Thursday, March 31, 2016

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Automatron - Part Eight

In this final chapter, we get some insight into The Mechanist's character and start building our own robot friends.




Legends of Tomorrow: Season 1, Episode 9 - Left Behind

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



Plot

Sara, Kendra and Ray are left stranded in 1958 after Chronos attacks and commandeers The Waverider. When they realize their teammates aren't coming back for them, Ray and Kendra pursue a relationship while Sara wanders off to find another place to belong.

Two years later - from Ray and Kendra's perspective - Rip Hunter, Martin Stein and Jax Jefferson return, having regained control of The Waverider but having lost Snart in the process. They theorize Sara has returned to her old life as a member of The League of Assassins, some 50 years before she originally joined.


Influences

The Geoff Johns run of JSA (Chronos' motivation here - to see his enemies suffer and die - is similar to that of the time-traveling villain Per Degaton, who took pleasure in watching the current deaths of his enemies when he could not work to bring them about by his own hand),  The Terminator (Snart refers to Chronos as this, ironically foreshadowing who he is; the plot of the movie details a circular time-loop, where the effort to prevent a disaster winds up creating it), the comics of Dennis O'Neil (the presence of Ra's Al Ghul), the comic series The Kingdom (a time traveling villain plans to go backward through time, killing one person repeatedly as part of a revenge scheme), Moby Dick (Chronos' desire for revenge mirrors that of Captain Ahab) and the film Somewhere In Time (a romance facilitated by time-travel, starring an actor who played Superman)


Goofs

How did Sara earn the same code-name with the League of Assassins in 1958 that she originally earned in 2008, given the circumstances regarding how she was dubbed The Canary (i.e. her musical laugh)?

If Heatwave is Chronos, why did he attempt to attack The Legends at points BEFORE he would have been abandoned by Snart? (Presumably, The Time Masters have some way of subverting the paradox.)


Performances

The romance between Kendra and Ray seemed fairly forced until this point. Somehow, despite the script fast-forwarding through the relationship, Ciara Renee and Brandon Routh do a good job selling the romance after two years pass. They also do a great job portraying the conflict between the two afterward when Kendra is anxious to get back to her former life and Ray fearing that she was just settling for him when she thought they were trapped forever.

Caity Lotz has a hard role this time, selling Sara's complete disillusion with the mission and her falling so readily into her old role as an assassin. Time Drift aside, it does make an odd sense given that Sara became the heart of the team because she needed something to focus her energies on so badly and a chance at honest heroism was just what she needed. With that gone, her falling back into something - anything - comfortable makes sense. And Lotz nails that confusion, as well as playing a truly scary Sara who has given herself over to the League of Assassins heart and soul.


Artistry

The fight scenes for this episode are great, particuarly the duel between Sara and Kendra and the battle between Chronos and the rest of the legends.

There's some very effective direction and editing during the Sara/Kendra duel and Snart's escape, alternating between the two scenes.


Trivia Of Tomorrow

After fleeing Harmony Falls, Kenra, Ray and Sara relocate to Hub City. In the DC Comics universe, Hub City is a fictional metropolis that was home to the vigilante The Question. It was said to be located in southern Illinois and has been alternatively said to have been based on East St. Louis and Chicago. Hub City is notorious as one of the most corrupt cities in the DC's USA - even worse than Gotham City!

Ray Palmer's takes on a job as a college physics professor in 1958.  In the original DC Comics, Ray Palmer was a college physics professor rather than the CEO of a technologies firm.

Ray Palmer wears fake glasses as part of his disguise in 1958. This may be a nod to Brandon Routh's performance as Clark Kent/Superman in the film Superman Returns.

Matt Nable reprises his role as Ra's Al Ghul from Season Three of Arrow.

Ra's Al Ghul points to Sara as a fine example to his young daughter, Talia. Talia Al Ghul, is, of course, a daughter of Ra's Al Ghul from the original comics who became a love interest of Bruce Wayne a.k.a. The Batman and the mother of his son, Damien Wayne.

It is worth noting that, in the original comics, Nyssa was the older sister of Talia. In the DCTVU, Talia would be the older sister and Nyssa the younger.

Nanda Parbat is the base of The League of Assassins in the DCTVU. In the original comics, Nanda Parbat was a mythical city (much like Shangri-La) that was home to a mystic order of do-gooding monks.

Chronos tells Snart of his intent to go back in time and kill Lisa Snart, over and over, and making Len watch as his sister dies horribly over and over. This is similar to what the villain Gog did in the comic series The Kingdom, where Gog went back in time, killed Superman, went back one day, killed Superman again, etc.

During the fight between the Legends and Chronos in Nanda Parbat, Ray gleefully picks up a sword and is ready to use it before Sara tosses him the container with the Atom suit. This may be a clever nod to the comic Sword Of The Atom, which focused upon the adventures of Ray Palmer as he became trapped in his shrunken size while on a trip to the Amazon rain forest and became the champion of a fantasy kingdom of miniature people living deep in the forest. The comics were adapted into a series of shorts for Cartoon Network's DC Nation.


Technobabble

Chronos is able to use superior (yet undefined) technology to breach the hull of The Waverider and override Gideon's control of the ship.

Jax is uncertain if The Jump Ship is capable of traveling through The Temporal Zone. Presumably Rip is certain it's safe, she he was trying to get there after The Waverider time-jumped.

Undoing the damage Chronos does to the navigation system of The Waverider requires rebooting Gideon. While this occurs, The Waverider is left freefalling through time.

Ray creates a time beacon - a transponder which matches the Waverider's quantum signature, basically creating a radio-wave firewall that only their team will be able to see.

Ray's lecture after the two-year time-change between scenes involves mesosopic polymer and bio-molecular simulations. This involves the softening of matter and means that, theoretically, one could miniaturize an atom.

Rip reminds Ray that they cannot travel back to events they participated in without time folding in on itself.

Time does not function in the Time Master's base Vanishing Point the way it does in the regular universe. Mick Rory was able to spend several lifetimes training before becoming Chronos.

Time Drift is a psychological condition that occurs when a time-traveler spends too long in an alien time-line. The victim lose ties with their former self and former identity. It is responsible for Sara being easily brainwashed by the League of Assasins conditioning as well as Kendra forgetting about her past lives and losing the ability to make her wings emerge.


Dialogue Triumphs

Rip: He's time-jumping the ship!
Snart: The ladies will be left in 1958!
Jax: What about Ray?
Snart: Like I said.

Jax: I don't know if the jump-ship will even fly through The Temporal Zone...
(Stein and Jax hear gunfire and shouting in the distance)
Stein: It doesn't matter. We're not leaving our team.
Jax: What happened to "we could destroy the whole ship"?
Stein: A preferable alternative to losing our friends. Don't you agree?
(The shouting continues)
Jax: Yeah.
(The two grip hands and change into Firestorm.)

Ray: Look. as a former Eagle Scout with over 100 merit badges - no big deal - the first rule of getting lost is stay in the same place. That way you can be found.
Sara: And as a former member of the League of Assassins, the first rule when you've been attacked is to keep moving.
Kendra: I sort of think League wisdom trumps the Eagle Scouts here.

Ray: You know, I never thought that I could build a life with anybody but Anna. But, um, that's exactly what we've done. In the most unlikely time and place imaginable. (chuckles)And I know it may sound strange but I'm glad we're stranded here.
Kendra: Me too.

Snart: So, uh.. what's so special about me? I mean, aside from my sparkling personality? Back on The Waverider, you could have taken your boy, Rip. But you took me instead. Why?!
(Chronos says nothing)
Snart: Hey. If you're going to kill me, you could at least tell me what's going on.
Chronos: You should have figured it out by now.
(Chronos takes off his helmet to reveal that he is Mick Rory.)
Chronos: After all, I am supposed to be the dumb one.

Snart: How? I think I deserve to know what the hell is going on here!
Chronos: You deserve nothing.
Snart: Says the man who sold us out to the pirates! When I dropped you off in that forest, I meant to kill you! That was the plan!
Chronos: You should have stuck with the plan and done me a favor.

Chronos: I used to think the most beautiful thing on the Earth was fire. Now I know - it's vengeance.

(Stein and Jax join hands to change into Firestorm. Ra's Al Ghul merely looks at Firestorm, barely raising an eyebrow in response.)
Firestorm: It's a long story, pal.

Sara: When I came to your doorstep, for the second time in my life, I thought that I could find a home here. That this was where I really belonged...
Ra's: But your soul is divided. By your ability to kill and your desire to show mercy.
(Sara nods)
Ra's: There is no place for one so conflicted in The League. (pauses) Ta-er al-Sahfer? I release you. You can reclaim your previous name and your past life.
Sara: Thank you.
(Sara turns around to leave, and then stops, and turns around.)
Sara: In October 2008, please see that your daughter is off the coast of an island in the North China Sea. Lian Yu.
Ra's: Why would I send Talia on such a journey?
Sara: Not Talia. Your daughter yet to be born. I'm pretty sure you'll call her Nyssa.

Chronos: You think this is all over?! I will kill every single one of you! I will watch you all burn! (To Snart) You! You should have killed me while you had the cha-
(Rip hits a button which mutes the microphone on the cell. He then turns to Snart.)
Rip:
You owe us an explanation.
Stein: Yes. It's quite remarkable Mr. Rory is working for The Time Masters considering you killed him.
Snart: If you think back, I never actually said I killed him.
Jax: No, you just let us think you did.
Snart: I didn't have to try too hard, did I? Well, maybe I should have. And at least he wouldn't have wound up a chew toy for The Time Masters.
Rip: But if you did, we wouldn't have this opportunity.
Ray: An opportunity? To do what?
Rip: To reform Mr. Rory.
Kendra: He killed Aldus!
Rip: Under the influence of The Time Masters.
Stein: Chronos killed Aldus. Mr. Rory was fighting on our side that day.
Sara:
I know what it's like to be trained by an organization for one purpose - to kill - and the kind of loyalty that can inspire. I need to know that we can reach Rory. For my own sake.
Stein: The Time Masters took one of our own and turned him against us. I say we undo their handy-work.
Ray: Rory saved my life, back in the gulag. He's more than just a criminal and an arsonist.
Jax:  (nodding) He's a member of our team.
Snart: He's a lost cause!
Rip: Oh, I wouldn't be too sure about that. You will see that miracles abound on this old timeship.
(Cut to The Medical Bay. Snart's arm with the severed hand is tied down to a bench.)
Rip: Gideon. Start the regeneration process.
Snart: What do you mean "regeneration"?
Rip: I took genetic samples from each of you at the start of our voyage for this exact eventuality.
Snart: Why am I only hearing about this now?!
Rip: Because none of you had lost a limb yet.
(Snart shrugs, seeming to concede the point.)

Continuity

Ray earned over 100 merit badges as an Eagle Scout.

Sara dated a log of juvenile delinquents as a teenager. One of them taught her how to hot-wire a car.

One of Ray Palmer's students in 1960 is the father of technology magnate Bill Gates.

During their two years in Hub City, Ray Palmer works as a college physics professor whereas Kendra works as a librarian.

Ray was planning to propose to Kendra just before The Waverider arrived to rescue them.

Two more side-effects of time-jumping are revealed: linguistic disorientation (i.e. mixed up speech) and deafness.

Ray and Kendra have a lucky water vase. Exactly what is so lucky about it is not explained.

Sara rejoins The League of Assassins with the same name she earned in 2008 - Ta-er al-Sahfer. Literally "yellow bird" in Arabic.

Ra's Al Ghul is seen for the first time since A323.

Sara is able to overcome her blood lust through meditation and herbs provided by Ra's Al Ghul.

Snart refers to the events of 107, Heatwave's betrayal and Snart knocking him out but leaving him alive.

Heatwave was nearly insane and forced to strangle rats to eat by the time he was found by The Time Masters and taken to The Vanishing Point. He was trained by them for several lifetimes and reborn as Chronos.

The Shadow Record is an list of every member of The League of Assassins dating back to 3200 BC. It is written on papyrus in invisible ink.

Rip Hunter wrote his graduate thesis on the history and lore of The League of Assassins.

Ray Palmer knows about the existence of The Lazarus Pit, describing it as a life-extending Jacuzzi.

Ray refers to the events of A322 and how he was a prisoner of the League of Assassins.

Rip Hunter can speak fluent Arabic.

Rip Hunter plans to win their freedom by demanding a trial by combat. The trial allows both the challenged and challenger to name a champion. In this case, Ra's chooses Sara and Rip chooses Kendra.

Ra's is able to figure out that Rip and Sara were from the future on his own, based upon Sara's advanced skills when she first came to Nanda Parbat and Rip's knowledge of League Law.

Ra's releases Sara from her vows to The League, due to her heart being divided. This would make Sara the first person to be allowed to leave The League in the revised timeline - the original first one being Malcolm Merlyn.

Chronos/Rory is a captive in The Waverider's brig as the episode ends.

Kendra refers to Chronos killing Aldus in 101.

Ray refers to Rory saving his life in the Russian prison in 105.

Rip is able to regrow Snart's lost hand.

At the episode's end, Kendra and Ray are now sharing quarters and are officially a couple. Ray still has the engagement ring he bought in 1960, but has not proposed.

As the episode closes, Rip is plotting a course to the Kasnian Congolerate in the year 2147.


Location

Harmony Falls, Oregon - 1958
Temporal Zone
Hub City - 1958
Hub City - 1960
Nanda Parbat - 1960


Untelevised Adventures

Two years pass in which Sara rejoins The League of Assassins and Kendra and Ray live together.

Mick Rory spends an unspecified amount of time being trained by The Time Masters before becoming Chronos.


The Crisis Factor

The whole team entering into Nanda Parbat when Rip doesn't return is incredibly foolish.

Rip forgetting about Time Drift until after he's been captured by Sara seems even more foolish.


The Bottom Line

A solid episode that develops a lot of the character's personal subplots and drops a hell of a twist in the middle of the episode, for once. There's not as much witty dialogue as usual but the action is solid and this show continues to impress and amaze on every front.

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Automatron - Part Seven

In which we try (and fail) to get the alternative dialogue at the end of the fight with The Mechanist if you are dressed as The Silver Shroud, due to a glitch. But we do see what happens if you just kill The Mechanist instead of talking to them.



Click Here to see The Silver Shroud Ending on another site.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor: Year Two #7 - A Review

United under the leadership of The Doctor, an unlikely group of his allies and enemies from across time and space have joined together into a tribe of sorts. Trapped in a primitive world by the sinister fixer known as Ebonite, the group are forced to fight a cosmic deathmatch against other captives for the amusement of the twisted race known as The Monaxi. Worse yet, The Doctor's most recent companion - Gabby Gonzales - has been corrupted into a weapon by the Monaxi's brainwashing!


Nick Abadzis' script for this book suffers somewhat in that the ensemble cast is a bit large and there wouldn't be much time for us to see their personalities in action, even if they weren't unsure who they were due to the alien brain-washing. Still, the story isn't bad in spite of that issue. And there's a lot of Easter Eggs referring to the classic series for old-school Whovians to enjoy.

Whatever reservations I may have about the story, I have none about the artwork. Elena Casagrande is in her usual fine form throughout this comic. And colorist Rodrigo Fernandes does a fantastic job finishing things up.

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 17 - Beacon Of Hope

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



Plot

The Bug Eyed Bandit has escaped from prison and is after Palmer Tech's innovative new implant technology. The only problem is there's only one prototype and it's currently in Felicity Smoak's spine. But when Green Arrow becomes incapacitated by a deadly bee weapon, a new hero will arise to save the day.


Influences

Green Arrow: Year One (the flashbacks on Lian Yu), Die Hard (people held hostage in a skyscraper, Felicity refers to the adventure as Die Hard with bees) and Independence Day (Curtis uses a virus to destroy the bee drones, Quentin name-drops the movie).


Goofs

As before, given her choice of weapon and costuming, it would make SO much more sense for The Bug Eyed Bandit to be called Queen Bee. Presumably the name is tied up in the Justice League film rights?

Wouldn't it have been far easier for The Bug Eyed Bandit to just go straight to Felicity's office rather than taking the Palmer Tech Board of Directors hostage? Particularly when we find out she already knew the only prototype was in Felicity's body.

The Bug Eyed Bandit's concern over bees dying out doesn't ring true, given the reason that she was fired from her job originally was that she took robo bees that were meant to help solve the agricultural crisis caused by bee deaths and weaponized them for the military to make money.

Curtis is remarkably agile for someone who was suffering a 104 degree fever and severe dehydration, when he's flipping around The Bunker trying to dodge the one drone.


Performances

The chemistry between Willa Holland and Emily Bett Rickards during their scenes together is great. I can't remember the two ever having any scenes together alone and it's nice to see the friendship between the two of them hasn't been hurt by the break-up... even if I can't recall their friendship ever being firmly established.

It's also a great solo episode for Emily Bett Rickards as a solo performer. It's great to see Felicity facing her arch-enemy with no back-up for most of the episode, holding her own and getting to be the big damn hero, saving multiple lives and staying behind to sacrifice herself. Heck, she even takes out the bee-man who takes down Ollie and Thea.


Artistry

The costume design for Bug Eyed Bandit this time around is an interesting one, with the honeycomb patterns and yellow/black color scheme.


Trivia

In the comics, the original Bug-Eyed Bandit was an inventor named Bertram Larvan, who invented a robot insect that could be used to eliminate real insects. Unable to secure the financial backing needed to mass produce his robots, he resolved to steal the money he needed with his prototype... then just kept on stealing, as he built more and more robotic insects and arachnids. He would go on to be a frequent nemesis of The Atom, until he accidentally dosed himself with amnesia gas and forgot all about his evil plans.

The DCTVU version of The Bug Eyed Bandit is similar, except that she is a woman named Brie Larvan. Also - in her first appearance, at least - she seemed to be less interested in money and more interested in revenge on the people responsible for her losing her job.


At one point, Oliver claims to have read a few of the Harry Potter books but to be unaware there were movies based on the books. Surprisingly, this is something of a nod to Oliver's character in the Mike Grell Green Arrow run, where Oliver was surprisingly well-read but his taste in movies tended toward classics like the Errol Flynn Robin Hood movie or Singing In The Rain.

Quentin asks if there's any chance that the robo-bees have anything to do with HIVE. In the comics, bee-themed armor and weapons are a part of HIVE's modus operandi.

Curtis once again voices his theory that The Green Arrow was someone in Palmer Tech's data-processing department named Neal Adams. This is the name of a famous artist, who re-designed the Green Arrow costume in the late 1960s and drew the now legendary Green Lantern/Green Arrow comic that largely redefined Green Arrow as a champion of the working class.

Damien Darhk makes reference to a town called Monument Point. In the Justice Society of America comic written by Arrow Executive Producer Marc Guggenheim, Monument Point was a large Metropolis located within commuting distance of Washington DC. The town was saved several times by The Justice Society, who wound up adopting the town as their base of operations and the city council appointed the Jay Garrick Flash as their mayor.


Technobabble

The implantable bio-stimulant which Curtis developed costs $250,000 per unit to manufacture.

12,000 people per year suffer spinal injuries that leave them paralyzed.

The bee drones are capable of remotely jamming all WiFi frequencies and cel-phone signals within a certain radius - at least large enough to cover a large skyscraper - by broadcasting hundreds of different kinds of radio frequenceies

The bee drones stingers are capable of penetrating police-grade Kevlar, as well as Green Arrow's armor.

Curtis uses the same cel-phone he was given to help Team Arrow with rescuing Ray Palmer in 406 to locate The Bunker.

The command console Felicity used in The Bunker is a STAR Labs 5000 Exostation.

The idol that Baron Reiter seeks allows him to command the primordial energies that flow through all things.

The bee drones are able to lock together to form a man-size armored figure.

The bee drones are capable of digging their way inside a human body and self-replicating, eventually bursting out of the victim's body as a swarm. One of the Palmer Tech Board of Director's dies in this fashion and Oliver nearly dies the same way.

The bee drones are also capable of adapting on the fly (no pun intended), so that any method used to disable them won't work a second time. This is why Curtis can't hack them after doing so once and instead develops a sonic-based solution to deal with the drones inside Oliver.

Curtis figures that if the bee drones are modeled on real bees, they'll operate on a singular frequency to orient themselves. If he can disrupt the frequency, they can disperse the colony. This requires a portable sonic projector (i.e. Laurel's Canary Cry choker)

Curtis explains that Laurel's Canary Cry choker works by reading her vocal emissions and then reprocessing them via digital output into a multi-channel sound. One Mariah Carey impersonation is all it takes to disable the drones.

Felicity uses an autonomous communication device that Curtis designed as a make-shift bomb to blow a hole in the elevator shaft so that they can evacuate the board room. Curtis had yet to figure out how to make the devices not explode.

The Bug Eyed Bandit now controls her drones through neural implants.

Bees are dying off at a rate of 30% per year.

The reason the Bug Eyed Bandit wants the implantable bio-stimulant is because she has a tumor on her L4 Vertebrate that can be removed with surgery but will leave her paralyzed.

The bee drones are made up of elastic nanotubes, ultarsonic motors and piezoceramic elements.

Curtis deciphers the upgrade protocol of the bees, developing a virus that - the next time the drones upgrade - will disperse throughout the swarm. He develops a trick arrow with a computer virus payload that will transmit when shot close to the drones.


Dialogue Triumphs

(As Thea talks about her boyfriend needing a new job.)
Laurel:
Palmer Tech. They're hiring a new head of Public Relations.
Ollie: ... oh.
Laurel: (quietly) I just heard that from... someone.
Ollie: (smiling) Laurel. She's not Voldemort. And I'm fine. (To Thea) That's a good idea. You should tell Alex to talk to Felicity.
Thea: Mmm-hmm.
Ollie: What?
Thea: Nothing it's just... it's shocking you know who Voldemort is.
Ollie: Well, I'm not immune to pop culture! I've read a few of the Harry Potter books.
John: Really? I was going to bet Thea that you just saw the movies.
Ollie: There were movies?

(Darhk is chained down in a visiting room in Iron Height's Prison. Merlyn steps out of the shadows.)
Merlyn: I thought you just lost your magic, but your charm seems to be waning, as well.
Darhk: How in the hell did you get in here?!
Merlyn: I used to be Ra's Al Ghul.
Darhk: Yes. This I know. What I'm less clear of is why my resources haven't been deployed to get me out of here.
Merlyn: Well, that's what I'm here to explain.
Darhk: Although my time in here might be limitless, Malcolm, my patience isn't!
Merlyn: That's cute. As I was saying, I've been in touch with your resources. And they don't seem to have any love left for you, Damien. Something to do with "hocus" and "pocus"and "killing fellow members when you get miffed". HIVE is moving forward with Genesis but not with you. They like you here. Out of trouble. But they do wish you the best of luck with your trial.
(Darhk grunts and tries to grab Merlyn with the telekinesis he no longer has, on reflex.  Merlyn laughs at the pitiful attempt.) Merlyn: Don't be embarrassed. Performance issues are common for men of your age.

Laurel: Oliver, it's okay to miss Felicity.
Oliver: I-I appreciate what you're doing, but I don't think you're the-
Laurel: - person to help you through it? Why? Because of what we used to have?
Oliver: Yeah.
Laurel: I thought maybe that just gave me a little insight.
Oliver: Well, I mean, in fairness, I did wreck what we had too, so...
Laurel: In your defense, you were missing and presumed dead for five years, but that's not what I mean. I know how passionately you love and how much it hurts when that love goes away.
Oliver: Betweem Merlyn, Slade Wilson and Ra's Al Ghul, I thought that I'd be a little...tougher than this by now.
Laurel: That's a different kind of pain. And this takes longer to heal. But I'm here for you.

(After Curtis stumbles into The Bunker and passes out)
Quentin: So can anybody just walk in here?

Curtis: With Felicity trapped inside, you're going to need someone to hack them. But I'll have to "bee" careful.
(Curtis laughs. He is the only one who does.)
Curtis: It's too soon for bee puns, right?
Oliver: (coldly) Let's assume that it is.

Donna: They just got their butt kicked by that... bee man!
Felicity: (To Thea) This is why we leave the nicknames to Cisco.
Donna: What?
Felicity: Inside joke.

(Regarding the drones inside Oliver)
John: When these things hit critical mass, there's-
Curtis: It's gonna be like John Hurt in Aliens! Sorry! When I get nervous, I make pop culture references!

Oliver: It just doesn't seem fair that I can save a city and not save my relationship.
Laurel: Oliver, life's not fair. Whether you're in Star City or Ivy Town. But you're right. You can save this city. You do it every night. You're a beacon of hope to people. I just wish you would try and use some of that hope for yourself.

(After Murmur beats his two minions to death.)
Darhk: I know you're probably asking yourself, "Self, what the hell just happened?" It turns out your friend - my new friend - Mr. Amar, has a soft spot for his only surviving relative. A grandmother in Monument Point. It is amazing what people will tell you with a few phone calls and a kind voice. Anyway-
(Darkh glances down at the minions and realizes they aren't moving)
Darhk: Are they dead?  Are they dead?!  NO! (To Murmur) I had this wonderful speech about how I was gonna kill your grandmother had you not killed them. (sighs) Never mind...

Thea:  Ollie's going to be fine. He always is.
Felicity: Well, unfortunately, in Oliver's case,"he always is" isn't an accurate predictive meter.
(Thea sighs and steps away from Felicity.)
Felicity: Sorry. I'm just sick of worrying. I'm sick of the violence.
Thea: Yeah, and so am I, okay?  Of course I am! But we put up with it! We push past it. Because what we do is important, okay? We have to be that beacon of hope. Nobody else is.
Felicity: YOU'RE the beacon of hope. I quit the team because I couldn't stand to work with Oliver. But now that I'm out, I look at life from a different perspective. I mean, look around you! Thea, we're in a "Die Hard" movie with bees! Maybe I'm meant for great things. Maybe I'm not. But whatever it is, it's not this. (sighs) I'm sorry. I'm not coming back.

Thea: Don't you miss this? I mean, I know you said that you wanted to get away from it all... but how could you?
Felicity: What do you mean?
Thea: This? The thrill of it? The rush? I mean, we just took down a bad bee-yotch tonight. It doesn't get any better than this.
Felicity: I was never in it for that. Not ever. I wanted to make a difference. Be part of that beacon of hope you speak of.
Thea: So come back. Rejoin the team.
Felicity: I think I figured out another way. Actually, that insane bee-lady gave me the idea, ironically. To remake the company. To use the technology that helped me walk again to make lives better. To make Palmer Tech into the beacon of hope.


Dialogue Disasters

Every thrice-damned bee pun from The Bug Eyed Bandit and Curtis.


Continuity

The Bug Eyed Bandit appears for the first time since F118.

The Star City mayoral election is April 6, 2016.

Ollie is capable of fighting and defeating Laurel and Thea at the same time in an escrima stick fight. He can take down Diggle in a one-on-one match when Diggle is tired.

Murmur, last seen in 316, is seen in Iron Height's Prison threatening Damien Darhk with his gang. Eventually, it is revealed that he is now working for Darhk, due to his grandmother being threatened.

Curtis once again voices his theory that The Green Arrow was someone in Palmer Tech's data-processing department named Neal Adams, from 404.

Oliver calls the current Team Arrow hideout The Bunker.

Curtis recognizes Oliver Queen, Laurel Lance and Quentin Lance by sight. He recalls meeting John Diggle, but can't place remember his name.

Felicity kept files on various criminals on the computers in The Bunker. Curtis finds one on The Dodger - the jewel thief Team Arrow fought in 115.

The idol gives Richer super-strength, telekinesis and makes him bullet-proof.

The Bug Eyed Bandit figures out that Felicity was the hacker who put her in prison.

Curtis turns the been drones against The Bug Eyed Bandit. She is stung repeatedly and left in a coma.

Curtis decides he's had enough adventure and that he's done helping Team Arrow.

Felicity has an idea on how to use Palmer Tech to make people's lives better.

At the end of the episode, Merlyn speaks to Andy Diggle about how Dhark called him an ace in the hole.


The Fridge Factor

With Felicity out of the picture, it seems like the writers are trying to nudge Laurel and Oliver back together with the interaction between the two of them in this episode.  The only problem is that Laurel's speech - in which she gently encourages Ollie to be nicer to Curtis and to be the beacon of hope the city needs - flies in the face of every bit of characterization she's had in the past three years. Ollie even points out how she's the last person who should be trying to comfort him regarding his screwing up his relationship with Felicity and she's definitely the last person in the world who should be giving Oliver a hard time over lying to a loved one. Remember Season Three and the lengths Laurel went through to hide Sara's death from Quentin?


The Bottom Line

As a focus on Felicity, it's great. As a filler episode, it's okay, though The Bug Eyed Bandit is easily the most annoying special guest villain ever.. As an effort to set Curtis up as the latest member of Team Arrow, it's less successful, with the script trying way too hard to make Curtis into a Felicity/Cisco hybrid in spite of the character being relatively restrained in most of his previous appearances. In fact, most of the humor in the episode is forced even ignoring the bee puns.

The real shocker is that  Laurel gets a few good moments here and Katie Cassidy carries them off well. Which probably means the writers are actually putting some effort into making Laurel seem like the Laurel we liked in Season One before she is killed off.

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Automatron - Part Six

In which The Mechanist is confronted and unmasked, after an epic robot battle!

Which would be slightly more epic if I didn't spend it perched on a ledge sniping everything that can't reach me. But hey - I fight smarter, not harder.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 17 - Flash Back

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




Plot

Inspired by the revelation of Zoom's true identity, Barry becomes more determined than ever to find a way to increase his speed without turning to the Velocity drugs. This leads Barry to travel back in time to seek the help of the one person who knows how to train as a speedster - The Reverse Flash, Eobard Thawne! But the universe has ways of dealing with time-traveling speedsters and Barry will have to outrun the so-called Time Wraiths while trying to avoid further damaging the time-line.


Influences

The Black Flash storyline from The Flash comics of Grant Morrison and Mark Millar (introduces an Angel of Death that targets speedsters, similar in appearance and abilities to The Time Wraiths), The movie 12 Monkeys (name dropped by Cisco, plot involves someone time-traveling to the past in order to find out information to prevent a future disaster), Flashpoint (The Flash inadvertently changes his present after changing the past), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (name dropped by Cisco and Pied Piper, The Time Wraiths physically resemble The Dementors) and the Doctor Who episode Father's Day (the continuing theme of time-travelers altering their present after traveling to their past and the Time Wraiths resemble The Reapers in function, destroying time-travelers who damage the time line.)


Goofs

You'd think Barry would have learned his lesson about altering the past by now. Granting that he has to improvise a bit when he arrives too early, that still doesn't excuse his thwarting Pied Piper's escape.


Performances


As usual, Tom Cavangh steals the show as he plays Eobard Thawne once again. And in his final scene as Harry Wells.

Grant Gustin gets some great moments here as well, both playing against himself and in his battle of wits scene opposite Tom Cavangh. And the final scene with Iris is Gustin at his sweetest ever as Barry Allen.


Artistry


The fight sequence between the two Flashes is nicely handled.

The script is well-written, with a perfect balance of humor, action and drama.


Flash Facts


As the episode opens, Barry is hard at work on developing a Speed Equation that will boost his powers. This is a reference to the mathematical formula recited by the speedster heroes Johnny Quick and his daughter Jesse Quick to access the Speed Force.

Later in the episode, when Barry, Caitlin and Cisco are looking at the information Thawne gave to Barry, the speed formula - 3X2(9YZ)4A - is visible at several points in the hologram.

Thawne identifies the ghost that is chasing after Barry as a Time Wraith - a being that exists to destroy speedsters who travel in time and alter the timeline before they can cause serious damage. The Time Wraiths - in appearance and power - appear to be similar to The Black Flash. The Black Flash is a being in The Flash comics who is basically an angel of Death for speedsters, trying to grab them and draw them into The Speed Force.

Cisco refers to the Time Wraith as Inky - one of the ghosts from the Pac-Man video game.

Piper's reformation in this episode is not without precedent. In the original comics, Pied Piper was the first of The Rogue's Gallery to reform and become a part-time superhero. He primarily worked as a social crusader who fought for the poor and needy. He also outed himself as homosexual and became a vocal LGBT activist, noting the irony of his being the first Rogue to "go straight".


Technobabble

Caitlin determines that The Flash, Reverse Flash and Zoom all move their legs at essentially the same speed. What allows Zoom and Reverse Flash to move faster than Barry is their feet spending less time on the ground between strides, which propels them forward at least 30% faster.

Wally's adviser wants him to help her with a project based around pushing the speed limits of smaller propulsion systems.

Thawne advises using sound stimuli in Pied Piper's cell to counteract his tinnitus after removing his hearing aids.

Time Wraiths only go after time-travelers and speedsters who do not know what they are doing, according to Thawne.

Pied Piper is able to drive off the Time Wraith by projecting a certain frequency through all the speakers in the cells of the STAR Labs Pipeline. He theorizes an exact frequency could cause the Wraith to dissipate.

Cisco is unable to repair Pied Piper's gauntlets. The electron guns are fried and the battle with The Flash shorted the wave tubes and destroyed the amplifiers. Cisco also doesn't know how to manipulate the frequency variance.

Thawne says the key to increasing Barry's speed is tachyon enhancement.

In the present day, Piper is able to disperse the Time Wraith by using a sonic blast that is low in frequency and high in intensity.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Opening Narration)
Barry:
I let it happen again. I trusted someone I shouldn't have. Jay Garrick. Zoom. Just like I trusted Harrison Wells. Or Eobard Thawne. You see what I mean? I made the same mistake twice. I thought they wanted to teach me how to use my powers, train me to get faster. But they didn't come here to help me. They came to use me. And take everything I love away from me. But no more. I'm going to crack the code, figure out how to improve my speed. I'm going to train harder, get stronger and run faster than anyone's ever run before. And then I'm going to stop Zoom.

(Regarding The Time Wraith)
Barry: Can you track it?
Cisco: What is it with you guys? It's liek you all think I have ESP or something. I can't just magically sense where things are!

Thawne: Have a seat.
Barry: Is this about the speed equation?
Thawne: As a matter of fact, it is.
Barry: (sitting down) Oh, great! Okay. Good. So you figured it out?
Thawne: Mmm-hmmm.
(Thawne stands up from his wheelchair and strikes Barry across the back of the head, knocking him out.)
Thawne: Yes. I figured it out.

Barry: The Speed Force. You manipulated it. How did you do that?
Thawne:  (pacing around the room) No. (pauses) No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Nooooo.  You'd only come here if something went wrong. If you're still alive, then that means... I haven't beaten you. If you're still alive. ..That means my plan fails. And it my plan fails (throws chair) I don't get to go home and if that's the case...
(Thawne begins vibrating his hand at super-speed and lowers it to Barry's head)
Barry: No! No! No! Hey! Hey! Hey! It's the opposite! You trick me. You harness my speed. We turn on the accelerator and create a path for you to go home. I go back in time. You go back to yours. You won!
Thawne: Then why are you here? Why are you here now?!
Barry: Because when I got back a singularity had formed. And now the only way for me to learn how to get faster and stop the singularity from happening was to come here. Now.
Thawne: Well that's good to know. (sighs) There's just... just one thing that occurs to me. I don't need you. Do I? Not THIS you, certainly. Oops! You probably should have thought of that before you came here. Shame... (laughs) You ran all the way back here just to die.
Barry: You kill me, Barry... this Barry - your Barry? He learns it all. There's a hidden letter telling him how it ends. How to beat you. Everything. Anything happens to me? You never make it back home.
(Thawne just stares at Barry)
Barry: Go on. Kill me Thawne. See how this all ends.
(Thawne paces around the room and then sits back down)
Barry: Now, you're going to help me get faster.

It's a quick moment but Cisco's playing Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up through the speakers of Piper's cell and staring at him expectantly is a nice gag.

Past Barry: Okay. So I'm - who are - who are you?
Caitlin: Who is he? Who are you?!
Past Barry: What do you - I'm Barry. I'm Barry! Your Barry! He's -
Cisco: Your doppleganger!
Barry: No. Not yet. I am you, Barry. Just... different.
Cisco: Wait a second - how do we know which one's the real Barry?
Past Barry: Dude! Okay. I've watched Wrath of Khan with you like five times.
Cisco: (pointing to Barry) Impostor!
Barry: Yeah. And every time, at the end, you turn to me and you say, "I have been and always shall be your friend."
Cisco: (the hand pointing at Barry makes the Spock gesture as Cisco points at Past Barry with his other hand) Haha! You impostor!
(Caitlin just squints at Past Barry, shaking her head as Cisco points to both Barrys and looks confused)
Cisco: What is going on here?
Barry: Okay guys. I'm sorry. This was not supposed to happen. The tranq dart that Caitlin made was supposed to last a lot longer.
Caitlin: I did -NOT- give him a tranq dart.
Barry:  Okay, no, yes. Not you. The you from the time that I am from.
Past Barry: The time that you are from?
Thawne: I think what he's trying to say is he's from the future.
Past Barry: The future?
Thawne: Yeah.
Past Barry: The fu-
Thawne: Yes.
Past Barry: Wait, the fu-
Thawne: Yes.
Past Barry: Are we saying I can time-travel?
Barry: One day.
Cisco: Oh. That explains the white on the symbol. But wait a second. Suppose we now change your emblem, because we got the idea from this. Or, I mean, that would mean...
Thawne: (to Cisco) Stop talking (to Barry) You stop talking too.

Harry: I don't know what I've done.
Barry: You did what you thought you had to do. You risked your life to save her. You brought her here to protect her from Zoom. You acted like a father.
Harry: Like a father. You know, my wife had to... talk me into having kids. Kids. They're small, loud, run around... All I needed was my science and my job for my joy and happiness. And then... the moment we had her, all that I wanted was... her love. Now? I wonder if I'll ever see that again.It seems every decision I've made lately has backfired on me.
Barry: You just have to trust that in the long run you made the right ones.

Eddie: What does Iris mean to me? Wow. You know, a lot of times I have a hard time figuring out what to say to people. But when it comes to you, Iris, I don't. Because with you, everything that used to feel tough just doesn't anymore. It's one of the things I love about you. You don't need me. You can handle anything on your own, because...you're fearless. And independent. Loving. Kind. You are, without question, the best decision I ever made, Iris West. And I never thanked you for choosing to be with me. Because each day with you is a gift. So, thank you. You deserve the world, Iris. You deserve to be happy. And nobody wants that more for you than me. Happy Birthday, baby!  I love you.

(Closing Narration)
Barry: Sometimes the only way to move forward is to revisit the things in the past that were holding you back. You have to deal with them head on, no matter how scary they may be. Because once you do, you'll see that you can go further than you ever imagined.


Continuity


Cisco has another vision of Zoom dangling a woman over a roof-ledge when he approaches Jay Garrick's helmet.

Cisco refers back to the events of 213 and how well Barry impersonated himself on Earth 2, when Barry suggests going back in time one year and pretending to be his old self.

Barry refers to how he saw his mother's death in 123.

Barry travels back to the time of 111, just as he was first fighting The Pied Piper.

As Barry is running to the past, we see visions of The Singularity opening and Eddie Thawne getting shot (123) and his second fight with Pied Piper (111).

Barry's first change to the past comes when the comms on his cowl cause interference due to his proximity to his past self. This interference is noticed in STAR Labs, and forces Barry to more directly take out his past self to deactivate his comms.

Barry's second change comes when he warns Cisco about Pied Piper's hearing aids also being potentially explosive. This prevents Piper from escaping as well as his second battle with The Flash from occurring.  This leaves Piper in his cell when the Time Wraith first attacks STAR Labs and he is able to use his gauntlets to drive it off.

Thawne says they'll make Piper some non-explosive hearing aids that will treat his condition. This may be what leads to the changed timeline in the crossover episode with Supergirl (S118), where Barry is able to create ear-pieces that counter the abilities of Silver Banshee.

While in the past, Barry has Eddie Thawne record a special message for Iris, so he can give it to her in the present just before the anniversary of his death.

The third change Barry makes is in revealing himself to Cisco and Caitlin, after his past self recovers from the tranquilizer much faster than expected.

The fourth change Barry makes is telling Cisco to ask Pied Piper about Ronne Raymond, since the chance Cisco had for Piper to bribe him with the information won't happen in the altered timeline.

In the altered timeline, Pied Piper is reformed and reconciled with his parents.  He also knows Barry's secret identity and is apparently on friendly terms with the STAR Labs team.

Harry Wells is still trying to find Jesse as of this episode.

Harry says it's easier to find a two-ton gorilla on Earth 1 than a teenage daughter, in reference to 207.


Untelevised Adventures


Thawne refers to having met other speedsters besides Barry Allen.


The Fridge Factor


Caitlin briefly mentions that she wants to stop Zoom as badly as Barry does. It's good that they mentioned it, but it still seems like they are brushing the fact that Caitlin's trust in Jay Garrick was abused far more than Barry's.  As betrayed as Barry feels by having had yet another mentor betray him, that's nowhere near as serious as Caitlin being romanced by a super-villain who was lying to her from day one.


The Boomerang Factor


Again, Barry totally forgets his previous experiences attempting to alter things in the past or in an alternate reality.  This time, however, things seem to work out for the better, with Pied Piper now apparently an ally of Team Flash in the present.


The Bottom Line


A great episode, flawed only in that we could have used some more time to establish how things changed with Pied Piper. It's still one of the best episode of the series ever.

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Year Five #15 - A Review

Under the leadership of Jason Bard, a new organization has begun to fight against Superman in the name of The Joker. Batwoman aims to put a stop to this before Bruce (who is celebrating his birthday as best he can) finds out. Unfortunately, she runs into another missing ally at The Jokers rally - Harley Quinn!


Oh, how I long for the days when a trench-coat and a fedora were all the disguise a superhero needed. But that's not the only thing about Brian Buccellato's script for this issue that has me feeling nostalgic. Seeing Jason Bard - the Marine turned detective with the bum knee, who was once engaged to Barbara Gordon - was a pleasant surprise. And the scene between Alfred and Bruce is one of the sweetest things I've ever read involving the characters.


The artwork for this issue is magnificent. Bruno Redondo is one of the best artists in the business and I hope he'll find a title worth of his talents when Injustice comes to a close. His work is perfectly enhanced by the inks of Juan Albarran and the color art of Rex Lokus.

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Automatron - Part Five

In which we continue to explore the secret lair of The Malevolent Mechanist! And get bloody well lost doing so.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 18 - World's Finest

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



Plot

Livewire is on the loose and partnered up with a new villain called Silver Banshee, who also holds a grudge against Supergirl. Luckily, help arrives in a Flash, as Barry Allen - a superhero who is the Fastest Man Alive on his world - runs into Kara's life... much to James Olsen's annoyance.


Influences

The classic World's Finest Comics series, The Flash #123 - Flash of Two Worlds (The Flash travels to another dimension and teams with another superhero before returning home) and various comics in which The Flash races other heroes.


Goofs

CatCo must have some crack security team to allow Siobhan to get up to the level of Cat Grant's office with no questions asked, given that she's been kicked out of the building twice before now.

After blasting Kara out the window with her sonic scream, Sibohan doesn't go after Cat Grant? Granting that Kara is the focus of Sibohan's anger, you'd expect her to go after the boss who fired her and denied her dream of becoming a reporter too.

Cat objects to the name of The Flash on the grounds that it suggests someone exposing themselves, yet she has no objection to The Red Streak?

Barry describes his enemy Blackout as a being of living electricity when Kara describes Livewire. While Blackout was able to manipulate and absorb electricity like Livewire, he was not made of pure energy.

The Silver Banshee's curse doesn't seem like much of a curse, all things considered. Being unlikable doesn't seem to have stopped Winn from falling for Siobhan and it doesn't seem to be stopping any of the women in her family from being able to attract men long enough to spread the curse on to the next generation. And super-strength and the power to kill those who wrong  you with a focused thought and a scream don't seem like bad things if you're a miserable witch like Siobhan.

Barry is really quick to trust people with his secret identity in this episode, allowing Kara to reveal his identity to Winn, James, Lucy and several DEO agents. This is maddening considering how reluctant he was on his own show to let his girlfriend know who he was.

How did Sibohan know where to meet Livewire after helping her escape?

Granting that Kara and Barry didn't have much of a plan for going after Livewire, it's hard to believe that Barry would be so stupid as to try throwing lightning at a villain he's been told can manipulate electricity.

Sibohan's costume as The Silver Banshee costume looks more like a Day of the Dead costume than the outfit from the comics it is meant to emulate.

Barry says "We're not going to win this today" and encourages Kara to run... just as they've knocked Silver Banshee and Livewire down under the combined force of Kara's super-breath and the twin cyclones Barry made with his hands.

James seems oddly unphased by the lightning bolt that knocks him across the room. No burns or shock at all.

A whole lot of civilians come out of nowhere to enter the park when people are needed to witness Kara sacrificing herself, after fleeing it once the super-villain fight broke out.

All of Barry's talk about Kara's relationship with the people of her city improving in time is seriously undercut by everything being fixed instantly after Kara takes one lightning bolt to the chest trying to save a helicopter.

Livewire's got a point about how stupid it is everyone is just now realizing Supergirl was willing to die for them and deciding the feeling is mutual when they were ready to string her up two days earlier.

We're told that thanks to The Flash, the National City Police Department now has a way to lock-up and contain metahumans. One wonders why the DEO didn't discretely offer up this technology years ago.

Either Cat Grant is deliberately trolling Kara regarding her secret identity or she truly is the biggest idiot ever, if she can figure out Barry Allen is The Flash but not put two and two together regarding her continually disappearing assistant and Supergirl being needed somewhere.


Performances

The chemistry between Grant Gustin and Melissa Benoist is quite good and manages to sell some of the more difficult aspects of the script through sheer charisma.


Artistry


The special effects for Silver Banshee's scream are far better than the ones used for the Canary Cry on Arrow.


Super Trivia


The title for this episode - World's Finest - comes from a classic Silver Age DC Comics anthology series, which featured a variety of stories and characters. In time, it would come to feature stories of Batman and Superman teaming-up though occasionally it would include team-up stories involving other heroes.

World's Finest was also the title of a 2009 mini-series written by Supergirl writer Sterling Gates, which centered upon various Batman and Superman allies teaming-up... including Supergirl!

More recently, World's Finest was the title of a comic devoted to the adventures of Power Girl and Huntress - the Supergirl of Earth 2 and the daughter of that world's version of Batman and Catwoman.

The World's Finest title has been applied to various mini-series and one-shots, including a recent one teaming Batwoman and Wonder Woman

The title World's Finest Heroes is usually applied to Batman and Superman.

The doctor at the DEO who treats Siobhan is named in the show credits as Dr. Amelia Hamilton. She appears to be a feminized version of Dr. Emil Hamilton - a character from the DC Comics Superman books.

In the comics and various other adaptations, Dr. Emil Hamilton is a scientist who helped Superman by acting as a scientific adviser, medical doctor and by constructing various devices such as the Phantom Zone Projector.

Livewire is seen for the first time since S104.

When the Supergirl logo appears just before the first commercial break in this episode, the theme from The Flash TV show plays and we hear the lightning effect that usually plays before commercial breaks on The Flash as the S-shield disappears.

Barry's explanation for how multiple earths work is taken directly from The Flash #123 - the comic which introduced the idea of the DC Comics multiverse. Perhaps not coincidentally, it also fits neatly in line with The Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Physics, which was introduced four years earlier, though there's no evidence that comic writer Gardner Fox was familiar with the theory. (See Technobabble below for more on the MWI.)

Winn suggests the existence of a parallel Earth where everyone good is evil. In the DC Comics Multiverse, this world is commonly referred to as Earth 3 and it is ruled by an evil version of The Justice League called The Crime Syndicate. Their version of The Flash is called Johnny Quick.

Cat says that James, Winn, Kara and Barry look like the cast of a show on The CW network. The Flash is aired on The CW Network.

Cat considers the names "The Red Streak" and "The Blur" for the mysterious new speedster hero. In the early parts of the first season of The Flash, Barry was called "The Streak" in the local press and referred to himself as a blur.

In the classic DC Comics Universe, The Silver Banshee's powers were the result of a magical curse, albeit one far different than the one we see for Siobhan Smythe.

The original Silver Banshee was named Siobhan McDougal. The scion of an ancient Gaelic clan, Siobhan attempted a magical ritual to claim her rightful place as head of the clan over the objections of her uncle and brother. She was drawn into the netherworld, where a being known as The Crone offered to send Siobhan back to Earth in exchange for a magical book that had been part of Siobhan's father's library. The quest to recover the book resulted in several murders, which got the attention of Superman and brought him into conflict with The Silver Banshee.

The Silver Banshee's powers in the comics include super-strength, speed-agility, super-speed, super-hearing, super-durability to both physical and energy attacks. She has a hyper-sonic scream capable of incapacitating even Kryptonians and Amazons. She also has the ability to kill anyone by speaking their full true-name. Since her powers are magical in nature, they are capable of hurting Superman and Supergirl.

The DCTVU version of Silver Banshee's powers are magical in nature, part of a curse that affects all the women of the Smythe family. According to Siobhan's aunt, some female ancestor stole from a banshee and every woman of their bloodline was cursed to be unlikeable.

The second level of the Smythe family curse is triggered when someone wrongs a woman of the Smythe family. This causes the woman to hear the voice of the Banshee in her head, until such time as she kills the person who wronged them. If they fail to do this, the power of the banshee grows within them and their voice becomes a lethal weapon. Not only can they scream at people in front of them and cause great pain, but they can focus their scream anywhere in the world and even kill the target from a distance. Doing this, however, will cost the woman her soul.

The DCTVU version of Silver Banshee exhibits the hyper-sonic scream as well as the power of super-ventriloquism, projecting her voice anywhere in the world as when she uses her scream to remotely break the glass in Livewire's containment cage. She also possess enough super-strength to punch Supergirl and make her feel it.

Lucy Lane asks if she could call The Flash "Speedy". This is, ironically, the code-name of Green Arrow's sidekick in the comics and on Arrow.

Barry introduces himself to Lucy Lane as a CSI. Curiously, Barry never uses this term to refer to his job or himself on The Flash - presumably because the term is also the title of several CBS TV series. Since Supergirl is on CBS, however, he can safely say those letters here.

Barry and Kara address each other by their nicknames from the comics - The Girl of Steel and The Scarlet Speedster.

There have been numerous comics devoted to the idea of The Flash racing other heroes - most frequently Superman. A list of them can be found on the wonderful The Flash history website Those Who Ride The Lightning.


Technobabble


The theory of the multiverse - AKA The Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics - holds that there are many worlds which exist in parallel at the same space and time as our own. First introduced in 1957 by physicist Hugh Everett III, a remarkably similar idea would appear in The Flash #123 in 1961 and form the basis for what would become known as the DC Comics Multiverse.

Barry has to consume 10,000 calories per day in order to make up the energy he expends running at super-speed.

Livewire's ability to absorb the electricity in the air around her gives Barry the idea to compose a computer algorithm that monitors variations in meter usage around National City, allowing him to find where she is at any given moment.

Winn suggests using an industrial capacitor to trap Livewire - the plan from Kara's first fight with her that didn't work due to equipment failure.

Barry creates special ear-plugs for himself and Kara that negate the effects of Silver Banshee's scream.


Dialogue Triumphs


Lucy: Five people were rushed to the hospital last night. All suffering from electrical imbalances in the brain. Is there anything you wanna tell me?
Livewire: Yeah. The food here sucks.
Lucy: You are the only person we know with the ability to cause electrical phenomena of this magnitude. How did you do it?
Livewire: I'm flattered you think I'm behind it, but I've got bigger brains to fry. Like Cat Grant's. And Supergirl's. And when I get out of here? You're all going to pay.

(The Flash catches Kara in mid-freefall and runs her to a field outside of National City)
The Flash: You're on fire!
(The Flash is about to try and pat out the fire but then realizes he's almost touched a strange woman's breasts and hesitates.)
The Flash: I.. . nope... uh...
(Kara looks down and begins beating the flames out herself.)
The Flash: You don't seem that bothered by the fact that you're on fire?
Kara: I didn't need you to save me.
The Flash: (chuckling) Uh... you just fell from a skyscraper. So if I hadn't been there, you would have gone splat.
Kara: I need to get back to the city.
(Kara jumps up into the air. A few seconds later, her work clothes come falling down on top of The Flash)
The Flash: What the what?  That's a new one. I thought I was the impossible.

(The Flash goes running after Kara, now in her Supergirl costume, She sees the lighting bolt on the ground and flies down to cut it off after he gets ahead of her.)
The Flash: How did you do that?
Supergirl: I'm Supergirl!
The Flash: ... you're who now?
Supergirl: Sorry. I was just a little... disoriented from the scream.  How did you save me?
The Flash: Well, I... you- you fell out a window and I... I caught you and ran you all the way out here, which I did not mean to do. But I've been working on my speed and...I guess I'm faster than I thought.
Supergirl: Yes, yes, but I... (deep breath) Who are you?
The Flash: I'm The Flash!
Supergirl: The who now?
The Flash: The Fla- wait, do you not know who I am?
Supergirl: Should I?
The Flash: What about The Green Arrow?
(Supergirl shakes her head.)
The Flash: Black Canary?
(Supergirl just shakes her head and looks confused.)
The Flash: Firestorm? Atom? Zoom?
(Supergirl shakes her head and looks at The Flash like he's speaking another language.)
Supergirl: (apologetic) Sorry.
The Flash: Oh boy. Not as sorry as I am.
(The Flash reaches up and pulls his mask off.)The Flash: Hey. I'm Barry Allen. I'm the fastest man alive. And I think that I'm on the wrong Earth. I'm gonna need your help.

(Looking at Kara, Winn, James and Barry)
Cat: All four of you standing there, doing nothing? You look like the attractive yet non-threatening, racial-diverse cast of a CW Show.

(Siobhan enters a shop called Luck of the Irish. She sees the shopkeeper, a red-haired matronly sort with a thick Irish accent, taking to a customer.)
Shopkeeper: Thank you, my dear. Love will soon be coming yer way. Don't forget ta write his name five times in your journal every night.
(The customer leaves. Once she is out the door, Siobhan turns to regard the shopkeeper)
Siobhan: What the hell was that accent?
Shopkeeper: (now speaking in a normal American accent) It's one of the many talents I use to trick Muggles to buy 300 bucks worth of cheap quartz.

(Siobhan reveals herself to Livewire)
Livewire: Who the hell are you?
Siobahn: Siobhan Smythe.
Livewire: It's like your parents knew you'd grow up to be a big snob.
Siobahn: I need your help.
Livewire: I can help you catch on fire.
Siobahn: You should be a little more grateful. I'm the one who broke you out of your hamster wheel.
Livewire: How'd you do that?
(Siobhan looks up at a window and screams, breaking it. The noise brings Livewire to her knees.)Siobahn: Luck of the Irish.
Livewire: Okay. Listening. Sort of.

Livewire: You see, Cat, I'm still 50/50 if your heart's actually beating, but I'm going to stop it anyway.

The Flash: Hey, Sparky!  Shrikey! Hi. What do you way we step away from the nice lady? Settle this like women?
(Supergirl gives The Flash the side-eye.)
The Flash: What? There's more of you guys here than me.
(Supergirl nods, smiles, and keeps moving forward toward Livewire and Silver Banshee)


Dialogue Disasters

Siobahn: You and I have shared interests. You want to kill Cat Grant and Supergirl and I want to kill Cat's assistant, who is protected by them both. Figured we could team up.
Livewire: Like an evil Taylor Swift squad?
Siobahn: What do you say?
Livewire: Not in that outfit. You need a makeover.
Siobahn: This is going to be fun.

Silver Banshee: All my life I thought I was cursed, but now I see I was cursed for the better.

Livewire: I HATE HELICOPTERS!

Every single moment of the crowd coming forward to protect the fallen Supergirl.


Continuity


Kara and Winn both refer to the events of S116 and Kara losing the public's trust after being poisoned with Red Kryptonite and turning evil.

The tests Dr. Hamilton conducts confirm that Siobhan is 100% human. She has no explanation for Siobhan's powers. This seems to confirm that metahumans - human beings who are genetically enhanced in some form or fashion - do not exist on the Earth of Supergirl or, at the very least, they're rare enough the DEO hasn't encountered any besides Livewire.

Cat Grant wrote a romance self-help book in 1998 called The Lighthouse Technique. She admits it wasn't her best work, but it did get her on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

The Earth of Supergirl's reality does not have a Flash, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Atom, Firestorm or Zoom. These are all superheroes or super-villains in the reality of The Flash.

The Earth of Supergirl's reality does have a Central City (Barry Allen's home town) but there's no STAR Labs (the scientific organization that was responsible for Barry gaining super-power) or a Caitlin Snow, Cisco Ramon or Harrison Wells - the three scientists who help Barry out as The Flash.

Both Barry's Earth and Kara's Earth have Mariah Carey, donuts and the book The Three Musketeers.

Barry's reaction to Kara being an alien seems to suggest there is no proof of alien life in the reality of The Flash. This also seems to suggest, indirectly, that there is no Superman or Supergirl in the reality of Barry Allen's Earth 1. Or, at the very least, that they do not operate openly, as on Supergirl.

When Winn suggests the existence of a world where everyone is evil, Barry says that he's been there and it sucks. This may be a reference to F213 & F214, in which Barry traveled to the world of the super-villain Zoom and discovered that three of his friend's counterparts on that Earth were super-villains.

Barry admits to having traveled in time by accident but never traveling between realities by accident. This refers to the events of F116 and A408.

Kara's Earth has a CW Network.

Siobhan has an aunt who runs a new-age magic shop called Luck of The Irish. She's a bit of a con-artist, using a fake Irish accent to sell phony artifacts to people. Yet she does seem to have some honest magical knowledge, if no real power. She apparently killed her own husband to rid herself of The Smythe family curse.

When telling Barry about Livewire, Barry says that he has an enemy who is living electricity called Blackout. He fought him in F107.

Barry runs around Livewire to build up an electrical charge, which he then throws at her as a lightning bolt. This is a trick Barry learned in the second season of The Flash from fellow speedster Jay Garrick in F202. Unfortunately, the attack only charges-up Livewire's powers.

Barry refers to the events F216, where he was blamed for several thefts committed by a female super-speedster called Trajectory but the public eventually grew to trust him again.

Barry refers to The Pied Piper - a villain who used sonic-based technology - and how they used special earplugs to block his powers. This didn't happen in the original battle between The Flash and Pied Piper (F111) but may have happened in the changed timeline that came about because of The Flash's actions in F217, where his time-traveling changed the events of Episode F111 in a major way.

Kara refers to S114 and James' lecturing her on the importance of criminals being tried for their crimes, after the DEO took Maxwell Lord into custody.

The NCPD now have the means to contain metahuman criminals, thanks to The Flash.

Cat Grant figures out that Barry Allen is The Flash.

The trick where one speedster uses another speedster's momentum to boost their own was first utilized in F211,when Barry used his speed to send The Reverse Flash back to his own time. Here, Barry has Supergirl throw him forward at her top speed in order to break the boundary between realities.

At the end of the episode, James Olsen and hundreds of other people walk out into the streets like zombies. We find out this has something to do with Myriad - the Kryptonain secret weapon - being activated.


Untelevised Adventures


At the time of this episode's airing, it was unclear exactly when Barry Allen jumped realities relative to the timeline of his own TV show. Specific references indicate it was sometime after F216 - the last episode of The Flash to have aired when this episode aired.

Barry refers to making special earplugs to block the powers of a villain called The Pied Piper. This did not happen in any previous episode of The Flash at the time this episode aired. However, the episode that aired the next evening, F217, had Barry travel back in time and alter things in such a way that his first encounter with The Pied Piper changed and the second one never happened. Also, STAR Labs had a chance to replicate The Pied Piper's special ear-pieces, which may have led to Barry knowing how to make the earplugs he creates here.


The Kryptonite Factor

Honestly, the fight with Silver Banshee and Livewire should have taken about a minute.  Have Barry run out and back, grab Silver Banshee, run faster than sound and knock her out. Then all Kara has to do is remember that water shorts out Livewire and boom. Done.

Really, the only thing that saved them is that the villains were stupider than they were in the final fight and they didn't think to kill Cat Grant at literally any other point in the episode or Siobhan didn't think to just sit in a quiet room, focus on Supergirl and THEN attack her from a distance like she did with Livewire's cell.


The Bottom Line


About the only thing this episode has going for it is the charisma of its two leads and the quality of the special effects. The script is crap, with horrible dialogue, numerous logic problems and some continuity problems regarding The Flash. Turn your brain off and maybe it could be an enjoyable distraction. As is, this could be the worst episode of Supergirl to date.

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Automatron - Part Four

In which we give The Brain That Wouldn't Die a new body and storm the lair of The Malevolent Mechanist!

Starman Plays Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines - Parts Fifty-Seven and Fifty-Eight

In Part 57, we storm the Venture Tower, reenact a scene from Brazil and ponder the mysteries of how the corpses of all the people I kill stealthily magically disappear.



And then, in Part 58, we come to the explosive ending of our chronicle, as I deal with Prince LaCroix once and for all. After a little more sneaking around and a fight with the Sheriff of LA.



Second Thoughts On Batman V Superman [SPOILERS]

I saw Batman V. Superman for a second time as part of the bachelor party for my friend Roy Buckingham, who, incidentally, does a podcast you might enjoy if you like my work. I scribbled down these random thoughts as the movie progressed. Naturally, they are full of snark and SPOILERS, so don't read this if you haven't seen the movie or can't bare to have me pick apart some of the problems.



1. While I regret the necessity of needing to yet again show the death of Batman's parents, I must say the opening credits sequence does accomplish that task in an efficient manner. Like it or not, a filmmaker cannot assume that EVERYONE knows how Bruce Wayne became Batman. But the bats lifting Bruce up to the light is a major "what the hell?" moment that had me laughing the first time I saw it before I realized it was a dream sequence.

2. In many ways, the dream sequences/hallucinations are the biggest problem with the movie structurally. None of these scenes serve any purpose other than setting up things for the sequels that make no sense now or being artsy for the sake of being artsy. And Zack Snyder is at his most insufferable as a director when he's being artsy for the sake of being artsy.

3. Didn't the US Military establish a no-fly zone around Metropolis when they were sending in the plane with the pod to destroy the Kryptonian mothership back in Man of Steel?  If so, then how is Bruce Wayne able to get a civilian helicopter to fly into the middle of a war zone? Apart from being rich and the rules not applying to him?

4. I had thought it was a little weird that Metropolis and Gotham City are on opposite sides of a body of water. But according to the latest DC Comics Atlas, that's the case. They're twin cities on opposite sides of Delaware Bay, with Gotham City in the location of Cape May Point, New Jersey and Metropolis in the location of Lewes, Delaware.

5. I do love the moment of Bruce saving and then hugging the lost girl. That is everything you need to know about Bruce Wayne in a nutshell in one scene. He'll risk his life to save another and he's got a soft spot for kids and orphans, despite his personal darkness. And Ben Affleck NAILS that.

6. As powerful as this moment is, however, I have to wonder how the heck that girl got to the ground floor and out of the building, unattended, in the first place.

7. This is another major problem with the movie - there are some great sequences, but the steps taken to set up those sequences don't make a lot of logical sense.

8. Let's give some praise to the costume designers. Bruce Wayne is clad in dark blues, grays and black throughout. Clark is dressed in lighter shades of blue. It's a nice, subtle touch.


9. Even though some parts of Africa have a Christian population as high as 75%, it still seems weird for the woman being interviewed by Congress about her village being destroyed to say that Superman doesn't answer to God.

10. The scene of the bathtub overflowing as Lois and Clark "get friendly" is probably the most subtle metaphor in the whole movie. I thought it was the female equivalent of a rocket going off. Which means it was probably an accident.

11. RE: The Bat-Symbol Brand (TM) on the criminals. This is another nonsensical element that exists only to give Superman a reason to distrust the more extreme Batman. It's also a blatant rip-off of The Phantom's Skull Ring.

12. So, we're told that the public is split on whether or not Superman is a hero or a menace. Yet Metropolis saw fit to make a statue of him the centerpiece of a memorial for those killed in the Kryptonian invasion. I'm willing to bet more than a few city councilors got voted out of office over that, since many people would equate that with building a statue of Adolph Hitler in the middle of a Holocaust memorial.


13. For all the complaints about things this movie got wrong in adapting the comics, I haven't heard anyone complain about Perry White. Laurence Fishburne does a good job with the character as written but there's no hint of the idealistic old-school newsman from the comics in his portrayal. His seeming annoyed about Lois and Clark wanting to go after big news stories is confusing on every level.

14. That being said, his later anger at Clark neglecting two assignments so he can write about a vigilante in another city is justified. Which makes it all the weirder later when he gives Lois a helicopter, no questions asked.

15. The dream sequence with Bruce visiting his parents grave is Snyder's direction at his most self-indulgent.

16. Did everyone see that stained-glass angel in a blue tunic with a red toga in the Wayne crypt?



17. Lex Luthor's speech to the Friends of the Metropolis Library comes off as the worst TED Talk ever.

18. Is it just me or is Jesse Eisenberg channeling Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka for his portrayal of Lex Luthor?  When he invites Bruce Wayne to his lab to see what he's cooking up, I half expected for him to say he's finally perfected the Everlasting Gobstopper.

19. Ironically, in the sequence in which the reporters and experts discuss Superman, the scriptwriters nail the biggest problem with Man of Steel and this movie. It happens with the line regarding how everyone wants to see Superman as Jesus or The Devil but nobody wants to see him as just some guy who wants to help people. He needs to be Clark first and Superman second, but the script frequently switches that metric around

20. On that note, I think Henry Cavill does great work with what he is given but he isn't given much to work with. His best moments come early on where we see him and Lois interacting as a couple. Where Clark is the guy who tries to surprise his girlfriend with flowers and a home-cooked dinner. Where he's the guy who doesn't much care what the world says about him because he's content with his life and the love of a woman who makes him feel like the greatest man in the world. THAT is the character we want to root for and one we should have seen more of.

21. Another great visual that makes no sense if you think about it - the people trapped by rising floodwaters on the roof of their home who paint a giant Superman symbol on the roof of their home.  So they didn't have time to flee their homes but DID have time go grab the paint before climbing on the roof?

22. One of the reporters asks "Must There Be A Superman?" Nice shout out to a classic Elliot S! Maggin storyline though I wonder why he wasn't listed among the writers and artists who were given a shout-out in the closing credits?


23. While I personally don't have a problem with Diana sneaking around and acting as a spy (she worked with Military Intelligence in the classic comics as Diana Prince and was a DEO spy in the modern era), I'm amazed there wasn't more outrage from Wonder Woman fans about the avatar of Truth behaving in a deceitful manner.

24. Did anyone else see the start of the post-apocalyptic (or should that be post-Apokolyptic?) dream sequence and wonder for a minute what George Miller's JLA movie might have looked like? Or wonder what mods you have to install on Fallout 4 to get this to happen?

 

25. The whole sequence with Batman chasing after the Kryptonite shipment reminds me of the driving sequences in Arkham Knight. For all the wrong reasons.

26. Superman's cape looks HUGE as he's flying over Washington DC.

27. Granting that he can hear and see if anyone might be injured instead of vaporized by the bomb, Superman standing in the middle of a burning building looks strange.

28. So we have this Kryptonian archival computer, totally unlocked, accessible by a hand-touch, containing information on over 100,000 worlds... and there isn't a team of scientists pouring over this 24-7?!

29. On that note, Lex Luthor is the dumbest genius ever. Faced with this treasure trove of knowledge, the likes of which man has ever known, what is the first thing he does? Start playing around with a device that modifies DNA with the same skill and finesse as The Cat from Red Dwarf.


30. Also, did anyone else notice that Zod's corpse is smooth as a Ken doll "down there"?

31. RE: The Pa Kent dream sequence. It's totally random, but I can forgive it since we get to hear the speech Pa Kent SHOULD have given Clark in Man of Steel about how unintended consequences shouldn't stop you from trying to do good.

32. The Pa Kent scene is also a nice, subtle segue into the next scene, where Bruce is pondering his own father's teachings in the ruins of Wayne Manor. Another subtle reminder of how Clark and Bruce aren't that different.

33. I take it back. Jesse Eisenberg isn't channeling Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka - he's becoming Heath Ledger's Joker. Just look at the hair and the purple trenchcoat!

33. This may possibly be the most obscure reference in the whole movie. In the video of Cyborg's creation, his father mentions a number - 61982. Cyborg's first appearance in the comics was in Tales Of The Teen Titans #1, which was released on June 19th, 1982. Or 6/19/82.

34. The fight between Superman and Batman DOES look awesome. But Superman shoving Batman when he shouts "I UNDERSTAND!" serves no purpose other than to provoke a fight that doesn't need to happen.. except for the sake of giving us the titular fight of this movie. Clark should have just tried talking to him then, calmly and rationally and explained that his mom was in danger. Of course then we wouldn't have gotten the fight scene, so forget it.


35. Batman swinging Superman around on that bat-rope just looks goofy as hell.

36. Why on Krypton does Clark use his mother's first name when he's begging Batman to help him instead of "Mom"?  Yes, both of their mothers are named Martha. It's a fascinating bit of trivia and it makes the characters bond but it makes no freaking sense for Clark to not say "Mom".

37. With Martha Kent a hostage and Lex doing God only knows in the Kryptonian ship, time is of the essence and the situation is urgent. But not so urgent that Bruce can't change out of his power armor and into a second Bat-Suit he just happened to have with him.

38. Bruce forgetting about his Kryptonite spear and leaving it behind is just dumb.

39. Leaving Lois behind? Slightly less dumb, but still pretty dumb given that Clark knows Luthor was watching the fight remotely.

40. So Lex decides to taunt Superman while standing between him AND the nightmarish abomination he created to kill Superman? I say it again - Dumbest Genius EVER.  I fully expect to see Doomsday doing to Lex what Hulk did to Loki in the inevitable How It Should Have Ended parody.


41. Who else expected Aquaman to show up after Lois dropped the Kryptonite spear in the flooded pit in the basement of the port building and start lecturing her about surface-dwellers dropping their junk the ocean?

42. Yes, it would have been coincidental as hell, but Aquaman totally should have shown up to save Lois when she got trapped underwater and joined the fight then.  Of course HE could have used the spear on Doomsday and then Superman wouldn't have to die. So forget it.

43. I full expect to see THAT happen on How It Should Have Ended as well.

44. Another little thing I liked - Clark mailing his engagement ring for Lois to his mother's house. Because he knew there was no way he could hide anything from Lois at work or at home.

45. Amy Adams is a marvel as Lois Lane. The bits of Lois being an investigator are great and I'd love to see her star in a solo movie. We'll never get it, but I'd like to see that.



46. Gal Godot nails the part of Wonder Woman and I can't wait for her solo film.

47. The fight between the Trinity and Doomsday... okay, let's be honest.... the fight between Wonder Woman and Doomsday with Batman lining up his shot and Clark providing air support does look amazing... except for the cheap CGI for Doomsday.

48. The series of false endings as the movie closes are almost as ridiculous as the end of The Return of The King.

49. It should have ended with Bruce's line - "Man is still good. We break things, tear them down, but we can rebuild. We can be better, we have to be."

50. Take that last line as a mission statement for Justice League, Zack Snyder!

*******

Final thoughts on a second viewing?  I like the movie a little more. I still don't love it but I can appreciate the craft of it all.

Yes, it is flawed. Yes, a lot of stupid things happen to justify the action sequences. There's way too much going on. And we could have cut the dream sequences without losing anything. But the performances are great across the board, with one glaring exception and I can't even blame Jesse Eisneberg for that because so much of it is down to the direction and script.

The production values are great, with some wonderful designs in regards to the sets and costumes. The musical score is amazing and well-mixed. And the movie makes some good points regarding the nature of heroism and how we view it in modern society.

In the end, that's just one critics opinion. I encourage you all to go see the movie and decide for yourself.