. This is a reference to Reep Dagle aka Chameleon Boy/Chameleon - a shape-changing alien from the planet Durla in the classic Legion of Super-Heroes comics. 

Brainiac-5 makes mention of his being a 12th level intellect. By way of a comparison, the average Coluan of the 31st Century in the original Legion of Super-Hero comics has a Level 8 intelligence. The average Earthling of the 31st Century has a Level 6 intelligence. Winn is said to have an Intellect of 1.42, making him nearly half-again as smart as the average human of the 21st Century.  (It may be worth mentioning that Lex Luthor, in the DC Animated Universe, was also a Level 12 Intellect.)

Mon-El makes a reference to seeing J'onn in 1000 years. In the DC Comics Universe, Martians are longer-lived than humans but the exact extent of this is unknown. Differing accounts have said that they live on average for hundreds of years, thousands of years or millions of years. In the DC One Million future, J'onn would achieve oneness with his home planet and became an immortal guardian spirit of sorts.

M'yrnn makes reference to something called The Eradicator Project. In the original DC Comics, there are several beings called The Eradicator, all but one of whom had ties to Superman. (The unrelated one was a Flash villain - a vigilante with a touch that could melt anyone into protoplasm.)

The first Eradicator was the product of the technology of a dying race, who sent a number of containment devices into space in an effort to preserve their culture. One of these devices landed on Krypton, where it was found by the militant and xenophogic Kem-L. Following his example, the artificial intelligence within the device became devoted to preserving Kryptonian culture and eradicating anything that might bring danger to it. In time, it wound up in the hands of Superman, and would eventually evolve into a replacement during the time when Superman was presumed dead.

The second Eradicator was a robotic probe created by Supergirl's Fortress of Solitude in the New 52 Supergirl series to destroy Power Girl, as it sensed her to be an impostor of Kara Zor-El.

The third Eradiactor was a villain introduced into the Superman comics in 2017. It was a robotic probe with the same purpose as the original - protecting Kryptonian culture - but it attempted to kill Jonathan Kent, aka Superboy, seeing his half-human/half-Kryptonian biology as an abomination.

M'yrnn makes reference to someone named Kemler when discussing The Eradicator Project. This could be a nod to Kem-L, the Kryptonian responsible for creating The Eradicator in the comics.

M'yrnn also mistakes Kara for someone named Ursula. While this is a common Earth name, the way he pauses as he says it (Ur-su-la) suggests that maybe he meant Ursa La.  Ursa was a notable Kryptonian criminal, most famous as Zod's right-hand woman and lover in Superman: The Movie and Superman 2 and the Superman comics written by Richard Donner and Geoff Johns. 

The sequence in which Reign storms Lex Luthor's panic room is a tribute to the scene in Superman: The Movie where Superman enters Lex Luthor's hideout. Reign reaches the entrance the same way - spinning around very quickly to drill down to it. She then faces machine guns, flame throwers, and cryonic cannons, much as Superman faced machine guns, flame throwers and some kind of ice trap meant to freeze him to death. Even the panic room interior is something of a tribute to Lex's "home" in the movie, featuring a library and a private gallery of apparently stolen artwork.


Technobabble

Lena developed a Kryptonite aerosol weapon, which she uses against Reign.

Lex Luthor had a mansion that was hidden from satellites and passersby by an advanced hologram.

Lena says she was able to use high voltages of electricity to wake Sam up and force Reign back down.

Winn develops some kind of electrical net gun with enough force to knock Reign back several dozen feet. She is able to break free of the net, however.

One of the projectiles for Alex's new gun creates a net of fire.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Brainiac-5 has just said that Winn has 1.42 Intellect instead of a mere Level 1.)
Winn: Wow. Thank you.
Brainiac-5: Hmm. It is I who is expressing gratitude for all of your help. With this gift.
(Brainiac-5 pulls out a jar of what appears to be dirt.)
Winn:
What's this? Space dirt?
Brainiac-5: Earth dirt. But it is from the 31st Century.
Winn: Are you serious? (stammering) This is - this is... future dirt?
Brainiac-5: Yes!
Winn: How did you - did Mon-El tell you about my dirt collection?
Brainiac-5: No, I ran a diagnostic of your personality, and calculated with a 98.7% certainty that you either collected dirt or New York Mets baseball cards. And judging by the last 783 uninterrupted Major League seasons, I figured dirt was more likely to hold its value.

Mon-El: Well, you would think that we would be experts at goodbyes now.
(Mon-El laughs nervously, warranting a backwards glance from Imra as she's leaving the room.)
Kara: It's no secret that I struggled when you got here.
Mon-El: Yeah, you weren't the only one.
Kara: But I can honestly say now, truthfully... I'm really happy I got to see you again. Witness the... the man that you've become.
Mon-El: It meant the world to me. To be back here with you. (speaking a bit faster) And uh-with, with everyone. To fight by your side.
Kara: I'm really going to miss your friendship.
(Mon-El makes the exact same face you'd imagine a man making when the woman he loves tells him she only thinks of him as a friend.)

(Imra asks Mon-El to go back and help Kara.)
Mon-El: You must know that I would never do anything to dishonor you.
Imra: I know. But I need a man - a partner - who will choose me with a full heart. Go back. Help her fight Reign. If you stay, then that's your destiny. If you return, I'll know you have no doubts.

(Supergirl freaks out when Lena tells her that she figured out how to make Kryptonite and created a super-charged batch to fight Reign.)
Lena: You know, I knew this is how you'd react. But James Olsen convinced me that we were on the same side. He thought you'd actually  that you'd be grateful.
Supergirl: (scoffs) You think I should be grateful that you learned how to make the one substance on this planet that can kill me?
Lena: Thousands of things can kill me, Supergirl. And everyone else on this planet. Fire, but we don't go around banning bonfires or candles. Cars kill people every day, and yet we still have the courage to get in one every morning and drive ourselves to work. There is one element on the planet that kills a Kryptonian and you can't tolerate its existence.

Supergirl: You know, even if I did trust you, even if we were on the same side, this substance is so lethal to me that I can't risk encountering it by mistake.
Lena: Trust is hard for me too, Supergirl. But since we seem to need each other, we're just going to have to figure it out.

Supergirl: I owe you an apology. For being so hard on you. Without your Kryptonite, we wouldn't have stopped her. You just have to understand that when it's Kryptonite,...to me that's more than a gun or any of the other dangers you were talking about. It's personal.
Lena: It's personal for me too.  It was a way to help my friend.
Supergirl: I do trust you Lena.
Lena: Good.

Supergirl: Why did you come back?
Mon-El: Uh. (laughs) Well, it seems that, ah, Brainy might have put a nanny-cam in Winn's dirt.
Supergirl: That's... upsetting.
Mon-El: So Brainy ran some calculations and mathematically the odds of you beating Reign in her new form exponentially increased if one member of The Legion comes back to help.
Supergirl: (smiling) Well, as always, I am thankful for Brainy's calculations.


Continuity

James and Lena's relationship is confirmed to have become physical.

Lena has been living in a hotel penthouse for most of the last two years, having been uncertain that she would stay in National City.

James and Lena agree to hide no more secrets from each other.

M'yrnn likes Sidamo Guji coffee beans.

M'yrnn mistakes J'onn for someone named Rokar.

J'onn offers to help his father perform the Ta'ar Ka'riq (last seen in 315), but M'yrnn says he does not have the energy.

Imra says that Chameleon was the first Legionnaire to fall to The Blight, with six more following. They were placed in cryogenic suspension until a cure could be found. This was why Imra, Mon-El and Brainiac-5 did not wake the other Legionaries on their ship after they woke up.

Mon-El determines that the Legionaries in suspended animation are free of The Blight and they can now return home, their mission accomplished.

Braniac-5 says they have to return to their time soon, as with Imra away, there is no way of knowing The Titan Alliance (first mentioned in 313) has held in the revised timeline.

Kara makes reference to the cape-fighting tricks that Mon-El taught her in 315.

According to Braniac-5, Winn has a Level 1.42 Inellect, compared to his Level 12. (Braniac-5 is later revealed to have been lying about Winn being a 1.42.)

Winn has a dirt collection. Calculating this, Brainiac-5 gives him a sample of Earth dirt from the 31st Century as a thank you present for his help.

Coluan embraces in the 31st century are quite different from human hugs in the 21st Century. Either that or Brainiac-5 is unfamiliar with how embraces of any kind are meant to work.

Mon-El tells Winn to tell J'onn that he will see him in one thousand years. Winn thinks Mon-El is joking but Mon-El's expression says otherwise.

Patrica Arias is revealed to live on a farm outside National City. This location was first seen in 307.

Lena reveals that she hid Ruby in a secret mansion that only she and Lex knew about.

The code to reveal The Luthor Mansion is 052627.

Patricia Arias has had issues with a neighbor named Francis Pierce trying to steal her medication.

When she was 10, Sam began doodling the same design over and over on her books. When she was punished for this, she drew it onto the wall of her bedroom.  The design is revealed to be Reign symbol.

Patricia Arias admits that she was a terrible mother, kicking Sam out of the house when she got pregnant as a teenager. She tells Supergirl and J'onn that she knows about having a granddaughter, but has never met Ruby.

Mrs. Queller was a neighbor of Sam's who helped her out by picking Ruby up from school and taking care of her. She was mentioned in several earlier episode but makes her first physical appearance here, being revealed to have been staying with Ruby in The Luthor Mansion.

The are 5,000 steps from wing to wing in The Luthor Mansion. It has an indoor pool.

The dining room of the Luthor Mansion has a rather severe looking portrait of Lillian Luthor. Mrs. Queller says the eyes follow you like The Mona Lisa, but not in a good way.

Alex lies to Ruby about not knowing what is wrong with her mom.

J'onn say that he has been preparing Martian medications for M'yrnn, but that his father still feels depressed and useless with his telepathy dampened. He notes that M'yrnn's memories of the past are clear but his present thoughts are chaotic.

Reign's presence is now foretold by the immediate withering and death of nearby plants, as it was with Pestilence.

Despite not having met Ruby, Patricia still has a picture of her and Sam on her mantle.

Reign is also confirmed to have Purity's sonic scream power, which is strong enough to cause J'onn's ears to bleed at close range. While it doesn't make Kara bleed, it does cause her intense discomfort and leaves her deafened for a short time.

Reign mortally wounds Patricia Arias.

Brainiac-5 planted a bug in the dirt that he gave Winn, so that he could keep tabs on Supergirl and her allies in The DEO.

Brainiac-5 says that Supergirl and The DEO only have a 51% chance of defeating Reign now that she has the powers of all three Worldkillers. He says their odds jump to 88.8% if just one Legionnaire remains in the past to help them.

Brainiac-5 says that Supergirl is stronger than any single Legionnaire.

Patricia Arias dies, begging Supergirl to tell Ruby that her grandmother loved her and to tell Sam that she's sorry for everything.

James tells Lena about Patricia's death and tries to persuade her to tell Supergirl that she figured out how to synthesize Kryptonite, despite Lena's fears that it will kill what little trust remains between them.

Young Frankenstein is one of Alex's favorite movies of all time.

Ruby figures out that Alex is lying to her.

J'onn says that Reign is as soulless and merciless as a White Martian. He admits, however, that some White Martians, like M'Gann, proved capable of mercy and compassion. He then remembers that M'yrnn survived only because he was able to talk the White Martians into sparing him.

M'yrnn makes reference to something called The Eradiactor Project and mistakes Kara for someone named Ursula and refers to someone named Kemler.

M'yrnn recalls that he did not really persuade The White Martians of anything. He knew that they held a certain series of scrolls as sacred. As the only person who had knowledge of the secrets of those scrolls, M'yrnn forced the White Martians to spare him lest that knowledge be lost forever. In short, he abandoned his beliefs to appeal to theirs.

Imra tells Mon-El to stay in the 21st Century, saying that she knows he has done nothing wrong or behaved dishonorably but that she wants a partner who will chose her with a full heart - for love, not duty.

Lena reveals that she can make Kryptonite to Supergirl. It goes as badly as she predicted, with Supergirl saying she no longer trusts Lena at all and sees her as an enemy.

Reign overhears Ruby's voice when she uses Alex's phone outside the Luthor Mansion to try and call her mom.

Supergirl tries to appeal to Reign by reminding her that her purpose is to punish sin but that Ruby is an innocent who does not deserve to die.

Mon-El crushes the Kryptonite into shards and uses them as make-shift ammunition to take down Reign.

Reign is moved back to Lena's private lab so Lena can work on a cure, with Mon-El putting a futuristic power inhibitor on her.

Mon-El says that he intends to stay in the present until Reign is defeated, one way or the other.

M'yrnn's memory loss is getting worse, not remembering his conversation with Kara and J'onn about The White Martians or that he told J'onn earlier about his discovery of mocha.

Alex admits that she lied to Ruby and promises to protect her and be honest in the future.

Lena tells Kara that the only reason she is working with Supergirl to save Sam and that she's lost all reason to trust or respect Supergirl after she had James break into her private lab. 

The final scene of the episode shows a woman named Tanya stealing a journal filled with images of Reign, being told to stop "In the name of Coville" by another man. This is likely a reference to Thomas Coville - leader of The Cult of Rao - last seein in 312.


Location

Patricia Arias' farm outside of National City.

Lex Luthor's Mansion.


Untelevised Adventures

Supergirl apparently keeps her promise to Patricia and tells Ruby about her grandmother off-camera.


The Bottom Line

Good acting salvages an otherwise annoyingly written episode. It's clear the writers intend to drive a wedge between Kara and Lena because there is no reason why Lena should not have realized Kara is Supergirl at this point unless Lena is playing dumb to make Kara feel guilty about lying to her. The performances suggest this to a degree, but it doesn't excuse how horribly out of character it was for Kara to ask James to betray his girlfriend last week and I fear the lesson Kara will take from this is that she can't trust James anymore. Still, between Carl Lumbly's frightening accurate portrayal of an Alzheimer's patient, Chris Wood's silent suffering as he is torn between love and duty and Melissa Benoist managing to portray everything except Kara's anger convincingly, this is a surprisingly solid episode.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 22 - The Ties That Bind

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


Plot

With his plan to put Oliver Queen in prison thwarted, Ricardo Diaz decides to just kill Green Arrow and all of his former allies. The heroes of Star City must put aside their differences to finally join forces against their common enemy.


Influences

The Green Arrow comics of Judd Winick. (Invincible bad guys who are far more clever than the heroes.)


Goofs

Lyla says that she can't bring in ARGUS to help with the fight in Star City because what Diaz is doing is a law enforcement matter outside of their jurisdiction. While this does make sense from a legal and logistical standpoint (The CIA is not allowed to get involved in affairs on American Soil, to give a real world example), surely Ricardo Diaz is a person of interest as a known associate of the cyber-terrorist who recently threatened Star City - a matter which ARGUS could act on?

For that matter, surely as the Director of ARGUS, Lyla knows who to contact at the FBI, the DEA, the ATF or countless other government agencies that would be empowered to arrest Diaz legally? (It might have been easier for Lyla to say she'd have to coordinate with the FBI to operate and it would take too long or for Oliver to point out there's no way to know Diaz didn't have connections in the local FBI as well.)

Kirk Acevedo goes full Shatner with his pauses and line breaks in this episode. (Why would she tip off Queen (pauses) and then DRAAAAG OUR AAAAAASES (pause) out of the fire?)

Diaz surviving the explosion at point-blank range and going flying down a staircase into a stone wall is complete and total bullshit.

Lyla doesn't have authority to bring ARGUS agents in force to deal with Diaz yet somehow orders a forensics team to investigate the ruins of Helix?

Why do The Quadrant leaders agree to a meeting with Diaz on his own turf with none of their own bodyguards close at hand?


Performances

Honestly, the whole heroic ensemble is on point this week, but we'll given an MVP shout-out to Juliana Harkavy, who gets the first chance in far too long to show how awesome Black Canary is and should be played.


Artistry

All the opening action sequences are amazing.


Trivia

As is tradition for the penultimate episode of every season of Arrow, the title is taken from a Bruce Springsteen song. As usual, the song ties into the theme of the episode, as The Ties That Bind is about someone who has been trying to stand tough on their own because they're afraid of the pain that relationships with other people can cause.

The Arrow logo card at the end of the first segment once again only shows Ollie's arrowhead symbol and not the rest of the Team Arrow symbols.


Technobabble

According to Dr. Schwartz, all signs of the nerve damage, loss of arm strength and loss of motor control that John had in his injured arm are gone.

Helix Dynamics now owns a polyrase inhibitor. Felicity and Curtis had to take out three loans to get it.

Diaz's "necklace" is a GRV-657 Solid State Drive. Felicity describes it as a military grade data storage device with dynamic encryption.

Felicity reprograms her sniffer to specifically couple with the digital signature of Diaz's drive.

Felicity determines that the encryption on Diaz's drive is Corto Maltesian in origin. She guesses the drive is carrying Diaz's books.

The SCPD use a tricelic gas in order to drive Team Arrow out of the Helix hideout.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Open on a thug urinating in an alleyway. Black Canary comes up behind him.)
Black Canary:
I'll give you the courtesy of putting that back in before we start this. 
Thug: (smirking) Does it have to be in that order?
(He starts to turn around, but Black Canary kicks him in the stomach, knocking the wind from him.)
Black Canary: You work for Ricardo Diaz.
Thug: (still smirking through the pain) Who?
Black Canary: You want to play that game? Good.
(Black Canary grabs the thug by his shirt.)
Black Canary:
I need to blow off some steam.

(John runs into the hallway towards the sounds of the shots. He sees Lyla with her guns drawn, one aimed toward each end of the hallway.)
John: Lyla!
(John runs towards her, and grabs her, spinning around as he shoots a man who was coming from the other direction.)
Lyla: I had him!
John: I know you did, honey.

(Three of Diaz's men have their guns trained on Black Canary's back. She has her hands up.)
Thug: One bullet. Back of the head. You won't even feel it.
Black Canary: (smirking) You know the cool thing about sound waves?  They bounce.
(Black Canary lets out a Canary Cry against the wall in front of her. It echos and knocks her and the thugs back, but she's able to roll with the force and comes up in a roll as the thugs are sent flying and knocked out on the other side of the alley wall.)

Oliver: If we just press ahead like this.. we are going to die out there.
Felicity: We haven't worked together in months.  You know Diaz isn't expecting that, at least.
Oliver: But he's planned for everything. Us getting back together? Working as a team? It's a start, but this guy's got an army.He's got the officials. He's got the police.  He's got everything.
Curtis: Please tell me there's a "but" coming at the end of this pep-talk.
Oliver: Anatoly Knyazev.
Rene: I thought he hated your guts?
Oliver: I think we've come to an understanding. I also think he might be the one move Diaz does not see coming.
John: Well, Oliver, if that's our tactical advantage, we need to press it.
Oliver: Let me set a meet with him, ok? Let us make a move off of his intel. But until we have it, I want you guys to stand down, and... I'm asking you to trust me. I know that that trust does not come easy after everything that has happened. Let's put all of that aside... and get this done.

Anatoly: "You cannot wage revolution in white gloves." Lenin had his faults, but he was right about that.

(Felicity has just asked Lyla for advice on how to cope with Oliver being nervous about her going into the field.)
Lyla: We always knew our lives would be high risk. Eventually, we got to a point where worrying about that seemed less important than enjoying the time we had together. Even if it was on a battlefield.
(Felicity closes her eyes as if savoring the romantic thought.)
Lyla: (pauses) Also, getting divorced helps.
(Felicity's face drops.)

Oliver: You promised me you would stay put.
Felicity:Well, I didn't exactly promise -
Oliver: Fine. You promised me you wouldn't do anything stupid. You charged into a fire-fight.
Felicity:Which was a calculated risk.
Oliver:  Calculated - (stammers) Did you calculate how close Ricardo Diaz came to shooting you in the back of the head?!
Felicity: We got what we wanted.
Oliver:  That's not - (bites his lip)
Felicity:And if I'm right, what we wanted has the list of everyone in the city that Diaz controls.This could help us get our home back from Diaz, Oliver. We could actually save our city this time around. I think that's a little more important than "what ifs."
Oliver:  This is why I started working alone again.
Felicity:Yeah. You know what? I tried convincing myself that that was the right move too. But it's not. Because we're married and we're supposed to be each other's strength. So there is no "alone" for us anymore.
Oliver:  It's not that simple and you know it.
Felicity: God, I'm really going to need you to start seeing it that way.

(Dinah is trying to talk Curtis into resting.)
Curtis: He almost killed my man! What do you expect my reaction to be?
Dinah: Exactly the same as mine.
Curtis:... I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking about Vincent. I'm so sorry, Dinah.
Dinah: You shouldn't be thinking about Vincent. You need to be thinking about Nick. (sighs) Just please don't go about this the same way that I did, Curtis - blind with rage. (pauses) Remember how you had to talk me down?
Curtis: I remember my advice not really taking.
Dinah: (chuckles) Yeah. Well, you're a lot smarter than me.

(Oliver is trying to justify his keeping Felicity out of the field.)
John: The truth is you were there for her tonight. The same way she's been there for you as Overwatch. (sighs) And, look, when I said that your focus was split, I didn't mean throwing away everything and everyone that gives you strength.

(Lyla and John are moving down a corridor, Suddenly, Lyla, grabs John, throws him down and spins to shoot one of Diaz's men who was approaching them in the same way John did earlier at the hospital.)
John: I had him, honey. (kisses her cheek)

Oliver: I shouldn't have pushed you away. I should have trusted you to keep yourself safe. And I should have trusted my abilities to help keep you safe.
Felicity: Thank you.
Oliver: Yeah.
Felicity: It's good to know that after all these years, you can still learn something. (kisses his shoulder)
Oliver: Well, I still have a ways to go.
Felicity: That's true.


Dialogue Disasters

Diaz: Should've done this months ago. (The sentence that pretty much sums up everything about his "plans".)


Continuity

As the episode opens, Felicity, Oliver and William are cooking dinner together, John and Lyla are meeting with Dr. Schwartz before their date night, Curtis has taken Nick to Helix Dynamics office, Rene is watching a hockey game with Zoe and Dinah is questioning one of Diaz's men alone.

Anatoly sends Oliver a text warning him of Diaz's attack.

Nick is wounded trying to save Curtis from Diaz's men. Lyla has them sent to ARGUS Med-Bay so he can get surgery.

Nick and Curtis are officially boyfriends.

Lyla has Zoe, William, Raisa amd John Jr. sent to the NORAD bunker in Colorado.

Diaz's men are seen trashing The Bunker before setting it on fire.

The ARGUS Charter does not cover law enforcement.  What resources John has were provided by Lyla stretching the rules as far as she could.

Anatoly tells Oliver that the the SCPD has "kill on sight" orders regarding him and the rest of Star City's vigilantes and their family members.

The Quadrant is not happy with Diaz's turning Star City into a war zone in a bid to take out the vigilantes.

Curtis is stabbed by Diaz after trying to fight him one-on-one. Somehow, the team is able to get away from the SCPD and Quadrant forces carrying him.

Felicity says she can use her data sniffer - last seen in 612 - to get the information from Diaz's necklace.

Diaz's "tech kid" is a younger man named Crosby, whose grandmother is being held hostage in exchange for his cooperation.

Anatoly convinces Diaz that the spy in their organization is Lydia Cassamento, after Diaz accuses him of slipping information to Oliver.

Dinah refers to Curtis talking her down during her fight with Black Siren in 614.

Crosby is able to trace Felicity's system to the former Helix hideout used by New Team Arrow.

Diaz kills Lydia Cassamento.

Curtis had the entire Helix hideout rigged to explode. Rene gives Oliver the trigger to activate it.

Oliver blows up the Helix hideout when confronted by Diaz.

Lyla sent a forensics team into The Helix hideout. They did not find Diaz's body.

Felicity did not finish the decryption in time. There was nothing salvageable after the Helix hideout blew up.

Diaz kills another of the Quadrant leaders. The last one swears loyalty to him.

FBI Agent Samandra Watson last appeared in 607.

Watson agrees to help Oliver retake Star City in exchange for two things. The first is his saying "I am The Green Arrow." The second one is unrevealed at the end of the episode.


The Winick Factor

Averted, but this episode only goes to prove that had it not been for all the forced drama making all the various heroes fight with each other for most of the second-half of the season, Diaz would have been easily dealt with in two or three episodes, tops.


The Bottom Line

The best episode in recent memory and not just because there's no Black Siren Redemption Arc nonsense weighing it down. The only downside of the episode is the forced stupidity of The Quadrant Leaders in the final segment, the plot contrivance that prevents ARGUS from being brought in gangbusters and that most of this episode proves how easily Diaz would have gone down if it weren't for all the forced drama that drove the heroes apart and kept them from working against a common enemy. The damnable thing is I'm actually excited for the finale, though I suspect I'll wind up not liking the direction of the show as we go into Season 7.