Monday, April 30, 2018

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 16 - Of Two Minds

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




Plot

With the arrival of the third Worldkiller, Pestilence, Kara and Imra butt heads over how to go about dealing with the crisis. When Alex and Winn fall prey to the disease unleashed by Pestilence, the two heroines will put aside their differences to save the day. Meanwhile, Lena continues her analysis of Sam and tries to find a way to stop her transformations into Reign.


Influences

The Supergirl comics of The New 52 era (idea of World Killers)


Goofs

Wouldn't killing Pestilence before she becomes The Blight trigger a paradox, since she'd never exist in the future for The Legion to develop a cure for her?

Imra's previously reverential attitude towards Kara has been suddenly replaced with an attitude about her being "too naive", so as to force a conflict between them based on something beyond the Mon-El love triangle.

Ignoring Imra's issues with Kara, her failure to coordinate with the DEO seems out of character as well based on her past characterization.

We were told in previous episodes that the 31st Century has few historical records regarding the 21st century. How then can Imra be so sure that Kara's plan to stop The Worldkillers by appealing to their human halves will fail when she doesn't know what Kara's original plans were or what her presence is doing to alter the past?  It could be that The Worldkiller's presence wasn't originally known until it was too late for Supergirl to do something!

You'd really think Brainiac-5 would know enough about basic medicine to know how vaccines work and how The Blight cure probably wouldn't work on the earlier plague Pestilence generates.

Even if they don't think Pestilence's virus is airborne, shouldn't everyone in the DEO lab be wearing scrubs and masks? Even if the non-humans can't be infected, they could still be acting as carriers.

Shouldn't they also be keeping James Olsen out of the lab where the sick, possibly contagiousm people are?


Performances

Mehcad Brooks hasn't always had a lot to do on this show, but the middle section where he lends a dying Winn an ear and then talks to Lena about her secret work offers a welcome bit of honest humanity in an episode that's a bit too heavy on forced melodrama.


Super Trivia

Pestilence strongly resembles a Worldkiller from the original New 52 Supergirl comics called Perrilius. Perrilus had the power to generate toxins and poisons, killing those around her.


Technobabble

The Blight is preceded by mass wildlife death and plant life, crops rotting in the ground itself.
It has a short incubation period and is 100% fatal and extremely contagious.

The dead birds Alex examines show no signs of having any disease, yet they all underwent catastrophic organ failure.

Imra's plan is to weaponize the cure for The Blight in her DNA and use that to kill Pestilence before she becomes a major threat.

Brainiac-5 has a personal image inducer which he uses to make himself look human.

The symptoms of The Blight include high fevers and bloody noses.

The genome of Sam's DNA is rewritten whenever Reign is triggered. Lena theorizes that there is a special enzyme that triggers this change and that it can be isolated and eliminated.

Sam's transformation into Reign seems to be brought about by a pain response, Lena triggers the transformation with 500 volts of electrical current.

All of the victims of Pestilence show signs of having been scratched. This backs Alex's theory that The Blight is passed through blood - not through the air or person-to-person contact.

The dark valley of Sam's dreams is a parallel dimension her mind goes to when Reign takes over her body. With Lena repressing Sam's ability to transform physically, it stopped Reign's ability to manifest fully in the real world. This enabled Sam and Reign to speak to one another and for Reign to deliver a warning that someone was coming for both of them.

Alex's analysis of Winn suggests that the scratches don't manifest until the rest of the symptoms do and the only trace evidence she could find was a mild anesthetic.

Brainiac-5 claims that the odds of stopping The Blight from existing by killing Pestilence are 98.459% The odds of stopping Pestilence by appealing to her humanity are 52.744%.

The Blight vaccine doesn't work on the Pestilence plague because it is not technically the same virus but the ancestor of it. This means they need a sample of Pestilence's DNA to adapt the cure to save Winn.

When Supergirl last fought Purity, Winn was able to identify the frequency of Purity's sonic scream. This enabled him and Braniac-5 to program the DEO satellites to scan for that frequency and alert them once it was detected.


Dialogue Triumphs

Alex: We have a lead on a treatment.
Doctor Grace Parker: You do? Already?!
Winn: Well, we work really fast on account of being really smart. (laughs)
Doctor Grace Parker: Some people find humor charming during stressful circumstances.. I find it's a mask for a lack of confidence.
Winn: (forced chuckle) Well, I find that... I have no retort.

Brainiac-5: Winn. You're a slightly smarter than average human. Tell us you remember who scratched you.
Winn: (mock gasp) Oh! There was a guy with the gloves! And the knives! And the burnt face!
Brainiac-5: Go on! (To Kara and Alex) This sounds like a very promising lead. (To Winn) What else do you remember?
(Kara is biting her lip. Alex looks annoyed as Winn continues to ham it up.)
Winn: Oh, so scary, man! I couldn't even look at it!
Alex: It's Freddy Kruger!
Brainiac-5: You know him too? Eureka!
Kara: It's a character in a movie.
(Winn laughs.)
Brainiac-5:
Facetiousness. My greatest weakness.

Kara: Do you think I'll get through to Pestilence?
J'onn: There's no way of knowing. You just have to try.
Kara: That's not what Yoda would say.
J'onn: (scoffs) Oh, yeah. Yoda. "Do or do not." He was wrong about that one.
(Kara chuckles lightly.)
J'onn: You know, these days... I don't know what my father will remember. I wake up and have the same conversation with him every day. I keep at it because sometimes he remembers that we've had that conversation before, and we actually laugh about it. I keep trying. I keep talking. So that he can find those moments of clarity. And laugh. Just because something is hard, doesn't mean it's impossible. You break through impossible every day. You inspire the rest of us to do the same.
Kara: You're a good son. And thank you.

Brainiac-5: Are you two having a marital conflict which I should stay out of, or is this a work-related quandary where my intellect might be of use?

Mon-El: Some decisions can't be made with a math equation.


Dialogue Disasters

Imra: Whatever you do in this time to try and stop her fails. You fail. So if I get the chance, I will end this.

Pestilence: They say that surgeons have a God complex, but it's simple. I am a god!


Continuity

The early evidence suggests Pestilence  to be a woman named Adelaide "Addy" Swanson who works in the National City Mayor's Office. She is famous for her lemon poppy-seed cookies. She is later found dead of the plague by Supergirl.

Kara refers to the confrontation with Purity in 313 and how that went badly because they were too aggressive.

Winn somehow recognizes who Brainiac-5 is when his image inducer is active.

The mayor, chief of police and five city councilman of National City are among the first human victims of Pestilence.

Sam tells Lena about her reoccurring dreams of a dark valley. She says that this time she saw it was a real place and Reign was there. Lena says this dark valley is a parallel dimension where Sam's mind goes when Reign takes over her body.

Imra says she has no reason to listen to anything Supergirl wants to do because clearly whatever she wanted to attempt in the past to stop The Worldkillers failed.

Mon-El says that Imra sent The Legion on this mission for reasons of vengeance, but does not specify what that means. He does reveal that Imra is hiding her real reasons for wanting to kill Pestilence from Kara.

Winn talks about making peace with his mother in 314.

Social media does not exist in the 31st century. Brainiac-5 finds the concept "delusional".

Pestilence is revealed as Dr. Grace Parker - first in her class at Metropolis School of Medicine, now an emergency surgeon at National City General Hospital.

As of this episode, Pestilence only has the power to retract her fingernails and creates some kind of venom. Her touch can also cause plant-life to wither and die. She appears to have some degree of enhanced durability as well. At the end of the episode, she is revealed to have super speed.

Purity is somehow able to negate whatever Imra injected Purity with to kill her. Still, the needle gives them the DNA sample they need to create a cure for Pestilence's plague.

Imra had a sister named Preya, who died of The Blight. She was quiet and stuck to herself. This is why Imra was so determined to kill Pestilence.

Together, all three World Killers can unleash a psychic attack that renders great pain in the people around them along with a blinding light.

Reign is also revealed to have the power to will a costume to will around her.


Untelevised Adventures

Brainiac-5 apparently nearly caused a riot when he went out in his normal form and attempted to buy apple cider vinegar from a Piggly Wiggly.


The Fridge Factor

It seems like most of Imra's real issues with Kara are sub-textually about her worrying about Mon-El wanting to be with Kara rather than Pestilence.


The Kryptonite Factor

Honestly, most of the problems in this episode would have ended in about five minutes of Imra would just be honest with Kara.


The Bottom Line


Largely bland filler up until the last two minutes. As has been typical this season, the best moments of the episode were those dealing with the character interactions and the personal subplots rather than everything to do with The Worldkillers. The Worldkillers really aren't that interesting as a concept (there's a reason why they were never used again after their initial appearance in the second Supergirl arc in the New 52 era) and there's nothing here to make us care about Dr. Grace as an individual like there was in the episode with Purity. Throw in the nonsense with Imra fighting with Kara just to add drama for the sake of drama and you have one flat, but not painfully awful, episode.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 20 - Shifting Allegiances

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



Plot

Oliver turns to an unexpected old friend for help in dealing with Diaz. Meanwhile, Rene leaves the hospital but has trouble readjusting to life as Wild Dog and Quentin discovers the true nature of Black Siren's relationship with Diaz.


Influences

The Green Arrow comics of Judd Winick (Ollie deciding to work with criminals rather than other heroes to accomplish his goals.)


Goofs

Quentin points out the biggest problem with the keystone idea of The Black Siren Redemption Arc - the idea that Black Siren can honestly feel threatened by Diaz. That idea might have washed with Zoom. It might even have worked for Prometheus last year. But there is no way that Black Siren couldn't reasonably wipe the floor with Diaz AND his immediate circle of bodyguards given what we've seen her do to against whole mobs in his service. She was able to overcome a helpless metahuman with a healing factor at point-blank range. She could easily liquefy Diaz' brain in his sleep if she wanted to.

Once again, we see characters learning the wrong lessons and forgetting lessons they learned for the sake of a story. First, with Ollie continuing to believe he is stronger alone.  Next, Quentin forgetting how nothing good ever comes of doing bad things for good reasons.

The idea that Ricardo Diaz is somehow more inhuman than Zoom (the super-fast serial killer who enslaved an entire world, vibrated the hearts out of countless people and stole a superhero's identity just for the fun of it), Prometheus (the man who tortured and killed countless people in the name of avenging his father's death)  and Cayden James (the man who dispassionately plotted to destroy an entire city because of the death of his son) because he killed the man who tortured him every day of his life as a child is the most eye-rollingly stupid thing to come out of Black Siren's mouth yet. And that, to quote Anatoly, is saying something!


Performances

The high point of the episode is David Nykl and Stephen Amell playing off of each other. After five seasons, it is still amazing to watch Nykl go from being sinister to snarky in the span of a sentence.


Artistry

The sequence of Mister Terrific tagging The Quadrant trucks is probably the best use of the character to date in an action sequence.


Trivia

One of the Quadrant leaders is identified as a gun lobbyist named Lydia Cassamento. In the DC Comics Universe, The Cassamentos are one of The Five Families making up the Gotham City Italian Mafia. This Five Families are The Bertinellis, The Berettis, The Cassamentos, The Inzerillos and The Galantes.

The Arrow logo in this stinger of this episode lacks the usual addition of the other Team Arrow icons.

The weapons brought in to Star City by Cassamento are said to be of Kasnian origin. Kasnia is a fictional country first introduced to the DC Comics Multiverse in Superman: The Animated Series. It has since then been used in The Arrowverse where Kasnia is a Republic in Eastern Europe.


Technobabble

Curtis hacks a thermal-sensing program from the NSA to try and track Diaz.

Curtis has a laser microphone of better quality than anything the CIA has.

The Quadrant's guns are equipped with stealth-adapters making them invisible to ASMs.


Dialogue Triumphs

Oliver: I just want to talk.
Anatoly: We stopped talking year ago. How you find me?
Oliver: I got a tip. From a friend of yours in Russia.
Anatoly: I have no friends in Russia. Your doing.
Oliver: That's fixed. (places a dagger on the counter) Also my doing.
Anatoly: (looking at the dagger) This is Pakhan's. How you come to have it?
Oliver: You told me that The Bratva exiled you because of your friendship with me. I owed you a debt. I owed them a debt. I paid it. You can go home now, Anatoly.  (pauses) You said you were an honorable man. Now, I think you know deep down that Diaz isn't. Help me stop him.
(There is a long pause before Anatoly sighs and steps closer to Oliver.)
Anatoly:
Well, you were right. I was an honorable man.
(Before Oliver can react, Anatoly pulls a taser and zaps him in the chest, knocking him out instantly.)

Oliver: My mission was always supposed to be solitary. Put with a team? Fill it with people that I care about? It splits my focus.
Anatoly: Is that why you think Diaz was able to beat you?
Oliver: He took over the city while I was distracted.
Anatoly: If you seriously believe that, then you are an even bigger fool than I thought. And that is saying something.

Anatoly: Time to go see Diaz!
Oliver: (sarcastic) Think he'll give you a reward?
Anatoly: A man can dream. But I'll settle for satisfaction.

Rene: You got a kid. Younger than Zoe. How do you deal with it?
John: I don't, man. Not out here. When I put this holster on, I leave Daddy at home. 

Quentin: Don't pretend like you give a crap about me, alright? Are you proud of yourself, huh? Turning a father's grief against him? As far as I'm concerned, you're worse than Diaz!
Black Siren: You have no idea what he's capable of.
Quentin: I know what you're capable of. You can bring walls smashing down. You really expect me to believe that you are scared of a thug like Diaz?

Anatoly: You say I betray myself working with Diaz. I think much on this.
Oliver: Yes?
Anatoly: You may be right. But I realize moment things went wrong. Last year when I trusted you to bring me into city. So if I betray myself, Kapiushon? It is because you... you betray me first.

(Anatoly enters into Oliver's cell. He is carrying bandages and antiseptic spray.)
Oliver: Thank you.
Anatoly: Bandages least I could do.
Oliver: Not for the bandages, Anatoly. Thank you for giving me the chance to take out Diaz.
Anatoly: What makes you think that's what I was doing? Maybe I wanted to see for myself.
Oliver: See what?
Anatoly: Which one of you has honor.
(Anatoly kneels down before Oliver.)
Anatoly: Just like you wanted, no? You allow yourself to be captured, so I bring you to Diaz?
Oliver: I just thought that I could count on you to be the man I knew. That man was my friend.
Anatoly: (nodding quietly) Hurry up with bandages. I have plan to get you out of here.


Dialogue Disasters

Black Siren: I have known a lot of bad men. And they have been filled with anger and with hate. But not Diaz. He's not filled with anger inside because he's not even human inside. I watched him burn a man alive over a childhood grudge. If I cross him, what is he going to do to me?


Continuity

Oliver captures a man wanted by the Bratva in Moscow to buy Anatoly's way back into The Bratva.

Rene is release from the hospital.

Diaz now controls all the security cameras and police in Star City.

The Quadrant leader who accepted Diaz into The Quadrant in 619 is identified as Lydia Cassamento - a gun lobbyist who oversees the gun-running operations of The Quadrant.

Anatoly refers to Oliver's attack on SCPD HQ in 618.

The Scorpions were the gang that Ricardo Diaz ran before being imprisoned. Reportedly they run most of the drug trade in The Glades.

Rene has connections to The Scorpions through a gambling operation in The Glades.

Rene is having PTSD flashbacks to the last few times he nearly died.

Black Canary, Wild Dog and Mister Terrific blunder into the arms deal as ARGUS is attacking it, as The Quadrant was trying to kill The Scorpions. John Diggle helps them escape.

John Diggle tells Dinah, Rene and Curtis about The Quadrant.

John apologies for his role in everything that caused Team Arrow to split.

Quentin tells John, Rene, Dinah and Curtis about how Diaz came to him demanding he sign over a certain building.

Between the five of them, they figure out that Diaz is now part of The Quadrant and he's turning Star City into a way station rather than having guns shipped in for his men.

Quentin kicks Black Siren out of his home.

Rene elects not to go on the mission to destroy The Quadrant's guns.

There is a version of Damien Darhk on Earth 2. He is as evil as the Earth 1 version, according to Black Siren.

Quentin winds up signing the oreder Diaz gave him, due to his being convinced that Black Siren was scared of Diaz.

Quentin refers to his working for Damien Darhk in Season 4 and how he did bad things for a good reason before.

John declines Curtis' offer to join his team but says ARGUS will continue to work with them.

Zoe is revealed to know about her father's secret identity. She encourages him to keep being Wild Dog.

The episode ends with Diaz having Oliver arrested and arranging to have his trial bumped up to May 3rd, 2018.


Location

Moscow


The Winick Factor

Rather than work with any of the heroes or groups he can rest assured will not double-cross him to Diaz, Ollie decides to approach someone he actively knows is working with Diaz and has even less reason to work with Ollie than New Team Arrow or ARGUS.


The Bottom Line

Were it not for the Black Siren Redemption nonsense, this might be a serviceable episode. Even though Rene's subplot feels recycled from John's storyline earlier in the season, at least it's somewhat acknowledged with Rene asking John for advice on balancing fatherhood and vigilantism. It's a nice, brief moment and the sort of team dynamic this series really could have used this season. Even Curtis gets a few good moments and that never happens! What really sells the episode, however, is the Oliver/Anatoly relationship and their interactions.

Unfortunately, it seems like the rumors of Season 7 of Arrow being used to tell the Supermax "Green Arrow in prison" story that never got made are true. I knew having something with Ollie living an outlaw's life in the forest outside Star City was a bit much to hope for, but I'd rather have this show  emulating Benjamin Percy than David Goyer any day of the week.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 19- Fury Rogue

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



Plot

With only one Bus Meta remaining - the radiation emitter called Fallout - Barry needs help moving him to a more secure location where The Thinker can't get him. This calls for the help of an unexpected ally and who could be more unexpected than Citizen Cold - Len Snart's heroic counterpart from Earth X? Unfortunately, when they retrieve him, the Nazi Black Siren of Earth X comes along for the ride. Meanwhile, Cisco begins to grow suspicions regarding Harry's use of The Thinking Cap as Harry is reluctant to let him build a second one.


Influences

Mad Max: Fury Road (title and general chase theme)


Goofs

For the past few episodes, Cisco was the one character warning everyone else about how dangerous The Thinking Cap was. Now, suddenly, he's all about using it and wants to use it himself.

 Apart from needing Black Siren on the loose to add a further complication to this episode, there is no good reason why Barry couldn't have taken out Black Siren before he and Citizen Cold left Earth X.

Despite having an apparent mad-on for everyone involved in overthrowing the Nazi Regime on Earth X - especially Citizen Cold (whom she followed to another Earth just to kill him) - she is content to just take Citizen Cold's cold gun and leave him and The Flash unconscious in a gutter rather than shooting them with the cold gun, blasting them with a Sonic Scream or doing... well, anything that would result in them dying!

Why isn't Black Siren incapacitated by Fallout's radiation?

See The Boomerang Factor for details how the heroes were made ineffectual during the final fight with Siren-X.

One big question this episode raises that will probably be ignored by The Flash and Arrow - doesn't the capture of Siren-X pretty much screw up Black Siren's efforts to pose as Laurel Lance? She made a rather big show of coming back to Star City claiming to be held captive for two years and now a metahuman who looks just like her shows up trying to blow up a police station in Central City? That should attract attention and raise questions that Joe can't deflect. We know Snart didn't take Siren-X back to Earth-X with him, so where is she? Did ARGUS take her? Is she in The Pipeline? We don't know! But someone should have noticed a second evil Laurel Lance running around Central City.


Performances

Wentworth Miller. 'Nuff Said!


Flash Facts

The title of the episode is a pun on the movie Mad Max: Fury Road.

Katie Cassidy - who plays Black Siren on Arrow - appears playing the Black Siren of Earth X, aka Siren-X.

Apart from being a literal Nazi and having super-hearing powers and wearing a mask, there doesn't seem to be any difference between Siren-X and her Earth Two counterpart. Citizen Cold says that she's the only surviving member of The Reichsmen. An elite assassin gone mad, she had an unrequited love for The Dark Arrow, and is out to kill everyone involved in his death - Citizen Cold especially.

Iris says that ARGUS has a secure facility in New Brighton that should be able to contain Fallout and keep him safe. In the DC Comics Universe, New Brighton is a borough in Central City that is primarily residential and commercial in nature, housing the main Central City Rail Station.

In the DCTVU, New Brighton is a city on the other side of the state from Keystone City.


Technobabble

The excessive infusion of Dark Matter into Harry's neural system has disrupted the area of the brain where general intelligence and executive function occur. This is inhibiting his ability to integrate new information, or, in simple terms, Harry is losing his intelligence and will eventually need to relearn everything he ever learned.

The Thinker has not suffered any decline in his metabolic processes since his transference into Ralph's body. He claims that Ralph's elasticized cells could contain the power of another bus full of metahumans.

The Siren-X can use her powers to disrupt a Vibe portal long enough to hold it open so she can use it before it closes.

Caitlin is working on a modified radiation hazmat suit to keep Fallout's core temperature from rising to the point of detonation.

Harry blames the failure of the second Thinking Cap on a hyper-limiter valve.

Cisco notes that the second Thinking Cap was made with promethium ion diodes. Harry claims these probably overloaded the cap as well.

Caitlin created a cocktail of atomized DTPA and potassium iodine. With any luck, if the Fallout containment suit fails, the solution should flood the thyroid with enough non-radioactive iodine to offer them some protection from the radiation. This protection will only last for 2-3 hours.

The Fallout suit also prevents Fallout from being tracked by satellite due to his radiation signature.

Caitlin's tests determine that there is still a cryogenic anomaly in her DNA even without any traces of Dark Matter. This means that there is still a trace of Killer Frost inside her - she just has to figure out how to get her to appear.


Dialogue Triumphs

(The Thinker pulls up a display for some manner of device.)
The Mechanic:
We start today?
The Thinker: Yes.
The Mechanic: But we have time, my love. Could we not spend time together? (purring) As husband and wife? I think
The Thinker: Mmm. That is... that is your first mistake. Leave the thinking to me.

Citizen Cold: War's over. Bad guys and girls lost. Nazi regime's been dismantled. And The Rebellion's in charge now. Why don't you turn yourself in? Save us the Tom and Jerry? Find some other misguided cause to get all aggro about?
(Cold hears and noise and fires a blast too late, being knocked to the ground by a sonic blast.)
Siren-X: Not this night. I will fight until every last one of you finds the same fate as my brothers and sisters.
(Before Siren-X can finish him off, there is a golden burst of lightning as The Flash carries Citizen Cold off to where Vibe is waiting on the far side of the room.)
Citizen Cold: Your timing is impeccable.
The Flash: We need your help on our Earth.
Citizen Cold: Right now? I'm kinda busy.
Vibe: With what? Dying?
(Citizen Cold turns around, toward the sound of Black Siren's footsteps.)
Citizen Cold: Touche.

Citizen Cold: So. You're trying to stop a guy who thinks he's smarter than everyone and his true-believer lover, who are hell-bent on achieving their evil machinations at any cost? (pause) Well, that's right up my alley!

Barry: Winning this battle might just win us the war.
Citizen Cold: Here here! Let's all make sure we keep our heads in the game, so we can stay safe out there.
(Everyone else breaks up as Barry walks up to Snart.)
Barry:
I know what that was about.
Citizen Cold: It was a good speech, Barry. Just making sure you heard it, just didn't give it.
Barry: What's that suppose to mean?
Citizen Cold: If you don't confront your feelings, they will confront you.

(Caitlin explains how she's adjusting to Killer Frost not leaving her post-it notes anymore.)
Citizen Cold: Do you miss her?
Caitlin: It's not that. It's just that... we were starting to become close lately. And I know how crazy that sounds considering we're talking about someone who actually lived inside of me!
Citizen Cold: I'm on an alt-Earth transporting a human bomb with an escort who can literally run back to the future. Your story is the least crazy thing I've heard all day.

(Citizen Cold is explaining everything he knows about Siren X.)
Iris: So she has the same powers as Black Siren?
(Citizen Cold looks confused.)
Iris: The Laurel Lance of Earth Two.
Citizen Cold: And Earth One's Laurel Lance?
Barry: She died.
Cisco: She was the second Black Canary after her sister.
(Citizen Cold looks confused.)
Cisco: Who also died and came back. But as White Canary. Because-
Barry: Cisco!
Cisco: ... it's complicated.

Cisco: Harry, how could you be so stupid?
Harry: 'Cause I felt so stupid!
Cisco: We all feel stupid right now!
Harry: Yes, but you're Vibe! Allen's The Flash! Who am I? My only job is to be smarter than all the villains who want to hurt this team and without that I'm nothing! I am about to lose the only part of me that has any value to this team. The only part of me that matters! And so, yeah! I destroyed The Cap! So you wouldn't make the same mistake I did.

The Mechanic: You really don't see it?! You can calculate near-infinite outcomes across multiple Earths, but you cannot account for how someone is feeling?

Citizen Cold: Barry, trust me. There's no outrunning grief. (pause) That was a pun. I'm sorry.

Citizen Cold: Well, look at that. Something old. Something new. Something borrowed. Something... navy.


Dialogue Disasters


Black Siren X: A nuke is a terrible thing to waste.

Black Siren X: CCPD. Home of the brave. Land of the dead.


Continuity


Harry discovers that using the Dark Matter powered thinking cap has damaged his brain's ability to absorb new information and will eventually erase his mind completely.

Barry and Iris go to see Dr.Sharon Finkel about Ralph's death.

Iris still has her arm in a sling following her injuries in the last episode.

The Mechanic is happy without needing to be drugged, much to The Thinker's surprise. She credits this to it feeling like he had gone away when he was in the other Bus Meta bodies.

Cisco has the idea to build his own Thinking Cap. Harry reluctantly agrees to help him with it.

Tracy Brand's lab is revealed to be in Keystone City.

Team Flash decides to retrieve Citizen Cold from Earth X, as they can use his cold gun to keep Fallout from going into a nuclear meltdown.

Citizen Cold last appeared in L310.

We discover that the Nazi regime on Earth X has been overthrown. The Rebellion is now running the world government and is in the middle of cleaning up the Nazis, like Black Siren, who refuse to surrender.

Citizen Cold did propose to The Ray, as he said he would during his last appearance. They are getting married in one day.

The plan is to transport Fallout in the special suit Caitlin made, with Leo Snart's cold gun as a back-up to keep Fallout's temperature down, to a special ARGUS facility in New Brighton.

According to Cisco, the Thinking Cap inspires a tingling feeling like his conditioner working when active.

The Mechanic wears The Thinker's favorite dress to please him. He tells her to change into something more appropriate.

Highway 14 is the most rural route between Keystone City and New Brighton.

18,322 rebels died fighting the Nazis on Earth X. 3,679 were under Citizen Cold's watch.

Neil Borman (aka Fallout) makes his first appearance since 410.

The Sonic Scepter is not powerful enough to disturb The Thinker in Ralph's body. He is, however, affected by Black Siren's sonic blasts.

Harry finally confesses to Cisco that he used The Thinking Cap while it was powered by Dark Mater.

The Thinker predicted everything that happened in his confrontation with The Flash and Citizen Cold - even the arrival of Siren-X. The only thing he did not account for was Barry freezing up at the reminder of Ralph's death.

Siren-X tries to use Fallout to blow up CCPD HQ.

Fallout is taken into custody by ARGUS and moved to a different off-the-grid black ops site.

It is unclear what happens to Siren-X. Leo Snart doesn't take her with him when he returns to Earth-X, so presumably ARGUS took her into custody as well.

Cisco invites all of Team Flash to his wedding.

Cisco gives Leo Snart a Inter-Dimensional Extrapolator, identical to the one he gave Supergirl, in case Leo ever needs to travel to Earth One.

Leo Snart also takes the spare costume belonging to Captain Cold.

Harry agrees to tell the team about his losing his intelligence, but not today.

Barry makes another appointment with Dr. Finkel to discuss Ralph's death.


Location

Earth X - An Unnamed Warehouse
Tracy Brand's lab in Keystone City
Highway 14, between Keystone City and New Brighton.


The Fridge Factor

Even on a world where she's a born and bred Nazi super-villain, Laurel Lance still isn't free to be evil on her own terms, driven crazy by her unrequited love for Oliver Queen. Yay co-dependence!


The Boomerang Factor

Barry could have easily taken out Black Siren when they came to pick up Snart from Earth X. But since she's needed to add tension to the story, he didn't.

Tasked with finding a truck on a remote rural freeway, it never occurs to Barry to... run along the freeway and see if he can catch up to it. This becomes even more maddening when it turns out that Siren-X drove the truck back to Central City where Cisco's usual tracking software should have found it long before she got to CCPD HQ.

Barry somehow manages to run head first into a sonic-blast.

Caitlin grabs a hold of the cold gun that Siren-X dropped... and uses it on Fallout, who is already being blasted by Citizen Cold, instead of the unoccupied Siren-X.


The Bottom Line

Proof that even a Wentworth Miller guest spot can be spoiled by the inclusion of Katie Cassidy. It's not all bad but the sad truth is that Siren-X's role in this episode feels entirely tacked on and only serves to cause the rest of Team Flash to be dumbed down to accommodate her cartoonish antics.

It's a crying shame though because there are so many scenes that are magical, particularly Citizen Cold's interactions with the team. Though this is reportedly going to be Wentworth Miller's final adventure as any version of Leonard Snart, the door is left wide open for his return if his schedule frees up enough. Unfortunately, the fate of Siren-X is also left open. (In fact, they don't even bother saying what happened to her!)

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.