Friday, March 29, 2019

Starman Plays Batman: The Telltale Series - Part 17

In which we continue the search for Alfred, discover just how bad Vicki Vale's childhood was and move on to a final confrontation with Lady Arkham at Arkham Asylum.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 7, Episode 17 - Inheritance

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




Plot

Black Siren is out to prove Emiko Queen is no good and convinces Oliver and the newly reforged Team Arrow to start investigating a lead that winds up leading them to Dante and his organization, The Ninth Circle! Oliver and Rene want to believe Emiko's story about being recruited at a young age and forced into their service but can she be trusted?  Meanwhile, Dinah takes Black Siren to task for her losing her temper and nearly attacking the criminals she is meant to be convincing to plea-bargain.


Influences

The Green Arrow comics of Benjamin Percy (Ninth Circle, plotline regarding Emiko Queen not being trustworthy)


Goofs

While it is certainly the most in character Black Siren has been in the last few episodes of Season 7, her sudden temper tantrums while interviewing suspects and threatening to kill people while trying to secure confessions has come out of nowhere. (Perhaps she's feeling new pressure now that Mayor Pollard isn't as focused on trying to catch Star City's vigilantes?)


Artistry

The fight between Emiko and Oliver in the bunker is well blocked.


Trivia

Dante's organization is finally confirmed to be called the Ninth Circle. First appearing in Green Arrow: Rebirth #1, the Ninth Circle are a sinister financial cabal with connections to numerous captains of industry and illegal enterprises. Deep believers in lasszie-faire capitalism, the Ninth Circle will back any business that can turn a profit, even if it involves unsavory things like slavery, terrorism or illegal medical experiments.

The Arrowverse version of the Ninth Circle seems to be cut from the same cloth as the organization in the comics. The key difference so far is that the Arrowverse version is not as flamboyant in their costuming, with their henchmen preferring black robes, hoods and masks to scarred, burned flesh. It remains to be seen if the leadership of the group meet in formal robes and masks, ala Eyes Wide Shut.


Technobabble

Felicity says that Archer has progressed from being a home security system to being a DNA-tracking surveillance system.

Oliver finds a jammer in the med bay of the Bunker that seems to be stopping Archer from rebooting. It is later revealed this also wiped the memory card which means Felicity has to rebuild the entire infrastructure.

Alena says they could reprogram Archer to scan for the DNA of people they don't have a record of, but that would require their hacking a medical or criminal database.


Dialogue Triumphs

Ollie: So you were never under duress.
Emiko: Sorry to disappoint you, but that's what family does, right?

Ollie: You've been lying this entire time, everything about our father, your debt to Dante?
Emiko: It was all true, but I never needed you to put me back together. I just knew you'd try. Can't resist playing the hero, can you?

Ollie: You went looking for a family, and you chose the Ninth Circle?
Emiko: Better than living as a Queen.

Ollie: You don't have to be a part of this. You have a choice!
Emiko: I've made it!

(Diggle finds Oliver brooding in a corner of The Bunker)
Digg: You want to talk? Not even to the guy who found out his long lost sibling was secretly an evil double agent?
Ollie: Being reminded that this has happened before is not really making things better.
Digg: I get that, but I also know that despite what Emiko's done, you're not quite ready to give up on her.
Ollie: That obvious, huh?
Digg: Only to someone who knows you and who's been there. All I wanted was to bring Andy back over to the light. I don't have to remind you what having that blind spot cost us.
Ollie: No, you don't. But please, John, trust me when I tell you that I am seeing Emiko more clearly than I ever have.
Digg: Oliver, you're still trying to save her.
Ollie: John, my family is to blame for her current situation. My my father abandoned her and her mother. She was 11! She was 11 years old, and no one's gonna convince me that... that her life wouldn't be different now if that had never happened.
Digg: Andy tried to convince me that I was the reason for his bad choices, too. He made me feel so guilty that I was willing to trust him again even after knowing he worked for Damien Darhk. I held out hope, Oliver, so much hope that I put you, my family, my team at risk.
Ollie: John, if I abandon her now I'm no better than my father. If I can help redeem her, selfishly I feel like I... I help redeem my family, just a little.

Emiko: (To Black Siren) I thought I was punishing you for following me. Maybe I just set you free?


Dialogue Disasters

(Dinah tells Black Siren about the murder of Gustavo Hernandez)
Black Siren: You think I did this.
Dinah: I'm not exactly hearing a denial.
Black Siren: I shouldn't have to give you one! I think I've done more than enough to have earned the benefit of the doubt from you!
Dinah: I saw how you looked at that man, and it was the same look that you gave Vinnie right before you executed him.
Black Siren: I have busted my ass being a good DA, trying to play by the rules, but no matter what I do, you always just see me as the Black Siren!

(Yes, I killed your boyfriend, but have you ever stopped to think about how hard it is for me not to kill people who annoy me and get in my way?)


Continuity

It is revealed that Emiko Queen did know her father and that he had been keeping her and her mother in a nice house before Moira threatened to take him to the cleaners if he didn't abandon his second family.

Oliver learned Taekwondo from Talia while he was in Russia.

Emiko says she has a good teacher who taught her how to defend herself, but does not elaborate.

Oliver says that Thea always wanted a sister. Emikio says she wanted the same thing.

Emikio catches Black Siren spying on her.  Black Siren is able to get away after being grazed by one arrow.

Alena - Felicity's hacker friend from Helix, makes her first appearance since 613. She is given the full name of Alena Whitlock.

Alena has been in hiding since her on-line hacker identity was a known associate of Cayden James. She's currently working at Tech Village - the big box computer/tech support story Felicity was working at as Season 3 opened.

Alena never told Felicity her full name or gave her a DNA sample when they worked together previously.

Felicity offers Alena a job as CTO of Smoak Technologies. She accepts.

A wounded Black Siren shows up at Ollie and Felicity's apartment, looking for Felicity. When her bandage starts bleeding through, Ollie offers to help take care of it.

Black Siren tells Ollie his sister is not the hero he thinks she is. Oliver, unsurprisingly, does not believe her.

Black Siren says there's no records of Emiko's existence from after she was 15.

Oliver says that Emiko is good enough that if she wanted to kill Black Siren, she'd be dead, so the wounding shot was a warning to back off.

Oliver makes reference to actually shooting Barry Allen (F108) and Roy Harper (208) to make a point.

Oliver finally says he will look into it if Black Siren will promise to back off.

Oliver follows Emiko that night and finds her in the company of Dante and some hooded men who are breaking into Palmer Technologies.

The group meets a scientist who offers Dante and Emiko 8 military-grade drones in exchange for her family's safety.

The lab is blown up with C4 as Oliver is entering the building. He finds the scientist who tells him he must stop The Ninth Circle.

The Ninth Circle are a group so secret that even Felicity could barely find out anything about them on the Dark Web. Despite this, they have an insignia, which was stamped on all the weapons used by Virgil's goons in 714.

Digg confirms that neither he nor Lyla had heard the name The Ninth Circle in everything they did to investigate Dante.

The Ninth Circle has existed since the 14th century - the era of the original Dante.

The Ninth Circle's symbol has popped up on a number of artifacts connected to times of historical upheaval and regime change, including The War of the Roses, The Russian Revolution and the colonization of The Americas.

Black Siren botches a case by illegally coercing a confession out of the Halcones Kingpin Ramiro Gonzales.

Dinah Drake informs Black Siren she has a second chance with Gustavo Hernandez - one of the Halcones' lieutenants. She reminds her once again that she's supposed to follow the rules as District Attorney and that she's going to get fired if she keeps this sort of thing up.

Emiko claims she's been training with her fighting teacher since she was 11.

When Oliver confronts Emiko over seeing her with Dante, she admits that Dante was her teacher and that she was taken under his wing after Robert Queen abandoned her and her mother. She says she had no idea who he was as a child but now knows what a bad person he is.

Oliver offers to help Emiko get out of the Ninth Circle. Emiko says he will only make it worse for her if he tries and there is no way out of the Ninth Circle once you are in.

In a flashback, it is revealed that Dante first encountered Emiko when she was being employed as a runner by Frank Bertinelli. She tried to steal his watch. He noticed, but it was a good lift. He agrees to teach her how to fight but warns her that if she steals from him again he will slit her throat.

Digg is able to get a DNA sample of Dante from the dagger Dante used to kill ARGUS Deputy Director Bell.

Felicity is able to use the sample to track Dante to Szrek Chemicals' plant in Star City. This is the same company whose Central City branch employs Orlin Dwyer (aka Cicada) in The Flash.

Team Arrow is able to stop Dante from robbing the chemical factory and abducting Emiko after he accuses her of betraying him, but he manages to escape.

Emiko says that Dante was trying to steal enriched uranium. There are only two other places in Star City that have it - Dunkirk Power and Global Energy.

Rene tells Emiko he doesn't regret their partnership and he'll still help her take down Dante.

In the flashbacks, an older Emiko has some sort of plan to win Robert Queen's approval that causes her to skip combat practice. Dante admonishes her for abandoning the Ninth Circle, saying they are her family now. He gives her an envelope that he says contains their gift to her.

Black Siren nearly blows the interview with Gustavo Hernandez after he starts taunting her about how Quentin Lance was never able to convict him either.

Emiko reveals herself as a willing Ninth Circle agent rather than having been blackmailed into service.

Digg discovers a break-in at the waste-treatment site in Orchard Bay. The materials stolen there give Dante everything they need to make sarin gas.

Gustavo Hernandez is found dead one hour after being released by the DA's office. Luckily, this scares another Halcones' lieutenant into testifying.

Dinah accuses Black Siren of killing Gustavo Hernandez, though she admits she has no proof other than the fact that she came close to killing him during their earlier interview.

Dante has found who hired Andrew Thornton to make the gun that killed Emiko's mother.

Dante says Emiko can go and deal with her mother's killer but expects her to return and complete her mission once that is done.

In the flashback, Emiko approaches Robert Queen with a business proposal for a new business she calls Queen Materials Inc. She projects that it will be profitable in 6 months with a growth of 14% on the initial investment. Robert says he wishes Oliver showed this sort of interest in business, let alone an aptitude for it, but unfortunately says he has to give his company to Oliver and can't support Emiko in any way. This meeting is revealed to take place just before Robert and Oliver Queen's fateful trip on The Queen's Gambit.

Diggle makes reference to his brother Andy having been a secret double agent like Emiko.

Emiko is confronted by Rene at the drone release site. She uses an explosive arrow to knock him out of her way but doesn't target him directly.

Emiko refuses another chance to let Oliver help her escape the Ninth Circle.

Oliver is able to shoot down 7 of the 8 droves. Emiko shoots his eighth arrow.

Felicity was unable to stop the last drone from releasing its gas. Thankfully, it turns out its target was an abandoned building, as were the missed targets. It seems that this was the test for an eventual real terrorist attack to make sure the drones could release the gas as planned.

Someone releases photos of Black Siren with Ricardo Diaz to the press.

Emiko meets Black Siren in her office and admits to releasing the photos to the press and killing Gustavo Hernandez. She says that she had intended for it to punish Black Siren for stalking her, but confesses that maybe she set her free instead.

Alena is an opera buff and compares Feliicty's coding to a rondo finale. Felicity doesn't get the reference.

Emiko Queen is revealed to be the leader of The Ninth Circle and Dante her trusted right-hand.

The final flashback, to the night of the Queen's Gambit's sinking, reveals that what Emiko found in the envelope Dante gave her was an invoice from Malcolm Merlyn and a blue-print of the Queen's Gambit showing where the explosives were planted.


The Bottom Line

A game-changing episode that might be perfect if it weren't for how haphazardly karma has started to catch up with Black Siren. The stakes also seem remarkably low now that the Ninth Circle has finally been unveiled and one has to wonder why Dante is suddenly wandering around crime scenes in a suit. Still, at least the season seems to finally be going somewhere in the modern day.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 16 - The House of L

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




Plot

With Lex Luthor free from custody, it is now clear that he's been planning his escape for sometime and he's been far from idle while imprisoned. This flashback episode shows how Lex has been influencing the lives of his sister and Supergirl over the past few years and what role Lex has to play regarding the mysterious Supergirl clone now controlled by the Russian government.


Influences

Superman: The Movie (The trio of Lex, Ms. Teschmacher and Otis),  Superman: Red Son and DC Bombhsells (concept of Kryptonians raised by Russians during Cold War) and the Superman comics leading into Death of Superman, where Lex Luthor introduced the Matrix Supergirl to Earth culture and trained her to work for him.


Goofs

How did Ms. Teschmacher justify taking off from work to fly to Kaznia multiple times?

We still don't have an explanation for how Otis faked his death in 504.


Performances

Jon Cryer is pitch-perfect playing Lex Luthor as a smooth manipulator. You almost believe his sob stories to win over the Kara clone, even as we know they're totally untrue.

Melissa Benoist does an equally fantastic job playing the Kara clone and capturing her anger and confusion as she learns Lex has not been giving her the whole story.


Artistry

The opening sequence, in which Lex utilizes a drone which transforms into a Lexo Suit to lure Supergirl into a fight and reveal that he has powers now is well executed in terms of its visual effects.

The sequence of Lex exiting the courtroom to Frank Sinatra's "My Way" is another example of brilliant staging and perfectly matching music to mood. The song becomes a connecting theme for Lex as the episode continues.

The script for this episode is very intelligently written, even ignoring the literary and historical references. It explains a lot of what seems to be plot holes from earlier in the season (i.e. how the Kaznians just happened to have a room capable of protecting their clone from the Kryptonite seeding the atmosphere).


Super Trivia

In the opening sequence, Lex Luthor fights Supergirl on the roof of The Daily Planet. This is the newspaper for which Clark Kent famously worked in the original Superman comics. The fight ends with Lex bringing the globe on top of the Daily Planet building down on Supergirl.

After being convicted, Lex Luthor is sent to Stryker's Island. In the Superman comics, Styker's Island Penitentiary is a maximum security prison in Metropolis, located in the West River. It has a special facility used to contain metahuman criminals and has been the home of Lex Luthor during his stints in prison. It is modeled on the real world Riker's Island prison, which is located in New York City in the East River.

Lex makes reference to Eve Teschmacher being "a Manson girl," This is a nod to famous cult leader Charles Manson, who acquired a large number of groupies after being sent to prison.

When the Warden of Stryker's visits Lex to inform he he has a phone call from Kaznia, Lex first asks him how his husband liked the court-side Knights tickets. The Warden says it made him "feel like Nicholson." This is a nod to actor Jack Nicholson, who had standing court-side tickets to watch the L.A. Lakers basketball team play for many years.

What's curious about this is that, in the DC Comics Universe, Metropolis doesn't have a basketball team called the Metropolis Knights. Like New York City, Metropolis does have two baseball teams (The Monarchs and The Meteors) and two football teams (The Metros and The OTHER Metropolis Meteors). Their professional basketball team is the Metropolis Generals and their professional hockey team is the Metropolis Mammoths. Gotham City, it should be noted, has a professional sports franchise called the Gotham Knights. However, they are a baseball team rather than a basketball team.

Lex made arrangements for the inmates at Stryker's Island to be fed lobster, endearing himself to his fellow prisoners. Lex dismisses the Warden when he thanks him for this, saying that lobster is "18th century peasant food, only fit for the indentured and the incarcerated." This was the general attitude regarding lobster until World War II, when it was repackaged as a delicacy for the rich after it became scarcer due to a lack of fishing vessels and the materials needed to catch it. Before that, lobster was the most common source of protein for the working poor in coastal cities in America.

The Supergirl logo in the stinger for this episode has the name "Super Girl" written in Russian and shows the Red Son Superman logo rather than the usual House of El shield.

One of the books Lex arranges for the Kara clone to read is Thus Spoke Zarathrustra by Friedrich Nietzsche. This was the book where Nietzsche proposed that the future belonged to a paragon of virtue he called a "superman" which would go on to inspire the name of a certain superhero.

The Supergirl clone uses the alias Linda Lee while wearing a brunette wig to see America. In the classic Silver Age comics, Kara Zor-El used the same alias and disguise while she first came to earth and lived at the the Midvale Orphanage.

One of the rich men in the club who harass Linda Lee wears a pin that identifies him as working for AmerTek, whom Lex identifies as an unscrupulous company. In the Superman comics, AmerTek was a corrupt military weapons manufacturer who employed John Henry Irons before he became the superhero Steel. The company has also appeared on Arrow and The Flash and was depicted as being equally corrupt.


Technobabble

Lex has a drone he can control with his watch which can transform into a full Lexo-Suit of armor, capable of flight.

Lex has a hologram of himself set up in his cell to hide his absence.

When pondering things that might have caused the Kara clone's illness, Lex considers that the Black Kryptonite may have caused unchecked cell growth, which might be cancer-symptomatic. He also says it could be a telomere problem. He goes on to say they must stabilize the senescence, before Eve Teschmacher finally gets his attention.


Dialogue Triumphs

Judge: Mr. Luthor, you are charged with murder, ecoterrorism, and crimes against humanity. Since you have chosen to represent yourself, have you anything to say before I render the verdict of this court?
Lex: (standing up) Superman made me do it.
(The audience mutters as the judge gavels for silence.)
Lex: This is a paradigm shift. Aliens are among us. And for the rest of human history, there will only ever be "before Superman" and "after." I am protecting mankind from an extinction event. And if this pearl-clutching jury of my... (voices trails off, hesitating, finally saying the word) peers... wants to put me behind bars for it, they are welcome to try. But know this. I will always have my thumb on the scales.
Judge: Alexander Joseph Luthor, (clears throat) You've been found guilty on all counts and will serve 31 consecutive (coughs a bit more harshly) life sentences.
(The judge starts to cough uncontrollably.)
Lex: Maybe we should make it 32?
(The lawyers for the prosecution and the jury all start coughing as well, gasping for air.  James Olsen runs around the courtroom as if trying to figure out who to help first as Lena is ushered out of the room by her security detail. The bailiffs force Lex down, bending him over the table for the defense team. Luthor closes his eyes and smiles wickedly.)

Eve: Wow. (chuckles) Nice prison you got here.
Lex: It's for conjugal visits. But still, after this, it's back to concrete and iron.
Eve: Sounds lonely.
Lex: Stryker's is a Petri dish. Bottle city. I've even managed to teach some of the inmates chess. I like mentoring.
Eve: It's a waste. You're a once-in-a-generation mind and the only man standing between us and total annihilation. You know, I used to write you letters.
Lex: I read them. You're literate for a Manson girl.
Eve: You are not Manson. And for the record, I'm not just some girl. I've got degrees from Yale in literature and physics, and I am a former Junior Miss North Carolina.
Lex: I don't need your resume. (thoughtful) Although... I may know someone who does. Ms. Tessmacher...
Eve: Eve.
Lex: Ms. Tessmacher, I need you to do me a favor. What do you know about CatCo Magazine?
Eve: Their circulation's down?
Lex: Jimmy Olsen works there. He's been a thorn. But he's connected to the second Kryptonian. And I happen to know that Cat Grant needs a new assistant. A woman of your talents would have no problem finding a job there.
Eve: Consider it done. But you do know there's a lot more that I can do.
Lex: And you will. We're gonna make you undeniable.

Lex: Pennies from heaven, how does this happen?! Clone?
Eve: I think I know. It's called Harun-El. Black Kryptonite. It splits Kryptonians in two. Supergirl must have come into contact with it.
Lex: She's a blank slate. Doesn't share Supergirl's memories.
Eve: We don't know exactly how this works, yet.
Lex: (incredulous) "We"?
Eve: (calmly) It's Lena. And she has more.
Lex: Brava!
Eve: (smug) I told you I'd be more useful at L-Corp than CatCo.
Lex: And how is my darling sister?
Eve: Obsessed. About to have a breakthrough with the Harun-El. But she hasn't produced results yet.
Lex: See that she does.
(Lex enters into the back of a waiting car.)
Otis: So do I stay and hang with the Commies?
Lex: What? No, you're driving!
Otis: Oh, sure.
(Otis gets into the driver's seat as Eve takes a seat next to Lex.)
Otis: So what's the play?
Lex: Paper tigers.
Otis: (confused) Um...
Lex: (sighing) Chinese idiom. Paper tigers threaten, but are destroyed easily. Kaznia wants to move on the US. They're crazier than Russia. They wanna bring back the glory days of the Soviet Union.
Eve: So you wanna help them?
Lex: I don't care about their politics. Regimes change. Kings die. But if Kaznia attacks America, and I foil the attack, America will hail me as a hero. To do that, I'm gonna need patsies in both the East and the West. So, Otis, fetch your sister and find me a real American. Someone charismatic, a radical.
Otis: (grinning) I think I know just the guy, Mr. Luthor.
(Otis passes Lex one of Ben Lockwood's pamphlets.)
Otis: Name's Ben Lockwood, seems smart.
Lex: I'm glad someone does.
(Lex takes the pamphlet and flips through it, nodding as if to say "This has promise.")
Otis: Wait. Where are you going?
Lex: Back to Stryker's. Prison's the best alibi the world has yet devised. And I'm about to need a lot of alibis.

Lex: You've read that one more than the others. Gatsby. Why?
Kara Clone: (enthusiastic, but struggling to find the words in English) It's beautiful. Lush. I, uh... I think that's the word. The language. It's hard to even imagine the world that way.
Lex: (harshly) I didn't give it to you because it's pretty. This is a book about vapid, profligate fools. Money is always acquired at someone else's expense.
Kara Clone: (confused) But you have money? You must. The way you come and go.
Lex: I do. Because it is their weapon. The way their world works. Read it again.

(Lex is rambling to himself about how to save the Kara clone.)
Eve: Lex!
Lex: What? Oh, right. The Harun-El. It made her. It might stabilize her. Bring it to me.
Eve: It's not ready yet. Lena's trial still has a 100 percent mortality rate.
Lex: Then I'll solve it.
Eve: The girl is dying!
Lex: What do you suggest I do?! She is everything I have worked for! She's a... a miracle. The skies opened up and gave her to me. I...I can't lose her.
Eve: I have an idea. But you're not gonna like it. What we -
Lex: You're right! I have to give myself cancer.
(Lex starts to walk rapidly down the hallway with Ms. Teschmacher racing to keep up with him.)
Eve: Whoa, whoa, whoa. That is not what I was gonna say!
Lex: No, you were going to tell me that I need to work with Lena. And you're right. Except she won't buy it. She'll never work with me. But she will... save me.
(Lex opens the door to the radiation chamber and hits the button before closing the door.)
Eve: No, Lex. No!
(Ms. Teschmacher watches helplessly as Lex begins to scream as his body is bombarded with invisible energy.)

Lena: I'm not like you. I wanna help people.
Lex: 
I'm people! And you're using the black rock to make super soldiers. Who is that helping?

Kara Clone: Supergirl acts on her emotions. It's selfish, ugly. I will not be her. I will be me. I will be disciplined. I will follow you and destroy her.
Lex: Do you remember that story about Alexander the Great and his father?
Kara Clone: I remember.
Lex: You thought I was Alexander. But I'm Philip. I only get one lifetime. But you're forever. My gift to the world, my legacy.
(Lex reaches over and opens up a case.)
Lex: (In Russian) My Red Daughter.
(The Kara clone sits up and looks into the case. In it is a grey uniform with a stylized symbol on the chest. It has the same five-sided shield as the House of El symbol, but instead has the hammer and sickle of the old Soviet Union.)


Continuity

Lex has developed super-strength and enhanced durability thanks to the Harun-El cure.

Lex went on trial for 31 counts of Murder, Eco-terrorism and Crimes Against Humanity in the spring of 2016. This would have coincided with the time in between the end of Supergirl Season One and the start of Supergirl Season Two.

Both James Olsen and Lena Luthor testified at Lex Luthor's trial.

Lena was wearing a wire during the flashback sequence in 415 where Lex turned the sun red.

Lex was convicted of all charges. He presumably faced further chargers for Murder and/or Attempted Murder after he somehow managed to poison the judge, jury and prosecutors at his trial within seconds of being convicted.

Eve Teschmacher was a fan of Lex Luthor's work who went to the trial hoping to see him.

As Lex was taken away after being convicted, she was approached by Otis Graves.

Ms. Teschmacher later visits Lex in prison, where he recruits her to apply for the job as Cat Grant's personal assistant so that she can spy on James Olsen and Supergirl for him. This is where we first saw Eve on the show, having just started the job in 201.

Eve Teschmacher attended Yale and earned degress in Literature and Physics. This reaffirms her statement in 321 that she studied Nuclear Physics at Yale.

Eve Teschmacher was also Junior Miss North Carolina.

Lex carves a relief of Hannibal crossing the Alps into his cell wall over the course of two and a half years.

The Warden of Stryker's Island has a husband who is a basketball fan. Lex arranged for him to get court-side seats for a team called the Knights.

Lex also made arrangements for the inmates of Stryker's Island to be fed lobster.

Lex is contacted by the Minister of Defense for the nation of Kaznina. This takes place "six months ago", sometime in the Fall of 2018, before the events of 401.

Lex Luthor can speak Russian.

Lex knows the home address of the mother of Stryker Island's warden, the church she plays Bingo at every Friday night and the name of  her most heated rival. Showing this convinces the warden to look the other way when Lex leaves prison for 72 hours to travel to Kaznia.

Lex is shown to be playing four games of chess simultaneously with other inmates. He is able to Checkmate all of them at the same time.

"Nine months ago", shortly after the events of 323, the Kaznian military discovered the clone of Supergirl made by the Harun-El. They recognized her immediately and confirmed that the real Supergirl was in America.

The only word the Supergirl clone would say at first was Alex. She didn't seem to have any verbal language skills but did react violently to a soldier who tried to touch her.

The Supergirl clone was personally taught the Russian language and geography by the Kaznian Minister of Defense. This process took up about three months. It is shown here that while her verbal skills are limited she knows how to read English well enough to look words up in a Russian/English dictionary.

The first time the Supergirl clone is taken outside and trained in the use of her powers, she is startled by a sudden gunshot and activates her X-Ray and Heat vision, killing several soldiers before she is swarmed and tasered into submission. This prompts the Minister of Defense to contact Lex Luthor.

While Lex is en route to Kaznia, the Supergirl clone hears a boy calling for help. She flies to his aid and discovers his home being robbed by three men. She kills the three men. When Lex arrives, he finds the clone hugging the boy, clearly shaken by what she has done.

When Lex first speaks to the Supergirl clone, he says that he is Lex. She asks if he is Alex and he agrees.

Lex is accompanied by Otis Graves and Eve Teschmacher.

Lex agrees to teach the clone how to use her powers and train her to hate who the Kaznians want her to hate for an undisclosed sum of money. Otis notes that Lex isn't as liquid as he used to be.

The soldier who tried to touch the Kara clone before is shot after Lex instructs him to be removed. When the Minister of Defense says he can have the soldier re-stationed in the base where the clone, Lex points out that the clone can see through walls.

When the soldiers is shot, Eve Teschacmacher flinches and Lex tells her not to do that in the future.

The clone says that the name "Alex" is all she remembers apart from how to speak some English and read it somewhat better. Lex lies and says that he and the clone are good friends. She does not know anything about Krypton or why she has her powers.

Lex says that he will tell Kara everything but first he must go for a time. He gives her a package of Chocos and tells her that he will send books for her to study and that he expects her to be speaking English better when he returns.

Eve Teschmacher is the one who figures out that the Supergirl clone must have been created when Supergirl came into contact with Harun-El in 323. She tells Lex about how Harun-El is a black Kryptonite that has the ability to split Kryptonians in two but that Lena thinks it might have other properties and us experimenting with it in secret.

Eve Teschmacher smugly says that she told Lex she'd be more valuable to him as a spy on Lena Luthor at L-Corp than watching Jimmy Olsen at CatCo. Eve started working for Lena after the events of 321.

Lex's ultimate plan is to help the Kaznian's turn the Supergirl clone into the weapon they want but then set it up so he can stop that weapon, causing the public to see that he was right all along about the dangers posed by the Kryptonians and other aliens and hail him as a hero.

Otis suggests that Ben Lockwood might fit the role of a patriotic patsy who can be manipulated to serve Lex's agenda in the United States, showing Lex one of Lockwood's pamphlets We saw Otis pick up this pamphlet in a flashback in 403, which took place during the events of 323.

This confirms that Lex was the mastermind behind setting up the Children of Liberty, who sent Otis and Mercy Graves to Ben Lockwood in the flashback sequences of 403.

The books that Lex sends the Supergirl clone include The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thus Spoke Zarathrustra by Friedrich Nietzsche, Course in General Linguistics by Ferdinand De Saussure, Edward Gibson's The Decline and Fall of the Roman EmpireTheir Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston and Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy by Karl Marx.

Lex learned both chess and the Russian language from the chess-master Anatoly Karpov as a boy.

Lex quizzes the clone on Philip of Macedon - the father of Alexander The Great, who accomplished far more than his father ever had and conquered the world. The clone guesses correctly that Lex was named for Alexander the Great and admired him.

The Great Gatsby is the clone's favorite book. She likes the rich language and descriptions of the beauty of the 1920s. Lex says that is not why he gave it to her. He wanted to show her how wasteful and greedy the idle rich were. She says that Lex must be rich and he agrees, but claims he only uses his money as means to an end to counter corrupt elites and those who abuse their power.

The Kara Clone begins visiting the boy she saved for tea on a regular basis. His name is Mikhail.

Mikhail's mother is away working much of the time.

Mikhail's father was a bad man who abandoned them.

Lex visits Mikhail with the Kara Clone on one of these visits. He says that he had a bad father too, but his father stayed.

It is during this visit that the Children of Liberty plot to seed the sky with Kryptonite from 402 is set into motion. Lex was prepared, however, and built a chamber that would protect the Kara clone. It is here that he reveals that she is an alien from Krypton, explains how Kryptonite can harm her and that there is another Kryptonian, Supergirl, who believes in the greed of the nations that oppose Kaznia.

When the Kara clone is released from her safety chamber in 404, Lex agrees to show her America and tell her more about Supergirl.

Lex refers to Supergirl as the clone's sister.

The Kara Clone draws a parellel between herself and Supergirl and Lex and Lena, identifying her as the usurper who took what was owed to another who just wanted to help people.

Lex arranges for the Kara Clone to work in a ritzy club under the name Linda Lee. This allows her to see first-hand the piggish behavior of American captains of industry.

Lex Luthor is aware of Supergirl's secret identity and breaks into Kara Danvers' apartment so the Kara Clone can see the "opulent" lifestyle of her sister.

While looking at Kara's kitchen and being stunned at how much food is saved for one person, the clone sees a photo of Alex Danvers with Kara and sees the name Alex on a score-card from game night pinned to the fridge.

The Kara clone is forced to impersonate Kara when Alex shows up at her apartment to water her plants. This reveals that this scene took place while Kara was on vacation in Smallville, during the events of Elseworlds.

After learning that Supergirl has an Alex of her own, the clone reads Kara's journal instead of immediately returning to Kaznia. Through it, she learns of Kara's life and how she befriended Lena Luthor.

The Kara Clone goes to L-Corp to see Lena and impersonates Kara to talk to her. She runs into Eve Teschmacher, whom she tells that from what she has seen America is unsavory but it is not as bad as Lex told her. She also says that Supergirl seems to want to help people and has compassion and friends like Lena. She wants to know how Supergirl and Lena could be friends, based on what Lex told her of his treacherous sister.

Eve Teschmacher reports this to Lex in prison, who comes up with a plan to win back control of the Kara clone by killing Mikhail with a missile attack.

Eve Teschmacher sneaks onto the USS Yosemite - a US Navy ship on maneuvers near Kaznia - and launches a missile which destroys Mikhal's home after Otis sets up a receiver to attract it.

The Kara clone goes on a rampage and nearly destroys the USS Yosemite.

Lex stops the Kara Clone, but admonishes her for being undisciplined and weak.

Otis is revealed to have saved Mikhails' life. He tells him that he was dead once but instructs Mikhail to play dead if he ever sees a bald man.

We see the clip of the Kara Clone training from 411 where she developed the nose-bleed and passed out.

Lex is contacted after this happened and informed that the clone is dying of an unknown illness.

Lex concludes the only thing that can save the clone is the Harun-El, which means he needs to help Lena finish her work. Since there is no way Lena will work with him, he concludes he must goad her into saving him. This leads Lex to go into the radioactive chamber he built to test Kara's invulnerability, and exposing himself to enough radiation to give himself cancer.

Lex tells Lena about his illness, confirming what Lena said in 415 about Lex telling her he was dying of cancer six weeks earlier.

Lionel Luthor was an alcoholic.

Lex uses a blood transfusion of his own blood to cure to treat the Kara clone. He apologizes for what he said before. She in turn apologizes for losing control of her emotions. She declares that she will be more logical in the future and follow Lex's lead, not letting her heart guide her as Supergirl does.

Lex gives the clone a title - Red Daughter - and declares that she will be his legacy - the new Alexander who will conquer the world and create a new era of peace.

Supergirl tells Alex and James that Lex Luthor has escaped.

Alex says she will find Lena. She tells Supergirl to find J'onn and then go look for Lex.

Ms. Teschmacher is seen dropping Lena off at her office and leaving a letter behind on her desk.

The Red Daughter is seen hovering over an American city as the episode closes.


Location


Metropolis - The Roof Of The Daily Planet - Spring 2019 (Today)
Metropolis - Spring 2016 (Three Years Ago)
Stryker's Island - Spring 2016 (Three Years Ago)
Stryker's Island - Fall 2018 (Six Months Ago)
Kaznia - Fall 2018 (Six Months Ago)
Kaznia - Summer 2018 (Nine Months Ago)
National City - Winter 2018 (Four Months Ago)
Kaznia - Winter 2018 (Four Months Ago)
Kaznia - Winter 2019 (Three Months Ago)
National City - Five Weeks Ago
Kaznia - Spring 2019 (Today)


The Bottom Line

A powerful episode that redefines the series and the stakes of the season. While the Red Daughter storyline has been handled clumsily before now, this episode explains away the missteps and inspires a surprising degree of sympathy for its villains. The Red Daughter is shown to have been manipulated from the first moment of her creation. Eve Teschmacher is shown to have been manipulated by Lex Luthor, even if she is more ruthless than we thought. Even Otis is shown to have a softer side. And you almost feel sympathy for Jon Cryer's Lex in those moments where it seems like he's slipping a little truth into his sob stories, such as when he mentions his own bad father and looks uncomfortable at the honest emotion. Almost.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Starman Plays Batman: The Telltale Series - Part 16

In which we investigate a crime scene and confirm what every Bat-fan knows - Alfred is a badass. After that, I speed-read through the news (for the last time) and use the Bat-Computer to try and figure out where Alfred is being held captive.


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. It is also a chance to test their ultimate tool 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.