Sunday, May 31, 2020

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 5, Episode 11 - Ship Broken

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




Plot


The Loom of Fate is reassembled, but everyone on the team is arguing over who gets to use it first, leaving Charlie to make a big choice. Meanwhile, as Ava and Constantine try to help Sara figure out what's happened to her in the wake of her near-death experience, Mick brings his daughter on-board in a desperate tip to bond with her, while Gary tries to acclimate his new emotional support dog to the ship.


Influences

Gremlins (Gary's joke about buying his pet bunny from a man who told him not to feed it after midnight), The Dead Zone (Sara can see  how someone will die by touching theim), the trope of the blind seer, the trope of the blind warrior (ala Daredevil) and the classic "base under siege" trope where the characters are trapped in a base with an unknown enemy among them.


Artistry

The CGI as the Loom of Fate is worked is rather nice.

The CGI for the Hell-Hound is also impressive.


Trivia Of Tomorrow

The twist of this episode is based around the case of serial killer David Richard Berkowitz, aka The Son of Sam. Berkowitz was convicted of eight shootings over the course of one year, resulting in six deaths and seven wounded.  Berkowitz blamed the killings on a demon that possessed his neighbor Sam's dog, who told him to kill people  He later said that was a lie but did claim to be part of a Satanic cult that plotted the killings in the 1990s. Opinion is still divided as to whether or not Berkowitz ever was a Satan worshiper or a cultist or if he acted alone.

In the reality of the Arrowverse, Berkowitz apparently was influenced by a hell-hound that got loose on Earth.

The given name of the hell-hound in this episode is Marchosias. This is the name of an actual demon, who was a Marquis of Hell who commanded 30 legions of lesser demons in some real world Hermetic traditions.. He is described in the Ars Goethia as appearing to be a great wolf with an eagle's wings and a snake's tail.  


Technobabble/Arcana

Mick has a key fob that unlocks the Waverider and drops its invisibility shield.

Everyone puts on goggles when Charlie tries to use the Loom of Fate. It's unclear if this is because seeing the Loom used has an effect similar to Atropos' death glare or just because it generates bright light when working.

The energy burst unleashed by the Loom of Fate misfiring created an anti-chronotomic field. This means that nobody will be able to leave the Waverider via time travel.

Hell-hounds have the ability to command  humans verbally. This ability is limited to one target at a time, however, and they seem to prefer targeting lone humans rather than one person in a group, as everyone else will just hear them as a regular dog barking. They can still do this, however, if pressed, as we see when Gary Junior commands Nate to kill Zari and Charlie.

Despite their power, Hell-hounds are like regular dogs in most respects and the ultra-high frequency of a dog whistle seems to disrupt their ability to control people. At the very least, the sound annoys them so much they can't maintain the focus needed to manipulate another person's mind.

Hell-hounds have the power to assume the form of non-threatening dogs. They typically appear to be wreathed in fire and the true form of Gary's hell-hound  is a pit bull rather than the small terrier form he appeared as earlier.

Hell-hounds are born of flame and immune to fire damage - even the extreme heat of Mick Rory's heat gun.

In order to banish a demon back to Hell, you need to know their true name.


Dialogue Triumphs

Astra:
I'll bet you're the only one on this ship happy to see me.
John: Oh, nonsense. As far as this sorry lot is concerned, as soon as anyone stops trying to murder them on a weekly basis, they're best friends. 

(Sara has just revealed her visions of someone stabbing the Legends to death.)
Charlie: It's got to be Astra.
Ava: Charlie. would you stop with the Astra, thing?! She saved our lives in Hell, okay? I'm not going to just assume the worst. What, that she's some manipulative psychopath?
(Zari walks in.)
Zari: Well, she just tried to manipulate me into coming in here and begging Charlie to use the Loom again.
Ava: Okay, well, that's not a crime.
(Gary runs in holding the glass case that held the Loom Rings.)
Gary: Guys! The rings! They're gone!  I found this in the trash chute.
Ava: (sighs) Okay. That IS a crime.
Zari: Gidget? Play back internal monitoring of the parlor, please?
Gideon: My internal monitoring subsystems. I'm afraid we have a saboteur on-board. 
Ava: Okay. Now I'm assuming the worst.

(Lita looks around Mick's treasure vault.)
Lita: So I really dig the whole Scrooge McDuck aesthetic, but why not put your money in a bank?
Mick: A bank? Too easy to rob.

(Ava and Gary are searching for Gary Junior)
Ava: Where the Hell did you get him?
Gary: (hesitantly) I don't want to say.
Ava: Gary, my girlfriend's gone crazy and I'm looking for a dog to prove it. I'm beyond mad.
Gary: Fine.
Ava: Hmm?
Gary: I rescued him.
Ava: Oh.
Gary: ... from Hell.
Ava: You adopted a hell-hound?!
Gary: Well, when you say it like that...

(John and Sara run from the hell-hound)
Sara: What did you do?!
John: I told it to attack me. But at least I've got you to protect me.
Sara: John, I'm blind!
John: But you're not deaf.
(The hell-hound growls as it comes up behind Sara. It snarls menacingly as Sara tilts her head to one side. As the hell-hound charges and leaps to pounce, she shoves John down and does a perfect backwards somersault over him, catching the hell-bound with her foot and  sending it flying over her head to the ground.)


Continuity

Mick apologies to Lita for missing her soccer match as he was stuck in Hell. (510)

Mick got permission to take Lita for the weekend and has roller derby tickets. When that doesn't win her over and she says she has a history test to study for, he reveals the Waverider.

Mick says they could use the time machine to see Lita Ford and the Runaways, The Ramons or Black Sabbath play.

Astra is concerned that the rest of the Legends don't accept her. John points out that they recruit a lot of their former enemies and that they'll accept anyone as a friend who goes a week without trying to kill them.

Gary has rescued a dog, Gary Junior, who he has officially licensed as an emotional support animal.

Gary is seeing a therapist.

Gary Junior is not housebroken (or ship broken) yet.

Sara is still in a coma.

John and Astra want Astra's mother brought back to life first.

Zari and Nate want Behrad brought back first.

Ava wants Sara to be healed first.

Charlie decides to bring Behrad back first.

Charlie notes that the thread of Behrad's life is a tangled mess. She suspects this is due to his time traveling.

The Loom misfires and knocks out all power on the Waverider briefly. Gideon is fine, but the whole ship is running off of back-up power.

Charlie says she's never tried using the Loom of Fate without her sisters. She supposes it may take at least two immortals to use.

Astra says it probably takes three, since Lachesis intended for Astra to replace Charlie once they recovered the Loom of Fate.

Sara wakes up from her coma but is now blind.

Sara has a vision of Ava being dead, apparently stabbed to death, in  the fiery wreckage of the Waverider bridge.

Sara denies anything having happened despite Ava noting her reaction. She also refuses to rest since there's nobody left on the team who is as good at repairing the Waverider ad she is (She lists herself behind Jax, Ray, Rip, Professor Stein and Behrad, in that order.)

Sara meets Lita and takes her hand. She sees an image of Lita over Mick's dead body.

Astra goes to Zari and suggests that maybe the problem was Charlie needs to work up to something as complicated as Behrad's life and that maybe it would be easier to just prevent her mother's death with the Loom. The thing is, she doesn't want to suggest it herself, and wonders if Zari might be the one to suggest resurrecting Astra's mother first.

Lita's history test involves comparing and contrasting the American Declaration of Independence and he French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. 

Mick gets Nate to help Lita study for her test while he takes care of making her favorite snack - Ants on a Log.

When John touch's Sara's chin while looking at her eyes, she has a vision of him lying dead with a knife in his chest.

John tells Sara that Astra is on the ship now.

Sara tells John to stay close to Astra.

The food replicator is not working, but the Waverider galley does have some pre-made food, which Mick tries to use to make Ants On A Log himself.

Gary sees something strange in one of the garbage disposal chutes as he is taking care of Gary Junior's leavings.

Charlie knows that Sara is hiding something, but doesn't know the details.

Sara finally admits that she's seeing people stabbed to death whenever she touches someone.

Zari tells everyone about Astra trying to manipulate her.

Gary reveals that someone stole the Loom Rings and threw away the case holding them.

Someone also sabotaged Gideon's internal cameras

Astra is locked in the brig, despite John pointing out that he was with Astra the whole time and that she'd have no idea how to sabotage Gideon.

Lita marched in an anti-gun rally.

Mick is revealed to be financing the Legends through his thefts.

John uses a tracking spell to try and find the ring thief. It leads him to the room where the wires that disabled the security system were unplugged, as Sara and Ava are trying to fix things.

Sara touches John's hand. This time she sees his killer reflected in the knife blade... and it is Sara.

Sara asks Ava and John to lock her up in the medical bay and not let her out, no matter what.

Mick has a sealed room in the Waverider that holds all of his wealth.

Part of Mick's collection includes Marie Antoinette's coin purse.

Lita suggests Mick investing his wealth when the New York Stock Exchange first opened, buying Manhattan in the 1500s, inventing BitCoin and other ways they might be able to use his stealing to become truly rich.

Zari hacks the back-up feed of the Waverider security camera. This reveals Charlie stealing the Loom rings and flushing them down the toilet of the one bathroom of the Waverider, Zari disabling the security system and Nate disabling the food replicator. 

Gary goes into the medbay and gives Gary Junior to Sara, thinking she needs the company more than he does right now.

As Sara touches Gary Junior, she hears him talking to her in English, commanding her to kill Gary and she does so, snapping his neck. This is quickly revealed to be a vision of the future. 

Sara tells Ava and John about Gary Junior being a demon of some kind. They are skeptical, but Ava agrees to search for Gary Junior (who ran off after Sara scared him) with Gary while John stays with Sara.

Zari, Nate and Charlie look at the security footage and realize Gary Junior was barking at them when they were doing all the things they don't remember doing.

Ava identifies Gary Junior as the Son of Sam's dog, recalling an episode of StabCast she did on the Son of Sam killings.

Gary Junior tries to mind control Nate into killing Zari and Charlie. He is thwarted when Gary uses his dog whistle.

Gary, Nate, Ava, Astra, Zari and Charlie take shelter inside the brig to get away from Gary Junior.

John has encountered hell-hounds before and recognizes what Gary Junior is when he sees him in his true form. 

Ava opens the brig only for Astra to lock everyone in an even tighter cell.

Lita locks herself in the library as the hell-hound starts traveling through the vents.

Sara gets the idea to use her visions to search the ship to find where Gary Junior kills someone next and head him off. This causes her to see the hell-hound killing Mick in the library.

Marchosias is the true name of the hell-hound. Astra gives this information to John, which he uses to banish it to Hell. 

Gary is forced to decontaminate the Waverider's septic tank and search for the rings as punishment for bringing a hell-hound on board the ship.

Gary adopts a new emotional support animal - a bunny he named Gary Junior II. He says he got him from a mysterious carnie who told him to never feed him past midnight. It's unclear if he's joking or not.

Mick writes out a speech about what he was trying to tell Lita but she get it;  he doesn't want her to suffer the same ways he did by becoming a criminal, even if he is good at it.

Lita calls Mick "Dad" for the first time.

Zari tries to befriend Astra. Astra blows her off but tells her she gets points for trying.

Gideon runs a full diagnostic on Sara and doesn't find any abnormalities in her eyes. She says there's nothing she can do to return Sara' s sight.


Location

Central City - 2020


The Bottom Line

Get past the conceit that even Gary is as stupid as depicted here and this is an uproariously funny filler episode which also does a fair job of setting up Sara's new superpower and introducing Astra to the team. 

Friday, May 29, 2020

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 18 - Pay the Piper

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



Plot

When Godspeed returns, Barry turns to Pied Piper for help in defeating him, but Crisis erased the tenuous peace that Barry Allen had worked out with the former STAR Labs employee turned supervillain. Meanwhile, Iris starts working with Kamilla to escape from the Mirror Dimension.


Influences
The Flash comics of Joshua Williamson (character of Godspeed) and Mark Waid (speed cult based around Godspeed seems like the Cult of Savitar) and Ghostbusters (Nash and Cisco refer to "crossing the streams" when Piper and The Flash combine their powers.)


Goofs

Again, the episode acts like Team Flash's membership has no memory of the Post-Crisis timeline, when Crisis on Infinite Earths made it seem like Martian Manhunter restored everyone's Pre-Crisis memories without overwriting their current memories. This serves no purpose other than adding an unneeded complication, vis a vis why Pied Piper hates Barry Allen now.

Allowing that Kamilla is fairly smart, how does a photographer know how to use all the equipment in STAR Labs? She's only been dating Cisco for the better part of a year and she can't have picked up THAT much just talking to him.

Granting that everyone on Team Flash is a little distraught, it's shocking it takes them that long to work out that Pied Piper and Roderick Smith are boyfriends or that Hartley doesn't says something to the effect of "You murdered the man I love! Now I'm going to kill you!"

Why does Hartley hang around STAR Labs instead of leaving after Nash fails to save Roderick?

Why does Godspeed run right at the energy blast The Flash and Pied Piper shoot at him?


Performances

Grant Gustin nails Barry's final speech which, though written before the COVID-19 outbreak, seems to have been written as a response to it.


Artistry

The special effects for the fight between Tle Flash, Godspeed and Pied Piper are good.


Flash Facts

The twist with Godspeed - that he is apparently part of a group that wants The Flash's speed - seems to be based upon the cult of Savitar from Mark Waid's run on The Flash.


Technobabble

Nash describes the first four Godspeeds as cybernetic drones with modem speak.

The new Godspeed has a unique power to generate "thunder" along with his lightning. Barry and Cisco determine this energy is vibrational in nature The velocity of a body breaking the sound barrier transmutes into vibrations in the air,  This Godspeed found a way to reverse the vibrations and expel them outward, allowing him to pin a target with a steady wave of vibrational force and, in the case of speedsters pinned by this effect, siphon off their Speed Force energy.

Cisco describes Hartley Rathaway as an expert ton psycho-acoustics and sonic vibrations.

Nash says he has seen the same sort of molecular disembodiment experienced by Roderick Smith before. He thinks it can be fixed if they combine concentrated light energy with an inert gas with high thermal conductivity. This should slow down Roderick's molecules and stabilize him.

Cisco theorized there might be a mechanical way to open a breach to an alternate dimension by focusing subatomic vibrations.

To save Roderick, Nash asks Allegra to unleash a concentrated UV blast into the reception conduit as he releases helium into the containment unit.

Pied Piper describes what happened to Roderick Smith as a thermogenic blast which rendered him unstable at a molecular level. 

Godspeed bleeds a biogenic electrolyte secretion Nash identifies as charged sound.

Normal sound waves need a transition medium to go through (such as air or water) but charged sound creates its own medium. 

Normal sound can temporarily reattach molecular bonds. Charged sound can permanently reattach the bonds.

Cisco says a lossless self-sustaining source of perpetual energy should enable them to breach the Mirrorverse. 


Dialogue Triumphs

Barry: I'm trying to have hope that it's all gonna work out, but I can't help feeling... Joe, what if I can't save her this time? 
Joe: And I believe that you can. But do you?

(Cisco explains why Pied Piper hates Team Flash in the Post-Crisis reality.)
Allegra: I guess that's a no to Pied Piper's help. 
Cisco: Well, he did almost kill us, so... 
Nash: Let's not bicker over who killed who. We can fix this. 

The Flash: We think we can help him. Let us show you. 
Pied Piper: Who is this "we" and "us"? 
(Nash steps out of the shadows.)
Pied Piper: Harrison Wells?!
Nash: Nash Wells, actually. Harrison Wells is my doppelganger.
Pied Piper: (confused) Your doppelganger? 
Nash: How to explain? Okay, so there was this big event we call the Crisis, and- 
The Flash: He's his twin. 
Nash: He's my twin. 

Barry: I'm supposed to lead this team. Now, I-I don't even know what to tell them. 
Nash: When I lost Maya... every day since then, I wanted to say, "Hey, listen, I'm sorry. It was my fault." But she's gone. When I was Pariah and I watched my mistake burn down the Multiverse, I wanted to tell those people, "I'm sorry," but they were gone, and it was over. And this is not over for you. You can find your way out of this. All you have to do is trust yourself. 
Barry: How am I supposed to do that? I just lived with an impostor for five weeks. 
Nash: You forgive yourself. You showed me that. Now it's time for you to do it for you. And you know what? If you can't... do it for Iris. 

Godspeed: Time's up, Flash. 
(The Flash evacuates all of Godspeed's hostages.)
Godspeed: Have you come to give me what's mine? 
The Flash: You have to catch me first.

Barry: We've all lost so much this year... our power, our love, our family. At times, it's even felt like there's nothing left to lose, like everything that matters has already been taken and our lives are empty... hollow inside. Some things can't be taken. Look around this room. We still have our faith in each other and our will to fight for those we love. This is what we'll never lose.


Continuity

Barry tracks down Joe at his safe house so he can tell him about Iris' abduction. 

Joe refers to Wally telling him something was off about Iris (614) and Sunshine attacking Frost (615).

Caitlin and Frost are still healing.

Cisco says they have no way of knowing if the abducted people are still alive in the Mirrorverse, but he starts researching the idea that the Mirrorverse is on another vibrational plane.

The building where Ralph's office, Cecile's office, Nash's office and the Central City Citizen are located is identified as the Bently Building. 

Cecile says she will call Chief Singh's husband to warn him about the duplicate and see when he last saw the Chief.

Allegra says she'll check the offices for the Kamilla duplicate. Nash offers to go with her, but she rejects him. Instead, he goes with Ralph to see if they can dig up anything on Eva McCulloch. 

Iris records a video blog in Eva McCulloch's office in case Barry finds it, before going off to find Kamilla.

Iris is beginning to develop the same neural dissonance which made it harder to think straight that Eva McCulloch claimed to have developed. She also has the same facial tics and twitches.

Allegra feels stupid for not having realized all her co-workers were mirror duplicate and is horrified to realize she's currently in charge of the Central City Citizen.

Godspeed enters into STAR Labs and pins Barry to the ground with some kind of vibrational force. He is driven off by Nash and a pulse cannon he'd recently built.

It is confirmed that all four of the earlier Godspeeds from the summer of 2019 are still locked up in Iron Heights.

Cisco reveals that The Flash's first battle with the Pied Piper was dramatically different in the new Earth-Prime history. Originally, as seen in 111, Pied Piper fought The Flash alone and only had his technology to depend on. In the new timeline, Pied Piper was a metahuman with sonic powers augmented by technology and he worked with a crew. 

Pied Piper's right-hand man, Roderick Smith, tried to shoot The Flash with a sonic cannon. Barry countered the blast with a lightning bolt. The resulting explosion caused Roderick Smith to be knocked out of phase with reality and required him to be confined in a special energy containment chamber at Mercury Labs for the past five years. 

Nash says he has an idea on how to save Roderick Smith and that maybe they can get Pied Piper to agree to some quid pro quo - we help you save your man, you help us save our people.

Ralph goes to check on Frost after she texted him. She's still stable thanks to a patch Cisco made.

Frost thanks Ralph for being her life coach and for all he's done to help her.

Frost and Caitlin are making preparations to go to a Tannhauser testing site int he Arctic to heal.

Frost is nervous because she's afraid Caitlin's mother won't see her as a second daughter, given the circumstances of her creation.

Barry finds Pied Piper's hideout. He manages to persuade him to let Team Flash try to help Roderick.

Despite his best efforts, Hartley was unable to stabilize Roderick. Mercury Labs hasn't had any luck either.

Nash proposes a treatment to save Roderick based on something he saw on another Earth.

Iris finds Kamilla in STAR Labs in the Mirrorverse.

Iris convinces Kamilla that she's the real Iris after she tells Kamilla that she is the only person allowed to wear the Chewbacca shirt Cisco's parents gave him when he was 14.

Kamilla never saw Eva McCulloch in all her time in the Mirrorverse.

Kamilla tried to gather items that came from the real world into the Mirrorverse that had been shot with the mirror gun to analyze them using STAR Labs equipment but she couldn't read the screens.

Iris can read the screens in STAR Labs now but she freaks out, like Eva did, and runs from the room.

Piper figured out that Cisco was Vibe and Barry was The Flash. In Cisco's case, the hair was a dead giveaway. In the case of The Flash there's only three facilities in the state capable of building The Flash's friction-proof costume and only one of them employed someone smart enough to actually do it. 

Nash's treatment doesn't work. He later says they need a better bonding agent.

Godspeed threatens to make Central City suffer unless Barry gives up his speed.

Barry returns to work on the artificial Speed Force.

Nash credits Barry with teaching him to learn how to forgive himself.

Barry figures out that Hartley and Roderick are lovers.

Cecile makes reference to her and Kamilla escaping Bloodwork's minions in 608.

Cisco says he wants his powers back.

Iris is doubting her instincts as a reporter since Eva tricked her for so long. 

Iris says they need to find Chief Singh in the Mirrorverse.

Godspeed steals the speed from the four Godspeeds in Iron Heights.

Godspeed is now moving at Mach 5 within the city - far faster than Barry's current safe maximum speed after the Speed Force died.

Pied Piper steps in after overhearing that Barry intends to face Godspeed, despite his diminished powers.

While they are chasing each other, Godspeed says that The Flash doesn't deserve his speed and that "we do." This hints at Godspeed being part of a larger group.

Pied Piper saves Barry from falling off a building when his speed gives out while chasing Godspeed.

Pied Piper and The Flash combine their powers to make Godspeed molecularity unstable.

Nash and Cisco use the charged sound they took from Godspeed to stabilize Roderick Smith.

Roderick doesn't remember anything after the fight with The Flash five years earlier.

The 5th Godspeed was not the real August Heart either. He said that the one who sent him sought infinite velocity before he started chirping like a broken modem.

Ralph apologizes to Frost for telling her she had a long way to go in learning how to be a normal human. He declares her journey complete and gives her a Dib-Ploma.

Ralph's father abandoned him and his mother when he was 10.

Hartley tells Barry it isn't enough to forgive yourself; you have to believe that things can change for the better.

Cisco has an idea on how to get everyone out of the Mirrorverse using a perpetual-motion machine. He has everything he needs to build it except for one thing, which he goes to Atlantis to retrieve. 

In a warehouse somewhere in Central City, Eva McCulloch is seen resting in some kind of containment chamber.The episode ends as she declares that she is coming for Joseph.


Untelevised Adventures


Barry's conversation with the fifth Godspeed takes place entirely off-camera.


The Boomerang Factor

Whatever cool factor Godspeed has is negated by turning him into a rip-off of Zoom.


The Bottom Line

There is much to admire about this episode, though on reflection most of it was taken from earlier episodes and repeated. Godspeed is turned into a Zoom clone (presumably to set up Season 7's big bad) and the Arrowverse take on Pied Piper has never been as engaging as his comic book counterpart. (There's a reason we haven't seen Hartley since season 2.) Strangely enough, the best parts of the episode involve a long chain of speeches where the main characters have crises of faith and the supporting characters give them the standard John Diggle pep talk so common to Arrow episodes. Trite as they are, these scenes are well acted.

Starman Plays Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't Dry - Part 3 (NSFW)

In which we get ourselves a piPhone and start setting up our Timber profile so we can start finding hot babes looking to hook up. But first we must appease the IT gods by getting various sundry items. Unfortunately, since we're not in Japan and there's no handy vending machines, we have to do some work to get soft toilet paper and used panties.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 17 - Deus Lex Machina

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




Plot

The details of how Lex Luthor was able to manipulate the Crisis to improve his lot on Earth-Prime are explained, as Lex enacts an intricate plan to bring Lena under his control and pit Supergirl against Leviathan, all with the help of an old ally who is about to meet Lex Luthor again for the first time - Eve Teschmacher!


Influences

All-Star Superman (the baby Sun Eater living in the Fortress of Solitude)


Goofs

While this may be a result of reality changing Post-Crisis, the Martians all seem to be much more powerful than they were previously, with Malefic somehow sensing the change in Earth's Q-waves from Mars and both J'onn and M'Gann now being able to fly through deep space without space suits. On the other hand, Martians in the regular DC Comics are crazy overpowered and the Martians depicted in the Arrowverse have always been severely under-powered relative to the comics, so what we see here is far more accurate to the source material.


Performances

A year ago, people mocked the idea of Jon Cryer being an effective Lex Luthor. This episode finally confirms how perfect that casting choice was.

For that matter, Andrea Brooks is a delight in this episode and it is clear why they keep finding excuses to bring her back as Miss Tessmacher.


Artistry

Setting the montage of Lex's trip around the world to David Bowie's "Man Who Sold The World" was frankly brilliant.


Super Trivia

This episode was directed by Melissa Benoist. It was her first professional directing job.


Technobabble

The Obsidian Platinum lenses interface with the brain by using Q-waves, which operate on a similar frequency as Malefic's brain. This means that just as J'onn could not connect to his brother telepathically, he can't find the missing Obsidian Platinum users.  

Brainiac-5 theorizes that if Supergirl uses Myriad in reverse, compressing the Q-waves in the atmosphere rather than broadcasting Q-waves into peoples' minds, it should make it possible for J'onn to telepathically track the missing people.

A Lexosuit can act as a mini-sunlight chamber if its internal radiation is set to 1,000 watts per meter.

A hydrogen explosive, contained within a Sun Eater, can trigger a reaction that will shrink it to a manageable size.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Lex Luthor screams as he plunges a Kryptonite dagger into a prone figure. We cut to a bedroom, where Lex is kneeling on the bed, punching into the mattress. He is watched by a butler, who looks stunned. He carries a tray in one hand which has a cup of coffee and a glass of orange juice, along with a large breakfast. A newspaper is in his free hand.)
Butler: Are you all right, sir? 
Lex: (cautiously) That depends. Am I dead? 
Butler: (chuckle ) Heavens no, sir. But I dare say you're a bit hungover. Coffee?
(Lex hops out of bed and moves past the butler, pulling aside the curtains opposite his bed. We see the skyline of National City.)
Lex: (gasping in relief) I saved the world. 
Butler: It is all in a day's work for you, isn't it, Mr. Luthor? Why else would they be awarding you the Nobel Peace Prize? 
(The butler unfurls the morning newspaper. The front page headline reads LEX LUTHOR AWARDED NOBLE PRIZE FOR PEACE!) 
Lex: (chuckling) I didn't just save the world... I made a new world!

(Lex enters his mansion. He sniffs the air.)
Lex: Do I smell Beef Wellington? 
(Eve Teschmacher enters. She is wearing a neat black dress along with, paradoxically, a pink and red frilly apron with hearts.)
Eve: Victory and role-playing makes me hungry. ( In Margot's voice ) "Amy Sapphire was right. Technology is the greatest evil mankind has ever faced." 
Lex: Okay, stop there. Please don't ever image-induce into her ever again. I might lose my appetite. 
Eve: (laughs and sighs contentedly) I'm so glad we finally have a night to spend some time alone as a couple. 
Lex: A couple? 
Eve: I've been trying to tell you how I feel... and it's not just because you helped me escape Leviathan, it's because of who you are. How could I not love you? 
Lex: Oh... Ms. Tessmacher... you sad, silly woman... of course you love me. What's funny is, you thought I could love you back. 
Eve: (laughs nervously) I don't understand. We're a team. We're meant to be together. We're destined... 
Lex: Oh, we're destined. On another world, in another life, we knew each other very well. And in that life, you said you loved me, too. You distracted me, you made me weaker. But that's not happening this time, honey. I feel nothing for you. I saved you because you were useful. I needed a spy inside Leviathan. Oh, and as for your mother... she's still in danger, but from me. Those cars I showed you? The men in them are just waiting to pull the trigger if you ever betray me. But I'd think twice about that. That man you killed in the Andes didn't murder your father. I never bothered to find out who knocked off your old man. No, the man you murdered is Supergirl's father. 
(Lex samples something from one of the dishes and nods approval. As he continues to speak, the look of adoration on Eve's face changes to one of seething hatred.)
Lex: Oh, that's good. I have video of you killing him, by the way. Defy me, and I'll pass it on. Believe me, you do not want to be on the wrong side of those laser eyes. 
Eve: (bitterly) You are worse than Leviathan. 
Lex: Not worse. Better. 


Dialogue Disasters

Jason Mewes' cameo playing a Mississippi farmer. His Southern accent is beyond belief and breaks the fourth wall nearly as much as the fact that it's Jason Mewes showing up dressed as a farmer.


Continuity

The episode opens precisely 90 days after Crisis on Infinite Earths ended.

J'onn and Kara arrive at the hidden Leviathan ward first seen in 515. They are surprised to learn that Lex Luthor apparently uncovered the base, killed Margot (who was about to kill all the patients) and that Margot left behind a video claiming to be an acolyte of Amy Sapphire's manifesto from 514.

Richard Bates from 515 is among the people trapped in Obsidian Platinum whom Luthor saved.

3 months earlier, Lex Luthor woke up in a bed in a luxurious bedroom with a butler inquiring as to if he felt alright, as he woke up screaming from a flashback to the events of Crisis.

To his astonishment and relief, Lex confirms that he did not just save the world during Crisis - he was able to remake it according to his bargain with The Monitor.

Luthor's apartment is decorated with framed magazines where he is on the cover. This includes a Time Magazine declaring him Person of the Year, a magazine called National City Stars declaring him the sexiest man of the year again, and a CatCo Magazine about him and Supergirl teaming up to save the DEO.

Lena is asleep on Lex's couch. He gives her a shot to keep her asleep and asks his butler to see that she gets home while he tends to some family business. 

Lex informs the Lillian Luthor of the new world of the events of Crisis. She takes the news that reality was destroyed and rewritten quite well and comments, when Lex is surprised by this, that he's upgraded if his mother had been the sort of woman who would be upset by such a thing even if it had been resolved in her favor.

Lex takes his coffee without sugar.

Luthor's first priority is finding the Fortress of Solitude and destroying it and Superman/Supergirl before they can move against him.

Lillian tells Lex that the Kryptonians were his allies in this reality and that, by his account, it was his vendetta against him which led to his death in the previous reality. She advises that Lex focus on winning Lena over, since it was her turning on him that led to his previous plans failing. This sets up the scene where Lex proposes an alliance in 510.

Lena tells Lex about Leviathan and how Eve Teschmacher was an agent in their employ the whole time she worked for him and he had no clue they even existed. 

We see an extended version of the scene where Lex explored the Legion ship in 511. This time, we see Lex using the Legion computer to gather all the information that exists on Earth-Prime's Eve Teschmacher.

In the reality of Earth-Prime, Eve Teschmacher never worked for Lex Luthor, which means she never encountered anyone at CatCo Worldwide Media. This explains how she was able to hide out at Obsidian North without being recognized and why nobody recognized her as the woman who took the blame for Lena Luthor's crimes earlier this season.

In Earth-Prime, Eve Teschmache works as a spy and assassin for Leviathan, having been recruited after they killed her father and threatened to kill her mother. Lex tells her that he knows all about this and wants to help her get free of them. 

30 days after Crisis, Lex reveals that he has three ex-Mossad agents watching Eve Teschmacher's mother, ready to protect her if Leviathan moves against her. He also reveals that he is trying to track down the Leviathan agent responsible for killing her father.

Eve reveals that while she has yet to get onto Leviathan's ship, she did convince Gamemnae to put her to work at Obsidian North on the Platinum VR project. 

Eve reports that she found a way to patch a glitch in the bio-link that developed as a result of the Luthor tech being integrated into Obsidian Platinum which caused people to develop toxic shock while eating virtual food. This was first mentioned in 512.

Lex reveals that this was not a glitch but it was part of his plan. With Eve using her position to stop the glitch from being fixed, Lex will step in and offer his assistance to Gamemnae in covering up the problems caused by the glitch, winning her trust and earning himself an invitation onto Leviathan's ship, where he can use the mortality code Brainiac-5 is developing to make them mortal.

Lex poses as a bartender and gives Richard Bates the idea to hack Obsidian Platinum so he can get back at the man with whom his wife was having a virtual affair. This eventually occurred in 515.

43 days after Crisis, Eve Teschmacher has been moved into a new apartment.

Less reveals to Eve that he discovered a woman on-line named Amy Sapphire who blamed Obsidian Platinum and Andrea Rojas for her husband's suicide. Lex intends to radicalize Amy Sapphire by providing her with a set of gauntlets that will enable her to weaponize her bio-energy. This reveals where Amy got her gauntlets in 514. Lex further plans to order Supergirl to act as Andrea Rojas' bodyguard, enabling him to further endear himself to Gamemnae. 

60 days after Crisis is when Amy Sapphire attacked Obsidian North's offices. (514.) At the time the attack occurred, Lex Luthor was playing chess with his mother and actively ignoring Brainiac-5's calls for help stopping the power core under the CatCo building from exploding.

Eve told Lex that Leviathan was quietly ferrying the people becoming addicted to Obsidian Platinum because of the glitch into a facility in National City.This prompts Lex to provide Richard Bates with the backdoor he needs to hack into Obsidian Platinum for his revenge scheme. This occurs just before Lex goes on a world tour to promote Obsidian Platinum. 

Lex provides Eve with a dossier on the man who killed her father and a poison that will make his death look like natural causes. The man in the dossier is Jeremiah Danvers, whose death was reported at the end of 515.

The montage of Lex's trip around the world s is intercut with scenes from 515 and 516.

Lena approaches Kara to offer her sympathies over her adoptive father's death. She offers Kara a book that helped her get over the loss of her mother.

88 days after Crisis, Lex meets with Lillian and complains that Lena went to Kara and that he never considered that as a possibility. This spurs him to do something that will pit Leviathan against Supergirl and turn Lena against Kara again.

Lex has Eve leak a tip to William Day regarding the paper medical bracelet he found in 516 and then tells her to move all the bodies Leviathan is hiding somewhere else.

William's mother taught him how to bake. He makes scones, sticky toffee pudding and banoffee pie for Kara and Alex.

The fake clue Eve sends to William Day turns out to be information on Richard Bates, whose bracelet William found.

Alex recognizes the name Bonnie Walker on the list of people still trapped inside Obsidian VR who can't be found. This was the woman she met while she was playing the Supergirl simulation.

Eve records their conversation from across the street and sends it to Lex, who uses the video/audio to prove to Gamemnae that Supergirl and her allies are plotting against Leviathan. He also reveals that he knows the truth about what she and her associates are. 

Gamemnae reveals that her plan is to kill everyone who is logged into Obsidian Platinum during a global event. 

Lex says that he can stop the plan from being exposed, but he will need the assistance of Leviathan's stealthiest operative.

Lex gives Brainiac-5 a pysanka that was gifted to him by a Ukrainian holy man.

Brainiac-5 says that he was asked to help locate the people who are trapped in Obsidian Platinum and that Alex Danvers thought Luthor was abducting them. Lex promises that is Leviathan's doing - not his.

Brainiac-5 asks Lex to help him find the people that Leviathan kidnapped. Lex says he can't, because that would ruin his plan to be the inside man that brings them down.

Lex also refuses to give the cube from the Legion ship to Brainiac-5 because Lena is using it.

Lex suggests that maybe Supergirl has something in the Fortress of Solitude that might be able to track Q-Waves.

J'onn says he detected Richard Bates' psychic signature at the place where Leviathan had been keeping the victims, but there was some kind of interference blocking him from tracking them. Brainiac-5 reveals this is because Obsidian Platinum runs on Q-waves, which operate on a frequency similar to Malefic's brain. 

Activating Myriad generates an interference that disrupts Lena's experiments. This leads her, after some prompting from Lex, to go to the Fortress of Solitude to see if Kara is using Myriad after she said it was too dangerous for anyone to use.

Lex loans Lena his teleporter watch to make the trip.

Lena is trailed by an invisible creature,who follows her through the portal.

The L-Protocol which defended the Fortress from anyone with Luthor DNA in 507 does not exist on Earth-Prime. This enables Lena to enter the Fortress of Solitude without triggering an alarm.

Lena discovers that Kara is indeed using Myriad.

The invisible being is revealed to be a Morae - one of the aliens first depicted in 410.

The Morae releases the baby sun eater that lives inside the Fortress of Solitude and it drains the solar energy from Kara's body just flying past her.

M'Gann arrives from Mars, saying that Malefic sensed the disturbance to Earth's Q-waves and sent her to help.

Kara is healed after a DEO Lexosuit is reconfigured to charge her body with solar energy. 

The Sun Eater is shrunk back to a regular size and returned to its safe room in the Fortress of Solitude.

The Morae confirms that she works for Leviathan.

While J'onn and Kara are occupied with the Sun Eater, Lex rescues the Leviathan captives, leading to the opening scene of the episode. 

J'onn doesn't detect the presence of the Leviathan captives until after Lex has already killed Margot and exposed the kidnapping plot, while leaving the existence of Leviathan a secret.

Lex explains to Gamemnae that it was necessary for Margot to die to remove any hint of suspicion that Obsidian North was involved in the kidnapping plot. He does admit to underestimating Supergirl and her allies in how they were able to stop the Sun Eater before enough people were logged into Obsidian Platinum for Gamemnae to enact her plan to cull humanity, but says that just proves his point that they have to destroy Supergirl first and that only immortals, like Leviathan, can possibly have a chance of hurting her. 

Lex returns to his mansion to find Eve cooking him Beef Wellington in an apron. 

It is revealed that Eve, wearing an image inducer, was responsible for Margot's confession video.

Eve once again professes her love for him and asks is they can finally pursue a romance now that all their goals are almost achieved.

Lex admits that he was using Eve, that he lied about Jeremiah Danvers killing her father, that his bodyguards will kill her mother if she dares move against him. He also admits that he did make a mistake one year earlier: he trusted that Eve's love for him would be enough to keep her from double-crossing him, which is why he's now blackmailing her with the evidence of the murder she committed and her mother's life to make sure she continues to be the perfect minion. 

Using the watch he gave Lena, Lex recalls the last location used and walks into the Fortress of Solitude.


Location

Fortress of Solitude
Deep Space, close to Earth's sun
Luthor Manor


The Bottom Line

There's one-half of a great episode here and it's the half which explains some of the excesses of the second half of Season 5 as all being part of Lex Luthor's larger plan. The hell of it is that as good as this is, it winds up inadvertently making it look like Lex Luthor is the only character doing anything to thwart Leviathan and makes the heroes look like idiots for focusing on Lex Luthor being a part of the one sinister scheme that he honestly had nothing to do with!  The second half is definitely weaker, with M'Gann showing up out of nowhere, the Martians suddenly being far more powerful than they were before and a CGI extravaganza suddenly being inserted into what had been a nice, character-focused episode until that point. The whole thing averages out to be pretty good, but that's largely due to the charisma of Jon Cryer and Andrea Brooks.

Starman Plays Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't Dry - Part 2 (NSFW)

In which we enjoy some more subtle social commentary that is a general commentary on on-line culture and certainly not a potentially libelous reference to any technology company, tech guru or proprietary platform, living or dead. We also meet the woman of Larry's dreams (in this game, anyway) and are given a modern take on the usual Leisure Suit Larry form, vis a vis sleeping with a lot of strange women while working our way up to the dream woman.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Batwoman Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 18 - If You Believe in Me, I'll Believe in You

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




Plot

Kate recruits Luke and Julia for an undercover mission to recover one of the most important items in her cousin's arsenal, but Mary also wants to prove herself to her step-sister. Kate also reunites with an old flame, as Jacob visits Alice in Arkham to ask for a favor, not knowing that Alice has begun taking steps to turn Arkham into her own personal Wonderland. 


Influences

Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka & J.H. Williams.


Performances

As Mary proves her worth to the Bat-Team, so too does Nicole Kang dominate this episode and prove her place as the ensemble's VIP this week.


Artistry

The opening action sequence in which Batwoman rescues seven human trafficking victims is fantastic.

The Magpie Vs. Batwoman fight is pretty awesome too.


Bat Trivia

Mary suggests that Kate consider something in her cowl that electrocute anyone who touches her hair. While she dismisses the idea, it should be noted that both the Batmobile and Utility Belt have had similar defenses in the Batman comics.

Mention is made of a comic book heroine called Kitty Delgado, who is apparently some kind of master cat-burglar. Based on her white hair, low-cut costume and impossible figure, she seems to be a parody of Marvel Comics' Black Cat, who was a fairly shameless rip-off of DC Comics' Catwoman.


Technobabble

Mary suggests they could solve Kate's problems with her wig by running an electrical charge through her cowl so anyone who touches her hair gets electrocuted. Kate dismisses the idea, but Luke seems to consider it.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Kate and Luke enter Kate's office. Mary is there, holding two champagne flutes.)
Mary: Congratulations! On behalf of the medical profession both licensed and unlicensed, I'd like to offer my sincerest whatup on shutting down that chop shop.
(Mary winces and looks to where the bottle of champagne is on ice.)
Mary: (apologetic)  I wasn't sure how you guys celebrated. 
Kate: Usually by icing my knuckles. 
(Kate walks past Mary to the table, removes the bottle and plants her fist into the ice.)

(Mary is trying to talk Kate into letting her come on the mission.)
Kate: You're not going, Mary. 
Mary: What? 
Kate: I'm sorry. It's too dangerous. 
Mary: Dangerous? I have been poisoned, stabbed, and nearly exsanguinated, and the fact that I have lived to use that word as a verb is proof that I can look out for myself.

(Johnny Sabatino just told Tommy Elliot he's keeping Lucius Fox's journal over the phone.)
Tommy: That son of a bitch was like a brother to me! 
Alice: Clearly, you are an only child. Otherwise, you would know that our dear siblings are the ones most predisposed to betray us. 
Tommy: Why aren't you more upset, considering you won't be getting the journal you so desperately want? 
Alice: You should be more careful who you trust. 
Tommy: If you can't trust your money launderer, who can you trust? 
Alice: Hmm. No one. I only trust in the fact that people can't be trusted. 
Tommy: So you knew that Johnny was gonna betray me? 
Alice: No. I just didn't trust him not to.

Jacob: Tommy Elliot just hanged himself, or that's what it was meant to look like. Do you know anything about that? 
Alice: (sighs) What do I know? I know I don't give two hoots about Tommy Elliot! I know I don't have any motivation to help you! And I know it is impossible for one to heal from the trauma of being locked in a cage when one is still locked in a cage! 
Jacob: How many times did you tell me that Beth was never coming back? This is me admitting that you were right. 
Alice: (softer) Do you know what they do to patients in here? They put electrodes on our heads and blast us with so much electricity that we seize. And I don't know the exact science, but... after about 10 jolts, let me tell you, you start convincing everyone around you that it worked. 
Jacob: I'm sorry that it ended up this way. 
Alice: (sobbing)If you mean that, then get me out of here.
Jacob: I can't. I have to protect the daughters that I have left. 
Alice: (coldly) The thing they don't tell you about ECT is that once it's over all that's left is clarity. Ha! I see everything now. How this came to be. How it will end. And I promise you, Daddy, what I have in store for you is so much worse than a cage or electrodes or insanity. I guess you could say it's... worse than being me. But you'll see.

(Magpie is walking across the roof of The Lookout. Suddenly, Batwoman grapples up before her and lands on the roof ledge.)
Batwoman: Seriously? 
Magpie: Early bird gets the worm. 
Batwoman: You're a long way from Arkham. 
Magpie: I told you I wasn't a jailbird.
(Magpie reveals her talons and the fight begins in earnest.) 

Kate: Okay. So which one do you want to hear first -"Thanks for saving my ass" or "Sorry for always shutting you out"? 
Mary: Uh... you pick. 
Kate: I'm sorry for always keeping you at arm's length, but it's not because I don't trust you or think that you can't handle yourself, which obviously you can. It's because I've already lost one sister, and the thought of losing you, too, I... I can't, Mary. But thank you for not listening to me and risking your life to save mine. I guess I just have to get used to the fact that you are... a total badass. 
Mary: Badass enough to be one of your real estate assistants? 
Kate: I believe they prefer to be called associates. 


Continuity

Kate saves seven people from a human trafficker who is selling them to a man for their organs. Unfortunately, the trafficker escapes.

Kate has issues with her wig during the fight. Luke suggests she try braiding her wig in the future, but Kate dismisses the idea.

Julia and Sophie search a warehouse full of property seized from Tommy Elliot looking for Lucius Fox's journal.

Tommy Elliot was a comic book collector and had a nude oil painting of himself. 

According to Luke, Tommy Elliot owned 40 buildings in Gotham City alone.

Kate visits Tommy Elliot in Arkham Asylum to try and provoke him into telling her where the diary of Lucius Fox is.

According to Kate, Wayne R&D is the world leader in defense technology.

Dr. Butler (i.e. Mouse) had Tommy Elliot declared competent to stand trial for Lucius Fox's murder.

Tommy Elliot tells Mouse and Alice that Bruce Wayne is Batman. He also tells them that he wanted Lucius Fox's journal because it held the secret on how to destroy the Batsuit, in case it ever fell into the wrong hands.

Alice offers to make Tommy Elliot look like a new man in exchange for the diary. 

Luke determines that after Kate visited Tommy in Arkham, he made a call to a night-club called The Lookout, considered by some to be the hottest night spot in Gotham City.

The Lookout is run by a man named Johnny Sabatino, who has been rumored to be laundering money for Tommy Elliot for years, as Tommy Elliot owned the building The Lookout was located in.

Kate suggests they sneak into the club as patrons.

Mary helps Kate find a stylish outfit that can conceal her Batwoman costume and again signals her desire to do something more to help her.

Kate finds out that Sophie outed herself to her mother and that Julia and Sophie now have a thing together.

Julia uses the call-sign Tuxedo One.

Kate uses the call-sign Red One.

Reagan, the bartender last seen in 104 whom Kate briefly dated, works at The Lookout.

According to Reagan, Kate has been buying up a lot of property around Bennett Park and lowering the rent. 

Julia is captured after she cuts the power to the club.

Batwoman is knocked out by a booby-trap in Johnny Sabatino's office.

Tommy Elliot is reported as dead when Sophie goes to take him into custody, apparently having hung himself in his cell. In truth he's alive, but Alice removed his face and put it onto another body.

Mary offers to go into The Lookout to try and rescue Julia and Batwoman. She says that she knows Johnny Sabatino's cousin, Aria, having pumped her stomach after she overdosed. 

Johnny Sabatino betrays Tommy Elliot, deciding to auction off Lucius Fox's journal himself along with Batwoman. 

Alice sends Magpie to steal the journal from Johnny Sabatino.

The bidding on Batwoman starts at 2 million.

Mary forces her way into the auction and bids 10 million, claiming she wants the secrets of Batwoman's armor for Hamilton Dynamics.

Sabatino's men contact the SRR after Julia claims to be an agent in their employ. It is revealed that she was actually fired from the SRR six months earlier, after betraying them. 

Jacob Kane visits Alice in Arkham and asks her for information on Tommy Elliot's death. She refuses to help him and says her revenge on him will be worse than he can imagine.

Mary only has 2.5 million in cash, but Johnny Sabatino agrees to sell her the Bat-Suit for that much... once it is pealed off of Batwoman's body.

The trafficker from earlier in the episode wins the auction. 

Mary's briefcase contains a flash-bang. In the confusion, she uses another Bat-gadget to cut the chains holding Batwoman down.

Magpie steals the journal from Johnny Sabatino's office as the auction is going on.

Julia frees herself after an alarm goes off when Batwoman escapes.

Batwoman recovers the journal but Magpie escapes.

Kate and Reagan hook-up again and go to Kate's place.

Mary sees the Batcave for the first time and takes a selfie. Luke immediately erases the photo.

Luke accidentally tells Mary that Bruce Wayne is Batman.

When Kate wakes up, Reagan has gone... and the journal is missing.

Reagan is revealed to be Magpie's sister and to have worked for her as an advance scout, but she swears she is done helping her since this cost her a great girlfriend.

Julia takes a phone call from her real employer, promising them the journal of Lucius Fox. 

Alice removes the tracking chip from Magpie.

Mouse discovers that Lucius Fox's journal was written in code.


The Bottom Line

A solid episode that expands Mary's role on the team and throws in some wicked 11th-hour twists. It's also clear they're starting to set Tommy Elliot up to become Hush (who I can take or leave) but the entire ensemble is firing on all six cylinders this week.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 5, Episode 10 - The Great British Fake Off

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



Plot

Charlie notices there's something odd about Sara following her shrugging-off a god's death-stare. Meanwhile, Ava, Gary and Mick take a trip to Hell, as Constantine and Zari get trapped in a 1910 boarding house with an army of Encores while searching for the third and final piece of the Loom of Fate.


Influences

The Great British Bake Off (title), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men's Chest (Black Caesar's compass) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (the enchantment that keeps something from being found by someone actively looking for it) and the original Hellblazer comics.


Performances

The interplay between Matt Ryan and Tala Ashe as Constantine and Zari is the high point of the episode. Much as I normally loathe these "will they/won't they" romances, this one works. And continues the fine tradition of John's bad romances with women whose name start with Z.


Trivia Of Tomorrow

This episode introduces the Arrowverse version of The Enchantress. First appearing in Strange Adventures #187 (April 1966), The Enchantress was the spirit of a witch who took possession of artist June Moone whenever she said the word "Enchantress." Originally a hero, she later appeared in Supergirl as a villain and was numbered among the villains during Crisis on Infinite Earths. John Ostrander later explained the discrepancy in Suicide Squad by revealing The Enchantress to be a succubus bound into the service of good rather than a personification of June's repressed magical power. The current Enchantress origin in the New 52 reality has June Moone and the Enchantress being separate entities bound together like Billy Batson and Captain Marvel.

The Arrowverse version of The Enchantress requires a host and, according to Charlie, seems to favor bonding herself to artists. In Ancient Egypt, she is bonded to a musician. In 1910 England, she is bonded to an older woman who runs a boarding house. This version of the Enchantress is decidedly more benevolent than her comic book counterpart, seemingly helping the Legends out, even if it does benefit her to do so and the end of the episode implies she has her own scheme playing out.

Jack the Ripper, in this episode, is identified as a man named Dr. White. There are many theories as to the identity of Jack the Ripper but some theorists believe that he had to have medical training to be as efficient in cutting as he was. 

Reference is made to a demon called The Norfulthing, who tortured Henry VIII in Hell. The Norfulthing first appeared in Hellblazer #11 and was the demon Astra Logue accidentally summoned to Earth to defend her from her father's friends during a magical orgy. Described by John Constantine as a primordial fear elemental, the Norfulthing.is a destructive creature of pure id that's first instinct is to rape any physical being it encounters and destroy everything else it encounters. Though seemingly slain by the demon Negral (who John summoned hoping to use a stronger demon to drive away the weaker one), it survived as a spirit and haunted the building where the Casanova Club once stood until John Constantine could bind it again. 


Technobabble/Arcana

John knows a summoning spell that can be boosted by drawing off the auras of other people, though it isn't safe to do this.

While Sara is in a coma, Gideon determines that there is unusual activity in her striatium - the portion of the brain that, among other functions, controls the perception of time.

Opening a portal to Hell requires the wizard working the spell to drink demon blood. According to Gary, it tastes tangy.

The spell Gary works is timed to automatically teleport him out of Hell after four hours. Unfortunately, everyone else he took into Hell in the first place has to be touching him in order to leave with him.

John knows a spell to put the target to sleep. He uses this on Jack the Ripper to stop him from struggling while tied up and shoved in a closet. 


Dialogue Triumphs

Zari: I met the other me.
Nate: Really?  How - how is she?
Zari: She's great. Tough. Cool. You must have a thing for warrior women.
Nate: Only if they're from another time period and eventually will leave me, sure.

(The Legends are gathered around a summoning circle.)
John: All right you lot, listen up! Our Lachesis' ring could be anywhere in space and time. I'm going to need to borrow a little bit of magical energy off you lot to help amplify the summoning spell.
Nate: Exactly how does that work?
John: It's easy. All you need to do is keep your mouths shut and let me use your auras like batteries.
Ava: Is this safe? It doesn't sound safe.
John: (quickly) It isn't. Any more questions? Good. Let's hold hands.

Charlie: Mick! I thought you were taking some time off to hang out with your kid?
Mick: She told me to go to Hell. Where are we heading?
Gary: The portal to Hell is ready, Captain.

John: Look, I can't look after you and figure out what Astra's up to at the same time. 
Zari: (holding up the wrist with the Air totem bracelet) This might be Behrad's totem, but there is a little warrior me inside here from a different timeline and she's gonna protect me. 
John: ...I don't even know what to say to that.

(Astra had just discovered all her soul coins have been stolen.)
Astra:
At least the most valuable one is still...
(Astra reaches down and looks at the necklace she made of John Constantine's soul coin. Her eyes widen in disgust.)
Astra:
Who the hell Vandal Savage?! 
Gary: Oh, I actually know that one. 

Zari: So you're just gonna accept failure when we're this close? I'm not giving up. 
John: Oh, I don't see it as giving up, so much as, uh, accepting reality. I know myself. I'm a ripe old mix of, uh, guilt and torment. If the Loom of Fate offers me even one glimmer of hope of redemption for all my past sins, particularly Astra, then, uh, I'll never not be thinking about it.
Zari: You know, it's funny, I'm usually an expert at getting things out of my head. Boyfriend cheating on me with my assistant/best friend? No time to cry, I have a fall fashion line to plan. Overhearing my mother tell a friend she's embarrassed her daughter is so shallow and self-absorbed? Definitely can't process that. I will check my CatChat analytics.But my baby brother dying because he was trying to protect me? There's nothing that can get that out of my head. I was wearing the totem when he died. If I hadn't been, then maybe he... maybe he would've had a chance. 
John: (takes the seat next to Zari) Now, look, you can take it from an expert. (sighs ) Nothing good ever comes from beating yourself up, love. 
Zari: (smirking) Don't try to make me feel better.


Continuity

Charlie tells the other Legends about Lachesis. She describes Lachesis as the leader of the Fates and her older sister. 

Charlie also tells the other Legends about how she entrusted the final part of the Loom of Fate to the Enchantress in Ancient Egypt, telling her to hide it so not even Charlie could find it again. Enchantress agreed to help on the grounds that humanity needed the shake-up.

Zari tells Nate about how she met her Pre-Crisis self in 509.

Sara begins seeing things before they happen. First seeing her hands move to pour her a drink before she does it. Next, seeing Ava breaking the circle during John's ritual to run to Sara when she passes out.

Charlie fears there will be side effects from Sara shrugging off Atropos' death gaze. Sara lies and says she is fine.

John works a summoning spell to bring the final Loom ring to them at his house. The spell is botched, however, and John binds the ring to the house but isn't able to anchor it in time. This causes him and Zari to be taken to where the ring is in the past.

Sara passes out and lapses into a coma during the summoning ritual. This triggers it botching after Ava breaks the circle to check on Sara.

Zari and John wind up in John's house in the year 1910, when it was a boarding house run by a woman named Mrs. Hughes. They pose as an engaged couple in order to get a room together.

At the same time, another guest checks into the boarding house - a man in Victorian dress named Dr. White. He is later revealed to be Jack The Ripper.

Zari says she was worth $500 million by the time she was 15 and the New York Times called her the most influential influencer of her generation.

John tracks the Loom ring into Dr. White's room. Zari agrees to pose as a patient and distract him while John searches the room. John figures out that he is Jack The Ripper based on his gear and how he tries to kill Zari with a surgeon's scalpel.

The Prognosticator detects all the Encores moving through time and space to converge on a single location. Unfortunately, it crashes before it can determine what that location is. 

When the Prognosticator breaks, Ava decides to go directly to Hell and confront Astra.

John says something is interfering with his magic to keep him from finding the ring.

Another group of guests arrive at the boarding house, led by a man named Clyde Barrow, who is with a woman named Bonnie. This is, of course, the famous robbers Bonnie and Clyde.

Ava puts Charlie and Nate in charge of fixing the Prognosticator, even as they point out that neither of them is really a technical expert.

Gary knows how to work John's "portal to Hell" spell in theory. 

Ava takes Mick and Gary with her to Hell. Mick because she needs some extra muscle. Gary because he's the only wizard she has handy.

Mick is able to locate Astra's club by threatening a random demon on the street.

John realizes that he never told Astra about the Loom of Fate but she must have learned about it somehow to be sending all the Encores after the piece after Zari says it would be overkill to send that many people just to kill John.

John decides to pose as Jack the Ripper to learn what the Encores are up to.

While in Hell, Bonnie and Clyde were personally tortured by Manaxos The Mutilator - a fairly famous demon, by all accounts.

Henry VIII was tortured by the Norfulthing.

The rest of the party includes the notorious pirate Black Ceasar and Roman general Marcus Junius Brutus.

Astra claims to have nothing to do with the Encores currently rampaging on Earth.

Clyde kills Henry VIII.

Zari crashes the dinner gathering dressed as Cleopatra.

Zari, as Cleopatra, convinces the rest of the Encores to work together rather than fight over who gets the ring, even though whoever brings the ring to Lachesis is promised free reign on Earth.

Astra discovers all her soul coins have been removed from her safe. 

Astra's accountant, a demon named Tiberius, is the only other one with access to her safe. He claims Astra told him to remove her coins from the vault last week.

Astra also discovers that her necklace, with John Constantine's soul coin, was replaced with the soul coin of Vandal Savage.

Bonnie kills Brutus. 

Astra pretends to lead Ava to Lachesis, only to hand her over to her own followers and stealing Genghis Khan's sword for herself. 

Black Caesar has a compass that enables him to find whatever treasure he seeks. 

Clyde kills Black Ceasar.

Mick has an appointment to watch Lita play soccer. 

After Zari says that it's like the ring doesn't want to be found, John hits upon the idea that the ring is enchanted to so that anyone who is actively looking for it can't see it. His solution is to get so drunk he doesn't care about anything and then he'll be able to find the ring.

Astra meets Atropos.

Lachesis offers to make Astra the third Fate so they can use the Loom of Fate once they recover it.

Astra agrees to join the Fates, but asks for John Constantine's soul coin. Lachesis agrees.

Bonnie and Clyde discover Jack The Ripper tied up on a closet. He tells them that the "Jack" they met is John Constantine. 

John Constantine's reputation in Hell is such that Bonnie and Clyde have heard of him. 

John sends Zari into a hidden room, promising to hold off the Encores.

Gary tells Ava that she's the best boss he ever had. Of course she is the only boss he ever had.

Astra frees Ava, Mick and Gary, figuring that if John doesn't come through Lachesis will.  When she mentions Lachesis' name, Ava asks Astra to come with them and work to find the Loom directly.

Nate tells Charlie that Amaya did channel an animal once while they were making love. He does not get the chance to tell her which one, however.

Astra is able to use the Air Totem - first to knock Clyde back onto Jack the Ripper's scalpel, then to defect a bullet fired by Bonnie, which ricochets back to hit her. 

Zari and John almost kiss, but then John spots the Loom ring on a side table.

Ava and Nate arrive to save them but find that all the Encores are dead.

Nate, Ava and Zari start gathering up the dropped Hell weapons.

John recognizes the Enchantress through her disguise as Mrs. Hughes. He says he thought she wasn't allowed to interfere any more but she plays dumb.  Later, once John has left, she changes into her true form, and says she'll be seeing John around.

It is revealed that they used John's soul coin to find him since the Prognosticator was broken..


Location

Ancient Egypt
Northumberland County, UK - 2020
Northumberland County, UK - 1910
Hell


The Bottom Line

An enjoyable fit of filler which allows two of the ensemble's more solid performance a chance to play off of each other in a way they haven't had the chance to before. The final twist also puts an interesting spin on the season so far.

Let's Play Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't Dry - Part 1 (NSFW)

In which, after tackling the copyright protection (look it up, Gen Zers) we find ourselves in a familiar old hole - Lefty's Bar - and start discovering how much things have changed in the two decades during which Larry has been absent. But while single's bars have been replaced with dating apps, one thing has not changed - Larry will still flirt with anything with a vagina.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 60

In which, having cleansed New Reno of most of the evils that make it so interesting, we speak with the Wright Family matriarch about cleansing the city of the wicked influence of alcohol - a quest sure to leave you in need of a drink.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 59

In which we take on the Desperado Casino and the Marino Family, along with all the random junkies and pimps that suddenly decide to start attacking us, not realizing that we are men of justice sent to slay the wicked.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 56

In which we clear out the first floor of the Sierra Army Depot in broad daylight and become a Made Man for the Wright Family. We also enjoy the wonders of the New Reno brothel and revel in the decadence of late 90's video-gaming adult content.


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 55

In which we go back and do the Wright quest the RIGHT way (ha-ha) and get a clue that helps speed our inquiries into who is selling tainted Jet, before we start trying to clear out the old Sierra Army Depot.


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Saturday, May 9, 2020

Starman Plays Fallout 2 - Part 54

In which, having escaped from the glitched gate in NCR, we return to New Reno and start endearing ourselves to the Wright Family by seeking out the drug dealer responsible for giving their son tainted Jet. Shame that damned lag beast has found us again! (You can skip to 14:13 to get past it and rejoice that I'm not live-streaming this game on Twitch!)

Thursday, May 7, 2020

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 17 - Liberation

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



Plot

Eva McCulloch makes her move and attempts to escape the Mirror Universe, as Barry begins to realize there's something wrong with Iris. But will the rest of Team Flash believe him? Meanwhile, Ralph and Cisco have to act fast to save Frost and Caitlin.


Influences

Doctor Who: Doomsday (the final scene with Barry and Iris pretty much cribs The Doctor and Rose's separation) and every science fiction story based around robots or aliens replacing someone with a duplicate and only one loved one noticing.


Goofs

How does the Iris clone know that Barry's speed has been draining non-stop over the past week when she hasn't seen him in one week?

Why does Barry set up his presentation in Joe and Cecile's living room?  Why not one of the empty spaces at STAR Labs where he can safely say the Iris clone probably won't  be going?

It strains disbelief that Barry took this long to realize his wife had been replaced, but Bloodwork realizes something is up in less than a minute. 


Artistry

The SFX team outdid themselves with the effects for the broken mirror shards and Iris's razor arms.


Technobabble

Barry says the prismatic filter on Kamilla's camera was somehow able to capture a dimensional shift: things that don't belong in this world.

Barry builds a prismatic scanner that is just a more powerful version of the camera filter.

Nash says that it's possible McCulloch Technologies' reflective-chip technology could create a mirror duplicate when Cecile suggests the possibility. 

Cisco uses Ralph as an improvised set of jumper cables, due to a lack of ionized conductive wiring, to jump-start Caitlin's body.

Mirror duplicates are said to be faster and stronger than the people they are made to resemble.

Bloodwork is held within a special bio-degenerative containment matrix with triplicate back-up protocols, far more advanced than the metahuman holding cells at Iron Heights.

With Bloodwork's blood rubbed on a mirror, Eva can activate the R-CEM in the Mirror World and zap her mirror. Together, this will reconfigure the molecular stability of the dimensional barrier that burns organic matter when it tries to pass from the Mirror World to the real world and allow her to return to reality. 


Dialogue Triumphs

Ralph (seeing Caitlin is awakened from her ice coma) Oh, thank Elsa!


Continuity

Barry, Ralph and Cisco try to activate the artificial Speed Force.  It does not work.

It has been one week since Barry last saw Iris (really the Iris copy) and he refuses to see her when Cecile suggests he come visit her at the Central City Citizen offices.

The Central City Citizen's offices are located on Matz Street.

Eva McCulloch informs the Kamilla and Iris clones that she will be making her move to escape the Mirror World that night.

The Iris clone refers to 518 and how Barry returned Nora West-Allen to her time without consulting Iris first.

The Iris clone tells Cecile she isn't sure how she feels and asks her to read her with her powers. Cecile says that she feels sad and concerned.

When asked about her and Barry, the Iris clone says that she needs to focus on herself right now, after some prompting by the Kamilla clone.

Cecile returns to her and Joe's house to find Barry has barricaded himself into her living room and set up a series of white boards with evidence boxes to prove that Iris isn't Iris.

Barry has determined that the Iris clone is not a doppelganger since those don't exist anymore. He hasn't ruled out her being a shape-shifter or a Plastoid. 

According to Barry, Cisco's binder of metahuman supervillains confirmed that the shape-shifter Everyman (last seen in 119) is alive on Earth-Prime.

Barry makes reference to the Plastoids, who were mentioned by Breacher in 404.

Barry also considers the possibility that the fake Iris might be a Martian, but dismisses that as if she were a Martian, J'onn J'onzz would have sensed her presence and alerted him.

Barry tracked Iris' phone to McCullouch Technologies on the night she disappeared. 

Barry spent the last week gathering evidence that Iris was a fake.

When explaining why he thinks Iris was replaced with a duplicate, Barry cites her suddenly being able to cook good pancakes, hitting a bar bouncer over the head with a bottle and speaking fluent Italian (611) along with her kicking him out.

Caitlin and Frost's apartment number is 301.

Ralph brings Frost a plush polar bear as a get-well-soon present. Cisco brings a portal bi-lab so she can start catching up on her work.

Cisco and Ralph find Caitlin in a semi-frozen state, having apparently put herself into an ice coma as her ice-healing powers stopped working, effectively entering a state of cryogenic hibernation. 

Iris suggests breaking the mirror Eva can control and dissecting it. Eva stops her and then storms off to work in her lab.

Iris examines the mirror and finds a button leading to a secret room behind the mirror.

Barry hacks Iris' computer at the Central City Citizen and finds Kamilla's photo with a Prismatic Filter showing Iris to be something other than human from 614.

The Singh, Kamilla and Iris clones set mirrors up around Iris and Barry's apartment.

The clones refer to each other as brother and sisters and Eva McCulloch as Mother.

Eva needs one more thing to escape and it involves Bloodwork, who was last seen in 608.

Barry lures the Iris clone to STAR Labs, where Cecile and Nash are waiting. He accuses her of being from another dimension.

Iris turns on the computer in Eva's secret room and begins to experience headaches as it shows her images of her being brought into the Mirror Dimension and Eva's argument with Joseph Carver in 616.

Eva is shown to have been watching Iris when her source died in 610.

This prismatic scanner reveals nothing when it is focused on Iris.  

Iris accuses Barry of being a fake, saying the real Barry would have tried harder to come home to her.

When the scanner is focused on Barry, it shows him to be a mirror duplicate.

Cecile puts a pair of power-dampening cuffs on Barry and Nash locks him in a cell in the Pipeline.

Caitlin says her wound ruptured whens he tried to use her ice healing to fix it. 

Caitlin says she thinks she's going to need her mother's help to fix herself.

It is revealed that Eva replaced Barry's prismatic scanner with mirror version of the same device which made Barry look like an mirror duplicate and the Iris duplicate look human.

The Singh Clone gets the Iris and Kamilla clones in to do an interview with Bloodwork.

Bloodwork determines that Iris isn't the real Iris right away, based on the fact that the real Iris would never offer to release him from his cell. 

Bloodwork is familiar with Dr. Eva McCulloch and her work. 

The Kamilla clone shorts out Bloodwork's cell  by throwing herself into the containment field. This causes a power failure.

Bloodwork says he senses that the Iris clone is almost human, maybe something more, and that she has a modicum of free will the other duplicates lack.  

Bloodwork demands to know what the Iris clone wants. She says she wants to be alive. Bloodwork says she is worthy of it and gives him a sample of her blood.

Bloodwork elects to stay in his cell, saying there's more than one way for him to be free and that he's playing a long game.

Cecile lets Barry out of his cell, saying she can't explain why but she trusts Barry and his instincts.

The Iris clone shape-shifts her limbs into razor-glass shards and is able to stab Barry through the mirrors the duplicates arranged earlier.

When the mirrors are broken, the Iris clone is able to stab Barry through all the shards, leaving him bleeding and weak.

Iris is able to disable the Iris clone remotely by upsetting Eva, asking how long it took her to realize her husband had abandoned her. This causes the Iris clone to begin having headaches and gives Barry a chance to rally.

Barry says that the Iris clone had to have been made from part of Iris but that she could be her own person if she chose it.

The Iris clone tells Barry to find Iris and save her before she starts cracking into a pile of shards, saying she feels alive before she dies.

In the real world, Eva can control all mirror shards and teleport through them. She reflexively stabs Barry when he confronts her, but says he isn't much of a threat now.

Eva steps through the mirror and tells Barry to stay out of her way if he wants Iris and the others to live. She says she's keeping them in the Mirror dimension as insurance. 

Eva says she has a whole world to liberate before she escapes. 


The Boomerang Factor

Barry is made to look seven kinds of crazy just to sell the idea that he went nuts in thinking Iris is not Iris, so he is left all alone during the battle with Mirror Master. 


The Bottom Line

Another weak episode. Barry is given the Idiot Ball while simultaneously figuring out what everyone else on the cast close to Iris already knew, but never mentioned to him. Cecile's powers prove totally useless during the one instance they should be incredibly useful. And just when you think it can't get any worse, Bloodwork comes back. Still, at least Eva is out of the mirror and the Iris clone is dead. Unfortunately, due to the shortened season, it seems unlikely we're going to see this pay off in a convincing way since there's only two episodes left this season and next week is a filler piece heralding the return of Godspeed. Meh.