Friday, March 31, 2017

Gone To Fan Expo Dallas 2017 - Be Back Monday!

I will be representing at Fan Expo Dallas 2017 this weekend. I'm also coming out of retirement to riff on the live The Rocky Horror Picture Show with Amber Does Dallas at noon on Saturday.

If you are attending the event and would like for me to get pictures of your cosplay, I will be at the Red Carpet area in Hall A at the following times.

FRIDAY - 7 PM to 8 PM
SUNDAY - 11 AM to 12 PM

Have a good weekend! I fully intend to!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Starman Plays Tex Murphy: Overseer - Part 6

In which we meet billionaire philanthropist J. Saint Gideon, who is absolutely NOT the ultimate bad guy of this game even though his first appearance is preceded by dramatic music and ominous chanting in Latin!

We also get to meet the local mutant chess shop owner, explore yet another lab belonging to a dead scientist who was working on Project Overlord and learn the final fate of Sonny Fletcher.

Titans Annual #1 - A Review

Eight heroes. Four mentors. Four pupils. Four Titans. Four Justice League founders. Trapped in a maze that resists their every effort to map it or escape it by an unseen enemy, they must overcome their paranoia as they puzzle out who has trapped them and why. But can they really trust each other?

Describing Titans Annual #1 as Cube with superheroes - while an apt summary - would do it a disservice. Dan Abnett's script is far more than that, playing off of Abnett's knowledge of their characters and the reader's uncertainty as to just how things stand between these characters in the Rebirth reality. In this, Abnett is able to define another piece of the lost lore of the Titans while spinning a riveting tale and making use of an underused villain I was quite pleased to see return.

And yes, it must be said, we do discover Donna Troy's origins in the Rebirth reality here. It's something wholly original (as far as I know) and rather fitting given the changes to Diana's background in The New 52. More I will not say beyond this issue being a must read for any Wonder Girl fans out there.

The artwork for this special is outstanding. Minkyu Jung does a fine job of keeping the story moving visually - no small feat given how much of the story is the characters just talking! The use of light and shadow is particularly impressive and the colors by Adriano Lucas are perfectly chosen.

Green Lantern/Space Ghost Special #1 - A Review

Sent to investigate a message regarding a weapon from beyond the boundaries of known space, Green Lantern  Hal Jordan soon finds himself in a place his ring cannot identify. Worse yet, he is engaged in battle by a strangely dressed figure whose wrist-mounted weapons seem as dangerous as the weapon he was warned about. Naturally this is all a great misunderstanding and two lawmen of different realities will have to trust one another to survive the battle to come.

I came into Green Lantern/Space Ghost with high hopes but I'm afraid they weren't met. Given this story was written by James Tynion IV and Christopher Sebela - whose respective work on Detective Comics and Injustice: Ground Zero I've loved - I expected more than a cliche tale of two similar heroes getting into a fight, realizing their mistake and joining together in the end. The individual panels of Ariel Olivetti's painted artwork look amazing but the story flow between them is clunky at best. This isn't a bad comic - merely a passable one. Given the talent involved, however, it should have been better.

The Ruff 'n' Reddy back-up story by Howard Chaykin and Wil Quintana is a different beast - no pun intended. Set in a world much like that of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? where animated anthrmorphic animals live and work among humans, we follow two comedians - a cat named Ruff and a dog named Reddy - whose careers are floundering after their respective acts break up.

It spoils little to say the two have decided to partner up by issue's end. Personally, I enjoyed this piece but as a fan of 1940s comedians my opinion may be biased. It remains to be seen how this will play in Peoria or if the barber in Peru will get it, to borrow two old phrases from the agents of yesteryear. If nothing else, Chaykin deserves credit for briefly partnering Ruff up with a Mae West type named Sexx.

Clean Room #17 - A Review

The Entities have unleashed their first major offensive upon our world. It is the moment that Astird Mueller has been preparing for all her life, yet she isn't leading the attack. Instead, she is saving her most loyal follower and her fiercest detractor from the mind of the madman who has taken over The Clean Room...

I apologize for the relative brevity of this review but there's little I can say without giving away the game. How do you describe the ocean to someone who doesn't know what water is?

I can say this. Clean Room is easily the strongest new horror title to come out of Vertigo Comics in years and it is some of the finest work to date from Gail Simone, Walter Geovani and Quinton Winter. If you haven't been reading it, do yourself a favor and get the back issues. You'll thank me later.

Starman Plays Tex Murphy: Overseer - Part 5

In which we explore the secret lab of Bosworth Clark and then do some real detective work - i.e. making phone-calls, going through legal records and asking people the same questions over and over in the hopes of learning something useful from one of them.

Look, it isn't always bourbon and babes, alright?!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 18 - Disbanded

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


Having disbanded the Team Arrow and given up his cowl and bow in the wake of a week's torture, Oliver turns to his old allies in The Bratva to deal with Prometheus once and for all. This greatly concerns John Diggle, who confronts Oliver on his decision to turn to gangsters over his friends to deal with the current crisis.


The Green Arrow comics of Judd Winick.


Given that Oliver knows that Prometheus knows about his past in Russia,  why does he think turning to The Bratva is something Prometheus wouldn't have planned for?  You'd think Ollie would at least consider how bad it would be if word got out that The Mayor was in collusion with Russian gangsters or that said gangsters might double-cross him as he double-crossed them.

While not really a goof, how many times is Oliver going to have to learn that his friends are his strength and that he cannot stand alone against his enemies? (At least one more, obviously...)

Granting that the SCPD are corrupt and incompetent in equal measure, how do they not stop the one car speeding away from the remote safe-house that they are speeding toward to catch a now-wanted super-villain?!


Stephen Amell plays a totally different Oliver Queen here - subdued and beaten. It's frightening how different Oliver seems since last week's ordeal.

David Ramsey is the show's most solid performer, making the most of what little material is is given generally. Give him some great material - as occurs here - and he dazzles. Ramsey's performance as John Diggle here is one of his most powerful ever. Possibly his best turn yet as the character in five years.

Again, David Nykl does a fantastic job playing both versions of Anatoly. The final two scenes showing how far he has fallen, in a mirror of Oliver's own arc, are astonishing.


The script for this episode is a solid one, which does a great job balancing the flashback sequences and applying them to the modern action. Of particular note is the disparity between the Oliver and the Anatoly of five years earlier. Five years ago, Anatoly was a kind man who visited sick children in a hospital to offer them words of comfort and arranged heists to get the drugs needed to save lives. Now he is robbing medical companies in order to create designer drugs to make a profit. There's also a nice shift between the two different heists in the fifth segments.

It's worth noting that this episode is unusually realistic in depicting how hackers actually operate. While most of what Helix does is still Hollywood Hacking at it's finest, the methods used by Curtis - looking at an unattended computer and stealing hardware - are more commonly used by real world hackers than actively breaking into a network.


Rather than the usual theme song, a more somber, sad tune plays underneath the Arrow logo when it appears.

Kord Industries is mentioned once again, identified as the manufacturers of Prometheus' optic-scrambling technology. In the original comics, Kord Industries was the technologies company run by Ted Kord a.k.a. The Blue Beetle. The DCTVU version of Kord Industries was identified as Palmer Technologies' main competitor back in Season Three.


Prometheus uses some form of optic-scrambling technology that prevents a camera from capturing his image when he is in his costume but not wearing his mask.

Felicity determines that the pixilation pattern of the images scrambled by Prometheus' tech is consistent with that of a Kord Industries' Optic Scrambler that will be hitting the market within the next six months. It works by interfering with the camera's digital conversion circuit. This means they can use an algorithm to remove the distortion. Unfortunately, that requires them to have physical access to the hardware.

It is revealed that all the gun-wielding members of Team Arrow have been using tranquilizer rounds rather than standard bullets.

The drug Anatoly and his men are stealing is Oplimid. Wild Dog notes that this is a medication for treating diabetes.

The chemicals in the two drugs Anatoly and his men plan to steal - Revlextra and Oplimid - can be combined to form an opioid more addictive than heroin.

Curtis is able to use his T-Sphere to pickpocket Adrian Chase's optic scrambler.

Curtis uses Ray Palmer's tracking nanites - last seen in 510 - to find Felicity and Helix.

Felicity says that the encryption on the pixilation algorithm on the Kord optic scrambler will take her 13 months to break. The apparent number of possible codes is (3.1610 18) (E 6) (75 teraflops)

Rene uses one of Curtis' T-spheres as a flash-bang grenade.

Curtis is able to use his T-sphere as a "bloodhound" to sniff out precisely where the original prototype of the optic scrambler is in the Kord Industries' lab he and Felicity break into.

Dialogue Triumphs

(Chase is alone with Oliver in his office at City Hall.)
Oliver: What are you doing here? You won. It's over.
Chase: What did I ever say that gave you that impression?
(Chase reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out a throwing knife, which he puts on Oliver's desk.)
Oliver: What are you doing?
Chase: Proving a point, so to speak.
Oliver: You think I'm going to stab the District Attorney in the middle of City Hall?
Chase: You're an animal who enjoys murder. There's no telling what you'll do. And it's not like your alter ego can kill me. Not since the SCPD put me in protective custody since The Green Arrow slaughtered my wife. So you kill me in broad daylight. Or you let me live knowing there is nothing you can do.
(Oliver says nothing. Nor does he move toward the knife. He just holds Chase's gaze until he has to look away.)
Chase: Disappointing. (turning to move toward the door) You can keep that knife.

Oliver: Listen, Susan. I know that... we never got a chance to resolve things. (pauses) I can't be with you. My apologies if that's presumptuous.
Susan: Oliver...
Oliver: This is not how.... this is not how I wanted my life to... to touch yours. (pauses) I should have known better. And for that, I really, truly am sorry.

(Oliver is standing in The Bunker. We do not see who else is with him.)
Oliver: Thank you for coming on such short notice. I understand that after last time... I have run out of favors. But this is an impossible situation. And you are my only option.
(The camera shifts and we see a stone-faced Anatoly regarding Oliver.)
Anatoly: Obviously. Last time you made very clear you did not want Bratva in city.
Oliver: Circumstances have changed. I need you to kill Adrian Chase.

Anatoly: Interesting. I never thought you would give up the hood.
Oliver: Well, you were the one who told me it was silly to think that a... piece of cloth could contain the monster inside of me forever. You were right.
Anatoly: (sighs) Such a burden. Always being right.

(Team Arrow moves in on the gangsters robbing the medical supply company.)
John: Hands up! Hands up! Hands up! Hands up! Hands up!
Dinah: (dryly) He doesn't like repeating himself.
(One of the gangsters says something to his associates, laughing.)
Curtis: Sounds like Russian.
(Curtis begins to try speaking to them in Russian. Anatoly emerges from the loading dock.)
Anatoly: Look. This one's accent has not improved. Still sounds horrible.
John: Anatoly?
Anatoly: John Diggle! My favorite American!
Rene: We know this guy?
John: What the hell are you doing in Star City?
Anatoly: Isn't it obvious?
(Anatoly says something to his men, who move to continue loading the drugs onto their truck.)
John: Anatoly, I can't let you steal these drugs.
Anatoly: It is not a matter of "let". I have invitation to be here.
John: Invitation from who?
(Anatoly raises an eyebrow as if to say, "Really? Who do you think?")

John: (speaking slowly, as if to a child) Oliver... We don't hire criminals and pay them in diabetes drugs!

John: Prometheus tried to convince you that you were responsible for everything bad that happens to people? Oliver, I swear, that's a bunch of crap.
Oliver: (speaking slowly and deliberately) Tell that to Laurel. Tell that to Tommy. Tell that to my mother. Tell that to Billy Malone. Maybe tell it to Thea - she's so damaged that she had to leave town. This isn't post-traumatic stress, John. This is a truth that I was keeping myself from seeing and I am no longer doing that. Anatoly and his men will kill Adrian Chase. That is the solution. The team is done. So I'm telling you - I'm not asking you - I am telling you. For the last time. Stand down.

Oliver: I'm not going to keep having this same conversation.
John: That's too bad. Because I dedicated five years of my life to your crusade. So I'm the one who gets to say if I need protecting. Not you.
Oliver: I'm not going to have your death on my conscience.
John: Oliver, don't talk to me about your conscience! Not when you get back in bed with The Bratva! (sighs) This isn't you, man. The Oliver I know would never let a group of dangerous criminals crawl into his city! Let them steal medicine!
Oliver: You don't know what kind of man I am.
(Oliver turns around and starts to walk away.)
John: What?! What the hell did Chase do to you, Oliver?! Whatever it was, he - he messed with your head in a way I didn't think was possible! Look at me, man! I can help you! I'm your brother!
Oliver: You don't want me as a brother.
John: What does that mean?
Oliver: Chase showed me the truth about myself. You signed on for a crusade that turned out to be an outlet. It was an excuse for me to murder people.
John: (exasperated) Oliver, please-
Oliver: I put on a hood, and I created a persona. Because John - somewhere, along the way, something in me broke. Something is sick inside of me. The crusade? All of this? The foundation of it... is a lie. So I disbanded the team because I won't sit by and watch all of you participate in my murder spree. I am beyond redemption. You and the team will be fine...  if you stay away from me. You stay away from this. You stay away from Chase. And you allow the Bratva to do their job.  Let my crusade die.

(Anatoly leaves the bedside of a sick child. He whispers to Oliver as they are out of earshot.)
Anatoly: That kid won't last a month.
Oliver: They have tuberculosis?
Anatoly: Mmm-hmm. The disease comes from prison. Super resistant strain.
Oliver: Well... I, I mean, is it in any way treatable?
Anatoly: Mmm - yeah. With right medicine, yes. But even Bratva cannot buy for them. Not in quantities needed. All we can do is pay for funerals.
Oliver: Antaoly, is this how we're planning on spending my last two days in Russia?
Anatoly: (smiling) I thought, what better way to cap off your time here than with good old-fashioned heist?

Curtis: If Diggle is the new Oliver and I'm obviously the new Felicity - don't hate - which one of you guys is the new Diggle?
Dinah & Rene: (in unison) I am!
Rene: Seriously? You've been here like, what, ten minutes? You don't even have a code name!
Dinah: Fine. You're the new Digg.
Curtis: The fact that she was not petty and... I mean, that's extremely Digg-like. You-you, see what I-
Rene: (curtly) Yeah. Okay. You're the new Digg.
(Dinah beams in triumph and winks at Curtis.)

John: We're not done, Oliver. You and me? We're never going to be done! Do you understand that? Listen man, you can tell me you're a serial killer. That you're crazy. Or you're whatever Chase has shoved into your head! But I'm not believing any of that, even if you do. And that's because I know the kind of man you are, Oliver. The good, the bad and the ugly! I know! And you don't need to punish yourself. Or isolate yourself. But what you need to do is stop pushing me away! Because I'm not going anywhere, Oliver! Do you get that?!
Oliver: What do you want me to do, John? I told you what I am. Who I am. And even if you don't believe it, I do. (softer) I do.  So I don't know where that leaves us.
(There is a long pause as Oliver walks past John deeper into his apartment. John strokes his chin as if thinking before speaking.)
John: It leaves us right back in Langham, Oliver. Do you remember that? I killed my brother, Oliver. And I was going to let myself rot in prison for what I did.  But you told me to atone for what I did as Spartan. And if that's true for me, it is one-hundred times truer for The Green Arrow. You don't just get to walk away from this, man. The hood is who you are. You don't think you deserve it? Fine. Work to become the man who does.
Oliver: I don't know how.
John: You just ask for help. You don't have to do this alone, Oliver.

(Anatoly holds up a cel-phone. It shows video of several people being held at gunpoint by his men.)
Anatoly: You have chosen where you stand with Bratva. Now you must make one more choice - save pills or save hostages.

(Anatoly and Oliver both have guns drawn on each other.)
Anatoly: Go ahead, Oliver. You want to kill old life? (he lowers his gun) Start by killing me.
(Oliver shoots a control panel behind Anatoly. An alarm begins to ring.)
Anatoly: Very stupid! Now you have to run!
Oliver: So do you.
(Anatoly holds back a curse and runs for the exit. Oliver runs to a different exit.) 

(Curtis and Felicity show the rest of the team the decrypted picture of Adrian Chase as Prometheus.)
Oliver: That is what we needed! Something that he couldn't plan for.
(Oliver looks to Felicity.)
Dinah: Please let me be the one to walk this into SCPD.
Curtis: Knock yourself out.
Felicity: Yeah.. Then I'm going to throw it up on YouTube. There won't be anywhere that son of a bitch can run.
Curtis: Does this mean that we're official back in business?
(Oliver walks past everyone, moving to a light switch in the middle of the bunker.)
Oliver: Aside from a few minor changes... yeah.
(Oliver flips the switch and the lights come on along the wall where the display cases for the team's costumes were set-up. There are extra mannequins now, with all of their costumes lined up... except for one empty one in the middle.)
Rene: The line-up could use a little more green, hoss.
Oliver: I'm not quite there, yet. I'm thinking that with this team behind me, it will be sooner rather than later.

(Anatoly walks among the smiling families in the children's hospital before returning to Oliver, who watches from the hallway.)
Oliver: How's it feel to be Robin Hood?
Anatoly: You tell me. You're the one with bow and arrow. (sighs) I know I said Russia's not good for you, Oliver -
Oliver: But you thought that this heist and helping these people would convince me to change my mind about leaving?
Anatoly: Da. Like I said, I need your help.
Oliver: Russia is your home, Anatoly. Let me go save mine. You can do this without me.
Anatoly: (suddenly serious)  I am not worried about what Bratva will become without you. I worry about what I become. (smiling again) But more important question - how drunk can we get you before dropping you off on Lian Yu?

(Anatoly has just told Oliver that he is going back to Russia but he's leaving his men behind  in Star City and that they are anxious to get revenge on the city's vigilantes.)
Oliver: This is between you and me! No one else!
Anatoly: "No one else?!" You betrayed every man in Bratva! You betrayed Russian community! You even worked against old team! When I see this, I think "I still trust him anyway." What a fool I was!
Oliver: No. I'm the fool. Because I thought that our friendship - everything that we have been through together - actually meant something to you. The person that I knew would never betray a friend. -would never threaten innocent people and over what? A payday. When I left Russia, I was convinced that you could lead The Bratva. That you could set them on a better path. And now look at you. You're no better than Gregor.
Anatoly: (sadly but firmly) I told you I was worried about what I would become without your help. I did what I had to do to keep Bratva together and to stay alive. I became what I had to become. You asked why I changed? That is it.


Felicity offers up her apartment as a new secret lair for Team Arrow after Oliver locks up The Bunker.

Lyla loans the team gear from ARGUS.

Quentin tells the City Council that Oliver was away for a week on a spiritual retreat. It turns out Counilwoman Pollars is a big fan of that kind of thing.

Oliver breaks things off with Susan Williams.

Anatoly was last seen in the modern day in 512.

Oliver refers to his conversation with Anatoly in the flashbacks of 517 and how Anatoly told him trying to shift his rage into his Hood persona would not work forever.

Rene notes that the medical company Anatoly and his men robbed was barely hanging on and that the jobs of the hundreds of people working there were already endangered. This was covered at a briefing which Oliver also attended.

Rene was suspended from work, by Quentin, until Chase is dealt with due to Rene having threatened to "pop a cap in the DA's ass."

Anatoly's reason for stealing the drugs is to fashion a street drug more addictive than heroin. Things have gotten bad for The Bratva and he needs a new revenue stream to secure his position.

Diggle refers to the events of 504 and Oliver telling him that he could atone for murdering his own brother as Spartan rather than rotting in a cell for a crime he didn't commit.

Curtis uses Ray Palmer's tracking nanites - last seen in 510 - to find Felicity and Helix.

Helix knows that Felicity is Overwatch and Curtis is Mr. Terrific. It took them 8 minutes and 3 minutes respectively to figure that out.

Anatoly returns to Russia, telling Oliver that Oliver Queen is now considered an enemy of the Bratva. For the sake of their former friendship, Anatoly tells Oliver that his men will be staying in Star City after their bail is paid and that they are anxious to get revenge on the vigilantes that bested them.

Adrian Chase is publicly  revealed to be Prometheus.

The episode ends with Adrian Chase fleeing the federal agent's safe-house in a stolen car.

Five years ago, Oliver made plans to return to Lian Yu to create a cover story for where he had been for the last five years. At the same time, Anatoly plans to take the Bratva back to its roots as an organization that protect the common people. To that end, he plots a heist to steal the drugs needed to treat an entire hospital full of children who are dying of tuberculosis. He later admits that he hoped to use this "feel-good' situation to persuade Oliver to stay, in part because he feared trying to take over The Bratva alone. Oliver convinced Anatoly that he was capable of saving his own home and that Oliver should leave to save his.

The Winick Factor

Granting that Oliver has done a lot of stupid and short-sighted things in the comics, hiring Russian mobsters to kill an enemy and allowing them to steal vitally-needed medical supplies in exchange for their help is somewhere on the Top Ten list. In fact, I'd place it just under Oliver engaging in insider-trading to profit off of a weapons manufacturer's stock price soaring, arranging a hostile takeover and then closing all their factories to finance his run for mayor. At least this episode - unlike the Judd Winick storyline from the comics that I just described - acknowledges that Oliver's actions have endangered the jobs of innocent people and that he is being stupid/selfish.

The Bottom Line

A solid episode ignoring the repetitiveness of stories where Oliver needs to learn to trust other people and the fact that Oliver is acting stupid and short-sighted even by the standards of this show. The ensemble's performances (particularly those of Amell, Ramsey and Nykl) and a strongly balanced script help sell some of the contrivances.

Starman Plays Tex Murphy: Overseer - Part 4

It's logic puzzles galore, as we have to tape together a cut-up key-card,  transpose times to open a safe and explore some ancient Anasazi ruins in order to find a hidden laboratory. At least we get to talk to Wanda Peck some more... *sighs*

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 2, Episode 16 - Doomworld

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


With The Spear of Destiny in the hands of The Legion of Doom, reality has been rewritten and The Legends have never existed! Still, success has not eased tensions within The Legion of Doom's membership. Shockingly, the fate of The Legends and all of reality may rest on the broad shoulders of Mick Rory, who has never found it easy to be a hero...


Countless science-fiction stories involving restoring a timeline that has been changed.


While the question of Mick's trustworthiness is debatable, why in the name of Odin's ravens would you leave the guy you don't trust unattended, in the home of one of your teammates with his mother upstairs making sandwiches, after telling said untrustworthy person that you don't trust him?! Even ignoring the potential danger to Mrs. Heywood, what's to stop said untrustworthy person from going off and doing something untrustworthy?


Emily Bett Rickards has a fun cameo as an alternate version of Felicity Smoak who dons a costume in the wake of the rest of all of Team Arrow (save perhaps Mister Terrific) dying.

Honestly, the whole ensemble is on fire to such a degree it's hard to pick anyone out as the best.


The script for this episode is strong, filled with lots of witty dialogue and the perfect balance of drama, action and comedy.

Trivia Of Tomorrow

The episode opens with a new narration by Eobard Thawne.

At one point Snart says that he and Rory could be tossed in Iron Heights Prison and plot an escape for old time's sake. This is a clever nod to the show Prison Break, which Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell starred in before being cast in The Flash.

The STAR Labs reactor building in which Jax and Stein are working on Thawne's secret project resembles the domed-base of The Legion of Doom from the classic Challenge Of The Superfriends cartoons.

Nate remarks that Ray's pet rat looks like an Indiana as Ray and Rory argue about his name. This is a nod to the Indiana Jones movies, where we find out that Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones Jr's nickname came from the dog that he had growing up.


Among Eobard Thawne's many scientific accomplishments in the new reality are figuring out cold fusion, saving the polar bear, fixing global warming and making desalination sustainable

Nate Heywood calls the inconsistencies in reality that he discovered "scars". He theorizes that when reality was rewritten, his subconscious picked up on the inconsistencies in the new reality whenever he saw something that conflicted with his memories of the old reality.

Ray borrowed a set of dipole magnets from STAR Labs in Star City.

Ray constructed an energy gun which he calls a Transreality Multiplexer. It targets irregularities in the hippocampus, acting like a Ctrl-Z for memories (i.e. like an undo command on a computer). In short, it can restore the memories of people who had their minds altered by reality changing.

Nate notes that Ray's random impulse to work on such a device was the result of a scar prompting Ray to try and create something to fix reality despite his completely lack of training and resources in the new reality.

Gideon spent the last year working on new algorithms to redirect power from the the idle quadrants of The Waverider. This, in theory, could allow them to boost the power of Rip's distress signal.

Jax says that the reactor Stein is building will burn 1,000 times hotter than the sun once it was fully operational. Depending on if he was referring to the surface temperature or the core temperature, this means the reactor would burn somewhere from 58,000 degrees Kelvin to 150 million degrees Kelvin.

Dialogue Triumphs

Eobard Thawne: (voice-over) My name is Eobard Thawne. With the help of Damien Darhk, Malcolm Merlyn, Leonard Snart and Mick Rory, I have obtained The Spear of Destiny - an ancient artifact with the power to rewrite reality itself. And we have. It's a brave new world!

Amaya: The mayor would like a word... Miss Smoak.
Felicity: (in a deep, gravely voice like what Oliver Queen uses as Green Arrow) Then maybe he should have come down here himself instead of sending The Bimbo Brigade.

Merlyn: You keep ignoring my requests for a meeting.
Thawne: Because there's no reason for one. Our partnership is ended! You got what you wanted. Your wife and your son are both alive and in good spirits. Your daughter Thea adores you! Nyssa Al Ghul is trapped in a miserable, closeted life in the middle of Ohio. And - hey - you can even clap again! What more could you possibly want?!
Merlyn: How about The Spear of Destiny? There are still some things in this world I would like to see changed...
Thawne: How many times do I have to tell you this, Malcolm? The Spear is safest in my hands. Besides, I'm the only one who knows how to use it.
Merlyn: That's because you destroyed The Kalabros Manuscript!
Thawne: Well, it's not my fault you don't retain information like I do! Speedster brains are handy that way.

(Snart and Rory exit a diamond exchange. A guard comes running at them. Rory shoots a fire blast the guard barely ducks away from.)
Snart: Cool it, Mick. We already got what we came for.
Rory: Just heating things up.
(A team of police officers run up as they round the corner.)
Cop: Don't move! Both of you on the ground!
(Rory draws his gun and aims it at the cops. Snart holds back.)
Cop: Mr. Snart! Sorry. Sir. We didn't realize it was you. Carry on.
(Rory looks confused as Snart just smiles and the police put their guns away and break ranks, leaving Snart and Rory a clear path to walk away.)
Rory: What the hell's going on? No roasting pigs?
Snart: No need. We're home free, buddy.  It's good to be the king.
Rory: No getaway? No chase?
Snart: You want a chase, I can arrange a chase. Even get us tossed in Iron Heights and we can plan an escape, just like old times. How does that sound?
Rory: Boring!
Snart: Well, we can hit up the Central City Bank. They've got a fancy new vault I've been dying to crack...
Rory: What's the point? You own the bank and half the city!
Snart: You mean we own half the city, Mick. We're partners, remember?
(Snart reaches for his phone, which has begun vibrating while he was talking. He glances at it and his smile fades.)
Snart: Hmmm... Seems our next score will have to wait. Thawne is... summoning us.
Rory: Since when do we get summoned?
Snart: Since the man agreed not to erase you and your friends from existence.

Nate: You saved my life?! Why?!
Rory: ... because I'm an idiot.

Nate: This is crazier than any of my crazy theories! You're trying to tell me a group called (making air quotes) "The Legion of Doom" used something called the (making air quotes) "Spear of Destiny" to rewrite reality? Who even names something The Legion of Doom?!
Rory: You did.
Nate: Me?! (scoffs) Now, you only remember the old reality because you're part of The Legion?
Rory: I'm not part of anything. I just made a terrible mistake.

(Nate gets up off the floor after being zapped with the Transreality Multiplexer. His face is oddly calm as he turns around, looks at Mick Rory and then punches him.)
You son of a bitch!
(Rory grabs his jaw, not knocked back but stunned by how hard the punch was as he looks at the Transreality Multiplexer and then to a completely stunned Ray Palmer.)
It works!

(Rory zaps Ray with the Transreality Multiplexer. After a second, Ray looks at Rory, becomes enraged and punches him.)
Ray: You!
Rory: (rubbing his jaw) I deserved that.
Ray: Damn straight you did!
Rory: Hey! If it wasn't for me, you'd all be dead!
Nate: Yeah, Mick. Thanks a lot! You trapped each of us in our own personal hell.
Ray: Do you have any idea how many toilets I've cleaned?!  So many!
(Sara and Amaya enter the room.)
Nate: Amaya?
Ray: Sara?
Rory: Hey, dumbasses? They have no clue who you are. They work for Damien Darhk.
(Without a word, Sara withdraws her escrima sticks and Amaya pulls her guns.)

(Sara is shot with the Transreality Multiplexer. She is shaken for a moment and then walks over to Mick Rory before punching him.)
Rory: One more person hits me, I'm gonna punch back!

Ray: I can only imagine how those psychopaths are torturing Rip.
(Cut to Rip, passed out on the floor under a table in the galley of The Waverider, where an ornate, clock-themed, multi-layer cake stands. He is quite clearly drunk.)
Rip: Gideon!  I've discovered the missing ingredient for my recipe! (takes a swig from the bottle he is clutching) Rum!
(Rip tries to put the bottle on the table and succeeds only in dropping it on the floor. He shrugs at this in momentary confusion.) 
Rip: And speaking of which, I'm gonna need you to fabricate me another bottle of it! Ooooh! And some nachoes!

Snart: When your minions bring Mick back, I want to arrange a meeting with Thawne. And when I say "arrange a meeting", I mean -
Merlyn: - one between Thawne and his maker?
Darhk: Cute. A little mustache-twirly for my taste.

(Damien Darhk lifts Sara off the ground with his telekinesis.)
I'm going to miss you, Ms. Lance. Having you around to attend to my every whim was too enticing to pass up. Plus it's so hard to find good help these days!
Snart; (sarcastically) Really? Now's the time for a bad guy monologue?

(As Sara escapes with a now unbrainwashed Amaya, all thanks to Damien Darhk deciding to gloat and have Amaya kill Sara instead of just killing Sara himself.)
Damien? What did I tell you?
Merlyn: (mock-cheerful) For what it's worth, I thought it was a very good bad guy monologue.
(Darhk just simmers in impotent rage.)

(Thawne has just run into the reactor room where The Legends were trying - and failing - to restore Stein's memory.)
Thawne: Well. It looks like you losers managed to remember who you are.
(A flash of red lightning later and Thawne is standing on the other side of the room, holding The Spear of Destiny.)
Thawne: I should have wiped you from existence when I had the chance! Do you have any idea how infuriating it is... to know that Merlyn was right?!

(Darhk and Nate are struggling over The Spear Of Destiny. Thawne wakes up at that moment and they both see his eyes open. There is a moment of silent agreement as Darhk releases the spear and Nate swings, somehow catching Thawne as he's charging them. Thawne goes flying across the room and into a rack of chemicals. Darhk and Nate both laugh in delight and almost high-five before they remember "Oh yeah - you're on the other team.")
Darhk: Perhaps not.
(The two resume fighting.)

Snart: Mick! Hand it over! Like a good boy.
Rory: You mean a good dog. That's all I am to you. An attack dog.
Snart: Now, that's not true. Sure, we both know you're not the sharpest tool in the shed. But that's why we're partners! Remember?
Rory: You're right. I'm not a genius.
(Rory starts to walk toward Snart... then slides The Spear of Destiny along the floor behind him to Amaya.)
Rory: But I'm no one's dog, Leonard. Not anymore.
Snart: Well... I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Rory (to Amaya) Undo this mess.
(Amaya takes up The Spear and begins to chant. Suddenly, she freezes up - literally as a cold blast takes her in the chest and Snart approaches her.)
Snart: I am sorry about your friend, Mick. I know you loved her pieces.
(Snart taps Amaya on the shoulder and she shatters completely. Everyone else stands in shock, except for Rory, who draws his flame gun and stares down Snart. After a few seconds though, he lowers his gun and turns away, walking for the exit.)
Snart: Well, if you want something done right...
Darhk: Well done, Leonard.
Sara: (To Snart) You bastard! (To the rest of the Legion) I'll kill you all!
(Thawne suddenly appears behind Snart.)
Thawne:  Actually, I believe that's my line...


In the new reality, Damien Darhk is Mayor of Star City.

Sara and Amaya work for Damien Darhk as his enforcers.

In the new reality, Felicty Smoak - her hair now dyed black - is a vigilante fighting against Damien Darhk. We never find out her code-name but she has a purple costume with a mask, similar to the one worn by The Huntress, and is armed with two of Mister Terrific's T-Spheres.

Darhk has a collection of masks from vigilantes he has defeated. The collection includes the masks of Ragman, Black Canary, Wild Dog, Vigilante, Green Arrow, The Flash and Spartan. He adds the mask worn by Felicity Smoak.

In the new reality, Eobard Thawne runs STAR Labs.

Thawne has The Black Flash trapped in a cell in the main lab of STAR Labs.

In the new reality, Rebecca Merlyn and Tommy Merlyn are still alive. Thea Queen is now a loving and devoted daughter of Malcolm Merlyn. Nyssa Al Ghul is trapped in a miserable, closeted life somewhere in Ohio and his severed hand has been restored.

Thawne destroyed the Kalabros Manuscript, ensuring that he's the only person who now knows how to use The Spear of Destiny. He's also holding onto it... despite Merlyn's objections.

In the new reality, Jefferson Jackson and Martin Stein are employees at STAR Labs with Jax acting as Stein's manager.

In the new reality, Snart and Rory have returned to a life of crime. This time, however, the cops allow them to get away with anything.

From Rip's perspective, a year has passed since The Spear of Destiny was used. He has spent that time in hiding, perfecting his baking skills with Gideon, unaware if any of the rest of The Legends are alive or not.

In the new reality, Dr. Martin Stein still has a wife and daughter.

In the new reality, Ray Palmer is a janitor at the STAR Labs Reactor site.

In the new reality, Donald Trump is President of the United States and good friends with Eobard Thawne.

In the new reality, Nate Heywood has become a crazed conspiracy theorist with a blog that only his mother reads, who goes to Eobard Thawne with his theory that reality was rewritten.

The video game that Ray is playing when Nate and Rory find him seems to be based on Ray's actions during the Invasion! storyline. We see a meter on the screen that says "Dwarf Star Energy" and the character is blasting aliens called Dominators who look like the alien invaders from Invasion.

In the new reality Axel - the rat that Ray gave Rory as a pet in 211 - is a test animal at STAR Labs that Ray liberated for use in his own experiments. In this reality, Ray named him Tesla.

Snart implanted a GPS inside of Mick Rory.

The first thing Damien Darhk did in the new reality was reacquire his magic powers.

Damien says that he was told that he killed Laurel Lance in the original reality but that future never came to be for him. He did, however, kill Laurel Lance again in the new reality.

Ray Palmer has a gluten allergy or, at least, prefers gluten-free bread.

Rory recognizes what Aramaic sounds like because he enjoyed The Passion of The Christ.

Snart kills Amaya before she can finishing using The Spear of Destiny.

Thawne uses his reactor to destroy The Spear of Destiny. He then lets everyone - including his treacherous teammates - go free, since it's more satisfying for him to know that they failed to stop him and have to live out the rest of their lives in the reality he created.

As the episode closes, Martin Stein still hasn't had his memories of the original timeline restored.

Sara declares that their only chance now is going back in time to 1916 and stopping The Legion of Doom from getting the complete Spear of Destiny in the first place.

It is revealed that The Waverider has been shrunk and is disguised as a model on the desk in the main lab area of STAR Labs. Rip Hunter and Gideon have apparently been trapped inside it for the last year.


Star City - 2017.
Central City - 2017.

The Bottom Line

Fantastic. Just fantastic.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 18 - Abra Kadabra

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


Gypsy returns from Earth 19 in pursuit of another dimension-hopping criminal - one from the 64th century, armed with advanced technology that may as well be magic by the standards of 21st Century Earth One. Calling himself Abra Kadabra, the fugitive seems to harbor a grudge against The Flash and knows far more about him than he should. Still, he is willing to tell Barry all about Savitar in exchange for his freedom...


The Flash comics of John Broome and Mark Waid. Caitlin invokes Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law. Back To The Future is name-dropped by Cisco. Caitlin's transformation into Killer Frost in the final scene resembles the transformation of dead humans into Wights in Game of Thrones.


The office building we see in the opening scene is labeled as belonging to Stagg Industries. In Season One, Simon Stagg's company was Stagg Enterprises. (Possibly he had two companies in his name? Or maybe this was changed by Flashpoint?)

Caitlin's discovery that she's been impaled on a pipe looks more goofy than horrific.

Iris can't seem to decide if she's confident in Barry's ability to save her or not. I swear that it changes from episode to episode whether she is refusing to worry about the future or is desperate to do anything to avert her fate.


David Dastmalchian proves a perfect Abra Kadabra, finding the perfect balance of smug smarm and showmanship essential to the character.

While I regret the writers' apparent need to give Caitlin a romantic subplot every season, the chemistry between Tom Felton and Danielle Panabaker in this episode is fantastic and they're easily the most convincing couple out of all the romances on the show... which makes the final scene all the more painful.


While the show generally does a fantastic job with its slow-time CGI, the sequence in which Kadabra releases hundreds of playing cards into the air as a smokescreen looks particularly well-done.

Between the tense direction, all of the ensemble performances and the pitch-perfect music, everything in the surgery scene works together perfectly.

The final scene - with its use of silence apart from the sound of the heart-monitor as Caitlin dies - is similarly powerful.

Flash Facts

The opening scene takes place at Stagg Industries' building in Central City. In the comics, Stagg Industries is the business of Simon Stagg, who was the chief nemesis of the the superhero Metamorpho.

The DCTVU version of Simon Stagg was killed by Eobard Thawne in the second episode of The Flash's first season.

Stagg Enterprises  was mentioned twice before on Arrow. In the sixth episode of Arrow's first season, Laurel Lance said they were the single largest donor to her legal clinic. In the tenth episode of Arrow Season One, a Stagg Enterprises chemical factory in Starling City was the target of one of Firefly's attacks.

First appearing in The Flash #123 (May 1962), Abra Kadabra is one of The Flash's deadliest foes. Born Citizen Abra in the far future of the 64th Century, he became obsessed with stage magic and illusion at a young age. Unfortunately, science had advanced to the point where the amusements of slight-of-hand magic were passe and Abra could not make a living at his chosen craft. Stealing a time machine prototype, Abra went back in time, armed with a variety of "tricks", to where he thought he might find a more appreciative audience. His efforts to force an audience to applaud him using mind-control technology would gain the attentions of The Flash, who went on to defeat him again and again, as Abra became obsessed with proving his power and gaining true magic powers.

After Wally West took over the mantle of The Flash from Barry Allen in the comics, Abra became obsessed with destroying the new Flash or otherwise making him miserable. This was due to Wally West being the hero who would ultimately defeat Abra at some point in The Future. This grudge has continued even into the Rebirth universe, where Abra Kadabra was the main villain of the first storyline in the Titans series.

The DCTVU version of Abra Kadabra seems true to the original comic form, save for the fact that he comes from an alternate Earth. Gypsy confirms that he's from the 64th century and that they think he has some kind of nanotechnology built into his body which allow him to perform a number of "tricks" including teleportation and telekinesis.

In what seems to be a nod to Abra Kadabra's grudge against Wally West in the comics, Kadabra has a grudge against Barry and he confirms that the two are great enemies in the future, despite this being the first time Barry has met Kadabra and the episode ending with Kadabra going to be executed. This indirectly suggests that Kadabra learned of his final fate at some point in his past and turned on The Flash trying to avert it.

Abra Kadabra's second robbery occurs at Kord Industries. In the DC Comics Universe, Kord Industries is the technologies company run by Ted Kord a.k.a. the second Blue Beetle.

The DCTVU version of Kord Industries has been mentioned several times on Arrow. According to Thea Queen, Kord Industries is one of the largest weapons manufacturers in the DCTVU. They also manufacture consumer goods, including "awesome cel phones." They are Palmer Technologies' main business competitor. The Clock King worked for Kord Industries before he turned to crime.

In considering Abra Kadabra's technology, Caitlin invokes Clarke's Third Law - "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Arthur C. Clarke was a British author, inventor and futurist, probably most famous for his novel 2001: A Space Odyssey. Along with Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein, Clarke was considered one of "The Big Three" science-fiction writers of the mid-Twentieth Century.

When naming Barry Allen's greatest enemies, including himself, Thawne, Zoom and Savitar, Abra Kadabra also mentions someone with the last name DeVoe. This is likely a reference to Clifford DeVoe a.k.a. The Thinker.

Created by John Broome for All-Flash #12 (Fall 1943), The Thinker was an enemy of the Jay Garrick Flash. Clifford DeVoe was a failed defense attorney who realized that most of the criminals he represented had the skills to commit various crimes but lacked the intelligence to plan their heists efficiently or to manage an organized criminal empire. He established himself as The Thinker, organizing the small-time crooks of Central City into an organized mob. He also fought against The Flash using advanced technology - some of it stolen and some of it of his own design. Chief among this devices was The Thinking Cap - a helmet which enhanced The Thinker's intelligence and allowed him to project mental force blasts as well as control the minds of others.


Barry notes that, instead of sprinklers, every floor in the Stagg Industries building uses a halon gas system that absorbs all the oxygen in case of fire. Interestingly, the manufacture of new halon-based extinguisher systems have been banned in the USA since 1994 due to halon gas depleting ozone. Several halon systems are still in use in around the country, however, thanks to a grandfather clause that prevented existing systems from needing to be replaced. The halon systems were quite popular in libraries, archives and computer labs where a sprinkler-based extinguisher would risk damaging printed materials and electronics.

Gypsy says they think Abra Kadabra's tricks are powered by nanotechnology implanted into his body. This allows him to accomplished several different tricks, including telekinesis, holograms, explosives and teleportation.

Cisco is able to input search parameters into the STAR Labs' satellite to make it search for anyone in Central City who vibrates at a different frequency than "ordinary Earth One folk". This enables him to locate Abra Kadabra without using his Vibe powers.

Julian finds an odd particulate residue at Stagg Industries. He's not precisely sure what it's made of save that it is organic and has some metallic hydrogen properties. Presumably it's a byproduct of Abra Kadabra's nanotechnology.

Kadabra has some device which enables him to locate Eobard Thawne's hidden Time Vault in STAR Labs and to locate a glowing blue sphere hidden inside of it. This is later revealed to be a futuristic power source.

Cisco says that when Caitlin's metahuman powers activate, her metabolic rate offsets cold tissue destruction. In layman's terms, she can regenerate the damage done to her body.

It is normal for shrapnel to cavitate and displace tissue during surgery. Hemorrhaging can occur if there is too much blood loos.

One piece of shrapnel is wedged between Caitlin's kidney and her inferior vena cava. This part of the body is surrounded by several major blood vessels. Damage to them can cause shock. There is also a tendon, which Julian has to work around.

Dialogue Triumphs

(Two guards walk through a high-tech lab in Stagg Industries.)
Guard #1: Looks like we may need to find a new job. Heard Stagg Industries may be getting bought out.
Guard #2: By who?
Guard #1: Doesn't really matter now, does it? All I know is we've got millions of dollars in tech - (gesturing to an large glass case holding some piece of technology) like whatever that thing is - that no one's using.
(Abra Kadabra emerges from behind the case, seemingly appearing out of thin air.)
Abra Kadabra: Then surely you gentlemen won't mind if I abscond with some of it?
(The two guards draw their guns as Abra Kadabra gestures at the case.)
Abra Kadabra:
This piece in particular...
Guard #2: How did you get in here?!
Abra Kadabra: Believe me, that's the least impressive of my tricks.
Guard #1: Hands up, pal! Do it now or I'll shoot! Stop!
(Abra Kadabra ignores him and walks around to the other side of the case. The guards open fire as Abra Kadabra presses his hands against the glass. With a flash of blue light, he is inside the case, which it turns out is quite bulletproof. Abra Kadabra raises his hands like a stage magician who just pulled off an amazing trick before turning his back on the guards and taking the technology. The guards stand there, dumbfounded that their shots failed to penetrate the case.)
Guard #2: How the hell did he do that?
(Abra Kadabra waves his hand and there is another flash of blue light. When it fades, the guards are inside the glass case and Abra Kadabra is on the outside, as the alarms begin to go off and red lights flash.)
Abra Kadabra: Maybe you can figure out how I did it? But I doubt you'll have time...
(Abra Kadabra snaps his fingers and turns away. As he does so, water begins to pour into the case, seemingly from nowhere. The two guards begin to panic as the glass case begins to fill up, the water rising to their waists in seconds...)

(Abra is walking down a staircase, holding a piece of technology, alarms blaring in the background, as The Flash runs up.)
The Flash: I don't think that's yours, pal.
Abra Kadabra: (surprised) Flash?
The Flash: You didn't think I'd want to come meet the newest resident of Iron Heights?
Abra Kadabra: No. I assumed that you'd show. I just didn't expect you to be so young. (grinning as he emphasizes each word) Barry. Allen.
The Flash: Now, how do you know who I am?!
Abra Kadabra: (taking a handkerchief from his sleeve) I'm from the future!
(The Flash looks at him in disbelief. As Abra speaks, he drapes the handkerchief over the technology in his other hand.)
Abra Kadabra:
You don't believe me? Let's see... uh... 2017? are things going with your doomed love, Iris West? Or your greatest foe... Savitar?
(Abra suddenly jerks the cloth away revealing his hand to be empty.)The Flash: You know Savitar?
Abra Kadabra: I know everything about him. And you. 
(The Flash suddenly runs forward and grabs at Abra's arm. When he slows down, he realizes he is holding a fake mannequin's arm.)
The Flash:  What the-?
(Abra waves a hand in The Flash's face and there's a bright flash of light.  The Flash is blinded as Abra runs for the door. Suddenly, a breach opens and Gypsy emerges, firing a blast of red energy which knocks Abra down as The Flash recovers. Abra stands as well, slipping some playing cards from his sleeve as he does so.)
Abra Kadabra: Gypsy. Still seeking revenge, I see?
Gypsy: I'm gonna get it this time.
Abra Kadabra: We'll see.
(Abra grins as transfers the cards from one hand to the other, fanning them out.)
(The Flash charges forward as Gypsy ducks and covers and the cards suddenly jump into the air, multiplying into a swarm of cards. Barry bats them away but by the time he gets through the cloud of playing cards, Abra Kadabra has vanished again.)

(Flash, Kid Flash, Gypsy and Vibe have Abra Kadabra surrounded.)
Gypsy: You can't out-rick all of us, Kadabra.
(Gypsy and Vibe both fire their blasts at Kadabra. The blasts go through him.)
Abra Kadabra: I think I just did.
(Abra Kadabra fades away in a flash of light, revealed to be a hologram.) 

Caitlin: (To Julian) I was so focused on not hurting you as Killer Frost that I forgot that I could hurt you as Caitlin Snow. And for that I'm very sorry. So I understand if you don't trust me anymore. But maybe you can find it in your heart to forgive me?

Caitlin: I don't need a hospital! All I need is a mirror and a steady set of hands.

Barry: I have nothing to offer you. No reprieve. No escape from what you're facing. You've done some terrible things. But you are still a man. You have a family. Friends. People you care about. Somewhere inside of you there must be a glimmer of hope. It's that part of you that I'm asking... I'm begging... help me save her.
Abra Kadabra: The Flash. Begging. (grinning wickedly) See, here it is. In the future, you and I have been enemies for years. Oh, there have been others, of course. There was Thawne. Zoom. DeVoe. But none of them hurt you like Savitar. He truly broke you. I have to be honest, I was always a little bit jealous. But now... it's like I get to kill her too.
(Abra Kadabra grins with mock cheerfulness as he glances at his handcuffs.)
Abra Kadabra: If you'll excuse me, I have my execution to attend.


Stagg Industries/Enterprises - first mentioned in 102 - is seen. The company is apparently in danger of being bought out.

Julian and Caitlin apparently stopped dating in the wake of 315 and the revelation that Caitlin had stolen a piece of The Philosopher's Stone.

Abra Kadabra's powers allow him to block both Cisco and Gypsy's ability to "vibe" his location.

Earth 19 does not have satellites capable of analyzing the vibrational frequencies of people across an entire city. Cisco offers to set Gypsy up with something similar to the STAR Labs set-up.

Cisco refers to the last time he worked with Gypsy and her kissing him in 314.

Abra Kadabra's third robbery is at Mercury Labs, which was last mentioned in 223 after Zoom stole a magnetar from them.

Mercury Labs does not exist on Earth 19.

Abra Kadabra claims that Savitar was the first speedster and that Barry didn't find a way to stop him until after Savitar killed Iris. He also claims to know Savitar's true name.

Julian served as a field medic during his time in the Royal Army. He never performed surgery, however.

Gypsy confirms that she was dating her former partner and that Abra Kadabra killed him three years earlier.

Gypsy theorizes that the technology Abra Kadabra is stealing is being used to build a time machine.

Cisco confirms that all the components Kadabra had been stealing were similar to what he used to build Eobard Thawne's Time Sphere in 123.

Cisco says the only thing he never understood about the Time Sphere was what it used for a power source. This is revealed to be the blue sphere that Kadabra stole from The Time Vault.

Cisco now has such fine control of his powers that he can create a portal to catch a falling Kid Flash and open a second one to let him land safely closer to the ground in a matter of seconds.

Barry is now able to phase through a moving vehicle, grab a figure inside of said vehicle and phase himself and said figure out the other side of the vehicle while - all while in mid-air!

Cisco tells Gypsy that he's not sure how he feels about her in the wake of her refusal to let Abra Kadabra walk - even for a little while - so that they can learn about Savitar's identity.

Gypsy returns to Earth 19 with Abra Kadabra.

Julia says his stitch-work may leave Caitlin with a scar on her stomach. Caitlin says she was never much for wearing two-piece bathing suits anyway. The two of them apparently make amends, with Julian kissing Caitlin.

Barry decides to go into the future to find out information on who Savitar is.

Strawberry Jell-O is Caitlin's favorite flavor.

HR spent the last two days in a romantic tryst with a woman namdd Rhonda.

Lime Jell-O is HR's favorite flavor.

Caitlin's heart stops shortly after HR returns. She flat-lines in the rush to save her and Julian removes the necklace holding her powers in check. Her heart restarts shortly after that and her scar heals. The episode ends with Caitlin's hair and skin having turned white amd her unleashing a blast of ice, having seemingly finally changed into Killer Frost.

Untelevised Adventures

Gypsy refers to Abra Kadabra having killed before on Earth-19 three years earlier and again more recently. It was three years earlier that Abra killed Gypsy's partner/boyfriend.

The Fridge Factor

Powerfully acted though it is, it cannot be denied that Caitlin's injuries here do little but provide angst for the men in her life (especially Julian) and that her becoming evil because of her powers is a load of bull poop.

Again, Iris has no role in this episode but being saved and inspiring Barry.

The Bottom Line

Easily the strongest episode of the season to date and one of the best episodes of The Flash ever.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Starman Plays Tex Murphy: Overseer - Part 3

In which we explore Carl Linksy's secret warehouse office, drug some bananas for the sheer, simple joy of doing so (and not because we will need drugged bananas later) and have a much better second-interview with Sylvia.

We also see Tex's first meeting with Chelsea in a flashback within a flashback, try - and fail - to romance Special Agent Wanda Peck and have our first encounter with Sonny Fletcher - the one PI in the world more sleazy than Tex Murphy.

Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #11 - A Preview/Review

The Hesguard Institute is the most secure facility of its kind. Located in the heart of a time storm, is is all but impossible to reach without a specially shielded ship and even harder to escape. Not that its inmates - who include the most violent and criminally insane minds known to humanity - have any desire to escape. Not since the development of The Bad Wolf Process, which purges the negative emotions from their minds. Of course one of their inmates - a murderer with multiple personalities known only as The Doctor - is proving far more resistant than any other subject they've treated.

What happened to The Doctor? How did he come to be arrested for the murder of his companion, UNIT Agent Tara Mishra, in 53rd Century deep space? Can Rose Tyler - now masquerading as an official conducting a surprise inspection - rescue him? And what of the mysterious Sin-Eaters - the "blank" beings that take on the negative traits of the treated?

Cavan Scott has done it again! This issue's story hooked me from the first page and left me wanting for more at the last. Scott's scripts are equaled only by the artwork of Cris Bolson, who perfectly captures the likenesses of the actors and presents the action of the issue in all its splendor and horror. Both creators - along with colorist Marco Lesko - have captured the essence of the Ninth Doctor era of Doctor Who and present their tale masterfully.

This first chapter of Sin-Eaters is a perfect entry point to the series for those Whovians who have yet to give the comic-based adventures of The Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler a try. I'd advise against those unfamiliar with the show making this their first Doctor Who comic to read - there's a little too much assumption that the reader knows certain facts regarding The Doctor's previous lives - but long time fans of the show will love this issue!

Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #11 releases on March 29, 2016. 
 Ask for it at your local comic shop or purchase it on

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 17 - Distant Sun

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


Alien bounty hunters swarm National City when a price is placed on Supergirl's head. Meanwhile, Alex deals with awkwardness when Maggie's ex comes into town for a few days and J'onn receives an interesting order from President Olivia Marsdin.


Romeo And Juliet (name-dropped by Mon-El, the theme of noble families and forbidden love)


Odd that the most powerful telepath in the Alcorian system doesn't read the mind of the guy who threatens him to see if the weapon he's being threatened with is real and, oh, not a stapler.

Where did Queen Rhea learn that Kryptonite could be used to hurt Kryptonians? (It's possible she got the information from some source on Earth, but it seems unlikely given her high-and-mighty attitude toward the Earthlings having anything to benefit her people.)

For that matter, given how much The Daxamite royalty hate Krypton and anything associated with it, what are the odds they'd be hauling Kyrponite around with them to be fashioned into knives when they call the rocks of Krypton "litter" and had no idea their son had fallen in love with a Kryptonian woman until a week ago?

The Daxamites have been orbiting Earth for a little over two weeks now - give or take. Why then, can the king be stabbed to death with a simple knife? Shouldn't he have the same invulnerability that Mon-El developed almost instantly?


As usual, Chris Wood and Melissa Benoist's flirting is the high point of the episode. But Wood gets some good moments here to show off his dramatic chops.

Chyler Leigh damn near steals the show with her scenes as Alex in this episode, however, and her subplot has definitely been the strongest one of the season to date.


The effects work during the first fight between Supergirl and the Amalak is good.

Kevin Smith's direction of the comedic scenes is well-done.

Super Trivia

Despite Kara having been fired from CatCo in 215, the opening narration still describes her as a reporter working for CatCo.

This episode was directed by filmmaker Kevin Smith - famed for his View Askewniverse and his work writing various Marvel and DC Comics books, including a critically acclaimed run on Green Arrow.

The alien bounty hunter with the laser-shooting eye-patch whom Kara first fights is identified as being part of a race of alien bounty hunters called Amalaks.

In the comics, Amalak was the name of an alien enemy of Superman and Supergirl. Amalak's planet of origin was never identified, but according to him it was destroyed by a Kryptonian and he was the last survivor of his people. To that end, he armed himself with a variety of energy weapons based around mimicking the energy of a red sun and devoted himself to destroying what little remained of Krypton and its people.

The telepathic bounty hunter claims to be the most power telepath in the Alcorian System.

In the comics, Alcoria is the home-world of Tal-Dar of the Intergalactic Space Police. First appearing in Detective Comics #282 (August 1960), Tal-Dar has the distinct honor of being the only alien (other than Superman, of course) who made multiple appearances in Batman's Silver Age adventures.

Mon-El makes mention of a planet that a Durlan emissary told him about when he was a kid.

In the original comics, Durla was the home-world to a race of shape-shifting aliens. Chameleon Boy of the Legion of Superheroes was a Durlan and the race was almost universally mistrusted due to their powers.


The first alien bounty hunter had a interplanetary messaging device, which can access an alien-run "dark Net".

The bounty on Kara's head is 300 quartz crowns. According to Mon-El, this is an insanely high amount of money - enough to buy a good planet.

Winn reconfigures the messaging device to act like a pager whenever another messaging device (and, presumably, another bounty hunter) is close.

The exact technology used by the Daxamite ship to travel through space is not described but it is said that it will take four of their years for it to return to Daxam from Earth.

The transmat portals used by the Slaver's Moon slavers do not require a second gateway to establish a portal. The second portal acts as more of a beacon to the first but so long as you have the exact coordinates of where you want to teleport, you only need one gate.

The DEO satellites are able to detect ion thruster activity.

Dialogue Triumphs

Kara: Any word from your parents?
Mon-El: No, they're just... up there, hovering around in orbit. (gasps in realization) Is that what they mean by "helicopter parenting"?

Alex: How much is 300 quartz-crowns?
Mon-El: It's a lot. Like, enough to buy a planet.
Winn: Woah! Like, we're talking like a planet in a good neighborhood? Or like a hipster, up-and-coming kinda vibe?
Mon-El: Exactly.

(J'onn asks Alex to search the DEO databases for alien species that access the bounty hunter dark Net)
Alex: Absolutely. Well, I had plans, but I will cancel.
Kara: No! No, don't cancel your plans just to search databases. That's ridiculous!
J'onn: Ah - these databases won't search themselves.
Winn: Oh, actually, they will. I just have to write a program for it. (wincing) And I just signed up for more work, didn't I?

(Mon-El's parents have just discovered that he works in a bar on Earth.)
Lar-Gand: You... you -work- here? As a a servant?
Mon-El: (haughtily) I'm a mixologist. It is an artistic profession in the medium of preparing alcoholic beverages. And it is very honorable.

(Kara and Mon-El are cleaning up the glass of the broken window in Kara's apartment.)
Mon-El: Hey, so, I've been thinking of a solution to our problem.
Kara: Yeah. Me too.
Mon-El: Yeah?
Kara: There's only one thing we can do.
(The two start to speak at the same time.)
Kara: Talk to your mother. Wait - what?
Mon-El: Run for our lives. What?
Mon-El: (stammering) So, there's this planet that a Durlan emissary told me about when I was a kid. It's got water and a yellow sun . It's got everything we need to survive. My parents wouldn't find us there! We'd be together. We'd be safe... I think of this because I'm reading this play right now - Ro-May-O and Juliet?
Kara: Yes.. I've... heard of it.
Mon-El: Right and... there's this moment at the end, where I am right now, where they're about to - to run away together and live happily ever after and I can't... help but think that that could be us. You know?
Kara: Yeah, but... Juliet and Romeo both die at the end.
Mon-El: ... I... did not see that coming.
Kara: And, no. We're not going to your secret planet. I'm Supergirl. I don't run from anything!
Mon-El: (burying his face in his arms on the table) Yeah, I know. It's one of the more annoying things about you.
Kara: Well, thank you.
Mon-El: You're welcome.

(Queen Rhea has just stabbed Kara with a dagger made of Kryptonite.)
Kara: Where did you get Kryptonite?!
Queen Rhea: (coldly) Our planet is littered with the corpse of yours.

Alex: I think... that when your parents didn't accept you, you stopped trusting the people that are closest to you. And I totally get that. But Maggie? You don't have to be guarded with me. Okay? I am not here to judge you for things that happened in the past. I am here to help you heal.

(Winn explains how he can use one of the gates used by the Slaver's moon slavers to teleport Kara onto the Daxamite ship.)
Alex: So as long as you have the exact coordinates of where you want to transmat, you only need one gate?
Winn: Mmm-hmm. Yes. One gate and one, you know, flawless calculation of the ship's location as it hurtles through space, relative to us, as we spin around the Earth's axis at 1,000 mph.
Kara: And if the calculation's wrong?
J'onn: You'll transmat directly into the cold vacuum of space.
Kara: Let's hope it's not wrong.

(Mon-El is in a cell on the Daxamite ship. Suddenly, there is a flash of light and Winn lands in the area outside the cell with a grunt.)
Mon-El: Winn?
Winn: (looking around) Okay... thank God I am not in space.
Mon-El: You -are- in space.
Winn: Oh! Yeah, I know. I mean, like floating around in space, dying. (collecting himself) Uh - I am here to rescue you! Hi!
Mon-El: Aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper?
Winn: You finally saw Star Wars!

President: Director - did you engage the Daxamite ship?
J'onn: Yes. How did you find out?
President: I have my sources! And you had your orders. I am disappointed.
J'onn: I understand. But an alien who was under our protection - who had been given amnesty - was taken against his will and we were his only hope.
President: And what if things hadn't turned out your way?
J'onn: It's my job to ensure that they do.


Mon-El taught himself how to cook by reading a cookbook.

President Marsdin was last seen in 203.

The President orders J'onn not to engage with the Daxamite ship for fear of starting an intergalactic war.

Maggie practices yoga. Alex has just started it.

Maggie was with Emily for five years. The relationship ended badly, with Emily breaking it off and telling Maggie she did not deserve to be happy.

The most powerful telepath in the Alcorian System is not as powerful as J'onn.

Alex confronts Emily and discovers that Maggie had cheated on Emily, spurring the comments about her not deserving happiness.

It is revealed that Queen Rhea issued the bounty on Supergirl without her husband's knowledge.

Winn recovered one of the transmat portals from 209.

Mon-El finally saw Star Wars.

Maggie is able to find closure with Emily.

President Marsdin has some source that informed her of J'onn taking action against The Daxamite ship.

Again, we are reminded - as we saw in 203 - that President Marsdin is some manner of shape-shifting alien.

Queen Rhea stabs her husband to death, saying she is not done with Earth yet.


The Fortress of Solitude.

The Daxamite ship in low Earth orbit.

The Bottom Line

A decent episode, if one ignores the plot holes in the script, but it's not one that's likely to be remembered fondly or at all. Kevin Smith is a fine comedic director and the romantic scenes here aren't bad but the man can't block an action scene to save his life. The basic plot isn't pushed forward much until the final segment and while the cast turn in some fantastic performances, the whole thing still feels like filler.

Starman Plays Tex Murphy: Overseer - Part 2

In which our investigation into Carl Linksy's "suicide" gets off to a messy start, as it turns out the Police Detective in charge of the case hates our guts. We then explore the Linsky home, get some helpful tips about proper banana maintenance and solve the first puzzle of the game right before our first encounter with Delores Lightbody.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Starman Plays Tex Murphy: Overseer - Part 1

In which - after a brief discussion of how this game came to be (and came to be rushed to completion) - we reenter Tex Murphy's life mid-nightmare/80's music video and learn the story of how he met his future ex-wife whilst taking the biggest case of his life.

Detective Comics #953 - A Review

Lady Shiva and her League of Shadows are laying waste to Gotham. With several of his operatives captured, Batman has most of his rookie recruits hiding out in The Belfry. Yet Cassandra Cain - the heroine now called Orphan - wishes to confront the mother she never knew and seek the answers to questions she can barely understand and remains unable to articulate.

I've never cared much for Cassandra Cain as a character but James Tynion IV's script has - if not made me a fan of the character - enabled me to understand the appeal from the eyes of other people. Cassandra's search for identity is a relatable situation, albeit it one born of unbelievable circumstances. I also like the development given to Clayface in this episode and the odd friendship developing between him and Cassandra. It's these moments that sell the story far better than the action scenes.

Mind you, the action scenes in this comic are good. And both art teams (whom I would credit directly, if I were certain who had handled which pages) do a wonderful job on every aspect of the story - from the quieter moments of conversation to the fight between Shiva and Cassandra, which is presented without backgrounds so as to emphasize the focus of both combatants. There is nothing else - only mother and daughter in conflict. It's a stunning visual and typical of the sights one sees in Detective Comics.

Future Quest #11 - A Review

As I've noted before, I'm reviewing Future Quest as a matter of form. At this point, you're either already enjoying this book as a glorious tribute to classic action animation or you're not. If the very concept of a team-up between Space Ghost, Birdman, The Impossibles and The Herculoids isn't enough to make you say "I should read this", my opinion won't count for much.

Still, it must be said that Jeff Parker has done a masterful job spinning a tale that brings these characters together in a shared universe, More, he's taken a concept that could have existed as a simple action-piece and worked actual pathos - such as Space Ghost's musing on the Terrans succeeding where more advanced civilizations failed - into the narrative. And the artwork by Doc Shaner and Veronica Gandini brings the concept to life perfectly.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Starman Plays Gabriel Knight: Sins Of The Fathers (20th Anniversary Edition) - Part 15

The thrilling conclusion! In which we infiltrate the secret Voodoo crime cartel's temple and indulge in some more petty theft because - hey - this is Gabriel we're talking about. I also reveal not one, not two  but all three endings to the game!

The Flash #19 - A Review

The trail of Daniel West - the second man to call himself The Reverse Flash and Wally West's biological father - leads The Flash and Kid Flash to Australia in search of Captain Boomerang, who may have served with Daniel in The Suicide Squad. Unfortunately, their swift arrival blows the not-so-good captain's cover and they're soon at the mercy of a gang of weapons dealers known as The Weavers. Like it or not, the old enemies are going to have to work together to save themselves, but can even Captain Boomerang and The Flash stage a comeback from this setback in The Outback?

The artwork on The Flash #19 is a little more erratic than usual. Both Jesus Merino and Carmine Di Giandomenico are great artists yet they have decidedly different styles and strengths and the way the workload is split in the story is curiously conflicted. One oddity is that Carmine Di Giandomenico - whose strength lies in kinetic action sequences - handles the quieter section near the end of the book, where Barry and Wally have a long overdue talk. The sequence works, however, despite seemingly not playing to the regular artist's strengths. It should also be noted that the colors by Chris Sotomayor are fantastic throughout.

Whatever conflicts exist in the art are not born of the story. Joshua Williamson's work is as fine as ever and he writes a wonderful Digger Harkness here - every bit the professional and sleazeball, yet with enough of a soft-side to inspire a modicum of sympathy. The closing scenes between Barry and Wally, however, may have you reaching for your tissues.

Batgirl #9 - A Review

Balancing grad school, her volunteer work with the kid's coding club at the library and her work as Batgirl leaves Barbara Gordon little time for her friends and less time for romance. She'd like to spend more time with Ethan Cobblepot but Babs can't help but shake the feeling there's something shady about the charming young tech magnate, who just happens to be the bastard son of The Penguin! Someone is definitely using the apps Ethan's company makes for nefarious purposes and now they seem to be using a hot new game to troll Batgirl...

Batgirl has fast become one of my favorite comics. Writer Hope Larson has forged a mighty alloy made up of the classic Batgirl comics of the Bronze Age and the best bits of the The New 52 and Burnside eras. More, Larson has clearly done her research as to what a modern librarian's work entails (i.e. community outreach and tech skills - not dusting books) and worked that into the mix as well. It's a minor point but it's a fine example of just how Larson goes the extra mile in building this world.

The artwork sports an equally intricate level of detail. Chris Wildgoose is an amazing penciler, equally adept at depicting high-action and soft conversations. Mat Lopes and Jon Lame provide the perfect finishes with their colors and inks. All in all, this is one book to keep an eye on!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 17 - Kapiushon

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


Captured by Prometheus, Oliver faces unthinkable torture as his sworn enemy tries to break him and Diggle leads the rest of Team Arrow to find him.

Five years earlier, Oliver's increasingly violent tactics begin to worry Anatoly as they head into a final confrontation with Konstantin Kovar, who they've discovered is plotting a coup of the Russian government.


The Green Arrow comics of Mike Grell (Ollie being tortured while having flashbacks) and Suicide Squad #38 (hero browbeat into confessing he enjoys killing)


I think David Nykl's performances as Anatoly are probably the most underrated guest performance in the show's history. The series frequently required him to be the voice of reason, comic relief and a figure of menace - all roles he filled easily while still seemingly being the same character. In this episode, he does all three of these things in the span of an hour and makes it seem as natural as breathing.


The fight choreography of the flashback sequences is some of the best the show has seen.

The final battle between Kovar and Oliver on the casino dance floor is well-lit, well-blocked and well-directed. Well-done over all, really.


The episode title 'Kapiushon' is a rough Anglicization of the Russian word for "hood". It is later revealed that this is what Kovar's men had taken to calling the figure with the bow who was attacking their business interests.

Prometheus reveals that his took his name from the mythological figure who stole the power of The Greek Gods. It is likewise his intent to take away all of Oliver Queen's power.

"Samovol'shchnia"is a Russian phrase meaning "do as you will." It has a deeper meaning that is tied into The Russian Revolution of 1917. In this case, it means a coup - a violent overthrow of the government.

Much of the plot of the modern-day sequences of this episode resembles the plot of John Ostrander's Suicide Squad #38. In that issue Ben Turner (aka The Bronze Tiger) is interrogated regarding his temper and his efforts to calm it by studying martial arts. Like Oliver, he too adopted a masked persona to try and control his murderous impulses and the issue ends with him confessing that he enjoys killing.


Justin Claybourne's autopsy reveal that his aortic arch was pierced by an arrow. However, the actual cause of death was drowning. He spent 145 seconds (2 minutes, 25 seconds) underwater before his lungs filled up.

Felicity and Curtis had to reroute the electro-optical digital imaging from every reconisance satellite they could gain access to and then capture the data in a 4-dimensional array which could then be parsed using a real-time algorithm. Curtis says solving cold fusion would have been easier.

Dialogue Triumphs

Gregor: (To Oliver) And you are no one's hero. Every thing and every one that you love will wither and die at your touch!

Kovar: My father once told me "do not have 100 rubles but 100 friends."
Merlyn: (laughing) Fortunately we have both friends and money.

(Oliver wakes up on the floor of his cell. Adrian is arranging the last of several photos on the walls.)
Adrian: Do they look familiar? Do you even remember their faces? These are your victims.
Oliver:  (sighs) They were people who did... terrible things. They -had- victims.
Adrian: And husbands. And wives. Daughters. (pauses) Sons. Confess your secret Oliver, and all this ends. I'll give you a gift and you can walk out that door and go back home.
Oliver:  Adrian, you're sick. And you're a hypocrite. There is nothing that I've done that compares with you. You murdered your own wife!
(Adrian moves over to one of the pictures.)
Adrian: Cecil Adams. You knew him by his street name, The Count? You put three arrows in him.
Oliver:  He was going to kill a friend of mine...
(Adrian moves to the floor where a bow and quiver are waiting. He begins to strap on the quiver.)
Adrian: Felicity Smoak.
Oliver: (impatient) Yeah!
Adrian: Confess. Or you get the same three arrows.
(Oliver steadies himself.)
Oliver: Go to hell.
Adrian: I've already been there, Oliver. And I've come back with a message for you.
(In rapid succession, Adrian shoots the three arrows into Oliver's shoulders.)

The Hood: A friend of mine recently showed me the skinning techniques used by hunters in Mongolia. They remove all the skins of things much larger than you in less than five minutes. Which means... you don't have very long... to tell me what your boss is planning.
Kovar's Man: I don't know anything!
The Hood: I was hoping you'd say that.
(The Hood moves in as the camera pans left. We fade to black as Kovar's man begins screaming.)

(Anatoly has discovered Oliver and what is left of Kovar's man.)
Anatoly: This is not human!
Oliver: Anatoly, I told you - putting on this hood... it helps me direct the darkness inside me. It worked, by the way. I know what Kovar is planning.
Anatoly: But at what cost?! You are a fool to think a piece of cloth can separate man from monster. Dividing yourself in two? Will only make the monster stronger until it is stronger than you.
Oliver: You knew what I was capable of back on Lian Yu.
Anatoly: But this man I see now?  Bears more resemblance to Slade Wilson. Or Anthony Ivo.
(Anatoly looks under the cloth and winces.)
Anatoly: Tough man. Clearly he stood a lot before breaking.
Oliver: He gave up pretty quickly. The rest was me practicing.
Anatoly: Practicing to become what?
Oliver: Something else.

(Viktor guides Anatoly and his men into am ambush of Kovar's men.)
Anatoly: You sold us out!
Viktor: We're in a casino, Anatoly. I like to think of it as playing the hand I was dealt.

Adrian: I told you, Oliver. You infect every life that you touch. And now do you realize why? It's because your crusade was based on a lie. You used your father's memory to justify a killing spree. There's a price to be paid for that, Oliver. Your mother paid it. Your friend Tommy paid it. Laurel.... Do you really want to tell me that John Diggle and Felicity Smoak's lives are better having known you?

Anatoly: I cannot believe scared boy in cell beside me would be one to kill Konstantin Kovar.
Oliver: Well, that wasn't me. (Oliver holds up the hood.) That was him.
Anatoly: That is a lie you tell yourself. An excuse that allows you to kill. You kill because you like it.
Oliver: That is not true, Anatoly. I hate it. And I think maybe you've had a bit too much to drink.
Anatoly: Well, that is entirely possible. But in this case I am right. This deal you sold yourself on? That this hood is going to keep this monster of yours at bay? Someday is going to fall apart. And when it does, you are not going to like the man you see underneath.

Dialogue Disasters

Every instance of Adrian Chase shouting "Confess" to Oliver and Oliver shouting back that he doesn't know what Chase wants. Pure Narm.


When a Bratva Pakhan dies, a new one is appointed based on seniority.

It is a Bratva tradition that the dead be laid out in state and that other members place money around the corpse. According to Anatoly, this is because the money makes a good gift in Heaven or a good bribe to Satan.

When a new Pakhan takes over, every member of his gang must cut their hand with a knife and shake hands with him.

Malcolm Merlyn was a business partner of Konstantin Kovar.

Merlyn provides Kovar with a large quantity of Sarin Gas in exchange for Kovar providing Merlyn with some unspecified information for Unidac Industries. This was the company which made The Markov Device which Merlyn used to generate earthquakes as part of The Undertaking in Season One.

The Count's real name is revealed to be Cecil Adams. Oliver killed him to save Felicity's life in 207.

Oliver was taught the skinning techniques used by hunters in Mongolia. They are capable of completely skinning large animals in less than five minutes.

In order to win the trust of Taiana's mother, Oliver repeats the phrase she told him in 413 - "The same hammer that shatters glass forges steel."

Evelyn Sharpe/Artemis - last seen in 509 - is thrown into Oliver's cell with a knife. Prometheus says that one of them must be dead when he returns or she will snap her neck in front of Oliver. If she kills him first, she'll be free to go.

Taiana's mother is killed by Kovar. Oliver arrives too late to save her after seeing her being attacked on a security monitor.

Oliver's confession is that he doesn't kill because he has to because of his crusade - he does it because he wants to and because he enjoys it.

Prometheus burns the skin where Oliver's Bratva tattoo is located below his left shoulder.

Anatoly and Oliver got matching Bartva Captain tattoos after Oliver seemingly killed Kovar. Anatoly insisted on promoting Oliver despite his intentions to return home to Starling City so that if he ever needed the Bratva's help, he would be able to get it.

Anatoly also gives Oliver back the hood that he lost in Kovar's casino.

Anatoly refers to the events of the flashbacks in 204 and how Oliver was performing surgery on himself when they first met.

It is revealed that Kovar survived Oliver's beat-down and that he was saved, in part, by Malcolm Merlyn.

Oliver was missing for six days.

The Fridge Factor

Taiana's mother is killed to give Oliver more angst.

The Bottom Line

One of the rare episodes where the flashback sequences are more gripping than the present day material. This is doubly stunning given that we know Oliver and Anatoly will survive their battle with Kovar. The scenes of Oliver being tortured do manage a few honest surprises, though Oliver's confession is hardly a revelation given that it's been at the heart of Oliver's conflict since the first season. Unfortunately, the ending lacks any kind of punch since we know there's still several episodes left this season and no realistic way for everyone else on Team Arrow to quit... particularly when there's a murderous maniac working among them as Star City's D.A.