Sunday, February 16, 2020

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 5, Episode 3 - Miss Me, Kiss Me, Love Me

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




Plot

With Astra firmly committed to releasing Encores upon the Earth, Constantine starts seeking an alternative means of fighting the undead. As he, Sara, Ray, Ava and Mick travel to the Golden Age of Hollywood to deal with the return of infamous gangster Benjmain "Bugsy" Siegel, Nate travels with Behrad for a visit home to his parents... and his annoying older sister, Zari.


Influences

Film Noir gangster movies, with a specific shout-out to Chinatown and the music of Bell Bev Devoe


Goofs

If mortal souls in the service of demons are capable of turning anyone they kill or corrupt into a new recruit for their demonic master, why aren't more demons sending armies of serial killers back to Earth? (It isn't a widely known fact or most demons would rather horde the souls they have than risk losing them.)

Mickey Cohen is depicted as a rival of Bugsy Siegel. In the real world, Mickey Cohen was one of Siegel's subordinates and had worked with him on establishing the Flamingo Hotel. (It could be they were rivals in Earth-Prime. There's also a theory that Cohen might have undertaken the hit on behalf of the other mafia families due to Bugsy's skimming off of the properties meant to be managed to the benefit of them all.)

Ava apparently lost her apartment in Washington DC and all her belongings are now in a single duffel-bag. Given how controlling Ava was, it's a little hard to believe she wasn't similarly meticulous regsarding her finances and didn't have money put aside for emergencies and is now, in her words, a vagrant, who has to live on the Waverider.

It's a minor point but where was the real Moore of "Webb & Moore" while all this was going on?


Performances

Tala Ashe slays as the new Zari. She's not a completely different person, showing plenty of the steel and intelligence we associate with the character, but she's different enough in her seemingly vapid persona to her followers and her general demeanor for it to be startling. The low-cut top and mini-skirt she seems to favor would have been all but impossible to imagine on the more Tomboyish Zari from pre-Crisis.

It must be said that Caity Lotz plays the femme fatale quite well and she'd do quite well in an actual Film Noir thriller.

The VIP performance of the episode has to go to Jess Macallan, who gets a chance to show off her singing skills and steals the scene with her dream sequence and the comedic aftermath. Yet she also gets some great pathos conveying Ava's clear discomfort with the loss of control she's feeling as a member of the Legends in the wake of losing her job with the Time Bureau.


Artistry

The sequence in which Ava sings a torch-song version of "Poison" is a perfect blending of light, blocking, setting and costume. You almost forget how impossible it is for a 1940's band and back-up singers to know the song up until the gag

The costuming overall is quite good.


Trivia Of Tomorrow

This was the first episode to feature a new animated title-card sequence showing the core members of the Legends

This also marked the first episode where a new font was used for the credits.

The title of the episode is based on a lyric from the song "Poison" by Bell Bev Devoe, which Ava sings in the episode.

The detective office which Sara, Ray and John investigate belongs to Webb & Moore.  The name Webb could be a nod to actor Jack Webb, who made a career of playing detectives and lawmen in Los Angeles, most famously as Sgt. Joe Friday on Dragnet.  The name Moore could be a nod to John Constantine creator Alan Moore.

Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel was one of the gangsters who founded Murder Inc. and held considerable influence in the Jewish Mafia, the National Crime Syndicate and the Ameican Mafia. One of the most famous of the so-called celebrity mobsters, he's been depicted in a number of popular films and television series; most famously in the 1991 film Bugsy, where he was played by Warren Beatty.

Though most of the media portrayals of Bugsy Siegel focus upon his time as a crime-boss, most of his criminal career was spent working as a hitman or hired muscle for other bosses. Known for being handsome and charismatic, he worked as a bootlegger in New York during the Prohibition era. When alcohol was legal in the USA once again, he headed west and began running his own rackets in Hollywood while taking a hand in establishing Las Vegas.

The character of Jeanie Hill seems to be partly based on Virginia Hill; a female gangster and one-time girlfriend of Bugsy Siegel, who never went by the name Jeanie in our world. Once described by Time Magazine as the "queen of the gangster molls," Virginia Hill was an equally legendary figure in the history of the American Mafia, having been romantically connected to many men in the Chicago Mob, for whom she also acted as a courier and a spy.

Virginia Hill eventually settled on Charles Fischetti, a cousin and bodyguard of Al Capone, but was dispatched to New York where she became involved with Joe Adonis in order to spy on the Luciano family. It was here that she met Bugsy Siegel, with the two openly becoming a couple after they both wound up in Hollywood years later.

In our world, Bugsy Siegel was killed on June 20, 1947, at the Beverly Hills home of Virginia Hill. It is believed that Hill was warned about the hit, as she took a sudden trip to Paris four days before Siegel's death.

In the Arrowverse, things play out differently, with Hill being present for Bugsy's murder and it apparently taking place somewhere besides her house, as she makes reference to Bugsy coming by her place later being perfectly fine.

The Arrowverse version of Bugsy Siegel secured his place in Hollywood using blackmail material, often entrapping his victims, make and female, using Jeanie Hill as a honey pot. While there is no record of Siegel operating in this capacity with Virginia Hill, it can't be completely discounted given their pasts, as Siegel did depend heavily on extorting various movie studio bosses and would not have been above using his moll to arrange for incriminating photos to be taken.

One notable difference between Jeanie Hill and Virginia Hill is that Jeanie Hill makes reference to being from Shaker Heights, Ohio and heading to Hollywood with dreams of becoming a mvoie star. Virginia Hill was from Lipscomb, Alabama and played at being a Southern Belle from an old money family when seducing her marks in Chicago and New York before she made her way west.

Virginia Hill also did not die because of  a car bomb in California in 1947. In 1950, she married Austrian professional skier Hans Hauser and spent the rest of her life after 1954 in Europe in order to avoid charges of tax evasion in the United States. She died of an apparent drug overdose in 1966, but some believe she was murdered and it was made to look like an accident for fear of what she knew.

As Sara is trying to lure Bugsy Siegel out to where she and Ray can subdue him, she and Bugsy are attacked by men Bugsy says work for Mickey Cohen; boss of the Cohen crime family and a major player in the Italian American mafia through the 1960s. Curiously, Cohen had worked under Siegel during most of the 1940s and one Mafia legend says he attempted to kill the men he believed were responsible for killing Siegel before being scared off by the arrival of police. It is believed he was honestly avenging Siegel's murder rather than trying to cover the tracks of the hit himself.

Clayton Chitty, who plays Officer Sullivan in this episode, previously played Vigilante on Arrow.

Ray attempts to search Bugsy on his way out of the LAPD precinct office, citing the authority of Police Chief Wiggum. This is a nod to the bumbling police chief from The Simpsons.


Technobabble/Arcana

By the laws of Hell, any human killed or corrupted by a damned soul released upon Earth goes to the demon that owns the chit of the damned soul.

John has a magic spell that allows him to track Encores by detecting magical energy and infernal residue.

Ignis Inerni is the Latin term for hellfire.

John can identified the victim of a hellfire attack by tasting their ashes.

Hellfire cannot be generated by mortal mages - only by an infernal being or an object made by demons.

Bugsy Siegel is revealed to have a pistol infused with hellfire. Siegel also seems to have some degree of telepathic control over the bullets the gun fires, as he is able to wound four gangsters with a single shot as the bullet weaves around to strike them all. The body of a mortal struck by the hellfire bullets disintegrates into a pile of ash and their soul is sent to Hell. A damned soul or demon struck by a hellfire bullet is permanently killed.

As powerful as the hellfire gun is, it does require compatible ammunition from Hell to work. This becomes a factor later when John storms Astra's club later with a limited number of shots.

According to John, only a weapon born of Hell can eliminate the Encores.


Dialogue Triumphs

(John appears in the circle of ash on the Waverider, seemingly only moments after he disappeared. Ava and Sara are still there. John coughs as the two women crowd him.)
Sara: John!
Ava: What happened down there?
(Gasping for breath, John straightens up and steels himself. He then pushes his way between Sara and Ava.)
John: I need a drink.
(As John says the words, Sara mouths them as well and shrugs triumphantly at Ava as if to say, "See? I told you I knew how this would go.")

(Sara. Ray and John go chasing after the female silhouette they saw in the hallway. They find a woman holding a pistol.)
Jeanie Hill: Don't come any closer!
Sara: All right, easy. You can put the gun down. We're here to help.
Jeanie Hill: Where's Webb?!
Ray: Uh, we are the "and Moore" of Webb & Moore. We work with Moore. (correcting himself) Webb.
Jeanie Hill: (looking at John) You must be Moore.
John: (speaking in an American accent) Suuure, that's me. Johnny Moore. Sara is my secretary.
(John points to Sara, who briefly makes a face suggesting there will be hell to pay for this later.)
John: (looking to Ray) And this fella here-
Jeanie Hill: Has got a cop face.
Ray: (not realizing that's an insult) Oh, thank you! (chuckles) Sergeant Palmer at your service. (winks) I'm undercover.
Jeanie Hill: Tell Webb to call me when he's back.
(She turns around as it to leave but stops when John starts speaking.)
John: He's, uh, on holiday vacation, which leaves me handling your case, Miss...?
Jeanie Hill: Hill, Jeanie Hill. I hired your partner to protect me from my boyfriend.
Ray: Oh, well, you're in good hands, ma'am.
Jeanie Hill: Oh, give me a break, Johnny Law! Half the PD is in Bugsy's pocket!
Sara: (recognizing the name) Bugsy as in...
Jeanie Hill: Benjamin Siegel. Doesn't like it when you call him Bugsy. But here's the kicker, He died last week.
John:And now he's back from the dead.
Jeanie Hill: And he's more dangerous than ever.

(Bugsy Siegel approaches Sara after she goes walking past his table.)
Bugsy: I couldn't help but notice you, and I gotta tell you, I like the way you walk.
Sara: I learned to do it all by myself, Mr. Siegel.
Bugsy: Oh, please, Benjamin.
Sara: Hmm, Sara Lance, at your service.
Bugsy: Lance, huh?
Sara: What's the matter, you don't like it?
Bugsy: Well, I don't know yet, just trying it on for size. You know, even if it fits, I'm a little curious about the price tag.
Sara: Well, if you have to ask, it's probably too expensive.
 Bugsy: (chuckles) I take what I want.
Sara: Does that make you a thief, Mr. Siegel?
Bugsy: I am a lot of things, Ms. Lance. And I am especially a thief.
Sara: Well, then let's stop all the tiddlywinks and get straight to the big reveal, shall we? Now, I'm a reporter for a new gossip rag, and I've got some dirt on half the city councilmen and the new archbishop. It's in my car. What do you say we go out back and you can take a peek what's in my trunk?
 Bugsy: I say, you keep talking like that, I just might follow you anywhere.

(Ava sighs as she gets off the comms with Sara, having been told to sit tight and watch the bar.)
Mick: What?
Ava: Hmm? (laughs) You wouldn't understand.
Mick: That you were the boss of a massive government organization, and now you do diddly-squat?
Ava: Wow, take it back, Rory. You just summed up my life perfectly.
(Ava looks depressed at this realization and downs her drink in one shot.)
Ava: (to the bartender)
Can I get a double?

(John is sitting in the office of Moore & Webb. Jeanie Hill comes inside. John smiles as he puts on his American accent, clearly relishing playing a private eye, trenchcoat and all.)
John: So you got my message.
Jeanie Hill: Look, if this is about the money your friend gave me, I already spent it.
John: I knew you were on the grift from the moment I laid eyes on ya.
Jeanie Hill: And I never once fell for that Yankee accent of yours.
John: (laughs and goes back to his normal voice)  Well, all right then. Well, now that we've dropped the charades, tell me, what is your angle?
Jeanie Hill: I wanna take Bugsy down. Free this town from his sway. The only way to do that is to destroy his blackmail stash. Webb said he'd found it, but I'm guessing Bugsy killed him for snooping too close.
John: Well, that's bad news for Webb and good news for me, because I know where the stash is.
Jeanie Hill: (smiles wide and steps in closer to John) Well, aren't I the luckiest girl in the world. What do you want in exchange?
John: (inhales deeply) I want Bugsy's gun.
Jeanie Hill: You lookin' to ice Bugsy?
John: No, that bloke's not worth it. I'm aiming at the person who brought him back.
Jeanie Hill:  Then we have a deal. You get your guy, I get my freedom.
John: Now, how exactly are you planning on stealing Bugsy's prized weapon, eh?
Jeanie Hill: When we kiss I'll press my hand against his chest.
(She steps closer and runs her hand along John's chest.)
Jeanie Hill: And then I'll run my hand all the way down his body, and then I'll grab it like this.
(John grunts as Jeanie grabs something that is definitely not a gun. She presses her lips to his and he grabs the back of her head as he spins her around. They sink to the floor as jazz music swells as we hear the sound of furniture crashing.)

(Bugsy Siegel comes into the Blue Iguana to see a drunken Ava singing.)
Bugsy: What is all this? You bring me all the way down here just so I can watch some no-name dame humiliate herself on stage?
Sara: First of all, she is not a no-name. That is my girlfriend. And second, she is not humiliating herself.
Mick: (deadpan) Yes she is.

(Nate is in a sitting room by himself. He is looking at a framed copy of Mini Traders Magazine. The cover story is ZARI TARAZI IS DRAGON GIRL!" and shows a picture of a young Zari taming the dragon at Heyworld. Zari walks in.)
Zari: So embarrassing.
Nate: Dragon girl. Is this when you became famous?
Zari: Yep, first agent when I was 11. He was a real piece of work. Eventually, I took control of everything.
Nate: Can I ask you something?
Zari: Hmm?
Nate: When you first saw me, did you feel like we met before?
Zari: Maybe. I meet a lot of fans.
Nate: No, I mean, we met in another life.
Zari: Oh. Yeah, I totally got that vibe.
(Zari rushes to Nate and kneels on the couch opposite him.) 
Nate: Oh, so it's not all in my head! I feel like I've been living out this Taylor Swift song, but it feels crazy good.
(Zari takes Nate's hand) 
Zari: We're definitely connected somehow, but something feels off. I think the you I remember wasn't a professor.
(Nate hesitates, clearly not wanting to blow his friend's cover.)
Zari: (rolling her eyes) Come on, I know Behrad's been lying to my parents about business school for years. I only wanna make sure that he's been taking really good care of our family's totem. Which he has been, right?
(Nate mutters something indistinct as Zari leans in close. Naturally, it is at this moment that Behard walks in.)
Behard: Yo, dude, we're cutting the cake, and they're asking for the special guest.
Zari: Come on. Chill, B, your friend and I were just talking.
Behard: (guiding Nate out of the room) Sure you were. Let's go.

(Jeanie is holding John at gunpoint, stopping him from burning Bugsy's blackmail stash.)
John: You told me you wanted to destroy that stash so that you and everyone else in the town could be free.
Jeanie Hill: Yeah, but I figured why destroy it when I could just use it for myself? I'm sick and tired of people taking advantage of me. With this briefcase, I'll finally have some real power around here.
John: Look, I understand your anger, but as soon as you touch Bugsy's dirt then you'll have a target on your back just like him. But if you leave now, you can start over, have a new life. Look, you don't have to do this, Jeannie. Just walk away.
Jeanie Hill: Walk away? Do you really expect me to give up this power after being so powerless my whole life?
(John looks at her. He knows what it is to be powerless and he can't say that she's wrong. Though it's clear he's also thinking about another powerless woman lashing out now that she has real power that he was trying to stop for his own selfish reasons.)
John: You know what? You're right. (picks up the briefcase and hands it to her.) Who am I to tell you what to do anyway?
Jeanie Hill:  See? It's working already.

(John looks at the burning car, knowing there is no way Jeanie Hill survived. Ray walks up.)
Ray: They killed her!
John: Forget it, Ray. It's Burbank.

(Sara and Mick have Bugsy in the Waverider brig. John and Ray enter. John is livid. )
John: I should blast you straight to oblivion, you damn bastard. You made Jeanie's life miserable and now she's dead because of you.
Bugsy Siegel: (smirks) I may have corrupted a wannabe starlet. But you? You created a real monster. Astra Logue.
(There's a long moment as John regards Bugsy. He then grins wickedly as he pulls a bottle from his pocket and begins forming a circle on the floor.)
John: You know what? It's funny that you mention her. I was just about to go and see her.
Sara: John, if you're about to do what I think you're gonna do, then you'd better be sure.
(John nods as he steps into the circle. He looks to Mick, who is still holding Bugsy.) 
John: Hand him over, big man.
Mick: (pushes Bugsy into the circle) Go on.
John: Yeah, that's it, big boy. See, you're my ticket to Hell.
(John pistol-whips Bugsy across the forehead with the hellfire pistol. It draws blood. John sticks his fingers in the wound and applies it in two vertical marks under his eyes before sucking his fingers clean and taking a deep breath. Ray looks disgusted.)
John: (chanting) Flesh become my flesh, soul become my soul. Hades, firstborn of Cronus and Rhea, I call upon you. (John looks up to Mick)  Light her up, big man.
(Mick, for once looking disturbed, pulls out his heat gun and ignites the circle. The flames immediately go  blue as John and Bugsy disappear.)

(John enters into Astra club, hellfire gun drawn, pushing the bound Bugsy before him.)
Astra: You just can't stay away, can you?
Bugsy Seigel: Careful, he's still got one bullet left.
Astra: Oh, I appreciate your concern, Benjamin, but I'm not worried about him. We're old friends, aren't we, Johnny? So why don't you tell me what you came all the way down here for?
John: I came all the way down here to tell you....
(John holds the gun on Astra and looks at her.  He lowers the gun.)
John: That I'm not giving up on you. And even if it takes me till the end of my days, I promise you that I will find a way.
Astra: Another meaningless promise made by the great John Constantine. You've gone soft.
(Astra laughs wickedly and Bugsy joins in. John smiles sheepishly for a moment before his bastard grin emerges.)
John: Not that soft. This one's for Jeannie!
(John draws the gun and fires it directly into Siegel's heart. He has just enough time to look stunned before screaming and disappating into a cloud of green fiery smoke. Astra honestly looks surprised.)
John: I'll be seeing you around, love.
(John throws the gun to the ground and walks out.)

Ray: Hey, whatever really happened back there with Astra, I'm sure it wasn't easy.
John: What are you talking about, big man?
Ray Just so you know, if I had taken care of Nora back when we all thought she was evil, we wouldn't be happy and together right now.
John: Oh, I had the chance to pull the trigger, to end all this. (sighs) But I couldn't do it.
(Ray just nods and smiles widely.)
John: What's all your grinning about?
Ray: Just happy there's still good guys out there. Even if one of them is a master of the dark arts.
John: You know, you're wrong about me, Ray. But I will save Astra, and you should know it's just as much for me as it is for her, all right?


Continuity

Astra refuses to bring her souls back to Hell when John asks her to do so nicely. She says the only way she'll ever stop is if John kills her, but points out that's pointless as she'll just wind up in Hell again.

Astra has taken control of Masher and is punishing him for squealing on her to John Constantine.

Nate is now seeing flashes of Zari when he looks at Behrad.

Ray suggests that Astra could be redeemed but John says that her lust for power has overtaken whatever humanity she had left.

With no better plan for containing the Encores, Sara says they'll keep them on the ship until they can figure out a way to send them to Hell permanently or stop Astra from sending them back to Earth.

Behrad asks for shore leave to visit his father on his birthday. Nate agrees to come along and pretend to be one of his business school professors.

Gideon detects a time quake in Los Angeles in 1947 just as Nate and Behrad are leaving.

Sara, John and Ray head into LA to investigate the disturbance. Ava and Mick QB from the ship.

According to Mick, QB means stay on the ship and do nothing.

Behrad and his parents speak Farsi.

In the new timeline, Zari is a social media influencer who became world famous after the incident where she tamed the dragon at Heyworld in 2019. She built that fame into a social media empire

Zari has an entourage that includes one media person and two people to help her with hair and make-ip touch-ups.

Zari has 51 million followers on-line.

Nate recognizes Zari as the woman from the video in 502. She has no idea who he is, however, and he thinks he's a creep based on how he stares at her.

Nate tells Behrad about the video he found in Gideon's memory. Behrad is skeptical, however.

John tracks the Encore to a detective agency belonging to one Webb and Moore. He goes on to impersonate Moore, using the name Johnny Moore, after finding a pile of ashes on the floor he figures was Webb.

John finds a matchbook for the Blue Iguana club on Moore's desk. It has a sequence of numbers written in it, along with the word Elysium.

John is capable of faking a reasonable American accent.

Ray impersonates a plainclothes police detective, saying he is Sgt. Palmer.

Sara, to her annoyance, has to play the role of John's secretary.

Webb was hired by Jeanie Hill to act as a bodyguard and protect her from her boyfriend, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel. "Johnny Moore" agrees to take over the job.

Apparently, Bugsy Siegel died a week earlier but came back from the dead. This sets the episode sometime in late June in 1947.

Bugsy Siegel just took over a club called the Blue Iguana on Sunset Boulevard. John finds a matchbox for the Blue Iguana on Webb's desk in his office.

Ray gives Jeanie the money to get out of town. John thinks she's playing him for a sap and is proven right when he finds Jeanie on Bugsy's arm later, though she justifies this saying that she wasn't able to get out of the city since Bugsy has eyes everywhere.

Ava and Mick go into the Blue Iguana undercover as customers, separately Sara and John.

Ray continues to pose as a policeman, but this time in a standard uniform, outside the Blue Iguana.

Jeanie Hill claims she wants to get all the blackmail photos she posed for before she gets out of town to save her reputation and ruin Bugsy.

Sara tries to seduce Bugsy, playing at being a gossip reporter who can help him with getting information on blackmail targets.

Bugsy kills four of Mickey Cohen's men who were sent after him.

Ray arrests Bugsy almost immediately, but a different group of cops take over the scene immediately.

Zari manages a multi-platform, multimillion dollar brand and is about to put out a line of dressy sneakers.

It is immediately clear that Zari and Behard do not get along. Behard sees Zari as annoying in flaunting her success. Zari is jealous of the attention Behard gets as the baby of the family and how her parents don't seem to care about her accomplishments compared to his going to college.

Behard's parents want him to settle down with a nice Persian girl and worry about him being too enveloped in his studies.

Behard's parents have a painting of the Zambesi Air Totem in its original form as a necklace.

Behard's parents think the Air Totem was stolen, being completely ignorant of Behrad taking it to become a superhero in the new reality.

Ray determines that Bugsy really does have the LAPD in his pocket, with the cops bringing him a gourmet lobster dinner and wine and questioning him about the shooting in a nice office rather than the cell block.

Ray befriends a seemingly honest cop named Sullivan.

John contacts Jeanie Hill and convinces her to help him steal Bugsy's gun. The two wind up having sex in the Webb & Moore office.

Ava has turned in the keys to her apartment in Washington DC and sold most of her belongings. Everything she owns now is in a single duffel bag.

Ava is able to clear out the Blue Iguana with her drunken singing.

Zari knows that Behard has been lying about going to business school and suspected that he took the Air Totem.

Based on the information in the matchbook, John determines that Webb hid the blackmail information he stole from Bugsy Seigel in a graveyard. Due to his spending a lot of time in graveyards, he knows that Elysium is a common name for graveyards (after the Elysium Fields of Greek Myth) and from there it was a simple guess to figure out the numbers referred to a grave marker.

Webb hid the blackmail information in a graveyard in Burbank.

Jeanie double-crosses John and plans to run off with the blackmail material. She does, however, keep her word and gives him Busgy's gun, telling him there are five bullets left in it.

Officer Sullivan turns out to be crooked and turns on Ray, after he refuses to go along with the plan he and some other mobbed-up cops have to kill Jeanie Hill and destroy the blackmail material with a car bomb. They also plan to frame Ray for the killing.

Jeanie Hill dies when the car explodes.

John takes Bugsy back to Hell and destroys his soul with the hellfire gun in front of Astra. He then leaves the gun in Hell, telling her that he is not giving up and will find a way to save her.

John lies and tells Sara he lost the gun after being overpowered by Astra's minions.

John later confesses the truth after Ray calls him on it and admits he couldn't kill Astra. He does, however, deny that he's the good man Ray thinks he is and says he's just as concerned with easing his conscience as he is saving Astra's soul.

Mick recorded Ava's singing. Sara bribes him to lose the recording.

Zari recognizes Nate as the superhero in the star-spangled outfit at Heyworld when she was a girl and tamed the dragon. She also recognizes Behrad from a video of the incident.

The episode ends with Behrad sending Zari through a time portal into the Waverider to stop her from telling their parents about what he's been up to (even though she's not sure what he's up to.) and Zari having a breakdown on the deck of the Waverider.


Location

Hell
Los Angeles - 1947
Washington D.C. - 2044.
Burbank - 1947


The Bottom Line

An instant classic, there's not a redundant storyluie or subplot for the first time in a goodly while. Putting John Constantine in the role of a private eye is a brilliant idea, as John was one of the first detective heroes in the now overdone urban fantasy genre and the production team perfectly captured the feeling of 1940s Los Angeles and the film Noir genre.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 10 - Marathon

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




Plot

The Crisis has been averted but things will never be the same. As John Diggle and Barry Allen explore what seems to be one final mission left for them by Oliver Queen, Cisco contemplates a new role for himself in a new universe without his Vibe powers. Meanwhile, Iris and the rest of the Central City Citizen staff continue investigating the mysterious organization behind Ultraviolet and their connection to McCulloch Technologies.


Influences

The Brave and The Bold: Flash and Green Lantern (Oliver and Diggle tackling a mission together) and The Flash comics of Joshua Williamson (The Black Hole organization.)


Goofs

The civilians The Flash picks up and saves at CC Jitters are clearly mannequins meant to stand in for the CGI still actors during the shot before he saves the waitress.

Cisco claims to have no memory of owning a Superman t-shirt. It was previously established in Crisis on Infinite Earths that everyone on Earth-Prime had a new set of memories and only those heroes who fought the Anti-Monitor during Crisis had their memories of the previous timeline restored by Martian Manhunter.  (It's possible Cisco's memories are different due to his connection to the multiverse as a breacher.)

Barry identifies Lian Yu as being in the North China Sea. This is incorrect (particularly in regards to Cisco's map) unless the East China Sea is called the North China Sea on Earth-Prime. (He could be referring to the North part of the East China Sea, which is sometimes grouped with the South China Sea to just be the larger China Sea on some maps.)

Wouldn't Iris West and her source both dying of mysterious laser-related injuries after Iris West accused a major company of sponsoring a laser-related assassin attract even more bad publicity and suspicion than her article by itself?

How can Cisco have a recording of Harry Wells on Earth-2 when Earth-2 never existed in the post-Crisis timeline? (Presumably something of Earth-2's memory survived since Black Siren is still around so maybe Oliver Queen restored artifacts from other Earths that existed before Earth-1 was destroyed?)

Frost is apparently capable of freezing photons, as she is able to pull a glowing mass from her wound after being shot by Dr. Light. However, this is impossible as we understand physics, as photons have no mass and do not produce visible light.

What happened to Chester?  Shouldn't he be hanging around STAR Labs in some capacity now?


Performances

Carlos Valdez gives a great performance as Cisco, perfectly capturing his torment over the needless destruction caused by Crisis and the loss of life.


Artistry

The new intro title card for the show looks amazing.


Flash Facts

This is the first episode to feature a new animated title card showing off all the main cast in action.

This episode takes place before the events of A810, as John Diggle says he's planning to start the move to Meteropolis next week.

Cisco's map of Earth-Prime lists several locations along with the major cities where the various Arrowverse shows are set. These locations include the Fortress of Solitude, Star City, National City, Gotham City, Happy Harbor, Metropolis, Freeland, Santa Prisca, Corto Maltese, San Monte, Zambesi, Tinasha, Gorilla City, Qurac, Bialya, Tokyo, Kasnia, Markovia, Nanda Parbat, Lian Yu, Dinosaur Island and Kooey Kooey and  Kooey Kooey Island.

Star City is located in the Pacific Northwest and appears to be close to Seattle. This makes sense, as Green Arrow's hometown in the Rebirth reality is Seattle and Oliver Queen lived in Seattle during the Mike Grell run on Green Arrow. Several episode of Arrow also made use of real-world Seattle ZIP codes in mailing addresses.

National City is located somewhere in California, perhaps in the same general area as Los Angeles. The first season of Supergirl was filmed in Los Angeles and some of the exterior shots were of buildings in Los Angeles.

Gotham City appears to be located close to Chicago, on the west shore of Lake Michigan. In the DC Comics universe, Gotham is usually located somewhere in New England, typically in New Jersey where it lies opposite Metropolis on Delaware Bay. Exterior shots for Batwoman were filmed in Chicago.

In the comics, Happy Harbor is located in the state of Rhode Island. It was home to the Justice League's first hideout, the Secret Sanctuary, which was hidden in a sea cave.

Metropolis is located somewhere south of Happy Harbor and north of Freeland and appears to be in Delaware, as in the comics.

Freeland appears to be in Georgia, close to Atlanta. Black Lightning is filmed in Atlanta, Georgia.

Santa Prisca is an island prison best known as the birthplace of Bane in the comics. It was previously mentioned in A305 and A710On Cisco's map, it appears to lie east of Trinidad, off the coat of Venezuela.

Cortol Maltese is a banana republic that has been mentioned several times on Arrow. It figured prominently in A303 which revealed that Corto Maltese was where Malcolm Merlyn and Thea Queen traveled after Arrow's season 2 finale. It is located off the coast of Brazil, close to Rio de Janeiro. It was also said to be the site of a genocide arranged by John Corben in S201.

San Monte is a new location to the Arrowverse, but has a notable role in comic history as the site of a revolution which Clark Kent was sent to cover as a war correspondent in his first appearance in Action Comics #1. On Cisco's map, it is located on the northwestern coast of South America, near Columbia and Ecuador.

Zambesi, the home of Vixen, is revealed to be in central Africa. It is immediately to the north of the city of Tinasha - the hometown of Batwing in the New 52 DC Comics universe.

Gorilla City, formerly located on Earth-2, is now located just inland off the western coast of Africa,

Qurac is a fictional Middle Eastern country, located between Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Diggle and Lyla Michaels went on a mission there together in A714.

Bialya is another fictional Middle Eastern country, located roughly in the same area as Turkey and Iran. It is usually depicted as a haven for terrorists and mercenaries, particularly metahumans. Roy Harper and John Diggle traveled there in A805.

Kasnia was a key part of Supergirl's season 4 storyline and is located in Easter Europe, on the border of Russia. It was also the setting of several Arrow episodes, including A605.

Markovia first appeared in A216. It is currently a major part of the storyline for Season 3 of Black Lightning and appears to be located in western Russia. (Curiously, the comic book version of Markovia is located in Western Europe, between Belgium and France.)

Nanda Parbat, the home of the League of Assassins in the Arrowverse, is somewhere in the mountains between Nepal and Tibet. While it has a similar location in the comics, it is home to a peaceful brotherhood of monks rather than the League of Assasins in the comics.

Lian Yu, the island Oliver Queen was trapped on for the better part of five years, is located in the East China Sea between Japan and Taiwan.

Dinosaur Island first appeared in Star Spangled War Stories #90. The site of what became known as The War That Time Forgot, it is located in the South Pacific and is, as the name suggests, home to dinosaurs as well as groups of American and Japanese soldiers who became lost in time during World War II.

Kooey Kooey Kooey Island first appeared in Justice League International #3 in 1989. Fearful of being taken over by the USSR or USA during the Cold War, the natives of Kooey Kooey Kooey offered their land to the Justice League as an embassy. Blue Beetle and Booster Gold took advantage of the situation to create a casino resort with a superhero theme: Club JLI.

Cisco creates a binder full of supervillain information, organized into self-designed collector cards., titled Cisco's Who's Who? Binder. This seems to be a not do Who's Who In The DC Universe - a comic book series published after Crisis on Infinite Earths which revealed the new histories of various superheroes and villains.

Cisco's timeline of Post-Crisis Earth-Prime, in a nod to the importance of 52 in the DC Comics multiverse, is labeled Version 5.2.

The organization behind Ultraviolet is revealed to be called The Black Hole in this episode. First appearing in The Flash #1 in 2016 (as part of the DC Rebirth revival), The Black Hole was a sinister cabal of scientists who had begun studying the Speed Force with the intention of tapping its power for the benefit of mankind and their own enrichment.They were led by Dr. Joseph Carver - a former STAR Lab scientist who formed the Black Hole after Dr. Carver approached The Flash about studying the Speed Force and being refused.

The Black Hole in the Arrowverse is also run by a Dr. Joseph Carver, out of McCulloch Technologies. This organization, however, seems to be more corporate than scientific and is more involved in activities like metahuman trafficking and weapons manufacturing than scientific research. They also haven't shown an interest in tapping the Speed Force. Yet.

Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi was introduced into the DC Comics' universe in Crisis on Infinite Earths #4. An arrogant Japanese astronomer, Dr Hoshi was empowered by The Monitor with the ability to generate energy equivalent to the heart of a star. Given a costumed modeled on that of the villainous Dr. Light, Kimiyo was a reluctant hero, at best, and her attitude invited comparison to that of a villain from even the charitable Superman. She was later inspired to true heroism by the sacrifice of Supergirl, though she remained difficult to work with even when she joined the Justice League years later and she often resisted actively working as a hero, reserving her metahuman abilities for when the world was truly endangered. Still, she assumed the moniker of Dr. Light and tried to be a hero.

The new Arrowverse version of Dr. Light is profiled in Cisco's Who's Who Binder. He says that Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi disappeared four years earlier. Described as an astronomer from Tokyo with the metahuman power to "fuel starlight" she lacked the ability to focus her powers in an applicable fashion. Cisco eventually hits on the idea that the Black Hole gave the stolen photon rifle to Dr. Hoshi, as she could use herself as a fuel source for the gun and it would allow her to fire focused energy blasts. Cisco dubbed her the all-new, more-powerful, murder-happy Dr. Light.


Technobabble

Cisco put Nash Wells to work repairing broken pipes in STAR Labs in exchange for a crypto-circuit.

The smudge on Ollie's mask is made up of a mixture of sediment unique to islands in the North China Sea and Mirakuru.

The new security systems at McCulloch Tech are state-of-the-art, using new badges and new cameras.

According to Cisco, the physics behind breaching have changed in the Post-Crisis universe. He confirms that the extrapolators no longer work, which is why he can't instantly teleport to Lian Yu to get Barry. Presumably his powers don't work either, but it is unclear if Cisco is actually powerless (i.e. his powers went away again after The Monitor restored them during Crisis) or effectively powerless due to the changes in how breaching works.

In the last message he sent Cisco Ramon, Harry Wells claimed that he had discovered a process for restoring his intelligence that was proving promising. His neurons were firing 120 times a second and he and Jesse believed they could get that to 200. (This is the average speed for humans.)

The ID Cards at McCulloch Technologies use microchips that reflects ultraviolet radiation. The same microchips are used inside the company's reflector gun and their ID badges.

Frost is apparently capable of freezing photons, as she is able to pull a glowing mass from her wound after being shot by Dr. Light. However, this is impossible as we understand physics, as photons have no mass and do not produce visible light.


Dialogue Triumphs

Diggle: Look, man, if Oliver really wanted you to look into something, don't you think he would've left you a note instead of some secret code?
Barry: (snarky) Oh, because Oliver never kept a secret from you before?
(Diggle opens his mouth as if about to protest and then closes it.)

(Barry thinks he and Diggle need to go to Lian Yu to find a lost shipment of Mirakuru.)
Barry: Look, I know you don't want me to run you there, but it's a 20-hour plane ride.
(Without a word, Diggle reaches into his pocket and pulls out some motion sickness pills. He begins pouring them into his hand and swallows them.)
Barry: That's too much.
Diggle: (in challenge) What you got?

Diggle: It wasn't a warning at all. You're searching for a mission that doesn't exist, Barry. But no amount of searching is gonna bring Oliver back. (sighs) That man sprinted from crusade to crusade. But, Barry, life is more than just the mission, and unfortunately Oliver learned that too late. And he wouldn't want you going down that same path.
Barry: Oliver died so this Earth could live, Dig. I have to do everything I possibly can to protect it.
Diggle: Oliver died for more than this Earth's survival. Oliver laid down his life so the people he loved could live theirs. That includes you. Life's a marathon, not a sprint, Barry. Slow down and enjoy it.

(Cisco is watching a recording of Harry Wells with Caitlin.)
Cisco: He was regaining his intelligence. All of Earth-2. Wiped out. And he doesn't even know it.
Caitlin: But that wasn't your fault.
Cisco: Wasn't it? When the Monitor gave me my powers back, for Crisis, I remembered how powerful I used to be. I can't help thinking that if I hadn't stopped being Vibe, maybe I could have sensed that first anti-matter wave. Maybe I could have saved them.
Caitlin: And that's why you've become so obsessed with all the new threats. You want to protect everyone who did survive on Earth Prime. Cisco, do you regret taking the meta-human cure?
Cisco: No.
Caitlin: Do you miss being Vibe?
Cisco:  (exasperated) Caitlin, it's not that simple. (pauses and thinks) I don't know. I don't know.
Caitlin: You know I think you might be onto something over here. With all these new threats, changes to our reality, we need someone whose job it is to compile all of them. Somebody who remembers the difference between the way it was and the way it is.
Cisco: Yeah, but what you're talking about, that can't just be done in a day. And it certainly can't be done in some room in the middle of Central City.
Caitlin: I know. But I still think you're the man for the job. Besides, maybe some time away from Central City will allow you to figure out who you want to be in this post-Crisis world.
Cisco: (quietly) Yeah. Maybe.


Continuity

CC Jitters is reopened after being closed since 601. An unfortunate mugger tries to rob it almost immediately and is stopped by The Flash.

Cisco has begun mapping Earth-Prime, building a new timeline of the history of superheroes in this world and creating a binder full of super-villains who exist in the new reality.

Cisco's Binder includes the following villains, who first appeared in the noted episodes.
Abra Kadabra (318)
Amunet Black (405)
Block (502)
Bug-Eyed Bandit (118)
The Dominators (S308)
Girder (106)
Grodd (121)
The Hotness (416)
King Shark (204)
Magenta (303)
The Mist (103)
Null (417)
Trickster (117)
Ultraviolet (602)
Weather Witch (507)
Weather Wizard (115)

Cisco further makes mention of The Top (304), The Eden Corps (415) and Rainbow Raider (108).

The binder features four new villains, not based on previously established comic characters. They are Arielle Mcaplin, Dr. Derek Stricker, Dan Fisk an Emily Palizzi.

Cisco's Timeline includes the following events.
2000: Nora Allen Murdered
2003: Kara Zor-El's Pod Arrives On Earth
2005: J'onn J'onnz Takes Over Hank Henshaw's Identity
2007: The Queen's Gambit sinks off the coast of Lian Yu.
2008: Slade Wilson injected with Mirakuru.
2009: Hong Kong hit by Alpha-Omega virus. Black Lightning retires from vigilantism.
2011: Damien Darkh gains control of his magical idol.
2012: The Hood first appears in Star City.
2013: The Undertaking occurs.
2014: The STAR Labs particle accelerator explodes, Slade Wilson attacks Starling City as Deathstroke, Barry Allen awakes from a 9-month coma and becomes The Flash, John Diggle Jr. and Sara Diggle are born.
2015: Bruce Wayne leaves Gotham City. Supergirl appears for the first time in National City. Rip Hunter recruits the Legends of Tomorrow.
2016: Flash and Supergirl team-up for the first time, Zoom and his army invade Central city, The Ray debuts and the Dominators invade Earth.
2017: Barry Allen and Iris West marry.
2018: Batwoman appears for the first time. Black Lightning comes out of retirement. Thunder debuts. President Marsdin is exposed as an alien.
2019: Crisis Begins.
2020: The heroes return and defeat the Anti-Monitor.

Cisco now owns a Superman T-shirt he knows he didn't have before Crisis.

According to Cisco, none of the alternate-earth superheroes apart from Black Lightning and the Super Friends have been reborn on Earth-Prime. By contrast, the supervillains of various Earths seem to have come to Earth-Prime and previously dead villains on Earth-1 are now alive on Earth-Prime.

Killer Frost is now officially going by just Frost.

According to Nash Wells, the gorillas of Gorilla City are all atheists.

Nash intends to run tests to make sure the path to the anti-matter universe can never be opened again.

Route 119 passes through Central City.

Oliver Queen's last will and testament left Barry Allen the mask that Barry made for Oliver in A209.

Barry sees a smudge mark on the mask and concludes that Oliver left him the mask as a sign of something he was supposed to do in the post-Crisis world.

Iris is approached by a man named Gene Huskk who worked for McCulloch Technologies for 20 years. He tells her about how a photon rifle was stolen from the R&D department by a man he knew as Malcolm Strombard, who was placed in their division despite having no scientific or technical training.

Huskk claims he was fired by McCulloch Technologies after he began investigating Strombard on how own and found he was connected to another group called The Black Hole who used a spiral symbol to identify themselves - the same spiral image on the pin worn by the Maelstrom Couriers man in 607.

Barry and Diggle travel to Lian Yu after Barry finds traces of Mirakuru and dirt unique to that region of islands on Oliver's mask.

It's a 20 hour plane ride from Central City to Lian Yu.

McCulloch Technologies was founded by Joseph Carner and Eva McCulloch with 3 other employees. Today it employs 3000 people in Central City.

Joseph Carver says that his wife died but he tries to run their company according to her wishes.

When questioned about the Photon Rifle, Joseph Carver says that Gene Huskk was fired for excessive paranoia which interfered with his work. He admits there was a spy who infiltrated their R&D department, but they were from rival firm Obsidian Tech rather than some secret group. Husk was unable to accept that, however, and was fired only when his behavior began disturbing other employees.

Iris runs her story despite Carver's warning and it gets 100,000 hits in the first hour on-line. It also results in an immediate lawsuit against the Central City Citizen for defamation of character.

Shortly after Cecile delivers the legal memo informing them of this, the Central City Citizen is attacked by an assassin wielding a photo rifle.

Frost is said to be out looking for the shooter once Camilla and Allegra arrive at STAR Labs.

Nash seems unusually concerned about Allegra nearly dying.

Cisco blows up at Nash, complaining that they lost Harry Wells, Jesse Wells and every other Harrison Wells in the multiverse because of the Crisis and got stuck with Nash.

Gene Husk is killed by the photon rifle wielding assassin in front of Iris. He says the word "mirror" before dying and gives her a security badge for McCulloch Technologies.

Cisco identifies the assassin as Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi - an astronomer with metahuman energy generation powers who disappeared four years earlier. He names her Dr. Light.

Barry doesn't find any Mirakuru on Lian Yu after running across it and searching a dozen times.

Diggle theorizes that Oliver's mask became soaked with dirt and Mirakuru when Oliver and Thea fought Slade Wilson on Mirakuru in A314.

Cisco blames himself for the Crisis, thinking maybe if he'd still had his powers before it he might have sensed it coming or done something to save everyone.

Caitlin suggests that Cisco is ideally suited to chart the differences between the old Earths and Earth-Prime.

Joe talks with Iris and asks her to be more cautious in dealing with the Black Hole.

Team Citizen set a trap for Dr. Light with Frost, Cisco and Joe West, using STAR Labs' hologram generator to create a fake Iris, as the real Iris confronts Joseph Carver over the Black Hole.

Frost is wounded by the photon rifle but is somehow able to use her powers to freeze the light before it passes through her completely.

Iris threatens to release everything connecting McCullouch Technologies and the Black Hole if Carver doesn't call off the hit on her. He does so, leaving Dr. Light to abandon the fight with Frost.

McCulloch Technologies drops the lawsuit against the Central City Citizen.

Cisco decides to travel the world to figure out just how much has changed. He asks Nash Wells to stay behind and take his place on Team Flash.

Iris becomes inspired after thinking of Gene Husk's last word - mirror - and how he hadn't been referring to the tech powering Black Hole's technology but how AV3 - the room Dr. Carver tried to stop her from entering - looks like EVA in a mirror. As in Eva McCulloch.

Iris explores the AV3 room and finds a disused office with a mirror.  Hands grab Iris and pull her into the mirror in the final scene of the episode.


Location

Lian Yu.


Untelevised Adventures


Apparently the entire history of Earth-Prime may be fundamentally different, with various characters who were dead now being alive or having different powers, along with the villains of other Earths  (such as Abra Kadabra) now existing on Earth-Prime.

It isn't made clear in the episode if Cisco has been left powerless in the post-Crisis timeline or if his powers don't function properly because of the laws of physics changing in regards to the vibrations between universes, though Caitlin asks him if he regrets taking the metahuman cure, indicating he was powerless before the Crisis in the revised timeline.


The Bottom Line


"Marathon" runs through a lot of information and has some powerful emotional moments. Unfortunately, these are all in the filler subplots and most of the episode is focused, not on Cisco's exploring the details of Earth-Prime and how its science works or on Barry and his finding his footing in the new world, but on an idiot plot centered on Iris West being the worst reporter in the world, threatening criminals to their face while writing exposes on them. 

What makes this particularly vexing is how contrived the story to get Barry out of the way so he can't solve all her problems in 2 minutes is. And yet watching Oliver Queen's two oldest friends bond over his death is more interesting than watching the Science Mafia try to bump off Iris West. That's largely due to the strength of Gustin and Ramsey's performance more than any fault of the writing, but if they were hoping to make Iris' adventures as a reporter more exciting, this is the wrong way to go about it.


Friday, February 14, 2020

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 22

In which we continue to explore Gecko, meet a Rodent of Unusual Intelligence and start tackling the problem of repairing Gecko's Nuclear Power Plant. With SCIENCE!


Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 12 - The Book of Markovia: Chapter Three: Motherless ID

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




Plot

With Lynn captured by the Markovians and press-ganged into stabilizing their metahumans, Jefferson forms an unlikely alliance with Major Grey and the ASA to rescue her. Meanwhile, Brandon and TC turn their talents towards helping Jennifer save what is left of Khalil's mind from the Painkiller program.


Influences

The Outsiders comics and the novel Neuromancer (the process through which TC virtually enters the Painkiller chip resembles William Gibson's descriptions of cyberspace.)



Goofs

Why did the Markovians leave Sgt. Grayle behind and/or alive when they took Lynn and Tobias?



Performances

Jordan Calloway does a fantastic job playing both the tired and broken Khalil and the assertive Painkiller in this episode. You almost forget they are the same actor at times.

Christopher Ammanuel also has a fantastic turn as TC, slowly finding confidence in dealing with other people as he comes out of his shell with Gambi, Jen, Khalil and Brendan.


Artistry

The final sequence, in which TC and Jen try to get Khalil to assert control of his own mind while Painkiler throws every bad memory it can at Khalil to break him, is one of the best in the show's history.


Trivia

Jefferson refers to TC and Brandon as "two outsiders in the Sanctum." This seems to be a nod to Jefferson eventually building the young metahumans under him into a team akin to The Outsiders, which he was a frequent member of in the comics.


Technobabble

TC says that the chip inside Khalil is the most complex piece of machinery he's ever seen and the processing power is quite fast, due to it being a hybrid of carbon nanotubes and organic material.

Khalil's brain is a computer and the Painkiller program the operating system that enables the computer to function. Shutting down the Painkiller program would destroy the CPU (i.e. Khalil's cerebrum.) and leave Khalil brain-dead.

Glimmer is a Green Light-based drug created by the Markovians. It is not as powerful, but is far less addictive. The Markovians give it to Lynn Stewart in a bid to break her withdrawal while still leaving her dependent on them.

Methadone cannot be used to treat a Green Light addiction.

Of the metahumans the Markovians have apart from Gravedigger, the best they can do regarding energy output on their powers without risking death is 50-60%.


Dialogue Triumphs

Dr. Jace (to her video blog): I am very confident that Dr. St- Oh, correction - Lynn and I are destined to be besties!
(Cut to Lynn in the lab. She is crazed from withdrawal and unable to control herself.)
Lynn: Bitch! I'm going to kill you this time!

Jefferson: And why should we trust you? You seem to be playing both sides.
Sgt. Grayle: I know who you both are. You're two powerful meta-humans that could squash me like a bug without breaking a sweat. It's a huge risk for me to be here. But that's how far I'm willing to go to set things right for Lynn, for all those kids, and for Freeland.
Jefferson: Well, lucky for you, Sergeant Grayle, I've always believed in second chances.

(Jennifer is insisting she's coming on the rescue mission but Jefferson is reluctant.)
Jefferson: Jen, we have no idea what we could be walking into.
Jennifer: Which is why you need me. So I'm coming with you. And so is he.
Jefferson: What?
Brandon:Coming where?
Jennifer: Markovia. They kidnapped my mom and that's where Jace is.
Jefferson: Jen, I might be okay with you coming, but I-
(Jennifer turns around and zaps Brandon with her lighting. Brandon is unphased.)
Jennifer: Trust me, Dad, Brandon can take care of himself. And he's got my back.
Brandon: (nervously) Look, Mr. Pierce, no disrespect, but I'm either going with you or by myself. Dr. Jace killed my mom. So, if that's where she is, then that's where I need to be.

Gambi: After everything that's happened, how could you possibly work with them?
Jefferson: Because it's Lynn, Gambi! Because getting her back is the only thing that matters!
Gambi: (nods) So, when do we leave?
Jefferson: Well, actually, I thought you could just monitor things from here.
Gambi: You're joking, right? You don't know Markovia. I've had business there. Believe me, you're going to want me there.
Jefferson: What business?
(Gambi says something in Markovian. Jefferson looks at him dumbfounded.)
Gambi: I have many stories, my friend. Most of which I'd rather forget.

(Dr. Jace enters Tobias' cell.)
Tobias: Dr. Jace. Why am I not surprised?
Dr. Jace: I assure you, I'm every bit the prisoner that you are. I'm merely doing Dr. Stewart a favor and extracting your bone marrow.
Tobias: Bitch, you've never done anyone a favor in your life. You're merely a cockroach, doing whatever it takes to survive.
Dr. Jace: Well, I'd suggest you do the same.
Tobias: What are they gonna do? If they want stable metas around here, the Markovians aren't going to touch a hair on my chinny, chin, chin.
Dr. Jace: This isn't Agent Odell and the ASA.
Tobias: No, but they do know my value. But you, on the other hand, now that Dr. Stewart is here, you're beginning to look awfully expendable.
Dr. Jace: Your arrogance is off the charts as usual, Tobias. How safe you think you are. But because we're old friends, I'm gonna let you in on a little secret. Colonel Mosin is making plans to lobotomize you.
(For once, Tobias doesn't have a witty response.) 

(TC has found Khalil in what appears to be his old room.)

TC: I know this looks weird, but I kind of, sort of need you to come with me.
Khalil: How did you-? It doesn't matter. I...I can't. I've tried.
TC: You...you actually can. Um, If you want. Leave, that is.
Khalil: Look, man, I don't know who you are, or how you got into my bedroom, but if he finds us...
TC: This actually isn't your... I mean, it's sort of, kind of is. But it's sort of, kind of not your bedroom.
Khalil: Then what is it? Tell me.
TC: It's a figurative construct of your imagination, some type of projected memory from your subconscious.
Khalil: Or more likely, I'm just dead.

Khalil: So, you're dead, too, huh?
Jennifer: I'm not dead, Khalil. And neither are you. Not yet.
Khalil: But Tobias, he ripped my spine out.
Jennifer: Yeah, I thought that killed you, too, but apparently, the ASA saved you.
Khalil: Like they did with my legs, huh?
Jennifer: That's right. Except this time they put a chip in your brain with some sort of operating system.
Khalil: So... None of this is real.
Jennifer: Look, Khalil... Khalil, look at me. All of this is real. Thing is It may not seem like it, but this place is a prison. If you don't come with me right now, you will die.
Khalil: Maybe I'm supposed to. Did you ever think of that?
Jennifer: I thought you had. Now that I know you're still alive, I'm not sure my heart could take losing you again. So, please. Take my hand.


Continuity

As this episode opens, Dr. Jace has been held captive by the Markovians for 97 days.

Dr. Jace is revealed to honestly have trouble relating to people on a basic level, suggesting she suffers from a psychopathic disorder rather than merely being apathetic to suffering.

Colonel Yuri Mosin confirms that Agent Odell used hypnotic suggestion and Green Light sprayed into her wine glasses to get Lynn hooked on Green Light.

Nurse Allen is revealed to be a Markovian plant within the ASA.

Jennifer discovers that Lynn knew Khalil was alive and didn't tell her, on top of Jefferson, Gambi and Anissa knowing that the ASA had resurrected him as a brainwashed Painkiller.

Sgt. Grayle contacts Jefferson and Anissa and informs them that Lynn was kidnapped by the Markovians. He also tells them about Tobias and how his body is the key to the meta-stabilization formula.

Sgt. Grayle convinces Jefferson and Anissa of his good intentions by revealing he knows their secret identities and had done nothing with that information. He also points out that it would be easy for them to kill him for what he knows.

Jefferson agrees to meet with Major Grey to discuss working with her to rescue Lynn. Sgt. Grayle agrees to act as the go-between and set the meeting up at a place of Jefferson's choosing.

Jefferson tells Anissa that Lynn is addicted to Green Light.

Lynn refuses to take the Glimmer provided by Col. Mosin.

TC can use his powers to enter into machines by creating a virtual avatar or himself,

The VR realm inside the Painkiller chip resembles Khalil's old apartment. Khalil's true self is hiding in his old bedroom, trying to avoid Painkiller.

The Painkiller program treats TC like a virus when he enters into it. This gives him the idea to seal the Painkiller program behind a literal firewall while he tries to bring Khalil's real self in to run things in place of the Painkiller program.

Jennifer can use her powers to interact with the Painkiller chip - first by using electrical blasts directed by TC to contain the Painkiller program then by transforming herself into pure energy and joining TC as an avatar in Khalil's head. Unlike TC, Jennifer is quite vulnerable and could die forever if she were killed in Khalil's mind.

Jefferson agrees to work with the ASA on two conditions; he gets to build his own team for the rescue mission to Markovia and everyone he brings with him on the team becomes off-limits to the ASA forever. This includes both metahumans they wanted to recruit for their program and people wanted for fighting against the ASA. Major Grey agrees to those conditions.

Jennifer insists that both she and Brandon need to come on the mission.

Gambi also says he needs to come on the mission.

Gambi has been to Markovia before and can speak the language.

Grace also volunteers to go on the mission, despite Anissa's protests that she can't really fight.

Erica Moran is implanted with a control chip and given orders to kill Lynn Stewart if she cannot be rescued.

Lynn is so far gone that she lacks the hand-eye coordination to handle chemicals on her own. She persuades Dr. Jace to help her mix up the drugs she needs to truly beat her addiction.

The only stable Markovian metahuman is said to be a man called Gravedigger.

Gambi's codename with the ASA was The Tailor.

TC proves unable to convince Khalil that he can leave his safe space within the virtual realm.

Brandon suggests that Jennifer might be able to go inside Khalil's head with TC in the virtual realm, relating how she was able to become pure energy when they fought the ASA.

Gambi says it's possible that Jen could change herself into electronic information and interact with Khalil's mind through the chip, but that she'd be vulnerable, unlike TC's avatar. He also points out that the knowledge of what he's done (including killing his own mother) could drive Khalil insane.

Jennifer convinces Khalil to take control of his own head, but the knowledge of what he did as Painkiller makes him swear off ever wanting to continue his relationship with Jennifer.


Location

A lab in Markovia.


Untelevised Adventures

Gambi has been to Markovia before and did many things he'd rather not discuss, even with Jefferson.


The Bottom Line

A solid episode, despite largely being a place-holder to get all the characters caught up on what they should know after keeping secrets from one another for the better part of the season. The structure of the script is a little odd, with the final scene being devoted to saving Khalil after Jefferson gets his inspiring speech about the rescue mission to everyone in the ASA HQ in the penultimate segment. Still, the final scene as the young Outsiders rally against Painkiller is an amazing one.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 21

In which we start exploring the small settlement of Gecko, run into an old friend (?) from the first Fallout game and start figuring out how to prevent this place from turning everything around Vault City into a radioactive sink hole.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 8, Episode 10 - Fadeout

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




Plot

With the Crisis over, Oliver Queen's friends and family gather in Star City to mourn his passing and celebrate a life well-lived and a new dawn in Star City. As what remains of Team Arrow contemplates how they will go on without the man who brought them together, they are forced to join together once more to save William Clayton after he is abducted by an old enemy of Green Arrow, who is out for revenge.



Influences

Crisis on Infinite Earths and Green Arrow: Quiver. (Oliver Queen in Heaven) 


Goofs

Rene is said to be favored to win the election for Mayor in April 2020, yet in 2040 Mayor Ramirez is running for a third term according to the Green Arrow & The Canaries pilot. It seems unlikely that Star City's mayors serve ten-year terms. (There's no guarantee Rene will win in 2020. Also, it could be a different Mayor Ramirez.)

Lyla Michaels is said to have been promoted to a new job in Metropolis. What's higher than Director of ARGUS? (It's likely a more powerful position in the Department of Defense not directly affiliated with ARGUS.)


Performances

The entire ensemble all have great moments, but the man holding it all together so all the tangents work is David Ramsey as John Diggle.


Artistry

The script is a work of art, with lots of nods to the show's history and many great character moments.

The flashback fight-scene of Oliver fighting John Byrne's men is a fitting capstone for the series' amazing action scenes.


Trivia

The episode title has a double-meaning, with a fadeout being the technical term for the slow shift to darkness before the credits at the end of a movie or television show and a part of a bow.

The title card for the episode features all 7 unique arrow-heads used over the course of the series.

The human trafficker Oliver goes after in the flashbacks of this episode, who later kidnaps William Clayton in the modern day is named John Byrne. This is a tribute to comic writer and artist John Byrne, who is perhaps most famous for his work with Chris Claremont on X-Men and for overseeing the reveamp of Superman following Crisis on Infinite Earths.

When Roy proposes to Thea, he does it on an industrial building with a sign in the back declaring that it is Van Wayne Enterprises. This is a nod to Van Wayne, a cousin of Bruce Wayne and one of the main characters of the short-lived series Powerless, which was set in a comedic version of the DC Comics universe. This would seem to affirm that the same characters (or at least Van Wayne) exist in the post-Crisis Arrowverse.

Roy and Thea make mention of Kord Industries - the oft-referred to business run by Ted Kord (aka The Blue Beetle). Brandon Routh was originally meant to play Ted Kord instead of Ray Palmer in Arrow season 3, but the rights for Blue Beetle were tied up in a live-action show based around the Jaime Reyes incarnation of the character.

The penultimate sequence in which John Diggle is knocked off his feet and finds a glowing green object where he thought a meteor had landed is a nod to a long-teased fan theory regarding John Diggle someday becoming a Green Lantern.


Technobabble

Curtis runs a quad-grid search tasked to a keyhole satellite array to track William.

Felicity implanted a subdermal tracking device in William's arm.

When fighting with escrima, it is important to use your whole body as the power comes from your hips.


Dialogue Triumphs

Oliver: My name is Oliver Queen. After 5 years in hell I returned home with only one goal; to save my city. For 8 years, I've fought alongside brave men and women striving for justice, but then a Crisis came, and I had to become someone else. I had to become something else. I made the ultimate sacrifice, which helped birth an entirely new universe. Now my friends and family will have to go on without me, and although I have become a Spectre, there is a part of me that will always be The Green Arrow.

Rene: It's a hell of a legacy. Not just a city of heroes, a world of heroes.

Wild Dog: So how are things? It's been a while.
Ragman: Yeah. Well, a while is what it took for these rags to work again. Since then, I've been fighting for justice.
Wild Dog: To honor your father?
Ragman: To honor Oliver.
Wild Dog: We've had our differences over the years.
Ragman: Yeah, I assumed.
Wild Dog: Why?
Ragman: Of everyone, you're the most like him.

Mia: If Oliver Queen didn't kill you, than neither will I.

Oliver: Plenty of people in this book that deserve to die, plain and simple, but probably not everyone. Let's consider Mr. John Byrne to be proof of concept.
Diggle: That people can be redeemed?
Oliver: That one day I'll be able to trust you.

Quentin: For a long time I hated Oliver Queen. I blamed him for the death of my youngest daughter, I blamed him for the violence in my city, I interrogated him, I hunted him, persecuted him. I've never been more wrong in my life. Oliver Queen wasn't just a hero. He was a good man. He was an honorable person. The fact that he didn't start out that way makes him, in my book, even more honorable. He stands as a reminder to all of us that anyone can change. So will this.
(The cloth coverings behind Quentin are pulled aside, revealing a bronze statue of Green Arrow.)

Tommy: So you're from another Earth, is that it?
Black Siren: I know it's a lot to take in.
Tommy: Well, I just found out there's a reality where I was dead, so that's the curve I'm grading on these days. The Laurel of, well, this Earth, um... She was my wife.
Black Siren: So it must be strange seeing me.
Tommy: Ha! Yeah. Well, strange enough to blow the curve. (smiling) But there's something nice about it, too.

John Diggle: The Oliver that I met 8 years ago is not the one that we say good-bye to today. Oliver always told me that in order to save his city, he had to become someone else, he had to become something else. I always thought that meant becoming the Green Arrow, but today, I realized that meant becoming a better man. The best man he knew how to be. And he took all of us with him on that journey. He changed everything. Oliver brought heroes into the world, he inspired heroes, he inspired all of us here. I was his brother, and Oliver Queen was mine.

(We see John Diggle strapping his children into their car seats and kissing Lyla. She gets in their SUV and drives off, leaving John at their house with one moving van left to drive.)
John Diggle (Voice-Over): Of course, life will go on. It always does, but how, what twists and turns it will take, I can't say.
(We see Mia Queen, standing before the statue of Green Arrow. She walks through a time portal into her bedroom in 2040.)
John Diggle (Voice-Over): I don't know what the future holds
(We see Digg getting ready to get into his van when he stops to look at a shooting star. A meteor crashes into the ground a dozen feet away from him, throwing him back against the van.)
John Diggle (Voice-Over): Except to say to expect the unexpected.
(We see Rene Ramirez in his campaign headquarters, looking at one of his political posters.)
John Diggle (Voice-Over): Oliver may be gone, but his mission endures.
(We see Dinah Drake getting on her motorcycle and driving out of Star City.)
John Diggle (Voice-Over):That mission lives on, Oliver lives on in the people he inspired. Some will take that mission to the rest of the world. Maybe even beyond that.
(We see Digg pulling himself off the ground and approaching the crater. He finds a box, which he picks up and opens. Something inside it glows with a green light.)
John Diggle (Voice-Over): Because if the past 8 years has shown us anything It's that this universe is far bigger than any of us could have dared imagine. Even if it is a little less bright without him in it.

Felicity: Not to complain. I just thought that the afterlife would look a little less like your old office.
Oliver: It's my mom's office. I wanted to be where I first saw you.
Felicity: Well, that would be in the I. T. Department, seven floors down.
Oliver: You sure?
(Cut to a flashback of Oliver Queen hiding around a corner in that same office years earlier.)
Felicity: (looking at a picture of Oliver Queen)
You're cute. It's too bad you're, you know, dead, which is obviously a lot worse for you than it is for me.
(Cut back to the present. Oliver smiles at the woman he loves.)
Oliver: It's a long story. Lucky for us, we have all the time in the world for me to tell it to you.
(The two look out the window of the office together. It is a beautiful sunny day. All is right in the world.)


Continuity

The opening scene shows an alternate take on Moira Queen's death in 220. This time, Oliver is able to free his hands and stop Slade Wilson from killing Moira Queen with a sword.

It is revealed that Oliver's influence on shaping the post-Crisis Arrowverse allowed him to prevent the deaths of various people, including Moira Queen. Moira talks about how she apparently died in an interview for a documentary.

The documentary filmmaker from 712 has yet to finish her film in the post-Crisis reality. She is now turning Emerald Archer into a memorial film about Oliver Queen.

Dinah, Moira, Rene and John Diggle are all interviewed about Oliver for the documentary.

Crime in Star City disappeared virtually overnight post-Crisis. This has left Team Arrow with little to do.

Digg, Dinah, Rene, Roy and Black Siren meet in the Arrow bunker for a memorial wake. They drink Oliver's vodka and toast him.

Rene is apparently running for mayor now, instead of the city council, which he was running for pre-Crisis in 804.

It is revealed that Quentin Lance is alive again in the post-Crisis universe and that his term as Mayor ends in April. He is pushing for Rene to replace him.

Quentin has offered Dinah the job of Chief of Police in Star City

It has been one month since the Crisis ended as this episode opens.

In a flashback scene to eight years earlier, Oliver has just killed a man named Jimmy Tarallo who had 22 henchmen armed with machetes. Diggle tries to convince Oliver to take him into the field, but he refuses.

Oliver's next target is John Byrne: a beer company CEO who is using his shipping trucks to facilitate human trafficking.

In 2040, Mia has a dream of Robert Queen killing himself in front of Oliver Queen on their life raft after the Queen's Gambit sunk.

Sara Lance arrives in Mia's bedroom, having traveled via Time Portal, to take her to Oliver's funeral in 2020.

Digg, Roy, Rene, Dinah and Black Siren give each other The Mark of Four tattoo first seen in 708.

Roy says he imagines the funeral will be awkward with both of Oliver's sisters there. This establishes that Emiko Queen is still alive in the post-Crisis timeline. She originally died in 722.

In the flashback, Byrne is discovered to be employing Black Armada - a private security firm made up entirely of former Special Forces soldiers. He pays them $1 million monthly.

Diggle encourages Oliver not to kill John Byrne but to bring him in alive.

Mia talks with Dinah in the Arrowcave and reveals that, for her, it's been a few weeks since William was kidnapped in 809. She's had no luck tracking him down so far.

William is abducted from his grandparents' home in Central City.

Felicity, Curtis Holt, Rory Regan, Roy, Thea, Lyla, Digg, Laurel, Sara, Mia, Dinah and Rene pair off to search Star City for William.

Roy proposes to Thea, saying he's realized he can't live without her after his death and resurrection.

Rory Regan is fighting crime as Ragman again, as a way of honoring Oliver. He doesn't specify how long he's been doing it, but apparently his magic costume has repaired itself since he was forced into retirement in 512.

Rory says he isn't surprised that Rene and Oliver fought the most, saying that out of everyone in Team Arrow they are the most alike.

Mia is the one who locates William and John Byrne.

John Byrne spent 8 years in Iron Heights Penitentiary. He was apparently the first person Oliver Queen spared after deciding to stop killing every person on the list of people his father gave him.

John Byrne tries to provoke Mia until killing him. She refuses to do so.

Amateur video footage of captures Mia capturing John Byrne. Dinah repeats what she said earlier about being sure Oliver would be proud of her.

Felicity avoids approaching Mia for fear of saying something awkward. Ironically, Mia avoids her mother for the same reason.

Moira apparently likes Roy Harper much more in the post-Crisis reality.

Thea accepts Roy's marriage proposal.

Black Siren has a breakdown talking to Quentin, saying she doesn't understand why she's still alive and all these other people came back to life but not the Laurel Lance of Earth-1. Quentin says that Oliver didn't "fix" her because she didn't need fixing.

Diggle, Dinah and Rene shut down the Arrow bunker.  Dinah is the one who flips the switch for the power as they leave it for the last time.

Dinah decides not to take the job of Chief of Police. Instead, she's going to find another city that could use a hero like the Black Canary.

Diggle and Lyla are moving to Metropolis after the funeral. Lyla has been promoted to a new position there.

A candlelight vigil is held for Oliver Queen the night before his funeral. Quentin Lance unveils a bronze statue of the Green Arrow, with a plaque that reads "He saved this city." This is the same statue Mia and William met at in 809.

Before the funeral, while visiting Robert Queen's memorial, Thea asks why Oliver couldn't bring Robert Queen back from the dead. Moira speculates that Oliver could only change those events he was involved in directly and only change them so far. For better or worse, Robert Queen had to die for Oliver to become Green Arrow.

Emiko meets with Thea and Moira for the first time.  Moira welcomes Emiko into the family.

Tommy Merlyn is revealed to be alive in the post-Crisis reality. He was also married to Earth-1 Laurel Lance before her death. He talks to Black Siren and says that seeing her is weird but nice.

Nyssa introduces Sara Lance to Talia as her beloved.

Mia and Felicity do meet and hug.

Barry Allen and Kara Danvers attend the funeral in their civilian identities.

Oliver's body was never found. A casket full of mementos was buried in front of the tombstone erected in his honor, next to Robert Queen's memorial behind Queen Manor.

Diggle gives the eulogy at Oliver's funeral.

Dinah leaves Star City on her motorcycle. We see that the main freeway out of Star City has been renamed in Oliver Queen's honor.

Mia returns to 2040 through a time portal.

Before leaving Star City, John Diggle was knocked off his feet by a meteor crashing near him. Once he got near the crater, he found a box containing something that glowed with a green light.

20 years in the future, The Monitor fulfills his bargain and guides Felicity Smoak to the afterlife, as in the final scene of 722.

Felicity meets Oliver Queen in a place that looks just like his mother's office. When she asks why the afterlife looks like that, he says he wanted to see her as she was when he first saw her. When she says that they first met in the IT Department at Queen Consolidated seven floors down in 103. However, Oliver says that isn't the first time he saw her, as he thinks about seeing her while being undercover at Queen Consolidated in the flashbacks of 314.


Location

The Afterlife



Untelevised Adventures

Much of the history of Arrow has apparently been rewritten in the post-Crisis reality. For instance, one wonders how the events of William Clayton's being revealed as Oliver Queen's son played out with Moira still alive or if Laurel Lance developed the same drug problem she did in Season 2 without Tommy Merlyn's death weighing her down.


The Bottom Line

A fitting conclusion that brings everything to a happy ending for most of the supporting players, while still leaving ample room for development of many of these characters elsewhere in the Arrowverse. Some characters are given short shrift than others and some subplots remain untouched, such as Talia and Thea forming a new, heroically inclined League of Assassins. Still, the possibilities left open by Diggle and Lyla moving to Metropolis and the plot with Mia Smoak in the future offer many avenues for exploration. The Queen is dead. Long live The Queen.

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 11 - The Book of Markovia: Chapter Two: Lynn's Addiction

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




Plot

With all their bargains broken, the ASA officially goes on the hunt for the entire Pierce family. As Anissa and Jefferson target Agent Odell, Lynn turns to an unexpected ally to enact her own plan to stop the ASA from turning her young patients into mind-controlled super-soldiers.



Influences

Various Outsiders comics. (Characters of TC, Gardner Grayle and Brandon are based on Technocrat, Atomic Knight and Geo- Force)


Performances

There's a lot of great character scenes here, but if asked to single out one performance, it has to be China Anne McClain as Jennifer Pierce for the scenes where she finally opens up to Jefferson and her reactions to Painkiller being alive.


Artistry

The effects work for TC's powers is nice and subtle.


Trivia

Sgt. Gardner Grayle, the ASA soldier who helps Lynn, is based on a comic book superhero called the Atomic Knight. First appearing in Strange Adventures #117, the Atomic Knights were a team of heroes who protected a post-apocalyptic wasteland from a tyrant known as the Black Baron. The leader of the Atomic Knights was a man named Gardner Grayle.

Gardner Grayle was later brought into the mainstream DC Universe as one of The Forgotten Heroes and joined the Outsiders for a time following Crisis on Infinite Earths. He had precognitive powers thanks to a connection to the Greek prophetess/goddess Cassandra.

The Arrowverse version of Gardner Grayle is a soldier with a conscience who has begun to question the activities of the ASA. There is no indication of him having natural metahuman abilities and he almost certainly would have been tested for them as an ASA employee.

With this episode, it becomes clear that Brandon is meant to be the Arrowverse version of Prince Brion Markov aka Geo-Force - the earth-bending Markovian prince who was one of the founding members of the Outsiders in the comics.  When discussing potential codenames, Brandon suggests "Quakeboy" "Earth Force" and "Geo" to a disinterested Jennifer before dropping the subject.



Technobabble

Using her meta-booster formula, Lynn can temporarily augment normal human cells to transfer to a particular meta-human profile. In short, Lynn can temporarily give an ordinary person superpowers for one hour.

 Painkiller is revealed to have the ability to track unique energy signatures once he has seen them once through his goggles. He uses this  to locate Black Lightning.

Gambi is able to create a digital simulation of Agent Odell using the biometrics and keywords he recorded during the faked torture session.



Dialogue Triumphs

Jefferson: So, Brendan-
Brandon: Uh, actually, it's Brandon.
Jefferson: Yeah, whatever. Stay away from my daughter. Understand?
Jennifer: Dad, I told you, we're just friends.
Jefferson: Your mother and I were just friends, too. Brandon? You know what a eunuch is?
Brandon: Yes, sir.
Jefferson: Keep that in mind.

TC: Why are you doing all of this for me? Most white people would've seen me and had a problem, and called the ASA.
Gambi: We all need someone sometime. Nobody gets through this life alone. Right now, I'm just a guy who could help you.

Agent Odell: There's good in the worst of us, and evil in the best of us. When we know this, we're less able to hate our enemies.
Thunder: Did this coward just quote Dr. King to get off the hook?!
Agent Odell: I'm not a coward. I knew the man.

Lynn: You can't run. We have to stick together.
Tobias: Run? Now, why would I do that? I have Black Lightning's wife. I'm not running anywhere. You thought I was your golden goose, Dr. Stewart, but in reality you're mine.

(We see TC in the room with a strapped-down Painkiller. He looks at him curiously and his eyes flash blue as he looks at where the implant in Painkiller's neck is. Cut to outside in the main room of the Sanctum.)
Brandon: Hey, is that your ex in there?
Jennifer: Yeah. (quietly) He was actually gonna kill me.
Anissa: That's because he's not your ex.
Gambi: The ASA rebuilt him. They put a chip in his head so they could control his mind.
Brendan: They can do that?!
Jennifer: You knew Khalil was alive and you didn't tell me. How could you keep something like that from me?
Anissa: Jen, so you can go after somebody who looks like they're your ex-boyfriend, get heartbroken, maybe even killed?
Jennifer: I'll never forgive you for this.
Jefferson: Whoa, wait a minute, let's calm down before we say something we don't mean.
Gambi: Your sister was only trying to protect you.
Jennifer: Why does everyone think I need their protection? I don't, I'm not helpless. If I had known, maybe I could've gotten through to him.
Gambi: Jen. It's not that simple.
Jennifer: So we're not even gonna try?
(TC enters the room from where Painkiller is strapped down.)
TC: Hey. Who's Jen?
Jennifer: That's me.
TC: He loves you.
Jennifer: How do you know that?!
TC: He told me.


Continuity

The soldier tasked with tracking Jennifer Pierce down in 310 is identified in this episode as Sgt. Gardner Grayle. He was also the soldier who called off the hunt for Lynn when she escaped The Pit in 308. The episode opens with him recording a video about the crimes of the ASA and what to do if he should disappear.

Gardner Grayle was recruited to the ASA from the 75th Ranger Regiment.

Jennifer tells Jefferson about her working with Odell and the ASA and how she blew up a Markovian data farm. She is uncertain that she's killed people, but she thinks it is possible.

Grace is back in Freeland and living in Anissa's apartment. She has better control of her shape-shifting now and thinks her problems stemmed from her abandonment issues and her losing control when her emotions went out of control.

Gambi visits Lynn and notes that she does not look good. If he suspects this is because of Green Light abuse, he says nothing.

Gambi asks Lynn for a dose of her meta stabilization cure for TC. Lynn agrees to give it to him in exchange for his accessing the computers in The Pit.

Agent Odell is revealed to be from Gotham City and has a home there. He dislikes travel and has been greatly annoyed that the ASA's work in Freeland is keeping him away from it.

It is confirmed that the Freeland Resistance is occupying 25% of the city.

Major Grey suggests they begin installing control chips in every stabilized metahuman in The Pit, until they can manufacture more of the stabilization formula. Odell approves of the plan.

Sgt. Grayle returns Lynn's bag to her and informs her that Dr. Blair, the scientist put in charge after she escaped The Pit, has killed 3 children trying to replicate her work. He then offers to help Lynn break Tobias Whale out of The Pit so that they can't make any more of the stabilization formula.

Lala is revealed to still be running The 100's operations in Tobias' absence.

Lala claims to love Freeland and to hate the ASA, but that won't stop him from trying to turn a profit. He warns his henchman Devonte against mixing business with pleasure and taking things personally.

The 100 sells weapons to the Freeland Resistance at double the price.

Devonte says he's found a hacker who can work on The Briefcase, but Lala tells him to hold off on that for now.

Lala sends Devonte to check out a new business on the East Side of Freeland that isn't paying them protection money.

Gambi uses the meta stabilization formula on TC.

Lynn theorizes that she can temporarily give a person metahuman abilities for one hour at a time and tests the process on Sgt. Grayle. It works.

Anissa doesn't like puzzles.

Jefferson asks Anissa to help him with attacking an ASA convoy.

TC shows Gambi the photo of the woman who put out the hit on him. He recognizes her as Lady Eve and thinks it must have taken her hitmen a year to find him since she died two years earlier.

Black Lightning and Thunder ambush Odell's convoy and abduct him.

Gambi's real name is revealed to be Peter Esposito.

Agent Odell was Gambi's mentor when he first joined the ASA. He golfs with the President and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Agent Odell is able to quote the 23rd Psalm from memory.

Jennifer takes Brandon to the Sanctum.  He learns that Jefferson, Anissa and Jennifer are Black Lightning, Thunder and Lighting respectively.

Brandon speculates on a codename, suggesting"Geo" or "Earth Force" or "Quakeboy."

Devonte discovers the hot new business on the East Side is a brothel called the Ultimate O. As he is walking around after hiring two girls, pretending to look for a restroom, he films the activities inside on his phone... and stumbles across Lady Eve's office, revealing her as the Madame.

Lady Eve's second in command is a woman named Destiny.

Devonte doesn't recognize Lady Eve but Lala does when Devonte shows him the video later.  Lala confirms that Lady Eve was dead but was apparently brought back by Lazarus, as he was.

Jennifer learns that Painkiller is still alive.

The ASA is able to recover Agent Odell. He is apparently sent home to Gotham City.

Black Lightning and Lightning are able to shock Painkiller into submission.

Lynn is able to break Tobias out of The Pit by giving him temporary chameleon powers.

Lala meets with Lady Eve and gives her 48 hours to accept his protection before he kills her and takes her operation anyway.

Lady Eve tells Destiny that they have to play along with Lala for now.

TC talks to Painkiller through his implant and determines that Khalil Payne is still in there somewhere and he loves Jennifer.

Lynn gives herself super-strength to prevent Tobias from being able to attack her and knocks Tobias out.

Markovian soldiers knock out Lynn and Sgt. Grayle at the end of the episode.



Untelevised Adventures

Grace was able to gain firmer control of her shape-shifting powers with the help of healers among the Perdi in South Freeland.


The Bottom Line

A solid episode where none of the subplots feel tacked on, even the sudden return of Lala and resurrection of Lady Eve. Virtually all of the ensemble get at least one good moment.