Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 14 - The Bodyguard

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


When an anti-technology activist threatens Andrea Rojas' life and the launch of Obsidian Platinum, Lex is all too eager to appoint Supergirl to act as Andrea's personal bodyguard, as he attempts to further endear himself to Gemma Cooper and Lena pushes forward with Project Non Nocere and the first human test subjects.


The 1992 film The Bodyguard, Skyrim (the opening VR sequence with the viking woman fighting a dragon)


The "meet cute" aspects of this episode where William starts to win over Kara despite her earlier rejection ring false. It's presented as charming that he found out how she liked her lattees instead of creepy that he arranged to "just happen" to run into her and Nia with drinks on hand. It should be a red flag, especially given that Kara already turned him down flat once and a really "nice guy" wouldn't have pulled the "act like an asshole" and "talk down to coworkers" act he pulled in his first few appearances.

Why does Kara just now realize William's commitment to the truth and putting himself in harms way in the name of journalistic integrity? They discussed that point in earlier episodes.(The writers have to justify her sudden romantic interest somehow.)

How do Alex and J'onn know which farm on Route 89 to investigate after Brainiac-5 tells them there's nothing out there?


Willie Garson's surprise return as Steve Lomeli is a brief but solid performance that instantly conveys the horror of Lena's actions.


The effects work for this episode is quite good, particularly the sequence in which J'onn saves an elevator full of people.

Super Trivia

The Chlorophyllian race introduced in this episode seems to be partly inspired by the Green Lantern villain Star Sapphire. The pink energy utilized by Chlorophyllians is similar to the power radiated by the Star Sapphire Corps in the comics, which is meant to be violet-tinged, but their energy is usually colored pink. The Star Sapphires also draw their power from love and the Chlorphyillian terrorist is inspired by her love of her dead husband, who has the unlikely name of Todd Sapphire.


The new Obsidian Platinum lenses have a 150 petaflop bio-link interface.

Postulating that the aliens behind Leviathan are a techno-organic species from the same solar system as Krypton, Brainiac-5 says that injecting the anti-Immortality code into their system would be impossible without weakening them first. This requires finding their version of Kryptonite or somehow gaining access to their home base.

Chlorophyllians are a peaceful alien race that absorb sunlight through their skin in order to accelerate the growth of their crops. They radiate a pink energy which is impossible to track, but can't discharge this energy in the form of electricity without mechanical assistance.

Brainiac-5 calculates there is a 93.2% certainty that no one will ever invite him to Thanksgiving dinner ever again because of his actions going behind the backs of his friends.

The gauntlets utilized by the Chrlorphyllian allow it to absorb any kind of energy, including the bio-energy of other aliens, and expel that energy from the body in the form of electricity.

The Obsidian Platinum cloud has a fail safe. If  power is drained from Obsidian North's generators, it draws power off of National City's grid to ensure the launch takes place. Unfortunately, since the city is run from a Luthor Power Core system that acquires power as quickly as it is lost, it could cause most of the transformers in the city to explode as well as a city-wide blackout.

Dialogue Triumphs

Lex: (To Lena) They think you're turning into me. Or at least Mother. (reassuringly) But you haven't. (smirking) Tragically.

Steve: It was Toby. I thought was going to hit me! When he asked me if I was okay... I felt... I felt something I'd never felt before. For...for the first time ever, I wanted to be the bully. Fear is the only emotion I've known for most of my life. But then you came along and I... finally felt hope. But now... all I feel is... a  hunger for revenge. For violence. It's trapped inside me. It's trying to claw its way out! I can't get rid of it. It's so much worse than anything that Toby ever did to me!

Steve: You really are the hero people say you are.
Lena: If this works, the world won't need heroes.

Dialogue Disasters

Lena: Before Crisis when I tried to use Myriad, she assumed that I was trying to mind-control people. (That's because you were!)


One Obsidian Platinum scenario allows an elderly woman in a wheelchair to feel like she is young, a warrior, riding a horse and fighting a dragon.

The new Obsidian Platinum lenses are so realistic that people can touch, taste and smell things in VR.

Alex hasn't gone out in public without a gun in eight years and doesn't feel comfortable without a sidearm.

Kelly brings Alex Hot Pockets, macaroni and cheese and dumplings for lunch on her first day working at The Tower with J'onn.

William shows up with lattes for Kara and Nia. He made a point of finding out their favorite drink orders.

Nia likes her lattees sugar-free and vanilla flavored.

Kara likes her lattees double-caff, double-foam with caramel and mocha.

As the episode opens, Obsidian Platinum is due to go live at 9 PM PST. This is just a little over 11 hours from when Andrea enters the lobby at Obsidian North, making it just before 10 AM when the assassin tries to kill her.

The assassin tries to hurriedly accelerate then drop the elevator Andrea is in. As they do this, the elevator car is surrounded by pink lightning.

Supergirl saves Andrea from falling to her death.

An Anti-Obsidian manifesto claiming credit for Andrea's death arrives at CatCo two minutes after the attack, threatening more deaths if Obsidian Platinum's launch is not cancelled. Andrea refuses to do this, despite the danger to her people.

The Maladorian Dendroasp from 505 makes an appearance, with Lena now successfully getting the aggressive alien animal to play with a puppy.

Lena makes reference to the events of 507 and her using Myriad in her first attempt to launch Non Nocere.

Thus far, all of Lena's animal tests have worked perfectly, but she has yet to start human trials.

Lex sets up a test using volunteers from the privately-owned prison that LuthorCorp runs to do Lena's human trials, arguing that if she can make aggressive repeat offenders into docile, productive members of society, it would be a proof of concept Supergirl couldn't complain about.

Brainiac-5 is nearly done repurposing Toyman's Immortality Code from 512 into a weapon against Leviathan. However, he postulates it won't be useful unless they can weaken the Leviathan aliens first or find their base of operations.

Lex assigns Supergirl to act as Andrea Rojas personal bodyguard, despite Kara's objections, saying it will be far easier to have her close at hand when the assassins strikes at hand as its unlikely the DEO can catch them before the Obsidian Platinum launch that night.

J'onn currently has more cases than he cares to count - most involving missing people, runaway aliens and the odd wayward spouse.

Alex is having trouble adjusting to the idea of working independently without a direct boss or goal every day.

Kara asks Alex and J'onn to help her with tracking down the terrorist gunning for Andrea.

J'onn confirms what Brainiac-5 said about Chlorophyllian energy being impossible to track, but says they can't manifest the energy they absorb as electricity and are typically a peaceful people.

Lex confronts Gemma Cooper and offers her the DEO's protection in order to maintain her anonymity. She agrees, but warns him not to make promises he can't keep because "her people" don't offer second chances.

The inmates Lena is given to experiment on are a cross-section of violent repeat offenders to those who are afraid of their own shadow.

One of the test subjects is Steve Lomeli - the editor of the convict-published newsletter at Stryker's Island in 418, who helped Kara with her story after revealing he hacked Lex Luthor's secret server.

Steve is bullied by an inmate named Toby.

Kara meets William for the first time as Supergirl.

William says he isn't afraid of covering Andrea Rojas despite the threats on her life and says that its his responsibility as a journalist to put himself in harms way to give people information.

Dimitry is a thug who hangs around Al's Bar that Alex has strong-armed once or twice looking for information.

Dimitry says a contact of his who dealt in exotic alien weaponry recently dealt with a Chlorophyllian who lived on a farm on Route 89.

Alex calls Brainiac-5 and asks if he has information on a Chlorophyillian living off Route 89.  Brainy pulls up the record of a Todd Sapphire, but lies to Alex and says he couldn't find anything.

Brainiac-5 consults with one of his alternate selves from 510 through the Coluan hivemind to get a second opinion on his current actions. He sympathizes with his plight, but says the deception is necessary for the greater good.

Lena's test on the inmates seems to work perfectly, with Toby now being friendly towards Steve.

William and Supergirl discuss their reservations about the Obsidian Platinum system and how they both fear people could become disconnected from the real world because of it. William specifically refers to Kara and her game nights as making him remember what real connections with people were like after losing his best friend.

The assassin makes another attempt on Andrea's life, shooting lightning at her during an interview, before teleporting away.

Andrea still refuses to go into hiding or cancel the launch.

Andrea tells Supergirl that Obsidian is the life's work of her father and he sacrificed everything to make the company successful and she can't do anything less.

Steve is agitated by Toby's presence and tries to take a swing at him, but is unable to because of the Non Nocere. This leads Lena to discover an unexpected side-effect - while she successfully pacifies the normally hostile, it fills the normally fearful (like Steve) with rage they can't unleash, as his fight-or-flight response is left without an outlet for expression. He says the resulting feeling is far worse than anything Toby ever did to him.

Alex and J'onn find a barn full of hydroponics, a copy of Walden Pond and blueprints for the kind of technology the Chlorophyillian was apparently trying to buy along with weapons-grade components.

The terrorist finds Alex and J'onn in their lair and attacks, draining energy from J'onn while struggling with him and setting the barn on fire.

Alex calls Supergirl, who pulls Andrea out of an appearance at the Obsidian North store and takes her to the DEO before going to save Alex and J'onn.

Lex offers Lena his help in trying to fix the Non Nocere algorithm.

Kara finds a strongbox full of papers, including an Obsidian worker ID. With that, she, Alex and J'onn determine that Todd Saphire committed suicide after becoming addicted to Obsidian Platinum during beta-testing and being fired after stealing a pair of lenses.

Kara realizes the assassin is Todd's wife, Amy and that she blames Obsidian Platinum for his death, as he was homesick and using the technology to escape into a virtual simulation of the home planet they were forced to flee.

Andrea is able to shadow teleport for the first time in the post-Crisis reality after being locked in a cell at the DEO and somehow wishing herself to the Obsidian North offices.

Kara talks Amy down from her plan to destroy Obsidian North's office after pointing out that innocent people will die in the resulting power drain.

Andrea lies about how she got back to Obsidian North so quickly.

Andrea dismisses Supergirl's concerns about Obsidian Platinum being addictive, saying Todd's story was tragic but she believes she is doing more good than harm.

Andrea realizes the Acrata medallion is tied to her shadow travel power.

J'onn gives Alex a Martian weapon called "The Hand of the Soldier," which can shapeshift into any weapon the wilder can think of.

Lena corrects the algorithm with Lex's help, realizing she had accounted for violent tendencies but not the urge to fight injustice. Steve says he feels safe for the first time in his life.

William texts Kara to ask if she is okay after the attack.

Kara decides to accept William's invitation to go out, saying she was scared to say yes the week before.

Brainiac-5 confronts Lex over the failsafe on the Luthor Power Core and how he couldn't shut it down. Lex dismisses his concerns that 67% of the people in National City could have been harmed by the resulting fires.

Lex meets with Gemma Cooper again and argues that the resulting chaos has only built up the Obsidian Platinum launch and that he would be the ideal spokesperson to help promote it on a gloabl level. He asks to meet her friends in exchange for his help.

The Fridge Factor

Alex is made entirely useless so that she can angst over losing the job she quit when she's never shown any signs of lacking confidence fighting aliens with powers she doesn't have before.

Kara is suddenly going gooey over the same man who was a jerk to her when they first met because he agrees with her on VR technology being bad and journalism being good.

Andrea Rojas drive to promote her company is revealed entirely because she wants her daddy's approval.

The Bottom Line

Lackluster in nearly every department and oddly insulting given its release on International Women's Day, with Alex out of sorts until J'onn gives her a new "gun", Kara suddenly willing to give the jerk who is stalking her a second chance and Acrata set up as yet another villain whose motivations come down to daddy issues. It's odd how the only two people fighting the chief villains of the season now are Lex and Brainiac-5 and Lena's subplot has been completely separated from the rest of the action of the series. Throw in a forgettable villain and another reiteration of the one-sided moral (i.e. technology is bad!)  and this is one bland mess.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Batwoman Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 14 - Grinning from Ear to Ear

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


A new masked villain begins attacking Gotham City's social media influencers, cutting up their faces before vanishing into the night. As Kate begins tracking this new menace while trying to figure out where she stands with Sophie, Mary tries to figure out how to tell Kate that she's learned her secret identity and Alice seeks out help in confronting Dr. Cartwright.


The New 52 Catwoman comics (Character of Joker's Daughter) and Batwoman: Elegy 


How are The Crows able to track Batwoman so quickly when she went to investigate Veronica May's wrecked truck?

For that matter, how was Sophie able to beat all of them to Batwoman while listening to their radio?

Aren't The Crows going to be somewhat suspicious that Sophie is working with Batwoman when they find Sophie's car (with the lights still on) abandoned next to Veronica May's van?


The opening scene with Duela and the mirror is truly unsettling.

Bat Trivia

Duela Dent first appeared in Batman Family #6 (August 1976) and was originally a foil for Robin. Having discovered Dick Grayson's secret identity, Duela taunted the Boy Wonder to do the same while posing as a number of supervillains' daughters, including The Joker, The Riddler and The Penguin. Eventually Robin determined she was the estranged daughter of Harvey Dent. It turned out Duela was trying to find a way to make up for the crimes of her infamous father and went after Robin as an audition for the Teen Titans. Robin was impressed and Duela was a part of the team, under the name Harlequin, until the New Teen Titans era.

In the post-Crisis era, Duela was revealed to be the daughter of The Jokester and Three-Face - the heroic counterparts of The Joker and Two-Face on Earth-3, where all the heroes were villains and vice-versa. She was also the stepdaughter of that world's Riddler, which was how she learned how to replicate the gimmicks and weapons of those villains so well. Sadly, Duela was killed by the Monitors for being a reality deviant who traveled between worlds and threatened the continuity of the new multiverse by existing on Earth-1.

Duela Dent was rebooted in the New 52 era as a spoiled rich girl in Gotham City who was born crazy, loving things that were ugly and hating things seen as traditionally beautiful. She ran away from home and lived in the sewers, where she happened to find the severed face of The Joker, who had removed his own face as part of one of his schemes. Wearing the skin as a mask, Duela went on a rampage, taking over the society of sewer dwellers and setting out to prove herself a worthy heir to The Joker.

The Arrowverse version of Duela Dent is closest to the New 52 version, but given a more solid motivation for her psychosis than just being crazy. This version of Duela Dent grew sick of the shallow subculture her perfection-obsessed mother forced her into as a child (her bedroom is full of beauty pageant trophies) and began targeting her classmates who made themselves "hideous" with plastic surgery while encouraging other women to reach for an ideal that was impossible for the non-rich elites of Gotham City.

The Arrowverse version of Duela Dent is said to be the niece of a popular assistant district attorney. This is almost certainly a reference to Harvey Dent and it suggests that, in the Arrowverse, Harvey Dent has yet to become Two-Face.

Dr. Cartwright exposes Mouse to a tank full of what is labeled Fear Gas. This is presumably the same fear gas utilized by the Scarecrow.


Luke upgrades Kate's cowl so that when she presses the red button on the left gauntlet of the batsuit it activates a cowl-cam that allows him to see what she sees.  He uses this to scan Duela Dent's defaced yearbook remotely.

Dialogue Triumphs

(Kate is grilling Mary for details on people in her circle who might be potential victims of The Slasher. Mary is trying (and failing) to subtly let Kate know she knows she is Batwoman.)
Actually, if you're... looking into this because you own a real estate firm and these women are most likely future property buyers...
Kate: (deadpan) Exactly.
Mary: I'm around if you need a side... person.

(Kate has a lead on the vehicle of Duela Dent's next victim.)
Batwoman: We need to find that cosmetics truck!
Luke: I appreciate that. But a truck in Gotham? Kind of a needle in a haystack.
Batwoman: The needle is hot pink.
(There is a pause as Luke considers this.)
Luke: That narrows it down.

Batwoman: How do you see this playing out? Dinner? Movie? I take you back to my cave?
Sophie: You live in a cave?!
(Batwoman says nothing in response.)
Sophie: I don't know. I guess I haven't really thought about it.
Batwoman: If I were to tell you who I am right now, would you want to know?
Sophie: (confused) What?
Batwoman: Because once that happens I'm no longer a secret. I'm a face. A person. A woman. And I... I bring all the complications that come with that. So do you want to be in a real relationship? Or do you want to be with someone you can keep secret? Because we can never be more than this. And that shouldn't be enough.
(There is a long pause as Sophie considers this. She sighs sadly.)
Sophie: You're right. As long as I'm with a woman who wears a mask, I'll always be wearing one myself.

(Duela Dent has snuck into Dr. Campbell's office after hours. They are really Dr. Cartwright and Alice wearing flesh masks.)
Dr. Cartwright: You shouldn't be here, Duela.
"Duela":  Sorry. You got the wrong girl.
("Duela" pulls off her face and wig to reveal she's Alice. Cartwright is horrified.)
Dr. Cartwright: No!  You're dead!  I- I shot you!
Alice: Again! You got the wrong girl. (grinning wickedly) You like taking things from children, don't you?  Well... (Alice holds up her flesh mask of Duela and moves the lips like a puppet.) We're all grown up now. And here for a little payback.


Mary runs into Sophie while getting coffee. 

Mary knows Sophie was suspended by the Crows.

Sophie tells Mary that she made out with Batwoman.

Mary figures out that Sophie doesn't know Kate is Batwoman.

Luke tells Kate he's upgrading her cowl. He says he's not giving her X-Ray vision or echolocation abilities, though he admits that last one would be a good idea.

Kate tells Luke about her kissing Sophie as Batwoman. Luke says trying to forge a romance as Batwoman is a bad idea, as it will make Sophie a target and that Bruce didn't seek romance for that reason.

Alice was held captive by Dr. Cartwright for 11 years.

One of the Wonderland gang members gets Alice a photo of Dr. Campbell. He doesn't look like Dr. Cartwright, but Alice recognizes him because he still smokes the same pipe.

Jacob meets with Bobby Reeves: the lawyer representing Reggie Harris. He says Harris has won a retrial thanks to the allegations that came forth thanks to The Executioner in 106.

The new judge overseeing Harris' case is David Wellington.

Reeves asks Jacob to use his pull to get Harris' case moved up, as a payback for Harris saving him from Dodgson while in prison in 112.

Reeves tells Jacob that Harris has information from his time in prison about there being things The Crows would like kept secret. He implies that information will come out if Jacob doesn't play ball with them.

Kate meets Sophie at her apartment as Batwoman and tries to let her down easily. They wind up kissing again instead, but are interrupted by someone entering Sophie's apartment. It turns out to be Sophie's mom, who was surprising her with a visit.

A model named Kimberly Wright is attacked by a masked woman who slashes her face with a knife. She is apparently the second social media influencer to be attacked in this manner.

The slasher is described as a woman in her 20s, but all the other details were hidden because she wore a hoodie and a surgical mask.

Luke notes that the slasher is specifically attacking the women's faces, not hurting their bodies at all.

Mary knew Kimberly, but not well.

Mary notes that most of her social media followers left her thanks to the debacle with Jacob allegedly killing Catherine.

Mary suspects that most of the potential victims are all patients of Dr. Ethan Campbell, as they all had plastic surgery to copy one another's best features or those of other famous people.

Mary offers to warn Dr. Campbell, as he lectures at her medical school. Kate tells her not to bother.

Sophie's mother was called by Jacob, who suggested she might need her to come visit.

Sophie was the one who left her husband. She says she fell out of love with her husband.

Sophie's mom reads her the riot act over her not doing everything she can to rejoin The Crows. She openly disrespects Batwoman, saying she doesn't represent her values like Batman did. Sophie confirms this means being openly gay.

Sophie is 28 years old and has two degrees and owns her own condo.

Kate asks Sophie, as Batwoman, to interview Dr. Campbell.

The first victim of the slasher was a model named Mia Cortez.

Sophie suggests that maybe the Slasher isn't targeting people who got copycat surgeries but inflicting the injuries she suffered on other people.

Dr. Campbell recalls a patient from eight years earlier - a teenage girl who carved a smile onto her fact. She had a long psychiatric rap-sheet and cut her own face repeatedly. The girls's name was Duela Dent.

Duela's mother is Evelyn Dent. She was a typical stage mother who forced Duela to compete in beauty pageants as a child and teenager.

Duela was recently released from a mental institution.

Kate searches Duela's room and finds what seems to be a hit list and a defaced yearbook.

Kate asks Luke to look up the name Myrtis Dinker.  Luke finds nothing, but is able to scan the photo Kate sees and start trying to match the picture.

Kate confronts Duela, who takes her mother hostage and slashes her throat to escape.

Alice abducts a psychiatrist, Dr. Monroe, to seek his advice on why she's afraid to confront Dr. Cartwright. He suggests that because of her past trauma, she is regressing into the girl who was terrified of the man who held her captive. He suggests a third person who can act as a buffer between her and him - an emotional shield - might be the answer.

Alice has Dr. Monroe killed, lamenting that he truly was helpful but she can't exactly guarantee his silence.

Alice guesses that Duela Dent is the Slasher, based on the records of Dr. Campbell's patients she stole and the fact that Duela sued Dr. Campbell when she was 16, claiming the surgery he performed to restore her face was done without her permission.

Dr. Cartwright tells Mouse that Alice is dead and shows him the newspaper report of her death. He confesses that he shot her to save their family.

Jacob confronts the Crow who handled Harris' case about Reeves' allegations. He says the only thing he finds unusual about the case is that people are trying to set a killer free, blowing off Jacob's pointing out that, somehow, five hours worth of security footage around the time of the robbery where Lucius Fox was murdered.

Dr. Cartwright hooks Mouse up to an tank full of fear gas, which he took from a former colleague.

Mary identifies Myrtis Dinker as Veronica May - a model who runs her own make-up line. She says the reason the facial recognition software Batwoman uses didn't work is because her nose and chin have been changed since high school.

Veronica May has a custom cosmetics truck to promote her business that is hot pink, which Mary describes as the gaudiest thing on the road.

Sophie shows up to warn Batwoman that the Crows are coming for her after she finds Veronica May's van run off the road.

Luke guesses that Duela has taken Veronica May to a cosmetics factory down the road, which is where Veronica May's make-up line is manufactured.

Alice steals medical supplies from Mary's clinic.

Alice tells Mary about how she saved her life with a blood transfusion in 113.

Alice tells Mary that she knows who Batwoman really is and seems surprised Mary doesn't know.

Duela dangles Veronica over a vat of acidic chemicals.

Sophie fights Duela while Batwoman saves Veronica.

Sophie says she and Batwoman made a good team. Batwoman agrees, but says they can't be together unless Sophie is willing to hide every aspect of their life from the world. Sophie agrees, saying she can't be with a woman wearing a mask unless she wears one herself.

Batwoman says she'll call the GCPD and tell them where Duela is tied up.

Alice finds Duela and offers to give them both what they want.

It is revealed later that she cut Duela's face off, leaving her "perfect" and made her face into a flesh mask so she could ambush Dr. Cartwright while posing as Duela.

Jacob confronts his agent with a bank statement showing that The Crows paid the owner of the Sip N' Dash where Lucius Fox was murdered $50,000 dollars. The money came from a budget used to pay for damages caused during the apprehension of a suspect. He suggests the money was for more than damages but again the agent blows off his concerns.

Jacob calls Sophie and offers to reinstate her, saying he needs her integrity which he has never questioned, even if he questioned her decision making abilities.

Sophie outs herself to her mother, saying she never loved her husband and only married him because it was expected. She says the only time she was ever happy romantically was with Kate.

Sophie is disowned by her mother.

Mary tries to get Kate to open up to her again, but Kate doesn't take the hint.

Mary refers to the events of 101 and says she was never afraid of Kate revealing her secret clinic to anyone because she trusts her. She says she hopes one day Kate will trust her the same way.

Alice unmasks Dr. Cartwright and demands to know where Mouse is.

The final scene shows Mouse, tied up in the basement where we last saw him, screaming and having a spasm. It is revealed he is connected to a tank labeled Fear Gas.

The Bottom Line

A weak episode, largely due to the absence of Alice and the focus on Sophie. Duela is a forgettable villain-of-the-weak, despite being infinitely more interesting and better developed here than she was as the New 52 Joker's Daughter. Still, at least the Kate/Sophie romance seems to finally be dead and over. At least the bits with Mary trying to hint at Kate's secret are amusing and its good to see Alice get the jump on Dr. Cartwright. Ironically, this plastic surgery themed episode is far less than the sum of its parts.

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 37

In which we heal the sick and optimize the power plant in Gecko. For an encore, I had planned to go deal with the raiders, but a game crash got in the way.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 36

In which we finally get to Vault City and start exploring the wonders of the Vault, as we search for a replacement Voice Modulator to replace the one I accidentally sold somewhere along the way.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 35

In which, after an encounter with the Keeper Of The Bridge of Death, we get ourselves a car and begin driving around the wasteland in style! Not that this does anything to get us to Vault City any faster, with all the other side quests I keep doing.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 34

In which we manage to walk all the way from New Reno to Arroyo with no complications! Well, apart from the village being destroyed once we get there, the wise-man dying and our people being kidnapped and taken to someplace called Navarro. Also, we fight many bandits and geckos, as we retrace our steps in a desperate bid to sell all the weapons I've picked up.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 33

In which we almost become the Fighting Champion of New Reno but a glitch denies us the ability to win the final fight. So until I figure out how to fix that, we go to get to know the friendly people in our neighborhood - specifically, the local drug-maker and guns-dealer.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 16 - The Book of War: Chapter Three: Liberation

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


The final battle for Freeland begins, but the ASA is cutting and running, covering their tracks as they flee the city and prepare to drop a nuclear bomb as the Markovians and Gravedigger invade. The city's only hope lies in the unlikely alliance of its superheroes, its criminals and the Freeland Resistance. A new day may dawn for Freeland's metahumans, but not everyone will survive the war.


Various Outsiders and X-Men comics.


It is said that the commission investigating Freeland was created by the US Congress, yet the people overseeing the commission are all judges. This would imply a judicial proceeding rather than a legislative one. (It is possible that judges were brought in to access the legality of the situation, much in the same way that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is brought in to supervise Impeachment proceedings.)

As awesome as the final shot of the episode is, one would think the Pierce Family would be more paranoid than to have Lynn walk away from the hearing with Lightning, Thunder and Black Lightning lest someone put 2 and 2 together.


There's some good moments all around, but the best is the scene between Wayne Brady and China Anne McClain where Jennifer manages to reveal the flaws of Gravedigger's philosophy and the lie behind it with one simple observation and her own sheer stubbornness.


The effects work for the various powers is top-notch, with different takes on Arrowverse standards like sonic screams and heat-vision.


Tony Isabella, the creator of Black Lightning, has a cameo as Judge Isabella; one of the officials overseeing the Congressional investigation into Freeland.


The Markovian invasion strategy is built around a shock-and-awe strike to disrupt the city and secure an exit route, while the elite Markovian Rangers scout the city to locate the metahumans.

Gambi locates Jennifer after she's abducted by searching for her unique energy signature.

Dialogue Triumphs

Gravedigger: (as he's cooking Black Lightning alive with his microwave powers) Nothing to be ashamed of. You fought well.

(Lightning has just woken up in a cell in the Markovian camp.)
Gravedigger: My name is Tyson Sykes. I'm in command here. And the first thing you need to understand is I'm not your enemy.
Lightning: You could've fooled me with the whole kidnapping and invasion thing.
Gravedigger: (laughs, taking on a light, friendly tone) Actions made necessary by the continuing treachery of the US Government. I have been empowered by the nation of Markovia to eastablish an independent metahuman state inside their borders, where metahumans can be free. Live normal lives.
Lightning:  Mmm-hmm. You need to sell that trash somewhere else.
Gravedigger: (still in the light tone) Trash? Little girl... you don't know a damn thing about this country. This country was built by and for rich white men. That's never gonna change.
Lightning: There's been plenty of change. Not enough, sure, but it's disrespectful to the sacrifices of our ancestors to say there's been none.
Gravedigger: Change? (sarcastic, growing harsher as he speaks) Oh, you mean Obama? And Martin Luther King? Well, it seems to me, that Obama was bought and paid for by rich liberals and multinational corporations. And Martin Luther King? Well, he was a coward who lacked the courage to fight for his own freedom!
Lightning: Are you insane? MLK was one of the most courageous people to walk the face of this Earth. Not by fighting, but by purposely putting himself in harm's way. The moral authority of his cause could not be debated.
Gravedigger: (growling) Yeah, they debated that plenty.
Lightning: But he was on the right side of history. "Metas are with you or else?" That's not independence or peace.
Gravedigger: (suddenly angry) Who are you to judge me, huh?! You have been on this planet for the blink of an eye! I am 100 years old!
Lightning: Maybe that's why you're so negative and grouchy.
Gravedigger: I ought to kill you where you stand.
Lightning: So why don't you let me out of here? Try it.
Gravedigger: (scoffs) Maybe later.
Lightning: (sarcastic) Is this moment in Black History over?

(Tobias sits in a chair wearing a Russian-style fur hat, watching Nurse Allen sleep. Nurse Allen wakes up and sees Tobias.)
Good morning, Nurse Judas.
(Nurse Allen goes for the drawer in his bed-side table and grabs at a pistol. He starts shooting at Tobias but the chamber is empty. Tobias chuckles and raises one hand, allowing the bullets to fall into his other hand.)
Tobias: Of course a loser like you is still living at home with his parents in his 40s.
Nurse Allen: Oh my God! What did you do with them?!
Tobias: Your mom will be just fine. As long as you take me to where they're keeping the Markovian metas.
Nurse Allen: What about my father?
Tobias:  Ah yes. The Blackovian. I assure you he died well.

Black Lighting: (as he's shocking Gravedigger and knocking him out.) You have nothing to be ashamed of. You fought well.

(Agent Odell gets in the passenger side of his SUV and sighs. Suddenly, his driver pitches forward, clearly dead. Odell's eyes widen for a moment as he hears a voice from behind him.)
 Now, you didn't really think I was going to let you get away? Not after making me kill my own mother, did you?
Odell: Caveat emptor.
(There is a long pause. Whatever Odell expected to happen... doesn't.)
Khalil: That shutdown only works on Painkiller. I'm Khalil. (undoes the safety on the pistol) We haven't officially met.
(Black Lightning flies down and lands in front of the SUV. He walks around the side and waves a hand at the car. The power windows lower and he regards Khalil.)
 Don't try to stop me.
Black Lightning: No. You're going to stop yourself. Becuase you're smart enough to realize that a bullet to the head is too good for him. He needs to be shackled. Caged. Humiliated. And then die alone.
(Khalil raises the pistol and fires three shots into Odell's back through the car seat. Odelll gasps but doesn't fall forward.)
Black Lightning: 
(Cooly, Khalil gets out of the car and holsters his pistol.)
Khalil: (matter of factly) I shot him through the spleen. Don't need it anyway. He'll be alright. Well, unless he has internal bleeding or gets an infection. And if that's the case, it's God's will.  He's all yours.
(Khalil turns around and walks off. Black Lighting does nothing to stop him.) 


Gravedigger figures out that Lightning is Black Lightning's daughter based on the fact that Jefferson is fighting angrier than he was in their encounter in 313.

Black Lightning tells Gravedigger that they're related and that he knows his half-brother Ben Pierce was his grandfather. This doesn't matter to Gravedigger, who offers Black Lightning only one more chance to surrender.

Gravedigger's new powers include a sonic scream and the ability to emit microwaves.

Jamillah Olsen and her cameraman are killed by Markovian soldiers.

Markovian soldiers abduct Lightning while Black Lightning is distracted.

Sgt. Grayle oversees the transfer of the metahuman teens taking shelter at Garfield High to The Pit, along with Erica Moran.

Agent Odell gives the order for the ASA to evacuate Freeland. He sends Commander Williams to remove all the classified information still within the city and anyone who has classified knowledge. He also sends Major Grey to acquire or destroy Martin Proctor's briefcase.

Gambi begins searching for Jennifer.

TC starts talking to the cameras around Freeland trying to locate Agent Odell.

Gravedigger tries to win Jennifer over by telling her about his plan to develop an independent metahuman state within Markovia. She doesn't believe him.

Gravedigger is 100 years old.

Painkiller fights his way through a Markovian checkpoint and steals an energy weapon sniper rifle.

Lady Eve meets with Major Grey. She tells her that Gambi has the Briefcase in exchange for having her seat back on the Shadow Board.

When Major Grey tells Lady Eve to prepare to relocate to Gotham City, she figures out that means the ASA is planning to destroy Freeland.

Lady Eve is wounded in the fire-fight which follows, but survives long enough to tell Lala and the 100 to go aid the Freeland Resistance in fighting the Markovians.

Tobias Whale is revealed to be alive in Markovia.

Tobias tracked down Michael Allen - the nurse who was a Markovian spy in the ASA - and killed his father.

The ASA has some kind of counter measures which exhaust TC as he tries to work past their computers to look for Odell.

Gambi calls Brandon in to help Black Lightning rescue Jennifer. Since it involves rescuing a friend, Brandon is agreeable to help, regardless of what he said before about sitting out the invasion fight.

Command Williams finds Dr. Jace in Brandon's apartment and kills her.

Lala and a group of 100 members save Chief Henderson, Two-Bits and a group of Freeland Resistance members from being overwhelmed by Markovian soldiers.

Commander Williams tracks Lynn to the lab at The Pit, where she is working on an anti-booster that can remove the extra powers Gravedigger absorbed.

Lynn kills Commander Williams by throwing him into a wall with the super-strength she gave herself by copying Erica Moran's power.

Gravedigger is revealed to have given himself the power to fly.

Gravedigger is addressed as First Citizen by the Markovian forces.

Khalil fights Gravedigger to assert control of his body as he's about to shoot Lightning with the energy weapon he stole. He takes control back.

Gravedigger is able to get past the Resistance forces guarding The Pit, including Erica Moran and Sgt. Grayle, by putting them to sleep with his command power.

Thunder and Grace seal the metahuman kids in a safe room within The Pit.

Gravedigger gets past Grace and Thunder by ordering Grace to kill Thunder with his command power.

A group of Markovian Rangers with weapons that can kill Black Lightning and Lightning are left behind to ambush them.

Chief Henderson attacks the Rangers, being fatally wounded in the process.

Chief Henderson dies with Jeff by his side, with Jeff saying he was his best friend and promising to save Freeland.

Grace is knocked into a coma by Thunder.

TC recovers from being injured by the ASA counter-measures and figures out how to work around it.

Lynn finishes her anti-booster formula and works it into a tranquilizer dart, planning to shoot Gravedigger while Black Lightning distracts him.

Brandon and Lightning combine their powers to create "volcanic lightning" - a lava-like mixture that cuts through the magnetic force-field Gravedigger was using to protect himself.

Gravedigger is able to use his some kind of concussive force-beam vision to beat back Lightning and Brandon.

The self-destruct command word for The Pit is "Rosebud".

Black Lightning is able to knock out Gravedigger once his powers are neutralized.

Black Lightning leaves Gravedigger behind after Gambi alerts him that The Pit is going to explode. He carries Lynn out and they barely fly away in time to escape.

Khalil stops Agent Odell from fleeing Freeland and shoots him in the spleen as revenge for being forced to kill his mother.

Major Grey leads what few ASA troops remain in Freeland in a raid on Gambi's Tailor Shop. They find the Sanctum but are repelled by TC and Gambi. This apparently kills every ASA member who knew that Jefferson Pierce and his children were Black Lightning, Thunder and Lightning.

Grace is said to be in a coma and Lynn is uncertain if she'll ever wake up, as there's no baseline for knowing how fast a shape-shifter can recover from that kind of trauma.

The US Congress launches a special investigation into the ASA and their actions in Freeland.

Tobias watches the Congressional hearings and declares that it is time for him to return home.

The ASA is disbanded thanks to Black Lightning's testimony and the evidence in the ASA briefcase.

Lynn is able to stabilize every Pod Kid and Green Light Baby in Freeland.

Congress approves the funding for a special boarding school devoted to the metahuman kids and helping them adjust.

Agent Odell is said to be detained and will be prosecuted for his actions.

Gravedigger is revealed to have been watching the proceedings, using a digital facial mask similar to the one Gambi uses.

Untelevised Adventures

Most of the fight with Black Lightning and Brandon rescuing Lightning takes place off-camera.

It is unclear how Gravedigger escaped The Pit or if he still has his original superpowers.

The Bottom Line

A solid finale to an excellent season which resolves most of the outstanding storylines and leaves plenty of room to grow into Season 4. While the idea of a metahuman school seems to be taken straight out of X-Men, it will offer a new challenge that fits the theme of the show. Because you know Jefferson Pierce is going to be put in charge of this new Meta Academy. It will be interesting to see where the show goes from here.

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 32

In which we start to explore the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is New Reno, with our new friend Jules giving us the lowdown on the street. I then demonstrate why sleeping with the wives and daughters of gangsters is a bad idea before going on to accidentally take my first steps to becoming the boxing champion of New Reno.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 15 - The Book of War: Chapter Two: Freedom Ain't Free

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


With Gravedigger and the Markovians moving in on Freeland, everyone begins making plans on how to deal with them. For the ASA and the underworld, this means making bargains and plotting how to weather the storm. For the heroes of Freeland, it means regrouping and reminding themselves of why they fight. But even as Grace and Anissa plan an impromptu wedding, Brandon abandons the team to seek his revenge on Dr. Jace and Khalil tries to escape Freeland and his Painkiller persona.


Various Outsiders comics and various X-Men comics (the show's take on Gravedigger owes a lot to Chris Claremont's Magneto.)


Lynn lists Erica among the kids like TC and Brandon who have nowhere else to go. It was said in the last episode that Erica had been returned to her family after the mission in Markovia.


If you had told me Wayne Brady could be an effective and sympathetic villain in the same vein as Magneto, I'd never have believed it until I saw his portrayal of Gravedigger.


The opening scene with Gravedigger is one of the strongest in the show's history, in terms of the fight choreography, cinematography, music and Wayne Brady's narration.


This episode confirms that Grace is developing super-strength to go along with her shape-shifting. In the Outsider series where Grace first appeared, Grace's main super-powers were enhanced strength and durability. She was later revealed to be a rogue Amazon.


The effects of the meta-booster formula vary from person to person. For a baseline human like Lynn Stewart, the effects last for roughly one hour. For an enhanced/altered individual like Tobias Whale, they last for 20 minutes.

Lynn theorizes that Gravedigger will be able to make use of one meta-booster at a time for 2-4 weeks.

Based on the corrected model Dr. Jace develops, Lynn determines that Gravedigger can absorb multiple superpowers and will retain them indefinitely.

Anissa guesses that Grace's newfound super-strength is due to her unique morphology and her body is reinforcing itself as a response to all the shape-shifting she's been doing.

Gambi comes up with a way to disable the Markovian communications.in the middle of dinner.

Dialogue Triumphs

Gravedigger: People are going to wonder why I did what I did. They'll wonder why I brought all this death and destruction to Freeland. They'll wonder why I brought the pain. (sighs) I stopped caring what people think about me a long time ago. But I do still care about the truth. And the truth is this; the US Government experimented on me almost 80 years ago, granting me abilities beyond that of a normal person. I am officially, unofficially, the first meta.

Gravedigger: When I first joined the military, one of the crap jobs I was assigned to was the GRS: Graves Registration Services. Over 70 million people died in World War II. The ones who weren't identified, they could bury. On the US side, they gave that honor to us Negros. The colored troops. It was backbreaking, soul-draining work. But it was an important task. Because every soldier - every person - deserves a proper burial. So when I became a meta, the name Gravedigger fit because of my history and because I don't figuratively bury my enemies. I literally bury each and every one of them. No matter what they've done to incur my wrath. No matter how many of them there are. I make sure that each and every one of my opponents receives a proper burial. That is assuming there's enough of them left to bury. People always thought I was crazy for doing that. But to me it felt like the honorable thing to do. It felt right. What I'm about to do to Freeland feels right too.

Erica: I just got out of the pod. There's still so much stuff I need to do.
TC: Yeah, I've never even kissed a girl.
Erica: (smirking) Really?
TC: What?
Erica: Did you just use the fact that we might die tomorrow to scam a kiss?
TC: Yes. Yes, I did. (pauses) But it's true. I've never kissed a girl. C'mon, you can't be mad at that. (sighs) It was worth a shot.
(Erica leans over and gives TC a quick peck on the lips.)
 (surprised) Oh. Okay.
Erica: Now you can die happy.
TC: Wait - does that mean you like me?
Erica: That means I took pity on you.
TC: But does that count, though? I mean, I wasn't ready-
Erica: You're not getting another kiss.


Lynn determines that Gravedigger can use her meta-booster formula to copy the powers of any metahuman he can copy a DNA sample from.

Gambi has sources that told him Gravedigger's objective is liberating every metahuman in Freeland and/or capturing the ones who don't want to come with him to Markovia.

Gambi has also learned the ASA plans to order a nuclear strike on Freeland if they fear Gravedigger might take the city.

Khalil is stopped by ASA soldiers trying to leave Freeland. As they are beating him, Painkiller takes over and kills the soldiers.

Brandon quits the team because they are working with Dr. Jace now and he doesn't care about the fight between the ASA and the Markovians.

Gravedigger's goal is to form an independent metahuman nation within the boundaries of Markovia.

Jefferson's plan is to have himself, Thunder and Grace lead the charge, while TC, Jenniffer and Erica hang back to exploit any weaknesses in the Markovian lines.

As Jefferson and Gambi plot a strategy for the fighting, Gambi says he sympathizes with Gravedigger's motives. He also agrees that Jennifer should be on the front-line rather than being held in reserve to guard the retreat.

Lala has a woman inside of Lady Eve's operation who tells him about a doctor of some kind working for her.

Black Lightning and Thunder try to recruit Lala and The 100 to help in the fight against the Markovians. Lala says no, even after Black Lightning tells him the government is going to nuke Freeland if the Markovians take over.

Brandon breaks into Dr. Jace's lab and threatens to kill her if she doesn't tell him all about his family.

Lady Eve meets with Agent Odell. It is confirmed that the "doctor" she has is Lazarus, whom the ASA had lost track of. They were also unaware that Lady Eve was alive.

Lady Eve is informed she is still persona non grata with the ASA.

Lady Eve says she wants back in with the Shadow Board, in he previous position. She also tells Agent Odell that she knows the ASA is about to abandon Freeland.

Lady Eve offers to bring Agent Odell back from the dead if he gets killed in the coming war. Odelll refuses as he has his own conteingencies in place and he already made peace with his mortality.

Lady Eve says that she can give Odell the location of Martin Proctor's briefcase in exchange for a seat on the Shadow Board and her cartel back in the game. Odell is agreeable to this, saying she was always a competent earner and organizer for the ASA's clandestine activities in the past.

Grace's body is changing for some reason and she seems to be acquiring super-strength. She can now lift a solid wooden dinner table by herself.  Anissa guesses her body is just reinforcing itself after all the intense shape-shifting she's been putting herself through recently.

Lynn's analysis of Gravedigger's DNA confirms that he is a blood relative of Jefferson Pierce. This is why Jefferson, Anissa and Jennifer were able to stabilize their metahuman powers on their own.

Jefferson, in-turn, figures out that Gravedigger is his great-uncle - the illegitimate half-brother of his grandfather.

Anissa proposes to Grace. She accepts.

TC has never kissed a girl before.

Erica kisses TC. She denies liking him, however.

Jennifer asks TC if he can use his powers to locate Gravedigger. He says he thinks he can.  She asks him to do so, but to do it quietly.

Painkiller takes over Khalil's body again, locking him behind the same firewall he was trapped behind, and sets out to kill the Pierce family.

Lynn suggests inviting TC, Brandon and Erica to their family dinner at Anissa's. All of them except Brandon attend.

Lynn asks Jeff to be ready to kill Gravedigger if necessary.

Gambi is apparently able to legally officiate weddings.

Lala meets with Lady Eve and tells her he knows she apparently knows who was the last person to see Tobias before he left Freeland. He threatens a war between them if she doesn't tell him.

Lynn questions Anissa wanting to get married this quickly but Anissa is sure Grace is the one.

Brandon is revealed to have taken Dr. Jace captive and is holding her at his apartment.

Grace tells Jennifer and Jefferson that she's grateful to be accepted into their family, as she was never close to her family.

Gravedigger has video footage of the participants in the Markovian raid and watches it to observe the tactics of everyone involved. He has Brandon, Erica Moran and Grace Choi identified by name, but not Thunder, Lightning or Black Lightning.

Brandon's full name is revealed as Brandon Marshall.

TC tells Jennifer that Gravedigger is 30 clicks outside the perimeter of Freeland.

Jennifer intends to kill Gravedigger before the rest of the team risk their lives facing him. She sneaks out of the dinner party to do so.

Before the wedding can take place, Gambi is alerted to Gravedigger's arrival. Jennifer's absence is noted and Jefferson goes after her.

Lala tortures Dr. Blair - the last man to see Tobias before he vanished.

Jennifer throws herself into the Markovian camp fully charged. It doesn't even phase Gravedigger, thanks to a new forcefield power he's developed.

The perimeter fence around Freeland goes down after Jennifer is thrown into it.

Jefferson catches Jennifer after she's sent flying along the fence like the current was carrying her.

Jefferson restarts Jennifer's heart.

The episode ends with Gravedigger and Black Lightning charging each other.

The Bottom Line

A solid, if erratic, episode that tries to do too much with the time it has. Grace and Anissa getting married comes out of nowhere, as does the revelation that Gravedigger is related to Jefferson. Everything involving Lala, Brandon and Khalil could easily have been cut for time or worked into the finale. Honestly, it might have been better if the episode had focused on the wedding rather than trying to set up these small subplots for the finale. There's nothing bad in all of this, but the pacing is all over the place.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 31

In which we continue fighting our way to Arroyo before giving up and instead making our way to New Reno... after fighting the Yakuza, aliens, more centaurs and fire-breathing geckos. No. Really.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 30

In which, having found Vault 13 and the Holy GECK, we begin the long journey back to Arroyo and have our first encounters with the mutants known as centaurs, the mutants known as floaters, and fire-breathing geckos. We survive precisely one of these encounters.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 29

In which we finally find Valut 13 and the Holy GECK... along with another civilization (this one made of talking, peaceful Deathclaws) that needs us to step in and save it. I know we're the Chosen One, but couldn't the Gods choose someone else once in a while?

Monday, March 9, 2020

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 5, Episode 6 - Mortal Khanbat

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


As John faces a painful death from lung cancer and tries to pull every trick he can to avoid his fate (while giving Gary and Ray a hard time in the process), the rest of the Legends head to Hong Kong  in 1997, where the Encore Genghis Khan is getting ready to build a new empire... with scooter-riding Triad gangsters!


1990s Hong Kong action movies (particularly the work of John Woo), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Nate's yelling "Khan!") Greek mythology and Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits.



It's a subtle thing, but Courtney Ford and Brandon Routh manage to convey their characters' unhappiness with Nora's job keeping them apart with just two lines and one look.

Matt Ryan delivers his finest performance as John Constantine ever and it's a shame we'll probably never get a direct adaptation of the excellent Dangerous Habits. This


Caity Lotz proves to be as skilled a director as she is an actor, dancer, stuntwoman and choreopgrapher.

The production team does a fantastic job of capturing the feeling of a Hong Kong action movie in terms of the fight choreography. stunt-work, cinematography and set design.

The scene in which Genghis Khan appears writing a motorized scooter, leading a gang of biker Triad members on the same, is utterly ridiculous and yet filmed with a perfect sense of gravity, conveyed by the music and Behrad's reaction to the new horde.

Trivia Of Tomorrow

This was the first episode directed by Sara Lance actress Caity Lotz.

Charlie is revealed to be Clotho; one of the three Fates. In the Vertigo Universe encompassing the original Hellblazer comics and The Sandman,The Fates are also known as The Furies, The Graces, The Hecatae; the Erinyes; the Three Witches; the Three-in-One; Mut; Moirai; Norns; Eumenides; Parcae; Fortuna; the Charities or The Kindly Ones. Whatever the name, they were a trio of witches who hosted the horror comic The Witching Hour and made appearances in various Wonder Woman comics. Sometimes they would tell the future. Other times, as in The Sandman: The Kindly Ones, they might act as the agents of vengeance against those who spilled the blood of their family.

Nate notes at one point that Genghis Khan was a successful general because of how quickly he adapted new technologies and developed masterful strategies using those technologies, such as developing cavalry. While this is used to explain how Genghis Khan was able to learn how to drive a motorcycle so easily or how he could adapt to using scooters instead of horses to navigate the notoriously bad traffic of Hong Kong. it is an accurate assessment of Genghis Khan's genius as a military leader.

A dove flies behind Genghis Khan in slow motion as he makes his entrance. This is a tribute to filmmaker John Woo, who used the same effect as a trademark in his films.

At one point, John angrily offers himself to the archangel Gabriel in exchange for a cure for his cancer. John did try to bargain with Gabriel directly when he was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer in the storyline Dangerous Habits. It didn't work then either, but Gabriel was a bit more direct in telling John off.

Caity Lotz revealed the full text of John Constantine's will in a post on Twitter. There are several Easter Eggs referring to the Constantine series and other DC Comics characters. The basic gist of the will is that Gary Green is to act as the executor and gets everything in John's house except for three specific items.

John bequeaths the Sword of Night to his Papa Midnight with the stipulation that he not be told what it is and that he must open the box containing it in public. In the comics, The Sword of Night is the traditional weapon of the Nightmaster and it charges whoever takes it up with the duty to protect the mystic pocket dimension of Myrra. It seems likely John hoped to take out his worst enemy by binding him into a magical role that would require him to be a hero.

John leaves the shards of the Black Diamond to Chas Chandler and asks him to guard them well. Chas Chandler was John's best friend and driver in the Constantine series. The Black Diamond is a cursed artifact that contains Eclipso, the one-time spirit of Vengeance.

The final note in the will asks Gary to return the Sacred Kusa to Nommo and to apologize for John having stolen it in the first place.  John did this in C104 but the victim of the theft was not identified in that episode. Nommo is likely a reference to Nommo Balewa, aka Doctor Mist.


Charlie is revealed to be Clotho - one of the three Fates of ancient Greek myth, who determined the destiny of mankind. It was Clotho's duty to spin the threads of people's lives into existence.

Ava has created a new program for Gideon called The Prognosticator which can pinpoint Encores before they can change the timeline. It detects a mysterious gangsters stealing drugs from the Hong Kong triads in 1997, just before the city was to be returned to the Chinese government by the British.

Nate has a new mechanized scooter he calls Scoots McGoots.

John uses foxglove, serpent's tongue and the hair of an albino in conjunction with a summoning circle to determine who is using harmful magic against him. He has had Gary prepare this potion for him before and it can safely be taken with a little honey to kill the taste.

Even fairy godmother magic cannot reverse tinkering with a soul chit, as Nora can't use her magic to heal John's lung cancer. Neither can the healing magic of a Puca.

John has a book which has a spell that can add years onto a man's life. One of the ingredients requires a medieval knight who isn't circumcised.

John's cane has a bulldog's head carved into the grip. It is capable of talking, but it is possible John was hallucinating this while drunk and sick from blood loss. John addresses the cane as "Bully."

Charlie cannot reveal her true form as a Fate because no mortal can comprehend the true form of a god.

John apparently has hellhounds guarding parts of his house and they must be fed regularly.

Dialogue Triumphs

(Ava and Nate run into the medical bay. They find John, soaked in blood, as Gary, Ray and Charlie try to take care of him.)
Nate: What the hell's going on?
Gideon: As you can see from his chest X-ray, Mr. Constantine has a very aggressive form of lung cancer. I'm afraid it's terminal.
(Everyone states in disbelief at the medical monitor. The stunned silence is broken by the sound of a lighter clinking open. Everyone turns to John on the medical chair, who is lighting  a cigarette.)
John: Well, there's no point in quitting now.

Genghis Khan: I have only one interest. Conquest. Surrender the Triad to me, and I will remake the globe.

(Genghis Khan, Charlie and Behrad are in a Mexican stand-off.)
Shoot him!
Behrad: He's immortal!
Charlie: And I'm not!

(Nora enters the room with a small girl; her current charge. John smiles and leans on his cane, trying his best to look open and friendly and... well, not like a blood-soaked con-artist sorcerer.)
Nora: Okay, Pippa. Can you wish our friend, John, healthy like we discussed?
Pippa: Yes, but I want something first.
Nora: (forced cheer) Pippa's made a lot of progress, but we're still working on a few challenges.
Gary: (trying to sound commanding and failing) Hey. The Master of the Dark Arts needs your help.
Pippa: Shut up, four eyes.
John: (losing all sense of his friendly facade) Now you listen to me, you little squirt. Are you gonna make that damn wish? Because if you don't and I die, then I'm gonna come back and haunt you every waking hour of your life.
Pippa: (quickly) Fairy Godmother, I wish your scary British friend wasn't sick. .
John: There you go. Easy.
Nora: Okay.
(Nora waves her wand and blue sparkles swirl around in the air before plunging into John's chest. He smiles, looking honestly better for a moment... before he suddenly bends over and vomits blood onto the floor. Pippa backs into Nora, who tries to shield her eyes as Gary helps John from the room.)
John: No matter.  I'll try something else.
Pippa: I wish I was home!
(Nora starts waving her wand as she looks to Ray, sadly.)
Bye Ray.
(Nora and Pippa disappear in a shower of blue sparks.)
Ray: (quietly) Bye, Nora.

(John is flipping through a spellbook.)
John: "How to Add Years to Your Life. " Yeah, that should do it. Although the ingredient list is a little unusual. We'll need a medieval knight.
Ray: I was once knighted "Sir Raymond of the Palms. "
John: Great. Gary, grab a knife. We're gonna perform a little back alley surgery on the Big Man.
Ray: What kind of surgery?
John: Well, first off, are you uncircumcised?
(Ray starts stammering.)
John: I'll take that as a yes. Gary, the knife!

Bully: I can't believe you stooped to trying to make a deal with an angel.
(John wakes up and looks down at his cane. The bulldog head on it is speaking to him.)
John: Mm. What the...
Bully: Gabriel would have turned you into his slave.
John: Well, at least I'd be alive.
Bully: (scoffs) There are worse fates than death.
John: Oy! I will shove you where the sun don't shine just to shut you up.
Bully: Hmmph. You'd probably enjoy that.
(John ponders this and shrugs in admission the talking cane isn't wrong.)
Bully: Hell of a way to spend your last night on earth though, you arrogant bastard. Especially when you could be with two of the only friends you have left.
John: (blearily) Yeah. Yeah. Nice one.

Ava: Behrad, what's your status?
Behrad: It's complete gridlock.
Ava: (sighs) No one's getting through on the ground. The fleet must be in the air.
Zari: Nate, did you find the shipment?
(Nate is on his motorcycle, just pulling up to a warehouse. It is full of empty packing crates.)
Nate: Oh, no! We're too late.  Whatever there was, there was a lot of them.
Ava: Nate, get downtown and help Behrad.
Nate: Hold on. I think they might have left something.
(Nate moves to one of the crates that is untouched.)
(Cut To: Behrad on the streets of Hong Kong, where a whirring noise fills the air.)
Behrad: What's that noise?
(Cut To: Nate as he opens the crate. Zari and Ava are watching him remotely.)
Zari: Oh, my God.
(Cut to Behrad as he looks around, trying to identify the noise. His eyes widen as he sees it.)
(Cut to Nate as he reaches into the crate and pulls out a scooter.)
Nate: (quietly) Scoots.
(Nate lifts up the mechanized scooter as he shouts to the heavens.)
Nate: Khaaaaaaaaaaan!
(Cut To: The streets of Hong Kong, where Genghis Khan emerges from the fog majestically on a motorized scooter. The motor whirrs as his followers emerge behind him on their own scooters.)
Genghis Khan: Charge!
(Behrad watches helplessly as the horde begin to move around the cars blocking the road,  popping wheelies and jumping over the obstacles easily.)

(Genghis Khan has captured Behrad and Charlie. He has just asked Charlie to marry him.)
Genghis Khan: Your power will serve my reign well. Join me as I build a new empire that will span the globe.
Charlie: Look, I'm flattered, but I've had power of immortals and gods alike. It blows. My past is complicated. And being in a relationship Trust me, that wouldn't end well for either of us.
(Charlie is looking at Behrad as she says this. He nods in understanding.)
Genghis Khan: Wait. Did you two sleep together or something?

John: Oh, of all the ways that I'd thought I'd go, decapitated by a demon, eviscerated by an elemental, I wouldn't have picked being at home with my mates.
(There is a chorus of cheers and clinking of glasses. Gary and Ray drink the wine as John takes a pull from his flask.)
John: You know, I just wish I had more time with you lovely idiots.
Ray: Well, you're not dead yet, John.
John: No, but I will be momentarily.
(There is a long pause as Ray and Gary look at each other. And realize why John was drinking from his own container.)
John: (chuckling) John Constantine: He always goes out on his own terms.
(John suddenly collapses to the ground as the poison kicks in.)


John is taken to the Waverider sick bay by Charlie and Gary.

Charlie is revealed to be hearing voices that address her as Clotho and tell her she can't get away.

Zari has written off her vision of the pre-Crisis timeline from 505 as a hallucination brought on by eating a donut.

Ava now considers Zari part of the Legends.

Sara is still in Star City.

Mick is taking a leave from Legends business, being in "a mood" over Allie from 504.

Ava and Gideon detect an Encore at work in Hong Kong in 1997, just before the city was to be returned to China by the British.

Charlie has never been to Hong Kong before.

Ray agrees to let John leave the ship to figure out who gave him cancer, but only if he can go with him. Gary goes along with them.

Genghis Khan is revealed to be the mysterious figure who is robbing the Triads in a bid to unite them under his banner.

Khan's meeting with the triad is interrupted by a trio of plainclothes detectives with the Hong Kong PD, whom Ava fights alongside as Charlie chases after Genghis.

John determines that Astra is responsible for accelerating his death, after she brings him into a psychic landscape that resembles his house in Newcastle.

Astra has no memory of the house in Newcastle or how her mother brought her there.

John tells Astra that he has a lead on a magic artifact that can rewrite history so that her mother never died and she never went to hell and her dad never drank himself to death.

Nate figures out that Charlie and Bedard had a one night stand based on their interactions.

The hero lady cop who fought with Ava is killed by Genghis Khan, whose sword has been turned into a Hell Weapon.

Nate talks to Behrad about what happened with Charlie. He suggests talking to her directly about why she ghosted him.

Genghis Khan's plan is to capture Prince Charles and force him to give control of Hong Kong to him.

The female cop draws out the route of Prince Charles' motorcade through Hong Kong, before she is killed with Genghis Khan's sword, which was turned into a Hell weapon.

Genghis Khan confirms that he woke up his tomb when he was resurrected and it took him 700 years to dig his way out.

Yeung, the thug Charlie knocked out and impersonated, was an engineer in charge of building a fleet for Genghis' conquest of the globe after establishing Hong Kong as the seat of his new empire.

Behrad saves Charlie from being hit by a truck as she undergoes some kind of psychic attack from the people looking for her.

The Puca from 414 makes an appearance. Its magic can't heal John this time.

Ray makes reference to being knighted in 212.

Ray has a bucket list.

Charlie says the sex she had with Behrad was mediocre and tells him to get over it, before leaving with a Time Courier.

John decides to stop fighting his cancer and enjoy what time he has left with his friends.

Nate discovers the shipment Genghis Khan was waiting on was for a fleet of mechanized scooters. Utilizing these, he intends to weave through the terrible Hong Kong gridlock and ambush Prince Charles' motorcade.

Charlie decided to impersonate Prince Charles on her own.

Prince Charles is stuck on the Waverider, being babysat by a drunk Mick Rory.

Genghis Khan has 12 wives.

Behrad is able to make a shield using his bracelet to catch the bullets as Genghis Khan's men shoots at him and Charlie.

Charlie kills Genghis Khan with his own sword.

Charlie reveals her status as a Fate to the rest of the Legends. She says she quit her job and destroyed her loom because she thought people should be free to set their own destinies.

Charlie scattered the pieces of the Loom of Fate across the multiverse, leaving herself and her sisters powerless. With the Crisis having merged the multiverse into one reality, however, everything could potentially be reunited and her sisters could force her to return to her role or kill her.

The Legends agree to find the Loom before the other Fates.

Sara returns from her business in Star City.

John writes up a will and leaves his house to Gary.

Ray plans to ask Nora to marry her, but is scared because his last two engagements didn't work out well.

John poisons himself to go out on his terms.

"Scarborough Fair" was the song Natalie sang to Astra when she was young that she declared their song. John claims it was his and Natalie's song first.

Astra gives John back the time she took from him, deciding to give him a chance to see if he can rewrite her mother's fate and her fate.


Hong Kong - June 30, 1997
Northumberland County, UK - 2020

Untelevised Adventures

Charlie and Behrad had a one night stand after the events of 416.

At one point, John met the ghost of Winston Churchill. (There's a fan theory that Bully, the spirit in John's cane, might be Sir Winston's ghost, as the voice sounds somewhat like him and they have a similar dry wit.)

The Fridge Factor

The "hero lady" cop is unceremoniously killed off and isn't even given a name. All we know about her is that she's a mother with one son. We know even less about her two partners.

The Bottom Line

A solid episode that achieves the perfect balance of comedy and drama while giving all of the cast a chance to shine. The only sour spot, strangely enough, is one cool supporting character getting fridged in a pretty permanent way. Hopefully that will be resolved later this season because it just seems so odd they'd introduce this female cop with a kid and have nothing come of it.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 28

In which we continue exploring the NCR and return to Vault 15 to finish clearing it out. And to find Vault 13, which we should have done earlier but completely forgot about in the middle of fighting the impossible fight. Oh well.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 13 - Grodd Friended Me

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


As Iris and Eva McCullouch continue to find a way to escape Mirror World, Barry turns his attention to trying to rebuild Giden. Unfortunately, STAR Labs' newest employee, Chester P. Runk, gets in the way trying to impress Barry and winds up setting the stage for Grodd to force himself into The Flash's mind. But Grodd isn't out for revenge... he needs help!


The Flash comics of Joshua Williamson (Grodd with super-speed and a lightning bolt emblem in his first), God Friended Me (the title is the pun on another series produced by Greg Berlanti) and The Fly (Camilla makes reference to the movie)


After being a non-entity in most of her appearances, Victoria Park gives her best performance as Kamilla Hwang in this episode - probably because this is the first episode to give her anything to do beyond being a hostage or the supportive girlfriend.


Once again, The Flash contradicts itself as to what the heroes remember about the pre-Crisis universe, with Barry having no idea where his parents are buried now and not remembering that Pied Piper is a metahuman rather than a tech-based criminal.(Presumably, even as a Paragon, Barry has trouble keeping two contradictory sets of information straight in his head as the human brain can only recall so much and his brain has shut down his memory to protect him from the trauma.)

Why can't The Flash run around or phase through the train?


The CGI for the gorillas is quite good.

Flash Facts

The address Chester tracks Pied Piper to is the corner of 52nd and Palm. This is yet another nod to the number 52 and its significance in DC Comics.

The idea of Grodd gaining super-speed and the design where he gets a lightning bolt in his fur while merged with Barry - is taken from the most recent run of The Flash comics written by Joshua Williamson.


The Metahuman-Detectors developed by Harry Wells apparently still exist on Earth-Prime, as Barry is wearing one, which alerts him to Pied Piper being close by.

Chester is able to track the Pied Piper by scanning for the same wavelength of the frequency generated by the sonic boom he generates while flying.

Gideon determines that there have been 3.725 trillion changes between the Pre-Crisis and Post-Crisis realities.

Barry describes Gideon as a mobile interactive artificial intelligence unit.

Chester attempts to alter Gideon by flipping the positronic solenoid.

Eva was running R-CEM tests when she became trapped in the mirror dimension.

Nash assembles a residual particle catcher, which can detect and detain the molecular afterglow of things.

Frost determines that Barry is in telepathic contact with someone based on his pulse, his rapid eye movement, his vitals and two distinct brainwaves patterns.

In a mindscape, the host transmits neural signals to the guest's primary motor cortex. It the Memory Machine can be made to synch up with those neural transmitters, it can be used as a communicator to reach the host and guest.

The neural-inhibiting capabilities of Grodd's telepathic crown can only handle the strain of two minds for so long. Eventually the mindscape created by Barry and Grodd's minds will collapse. This will kill both of them.

If you die in a mindscape, you die in the real world.

Removing the crown from Grodd would leave Barry trapped inside Grodd's head.

Sedatives have no effect on speedsters.

Grodd is the only being Frost has encountered whose neurons fire at hyper-neural speeds comparable to Barry's.

It is determined that Chester is responsible for enabling Grodd to take over Barry's mind. When he tweaked the positronic solenoid, he adjusted its hypothalamic connection by a factor of 900%. This was more than enough to boost the signal to allow it to be piggy-backed by Grodd's telepathy.

The subatomic particles emitted by Eva McCulloch's machine can penetrate the mirror's surface, but it won't pierce the barrier between the worlds.

Eva burns her arms and hands trying to reach through the mirror after Iris asks why she's so sure the machine won't work.

For some reason, Grodd's mind was not effected by the merging of the multiverse and he still recalls the Pre-Crisis reality.

Barry describes the process by which he and Grodd merge their minds as the mindscape version of the Firestorm Matrix.

Exiting the mindscape while merge would ultimately kill Grodd and Barry, as their bodies would forcibly merge despite being separated in the real world. Kamilla compares this to the process that created the monster in the movie The Fly.

Chester figures out that he can sync Gideon's quantum intelligence network to Barry and Grodd's bio-analytics and let her perfectly time the neural de-splicing as they exit the mindscape

ARGUS injects Grodd with a tracking polymer and agree to release him on probation so long as he can be tracked.

Dialogue Triumphs

(Barry has just lost it with Chester and kicked him out of his lab.)
Kamilla:  He's just trying to help.
Barry: Oh, I know. I know. It's... So much has changed after Crisis, and... You know, this morning, when I got the meta alert, I was trying to find my parents' graves. There's not even a cemetery there anymore. I...I searched every graveyard in Central City. I still can't find them. Just feel like a piece of me is missing. And friends like Hartley Rathaway are enemies now. Just everything is so different.
Kamilla: I'll bet hearing different voices on comms doesn't help, either. You want something familiar. That's not us.
Barry: Hey, I didn't mean it like that.
Kamilla: It's okay, Barry. I understand. Just maybe take it easy on Chester.

Barry: So, what, the cage is payback? What, you want vengeance?
Grodd: Not vengeance. Understanding. Grodd wants Barry Allen to see what it's like to have nothing. No powers, no freedom. Only captivity. Caitlin used a neural inhibitor to shut down Grodd's cerebrum. Caitlin betrayed Grodd. But you gave her the authority. This is your doing, Flash.
Barry: I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Your mind is a weapon.
Grodd: You take a weapon from a man, he's still a man. You took Grodd's mind. Grodd's greatest gift. That is not punishment. That is cruelty.

Chester: I am so sorry. I- I never should've came here. This is all my fault.
(Chester leaves the lab. Frost goes chasing after him.)
Frost: Hey. How's you running away gonna help us get Barry out of Grodd's mind?
Chester: Because if I'm not around, at least I can't make things worse.
Frost: Look, I hate to break it to you, but accidentally putting Barry's life in danger is kind of a rite of passage around here. We've all done it: Cisco, me, Ralph, even the janitor. He put too much wax on the floor. But then, after we put his life in danger, we figure out a plan to get him out of it. So now it's your turn.
Chester: You know, in the sixth grade, I got into the science fair with a Millennium Falcon that I built out of used vacuum parts. I mean, it it flew and everything, like a drone. But on the day of the fair, it didn't fly. Uh, rust in the intake manifold was preventing air from getting into the combustion, which was then causing it to...
(Frost looks impatient and gives Chester a "get to the point" look.)
Chester: Sorry. Anyway, I had begged my teacher to let me fix it and then fly again the next day. He said no. You know why? He was an old school brother. And he said that in the real world, people like us we don't get a second chance.
(Chester turns around again and starts to walk to the elevator.)
Frost: Hold on.
(Chester stops and looks back at her.)
Frost: I'm not gonna pretend like I have any idea what your life has been like, and I know that some of the stuff we do in here has nothing to do with the real world. But I'm offering you a second chance. Because you deserve one. 'Cause we all do.


As this episode opens, the only people at STAR Labs to help Barry are Chester P. Runk and Kamilla.

Isis is away working on astory.

Frost is said to be at ARGUS checking on Bloodwork.

Cisco is said to be off the grid charting differences between the Pre-Crisis and Post-Crisis realities.

Ralph is still searching for Sue Dearbon.

Pied Piper has not been seen since 217.

In the Post-Crisis reality, Pied-Piper is a metahuman criminal with sonic control powers, who backs his powers up with technology that enhances his natural abilities.

Pied Piper is able to fly using his sonic blasts as a means of propulsion.

Chester tracks Pied Piper to 52nd and Palm Street. However, he is able to get away because the route Barry too to try to get to him was blocked by a train.

Chester learns that Barry Allen is The Flash.

Barry is trying to upgrade Gideon.

Barry is unable to remember where his parents are buried. He can't even remember the cemetery.

Eva and Iris decide to try and rebuild the machine Eva was working on when she was trapped in Mirror World.

Nash and Allegra assemble a residual particle catcher.

Nash is now hallucinating Sherloque Wells talking to him.

Allegra finds the picture of Nash and her doppelganger from his world. She is creeped out.

Barry suddenly finds himself in a cage, where he is talked to by Eobard Thawne in Harrison Wells' body and Caitlin Snow. Eventually he figures out that he is in one of Gorilla Grodd's memories.

Fake Iris gets into a fight with Joe over accessing a police file on Joseph Carver. She apologizes and makes lunch plans with him for later that day.

When Chester was 11, he drowned his grandmother's car while trying to convert it into a hovercraft.

Grodd is still locked in a coma in a cell in ARGUS, as he was when he was last seen in 515.

Grodd says he wanted Barry to understand what his life was like and that he truly has changed.

Frost uses Sherloque Wells' memory machine from 512 to make contact with Barry inside Grodd's mindscape.

Nash denies that the Allegra Garcia of his Earth was his daughter, describing her as an ex-employee who made a bad call.

Fake Iris misses her lunch appointment with Joe, because she snuck into his office and is stealing the file she asked for earlier.

Eva burns her arms trying to reach through the mirror in her office.

For some reason, Grodd's mind was not effected by the merging of the multiverse and he still recalls the Pre-Crisis reality.   He was also able to sense that Gorilla City now exists on Earth-Prime and wishes to go there and live out his life in peace there.

ARGUS agrees to release Grodd on probation after injecting him with a tracking polymer.

Cisco calls Kamilla and tells her he is coming home.

Chester finds the cemetery where Barry's parents are burried.

Barry apologizes for losing his cool with Chester because of everything in his life that is changing.

As the episode closes, STAR Labs satellites detect Pied Piper attempting another robbery.

Nash is once again confronted by a hallucination of Sherloque Wells, whose eyes glow red and features begin to vibrate like the Reverse Flash.

In the final scene, Eva is revealed to be controlling the Fake Iris, who received the same wounds Eva developed after being burned. Eva is able to heal the wounds on the Fake Iris with a wave of her hand, however.

Untelevised Adventures

It is said that Team Flash did something to Pied Piper in the past, but Barry has no memory of what.

STAR Labs employs a never before seen janitor, who nearly killed Barry by over-waxing the floors.

The episode ends before we can see Barry and Chester catch the Pied Piper.

The Boomerang Factor

Barry acts like a judgemental jackass, which is not entirely out of character for him. Its just amusing that for as much store as Barry puts in the idea of people like Leonard Snart being basically good deep down and as much as he preaches the idea that people can be redeemed like his friend Oliver Queen, Barry is totally unwilling to believe that Grodd has changed in the face of everything else in the world that is different.

The Bottom Line

A bit of a mixed bag, overall. On the one hand, the episode does give some much-needed definition to the new supporting cast members that haven't gotten much, like Kamilla and Chester. On the other hand, this episode underscores how much the show has been suffering without supporting cast members like Cisco and Ralph around and how utterly crowded the show has become.

It doesn't help that Barry is unusually pig-headed to justify his grudge with Grodd and Iris spends her limited screen-time once again trying to tell a traumatized genius how to do her job. It's a good thing that Eva has an agenda and has been faking being crazy because otherwise Iris would just look horrible.

At any rate, the effects for Grodd are improved and we get to see the gorilla fight in broad daylight which would have been unthinkable years ago. Ultimately this episode is filler but we get a few good character moments out of it.