Monday, April 23, 2018

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 15 - In Search Of Lost Time

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


Plot

As Lena continues to work with Sam to discover what is causing her to lose track of her life, Kara begins learning the fighting techniques developed to fight Worldkillers in the future. The training will be put on hold, however, when Kara must help J'onn contain the chaos caused by M'yrnn's increasingly erratic mental state.


Influences

Superman: The Movie (The theme of parents raising children and the children coming to care for the parents.)


Goofs

Katie McGrath's Irish accent slips into Lena's angry speech to Sam at a few points.

The CGI of J'onn fighting the White Martian is a big too fluid.


Performances


As always, the chemistry between Chris Wood and Melissa Benoist is a highlight of the episode, despite their subplot being the weakest and not having any great dialogue.

That might be the best part of the episode, were it not for the pathos inspired by Carl Lumbly's performance as M'yrnn.


Artistry


There's a lot of arty slow-motion shots as Kara and Mon-El train and during the battles in the DEO that work surprisingly well.


Super Trivia


M'yrnn makes reference to J'onn having an imaginary friend named Zook. In the Silver Age Martian Manhunter comics, Zook was the name of an alien being who acted as a pet/sidekick to J'onn J'onzz. Zook was a creature that resembled a cartoonish dog, who had the powers of temperature manipulation (he could freeze or super-heat objects he touched), limited shape-shifting abilities and he could track anyone whom he had met before, no matter how they had disguised themselves.

In the 1998 Martian Manhunter comic series, Zook was the name of a Martian plant that could be fashioned into clothing that could shapeshift in tandem with a Martian.

M'yrnn says that J'onn's imaginary friend Zook was a 5th dimensional being, who caused mischief like moving around the pieces on the O'kk Rotokk board. In the classic DC Comics, there are several 5th dimensional imps who do cause trouble for various heroes. These include Mr. Mxyzptlk, Bat-Mite and Qwsp.

The alien who Kara fights at the alien bar in the pre-credits sequence is described as a Kalanorian. In the original DC Comics, Kalanor is the home-world of the Justice League villain Despero.

Mon-El's caped costume is based upon his classic costume from the original comics.

The cloak which M'yrnn wears has two rounded metal clasps with a chain that resemble the clasps on the classic Martian Manhunter costume from the comics.

Kara quotes something that her uncle Jor-El used to say when agreeing with Alex that it is time for J'onn to become a parent and guardian to M'yrnn - "The son becomes the father and the father the son." This is, of course, a line Jor-El famously said in Superman: The Movie.


Technobabble

Lena's preliminary studies of Sam find a karyokinetic anomaly, confirming that she has been transforming - mutating into something else.

Kalanorians are psychically sensitive empaths, prone to outbursts during astronomical events. Their physiology can be manipulated by complex luminal and gravatic shifts.

Most of Sam's blood tests seem normal, so Lena studied her salt replication process. Lena determined that Sam's cells have undergone a mitotital mutation that Lena had only ever seen occur in insects. This indicates that when Sam blacks out, her body undergoes a literal metamorphosis and changes on a cellular level, transforming her into Reign.

Brainiac 5 was able to use 31st century technology to scan every security camera, satellite image and cellphone video he could find to construct a realistic three-dimensional hologram of Kara's fights with Reign.

The Ta'ar Ka'riq is a Martian meditation technique that can slow the deterioration of a Martian's mind by moving their memories from the decaying parts of the brain into fresh cells. Unfortunately, it can cause discomfort in nearby psychic races like Kalanorians. At close range, it can even effect non-psychics like Earthlings and Kryptonians.

The cape of Mon-El's costume is modeled on Kara's. It is made of a Krytponian meta-material - Smartcloth.

The Legion Flight Rings also act as a psychic shield. This is why Mon-El was not effected by M'yrnn's psychic attack.


Dialogue Triumphs


(Alex has just gotten a trouble alert on her phone.)
Kara:
Well, time to get back to the salt mine.
(Everyone looks up as Kara... slowly unbuttons her shirt rather than just ripping it open to reveal her costume.)
Kara:
What?! I like this shirt!

(Winn steps into the room and stands proudly.)
Winn:
I have done something amazing!
Kara: You found Pestilence.
Winn: (pauses) I have done something okay.

M'yrnn: Play a match with me. I never tire of beating you.
J'onn: I've got to get back to work. Why don't you bring the game to the DEO and we can play later?
M'yrnn: (nodding) As soon as I finish my game against... Zook.
(M'yrnn glances around.)
M'yrnn: (concerned) He was right here...
(J'onn looks at his father and freezes up.)
M'yrnn: (worried) Where is he?
J'onn: (worried) Dad?
(M'yrnn looks up at J'onn... and winks before grinning widely.)
M'yrnn: A joke.
J'onn: (exasperated) Not funny, Dad.
M'yrnn: Only because you did not see your face.

James: No matter how bad you want to help somebody, all you can really do is hold up a mirror.

M'yrnn: I am sorry. For the pain I caused. I hurt you. All of you. I was so fearful of losing control of what's left of my life, I refused to accept what was happening. And it nearly cost me everything I hold dear!
J'onn: I'd hoped I would've been able to protect you all better.
Alex: You protect us all the time, J'onn.
Kara: Tonight was our turn.

Kara: I thought I had dealt with my feelings about us. But M'yrnn's... episode made me realize that... our relationship was not perfect. You know, maybe I knew that, deep down... But especially when you were gone, I was so busy missing you and romanticizing us... (sighs) I do feel... a big weight off my shoulders. So, in a way, I'm grateful that it happened. And I'm really sorry that it took a Martian attack (chuckles) to make it come out. And I'm sorry it was so brutal.
Mon-El: Yeah, well, the truth can be brutal. (pauses) It's not news to me that I used to be a jerk. And I'm sorry... I'm sorry. For all of it. I didn't really grasp your perspective back then.
Kara: Yeah, but still, I ... I shouldn't have hit you and I'm sorry for that. And I'm sorry for... (sighs) I'm just sorry.
Mon-El: Can we make an agreement?
Kara: Yeah.
Mon-El: (offers her a hand) No more apologies.
(Kara takes the hand and shakes it. She smiles.)
Kara: Do you want to go be heroes?
(We cut to the skies over National City, as the two of them fly next to each other in full costume.)


Continuity

As the episode opens, Lena has been working with Sam for three days.

J'onn had an imaginary friend as a child - a 5th dimensional imp named Zook.

The DEO Profile of the alien Kara fought at the alien bar gives her name as Finhead.

Finhead was a Kalanorian with no criminal record.

The Kalanorians are said to be psychically sensitive empaths, prone to outbursts during astronomical events.

The sensors on the Legion ship are unable to detect Purity or Reign.

Mon-El says that of all the Worldkillers, Pestilence should be the easiest to see coming as her presence causes plagues and diseases of all kinds.

Lena is able to pair up Sam's blackouts to Reign's appearances. The timeline matches perfectly.

Watching the hologram of Kara and Reign's first fight, Kara and Mon-El determine that Reign was toying with Kara. Her fighting style is all power and aggression, She is stronger than Kara, but she doesn't bother with footwork and places all her strength on one foot when she attacks.

Winn fixes Mon-El's costume.

We finally get to see an O'kk Rotokk board. M'yrnn first mentioned the Martian strategy game in 307. It resembles Chinese checkers, but the pieces are rolled telekinetically.

James had a roommate in college who had a drug abuse problem. James tried to help him but ultimately all he could do was clean up the messes he made.

When M'yrnn prays, he causes Winn, Agent Demos, Alex and Kara to become more aggressive.

J'onn has Winn recalibrate the mental inhibitors used against Psi in 302.

Mandrax - the alien art-smuggler from 216 - is seen in the DEO cell-block as Kara and Alex check on Finhead.

Lena attempts to provoke a reaction in Sam to awaken Reign. She is successful.

Sam learns the truth of her secret identity after Lena shows her video of her transformation.

J'onn tells Kara and Alex the truth about M'yrnn being responsible for the psychic attack on the DEO.

J'onn can use the DEO power inhibiting technology to stop M'yrnn from being a threat, but he is reluctant to do so given what the loss of telepathy means to a Martian.

Alex recalls how her grandmother began to lose her ability to drive herself and how one of the most difficult things her mother had to do was take away her car keys.

Kara refers to how Mon-El skipped out in training at the DEO (206) and how she tried to get him a job at CatCo (207).

There is a woman named Pam in the DEO's HR department. For some reason, she seeks out Winn to fight him as everyone in the DEO goes crazy during M'yrnn's second psychic attack on the building.

J'onn eventually locks a power-inhibiting bracelet on M'yrnn.

Lena promises to keep Ruby away from Sam until they find a way to stop Reign.

James brings Lena dinner, saying he has a lot of friends who forget to eat when they're busy saving the world.

Lena tells James that she will not be able to tell them everything going on in her work in their relationship. James accepts this.

The episode ends with dead birds falling out of the sky - a sign of the coming of Pestilence.


The Bottom Line


Not strongly written, but strongly plotted and very strongly acted. There's not a false note in the whole hour. Even James' cameo in Lena's office proves necessary to the overall theme and every character gets one moment to shine, which is something of a miracle given the size of the ensemble at this point.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 19 - The Dragon

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



Plot

Seeking to expand his empire in the wake of Mayor Queen's impeachment, Ricardo Diaz and Black Siren meet with The Quadrant - an international cabal of organized crime families. Meanwhile, Felicity and Curtis try to mend their broken fences to get their company back on track as Oliver begins to wage war on "The Dragon" alone.


Influences

The Green Arrow comics of Jeff Lemire (character of Ricardo Diaz)


Goofs

So, Quentin isn't going to question Black Siren disappearing for several days? Granting that he's probably got his hands full running the city in the wake of Ollie's impeachment, you'd think this is something he'd be trying to stay up on.

You'd also think it's also something Dinah would be doing, particularly since she doesn't have her job as a cop keeping her busy anymore.

The fight scene in which Black Siren attacks the FBI agents has got to be one of the worst in the show's history. Ignoring the poor lighting and odd camera angles (presumably used to hide the face of Katie Cassidy's stunt double), we clearly see the stunt men playing the agents discharge their guns inches away from Black Siren without hitting her!

One does wonder why Cartier's men don't shoot Baylor and Diaz in the head as well as the chest, as Black Siren pointed out.

The final scene, in which Black Siren is apparently meant to be disturbed by Diaz setting his childhood bully on fire - does not ring true at all. And for once it's not because of Katie Cassidy's inability to show any emotions beyond annoyance and dull surprise. It's because it does not make a lick of sense for Black Siren - who has worked for three obsessive sociopaths without complaint before Diaz and spent the better part of this episode complaining about not being allowed to kill for the hell of it - suddenly having reservations about setting a man on fire.


Trivia

The episode name is taken from the nickname Ricardo Diaz gave himself in Jeff Lemire's Green Arrow comics. 

The episode reveals that Diaz was raised in a Zandian orphanage in Starling City. In the DC Comics Universe, Zandia was a European nation which was the home of The Church Of Blood in the Teen Titans comics. Depending on the story, Zandia was said to be east of Sicily or was an island nation in the Baltic Sea. 

Diaz and Black Siren travel to Bludhaven to meet with The Quadrant. In the DC Comics Universe, Bludhaven is a city in New Jersey, even more corrupt than Gotham City, which becomes the adopted home of the vigilante Nightwing.

The DCTVU version of Bludhaven is similarly lawless and has been depicted several times on Arrow as a haven for various criminal organizations.

The bar where Diaz meets The Quadrant agents in Bludhaven is called Hogan's Alley. In the Nightwing comics, when Dick Grayson (aka Nightwing) first moved to Bludhaven, he took a job a bar called Hogan's Alley which was frequented by cops. Dick used his position to get a feel for which cops were clean and which were dirty as well as a source of information.

The title card for this episode features a stylized Eastern dragon icon rather than the usual Arrowhead symbol.

Diaz says the he called his fear of the bully Jesse "The Dragon". It was from this that he took his street name later on.  In the original Jeff Lemire Green Arrow comics, Ricardo Diaz took the name Richard Dragon to honor a martial artist by that name who trained him and was later killed by him.



Technobabble

Felicity is still trying to stabilize the neuro-interface of her and Curtis' latest project.

Curtis theorizes that the serotonin interface is a result of the pathogenic reaction.

Working together, Curtis and Felicity stabilize the pathogenic reaction completely.


Dialogue Triumphs

Baylor: I didn't say nothing! I swear to God!
Cartier: (laughs) Tell him yourself.
(Cartier's driver pulls out an assault rifle and shoots Baylor and Diaz.)


Dialogue Disasters

Black Siren: Oh. So more waiting then. (accidentally voicing the thoughts of most of the audience during this episode.)

Black Siren: And what would you have done if they'd shot you in the head?
Diaz: I'd be dead. probably.


Continuity

Black Siren is capable of picking locks.

Ricardo Diaz has been working on his plan to take over Star City for five years.

Black Siren has heard of The Quadrant but thought they were an urban legend.

The Quadrant have control of a bar in Bludhaven called Hogan's Alley.

Rene is still in the hospital.

Diaz offers The Quadrant free access through Star City's ports and airports in exchange for a seat at the table.

Diaz is instructed by Cartier to retrieve information on where the FBI is holding Robert Baylor - a Quadrant agent who was captured.

Diaz gets the information from Former D.A. Sam Armand.

Felicity has been fired from Team Arrow by Oliver.

Cartier asks Diaz to capture Baylor for debriefing. Diaz objects but when Cartier threatens to end the deal, Diaz agrees but insists he be allowed to meet Cartier's father later.

Cartier double-crosses Diaz and shoots him an Baylor. Diaz is saved only because he had body armor.

Diaz claims to have fought for every scrap of food he ate as a kid.

Diaz tells Cartier about Jesse - a bully in the orphanage who burned his arm.

Cartier reveals that he and his father never gave The Quadrant Diaz's proposal. They just planned to use him to take Star City for themselves.

Black Siren compares Diaz to Zoom, saying that they are both controlled by their hatred.

Cartier is turned into a suicide bomber by Diaz, clearing the path into the meeting of The Quadrant leaders.

Diaz kills the older Cartier, taking his seat on the board of The Quadrant.

Oliver survived the explosion in The Glades.

Diaz tracks down and kills Jesse, his childhood bully, soaking him in lighter fluid and setting him on fire.

Diaz reveals that he tried to save the only picture that he had of his father after Jesse burned it.


Location

Zandia Orphanage, Star City - 1986
Bludhaven - 2018


Untelevised Adventures

Green Arrow is seen in the background as Felicity is watching the news, dealing with an explosion in The Glades.


The Bottom Line

Easily one of the worst episodes ever. Quite possibly the worst of this season.

Too little, too late, in terms of trying to develop Diaz and make him a compelling villain. Instead, this episode makes him seem whiny and weak, which makes it all the more aggravating that he's being set up as some kind of criminal mastermind capable of taking down Team Arrow.

Worse yet, it seems like the Black Siren redemption arc has been resurrected yet again as Black Siren - a psychotic maniac who we'll remind you worked with Zoom, Prometheus and Cayden James without complaint and spent most of this episode complaining about waiting, planning and NOT mindlessly killing people - being disturbed by Diaz's savoring the death of his childhood bully.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 18 - Lose Yourself

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



Plot

With the discovery of the final Bus Meta, Team Flash may have a way to get into The Thinker's pocket-dimension hideaway. This leads Ralph to considering crossing a dangerous line in the bid to stop him, as Joe becomes concerned about an increasingly erratic Harry.


Influences

Return of the Jedi (the whole idea of beating the bad guy by not killing him, Ralph's "you already saved me." line to Barry.


Goofs

Barry's talk about there always being a better way than killing your enemies comes off as rather hypocritical given that every single one of his confrontations with his major enemies to date has ended because of someone else killing them.  Reverse Flash in Season One?  Eddie Thawne killed himself to erase him from history... for all the good it did. Zoom? Killed by Time Wraiths after Barry attracted them by creating a Time Remnant who killed himself. Savitar? Iris West straight up shot him!

The green-screen effect of Ralph running from the dinosaur skeleton is of very poor quality.


Performances

This is Hartley Sawyer's best turn yet as Ralph Dibny. I could quite happily watch a spin-off centered around him instead of another season of The Flash at this point. Naturally, this is the point at which they kill him off.


Artistry

The final shot of an empty glass on Ralph's desk is a powerful one.


Flash Facts


The title of the episode comes from the title of a song by Eminem.

Ralph makes reference to being able to use his powers to go to the bathroom without leaving the couch. While Ralph Dibny in the comics wasn't quite so lazy, he did stretch his neck to continue talking to his wife in another room while he was using the bathroom... much to her disgust.

Edwin Gauss a.k.a. The Folded Man first appeared in The Flash Vol. 2 #153 (October 1999). Considered the greatest mind of his generation, Gauss was a physics major at MIT determined to prove Albert Einstein's theories regarding The Unified Field Theory correct. Using resources stolen from tech billionaire Norman Bridges, Gauss constructed a suit that enabled him to fold space-time around him, transforming himself into a two-dimensional or four-dimensional state. This enabled him to become invisible to three-dimensional beings by flattening himself or becoming impossible to surprise as he can see in all directions in his fourth dimensional state. He was also able to teleport through space at will. 

The DCTVU version of Edwin Gauss is a metahuman with the same powers as his comic-book counterpart. He was something of a hippie who appeared to be high when he paid for Ralph Dibny's fare on their bus, speaking of walking paths in colorful terms.

Gauss describes The Thinker as "this bald dude in a Professor X floaty chair." This is a nod to Professor X aka Charles Xavier - the wheelchair-bound leader of Marvel Comics' X-Men.

Ralph makes a reference to Marvel Comics' Thor, referring to Barry as "Thor, Son of Odin" after Barry beats him up.


Technobabble


Cisco designed a new scanner that detects dark matter anomalies.

Edwin Gauss' residual dark matter signature on the bus suggests that he was there one second and gone the next.

Harry builds a sonic scepter - a tuning fork that replicates the powers of Izzy Bowin. Harry claims to have laser-shaved it down to the last angstrom. The best part about it is that since it is non-electronic, it cannot be influenced by Kilgore's powers.

Harry scripted a sub-routine on the pocket-dimension predictor that he thinks will enable them to predict where DeVoe will appear next.

Caitlin says she thinks she has determined what triggers her transformation into Killer Frost.  When her body enters a fight-or-flight state, catecholamines (aka The Stress Hormone) are released into her system. Analyzing her brain chemistry, Caitlin determined that the dark matter reservoirs in her body were primarily focused around her adrenal glands. Guessing that adrenaline triggers her transformation, Caitlin can now give herself a shot of epinephrine to trigger it without Cisco or Harry trying to upset her.

Cisco says that Gauss' powers have given him access to his own pocket dimension. Every pocket dimension is unique unto itself. He guesses that DeVoe needs Gauss' power so he won't be dependent on his chair to create his own safe space anymore.

By simply tracking the two lanes of identifiers, cross-referencing the fluctuation migration patterns and the temporal displacement in the energy app, Harry is able to create a map of Edwin Gauss' pocket dimension activity.

Harry has a set of quantum decryption keys he can use to unravel any sort of hacked code.

Iris has an explosive concealed in her earring which she had Cisco make for emergencies. She uses it to blow the sealed door out of the lab.

The Mechanic fights with some kind of electrified katana.

Null's powers could be used to increase the pull of gravity as well as negating it. The Thinker uses her powers to make The Flash weigh as much as a cement truck, rendering him unable to stand.


Dialogue Triumphs


(After Ralph suggests killing DeVoe.) 
Barry: Ralph, you think we're going to kill DeVoe?
Ralph: The way you're saying that makes me think I'm supposed to say no?

Ralph: Uh, thanks.
Edwin: (bowing his head) Namaste, hermano.
Ralph: (cringing) Nama-stay in the back of the bus.
Edwin: (laughs) Funny fat dude.

Caitlin: (reading Killer Frost's note) Thanks for the badass new jacket. I got some blood on it. Don't worry!  It's not ours.
(Caitlin chuckles as Iris looks disturbed.)
Caitlin:
 (composing herself) I guess her humor is sort of an acquired taste.

(Team Flash stands ready as a portal opens, expecting DeVoe to emerge. Instead, a funny looking man with long hair clad in a robe, slippers, pajama pants and an over-sized T-shirt emerges. He is whistling happily and moves to a mailbox, placing something inside it. The team just look to each other as Barry finally decides to speak.)
The Flash:
Edwin Gauss?
(Gauss spins around, startled and falls backward, another portal opening, which he disappears into.)

Cisco: I'm sorry, but that's too big even for your britches, Harry.
Harry: My britches are plenty big, okay? I fill my britches!
(Barry blinks at this. Caitlin looks at Ralph as if to say "Are you going to comment on that?")

Ralph: Unwashed flower child? Have you seen this man?
(Ralph holds up a picture of Edwin Gauss)
Hippie:
Nope. I've seen the soul that belongs to this man. (laughs) Dude's aura is a trip!
Barry: Wait, so you know Edwin Gauss?
Hippie: Sure do. Round here we call him "The Folded Man"!
Caitlin: Folded Man?
Hippie: He is everywhere... and nowhere. (shrugs) But mostly he's around here.

Barry: Look, I know you're worried about DeVoe. About what he might do to you. But there are some lines we can't cross-
Ralph: Wow. You really don't know as much as you think you do, Rookie.
Barry: I know what killing DeVoe would do to you. You would be throwing away everything you've done to become a better man, to become a hero. You've got to realize that!
Ralph: You... are a moron.
Barry: Ralph-
Ralph: I am not afraid of DeVoe! Or what he might do to me. I am afraid of what he might do to you... and Iris. And Caitlin. And Cisco. Joe. Harry. Cecile. DeVoe has taken out everyone who has gotten in his way. And Team Flash? It will always be in his way.
Barry: (in realization) This was never about protecting yourself...
Ralph: I know that killing DeVoe would mean throwing away everything I've done to become a hero. But aside from my mom, this team is the only family that I have ever had. And I would throw myself into a furnace to keep them safe. (determined) DeVoe cannot have them. They are mine.
Barry: What about what we want?  You may not care about losing who you've become, but we do. We like hero Ralph. (sighs) Please don't take him away from us.

The Thinker: You are no threat for an intellect of my magnitude.
Ralph: Please. Everyone I fight is smarter than me, but no bad guy has beaten me yet.

The Thinker: You were born for me, Mr. Dibny. And now, you will die for me.
Ralph: (pained) You! First!
(Ralph grunts and rips open his jacket, revealing the weird pattern of the Sonic Scepter embossed in his chest. Ralph pulls it out and stares DeVoe down.)
The Thinker: What is that?
Ralph: A big ol' fork, to shove up your-
(Ralph strikes the ground and aims the fork, sending DeVoe flying into the wall.)

(DeVoe begins to download his brain into Ralph's body.)
Barry: Ralph! Fight it! Alright?! Fight it!  I'll save you!
Ralph: (quietly) You already did, Barry.


Dialogue Disasters


Continuity


Ralph remembers Edwin Gauss from the bus ride, though he lies about paying for his fare. In truth, Edwin paid for him.

Caitlin is now communicating with Killer Frost through notes.

Edwin Gauss has no college history or known addresses - just a couple of backpacking photos from an old message board from the dial-up era of the Internet.

Barry, Ralph and Caitlin track one of Gauss' portals to a hippie commune.

Caitlin is stabbed by The Samuraoid from 401, shortly after she, Barry and Ralph locate Edwin Gauss.

Ralph refers to the events of 413 and how DeVoe easily broke into a maximum security facility.

Gauss likes spicy ranch Pringles.

Gauss accidentally found a way into DeVoe's lair the second time he used his powers.

Joe confronts Harry about his use of the Thinking Cap and how the way he is acting reminds Joe of his wife, Francine, and how she acted when she was using drugs.

The Thinker attacks Ralph with the animated dinosaur skeleton from 406, shrunk down by Dwarfstar's powers and released into The Pipeline.

The Mechanic refers to her conversation with Iris in 410 about what they were each willing to do for their husbands.

The Mechanic is revealed to be an accomplished sword fighter, capable of parrying multiple blasts from Iris' energy gun.

Harry has been revealed to have been using Gideon in The Time Vault to power his Thinking Cap with Dark Matter.

By the time Ralph wins free of the dinosaur, it is revealed that The Thinker has absorbed Melting Point, Null and The Folded Man.

Joe takes out the Samuaroid robot.

Iris impales herself on The Mechanic's sword to grab hold of her and trigger the teleporter on DeVoe's chair.

Ralph does not kill The Thinker despite having the chance to do so. Unfortunately, Ralph still screws up making sure the power-dampening cuffs he put on The Thinker activated properly.

The Thinker is able to use The Folder Man's powers to open a portal to absorb Cisco's vibe blasts and redirect them back at him.

The Thinker uses Melting Point's power to take away Caitlin's powers, effectively killing Killer Frost.

The Thinker now has the power of all 12 Bus Metas, except for Meltdown, and his mind resides in Ralph Dibny's body.

Barry goes to pack up Ralph's office - a chore he does alone and at regular speed.

With Ralph's powers, not only is DeVoe now immune to the effect absorbing multiple superpowers has on his body, he is also able to shape-shift himself to resemble his old self.

The Thinker now has a container full of dark matter, taken from The Time Vault thanks to Harry's tapping into it to fuel his Thinking Cap, which he will use for the next stage of his plan.


The Bottom Line


For all the complaints that people have about The Legends being a bunch of screw ups, I think Team Flash has them beat at this point. There's a lot of powerful moments here and some great acting but that still doesn't negate Barry's hypocrisy or the fact that I'd gleefully see Iris die to get Ralph or Izzy or Hazard back. I suppose that is a complement to the writing team that I feel such passion for minor characters who were created to die, but damn it I thought we'd at least see Ralph survive all of this. Funny how for all of the jokes that were added to this season, it seems to be the most joyless exercise yet.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 13 - Shadow of Death: The Book Of War

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



Plot

In the wake of the battle at Garfield High, Jefferson Pierce is barely clinging to life as Tobias Whale marshals his forces to move against Martin Proctor and The ASA.


Influences

The Black Lightning comics of Tony Isabella, the Green Lantern comics of Geoff Johns (the new Tattoo Man) and The Manchurian Candidate (Whale's control of Lala through a trigger phrase.)


Goofs

So the ASA has special weapons to take down both Black Lightning and Thunder, but they don't bother taking any of the Black Lighting weapons to storm Gambi's cabin just in case it turns out he isn't dead?


Performances

Again, it has to be stated what a delight that Marvin "Krondon" Jones is in the role of Tobias Whale. Krondon has made Whale into one of those rare villains you find yourself rooting for just because he's so amusing even as he's being a total bastard.


Artistry

The opening sequence in which we see Jefferson use his powers for the first time as a child and how Gambi saved him is perfect. The black and white filming, heavy rain and music give the whole thing a Film Noir feel that's very gripping. It also makes it stand out all the stronger when the blue lightning effects kick in. The same is true of the later flashback scenes and the moment in the afterlife where Jefferson seems to talk to his father.


Trivia

The DCTVU version of Tobias Whale is said to take a special serum which has given him the strength of three men. In the classic Black Lighting comics, Whale was a large man weight close to 400 pounds and while he was described as being incredibly strong, his strength was within standard human limits.

The DCTVU version of Tobias Whale is also said to take a serum that slows his aging. This appears to be based on The 100 in the classic Superman and Black Lighting comics - a cabal of mystics who were able to gain immortality by feeding on the suffering of others. The same name was used by a gang in Metroplis' Suicide Slum district, which was overseen by Tobias Whale, who was ignorant of the power wielded by his bosses.

The DCTVU version of Syonide is said to have been found in a dumpster when she was an infant, with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. She was adopted by Tobias Whale at the age of eight and trained as his personal assassin. He later had carbon-fiber body armor implanted under her skin - a painful process Gambi says stripped away what little sanity she had left.

This background most closely resembles that of the second Syonide - an unnamed female assassin who was an enemy of Black Lightning and The Outsiders. Though she was not raised by Tobias Whale, she did work for him almost exclusively and took up the weapons and name of the first Syonide after the original died while working for Whale. She did not, it should be noted, have any metahuman powers or physical enhancements.

Tobias gives Khalil the codename Painkiller. This is also the name of a super-villain from the 1995 Black Lightning series, who first appeared in Black Lightning (Vol. 2) #2. In addition to having his spine healed, Painkiller has the ability to secret a neurotoxin and fire darts that paralyze a target. (Strangely enough, this is similar to the methodology of the original Syonide from the first Black Lightning comics.)

The original Painkiller was a metahuman who had the power to temporarily anesthetize any part of the human body. He could use this power to shut down his target's ability to use any of their five senses or cause a person to become unable to run as they lost all feeling in their legs. This effect was temporary, however, and did not last long. Neither did Painkiller, who was killed in Black Lightning (Vol. 2) #4.

Tobias refers to Lala as "Tattoo Man". This would seem to be the DCTVU version of the classic Green Lantern villain The Tattooed Man.

Lala most closely resembles the third version of The Tattooed Man, Mark Walters, who first appeared in Green Lantern (Vol. 4) #9 (April 2006). A former Marine who was presumed dead after his helicopter exploded, Walters emerged years later in Gotham City working as a hit man who attacked people with a series of seemingly animated tattoos. Walters claimed that his tattoos were formed from the sins of the people he had killed and that he took them upon himself through a process called sin-grafting, bringing their souls peace.

Rather than having the ability to bring his tattoos to life, Lala's tattoos of the people he killed are said to be a side effect of the reanimation process Tobias used to bring him back to life. Tobias claims that every person Lala ever killed will come back to haunt him, tattooing themselves onto his body until there's no skin left.


Technobabble

Metahumans are people whose superpowers come from within.

Tobias Whale and his team all gained their powers through artificial means.

Tobias Whale takes a super steroid serum that slows his aging and makes him stronger over time. He currently has the strength of three men. 

Gambi guesses that Khalil was given a spinal implant with a synthetic liquid metal. It braces his spine but also causes his body to produce a neurotoxin that causes instant paralysis like a snake's venom.

Thanks to a brown out, all the Stage-One subjects from The ASA's experiment are ten hours away from death without a stable DNA profile to overwrite the bad DNA. This would leave them with four Stage-Two subjects.

The ASA is able to track Jefferson by searching power company records for electrical surges following Tobias Whale's attack on Garfield High.

The ASA agents sent to Gambi's cabin are armed with guns that generate a force-field that neutralize Thunder's ability to generate sonic attacks.


Dialogue Triumphs

Gambi: Take my advice and leave this alone. Think about your son!
Alvin Pierce: I am thinking about my son. I had Jefferson take that damn vaccine and it was tainted. Do you have any idea how that makes me feel?!
Gambi: There's no reason to get yourself killed over it.
Alvin Pierce: No. There's no reason for YOU to get yourself killed! All the reason I need in the world is sitting in that car over there.

Tobias Whale: "I am unlike other men. The laws of conventional morality do not apply to me." That's Napoleon. And he was a weak ass Frenchman. You're Painkiller. Never apologize. So you killed Black Lightning when Proctor wanted him alive? I'm not mad. Martin Proctor was down with Lady Eve. I always knew sooner or later he had to go. Just gonna have to be sooner, that's all. Real soon.

Jefferson: I always wanted to tell you... I'm so sorry.
Alvin Pierce: There's nothing to be sorry for, son.
Jefferson: Black Lightning. All the violence...
Alvin Pierce: Peace ain't always peaceful, son. All the blood, broken bones, pain you suffered...? Only you'll ever know if it was all worth it.
Jefferson: Was it worth it for you? Your death?
Alvin Pierce: I don't know. What i do know is that I'm proud of you, son.

(Jefferson announces his intention to draw the fire of Proctor's men while everyone else escapes.)
Gambi: This is suicide, Jeff.
Jefferson: Light me up, old man.
(Reluctantly, Gambi slides the programming module into Jefferson's suit, powering it up.)

Jefferson: Now, you are making it a habit of saving my life, young lady.
Jennifer: (smiling weakly) Well, this is... this is what we do.

Anissa: They call us heroes, but the real heroes are you - the people, who despite their everyday struggles with life, continue to find hope - maybe even purpose - in what can be a challenging world. We've been given a gift. A blessing from God. And we intend to use it to protect this city and its people.


Dialogue Disasters

90% of Martin Proctor's dialogue. At least. The worst line of the episode? "You want to save Freeland? I want to make America great again!"


Continuity

Peter Gambi approached Alvin Pierce with the expectation of him exposing The ASA's experimentation. He did not expect him to expose the corruption of Tobias Whale that helped enable it.

The only lead the ASA has on Tobias Whale's location is Lala.

Thanks to a brown out, all the Stage-One subjects from The ASA's experiment are ten hours away from death without a stable DNA profile to overwrite the bad DNA. This would leave them with four Stage-Two subjects.

Jefferson Pierce first manifested his powers shocking two riot cops who were attempting to beat him. Later, they manifested again, after he grabbed an electrical fence which should have killed him. Instead, he reflexively absorbed the shock.

Jefferson Pierce didn't fully manifest his powers until 2003.

Lynn says that she had a cold feeling in her stomach at the same time Jefferson flat-lined.

Tobias Whale can control Lala by saying the phrase "The Devil deals the cards." He claims to have spent a million dollars on the process that brought Lala back to life.

Jefferson Pierce was once suspended for breaking the nose of a boy who was picking on him.

It is revealed that the mantra that Jefferson Pierce teaches to his students was first taught to him by his father.

Lala is used as a suicide bomber to take out Proctor, force-fed det-cord.

When Jefferson awakes from his weakened state, he says he can't feel his powers working anymore. Lynn says his vital signs are normal, but Jefferson compares himself to a battery that can no longer hold a charge.

Jennifer has a flare up of her powers as Jefferson gets ready to leave to face the ASA troops. She latches onto Jefferson until the flare-up ends. A few seconds later, Jefferson finds that his powers have been restored.

Lynn knows how to use a rifle after hunting with her father.

Jennifer is able to shoot a focused lighting blast to save Lynn from one of the ASA troops. Her lighting is yellow, in contrast to the white/blue lighting Jefferson seems to redirect. She's eventually able to make an electro-magnetic lasso and throw people around, just like her father.

It is revealed that Martin Proctor was a rogue operative working outside the purview of The ASA.

Gambi kills Martin Proctor.

The ASA's previous operation and Martin Proctor's current group are exposed to the public.

Tobias Whale is revealed to have Martin Proctor's briefcase and - thanks to his agent in the Freeland Corner's Office - the thumbs needed to open it. He says that what is inside will make him the King of Freeland.


Location

Gambi's cabin in the woods north of Freeland.


The Winnick Factor

Martin Proctor is a classic Winickian mustache-twirling villain, unable to speak without uttering a racial slur and about as subtle as the villain in a DARE anti-drug comic.


The Bottom Line

A solid episode that sets the stage for Season Two. The most annoying elements of the series have been cut loose, with the sides set for the on-going battle between Jefferson Piece and Tobias Whale. The villains have been given some much-needed definition, with Synoide starting to show signs of characterization beyond being a silent badass and Khalil reworked into a much more interesting version of Painkiller. It remains to be seen if Lala survived being turned into a suicide bomb but it would be interesting to see this new version of The Tattoo Man played out a bit longer. All in all, it's going to be a long wait for more of this series but I suspect it will be well worth it.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 14 - Schott Through The Heart

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



Plot

In the wake of his father's death, Winn Schott must work with his estranged mother to thwart the plans of a copycat Toyman. Meanwhile, Alex accidentally discovered a stunning secret about J'onn's father.


Influences

The 1939 film The Wizard of Oz (The "Surrender Mary" sky-writing and robot flying monkeys), The Flash comics of The Silver Age (mention of Wiggins Toys) and multiple classic Superman comics involving The Legion of Superheroes and Toyman.


Goofs

How does James not break his hand punching the metal flying monkey?

Granting that an army of flying robot monkeys is not the sort of thing one can easily prepare for, one would think The DEO would have some kind of defenses to stop something from just flying in through their front door.  Or, at least, that once something had flown in through the front door, that they might have trained agents with weapons at the ready to deal with said thing that had flown in through the window.

The conversation about why J'onn continues to live the life of a black man in America when he could shapeshift into anyone, while well-written, is incredibly awkward in its placement and grinds the pace of the episode to a halt.

While The DEO may not have armed guards ready to spring into action at a moment's notice, they do have extensive armories that are not locked and do not require a passkey, retinal scan or any sort of technology that would prevent someone from just walking in and picking up a gun, as Mary Schott does.


Performances

Mehcad Brooks and Jeremy Jordan don't always get a chance to shine in this series, much less get a chance to play an understated scene. Yet the scene in which James refuses to leave Winn alone after he leaves the bar after seeing the news report about his father's death as well as the scene in which James opens up about his own mommy issues shows that both actors can play a quiet scene just as well as they can play the action hero and the comic relief respectively.

While Carl Lumbly does not get much time to play the increasingly demented M'yrnn, he does so convincingly and his sudden mood swing when Alex approaches him about seeking help is true to life, as is M'yrnn's denial of his condition because he does not wish to burden his family.


Artistry

Though the CGI for the robot dinosaur is hardly fantastic, the fight sequence between it and Mon-El is amazing.


Super Trivia

The title of this episode is a pun on the title of a 1986 Bon Jovi song - "Shot Through The Heart".

The song Kara sings at Karaoke is Beastie Boys' song "Intergalactic Planetary" - appropriate enough for an alien with a goofy personality.

The song James sings is "Tears Away" - the debut single of James Olsen actor Mehcad Brooks. You can listen to it here.

The song Alex sings is "I Drove All Night" by Celine Dion. An appropriate choice given Alex's recent heartache, given that the song is about wanting to be with someone despite the distance - physical and emotional - between you and them.

The song J'onn sings is "So Emotional" by Whitney Houston. Given J'onn's recent attempts to open up more in the wake of his father's arrival on Earth, this too seems fitting.

The song M'yrnn sings is "Suspicion Minds" by Elvis Presley - a fitting choice given that it's about love and paranoia, which describes M'yrnn's state of mind after centuries of torture at the hands of White Martians only to be saved by the son he thought was dead. It also neatly foreshadows his paranoia at having his dementia discovered.

Mon-El confirms that the DCTVU version of Saturn Girl is only telekinetic, not telepathic. In the original comics, Imra was primarily a telepath who later gained the ability to move things with her mind.

The song Winn is planning to sing is a-ha's "Take On Me". A bouncy, happy song about wanting to be hugged before someone leaves you.Definitely fits Winn's personality and, fittingly, he sings it with his mom at the episode's end.

It is revealed that Mary and Winslow Schott were both students in Ivy Town. This is a nod to Ivy Town - a fictional college town in the DC Comics Universe, where Ray Palmer was a professor at Ivy University.

The parts used to make the flying monkeys that attack Mary and Winn are eventually traced to the Willard Walter Wiggins Game Company. In the original DC Comics, Wiggins Toys was the name of a toy and game company, run by Willard Walter Wiggins, which employed George "Digger" Harkness as a mascot for their line of boomerang toys. They billed Harkness as Captain Boomerang before Harkness turned to a life of crime and began fighting The Flash.

Mary refers to her captor as Buffalo Bill - a reference to the serial killer from The Silence of The Lambs. This is a double reference as the actress playing Toyman's apprentice - Brooke Smith - was one of Buffalo Bill's kidnapping victims in the movie.

The RC cars carrying explosives seem to be a nod to the "Beware The Grey Ghost" episode of Batman: The Animated Series which was based around a villain, similar to The Toyman, who used toys as a delivery system for explosives.

Though not identified by name in the episode, the episode credits name Toyman's apprentice as Jacqueline Nimball. This is a nod to Jack Nimball - the second Toyman in the classic Superman comics - who took up Winslow Schott's name and gimmicks when the original Toyman had reformed. Kimball would eventually be brought to justice when Schott and Superman joined forces, only to be murdered by Winslow Schott when he returned to a life of crime.

Mon-El sings "Carry On My Wayward Son" by Kansas - a song about a man searching for meaning in his life after realizing how little he knows and how much time he wasted pretending to be something he isn't. Again, a fitting choice for Mon-El.

A passing reference is made to the planet Rimbor, when Mon-El says his regular Legion costume was damaged there. In the original comics, Rimbor was part of the United Planets in the Legion of Super Heroes books. Rimbor had a reputation as a lawless world where crime and corruption were commonplace. It was the homeworld of LoSH member Ultra Boy and was populated by several different species, including humans.


Technobabble

J'onn suggests running a full mass-spectrometry on the explosive residue from Toyman's exploding coffin.

Za-alet is a Martian condition similar to dementia in humans. It translates literally into English as "decay of memory." It causes a person to slowly forget words, why they walked into a room and eventually people.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Kara stares down a line of people including James, Alex, J'onn, M'yrnn and Winn. She walks down them like a drill sergeant, her tone serious.)
Kara: I know some of you are scared. I know some of you have never done this before. I know some of you are ready to get out there and prove yourselves. But just remember why we do this. We do this for the people!
(Winn smiles and holds up a microphone, which Kara takes as she returns the smile.)
(Cut to: A Karaoke Bar. Kara is on stage singing Beastie Boys' "Intergalactic Planetary.")

M'yrnn: Karaoke is not for the weak. It requires either great courage or a complete lack of shame! But I like it!

Winn: Let me set the scene for you. It's the night Dad finally snapped and I'm sitting in the police station, freezing cold, because I'm in my pajamas. When the police came to pick me up from home, I was asleep. Remember? In bed. Alone. And the nice officer, he drapes the coat over my shoulders. I feel a little better. So I'm sitting there, in the cold, little feet are dangling in the air and I'm waiting. I'm waiting for my mom to pick me up. 'Cause they said that they called you. Yeah. Yeah, they said that it was just going to be like, an hour. And then they'd explain everything. And then it was two hours. And then it was the next morning. (grits his teeth) When I lie in bed at night at night, staring up at the ceiling unable to sleep? I'm not wondering why Dad finally, suddenly snapped. No, that doesn't haunt me. What haunts me is you. You, who left me. When I needed you the most, with no explanation. No goodbye.
Mary: I'm so sorry!
Winn:  I don't care anymore
Mary: Winn...
Winn: I don't need your excuses. You want to keep me safe? Great.
(Winn walks to the door and holds it open.)
Winn:
You know what you should do? Leave. Again.

Mary: I always knew he was brilliant and capable but I worried when I left that he'd go the same way his dad did.
Supergirl: He worried about that too.
Mary: I should have been here to tell him that he and his father were worlds apart. (pauses) Did his friends tell him?
Supergirl: We did.
Mary: Thank you for that.
Supergirl: Well, it was easy. He doesn't always get the credit, but he keeps us going around here. He's always the one with some crazy idea that no one else would possibly dream of.
Mary: (chuckling, shaking her head) My son works with Supergirl. It's just such a relief. He saves lives. I just wish he'd let me tell me how proud I am of him.
Supergirl: I think he will. Eventually.


Continuity

James tells Mon-El that he is interested in someone (Lena Luthor) but they haven't figured out where their relationship stands yet.

Alex has not seen J'onn and M'yrnn's new apartment yet.

It has been three months since J'on and M'yrnn moved in together.

Winn has not seen his mother, Mary Schott, in 20 years.

Mon-El apologies to Kara for every time he ever lied to her while they were dating.

Mon-El then confesses to Kara that Saturn Girl and Brainiac 5 lied to him about some big Legion business and that he wants to discuss it with Kara later, over drinks, once everything with Winn and his father is settled.

Mon-El says that Brainiac 5 is his best friend.

Mary Schott claims that she left her husband because he threatened to kill Winn if she ever made contact with him or came near him.

Winn claims that he was far more traumatized by his mother failing to come for him following his father's arrest than by his father's crimes.

James has a sister.

James says that he had a falling out with his mother after his father's death, but he eventually reconciled with her.

Alex's grandmother was a music lover who suffered from dementia.

M'yrnn is starting to show signs of dementia. Over the course of the episode, he forgets that he had two granddaughters on Mars, orders a pizza on the night Alex and J'onn are having a dinner party and forgets the word "wine" while in the middle of dinner.

M'yrnn refuses to burden J'onn with the knowledge that he is starting to go senile, despite Alex saying J'onn should know.

Mary Schott helped her husband with building his toys early on, acting as his apprentice.

Mary and Winslow Schott were both students in Ivy Town but they met at a toy store. Mary was the bookeeper and Winslow a stocker.

Mary Schott recalls an incident where she planned to take a nine-year-old Winn to Disneyland. In truth, she was trying to make a break for a women's shelter. She was run off the road by Winslow Schott, who stole a car, ran her off the road (resulting in Winn getting a concussion) and that was when he threatened to kill Winn if she didn't leave.

Lena is not answering James' phone calls or messages and hasn't shown up to work in several days according to her assistant. This suggests that Lena has gone into hiding to help Sam in the wake of Lena discovering that Sam is Reign in 313.

The culprit behind the flying monkeys and exploding casket is revealed to be a maintenance woman at the prison where Winslow Schott was held. He taught her everything he knew and charged her with getting revenge on Schott's wife and son after his death.

This episode confirms that Kara needs to breath like an ordinary human, as she begins to suffocate after being sealed inside a giant plastic toy box.

Mon-El has trained in the art of cape-fighting. His Legion costume in the future has a cape. He offers to teach the art to Kara.

Mon-El cannot sing.

Winn reconciles with his mother.

Kara says that she can't talk about Mon-El's feelings of betrayal being lied to by Saturn Girl given their history.  Mon-El understands, but explains that was not why he wanted to talk to her privately about his being lied to.

Mon-El reveals to Kara that The Legion's real mission was to go back in time and kill the third Worldkiller - Pestilence - before she evolves into The Blight (first mentioned in 310) in 1000 years time.

Mon-El says his old costume was damaged om Rimbor.

M'yrnn's favorite food on Earth is ghost pepper macaroni and cheese with a side of jalapeno peppers.

M'yrnn reveals the truth about his dementia to J'onn.

Lena calls James from a lab, saying that she and Sam have been busy working. The episode ends as we see Sam in a hospital bed in Lena's lab.


The Kryptonite Factor

Security at the DEO is made to look really lax, with the flying monkey robots able to get into the building no problem and Mary Schott having no trouble in stealing a gun from the armory so she can go confront Jacqueline Nimball alone.


The Bottom Line


An odd episode to come back to after the show was on hiatus for the better part of two months. Still, the performances manage to sell some dopey dialogue, though it's odd that Laurie Metcalf has the least amount of chemistry with Jeremy Jordan out of all the cast she interacts with. The plot with the new Toywoman is the weakest link in the story.

Thankfully, the writers seem to be aware of this and use all the other subplots to distract away from that, even though there's a lot of logic problems involving the lax security at the DEO and why J'onn throws a dinner party with only Alex being invited. Still, it's an enjoyable bit of filler... probably because this episode is almost entirely free of the nonsense involving The Worldkillers.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 18 - Fundamentals

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




Plot

With all of his allies having abandoned him except Quentin Lance, Oliver begins to question his failings as a father, a husband, a mayor and a hero.


Influences

The Green Arrow comics of Judd Winick (The heroes are complete idiots, at the mercy of villains, who don't kill the heroes despite being given ample opportunity to do so.)


Goofs

Granting that it is in Oliver's nature to blame himself for everything, Laurel's becoming Black Canary was not his fault. She did it while Oliver was recovering from falling off a mountain and he did his damnedest to stop her from trying to replace Sara.

Felicity runs to SCPD HQ from her and Oliver's apartment?

All of this episode is devoted towards Ricardo Diaz pushing Green Arrow into a death trap. At the end of the episode, he declares that he isn't going to kill Green Arrow because that would be too easy.

Also - how could Diaz be sure that the strung out Oliver Queen would be coherent enough to go into the trap in the first place?


Performances

The main saving grace of this episode is Stephen Amell's performance.

A close second is Amell's chemistry with Emily Bett Rickards and the scene in which Felicity has to convince Oliver that she is real.

Paul Blackthorne gets the episode's MVP trophy, however. He hasn't always had a lot to do as Quentin this season and he doesn't really have much to work with here either. What he does have, however, he nails.


Artistry

The opening sequence of Green Arrow fighting his way through the mob of crooked cops looks fantastic - lighting, fight choreography and direction.


Trivia

The Arrow logo at the start of this episode does not include the usual swoop of symbols for the other heroes of Star City.


Technobabble

Felicity makes a isotonic concoction, with oranges, almonds, avocados and fermented fish oil  (Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Omega 3s and salt) as a hangover cure/Vertigo recovery tonic for Oliver.


Dialogue Triumphs

Felicity: We need to stop Diaz! (To John) And we have some pretty good intel.
Oliver: Good intel tends to fall apart in the hands of bad leadership, don't you think?
John: Oliver, come on. It doesn't have to be that way.
Oliver: How would you like it to be?

Oliver: On the bright side, if I get impeached, you get promoted.
Quentin: (chuckling) I'm not much of a politician, Oliver.
Oliver: Well, with Diaz running the city, it's not really politics, is it?

Oliver: Why does everyone keep leaving me?
Quentin: That's the thing about change, right? You hope you're doing the right thing, by becoming a better person. But you're also becoming a different person. Some people, they just, I guess like John, they react badly.
Oliver: That's one possibility.
Quentin: What's the other?
Oliver: That I haven't really changed at all.

Prometheus: Hey. What's Vertigo do? Does it show you your worst fear?
Oliver: (smirking) You aren't my worst fear, Adrian. You're nowhere close.
Prometheus: Oh, I know. Your worst fear is yourself. Your worst enemy is yourself. Guys like me? Ricardo Diaz? Damien Darhk? Ra's Al Ghul? When it comes to destroying you, Oliver? We all come in second place. You're the one enemy you can't defeat.

(Oliver puts down his phone. He looks up and sees himself in his first costume, standing in the shadows.)
The Hood: You have failed this city! And you know why.
Oliver: Because I got away from you.
The Hood: You were never supposed to have partners.There was never supposed to be a John Diggle. A Felicity Smoak. A Team Arrow! There was never supposed to be a Green Arrow! There was only The Mission!
Oliver: ...  I lost sight of that.
The Hood: You lost your city! And now... you know what you have to do to get it back.

Oliver: You're not here!
Felicity: Yes, I am. It's me, Okay? The real me? Do not go through that door!
Oliver: I have to. I have to stop Diaz.
Felicity: And you will! But not like this. Not tonight.
Oliver: He is right on the other side of that door!
Felicity: So are a bunch of angry cops just waiting for you! You go through the door, what happens to William?!
Oliver: William has you.
Felicity: Well, what happens to me?
Oliver: (pauses) You left.
Felicity: No, I didn't! That was not me, Oliver. The real me is standing right here. And I'm not going anywhere. I'm glue, baby. Please.


Dialogue Disasters

Felicity: How you lost it on William? That is crossing a line. I know that you have a lot on your plate with Diaz and John and the impeachment, but that is no excuse. It can't be an excuse. He is your son. And you just showed him the man that his father really is! (pauses) That is not the man that I married.


Continuity

Felicity determines that the security feed at SCPD HQ shuts off for 45 minutes at 10:13 pm each night when Diaz is checking up on his minions.

Quentin says that Oliver visibly does not look good.

Felicity's high-school science fair projected involved hacking Napster.

William has no idea what Napster is.

William's project involves cloning a cabbage. He's worried about beating Sarah Epstein's solar-powered hot-dog cooker.

Felicity finds the proof that Diaz threatened Captain Hill's family and paid for D.A. Armand's surgery. Unfortunately, there's no way for Ollie to claim he got this information from a legitimate source.

Oliver loses his temper and accidentally destroys William's science project.

Felicity kicks Oliver out of their apartment.

Later, Felicity appears at The Bunker and asks for a separation.

Quentin suggests taking the evidence to FBI Agent Samanda Watson, since she's more concerned with justice than proving Oliver Queen is Green Arrow.

Oliver hallucinates being attacked by Prometheus in The Bunker.

Oliver determines that he was dosed with Vertigo by his handshake with Councilman Kullens. This is what caused him to lose his temper and start hallucinating.

Oliver hallucinates being back in Queen Manor with Laurel, just before he left to sail on The Queen's Gambit.

Oliver hallucinates being back in the hospital room where Laurel died, with Laurel taunting him with the idea that he was responsible for her death.

Oliver hallucinates Rene taunting him from his hospital bed about Oliver being responsible for his injuries in 614. Dinah and Curtis, in costume, torment him as well.

Oliver hallucinates Rissa being murdered by Diaz in his apartment and Diaz stabbing Oliver in the stomach. 

Oliver continues to hallucinate Prometheus during the city council meeting. The hallucination tells Oliver the only way to win is to take Diaz down that night.

William wins second place at the Science Fair. The girl with the solar hot dog cooker won first, but Felicity swears she saw her project for sale on Amazon.com.

It is revealed that Oliver hallucinated Felicity chewing him out and kicking him out when she showed up at The Bunker.

Oliver attacks SCPD HQ in his original Hood costume.

Felicity is able to talk sense into Oliver. They escape SCPD HQ before Diaz and the cops emerge from the trap.

Oliver Queen is impeached from office.

Quentin Lance becomes the new mayor of Star City.

Oliver decides that he needs to get back to basics and go it alone as Green Arrow to take down Diaz.

Diaz tells Black Siren that the next step is to send out the word to other criminal enterprises that Star City is now open for business.


The Winick Factor

Even though it it is blatantly obvious that Diaz is attempting to divide and conquer his way into controlling Star City, the big lesson Oliver takes from his vision quest in this episode is that he has to go it alone even though his entire heroes' journey is devoted to his NOT being a crazed loner.

Ricardo Diaz's reasons for not killing Green Arrow don't make a lick of sense. Especially given that all of this episode was devoted to setting up a death trap for him!


The Bottom Line

This episode has no right to work as well as it does, given the idiotic plan of the villains and Oliver ultimately taking the wrong lesson from recent events before he inevitably realizes The Power Of Friendship. The primary reason it does work is because of some effective direction and the strength of Stephen Amell, Emily Bett Rickards and Paul Blackthorne's performances.

That said, there's some effective dialogue and psychodrama here but the whole thing seems really derivative of Three Ghosts from Season 2. That may be intentional as that was one of the first episodes that set Oliver on the path to becoming The Green Arrow and trusting other people, with this episode having Oliver learning the opposite lesson.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 12 - The Resurrection and the Light: The Book of Pain

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




Plot

Tobias Whale returns to Freeland, under orders to capture Black Lightning alive, with the help of an unexpected ally. Thankfully, Jefferson will not be alone when he confronts his father's killer, as both his daughters provide some unexpected help when Garfield High is placed under siege.


Technobabble

Green Light gives ordinary people super-strength, a high pain tolerance and no flight instinct. It also awakens super-powers in potential metahumans, but their survival rate is no better than under the original ASA vaccine.

Gambi says that there are implants that can heal severed spines in lab mice but he thought that technology wasn't ready for humans yet. He says that it must be a billion-dollar technology, at least.

Gambi says that the development of high-output mobile solar power coincided with the sudden end of random power fluctuations on the Freeland power grid. He susepcts The ASA did this to get off the grid so they would be harder to trace.

Tobias Whale has some kind of under-armor that protects him from electrocution.



Dialogue Triumphs

Proctor: How much do you know about (Lady Eve's) operations?
Tobias: Well, let's just say she helped the citizens of Freeland find happiness by muting the pain of their deprivation.
Proctor: Is that what drug dealers tell themselves?
Tobias: You and I have never worked together directly, so... being cautious with my words seemed wise.

(Proctor describes how the ASA project to make the people of Freeland more docile created metahumans instead.)
Proctor: A side effect with strategic implications.
Tobias: Yeah. Meaning in a dangerous situation, a few local folks fight and die, saving the lives of some fancy white boys.

Khalil: Stop with that surrogate daddy act. You don't care about me. I was just another poor, little kid from Freeland for you to parade around to make you and Garfield look good.
Jefferson: That is so not true.
Khalil: Yes it is! As soon as my black ass couldn't run no more... where were you? You wouldn't even let your daughter near me. (turns around and starts to walk away, but spins around) Where's the future, Mr. P? (points to himself) It's right here!

(Gambi goes off to meet a contact, warning Jefferson and Anissa that Proctor will be looking for them.)
Jefferson: Gambi? Proctor will be looking for you too.
Gambi: Yeah. But this old man's not going to save the world. So if he catches me? It's not as big a deal.


Dialogue Disasters

Proctor: Alive, Mister Whale! I need Black Lightning alive!

Proctor: This experiment! Can not! Fail!


Continuity

Tobias Whale is revealed to have been in the care of the ASA since he was shot in 107.

Tobias knows of Martin Proctor, though they have never worked together directly.

Green Light is revealed to be the result of the ASA efforts to stabilize the vaccine formula that was creating metahumans. While it would create more useful soldiers, their bodies still burned out as quickly as the first generation of metahuman test subjects.

Proctor asks Tobias to capture Black Lightning alive, as they think he is a product of their vaccine and the only one to have survived to adulthood that they know of.

Martin Proctor is revealed to finished work on Tobias' project to heal Jennifer's ex-boyfriend Khalil Payne.

Jefferson and Lynn reconcile but decide to keep that a secret from their daughters until they are sure they are ready to get back together.

Tobias has Dwayne - the man who pulled him to safety but left Tori to die - shot by Syonide.

Anissa figures out that 42 kids from the 1980s went missing. Neema makes 43.

Anissa only counted three dozen pods when she discovered the ASA warehouse in 110. Jefferson guesses this means 7 kids died in ASA experiments.

Lynn tells Jennifer that she's going to try and isolate the metagene and find a way to negate it. Jefferson is upset when he learns this.

Khalil's mother says that she was told that Khalil was sent to California as part of some experimental procedure and that she hasn't heard from him since. The contact who set everything up was named Mr. Martin.

Gambi goes after Tommy Hildago - the weapons maker from 109. He gives him 48 hours to give him Proctor.

Khalil tries to reconcile with Jennifer, but he changes his mind after she questions where he got his spinal implant from.

Anissa made use of a man named Marcus Roberts, who graduated a year ahead of her, who now works for FGE. He tracked several power fluctuations for Anissa, finding a likely location for The ASA hideout until about three years earlier.

Khalil attacks Garfield High, throwing darts filled with some kind of neurotixin at the students.

Thunder is able to win a one-on-one fight with Syonide.

The toxic darts seem to stop Jefferson's heart. He is revived by Jennifer using her powers like a defibrillator.

Lala kills Thomas Hildalgo.

Tobias Whale was responsible for Lala's resurrection.

Whale plans to take out Proctor in order to take over the whole operation.


Location

A cabin Gambi keeps in a forest outside Freeland.


The Bottom Line

A surprisingly weak episode by the standards of this series to date. Not bad exactly, but mostly concerned with reviving several long-dead subplots in anticipation of the finale. Not a lot of great dialogue, but the actors sell every line well enough, though the actor playing Proctor apparently decided to attempt the world's worst William Shatner impression with his enunciation this week. Still, the action sequences are thrilling and next week promises to be interesting.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 17 - Null and Annoyed

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



Plot

With two of the so-called "Bus Metas" left to locate, Ralph and Barry butt heads over how to go about approaching them. This causes trouble when they find out one of them is a jewel thief named Janet Petty, who has the power to negate gravity and she has no interest in hearing out the heroes about how her life is in danger. Meanwhile, Breacher returns to ask Cisco for a favor.


Influences

X-Men (the new "danger room" in STAR Labs), Hawkworld (character of Null), the films of Kevin Smith (Jay and Silent Bob cameo) and The Flash comics of John Broome (general comedic tone)


Goofs

Ralph is once again back to being carelessly brave after being an overly-cautious coward for the last two episodes.

Barry - who is meant to be the most lighthearted and positive of superheroes - is suddenly more serious than Oliver Queen, so as to provoke more drama between him and Ralph.


Artistry

The floating effects for this episode are nicely handled.


Flash Facts

This episode was directed by Kevin Smith - the famous independent film director and superfan.

Ralph jokingly refers to the Thinker hologram as Doc Ock. This is a reference to Doctor Octopus - a Spider-Man villain whose mechanical tentacles resemble the mechanical arms on The Thinker's chair. This is one of another series of references confirming that Marvel Comics exist in The Arrowverse.

Ralph shouts the phrase "Turtle Power" before drawing his head into his body. This is a nod to the catch phrase of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in their original 1980s cartoon series. He also mockingly calls Barry "Master Splinter" in reference to The Ninja Turtle's teacher and foster father.

Ralph's suggestion for a superhero improve group based in Washington DC called "The DC Comics" is, of course, a nod to DC Comics - the comic book publisher that publishes The Flash.

A career criminal metahuman called Null appeared in Hawkworld #28 (November 1992). This villain had the power to manipulate gravity in the area around him. This villain was a white male.

The DCTVU version of Null is an African-American woman named Janet Petty. The only thing she has in common with her comic book counter part is the code name, the powers and a criminal past.

Lord Crucifer was a vampiric overlord who first appeared in JLA #94 (May 2004) and was created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. Part of a cult known as The Tenth Circle, who became vampires as a result of a magical ritual, they were banished into another dimension by Queen Hippolyta and the Amazons. They began to seek a way of escaping their prison, using metahumans as host-vessels for their essence since regular human bodies were not powerful enough to hold the vampire's spirits.

Breacher mentions The Arrowverse equivalent of The Tenth Circle and Lord Crucifer when he describes to Cisco how he lost his ability to "vibe-blast". He says he killed all of The Tenth Circle except for Lord Crucifer. This particular breed of vampire is not hurt by sunlight.

Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes - most famous for playing the roles of Jay and Silent Bob in various Kevin Smith movies - have cameos in this episode playing a pair of museum security guards. Though not identified by name, Smith's guard does not speak whereas Mewes' guard is as talkative and expressive as Jay.

The crown that Janet Petty steals was The Khandaq Dynasty Family Crown. In the original DC Comics, Khandaq is a fictional Middle-Eastern country located between Egypt and Israel. It is the home of the anti-hero Black Adam.

At one point, Janet Petty is sighted near the corner of Orchard and Broome. This name of Broome Street is a nod to John Broome - a legendary comic book writer responsible for creating several classic Flash villains and other characters, including The Elongated Man.

Ralph suggests that Barry can lower himself to the ground by burping like Charlie Bucket. This is a reference to the film Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, where Charlie Bucket drank a "Fizzy-Lifting" Soda that caused him to levitate. Charlie was eventually able to get to the ground by burping the gas out of his system.

Cisco calls Lord Crucifer From Dusk Til Dawn. This is a famous vampire movie in which Danny Trejo, who plays Breacher, played a prominent role.

Breacher mentions a dragon ranch on Earth 47 that he always wanted to visit. In the pre-Crisis DC Comics Multiverse, Earth 47 was a world where Lois Lane was superhero called Krypton Girl and Clark Kent an ordinary human. Krypton Girl responded to his repeated attempts to figure out her secret identity by banishing her to The Phantom Zone. In the New 52 DC Comics Multiverse, Earth 47 is home to various superheroes inspired by the 1960s counter-culture movement, including Prez Rickard, Brother Power The Geek, Sunshine Superman and The Love Syndicate of Dream World.


Technobabble

STAR Labs now has a holographic combat simulation room.

Barry has created a maneuver called "The Double Scarlet Speedster' to perform with Ralph.

The Mechanic says it may be possible to prolong The Thinker's current host body's lifespan by adjusting the biomass index and recallibrate the energy distribution through The Thinker's chair.

Barry calculates that in order for the crate holding The Khandaq Dynasty Family Crown to have broken in the way it did, it would have to have been traveling at least 55 mph.

Caitlin says that Breacher's loss of power is due to his increasing age. The vibrational powers shared by Gypsy, Vibe and Breacher require a lot of energy to use and Caitlin determines that eventually they fade away. The loss of vibe blasts is the first sign this is starting to happen.

Caitlin says that Null's powers work by altering the density of whatever she touches, effectively making it like they are full of helium.

Harry calculates that the effects of Null's powers are temporary and what goes up must come down.

The Mechanic determines that her cortisol levels are low and that she is showing signs of tachycardia (i.e. a faster than normal heart rate) and repetitive pupil dilation. Her seratonin levels are 319 nanograms. All of these signs are consistent with those of someone on psychoactive narcotics.

Cisco suggests putting Breacher on an all-alkaline diet and pumping him full of antioxidants to give him more energy. Caitlin says this will not work.

Cisco also suggests making a super-shake full of enzymes and probiotics. Caitlin says that wouldn't work in the long-term.

Harry says that the fact that Null's fingers glow when she uses her powers means that her powers act as a dark matter accelerator which means her powers are generated from the optic nerve. In other words, Null can't alter things she can't see. This means that if Barry approaches her while vibrating beyond the speed of sight as he approaches her eye-line, he'll be invisible to her.

Barry notes that scientists have spent years trying to reconcile relativity and quantum gravity.


Dialogue Triumphs

Ralph: (referring to his idea that he can draw his head inside himself to keep The Thinker from stealing his powers with his brain sucking machine) I still think it's a pretty good plan. I hide my face, I save my ass.

(Barry is holding on to the lighting rack on the ceiling of the main lab room.)
Cisco: Is there a way to reengage his gravitational -
Harry: (putting on his Thinking Cap) Gravitational force.
(Iris struggles with the rope tied to Barry's feet.)
Harry: Huh. Turns out - not necessary.
Barry (To Iris) Do not let go!
Harry: Based on Barry's standard mass and the gravitational force G and taking into account the half-life determent of Null''s dark matter infusion, this effect should eventually just... wear off.
Barry: Wear off?!
Harry: Your cells should return to normal right about -
(Harry pushes Cisco as Barry gasps and falls to the ground where Cisco was standing.)
Cisco: - the hell?!
Harry:  - now.
Ralph: Two for the landing, but a perfect ten for the thud noise!

Breacher: I've tasted all your donuts. Where's my cure?!

The Mechanic: (on the recording) You must escape!
The Thinker: You always save it under the same name.
The Mechanic: (on the recording) Escape now!
The Thinker: Every time you discover it. It's quite clever, really. But I would expect nothing less from you.
The Mechanic: How many times have I been through this?!
The Thinker:  Too many. But that is of no concern. Because with the tears from The Weeper, mixed with Dominic Lanse's powers... I can alter your memory.
The Mechanic: So that is why you created The Weeper?!  You didn't need a potential host! He was-
The Thinker: For you, yes. I knew that the same thing in you that I fell in love with had the potential to destroy us - your humanity. I couldn't let that get in the way of us achieving our goal. The Englightenment!
The Mechanic: (sobbing) Clifford, I am your wife-!
(A tentacle snakes out from behind The Mechanic, latching onto her head and injecting her with something. She sinks to the floor as The Thinker kneels by her side.)
The Thinker: And I love you... but you are nothing without me.
(A happy expression comes over The Mechanic's face as she passes out.)

Ralph: I know this is serious. I watched Izzy die in front of me. (pauses) I'm scared out of my mind.
Barry: Well, you've got an odd way of showing it.
Ralph: Yeah, well, not everybody grew up with a super-dad like Joe West, who makes it easy to talk about your feelings.
(Barry nods.)
Ralph: When I was ten years old, my dad walked out on me and my mom. I was terrified. But my mom? She was even more afraid. So, you know, I just started making jokes. Started doing stupid gags and funny bits and whoopee cushions. Anything to push her fear away. And the thing is after a while it started to push my far away too.
Barry: I had no idea, Ralph...
Ralph: It's not that I don't care about beating DeVoe. It's not that I don't care about being a great hero. It's just that ever since then, anytime that I'm afraid, I either hide.. or I make jokes.


Dialogue Disasters

Ralph: We'd make a fortune! An improv group made up of superheroes? We could take it to Washington! We'd be the DC Comics.

Harry: Nor did either of you predict the location of a 120-pound woman using the curvature of spacetime caused by the uneven distribution of mass yet still somehow fail to account for the gravitational pull of a 4000 pound car floating right above her head!


Continuity

Edwin Gauss disappeared the day Barry came out of The Speed Force.

Janet Petty is a career criminal who has lived a nomadic existence since she was 13. She was last seen in Iron Heights prison, serving a sentence for breaking and entering, trespassing and burglary. Her social media handle is Null.

Breacher was last seen in 404.

Breacher lost his ability to "vibe-blast" following a battle with a vampire named Lord Crucifer.

The Thinker's current host body - Izzy Bowin - has one week left before it burns out.

Despite his increased intelligence, The Thinker says his mind for engineering is still not the equal of The Mechanic's.

The Mechanic is unaware that The Thinker has already killed The Weeper and claimed his power.

Breacher's loss of powers is due to old age - not anything done by Lord Crucifer.

The Mechanic discovers that The Thinker has been lacing her drinks with The Weeper's tears.

The vase which Ralph accidentally broke was worth $40,000 and made of gold.

Janet Petty has used 17 different aliases, including Judy Newton, Jeannie Williams, Jackie Plumber, Jordan Smith, Jane Liksa and Jesse Rivers.

Harry uses his Thinking Cap to calculate that Janet Petty was last seen on the corner of Orchard and Broome.

Earl Cox - Ralph's sleazy detective associate from 413 - appears again. It seems that he acts as a fence for certain criminals and Ralph theorizes that Null might be selling her loot to him.

Cisco gives Breacher an antihistamine, saying that his problem is he has too much stamina. Breacher is able to unleash a vibe blast again, but the color is different.

Lord Crucifer is immune to the effects of sunlight.

The Mechanic attempts to leave a video message to herself warning her about The Thinker's manipulation of her mind, under the file name New Lemonade Recipe. She the discovers she has already done this and that The Thinker has altered her memory several times already.

Ralph's dad abandoned him and his mom when he was ten. Since then, Ralph has used comedy as a coping mechanism when he is scared.

Barry is sent flying by Null. Ralph saves him by slapping a pair of power inhibitor cuffs on Null's legs and then turning himself into a giant whoopee cushion to pad Barry's fall.

Earl Cox cleared Ralph's tab.

Breacher retires and decides to go visit a dragon farm on Earth 47. This Earth is the home of Harrison Lothario Wells, who was seen in 406.

Breacher says that he will never see Cisco again, but that he has recommended him to take over his job on Earth-19.

It is revealed that all of the work done to adjust The Thinker's chair was done by The Mechanic - she just had no memory of having done the previous work.

The episode ends with Harry going into The Time Vault, plugging his Thinking Cap into the power relay that used to charge Eobard Thawne's chair and activating Gideon. Gideon says that it has been 1,078 days since they spoke. This would correspond, roughly with 119 - the episode in which Barry, Cisco and Caitlin discovered that Harrison Wells was not really Harrison Wells. This suggests that "Harry" is Eobard Thawne.


The Boomerang Factor

Most of the drama in the episode is caused by Ralph's sudden recklessness and Barry's sudden need to look on the dark side of life.


The Bottom Line


Another lackluster episode, saved only by the ensemble cast giving a weak script far more effort than it deserves. Smith's direction helps somewhat, but it doesn't change the fact that Barry is out of character, Ralph's character has changed again and the villain of the week is poorly developed.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 3, Episode 18 - The Good, The Bad and The Cuddly

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



Plot

With Mallus freed, Rip Hunter becomes determined to improvise a new plan that doesn't involve using the six Zambesi totems. Amaya, in turn, becomes more determined than ever to use the totems to destroy Mallus once and for all while Sara wants to seek out new bearers. It all leads down to a Legendary showdown in The Wild West... but not everyone may be making it out of this fight.


Influences

Weird Western Tales (the general theme), every cartoon that involves the themes of the heroes combining positive energy and elemental powers for an ultimate attack and the movie Ghostbusters (the team goofball causes an elemental being to manifest in a silly form.)


Goofs

With all the references to Care Bears and Voltron, they really should have dropped a reference to Captain Planet too. (Elemental jewelry being used to summon a perfect being?)


Performances

It's a brief thing, but the short scenes of Tala Ashe and Johnathon Schaech as Zari and Jonah Hex become friendly (despite Zari's obvious aversion to a man who wears a Confederate officer's hat) are magical.


Artistry

The final battle between The Legends and Malice's forces is perfect.

The CGI for the battle between Malice and The Perfect Being, while not wholly realistic, does work for what it is.


Trivia Of Tomorrow

The title is a parody of the classic Western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

This episode reveals that Mallus' true name is Malice. Strangely enough, there is a long history of comic book villains named Malice, but only one of them is from DC Comics. These include two Black Panther villains, an evil secondary personality of The Invisible Woman, an alternate universe version of The Invisible Woman, a body-less X-Men villain who possessed others, a Ghost Rider enemy and two characters from two separate Image Comics series. The DC Comics Malice is the daughter of the New God Vermin Vundabar and a member of The Female Furies.

Ray identifies the town of Salvation as lying in North Dakota, though in 1874 it was still known as The Dakota Territory. North Dakota did not become ratified as a state until 1889.

Nate compares the original Totem Bearers unifying their powers to The Care Bear Stare - an attack used in The Care Bears cartoons where the titular animals would fight beings that thrived on negative by radiating their positive energy through focused blasts of light that emitted from their tummies.

Nate also compares using the Zambesi totems to create a perfect being of light to counter Malice to the cartoon character Voltron - Defender Of The Universe - who was formed by a combination of five robot lions.


Technobabble

By removing The Time Drive of The Waverider, Rip makes it unstable. He hopes to use its explosion to temporarily delay Malice, though it will likely kill him in the process.

Salvation is a temporal blind spot to those who have the ability to see through time. Sara presumes that this applies to a time demon like Malice as much as it did The Time Masters. This turns out to be dead wrong.

Zari creates a "temporal beacon" program to contact The Legends allies across time in order to find likely totem bearers.

Code 1-1-3 in Nate's system for PA announcements means "Everyone Report To The Bridge." It seems likely this is the code Nate meant to use in the last episode, when he usded Code 1-3-1, which means they're serving pancakes at breakfast.

The process for creating a perfect being of light using The Zambesi Totems is thus: Fire provides the spark of life. Air gives it breath. Water gives it blood. Earth gives it flesh. Spirit gives it a soul. Death gives it the power over Malice.


Dialogue Triumphs

Gideon: I believe I know what you are planning. It is extremely reckless with a low likelihood of success.
Rip: Well, then. It seems like I've finally learned how to think like a Legend.

Sara: Rip?!
Rip: I'm a little busy at the moment, Sara!
Sara: Look, you didn't tell us that you were buying us time with your life.
Rip: Listen carefully: this gambit will not kill Mallice. I'm only delaying him long enough for you to make an escape.
Sara: There has to be another way!
Rip: No. There isn't. (calmly) It's all right, Sara. I should very much like to see my wife and son again. I will miss you, Captain Lance. You and the rest of The Legends. My one hope is that you all live up to that name.

Rip: Goodbye.
Sara: (quietly) Goodbye, Captain. (shouting) Gideon, get us out of here!
(Malice approaches Rip, growling and throwing fireballs, but unable to reach him because of the force field. The Waverider flies past them and disappears. Malice growls in rage.)
Rip:
Ironic, isn't it?! A time demon who has run out of time!
(The Drive explodes, creating a portal that pulls Malice into it.)
Damien: (depressed) Well, I hope you're here to make good on your promise and kill me. Which would work out for both of us. It would be a real win-win.
Sara: Mercy killing's not my style. Even if it were, you don't deserve my mercy. You deserve to live out the rest of your days knowing that you destroyed your own daughter.

Sara: Ray? Nothing stupid.
(Sara leaves the lab. Damien turns to Ray.)
Damien: Is she right? Are you really planning something stupid?
Ray: Maybe. Probably. (pauses) Most likely. But it could fix this whole thing. And get Nora back. 


Sara: So who died and made you Sheriff?
Jonah Hex: That would be the old Sheriff.

Sara: We are not here to cause trouble. We're here to avoid it.
(Suddenly, there is the sound of shooting out in the streets. Everyone runs out to see three riders approaching.)
Jonah Hex: This the trouble you aiming to avoid?
Sara: ... not exactly.
(The riders stop to reveal themselves as Blackbeard, Julius Caesar and Freydís Eiríksdóttir. Their eyes glow red, indicating their possession by Malice.)

(Ray punches Nate and runs onto the now activated jump-ship. Nate can be heard pounding on the side of the ship, asking Ray if he's gone crazy.)
Damien: You know, not that I couldn't watch Pompadour get punched out all day, but you could have just told him where we are going. (pauses) Where are we going?
Ray: To right before Mallus took over Nora. And I can't tell anybody because we're not supposed to travel to events in which we've participated in.
Damien: Hah. And no one on your team trusts -me-?
Ray: Well, that goes without saying.

Zari: Sara wants us to find new totem bearers but we're a little short on allies.
Jonah Hex: Well, The Legends, they may be... an unorthodox lot, but they got a knack for making friends. 
Zari: Like you?
Jonah Hex: (grunting) I don't take a shine for most folks.
Zari: (smirking) Me either.

(Amaya is running through how to use the totems to create their "perfect being".)
Amaya: Nate...
Nate: (firmly) I will use The Earth Totem to give Voltron flesh!
Sara: You've got to stop calling it that.
Nate: I will never stop calling it that!

(Sara is reluctant to wield The Death Totem)
Mick: (earnestly) Don't worry. If you turn into witch bitch, I'll kill you.
Sara: ... thank you.
Mick: You're welcome.

(The six totem bearers join hands and the totems light up. The following conversation takes place telepathically.)
Mick:
Why does Pretty have such girly hands?
Nate: Damn... this Lyoga root is strong!  Concentrate Nate. Think about "Voltron: Defender of the Universe."
Wally: I kind of pictured myself wielding something cool. Like a lightning totem.
Zari: Am I crazy, or is Jonah Hex hot?
Sara: Eh. You could do worse than Hex.
Zari: Wait. You can hear me?
Amaya: We can all hear each other.
Mick: Even what I said about Pretty's girly hands?
Everyone Except Mick: YES!

Ava: I got your message. We all did.
(Helen and Kuasa nod to The Legends.)
Jax: You guys just can't seem to keep yourselves out of trouble, can you?

Sara: All right. We're facing an army of Romans, Vikings and Pirates. But you know what today is? Today is the day that we prove that Rip did not sacrifice his life in vain. And today is the day that we prove that we are not losers! And today is the day that we earn the name Legends!
(Everyone cheers as Sara slams back a shot of whiskey.)
Sara:
Now... how do we sneak out the back?

(Amaya opens her eyes to look at the perfect being as it is forming.)
Amaya: Wait - Is somebody thinking of-?
Nate: I'm sorry! You said think of something pure and I thought -
Sara: (disgusted) No. You didn't...
Nate: Again, I said I'm sorry!
Zari: Yeah. I can't stop thinking about him either.
(The being continues forming as Jax backs into the saloon, gun in hand.)
Jax: Guys! Whatever you've got -
(Jax spins around and goes slack-jawed as he sees something astonishing. He then runs back out into the street because whatever he was running from is clearly not as bad as what the other Legends have unleashed. The ground begins to shake as the assembled hordes of Malice's troops and our heroes look around, united in terror.)
Jonah Hex: What the Sam Hill is going on?!
Ray: I think this is part of Sara's plan.
(The roof is blown off of the saloon. Everyone looks up in shock as a being lands on the ground before them. It is big, blue and cuddly with large eyes. It is a giant Beebo.)
Beebo:
Mmmm!  I lo-lo-love you!
Freydís Eiríksdóttir: (horrified) The Blue God - he has returned!
(Ray's jaw drops as he tries to say something but instead laughs manically.)
Helen of Troy: That is your Captain's plan?!
Ava: Where in the hell are Sara and the others?
Jax: That is Sara and the others!
Ava: What?!
Beebo: Beebo hungry!
(Beebo runs off towards where Mallus stands in the distance.)
Jax:
Man, have I missed you guys.

Beebo: Beebo want cuddle!

(The rest of the team run up to find the Totem Bearers in a crater as blue fur and stuffing rain down from the sky.)
Zari: Guys, we did it! Our totems united to create a single furry love child.
Mick: Worst. Orgy. Ever.
Nora: (looking around the scene, hoping to see her father) Dad?
Ray: I'm sorry, Nora. (pauses) He died a good man.
Jonah Hex: Damnation. Now I've just have seen 'bout everything.
Ava: (spitting fluff from her mouth) So, wait?  That's it? You destroyed the demon?
Amaya: I'm just glad the ancestors aren't here to see this.
Sara: Yeah, but Rip would be proud.
(Ray laughs again as everyone cheers.)
Nate: We did it, Mick!
(All the totem bearers run forward and group hug a clearly annoyed Mick.)
Mick: Get off of me!

Ray: (To Nora) He died to give you a second chance. Don't waste it.

Amaya: You guys are my family. Always will be. But I have another family waiting for me in the years to come. And they need me more.

Amaya (To Nate): I don't want to forget. Because if I do, I will have lost the only part of you that I'm allowed to keep.

(John Constantine has dropped a large sack onto the beach.)
John Constantine: Now...
(John pulls the sack away to reveal a dragon's head.)
John Constntine: Whose brilliant idea was it to let an ancient demon out of his bloody cage?
Nate: Sara's.
John Constantine: Well, you opened a door, love. And Mallus wasn't the only thing that got out.


Continuity

Mallus' true name is revealed to be Malice.

Rip removes The Time Drive from The Waverider.

Wally and Zari remove the Time Drive from The Waverider's jump ship and use it to fix Gideon's systems so the team can escape.

Rip is apparently killed blowing up the Time Drive in a bid to slow down Malice.

Ray doesn't drink alcohol, but makes an exception because of Rip's apparent death.

The Legends first traveled to Salvation in 111. They arrived there in 1871. This time they arrive in 1874.

Salvation is a temporal blind spot that The Time Masters were unable to see into. Sara believes Malice should be similarly blind to the events that take place there. She turns out to be wrong.

Sara theorizes that the reason why the totems were ineffective against Malice is because the people wielding the totems were not born to be the bearers, as Zari and Amaya were.

Jonah Hex makes his first appearance since 206. Since The Legends last encountered him, Jonah Hex has become Sheriff of Salvation.

Blackbeard (last seen in 312), Julius Ceaser (last seen in 301) and Freydís Eiríksdóttir (last seen in 309) appear as the leaders of Malice's new army.

Amaya journeys into the Zambesi Ancestral Realm for the first time since 313, in order to learn how the first Totem Bearers defeated Malice. Unlike Sara, she believes they can use the totems - they just need better instruction on how to use them properly.

It turns out that Nate has been drinking far too much of the Lyoga Root tea when he took it. One is supposed to take one sip of the tea - not drink the whole cup.

Amaya discovers that The Totems were meant to be used together, with five totems giving form to a perfect being of light and the Death Totem allowing Malice to be made mortal. Without the Death Totem, the other five totems could only imprison Malice.

Code 1-1-3 in Nate's system for PA announcements from 317 means "Everyone Report To The Bridge." The song Ray wrote to help everyone remember the codes actually got stuck in Mick's head, causing him to remember that one code. ("If the code is 1-1-3, it's off to the bridge, for you and me.")

Amaya refers to Mick running into his father in 307.

Amaya refers to Zari taking up the Air Totem in 303 and how their totems called to each other.

Wally says that maybe his joining The Legends in 313 wasn't a coincidence either.

Wally takes up The Water Totem in Ray's absence.

Sara takes up The Death Totem again.

The first effort to create a perfect being fails. Mick kills the resulting creature with his fire gun.

Damien and Ray travel back to Zambesi in 1992, hoping to knock Nora out before her body is destroyed to give Malice a physical form.

Helen of Troy, now trained as an Amazon warrior, makes her first appearance since 306.

Kuasa makes her first appearance since her death in 316.

Since the alteration of the past in 1992 and the salvation of Zambesi, Kuasa's fate has changed. Kuasa has now grown into a good soul, who is anxious to fight alongside her legendary grandmother. She describes Amaya as "The Woman Who Saved Zambesi." Kuasa and Mari also now share The Spirit Totem. This indirectly means that the events of the Vixen animated series never happened.

Jefferson "Jax" Jackson makes his first appearance since 309. While it has been a few months since The Legends have seen him, for Jax it has been five years since he flew on The Waverider, meaning this version of Jax was retrieved from 2023. During those five years, Jax has gotten married to an unnamed woman (Nate comments on how he is wearing a wedding band) and Jax has a daughter named Martinia.

Damien steals Ray's naninte gun and uses it to shoot Nora. This drives Malice into possessing him instead. Ray takes the wounded Nora and returns to Salvation as Damien.

Ava has never ridden a horse before.

When The Legends try to create a perfect being this time, they create a giant Beebo doll.

Kuasa is given the Death, Earth, Water and Fire totems to guard until they find new bearers.

Jonah Hex gives Zari his hat.

Ray gives Nora Darhk her father's time stone.

Amaya returns to Zambesi in 1942. Nate does not erase her memory.

The team now consists of Sara, Ray, Mick, Nate, Zari and Wally. They go on vacation in Aruba together, much to Mick's annoyance.

Ava and Sara have made plans to celebrate their victory later, but Ava is busy cleaning up all the anachronisms caused by the latest adventure.

Gary Green has been traveling with John Constantine and is wearing a John Constantine cosplay.

John shows The Legends the severed head of a dragon, informing them that other things escaped from Malice's prison when he was released.


Location

Salvation, Dakota Territory - 1874
Zambesi - 1992
Zambesi - 1942
Aruba - 2018



Untelevised Adventures

Apparently John Constantine and Gary Green fought a dragon.


The Fridge Factor

Averted hardcore. Indeed, after seeing how easily Helen of Troy is able to handle multiple enemies, the only real goof here is that Hippolyta didn't send a horde of Amazons to help Helen in this fight. Then again, given what one Amazon can do, there wouldn't be much of an episode of a score of them ended the fight in two minutes


The Bottom Line

Absolutely perfect. Does it always make sense? No. Is it goofy as all get out? Yes. But unlike every other CW Superhero show, Legends of Tomorrow has embraced its goofiness without making its characters into total idiots to make its stories work. In doing this, it has perfectly captured the spirit of the comic books that inspired it. And I can't wait for Season Four.