Thursday, March 29, 2018

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 16 - The Thanatos Guild

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



Plot

Nyssa Al Ghul returns to Star City to warn Thea that a League of Assassins splinter group is coming to kill her. This new faction, The Thanatos Guild, also seeks a mysterious box that was created by Malcolm Merlyn. Meanwhile, Oliver comes to a realization about his life.


Influences

Raiders of the Lost Ark (the traps in Merlyn's hideout) The Benjamin Percy run on Green Arrow (evil group seeking to recruit or kill Oliver Queen's half sister) and the New 52 Batman books (heroes warring with League of Assassins splinter group)


Performances

Katrina Law is as amazing as always.

As far as final bows go, Willa Holland gives a good one. The only downside is there's no final moment with Quentin, who has been more of a daughter to him than anyone else the past two seasons.


Artistry

The fight sequences are well-choreographed, even by the usually high standards of this show.


Trivia

The Thanatos Guild is named for Thanatos, the Greek God of Death.

The plot of this episode borrows somewhat from the recent Batman comics, which have seen the heroes contending with Leviathan - a new secretive group of assassins that employs many former League of Assassins members, including Talia Al Ghul.

The plot also vaguely resembles a plot thread from the Green Arrow comics of Benjamin Percy. There, Emiko Queen was head-hunted by The Ninth Circle - a cabal of Satanic bankers with a long association with The Queen Family, who employed Emiko's mother Shado.

The ball-cap worn by Roy Harper in this episode has a distinctive crown-shape icon on the front. This resembles the ball-cap worn by Roy Harper as part of his Arsenal costume in the DC Comics Rebirth universe.


Technobabble

Spartan has thermal imaging scanners built into his new helmet.

Iodine Dixonium is a component that is magnetically attracted to the same type of steel Ra's Al Ghul used to encase relics.

The League of Assassins cipher is based on The Fibonacci Sequence - a mathematical pattern dating back to Pingala's Formula in 450 BC. The Fibonacci Sequence is that every number is the sum of the two starting numbers.

Felicity attempts to scan the map to create a 3-D voxel-based re-creation of the original parchment. This might reveal some hidden markers.

Felicity is able to locate a bomb by tracking the frequency root of the detonator.

The bomb has a collapsible circuit. Since it has a mercury switch, it cannot be frozen. It can be short-circuited with an electricity arrow.

Merlyn's map was made with nanolithography - printed with bacteria. When the enzymes in it are exposed to Thea's DNA, the map reveals itself. This is, according to Felicity, cutting edge science requiring an atomic force microscope to create.


Dialogue Triumphs

Nyssa: I would so relish slitting your throat, Athena.
Athena: One thing we have in common.
Nyssa: Except I've grown a taste for the contemporary...
(Nyssa holds up a detonator and grins.) 
Nyssa: Such as plastic explosives.

(Roy and Thea are driving away through the streets of Star City.)
Thea: I can't believe we're actually doing it.
Roy: Yeah. I can't believe it either.
Thea: (purring) Happily ever after.
Roy: Yeah. (hesitatingly) Ever after.
Thea: Okay. That wasn't so convincing.
Roy: Look, Thea - I'm thrilled. I just don't want to jinx it.
Thea: Okay. And since when do you believe in superstitions?
Roy: Well, ever since I met your brother, there's not a lot I don't believe in.
(Thea scoffs as suddenly one of their tires blows out.  We cut away to see Roy struggling to control the car as it spins out. Close-up on the front passenger tire, which has been shot by an arrow.)
Thea: Okay. Now I may believe it too.

Tigressa: Your father had much faith in you.
Thea: Yeah, well... with that new league he created running around, I can't say the same for him.
Tigressa: So you've met Athena. She's not the leader your father desired. You are.
Thea: Yeah, well, I'm sure death has cured him of his disappointment.

(Athena and her men are standing above a dropped Roy and Thea.)
Athena:
Make your father proud! Come with us!
Thea: (weakly) Felicity? I know you were wondering...(suddenly stronger) it's from Raiders. (To Roy) Kiss the floor.
(Roy and Thea both lie flat as Thea hits the trigger panel next to her. The darts in the hallway go shooting into Athena and her soldiers. most of them dropping dead instantly.)

Oliver: Nyssa.
Nyssa: Husband.
Oliver: (forced chuckle) You've got to stop doing that. I... I do have a wife now and...uh... she doesn't like it.
Nyssa: But that's the fun of it.
Oliver: Thea may want you to stay. Doesn't mean you have to.
Nyssa: Her point about Felicity's utility was well taken.
Oliver: So was her point about wanting nothing to do with Malcolm.
Nyssa: It is her life and she must find her own truth.
Oliver: I think her truth is a new life. That she's earned.
Nyssa: She's earned your support for her actions. Whatever those may be.
Oliver: I can understand why she would be conflicted with Malcolm. He was her father. I am not conflicted. He was evil. And Thea should not be charged with writing his wrongs.
Nyssa: My father was also evil. And I've dedicated the rest of my life to righting his wrongs. From what I understand, you have done the same.
Oliver: But my father asked me to! With his dying wish, he asked me to!
Nyssa: Back on Lian Yu, Merlyn gave up his life for Thea. Just as your father did for you. I believe Thea owes him the same debt!
Oliver: Well, it is convenient for you to believe that. Because Thea gets you closer to what you want, so do not pretend that you are selflessly supporting her. And never, ever lecture me on what I owe my sister.

(Felicity explains the code for the League of Assassins' Puzzle Box and The Fibonacci Sequence)
Roy: Wow.
Felicity: Yeah.
Roy (To Nyssa) When you said ancient, you were not kidding.
Nyssa: I never kid.
Felicity: Except where my marriage is concerned, apparently.

(Felicity explains the horribly technical thing she is trying to do to an oblivious Nyssa. She is clearly reveling in Nyssa being unsure of something for the first time since she's ever known her.)
Nyssa: That sounds... complicated.
Felicity: It is. Very.
(Felicity turns back to her computer, still smiling.)
Felicity: So it would be really great to not be distracted. You know?
Nyssa: Very true. (pause) I'll stay here to make sure you remain uninterrupted. Sister-Wife.
Felicity: ... okay.

(Thea asks Oliver why he's still The Green Arrow when John wants to take the mantle from him.)
Oliver: I don't know. I - I - I gave it up because I wanted to be a better father. But... William accepts the idea that I'm The Green Arrow. Plus, I don't want to give it up. I don't know why.
Thea:
I do. Because being The Green Arrow is what makes you feel complete. For some reason when you... you put that hood on, it enables you to become the best version of yourself.
Oliver: We're supposed to be talking about you.
Thea: Maybe we are. I don't know...  Maybe that's the reason why I can't seem to give this... life up. I... (sighs) I dunno maybe I'm hoping that maybe I'll get the same thing... and find the best version of myself. Whoever she is.

Felicity: Don't forget guys - we have a bomb situation.
Roy: There's always a bomb situation!

Thea: One more piece of advice?
Oliver: Sure.
Thea: If you're going to wear that hood, you shouldn't string John along anymore.
Oliver: I thought I was the one who gave the wise sibling advice?
Thea: Nope. That has never been the case.


Continuity

The opening flashback from Four Years Ago with Thea talking to Merlyn took place in 223.

Nyssa Al Ghul is confirmed to still be alive following the events of Lian Yu's destruction. The last mention of her was in 601, where Slade Wilson said he saw her heading towards the cages to see if Artemis had survived the bombing.

Thea and Roy are planning to run off together, though they don't know where just yet.

According to Thea, Oliver was afraid of the dark and couldn't sleep without a light on until he was 16. Ollie says he just had a problem with pitch blackness.

Oliver makes reference to the two times he shot Roy Harper with an arrow in 208 and 220.

According to Quentin, Black Siren is as messy as Laurel but is a better cook.

Dinah and Curtis are working on figuring out which cops in the SCPD are working for Diaz, but Quentin fears that other parts of the city government might be under his control as well.

Quentin confirms that the Star City District Attorney is still going forward with the case against Oliver Queen being Green Arrow, even without Roy Harper as a witness.

One of the dirty cops working for Diaz is named J. Hester. Dinah recognizes him by sight from the fight to rescue Roy in 615.  He is the tenth dirty cop Dinah has identififed.

Nick Anastas is an SCPD officer Curtis thinks is cute. He has no blackmail pressure points and hasn't had any odd deposits into his accounts that Curtis can track.

Curtis has been taking care of Zoe since 615. He cooks Macaroni and Cheese far too much for her liking.

Rene is supposed to be starting physical therapy soon.

The licene plate on Roy Harper's car is JJV-467.

The Thantos Guild was Malcolm Merlyn's attempt to reform The League of Assassins following Nyssa's disbanding them in 413. His second in command was a woman named Athena.

Athena was a rival of Nyssa's in The League of Assassins.

Merlyn found a map to something he wanted to unearth with Thea. The Thanatos Guild wrongly believe Thea to have the map or knowledge of where it is.

Merlyn had one female associate in Star City with whom he confided - Tigressa. She is an assassin with over 200 confirmed kills, including her own brother, whom she killed because he had matched her record. She claims to have rejected the path of The League of Assassins. 

Captain Hill takes over a drug-related homicide which Dinah is investigating. This tips Dinah off that something strange might be going on, beyond her suspicion there's no way there can be this many dirty cops in the SCPD without the Captain being dirty as well.

The map is contained within a puzzle box made with an ancient cipher used by The League of Assassins. It utilizes 18 characters from three different alphabets.

Curtis is able to bluff his way into a tour with Officer Nick Anastas when he catches him standing watch outside the evidence room while Dinah is breaking into it.

The League of Assassins cipher is based on The Fibonacci Sequence - a mathematical pattern dating back to Pingala's Formula in 450 BC. The Fibonacci Sequence is that every number is the sum of the two starting numbers.

The starting numbers are 10 and 13. 1013 was the year The League of Assassins was founded. It is also, according to Thea, Malcolm Merlyn's birthday (October 13).

Roy Harper was always good at math.

Felicity holds the map close to a fire, hoping there is invisible ink in much the same way as utilized in other League of Assassins documents, such as The List from 106.

Nyssa was 25 when she first used a computer.

Curtis determines that the drugs Hill took from Dinah at the crime scene were Vertigo - not something Diaz manufactures. This suggests that Hill is clean.

Athena is able to escape despite an apparently fatal wound dealt by Thea.

The map requires Thea's blood as an agent to make the invisible ink visible.

The map shows a series of ley lines spanning the globe. There are three points which have the same confluence of ley lines as Nanda Parbat, suggesting that Merlyn discovered the location of three more Lazarus Pits.

Curtis asks Nick Anastas out to dinner. He says yes.

Dinah determines there are no cases involving Vertigo being handled. This means that Diaz is now selling Vertigo and that Captain Hill is working with him.

Thea decides to go with Nyssa to destroy The Lazarus Pits. Roy decides to go with them.

Nyssa gives Oliver a dagger that symbolizes the cutting of marital bonds among The League Of Assassins members. This officially annuls their marriage.


Location

An unnamed castle run by The Thanatos Guild.


The Bottom Line

A marked improvement over most of the episodes of the second half of Season Six, but that's likely due to the fact that it has nothing to do with the on-going story of Season Six. Even the bits with Dinah and Curtis investigating the SCPD seem far removed from the on-going story since it doesn't involve them butting heads with the Original Team Arrow and there's no Black Siren getting in the way.

This episode is almost entirely devoted to giving Thea Queen a proper send off . It does the same for Roy Harper and Nyssa Al Ghul to a lesser degree, but this is honestly Willa Holland's swan song and she makes it clear just why she was so essential to this show's success. Of course the show hasn't given her much to do in recent episodes but at least she's been given a good send off with a chance of coming back later.

Unfortunately, the preview for next week indicates more stupid bickering and heroes fighting heroes while the villains get away with murder.  For this week, however, Arrow was good.


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 10 - Sins Of The Father: The Book Of Redemption

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




Plot

Following up on Gambi's discovery, Black Lightning and Thunder investigate a mysterious lab which seems to be holding the cryogenically frozen first generation of Freeland's metahumans. Meanwhile, Lynn studies Jennifer in order to learn about her new powers.


Influences

The Black Lightning comics of Tony Isabella and the Milestone Comics Universe.


Artistry

The direction of the opening sequence with Thunder tracking an abducted kid and finding the lab Gambi spoke of is fantastic, well-shot and with a great musical accompaniment.


Trivia

While not referred to by name, thematically this episode seems to draw off of the general aesthetic of the Milestone Comics Universe. The idea of young people accidentally being given superpowers and then being quietly picked up by the government seems to mirror a similar plot thread in the comic book Static, in which teenagers gained superpowers when an experimental new tear gas proved to have unintended side effects.


Technobabble

Jefferson is able to use his powers to make a springboard of sorts that Anissa uses to jump and flip, so that she can deliver a more effective blow to the ground.

Jefferson can "feel" the presence of electrical currents with his powers. With the help of the goggles Gambi made for him, he can see them as well. He calls this "Electric Vision."

Jennifer's body chemistry disrupts an MRI.

Lynn compares Jefferson's powers to a battery - he takes energy in from the source, stores it and channels it. Jennifer's powers, by contrast, have turned her into a generator, with her cells creating pure energy.


Dialogue Triumphs

"Will": (whistles) Damn. You always mercing someone. Just like how you killed me.
Lala: I didn't do nothing to you but give you a job. Everything after that, you did to yourself.

(Jefferson has just told Lynn about his "Electric Vision".)
Lynn:
Can you see through people's clothes?
(Jefferson just stares at her and then his gaze moves downward, as he smiles approvingly.)
Jefferson: Mmmmmaybe?
Lynn: Are you undressing me with your eyes?
(Jefferson just chuckles.)

Jefferson: Anissa told me what happened. Are you okay?
Jennifer: Yeah.
(Jefferson nods and watches her expectantly.)
Jennifer: (sighs) No.
(Jefferson sits on the foot of her bed.)
Jefferson: Look... I promise you, you will be. Ok? You will live the life that you want to live. Not the one Anissa or me or your mother or anyone else wants you to live. The life you want. But you have to learn to control your powers. Someone could get hurt.
Jennifer: I didn't ask for this.
Jefferson: I know (sighs) Believe me, I know. But you still have to deal with it.

(Two Bits is lighting up a marijuana cigarette. A bolt of electricity blasts it from his hand. He looks up to see Black Lighting.)
Two Bits: What-?
Black Lightning: We had a deal.
Two Bits: I'm following our deal! I said I wouldn't sell no more drugs and I'm not!
Black Lightning: You ain't supposed to smoke no drugs either.
Two Bits: It's legal, man! I got a card!
Black Lightning: Uh-uh. You ain't got a card from me.
Two Bits: (pauses) I hate you.
Black Lightning: No, you don't. I'm making you a better man.
Two Bits: I don't want to be a better man!
Black Lightning: Yeah, you do.

(Two Bits is telling Black Lightning about the military trucks he saw. Suddenly an air conditioning unit comes falling down above them, almost hitting them both. The look up to see a woman looking out the window at them.)
Two Bits: What the hell?!
Woman: Damn! I almost got you! I'm sorry, Black Lightning, but you're worth a lot of money.
Two Bits: They doubled the reward they put on you for killing Lady Eve. I'd take you in myself if I thought that I could... take you.
Black Lightning: I didn't kill her.
Two Bits: (laughing nervously) Okay. I believe you. But what I think don't matter. Man, you're doing too much. Maybe you should try keeping a low profile, you know?
Black Lightning: I don't do low profile.
Two Bits: Yeah. I see that.
Black Lightning: Stop smoking them drugs, all right? You need to do better.
(A microwave falls from the sky just barely missing Black Lightning and Two Bits again.)
Woman: Dammit!
Two-Bits: (to the woman) What is wrong with you?! (to Black Lighting) You've got people trying to drop microwaves on your head, and you're telling me to do better?!
Woman: He killed no one, but I've need my bills paid!

Malik: Where's everyone else at?
Jefferson: Behind that preposition?
Malik: What?
Jefferson: It is bad English to end a sentence with a preposition.
Malik: Oh. Where's everyone else at, brah?
Jefferson: Good. That's good.


Continuity

Two Bits is seen for the first time since 104. He witnesses a young girl who appears to be manifesting fire powers being grabbed off the street and put in a van.

Anissa tells Jefferson about the lab that Gambi discovered in 109. She determined that the bodies of the metahuman children were in suspended animation.

Lala is now talking to his dead cousin Will, who he killed in 102.

Will's mother doesn't know that he's dead.

Lala develops another tattoo that looks like Will.

Jefferson tells Anissa about what Gambi told him about his past in 108 and the ASA project that accidentally gave kids superpowers.

Anissa tells Jefferson what Gambi told her - that he leveraged his knowledge to end the ASA program in Freeland and has been trying to make amends for his role in things since.

Two Bits tells Jefferson about the abducted metahuman girl. He says the uniform looked like it was from Jefferson's school.

The abduction occurred on 34th and Oglethorpe.

The missing girl's name is Neema.

Jennifer's powers are determined to be just like Jefferson's, after she sets a couch cushion on fire after she loses her temper.

Two Bits has been tracking the comings and goings of every delivery truck in Freeland since he was a teenager.

Gambi is abducted by The ASA. Martin Proctor from 108 leads the team that does it.

Two Bits has a prescription for medical marijuana.

The warehouse where the metahuman kids were being kept was on 12th street. They were moved by large, military trucks that didn't leave Freeland, but nobody saw where they went.

Jefferson approaches Malik - the boy who works for Lala as a drug dealer - who was last seen in 102. He offers to help Malik by finding a place for him and his grandmother to live if he'll come to the mentoring program at Garfield High at 10 am the next day.

Jefferson give Malik a book of poems by Langston Hughes and instructs him to read one poem a day.

Gambi says the ASA must have another spotter working in Freeland who is tracking the new metahuman kids and arranging for them to be abducted.

Lala begins to push the local drug dealers working for The 100 to sell cocaine and weed instead of Green Light.

Jefferson moves Lynn, Jennifer and Anissa into the house he grew up in, which was held in trust for him until he was 21.

The ASA Spotter is revealed to be Kara Fowdy - the Vice Principal at Garfield High.

Martin Proctor now knows that Jefferson Pierce is Black Lightning. He orders Kara Fowdy to kill him.


The Bottom Line

Another great episode. Though it's unclear where the subplot with Lala is going, it is engaging. More, it's nice to see some scenes here in which we see Jefferson being a hero outside of costume trying to save a young drug dealer from the dark path he was put on. The main plot is moving along nicely as well.

Injustice 2 #51 - A Review

With Ra's Al Ghul's Amazo defeated, the time has come to rebuild. The first item on Bruce Wayne's agenda is reforming the alliance of independently wealthy idealists who can help him build a better world. Unfortunately, another meeting far closer to home will demand his immediate attention. One involving a family matter...


It becomes harder and harder for me to describe the story of Injustice 2 with every passing issue. I curse Tom Taylor for crafting these amazing cliffhangers I can't discuss as a critic, even as I rejoice in his storytelling as a reader. Suffice it to say that fans of The Bat Family will want to read this issue.

Thankfully, I have no such restrictions when it comes to this issue's artwork. Bruno Redondo is a fantastic visual storyteller, whose pencils are crystal clear yet divinely detailed. Juan Albararan's inks define and enhance the original pencils without obscuring them. Rex Lokus' colors provide the perfect finishing touch. This is one of the best looking comics on the market today!

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 3, Episode 16 - I, Ava

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




Plot

When Ava disappears, Sara and Ray set out to find her and discover a disturbing truth about her. Acting Captain Amaya puts Zari in charge of training Rory in the use of The Fire Totem, as Nate and Wally set out on a mission that goes awry when they pair with the most unlikely ally possibly.


Influences

The film version of I, Robot and the movie Blade Runner 


Goofs

Shouldn't Amaya be more worried about a fight between two totem bearers on-board The Waverider?


Performances

Neal McDonough manages to find just the right mixture of comedy and pathos during Darhk's breakdown.

Maisie Richardson-Sellers doesn't get a lot of screen time in this episode but she sells the hell out of Amay's conflict in the final segment regarding the man she loves, the guilt she feels over Kuasa and all the responsibility that comes with her powers.


Trivia Of Tomorrow

The holographic commercial for the Ava Shape clone briefly includes a flash of the phrase "More Human Than Human." This was the motto of The Tyrell Corporation in the movie Blade Runner - the company that manufactured the super-realistic biological androids known as Replicants. The general theme regarding humanity existing within artificially created beings is also taken directly from the movie.

Damian Darhk says that watching the drama between Kuasa and Nate is better than "The Brave and The Bold." The Brave and The Bold, while sounding like the name of a soap opera (Darhk may have meant, The Bold And The Beautiful), is the name of a long-running DC Comics series that saw Batman teaming up with other superheroes. It was also the name of a long-running animated series devoted to Batman teaming with other superheroes.

Sara refers to the Ava clones as "fem-bots." This is a reference to the sexy female android assassins used by Doctor Evil in the first Austin Powers movie.


Technobabble

Ray Palmer is a capable enough hacker to break into The Time Bureau's computer.

Time Couriers keep a log of where they have been.

The Time Bureau has declared certain times and places to be "no fly" zones. Only The Time Bureau Director can sanction travel to one of these places. Time Couriers and The Waverider are programmed not to allow travel to time no-fly zones.  Vancouver in 2213 is one such no-fly zone.

Ava was apparently created from what were believed to be the best genes from around the world to make the perfect woman.

Bylaw 575 prohibits unauthorized personnel from being inside the AVA Corp. labs, The penalty is death.

The Totems allow the bearers to sense when another Totem Bearer has died. In this case, Zari and Rory are able to sense the death of Kuasa.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Gary tells Sara and Ray about Ava's disappearance.)
Gary: I've already been covering for her! I've forged her signature twice! What am I supposed to do next?! Put on a wig and pantsuit and pretend I'm her?!
(Ray gives Gary the biggest side-eye glance ever as he looks to Sara as if to say, "Is he serious?")
Sara: No. Don't do that.

Wally: You're sure you saw Kuasa?
Nate: Yeah. Just be on the lookout for a badass in a leather outfit. Or a suspicious puddle of water.

(Ava's "parents" confess to being paid actors.)
Ray: Why in the world would you ever agree to be part of such a charade?
"Pam Sharpe": Do you know how hard it is to get an acting job in Fresno?!

Nate: I thought you hated Mari?
Kuasa: She's still my sister. And even though I resented her for inheriting The Anansi Totem, I'd still rather see it around her neck than Nora Darhk's.

(Wally asks why he can't just run to where the Darhk' are and swipe The Anansi Totem)
Kuasa: You overplayed your hand. Now they know you have a... whatever you are on the team.
Wally: What I am is the "fastest man alive", thanks.
Nate: Second fastest.
Wally: Shhh! She didn't need to know that.

(Nora has just given Kuasa The Anansi Totem)
Nate: (quietly) The plan worked. Free me.
Kuasa: I once thought that losing this totem was the greatest threat to me and my family.  (looking down at Nate) But you are in love with my Nana Baa, and should she choose to love you in return, me and my sister will never even exist.
Nate: This is not the plan.
Kuasa: Plans change.
Damien Darhk: (whispering) This is better than The Brave and The Bold.
Kuasa: For a PhD, you're remarkably gullible.
Nate:
Oh, Kuasa... you're better than this. Be the woman your grandmother believes you to be!
Kuasa: I am being the woman she knows me to be.

Nate: Your daughter, she looks - um - she look different. No offense.
Damien Darhk: (sighs while picking up a cattle prod) None taken.
(Damien zaps Nate with the prod. Nate howls in pain but Damien pulls the prod away and sighs, clearly not into it.)
Damien Darhk:
Her face...
Nate: (choking) How long has that been a situation?
Damien Darhk: You know what? Since you're going to die, I may as well tell you. The-the closer that Mallus gets to escaping his prison, the worse the situation gets.
(Nate nods, looking up at Damien earnestly.)
Damien Darhk: It's... Don't. Stop looking... don't look at me! I'm just gonna... just gonna...
(Nate keeps looking at Damien and all but gives him puppy dog eyes. Damien sighs in frustration.)
Damien Darhk: I'm sorry!  It's - it's not you! It's- It's me! Torture just doesn't bring me the same joy anymore!
Nate: It's okay! You're distracted! I get it! You made a deal with the devil, and now he's come back to claim your little girl  Am I right?
Damien Darhk: Yes!  I mean, I want to burn the world down and rebuild it in my image! Not lose the person I was doing it for!
Nate: (reassuringly) Damien, this is deep stuff, man. Let's just keep digging, let's just keep digging. Just do me one favor?
Damien Darhk: (half-sobbing) Yes! What?!
Nate: Can you lose the cattle prod? I mean, I'm gonna die anyway. Let's make this a safe space.
Damien Darhk: (nodding as he puts the prod down) Safe space.
Nate: Safe space.
(Damien takes a deep breath to calm himself and smiles.)

Amaya: How can you be so selfish?
Kuasa: You are the selfish one. Our family's destruction looms in 1992. You promised you'd save us. And yet you continuously search for ways to abandon your family and Zambesi.
Amaya: I have done everything in my power to try and redeem you! And in doing so, Mari got hurt. She understands that being a Totem Bearer means protecting all people - not just our own. It's no wonder this totem ended up with Mari and not you. You are beyond redemption.
(Kuasa says nothing but walks away.)

Sara: Ava. You are real. You are as real as I feel about you.
Ava: How can you say that when I'm just like one of those things?
Sara: Because I know you. And I know that you are a badass. And you are different. (pauses) And now that we both know that, I need you to act exactly like one of those clones if we want to get out of here.

Nate: I got Kuasa killed.
Amaya: (shaking her head) I got my granddaughter killed.
Nate: You... how?
Amaya: By goading her to be more like her sister. Kuasa wanted to prove that she was worthy of this. (holds up the Anansi Totem) She died proving that I was wrong about her, by saving the life of aman who threatened her existence.
Nate: Exactly! And if I didn't get captured, then Kuasa-
Amaya: - was doomed either way! I mean, that's how Time works. Well, clearly Time wants my family to suffer.
Nate: Amaya, you have to believe that you are in charge of your own destiny.
Amaya: You know, there are times I wish I'd never set foot on this ship? If I'd never left 1942, I would have returned to Zambesi like I was suppose to. With no idea of the tragedy that awaited me. I would have died an old woman.
Nate: Murdered by warlords. And you and I never would have met. (pauses) Is that what you want, Amaya?
Amaya: I don't know, Nathaniel.
(Amaya takes The Anansi Totem and leaves the library.)


Dialogue Disasters

(Ray, Sara and Gary discover that Vancouver 2213 is full of Ava Shapre clones)
Ray: What kind of world is this?
Gary: Paradise?
Sara: I'm surrounded by my exes, Gary... this is Hell.

Ray: This is the second worst "attack of the clones" I've seen.


Continuity

Sara takes a day off from the team to get her head together after the incident with The Death Totem and her break-up with Ava in 315.

Sara appoints Amaya as acting Captain while she's gone.

Zari doesn't eat pork or bacon and is fasting during the day for Ramadan.

Mick has been "training" himself by using the Fire Totem to grill hot dogs and make popcorn. He has also mastered a trick that requires someone pulling his finger that we do not get to see demonstrated.

Nate and Wally leave for Detroit 2018 to talk to Mari McCabe, who was injured while trying to evacuate an apartment building on fire. Amaya reasons that with Nora Darhk having stolen The Anansi Totem from her, the timeline must be starting to adjust to the fact that it was never there for Amaya to pass on to her daughter, ensuring it eventually went to Mari.

Gary refers to the death of Director Bennett at the hands of Gorilla Grodd in 313.

Ray determines that someone erased Ava Sharpe's employee profile from The Waverider.

Ava's trash can in her office has a birthday card from her parents in Fresno, California in it.

Ava's "parents" are named Pam and Randy Sharpe.

Sara figures out that Ava's parents are fakes based on a photo they say was taken at a slumber party held on Ava's 15th birthday, when Sara recalls Ava telling her in 312 that she spent her 15th birthday playing paintball.

Mick Rory has the eating schedule of a Hobbit, having four lunches.

Kuasa has been watching over Mari ever since Nora Darhk stole The Anansi Totem from Amaya.

Kuasa agrees to help Nate and Wally steal The Anansi Totem back.

Gary Green has astigmatism and was never authorized to fly the Time Bureau mothership.

The Time Bureau's mothership has the ability to travel to temporal No-Fly Zones without the Time Bureau Director's direct approval.

Ava turns out to be a clone created by a company called The Advanced Variant Automation Corporation (AVA Corporation.)

Gary has a fear of things covered in sheets.

Ava does not know about the clones of her in the future and faints when she sees a clone of herself being made.

Kuasa gives Amaya back The Anansi Totem.

Ava called her ex in Las Vegas and created an UpSwipz profile after Sara dumped her. This is where she was when she claimed to be in Fresno visiting her parents.

Mallus is apparently capable of draining The Speed Force from a speedster's body and throwing it back at them as lightning.

Kuasa returns to free Nate during the fight with Nora/Mallus.

Nora kills Kuasa by pulling The Water Totem from her body.

Ray erases Gary's memory of the events of the trip to 2213

Zari admits that part of the reason she keeps to her Muslim upbringing regarding dietary restrictions and fasting during Ramadan and cooking iftar is because it reminds her of her family.

Sara guesses that Rip Hunter was the one responsible for declaring Vancouver 2213 off-limits, hacking Ava Sharpe's personnel records and recruiting the actors who played Ava's parents.

The episode ends with Amaya taking the jump-ship to the M'Changa province of Zambesi in 1992.


Location

Detroit, Michigan - 2018
Time Bureau - Star City - 2018
Fresno, California - 2018
Vancouver, British Columbia - 2213


The Bottom Line

A mixed bag, overall. While the script generally does a good job of balancing all of its subplots, the plain truth is that the Mick/Zari subplot only seems to exist because the writers suddenly decided they needed to be more overt about Zari's religion and needed to give her and Mick something to do while Sara chased after her ex and Nate fell into an obvious trap. Still, the moments that are good are incredibly good but the episode still feels like a bit of filler apart from everything involving Amaya's conflict.

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




Plot

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.


Influences

The Black Lightning comics of Tony Isabella.


Goofs

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.


Performances

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.


Artistry

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.


Trivia

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.


Technobabble

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?


Continuity

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.




Plot

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.


Influences

The movie Alien (the sequence of a possessed Sara hunting down The Legends on their sealed-off ship), 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.)


Goofs

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.


Performances

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.


Artistry

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.

The Nostromo Sequence which seals The Waverider up is a reference to the name of the ship from the movie Alien. The sequences of The Legends being hunted by a possessed Sara Lance were done as a tribute to the movie Alien.

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.


Technobabble

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.


Continuity

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.


Location

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




Plot

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.


Influences

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


Goofs

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.


Performances

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


Trivia

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.


Technobabble

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.)
Jefferson:
Freeze.
(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.


Continuity

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



Plot

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.


Influences

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


Goofs

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.


Technobabble

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.


Continuity

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.