Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 9

In which we settle the gang war between Tyler and Lara before we try (and try, and try) to take on the Slaver's Guild at a far lower level than is reasonable, because I read on-line somewhere it was possible provided you were clever and lucky. As you'll see, I wasn't quite lucky enough.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't Dry - A Spoiler-Free Game Review

Describing the Leisure Suit Larry series as antiquated would be putting it mildly. The last "real" Larry game came out when I was still in high-school and the point-and-click adventure game genre is deader than disco. The entire series was built around immature humor for mature audiences and the kind of Brooksian satire that no film studio would dare distribute today. What kind of idiots would think you could possibly revive the LSL franchise now?

CrazyBunch Games, apparently.


Quick history lesson for those of you who aren't familiar with the series. The first Leisure Suit Larry game came out in 1987 and put you in the shoes and titular suit of Larry Laffer - an unlovable loser who traveled to Lost Wages intent on losing his virginity on the eve of his 40th birthday.

Successive games saw Larry trying (and failing) to find love and/or sex in a variety of exotic locales, often needing to romance several women on his way to reaching that game's dream girl. The final official Larry game - 1996's Love for Sail! - ended on a cliffhanger, with Larry apparently being abducted by aliens. Sadly, a crossover with Space Quest (i.e. Roger Wilco & Leisure Suit Larry in The Road To Uranus) would never materialize and the franchise was ultimately used to sell sleazy party games of dubious quality that aren't worth discussing. So I won't.

That brings us to Wet Dreams Don't Dry which leaves any and all question of just what happened to Larry completely unanswered, as it throws him into the 21st Century and New Lost Wages. His bartender buddy Lefty is still around, but the rest of the world has changed. The singles' bars Larry frequented have been replaced with craft breweries, men now wear full beards and man-buns instead of leisure suits and nobody dates anymore - they just arrange hook-ups via something called Timber.

The world may have changed, but Larry is still the same; lusting after a woman who is far out of his league and being utterly out of his depth. Still, Larry is nothing if not persistent and he takes his current dream woman Faith at her word when she says she'll consider an encounter with him if he can match her rating on Timber. So begins a hopeless and hopelessly funny quest as Larry tries to romance as many women as possible to boost his rating and score a chance at scoring with Faith, inadvertently stumbling across a plot that may require Larry to save the world. Or not.



The most astonishing thing about Wet Dreams Don't Dry is how neatly they've updated the core Larry concept for modern times; not in how they've built an interface around Larry's new smartphone or the fact that Larry HAS a smartphone, but in how the basic idea of "horny jerk tries to get laid" has been developed into something that's not completely sleazy and gross. This is largely due to the writing taking a cue from the later Larry games, where Larry was surprisingly innocent and naive, frequently winding up in wacky situations after misinterpreting someone else's attempts at subtlety. (i.e. thinking a woman hiring him to kill her elderly husband was hitting on him.)

Larry's creator Al Lowe wasn't involved in the production of this game, but you'd never know it from the writing. They nail the tone perfectly, with a balanced measure of smart jokes, bad puns and not so subtle stabs at modern culture. To give you a taste, much of the game's plot centers around Prune - an all-consuming tech-firm - and the release of the latest edition of their popular PiPhone. The Prune logo looks like a vagina, their corporate headquarters like a giant cock and balls and the whole company is overseen by Bill Jobs. (BJ for short.)

Subtle it ain't, but the game is never mean-spirited. Yes, the cast includes a drag queen named Tuck R. Dale who keeps breaking into jail for the free cavity searches, but the humor is all on part with a typical drag performance or burlesque show. This won't stop some people from taking offense, however. Indeed, I felt inspired to write this review to balance out one particularly awful review from someone who dismissed the game entirely because of the character of Becky - a vapid influencer and social media maven, who is the first woman Larry meets in the game.


Is she a stereotype of the cliche Millennial woman? Only in the same sense the Larry is a cliched parody of the Disco Man. The comedy is based around how utterly unequipped Larry is to deal with a woman like this (who speaks in terms of likes and hits) and Becky exists only to emphasis what a fish-out-of-water Larry is in the modern era. Okay, she also exists to suffer indirectly because of Larry's actions but there's no "hur hur dumb Millennials/okay Boomer" jokes.

The animation is minimal, but the game artwork is fantastic. The voice acting is also solid and the original voice of Larry, Jan Rabson, returned to play Larry once again. The gameplay runs smoothly enough, with the game walking you through new features as they are introduced. For adventure game newbies, there's an option to briefly highlight the objects you can click on, if you aren't sure where to go. The puzzles are rarely illogical and on the one occasion it is the game hangs a lampshade on the puzzle in question almost immediately. I only became hopelessly stuck once and that was only because I failed to click on something more than once.



The only real flaw to Wet Dreams Don't Dry is a certain dryness. (If I had a dollar for every time I heard that...) There's not nearly as many of the funny random descriptions you got from looking at the background or the characters as in earlier games. Larry also describes everything himself, rather than by having a narrator talk to him and the audience. And oh, how I would have loved to have Neil Ross's narrator back for this one to mock Larry as he stumbles around the city.

Despite that, Wet Dreams Don't Dry gets more right in trying to bring Leisure Suit Larry into modern times than it gets wrong. And the game's epilogue leaves ample room for a sequel, suggesting that we may not have seen the last of Larry Laffer after all. Thank goodness for that!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 8

In which we move on to the east side of The Hub and start investigating the dirty deeds at the local church. The good news is we also find Trader Vic. The bad news is he's in the custody of the Slaver's Guild and we can't get him free... yet.


Sunday, December 22, 2019

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 7

In which, after kicking a bunch of geckos to death, we make our way to The Den - a nameless hive of scum and villainy since 2176. We then prove our badass bona fides by kicking a bunch of orphans. 

What? They're pickpockets! It's totally justified and I'm doing it so they don't accidentally steal a grenade from me and blow themselves up or something!

 We also meet a guy who seems to know far more about our destiny than we do and have an encounter with a real g-g-ghost! Spooky! And the first time we see anything outright supernatural in the Fallout series.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 6

In which we continue our rescue mission in the Toxic Caves and make a new friend in Sulik. Shame the game crashes before we can go explore The Den with our new buddy, but at least we saved before that happened.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 5

In which, having cleared the warrens of rats, we go to the Toxic Caves for a change of pace... only to clear a different cave of rats and then start fighting geckos and radiation poisoning while searching for a lost prospector.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 4

In which we continue exploring Klamath and wander into the maze that is Trapper Town, seeking to help the locals out by punching the local rat population into submission. Couldn't the gods haven chosen someone else?


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 3

In which we start to explore the town of Klamath and find ways to make ourselves useful. These include crawling the local pubs for quests and checking out a still that has been besieged by geckos.

Well, a Chosen One has to start somewhere...

Monday, December 9, 2019

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 9 - Crisis On Infinite Earths, Part 1

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



Plot

The Monitor sends Harbinger to gather the greatest heroes of two worlds- Supergirl, The Flash  Green Arrow, Batwoman, White Canary, The Atom and Superman - in preparation for the impending Crisis. With their worlds in imminent danger, the superheroes suit up for battle while J’onn and Alex  recruit Lena Luthor to help them find a way to save the people of Earth-38.


Influences

The original 12-issue Crisis on Infinite Earths mini-series.


Performances

Tyler Hoechlin gets a good moment here opposite Melissa Benoist, as we get to see Superman in a state that is quite rare: vulnerable an wishing he could be selfish just once. There's been a lot of hand-wringing about how to make Superman relatable and relevant on-line lately, but Tyler seems to have that question answered here.

Caity Lotz's speech to the older Ollie about how their trip together wound up changing the world is a brilliant one and as much as I love Legends giving Lotz a chance to stretch her comedic chops, I do miss her getting as many dramatic speeches like this as she used to have.

As far as swan-songs go, Stephen Amell couldn't have asked for a better one as Oliver Queen and we couldn't have gotten a better send-off for the Emerald Archer.


Artistry

If Stephen Amell hadn't perfectly captured the spirit of Oliver Queen before, he nailed it as an arrowless Green Arrow charges into battle with nothing but his bare hands and grit to buy a few more people time to get to safety and the orchestration and direction of that scene are perfect.


Super Trivia


This episode reveals three more Earths from previous DC Comics productions to be part of the Arrowverse; Earth-89, Earth-9 and Earth-66.

Earth-89 is the reality of the Tim Burton Batman movies. It is seen in a brief scene where the skies turn red over Gotham City and the Bat-Signal is seen, as a man in a fedora and trench-coat mutters "I hope you're watching, big guy." The man is reporter Alexander Knox (Robert Wuhl), who was the first to report upon The Joker's crimes in the 1989 Batman movie.

Earth-9 is the reality of DC Universe's live-action Titans series. A brief scene shows the skies over Titans Tower in San Francisco turning red and shows close-ups of Hawk (Alan Ritchson) and Jason Todd (Curran Walters) looking upset before the screen fades to white, suggesting their world was destroyed.

Earth-66 is the reality of the 1966 live-action Batman series which starred Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin. Burt Ward has a brief cameo, walking a dog while wearing a red sweater with green and yellow trim that suggests the classic Robin costume. As the skies turn red, he says "Holy Crimson Skies Of Death!" in the style of his version of Robin, who was always issuing exclamations beginning with "Holy...."

The doomsday prophet whom Supergirl saves from a dragon in the first scene on Earth-38 is played by geek icon Wil Wheaton.

The sign Wil Wheaton's prophet is carrying is similar to the one carried by a similar prophet in Superman II.

This episode gives us our first glimpse of Lois and Clark's son, Jonathan. In the Rebirth reality of DC Comics, Lois Lane and Clark Kent also had a son named Jonathan.

Clark says that he saw himself and Lois having two children and living on Earth. This could be a reference to the mini-series Superman: Secret Identity (where Lois and Clark had two daughters named Carol and Jane) or Superman & Batman: Generations (where Lois and Clark had a son named Joel and a daughter named Kara.)

The team that beats the Legends at a trivia night event is called The Strange Visitors. This is a nod to the introduction to the classic Adventures of Superman show, where Superman was called a "Strange Visitor From Another World."

The shadow demons who serve the Anti-Monitor are taken directly from the Crisis on Infinite Earths comics.

This episode marks the first appearance of Nash Wells as Pariah. In the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, Pariah was a scientist whose experiments opened the way for the Anti-Monitor to begin destroying the positive-matter multiverse. This caused him to become bonded to the Anti-Monitor in some fashion; teleporting to worlds just before the Anti-Monitor arrived to destroy them. The Monitor used Pariah as a means of charting the destruction of the universe as he made his own plans for countering the Anti-Monitor.

The Arrowverse version of Pariah was responsible for freeing the Anti-Monitor from his prison. Rather than being grateful, the Anti-Monitor elected to punish his savior by taking all memory of who he once was beyond his former name and sending him around the multiverse to witness great tragedies.


Technobabble

Brainiac-5 calculates that the anti-matter wave will reach the edge of the universe in 5.3 hours and boomerang back, this time destroying everything in its path completely, hitting Argo City before it returns to Earth.

Quantum Towers are constructs created by the Monitor, which were buried on key Earths at the dawn of time as a last-line of defense. The towers generate a quantum flux field, which can, theoretically, reverse the exogenic state of the anti-matter wave, thereby dissipating the anti-matter energy.

Brainiac-5 calculates that the odds of the rocket carrying Jonathan winding up landing in Oliver Queen's bunker in Star City on Earth-16 in the year 2046 are three billion, eight hundred and twenty seven million to one.

Batwoman's batarangs are made of carbon fiber.

The Atom upgrades Batwoman's batarangs by charging them with compressed light energy, making them incredibly effective against the shadow demons.

The transmatter portal works by synthesizing polyelectronic anions.If the energy levels aren't properly set when interfacing with the breach device, the ships will disintegrate when they fly through the portal rather than being teleported.

Alex suggests using an inverse variable to help calculate the differential, per Galleon's theory. This creates an inverse beta-decay to figure constituent quark.


Dialogue Triumphs

The Monitor: (voice-over) In the beginning there was only one. A single black infinitude. Then the infinitude found release, and, finally, the darkness broke, filling it with life. With the Multiverse. Every existence multiplied by possibility. And spread out before space and time in infinite measure. Civilizations rose and fell. And rose again across reality's grasping expanse. Life. A precious gift persevering in the face of every obstacle, until, finally, the Age of Heroes was born. Chaos. The constant enemy of life kept at bay by champions from across the multiverse, joining forces to fight on behalf of all creation. They found each other just in time, because now, the entire Multiverse is about to come under attack. There is a malevolent force at work, one driven by a singular goal; the destruction of all there is. I have planned - there are those who say I have schemed - but the time for preparation has passed. The Crisis is now upon us all.

Dick Grayson of Earth-66: Holy crimson skies of death!

Alex: The USGS didn't register an early warning, so it took everyone completely by surprise.
Brainiac-5: She does mean everyone because this earthquake is quite, literally, worldwide.
Alex: But the seismic activity wasn't coming from within the planet, it's coming from without.
Supergirl: That's -
Brainiac-5: Extra-normal?
Supergirl: I was gonna say "impossible," but okay.
Brainiac-5 (impatient) Yes, yes, a fair descriptor. As would be unfeasible, unthinkable, absurd, outlandish. But however you choose to describe this event, one thing is absolutely certain. We have-
J'onn: - A major crisis on our hands.

(Harbinger just appeared in the DEO with Superman, Lois Lane, Green Arrow, Mia Smoak and Batwoman)
Kara: Oh, my God, you're okay. (moves to hug Lois)
Lois: Thanks to her. (looks to Harbinger) She appeared at the last second and brought us here.
Clark: We sent Jonathan off in an escape pod.
Kara: And my mother?
Clark: (hesitantly) I'm so sorry, Kara.
(There is a pregnant pause as Kara considers the enormity of this. Batwoman walks around Superman to look at Kara.)
Batwoman: Kara? Where are we? And what just happened?
Kara: Um -
Harbinger: You're on Earth-38. There was-
(Batwoman suddenly spins around and decks Harbinger. This stops her from talking but doesn't seem to phase her otherwise.)
Batwoman: That rabbit was about to talk!
Brainiac-5 (quietly to J'onn) This one speaks to rabbits.
Kara: (reasssuringly) It's okay. 'Cause we're all on the same side.
Batwoman: Are we? 'Cause I don't know them.
Kara: But you know me. And if you were brought here with all these other heroes, it's probably because we need you. I trust everyone in this room with my life. Including you.
(Batwoman regards Kara and slowly pulls off her mask to reveal herself as Kate Kane.)
Kate: Well, I guess you should all just call me Kate.
Oliver: (quietly to Mia) Yeah, yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

Sara: You know, Oliver... I've seen playboy Oliver, vigilante Oliver, but I never thought I would see parent Oliver.
Oliver: It's weird, right?
Sara: So weird. (laughs) But it looks good on you.

Clark: I'm sorry about your mom. I couldn't save her.
Kara: You had no powers on Argo. There was nothing you could do.
Clark: I feel like a fool. I thought I could give up the cape and just... have everything I ever wanted. And now, Argo is gone, this Earth is in danger, Lois and Jonathan are out in the universe, where I can't protect them. And part of me can't help thinking that (scoffs) That I deserve this for thinking that I could have so much. That anyone could.
Kara: I get it. I've been thinking that a lot, too, lately. How I can never do enough. (sighs) How my mistakes outweigh all the good I've ever done. But it's not true. It can't be. And we're going to save them. Lois, Jonathan, this whole planet. We've done it a dozen times and we're going to do it again.
Clark: How are you so hopeful right now? You've lost just as much as I have today. Argo, your mom.
Kara: Before our parents sent us to Earth nobody here knew about Krypton. Now, there are stories, celebrations, museum exhibits. Just like you shared our home with your family, we shared our home with this whole world. Krypton's not just a place, it's a spirit. It's hope. It's sacrifice. It's what our parents did for us. What you did for Jonathan. We have made our parents proud by fighting for what's right. So, we have to keep fighting. And as long as that spirit is alive, Krypton will never die.

Alex: Look, I am sorry that I lied to you. And not just me, and not just Kara it was all of us. J'onn and Brainy and Nia.
Lena: You know, you actually had me believe that you hated Supergirl.
Alex: I wasn't pretending about that. And that is a long story. Listen, I... I know that you feel burned by us. And that there is nothing that I can say in this moment that is going to change that. But if you could please just put your feelings aside... J'onn and I really, really, need your help.
Lena: (sigh) I don't want your apology, Alex. 'Cause you will never again have my friendship or my trust. I have learned my lesson from all of you. But if the world is at stake, then of course, I'll help. It is hubris of you to think that I wouldn't, but then... you've made it perfectly clear how little you've thought of me these last few years. So what do you need me to do?

Earth-16 Oliver: I never thought I'd see you again.
Sara: One of the benefits of parallel Earths.
Earth-16 Oliver: Parallel Earths? It would appear that your reality is a little... stranger than mine.
Sara: You really have no idea?
Earth-16 Oliver: All my life I just wanted to to apologize for bringing you on that boat. But you aren't even you.
Sara: Ollie. If your me was anything like I was, then getting on the Gambit with you was her choice. And in my world, that trip... it set off a whole series of events that neither you or I could've ever dreamed of. You became a hero, a husband, a father. And I'm flying through time happier than I've ever been. And none of that would've ever happened if I didn't get on that boat with you. It was destiny.
(Brainiac-5 walks in.)
Brainiac-5: I'm sorry to break up what I'm sure must be the strangest reunion in the history of the world, but, um, if we don't leave now, I'm afraid our extrapolator might not have enough power for us to return home.
Earth-16 Oliver: Wait, what's an extrapolator?
Sara: It's another long story.
Sara: You're a good man on every Earth.
(Sara kisses Oliver on the cheek and walks through the breach.)

The Monitor: Oliver! It is time!
Oliver: Has the planet been evacuated yet?
The Monitor: Not entirely.
Oliver: Then it's not time!

(A man appears next to the Monitor. He looks like Nash Wells, but is clad in odd green armor.)
Barry: Nash?
Pariah: (shaking his head) Once upon a time. Not anymore. Now, I'm simply a man serving his penance.
Clark: Penance for what?
Pariah: I freed the Anti-Monitor from his confinement only to become a... Pariah, sentenced to bear witness to his actions.


Continuity

The opening montage as The Monitor talks about the Age of Heroes features clips from Arrow's Season 4 finale (A423), the Invasion, Crisis on Earth X and Elseworlds events, Kara's battle with Lex Luthor in 422 and White Canary fighting Tagumo (L405).

The Ray, last seen during Crisis on Earth-X, is briefly seen confronting an anti-matter wave on his Earth.

Spike, the dragon whom Kara wrangles, is the same shape-shifting alien pet she helped to subdue in 406.

J'onn tells everyone about his encounter with The Monitor in 508.

Clark and Lois have had their child; a boy named Jonathan, in honor of Clark's adoptive father.

Jonathan is said to have Clark's eyes.

Warned of the destruction of Argo City, Lois and Clark put Jonathan in a rocket prepared by Alura.

The scene of Oliver and Mia talking comes from the end of A807.

The scene of Barry running around Central City before meeting Harbinger follows a scene at the end of F608.

Batwoman is taken by Harbinger as she is in the middle of questioning a member of the Wonderland Gang who is dressed as a rabbit. He says something about Alice hiding out in a sugar factory.

Ray makes reference to the events of L401 and how he met Janis Joplin at Woodstock. Ray accidentally changed history so that her last recorded song was "Little Robot Man" and not "Mercedes Benz," costing the Legends victory at a pub trivia night event in Star City 2019.

Harbinger appeared at the last moment and rescued Lois and Clark from Argo City.

Kate demasks and reveals her secret identity to Oliver, Mia, Clark, Lois, J'onn, Alex and Brainiac-5. Oliver says this explains a lot, referring to how Kate treated him in both his identities during the events of Elseworlds.

Oliver mentions the destruction of Earth-2 from A801.

Harbinger says The Monitor wants them to make their stand on Earth-38 because it is the tipping point for the Crisis.

The Flash and The Legends are running reconnaissance.

A Flackurian is a flying alien creature known for being quite fast.

A quantum tower grows in the middle of National City, close to the DEO building.

Brainiac-5 tracks the rocket that carried Jonathan Kent to a temporal wormhole that took him to Star City in the year 2046 on Earth-16.

It is revealed that the Legends traveled through five dimensions in L106, arriving in a probable future of an alternate Earth. (Earth-16, to be exact.)

Lois, Sara and Brainiac-5 decide to go to Earth-16 and rescue Jonathan while the rest of the heroes stay to protect the Quantum Tower from the Anti-Monitor.

Alex leaves to contact the President and coordinate an evacuation of the planet in the Quantum Tower fails.

J'onn leaves to start asking every alien on Earth that has a ship if they can borrow them for the evacuation.

Brainiac-5 gives J'onn the keys to the Legion ship.

Alex decides to approach Lena Luthor about building a transmat portal big enough to send multiple ships to Earth-1.

Oliver gives Mia a Green Arrow costume.

Barry tells Oliver that the Monitor told him he was fated to die during the Crisis.

When Oliver demands answers from the Monitor on why Barry thinks he is going to die, the Monitor explained that Oliver's sacrifice saved Barry and Kara during Elseworlds. It does nothing to protect them now.

Lena agrees to help with the evacuation efforts, but says that she and Alex will never be friends again.

Brainiac-5 tracks Jonathan Kent to the Bunker of Oliver Queen on Earth-16 in the year 2046.

Sara fights with the older Oliver Queen, who has no memory of meeting her before or the events of L106. He says that he hasn't seen Sara Lance since she died on the Queen's Gambit. He also doesn't know about the existence of parallel earths.

Oliver tells Mia to find Felicity after all this is over and tell her that Oliver said he loved her.

Ray upgrades Kate's batarangs.

Dreamer and Kelly Olsen are seen assisting with the evacuation.

Kara and Clark use their heat vision to try charge the quantum tower, but all it does is delay the anti-matter wave for a little longer.

James left Kelly Olsen his Guardian shield.

The Monitor tries to teleport the heroes away as Earth-38 is about to fall to the anti-matter wave. Oliver Queen shoots him with a taser arrow before he can be teleported away, leaving Oliver to face the shadow demons with no arrows.

The universe of Earth-38 is destroyed.

The Monitor says that Oliver's sacrifice was directly responsible for saving 1 billion people.

Of the 7.53 billion people living on Earth-38, only 3 billion were able to escape on the armada of spaceships J'onn put together.

Nash Wells appears, now calling himself Pariah, and reveals that he freed the Anti-Monitor by accident in F608.

Oliver dies, after telling Barry and Kara that he sacrificed himself to save them.

The Monitor says that this is not how he foresaw Oliver dying.


Locations

Earth-89 - Gotham City
Earth-9 - San Francisco
Earth-X - Star City
Earth-66 - Gotham City
Earth 38 - National City
Earth 1- Lian Yu
Earth 1 - Central City
Earth 1 - Gotham City
Earth 1 - Star City
Earth 16 - Star City - 2046


The Bottom Line

A spirited start to an epic story that delivers even more than it promised.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 8, Episode 7 - Purgatory

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




Plot

Once again stranded on Lian Yu, Oliver and his allies must face a familiar enemy alongside Oliver's first ally in the battle against evil, as they struggle to build a weapon to aid the Monitor in the coming Crisis.


Influences

The flashbacks of Arrow: Season 1 and the comic-book storyline The Rise of Arsenal.


Goofs

As Roy, Rene and Dinah are flying to Lian Yu, Roy comments that it looks beautiful from above, saying that he's never seen it before. This contradicts the Arrow: Season 2.5 tie-in comic, where Roy and Oliver went to Lian Yu to check on Slade Wilson in his cell in Issue #19. (The canonicity of the comics has always been in question and this could be explained as something  Barry Allen's time-travel changed.)

It never is explained just who resurrected Fyers and his men or how Yao Fei came to know all about what brought them back. The obvious answer is that the Anti-Monitor brought them back in the same manner that the Monitor resurrected Lex Luthor and the Monitor brought Yao Fei back to mentor Oliver again, but the actual forces trying to stop Oliver are not named beyond their being responsible for the odd energy spikes.


Artistry

The scene where Roy has to have his arm cut off is tensely directed and tightly shot.


Trivia

As a result of the events of this episode, Roy Harper loses his right arm. In the pre-New 52 comics, Roy Harper lost his right arm just before the Rise of Arsenal mini-series, in a battle with the supervillain Prometheus. Roy officially lost his arm in Justice League: Cry For Justice, but the aftermath was explored in the Fall of Green Arrow and Rise of Arsenal mini-series.

This episode ended with a scene involving Nash Wells from The Flash, setting up Crisis on Infinite Earths. This scene is described in detail in the entry for F608.


Technobabble

The past few days have seen several odd energy spikes on Lian Yu. Somehow, this has restored the island's vegetation, which had all been killed after Adrian Chase firebombed the island in 523. The device which Dr. Wong designed should enable them to harness those energy spikes for some undefined purpose.

Mia knows the formula for calculating the volume of a sphere by memory: 4/3 pi times radius squared. She does not, however, know the Pauli exclusion principle of quantum physics.

William says the coding and design sequences for Dr. Wong's device are more complicated than anything he's ever seen, including 2040 technology.

There is a double helix genetic sequence in the code for Dr. Wong's device. William thought it was an error at first, but he now believes a person with a certain genetic sequence needs to trigger the device. After Oliver tries and fails to activate it, they seize upon having Lyla Michaels try it.


Dialogue Triumphs

Oliver: (voice-over) The name of the island they found me on is Lian Yu. It's Mandarin for "purgatory". Now I understand why. The memories, the pain... I've never escaped them. They're always with me; a reminder of what I had to endure with only one thought, one goal... Survive. To save the multiverse, I must become something else. To do that, I have to return to where my journey began. Purgatory.

Oliver: There's no easy way to say this. Mar Novu has seen my fate. I don't survive Crisis.
William: What do you mean?
Oliver: I mean that he told me what would happen to me the day that he walked in and asked for my help.
Mia: And when exactly were you planning on telling us?!
Oliver: I've been fighting my fate because of the two of you, and I can't fight it, I can't change it.
Mia: So you're just giving up?!
Oliver: I am attempting to save the multiverse, and I'm trying to keep the two of you safe. We're gonna build the weapon, we're gonna finish this mission, and that's the way that it has to be.
Mia: (cooly) Well, then I guess we better get to it.

Lyla: I'm sorry our first meeting had to be this. I envisioned getting to know my future son over a meal, not en route to a plane crash.
Connor: This... this feels about right for our family. Most of our milestones got interrupted by some sort of international emergency or another.
Lyla: Yeah. I guess your dad and I weren't really there for you and J. J.
Connor: You were there when it counted. Besides, I was beyond proud to be the son of the two superspies that co-founded Knightwatch.
John: You never mentioned that.
Connor: I.. think maybe I wasn't supposed to. Time travel rules and all.

Oliver: Yao Fei? Are you real?
Yao Fei: As real as the men you hunt.
Oliver: Why'd you try to shoot me?
Yao Fei: Like the first time. To keep you from danger.
Oliver: No one can keep me from danger. Okay? Not even you.
Yao Fei: Because you are fated to die? There are forces at play that want you to not succeed.
Oliver: Fyers and his men know about the weapon, and they want to use it for themselves? 
(Yao Fei just nods.)
Oliver: All right. Well, who else has, um, returned?
Yao Fei: Only those who were with you from the beginning, but you must not let the evil that tempted you at the start distract you at the end.
Oliver: He's coming after more than my mission, Yao Fei, you understand? I'm not gonna let that happen.
Yao Fei: Last time you tried to do alone did not end well.
Oliver: I'm not that person anymore.
Yao Fei: I will hope.

Digg:  How you feeling?
Roy: I... I've been better.
Digg: I'm so sorry, Roy. I should have found another way to get you out.
Roy: This wasn't your fault.
Digg: Yeah. Well, that's where you're wrong. I mean, you wouldn't even be in this situation if I hadn't come to find you in Hub City. (sighs) Roy I can't protect the people I care about.
Roy: You know I worked with you and Oliver for a really long time. And if I've learned anything, it's that this team has each other's backs no matter the cost. Things just didn't exactly go as planned.
Digg: That's an understatement.
Roy: No, but I would rather be here. I would rather be here with you and with the team than back in Hub City, living a life all alone. Heroes make sacrifices, John, and for better or for worse, this just had to be mine.

Digg: You know, Oliver, I once told you a long time ago that a soldier never lets a brother go into battle alone. I think that's why it was so hard for me to accept the idea that you weren't gonna make it out of this. I felt like I'd be failing you.
Oliver: You could never fail me, John.
Digg: I'm gonna stick by your side for as long as I can, but I know you have to do this alone.
Oliver: Every mission has an end.
Digg: I wish this one didn't.
Oliver: I couldn't have done any of this, any of it without you. You've always been my rock.
Digg: Don't mean the best man you've ever known?
Oliver: I also mean that.
(The two hug.)

(Oliver is looking over the graves of those he left behind on Lian Yu. Mia emerges behind him.)
Mia: Um, William said I might find you here.
Oliver: Figured you'd be the first one on the boat. You okay?
Mia: My whole life I heard nothing but stories about you, you know, this legendary Green Arrow and his team. I should have been proud of you, because you were a hero, and All I could see is that that is the reason that you weren't with me, and it's it's kind of hard to let that go.
Oliver: I never meant to cause you any pain. Your mom and me just wanted to protect you.
Mia: I know. I, uh I understand that now.
Oliver: For a very long time, I have hated this place. Just I'd think about all the people that it took from me. It would just It would just make me so angry.
Mia: But you're not now?
Oliver: I'm still a little bit angry. This island taught me to survive. It turned me into someone else, somebody better than the person I was before. So despite my feelings... There are no stories about the Green Arrow to tell if I don't make my way to Lian Yu. And I'm also not standing at this moment, looking at my daughter.
Mia: Thank you for letting me be a part of your story. Even if it was only for a little while.
Oliver: (smiling) Mia, something tells me you're gonna create your own stories.
(The two hug.) 

(As Oliver and Mia head toward the beach, the skies suddenly turn read and thunder fills the air. Lyla Michaels appears before them, wearing odd armor.)
Oliver: Lyla?
Harbinger: Not anymore. I'm now a Harbinger of things to come.
Mia: And that's-?
Harbinger: Yes. The Crisis has begun.


Continuity

William refers to his first trip to Lian Yu, as seen in the flash-fowards of 701.

William, Connor and Mia were brought to Lian Yu by ARGUS agents storming the Bunker, under Lyla's orders.

Lyla reveals that Dr. Wong from 802 has been experimenting with the dwarf star particles Oliver retrieved in 801 and has devised schematics for something they need William to build.

Dinah, Roy and Rene are flying in from Star City with the plutonium John and Roy retrieved in 805.

Oliver tells William and Mia about how the Monitor said he is fated to die during the Crisis.

Lyla explains that she first saw the Monitor years earlier when she survived an IED explosion that took out the rest of her unit in Afghanistan. The Monitor revealed that he had saved her for a purpose and that she would have to help him years later to find heroes strong enough to fight the coming Crisis.

Dinah knows how to fly a plane.

Roy has apparently never been to Lian Yu before.

Some kind of missile shoots down Dinah's plane.

Something is jamming the radio signals, preventing Team Arrow from communicating across Lian Yu.

William is able to pinpoint where the cockpit of the plane wound up as well as where the plutomniu, canister went.

Diggle, Connor and Lyla go to find the rest of the team, as Oliver and Black Siren go to get the plutonium. 

Connor lets it slip that Lyla and Diggle go on to found Knightwatch in the future.

They find Dinah helping a limping, wounded Rene to walk away from the crash site. They say they have no idea where Roy is.

Lyla helps Rene back to their base camp, while Connor, Dinah and Diggle go to search for Roy.

Oliver and Black Siren find the plutonium, but are attacked by Eddie Fyers and Billy Wintergreen and their men.  They are able to fight them off, but Fyers and Wintergreen get away.

Fyers says that he was given a new lease on life but does not elaborate how he is alive.

Oliver sends Black Siren back to camp with the plutonium while he goes chasing after Fyers alone.

Oliver runs into Yao Fei, who is also somehow alive again.

Dinah, Diggle and Connor find Roy trapped near a puddle of fuel that is near sparking plane wiring. His arm is pinned by a piece of the plane's landing gear and he says he can't feel it.

Connor has a medical kit in his pack that could allow him to safely amputate Roy's arm. Diggle, however, refuses to give up on trying to lever the landing gear off his arm.

Dinah leaves to investigate someone crashing through the brush nearby. It turns out to be Black Siren.

Dinah and Black Siren move to distract Fyers men as Connor cuts off Roy's arm.

Oliver and Yao Fei find Fyer's camp, but get caught in a pair of steel wire net traps.

Mia goes after Oliver on her own when she learns he went off on his own.

William tells Mia about how Felicity let him watch their dad in action through a video monitor in 611 and how that showed him how Oliver could cheat death better than anyone.

Digg apologizes to Roy for not being able to save his arm but Roy says he's happy to be here with his friends doing something to save the universe than living an ordinary life along in Hub City.

Lyla activates the device, which causes all the previously dead people on Lian Yu to vanish. She then says she has to go and vanishes through a breach.

Lyla arranged for an ARGUS boat to come pick everyone up before she vanished.

Oliver says his goodbyes to Dinah and Rene and Roy.

Roy says John has arranged for him to get to see a fancy ARGUS doctor about his missing arm.

William tries to give the Queen family Hozen back to Roy Harper. Roy says it should stay in the family.

Oliver says his goodbyes to Digg, but makes two requests: make sure their kinds get back to 2040 safely and tell Felicity that she needs to make sure William and Mia grow up together. Diggle agrees.

Oliver goes to visit the graves of those he left on Lian Yu before going. Mia finds him there and they make their peace.

Mia and Oliver are confronted by Lyla, as the skies turn red and lightning fills the air.


Location

Lian Yu.


The Bottom Line

A bit lackluster in terms of action, but absolutely essential in giving all the regular players a chance to take a final bow and Oliver to make peace with everyone he hadn't had a chance to talk to yet. Also pivotal to Crisis since it sets up Lyla's transformation into Harbinger.

Apart from that nothing really notable happens, which makes it all the stranger they chose NOW of all times to adapt The Fall of Arsenal into the Arrowverse. Maybe they're setting up Colton Haynes to appear as Cyborg Roy in Green Arrow and The Canaries? Either way, it's am unpleasant addition to the canon,

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 8 - The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Pt. 2

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



Plot

As Iris and Cisco try to help Barry win free of Bloodwork's influence, the rest of Team Flash must protect Central City from the army of "Blood Brothers" that Bloodwork has built.


Influences

The zombie movies of George Romero.


Goofs

Everyone is suddenly using the term "Blood Brother" to describe Ramsey's followers, even though they aren't in communication and the term was never used before this episode.

While Cecile's powers enable her to sense the fear in the Blood Brothers/Sisters, the range makes it incredibly inefficient for zombie detection purposes as you can easily hear and see the zombies before Cecile can pinpoint their location.

The CGI for Bloodwork's monster form is pretty lousy and doesn't even look like the design from the comics.

It never is explained just how Barry causes Bloodwork to hallucinate his mother. (STAR Labs hologram projector?)


Artistry

The direction manages some decent jump scares.


Flash Facts

The Flash logo in the title stinger drips with black blood.


Technobabble

Cisco developed a 2.0 version of the Babel Protocol - the self-destruct mode that he programmed into Barry's costume. The new plan creates a force-field around STAR Labs that a speedster cannot phase through. Unfortunately, it also blocks any comm signals from going into or out of STAR Labs. They can still use the extrapolators to enter and exit the building, however.

Frost has an analog police scanner, which apparently still functions through the STAR Labs force-field.

Cisco was working on a photon emitter - a ray gun that could deliver megadoses of photon radiation, which is usually administered to cancer patients. He theorizes he can use this to cleanse Ramsey of his sentient infection. Unfortunately, he has no way of knowing it will work before he tests it and he could wind up flash-frying anyone he aims it at.

A 207 is the police code for an abduction in Central City.

Cisco can use the extrapolators as listening devices.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Nash Wells regards the barrier he found - the one carved with seven strange symbols.)
Nash: I'm coming for you.
Voice: You seek the truth.
(Nash pauses as the voice echos through the cavern. He smiles.)
Nash: Novu.
Voice: If you wish to know all, show your allegiance and all will be revealed.
Nash: Yeah, that sounds great. (sarcastically) Oh, wait. No, I don't barter with false gods!
Voice: Bow down to me and all you desire shall be yours.
Nash: (shouting at the barrier) Let me in. Let me in!
Voice: Bow down to me!
(The walls shake as the voice speaks. Nash only laughs.)
Nash: Planet after planet Earth after Earth I've tracked you, Novu, and you think some paltry mind games and a little rock wall is gonna stop me. You've got another think coming. I'm coming for you. And you can't stop me!
(The walls shake again, This time the lights in the tunnel go out. Unbeknownst to Nash, this coincides with the power going out around Central City because of Bloodwork.) 
Nash: Hmm. What's this now? Punishment from an angry god? Or simply faulty wiring?
(Nash holds up what appears to be an advanced electric flare.)
Nash: I say, let there be light.
(Nash turns around and almost runs into a hissing Blood Brother.)

Cecile: HR Wells told me once "Barry Allen's superpower isn't speed. "It's hope. It's hope, and that kid has an endless reservoir of it." I didn't know how right he was until I really got to know you, Barry. Whatever is about to happen, this world's a better place for having you in it.
Caitlin: You know, when you first came into my life, I had lost faith in just about everything. You saved my life, Barry.
Cisco: God, I remember the old days. No doppelgangers. No Flashpoint. No time travel. It was just us against the bad guys. I miss that.
Iris: I don't know, I kinda like time travel. When you were stuck in the Speed Force, I would have Cisco vibe me to the Waterfront so I could watch our first kiss. You know, the one you had to erase from the timeline to save the world.
Barry: Why'd you do that?
Iris: I don't know. I guess when you're filled with sadness, happy thoughts are what get you through the day. And what's happier than getting half your first kiss with the love of your life other than getting to do it twice?
(Barry kissses Iris' forehead.)
Iris:  Our love story never ends, Barry. Not even with Crisis.
Barry:  Iris, it's inevitable.
Iris: Maybe. But whether you vanish or or worse, I am gonna be there with you. I'm gonna be right there with you to the very end, okay? Because the only thing more inevitable than Crisis is us.
(Barry nods.) 
Barry: Iris is right. Whatever's in store for us, they can't change what we mean to each other. Can't erase what's in our hearts. As long as we hold on to that we've beaten Crisis before it even begins.

Nash Wells: For so many years, I've traveled across worlds across the multiverse, to do one thing. Kill you. And now here you saved my life.
Voice: Submit and begin your life anew.
Nash Wells: Show me.
Voice: The knowledge is within you.
(The symbols on the barrier begin to glow. Nash presses them in a certain order and the glow fades. For a moment nothing happens and Nash looks disappointed. Suddenly, the barrier slides up revealing a golden light. Nash gasps as the light envelopes him and pulls him in, leaving him screaming as the barrier slams down, leaving the cave looking as it did before.)


Continuity

Cisco makes reference to the Babel protocol built into Barry's suit, first seen in 402.

Cecile's new office for her legal practice is in the same office building as Ralph Dibny's detective agency and the Central City Citizen.

Kamilla and Cecile start trying to sneak out of their office together, avoiding the Blood Brothers as they do so.

Frost leaves STAR Labs and helps Joe in trying to subdue the Blood Brothers. They confront Bloodwork and The Flash, who say that neither of them shall be blessed with eternal life.

Nash Wells is in the middle of trying to get to the Monitor's portal as the invasion is going on. He winds up fighting several Blood Brothers in the sewers.

Cecille is able to detect the immediate presence of Blood Brothers due to the fear they were feeling when Bloodwork took over. Unfortunately, the presence of too many of them leaves her paralyzed.

Barry seems to speak to Iris through the police band, telling her to meet him where she said yes - where their life together began. This leads her to return to her and Barry's loft apartment, where Bloodwork is waiting for her.

Bloodwork is revealed once again to have the ability to access the memories of his Blood Brothers and to replicate their voices in his own body. This allowed him to speak through Barry, as Barry, using information only Barry would have.

Bloodwork offers to make Iris immortal so she can be with Barry forever. She refuses. Bloodwork is about to vibrate Barry's hand through her chest but he suddenly stops, says that can happen in due time, just before saying "Trust me, Iris." and running off.

Allegra Garcia saves Frost and Joe from a group of Blood Brothers. Unfortunately, Joe is wounded in the fight.

Cisco attacks Bloodwork with the Photon Emitter. Unfortunately, one hit from The Flash is all it takes to destroy it. Bloodwork says he isn't going to kill Cisco, because he needs him to become his messenger and prepare STAR Labs particle accelerator so he can use it to transform the whole city into Blood Brothers at once. He then says, curiously, that he knew he chose the right guy for the job.

Caitlin determines that Joe has a nicked spleen and the only thing capable of keeping him preserved is Frost's ice powers slowing his circulation. Unfortunately, Frost is freaking out at the prospect of trying to do anything medical anymore, even with Caitlin guiding her.

As Iris and Cisco discuss how they should have worked together from the beginning, it occurs to them that in both their attempts to stop Bloodwork that he said something which Barry had said to them once before. This suggests to them that Barry is still alive inside Bloodwork and is fighting back against his control.

As Bloodwork and The Flash arrive outside STAR Labs, The Flash tells Cisco to let the light in.

Cisco thinks that Barry's plan is to use Allegra's light powers to create a focused UV blast through the particle accelerator that will spread the cure for Bloodwork's condition instead of the conditon itself.

Barry's plan works and cleanses everyone except Bloodwork, who changes into a giant hulking monster for a bit while fighting The Flash.

Nash Wells is saved from the Blood Brothers when the UV wave washes over him - a miracle he attributes to The Monitor.

The Flash contains Bloodwork in the MAC.

ARGUS picks up Bloodwork. As far as Cisco can determine his condition is permanent and, worse yet, his cancer has returned.

Frost hands control of their body over to Caitlin for the duration of Crisis.

Barry tries to return the watch Joe gave him. Joe refuses to take it just yet.

The team join together and discuss the past as they wait for Crisis to begin.

Cecile makes reference to HR Wells telling her that Barry's real superpower was that he never gave up hope.

Iris reveals that she had Cisco vibe her to the moment of her and Barry's first kiss in 115, while he was trapped in the Speed Force between season 3 and season 4, so she could relive it over and over.

The skies turn red and lightning fills the air just after midnight on Tuesday, December 10, 2019.

In the final scene, Nash Wells offers himself to the Monitor and is told he has the knowledge to open the portal. He touches the seven symbols and there is a flash of light which draws him into the portal, which then seals itself again. This same scene was also show at the end of the episodes of Batwoman, Supergirl and Arrow which aired during this week.


The Boomerang Factor

Cisco and Iris once again have to learn the lesson about working together in order to save the day. Except Barry gives them the plan to save everyone, which makes the whole things sort of pointless.

It's just a coincidence that Nash Wells is trapped in the dark during the Bloodwork attacks and is saved by Allegra's actions, causing him to pledge himself to the Monitor... or whoever that voice was.


The Bottom Line

A disappointment all around and a definite contender for one of the worst episodes in the show's history, as our regulars are dumbed down to make the story work and too much emphasis is put on supporting characters no one really cares about. Drawn out for far too long, this episode proves that this Bloodwork was never worthy of being a Big Bad, much less a two-part finale. At least we didn't have to spend the whole season dealing with him. Of course probably any villain would have been underwhelming heading into Crisis but Bloodwork's plan was just so stupid to be beyond belief.

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 8 - The Book of Resistance: Chapter Three: The Battle of Franklin Terrace

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



Plot

Jefferson Pierce's days of playing nice with the ASA are officially over, leading to a stand-off when Black Lightning and the Resistance join forces to defend the Franklin Terrace apartment complex from the ASA and Painkiller being sent to take out Black Lightning. Meanwhile, Tobias Whale continues to manipulate Lynn from behind the scenes, Gambi and Anissa search for a way to deliver the truth of what is happening in Freeland to the outside world and Jennifer reconciles with Brandon and begins to explore her new power levels with the grounded boy.


Goofs

Why does Thunder leave in the middle of the siege to take Gambi the footage Jamilla Olsen gave her? Didn't she do that already earlier in the episode?


Performances

Marvin "Krondon" Jones III steals the show as Tobias, managing to be menacing even when he's strapped to a doctor's table.


Artistry

The balance between the action scenes and the music used to back them is fantastic.


Trivia

Tobias paraphrases Revelation 6:8 of the King James Bible when describing himself to the ASA agent interviewing him; And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.


Technobabble

Lynn is farming Tobias' blood for the antibodies containing the stabilization cure.

Brandon suggests that he's immune to Jennifer's powers because being an Earth-bender makes him naturally grounded.

A power flare is when a metahuman's powers surge out of control due to their emotions going out of control. In the case of Brandon, this results in a powerful localized earthquake.


Dialogue Triumphs

Tobias: I'm not a meta. I'm something different. I ride the pale horse and Hell follows with me.

Tobias: You know, Dr. Stewart, I'm jealous of you. Yes. Jealous because you're going to be famous.
(Lynn turns away from Tobias, pointedly ignoring him.)
Tobias: Come, come now. Don't be modest. I can see you on the cover of Ebony and Essence now. "Dr. Lynn Stewart, the strong, sexy, intelligent black woman who saved Freeland and the world by enslaving black youth. " Hmm.
Lynn: What're you rambling about?
Tobias: Fame, my dear. Fame for the cure.
Lynn: I asked you a question.
Tobias: Don't be naive, Dr. Stewart. You know exactly what the ASA is gonna do with those metas once you stabilize them. Just look at the roster you gave me. Super strength. Accelerated healing. And my favorite - camouflage! Seem like weapons to me.
Lynn: I've heard it all before.
Tobias: Oh, really? From who?
(Lynn doesn't answer, but that in itself is an answer given her expression.)
Tobias: Wait. You don't mean Black Lightning? How interesting. I guess he's smarter than I thought. Then again, that suit. Tell me. I've always been curious. Is he a big fan of Earth, Wind & Fire? Or is it Parliament? Perhaps Bootsy Collins.
Lynn: I'm not being naive. I know the ASA wants to use the metas as weapons and once they're stabilized, they might decide they want that too, but at least this way I'm giving them a choice.
Tobias: Hmm, is that what they're calling slavery these politically correct days? I've worked with the ASA for decades, with you about a month and some change. Does it look like these kids have a "choice" to make of their own? No, Dr. Stewart, the choice has already been made for them. Those kids will be weapons whether they like it or not. And not just them. But everyone in Freeland with the meta-gene. Now that the ASA knows what Green Light can do, they'll flood the city until they get as many metas as they can.
Lynn: It's not possible.
Tobias: (skeptically) Hmm.
Lynn: How would they even get that much Green Light?
Tobias: I don't know. But what I do know is, it'll be all because of you. (mockingly) The great, smart, talented, and beautiful Dr. Lynn Stewart.

Jefferson: Look, Mrs. Shepard-
Mrs. Shepard: Ah-ah-ah. I've lived here for 45 years. This is my home. I'm not going anywhere.
Jefferson: I understand that, but it's just an apartment. It's not worth it.
Mrs. Shepard: You disappoint me, Jefferson. You know better than anyone what this means, what this place means. Look. Come.
(Mrs. Shepard gestures to the window and points out it when Jefferson comes to look with her.) 
Mrs. Shepard:  You see that street down there? That's where we had the sit-in to get the right for colored folks to live here. You see that old hickory tree, the one you used to love to play under? That's where I met Obama when he came to Freeland. (laughs)  He was so tall. This is more than just an apartment. This is part of me. Part of our people. Have you forgotten that?
Jefferson: No, no. They're gonna throw you out. (sighs) They'll hurt you. Mrs. Shepard, please. This is not a wise decision.
Mrs. Shepard: I know that they hurt you. I saw the video. You chose not to fight back. This is my decision. I'm staying.
Jefferson: I hear you, I do. But I just-
Mrs. Shepard: Things don't always happen the way you want them to. Sometimes, you just have to do what you know is right. And trust that you're in God's hands.
Jefferson: Good-bye, Mrs. Shepard.

(Commander Williams' eyes glow blue, revealing he is now copying Black Lighting's powers. He approaches the porch of the apartment building, where Black Lighting is standing. Waiting.)
Commander Williams: This is your final warning. Step down, meta-freak.
Black Lightning: This building belongs to the people of Freeland. We ain't leaving.
Commander Williams: Fine. Then just die.
(Commander Williams shoots lighting out of his hands. Black Lighting holds the energy off with his own.)
Commander Williams: (strained) You don't wanna dance with me. I have your powers and the finest tactical training on Earth.
Black Lightning: (not even breaking a sweat) Yeah, right. The thing is, you've got a lot of electricity coursing through your nervous system right now. I've got this suit to protect me. You don't. Meta.
Commander Williams: (weakly) I see your point.
(Commander Williams collapses and has to be carried off by his commandos, as the crowd watching the fight from the street cheers.)


Continuity

Tobias Whale's date of birth is April 20, 1946. In Western Astrology, this makes him either am Aries or a Taurus. As befits a "cusp", both descriptions seem to suit Tobias Whale as they tend to reflect both signs depending on the time of day they were born. Aries tend to be ruled by their emotions, even if they are naturally inclined towards logic. They are also generally optimistic and giving towards their friends and family, but Heaven help you if you're an enemy who arouses their ire as they through everything into their passions. Taurus' are practical and pragmatic but equally territorial in regards to their family. All in all this fits Tobias' nature as a skillful planner who values those close to him but who gets emotional when he's been betrayed.

Anissa's powers appear to be back to normal. Gambi still advises her to take it easy.

Anissa still has a nasty-looking scar where Painkiller's dart hit her. It is, thankfully, clearing up as Anissa continues taking the antivenom Gambi gave her.

Gambi discovered through the ASA mainframe that the official cover-story the ASA is using to keep people out of Freeland is that there was a SARS outbreak. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, they government is trying to stop a disease from spreading.

Gambi's electronic equipment can only broadcast as far as South Freeland and he still needs something that shows the truth about what is happening in Freeland besides the video of Jefferson being beaten by ASA commandos.

Tobias points out to Lynn that all the metahumans the ASA is working to save have powers with combat applications and suggests that they are planning to turn Freeland into a farm for metahumans once they use him to stabilize the metagene.

Brandon reconciles with Jennifer.

Jennifer tests the theory that Brandon can't be hurt by her powers because he's naturally grounded.

Anissa approaches Jamilla Olsen as Blackbird and asks if she has any footage they can use to send a signal outside Freeland. Jamilla agrees to gather her best footage for a short, sweet video.

Major Grey was apparently injured in the battle between her forces and Black Lightning. This has made Commander Williams - the ASA soldier with the metahuman ability to copy other metahumans powers - the effective commander of the ASA forces in Freeland.

Henderson comes to Jefferson and tells him that the ASA is clearing out Franklin Terrace, Jefferson's old apartment complex when he was a kid, and forcing the residents out to turn the building into a barracks for more ASA soldiers. The only hold-out so far is their third-grade teacher, Mrs. Shephard.

Jefferson agrees to try and talk Mrs. Shephard out.

Jennifer lies to Brandon about how she got her powers, saying that some guy slipped Green Light into her drink at a party.

Brandon says that he got his powers naturally and that his mother was one of Dr. Jace's test subjects. One of Jace's assistants felt bad that a pregnant woman was being experimented on and helped her to escape captivity, but the damage was already done. Brandon says his mother slowly wasted away after he was born and she died two days before he turned 10. After that he was thrown into foster care.

Brandon ran away from home as soon as he figured out he could make diamonds with his powers.

Jennifer tells Brandon she found Jace's last known whereabouts.

Mrs. Shephard has a side business growing and selling weed out of her apartment.

Jefferson broke one of her windows as a kid and she was more upset that his ball knocked over one of her plants than about the broken glass.

Mrs. Shephard lived in Franklin Terrace for 45 years. She can point out the place where they held a sit-in to allow blacks to live there and the hickory tree Jefferson played around as a boy. She says she met President Barack Obama under that same tree and was surprised by how tall he was.

Mrs. Shephard's resolve inspires Jefferson to finally start fighting the ASA openly right there.

Gambi finds an abandoned radio tower in Baker Hills he thinks they can use to get around the ASA transmission blockade.

Anissa gives Gambi the footage Jamilla put together.

Franklin Terrace Apartments is located on the corner of 8th and Lewis.

Anissa dons her Thunder costume for the first time in months to help her father fight to defend Frankin Terrace. She also gathers some Resistance fighters, along with the police loyal to Henderson, to help with the siege.

Gambi discovers that the Baker Hills broadcast facility has been taken over by one of the escaped pod kids - a boy known only as Baron, but he came to call himself TC - short for Technocrat, which was what the ASA called him when he was put into suspended animation in the 1980s.

TC is a technopath who can communicate with and control machines. He fled to Baron Hills because the old machines there were a comfort to him and being in modern civilization was painful due to the sheer amount of "smart machines" most people carry with them now.

Lynn finally admits that she can't let the kids she's been healing become weapons and asks Tobias for help in saving them. He says the simplest way is to help him escape since, without his antibodies, there's no way to stabilize the metagene. Lynn says she doesn't have the security clearance to get him out but Tobias says there is another way - splicing the genes of the girl with camouflage powers and giving them to him so he can sneak himself out.

The ASA report on Dr. Jace which Jennifer gives Brandon says they lost track of her after she was kidnapped by the Markovians.

Brandon is revealed to have the ability to generate earthquakes after he has an anxiety attack thinking about being trapped in Freeland while his mother's killer is somewhere else he can't get to now.

Gambi persuades TC to help him prepare the machines to broadcast a signal out of Freeland.

Thunder fights Painkiller as the ASA sends him in to take out the Resistance. This time, because she is prepared, she is ready and is able to send Painkiller flying out a window.

Anissa recognizes Painkiller as Khalil after he is forced to remove his goggles during their fight.

TC is able to use his powers to make sure Jamilla's message goes through, fighting the ASA attempts to hack and trace their broadcast signal.

Gambi helps Lynn to escape from The Pit, as the deal between the ASA and the Pierce family is officially declared off now that Black Lightning and Thunder are fighting with the Resistance openly. 

Lynn is able to escape but loses the bag containing her Green Light based intelligence enhancement drugs.

Jefferson stands up to Commander Williamson and sends the ASA running from Franklin Terrace.

Henderson welcomes Black Lightning to the Resistance.


The Bottom Line

A solid episode, though the subplot with Tobias gaining a new power is left dangling and it's unclear if Lynn actually did as he suggested before she left The Pit. The subplots are pretty well balanced, though the introduction of TC sticks out a bit. It still seems a bit odd that Jennifer is running around doing her own thing and nobody in her family seems to have noticed her absence. Still, the individual scenes work well this week even if it does seem like there's four different shows contained within this single narrative.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 8 - The Wrath of Rama Khan

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



Plot

As Lena and Hope work to launch Project Non Nocere, Supergirl takes the fight to Leviathan and faces Rama Khan again, as he plots to use Acrata and her powers to trigger a super-volcano. Saving the world may require Alex to make an act of trust depending on Malefic to aid them, but can J'onn's brother be trusted?


Influences

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (title) and JLA: The Obsidian Age by Joe Kelly.


Goofs

It was said in 506 that the Medallion of Acrata has no power unto itself and it only awakens the inner darkness of the person who wears it. Yet this episode acts like the power of Acrata can only either be in the medallion or its host, as Rama Khan has to abduct Andrea Rojas to make use of powers to activate the Staff of the Shadow Realm. (Margot was lying to Andrea when she said that, to keep her from thinking she was free of Leviathan.)

How did Alex recognize Malefic in his human form when that form was chosen by Lena after the last time the DEO fought Malefic?


Performances

It's hard to single out a single performer this time around. As in last week's episode, Melissa Beonist and Katie McGrath break your heart with their interactions as Kara and Lena. Chyler Leigh gets some similar moments as Alex, being torn between duty and her desire to believe in Kara's idealism. And brief as they are, Phil LaMarr gets some great moments acting opposite David Harewood.


Super Trivia

Gamemnae mentions another member of Leviathan called Tezumak who has been speaking against Rama Khan in secret. In Joe Kelly's Obsidian Age story, which introduced Rama Khan and Gamemnae, Tezumak was a member of the League of Ancients who had been a monk from a Mesoamerican society which pre-dated the Aztecs. He lead the warrior order founded by Gamemane and wears bronze honor which honors the gods that brought science to his people. He would later sacrifice himself to help the Justice League stop Gamemnae's plans.

The password for Lex Luthor's security system is based on his favorite quote from John Milton's Paradise Lost - "Arise or be forever fallen."

This episode ended with a scene involving Nash Wells from The Flash, setting up Crisis on Infinite Earths. This scene is described in detail in the entry for F608.


Technobabble


Lex Luthor's hideouts are lead-lined, and protected by automatic systems with ion cannons that automatically change into Kryptonte cannons after detecting Kryptonian DNA following a first shot.

Brainiac-5 says that he can beam a hologram into Lena Luthor's hideout by harnessing the Kryptonian cache crystals the DEO has.

Lean determines that she can beat the DEO virus shutting down her system by replicating the virus, reverse-engineering it and overriding the shutoff remotely.

Kara suggests that Malefic could counteract Myriad by deploying all his mental energy against it.

Brainiac-5 says that the ancient super-volcano located under National City hasn't erupted since the Cenozoic Era, and was 10,000 times more powerful than the volcano at Pompeii.

Brainiac-5 calculates a 98% chance Myriad will be neutralized and a . 01% chance Lena will surrender, which makes it a virtual certainty Lena will not survive if Claymore 3 is used to attack Lena. He further calculates that if they use Malefic to neutralize Myriad, there is an 86% chance they will stop Myriad and a 0% chance Lena will be harmed.

The psychic inhibitors in the DEO absorb 6% of Malefic's psychic energy output, or 4,000 terawatts.


Dialogue Triumphs

Lena: We must stay true to our mission. We don't kill people no matter how much they've hurt us.

(Supergirl's hologram appears in Lena's secret lab.)
Kara: Lena.
Lena: (matter-of-factly) Supergirl.
Kara: Please, just hear me out.
Lena: Save your breath. You showed me who you really are, and I believe you.
Kara: You have every right to say that, but don't do this.
Lena: Do what?
Kara: Whatever it is you're planning on doing with Myriad and Malefic's Q-waves.
Lena: Did it ever occur to you that I was gonna do something good for the world?
Kara: With Myriad, people won't understand!
Lena: Of course, you assumed the worst. I'm not the bad guy.
Kara: I know. You spent years trying to be open and trusting, even when everyone expected you to be like your family. Even when everyone in your life let you down. Even when I was weak and lied to you, knowing that all you ever asked for was the truth, you were always better. Lex took advantage of my weakness and he used it to manipulate you. He wanted my mistakes to change you. He wanted you to become him. But you are nothing like him. Nothing. Don't let my mistakes turn you into something you're not.
Lena: I am good. And I always was. Lex didn't change me and you didn't change me either. You just exposed me to the ugliness of humanity. You did me a favor, Kara. I learned what kind of deceitful person you really are, and that's what inspired me to do this.
Kara: Lena...
Lena: Your words mean nothing to me anymore. Spare us both the drama. Leave me alone.

Kara: You know, a part of me always knew that this couldn't be that easy. And I get it. I fully understand why she feels betrayed. It's so hard for her to trust people. But I made her trust me. Over and over again, I made her believe that I was the best friend who would never ever hurt her. And then she finds out in the most horrible way that our entire friendship was based on lies.
Alex: Look, you were damned either way, Kara. Your choice to conceal your identity... it wasn't born out of a place of maliciousness. It was born out of love and compassion. And you were just trying to protect your family. And you were trying to protect Lena from people who could use that information to hurt us. And look, I love Lena, too. I am deeply upset by what is going on. But this... This isn't just two friends that are in a fight. This is someone who has turned a corner.
Kara: No, but this is not her. This is not our Lena.
Alex: Well, who is our Lena? I mean She knew that Lex was out of prison, and she said nothing. She kept Sam Arias locked in a subbasement at L-Corp, knowing that she was Reign, and she said nothing. She knows how to make Kryptonite, and she kept that hidden from us. Lena is leading her own double-life.
Kara: You are making her sound like a Luthor.
Alex: Maybe that's because she is one. We can't put our faith in some distant hope that she's gonna do the right thing when every single action that she has taken up until now points to the contrary. Okay, we have to stop her, Kara. The safety of the world depends on that.
Kara: She is not Lex. I will not treat her like a villain.
Alex: I know you won't. That's why I have to.

Alex: She doesn't understand how hard this is for me. I mean, Lena is my friend, too, and now all of a sudden, I'm supposed to decide whether I should risk everybody's lives just to save hers? And Malefic, he invaded my mind. He threatened Kelly, and now I'm just supposed to trust him? You know what's on the line. You're the one who taught me how to do this job, and you're the one who's had to make really tough decisions so that people don't die.
J'onn: You have every reason to fear my brother. I can't promise you that Malefic has changed for good. People make mistakes and they do terrible things. We have to let them do better, bring them back into the light. Otherwise what's the point in trying to save everyone?

Hope: I can still try a manual override. I can reposition the dishes myself.
Lena: We discussed this. Absolutely not. You could be killed. Both Hope and Eve gone, forever.
Hope: But it would be worth it for both of us because I believe in you. Eve did, too. I have seen the depravity of humans. I have seen the betrayal and the pain. Let me help, so that we can stop them from committing any more of these horrible acts once and for all.
Lena: No. I will not allow it. We will find another way. Your partnership has meant the world to me, Hope. You're the only friend I can count on.
Hope: But, Ms. Luthor, I'm not your friend. I'm something you created to serve a purpose.

(J'onn watches Malefic fly off. Suddenly, he senses a presence behind him and turns around to see a strange man in alien armor.)
The Monitor: Well done, J'onn J'onzz. You passed the test.
J'onn: Test? You released my brother from the Phantom Zone? You brought my brother here?
The Monitor: When I saw you fight in Elseworlds, I could see that you were a great warrior, but one plagued by his past, and that made you vulnerable. You believed it was because you had left Mars, but it was something far, far greater, J'onn. Your brother. But now that you have faced those demons, you have come to learn your vulnerabilities and your strengths. And now you are ready.
J'onn: Ready for what?
The Monitor: A Crisis.

(We see the Monitor's celestial platform from Elseworlds. Lex Luthor is sitting regarding a crystal chessboard. He moves a piece and sighs in boredom.)
Lex Luthor: Checkmate. Again.
(There is a wooshing noise as The Monitor appears and walks over to Lex.)
Lex Luthor: Finally, you've returned. I don't know if anybody's told you this, but the feng shui of this place is a bit stale.
The Monitor: I brought you back because the universe will need a mind like yours.
Lex Luthor: Someone who can checkmate anyone?
The Monitor: The time has come for you to fulfill your destiny, Lex Luthor. You can now become the hero that you have longed to be.
Lex Luthor: I've always been the hero.
(The Monitor regards Lex stoically and without comment.)
Lex Luthor: (chuckle) Happy to help. But first, we have to discuss my sister.


Continuity

Alex and Brainiac-5 save Kara from the Fortress defenses.

Brainiac-5 tracked Rama Khan's energy to the Fortress.

Kara tells Alex and Brainiac-5 that Lena already knew her secret identity and that Lex Luthor had told her.

Brainiac-5 tracks Lena to Mount Norquay - the site of one of Lex Luthor's old hideouts.

Lena stops the automatic defenses from killing Kara because she is still committed to a non-violent solution.

Leviathan is led by an Elder, whom Gamemnae refers to as a "her."

Tezumak is a member of Leviathan who is even more violent and warlike than Rama Khan, whom Rama Khan fears would burn down the Earth if he were put in charge of running things.

Rama Khan has been running Leviathan for two million years.

Gamemnae speaks of a cosmic alignment that comes once every 2000 years which is almost upon them. During the last such alignment, Rama Khan caused the eruption of the volcano at Pompei.

The Staff of the Shadow World is an artifact that Rama Khan can use to supplement his own powers. Brainiac-5 says the last time it was seen was at Pompei, but there are references to it in the writings of the Ancient Mesopotamians and Herculaneum. However, it requires the power of Acrata to function - either the person wielding the power of shadow or the Medallion of Acrata itself.

Kara tells Alex and Brainiac-5 about how Lena killed Lex and how he told her about how they lied to her with his dying breath.

Kara says she thinks she can still get through to Lena, based on the fact that Lena did save her from Rama Khan and deactivated the Kryptonite weapons at Mount Norquay.

J'onn and Malefic arrive and Malefic tells everyone about Project Non Nocere and Lena's plan to force everyone on Earth to act in what Lena considers to be a socially acceptable manner.

J'onn says Malefic can be trusted following their mind-meld, but Alex refuses to allow the DEO agents to turn off their psychic inhibitors and has armed guards watching Malefic at all times even after he agrees to help them fight Lena.

Rama Khan abducts Andrea Rojas and takes her with him.

Kara fails to reach Lena once her message goes through.

Alex points out that Lena had kept secrets from them just as much as Kara had kept secrets from Lena, specifically mentioning how Lena learned how to synthesize Kryptonite, how she knew Reign's secret identity and how she said nothing about Lex sneaking out of prison.

The DEO secretly used Kara's hologram broadcast to send a virus to shut down the defense systems of Lena's secret base. If that doesn't work before Myriad activates, Alex has positioned the Claymore 3 satellite over Mount Norquay to destroy the mountain outright.

The DEO virus successfully prevents Myriad from activating by locking the satellite arrays in Lena's base. The arrays could be unlocked and aimed manually, but that might risk activating the failsafes Lex Luthor installed that Lena doesn't know how to deactivate.

Hope offers to sacrifice herself to unlock the arrays but Lena refuses to allow her to do it, calling it suicidal. When Hope points out that she is programmed to do whatever it takes to see Project Non Nocere completed, Lena finally says her by saying it would be short-sighted to let her self-terminate now when there is another way to win. In truth, Lena seems to have come to regard Hope as a friend.

Kara suggests that Malefic could counteract Myriad by deploying all his mental energy against it. Malefic is agreeable to trying, though J'onn says the energy required could kill him.

Arcata is able to briefly teleport inside the DEO to warn them what Rama Khan is trying to do.  This results in her being entombed with the Staff of the Shadow World in the basement of the National City Tar Pits Study Center while Rama Khan tries to trigger a super volcano under National City.

Rama Khan triggers a 5.4 magnitude earthquake with his opening salvo. This renders Lena unable to do any further work on reverse-engineering the virus.

Alex ultimately decides to let Malefic try to neutralize Myriad telepathically.

J'onn tries to free Acrata from Rama Khan's grip as Kara fights Rama Khan directly.

Alex orders the DEO agents to shut off their inhibitors to grant Malefic more power. This allows him to neutralize Myriad.

Rama Khan is defated and Gamemnae takes over his position as the leader of Leviathan, the Elder having lost confidence in him after he lost to Supergirl twice.

Hope pretends to be Eve Teschmacher and takes the blame for what Lena was doing with Myriad, claiming she was forcing her to act against her will.  Neither Kara or Alex believe this for a moment, but there's nothing they can do to prove Lena is pulling a fast one as nobody but Lena knew about Hope's existence or her taking up residence in Eve's body.

Andrea Rojas returns home, satisfied to be free of Leviathan, for now.

Andrea's happy place in her virtual network is revealed to be a montage of her happiest moments with Russell Rogers.

Malefic returns to Mars, in J'onn's spaceship, to join with the White Martian resistance.

The Monitor reveals himself to J'onn and congratulates him on passing his test, saying that he freed Malefic from the Phantom Zone to allow J'onn a chance to reconcile with his brother and rid himself of the guilt that was holding him back.  He says that J'onn is now ready to help him fight in the coming Crisis.

It is revealed that Lex Luthor is alive and was resurrected by the Monitor because his mind will be needed to help save the multiverse during the coming Crisis. Lex agrees to help but says they have to discuss his sister first.


Location

Fortress of Solitude.
Mount Norquay


The Bottom Line

A wonderful episode which would be better without the Leviathan subplot that is seemingly tacked onto it and serves no purpose other than giving us some more intense action scenes than Phil LaMarr staring at a screen and grunting. Presumably the set-up for Gamename will pay off later this season but right now Leviathan is too vaguely defined to be nearly as interesting as Lena going evil and not nearly as threatening.

Blame whoever decided to make the season's big-bad be an ill-defined Brian Michael Bendis concept that has nothing to do with that the Supergirl writers ultimately decided to do with the name.  I'll give them this though - turning Joe Kelly's League of Ancients into evil Kryptonians secretly ruling the Earth is way more interesting than what Leviathan turned out to be in the current Superman comics. But that's a whole other rant.

Batwoman Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 8 - A Mad Tea-Party

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


Plot

Alice and Mouse push forward with their plan for a "Mad Tea Party." The aftermath will change things forever between Alice and Kate, as well as Kate ant the rest of her family. Meanwhile, Tyler and Sophie have a deep talk about Sophie's relationship with Kate.


Influences

Batwoman: Elegy
by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams.


Goofs

Tyler's suddenly bringing up wanting kids and dogs at the end just comes out of nowhere and kills the momentum of the episode. See Dialogue Disasters for More.


Performances


Again, Rachel Skarsten steals the show as Alice.


Artistry


The fight scene of Batwoman fighting the Wonderland Gang members posing as Crows in the theater lobby is one of the best this show as seen.


Bat Trivia

Luke notes that Kate broke her staff and she says it would be a lot better if it came apart so she could use it as escrima sticks instead of just a bo staff. In the comics, this is Kate's preferred weapon. It's also a favorite of Dick Grayson.

Alice reveals that the antidote she developed to the poison that she gave to Catherine Hamilton-Kane was taken from a desert rose that only blooms on the island of Coryana. In the DC Comics universe, Coryana is a fictional pirate nation ruled by Safiyah Sohail - a former lover of Kate Kane's from her days traveling the Earth.

The plot-point of an antidote coming from a rare rose was used before in Pretty Poison - the episode of Batman: The Animated Series which introduced Poison Ivy and saw Pamela Isley trying to kill Harvey Dent for building a new prison on the last habitat for the Wild Thorny Rose, which she was barely able to save one plant of before it went extinct.

This episode ended with a scene involving Nash Wells from The Flash, setting up Crisis on Infinite Earths. This scene is described in detail in the entry for F608.


Technobabble

Luke is able to use the cell-phone Kate took from one of the Wonderland Gang members and track its former GPS coordinates to Alice's current hideout - a warehouse in the Bowery.

Project 4782 is a neurotoxin developed by Hamilton Dynamics to kill without mercy. The poison causes dizzy spells,  nosebleeds, muscle paralysis and respiratory failure before completely liquidating a person's internal organs.


Dialogue Triumphs

Kate: (voice-over) They say the choices we make define us, but despite all the darkness, despite all those who doubt, and despite my own fear that I've lost my sister forever, I choose to hope that Beth is still there. Don't tell anyone, Bruce, but I think this makes me an optimist.

(Kate is in the middle of cleaning her new property. Mary suddenly strides into the room, carrying several garment bags.)
Mary: So the way I see it you can either spend your Friday night in here inhaling asbestos, or you could join me in wearing this season's sexiest haute couture, hmm? Seriously, Gigi and Bella could not even get their hands on this yet.
Kate: You want me to go to that thing tonight?
Mary: That thing is the Gotham Humanitarian Gala, i. e. the most important event of the season.
Kate: Honoring your mom, who told my dad that Beth was dead. (mock-cheer) Asbestos it is!
Mary: I get that we are bordering on "too soon".
Kate: Hmm. Pretty sure we're right in the middle of it.
Mary: I know that this isn't important to you, but it's important to me, okay, so why can't it be important to you that it's important to me?
Kate: Because you think that if Gotham sees us as a family that we'll start to believe it, and that's just not how it works. Not after what Catherine did.
Mary: But you gave Alice a second chance and a third and a fourth. How can you just write off my mom as Satan but you don't seem to have any problem holding out hope for the actual most evil person in Gotham?
Kate: Because she's my family.
(There is a too long pause.)
Mary: And I'm not? Got it. I guess I am the crazy one, you know, for thinking that you and I could still be sisters.

Jacob: What do you want me to say? I'm sorry? There is no word to describe what it feels like to know that I left you behind.
Alice: Then find the words to explain why you never tested the skull fragments Catherine found.
Jacob: I had no reason to think that she was lying.
Alice: But your daughter was missing, and this was just a handful of bones found by some woman you'd known for less than a year.
Jacob: Maybe believing that you were dead was easier than waking up every morning with hope or going to sleep every night with a broken heart. Of course, I should have looked longer. I should have hoped harder, I should have I should have had the DNA tested myself. I wish I wish I could have been your father for the past 15 years, but I failed. I failed you.
Alice: Thank you for saying that. And thank you for making me who I am today.

(Alice has offered an antidote in exchange for an apology, only to refuse it when Catherine choked out that she was sorry, saying she didn't feel that was sincere.)
Mary: She said she was sorry!
Alice: You think I enjoy watching a daughter lose her mother?! (intensely) I was just inches from my own mother's severed head floating down the Gotham River after our car plummeted off the bridge.
Mary: (to the fading Catherine) Oh, please. Please just try. I can't lose you. Please just try.
Catherine: (gasping out the words) I'm a mother. Alice When I saw Kate grieving... I saw my own daughter... I just wanted to take away her pain... but in trying to take away Kate's pain, I gave you a lifetime of it. It's all my fault, Alice... All the lost years, all the agony you endured, it's all my fault. It's all....I'm truly sorry.
Alice: (sweetly) Thank you, Catherine. I do believe you've earned a draught of this tea.
(Alice holds out the antidote as Mary gasps in relief, her hand going to her mouth.  And then she feels something wet on her finger tips, pulling away her hand to reveal the blood dripping from her nose.)
Alice: (still sweet) Oh, dear. Not you, too?
Mary: What?! Uhh. No. What did you do? How did you...?
Alice: (mock innocence) Tell me you didn't both drink the champagne! Oh, that's such a shame, seeing as there's only enough antidote for one.

(Batwoman arrives behind Alice, who is walking away from where she left Catherine and Mary.)
Alice: You're too late.
Batwoman: Where is my dad?
Alice: Our dad. You'll find out soon enough.
Batwoman: Whatever you did, you can undo it.
Alice: But I don't want to undo it. I was locked in a cell for 11 years. What do you think put me to sleep at night, rainbows, unicorns? I dreamt of revenge.
Batwoman: What did you do? What did you do?!
Alice: "It was all very well to say, 'Drink me', but the wise little Alice was not going to do that in a hurry". (seeing that Kate doesn't get it.) Oh, come on. It's not like Catherine didn't have it coming.
Batwoman:  You poisoned Catherine?
Alice:  (suddenly furious) Catherine poisoned Catherine! When she slithered into our family and brainwashed our father and replaced us with that vapid human run-on sentence of a daughter! (hissing) Catherine brought this on herself, and I was more than happy to watch Daddy go down with her.

(Kate finds Mary in her clinic.)
Kate: Mary?
Mary: Do you know how many horrible people that I've saved?
(Kate shakes her head.)
Mary: Druggies thugs with face tattoos. Pulled a windshield out of a guy... who stole the car that he totaled. Walked out of my clinic the next day like nothing had happened, but I... I couldn't save her.
Kate: I am so sorry, Mary.
Mary: (sobbing) You know how she died? Exactly the way that Alice planned it. Slowly And in pain. And the only way for her to save herself was for me to die. (voice growing stronger, more angry) And she sure as hell wasn't about to let that happen. Because she is not the horrible person that you and Alice claim that she is. You...You are literally the last person who can bring me comfort right now. I'm gonna ask you again, Kate. Is Alice worth it?
Kate: (softly) No.
Mary: Finally! (sighs) Too bad it's too late.
(Without another word, Mary walks past Kate.)

Kate: (voice over) We all make choices, Bruce. I chose hope. And I chose to believe Beth was still alive. I chose to save my sister from the monster she's become. But by making that choice I lost my entire family for the second time. And now the only thing I'm left with is the awful truth that Alice was right. Beth is gone.


Dialogue Disasters

Most of the Tyler and Sophie scenes. Ignoring that Sophie is the least sympathetic character on the show, these scenes also distract away from the much more important (and interesting) storyline of Alice getting her revenge.  But the peak of this has to be the final scene and this exchange.

Sophie: This is insane. How can they think he actually did this?
Tyler: People believe what they're told. It's human nature.
Sophie: Then people are idiots. (looking at her phone) I should call Mary.
Tyler:  I want kids.
Sophie: (stunned) What?!
Tyler: And a dog. And family traditions that we bitch about but do anyways.
Sophie: Okay.
Tyler: I don't want to move past this today and then have it come up again in two years and realize that I'm wasting my life fighting for something I can't actually have.
Sophie: I don't want that either.
Tyler: Do you love me?
Sophie: Yes.
Tyler: Are you in love with me? Because if you love me, you'll be real with me right now.
Sophie: (hesitantly) I don't know.
Tyler: Let's not make this any harder than it is. I think you need to figure yourself out, and when you do and if you see the same future I do, maybe I'll still be here. Maybe I won't.


Continuity

Batwoman beats up one of the Wonderland Gang members, taking his jacket and leaving him for the police. The jacket contains a cell-phone, which Kate hopes can be used to track down Alice's current hideout.

According to Luke, an Italian restaurant called Slice of Gotham makes the worst bread sticks in the city.

Alice makes reference to the events of 105 and Kate kidnapping her.

Alice gives Kate the piece of the rail gun that makes it capable of killing Batwoman.

Kate notices a picture of Beth and Kate on the day of their Bat Mitvahs. Alice tells her to keep it.

Jacob calls the Crows from outside of Gotham, telling them they'll discuss plans for an upcoming charity gala when he gets back, just before he is jumped by the Wonderland Gang.

The gala in question is revealed to be honoring Gotham City's Humanitarian of the Year, who is Catherine Hamilton-Kane.

Kate refuses to go to the gala because she wants nothing to do with Catherine.

Mouse is still impersonating Jacob at Crow's Security. Kate confronts him over his apparent reconciliation with Catherine.

Alice chains Jacob up in the basement dungeon of Dr. August Cartwright's house. He says he's sorry for failing her - a gesture she genuinely seems to appreciate, but which will not stop the "Mad Tea Party" in his honor.

Kate begins to suspect that someone is impersonating Jacob based on how forgiving he is of what Catherine did to him. According to Kate, her father is not big on forgiveness and grounded her for an entire summer when he found a joint in her backpack as a teenager.

Kate calls Jacob to apologize and asks him if he remembers the big snowstorm when he and Catherine were getting married and how she'd wished they'd get snowed-in so the wedding would be cancelled? Jacob says that he does. This confirms to Kate that "Jacob" is an impostor since he and Catherine were married in the summer on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year.

Tyler is still freaked out about that Sophie dated Kate for three years.

Kate texts Sophie about Mouse impersonating Jacob. The message arrives just before she and Tyler are knocked out by The Wonderland Gang.

Tyler and Sophie are tranquilized and left tied up in Jacob Kane's office.

Mary, Catherine and Mouse (still posing as Jacob) ride in a limo with complementary champagne to the gala.

Kate confronts Alice about where Jacob is. She tells her that she left him in the place that Jacob left her.

Kate goes to the Cartwight house but finds that Jacob is already gone.

While scanning the crowd at the gala, Luke recognizes one of the Crows as Scott Kaiser - a criminal and member of the Wonderland Gang. This reveals that Alice has replaced all the Crows personnel working the gala with her own people.

Jacob Kane's office has one-way windows and sound-proof walls, leaving Tyler and Sophie with no way to call for help or get attention from their co-workers elsewhere in the office.

When Tyler asks why they weren't just killed, Sophie guesses it's because her dying would upset Kate. She doesn't answer when Tyler demands to know if she still has feelings for Kate.

Alice takes control of the teleprompter for Catherine's acceptance speech, forcing her to talk about how she's secretly been selling weapons to Gotham's criminals for years and how her husband had been getting rich preying on people's fears of those criminals.

Catherine begins to suffer a nosebleed.  She and Mary are taking into a room by one of the fake Crows, where Alice meets with them.

Tyler saws through his ropes using the diamond on Sophie's engagement ring.

Alice reveals that she poisoned Catherine with a neurotoxin developed by Hamilton Dynamics. They never developed a cure, but Alice did - a universal cure-all based on a desert rose that only grows on the island of Coryana. A prick of the thorns can kill a person, but the flower can be made into a life-giving serum.

Unfortunately, after forcing Catherine to choke out an apology for faking the evidence that stopped the search for Beth Kane in exchange for the antidote, it is revealed that the neurotoxin was delivered through the champagne in their limo.

It is at that point that Mary's nose begins to bleed as well and Alice says she only had the one dose.

Catherine makes Mary take the antidote.

Batwoman tries to strangle Alice but can't bring herself to finish it. She is knocked off a balcony as Alice and Mouse escape.

In her dying moments, Catherine reveals that she knew about Mary's secret clinic and that she is proud of her. She also says that Mary is the only good thing she ever made in her life.

Jacob wakes up in an SUV near the theater. He calls Kate and she demands proof of who he is. He relates a story that confirms his identity.

Jacob bought Kate a bike for her 6th birthday. She wrecked it the same day because it was too big for her.

Shortly after Jacob wakes up, he is surrounded by the GCPD. They search him and find the vial holding the Project 4782 sample that killed Catherine. He is formally charged with Catherine's murder.

Mary tells Kate off for trying to save Alice instead of trying to be her sister.

Tyler tells Sophie she needs to figure out if she still has feelings for Kate or not before trying to build a life with him.

Kate speaks with Jacob in prison, who says when this is cleared up he is finally going to kill Alice.  Kate says this time she won't stop him. 


Location

Jacob is somewhere outside Gotham when he is jumped by Alice's gang.


Untelevised Adventures

Jacob spent several days outside of Gotham trying to track down Mouse.


The Bottom Line

A powerful episode which changes everything forever. The only sour note in it is the time devoted to the Sophie and Tyler subplot, in which Tyler is made cartoonishly awful in order to build sympathy for Sophie that she has not earned. There's a lot of that going around, as Rachel Skarsten's Alice is so human and so vulnerable in her insanity that she's still more sympathetic than Catherine. The heck of it is we don't even know if Alice was making up the crimes Catherine confessed to, given the horrible things we HAVE seen her do on the show so far. There's a lot of choosing between the lesser of two evils here and I think Alice may well be the least of all the evils. It's something to debate at least and a great cliff-hanger going into Crisis.