Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Starman Plays Batman: The Enemy Within - Part 3

In which we investigate the Riddler's puzzle, outsource the job to Lucius Fox, meet Lucius' even more brilliant daughter Tiffany and run into our old friend John after a very unpleasant interview with the Agency. Also, stuff starts to go wrong. Horribly.


Arrow Episode Guide: Season 7, Episode 19 - Spartan

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




Plot

Armed with new information on the killer of Emkio's mother, Oliver hopes to turn his sister away from the Ninth Circle. Unfortunately, a sudden setback will leave Team Arrow at a disadvantage and send Diggle looking for help from an old military contact he has a bad history with. Meanwhile, Felicity is approached with an interesting offer regarding her company, only to have the Ninth Circle steal her latest invention for their own purposes.



Influences

The Green Arrow comics of Benjamin Percy (The Ninth Circle and Emiko Queen) and Chuck Dixon (the Cygnus X-1 weapon)


Performances

Ernie Hudson is a fun presence as General Stewart.


Trivia

Alena makes reference to a Dr. Will Magnus wanting to buy Smoak Technologies. Felicity describes him as the world's greatest expert on robotics. First appearing in Showcase #37 in April 1962, Dr. Will Magnus was the scientist who created the super-powered robots known as the Metal Men.

Diggle's stepfather is revealed to be a Marine General named Roy Stewart. It is worth mentioning that there is a long-running fan theory that John Diggle is the Arrowverse equivalent of John Stewart - a career soldier who became a Green Lantern. This would seem to confirm the idea, as it was suggested that John Diggle, on Earth-90, had become Green Lantern.

Diggle makes mention of his father dying during a secret mission to Vlatava. In the DC Comics Universe, Vlatava is an Eastern European nation with a long history of religious and sectarian turmoil. The entire country, with the exception of its president and Count Vertigo (the last surviving member of its royal family) was killed by The Spectre.

The Ninth Circle is after a biological weapon dubbed Cygnus X-1, which is said to be a bacteria that can eat through anything. This sounds similar to Mutajek 9-9 - a self-replicating biological weapon from the Green Arrow comics which could eat through any form of plastic and destroy a city in minutes. In the Where Angels Fear To Tread storyline, Oliver Queen died trigger an explosion that prevented a Mutajek 9-9 bomb from being detonated over Metropolis.


Technobabble

The item Virgil and his men were sent to purchase was an ARGUS vault drive, triple-level encryption or eyes-only documents

Felicity says the vault drive contains a security failsafe protocol to prevent it from being hacked that isn't the same as the ones used by ARGUS. She recognizes them as belonging to the Defense Intelligence Agency.

The Galaxy One helmet is powered by a module made of an alloy proprietary to Galaxy One. In order to access its workings, Felicity must get one of that exact make of module.

With enough pressure at a steady pace, a shoelace can saw through hard plastic.

Cygnus X-1 was meant to genetically engineer a bacteria that could consume the byproducts of nuclear fission. Instead, it created a bacteria that would eat through nearly anything.


Dialogue Triumphs

Virgil: (eying Alena as she wields a keyboard like a club) Pistol beats keyboard, darling.

(General Stewart enters into the Bunker)
Stewart: So this is where you people work? Impressive.
Oliver: How did your men end up at Smoak Tech, General?
Stewart: Several months ago, the DIA  got wind of a Ninth Circle mole inside ARGUS. Since then, we've made it a point of tracking their activity, including the theft of that drive, which led us to your friend Virgil.
John: Wait. Wait. Wait. I thought you said you didn't know anything?
Stewart: I said I couldn't -tell- you anything.

Alena: What happened to Archer putting Smoak Tech on the map?
Felicity: Well, that was before I realized all the bad that she could do. I wanted to invent something that would help save the city, and instead I made something that can destroy it.
(Felicity freezes up in horrified realization.)
Felicity: Oh, my God. I'm a mad scientist. Oh, my God, no. It's so much worse than that. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. I'm my dad!
Alena: I am your friend who has some real-life experience working with evil geniuses, and you need to trust me on this one - you are not one of them, okay?

John: Oliver told me the truth about Vlatava... about my father. Why did you let me believe a lie? You let me hate you.
Stewart: Every child deserves to believe that his father is a hero. And believing it, you became one. If he could see you today, I know he would be so proud of you.
John: If I'm a hero It was all because of you, Sir.


Continuity

Virgil appears for the first time since 714, leading the group of Ninth Circle soldiers trying to buy a high-security ARGUS vault drive.

When Felicity accidentally fries the drive before they can figure out what the Ninth Circle was after, John Diggle says he has a contact with the Defense Intelligence Agency - the DOD department who encrypted the vault drive.

John's contact is revealed to be General Roy Stewart - John's step-father.

General Stewart denies knowing anything about the Ninth Circle and says he can't tell them anything about what is on the drive since John lost his security clearance after he quit ARGUS.

Felicity is still trying to get Archer rebooted.

Robotics expert Dr. Will Magnus is apparently interested in buying Smoak Technologies because of Archer. Apparently it sounds similar to an AI he's been working on for years.

Smoak Technologies is attacked by the Ninth Circle and Virgil.

Felicity and Alena are saved by General Stewart's men, but the tablet holding Archer is stolen.

General Stewart lied about not knowing about the Ninth Circle and reveals the drive contained a list of DIA Special Agents in the field.

John has never gotten along with his step-father. He later tells Oliver this is due to Stewart being his father's commanding officer on a Vlatava, where he died and the report of the mission making it sound like Stewart left his men to die while escaping himself

John also says that Stewart was a harsh man, who had him and his brother run through the same Spartan-style training drills that he did as a marine in a bid to make them tougher. He said he didn't care if he was liked, so long as they were strong.

Only one of the DIA agents is unaccounted for. When Team Arrow goes after him General Stewart and Diggle are ambushed and abducted by the Ninth Circle.

General Roy Stewart has been, over the course of his career, the thrice-decorated Commander of the 1st Recon Battalion, Commandant of the USMC, the head of DARPA and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

According to Felicity, the botched mission where Diggle's dad died was actually a huge success and part of why General Stewart was asked to head DARPA.

The Ninth Circle wanted General Stewart for his knowledge of a project called Cygnus X-1. It becomes clear they intend to use Archer to find the DIA personnel who have access to it and follow them to steal it.

Oliver gives John the unredacted files describing his father's death. According to them, John's dad was negligent, got two other Marines killed and the only reason anyone survived was because of General Stewart's leadership.

Felicity deletes Archer rather than let it be used by the Ninth Circle.

Oliver tries to tell Emiko about Dante's setting up her mother's assassination, but she doesn't believe him.

The Ninth Circle gets away with the Cygnus X-1.

John makes his peace with General Stewart.

Alena makes a back-up of the root files of Archer. She says they can rebuild but Felicity argues against it. Judging by the way Alena looks at her flash-drive, she disagrees.

Emiko kills Dante, saying she learned the truth about how he arranged for her mom ti die.  He says it was to make her stronger by destroying the final piece of her old life.

Mia gives Felicity the helmet she took from the Galaxy One soldier in 718.

The bombs The Canaries stole are secure and William is making sure they can't be exploded remotely.

Roy and Dinah are setting up a perimeter around the last Canary Nest.

Felicity needs a unique power module to access the helmet. Connor and Mia go to retrieve one.

The Deathstrokes are a gang that control part of the marketplace in Central City. Only certain people can get into their territory.

Connor has a UV tattoo that allows him to go into Deathstroke territory.

John Diggle Jr. is revealed to be the leader of The Deathstrokes. Connor says that he rebelled against their parents teachings.

Before their off-camera encounter, Connor hadn't seen JJ in over a year. They used to be best friends before JJ rebelled against their father.

Mia forgives JJ for lying to her while working in his deep-cover identity.

Mia and JJ have to evade the Deathstrokes that JJ apparently sent after him.

Felicity determines the helmet connects its wearer to Archer, effectively giving them an AI-driven sixth sense. An army of soldiers with tech-enhanced armor could easily destroy the Canaries, according to Felicity.


Untelevised Adventures

Connor Hawke's meeting with JJ takes place off camera.


The Bottom Line

A lackluster and largely forgettable episode, that does nothing to advance the plot until the final two minutes. Even then it doesn't really change much beyond letting us know WHY the soldiers killing The Canaries are so awesome and Dante dying... though it is unclear if Emiko is going to turn on the whole organization or use the Ninth Circle to make the whole world burn. Alas, thinking on next week's episode is more entertaining than this one.

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 4, Episode 12 - The Eggplant, The Witch & The Wardrobe

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




Plot

 As Nora Darhk and John Constantine reluctantly join forces to combat Neron, Sara must save Ava from her own personal purgatory while battling her own inner demons. Meanwhile, as Ray and Nate go to investigate Hank's "special project," Zari gets unsolicited advice from everyone regarding her feelings for Nate... even Mick!


Influences

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (title), Jurassic Park (Nate calls his father's idea for a magical theme park Jur-Magic Park) and What Dreams May Come (the hero going into Hell to rescue the person they love).


Goofs

Shouldn't there be someone besides Ray in the Comms room watching the prisoners?


Performances

It's a brief moment, but the scene near the end with John and Ray watching over an unconscious Nora is a good bit of silent acting for Brandon Routh and Matt Ryan, where a lot is said without anything being said based on the pauses and body language.


Artistry

The design of Ava's purgatory and all the various doll boxes is nice.


Trivia Of Tomorrow

The realm in which Ava is trapped is described as a purgatory and not part of Hell. In some Christian traditions, Purgatory is a realm reserved for sinners who aspired to Heaven but did not repent before death. They are allowed to work off their sins by suffering for a time before being allowed admission to Heaven.

Purgatory, it should be noted, is different from the state of Limbo, which is typically reserved for innocents who were unworthy of Heaven due to a lack of faith.


Technobabble/Arcana

Nora Darhk can track a person's whereabouts with a sample of their blood.

According to John, demons require a mortal vessel in order to operate on Earth. Typically they possess a willing host (i.e. a magician who bargains for power in exchange for letting the demon take control for a time)

If the soul attached to a mortal body is not willing to let the demon inside, it has to force its way in, sending the soul into a purgatory of sorts. The purgatory is made up of the worst fears and nightmares of the soul, wearing it down until it gives in to the invading demon or becomes lost. Typically, the soul only has a certain amount of time to escape this purgatory.

It is possible for a magician to send another person into this purgatory, but there is nothing they can do to protect that person once they are there. The ritual John uses to do this requires that he make a circle around Sara and Ava using some sort of ash and a chant in Latin.

Nora uses the word limbo to describe the dimension that Sara and Ava are in. This suggests that this state is different from Limbo and Purgatory which are specific realms referred to by various religious denominations.

John has a charm that can prevent Neron from speaking. Combined with the right chant, it crates a golden ball of light that can knock Neron out.

Sula the Wolf Witch spoke of how it was possible to smother a demon by freeing them from its earthly vessel, like a fish out of water.

Dogs can sense the presence of a demon possessing someone and will react violently in their presence.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Nora offers to help Sara track Ava through her connection with Neron.)
John: Demons communicate. He'll know your past. How susceptible you are. You're a liability.
Ray: She's not a liability! She's a survivor. Unlike you, she's turned her dark experiences into a  source of strength! Not an excuse for alcoholism or chain smoking! She also saved your life.
(There's a pause as John rolls his eyes and Ray realizes he might be white-knighting a bit too hard.)
Ray: Sorry. Would you like to add anything?
Nora: No. That about covers it.

Nate: My dad made a deal with a demon to open a theme park?!

Sara: I've died, lost my soul and escaped a demon realm. I'm pretty sure I can handle Ava's purgatory.

Mick: Where's Sara?
Zari: She's with Constantine and Nora trying to find Ava.
Gideon: Actually, they've just returned and Mr. Constantine has called a team meeting in the lab.
Charlie: He can do that?
Mick: No.
Zari: (sighing) Let's go, dummies.
(Zari leaves the room with Charlie and Mona following behind her. Mick sits down and begins eating Zari's abandoned meal.)

Ava: Look, you're allowed to want things sometimes, Sara.
Sara: But what if I can't be the person that you need?
Ava: Let's be honest - neither of us needs anybody, right? But you are who I want.

(Mona is trying to get Zari to send Nate a sexy text with Emojis. Zari is reluctant. Mick is at his typewriter working while this is going on. Suddenly, Mick pulls out a page.)
Mick: Here. Use words.  It's erotic but vulnerable.
(Zari looks hesitantly at the typewritten page.)
Zari: Okay. Let me see it.
(Zari takes the page and reads it.)
Zari: (To Mick, coolly) I am not saying "bulge."

(Nora gets shaken as Neron talks directly into her head again.)
John: (suspiciously)
You alright there, love?
Nora: Yeah. I just need some coffee. I'm fine.
(Nora gets up and moves past John to the next room.)
John: And I'm sober.
(John take a pull from his whiskey.)

Neron: (describing John Constantine) Cocky cowboy wearing his hangover like a ten-gallon hat.

(As Ava and Sara take their leave of the Emoji conversation, as Zari fights Charlie and Mona for her phone.)
Ava: You know, we should probably talk about whether or not we want kids.
Sara: Eh - let's wait until the other eight are old enough to handle it.

John: I'm not asking for forgiveness, Des.
Desmond: (coldly) Good.
John: (moving to cut him off as he tries to walk away) Just wait... wait, Des.
Desmond: You saved me, Johnny. I'm grateful for that. But it doesn't change anything.
John: I know. (holds up a mind eraser) You know I can make it all go away, Des. Make you forget.
(Desmond just look at John.)
Desmond:
No. You sent me to Hell. (pauses) That's something we're both going to have to live with.
(Desmond walks to the Time Bureau exit and doesn't look back, as John just stands there.)

(Ray and John are watching over an unconscious Nora)
Ray: I couldn't let her get hurt again.
John: Oh yeah, well, you just rolled straight in there like a knight in shining armor, and nearly got her killed.
Ray: (quietly) I didn't mean to.
(There's a long pause. It's clear John is thinking about Desmond and his own actions trying to save his boyfriend.)
John: (commiserating) Yeah, I know.


Continuity

Sara finds her and Ava's apartment ransacked.

John confirms that Nora Darhk didn't kill Hank - it was Neron.

Nora says that she developed a connection to Neron she can use to track him.

John does not trust Nora because he thinks shes susceptible to being influenced by demons after being a host for Mallus.

Nora does not trust John because he abandoned her to the Order of the Shrouded Compass in 310.

John, Nora and Sara determine that Ava was kidnapped two weeks ago.

Nora is able to sense that Ava was thrown against a mirror, which broke, before being strangled.

Nate has Gary help him start shredding all the documents involving Hank's plays for Heyworld.

Gary says he feels like Erin Brockovich, though Nate rightly points out that they are the bad guys attempting a cover-up in this scenario.

Ray tells Gary and Nate that Ava is missing

Gary is confirmed to be Jewish, as he makes reference to having a dream about Ava driving him to Schul.

Gary goes off to take care of Ava.

Ray tells Nate about Hank's deal with Neron.

Nate tells Ray about the plan for Heyworld.

Nate gets a phone call from a man named Mikey T. who is overseeing the construction of the theme-park at Buckwood Downs.

Nora tracks Ava to a cheap motel called The Sleepaway Inn. She's alive but non-responsive.

John guesses that Neron is preparing Ava to become a demonic vessel - either a replacement for his current body or someone else.

John sends Sara into Ava's personal purgatory.

Ava's personal purgatory resembles an IKEA-like store called MegaStör.

Mona declares that Zari and Nate's couple's name should be Natari.

Gary says he will watch after Sara and Ava while the rest of the Legends are dealing with John, Charlie and Nora go after Neron.

Mikey T. recognizes Nate as he shares his dad's jawline. He says Hank talked about how great Nate was all the time.

The construction team is currently working on a dragon's lair and a unicorn rodeo/jousting arena.

Nate tells Mikey T. to start tearing down the whole park.

After Gary starts taking care of Ava and talking out-loud about how he is there for her, Gary appears in Ava's purgatory as one of the employees.

Gary in Purgatory suggests that Ava and Sara check out the wardrobe department.

Sara and Ava have to put together a wardrobe in order to make a doorway out. The wardrobe falls apart when Sara just tries to put it together intuitively. Ava insists on using the directions but they wind up having pieces left over. Eventually the door opens when they agree that what they made together doesn't have to be perfect to work.

Neron whistles "Pop Goes The Weasel" as a continual tick.

Charlie, Nora and John are able to trap Neron by having Charlie pose as Ava.

Nora and John lock Neron up in a cell at the Time Bureau and within a magic circle.

Neron tells Nora and John that all he's doing is fanning the flames of what mortals do to themselves when Nora asks if he's trying to inflict fear and anger on humanity.

Gary in Purgatory tells Ava and Sara they have to choose the right mattress to move on. He also says they have to get out of the store before Tabitha shows up.

Sitting on the mattresses ages Sara and Ava . The two wind up arguing over price vs. reliability and the test ultimately leads the two to discuss that they aren't afraid of committing to each other or growing old with each other but that Sara has issues with planning for the future and Ava can't face the future blind. They pass on when they agree they don't need each other but they do want to be with each other, no matter what.

Sara and Ava once went on a date to an escape room together.

When Nate learns that Neron has been captured, he locks himself in the cell with him.

Neron tells Nate that Hank was an unfortunate snag in his plans. He had no interest in building a theme park - that was all Hank's idea.

Neron gave Hank power in exchange for access to an army of nightmarish creatures that could terrorize people into giving up their souls.

Ray just barely stops Nate from breaking the circle around Neron. Nate snaps out of his rage when he punches Ray and realizes he's being manipulated.

Sara and Ava wind up in a mock-up of their kitchen where the realities of real life (washing dishes, garbage,light fixtures breaking, bills to sort through) keep piling up and threatening to overwhelm them. Ava disappears after Sara dismisses her declaration that she wants a life with Sara and to have hobbies and something outside her job as a "time-traveling superhero" even if that means dealing with the boring stuff. Sara refuses to go to the suburbs and recycle until she dies.

Sara escapes into an aisle full of Ava clones, all set up in boxes like Barbie dolls. The variants include Sexy Ava (low-cut dress), Healthy Ava (aerobics outfit), Fun Ava, Exploring Ava (astronaut), Luxurious Ava (sunglasses and fancy dress) and Assertive Ava (soldier).

Mona tries to get Zari to compose a sexy emoji message to send Nate.

Mick writes a romantic message for Zari to text Nate.

Nora goes to Neron, apparently ready to make a deal.

Neron claims to be capable of bringing Nora's dad back from the dead. He confirms that Damien Darhk is in Hell and that he misses his daughter.

Neron makes reference to his Tabitha being on Earth soon and how they'll put John away for good. It was his intention to make Ava into a vessel for Tabitha.

Ray convinces Nate that he should be proud of the man he helped Hank to become in all the time they spent together at the end. This inspires Nate to stop the Heyworld from being destroyed.

Nora seemingly turns on John and gets ready to free Neron.

Sara flees the aisle and, once the lights are out and she's refused to pic one of the other Avas, she goes into the As-Is section of the store. It is here she finds the real Ava. This test was born over Ava's anxieties over being a clone and how Sara could have any other woman, so why would she want her when she's nothing special?

This revelation - that Sara sees her as someone unique - gets Sara and Ava out of the purgatory.

The alarms go off as Neron leaves Desmond's body, as Neron prepares to enter Nora. Ray sees this from the comms room.

In his natural form, Neron looks like a black smokey clowd with glowing red eyes and a red heart.

It's at this point we realize this was a planned trap and that Constantine was playing possum.

Together, Nora and John attempt to hold Neron in place. Unfortunately, Ray charges into the room, distracting John, which breaks the spell.

Nora releases a blast of violet energy that seems to drive Neron off but also knocks her unconscious.

Zari ultimately decides to just ask Nate out for a date directly. She regrets this immediately.

Nate changes into his Steel form to stop a wrecking ball from destroying the dragon lair. Unfortunately, his phone is destroyed in the process, so he doesn't get Zari's message.

Zari chickens out on asking Nate out after she goes to ask him about the text.

Desmond says he wants nothing to do with John and nothing from him.

Desmond also refuses John's offer to erase his memory of all the time he spent in Hell.

Nora is stable but unresponsive after the battle with Neron.

John promises the unconscious Nora that he won't abandon her this time.

Neron is revealed to have taken refuge in Ray's body, as he begins whistling "Pop Goes The Weasel."


Location

Ava's Apartment - Washington DC - 2019
The Sleepaway Inn - Washington DC - 2019
The future site of Heyworld - Washington DC - 2019
Time Bureau HQ - Washington DC - 2019


The Bottom Line

A bit of a waste of most of the cast, who have nothing better to do than harass Zari about her love life. The purgatory scenes also fall flat due to the erratic pacing and the unnecessary (for once) addition of Gary adding levity where it really should be tenser. The bits with John and Nora almost make-up for it. As it is, this episode is far from bad, but it's not as great as the rest of the season so far.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 18 - Crime and Punishment

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




Plot

With Supergirl declared Public Enemy Number One, Ben Lockwood starts looting the DEO Armory for weapons to arm the Children of Liberty over Alex's objections.As Lena and Supergirl go to Stryker's island in search of evidence that might lead them to Lex Luthor, Kelly encourages James to turn to someone about his PTSD.


Influences

"The Late Mr. Kent" episode of Superman: The Animated Series. (Clark has better luck pursuing a case as Clark Kent than Superman.)


Goofs

I can readily believe that there are anti-alien bigots who will ignore a man trapped in a burning car to try and pull a citizen's arrest on Supergirl while she's in the middle of trying to save someone. I cannot believe, however, that anyone would be so stupid as to try shooting Supergirl with an ordinary pistol after she apparently killed the heavily armored personnel protecting the White House.

It also seems a little unbelievable that the man whom Supergirl saves from said burning car, while being shot at, immediately turns on her and says he doesn't understand why she's saving him after what he saw on the news. Honestly, this whole episode feels like it was written by someone who only reads Marvel Comics the way the public is easily misled.

It's incredibly out of character for Brainiac-5 not to over-analyze every aspect of a mission before starting it, so it is hard to believe he would get into the vault containing the DEO Alien Registry before he considered the mathematical odds of his actions making situations worse and the probability of Ben Lockwood finding some other way to go after alien civilians.

Somehow, the random man with the gun is exceeded in his stupidity by all the random prisoners in Cell Block D who think they can punch hurt Supergirl with their bare hands or a crowbar. (At least Supergirl rolls her eyes at this too.)

The biggest news story in the world is that Lex Luthor is still at large, but nobody thinks there is a connection between this and Supergirl apparently attacking the White House, despite everything Lex has done in the past to try and discredit Kryptonians?


Performances


As over-the-top as it is, Robert Baker's performance as Otis the Metallo is just plain fun. And his execution on the "something's not right..." gag with Kara is perfect.


Super Trivia

Lex Luthor's chessboard has a lock on it that is opened when the board is set in a configuration of a checkmate maneuver known as Anastasia's Mate.This is a real-world chess maneuver that occurs when a rook and a knight are used to trap the opposing king between a friendly piece and the edge of the board. Some variants, such as the one Lena builds, add in a queen.

While Lena is inspired to think of the maneuver because of Lex's pet nickname for her (he called her Anastasia in reference to the famous lost princess), the pattern has been in existence for more than 200 years and was named after an 1803 novel which made reference to it - Anastasia and the Game of Chess.

Brainiac-5's plan to delete the DEO alien registry is similar to one enacted by real-world American librarians in the face of the passage of the Patriot Act. Among other civil-rights violations, the Patriot Act authorized federal agencies to demand the library lending records of any suspected terrorist without a warrant. The American Library Association responded to this by changing their policy to discourage libraries from keeping such records in the first place. This prompted one FBI official to complain that "radical militant librarians" were making it impossible for them to do their jobs.


Technobabble

Supergirl suggests that Lex's duplicate Supergirl is the result of a shapeshifter, a hologram or an image inducer. Lena dismisses all three ideas because the heat signatures don't match.

Paragraph 4, Sub-Section A of the DEO charter requires a Presidential order to comply with any request to hand over alien technology to non-DEO government personnel.

The Superman Signal Watch has a fail-safe to warn anyone who can hear it of an ambush. The fail-safe is activated by pushing the button to activate the alarm twice. Pushing it once delivers a regular distress call.

The server containing the DEO alien registry is located in a vault on sub-level 5 of the DEO's base in National City. It is protected by a voice-identification scanner, a retinal scanner and armed guards before the elevator leading to the sub-level.

Brainiac-5 is able to use his image inducer to scramble a retina scanner so his eyes look like those of someone else.

Bilateral stimulation is a technique used to calm people with anxiety.

Lex had some kind of sensor set-up in his cell that would alert him if someone with Kryptonian DNA entered it.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Supergirl hears a man calling for help in the distance.)
Supergirl: Someone's in trouble. I have to go.
Alex: But you heard the President. It isn't safe!
Supergirl: If the government wants to stop me from helping people, let them try.

Lena: (on Lex) He's sick and he's twisted but at least he's consistent.

Lena: (reading Lex's diary) Lena craves my attention. Pathetic. If she knew how brilliant she was, she wouldn't need it.

(Otis walks through the prison library, looking for Supergirl. Instead he finds Cara Danvers hiding between two bookcases.)
Otis: Where'd Supergirl go?
Kara: I don't know, but I - I saw a red blur go through that door.
(She gestures to the dining room exit and Otis starts to walk off. Suddenly he stops and takes a step back to Kara.) 
Otis: Wait a minute...
(Close up on Kara looking nervous, clearly afraid Otis has somehow seen through her disguise.)
Otis: D Block's for guys only. What are you doing here?
Kara: I - um - I'm a reporter. I was doing an interview in the dining hall when the guards rushed us out. (pulling herself up) The article's on prison reform. Maybe you'd care to comment?
Otis: (shaking his head) I don't trust the press. They always parachute into crises like this without any context for the lager systemic issues at play.
(Otis walks off as Kara shakes head head in disbelief at her good fortune.)

Steve Lomeli: What is it they say? The pen is mightier than the sword?
Kara: Hmm. Maybe even mightier than a cape.


Dialogue Disasters

(Supergirl is trying to save a man trapped in a burning car. A man with a pistol keeps shooting at her, despite her pleading for the three people to help her save this man or at least stop shooting at her.)
Man 1: She's going to kill us!
Man 2: Not if I kill her first.
(Man 2 continues to try and shoot at Supergirl, despite her catching all his bullets)


Continuity

President Baker institutes a sun-down to sun-up curfew. Humans caught out after dark will be cited. Aliens will be detained.

Supergirl saves a man from a burning car, despite being shot at by some random man with a pistol who tries to do a citizen's arrest. Despite this, the man is confused as to why she save dhim and scared of Supergirl, saying his daughter used to look up to her.

Alex accounts for the Bizzaro Supergirl from 112, to make sure the Supergirl duplicate is not her.

Lena learned from her mother that Lex had been coming and going from his cell at Stryker's Island for months.

Lena tracks the Cayman Islands bank account of the Stryker's Island warden and confirms several payments from Lex's accounts.

The Warden admits to taking money from Lex but has no idea where he is now.

The Warden agrees to let Lena and Supergirl inspect Lex's cell for two hours in exchange for his husband being left out of things when Lena reports his crimes to the police.

Lena identifies the image Lex etched into his cell wall as Hannibal Crossing the Alps.

When they were children, Lex and Lena left hidden messages for each other inside of their chess pieces.

Lex left a message for Lena inside the White Queen of his chess set in his cell. On a rolled up piece of paper, Lex left the date 7/16/18 and a photo of her test subject from 407. Lena says the date is a reference to July 16th, 1918 - the date of the execution of the Romanovs.

Lex used to call Lena "The Lost Princess" in reference to Anastasia Romanov.

Lena realizes that Lex's chessboard has a hidden lock on it that requires her to set-up a checkmate pattern called Anastasia's Mate in order to open it.

The panel under Lex's chess set conceals his diaries.

Lena says Lex left his diaries behind to torment her since he'd know the last thing she'd want to do is get inside his head and go through old memories.

Ben Lockwood is now Secretary of the Department of Alien Affairs, his previous position as director having been elevated to a Presidential Cabinet post.

Lockwood demands any weapons that could be used against Kryptonians and that the DEO assist him and his men in ambushing Supergirl.

Alex refuses citing a DEO Protocol that requires a direct order from the President to hand over alien weapons to non DEO personnel.

Colonel Haley orders Alex to give her the signal watch that Supergirl gave to her, as she begins preparing the weapons for Lockwood's return.

Alex gives Colonel Haley bad instructions for using the watch, which will warn Supergirl that the signal is a trap.

Brainiac-5 suggests deleting the DEO registry of alien citizens before Lockwood demands they hand it over as well.

James has an appointment with one Doctor Park, who is apparently the best PTSD psychiatrist in National City.

Kelly meets with Alex, who asks her for advice on handling Colonel Haley and convincing her to defy Lockwood's orders.

Kelly tells a story about a jerk CO she had while in the military and how she learned to work him by appealing to his concern for his men's safety rather than moral concerns.

One of Lex's diaries details his pay-offs to the guards and inmates. Another runs through Superman's many failings. A third is an inventory of every mistake Lena has made since she was four years old.

James is showing the same black veins running through the skin on the back of his neck that Adam developed before he developed superpowers.

Lex Luthor's next-door cellmate was a man named Steve Lomeli, who was imprisoned for stealing data from the US Department of Defense that proved the military was using illegal drones and leaked that information to the press. He doesn't like Supergirl, seeing her as a narcissist who thinks she's above the law.

Brainiac-5 has not spoken to Nia Nul since they kissed in 415.

Nia gives Brainy a hard time about him refusing to tell her about her descendants in the future but still expecting her to tell him the future.

Nia lies about Brainiac not destroying the registry, to make him realize that he should destroy the registry.

Alex tries to convince Colonel Haley that following Lockwood's orders would violate the spirit of the American military and asks her to consider her daughter. This angers Colonel Haley, who has also figured out that Alex lied about using the signal watch.

Otis Graves goes to the Warden of Stryker's Island after one of Lex's alarms senses that Supergirl is in his cell and kills him.

Otis releases all the prisoners on Cell Block D and tells them he'll free whoever can subdue Supergirl.

Lena gives Supergirl a Kryptonite shield that should protect her from Otis's refined Metallo body.

Supergirl welds Lena into Lex's cell to protect her from the prisoners while she fights her way to Otis.

James suddenly develops super-hearing, super-sight and crushes a metal lamp with one hand while having another PTSD attack after a gun-shot goes off on the TV behind him, after he returns to his office after his first therapy session.

One of Lex's journals talks about how Lena stole their father's favorite fountain pen for Lex. It was given to him by the King of Jordan.

As children, Lena and Lex sought shelter in a tree house when Lionel Luthor was drunk, since he couldn't climb into the tree.

Lex told Lena that when they were grown up, he was going to build a house for them where they'd always be safe in the mountains behind their home.

Lena recognizes the mountain in Lex's etching of The Alps as being, not one of the Alps, but the mountain he pointed out to her when they were younger.

Lena discovers the mountain conceals a button, which reveals a secret passage out of the cell.

Kara is able to escape from Otis by changing back into her Kara Danvers clothes and claiming to have been interviewing inmates on prison reform when the riot started.

Steve Lomeli stops another inmate from stabbing Kara with an improvised knife after she identifies herself as Kara Danvers with CatCo Magazine. He reveals himself as a fan of her writing and says he writes the only newsletter in Stryker's Island - "The Not So Free Press"

Lex apparently contact the National Guard, informing them that Supergirl was at Stryker's Island.

Kara knocks down all the fighting inmates with one shockwave generated with a clap of her hands, putting them all on the ground before the National Guard starts opening fire.

The tunnel in Lex's cell leads to a secret lab.

Amertek electronics on are a work-bench in the lab. This is the same corrupt company whose executives The Red Daughter severed in 416.

Lex has monitors in the secret lab that show the DEO's desert facility as well as his cell.

Otis lies about Luthor's cell still being in order when he calls.

Lex triggers a self-destruct in Otis' Metallo body which makes him explode, releasing a Kryptonite gas throughout the facility. Supergirl and Lena barely outrun the cloud and escape through a side tunnel out of the prison.

Nia has a nightmare vision of Brainiac-5 being grabbed by Children of Liberty while at the DEO.

Nia calls Brainy and tells him not to delete the registry. He says he already did, but he's holding a copy of it in his brain just in case they need it later.

Brainy says he was wrong to ask Nia to try and view the future on his behalf - mostly because the moral imperative to do the right thing is more important than any calculation but also because she's not very good at interpreting her dreams yet and the odds of him being arrested are 3 to 2 against.

Lockwood returns with his court order and sets his ambush. However, Colonel Haley pushes the button on the signal watch twice.

When Alex asks her about this later, Colonel Haley says it had nothing to do with what Alex said and everything to do with her daughter having nightmares about the martial law and the fact that her favorite teacher, an alien, has disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

The news is now reporting that Supergirl tried to free the prisoners at Stryker's Island.

Supergirl decides she needs to lie low for a while, despite what Alex and Lena think, and find another way to fight Lockwood and President Baker.

James calls Kelly, tells her about his seeing and hearing things from a distance, and how they need to talk to Lena.

President Baker authorizes Lockwood to deputize the Children of Liberty.

Otis was put back together by Eve Tessmacher after being blown up.

Kara interviews Steve Lomeli with the understand that he'll be an unnamed source. He reveals to her that he hacked the prison Wi-Fi and was able to back-up the computer in Lex Luthor's secret lab as a result.


Location


Stryker's Island - Metropolis.


The Bottom Line

A bit of a mixed bag, overall. When the episode is good, it is very good and the interactions between Lena and Supergirl,, Supergirl with Steve Lomeli (in both her identities) and Alex with Colonel Haley is golden. Braniac-5 and Dreamer's storyline is okay, if it a bit rushed, but it says a lot that I hadn't noticed that they hadn't interacted in three episodes.

The worst part of the episode is everything involving James and his sister, which instantly drags the plot down to a snail's pace. I know many people complain that James is a wholly unneeded character, but adding his sister into the show has only aggravated the problems with his scenes feeling tacked on.

Ironically, for all the problems this episode has with logic and people trying to hurt Supergirl who should really know better, some of its best moments involve Robert Baker hamming it up as Otis Graves and being appropriately stupid when it comes to seeing the obvious. Cheap as his resurrection is, it's actually a relief that such an amusing character wasn't killed off so casually. 

Friday, April 19, 2019

Starman Plays Batman: The Enemy Within - Part 2

In which we start kissing up to Amanda Waller, explore the Bat Cave and you get to watch me read the newspaper some more. Fun stuff, eh kids?!


The Flash Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 18 - Godspeed

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



Plot

With Nora's relationship with the Reverse-Flash revealed, Team Flash is torn on whether or not Barry and Iris' future daughter can be trusted. As the team goes through her journal to learn just how she came to work with their greatest enemy, they learn the story of how Nora learned of her powers and how she faced her first villain - a vicious speedster who dubbed himself Godspeed.


Influences

The Flash comics of Joshua Williamson (character of Godspeed) and Cary Bates (Character of Detective Curtis) The film version of The Silence of the Lambs (Nora's first meeting with Thawne in prison is a tribute to the first appearance of Hannibal Lecter)


Goofs


Iris says that Sherloque didn't say anything about his suspicions about Nora. Yet Iris caught him spying on Nora in 511 and told him to stop after he said he thought she was up to something.

It seems a little weird that Team Flash shuns Sherloque for having the gall to spy on Nora behind her back and then goes along with Ralph's suggestion to read her whole journal without question.

No effort was put into Candice Patton's old age make-up beyond giving her some silver streaks in her hair.

The Reverse Flash display at The Flash Museum says he was sentenced to life in prison, yet the end of the episode reveals he just got his last meal and is about to be executed. (You'd think an event like that would be big news and that Nora would have heard about it. Then again, Iris apparently runs all the media in Central City now.)


Performances

Jessica Parker Kennedy has a fantatsic turn here, adding a whole never level of depth to Nora West-Allen.


Artistry

It's a small thing, but I do like that it is Ralph who suggests reading all of Nora's diary to figure out what she was feeling after Sherloque went through it just looking for facts. Too often Ralph has been treated as the comic relief and nothing but this season so it's gratifying that he gets to show his detective skills and his heart in one gesture.

The script is filled with a number of clever callbacks to the pilot episode of The Flash and other early moments from Barry's early days.

Danielle Panabaker does a fantastic job with the direction. It's hard to single out any one element, but the greatest may be the total disconnect between the loving Barry Allen we see leaving a message for the daughter he knows he may never see grow up and the hate in Barry's voice two minutes later as he is abandoning that same daughter in the future after telling her he doesn't trust her and can't have her around him.


Flash Facts

This episode was directed by Danielle Panabaker, who plays Caitlin Snow.

Godspeed first appeared in The Flash Rebirth #1 in August 2016.

In the comics, Godspeed was Detective August Heart - a colleague of Barry Allen's and his closest friend at the Central City Police Department. Five years after Barry became The Flash, August was struck by lightning and became one of several new speedsters to seek training under The Flash following a freak storm made up of Speed Force energy. August would later start killing the other newbie speedsters in a bid to steal their power and become faster. He had the unique ability to move so fast for brief periods that he could create a clone of Speed Force energy and briefly be in two places at once.

The Arrowverse version of Godspeed is named August Hart. He is identified by the CCPD as a bio-hacker, former Mercury Labs intern and former graduate student at CCU specializing in Tachyon Mechanics. He was expelled after he conducted illegal experiments testing tachyon stimulants on coma patients. He learned of existence of the super-speed drug Velocity-9 while working at Mercury Labs and began trying to find a way to replicate it make the effects of the drug permanent.

The first truck Nora is asked to inspect came from Dayton Labs. In the DC Comics Universe, Dayton Labs is one of many companies owned by Steve Dayton a.k.a. Mento, who was also the fifth-richest man in the world.

The detective at the Dayton Labs robbery is identified in the credits as Frankie Curtis, though her first name is never used. In Cary Bates' run on The Flash, Detective Frank Curtis was a friend of Barry Allen's on the CCPD. He first appeared in The Flash #274 in June 1979.

Nora's first attempt at assisting the police doesn't go well, and the two bank robbers she tries to stop, who are called Bug and Byte, escaping after Nora loses control of her powers. In the comics, Bug and Byte were a brother/sister super-villain duo, who first appeared in Fury of Firestorm # 23 (May 1984). Bug had the power to mentally connect to any computer system and transform people into electrical impulses he could then trap on the computer. Byte had the power to transform herself into a being of living energy and transmit herself through phone lines and power lines like a bolt of energy or data.

The Arrowverse version of Bug and Byte are a duo of bank robbers - one man and one woman. It is unknown if they are also brother and sister or if they have powers. Given their reaction to being confronted by armed police officers, it seems unlikely.

It is said that Nora's supervisor at the CCPD is named Captain Fyre. First appearing in The Flash #285 in May 1980, Darryl Fyre was the Chief of Police towards the end of the original run of The Flash comics.

Later, in the New 52 reality, Darryl Fyre would raise Barry Allen as his own son after Nora Allen's murder. Unbeknownst to Barry, Darryl Fyre and his mother had been having an affair and his father, Dr. Henry Allen, was served divorce papers just before she was killed by Eobard Thawne.

Nora and Lia attempt to stop Godspeed from robbing Stagg Industries. In the comics, this is the business owned and operated by continual Metamorpho nemesis Simon Stagg. The Arrowverse version of Simon Staff was killed by Eobard Thawne in the second episode of The Flash's first season.

One of the businesses Nora identifies in Central City is Choi Enterprises. This is likely a nod to Ryan Choi - the second man to become known as The Atom.


Technobabble

In the future, people will have AR glasses that project a screen in front of them.

The Dayton Labs trick is filled with Benzene Methanol residue. According to Nora it is a versatile element, used for everything from treating lice to making nanotech.

Halothane is an incapacitating agent.

The Affinity 4000 is a top-of-the-line security camera. When it is tampered with, its fail-safe releases Halothane. Lia says they also have a Trillion FPS and can capture light in motion.

According to Dr. Bonwit, the stolen chemicals would only be able to work together is being built into a structure like an extracellular matrix.

Godspeed stole a lot of Carbon Disulfide from Ollins Laboratories.

Nora was hit with over 5 billion joules of electricity. This is the same amount of energy contained in a lightning strike.

A 10-90 is the police 10 code for a bank heist in Central City. (In real life, 10-90 is the code for a bank alarm going off.)

Eobard Thawne's cell is equipped with enough power dampeners to negate the powers of 1000 metahumans. Should those fail, the walls, class, ceiling and floor of his cell are wired to generate a charge of 400 kilo-joules, making them phase-proof.

Nora says that Carbon Disulfide mixed with Benzene Methanol would be unstable and explosive without a third chemical to act as a binding agent with a plus-one oxidation state, like Dioxygen Diflouride. She later identifies this as the extracellular matrix for the Velocity-9 drug.

According to Thawne, a biometric converted requires constant fluorescent light. It is a kidney shaped object.

Thawne suggests that they can neutralize all the Velocity-9 in Godspeed's system by exposing him to the electro-magnetic radiation of a satellite dish, utilizing the short bursts of microwave energy that occur every hour when the dishes recalibrate.


Dialogue Triumphs

Dexter Myles: (over PA system)
Thank you for visiting the Flash Museum today. The building will be closing in five minutes. All guests should make their way to the exit now. And Nora West-Allen, your mother called. Please, for your sake and mine, call her back.

Nora: Will you tell me how you were defeated?
Thawne: Why do you want to know that?
Nora: It'll help us with an investigation.
Thawne: You need to work on your lying. Nora. Your shoes are new. But your soles are worn. You have singe marks on your sleeves and singe marks on your pant legs, but most of all... your cheeks are flushed with windburn. (lovingly) Oh, I know that windburn. I can still feel it. (pauses) You're a speedster.

(Iris has just confessed that everyone in Nora's life knew that she was meant to have speed powers and that Iris used an implant to negate them.)
Nora: Why would you do that?!
Iris: Nora, I was trying to protect you.
Nora: From what?
Iris: From this city. From... from meta-humans. From... from yourself.
Nora: (laughing) Wow.
Iris: Nora, you don't understand -
Nora:  (sobbing) No, I don't understand! How did I get my powers?! What do you have against speedsters?!
Iris: Nora, I have already lost so much. I can't risk losing you too.
Nora: (shrugging) Well, you just did.
(Nora runs out of the room... in a flash.) 

(Nora is trying to outrun Godspeed)Nora: I can't lose him! Thawne! Did you hear me? I said I can't lose him!
Thawne: All right, Nora, do you see any walls near where you are? Preferably concrete?
Nora: Why?
Thawne: Because I want you to run into one. Or rather, through one.
Nora: I can't run through a concrete wall!
Thawne: Yes, you can. If you vibrate at the natural frequency of air, your body your cells will be in such a state that they will phase right through that wall.
Nora: I can't do this!
Thawne: Nora, listen to me. Listen to my voice. Breathe. Breathe. Feel the wind... on your face. The ground beneath your feet. And the lightning. Its electricity surging through your veins. To your nerve endings from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes like an electric shock you never want to end. You're part of something greater now, Nora. You are part of the Speed Force and its power, its power is yours to use. Now do it!

Nora: Here he comes!
Thawne: Then run, Nora. Run!


Nora: There's so much I wanted to ask you. So much that I still don't know. So much that my mom has lied to me about.
Thawne: You have no idea.
Nora:  What do you know? Thawne, please, you may be the only person left in my life who won't lie to me!
Thawne: Nora... how much do you really know about The Flash?

 
Dialogue Disasters


(Godspeed runs in and looks at Lia and Nora)
Nora: Oh my god!
Godspeed: Yes. I am a god. A god of speed!


Continuity


Sherloque says he senses something was strange about Nora from the first moment he met her.

Cecile says she never sensed that Nora was hiding anything in all the time they spent together.

Cisco points out that Thawne was also a master liar and he may have taught Nora how to do the same thing.

Ralph suggests reading Nora's diary to see what she was thinking and feeling beyond the fact that she had apparently been working with Thawne.

Like Barry, Nora was always running late before she got her speed.

Nora works with a Detective Curtis.

Nora is called to investigate the robbery of a Daytons Lab truck that was delivering chemicals.

Nora says that two labs and two transports were robbed earlier in the past week, with nobody seeing anything.

Nora theorizes that someone picked the lock on the transport, disable the camera and stole a chemical from the Dayton Labs truck before the incapacitating agent could do its job.She does not voice her only explanation for this - a speedster - to Detective Curtis.

Nora's best friend and co-CSI is a woman named Lia. She shares Nora's love of superheroes (especially speedsters) and thinks she would have been Jesse Quick's best friend had she ever met her.

Lia says there hasn't been a speedster seen in Central City since The Flash disappeared during the crisis Iris wrote about in 2014.

Lia says that The Flash, Kid Flash, Jay Garrick and "the purple speedster who showed up one day" have all vanished. (This last one seems to be a reference to Iris during the events of 416.)

Nora become a CSI to follow in the footsteps of the father she never knew.

Much as Barry was obsessed with proving his father's innocence on murder charges, Nora is obsessed with solving the one case Barry Allen couldn't  - the mystery of Cicada. She also has a case board in her office at CCPD.

Slowing down the security camera footage reveals streaks of white lightning inside the Dayton Labs truck.

Nora visits the Flash Museum to research speedster lightning.

The display of The Reverse Flash says that Eobard Thawne was finally captured and will spend the rest of his life in Iron Heights.

Nora confirms there is no record of a speedster who had white lightning.

Iris is in Coast City working on a story.

Lia gave a list of the stolen chemicals to a former teacher of hers, Dr. Bonwit, who now works at Ollins Laboratories. He says they might be part of a larger matrix, but he has no idea what might be made with only two chemicals.

Godspeed shows up as Lia and Nora are leaving.

Godspeed throws lightining at Nora, throwing her through a vat of chemicals and seemingly electrifying her.

When Nora wakes up, Lia is playing Lady Gaga's Pokerface. This is the same song Cisco played to get Barry to wake up when he lapsed into a coma.

Lia gets a minor burn from Godspeed's attack.

Dr. Bonwit is sent to the ICU after being attacked by Godspeed.

Nora says she feels good, apart from her fingers being a bit tingly, despite being struck by lightning.

Lia gives Nora a scrap of metal the paramedics found under a scar on her shoulder.

Nora first uses her powers trying to catch the vial with the metal scrap that Lia drops.  Nora runs out of control and crashes into the back of a Gambi & Sons laundry van. This is a shout-out to when Barry first got his powers in 101, when he landed in the back of a Gambi's Cleaners van.

In another nod to 101,Nora is unable to stop her hand from vibrating and looks at it in shock. This is the same thing Barry did when his powers first manifested (She says "What the hell?" whereas Barry said "What's happening to me?")

Nora tells Lia her secret.

Nora has a Flash bobble-head in her office.

Nora thinks her father was killed by metahumans, which is why she thinks Iris hates them. She doesn't understand why, since she knows Iris was the first person to write about The Flash when he first appeared.

The Flash Museum says that The Flash got his powers from being struck by lightning.

Nora's first attempt at stopping a bank robbery ends with the robbers getting away after Nora accidentally destroys three police cruisers. Thankfully, Bug and Byte were found 10 minutes later, hunched over with runner's cramps.

Nora's supervisor is named Captain Fyre.

Nora is the second person in 15 years to visit Eobard Thawne.

According to Nora, everything about the Reverse Flash in the CCPD files is cyber-locked and there's almost nothing about him in The Flash Museum except for his name the date of his incarceration.

Thawne is being tortured in his cell, electrocuted with some device that generates red lightning or which is drawing the Speed Force out of him.

Lia determines that the scrap in Nora's scar was the power-canceling microchip that Iris implanted in Nora as a child which we first learned of in 504.

According to Nora, the only place in Central City that has Dioxygen Diflouride is Stagg Industries, which previously appeared in 102.

Lia is killed by Godspeed, who puts his hand through her chest at super-speed.

Iris releases Nora from her cell in the present, after reading about Lia's death and realizing that Nora only went to Thawne after the one person she thought she could trust died in her arms.

The CCPD was able to identify Godspeed thanks to the DNA he left in the exit wound after he killed Lia. They identify him as a man named August Heart.

According to August Heart's record, he's a former employee of Stagg Industries (Janitor), Dayton Labs (Inventory Manager), Mercury Labs (Intern) and a barista at three different C.C. Jitters locations. Like his comic-book counterpart, he has a deceased brother.

Nora recognizes August Heart as a man she saw at the Flash Museum all the time.

Watching a video of Zoom (from 206) Nora remembers that Godspeed's lighting briefly shifted from white to blue when he killed Lia. Nora then remembers that Trajectory (the evil female speedster from 216) had worked at Mercury Labs and her lightning was also blue. This leads her to conclude that Godspeed must be using a Velocity 9 variant to get his powers.

Thawne agrees to help Nora after she talks about Lia's death.

Thawne teaches Nora how to create an electrical shock by rubbing her hands together and using it to short out electronics.

Thawne tries to teach Nora how to phase through a concrete wall, using a similar speech to the one he gave Barry in 117.

Thawne's advice allows Nora to beat Godspeed.

Thawne reveals to Nora that he's about to be executed in 1 hour and 19 minutes, when she comes to tell him about her victory over Godspeed.

Thawne's last meal is from Big Belly Burger.

Thawne tells Nora how to find the Time Vault in what was STAR Labs and is now the Flash Museum, using the ring from his Reverse Flash costume as a key.

Nora discovers several containers holding old versions of The Flash's costumes, including the one she takes that she gave to Barry in 501. There is also a rack holding several costumes, including Iris' jacket from when she briefly had super-speed. This one will go on to become Nora's costume.

Gideon activates when Nora West-Allen touches her podium in the Time Vault. She knows who Nora is and reveals that her father was The Flash.

Gideon has a message for Nora, which Barry recorded for her just before his apparent death during the Crisis where he disappeared.

Before Nora went back and altered the timeline, apparently Barry had no idea that his daughter would inherit his powers.

Barry runs Nora back to her time and warns her to never try and come back to the past again, because he does not trust her.

Barry confronts Thawne in prison. Thawne asks him not to hold what happened against Nora and asks him to consider that a condemned man's last request.

When Barry leaves, the countdown past 10 minutes to Thawne's execution has begun.


Location

Central City - 2049
Iron Heights Prison - 2049


The Bottom Line

A definite contender for one of the strongest episode in the show's history. Easily the best of Season 5 so far, thanks to some strong direction and strong performances. 

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 4, Episode 11 - Séance and Sensibility

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




Plot

When Mona discovers that her favorite writer of all time, Jane Austen, is at the center of a potential magical catastrophe, she takes Sara, Zari and Charlie with her on a mission to 1809. Back in the present, Constantine and Mick look into the supernatural weirdness around Hank Heywood's wake, as Ray and Nora wind up in close quarters, when Ray decides to hide Nora in his room while trying to prove her innocence.


Influences

The novels of Jane Austen. The Incredible Hulk (Mona now has a seperate personality when she transforms who thinks Mona is weak) Bollywood musicals. Jurassic World (Hank's ill-advised plan for a monster theme park.)


Performances

Who knew Tala Ashe could sing so well?

It's hard to pick one great moment from this, but Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford's non-singing duet and dance was my favorite.


Artistry

The script is full of a rare degree of wit, with some clever segues between the scenes and some truly amusing dialogue.

The whole musical number is beautiful. The lyrics. The dancing. The costumes. And it's funny to boot!


Trivia Of Tomorrow

When Ray realizes Sara is taking a call about a mission, he says :"Legends Assemble!"  This is a clear nod to the catch-phrase of Marvel Comics' Avengers.

Zari makes mention of the Bechdel Test as the other ladies on the team are giving her a hard time about Nate. The Bechdel Test is named for cartoonist Allison Bechdel, whose comic Dykes To Watch Out For first suggested that one could determine if a film was sexist or not based on three criteria - it must have at least two female characters, it must have a scene where these two characters talk to each other and this conversation must be about something besides men.


Technobabble/Arcana

John notes that one of the prayers Nate's aunt is reciting is specifically meant to ward off evil spirits during a wake.

John also notes that Nate's family observes the custom of covering mirrors during a time of mourning. There are many superstitions in many cultures for why this is done, from denying entry to evil spirits to preventing the mirror from becoming cursed should it catch an image of the deceased once the body is moved. Practically, it is done so that the mourners will not be concerned about their appearance and preen when they should be thinking of the deceased.

Kamadeva (or simply Kama) is the Hindu God of Love. In this case, Love meaning lust or desire rather than chaste, romantic love.

As Mona notes, the Kama Sutra (an ancient Hindu text on finding love and maintaining a successful romantic life) is named after Kamadeva, though the book is better remembered today for its sexual instructions than for its spiritual instruction on achieving oneness with another soul through true love.

The ashes of Kamadeva have the power to inspire a person to act on their existing desire. If they are asleep, this will result in their having an erotic dream. Based on the fact that Sara dreams of Ava and Mona of the Kaupe, it seems these dreams are inclined to be based on whoever that person is most devoted to emotionally. Otherwise, they will dream of someone they are attracted to, as with Charlie's dream of David Bowie. If they are with the object of their affection (as in the case of Ray and Nora) they will act upon the impulse.

Sanjay speaks of having gathered up Kamadeva's ashes after he was immolated by Shiva. This is a reference to one of the key legends regarding Kamadeva, who it is said allowed himself to be consumed by Shiva's anger after awakening Shiva from his meditations. This is said to have spread love throughout all living things as Kamadeva's physical essence was destroyed and this, in turn, inspired Shiva to mate with the goddess Pravati, resulting in the birth of a prophecized god who was able to slay the demon Tarakasura, who it was said could only die at the hands of a son of Shiva. It is later said that Kamadeva was reincarnated as Pradyumna - another son of Shiva and one of the four avatars of Vishnu.

John knows a seance spell that allows him to summon a spirit into a living human body. In this case, he summons Hank Heywood into Mick Rory's body.


Dialogue Triumphs

John: You feel the energy in this room? It's like sitting on a keg of dynamite. You see, wakes are notorious soft spots where the supernatural meets the living world. See Nate's aunt? (gestures to a woman sitting by the casket) That particular prayer is to ward off evil spirits. And they've covered the mirrors, so the bad lads can't get in.
Ray: Well, that's creepy.
John: Yeah, well, creepy is my business.
(Suddenly, the lamp next to the covered mirror begins to flicker and an electric buzzing can be heard.)
John: (worried) And it looks like business is good.

(Nora contacts Ray through a mirror at the Heywood home during the wake.)
Ray: Nora? How how are you doing that?
Nora: It's a reflection spell. I can't hold it much longer.
Ray: (firmly) Well, good, because there's nothing you could possibly say that would make any difference. This time there will be no more second chances!
Nora: Ray! I didn't kill Nate's dad!
Ray: (breaking down instantly) Oh, thank God, you're innocent!
(Nora, despite herself, rolls her eyes.)

(Zari and Kamadeva are making out in the brig of the Waverider.  Suddenly, Nate is behind Zari, kissing the back of her neck as Kamadeva kisses the side of her face. Zari seems to enjoy it for a moment before looking up at the audience.)
Zari:
Damn it. This is definitely a dream.

Zari: You shouldn't mess with people's dreams.
Sanjay: My powers don't create passion out of thin air. Whomever you dreamt about, you truly desire.
Zari: It doesn't mean I have to act on it. It's called impulse control.
Sanjay: You sound like a woman who has never let herself fall in love.
Zari: Where I'm from, love is a liability.
Sanjay: And yet a life without love is no life at all.

Jane Austen: (To Mona) May I offer you a bit of advice? My books advocate a partnership based on love and mutual respect, not on losing control.
(Cut To: Zari and Sanjay, spinning around in a courtyard, clearly losing control.)

Honestly, the whole musical number. But especially...

Nora: Ray, this music, - I think it's magical.
Ray: You're right. I want to express my feelings to you in verse.
Nora: Is that really necessary?
Ray: I had a dirty dream of you.
Nora: I'll bet mine was dirtier.
Nora: Why didn't you go and make a move?
Ray: I would have, if you'd been flirtier.
Ray: Okay. It's just complicated. If Nate knew, he'd be enraged.
Nora: I know, and I'm sorry, but my desire's been uncaged. Don't let this moment pass us by. It could be our only chance.
Ray: You're right. I need you now. Sorry, Nate and Captain Lance.


Dialogue Disasters

Wolfie: Mona is weak! Wolfie is strong!


Continuity

Sara, Mick, John and Ray show up for Hank's funeral.

Zari says she can keep pretending to be Nate's girlfriend for however long it takes since Nate is afraid that the news of them fake-breaking up will upset his mother even more.

Ray feels strange about seeing Nate, since he and Nora were pen-pals and Nora has been blamed for Hank's death.

Nora contacts Ray through a mirror and tells her she is innocent.

Mona is now calling her beast-form Wolfie.

Charlie tries to trigger Mona's transformations using meat. She encourages Mona to embrace her new poer but Mona is trying to maintain her humanity.

Mona is still a vegetarian, despite her new power.

Mona and Charlie realize something happened to Jane Austen because the names of her heroines are disappearing from Mona's T-Shirt, which reads "Elinor & Elizabeth & Jane & Emma." By the time she calls Sara, everyone but Emma has disappeared.

Gideon confirms this means that some magical fugitive had gotten to Jane Austen while she was attending a wedding in Bath in 1802 and that as a result she never wrote Sense and Sensibility or Pride and Prejudice.

Ray, Zari and Sara leave the wake early.

Ray says he will quarterback the mission from his bedroom.

Mona has developed an enhanced sense of smell because of her new powers. She claims to be able to smell Nate on Zari as well as her arousal.

Sara tells Zari about how Nate confessed his love for her after swallowing the truth bug in 410.

Zari is saved from being run over by a horse trying to retrieve Mona's bonnet by a handsome coachman.

Zari, Sara, Mona and Charlie wind up seating behind Jane Austen at the wedding. To Mona's horror, Jane is cynical about love and declares that the groom is desirable because of his wealth.

The wedding breaks down after the bride confessed her love for a scullery maid and the groom confesses his love for the bride's mother. The entire party erupts into an orgy as various people begin kissing regardless of propriety, age or gender.

Ray sneaks Mona onto the Waverider and plots to hide her in his room.

Charlie determines that the wedding was the second of two lust-outbreaks in Bath in 1802.

Mona and Sara go to interview Jane Austen, figuring if anyone noticed a newcomer to town it would be here, as Zari goes to chat with the coachman and see if he or any servants have noticed anything amiss.

Jane Austen says that everyone in Bath has been acting strangely since the arrival of Lord Remmington a week earlier.

John has a vision of Hank's soul screaming after he touches a mirror.

Sara and Mona determine that Lord Remmington is a drunken lout and that the man all the young ladies are swooning over is his coachman.

The coachman claims to be Kamadeva - The Hindu God of Love.

Zari is the first woman to ever resist Kamadeva's advances, according to Kamadeva This makes him more enamored of her.

By the time "Kamadeva" is locked up on the ship, the name "Emma" has disappeared completely from Mona's T-shirt.

Ray has a miniature castle with toy knights in his bedroom.

Nora has no problem with stripping down in front of Ray.

Ray is scared to so much as touch Nora.

Ray apparently has the ability to sleep anywhere and snores.

Nate attends to use his toast to burn his father as the liar and thief that he apparently was.

John says that Hank's spirit is desperately trying to stay attached to the mortal realm and he wants Nate to help him hold a seance to see what he has to say.  Nate refuses, saying he has no interest in anything Hank has to say at this point.

"Kamadeva" is able to use his influence to influence to push Ray to try and seduce Nora.

Sara has an erotic dream of Ava.

Charlie has an erotic dream about David Bowie.

Mona dreams of the Kaupe, but her expression suggests nothing sexual happened.

Zari has a dream about Kamadeva and Nate at the same time.

Mona changes into Wolfie after she becomes upset when Zari says that romance isn't real and Mona takes it as another insult of her romantic nature.

Wolfie changes back to Mona when Jane Austen says she does believe in love - so much so that she refused the only proposal she ever got because the man was a simpleton who didn't read anything but sermons.

Kamadeva reveals himself to be Sanjay - a mortal man who gathered up the ashes of Kamadeva after he was immolated by Shiva. He says the ashes gave him powers beyond imagining apart from inspiring lust, including some degree of eternal youth and immortality.

Zari decides to give herself over completely to Sanjay's powers.

Nate doesn't quite unload on Hank in his toast but he does say he was a workaholic who never took a day off, so he could finally rest in peace.

Nate's mom tells a story about how they planned for a year to go to Disney World as a family when Nate was a kid, but now Nate had to go to the hospital because of his hemophilia. Hank responded to this by renting a Mickey Mouse costume, going to the hospital to visit Nate and then visiting every other sick kid there and giving them a personal visit from Mickey Mouse. She says that Nate was not perfect but that at his best he could make people believe in magic.

Jane Austen explains to Mona that she decided to stop writing because her work was meant to satirize the manners of her society. What that society having lost all sense of decorum, coupled with a steady stream of rejection letters, she's decided there's no point in continuing.

Sanjay admits to having married 1000 times since he go Kamadeva's powers.

John performs a seance and channels Hank Heywood into Mick Rory's body to ask why he's so upset.

Hank tells John about how he made a mistake and made a bargain with a man - unlimited funding and all he had to do was give him access to the magical creatures in the Time Bureau. He didn't realize the man was a demon until after his death. He tells John the demon's name is Neron.

Nate discovers a secret passageway in his father's house, triggered by pulling a book on Disneyland. This leads into a secret study full of various files and a video camera, containing a file of Hank asking for investors to help him create a theme park full of magical creatures like the one Nate made a drawing of when he was a kid, called Heyworld.

Nate realizes his father wasn't involved in torturing the magical creatures - he was trying to make his son's childhood dream come true to make up for all the time he lost with Nate.

Neron reveals himself to John and taunts him - first as John's reflection and then as Desmond and then in his true form.



Location

Washington DC - 2018
Bath, England - 1802


The Bottom Line

Honestly, the story is all over the place and the important plot details with Hank and John all get rushed in the final segment. The resolution with Jane Austen is a bit pat (all it takes to restore the timeline is one werewolf fangirl telling Jane she'll be a success) and we never to find out what the Legends do with Sanjay. Still, for that musical number and all the comedy bits that work... all is forgiven.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 7, Episode 18 - Lost Canary

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




Plot

With Black Siren's true identity exposed, she's back to her wicked ways and teaming up with The Shadow Thief to loot Star City blind. Dinah Drake is more determined than ever to being the fugitive from Earth-Two to justice. Felicity Smoak, on the other hand, thinks it isn't too late to reach her, summoning Sara Lance to try and talk some sense into her sister's doppelganger. Yet when push comes to shove and Black Siren refuses to listen, can three non-powered heroes bring down two murderous criminals by themselves?



Influences

The Birds of Prey comics of Gail Simone.



Goofs

Black Siren's DNA and fingerprints were found all over the scene of Gustavo Hernandez's murder. Felicity says this is proof she can't be the killer because she's too smart to leave evidence. There has been little evidence in any of Black Siren's previous murders that she had any sense of subtlety.

It is completely unbelievable that Dinah would be willing to overlook the crimes that Black Siren was involved with (including multiple murders!) just because she was wrong about her killing the one gang leader she was framed for killing.

Though the point is rendered moot by Black Siren deciding to return to Earth 2 rather than continue impersonating Laurel, how exactly is Dinah supposed to convince the mayor, the rest of the DA's office and the SCPD that Black Siren was on a secret undercover mission to catch the Shadow Thief? Aren't their procedures in place for that sort of thing? Wouldn't Dinah know all about those procedures being an undercover cop?

For that matter, what about all the material (such as the photo of Black Siren with Ricardo Diaz) that was sent to the press last week that showed Black Siren associating with criminals before she became the District Attorney? How would that get explained away?

How exactly is Black Siren supposed to get back to Earth 2? After everything she did to try and kill Team Flash working with Zoom, I doubt Barry Allen or Cisco Ramon is going to be willing to help her bum a ride home.

It's a minor point, but I wish we'd have gotten a chance to see some interaction between Sara and Dinah. We never have gotten a chance to see Sara team up or just talk with the woman who adopted her sister's codename and that's always bothered me somewhat.


Performances

As always, Caity Lotz is a delight and the scene of Sara and Felicity catching up is wonderful. The chemistry between the original two ladies of Team Arrow is as strong as it was five years ago and one wonders what might have been had a proposed Birds of Prey spin-off starting the two actually happened.


Artistry

The set-design for Quentin Lance's grave-site is fantastic.


Trivia

In the title card for this episode, the arrowhead behind the title is replaced with the stylized Canary emblem used by Dinah Drake.

There have been three characters in DC Comics history who used the name Shadow Thief.

The first Shadow Thief was a career criminal named Carl Sands, who became obsessed with the idea of making his shadow work for him after he was caught while hiding after a robbery because the police saw his shadow. Allowed access to a prison laboratory, Sands made contact with an alien explorer named Thar Dan, who came from the dimension of Xarapion. Sands was able to save the alien's life and was rewarded with a piece of alien technology called the Dimensiometer which allowed Sands to transform himself into a living shadow. He would go on to become a reoccurring enemy of Hawkman. He would later gain a power upgrade after selling his soul to the Demon Neron, which allowed him to take control of the shadows of other people and reshape other shadows into whatever weapons he needed.

The second Shadow Thief  was a man named Carl Hammer, who only appeared in a single issue of the 1980s Vigilante series. This Shadow Thief employed a suit that made him invisible in darkness, but not intangible.

The third Shadow Thief was introduced as part of the New 52 Forever Evil storyline. This Shadow Thief was a former Mossad agent named Aviva Metula, who made use of an artifact called The Shadow Skin. Fearful of alien invaders coming after the Earth, she became an enemy of the New 52 version of Hawkman. The Shadow Skin granted her the powers of invisibility, intangibility, flight, teleportation and some limited shape-shifting power to reshape her limbs into weapons.

The Arrowverse version of the Shadow Thief is also a woman named Aviva Metula. She is also a former Mossad agent, but she is an ordinary cat-burglar whose costumes have special gauntlets that let her hack electronic safes and detect large quantities of cash.

It is confirmed that Felicity and Sara had a flirtation of sorts back in Season 2 and that Felicity is, at the very least, bi-curious. This is a nod to the comics where Black Canary and Oracle were hinted to have a friends-with-benefits relationship in several Birds Of Prey storylines..


Technobabble

According to Felicity, hydrogen cyanide is the go-to poison of the Ninth Circle.

Felicity modified Laurel's original collar into a wrist-mounted unit similar to what Sara Lance used as The Canary.


Dialogue Triumphs

Dinah: Look, I know she's your friend. And for a while I actually thought the two of us were doing good work together, too. But the truth is that Laurel is Black Siren. She is a ruthless murderer and we are all fooling ourselves thinking she is anything like the real Laurel Lance.
Felicity: We should be helping her! Not hunting her!
Dinah: Laurel is a criminal and we are going to bring her to justice. Something we should have done a long time ago.

(Kodiak is starring down Diggle when Oliver shoots in in the back with an arrow. He turns to Oliver and doesn't appear at all discomforted.)  Kodiak: You think an arrow can stop me?
(Kodiak starts to move to the exit and suddenly stumbles.)
Oliver: I think a tranq arrow will.
(Kodiak falls forward and passes out.)

(Future Dinah and Felicity are looking at a monitor showing all the fallen Canary "Nests") Felicity: It's not your fault.
Dinah: But it's my responsibility.

(Black Canary blocks Black Siren and Shadow Thief's exit from the diamond exchange vault.)
Black Canary: Don't do this, Laurel.
Black Siren: Oh, I thought you'd be happy? You were right about me all along. (mock sympathy) Awww.. and it's too bad you don't have your cry anymore.
(Black Canary steels herself, as the two killers move in. Suddenly there's an ear-splitting scream that brings all three women to the ground.)
(Cut to: White Canary, tapping the wrist-control of her Canary Cry device.)

White Canary: But I still have mine.

(Felicity continues to insist that Black Siren might have changed if she'd gotten more support.)
Dinah: Laurel did not become Black Siren because we were bad friends, Felicity! That is a choice she made on her own! It is not some inevitable consequence of something we did! Everything that has happened since she has been fired is on her!

(Felicity enters the bunker to find Sara working out on the salmon ladder.)
Felicity: Well!  I'm having deja vu in the best way possible.
Sara: Did Dinah read you the riot act?
Felicity: Nothing I can't handle.
Sara: You've come a long way form the I.T. girl secretly crushing on Oliver Queen.
Felicity: Apparently it wasn't that much of a secret. Everybody knew. Zero poker face. (coyly) And I always wondered, you know, were you flirting with me all those times you said I was cute?
Sara: (flirtatious) Why? Were you into it?
Felicity: Of course. It's you!
(The two laugh and hug.)
Felicity:
I've missed you.
Sara: I've missed you too.

Sara: Even if there was a way back for "Laurel," she has to want it. You can't force redemption on people.

Dinah: Do you know why I started The Canaries? What it represents? This is more than some rebellion group. It's a support system. This is a way for women to know we always have each other's backs, no matter what happens. Whenever we need it most. Something I failed to do for a friend once. But ever since that happened with her, I made a promise to myself that I would never make that mistake again.  That's why we wear these.
(Dinah shows Mia the silver canary pin.)
Dinah: To honor that promise. And the bravery. And the sacrifice. Shared with these amazing women who, somehow, no matter how many times they get knocked down, they always find the strength to get back up and fight again.

Sara: Redemption isn't a destination. It's a journey. I wasted years running away from all the bad things that I had done because I didn't want to face that pain that I had caused. Because I didn't want to be that person. And then I realized the only way to stop being that person was to come home and own up to the things that I had done. And yeah - it was painful. And it took a really long time. But it was the only way to become someone else. Someone better than who I was.


Dialogue Disasters

(Having just survived the explosive booby-trap at Shadow Thief's lair.) Felicity: Laurel tried to kill us!

Felicity: What Laurel did is... unforgivable. (whining) But she's just on this path and she doesn't know how to get off of it!

Sara: Nobody's as good as the original Laurel Lance. Not even me.

Sara: We are pretty badass together.
Felicity: Yeah, like a... Birds of Justice.
Sara: ... something like that.


Continuity

Ricardo Diaz introduced Shadow Thief and Black Siren at some point in the past and they pulled a job together.

Either Black Siren shares the real Laurel Lance's love of french fries dipped in milkshakes or Felicity introduced her to the same snack during their previous meetings.

Archer is still in the middle of rebooting.

Felicity was able to track down the buyer of the rifle of that killed Emiko Queen's mother.

John and Oliver are going out of town to track down the buyer of the rifle.

Rene is busy with a school thing with Zoe.

Walter "Pinky" Santorini is a mob money launderer who runs his racket out of a dry cleaning business. He is the first victim of Black Siren and Shadow Thief's partnership.

The buyer of the gun is revealed to be Kodiak from the Longbow Hunters, last seen in 706.

Shadow Thief and Back Siren's second target is a vault containing $10 million in diamonds.

White Canary shows up at Felicity's request, armed with a modified version of her old sonic device.

Kodiak claims to have no idea who hired him but the method used to contact him and hire him (old coin with microchip containing directions to his gun and target) are those used by The Ninth Circle.

Sara makes use of the salmon ladder in The Bunker.

Felicity admits to being into it when Sara flirted with her five years earlier.

Felicity makes reference to Black Siren getting Oliver out of prison legally (706) and stopping her from killing Ricardo Diaz (714).

Shadow Thief and Black Siren leave a death trap for Felicity and Dinah in a fake hideout with faked heat signatures.

Black Siren turns on Shadow Thief after Felicity refuses to let her leave with the weapon they are stealing and demands Black Siren kill her and Black Canary and White Canary back her up.

Shadow Thief somehow escapes the explosion of the storage facility.

Laurel Lance's name is cleared and Dinah comes up with a story about her having been working undercover to explain her crimes committed after she was fired.

Black Siren decides to go back to Earth 2 and start trying to build a new life for herself there.

Sara leaves behind the sonic device for Dinah. Felicity says she thinks she can use it to restore Dinah's metahuman Canary Cry.

Black Siren says that she mastered the art of holding her liquor by sneaking drinks away from her sister when she was pregnant. This is the first confirmation we have that there is a Sara Lance (or a Lance sister of some kind) on Earth Two.

Felicity gives Black Siren Laurel Lance's old Black Canary costume.

Zoe and Mia are being chased by a Galaxy One agent wearing a mechanized helmet as the flashbacks open. This helmet was seen at the end of 716 and was referred to as the tool that will finally destroy Star City's vigilantes. It appears to give the wearer visual access to the Archer network as well as enhanced vision.

The Canaries call their safe houses "Nests".

The last secure Nest following Galaxy One's raids is Alpha Base.

According to Felicity, 10 Canaries are confirmed dead with 5 missing.

Zoe persuades Mia to go into hiding, but Mia wants to take the fight to Galaxy One.

Dinah tells Mia why she formed the Canaries as a support group because of her failure to help one friend in the past.

Mia is nearly killed by the helmeted Galaxy One agent but is saved by an older Black Siren.


Untelevised Adventures

Ricardo Diaz introduced Shadow Thief and Black Siren at some point in the past and they pulled a job together.

Black Siren was apparently fired from her job as District Attorney in between episodes.


The Winick Factor

Pretty much everything Black Siren has ever done is hand-waved for the sake of a happy ending.


The Bottom Line

Surprisingly mixed. Everything involving Black Siren's slate being cleaned is complete bullshit, and Dinah's character is completely subverted to justify everything in the end. On the other hand, everything involving Sara - even her scenes with Black Siren - are excellent, but that's largely down to Caity Lotz's performance rather than the writing and the proof of that is in the magical scene of Sara and Felicity catching up.

Still, I'm inclined to be generous because the writers wisely made sure that the entire Black Siren Redemption Story is dependent on Felicity to function, which I'm sure burns the Katie Cassidy fandom who have been gunning for her character since Episode 103. And Black Siren is finally out of the show, so hurrah for that.