Friday, November 17, 2017

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 6 - Promises Kept

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




Plot

As Slade Wilson uncovers the truth about his son's past, Oliver finds himself in exactly the sort of trouble he had promised he would avoid. Meanwhile, back in Star City, the rest of Team Arrow must contend with The Dragon -a new crime boss who stealing advanced technology for an unexpected end and one whom has a surprising connection to one of them...


Influences

The Teen Titans comics of Marv Wolfman and George Perez (plot involving Deathstroke trying to bring the son who emulates him under control) and the Green Arrow comics of Jeff Lemire (character of Ricardo Diaz).


Goofs

Why doesn't Nylander recognize Oliver as the friend who was with Slade at their meeting in the last episode?

Why was the A.S.I.S. training room in Australia getting the Channel 52 news feed?

The whole "Diggle turning to mystery drugs" subplot doesn't make sense and both Lyla and Curtis point out why. Lyla rightly calls John the most moral man she knows and Digg's desire not to burden people would never outweigh his sense of duty to the team. Curtis points out that given that he was able to crate a microchip that could cure paralysis, John should have come to him first about his nerve problems instead of trusting a strange drug dealer.


Performances

Manu Bennett delivers his best performance yet as Slade Wilson. If this is his final appearance, he's ending on a high note. That still won't stop me from hoping for a Deathstroke series in 2018. Make it happen, CW!

Despite how random it was in starting and how quickly it's resolved here, David Ramsey sells the hell out of his performance here as John Diggle coping with drug abuse.


Artistry

The final shot of Slade walking away through a steam-cloud is like something George Perez would have drawn, brought to life.


Trivia

The first business the tech thieves try to rob in this episode is Cadmus Tech. Cadmus, in the original comics, is a scientific concern involved in genetic engineering. In the New 52 universe, they are tied to a business called Cadmus Industries. In the DC Animated Universe, Project Cadmus was an association of scientific, military and government agents who were concerned about the threat posed by The Justice League.

In the DCTVU, on Earth 38 - the world where Supergirl is from - Cadmus is the name of Lillian Luthor's anti-alien group.

Lyla makes a reference to the nation of Vlatava. In the original comics, Vlatava was a small eastern-European nation and home to the villain Count Vertigo.

The second business the thieves hit is the Bio division of Palmer Tech. This is, of course, Ray Palmer's company. They steal a second high-quality 3-D printer.

The character of Richard Dragon was originally created by Dennis O'Neil and Jim Berry for the novel Kung Fu Master, Richard Dragon: Dragon's Fists (1974). O'Neil, best known at the time for his work on Detective Comics and Green Lantern/Green Arrow, later adapted the character for the DC Comics Universe in Richard Dragon Kung Fu Fighter #1 (May 1975). As a teenage sneak-thief in Japan, a young Richard tried to break into a dojo run by O-Sensei. Bested and beaten by O-Sensei's prize student, the old master saw something worth saving in the young thief and took him on as a student. For seven years, Richard studied the martial arts, eventually deciding to use his skills for good. He went on to become one of the best (if not the best) overall martial artists in the DC Universe.

The character of Richard Dragon was introduced to The New 52 reality in Green Arrow #23 (October 2013) by Jeff Lemire & Andrea Sorrentino. This version of Richard Dragon was apparently a member of The League of Assassins and was killed by one of his students, Ricardo Diaz Jr., who took Richard Dragon's name.

Ricardo Diaz Jr. was the son of Ricardo Diaz Sr. - a corrupt Seattle businessman, who was killed by John Diggle who was, at the time, posing as Green Arrow. Seeking revenge, Diaz Jr. went off in search of The League of Assassins. After killing his mentor and taking his name, the new "Richard Dragon" returned to Seattle and began killing gang-leaders while posing as a vigilante. In truth, "Dragon" was cementing his control on the underworld with the ultimate goal of killing Green Arrow and taking over his city. To that end, Diaz formed a team - The Longbow Hunters - dedicated to killing Green Arrow.

The DCTVU version of Ricardo Diaz is a career criminal who goes by the street name "Dragon". Once part of a Glades gang called The Scorpions, he was sentenced to Life Without Parole twice for his extensive list of crimes. His convictions were overturned due to technicalities and he has only been out of prison for one month, according to Dinah.

Joe makes mention of a brother named Grant that Slade didn't know about. In the comics, Grant Wilson was Slade Wilson's oldest son, who followed in his footsteps to become the mercenary Ravager.

In one alternate future visited by The Legends of Tomorrow, Grant Wilson was the new Deathstroke who ruled over Star City 2046.

The video game Felicity and William are playing when Oliver returns home is Injustice 2 - a game which features, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Firestorm, The Atom, Supergirl, The Flash, Vixen, Captain Cold, Gorilla Grodd and Deadshot as playable characters. None of these characters are seen, however, with Felicity playing as Blue Beetle and William playing as Sub Zero.


Technobabble

The thieves were after a military-grade 3-D printer, capable of printing weapons, drones or chemicals.

Semtex is a high-yield explosive.

The armor which Slade Wilson wore as Deathstroke was developed by the A.S.I.S and was in it's prototype stages in 2011.

"Double jolts of Life Plus One" is a slang term for "two sentences for Life Without Parole".

Curtis says that both the stolen 3-D printers could be used to simultaneously print inert polypropylenes and soft material catalyst composites. This would allow him to make reactionware - i.e. designer street-drugs.

The drug John is taking is an experimental steroid.

In pondering how to solve John's nerve damage, Curtis asks if he's had an electromyogram done, but then corrects himself and says he'll need to do an NCV Test first.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Slade Wilson lies in a hospital bed, his head and right-eye bandaged. He twitches suddenly as we see, from his perspective, flashbacks of his battles on Lian Yu.)
Joe:
Father?
(Slade looks up. His gaze focusing. He sees his son, Joe.)
Slade:
Joe...
Joe: How are you feeling?
Slade: How did I get here?
Joe: Evac found you washed upon the Philippine coast. They said you were barely conscious. Just muttering someone's name... Oliver. Who is he?
(Slade shudders as he remembers. We see flashes of his battle with Oliver Queen on The Amazo. He reaches up to his bandaged eye.)
Joe: Father?
Slade: ... someone that owed me a debt.
Joe: Everyone left you for dead... but I knew you'd come back.
Slade: I will never leave you again, Joe.
(Joe leans down and hugs Slade. Slade hugs him back.)
Slade: I promise.

Diaz: Until we get our FDA approval, we've got to be careful with the roll out. You understand?
John: I get it. I'm just trying to make it through the day.
Diaz: Aren't we all?

John: To be Green Arrow means that I have to be physically capable of protecting the city. No matter what! Lyla, you make the same choices at ARGUS all the time!
Lyla: Choices you've condemned me for making!
John: I know I'm wrong. But I couldn't let Oliver down.
Lyla: So you let yourself down instead?

(Oliver wakes up, tied up in a chair. He finds a sword point at his right eye. Slade is holding the sword, as Joe looks on.)
Slade: Years ago I made you a promise. Do you remember? I promised that you would suffer. The same way that I suffered.
Oliver: What are you doing? You're not this person anymore.
Slade: What I am is a father. Reunited with my son. I made him a promise too, And I'm not going to break it again.
Oliver: We made each other a promise, Slade. To save our sons! To save Joe. To save William.
Joe: He has a son? I'll make sure he suffers too.
(Slade moves around behind Oliver.)
Oliver: Slade?
(Slade starts to raise up his sword.)
Joe: Do it!
Oliver: Slade?!  Slade!
(Slade grunts and slrikes down... cutting Oliver's bonds. Oliver is out of his chair with a shot, knocking Joe out with a quick strike.)
Oliver: (glaring at Slade) That was a little too convincing.

Slade: I spared your life back there.
Oliver: I know. But back there, it didn't feel like an act, the same way it did with Chase back on Lian Yu.
Slade: Because when I saw my son... I was tempted. I would have done anything to keep us together. But when you mentioned William... I realized that's not my boy. It's Kane. But what I fear is there's only one way to stop him.

Joe: "Trust begins with honesty." That's what you said to me. But you lied!
Slade: You know life is not that simple, Joe.
Joe: That's not my name! How could you forgive Oliver Queen after what he did to you?!
Slade: Because he forgave me for far worse. Sins that I have to carry to the grave. A curse that I didn't want to pass on to you! All of this anger and resentment - it's time to bring it to an end, son!
Joe: (drawing his sword) No. It's just the beginning!

Slade: It's time for you to go home.
Oliver: And where will you go?
Slade: I'm going to keep searching for my son. Both of them. (pauses) I can't give up.
Oliver: If you ever need my help again, you don't hesitate to ask. 
Slade: You have your own son to protect and I'm not going to put that at risk again. You've seen what can happen.
(Oliver nods as Slade offers his hand. Oliver takes it and shakes it.)
Slade:
Thank you, kid.
(Slade picks up his bag and walks off. Oliver turns and watches as Slade walks into an alley disappearing into a steam cloud.)


Continuity

Once again, John freezes up trying to fire his weapon as his hands go shaky.

Both Slade and Joe have a taste for single-malt scotch whiskey.

Ricardo Diaz is revealed to be leading the drug-ring that is making the drug that is keeping Diggle's aim steady. Diaz claims they are keeping it on the down-low until the FDA approves it.

John confesses about his nerve damage and his drug use to Lyla.

Slade spent two years (from 2010 to 2012) with his son, training alongside him in the A.S.I.S.. The Mirakuru drove him mad, however, and he killed almost all of his squad, save Joe, before leaving to pursue his vengeance on Oliver Queen, after seeing a news broadcast declaring that Oliver Queen was alive and had been rescued.

Joe reveals that he saw Slade kill a Chinese spy while they were supposed to be on a father-son trip in 2004. (As seen in the flashbacks in 605.) He says he made his first kill six months after that.

Joe reveals that he has a brother named Grant who Slade never knew about.

The Jackals are in custody but Joe/Kane gets away.

William got an A on his science project - a bottle rocket that went further than anyone else in his class.

John confesses his drug use and nerve trouble to Dinah, Rene and Curtis.

They forgive him, though Curtis is more offended that John didn't come to him for help first and promises to find a way to cure John without the steroid.

John promises no more secrets between himself and Dinah. She agrees... as she handles the matcbox that Vigilante gave her 605.


Location

An A.S.I.S. Medical Ward - 2010.
An A.S.I.S. Training Facility - 2011.
An A.S.I.S. Training Facility  - 2012.
A secret bunker in the nation of Kasnia.


Untelevised Adventures

The flashbacks in this episode tell the story of what happened to Slade Wilson in the five years between when he fought Oliver Queen on the Amazo and when he turned up in Star City posing as a businessman financing Moira Queen's run for mayor.


The Winick Factor

The arbitrary introduction of a drug addiction and the swift resolution of it in one issue is very Winnickian.


The Bottom Line

Half great. Half okay.

The only reason the subplot for Diggle works on any level is because of David Ramsey's performance. Had the subplot been given more time to mature, it might have worked more effectively. On the other hand, that would have required us to spend more time contemplating how out-of-character John was acting and how stupid he was for keeping secrets, not turning to the scientist he works with for help, etc.

The Deathstroke subplot, on the other hand, is handled perfectly and it gives Manu Bennett the exit from the series that he deserved rather than the embarrassing way Slade Wilson was handled in Arrow's third season. I really hope this isn't the last we see of Slade, but if it is, it's a grand way to go out.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Legends Of Tomorrow: Season 3, Episode 6 - Helen Hunt

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





Plot

Their latest experiments to free Professor Stein from The Firestorm Matrix result in Stein and Jax switching bodies. Unfortunately, the team has no time to fix the problem. Tracking an anachronism to 1930s Hollywood, The Legends are surprised to find two film studios warring over the most beautiful woman in history, Helen of Troy! They are also surprised by the arrival of an old enemy...


Influences

Various body-swapping comedies, particularly Freaky Friday (which Ray mentions by name) and the legends of The Trojan War (Helen of Troy, Sara uses a Trojan Horse to enter the mansion were Helen is held)


Goofs

Given that Troy was located in what is today the nation of Turkey, it seems unlikely that Helen of Troy would be a pale, blond-haired woman.

No explanation is given for why a bisexual woman like Sara Lance isn't as taken aback by Helen of Troy's beauty as the heterosexual men around her. (Perhaps Helen truly is cursed and the curse is heteronormative?)

While it's possible that things are different on Earth One in The DCTVU, in our world Hedy Lamarr was signed to a contract with MGM in 1938 after being discovered by Louie B. Mayer in Paris in 1937. As such, she would not have been at liberty to film a Helen of Troy movie at Warner Brothers and would hardly have had to resort to working as a phone operator in the studio office!

Wonder Woman lore purists may complain that it should be impossible for The Waverider to fly to Themyscria as the whole island is meant to be magically enscrolled by The Greek Gods. (Given the role The Greek Gods had in messing with The Trojan War, however, it's likely they either looked the other way or Zari - being a woman - was allowed to breach the barriers.)


Performances

Franz Drameh and Victor Garber do a fine job playing one another's respective regular roles.


Artistry

The costumers and set designers did a great job capturing the feeling of 1930s Hollywood.

The editing between the twin battles of Darhk/Sara and Kuasa/Amaya is fantastic.


Trivia Of Tomorrow

The episode opens with the usual narration being read by Amaya.

The series usual title-card is replaced with a black-and-white number.

The episode title is a play on the name of actress Helen Hunt, who is most famous for winning The Oscar for Best Actress in 1998 for the movie As Good As It Gets.

Legend has it that Helen of Troy was the most beautiful woman in history. Said to have "a face that launched a thousand ships", her abduction by Prince Paris of Troy from the home of her husband, the Spartan king Melenaus, sparked a ten-year conflict known as The Trojan War. This was due to a contest held by various rulers as to who would marry Helen and an agreement of all the participatory nation-states - The Oath of Tyndareus - that they would aid one another in battle.

Opinion is split between Historians as to whether or not there ever was a real battle that inspired the legends of The Trojan War. Indeed, until fairly recently, there was some argument as to whether or not The City of Troy ever existed. Some believe the Troy of legend was a town located in what is now modern Turkey.

The actress whom the real Helen of Troy replaces in the role of Helen of Troy is Hedy Lamarr. Once called "the most beautiful woman in film" (a title that was used for one 2012 biography), Lamarr had brains to match her beauty (as Stein notes) and invented the Spread Spectrum technology that led to the invention of modern wireless communications.

While Hedy Lamarr had not made any American films in 1937 (in our reality, her Hollywood premiere was the 1938 film Algiers), she was far from the desperate actress we see in this episode. After fleeing to Paris to escape her abusive husband in Austria, she was signed to a contract with MGM by Louis B. Mayer, who brought her to America in 1938. At the time she was still well known in Europe for her role in the 1933 German film Ecstasy, which is mostly remembered today for featuring a then 18-year old Lamarr swimming and running in the nude.

Hedy Lamarr did later play Helen of Troy (among other roles) in the 1954 Italian film The Loves of Three Queens.

The island of warrior woman Zari drops Helen of Troy off on is confirmed to be Themyscria. Also know as Paradise Island, Themyscria is the island home of the Amazons in the DC Comics Universe. This marks the first confirmation of Themyscria and The Amazons existing in The DCTVU.


Technobabble

Using Professor Stein's research, Ray develops nanites which should latch onto the Firestorm Matrix within Professor Stein. This, coupled with a polymer Ray constructed, should allow him to transfer that into Jefferson.

Hedy Lamarr theorizes that what has Jax and Stein mixed-up is a case of quantum entanglement, where the particles in one body are mirrored in an atomic companion.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Upon learning that Jax and Stein have switched bodies.)
Sara: Must be Tuesday.

(The team finds out they have to go to Hollywood in 1937.)
Jax: Maybe now I might actually get to meet some celebrities.
Stein: And how would you even know? The oldest movie you've ever watched is some ridiculous farce called Police Academy!

Nate: Helen, and her lover, Paris, set off a ten-year war that launched thousands of ships and sent tens of thousands of men off to their death. All in the name of her beauty.
Zari: You make it sound like it's her fault. Men always find a reason to fight. That's not on her.
Rory: Depends. How hot is she?
Nate: (trying to sound non-nonchalant) I mean, she's alright. (whispering) She's really hot!

(Sara finds out that Damien Darhk has positioned himself to become Helen of Troy's agent.)
Sara: What the hell are you doing here?
Darhk: (innocently) Aside from collecting my 15%?

Helen: Please don't take me away.
Sara: I'm sorry, but this isn't your home, Helen.
Helen: Do you have any idea what it's like on the plains of Troy? This land of Hollywood is far from perfect, but at least these men aren't killing one another in my name.
(Several cars pull up in the driveway as men emerge carrying guns.)
Amaya: Not yet, anyway.

Helen: I don't want to overstep, but may I ask what gods gave you such incredible powers?
Zari: Uh - the gods didn't give us powers. Well, they maybe kinda did for Amaya and me but the Captain is a self-made woman. Sara trains ever day. She's a total bad ass.
Helen: She's a captain too? It gives me hope knowing that you come from a time where women have the same opportunities as men.
Zari: Yeaaaaaah. I wouldn't say that.

(Sara challenges Damien Darhk to a duel)
Darhk: You do realize I don't need magic to kill you.
Sara: Funny. That's what Oliver Queen said right before he killed you.


Dialogue Disasters

Darkh: (To Hedy Lamarr) Oh, I assure you, I am something far more ruthless than a Hollywood agent. (grins and whispers) If that's possible.


Continuity

The two studios fighting over Helen of Troy are Warner Brothers and K&G Pictures.

Jax is a fan of the Police Academy movies. Stein is not.

In the altered timeline, Helen of Troy goes on to star in Casablanca and The Philadelphia Story.

Hedy Lamarr was Martin Stein's boyhood crush.

Kuasa reveals herself to Amaya as a totem barer. She says The Water Totem has now merged with her.

Upon hearing the name Kuasa, Ray seems to recall his encounter with her during Season 2 of the Vixen animated series.

Clarissa Stein and Martin Stein gave each other a "pass" on their marriage vows - i.e. one acceptable affair with one person of their choosing, in order to spice things up. Clarissa chose Jean Claude Van Damme. Martin, thinking the whole thing silly, chose Hedy Lamarr.

With her career path changed by the anachronism, Hedy Lamarr never develops the technology which goes on to inform the technologies that power The Waverider.

Madame Elanor - the psychic from 305 - is confirmed to be Nora Darhk, Damien's daughter. She is revealed to have the same death-touch power and telekinesis he exhibited during Season 4 of Arrow. She also has the ability to catch and redirect the energy of Mick Rory's flame-thrower and the blasts from The ATOM suit.

Kuasa reveals herself to Amaya as her granddaughter before being stabbed and driven off by Helen of Troy.

Sara is placed in a coma by Gideon following Nora Darhk's attack. She is expected to recover fully, however.

Ray tries to tell Amaya about Kuasa but she asks to remain ignorant of everything regarding her. She says she knew nothing about Kuasa's existence - not even that Mari had an older sister.

After reading that the historical record said that Helen disappeared halfway through The Trojan War but that it didn't change anything, Zari drops Helen of Troy off on Themyscria in the same time period.


Location

Hollywood - 1937 AD
Themyscira - 1253 BC


The Fridge Factor

Averted with style, as the ladies among The Legends do all the heavy-lifting to save the day.


The Bottom Line

Compared to last week's episode of The Flash, Helen Hunt delivers its feminist message with subtlety and grace. It's still hugely problematic, built as it is on stereotypes of men being unable to function around a pretty face, even with the suggestion (but no confirmation) that it is all due to a magical gods-given curse. The flubs regarding Hedy Lamarr's life in the script somewhat undercut the care taken elsewhere to get the period details right. Still, for the sake of confirmation that The Amazons exist in The DCTVU and a portrait of Hedy Lamarr that focuses on her importance as a scientist rather than merely being "The Most Beautiful Woman In The World", it suffices. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 6 - When Harry Met Harry...

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




Plot

Armed with a new stretchy suit, Ralph is ready to help The Flash fight crime. And none too soon, as the two face a metahuman with the power to make inanimate objects come to life! Meanwhile, in their efforts to track down DeVoe, Cisco and Harry seek the help of The Council Of Wells' - a think-tank made of the various Harrison Wells of various realities.


Influences

The Firestorm comics of Gerry Conway and Pat Broderick (character of Black Bison), Rick and Morty (The concept of the Council of Ricks), the Fantastic Four comics of Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham (The concept of The Interdimensional Council of Reeds)


Goofs

The whole opening mugging scene is a prime example of what happens when the show goes too far trying to be funny. Ignoring the stupidity of a mugger trying to rob two people in broad daylight in an open area, why didn't Barry catch the bullets before or after they bounced off Ralph?

Ralph is a jackass but he does have a point about how Barry should have been fast enough to stop The Black Bison from escaping AND rescue her victim from the knight she was animating. This is made doubly clear when Barry later slaps power-suppressing cuffs on Black Bison in mid-monologue, rendering her powerless.

Considering how high-and-mighty Barry has been about law and order lately, it's totally unbelievable that he'd give Ralph a pass on returning The Black Bison necklace to the Sioux reservation when all of its assembled parts were legally stolen property in the eyes of the CCPD.

While it's perfectly in keeping with Ralph's character in the comics to not care about a secret identity, it seems odd that Ralph would be allowed to sit with a child that isn't his own in a hospital or that the parents of the girl his negligence hurt would allow a strange man to stay with their daughter without them being there. The girl also seems awfully non-nonchalant about a strange man watching over her.


Flash Facts


The episode title is a play on the 1989 comedy When Harry Met Sally...

While dealing with the mugger, Ralph suggests using his arm as a giant slingshot or turning himself into a big slinky. While these stunts are more commonly pulled by Plastic Man, Ralph has used his elongated limbs to shoot projectiles and reshaped himself into a spring before in the comics.

The idea of an inter-dimensional think-tank, as represented by The Council of Wells', is probably best known to fans of the show Rick and Morty. This show had The Council of Ricks - a governing body made up of the multiverse's various versions of super-scientist Rick Sanchez who took it upon themselves to police themselves while protecting themselves and the multiverse from other threats.

The Council of Ricks was itself a parody of an idea introduced in Jonathan Hickman's run on the comic book Fantastic Four - The Interdimensional Council of Reeds. This body was made up of various versions of super-scientist Reed Richards, who gave up all ties to their world in order to protect reality.

The Black Bison first appeared in Firestorm Vol. 2 #1 (June 1982) and was created by Gerry Conway and Pat Broderick. Representing a sort of evil and magical parallel to the scientific process that merged Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein to create Firestorm, The Black Bison was formed when the spirit of Bison-Black-As-Midnight-Sky possessed the body of his great-grandson, Black-Cloud-In-Morning (a.k.a. John Ravenhair).

Black-Cloud-In-Morning changed his name to John Ravenhair and sought a more secular life free of the traditions of his family, becoming a high-school teacher in Queens, New York. Despite this, John still took care of the aged Bison-Black-As-Midnight-Sky at his home and honored his great-grandfather's request to wear a special talisman that, unbeknownst to him, was an artifact of The Black Bison cult. When Bison-Black-As-Midnight-Sky died, shortly after performing a ritual to bind his spirit to the talisman, he was able to take control of John Ravenhair while he was taking his class to a history museum that housed several artifacts belonging to The Black Bison cult. With these artifacts Bison-Black-As-Midnight-Sky became the villain known as Black Bison and declared war on all those who had stolen the heritage of his people.

The DCTVU version of Black Bison has a lot in common with her comic-book counterpart, despite having a non-magical origin. Mina Chaytan has the metahuman power to animate effigies - i.e. realistic statues, suits of armor, mannequins, skeletons, etc. The comic book version of Black Bison also had this power, through the use of the magical Black Bison Coup-Stick. Mina Chaytan and the comic book Black Bison also share a common motivation - fighting back against those they see as exploiting the heritage of their people. 

Ralph gives Caitlin's measurements are 34-25-34. These correspond to those of actress Danielle Panabaker, according to her profile on HealthyCelebrity.com

As in the comics, Ralph's powers seem to have given him some degree of super-strength along with super-durability and elasticity. We see Ralph holding a speeding car in place with his bare hands.


Technobabble


Real hypnosis can be used to recover memories.

Based on an avulsuion and the claw marks left at the scene of Black Bison's first murder, Barry determines that the dead man was killed by a large, predatory animal with four-inch canines and a bite force of 5,000 PSI which weighed over one ton. No such animal exists, but a stone panther fits the bill.

Harry contacts The Council of Wells' using a multiverse holo-projector.

The granite panther statue is totally normal apart from being filled with traces of dark matter on a molecular level.

Caitlin guesses that Black Bison's powers work by leaving a psychic imprint on objects, creating a sort of telekinetic puppetering through a subconscious link. This power is limited in that she can only manipulate effigies - i.e. representations of living creatures.   

Cisco constructs the prototype for Ralph's super-suit from an unnamed material with an adaptive nano-weave structure that is malleable on a sub-molecular level.

Harrison Wolfgang Wells has a unique theory on the behavioral upbringings of nano-serial killers.

H. Lothario Wells had a unique theory on narcotics in molecular psychiatry.

The Council of Wells ultimately decide to find DeVoe by using the Bates-Novick method to determine why each of the bus metahumans developed they powers they did and combining that with Harrison Wolgang Wells' models of statistical elimination. H. Lothario Wells then suggests taking that information, enhancing it with a psych profile based on DeVoe's previous actions, using a predictive algorithm that he created and then running that information through Wells 2.0's quantum cerebral chip. This leads them to Clifford DeVoe - a professor of history who matches their psych profile by 92%.


Dialogue Triumphs


Barry: A superhero's first job is to protect people!
Ralph: Oh God. What's the second job? Long-winded lectures before noon?

The Mechanic: We need to talk.
The Thinker: The only way it can end... with my victory.
The Mechanic: What?
The Thinker: (sighs) Fine. Let us take the long way and continue.
The Mechanic: Today, for the first time, events will align that give Team Flash a chance to discover your identity. This is earlier than you anticipated!
The Thinker: It is of no concern.
The Mechanic: Like Hell! You know what's at risk! What we are doing? If you have miscalculated by even a decimal-
The Thinker: There is not a decimal, a fraction, an infinitesimal variable beyond my thought... beyond my mind. Even now, of the 7,798 variations of this argument, I have anticipated them all and know how it ends.
The Mechanic: Then how does it end?!
The Thinker: The only way it can end... with my victory.
(The Mechanic just stares at him and walks out of the room.)

Barry: Do you remember back in the day, when we wouldn't calmly consider a stone statue our prime suspect?
Joe: No. I actually don't.

(Harry kicks Wells The Gray off of their channel.)
Harry: Sorry. That was a... bad connection.
Wolfgang Wells: Ja, that was a terrible connection.
Wells 2.0: Good on ya! That dude was strange.
(Wells 2.0 brings a lizard on a stick up to his lips and takes a bite.)

Wells 2.0:  We had a Cisco on my Earth once. He was delicious.

(Cisco is running through the technical explanation for how he made a costume that can stretch with Ralph.)
Ralph: Don't know what that means. Don't care. Just yank the tarp off. I'm ready for my super-suit!
Cisco: Ralph... this tarp IS your super-suit.

Mina Chaytan: That which you call "a peace pipe" is no such thing. It is a sacred gift for prayer from Ptesan-Wi - bringer of the seven scared rights - The White Buffalo Calf Woman. You'd never hang a Christian cross upside down. Or lay an American flag on the floor. Yet you destroy that which is wakan - what is holy - by letting it touch your filthy flesh. But I am here to teach you the price for your impudence.


Continuity


Cisco explains that he's unable to use his powers to see the bus being hit by the dark matter wave because of the interference caused by the dark matter wave itself.

Dr. Sharon Finkel - Iris and Barry's therapist - last seen in 402 - makes an appearance, agreeing to hypnotize Ralph.

Ralph has an uncanny ability for guessing women's measurements with one glance.

While under hypnosis, Ralph sees The Weeper from 405. He identifies two women and cannot see their faces but is able to guess their measurements (34-32-36 and 38-34-32, respectively). He also sees a figure wearing a jacket with a black bison emblem on the back.

Cisco Ramon is 5'7".

The Harrison Wells of Earth 12 is Harrison Wolfgang Wells. He is German, holds four PhDs and has authored a book called Everything Is Meaningless, So Why Did I Buy This Book? In mannerisms and personality, he resembles the character of Dieter from the Saturday Night Live Sprockets skits.

The Harrison Wells of Earth of Earth 47 is a billionaire inventor, publishing tycoon and general champion of free speech named H. Lothario Wells. He dresses like High Hefner, is an apparent womanizer and has the mannerisms of actor Matthew McConaughey.

The Harrison Wells of Earth 22 is Wells 2.0 - an Australian cyborg from a world where man and machine had to merge to survive the apocalypse. His mannerisms and appearance seem to be based on the Mad Max series of movies.

There is also a Harrison Wells - Wells The Gray - who resembles Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings books. We do not find out what Earth this Harrison Wells comes from, if he is a real wizard or just some loony crashing the Council of Wells meeting channel.

Wells 2.0 apparently ate the Cisco Ramon of Earth 22. He was delicious.

Caitlin's measurements are 34-25-34.

The fifth of the bus metas is a woman named Mina Chaytan. She is a Native American of the Sioux-Lakota tribe. She was a professor of cultural anthropology at Central City University before she was fired following her arrest on charges of breaking in and entering, trespassing and burglary while trying to "reclaim" several Souix artifacts from a museum.

On Earth 22, apologizing is a crime punishable by banishment under Krung The Face-Crusher.

Ralph sent the reassembled Black Bison necklace back to the Sioux reservation.

Raised in South Africa and educated at the University of Oxford and The University of Johannesburg, Clifford DeVoe is a professor of history at The University of Central City. He lives at 43 Hibbard Lane. His specialty is the history of warfare and military strategy with a research focus on the early Middle Ages.

When Team Flash arrives at 43 Hibbard Lane, they find The Mechanic and The Thinker, apparently posing as Husband and Wife. Clifford DeVoe appears to be a middle-aged man confined to a wheelchair.


Untelevised Adventures

Killer Frost apparently took control of Caitlin's body to go to Burning Man.


The Bottom Line


A ultimately harmless and fluffy piece of filler that goes too far in trying to course-correct the series' dark tone in Season Three. It's telling that all the characters given more serious material to tackle this year are barely in this episode (i.e. Caitlin, Iris, etc.) and the running gag with all the various versions of Harrison Wells is finally starting to wear thin.

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 6 - Midvale

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




Plot

Desperately in need of comfort following her broken engagement, Alex travels with Kara back to her hometown of Midvale. While there, Kara recalls the incident from their childhood which turned two strangers into sisters.


Influences

The TV series Riverdale (murder mystery in a small-town high-school setting), Smallville (teenager with superpowers in a small town dealing with mysterious events, mention of Chloe and the "Wall of Weird"), Nancy Drew novels (teenage girl detective adventures) and the movie Twilight (the visuals of Kara jumping through the woods)


Goofs

Even in a small-town high-school, it's unlikely that Kara and Alex would be in the same history class, given the two-year gap in their relative ages.

With long-lingering shots, the direction gives away the identity of the killer long before the audience has a chance to deduce it based on the clues offered.


Performances


Izabela Vidovic and Olivia Nikkanen do a phenomenal job as the younger versions of Kara and Alex.

It's a brief thing, but David Harewood gets a good quick moment of silent acting looking very broken up after he changes back to his Hank Henshaw form after talking to Kara as "Noel Neill". It really hits you in that moment how seriously, even back then, J'onn took his promise to look after Jeremiah Danvers' children. It's especially touching given that "Noel" said she couldn't imagine what it was like to lose your whole world in the same way Kara did when J'onn doesn't have to imagine it yet can't give Kara any comfort beyond a sympathetic ear.


Super Trivia


The episode title - Midvale - comes from the city where Alex and Kara grew up in The DCTVU.

In the DC Comics Universe, Midvale is a small suburb just outside of Metropolis. In the Silver Age, Midvale was the town Kara Zor-El settled in upon her arrival on Earth, where she lived in the Midvale Orphanage until she was adopted by The Danvers. Most of the Supergirl movie was set in Midvale as well, where Kara Zor-El attended the Midvale Boarding School.

The building used for the exterior shots of Midvale High in this episode - Templeton Secondary School in Vancouver - was also used to depict Smallville High on the series Smallville and is currently used to depict Riverdale High on the show Riverdale.

Mention is made of Lex Luthor being brought to justice by Superman for selling something called "Lexosuits.". In the classic comics, the power armor which Lex Luthor constructed in order to fight Superman physically was often called a Lexosuit as a play on exo-suit, which is used to refer to any form of powered exo-skeleton.

Mention is made of Superman wearing red underwear over his tights in this episode - a detail his costume lacked when we saw him during Supergirl's second season. This is, of course, a classic detail of Superman's original costume, mirroring the modesty garments worn by the circus strongmen Superman's classic costume was modeled on in the 1930s. The New 52 redesign of Superman's costume lost these trunks, opting instead for simple blue pants.

Kara's first friend as a teenager, Kenny Li, may be a double nod to the original Superman comics. In the comics, before being adopted by The Danvers family, Kara Zor-El used the alias "Linda Lee" while living at the Midvale Orphanage. Kenny Braveman was the name of a boy born on the same day that the rocket carrying baby Kal-El to Earth landed in Smallville. Kenny and Clark would become friends at a young age, rivals in high-school and Kenny would eventually become the villain Conduit in his efforts to prove himself Clark's better.

The sequence in which Kara jumps through the forests of Midvale seems to have been inspired by a similar sequence in the film adaptation of the book Twilight.

Kara makes reference to Clark having a friend named Chloe who loves weird tech stuff and has a "wall of weird". This is a nod to Chloe Sullivan - a character from the TV series Smallville.

The FBI agent who tries to scare Kara straight regarding using her powers gives her name as Noel Neill. This is the name of the actress who played Lois Lane in the 1948 Republic Superman serials and the 1952 television series Adventures of Superman. As a double-play on the reference, she is played by actress Erica Durance, who played Lois Lane on Smallville.


Technobabble


Kenny Li developed Galileo - a computer program that took images from his telescope and capture it as digital photographs on his laptop.


Dialogue Triumphs


Eliza: This is the mom fine print - when your child is in agony, you show up regardless the hour.

Eliza: You have the most wide-open heart in the world for other peopleBut when you feel weak, you punish yourself for it. You've had an awful year-
Kara: And I'm feeling a lot better. I promise.
Eliza: You don't have to be better. You're allowed to be a mess.
Kara: But too many people depend on me.
Eliza: That is a great excuse.

Kara; Do you want to talk about it? It might help.
Alex: (sighs) You don't get to do that.
Kara: What?
Alex: You don't get to shut down - what - for six months after Mon-El goes? And then, now, sit here, and you tell me to talk.
Kara: It will get better.
Alex: Yeah? Are you better?

Young Kara: I remember my parents! I remember Krypton! I remember being alone in that pod and not knowing if I was going to see anyone ever again! And then I landed here! And no one asked me if I wanted these powers. But I have them! And all I want to do is help people with what I've been given and no one will let me!

Sheriff Collins: You're real brave. Not even screaming. Not that anyone can hear you.
Young Alex: Someone's listening right now.
(Cut to Kara, flying at super-speed towards the high-school.)


Continuity


J'onn loans his spaceship/vintage car - last seen in 304 - to Alex and Kara for their trip.

Kara and Alex shared a room as teenagers.

Alex was in AP Math during her senior year.

Kryptonian children study calculus at the age of four.

Kara found math and science easy in school. She found history pointless.

Superman first brought Lex Luthor to justice sometime ten years earlier, because of Lex selling something called Lexosuits.

Alex was part of the cool crowd and hung out with the high-school quarterback.

Kara only had one friend in high-school - a nerdy kid named Kenny Li.

Kenny secretly tutored Alex in calculus.

Kenny stumbled across multiple crimes using his Galileo program. These included the quarterback smoking pot, a student (Josie, Alex's best friend) having an affair with a teacher (Mr. Bernard) and the Midvale sheriff (Sheriff Collins) taking bribes.

J'onn visited a young Kara in the guise of FBI Agent Noel Neill, modeling her on the appearance of Kara's mother.

Clark's friend, Chloe, helps Kara with getting the pictures off of Kenny's laptop.

Kara and Alex were given Kenny's telescope as a gift from Kenny's parents for finding his killer. It still is set up on the balcony at Eliza Danver's house.

Alex was outcast from the popular crowd after outing Josie's affair with a teacher and the quarterback's pot-smoking.

Kara discovered after the fact that Kenny had taken a picture of her flying but never shown it to anyone.


Location

The town of Midvale, ten years earlier.


The Bottom Line


Much better than most flash-back episodes and easily the best episode of Supergirl's third season. The actors playing young Alex and Kara are perfectly cast, truly looking and acting like younger versions of Chyler Leigh and Melissa Benoist. The actual mystery at the heart of the episode is blindingly obvious but the acting more than makes up for it.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Batgirl And The Birds of Prey #16 - A Review

The Birds of Prey have picked up some unexpected back-up in dealing with the plague that is slowly killing the men of Gotham City. Not only have Batwoman, Orphan and The Spoiler offered their aid but Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Catwoman have joined them along with Wonder Woman! Even with such formidable assistance, the battle ahead of them will not be easy - particularly once they learn of the new organization that stands against them!


(Click On The Image Above To See The Full Two-Page Spread!)

My comments and complaints about Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey #15 remain the same in considering this issue. The script by The Benson Sisters is fantastic and does a wonderful job of capturing the personalities of all the heroes and villains involved. The artwork by Roge Antonio is lazy and ill-defined, with a coloring job by Marcelo Maiolo that leaves all the characters save Huntess with the same washed-out white skin-tone as Harley Quinn. Read it for the story. Suffer through the artwork.

The Final Analysis: 5 out of 10. Again, that's purely for the story.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Batman: Lost #1

Lost in The Dark Multiverse, Bruce Wayne finds himself experiencing story after story, world after world where things are wrong. He must find his way back to his reality but can The Dark Knight deduce what is truly real?


With multiple writers, artists and inkers, there is very little cohesion between the various bits and bobs that make up Batman: Lost. Yet that confusion, sown as an elderly Bruce Wayne reads stories of his adventures to his granddaughter, proves the unifying x-factor as the creative teams go hog-wild on presenting us with various visions of Batman. It has the feel of a fever dream but it captures that sensation perfectly.

The Final Analysis: 9 out of 10. An interesting trip that must be experienced for one's self.

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 5 - Deathstroke Returns

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



Plot

Slade Wilson returns to ask for Oliver's help in rescuing his long-lost son, Joe, from a Kasnian prison. And for once he needs the help of Oliver Queen - not the Green Arrow. Meanwhile, Vigilante returns to Star City and is apparently out for the head of the councilwoman leading the push against masked crime-fighters. And Agent Watson begins questioning the other members of Team Arrow in her bid to bring down Mayor Queen.


Influences

The Teen Titans comics of Marv Wolfman and George Perez.


Performances

Manu Bennett is as amazing as ever as Slade Wilson.

Juliana Harkavy blows away her naysayers with her performance here. This is the Black Canary we've been waiting for for six years.


Artistry

The scene of Slade fighting the Jackals works rather well, despite making use of the famous sped-up/slow-down editing trick.


Trivia

The leather jacket Dinah wears in the opening scene is the same style worn by The Black Canary in the comics.

The main plot of the episode follows Slade Wilson's efforts to find his son, Joseph. In the comics, Joseph Wilson was the superhero and Teen Titans member Jericho, who had the power to take control of the body of anyone he made eye-contact with. He was rendered mute as a child after having his throat cut while being taken hostage by a terrorist called The Jackal.

Joseph "Jericho" Wilson was reportedly the first comic book character George Perez designed entirely by himself.  The codename Jericho and the fact that he was Deathstroke's son apparently came from Marv Wolfman, but Perez came up with his real name, personality, powers and came up with the idea of Jericho being mute.

Slade says that his son, Joseph, was now using his wife's maiden name - Kane. In the original comics, Slade Wilson's wife was a woman named Adeline Kane.

The idea of Slade Wilson being devoted to his work and putting his job over his family is taken directly from the classic Teen Titans comics. His wife left him after Joseph was rendered mute - an action that occurred because Slade put his professional code of ethics regarding his work ahead of everything else - and took all of their children with her, going into hiding.

Slade says that Joseph is being held in a prison in Kasnia. The nation of Kasnia (or Kazina) first appeared in the DC Animated Universe. It was located somewhere in the Balkans or Eastern Europe and its history was loosely based upon the nation of Yugoslavia, suffering from a number of civil wars through its long history.

One Justice League episode - Maid of Honor - focused upon the nation of Kasnia and involved Vandal Savage and his attempts to take control of the country (and then the world!) through an arranged marriage to the country's princess.

Nylander addresses Slade as "The Terminator". This was indeed Slade Wilson's nickname in the comics, given to him before the name became synonymous with a certain murderous brand of time-traveling robot.

Joe Wilson refers to a friend whose dad is a pilot for Ferris Air. In the comics, Ferris Air is the company owned by Carol Ferris - a.k.a. Star Sapphire. An aeronautics company in the original comics, Ferris Air is an airline in the DCTVU.

We find out later that Joe Wilson's full alias is Kane Wolfman. This is a nod to Marv Wolfman - the writer responsible for creating Slade Wilson in the original Teen Titans comics.

The mercenary group that Joe Wilson was investigating was called The Jackals. This is a nod to The Jackal - the terrorist in the original comics who was responsible for slashing Joe Wilson's throat and leaving him mute.


Technobabble

Vigilante either hacked his visor so Team Arrow couldn't track him through it or switched to a new visor technology unlike the one he'd used the last time he fought them.

Bullets can become magnetic if they are stored in an environment with a strong magnetic field.


Dialogue Triumphs

Agent Watson: Excuse me! What are you doing here? You are not SCPD.
Dinah: No. He's not. And this is not a federal case.
Agent Watson: Still doesn't explain what John Diggle, who works personal security for the mayor, is doing at a crime scene.
John: I have relevant experience. And the mayor thought this could use a fresh set of eyes.
Agent Watson: What type of experience?
John: Sniper.
Agent Watson: I don't recall reading that in your military file.
John: I'm sorry. Tell me again why you're reviewing my service jacket?
Agent Watson: Mayor Queen didn't mention he's under investigation?
John: Of course he did. It has nothing to do with -
Agent Watson: But you've been working with him for the past six years. Which makes us overdue for a chat.

(Nylander gives Slade the information he asked for.)
Slade: This should work. Thank you.
Nylander: That's it? Just thank you? No extravagant dinner? No pints?
Slade: Maybe next time. When my son isn't rotting in a third-world prison.
Nylander: He is lucky to have you as a father.
(Slade stops in mid-step.)
Slade: My son wouldn't be in this mess if anybody else was his father.
Nylander: Just be careful, Kamrat. Your boy was snooping around some private-ops mercenaries. Some... not so nice guys.
(Slade turns around and gives Nylander an honest smile.)
Slade: Under certain circumstances, I'm not so nice a guy.

(Slade says that he doesn't intend to see his son once Oliver gets him out of prison.)
Slade: It's better this way.
Oliver: For him or for you? (pauses) Are you... are you afraid that he's going to see you as Deathstroke and not the man you were? The man I think you are now?
Slade: I gave up my right to be his father when I stepped out of the light, into the shadows and became this monster.
Oliver: Your son will forgive you. The way that my son forgave me.
Slade: Joe knew that I was coming to look for him. So he contacted his mother. And she sent me a message to stay away. You got your second chance, kid. And I'm happy for you. Some fathers aren't that lucky.

John: Are you having as much trouble with Oliver working with Slade as I am?
Felicity: No. I'm having a lot more.

(Oliver is protesting Slade planning to take on The Jackals alone.)
Oliver: I am not letting you do this.. alone...
(Oliver passes out, collapsing into his chair. Slade looks at him and then to the water Oliver had been drinking as he moves to stand over Oliver.)
Slade: Alone is what I do best, kid.

(Vigilante pulls off his mask to reveal the bullet he took for Black Canary stuck in his forehead. He pulls it out.)
Black Canary: How?
Vigilante: You're not the only one dark matter did something to. Everything heals now.
Black Canary: I thought you were dead!  You let me believe it for four years!
Vigilante: I'm sorry. I couldn't let myself be-
Black Canary: Human?
Vigilante: Distracted.
Black Canary: Distracted?! From what?!
Vigilante: My mission. We were cops for 10 years. What did we ever accomplish?
Black Canary: A lot.
Vigilante: Not enough. Not nearly enough. (pauses) This is the only way.
Black Canary: You've lost your mind.
Vigilante: I'm not the only one wearing a mask.


Continuity

Vigilante appears for the first time since 515, apparently having survived being thrown off a roof by Prometheus.

Slade says that his son, Joseph, is now using his wife's surname - Kane. He followed in Slade's footsteps and joined The Australian Intelligence Service.

Slade says that he tracked Joe from Calgary to Ibiza (an island off the eastern coast of Spain) then to Mombasa - the second largest city in Kenya.

Slade says that Joe is being held in a prison in Kasnia - the same country John Diggle led The Suicide Squad into in 317. It is also where most of L110 took place, in the year 2147. On Earth 38, John Corben - the man who became Metallo - was said to have ties to Kasnian terrorists in S201.

Felicity makes reference to the events of F405 and a metahuman criminal crashing Iris West's bachlorette party.

Aruba is Oliver and Felicity's special vacation spot. It's also the favored vacation spot of Mick Rory, as seen in L301.

Vigilante is revealed to be Vincent Sobel - Dinah Drake's former partner, last seen in the flashbacks of 511.

Nylander was an associate of Slade's when he was in the AIS. Slade describes him as a jackass who was never on time.

Agent Watson interviews John Diggle, Felicty Smoak and Rene Ramirez.

Joe Wilson was investigating a mercenary gang known as The Jackals.

Vincent Sobel used to make matchbox art.

John refers to Vigilante attacking Oliver's limo in 515 and how he had a chance to kill Dinah but didn't take it.

Vincent Sobel developed a metahuman healing factor from the STAR Labs particle accelerator explosion. It allowed him to heal being shot in the head when Dinah first saw him die and allows him to survive taking a bullet for her when a rookie cop tries to shoot Black Canary.

Nylander turns out to be part of The Jackals and Joe Wilson is revealed to be their leader.

Agent Watson noticed that Dinah was missing during the blackout when Black Canary showed up.

Vigilante leaves a matchbox with a rose inside it for Dinah on the dash of her car.


Location

Milford Sound, New Zeland - Sometime in 2004.
A prison in the nation of Kasnia.
A hidden bunker in the nation of Kasnia.


The Bottom Line

The title of this episode may be lazy but its execution is anything but. Manu Bennett returns in style and it's like he never left. While most audiences could happily spend an entire hour watching Deathstroke be awesome, the Black Canary subplot more than equals it. Easily the best episode of the season to date and another contender for one of the best Arrow episodes of all time. Can we have a Deathstroke series in 2018, please?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps #32 - A Review

Trapped in a dungeon built of his worst nightmares with the villainous alternate-Earth Bruce Wayne known as The Dawnbreaker, Hal Jordan is in for the fight of his life. The Dawnbreaker has a power ring of his own - a corrupted Green Lantern ring that absorbs the light around it. It won't be easy but if there's one man who knows something about beating enemies he has no business even facing, it is Hal Jordan!



Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps #32 is a pretty piece of filler. Nothing really happens to advance the plot of Dark Nights Metal but Robert Vendetti writes one hell of a fight scene. It's gratifying to see Hal using his brain in battle and the "strobe mode" Hal uses to counter Dawnbreaker is a brilliant conceit. It also leads to a visually interesting spectacle from artists Liam Sharp and Ethan Van Sciver and colorist Jason Wright, as the artwork cuts between pitch blackness and bright flashes of green-tinged action.

The Final Analysis: 8 out of 10. Not much of a plot, but a great action-packed issue with fantastic art!

The Flash #34 - A Review

Dr. Meena Dhawan - a.k.a. Fast Track - was once Barry Allen's girlfriend and Wally West's first mentor. She disappeared during a battle with the villain Godspeed, seemingly killed along with two of her students among those granted super-speed by The Speed Force storms that once wrecked Central City.

Now, she's back and Barry and Wally are overjoyed at the news. But Meena has returned with grim news - Barry's new-found connection to the negative charge of The Speed Force is killing him! She offers to help study Barry's new powers and find a cure. Unbeknownst to them, however, Meena is a double agent, working for both STAR Labs and the villainous group of rogue scientists known as The Black Hole...


While I'm displeased to see Meena being turned into a villain (I found her to be a far more interesting love interest than Iris West during her brief time as Barry's girlfriend), at least she's proving to be a competent villain who is giving The Flash a run for his money.  The dialogue is a little flat, however, with a lot of sameness to the characters voices - a problem that may be due to Joshua Williamson co-writing this issue with Michael Moreci.

Whatever reservations I may have about the story, I have none about the artwork. Pop Mhan does his usual fantastic job on the pencils and inks, backed by the always outstanding colors of Ivan Plascencia. This is one of the most consistently well-drawn books on the stands.

The Final Analysis: 8 out of 10. It falters only in the story being inaccessible to new readers.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Legends Of Tomorrow: Season 3, Episode 5 - Return Of The Mack

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


Plot

When Nate thinks he's found a pattern to the anachronisms, the team heads to London in 1897 to track down a time-traveling vampire. They're surprised to find Rip Hunter waiting for them and even more surprised that he wants to rejoin the team - a revelation that Sara is conflicted on for multiple reasons. Meanwhile, Professor Stein discovers that Jax and Ray have been working on a way to free him from The Firestorm Matrix and he is surprisingly unhappy about it. And Amaya tries to bond with Zari and work out how their two respective necklaces are meant to interact.


Influences

General penny dreadful and Gothic horror tropes, the films of Vincent Price (Rip makes a reference to Vincent Price movies, Victor Garber's appearance and performance as Sir Stein seem to be modeled on Vincent Price), Sherlock Holmes (Rip Hunter's analysis of the vampire victim's body, Rip quotes Holmes, saying "The game's afoot"), Bram Stoker's Dracula (classic vampire themes, Mick is seen reading the book) and the various legends regarding the murderer dubbed Jack The Ripper.


Goofs

How does Damien Darhk have his magic powers back? They were dependent on an idol that is no longer in his possession.


Performances

There's a wonderful bit of non-verbal acting on Caity Lotz's part as Zari talks about using The Waverider to stop her family from being killed. You can tell immediately that Sara is thinking about Laurel and her death at the hands of Damien Darhk that she's powerless to avert.

Victor Garber has a nice dual role as Sir Henry Stein, channeling Vincent Price to play an unsettling yet oddly charming nobleman.


Artistry

It should not work, and yet somehow, the entire fight scene set to Return of the Mack does work.


Trivia Of Tomorrow

This episode opens with a new narration delivered by Rip Hunter.

The episode title comes from a 1996 single by British R&B singer Mark Morrison, which is replayed throughout the episode.

The word Mack has multiple meanings. In America, it's a slang term for a smooth-talking man, particularly one who seduces women. The same term is used in England, where it's also used to refer to a Mackintosh coat - a certain style of long raincoat, similar to the one favored by Rip Hunter.

There was a total lunar eclipse over London, on May 19, 1895.


Technobabble

The serum that Ray develops to break the psychic connection between Jax and Sten has several side-effects including short-term memory loss, facial swelling and some slight gastrointestinal distress.

By folding a linear timeline onto itself, following the mathematics of the golden ratio, Nate was able to find a pattern to the anachronisms.. apart from two outliers.

All matter in the universe possesses a mathematical harmony, according to Stein.

Ray identifies the source of the sudden music in the London morgue as a 2016 PalmerTech 7G Smartwatch.

Digital Digest Magazine gave the 2016 Palmer Tech 7G Smartwatch encryption software a five-padlock rating.

The scientist in Sir Stein's employ invented a two-pronged needle that leaves marks that resemble the traditional puncture-marks left by a vampire.

Ray has the formulae for building a thermocore written on the blackboard in the lab when Stein finds out what he and Jax are working on.

Gentleman's Dreadnought is a code Rip Hunter programmed into Gideon that seals The Waverider up from the outside, trapping anyone who is on-board inside the ship. He uses this to keep Sara from coming after him when he plans to allow Damien Darhk to be resurrected.

Rip Hunter has access to some sort of device like a flash-bang grenade which temporarily slows time around him or allows him to move at super-speed temporarily. We see him use this during the fight with Damien Darhk, which enables him to knock bullets out of the air in mid-flight.


Dialogue Triumphs

Rip Hunter: (voice over) Time Travel is real/ And so are its consequences. When a terrible time paradox put all of history in peril, an elite team was formed. Their job - to protect history and repair these so-called anachronisms. Unfortunately, this is not that elite team. And yet, this team of misfits and outcasts is determined to fix the history which they have broken - not because they are heroes, but because they are Legends!

(Ray and Jax are discussing Jax's bond with Stein through The Firestorm Matrix)
Ray: You guys have been psychically bonded for over three years.
Jax: Yeah, and it's been no picnic, let me tell you. Last time I got laid, afterward Grey said to me (in impression of Stein) "Well done, Jefferson." I mean...!
Ray: ... could have done without knowing that.

Jax: (excitedly) Ray! It's 9 AM and I'm not craving grapefruit!

Rory: (suddenly holding a wooden stake) Vampires. Waited my whole life to kill one.
Jax: (shocked) Do you just carry that around all the time?!
Rory: My whole life.

(As the team walks down a London street, dressed as Bobbies)
Jax: There's a strong smell of garlic
Rory: It's tied around my neck.
Sara: Yep. You're a regular Van Helsing.
Nate: (To Rory) That's from Dracula.
Rory: I'm reading it. Don't tell me the end.

(Rip is explaining why he sought The Legends out to a skeptical Rory, Nate and Sara)
Rip: For the last five years, I've been chasing a phantom. A name whispered across time and in every language - Mallus!
Nate: The Phantom Mollusk? An evil shellfish?
Rip: Mall-us! An evil so ancient and powerful that The Time Masters dared not speak his name. I believe that he is recruiting allies from through time to his cause. Now, anachronisms are the result of your breaking time -
Rory: (pointing to Sara) It was her idea.
Rip: But these outliers. They are most certainly the work of Mallus. And The Time Bureau is a bureaucracy and lacks the imagination to understand this particular threat. And Director Bennett objects to my crusade.
Sara: (smirking) Hmm.
Rip: ... I'm alone out here.
Nate: So, what I'm hearing is, your hot new girlfriend dumped you and now you're crawling back to your ex?
Rory: (chuckling lowly) And I'm no one's side piece.
Sara: (smiling cutely) You know, I think they're onto something here. (in a sweet voice) Look... sweetie. We would love to take you back, but we don't know how we could trust you again.
Rip: Would circumstances be any different if I were to call off my hot new girlfriend's pursuit of you?
(Nate and Sara look at each other and hum as if considering it.)
Sara: (offering her hand) Deal.
(Rip takes Sara's hand and shakes it.)

Rory: Vampires don't sparkle.

(Upon seeing Sir Stein and his resemblance to Professor Stein)
Rip: Truly uncanny.
Sara: (in a mock British accent) It's that 'stache that's astonishing!

Zari: (taking off her necklace, passing it to Amaya) You know, I don't even want this anymore. Whatever is going on with it or with us? I don't care.
Amaya: That totem is your only remaining connection to him.
Zari: It's not a connection. It's a reminder.  That I should have been the one who died.

(Damien Darhk levitates above The Order of The Shrouded Compass and The Time Agents, having just disarmed them all with a wave of his wrist. He then glances at his wrist.) 
Damien Darhk: Who stole my watch?

(Stein and Jax have agreed to explore finding a way to make Jax Firestorm without Stein together.)
Stein: T.S. Elliot once said "Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." So - when do we start?
Jax: As soon as I, uh, fix that giant hole in the cargo bay.
Stein: Well, good luck with that.
Jax: Yeah.

(Rip is reading through his notebook on Mallus. Sara enters the room.)
Sara: We need to talk.
Rip: By now you know me better than to expect an apology.
Sara: Agents are dead because of you!
Rip: (cooly) They knew the risks of their profession. (excited) But we learned so much from the events of last night! Next time-
Sara: There won't be a next time, Rip! You show up out of nowhere, practically begging for our help. And then you betray us? You've gone rogue from every organization that you've ever been a part of! Because you don't trust anyone. I don't know how I could ever have trusted you.
Rip: Sara, I need you with me, now more than ever.
Sara: You remember how you told me you had nothing left to teach me? I guess you had one final lesson.
(A time portal opens behind Rip. Three Time Agents, including Ava Sharpe, exit. Rip looks at Sara, stunned.)
Sara:
How to be a cold son of a bitch.


Continuity

The psychic and empathic connection between Jax and Stein is strong enough that Stein was able to sense when Jax had sex. It has also resulted in Jax picking up Stein's snack cravings, such as a desire for grapefruit every morning at 9 am.

Ray successfully severs the psychic connection between Jax and Stein.

Amaya's usual breakfast is a bran muffin.

Stein's usual breakfast is a grapefruit half.

Sara's usual breakfast is oatmeal.

Mick Rory wears glasses to read.

Rory's usual breakfast is multiple beers.

Nate detects a pattern to the anachronisms, apart from two outliers - Seattle in 2042 (where they picked up Zari) and London, England in 1895. It is here he discovered reports of six men being murdered, their bodies drained of blood.

Rory has always dreamed of killing a vampire and carried a sharpened wooden stake in case he ever got the chance.

Rory is just now reading Dracula for the first time, despite being surprisingly well-versed in the lore of fighting vampires.

Stein's lullabies are the only thing that get his grandson, Ronnie, to sleep.

Sir Henry Stein was Professor Stein's great, great grandfather. He was an actor, knighted by Queen Victoria and considered something of an eccentric outside of his abducting people to feed a vampire.

The Order Of The Shrouded Compass was an infamous secret society among the aristocracy of London who were obsessed with the occult. They also believed in the magical properties of a total lunar eclipse.

"Beware the blood red moon when the door that separates death from life will be opened." is the first line of an oath made by The Order Of The Shrouded Compass. For some reason, this line is among Rip's notes regarding Mallus.

Madame Eleanor - the American mystic hired by Sir Stein - seems to be a true psychic. She speaks to Zari as if she were her brother and reveals that Zari abandoned him as they were fleeing ARGUS agents. She is later revealed to be an agent of Mallus and he speaks through her to Rip Hunter.

Rip refers to episode 103 and how he and Sara infiltrated The Grayhill building together.

Since they can't hack the Smarthwatch, Ray and Jax analyze the finger prints on it. They find four sets - one belongs to the coroner, the second belongs to Ray, the third is unidentifiable and the fourth belongs to Oliver Queen. Later, Mister Terrific identifies the third print as belonging to Damien Darhk.

Zari's brother's name was Behrad.

Mallus claims to be a god and says that no one can look on his true form and live.

Damien Darhk's resurrection has somehow restored his memories of the events of Season Two of Legends of Tomorrow.

Zari is able to summon the Wind Totem back to her hand. She later claims to have felt her brother's presence.

Clarissa Stein prefers to eat her grapefruit with salt.

Jax gets Ray to restore the psychic connection between Jax and himself.

Zari is seen playing Mortal Kombat in her personal quarters. This is a nod to 304 where she said she never got to play video games like the ones Ray played as a child.

Director Bennett is another of the Directors who run The Time Bureau.

The Time Bureau is overseen by a tribunal whom even its directors must answer to.

Rip Hunter is detained an suspended from active duty. Before he is taken away, he warns Sara that Darhk's resurrection was only the beginning and that The Legends must be ready to stand against Mallus for the sake of all history.


Location

London, England - 1895


The Bottom Line

The best episode of the season so far and a definite contender for one of the ten best ever.

Injustice 2 #31 - A Review

The war between the Amazons is begun, with Antiope and her rebels fighting against the new Wonder Woman, Nubia, and Hippolyta's loyalists. They will not have an easy time freeing the princess Diana, but they do have one advantage - the Kryptonian Kara Zor-El is on their side.


This should be an epic issue and with a different artist it might have been. Tom Taylor writes some great action sequences, as per usual, but Mike S. Miller seems to have phoned it in this week. The artwork in this issue is full of forced poses and Escher Girls, making a farce of the whole thing.



The Final Analysis: 5 out of 10. That's purely for the story.

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 5 - Girls Night Out

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



Plot

Felicity Smoak comes to town to help throw Iris' bachelorette party but Caitlin's past may ruin the night. Meanwhile, Ralph takes the male members of Team Flash out for a night they'll never forget... no matter how hard they try.


Influences

The Flash comics of Geoff Johns (character of Blacksmith), The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Killer Frost taking over Caitlin's body while she's asleep) and various Justice League comics where hilarity ensued during Guy's Night Out/Girl's Night Out events.


Goofs

As Felicity notes, STAR Labs needs a security system. Now. The running gag about how easy it is to walk in there has gone on long enough.

Joanie Horton says that she's been a Doctor Who fan since The Doctor became a woman. At the time this episode aired, The Doctor had yet to become a woman - a change that was planned for the 2017 Christmas Special. (Perhaps Doctor Who had a female Doctor before our universe in The DCTVU?)

The fight choreography when Iris attacks Norvok is terrible, with Norvok acting as if he's been hit despite Candice Patton not coming close to him as she waves her tray around.


Performances

It's a great episode for both Candice Patton and Danielle Panabaker. The former is given a chance to play the more proactive Iris fans have been clamoring for since Season One. The later is given a chance to add some depth to her Killer Frost persona. Both actresses play well off of each other and they prove more than capable of holding the spotlight for the span of an episode.


Artistry


The script for this episode does a fantastic job in tackling several problems with the show - i.e. Killer Frost's lack of a personality beyond being enthusiastically evil and the lack of any real relationship between Iris and Caitlin outside the context of dealing with weird superhero stuff. There's also a lot of funny moments in the B-plot with Barry and the boys at Ralph's favorite strip club.


Flash Facts


Caitlin is seen buying an airplane ticket on-line for Ferris Air. In the original comics, Ferris Aircraft was the aerospace, defense and later airline which employed Green Lantern Hal Jordan and was owned and operated by Star Sapphire Carol Ferris. In The DCTVU, Ferris Air is a major airline.

Ralph is seen wearing a paisley shirt with dark and light shades of purple in the pattern at Barry's bachelor party. In the comics, purple is Ralph Dibny's favorite color and most of his costumes have made use of the color.

Norvok - the snake-eyed henchman of Amunet who comes for Killer Frost - shares a name with a comic character named Hunk Norvock.

In the original Flash comics, Hunk Norvock was a crime-boss in Keystone City whom employed Clifford DeVoe as a "thinker" who could help him find the loopholes in laws to keep him and his men out of jail. Eventually, he became paranoid of DeVoe's intelligence and tried to kill him. He was tricked into killing himself, however, and Norvock's followers elected DeVoe as their new boss.

Amunet Black a.k.a. Blacksmith first appeared in The Flash: Iron Heights (August 2001). For fifteen years, Black ran a lucrative black market in Central City, exclusively catering to super-villains needing to fence exotic goods or acquire special gear. During this time, she married the villain Goldface, stealing his formula that gave him super-strong golden skin and altering it so that it gave her the power to merge organic and inorganic materials, such as giving herself metal skin. She attempted to organize her own team of Rogues, bringing her into conflict with both The Flash and Captain Cold's team of ethical robbers.

The DCTVU version of Blacksmith appears to have the ability to telekinetically influence certain kinds of metal, (specifically alnico alloys), reshaping a tin full of bolts and screws into a gauntlet, bullets and a shield as needed in her battle with Killer Frost. She is also a crime-boss with a lot of connections and several metahumans in her employ who has been running a black market in Central City for at least three years.

Ralph suggests that he might be able to stretch the skin on his finger-tip into a key to unlock the door to the jail cell in the CCPD Drunk Tank. In the comics, Ralph did indeed pull this stunt a few times with his powers.


Technobabble

Felicity is able to track Killer Frost's unique cold signature using the STAR Labs satellite.

When ingested, the dark matter in The Weeper's tears alters the brain function like a psychoactive drug - specifically, an aphrodisiac.

Blacksmith has the power to control alnico alloys - metals made of aluminum, nickle and cobalt.

Felicity is able to use the STAR Labs satellite to scan Central City on a geological level for small traces of aluminium, nickle and cobalt.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Barry, Cisco and Harry discuss the difficulty in tracking down the DeVoe Barry was told would become one of his greatest enemies by his future self.)
Cisco: Do you know how many people there are, in this state alone, with the name DeVoe?
Barry: No.
Harry: Thousands. And we still don't have an age.
Cisco: Unless one of your greatest foes is three-month-old William DeVoe, who lives four blocks from here.
Barry: I don't think one of my greatest enemies is a baby.
Cisco: (cutesy voice) Evil killer baby!
Harry:
Ehhhh... could happen.
Barry: You're right.

(The male members of Team Flash enter into The Golden Booty - a strip club Ralph frequents.)
Ralph: What do you think?
Cisco: I think I should have brought some hand sanatizer.
Harry: (squirting some liquid from a small bottle he pulls from his jacket into Cisco's hand) Always come prepared.
Cisco: (rubbing his hands furiously) Ohhhhh yes!
Barry: Ralph, this isn't really my speed.
Ralph: Speed jokes? You're better than that, Allen.
Barry: I wasn't -
(A dancer walks past and treats Ralph with a wide smile and a hand on the shoulder.)
Dancer: Hey, Ralphie.
Harry: Uh - Disney? You're a regular in this joint?
Ralph: Oh, so much more than that!
(Ralph walks over to where a framed picture of him hangs on a support beam.)
Ralph:
The girls may not be bottomless, but for yours truly, the french fries always are!

(Cisco is admonishing Ralph for using his powers to make change from a stranger's pile of bills at the next table.)
Cisco: It's not about your sticky fingers. It's about your stretchy arm outwardly displayed.
Ralph: (sarcastically) Oh, so I should be more like Captain Discrete over there?
(Ralph looks to the bar, where Barry is standing.)
Barry: (clearly drunk)
I'm The Flash!
(The crowd of strangers around Barry cheers as he smiles idiotically.)
Cisco:
I may have slightly miscalculated his bachelor elixir.

(As the ladies are sneaking into Amunet's club behind Killer Frost.)
Felicity: All right, do you think they're going to be able to tell that we don't exactly fit in here?
Iris: Well, it was your idea to wear boas, so... no.

(Blacksmith is trying to persuade Killer Frost to work for her again.)
Blacksmith: A deal like this requires a lady's touch. In your case, strength. And I'll cut you in for 10%.
(Killer Frost just stares at Blacksmith.)
Blacksmith: 15% and I throw in not killing you right now for your misguided rebellion and that is only because I've got forgiveness in my kidneys, right?
Killer Frost: I think you meant heart.
Blacksmith: No. There's no "beat-beat" in this chest, sister.
Killer Frost: As much fun as it is to play "I'm The Bigger Badass", I'm bored. And like I said...I'm done.
Blacksmith: (sighs) Do you know what everyone's mistake in business is? Hmm?  Not realizing who has the power in the room.
(Blacksmith lowers her hand as a tin full of bolts and screws begins to shake ominously.) 

Iris: There is a part of you that is good and decent. You just don't know how to accept it.
Killer Frost: You think you know me now?!
Iris: No. But I do know what Caitlin looks like when she's scared. And you have that same look in your eyes right now. You're just as afraid of being Caitlin as Caitlin is of being Killer Frost.

(Joe stands up and raises his arms, trying to take charge of the fight in The Golden Booty.)
Joe:
Everybody stop! I'm a cop!
(Somebody hits Joe with a chair, knocking him down. Barry stands up and raises his arms up in the same way Joe did. He is still clearly drunk.)
Barry: I'm The Flash!

Caitlin: I never should have come back.
Iris: That's not true, Caitlin. You can always come back to your friends. Why didn't you tell any of us?
Caitlin: I didn't know who to talk to.
Iris: You could have talked to me! I'm your friend, Caitlin!
Caitlin: Work friend. I mean, it's not like you and I have become "besties" over the last few years.
Iris: (sighs) Yeah, I guess we haven't.


Dialogue Disasters

The totally forced #feminism moment. At least they didn't say "girl power"!


Continuity

Ralph has now mastered stretching his torso and snaking around.

There are thousands of people with the last name DeVoe in the same state as Central City.

Caitlin is seen buying airplane tickets for a Ferris Air flight.

Joanie Horton is a Doctor Who fan, saying that she asked her mother for a sibling "seven Doctors ago." At the time of this episode's airing, and including The War Doctor and the announced but as of yet unseen Thirteenth Doctor, that would equate to about 1996 and the premiere of The Eighth Doctor. This would fit Joanie Horton's age as a college student in her early twenties.

Iris says she will be hyphenating her last name after getting married.

Felicity refers to the events of A416 and how Oliver got shot with an arrow during their fake wedding to lure out Cupid.

Killer Frost gave a scar to Norvok.

The Golden Booty is a strip-club in Central City with a $4.95 all-you-can-eat steak and chicken buffet. Ralph Dibny is a regular customer and on good enough terms with the management and dancers that there is a framed picture of him on the wall. He also gets bottomless french fries.

Killer Frost is confirmed to be a split-personality, separate from Caitlin Snow. She is unaware of everything Caitlin knows, not recognizing Iris West as one of Caitlin's friends. She is somewhat aware of Caitlin's actions, however, telling Iris that Caitlin was going to skip town because she got involved in something bad. Later, Caitlin reveals that she doesn't remember much of what goes on when Killer Frost is in charge.

Cecile Horton refers to the events of 320 and her being kidnapped by Killer Frost.

Harry is astonished by the fact that exotic dancers make more in a month than teachers. Apparently teachers on Earth Two are better paid than strippers.

Joanie Horton is dancing at The Golden Booty under the name Jasmine. She says that she's doing it as research for a book she's writing on the female experience in modern society.

Norvok is Blacksmith's third-favorite henchman. Killer Frost is her favorite because she listens.

Blacksmith believes in the idea of not starting a fight unless you are sure you can finish it.

The fourth new metahuman is revealed as a man dubbed "The Weeper". His tears cause intense euphoria in those who drink his liquid. Blacksmith sells the liquid in her club as a drug with the street-name "Love".

Blacksmith runs a black market in Central City. Cecilia Horton knows of Amunet Black but hasn't been able to build a case against her.

Killer Frost explains that Caitlin Snow made contact with Blacksmith in order to acquire some technology that could keep her Killer Frost personality under control six months earlier. The tech only worked when Caitlin was awake, however.

Caitlin worked for Blacksmith as an enforcer to pay for the tech. She did not kill anyone with her powers, though Killer Frost says that some people lost toes and fingers.

The Incredible Hulk exists in the DCTVU as a fictional character.

Killer Frost knows another "breacher" besides Cisco who can get her to another Earth.

Caitlin confirms that the cure Blacksmith gave her didn't work all the way. She also confirms that Killer Frost is becoming more powerful and taking over for longer.

Joe West is almost 50.

The Weeper flees the scene once freed, refusing Iris' offer of help.

Ralph is permanently banned from The Golden Booty.

Joe agrees not to tell Cecilia about Joanie's job.

Iris asks Caitlin to be her Maid of Honor.

In the final scene, The Weeper is seen being chased by The Thinker, who says he can't leave until he's completed the task for which he was created.


The Fridge Factor


Averted, with all the seriousproblems of the episode being addressed by the women without superpowers.


The Bottom Line


A solid episode. Blacksmith is fairly forgettable as a villain, despite Katie Sackhoff's spirited performance and the comedy of Barry's bachelor party has been done before and done better, despite having a few funny moments.

What sells this episode and makes it as good as it is is the chemistry between Danielle Panabaker and Candice Patton and a script that finally develops an honest friendship between two women who, honestly, have not interacted that much and really have no reason to do so outside of the context of their work as hostile metahuman fighters.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 5 - Damage

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




Plot

When multiple children in National City begin to suffer the symptoms of lead poisoning, Morgan Edge is quick to point the finger at Lena Luthor and the lead bomb she used to save the world during The Daxamite invasion. As Kara and Samantha work to prove Lena's innocence, Alex and Maggie make a fateful decision regarding their relationship.


Influences

The film Erin Brokovich (plot involving an investigation into poisoned water hurting children).


Goofs

The whole dance sequence. Just... no.

Lena says that being evil is in her DNA. That would be a rather neat trick since she was adopted into The Luthor family.

Why didn't Morgan Edge just call the cops after Lena was knocked-out in his office, with a gun in her hand, threatening his life? Sure, it lacks the drama of locking her in a plane full of chemicals as he's trying to poison the whole city, but it would accomplish his twin aims of humiliating her and seeing her punished for standing against him with a lot less effort.


Artistry

This episode features a lot of scenes of two people talking to each other and Kevin Smith, whatever else may be said about him as a creator, does have a knack for directing dialogues.

The effects-work on the scene where Supergirl saves Lena from the cargo plane is fantastic.


Super Trivia

This episode was directed by famed geek filmmaker Kevin Smith, who has directed several episode of The Flash and Supergirl.

Lena makes reference to The Flint Water Crisis - a disaster that seems to have served as the basis for this episode. While an investigation is still pending into precisely who is responsible for the decision to have Flint, Michigan's water supply be switched to a toxic source (the state blames the city for not financing adequate purification of the water, the city blames the state for slashing the budget for infrastructure resulting in old pipes not being replaced), the end result - tons of sick children - is not in dispute.

The crowd of pro-Edge protesters at at Lena's press conference chant "Lock Her Up". This is the same chant started at Donald Trump rallies when he accused Hillary Clinton of illegal activities during the 2016 US Presidential campaigns.


Technobabble


When Lena and Winn ran the original numbers for the lead-bomb, they predicted that 99.96% of the lead molecules bonded to Daxamite genes and that if it hit a human, it would disperse harmlessly. When Winn tests the bomb again in the lab, the actual rate is 89.79%. This means there is a 10.21% chance that the sick kids are a side-effect of Lena's bomb.

The pool water is filled with an advanced hydro-morphic carbon-nitrate compound - a synthetic compound that, when combined with water, exhibits the exact same properties as lead. According to Winn, anyone exposed to it would experience the same symptoms as lead poisoning.

The plane Morgan Edge uses to try and poison the National City Reservoir is a C-130 cargo plane.


Dialogue Triumphs


Lena: So this is what your revenge looks like?
Edge: Have you ever heard of The Cobra Effect, Lena? Colonial India. The British government realized there were snakes all over Delhi. They wanted them gone, so they offered a bounty for dead snakes. And then they realized that people were breeding snakes for income. They thought everything was going really well. They realized they got slithering snakes all over Delhi. The whole thing backfired. Turns out they made the problem worse. Do you understand?
Lena: You're a toxic predator.
Edge: Unintended consequences. You wanted to be a hero so bad, you didn't care who you hurt. Now people are going to die.
Kara: Even if all of this were true, Supergirl would be just as much to blame. She made the call to use that device.
Edge: Supergirl may have pushed the button, sure. But that tech was all Luthor.
Lena: You're a bottom feeder.
Edge: But I didn't poison children. That was you.

Lena: What news from the front?
Kara: (quickly) Nothing yet.
Lena: You know... you're terrible at hiding things from me.
Kara: (laughs nervously) I wouldn't be so sure of that.


Continuity


Melissa apparently told Ruby about her vision from 304. She thinks it was a dream but Ruby says she was awake.

70% is the deep discount rate on the print subscription of Catco Magazine.

Maggie and Alex break up.

James is shot by the assassin trying to kill Lena.

Eliza Danvers took Kara to play at a public pool on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Acre Lee Chemical is owned by Morgan Edge. Established in 1982, it manufactures hydrogen gas, sodium hydroxide and swimming-pool chlorine. He sold it in 2015, however.

Maggie moves out of the apartment she and Alex shared.

Alex refers to her conversation with Kara in 301 about what would happen if she lost Maggie.

Kara and Alex take a few days off work to visit their mother.

At the end of the episode, Samantha realizes that she was shot during the assassination attempt on Lena but that the bullet crumpled against her without her feeling it.


The Bottom Line


Artistically well-executed in terms of direction and cinematography, but the writing is lackluster and doesn't even bother to hide its sources in trying to be topical. I have no objection to political stories being tackled with superheroes (hell, I love the old Green Arrow comics from the 1970s) but this episode seems to suffer from a serious lack of Supergirl and the only reason we have Kara in costume at all is due to Morgan Edge randomly indulging in cartoonish super-villany. The only reason it works as well as it does is due to the cast but even they can only do so much. Hopefully the pace will improve now that the Maggie/Alex subplot is finally resolved.