Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 17 - Time Bomb

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




Plot

With the timeline having been changed unexpectedly and the future Eobard Thawne officially giving up hope of fixing things, Nora is urged to come clean to her parents in the past about who she's been working with. Unfortunately, Nora isn't the only time-traveler in Central City 2019, with an adult Grace Gibbons having taken up her uncle's mantle as Cicada now hunting down the metahuman responsible for killing her parents.


Influences

The Flash comics of Geoff Johns.


Goofs

Seriously, where has Ralph been for the last two weeks? Did it really take him that long to check in with all his local underworld contacts?

 The new Cicada is said to have the power to negate other metahuman's powers, but Barry and Cisco didn't seem to have any troubles last week in their first fight with the future Grace Gibbons.

Much as we hate to side with the villain, we do have to agree with future Grace Gibbons that the CCPD were rather negligent in investigating her parents murder. While putting out an APB for every woman wearing a hoodie would have been impractical, it seems like after an ATM blew up they might have checked the records to see who used the ATM immediately before it blew up on the off chance it might have been their bomber.

Vicki Bolen claims to have seen the ATM explode and money flying everywhere but says that nobody got hurt. This completely contradicts Cisco's Vibe vision. While she might be in denial about the damage she caused, it does raise the question of why Barry and Joe don't confront her over The Gibbons' deaths and arrest her for manslaughter. (Of course blinking future Cicada out of existence by having her parents' killer tried would be boring to watch...)

Vickie Bolen is somehow able to use her powers despite the presence of the new Cicada and Nora West-Allen saying she's lost her speed. (We know it can't be because Vickie is a non-dark matter meta since Cicada specifically tracked her by her dark matter signature.)

For some reason, Team Flash is still adhering to the policy of getting a person's permission before giving them the metahuman cure in the case of Grace Gibbons. While the principle is fine in theory, Grace is a minor and they already have the permission of her guardian to cure her. Legally, that should be all they need. (This is doubly vexing because after explaining that they aren't giving the cure to anyone without their permission, Barry explains that Caitlin says it isn't safe to inject a child with a cure that was designed with adults in mind and the whole thing is especially risky to chance it given Grace's particularly fragile state.)

While we're used to the rules of time travel and how quickly changes are made to the future when something in the past is changed being entirely dependent on the plot at this point, it seems like we should have seen an instant paradox take effect when Future Grace kills her uncle, whom she said trained her to become the new Cicada.

If Future Grace Gibbons was able to figure out that STAR Labs had a time machine and was able to steal it and go back in time to try and kill her parents killer... why not go back and stop her parents from using that ATM in the first place? Why not kill the killer before her parents died? (We can't even use the excuse that Future Grace is too crazy to have realized this or is too mad about killing to not want a peaceful resolution because she outright says that the fact that her parents are dead is the important thing to her - not whether or not their deaths were an accident. So why not stop those deaths?!)

Why doesn't Future Grace Gibbons kill The Flash after she kills her uncle Orlin?!


Performances

I've missed Jesse R. Martin's expressions when he deals with the madness around him.


Artistry

The effects work on the scene where Barry tries to outrun Cicada's dagger in a narrow hospital hallway while changing into costume does look fantastic.


Flash Facts

The Starchive site which Grace Gibbons breaks into is located in Kolins Woods. This is a nod to artist Scott Kolins, who was the artist that co-created Cicada along with Geoff Johns. (Kolins Woods previously appeared in 503.)

The party that the new Cicada crashes is being held at a Central City business called Crash Crawly's. This is the name of a real-world kid's party restaurant in British Columbia, similar to Chuck E. Cheese's in the United States and it uses the same logo.

Ralph makes reference to "Peter Parkering" Kamilla, getting her a job working for Iris' newspaper. This is of a course a nod to Spider-Man's secret identity and how Peter Parker paid his bills as a photographer for The Daily Bugle. Ralph goes on to say that maybe Kamilla will be bitten by something radioactive hanging around STAR Labs and become a spider-person.


Technobabble

One of the notes scribbled on the blueprints for the Time Sphere says "Neutron Flows Cannot Be Reversed." This is a reference to one of the most famous bits of technobabble ever - "reverse the polarity of the neutron flow." While used in countless works of science fiction, the line is frequently attributed to Jon Pertwee, the third actor to play The Doctor. While he did often say "reverse the polarity", he only ever specifically referred to a neutron flow twice and only once during his original run as The Doctor. (He did say the line in The Five Doctors reunion special)

Future Grace has a device in her costume that can track the unique dark matter signature of a particular metahuman, getting close to an exact real-time location.

Nora says that Vickie Bowlen hyper-accelerated the molecules in the ATM, causing a violent chain-reaction that led to it exploding.

Eobard Thawne discovered that, much like DNA gives a human body instructions on how to function, the multiverse has its own source code that cannot be altered no matter what timeline you are in. This Time Code, as he calls it, allows him to write notes in a manner that will not be changed no matter how time changes based on his travels.

Caitlin says that Grace Gibbon's dark matter has a unique binding quality that allows her to telekinetically manipulate dark matter, even that in other people. Her powers are stronger than her uncle's because her wound was in her head, allowing the dark matter to go deeper into her brain.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Nora runs into Thawne's cell in Iron Heights. She is frantic. He watches the screen on his wall, impassive, turned away from her.)

Nora: Something went wrong! We got Dwyer. We gave him the cure! This should all be over! But another Cicada showed up, took Dwyer and the dagger!
(Thawne doesn't react. He doesn't say anything or turn around.)
Nora: Thawne! Did you hear what I said? Another Cicada showed up!
Thawne: (quietly) I know.
(Thawne turns around and regards Nora sadly as the picture on his screen clarifies into a picture of Barry fighting the new Cicada.)
Thawne: I know.
Nora: Who is that?
Thawne: I have no idea.
Nora: (angrily)You said manipulating the timeline would stop Cicada! You said you knew what you were doing!
Thawne: (barely a whisper) I know what I said. I was very wrong.
Nora: What do we do?! What do we do now?!
Thawne: I can't help you anymore, little runner.
Nora:What? You have to help me!
Thawne: It's too late.
Nora:No. There's gotta be something we can do. You you have to help!
Thawne: There is only one thing left to do. Tell your father. You tell your father everything.

Barry: Hey, by the way, this might not be our only lead. Do you remember that Time Sphere that we built for Thawne?
Joe: That big hamster ball thing?
Nora: Someone stole one in the future to come here.
Cicada: For what? Our Cicada copycat?
Joe: It makes sense. (blinks)  I can't even believe I just said that.

Nora: Hey.  You were wrong, you know.
Barry: About what?
Nora: About Vickie not wanting to tell her family about her abilities. It's her choice not to tell them.
Barry: Look, keeping a secret like that from her family is It's dangerous. I mean, they might get hurt or worse.
Nora: She's just trying to protect them.
Barry: I get that, I do, but I-I used to think that keeping secrets from people for their own good was a noble decision, that it would protect them. But when you do that, you just rob those people from making their own decisions. I even did it with you.
Nora: Like when you didn't want to take me to your past.
Barry: Mm-hmm. I didn't want you to see how painful things got for me as the Flash or how bad things got for your mom. But secrets are like walls, and you can't really know someone with walls between you.

(Barry and Nora exit the party center at super-speed and return in costume as The Flash and XS.)
The Flash: I don't see Cicada anywhere. Do you?
Alice Bolen's Daughter: It's The Flash! Mom, you got Flash and XS cosplayers for the party?!
The Flash: (uncertain, eventually speaking in a forced, melodramatic tone) Yeeeeeees, I am the Flash! And I love... soccer! Do you guys love soccer?
(The kids all shout "Yeah!" and chatter excitedly.)
The Flash: Do you want to... Yeah! Awesome! Come with me! Here, let's play some soccer over here. (starts trying to lead the kids outside) This way. This way! Come on!

(Barry and Nora have just witnessed things breakdown between The Bolens. Nora is biting her lip.) 
Barry: Hey, we did the right thing. We kept this family safe.
Nora: Then why does it feel like we made everything so much worse?

(Ralph enters into Cisco's lab. Cisco is working on some device.)
Ralph: Need any help with that, uh...
Cisco: Nope. Unless you came here to break something, in which case you'd be the perfect candidate.
Ralph: I deserve that. Never should've interfered with Kamilla. Sometimes, I forget how embarrassing I can be.
Cisco: I'm not embarrassed by you, and I'm not embarrassed by anyone on Team Flash. You guys are my family. You're not the problem. This is the problem. This is the problem. Kamilla is blissfully unaware of any of the madness that goes on in S. T. A. R. Labs, or that we routinely save the city from evil metas.
Ralph: Or that you have a secret identity and dress up in leather and go all pew-pew!
Cisco:  Especially the leather. (chuckles a bit) She and I, we got a good thing. And being with somebody has never felt so so easy. And when I'm with her, for once, I just feel like a normal dude, with a normal life and a social-media-official girlfriend, who happens to be a very talented photographer and not... a Spider-Person.
Ralph: (sighs) It's... that's amazing, man. It really is. And I promise that I will respect that. But I gotta ask... how long do you think you can keep those two worlds separate? Look, my mom dated this guy, Craig, and Craig was a tax accountant and a freelance bull rider. Never let one world know about the other, and it just tore him up. More than those bulls ever did.
Cisco: Mm. I should definitely be working.
Ralph: Look, the thing is, I get why you're afraid of losing what you have with Kamilla, but if you keep her out of this world, it seems to me that you're always gonna be turning off a part of yourself. That's not right. And if Craig hadn't been crushed to death by that huge filing cabinet I know he'd feel the same way.

Thawne/Wells: And so the timeline, it can be malleable, but my knowledge will be intractable.

(As Barry walks away from the Pipeline cell in which he locked Nora.)
Nora: Dad! I'm sorry I lied to you!
Barry: (turning around, speaking bitterly) So am I.
(Barry leaves as Nora starts to sob uncontrollably.)


Continuity

When Nora goes to Thawne in the opening scene, the time in his cell is now down to 12:00 minutes.

Orlin Dwyer's lung is said to be healing following his surgery.

The older Grace Gibbons reveals her identity to Orlin by showing him the dolls he made of her and him. She says that eventually she wakes from her coma and grows up, with Orlin training her to become the new Cicada.

Grace says that after she returns from taking care of one bit of business, she will help Orlin figure out how he gets his powers back. This implies that, in the future she is from, Orlin became Cicada again after having taken the metahuman cure.

Joe and Cecile question the hospital staff about Dr. Ambres. They confirm that nobody else knows anything about Orlin Dwyer's relationship with Dr. Ambres or where to find Dwyer now.

Sherloque completes his translation of the Time Language. He notes that most of Nora's diary is boring and it does nothing to indicate who she is working with, though he's certain she's using the diary to report to someone in the future.

Sherloque is revealed to be performing STAR Labs janitorial duties as part of working off the money he charged Team Flash.

The Cortex has been remodeled in the wake of last week's attack by Cicada, with a new comm desk.

Iris wrote an article about the new Cicada, but her readers haven't reported any new sightings.

Ralph said that he checked with Earl Cos and the rest of his underworld contacts but also has no leads on Orlin Dwyer or a new Cicada.

The STAR Labs satellite is scanning Central City for dark matter flares but, as Sherloque points out, they don't know that the new Cicada is a dark-matter infused metahuman.

Caitlin is said to be at the Tannhauser arctic site, working on figuring out how the new Cicada seemed to be able to control Team Flash.

The Starchives are locations outside of STAR Labs where they keep Flash related items that might be too dangerous to keep in their relatively public base.

An alarm is triggered at the Starchives site in Kolins Woods, which previously appeared in 503.

Sherloque and Cisco find what appears to be Eobard Thawne's Time Sphere from Season 1 in the forest.

Ralph and Iris find what appears to be the same Time Sphere still in storage.

The Starchive also contains the vacuum cleaner Cisco pretended was a weapon to bluff Captain Cold in 104.

A scratch test on the sphere in storage reveals that the Time Sphere in the woods is the same Time Sphere, traveled back in time from some point in the future. This leads them to conclude that the future Cicada stole the Time Sphere.

Future Grace robs the evidence locker at CCPD headquarters. She is shown to be able to use her daggers to cut through a reinforced concrete wall.

Later, it is determined that all Future Grace took was a single cold case file that had yet to be digitized. Barry is able to figure out what is missing by sorting all the other records at super-speed.

Kamilla's full name is revealed as Kamilla Hwang.

Cisco and Kamilla are now in a relationship and change their social media status accordingly.

Cisco has still not told Kamilla about his life as a superhero or a super-scientist and he wants to keep his life compartmentalized.

Kamilla has a gig taking Easter Bunny photos.

Ralph mistakes Jason, a barista at C.C. Jitters, for a different barista named Larry.

Larry gets Ralph the wrong coffee, either because he honestly doesn't know what Ralph's usual is or to spite Ralph for not remembering his name.

Sherloque finds the original blueprints for Thawne's Time Sphere. They have the words "The Timeline Is Malleable." written on them in Thawne's handwriting.

The cold-case file that Cicada took involved two people who died in a metahuman attack at the site of an ATM.

Cisco vibes the burned concrete around the new ATM computer to see a woman touching the ATM and discharging some kind of energy from her hand just before a young couple walk up to the ATM and it blows up as we see a screaming child in a parked car nearby. The child is Grace Gibbons.

Nora recalls Grace picturing herself as Cicada in her mind in 512. This leads the team to the conclusion that the new Cicada is the future Grace Gibbons.

Future Grace rages to Orlin Dwyer that the CCPD did nothing to investigate her parents' deaths, despite three witnesses seeing a woman in a hoodie at the ATM before it exploded.

The CCPD file contains a piece of the ATM which is charred by dark matter residue.

Future Grace has a device in her costume that can track the unique dark matter signature of a particular metahuman.

Future Grace says that in her time, the number of metahumans has increased substantially. She says she came back to track the metahuman who killed her parents and then help Orlin with "the mission" (i.e. killing all metahumans.)

Joe. Barry and Nora track the last person to use the ATM before The Gibbons down at a party being held for a kids' soccer team called The Lighting Strikes. The card belonged to a Vickie and John Bolen.

The Gibbons died on May 4, 2017.

The ATM that blew up was located near the corner of Kingswell and 42nd.

Vickie Bolen says that the ATM sparked after she touched it and she felt something awaken in that moment. She was afraid the police would think she was trying to rob the bank and hoped what she did to break the ATM would just be ignored.

Vickie Bolen has kept her powers secret from her family and refuses Barry's offer of police protection after they explain that Cicada may be coming for her.

Ralph introduces Kamilla to Iris and tells her Iris is looking to hire a photographer for her newspaper. Cisco is less than thrilled about Ralph interfering in his girlfriend's life behind his back.

Sherloque finds a hidden flash drive inside of a compartment in the left arm of Eobard Thawne's old wheelchair from his days masquerading as the Harrison Wells of Earth One.

Ralph and Joe explain to Nora that there was once a time when Central City kept metahuman crimes under-wraps in the local press, by order of then Mayor Bellows, in trying to explain why Vickie Bolen might not know that she killed two people. He did this in order to cover up the activities of the metahuman thugs he had on his payroll. This was revealed in 404.

Nora has a psychic flash where her eyes glow red. She can feel the presence of the Future Grace Gibbons and her knife. She guesses that she must still have a connection from when she entered her mind with Sherloque's Memory Machine.

Vickie Bolen is able to use her energy powers to charge a soccer ball and throw it at the new Cicada. The power acts like a bomb and knocks Cicada off her feet when she tries to block it with her knife. The bomb also knocks down her daughter, Alice.

Cecile is pained by the amount of hatred for metahumans she feels inside the comatose Grace Gibbons.

Alice Bolen is hospitalized due to the injuries she squired when she is caught in her mother's bomb blast. She is now afraid of her mother.

John Bolen is furious that his wife didn't tell him that she had powers and tries to kick her out of their daughter's hospital room. Joe takes him away to try and talk to him.

Ralph promises to back off on trying to bring Kamilla into Cisco's work life but politely  suggests that Cisco's trying to compartmentalize his life and hide parts of himself from Kamilla can only end badly.

Orlin Dwyer reads the police report and notes that no mone was taken from the crime scene, despite the ATM exploding. He says it sounds like the death of Grace's parents honestly was an accident. She is not pleased by this and says he sounds like The Flash and XS.

Future Grace tells Orlin that she killed Dr. Ambres for taking away his powers.

Orlin tells Grace that all he wanted was to make her happy and safe. He tells her he fully intended to cure himself and her.

Sherloque accessess the Gideon computer in the Time Vault to play the flash drive he found. It pulls up a video file of Thawne, log 247, where he discusses the problems of  knowing when time is changed by a time-traveler and how he overcame this by discovering a time code that cannot be altered by time-travelers.

This leads Sherloque to confirm that the second handwriting sample in Nora's journal belongs to Thawne.

Vickie Bolen is able to make peace with her daughter Alice.

The new Cicada has the power to block Vibe's breaches, making him unable to pass through them by blasting them with her energy when they open.

Future Cicada kills Orlin Dwyer when he tries to talk her down and says that killing isn't the answer to dealing with metahumans and that she doesn't have to live in anger.

The Bolens are put into the Federal Witness Protection Program.

Sherloque reveals Nora's secret - that she has been working with Eobard Thawne - just as she is about to say it herself, but she can't find the words to explain.

The episode ends with Barry locking Nora in one of the pipeline cells.


Location

Iron Heights Prison - 2049


The Boomerang Factor

More of the usual nonsense with Cicada being able to have killed The Flash a while ago except for suddenly leaving at the end of the fight scene despite The Flash being helpless and it being unclear just if/when the new Cicada is capable of negating a metahuman's powers.


The Bottom Line


Quite possibly the single-worst episode of the show to date, at least from the perspective of continuity and adhering to the basic rules of the show's universe. What's weird is that there's a number of great lines and the ensemble cast does a great job of selling everything. Emotionally, the resonance of the episode is solid. Logically, not a damned thing makes sense. But at least we won't have to hear Uncle Orlin growling his way through his monologues anymore.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 16 - The Book of the Apocalypse: Chapter Two: The Omega

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




Plot

Tobias Whale is on the run and desperate to launch an attack that will cripple Freeland and kill Black Lightning once and for all. With a power outage, a riot and the Masters of Disaster threatening Freeland as Jennifer loses control of her powers, can Black Lightning and Thunder hope to save the city and bring Tobias to justice before the resurrected Lala puts him in the ground?


Influences

The Batman and the Outsiders comics of the 1980s.


Artistry

You can tell the budget for special effects was saved for this episode and the fight with the Masters of Disaster.


Trivia

Anissa makes reference to Batman existing when Jennifer asks her if she thinks Gambi will be all right, saying with everything Gambi has done she wouldn't be surprised if he told them he was Batman.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Jennifer and Anissa are looking down at the injured Gambi.)
Jennifer:
You think he's gonna be okay?
Anissa: Shoot. I wouldn't be surprised if he told us he was Batman! He'll be fine, all right?
Jennifer: You know, this is another one I owe Tobias for.
Anissa: Look, you're right, baby sis, but I need you to calm down, all right?
Jennifer: No, I'm fine. I'm... Seeing him out of the blue like that kind of caught me off guard. But it's cool. I'm not gonna blow us up.
Anissa: Good, 'cause I got stuff to do.
Jennifer: Yeah, I know, Harriet. Or should I say Blackbird?
Anissa: Well, I kind of like Blackbird. She cool, right?
Jennifer: You're such an overachiever. It's not enough you're in medical school, you gotta be two superheroes. Or maybe just one now, 'cause of Dad's code?
Anissa: Nah, Blackbird is needed. But I will start planning better and stop lone-wolfing it.
Jennifer: You know, I can roll with you.

Jennifer: If I can float in my sleep, then I can probably fly while I'm awake.

(Tobias is in his office, talking to the painting of Tori. He is quite clearly insane now, laughing nearly constantly.)
Tobias: I know, right? As soon as I kill Black Lightning, I'm gonna scoop up all those poor, lost little meta-humans.
(Lala enters, gun drawn.)
Lala: Damn. You talkin' to paintings now? It's about time I killed your ass.
Tobias: Latavious? Please. The devil deals the cards.
Lala: (grunting) That don't work on me anymore.
(Lala steadies his gun and Tobias laughs.)
Tobias: You think I never caught any lead?
(Lala fires as Tobias keeps laughing. The bullet bounces right off of him.)
Lala: The next one's goin' right between your eyes.
Tobias: I don't think so. E pluribus unum.
(Lala collapses on the ground as his body begins smoking and Tobias laughs again.)
Tobias: Yeah, that one worked. Yeah. Do you feel that bubbling up inside?
Lala: (weakly) What did you do?
Tobias: Lazarus Prime only brought you back. I'm the one who brainwashed you. First level was about control. You clearly passed that. Second level, way deeper. That passphrase was Latin for, "From many, one."  Bringin' out all the tattoos, all the people you killed, at once. And your black ass certainly killed a lot, directly and indirectly.
(Lala's skin continues to smoke. He screams as Tobias continues laughing until Lala passes out.)
Tobias: Yeah, Tattoo-man. Go to sleep. The next time your ass wakes up, you're gonna be buried in some concrete on the East Side.
(Tobias laughs and claps, before looking to the painting of Tori.)
Tobias: What? I know. He actually thought that he had me.
(Tobias keeps laughing... until Jennifer flies through his window in a hail of glass.)
Tobias:Who the hell are you?
Jennifer: Call me Lightning. And this is payback.
(Jennifer blasts Tobias with a lightning lasso and lifts him off the ground as he is electrocuted.)

(Black Lightning arrives to find Jennifer electrocuting Tobias.)
Black Lightning: Stop!
Jennifer: He deserves it!
Black Lightning: But you don't!'Cause you don't deserve to become a cold-blooded killer.

Agent Odell: Let's skip the prelims. I know exactly who and what you all are.
Lynn: You need to leave.
Agent Odell: There's something you need to know. The Markovians have a stockpile of meta-humans in pods. The largest on Earth.
Jefferson: You've been asked to leave. Nicely.
Agent Odell: (nodding in polite acknowledgement) Not yet, Mr. Pierce. Thanks to you, the Markovians have Dr. Jace. And here is the best part. The concentration of meta-humans in Freeland from the vaccines and the Green Light experiment make it the greatest threat to Markovia. It's only a matter of time before they launch a lethal first strike. I'm swearing in Black Lightning, Thunder, and (looking to Jennifer) whatever you're calling yourself, young lady. The Markovian War is coming. And Freeland... Freeland is ground zero.


Continuity

Gambi finds Jennifer and tries to bring her under control while wearing his insulated gloves.

Lala finds Jennifer and Gambi and is ready to shoot her because she looks like she's dangerous.

Gambi persuades Lala to leave her alone after he confirms he is not with Tobias.

Jennifer is able to get control of herself but Gambi develops severe radiation burns in the process.

Jennifer and Anissa take Gambi back to the sanctum, while Jefferson checks out Tobias' hideout.

Jefferson finds the kidnapped Green Light Babies in the pods.

Tobias plans to use The 100 to start a riot after the Freeland D.A. announces that no charges will be filed against the police who killed Cape Guy in 215.

Tobias also has Coldsnap freeze the Freeland power plant to cause a power outage, thinking this will depower Black Lightning if he doesn't have a power grid to draw off of.

Anissa says she doesn't plan to stop being Blackbird anytime soon.

Jennifer says she can help Anissa with her robbing-the-rich act as Blackbird.

Lynn finds Dr. Jace hiding with the pods on Tobias' hide-out and beats her up.

Dr. Jace bargains for protection and asks to be turned over to the police rather than the ASA. In exchange for that, she tells Black Lightning about the Masters of Disaster.

The teleporting assassin from 209 finally arrives in Freeland. It is revealed that he was hired by the Markovians to capture Dr. Jace.

The teleporting assassin kills several cops at the Freeland jail. He refuses to renegotiate a deal with Dr. Jace when she offers him more money, saying that when he gets bought, he stays bought.

Reverend Holt is revealed to not be dead and that he has made his church into a shelter during the riot.

Lala saves Black Lightning and Thunder from the Master of Disasters after they get ambushed.

Jennifer uses her powers to thaw out the power plant and restart the city's electrical grid under Gambi's direction.

Cutter abandons Tobias after he tries to release the Green Light Babies thinking they'll automatically go out and start fighting for him.

The Green Light Babies awaken as Lynn is in the middle of asking Agent Odell for a few minutes to administer a serum to stabilize them before they try moving them.

Lynn is able to use the information Dr. Jace gave her to trace the signal that opened the pods. This enables her to find Tobias' office and the briefcase.

Jennifer goes after Tobias hideout, using her powers to fly for the first time after she sees the location on the comm system in Gambi's van.

Tobias is revealed to be bulletproof.

Tobias implanted Lala with a second code that would awaken all the tattoos of everyone he ever killed all at once. Tobias believes this wouldn't kill Lala outright and plans to have him dropped into a concrete building foundation where he can keep resurrecting over and over inside the rock.

Jennifer takes up the superhero name of lightning and electrocutes Tobias.

Jefferson arrives and stops Jennifer from killing Tobias. He does help bring him down, however, and they turn him in to the police.

Rev. Holt delivers an address to the people of Freeland across the radio and Internet, thanking God for Black Lightning and Thunder and urging people not to lose hope, because love will stop what evil has started.

Tobias is sent to a secret metahuman prison called The Pit. He is informed that he's been classified as a metahuman weapon of mass destruction and, as such, has no right to a lawyer and no reason to hope for escape or rescue.

It is said that most of the Green Light Babies released from the pods were recovered and returned to their families.

It is revealed that Agent Odell has three teens in pods - Wendy Hernandez, an apparently not dead Khalil Payne and Isiah Williams (a.k.a. Body Bag Boy from 202.)

Jefferson apparently makes terrible peach cobbler, which is more bread than peaches.

Agent Odell reveals that he knows Jefferson, Anissa and Jennifer have powers.

Agent Odell says he needs to deputize them for a coming war with the Markovian govenment, who are certain to attack Freeland as the place with the highest population of metahumans outside of Markovia, which is building a metahuman army and has captured Dr. Jace.


The Bottom Line

An odd conclusion to an odd season. Lala's resurrection ultimately serves no purpose, other than turning him into a deus ex machina that can save Black Lighting and Thunder only to "die" again with no apparent answer as to if he'll return from Season 3. The teleporter who was introduced and forgotten half a season ago suddenly returns.The whole Green Light Baby storyline fizzles out as the only named characters are still in the government's custody and every honest bit of drama from the season is negated as it is revealed that Khalil is still alive. The worst part of all is Tobias "going crazy," turning the character into a giggling fool out of nowhere. Tobias shouldn't go mad with power - he can become overconfident, but not crazy. And this was crazy. And not the good kind of crazy. It's not bad enough to make me stop watching but I'm starting to wonder if this series is worth profiling given how few connections it has to the comics at this point which would necessitate a guide like this.

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 7, Episode 16 - Star City 2040

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



Plot

With Felicity's last message leading them into The Glades, William and Mia face their most dangerous mission yet. Meanwhile, Dinah, Roy and Zoe discover something shocking regarding the plot to blow up Star City and who is involved in it.


Influences

The Hunger Games (the gala ball seems heavily inspired by The Capitol and the lavish parties held by the rich while the outer districts starve, the main hero being a teenage girl with a bow.


Artistry

The gala costumes are well-made.


Trivia

Dinah's contact with the SCPD says that a group called the Eden Corps was responsible for faking Felicity's death. Reference is also made to their nuking cities. In the Green Arrow comics, the Eden Corps was an eco-terrorist group led by a woman named Veronica Dale, that Oliver Queen tried to infiltrate in what turned out to be his last adventure as Green Arrow. Oliver sacrificed himself to destroy a biological weapon the Eden Corps intended to unleash on Metropolis.

This is not the first time the Eden Corps have appeared in the Arrowverse. The Eden Corps was the group responsible for trying to activate a nuclear bomb in Central City in The Flash episode "Enter Flashtime" (i.e. F415.) Their leader was also a woman named Veronica Dale.

The CEO of Galaxy One - the company that is a front for the Eden Corps - is a man named Keven Dale. This is likely the son of the Arrowverse version of Veronica Dale or another member of the Dale family.

Connor Hawke is revealed to be an agent for an organization called Knightwatch, which is described as the good version of ARGUS. In the comics, Knightwatch was the military wing of the D.E.O. and their duties included protecting the President from metahuman and magical attacks.These agents wore armor similar to that of the organization Checkmate.

William reveals that the angel investor who helped him get his company off the ground was a company called City of Emeralds Capital. There is a double reference here suggesting that Felicity was his mystery investor. First, City of Emeralds is the name of the largest city in Oz (i.e. Emerald City), which is revealed to be Felicity's favorite book. The Emerald City is also the nickname of Seattle, Washington, which has been the home town of Green Arrow in the comics and occasionally the model for Star City.

It is said that Keven Dale's ultimate goal is to promote a peaceful Star City to other cities as an ideal town and use that to take the Archer protection system global. This is similar to the tactics used by The Ninth Circle during Benjamin Percy's Green Arrow run, where they destroyed Seattle with several terrorist attacks and then used that as an excuse to gentrify the whole city while promoting their own unique brand of Laissez-faire capitalism and using that to take over other cities.


Technobabble

William says that Archer can't be hacked but he did find a way to temporarily make people invisible to it.

The security system at Galaxy One is protected by a DNA access protocol.

Connor has access to a device that can fool a DNA scanner provided it has a sample of the DNA it is meant to simulate.

The bombs are linked by a li-fi - a unified connectivity device - which acts as the brain of the bombs and requires an exterior power source. It is revealed that this is contained within the fidget cube that Keven Dale carries with him.

Functional textiles are high-tech clothing with computers embeded in the cloth.


Dialogue Triumphs

Felicity: This is just a little something that I've been working on on the side.
Mia: For Smoak Tech?
Felicity: No, not exactly. Um There is a corrupt company in The Glades that I am this close to exposing.
Mia:You're hacking again like Overwatch.
Felicity: Oh, well, no, Overwatch was part of a team, right? Team Arrow. And this is solo. So no team, no complications.
Mia: You're a vigilante.
Felicity: No, not exactly. (pauses) Technically, yes, by definition

Tattoo Artist: What's the black star for?
Mia: My mom once told me that all the starlight we see has so far to travel that the stars might not even exist anymore. Eventually, they all just fade to black, erased. That's where I want to be.

Connor: We have to move.
Mia: Didn't you want to go with them?
Connor: Hey. I am only here to back you up.
Mia: Right. 'Cause you promised your daddy. You know, I am really not sure what's worse. The lying or the fact that you actually thought I needed protection.
Connor: Mia, I know that you can take care of yourself.
Mia: Then why the hell do you keep hanging around?!
Connor: Because I care about you! Okay?! I wanted to tell you the truth, but I knew that you would hate me the minute I did. And every day, it just got harder and harder.
Mia: So your big idea is that I would just never find out?! Do you have any idea what it's like to find out that your entire relationship with someone is based on a lie?
Connor: No, okay?! But I know what it's like to have heroes for parents. It sucks. Man, I used to ask my dad all the time why he even adopted me if he and my mom were never gonna be around. But you know what? When I got older, I realized I was proud of them.
Mia: You were proud that they prioritized the rest of the world above you?
Connor: Okay, no, not that part. But with great power comes great responsibility, right?
(Mia stares at Connor, blankly.)
Connor: Oh, come on! Spider-man?
Mia: I'm not really into comic books.
Connor: Okay, my point is that the same applies to us superhero kids. And we have to learn to share our parents and be a little selfless.
Mia: Of course you would say that! You've been a hero in training since you were a kid.
Connor: Well, so have you. The only difference is I got to choose and you never got to make that choice. Until today.

(Rene has sided with the vigilantes.)
Zoe: What opened your eyes all of a sudden?
Rene: Someone very smart with impeccable genetics reminded me of who I used to be.
Mia: And why should we believe you? Aren't you the evil mayor who's been trying to destroy Star City?
Rene: And who are you?
Felicity: This is Mia. These are mine and Oliver's impeccable genetics.
Rene: (stunned) You and Oliver had a kid?!
Felicity: (deadpan) Surprise.

Mia: So what, you probably want me to come help stop Galaxy? A little mother-daughter vigilante time?
Felicity: No. I wish I could take you away from all this. I wish that you didn't have to think about any of this. But I know that that is not my decision to make.
Mia: You know, when I first left home, I was so mad at you. I learned everything I could about vigilantes. I dug up old news stories about how they destroyed Star City. I was convinced it was true that you had lied to me my entire childhood with your your stories of the heroism of Team Arrow. Because you didn't want me to think badly about you. Or about dad. I spent these past years hating vigilantes. Because I hated you.
Felicity: Well, I don't blame you.
Mia: I understand why you wanted to lie to me. To protect me. I can't even imagine what it was like having the entire city turn on you and turn on dad.
Felicity: Mia, you are so much like your father. Out on that field, so badass. I'm so proud of you.
Mia: Mom, there's, um It seemed like there is something really personal about you stopping Galaxy. Is that about dad?
Felicity: No, it's not. That one is on me.


Continuity

Mia Smoak was born in a small country cottage in a town called Bloomfield.

Oliver was present for the birth, along with Dr. Schwartz.

Nyssa Al Ghul trained Mia in combat.

Felicty runs Smoak Tech remotely and avoids Star City.

Mrs. Carver runs the general store in Bloomfield. She has two sons - Henry and Seth, whom she tries to set up with Mia.  Mia doesn't like either one of them, unable to decide if Seth is a Scarecrow (i.e. no brains) or a Cowardly Lion.

Felicity has told Mia that her father was a hero but hasn't explained why it is dangerous for people to know that Oliver Queen had a daughter.

By the time of 2040, Jordan Peele has made enough films to support a marathon.

Mia discovers a secret computer room in her home and nearly sets off a self-destruct while looking at the computer.

The computer screen has pictures of Felicity with William and a picture of Ollie on the Screensaver. When the screen comes up, it shows Rene Ramirez and the shady financier helping his campaign.

Mia developed her hatred of vigilantes after realizing that Felicity had never really given up being one even as she tried to keep Mia from using her combat training to follow in her father's footsteps and wouldn't even allow her to go to the city on a day trip.

Mia gets a tattoo of a black star shortly after arriving in Star City, because of something Felicity once told her about how the stars we see at night may already be dead and blacked out. This was also the source of her fighting name.

Anson is the name of Dinah Drake's contact within the SCPD.

Anson tells Dinah, Zoe and Roy that a group called Eden Corps faked Felicity's death and they are operating out of a business in the Glades called Galaxy One.

Dinah has heard of Eden Corps and says they had been lying low.

Anson says Eden Corps may be ready to start nuking cities again. Eden Corps attempted to blow up Central City in F415.

The coordinates Felicity gave William and Mia lead to Galaxy One's offices in the Glades.

William reveals he changed his last name to something besides Clayton, so nobody would connect him to Oliver. Presumably he changed it to Harris, as he enters Galaxy One as the CEO of Harris Consolidated.

William and Mia try to sneak into Galaxy One disguised as a CEO and his executive assistant. William is able to hack his way past the DNA scan at the gate but Mia sets it off.

Connor Hawke is able to get Mia past the gate, flashing a badge and saying that Mia is one of his undercover people.

Coonor Hawke is an agent of Knightwatch, which William describes as the good version of ARGUS.

Mia and Connor are confirmed to have a romantic relationship. He says he honestly did love her and regretted not telling her he was a spy.

Rene Ramirez knew that Zoe was working with The Canaries but had no idea she was one of them.

Rene says that the plot to blow up Star City is the first step of something called The Star City Reformation Project. While the plans to blow up the city are legit, Galaxy One plans to evacuate the area first. This is being done to expand The Glades outward so what Rene has done as mayor with the Archer system can be attempted on a larger scale.

Rene refuses to believe that Galaxy One is a front for the Eden Corps, saying he would know if they were.

The CEO of Galaxy One is a man named Keven Dale.

William plays the role of the CEO of Harris Consolidated, eventually agreeing that Mia can be Ms. Margo, his associate, rather than his Executive Assistant.

William claims that he heard that Galaxy One was working with a company he was interested in acquiring called Halcyon Pharmaceuticals.

Keven Dale agrees to tell William a bit about the company in exchange for the secret of how William was able to get his company off the ground so quick. William says he had an angel investor - City of Emeralds Capital - who stayed otherwise anonymous.

Mia guesses this investor was Felicity, as "City of Emeralds" is a Wizard of Oz reference.

According to Mia, The Wizard of Oz was Felicity's favorite book and she read the whole Oz series to Mia when she was growing up.

Connor, Mia and William find Felicity in a cell on a hidden level of the Galaxy One building.

Felicity sent them the coordinates to Roy and Dinah could destroy the bombs in the Galaxy One building - not to summon a rescue team.

Felicity refuses to leave until the bombs are destroyed. William decides to go with her, as Mia and Connor decied to escape.

Dinah, Zoe and Roy catch up to Felicity and William, having entered Galaxy One through their ventilation system.

Felicity is revealed to now be using her father's old hacking alias, The Calculator.

Mia and Connor eventually return to help Felicity and the other vigilantes.

Rene realizes Zoe was right and finds out that Galaxy One is planning to bomb Star City that night, without evacuating the city, during a gala fireworks show in the Glades.

There are permanent Archer blind-spots that can be centered on a person for a price. Keven Dale has one of them.


Mia is able to destroy the cube controlling the bombs with a well-placed arrow.

After the vigilantes attack his party, Rene publicly posts a $10 million bounty on Arsenal, Black Canary and The Calculator.

Keven says that the bombing plot being stopped is a set-back but also an opportunity to fully turn people against the vigilantes.

Felicity and Mia reconcile.

Felicity is revealed to be the creator of Archer and it was originally the basis of her home security system.


Location

Bloomfield - a small town outside Star City. We see it over the course of several years as Nyssa trains Mia, from 2019 to 2040.


Untelevised Adventures

Most of Mia's formative years are unseen, apart from her being trained to fight by Nyssa.


The Bottom Line

A solid episode and definite contender for the strongest episode of the season. While it doesn't address any major mysteries (i.e. What happened to Thea, Digg, Black Siren, etc. in the future?), it does a lot to solidify Mia's character and if the rumors of a spin-off based around her as a new female Green Arrow in post-apoc Star City are true I would not have any objections to it.


Starman Plays Batman: The Telltale Series - Part 15

In which we catch up on the news and update our files before going on to a final confrontation with Catwoman.



Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 15 - O Brother, Where Art Thou?

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


Plot

Dying of a mysterious ailment, Lex Luthor is secretly furloughed from prison. Naturally Lex isn't ready to die and seeks out Lena's help to develop a cure. Of course Lena is skeptical of her older brother's intentions, but another life or death situation will leave her questioning just how far Lex can be trusted, even with his own life on the line. Meanwhile, as Supergirl and Martian Manhunter continue the hunt for Manchester Black, James' sister Kelly comes to town after he is hospitalized by an assassin's bullet.


Influences

The Superman comics of Roger Stone (Lex Luthor's dying of cancer caused by Kryptonite exposure), the War of the Supermen storyline (Lex Luthor turning the sun red), Watchmen (Lex's "ten minutes ago" speech.) and Superman: The Movie (the power trio of Lex, Otis and Miss Teschmacher.


Goofs

Lex says that his quote from Epicurus is 230 years old, but Epicurus died over 2000 years ago, in 270 BC.

The final scene doesn't make a lot of sense and demands many explanations for how Otis is still alive and at what point did Miss Teschmacher pull her face-heel turn. Has Lex had a nuclear physicist playing the bimbo secretary just to spy on Cat Grant and James Olsen all these years? (I can see Lex doing it, but I still want to know how and why all this happened.)


Performances


Jon Cryer finds the perfect edge for Lex Luthor. While you can hear snatches of the sarcasm from his character on Two And A Half Men here and there, that sarcasm is very appropriate to Luthor's character. Cryer also manages to go over the top at just the right moments, playing Lex in a manner that evokes the memory of Gene Hackman in Superman: The Movie. This Lex is a smart ass who can't help but show-off his intelligence, quoting Jesus of Nazareth even as he's writing in pain and further pissing off the guards who would gladly sit there and watch him die.


Artistry


The nightmare scene in which Manchester attacks J'onn with images of a zombie Kara and Alex is very well executed. Though we know it's a fake-out, the make-up for Kara and Alex is fantastic and the general pacing and choreography of the scene truly captures J'onn's terror.


Super Trivia


The title of the episode is a nod to the Coen Brothers movie of the same name.

Jon Cryer, the actor who plays Lex Luthor in this episode, also played Lenny Luthor, Lex's nephew, in the movie Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.

The idea of a villain making the sun red in a bid to depower Superman has been used countless times in the Superman comics. Lex Luthor did it in the War of the Supermen storyline to stop an invasion fleet of Kryptoians who sought to conquer Earth. The same ploy was used by the light-manipulating science villain Luminus in Superman: The Animated Series.

The idea of Lex poisoning himself with Kryptonite first appeared in Action Comics in the early 1990s, just before the Death of Superman storyline. It was here that Lex discovered that the Kryptonite ring he had made to keep Superman at bay was slowly killing him, as Kryptonite radiation was lethal to humans albeit it not as immediately as it was to Kryptonians.The same idea was also used in the Justice League animated series.

Kelly Olsen is a new character created specifically for Supergirl. In the comics, Jimmy Olsen was an only child. He had an older brother in the reality of Smallville, but this seems to be the first times James Olsen ever had a sister in any medium.

Lex tells Lena a story about the dog that he owned before she was adopted by The Luthors. He says the dog's name was Ignatius. This is also the name of Lex Luthor's pet iguana in the realities of both the Krypto: The Superdog animated series and the DC Super Pets book line.



Technobabble

James is said to have had a large amount of shrapnel removed from around his cervical vertebra, which was created by a bullet that did far more damage than a standard bullet of its kind.

Lena and Lex are eventually able to get Lena's Harun-El serum down to having a 99% chance of not being lethal.


Dialogue Triumphs


(We hear the sounds of sirens and people screaming as guns fire. The sky is red. We see Lex Luthor looking out over the city, with Lena tied to a chair, close to tears as Lex smiles.)
Lex: "Against other things, it is possible to obtain security, but when it comes to death, we human beings all live in an unwalled city." Do you know who said that?
Lena: Please, Lex, you don't have to do this!
Lex: I'm doing this for us. For the entire human race. Listen down below.
(The sound of screaming is heard.)
Lex: They're already cheering. And it was Epicurus, by the way. An aphorism 230 years old, and yet still as apt as ever.
Lena: You sound like a freshman philosophy major and you're gonna kill millions of people. The world can't live under a red sun!
Lex: Neither can Superman.

(Manchester appears before J'onn as the fire surrounds them, holding a familiar looking staff.)
Manchester: Hello, J'onn.
J'onn: How are you capable of this?
Manchester: When you broke into my mind to stop me from killing the Lockwood brood, you opened up a motorway. It goes both ways. So, whenever you poke around in my mind I can poke around in yours. So I did. And lookie what I found. Your peoples' most powerful weapon.
J'onn: You don't know what you're toying with.
Manchester: Oh, but I do. I dug deep into your mind. And the ground. You call yourself a man of peace, Martian, but your god was one of wrath!
J'onn: You burned my father's grave to teach me a theology lesson?!
Manchester: (laughs) You forget H'ronmeer's punishments. You're a hypocrite. Wake up, man! It's time you followed the true righteous path. And we can put a stop to the hate that's burning this world up, just like it burned up Mars. We can stop it together.

Lena: Eve, what's wrong?
Eve Teschmacher: I understand you wanting to save your dying brother, no matter what he did. But now we're giving him full access to everything in order to save Mr. Olsen. Look, I care about James, too. But I just wanna make sure that you're not gonna let your sympathy jeopardize everything that you've been working toward.
Lena: Eve, I know what my brother's capable of more than anyone. But I truly believe his lone scheme right now is just to live. (smiles) I don't think he can imagine the world without him in it. 

(Lena enters into the room she and Lex turned into a lab, She sees Lex on the floor, having tumbled out of his wheelchair, as a guard stands-by, doing nothing as Lex coughs and seems to have a seizure.)
Lena: What's going on?
Guard: He's making a mess of your floor.
Lena: I'll have you arrested!
Lex: (weakly) Don't blame him. He knows not what he does. (smirks, speaking with a sharper edge) He's on a government salary after all.

Lex: Did I ever tell you about my dog, Ignatius? Before you joined our family, he was my closest companion. And when I was seven, he had to be put down.
Lena: If you're gonna continue to compare James to your dying dog, I'm not sure I'm gonna be amenable to your point.
Lex: I wanted to be there for the procedure. But Mother insisted that I go on a business trip with Father. She thought I was being too sentimental.
Lena: That's our mom.
Lex: That's -my- mom. (sighs) A trip with Father, that sounds like something that ordinarily would've pleased me. But on this particular trip, he brought a woman with him, and insisted that she go everywhere with us.(chuckles and coughs) So, here I was, seven years old, dog dying, Father ignoring me...
Lena: Is there a point to this story?
Lex: At first, I swore to loathe this woman. How dare she take my father from me at the moment I needed him most? But I couldn't keep my promise. Because she was wonderful. She was so kind to me. On the day they put Ignatius down, she embraced me, and sang me this beautiful Irish song. By the end of the trip, I wished that she was my mother.
Lena: But she wasn't your mother.
Lex: She was yours.
(Lena looks stunned.)
Lex: I want you to know with certainty that while I came from poison, you came from love. And if the rest of this family stands steadily in darkness, you will always fall into the light. I knew that from the moment I met her.

(Lena enters into the operating theater where James' surgery has just been cut short.)
Lena:What I'm about to do is absolutely illegal. Any witnesses will be considered accessories to a crime.
Doctor: Miss Luthor. -
Lena: (firmly) Leave now before I fire you.

(J'onn looks at the ring he took from Manchester.)
Kara: You should give that ring back to Brainy. He'll be happy to see it.
J'onn: I'm not ready to explain how I got it.
Kara: James is okay. The whole city is okay because of you.
J'onn: Yeah, but at what cost? Manchester is dead.
Kara: I know you're trying to follow your father's code, but what happened today doesn't change who you're trying to be.
J'onn: But I don't know who that is, Kara. One thing I do know, I am not a man of peace.

(Lena enters into her study, where Lex is sitting in his wheelchair, reading a book.)
Lena: You know, most bad kids burn ants using a magnifying glass. But not you. No, you would build ant hills out of mud and twigs, to scale. It would take you hours, sometimes days. And then, you would trick the ants into thinking they were going home. They would follow the maze you laid out and walk right into an open flame.
Lex: I'm sorry, exactly what are you accusing me of?
Lena: The power in the hospital didn't go off because of the attack on the dam. You did that! And I know because the L-Corp foundation has its name on every scalpel, bench, and backup generator in the place.
Lex: Hmm. Quite the philanthropist you've become. (coughs fitfully)\
Lena: There were children in that hospital, Lex. You took advantage of the attack on the dam to kill the power, while James was on the operating table. You risked his life and the lives of countless others just so I would be forced to test the Harun-El.
Lex: (mockingly) Aw, you figured it all out. Well, mostly. You missed one big thing.
Lena: Yeah, the story about my mother was just another lie to manipulate me.
Lex: No, that was true. That's what made it so effective. But I also had Jimmy shot. Unfortunately, that wasn't as effective a cattle prod as I'd hoped.
Lena: You are sick.
Lex: Exactly. I'm dying. This horrible cancer is eating me up and you are sitting pretty on the very thing that could cure me, and you wouldn't even test it! God knows I'm not going to test an experimental, lethal drug on myself, so you needed a nudge, and a test dummy.
Lena: Well, it worked. James is gonna live, and you're gonna rot. 'Cause I will never, never give you the cure. (to the guard) Take him away.
Lex: Lena, Lena.. I... I'm disappointed that this is your reaction, but I'm not surprised. Which is why I had someone give me the cure ten minutes ago.


Continuity


Four years ago (i.e. 2015) Lex Luthor turned the sun red in a bid to take away Superman's powers. This resulted in his arrest.

As the episode opens, Lex Luthor had a stroke.

Whoever shot James Olsen knew about his signal watch and used it.

Kara hears the signal watch and finds James wounded in his office.

Reportedly, Lex was diagnosed as dying six weeks earlier - something he has mentioned to Lena and the start and end of every phone call he's made to her since.

Lex has been released from prison to be placed under house arrest due to his ill health.

Lex is revealed to have been helping Lena with her research into Harun-El and to have been pulling the strings to give her access to the resources of the DEO.

Lena was unaware that James had been shot.

Kara determines that James was shot in the back with a hollow-point bullet and it splintered passing through his spine. Even in a best-case scenario he will be paralyzed for life.

J'onn is certain Manchester Black is responsible for shooting James.

Alex tries to persuade Lena to use the Harun-El treatment on James.

Kara leaves with J'onn to help in his search, telling Alex to stay with James as she needs to run the office in James' absence.

J'onn tracks Manchester to the place where his father died in 323.

Manchester is revealed to have armed himself with The Staff of Kolar, which was first seen in 303.

Manchester also reveals that the psychic link J'onn created between them goes both ways and enabled him to read J'onn's mind and learn all about his life on Mars.

Lena says that she's been unable to separate the potential curative properties of Harun-El from the part that could give a human super-powers and it is this later part that can potentially kill someone.

Lena asks Lex to help her get the Harun-El cure to work - for James' sake as well as his own.

As children, Lex would make fun of Lena's inventions as a way of encouraging her, thinking that she needed someone to fight against in order to prove herself.

Lex makes reference to how Lena created synthetic Kryptonite in 317 and says even he could never manage that.

J'onn says that H'ronmeer tested the Martian people in many ways and his punishments for failure were severe.

Lex had a dog when he was 7 that his mother wouldn't let him stay with as it was put down. Instead he was sent on a trip with his father, who spent most of the trip with some strange woman leaving Lex alone. The woman was Lena's mother, whom Lionel Luthor had an affair with. By the end of the trip, Lex wishes she was his real mother because she was far kinder and loving than Lilian Luthor ever had been.

Kelly Olsen is a military psychologist.

Kelly says she has had to visit James in the hospital 11 times before this incident.

Dreamer and Brainiac-5 kiss for the first time.

Manchester attacks the National City dam, apparently causing a power outage that even shorts out the hospital's back-up generators.

Lena uses the Harun-El cure on James. It works, healing his spine and all the other trauma to his body.

J'onn loses his temper as Manchester shows him images of his children being abducted by White Martians. He seemingly kills Manchester, vaporizing his body, leaving behind only Brainiac-5's Legion Flight Ring.

Brainiac-5 tells Dreamer that they can never have a relationship, quoting the movie Speed to justify the idea that relationships built on intense experiences never work in the long run. Dreamer is less than convinced.

Lex is revealed to have had someone else give him the Harun-El cure while Lena was away treating James, most likely Eve Teschmacher.

Otis Graves, believed to have been killed in 404, is revealed to be alive. It is not explained how.

Eve Teschmacher is revealed to have been working for Lex for sometime. Again, it is not explained why.

The episode ends with Lex killing all the federal agents on the Luthor Manor property and leaving in a helicopter, only to wind up staring down Supergirl.


Location


Metropolis - Spring 2015


The Bottom Line


A mixed bag, despite likely being the best episode of the season in many respects. The scenes between Lex and Lena are golden and Jon Cryer was a perfect casting choice, able to play the humor and the viciousness of Lex Luthor equally well. The problem is that there's so much gravity to the fact that the show finally has Lex Luthor on it that the episode feels over-stuffed. As a result, everything else that happens feels like a distraction until Luthor is back on-screen because, come on, we ALL know he's about to do something big. Otherwise why have him on the show in the first place?

The Manchester Black storyline fizzles out anti-climactically and what should be a big deal - J'onn giving up the path of peace - seems like a foregone conclusion. Brainy and Dreamer's scenes could have been cut without the episode losing anything. Kelly Olsen's introduction and meet-cute with Alex seems like filler. And even the fact that James Olsen is dying seems like the fourth of fifth most important storyline despite being the center of the episode!

Your enjoyment of this episode may ultimately come down to how much you can forgive the sudden pile-up of unexplained plot points in the final two minutes, all so we can get Lex, Otis and Miss Teschmacher taking on the world to classical music and winning. If you can forgive the rest of the episode for getting us to that point, you'll like it.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Starman Plays Batman: The Telltale Series - Part 14

In which we start Chapter 5, with a shoot-out at Police Headquarters and our final confrontation with Two-Face.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 16 - Failure is an Orphan

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




Plot

With the meta-cure proven to work, Team Flash now faces the problem of how to subdue the murderous Cicada long enough to ask him if he'd want to take it. Nora is less than pleased with Barry's plans, though her time journal now shows that this is the day Cicada makes his final appearance before disappearing for decades. Killer Frost is on all board, however, as Joe eases back into the swing of things at the CCPD.


Flash Facts


The title of the episode comes from a proverb - "Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan." The original source of the quote is unknown and has been attributed over the years to Russian folklore, Roman generals, fascist dictators and John F. Kennedy.

In discussing how he has mapped out the timeline, Eobard Thawne says that he has charted it from Anthro the First Boy to Kamandi the Last. This refers to two different "caveman" heroes from DC Comics.

Anthro the First Boy was a Cro-Magnon born to Neanderthal parents, who starred in his own six-issue mini-series in 1968. He has gone on to have cameo roles in series ranging from Crisis on Infinite Earths to Final Crisis.

Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth was the star of a short-lived series written and drawn by Jack Kirby, which was inspired by the success of Planet of the Apes. The story focused on the titular last pure-blooded human boy on Earth and his efforts to survive in the ruins of the world of before, contending with various evolved animal-men. It was never explicitly said that Kamandi lived in the future of the DC Universe, though it was eventually established that he lived in the potential future of one alternate Earth during Crisis on Infinite Earths.Since that time, Kamandi has had cameos in various mini-series, including Final Crisis.

Along with dark matter and meta-gene bursts, Nora has STAR Labs satellite searching for Element-X. Also known as The Tenth Metal and "The Fire Of The Fourth World" in the lore of DC Comics, Element X is said to be the purest form of creation itself and can be manipulated by thought alone to accomplish nearly anything. A small amount of Element X is said to be within all living beings in the universe and it is used to power all New Gods technology.

Dr. Ambres is said to have gotten her medical degree at McInder University. This is almost certainly a nod to Dr. Charles McInder - the secret identity of the JSA member Dr. Mid-Nite, who was a brilliant surgeon in his secret identity. (This is somewhat confusing in the reality of the Arrowverse, where Dr. Mid-Nite was sent forward in time and became a surgeon in the year 3000 before being killed by a brainwashed Rip Hunter in season 2 of Legends of Tomorrow!.)

Cisco dubs the acid-drinking and expelling metahuman that Flash and XS briefly fight with the name Acid Master before learning that his real name is Philip Master. We don't learn much about this metahuman and his powers or motivations, beyond his apparently having an urge to drink various strong acids, the ability to do so without being harmed and having the ability to expel those acids from his hands as if they were shot from high-pressure fire-hoses.

In the original DC Comics universe, there was a villain called Acid Master whose real name was also Philip Master. Numbering only one appearance in Action Comics #348 (March 1967), this version of Acid Master was not a metahuman, but a communist spy and master chemist whose specialty was creating weaponized acids. Clark Kent was recruited as a special FBI agent to track and subdue the Acid Master, on the grounds that no one would suspect the mild-mannered reporter of acting as a government agent. Naturally Kent was more than up to the job, secretly being Superman.


Technobabble

Sodium bicarbonate can be used to neutralize nearly any acid, according to Barry.

Prednisone, Sirolimus and Abatacept are all drugs classified as immunosuppressants.

Cisco suggests building an anti-dampening array to stop Cicada.

Cisco says he can stop Cicada by resequencing the Speed Force Bazooka to overload his body with negative tachyons.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Iris is on the phone.)
Iris: Well, it's interesting that you say that, sir, since it's your company that's denying the Robertson family's claim. Yes, of course, I have the contract right in front of me.
(Barry runs in and hands Iris a sheath of papers.)
Iris: (glancing through the papers) And it says that animal attacks do not fall under Acts of God, and that includes gorillas.

(The Flash runs into a lab to find Acid Master drinking a bottle of hydrochloric acid.)
The Flash:
 Been a while since high school chem, but that does not look like proper lab safety.

(Nora is running through all the times Barry was able to talk a villain into surrendering.)
Barry:
Nora, all all of these times are are different. Cicada doesn't even care if he lives when this is over. What am I supposed to say that he'll care about?
Nora: (proudly) You'll know. The Flash always knows.

(Barry and Joe are discussing Barry's failure to talk down Cicada.)
Joe: Wait, what exactly did you say to him?
Barry: That he was creating a legacy of fear, one that would go down in history, but that we could work together to change that.
Joe: That sounds like something the Flash would say.
Barry: Well, I -am- the Flash.
Joe: Look, that man's a zealot. He sees you in that suit and all he sees is the thing he hates. Meta-human, superpowers, the thing that took his niece away from him. He can't see past The Flash. But what he doesn't know There's a whole lot more to you than that. Be more Barry Allen. Human.
Barry: Yeah, you're right. Thanks. I'm gonna dive back in. I'll let you get back to running down Ambres.
Joe: Actually... me and Cecile ran into a wall ourselves. We are uh, she like, working together. I mean, ever since she got her powers, it's like she's a human lie detector.
Barry: How is that a bad thing?
Joe: You know I've always prided myself on being able to read people, right? But Cecile and these powers, I mean, she puts me to shame.
Barry: Well, you just got to remember that you guys are a team. That makes her strengths your strengths and yours hers. So if you let her do what she's great at, it's only going to create more room for you to do more of what you're great at too, right?
Joe: Well, damn. You're getting real good at these pep talks, Bare.
Barry: Well, I had a pretty good teacher.
(Both men laugh.)

Cisco: Okay, one fresh serving of piping hot meta-human cure.
Dr. Ambres: I'm just supposed to trust that that thing works? Has it gone through any human testing? Cisco: It's gone through giant shark testing.


Continuity

When Nora visits Thawne as the episode opens, the timer in his cell is down to 18:53.

Thawne says that a new timeline is trying to manifest, which is undoing the set future where a newspaper article shows a photo of the final battle between Cicada and The Flash. The photo shows Cicada and Flash in an alley way, where the concrete is stained with acid burns.

Iris defends Barry's decision to try and talk sense into Cicada by pointing out he was successful in doing the same thing with The Mechanic in 423. She then admits that Barry totally failed to talk sense into Savitar in 323.

While going through the CCPD files on Cicada, Joe notices that one Dr. Vanessa Ambres treated both Grace Gibbons and Orlin Dwyer on the night of the Enlightenment and she continues to be Grace Gibbons' care provider, despite being assigned to the emergency room rather than long-term care. He also notices that the nurses reported a large number of drugs going missing from the coma ward. This leads Joe to conclude that Dr. Ambres must be working with Cicada, as he'd need a doctor's treatment to keep going with the wound Iris said he had in his chest.

Joe and Cecile agree to question Dr. Ambres together.

Barry fakes a distress call to get himself and Iris and Nora to C.C. Jitters, in order to surprise Nora with the news that a drink has been named in honor of her superhero identity - The XS-presso.

Barry and Iris' list of things they want to do with Nora before she returns to the future includes Skiing, sneaking onto the roof at Jitters, Zip-lining, eating at Sebastiano's, a Star Wars movie marathon, laser tag, teaching Nora how to drive, camping, karaoke and a midnight screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Not listed, but mentioned, are going on a trip together and making Grandma Esther's famous sweet potato pie together.

Barry and Nora confront a new metahuman criminal, who is stealing and drinking acid in the chemistry lab at Central City University.

Nora explains that the acid burns left behind by the acid-drinking meta match those in a photo of the final battle between The Flash and Cicada. She says this must mean that the acid-drinking meta was Cicada's final target.

Sherloque asks why Nora didn't mention this before. Nora lies and says most of the information from her time she can remember has been unreliable but this has stayed solid so far.

Joe and Cecile don't do a good job questioning Dr. Ambres, with Joe trying to rely on his own gut instincts and police experience and Cecile overdoing it trying to signal him that she senses Dr. Ambres is lying.

Nora runs through several instances of Barry being able to talk villains down. These include Magenta in 302, Captain Cold in 203, Killer Frost in 307, Amunet Black in 421 and Plastique in 105. (The historical record may be incomplete in this case, at it was Killer Frost who bargained for Amunet Black's help, not Barry.)

Sherloque's translation of Nora's time language is 71% complete.

When Cisco asks if he is excited about almost having Cicada caught, Sherloque says he will be happy to go home, but he somehow senses his work on Earth 1 is not done yet.

Team Flash set up an ambush, with Killer Frost pretending to be Acid Master. She freezes Cicada's dagger so Barry has time to try and talk to him.

Barry tries to win Cicada over by telling him about the metahuman cure and saying that he's seen the future and Cicada's legacy is that of a monster, not a hero.

Cicada says he doesn't give a damn about his legacy and he almost kills Barry before being driven off by Killer Frost.

Joe and Cecile discover that Dr. Ambres' fiancee was killed during Zoom's rampage in Season 2. She has harbored a hatred of metahumans ever since.

Joe and Cecile tell Dr. Ambres about the meta-cure. She then agrees to help arrange a meeting with Cicada.

Joe and Cecile are told one more piece of information; Grace Gibbons is a metahuman, her powers having apparently activated in the last few weeks.

Sherloque suggests trying to incapacitate Cicada with the Memory Machine from 512.

Cisco wants to re-purpose the Speed Force Bazooka into a negative tachyon gun to stop Cicada.

Caitlin just wants to freeze Cicada from the neck down.

Barry ultimately elects to just talk to him, father to father, and tell him that Grace is a metahuman but STAR Labs can help save them both.

Nora reveals she had her own list of things she wanted to do while in the past. This included her parent's wedding, getting coffee at Jitters, being there the night of The Enlightenment and her Aunt Jenna's baby shower.

Cicada agrees to let Team Flash give him the meta-cure, but only if Dr. Ambres is there to assist with the surgery to fix the wound in his chest once he loses the powers that are keeping him alive despite it.

Cecile leaves the operating theater, unable to stand reading the rage coming from Cicada. This confirms that Cecile's powers are, like Caitlin's, not affected by Cicada's.

A new Cicada attacks STAR Labs just as Orlin Dwyer loses his powers and Killer Frost ice-sutures his chest wound shut. The new Cicada cannot negate metahuman abilities, but is able to parry bullets, The Flash's lightning, Vibe's sonic blasts and Killer Frost's ice blasts with their knives. They are also telekinetic and pin The Flash to the wall with an energy field while throwing furniture at the rest of Team Flash.

The new Cicada kills Dr. Ambres and escapes with the comatose Orlin Dwyer.

The final scene of the episode reveals the new Cicada to be an adult Grace Gibbons.


Location

Iron Heights - 2049


Untelevised Adventures

Acid Master is captured and subdued off-camera.


The Bottom Line

A serviceable but largely forgettable episode until the last five minutes, at which point it becomes much more than the sum of its parts. The new Cicada is an immediate smash and much more engaging (though that's largely because she doesn't have the laughable growly bad guy voice and isn't invincible.) A turning point for the season.

Starman Plays Batman: The Telltale Series - Part 13

In which things get even darker than you'd ever expect from a Batman game, as we investigate a murder scene and get some idea of just how screwed up Vicki Vale's childhood was. We are then pressed with a choice as to whom we deal with first to close out Episode 4. Will it be Gotham City's mad mayor? Or the murderous thug now running Wayne Enterprises into the ground?


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 15 - The Book of the Apocalypse: Chapter One: The Alpha

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



Plot

Jefferson begins trying to instill his superhero code into Jennifer, but his youngest daughter refuses to give up on the idea of revenge on Tobias for killing Khalil. Meanwhile, Lala continues his own plans for revenge as Anissa continues the search for Grace and Lynn attempts to acclimate Wendy Hernandez to the modern world.


Influences

Batman and the Outsiders (Tobias Whale trying to become a metahuman soldier trafficker, the Masters of Disaster)


Performances

Honestly, the whole ensemble is doing so well here it's hard to single anyone out this week.


Trivia

The final three members of the Masters of Disaster are introduced in this episode, after Shakedown was previously introduced. They are Joe a.k.a. Heatstroke (fire controller), Rebecca"Becky" Jones a.k.a. New Wave (water controller who can also become pure water) and Darryl Robinson a.k.a. Coldsnap (ice controller).

In the original comics. Joe was a woman named Joanne and New Wave was the team leader, but the powers and names are otherwise the same.


Technobabble

Gambi theorizes that the radioactive signal he found at the free clinic came from the power supply sustaining the pods. The signal is very low level and can't be tracked by satellite, however Gambi installed Geiger counters around Freeland, hoping to triangulate a location by detecting radiation on the wind.

The material making up Jennifer's costume absorbs and disperses electrical charges, so as not to add to her natural bio electricity. Gambi hopes this will keep others from overloading her.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Jennifer is trying to justify killing Tobias.)
Jennifer: Freeland would be better off if he were permanently gone.
Jefferson: You don't mean "permanently gone," you mean "dead. " And, it's not about whether he deserves it, though the Good Book says it is not our decision to make.
Jennifer: It also says "an eye for an eye."
Jefferson: Which is an idea older than the Bible, Jen. Hammurabi's Code. It was meant to limit vengeance, not justify it.
Jennifer: Khalil died because you put him out front. Doesn't that matter?
Jefferson (sighing): You know, I have had a long time to think about my powers, Jennifer. Some days I feel like I have it all figured out, but most of the time, I have no idea No idea why God saw fit to put this burden on me. The only thing I know for sure is that those with the greatest power should not be able to decide who lives or dies. No, that is a path that can only lead to darkness.

Cutter: So, who should we choose?
Dr. Jace: Marcus is too weak, thanks to you.
Cutter: He's an ass anyway. I like Rebecca, but I don't think sending a woman would appeal to your target audience.
Tobias: Hmm. Men can be stupid that way.
Cutter: I vote for Joe.
Dr. Jace: His powers will look good on camera, that's for sure.
Tobias: Joe it is.


Continuity

A Green Light user known as Cape Guy is gunned down by the Freeland Police after he accidentally generates a magnetic storm  He was a former solider who turned to Green Light to cope with his PTSD and then became a superhero after he developed powers.

Jefferson comes up with a code of three rules for himself and his daughters to follow in costume. Rule #1 is no revealing who they are to anyone outside the family. Rule #2 is no hero business without back-up. (Gambi does count as back-up.)  Rule #3 is no killing. Both Anissa and Jennifer agree to the rules.

Dr. Jace revives the rest of the Masters of Disaster - Coldsnap, Heatstroke and New Wave.

Agent Odell is still spying on the Pierce family.

Agent Odell tells Lynn that the trail on finding the missing Green Light Babies has gone cold.

Lynn says she has no way of knowing if the Green Light Babies are still alive after having been moved.

Dr. Jace says it will be two weeks before the Green Light Babies are ready to be revived.

Lazarus - the man who resurrected Lala - tells him that Tobias killed Lady Eve.

Anissa talks to Gambi about Grace and says it sounds like she might be a shape-shifter.

Lynn makes arrangements for Wendy Hernandez to speak with Perenna and Jennifer about their powers as a form of therapy.

Lazarus gets Lala a gun.

Tobias unleashes Heatstroke on Freeland to demonstrate the power of his product in a live video on the dark web.

Heatstroke attacks Councilman Parker and super-heats a set of gas pipers, sparking fires around Freeland.

Black Lightning and Thunder are able to stop Heatstroke.

Gambi tracks down Tobias location and goes to watch it until Jefferson is freed up.

Lala shows up at Tobias' lair and shrugs off Cutter's attacks.

Jennifer hacks Gambi's computer and goes to the location in her new costume.

Cutter and Tobias flee their hideout just before Jennifer arrives.

The episode ends with Jennifer overheating after landing outside Tobias's lair.


The Bottom Line

This doesn't feel like the next to last episode of the season. Most of the subplots are touched upon but nothing really moves forward at all.  The cliffhanger more than makes up for it, though.

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 7, Episode 15 - Training Day

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




Plot

With tensions high between the newly deputized Team Arrow and the Star City Police Department once charged with bringing them to justice, Oliver Queen hopes a training day for himself and his teammates will help bring people together. Unfortunately, things go wrong almost immediately and Dinah gets some life-altering news.

Meanwhile, in the future of Star City 2038, William and Mia - now aware of what they are to each other - continue their search for Felicity, but can they find a way to mesh street-smarts and tech-smarts to get what they need to play Felicity's latest message?


Influences

The 2001 film Training Day. (title, base idea of rookie cops first day at work going awry) and Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters (Dinah losing her powers after having her throat slit)



Goofs

Why didn't Mayor Pollard just scrap the whole Deputized Vigilante program immediately after Oliver threatened a CEO with an acid swirly? It was just the excuse she'd been waiting for and there's no reason for her no to have thrown the book at Oliver then and there apart from there still being half an hour of episode to pad out.

There's very little about Black Siren's attempt to blackmail Emiko that makes sense. First, how did she learn that Emiko is the new Green Arrow in the first place? Next, why on Earth does she think Oliver and Team Arrow would disapprove of Emiko killing Diaz enough for it to ruin their relationships, when she was helping Felicity to plot Diaz's murder just last week? Finally, there's no apparent purpose to said blackmail and no apparent reason Black Siren would need leverage over Emiko.

Oliver's attitude is all over the place in this episode. He starts off being determined to give the new SCPD partnership a chance. Then he gets sick of the bureaucracy after one batched raid. Then he's threatening to dunk crooked CEOs into acid vats. Then he's ready to break the law and go back to being an unlicensed vigilante even if he can't keep it up forever. Then he's willing to give the partnership thing a try again. And then by the end of the episode the team is back in their old base with their own costumes and gear and it hasn't mattered in the slightest because the mayor was finally embarrassed into striking down the anti-vigilante law.


Performances

Once again, Juliana Harkavy steals the show, giving a powerful performance as Dinah Drake faces an identity crisis. Denied her powers, she throws herself into her role as a police Captain and finds herself butting heads with her teammates as she struggles with her own sense of identity and self-worth. It's deep stuff and well-handled.


Trivia

The plot-point of Dinah losing her Canary Cry after having her throat slit is taken directly from the Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters mini-series, where Black Canary lost her powers after having her throat cut.


Technobabble

Autopsy results on the four Los Halcones gang members  revealed traces of an unidentified substance, which caused a chemical reaction with the blood that resulted in toxic epidermal necrolysis - i.e. their skin melting off.

Chlormethine is a cytotoxic agent derived from mustard gas. It's illegal to manufacture except for medicinal purposes, like chemotherapy.

Felicity is able to alter her security system algorithm to track DNA anywhere in Star City.


Dialogue Triumphs

(The SCPD rookies are being addressed by Sergeant Bingsley and Captain Dinah Drake.)
Sergeant Bingsley: Wearing the uniform of an SCPD officer is an honor. It isn't just a uniform. It's a symbol of the law, of justice, of transparency.
Dinah: Thank you, Sergeant Bingsley. Any questions?
(Rene raises his hand.)
Dinah: Rene?
Rene: He does know we have our own uniforms, right?

Oliver: Have I told you lately how smart you are?
Felicity: Well, I never get tired of hearing it.

Dinah: There is no more vigilante way, okay? There is only the SCPD way. It's my job to enforce it.
Rene: Look, I get it. You're the captain, but you're also the Black Canary. I thought that came first?
Dinah:  It doesn't.
Rene:  Since when?
Dinah:  Since I stuck my neck out to make this partnership work. Vigilantes cannot operate without SCPD sanction. The sooner all of us understand that, the better it's gonna be for all of us.
Rene: Everyone's got something at stake here, D.
Dinah:  But if this fails, I'm the one who loses my job. It's my ass on the line. I don't understand why this is so hard for all of you to understand.

Rene: I've know you a long time, D, and I've never seen you roll over the way you just did with Pollard.
Dinah: She's the mayor, Rene. And she can put an end to this whole operation anytime she wants.
Rene: That's not the point. You've been yelling at me, been yelling at Oliver, and pretty much acting weird ever since the weapons buy. So what's up, D? What's going on?
Dinah: At the weapons buy, I tried to use my cry, but something went wrong. It didn't work right. It It hurt like someone was scraping knives along the inside of my throat.
Rene: I'm sorry.
Dinah: Being captain is the only thing I have left. I can't be the symbol of being on both sides, both SCPD and vigilante, because I am I'm not the Black Canary. Not anymore.
Rene: That's a bunch of crap, and you know it. Your cry doesn't make you the Canary. Did you know that the pin you gave Zoe, she wears to school every day? You think she wears that pin because of your cry? No. She looks up to you because you're the person who will go above and beyond to do what is right no matter the personal consequences. That's who you are no matter what.
Dinah: Even if that's true, it doesn't matter anymore.
Rene: Of course it does. You say you can't be the symbol of being on both sides. That's exactly what you are.

Felicity (on tape): William and Mia... you know, this is the first time I've ever said your names together? 20 years and I avoid ever saying your names in the same sentence. It feels like the work of a paranoid, overprotective mother. I guess we really do turn into our parents. I'm rambling. Sorry. Not just for the rambling. For everything. But mostly for keeping the two of you apart. I'm not asking for your forgiveness but just know that your father and I did it to protect you. We did it because we love you. Now that you've found each other, I just have one request. Give these coordinates to the team: 47. 6119 North, 122. 3301 West. And then get the hell out of Star City. And whatever you do, don't come looking for me.
Mia: So we're ignoring her?
William: Definitely.


Continuity

Oliver, Felicity, John and Rene are all going through SCPD basic training to learn basic police procedure so they can all work as deputized vigilantes.

Los Halcones are the arch rival gang of the Blackout Gang - a new gang that showed up in Star City after Oliver Queen went to prison.

Four Los Halcones were found dead in a warehouse, killed by strange new bullets that melted their skin.

Black Siren is contacted at the DA's office by Bronze Tiger, who was last seen in 707.

Bronze Tiger tells Black Siren that Ricardo Diaz was killed but that the Slabside Penitentiary staff are trying to cover up just how it happened, saying he was shived. He says he can give Black Siren the truth in exchange for having his the work on his pardon stepped up.

When Black Siren says she is already working as fast as possible to get him released, Bronze Tiger agrees to trade his information in exchange for a chance to see his son without a window in between them.

During the raid on the Blackout Gang's weapons buy, the police overhear that Midas Medical made the bullets.

Felicity determines that the melting-bullets used by the Blackout Gang make use of chlormethine.

Midas Medical is one of four firms on Star City who make chlormethine.

Oliver scares a confession out of James Midas - the owner of Midas Medical. It is ruled inadmissible and Midas is released, getting a personal apology form Mayor Pollard on the way out of the police station.

Black Siren makes good on her deal and Bronze Tiger is allowed to see his son, whose first name is Connor, and whom he calls "my little Hawk." The suggestion here is that Connor will become Connor Hawke and be adopted by John Diggle in the future.

Bronze Tiger tells Black Siren that he was confined in solitary across from Diaz and saw the person who set him on fire was dressed like Green Arrow but wasn't Oliver Queen through his open meal slot.

Felicity fixed up the old Team Arrow bunker on the sly. She and Oliver decide they are going to operate outside the law again.

They ask Diggle to join them, but he urges them to give working with the police another chance.

Diggle finds out that Felicity is pregnant.

Dinah and Rene are brought to the bunker and agree to try and work with the police protocols, using their old costumes and gear. This time, they catch James Midas in the act without issues.

Thanks To Mayor Pollard's relationship with Midas, Dinah is able to get her to not only allow Team Arrow to be established as a special SCPD task force but gets permission for them to operate from the bunker.

The anti-vigilante law is also repealed.

John gives Felicity a bag of ginger candy chews, saying that Lyla swore by them during her own pregnancy.

Black Siren summons Emiko Queen to her office and says she knows that she killed Ricardo Diaz and is the new Green Arrow.

Emiko Queen, in turn, reveals that she knows Black Siren isn't the real Laurel Lance. She also says that Team Arrow wouldn't believe Black Siren if she tried to tell them about her.

Felicity says that if they have a boy she wants to name him Lucas.

Oliver says that if they have a daughter, they should name it Mia - short for Moira.

William finds a mini-cassette player in the black market, being sold by a man named Felix. He bargains Felix down to $500, only to have the player pick-pocketed by a young girl in Felix's employ.

When Mia learns of this, she threatens Felix, only for him to respond that he's bribed the local SCPD officers to come running if he needs help.

William is able to hack the SCPD comms and fake a Black Canary sighting. This distracts Felix's back-up long enough for Mia to smack him down and William to take what they need.

Felicity apologies to Mia and William for ruining their lives and gives them a set of coordinates to pass on to the vigilantes. She then tells them to get out of Star City and not to look for her.

The coordinates lead to somewhere inside The Glades. Both William and Mia agree to ignore Felicity's instruction to abandon her or Star City.


The Bottom Line

A disjointed and rushed piece of filler that exists only to restore the status quo of early Season 6 as quickly as possible. Team Arrow is back. Long live Team Arrow. At least until everything that is due to go south in the immediate future happens.

That being said, Dinah's subplot is well-handled and well-acted and the show handles her depowerment as well as could be hoped. Unfortunately, the rest of the episode seems to be a distraction from what should be a much bigger deal. Still, the good parts of the episode far outweigh the bad and it's rather enjoyable even if the character arcs make no sense at all.