Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 9 - The Book Of Little Black Lies

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


As tensions build between Jefferson and Gambi in the wake of the revelations of Gambi's role in the death of Alvin Pierce, Jefferson keeps trying to work to clear Black Lightning's name and train Anissa only to discover that Jennifer has begun to manifest super powers as well.


The Black Lightning comics of Tony Isabella.


Some of the dialogue in this episode is extraordinary clunky in its exposition. ("Have you forgotten your father, Black Lightning, is being framed for a crime he didn't commit?')

It really doesn't help Black Lightning's case that he's innocent of murder if he's threatening to kill a prominent corporate lawyer with a lightning ball if he doesn't get help.


China Anne McClain manages to make Jennifer's fears over her powers relatable without making her seem like a self-absorbed brat. This is surprisingly realistic and her concerns over what her powers mean - like if she'll be able to have children like she wants to - explore a side of superheroes that is rarely explored.


The final five minutes and the action sequence of Thunder and Black Lightning taking down the Green Light lab is probably the best the series has had yet.


Jennifer makes a reference to Vixen - a DC Comics superheroine who draws her power from a necklace that lets her replicate the abilities of any animal. Two different versions of Vixen have been depicted in The DCTVU. It is unclear if Vixen exists on the same Earth as Black Lightning as a fictional character or if she is a real superheroine.  The same is true of Supergirl, whom Lynn makes reference to.


Gambi looks for the manufacturer of a directed energy weapon that could mimic Black Lightning's powers.

Black Mamba venom is refereed to as the kiss of death. It is a fast-acting poison.

Dialogue Triumphs

Black Lightning: Yo... yo, you strike me as a good man. A good man who knows that a lot of the men he's working with ain't.
Inspector Henderson: You know, it's so easy for someone like you. There's no rules. No one to answer to.
Black Lightning: Yeah, well.. it ain't always easy, Brother. But neither one of us signed up for easy.

Lynn: I know exactly what you're going through.
(Jennifer rolls her eyes, sighs and sits up.)
Jennifer: Well, not unless you came in here to tell me you're Vixen.

Jennifer: Anissa, I don't want to be like this.
Anissa: This is who you are, Jennifer. This is who we are. And, listen, you can think of this as a burden. Or you can think of it as a gift, a blessing from God. Choice is yours. We are who we are.
Jennifer: But that's the point! The choice is not ours! We don't have a choice! Doesn't that piss you off, just a little bit?
Anissa: Not as much as the thought of a woman getting raped or beaten down because Thunder wasn't there to protect her.

Doctor: I'm not a bad guy! I'm a doctor! I just-
Black Lightning: Kill thousands of people every day with this poison you're making?


Black Lightning refers to the destruction of the evidence that could have cleared him, which occurred in 108.

Jennifer smokes marijuana.

Anissa refers to how she broke her sink in 101.

Anissa refers to herself by the codename Thunder for the first time.

Anissa tells Jennifer that Jefferson is Black Lightning.

Alvin Pierce's file on the vaccine also contained references to a bribery case involving a local politician - Tobias Whale - along with the research regarding the vaccine.

Lynn makes reference to Vixen and Supergirl, like Grace did in 103. It is still unclear if these heroines exist in the same world as Black Lightning as real superheroes or as fictional characters.

There was a check to Alvin Pierce from BendsCORP in his files.

Alvin Pierce would say GTC instead of Gotcha.

The man Gambi shakes down for information about the weapons emulating Black Lighting's powers was named Thomas Hildago.

Anissa tells Jennifer about her physical fight with their father in 106.

Thunder has more fans on-line than Black Lightning.

The weapons dealer who has the special energy weapons is named Caleb Scott. He lives at 1245 Goff Avenue.

Gambi tells Anissa about his past with the ASA, though he does not identify them by name. He tells her about the lab he broke into and how he saw the bodies of some of the young people he helped to hunt down 30 years earlier.

Gambi gives Anissa the super suit he made for her.

Lynn confirms that she left Jefferson because of his being Black Lightning.

Anissa knows how to read lips.

The last time Jefferson and Jennifer watched a movie together was when she had the flu.

The Bottom Line

Another solid episode. It's a bit jarring not seeing Tobias Whale given his prominence in the early episodes, but the tight focus on The Pierce Family only helps to sell the drama. Despite this, the episode's final segment, in which father and daughter team up in the field for the first time as Thunder and Black Lightning is the best action sequence the series has seen yet.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 3, Episode 15 - Necromancing The Stone

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


When Mallus takes control of Sara and she takes up The Death Totem, Mick will have to overcome his dark side to save the rest of The Legends. Meanwhile, Ava recruits John Constantine to free Sara from Mallus' influence once and for all.


The Constantine: The Hellblazer comics series (John Constantine living in New York City, performing odd-jobs involving magic to make ends meet.), Swamp Thing #37 (John's line about being a nasty piece of work) and Hellblazer #41 (John's line about walking his path alone.)


Nice as it is for Wally to finally get a scene where his relationship with Jesse Quick isn't treated like an afterthought relative to everything else on The Flash, the whole scene where Wally makes his peace when confronted by a hallucination of Jesse that he knows is a hallucination is just lazy writing that serves no purpose other than taking Wally out of play so he can't tie up the possessed Sara in two seconds.

It is worth noting that most D&D players do not dress up in costume to play the game.


Caity Lotz does a great job playing against her self, as she is tempted by the Death Totem.

Matt Ryan is once again amazing as John Constantine.

Jes Macallan does a fantastic job playing off of both Matt Ryan and Caity Lotz in this episode as Ava Sharpe.


The production team did a great job establishing a spooky atmosphere on the Waverider set.

Trivia Of Tomorrow

The title of the episode is a riff on the 1984 action/romance/comedy Romancing The Stone.

Wally and Nate are sent on a mission to rescue a dog named Laika and return her to the Soviet Space Program. This is a reference to Laika - the first animal to orbit the Earth and prove that it was safe and possible for life to survive while traveling at the speeds necessary to achieve orbit.

When Zari and Amaya return from recovering The Mona Lisa, they say that they confirmed that The Mona Lisa was a self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci in drag. This is an actual theory proposed by real world art historians.

Ava's profile of John Constantine fits firmly in-line with John's background in the comics. John does have an older sister named Cheryl. Both of his parents are dead - his mother having died in childbirth and his father having been killed by a serial killer called The Family Man. Reference is also made to The Newcastle Crew and John's accidentally condemning a girl named Astra to Hell, as depicted in the Constantine TV series.

It is unclear if the DCTVU version of John Constantine's sister is named Cheryl or if his parents died in the same ways as in the comics.

When Ava tracks down John, he is living in an apartment in New York City which he claims to have won in a duel and helping a woman perform a ritual to find her son a wife. This seems similar to the setup of the comic Constantine, The Hellblazer, where John briefly lived in New York City and performed freelance works of magic to help people when he wasn't busy tending to more vital work.

John makes reference to being heavily under the influence of Ayahuasca. Also known as iowaska or yagé, Ayahuasca is an potent drink used as a traditional spiritual medicine in ceremonies among the Indigenous peoples of the Amazon jungle basin. Those who partake of it often report spiritual revelations regarding their purpose on earth, the true nature of the universe as well as deep insight into how to be the best person they possibly can. (Perhaps not coincidentally, John's first published adventure in the comics involved him taking a trip to the Amazon Jungle with Swamp Thing.) 

John using psychedelic substances as part of his magic is a frequent occurrence in the comics.

The episode does make several references to the more recent editions of Dungeons and Dragons. These include referring to Constantine as a Warlock, which - in D&D - are magicians who work their magic by bargaining with mystical beings.There are also references to Wally West being a monk (warrior built around fast strikes and movement), Amaya being a druid (warrior/wizard who draws power from a bond with nature), Mick being a half-orc thief (half orcs are known for being crude and slow witted but powerful and quick to anger), Nate being a bard (warrior/wizard whose strength comes from their knowledge of history and lore) and Ray being a cheerful gnome who is also a mighty wizard. Zari is referred to as a sorceress - a magic user with a natural talent who typically draws power from their birthright.

Gary refers to his D&D campaign being centered around the search for six artifacts called The Swords of Sorrow. Perhaps not coincidentally, this was the name of a mini-series edited by writer Gail Simone (whose take on Black Canary informed most of Sara Lance's personality) and written by a number of female comic writers that saw various pulp heroines whose rights were held by Dynamite Comics (including Red Sonja, Dejah Thoris, Vampirella and many more) teaming up to recover the titular swords and fight an evil prince who drew power from the submission of strong women.

Several of John's lines in his conversation with Sara are taken directly from the comics. in Swamp Thing #37, he described himself as "a nasty piece of work" and in Hellblazer #41 he talked about walking his path alone.

The final scene of John playing D&D with Gary and his friends may be a nod to The Dresden Files - a series of novels based around a wizard/detective in much the same mold as John Constantine, who is also a old-school RPG gamer when he isn't busy fighting wicked faeries, vampires and demons.


Ray suffered a collapsed lung, three broken ribs and a shattered femur among other injuries after being attacked by Sara.

The Nostromo Sequence is a command programmed into Gideon and The Waverider which seals it off from the outside world and locks all the doors within it.

When Gary and Ava find John, he is chasing a live chicken around his apartment. This was apparently part of a ritual to help a woman find a wife for her son.

Zari can decouple the Jumpship from Gideon's mainframe so they can use it to escape The Waverider.

Normally when John Constantine draws a demon out of a possessed person, he has to use himself as a receptacle. Thankfully, John already has a direct spiritual connection to Sara's soul since they were lovers. This allows John to perform a ritual that calls upon Aken, the Ancient Egyptian ferryman of the dead, to take him to Sara in Mallus' realm. Ava is also able to make the journey since she and Sara are lovers.

John is able to track The Death Totem through time and space using a spell that requires a severed foot, a vile full of mothers' tears and his ruination stones.

Dialogue Triumphs

Amaya: With all these new anachronisms, the time tears are getting worse.
Zari: Yeah, I thought we were calling them "time cracks"?
Wally: What happens if we don't repair history?
Ray: Working theory? Time is frapped together like a smoothie. So instead of just dealing with Julius Ceasar in Aruba, we have to fight off Genghis Khan, a herd of woolly mammoths and a swarm of locusts from The Old Testament.
Nate: And Mallus is freed from Time Jail so he can rule over this giant mess.
Wally: Huh. So... worse than Flashpoint?
Ray: Is that what we're calling that thing that Barry did?
Wally: Mmm-hmm.
Ray: Uh - I think it's something similar.

(Sara hands out everyone's assignments.)
Sara: (tired)
All right. That's it. No snazzy send-off. Mama's got a headache.
(Everyone leaves. Zari gives Sara a reassuring pat on the shoulder as she walks past. Nate does the same.)
Nate: Even when you don't try, you've still got it.

(Sara opens the lock box containing The Death Totem.)
Canary: It calls to you, doesn't it? The Death Totem chose you.
(Sara looks up at the voice. She sees herself in her costume as The Canary.)
Sara: You're...
Canary: You. After you died.
Sara: ...This is the Death Totem.
Canary: It yearns for a new bearer. Imagine all you could do with dominion over the dead. You could banish that little girl from your dreams.... bring back your sister.
(Sara looks down into the box but shakes her head.)
Sara: I'm no totem barer.
(Suddenly, The Canary is standing by Sara's side.)
Canary: You've conquered your demons. You're strong enough to wield it. Pick up the totem, Sara. It's the only way to defeat Mallus. The six totems need six totem bearers. Who else on your team was born to wield Death?
(Sara looks at The Death Totem in the open box... her hand slowly moving towards it...)

(The Legends have been locked in the med-bay by the possessed Sara.)
Mick: I'm going to kill that witch!
Amaya: If you kill her, then Sara dies too.
Mick: Better her than me!
Nate: Dude! How can you say that?
Mick: By moving my lips!

John: Are you guys from the housing co-op? Because it's perfectly legal to win an apartment in a duel.
Ava: We're here about Sara Lance.
John: Ah. (John takes the chicken from Gary and hands it to the woman) Right. Well, ah, Mrs. Veras, we will have to continue the ritual tomorrow, but not to worry, love. We'll have your son married in no time!
Mrs. Veras: Gracias, Senor Constantine!
(John closes the door and chuckles in a somewhat embarrassed manner to Ava.)
John: It's a gig economy. I have to take the work where I can find it, you know?

Ava: What do you mean you already have a link to Sara's soul?
John: Well, let's just say our souls have been one. Leaves a metaphysical connection, love.
Ava: Don't call me "love".
John: Oh, pardon me, pet.
Ava: Sara and I also share a very, very strong metaphysical connection, so...
(John ahs and nods silently.) 
Gary: Wait... I can't believe.... you both slept with Captain Lance?!
Ava: Gary!
John: (slyly) Did we now? Well then, we both have excellent taste in damaged women.
Ava: Sara's not damaged!
John: Yeah, and I'm the bloody Pope.

John: There isn't exactly a paint-by-numbers spell for locating a spaceship floating in a temporal stream. My business card says "Master Of The Dark Arts." Not "Doctor Ruddy What's His Face."
Ava: Who?
Gary: Who?
John: Exactly.

Ava: Okay, so you have a foot, but you don't have a phone?! I - I just ... I really don't understand how Sara could have...
John: What? Shagged me in a mental institution?
Ava: Oh my God!
John: Oh, you have nothing to be jealous about.
Ava: I am not jealous! I'm just...
(Ava makes a gesture like she wants to strangle John, growls then sits down.)
Ava: Okay. Maybe I'm a little bit jealous.
John: Oh, we were just trying to find some calm in the storm.
Ava: I don't understand! Who sleeps with a warlock and then turns around and starts calling me her girlfriend?
Gary: She called you her girlfriend?
Ava: Yeah. And I really want to believe her...
Gary: ... but?
Ava: But I don't really think that Sara is a one-woman woman.
John: Well, if the price of admission is looking like a fool or getting your heart broken, then... well, I'd say Ms. Lance is pretty well worth it.
Ava: ... huh.

Gary: The Legends remind me of my D&D group. Don't laugh.
John: Too late.

(Sara takes the repaired Fire Totem from the nuclear reactor chamber.)
Amaya: This totem wasn't meant for me. You have to use it.
Mick: Forget it.
Amaya: You spent your entire life obsessed with fire and heat. What if this is the reason why?
Mick: How many times do I have to tell you?! I'm not a hero! Sara's a hero. And look what The Death Totem did to her.
Amaya: That was the work of Mallus. Most people who have seen what you've seen would have succumbed to darkness, but you didn't. You chose to become a Legend. You may try to hide it, Mick, but you're a good man.
Mick: What if you're wrong?
Amaya: (offers him the Fire Totem) There's only one way to find out.

Sara: (To Ava) You saved me again.
Ava: (glancing back to John and Mick) I had a little help.
(John throws a glance to Mick, who is still holding a fireball in his hand, transfixed by the flame.)
John: Well, while we're here... (coughs) A light?
(John puts a cigarette into his mouth and leans over the fire to light it.)

Sara: If you thought Mallus really would have freed Astra, you would have traded me, wouldn't you?
John: In a heartbeat. (pauses) Well, what can I say? I'm a nasty piece of work.
Sara: So am I.
John: But you survived, love.
Sara: For now.
John: You know, there's a reason why I prefer to walk this path alone. It's uh.. so I don't have to share with anyone how lost I really am. But you're not alone, are you, Sara?
Sara: Maybe I should be.
John: She's a good one. Try not to hurt her.
Sara: (quietly) That's what I'm afraid of.
John: Hmm.
Gary: So the question is... are you prepared to join us on this mission most deadly?
(Gary reaches across the table and opens his hand to reveal a twenty-sided dice.  We pull back to see John Constantine sitting across the table from Gary. He takes the twenty-sided dice.)
John: Well tonight, squire... I'm all yours.


Sara called out the name John in her sleep.

Sara tells Ava about how she slept with John Constantine but only sees him as a friend.  This happened three weeks before she became serious about Ava.

Sara refers to Ava as her girlfriend.

The cracks/tears in the fabric of time in the temporal zone are getting worse.

Ray refers to the events of 301.

Wally refers to Barry Allen's alteration of the timeline, which resulted in the divergent dimension he called Flashipoint, in F301.

Mick sleeps in the nude.

Sara plans to go on a solo mission to save Einstein, who is stranded in The Ice Age.

For some reason, Mick refuses a mission to "rescue a Ruskie pooch."

Ray refers to 313 and the events that led to him retrieving the secret of cold fusion to repair The Fire Totem.

John Constantine does not currently (i.e. Spring 2018) own a phone.

Gideon is incapable of feeling rage.

Zari is claustrophobic.

While possessed by Mallus, Sara has the powers of telekinesis and teleportation.

The possessed Sara takes out Wally using the anti-speedster gun, first seen in 208.

John Constantine is 36 years old. He has an older sister and both of his parents are listed as deceased. His profile with The Time Bureau lists him as part of "The Newcastle Crew" and describes how he accidentally summoned a demon that dragged a girl named Astra Logue into Hell.

John is described as a true Warlock.

Gary Green plays a Level 9 Warlock in Dungeons and Dragons.

John Constantine now has an apartment in New York City which he won in a duel.

John learned what happened to the sixth lost tribe of Zambesi while heavily under the influence of Ayahuasca. (This seems similar to the tea made of the Lyoga Root from 303 used to enter the Zambesi Ancestral Realm.)

According to John, the sixth "lost" tribe of Zambesi were charged with stewardship over the realm of Death. They allied themselves with Mallus as the other five tribes moved to imprison him.

While not totally certain on this point, John believes that the sixth tribe's betrayal may have caused The Death Totem to have been corrupted by Mallus. He confirms that The Death Totem is inextricably linked to the demon now. 

Zari used to read to her younger brother. His favorite story was "The Prince of Timbuktu".

Gary has an aunt named Stacy.

Gary likes Beebo.

Doctor Who exists in The DCTVU.

John kisses Gary, who does not seem at all repulsed by it.

The girl from Sara's nightmares is revealed to be the daughter of a man she killed while she was part of The League of Assassins.

Nathaniel is tormented with a vision of his grandfather, who refers to the events of 214.

Zari loves cats.

Ray was successful in repairing the Fire Totem.

Mallus impersonates Astra's voice in a bit to make John back-off of his exorcism ritual.

Sara offers John a bed on The Waverider. He says he's tempted to take it but reminds her that he prefers to work alone.

Sara theorizes that Mallus can attack a person by making them see their worst fears. In this case, Sara was tormented with the idea that she could never move beyond being a killer, Wally was confronted with the loss of the strongest love he had ever known, Zari was tormented by the brother whose death drives her and Nate was called a disappointment by the grandfather who was his inspiration.

Wally says he liked Sara with silver hair.

Sara breaks up with Ava, saying she doesn't deserve her.

The final scene depicts John playing Dungeons and Dragons with Gary and his friends.


The Temporal Zone
New York City - 2018.

Untelevised Adventures

Zari and Amaya are sent on a mission to Billings, Montana in 1997 to recover The Mona Lisa before it winds up on an episode of Antique's Roadshow.

Wally and Nate go on a mission to rescue a dog named Laika and return her to the Soviet Space Program.

John learned the lost lore of Zambesi and the sixth tribe that was erased from oral legend while under the influence of Ayahuasca.

Once, while on a massive bender, John Constantine cast a spell on a Beebo toy to make it talk. The things it said made even his toes curl.

The Fridge Factor

Unfortunately, this episode brings back everyone's least favorite subplot - the idea that Sara has some kind of inherent darkness that has ruled her for her entire life - and runs with it to let Sara angst over how she doesn't deserve to be loved by a good person like Ava. While it is refreshing to see this sort of storyline with a female protagonist (usually only male superheroes are allowed to play the "I don't deserve you" card), it's still annoying that the writers can't think of any other way to develop Sara's character. At least we're spared hearing about how "Laurel had a light."

The Bottom Line

You know it's a great episode when they can bring back the idiotic idea of Sara having some inner darkness that can't be dispelled and it actually works. Chalk that up to some great acting from Caity Lotz, as Matt Ryan and Jess Macallan run riot over each other. The new Constantine series can't come fast enough and, a bonus, this episode came out the day it was confirmed that Legends of Tomorrow is getting a fourth season with Matt Ryan as a regular cast member. The only downside is that now I want to stat all the Legends characters for D&D.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Titans #21 - A Review

Roy Harper is convinced he has uncovered a super-villain conspiracy but Donna Troy fears he may be back on heroine and hallucinating. When Dick Grayson and Wally West go to confront their friend and former teammate, who will emerge victorious in the fight that follows?

Usually whenever you have a comic where the heroes are fighting other heroes, it is lazy padding. Granting I may be biased as a Roy Harper fan who is thrilled to see a story that remembers that Arsenal is a master strategist and no mean detective, Dan Abnett still writes a fantastic issue full of pathos, ethos and action.  The artwork is top-notch, with Paul Pelletier giving every panel a sense of active motion - even the simple scenes of characters talking on the phone. The finishes by Andrew Hennessy and Adriano Lucas are also excellent.

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10.

Batgirl And The Birds of Prey #20 - A Review

In the wake of Gus Yale's death, the secrets of The Birds of Prey have been lain bare and the team is all but broken. Black Canary hid the fact that her powers were still overclocked from a previous encounter.  Batgirl hid that she was using intelligence stolen from The Calculator to influence their activities. And Huntress... well, she's been visiting her crime-boss mother in prison and has been called to act as a character witness at her parole hearing. Despite the tension between them, the three heroines must come together again and soon, as the robotic assassin Burnrate begins to arrange a different sort of union...

Unfortunately, this series is coming to a close and I'll be sad to see it go. The Benson Sisters' stories have been nothing short of phenomenal and I've greatly enjoyed how they revitalized the classic Birds of Prey line-up for the reality of Rebirth. I just wish they'd had an art team worthy of their work. While not as bad as they've been in earlier issues, Roge Antonio's pencils are still incredibly uneven (particularly during the action scenes) and while Marcelo Maiolo's lighting effects are decently applied this month, this is still a very rough-looking comic.

The Final Analysis: 6 out of 10.

Injustice 2 #49 - A Review

Amazo has been defeated, but the followers of Ra's Al Ghul who helped to bring about his defeat now face a difficult battle to escape from Gorilla City with their lives. Meanwhile, two teams must begin to rebuild and tend to the wounded - those wounded physically and those whose pain lies in their hearts and minds.

The better portion of this issue is devoted toward some rather intensive action sequences. Despite this, Tom Taylor still finds plenty of time to devote to quieter character moments - both serious and comedic. The quality of his writing is equaled only by the fantastic artwork by Daniel Sampere, Juan Albarran, Rex Lokus and Wes Abbott. This continues to be one of my favorite comics.

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10.

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 8 - The Book Of Revelations

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


With Black Lighting blamed for the death of Lady Eve, Anissa and Jefferson work to clear his name. Meanwhile, Jennifer begins interning for Lynn as Gambi finds himself in a most precarious position as Tobias Whale moves to increase his influence among the criminal underworld in Freeland.


The Black Lightning comics of Tony Isabella (implications of Gambi's secret life.)


Lynn is a little quick to jump to the conclusion that Gambi's refusal to talk about Green Light means he was involved in the creation of the vaccine from 30 years earlier.


More than in any other episode to date, the chemistry between Cress Williams and Nafessa Williams really sizzles.


The coordinates of the grave that Jefferson and Anissa are 33, 47, 84, 43. Translated into standard map coordinates, this makes them  33' 47" Latitude, 84' 43" Longitude. In the real world, this would place them in the middle of nowhere due west of Atlanta, Georgia, which is the real world city Freeland is modeled on.

The idea of Gambi raising Jefferson Pierce after causing the death of his father is taken directly from the classic Black Lightning comics. There, Peter Gambi was a hitman who accidentally shot Alvin Pierce while trying to take out another target. He retired from the assassin game and took care of a young Jefferson Pierce and his mother.

The experiments being conducted by The ASA seem to be based in part on the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study, in which the CDC falsely claimed they were treating African American men in rural Alabama for syphilis as part of a study to chart the effects of untreated syphilis.


Gambi's holographic "Hogan's Alley" set-up also has "urban mix" and "urban crowd" modes, which Jefferson uses to train Anissa in close-combat fighting with civilians in the way.

Lichtenberg Scarring is the tree-shaped pattern left behind by an lighting strike or when electricity passes through an insulating material. It looks quite different than the marks left behind by a burn. The lack of Lichtenberg Scarring on the bodies of Lady Eve and her henchmen prove that they were not killed by Black Lighting's electrical powers but by a high-voltage flash.

Gambi estimates that the weapons used to kill Lady Eve and her henchman required a billion joules. That is as much energy as is found in a lightning bolt. Generating that much power in a portable weapon would require nuclear weapon.

Gambi has the means to track something by following a radiation signature by hacking a satellite.

Lynn asked for the power that Anissa discovered to be analyzed with an x-ray crystallography.

Lynn determines that the powder from Alvin Pierce's storage unit is a vaccine made with the same active ingredients as Green Light.

Dialogue Triumphs

(Anissa sees a hologram with a man wearing a Confederate flag on his shirt. She pounds the ground near his ankle and he screams in pain, grabbing his head.)
(The hologram stops moving.)
Anissa: Freeze?!
Jefferson: He might be racist, but he wasn't a threat. And you probably broke his ankle and... maybe gave him a concussion.
Anissa: The flag on the T-shirt!
Jefferson: No. I know why it happened. You looked and you assumed he was a threat. So you didn't actually see that he wasn't.
(Anissa sighs and stomps off in annoyance.)

Martin Proctor: I'm sick of this neighborhood, Peter. They don't take care of it. The food is all fried. The only thing the people here are good for is experimentation. They should be happy we're here!  Green Light will give their lives purpose. Direction! We're doing God's work, Peter. God's work!

Lynn: How do you train someone to be what they're not?
Jefferson: She has her mother's brains. It won't take her long to realize that if she wants to change the world, she has to change herself.

(Anissa stares at the wall between the hallway and the morgue. She raises her hands to the wall, takes a deep breath and gets ready to shove it.)
Jefferson: Woah, woah, woah!
(Anissa stops in mid-shove.)
Jefferson: How much force do you need?
Anissa: Uh.. enough to get through the wall?
Jefferson: And how much is that?
Anissa: ...I don't know.
Jefferson: Tap it with your finger.
Anissa: Okay.
(Anissa braces herself, takes a deep breath and taps the wall. The one stone shifts maybe half an inch inward but nothing else happens.)
Anissa: Okay. Clearly that wasn't it.
Jefferson: (sighs) Do whatever you think.
(Anissa clears her throat, takes a deep breath again and shoves the same block with one hand. The entire block disintegrates as several other stones go flying into the morgue room, leaving an opening big enough to walk through and kicking up a lot of stone dust.)
Anissa: (quietly) Okay. Maybe I could have used a little less.
Jefferson: (dryly) You think?

Anissa: Dad, you know how I feel about the woods.
(Jefferson scoffs)
Anissa: No. Black people die in the woods!
Jefferson: Yes. In horror movies.  But only after the monster kills the white nerd. And we don't have one of those with us, so you're good. (chuckles)

(Jefferson is telling Anissa about his early years as Black Lightining.)
Anissa: So why did you stop all those years?
Jefferson: That's complicated.
Anissa: Mom, right?
Jefferson: That's between me and her.
Anissa: Which is a yes. But an "ask your mother" yes.

Black Lightning: (into phone, to Inspector Henderson) You're welcome. (pauses) I know you didn't say "thank you." It's implied in your loud-ass questions.


Jefferson refers to Anissa destroying the Confederate statue in 106.

Gambi meets with a man named Martin Proctor who is the head of the ASA in the region around Freeland. He puts a price on Black Lightning's head, despite Gambi's insistence that capturing Black Lightning alive could lead to the ASA making a break-through in understanding metahumans. Martin says the ASA has dissected enough Metahumans and still isn't any closer to creating their own.

Lady Eve was the liaison between The 100 and The ASA.

Martin is an elitist (probably a racist as well) who believes the only value the people of Freeland have is as test subjects for the ASA's experiments.

Green Light is part of an ASA experiment.

Anissa was once suspended in the second grade for kicking a teacher she thought had made her friend cry by being mean to her.

Lynn has both a PhD and MD.

The yellow legal pad notes with the odd equations go missing from the box of Alvin Pierce's papers.

The lab Lynn used to analyze the powder that Anissa discovered in Alvin Pierce's storage unit was also burglarized.

Jennifer's friend Kiesha is involved in student government, on the grounds that whoever controls the money controls the school.

Jennifer manifests her powers for the first time, inadvertently generating lighting from her hands and having sparks light up in her eyes when her friend Keshia falls off a scaffold. She burns a poster in one hand and fries her phone with the other.

Lala is having visions of LaWanda White who he talks to... much to the worry of his henchmen.

Anissa does not know if, when she is powered up, if she is immune to radiation, chemicals or if she can swim or if she'll sink like a stone.

Lynn determines that the powder from Alvin Pierce's storage unit is a vaccine made with the same active ingredients as Green Light.

Anissa has a fear of walking through the woods at night.

Jefferson and Anissa discover a dead body and the lighting gun out in the woods.

The coordinates of the grave are 33' 47" Latitude, 84' 43" Longitude.

Gambi moved to Freeland 30 years ago at around the same time Alvin Pierce died.

Gambi never told anyone about his past before he moved to Freeland.

The dirty cop sent to retrieve the weapon accidentally blows it and himself up. Anissa is able to determine by observing him that he had no clue what he was doing to the weapon would trigger a self-destruct mode.

Gambi reveals that his real name is Peter Esposito.

Peter Gambi worked for a government agency called the ASA. He moved to Freeland 30 years early as part of an experiment to drug the people of Freeland and make them more compliant and docile. The vaccine inadvertently created metahumans. Gambi was tasked with finding the metahumans.

Gambi leaked this information to Alvin Pierce when he realized that the vaccine was killing children. This investigation is what prompted Alvin Pierce's murder. Gambi then tried to make up for what happened to Alvin by training his son to use his powers in secret to help people.

Jennifer tells Anissa about how she broke her phone.

The Bottom Line

A fantastic episode that does much to expand the world of the series and begin explaining some mysteries. Of course it also leaves us with the mysteries of what the heck is going on with Lala, so there's still something to wonder about. Most enjoyable.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 16 - Run, Iris, Run

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


The tenth Bus Meta - whom Cisco dubs Melting Point - has the power to change the DNA of other people. When his encounter with Team Flash leaves Iris with Barry's super-speed, they will have to switch roles in order to save Central City.


The Flash #22 (New 52 Series), where Iris West temporarily acquires a connection to The Speed Force.


Cisco's speculation at the start of the episode does bring up an interesting point - why not hide Ralph on Earth Two or someplace else?!

Ralph's complaints about Iris not knowing what it's like to risk your life as a hero seem to be meant to make Ralph sound whinny and ungrateful. The thing is, fear-driven as his responses might be, Ralph has a point about how keeping him safe should be a priority when it comes to stopping DeVoe's plan but everyone on the team except Caitlin seems to view keeping Ralph alive as a necessary evil, at best.

Also, Ralph's cowardice has come out of nowhere given Ralph was chomping at the bit to go after DeVoe to avenge Izzy two episodes ago, to the point where he made Barry a partner in his detective business.

Joe and Barry are stumped on how to get Ralph to impersonate DeVoe again to talk to The Mayor about Barry getting his job back while keeping Ralph safe. What about that hologram projector Cisco made in Season 2 that could project an image anywhere in Central City?

Eric Fry was smart enough to leave Central City after The Flash first appeared three years ago and started taking down metahuman criminals. Why then did he come back to Central City now?!

While it's a good idea not to have Barry go with Joe to question a person of interest in regard to a bank robbery given that Barry is persona non grata with the CCPD, that has nothing to do with why Iris tells Barry to stay at STAR Labs - it's so that she can go out in the field and prove to Ralph that she doesn't just hide in STAR Labs bossing everyone around!

On that note, how the heck does Joe justify bringing his daughter along to question a suspect in an official capacity?

Apart from being a funny sight gag, what is the point of Iris changing clothes with Caitlin at super-speed?  Couldn't she just run home and find something else to wear rather than forcibly stripping her friend against her will? Especially since Caitlin was about to change into her Killer Frost clothes anyway?

For that matter, why DOESN'T Caitlin wind up going along to help put out the fire after Iris tells her to get ready to go and do that?

The spare mask Jesse Quick left behind on Earth One doesn't match her red costume.

Iris reveals that she did quit her job as a reporter. So how the heck are she and Barry affording their fancy loft since they're both unemployed. (Yes, I know Barry is supposed to be somewhat independently wealth after inheriting STAR Labs from Wells/Thawne, but they've never bothered to explain this point...)

Pretty much everything involving the stand off with the man who winds up with Eric Fry's powers. First, this guy decides to become a criminal after two days. Next, the fact that he's able to master his new powers enough to be a threat in that much time when Iris can barely use her own powers with a team of experienced metahuman scientists training her. Third, the fact that his brilliant scheme is to go into a park and start demanding money rather than robbing a bank or a business. Fourth, the fact that he allows the police to surround him. Fifth, the fact that the police let a civilian like Matthew Kim into the area to try and talk to the metahuman terrorist. Sixth, why in the name of little green apples doesn't Iris just run in and punch the guy at super-speed like she did with Matthew Kim?  Seventh, why not send in the metahuman with ice powers to control the fire, apart from Iris needing to do this to prove that she could be a superhero if she had powers?

Cisco says the fire being generated by the man with the fire powers is 800 degrees, which is as hot as lava. This is just barely true in the Celsius scale, where lava ranges from 700-1200 degrees C. In the Fahrenheit measure, lava ranges from 1300-2200 degrees F. Either way, the heat should be enough that convection should bake Iris alive as close as she is to the fire.

Iris' speech to Ralph about not giving in to fear doesn't really ring true given that the only thing that saved Iris from the consequences of living her life was HR Wells switching places with her without telling anyone he'd done so.

Flash Facts

The episode title is an nod to the repeated line, "Run, Barry, Run."

There have been a few stories where Iris West temporarily acquired The Flash's powers. The most recent one was during The New 52 The Flash series, where Iris West developed her own connection to The Speed Force in The Flash #22.

Eric Fry - the fire-starting British bank robber in this episode - is a new character unique to The DCTVU. He shares a name with a notable American rugby player.

Melting Point -a.k.a. Matthew Kim - is a character unique to The DCTVU. His power set, however, resembles that of Ragtag - a villain from the Static Shock animated series. Ragtag was a homeless man who developed the power to give ordinary humans temporary super powers. He could also drain the powers from other metahumans. He used these abilities to get ordinary teenagers addicted to the power that he gave them and then used them as his pawns to commit crimes.

Melting Point uses his powers in a benevolent fashion - not surprising given his status as an EMT.

The advance press for this episode called Melting Point by the name "Melting Pot".

The name of Melting Point has been used before in another DC Comic book. Strangely enough, it was in The Flash: Year Zero comic book, which has largely been declared non-canon since its original release. This comic saw the creation of a villain named Doctor Melting Point, who was Dr. Wangari Hollowell - a former teacher of Caitlin Snow's.  Half of Dr. Hollowell's body had been transformed into Quantum Energy, giving her the ability to melt down organic materials and absorb them into herself.

Cisco makes reference to the movie Spider-Man 2 in explaining to Caitlin why he thinks Harry building his own Thinking Cap is a bad idea. In that movie, Doctor Otto Octavius was driven crazy after the artificially-intelligent robotic arms he built to assist in his more dangerous lab work took over his brain.

Cisco also makes reference to The Borg from Star Trek, when laying down the conditions under which he will help Harry with The Intelligence Booster/Thinking Cap. Namely that he will vibe Harry elsewhere the minute he starts trying to assimilate everyone.

The date of Iris' first blog post on Saved By The Flash is March 13. 2018 - the original air date of this episode.


Harry suggests altering each Bus Meta's DNA using inter-cellular surgery and turning them into chickens.

Harry determines that DeVoe boosted his intelligence using neurochemical engineering powered by the dark matter released by the STAR Labs Particle Accelerator. Using that knowledge and the security footage from STAR Labs showing DeVoe on the night of the particle accelerator explosion, Harry builds his own intelligence booster (a.k.a. Thinking Cap) to enhance his mind to match that of DeVoe.

Barry says that what Harry is proposing would 10 billion joules through his brain.

According to Cisco, it would take a temperature of 6000 degrees Fahrenheit (3315.556 degrees Celsius) to melt through 10 inches of reinforced steel. This is reportedly 10 times the thermal out of of Mick Rory's Heat Gun.

When pondering how a metahuman could just lose their powers, Caitlin theorizes that Eric Fry's powers, if based around metastasizing solar radiation to create hat, locking him in a dark room should neutralize his powers. As Joe points out, however, Eric Fry lost his powers in the middle of the day when it was sunny.

Caitlin then suggests that Eric Fry's internal bio-chemistry had been altered to develop its own internal thermal combustion and ran out of fuel.

Without the edition of dark matter, The Intelligence Booster causes Harry's neurons to fire 20 times faster.

With the Thinking Cap, Harry is able to analyze Ralph's eating habits and extrapolate them at a predictive behavior model. determining there is a 67% chance that Ralph will spill mustard on himself while eating his veggie dog in four seconds. He is also able to deduce that Ralph is not wearing any underwear based on the movement of the fabric of his pants as Ralph is wiping his hands clan.

Caitlin runs a series of tests - EKG, cellular regression synthesis, dark matter and brain chemistry - to confirm that Irish has become a metahuman with speed powers.

Matthew Kim's powers work by melting down the highly concentrated bonds between DNA, making them pliable so he can extract them and infuses somebody else with the exact same metahuman DNA sequence.

Harry needs a micro-filament compression wrench with a cobalt retrieving clamp to finish his work on The Thinking Cap.

Caitlin considers dark matter splicing, pattern DNA cloning and regrowing meta-enhanced stem-material on a cellular level as a way to replicate Melting Points powers but concludes that nothing else will work.

The fire generated by the new fire-powered metahuman is described as being 800 degrees and "as hot as lava."  Presumably Cisco is using the Celsius scale, where lava ranges from 700-1200 degrees.

The new fire metahuman is able to generate a thermo-cyclone - a cyclone made of fire.

Cisco disengages the photo flow to The Thinking Cap once Harry goes 20% over his own recommended safety standards.

Dialogue Triumphs

Cisco: I'm sorry - don't you have like, six PhDs?
Harry: Seven.
Cisco: Yeah, which one of them is in mad science?
Harry: Mad science is just an area of study. It's not a degree.

Matthew Kim: Stealing is a sin. You shouldn't be using the powers you've been given in this way.
Eric Fry: I'll use them any way I see fit. Including frying you to a crisp, if you move any closer!
Matthew Kim: (calmly) Oh, I don't think you will. You don't want to hurt me. Or anyone in this bank. You can still walk away from this. But the moment you touch that money, your life changes forever. You don't really want that, do you?
Eric Fry: Maybe you're right.
(Matthew Kim reaches out and touches the man's shoulder. There is a quick flash of red light on his hand as the bank-robbing meta punches him to the ground.  Matthew Kim touches another man and there's a quick flash of red into his hand.)
Eric Fry: Or... maybe you've got a death wish!
(Eric Fry raises his hands to throw a fireball... and nothing happens.)
Eric Fry: What the hell?  My powers.... they're gone
(Eric Fry is tackled by a security guard.)
Guard: Hey, buddy!  You're a real....
(The guard looks to where Matthew Kim was as the rest of the hostages look up. He is gone.)
Guard: ... hero?

(Harry has just used his enhanced intelligence to deduce that Ralph is not wearing any underwear.)
Ralph: You got all that from your fancy metal cap?
Harry: Yes I did.
Ralph: It's impressive, Harry. Except for one very small thing.
Harry: Which is?
Ralph: Your head is on fire.
Harry: (laughs) No it's...
(Harry rolls his eyes upward and realizes that the thinking cap just burst into flame.)

Caitlin: Cisco, why can't you just help him?
Cisco: Why am I the only one who thinks putting a rageaholic and dark matter together is a bad idea?
Caitlin: He's trying to stop DeVoe. That's not a bad idea.
Cisco: He's trying to match his intellect with a mad man whose innovations are warping his brain. Have you not seen Spider-Man 2?
Caitlin: No.
Cisco: ... how can you live with yourself?

(Cisco holds up a garment bag, holding a new costume for Iris.)
Iris: Thanks Cisco.
(There is a flash of violet lighting as Iris runs off. Her street clothes falling to the ground as Cisco is left clutching an empty garment bag.)
Cisco: I've got hangers!

Dialogue Disasters

(The line in which Iris pretty much sums up every problem most of the the fandom have had with her  in Season 4.)

Iris: Barry, when I was a reporter, I was always in the field putting myself in danger for a story. And after last year, for some reason, that just stopped. Maybe it was because of Savitar. Maybe because you were gone into The Speed Force. I don't know, but... I quit my job. I joined this team. And now, for the most part, I just stay here while all of you are out there putting your lives on the line.


Cisco contemplates breaching the last three Bus Metas and relocating them to Earth Two.  Harry suggests altering each Bus Meta's DNA using inter-cellular surgery.

Harry Wells has seven PhDs.

On Earth Two, Mad Science is an area of study but not one with a degree plan.

Ralph, Caitlin and Iris agree to try Harry's "intelligence booster" idea. Cisco refuses to help.

Cecile is now in her third trimester. She and Joe have picked out names for the baby, but they aren't telling anyone what they are.

The mayor of Central City refuses to let Barry have his job back until she meets with The DeVoes personally.

According to Cisco, the energy output of Heatwave's fire gun is 600 degrees Fahrenheit.

Eric Fry got his powers at the same time as the first wave of metahumans. He left Central City after The Flash appeared and has been roaming around robbing banks ever since.

Matthew Kim has apparently been using his powers in secret to take away the powers of other criminals for some time.

Iris generates violet lightning whens he runs.

The movie Spider-Man 2 exists in The DCTVU. Caitlin has not seen it.

Cisco finally agrees to help Harry with The Intelligence Booster on two conditions - that they will now power it with dark matter and that the minute Harry begins to act like Locutus of Borg and starts trying to assimilate everyone, Cisco has permission to send him to another Earth.

Harry calculates 4,827 ways the fight with the new fire-manipulating metahuman could go but only one that will result in no loss of life. This involves Iris creating a 100-foot tall tidal wave to combat the fire cyclone.

It is revealed that Matthew Kim thought that his power was to remove the powers of other metahumans. He had no idea he was capable of transferring them to other people. He believed that he had been chosen by God to punish those who abused the power they were given.

Matthew Kim agrees to join Team Flash in the fight against The Thinker.

Ralph agrees to see the mayor, disguised as DeVoe in a bid to get Barry his job back.

Cecile recommends a good pizza place in Keystone to Barry.

Iris starts a new blog, Saved By The Flash, detailing stories of people... saved by The Flash.

The last two Bus Metas are named Janet Petty and Edwin Goss.

The Boomerang Factor

Pretty much all of Team Flash is nerfed this week so that Iris can prove that she could be just as good at being The Flash as Barry.

The Bottom Line

Everything insufferable about the fourth season of The Flash in one episode. No DeVoes. Virtually nothing except Iris and Barry being cute together. All of Ralph's character development being forgotten so that he can be the gross cowardly pervert nobody likes again. All of Harry's character development is forgotten so that he can go back to being shoutty jerkass again. And the writers finally confirm that Iris literally subverted her entire life for the sake of the man she loved, as everyone else is nerfed this week so that Iris can prove that she's just as much of a hero as Barry... if she has super powers.  At this point, it''s a neck and neck race for what show disgusts me more  - this or Arrow.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 3, Episode 14 - Amazing Grace

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


The Legends travel to Memphis, Tennessee in 1954 after they detect an anachronism that indirectly caused the death of modern music. As Zari helps Wally adjust to life on The Waverider, Nate relishes the chance to teach Amaya about classic rock and roll, accidentally discovering the sixth Zambesi Totem - the Totem of Death - in the process!


The legends of Robert Leroy Johnson and Elvis Aaron Presley and the movie Footloose.


While Elvis Presley was a devout Christian, he was raised a member of The Assembly of God - not the Church of Zion, as the episode depicts.

Elvis Presley also did not have a rock-and-roll hating preacher uncle named Lucius.

The episode seems to have either confused or intentionally combined the recording of Elvis's first record and Elvis first performance that was broadcast on the radio. The episode depicts Elvis as having recorded his first record at Sun Studio in July 1954. Elvis truly recorded his first record at Sun Studio on July 18, 1953. The song Elvis plays in the studio for his first record in the episode, "I'm Gone, Mama" isn't the song he recorded for his first record. He did two songs - "My Happiness" and "That's Where Your Heartaches Begin." Elvis recorded the song "That's All Right (Mama)" for his first radio performance, recording on July 5, 1954.  The song played on the WHBQ two days later on July 7, 1954.

While Nate's insistence that Elvis be allowed to record his first record with the Death Totem Guitar is treated like the unreasonable request of a crazy fanboy, the loss of rock and roll on American culture would be a major anachronism with long-lasting consequences for the timeline. So why is Sara so resistant to letting Nate give the guitar back to Elvis?

It seems highly unlikely that even Mick could go into the galley and make a sandwich without seeing the dead Axl in the middle of the floor.

Elvis Presley did not write the song "Jailhouse Rock". It was written for him by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, for his third movie with the same name.

Given Zari's cynical nature and how she had to hide her religion in her time period, it seems highly unlikely that she'd be the one to suggest to Wally that they try talking to Elvis' conservative preacher uncle about giving his nephew's music a chance... even if she is trying to get Wally to explore options that don't involve just using his powers to solve everything when, in this case, Wally's powers totally could solve everything.

As much as one would like to cheer the general pro-religion, "not all Christians are bigots" message of this story, it's still somewhat unbelievable that a white Southern preacher at this point in time would be open to talking to a young black man or Muslim woman.

For that matter, Nate and Amaya kissing in a church should have been a MUCH bigger deal to the assembled crowd of all-white Southerners.

We never do find out exactly how The Darhks were involved in all of this and how their arrival prompted the anachronism that led to Elvis being committed and Memphis being abandoned.


The direction, cinematography and use of music in the opening scene is fantastic. It's also amazing how well the establish the supernatural mood with a simple change of lighting and a few props being shaken around.

The musical performances are strong.

Trivia Of Tomorrow

The guitar player mentioned in the opening sequence - Robert Johnson - is a nod to Robert Leroy Johnson. Ranked fifth on the Rolling Stone list of the greatest guitar players of all time, Johnson died young under mysterious circumstances at the age of 27 in 1938. Recordings of Johnson's blues music are credited with inspiring later artists - such as Elvis Presley - to create rock and roll. Popular folk legend has it that Johnson met with The Devil at a Mississippi crossroads at midnight and bargained for his amazing guitar skills.

The third episode of Constantine - The Devil's Vinyl - dealt with a legend similar to that of Robert Leroy Johnson. In that episode, John became involved in the hunt for a vinyl record by a legendary fictional blues man (Willie Cole) that apparently captured the voice of The Devil as he came to claim Willie Cole's soul.

Wally uses the initials WFW when he sets his high scores on Zari's video games. In the classic comics, Wally's full name is Wallace Rudolph West. It is unknown what Wally's middle name is in The DCTVU.

Rory named his pet rat Axl. This is likely in tribute to Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose.

Rory notices that Axl's name has mysteriously changed to Josh Groban, who is a popular classically-trained singer that sold over 20 million solo albums in the first 10 years of his career.

As Nate notes, Beale Street was the heart of the music scene in Memphis in the 1950s.

Elvis Aaron Presley did have a twin brother named Jesse Garon Presley, who was stillborn. The historical record is divided on what effect the loss of his twin may have had on Elvis, but some of his friends and biographers claim that Elvis believed that Jesse's ghost was always close to him and that Elvis would frequently talk to his dead brother as if he was there in the room.

The episode ends with a video tribute to Axl, showing Ray running from him and Mick making faces at him in his cage.


EMF ratings are a measurement used to gauge the strength of ambient electromagnetic fields. They are measured in metric units called Gauss. As Ray notes, some people believe that supernatural entities - such as ghosts - give off signals that can be detected using an EMF probe.

Constantine's notes on The Death Totem read as follows:

"The background of the Death Totem is entangled in contentious debates amongst ancient artifacts experts. The chronology of other totems are directly traceable through lineage, but records of previous death totem bearers are unknown. Witness accounts of the totem's powers are hard to verify. What is consistent in the testimonies is that The Death Totem is the most volatile of the totems. Historians have concluded that it was lost for eons, along with a sixth tribe of Zambesi."

The Death Totem gives its bearer the power to raise the spirits of the dead, control them and put them to rest.

The average life expectancy of a rat is 1.5 to 2.5 years.

The Wind Totem blasts can affect ghosts.

Apparently a speedster running through a ghost can disrupt their ectoplasmic form (At least, we think this is what Wally does to get rid of the ghosts inside the church.)

Ray develops specially encrypted lock-boxes to hold each of the six Totems.

Dialogue Triumphs

(Wally looks at Ray's Chore Wheel.)
Wipe down food fabricator?
Zari: Bet you thought time-travel would be seeing Woodstock, saving Shakespeare and having ethical debates while standing over baby Hitler. Trust me. It takes time to get used to life-
(There is a sudden burst of yellow lightning around the room as Wally gets to work. When he stops, the kitchen is spotless.)
Wally: Cool. So what's next?
Zari: It's gonna take time for me to get used to life with a speedster.

(Gideon tells The Legends where Elvis Presley might be found.)
Sara: You heard the lady.
(Everyone just stares at Sara.)
Sara: (impatiently) What?! Why are you staring at me?
Nate: I dunno... we're waiting for you to... do the thing you do.
Sara: What thing?
Ray: You know? You usually send us into the field with a little more... piazza.
(Sara rolls her eyes and flips her hair in an exaggerated manner before walking off making a jazz hands gesture.)
Sara: All right Legends! Put on your Sunday best because we are going to church!
(Everyone nods, satisfied, and moves to change clothes.)

Sara: (dryly) So Elvis is the bearer of the long-lost sixth totem? Consider me all shook up.

Amaya; Every totem is growing strong in response to Mallus' threat. What if the preacher is right and Elvis' music literally drives Memphis insane?
Sara: Then we have to get it before that happens.
(Wally dashes off, leaving papers flying in his wake, and returns seconds later holding Elvis' guitar.)
Wally: I got it! Elvis' guitar totem.
Zari: So I'm not the only one who finds that annoying right?
Nate: So annoying.

(Sara attempts to pry the black gem loose from the guitar with a wrench. Suddenly, there is a weird tone. Sara stops and drops the wrench.)
Ray: Woah. That was weird.
Sara: Yeah.
(The lights flicker and there's a distinctive electric crackle in the air.)
Sara: You feel that?
Ray: Yeah. It's freezing.
Gideon: I am detecting an EMF rating of 6 milliGauss that is disturbing the ship's electrical service.
Sara: EM-what?
Ray: Electro-Magnetic Field. It's a scientific term that's wrapped up in a bunch of (sputters, clearly finding the idea distasteful) paranormal nonsense.
(There's a noise across the room as Sara and Ray both run to a glass wall that's suddenly frosted over with a hand-print in the middle of the frost.)
Sara: Paranormal? As in...
(The two turn to see the guitar hovering in mid-air as if picked up by an unseen figure. The black gem glows as a figure resembling a young Elvis Presley suddenly comes into view only to fade into a grey indistinct shriveled figure,covered in ice.)
Ray: ... ghosts.

Nate: (into comm) Guys? Elvis' guitar is haunted.
(Cut to The Waverider, where Wally is being pulled along the floor of the bridge by the guitar.)
Ray and Sara: We know!


We see Ray's Chore Wheel, which was mentioned but not shown in 211.

The chore wheel lists the following parts of The Waverider: Cargo Bay, Galley, Library, Dining, Air Ducts, Storage, Controls, Engine, Servers, Fabricator, Lab, Gym, Med Bay and Parlour.

The chore wheel lists the following duties: Wipe Down Food Fabricator; Tidy, Sweep and Remove Debris; General Cleaning and Tidying; Clean & Maintain Pipes & Ducts, Electrical Set-Up and Dust Removal; Regular Systems Check & Tune-Up and Equipment Maintenance.

Zari pretends not to understand Ray's system for the chore wheel since he'll eventually do all her chores for her rather than make a fuss about it.

Wally beats the high scores on Zari's favorite video games.

According to Wally, the trick to Ms. Pac-Man is to focus on attacking the ghosts - not chasing the fruit. Zari says everyone knows that.

The first clue that an anachronism destroyed rock and roll music is Zari's discovery that her copy of Guitar Hero is now a game called Trombone Hero.

The rat that Ray gave to Mick as a pet in 211 is seen for the first time. Rory named him Axl.

Ray refers to using cold fusion to fix The Fire Totem again, as in 313.

The second clue that an anachronism destroyed rock and roll music is that Axl's name has mysteriously changed to Josh Groban.

Sara is now fully aware that Nate and Amaya are dating again.

The third clue that an anachronism destroyed rock and roll music is that Nate's distinctive hairstyle has changed.

Nate uses Royal Crown Pomade to spike his hair - the same hair product used by Elvis Presley.

Gideon determines that Memphis, Tennessee became a ghost town following a mysterious bout of mass hysteria in July 1954. This coincided with a concert performance by Elvis Presley, which ended with Presley being committed to Bolivar State Hospital.

As Nate explains, without Memphis, there would be no rock and roll, which would have a butterfly effect on American culture further down the line.

Mick likes peanut butter and banana sandwiches fried in bacon fat - a reported favorite food of Elvis.

Nate hates ska music.

It is confirmed that the anachronisms being caused by The Darhks are not showing up on The Time Bureau's Radar, for some reason.

Amaya is a fan of Benny Goodman.

Zari's amulet reacts to Elvis' guitar while he's singing. This leads The Legends to conclude that Elvis is a totem barer.

Sara has some means of contacting John Constantine.

Amaya refers to the events of 213 and how she and Nate saw dinosaurs together.

Amaya and Nate once watched the entire series of Friends in one week on Netflix.

Axl dies after ingesting some green liquid left on the floor of the galley.

Nate is apparently something of a Goth, being a fan of The Smiths and Morrisey.

Amaya exposes Nate to the traditional music of Zambesi.

The episode ends with the box containing The Death Totem visibly jumping around on Ray's desk.


Memphis, Tennessee - 1950
Memphis, Teneessee - July 1954

Untelevised Adventures

There was a Category Two Anachronism during the Belle Epoque in Paris.

The was a Category Three Anachronism during the launch of The Spirit of St. Louis.

The Bottom Line

Badly researched in terms of its history and full of plot holes and a lot of out-of-character moments. The production values are decent and the music is fantastic but the writers forced a lot of the story elements in order to tell the story that they wanted to tell. Ultimately, this is a painful and problematic episode in many respects and easily the worst one of Season Three so far.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 15 - Doppelgänger

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


Thea comes out of retirement as Speedy to save Roy Harper, who is now in the clutches of Ricardo Diaz. Meanwhile, Black Siren reveals herself to the world, claiming to be the deceased Laurel Lance!


The Green Arrow comics of Judd Winick. (Insane plot twists, villains doing things just to mess with the heroes, the villains having convoluted plans that put them three steps ahead of the heroes at all times, and even when the heroes win, it doesn't gain them any ground.)


Katie Cassidy's ham-fisted over-acting as Black Siren tries to play what she thinks Laurel was like is almost as painful as her previous under-acted attempts to play Laurel seriously.

Zoe says her babysitter left her two hours earlier when Curtis comes over to tell her that her dad is in the hospital. What the hell kind of babysitter abandons their charge?  (A very bad one, clearly.)

It's awfully convenient that the grate to the vent which Thea uses to access the hotel is not bolted down and seems to swing on a hinge!

The police officers in Diaz' employ say they can torture Roy without leaving a mark, yet Roy already has a bloody nose and clear bruises on his forehead.

Black Siren says that all she ever wanted was to go somewhere she wouldn't have to spend the rest of her life looking over her shoulder. If that's the case, as was asked last week, why did she come back to Star City after withdrawing the money from the bank in Corto Maltese?

The episode goes out of its way to tell us that nothing has really changed and that Oliver is still in trouble legally, even though the DA's Office no longer has their star witness in the "Green Arrow is Oliver Queen" trial.

Granting that we don't know the full details of Diaz' plan, wouldn't revealing Roy Harper is alive to the press be just as damning to Oliver as trying to get Roy to testify against Oliver and a hell of a lot easier? Roy is supposed to be legally dead, after being publicly exposed and arrested for being The Arrow.


Willa Holland steals the show as Thea this time.

The only thing lending the Black Siren storyline any credibility at this point is Paul Blackthorne's gravitas.


Roy says that he was living in St. Roche when the Star City police found him. St. Roche was the hometown of Hawkman during the James Robinson/Geoff Johns run on the book.


Brady v. Maryland is the court case which determined that Defense Attorneys have to be allowed to see all the evidence that a Prosecuting Attorney has against their client.

Oliver makes use of a Fireworks Arrow to distract the balcony guards so Thea can enter the hotel where Roy is being held captive.

Dialogue Triumphs

Black Siren: Look, this is a lot simpler than you're making it. You're going to protect me. And you're going to help protect me by going along with this story that (changes her tone to sound overly sweet) I'm the real Laurel Lance.
Oliver: Yeah? Why would we do that?
Black Siren: I don't know. Maybe because of all the reporters that are just in the next room? (stepping close to Oliver and playing with his tie.) You know it's only a matter of time before they ask me who The Green Arrow is again. (mockingly) What would you like me to tell them?

Quentin: Look, I know what you're doing here, all right? You're going after Laurel because of what happened to your friend. And I get that, okay? It's what I would do if someone I loved was dead.
Dinah: You mean, it's what you'd do with a criminal, Quentin. Which, by the way, is what she is.
Quentin: Yeah, well, you and I both know that. But, you know, she's turned herself into a beloved public figure. She's also said that she's got no compunctions about outing Oliver and... (sighs) ... I don't think she'll stop with him.
Dinah: (sarcastically) Oh, so you're doing this for my sake?
Quentin: No. For all of our sakes. I've been making progress with her, Dinah, ok? I'm not finished, but if she lives as my Laurel...
Dinah: She is not your Laurel! Your Laurel wouldn't have murdered Vince or anyone else. She did. And you are delusional if you think you can change her.

Oliver: John, he's in there because of me. He's been on the run for three years.
John: Oliver, that's his choice.
Oliver: (sighs) I know, but did I learn anything from it? Roy put on the hood. He sacrificed himself. For me. And I asked you to do the same thing. At the expense of your safety. And your family.
John: Difference was I wanted to put on the hood, Oliver. Listen, I've been good for the past two months. Good! But instead of giving me back the hood, you had Cisco make me a new suit.
Oliver: (ignoring John as he points to the guards he's been watching) There it is! A 15 second opening.  That is our window!
(Oliver turns around and walks off. Diggle shakes his head, looks to the guards, then follows after Oliver.)

Anatoly: Is it Laurel or Laurel these days? So confusing this Doppelgänger business, but you seem to figure it out.
Black Siren: Diaz killed Cayden.
Anatoly: He told me. (shrugs) No honor among thieves. Or crime lords, I guess. Oh well.
Black Siren: Diaz manipulated the both of us. Lied to the both of us. The whole time, he's had his own agenda. That doesn't bother you?
Anatoly: I'm not sentimental. I'm Russian. I am in this city for two reasons only. One is revenge. Against Oliver Queen. And two is money. I'm happy to work with whoever can get me either.
Black Siren: You're in this city because the Bratva cast you out.
Anatoly: Well, there's that too.

Roy: Is that my hood?  It looks good on you.
(Thea leans in and kisses Roy passionately. Suddenly she breaks the kiss.)
Thea: I'm - I'm sorry. If you're seeing someone -
Roy: I'm not. I didn't take your advice. No kids, no wife and I really, really hate minivans.

Thea: You know, there are times that I feel like my life completely fell apart when Roy left? From my blood lust to Malcolm to the coma... knowing he was out there? That he was okay? It made my life just a little bit easier. Ever since Mom died, I haven't known much if anything, other than the fact that I want to make sure he is safe and I will do whatever it takes to make sure that happens!


Jean Loring - Oliver's lawyer - was last seen in 607. She informs Oliver that she thinks she can get the Green Arrow case dropped since the FBI's case depended on leveraging Rene, with information that was obtained illegally from Cayden James, which can't be collaborated now.

That chance is blown out of water when Black Siren speaks to the press, claiming to be Laurel Lance and to have been held captive and for the past two years by people working for Damian Darhk.

Oliver confirms that Laurel Lance was the Black Canary, saying that he was told by Green Arrow, again denying that he is Green Arrow to the press.

Black Siren says the money she stole from Cayden James has been stolen.

Black Siren says she has no idea who was responsible for killing Cayden James and his son, but notes that it couldn't have been her who did the second killing since James' son died while she was being held by ARGUS, who took her into custody in 510.

Black Siren says that there is a Thea Queen on Earth Two, only she isn't as "pathetically naive" (i.e. idealistic) as Earth One Thea. It's been established before that Robert Queen was Green Arrow on Earth Two and that Oliver Queen honestly did die at sea on Earth Two.

Star City can't afford to pay it's police officers as of this week.

Captain Hill suggests auctioning off seized assets to cover the city's bills, saying the police lock-up has $30 million dollars in property.

Dinah asks to be assigned to investigate "Laurel's" kidnapping.

Rene's nickname for Curtis, according to Zoe, is C-Dawg.

DA Armand reveals that Roy Harper has been called as a new witness against Oliver Queen in the court case that he is Green Arrow.

Roy Harper was last seen in 412, where he returned to Star City after being blackmailed into committing a series of burglaries by The Calculator.

Thea notes she wasn't able to locate Roy and she tried to do so, to send him an invitation to Felicity and Oliver's wedding in 609.

Quentin makes reference to his ex-wife, Dinah, and says that while he did not give her the details, he told her to hold off on making a visit to Star City to see "Laurel".

Dinah questions Dr. Schwarz, Team Arrow's physician, about "Laurel". Dr. Schwarz confirms that she performed the autopsy on the real Laurel Lance personally and saw her die, but says that in a world full of metahumans, she thinks almost anything is possible. She says they are conducting a DNA test to see if "Laurel" is real.

The cop assigned to watch "Laurel" in the hospital is in Diaz' employ. He takes Black Siren to see Diaz.

Anatoly is now working with Diaz.

Anatoly confirms that he has been cast out of the Bratva and is only working with Diaz so he can get revenge on Oliver and/or make money.

Roy makes reference to his last conversation with Thea, from 412, where she told him to find a wife, have kids, buy a minivan and live a good life.

Roy was hiding out in St. Roche when the Star City police found him.

Felicity determines that two of the cops torturing Roy were on duty when Cayden James died and that they, and several other cops, have gotten payments from a shell corporation in Corto Maltese. This same corporation was responsible for financing the development of the drug that treated John's nerve condition.

Oliver tasks Quentin and Dinah with figuring out how badly the SCPD has been compromised, though he suspects the corruption is far worse than it was than even a year ago.

Ricardo Diaz is using an abandon casino as one of his hideaways.

Diaz is personally fighting every man who wishes to be part of his gang, saying he wants to build a family rather than a gang.

It is revealed that Black Siren is now working with Diaz, integrating herself into Team Arrow as she tries to make an honest go of being their Laurel - Oliver does not trust her but agrees to give her the space to try.

Roy and Thea seem to have reconciled.

The episode ends with a woman in the garb of The League Of Assassins, watching Thea and Roy make out, messaging her master that she has found the Heir of Ra's Al Ghul.

The Winick Factor

Diaz's working with Cayden James doesn't make a lick of sense. Anatoly, whose always had something of a code of honor suddenly going bandit in the name of getting revenge on Oliver when he had lines he would not cross in the past doesn't make any sense. Dinah, the only person who seems to consistently remember that Black Siren is a multiple-murderer who didn't show any signs of wanting redemption until she became a target of her fellow criminals, is still painted as being a vengeful hose-beast. Oliver says he doesn't trust Black Siren at all, but agrees to back off of her if she makes an honest effort at pretending to be Laurel.

The Bottom Line

A step up from last week, but only in so far as the Thea and Roy romance redeems a lot. The plot is still as stupid as ever but there are individual moments of sanity - Dinah and Quentin agreeing to work to clean up the police department despite their mutual distrust, Oliver making it clear he does not trust Black Siren at all - that make it work. I suspect the fact that Rene isn't in the episode and Curtis is barely in it help matters as well.

We know Black Siren is playing somebody - quite likely everyone - and if there's any justice, Diaz will kill her before her sudden but inevitable betrayal since she betrayed Cayden James by stealing from him and he's allegedly smart enough to realize that fact.

X-Men: Red #2 - A Review

Framed for murder before the entire nation, Jean Grey and her allies have claimed political asylum in Wakanda. Unfortunately, laying low while things are sorted out will not be an option once they are contacted by a technopath mutant named Trinary, who needs the X-Men's help escaping from a prison in India.

X-Men: Red #2 is somewhat stronger than the first issue in terms of plotting, given that the whole of the story is told without any flashbacks or jumps in time. As usual, the highlight of Tom Taylor's script is the interactions between his characters and his use of humor. He also does a fantastic job of establishing and introducing Trinary as a character.

The artwork isn't quite as strong, but Mahmud Asrar proves a capable partner. His character designs are memorable and the artwork looks fantastic in the close-ups, though the fine details seem lost past the middle distance. The color art is also fantastic, with some interesting blending effects in the issue's lightning.

It takes a lot for me to enjoy an X-Men comic. And I enjoy this X-Men comic.

 The Final Analysis: 8 out of 10.

Batman: White Knight #6 - A Review

Commissioner Gordon is finally ready to turn on The Batman, but the prospect of bringing him in is easier said than done even with Nightwing's help. Councilman Jack Napier has a plan, but can even he stop his old enemy? And what will he do when The Neo Joker strikes  at an unprotected Gotham City?

I fear I'm growing repetitive with my praise for this series. There's nowhere to go once you've already declared it the best, most original thing done with Batman in the last decade.  The artwork is finely detailed without being over-cluttered and the colors are all perfectly chosen. If you haven't been reading this series, grab the reprints of the early issues or the earlier issues off of ComiXology. And if you have been reading this series, know that this issue is as fine as what has come before. Also, good for you!

 The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 7 - Equinox: The Book of Fate

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


As Jefferson continues in his efforts to hunt down Tobias Whale and bring him to justice, Anissa struggles to find "the new normal" in the wake of discovering her powers. Meanwhile, things heat up as Tobias makes his move against Lady Eve and Black Lightning.


The Black Lightning comics of Tony Isabella.


Jefferson doesn't trust Gambi any more, yet trusts him enough to let his family hide in his basement?


The fight choreography between Tobias Whale and his sparring partner is fantastic.


The outfit that Gambi wears while killing Joey Toledon resembles the costume of the classic pulp vigilante The Shadow.

Tobias Whale keeps a copy of Moby Dick on his desk. This is, of course, a classic novel about a great white whale.

By the end of the episode, Lady Eve is dead and Black Lightning has been framed the murder. A similar thing happened in the comics, with Black Lightning being blamed for the death of Joey Toledo. This fueled Inspector Henderson's determination to bring Black Lightning to justice until the hero proved himself to the old cop.


Some of Lynn's research has to do with addiction and its effect on the human brain.

Lynn did not get a chance to look at Alvin's research beyond noting some pretty advanced biochemical formulas.

The costume Gambi plans for Anissa will be made of a breathable Kevlar weave so it will be bulletproof even when she isn't. It will also be fireproof, water-resistant and contain a state-of-the-art neuro-interface technology stitched into the lining that will let Gambi monitor her vitals.

Tobias' men attack Lady Eve using some kind of high-tech energy weapon that electrocutes its victims.

Dialogue Triumphs

Anissa: This is a gift from God, Mom! A blessing!
Lynn: You sound just like your father...
Anissa: (scoffs) And that's a bad thing?!

Gambi: Have I done something to upset you?
Jefferson: It's what you didn't do, Gambi. Why didn't you tell me Tobias was back in Freeland?
Gambi: (annoyed) We're back to this again?
Jefferson: Yes, we are! Do you expect me to believe it took you two hours to get some intel on thieves on the dark web, but you haven't heard anything - ANYTHING - about a six-foot albino in Freeland?!
Gambi: I told you I didn't know!
Jefferson: I know what you told me! It doesn't mean I believe you.
Gambi: (sighs and takes off his glasses) I didn't tell you in order to protect you...
Jefferson: From Tobias?
Gambi: From yourself.
(Gambi walks around the counter to stand right in front of Jefferson.)
Gambi: Jefferson, I didn't want you to do something that you'd regret for the rest of your life. There's no coming back from something like that. Trust me.
Jefferson: (cooly) That's just it. I don't.
(Jefferson turns around and walks away.)

Tobias: I thought PCP was bad. This Green Light is on a whole other level. It's too volatile. Too addictive. Truthfully, it's killing too many people and dead customers don't pay.

(Gambi wants Tobias Whale brought down.)
Lady Eve: You could have Joey Toledo. Toledo is Tobias' right hand. If you remove him from the equation, maybe Tobias will get the hint and start being more careful?
Gambi: And if Tobias doesn't fall in line?
Lady Eve: I'll throw him off that bridge when I get to it.

Lynn: When you do what your father does - what you want to do? Everybody gets a happy ending but you.
Anissa: But the community, they fell apart, Mom, without Black Lightning. But the people are starting to believe that they can get up from The 100 again. Up from the crooked police. Look, I can finally help Dad free Freeland. And I'm willing to sacrifice my happiness so that other people can have theirs.

Jefferson: I'm a hypocrite. You know how I always get on you to keep your head? I've let my emotions get the best of me over and over again. And tonight, a young lady died.
Anissa: Dad, listen-
Jefferson: No, no, no. We are both gonna make mistakes. Horrible mistakes. But without us, Freeland doesn't stand a chance. (chuckles) I don't know everything. But what I do know, I'm going to teach my daughter.
Anissa: No, you're not a hypocrite. You're great. You're a great dad. A great principal. The greatest hero. I mean, Dad, I can only hope to live up to your example.
Jefferson: No. Be better than me. 


Anissa has some degree of enhanced healing, like her father.

Gambi lies to Jefferson about the men who attacked Lynnbeing part of a gang of roving tech thieves.

Lady Eve sends some of her men out to hit the men who attacked Lynn.

Lynn works at Bowman College

Lady Eve has Gambi listed in the contacts on her phone as The Tailor.

Tobias Whale addresses his female assassin as Syonide for the first time.

Jefferson says that Tobias Whale hasn't aged a day in 30 years.

Anissa tells Jefferson about how she got Alvin's research from David Poe in 105.

Tobias makes a 300% profit on what is invested in him by the 100.

Tobias is about to open a new nightclub in Freeland.

Jennifer figures out something is going on between Anissa and Jefferson.

David Poe died several days earlier, struck by a car on his morning bike ride.

Gambi kills Joey Toledo, leaving a box full of albino bone dust on the body.

Anissa tried walking for the first time when she was 10 months old.

Lynn asks Jefferson to train Anissa as a vigilante.

Tobias refers to the group behind Lady Eve as The Shadow Board.

Black Lightning is saved on Inspector Henderson's phone as The Electrician.

The two men who attacked Lynn are found dead near PAX Institute.

Gambi starts designing a superhero suit for Anissa.

During Black Lightning's attack on Tobias' new club, Tobias is wounded by one of his men when his gun goes wild while in auto-fire mode. He is taken away to safety..

Tori Whale is wounded and left for dead, dying as Black Lightning gets to her.

Lady Eve is killed by Tobias' men.

Anissa calls Grace and asks her out for a date as soon as they both have time.

Lady Eve's full real name was Evelyn Stillwater-Ferguson.

Black Lightning is framed for the deaths of Lady Eve and her employees.

In the end of the episode, Lala - who Tobias killed in 102 - is resurrected. He has a vision of LaWanda White, who he killed in the same episode, before a tattoo of her face appears on his chest.

The Fridge Factor

Tori Whale is killed off only to give Tobias one more reason to want to kill Black Lightning and to give Jefferson more angst over his vigilantism getting other people killed.

The Bottom Line

Problematic in that it kills two of its main female characters, but at least it does so in a way that is plot-relevant in the case of Lady Eve and at least Tori Whale goes down fighting. Still, the action of the final fifteen minutes is thrilling enough though I have no idea what to make of the final scene. You can bet I'll be anxious to see how this develops next week, though.