Sunday, March 1, 2020

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 12 - Back from the Future - Part Two

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




Plot

The alternate universe Toyman returns, in the form of a sentient computer virus who takes control of the DEO. With every piece of smart electronics in the building a new toy to play with, Alex has her hands full even before Lex Luthor limits her ability to do her job. Meanwhile, Kara must help Winn confront his greatest fear when they discover the original Toyman has been resurrected as an AI as well and Brainiac-5 must decide where his loyalties lie, as he is forced to make a choice regarding Lex's latest secret order.


Influences

The Back To The Future films (the title, the Doc Brown quote at the end), 1990s hacker sci-fi in general (all the technobabble) and Ghost In The Machine.


Goofs

One major plot-point of the episode is that Alex doesn't recall what's in the DEO's arsenal post-Crisis, as they are items Lex Luthor put in there she doesn't know about (such as Lexo-Suits) and items that aren't there, such as the Kryptonite Protective vest Supergirl wore in Season 1. Ignoring that Alex is the sort of meticulous person who would keep track of this sort of thing, this contradicts what we understood regarding the memories of everyone on the Super Friends and how they are supposed to remember their lives Pre-Crisis and Post-Crisis.

How did Toyman get flying monkey drone toys into the DEO before he became an AI?

The CGI for the flying monkey drones is terrible.


Performances

A year ago, Arrowverse fans were protesting the idea that Jon Cryer, best known for his work as a comedic actor, could ever play Lex Luthor. Now he's easily the best thing about this episode, despite being forced to deliver some clunky exposition to justify the contrived story.


Super Trivia

Winn says that he was given the call-sign Computer Lad by his brother-in-law, who is also a Legion of Super-Heroes member. This is probably Garth Ranzz aka Lightning Lad or Live Wire, based on the fact that Winn's wife is named Ayla - a likely nod to Lightning Lass Ayla Ranzz.

Winn makes reference to Lightning Lass being a Legion member, along with a hero called Chemical King. In the comics, Chemical King is the call-sign of Condo Arlik; a native of the planet Phlon or Valdow. He possessed the metahuman ability to speed up or slowdown chemical reactions. Plagued with self-doubt due to the situational nature of his powers, he appeared in few stories after his first appearance and later died a hero's death averting World War VII.

When distracting the Lexo-Suits, Brainiac-5 shouts the words "Leeroy Jenkins!" This is a reference to a video featuring a now infamous World of Warcraft player, who ruined an meticulous plan by charging into battle while shouting his name. This turned Leeroy into a meme and a gaming legend, though it is now claimed the video was meant to be a satire of idiot MMORPG players rather than an honest video of one player's recklessness.

In the scene before Winn returns to the fiuture, he quotes Doc Brown from Back to the Future and dons a pair of sunglasses like those Doc Brown wore when he returned from the future at the end of Back To The Future 2.


Technobabble

Winslow Schott Sr. attempted to develop an artificial intelligence based on his own mind. His goal was to achieve hyper consciousness - a form of virtual immortality brought about by putting his mind onto the World Wide Web.

Item 906016 in the DEO vault is the Obsidian Tech Platinum lenses worn by Toyman II before his death. These are later determined to be what he used to download his mind into a laptop.

Winn says that he can reverse engineer his father's original AI code into a kill-code for the Toyman II AI.

Brainiac-5 is able to use a virtual lid to push Toyman down to the server level from the DEO Command Center.

The servers for the DEO's computers are located on top of their headquarters' power core. If something happens to the servers, it will destroy the core and all life within a three-mile radius.

The command console in the DEO headquarters has an old-fashioned rotary phone. Lex Luthor has the number to it.

In the post-Crisis reality, the internal defenses of the DEO have Kryptonite safeguards, designed by Lex Luthor himself, which cannot be deactivated. These were installed after two separate attempts by hostile Kryptonians to take over the world. This prevents Supergirl from disabling all the weapons inside the DEO at super speed and gathering up all the electronics that could be used by Toyman as potential weapons.

Lex confirms that the anti-Kryptonite technology utilized by the DEO to protect Supergirl pre-Crisis does not exist in the post-Crisis Earth-Prime.

According to Kelly Olsen, the Bio-Link on the Obsidian North Platinum lenses still isn't working perfectly. While eating virtually still provides the body with nutrients, the interface is hyper-stimulating the body's sensory reaction into a kind of toxic shock. This causes Andrea Rojas to have an allergic reaction to the virtual lobster she is eating, despite not normally being allergic to lobster.

Luthor Corp's been working with the Pentagon on a new neural interface and just developed a special processor that regulates Bio-Linking across a wide spectrum. Lena claims it has completely eliminated the feedback loop and eliminated most of the side effects.

Brainiac-5 prepares a Van Eck radiation scanner that has been delinked from the DEO network. He claims that it can distinguish between normal server radiation and abnormal radiation, which will enable them to locate the server holding Toyman's digital form.

Project Non Nocere is complete, save for field testing on the algorithm. To do that, Lena says she needs a distribution device capable of connecting with several minds at once.

Winn says the Toyman AI is based on Premack's theory of the mind.

Winn has 31st Century technology that lets him enter computers through a VR interface.

J'onn has Martian eavesdropping technology which he offers to Alex to spy on Lex Luthor.


Dialogue Triumphs


(Evil laughter comes from the big screens of the DEO Command Center. Toyman appears in the middle of the screen.)
Toyman II: Don't you guys know it's rude to talk about someone behind their back?
Supergirl: Toyman?
Alex: Okay, tell me this is a video, guys.
Toyman II:  Oh, no, I am everything I used to be, but electronic and immortal. Now, lower the DEO's firewall to the World Wide Web, or I will use all of your toys to kill you!

(Lex offers Lena a coffee cup.)
Lex: Doppio espresso. To cheer you up?
Lena: What makes you think I need cheering up?
Lex: Well, you're trying to advance your grand project. The Q-waves from the archive cube had helped, but the next step remains... elusive.
Lena: (dryly) A Lex who cares about the emotional state of others? This really is a whole new world.
Lex: I care because your goals are my goals.
Lena: Ah, it does always come back to you, doesn't it?
(Lex shrugs his head, conceding the point.) 

Lex: Perhaps there's something I can do?
Lena: I don't need anyone murdered, Lex.
Lex: (protesting) I have other skill sets!

(Winn explains his decision to take up the Toyman codename as a Legion member.)
Winn:  You know, that name has always haunted me. But now after having faced my father... He told me that I was better than him. And he was right. So I'm gonna reclaim that name. And make it stand for good. Hey, it's like the Doctor said, "The future is whatever you want" (Christopher Lloyd impression) "So make it a good one. "


Dialogue Disasters

(Alex explains her plan to have Supergirl fly all the weapons and technology out of the DEO.)
Alex: I know it's a risk, but if anyone can do the job, it's her.
Lex: But she can't. In case you've forgotten, rogue Kryptonians have attacked our planet before. The DEO has Kryptonite safeguards in place, and, no, they cannot be disabled.
Alex: Well, we have anti-Kryptonite technology to protect her.
Lex: I think you're remembering that from another time. Another Earth, perhaps?


Continuity


Winn is remaining in the past while the Legion ship recharges.

According to Brainiac-5, every Legion of Super-Heroes member is given a unique call-sign before they don their first uniform. Winn seems to have been an exception to this policy, however, as everyone began calling him Computer Lad as a joke, despite him being a uniform-wearing Legion member.

William Day loves karaoke and claims to be famous for his rendition of "Africa" by Toto.

Despite knowing Lex Luthor snuck aboard the Legion ship, Winn could find no sign of what he was after.

Alex is spying on Lex through her computer.

Brainiac-5 gives Lex a file on Gemma Cooper.

Lex knows that Alex is spying on him, but is letting her think he doesn't know for now.

Lex seems to suspect that Toyman will resurrect himself as an AI and asks Brainiac-5 if they've had any technical problems just before the AI attacks him with the DEO's drones.

William asks Kara out on a date. However, before she can answer, Winn interrupts and tells Kara that she and Alex need to go check on her grandmother.

Winn recognizes the music that Toyman plays through the DEO comms as a song his father listened to all the time while in his workshop.

Brainiac-5 figures out that Luthor suspected Toyman had become an AI.

Lex asks Brainiac-5 to copy the Toyman AI code for him. He freely admits he might consider using it to make himself into an immortal AI, but says it is only to negate the one advantage Leviathan has over him.

Andrea Rojas is not normally allergic to lobster.

Lena offers LuthorCorp's neural interface to Obsidian North, but Andrea rejects the offer.

Brainiac-5 tells Winn he didn't know that Lex was going to allow the Toyman AI to infect the DEO computers. Winn believes him and chooses to trust him when he says he has things under control.

The idea for the Toyman AI originally came from Winn, who had thought of finding a way to play video games from the inside.

Alex divides the DEO swing-shift into three groups; one to pop the chips out of every smart gun, one to do the same with all the communication tech and one to delink everything else.

The AI based on the original Toyman is only 80% complete.

Lex approaches Gemma Cooper and offers his resources to Obsidian North.

Lex describes Gemma Cooper as a renowned computer scientist with excellent taste in wine, horses, and business opportunities.

Kara refers to J'onn and Malefics feud in the early part of Season 5.

Alex catches Brainiac-5 logged into her account. He lies and says he was trying to save her from being caught by Lex.

Alex suspects that Brainiac-5 has some kind of secret plan he's hiding from the rest of the team.

Gemma Cooper tells Andrea Rojas to accept Lena's offer, despite her misgivings over working with her.

The DEO now has Lexo-Suits. For some reason, Alex was unaware of this.

Winn frees the Toyman AI to help him fight his doppelganger. To Winn's surprise, he is true to his word, and doesn't try to escape the computer himself.

The Toyman AI says he is proud of Winn, having read about what he's done as a hero in the DEO files.

Winn deletes both Toyman AIs.

Lex is able to hack the security measures on Lena's private lab.

Lena admits that she's responsible for hacking Obsidian Tech Platinum and introducing the glitch to the Bio-Link.

Lex tells Lena about how he manipulated Andrea by making contact with Gemma Cooper.

Gemma knows Lex manipulated her but she is also manipulating the Luthors to be right where she wants them.

Gemma tells Margot (the old lady agent last seen in 508) to report to The Ancient One leading Leviathan that the Luthors are right where they want them.

Alex quits the DEO,saying that she can't fake being nice to Lex Luthor with his micromanaging her every move any more.

It is unclear how Alex is going to make ends meet, but J'onn offers to let her help him run The Tower in the meantime.

On her way out of the DEO, Alex takes as much Kryptonite as she can, including the Lexosuits. J'onn says he can dispose of it by shooting it into the sun.

Alex suggests Brainiac-5 quit the DEO, but he says that the same logic that dictates she leave before blowing their cover also says he must stay so they have eyes and ears on Les's scheming.

Winn decides to adopt the Toyman name, intending to build his own legacy around it in the 31st Century.

Winn tells Kara things will get better with Lena, while not giving her the details of how things go in the future.

Winn also suggests that Kara give a date with William Day a chance, saying that she doesn't need to start the relationship by basing it on a lie.

William gives Kara a puzzle for her sick grandmother.

Kara turns William down for the date, saying she doesn't feel that way about him. In truth, she couldn't bear to start off with a lie involving her grandmother coloring their first date after everything that went wrong because of her lying to Lena.

Brainiac-5 gives the Toyman AI code to Lex.

Lex makes Brainiac-5 Director of the DEO.

Mr. Mxyzptlk, last seen in 213, makes an appearance at the end of the episode.


The Fridge Factor

Alex really doesn't come off well in this episode. Even if she did have her memories messed up by Crisis, it seems really out of character for her not to have made herself aware of what DEO policies changed as a result of Lex taking over.


The Bottom Line


A definite step-down from Part One, made tolerable only because of Jeremy Jordan's charm and Jon Cryer's smarm. You can tell from the CGI that the budget for this season definitely went toward Crisis and Alex's spotty memory indicates there was no discussion between the various show-runners as to what the rules regarding various aspects of the Arrowverse should be. It would be a decent filler episode, but all the major world-changing elements that get unveiled (i.e. Alex quitting the DEO, there being Kryptonite on Earth again) seem like an afterthought relative to the rest of the episode.

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