Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 4, Episode 8 - Legends of To-Meow-Meow

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




Plot

John Constantine breaks the first rue of time-travel and tries to change his past. Only Zari and Charlie know what he has done, but Charlie and John keep trying to cover up their mistakes rather than fix it, as reality becomes more and more unstable.


Influences

The Steven Moffat era of Doctor Who (use of the phrase Timey Wimey, general idea of time travel comedy), The A-Team (the Custodians of the Chronology segment, general 80's high-action hero vibe), Charlie's Angels (the Sirens Of Space-Time segment, general 70's glam-action vibe), Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Gideon's fight with the vampires in the Sirens of Space-Time credits sequence), Moby Dick (the references to Charlie being the various teams' "white whale."), the "Smile Time" episode of Angel (the heroes are transformed into puppets) and any children's program featuring puppets or Muppets. (John references Fraggle Rock)


Goofs

It's a minor point, but we never do find out how Gideon got a body in the Sirens of Space-Time reality.

How big of a screw-up is everyone else in the Time Bureau for Gary Green to manage to be Runner-Up Employee of the Month?


Performances

Matt Ryan does a stellar job here, remaining as Constantine-y as ever, even when faced with sentient puppets and the kind of weirdness that not even he has to cope with on a regular basis.

Maisie Richardson-Sellers also does a bang-up job here, giving Charlie a bit of heart to go with her sassy personality. It would be easy enough for her to bolt and run but because she honesty does believe that people deserve to not be killed for being different, she sticks with trying to stop The Legends from being blood-thirsty lunatics.


Artistry

The production team did a fantastic job on the various credit sequences denoted each change to reality and emulating the feelings of a 1980s action show, a 1970s action show and Sesame Street in the episodes themselves. The stunts. The graphics. The music.  It's all perfect.


Trivia Of Tomorrow

During the Custodians of the Chronology segment, it is revealed that Oliver Queen, Barry Allen and Kara Zor-El all made attempts to contact The Custodians of the Chronology. Ray comments that this sounds like the annual crossover and Nate says they will pass. The same week this episode aired, the Elseworlds event was occurring between all of the other Arrowverse shows in 2018. Nate also makes a reference to how he bets they swap clothes this year - a reference to how the plot of Elseworlds saw Oliver Queen and Barry Allen trading identities after reality was rewritten.

Amy Pemberton, who provides the voice for Gideon, plays the more humanoid holographic Gideon in the Custodians of the Chronology segment and the Gideon with a physical form in the Sirens of Space-Time reality.

At one point, Ava makes a reference to "timey-wimey crap," This is a slightly more obscene take on a line from Doctor Who, where The Doctor described a complex situation as "timey-wimey stuff."


Technobabble/Arcana

Leprechans have luck manipulation powers.

John has a spell that allows him to break transmogrification spells, letting him change Zari back to her human form. It requires a bit of her hair. He can also reverse this spell, changing her back to a cat. He says this is far easier.

In addition to being reborn every time she changes shape and effectively immortal, Charlie's shape-shifting can also be used to heal injuries. She is able to instantly heal bullet wounds, sword-wounds and can even survive having her neck snapped.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Ray Palmer enters the casino with some kind of high-tech laser rifle in his hands.)
Ray: (growling) Reach for the sky you filthy animals! (pauses, then in a nicer voice) Pretty please?

Ray: Oh man! Garima's gonna flip when she hears we met Marilyn Monroe!
Nate: Do you think a murderous alien queen who sprang to life from Mick's fantasies is into Marilyn?
Mick: Yes.

John Constantine: This is not the when when I am supposed to be!

Zari: Because of you dicks I have been a cat for so long! (pointing to her mouth) Do you know where this tongue has been?
(John shakes his head, looking nervous and for once not taking the obvious straight line.)
Zari: Places!

(Mona and Charlie, who is disguised as Gary, bump into the real Gary Green while making their escape from the Time Bureau.)
Gary: Wait! Stop right there! (looking up and down at Charlie) Are you... me?
Charlie: ... yes. From the future.
Gary: (gasping in delight) Do I ever find love? Or at least my sunglasses? (thoughtfully) They might be in my other pants-
Charlie: Yes, Gary. All that and more.
(The sound of laser fire is heard down the hallway)
Charlie: But right now, I need you to delay The Custodians.
Gary: Okay. Oh! But be careful! There's been reports of a shape-shifter on the loose.
Charlie: (tensely) Yeah. I know that already.
(Gary raises an eyebrow at this, wondering why he's being so rude to himself.)
Charlie: ... because I'm you from the future, dummy!
(Charlie grins as Gary gapes and nods knowingly as Charlie copies his goofy laugh.)

Ava: Okay. I don't have time for all this timey-wimey crap.

(Sara, Ava and Gideon strut into Hank Heywood's office in matching tight leather outfits.)
Hank Heywood: Good morning, Sirens.
All: Good morning, Hank.
Hank Heywood: Well I hope you're ready to go to work today because we have one hell of a case on our hands.

(John and Charlie are in the front of the jump-ship, flying away from Salem 1692.)
John Constantine: You know, I hate to jinx us but I really think we nailed it this time.
Zari: (from behind them) I just hope you guys are right.
(John and Charlie turn around and look aghast. We then see that Zari is now a puppet.)
Zari: What's wrong? What are you looking at? Is there something on my nose?
(Zari reaches up to touch her nose... and sees that her hand is made of felt.)
Charlie: ... bullocks.

John Constantine: Fraggle Rock is going on here?
Puppet Sara: Well, today we learned about the importance of cooperating!
Puppet Ray: And about the number three!
Puppet Nate: And about a famous man from history named Napoleon!
All Except John: (nodding excitedly) Mmm-hmm, Mmm-hmm!
John Constantine: ... I think I need a drink.
Puppet Sara: Oh! We can help!
(On cue, music fills the ship.)
Puppet Sara: When you're thirsty for a drink -
Puppet Ray: And you just can't reach the sink -
All Except John: You gotta ask for help! You gotta-
John Constantine: (waving his hands) Alright! Please! Please! No more singing!
(The puppets all grumble.)

(Zari expresses concern for the strain altering the timeline is placing on John's health.)
John: I can take the pain, love.
Zari: What if you can't? What if you die, John? What happens to all the people who need you alive and Constantine-y?
John: Oh yeah? Well, you can leave that to the real heroes, all right, because I am done giving a damn.
Zari: Oh. I see. This isn't about saving Desmond anymore. It's an excuse for you to give up on yourself.

Charlie: You guys are so intent on killing magical creatures! Can't you see that this is wrong?
(Sara sighs and walks behind Charlie, seemingly troubled by the idea of killing needlessly.)
Sara: (flatly) Not really.
(Sara grabs Charlie's head and jerks her neck suddenly, snapping her neck.)

Desmond: Look, I thought this was real.
John Constantine: Yeah, it is real, Dez! And that's why I moved Heaven and Earth so that I could save you from a lifetime of - an eternity of anguish, that I caused. (pausing to steel himself) Look... I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm sorry you ever even met me.
Desmond: Don't be sorry. Only a fool would fall in love with John Constantine and not expect it to be rocky. I knew the risks. And I took them anyway. For you.
(John puts his hand on Desmond's shoulder.)
Desmond: I'm still pissed at you. (sighing) Why can't we just go back to the way things were?
John Constantine: That's exactly what I was thinking.
(John reaches into his pocket and pulls out a Time Bureau memory eraser.)
Desmond: What is that?
John Constantine: Know one thing, Desmond. I'm not quitting on you.
(John activates the eraser and leaves Desmond standing there as he makes his getaway.)

Zari: John. You okay?
John Constantine: Yeah, well - ah, my mind is no longer split in two, but... can't say the same about my heart, though.

(Ava is reading the last chapter of Mick's newest book.)
Ava: Let me get this straight - they're making love on the surface of the sun?
Mick: It's a...(pausing to think of the right word) a metaphor.
(Mick smiles as if proud for having that kind of depth.)

(Hank Heywood hanks up his phone, having been in formed of the Kaupe's escape on the golf course.)
Hank Heywood: Uh - there's been a setback, but we'll make it right.
(We shift camera angles to see Hank' golfing partner. It looks like Desmond.)
Neron: Oh, you'd better...
(The face shifts into a porous mass that looks like a giant sponge shape into a human face.)


Continuity

Charlie goes to 1962 Las Vegas disguised as Marilyn Monroe.

Charlie knows a leprechaun named Red who she finds playing the tables. He is later shot dead by The Legends.

In the new reality, Custodians of the Chronology, The Legends are gun-totting, A-Team style action heroes called Custodians of the Chronology. They have had a shoot-on-sight policy regarding magical creatures ever since the incident at Woodstock (i.e. 401) where Sara was killed by a unicorn. Nate is still part of the team and Zari has been stuck in the form of a cat ever since being transformed by the fairy godmother in 402. Garima is also part of the team, with Mick apparently having kept the Book of Brigid from 405. They have started decorating the Waverider with trophies of their kills. Gideon now has a more realistic projected avatar rather than a CGI head. Ava has dyed her hair black and is hiding in her office listening to Indigo Girls music mourning Sara, who has a memorial in the Time Bureau lobby. John Constantine was imprisoned by The Time Bureau after becoming dangerously unstable, as he remembered two separate timelines.

The Time Bureau lobby also has a plaque denoting Gary Green as Runner-Up Employee of the Month.

Mona helps John to escape prison as she hates The Custodians of the Chronology since killed her Kaupe friend and made him into a rug.

In the second altered reality, Sirens of Space-Time, Charlie and Constantine shoot the unicorn before it can kill Sara. Unfortunately, since this solved their problem before Sara recruited Constantine to help the Legends with the unicorn, John wasn't there to stop the Fairy Godmother from 402 from killing Mick, Nate and Ray. This caused Sara and Ava to develop a "shoot-on-sight" policy for magical creatures. Gideon was given an advanced robot body and Zari was apparently still transformed into a cat.

Ava's codename in the Sirens of Space-Time reality is Roundhouse.

Gideon's codename in the Sirens of Space-Time reality is Hard Drive.

The guns the Sirens choose in their armory are Heatwave's flame-thrower, Captain Cold's cold gun and Rip Hunter's revolver.

Gideon's body is equipped to detect shape-shifter pheromones. This is how she knows that Charlie isn't Amaya.

In the third altered reality, Puppets of Tomorrow, Charlie disguises herself as the fairy godmother and tricks Prudence Hawthrone into relinquishing her fairy godmother before she kills Nate, Mick and Ray With the bond severed, the fairy godmother latches onto Mick Rory, who calls his former teammates a bunch of "Time Bureau Puppets", transforming them into singing, kid's show hosts who teach positive moral lessons while saving the timeline, while he and the fairy godmother go off to steal a bunch of stuff. Zari is also turned into a puppet, though she manages to maintain her snarky personality.

In the fourth altered reality, Ava dies and is given a memorial in the Time Bureau lobby. The details of her death are not given.

In the fifth altered reality, Henry and Nate Heywood die in a battle with a garden gnome. They also get memorials in the Time Bureau lobby.

In the sixth alternate reality, Gary Green dies as a result of a Time Courier accident that sent him to Mt. Vesuvius. He also gets a memorial in the Time Bureau lobby. Despite it just being Gary, Charlie apparently elects to try and fix it so no one dies.

In the seventh alternate reality, there are no plaques but John passes out due to the strain of all the alterations to time on his memories. He finally agrees with Zari that they need to go back to the way things were before and abandons Charlie. This leads to Charlie taking the form of Ava, and getting the Legends to travel to New Orleans in 2018 in a bid to stop Zari and John. In this reality, The Legends once again have a "shoot-to-kill" policy regarding magical fugitives.

John uses a Time Bureau memory flasher to erase Desmond's memory of the past few minutes so he doesn't remember the fight he and second John had. Once the original John and Desmond kiss, the timeline is restored.

Charlie realizes that she is the missing X-Factor in all the alternate timelines and that if it hadn't been for her meeting The Legends, they never would have started capturing Fugitives alive.

John, Zari and Charlie arrive back at the Waverider as the rest of the team is tying up Mike The Spike, who is still in the body of the puppet Professor Stein.

It is suggested that Charlie might be bisexual, as she seems pleased that Zari thinks she is hot in her Amaya form.

It is revealed that Mick's pen name for his novels is Rebecca Silver - the writer from 406 who wrote the book Uncaged Desire that Mona gave to Nora Darhk.

Mick and Ava achieve a peace of sorts, like Sara wanted in 407.

Ava reads Mick's novel Heatwaves - An Erotic Space Odyssey.She says his female characters are shallow and libidoness and fun to read.

Mick, in turn, says he tried Ava's snickerdoodle recipe and liked it.

John tells Sara about what he did - altering the timeline, how he accidentally damned his boyfriend and his conflict with Neron. Sara says The Legends will help him, no matter what.

The Kaupe is revealed to have escaped Time Bureau HQ, as it had done at the end of 407.

Neron is revealed to be using Desmond's form on Earth and to be playing golf with Henry Heywood. Apparently Neron is the power behind Project Hades.


Location

Las Vegas, Nevada - 1962
Washington D.C. - Time Bureau HQ - 2018
Woodstock, New York - 1969
Salem, Massachusetts - 1692
New Orleans, Louisiana - 2018


The Bottom Line

Awesome. Just plain awesome. April 2019 cannot come fast enough.,

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 7, Episode 9 - Elseworlds, Part 2

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




Plot

Green Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl travel to the Gotham City of Earth 1 in search of the mysterious man at the heart of Cisco' vibe vision. It is here they meet Kate Kane, who points them in the direction of Dr. John Deegan - an Arkham Asylum psychiatrist with a bad reputation, even for Gotham.


Influences

The body-swap genre of comedy, particularly the 1976 Freaky Friday film, the television series Quantum Leap (Curtis and Cisco references it while wondering exactly how the body swap worked), Crisis on Infinite Earths (the red skies and yellow lightning, the Monitor's reference to a being that will destroy all reality and his need to find heroes to fight it), Neil Gaiman's Sandman (the Book of Destiny), the Batwoman comics of J.H. Williams and Greg Rucka, the post-Crisis Batman comics where Batman was viewed as an urban legend and every Batman story featuring a break-out at Arkham Asylum.


Goofs

Barry says that if his and Oliver's body-swap were like Quantum Leap he would only look like himself in the mirror. On Quantum Leap, the body-swapping time-travelers saw the person whose body they leaped into when they looked into a mirror, while the audience saw the actor dressed as the person whose body they leaped into.

Oswald Cobbleepot is shown to have a cell in Arkham Asylum. In most versions of the Batman mythology, The Penguin is usually sent to Blackgate Penitentiary as he is not technically insane.


Performances

Ruby Rose gives an amazing first performance as Kate Kane. Her chemistry with Melissa Benoist is particularly notable.


Artistry

The fight between Flash and Green Arrow as they are strung out on Scarecrow gas is amazing


Trivia

The episode opens with a special opening sequence, starring Grant Gustin as Oliver Queen, based around the altered reality of Elseworlds. Strangely enough, it reflects the changes to the show as of the Arrow Season 7 mid-season finale, and shows Grant Gustin and Emily Bett Rickards kissing as well as Katie Cassidy showing a picture of a bruised Grant Gustin in court.

Oliver Queen believes that Batman isn't real and the result of a conspiracy theory promoted by the Gotham City Police Department to scare criminals. This was the reality of the Gotham City in the post-Crisis Batman comics, where Bruce Wayne and most of Gotham's vigilantes kept a low profile and were considered by the public at large to be urban legends. How this explained the Batman's presence in the Justice League at the same time was largely hand-waved depending on the writer.

Oliver Queen claims to be the original vigilante, while arguing with Barry about the existence of Batman. In the reality of post-Crisis DC Comics, Oliver Queen did start operating as Green Arrow just before Bruce Wayne started his career as Batman. He also adopted Roy Harper and brought him into action as Speedy before Dick Grayson became Robin.

Upon arrival in Gotham, Ollie suggests contacting a radio personality named Vesper Fairchild, who he says knows everyone in Gotham. In the original Batman comics, Vesper Fairchild was a radio show host who was briefly linked to Bruce Wayne romantically. She first appeared in Batman #540 in March 1997. She was later killed by the assassin David Cain as part of a plot to frame Bruce Wayne for her murder. This kicked off the Bruce Wayne: Murderer? and Bruce Wayne: Fugitive storylines that ran through the Batman comics in 2002.

The street corner where Kara, Barry and Oliver are arrested is said to be Nolan and Burton. This is a nod to Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan - the two directors whose Batman films are most widely popular with the general public.

The modern version of Katherine "Kate" Kane first appeared in 52 #7 (August 2006). Bruce Wayne's first cousin on his mother's side, Kate was part of the Kanes of Gotham - one of the city's five founding families. Following in her father's footsteps to enlist in the Army, she resigned her commission at West Point rather than lie about her relationship with another female cadet in violation of the honor code of the time. Kate drifted through life without direction for a time, another idle rich heiress, until an attempted mugging. When Batman came to her rescue only to discover the heiress had easily subdued her assailant herself, Kate became inspired to become a vigilante herself. She spent the next two years training, eventually taking the Batwoman mantle independent of Batman. It was only later that the two cousins discovered one another's identities.

We know little about the Arrowverse version of Kate Kane beyond her being Bruce Wayne's cousin and being Batwoman as of this episode.

The WiFi password in Wayne Enterprises' offices is Alfred - a nod to Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Waynes butler.

Kara finds a bust of William Shakespeare in Bruce Wayne's office.  In the 1966 Batman show, the trigger for the hidden passage to the Batcave in Bruce Wayne's study was hidden within a bust of William Shakespeare.

We see a number of cells in the halls of Arkham that hint at famous Batman villains. These include The Penguin, Poison Ivy, Clayface and The Riddler. There is also a cell for "Guggenheim, M." - a nod to Arrow writer, producer and show-runner Marc Guggenheim.

One of the inmates seen escaping Arkham Asylym wears a featureless gold mask. This is a reference to The Psycho Pirate - a JSA villain with the power to manipulate the emotions of others. He became a figure of some prominence after Crisis on Infinite Earths, being only one of a handful of beings who remembered the existence of the multiverse. The Psycho Pirate primarily operated out of Gotham City and famously ruled the city by using his powers to take control of Bruce Wayne and Alan Scott. (The secret identities of Batman and Green Lantern.)

The storage room at Arkham Asylum contains a mask resembling that worn by Tom Hardy as Bane in the movie The Dark Knight Rises.

Caitlin encounters a woman digging through a storage room in Arkham Asylum, looking for something to make her cold. This is Nora Fries - the wife of Victor Fries - who was cryogenically frozen while her husband tried to find a cure for her condition. Apparently, on Earth 1, she was kept at Arkham, presumably so he could work on her while serving his sentence. She eventually assembles an ice gun, her husband's weapon, which she uses to fight Killer Frost.

Nora Fries is played by actress Cassandra Jean, who is the wife of Arrow star Stephen Amell.

Oliver accidentally breaks a box containing several gas samples belonging to a J. Crane. This is a reference to Jonathan Crane, a.k.a. The Scarecrow and the gas turns out to be his famous fear gas.

Batwoman says "World's Finest" when Supergirl suggests they might be a good team. This is a nod to the classic comics series World's Finest, which was based around Superman/Batman team-up stories.

The Barry Allen who finally breaches into ARGUS HQ identifies himself as The Flash of Earth-90. He is played by John Wesley Shipp, who also plays Dr. Henry Allen and Jay Garrick on The Flash. In the year 1990, John Wesley Shipp played Barry Allen on a short-lived CBS series based on The Flash comics.

When The Flash of Earth-90 sees John Diggle, he asks him where his ring is. This is a nod to a long-running fan theory that John Diggle's middle name would be revealed as Stewart and he would eventually become the Green Lantern as a tribute to John Stewart from the Green Lantern comics. Apparently the Earth-90 version of John Diggle is a Green Lantern.

The Flash of Earth-90 identifies the artifact The Monitor gave Dr. John Deegan as The Book Of Destiny. This seems to be a nod to The Book of Souls - a book guarded by Destiny of The Endless, which can be used to alter reality.

Everything The Flash of Earth-90 says about The Monitor's plans is taken directly from Crisis on Infinite Earths.

In the new reality created by Dr. Deegan, Oliver and Barry are now a duo of bank robbers called The Twigger Twins. In DC Comics, there were two separate pairs of twins who were robbers called The Trigger Twins. The first were named Walt and Wayne Trigger and they lived in the Old West, first appearing in All Star Western #58 in May 1951. The second pair were Tom and Tad Trigger and they first appeared in Detective Comics #667 in October 1993.


Technobabble

Curtis says they need a pattern recognition algorithm to interpret the meaning of the red skies and strange storms. This means they need to bring in Felicity.

Curits says that the quantum amplitude of the energy discharge of the lighting storms is consistent with that of a dimensional breach.

Cisco says the energy discharges of the lighting storms are not tied to The Speed Force.

Felicity theorizes that if the lighting strikes are attempted dimensional breaches, there might be a way to stabilize the quantum flux to allow whatever is trying to get through to get through. This leads to Felicity designing a quantum flux anchor.

Felicity is using a quantum flux anchor that utilizes wave theory to fire nano-particulates across an Einstein-Rosen bridgeto create a secure claxon field. (Or, as Caitlin puts it, it's a big magnet that will draw whoever is trying to breach through reality to them.)

Cisco detects multiple quantum surges as the quantum flux anchor is activated.

When Kara tries to sneak Caitlin into Arkham Asylum as a patient, she describes her condition as persistent sub-thermal homeostasis with involuntary gelid substantiation. (i.e. she gets cold and freezes stuff.)

Nora Fries says her cryostasis unit shut off along with the locks on the asylum cell doors.

Nora Fries says her condition requires she be kept at 196 degrees below zero.

The Book of Destiny has a cryptographic lock on it. The lock is also metaphysical in nature.


Dialogue Triumphs

Oliver Queen: My name is Oliver Queen. After six months in Hell, I have been released from prison with only one goal - to save my city. But things have changed. Instead of operating outside the law, I am now working alongside the police. I am no longer Inmate 4587. I am once more The Green Arrow.

(John Diggle sees Green Arrow, Supergirl and The Flash.)
John: Son of a bitch!
Supergirl: Is that any way to greet your friends?
John: All I know is that whenever the three of you show up, it usually means we have one big problem.

Diggle: An immortal Egyptian. Aliens. Parallel Earth Nazis. I have no idea why I'm even surprised at this point.
Curtis: I'm still trying to figure out if this is more like Freaky Friday or Quantum Leap.
Barry: No. If this were like Quantum Leap, I'd only look like myself in the mirror.
Curtis: Yep. You are definitely not Oliver Queen.

(The trio are trying to find the radio station where Vesper Fairchild is employed.)
Barry: I'm surprised they put it in the bad part of town.
Kara: It's cute how you think there's a good part of this town.

(Kate Kane has just told "Ollie" that if he's come to Gotham to compete with Batman, he's wasting his time.)
Barry: I would never compare myself to a total badass like Batman.
(Oliver is glaring daggers at Barry this whole time.)
Kara: Uh - I what I think Oliver is trying to say is thank you for getting us out of jail.
Oliver: What Oliver's actually trying to say is who are you and why are you helping us?
Kate: Gotham has enough problem without a guy in green leather showing off his arrows to everyone. So the faster you find what you're looking for, the faster you can get the hell out of my city.

Felicity: My marriage with Oliver is strained by the fact that we've become different people. (quietly) Quite literally in Oliver's case.

(Ollie reveals he stole a data drive from GCPD HQ.)
Barry: You stole data from the police?
Ollie: No! No, The Flash did it.
(Ollie walks off as Barry is aghast. Kara discretely covers her mouth with her hand.)
Barry: It's not funny.
Kara: I'm not laughing!
(Kara is clearly trying hard not to laugh but is losing the battle.)

(Caitlin is trying to explain to Felicity why Oliver would hide the body-swap from her.)
Caitlin: When he and Barry tried to tell us what was going on with them, weeeeeeee... knocked them unconcious and locked them in The Pipeline.
Felicity: Seriously?
Caitlin: (sheepishly) Wasn't our finest moment. But I'm sure that that's the reason Oliver didn't want to take any chances with you.
Felicity: I appreciate you saying that... but it's just another excuse in a long list of excuses for Oliver's behavior.
Caitlin: Oliver does love you, Felicity.
Felicity: Yeah? Well, what's love without respect? Or trust?
Caitlin: I don't know. But as long as there is love, you can't give up on it. That's the one thing I do know. After everything I've been through. Everything I've suffered.
Felicity: ... thank you.

(Kara asks Kate if Bruce might have gone crazy trying to keep his private life out of the public eye.)
Kate: Sitting at that desk? Staring out that window? Watching the city we grew up in rot at its core?You find a way to not break. Bruce didn't leave Gotham without a fight.

Kara: You know, I've got to say - all the corporate billionaires I know wear Versace and have 500 fewer tattoos.
Kate: (flirtatious) And those are the ones you can see.

Batwoman: I don't do tearful goodbyes.
Supergirl: No, I - I just wanted to wish you luck. Wherever your cousin is, I'm sure he's really proud of you. (points to her eyes) X-Ray vision. You really do have a lot of tattoos.
Batwoman: And somehow I feel like Kara Danvers doesn't have a single one.
Supergirl: You know, it's such a shame I have to go. Because I feel like we would make a good team.
Batwoman: World's Finest.
(Batwoman offers Supergirl he hand. They shake.)

Oliver: People change, Felicity. It means we're growing. It means we're evolving. Except for one thing. One thing that will not change... is how I feel about you. Love is too small a word. And no matter who you are, or what you become - no matter who I am, or what I become... you will always be... you will always be the love of my life. People change. That never will.

(The Flash of Earth-90 suddenly appears in the middle of ARGUS HQ.)
Barry: Jay?
Flash-90: No.
Barry: Oh my God, Dad?!
Flash-90: My name is Barry Allen. (Looking to Diggle) Hi, John.
John: Do I know you?
Flash-90: (confused) You're not wearing your ring. Things must be different here.

Oliver: He said you were testing us!
Monitor: And thus far I am unimpressed. A crisis is imminent. Someone is coming. Someone far, far more powerful than myself. I mean to prepare.
Barry: By giving a nut-bar an all-powerful reality-rewriting book?
Monitor: I am testing universes to find one, I hope, strong enough to stand against him.


Continuity

As the episode opens, the skies above Star City have turned red and random bolts of yellow lightning are striking everywhere.  One of them nearly hits Curtis Holt in his ARGUS Comms van.

Kane Wolfman, last seen in A606, returns. He is wearing armor in imitation of his father's Deathstroke costume, only without a mask. He is wanted for 19 violations of international law. He is stopped by Supergirl, Green Arrow and The Flash.

John Diggle refers to the previous three years Arrowverse crossover events, describing Vandal Savage (an immortal Egyptian), the Dominator Invasion (aliens) and Crisis on Earth-X (Parallel Earth Nazis.)

Oliver decides not to tell Felicity about the body-swap since they are having enough troubles without him throwing one more thing at her.

According to Oliver Queen, Batman is an urban legend created by the Gotham City Police Department to scare criminals.

Barry Allen believes that Batman is real.

Ollie suggests seeking out Vesper Fairchild - a radio personality he once spoke to regarding a story on white collar crime that she was investigating. He thinks he might have slept with her while trying to convince her Queen Consolidated was on the up-and-up. It is later confirmed by Barry that Ollie did sleep with her back in his drunken playboy days.

Barry tells Kara about how Oliver once slept with his girlfriend's sister. (i.e. Sara Lance.)

The rooftop of the Gotham City Police Department does have a Bat-Signal, under a dusty tarp.

Oliver Queen is recognized by the Gotham City Police Department, prompting them to call for back-up.

According to Cisco, the red skies and lightning are following Barry and Oliver.

Caitlin accidentally reveals the body swap to Felicity.

When Oliver, Barry and Kara are arrested, Oliver calls Black Siren for assistance in getting out of prison. She elects to let them spend a night in jail.

Kara refers to Barry and Ollie taking on each other's personalities in F509.

Oliver steals a drive containing the GCPD database before he leaves the jail.

Kara,Oliver and Barry are taken to the Wayne Enterprises building to meet the person who bailed them out. She is revealed as Kate Kane.

Bruce Wayne left Gotham three years earlier. Nobody knows why or where he went.

According to Oliver, Wayne Enterprises sank after Bruce Wayne disappeared and his board of directors went to town with a bunch of get-rich-quick scenes.

Bruce Wayne is said to have left Gotham shortly after Batman disappeared. Many people left Gotham after Batman's disappearance, according to Kate.

According to Kate Kane, Gotham City became even worse after Batman left town and it took a toll on Bruce.

The WiFi password for Wayne Enterprises's suite is Alfred.

Caitlin tells Felicity about why Oliver probably kept his body-swap a secret.

Oliver is fairly competent with a computer. He is finally able to run a facial recognition program to identify his sketch as Dr. John Deegan.

Dr. John Deegan has a record for illegal experimentation and torture, having conducted experiments on his patients. He was acquitted on all charges due to technicalities that led to the charges being dropped. He was still fired and suspended from the medical board for two years, but that occurred five years ago.

Kate reveals that Bruce Wayne is her cousin to Kara.

Kate is in the process of turning the Wayne Enterprises building into a real estate development firm.

Kara reveals that her cousin is a friend of Bruce Wayne's. She then changes this to frienemy.

Kate knows Dr. John Deegan and says he is a doctor at Arkham Asylum.

When the quantum flux anchor is activated, Caitlin thinks The Flash of Earth-90 is Jay Garrick. He tries to tell them that they need "the book" to fix things.

Oliver and Diggle enter Arkham Asylum as themselves, claiming to be part of an ARGUS/CCPD/GCPD operation.

Kara and Caitlin sneak into Arkham Asylum, with Kara posing as a medical worker and Caitlin a potential patient.

Dr. Deegan reveals that he was trying to make himself into The Flash when he accidentally switched Barry and Oliver.

Kara recovers the book from Dr. John Deegan.

After being exposed to Scarecrow gas, Oliver's hallucinates Malcolm Merlyn returned from the dead. Barry hallucinates The Reverse Flash.

The Flash of Earth-90 reveals the alien to be a being named Mar Novu, who now calls himself the Monitor. He has been releasing the Book of Destiny on various realities as a means of testing them in anticipation of a great Crisis He believes the "Elseworlds" created by The Book Of Destiny can act as simulations of the collisions of realities that are coming.

The Monitor reveals that the heroes of Earth 1 and Kara are the first group to sucessful retrieve the Book of Destiny from the person to whom he presented the book.

The Monitor takes the book from ARGUS and gives it back to John Deegan, telling him to think bigger.

Reality is rewritten a second time, with Oliver and Barry now being a powerless duo of bank robbers. It is unclear what happened to Kara.

Ricardo Diaz is a Central City cop in the new reality.

The episode ends with a black-suited Superman capturing Barry and Ollie.


Location

Star City
Gotham City
Central City


Untelevised Adventures

We don't learn anything about Kate Kane's background or training or how long she's been a vigilante.


The Fridge Factor

Good news - we get a scene between Caitlin and Felicity - the two most prominent scientists in the Arrowverse!  Bad news - they're discussing Oliver and Felicity's relationship, so it falls the Bechdel test.


The Bottom Line

A lot more fun than one usually expects from an episode of Arrow. There's a few oddities here and there (Nora Fries' presence is largely unexplained and serves mostly as an Easter Egg for the few fans who will get who she is) but it's largely satisfying, if somewhat senseless, given how quickly The Monitor undoes everything our heroes have done and dismisses them even while admitting they've done the best of anyone he's tested so far. Still, for a big, dumb action-packed comic book storyline, it's perfectly captures the spirit of its source material.

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 9 - Elseworlds, Part 1

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



Plot

Barry Allen and Oliver Queen wake up in one another's bodies, with everyone in the world seeing them as the other man. The good news is that a trip to Earth-38 confirms they aren't crazy, as Kara sees them for who they really are. Unfortunately, that leaves Central City without its greatest hero as a robot that can copy metahuman abilities goes on a rampage.


Influences

The body-swap genre of comedy, particularly the 1976 Freaky Friday filmthe television series Quantum Leap (Barry references it while wondering exactly how the body swap worked), the television series Smallville (theme music and imagery as we see Smallville, Kansas on Earth-38), the Adventures of Superman show (nod to the "strange visitor from another planet" introduction"), Superman: The Movie (Clark's responding "a friend", when Cisco asks who he is) and every Justice League comic depicting the League fighting Amazo.


Goofs

Ollie says he woke up in bed with Iris. when she was already cooking breakfast when he woke up. (He lies to get Barry to start taking the situation seriously since the idea of another man waking up with Iris is the first thing that upsets him about the body swap.)

The Bunker is up and running in Star City, when it was in ruins the last time we saw it on Arrow. (Presumably it was repaired as part of whatever Dr. John Deegan did to rewrite reality to switch Barry and Ollie's places?)

Why does Barry try and tell Ollie what phrase to say to his wife to convince her he's the real Barry Allen rather than telling her something only the real Barry Allen would know as Oliver Queen?

Where did Barry get the materials to make remote control crossbows in Smallville?

Why are Clark, Lois and Kara so indifferent to Ollie being shot in the back with two arrows


Performances

Elizabeth Tulloch nails Lois Lane out of the gate. Hopefully we'll get to see more of her on Supergirl in the future.

It must be said that Grant Gustin and Stephen Amell do a great job playing off of each other and trying to play each other over the course of the episode.


Artistry

The effects-work for the fight between our heroes and Amazo sets a new standard for the show.


Flash Facts

The Elseworlds logo for the crossover event is the same as the logo for DC Comics Elseworlds imprint.

Dr. John Deegan is an original character created for the Arrowverse. His name is similar to that of Dr. John Dee - the secret identity of the Justice League villain Dr. Destiny, who had similar powers to alter reality and influence the dreams of other people.

The book Dr. John Deegan acquires is not identified by name, but resembles The Book of Souls - an artifact belonging to Destiny of The Endless. The symbol of everything that will ever happen across the whole of time, The Book of Souls can potentially be used to rewrite reality. It is the purpose of Destiny of the Endless to prevent this from happening and to keep reading the book so as to determine what is happening at any given time.

Though not identified by name in this episode, the alien who gives the book to Dr. John Deegan is easily identified by comic book fans as a Monitor. First appearing in New Teen Titans #21 (July 1982), there was originally a single Monitor, who was an avatar for the whole of the positive-matter multiverse. This Monitor became a major figure in Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1986, where it united the heroes of multiple realities against an Anti-Monitor who wished to destroy all matter. This resulted in a single DC Universe from 1986-2005. When the multiverse was restored in Infinite Crisis in 2005, a whole host of Monitors were created with each Monitor representing a single Earth. These Monitors joined together to prevent the interactions of beings from different realities, in order to prevent future "crisis events" that could unmake the whole of the multiverse.

As the episode opens, the skies are turning red and lighting is filling the skies. This is a nod to the odd weather that arose during Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Barry makes reference to the film Freaky Friday, in which a mother and daughter trade bodies and come to appreciate how difficult one another's lives are. Barry is quite to note, however, that this is not an accurate comparison to what has happened to him and Oliver. Both men still look precisely as they did before but Oliver Queen is now addressed as Barry Allen and vice versa.

Barry also makes reference to the television series Quantum Leap - a science fiction series about a time-traveler who traded minds with a series of people across time. He asks to see a mirror in reference to how the hero of the show saw the face of the person whose body he possessed whenever he looked in a mirror, appearing to be his true self to the audience at home. Again, this isn't a wholly accurate analogy for how the body swamp in this episode worked.

The episode opens with Oliver having to stop a robbery at Ivo Labs. This is a reference to the character of Professor Anthony Ivo - a mad scientist with a fear of death whose search for immortality brought him into conflict with the Justice League. Professor Ivo first appeared in The Brave and The Bold #30 in June 1960. It was here that he built the first Amazo robot and used it to steal the powers of the Justice League so it would be powerful enough to abduct various long-lived creatures as part of Ivo's efforts to brew an immortality elixir.

Professor Ivo previously appeared in the Arrowverse, being the chief villain in the flashbacks during the second season of Arrow. This version of Ivo owned a ship called the Amazo, on which he conducted horrible medical experiments while searching the sea around Lian Yu for a sunken Japanese submarine containing the miracle drug called Mirakuru. It was implied that this Professor Ivo was seeking Mirakuru as a cure for his wife, Jessica, who was dying of some kind of degenerative disease that was causing her to lose her memory. He was eventually killed by Oliver Queen.

The Arrowverse version of Amazo is said to have been commissioned by ARGUS to create a technology capable of analyzing metahumans in the field and formulating a response to them. It functions through the use of a unique nano-adaptivie hybrid of the Mirakuru serum, which once transformed Slade Wilson into Deathstroke.

It is unknown if the presence of Ivo Labs here is meant to indicate that Professor Ivo is alive due to alterations of the timeline or that his company might have gone on without him.

As we first see the Smallville of Earth-38, the song "Save Me" by Remy Zero plays. This was the theme-song of the television series Smallville.

The first shot we see of Smallville, Kansas from the air is also identical to the first shot of Smallville's opening credits.

Clark refers to himself and Lois as "strange visitors" when talking about their trip to Argo City. This is a nod to the introduction of the original Adventures of Superman show, which described Superman as a "strange visitor from another planet."

Ivo Labs is located on the corner of Waid and Augustyn Streets in Central City. This is a tribute to writer/editor Mark Waid and writer/editor Brian Augustyn. Both are notable for their work on The Flash comic book as both writers and editors. The two also co-wrote two separate runs on The Flash together. Perhaps more importantly, given the presence of a Justice League of sorts in this episode teaming up to fight Amazo, both writers also worked together on JLA: Year One - a mini-series widely regarded as the best Justice League origin story ever written.

Whenever the Amazo robot duplicates a person's powers, their emblem from the comics briefly appears on the robot's chest.This occurs even for those heroes like Killer Frost and Elongated Man who don't have distinctive symbols in the Arrowverse.

At one point, Ralph notes that despite strange things happening it isn't even Tuesday. This is a nod to how The Flash usually airs on Tuesday nights and, given the way the show is dated in real time, most of the major events of the show take place on Tuesdays. It also notes how this episode first aired on a Sunday evening.

The "Who are you?"/"A friend." exchange between Cisco and Clark is a nod to Superman: The Movie, where Lois Lane asks Superman the same question the first time he saves her life and he gives the same answer.


Technobabble

Dr. John Deegan has a theory that eugenic insights can be used to make everyone "super."

Diamonds can be used as conductors.

Caitlin is unable to detect any anomalies to Oliver Queen's body or mind.

Barry's brain-scan is normal, showing no signs of hypnosis or psychic interference.

Cisco does not detect any tachyons in Barry's body. This shows that nobody is interfering with the timeline.

The cells in STAR Labs secret pipeline prison are Tesla conductor tubes that dampens meta-powers.

650 nanometers is the wave-length for red light. Cisco is unable to call ARGUS because of interference on this wavelength..

Oliver tells Barry that he can dislocate his thumb without breaking his hand because, in this reality, he was trained in the art of escapology by Anatoly Knyazev, stretching and conditioning his ligaments.

Phasing is when a speedster vibrates at the frequency of air, causing the cells in the body to become so excited that they can pass through solid matter.

AMAZO is an anagram for Anti-Meta-human Adaptive Zootomic Organism.It replicates metahuman abilities through the use of a nano-adaptivie hybrid of the Mirakuru serum. It scans metahumans and then uses this hybrid formula to replicate those abilities.


Dialogue Triumphs

(A Caption Box reads Earth-90 as we see the aftermath of a war and numerous people in costumes lying on the ground, dead. Eventually we come to a figure in a somewhat familiar red suit crawling on the ground toward a large book that is glowing purple. A figure walks over and picks the book up before he can reach it.)
The Monitor: 
You failed.
(The figure in red pulls himself up to his knees. It is The Flash. Not the Flash we know, but definitely The Flash.)
The Flash: (gasping) Why are you doing this?
The Monitor: You did this to yourselves. And now... all of you will perish.
(The Monitor opens the book and light pours from it. As he does so, The Flash stands and runs toward the camera, as a familiar theme to older comic book TV show fans plays, as we zoom in on his chest symbol....) 

(Oliver Queen has just unleashed the ring from Barry Allen's ring and reflexively changed into his costume. He looks down at himself in shock.)
Oliver: Oh, Barry... what have you done this time?

(Oliver stares down a thief.)
Oliver: (growling) You have failed this city.
Cisco: (over the comms)  Pretty sure that's not your line.

(Barry reflexively spars with John Diggle, knocking him down.)
Barry: I'm Oliver Queen.
John: (still on the ground) Yeah, I'll say.
Barry Allen: I'm the Green Arrow! (face falls) Holy crap.

(John Diggle hands Barry Allen the Green Arrow costume.)
John: Suit up.
(Diggle walks off as Barry looks at the green leather, dumbfounded.)
Barry: How do I put this...  I forget do I need help putting this on?

Barry: You gotta admit this is a little cool!
Oliver: I will find it a lot cooler when I wake up in my own bed tomorrow morning.
(There is a long pause as this implication sinks in to Barry.)
Barry: You woke up in bed with Iris?
Oliver: Mmm-hmm.
Barry: We have to fix this right now!

(Oliver joins Iris on the STAR Labs balcony to have a private chat.)
Ollie: (taking a glass of wine) This should help.
(Iris bites her lip.)
Iris: I guess you forgot you can't get drunk?
Ollie: (sighs) This day could not get any worse.

Oliver: Why are we in your secret prison?
Barry: It's not a prison. It's a Tesla conductor tube that dampens meta-powers. (pauses) Okay, it's a prison.

Oliver: I spent the past seven months in a maximum security prison. And no matter how bad things got - and they got bad - every cell had a toilet!
(Barry, annoyed at Oliver's complaining, kicks the wall. A panel opens and a steel toilet bowl slides out of the wall.)
Barry: You sure you can't hold it?
(Oliver gives Barry a long-suffering look indicating that's not why he wanted it.)
Barry: Oh! You want to back-up the pipes-
Ollie: And fry the dampener, yes.

(We see Clark Kent lifting up the front end of a truck as Lois Lane is under it, in front of a barn. Kara Danvers is in the background, busying herself with something else.)
Lois: I'm writing it!
Clark: We've been over this, hon.
Lois: No, you talked, I ignored. (handing Clark a car part) You need a new muffler.
Clark: I think this is a tie rod end.
Lois: Come on, Kara, back me up here!
(Clark lowers the truck.)
Kara: Uh, no, thanks. I know better than to get involved in a debate with Lois Lane.
Lois: But you do know the feeling - that itch, that fire in the back of your head, the siren song of a story that has to be written?
(Clark shakes his head and gives Kara a pleading look behind Lois' back as Lois smiles at Kara knowingly.)
Kara: Yeah, I do, I do.
(Lois spins around and smiles at Clark triumphantly.)
Clark: The world is gonna want to know why Lois Lane went to Argo City with Superman.
Lois: Details! I'll make up a reason.
Clark: Oh, so much for truth in journalism.
Lois: Says the reporter who writes about his own exploits as Superman.
(Clark drops his head in acknowledgement, admitting defeat.)
Lois: I was the first human to set foot on what's left of Krypton, to lay eyes on the Jewel Mountains, (rolling her eyes) to endure the endless, torturous deliberations of the High Council, and I have to write about it. One small step for Lois Lane. One giant leap for Lois Lane's career!
Clark: Says the woman who is already the most famous, feared, and intrepid reporter on two planets.
Lois: And yet (walking over to Clark and taking the glasses off his face) someone on this farm is still making... 21 cents on the dollar more than me.
(Lois replaces the glasses on Clark's face.)

Lois: And it ain't Kara, honey.
(Lois grins cutely and leans up to kiss Clark.)

Kara: I've never been challenged like that before, just to my face: "Tell us who you are, Supergirl." Well, except for Ms. Grant.
Clark: Well, I'm sure it was harder when it's the President doing the threatening.
(They both pause a moment to consider this.)
Kara: Cat was scarier.
Clark: Yeah.
(They both laugh.)

(Oliver and Barry are training each other on the Kent farm.)
Barry: You know what? Why don't you go over there, run at me, and I'll try and hit you with an arrow?
Ollie: Right, okay. (pauses) Where did you bury the remote control bows? 
Barry: Dude! Come on, I'm not you.
Ollie: Yeah, well, okay.
(Ollie runs off into the distance at super-speed.)
Ollie: Ready! 
Barry: (quietly) Here we go.
(Oliver runs forward, easily catching the arrow Barry shot at him.)
Ollie: Nice try.
(Two remote control bows rise up from the ground and shoot Oliver in the back.)
Ollie: Ow!
Barry: (laughing) Oh, I've been waiting four years for that, man!

(Cisco runs through his theory on how the strange weather, Barry and Ollie trading places and his vibe of the strange alien are all connected.)
Ralph: Man - it's not even Tuesday.

Cisco: (To Clark) Who are you?
Clark: A friend.
(Clark opens up his shirt to reveal his Superman uniform.)

The Monitor:  Fascinating. I wouldn't have thought the men of this Earth had this capacity. But it won't avail you. None of you can stop what's been set into motion. You're best off giving up now, because nothing you can do can alter what's about to happen.


Continuity

The episode opens with an abbreviated version of the scene set on Earth-90 that first appeared at the end of S408.

Oliver Queen wakes up in Barry Allen's apartment as Iris West is cooking breakfast.

Iris refers to the most recent battle with Cicada and the discovery that Killer Frost is immune to his powers from F508.

Oliver stops a robbery at Ivo Labs.

Both Oliver and Barry seem to have some kind of adaptive muscle memory regarding the use of their abilities but no knowledge regarding them.Oliver is able to reflexively throw lightning, but needs instruction on how to accomplish a task that requires fine control like phasing. Likewise, Barry is able to make amazing trick shots and reflexively out-fights John Diggle in a hand-to-hand fight, but lacks Oliver's natural battlefield wariness.

Oliver's attempt to throw lightning at Ivo Labs activates a robot that had been kept in a crate that the lightning broke open.

Cisco refers to his break-up with Gypsy from late last season as Oliver tries to shrug out of Iris's public display of affection.

Barry now has scars on his body he didn't have as The Flash.

John Diggle asks for Barry's help in dealing with the Bratva and the Bertinellis fighting over an old Ricardo Diaz weapon cache in The Glades.

The running gag in which Diggle throws up after being made to move at super-speed continues.

Iris says that Felicity called her while Oliver was in prison and told her about how Ollie cut a deal with the FBI to go to prison without talking to Felicity first.

Iris uses some of Ray Palmer's nanites to dope up Oliver.

Barry is knocked unconscious by a punch from Ralph Dibny.

Cisco detects an interference on the electromagnetic spectrum wavelength for red light, He intuitively thinks this and an odd series of storms creating red skies and yellow lightning have something to do with Ollie and Barry's "shared psychosis."

Shortly after discussing the weird weather with Caitlin, Cisco reflexively vibes The Monitor giving the book to Dr. John Deegan.

The cells in STAR Labs pipeline do have toilets. The seats fold up into the walls when not in use.

Oliver teaches Barry how to dislocate his thumbs to escape a pair of handcuffs.

Barry teaches Oliver how to use his speed to phase through a wall.

Barry finally convinces Iris that he and Ollie really did switch places by telling her the first thing he said when he moved into her home when he was 11 and calling her by his pet name for her - Lightning Rod.

Lois Lane went to Argo City with Superman.

Kara refers to the events of S408 and how she was fired from the DEO after a confrontation with President Baker.

Clark has something he wants to ask Kara before Barry and Oliver show up.

Kara recognizes Barry and Oliver as who they really are.

The Amazo robot is able to use Killer Frost's powers to fly.

The trap Barry rigs up to that shoots Oliver in the back is a reference to F108, where Oliver created something similar in his efforts to train Barry.

Lois Lane thinks Oliver Queen is a jerk.

Oliver discusses how he channels his anger when he fights. Barry, by contrast, draws on his inner joy to use his powers.This causes Ollie to realize he wasn't able to phase until he laughed at Barry earlier and Barry had to draw on his annoyance with Ollie to dislocate his thumbs.

Each piece of AMAZO is placed in a separate STAR Labs vault.

Clark returns to Earth-38 at the episodes end.

Sherloque's third ex-wife lives on Earth-38. He asks Clark to deliver an alimony check for him.

The Monitor can sense Cisco watching him through a Vibe vision.

Oliver determines that the place Cisco saw in his vision is Gotham City, based on the presence of the Wayne Enterprises building in the background.

The episode ends with an image of Batwoman standing on a building on Gotham.


Location


Earth 1- Gotham City
Earth 1 - Central City
Earth 1 - Star City
Earth 38 - Smallville, Kansas - The Kent Farm


The Bottom Line

Perfect, despite its imperfections. Yes, there are a few wonky bits with the script. Yes, the presence of Amazo makes no sense given the Arrowverse's earlier version of Professor Ivo. And it seems like Team Flash was WAY too quick to turn on Barry and refuse to believe that Barry and Ollie could switch places given how much weird stuff they've dealt with before. All will be forgiven once you see the fight with Amazo, the chemistry between Lois and Clark and all the other hundreds of little things this episode does right.

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 61

In which we take our final trip through the sewers of Krondor in search of a cursed idol. Hard to see how our luck could get much worse than having to explore a new level of the sewers, though.


Friday, December 7, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 60

In which we engage in the single hardest battle in the game, enter the Battle of Northwarden, start Chapter Six and finally get to see the Betrayal At Krondor!

(Yeah. It only took us 60 chapters to get to the title event. Not bad, eh?)


Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 8 - The Book of Rebellion: Chapter 1 - Exodus

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



Plot

Jennifer and Khalil hit the road, but Tobias has put a bounty on the head of his protege. As they lay low at Khalil's aunt's house, Black Lightning and Thunder hit the streets looking for the runaways. Will they get to them before Tobias' problem-solver Cutter does?


Influences

The Black Lighting comics of Tony Isabella.


Goofs

The sequence of a drunk Lynn tearing apart Jennifer's room is a little too over-the-top.


Performances

Marvin "Krondon" Jones III steals the episode. He usually gets the best speeches as Tobias Whale, but his performance here is a high-water mark even for his usual high standards. He perfectly achieves what the tropers call Affably Evil, putting on a kind face and pleasant tone even as you can sense the menacing undercurrent implied by his body language.

China Anne McClain continues to impress as Jennifer. Despite being far out of her element in this episode, McClain perfectly captures Jennifer's confidence and intelligence as she stands up to Khalil when he starts to overstep his bounds in stressful moments.


Artistry

The first sequence in which Khalil tries to rob Club 100 to get some cash for his and Jennifer's escape is a fantastic bit of work all around. Great music. Wonderful lighting design inside the club. Good fight choreography.

The effects work for Jennifer's ball-lighting is fantastic.


Trivia

This episode introduces a mercenary named Cutter who Tobias hires to track Khalil.  There is a villain called Cutter in DC Comics, but he is a man named Austin Phelps who is a master knife-fighter who appeared in one story in Detective Comics.

The show's version of Cutter is a black woman who is a master knife thrower and fighter. She has no metahuman powers - just skill and training..

One of the Zip Codes for Freeland, GA is 31148. This is not a real Zip Code in the USA, though the 300XX to 311XX are reserved for Atlanta, GA.


Technobabble

The best Gambi can do in tracking Jennifer's cell phone is to determine the tower she was using. Since each tower had a broadcast range of 40 miles, this is not helpful.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Nichelle Payne enters into her apartment. Tobias Whale is sitting in a chair in her living room, reading Moby Dick.)
Tobias: Late night?
(Nichelle turns, sees Tobias and shivers.)
Tobias:  (cheerfully) Perhaps what you need is a good read. Always puts me right to sleep. (holds up his book)  Moby Dick? One of my favorites.
Nichelle: I guess you're here to put me to sleep?
Tobias: (chuckling) Actually, I have a strict "no mama" rule. I believe a man has to have principles. But I do need you to contact your son. Tell him to keep his thick lips shut.
Nichelle: I thought he was with you.
Tobias: Hmm. He left town with that Pierce girl. Boy knows a lot about my business. I have plans. I'd surely hate to have to change those plans.
Nichelle: (determined) I don't have no way to reach him. Even if I did, you'd have to kill me first.
Tobias: (nodding and smiling) I respect that. You're a strong black woman, I can tell.
(Tobias heads for the front door but stops and turns around as he gets to it.)
Tobias: How did you wind up with such a weak-ass son?

Khalil: I'm sorry, okay? I shouldn't have yelled at you like that before.
Jennifer: Yeah, you should be sorry. What the hell was that?!
Khalil: Something just came over me. Okay? Jen, the things Tobias did to me, hitting me, burning me... I just didn't want him to find us. I snapped.
Jennifer: Well, you snap at me like that again, and Tobias is gonna be the last person you're gonna have to worry about. I will light your ass up. You need to remember that.
Khalil: I know.

(Tobias is sitting at a table in his office, playing chess against himself. He turns to a painting of his sister and begins speaking to it.)
Tobias: Our plan failed, Tori. That boy... he was supposed to make Black Lightning his enemy. But he's weak. He ran away. Now he's our enemy. (pauses) I should've known. Can't trust a Negro as far as you can throw him. I knew his ass wasn't a killer but I kept giving him chances.
(Tobias pauses as if pondering this and nods.)
Tobias: You're right. That is my problem, isn't it? I get stubborn and try things over and over again. Well, not anymore. From now on, if something ain't working, I'm gonna change it. (nodding to himself) Yeah, I'mma change it.
(Tobias stands and regards the painting of Tori.)
Tobias: You were the best person in my life.

Jefferson: You should have said something.
Anissa: What?
Jefferson: Khalil's text, you should've told us. We could've talked to her before it was too late.
Anissa: Are you blaming this on me?
Jefferson: What? No. But if you had told us, then maybe we-
Anissa: Wow, wow! Okay. (pauses) Did you ever stop and think why she was talking to Khalil in the first place? Hmm? Maybe it had something to do with the fact that, I don't know you and Mom never let her out the house? That you treated her like she was some kinda prisoner?
Jefferson:  Wait, we didn't treat her like a prisoner. We were trying to protect her.
Anissa: No, you were just trying to control her. You acted like she was some kind of freak or a monster! All your rules, your quotes, and all of your phone check-ins - It was too much, Dad. Too damn much! You drove her away just like you did me.

(Cutter enters Tobias' office.)
Tobias: I see you found the place. I also see your price has gone up.
Cutter: You get what you pay for. I thought you were against hiring black folks.
Tobias: No. Just thick-lipped, incompetent darkies like the one I want you to find. Thought I'd get a discount, considering our past.
Cutter: Hmm. If I factored in our past, I wouldn't be here.
Tobias: (chuckling) Yet here you are.
Cutter: Sorry to hear about Tori. I know what she meant to you.
Tobias: It was just yesterday she was telling me I'm too stubborn. Need to try new things.
Cutter: I thought she was dead.
Tobias: So, history or not I better get my money's worth.
Cutter: (scoffing) Okay. All right, here we go with the threats. I see you haven't changed. Ain't nobody scared of your pale ass, Tobias, so you can stop right now with your bad guy act. Just tell me who this person is you want found.
(Tobias pulls out a tablet with a tracking app on it.)
Tobias: Him. But I want him alive.
Cutter: If you have a tracker, what do you need me for? You can nab him yourself.
Tobias: Have you not seen the news lately? I'm an upstanding citizen now. I can't risk doing it. But it's got to get done. Besides, my people tried already. Sometimes it's best to leave things to the professionals.
Cutter: Okay.


Continuity

Khalil robs Club 100 to get some quick cash for his escape. Jennifer covers his escape by blowing the power in the club with a ball of lightning.

Lynn and Anissa discover that Gambi is alive.

Gambi determines that Jennifer is trying to get away by car or on foot since there's no sign of her at the bus stations or airport.

Anissa tells Lynn and Jefferson that she saw that Jennifer had gotten a text from Khalil but she didn't think anything of it since she said she wasn't responding.

Inspector Henderson files a missing person's report for Jennifer despite her not having been gone that long. He confirms they already have an arrest warrant and APB for Khalil.

In his haste, Jefferson blows out the front windshield of a young couple he mistakes for Khalil and Jennifer.

Khalil has an aunt in Henley Heights he thinks will let them stay the night with her. Henley Heights is a rural neighborhood near the peach farms.

Khalil yells at Jennifer when she asks about calling her parents, saying that Tobias will be watching them.

Gambi notices the power outage that Jennifer caused as he's checking the security cam footage from around town.

Tobias goes to Khalil's mother and asks her to get a hold of him. She says she has no way to call him and no idea where she is.

The news is reporting that Khalil kidnapped Jennifer.

Khalil's aunt agrees to let them stay the night after Jennifer confirms she hasn't been kidnapped.

Khalil apologizes for snapping at Jennifer. She accepts the apology but says if he ever uses that tone again, she will shock him. He agrees and gives her a burner cell phone as a peace offering.

Jennifer calls Anissa to tell her she is okay and wasn't kidnapped but she hangs up before Gambi can trace the call.

Jennifer cuts Khalil's dreadlocks off. While she is doing that, she finds a bump on his neck when she thinks is a tracking chip.

Khalil's mom tells Lynn about her sister's house where she thinks Khalil might be hiding. The address is 5038 Franklin Avenue, Freeland, GA 31148.

Gambi got Anissa her own vehicle for traveling as Thunder - a motorcycle.

Cutter gets to Jennifer and Khalil first. They make a break for it when Black Lightning and Thunder show up. Cutter stabs Khalil deep enough that he won't be able to get far on foot.

Jennifer shorts out the drone Gambi is using to track them.

Jennifer is able to short out the tracking chip in Khail's neck.

Jefferson and Anissa, in costume, go into the woods after Khalil and Jennifer.

Cutter calls Tobias and complains that Black Lightning showed up and that she doesn't fight metahumans without warning. Tobias then recalls how Black Lightning came back into action at the same time "The Pierce Girl" was in Club 100 with one of his men and later when she was being held hostage at The Seashorse Motel in 101.

It seems that Tobias Whale may have guessed that Jefferson Pierce is Black Lightning.


Location

Henley Heights


The Bottom Line

A rather nice chase episode that resets the players after last week's rather lackluster offering. Still, while most of the cast spend this hour spinning their wheels (particularly Jefferson Pierce, shockingly enough), all the scenes focused on Tobias Whale and Jennifer Pierce make it worth watching. And that cliffhanger... next week will be a shocker, one way or another.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 8 - What's Past is Prologue

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



Plot

Team Flash comes up with a plan to stop Cicada, but it requires time travel and Barry showing Nora some parts of his life he'd rather not revisit. Meanwhile, Sherloque approaches Cisco with his concerns over Nora and Caitlin discovers a surprising asset to use against Cicada.


Influences

Every show that's ever had a clip show. Back To The Future (Ralph plays Huey Lewis' "Back In Time.")


Goofs

Barry and Nora are running around the past in their civilian clothes with none of the usual problems when a speedeter runs above a certain speed (i.e. catching on fire.)

After the Speed Force Transmitter is broken, why doesn't Barry take it to Harry Wells before he lost his intelligence? (Well, we wouldn't get to have Thawne in the story otherwise...)

We are told that Cicada fought Supergirl and a number of other metahumans with no trouble. How is that possible if, as this episode suggests, his powers only work on metahumans created by dark matter exposure?  (Perhaps his meta-tech works on aliens and magicians as well?)


Flash Facts

The episode title comes from William Shakespeaere's The Tempest. Act II, Scene 1.

When Eobard Thawne meets Nora, he makes several guesses as to who she is. These include Jesse Chambers (maybe Lawrence) and Danica Williams.

Jesse Chambers was the real name of Jesse Quick in the comics, though her mother's maiden name was Lawrence and she did go by Jesse Lawrence for a time.

Danica Williams is the name of The Flash from Justice League Beyond.

When Thawne realizes Nora is Barry's daughter, he guesses that her name is Dawn. In the Pre-Crisis DC Comics Universe, Barry and Iris had twins - Don and Dawn Allen - who inherited Barry's powers and became known as The Tornado Twins.

The Gideon AI in The Time Vault in 2014 recognizes Nora West-Allen as XS and says that she is the fifth recruit for the rebooted Legion. In the original DC Comics Universe, The Legion of Super Heroes was rebooted for the first time in 1994 and XS (who, in this reality, was Barry Allen's granddaughter Jenni Ognats) was created specifically for the new team.


Technobabble

Nora suggests creating a weapon more powerful than Cicada's dagger, akin to a super-charged magnet. Cisco says they don't have anything that powerful as the old STAR Labs satellite was was made of a heavy-duty, micro-composite alloy.

What Nora's suggestion requires is an indestructible alloy with super-magnetic properties and the ability to negate dark matter.

Eventually, they realize they could make such a thing out of a piece of Savitar's armor, the Speed Force transmitter Zoom used to steal Barry Allen's speed and the exact same energy released during the STAR Labs Particle Accelerator explosion.

They then need to plant the item near the hospital where Grace Gibbons is resting so it will be accessible in the present. This is known as a time hack.

Nora tells Sherloque that the language in her journal is a special time language she invented that is used to record events regardless of changes in the timeline. That way, no matter what happens on her trip to the past, she'll be able to remember what she learned about her father.


Dialogue Triumphs

Sherloque: Look, as always, I respect your spirit, Barry Allen, but as long as Cicada has his dagger to dampen your powers, there's no stopping him. 
Barry: So let's destroy his dagger.
Ralph: 
How are we gonna do that? Unless we have some kind of... power-dampening dagger power dampener hidden away in storage?
Cisco: We don't. But if we did, we'd come up with a much better way of saying that.

(As Barry and Nora begin to run around the pipeline building up speed to time travel, Ralph reaches over and turns on his music player.  "Back In Time" by Huey Lewis and The News begins to play. Iris, Caitlin and Cisco slowly turn to look at him with disapproval.)
Ralph: What?! When am I gonna get the chance to do that?

Thawne: You know what's funny about your dad, Nora? He hates me. Hates me with a passion. And yet ... a version of him, this Savitar, is a much bigger jerk than I ever was.

(Cicada is moving in on The Flash with his dagger. Everyone is downed except Caitlin, who had her gun knocked away. There is no one to stop him. Until...)
Caitlin:
No!
(Caitlin changes into Killer Frost in a second and unloads a full icy blast into Cicada, sending him flying into the side of a van, crumpling its wall.  Cicada picks himself up, looking confused as to why his dagger isn't working on this metahuman.)
Killer Frost: Let's dance, cricket freak.

(Nora stops running in front of a cell in Iron Heights prison in 2049. We see a figure looking at a video screen opposite the glass cell wall.)
Nora: We need to talk
(The figure shuts off the monitor and slowly turns around.)
Thawne: Yes, Nora.
(The figure steps out into the light, revealing himself to be Eobard Thawne, in the guise of Harrison Wells.)
Thawne: Yes we do.

(A Caption Box reads Earth-90 as we see the aftermath of a war and numerous people in costumes lying on the ground, dead. Eventually we come to a figure in a somewhat familiar red suit crawling on the ground toward a large book that is glowing purple. A figure walks over and picks the book up before he can reach it.)
The Monitor: 
You failed.
(The figure in red pulls himself up to his knees. It is The Flash. Not the Flash we know, but definitely The Flash.)
The Flash: (gasping) Why are you doing this?
The Monitor: You did this to yourselves. And now... all of you will perish.
(The Monitor opens the book and light pours from it. As he does so, The Flash stands and runs toward the camera, as a familiar theme to older comic book TV show fans plays, as we zoom in on his chest symbol....) 


Continuity

Ralph and Sherloque determine that Orlin Dwyer grew up somewhere in the American Midwest, was in and out of the Juvenile Offenders program as a teenager and went off the grid before emerging in Central City a few years earlier. He works part time at Szrek Chemicals. His boss says he keeps to himself, is kind of a lonerand gave a fake address on his application. He was given custody of his niece, Grace Gibbons, after her parents were killed by a metahuman.

Cisco determines that the best dates for Barry to attempt to retrieve what they need are May 23, 2017 (The date of the final battle with Savitar where his armor was destroyed in 323), August 19, 2016 (the day Zoom drained Barry's speed in 218) and the night of the Particle Accelerator explosion. (December 11, 2013, as seen in 101.)

Sherloque asks Cisco about the code in Nora's journal. Cisco says Barry was writing in the same language when he left the Speed Force in 401, but Cisco was only able to translate one sentence of it - "This house is bitchin'." This turned out to be the first thing Nora said upon visiting Joe West's house in 423.

A Time Wraith shows up because there are three versions of Barry Allen at one point in time. Barry distracts it while Nora retrieves the piece of Savitar's armor they need.

Nora is stunned to see that Savitar was another version of Barry Allen and that Iris West killed him.

Nora sees Iris comforting a disheartened Barry after he's lost his powers.

Barry runs Harry Wells in STAR Labs. It is Barry who gives Harry the idea to try and track Jesse Wells by taking advantage of the fact that people from other Earths have different vibrational frequencies.

Barry stops Harry from destroying the Speed Force Transmitter.

Before Barry and Nora can escape into the time stream, Zoom senses them and chases after them. They are able to evade him and send the Time Wraith after him, but the Speed Force Transmitter is broken in the process.

Barry realizes they have traveled slightly further back in time, to the events of 217, when he traveled back a year to get training in going faster by Eobard Thawne when he was still masquerading as Harrison Wells.

Thawne repairs the Speed Force Transmitter for Barry and Nora. It is suggested by the way Thawne acts toward Nora that he knows who she is and is just playing dumb to that fact.

As Barry and Nora sneak around STAR Labs, they go past Grodd's cage.

Nora had no idea why Eboard Thawne was her dad's arch-enemy or that he had killed her grandmother.

Dr. Ambres is revealed to have been the doctor on duty when Barry Allen and Harrison Wells were brought into the hospital on the night of the Particle Accelerator explosion.

Barry vibrates the weapon they've created into the middle of a column in front of the hospital.

Cicada's command of his danger has a great enough range that he can affect it even after it has been vibed into space.

It is determined that Cicada's powers do not effect metahumans like Killer Frost who were created without being exposed to Dark Matter.

Cicada flees before Killer Frost can totally immobilize him.

Sherloque asks Nora about the code in her journal. She says it is a time language she invented that can be used to record events regardless of changes to the timeline.

Sherloque was able to translate one sentence of Nora's journal - THE TIMELINE IS MALLEABLE

Nora goes back in time to see Dr. Henry Allen and Nora Allen on their last night together.

Nora is revealed to have been using Gideon in The Time Vault to send her journal entries forward in time to someone else.

Nora goes forward in time to 2049 deliver a message personally to the person she is sending information to in the future. The person is revealed to be Eobard Thawne, still in the body of Harrison Wells, who is incarcerated in Iron Heights Prison.

The final scene on Earth-90 was also shown at the end of .S408.


Location

Earth-90.


The Bottom Line

Lackluster as a 100th episode and fairly flat as a mid-season finale. Everything of importance happens in the last 15 minutes and nothing really changes apart from us having a more specific idea of why Nora can't be trusted and how Cicada will ultimately be beaten. Still, that teaser for Elseworlds.... wow!

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 4, Episode 7 - Hell No, Dolly!

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




Plot

Sara tries to build some common ground between a warring Ava and Mick, as Ray grows a mustache and Constantine is forced to confront his past when The Legends travel to pre-Civil War New Orleans in search of a ghostly serial killer that is using dolls as hosts. Back in the present at Time Bureau HQ, Mona has a crush and turns to Nate for advice. The problem is that the crush isn't Gary, as Nate thinks, but the Kaupe in the Time Bureau's prison!


Influences

Every horror movie based around killer dolls (particularly Child's Play, which is specifically referenced by Sara), The Shape of Water (woman employed in a lab falls for a beast-man), Doctor Who (the concept of fixed points in time) and the comic series Constantine The Hellblazer (Neron vs. John Constantine, character of Desmond resembles John's boyfriend, Oliver.)


Performances

Cheesy as it may be to say, Matt Ryan is utterly magical as John Constantine and there's a special place in Hell for the NBC Executives who canceled Constantine.


Artistry

The practical effects for the various killer dolls are nicely done.  The direction for making them menacing is also nicely handled.


Trivia Of Tomorrow

Marie Laveau.- the famous Voodoo Queen of New Orleans - is a notable and controversial figure in American history. Ignoring the question of whether or not she had true magical powers, she was still a woman of power and influence at a time when women of African and Native ancestry had little influence on the society of the time.

The dark force that is after John is revealed to be a demon named Neron. Neron is one of the major players in the Hell of the DC Comics Universe. First appearing in Underworld Unleashed #1 (November 1995) Neron was a Lord of Hell who delighted in Faustian bargains, granting mortals when they wished for in exchange for their souls, but usually with an ironic consequence. For instance, he granted the super-villain Copperhead's wish to be transformed into a true man-snake hybrid, but also gave him a debilitating weakness to cold temperatures that limited his effectiveness.

Neron and John Constantine crossed paths in "The Art of the Deal" - the second volume of the Constantine the Hellblazer comic book. Here, Neron tried to buy John's help in securing the soul of every human in New York City. Much as in this episode, Neron tried to get at John through his boyfriend, a bartender and father of two named Oliver.

Actor Paul Rubens - best known for creating and playing the character of Pee Wee Herman - provides the voice of the Dybbuk.

John makes reference to a triumvirate that rules Hell and how Neron wanted his help in overthrowing it. The concept of a triumvirate of demons ruling the Hell of the DC Comics universe was first revealed in Neil Gaiman's The Sandman.


Technobabble/Arcana

Ray is able to grow a mustache overnight thanks to Gideon stimulating his hair follicles.

Saint Marron is the patron saint of runaway slaves.

Desmond had a medallion of Saint Marron with a protection spell on it, which he gave to John.  The medallion is revealed to have been blessed by Marie Lavaeu herself, who was Desmond's great-great-grandmother.

Marie Laveau casts a spell of clairvoyance to reveal how John acquired her medallion and learns all about his relationship with Desmond.

Marie Laveau seems to cast some kind of spell of command on John, forcing him to save Desmond.

According to Hebrew mythology (and Charlie) a Dybbuk is a hostile spirit with no body - usually the ghost of a wicked person who refused to rest after death.

Charlie's shapeshifting powers make her effectively immortal, as her cells are reborn every time she changes shape.


Dialogue Triumphs

(John is walking down a street, somehow blending in despite his lack of appropriate costume. He is approached by a man in a white suit.)
Man:
Monsieur Constantine? Would you come with me, please?
John: (chuckling) Yeah, I'm not really in the habit of going home with strangers, mate. At least not receltly.
(The man suddenly steps to one side to block John's path and blows some kind of purple dust into his face.)
John:
Ugh. Not again.
(John passes out.)

(Marie Laveau discovers that John possess a protective amulet of Saint Marron - the patron of runaway slaves - which she made.)
Marie Laveau: (angrily) Now what do you know about bondage, mon cher?
John: Buy me a pint at the local pub and I'll tell you all about it, love.

(Nate is trying to determine if Mona likes Gary. Mona is talking about the Kaupe.)
Mona: I'm afraid people would think it was weird. I mean... that hair.
Nate: Well, he just needs the right product.
Mona: (biting her lip) What about the man meat?
Nate: (taken aback) Well, uh- what about it?
Mona: I think he's, you know - (whispering) had some?
Nate: It wouldn't surprise me. I mean, it's 2018. I don't judge.

John: (To Zari and Charlie) Here's one thing you need to understand, is that I don't go in for all that love crap. Romance is for little girls crying into their pillows, not for a devious tosser like me who knows the score. But then six months ago, I met him. Desmond. And that first night was like a second line had marched into my useless heart and breathed some life into it again. Desmond knew who I was. Exactly what I'd done. And he didn't care. So I was all in.

Sara: Ava, you are my love, and Mick, you are my family, and it would mean the world to me if both of you would try to get along. Please. So I was thinking maybe you two could find some common ground. For example Ava, you love to read. Mick here is an author.
Ava: Oh. Well, that's something. Though I would be shocked if his novel wasn't sexist and derivative.
Mick: It is.
Sara: Okay, well... Mick, you love to eat. Ava is a fantastic baker. She makes one mean snickerdoodle.
Mick: Fancy sugar cookies.
Ava: (haughtily) Snickerdoodles are actually completely different. It's a cream of tartar base, but-
Mick: Garbage cookies.
Ava: That's rich, coming from a man who's so lacking in personal hygiene that he had to resort to sleeping with a three-breasted alien sex toy.
Mick: Well, at least Garima isn't a clone.
(The mother of all uncomfortable silences settles upon the room.)
Ava: Only I get to use the C word.
Sara: Too far, Mick. Too far.
Mick: Why do you get to have a fake girlfriend and I don't?
(Mick nods to Ava and excuses himself.)
Mick: Clone.
Ava: Dick.

Zari: Let me get this straight. You helped John risk a catastrophic rupture to history because you're afraid of aging?! Okay. Maybe John succeeds and you go on your immortal, merry way. But if he fails? I will personally make sure you spend the rest of your short, dreary, human life in the deepest, darkest prison cell the bureau has to offer.


Continuity

John started a relationship with a bartender named Desmomd in 2018 New Orleans.

Desmond worked at a bar on Royal Street.

Charlie can still shapeshift parts of her body, causing one side of her face to swell up grotesquely.

Charlie says that she survived in the prison dimension by trading favors with the other inmates.

Charlie tries to bargain with John to undo the spell he cast to trap her in one shape. John refuses.

Mick is still using Brigid's book from 405 to bring Garima to life. He apparently stole it from John's chest.

Garima can only speak one word - "beer."

Sara is allowing Mick to keep the book because having Garima around makes him happy.

Ray has grown a mustache because Nora said in one of her letters to him that she liked men with mustaches.

Zari is enjoying a cereal called Big Easy-Os. The pieces taste like tiny beignets. According to Ray, their sugar content is lethal.

The back of the Big Easy-O's box has a trivia question about the most prolific serial killer in American history. It says the answer is Marie Laveau.

Serial killer trivia is one of Ava's hobbies. She says that officially Ted Bundy had the highest kill count of any American serial killer, but she personally thinks John Wayne Gacy killed more people than he ever confessed to killing or was convicted of killing.

Mona is knocked off her bike by a Time Bureau employee opening his car door into her. He complains of her denting his door and says he expects her to pay for it.

Mona's official title at the Time Bureau is Assistant Coordinator of Creature Upkeep.

Gary attempts to flirt with Mona using the techniques he learned in a pick-up artist guide - extended eye-contact and negging.  Nate tells him off for this and suggests he just ask her out directly. In the end, Nate refuses to ask her out for Gary, but does agree to try and confirm if she likes him or not.

Garry has PTSD flashbacks when the words "high-school" are said out-loud.

According to Gideon, all of Marie Lavveau's reported victims were wealthy blonde women who were stabbed to death inside their locked bedrooms.

Ava recognizes this as the MO of a serial killed dubbed "Mike The Spike."

Ava confiscates The Book of Brigid on behalf of The Time Bureau.

The killer's first victim was a woman name Didi Charbonnet.

John, Charlie and Zari go to interview Marie Laveau.

Sara, Mick, Ava and Ray go to protect Didi Charbonnet.

According to Charlie, New Orleans is the best city in the world after London.

John is abducted by one of Marie Laveau's followers because she sensed he possessed something that belonged to her.

The something is revealed to be a medallion of Saint Marron, the patron saint of runaway slaves, blessed with a spell of protection.

The medallion is revealed to have been passed down Marie Laveau's line, eventually coming to her great-great-grandson, Desmond, who gave the medallion to John in 2018.

John agreed to take the medallion from Desmond, but only if he agreed to get out of town while John faced a particularly nasty demon.

John refuses to wear his communications device in the field. However, knowing this, Sara had Gideon fabricate tracking devices into John's underwear.

John reveals that Desmond was collateral damage in his battle with a demon called Neron.

Desmond is the last of Marie Laveau's line in the future.

Marie Laveau says that she sensed a Dybbuk from another time in New Orleans, along with John.

The Dybbuk is revealed to have taken possession of a doll in Didi Charbonnet's home. Mick Rory is able to defeat it by setting the doll on fire.

Mona has taken to venting about her problems to the Kaupe.

Mona notices that the Kaupe has a wound on his shoulders.

John and Charlie take the jump ship to five months earlier, the night John met Desmond.  John reasons that if Charlie can stop his past self from meeting Desmond, that will stop John from joining the Legends (something he only did because of his guilt over Desmond's fate) and that will mean John won't have been there to cast the spell that removed Charlie's shape-shifting powers in 703.

Sara straps down the burned remains of the doll, being savvy enough in the ways of horror movies to know the dolls always come back.

Ava complains about Rory robbing the Charbonnet house after they destroyed the doll holding the Dybbuk.

John's memories change. He now remembers meeting Desmond a few days after they originally met at the bar Desmond worked at. They still started a relationship.

Zari catches Charlie and John in the act and brings them back to The Waverider to explain themselves.

John explains that he honestly fell in love with Desmond and they moved in together six months earlier.

John further explains that a demon called Neron came into possession of John's soul and attempted to use it to force John to help him to overthrow the Satanic Triumvirate that rules Hell. John refused.

John knew Neron would try to use Desmond against him and begged Desmond to get away from him. John says Desmond was dragged to Hell by Neron after giving John his protective medallion.

Zari says that some points are time are fixed and can't be altered. She thinks John and Desmond meeting might be one of those points.

Zari says she will use her program to try and find a loophole they can use to save Desmond's life without disrupting the timeline.

Mona tries to use a Hawaiian phrase book to speak to the Kaupe. It tells her his name is Konane.

The Kaupe tries to hide Mona when it senses someone coming to his cell and the alarms go off.

The Dybbuk escapes from the burned doll form and roams The Waverider, looking for something else it can take over.

John reasons that if his meeting Desmond if a fixed point in time, then he has to go back in time to after they met and break off their relationship before Neron took him.

The Dybbuk eventually takes over the doll of Martin Stein which Leo Snart made in 309. (Amusingly, the doll is kept in a container labeled 309)

Sara makes dinner for herself, Ava and Mick in a bid to find some common ground. It does not go well.

John goes back to 2018 using a spell.

Charlie told John about the trackers in his underwear so he is now going commando.

Charlie has a reason for wanting to get her shape-shifting powers back beyond missing them. She reveals to Zari that every time she shape-shifts, her cells refresh and she is essentially reborn. So long as she can keep changing, she doesn't really age. Locked in a regular human form, she can only live as long as an ordinary human.

The Kaupe is abducted by two agents in black clothing, one of whom is the man who insisted Mona pay for denting the car door he hit her with.

The Dybbuk cuts the power to Gideon.

Zari and Charlie go after John in the jump ship.

John reveals that Neron didn't send Desmond to Hell - John did when he did a spell to trap Neron in Hell.  Unbeknownst to John, Desmond went behind his back and made a deal with Neron to sell him his soul in exchange for John's safety.  When John banished Neron, Desmond went with him.

John says that Neron is out to gather more souls to gain power for his coup attempt and that he accidentally sacrificed the man he loved only to buy New Orleans a little more time.

Ava determines that the Dybbuk is Mike The Spike.

Mona attempts to stand up to the agents taking the Kaupe. It goes berserk when the men try to hurt Mona and slashes her stomach when she tries to stop it from eating one of the agents.

The Kaupe seems to show remorse when it sees it hurt Mona and flees the garage.

After John gets Desmond to leave him, the medallion of Saint Marron vanishes from his hand and a green time wave expands out from his apartment. Afterward, the light of New Orleans becomes tinged red.

While the power was out, Ray accidentally cut off half his mustache.

Mona, Ava, Sara, Ray, Mick and the puppet Stein all become frozen in time as the time-wave hits them.

After passing through the time wave, Charlie gets her shape-shifting powers back and Zari is transformed into a cat with her totem now on her collar.


Location

New Orleans - 2018
New Orleans - 1856
Time Bureau HQ - Washington DC - 2018


The Bottom Line

Wonderful. Somehow, the killer doll manages to be the weakest subplot of the episode yet it's still well-handled. Somehow, the comedy and slapstick doesn't take away from the tragedy of John's failed romance and his efforts to try and save the only man he ever loved. All the elements that shouldn't work together somehow form a glorious gestalt. It will be interesting to see how this all pays off during next week's finale.