Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 7, Episode 2 - The Longbow Hunters

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


Plot

When ARGUS' resources are denied her, Felicity seeks to find another way to go after Diaz. Unfortunately, Diaz's new allies - The Longbow Hunters - are coming into action in Star City and what remains of Team Arrow is in no shape to help her. Meanwhile, in The Slab, Oliver is forced to form an alliance with an old enemy to survive and find out what Diaz is planning.

In the future, William tells Roy Harper why he came to Lian Yu, leading them both to an even larger mystery.


Influences

The Jeff Lemire run on Green Arrow (concept of The Longbow Hunters) Supermax (David Goyer's unproduced "Green Arrow in prison" movie) and the novel The Count of Monte Cristo (parallels to Oliver's life, as it centers around a man who adopts a new identity to avenge himself on those responsible for ruining his former life before going on to take a series of actions that hurt innocent people as well as the guilty.)


Goofs

Why the heck are The Longbow Hunters called The Longbow Hunters? None of them use a longbow and they aren't brought together to seek revenge on Green Arrow. (I'm not even touching the fact that Green Arrow doesn't use a longbow...)

Apart from being another convenient road-block in keeping anyone from doing anything to stop Diaz, there is no reason why ARGUS would not want to capture and arrest the man responsible for leading the group that stole their technology. ARGUS has been shown abducting criminals off the street without trial for a lot less than what Diaz pulled. Stealing a power source and attempting to steal an energy weapon should be more than enough to build a case for terrorism charges.

Why doesn't Dinah call in the cops when Black Siren goes into Diaz's base? Ignoring that it's what she should do as a cop who is trying to follow procedures now, it would be a wonderful opportunity to bust Black Siren violating the anti-vigilante laws.

Why don't Dinah and Black Siren chase after The Silencer when her field shorts out?


Performances

Again, Emily Bett Rickards slays with the power of her performance here.


Artistry

The silent fight scene between Silencer, Black Canary and Black Siren is well handled.



Trivia

The episode opens with an entirely new opening narration by Oliver Queen.

The Longbow Hunters were a villain group formed by Ricardo Diaz during Jeff Lemire's run on Green Arrow, made up of villains who had a grudge against Green Arrow. The line-up included Diaz himself, Brick, The Red Dart, Killer Moth and Count Vertigo.

In The Arrowverse, The Longbow Hunters are some legendary group that Diaz has made contact with. Anatoly has heard of them but thought they were just a myth. Oliver says that they are three assassins whom even The League of Assassins were afraid of. The last one reportedly died in The 1950s.

One of the Longbow Hunters is a woman called The Red Dart. The name of the Red Dart has been used by three different villains in DC Comics history.

The first Red Dart was a man named John "Midas" Mallory who pretended to be a hero like Green Arrow, while secretly working as a Deadshot-style assassin. He first appeared in World's Finest Comics #95.

The second Red Dart was a nameless man who appeared in one issue Grant Morrison's JLA (JLA #34), who claimed to have bought the gear and the name from John Mallory. His big claim to fame was stealing the Green Lantern ring off of an unconscious Kyle Rayner so that Prometheus could analyze it.

The third Red Dart was a nameless woman who was identified as one of Green Arrow's enemies during the Jeff Lemire run on Green Arrow in the New 52 series. She used trick darts similar to Green Arrow's trick arrows and was part of The Longbow Hunters. She first appeared in Green Arrow #31 (May 2014).

The Arrowverse version of The Red Dart seems to be based on the third Red Dart from the comics, being a woman who uses a dart gun as a weapon.

One of the Longbow Hunters is revealed as a man called Kodiak. In the original comics, Kodiak was the leader of The Shield Clan - one of the various families tied to ancient weapons who made up the group called The Outsiders. He first appeared in Green Arrow #26 (December 2013) and was the keeper of The Shield Totem, which granted immortality and ultimate wisdom to its keeper. He was recruited to kill Oliver Queen, as he searched for The Arrow Totem.

The Arrowverse version of Kodiak is a large man who fights with a heavy shield with sharpened-edges as a weapon. He is apparently easily bored and does not mind killing people messily compared to his more stealthy compatriots.

One of the Longbow Hunters is revealed as a woman called The Silencer. First appearing in The Silencer #1 (January 2018) The Silencer was a woman named Honor Guest who was once one of the most famous assassins in the world. After decades in the service of Talia Al Ghul, she was allowed to retire and start a normal life with an ordinary man. She was dragged back into her old life, however, and began a battle to save everything she had worked so hard to build. She had a unique metahuman power that allowed her to create a zone of total silence around her so no one could hear her approach or the noise of any conflict she started.

The Arrowverse version of The Silencer has the same power, though her abilities are technological in nature rather than the result of a metahuman power. She also does not share the motivations of her comic book counterpart. This would seem to be an alternate version of The Silencer who never renounces her violent past as an assassin in favor of a normal life.


Technobabble

Felicity creates a device she calls her Digi Murder Board - a tablet that analyzes all the data she has found on Diaz and seeks out additional intelligence, making predictions based on all of this data. Essentially, it is an electronic brain that thinks like Diaz. It is also tracking his known associates, like The Longbow Hunters.

Diaz acquired an Electronic Jammer that allowed him to bypass the security of even an ARGUS safe-house. Digg says this is because of Diaz's new friends.

The item stolen by The Longbow Hunters is Prototype B-24 - an experimental removable ultra high-density removable battery, Curtis says that one battery has the capability of powering an entire town and ARGUS was using them to help refugees.

The Longbow Hunters are armed with a high-tech shield, nano-powered darts and a sonic manipulator.

Curtis and Felicity are able to track The Longbow Hunters by finding an energy spike from where they tested the battery.

The T-Spheres do not have lock-picking capabilities.

ARGUS developed an adapter that calibrates the charge of the B-24 battery to power a directed energy weapon capable of flattening a whole city.

William spent over a billion dollars trying to develop affordable magnetic levitation.

Kodiak's shield is strong enough to deflect high-caliber rounds and sharp enough to cut an assault rifle in half.

The Silencer's force-field is capable of canceling out Black Siren and Black Canary's sonic screams at point-blank range, though the two of them together are able to overpower the field.



Dialogue Triumphs

Oliver: My name was Oliver Queen. After six years of being a vigilante, the only way to achieve my goal and save my city was to confess to being The Green Arrow. Now my family and friends must carry on my mission without me. I am no longer a hero. I am Inmate 4587.

(Curtis is filling Felicity's wine glass.)
Felicity: A little more.
(Curtis keeps pouring.)
Felicity: Little more.
Curtis: Do you want me to put a straw in the bottle?

Dinah: (To Black Siren) You know, I don't really care if Diaz kills you. But I do care if he kills the DA.

Curtis: Please tell me you are not hacking ARGUS from inside ARGUS!
Felicity: (hissing) Of course not I'm not ARGUS from inside ARGUS! I'm hacking... INTERPOL from inside ARGUS.
Curtis: That's not much better and that will still get me fired!

(Digg tells Felicity that she has to accept that Oliver isn't coming back even if they catch Diaz.)
Felicity: I can't. And I won't! And I can't believe that you do. The old John would have done anything to bring down that monster and you're - you're here! And you wouldn't even take up the Green Arrow mantle - the only thing that Oliver asked you to do! You've moved on with your life. The last six years actually meant to something to me! So I am going to stop Diaz, whatever it takes. Even if I have to do it alone!

(Black Siren tells Dinah about her plan to kill Diaz herself.)
Dinah: You know, I knew you were faking it this whole time. Becoming the DA and all your BS talk about the rule of law? You know deep down you are still the same lying murderer who killed the man I loved!


Continuity

Oliver got two days in the hole for the fight he started in 701.

Ollie's attacker in the showers got sent to Level 2 of The Slab, which is worse than a death sentence.

Brick was behind hiring the inmates who attacked Oliver.

Dinah put Black Siren under direct police protection since Diaz is apparently on the move again.

Felicity says that she is monitoring Cyrus Broderick. He is the last surviving member of The Quadrant leadership not killed by Diaz.

The Longbow Hunters raid an ARGUS research facility, stealing something from vault 326.

Curtis says he is scared of ARGUS Deputy Director Bell.

Anatoly is acting as ARGUS' source regarding The Longbow Hunters. He confirms they are the ones who robbed ARGUS.

Felicity deduces on her own that The Longbow Hunters are involved, based on their weapons.

Deputy Director Bell reminds Digg that ARGUS isn't chartered for criminal investigations.

Black Siren keeps ditching the police detail assigned to her.

Black Siren takes her coffee with two sugars and no cream.

Brick says he might tell Oliver how to find Diaz if he gets rid of Officer Peter Yorke. He refuses to say why he wants him gone.

Oliver agrees, but says he will do it his way without killing Yorke.

Felicity, Rene and Curtis break into The Longbow Hunters' hideout at the same time as Diggle's ARGUS team.

ARGUS is aware of the FBI's deal with Team Arrow and is authorized to bring anyone who violates the anti-vigilante laws down.

Oliver learned enough hacking tricks from Felicity to use the prison library computer to access the personnel records of the prison's staff.

Officer Peter Yorke was born in 1978. Enlisted in the army at age 19 and served for 8 years, earning commendations before being injured in the line of duty. He became a guard at The Slab shortly thereafter and worked there for 12 years. He has a wife named Jenna and a son named Noah. He has never had any disciplinary problems or complaints filed against him.

John apparently refused to take up the Green Arrow mantle after 623.

Oliver is given a shank by Bronze Tiger.

Oliver tries to warn Officer Yorke to quit or transfer or something to get out of The Slab.

John admits that he refused to become Green Arrow because he saw how The Hood ruined Oliver's family and he couldn't do that to his wife and son. Instead, he chose to commit to his job at ARGUS as a way to honor his commitment to protecting Star City without putting a mask on.

Dinah tracks Black Siren to an abandoned building that Diaz bought right after joining The Quadrant.

John recovers the battery, but Diaz and The Longbow Hunters are allowed to escape as John delinks the train cars to make sure the battery can't be stolen back.

Felicity says that she understands why John did what he did and agrees he is doing good work to help people, but that she can't work with anyone whose primary goal isn't bringing down Diaz.

Black Siren apologizes to Dinah for killing Vinny and insists that she's changed.

Ollie frames Officer Yorke for stabbing him.

Felicity goes to FBI Agent Samandara Watson to ask for her help in bringing down Diaz.

Oliver and Felicity apparently abandoned William when he was a teenager.

William makes reference to having an ex-boyfriend.

Roy changes the subject when William asks why he is on Lian Yu.

Felicity implanted an electronic device that broadcast the coordinates of Lian Yu into The Queen Family Hozen. It began to beep three weeks before William arrived on Lian Yu.

Roy asks why Felicity would want William to come to Lian Yu.

William says he hasn't been to Lian Yu since his mother died.

Roy advises William not to look for answers in the past.

William is apparently a self-made tech-billionaire.

William recalls how he first met Roy when he was with his aunt Thea and they were going off somewhere together. (This happened in 616.)

Roy doesn't want to discuss the past, saying that he came to Lian Yu to forget all that.

The exact coordinates William was given lead to four graves Oliver told Roy about. These belong to Robert Queen, Yao Fei, Shado and Taiana

Roy found a fifth grave which contains Oliver's old chest full of gear from his time on Lian Yu and his bow.

William says he can't use a bow and arrow.

The bow contains a message, which Roy burns. Afterward, Roy says they have to go back to Star City.


Location

Slabside Maximum Security Prison.
Lian Yu - 2038


The Winick Factor

It is the height of plot convenience that The Silencer just happens to be the one at Diaz's base when the two women with sonic powers show up to storm it.


The Bottom Line

For an episode called The Longbow Hunters, they barely feature into the episode at all and we learn next to nothing about the long-awaited master-assassins that are supposed to be utterly unstoppable. Sadly, there's almost nothing to them, which is not surprising given that (with the exception of The Silencer) none of them have been particularly well developed in the comics.

Thankfully, while the episode is a disappointment when it comes to trying to make Diaz's actions make sense, the core cast manage to make the main storylines work perfectly. The Black Canary/Black Siren rivalry gets some much needed development, though there's little logic behind Dinah's decision to cover her arch-enemy as she's getting ready to break the law, instead of, oh, say, calling all the cops and exposing The DA as a hypocrite and a fraud.

Still, OTA steals the show, with Emily Bett delivering a powerhouse performance, Stephen Amell offering his most tormented performance yet as Oliver Queen and David Ramsey managing to make Digg's sudden about-face on becoming Green Arrow seem natural and logical... even though he was beating Oliver up over the right to become Green Arrow a scant few episodes ago.

The mystery of the future is stacking up nicely, even if we're left with more questions about the past than we are what happens next. All in all, it's a decent filler episode though it has more than a few obvious flaws. Still, it is not without its charms.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 40

In which we end Chapter Two and start Chapter Three and our hunt for the Nighthawks with a Spyglass and a Spider.


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 2 - Fallout

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




Plot

Chaos descends on National City, as President Marsdin is exposed as an alien. Alex has her hands full running the DEO in the face of this crisis, as Supergirl focuses on capturing Mercy Graves - the woman responsible for it all. Meanwhile, Brainiac-5 runs into Kara's protege Nia, and the two wind up in a dangerous situation as James struggles to maintain control at CatCo and wonders if he should make an editorial statement on the current crisis.


Influences

The political situation in the United States following the 2016 Presidential election.  The sequences of Kara trying to subtly use her powers to protect herself, Lena and Eve seem to borrow from the Superman films of Richard Lester.


Goofs

Brainiac-5 orders a dozen pizzas yet leaves the pizzeria with only five pizza boxes.

Rhona Mitra's performance as Mercy Graves is so hammy that it violates both Kosher and Halal diets.


Performances

It's a subtle thing, but David Harewood is doing a fantastic job playing J'onn the investigator and I hope we'll eventually see him doing more detective work ala the classic Martian Manhunter comics.


Artistry

As heavy-handed as the metaphor maybe, the image of Supergirl catching a collapsing flagpole before it crushes the crowd that knocked it over as a peaceful protest turns into a riot is a powerful one.


Super Trivia

The episode features a new opening narration for the introduction.

Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution of the United States of America says that any candidate for the Presidency must be 35 years of age, a natural-born citizen and have been a resident of The United States for at least 14 years. This means that no alien (other-worldly, or otherwise) can legally become President.

Brainiac-5 says that Nia looks familiar to him. This may be a nod to the fact that Nia's descendant will turn out to be a member of the Legion of Super Heroes. (An article in USA Today regarding the character confirmed that Nia would be an ancestor of Nura Nul (a.k.a. Dream Girl.)

The photos in Fiona Byme's apartment show her with her fiancee - a dark-skinned man from England - and a wedding announcement on her fridge reveals that his first name is Manchester. The fiancee is played by actor David Ajala, whom it was previously announced would be playing the character of Manchester Black - a telepathic British villain with a long association with Superman.

One of the writers at CatCo is revealed to be from the planet Dryad. In the original DC Comics, Dryad was an alien world whose inhabitants were silicon based life forms. Dryads could go dormant for long periods and would appear to be large rocks. Members of the Dryad race in the comics include the Green Lantern Brik, the Legion of Super Heroes member Blok and the L.E.G.I.O.N. members Strata and Garv.


Technobabble

Mercy Graves uses an trojan horse to try and shut down the mainframe at L-Corps that powers the image inducers.

Brainy creates an algorithm to predict Mercy Graves' actions. It says there is a 99.9% chance of Mercy trying to hack L-Corp's mainframe directly once a firewall prevents her hacking in remotely.

Lena has designed earplugs that protect a person from sonic attacks.

Brainiac-5 claims to predict eventualities with a 98.525% accuracy rating. It used to be 99.12% before he realized the owner of his favorite pizza place was a bigot.


Dialogue Triumphs

Supergirl:
My name is Kara Zor-El. I'm from Krypton. I'm a refugee on this planet. I was sent to Earth to protect my cousin. But my pod got knocked off-course, and by the time I got here my cousin had already grown up and become Superman. I hid who I really was until one day, when an accident forced me to reveal myself to the world. To most people, I'm a reporter at CatCo Worldwide Media, but in secret, I work with my adopted sister at the DEO to protect this planet I call my home from anyone that means to cause it harm. I am Supergirl.

President Marsdin: Fear can create monsters where none existed before.

Brainiac-5: Ah! That was snark! You snark when your blood sugar is low. (snaps fingers) I know how to help you!
(Alex just shakes her head.)
Brainiac-5: Pizza. Humans seem to find calm in the consumption of food. My calculations lead me to the to the conclusion that pizza might be the right thing at this very moment for everyone.
Alex: (testily) Go.
Brainiac-5: Alright.

Nia: You may not know this about me, but I am a transgender woman. I know what it's like to be attacked and denied because of who I am. When I saw that alien being attacked, I couldn't let it pass.  I... I had to stand up... hold a mirror to that bully's face. And I made a difference. That was just one person. You are the Editor-in-Chief of CatCo Worldwide Media! You can hold a mirror up to the entire city. We have to show people that violence against aliens is not okay and that the only way we are going to survive is if we start truly seeing each other.

Nia: When innocent people are being attacked, it's not about balance. It's about justice.

Mercy: You don't deserve the Luthor name, Earth traitor!
(Supergirl breaks down the door and rushes in, grabbing Mercy and twisting her arm around behind her.)
Supergirl: You've got that backwards. The Luthor name doesn't deserve Lena.

Brainiac-5: I know that people fear what they do not know. But... but, Massimo knew me. Being from Colu does not change the fact that... I am also Barney of the olives and apples pizza.

Supergirl: Fellow citizens of America. These are complicated times. Some of you are confused. Many of you are scared. You just found out that the President of the United States is not from northern Iowa, like you thought. She's from a planet somewhere out in the vast universe. Many of you feel betrayed because you were lied to. President Marsdin took responsibility for that. She resigned from office. But the fear that's spreading in this country like wildfire isn't because The President lied. It's because she comes from someplace different. All of you know that I am also from a different place. Another planet. But I've lived here long enough to know that it doesn't matter where we were born because we are all the same. The character of a person or alien is not defined by where we are from, but by what we do. The people that exposed President Marsdin wanted to divide us. They want us to turn on one another. Live in fear. Grow in hate. But I know we are better than that. I know we can work together with love and respect, treat our neighbors with kindness. I'm an alien. And I love this planet that I am proud to call home. I want what we all want - to be a good American. I will stand by the new administration as this nation begins to heal. And I will continue to protect my friends and neighbors, just as I always have. I hope you all do the same.


Dialogue Disasters

(A man in the alien bar tells J'onn about how anti-alien bigots are saying they are infesting Earth.)
J'onn: Well, you know - they go low, we go high.

Nia: You, sir, are the traitor. Now, give him his pizzas!

Agent Liberty: Earth first!


Continuity

President Marsdin resigns, given that her Presidency is illegal under the Constitution's requirements that any President of the United States be a natural born citizen.

The new President is a man named Baker.

President Marsdin refuses to accept a pardon for becoming President under false pretenses.

The anti-alien sentiment on the Dark Web has increased in the wake of President Marsdin being exposed as an alien.

Fiona Byme, who was killed by Agent Liberty in 401 hasn't come in for three shifts at Al's Bar.

Al's Bar is identified as the name of the alien-friendly bar where J'onn was co-hosting his support group in 401.

Fiona Byme has a fiance in England.

Otis Graves makes reference to the DEO filling the atmosphere with lead in 222 to fight the Daxamites.

Otis reveals that Mercy is working with one other person. (Presumably Agent Liberty.)

Mercy Graves gets a hold of some Kryptonite on the dark web.

Agent Liberty warns against turning Supergirl into a martyr.

Lena loves Big Belly Burger.

Lena says sales on the L-Corp's image inducers have skyrocketed overnight.

Lena describes Mercy Graves as a "frequent dinner guest" of her brother and his closest confidant after she started out as his head of security.

Lena says that Mercy Graves was basically an older sister to her, who took her under her wing when Lillian Luthor largely ignored her. Mercy taught Lena how to dress, how to act and how to pick out a good gun.

Mercy Graves apparently left Lex Luthor because she felt he was too focused on Superman and should be looking at the threat posed by all aliens. Mercy also felt that humans had to find a way to become more powerful than aliens rather than just proving their superiority through intelligence and technology, as Lex tried to do in his battles with Superman.

Lena tells Kara that she doesn't disagree with Mercy's main point - that humans COULD become as powerful as the other alien races.

Kevin Oh, the chief programmer on the image inducers, is killed by Mercy Graves. She steals his laptop and attempts to use it to hack the network powering the image inducers.

Brainiac's image inducer fails while he is getting pizza, revealing him as an alien.

Nia protects Brainiac-5 from the pizzeria staff.

Nia gives her name to Brainiac-5, but no other information, saying that if he wants to find her, he will.

J'onn breaks into Fiona's apartment and discovers photos of her fiancee and a wedding announcement. His name is Manchester.

J'onn finds a note next to Fiona's computer with several sequences of numbers and the message "Who are the players? Lots of groups involved?" He uses one of the numbers and determines it is NCPD badge number for a beat cop named Dean Peterocelli.

Nia reveals herself as a transgender woman to James.

Brainy's favorite pizza is apples and olives.

Eve is able to hack the metal security doors in the L-Corps building. She notes that this particular type of door was built with a quick-release feature. She once worked at a theme park with the same type of doors for one summer as a high-school student. She was a bunny.

Lena has a special secret lab for all her prototypes. It also contains Lillian Luthor's Lexo-Suit from 312.

Franklin, one of the writers at CatCo, is a Dryad.

It is a negative stereotype that Dryads eat wood and stone.

Somehow, Mercy knows who Agent Jensen is and how he is growing disenchanted with the DEO's mission to protect humans and aliens equally. 

Brainy uses the name Barney as an alias for when he gets pizza and coffee.

By the time of the 30th century, racism towards alien races on Earth is virtually unknown.

Brainiac-5 knew of the existence of racism but never experienced it before.

James eventually decides to write the editorial but also has Supergirl make a statement on TV.

J'onn tracks Dean Peterocelli to an anti-alien rally organized by Agent Liberty.

Agent Jensen helps The Graves siblings escape the DEO and to steal the atmospheric dispersal device from 222.

The episode ends with Kara passing out in mid-flight after The Graves siblings put Kryptonite into the atmosphere.


The Bottom Line

Doubtlessly, there are many who will criticize this episode of Supergirl (and indeed, the season to date) for being so unsubtle in its politics. Yet it seems to be a reflection of its times, given that this episode aired on a day when The White House took steps to start removing any definition of transgender people from federal law. The political statements may be delivered like an anvil to the head, but some anvils need to be dropped.

Unfortunately, while the politics may be in keeping with the ideals of Truth, Justice and The American Way, that doesn't excuse the stilted performance and the ham-fisted dialogue. Thankfully, most of the actors are skilled enough to make this work more often than not. But the bits that don't work (i.e. most of Mercy's hate-speech) are truly, truly awful.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 39

In which we find James' "twin" (truly a long-lost half-brother) , make a side trip to learn a rare chess move. and get infected with a deadly plague that is made far easier to cope with by our having helped The Temple of Eortis one chapter too early.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 2 - The Book of Consequences: Chapter Two: Black Jesus Blues

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



Plot

One Green Light Baby escapes into the Streets of Freeland as another struggles to contain a horrible power that seems to turn everyone around him against him. As Lynn struggles to help the one and Black Lightning searches for the other, Jefferson Pierce struggles with how he can break the news to his faculty and students that he is stepping down as principal of Garfield High.

Meanwhile, Jennifer struggles to contain her new powers, Anissa revels in a new romance and her newfound celebrity status as Thunder, Khalil tries to work his way back into Jennifer's life and Tobias Whale starts to tie up some loose ends as he gets ready to make a play to take over the international weapons market with a new item - metahuman soldiers.


Influences

Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands (the idea of Tobias Whale as an arms dealer), the movie Dead Poet's Society (the ending is a tribute to the end of the movie) and the Milestone Comics Universe.


Goofs

Grace is reintroduced back into the show as quickly as she was removed from it last season, all so we can have a little bit of drama regarding Anissa's love life.


Artistry

The jazz soundtrack in the opening sequence is fantastic.

The effects work of Jefferson being battered around by the wind is great.


Technobabble

Lynn says that Wendy Hernandez may have had a psychotic break and is hallucinating.

Gambi says that Wendy Hernandez has the power of aerokinesis - wind control.

Issa Williams is revealed to have the power to make people unable to not speak the truth when he makes eye contact with them.

Lynn says that the metagene destabilizes the body's cells and then the cell's change fundamentally, giving a person superpowers. When a person's metagene is formed artificially by taking Green Light, the cells won't re-stabilize. This means that eventually the cells in the body will break down and the Green Light Babies will all die. Keeping them in the pods can keep them in stasis until a cure is found.


Dialogue Triumphs

Napier: You're an icon in this town, Jefferson.
Jefferson: (skeptical) Uh-huh.
Napier: And they can't have you... criticize after the fact.
Jefferson: I volunteered to resign for the good of the school. Why would I undermine that?
Napier: You can't even be reluctant. You've got to be 100%
(There is a long pause as Jefferson realizes why this is such a big deal.)
Jefferson: He's white?
Napier: ... yes.
Jefferson: And the board - the board is afraid of the backlash? From Parents? Students? The media? Because he is coming to a predominantly black school, playing the white savior role?
Napier: ... yes.
Jefferson: Come on, man! You couldn't find another black person? Someone who truly understands where these kids are coming from?
Napier: He's highly qualified Jefferson-
Jefferson: If he's so damn qualified, then why do I have to shuck and jive for Massah Lowry?
Napier: (testily) And tap dance. And moon walk. This is a chance to save your reputation.
Jefferson: No. No! Don't spin me, brother. We've known each other too long for that.
Napier: 'Cause we've known each other, I'm reminding you. You didn't handle your business. So now tongues are wagging. And you need those tongues wagging in the right direction. I'm your friend, bro. Get out of this alive. Alright?

Tobias: Remember when we did that loud-mouth reporter?
Marcellus: (thinking but then smiling in recollection) Yeah. Yeah! (snaps fingers) Pierce! Alvin Pierce!
(Tobias nods as Marcellus laughs.)
Marcellus: You called him an Uncle Tom and made him eat every story he wrote until he choked on them.
(Tobias starts laughing as well.)
Marcellus: (laughing) 
Oh, boy. I never forget.
Tobias: (not laughing anymore) I was hoping you wouldn't... remember.
(There is a deathly silence. Tobias stands up.)
Marcellus: I'm a loose end.
(Tobias only nods, looking honestly regretful.)
Marcellus:
I love you, man.
(Tobias goes behind Marcellus, rubs his shoulders and then hugs him.)Tobias: And I love you too, brother.
(Tobias quickly snaps Marcellus' neck and leaves the room.)

(Issa and Jennifer test how his power only works when he's looking at a person.)
Issa: What's your favorite color?
Jennifer: Red.
Issa: (confused) Really?
Jennifer: Nope. (teasingly slaps Issa) Let's try again.
Issa: (shrugging)  Umm... do you like ice cream?
Jennifer: I hate it. (sighs in relief) Thank God, I can still lie!
Issa: Yeah, the truth isn't always good.
Jennifer: Fastest way for me to get in trouble is to tell my parents a truth they don't want to hear.

Jefferson: I need you to hear me. I wanted to be the one to tell you so that you know that I... I still have love for my students. Okay look. It is a fact the school was attacked. It is a fact that I... that I was not here during the attack or its aftermath. The board has decided that these facts are unacceptable. And they're right. I accept full responsibility for the consequences of my actions. As I would expect from each and every one of you. But. I'm not going anywhere. I am honored to remain at Garfield as a teacher. And I will give my full support to the new principal. Thank you. For always teaching me.
(Jefferson steps away from the microphone and starts to walk off stage.)
Student: Where is the future?
(Jefferson stops and looks out to the crowd.)
Jefferson: Right here.
Students: And whose life is this?
(Jefferson takes a step toward the front of the stage.)
Jefferson: Mine.
Students: What are you going to do with it?
(Jefferson walks back up to the microphone.)
Jefferson: Live it. By any means necessary.
(The students cheer as the whole crowd slowly stands up and applauds, as Jefferson slowly smiles.)


Continuity

Both Painkiller and Tobias play chess, but Tobias is a much better player.

Tobias blames Painkiller for Synoide's death.

One of the ASA scientists Lynn is supervising is killed when a Green Light Baby who vomits energy breaks his pod and dies. This frees Wendy Hernandez - a Green Light Baby with aerokinesis powers.

Gambi determines that all of Wendy Hernandez' family is dead. He begins watching the mall and rec center where she hung out, her best friend's apartment complex and the house where her grandparents used to live.

Neither Anissa or Jennifer have had menstrual cramps since they got super powers.

Anissa goes to a concert for a singer named Zoe B. The two wind up spending the night together.

Jefferson has pictures in his office where he is shaking hands with President George W. Bush and President Barak Obama.

The replacement principal is a man named Mark Lowry.

Jen pushes Painkiller off the roof when he first comes to her. She then tells him to go away, even after he tries to explain that he owes Tobias for everything he did to help him.

Tobias kills Marcellus - his former second-in-command, who is currently living in an old folks home - after he reveals that he remembers Tobias Whale killing Alvin Pierce.

Black Lightning and Thunder help to clear an accident scene caused by Wendy Hernandez. Black Lightning drains the energy from the downed power lines and cars and Thunder opens up the cars the EMTs can't get into.

Thunder high-fives the people in the street and bows as they cheer, much to her father's annoyance.

Lynn brings Issa Williams (aka The Body Bag Boy from 201) to eat dinner with the rest of the family.

Jennifer is still smoking in secret.

Anissa runs into Grace Choi (last seen in 104) at a party at Zoe B.'s penthouse, where Grace is working as part of the catering crew. She has apparently not called her for some time.

Tobias meets with Detective Summers - a cop on his payroll - and kills him.

Issa is told about the instability of his metagene and how he has two choices - be locked in a pod and put into stasis or take his chances living a normal life and hoping Lynn can find a cure before he dies.

Black Lightning is able to bring Wendy down with a low level electric shock.

Issa elects to stay free and live with his parents while getting regular check-ups with Lynn.

Wendy elects to be put back into cryogenic storage until a cure can be found.

Jefferson announces that he is resigning as principal at a school assembly, but that he will remain at Garfield High as a teacher.


Untelevised Adventures

Painkiller was apparently there when Syonide died in 201, covering the rear of the parking garage.


The Winick Factor

Anissa has suddenly become a full-of-herself player after having seemingly started a relationship with Grace last season.


The Bottom Line

A lot of subplots this time around, but they all get about the same amount of time to be developed. This is fair but unfortunate, given that watching Jefferson deal with his job and Tobias killing his underlings is far more entertaining than watching Anissa hang around the pool of her new girlfriend's Penthouse - largely because Anissa's characters seems to have shifted drastically over the past two episodes. By contrast, Jennifer gets to show some surprising maturity in helping Issa with his issues. Hopefully the two will get to interact some more because there's some great chemistry between their actors.

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 2 - Blocked

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




Plot

The search for a metahuman thief going after high-tech weapons leads Team Flash to a confrontation with the mystery man they come to call Cicada.


Influences

The Flash
comics of Geoff Johns (character of Cicada) and Van Jensen (character of Block)


Goofs

Why don't Barry and Nora go running after Block once the block around Nora fades?  Though they're some distance away, Block still has a big, obvious truck full of guns to move and they should easily be able to track her down at super-speed.

Gratifying as it is to see Iris doing actual journalism for a change, one wonders why the CCPD hadn't thought to check the body-cam footage of the injured officers to figure out what killed Gridlock.

Barry says a 10-61 is the police code for taking a coffee break. This does not correspond to any Police 10 Code System used in the United States (It could be different in the Arrowverse, or Barry is lying to keep Nora from running off half-cocked.)

If the events of the episode are happening in sequence, Barry and Iris are able to track Block using the Doppler radar BEFORE she actually uses her powers and creates a traceable pocket of compressed air.


Performances

Carlos Valdez, normally the cheerful comic relief, does a fantastic job capturing how depression can make a person numb.

Danielle Panabaker gets a nice, subtle performance here, showing Caitlin as clearly being sympathetic toward Cisco while simultaneously trying to mask her own desire to avoid dealing with the questions around why her father faked his death.


Flash Facts

The character of Vanessa Jensen (aka Block) is based on a Flash villain who is alternatively known as The Block or The Human Block. First appearing in DC Sneak Peak #1 (May 2015), Block was one of the Acolytes of Zoom - a team formed by Eobard Thawne to hunt Barry Allen across time.

The comic book version of Block was an unnamed Maori woman living in Melbourne, Australia who was struck by lightning and acquired the ability to alter her body's density by using the Speed Force to slow the molecular motion in her own body, compacting the atoms and making them denser and stronger. She was later able to apply this ability to the air around her, creating solid forms and could even drain the Speed Force energy from other people.

The Arrowverse version of Block is a woman with the name of Vanessa Jensen. This seems to be a tribute to writer Van Jensen, who co-created the comic book version of Block. She has the power to create "blocks" of solidified air that are so dense a speedster cannot vibrate through them.

Cisco says "Holy Kafka" when he sees that one of the steps on Ralph's guide to getting over a break-up is Metamorphosis. This is a reference to a novella by Franz Kafka, which centers around a man who wakes up one day to find he has transformed into a giant cockroach.

The Arrowverse version of Cicada is shown to have the power to negate the powers of other metahumans. He also has telekinetic control over his special daggers and appears to gain enhanced strength and durability after he drains the power of another metahuman. This differs dramatically from the comic book version of Cicada, who basically drained the life in general from people (not just metahumans) and didn't gain any special abilities beyond an extended life span from doing it.

Cisco compares Cicada's command of his dagger to Thor's command of Mjolnir - the magical hammer he could summon to his hand in the Marvel Comics.


Technobabble

Cisco bought a new spectral tachyometer to try and get rid of Nora's negative tachyons.

Cisco and Gypsy's powers linked them together through pan-dimensional spacetime. As such, Cisco is still feeling her presence in response to everything he does and can't use his vibe powers because of his depression regarding their break-up.

Nora makes reference to a scene-wide modified bosonic frequency field - a device that somehow enables CSIs in the future to handle materials on a crime scene without risking contamination.

The flesh cube is far denser than a pound of flesh, weighing more than Barry can lift despite its small size.

Block manipulates atoms to create concentrated air molecules in cube form. These cubes are incredibly dense and the space between the molecules is so compact that there isn't enough wiggle room for a speedster to vibrate through them.

Barry says that speedsters need to know about physics, aerodynamics and trajectory formulas to truly use their powers effectively.

The key to Higgs particles isn't their mass but the effect they have on the mass of other particles.

10-61 is the police code for an officer requesting permission to go on a coffee break. (In APCO Police 10 code, 10-61 is the signal for Stopping A Suspicious Vehicle.)

Nora and Iris realize they can track Block by measuring the atmospheric pressure with a big barometer (i.e. Channel 52's Doppler radar.) and find a six block radius where the conditions are the same as an extreme atmospheric system.

Caitlin says that the levels of concentrated dark matter around the wounds left by Cicada's dagger on Cisco's hand are unlike any she's ever seen before.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Nora has just confessed that she lied about being trapped in the past.)
Cisco: Are you kidding me?! Do you know how many credit card points I just blew trying to get rid of your negative tachyons? I just bought a brand new spectral tachyometer when I could have my Fiji get away. (pauses and sighs)  Not that... not that I have anyone to go with. Anymore.
(Ralph opens his mouth.)
Cisco:
I'm not taking you to Fiji, Ralph.

(Ralph asks Cisco to vibe Caitlin's dad's faked death certificate.)
Cisco: (depressed) Cisco is not available right now. Please leave a message.
Ralph: (without missing a beat) Oh! Uh, hey Cisco? It's Ralph. Hope you're doing well. Just, get back to me. I need you to vibe this as soon as possible. Bye-bye!

(Caitlin and Ralph discuss how to cheer Cisco up as if he weren't there.)
Cisco: Please stop caring about me.

(Nora spots the flesh cube that once was Bobby Moretti.)
Nora:
What is that?!
Barry: That, I haven't gotten to yet, but it looks like somebody wanted their pound of flesh.
(Nora reaches down and touches the cube.)
Barry: Nora, wait!
Nora: What?
Barry: What are you doing? You can't touch that! You'll contaminate the evidence!
Nora: Sorry. You mean you don't have a scene-wide modified bosonic frequency field to avoid cross-contamination?
Barry: I don't even think we have some of those words yet!

(Caitlin is trying to get Cisco's attention but he is so depressed he is totally zoned out. Ralph waves her off and leans in close to Cisco.)
Ralph: (whispers) Han shot second.
(Cisco jumps out of his chair and grabs Ralph by the shirt, suddenly furious.)
Cisco:
THAT DOESN'T EVEN MAKE SENSE!

(Barry asks Joe how he can stop Nora from going over the top in trying to impress him.)
Joe: Bar, all the information that this girl has on you comes from that museum. There are literally statues of you on pedestals. How much do you think she wants to impress her hero?
Barry: So what do I do?
Joe: Well, show her it's okay not to be perfect coming out of the gate. There's no short cuts. It takes time to get things right. And that's not failure. That's life. Also, show her that, no matter what, you're always going to love her. That's what parents do.

Cisco: Why don't you want to investigate your dad's death certificate?
Caitlin: (sighs) Because. If it's true? If he has been alive this whole time? It just means he doesn't want to see me.
(There is a long pause as Caitlin stares at her cinnamon roll and Cisco tries to think of something to say. Finally, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out Ralph's list.)
Cisco: Step 27: Accept that she isn't the love of your life, because if she were, she'd still be in it.
Caitlin: Pretty deep for Ralph Dibny.
Cisco: (snorts) Yeah. Granted, it took him 26 swings before he could hit the ball.
(Caitlin laughs)
Cisco: I don't know. I think he might of knocked it out of the park with that one. (sighs) Gypsy isn't the one. I know that. And there's no amount of new clothes or crazy makeover distractions that can change that fact. Because some truths you can only hide from for so long. And the truth is it's too late for me to change things with her. But it's not to late for you. It's not too late for you to change things with your dad.
Caitlin:(quietly) But what if he doesn't want anything to do with me?
Cisco: If he doesn't, wouldn't you rather face that truth instead of spending the rest of your life wondering?
(Caitlin bites her lip and wipes a tear away.)

Barry: Sometimes for people with our abilities, the most impressive feat is restraint.


Continuity

Cicada is seen recalling his battle with Gridlock, while sitting in a locker room at some sort of factory.

Nora tells the rest of Team Flash that she lied about being stuck in the past.

Nora also shows them the 2049 newspaper article about how Barry never came back from disappearing in 2024.

Cecile's telepathic connection to Jenna is still fading.

Bobby and Bruno Moretti are the biggest arms dealers in Central City.

Vanessa Jensen was one of their former employees. She was in Iron Heights prison for four years. She was affiliated with the East Street Skulls gang.

Vanessa crushes Bobby Moretti into a small cube.

Nora poses as an intern that Barry hired to help him with his case backlog.

Captain Singh tells Iris that William "Gridlock" Lang was killed en route to Iron Heights.

Ralph has written a book, The Book of Ralph, which has one page devoted to his 27 step plan to getting over a failed romance. We don't get to see the whole list, but what we do see includes...

1. Shark cage diving (Make sure you have no paper cuts)
2. Positive Affirmations.
3. Watch "Beaches" and paint your toe-nails. (Pastels look best.)
4. Rearrange your record collection autobiographically. (After 3 months, arrange by color.)
5. Give your best bud $20 every time you think of your ex. (Go to ATM first.)
6. Attend a Corgi beach festival (bring treats!)
7. Take a hot air balloon ride to Star City.
8. Hit the gym - twice a day!
9. Eat an entire pizza.
10. Goat yoga.
11. Rent a Vespa. (Try to look cool on it.)
12. Metamorphosis. (not like The Fly)
13. Storm out of wherever you are.  (Slam doors if possible.)
14. Go "find yourself" in Thailand. (First, find Thailand)
15. Fly a kite in a lightning storm.
27. Realize she isn't the love of your life. If she were, she'd still be in your life.

Officer Matthews was one of the officers guarding Gridlock. He is a fan of Iris' blog. He tells her about Cicada's attack on the convoy delivering Gridlock to Iron Heights. He says he was beaten up but Lang seemed to be the only target as he was beaten and stabbed.

Cecile wants to use Harry Wells' Mental Activity Dampener 2.0 so that she can keep reading Jenna's thoughts. Joe is against the idea.

Nora didn't know that Barry spent some time in prison during his battle with The Thinker. She says there was nothing about that in The Flash Museum and apparently Iris didn't tell her about that. (This suggests that Barry Allen's secret identity is not public knowledge in the future.)

The East Street Skulls are involved in drug-trafficking, gun-running and armed robbery. Barry says they make The Hell's Angels look like a knitting club and that he ran into a few of them while he was in prison.

Cisco has not relaunched Sally, The STAR Labs satellite yet.

Vanessa Jensen is dubbed Block by Cisco.

Ralph says his 27 step process doesn't start really kicking into effect until Step 17.

Ralph has a personal stylist named Bruce.

Cisco's cousin is not John Stamos.

Cisco eventually asks why they just don't ask Joe to look into the falsified death certificate instead of depending on his Vibe powers. This causes Caitlin to tell Ralph and Cisco to forget about the certificate.

Nora asks Barry how to do a super-sonic punch like in 106.

Nora says the high-school textbooks of her time cover physics that haven't even been discovered in 2018.

Nora refers to the events of 115 (when Barry stopped a tsunami) and 202 (throwing lightning at a sand demon).

Nora attempts to throw lightning and throws Barry through a blackboard by accident.

Barry set the gym on fire with his fourth grade science fair project. He built a robot with wheels instead of making a baking soda volcano like everyone else.

Caitlin admits that she's trying to avoid investigating her dad's faked death because she's afraid he wants nothing to do with her.

Barry shows Nora some video footage of his failures to show that he screwed up as The Flash quite often.

Nora and Iris realize they can track Block by using the local news station's radar to find pockets of compressed air.

Block is tracked to the corner of Pacific and Davies.

Nora realizes that Block can't use her powers when she is tired. This allows her to dodge her blocks and wear her out.

Nora runs Block to the hospital after she is stabbed by Cicada.

Cisco is unable to pull Cicaca's dagger from the ground and burns his hands on it when Cicada summons it back to his hand.

Cicada is about to kill The Flash when Nora returns and shouts out "Dad!" For some reason, this (or the sight of Nora) causes Cicada to stop in mid-strike and he walks off before anyone can stop him.

Cisco tries to vibe the fake death certificate for Caitlin one more time. She has a vision of her mother standing there as it was filled out.

Iris identifies the weird noise of Cicada's breathing as the same noise she heard on the video of Gridlock's murder.

Nora recognizes the name of Cicada.


The Bottom Line

A typical villain-of-the-week episode with a largely forgettable villain. Thankfully, the focus on Team Flash and the comedy trio of Caitlin, Cisco and Ralph more than make-up for it. The only unfortunate thing is that virtually all of the cast is sidelined so that Iris can be the one to uncover Cicada's existence, which undercuts the fact that the show is finally allowing Iris to act like a real journalist instead of the "team leader" who is calling the shots at STAR Labs. Still... baby steps.

Despite that one issue, this episode works quite well on every level and Nora manages to maintain the right balance between earnest and annoying. Cicada also gets one heck of an introduction, though the effort to humanize him at the start is rather strange. Still, a strong start to the season so far.



Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 38

In which we investigate a land-snatching operation, stumble across an honest-to-goodness ghost story, catch a lecture at the local university and have several strange conversations in the local pub.


Arrow Episode Guide: Season 7, Episode 1 - Inmate 4587

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


Plot

Five months have passed since Oliver Queen was revealed to the world as Green Arrow and imprisoned in Slabside Maximum Security Prison. Now, as he tries to keep his head down earn time off of his sentence, the rest of Team Arrow must continue the mission to save Star City, despite crime boss Ricardo Diaz still being at large and the new city government being more concerned with stopping vigilantes than career criminals. And in the midst of all this, a new Green Arrow emerges...


Influences

Supermax (David Goyer's unproduced "Green Arrow in prison" movie) and the novel The Count of Monte Cristo (parallels to Oliver's life, as it centers around a man who adopts a new identity to avenge himself on those responsible for ruining his former life and is unjustly imprisoned.)


Goofs

Shouldn't Rene and Zoe be in Witness Protection as well?  Rene's secret identity isn't really a secret anymore and while Felicity and William may be bigger targets, Diaz would probably go after them as well. (Then again, Rene isn't the type to abandon his neighborhood, as we see given his new job.)

Why, of all things, is Felicity working as a barista? Couldn't she find a tech job working from home that would pay better, take advantage of her talents and limit her exposure in public?

Ignoring how Black Siren shouldn't be able to convincingly masquerade as a lawyer, why on Earth would she be rehired to work for Star City's District Attorney's office? The real Laurel Lance was outed as the first Black Canary after her death and the new government of Star City is allegedly anti-vigilante to a fault. It seems strange then that they would let their DA's office be run by an ex-vigilante!

How does ARGUS let Diaz slip through their security AND let him get away?


Performances

There honestly isn't a bad one to be found here, but Emily Bett Rickards slays with the steel in her performance as she declares that she is going to start fighting back in the final scenes.

Most Improved: Rick Gonzales as Rene Ramirez. For some reason, Rene didn't grate on my nerves the way he usually did. I think it's because all of his macho posturing is gone. Rene had always been ready for a fight in the past but two years seem to have taught him what is worth fighting for and Gonzales perfectly captures Rene's realization of what a true warrior's role is. His interactions with Zoe and his students do more to humanize Rene in two minutes than every scene with the character to date.


Artistry

The fifth segment fight-sequence which cuts between Oliver in the prison shower and Felicity fighting Diaz may be the best in the show's history.


Trivia

The opening scene showing William running through the woods is a reference to the opening of the first episode.

Oliver Queen is imprisoned in Slabside Maximum Security Prison. In the original DC Comics universe, Slabside Penitentiary was the name of a maximum security prison for Metahumans, which first appeared in Green Lantern #51 (May 1994). It is nicknamed The Slab, because those who are sent there only leave it once they are "on the slab". (i.e. dead)

The new title card sequence shows a grey arrow with a sound of cell doors closing.

The town where Felicity and William now live is said to be named Hope Springs. In the DC Universe, Hope Springs is a small town in West Virigina, which first appeared in Green Lantern Vol. 3 #1 (June 1990)

The coffee shop Felicity works at is named Radu's. Radu's was also the name of the Greenwich Village coffee shop which Green Lantern Kyle Rayner frequently hung out at and lived above. It was owned and operated by Radu Stancu - a Romanian immigrant and ex-soldier, who was also Kyle Rayner's landlord. In the DC Rebirth reality, Radu's now seems to be a popular chain of coffee shops, as Wally West was seen drinking coffee with his ex-girlfriend Magenta at a Radu's location in Keystone City.

Ben Turner (a.k.a. Bronze Tiger) was killed in Issue #12 of the Arrow: Season 2.5. This would seem to confirm that the Arrow comic books are not considered canon by the writers of the television show, or, at least, that the Suicide Squad story that included Bronze Tiger isn't. (Of course, it's entirely possible that one of Barry Allen's trips to the past changed the timeline so Bronze Tiger survived.)

The only book in Oliver's cell is a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. The story centers upon a merchant sailor who is unjustly accused of treason and thrown into prison without trial. While there, he learns that he was framed by three men - a rival for the affections of his fiancee, a jealous co-worker an a corrupt judge. With the aid of another prisoner he escapes, claims a lost fortune and reinvents himself as The Counte of Monte Cristo before returning to France and engaging a quest for revenge that sees many people, guilty and innocent, harmed. Parallels can be drawn between Oliver's current situation (unjust imprisonment) and his life (a man becomes something else in a bid to fight the evil men who ruined his life and the lives of many other people.)

One of the names on the new Green Arrow's list is "Nicholas Ko-."This might be Nicholas Kotero, who was the first criminal Oliver Queen ever faced as Green Arrow in the post-Crisis era. Kotero was another castaway on the first island where Ollie was shipwrecked, who Oliver deduced was lying about his identity. Kotero revealed himself as a Ted Bundy-style serial-rapist/killer who had gotten lost at sea while fleeing prosecution. He would emerge years later after figuring out that Oliver Queen was Green Arrow, kill one of the ladies Oliver was dating at the time and force Oliver into another confrontational in Green Arrow Annual #7. Kotero would go on to become an enemy of the Connor Hawke Green Arrow, masterminding a scheme to start a new American Civil War along racial lines.


Dialogue Triumphs

Oliver: I'm focusing on what I can control.
John: What's that?
Oliver: Keep my head down. Hopefully shorten my sentence.
John: That's smart. I think that's a good play. But I worry about the toll that's going to take on you, Oliver.
Oliver: Cuts heal, John.
John: Not physically, bro. Keeping passive? Not fighting back? Never been who you were.
Oliver: I've always done what I had to do. Right now? This is what I have to do.

Jason Stent: I want to talk to your captain!
(Dinah enters the room.)
Dinah: You sure about that? Because Officer Anastas is a lot more patient than I am.

Rene: Self defense isn't about being violent. It's about being focused and disciplined so you can protect yourself and the ones that you love.

(Jason Stent is lying on the ground, helpless as the new Green Arrow moves in.)
Jason Stent: Please! I'll give you anything!
New Green Arrow: I have what I came for. Jason Stent, you have failed this city!

Felicity: (To Oliver) I love you. And I will always, always wait for you. But I can't let what happened to William and I happen again. I can't. I have to fight back. You, of all people, understand that.


Continuity

Another inmate named Stanley asks Oliver for protection. He refuses to give it.

Ben Turner (aka Bronze Tiger) was last seen in 216.

Danny "Brick" Brickman was last seen in 421.

Derek Sampson was last seen in 521.

The first target of the new Green Arrow is an arms dealer named Jason Stent.

Officer Nick Anastas is still dating Curtis Holt.

John Diggle has been visiting Oliver in prison once a week for the past five months.

William and Felicity are confirmed to be in Witness Protection.

Diggle is overseeing their security personally and has upped them to 24/7 surveillance since he last talked to Oliver a week earlier.

The FBI and ARGUS are still hunting for Diaz.

Felicity is working as a Barista at Baru's Coffee in a town called Hope Springs. She is using the name Erin.

Dinah Drake is now a Captain in the SCPD. She has quit being Black Canary.

Jason Stent has been accused of fraud, racketeering and embezzlement.

Rene is teaching self-defense classes at a community center in The Glades. He has quit being Wild Dog and his secret identity has been exposed to the world.

Brick, Bronze Tiger and Sampson have a side-hustle that requires three men. They try to pressure Ollie into replacing Bronze Tiger.

Rene witnesses the new Green Arrow taking down an illegal gun deal run by Freddie Medina.

Medina is later revealed to be working for Jason Stent

The customer Felicity helped with his programming asks her out. She turns him down, but doesn't explain that it's because she is married.

Black Siren is still impersonating Laurel Lance. She has become District Attorney of Star City.

All of Team Arrow gave up being vigilantes.

John Diggle has been using a lot of ARGUS resources to search for Diaz and gotten into trouble for doing so. He says that he wants to catch the new Green Arrow before the FBI thinks it is something Oliver planned in advance.

Curtis is now the head of Research and Development and ARGUS.

Curtis is able to track Jason Stent's dealings on the dark web and find out he is liquidating all of this inventory of weapons.

Oliver lets Brick and Sampson menace Stanley after Oliver refuses to work with them.

The SCPD tries to set a trap for the new Green Arrow at Jason Stent's arms deal.

The new Green Arrow uses a voice modulator to disguise his voice.

Rene, as Wild Dog, creates a distraction that helps the new Green Arrow escape the police.

Oliver is having a reoccurring nightmare of Felicity and William being hunted through the woods of Lian Yu by Diaz.

Diaz breaks into Felicity's home as Diaz has a gang jump Oliver in prison.

Diaz somehow escapes before ARGUS can move to capture him.

Oliver does not have at-will phone privileges.

Felicity sets William up at a private boarding school in Cambridge.

Felicity says she is getting out of witness protection because she is sick of hiding and not being able to protect herself.

Rene and several other small business owners in The Glades were mysteriously given money. The total of the donations equals the amount of money stolen from Jason Stent at the trap for Green Arrow.

Dinah reveals that she knows Rene helped the new Green Arrow escape, but agrees not to turn him in this time.

Thea gave Felicity the Hozen Oliver gave her in the first episode before she left town.

Felicity gives the Hozen to William.

Oliver starts a fight in the exercise yard, apparently having gotten sick of keeping his head down.

The new Green Arrow has a list of targets, similar to The List Oliver Queen used in Season One.

There are a series of scenes that show a young man paying a Chinese ship captain to take him to an island. After the young man finds the grave marker of Robert Queen, it is revealed the island is Lian Yu. The young man is then captured by a hooded figure, who threatens to kill him until the young man says his name is William Clayton and that he has the Queen Family Hozen. The hooded figure then reveals himself as an older Roy Harper. This reveals that the flash-backs are actually flash-forwards to 20 years in the future.


Location

Slabside Maximum Security Prison.
Hope Springs
Lian Yu - 2038


The Fridge Factor

Averted in the case of Felicity, whose attack at the hands of Diaz seems to be prompting her to take control of her own life and become a vigilante in her own right as opposed to being the damsel in distress whose only purpose in the show is giving Oliver angst over his inability to protect her.


The Winick Factor

Diaz is still the same invincible criminal mastermind who is somehow able to overcome the combined efforts of multiple police organizations and break into Felicity's home and evade capture with ease. He is less master criminal and more slasher-movie killer, only without Freddy Kruger's sense of humor.


The Bottom Line

A solid start for the season, despite many of the same old problems being there. Chief among these are the fact that Diaz can't be a convincing threat without a whole lot of plot convenience and the show's writers continuing to have to twist the laws of reality to justify Black Siren not having been sent to a secret ARGUS holding facility.

Ignoring the IWVS (Invincible Winick Villain Syndrome), the writing is greatly improved. New Team Arrow in particularly is much more likeable, with Curtis being allowed to be funny without it seeming in appropriate, Dinah being handled like a hardened professional and Rene acting like a father and a mentor without being a jackass.

The twist at the end with the revelation that we are seeing Flash-Forwards is something I don't think anyone saw coming, though this does explain the show-runners' statements that we would see Roy Harper have a role in the new season but that they wouldn't negate the wonderful send-off he and Thea Queen got last year. This still leaves us with the question of who the new Green Arrow is, but the season is still young...

Monday, October 15, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 37

In which we go looking for a collection of riddle chests we missed in Chapter One, stumble across an obscure side quest we can't complete until Chapter Three and find this Max Feeber character the Prince's tax collector mentioned before.


Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 1 - American Alien

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





Plot

It is a period of adjustment. Alex is still getting used to her new role as Director of the DEO, the absence of Winn and the presence of Brainiac-5. James is awaiting arraignment for the laws he broke as the vigilante Guardian. James and Lena are still getting used to being a couple. J'onn is getting used to his new role as a counselor for other aliens adjusting to life on Earth. And Kara has become a mentor to Nia, a new cub reporter at CatCo. But some things never change and Supergirl stepping into action is one of them, when what remains of the anti-alien group Cadmus attempts to assassinate The President. Yet their supposed end game turns out to be the start of something bigger...


Influences

Numerous Superman and Supergirl stories in multiple media which used aliens from other planets as a metaphor for immigrants and refugees coming to America. The Superman movies (Kara helping out people around the world and speaking to them in their native languages.)


Goofs

Kara taking a bottle of vodka from the Kaznia woman seems horribly out of character, particularly since it doesn't seem like it was offered as a gift. (The close captioning for the episode doesn't offer a direct translation of what is said and the woman looks surprised when Kara takes the bottle from her.)

Katie McGrath's natural Irish accent slips out when she says the name "Sam" with a long-a.

Kara's dismissal of J'onn is really out of character. Apart from maybe Alex, nobody respects J'onn more than Kara and her behavior here seems to occur only to set up the lesson that Kara's idealism and experiences as a human-like alien who presents herself as being human have blinded her to the experiences of other aliens who can't pass for human and can't afford an image inducer. This "white privilege" metaphor is highly forced, even ignoring the logic problem that the DEO should be more aware of acts of violence against aliens than any other group in America!

Why did Kara and Alex suddenly drop out of J'onn's life in the past three months?  They're his foster daughters and adopted family. Kara's talk about not knowing what his life is like now is another incredibly out-of-character moment that seems to be here only to force the metaphors inherent in the script.

Kara may be idealistic, but her refusal to believe that there are common people with anti-alien feelings is just idiotic. Particularly when she's faced anti-alien bigotry in the form of the Cadmus group in the past!

Why, apart from plain old racism, is the D.A.'s office so determined to bring charges against The Guardian/James Olsen, when they have no trouble with Supergirl of Superman operating as unlicensed peace officers?


Performances

David Harewood is more like J'onn from the comics than ever before. It's odd that he seems to spend most of this episode playing detective, going to two different crime scenes and being told not to get involved by the cops (i.e. Kara) yet doesn't seem to have become a P.I. like in the comics. Maybe later in the season?


Super Trivia

In the opening scene, Kara saves a little girl's balloon from flying off as she's in the middle of saving a crowd from a meteor. This may be a nod to one of the most infamous side-quests of the video game Spider-Man 2, where in addition to answering random calls for help as detected by your Spider-Sense, you would also be called upon to recover lost balloons for crying children.

The whole opening sequence, in which Kara is showing helping people around the world and speaking to them in their native languages, seems to be a tribute to the Christopher Reeve Superman movies.

Kaznia is a fictional Balkan nation in the DC Comics Universe, frequently beset by civil war and the threat of invasion. It was first introduced in the DC Animated Universe and has been referred to on both Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow.

The character of Mercy Graves first appeared in Superman: The Animated Series, in the episode "A Little Piece of Home." Her background was given in the Superman Adventures comic that tied into the cartoon. Here, it was revealed that Mercy was the leader of a group of female thieves who attempted to steal Lex Luthor's briefcase. She was briefly successful, but captured shortly thereafter. Rather than being angry, Lex was impressed with Mercy's skill and nerve and offered her a job as his chauffeur and bodyguard.

Mercy Graves was introduced into the mainstream DC Comics Universe in Detective Comics #735 (August 1999). Again, she was employed as Lex Luthor's bodyguard, along with another woman named Hope. It was implied, and eventually confirmed, that both Mercy and Hope were rogue Amazons whose protection Luthor was somehow able to purchase.

A woman named Mercy Graves, who was said to be Asian-American, was introduced into the New 52 DC Comics Universe as Lex Luthor's executive assistant.

The Arrowverse version of Mercy Graves was Lex Luthor's Head of Security at LexCorp. She turned state's evidence on him to put him in prison. Despite this, she was employed by Lillian Luthor as an agent of Cadmus.

The character of Otis first appeared in Superman: The Movie where he was Lex Luthor's bumbling henchman. He would later appear in one episode of the Superfriends cartoon and the animated series Young Justice. He was never given a last name in any of these appearances.

The Arrowverse version of Otis has the full name Otis Graves is a former employee of LexCorp who worked for Lex Luthor along with his sister, Mercy. He was later employed by Lillian Luthor as an agent of Cadmus.

One of the aliens in J'onn's support group is a Valeorian. In the comics, Valeron is an alien world whose dominant sentient lifeforms resemble Earthlings. It is most well known as the homeworld of Vartox, The Hyper-Man - a super-being who is even more powerful than Superman.

Nia Nal (aka Dreamer) is based on an existing DC Comics character from the Legion of Super Heroes comics. Nura Nal (aka Dream Girl) first appeared in Adventure Comics #317 (February 1964) and was a native of the planet Naltor, whose inhabitants all had the powers of precognition, usually in the form of prophetic dreams. Nura was also a gifted scientist, second only to Brainiac 5 in ability. She was also one of the best physical combatants in the original Legion, second only to Karate Kid and Timberwolf, having studied martial arts extensively to make up for the non-combative nature of her powers. She was the second woman to lead The Legion of Super Heroes and was also romantically involved with fellow Legionnaire Star Boy.

Dream Girl was changed significantly for the post-Crisis On Infinite Earths Legion of Super Heroes. Her name was now given as Nura Schappin and she was not a full member of The Legion for most of the years between 1986-2005, though she was still Star Boy's girlfriend. She claimed to be the first precognitive born on Naltor in generations, though this was later contradicted by other stories. She also suffered from narcolepsy and would have a fit whenever she had one of her visions. She eventually did join the Legion under the codename Dreamer, just before the 2005 "threeboot" of Legion of Super Heroes.

The third version of Nura used the codename Dream Girl. This version of Nura experienced precognitive visions as daydreams, which frequently caused her to lose touch with reality as she watched events that were to come thinking they were happening right now. She developed a romantic relationship with Brainiac 5, who had, at first, resented her ability to just come up with the answers to problems he struggled to deduce. For a time she lapsed into a near-death state and was able to appear to people in their dreams as a ghost.

It is worth mentioning that Brainiac 5 has been a love interest of Supergirl in the comics and cartoons, as well as Dreamer. It remains to be seen if that will happen in either case in the coming season.

Nia Nal is an ancestor of Nura Nal.

Nia Nal is the first transgender superhero to appear in an American television series, though she is not identified as a trans woman in this episode.

Lena says that a gangster named Bruno Mannheim was Lex Luthor's business partner as L-Corp when he was first starting out. First appearing in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #139 (July 1971), Bruno "Ugly" Mannheim ran Intergang - a crime syndicate who used weapons from Apokolips to defend their territory.

Brainiac-5 makes mention of buying his toys at a comic shop on Excelsior Street.  "Excelsior!" is the famous farewell exclamation of comic book legend Stan Lee.

The character of Agent Liberty first appeared in the comics in Superman #60 (October 1991).  Agent Liberty was a former CIA agent named Benjamin Lockwood, who left the organization after becoming disgusted with what he saw as unethical practices. Lockwood came to distrust the American government and joined a militia group called The Sons of Liberty, who outfitted him with an armored suit that offered him the ability to fly short distances and generate a force-field. He left the group when they plotted to assassinate politician Pete Ross, and Lockwood exposed the group's true beliefs to the public with the help of Clark Kent. He went on to become a reserve Justice League member and helped Superman defend Metropolis on several occasions.

The Arrowverse version of Agent Liberty leads a hate group called The Children of Liberty, which seems similar in scope to The Sons of Liberty from the comics. Unlike the comics Agent Liberty, he is an earnest believer in The Children of Liberty's goals.

In terms of their goal, The Arrowverse version of Agent Liberty and The Children Of Liberty more closely resemble The Americommando and His Minute Men - a jingoistic patriot/group who appeared in the classic graphic novel Kingdom Come.


Technobabble

Ruby's soccer team is playing a 4-3-3 with the Gegenpress and Ruby is a sweeper-keeper.

L-Corp now sells holographic image inducers that can allow an alien to pass for human.

Mercy and Otis Graves are armed with a sonic device that incapacitates beings with super-hearing. cuffs that increase gravity around the person wearing them, a high quality laser, compact fire bombs and a gun that shoots high-power concussive beams of hard-light.

Brainiac-5 claims to be able to processes terabyes of information in microseconds.

Brainiac-5's preliminary scan of the security footage from Dr. Vose's lab brings up 754,231 potential suspects.

Brainiac-5 creates a means of reversing the effects of an EMP.


Dialogue Triumphs

James: You are really good at multitasking.
Kara: (smiling) Some might call it super.

(Brainiac-5 flies to the crater where Supergirl is still trying to free her legs from the Cadmus cuffs.)
Brainiac-5: I thought you could use some back-up.
Supergirl: Brainy!
Brainiac-5: (trying to sound heroic) It is I! (awkwardly) You're free now, Supergirl.
Supergirl: Free?! The cuffs are still-
Brainiac-5: Opened?
(The cuffs suddenly open up. Supergirl is stunned.)
Supergirl:
Wow.
Brainiac-5: I was multitasking.
(Supergirl stands up, smiles, and goes up, up and away. Braniac-5 just stands there and shrugs a bit.)
Brainiac-5: You're welcome.

Agent Liberty: Let him who desires peace prepare for war.
(Otis is seen trying to puzzle this out, counting on his hands.)

(Nia explains to Kara why she wants to write about the revitalization of the Fashion District in terms of people, rather than the clothing trends.)Nia: The Fashion District article I want to write about... isn't about clothes. It's about community. And growth. And hope.

President Marsdin: A leader who caves to fear is no leader at all.

Kara: So you're afraid to make waves? Okay. Make them anyway. Make a Tsumani!

Kara: I feel like I don't know anything.
J'onn: Then you are wiser than you realize.


Dialogue Disasters

(J'onn is trying to explain the rising anti-alien bigotry to Kara.)
Supergirl: I'm an alien and I've been all over the world recently and I have never felt more love.
J'onn: Part of the reason why you were embraced as a hero is because you present as human. Most aliens do not share that privilege. I'm afraid your experiences are not the best barometer here.
Supergirl: I'm embraced as a hero because I'm good at my job. And I really don't appreciate you questioning my judgement.
J'onn: I'm just trying to offer you a different perspective.
Supergirl: J'onn, you left the DEO. So maybe now it's time you leave protecting the city to me.


Continuity

As the episode opens, it has been three months since Brainiac-5 joined the DEO.

Supergirl can speak both Spanish and Kaznian.

Kara is seen saving a train in Kaznia - a country which was first mentioned in 201.

President Olivia Marsdin, last seen in 221,

The Alien Amnesty Act was passed two years ago, in 203.

President Marsden makes a yearly visit to the DEO.

Superman is off-world on Argo City.

Cat Grant recommended Nia Nal to a cub reporter job at CatCo.

James assigns Kara to mentor Nia.

James is facing an indictment for his activities as The Guardian pending a DA's investigation.

James asks Lena to stay out of his legal affairs and let him worry about handling the DA. This in spite of the fact that Lena has friends in the mayor's office who say that James' only chance of not being indicted rest in applying leverage.

Sam Arias, the former host of Reign, is now working a new job for L-Corp Northeast in Metropolis. She has made two acquisitions that are already turning a profit.

Sam is also said to now be coaching Ruby's soccer team.

Kara does not know soccer terminology.

Kesse Kay is an Aquarian in J'onn's support group.

The leader of J'onn's support group is named Fiona Byme. She is from the planet Ichthanor, used to live in England and has emphatic abilities.

L-Corp has begun selling image inducers that aliens can use to pass for human.

Dr. Vose is a nuclear physicist who is part of an unidentified alien race.

Dr. Vose's race is broadly human, save for their pointed elven ears and the distinctive tusks on their forearms. The tusks can be used to identify individual members of Dr. Vose's race and his lab has a scanner that requires his tusks be inserted into it for it to open the door.

Dr. Vose refuses to hide his nature and lives openly as an alien on Earth. He is also an outspoke advocate for alien rights.

Otis Graves burns Dr. Vose's tusks off with a laser.

Mercy and Otis Graves steal an EMP from Dr. Vose's lab.

Kara likes lattes.

Kara says that Nia reminds her of her. By the same token, James says that Kara is starting to act like Cat Grant when she talks to Nia.

Nia Nul has a degree in International Relations from Georgetown.

Lena is visiting her mother, Lillian, in prison again.

Lillian Luthor claims to have given up on revenge. She later admits she was lying.  She does, however, agree to give Supergirl a location where she might find Mercy and Otis Graves.

Mercy Graves is revealed to have turned state's evidence on Lex Luthor, helping to send him to prison. She was the head of security for Lex Luthor, when he still ran Luthor-Corp.

Fiona Byme asks J'onn to join a neighborhood watch group. He refuses, saying he is done with fighting.

The Graves attempt to fire-bomb the bar where J'onn's support group meets.

Alex has been dating a few women casually but has yet to find anyone she can get serious about.

Lena claims that she wants to rebuild her relationship with Lillian.

Lex Luthor is revealed to have been business partners with Bruno Mannheim. Lillian Luthor claims Mannheim was only in it for the money laundering through Luthor-Corp, however.

Nia refuses to try and claim the Fashion assignment she wanted, letting a reporter name Mackenzie take it after she brags about her mother being friends with a number of big-name fashion designers.

Supergirl investigates the abandoned warehouse Brainiac-5 tracked Mercy and Otis to and finds a server farm for several dark web, anti-alien hate sites.

One of the posts Kara reads asks for advice on how to kill a Phorian. Phorians are a race of telepathic and telekinetic aliens. The boy James rescued as Guardian in 220 was a Phorian.

Brainiac-5 finds blue-prints of Camp David on Mercy and Otis' server.

Otis is arrested by the DEO.

Brainiac-5 attempts to emulate Winn, wearing one of his trademark cardigans (which he finds binding) and buying toys from a nearby comic shop to play with at his desk.

Lena is revealed to be playing her mother to get information to buy off the DA of National City regarding Bruno Mannheim's RICO violations. She does not tell James what she did.

Lena gets the charges dropped against James. However, the DA warns that if James becomes Guardian again, he will be arrested.

Lillian figures out what Lena did after seeing a news report talking about Bruno Mannheim being indicted on money laundering charges.

President Marsdin is revealed as an alien to the world.

Fiona Byme is killed by Agent Liberty.

It is revealed that the Supergirl clone is punching a tunnel under the Russia/Kaznia border.


Location

Madrid, Spain
Southern Border of Kaznia.
Camp David
Somewhere under the southern border of Kaznia.


Untelevised Adventures

Superman is said to be visiting Argo City.


The Fridge Factor

Kara's is turned into an idiot and the poster child for white privilege in order to teach us a Very Important Lesson.


The Bottom Line


Supergirl's hardly been subtle in its political commentary in the past, but you could always count on the characters to be true to themselves. Kara's personality and personal politics are all over the place in this episode, with Kara's treatment of J'onn being horrible out of character throughout. Weirdly enough, the introduction of Nia turns out to be the best and least-political part of the show. Everything else is just bland, from the introduction of The Graves Siblings to Lena's efforts to save James  Not the best start for the season, in other words.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 1 - The Book of Consequences: Chapter One: Rise of the Green Light Babies

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



Plot

The Pierces have survived the battle with Tobias Whale, but Freeland is still healing. With people scared by the new threat posed by teenagers with super-powers (the so-called Green Light Babies) and the attack on Jefferson Pierce's school, there's a movement to shut down Garfield High.

As Jefferson battles to save his career and the school he devoted his life to building, Lynn is questioned about her role in exposing the ASA's abduction of the first generation of Green Light Babies, Anissa tries to find a way to help the families suing the government to get back their abducted kids, Jennifer tries to cope with her increasingly uncontrollable powers and Kara Fowdy - the ASA Spotter with nowhere to run - goes after Tobias Whale and his empire.


Influences

The Milestone Comics Universe.


Goofs

Kara Fowdy's reaction to being harpooned and her jumping out the window is far more goofier than intended.


Performances

Robert Townsend has a small but powerful role as Dr. Napier Frank - an old friend of Jefferson Pierce's since the Olympics and part of the Freeland School Board.

The whole scene between Jefferson Pierce and Deputy Chief Harrison where the police officer reveals that that he figured out Black Lightning's identity is very well acted by both Cress Williams and Damon Gupton.


Artistry

The fight between Syonide and Kara Fowdy is well shot and well-blocked.

The final sequence, showing all of the core cast in the build up to Kara's attack on Tobias Whale, is another instance of the show balancing direction and music perfectly.


Trivia

Calling those children developing metahuman powers after using Green Light "Green Light Babies" seems to be a nod to the Bang Babies of the Milestone Comics Universe. There, the term "Bang Babies" was used to describe a number of young people in the town of Dakota, who gained superpowers after being exposed to a chemically altered tear gas during a massive gang street fight that became known as The Big Bang.

One of these Bang Babies, Static, is notable for having been meant to be a tribute of sorts to Black Lightning. The two eventually met and developed a student/mentor role in the Young Justice animated series.

Jennifer is shown as levitating while she sleeps. In the comics, Jennifer Pierce was capable of true flight.

Robert Townsend, who plays the role of Dr. Napier Frank, was also the writer, director, producer and star of the 1993 movie Meteor Man - which was about a school teacher who gains super powers which he uses to protect his inner-city neighborhood... much like Black Lightning.


Dialogue Triumphs

Agent Odell: (To Lynn) You're a liar. You've been sitting here lying to me for about an hour and a half. You know you're lying. You're not going to admit it. And I don't like liars. Not because they lie, because we all lie, but because they make my job harder, and I have enough cow manure to deal with than to have you make my life more difficult.

Jefferson: Come on, Napier! You were born in Freeland! We come from the same place. And you know the board has been trying to take over Garfield simply because I will not treat these kids like criminals! Oh, they have money, right? They have money for metal detectors. They have money for guards with guns. But they never seem to have money for books, though, or teacher's raises or core computers.

(Jefferson tells Napier that he'll resign as Principal if they'll keep Garfield High open.)
Jefferson: You said it best, Napier. Like Black Lightning and Thunder, I'm trying to save Garfield. Not my job.


Continuity

The episode opens one week after the events of 113.

It is said that Anissa and Jennifer's kidnapping in 101 happened three months ago.

A young man named Issa Williams is killed by the Freeland Police while resisting arrest on suspicion of being a Green Light Baby.

Jennifer is now floating in her sleep, as electricity runs over her body.

Kara Fowdy kills Syonide.

Lynn wants Jennifer to see a therapist about her powers, while Jefferson wants to focus on training her to control what she can do.

Lynn wants to continue studying the children affected by Green Light. Jefferson thinks Agent Odell's advice to stay away is a good idea.

Peter Gambi's real name is revealed as Peter Esposito.

Kara Fowdy confronts Gambi and asks him to help her escape in exchange for her retrieving Martin Proctor's briefcase from Tobias Whale.

Jennifer accidentally electrocutes Lynn in a moment of anger.

Lynn goes to Gambi and asks him to pull some strings at the ASA to have Lynn put in charge of monitoring the Green Light Babies in the Cryogenic Suspension Pods.

Anissa robs a group of drug dealers and donates their money to the legal fund to free the kids in the pods.

Deputy Chief Bill Harrison figures out that Jefferson Pierce is Black Lighting, based on the fact that the only thing that would stop Jefferson Pierce from being at Garfield High when it was attacked by terrorists is the fact that he was already there... and the fact that Black Lightning came out of retirement to save Jefferson Pierce's daughters.

Jefferson unmasks in front of Harrison and reveals that Anissa is Thunder. Harrison just walks off, not saying what he will do next.

Lynn suggests Jefferson might want to see a therapist too.

Gambi reveals to Jefferson that Kara was Proctor's spotter and talks about Kara's offer to get him Proctor's briefcase in exchange for being wiped from the rogue ASA group's records.

Garfield High is closed down permanently.

Jefferson offers to resign to save the school.

Khalil texts Jennifer and leaves a voice message asking her to meet him and listen to him about what happened during his attack on the school.

Jennifer's best friend Kiesha reveals that she's scared of the Green Light Babies.

Issa Williams, the young man who was killed on camera in the opening scene of the episode, is revealed to have been a Green Light Baby who seemingly ODed and then came back to life as the ASA was retrieving his body. He runs off after his mother says she was glad he died.

Agent Odell swears he will find out who pulled the strings so Lynn was put in charge of examining the kids in the pods.

Jennifer develops a force-field of electrical energy around her she can't shut off.

Jefferson is able to draw the energy out of Jennifer and into himself.


The Freeland School Board votes to close Garfield High. Jefferson offers to resign as Principal if they'll allow the school to remain open. Napier agrees to take the offer to them.

Kara Fowdy tries to attack Tobias, but he gets the drop on her. She escapes with a harpoon in her stomach.


The Fridge Factor

Syonide is killed off to try and make Kara Fowdy seem like a credible threat.


The Bottom Line

Black Lightning returns and its more politically charged than ever, with an opening sequence that evokes the memory of every unarmed black teen killed by crooked cops and the government seizing "criminal" children and keeping them away from their families. It would be powerful stuff, if it weren't for all the powerful moments being negated by over-the-top performances by the supporting actors. I'm also not thrilled that Syonide got killed off just for the sake of making a non-entity character like Kara Fowdy into a threat. Still, I can put up with a lot since it looks like we're getting a live-action Dakotaverse out of it.