Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 6 - Three Sevens: The Book of Thunder

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




Plot

Jefferson hits the streets to hunt down Tobias Whale as Anissa takes action after a local protest of a Confederate monument turns violent thanks to a group of White Nationalists. Meanwhile, Gambi turns to Lynn for help in stopping Jefferson from going over the line and becoming a killer as Jennifer makes a fateful choice regarding her relationship with Khalil.


Influences

The Green Arrow and Outsiders comics of Judd Winick. (Jefferson Pierce being portrayed as willing to kill.)


Goofs

Why didn't the base of the statue collapse along with the statue itself? Thunder's shockwave should have passed through it into the statue when she stomped the ground.


Artistry

The sequence of Thunder destroying the statue is a powerfully shot and directed moment.

The flashback sequences of Alvin Pierce's murder are suitably horrific.

The fight between Black Lighting and Thunder is well choreographed and a great use of special effects.


Trivia

The scene of Black Lightning looking down at Tobias Whale, ready to strike him down, mirrors a similar scene from Judd Winick's run on Green Arrow where Black Lighting struck down the businessman responsible for arranging the murder of his niece.  A later retcon changed it so that instead, Deathstroke the Terminator killed the man in away that made Black Lightning think he was responsible for the death, even though he only mildly electrocuted the man.


Technobabble

Lynn uses a portable CAT Scan machine to check Jefferson for brain damage. She determines that his powers are still overcharging his ability to heal, noting he still heals twice as fast as a normal person even though he's slowed down from when he was younger.

The brain scans of the Green Light addicts are unusual, being "lit up like a Christmas tree" where the grey-matter should be dark.

The research Anissa found in her grandfather's storage unit is scientific research into human mitochondria and how they provide energy in human cells that can be altered in various ways to potentially create super powers.

Gambi says that Jefferson's powers are largely neurological and that his brain picks up and uses electricity the same way a normal person might pick-up any other tool.

The Black Lightning suit prevents Jefferson from blowing out his nervous system by using his powers. When the resistance is set too high, it causes feedback (i.e. the headaches that Jefferson had been having)

Albinos suffer from eye problems and skin ailments far more than most people. This requires them to seek regular medical treatment.


Dialogue Triumphs

Jefferson: (To Anissa) Let me ask you a question. Should I have you committed? Because you've obviously lost your damn mind.
Anissa: That statue, Dad, is an insult to black people, glorifying a national traitor.
Jefferson: You broke the law, Anissa. That gives the police an excuse to hurt you. And on top of that, you used guns. Guns!
Anissa: They were water guns.
Jefferson: They looked enough like real guns to be the end of you. All it takes is for one cop - one cop - to see your color instead of your humanity and decide "better dead than sorry". (sighs) Look, you're a black woman. You don't have the luxury of being naive.
Anissa: I know. I know. You've said that a thousand times-
Jefferson: Then hear it!
Anissa: Okay!.
Jefferson: And I will stop saying it!
Anissa: Okay!

Gambi: Jefferson? I don't know what you're up to, but there is a difference between you and Tobias. You need to keep it that way.

(One of the burglars raises his gun on Thunder. She holds her breath and he empties his gun into her. She grabs it from him, throws it away, then throws him across the room. The second burglar, clearly shaken, raises his gun, hands shaking as he stares down Thunder.)
Thunder:
What? You thought he missed?

(Jefferson, looking down at the injured, costume-clad Anissa.)
Jefferson: What the hell was she doing?
Lynn: What you do! She has powers, Jeff!

Gambi: Evelyn.
Lady Eve: Peter Gambi. How did you get past all my security?
Gambi: Evelyn, I taught you everything you know. Not everything I know.


Continuity

The episode opens immediately where 105 ended, with Jefferson passing out after fighting Joey Toledo and the police en route to catch him.

Gambi is able to get to Jefferson and saves him before the police find him.

Tobias Whale once again makes reference to Lady Eve's threat regarding the magical properties of albino's bones from 104.

Tobias Whale has a protection squad watching his sister Tori in the face of Lady Eve's threat.

Jefferson says he was there when Tobias Whale killed his father, Alvin Pierce.

Anissa is arrested for vandalizing a statue of a Confederate general with a super-soaker full of red paint along with a group of other activists.

Jennifer says she's the only one in the Pierce family who is bad at math.

Jennifer says that she's reconsidering her relationship with Khalil in the face of his paralysis but feels guilty about that.

Jefferson gets the feeling that Gambi is reluctant to see him go after Tobias Whale.

Anissa asks Lynn to help her with researching the data Alvin Pierce uncovered.

Lynn's research assistant seems to be in the employ of The 100. We see him going to make a phone-call after he sees Lynn comparing the Green Line users brain scans to Jefferson's. Gambi also seems to go out of his way to talk to Lynn before her assistant shows up.

Jefferson begins investigating doctors in Freeland who specialize in treating albinos to try and find Tobias Whale.

Khalil begins joining in with the girls cyber-bullying Jennifer, now blaming her for his paralysis since he only went to the rally in 103 to be with her.

Anissa puts on her new Thunder costume to destroy the statue following a White Nationalist driving his car into a group of student protesters, killing one 19 year old woman.

Anissa was born on June 28, 1994

Jennifer was born on October 7, 2001.

Anissa is bullet proof when she braces herself.

Anissa also proves to be immune to her father's electrical attacks, though she still develops a concussion, bruises and burns once he starts magnetically throwing her against the floor and ceiling instead of just trying to shock her.

Jefferson and Lynn discover that Anissa has super powers.

Tobias Whale and Syonide take Khalil on a ride, saying that he will walk again very soon and learn what it is to be a wolf among sheep.

Lady Eve's real name is Evelyn.

Gambi claims to have taught Lady Eve everything she knows. They were part of the same Agency before they both retired.

Apparently there was some kind of deal Gambi negotiated that made The Pierce Family off-limits. Lady Eve says the bargain is still in place, but that Lynn Stewart had been engaging in some off-limits research. The burglars were just supposed to steal her research. They were not expecting her to be there or the metahuman who attacked The Plummer Crew (i.e. Thunder).

This is the first episode in which metahumans are mentioned, suggesting the term is not unknown in the universe of Black Lightning.

Gambi says he could have outed Tobias Whale in the past but didn't. Lady Eve says that if anything happens to Tobias Whale, Gambi's dirty laundry will be revealed as well.


The Winick Factor

Portryaing Jefferson Pierce as a man capable of killing in cold blood is a Winickian conceit.


The Bottom Line

Not the most well-written episode. There's not a lot of snappy dialogue and there's way too many subplots starting out. As a result, nothing seems like it gets very well developed up until the third act when the Anissa, Jefferson and Lynn subplots all come crashing together. This still leaves Jennifer's bully subplot just sitting there and everything with Khalil comes out of left field after his absence last week. Still, hopefully the disjointed feel of the show over the past two weeks will get better now that Anissa and Jefferson know each others secrets.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 14 - Subject 9

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



Plot

The search for the ninth of the "bus Metas" created by The Thinker leads Team Flash to Izzy Bowin - a country-western fiddle player, whose metagene has manifested in an unexpected way.


Influences

The Flash comics of Robert Kanigher and Lee Elias.


Goofs

You'd think Ralph and Barry would know better than to approach a strange woman and try to lure her away with some crazed story about her being a metahuman whose life is in danger. Even if Barry DID still have his police ID, it would be real tricky.

I'm with Ralph - you'd think one of the geniuses would have thought of checking Izzy's website before he did. (Then again, STAR Labs rightly has a reputation for employing the dumbest geniuses in television.)

Barry sure gives up on trying to work around that force-field in a hurry.

Why doesn't DeVoe grab Ralph's powers while he's there?  He has Barry and Ralph outclassed and dead to rights.


Performances

Miranda MacDougall proves an engaging presence in what is apparently her first major TV role, as Izzy Bowin.

If Hartley Sawyer is meant to be making Ralph seem sleazier and sleazier, he's doing a bad job of it. Apart from Caitlin, Ralph is about the only member of Team Flash I can stand anymore and that's all down to Harley's goofy but likable performance.

The chemistry between MacDougall and Sawyer is so fantastic you really don't mind that they basically fall in love over the course of a half hour.. Shame it only is good for this episode.


Artistry

The special effects work for The Fiddler's sound attacks is impressive and one wishes we'd gotten something like this sooner for the various Black Canaries.


Flash Facts

Izzy Bowin is a gender-flipped, modernized take on the classic The Flash villain Isaac Bowin, a.k.a. The Fiddler. Strangely enough, The Fiddler was a magic-based villain rather than a metahuman.

First appearing in All-Flash #32 (January 1948), Isaac Bowin quickly became the arch-enemy of the Jay Garrick version of The Flash. A thief who was arrested and jailed in a prison in India, Bowin met a snake-charming fakir who taught him the secret mystic arts of music. Bowin was able to build an improvised violin from materials in the prison and learned to go beyond hypnotizing people and animals with music. He was able to unleash destructive waves of energy with his instrument as well as creating barriers of solid sound.

When his teacher declared that Bowin had surpassed him, Bowin arranged their escape, only to kill his teacher and the merchant who saw him arrested before fleeing to America. It was here The Fiddler attempted to replace Maestro Bowin - a violin virtuoso who turned out to be the lost twin brother Isaac Bowin never knew he had!

The Fiddler was one of the villains who united to form the second incarnation of The Injustice Society, to oppose The Justice Society of which Jay Garrick was a member.

The post-Crisis version of Isaac Bowin had virtually the same background as his pre-Crisis counterpart. The chief difference was that Bowin was established as part of the British aristocracy, who was an avid musician and world traveler who turned to thievery after blowing through his savings. He still learned the secret magic of music while in a prison in India and still attempted to murder and replace his twin brother, Maestro Bowin, though he was aware of his twin brother's existence this time.

The post-Crisis Fiddler was one of three villains (along with The Thinker and The Shade) who combined their efforts to hide Keystone City away from the world. Barry Allen accidentally bypassed the vibrational barrier The Fiddler placed around the city, leading to the first post-Crisis team-up between the Barry Allen and Jay Garrick Flashes.

The post-Crisis Fiddler was also part of the international villain group Injustice Unlimited, formed to fight The Global Guardians.

A slight retcon to The Fiddler's origins appeared in John Ostrander's Hawkworld series. One story established that the fakir who awakened Isaac Bowin's powers was truly a demon, who would later awaken similar powers in a guitar player who went on to a short-lived career as the criminal The Thrasher.

Isaac Bowin was part of the original Secret Six line-up formed by Mockingbird in the 2005 mini-series Villains United. He was killed by Deadshot, after a battle with HIVE agents in which his powers proved ineffective. To add insult to injury, Deadshot wondered out-loud why a man who was a classically trained violin player would refer to his instrument as a fiddle - a name nominally used by less-educated, lower-class musicians.

Gail Simone later introduced a new female version of The Fiddler into her follow-up Secret Six series. This villain was dubbed Virtuoso and armed herself with Isaac Bowin's old fiddle. Though she was never given a full name or origin story, she appeared to be of Indian descent and had a Hindu caste mark on her forehead. This seems to be a nod to the origins of the original Fiddler's powers.

The DCTVU version of Izzy Bowin has the metahuman ability to control soundwaves. She does not need her instrument to do this, as she is able to release a focused sonic blast that knocks Barry and Ralph to the ground and deafens them both.

We get a quick glance at Izzy Bowin's touring schedule when Iris goes to her website, which reveals the names of several familiar DC Comics cities. Among them are Central City, Keystone City, Blue Valley, Coast City, Star City and Bludhaven. These are, respectively, the hometown of The Barry Allen Flash, the hometown of The Jay Garrick Flash, the hometown of Wally West, the hometown of Hal Jordan, the hometown of Oliver Queen and the adoptive hometown of Dick Grayson when he became Nightwing.

Izzy Bowin's blog has an entry on 2/1/18 which says that she canceled her concert in Blue Valley because of "some sorta starfish situation." In JLA Secret Files #1(September 1997) and JLA #22 (September 1998), the telepathic alien starfish Starro The Conqueror tried to take over the Earth using Blue Valley as a starting point. This is also probably the incident Wally West referred to in 407 where he mentioned fighting an alien starfish in Blue Valley.


Technobabble

The additional dark matter introduced into The Thinker's system every time he absorbs a new power accelerates the deterioration of his current host's body. It has been about a week since he transferred his mind into Hazard's body and she is already starting to lose control of his motor functions.

Sound is the force of billions of tiny gas molecules colliding into one another. This means that a person who could harness and amplify kinetic energy in the same way as The Fiddler, it could create molecular shrapnel.

It is perfectly safe for most pregnant women to have one cup of coffee a day.

According to The Mechanic, Izzy Bowin's sonic powers were able to accelerate the deterioration of Hazard's internal organs. Specifically, the atrial flutter and bradycardia.

Harry builds a mental activity dampener made of ten pounds of cerebellum-proof anti-telepathy somani steel. He refers to it as a generational breakthrough in vibrational brainwave theory. It is not, as Cecile points out, comfortable enough to sleep in.

The 2.0 version of the mental activity dampener is more compact, but must be adhered to the supraobital ridge. It functions by disrupting inbound brain activity, but by reversing the polarity Harry is able to make it disrupt outbond brainwave broadcasts as well.

Harry dubs this new mental activity dampener, which can be used against DeVoe and block his powers, the cerebral inhibitor.

The cerebral inhibitor is equipped with a kill-switch microchip that prevents it from connecting to a network. Unfortunately, this does nothing to stop DeVoe from hacking it.

Harry speculates that the cerebral inhibitor didn't work because he underestimated the amount of time between each synapse router or overestimated the micro-combustion infrastructure.

Cisco theorizes that DeVoe's lair is in a pocket dimension, based on the fact that the effect produced whenever DeVoe teleports is that of a warping signature of someone moving into a pocket dimension.

Einstein postulated that it was possible for a region-specific fold in space-time to exist between the standard four dimensions that humans perceive - i.e. a pocket dimension.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Ralph and Barry are collapsed on the floor, having just been shot by one of Izzy Bowin's sonic blasts at point-blank range.)
Ralph:
I guess now we know what her power is!
Barry: (shaking his head., cupping a hand to one ear, shouting) What?!
Ralph: What?!

(Izzy Bowin has just declared that she doesn't need Team Flash to train her or protect her and stormed out of STAR Labs.)
Ralph: I dunno guys. I kinda feel like if I just followed her into that hallway and just gave her one of those "hey look" inspirational talks, I could probably get her to stay.
Cisco: (annoyed) Then what are you still doing here?!
Ralph: Sorry! I don't know if you like draw straws for this stuff or something?
Cisco: No! Go!

Ralph: Look, Izzy? I know how you're feeling. That day you got your powers? I was on the same bus. So that evil chipmunk? She wants to kill me too.
Izzy: Please. I think I'd remember seeing you on my bus.
Ralph: (chuckles) Actually, I was kinda... big boned back then. I was on a strict diet of gin, donuts and regret. But I got another shot at it. And I worked my tight butt off. And now I'm the hottest superhero in town.
Izzy: (scoffs) Please....
Ralph: My life has never been better. Kinda like yours.
Izzy: Yeah, but aren't you afraid of losing it all?
Ralph: Yeah. I am. Which is why I'm part of this team. You said that your family bailed on you, so I can understand why you wouldn't trust someone to look out for you, but Izzy - I can tell you that these amazing weirdos? They won't bail. They created a buddy system for me. And if you'll stay, they'll keep you safe. I promise.
(The elevator opens. Ralph and Izzy both stare at it expectantly. Finally, Izzy grins at Ralph.)
Izzy: So - who's gonna be my buddy then?
Ralph: (smiles) I may have to pull some strings, but I'll see if I'm available.
(Izzy smiles back and actually giggles a bit.)

(Harry has just noticed the odd expression on Barry and Iris' faces as he reveals the cerebral inhibitor.)
Harry: What's that? What are you guys doing?  What are - what are those faces?
Iris: When Savitar came to STAR Labs, he said we would build a device to use against DeVoe.
Barry: (smiling) The cerebral inhibitor.
Harry: Well, I wish I had known that before I spent all this time trying to come up with a second name. Naming is hard.


Continuity

Despite having all the charges against him dismissed, Barry is still asked to take an indefinite leave of absence from the CCPD per the new Mayor's orders.

The new Mayor's last name is revealed to be Van Buren.

Publicly, Warden Wolfe is said to have died a hero trying to stop a break-out at Iron Heights, during the events of 413.

Again, it is affirmed that DeVoe has taken the powers of Brainstorm, Hazard, Kilgore, Black Bison and Dwarfstar.

Fallout is safe with Tracy Brand.

 Ralph is with Team Flash.

The Weeper is MIA, but we know that DeVoe has his powers as well.

This leaves four bus metahumans at large.

Ralph wears a retainer.

Ralph sweats a lot when he sleeps.

According to Cisco, Ralph's apartment has no lamps but neon beer signs and Ralph uses the kitchen sink as a shower.

Ralph also owns a futon.

After retrieving the lost-and-found box from Bus 405, Ralph discovers Izzy Bowin's demo CD.

Vibe is able to learn who Izzy Bowin is aver vibing her CD. He discovers she is playing a gig at The Busted Saddle Saloon.

Ralph hates country music.

The Thinker says that Izzy Bowin has not yet refined her power to the fullest but he does not have time to wait or locate another host. This means that The Thinker has not found the last three bus metas either.

Izzy Bowin's sonic blasts are capable of permanently deafening a person. Luckily, Ralph's eardrums stretched with the blow and Barry was able to heal the damage after a few hours.

Harry returns from his trip to Earth Two.

Cecile is being kept awake at night because she can't shut off her telepathy to stop from reading Joe West's mind when he's dreaming.

Harry offers to build something that can help Cecile with her telepathic insomnia.

Izzy Bowin's sonic powers are able to hurt The Thinker.

Caitlin suggests using Izzy's fiddle as a means of helping her to focus her powers.

Barry accidentally wounds Izzy by trying to throw skeet targets at her.

Izzy is able to knock Ralph out with one targeted whistle.

Harry creates the cerebral inhibitor - the device Savitar said Team Flash would make to fight DeVoe back in 323.  (It is pointed out, however, that Savitar never said it would work.)

DeVoe is somehow able to sense when Cisco is using his Vibe powers to focus in on a person or location and strike back at Cisco psychically.

This is later revealed to be part of Brainstorm's enhanced powers. Though Dominic Lanse never unlocked the potential himself, his powers allowed him to affects minds as well as read them. This allows DeVoe to attack Cisco while he is vibing on Izzy and to attack Barry with a psychic attack that gives him an aneurysm.

DeVoe is able to hack the cerebral inhibitor using Kilgore's powers, which also allow him to listen in on Team Flash's comm signals.

Cecile tells Harry that the MAD 2.0 worked perfectly and she is sleeping again.

Cecile suggests that Harry call his daughter and invite her to visit him on Earth One.

Ralph invites Barry to be his partner in his detective business.


Untelevised Adventures

Apparently Starro the Conqueror attempted to take over Blue Valley recently, forcing Izzy Bowin to cancel her concert there.


The Fridge Factor

Izzy is killed off to make Ralph angst over her death, to give his character more depth.


The Boomerang Factor

Honestly, most of the problems in this episode would have been solved immediately if Barry and Iris didn't act like idiots/jerks.


The Bottom Line


A likable character is introduced and fridged to give Ralph Dibny more definition. The sad thing is this is the best storyline in the episode and Ralph is the only member of Team Flash apart from Caitlin who isn't a total jerk. Barry suddenly pushes Izzy away so she can be put into danger. Iris and Cisco are pushing Ralph away, further cementing his insecurity about being a hero.

Honestly, if it weren't for the fact that DeVoe is an unrepentant murderer who is responsible for killing all the likable characters on this show while sparing the idiots and jerks, I'd be rooting for him.

Injustice 2 #47 - A Review

The battle against Amazo continues but as the hero's active numbers continue to fall an unexpected hero or two may yet tip the balance...


Great story. Great art. The only real flaw is that after all the build up of one of the new heroes in a previous issue, their presence seems to be completely undercut by the arrival of another character in this one. I hope this will be resolved in issues to come and I apologize for being deliberately vague on this point, but trust me - you really should read this book for yourselves to find out what the heck I'm talking about.

The Final Analysis: 9 out of 10.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 3, Episode 12 - The Curse Of The Earth Totem

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




Plot

As Sara takes some time off away from the team to go on a date with Agent Sharpe, the rest of The Legends go searching for The Earth Totem to prove they can manage things without her. Naturally, shenanigans ensue, as the crew finds themselves playing pirate while trying to steal the treasure of Blackbeard!


Influences

Disney's Pirates Of The Caribbean movies, particularly The Curse Of The Black Pearl and the book/movie The Princess Bride.


Goofs

Why did Mick let Ray go off to confront Damien Darhk alone? There's no logical reason for this to happen other than setting up the conflict for the next episode.


Performances

I think Keiynan Lonsdale was given more to do and Wally West more character development in this episode than in the entire past season and a half of The Flash. His chemistry with Arthur Darvill is fantastic and I could watch a series about the two of them having drunken adventures forever.


Artistry

Though it is filmed far too-close, what little we can see of the fight scene between Amaya and Admiral Darhk's lieutenant is pretty awesome.

Whoever had the idea to include Careleess Whisper in the soundtrack as a song for Rip and Wally to sing together deserves a medal or a bonus.


Trivia Of Tomorrow

The title for the episode (and general adventurous pirate theme) is taken from the first film in Disney's Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise - The Curse Of The Black Pearl.

As Nate notes in the episode, La Concord was a ship stolen by Blackbeard and renamed The Queen Anne's Revenge. Originally built in Bristol, England in 1710 and named The Concord, it was stolen by the French a year later and renamed La Concorde de Nantes. Blackbeard stole the ship in 1717. Though it was only one of the ships in Blackbeard's fleet and he only held onto it for a year, it is by far his most famous vessel.

Why Blackbeard called his ship The Queen Anne's Revenge is unknown. The two most likely theories are that it was either a reference to Queen Anne's War (aka The War of Spanish Succession), which Blackbeard had fought in while part of The Royal Navy or in honor of Queen Anne of Britain, the last Stuart monarch. This episode suggests a third theory - that Blackbeard named it honor of his lover, a pirate queen named Anne.

The portrayal of Edward "Blackbeard" Teach as a coward who avoided conflict in this episode is oddly consistent with the historical record. While Blackbeard had a reputation as a fearsome pirate, the truth is that Edward Teach was a theatrical sort who counted on his reputation to scare other ships into surrendering without a fight. Far from the vicious murderer depicted in most fictional stories involving Blackbeard, the real Edward Teach was a cunning and shrewd leader who spurred the use of excessive force. Indeed, there is no record of him ever forcing another ship captain to severe under him as part of his fleet or having murdered a captive in his career. Indeed, much of the romantic view of pirates as gentlemen of fortune was inspired by Blackbeard's true behavior.

It should be noted that Anne, the pirate whom Blackbeard tries to make his queen in this episode, does NOT seem to be based on the famous female pirate Anne Bonny. In the first place, Anne Bonny did not become a pirate until 1718. Secondly, there's no evidence that she ever met Blackbeard or that they were romantically involved. The historical record indicates that Anne Bonny sailed with John Rackham (aka Calico Jack).  In the third place, Anne Bonny was a red-haired Irishwoman whereas Blackbeard's Anne is a brown-haired Englishwoman.

Wally West quotes the wisdom of Dom Toretto from the movie The Fast And The Furious - a fitting philosophy for a former street-racer like Wally.

Rip Hunter says that the last time he visited China was during The Opium Wars. These were a series of two wars between England and China that took place from 1839-1860.

In order to lure out Blackbeard, Mick begins telling tales about Amaya being "The Dread Pirate Jiwe." This is likely a nod to the book/movie The Princess Bride, which famously featured a legendary outlaw known as The Dread Pirate Roberts.

Rip Hunter claims to have drunk both "Hemingway and Van Gogh" under the table. This is a reference to writer Ernest Hemingway and painter Vincent Can Gogh - both of whom were notorious for their prodigious drinking.

The Lieutenant serving under Admiral Darhk who is determined to kill Blackbeard is identified as Robert Maynard. In real world history, Lt. Robert Maynard is credited with leading the squad that killed Blackbeard on November 22, 1718.

As Nate keeps reminding everyone, The Bermuda Triangle is also known as The Devil's Triangle.

There is a running gag with Blackbeard making sure to recover his Captain's hat after it is taken from him. This is a nod to a similar gag involving Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

The song which Wally says is one of Jesse Wells' favorites - Careless Whisper by George Michael - is later sung by Rip and Wally at karaoke. Appropriately enough, we see them singing the second verse, which starts with the line "Time can never mend." It's also a song about betrayal and heartbreak, which seems fitting given Rip's recent actions and Wally's recent break-up with Jesse.

Damien Darhk's ship is identified as The HMS Fortitude. While there was an English ship by that name, it was not commissioned until 1780. It was a 74-gun third-rate that became a prison ship in 1795, a powder hulk in 1802 and was broken up in 1820.


Technobabble

Gideon suffers a Level 4 Systems Failure after being parked in the middle of The Bermuda Triangle.

Zari later determines that The Waverider's problems were caused by multiple unexplained malfunctions to the ship's electrical systems.


Dialogue Triumphs

Ray: We need to tell Sara we gotta get to Detroit.
Mick: Nope. She's off to Star City. She's been texting some guy. They're going on a date.
Ray: How do you know? What, are you looking at her phone?!
Mick: I look at everyone's phone. Helps to pass the time.

Nate:All those in favor of setting a course for 1717?!
Amaya: (resigned) Aye.
Zari: (unenthusiastically) Aye.
Ray: (enthusiastic pirate voice) Aye!
Mick: (bleary as he drinks from his beer) Aye.
Nate: Arrrrrrrrr!

(Rip tells Wally that he needs his help to save the world.)
Wally: Well, I'm sorry, my friend, but my days of "fwathooming" are over. Right now, I'm living life one quarter-mile at a time.
Rip: What that a Buddhist koan?
Wally: Dom Toretto. The Fast And The Furious.

Amaya: I want to change my granddaughter Kuasa's past, and... well, improve her future.
Mick: So do it.
Amaya: It's not that simple. What if I inadvertently change my other granddaughter's destiny?
Mick: So don't do it.
Amaya: And then there's Nate. I still have to go back to 1942 and marry someone else so that Kuasa and Mari are even born. We can never end up together. (shaking her head) I feel paralyzed. Every step I take, it just feels like it could have disastrous consequences.
Mick: Take a look around. (motions to the people in the bar with them) Do you think these people give a damn about consequences? Take the night off! A true pirate doesn't live for tomorrow. They only live for the moment.
Amaya: Thanks Mick... but I don't know the first thing about acting like a pirate.
(Amaya gets up and walks off.)
Mick:
Well... I do. (takes a swig from his bottle)

Mick: If there's one thing pirates love more than treasure, it's a good story.

(A drunken Rip spies Wally's flask.)
Rip: Gimmie some of that.
(Rip approaches Wally and then trips. Wally grips his own flask protectively.)
Wally: No, this - this is not for you.
Rip: (dismissively) Please! I drank Hemingway and Van Gogh under the table.
Wally: Cisco gave this to me before I left Central City. It's the only way a speedster could get drunk is of of this... rocket fuel.
Rip: Rocket fuel?
Wally: Yeah!
(The two laugh at this. Suddenly, Rip lunges for the flask and grabs it while Wally's guard is down. He takes a swig from the flask and winces at the taste of it.)
Rip:
God! Cisco is a rutting genius.
Wally: (sadly) Yeah, he is. So's Barry. And Caitlin. And Wells. Wait, maybe that's why I never fit on Team Flash? (Wally bursts out laughing at this.)
Rip: And here I was thinking you were roaming the Chinese countryside because your girlfriend needed more space.
(Wally goes quiet at that, clearly upset. Rip adopts a more sympathetic tone.)
Rip: Nah, I can do one better than that, mate. Both my favorite protegees conspired to have me put in prison.
Wally: Huh. What happened?
Rip: Well, I lied to Sara. In addition to accidentally aiding in the resurrection of the man who killed her sister. And Ava is angry at me for sending good agents to their deaths.
Wally: Woah. Sounds like you're a bit of a douche. (defensively) No offense!
Rip: Nah.  None taken, man. I intend to make it up to both of them. But first, I need the teensiest ... teensiest of favors...

Sara: (into her phone)  Please tell me that The Waverider did not just crash into Star City!
Zari: Star City? Is that where we are?
Sara: (over the phone)  Oh, you've got to be kidding me!
Ray: Well, the good news is the cannonballs didn't hit The Time Core.
(There is an explosion in the background. Zari sighs.)
Ray: And Nate made a beautiful landing.
Zari: Yeah.
Nate: Thanks, big guy. (forced cheer) So! Sara! How's the date going?
Sara: (sighs) It's over.

Ava Sharpe: We need to find Rip! He has a Time Courier, which means he could be anywhere, any time, causing a whole mess of problems.
(Cut to Tokyo 1992. A still drunk Rip and Wally are singing George Michael's "Careless Whisper" in a karaoke bar.)

(Blackbeard enters the tavern as Amaya and Mick are winning over his crew.)
Blackbeard: Mutiny? Is that what this is, then? You'd rather follow The Dread Pirate Jiwe than your own captain?
(Amaya draws her sword and levels it at Blackbeard.)
Blackbeard:
Then I'm bloody joining you!

Amaya: The totems draw on the life force of their bearer. So if Anne was as wicked as you suggest, the totem would have only amplified her worst impulses.
Blackbeard: It turned her into a monster!
Mick: How did you live to tell the tale?
Blackbeard: Well, I did the only decent thing any man would do - I put a musket ball in her head and buried her along with the treasure.


Continuity

The Earth Totem of Zambesi features a giant emerald.

Blackbeard gave the Totem to Anne - his pirate queen.

According to Amaya, her research says there were only five totems of Zambesi with each of the five tribes being given one totem.

Ray runs down the list of totems. Amaya has the Spirit. Zari has the Air. Kuasa has Water. This leaves them searching for Earth and Fire.

Ray notes that the Fire Totem is smashed in the current age, per the events of Vixen: Season 2 and was last seen intact in a Detroit Museum in 2018. Ray also explains that the pieces of the Fire Totem are currently in the possession of Dr. Adam Macalester - an expert on the Zambesi totems and Mari McCabe's current boyfriend.

Sara leaves the team to go on a date with Ava Shape in Star City 2018.

Sara's drink of choice is a vodka martini, extra dirty, stirred. She believes shaken martinis are for lightweights who want their drinks watered down.

Sara refers to the events of 309 and how Ava helped her fight a group of Vikings and saved her from Mallus.

Zari has curled her hair. She doesn't like it, but Amaya thinks it looks nice.

Damien Darhk steals the Fire Totem before the Legends can get to it in 2018.

Nate is able to track the Earth Totem to the manifest of The Saint Lisette - the sister ship of La Concorde in 1717.

Rip Hunter was able to track Wally West through his MP3 player. He notes that Wally has replayed the George Michael song "Careless Whisper" a lot.

Wally says that Careless Whisper was one of Jesse Wells' favorite songs.

The last time Rip Hunter traveled to East Asia was during The Opium Wars. These took place from 1839-1860.

The most embarrassing event in Sara Lance's life was when the first time she had a weapon in her hand - playing Peter Pan in the school play at Starling City Elementary. She froze up and forgot her lines. She broke into a tap-dance before running off stage crying.

Sara can tap-dance.

Blackbeard says that he buried The Earth Totem on Grace Island.

Rip Hunter claims to have drunk Ernest Hemingway and Vincent Van Gogh under the table.

Wally West has a flask full of the same "rocket fuel" that Cisco Ramon distilled for Barry Allen when he wanted a drink since normal alcohol burns through a speedster's system so fast that it does not affect them.

Wally West is confirmed to be old enough to drink legally in the United States - at least 21.

Gary Green has a rivalry with another Time Agent named McNeil, who was just named Agent of the Month at the Star City branch of The Time Bureau.

Wally Wet steals Gary Green's cel phone and Time Courier. He also pulls down Gary's pants.

This is, Gary notes, the second time this has happened to him. The first time may have involved Sara Lance's lifting his ID, which she referred to in 301.

Wally also recovers Rip's trademark brown long-coat from a storage closet in The Time Bureau offices.

Ava Sharpe played paintball at her 15th birthday party. She wound up using someone else as a human shield.

Admiral Darhk's ship is the HMS Fortitude. It creates another anachronism when it gets into a fight with The Queen Anne's Revenge off the coast of Grace Island in 1717.

The Earth Totem gives his bearer the power to control plant life. It can also continue to animate the bearer's body, even after their normal biological processes should have stopped.

Amaya recovers The Earth Totem.

Ray shoots Nora Darhk with his anti-magic nanite pistol.

Sara notes, with amusement, that her bottle of Captain Godfree Spiced Rum becomes Captain Jiwe Spiced Rum and the picture changes from that of a traditional pirate Captain to a portrait of Amaya as The Dread Pirate Jiwe.

Sara suggests that she and Ava fight Genghis Khan for their second date.

A terrible hangover for a speedster lasts three minutes.

Ray comes up with a cure for the anti-magic pistol. He goes back and promises to give it to Nora in exchange for Amaya's totem. Damien Darhk agrees to the bargain.

Nora remembers Ray from her childhood. This does not stop her from using her magic to drain his life to the point where he passes out.

The episode ends with Ray a captive of The Darkhs.


Location

The Bahamas - 1717
Star City - 2018
Detroit - 2018
Yunan Province, China - 2018
Nassau, Bahamas - 1717
Tokyo - 1992


Untelevised Adventures

Damien Darhk steals the fire totem from Dr. Adam Macalester before Ray and Mick can steal it first.

Gary Green refers to having been pantsed and having his Time Agent gear stolen once before.


The Crisis Factor

Ray's decision to go deal with The Darhks without back-up is idiotic, even for Ray, and a prime example of how the geniuses of The DCTVU are frequently the most stupid people on the show.


The Bottom Line

A fun little episode apart from the last two minutes, at which point Ray is thrown the Idiot Ball in order to drive the plot forward a bit. Still, the bits with the pirates and Rip and Wally bonding make up for a lot.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Further Adventures of Nick Wilson #2 - A Review

Once Nick Wilson was the world's most powerful superhero. Now he can't even pay the rent without doing children's birthday parties pretending to be a Nick Wilson impersonator. But is Nick so desperate for a job that he'll accept a proposal from his arch-enemy - billionaire inventor Clive Morganfield - to establish a Nick Wilson museum with himself as the star attraction?

While the clear conceit of the second issue of The Further Adventures of Nick Wilson is the idea of Clark Kent being forced to work for Lex Luthor, the script by Marc Andreyko and Eddie Gordoetsky goes far beyond that simple set-up. While this issue is slower-paced than the first, it is still an enjoyable read. This is primarily because Nick is established as an honestly good person fallen on hard times rather than the cliche screw-up this sort of deconstructive superhero tale usually depicts  It also helps that the artwork is by former Starman artist Stephen Sadowski, who is equally capable of depicting classic superheroic action as well the simpler scenes of people having a conversation. There's also some fantastic color art by Hi-Fi at play here.

The Final Analysis: 8 out of 10. A step down from last month, but still good.

Aquaman #33 - A Review

With Mera's life in the balance, Arthur leads what few forces The Resistance can muster to bring down The Wall Of Thorns. Can they stand against the combined forces of The Silent School of Atlantis' mages, who stand loyal to the usurper King Rath?



Politics takes a back seat to action in this issue of Aquaman, but Dan Abnett proves as skilled at writing exciting action stories as he is political thrillers. The artwork astounds, as always, with Riccardo Federici and Rick Leonardi's art featuring a depth as vast as the ocean itself and Sunny Gho's color art glowing upon the page. This is one of DC Comics' most underrated series.

The Final Analysis: 9/10.

Wonder Woman/Conan #6 - A Review

Diana has returned home to Themyscira, but she cannot help but feel guilt for leaving the warrior Conan behind to fight the battle she helped to start. Still, Conan is armed with The Lasso of Hestia, but will even that enable him to face an army of darkness alone and save a single city? And will he truly have to fight alone?


Wonder Woman/Conan #6 proves a perfect conclusion to one of the most enjoyable mini-series in recent memory. There's little for me to say about the series beyond this without sounding like a broken record. Great art. Great story. And if The Powers That Be at Marvel Comics have a damn lick of sense, they'll recruit Gail Simone and Aaron Lopresti to helm their new Conan book in 2019.

The Final Analysis: 9/10. 

Injustice 2 #46 - A Review

As two teams of heroes face the newest Amazo, The Atom attempts to bring the killer android down from the inside. Meanwhile, Ra's Al Ghul's superhero allies begin to question their allegiance... including the mysterious new Batman!



Again, I can't really discuss the particulars of this issue beyond some big and important things to the overall storyline occurring. As usual, Tom Taylor focuses on the relationships between characters over the action of the big battle, which is largely kept to the background of this issue. This plays to Taylor's strengths as a writer, because while he can write a darn fine action scene, it's his command of dialogue and character that make this book so marvelous. The artwork is equally impressive, with Daniel Sampere, Juan Albarran, Rex Lokus and Wes Abbott each delivering their usual excellent performance. I've said it before and I'll say it again - you should be reading this series.

The Final Analysis: 8 out of 10. A solid issue, though the "twist" ending is a bit obvious.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Legends Of Tomorrow: Season 3, Episode 11 - Here I Go Again

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



Plot

Zari finds herself as the only member of the team unaffected when a time loop causes The Waverider to be blown up over and over and over again.


Influences

The 1993 film Groundhog Day and the Cause and Effect episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.


Performances

The whole ensemble is on fire, but Tala Ashe steals the show as Zari is given some much-needed definition and a chance to better define her relationships with the team.


Artistry

The script is full of witty dialogue and for once the reference humor doesn't stick out like a sore thumb.


Trivia Of Tomorrow

The title of the episode, Here I Go Again, is a reference to the song Mamma Mia by ABBA. The opening line of the song, which is quoted by Zari the second time she runs through the time loop, is "Mamma Mia! Here I go again!" 

Here I Go Again is also the title of a song by British rock band Whitesnake. First released in 1982, the band rerecorded the song in a power-ballad style for a 1987 album of the same name. The song details the desire of the singer, a self-described loner, to find a place to belong. This seems a fitting description of Zari, who is the focal character of the episode's story.

The song which Mick Rory refers to despairingly, Waterloo, was performed by the group ABBA in 1974. The song was the winning entry for Sweden in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest. The song was later voted the best Eurovision song of all time at the event's 50th anniversary in 2005.

The song Waterloo is not literally about the battle where Napoleon's efforts to conquer Europe were thwarted, despite the first line of the song being "My, my, at Waterloo Napoleon did surrender." Instead, the song uses the Battle of Waterloo as a metaphor for how a woman's plans to resist falling in love with a man she should know better than to get involved with have failed. The song also foreshadows the plot of the episode, with the end of its first chorus being, "The history book on the shelf/ is always repeating itself."

The basic plot of the episode is taken from the movie Groundhog Day, which Nate refers to when Zari tells him what is happening. The plot sees a weatherman forced to repeat the events of the same day (which happens to be the American holiday Groundhog Day) over and over until be learns to become a better person.

Zari's "fun" montage is also a nod to Groundhog Day. Bill Murray takes advantage of the loop to learn how to play the piano and does other silly thing to relieve the tedium of the repeating day. He even tries committing suicide in a number of creative ways.

The plot is also similar to an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called Cause and Effect, which sees the crew of the Enterprise stuck in a time-loop that ends with their ship exploding. Ray, being the science-fiction geek that he is, makes reference to the episode.


Technobabble

Zari attempts to install a synchronous multi-module simulation program onto Gideon's neural core. The purpose of the program is to detect exploitable loopholes in history that The Legends can exploit.

Zari's program diverts 1.12 terawatts of power directly into Gideon's CPU. Gideon suggests that her calculations do not adequately stabilize the surge.

Zari lies to Sara about needing to reinitialize Gideon's alpha drives.

Zari's actions fry Gideon's neural core.

The doors to The Waverider's bay cannot open if Gideon is off-line.  Likewise, the Jump-Ships cannot be used if Gideon is off-line.

Mick uses the memory eraser to try and get the song Waterloo out of his head.

Gary established the time-loop with a chrono-repeater in an effort to save The Legends.

A Temporal Standard Time is used to measure the relative time outside of the time stream.

Gary tracked the temporal signature of the bomb to 1975.

The "time sludge" that Zari was sprayed with is Bosonic hyper-fluid - a highly volatile substance which helps power the ship through time. Gideon informs her she's quite lucky to be alive after being exposed to it.

Gideon was able to upload Zari's subconscious into her systems via the neuro-monitor. This allowed Gideon to run Zari through her simulator program.


Dialogue Triumphs

Mick: (mockingly)"Waterloo." Who writes a song about losing a war, huh?

Sara: We are in the fixing anachronisms business. Not the hacking history business. Now please, go fix Gideon.
Zari: Hey, maybe if you would stop bossing me around for a second, you would see this is a good idea.
Sara: I said please. And even if I didn't, bossing you around is part of my job as Captain.
Zari: Yeah, and it's really easy to take you seriously in that outfit.
Sara: You know this whole "apathetic cool girl" thing is not as cute as you think. If you want to be a member of this team-
Zari: Member-ish. This was always a temporary arrangement. I was never planning on sticking around for long. 
Sara: Then so long as you are on this ship, I am your Captain and if you don't like it you can stop sticking around.
Zari: (fake-gasping and saluting) Aye-aye.
(Zari turns around and starts to walk off.)
Sara: (to herself) I'm going to kill her.
(Sara starts to move after Zari.)
Ray: Wait! Sara! Don't!
(Ray rushes forward but trips over his platform shoes. The two women look down at him before Sara turns back to Zari.)
Sara: Just fix the ship.

Sara: Well as long as you are on this ship, I am your Captain and if you don't like it you can stop sticking around.
(Zari blinks in confusion.)
Sara: Are you going to say something?
Zari: Yeah... what the-?

Sara: What is wrong with you?
Zari: Uh, nothing, I think. Didn't we just have this conversation?
Sara: Yeah! Because you keep making me repeat myself!
Zari: (stammering) No, that's not what I meant.
(Zari begins to walk off. A clearly angry Sara begins to follow after her.) 
Ray: Sara! Don't get mad! I'm sure Zari can fix-
(Ray trips over his platform shoes again. Both Zari and Sara stop to look at him for a moment as Sara turns back to Zari.)
Sara: Just fix the ship.

(Zari knocks on Mick's door. He opens it.)
Mick:
I'm busy.
Zari: Right...You've done a lot of time-traveling. Have you ever had deja vu?
Mick: What's that?
Zari: Oh, uh - it's French for "already seen".
Mick: I hate the French.
(Mick closes the door.)

Zari: Mamma Mia! Here I go again!

Mick: I can't get this damn song out of my head!
Amaya: Which one? Waterloo?
Mick: Ah! Don't mention it!
(Mick puts down his laundry basket and removes the Time Bureau memory eraser from it. He aims it into his own eyes and activates it.)
Amaya: Did it work?
Mick: Did what work?  Why am I holding the thingy in my hand?

(Zari looks disgusted as she hears Amaya and Nick's rather vigorous love-play through the door. In fact, Zari nearly throws up.)
Zari:
Kill me now.
(A now familiar explosion is heard in the distance and Zari actually smiles with relief as the fire washes over her and time resets again.)

Nate: Mick's writing a sci-fi romance novel.
Zari: (quietly) Yeah.
Nate: Well, that's the last thing I thought I'd see before I die.
(An explosion is heard in the distance.)
Zari: (deadpan)
Oh. Funny you should say that...

(Zari and Nate explain the situation to Ray and that they think someone on the ship is responsible for blowing it up.)
Ray: Mick!
Nate: He's clean.
Zari: Unlike his literary erotica.
Ray: Excuse me, what?
Nate: Long story. Like, literally a long story.
Zari: So weird...
Nate: 1,000 pages.

Zari: You sure she can't see us?
Ray: No. Not when we're in stealth mode. Which really just means library voices and no sudden movements.

(When Mick suggests setting the bomb on fire.)
Nate: That would just blow it up! You know, for a guy who loves fire, you have no idea how it works!

Zari: So, the interactions... the things I learned about the team? They were all fake?
Gideon: Everything you experienced was extrapolated from my current knowledge of The Legends. While not real, what you saw was true.
(The two turn to where Amaya and Nate are hugging and kissing.)
Gideon: It doesn't take a super computer to predict that those two would wind up dinky-tickling once Amaya returned to the team.
(The two teleport and are suddenly in Mick's room, where he is typing away at his typewriter.)
Zari: Uh - this one seems less plausible.
Gideon: You'll have to ask Mr. Rory.
Zari: I am terrified and in awe of you, Gideon. Who knew you were such an evil genius? And a bit of a perv.
Gideon: You never bothered to ask!

Mick: (reading out-loud) "Buck wrapped his glistening biceps around his busty alien queen. He'd lost his planet, but found his home."
(Mick drinks his beer as he ponders this new ending.)
Mick: Hmm... not bad.

(We see a shrine outside a Chinese temple.)
Voice: I am calm. I am present.
(We zoom in to see Wally West, sitting in an outdoor shrine, eyes closed as he sits in a meditative pose.)
Wally: I am centered.
(There is a knocking on one of the pillars of the shrine. Wally opens one eye and sees a man in a suit.)
Rip Hunter: Wally West? You're not an easy man to find.
Wally: No. That's the point of meditation. Who are you?
Rip Hunter: My name is Rip Hunter. I am... trying to save the universe. And I need your help.


Continuity

Nate and Amaya apparently missed their cue when their band was performing. It is later confirmed they were having sex.

Sara makes reference to Zari putting Helen of Troy back someplace besides Troy in 306 and attempting to prevent Martin's death in 309.

Ray spends the entire episode in dire fear of Sara losing her temper. This is a reference to the warning John Constantine gave Ray in 310 about Mallus taking control of Sara.

The first time through the loop, Zari is splashed with some kind of liquid in Gideon's core before the ship blows up.

The second time through the loop, Zari does not get splashed with the liquid in Gideon's core and overhears Nate and Amaya talking about what happened during their concert.

Ray refers to Nate's psychedelic root stash from 303.

The third time through the loop, Sara injures Zari's wrist and Ray sedates her, with Zari going under as the ship explodes.

The fourth time through the loop, Zari tries to warn the crew about the danger, is carried to the med-bay by Mick and sedated by Ray, who thinks she's suffering from cabin fever.

The fifth time through the loop, the same thing happens as the fourth time, but Ray thinks Zari is suffering from Space Madness.

The sixth time through the loop is much the same, but Ray blames acute entropic dementia.

The seventh time through the loop, Ray blams too many donuts, but admits it could be anything. It is at this point that Zari seems to acquire a tolerance to the sedative and she is able to tell Nate what is going on. He tells her to say the words "Groundhog Day" to him the next time she goes through the loop.

Nate consider Zari a friend, much to her surprise.

The eighth time, Zari goes to Nate after getting away from Sara, but gets the name of the movie wrong, calling it "Hedgehog Day." Nate figures out what she means, however. Nate starts trying to help her, but gets distracted by Amaya after she talks him into using the memory eraser to forget that they just had sex... and decide to have it one more time since they're blanking their memories anyway.

Zari lies to Ray about his saying "Happy Captain, Happy Ship" catching on in The Future.

Amaya's nickname for Nate is "Tiger."

The ninth time, Zari and Nate go to Mick's room to see why he was doing laundry. Nate gets his foot caught in a bear trap that Mick leaves on the floor of his bedroom.

The tenth time, Zari trips the bear trap before Nate scan step in it, but Nate gets electrocuted by some kind of trap on the box in Mick's room.

The eleventh time that we see (Zari makes reference to never having made it this far before), Zari and Nate get the box open only to get sprayed in the face with an ink pack. They then discover that the box is protecting a typewriter, which contains a page of a science-fiction romance novel that Mick is writing.

The twelfth time that we see Zari pass through the loop (again, there seem to be a few instances skipped here), Zari tells Nate that Mick and Amaya are not involved in the explosion so they should start by spying on Ray. This time, they recruit Ray to help them spy on Sara, who they discover is talking privately with Agent Ava Sharpe, who us crushing so hard on Sara that even Ray can spot it. Zari and Ray are both squashed by Sara's rolled-up crossword puzzle book when she hears them talking and thinks they are flies.

Nate says that he considers Ray his best friend.

Ray has a signature tea blend of chamomile, lavender and rose.

Sara does crossword puzzles.

The thirteenth time that we see, Zari is visibly tired and seems to have lost count of how many times she has passed through the loop. It is here that Nate suggests she have some fun with it to relax.

It is unclear how many times Zari passes through the loop here or if some of her pranks occur in the same reality. For the purposes of continuity, we will treat each scene as a unique instance.

The fourteenth time, Nate and Zari pig out and eat several cans of canned whipped cream straight from the can.

The fifteenth time, Zari is seen trying on a Roman soldiers costume in The Waverider's wardrobe room.

The sixteenth time, Zari starts a snowball fight and attacks Mick in the kitchen.

The seventeenth time, Zari is seen playing with Mick's flamethrower while wearing his goggles.

The eighteenth time, discovers a Stradivarius violin in one of The Waverider storage rooms.

The nineteenth time, Zari is seen trying on Nate's Steel costume.

The twentieth time, Zari is seen eating a cheeseburger while reading some type-written pages.

The twenty-first time, Zari is wearing Hawkgirl's old helmet.

The twenty-second time, Zari is seen practicing the violin.

The twenty-third time, Zari walks past Sara as the loop begins and dramatically catches Ray before he falls.

The twenty-fourth time, Zari is seen playing the violin with more skill.

The twenty-fifth time, Zari finishes reading the pages and says that Mick's story isn't bad.

The twenty-sixth time, Zari walks up behind Ray and Mick as they are arguing in the laundry room, holding up cue-cards of their conversation behind their backs.

The twenty-seventh time, Zari attempts suicide in front of Sara, which gets Sara to believe her about the time loop. This time, as the team is discussing a plan, they discover that the trash compactor is backed-up, which leads to their discovery of Gary Green.

Gary Green appears for the first time since 303.

Gary explains that he learned The Waverider was due to explode at 4:20 Temporal Standard Time.

The bomb was hidden inside the eight-track tape, apparently planted by Damien Darhk.

Zari's simulator activated when Zari asked it how to find a way to avert her family from dying in 2042. The conclusion was that the only way to find a loophole was to keep working with The Legends but that she would leave the team following her fight with Sara unless she developed an immediate bond with the team. It also concluded that without Zari, the team would have no way of defeating Mallus or averting the future of 2042.

Gideon appears "in the flesh" to Zari - the first time she's done so since 213.

Gideon denies having run Zari through a simulation when she wakes up. Zari does prove that her knowledge is accurate, however, by telling Ray to tell Sara what John Constantine told him in 310.

Ray tells Sara that John told him to kill her if Mallus took control of her again.

Zari tells Sara that she knows Sara is afraid of loopholes because she's afraid it will make her destroy time trying to save her sister.

Sara agrees to help Zari try and save her family since Sara thinks the future is an open book and Zari's past is her future.

Zari tells Nate and Amaya that she knows about them using the mind-blanker to forget about their having sex and that they should really talk about their feelings.

Zari tells Mick that his novel is good, but he should rework the ending.

Zari is now able to play the violin like an expert.

Sara is seen to be laughing while talking to Ava Sharpe on the phone in the jump-ship.

Rip Hunter finds Wally West meditating at a temple in Yunnan Province, China in 2018.

Rip Hunter appears for the first time since 305.

Wally West was last seen in S308 at Barry Allen and Iris West's wedding.


Location

The Temporal Zone.
Yunnan Province, China - 2018


Untelevised Adventures

All of the team, except for Zari, have an off-camera adventure which involves them having to ensure the battle of Waterloo occurs as planned after Napoleon Bonaparte gets a hold of an eight-track tape of the song "Waterloo" by ABBA after winding up in 1975. This requires Nate, Amaya, Sara and Ray to disguise themselves as a disco band while Mick retrieved the tape and apparently punched Napoleon.

There appear to be a few passes Zari made through the time loop between attempt ten and attempt eleven where she encountered other traps on the box holding Mick Rory's typewriter.

We don't know precisely how many times Zari passed through the time loop, but she spent enough time repeating the same hour to learn how to play the violin.


The Bottom Line

A great episode. One of the five best in the series history, at least.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 5 - And Then The Devil Brought Plague: The Book Of Green Light

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




Plot

Jefferson continues to investigate the source of the new drug Green Light, discovering that his old enemy Joey Toledo is back in town. Unfortunately, Jefferson's started suffering headaches and acting more aggressively in a way that has both Gambi and Lynn worried. In the meantime, Jennifer rivalry with another girl turns ugly as Anissa's exploration of her superpowers leads her to discover an unlikely connection to her grandfather, reporter Alvin Pierce.


Influences

The Black Lightning comics of Tony Isabella.


Performances

There's some great non-verbal acting on the part of Cress Williams and China Anne McClain, in the discussion of Jennifer's fight.


Artistry

The fight between Joey Toledo and Black Lightning is great, well-blocked and well-shot.


Trivia

The packing slip seen in the opening of the episode identifies Freeland as being in the state of Georgia and having the ZIP Code 30318. This coresponds to a real-world ZIP Code in Atlanta, Georgia.

Tobias Whale is said to have taken some kind of serum that prevents him from aging. This is likely a reference to how, in the original DC Comics Universe, the crime lords who led The 100 used alchemical and magical rituals to prolong their lives by feeding on the suffering of the people who lived on the lands they owned.

It should be noted that the original Tobias Whale from the comics did not reach the ranks of The 100 that earned this immortality power, acting instead as the face of the gang called The 100 that fed the member of The 100 who drew power off of the Metropolis neighborhood known as Suicide Slum.

This episode reveals that Peter Gambi is part of some organization called The ASA. In the original Black Lighting comics by Tony Isabella, Gambi was a former hitman for the mob in Metropolis, who reformed and became a tailor, sharing his profits with Jefferson Pierce's mother as penance for accidentally killing Jefferson Pierce's father.

The man responsible for distributing Green Light is identified as Joey Toledo. In the original Black Lighting comics by Tony Isabella, Joey Toledo was the operative with The 100 who was responsible for killing one of Jefferson Pierce's students, inspiring him to become Black Lightning.

The DCTVU version of Joey Toledo is Tobias Whale's right-hand man.

Jefferson stealthily disappears while in the middle of a conversation with Inspector Henderson. More than a mere nod to how Batman does the same thing to Commissioner Gordon, this is likely a nod to how, in the comics, Batman trained Jefferson Pierce in several disciplines Jefferson had not studied, including stealth.

Jefferson also pays tribute to The Bat Signal by calling the burner phone he gives Inspector Henderson "The Black Signal."

Anissa buys a blonde wig to wear as part of her superhero costume. In the Outsiders comics, Anissa did wear a blond wig as part of her original Thunder costume.

The bodysuit we see Anissa wearing as part of her costume shares the yellow boots and bracers and general purple/pink color scheme of Anissa's first Thunder costume in the comics, though her catsuit covers her entire body. The costume from the comics is cut rather low in the front and would probably require double-stick tape in order to maintain Anissa's modesty.


Technobabble

An enhancement Gambi added to Jefferson's suit in this episode now allows him to "fly", though honestly he hovers and uses his electrical blasts to enhance his ability to jump father than achieving true flight. He is, however, able to manage an impressive swoop as he moves to save a drug addict strung out on Green Light from being shot by two police officers.

Inspector Henderson says the number of Green Light overdoses is becoming so bad that the first responders in Freeland have all started carrying Naloxone. This is a drug that is used to treat narcotics overdoses in emergency situations.

An issue with the capacitor relay in the new suit is what caused Jefferson's headaches and blackouts.

A control module controls all the programming within The Black Lightning suit.

Jefferson is able to magnetically pull Joey Toledon's gun out of his hand.


Dialogue Triumphs

Black Lightning: Call for an ambulance! This kid is definitely high on Green Light! And next time, try using a Taser first!
Cop: ... yes. sir.
(Black Lightning nods as blasts emit from his hands and he begins to slowly fly upwards as the cops watch in shock.)

Whale: What I need from you is a name. Who is Black Lightning?
Gambi: I can't help you.
Whale: Oh, I think you can.
Gambi: Knowing things about Black Lightning gets men killed. I do my best to avoid knowing things that can get me killed.
Whale: Not telling me what I need to know can get you killed too.

(Inspector Henderson opens his car. He finds a cel-phone in a brown paper bag.)
Inspector Henderson:
Are you serious?
Black Lightning: Hey, I'm old school. It's safer. Consider this... The Black Signal. (chuckles)
Inspector Henderson: You still got jokes, huh?
(Henderson looks up to see that Black Lightning has disappeared from the shadows where he was standing.)
Inspector Henderson:
And you still do that.

Jefferson: Jennifer, how do you expect us to feel when someone shows up to tell us you were involved in a fight and that we didn't know about it?
Jennifer: There were two girls. They both run for Booker T.
Jefferson: (impressed and stunned) Two girls?
(Lynn gives Jefferson "The Look" as in "The Look all wives give husbands to let them know they are saying precisely the wrong thing.")
Jefferson: (defensively) Lana didn't tell us that part. (To Jennifer) You weren't hurt at all?
Jennifer: No. You taught us how to defend ourselves.
(Again, Jefferson look stunned and oddly proud.)
Lynn: Jeff! This is not a good thing!
Jefferson: ... right! (To Jennifer) Right!
(Jennifer rolls her eyes quickly.)
Jefferson: That's no excuse for hurting someone.
Jennifer: I barely touched her.
Lynn: Jennifer, her wrist is broken! And since grounding seems to have no effect on you-
Jennifer: Wait - so I'm not getting grounded?
Lynn: Oh, you are!
Jennifer: Why am I getting in trouble for defending myself?!

Lynn: You're grounded for lying!
Jennifer: I didn't lie. I just didn't tell you guys about it.
Lynn: Oh, you really want to play with me right now, little girl?
Jefferson: (shaking his head) Mmm-mmm. You don't.
Lynn: Exactly! And you need to figure out how to resolve conflict without fighting or losing your temper. And as your father taught you how to fight, he can be a big help, because believe it or not, not everyone solves their problems with their fists!
(Lynn leaves the room. Jefferson turns to Jennifer.)
Jefferson: Two girls?!
Jennifer: Two.

Elridge Whale: At least I stayed, huh?  I didn't leave in the middle of the damn night like your damn mama did. Instead I fed you. And I clothed you. Even tried to take care of them twitch-ass eyes of yours.
(There is a long pause as Tobias finally nods.)
Tobias Whale: You're right. Mom left and you stayed. You did feed and clothe us.  And I can appreciate that. Now. (pauses) Yeah, I can appreciate that.
(Tobias Whale opens his arms and steps forward. Cautiously, Elridge steps forward and hugs him.)
Tobias Whale: The question is why?
(Tobias begins to squeeze Elridge, who begins to cough as we hear the sound of bone crunching.)
Tobias Whale: Why did you stay? Was it so that you could have someone to torture? To beat on? To blame for your failures? Or was it about collecting money from the state? Because it certainly wasn't about love.
(Tobias drops Elridge on the floor, as Tori Whale draws a gun.)
Tobias: You stayed.
(Tobias puts his hand on Tori's gun hand and gently pushes it down.)
Tobias: Leave him. Your back is broken, Elridge. You're gonna die. And you're gonna die slow.
(The two turn their back on their father, as he screams Tobias' name and coughs, writhing in pain.) 

Jefferson: "The one thing you can't take away from me, is the way I choose to respond to what you to do me. "
Jennifer: MLK?
Jefferson: Viktor Frankl - Holocaust survivor. How you respond in a crisis is your choice, but to exercise that choice you have to recognize your emotions and regulate them.
Jennifer: Okay, well what about when someone is trying to regulate upside your head?
Jefferson: (chuckles) Look, fighting should never be about adding fuel to the fire. Fighting should only be about putting the fire out. And often... I mean, not the best choice, even when it is so hard to do, is to walk away.
Jennifer: (scoffs) Easier said than done, Yoda.
Jefferson: Yeah. I know, my little Padawan. I know.

Anissa: (to herself) Okay, listen - if you wanna be a superhero, you cannot be afraid of dead rats.


Continuity

Freeland is in the state of Georgia and has the ZIP Code 30318.

Jefferson starts to suffer some kind of strange headaches whenever he uses his powers or comes close to losing his temper,

Tobias Whale had some kind of deal with Peter Gambi where Whale was supposed to leave Freeland forever.

Tobias Whale is confirmed to have taken some kind of serum that prevents him from aging.

Gambi alludes to the serum having some kind of side-effects which The 100 didn't tell Whale about. Tobias sais he figured out everything they didn't tell him.

Tobias Whale says that Gambi works for some organization called the ASA.

Anissa has moved back in with her father and Jennifer.

Anissa finds a video by a conspiracy theorist who claims that 30 years ago in Freeland, around March 30, 1987, there were nine children displayed enhanced abilities before suddenly disappearing.

Lana is a track star at Booker T. Washington High School in Freeland. She is also Khalil's ex-girlfriend.

David Poe was the editor of The Freeland Gazette for over 40 years. He canceled a series of stories, written by Alvin Pierce, about the children with the enhanced abilities and how it tied into vaccinations the children had been given.

The man behind the distribution of Green Light is revealed to be Joey Toledo - Tobias Whale's right-hand man.

Lady Eve is identified as part of the ruling council of the organization backing The 100. Tobias Whale has been working to become part of the same group for years, but was denied promotion due to Black Lightning's efforts.

Elridge Whale was Tobias and Toria's father. He was abusive towards both his children, but particularly Tobias, whose medical care took up half his paycheck.

Jefferson Pierce says that his father always did the right thing and that he sees a lot of him in Anissa.

Black Lighting gives Inspector Henderson a phone that he can use to contact him.

David Poe gives Anissa all of her grandfather's old files.

Tobias Whale breaks Elridge Whale's back and leaves him to die a slow death.

Reference is made to Lady Eve's conversation with Tobias Whale on the African beliefs on the magical properties of albinos from 104 after Tobias receives an envelope full of white powder - presumably the ground bones of another albino.

Anissa wears her new costume to inspect her grandfather's old storage unit. She finds a safe containing a vial filled with some kind of powder.

Joey Toledo's girlfriend is a woman named Caroline Brown.


The Bottom Line

Another solid episode, though much more slow-paced than previous episodes. Still, we get a bit more insight into Tobias Whale's background and learn a bit more about Gambi. Not enough to explain everything, of course, but enough to build the respective mystery around both characters. Anissa's subplot is further expanded with a few interesting twists. The only weak spot is Jennifer's story and that's only due to how disconnected it feels to everything else. Still a great episode of a great series.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Legends Of Tomorrow: Season 3, Episode 10 - Daddy Darhkest

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



Plot

Exorcist and Demonoligist John Constantine approaches The Legends about help with his current client - one who has an odd connection to their team. As John, Sara and Leo wind up someplace else, it will fall to Ray and Zari to care for John's client as Nate and Amaya have another encounter with Kuasa.


Influences

The Swamp Thing comics of Alan Moore and the Hellblazer comics of Jaime Delano (asylum setting, presence of John Constantine, references to The Newcastle Incident) and the movie The Exorcist (the opening shot of John approaching the hospital is a visual nod to the movie poster, general theme of a young woman being demonically possessed, Nora does the head-spinning around trick from the same movie).


Goofs

Given her training as an assassin and infiltration specialist, it's hard to believe that Sara wouldn't have an alias picked out on the off chance she was stopped by a guard in the asylum.


Performances

Matt Ryan is so delightful as John Constantine it's bloody sinful. His chemistry with Caity Lotz is particularly impressive and it's a damn shame we couldn't keep him around for more than one episode.

On that note, Wentworth Miller, while not quite being given the chance to steal the show, does get a nice turn as "Fake Snart". Hopefully this won't be the last we see of him, though he's said he's done with the Arrowverse for a while.


Artistry

The direction is incredibly effective at establishing the appropriate creepy aura the episode requires.


Trivia Of Tomorrow

The doctor treating "Emily" is credited as Ellen Moore. This seems to be an audio pun on the name of Alan Moore - the legendary comic writer who created John Constantine.

Mallus makes reference to a girl named Astra whom John Constantine failed to save. This is a nod to the Constantine series and the original Hellblazer comics, where John botched a magical ritual while trying to save a girl named Astra from a demon named Negral and the mistake cost John his soul and caused Astra to be dragged to Hell.

Instead of the usual Legends of Tomorrow logo, the title card for this episodefeatures the Legends logo over the burning mandala used to open the Constantine TV series.

John Constantine claims to be a Taurus. In the classic Hellblazer comics, John's birthday was May 10, 1953. This would indeed make him a Taurus in Western Astrology.

John Constantine is depicted as openly flirting with Leo Snart. In the comics, John Constantine is bisexual - a fact that was not overtly portrayed in the Constantine TV series.

The hospital where Emily is being held is called Sumner Asylum. This may be a nod to musician Gordon Sumner a.k.a. Sting, who famous offered the visual inspiration for John Constantine in the original Swamp Thing comics.

Emily's room number is 327. This is a nod to the Stephen King novel The Shinning.

John Constantine says "Allons-y, Alonso" at one point when the team needs to hurry. Allons-y was the catch-phrase of The Tenth Doctor from Doctor Who - another long-coat wearing Englishman. The Tenth Doctor once said his biggest wish was to meet someone named Alonso so he could say "Allons-y, Alonso!" He got his wish in the episode Voyage of The Damned.

Amusingly enough, the Alonso The Tenth Doctor got to say this to - Midshipman Alonso Frame - was played by actor Russell Tovey - who played The Ray in Crisis on Earth X. Alonso Frame would also go on to hook up with Captain Jack Harkness in the Doctor Who episode The End of Time. Captain Jack, of course, was played by John Barrowman, who also played Malcolm Merlyn on Arrow.

The running gag about John being unable to find a way to light his cigarette until the very end of the episode is a nod to how, due to the standards and practices of NBC, John was unable to be depicted lighting a cigarette and then smoking it on Constantine. The show found ways around this, depicting John's smoking habit by either showing John putting his cigarette out or drawing one and cutting away before he lit it.


Technobabble/Arcana

John uses a spell to confuse the nurse who challenges his entering the hospital after visiting hours.

John's exorcism ritual appears to be based on the Catholic exorcism tradition, requiring a Latin chant, a brandished cross and holy water.

John was able to find Sara by using a dowsing dagger that he attuned to her specific energy.

Ray and Zari work on creating a nanite pistol that can emulate the properties of both Heatwave's flamethrower and Captain Cold's cold gun crossing streams using nanotech.

The true names of demons can be used by a magician to command them.

Thiopental - the drug prescribed to Emily - is a barbiturate that is administered intravenously for the induction of general anesthesia. It can be counteracted by a shot of adrenaline.

Demons prey on the most vulnerable souls.

A victim of possession must be awake and alert for an exorcism to be performed.

John Constantine's custom-designed demon trap incorporates the Triangle of Solomon with some elder runes and Enochian script. It was first mentioned in C101.

Exorcism rituals can disrupt electronics.

Gideon identifies the symbol Nora Darhk drew as a rune used by dark magicians for temporal manipulation.

The touch of dark magic leaves the one touched vulnerable to further manipulation. In this case, Mallus is able to mess with Sara's head and scare her with visions of things that aren't real.

Demons attempt to weaken a person's resolve, priming them for possession by attacking them with visions that inspire negative emotions - usually fear and rage. John knows a ritual that can counter this sort of psychic attack, but it leaves both the magician and the victim feeling like they have the mother of all hangovers. A shot of pickle juice and a gin and tonic can cure that, however.

A magic circle made from the ashes of a slain phoenix can be used to hold even a demon as powerful as Mallus.

Extract of hawk week mixed with the saliva of a damned man can be used to make a potion that summons a demon into a person.


Dialogue Triumphs

John: You want to tag along for an exorcism?
Sara: Yep.
John: That's out of the bloody question, love.
Sara: Well, we gave you its name. So you owe us.
John: Well, I gave you your soul. So you owe me indefinitely.
Sara: (smugly) Hmmm. All the more reason for me to help you.

(Leo is trying to convince Sara that Ava Sharpe is clearly crushing on her.)
Sara: Even if it was - and it is not - we're completely different people.
Leo: I know. You're both strong women. You're both obsessed with repairing time. You're both super hot.
(Sara raises an eyebrow at that.)
Leo:
Gay. Not blind.
Sara: Look, Ava is the kind of girl that you take home to your parents and I... am the kind of girl you take to an exorcist.

(Seeing one of the nurses take a drag on her cigarette, John hungrily grabs for a cigarette from his coat and fumbles for a match. Sara just glares at him disapprovingly.)
John:
Well, we wouldn't want to stand out now, would we?
(John takes a match from a matchbox and tries to strike it. It breaks.)
John:
Bollocks!

(Everyone is arguing while Mick is trying to watch a football game.)
Ray: (into the radio) Sara? It's Ray. Do you copy?
Nate: Zee, would you please tell her talking to Kuasa is a bad idea?
Zari: No.
Amaya: Thank you! I refuse to accept that my granddaughter is pure evil.
Nate: (sarcastically) Okay. She's 89% evil.
Ray: Guys, I think Sara is in trouble!
Mick: QUIET!
(Mick stands up and turns around to look at the rest of the team.)
Mick: Haircut!  Take the New Girl. Find Blondie, Fake Snart and Trenchcoat. Amaya? The med-bay. Pretty? The library. Water Bitch stays in the freezer.
(Everybody blinks and turns around to leave the room. Ray stops and then comes back, putting on a cheerful smile.)
Ray: You know, Mick - you're really showing some management potential.
Mick: (growling, not looking away from the screen) Get. Out.
(Ray loses his smile and leaves.)

Ray: We can't take her out of here. We're dealing with a... D-E-M-O-N.
Nora: (giggling) I'm not five. I know how to spell demon.
Zari: Places like this just make people crazier - more vulnerable. Isn't it best we keep an eye on her?
Ray: We can't take her on the ship.
Zari: No. No the ship. We need somewhere... sunny and boring. (smiles faintly) Oh. That's your jam, right?
Ray: That- (stammers a bit) is my jam.

Sara: I thought this was all over. The blood lust. The fight for my soul. All the crap that I had to endure.
John: Well, there's always more crap to endure. Take it from one whose damned his own soul to Hell.
(Sara looks at John questioningly.)
John:
There was a... girl in Newcastle. Astra. I failed her.
Sara: Some might say you should forgive yourself..
John: (chuckles softly) Well, if I could, then perhaps I wouldn't have the need to save the likes of poor Nora. (looks at Sara) What about you? Have you forgiven yourself for your sins?
Sara: I don't deserve forgiveness.
(John sighs and stands up, offering Sara a hand up. Once she's standing he rubs his hands together, revealing a card. The design on the back shows two birds in flight - one black, one white.)
Sara: What is that?
John: It's a little reminder that you're a survivor. Strong enough even to keep the most powerful demons at bay.
(Sara moves to take the card from John's hand but her fingers play around the card a bit as she looks up at John, as if realizing how close they are standing to each other.)
John: A laundry room in a mental asylum in 1969. Might not be the worst place to be stuck.
(Sara smirks and looks to one side.) 
Sara: Are we really this damaged?
John: (returning the smirk) I certainly hope so.
(Sara kisses John furiously only to break the kiss. John looks at her and then kisses her, pressing her against the support beam they had been sitting against earlier. Sara breaks the kiss and looks at John hungrily as she spins him around and then pushes him into an alcove.)

Amaya: I can't interfere with our fate!
Kuasa: Then you are a coward. (scoffs) But you were a wonderful grandmother. I adored you, Nana Baa. I wanted to be just like you. Then one night, the men came-
Amaya: Please! I can't know this!
Kuasa: I watched the men murder you. Then they burned our village to the ground. Mother ran with Mari. She abandoned me.
Amaya: No! She thought you were dead.
Kuasa: I was alone. In a country ravaged by war.
Amaya: I'm sorry, Kuasa.
Kuasa: I learned to embrace the pain, using it to strike bargains with powerful beings.
Amaya: Like Damien Darhk? What has he promised you?
Kuasa: Something you've refused. A chance to protect our village. A chance to save your life.

(Sara suggests using her as a power source to Mallus to cast the same time travel spell Nora used.)
John:
And what about when the demon is inside you, eh?
Sara: You said I was strong enough to hold my own self.
John: Yeah, well... I was trying to seduce you.
Sara: Oh please! I was seducing you!
Leo: I hope no one was trying to seduce anyone while I was about to be lobotomized!
John: You know - this is why I like to work alone!

Sara: Hey. Before you go, I ah... I just wanted to say thank you. For helping me with Mallus, that is.
John: (grinning slyly) Oh. Of course. Helping you with Mallus, was ah... good for me too. If you ever need me to... help you with Mallus again, just give us a call. I'll be right there. Although, ah, lots of people out there with... very weird demons and they all need my help.
Sara: Mmm. I understand.
John: Good.
Sara: And thanks for the shag too. That was great!
(Sara smiles and turns around, leaving a flabbergasted John who slowly smiles.)


Continuity

John Constantine is a Taurus.

John recognizes The Anansi Totem immediately upon seeing Amaya wearing it.

Leo Snart is in confirmed to be in a committed relationship with The Ray.

Ray refers to the events of 306 and the "Freaky Friday Firestorm".

Sara refers to the events of 309 and her encounter with Mallus, whom she calls a demon.

Sumner Asylum is a mental hospital in Star City.

Leo Snart confirms that he is gay, not bisexual.

"Emily" is confirmed to be a teenage Nora Darhk.

Nora Darhk was put into protective custody under the alias Emily after her father was killed by Green Arrow in A423 in May 2016.

The Cold Gun has an incredibly sensitive trigger.

Nora Darhk says the voices in her had kept talking about "The Six". John takes this to be a reference to The Devil (i.e. The Beast) as that is his number.

Mick has not watched a live football game in the three years since he joined the Waverider crew.

Mick's nickname for Zari is New Girl.

Mick's nickname for Leo is Fake Snart.

Mick's nickname for John Constantine is Trenchcoat.

Zari was once in a an insane asylum. Her roommate thought Zari was her pet cat Slinky.

The destruction of Amaya's village occurred in 1992.

Amaya tells Kuasa about her vision from 303 and that she believes that Kuasa is the heir to a totem necklace the ancestor spirits told her she must save.

Kuasa is strong enough to throw Nate around in his metal form.

Sara returns to Mallus' spirit realm, first seen in 309.

Zari's touch burns the possessed Nora Darhk.

Mallus identifies Zari as one of "The Six".

Dr. Moore is revealed to be part of The Order of The Shrouded Compass from 305. They take the teenage Nora back into their custody after Damien Darhk stops Ray and Zari from saving her.

Amaya says she only knows of five totems tied to Zambesi - Spirit, Water, Air, Fire and Earth. John says he'll look into the matter for them.

John warns Ray that despite his best efforts, Mallus will likely find a way to possess Sara again and he'll need to keep his anti-magic gun handy just in case.

Leo leaves The Waverider, saying that he's going to return to Earth X and propose to Ray.

Rip Hunter escaped The Time Bureau's custody


Location

Star City - 2017
Central City - 2017
Star City - January 16, 1969


Untelevised Adventures

John had a previous encounter with the possessed "Emily" before she was committed.

John Constantine apparently encountered Mari McCabe (the modern day Vixen) at some point, recognizing The Anansi Totem and telling Amaya that he charmed to meet another member of their family.


The Bottom Line

Flawless. Absolutely flawless. A strong return for the series and further proof of how tragic Constantine's cancellation was. This show needs John Constantine as a regular fixture if only for more flirty John/Sara interactions.