Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Starman Plays Quest For Glory 1, The Thief Path - Part 1

In which I return to the VGA remake of what was probably my favorite CRPG growing up and show you how to survive as a thief and hero in the realm of Spielberg. Our first mission? Exploring the town, the adventurer's guild hall and trying not to die stupidly by telling the sheriff we're a thief or picking our nose. No. Really.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 8, Episode 2 - Welcome To Hong Kong

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



Plot

Returned to Earth-1, Oliver finds himself back in Hong Kong with Diggle and Black Siren, who refuses to believe that Earth-2 is gone. As she runs off to try and find another way home, Oliver and Diggle focus on finding an abducted Doctor who is important to The Monitor's plans and cross paths with their old ally, Tatsu. Unfortunately, their old enemy China White is also back in Hong Kong and once again after the Alpha-Omega virus.


Influences

The flashback sequences of Arrow Season 3 and Crisis on Infinite Earths.


Goofs

Despite saying he doesn't really know anything about breach devices and only knowing the technology by reputation, David Chen has software on his computer that enables him to determine that Earth-2 is gone.

China White claims that she was released from custody because the American government feared a scandal if word got out that a federal agency was planting explosive bombs in the necks of convicts and forcing them to runs special ops missions for them. Wouldn't they have just killed all the Suicide Squad agents to cover their tracks rather than release them and hope they keep their mouths shut?

The Monitor chides Oliver for not blindly following orders, yet Oliver passed the Monitor's test in Elseworlds precisely because he challenged the Monitor's moral authority.

On the flip side, what makes Ollie think disobeying the Monitor by sneaking off to learn more about him is going to help matters?


Artistry

The fight scenes between the Triad and Ollie and Diggle are well-handled.



Trivia

This episode is the first to include a new opening introduction for Season 8.



Technobabble

Dr. Robert Wong is a renowned biophysicist and Nobel Prize winner, in the field of complex proteins and antibodies.



Dialogue Triumphs

Oliver: (V/O) My name is Oliver Queen. For 7 years, I have fought with only one goal - to save my city. But now a new threat has emerged - a danger so severe it has forced me to leave my family in order to face it. And it won't be enough for me to just be the Green Arrow. To prevent the crisis that's coming, I am going to have to become someone else, I am going to have to become something else.

(Oliver awakens with a start from a nightmare of all his loved ones dying. He is in a strange bed in a strange room. The Monitor is in one corner.)
The Monitor: I warned you not to interfere.
Oliver: You didn't bring us here?
The Monitor: No. I discovered what had transpired on Earth-2, that you intervened to save Laurel Lance. I redirected you.
Oliver: What the hell happened back there?
The Monitor: A herald of what is to come. An entire world erased from existence.
Oliver: (confiused) Where's my mother? Where's... where's Tommy? Where's... where's Rene, where's Dinah?
The Monitor: They are no more.
Oliver: Did you hurt John and Laurel?
The Monitor: They are alive and nearby, but now you know that if we fail to stop the coming crisis, what you witnessed will occur on infinite Earths across the expanse of time.
Oliver: How did I fail? Your Dwarf Star particles are right there. (gesturing to a bag) 
The Monitor: You disobeyed my instructions to avoid entanglements on a parallel Earth. You confronted Tommy Merlyn. You altered the fate of Laurel Lance.
Oliver: I watched her die once. Okay? I wasn't prepared to do it again.
The Monitor: You are not a man accustomed to following orders. But the survival of the multiverse requires that you obey mine.

Oliver: I ignored the orders of a cosmic being, and as a result, I watched an entire world just disappear, so I'm just trying not to make the same mistake twice.
Diggle: Well, if this cosmic being wanted someone willing to watch the mass murder of innocent people, then he picked the wrong hero. Shouldn't blame yourself, man.
Oliver: (dryly) Well, what about my behavior over the past 7 years has given you the impression that I would?


Continuity

The Monitor says the he redirected Oliver, Diggle and Black Siren to Earth-1 after they entered a breach trying to escape Earth-2 without thinking of the destination.

The Monitor confirms that Earth-2 has been destroyed and blames it directly on Oliver's interfering with the affairs of that Earth instead of staying focused on the mission.

The Monitor instructs Oliver to find a man named Dr. Robert Wong. Again, he refuses to explain why he requires this.

Black Siren refuses to believe Earth-2 is gone. She takes the breach device and leaves to find someone local who can fix it.

The Internet cafe where Oliver tried to contact his family in 301 is revealed to be an ARGUS front. Diggle gets access to the backroom and a high-tech computer connected to the ARGUS intranet by telling the employee that Harbinger sends her regards.

Diggle calls Lyla into Hong Kong to keep an eye on Black Siren.

Dr. Wong has been missing for over a week. He was last seen at Wan Chai University, where he is a professor.

Tatsu Yamashiro (aka Katana) appears for the first time since 412.

Tatsu reveals that she left the Crescent Order after they demanded her death for giving the Lotus Cure to Nyssa Al Ghul. Since then, she has been a vigilante in Hong Kong.

The Cresent Order has knowledge of The Monitor and his true name, Mar Novu.

Tatsu recognizes the pins worn by the men in the last photo of Dr. Wong as the emblem of Hong Kong's secret police.

Black Siren met a hacker named David Chin through Cayden James several years earlier, who claimed to be able to get her back to Earth-2.

It is determined that Dr. Wong wasn't abducted but placed in protective custody, due to his working for the Chinese government to recreate the Alpha-Omega virus.

China White leads the Triad group that tries to kidnap Dr. Wong.  Both Oliver and Diggle thought she was in ARGUS custody. John says that as far as he knew, Lyla thought she was in their custody as well.

Black Siren learns that Earth-2 truly has been destroyed.

China White was last seen in 714, as part of John Diggle's new Suicide Squad.

Olive plans to use the virus as bait to draw China White and Dr. Wong out of hiding. Tatsu points out this was the same plan her husband attempted and it failed.

China White says the American government released her from custody because they feared a scandal if word got out about what ARGUS had been doing to force criminals to work for them.

Black Siren saves Katana from being killed by China White.

Dr. Wong is saved and the virus is secured.

Oliver gives Tatsu some of the same healing herbs she gave him after she saved his life in 310.

Oliver says he is going to Nanda Parbat in search of information on The Monitor.

Lyla is revealed to know the Monitor and to have been in communication with him for some time.

Connor says The Deathstrokes already took everything of value from Alberto Vasquez's private vaults, except for one flash drive that is completely fried.

William starts trying to fix the drive, as Zoe, Mia and Connor prepare to confront John Diggle Jr. by staking out the one black market where he can fence what he stole from Vasquez.

John Jr. agrees to have a friendly talk with Connor. This turns out to be a distraction and his plan was to leave the drive behind so William could fix it, so his people could then get the drive and the information on it.



Location

Hong Kong - Earth-1


The Fridge Factor

Tatsu is made out to be much less competent than she has been in the past as a sword fighter to give Black Siren a chance to save her and play the hero.


The Bottom Line

A lackluster episode that revives one of the weaker portions of Arrow's history and drags out the flash-forwards to ill-effect. There's nothing really bad about it, but there's a lot of characters it would have been better to see again than Tatsu, if only because her appearance in Hong Kong makes me wonder why a Japanese woman has made herself the protector of Hong Kong. Still, it could be worse.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 3 - Dead Man Running

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




Plot

Barry takes Killer Frost in-hand to help him with tracking a new metahuman with a taste for dark matter, as he tries to figure out how to tell the rest of Team Flash about his impending demise.This leads him to the lab of Ramsey Rosso, who is quite overjoyed to help... himself to STAR Labs' dark matter supply. Meanwhile, Ralph uncovers a startling secret about his family as he works to clear his mother's name on a robbery charge.


Influences

The Flash comics of Joshua Williamson (character of Bloodwork) and the movies of George Romero.


Artistry

The opening scene, in which the zombie Romero kills his gang, is a neat stylistic tribute to George Romero's movies.


Flash Facts

The character of Mitch Romero seems to have been named in tribute to George Romero - the legendary director of many classic zombie movies.

Ralph makes reference to The Monitor as an Asgardian cosplayer. This is a nod to the Marvel Cinematic Universe Thor movies, which have been previously established as existing in the Arrowverse.

One of Mrs. Dibny's former boyfriends was a man named Marv Perez. This is a tribute to Marv Wolfman and George Perez - the chief writer and artist on the Crisis on Infinite Earths comics.

Ramsey Rosso name-drops Ted Kord while telling his lie about where he got his dark matter. Ted Kord is the head of Kord Industries and has been referred to (but never seen) in the Arrowverse many times. Originally Brandon Routh was meant to play Ted Kord in Arrow season 3, but rights issues caused his character to be reworked into Ray Palmer. In the comics, Ted Kord is the secret identity of the second superhero to use the name Blue Beetle.

Mention is made of a break-in at McCulloch Tech. This is the same company that developed the Mirror Gun from Season 5, which was named in honor of the second Mirror Master. Evan McCulloch.

Nash Wells is searching Earth-1 for a metal called Eternium. In the DC Comics universe, this is the metal which made up the Rock of Eternity - the seat of power for the wizard Shazam. After the Rock of Eternity was destroyed it acted like Kryptonite to a wielder of the power of Shazam, draining their powers and causing physical pain.


Technobabble

According to the pattern of these gene transcriptions in Mitch Romero's body, his dark matter-infused cells are destroying his normal cells and the more dark matter he absorbs, the stronger he gets.

Ramsey estimates that Romero's metastasized blood chemistry has given him the strength of ten men.

Ramsey claims that with gene splicing, he can use your dark matter to negatively charge Romero's blood.

According to Nash Wells, Eternium is a multiversal element.

Ramsey determines that dark matter infused with healthy blood cells create an even stronger biological substance - the strange goo bled by Romero.. This substance appears to heal any and all weaknesses in the human body including cells affected by HLH.


Dialogue Triumphs

Ramsey: So can I talk to Cait? Can she hear me right now?
Frost: One, it's Frost. I'm rebranding. And two, sure. She can if she wants to.
Ramsey: Caitlin, I want to explain myself. About purchasing dark matter from Kord Industries. I hope you understand if there's any chance of saving more lives-
Frost: You're gonna take it? (sarcastically) Right.
Ramsey: I didn't want to go behind your back, but you refused to help me-
Frost: Not listening anymore.
Ramsey: And you never told me that you were a meta. I thought we were closer than that, Cait!
Frost: Huh. Guess you two aren't as good of friends as you thought.

(Barry returns to the lab and finds Ramsey stuffing dark matter samples into his bag.)
Barry: I had a feeling about you. I hoped I was wrong. But I know a desperate man when I see one. Put them back.
Ramsey: No.
Barry: I can make you.
Ramsey: Go on, then. Like you said, I'm a desperate man. I have nothing to lose.
Barry: I thought you wanted to save lives.
Ramsey: HLH isn't just my mother's disease. First it killed her, and now it's killing me.
Barry: I still can't let you take those. Look at what it did to Mitch Romero.
Ramsey: I am marking a calendar every day until I die, waiting to fall off a cliff, powerless to grab onto anything or anyone! I watched my mother dive off that same cliff with a smile on her face. She didn't even fight.
Barry: I know what it's like to lose your mother. I know you're angry-
Ramsey: This isn't anger. This is the pain beneath my anger. It takes courage to fight death.
Barry: Maybe it takes more to accept it?
Ramsey: My mum had that same look on her face when she was first diagnosed. You're a dead man, too. Aren't you, Barry? So why don't you fight for yourself?!
Barry: I'm marking my calendar with the days I have left to live. And I'm gonna spend them saving as many people as I can.
Ramsey: You're not a coward. You're just naive.

Barry: There's always gonna be a crisis, or some metahuman that's threatening to take away the life that you love. Truth is, we're all living on borrowed time.
Frost: So, what, everybody feels this crappy all the time? That actually does kind of make me feel better.


Continuity

Mitch Romero's gang is killed by his zombie, while in the middle of robbing a warehouse

Barry and Iris tell the rest of the team about the approaching Crisis, but leave out the part about how Barry is destined to die during it.

Ralph's mother calls him Ralphie.

Ralph's mother was arrested for robbing the Avenue M Pawnshop at 10 pm the previous night.

Ralph's mother was directly identified by the shop owner, whom she allegedly held at gunpoint.

Ralph's mother has been accused of being involved with 14 different crimes, including robbery, larceny and bribery, but has never been convicted.

Ralph's mother says she was at the Avenue M Pawnshop that day, but at 5 pm - not 10 pm.

Ralph's mother says that she was at Cleaner's Royale on Oak Street - an illegal gambling establishment which is disguised as a dry cleaner - at 10 pm that night.

Ralph's mom used to date a man named Marv Perez.

Frost acts as Barry's metahuman consultant in order to go with him to the Romero Gang crime scene.

Frost notices that the guns on the scene of the crime are dark matter powered but are missing their power clips. This leads her to conclude (wrongly) that Ramsey Rosso must have taken them.

Barry notices that the same unknown substance that was at the Romero Gang robbery site is in Ramsey's lab.

Ramsey recognizes Killer Frost as Caitlin Snow.

Ramsey lies about Mitch Romero's attacking him and says that he was knocked out while working late. He says that he did have a small amount of dark matter in his lab, which was given to him by his colleague Ted Kord. This is also a lie.

Ramsey offers to help Barry with his research into the strange substance. Barry accepts his help, though Frost openly says she doesn't trust Ramsey.

Allega Garcia obtains footage of Harrison Wells breaking into McCulloch Tech. She was apparently friendly with one of the security guards there.

Iris shoots the story down immediately, knowing there is more to this than Allegra can possibly know and that it is a doppelganger rather than the Harrison Wells of Earth-1, who is meant to be dead.

Central City has yet another new mayor. Iris sends Allegra to get quotes from the city council about them.

Cleaner's Royale is run by a man named Tony, whom Ralph was once friendly with. Apparently he hasn't seen Ralph since he got his powers and lost weight.

Tony offers to give Ralph the security footage that will prove his mom was in Cleaner's at the time of the robbery. For $5000.

Ralph uses his powers to steal the flash-drive the security footage is saved on, while Cecile and his mother attempt to win the $5000.

Mitch Romero was the head of the largest gun-running operation in the Central City Underworld.

Barry and Frost confront Romero as he is robbing Mercury Labs of dark matter. Frost knocks him out the window, which angers Barry, despite Frost being sure he was tough enough to survive the fall.

Ramsey tells Barry that Romero has been biologically dead for 24 hours, but something in him is continuing to seek out dark matter, which is accelerating the decay of the body even as it becomes stronger.

According to Ramsey, he is the top hematologic oncologist in the Western hemisphere.

Ramsey asks Barry for dark matter from STAR Labs to see if he can study its effect on Romero's cells. Barry is reluctant but eventually agrees. However, this turns out to be a secret test to see if Ramsey will steal the samples for himself, as Frost predicted.

Cisco and Iris interrupt the new Wells as he is in the middle of stealing a gem which he claims gives nightmarish hallucinations to its victims.

Iris tasers the Wells before he can escape.

The security footage reveals that Ralph's mom left the casino at 9:30 pm. Another camera reveals that she was outside talking with Marv Perez, whom Ralph thought was dead.

Ralph's mom confesses to lying about how every boyfriend she ever had after her husband ran out on her and Ralph died. She wanted to spare Ralph the pain of losing another father figure because things didn't work out for her and another man.

The new Wells' full name is Harrison Nash Wells. He considers the Council of Wells to be a bunch of idiots and came to Earth-1 in search of an artifact that contains the same particles he is detecting weakly off of Iris West Allen. He notes the readings were stronger in the alleyway where Iris and Cisco confronted him.

Nash Wells is a skeptic, who doesn't believe in magic or gods or any sort of mysticism. He has dedicated his life to dispelling myths.

Nash Wells escapes after using a smoke bomb to blind Cisco and Iris.

Allegra comes back just in time to see Nash Wells in Iris' office. This causes her to try and quit her job because she refuses to work for someone who can't be honest with her.

Iris convinces Allegra to stay after promising to tell her everything eventually.

Frost has existed as a part of Caitlin for 30 years.

Frost doesn't have a favorite song or ice cream flavor.

Frost admits to Barry that the reason she's been on edge is that she's afraid of dying now that she's truly begun to live.

Ramsey discovers that the Romero zombie mirrors his movements, for some reason.

Frost has the inspired idea to feed the Romero zombie all the dark matter in STAR Labs in order to make him overdose on rage. Instead, this makes his corpse explode over her and Barry.

Ramsey blows off Barry's offer to listen to him if he needs to talk about his disease.

Ralph apologizes to his mom for freaking out and gives her an addendum to his book of Ralph - 22 Steps To Being Open To The Love Of Your Life. She says she doesn't think it is in her to settle down, but she encourages Ralph to try and find a woman he can devote himself towards.

Ramsey believes he can use the strange blood-like substance to cure his disease without further dark matter treatments. He commands the substance to enter his body and declares that he needs more.

Barry throws a birthday party for Frost at STAR Labs.

Frost's friend, Matthew Norvock, has a quick cameo as the DJ at the party. He was last seen in 511.

Barry and Iris finally tell Frost, Cisco and Ralph about Barry's impending death.

Nash Wells tracks the Eternium signal to a manhole cover.


The Bottom Line

A decent episode, though too much attention is paid to Ralph's mom and not enough is given to the new Wells or the season's alleged big bad, which is a shame as Barry's interactions with Ramsey are some of the best acting in the episode. Unfortunately, there's also a lot of forced moments, like Barry's sudden anger at Frost and refusal to trust her judgement.

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 3 - The Book of the Occupation: Chapter Three: Agent Odell's Pipe-Dream

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




Plot

As Grace and Anissa have an emotional reunion, Jefferson makes a deal with Agent O'Dell that will win him his freedom.. Little do they know that O'Dell has made a similar deal with Jennifer and begun to consolidate his power over Freeland, as a plague breaks out among the incarcerated metahumans.


Influences

Judd Winick's Green Arrow


Performances

Bill Duke has never been creepier or more subtly intimating as Agent Odell as he is here.


Technobabble

It is possible to apply enough force at the right angle to snap both the fibula and tibia with one strike or twist.

The commotio cordis is a lethal disruption of the heart's rhythm caused by a single precisely timed blow, like hitting a person with a defibrillator.

Lynn says the virus killing the metahumans is made of mutations that she created and the only other person who knew about them was Dr. Jace.


Dialogue Triumphs

Observer: Mastering 23 different marital arts seems extreme.
Painkiller: Uh, there's no extreme in war. And, "To kill the grass you must kill the root. " Pol Pot.
Observer: You're quoting someone who killed 10% of the population of Cambodia?
Painkiller: 25%. Pol Pot killed 25% of the population of Cambodia.

(Agent Odell places a black jewelry box on the desk before Jefferson.)
Jefferson: What's that?
Agent Odell: Why don't you open it and see?
(Jefferson does so, It's a watch.)
Jefferson: It's a watch.
Agent Odell: Try it on.
Jefferson: Like I have a choice.
(Jefferson puts it on. Nothing happens.)
Jefferson: Doesn't work.
Agent Odell: Run some current through it.
(Jefferson flexes his arm. The watch lights up and shows the time.)
Jefferson: (sarcastically) Oh, hey, it tells the time. Great, thank you.
Agent Odell: It does a lot more than just that. That watch has more technology in it than the space shuttle, but it can only be activated with your unique skills.
Jefferson: But all I see is a watch.
Agent Odell: Hmm. Why don't you try to hit it with around ten volts and see if your perception changes?
Jefferson: But that'll fry it.
Agent Odell: (earnestly) Will it?
Jefferson: Okay. I'll humor you, okay? Ten volts.
(Jefferson stands and flexes again, electricity sparking along his bicep. Suddenly, cloth begins to materialize along his arm, forming a Black Lightning costume out of whole cloth.)
Jefferson: Wha-?
Agent Odell: This is the reason why we have you here, why we're testing you, why we're putting you through so much pain and struggle.
Jefferson: Oh!
(By this point, the costume is about halfway across Jefferson's torso)
Agent Odell: It's so we can create tech that will help all metas to live better. The Markovians are planning on killing or capturing all of the metas in Freeland. I cannot stop them without your help. If you help me with this, you can go home and be with your daughters.
(A pair of goggles forms on Jefferson's face. He looks down and flexes, the costume briefly lighting up as he runs a current through it. For the first time in a while, he smiles.)
Jefferson: Well, damn.

Tobias: Where's your truth boy?
Agent Odell: We had to let Issa go.
Tobias: So you killed him?
(Agent Odell says nothing. His face betrays nothing.)
Tobias: Makes sense. I'd have done the same thing. Can't have some kid running around knowing about all your dirt. Tell me, Agent Odell. Did you smoke him yourself?
(Again, Agent Odell says nothing. His face betrays nothing.)
Tobias: You did, didn't you? (laughs, with the laugh becoming a lingering cough) I knew you did.
Agent Odell:  We both know it's your fault that Issa is dead.
Tobias: You didn't want that boy dead, you shouldn't have put him in there with me.
Agent Odell: Point taken. Well played. (voice slowly becoming more intense and deliberate) But from now on, you will be dealing with me. And I promise you, you will tell me where I can get the information from that briefcase.
(Tobias coughs.)
Agent Odell: Oh. You know I just realized? 
(Agent Odell sits down opposite Tobias and reaches into the inner pocket of his jacket. He pulls out an eyeglasses case and replaces his glasses with a pair of sunglasses with the same frames.)
Agent Odell:  You... You haven't been out of your cell in over a month. I owe you some time in the sun. Open.
(The ceiling starts to scroll away, letting what appears to be the light of a nice, sunny day into the cell. Tobias is too weak to do anything but squint up in annoyance.)
Agent Odell: My understanding is that one minute in this concentrated UV light is like an hour on the beach. If only you were more... melanated.
(Tobias begins screaming, trying to shield his face with his hands. His hands begin to blister almost immediately.)
Agent Odell: Let me know when you're ready.
(Agent Odell stands and leaves the cell, as Tobias continues screaming.)


Continuity

The reprogrammed Painkiller knows 23 martial arts, including Aikido, Kali, Wrestling, Western boxing, Judo, Tae kwon do, Jujitsu, Muay Thai and Silat. He also knows how to trigger a commotio cordis (or sudden heart stoppage) with a single focused blow.

The reprogrammed Painkiller also knows world history well enough to know the exact percentage of Cambodia's population killed by Pol Pot.

Anissa is still seeing the reporter Jamilla.

Henderson visits Detective Sgt. King in the ASA camp. She tells him about the metahuman plague and that she has it, just before she drops dead. She also tells Henderson that there's a safe deposit box key in a false bottom in her locker and asks him to deliver its contents to her husband.

Agent Odell asks Lynn for her help in treating the metahuman plague.

Jennifer is asked to give new student named Brandon a tour of Garfield High.

Agent Odell gives Jefferson a watch capable of generating a new costume for him. He promises that if Jefferson can help him with rescuing an ASA team captured by Markovian soldiers outside Freeland and continue to help him protect the city, he will let Jefferson move back into his home wtih his daughters.

All the police officers in Freeland are being tested for the metagene.

Tobias Whale is on pills for arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, and bladder function.

The withdrawal on the anti-aging serum Tobias took is 10 times worse than coming off of heroin.

Agent Odell takes 18 pills a day for various ailments.

Agent Odell begins torturing Tobias with a concentrated UV lamp to get him to talk about Agent Proctor's briefcase.

Brandon is from Springbrook High and wears $1000 sneakers.

Jennifer makes reference to the events of the series pilot (her and Anissa being kidnapped), 112 (Painkiller attacking the school) and Tobias Whale ripping out Khalil's spine in 210 as she's giving Brandon the tour of Garfield High.

Painkiller is sent on a mission to hunt Markovians. He is eventually sent to 324 Oglethorpe.

Henderson is assaulted by a woman while touring Freeland with the newly elected mayor.

Agent Odell offers to help Tobias retake his old territory in exchange for the briefcase. Tobias turns him down.

Lynn determines that Dr. Jace created the virus that is killing the metahumans and that Cyclcotronic was probably the carrier.

Henderson delivers the money in the safe deposit box to Detective Sgt. King's husband, while delivering the news of her death.

Agent Odell visit Jennifer and tells her about the death of Nichelle Payne. He lies, however, and says a Markovian agent did it rather than Painkiller.

Agent Odell gets Jennifer to agree to help him destroy a Markovian data farm on the outskirts of Freeland and do some other jobs that will help them save the city.

Jefferson finds out the captive ASA soldiers were supposed to get captured and that he is meant to be fire-support on a mission to capture Dr. Jace. Unfortunately, she got away before the raid could be completed.

Grace is waiting for Anissa on the street outside the free clinic. The two reconcile and Anissa promises to help Grace get what she needs so she can stop stealing drugs and self-medicating to control her shape-shifting powers, which she says she's had since she was born.

Grace amicably splits up with the reporter Jamilla, saying she worked things out with her ex.

Jennifer destroys the data farm, clearing the way for Painkiller to attack a Markovian safehouse.

Jefferson and Lynn return home.

Tobias is now having nightmares of Black Lightning taunting him, saying he'll never get out of prison and never get back what he lost.


The Bottom Line

A smartly-written return to form, helped by a strong focus on Tobias, Bill Duke's performance as Agent Odell and Jefferson finally being allowed to do something.

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 3 - Blurred Lines

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




Plot

Kara tries to mend her friendship with Lena while adjusting to the new status quo at work and new demands upon her far outside her written job description at CatCo. At the same time, J'onn seeks Nia's help in working past the mental blocks on his memories as Kelly seeks to help an old patient, who is truly Malefic in disguise.


Influences

The Martian Manhunter comics of John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake and the Venom movie. (Concept of Aurafacians very similar to symbiotes.)


Goofs

How did James change into costume and chase after Kara so quickly when she flew across National City to go after Caroline O'Connor?


Performances


Sean Astin gives a remarkable performance as Malefic disguised as Kelly's former patient, Pete Andrews.

David Harewood delivers one of his most powerful performances yet as J'onn.

Carl Lumbly has another brief, but anguish-inducing turn as M'yrnn.


Artistry

It's a brilliant conceit having Nia picturing the Martians in J'onn's memories as humans because she's having to filter the memory through her own perception. This also eliminates the need for extensive CGI and make-up for a large group of extras.


Technobabble

The transmitter from the Obsidian contacts uses an ocular interface. Lena is trying to model it directly into the brain.

Q-waves should theoretically allow Lena to rewrite portions of the humor brain, but no matter how she manipulates the frequency the transmitter will only allow her to read information from the brain rather than implanting it. Augmenting the frequency only turns the subject into a zombie.

T'fek'lya is a Martian herb that helps those who take it to connect their minds telepathically.

Aurafacians are alien organisms that attach themselves to a host body. They can transform between a three-dimensional shape (usually an animal native to whatever planet they are on) and into a flat pattern that resembles a tattoo. In this form, the Aurafacian is basically liquid and can be treated like regular tattoo ink. This makes them difficult to track and even more difficult to capture.

The host of an Aurafacian is gifted with enhanced strength, endurance and the ability to fire blasts of webbing from their hands. This webbing is strong enough to contain Supergirl and can even suffocate her if piled over her nose and mouth. It can, however, be burned through.

James is armed with some sort of device that negates an Aurafacian's ability to generate webs.

Alex utilizes a device that uses the magnetic resonance in a Aurafacian's body to attract the heavy metals in their ink to draw them out of James' body after he becomes infected.

Brainy says the encryption used by the Aurafacians is more complex than anything that exists in the current time period, being on par with the encryption of his century.

Lex writes his journals in a variation of a Vigenere cipher - a deceptively complex polyalphabetic substitution key.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Alex is arguing against Kara stealing Lex's journals for Lena.)
Alex: What you can't do is break the law and steal federal property.
Kara: Technically, I break the law all the time. I just broke into a Supermax prison two months ago.
Alex:  Okay. That is totally different. That's to serve justice. Right? Okay. What you're talking about here is crossing that line for a friend.
Kara: How is it different? (scoffs) She deserves to heal, and who would it be hurting? (sighs in annoyance) You know what? Brainy just illegally hacked into security cameras at a nightclub to help me solve Dr. Jarrod's murder. I don't see you scolding him.
Alex: Totally different. But... Yes, Brainy should not be using DEO tech to help you write articles. I will crack down on that.
Kara: Just want to point out. Who do you think we learned all this rule-breaking from?
(There is a long pause.)
Alex: That cuts deep.

(M'yrnn is in utter despair, praying desperately.)
M'yrnn: H'ronmeer, I failed you as I failed my own son! The agony in my heart.. It's unbearable!
J'onn: Father, you did the best you could for Mal. It's not your fault.
M'yrnn: He was my boy. My child. He could not control his illness. The test was mine and I failed! I do not deserve to live. And how can I continue to counsel our people when I myself am nothing?!
J'onn Father, our people need you. I need you.
M'yrnn:  (weakly) Then I have failed everyone.
J'onn H'ronmeer, forgive me.
(J'onn reaches out and touches his father and a blank look comes across his face.)


Continuity

William Day confronts Dr. Niles Jarrod in a nightclub and tells him it will end badly if he doesn't play ball with his organization.

Dr. Niles Jarrod was the man with Andrea Rojas in the photos William Day was looking at in 502.

Dr. Jarrod says he wasn't interested the first 12 times Day threatened him.

Dr. Jarrod is killed in the club's bathroom by a woman with several spider tattoos. One of her tattoos came to life and crawled into his heart.

Kelly Olsen says people have always opened up to her easily.

Hope tells Lena that Lex had been doing research on Q-Waves as a way to fight Superman. She says that three of his journals dealt with the subject, but are currently in a level five secure facility at Fort Summit.

Brainy has written 127 poems for Nia. When she says he shouldn't overdo it, he decides to move from sonnets to the villanelle.

Kara interviewed Dr. Jarrod for a piece on the moral implications of gene manipulation.

Kara hears William Day's heartbeat become erratic when Kara suggests investigating Dr. Jarrod's death. This convinces her that the story is worth investigating and that Day is involved in something sinister.

James has a contact with the Medical Examiner's office in National City and agrees to help Kara with investigating the Jarrod death story.

J'onn asks Nia for help in working past his mental blocks organically.

Malefic takes on the form of Pete Andrewes - a soldier with PTSD, whom Kelly treated once and hasn't seen in two years.

Lena's favorite snack is the coffee eclairs from Cafe Rue Serret on the Champs-Elysees? I know

Lena's favorite coffee is the cappuccino from Pave in Milan.

Lena's favorite scones come from a bakery in Dublin.

Kara flies around the world to get Lena's favorites for their lunch date.

Lena asks Kara if she could get Lex's journals for her, saying she's been having nightmares about Lex torturing her and that reading his writing and getting his thoughts in hear head seems to be helping by reminding her of the reality of who Lex was rather than the nightmare she built up in her head.

The official cause of death for Dr. Niles Jarrod was a heart-attack.

Kara finds a spider-tattoo on the inside of his heart with her X-Ray vision.

J'onn's memories reveal that Malefic was born with an inability to connect to the Martian hive mind. The other children teased him over this.

J'onn's memories also reveal that Malefic had some kind of telepathic power that forced his thoughts and feelings on others whenever he was scared or angry.

M'yrrn J'onzz responded to this by sealing Malefic away and praying for him. This did nothing to cure Malefic's condition and only served to further isolate him away from Green Martian society. This caused Malefic to side with the White Martians, who freed him from his prison.

According to J'onn, erasing the memory of a person's existence is the greatest sin in Martian culture.

Kara tells Alex about Lena's request. Alex is, naturally, against Kara stealing the journals.

Brainy discovers video footage of William Day talking to Dr. Jarrod just before his death.

Alex recognizes the tattoos on the woman who follows Dr. Jarrod into the bathroom, but not the woman herself.

Alex identifies the tattoos as a Aurafacian. She says it was one of the aliens Lex Luthor freed from the DEO desert facility two months earlier.

The Aurafacian's current host is Caroline O'Connor - a former special ops commander, explosives expert, sniper and expert combatant. She apparently went off the grid two years earlier.

Nia realizes there was more to J'onn's memory than he let hmself see in their first encounter.

In the second encounter with Nia, J'onn sees that it is he who erased all memory of Malefic from the Green Martian hive-mind, because he couldn't cope with seeing his father so weak and near-suicidal over what he had done to Malefic.

J'onn swears Nia to silence over what she has seen in his memories.

Brainy figures out that the Aurafacian's is a Dr. Andrew Stern, who works at National City Hospital.

Alex is able to draw the Aurafacian from Caroline O'Connor's body, but a mysterious cloud of black smoke stabs her to death before she can say who hired her to kill the doctors.

Malefic is able to restore his telepathic powers thanks to Kelly's Q-Wave machine. However, their time together leaves Kelly with a connection to Malfic that lets her see through his shape-shifting disguises.

James goes into hiding with Kelly, to protect her from Malefic.

Nia asks Brainy to quit writing poems for her and to stop going to extremes. Brainy says he is just being himself and he can't NOT go to extremes for her, but he will leave her alone.

Kara gives James one of Lex's transmatter portal watches in case he needs a quick escape. She also tells James not to tell her or Alex where he is going.


The Bottom Line

Another lackluster episode where all the subplots gridlock trying to get the story set-up.

Batwoman Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 3 - Down, Down, Down

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




Plot

As the city waits with baited breath for Batman to make another appearance, Alice continues to taunt Kate but also sets her sights on Jacob and Catherine. Meanwhile, Sophie is assigned to act as Mary's personal bodyguard, as the whole Kane-Hamilton family is invited to the penthouse of Tommy Elliot, who is celebrating his new building and being able to look down on his old friend Bruce Wayne in every sense of the word. And a new villain tries to lure Batman out and may be responsible for stealing the only weapon capable of killing Batman from Wayne Enterprises.


Influences

Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams and Batman: Hush by Jeph Loeb & Jim Lee.


Goofs

Why doesn't anyone else in Gotham City (like the police, for instance), respond to the Bat-Signal being lit and used to make shadow puppets on the Wayne Enterprises building?

It's a little hard to believe that any version of Batman would ever commission a special gun to be the only weapon capable of destroying his armor, in case it ever fell into the wrong hands.

Kate reasons that Alice can't have been the one to steal the rail gun, because the person who did that would have to know Bruce Wayne is Batman and have a reason to need that specific gun. Given that Alice knows that Kate is Batwoman and that she's been hanging around Wayne Enterprises a lot lately, it wouldn't take much for Alice to figure that out.

The idea that The Riddler knows Batman's secret identity in this reality and hasn't broadcast that information to the world also flies in the face of everything we know about the character.

Where did a real estate guy like Tommy Elliot learn to fight as good as Kate Kane?


Performances


Rachel Skarsten continues to be a delight as Alice, getting some wonderful moments of silent acting in this episode as she wanders around the Kane-Hamilton penthouse.


Artistry

The script is a smartly written affair, which credits it main hero and villain with being brilliant. Kate is shown to be no mean detective and Alice manipulates Jacob and Catherine expertly.


Bat Trivia


This episode introduces the Arrowverse version of Tommy Elliot - a real estate mogul who is obsessed with becoming richer than Bruce Wayne and building a bigger building than the Wayne Enterprises tower so he can finally look down on Bruce Wayne. Once a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne, he became obsessed with Batman after he saved Tommy's mother from dying in the same car crash that killed Tommy's father. Nobody suspected that Tommy had planned to kill his parents to inherit their fortune. He later learned Batman's secret identity and plotted to lure Batman out of hiding so he could kill Bruce for forcing him to take care of his invalid mother for 13 years.

In the original comics, Tommy Elliot was a medical doctor rather than a real estate mogul and his obsession with destroying Bruce Wayne came after Bruce's father, Thomas Wayne, saved the life of Tommy Elliot's mother in surgery after Tommy failed to kill both his parents in a car crash. He became jealous of Bruce inheriting his family's fortune after his parents tragic deaths and became obsessed with avenging himself on Bruce because he got everything that Tommy wanted. This led Tommy to try and hire the Riddler (who had just deduced Batman's secret identity) to kill Bruce Wayne, but Riddler instead mentored Tommy in the art of being a supervillain and helped him adopt the alias of Hush.

Tommy Elliot quotes a line by Aristole; "What is a friend? A single sole dwelling in two bodies." This line was also quoted in the original Batman: Hush storyline.

In a nod to the original Hush story, Tommy Elliot says he learned who Batman is by paying a man to "riddle me the answer." This is a clear nod to Edward Nygma, aka The Riddler, who did tell Tommy Elliot that Bruce Wayne was Batman in the comics.

The playing cards Alice leaves on Catherine Kane-Hamilton's make-up table are the 2 of Hearts, 8 of Clubs and 3 of Diamonds. In cartography, the 2 of Hearts can signify either marriage, deep love between two people (like twins) or bad news. The 8 of Clubs can signify either success in business after hardship or a woman who is working against your interests. The 3 of Diamonds represents financial success or that you will soon be working with a family member on a new project.


Technobabble

One of the items in Wayne Enterprises' Advanced Weaponry Vault which gets Kate's attention is a two-way grappling hook.

The Bat-Suit is made up of military-grade kevlar woven with enriched carbon nano-tubes. The fabric was designed by Lucius Fox. It can absorb the impact of a Desert Eagle Mark IX, though Kate notes it still stings the wearer.

The weapon stolen from Wayne R&D is a rail gun with a parallel conductor that generates a pulsed force of electromagnetism, accelerating the velocity of the projectile. It's the most lethal weapon that Bruce Wayne ever had commissioned, designed specifically to be capable of penetrating the Bat-Suit if it was ever stolen.

Mary determines that one of the elevator victims is suffering from a subdural or an epidural hemorrhage.

The Bat-Suit contains a disruptor in the gauntlet that can be used to disrupt energy weapons like the rail gun. It needs to be charged ahead of time, however, and requires 30 seconds to charge once expended.


Dialogue Triumphs

Kate (V/O): Alice figured me out, Bruce. I put on your suit to terrify her, but it can't protect me if she knows who I am. I lost my advantage. And in the process, I gave Gotham their hero back. I didn't sign up for this part. I never meant to give the city so much hope. I can't do this. I'm not you.

(Kate walks towards Alice, who is making shadow bunnies on the wall of the Wayne Enterprises building with the Bat-Signal.)
Kate: Subtle.
Alice: Hmm. I guess it's broken. It's supposed to call Batman.
Kate: What do you want?
Alice: What happened it your Batsuit knockoff, Kate? Too tight, no give, or did you just realize that you accidentally blew a dog whistle that you can't unblow?
Kate: I wore it to protect myself from you and your goons.
Alice: And in the process, you made everyone horny for Batman. All these poor souls gazing up at the Bat-light, thinking, "My life is about to change. "
(Alice looks around melodramatically.)
Alice: No. Still sucks.

Mary (To Sophie): You want to know why Kate's not a Crow? It's because you're a Crow. It's because 5 years of training was easier to walk away from than going to work with the girl who broke her heart.

(Jacob answers his phone. Cello music can be heard in the background.)
Jacob: Who is this?
(Cut to Alice, who is playing the cello.)
Alice: You taught me, remember, or did you give up on music like you gave up on me?
Jacob: What are you trying to do, Alice? You're not getting in my head.
Alice: You'd be surprised where I can get into, Commander.
Jacob: Where are you?
Alice: Well, I could tell you, but that would ruin the surprise. Let's talk until you're finished tracing my call.
(Alice stops playing and idly strokes a piano's keys as she moves to the window.) 
Alice: I never understood why you stopped looking for me. I always thought a father would do anything to find his daughter Swim oceans, move mountains, but now I get it. You're on top of the mountain. Heh. If I had this view, I'd stop looking for me, too. More time to enjoy your new life.
Jacob: How'd you get in my house?
Alice: Tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk. Oh. You should be ashamed, Commander. King of the Crows, can't even protect your own nest.
Jacob: I'm coming for you.
Alice: Maybe if you'd uttered those words 15 years ago, we wouldn't be here now. I won't let you forget me, Commander. Not again.

Tommy: Nothing could be average with Bruce. Even had to have more dead parents than me.
Kate: Because he saved your mom's life.
Tommy: Oh, yeah. No. I am aware. Thanks to him, instead of collecting my inheritance, I was left wiping the spittle of a jabbering madwoman's lips for 13 years.
Kate: If you wanted him dead, why wait until he's in a bulletproof suit?
Tommy: Because Bruce didn't ruin my life. Batman did. Do you know what it's like to have the villain of your story be the hero of your city? He is a monster, who left me anchored to a repulsive, gold-digging bitch, and now he's gonna die!

Kate: This place is crawling with Crows. You shouldn't be here.
Alice: Well, I came to crash the party. Turns out our host beat me to it. (looking at Kate's costume) I didn't know that it was a costume party. Let me guess... Red. The color of our birthstone.
Kate: To remind us where we came from.
Alice: About that. They say if you want to quit you have to really want to, and, well, I didn't want to. You see, 24 hours is a really long time. Guess you're gonna have to let my sweet Dodgson die. Like I said Beth is gone.
Kate: Then why save me?
Alice: Because I have plans for you, Kate. That, and it's no fun torturing a corpse. Believe me, I've tried.


Continuity

Alice is shown to suffer from reoccurring nightmares, much like Kate.

Alice's nightmares involving her wandering through what appears to be a hunting lodge, downstairs into a basement where she discovers what appears to be a pealed human face floating in some kind of container of liquid.

Alice uses the Bat-Signal to get Kate's attention.

Kate makes a bargain with Alice; go 24 hours without killing someone and she'll consider letting Dodgson go.

Alice smashes the Bat-Signal.

Elliot Estates is a high-price gated community, featuring on-site Crows security and a panic room in each house. It is the brainchild of Tommy Elliot.

Sophie asks Jacob to assign her to work as Mary's personal bodyguard, as part of a "special assignment."

It's been 10 days since the last Batman sighting, according to Vesper Fairchild.

Tommy Elliot just bought a building five stories higher than Wayne Tower and moved into the penthouse.

Batman saved Tommy Elliot's mothers life 13 years ago.

Someone broke into Wayne Enterprises' Advanced Weaponry Vault. Luke Fox later determines that the thieves stole a rail gun which Bruce Wayne specifically had designed to be capable of penetrating the Bat-Suit.

Someone leaves a bloody effigy of Batman on the steps of the Gotham Gazette.

Kate reasons that Tommy Elliot must have stolen the railgun because he dropped an invitation to his party off for Bruce, expecting him to be in town. This is not a leap that would have been taken by anyone who didn't know Bruce Wayne was Batman.

Kate meets a bartender named Reagan at Tommy's party, who is incredibly good at reading people. At the end of the episode, they agree to go out on a date together.

Tommy Elliot has 10 contracts with The Crows to protect various holdings.

Sophie told her husband nothing about her former relationship with Kate.

Jacob Kane taught Beth Kane to play the cello. There is a certain piece by Bach that they considered their song.  Alice Kane plays this song as she is talking to Jacob on the phone.

Kate tells Tommy Elliot that the stolen rail gun has a GPS tracker inside it.

Alice is revealed to be calling Jacob from the Kane-Hamilton Penthouse. She killed the Crow who was stationed to protect the place while the family was at Tommy Elliot's party.

Alice goes through a box of Kate's belongings and finds a box with Beth's name on it, which containing the map of locations where Kate searched for her sister as a child.

Tommy figured out who Batman is after paying a man to "riddle him the answer." This would seem to indicate that The Riddler in this world knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman.

Tommy takes the people in the elevators of his building hostage and drops one. He then threatens to drop the next in an hour if Batman doesn't meet him on the roof.

Sophie, Tyler and Mary are able to escape from their elevator.

Mary starts treating the people injured from the first elevator car fall, proving she's a more than capable medical professional.

Kate saves the elevator car holding Jacob and Catherine using the double-grappling hook.

Alice knocks out Tommy Elliot as he's about to stomp on Kate's fingers as she's left hanging on the hole in the elevator shaft.

Tommy is sent to Arkham Asylum.

Catherine discoveries three playing cards on her make-up table. She hides this from Jacob and reaffirms that they have to kill Alice rather than just catching her.

According to Vesper Fairchild, Gotham City is aware there is a new Bat protecting them and that she's a woman.


The Fridge Factor

Tommy Elliot is as good as fighting as Kate, for no other reason other that it drags out their fight in the episode's climax.


The Bottom Line

Perhaps the best episode of Batwoman yet, with even its most annoying element (i.e. Tommy Elliot) not being so bad as he gives us a chance to see how awesome Kate is... right up until hes's somehow as capable a fighter as her despite being a weasel rather than a fighter. Still, most of the subplots are well-developed and it's a treat to watch Alice further mess with the minds of our heroes.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 8, Episode 1 - Starling City

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




Plot

While trying to decipher the cryptic instructions given to him by The Monitor, Oliver finds himself back in Starling City on another Earth. Meanwhile, in the future of Star City 2040, Mia and William's team of vigilantes clash with an unexpected new foe.


Influences

Season 1 of Arrow and Crisis on Infinite Earths.


Goofs

Nothing is said about Robert Queen, who became The Hood of Earth-2 instead of Oliver Queen. Did Moira divorce him after his secret identity was exposed?  Was he sent to prison, like Roy Harper when he was fingered as The Hood in Arrow season 3? Was he killed and that revealed who he was? And why does everyone act like Adrian Chase's Hood is the first Hood on Earth 2? (Possibly Barry Allen's time-travel altered the timeline so both Robert and Oliver died on Earth 2 in the altered reality?)

Why does Earth-2 Simon Morrison use Adrian Chase as an alias when he's a good guy?

Where did Tommy Merlyn get trained to fight in Earth-2's reality?

Who was responsible for destroying the Queen's Gambit if Malcolm Merlyn honestly was a good guy on this Earth?

In a previous episode, Black Siren said that she knew Thea Queen quite well on her Earth and she was far less idealistic than the Thea Queen of Earth-1. Given the Earth-2 timeline, Thea would have been 12 when Black Siren moved to Central City to start a new life without her version of Oliver Queen. This makes it unlikely they would have kept in touch, particularly after Black Siren got her powers.

In this episode, Earth-2's Felicity Smoak is said to be running Smoak Technologies and is a huge success. Yet in an earlier episode, Black Siren said that Felicity Smoak of her Earth ran a criminal empire and was known for being ruthless. (The two aren't mutually exclusive, although now I really want to see Emily Bett Rickards as Earth 2's Wilson Fisk.)

How is Black Siren openly walking around when she was one of the most notorious criminals on Earth-2 five years ago and part of a regime that effectively ruled the world?

Why does Club Verdant - which Oliver started as a front to hide his first Arrowcave on Earth-1 - exist on Earth 2?


Performances

Stephen Amell does some great silent acting throughout the episode, reacting to various bits of bad news, nostalgia and looking at the picture of Felicity and Mia that is apparently the only possession he brought with him.

David Ramsey gets a bit of this too, during the scene where he is once again "The Black Driver."

Colin Donnel does a masterful job of playing a grief-stricken, driven to violence version of Tommy Merlyn.


Artistry

The direction and music do a great job of capturing the feeling of the first season of Arrow.


Trivia

At one point Adrian Chase calls Black Siren "Pretty Bird." This was Oliver Queen's pet name for Dinah Lance in the classic comics.

Reference is made to an incident in Pennytown. This is one of the districts of Star City in the DC Comics Universe.

Adrian Chase says that Bruce Wayne once told him that "if you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." This is a direct quote from Sherlock Holmes in The Sign Of the Four.


Technobabble

Adrian Chase analyzes the metallurgy of the Dark Archer's arrows and Oliver Queen's arrows to prove they aren't the same.

Queen-Merlyn recently upgraded their facilities with 500 miles worth of high-capacity fiber optics married to an underground server farm.

Queen-Merlyn is research the possibility of using dwarf star matter as an alternative energy source.

William uses satellite imaging to determine that the Deathstrokes have assumed control of the old Galaxy One headquarters


Dialogue Triumphs

The Monitor: (opening narration) Among the many misconceptions humanity holds dear is the fallacy that all beings are created equal. In truth, there are those who are greater. They are called heroes. But even among heroes, there are different echelons. The highest belong to those known as the paragons. And they are the only hope of all creation.

Moira: I know the changes must be overwhelming, and you must feel like you're on a different planet or something.
Oliver: You could say that.

(Oliver walks into Queen-Merlyn's IT Department. He sees a blonde woman with a pony-tail from behind and can just make out her chewing on a black pen.)
Oliver: It's supposed to be red.
(The woman spins around in her chair. It is clearly not Felicity Smoak. Just some other blonde woman in glasses.)
Woman: Excuse me?
Oliver: Nothing. Sorry. I'm looking for Felicity Smoak.
Woman: (laugh) Like Felicity Smoak would slum it in IT, instead of running Smoak Tech!
Oliver: Oh. Good for her.

(Oliver and Diggle are in a car. Oliver in the back. Diggle driving.)
Oliver: So what do I call you?
Diggle: Diggle. Digg if you want.
(Oliver smiles at the familiarity. This is just like when they first met. We cut to the front seat and Diggle smiles faintly too as we hear Oliver tugging on the door handle only to find the child safety locks have been engaged, so he can't tuck and roll out of the car as he did when he lost Diggle before. It is apparent now that this Diggle saw the trick coming because he is, in fact, Earth-1 Diggle.)
Diggle: Sorry, Oliver. Fool me once...

Diggle: Oliver, has it occurred to you that whatever happens in this crisis happens because you push the people closest to you away?
Oliver: So you're in a forward area. Somebody throws a grenade right into the middle of your platoon. What do you do?
Diggle: I jump on it. I contain the blast.
Oliver: That's what I'm doing. I can't prevent whatever it is that's going to happen to me, but I will be damned if I'm going to put other people at risk.
Diggle: And I will be damned if I just let you go gently into that good night.

Tommy: So I've been thinking it over. And you really were on Lian Yu. Because if you had been here, you would've been protecting our sister. So the question is... why are you running around in The Hood's hood?
Oliver: Doesn't matter.
Tommy: Yes, it does! The Hood is running around this city, thinking that he's saving it, and nothing can save it. You don't understand the cancer that has taken over this city.
Oliver: (shocked by the realization) Oh, my God! This is the Undertaking. You stole the dwarf star particles because you want to destroy The Glades and get vengeance for Thea.
Tommy: How could you know that? And what happened to you on that island?
Oliver: What happened to you while I was on the island?
Tommy: While you were gone, this city has been rotting. It can't be saved!
Oliver: That's not true, Tommy. I have seen Starling City come back from darker moments than this. It can be redeemed. You can be redeemed.
Tommy: You don't understand what I've seen. You don't know how I found our sister. Every time I close my eyes, I see her body lying there, cold, on a dirty floor. So I swore that I would get vengeance on The Glades for what it did to Thea, and I am not going to let her down. Not again!
Oliver: That's not gonna make you feel better, Tommy.
Tommy: I don't care about feeling better. I just want The Glades to suffer.
Oliver: You're a better man than this.
Tommy: That was a different me. Good-bye, Oliver.


Continuity

The Monitor deposits Oliver on Lian Yu on Earth-2 in the year 2019, though this is not immediately apparent.

Oliver is able to summon a boat using the same signal fire trick he used in the Arrow pilot.

On Earth-2's Lian Yu, the Deathstroke mask with an arrow through the eye is replaced with a Batman or Batwoman mask.

On Earth-2, Moira Queen and Malcolm Merlyn are married in the year 2019 and have merged their companies.

On Earth-2, after Robert Queen was declared dead, Walter Steele hold his shares in Queen Consolidated and went elsewhere. On Earth-1, he took charge of the company and eventually married Moira Queen.

Earth-2's Tommy Merlyn is still alive and living at Queen Manor. He says he has been married and divorced twice in the 12 years since he last saw Oliver.

Earth-2's Thea Queen died of a Vertigo overdose on her 18th birthday. This is a dark take on the events of 111 on Earth-1, where Thea Queen took Vertigo at her 18th birthday party but only crashed her brand new car.

Oliver breaks into Queen Consolidated looking for dwarf star particles. He finds the security team dead, shot by arrows, the particles stolen and is encountered by The Hood of this reality - Adrian Chase.

The fight between Oliver and Adrian is broken up by Black Siren, who asks what Oliver is doing on her Earth. This is the first indication in the episode that we are on Earth-2.

Black Siren has created her own version of The Bunker on Earth-2. It has the same design as the Earth-1 bunker, but with purple lighting instead of green.

Since returning to Earth-2, Black Siren has partnered with Adrian Chase (aka The Hood). They are not lovers, she is quick to note.

Oliver hides the fact that he is from another Earth from Adrian.

The Monitor reminds Oliver that his task is to retrieve the dwarf star particles for reasons he will not explain - not to confront Malcolm Merlyn over his crimes. Oliver defends his actions, saying that he needs to solve the mystery of the stolen particles in order to get them.

Oliver goes looking for Felicity Smoak in the IT Department of Queen Merlyn, learning that on this Earth she is a famous tech magnate.

The Earth-2 version of Curtis Holt is the head of Queen-Merlyn's IT Department.

The Earth-2 version of Rene Ramirez is employed as the Queen/Merlyn bodyguard.

The Earth-2 version of Dinah Drake is a Detective Sergeant in the SCPD.

As on Earth-1, Moira hires John Diggle to act as Oliver's personal bodyguard/babysitter. It is later revealed that this is Earth-1's John Diggle, come to help Oliver.

Felicity told Diggle about The Monitor taking Oliver away. Somehow, Diggle was able to track Oliver to Earth-2 and got there using a dimensional breach device borrowed from Cisco Ramon.

It is Earth-2's Tommy Merlyn who initiates The Undertaking in 2019 rather than Malcolm Merlyn in 2013. His plan involves attacking The Glades using a doomsday device powered by dwarf star particles rather than an earthquake generator. His motivation is avenging the death of Thea Queen, whom he apparently knew was his half-sister in this reality. On Earth-1, Malcolm Merlyn was avenging the death of his wife.

Tommy chains Oliver up in the same location Malcolm Merlyn did in 123.

Earth-2 Rene and Dinah are working for Tommy Merlyn to bring about the Undertaking.They are nowhere near as well-trained as their Earth-1 counterparts and Oliver defeats them easily on his own.

When Adrian Chase asks how Oliver knows so much about what the Dark Archer is planning, Oliver says he's ten steps ahead of him. This is a nod to what Prometheus continually told him during Season 5 of Arrow.

The location where Thea died is 4587 Burke. Apparently the building there is the home to Star City's worst drug dealers.

Tommy quotes something that Thea once told him to Oliver - "The dead don't want anything." Earth-1 Thea said the same thing to Oliver in 102.

Oliver is able to talk Tommy out of activating the device and turning himself in.

Adrian Chase is able to dismantle the Undertaking device and agrees to give Oliver the dwarf star particles.

Chase deduces that Oliver is the Hood from another Earth on his own.

Chase apparently knew Bruce Wayne and quotes a staying Wayne told him, which is cribbed from Sherlock Holmes. This, coupled with the Batman mask on Lian Yu, suggests that Bruce Wayne may have been the Slade Wilson of Earth 2.

Oliver suggests Chase change his name to Green Arrow.

Oliver visits Tommy in the police station after he turns himself in. He also gives his mother a final hug, after lying that he will see her at home.

Black Siren arrives at the SCPD HQ just as walls of antimatter began to destroy everything.

Moira and Tommy are killed by the antimatter.

Oliver, Diggle and Black Siren jump through a breach just as the walls close in on them.

In the future of 2040, William Clayton is now expanding his company into Star City, under his alias. His company is Harris Consolidated.

Crime has risen 300% in The Glades since the wall came down, but is down across the board in Star City in general.

Mr. Vasquez is a figure of importance in the move to reintegrate The Glades and Star City. He credits the vigilantes with reducing crime in Star City as a whole.

The Deathstroke Gang, which is led by John Diggle Jr., abduct Vasquez. They take him to the old Galaxy One building.

William talks Mia into going along with Connor's plan to rescue Vasquez.

Vasequez gives the Deathstrokes a series of codes.

Mia insists that from now on the team is going to do things her way.


Location

Starling City - Earth 2


Untelevised Adventures

The fate of Robert Queen on Earth 2.

Everything involving how Black Siren got herself established in Starling City and Adrian Chase's background on Earth-2.


The Bottom Line

As a walk down memory lane and a tribute to the first season of Arrow, it is wonderful. As a set-up for the season, it's competently executed apart from some major continuity issues - most likely brought on by the series' need to include Katie Cassidy as Black Siren rather than setting this on an entirely different Earth. That being said, the final sequence in which Earth-2 is destroyed is chillingly effective and set the tone for the future episodes of The Flash depicting the same destruction.  The Crisis is coming and nothing will ever be the same again.

Unfortunately, this does take the piss out of the flash-forward sequences, because we know that timeline is safe, even ignoring the reports that filming has already begun on a Green Arrow and the Canaries spin-off combining the planned Star City 2040 spin-off and Katie Cassidy's proposed Birds of Prey series. Is it too much hope that we can get Ashley Scott in there as well if the universes merge into one?

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 2 - A Flash of the Lightning

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




Plot

Faced with the news of his apparent death having been pushed forward almost five years, Barry turns to Earth 3 and Jay Garrick for advice. Meanwhile, Killer Frost takes the first steps toward building a life of her own and Cecile's career as District Attorney comes into conflict with her identity, as she crosses paths with a metahuman criminal she believes is innocent in spite of all the evidence.


Influences

Crisis on Infinite Earths (the episode title and the imagery of Barry's death) and the 2008 Titans series (character of Allegra Garcia)


Goofs

Ralph's screams as he is hit by Allegra Garcia's heat waves sound silly.

It is said that ultraviolet light travels 80 times faster than Barry Allen's top speed. Yet Barry traveled faster than light in the last episode, running into and out of the black hole generated by Chester P. Runk.


Performances

Grant Gustin's tearful performance as he describes what he saw in the future is a high-water mark for his career.


Artistry

Barry's visions are truly horrific and bring the imagery of the universe dying from Crisis on Infinite Earths to life.


Flash Facts

The episode title is taken from Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 - the comic in which Barry Allen apparently died. This, in turn, is taken from a poem by William Knox; Oh, Why Should the Spirit of Mortal Be Proud?

Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud? 
Like a swift-fleeting meteor, a fast-flying cloud, 
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave, 
He passes from life to his rest in the grave.

The character of Allegra Garcia first appeared in Titans #28 in December 2010. Born in the Amazon jungle and raised in the slums of Rio, she was the biological daughter of the supervillain Wavelength and inherited his ability to manipulate electromagnetic energy.

The Arrowverse version of Allegra Garcia is an American metahuman, who was running a car-jacking operation in Keystone by the time she was 20. A petty criminal since she was 13, she developed metahuman powers while in custody and gained the ability to manipulate radio waves.

Jay Garrick has a map of the Multiverse which makes mention of Thaddeus Brown living on Earth 51. In the comics, Thaddeus Brown was a master escape artist and the first person to use the name Mister Miracle. He mentored both Scott Free and Shilo Norman, who would go on to take up his name and costume as crime-fighters.

Jay Garrick's map identifies Earth-13 as the home of Wells The Grey - a wizard version of Harrison Wells. In DC Comics' cosmology, Earth-13 is a world of magic where Etrigan (as Superdemon) is the leader of a team of magical heroes known as the League of Shadows.

Jay Garrick's map makes reference to Earth-18 having great tequila. In the cosmology of DC Comics, Earth-18 is the home of the Justice Riders - a Wild West version of the Justice League.

Jay Garrick's wife is a neurologist named Joan Williams. In the original Flash comics, Joan Williams was Jay Garrick's love interest and eventual wife.


Technobabble

Cisco uses a nanite camoflauge cocktail designed by Ray Palmer to disguise Killer Frost's eyes and voice so she can pass for a normal human woman with white hair.

The key fobs for modern cars run on radio waves, making it possible for a metahuman who can manipulate radio waves to break into a car by radiating the right frequency.

Barry builds a mobile Gideon from parts salvaged from the plinth in the Time Vault.

Without speed-healing, just a brief touch of antimatter could erase a person from existence.

Jay Garrick has been charting antimatter signatures across the multiverse. He has an algorithm which has determined that the entire multiverse is in danger.

The Neural Hyper-Collider harnesses neural electricity and transfers it across super-luminal particles, allowing the human consciousness of a speedster in his physical prime to travel across space-time past any physical barrier, including antimatter.

Ralph determines that Allegra Garcia is innocent based on the burn pattern of the victim's body. Ralph says it looks like the victim was burned before the car crashed and exploded. Since Allegra can only control radio waves and not microwave radiation, this proves someone else had to have attacked her.

Jay Garrick's helmet is used to channel the tachyons into Barry's frontal cortex and ignite his synaptic pathways.

Jay detects temporal energy as Barry's mind moves past the antimatter barrier to the future.

Dr. Williams claims that a person who has experienced collapsed neural pathways can stimulate those nerves by hearing poetry.

When Barry's neural synapses were overloaded, it created a state of neutral entropy - a near shutdown of the nervous system. Barry compares the sensation to feeling like every nerve in his body is on fire.

According to Dr. Williams, a speedster's synapses fire at ten times the rate of a normal human, meaning a speedster experiences neural entropy with ten times the pain. It typically takes a day or two to recover, even with a speedster's accelerated healing factor.

Cisco determines that the blast that injured Ralph was pure ultraviolet radiation. Had it not been for Ralph's relative invulnerability, he would have been burned to death instantly. As it stands, Ralph got what he describes as "the sunburn from Hell" and has visible burns and blisters on his face..

UV rays have shorter wavelengths than radio waves but are still part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Most UV rays generated by the sun are absorbed by the ozone layer of Earth's atmosphere.

Ultraviolet light travels at 186,000 miles per second, which is 80 times Barry Allen's top-speed.

Ramsey notes that Mitch Romero's body showed no signs of hemorrhaging, but his blood coagulated with an unidentifiable biological substance.


Dialogue Triumphs

Barry: (opening narration) I stared at that newspaper for so many years. "Flash Missing, Vanishes in Crisis." First it felt like a guide. You know, like proof that things were headed in the right direction? Then it became a sword hanging over my head. A part of me always felt like if I vanish in whatever crisis is coming... Maybe I was still out there somewhere, looking for a way to come back to you.

Joan Williams: I've discovered that poetry can stimulate collapsed neural pathways.
Barry: Lady Gaga usually works for me.

(Joe is questioning Allegra in an interrogation room.)
Joe: Okay, help me understand why you pleaded guilty this morning and now you're suddenly innocent.
Allegra: A girl can change her mind.
Joe: What were you doing at the witness' apartment?
Allegra: Just needed to hash it out with him, prove it was wasn't me he saw.
Joe: That's something a detective would do.
Allegra: I'm trying to be a reporter, okay? Figured this was as good a time as any to get some experience. Get a story and my freedom. But what's the use? You'll always see me as a criminal anyway.
Joe: You know what I see? I see that scared little kid that I used to pick up for robbing liquor stores when she was 13. That same girl that I would check on in juvie who would always tell me to leave. This morning, I get a ping that you'd escaped from your meta-cuffs, and we find you in the location of the dead State's witness. If you're a reporter, how does this story play out?

Joe: Our badges, your emblem, they're symbols of the strength that we're charged with to get back out there. And we don't make the choice to die. We would never choose to do that. But when we hear the call of duty... we're willing to make that sacrifice. And that's not giving up, Barr. That's what you call resilience. And I know you to have plenty of that.


Continuity

Ramsey Rosso meets with a weapon's dealer named Mitch Romero.

The weapon's dealer he met with in 601 was called Gat.

Ramsey originally paid $500 for the anti-matter gun. Mitch wants $5000 for the new one.

Ramsey's arm turns into a black liquid mass, seemingly draining the life from Mitch Romero when he is attacked.

Ralph and Cisco take Killer Frost to a gallery opening at the space curator by Cisco's girlfriend, Kamilla, at her request.

Kamilla is aware of Caitlin's secret identity.

Allegra Garcia is a career criminal with the power to manipulate radio waves.

Allegra Garcia was arrested at the scene after a man named Salvador Traversoni lost control of his car and crashed. The evidence suggested that Garcia had tried to use her powers to take over the car.

Cecile senses that Garcia is lying when she tries to plead guilty to all the charges against her.

Cecile takes the unusual step of requesting bail for Garcia rather than accepting the guilty plea and a 15 year sentence.

Barry decides to time-travel to December 11, 2019 - one day after he is supposed to disappear. He is stopped by a barrier of antimatter in the Speed Force, which wounds him.

Earth-3 has blimps as an apparent public transport.

Jay Garrick was last seen in 415.

Jay Garrick has officially retired as The Flash of Earth-3 and now walks with a cane.

Jay Garrick has a map of the multiverse with extensive notes regarding several Earths. He has Earth-1 labeled as the home of Barry Allen, Earth-3 as his own home world, and Earth-38 as the home of Supergirl and Superman.

The map also lists two undesignated Earths and includes numbers higher than 52 - the supposed cap number of universes known to Harry wells at the time of Crisis on Earth-X.

Earth-13 is apparently the home of Wells the Grey - the wizard version of Harrison Wells seen in 406.

Earth-15 was apparently destroyed in the year 1986. This was the dead Earth to which Cisco sent Fallout's radiation in 410.

Earth-18 apparently has great tequila.

Earth-19 is home of the Breacher Agency, which employed Cynthia and Josh.

Earth-30 apparently only has vegan cuisine or only allows Vegans to live there.

Earth-51 is the home of Thaddeus Brown, who was mentioned in 520.

Earth-221 is the home of Sherloque Wells. This is likely a reference to the address of Sherlock Holmes - 221B Baker Street.

Earth-X is home of the Freedom Fighters and was encoutered during the Crisis on Earth-X storyline.

Jay Garrick suggests that he can send Barry's mind past the antimatter barrier to see the future.

Since the last time Barry saw Jay, he has gotten married to a woman named Dr. Joan Williams. She is the spitting image of Barry's mother, Nora Allen.

Jay says that he and Joan hit it off after he consulted her because he needed a neurologist's help to chart how his powers were affecting his body as he aged.

Joan asks Barry if she reminds him of anyone from his Earth. He says she does, but does not say she looks like his mother, saying only she looks like "someone special."

Ralph determines that Allegra Garcia is innocent, based on the injuries of Salvador Traversoni being inconsistent with those of someone trapped in a car that exploded.

Ralph and Iris go to question the witness who identified Allegra Garcia as the killer. They find Allegra Garcia standing over his dead body. Startled, she sends a blast at Ralph, which burns his face.

Joe West is able to stop Garcia from escaping, thanks to a metahuman restraint shooting gun.

Barry sees billions of potential future timelines while under the influence of Jay's machine. He also sees the deaths of himself, Iris, Killer Frost, Ralph Dibny and Cisco Ramon as the antimatter waves destroy Central City.

Curiously, Cisco is back in his Vibe costume in Barry's vision.

Barry makes reference to the pilot episode and how he usually hears Lady Gaga when he wakes up from being knocked into a coma.

Allegra Garcia dreamed of being a reporter as a girl.

Joe West picked Garcia up for robbing a liquor store when she was 13.

Jay and Joan transport Barry back to Earth-1.

Iris tells Joan that she looks like Barry's mother.

Barry tells Joe about the newspaper from the future and his visions and how he feels he's going to have to sacrifice himself and there's no way to avoid it.

Team Flash have alerts set to their phones to warn them if the MAC is having problems processing Chester P. Runk's bio-energy.

Killer Frost has taken up drawing as a hobby.

Allegra Garcia says she can see the radiation around her - not just control it. She specifically mentions gamma waves and microwaves but says she can't stop herself from seeing them.

Cecile tells Allegra about her telepathic and emphatic powers.

Allegra Garcia says she has a cousin, Esperanza, who was with her the night of the particle accelerator explosion. Esperanza had the same tattoo as Allegra - a gang symbol. Allegra claims she was forced to join the gang when she was younger and that the fight she got in the night of the particle accelerator explosion was due to her trying to get out of the gang.

Ralph retrieves Esperanza Garcia's records and discoverers that she was in a vegetative state before being taken into the custody of a redacted government organization the night of the particle accelerator explosion.

Esperanza Garcia now calls herself Ultraviolet. It seems to be her preferred wavelength, though she seemingly has the ability to control all wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, generating an EMP that knocks out the power at the CCPD headquarters.

Esperanza Garcia was hired to kill Salvador Traversoni. She then tried to kill the witness who identified Allegra and Allegra herself to hide that she was still alive.

Ultraviolet's existence hints at a secret organization that is exploiting young metahumans and training them to be assassins. Ralph says he plans to look into it.

Killer Frost buys some artwork to decorate the medical lab. She says she used Caitlin's credit cards to do it. This leads Ralph to declare that her next life lesson will involve personal finance.

Cisco puts Killer Frost's first self-portrait up among the other artwork.

Ralph's mom used to date a trapeze artist - No Net Nick.

Cecile decides to resign as District Attorney and become a defense attorney specializing in metahuman defense.

Cecile acts a reference for Allegra and gets her an internship with Iris' newspaper.

Jay says he'll keep monitoring the anti-Matter outbreaks from his lab on Earth-3.

Ramsey Rosso examines the body of Mitch Romero, which comes to life as he is performing a biopsy and knocks him out.


Location

Earth-3.


The Bottom Line

A decent episode, though I wonder how much the audience cares about Cecile's crisis of faith regarding her career and the addition of Allegra to an already overburdened cast of supporting characters. It's depressing how little screen-time Cisco, Ralph and Frost have here but at least Ralph is allowed to do some real detective work instead of being the comic relief.

On the other hand, Grant Gustin is acting his heart out of Barry's coping with his unavoidable death and Jesse Martin gets some great material as Joe. So while I question how well some of the new story additions will stick, at least there is little that is outright annoying.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Starman Plays Fallout - Part 32

In which I showcase one of the more fun and more difficult character builds for playing the classic Fallout: The Lenny Build!  We're too stupid to talk to people and can't get quests, but what we lack in charisma and comprehension we make up for by pounding stuff good. Now, tell me about the rabbits, George.


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Starman Plays Fallout - Part 31

In which we finally enter into The Cathedral and work to confront the Master of the Super Mutants. Will we save our Vault? Will we make the wasteland safe for dirty, leather-clad weirdos? Will the Followers of the Apocalypse actually be useful? Will I find another way to die stupidly while showing all the ways you can win the game here?


Monday, October 21, 2019

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 2 - The Book of the Occupation: Chapter Two: Maryam’s Tasbih

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




Plot

With Freeland now openly occupied by the ASA, the Pierce family is more divided than ever, literally and figuratively. Still held in captivity, Jefferson and Lynn come into conflict over whether or not they should keep trusting Agent Odell. Trapped outside of Freeland, Anissa turns upon her allies. Gambi continues to organize the resistance as best he can, as Jennifer tries to get by on her own despite feeling more powerless than ever.


Influences

Judd Winick's Green Arrow (a story centered around a corrupt government sealing people behind walls)


Trivia

A Tasbih is a devotional act practiced by some Muslim sects involving repeating the phrase "God is perfect." It is often said as part of a prayer ceremony, being repeated 33 times at the end of the prayer.


Technobabble

Jefferson is able to passively block cameras and recording devices around him with his powers.

According to Lynn, Jefferson's command of his powers and his power levels have been growing while the ASA have been experimenting on him.

Gambi has a cloaking device similar to the one he made for Jennifer, but his enables him to look like a younger man.  He uses it to disguise himself as an ASA Soldier.

Gambi approached Henderson, saying he needs one of the ASA's special Comm Drives to get through the ASA's firewall in order to get Anissa back into Freeland.

The ASA detects a correlation between the neuron spikes of Jefferson's brain activity and energy fluctuations within the ASA base whenever Jefferson erects his "privacy field."


Dialogue Triumphs

Jefferson: It's always about more and more power with the ASA. I've had it.
Lynn: How can you be so certain? These people weren't scared of Tobias but they're scared of the Markovians? Doesn't that say something to you?!
Jefferson: What if the Markovians are some sort of pretext like the so-called weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? The ASA has been dogging Freeland my whole life. Now we only hurt ourselves if we help them weaponize these kids.
Lynn: What about the Green Light Babies? And the Pod Kids?
Jefferson: Look, listen to me. Now, if you don't help them, the ASA will see that they can't get their meta-human weapons here. Eventually, they will abandon their masterplan and leave Freeland.
Lynn: Eventually?! You sound just as ready to sacrifice innocent children as Odell. Well, I'm not.

(Blackbird has just taken down one of the Perdi who was threatening her with a shotgun.)
Anaya: Why did you hit him so hard? He could have been crippled for life.
Blackbird: (cooly) He could have been dead a lot longer.
Anaya: You're almost just as bad as the Sange.
Blackbird: Test me and I'll be worse.


Continuity

Maryam's health is getting worse, with her hair and fingernails falling out and it being impossible for her to keep any food down. She later says she's begun bleeding from the eyes.

Lala is revealed to have Martin Proctor's briefcase. He can't activate it and doesn't know its significance beyond it being important to Tobias Whale.

Henderson reports to the media that five service members were killed by Markovian invaders, before announcing a total media blackout on news in Freeland going to the outside world and a continuation of the blackout on news from the outside world. All news broadcasts and publications within Freeland must be approved by the ASA first.

A new resistance television network, hosted by a man called Truthteller Johnson, reports that the ASA killed the five service members rather than the Markovians.

Truthteller Johnson also introduces a woman, who talks about how Tobias Whale working with the ASA to turn her child into a monster before killing him. The woman is Nichelle Payne, mother of Khalili Payne (aka Painkiller.)

Gambi is revealed to be the tech guy behind the Resistance TV broadcasts.

Jefferson is passively using his powers to block the surveillance equipment in his and Lynn's room.

Commander Williams agrees to bring in a secure cell-phone that Jefferson and Lynn can use to record a message for their daughters.

Jefferson and Lynn are moved into a more luxirious room, stocked with their favorite foods and drinks. They are both also given complete freedom to move around their sector.

Lynn is a red wine drinker. Jefferson has a preferred branch of scotch.

According to Commander Williams, four Green Light Babies and two Pod Kids have died since the occupation of Freeland began, with a dozen more children near death. He seems earnest when he says he's glad Lynn agreed to help the ASA.

Jefferson says the ASA is just trying to showcase their power and how long they've been monitoring The Pierces. Lynn concedes the point, but refuses to let that stop her from saving the lives of the reen Light Babies and Pod Kids.

Henderson is after a particularly drug dealer named Sinzell Johnson, who has become the effective boss of The 100 since the ASA captured Tobias Whale.

Detective Sgt. King is taken into ASA custody by Commander Williams as a possible Green Light user and metahuman.

Blackbird is revealed to have made a deal with the Perdi of South Freeland to house the escaped metahumans she can get out of Freeland. Unfortunately, they are starting to tax their resources and the Perdi are starting to think Blackbird is demanding too much for the help she gave in defeating Looker and the Sange in Season 2.

Agent Odell tells Jennifer that her family has been exempted from the food rationing imposed on Freeland. Jennifer refuses to accept it, saying she and her family don't deserve special treatment. Agent Odell contends that, given their powers, that they do.

Jennifer intentionally shorted out the surveillance equipment in the Pierce household.

Agent Odell delivers the phone with Jefferson and Lynn's message to their daughters. He says Jennifer can use it to contact him if she needs anything and that he wants her to believe he is on her side.

Lala gets together with some of his former 100 members and starts plotting how to retake the drug trade in Freeland from Sinzell Johnson.

Gambi asks Jefferson for help in acquiring one of the ASA's special comm drives so he can hack their firewall.

Commander Williams has taken over Club 100 as his base of operations in Freeland proper.

Jefferson gets Gambi the drive he needs.

Lala kills Sinzell Johnson, who he discovers is gouging the people of Freeland on simple food and water.

The Perdi make it clear they no longer trust Blackbird.

Gambi gets a message to Anissa, warning her that the Markovian government seem to have agents finding a way to get into Freeland and they're close to the Perdi farmland.

Lynn runs tests to chart Maryam's powers, despite her health.

Khalil Payne loved to draw and Jennifer still has some of his drawings.

Jamillah Olsen is continuing to do broadcasts on the conditions in Freeland for the outside world. It is unclear how she is getting her signal out. She reports that scores of people have been arrested or shot for resisting the ASA in Freeland, that the Markovian government tried to raid the metahuman processing facility and that Blackbird has become the symbol of the Resistance fighting the ASA.

Khalil Payne is revealed to have been resurrected and empowered by the ASA, his mind now "programmed" with a classical education (equivalent to Master's Degrees in Literature, Philosophy and Mathematics), knowledge of human anatomy, small arms marksmanship skills and military history. He has also been programmed to obey any orders given to him by ASA Control without question.

Khalil Payne, now calling himself Painkiller, is sent to kill his own mother.

Commander Williams expressed doubt about the wisdom of sending Painkiller to kill his own mother. Agent Odell says it will be an ideal test of the new brain chips they are using to control metahuman agents.

Agent Odell tells Lynn that the ASA knows Jefferson is using his powers to stop them from spying on him.

Maryam tells Jefferson that the ASA had been forcing the metahuman teens to fight each other.

Maryam also tells Jefferson that one girl had her fingers and toes fall off.

Jefferson tells Lynn what he learned but she's more upset that Jefferson is jeopardizing her work with the ASA by no cooperating than by that he discovered.

Khalil kills Nichelle Payne.

Jennifer breaks up a fight at Garfield High


Location

South Freeland


The Fridge Factor

Anissa comes off as really incompetent when it comes to diplomacy or doing anything other than busting heads.


The Winick Factor

With the ASA now openly building walls around Freeland and effectively turning it into Agent Odell's kingdom, this is very much like the image of Star City Judd Winick presented in his Green Arrow: One Year Later storyline.


The Bottom Line

Borderline unwatchable, with all the most interesting characters in the series sidelined and Lynn being handed the idiot ball to create an unnatural conflict between her and Jefferson, when they should be joining together against their captors. Ditto Anissa blowing off the concerns of the Perdi an destroying her own underground railroad. Nearly everything heroic in this episode, up until Jennifer breaks up the fight, is accomplished by Gambi off-camera.  They bring Painkiller back as a brainless thug and there's no Tobias. This season needs to step up in a hurry.