Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Injustice 2 #36 - A Review

Breaking into The Fortress of Solitude in search of a working Phantom Zone Projector, Batman and the new Justice League Task Force were not expecting to run into an army of angry Superman robots. What they find inside The Fortress proves even more surprising!


Injustice 2 #36 is largely devoted to one humdinger of an epic action-sequence. Despite this, the best moments of the issue come in the quiet conversations our heroes have later on. Good as he is at writing superheroic battles, Tom Taylor's bread and butter are these quieter character-driven moments and these scenes are what keep me reading this series.

Xermanico excels at depicting both the active and static scenes, though some of the panels in the action-filled half of the story are a tad rough. The majority of the comic still looks fantastic, with J. Nanjan's finishes and Wes Abbott's letters proving as spectacular as usual.

The Final Analysis: 9 out of 10. A few oddly posed panels put this one just short of perfection.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 9 - Irreconcilable Differences

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



Plot

Oliver and Felicity's wedding reception is dampened by disturbing news - The FBI have a witness ready to testify that Oliver Queen is The Green Arrow and it's someone on Team Arrow! Paranoia runs deep, as the team questions who they can trust but their fears will have to be put on hold when Quentin Lance is taken hostage by Cayden James and Black Siren.


Influences

The Mission Impossible films (the heist on ARGUS)


Goofs

Black Siren shows far more martial arts skill here than she has in previous episodes, being capable of knocking out both Thea Queen and Quentin Lance with one punch.

It is said that the nano-aluminum amplifier could be used to increase the power of a thermobaric bomb by twenty-fold. John says this is enough to destroy Star City and then some. However, it was said in the Thanksgiving episode that the bomb's radius was 200 yards. 4,000 yards is a considerable distance but not the size of a large city.

As neat an idea as it is trying to tie all the villains from the first half of this season into a unified villain group, it really doesn't make sense in the context of the characters. Forget the psychotic Black Siren being made to heel. There's no logical reason (yet) for Anatoly to involve himself with the destruction of a whole city nor for Ricardo Diaz. And don't get me started on Vigilante teaming with a group of criminals unless this is part of a major long con on his part.


Performances

You never realize how much you miss Willa Holland as Thea until she's back after being gone for a few episodes.


Artistry

The script does a good job at the beginning of playing up the mystery of who the traitor to Team Arrow is. While we know it probably isn't Dinah, enough wiggle room is left (along with the revelation that Vigilante knows Oliver Queen is Green Arrow) to make it uncertain, along with Curtis' heavy drinking and Rene's confession of wondering if they'd be better off without Team Arrow.

There is one nice shot of Oliver Queen, standing before the racks holding all of Team Arrow's costumes, after telling John to assemble the team... the whole team.


Trivia

The episode opens with the original Season 6 introduction, with Oliver once again declaring that he is The Green Arrow.

The Arrow Title Card is back to having the symbols for Black Canary, Wild Dog, Mister Terrific, Overwatch, Spartan and Green Arrow.


Technobabble

Cayden James requests a nano-aluminum amplifier in exchange for Quentin Lance's life.

The vault holding the nano-aluminum amplifier has a pressure-sensitive floor rigged to its alarm.

The nano-aluminum amplifier can be used to increase the explosive power of a thermobaric bomb by twenty-fold. That is enough power to blow up all of Star City. 

Curtis says he can disable the amplifier by back-channeling a path into the circuitry. Felicity suggests he also hide that behind the existing board.


Dialogue Triumphs

Donna: I want you to know that I have forgiven both of you for running off. And eloping. And waiting to propose to my daughter until you were under indictment.
Oliver: Oh! Actually, Felicity proposed to me.

(After Oliver and Felicity escape from her parents.)
Felicity: Those whack jobs are already your in-laws, so if you're having second thoughts, it's too late for you.
Oliver: I wouldn't have it any other way.
Felicity: (softly) You really do love me.

(Curtis is awkwardly and obviously lying to Rene about all the men he is dating.)
Curtis: There's one guy in particular who I'm dating. His name is... Dom Perignon. He is smooth and expensive, and uh, he's really nice. Uh, but there's, like, other guys too.
Rene: Who? Tom Collins? Rob Roy?
Curtis: Not actually a gin guy.

(Quentin gives Oliver a small box. It contains a fancy gold watch.)
Quentin: Yeah, I know. It doesn't look like much. (chuckles nervously)  But... my dad gave that to me on my wedding day.
Oliver: Quentin, I can't accept this!
Quentin: It's not like I've got anybody I can give it to, is it? (pauses) And besides, it's not right you don't have a parent here tonight.

Rene: True love is... so special that we all dream about it. And when I look at Oliver and Felicity, I'm reminded of... how I felt about my wife on our wedding day. We were so in love. And we would do anything for each other, I mean no matter what! And that is the epitome of Oliver and Felicity. Yeah, I mean, you guys have had your struggles, but... you always worked through it. These are two of the most genuine people in the world and they deserve all the happiness. And... I'm so fortunate to call them my friends. So please raise a glass to true love... Oliver and Felicity.

Curtis: Do you...  do you ever... feel like life would be easier... if there was never a Team Arrow?
Rene: (pauses) Only all the time.

(A hungover Curtis, disguised as a janitor, pushes a wheeled trashcan over a panel. He pulls the lid off and looks down into the bin.)
Curtis: We're clear! Ohhhh.. .also, leaning over - not a great decision.
(Felicity stands up out of the trash clan and slaps Curtis.)
Felicity:
You are not throwing up! I'm already spending my honeymoon in a garbage can! I am not wearing your puke!

Rene: Stop! Dinah, isn't the witness, Oliver.
Oliver: You don't know that.
Rene: Yes, I do. Because it's me. I'm the one that's testifying against you.

Oliver: Thinking about what Rene did... what did he do really? He kept a secret and he put his daughter ahead of the team. And I feel betrayed. How can I feel betrayed by somebody doing the exact same things that I've done?
Thea: Because you've never sold anyone out on the team, Ollie. And if you're convicted, you could wind up spending a really long time in jail. But having said that, you're doing the right thing looking at things through his perspective. And having done that, maybe you can see your way to forgiving him?
Oliver: Seriously?
Thea: Well, Rene is a very desperate guy who just did a very desperate thing. But he's also the same guy who just last night was giving such a heart-felt, sweet speech and was calling you his friend. And I really thing that he meant that! It was a betrayal. No question. But since you've been able to see things from his point of view, you should also be able to see a way of forgiving him.

Cayden James: I am a man of my word. If I wasn't, there wouldn't be much point in my vowing to destroy this city, would there?

Vince: You okay? You don't look good.
Dinah: I don't want to talk about it.
Vince: Then why did you reach out?
Dinah: Because I had no one else to call.
Vince: I'll try not to be insulted by that.
Dinah: I really needed someone who... believed in me. I needed a friend.
Vince: Friends. I can do that.


Dialogue Disasters

The whole scene of Quentin Lance trying to empathize with Black Siren. Katie Cassidy's plastic performance doesn't help.

Oliver: Cayden James knew that we sabotaged the amplifier last night. We need to find out how.
(Cut to: A POV shot from the ceiling of The Bunker. We pull back to reveal that we're looking at a monitor in Cayden James' hideout.)
Black Siren: When you had me raid their bunker and plant that mini-cam two months ago-
Cayden James: - was this the outcome that I had in mind? Quite so, Miss Lance.
(We pull back to see James standing with another man as they watch the monitor and Black Siren comes to his side.)
Cayden James: Although I must confess things have worked out even better than I anticipated.
(A door opens from one side of the room. Anatoly enters and comes to stand with the others.)
Anatoly: Hardly impressive. Left to his own devices, Oliver Queen will always push away those closest to him.
(Vince joins the group as well.)
Vince: So we've got them fighting with each other instead of fighting us.
(Ricardo "The Dragon" Diaz steps up on the side of the unknown man.)
Ricardo Diaz: Please tell me that isn't your whole master plan?
Cayden James: Oh, not at all, Mr. Diaz. In fact, I think it fair to say that this...is only the beginning.


Continuity

Oliver and Thea were allowed to sip champagne at family gatherings as part of toasts as children.

Lyla Michaels was unable to attend the reception due to an ARGUS mission.

Noah "Calculator" Kuttler is seen for the first time since 422.

Donna Smoak is seen for the first time since 423.

Noah and Donna were married by a Tom Jones impersonating rabbi. Noah said he arranged that because he mistakenly thought Donna was a Tom Jones fan.

Adam and Laura Hoffman - the neighbor couple with whom Oliver and Felicity frequently socialized with when they lived in Ivy Town in 401 - show up for the reception.

Curtis and his husband Paul had custom cocktails made at their wedding - The Holtini and the Peach Paul Sangria. They both also wore matching white tuxes.

Dinah says she doesn't really believe in marriage or life-long commitments but admits that may be due to her having several broken engagements.

Dinah receives a text message at the reception from an unknown caller who asks why she isn't answering their calls. Both Rene and Curtis have noticed her getting mysterious texts and acting strangely lately.

Curtis has been drinking more often since his divorce.

Quentin gives Oliver a watch that his father gave him on the day he got married.

Curtis catches the bouquet when Felicity throws it.

Oliver and Felicity's first dance is held to Etta James' At Last.

Thea makes reference to hoping to see someone at the ceremony. This is a nod to Roy Harper.

Thea makes reference to Chase - the League of Assassins member who posed as a DJ and with whom she had a brief romance before his death in 313.

Thea has a "no DJs" rule regarding men she dates now.

Donna Smoak says that she had made a mistake trying to drive Noah out of her and Felicity's life and admits that she does like Tom Jones.

Quentin tries to say hello to Donna. It is awkward, since she has not seen him since the start of Season 5, when he had fallen off the wagon.

Oliver refers to Evelyn Sharpe a.k.a. Artemis, who betrayed Team Arrow in 509.

Rene keeps fresh-cut sunflowers in his apartment. They are his daughter Zoe's favorite.

Dinah's mysterious texter is Vince "Vigilante" Sobel. She tells him to leave Star City and that if she sees him again, she won't let him get away a second time.

Vigilante is aware of Oliver Queen's secret identity.

Reference is made to the thermobaric bomb Cayden James made in 607.

Rene reveals that he is the one testifying against Oliver. The reason why is because Agent Watson said that she had proof that he was Wild Dog and that the only way she'd back off and let him see his daughter again is if he helped her get The Green Arrow.

Black Siren says that the Quentin Lance of Earth Two died when she was 13, killed by a drunk driven while picking up her birthday cake.

The Laurel Lance of Earth One and Earth Two share the same kind of favorite cake - yellow with chocolate frosting, from a bakery called Carlye's.

Oliver kicks Wild Dog off of Team Arrow.

Black Canary quits the team, saying she doesn't trust Oliver anymore. She calls Vigilante back, saying she'd like to try and be friends again for a start.

Curtis quits the team as well, though he is still part of Felicity's company.

Zoe is allowed to move back in with Rene.


The Bottom Line

Lackluster and nonsensical in equal measure.  "Yellow cake with chocolate frosting" will be the new "Martha" when Marvel Comics fans mock DC Comics properties. At least the wedding scenes are funny and touching.

Green Arrow #35 - A Review

With his trial on murder charges fast approaching, it would be a foolish thing for Oliver Queen to leave Seattle on a quest for sunken treasure. Yet when his mother Moira Queen - who reveals that she faked her death and is in debt to The Ninth Circle - asks for her help, he can hardly say no to raiding the wreckage of a sunken Ninth Circle base. Yet even as his enemies move to harm him on the surface, the greatest threat to Green Arrow may be closer than he thinks.



Quite honestly, the only thing keeping me going on this series is my trust in Benjamin Percy as a writer based on what came before. The idea of resurrecting Moira Queen as a villain holds no appeal for me, particularly in light of all the aspects of the Arrow TV Series that work which have been rejected for inclusion in the comics and all of the terrible things from The New 52 reality that could have been jettisoned in Rebirth but weren't. Tommy Merlyn: Assassin, anyone?

Ignoring my protestations regarding what I should and should not like to see in Green Arrow, this issue is a bit of a mess. An entire subplot is devoted to two police characters we haven't seen before, which is rendered largely meaningless by the end of the issue. And while I appreciate that Percy writes a strong, capable Black Canary, it strains credibility that she just happened to put a tracking device on Ollie just when it was needed.

At least Juan Ferreyra's artwork is as grand as ever. The posing, the colors, the use of shadows and light - all of these elements are fantastic. I just wish he'd had a better story to illustrate this time around.

The Final Analysis: 6 Out of 10. 

Batman: White Knight #3 - A Review

An organized attack by all of Batman's Rogues Gallery of enemies taxes Batman, his allies and The GCPD to the breaking point. Yet this is only the opening salvo of Jack Napier and Harleen Quinzel's plan to bring down The Bat and the rich elites and corrupt government that back him. Yet even as they plot and plan, so too dos Marian Drews - the second Harley Quinn, who wants her Joker back!



There is a theory among film fans that the ultimate goal of The Joker in The Dark Knight was the destruction of the corruption that ran Gotham City. On the surface, this seems crazy, but consider the outcome of The Joker's actions. By the end of the movie, the police department is under the control of the most honest cop in town, Jim Gordon, most of the gangsters who ran the city are dead or defunded and a dangerous vigilante who inspired numerous incompetent copycats is forced to retire.

This theory came to mind while I was considering the action of Batman: White Knight #3 and the irony that an orderly-minded, civilly-active Joker is a far greater threat to the machine that runs Gotham City that the chaotic Clown Prince of Crime ever was. He's also far better at pushing Batman over the edge and encouraging people to question authority.

What Sean Murphy is doing with this series is a miracle on every level. It is simultaneously a tribute to everything we love about Batman and yet nothing like anything we've seen before done with the character. If you aren't already reading it, you should be.

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10. Great story. Great art. A modern masterpiece! 

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor: Year Three #10 - A Review

A space station adrift. A suspicious lack of crew. A prime target for investigation, if you are The Doctor.







If you commanded a creative team to craft the most cliched Doctor Who story possible, they might come up with something close to Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor: Year Three #10. Granting that the series was built on certain tropes, one expects better of Richard Dinnick than the standard "starbase under siege" story. The one saving grace is that, despite the word "Angel" in the title, the story does not involve the return of played-out Weeping Angels.

The artwork by Francesco Manna is surprisingly uneven, given his excellent work on the Dejah Thoris/Irene Adler team-up series. While doing a good job of caricaturing the cast, the level of detail used in rendering the characters frequently differs in individual panels. There's also some proportion problems, with Nardole looking like a small child next to The Doctor at one point. The colors by Hi-Fi, however, are fantastic.

The Final Analysis: 4/10.  This team could and should have done better.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Legends Of Tomorrow: Season 3, Episode 9 - Beebo the God of War

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



Plot

Still shaken by the recent death of Professor Martin Stein and with the Earth-X version of Leonard Snart along for the ride, The Legends investigate an anachronism that has sprung up in the first Viking settlement in North America. When they discover a young Martin Stein is a captive of the vikings and 1992's hottest toy is their new god, Sara fears they may have to turn to The Time Bureau for help in fixing the timeline.


Influences

The movie Jingle All The Way (adults fighting over a hot new toy at the holidays), Back To The Future (a young man considers using his knowledge of the future to save the life of his dead mentor, Stein name-drops it after Jax writes a letter for him), The Grœnlendinga saga and the Eiríks Saga Rauða and the film Run, Lola, Run (Sara's plotting out how her attack on Darhk will go resembles the alternate takes of this movie)


Performances

Wentworth Miller slays as the more cheerful Leo Snart.

Franz Drameh delivers an even stronger performance here than he did dealing with Stein's death during Crisis on Earth-X.


Artistry

Kudos to the props department. The Professor Stein puppet is very well made, as is the Beeob toy.

The viking costumes are fantastic.

The segment showing The Legends plotting out their attack on "Odin" is brilliantly executed. Great choreography, clever writing. Top-notch all-around.


Trivia Of Tomorrow

The madness depicted over the Cuddle Me Beebo toy in this episode mirrors similar crazes over Cabbage Patch Dolls, Beanie Babies and the Tickle Me Elmo doll among other toys that erupted at various times.

When 1992 Martin Stein uses a toy bow and arrow set to try and reach the Beebo doll, the action theme from the show Arrow plays. The same sound effects used for an arrow being shot are also used during this sequence.

As Nate notes, The Vikings reached The Americas some 492 years before Christopher Columbus.

Lief Erikson and Freydís Eiríksdóttir were the children of Erik The Red, and would go on to establish a colony in what is today called Newfoundland in Canada as their father colonized Greenland. Lief would abandon the colony, however, and return to Greenland as a Christian and attempt to convert his kinsmen.

The historical record is vague regarding Freydis and what little we know of her comes from two surviving sagas - The Grœnlendinga Saga and the Eiríks Saga Rauða. Both depict her as a strong-willed woman, though the Eiríks Saga Rauða is far more complementary.

The Grœnlendinga Saga depicts Freydis as a greedy, conniving woman, who manipulated men in a bid for more wealth and power. It is worth noting that many Icelandic historians now believe The Grœnlendinga Saga to be Christian propaganda meant to discourage the equality between the sexes we now known to be common to Norse society in that time.

Eiríks Saga Rauða, by contrast, depicts Freydís Eiríksdóttir as worthy of the legends of the shield maidens of her era. Reportedly, a pregnant Freydis single-handedly faced down an army of Natives after a peace negotiated between her people and the Natives of Newfoundland broke. Baring her breasts and beating upon them with the flat of her sword, Freydis cursed at the attackers. Faced with a pregnant woman armed with a strange weapon shouting at them in a strange tongue, the Natives retreated, apparently not sure what was going on but certain they wanted no part of it.

The DCTVU take on Freydís Eiríksdóttir definitely seems to favor The Grœnlendinga Saga version, with this Freydis desiring to conquer The New World and twisting the words of the Beebo toy toward her agenda.

Yuletide was a mid-winter festival celebrated by The Vikings and other Germanic peoples. Many of its traditions - wreaths, trees and present-making elves - were later co-opted by Christians for Christmas.


Technobabble

Ray says that when he reduces The Waverider's coefficient of sinusoidal depleneration, it seems to inversely hyper-celerate.

Suitably strong anachronisms can create disturbances in The Temporal Zone which generate time quakes.

Skrælingjar is the Viking term for the Native Americans.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Leo is sitting at the table in what was Rip's study on The Waverider. Amaya enters.)
Amaya:
Gideon said that you wanted to see me?
Leo: Come in. Have a seat.
(Amaya sits.)
Leo: You comfortable?
(Amaya nods.)
Leo: I know The Legends lost a friend. I've been there. I want to help you guys through the grieving period.
Amaya: (surprised) Oh. That's... that's very sweet of you.
Leo: I want to give you the chance to get anything off your chest. Anything at all. What would you like to say...
(Leo holds up a puppet that looks like Martin.)
Leo:
... to Professor Martin Stein?
(Amaya is stunned. She was clearly not expecting this.)
Amaya: I- I think that everyone copes in their own ways.
Leo: (looking at the Stein puppet) It's clear The Legends are ill-equipped to cope with this at all.
Amaya: This way? This is wrong.

(Rory pounds the stuffing out of The Stein puppet.)
Leo: My goodness. You're really working out some rage issues with, uh... Professor Stein.
Rory: No, I just really hate puppets!
(Rory returns to punching the puppet.)

Guard: The four-eyed man has escaped!
Freydís Eiríksdóttir: No matter. We still have our god.
(Freydis steps forward as the Beebo toy is brought forward on a litter. She strokes its stomach.)
Beebo: (chuckling)  Beebo hungry!
Freydís Eiríksdóttir: And our god hungers for battle!
(The Vikings, save Lief Erikson, all began to chant Beebo's name as the toy chuckles.)

Ray: We could dress up as Norse gods, and order them to head back to Greenland or face our wrath!
(Nate and Sara just stare at him.)
Sara: That's a terrible idea.
Nate: Worst idea you've ever had.

Sara: Agent Sharpe. It's been a while. Thankfully.
Ava: (formally) Captain Lance.
Sara: Let me guess. You saw that there's a Level 12 anachronism and you're calling to lecture me on everything that we're doing wrong.
Ava: No. (pauses) Okay, yes.
Sara: (smugly) Hmm.
Ava: But I also heard about Martin Stein and I'm calling to express my condolences.
Sara: (taken aback) Well.. thank you. But my team and I... we have it under control.
Ava: I hope so. Because The Legends fixing a Level 12 under normal circumstances would be a Beebo Day Miracle.
Sara: ... did you just say Beebo Day?
Ava: December 25th. Beboo Day. When families exchange gifts, sing silly songs and discover that they can no longer live under the same roof?
(Ava chuckles and then her face goes serious.)
Ava: Beebo Day is part of the anachronism, isn't it?
Sara: Yeah.
Ava: Yeah.  Never felt right...
Sara: This anachronism is cementing fast. And to be honest, my team is still pretty raw from losing Stein. We could use... an outside perspective.
Ava: Are you asking for my help?
Sara: No. (pauses) Okay, yes. 
(A portal opens behind Sara as Ava steps out.)
Ava: All right. What's the plan?

(Freydis has ordered that Rory be burned alive as punishment for trying to steal. As a giant pyre is being stoked...)
Freydís Eiríksdóttir: More wood! So bright Odin can see it from Valhalla!
Rory: Is it weird that I find her hot?
Leo: Weird, but then again, not surprising.

(Damien and Nora Darhk appear in a crash of lightning, dressed in Norse god costumes)
Damien Darhk: My name is Odin, ruler of Asgard!
Sara: Damien Darhk...
Leo: You know this guy?
Sara: And his daughter.
Ray: See! I told you the Norse Gods costumes would work!

Jax: Listen... this is going to sound crazy, okay? But you need to open this letter on November 28, 2017.
(Jax hands Stein a letter. The envelope reads "Do Not Open Until November 28, 2017.")
Stein: I've seen Back To The Future, Jefferson - that mockery of time-travel that Clarissa adores. I don't suppose this letter has something to do with my future?
Jax: This letter could save your life!
Stein: Then I categorically refuse to take it!

(The vikings charge toward Odin's cabin. Suddenly, Beebo is flying before them.)
Beebo: Halt! (chuckles) It is I! Beebo! Risen from the grave!
Lief Erikson: Like Christ himself!
(Cut to inside the Beebo doll, where Ray Palmer is in his ATOM suit, making the doll fly and providing the voice.)
Ray: Yes! (spits out some of the doll's stuffing) Yes! Jesus is the one true God! Which-
(Cut to Beebo, hovering before the vikings.)
Beebo:
Doesn't mean science or evolution isn't real!
(The vikings look confused.)

(Sara is pulled from Mallus' realm by Ava)
Sara: You came back!
Ava: It's like you said. You needed me.
Sara: Well, your timing is impeccable
Ava: It's a Christmas miracle.
Sara: (closing her eyes) Yes!

Stein: I was tempted, to be sure. I thought a lot about that date. November 28, 2017. I'll be 67 then. I'll have had adventures. Watched my daughter grow up. And I'll have made a friend, who was willing to risk far, far too much for me.
Jax: No!  I - I'm trying to save you! 
Stein: You need to let me go. We both know you shouldn't be here. I may have a life ahead of me, but to you... I'm a ghost.
Jax: No, I-
Stein: I'm not going to cheat death, Jefferson. None of us live forever. And yet, I clearly live a wonderful life with many chapters. And if I had one wish, it wouldn't be for me to prolong my life but... it would be for you to live yours and to have all the happiness you deserve.
(Jax sighs, finally offering his hand to Stein.)
Jax:
Goodbye, Grey.
Stein: Goodbye, Jefferson.
(Stein takes Jax's hand and returns the shake.) 

(Sara reenters The Waverider loading dock. She's about to leave when she hears the sound of a zippo lighter being lit. A familiar, trench-coat clad figure is sitting on a crate in the corner.)
John Constantine:
It's been a long time, love.
Sara: John?
John Constantine: Now let's see... the last time we met, I saved your soul. Now there's something you can do for me.
Sara: Look, I'd love to help but your timing is terrible.
John Constantine: But this won't take long. You see, there's a demon out there. It's possessing a little girl. And that demon? He knows your name.


Continuity

Lily Stein was five years old in 1992.

Mick Rory does not like puppets.

Gideon ranks the anachronism in Newfoundland as a 12, saying that the 1-10 scale used by The Time Bureau does not do this anachronism justice.

In the revised timeline, The Vikings never abandoned their colony in Newfoundland and went on to conquer the North American continent, which they dubbed New Valhalla.

Martin Stein's favorite warm drink is Earl Grey tea with a bit of brandy.

Nate once again refers to how odd it is that The Legends keep discovering their past selves or their ancestors close to anachronisms, referring specifically to Sir Henry Stein (305), a young Ray Palmer (304) and Dick Rory (307).

The Time Bureau has rules against fraternizing with the locals while on a mission. Pretending to be members of another viking clan and giving them booze is right out.

Ava Sharpe is as good at holding her liquor as Sara.

In the newly revised timeline following the destruction of Beebo, Odin Day is now the major mid-winter festival.

The Earth-X version of Mick Rory went by Mickey. He was Leo Snart's best friend on that world, the two growing up together in The Resistance.

Rip Hunter was sentenced to prison and The Time Bureau has been in disarray ever since.

According to Ava Sharpe, Gorilla Grodd now has access to time travel technology and scores of Time Agents died trying to bring down Damien Darhk and his daughter, Nora.

Mick and Leo are able to take out Nora Darhk by crossing the streams of their respective guns.

Sara attempts to follow Damien Darhk by grabbing him as he teleports. She winds up in some other dimension, talking to Mallus. She is pulled back through a portal by Ava Sharpe. 

Sara says that she experienced a loss of sensation and lack of feeling while in the other dimension. No warmth. No love. Just a void and the only thing filling the void was Mallus.

Jax delivers a Beebo to Lily in 1992.

Stein burned the letter that Jax gave him.

Jefferson leaves The Waverider, seeking some new adventure to help him come to peace with Stein's death.

John Constantine, last see in A405, shows up to ask Sara for help fighting a demon in the final scene.


Location

Central City - Decemember 24, 1992 AD. The fifth night of Hanukkah.
Newfoundland/Vinland- 1000 AD


The Bottom Line

A powerful episode, which somehow builds on the momentum of Crisis on Earth-X and is funny without making our heroes out to be total idiots. It's an Odin's Day miracle!  Just when you think it can't get any better, John Bloody Constantine shows up. Easily a contender for one of the best episodes of the series to date.

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 9 - Don't Run

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



Plot

The Holiday season descends on STAR Labs but there's little time for celebration, even with Iris and Barry newly-married. The Thinker traps Barry in a speedster-proof prison at the same time Blacksmith abducts Caitlin in order to force her to perform some delicate surgery. With only enough time and resources to save one of them, who will Iris West choose to rescue?


Influences

Countless superhero comics built around the idea of having to choose which of two people to be saved. Doctor Who (Katie Sackhoff's performance as Blacksmith seems inspired by Michelle Gomez's Missy.) and Spider-Man 2 (the design of the tentacles on The Thinker's chair looks a lot like Doctor Octopus' tentacles)


Goofs

Barry says DeVoe sent The Samuroid after him but Barry was still in The Speed Force when the Samuroid first attacked.

As nice as the scene between Harry and Caitlin is, why is it Harry who goes after Caitlin to check on her and not the more emphatic Cisco?

The Sophie's Choice set up by this episode is incredibly contrived and ignores that Team Flash has access to resources other than STAR Labs. There's a whole other super-computer in The Bunker in Star City and two hackers capable of hijacking their own satellite to run whichever search the STAR Labs computer can't. If nothing else, Iris could call her speedster brother from Cambodia (side note: why is Wally spending Christmas there?) and ask him to check the whole city at super-speed for Caitlin.

This is made even stupider by Iris' logic in making the decision she eventually does - save Caitlin because Barry can take care of himself. Never mind that Killer Frost could also take care of herself or that if The Thinker wanted to kill Barry, he wouldn't have bothered abducting him.

Why don't Ralph and Cisco try to take down Blacksmith then and now? They already know her metal-throwing powers can't hurt Ralph and they have plenty of time for Cisco to vibe her into a cell in The Pipeline.

Why is Cecile out of town for the holidays? Her daughter is going to school in Central City.


Performances

The scene between Tom Cavanagh and Danielle Panabaker at C.C. Jitters is a nice one for all the subtle character touches, from Caitlin stiring her coffee with a candy cane to Harry's nervously looking around and trying to keep his face hidden so nobody recognizes the "supposed to be dead' Harrison Wells of Earth One.

Grant Gustin gets one nice bit of silent acting as Barry slows down time to savor looking at the picture of himself and Iris as the police storm his loft while he stands over DeVoe's body. His expression speaks volumes.


Artistry


The set design for this episode is fantastic.

The final sequence, in which the police storm Barry's apartment, is well-shot and directed.


Flash Facts


The Thinker says that Jesus of Nazareth was born in the spring - not on December 25 - and that constellation patterns will verify that after The Mechanic notes that he'll soon share a birthday with The Messiah. One team of astronomers has speculated that Jesus's birth was on June 17th - a night in which Jupiter and Venus would have aligned and appeared to have been one large star in the western sky above Bethlehem.

Ignoring astronomy, most modern theologians agree that Jesus was born in late spring or the summer. This belief is based on a passage in The Bible which says that the shepherds were in the fields with their flocks on the night Jesus was born, suggesting sometime when the nights were warm and the weather fair.

There are two DC Comics villains who have used the name Brainstorm. Apart from the shared name, they have completely different true names, origins and powers.

The first Brainstorm first appeared in Justice League of America (Vol. 1) #32 (December 1964). Axel Storm was a scientist who theorized that peak human mental stimulation coincided with periods of increased radioactive emission from certain stars. Axel made a helmet of a metal that seemed to react to this emissions and found that the helmet gave him increased intelligence as well as a variety of mental powers. These powers included mind control, telekinesis and teleportation

The first Brainstorm came to stand against the Justice League after he abducted Green Lantern, whom he blamed for the death of his criminal brother. Brainstorm plotted to have The League watch his execution of Hal Jordan. It turned out that Brainstorm had accidentally teleported his brother to France.

It's worth mentioning that the original Brainstorm had a similar origin and powers to The Thinker, with both men having acquired increased intelligence and psychic powers from a special helmet. One key difference is that Brainstorm flew around on a special golden hover-chair, similar to the one used by The DCTVU Thinker, but The Thinker in the comics did not use such a chair.

The second Brainstorm was introduced in The New 52 comics universe as an enemy of Michael Holt a.k.a. Mister Terrific. This Brainstorm was Dominic Lanse - a Silicon Valley scientist, who first appeared in Mister Terrific #2 (December 2011). Lanse was working on a project to copy human brains into a digital format, preserving the greatest minds in history after their deaths. A lab accident reversed the process, causing the intellects of these great thinkers to imprint upon Lanse's mind. He became obsessed with becoming smarter and absorbing Michael Holt's mind into his own.

The DCTVU version of Brainstorm is a man named Dominic Lanse. This Dominic Lanse was a TSA agent who worked at the Central City Airport. He was a passenger on the bus hit by the Dark Matter wave when Barry left The Speed Force. His transformation into a metahuman gave him line-of-sight telepathic abilities.

The trick Barry uses here to escape his cell - vibrating so quickly while standing still that he becomes invisible - is a classic gambit from the comics. The Flash has used it a few times to escape from cells he could not otherwise escape from. So did Green Lantern, in one episode of The Superfriends - Invasion of The Fearions - where he used his ring to bend the light around himself and his teammates so that it looked like their cell was empty. When their alien captors opened the cell to investigate what happened, they sprang into action and attacked.


Technobabble


Cisco's Christmas gift for Gypsy is a Gulga-class mech knife, forged in the unholy blood-fires of Earth-22.

The STAR Labs satellite can be used to track Caitlin by her cryokinetic energy signature or Barry by his Speed Force signature. Unfortunately, the bandwith limiters overheat trying to accomplish both tasks at once.

The injury to Dominic Lanse's head is, at best, an intricate cranial foreign body retraction. The worst case scenario, though Caitlin is not allowed to finish naming it, will require an endoscopy (i.e. using special tools to view and operate on internal organs).

If the shard in Dominic Lanse's head were to shatter, it would cause permanent motor skills impairment and brain deficits.

Harry's weapon of choice when he doesn't have to worry about blending in is an ionic sub-repeating pulse firearm.

Caitlin is able to jerry-rig an MRI.


Dialogue Triumphs


(Iris asks Barry why he doesn't use his powers to clean their apartment at super speed anymore.)
Barry: When I first got my powers, I would use any excuse to use them. It would just be me and the road and everything around me would disappear. But .. it's like the first time in my life I felt like I was really at peace. I just feel like that all the time. I don't have to run when I'm with you.

(The Thinker is struggling to button his cardigan. The Mechanic hears him sigh in frustration and enters the room.)
The Mechanic: Let me.
(She kneels by his side and takes his hands comfortingly.)
The Thinker: The atrophy of my fine motor skills is accelerating.
The Mechanic: I'm so sorry, my love
The Thinker: (smiling) Oh, the pain is but fleeting. After all, today is the day.
The Mechanic: (returning the smile) How fitting. You'll share a birthday with The Messiah.
The Thinker: (laughs) The Nazarene wasn't born until spring. You can check your constellation patterns to verify that. (pauses) Oh. You've heard this lecture before, haven't you?
The Mechanic: Maybe. But I will never grow tired of hearing your voice.
The Thinker: The words are still mine. Even if the voice isn't.

(Caitlin is sitting alone in C.C. Jitters. She is trying to avoid looking at a sign promoting a new iced coffee drink called The Killer Frost. Harry enters and sits down at her table.)
Harry: Well, it's the dark roast? The light roast? What are you having?  The self-pity roast?
Caitlin: I wish.
Harry: (sees the sign and chuckles) Oh! The Killer Frost!
Caitlin: (dead-pan) Finally got a drink. Woo-hoo. (sighs) I'm thrilled that she helped everyone fight the Reichsmen, but now it's like I can't escape her. Everybody keeps saying "Killer Frost is so funny." "Killer Frost is so bad ass!" I spent so long worried that she was going to hurt people, but now...  turns out people would rather hang out with my villainous alter-ego. 
Harry: Look, I - I get it. I know what it's like to have the evil doppelganger. But you're not like me anyway, Snow. You're different. You're.. special. And your friends would much rather be with you than with her.
Caitlin: Thanks Harry.
Harry: You're welcome.

Barry: DeVoe, if you wanted to kill me, you could have just electrocuted me on the street. So... I'm here for a reason.
The Thinker: Yes, Mr. Allen. So that I may teach you. I am, after all, first and foremost, a teacher.
Barry: Oh, God. (sighs in resignation) All right. Fine. Teach me. But first I want to make sure I'm all caught up. You sent your Samuroid after me. You arranged to pull me out of The Speed Force. You made sure that we turned all those people on that bus into metahumans. Why?
The Thinker: You see, the finer points of my agenda are not part of today's syllabus.
Barry: Oh, come on. We can squeeze it in. I'm a fast learner.
The Thinker: Please. You're about as capable of seeing the breadth of my machinations as an infant mastering multi-variable physics.
Barry: (laughing sarcastically) Wow.
The Thinker: The lesson I have prepped for today is much more simple. Life 101. There are no happy endings.

(Joe is questioning DeVoe as to where Barry is.)
The Thinker: Thinly-veiled threats aside, Mr. West, I'm afraid I have not a clue as to Barry Allen's location. I do know, however, that your colleague is located behind my front porch carrying an ionic sub-repeating pulse firearm.
(The Thinker laughs as Harry steps into view.)
The Thinker: The birdbath has a much better vantage point. A smart man would have taken a position there.
Harry: A smarter man would understand that this gun has no safety and my finger is still on the trigger.

Barry: You don't have to do this. Whatever he has planned, you don't have to help him.
The Mechanic: A helper? Is that what you think I am? A mindless minion, carrying out my master's bidding. Some kind of evil secretary?
Barry: You tell me!
The Mechanic: No, Mr. Allen. I am now and forever will be my husband's partner.

(Iris has just stopped Cisco and Ralph from fighting.)
Cisco: Whatever. I'll be in my lab.
(Cisco storms from the room.)
Ralph: And I will be in... whatever room is furthest from that.
Harry: Speed lab.
Ralph: Thank you.
Harry: You're welcome.

The entire sequence of Barry falling to his apparent death and the "flotation mode" on his suit activating just in time to slow his fall and cushion his impact with the water.

Harry: Ramon, that's not a break-up cube. You should open that when you're alone.
Cisco: No, no, no. If she's gonna break up with me, I want to hear why.
Harry: No, Ramon!
(Cisco activates the cube. A hologram of Gypsy in a sexy Mrs. Claus outfit appears.)
Gypsy Hologram: Cisco? Somebody told me you've been a very naughty boy this year. Why don't you come over and jingle my bells, huh?
Cisco: Sweet Baby Jesus!
Harry: Told you. Not a break-up cube.
(Cisco tries frantically to shut the hologram off.)
Harry: Just use the same button.
Gypsy Hologram: I promise you it's not going to be a Silent Night.
(Cisco finally shuts the cube off.)
Cisco: Joe? Do you mind if I-
Joe: (in his Dad voice) Take that to your house!
Cisco: Yeah...

Barry: If you hurt my family...
The Thinker:  I have no interest in your family. Besides, you're going to need someone to miss you while you're gone.
Barry: What did you do?
The Thinker: I merely left something for you. It's a re-gift, as it were. I don't have need for it anymore.
(Barry looks to the counter and sees the box holding the lone knife from his wedding presents. He then notes the blood spatter on the floor, which leads to Clifford DeVoe's corpse, the bloody knife next to it on the floor by the window. Suddenly, there's a knock at the door.)
Captain Singh: Allen? CCPD!  Open up in there!

(The Thinker, now in Dominic Lanse's body, approaches The Mechanic.)
The Thinker: I told you I would stand beside you.
(She takes his hand and slips his wedding ring onto it. The two kiss for a moment.)
The Mechanic:
Always.
The Thinker: Now, let's bring about The Enlightenment.
(The two get into The Mechanic's car and drive off.)


Dialogue Disasters

Blacksmith:
I blocked your Glock.


Continuity


Gypsy is working the holiday shift on Earth-19.

Cisco's Christmas gift for Gypsy is a Gulga-class mech knife, forged in the unholy blood-fires of Earth-22 by Wells 2.0.

Ralph spends every Christmas with his grandmother, who apparently has severe Alzheimer's and doesn't remember him. Ralph says it's okay because he's sure to get her inheritance.

Ralph, Harry and Cisco have apparently been hanging out with Killer Frost and have some kind of inside joke about "baking soda".

Oliver and Felicity got Barry and Iris an espresso machine. Iris notes that was not on her bridal registry and she is not at all bitter about that or the two of them getting married along with Barry and Iris.

There is one odd gift among Iris and Barry's wedding gifts - a box containing a single knife.

Barry and Iris went on honeymoon in Bali.

Barry hasn't been casually using his powers as much since getting married.

C.C. Jitters now makes a Killer Frost drink - an iced mocha.

Mick Rory gave Iris and Barry forty toasters, resulting in "a life-time supply of store credit" once they were returned. He claimed to have gotten them at a fire sale but Barry figures that he probably stole them.

Cisco has refined his powers to the point that he can Vibe people and things he is familiar with (such as his best friends) without needing to touch a relevant object.

The Thinker has found some way to block Cisco's Vibe powers.

The sixth of the bus metas is revealed to be a TSA agent named Dominic Lanse. He developed the ability to telepathically read the mind of anyone within his line of sight.

Ralph has worked a lot of missing person cases as a private investigator. One of them involved a woman who faked her death and moved to Arizona.

Blacksmith was a stewardess before The STAR Labs Particle Accelerator Explosion.

Ralph calls the STAR Labs satellite Sally. Cisco says that is not her name.

The Thinker's chair is capable of teleportation.

The "flotation mode" of Barry's new suit, first revealed in 402, is revealed to be one of the features Cisco didn't disable when Barry asked him to take all the new tech out of Barry's new costume.

Ralph decorates The West Home for the holidays.

Gypsy sends Cisco a holographic cube that he, at first, mistakes for one of the break-up cubes from 403. The message turns out to be the holographic equivalent of a sext message, with Gypsy in a sexy Mrs. Claus outfit asking Cisco to jingle her bells.

Cisco dubs Dominic "Brainstorm".

Ralph still does not have a code name.

The Mechanic was the buyer who hired The Blacksmith to retrieve Dominic Lanse.

It is revealed that The Thinker transferred his mind into Dominic Lanse's body.

Barry is framed for Clifford DeVoe's murder after DeVoe's body is found in Barry's apartment, with the lone knife that was sent to Barry and Iris as a wedding gift buried in his chest, as Barry Allen is standing over it.

The licence plate of The Mechanic's car is 6KS-257


Untelevised Adventures

Ralph mentions a case where he was hired to find a woman's missing husband. It turned out the woman had amnesia and didn't recognize the man who was living in her house as her husband. Ralph got paid twice for this job.

Wally is apparently spending Christmas in Cambodia and couldn't make it to Central City... for some reason Joe doesn't go into.


The Fridge Factor


Averted in the case of Caitlin, who manages to save herself on her own up until the point the story requires Ralph and Cisco to do something heroic.

Affirmed hard in the case of Iris, who has to be browbeat into acting like the leader she allegedly is by Harry.


The Bottom Line

Annoying on multiple levels up until the final ten minutes. The Caitlin subplot is played deadly serious but Katie Sackhoff's hammy performance as Blacksmith undermines the whole thing. Barry spends most of his time in captivity being smug and sarcastic. Iris completely falls apart until Wells - the only person on the team really doing anything for most of the episode - tells her to man up. Cisco, Harry and Ralph acts like jerks toward Caitlin but only Ralph is expected to apologize for upsetting her. The final ten minutes almost make-up for it all. Almost.

The problem is I don't think the show runners want me rooting for The DeVoes at this point but the sad truth is they are a much more sympathetic and believable couple than Barry and Iris, who spend most of the episode acting like jerks and idiots. Our "heroes" don't even have the excuse of moral high-ground since Barry and Iris have killed for far more selfish reasons than The DeVoes. Remember Zoom and Savitar? At least The DeVoes are trying to help the world in ways that don't involve punching bank robbers.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 9 - Reign

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




Plot

Kara's investigation into a mysterious symbol that keeps popping-up around National City determines that it is tied into an ancient Kryptonian prophecy.regarding The World Killer called Reign. Meanwhile, as tensions flare between Morgan Edge and Lena Luthor, James Olsen finds his relationship with Lena changing as he saves her life a second time.


Influences

The Michael Green/Mike Johnson run on Supergirl (character of Reign), The Krypton Chronicles (information on Old Krypton), The Legion of Super Heroes comics of The Silver Age and The Death of Superman (the final sequence with the defeated Kara being surrounded by a crowd.)


Goofs

The sequence of Reign attacking the gang members tries to evoke feelings of a horror movie. All it manages to do is look badly lit and poorly edited.

The fight scene between Supergirl and Reign in the office building near the end of the episode is not much better, being shot too close and lit entirely with strobe lights. What little we can see of the fight choreography is terrible.


Performances

The chemistry between Chris Wood and Melissa Benoist is as strong as ever.


Artistry


It's a subtle touch in the script, but Alex taking care to make Ruby feel comfortable at the Christmas party is a nice nod to her recent maternal desires.

The final scene, with the crowd coming around a fallen Supergirl, is the one bit of melodrama in the whole episode that honestly works.


Super Trivia

Imra says that Supergirl's example helped to inspire The Legion of the 31st Century. In the original comics, the teenagers who built The Legion of Super-Heroes were inspired by Superman's tenure as Superboy. They first appeared in Adventure Comics #247 (April 1958), when Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl traveled back in time to test Superboy's worthiness to join The Legion. Their tests, which Superboy failed, turned out to be a hazing ritual of sorts and The Legion had already voted to allow Superboy membership on their team.

In the comics, Supergirl was later given membership in The Legion of Super-Heroes as well and spent some time living in the 31st Century while serving as part of the team.

Imra makes reference to "a darkness" spreading that threatens earth in the 31st Century. This is likely a reference to The Great Darkness Saga - a Legion of Super Heroes storyline widely considered to be the best Legion story of all time.

M'yrnn J'onzz compares Christmas to a Martian festival called Life Day. This leads Winn to assume he is talking about The Star Wars Holiday Special, which focused upon a similar holiday called Life Day which is celebrated by Wookies.

J'onn takes offense to the idea that he would not have seen Star Wars. Various comics in the past have hinted at J'onn being something of a film buff, having used movies and television to learn about Earth customs shortly upon his arrival on Earth. Perhaps the most famous example of this occurred in DC: The New Frontier.

Mention is made of the Krypton continent of Urrika, where life on Krypton supposedly began. Urrika was first mentioned in The Krypton Chronicles #1 (September 1981) - a mini-series which detailed the early history of Krypton.

The Juru are identified as the first people born on Krypton. In the original comics, Juru was the name of the one unexplored region of Krypton - a lost valley located on the continent of Lurvan. It was home to a race of mystics - The Wizards of Juru - who practiced their magic in secret, far away from the science-minded society of Krypton.

Imra says that she is the future equivalent of a police officer. In the original comics, Saturn Girl had trained to be a police officer before joining The Legion of Super-Heroes.


Technobabble


Samples taken from the victims of Reign's attack on the gang members confirm they were killed by heat vision.


Dialogue Triumphs


Mon-El: Strange as it may sound, the 31st Century is actually not that different from today.
Winn: What, better smart phones?
Imra: What's a phone?
Winn: "What's a phone?" Ohhh... the future is awesome!

(Having overheard M'yrnn mention Life Day, Winn wrongly assumed he was making a Star Wars reference. His attempt to explain what he is talking about does not go over well.)
Winn: Oh my God! You don't know what Star Wars is. (To J'onn) You probably don't know what Star Wars is!
J'onn: Excuse me?! The Empire Strikes Back is the best movie sequel of all time!
Winn: Man, I just love you more and more each day.
(The two chuckle.)
M'yrnn: (confused) What's a sequel?

Morgan Edge: Jimmy, I get the feeling your dislike for me is... more than just purely professional.
James: You get feelings?

(Mon-El tries to talk to Kara about the situation with her and Imra. She cuts him off.)
Kara: No, stop. Please, Mon-El. I... I see this very clearly for what it is. We're just three good people stuck in a really crappy situation. But you know what? At least two of us will get to be happy.
(Kara sighs and turns around to walk away. She stops and turns back around to face Mon-El.)
Kara: And, just for the record, Mon-El? I really am trying to be okay with this. But.... This is... (choking up) This is worse than... the worst thing I could possibly imagine and that's you looking at me with no love in your eyes. So please, just... please.


Continuity

According to Mon-El, technology in the 31st Century has advanced far beyond what 21st century Earth can imagine, yet it is still devoted towards communications, entertainment and killing other people, just like in the 21st Century.

Mon-El says that he, Irma and the rest of their team crash-landed on Earth about 12,000 years before 2017. They had planned to put themselves into cryogenic suspension and set their ship to wake them up in the 31st century but the torpedo blast in 301 woke up Mon-El early.

J'onn believes the Hall and Oates cover of Jingle Bell Rock to be the greatest Christmas song of all time.

M'yrnn J'onzz believes hot cocoa to be superior to coffee.

M'yrnn J'onnz compares Christmas to a Martian holiday called Life Day.

J'onn does know about the Star Wars movies and believes The Empire Strikes Back to be the greatest sequel of all time.

Alex refers to the events of 222 and how Supergirl caught her after she jumped off a skyscraper.

Kara recognizes the Reign symbol from a field trip to the ruins of Old Krypton.

The Reign symbol predates recorded history on Krypton. It is an example of "Low Speech", which was used by the people of Urrika - the Kryptonian continent where life began.

The first people on Krypton were a tribe called The Juru. They were matriarchal, tribal and polytheistic. In time their sun god became known as Rao and they began to worship Rao alone. Their society gave birth to the modern Kryptonian culture. 

The Ruling Council of Krypton destroyed much of the information regarding the superstitions of Old Krypton.

The first Reign symbol was burned into the grass on L-Corp property.

Lena and Morgan Edge both refer to the events of 305 and how they both tried to kill one another.

People in the 31st Century do not eat with their hands, according to Imra.

Mon-El refers to 206, when Kara first had Aldebaran rum.

Thomas Coville - the leader of The Cult of Rao from 204 - appears again, with information on the symbol that Kara is investigating.

Thomas Coville spent two years traveling the world, researching Rao but also talking to escapees from Fort Rozz. One of these was a disgraced Kryptonian priestess, who told him about the prophecies regarding an "end of days" which predated The Book of Rao. He also learned of the god before Rao - a "Lilith" made of darkness and teeth who ends everything.

The prophecy speaks of three steps leading to the End Of Days. The first is The Mark of The Beast - the symbol of the dark god showing up mysteriously. The second is The Work of The Beast in the form of many deaths. Last comes The Reign Of The Beast and this is when The Worldkiller arrives.

Samantha once got a job in Central City that required her moving in the middle of the holiday season. She and Ruby spent the night at a hotel and had dinner at a truck stop.

Samantha gives Ruby a pendant with the House of El symbol for Christmas.

Imra says that she's the future equivalent of a police officer.

Lena is attacked by a man armed with a laser gun who used to work for an expo that Morgan Edge sponsored.

Reign attacks Morgan Edge in his office. He is saved only because his panic room is lead-lined.

Morgan Edge later calls a press conference where he makes it sound like Supergirl was the one who attacked him.

Lena refers to the events of 305 and how James took a bullet to save Lena's life.

Lena and James kiss for the first time.

The episode ends with Kara in a coma after being beaten to near death by Reign.


The Bottom Line

It's telling that the best parts of the episode are the ones that have absolutely nothing to do with the main plot. As it is, I'd much rather watch Winn trying to introduce M'yrnn to the glories of Star Wars and geeking out as M'yrnn explains how the Wookie Life Day is similar to the Martian one than watch Reign a second time.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Aquaman Annual #1 - A Review

With his plans for an embassy with the surface world dead in the wake of a terrorist attack by Black Manta, Arthur Curry has begun to seek another way to unify the two worlds. Enter Crownspire - a city built between surface and sea which will, in time, house Atlanteans and humans in peace and harmony.

Flash forward to a glorious day when Crownspire is no longer a dream. When Aquaman and Mera are gladly retired from heroism. When their son is schooled alongside human children. And when an unseen enemy seeks to destroy what they have built...



Albert Einstein once said that the secret to creativity is learning how to hide your sources. This proves true of Aquaman Annual #1, which does a poor job of hiding its connection to a more famous and better written story involving a hero's perfect world. Despite this, Phillip Kennedy Johnson's story is not wholly without merit and his portrayal of the older Mera and Arthur is an engaging one.

The artwork is similarly mixed. Much of Max Fiumara's artwork seems vague and unfinished. He draws fantastic sea-creatures but his humanoid figures look alien and strange. The colors by Dave Stewart, however, are fantastic.

The Final Analysis: 5 out of 10. A serviceable but ultimately forgettable annual. 

Green Arrow Annual #1 - A Review

It's Christmas time but visions of sugar-plums dancing aren't filling the heads of the people of Seattle. Count Vertigo has come to town seeking revenge and uped his game, trapping Team Arrow and the rest of Seattle in their worst nightmares! Only Black Canary remains unaffected to save the day.



There's a lot to like about Green Arrow Annual #1. How Benjamin Percy develops a new yet wholly logical secondary super power for Black Canary. The return of Count Vertigo with a new yet logical extension of his powers.The dream and nightmare sequences, illustrated so well by Eleonora Carlini. The beautiful colors by Hi-Fi. This is one Christmas special worthy of the name.

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Injustice 2 #34 - A Review

Ra's Al Ghul tests his latest weapon - T.O. Morrow's most powerful Amazo robot yet - in a remote Arizona town. As Batman and his allies sort through the rubble trying to understand the new threat they face, a new villain unlike anything Earth has ever seen is born...


In terms of story, seemingly little happens in Injustice #34. I suspect that what we see here will achieve greater significance later but it seems that the larger plots are treading water for an issue. This is fine, as Tom Taylor takes the opportunity to tell an ironically human story about a character who is not.

The art team is on-point, as-usual. Bruno Redondo's detail-driven penciling style is perfectly finished by Juan Albarran's well-applied inks. Rex Lokus proves his phenomenal skill as a colorist once again. And Wes Abbott adds a subtle touch with some distinctive and inventive lettering.

The Final Analysis: 8 out of 10. The story is relatively sedate for this series but it's probably building to something bigger and the art is amazing.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Legends Of Tomorrow: Season 3, Episode 8- Crisis on Earth-X, Part 4

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



Plot

Summoned by a distress signal from Felicity Smoak, The Legends arrive in Central City in 2017 in time to rescue their friends from a Nazi invasion from Earth-X - a parallel Earth where The Nazis won World War II! Meanwhile, on Earth-X, Sara, Jax and Stein struggle alongside Oliver Queen, Barry Allen and Alex Danvers to escape back to Earth One...


Influences

General alternate reality tropes involving The Axis Powers winning World War II, Justice League of America #107 (Vol. 1) (basic plot, idea of Earth-X), The Flash #165 (Vol. 1) (Barry Allen's wedding is disrupted by a super-villain attack), Flashpoint (concept of Citizen Cold - the heroic Captain Cold), Final Crisis (concept of Overgirl - the Nazi Supergirl) the movie The Terminator (appearance of Earth-X Metallo, Black Canary name-drops it), All-Star Superman (a Kryptonian dying because of absorbing too much solar energy) and the comics of Len Wein.


Goofs

Given that some scientists theorize that the energy released by a star going supernova less than 25 light years from Earth could cause catastrophic changes to Earth's atmosphere, the consequences of a supernova forming on Earth would probably be far greater than just the destruction of The American Midwest.

Barry just letting Thawne go is just plain lame.


Performances

Victor Garber gives a fantastic final performance as Martin Stein.



Artistry

The scene as most of Team Flash, Team Arrow and The Legends fight Metallo is everything The DCTVU can be at its best - comic book action, brought to life with amazing effects work and fight choreography.

The silent montage of the various heroes reacting to Stein's death is also everything The DCTVU can be at its best - sentimental and hopeful, indulging in all our best angels. It is also artfully shot, with haunting music

Miraculously, the fifth-segment fight-scene gives everyone on all four series a chance to shine. It is well-blocked, well-acted and well-shot.


Trivia Of Tomorrow

The DC Comics Multiverse has a tradition of alternate realities where the Nazis won World War II. The first was Earth-X (Two) - an alternate version of Earth-Quality, which housed the superheroes published by Quality Comics who were later bought by DC Comics. Justice League of America #107 (Vol. 1) (October 1973) introduced this Earth-X, when The Freedom Fighters - a team formed to fight the Nazis after they developed mind-control technology - summoned The Justice League from Earth One to help them.

Following Crisis on Infinite Earths, Earth-X was folded into the unified DC Universe. It was revived as Earth 10 in The New 52 reality.

On Earth 10, the rocket carrying the last son of Krypton to Earth landed in a Nazi-controlled Sudetenland. This child became Overman - Champion Of The Fourth Reich. He lead a team of Nazi metahumans, including Overgirl - a human girl who gained Overman's powers after being injected with Overman's genetic material. Overgirl was introduced during the Final Crisis storyline.

Rather than the usual Legends of Tomorrow logo, this episode opens with a special Crisis on Earth-X logo.

Ray says that his ATOM suit embiggens as well as shrinking. Embiggen is a perfectly cromulent word, first introduced on The Simpsons, which means "to make bigger."

Mister Terrific makes reference to The Chandrasekhar Limit. This is the maximum mass of a stable white dwarf star. Once that mass is exceeded, an star will begin to collapse in on itself and go supernova. The official Chandrasekhar Limit is 1.4 times the size of Earth's sun.

When Supergirl confronts Overgirl during the final battle, she says "General. Would you care to step outside?" This is a nod to Superman II, when Superman said the same line when confronting General Zod. (Thanks to Christopher Evans for pointing that one out!)

Harry says that Kara must fly Overgirl, "up, up and away". This was a catch-phrase frequently said by Superman just before he started flying in various comics and cartoons.


Technobabble

After demerging as Firestorm, Jax experiences the pain of Stein's injuries from before they merged while Stein was bleeding to death. Caitlin says this is because their vitals are still linked, somehow, and that connection is the only thing keeping Stein alive.

The Waverider is tracking The Nazi Time-Ship using the extreme radiation signature given off by Overgirl's extreme exposure to solar radiation. Mister Terrific noted the readings they have are fast approaching The Chandrasekhar Limit - this means that Overgirl will become a supernova that destroys the entire American Midwest.


Dialogue Triumphs

Green Arrow: Thanks for your help.
Citizen Cold: We're not done helping, yet. Our enemies are still on your Earth, Ollie.
Green Arrow: (uncomfortably) Don't call me that.
(Green Arrow walks off as White Canary steps forward, quickening her pace.)
Citizen Cold: Give it time. I'll get through that crusty exterior.
White Canary: No. You really won't.
Citizen Cold: (smiling) I was talking to you.

(Thawne is about to start cutting into Supergirl's skin. Something is stopping his scalpel, however.)
Dark Arrow: What are you waiting for?! Do it.
Thawne: I'm trying! I'm trying but...
(Close-up as we see a tiny figure, growing larger, standing on Kara's chest, holding up the scalpel blade.)
The Atom: Mitts off, Mengele!
(The Atom jumps up and grows to full size, punching Thawne before zapping him with a taser blast. Dark Arrow charges forward, but Ray side-steps the attack and tasers him as well. He smiles as he moves and pulls on Kara's restraints, freeing her from the hospital bed.)  
Kara: Ray?
The Atom: Hi. How are you? (looks up to Felicity) Oh. I got your S.O.S. - how was the wedding?

The Atom: Okay, I know I'm late to the party, but why have Nazi dopplegangers taken over STAR Labs?
Felicity: They're from Earth-X. They hate everybody. They want to steal Kara's heart. And they have this giant robot.
The Atom: Huh. I've actually fought one of those before. Little known fact - the suit doesn't just shrink.
(As The Atom is speaking, a Nazi guard comes up behind him and cocks his gun.)
Felicity:
Ray!
(Before the guard can shoot, The Atom spins around and reaches out, his arm growing longer as his enlarged hand pushes the Nazi to the wall and knocks him out.)
The Atom: It embiggens.

Felicity: (To Dark Arrow, as she stands between him and Supergirl.) My grandparents didn't survive The Holocaust so the world could be ruled by Nazis. So if you want Kara, you've gotta go through me. And even if you do, you're not gonna win. Because we will not back down. We will keep fighting. So get the hell off our Earth while you still can!

(Black Canary and Cisco take cover behind a crate as Metallo attacks.)
Black Canary: This guy's like The Terminator.
(Cisco starts laughing.)
Black Canary: (angrily) Why are you laughing?!
Cisco: I just love a good pop culture reference in a moment of crisis. Also... that!
(Cisco points to where The Flash has run into the room as Firestorm and The Ray fly in behind him.)

Alex: I should have known better than to think that a wedding on another Earth is going to solve all of our problems.
Kara: Yeah, but... you know, fighting evil versions of ourselves does kind of put those problems in perspective, doesn't it?
Alex: Way to see the silver lining.

(Stein asks Jax to give him Cisco's cure for their powers.)
Jax: You're asking me to kill you, Grey!
Stein: I'm asking you to let me die so that you can live.

(Sara walks down the Hallway. Ollie is waiting for her.)
Ollie: How are you holding up?
Sara: I'll cry at the funeral.
Ollie: (taking her arm) Sara...
Sara: (firmly) I'm fine.
Ollie: We need to gather everyone. Overgirl is going to go nuclear and the Earth-Xers are going to use their Waverider to threaten Central City and leverage us into surrendering Kara.
Sara: How do you know that?
Ollie: It's exactly what I would do.

(Heatwave burns one of the Nazis with a fire blast. Citizen Cold runs up.) 
Citizen Cold: Excuse me! You can't just go around roasting people!
Heatwave: Why not?
Citizen Cold: You ever heard of Due Process? Rule of Law?
Heatwave: No.

(Ollie accepts Felicity's proposal and suggestion that they marry right now.)
Ollie: Uh, John, what do you say?
John: Are you kidding me, Oliver? I'm the guy that for the past six years has been trying to keep you two together. It's only fitting that I marry you.


Continuity

Based on his flirting with White Canary and his kissing The Ray in F408, Citizen Cold is bisexual.

Ray Palmer refers to the events of L113 and how he once fought a giant robot. He also demonstrates how he can use his suit to become bigger as well as smaller, as he did in that episode.

Felicity Smoak's grandparents were Holocaust survivors.

Mick refers to the events of L208 and how he thought for a time that he was being visited by Leonard Snart's ghost.

Citizen Cold says that the Earth-X version of Mick Rory died in a police station fire, after running back in several times to pull police officers out of the fire.

The Ray reveals his full name as Ray Terill.

Martin Stein sacrifices himself to save Jax's life by taking Cisco's "cure" for Firestorm, from S308.

Ray Palmer has a picture of himself and Martin Stein, taken with an 19th century camera of the two of them dressed in cowboy garb. This photo was likely taken during the events of either L206 or L111.

Barry lets The Reverse Flash go.

Green Arrow kills The Dark Arrow.

The Ray returns to Earth-X.

Citizen Cold decides to stay on Earth One for a while, but promises he'll return home to Earth-X someday. He and The Ray part ways affirming that they love each other.

At Martin Stein's funeral, as everyone takes turns shoveling dirt onto the grave, Sara thanks him for believing in her as Captain, Caitlin asks him to say hello to Ronnie for her and Barry thanks him for helping get him out of The Speed Force.

Alex and Sara agree there's no chance of a relationship between the two of them but Alex does thank Sara for helping her put things in perspective. They wish each other well and say they're sure the other person can find someone they can be with for more than just a night.

In keeping with the running gag from previous encounters with The Flash, John Diggle throws up whenever he is moved at super-speed.

John Diggle was ordained to conduct weddings to marry his brother and sister-in-law. He officially marries Barry and Iris, with Ollie and Felicity acting as Best Man and Maid of Honor.

Iris wanted to be a ballerina when she was nine.

Diggle also marries Felicity and Oliver.

Felicity refers to the events of A416 and the fake wedding she and Oliver had as bait for a trap for Cupid.


Location

Earth X - Star City - 2017
Earth One - Central City - 2017


The Fridge Factor

Averted as Zari, Killer Frost, Felicity Smoak and Vixen are the ones who take down the Nazi Waverider.


The Bottom Line

Easily the weakest of the four chapters, but only because it is overburdened in how much it has to accomplish. Between The Death of Martin Stein, an epic battle between the Nazi army and all of the main cast of heroes and two weddings, there is a lot to get through. Amazingly, it's all the minor subplots and character moments (such as Caitlin's farewell to Stein or the Alex/Sara romance resolution) that are handled the best. Still, despite its flaws, this is still a damn fine episode and proof positive that good, epic superhero stories can be told on a small-screen budget.

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 8 - Crisis On Earth-X, Part 3

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




Plot

Barry, Ollie, Alex, Sara, Jax and Stein are trapped in a concentration camp on Earth-X - a world where The Nazis won World War II! Thankfully, they have unexpected allies... including the Earth-X version of Leonard Snart! Meanwhile, back on Earth One, Iris and Felicity must free their friends from the STAR Labs pipeline and save Supergirl before her heart is removed to save a sickly Overgirl.


Influences

General alternate reality tropes involving The Axis Powers winning World War II, Justice League of America #107 (Vol. 1) (basic plot, idea of Earth-X), the movie Die Hard (heroes using ducts to traverse a building, avoiding a small army, name-dropped by Felicity), Flashpoint (concept of Citizen Cold - the heroic Captain Cold), Final Crisis (concept of Overgirl - the Nazi Supergirl), The Terminator (appearance of Earth-X Metallo, Felicity says "Come with me if you want to live" to Kara), All-Star Superman (a Kryptonian dying because of absorbing too much solar energy) and the comics of Len Wein.


Goofs

Paul Blackthorne does a good German accent. Unfortunately, his accent only serves to remind us that none of the other regular cast playing villains from Earth-X are bothering with German accents.

Despite being billed as a major part of the crossover event, The Ray is barely introduced as a character here and nothing is given of his background.


Performances


There's a nice bit of non-verbal acting on the parts of Caity Lotz, Chyler Leigh and Martin Garber as they see the badges on the uniforms of their fellow inmates and realize just how much trouble they are as a Jewish professor, a lesbian and a bisexual without saying a word.

Lotz does something similar opposite Paul Blackthorne, when she sees the man her father is on Earth-X. Not a word is said as Sara learns that this Quentin Lance killed his own daughter for loving men and women, but her eyes give away how disturbed she is to see her father like this.

Melissa Benoist gives perhaps her finest performance ever as Kara Danvers, confronting an evil version of herself who is, strangely enough, everything Kara has been threatening to become in Season Three of Supergirl the more she forsakes her humanity.

Jeremy Jordan brilliantly plays against type as Freedom Fighter General Winslow Schott Jr here.

There's another great moment between Caity Lotz and Chyler Leigh as Sara and Alex bond over their strong connection with their sisters and their complicated relationships.


Artistry


The production team did a marvelous job of capturing the despair and horror of a concentration camp in the opening scene, right up to the open grave full of the bones of other people killed by the firing squad and left to rot that our heroes see as they are marched off to be executed.

Supergirl's speech to Overgirl is a perfect encapsulation of the political zeitgeist in America at the time this episode aired - an argument against the politics of the Alt-Right which normalizes racism and fascism in the name of some Nationalistic ideal of purity.


Flash Facts


The DC Comics Multiverse has a tradition of alternate realities where the Nazis won World War II. The first was Earth-X (Two) - an alternate version of Earth-Quality, which housed the superheroes published by Quality Comics who were later bought by DC Comics. Justice League of America #107 (Vol. 1) (October 1973) introduced this Earth-X, when The Freedom Fighters - a team formed to fight the Nazis after they developed mind-control technology - summoned The Justice League from Earth One to help them.

The Earth-X rebellion against the Nazi regime which rules the world is called The Freedom Fighters. Their members include Citizen Cold, The Ray and Freedom Fighter General Schott.

Following Crisis on Infinite Earths, Earth-X was folded into the unified DC Universe. It was revived as Earth 10 in The New 52 reality.

On Earth 10, the rocket carrying the last son of Krypton to Earth landed in a Nazi-controlled Sudetenland. This child became Overman - Champion Of The Fourth Reich. He lead a team of Nazi metahumans, including Overgirl - a human girl who gained Overman's powers after being injected with Overman's genetic material. Overgirl was introduced during the Final Crisis storyline.

The entrance gate at the concentration camp on Earth-X that we see has a sign which reads "Arbeit Machit Frei". This is the German phrase for "work sets you free" - a slogan that was posted above the gates of many real-world concentration camps.

The caption labeling Earth-X changes to read Erde-X. "Erde" is the German word for Earth.

As in our world, the inmates in concentration camps on Earth-X are made to wear badges which denoted their crimes. Pink Triangles were used for homosexuals. Yellow Stars of David (six pointed stars) for Jews.

Rather than the usual The Flash logo, this episode opens with a special Crisis on Earth-X logo.

This episode marks the first time we get to see the Pipeline cells "in storage" when they aren't being opened to let one of the inmates talk to whoever is at the entrance.

Felicity makes a reference to Josef Mengele in discussing Thawne's plans for Kara. Josef Mengele was a Nazi doctor famous for his cruel and unusual experiments on captive subjects.

While the idea of a more heroic Captain Cold has come and gone over the years, Citizen Cold first appeared in The Flash storyline Flashpoint. In the world where Barry Allen never became The Flash, Leonard Snart became Citizen Cold and turned upon his former criminal partners, becoming the protector of Central City. It was largely an act, however, and Snart was still as profit-minded as ever, stealing from the criminals he captured. He was later killed by Iris West as revenge for his murder of Wally West, who had uncovered Snart's secret identity and criminal past and threatened to reveal the information to the public.

The glasses which Leonard Snart wears as Citizen Cold are based on the classic Captain Cold glasses from the original The Flash comics.

The Earth-X version of Leonard Snart is a much more cheerful fellow than the snarky, dispassionate master criminal we saw on Earth One. He's fond of puns and is rarely not smiling. He insists that everyone call him Leo and seems to be easily distracted. He also has a code against killing, as evidenced by the fact that he chills the weapons of his enemies making them too cold to hold rather than freezing them solid.

The Ray first appeared in Smash Comics #14 (September 1940), published by Quality Comics. Originally, reporter Lanford "Happy" Terrill was said to have developed energy-control powers after being exposed to sunlight and lightning at the same time while ballooning. This was changed after Crisis On Infinite Earths, with the first Ray gaining his powers as a test-subject for a secret government group called RONOL (Research On Nature Of Light) in a staged ballooning accident.

The mind behind RONOL was Dr. Dayzl, who had radical theories about all of the light in the universe coming from a sentient and potentially dangerous entity. He created a light bomb and exposed Terrill to it, hoping that his offspring would become a union of light and humanity capable of communicating with his theoretical Light Entity. Shockingly, Dayzl's theories seem to be confirmed when Lanford Terrill's son was born glowing!  To spare his wife the shock of this weird truth, Lanford fakes his infant's son's death and sent him away to be raised by his brother, Thomas.

Lanford's son, Ray Terrill, became the second Ray. He first appeared in The Ray #1 (February 1992). He had been raised in total darkness, told that he had a disease that made sunlight lethal to him. In truth, his foster father (uncle) had been trying to hide his nature. Ray learned the truth from his uncle's death-bed confession.

A third man - Stan Silver - adopted the name of The Ray when The Freedom Fighters were reformed. He first appeared in DCU: Brave New World (July 2006). Like Lanford Terrill, he was a reporter who gained the power to become "a living laser light" after being exposed to upper atmosphere radiation. Unlike Lanford Terrill, he was a womanizer, a braggart and a double-agent for the organization S.H.A.D.E..

A fourth Ray was introduced into The New 52 reality in The Ray #1 (December 2011). This Ray was a man named Lucien Gates - a Korean-American lifeguard who developed energy-control powers after getting caught in the path of a particle beam. Comments made by Lucien suggest that he is not the first hero to use the name of The Ray in the new reality and that Lanford Terrill (at least) was The Ray before him.

Unlike his comic-book counterpart, the Earth One version of The Ray is gay.

The Freedom Fighters use a Red Tornado robot to destroy The Nazi's temporal gateway. It's worth noting that T.O. Morrow, the scientist who created The Red Tornado in the comics, is a Polish Jew - his original name being Tomek Ovadya Morah.


Technobabble

Earth-X has power-dampening collars, similar to the technology developed by STAR Labs on Earth One. The collars are also capable of electrocuting those bound by them, which is why even the non-powered heroes are fitted with them.

The Cold Gun of Citizen Cold also has some ability to fire explosive projectiles, as we see when he shoots a round from his gun that takes out a watchtower.

The Nazis on Earth-X have control of  a temporal gateway - a device which operates in much the same manner as a breach, only much larger and more stable. This is what they used to travel to Earth One.

The Temporal Gateway is guarded by 30 Panzer XIIs, 50 Strumtigers and 100 Schutzstaffel officers. It is also full of metahuman power dampening fields.

The Nazi super-weapon is revealed to be a time-ship dubbed The Wellenreiter (a.k.a. Wave-Rider in German.)

The Temporal Gateway requires an automated power cell be activated before its control console works.


Dialogue Triumphs


(Harry is bouncing a ball against the wall of his cell to annoy Cisco. Cisco, in turn, is banging on the wall of his cell to annoy Harry.)
Dinah:
Are they going to do that the whole time we're in here?
Caitlin: Probably.

Supergirl: (weakly) You did all of this just.. just to get me?! Do you know how many innocent people you've killed?!
Overgirl: Their lives to save mine? They should be honored.

(A Nazi officer enters the yard of the camp.)
Sturmbannführer Lance: So these are...(scornfully) the heroes?
Guard: Yes, Sturmbannführer!
(Sturmbannführer Lance walks forward, stopping as he sees White Canary.)Sturmbannführer Lance: (sighing) Blonde hair. Blue eyes. This is Nordic perfection. (stepping forward toward her) Why would you align yourself with the unpure?
Sara: Because I like men. And I like women.
Sturmbannführer Lance: (sighing, his expression sad) You know, I had a daughter who looked just like you, with similar compulsions.
(Sturmbannführer Lance reaches out and stroke's Sara's cheek with his gloved hand.)
Sturmbannführer Lance: (suddenly angry) And I expunged that filth from my family line forever!
(He pulls his hand away. Sara puts on a brave face but her eyes reveal her torment.)

(Barry, Ollie, Alex, Sara, Stein and Jax are lined up before the firing squad. They steel themselves, ready to face the end unflinching.)
Sturmbannführer Lance: Ready!
(The Nazi guards raise and cock their guns.)
Sturmbannführer Lance: Aim!
(Suddenly, a blast of blue energy washes across The Nazi guards. They all drop their guns as a familiar figure comes into view from around a Nazi truck, cold gun in hand. His glasses are different but the smile on his face as the Nazis freeze is unmistakable.)
Citizen Cold: I hate "fire".
Everyone Else: Snart?!
Ray: About time!

Citizen Cold: (To Barry) That is a fantastic outfit! Did you make that?
Ray: Leo!
Citizen Cold: Right. (starts removing Ray's collar) Time to make you shine, buddy.
Ray: Uh, you, uh, might want to close your eyes?
Jax: Why?
(As the collar comes loose, Ray begins to glow with a blinding yellow light. He flies into the sky above and begins shooting energy blasts at the approaching Nazi soldiers.)
Stein: Well, I believe he just answered your question.

Overgirl: You're looking more human. Scared. Helpless. Pathetic. Inferior.
Supergirl: We're not that different from them.
Overgirl: Oh, please. We're everything they want to be: blonde, white - Aryan perfection.
Supergirl: I'm not like you. I don't think I'm better than everyone else.
Overgirl: You should. You are. You're a god to them. You could have been living like one.
Supergirl: (laughing weakly) Like you?
Overgirl: Yes, like me! They want someone to bow to. To worship. To lead!
Supergirl: What you're doing is not leading. It's ruling.
Overgirl: (considers this and nods) Yes. It is.

Ray: (To Ollie) And you're the good version of The Fuhrer?
Sara: "Good" might be an over-simplification.

Stein: I may be a learned man but I am not always an astute one. I think I was just so thrilled with the reality of my imminent departure that I neglected to consider your feelings.
Jax: Look, man - I'm not trying to take you away from your family or nothing-
Stein: You are my family!
(Jax stops in mid-protest, stunned.)
Stein: Long before I unexpectedly found myself with a daughter, I found myself unexpectedly with a son.
Jax; (embarrassed) Yeah, I know.
Stein: "You know?" You know? Do you? Look around you. We're standing in one of the.. darkest places imaginable. Yet somehow, I am optimistic. Do you know why?
Jax: Because you are a crazy old man?
Stein: Yes. (suddenly) No!
(Jax chuckles.)
Stein: Because I am standing here with you. You are a better son than I could have ever hoped for. And no length of time or distance will ever change that.
Jax: (nods) A'ight. Apology accepted. Come here.
(The two hug.)

Alex: You don't understand! I can't lose her!
Sara: I understand more than you think. I lost my sister. The anger and guilt that I felt for not being able to save her... it took me down a dark path.
Alex: I'm sorry. I didn't know.
Sara: How could you? The only thing we know about each other is... what we look like with clothes off. Beautiful, by the way. You also don't know that I protect my team, and you, Danvers, are on my team. And I promise you we're not going to let what happened to my sister happen to yours.
Alex: I'm sorry. I just want to... I want to save Kara and I want to get back to Maggie.
Sara: Maggie is...?
Alex: Complicated.
Sara: Yeah. I had a Maggie too. And I think about going back to her all the time. Look, Alex... you seem like a pretty thoughtful person. And if you thought it wasn't going to work out and had to end it, I'm sure that reason was valid. Trust your instincts.

(Ollie reveals his half-improvised plan.)
Citizen Cold: That's the whole plan?
Barry: Well, as the Snart we used know used to say, "Make a plan. Execute the plan. Expect the plan to go off the rails. Throw away the plan."
Citizen Cold: Wow. That is... that is -terrible- advice.


Continuity

As the episode opens, Barry, Ollie, Sara, Alex, Jax and Stein are being held prisoner in a concentration camp on Earth-X. Caitlin, Cisco, Harry, Rene, Dinah, Curtis and Rory are being held inside The Pipeline in STAR Labs on Earth One. Kara is being held in a red-sun field in STAR Labs on Earth One, about to be operated on by Eobard Thawne. Iris and Felicity are still free, hiding in the ducts under STAR Labs.

Cisco awakens from his coma from S308.

The Earth-X version of Quentin Lance is a Sturmbannführer in the Nazi army. This is roughly the equivalent of a Major in the United States Army. The name literally translates from German as "assault unit leader."

The Earth-X Version of Quentin Lance apparently killed the Earth-X version of Sara Lance personally when he learned of her bisexuality.

The Earth-X version of Leonard Snart goes by the name Citizen Cold. He is armed with a cold gun, similar to that used by the Earth One Leonard Snart. His personality is quite different, however, being more cheerful and easy going.

It is confirmed that the Earth-X version of Oliver Queen is The Fuhrer of the Earth-X Nazi government.

Ray is originally from Earth One.

Felicity sends a distress signal to the rest of The Legends.

It is revealed that the Earth-X version of Winslow Schott Jr. is a General in The Freedom Fighters. This version of Winn Schott is more confident than his Earth 38 counterpart and more militaristic in his approach to things.

Stein refers to the events of L205 and how he inadvertently created a daughter by altering his own past, so that his younger self tried to be a more attentive husband and wound up having a child.

Alex Danvers is certified in the use of 30 military weapons.

Sara refers to the death of Laurel Lance and her own efforts to try and prevent it by killing her murderer before he had a chance to kill her in Season Two of Legends of Tomorrow.

Sara talks about a complicated relationship she had with a woman who she thinks about going back to but ultimately decided it wouldn't work out with. This is likely a reference to Nyssa Al Ghul, whom Sara was romantically involved with during her time in The League of Assassins.

The Ray and Citizen Cold are in a romantic relationship.

Eobard Thawne claims to have fought Superman at one point in Kara Danvers' future and that he was faster than Superman.

The Nazi super-weapon is revealed to be a time-ship dubbed The Wellenreiter - a.k.a. Wave-Rider in German.

The Earth-X version of Felicity Smoak is an inmate in the Star City concentration camp. Sturmbannführer Lance uses her as part of a test to confirm that the Oliver Queen who shows up unexpectedly is not the true Fuhrer.

The weapon The Freedom Fighters are using to destroy The Nazi's Temporal Gateway is a Red Tornado robot, like the one Supergirl fought in S106.

Eobard Thawne claims that the history books where he comes from are full of legends of the Age of Heroes and stories of Green Arrow, Black Canary and The Flash. He says that nobody in his time has heard of Felicity Smoak.

The episode ends with Professor Stein being shot, seemingly fatally, as The Red Tornado moves to destroy The Nazi base.


Location


Earth-X - Star City
Earth One - Central City


The Fridge Factor


Iris is completely useless in this episode. Felicity does everything that stops The Earth-X villains from killing Supergirl. Iris is just along for the ride.


The Bottom Line


Curiously, despite being an episode of The Flash, Barry doesn't do much in this episode and the regular supporting cast is largely absent and even the ones we see don't do much. (Looking at you, Iris!) Still, there's a lot of great performances here from other Arrowverse actors. As part of the larger crossover event, it's a damn good penultimate chapter with one hell of a cliff-hanger ending. Shame they didn't do more to give The Ray a proper introduction, though.