Saturday, April 30, 2016

Starman Plays Fallout 4 - Parts Seventy-Seven and Seventy-Eight

In Part 77, Dogmeat is somehow magically summoned to help us track down Kellogg. This also begs the question of how Nick knows Dogmeat... but don't expect any answers.

What should you expect? How about two Deathclaws fighting and Dogmeat charging in to fight them both? Good dog!



And then, in Part 78, we break into Fort Hagen and confront Conrad Kellogg. We also get to see the most dramatic shot in the game. Like Cecil B. DeMille level EPIC!


Friday, April 29, 2016

All-New Wolverine #7 - A Review

Laura Kinney isn't sure what to do about her semi-sister Gabby - one of her clones that is several years younger and a whole lot sweeter than her. Laura isn't exactly sure how to be a parent or a sibling, having had what might be called an unusual upbringing if one were inclined to polite understatement. Unfortunately, figuring things out will have to wait for a while. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is in need of help.. But maybe it is Squirrel Girl who will wind up helping Laura...

Tom Taylor perfectly captures the anarchic spirit of Squirrel Girl in this issue. Doreen Green may be a silly character, especially in comparison to the dour Wolverine, but she isn't a stupid or unskilled hero. The two heroines play remarkably well off of each other and the ending of the issue proves to be as touching as it is hilarious.

Marcio Takara's artwork perfectly suits Taylor's story. Takra's style proves equally capable of depicting the lighter, more ludicrous moments of the action as well as the moments of high-action. And Jordan Boyd delivers an exemplary performance on the color art.

Secret Six #13 - A Review

Strix has been recruited by The League of Assassins and her friends in The Secret Six aren't taking it lying down. They're just having a barbecue as they work out what to do next. Meanwhile, Strix is pit against a team of killers modeled upon The Six, told that if she cannot kill them all in under a minute, the corresponding team-mate will die!


I love this book. I was saddened when I learned that it wasn't coming back post-Rebirth. Still, Gail Simone seems determined to make sure this book ends with a bang. And I don't just mean Catman being asked to father Scandal Savage's child. *rimshot*


Tom Derenick's artwork is as fine as ever. Derenick is a gifted fight choreographer with a great eye for detail. And Jason Wright's color art proves perfectly applied.

Starman Plays Fallout 4 - Parts Seventy-Five and Seventy-Six

In Part 75, we continue looting and hoarding our way through the subway station, discover the sinister (but hilarious) purpose of Vault 114 and rescue Nick Valentine - Clockwork Dick!

(Okay. He prefers the term 'synth detective'. But Clockwork Dick sounds more film noir.)


And then, in Part 76, Nick Valentine and I start to pound the pavement in the seedy side of Diamond City, searching for a lead on where to find my missing son and the mysterious Kellogg.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 1, Episode 13 - Leviathan

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



Plot

Out of time and options, Rip Hunter plots a bold strike at the one place they know for certain Vandal Savage may be found - three days before the attack that killed Hunter's family and put Savage on the path to total world domination. Unfortunately, Savage is at the height of his power, but The Legends do have two advantages they might gain - an artifact from the night Kendra and Carter first died and the assistance of Vandal Savage's daughter!


Influences

Doctor Who
(the theme of predestination versus free will), The Justice League animated series (Kendra arming herself with an Nth metal mace), Gail Simone's Secret Six (the character of Cassandra Savage seems loosely based on Simone's Scandal Savage character), Jurassic Park (Stein and Ray watching the liquid shake in a container as Leviathan approaches), various Godzilla movies and other movies inspired by them, particularly Pacific Rim (the Atom/Leviathan fight) and various WWII films set during The London Blitz (general tone, the setting of London under siege by fascist forces, Savage's forces wearing storm-trooper outfits and offering a Nazi-style salute).


Goofs

In the 1941 flashbacks, Carter makes reference to needing to train Kendra to fight with his weapons in case he isn't there to protect her. This neatly ignores that she was originally a warrior priestess and (until her most recent incarnation) was supposed to maintain the knowledge and memories of her past-lives, including her fighting skills.

Just what was Snart's plan for convincing Cassandra to turn on her father before they wound up with a ship full of unarmed refugees?


Performances

Arthur Darvill and Brandon Routh get a nice scene at the start which sets the tone for the theme of the episode and both their respective battles - Rip's belief that you can't fight Fate and Ray's belief that life is defined by choices. The heck of it is they're both right based on their respective lives but are both proven wrong by the events of the episode, with Rip finding a way to stop Savage and Ray's romance with Kendra seemingly imperiled by Savage's latest gambit involving the brainwashed Carter Hall.

Wentworth Miller has an interesting role this week as Snart. He's put in the unusual role as a persuader instead of a heavy, trying to convince Cassandra Savage of her father's treachery. Story-wise it's an interesting parallel to have Snart being the one trying to persuade someone that they can change for the better given his own slow journey towards heroism. And Miller plays it with his usual perfect level of dry snark.


Artistry

The script for this episode has even wittier dialogue than usual and a lot of good lines for the whole cast.

The fight choreography is outstanding throughout, with Cassandra's battle with Sara and Kendra's fight with Savage being the high-lights.

There's a nice use of sepia tint on the Carter/Kendra flashbacks.

The entire sequence of Ray fighting Leviathan is also worth mentioning for how well it replicates the giant monster fights of the B-movies of yore, right down to the slow-motion action to indicate huge figures and the used of forced perspective photography to make Ray look bigger.

The final shot of the episode - Savage's reflection on the glass as he stares at Rip - is a chilling one.

Trivia Of Tomorrow

The title of the episode comes from the Old Testament of The Bible. Leviathan is the Hebrew word for twisted, presumably referring to a large sea serpent. It has come to mean any large monster, particularly an aquatic one.

The title of the episode refers to Savage's ultimate weapon - a 200 foot tall humanoid robot.

There are several Leviathans in DC Comics folklore, but none of them are a giant robot.

Leviathan was one of the code names used by Legion of Superheroes member Gim Allon, who had the power to change his size. He also used the code-names Colossal Boy and Micro Lad.

Leviathan was also the name of the League of Assassins splinter group founded by Talia Al Ghul when she turned upon her father, Ra's Al Ghul, in Grant Morrison's Batman comics.

The Levithan robot bares a slight resemblance to some versions of the Metal Men enemy Chemo.

In the comics, Chemo was the creation of scientist Ramsey Norton. Originally the plastic vessel into which Norton emptied his failed experiments, the vessel achieved a limited form of sentience, killed its creator and went on a rampage until it was stopped by The Metal Men. Since that time, Chemo was revived by various characters (including Lex Luthor and Brainiac) for use as a weapon against their enemies. Chemo possessed limited intelligence, super-strength, size-changing abilities and the power to emit toxic waste.

In the comics, Vandal Savage had a daughter named Scandal Savage. The product of an affair between Savage and an unnamed Brazilian woman, Scandal was raised by her mother for most of her youth before she was tracked down by her father and trained in the arts of combat and groomed to provide him with a male heir. Unfortunately for Savage's plan, Scandal was a lesbian and had no interest in being a brood mare for his legend. She rebelled and eventually fell in with the mercenary group known as The Secret Six.

Apart from rebelling against her father in the end and being an accomplished fighter, there seems little relation between Scandal Savage and Cassandra Savage - the daughter of Vandal Savage featured in this episode. Nothing is said in the episode about her sexual orientation and she does not appear to be of Brazilian ancestry.

While renown for his shrinking powers, it was not unheard of for Ray Palmer to use his technology to increase his size in the comics as he does in this episode. Immediately after the Zero Hour storyline, Ray Palmer gained the ability to change his size without utilizing his technology and proved able to grow as well as shrink using his new powers.

It's worth mentioning that the growing-and-shrinking shtick is more frequently associated with Ray Palmer's Marvel Comics counterpart, Dr. Hank Pym (a.k.a. the original Ant Man/Giant Man)

To create a weapon that can hurt Savage, Kendra covers Carter's mace with melted Nth metal. In the comics, a mace of Nth Metal was Hawkman's signature weapon. It was also the preferred weapon of Hawkgirl in the Justice League animated series.


Technobabble

The rebels have retinal scanner technology. They have no record of Rip existing but do have records for Jax, Stein and Ray from 150 years in their past.

Ray suggests analyzing soils samples to determine the nature of Savage's ultimate weapon. Stein does this and confirms that the weapon is not an explosion - the same conclusion Ray comes to after having Gideon hack a defunct spy satellite and looking at the destroyed rebel camp and realizing the impact craters look like very large footprints.

Ray's plan is based upon the theoretical possibility that siphoning power from the auxiliary time drive of The Waverider should provide Ray with enough power to reverse the polarity of the dwarf-star matrix of the ATOM suit, allowing him to grow to superhuman size instead of shrinking.

The energy blasts emitted by the ATOM suit are compressed light beams - not lasers.


Dialogue Triumphs

Rip: In order to capture him (Savage), I require the services of -
Rory:  - a killer, klepto and pyro?
Rip: Bingo!

Rip: What exactly do you think you were doing back there?
Snart: Distracting Savage's pals. Which worked, by the way.
Rip: Yes, well... I could have been killed!
Rory: Never said it worked perfectly.

Sara: How am I supposed to teach someone to fight with a piece of jewelry?
Rip: Good question.
Sara: It wasn't rhetorical!

Rip: I watched my family die countless time at the hands of Savage and his forces before I realized that...
Ray: ... Time wants to happen.
Rip: It's a funny feeling knowing the universe itself doesn't want you to save your family.

Rip: Do we have a plan for stealing this bracelet?
Rory: We're on it!
Sara: Please don't tell me the plan is to walk into Savage's citadel and steal it off her wrist?
Snart: All right. I won't tell you that.

(Kendra walks in on Carter practicing with his mace. She is dressed to the nines.)
Carter: Wow. What's, ah... the occasion?
Kendra: I'll give you one guess.
Carter: ...our anniversary?
(Kendra puts her hands on her hips and gives him The Look used by all wives to signal to their husbands that they have screwed up in the worst way possible.)
Carter: Look, I'm sorry, but in my defense there's quite a few of them to remember.
Kendra: We were only married in... eight lifetimes.
Carter: That's a lot! But I do remember your Victorian England incarnation being particularly tough to be pinned down.

Rip: (upon entering the cell-block where Snart and Rory have stashed Cassandra) And there I was thinking we could go a whole week without kidnapping anyone.

Cassandra: No one dared to stand up to Degaton except my father. He may not be a kind man but he is the only one capable of putting this world back together. So you can torture me if you like. My suffering is a small price to pay.
Snart: Who said anything about torture?

Rory: You sure you can do this? Bash Savage's skull with Carter's mace?
Kendra: You got a better plan?
Rory: It's not the weapon I'm worried about. Thousands of years of reincarnation and I'm guessing you've killed a grand total of nobody. Yet here you are entering into the Olympics of Murder.
Kendra:What's your point?
Rory: Are you sure you can look Savage in the eye and kill him?
Kendra: I'm sure.
Rory: Well you'd better be. Otherwise you're going to end up like the last guy to swing that thing.

(Rip finds Stein ushering refugees into the halls of The Waverider)
Rip: What the hell do you think you're doing?!
Stein: Saving a township by the looks of it.
Rip: Since when did my vessel become a life raft?!
Stein: Since I decided we can't leave these people here to be slaughtered! You recruited us to save the world. That includes everyone here!

Snart: I know what you're thinking "My dad may not be perfect, but deep down he's not a bad guy."
(Snart opens the door to Cassandra's cell)
Cassandra: What are you doing?
Snart: Showing you that when it comes to crap fathers, there is no "deep down".

(Snart shows Cassandra the unarmed civilians her father nearly killed trying to save her.)
Snart: Look. It took me a long time to accept my old man was a monster. I'm betting you're smarter than I am.
Cassandra: At last - something we agree on!

Ray: How are repairs coming? (pauses) Are repairs coming?
Rip: Not in thirty minutes, which is about as much time as we have. (chuckling darkly) We brought all those people on board and all we've bought them is a few extra minutes to live in fear.
Ray: Well, I guess the question is what do we do with those minutes?
Rip: (exasperated) The ship is... crippled! Everyone aboard is as dead as my...
Ray: ...family? Look, I know you think the universe wants them dead. But I don't. I don't believe in Fate. I believe in choices. And we can choose - we can choose to fight! Even if that fight may be futile! We can save your family, Rip! It's not impossible! All we have to do-
Rip: - is kill Vandal Savage. The chances of which appear to be fading.
(Kendra and Snart enter the room.)
Kendra: Not anymore. I figured out how to do it.
Snart: And my new Bestie and I can get us in.
Ray: And I think I've got a way to stop the giant robot that's coming to kill us.
(Rip rubs his face as if steeling himself and turns to face them.)
Rip: Now, you may not believe in Fate, Raymond, but I certainly do. But perhaps it was Fate that compelled me to bring you seven together, so we can change this future, once and for all!

Jax: You know, if this doesn't work - 
Ray: - I'll turn every cell in my body inside out?
Jax: ... I was going to say "die", but yeah.

Ray: (upon enlarging himself to 200 feet tall) It worked! I'm not dead!

(Cassandra says she has to help undo the damage her father caused.)
Rebel Leader: Why the change of heart?
Cassandra: (looking to Snart) Ask him.

(Rip shines a light in Martin Stein's eyes as he wakes up.)
Rip: Welcome back. Well, the team managed to capture Savage, battle his army and a giant robot and you managed to sleep through all of it.
Stein: The refugees?
Rip: They're safe. Every one of them is alive and well.
Stein: But for how long? Apparently Time Wants To Happen.
Rip: Well, I think you'll find that Time - for once - is on our side.

Rip: Well, you seem quite happy for a man behind bars.
Savage: And why shouldn't I be happy? It seems that once again you have failed to kill me.
Rip: A momentary set-back, I assure you.
Savage: Assure yourself. Providence has allowed me to place Chay-Ara in an impossible situation. A choice between her own soul-mate... Carter... and yours.
Rip: You know, a friend recently suggested to me that there is no such thing as Fate. Destiny is nothing more than the sum of our own choices.
Savage: I see. So you still think that there is hope then? For your family? Time will tell, Captain. Time will tell.


Continuity

As the episode opens, it is three days before Rip Hunter's wife and son died.

Cassandra Savage wears the bracelet that Chay-Ara wore when she died.

Rip's family lives in the Whitechapel district of London's East End.

Rip admits to Ray that he made repeated attempts to rescue his wife and son after failing to kill Savage in Ancient Egypt. It was the second place he went. They died every time he jumped back a day to try again. This is what caused Rip to conclude that Time Wants To Happen.

London is the last free city in the world at this point in 2166. Tokyo fell the week before.

Carter had a habit of giving Kendra weapons as an anniversary present. In all their incarnations, they only married eight times.

Rip jokes about thinking they could go a week without kidnapping someone. The team did kidnap someone in the last three episodes before this one - Per Degaton in 110, Jeb Stillwater in 111 and their past selves in 112.

Reference is made to the events following 110 and how Per Degaton laid waste to the world until Vandal Savage killed him - first when Cassandra recalls the history she was taught then later when Snart shows her the footage of her father ordering the release of The Armageddon Virus.

Kendra melts the bracelet (with Rory's help) and uses it to coat Carter's mace.

At some point, Carter was reborn in the future and Savage found him before he recovered his memories of who he was. Savage was somehow able to brainwash Carter into forgetting those memories and he claims only he can restore them.

The episode ends with Cassandra Savage joining the resistance and Vandal Savage captured and held on The Waverider.


Location

London - 2166
Iowa City - 1941


Untelevised Adventures

Rip makes reference to repeated attempts to rescue his family, only for them to die at the hands of Savage's forces every single time.


The Fridge Factor

Once again, the only conversation between the show's two female leads regards a romantic relationship - this time Carter and Kendra rather than Ray and Kendra.

Kendra continues to be solely defined by her relationships to Carter and Ray. No mention is made of her wanting revenge on Savage for killing her or her children over the years - it's all about saving Carter.


The Bottom Line

A vast improvement on last week's episode.  Kendra continues to be the most problematic aspect of the show by her very nature. Apart from that, everything is damn near flawless for what it is. The whole ensemble gel together and everybody gets at least one moment to shine. The twist ending, for once, was an honest surprise and I'm anxious to see how things go bad next week. Because we know - even ignoring that there's three episodes left this season - that there's no way they're taking Savage without a fight.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #7 - A Review

Have you ever wanted to be a superhero? Do you like the Choose Your Own Adventure books? If the answer to either of these questions is 'yes', you're in luck! Because this month's Unbeatable Squirrel Girl gives you - yes YOU - the chance to be Squirrel Girl and decide the direction of the story.

It's interactive fiction without a computer!  Amazing, isn't it?

Oh, and Galactus narrates the whole thing!


Ryan North's script for this issue is as hilarious as usual. It also perfectly captures the feeling of an R.A. Montgomery book, with a number of branching and interchangeable scenes. And there's also a few arbitrary and utterly insane ways to die because it wouldn't be a Choose Your Own Adventure story if you didn't just randomly die because of a perfectly reasonable choice.


Erica Henderson and Rico Renzi offer up their usual excellent effort. Turning the pages and following the arrows twisting around the panels is a fun bit of mental exercise and everything looks bright and fun. I have to wonder, though - where does Galactus find a smoking jacket in his size?

Starman Plays Fallout 4 - Parts Seventy-Three and Seventy-Four

In Part 73, we investigate another dead-drop and take on a hospital full of Super Mutants. And we max-out our cred with The Railroad!


Then, In Part 74, we get back to the main storyline and go off in search of detective Nick Valentine. Ironically enough, he went missing looking for a missing person...

Black Canary #11 - A Review

Yes, I'm still reading this book. At this point, I demand to see how this ends in the blind hope that there will be some kind of explanation for what in the name of Odin's Ravens was going on in this title. It may be a rushed explanation delivered in an information dump of exposition on one page, as is par for the course in Brenden Fletcher's writing, but at least it will be AN explanation.


The story is all over the place in this issue, with Dinah going to Berlin to rescue her band-mates (who we're told once again she loves like family, despite all evidence to the contrary) from an evil 80's rock star demon. Said demon is nursing a grudge because the ninja clan that Dinah's mother founded pretended to be background dancers in an effort to get to him. And Dinah's mother used this magical secret fighting technique that everyone thinks Dinah knows (but doesn't) to hurt him and he wants the secret of said technique so he can be healed.

...

I wish we'd gotten to read THAT comic instead, because that sounds WAY more awesome than what we get here - i.e. Dinah being randomly teleported around by said 80's rock star demon, as he throws exposition at her in an effort to disorient her.

Oh, and on that note, the demon says that he killed Dinah's father. And Vixen's manager used to be part of the same group as Dinah's mother. And that woman who claimed to be Dinah's aunt isn't really Dinah's aunt.

Yeah...


The artwork isn't much clearer than the writing. Sandy Jarrell phones it in again, with Wayne Faucher under-inking the four pages he was brought in to finish. Even Lee Loughridge seems to be waiting for a better gig to come along at this point, with most of the issue done in dull, muted tones that left me wondering if the printer was running low on every color but blue.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 19 - Canary Cry

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














Plot

In the wake of Laurel Lance's death, Team Arrow is more broken than ever.  John Diggle in particular is shaken, blaming himself for not seeing his brother Andy's treachery coming. And as a distraught Quentin Lance turns to Nyssa Al'Ghul for some way - any way - to restore his daughter to life, reports come in of a new Black Canary assaulting the corrupt administration of the newly elected Mayor Adams.


Influences

Kevin Smith's Quiver (The vigilante running around when everyone who knows them believes them to be dead plot came from this Green Arrow mini-series, though it had a seemingly back-from-the-dead Green Arrow rather than Black Canary)


Goofs

Curiously, everyone is given a chance to vent about their feelings of guilt over Laurel's death except Thea. While the episode is already top-heavy with grief speeches, you'd think Thea might have been given one as well since her failure to kill Merlyn when he stole Darhk's idol also indirectly led to the events that saw Laurel die.

I've taken the show to task before for how Laurel Lance was fast-tracked from lawyer who had taken a few self-defense classes to vigilante capable of fighting multiple League of Assassins members simultaneously over the course of Season 3. That's nothing compared to how quickly Evelyn Sharp fills Laurel's boots, managing to hack one of Cisco Ramon's weapons, improve upon it and use it to far greater effectiveness than Laurel ever did in a matter of hours! To say nothing of how effective she is planing out her attacks on Mayor Adams and her underlings.

Did anyone ever tell Nyssa that Sara recovered after the events of episode 405? It seems like she still thinks Sara is dead or soulless based on her talk with Quentin.

While the emotion in the scene that follows is honestly played, Stephen Amell and David Ramsey shouting at each other in their Christian Bale Batman voices is just goofy as all hell.

If the goal of this episode was to try and paint a rosier picture of Laurel in death, then the flashbacks have a damn curious way of going about it. Not only are we reminded that Laurel was the sort of person who broke the rules to get ahead in her job (we find out she literally bought her way into the Presidency of her Senior Class), but we find out that she was all but recovered from Tommy Merlyn's death after a week and was putting the moves on Ollie and talking about looking forward to a future together with him.

For that matter, Green Arrow pleading to the fake Canary that she's dishonoring the legacy of the heroine she saw fighting HIVE on the night he failed to save her family REALLY shouldn't work, given that - logically - Evelyn Sharp should be just as pissed at Black Canary leaving her and her family to die as she is Green Arrow.


Performances

Paul Blackthorne's performance in this episode is nothing short of phenomenal. You feel every bit of his pain and his denial is completely understandable, given how purposefully ignorant he's been kept of the strangeness Team Arrow deals with and how much he's learned in spite of that. All things considered, his belief that Laurel is alive somehow isn't nearly as insane as it might seem on the surface. After all, he's lost his other daughter twice before...

David Ramsey is right behind Blackthorne on the Episode MVP list and it's still a close thing. Ramsey usually plays Diggle with restraint and control, as befits his soldier's training. We know from past episodes that when Diggle loses control, things are bad. Yet we've never seen John as bad-off as he is in this episode and an enraged Diggle is something to behold.

Stephen Amell gives Oliver Queen a remarkable level of power in this episode. With everyone else crumbling around him, it is Ollie who has to be the pillar for everyone else.  Ollie's always been the leader of Team Arrow but this is one of the first times we've seen him truly take the mantle on in a capacity outside of the battlefield.

Katrina Law plays Nyssa with her usual level of gravitas, despite not having a lot to do in this episode. Still, she makes the most of what brief scenes she has.

Emily Bett Rickards is just plain scary as Felicity in the final scene in the car with Oliver. You know it's bad when Felicity has gone hard-core.


Artistry

There's some nice parkouring action as Green Arrow chases down the fake Canary.

It's a nice subtle note in the blocking, but none of the police move to obey Mayor Adams' order to arrest The Green Arrow or even bother to shoot at him as he escapes. Apparently they aren't ready to start hunting the local hero down just yet...


Trivia

This episode did not open with the usual "My name is Oliver Queen" intro.

The teenage girl who becomes the new Black Canary is named Evelyn Sharp. She shares a name with two prominent feminist icons - an American aviator who was one of the first female pilots and a British suffragist.


Technobabble

Cisco Ramon keyed the sonic device that provided Laurel with her canary cry to Laurel's vocal chords. This was to prevent anyone else from being able to use it.

A frequent-flyer is a slang-term used by hospital personnel to refer to patients who frequently check themselves into the emergency room. Dr. Schwartz believes one of them may have taken Laurel's choker with the canary cry device.

The fake Canary uses the sonic device at higher decibels than Laurel ever did. She also modified it so that it would overpower the earplugs Team Arrow wore so as not to be affected by the canary cry.


Dialogue Triumphs

(John is on the phone with Lyla, checking on her. He hangs up and looks up to see Oliver standing in front of the case where Laurel kept her costume.)
John: Didn't expect to see you standing there.
Oliver: Where else would I go?

Oliver: Are you worried about your brother?
John: I don't think he'd do anything to hurt my family, but... I don't know. Clearly I never knew him.
Oliver: Alright, John. As the...world's leading expert in blaming yourself, please don't do it.
John: You warned me, Oliver. Straight up, you warned me. If I'd listened to you instead of trusting my brother, Laurel would be alive right now.
Oliver: You can't know that.

(Oliver is sitting at the table in The Bunker. He looks up and is surprised to see Felicity walk in with John and Thea)
Oliver: Hi. I didn't know-
Felicity: You called for the team.

Quentin: Thanks for coming.
Nyssa: I fear I lack the words to convey the true depths of my sympathy. To lose a child once is unimaginable... but for it to be both children...
Quentin: Listen, I know you and I haven't always been on the same side of things, but, uh, Laurel, you know, she thought of you as a friend.
Nyssa: Just as I thought of her. She brought me comfort during a difficult time period. The world will be a darker place without her.
Quentin: Yeah, well, not for long. Okay. I got all of her things. What else do I need?
Nyssa: I'm afraid I don't understand.
Quentin: What else do I have to bring for her when she comes out of this, you know, Lazarus Pit thing?
Nyssa: I would do anything for your daughter, but I destroyed The Pit months ago.
Quentin: Um, ok, well... there's gotta be something else.
Nyssa: I am so very sorry.
Quentin: So you don't want to help me?
(Nyssa just bites her lip and looks conflicted.)
Quentin:
Fine. I'll find some other way to bring her back.

Oliver: I tried to do the right thing and i came up short. I came up short for that girl. And for Laurel. Maybe I shouldn't feel responsible, but I do.
Felicity: Yeah. That's going around.
Oliver: You mean John?
Felicity: I mean me. John was looking for someone to absolve him.Reassure him that what happened wasn't his fault. And I couldn't do it. I think, for a second, I let him blame himself, because for a minute it saved me from blaming me. (starting to sob) I should have been there. I wasn't there for the team, in The Bunker. I know I would have just been behind a keyboard. I know it seems like hubris, but I've made a difference before and I can't help but think that maybe if I was there, you know, maybe she'd still be here?!
Oliver: Do you know why I always blame myself in situations like this? Because at least it's an answer. Sometimes we need a reason... when a situation is completely unreasonable.

Oliver: Laurel is gone and there is no bringing her back!
Quentin: No, no, no! To hell with that! And if you don't want to help me, then to hell with you too!
Oliver: I am helping you -
Quentin: No, you're not! Because you know why? Because you do not know what it is like to lose a child! No idea!
Oliver: But I have lost a father! I have lost a mother! And I have lost Laurel! We have lost her!
Quentin: (stopping walking, the fight suddenly seeming to flow out of him) Yeah.  We have. 
Oliver: If there was a way - if there was ANY way to bring her back, I woul find it and I would do it... but there isn't. For either of us.
Quentin: (turning to Oliver) You don't understand! When I lost Sara? When I became a drunk? When no one else believed in me, she did! She's my rock!  I... (quietly) she was my rock.
(Quentin collapses to his knees, sobbing. Oliver puts a hand his shoulder.)

Oliver: I knew Laurel Lance for... almost her entire life. She was my friend. And I loved her. Before she died, I was lucky enough to hear her say that she loved me too. Laurel Lance became a lawyer to help people, who may have appeared helpless. She wanted to give a voice to the silent. But just being a lawyer wasn't enough! She wanted to do more for those people and for this city. Because she loved this city so much. By now, everyone knows that Laurel was killed in the Iron Height's prison riot. And while it's true that she was an assistant District Attorney, that's not what she was doing there that night. Before she died, Laurel told me the truth. Laurel Lance was The Black Canary! In the past few days, I have had to sit and listen to people try to paint the Black Canary as a criminal. She was not a criminal! She was a hero!  She was a hero in every way that a person can be, And if Laurel were here, I know that she would expect all of us to live up the example that she set. She'd want us to save our city.

Oliver: Are you ok?
Felicity: Are you?
Oliver: No.
Felicity: You know what you have to do, right? You have to kill the son of a bitch!
Oliver: I know. (pauses) I don't know how.
Felicity: Because of his magic?
Oliver: It's too strong. I've seen it before. Back on Lian Yu. And it is not just magic. It's darkness. And whenever I have come up against it, I have gone nowhere. He feels unstoppable.
Felicity: I refuse to believe that. And I refuse to let you believe that. If Darhk wins, Laurel died for nothing! I fell in love with you for many reasons and one of those reasons is that you always find a way. And you have to find a way now. For Laurel. For the city. For all of us. 


Dialogue Disasters

(After kissing Ollie a week after Tommy Merlyn's funeral.)
Laurel: I'm really excited about the future, Ollie


Continuity

The Merlyn and Lance families are apparently both Catholic, based on their funerals.

John Diggle refers to his sister-in-law, Carly, and nephew, Andy Jr., not seen since Season One.

Dr. Schwartz, the doctor who handled Laurel in this hospital, is aware of her secret identity and seems to know that Oliver Queen is The Green Arrow.

Evelyn refers to the events of 409 and how Green Arrow and Black Canary left the various people brainwashed by HIVE for dead in Reddington when he was focused on saving John, Felicity and Thea. This is a reference to Reddington Industrial - the building HIVE was using as a base.

Evelyn Sharp is her class President, a gymnast and an academic decathlete. Her parents were found dead of hypoxia, two days after Christmas 2015.

Nyssa seems to be unaware of Sara Lance's recovery, referring to Quentin having lost both his daughters.

Nyssa refers to the destruction of the Lazarus Pit in 403.

Laurel was elected Student Body President of her and Ollie's senior class. She won by exchanging gift-baskets for votes. Ollie says this was Tommy's idea.

Dinah Drake, last seen in 309, is seen at Laurel's funeral.

It is revealed that Oliver returned to Lian Yu in between Season One and Season Two because he feared holding Laurel back in her efforts to save Starling City.

It is also revealed that he left Laurel the picture of her that he carried with him during his give years of exile, along with his Dear John letter.

The flash-forward sequences from 401 and 410 are seen in-whole in the episode's final scene.

Laurel's tombstone has her full name - Dinah Laurel Lance - as well as her codename - The Black Canary - carved into it.


Location

The flashbacks are set in Starling City - May 2013, after the end of Season One.


The Fridge Factor

Averted hard with Evelyn Sharp, who proves to be hyper-competent as the faux-Canary.


The Winick Factor

Laurel is remembered in the flashbacks as the scheming opportunist she was back in Season 2. Some of Laurel's fans on-line may believe this was a disservice to the character. I believe the real disservice was in giving such a despicable character the same name as one of my favorite comic book heroines. I've said it once and I'll say it again - Laurel is Black Canary in name only.


The Bottom Line

Easily the strongest episode of the season to date. Laurel's death, for better or worse, has raised the stakes on this show immeasurably and for the first time in several episodes there is an actual sense of urgency to the plot. The subplot with the Black Canary impersonator is utter nonsense but - much like the better episodes of The Flash this year -  the villain is a brilliant framing device for the short, character-driven scenes and excellent performances that were what made Arrow great before the series began treading water waiting to reach this point. Now that it's here, I am excited about next week's episode in a way I haven't been for some time.

Starman Plays Fallout 4 - Parts Seventy-One and Seventy-Two

In Part 71, after dropping off the Beer Bot 3000 (not it's actual name, but I like that one better), we go back to The Castle just to get that quest off our list and get a reminder of why I HATE The Minutemen and their stupid quests. So we say screw it and start upgrading our gear.


And then, in Part 72, we cleanse Fallon's Department Store of Super Mutants and I start to upgrade my Power Armor.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 19 - Back To Normal

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




Plot

Left powerless in the wake of his latest encounter with Zoom, Barry Allen is blindsided when a  metahuman named Griffin Grey mistakes Harry for the Earth-One version of Harrison Wells and abducts him, hoping Wells can cure his condition. As the newly discovered Jesse Wells works with Team Flash to find Harry, Wally West confronts his father with a request regarding Joe West's connection to The Flash. Meanwhile, on Earth Two, Caitlin discovers she's not the only captive Zoom's keeping and plans an escape...


Influences

Numerous The Flash comics where The Flash is rendered temporarily powerless, the Silver Age Superman comics (using Harry's unique watch signal to track him seems to be a nod to Jimmy Olsen's special watch for summoning Superman) and the 2006 The Flash series (character of Griffin Grey).


Goofs

Why doesn't Wells try and use his chemistry knowledge to create something that will disable Griffin rather than watering down a placebo in a bid to stall for time? Granting that Griffin seems canny enough to recognize the formula if Wells tries to create chloroform or sulfuric acid, it still seems highly out of character for Harry not to try and fight his way to freedom.

By the same token, Team Flash seems awfully quick to utilize a plan that will almost certainly end lethally for Griffin Grey. If they have enough time for Felicity Smoak to send them material to create a reinforced Flash costume, surely they have enough time for Cisco to devise a reinforced hand-cuff gun like what they used to trap Zoom in last week's episode. Or something else similarly non-lethal!


Performances


Danielle Panabaker steals the show this time around. Between Caitlin being more than just a damsel in distress and playing opposite herself with another vampy turn as Killer Frost, Panabaker's scenes are the most fun part of the episode.

On that note, Bart Sears does a damn good job of making Hunter Zolomon even creepier without the mask. He manages the neat trick of looking like a confused boy as he experiences his flashes of the past, even while acting like the creepiest of stalkers in how he talks to Caitlin.

Keiynan Lonsdale has a great moment when Wally explains why he feels the need to thank The Flash in person for saving his life. It really opens Wally up as a character and shows something of the good heart the character should have.

Violett Beane hasn't had much to work with in previous episodes, her character primarily existing to give Harry motivation for his actions. This episode flips the script, with Jesse having to work to save her father and Beane proves more than capable of keeping pace with the rest of Team Flash.

Tom Cavanagh is always a delight as Harry Wells. In this episode, however, we get to see something we haven't seen a lot from him - honest regret for his actions. Well, the actions of another version of him who wasn't really him, but the sentiment is there all the same.


Artistry


The opening montage in which Barry deals with the petty annoyances of a morning at work that his speed used to help him deal with is inspired and well-directed. Nice use of Desmond Dekker's Israelites as background music too.

The special effects for Zoom saving Caitlin from Killer Frost are well-executed and the scene is well-directed.


Flash Facts


In the comics, Griffin Grey was the roommate of Bart Allen - the second Kid Flash (formerly known as Impulse) and the fourth speedster to be called The Flash. Grey gained the powers of super-strength, energy manipulation and fast-healing after being caught in a bomb blast. Dubbing himself The Griffin, he tried to establish himself as a costumed crime-fighter but soon learned that his powers were draining his life-force and aging him prematurely. After abducting Jay Garrick in a bid to study how the elderly speedster had stopped aging, he died after staging a bridge-bombing in a bid to regain the favor of the city.

The DCTVU version of Griffin Grey has the same weakness as his comic-book counterpart. His powers are limited to super-strength and enough endurance to not be hurt by walking into a moving car. He was a junior in high-school at the time of the particle accelerator explosion and disappeared when he was a senior, due to his powers making it impossible for him to pass as a teenager.

Joe, Cisco and Barry confront Griffin at Ace Chemical. In the DC Comics universe, Ace Chemicals was the name of the company in Gotham City where the man who became The Joker was exposed to the chemicals that bleached his skin .


Technobabble


People from different Earths vibrate at different frequencies. This causes them to leave cellular dead zones wherever they go on another Earth. Harry is able to track Jesse by following the trail of these dead zones.

Cisco developed a crash-assist style-device for the STAR Labs vans. This allows him to tell where the van has been and to see what happens should something damage it.

The carbine cell Zoom used to trap Barry Allen proves equally effective at containing Killer Frost.

When examining the crash site where Harry disappeared, Barry concludes that the STAR Labs van hit something strong enough to exert an equal amount of force back onto the van.

The device Caitlin rigs up to free Killer Frost operates by running an electrical current through a cable, which heats up the carbine in the cell window. This, in turn, will speed up the electrons, weakening the molecular structure of the window as they move faster and faster.  Once it heats up enough, it should become as fragile as glass and easily breakable.

Griffin Gray's genes mutated, with the functional myostatin of his cells being essentially gone. Myostatin is a protein which hinders muscle development in the body, causing excessive muscle growth in animals lacking it - i.e. super-strength.

As a result of his super-strength, Griffin is also suffering from oxidated stress - the protein and DNA in his body are being ravaged by oxidants. In short, the more he exerts himself using his super-strength, the faster his body wears-out and he ages.

Jesse is able to locate her father, tracking the signal on his metahuman-detecting watch. Since the signal is meant to go to a server that doesn't exist on Earth One, it just keeps sending the same signal over and over.

Jesse and Cisco upgrade the lining of Barry's costume using the same compound Ray Palmer used in developing his ATOM suit - dwarf star alloy  It is super-strong yet super lightweight Unfortunately, they only got enough material from Felicity Smoak to cover the chest-piece of Barry's suit and their best guess is that it will only be able to absorb one of Griffin Grey's punches.


Dialogue Triumphs

Killer Frost: (upon seeing Caitlin)  
What do you know? I can still pull off brunette!

Jesse: (To Harry) I may be afraid of Zoom but I'm just as afraid of you!

Caitlin: So what does Zoom need you for?
Killer Frost: THAT is an excellent question, Caity. You know, I've been asking myself the same thing. But it doesn't matter now. I'm not gonna stick around much longer.
Caitlin: Wait - I thought you said your powers don't work inside that cell?
Killer Frost: They don't. You're right. So you're gonna help me get out of here.
Caitlin: Why would I help you?
Killer Frost: Listen, honey. There is no way you're making it down that cliff all by yourself. So let's make a deal. You. Get me out of this box. And I'll help you get home. I might even throw in some wardrobe tips for free.

Harry: Look. I'm sorry this is happening to you, but there's nothing I can do to fix it.
Griffin: Well, that sucks. Because if you can't figure out a way to help me, Dr. Wells, you're going to die soon too.

Wally: Look, I've been reckless my whole life. Racing cars. Pushing limits. I did everything at full speed without a care in the world. But it wasn't until Zoom took me that... that I really thought I was going to die. And I WAS going to die... if The Flash didn't do what he did. He gave up his powers to save me - a guy he didn't even know! No one's ever done anything like that for me before. I need to tell him how much that means to me.

Griffin: How do you sleep at night? Knowing you've destroyed so many people's lives?
Harry: I don't.

Killer Frost: You know, once I saw you, I realized why Zoom didn't kill me. Because I look just like you. Now... he won't need me anymore.
(Killer Frost throws an icicle at Caitlin. We see time slow down as Zoom enters the room, phases through Caitlin, grabs the icicle, and drives it into Killer Frost's chest.)
Zoom: No. I don't.

Harry: When your mother died, honey... something inside me broke. I couldn't protect her. And I swore, I swore on her grave, no less, that I would protect you. And then Zoom took you, and I snapped. I just snapped! I couldn't breathe, I... I couldn't lose the only other person that I love.
Jesse: Yeah. Yeah, I get that. I understand why you did everything you did to protect me. I mean, you were only missing one day and I would have done anything to find you! But, I mean... I need to know that - that's never going to happen again, okay? Every time I stay out late or get in trouble, you can't track me down or hurt someone because you're trying to save me.
Harry: Yeah, but... you're in danger.
Jesse: I know!
Harry: (stepping closer to her, taking her shoulders) Okay. I'll make you a promise. I promise you I will be the kind of father that you can be proud of if you promise me you'll never run away from me again.
Jesse: (laughing) Okay. Okay. Deal. (hugging him) I love you.
Harry: (hugging her back) I love you too.

Caitlin: Please. Take me back to my Earth.
Zoom: You know... I've always measured my success by counting the number of victims I've had. But... now I think I'm going to widen my scope. Start counting the number of Earths I conquer instead. You want to go home? Let's go. After all, this Earth has already been brought to its knees. (giggles manically)

(Barry enters the lab and looks mournfully at The Flash costume. Harry comes in behind him.)
Harry:
Wow. You're here early.
Barry: Yeah. I couldn't sleep.
Harry: Me neither.
Barry: I know that we just took down Grey without my powers, but... I have no idea how to get Caitlin back without them.
Harry: We can't, Allen.
Barry: Then what are we going to do?
Harry: Gray... Gray kidnapped me because.. he thought I was Harrison Wells from... this Earth. And I know he was talking about another guy, but I just... I can't help but think... I still haven't paid for what I've done.
Barry: What does that mean?
Harry: I thought... when you, when we... closed the breaches that I could just forget about everything I've done. But I can't!  But I realize... what I can do. You are going to get your speed back, Allen. And I'm gonna help you do that.
Barry: How?
Harry: (chuckling) By creating another particle accelerator explosion.


Dialogue Disasters

Every line where Jesse is referred to as Jesse Quick. Yes, ha-ha, we know where this is going...


Continuity


Cisco uses his Vibe powers and Zoom's helmet to check on Caitlin and confirm she's alive.

Killer Frost is seen for the first time since 214. Zoom was apparently unable to kill her because she reminded him of Caitlin. He did, however, imprison her in a cell like the one he used to contain Barry.

Cisco is able to match the fingerprint and blood-sample Barry found at the site of Harry's kidnapping to Griffin Gray. He also ages the picture he got of Harry's kidnapper and matches it to an age-adjusted picture of Griffin Gray.

Griffin Gray is 18 years old and was a Senior at Central City High School. He had a girlfriend named Jenny, whom he planned to marry and have kids with.

Bio-chemistry was one of Jesse Wells five majors in college. She seems surprised that having that many majors is uncommon.

The Earth Two Caitlin Snow was a victim of the STAR Labs particle accelerator explosion, but she was not employed by STAR Labs, At the time of the explosion, she had just flunked out of medical school and was living with her mother, who became a frigid narcissist after the death of her brother, Charlie.

The Earth One Caitlin Snow never had a brother, but says that her mother is also a cold-as-ice bitch, like Killer Frost's mother

Barry refers to the first time he saved Iris from being hit by a car, back in The Pilot.

Griffin Gray is skilled enough at chemistry to recognize it when Wells spends half an hour diluting a formula.


Location

Earth 2 - Zoom's Lair.


Untelevised Adventures


Harry somehow knows that he and his daughter are not the only people from another Earth hiding out on Earth One. This seems to be more than a reference to the Earth Two version of Dr. Light, last seen in 205.


The Fridge Factor


Averted, as Caitlin makes a good attempt at escaping her imprisonment with Zoom. It might have worked if it hadn't been for her evil doppelganger...


The Bottom Line

Another villain-of-the-week episode where the action is secondary to the subplots. Thankfully, some of the least developed members of the cast get some much needed development and it's fun watching Caitlin interact with her evil twin. Unfortunately, the script tries to do a little too much and some aspects (like Wally's "Full Speed' monologue) work well while other's (Barry's speech about time stopping and it just being him and Iris) fall flat. These few flat moments are entirely due to the script, however, and the entire cast shines with what they have to work with.

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Year Five #19 - A Review

At long last, "Bizzaro am home". This proves quite the pickle for his "daddy", Lex Luthor, who had told Superman that he had destroyed all of the Super-Clones he had made back when Superman was presumed dead. This leaves Lex with two problems - how do you destroy a Superman clone quietly and how do you do it with an increasingly impatient Fastest Man Alive on your doorstep?


This issue is light on action but high on the screwball comedy that Brian Buccellato excels at. Things don't quite descend into a full farce but it is ironically amusing to see a heroic Lex Luthor hiding evidence of his "treachery" from an evil Superman. Mike S. Miller and J, Nanjan illustrate all this with their usual aplomb.

Starman Plays Fallout 4 - Parts Sixty-Nine and Seventy

In Part 69, we turn in the latest batch of Railroad quests, show off the new and improved crib at Hangman's Alley and tackle the Gwinnett Brewery and the Super Mutants therein.


And then, in Part 70, we go to The Shamrock Taphouse after accidentally traveling to The Beantown Brewery, in search of a robot that makes beer!

(Boy there's a lot of quests involving bars and breweries in this game!)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Starman Plays Fallout 4 - Parts Sixty-Seven and Sixty-Eight

In Part 67, we take out another raider base to install another Weathervane for Tinker Tom, only to be sent back to the Corvega Car Plant to install a second one.



And then, in Part 68, we finish up at the Corvega Car Plant and install a safe in our Hangman's Alley hide-out before going on to claim the Poseidon Reservoir in the name of The Railroad. Isn't that lovely?


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Starman Plays Fallout 4 - Parts Sixty-Five and Sixty-Six

In Part 65, we pick a perk, have a random encounter with The Manta Man and The Railroad sends us out to clear out a Super Mutant hideout we already cleared out.




And then, in Part 66, we go after The Best Treasure In The Game after apparently walking right past it the whole time we've been wandering downtown Boston! What is it? You'll have to watch the video to see. ;)

Superman: Lois And Clark #7 - A Review

In the wake of Intergang's attempt to kill Lois Lane (aka Author X) and her young son, Jonathan's powers have been revealed. Thankfully, Superman is along shortly to get them to safety. But even Superman may not be able to rebuild the bonds of trust in his own family in the wake of the revelation that he and his wife have been hiding their real selves from their son for his whole life.


This series has been building up to this moment since the very beginning. And Dan Jurgens plays it out perfectly. Lois, Clark and Jonathan sound like a real family - something that is surprisingly rare in most comic-book portrayals of parents and children interacting with one another.


Once again I have to praise the efficiency of the art team on this issue. Typically, when you have two pencilers and three inkers on a comic, the result is chaotic and messy. Shockingly, the visual continuity of this issue doesn't suffer at all despite having numerous cooks working on the dish, so to speak.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Starman Plays Fallout 4 - Parts Sixty-Three and Sixty-Four

Having robbed the student union, we now take on the rest of University Point and read of the rather tragic tale of a hacker grrrl named Jacq, in Part Sixty-Three of Starman Plays Fallout 4.




And then, in Part Sixty-Four, we have an easy time retrieving a Railroad cache and an uneasy time waiting for the levels to load. Still, it does give me a chance to talk about future Let's Play Videos plans.


Red Sonja #4 - A Review

Spurned by Red Sonja, the mad king Savas has become determined to possess Sonja's legend if he cannot have the woman herself. Three women has he chosen to be his Black Talons, reborn in Sonja's image to promote his reign to the common folk of Hyrkania and subvert everything she stands for!

Sonja has fought whole armies before, but this is a battle that cannot be fought with blades or bows. Thankfully, Sonja knows an orator who is to words what she is to battle. Unfortunately, The Black Talons are already on her trail...


Marguerite Bennett continues to impress on Red Sonja. This is a spirited action tale in the same spirit as Gail Simone's run, which redefined the She Devil With A Sword for a new generation. It is also a wonderful commentary on jingoism and racism, which delivers its message without being preachy.


Aneke is joined on the art duties this month by Diego Galindo. They bring Bennett's script to life wonderfully, with Jorge Sutil's colors completing the package perfectly. All in all, this is a worth continuation of the Red Sonja legacy and a must read for all sword and sorcery fans.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Starman Plays Fallout 4 - Parts Sixty-One and Sixty-Two

In Part 61 (after an abrupt cut-off last time), we go after a Super Mutant camp to plant another one of Tinker Tom's Toys (patent pending).

And then we go after the camp again because I somehow took off my armor by accident before accidentally falling off a ledge.



And then, in Part 62, we head out to University Point to retake the Railroad base there. Unfortunately, we get distracted by a Deathclaw and a raider camp... which the Deathclaw will happily ignore in order to focus on trying to eat me.

Also, Deathclaws can dodge missiles. True story!

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 1, Episode 12 - Last Refuge

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



Plot

The Time Masters' best assassin - a woman called The Pilgrim - has been dispatched to kill all of The Legends before they joined the crew of The Waverider.. A race begins as our heroes move to save their past selves, with Rip offering the young counterparts safety in the Time Master orphanage where he grew up - The Refuge.


Influences

Geoff Johns's runs on The Flash (Mick Rory's background in this episode) and JSA (Kendra's storyline here mirrors the conflict of Hawkgirl in the comics had regarding her own romantic life, one storyline focused on several JSA members, led by Rip Hunter, traveling in time to save their past selves and their teammates from a time-traveling assassin),  Superman: The Movie (the opening trial of the time pirate resembles Zod's trial before the High Council of Krypton stylistically) and the movie The Terminator (base concept of an cybernetic assassin being sent from the future to alter a future timeline, Ray quotes the movie when saving a young Rory)


Goofs

We're told that The Omega Protocal requires a certain degree of precision and subtlety. Given that, how does storming a police station in broad daylight and killing several police officers - as the Orphan does in her attempt to kill a teenage Sarah Lance - qualify as precise and subtle?

Granting that Rip probably did have Gideon check to make sure that Martin Stein's mother would be okay first, it still seems incredibly foolish for Rip and Rory to snatch baby Martin as he is literally fresh out of the womb and leave his mother behind without seeing her safely to a hospital after she gave birth in the backseat of a car with only her husband assisting her with the birth.

Jefferson Jackson's birthday is said to be sometime in 1993. However, he was a high-school football star when the Particle Accelerator Explosion occurred in Central City on December 11, 2013. While it isn't impossible for Jax to have been held back a few years, it still seems unlikely.that he was still in high school at the age of twenty. Particularly since he's been depicted as being too young to drink legally in 2016. (21 being the drinking age in the USA).

Again, regarding the precision required of The Omega Protocol - how does kidnapping and threatening to kill six innocent people in order to bring about the deaths of six other people count as precise?

If The Omega Protocol can't be applied to Time Masters, how can the The Pilgrim agree to killing a young Rip Hunter instead of her targets? I had thought it was going to be a trick but it turns out she really did capture all those loved ones and was ready to bargain in good faith.

How can The Orphan shrug off bullets but be incapacitated by a knife slash administered by a ten year old street kid?

Considering that Ray lost his fiancee to violence, you'd expect him to be a little more conflicted than he seems to be here about seeing her alive and well again, regardless of his feelings for Kendra.


Performances

Ciara Renee gets a nice moment of non-verbal acting in her reaction to Ray's proposal. She's smiling but her eyes betray her fear that the universe really IS trying to stop her from being with a man besides Carter Hall/Prince Khufu given how Ray's proposal attempts have been thwarted twice now.

Caity Lotz does a fantastic job playing the younger Sara Lance. For a while I wasn't certain if it was her in a wig or just a very well cast younger actress.

It's always nice to see Paul Blackthorne as Quentin Lance, however briefly. His scene at the end with Sara is a sweet one.

Franz Drameh hasn't been given a lot of moments to show his dramatic chops The scene where Jax meets his father, for the first time, however, is a great scene that shows he should be given the center stage more often.

Dominic Purcell has often been relegated to being the comic relief or the heavy on this show. And while he does get a number of funny moments in this episode, he also gets two wonderful dramatic scenes trying to scare his past self straight.


Artistry

The team's combined attack on The Pilgrim - while probably the show's cheapest use of CGI to date - is very well shot.


Trivia Of Tomorrow

In the opening sequence, we find out that Mick Rory's parents died in a house fire. In the origin for Heatwave written by Geoff Johns during his run on The Flash, Mick Rory's entire family died in a fire he started as a child.

It is revealed in this episode that Rip Hunter's birth-name was Michael. In the comics, Rip Hunter is the son of the superhero Booster Gold, whose real name was Michael Jon Carter.


Technobabble

The Omega Protocol calls for a certain degree of precision. This means that if the assassin carrying out the hit fails, they cannot go back and try it again a week earlier for fear of damaging the timeline.

Gideon is able to track The Pilgrim by monitoring the temporal wake of her ship.

Under normal circumstances, it is impossible for a time ship to hide its temporal wake. The Time Masters, however, have ways of hiding a time ship's passage under extreme duress.

Temporal Micro Manipulation is the ability to control time in one's immediate vicinity. This includes slowing time's passage, stopping it completely and causing it to run in reverse.

When history is altered by a person's past-self being taken out of the normal flow of time for too long, that person's future self disappears from the minds of everyone who ever knew them.

The Refuge is a secret orphanage located at an unknown point and location in history. The Time Masters use it to raise children with no connections who can be trained as future Time Masters.


Dialogue Triumphs

Ray: (To a young Mick Rory) Come with me if you want to live! (aside) I always wanted to say that!

Sara: So it seems like you decided to ignore the advice from Old West you about not being with Ray.
Kendra: Ignoring her advice about Ray was your advice. Remember?
Sara: Don't listen to my advice. (putting her staff down to pick up a water bottle) So did you tell him what she said?
Kendra: Oh, sure! (mock-cheerful) "Hey, Ray, by the way? The woman I met in 1871 was me and she told me our love was doomed to fail because you're not Carter."
Sara: (deadpan) So is that a no?
Kendra: Look, Ray and I are happy together. We should be able to enjoy that before i have to drop the whole doomed love-affair thing on his head.
Sara: (sarcastically) Yeah, I mean who wants a relationship based on honesty and communication? (gags and pretends to vomit)
Kendra: Believe me - a relationship based on an ancient Egyptian curse doesn't work much better.

(Sara fights The Orphan as her younger self watches. Suddenly, Young Sara seems to recognize her older self.)
Young Sara: My God, she's-
Rory: - quite the badass!

Young Mick: She slapped me!
Young Sara: The little weirdo said that he liked the way I smelled!
Young Mick: I'm usually a lot smoother but I'm kinda freaking out right now.
Sara: (pointing to her younger self) You! Hands to yourself! (whispers) And the next time, hit him with a flat palm. (looking to Young Mick) And you... you're not her type.

(Rip explains that they run the risk or making their future selves be forgotten by the people they love by kidnapping themselves as infants.)
Jax: You mean my own mom won't even know me?
Stein: My wife...
Rory: Yeah, and my... my uh.... I don't have anyone.

Sara: All right. This is just like any other mission. The mark may be a newborn but it might as well be a diamond or a microchip.
Kendra: You know what? You're starting to sound like Snart.
(Sara makes a disgusted noise.)

Rory: You guys asked for a doctor, right?
Mr. Stein: (confused) How would we?
Rip: Ah - he means that we were on our way to the hospital and we saw your automobile.
Rory: Yeah! And this little munchkin needs a checkup.
(Rory takes the baby Martin away from Mr. Stein.)
Rory: Pre-natal care! It's very important.
Rip: (quietly and quickly) He means post-natal. We'll take him straight to the hospital. We'll meet you there.
(Rip and Rory walk off.)
Mr. Stein: What about my wife!?

Stein: It is somewhat disconcerting that my father would give me up so willingly to two complete strangers.
Ray: Well, the 1950s was a much more trusting time. Trust me - I lived then!

Jax: You were supposed to be shipping out.
James Jackson: How do you know that?
(Jax just nods to the kit bag on the ground.)
James Jackson: Ah! Right. My transport's been delayed. I told my CO my wife's giving birth. He gave me a pass. And a Jeep. And I made it. I saw him. (points to a baby through the glass) My boy. Which one's yours?
Jax: Oh, ah-no. I'm - I'm - I'm not a dad. I'm just... I'm here for my family.
James Jackson: Well, I hope you get to experience this for yourself one day. Imagining all the things my boy's gonna be when he grows up.
Jax: How do you know?
James Jackson: He's my son. Jefferson Jackson. Remember that name.
(Jax chuckles.) 
James Jackson: He's destined for great things. (glancing at his watch) I've got to go. Will you give the nurse a message for my wife?
Jax: You're leaving already?
James Jackson: I'm AWOL if I don't. I just want her to know that I saw my son. And that I couldn't be more proud and happy. And, uh tell her that I'll be home as soon as I can. Can you do that for me?
(Jax just nods as his dad picks up his bag and moves down the hall.)
Jax:
Wait!
(James Jackson turns around.)
Jax: I got to tell you something.
(Jax tries to speak and winds up chuckling again.)
Jax: Congratulations.
James Jackson: Thanks. Appreciate that.
(Jax just watches his dad walk off this time.) 

Stein:
If all goes according to plan we'll only be here for a a few minutes and then presumably never remember.
Ray: When's the last time anything went according to plan?
Kendra: I don't think there was a last time.

(Rory rounds a corner and finds his younger self staring at a lit match.)
Rory: Where'd you find the match?
Young Mick: You can always fine one.
Rory: Beautiful, isn't it? Not as beautiful as a whole house going up in flames though...
Young Mick: It was an accident...
Rory: Sure it was.
Young Mick: You don't know me. You think I wanted to kill my family?!
Rory: I think you fell in love with your dad's lighter fluid. I think you fell in love with flames dancing around. But then you realized you couldn't control them and you ran without waking your family. The only thing you were concerned about was saving your own skin. (getting up in his younger self's face) Now, while I'm gone there better not be any accidents. If there is, I'm gonna come looking for you. And I'm gonna kill you!
Young Mick: You sound just like my dad.
(Rory turns around and walks away, looking somewhat disturbed at that thought.)

Young Rip: Thought you could snuff me out? You don't know me at all, Miss.

Rory: (to his younger self) You can't change the things you did. But you can change what you become. Don't be like me. Be better.


Continuity

When a person's past self is murdered, their present self mirrors the damages they suffer in the past before dying. Their body then disintegrates into a pile of blue powder.

Mick Rory's parents died in a house fire in 1990. It is suggested that he started the fire by accident and watched it burn rather than try and save his family. It's also implied that his father was abusive.

Jax tells the young Rory that they're part of a secret group called ARGUS. ARGUS is, of course, the government espionage group run by Amanda Waller then Lyla Michaels on Arrow.

Sara refers to her and Kendra's encounter with Kendra's 1871 self in 111.

The Omega Protocol cannot be applied to rogue Time Masters, due to the potential side-effects on the time line. They also can't be applied to the continually reincarnated, like Kendra, because there's no real point to it.

Rip has a secret stash of vintage cereal on The Waverider.

Fruit Brute is Ray's favorite cereal.

The Pilgrim's powers include super-strength (throwing around fully-grown police officers with ease), super-endurance (She is able to survive blasts from both The ATOM suit and Mick Rory's flamethrower) and temporal micro-manipulation (slowing and then turning one of Firestorm's blasts back upon them).

Sara Lance made $5000 in one summer babysitting.

Ray proposes to Kendra. She accepts, but feels somewhat strange about it.

Jax's dad was a soldier, who died in Somalia two weeks after his Jax was born.

Jax was told that his dad was shipped out before his wife went into labor. The truth is that his father was granted a pass and a jeep to drive to the hospital to see his son before heading out.

Rip Hunter's birth name is Michael. He was raised in a Time-Master run orphanage called The Refuge.

The Time Masters pull orphans from around time and raise them in The Refuge to fill their ranks.

Rip was a cut-purse from the age of five onward. His ten year old self is a hardened enough youth to think nothing of stabbing a woman that tries to kill him.

Clarissa Stein no longer remembers her husband.

Quentin Lance recognizes his older daughter and says that he is proud of her.

Jax tells his father about the attack that takes his life in the hope that it might save him once he is returned to his proper place in time and space.


Location

Vanishing Point
Central City - 1990
The Temporal Zone
Starling City - 2007
Starling City - December 9, 2014
Central City - 1972
Ivy Town - 1950
Central City - 1993
The Refuge
Abandoned Time Masters Outpost


The Fridge Factor

Every conversation Kendra and Sara have in this episode is about Kendra's relationship with Ray.

Honestly, Kendra's entire character arc in the past few episodes is based around who she is dating rather than anything about her as a person.


The Bottom Line

A problematic episode, to say the least. There's some good character defining moments for characters like Jax and Heatwave who haven't gotten a lot of moments to shine so far. But the Kendra/Ray romance feels horribly rushed, the rules regarding what The Pilgrim can and can't do are inconsistent and a lot of the characters written horribly out of character for the sake of a few jokes. (Shouldn't Rory be past being dumb muscle now after all his time as Chronos?) The cast make MOST of these scenes work but a lot of them don't. You know it's going to be a bad time when Rory has more witty lines than Snart.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Starman Plays Fallout 4 - Parts Fifty-Nine and Sixty

In Part 59, we discover just how bad The Railroad is managing their agents as we are sent back to the hospital we just raided a few episodes ago! And we set up another sensor for Tinker Tom while parkouring in Power Armor.  Stick around to very end for a fight with a rare Glowing Deathclaw!




And then, in Part 60, I show off my new digs at Hangman's Alley, chat with Glory the emancipated synth ass-kicker, take on another mission for The Railroad and take a rather unpleasant walk down Memory Lane. Literally...


Clean Room #7 - A Review

The character of Astrid Mueller has been one of the most intriguing aspects of Clean Room since the first issue. I'd go so far as to say that she's a far more interesting character than protagonist Chloe Pierce. This is partly because our picture of who Astrid Mueller is and what her precise motivations are was so incomplete that it was unclear, based on what we did know, if she could be classified as an antagonist.

Journalist Chloe Pierce certainly thought of Astrid as an enemy, blaming self-help guru Mueller for her fiancee's suicide as she threw herself into investigating the chain of people who died after getting deeply involved with Mueller's organization. But we saw just enough of Mueller's tragic past and her responses to the events of the first issue to see that she wasn't precisely a villain. She isn't motivated by God or Gold but is possessed of a certain ruthless efficiency and a tendency to view people as objects to be manipulated.


This stand-alone issue clarifies a little bit more of Astrid Mueller's past and motivations. We still don't know everything, thank goodness. (Everyone loves a good mystery!)  Enough is revealed, however, to firmly establish Astrid as an ally of humanity at large, if not necessarily a friendly or helpful character to Chloe Pierce.

Recently, Clean Room has drawn comparison to Grant Morrison's Invisibles from other critics. I respectfully disagree. While both comics broadly deal with the concept of alien invaders from beyond reality, there's a clear structure to what Gail Simone has crafted and a sense that the picture is slowly being unveiled in contrast to Morrison's anarchic style of throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. Personally, I find Simone's approach more effective.


Simone's excellent script is well-matched by the artwork of Jon Davis-Hunt. There is a clarity to his work here that seems more appropriate to a traditional superhero comic than the sort of artwork we usually associate with a Vertigo title. That makes it all the more shocking when we get violent scenes such as the one in this issue where a teenage girl is dissected while still alive. The color art by Quinton Winter completes these images perfectly.

If you have yet to experience Clean Room, this issue is a fine place to start reading. This series is easily the best original series to come out of Vertigo in years. I'd track down the back-issues if I could but this is the perfect catch-up issue for new readers.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Howard The Duck #6 - A Review

Normally this is the part of the review where I'd summarize the set-up of the issue. Thankfully, I don't have to do that this time around. Howard The Duck does it for me! Yay Howard!


Mere words cannot do justice to the sheer enjoyable lunacy of this series. Ryan North and Chip Zdarsky are to be commended (or is that condemned?) for having raised the bar so high for future comic-writing smart-asses. Trying to detail all of the wonderful witty things in this comic would require me to write an encyclopedia, so I shall instead include a scan of my favorite sight-gag - Punisher with a cart-full of random guns at the same dealership Kraven The Hunter and Rocket Raccoon frequent.


All of this is ably illustrated by a top-notch art-team. That being said, you'd never know that there was a team working on this book because everything fits together so seamlessly. That's surprisingly uncommon on a book with three inkers and two colorists and well-worth praising!


If you haven't been reading Howard The Duck or The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, this Animal House crossover is just the thing to make you realize just what you've been missing. And what have you been missing? Two of the funniest comics in existence, ya goober!

Starman Plays Fallout 4 - Parts Fifty-Seven and Fifty-Eight

In Part 57, we wander into the most obvious ambush ever for the sake of free swag on the way to installing another one of Tinker Tom's toys.



And then, in Part 58, having become spoiled for choice on missions for The Railroad, we go on a rescue mission to save the agent called Blackbird.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 18 - Versus Zoom

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


Plot

With the tachyon device designed by The Reverse Flash assembled, Barry thinks he's now fast enough to take the fight to Zoom. But how will he breach the boundaries between worlds again? The answer may lie within Cisco. But does Barry really know what he's in for?


Influences

The Flash
comics of Geoff Johns (character of Zoom) and the Star Wars movies (Cisco's trying to access his powers is like various young Jedi trying to tap into The Force and Cisco even refers to his fears of becoming Darth Vader.)


Goofs

Given how famous Hunter Zolomon apparently is on Earth Two, you'd think Harry Wells might have made a connection between him and Zoom before now. At the very least, the disappearance of such an infamous criminal should have attracted attention even if no one immediately connected him to the super-fast criminal gang-leader who appeared at roughly the same time.

Just how did Zoom get back to Earth Two without Cisco's help?  We saw Cisco close the breach after Zoom emerged from it.  For that matter, how does Zoom leave Earth Two again to return Wally to Earth One? (Presumably Cisco weakened the fabric enough that Zoom could travel independently as he did before?  THIS IS CONFIRMED IN THE NEXT EPISODE.)


Performances


This is a great episode for Jesse L. Martin, who hasn't had much to do this season. His scenes bonding with Wally and talking father-to-father with Harry are both great moments. But his best scene in the episode comes near the end when it is Barry who has to comfort him in a tough moment for once. Playing a tough guy falling apart is a tricky task but Martin makes it look easy.

It's a "blink and you'll miss it" moment, but Candice Patton gets a great moment of non-verbal acting as we see the disappointment on her face when Barry doesn't seem upset about the idea of her going out on a date with another man.

Danielle Panabaker hasn't been given much chance to explore Caitlin's reactions to her latest love interest turning out to be a villain. But she makes the most of what little time she has in this episode.

Bart Sears transforms himself in this episode, seeming to be an entirely different actor that we saw earlier in the season in his portrayal of the unmasked Zoom.


Artistry


The special effects throughout the episode are amazing.

While this show doesn't usually match Arrow in fight-choreography, the fight between Zoom and Flash in the fourth segment is a great one in terms of blocking and movement.


Flash Facts


In the original The Flash comics, Hunter Zolomon was the second villain to take on the identity of Professor Zoom, though he usually went by Zoom for short. After his father was outed as a serial killer and murdered his mother during a police stand-off, Zolomon went to college and studied to become a criminal psychologist. He specialized in the profiling of low-level super-villains and eventually married his college girlfriend, who was the daughter of his mentor and favorite professor.

Tragedy struck when an on-the-job mistake caused the death of Hunter's mentor. As a result of the incident, his wife left him, he was fired from his job with the FBI and his leg was injured in such a way that he was permanently unfit for field work. He eventually found work with the Keystone City Police Department, where he befriended the third Flash, Wally West, and helped him with a number of cases

Hunter Zolomon became Zoom after an attack by Gorilla Grodd left him paralyzed from the waist down. When The Flash refused to use his powers to go back in time and prevent Zolomon's injuries, he attempted to use The Cosmic Treadmill in The Flash Museum to go back in time himself.  The resulting explosion caused Zolomon to become "unstuck" in time, giving him the ability to control the speed and direction in which he traveled through time. This effectively gave him powers that appeared to be the equivalent of super-speed, without him connecting to the same Speed Force as other speedsters. The accident also drove Zolomon insane, causing him to fixate on the idea that heroes need tragedy to define them to become better. This caused him to focus on attacking the loved ones of various heroes - particularly The Flash.

Apart from the common starting-point of having a father who killed his mother, the DCTVU version of Hunter Zolomon is a totally different character than the comics version. The DCTVU Zoom lost his mother as a child whereas the comic version was about to graduate high-school when his mother died. The DCTVU Zoom was inspired to become a serial-killer rather than a crime-fighter by his murderous father and he gained his powers while receiving electroshock-therapy at the time of The STAR Labs Particle Accelerator Explosion on Earth 2. He claims to have created the Jay Garrick persona as a joke - a means of giving people hope only to snatch it away when their hero - The Flash - proved helpless in the face of a more powerful villain. This is in total opposition to the comics' Zoom, whose motivation is to make heroes better.

This episode features several mentions of Keystone City. When Barry is first testing the tachyon device, we see a bulletin board advertising the Keystone Waterfront Development. Later, Barry and Joe both talk over how great the pizza in Keystone City is. In the DC Comics Universe, Keystone City was the original home of the Jay Garrick Flash. In the post-Crisis DCU, it is the sister city of Central City.

The exact location of Keystone City in the United States has varied from story to story, with some comics placing it in Ohio or Pennsylvania. Generally it is agreed that Keystone City is in Kansas and Central City is in Missouri, with the two having a relationship and position similar to that of Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri in the DC Universe.

The episode confirms that Cisco Ramon - like his Earth Two counterpart - has the ability to tap into the energy between dimensions and manipulate it. This is a rather broad definition of the powers exhibited by the New 52 version of Vibe in the comics.

The New 52 Vibe was able to create focused seismic blasts, sense the presence of other-dimensional beings, travel to other dimensions and even shut off the flow of energy from other dimensions, such as The Speed Force. Based on this episode, it appears that the DCTVU version of Cisco has the exact same abilities.



Technobabble


The tachyon device powers up the Speed Force in Barry's cells like a quick-charge battery. Barry describes the feeling as "different'.

The tachyon device allows Barry to run four-times faster than his maximum recorded top-speed with no visible effect on his vital signs. This is even faster than they've recorded Zoom moving.

Wells describes Reverb's powers as being able to tap into the multi-dimensional energies that separate the Earths. This allowed him to see through dimensions, detect people who traveled through the breaches between Earths and shoot focused vibrational bursts through his hands.

Barry theorizes that this would allow him to open breaches between worlds, which means Cisco could do the same thing. He is proven right, though Cisco needs his goggles to do it and has to do it at the site of a previously open breach.

Harry recalibrates Cisco's goggles to the electromagnetic frequency of Earth One.

Harry also creates a "tachyon absorption enhancer upgrade", based on the technology he once used to steal Barry's Speed Force energy. It will now do the reverse, allowing Barry to gain more Speed Force energy as he runs.

Cisco suggests weaponizing his goggles as a way to stop Zoom. Harry dismisses this, saying they don't have time.

Caitlin suggests modifying their pulse rifles to emit a low level EMF. Harry dismisses this saying they don't have the equipment.


Dialogue Triumphs


Barry: Sometimes terrible things happen to us when we're children. Things that can define who we become. Whether we want them to or not. Some of us become stronger. The people who took me in helped me heal and move past everything that happened. They are responsible for who I've become today. But I know that I'm one of the lucky ones. Not everyone gets that kind of support. Without it, I don't know where I could have ended up or what I could have become.

(Barry explains that Harry refuses to work on finding a way back to Earth Two)
Joe: Well, I can't believe I'm saying this about a man I shot at and punched in the face, but I think you should listen to him.

Harry: There's another thing also, Detective. A favor. I would ask you to talk Barry out of reopening the breaches to my Earth.
(Joe laughs.)
Joe: Ah. I can't do that.
Harry: No? You can't find a way to change his mind for both our children's sakes?
Joe: Look, I think it's just as dumb as you do, but I learned a long time ago I can't talk Barry out of anything once he sets his mind to it. Zoom is terrorizing this other world - your world. He can't let it go. But look, why don't you do me a favor? Go with Barry. Help him.
Harry: Help him? Why would I do that?
Joe: Because he's got a much better chance of defeating Zoom if you're involved.

Caitlin: Are you okay?
Iris: I don't know what I am. (sighs) Last night I was supposed to go on a date. My first real date since Eddie died. But at the last second, I just - I couldn't do it.
Caitlin: Is it because of Eddie? Or because of Barry?
(Iris just blinks. She was not expecting that.)
Caitlin:
I've noticed the way you've been looking at him recently.
Iris: Is it that obvious?!
Caitlin: Only to a woman who's been through the same thing.
Iris: Everything seems to be telling me that Barry and I are meant to be together. I mean, on Earth Two, we're married. In the future, we're supposedly married! And now that I'm finally ready to move on, I just wonder if that should be with Barry.
Caitlin: Everything seems to be pointing in that direction.
Iris: Do you believe in destiny?
Caitlin: Maybe for you.

Barry: Look, um - I know what it's like. Zoom? Getting him in your head?  How scary that can be.
(Cisco sighs and turns around from his work station.) 
Cisco: It's not Zoom. It's me.
Barry: What do you mean it's you?
Cisco: It's like right now I'm Annikan Skywalker. I've got the midichloreans. I've got the goods. The Force is strong with me. THAT is something I can feel. But if I start opening breaches to other worlds, doing all this other crazy stuff Reverb was doing, then... what if this is how I become Vader?
Barry: Dude, you're never going to become Vader -
Cisco: You don't know that! That is what happened to Reverb! He learned how to use his abilities and when he felt that - when he felt that power? He succumbed to the dark side.
Barry: Look, I get it. I really do. Every time I've learned a new ability, I've been terrified about what it might mean for me. What it could do to me, you know? But you were there with me. When I learned how to run on water? When I ran up a building? Or traveled through time? Just like I'm going to be there every step of the way with you. You've got something that Reverb never had. And that's Caitlin and Joe and Iris and Wells and me. Friends who are going to look out for you. And we're more than just friends - we're your family.

Barry: We would have helped you. We would have done anything we could to save your life.
Zoom: Not everything.
Barry: Caitlin found you a cure!
Zoom: A temporary one! I'm dying, Barry! There's only one thing that can get me what I need!
Barry: And you just don't care how many lives you destroy trying to get it? How many people you kill?!
Zoom: No, I don't! That feeling was taken from me a long time ago.

Joe: Barry, I know you... can't give up your speed to that monster, but... I also know that I want my son back and I don't know what to do.
Barry: I do. Wally, he's... he's part of the family. He's a part of our family. And we do whatever we have to to keep the ones we care about safe.
Joe: No, you - you can't give up your speed.
Barry: That's not your decision.  This is the only way, Joe.


Continuity

Hunter Zolomon's father, James Zolomon, was an ex-soldier. It turns out Zoom was telling the truth in 202, when he said the helmet he wears as The Flash belonged to his dad.

Like Barry Allen, Hunter Zolomon lost his mother when he was 11 years old. Unlike Barry, Hunter's father was guilty of murdering his mother. Ironically, whereas Henry Allen ordered his son to run and not look at what was going on, Janes Zolomon ordered his son to stay and watch what happened next. Whereas Barry was taken in by Joe West, Hunter was abandoned by his family and sent to an orphanage.

Barry briefly disappears during his first test-run of the tachyon device and asks how long he was gone. Though he doesn't get a chance to explain what that means, it seems likely this is the point at which Barry disappeared from Earth One and journeyed to the Earth of the Supergirl TV series during S118. We hear the Supergirl musical sting as he disappears and reappears, all but confirming this.

Wally recognizes Harry Wells.

Harry has Joe looking for his missing daughter.

Harry fixes Cisco's goggles so he can use them on Earth One.

Zoom has some kind of ability to sense the breaches opening.

Harry reverse engineers the technology he used in 212 to steal Barry's speed to enhance it instead.

Iris bails on her date with her editor because she is unsure about her feelings regarding Barry.

Wally moves into Joe's house.

Wells is able to engineer the tachyon device into a more compact model that Barry can conceal behind The Flash emblem on his costume.

Caitlin tells the rest of Team Flash what Zoom revealed to her about his Earth One counterpart being a man named Hunter Zolomon in 211.

On Earth Two, serial killers are rare enough that the few who exist are infamous and well-known to the public at large.

Huinter Zolomon was arrested for killing 23 people. He was incarcerated in the St. Perez Mental Asylum for the Criminally Insane and treated daily with electro-shock therapy until the night of The STAR Labs Particle Accelerator Explosion.

Barry tags Zoom with the same restraint gun that was used on him in 201
Barry reveals that the clue that made him realize "Jay Garrick" was Zoom was the Velocity-9 and the fact that when a speedster moves fast enough, their lighting turns blue, as revealed in 216.

Cisco is able to send a message to Zoom by vibing through his helmet.

Zoom laughs at Cisco's question regarding whether or not the Jay Garrick they saw die was a speed mirage, saying that even he is not that fast.  This suggests that Zoom is not as fast as The Reverse Flash Eobard Thawne, who was able to create speed mirages in 115.

Zoom explains that the Jay Garrick they saw die was his time-remnant - a version of himself from the past, similar to the Time Remnant of The Reverse Flash encountered in 211.

Zoom does not explain who The Man In The Iron Mask is, saying that nobody would believe him if he told them.

Wells re-calibrates the device that drains Barry's speed, giving it to Zoom.

Zoom abducts Caitlin.


Location


Central City on Earth Two - Many Years Ago
Keystone City on Earth One


The Fridge Factor


Granting that the scene is well-acted by Candice Patton and Danielle Panabaker, it is still troubling that the one scene in the episode focused on both of the show's female protagonists has them talking about their romantic problems.


The Bottom Line

This is just what we needed after the show's hiatus - a wonderful episode that gives all of the ensemble cast at least one moment to shine, with a focus on the relationships over the comic-book action. And then when we get the comic-book action... oh, baby!