Thursday, November 14, 2019

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 5 - Dangerous Liaisons

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




Plot

It's the eve of Obsidian North's public launch of their new "Collective Reality" contact lenses and a new metahuman mercenary is gathering gear for an unknown purpose. As Supergirl and the DEO try to track down this new threat, Kara must help William Day with his investigation into Andrea Rojas, as she learns the truly personal reasons he has for bringing down her criminal empire. Meanwhile, Malefic and Lena begin working together to find a way to mechanize Malefic's power.


Influences

Titans #20  (character of Breathtaker), Young Justice #2 (character of Rip Roar) and the movies Spider-Man 2 and Robocop, which... inspired certain elements of Rip Roar's costume.


Goofs

The effects and editing used to make Brainiac-5 as possessed by the Aurafacian look scary are anything but scary.

Dreamer using her powers to hold back a wave the size of the whole Pacific coast seems far beyond her power level and what she should be capable of doing with her energy abilities.

Given their distinctive beards match, it is hard to believe William Day - presumably observant to be a successful reporter - didn't realize that Rip Roar was Russell Rogers. Some best friend!


Performances

Phil LaMarr is a well-known voice actor these days, but he proves to be no mean actor in the flesh, playing Malefic trapped in a human form.


Artistry

The opening Obsidian North commercial is a stunning parody of nature-themed advertising for a piece of technology.


Super Trivia

The wind-controlling metahuman from last week's episode is given a proper name in this episode: Breathtaker. Strangely enough, this name has been used by two different DC Comics supervillains. However, the Earth-38 version of Breathtaker seems to be based on the second Breathtaker, given her power set and basic gimmick.

First appearing in Titans #21 in November 2000, Breathtaker was part of a group of metahuman assassins known as The Hangmen. Her real name and origins were never revealed. She had the power to control the air around her but her trademark move was draining the air out of a person's lungs.

This episode introduces a cyborg assassin known as Rip Roar, who is armed with two extra robot hands. There is an earlier DC Comics character called Rip Roar, but he has nothing in common with his Earth-38 counterpart apart from a shared name and their both having four arms.

The original Rip Roar was a member of the New Gods, who first appeared in Young Justice #2, in October 1998. A native of the planet Apocalypse, Rip Roar was a soldier under Darkseid's direct command and a rival of Darkseid's son, Kalibak. Rip Roar became stranded on Earth thanks to Kalibak's treachery, shortly after he stole a Super-Cycle from the world of New Genesis. This Super-Cycle would become the team transport of Young Justice, after the team defeated Rip Roar. In addition to having four arms and the usual New God super-strength and enhanced durability, Rip Roar had the ability to project fire and ice from his hands.


Technobabble

Kara tells Kelly that the perfect gift for Alex would be a Schadel XG-1000 motorcycle helmet, in small, matte black.

Lex Luthor created a laser rifle he called the Marathon Laser because it could fire a concentrated beam of light 26.2 miles.

Brainiac-5 is able to augment the executive section of his brain to allow the Aurafacian to speak through him, after he bonds with it.The Aurafacian will be unable to lie, thanks to a polygraph filter in Brainiac-5's brain.

The occipital lobe is the part of the brain where Q-waves are generated.

Q-waves are projected like sonar from a dolphin.

Malefic's Q-waves broadcast on a special frequency that allows him to control the thoughts and emotions of others, while being unable to connect to the Martian hive-mind.

A Fusion Cannon is a high-energy weapon formed from the combination of a high-power, high-range laser (like Lex Luthor's Marathon Laser) and a particle amplifier. It is capable of generating an energy beam 100 times hotter than the center of Earth's sun. According to Brainiac-5, the Fusion Cannon isn't supposed to be invented until the 22nd century.

Fusion Cannons are impossible to track, due to the amplifier's radiation obfuscating the laser's energy signature. They are also powerful enough to hurt Supergirl.

The Maladorian Dendroasp is 100 times more aggressive than any animal on Earth.

Rip Roar is able to trigger a massive eruption in the Antarctic water table, which sends shockwaves east and west, resulting in an unprecedented number of sea swells. Based on the seafloor pattern and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, the biggest is set to make landfall on the North American Pacific coast one hour after the eruption.

The geyser Rip Roar creates pumps out three cubic miles of water every second. At that sustained rate, every coastal city in the world will start flooding within 12 minutes.

The helmet Rip Roar wears is biologically adhered and it functions as some sort of mental armor. Even with a Truth-Seeker attached to him, he does not say anything about who hired him other than to describe them as "They."


Dialogue Triumphs

Lena:  It seems we have gotten off on the wrong foot. So I have a proposition. You have the ability to incept thoughts into people's minds. I want to study your brain, so I can develop a technology that can do the same thing.
Malefic: Forgive my skepticism, but last time someone showed interest in my brain, the High Council sent me to the Phantom Zone.
Lena: You'd be back in the Phantom Zone if it wasn't for me.
Malefic: And yet, now we are at an impasse. What's in it for me?
Lena: We both want the same thing. We were each betrayed by the people closest to us. Work with me. I believe you've the ability to do great things.
Malefic: I don't want to do great things. I want revenge! So I have a proposal for you. Martian biology prevents a brother from harming his brother. That's why I've been attacking the people closest to J'onn J'onzz. If you remove this barrier from my brain so I can kill my brother, I will give you access to my mind.
Lena: It is my mission to stop people from hurting each other. I will not kill.
Malefic: Perhaps. But you've gone to extreme measures to bring me here. And now, you are at the precipice. Studying my mind is the key. I know of desperation, human. I know the depths you feel.
Lena: I would have to develop the technology first.
(Malefic merely smirks and nods slightly.)
Lena: Your terms are acceptable. Let's begin.

Brainiac-5: Now, I'm no super-villain, but if I were, and I was right over an Antarctic lake with a weapon designed to fire a beam 100 times hotter than the center of the sun, well, it would be, as they say, "a hot time in the old town tonight."


Continuity

As the episode opens, it is just over 59 hours before the Collective Dream VR contacts officially go on sale.

Andrea has everyone at CatCo writing articles about Collective Dream, regardless of their usual departments and beats.

William Day volunteers for the assignment of continually writing articles about how big the sales are.

Kara has not told Nia about what William is working on and denied finding anything at the address Nia found which led to a house rented in William's name.

Kelly and Alex are celebrating the anniversary of their first date. Kelly asks Kara for advice on a gift.

Kara tells William about the air-controlling metahuman the DEO captured and says she can get him into the DEO on two conditions; one, he has to sign an NDA  agreeing not to talk about the building and two, he has to bring Kara in on the investigation.. She gives him all right to publish the articles in his name.

Alex uses the Truth Seeker, first seen in 410, on Breathtaker.

Breathtaker says she has no idea who hired her, as she is paid in Bitcoin through a secure server and she never knows what other contractors she might be working with at any time.

Breathtaker's previous contacts include "this lady with killer tattoos (i.e. the Aurafacian from 503), a guy who could detach most of his fingers, and this big dude with some extra appendages." She later clarifies this to be a man with two mechanical arms.

Breathtaker says the man with four arms uses the code name Rip Roar and she last saw him two years earlier in Darien.

William says that Rip Roar killed his best friend from college, Russell Rogers, two years earlier.

Russell had apparently dated Andrea Rojas but become suspicious she was involved in something shady. He disappeared a day after he told William this, with no body ever being found.

Rip Roar steals the Marathon Laser from the vault holding Lex Luthor's belongings at Fort Summit Army Base.

Malefic agrees to let Lena test his powers in exchange for her finding a way to overcome the Martian genetic coding that prohibits brother from hurting brother.

Brainiac briefly bonds with the Aurafacian so it can be questioned, but it delivers no useful information. Like Breathtaker, it was hired on-line through an anonymous drop.

Rip Roar is revealed to be working for Leviathan.

Lena has Malefic attempt to control three hostile alien creatures to narrow down the frequency he uses to control people. These are a Daxamite Scorpion, a Terran Oceanic Devil, and a Maladorian Dendroasp.

Kelly makes a reservation at a waterfront restaurant for her and Alex's anniversary.

Kara knows how to loop a security camera's footage to hide her breaking into Andrea's office.

William Day has contacts at MI-8.

Kara and William find nothing in Andrea's office more incriminating than a large stockpile of foreign currency in her safe.

Brainiac-5 is able to track the power source of the Marathon Laser to a satellite station in New Mexico.

Rip Roar steals a particle amplifier from the satellite station.

J'onn conducts a psychic scan of Russell Rogers' old apartment in London but sensed nothing other than evidence of a struggle years earlier.

Brainiac-5 determines that the components Rip Roar stole could be used to create a high-power fusion cannon.

Brainiac-5 determines that the common link between the targets of the three super-powered assassins - a scientist, an engineer and a security officer - is that they all were all employed by the Lake Vostok Antarctica Base. Between the three of them, it would have been possible to override every single security protocol in the base.

Brainy further theorizes that Rip-Roar's purpose is to trigger a global flood by melting the glacier over Lake Vostok.

William Day uses his VR Collective Dream contacts to imagine telling Andrea off about her crimes.

J'onn and Kara fly in-synch to create a whirlpool to suppress the water being pushed up by the geyser created by Rip Roar.

Dreamer uses her powers to stop the wave from destroying America's west coast.

Brainiac determines that Andrea Rojas and Obsidian North couldn't be behind the plot to flood the world. Ignoring that it would have ruined the launch of their new VR lenses (and many people were utterly helpless because they were in VR when the wave hit), the flooding would also have destroyed Obsidian North's manufacturing hub.

Nia and Kelly befriend one another after Nia walks in on Kelly having an anxiety attack triggered by watching Alex in action saving people.

Lena uses her research to place Malefic under her control, making him unable to hurt anyone or want to leave her lab.

Kelly's favorite color is purple.

Alex's gift to Kelly is the same motorcycle helmet she asked for, so that Kelly can ride on Alex's bike with her.

Rip Roar is identified as Russell Rogers.

The old woman from Leviathan appears to Andrea Rojas, telling her they need her to deal with Rip Roar.


Location

Fort Summit Army Base
Socorro Satellite Station - New Mexico.
Lake Vostok Antarctica Base - Antarctica


The Fridge Factor

Kara comes off incredibly indecisive in this episode. Early on, she laments to J'onn that her instincts about Andrea Rojas and William Day were completely inaccurate and that she can't trust herself. Yet the middle part of the episode has her telling Alex to trust her gut instincts, despite a complete lack of evidence.


The Bottom Line

Quite possibly the worst episode in the show's history. It's on par with the various Parasite episodes, at the very least. The chief problem is that it makes Kelly (still a virtual non-entity, character wise) and Alex celebrating the anniversary of their first date more important than Lena stumbling down the slippery slope toward villainy by betraying Malefic.

It's hard to say what is stupider in the end; the conceit that one ray gun can trigger a tidal wave that will move straight toward the Pacific Coast of the USA from Antarctica, Dreamer suddenly having the ability to stop a tidal wave that huge by thinking at it or William Day not being able to recognize his best friend is Rip Roar despite them both having the same beard.

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