Sunday, September 19, 2021

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 11 - Mxy in the Middle

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


Plot

With Nyxly now loose on Earth, the Super-Friends turn to an unlikely ally to help them reign in the imp princess - Mr. Mxyzptlk! Meanwhile, Lena visits her mother's birthplace in Newfoundland, only to find a chilly reception from the residents of the small town.


Influences

The Lord of the Rings
(The All-Stone is basically the One Ring for imps.)


Goofs


Somehow, the ground around the giant cat is left unscathed by Alex's missile and Kara's heat vision blast.

Honestly, there's no logical reason why they shouldn't have J'onn shapeshift to replace Mxy rather than depending on a holographic projection other than J'onn not wanting to impersonate Mxy.


Performances

Thomas Lennon is a delight as Mr. Mxyzptlk, finding the right balance between camp and annoying, while still doing some honest acting to convey Mxy's frustration at how limited he is without his magic.


Artistry


I must confess I laughed out loud at Supergirl using her heat vision as a laser pointer to distract a giant cat.


Super Trivia

The episode title is a reference to the sitcom Malcolm In The Middle.

Mxy explains Nxyly's history with a parody of the 1978 song "I Will Survive."

The totems making up the All-Stone almost match the Paragons required to save the multiverse during Crisis on Infinite Earths, with Honor being replaced by Dreams.

Nxyly makes reference to fighting a Khundian general at one point. The Khunds are a war-like race of aliens in the reality of DC Comics, who are known for their predisposition to violence. Khunds do not take insults lightly and are insulted easily, looking for any excuse to challenge one another in duels to the death.


Technobabble

Imps can be summoned by speaking their name. Should two people do this at the same time, it seems to give the imp the freedom to decide who to obey, as Mxy helps Kara instead of Nxyly.

Imps can track one another when they use magic. This leaves Mxy effectively powerless as he tries to stay off of Nxyly's radar.

The All-Stone is a magical artifact created thousands of years ago by an evil imp named Jyrryd, which gives its owner complete control over everything - matter, energy, magic, life and death. The All-Stone was broken into multiple Totems of seven primal powers - truth, destiny, dreams, love, hope, humanity and courage.

According to Mxy, each planet has a set of these totems.

The crystal ball Nxyly has is revealed as the Crystal of Jyrryd. It can be used to track the All-Stone Totems, but it requires the power of an imp with the blood of Jyrryd. 

Mr. Mxyzptlk is revealed to be Jyrryd's last living descendant. 

J'onn confirms that the device built by Dr. Raab in 610 converted Kryptonian bio-energy into a form that Nxyly could absorb.

Brainiac-5 thinks he can reverse engineer Dr. Raab's device to create something that drains the magic from Nxyly. Alex then suggests that they can modify a DEO power-dampener cuff that Nxyly can't unlock to keep the power-draining device locked on her. Even then, it will require a steady stream of magical energy to power it.

Brainiac-5 complains that the nano-plating on the DEO cuff is too thin. Dreamer says she may be able to reinforce it with dream energy.

5th Dimensional energy destabilizes the copying format of Brainy's copying machine, causing the duplicate Mxy to reintegrate with him far too quickly.

Imps are forbidden from killing people directly with their magic. However, they can still kill people indirectly by summoning monsters that could potentially harm people.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Mxy explains Nxyly's history in song, to the tune of "I Will Survive.")
You'll see that I'm afraid, I am petrified!
For that imp she has a crystal she wants me inside!
And Nyxly's just not any imp,
But a princess brave and strong,
Who was wronged,
And for payback has waited long!
Oh, she's the daughter of the imp king,
Who was bad to every imp
And every other thing
So she conspired with her brother to unseat the evil lord
But they got caught and sent to trial before the horde!
Go on
Walk out the door
Oh, the king, he disowned Nyxly For starting up that war
And Nyxly's brother, he got praised, for showing his ferocity
But Nyxly was sent away. Because, hey, patriarchy!
Oh, Nyxlaaai! She would survive
In the outer lands, she found a quest, and that kept her alive
The All-Stone totem she would find!
So much power she would mine!
She would survive! She would survive!

Mitch: We had a deal! I help you and you help me get my menagerie back!
Nyxly: Let me help you with something far more valuable. A lesson. Those you think are close to you would just as soon betray you and leave you locked away. You gave me what I needed, and now you're nothing more to me than a gnat. And I am the bright light that you're drawn to. That will incinerate you.

(Mxy wants to prove he can be useful without his magic.)
Alex: Well, now that the stone is out, any tips on how to get the magical current to connect to the component's electrical one?
Mxy: Yes. Ummm... Here's the thing. I mean, you know, because magic is just instinctive to us imps. (chuckling nervously) So to explain it to a non-Fifth-Dimensional being, it would just be like trying to explain a spear to a stick figure.
J'onn: Why don't you try us?
Mxy: Okay.
(Mxy looks at everything and is clearly out of his element. Alex and J'onn look at him expectantly.)
Mxy: Have you tried turning it on, turn it off, turning it on again? 


Continuity


Mr. Mxyzptlk is summoned by both Kara and Nxyly at the same time.

Mxy testified against Nxyly when she was put on trial for treason against her father 300 years ago. He says that he regrets this, but points out she was trying to destroy most of the Fifth Dimension at the time.

Kara never told the rest of the Super Friends about her encounter with Nyxly in the Phantom Zone.

Mxy explains that Nxyly is looking for the All-Stone - an artifact that could make an Imp all-powerful and that the All-Stone was broken into seven totems.

Nxyly's crystal ball could track the totems, if she trapped Mxy inside it.

Mxy claims he was forced to testify against Nxyly by her father, King Brpxz, because of his heritage and his family being on thin-ice because of their infamous ancestor.

Nia has her reoccurring dream with the ravens and the ice cage again. This time, however, she sees Mxy in the cage, dead.

When Nia lies about what she was doing, Brainy picks up on it. She admits to him, privately, that she was responsible for freeing Nxyly after she became stuck in the Dream Realm.

Brainy comforts Nia, telling her he knows how it feels to be exploited by a villain, referring to his bargain with Lex Luthor in the second-half of Season 5.

Brainy agrees to keep Nia's secret, but encourages her to tell Kara on her own.

Andrea loaned Lena a CatCo corporate jet for her trip.

Andrea calls Lena and learns that she's about to arrive in Fortune Bay, Newfoundland, which is her mother's hometown.

Lena is the spitting image of her mother at her age.

Lena discovered a picture of her mother with two other women - Florence Abbott and Margaret Bishop - who were her best friends since childhood.

Margaret Bishop is still living in Fortune Bay, according to Lena's research.

Andrea promises to help Lena find Margaret Bishop, when Lena admits she couldn't find anything about her or her whereabouts today.

Lena's mother's birthname is revealed to be Elizabeth Walsh.

Dee-Dee, the innkeeper Lena booked a room with, recognizes her as a Luthor and is overjoyed to see her... until she says she's the daughter of Elizabeth Walsh. Suddenly, she declares that Lena's room has been double-booked and there's no room for her.

Mxy suggests just sending Nxyly back to the Phantom Zone, but Kara says she thinks Nxyly could be reasoned with and that what happened to her was unfair.

Kara goes to retrieve the amulet Mon-El used to fight Mxy in 213, after Mxy reveals that, rather than destroying the amulet, he hid it in a cave in the jungles of Corto Maltese. He thought nobody would find it, but warns Kara it's now being used as a base by a guerilla warlord. 

Mitch returns to his ship to find Nxyly there. He says he was arrested but managed to slip away during a transfer.

Mitch offers to help Nxyly but she dismisses him as useless to her now.

Kelly is said to be busy dealing with the fallout caused by the Ormfel Building and other damage throughout the Heights caused by Nxyly's attack.

Mxy offers to help J'onn and Alex with creating the magic-draining device, but proves to have no technical aptitude at all.

Lena goes to a bar in Fortune Bay which she learned was owned by Margaret Bishop. The Margaret Bishop in question goes by Peggy and reveals herself to be named for her mother. When Lena mentions her mother was Elizabeth Walsh, she too goes from being friendly to hostile and tells Lena to get out of Fortune Bay, saying that Elizabeth Walsh was no friend to her mother.

Peggy claims that her mother is dead and that Elizabeth Walsh was the one who killed her. She also claims Elizabeth Walsh was a conniving opportunist who left town after seducing a wealthy man into giving her a new life.

When pushed, Peggy says that her mother, Elizabeth walsh and Florence Abbott were part of a witches coven together.

Peggy says she saw Elizabeth Walsh set a shed on fire without a match while her father was inside it. He died in the fire. Florence Abbott disappeared after that, leaving Margaret to deal with the fallout. 

Mxy tries to help Nia and Brainy with the cuff, but is also turned away.

Nxyly releases a giant cat on National City.

Dreamer tries to draw the cat into the Dream Realm, but fails.

Supergirl distracts the cat using her heat vision as a laser pointer while Sentinel tries to destroy the cat with her Hand of the Soldier.

Nxyly says that a Khundian general tried to capture her once, but she killed him and his arm with a Kryptonite-breathing dragon.

Nxyly gives the heroes two hours to hand over Mxy and tells them to meet her in Smidt Park.

Andrea calls Lena and tells her she found Florence Abbott. She e-mails her the details and tells Lena she shouldn't give up, even if everything she found out so far seems bad.

Brainy once again encourages Nia to tell Kara that she released Nyxly on Earth.

Mxy uses a temporary cloning device to make a copy of himself and suggests using it as a decoy to bluff Mxy and get the cuff on her. Everyone agrees this is a good plan, but the duplicate disintegrates almost immediately due to Mxy's magic destabilizing the copying format.

Lena finds the home of Florence Abbott. She comments that Lena looks just like her mom and claims to still talk to Elizabeth in her dreams.

Florence says she doesn't trust computers and gets her information directly from the source. She claims Elizabeth told her that her daughter was a scientist, but Lena points out anyone could find that information easily with a Google search.

Florence says she, Elizabeth and Margaret all came from a long line of witches. Florence taught them how to draw on the power of nature and says she can teach Lena, whom she senses has the same spark.

Florence claims that Margaret's husband, Tommy, was abusive but that nobody would do anything because he was popular in town. She also claimed the fire that killed him was an accident and that they had been trying to scare him.

Florence tells Lena that her mother is still watching over her and is very proud of her.

Nia takes Brainy's image inducer and reprograms it to make her look like Mxy. She says she'll slip the cuff on Nxyly while Kara distracts her.

The plan falls apart when the magic interferes with the mage inducer and Nia's disguise is ruined.

J'onn, Alex and Brainy rush to the scene with the Phantom Zone Projector, but Nxyly uses a spell to tie everyone up and summons the Kryptonite- breathing dragon she mentioned before to kill everyone.

Mxy shows up and surrenders himself to Nyxly, only to slip the anti-magic cuff on her wrist as he's drawn into her crystal ball.

Nxyly is teleported away at the last moment, along with the crystal ball.

Kara admits she was mistaken to think Nxyly could be reasoned with.

Lena thanks Florence for telling her about her mother, but she's still skeptical that she could use magic.

It is revealed that Mitch was the one who saved Nxyly She agrees to partner with him and help him build a better life in exchange for finding the totems. She says the Totem of Courage should be their first target.

Nia has a dream vision of Nxyly and confirms that she is with Mitch and depowered, but she's usuing the crystal to search for the totems.


Location

Fortune Bay, Newfoundland, Canada.


Untelevised Adventures

Kara retrieves the amulet Mon-El used to fight Mister Mxyzptlk from a cave in Corto Maltese. 

Kara goes to the Fortress of Solitude and uses the scanners there to search for 5th Dimensional energy signatures around the world.


The Bottom Line

An energetic performance by Thomas Lennon isn't enough to redeem this episode, which seems to have borrowed half of its script from a new CW pilot for another Charmed reboot. The decision to have Lena become a witch comes out of left-field, though it must be admitted the idea is so weird it is at least interesting. The same can't be said of the other half of the episode, which only works when Mxy is on-screen.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Fallout: New Vegas - I Am The Doctor II - Part 21

In which we gather some more talent for The Tops, before picking up Boone to go and "negotiate" with the Caesar himself. And by "negotiate" I mean kill the child-raping son of a motherless goat. After we do every quest we can in the Legion camp without a major alignment violation, of course.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Fallout: New Vegas - I Am The Doctor II - Part 20

In which we confront Benny and survive an assassination attempt before taking on a new role: talent scout for The Tops. Yes, this is a rather sudden shift in priortities, but darn it, we've met too many musicians and comedians on the road who we need to help find a gig!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Fallout: New Vegas - I Am The Doctor II - Part 19

In which, after taking care of one last debt to collect for the folks at the Atomic Wrangler, we finally reach The Tops and set about bringing Benny to justice... only to discover just what his sinister scheme is and why he tried to kill us off.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 10 - Still I Rise

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

Plot

Supergirl steps in when a building set aside for low income housing is suddenly sold off to a large corporation as part of an effort to gentrify National City. Unfortunately, Nyxly shows up to complicate matters even further. Meanwhile, as Nia trains with her mother, Alex begins training Kelly to become the new Guardian. 


Influences

Various Superman and Supergirl comics dealing with real world issues, with an emphasis on journalists doing good rather than superheroes punching people.


Goofs

Jesse Rath's green make-up as Brainiac-5 looks off, though that could be intentional as to make him look more off-kilter during the cheesy PSA.


Performances

Again, the best part of the episode is Nicole Maines playing Nia's torment at the evils she has committed even as her mother tries to help her while holding her accountable. Thankfully, it's much better developed this week than last week.


Super Trivia

The title comes from a poem by Maya Angelou.


Technobabble

Nyxly is able to temporarily resurrect the dead for one day. However, due to the way she works the spell, Nia is trapped in a pocket dimension centered around her apartment for the duration (i.e. one day) and cannot communicate with anyone outside that space during that time. Additionally, the spell will cause anyone who might notice Nia's absence or try to contact her to forget about her.

Brainiac-5 claims to have 86% more energy since abandoning junk food for green vegetables. 

The people of Edifar are known for their building capabilities and technological advances. 

Brainiac-5 says that the odds of a criminal like Mitch returning to crime after being released are 2:5.

A cryo-nuclear bomb is powerful enough to freeze everything in a one-mile radius and can even kill a Kryptonian.


Dialogue Triumphs

Nia's Mother: There's an ancient story... About a woman who slandered her friend. The woman went to her rabbi, full of remorse. The rabbi told her to cut up a feather pillow and to scatter the feathers into the wind. He then instructed her to go out and collect every single feather. She cried, "That was impossible!" And the rabbi replied, "No more impossible than to completely undo the wrongs of your actions." You made a dark bargain, Nia. You unleashed Nyxly on this world. And the actions she will inflict will be like those feathers.
Nia: So what should I do?
Nia's Mother: This is not about doing, Nia. Just like your dreams, the ravens, your sister, you cannot run away from this. You must have the courage to sit with the pain to take in the gravity of what you've done. 

Orlando: Councilwoman, you don't know me. But I'm one of your constituents. My name is Orlando Davis. I spent the last two years at Van Kull Prison, and was one of the people counting on housing in the Ormfell. I've lived in National City my entire life with my little brother Joey. We lost our parents when I was 14. I quit school to take care of my brother. But there isn't a big market out there for dropouts, so the bills piled up. I made a stupid mistake and I've been paying the price ever since. But I'm not the only one who's paid it. See, I remember what it felt like to go to bed at night with my family nearby. To feel safe. To feel loved. But Joey doesn't. He's been in and out of the system his entire life, and I am so scared that he's gonna make the same mistakes that I have and I can't even be there to help him. Because what he needs is a home. He is not the only one. So, I'm here today to ask you one thing. See us. All the people hoping to live in this building, when you're deciding whether to vote for this deal... you're voting on our lives, on our families. On my chance to give my brother some hope. So, please... see us.

Brainiac-5: The fight for systemic chance often feels never-ending. All we can do is keep showing up


Continuity


Nia brings Nyxly into the real world, from the dream realm.

Nyxly agrees to honor her deal with Nia, but notes that her power will be sapped for a bit afterward.

Nyxly says she has other business on Earth before she returns home.

Nia's mother says that she has always been with Nia in her dreams, but that she's ignored her wisdom. This confirms that Nia's mother was the owl in 609.

Brainiac-5 and Supergirl agree to film a cheesy PSA that encourages healthy eating habits in children.

Kara has second thoughts after seeing the PSA, but Brainy tells her the ad went live on Catco's website 20 minutes earlier and has already gained 800,000 views.

Kara makes reference to how Alex made her train under Kryptonite energy emitters during Season 1.

Kelly gets a call from Orlando Davis and learns that his efforts to secure an apartment for himself and his brother fell through.

Supergirl checks up on Orlando and confirms that he was up for an apartment in a complex, the Ormfell, which was being set aside as affordable housing for reformed convicts, before being sold to Orquoia (the largest cloud computing company in the world) by the city.

Orlando is currently crashing on a friend's couch - the same friend responsible for him going to prison in the first place.

Mitch, the sidekick of Naxim Tork in 606, is revealed to be on Earth, disguised as a human and at liberty.

Mitch abducts Nyxly with the intention of adding her to his menagerie and trying to get Naxim Tork to go back into business with him.

Nyxly lies and says she's powerless and condemned to walk the Earth as a powerless mortal.

Mitch has a collection of Supergirl headlines posted around the inside of his ship. This leads Nyxly to suggest Mitch abduct her instead and she offers her help to do so.

Nyxly says she has a plan but it requires an expert engineer. Mitch says he can abduct one.

William is baking again and testing almond flour alternatives.

Councilwoman Jean Rankin is behind the deal that sold the Ormfell Building to Orquoia.

William says that most people in The Heights (the poor neighorhood where the Ormfell is located) are in favor of the deal because of the jobs it will bring in.

Andrea suggests having Supergirl do a Q&A on the CatCo website rather than do a simple interview about the Orquoia deal.

Nia once again dreams about ravens and a cage made of ice, but has no idea what it means.

Nia's mother says that you should never exit a dream in fear and that everything in a dream has a meaning.

Ravens are symbolic of wisdom and misfortune in dreams.

Nia dreams of the dollhouse she had when she was young.  She then sees her sister in the window and concludes the ravens symbolize her sister, Maeve, who last appeared in 411.

Mitch attacks Raab Cryogenetics and kidnaps an alien engineer, Dr. Desmond Raab.

Kara leaves her Q&A after only two questions, after hearing Dr. Raab calling for help. This does not help her case, as the last woman to speak called her a hypocrite for telling people how bad things are just as things are improving after all her talk of having hope.

Desmond Raab is from the planet Edifar.

Kara recalls Mitch from the events of 605 and 606 and wonders how he is loose on Earth.

According to the DEO files, Mitch and Naxim Tork were released sometime before the DEO was destroyed and Naxim left Earth sometime in 2020.

Mitch has been in and out of the county jail several times since released, with one charge of breaking-and-entering and a few petty thefts.

Nia has a dream where her sister asks her for her light but it burns her to ashes.

Nia concludes the dream is telling her she needs to come to peace with her estranged sister.

Kara meets with Councilwoman Jean Rankin as Supergirl, but she's unsympathetic to the idea that her deal is going to hurt people and points to the billions the city will make and all the people who will be employed.

Kara talks to two other council members but they're also on-board with Rankin.

Kelly is upset because she can't master the move Alex tried to teach her. Kara points out that she was still able to take Alex down in a fight using what she made up herself.

Supergirl's PSA now has 5 million views.

Kara realizes that the PSA is working because Brainy's story about fighting a junk food addiction resonates with people and that for all her celebrity, she lacks that personal touch. This leads her and Kelly to get Orlando to speak that the council vote on the measure.

Nia's mother tells her a parable about coping with guilt and advises her to trust her dreams before disappearing.

Orlando speaks to board about how he quit school and became a criminal to take care of his brother.

Mitch plants the cryo-nuclear bomb Desmond Raab built at Nyxly's direction inside the Ormfell building.

The cryo-nuclear-bomb is encased in lead so Supergirl can't look at it as she's using her heat vision to neutralize it.

Alex, J'onn, Brainac-5 and Kelly evacuate the building.

Kelly saves Councilwoman Rankin from being hit by shrapnel using a bulletin board as an improvised shield.

The council ultimately votes against Rankin's proposal.

Alex complements Kelly for being adaptable rather than trying to copy everything she does.

Nia asks for a truce in her dream vision and the ice cage cracks.

Kara heads back to the Ormfell building after the Watchtower instruments detect an energy signature.

Nyxly confronts Kara, revealing that the lead also encased a device that would restore her power if it were supercharged with heat-vision.

Nyxly freezes Kara and says she is going to destroy everything Kara cares about before returning to the 5th Dimension to do the same to her father, starting with the Ormfell Building.

Kara calls Mxyzptlk for help and he appears in the final scene.


Untelevised Adventures

Kara and Alex's surprise that Naxim Tork and Mitch survived the destruction of the DEO suggests that many of its prisoners were not evacuated in time and died when the building was destroyed by Leviathan. 


The Bottom Line

Preachy and lackluster, in a nutshell. While the show is to be credited for not pretending all Orlando and Joey's problems can be solved in a single episode and his speech to the city council is a good one, it still feels like this episode started with that speech and was reverse engineered as an excuse to bring in superheroes around it rather than starting with the superheroes and finding a way to tell a story with them that is culturally relevant. It doesn't help matters that Kara tries to sympathize with Mitch, despite the character deserving no sympathy and not even managing to be as amusing as his hammy partner.