Thursday, January 31, 2019

Starman Plays Batman: The Telltale Series - Part 2

In which we explore the Bat-Cave and the many wonderful things the Bat-Computer can do, go off to meet our old friend Oz in the worst part of town before the sun is up and go on to have a no good, very bad day as a press conference goes south and the police raid Wayne Manor.


The Flash Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 12 - Memorabilia

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


Plot

When Sherloque suggests using a machine to allow Barry and Nora to enter into the mind of Cicada's adopted daughter Grace in a bid to bring her out of her coma, Nora panics, fearful her parents might discover her secrets. Using the machine on her own, she becomes trapped in Grace's mind, requiring that Barry and Iris go in after her. Meanwhile, in a bid to drag Cisco out of his depression and obsession with making a cure for metahuman powers, Ralph tricks Cisco into a night on the town.


Influences

Inception (people go inside another persons mind using technology), The Matrix (phones are used to communicate with the real world in the other reality) and the Nightmare on Elm Street movies (serial killer attacking people in a dream world, general feel of the dream Cicada stalking Nora scenes)


Goofs

The idea that Iris is making enough money off of add revenue for her blog to talk about hiring editors and photographers to start her own newspaper in this day and age will bring a hearty chuckle to every blog writer and newspaper employee in America.

It's also disturbing how cheerful Iris is regarding someone dying in a way that profits her.


Performances

Islie Hirvonen - who places Grace Gibbons - gives a really creepy performance as she explains to Nora that she's been listening and then turns angry as she springs the trap on the woman she thinks is playing nice to trick her into hurting her uncle.


Artistry


The cinematography in the dream sequences is top-notch and Grace's dreamworld becomes downright horrific when she turns upon Nora and her uncle arrives to protect her.


Flash Facts


The sweater Caitlin wears to go ice skating uses the same design as DC Bombshells' Killer Frost's costume.

Sherloque makes reference to using his Memory Machine to help the victims of The Summerholt Institute. In the reality of Smallville, The Summerbolt Institute was a neurological clinic that developed the mind manipulation technology later employed by LuthorCorp.

Sherloque also makes reference to using the Memory Machine to fight Jervis Tetch - The Mad Hatter Killer of Earth 221. Jervis Tetch is the real name of The Mad Hatter - one of Batman's more infamous rogues, who employs mind-control technology in various forms.

When they enter Nora's memory of The Flash Museum gift shop, there are two boys hitting each other with stuffed animals (a gorilla and a shark), pretending to be Gorilla Grodd and King Shark. It has been suggested that a later episode of Season 5 will feature a battle between King Shark and Gorilla Grodd.

We overhear a boisterous voice in the gift shop introducing himself as Dexter Myles and welcoming everyone to The Flash Museum. In the comics, Dexter Myles was an out-of-work, classically-trained Shakespearean actor, who helped The Flash stop a bank robbery in The Flash #138. When the Flash Museum was introduced into the comics two years later in The Flash #154, Barry Allen recommended Myles for the job of the museum's curator and tour guide.

Most of the merchandise we see in The Flash Museum gift shop is real world Flash swag.

The comic a young Nora is reading is The Flash #172. This was the second comic Cicada appeared in and the first one where The Flash fought him directly.

At one point, we can see a copy of the second printing of The Flash #1 from the Rebirth series on a comics rack over Barry's shoulder.

We also see a copy of The Flash #39 from the current Rebirth series. The cover declares that "Grodd is Back!" further foreshadowing Grodd's return later this eason.


Technobabble


In most coma patients, high traffic areas of brain activity go dormant and the low traffic areas spring to life. Unfortunately, Grace is not normal and her consciousness has isolated itself into one specific region of her brain - her long-term memories.

In order to wake Grace up, they will need to guide her consciousness to a neural nexus portal.

When traveling in pairs using the memory machine, it is possible for the partners to see one another's memories. There is no way to configure the machine to eliminate this issue.

The memory machine requires a transfer disc be connected to the patient's EEG to function.

According to Caitlin, an abnormal brain like Grace's might cause her brain to act defensively if it sensed an outside presence. When it detected Nora, it shifted its neural nexus pathways - effectively sealing the exits as a quarantine procedure.The brain also has synaptic defenses that naturally protect it from outside presences.

Caitlin is able to use the M.A.D 2.0 to complete the emergency beacon Sherloque wanted to install in the Memory Machine.  This allows her to "phone in" to the memory world at least before it starts smoking.

Caitlin and Sherloque determine that portals are hidden in perception gaps - things that you remember the way you want them to be, not the way they actually were.

The defense mechanisms of the brain are composed of synapses. Breaking the synapses in the false memory will reveal the real memory and the synaptic jolt will expose the portal.


Dialogue Triumphs


Nora: (dictating a letter to Reverse Flash) I want you to think about the biggest secret in your life. The one you keep from the people that you love, or even from yourself. I want you to imagine what would happen if that secret got out. Remember when you asked me that? I've been using all of your training. Studying my pulse, managing micro-expressions, limiting non-congruent gestures, destroying any piece of evidence. I don't know how much longer I can keep this up. And not just because of the risks. But because the closer I get to my parents, the more I feel like I'm hurting them.

Cisco: I think we're done here.
Ralph: One drink.
(Cisco hesitates.)
Ralph: I'm paying.
Cisco: One drink, but only because you never pay for anything ever and I'm really curious to see what Hell looks like frozen over.

Nora: Grace, how did you hear Orlin that night? You were in a coma.
Grace: I know. (whispering) But I've been listening...

(As Nora is pinned by the female Cicada in Grace's dream)
Grace: Maybe you don't have anyone who cares about you! But I have someone who cares about me, and I'm the only one who can help him!

Nora: (dictating a letter to Reverse Flash)  It's hard to keep a secret, but it's easier when you're reminded why you're doing it. I met someone who told me that she would do anything to protect her family. She helped me see that so would I. My parents can't know that you're helping me stop Cicada. There's too much at risk. And I'll do anything to protect them. Even lie.


Continuity

Nora never learned how to ice-skate.

Ralph's mom dated a Zamboni driver.

Sherloque claims there are no Zambonis on his Earth. When they want to clean the ice, everyone has to get down on their hands and knees with a squeegee.

Larry Blumenthal - a patent register who has an office across the hall from Ralph - died and his office is now for rent. Iris immediately starts making plans to use this as the base for a new newspaper.

There is a Forerunner Multiversal Delivery Service that can deliver things between worlds. They brought Sherloque his memory machine from Earth 221.

Ralph makes reference to the events of 423 and how Barry got his mind to take control of his body and throw out The Thinker.

Sherloque used to have a partner named Watsune, who traveled with him into many other people's minds. Their partnership ended when Sherloque discovered that Watsune was having an affair with Sherloque's fourth wife.

Killer Frost's favorite film directors are John Woo and John Hughes.

Cisco prefers the movies of John Ford and John Waters.

Ralph asks Cisco to come with him to investigate a lead on Cicada's location.

Nora goes into Grace's memories and finds her in a memory of the night she was orphaned after a meta killed both her parents during an ATM robbery.

Nora tells Grace that she once had to go to the CCPD headquarters by herself too.

Nora is able to get Grace to change where they are in her head by thinking of a different memory. In this case, she encourages Grace to think about what will happen once they get out of her head. This leads them into Grace's memory of her and her uncle planning a day together. Their plans were to go to the zoo, then get ice cream and then go to the fair.

Iris learns that the only name her newspaper is cleared to use legally is the Central City Citizen. She tries to avoid this because this was the name of the newspaper from which the 2024 article Iris wrote describing The Flash's disappearance came from.

Sherloque says that Watsune died after he tried to go into the Mad Hatter of Earth 221's head alone.

The mascot of Central City High is the Squirrel.

It turns out the Cicada Ralph's contact knows about is a terrible metal band called "Sickada."

Barry and Iris wind up in Nora's memories instead of Grace's when they use the Memory Machine together.

Grace notices that the kitchen in her memories looks exactly like the kitchen in her dollhouse.

The first memory Barry and Iris see is of Nora alone in the CCPD headquarters. Apparently she ran away from home and jumped a turnstile on the subway.

Barry ran away from home several times when he was 10, wanting to go to Iron Heights Prison and see his dad.

The second memory Barry and Iris enter is of Nora running off to The Flash Museum by herself, reading comics in the gift shop, before going to the Hall of Villains and looking at the Cicada display.

The Cicada display in the Hall of Villains reveals that Cicada reappeared in 2024 shortly after The Flash disappeared. This led to speculation that Cicada was immortal.

Cicada's death toll was 152 confirmed victims. This was more people than Zoom and The Red Death. It is said that after Cicada returned, people didn't quite view The Flash as highly as they had before.

In Nora's memory, Iris is unreasonably mean to her and says she is never coming to The Flash Museum again after breaking a Flash action figure Iris had which she assumed she stole and making Nora leave it behind.

Grace takes Nora into her last memory. Rather than being the fair grounds before she was injured, Nora is surprised to find herself in Grace's hospital room. It is here she discovers that Grace is aware that her uncle has become Cicada and that she approves of him killing metahumans, whom she sees as all bad because they killed her parents and hurt her and her uncle.

Grace is apparently able to hear her uncle in her coma and heard him talking to Dr. Ambres about his work and how he believed the new speedster, XS, was The Flash's daughter. This leads Grace to figure out who Nora is to turn her neural defenses against her.

Grace's neural defenses take the form of her uncle in his Cicada costume.

Nora's neural defenses take the form of the empty Reverse Flash costume in the Flash Museum.

Ralph reveals that the real reason he asked Cisco to go out to the bar with him was that he never really had friends to do stuff with when he was just Ralph Dibny and he thought Cisco needed a night off.

While talking with a cute bartender named Kamilla, Cisco has the revelation that if he could find two sisters, one metahuman, the other not, that would enable him to find the genome that controls metagenes.

When Nora's real memory of the day she ran away is revealed, we find that her toy broke on accident and Iris was more worried about her than angry. We also discover that Nora had no idea that her dad was The Flash and that Iris had only told her that her father was The Flash's biggest fan. Nora went to the museum because Iris had said the museum reminded her of Nora's dad and she wanted to try and remember him too.

When Nora tries to break Grace's idealized view of her last day with her uncle, the kitchen/dining room becomes darker and dingier.

When Nora tries to talk to Grace a second time and is attacked by Cicada again, this time Cicada appears to be a young woman in a hooded longcoat and mask. This suggests that Grace is seeing herself as an adult "hero" like her uncle. This may be foreshadowing that the second Cicada of 2024 is a grown up Grace Gibbons who inherits her uncle's metatech after his death.

Caitlin discovers a piece of dark-matter infused shrapnel inside Grace Gibbons' brain. She speculates this might have created a barrier that disrupted the Memory Machine.

Nora creates a sketch of the interior of Cicada's house based on what she saw in Grace's memory.

When Iris, Nora and Barry make it back to reality, they ask Nora why she was afraid to let Barry into her memories. Sherloque covers for her, saying that clearly she was embarrassed about her feelings about her mother as a child. Nora agrees that was it.

Barry tells Sherloque that Nora's defense mechanism was The Reverse Flash costume. This does not seem to surprise him.

Iris officially moves into the office across from Ralph.

Nora discovers that Iris has changed the timeline. In her future, the Central Citizen Citizen was founded in 2021. Now the historical record shows it was established in 2019.

Cisco got Camilla the bartender's phone number.

Cisco says he found a pair of siblings, one of whom was a meta and the other not. He says he almost has the metahuman cure finished.

Barry says he's in favor of using the metahuman cure on Cicada.


Untelevised Adventures


Sherloque makes reference to having helped the victims of the Summerholt Institute and fighting the Mad Hatter of Earth 221.


The Bottom Line


A solid episode where the creepy kid villain honestly is creepy and villainous. Great direction and set design also help to sell the story. A high point of the season so far.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 11 - The Book of Secrets: Chapter One: Prodigal Son

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



Plot

With Khalil having barely survived Tobias' brutal attack, Jefferson is on the warpath but finds little help from Deputy Chief Harrison. Meanwhile, Lynn is confronted by her own dark past. 


Influences.

Batman and the Outsiders (Dr. Helga Jace's background in Markovia, working with metahumans)


Performances

Jordan Calloway gets a fantastic final turn as Khalil.


Artistry

As is usual for this show, the music for this episode is fantastic and the music for Khalil and Reverend Holt's deaths scenes are perfectly chosen.


Trivia

Dr. Jace says that she spent some time in the nation of Markovia, working on their metahuman program. In the Batman and the Outsiders comics where she first appeared, Dr. Jace was the Royal Scientist of the Markovian Royal Family and responsible for activating the metagene of Brion Markov, who became the hero GeoForce.


Technobabble

The anesthesia Khalil's body produces naturally has gone into overdrive trying to deal with his injuries, making it toxic.

Regarding Khalil's treatment, Lynn suggests removing the glands that produce the toxins and trying a different class of anesthesia during the operation.

Replacing Khalil's spinal implant, is revealed to be impossible to replace as the techniques used to heal Khalil's spine are far beyond anything the doctor knows modern science to be capable of.

Gambi gets a toxin screening done on Reverend Holt's body. It determines he was poisoned.

Jennifer's powers allow her to see the electrical impulses inside a person's body.  According to her a healthy person's impulses move at a steady, rapid pace. The impulses inside Khalil are dimming and slowing.

Todd uses a device to remove the tracking implant from Dr. Jace's ankle and creates a hologram of her reading with a single device.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Jefferson is sitting with Khalil in his hospital room. Suddenly, Khalil moans.)
Khalil: Mr. P? 
(Jefferson moves to get hit the call button for the nurse.)
Khalil: Wait... No...I need you to do something for me. 
Jefferson: Yeah, okay. Anything. 
(Khalil starts coughing, his throat too dry to speak.)
Jefferson:
 Easy. Easy. 
(Jefferson gets a water bottle and raises it to Khalil's lips. He sucks the water through a straw frantically. Finally, he speaks after a long pause.)
Khalil: I need Black Lightning to kill Tobias. 
Jefferson: ...I can't do that.
Khalil: I'll give you everything that you need to take down his operations. I know his routes, his contacts, everything. 
Jefferson: I won't do that. We have to let the judicial system handle Tobias. 
Khalil: The system? (breathing heavier, more desperately) You mean the system that let Tobias get away with shooting me and Reverend Holt? The same system that let him rip my spine out of my back? You mean the system that let him get away with murdering your father? Mr. P, is that the system that you're talking about? Huh? 
(There is a long pause as Jefferson ponders his words and the odds that Tobias will defy the system yet again.)
Khalil: You promise me...can you make him suffer like me? 
Jefferson: Yes. (pauses) I'm sorry that I wasn't there for you when you needed me. 
Khalil: You were always there I just couldn't see you.

Woman: Hey, what are you doing on my car? Are you trying to steal it?
Jennifer: (scoffs) What? No.
Woman: You're trying to steal my car!
Jennifer: Ma'am, I wasn't -
Woman: (turning away, pointedly ignoring Jennifer, using her phone) Hello, 911? Yes, I caught a woman breaking into my car. She's African-American. She threatened me. And she's, like, 5'6".
(Jennifer scoffs again, looks around, and after making sure no one is watching, lets loose with an electrical blast that sets the car on fire. She starts walking away as the woman turns around.)
Woman: Oh, my... Oh, my God! What did you do?
Jennifer: Me?
Woman: Yes!
Jennifer: Your car got hit by lightning. You want to call the police on God?

(Gambi reveals himself to Henderson.)
Henderson: What the hell? You got any other dead people around here? Lady Eve? Joey Toledo? Jimmy Hoffa?
Jefferson: No, just Gambi.
Henderson: Is this it, man? Anything else?
Jefferson: This is everything.
Gambi: Deputy Chief Henderson I faked my death because there were some very serious people after me. And I needed to smoke them out. I asked Jefferson to keep my secret.
Henderson: Do you know who tried to kill you?
Gambi: No, sir. Not yet.
Henderson: And I'm guessing you're not really a tailor, huh?
Gambi: No, I am a tailor That's just not all that I do.
Henderson: Well, bully for you.

Tobias: (gesturing to the minion he just killed) Take care of that for me.
Cutter: I don't dispose of bodies.
Tobias: Well, I'm expanding your job description.

(As Henderson is leaving Tobias' loft.)
Tobias: Aww, don't go away mad, Deputy Chief. Just go away.


Continuity

Jefferson, Lynn and Jennifer go with Khalil's mother to visit him in the hospital.

Khalil asks Jefferson to kill Tobias Whale. He refuses.

Khalil offers to give Jefferson his routes and contacts so he can shut down Tobias' operation. Again, Jefferson refuses.

Khalil finally asks if Jefferson can make Tobias suffer as much as Khalil has. This, Jefferson agrees to do.

Jennifer uses her powers to destroy a racist woman's car after the woman tries to call the cops because Jennifer was standing next to her car while trying to recover from the sight of Khalil.

Jefferson puts two and two together later when he hears the woman describing to the skeptical police  how her car just got struck by lightning at random.

Cutter kills Reverend Holt in the middle of his sermon, without being noticed, using a contact poison through his handkerchief that makes it look like he had a heart attack.

Jennifer is unable to stop her hands from glowing after destroying the car. The glow starts spreading up her body as Jefferson finds her and covers her with his jacket.

Jefferson tries to drain the extra power out of Jennifer but there is too much.

Perrena sensed that Jennifer might need help and shows up at the hospital before Jefferson can call her.

Todd finds the video of Lynn slapping Dr. Helga Jace in 205 among the contents of the briefcase.

Tobias recognizes Dr. Jace and knows about the scandal that put her in prison. He also notes that she hasn't aged in the 30 years since he first met her.

The doctor in charge of Khalil's treatment refuses to let Lynn work with him.

Jefferson now knows where Tobias lives. He asks Henderson if they can use Khalil's testimony as the basis for building a case against him. Henderson is agreeable to the idea, but says it has to be air-tight given that happened the last time they tried to arrest Tobias in 204.

Jefferson reveals Gambi's secret lair under his shop and the fact that Gambi isn't really dead to Henderson.

Henderson agrees to work with Gambi and Jefferson on building a RICO case against Tobias.

Jennifer's powers reveal to her that Khalil is dying.

Grace shows up at the hospital to bring Anissa some food.

Tobias apologizes to Cutter for ending things with her the way he did. She accepts the apology, saying it led to her becoming who she was meant to be.

Lynn pulls ran on Khalil's doctor, getting the ASA to help her claim authority to run tests to see if Khalil might be a candidate for being put in a cryo-pod like one of the Green Light Babies until a treatment can be found.

Henderson goes to Tobias' loft with a hidden scanner on his tie-pin. This allows Gambi to find a hidden safe.

Dr. Jace is revealed to have created the anti-aging serum that keeps Tobias Whale young.

Tobias is revealed as one of Dr. Jace's former guinea pigs.

Dr. Jace was the original architect behind creating the Green Light vaccine program for the ASA. When it folded, she went to the nation of Markovia to lead their metahuman development program. She later defected with the ASA's help but was jailed shortly after that.

Dr. Jace' makes a bargain with Tobias - she'll tell him where to find the ASA's sleeping super soldiers. We don't find out what she wants in return, but it's likely her freedom is part of it.

Gambi determines that the briefcase isn't in Tobias' safe.

Lynn says they can't use the pods to save Khalil.

Using her powers (presumably to manipulate his brain impulses) Jennifer is able to be with Khalil as he dies, bringing him into her safe mental space, which she has reimagined to look like the prom they never got to go to. They get to dance and tell each other they love each other before he fades away.

The episode ends with Tobias, Todd, Cutter and Dr. Jace hammering through a wall and into the secret ASA Lab.


The Bottom Line

A powerful episode which kills not one but two long-time supporting characters to tremendous effect. Again, one wonders why this wasn't the mid-season opener given all the sudden shifts to the story and major changes to the status quo. Apart from that oddity, however, this is Black Lightning at its best.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Starman Plays Batman: The Telltale Series - Part 1

In which we put on the cape and cowl of Batman, have our first encounter with Catwoman and I attempt to derail my own swanky party with limited success.


Arrow Episode Guide: Season 7, Episode 11 - Past Sins

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





Plot

A new villain threatens the city after Oliver is interviewed on television about his life as a hero and his father's sacrifice to save his life. Black Siren is confronted by a figure from her past who has seemingly somehow made his way into her life from Earth Two. And as John Diggle prepares to  reactivate The Ghost Initiative, Curtis tries to find a way to get to Dante that doesn't involve letting Ricardo Diaz out of prison.


Influences

Inception (the VR sequence when Curtis manipulates Diaz's dreams)


Goofs

While Black Siren may not be an alcoholic, her drinking in public when the woman she's impersonating was may not be a great idea. Particularly given that Laurel was fired from the DA's office once for drunk driving and trying to get the police to go easy on her because of her position/father.

You'd think Felicity would know better than to ask her out for drinks, come to that.

Black Siren being the most popular DA in the past decade sounds impressive until you remember that every DA in the show's history, save one, was a criminal or incompetent.

Why were there no police officers guarding the parking lot of the building where they rescued Nick Kannon? If there had been, Sam Hackett wouldn't have escaped.

It's unclear just how Felicity knows she has to stop Black Siren from killing Brett Collins. (Perhaps she had an alert set to her phone if Black Siren got within a certain distance of Brett Collins?)

How are the escaping Ghost Imitative recruits able to injure ARGUS agents in full body armor? (It's a clue that the scene we're watching isn't real.)

It doesn't make a lick of sense that the same people who rated "Laurel" as the best DA of the past decade are largely against Oliver Queen working as a Police Deputy. (Of course it doesn't make a lick of sense that Black Siren could become the DA in the current anti-vigilante city government either...)


Performances

There's something so gratifying about Echo Kellum's performance here and the barely restrained smugness as Curtis reveals how he owned Diaz with his plan.


Artistry

David Ramsey has a strong first outing as a director. The pacing of Diaz's escape is particularly well-handled and you honestly believe for a moment that they really did kill Curtis off.


Trivia

This episode was directed by David Ramsey - the actor who plays John Diggle.


Technobabble

All of the security cameras and overhead lights around Rich Kannon's car were shorted out before he was kidnapped. This suggests a planned power surge created by someone who knew how to manipulate the electrical grid.

Oliver uses a Net Arrow to catch Rich Kannon before he falls to his death.

Felicity has developed a program that can track genetic material. She uses this to find Black Siren before she kills Brett Collins.

There is a partial etching on the components found in Sam Hackett's apartment. They are reconstructed to determine that they belonged to Star City Electrical and were used to tag proprietary parts.

Sam Hackett's weapon, when plugged into the grid for SCPD HQ, makes everything in the building that can hold a current deadly thanks to the static generated by the electricity coursing through these walls right now.


Dialogue Triumphs

Oliver: My goal has always been to serve this city. I understand that there are people who... they disagreed with my methods before. So I would like to assure the people of Star City I will no longer be hiding in the shadows and I promise to always be on the side of the law. I believe that trust can be built through transparency. And I'm going to prove it.

Curtis: It's like the Ghosts of Villains Past in here!

(Curtis continues to object to reviving The Ghost Initiative.)
Curtis: How can you be okay with that?
John: I'm not.
(Curtis just stares at him.)
John: I'm not. We are fighting evil that most people don't even know exists. And sometimes that means making very difficult decisions, Curtis. The bombs are just a fail-safe. That's all.
(John walks past Curtis to leave the room. Curtis turns around.)
Curtis:
There has to be a better way.
(John stops and turns back around to face Curtis.)
John: I wish there were.
(As John leaves, Curtis looks thoughtful and moves to his computer.)

(Suddenly, as Diaz is making his escape, his car and the road around him pixelate and vanish. He is suddenly strapped in a chair at ARGUS HQ, with a smiling Curtis looking at him.)
Diaz: What the hell just happened?!
Curtis: Well, first I overrode the explosive program that ARGUS put inside your head with a little virtual reality simulation that started running about 20 minutes before you remember getting your sedative. Then.. I owned your ass.
Diaz: You're dead!
Curtis: No. See, that all happened in your head, too. By the way - harsh.
Diaz: (pulling at his restraints) Get me out of here.
Curtis: See, I don't think you're going to want to be getting out of here. Because if you were to do that, Dante would be waiting for you. And I think he's going to be really pissed when he finds out you gave us everything we need to get him.
(Curtis exits the room, not looking back as he speaks one more time.)
Curtis: ARGUS thanks you for your cooperation.

Oliver: I wore that mask for a reason. Now that I've taken it off, maybe the consequences are finally catching up with me.
Dinah: Well, you can't take responsibility for every choice some lunatic makes, you know?
Oliver: No. I have to take responsibility for this. Me being on the force puts your reputation at risk, and it's putting lives in danger.
Dinah: Cops face risks every day. That is the job. And you are not putting anyone's life in danger, not unless you stop fighting for them. You think you're gonna do one interview, and all of a sudden, your problems go away overnight?
Oliver: I think I have been so obsessed with proving to people I'm not my father that I didn't stop and look at all the ways that I am exactly like him. I should have come clean with Sam years ago.
Dinah: But you didn't, and you can't stop the past from haunting you. The only thing you have control over is what you do going forward.

Oliver: My father killed Dave Hackett. The people of Star City deserve the truth.
Rich Kannon: Why come forward now? Hackett has been apprehended. The threat is over.
Oliver: Because transparency is about more than just not wearing a mask. I've made mistakes. I'm sure that I will make mistakes again. But what I will not do is lie. That is my promise to you, the people of Star City.


Dialogue Disasters

Black Siren's entire monologue about her father's death being her fault because she threw a tantrum like a toddler over a cake when she was 13 years old.


Continuity

Oliver appears on the Rich Kannon show with Black Siren to talk about his desire to protect Star City openly as a deputy of the SCPD. She talks about her desire to live up to Quentin's standard as the new DA of Star City.

It is revealed that Oliver approached Emiko and asked what he could do to make things right. She said she wanted nothing to do with him and that the Queen Family destroy everything they touch.

China White last appeared in 514.

Kane Wolfman last appeared in 709.

Carrie "Cupid" Cutter last appeared in 514.

Until now, Curtis was not informed of the meaning of the Dante painting he discovered and how it tied in to Diggle's reactivating The Ghost Initiative to go after a figure called Dante.

According to Diggle, they tracked one of the people who knew how to contact Dante directly to a compound in Egypt. This lead came from Ricardo Diaz.

Lyla refers to the events of 703 and why they need to use the Ghost Initiative to go around the chain of command that oversees ARGUS to investigate Dante.

Curtis is asked to make sure the bomb tech isn't rejected by the bodies of the various recruits.

Black Siren claims that she is not an alcoholic, unlike the Laurel Lance of Earth One.

Felicity says she thinks Quentin would be proud of the person Black Siren has become.

According to a news broadcast, Black Siren is the most popular DA in Star City in the past ten years.

Black Siren is confronted by a man named Brett Collins whom she thinks knows her from Earth Two.

On Earth Two, Brett Collins was the drunk driver who killed Earth Two's Quentin Lance. He is also the first person Black Siren killed after she developed her powers.

Rich Kannon is abducted shortly after leaving his studio, electrocuted by someone whose presence causes power boxes nearby to short out.

A video of a tortured Rich Kannon is sent to Channel 52 news, in which he reads a statement that Oliver Queen is no hero and that people will die if he does not quit the police force.

Black Siren finds a printed note in her office which reads "I FOUND YOU. I CAN GET TO YOU ANYWHERE."

Black Siren makes reference to the events of 704 and how she agreed to help Felicity with torturing The Silencer, no questions asked. She asks Felicity for the same right, when asking for her help in determining no one from Earth Two is on Earth One.

Oliver says the kidnapper is an amateur based on the quality of the video and the execution of how he tortured Rich Kannon. He also uploaded his video to the news from the Wi-Fi of a public coffee shop in the southeastern part of The Glades, apparently unaware that could be traced.

Using satellite imaging, Oliver is able to find the windows seen in the video of Rich Kannon on an abandoned building in the Glades. It is here that he finds Rich Kannon and the kidnapper, who says that people who aren't named Queen have a right to live too.

Oliver recognizes the phrase "people without the last name Queen are human too" from the transcript of his conversations with Dr. Parker from 704. Felicity says those transcripts were censored when she sent them to the press but the DA's office had the full transcripts. This leads to the conclusion that someone hacked the DA's office computers.

When pondering who would be interested in those transcripts, Oliver suggests Felicity look up the name David Hackett - the full name of Robert Queen's personal bodyguard, whom he killed before killing himself in the flashbacks in the series pilot. This leads Oliver to conclude that the kidnapper might be Sam Hackett, David's son, who he met a few times when he was younger.

Sam Hackett has a lengthy rap-sheet, including multiple charges of drunk and disorderly conduct, drug possession and assault.

Black Siren finds another threat in her car. This one says "I'M COMING FOR YOU."

Black Siren confronts a drunken Brett Collins. The only thing that stops her from killing him is the intervention of Felicity Smoak. He pleads ignorance and asks what Earth Two is when Black Siren tells him he should have stayed on Earth Two.

Sam Hackett has a degree in electrical engineering.

Oliver tells Dinah about how his father killed David Hackett. 

When they search Sam Hackett's apartment, Oliver and Dinah find plans for a search trip to the North China Sea. It's then that Oliver realizes that Sam was still holding out hope his father was alive, like him, and that he should have told David the truth to give him closure years ago.

Dinah and Oliver also find plans for some kind of electrical weapon.

Curtis is able to trick Diaz into revealing how to contract Dante thanks to a virtual reality simulation that makes Diaz think he's escaping ARGUS HQ. He kills Curtis during the simulation.

Apparently 77% of Star City wants Oliver Queen fired from his job with the SCPD.

Oliver suggests firing him to stop Hackett from enacting his Plan B. Dinah refuses to consider this.

As a teenager, Black Siren pitched a fit when her father didn't bring her favorite cake for her birthday dinner. He was killed by Brett Collins after he went out to get it for her. Her last words to him were "I hate you."

Oliver guesses that Sam Hackett is using his father's name to find work as an electrician because of his record. His dad's social security number is traced to Star City Electrical - the company whose parts were being used to build some kind of electrical weapon.

Sam Hackett's weapon electrifies the SCPD building to that anything running on electricity and the walls will fatally shock anyone who touches them.

Dinah is able to escape by using a rubber mat as a shield while charging one of the doors and shooting the power box Hackett manipulated.

Oliver goes back on the Rich Kannon show. He tells about how his father killed Dave Hackett before committing suicide. He says he did this in the name of transparency and promises to never lie to the people of Star City again.

Diggle intends to keep the Ghost Initiative program going, saying they may need known criminals as boots on the ground to go after Dante. Curtis, in turn, says that he won't blindly follow orders anymore.

Felicity tells Black Siren that Cisco Ramon checked the records on Earth Two and that their version of Brett Collins died on his porch sometime after Black Siren tried to kill him.

Dinah says the Earth One version of Brett Collins is in lock-up on public intoxication charges. He has a history of stalking and anti-vigilante violence. With that, she thinks she can get him locked up for good given what Black Siren said about the threatening letters she got.

Emiko approaches Oliver after his second interview with Rick Kannon. She says she believes Oliver is different than their father and she is ready to think about talking to him.

When Dinah goes into her car, she finds a note like the ones Black Siren found in her office and car. This one reads


The Winick Factor

The grand reveal of Black Siren's reasons for becoming a villain are just plain idiotic, with a 13 year old girl acting like a 3 year old in regards to getting a cake at her birthday. Worst of all, Black Siren - a character nominally based on one of the strongest women in comic books - has her entire motivation distilled down to Daddy Issues, with nothing being said about her mother or her influence upon her daughter in all of this. Where was Dinah Lance on Earth Two?

To make matters worse, all of this is dismissed in the episode's ending. It turns out Black Siren didn't really kill the Brett Collins of Earth Two. It turns out the Brett Collins of Earth One is a drunken creep and an anti-vigilante activist with a history of stalking and drunken stupidity who had just been arrested, so Dinah can make sure the book is thrown at him, so it all ends happily and there's no reason for Black Siren to feel bad... except for the fact that she's still an unrepentant killer who tried murdering millions less than a year ago.


The Bottom Line

Largely hampered by the latest attempts to try and make Black Siren into a good guy, this episode is an otherwise inoffensive piece of filler. The villain of the week is forgettable. The highlight is Curtis' battle of wits with Diaz and that's largely successful due to Echo Kellum's performance and Ramsey's direction selling the possibility that they really did kill Curtis off. The Oliver/Dinah interaction is also good, but the whole is strictly average.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 11 - Blood Memory

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



Plot

With her memories of Kara's secret identity erased, Alex finds herself increasingly conflicted about her feelings about Supergirl in the wake of the DEO's new mission, as she deals with a new street drug that makes people violent and gives them temporary superpowers. Meanwhile, Kara travels with Nia to her hometown to celebrate their annual Harvest Festival, only to discover the Children of Liberty are planning to disrupt the festivities.


Influences

The Incredible Hulk (gamma radiation makes people big and angry!)


Goofs

How did the drugged-out frat boys get to their party? Didn't anybody notice them during the several hours between when they took their drugs (there was daylight) and when they got to the party, when it was dark?

As wonderful as the idea of Parthas is, it doesn't really fit the reality of Supergirl given that it seemed like the existence of aliens on Earth was a secret until three years ago. (In fact, we're specifically told that Parthas' harvest festival has been attracting anti-alien bigots for years!)

Granting that the Children of Liberty are kind of stupid, you'd expect them to not be wearing their masks like sun visors while walking around a town built on the ideals of human/alien integration, particularly now that their leader has been arrested on terrorism charges.

Why does Parthas hold their Harvest Festival in the middle of winter? Usually those are held in the fall.

Jesse Rath seems to be delivering his performance while on cold-medication this week.

Maeve says that Parathas has ways of dealing with anti-alien bigots who cause trouble in public. These protections don't seem to be evident when the Children of Liberty attack her mother's memorial.

The van Bobbi is thrown into sprouts flames when she impacts with it for no reason. (The camera accidentally caught the incendiary meant to blow the windows out.)

Alex says that Supergirl's word that that the alien attacking Bobbi Miller was acting in self defense is not good enough and that there is no evidence the Children of Liberty attacked a peaceful memorial... apart from the fact that there are idiots in gold masks running around trying to kill everyone who is dressed for a memorial service?

Why is Alex's relationship with J'onn unaffected by her memory wipe? If removing the knowledge that Kara is an alien from her mind caused Alex to become unsympathetic towards aliens, shouldn't that have altered her relationship with J'onn in her mind if she started thinking about it too much?


Artistry

The cinematography and lighting of the dream sequences is good.


Technobabble

Parthas is the Irish word for Paradise.

Brainiac-5 says that the bruises left by the touch of a Truth Seeker are not really bruises but the remnants of toxins pulled from the body.

Brainiac-5 says that the party drugs were irradiated with 15-to-the-19th power hertz worth of gamma rays.


Dialogue Triumphs

Kara: First commandment of road trips? (dramatic voice) Thou shalt defer to the driver's choice of music!

(Alex and Brainiac-5 are looking at the security feed of the aliens they captured. They are now human.)
Brainiac-5: I discovered the species we apprehended last night.
Alex: (stunned) They're human?
Brainiac-5: No. Not just human. Frat boys!

Maeve: (on the Children of Liberty) When you have something good, there's always going to be people who want to tear it down.

(After Brainiac-5 is able to trick the frat boys into giving up the name of their drug dealers.)
Alex: How did you learn to speak dude-bro?
Brainiac-5: Same way they did. The movies.

Nia's Mother: My element was water. Yours is fire. And your fire will make you far more powerful than I ever was. It was your destiny to be my daughter. To be Dreamer. Life put yout hrough many trials just to be who you are. It made you strong. That strength will serve you well as a hero.

(Nia is heartbroken because her sister said that she wasn't a real woman.)
Kara: I know it's not the same thing, but if it makes you feel any better, I have been through a lot with my sister-'
Nia: (sobbing) I appreciate your support, but this isn't something you can understand. I have alien powers. My sister doesn't. And now, she hates me.
(There is a long pause as Kara seems to be considering something. She finally sighs and pulls over on the side of the road.)
Nia: Why are you pulling over?
(Kara doesn't say anything as she gets out of the car, walking out in front of it. Nia follows after her.)
Nia: Kara? What are you doing?
(Kara swallows and steels herself before turning around.)
Kara:
I do understand! Probably better than anyone!
(Kara takes her glasses off and jumps straight up. A few seconds later she flies back down and lands before a stunned Nia.)
Kara: I am Supergirl. Very few people know my true identity because it's not safe for them to. But I'm telling you... because I think it will help you. And I don't think it will harm you. You, too, are a hero. I was the sister with powers. And I watched Alex pay the price for it so many ways. Most of the time she handled it with grace...but, I'll tell you there were some times when it got ugly. When we were younger... and even now. (pauses) But I have faith that the love between two sisters will prevail in the end. I have to believe that. I just need you to know now that you are not alone. You have a family. You have me.


Dialogue Disasters


Nia's dialogue about transitioning during the car ride with Kara sounds like the kind of speech people make on TV shows rather than real words an actual person would say.


Continuity


The Russian Supergirl clone develops a nose-bleed and passes out in the middle of training.

The attempts to revive the Russian Supergirl with a defibrillator send a bolt of purple lightning out of her body and around the world. The energy rocks a trailer in National City, where it infuses a hand-full of pills in the mobile home of two drug dealers named Jerry and Kev.

Jerry has a studious younger sister named Bobbi.

One of the drug dealer's customers is turned into "Hagrid on Steroids" (i.e. a giant with large muscles and veins all over his face.)

Alex, Kara, Nia, Brainiac-5, J'onn, James and Lena all meet for a game night. The game they are playing is Exploding Kittens.

Nia is from a small town north of National City called Parthas. It is a community where humans and aliens have been living in peace for decades.

James and Lena disagree on the greatest invention in human history. She says it's the electric light. He says it's the printing press.

Alex can no longer remember what Kara's favorite movie is.  She guesses that it was Center Stage (Kara apparently broke three lamps one summer learning how to do the red shoe dance.) and then guesses Terminator 2, which is Alex's favorite movie.

Alex and Brainy are called away to deal with aliens fighting at NCU.

Alex insists on being addressed as Director Danvers by Supergirl.

Kara's favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz. Eliza Danvers showed it to her, thinking Kara could relate to the story of a young girl being sent off to a faraway land. Kara thinks Alex doesn't remember this because it relates to Kara being an alien.

One of James' reporters, Mackenzie, says she found evidence of a secret budget at L-Corp that has something to do with genetic testing. James agrees to let her investigate it, but asks to see what she discovers first.

Kara offers to drive Nia to the harvest festival in her town, after Nia's flight is cancelled.

The hostile aliens the DEO apprehended at NCU change back to normal the next day.

Nia's mother migrated to Earth from Naltor when she was 18. The day before she fled the planet, she dreamed of a farmhouse where she would meet her true love and a series of random numbers. Using the random numbers as navigational instructions took her to Earth and the town of Parthas, where she was taken in my a family of farmers and fell in love with their son - Nia's dad.

Nia says her parents were supportive of her transitioning.

Nia hasn't told her family about her prophetic dreams yet and asks Kara to keep that a secret.

Alex is unable to get the two frat boys to name their drug dealer so she can trace the drugs.

Nia has a dream where she is in a field, watching her mother get ready for bed while sitting at a dresser covered in cobwebs. She crumbles into dust after drinking some black liquid and a crow flies from the ashes.

Nia's mom grows fantastic radishes.

Maeve inherited her mom's gift for gardening, but she focuses her talents on orchids. She claims to have all 30.000 types of orchids memorized.

As Nia is looking at her mother's desk, she sees a glass full of black liquid, which she drops after a flashback to her dream. It turns out the glass is full of ink, which Nia's mom is using to teach Maeve Japanese ink wash painting.

Nia has always wanted to be a journalist.  She read Cat Grant's book on news writing 14 times.

Maeve lives down the street from her parents and owns an art studio.

Nia's mother makes paintings of her dreams of the future. 

Nia's mother says that she dreamed that her daughter would inherit her gift.

Only one daughter per generation of a Naltorian family inherits the gift of prophecy. The gift is passed down maternal lines. Some women are cursed with future blindness, however, and in their case the gift skips a generation.

Two more people take what Brainy dubs "the rage drug". He determines, based on the response to a video that was posted on-line of the frat boy attacks, that people are now seeking out the drug dealers intentionally to try the drug out.

Maeve has been studying dreams and dream-interpretation her whole life. He old bedroom is full of books on understanding dreams.

Kara agrees to interview Maeve so that Nia can talk to her mother alone about her dreams.

Alex asks J'onn to scan her mind and make sure nothing is wrong.

J'onn says that his mind-wipe of Alex should be undetectable but he's afraid that Alex being exposed to the Truth Seeker may have left the psychic equivalent of irritated skin, letting her know something is wrong without any idea what. He elects to give her a placebo and hope that will allow her to heal herself.

J'onn suggests that Alex's unease may come from her needing a partner in the field - a good cop to her bad cop. This leads Alex so ask Brainy how his acting skills are.

Maeve says that her grandmother was a superhero on Naltor who used her powers in the same way as Supergirl. She says she wants to use her powers the same way once she gets then.

Kara spots two of the Children of Liberty with one of their alien sniffing dogs walking around Parthas.

Maeve isn't afraid of the Children Of Liberty, saying that anti-alien bigots have been trying to disrupt the town harvest festival for years and that they have their own way of dealing with them.

Brainiac-5 is able to get the names of Kev and Jerry out of the frat boys after being tossed in a cell with them and pretending to be another stoner frat boy.

According to Nia's mom, there is no way for a Dreamer to refuse her gifts or transfer them to another.

Nia's mother is bitten by a spider and starts dying. As she does so, Nia is suddenly in her mother's last dream.

Nia has a dream where she is having dinner at a table in the middle of a field with her sister. Her sister knocks over a goblet of wine, which changes into a swarm of spiders and she is attacked by a murder of crows.

Lena wants to train with James to do better at trivia games at game night.

James decides to wait on asking Lena about the L-Corps budget information he discovered.

Jerry and Kev travel to Parthas to meet a client who wants to pay them $10,000 for rage pills. The clients turn out to be Children of Liberty, who beat them up and take their drugs, intending to disrupt the Harvest Festival.

Brainy is able to track Jerry and Kev through the registration of their mobile home. It used to belong to Mrs. Veronica "Roni" Miller. The title was passed to Roberta Miller - her daughter, younger sister of Jerry Miller.

Bobbi takes the mobile home and the last of the rage pills and goes to Parthas chasing after the Children of Liberty.

Nia's father gives her a box. He says that he had a dream the night before of his wife saying that the contents of the box were for Nia.

Nia realizes her vision was a warning of the Children of Liberty attack. She saves Maeve from being trampled as a raging Child of Liberty breaks through the barn wall with an axe.

Kara uses her heat vision to stop Alex from shooting an alien who is trying to protect himself from the enraged Bobbi Miller.

Alex says that Supergirl's word is no longer good enough for her and that there is no evidence the Children of Liberty attacked a peaceful memorial.

Alex says that she can't believe that Supergirl knows what it is like to be vulnerable.

Maeve is embittered that Nia inherited their mother's power. She does not believe that Nia was trying to find a way to transfer the power to her over the past few months and that she spent the last few months laughing at her panic over being future-blind. She also says that Nia is not a real woman.

Kara reveals her secret identity to Nia, after Nia says there is no way she can know what it is to have a power her sister doesn't and to have lied about it.

James says he looked at Mackenzie's sources and that everything at L-Corp is a-ok. It is suggested that James is lying and still hasn't confronted Lena on what he learned.

Nia opens the box her father gave her. It contains a superhero costume.

J'onn says that Kara was Alex's first exposure to an alien during her formative years and that relationship shaped her empathy for the aliens that she met years later. This is why Alex's current attitude now mirrors the DEO party line.

The Russian army officer in charge of their Supergirl makes a phone call and says there is a problem and he needs to reach someone in America.


Location


Somewhere in Kaznia
Parthas, California


The Fridge Factor

Nia's mother dies to give her more angst about inheriting the powers her sister always wanted.

Everything that is being done to Alex is being done only to give Kara angst about her trying to protect herself and to force her bonding with Nia over what it is to be the sister with powers you never asked for trying to protect your sister by lying to her.


The Bottom Line

Perhaps not the worst episode of Supergirl ever but definitely one of the most illogical and painful to sit through. The script definitely needed more work as the dialogue is largely terrible and the supporting characters are flat. There's no resolution to the subplot involving Bobbi Miller and her drug dealer brother. Heck, the only reason Bobbi is even in the story is because some innocent girl has to do something stupid so that Alex can side with her over the aliens just trying to defend themselves to fuel. The actors do their best (with the exception of Jesse Rath, who seems to be phoning it in) but there's only so much they can do.  All in all, this is a bad place to break for a three week hiatus.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 80

The grand finale! Will Pug stop Makala from using The Lifestone? Will Prince Arutha's forces repel the Dark Elf invasion? Will the final battle be a challenge even with everything I've done to game the system? All will be revealed!


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 11 - Seeing Red

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



Plot

When Cicada starts targeting metahuman ex-cons with the aid of an ally in the police department, Nora is injured and left with no way to heal when Cicada's attack drains her ability to regenerate. This leaves Barry struggling to contain his anger as he works to protect the same metacriminals he helped to put away from Cicada. Meanwhile, Killer Frost starts to interfere with Caitlin's work on a metahuman cure.


Influence

Every X-Men comic about a cure for mutation.


Goofs

It should be blindingly obvious why Killer Frost doesn't want Caitlin helping make a cure for metahuman powers, yet neither Caitlin nor Ralph can figure that out until Killer Frost tells Ralph.

As impressive as Ralph and Sherloque's deductions are, wouldn't the records they are looking at indicate that all of the murder victims have criminal records and were recently released from prison?


Performances

Hartley Sawyer is once again the episode's VIP as Ralph Dibny. I find myself wishing more and more for an Elongated Man spin-off, as unlikely as that may be.

A very close second for the VIP award is Danielle Panabaker, who has fantastic turns here as Killer Frost and Caitlin Snow.


Artistry


The effects work with Ralph carrying the metahuman ex-cons is brilliant.

The blocking on the knife fight between Killer Frost and Cicada is well-executed.


Flash Facts


One of Cicada's victims is a man named Dwayne Geist. In the comics, Dwayne Geyer was a superhero called Geist - the German word for ghost or spirit. First appearing in Detective Comics Annual #6 in 1993, Geist was one of the heroes created for the Bloodlines event who later joined the superhero team called Blood Pack. Geist had the power to become invisible when exposed to bright lights. Unfortunately, he had no control over this power and was unable to hold down a day job due to his being invisible and completely blind in bright lights. He largely retired from superheroics but still showed up in the background of a few event comics over the years.

It is unknown what Dwayne Geist's metahuman powers were, but he had a spider tattoo on his neck.

Another of Cicada's victims, who we actually see die on-screen, is a man named Carl Bork. In the comics, Carl Bork first appeared in The Brave and the Bold #81 in January 1969. A criminal dock worker, Carl Bork still acted to save the life of a young boy from drowning while in the South Pacific. The grateful natives gave him a magic statue, which made him super-strong and invulnerable to physical harm. With this, Carl Bork declared himself King of The Docks and made a bid to take over Gotham City. The combined efforts of The Flash and Batman eventually brought Carl Bork down, after The Flash tracked down the original statue and threw it into the sun.

Years later, Carl Bork would play a supporting role in the comic The Power Company. Though he had originally lost his powers after the statue was destroyed, he eventually regained his strength and invulnerability along with a monstrous physique. Unable to find a job because of his appearance and criminal record, he was hired on to The Power Company.

The Arrowverse version of Carl Bork was a metahuman and petty crook who worked as hired muscle for other criminals. He was pulling a robbery with Matthew Norvok when he was killed by Cicada. He had super-strength and invulnerability.


Technobabble


Meloxicam is an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Bork's body showed a number of incised wounds, which were the cause of his death. There was also a depressed skull fracture indicating an impact with a hard surface. Barry and Nora determine that the depth and diameter of the wounds match those inflicted on Gridlock, Block and Raelene Sharp.

Caitlin thinks that if she can isolate the genetic marker that bonds human DNA to dark matter she can reverse engineer the process and unravel that to create a cure. Unfortunately, she needs the DNA of a recently created metahuman (eight months of younger) to identify where the marker is in the genome.

Cicada's attack on Nora caused an axial burst fracture in her L3, L4 and L5 vertebrae. He also severely displaced her fourth thoracic vertebrae.

Normal axon growth rate in a large nerve reaches five mm a day. With speed healing, Nora's should be over 100 mm a day. She knows this because she took neuro-regeneration for her fifth grade STEM class. (Iris studied fractions at that age.)

The angered Barry channels 2.86 billion joules of energy through his body. That's almost as much power as 3 lightning bolts.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Barry asks Killer Frost to help him track down the metahuman ex-cons.)
Killer Frost:
Oh, and you think they're going to listen to me? (smirks) 50/50 on that. I haven't quite lived up to my name...

Killer Frost: That was quite the speech back there. Almost seemed like you actually wanted to save those metahumans.
Norvok: No, you know me better than that.
Killer Frost: No. I don't think I do.
Norvok: I used to be a good guy, you know?  I worked at the Central City Zoo, watching the reptile cage. We were open the night the particle accelerator blew up. After the blast shattered all the cages, I had to pull an elapid snake off a kid. Then that dark matter hit.
Killer Frost: What happened to the kid?
Norvok: (grunts) He's fine. And what do I get, huh? A snake in my head and a psycho-killer that wants me dead? That was the last time I put anyone else before myself.
(Norvok takes his bottle and walk off. Ralph, who has been listening in from the hall, walks in and takes his seat opposite Frost.)
Ralph: You know, it's almost like a small part of me feels... sorry for that guy.
Killer Frost: Why? He's only out for himself.
Ralph: Come on. He's clearly terrified. I know what that's like. (pauses) You gonna tell me you've never felt fear like that guy?
Killer Frost: No. Why?
Ralph: Really? Not even a little bit worried about Caitlin making the cure?
(Killer Frost opens her mouth but they hear the rush of air indicating Barry's arrival. Nothing is said as they stand to go meet him.)

(Cicada is easily beating The Flash up.)
Cicada: You can't win this fight.
Killer Frost: I'll bet I can! We haven't been formally introduced. They call me Killer Frost. Let me show you why.
(A dagger of ice forms in Killer Frost's hand.)

(As Killer Frost ducks away from Cicada's dagger, it goes past her and flies through the wall... straight towards Norvock. He stands there, frozen as time seems to slow down as the dagger approaches him... as Ralph Dibny reaches down and pulls him into the helicopter just before it would have hit him.)
Norvock: (stunned) You saved me!
Ralph: (nodding to the other ex-cons) You saved them first.


Dialogue Disasters


(As The Flash and Cecile watch over the crowd of clearly nervous metahuman ex-cons.)
Cecile: They're all terrified. I can feel it. (Oh, you needed telepathy to figure that out?)


Continuity


Cicada has been hiding out at Dr. Ambres house for the past few weeks.

Dr. Ambres has a contact in the CCPD who hates metahumans. They gave her a list of metahuman prisoners due to be released.

Cicada kills Carl Bork - a metahuman criminal with super-strength.

Reference is made to the deaths of Gridlock (501), Block (502) and Raelene Sharp (506)

A metahuman in Iris and Barry's apartment was killed as well.

Cisco is working on the metahuman cure at Icicle's lab.

Killer Frost keeps messing up Caitlin's equations on the metahuman cure and sings Barney's "I Love You" song whenever Caitlin tries to ask her why.

Sherloque is still trying to decode the time language in Nora's journal. He still has not translated anything besides THE TIMELINE IS MALLEABLE.

The three metahumans killed by Cicada in the last 24 hours were Kira May, Dwayne Geist and Carl Bork.

Joe is still in Tibet visiting Wally.

Geist has a spider tattoo on his neck.

Kira May was wearing clothes two sizes too large for her when she died, indicating sudden rapid weight-loss.

Carl Bork's medical records said that he had a droopy eyelid, caused by nerve paralysis, which is a side-effect of drinking too much prison wine.

On Sherloque's Earth, the slang term for prison wine is Borat rather than Bruno.

Based on all of this information, Ralph and Sherloque determine that the common link between all of Cicada's victims is that they are ex-prisoners. This leads Barry to discover the same prisoner log that Dr. Ambres gave Cicada.

Barry and Cecile tell Captain Singh they think someone in the department is tipping Cicada off. He refuses to believe it.

Cecile says she will pull some strings to offer Witness Protection to all the meta-human ex-cons on Cicada's list.

Amunet Black's bar has seemingly been abandoned. Ralph says there's a rumor she skipped town months earlier.

Norvok's first name is revealed as Matthew. He was last seen in 421.

Norvok agrees to help talk the other metahuman ex-cons into going into protective custody but only if he's the first one on the convoy out of town.

Cecile asks Captain Singh to set up roadblocks from Linsin to Weber Avenue.

Matthew Norvok was a zookeeper who worked the reptile house at the Central City Zoo.  He was pulling a snake off of a kid when the particle accelerator explosion occurred, causing him to bond with the snake. He says that was the last time he ever put someone else before himself.

Peek-A-Boo was last seen in 401.

Peek-A-Boo is said to work at a bar called The Sundollar on 8th Street.

Cicada attacks The Sundollar just as The Flash arrives to try and get Peek-A-Boo to come with him. They just barely escape through an extrapolater breach.

Cecile says she's felt the same level of righteous anger Barry is feeling over Nora's death from Cicada. She warns him against giving in to that anger.

Cecile thinks that she felt the same anger from Officer Jones and thinks he may have leaked the list of prisoners to Cicada.

Sherloque asks Nora if she could help him access the Flash Museum archives or maybe take him to the future. He also asks if it is possible for a non-speedster to enter the Speed Force. Nora says she is not sure.

Sherloque's fob-watch is revealed to have a hidden audio recorder in it.

Iris tells Sherloque to stop investigating Nora.

Killer Frost says she's afraid that if Caitlin makes the metahuman cure she'll use it to get rid of her and then there won't be anyone to protect Caitlin.

Ralph says he understands that but tells Killer Frost that when The Thinker took her away, all Caitlin could think of was getting Killer Frost back.

Officer Jones has hated metahumans ever since being manipulated by Spyn in 504. He tells Cicada where the metahumans are going to be picked up by the FBI.

The metahuman ex-cons are hiding out at Botti's Roofing Company.

Cicada disables the landing gear of the helicopter that comes for the ex-cons.

Ralph using his stretching powers to start lifting all the ex-cons to the helicopter after Peek-A-Boo refuses to ferry people up with her teleporting powers.

Norvock is the last ex-con to be lifted up to the helicopter.

Killer Frost is able to contain Cicada's dagger within the discharge of her freezing hand attack. While she is doing this, metahumans created by contact with dark matter can use their powers normally.

Barry almost kills Cicada, but relents when Nora runs in and shows him she is alive and running again.

Officer Jones is arrested for aiding and abetting Cicada.

Killer Frost replaces the blackboard that she destroyed for Caitlin.  She also gives Caitlin a frozen sample of the blood she took from Cicada during their knife fight - the DNA of a recently created metahuman that Caitlin needs to make the cure.

Sherloque begins analyzing the handwriting in Nora's journal. He determines there are two different styles of hand-writing and concludes some mastermind must be manipulating Nora.

47 tacos is Nora's limit.

Thinking on how being a father has changed his heart, Barry thinks the way to stop Cicada might be to appeal to his heart and find a way to save Grace.

As the episode ends, Cicada is looking through a scrapbook of articles on metahumans and reading about Cicada.


Untelevised Adventures

Cisco is doing research on his metahuman cure at Icicle's lab.


The Fridge Factor


Nora is temporarily paralyzed in order to fuel Barry's "losing control" subplot.


The Boomerang Factor


The "Barry loses control when he gets angry" subplot is wholly unnecessary and ads nothing to the episode.


The Bottom Line


Good show. A marked improvement from last week, but almost anything would be. I'm not sure how much of this is due to the absence of the horribly out of character Cisco and the addition of the always fun Ralph but the interactions between Caitlin, Ralph and Killer Frost are one of the high points of the season so far. It's also fun to see how the metahuman sub-culture in Central City works and I wish the show explored this side of the city more often.

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 10 - The Book of Rebellion: Chapter 3 - Angelitos Negros

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




Plot

Still on the run from Tobias, Jennifer and Khalil start to ponder their future together. Meanwhile, Jefferson approaches Henderson about a favor.


Influences

Romeo and Juliet (Tobias makes reference to it when discussing Khalil and Jennifer's romance)  and Mortal Kombat (Khalil's injury at Tobias' hands)


Goofs

What are the odds that Lynn would give her little "Come home" monologue in the same train-yard Khalil and Jennifer were hiding in?  Or was she giving that speech in every abandoned building in her territory?


Performances

China Anne McClain is pretty much carrying the show at this point, at least so far as all the scenes involving The Pierce Family go.

Again, Marvin "Krondon" Jones III is a marvel, capable of playing charming one moment and sadistic the next.


Artistry

Even by the standards of this show, the soundtrack for this episode is top-notch.


Trivia

Near the end of the episode, Tobias discovers that the ASA had four metahumans cryogenically frozen that they dubbed the Masters of Disasters.  This is the name of a super-villain group with elemental themed powers which first appeared in Batman and the Outsiders #9 (April 1984).  Their membership consisted of water manipulator New Wave, earth manipulator Shakedown, fire manipulator Heatstroke, cold manipulator Coldsnap and wind manipulator Windfall.


Technobabble

Gambi is able to track Khalil's phone usage and pinpoints a two mile area he might be hiding in after eliminating all his usual hang-outs and places Tobias controls.

Todd Green is an encryption specialist and an expert on the internal workings of algorithms.

Jefferson's super-suit has the ability to display holograms through a projector in the gauntlet.


Dialogue Triumphs

Khalil: You remember that time I asked you to be my girl?
Jennifer: Yeah. How could I forget? (chuckles) You said that if anything had happened to me, the thought of not being able to ask me out would mess with you. Yeah, I remember. You was all shy and cute.
Khalil: Wait.. was?
Jennifer: Don't worry!  You're still cute now that we cut off those promoter dreads.

Jennifer: Khalil... I can't. I can't do this. I'm sorry, but I'm not ready. I didn't leave home to lose my virginity in a train car like this. I left home to keep you safe. To keep you alive. And I don't regret that. Because you are alive. But I don't... I don't want it to be like this. We're on the run and in a train car and... you know? (sobs) I'm worried. I'm worried about what's going to happen to you. I'm worried about what's going to happen to me. I'm worried about what my family's thinking about-
Khalil: Hey. It's okay.  I'll wait.
(Khalil just pulls her closer.) 

Jefferson: Khalil knows too much to risk Tobias getting his hands on him.
Khalil: You mean about Jen having powers? Or you being Black Lightning?
(There is a pregnant pause as Jefferson and Lynn both look at Jennifer.)
Jennifer: Uh-
Khalil: She didn't tell me. (shrugs) I'm not stupid. I mean, she's electric and you and Thunder came after us.

Henderson: I can't believe you're trying to save this kid's life after all he put you through.
Jefferson: I know, man. I know. But... I guess I'm just glad that he's.. he's the person I thought he was.

(After having rippfed out Khalil's spine.)
Tobias:
I told you I'd always have your back.


Continuity

Khalil created an apartment for himself in an abandoned train car.

Khalil is a talented artist and drew several sketches of Jennifer.

Lynn tells Jefferson about her talk with Khalil's dad in 209 and how he had an apartment somewhere.

Khalil gives Jennifer back the necklace he got for her when they were dating.

Tobias Whale is an expert on the history of jazz music.

Todd Green is a vegan.

Todd Green is an encryption specialist.

Tobias wants Todd Green to fully hack Proctor's briefcase.

It is revealed that Tobias has managed to partly hack the computer inside Proctor's briefcase. He discovered some information, mostly about crooked politicians in Freeland, corrupt agencies of law enforcement, judges and some very interesting real estate purchases made under an alias that does not exist.

Tobias bought all the land the ASA was interested in except for Reverend Holt's free clinic.

Tobias has no idea why the ASA wanted the land and wants Todd Green to figure that out along with what this has to do with metahumans.

Jefferson is able to speak Spanish.

Jennifer and Khalil return to the Pierce house.

Todd Green comes up with a list of the three places Khalil went to most frequently for Cutter.

Todd Green determines that there's some holes in Cutter's resume while researching her. This doesn't make her happy but Tobias praises his initiative.

Cutter finds Khalil's train-car apartment.

Khalil decides to turn himself in, at Jefferson's prompting.

Jefferson tries to make a case for leniency to Henderson. He eventually persuades him to go to the FBI to make a plea bargain and to let Khalil see his mother before he turns himself in.

Tobias has Assistant District Attorney Montez in his pocket and arranges to have a blue .450 sent to them after they give him the information on where Khalil is turning himself in to the FBI.

Khalil says that none of what happened to him is Jennifer's fault and he didn't mean what he said about her making him go to the march in 103 ruining his life. He says that Jennifer is the best thing that happened to him. 

Cutter captures Khalil from the FBI convory.

Tobias rips out Khalil's spine, leaving him in the middle of the road in front of Rev. Holt's church.

Todd Green hacks the computer and gains access to something called Project M.O.D.

Project M.O.D. gives Tobias access to the information on the Pod kids.

Todd Green also discovers that the free clinic was the first place the ASA bought when they came to Freeland and started handing out the Green Light vaccine.  Reverend Holt took the clinic over after the vaccine project was abandoned.

M.O.D. stands for Masters of Disaster - four super metahumans in cryogenic suspension contained with the old ASA facility.


Untelevised Adventures

We don't see the fight between Cutter and the various FBI agents.


The Winick Factor

Again, it's unbelievable that Jennifer and Khalil are able to evade all the people they do who are trained hunters.

Telekinetic bullet-dodging powers aside, it still beggars belief that Cutter is able to taken on a dozen FBI agents and police officers by herself and kill them all.


The Bottom Line

By all rights, this should have been the mid-season finale.  The cliffhanger ending is great and hints at big things coming. Unfortunately, the story still suffers from making the villains unbelievably invincible and the heroes incredibly incompetent, except when the story dictates otherwise. Still, China Anne McClain and Marvin "Krondon" Jones III manage to carry their scenes through sheer charisma.

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 79

In which we hunt the final two members of The Six in what is meant to be the most tense and climactic portion of the game. Of course it's hard to feel tense when our sequence-breaking and bug-exploiting have made us the next best thing to invincible. Of course we're still vulnerable to pit traps and forgetting to save early and often...


Arrow Episode Guide: Season 7, Episode 10 - My Name Is Emiko Queen

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




Plot

With Oliver now officially hired on with the SCPD, he's ready to focus on helping the police to save the city and start repairing his troubled relationship with Felicity. But when Dinah puts him in charge of tracking down the new Green Arrow, things take a surprising turn. Meanwhile, Lyla and John are brought to task by the Deputy Director of ARGUS for their approaching Ricardo Diaz with a plea bargain.


Influences

The Green Arrow comics of Jeff Lemire (character of Emiko Queen) and Benjamin Percy (criminal financiers run by man called Dante a reference to The Ninth Circle)


Goofs

Why is Curtis willing to help Rene and Emiko?  Everything we've seen in previous episodes suggests he was glad to get vigilantism behind him and was scared of being arrested.


Performances

Sea Shimooka has an impressive first turn as Emiko Queen, immediately making her into a sympathetic protagonist.


Trivia

Two names on Emiko's list of people who were involved in her mother's death are shout-outs to characters from the Green Arrow comics. The first, Nicholas Kotero, was a serial killer who was the first villain Green Arrow fought in the post-Zero Hour timeline in Green Arrow Annual #7 in January 1995.  The second, Scott Notting, was a corrupt Seattle police officer, who led the villainous gang known as The Vice Squad in Green Arrow #12 in February 2017.

The name William Glenmorgan may ring a bell with some comic fans. It is the full name of Congo Bill - a DC comics Great White Hunter jungle comics hero in the Golden Age, who was revamped into the superhero Congorilla after William Glenmorgan was given a ring that allowed him to swap minds with The Great Golden Gorilla.

When Emiko confronts Glenmorgan about why she hunted him, he says he couldn't have killed her mother because he spent the last two years on an undercover mission in Santa Prisca. In the DC Universe, Santa Prisca is an island nation, home to an infamous prison where the Batman villain Bane was born.


Technobabble

William writes a targeted search algorithm that can use the Archer Program to search Star City for bombs.


Dialogue Triumphs

Emiko Queen: The world is not a fair place. Innocent people die while the guilty go free. The system is broken, filled with corruption, greed and apathy. The people who are supposed to protect us are failing us. Criminals continue to walk the streets because no one is willing to stop them. The world may not be fair, but everyone deserves justice and someone looking out for them.

(Dinah and Oliver enter the crime scene.)
Dinah: Game time, rookie! You ready?
Oliver: This isn't my first crime scene, Dinah.
Dinah: (beaming) No, but it's your first one as an SCPD Deputy, so try not to screw it up, huh?

Rene: Look, you're doing a lot of good out there. And you obviously care about The Glades. Let me help you.
Emiko: You have no idea what I care about.
Rene: If Oliver Queen knew anything, it's that you can't save the city alone.
Emiko: I'm not Oliver Queen.

Felicity: Some husbands bring their wives home flowers and mine brings me blood from a crime scene. And they say romance is dead.
(Felicity leans in and kisses Oliver.)

Emiko: People say that revenge corrupts the soul. That if you go down that path, you'll never come back. But sometimes embracing the darkness is the only way to get justice. My name is Emiko Queen. I will get justice for my mother. And no one will stand in my way.


Continuity

Emiko Queen has a list of evildoers, much like the one Oliver Queen had as The Hood.

Oliver is now officially a Deputy with the SCPD.

Emiko Queen has a contact named Marco with one of Star City's gangs, who gives her information on William Glenmorgan.

William Glenmorgan has been hired for a few sensitive jobs, along with the Bratva and Irish mobs. He's currently in Star City contracting with Talis Global Security.

According to Rene, Talis Global Security is a disreputable firm that recruits Navy SEALS, mercenaries and assassins for various covert jobs.

Emikio goes to Rene Ramirez after she is shot in the shoulder while escaping Talis Global Security.

According to Dinah, the new Green Arrow has been leaving felons on her doorstep almost every night for a while.

The trace of blood on the broken glass which Oliver finds is the first solid lead they've had as to the new Green Arrow's identity.

Rene is capable of stitching up a bullet wound on his own.

Lyla has spent three days trying to get Diaz to talk about Dante and his organization.

Lyla says that Dante paid off Ricardo Diaz's debt to The Longbow Hunters.

Felicity rigs up a DNA scanner on the door of her and Oliver's new apartment that tells her if who is entering the apartment matches her list of approved people.

Oliver says that Roy Harper is on another continent when Felicity asks if Roy might be the new Green Arrow.

Felicity runs a DNA test and determines that the new Green Arrow is a woman who shares some of Oliver Queen's DNA on his father's side and that it isn't Thea Queen.

Felicity determines theirs no records of Robert Queen having another daughter anywhere in the USA.

Felicity refers to the events of Elseworlds and Oliver fighting alongside Batwoman.

Robert Queen used an off-shore account to handle some of his more sensitive financial transactions. Felicity tracks a series of transactions to M&H Storage in Orchid Bay. The account is still active but, curiously, the account is registered in Moira Queen's name.

John Diggle offers to let Diaz go free if he can deliver Dante to ARGUS.

John proposes reactivating The Ghost Initiative - an ARGUS program employed expendable criminals for covert operations. It was originally shut down after the death of Amanda Waller in 411.

Emiko sends Rene Ramirez a message on an arrow, asking him to meet her at 23 Cedarhurst Avenue.

Oliver discovers a letter from his father to Walter Steele, in which he confesses loving a woman besides Moira and having a daughter with her. He asks Walter to take care of the daughter and do right by her.

Kazumi Adachi was the name of Emiko Queen's mother.

Oliver concludes that his mother found the letter and hid it from Walter after discovering Robert's second secret family.

Emiko lived with her mother in The Glades all her life. She says she and her mother were given a box by Robert Queen containing a quilt. They used the quilt to make a fort to play in when she was a girl.

Kazumi Adachi was killed by William Glenmorgan. Emiko determined this by tracking the specific make of bullets Glemnorgan used.

Rene recognizes the other names on Emiko's crime-board.  They include Jon Cortez from 704 and Jason Stent from 701. Respectively, they were the arsonist who tried to cover up Kazumi Adachi's murder by burning her apartment complex and Jason Stent was the arms dealer who sold the rifle that killed her.

Glenmorgan has a compound outside of Star City.

Rene asks Curtis to help him and Emiko with taking out the security system on Glemorgan' compound.

Glemorgan glaims to not be a gunman.

Glenmorgan claims he was set-up, having been in Santa Prisca for the last two years on a covert mission and that he just got back into the USA one month earlier.

Rene offers to help Emiko keep looking for her mother's killer.

Felicity encourages Oliver to reach out to Emiko and welcome her into his life.

Ricardo Diaz has a bomb and tracker implanted in the back of his head.

The episode ends with Oliver approaching Emiko at their father's grave.

In the future of 2038. Rene Ramirez is the mayor of The Glades (which is now a separate city from Star City) and credited as the man who single-handedly cleaned up that part of town.

Zoe Ramirez is her father's chief of staff and has been out sick for three days.

The Archer Program is a city-wide security system that keeps The Glades safe.

Rene says that The Archer Program fell into the wrong hands once and the city barely recovered.

Rene refuses to let The Archer Program be used to help stop the bombings in Star City.

Dinah is easily able to sneak up on Rene.

Dinah shows Rene the bombing plan they found in Felicity's lair.

Rene says that Felicity became a criminal, but is stunned by the news she is dead.

Rene, Dinah, Roy, Diggle, Oliver and Felicity were the six heroes who got The Mark of Four tattoo and reminds him of their promise to each other.

Rene threatens to have Dinah arrested if he sees her again. She in turn threatens him, saying that the last time they saw each other it didn't end well for him.

Dinah says she still believes Rene to be a good man, even if he has lost his way.

Rene is revealed to be working with a man who is a part of the bombing plot. Rene informs the man that The Canaries know about plot but says there might be another way to achieve their goal. The man dismisses this saying Star City is a cancer and the only way to deal with a cancer is to destroy it.

The man admits to knowing Felicity Smoak was killed and describes her as a liability to be dealt with.


Location

The Glades - 2038.


The Bottom Line

A surprisingly solid episode despite nothing about it standing out. The script is pretty basic and more concerned with introduction and information than sparkling dialogue or stunning twists. Then again, given how badly Arrow has flubbed its grand gestures in Season 7, this is a welcome change. It may not be the most memorable episode ever but it does a fine job of establishing the new status quo.