Sunday, February 28, 2021

Starman Plays The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk : The Amulet Of Chaos - Part 61

In which the party remembers the whole reason they came to this dungeon in the first place and we make our way to the Third Floor and the lair of the Dungeon Master Zangdar, to claim the Statuete of.... something unprounoncable and unspellable.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Superman and Lois: Season 1, Episode 1 - Pilot

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


Plot

As Superman, Clark Kent can do nearly anything, but even he finds it hard to balance work, family and saving the world. In the wake of Martha Kent's death, the family travel to Smallville to discover a community in need of heroes and not the kind that wear tights and a cape, as Lois begins investigating a corrupt billionaires connection to some shady land deals and Superman must contend with a Stranger who seems to know all about him.


Influences

Action Comics #1 (several nods to Seigel and Shuster and a tribute to the cover), Superman: The Movie (Clark's background in the Arrowverse, nods to Richard Donner and the general style), Superman For All Seasons (Clark's line about his mom making his costume), the 1978 Firestorm comic (nod to Hudson Nuclear Power Plant) and The Mandalorian (last scene of The Stranger returning to his ship and removing his helmet without letting the audience see his face.)


Goofs

It seems a bit weird that Lois found out about the fire at Shuster Mines from a TV news broadcast rather than by getting called by the Smallville sheriff or some other local authority first. (Presumably the sheriff didn't know how to get a hold of Jonathan and Jordan's parents since they weren't local and Jonathan and Jordan were too shocked to think of calling their parents?) 


Performances


Tyler Hoechlin faced a difficult task stepping into the cape of Superman on a regular basis at a time when passions are burning hot regarding other actors not being given a chance to play the role in another movie or their own television series. It was a burden he shouldered well, however, and his performance here strikes the narrative heart of who Clark Kent is perfectly.

Elizabeth Tulloch made the most of her limited screen time in her previous appearances as Lois Lane and she does the same here. While Lois is largely a background player in this pilot episode, Tulloch perfectly captures the ferocity of the character as she has to be held back from going after the man who fired her husband and the fire chief giving her the usual talking points about what the liberal media believes about small town folks.

Jordan Elsass has a tricky task playing Jonathan, the more together of the Kent boys. He manages to turn Jonathan into a character who may tease his troubled brother, but will be damned if anyone else tries to hurt him.

Alex Garfin faces a similar challenge in portraying Jordan Kent without going over the top in  portraying his anxiety or his anger when he learns about how his parents have been lying to him all his life. 


Artistry


Across the board, the special effects works is of cinematic quality and it sets a new standard for what superhero shows can do.


Super Trivia

Different versions of Superman's origins have had him acquire his powers at different points in time. The Silver Age comics had him flying around as Superbaby and accidentally causing mischief and serving in the Legion of Superheroes as a teenager. More recent retelling have had Clark's powers manifest when he was a teenager. In the case of the Arrowverse, Clark's powers manifested when he was a toddler and he was told about his alien origins when he was 6.

The opening montage reveals that the Arrowverse version of Pa Kent died of a heart attack when Clark was a teenager. The death of his foster father is often a formative moment in Clark Kent's life, teaching him humility and that there are some things even his power cannot prevent. The most famous instance of this was in Superman: The Movie, where Clark was helpless to get his father to a hospital in time to save him.

The costume Superman wears in his first public appearance features a slightly different version of his classic S-symbol, with yellow on a black background. This is a nod to the costume Superman wore in the animated shorts made by Fleischer Studios in the 1940s.

Superman lifting a green car is a visual nod to the cover of Action Comics #1.

Superman's line where he thanks a boy who complements his comment and says his mom made it for him is taken directly from the story Superman For All Seasons.

Clark is guided around the Daily Planet newsroom by an older man on his first day at work. While not identified in the episode, the credit confirm this is Perry White - the long-suffering Editor-In-Chief of The Daily Planet.

When Lois meets Clark for the first time, she asks if Lombard told him to wear a tie to work. This is a nod to Steve Lombard; a former professional American footballer turned writer/editor for the Daily Planet sports department. A boisterous braggart who was fond of practical jokes and thought himself something of a ladies' man, Lombard was a frequent supporting cast member of many Superman comics. Despite his boorish behavior, he did prove himself to have a heroic spirit on several occasions and Clark Kent did consider him a friend.

While warning Clark about Lombard being a prankster, Lois notes that he is good for getting box seats to the Meteors. This leads Clark to note that he loves baseball.  In the comics, thee Metropolis Meteors are a Major League Baseball franchise and part of the National League. The name has also been applied to Metropolis' NFL (American football) franchise.

Jonathan and Jordan Kent mark the first time Superman has fathered twin sons in any medium. He did have twin daughters, Jane and Carol, in the reality of Superman: Secret Identity.

Several versions of Superman's son have been named Jonathan after Clark's adoptive father. In the DC Comics Rebirth reality, Jonathan Kent became Superboy for a time, traveled into the future to be part of the Legion of Superheroes, and returned to the present on the cusp of manhood, not quite a Superman. His destiny following the Dark Nights: Death Metal event has yet to be determined. 

At one point Lois walks past a bank of monitors, one of which broadcasts a story about Superman investigating an explosion at Ace Chemical. This is the name of the chemical factor responsible for transforming The Joker and Harley Quinn into their crazy selves.

Another of the monitors reports on Superman helping a new space shuttle get into orbit after the mounting mechanism broke. This is a neat twist on Superman's first public appearance in 1986's Man of Steel #1, where Clark stepped in to prevent an experimental space plane from crashing. Many Superman origins stories since then have tied Superman's first appearance to his rescuing astronauts. The scene also acts as a subtle reminder that Superman often works just to help people rather than only fighting criminals or averting natural disasters. 

The role of General Sam Lane has been recast for Superman and Lois. Dylan Walsh has taken over the role from Glenn Morshower, who played the role in Supergirl Season 1.

The new post-Crisis General Lane is drastically different from his original counterpart, who was truer to the comics. In the comics, General Lane was a xenophobic man, fearful of aliens, who disliked Clark Kent as being too weak for his daughter.

The new Arrowverse version of General Lane has a more friendly relationship with Clark, planning fishing trips with him and his sons, and calling upon Superman to deal with various disasters.

Both General Lane and Lois are revealed to have pager-like devices that can generate a high frequency alarm only Superman can hear. This is a nod to the classic Superman signal watch, which Superman made for his pal Jimmy Olsen, so he could call Superman whenever he found himself in trouble.

The shot of Superman lifting a giant iceberg seems to have been stylistically inspired by a scene in Superman Returns where Superman lifted an island full of Kryptonite crystals.

Lois makes reference to an editor named Foswell. This is a nod to Samuel Foswell; another Daily Planet editor from the Superman comics.

When Clark checks up on Jordan, he's playing the video game Injustice 2 - a real world video game featuring many DC Comics heroes and villains. (Tellingly, Jordan is playing as the Mortal Kombat character Raiden and beating up Superman, who he feels is boring.) This is not the first time Injustice 2 has appeared in the Arrowverse, as the game was a favorite of Felicity Smoak and William Clayton and the two played it in A606.

A slate board in the Kent kitchen has a note about calling Dr. Donner. This is a nod to Richard Donner, the director of Superman: The Movie.

The board also has a note to call Seigel and Shuster. This is a nod to Jerry Seigel and Joe Shuster, the writer and artist who created Superman in 1938.  Tellingly, the phone number starts with the digits 193-8.

When Lois and Clark first arrive at work, they run into a co-worker whom Lois addresses as Max. This is likely meant to be George Maxwell "Max" Taylor - a longtime editor at the Daily Planet in the comics.

When Lois asks Max what is wrong, he indicates a man named Thorpe who is cleaning out his desk while two security guards watch him. This man is probably meant to be Ronald "Ron" Thorpe; an editorial writer for The Daily Planet who was also a major supporting player and friend of Lois and Clark in the comics.

The role of Morgan Edge has also been recast for Superman and Lois, though Edge does not appear in the flesh in this pilot episode. Adam Rayner will be taking over the role from Adrian Pasdar, who played Morgan Edge during the first half of Supergirl Season 4.

In the comics, Edge was a greedy media mogul who bought the Daily Planet and reassigned Clark Kent to work the broadcast news division of his network, Galaxy Broadcasting System. Though Jack Kirby originally intended to reveal Edge to be a crime boss in the employ of Intergang, the editors of DC Comics elected to keep Edge around as a human adversary and eventual ally to Clark Kent. Post-Crisis, Kirby's original plans were brought to fruition by other writers and Edge became a corrupt businessman in the same mold as Lex Luthor, though one backed by alien interests.

The previous Arrowverse version of Edge was a Trumpian figure; a real estate magnate who tried to buy Catco Worldwide media to stop them from reporting on his crimes. He was thwarted after Lena Luthor bought the company to spite him.

The new Morgan Edge is closer to the original Kirby intent for the character, being a corrupt media mogul who has begun branching into other businesses. It has yet to be seen if he will be a secret crime boss as well. 

The doctor who calls Clark Kent about his mother's stroke is named Dr. Frye. This was also the name of Smallville's town doctor in Superman: The Movie.

The Arrowverse version of Lana Lang is a bank manager who still lives in Smallville and is married to the local fire chief. As with most versions of Superman's background, Lana Lang was Clark Kent's first girlfriend. In a marked difference from most of the modern comics, where Lana Lang was also the first person to learn about Clark Kent's powers apart from his parents, the Arrowverse version of Lana Lang doesn't know that Clark Kent is Superman.

A banner in Clark Kent's old bedroom makes reference to the Smallville Crows; the mascot of Smallville High School, which was first revealed in Smallville.

The Kryptonese language used by the Stranger utilizes the Kryptonese alphabet created for the comics by editor E. Nelson Bridwell. This is a different Kryptonian language than the one utilized in the DCEU, which was created for the movie Man of Steel.

General Lane makes a sarcastic reference to there being a phone booth somewhere in Metropolis that Clark can use to change his costume if The Stranger shows up while he's tending to his mother's affairs. This is a nod to how Superman used to modestly change into his costume in the classic comics.

Lana Lang makes reference to a friend named Pete whom she and Clark went to a Soul Asylum concert as teenagers. This is a nod to Pete Woods, who was Clark Kent's childhood best friend in the comics. 

The reference to Clark being a Soul Asylum fan may be a clever nod to their most popular song, "Runaway Train." Superman is often associated with trains, being "more powerful than a locomotive"' according to the opening of The Adventures of Superman. Superman racing trains or saving trains is a common test of his skills and he did both in Superman: The Movie. The song is also a fair summation of Clark's attitude in this episode, as the song's singer describes feeling uncharacteristically depressed by the changes in their life and that things are going out of control, like a runaway train. The music video for "Runaway Train" is also notable in that it was used to showcase pictures of missing children and led to 26 missing minors being rescued.

When Jordan and Jonathan discover the ship that brought their father to Earth in the Kent barn, a crystal emerges from the ship when Jordan touches it. This is likely a Sunstone - a particularly Kryptonian crystal used as a power source and a construction tool.

Clark confirms that in addition to the classic super-haring and enhanced vision, he also has a sense of super smell. He tries not to use it too often, however, with two teenage boys living in his house.

The truck which Clark lifts to prove that he is Superman is the same model as the truck lifted by a baby Kal-El in Superman: The Movie.

Artist Joe Shuster gets another nod, with the Shuster Mines outside Smallville being named in his honor.

The battle between The Stranger and Superman starts at the Hudson Nuclear Power Planet. This is also the name of the facility where a nuclear reactor accident transformed Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein into the hero Firestorm.


Technobabble

Superman is unable to see through lead with his X-Ray vision.

After his battle with Superman, The Stranger ways he must improve the  tactile function and speed of his armor to have any hope of beating him.


Dialogue Triumphs

Lois: You're worried about Jordan.
Clark: I tried talking to him last night, but he was pretty upset.
Lois: Well, if he knew where you really were... your parents told you about your real heritage when you were six.
Clark: That was... that was different. I lived on a farm. I had powers.
Lois: You don't think Jonathan's got something?
Clark: Test at the Fortress said it was unlikely.
Lois: He's about to be starting quarterback at one of the most competitive high schools in the nation... as a freshman.
Clark: Yeah. Doesn't mean he has powers.
Lois: Have you seen him throw a deep route?!

(Kyle Cushing has been praising Morgan Edge and his plans to revitalize Smallville.)
Lois: Morgan Edge ruins everything he touches.
Kyle: What's he ruined?
Lois:  He is single-handedly destroying the Daily Planet.
Kyle: People quit reading that paper 'cause, uh, you reporters can't keep your politics to yourselves.
Lois: Edge's companies prey on struggling communities. He busts up unions. He barely pays a living wage. I don't understand how he can keep fooling people.
Kyle: Oh, you mean us dumb, backwards, small-town folk?
Lois: No, no, that is not what I meant.
Kyle: I know what you meant. See, people like you, you look at Smallville, and you think of the past, and you feel a little bad for us, right? People like Morgan Edge, though, now, see, he looks at Smallville, and he sees the future.
Lois: It's not a future I would wanna live in.
Kyle: It's a good thing we don't have to worry about that anymore, now, do we?

Lois: When we were dreaming about having a family, it didn't look like this, did it? Didn't have lost jobs or... Teens with severe anxiety or... Parents gone too soon. No one ever dreams about the problems, but every life has them. Even the extraordinary ones.

General Sam Lane: When you wanted to get married, I tried warning you. You may have fallen in love with Clark Kent, but you married Superman. And Superman doesn't get to have a normal life, no matter how much you want one for him. Or yourself.

Clark: Why would my mom want me to come home just to sell the farm?
Lois: I don't think she wanted you to sell it. I think she wanted you to save it.
Clark: How? You know, we're not exactly flush with cash, especially after getting fired.
Lois: I don't know yet. But those reverse mortgages weren't because the bank was feeling generous. You may have super strength and super hearing, but I have super smell, and those loans don't smell right.
(There's a long pause. Clark smiles.)
Clark: I do have super smell, by the way. I just don't use it very often, you know. Not with two teenage boys in the house. Kinda gross.
(Jonathan and Jordan emerge from the barn, rushing the truck looking very upset.)
Lois: Two very upset teenage boys.

(Clark has just revealed his secret identity to his sons.)
Lois: When your father first told me, I didn't understand either.
Jordan: I understand. I understand all the excuses. All the times you were gone, you lied to us. You both did.
Lois: He was saving lives, Jordan.
Jordan: That doesn't make it less true! You lied to protect his secret. All the things I've been feeling. You made me think I was crazy. They put me on pills!
Lois: Your mental health has nothing to do with who your...
Jordan: And how do you know that? I'm half human, half whatever the hell he is!
Clark: Do not yell at your mother, okay? This is not her fault. I'm the one that didn't want you to know.
Jonathan: Why?
Clark: Because I knew what kind of burden it would be if you both had powers. Or worse, if one of you had them, and the other one didn't.
Jordan: You think he's the reason we survived yesterday.
Jonathan: (confused) What are you talking about?
Jordan: Go on, Dad. Go tell Superboy here why he's really so perfect.
Lois: We thought your athletic talents could be latent abilities starting to emerge, and then yesterday...
Clark: The only way that both of you survived that accident is for at least one of you to be like me.
Jordan: You wouldn't have it any other way, would you, Dad?
(Jordan turns around and starts to walk away. Clark tries to follow after him.)
Clark: Jordan!
Jordan: Don't try to talk to me, all right? You may have been sent here to be some hero, but you sure as hell weren't sent here to be a father.
(Jordan keeps walking. Jonathan plants himself between Jordan and Clark and shakes his head.)
Jonathan:
Just leave us alone.

Clark:
Everything I do with the boys just... seems like it blows up in my face. Is Jordan right? A... am I a bad father?
Lois:  Clark...
Clark: Cause right now, I... It feels like it's my fault that this is all falling apart.
Lois: Your life falling apart doesn't mean you're special. It means you're human.

The Stranger: Aren't you curious how I know so much about you, Kal-El? Like me, your home was destroyed. (voice growing angrier) You were sent here as an infant to a world where you'd spend your whole life trying to prove your worth, convince yourself you were one of them. But you're not! You're still that scared, lost child, desperate for the love of people that will never accept you!
(A piece of Kryptonte emerges from The Stranger's gauntlet.)
The Stranger: And the only remnants of your real home... Kryptonite... make you sick.
(The stranger stabs Clark in the chest with the Kryptonite shiv. He begins to fall to Earth.)
The Stranger: Dust to dust. Superman.

(Jordan watches Sarah walk off. Jonathan walks up.)
Jonathan: (jokingly) Well, that didn't look like a total disaster. (seriously) All right?
Jordan: Yeah, yeah, look. Um, Jon, about the powers, uh...
Jonathan: It's all good.
Jordan: Huh?
Jonathan: Yeah. Powers are overrated anyways. Plus this just confirms what I've known to be true all along.
Jordan: Yeah? 
Jonathan: Yeah. My skills on the field are legit.

(The Stranger enters into a complex spaceship. He begins speaking to an artificial intelligence.)
The Stranger: We need to improve tactile function and speed if I'm gonna end this.
AI: We also need Kryptonite. That was the last of your supply.
The Stranger: Then we'll have to go get some.
AI: I'll install the upgrades to your armor right away. Captain Luthor.


Continuity

Clark remembers the day he came to Earth and the first time he saw the faces of his adoptive parents.

Clark's powers manifested when he was a toddler and he threw a toy rocket through a corner of the Kent farm house.

Jonathan Kent died of a heart attack while Clark was a teenager, while attending a harvest festival.

Clark's first grade teacher was named Lois Hannigan,

In a retcon from S509, Lois and Clark got married and had kids far earlier than in the Pre-Crisis Arrowverse. As the pilot opens, Jonathan and Jordan are both 14 and about to start their freshman year in high school.

Clark describes Jonathan as an easy child, always happy and always smiling. A born athlete, he was capable of breaking a rope with a football at a young age.

Clark describes Jordan as a challenging child, prone to fits and night terrors. He was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder a year earlier and is taking medication to treat it. 

Superman averts a nuclear meltdown, following what is described as the second attack on a nuclear facility by an unseen figure who cracked the cooling tower.

Clark hasn't told his sons he is Superman for fear of them not being able to keep the secret. Lois disagrees with him on this, thinking it's better they be honest.

Jonathan has a girlfriend named Eliza.

Jonathan has become the starting quarterback for his high school: something that is quite unusual for a freshman player, as they usually aren't allowed to be on the varsity teams.

Clark missed his therapy session with Jordan due to some unnamed disaster.

Clark was the team manager of the high school football team in Smallville and was duct-taped to a tractor.

Clark is fired from his job at the Daily Planet. Lois blames this on billionaire Morgan Edge, who bought the Daily Planet and has been slashing its budget and slowly phasing out the real journalists and replacing them with click-bait writers. 

Martha Kent dies of a stroke.

At the funeral, Lois and Clark talk to a farmer named Branden, who sold his farm to Oberlee Foods the year before.

Lana Lang is married to Kyle Cushing - the fire chief of Smallville.  They have two daughters, Sarah and Sophie.

Jordan and Jonathan remember playing with Sarah a few summers earlier when they spent the whole summer on the Kent farm.

Kyle Cushing is apparently jealous of Clark's friendship with Lana. According to Sophie, her father got mad when she saw Clark on his wife's Facebook page.

Sarah gives her phone number to Jordan, not Jonathan, astounding them both.

Sarah is a member of the Future Farmers of America

Clark has barely aged since high school, according to Lana.

According to Kyle, more and more people are abandoning Smallville: something that annoys him and something he holds against Clark, who left Metropolis to become a reporter and never came back.

Morgan Edge has apparently made a proposal to the town council of Smallville to buy up their old coal mines and retrofit them to become an alternative energy center.

Kyle views Edge as a great man who sees the potential of small town American while elitist reporters see them as backward places full of hicks.

Ma Kent keeps her wi-fi router hung up in a high point in the barn.

The boys were forbidden from going into the barn on the Kent farm when they were kids.

Clark reveals that before his mother died, he heard her whisper "Come home," but he's not sure what she meant except it wasn't to get him to come to her before she died.

Jordan accidentally upends a collection of steel pipes trying to reset the router. He and Johnathan emerge from the pile with mild concussions but nothing broken. 

General Lane tells Clark that they found two microscopic engravings, both written in Kryptonian, at both of the nuclear sites that were attacked by a figure they identify as The Stranger, who only appeared as a blur on one bit of video footage. Clark translates the inscription as reading "You are not a hero, Kal-El." This indicates that The Stranger knows Kryptonian and his Kryptonian name, which is not widely known information.

Lana reveals that Martha Kent mortgaged her farm to help out other people in Smallville who were in need, as the local bank began offering reverse mortgages to senior citizens at the peak of the farming crisis. The people she helped included the Gordon Family and Margie Kelton.

Lana tells Clark and Lois they can either repay Martha's loan or accept a buyout for the remaining value of the Kent farm.

Jordan and Jonathan discover the rocket that brought their father to Earth in the Kent barn.

Jonathan and Jordan learn their father's secret and are upset about being lied to about it.

Clark has to leave to confront The Stranger at the Hudson Nuclear Power Plant.

The Stranger knows that Superman can't see through lead, which was why he targeted nuclear facilities: to be sure of being able to observe Superman without being seen.

The Stranger claims to have a history with the Last Son of Krypton where he is from and that his world was destroyed, leaving him as the sole survivor, much like Superman and Krypton.

Jordan goes to a rave at Shuster mines with Sarah.

Sarah recognized that Jordan was on medication and advises him not to drink a beer.

Sarah is also on medication and in therapy after stealing some of her mother's pills a year earlier.

Jordan tries to kiss Sarah, just as she's seen by her boyfriend, Sean.

A fight breaks out. Jonathan tries to protect Jordan, but is jumped by several people.

In a moment of panic, Jordan manifests heat vision and blows up the keg. 

The Stranger stabs Superman with a shiv made of Kryptonite, sending him falling to Earth.

Superman is able to pull the shive and stop himself from crashing into a car.

Lois starts investigating the last six years worth of Smallville Community Bank activity.

Jordan admits that he was the one who saved Jonathan by covering him up during their accident. 

Clark promises he will be there from now on to help Jordan control his powers and deal with his anxiety.

Lois discovered that Morgan Edge's company, Galaxy Holdings, took over Smallville Community Bank and started offering up the reverse mortgages that started ruining the town.

Sarah and Jordan agree to stay friends.

The family decide to move to Smallville.

The final scene reveals that The Stranger is a Luthor.


Untelevised Adventures

The montage glosses over most of Superman's early career and how he and Lois fell in love. 

The episode does not make mention of Lex Luthor or Supergirl, presumably so as to be more accessible to new viewers by not burdening them with the history of the Arrowverse or how Superman and Lois' life was changed by Crisis on Infinite Earths.


The Fridge Factor


While Lois never comes off as incompetent, the pilot does focus more on Clark and his emotional state than hers, making her seem like something of a supporting character rather than an equal partner.


The Bottom Line

Apart from not giving Lois Lane much to do as we're introduced to Clark and their sons, this is as perfect an introduction to these characters and the Arrowverse as could be hoped for. With any luck Lois will get more time to shine in future episodes.

Starman Plays The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk : The Amulet Of Chaos - Part 60

 In which we finally catch up with Losax and his minions. Will our heroes triumph? Who will pass out first at the celebratory drinking contest afterward? Will this actually be the last chapter or will that damned time loop start up again?


Friday, February 26, 2021

Superman and Lois Episode Guide - Format Key

For The Superman and Lois Episode Guide, I'll be using a slightly modified version of the same key I use for The Arrow Episode Guide and The Flash Episode Guide, which in turn are based off of what I think is the finest episode guide ever written - Doctor Who: The Discontinuity Guide by Paul Cornell, Martin Day & Keith Topping.


Here is the rundown.

Plot: A quick summary of the main story.

Influences: Specific media which may have inspired or otherwise influenced a particular episode.

Goofs: Holes in the plot, visible wires during the stunts and other things that don't work the way they should.

Performances:
 The actors and their craft - how well the characters are played, ignoring how that character may have been differently portrayed in another story.

Artistry:
 Anything on the technical side of things that is notably well-handled, such as set-design, lighting, sound effects, cinematography, etc.

Super Trivia:
 Random things of interest and references to the comics.

Technobabble:
 Pseudoscience terminology used to justify the unlikely and/or impossible things that sometimes happen in superhero shows.

Dialogue Triumphs:
 Anything the characters say that make you want to put on a cape and fight for justice!

Dialogue Disasters:
 Anything the characters say that make you roll your eyes or snort in disbelief.

Continuity:
 Direct references to previous episodes.

Location:
 Anyplace the story is set apart from the usual locales.

Untelevised Adventures:
 Stories that take place off camera, but are referred to.

The Fridge Factor: 
How badly the female characters on the show are manipulated by the story in order to make the male characters look better.

The Kryptonite Factor:
 How badly are the heroes manipulated to look incompetent and badly trained compared to whatever villain they are facing off against. Named in honor of the infamous element used whenever a Super-writer is having a hard time justifying why the villain is a threat.

The Bottom Line:
 Is it good or bad? Why is it good or bad? How can they make it better/not make it worse?

Starman Plays The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk : The Amulet Of Chaos - Part 59

In which the hunt for the Dungeon Master Zangdar continues and leads us into a battle with demonic poultry. Can the party overcome these fowl fiends?

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 3 - The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter Three: Despite All My Rage...

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

Plot

Jefferson steps in to stop Lala's latest business venture when he discoveres one of his teachers has started a side-gig in an underground fight club, as Anissa continues to care for the comatose Grace. Meanwhile, Gambi starts seeking a way to fight against the next generation of anti-metahuman weaponry, as Jennifer seeks TC's help in establishing a presence for Lightning on social media after she's made to look bad by a conservative news pundit. 


Influences

Rebecca Larsen is a pretty clear parody of Tomi Lahren.


Trivia

The episode subtitle seems to be inspired by a lyric from the Smashing Pumpkins song "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" - "Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage." This is a nod to both the cage fighting that is a major part of the story and Jefferson's feelings. (The song's chorus, "And I still believe that I cannot be saved," is a fair assessment of Jefferson's attitude as well.)

Lynn makes mention of a brother named John who served in the Army. Some theorize this is a nod to John Diggle from the show Arrow. However, there is no real evidence to support this theory.

It seems more likely the reference to Lynn's brother is a knowing nod to John Stewart. It is a common misconception among comic fans that Lynn Stewart is the sister of the Green Lantern John Stewart. While Tony Isabella did give Lynn the last name "Stewart" with the intention of  maybe connecting her to the Green Lantern, he never had the chance to do so during his run on Black Lightning and no other comic book writer ever made the connection either. The only reality where John Stewart and Lynn Stewart are related is in the world of the animated series Young Justice.

The network that employs Rebecca Larsen is GBS. This could be Galaxy Broadcasting System - the same company run by Morgan Edge, which owns The Daily Planet in Superman and Lois.

Grace is reading a Thunder comic in her hospital room in her final scene.

In Georgia, witnesses are not required for a wedding ceremony if the marriage license is filled out by the officiating figure.


Technobabble

The new generation of DEG have a stun setting, so they can be used on regular humans as well as metahumans.. At the highest setting, the new DEGs can knock a hole in the side of a tank.

TC discovers that the new make of DEGS are mostly mechanical and do not have a computer he can talk to. They also have an odd energy signature which Gambi believes is the power source.

The lowest non-stun setting on the new DEG is powerful enough to burn a hole through the original Black Lightning costume. Gambi suspects it might even be able to hurt the costume the ASA made for Jefferson.

The 100 Fight Club uses special filters to hide the identities of its fighters.

While Jennifer can supercharge her powers and heal quickly by entering the ionsphere, she suffers a "crash" several hours later.


Dialogue Triumphs

Jefferson:
I can't be the man that I was. He thought he could... change the world. I can't live with the... decisions that I made being him. 

Jefferson: (To Lynn) Ten years ago you asked me to stop being Black Lightning. I did. Hypocrisy looks good on you.

(Jennifer is complaining about Rebeca Larsen making her look bad.)
Anissa: Jen, you are a little OC with your powers. I keep telling you, if you trained a little more, you'd have more control. Less property damage. No nicknames.
Jennifer: Says the woman who leaves giant cracks in the street just by landing dramatically. You can just walk, Anissa.

(Jefferson walks into Gambi's lab and sees him dissecting the new DEG. His face is bruised.)
Jefferson: Do I want to know how you go tthat?
Gambi: Same way you got this. (points to his face indicating Jefferson's bruises) Doing things we shouldn't'.

(Lynn has walked into a restaurant to find Tobias Whale waiting for her instead of Jefferson.)
Tobias:
Forgive my ruse. But I knew you wouldn't attend on my account alone, so I kept my not vague. But please, feel free to order whatever your heart desires.
Lynn: I'd rather break bread with Judas.
Tobias: Fair enough. Though I'd be remiss if I didn't recommend the cognac shrimp. 


Continuity


Jefferson has a reoccurring dream of Tobias Whale breaking into his house and threatening him and Jefferson being powerless to fight him.

The 100 are now sponsoring an underground fighting arena that is almost entirely virtual, with people placing their bets on-line and no live audience watching the fights.

Lala kills Lydell Green, the child killer from 402, and his face becomes a tattoo on the back of Lala's right hand.

Lynn tests Jennifer's regeneration abilities by giving herself her powers while taking a bath. 

Rebecca Larsen, a conservative media pundit with a show called The Larsen Line, runs a segment showing highly edited footage of Jennifer, calling her Lethal Lightning, suggesting she was responsible for causing the property damage that put one local man out of business.

The scroll on GBS news notes that one missing girl in Freeland hasn't been seen for three days and that 13 girls have gone missing within the past month.

A sign in the hall at Garfield High promotess a vigil for George Floyd.

Jefferson sees Marcel Payton, the teacher who lost his son in 402, and notes that he is bruised. Payton claims he's got a night job as a bounder.  Jefferson follows him and discovers that he is fighting in Lala's fights.

Grace awakens from her coma.

TC is now going to Garfield High.

Jennifer asks TC to help her find who filmed her fight in 402.so she can get the unaltered footage on-line. He reluctantly agrees and points her to Terry Andrews.

Lynn is currently teaching night school classes at Garfield High School.

Lynn's parents served in the military, as did her brother. She was discouraged from following them because her grades were good enough she could get into college on a science scholarship.

Lynn has always felt like an outside even in her own family. She concludes that her issues with Jefferson and her daughters come from the same feeling of trying to fit in where she doesn'tbelong.

Lynn's therapist advises her to just be herself and not worry about fitting in and own her own gifts.

Devonte knows Jefferson by sight.

Mayor Black has a meeting with Tobias. He makes it clear that while he will play nice in public, he has no delusions as to who Whale is.

Mayor Black refuses to go along with Tobias' offer to finance a new hospital with the condition that it be built where Garfield High School is.

Jennifer discovers that Terry Andrews is just a kid.

Terry is a Lightning fan boy and apologizes for selling his footage to Rebecca Larsen, saying he wouldn't have if he'd known she was going to tear Lightning down. 

Terry agrees to upload the full footage on-line in exchange for a selfie with Lightning and her following him on his social media. (He originally asks for a photo of her kissing him, but agrees that's too much.)

Jefferson challenges the ringer Lala brings in to beat Marcel and wins.

Jefferson offers his childhood home to Marcel along with his winnings from the fight. Marcel takes most of the money, but offers part of it back to Jefferson as "the first month's rent" on the house.

Lynn receives flowers and an invitation to dinner. She assumes it is from Jefferson, but it's actually from Tobias Whale.

Gambi and Jefferson talk about the new DEGs. Gambi reveals that he stole one from Monovista and has been taking it apart trying to figure out how to defend against it.

Tobias tells Lynn that his sister had ALS and that while it was cured by the same people who experimented on him, it had some nasty side effects. To that end, he's willing to finance her clinic for the next 10 years if she devotes herself to curing ALS. 

Curiously, Tobias' pitch to Lynn uses the same phraseology as her therapist, saying that she should just be herself.

TC uses his powers to create unhackable verified accounts for Lightning on all the major social media platforms. 

Anissa and Grace's marriage license from a year earlier is still good.

Anissa paid $20 for Dr. Darius Morgan to become ordained to do weddings in the stage of Georgia.

Anissa and Grace are married.

The episode ends with Jefferson arriving at the restaurant and seeing Lynn having dinner with Tobias.


The Bottom Line

A welcome return to form after last week. After treading water and not much seeming to change for the span of an episode, all the storylines jump forward and we get to see everyone being active instead of passive, including Jefferson proving he can do good without putting on a costume; something it didn't seem he believed was possible anymore. 

Starman Plays The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk : The Amulet Of Chaos - Part 58

In which we hunt down the treacherous tavern manager Mel Boots only to find he's assembled an band of mercenaries that are equal and opposite to our own band of stalwart adventurers. Hopefully that means they're just as unlucky and incompetent.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Batwoman Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 5 - Gore On Canvas

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

Plot

The new Batwoman is approached by Commander Kane and Sophie Moore about locating a piece of art that leads the way to Coryana... and Kate Kane. Ryan is reluctant to return to her criminal past, but Luke and Mary push her to agree. Meanwhile, Alice locates the mysterious Ocean and learns that there may be parts of her past on Coryana she doesn't remember.


I
nfluences


Marc Andreyko's run on Batwoman (character of Wolf Spider)


Goofs

The CGI of Wolf Spider in the opening scene is really cheap.


Performance


Again, Rachel Skarsten steals the show.


Bat Trivia

Ethan Blake aka Wolf Spider is an villain from the comics who first appeared in Batwoman (Vol. 2)  #26 and was created by writer Marc Andreyko and artist Jeremy Haun. Wolf Spider was an art thief who first encountered Batwoman while stealing a series of paintings by a Depression era artist which formed a map to a cache of stolen money. Wolf Spider was revealed to have been hired by the grandson of the robber baron from whom the money had been stolen. However, when his client was killed and the truth about the money revealed, Wolf Spider elected to dispose of the blood money in Slaughter Swamp.

The Ethan Blake of the Arrowverse seems to be a similarly minded thief and something of a Robin Hood figure, who attempts to steal the Napier painting to spite the rich jerks paying tribute to a famous serial killer and uses his Banksy-style art crimes to mock the elites of Gotham City. He has no superpowers, but is a skilled acrobat and a master of parkour. 

The idea of Joker's real name being Jack Napier and him going through an artist phase is a nod to the version of The Joker played by Jack Nicholson in the 1989 Batman movie.


Technobabble


Luke runs a spectral analysis to find the original map under The Napier.

According to Mary, Evan Blake's injuries include a distal femur fracture, a dislocated elbow, a minor concussion and a nicked femoral artery.


Dialogue Triumphs

Sophie: Look. I don't know where you got this idea that all Crows are bastards, but some of us are trying to make a difference. 
Batwoman: Well, in my experience, when the crows fly together, they call it a murder for a reason.

(Ryan is sitting on the balcony looking at the city. Luke comes and takes a seat next to her.)
Luke:
So. Crows horror stories. You want me to go, or...Do you want to do your first?
Ryan: My girl Angelique had a drug habit, and on a very ugly night, she was gone, like a different person, so I found her stash, and I took it, thinking I could somehow straighten her out, bring her back. I'm on the street, crying, no question what kind of night I'm having, and I pass these two Crows, and one of them yells out, "You'd be cuter with a smile on your face." And my Mama told me what to do about it. I... pay them no mind and keep moving, but they... they wouldn't let me go, so my hand went out, my finger went up, and boom, those Crows had what they wanted.
Luke: They found the drugs and thought they were yours.
(Ryan nods softly.)
Luke: Sorry that happened to you.
Ryan: What was yours?
Luke: Um... The Crows... Killed my father.
Ryan: Wait. What?
(She looks at Luke who is clearly struggling to hold back the tears or the urge to scream.)
Ryan: Really?
Luke: Really. It's, uh, not a story for today, but, um... It's the worst thing that ever happened to me.
(Without a word, Ryan scoots closer to Luke and puts an arm around him, leaning her head onto his shoulder.)
Ryan: I should have let you go first.
Luke: Look. I will never forgive them, and I don't want to help the Crows either, but we need them to help us. 

Alice: Shall I explain?
Ocean: I do wish you would.
Alice: Some lunatic on a far-away island is holding my sister hostage, and she won't hand her over until I gut you and air mail the evidence.
Ocean: This woman got a name?
Alice: Enough women want you dead I need to be specific? 

Alice: I have spent more years of my life in captivity than any elephant in the Gotham Zoo. The key to surviving... Keep yourself entertained.
Ocean: Rough childhood?
Alice: You could say I come by my abandonment issues honestly, yeah.

(Alice and Ocean have just killed the three assassins sent for them with style, trashing the motel room in the process.)
Alice:
 Hey. Do you have any cash? We should probably leave the maid a tip.
Ocean: You're dark.
Alice: Shouldn't have doubted me. 


Continuity

Jacob Kane learns that the Napier painting Kate was researching  is in the possession of a group of art snobs called The Collective, which is made up of the richest people in Gotham City, including many of his clients. They are said to hold regular meetings where they buy, sell and trade forbidden art items.

Garrett Hall, the man who tells Jacob about The Collective, is killed by a man armed with a spear. Batwoman subdues the man before he can kill Jacob. Hall was an investment banker at Gotham Cpital with no criminal record, according to Luke Fox. 

Kane asks for Batwoman to hand the man over to him. She refuses.

A mysterious prankster artist known as Wolf Spicer climbed to the top of Gotham Century Tower and painted an emoji on the top of the building.

There are rumors in the Gotham Press that the new Batwoman is working with The Crows, after having been seen with Jacob Kane for the second time is as many nights.

Ryan and Angelique are apparently back together.

Ryan has not told Angelique that she is the new Batwoman yet.

It is revealed that Angelique had a drug problem when she and Ryan were last dating and that Ryan took her stash in a bid to force her to get clean. It was while carrying Angelique's drugs to dispose of them that she was caught by the Crows and set up on a drug dealing charge. 

Angelique claims that she is now clean and has turned her life around.

Angelique offers Ryan a make-up present - one of a set of matching bracelets. She keeps the other bracelet for herself.

Angelique sees the wound Ryan acquired in 201. It is getting worse and is now turning green.

Mary treats Ryan's wound, giving her antibiotics. Ryan claims she has no symptoms apart from feeling more tired than usual. After hearing that, Mary gives Ryan two of a special painkiller that Kate swore by.

Ryan is not on Twitter.

Ryan asks Mary not to tell Luke about her wound or her feeling sick, because she's tired of Luke's judgmental attitude towards her.

Ryan wants to starve the spearman from Coryana but Luke says that will take too long and suggests working with The Crows as they're better at questioning hardened criminals. 

Sophie and Jacob interview Ethan Blake - a fixture in the Gotham art scene who was caught with plundered artifacts several years earlier and forced to pay restitution. 

Blake was friends with Kate Kane as a teenager. They went to Gotham Preparatory Academy together.

Kate helped Blake to out himself in 8th Grade by agreeing to be his date to a dance and then trading clothes with him, so that he arrived at the dance wearing one of her dresses. 

Blake was senior editor at the Gotham Museum of Antiquities and curates his own private collections.

Blake knows the legend behind the painting known only as The Napier. The story is that The Joker broke into the home of some rich person and started slashing them to ribbons, spraying blood over an old oil painting. Inspired, The Joker painted over the painting using the blood and guts of his victim. Somehow, the painting disappeared from the crime scene and has been bouncing around the Gotham underground ever since.

Blake denies being part of The Collective and tells Sophie and Jacob that there will be lawyers present if they want to talk again.

Jacob tells Sophie to start spying on Blake. She suggests it might be easier if they try to work with Batwoman. 

Alice tracks Ocean to the Burnside Motel and finds him in the hotel bar.

Sophie uses the Bat-Signal to contract Ryan and pitches her idea. Ryan is against it, but says she'll consider working with The Crows and letting them have the spearman.

Wolf Spider is shown to be listening in to the talk between Batwoman and Sophie.

Ryan tells Luke and Mary she doesn't want to work with the Crows, especially Sophie, given how they tried framing her for multiple crimes.

Luke tells Ryan about how The Crows killed his father and covered the crime up for years, so he understands why she hates them, but they have to think of the greater good this time.

Sophie and Jacob begin to question the spearman under Ryan's supervision. He uses a cyanide capusel to kill himself before answering any questions.

Ryan agrees to help The Crows infiltrate a meeting of The Collective they have learned about, but only if Sophie is in charge of the team, with no Crows on site and no surveillance of the location.

Ocean tells Alice that he's a soil technician and that he grew up in nature with his family cultivating all they needed to survive. 

Alice follows Ocean back to his room but he knocks her out.

Alice sleeps through half the next day.

Ocean reveals that he is Safiyah's brother.

Mary helps Ryan pick out an outfit and get made-up for the Collective event, which is to be held at a private hangar.

Mary had a rivalry with Evan Blake because they were both trying to get her attention before Evan realized he was gay.

Ryan is able to buy her way into the auction by trying to sell one of Batwoman's batarangs.

Ryan's cover is almost blown because new people are only supposed to come to The Collective as the guest of known member. Thankfully, Angelique is there to claim Ryan as her "plus one."

Evan Blake is gender fluid.

Angelique is at The Collective event as a drug dealer. She claims to have not lied to Ryan because she is clean and doesn't use drugs herself anymore.

Ryan lets it slip that she is gay to Sophie Moore over their comms.

The Napier is revealed to have been painted over an ocean current map rather than an oil painting.

Luke tries to scan the painting remotely but says he'll need the painting in person to find the map. This means Ryan will have to steal the Napier somehow.

Ocean does not recognize Alice, despite claiming to have been on Coryana at the same time she was.

Ocean then has a flashback where he argues with Safiyah about getting what she wants and that upsetting her.

Luke hides the Bat-Suit inside a tampon dispenser at the airstrip. 

Wolf Spider steals The Napier before Ryan can get it.

Ryan is momentarily disabled when the pain in her shoulder from her wound gets worse.

The Crows officers chasing Wolf Spider hit him with their truck, take the painting and leave him for dead.

Ryan saves Wolf Spider and finds out he is Evan Blake.  She takes him to Mary's clinic.

According to Ocean, the cardinal law of Coryana is no outsiders, which makes Alice's story of having been invited to come there after impressing Safiyah very unusual if true.

Sophie says that The Crows who left Wolf Spider for dead have been fired. Ryan doesn't care.

Ryan says she will never work with The Crows again and urges Sophie to quit the group.

The Napier painting is revealed to be a forgery, made with pigs blood.

Ryan's wound is getting worse.

Alice has another flashback while fleeing with Ocean, in which she sees herself kissing him.

Ocean is revealed to have the real Napier painting.


Untelevised Adventures


Apparently Alice and Ocean were romantically involved and both had their memories erased.

The Bottom Line

A filler episode, but an amusing one, which does a lot to develop Ryan and her relationships with the rest of the cast. Of course Alice steals the show again and, ironically, is the only one who makes any progress on the quest to find Kate Kane.

Starman Plays The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk : The Amulet Of Chaos - Part 57

In which we take a goblin steamship and continue clearing the top floor of the dungeon, which we were probably meant to do before now. Oh well...

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Starman Plays The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk : The Amulet Of Chaos - Part 56

In which, after solving that damned riddle, we stumble across another puzzle and a fight with the undead. Is 100% completion really worth this frustration? I hope so, because we're also going up to the unexplored top floor of the dungeon and fighting a bunch of steampunk goblins!

 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Starman Plays The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk : The Amulet Of Chaos - Part 55

In which, after failing to disarm the same trap a few times and failing to solve the riddle of this one magic door we overlooked, and running out of book collections to shelve, we finally get back to our main quest... only to be distracted by another side quest to help some rich jerk get his coat repaired.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 2 - The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter Two: Unacceptable Losses

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

Plot

Lynn grows more concerned for Jefferson and his inaction, as the war between The 100 and the Kobra Cartel rages on. Meanwhile, Anissa grows closer to a new co-worker, Lynn becomes bolder in her own vigilantism watching Jennifer's back and Tobias throws down the gauntlet.


Goofs


The summary for this episode made mention of a subplot where Jennifer became interested in a new boy at Garfield High. No such subplot appears in this episode. In fact, Jennifer is never seen at school in the episode and it's suggested she's skipping classes completely. 

The cliffhanger at the end of last week's episode where Jennifer seemed to be falling to her death is not referenced in this episode and apparently amounted to nothing.

Anissa is oddly nonplussed by Grace shape-shifting into an apparently awake leopard after having been in a coma for a year. Has this been happening often? Is she only awake in the leopard form? Does she lapse back into a coma when she changes back to her human form? This really needed to be better explained.

How do Jennifer and Lynn, who are at home, get to the scene of the shooting before Anissa, who was just around the corner from it? They can fly fast, but not THAT fast.


Artistry


The show's use of music continues to be one of its best features, with this episode opening ironically with War's "Why Can't We Be Friends" as we see Freeland being torn apart by gang violence. 


Technobabble

DEGs or Directed Energy Guns are special weapons that can negate most metahuman abilities. The Freeland Police have just been outfitted with the latest DEGs for use against metahuman vigilantes.

The new wave of DEG are 600% more lethal than the last generation. 

Tobias has a new longevity serum which also grounds him, making him immune to Black Lightning's powers. Presumably it also would protect him from Lighting. 

Jennifer can accelerate her healing by flying into the upper atmosphere and taping the electrical energy in the air around her.

The principle of entanglement is a physics principle which notes that particles which are connected remain linked, regardless of distance when separated.. 

According to Lynn's research, the metagenes respond to different environmental influences, including other genes, which could be a variable in determining what powers a person may develop.


Dialogue Triumphs

Tobias: Chaos has always been my friend.

(Jefferson is leaving the school. It is late. Tobias is waiting in the parking lot.)
Tobias:
Finally.
(Jefferson throws lightning at Tobias reflexively. It does nothing.)
Tobias: (deadpan but smiling) Ouch. Are you finished? I had my serum tweaked to insulate my skin, so that was like doo-doo off a duck's back. If I was you, I'd calm down, Jefferson. It's dark outside, but anyone could see us right now. Don't blow your cover, big dummy. I just stopped by to say I haven't forgotten.
Jefferson: What?
Tobias: I haven't forgotten all the stress and strife you've caused me over the years. I also haven't forgotten that you cost me my sister's life.
Jefferson: No. No, that was all you. I haven't forgotten that you murdered my father. So, no matter what everybody else thinks, I know who you are.
Tobias: Hmm. I know who and what you are, too. And I have to wonder why I haven't seen your blistering Black ass playing dress-up lately.
Jefferson: I don't need a suit to kick your ass, so let's go.
Tobias: (chuckling) I'm a captain of industry now, Jefferson. A philanthropist, for God's sake. I can't be out here tussling in a parking lot with some thug. But that's the spirit. See, I'm gonna take away each and every thing you love. But it's no fun if you don't fight back.
(Tobias walks away laughing.)

Jefferson: Everywhere I look lately, it seems like I see things I shouldn't. People dead who shouldn't be. Bad people just getting away with whatever they want. I can't do anything about it/


Dialogue Disasters


Lynn's reaction to finding Jefferson passed out on the porch and calmly asking if he is alright. This is even stupider when you consider that she's a medical doctor.


Continuity

Lady Eve is confirmed to be the leader of the Kobra Cartel, but nobody has seen her in a year. Destiny is her underboss and seems to be running the day-to-day operations of the gang.

Lala is officially recognized as the leader of The 100, with Devonte Jones as his right-hand man.

Monovista International is the company which has the contract to produce DEGs for the Freeland police.

Lala sends a group of men to disrupt one of Lady Eve's VIP poker games. Only the driver mades it back alive.

Lala orders Devonte to acquire some of the new next-gen DEGs the police are buying.

Jefferson passes out on the porch after venting his electricity in the middle of the night in a fit of rage. Lynn doesn't find him until the next morning.

The Pierce Family address is given as 7 Floyd Lane, Freeland, GA 30317

Going through the mail, Lynn finds a final notice for registration for the SAT's addressed to Jennifer.

Jennifer admits that she hasn't registered for the SAT or ACT yet.

Darius is a new doctor working with Anissa who flirts with her until she tells him she's a lesbian. She is not offended by the flirting, however, and does agree to go out for a drink as friends since he's still getting to know people in Freeland, having just moved there.

Tobias Whale has a new bodyguard and a new AI named Katie who oversees his smart office.

Tobias works with a realtor named Val, who helps him acquire 18 blocks in the Browning neighborhood. He does not plan to develop this land, saying the chaos of the region suits his purposes.

The hospital Lynn and Anissa are working at now is identified as the Center for Gene Therapy and Genetic Research.

Tobias is easily able to hack the computers at the Center for Gene Therapy and Genetic Research.

Lynn and Jefferson start seeing their therapist separately instead of together.

Lynn realizes she doesn't have any friends or hobbies outside of her work. 

Tobias confronts Jefferson in the parking lot at Garfield High and tells him that he will be coming after him eventually, but first he intends to destroy everything Jefferson loves.

Grace shapeshifted into her leopard form in her sleep.

Anissa has not been going out as much as she used to.

Darius had a dog named Rusty he had to put down recently. He was 14 years old and been with Darius since he was 8 weeks old.

Anissa gets a notification of a shoot-out around the corner from the bar, on 3rd and Harper. She tries to go to change into Thunder but is stunned when Darius wants to come with her, thinking she meant doctors might be needed to treat the wounded.

Jennifer tells Lynn she's thinking of not going to college, seeing the work she does as Lightning as far more important.

Gambi is not on the radio as Jennifer approaches the shoot out.

Lynn gives herself wind powers to watch Jennifer's back when she goes into a fight. 

Jennifer is able to get most of the 100 and Kobra gang members to drop their guns and run.

Lynn sneaks up on the one gang member who tries to sneak up on lightning and knocks him down. Lightning, in turn, shocks him after he nearly shoots Lynn.  In the process, Jennifer is impaled on a piece of broken glass.

Lynn tries to call Gambi for help, but he still isn't answering the radio.

Gambi is revealed to be at dinner with Laura, who admits she had a crush on him when they were younger. She offers him another job with Monovista. He once again turns it down, saying he was only going out with her because of his interest in her - not the job.

Anissa and Darius run into Marcel Payton - a teacher at Garfield High. His van was caught in the crossfire of the shootout and his son shot.

Jefferson is at home with Lynn returns. She lies about a head injury she acquired during the firefight.

Lynn admits to Jefferson that she's been using her metaboosters to go out and watch their children when they were fighting crime because he isn't Black Lightning anymore. 

Jefferson accuses Lynn of trading one addiction for another after accusing him of being addicted to his powers.

Darius and Anissa are unable to save the wounded boy.

The next day at work, Darius is deeply disturbed by the boy's death

Jefferson meets with Marcel Payton and learns that he's been homeless for a year, since his home was destroyed after the War for Freeland. He was unable to find a new home since rent shot up after the War for anyone on a teacher's salary. Worse yet, CPS took the rest of his kids.

Jefferson confronts Gambi over his absence. Gambi explains that he was investigating the next generation of DEGs being made by Monovista and working on a defense against them.

Gambi refuses to research which 100 gang member is responsible for shooting Marcel Payton's son.

Gambi breaks into Monovista and hacks their computers in person. 

Anissa and Jennifer confront Lynn on her playing hero and tell her to stop. 

Gambi meets with Laura again and agrees to take a job in the R&D wing of Monovista.

Anissa, as Blackbird, calls a meeting of The 100 and Kobra Cartel leadership. She calls for them to recognize a certain park as a safe space for homeless people and keep their people out of it.  They both agree. The area becomes known as the Blackbird Zone.

Lynn gives herself telekinesis to respond to an incident in Blackstone Square.

Jefferson calls TC, who helps him find the 100 shooter.

TC identifies the shooter as a man named Lydell Green, who lives on East 23rd Street.

The episode ends with Jefferson breaking into the home of the shooter and beating him up.


The Bottom Line

Another lackluster episode which addresses some things that should have been explained in the premiere last week. The most maddening aspect of it all is how out of character it seems for Jefferson to be sitting on the sidelines in both his roles as things get progressively worse in Freeland. It's almost as if the writes couldn't think of any storyline for him other than a sudden crisis of faith, which, while well acted by Cress Williams, isn't all that exciting to watch and seems outright confusing given all the other subplots.

Batwoman Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 4 - Fair Skin, Blue Eyes

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

Plot

As the new Batwoman fights against the False Face Society and the proliferation of their Snakebite drug across Gotham City, a chance encounter forces Ryan Wilder to confront an unpleasant part of her past. Meanwhile, the friends and family of Kate Kane confront the idea she's still alive somewhere, leading to a number of unexpected alliances and betrayals. 


Influences

Batwoman: Rebirth (character of Safiyah Sohail)


Performance


Linda Kash, who is best known for her comedic performances and voice work, turns in a truly terrifying performance as The Candy Lady, purely because of how sweet and kindly she does seem despite being a vicious child trafficker. The fact that this sort of person exists in the real world and the unspoken question of just how many children she made disappear over the two decades she was at work before Ryan stopped her only adds to the horror of the episode.

Javicia Leslie does some fantastic silent acting as she expresses Ryan's terror at confronting her childhood abuser and the anger she feels as she overcomes that fear and steels herself for the sake of a lost boy.


Artistry

The flashback sequences set in Ryan's childhood are suspenseful and terrifying, seeming more like something from American Horror Story than a superhero show.


Bat Trivia


The day-glow mask worn by the False Face drug dealer Ryan chases in the opening scene looks a lot like the mask worn by the Flash villain Murmur in the comics. However, the Arrowverse version of Murmur (last seen in A417) did not wear a mask.

It should be noted that Ghost Kid, Ryan's favorite superhero, is not a previously established DC Comics character.

Eagle-eyed viewers will note that the Free Comics rack at Hero Galaxy Comics in the modern day holds a copy of Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion #6. This suggests that the Green Lantern Corps exist in some form in the post-Crisis Arrowverse and may be known to the people of Earth, even if they are presumed to be fictional characters. (Or that the props master wasn't careful about what books they put on the rack. But it's more fun to think this is setting something up!)

The rack also contains Looney Tunes, Claw the Unconquered and Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth comics - all series published by DC Comics.


Technobabble


Snakebite is a party drug which took its name from the dual-pronged injector needles that distribute the drug. Delivering a dose of "fantasy and fright," Snakebite is a mixture of psychedelic mushroom oil and Scarecrow's fear toxin. It is as lethal as it is addictive.

The Batmobile is equipped with a bolo-style towing rope, capable of non-violently snaring a running person.

According to Luke, Coryana must have the most advanced blocking technology on Earth, as it does not show up on any satellite maps of Earth.


Dialogue Triumphs


(Luke annoys Mary with his belief Kate is still alive, based on Sophie's testimony.)
Mary: Yeah, and the person who told Sophie that Kate is alive is named Alice, And Alice heard it from some mystery woman named Safiyah, Who just hired a hitman to try and kill me! So we are playing a game of Telephone with a bunch of homicidal women.

(Sophie finds Alice in her kitchen, cooking breakfast.)

Sophie: What the hell are you doing in my condo?
Alice: Sampling the products in your guest bath. (winces) Of course your theme is lavender.

(Alice is disappointed in how bad Sophie is at searching for information.)
Alice: In hindsight, I don't know why I thought you could help me figure out who this person is, considering you didn't even know you were swapping spit with your former flame. 

(Ryan goes to confront The Candy Lady)
Mary: Wait. Aren't you gonna suit up?
Ryan: No. She needs to see my face.
Mary: Well, how can I help?
Ryan: You can clear out my bedroom, Which you're currently using as your walk-in closet.

(Alice is raiding Sophie's fridge.)
Alice: Do you have anything with actual calories in here? 
Sophie: There's rat poison under the sink.
(Alice licks the bell pepper she was holding and puts it back in the fridge once Sophie isn't looking.)

(Ryan is bound and dazed from the drugs, recalling the last time she was locked in the attic room and how Angelique and she escaped before.)
Young Angelique:
C'mon Ryan! We've got to go before she wakes! Ryan! Ryan, you've got to fight this! Fight!
(Young Angelique glances at the unconscious Candy Lady. Inspired, she tries something else.)
Young Angelique:
Fight like Ghost Kid would fight! Remember when he lost his lame-ass invisibility and everyone kept throwing crap at him, but he kept fighting anyway? Ryan! Get up!
Young Ryan: (smiling softly as she stirs) You read Ghost Kid?
(Young Angelique smiles as the flashback fades back to the adult Ryan as she shakes off the drug and begins straining against her bonds.)


Continuity


Ryan experiences a twinge of pain that makes her space out while chasing a drug dealer. This is caused by the wound she acquired in 201, which still has not healed.

While questioning the drug dealer, Ryan hears a nearby alarm go off. This alarm was revealed to have been set off by a young boy, who was hoping to get Batwoman's attention since he couldn't get to the bat-signal. He tells Ryan about his older brother, Kevin Johnson, who disappeared between home and school three months earlier.

Jacob Kane offers a $1 million cash reward for information on Kate's whereabouts. This is said to be the largest reward for a missing person's case in Gotham City history.

Mary is still skeptical about Kate being alive, despite what Sophie apparently told them, given that the source of the information is Alice.

Ryan asks Mary to help her with finding Kevin Johnson.

Kevin Johnson is a black male foster kid who has been in Juvenile Detention. Ryan says this is probably why the police have not spent much time looking for him.

Ryan used to live in a group home in the same neighborhood as Kevin when she was a teenager; Wayside Heights, AKA Wasteside. This was several years before she was adopted.

Ryan's adoptive mother's name was Cora Wilder.

When she was 12, Ryan's favorite color was yellow and her favorite animal was the snow leopard. 

Ryan liked comic books and her favorite hero was Ghost Kid, because his only power was being invisible, which was how Ryan felt most of the time.

Ryan befriended another girl who agreed to watch her back in exchange for Ryan opening their bedroom window to let her back in after she snuck out. This girl is later revealed to be Ryan's ex-girlfriend, Angelique Martin.

Mary had no idea that Ryan was living in a van.

Mary loves vintage vans.

Hero Galaxy Comics is a comic shop in Wayside Heights which Ryan frequented as a kid. It is still around in modern day Gotham. It has a rack of free comics on the street for poor kids to take.

Ryan was apparently a fan of Looney Tunes comics as well as Ghost Kid.

When Ryan was 12, she was abducted by a woman known as The Candy Lady, who lured children into her van with candy and comics, broke their wills and sold them to gangs. Ryan theorizes the same woman may have taken Kevin Johnson.

Sophie lives in a condo that is large enough to have a guest room and guest bathroom.

This episode takes place 2 days after the events of 203 and Alice and Sophie's return from Coryana.

Alice reveals that the task Safiyah asked her to complete involves tracking down a man callled Ocean. She suggests that she and Sophie work together to do this.

Jacob Kane puts an Crows agent named Whelan in charge of tracking down the Jack Napier painting mentioned in 203. It was apparently stolen from an active crime scene and is now bouncing around the black market. 

The Candy Lady locked Ryan in an attic room with a jar full of 60 jellybeans. She removed one bean for every day that passed, claiming Ryan could go home as soon as someone came looking for her. This preyed upon what Ryan said was the worst fear of every foster child - that they wouldn't be missed and nobody cared about them.

Ryan did have one moment of hope during her captivity when a group of volunteers from Gotham University came to the house looking for a missing girl. That hope was dashed when she heard the description of the missing girl: "Fair Hair. Blue Eyes" Last seen wearing a red-stone necklace.  

Mary realizes the missing girl the volunteers were looking for was Beth Kane, which inspires her to retrieve the records Kate kept regarding every search party that looked for her sister to see where they hadn't checked.

This establishes Ryan Wilder as being a year younger than Beth and Kate Kane, who were 13 at the time Beth and Ryan both disappeared.

According to Alice, Coryana is not big on last names.

Alice claims that the only reason she wants to work with Sophie is because she's equally driven to find Kate; not because she's particularly talented or even competent. 

Mary is now living in the loft above Kate's bar, as it made the commute to manage the bar easier and Kate had plenty of room.

Mary offers to let Ryan move into the spare bedroom of Kate's loft. She accepts.

Angelique rescued Ryan from The Candy Lady by letting herself get captured. Ryan says this was the first time in her life she felt she mattered to anyone.

Ryan reluctantly calls Angelique on the off-chance she might remember where The Candy Lady's house was.  Angelique says she has the wrong umber.

Mary and Ryan are able to use Kate's records to narrow down the neighborhood searched by the Gotham University volunteers on the day Ryan remembered seeing them. 

Ryan elects to confront The Candy Lady out of costume.

Alice reveals that she was told to kill Ocean after finding him.

Luke stops by Sophie's apartment and is put to work on the search for Ocean.

Jacob Kane gets a tip on Kate's whereabouts in Wayside Heighs, which he goes to check out personally.

Ryan finds The Candy Lady's house but Kevin Johnson has already been sold off.

Ryan is tasered and drugged by some gang members working with The Candy Lady.

Luke is able to find an address, but communicates to Sophie not to tell Alice through a typed message while Alice isn't watching the computer screen.

Luke is allowed to go back to Wayne Enterprises to use their superior system to search for something.

Sophie goes to check on Jacob Kane and his lead, instructing Alice to stay in her apartment.

In the past, Angelique tried shooting The Candy Lady with a slingshot. She tried to drug Angelique, but Ryan stepped in and took the shot. This gave Angelique time to grab the jar of jellybeans and throw it her face, knocking her out.

Ryan is able to escape by breaking the Candy Lady's jar and using it to cut her bonds.

Ryan beats The Candy Lady until she reveals she sold Kevin to the False Face Society.

The lead Jacob Kane was going after is revealed to be a trap set by the False Face Society, who plan to initiate Kevin into the gang by having him kill Jacob.

Luke reveals that the address he found was provided by Julia Pennyworth, who was already looking for Ocean. She narrowed his whereabouts down to four addresses. Two were demolished. One was now an ice cream parlor. The last one was am abandoned building next to a pizzeria in Gotham City.

Ocean's hideout contains a small lab. Upon entering it, Sophie is jumped by a woman who claims to be a burglar casing the joint.

Sophie is saved by Alice, who followed after her. The burglar flees, saying they can have whatever is in the lab as it is clearly more trouble than it is worth.

Sophie seems to recognize the burglar briefly.

Alice knocks Sophie out. It is unclear what happens after, but Alice apparently took Sophie home as Sophie later shows up at Crows HQ while Alice goes back to search Ocean's lab.

Alice admits she is only trying to find Kate so she can kill her herself.

Ryan saves Kevin and Jacob Kane from the False Face Society as Batwoman.

A radio report reveals that The Candy Lady was arrested and that her real name was Candice Long.

Both Batwoman and Jacob Kane are credited with rescuing Kevin in the press.

Jacob reluctantly admits that he'd be dead if it weren't for the new Batwoman.

Sophie tells Jacob that Alice is looking for Kate and they have to find her first.

Ryan's Kryptonite wound is still not healing.

Mary admits that her reluctance to thin Kate is alive came from her not wanting to believe Alice was right or telling the truth about something.

Ryan gets a call and rushes off to answer it. This turns out to be Angelique.

When Alice searches Ocean's lab, she finds a card dropped by the burglar - a key card for Room 11 at the Burnside Motel 

Alice also finds an envelope with writing on it. It reads DROP THE MERCH AT THE HOTEL BEFORE 5 PM TOMORROW - OCEAN.

Alice also sees a picture of a man which triggers a flashback to her time on Coryana and a man who was apparently Ocean, whom she apparently knew.

Ryan tells Angelique that the Candy Lady has been caught. 

Angelique is revealed to be the burglar who almost killed Sophie.

Angelique and Ryan haven't talked for two years.

Ryan says she's missed the woman who always had her back.


Untelevised Adventures


The final scene with Alice makes reference to Alice's past on Coryana and suggests that she might not remember all of her own time on the island as she has a flashback suggesting she knew Ocean.


The Killing Jokes


Sophie continues to be more than useless and the only reason it doesn't come off as sexist is that she's being propped up by other female characters. (i.e. Alice and Julia)

Jacob Kane doesn't fair much better, going off to investigate a lead by himself, with no back-up. 


The Bottom Line

A solid episode where the sections centered on Ryan overpowers the subplot with Alice (for once), presenting an all-too real evil that is more terrifying than the likes of Zsasz and Hush.

Starman Plays The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk : The Amulet Of Chaos - Part 54

In which we must fight Losax and his followers. Will our heroes be able to save the lowly janitor Losax possessed?  Will they care at all if they can't? And what of the mysterious Doctor who polices time who shows up to discuss a way out of this damned time loop?

 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Starman Plays The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk : The Amulet Of Chaos - Part 53

In which (after finding that third freaking statue) we loot the sacred treasure of the Chaos Temple, level up and make our escape from the realm of the Chaos Dwarves. Unfortunately, we still have a surly demon to deal with...

 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Starman Plays The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk : The Amulet Of Chaos - Part 52

In which, after deciding whether or not we actually will destroy the Amulet of Chaos after coming all this way to do so, we start seeking a way into the Chaos Temple's secret treasure vault full of gold and magic items?
 
Why? Because we're adventurers and there's a secret treasure vault full of gold and magic items!


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Starman Plays The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk : The Amulet Of Chaos - Part 51

In which we find the Anvil of Chaos... and more followers of the god of ill fortune hellbent on stopping us from destroying the Amulet of Chaos. Looks like we're going to have to kill them all.

 

Monday, February 8, 2021

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 1 - The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter One: Collateral Damage

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


Plot

It's been one year since the battle to save Freeland and the American government shutting down the ASA. It's also been one year since Jefferson Pierce donned his Black Lightning costume. With The 100 waging war on a new gang, police corruption running rampant and Tobias Whale playing philanthropist, the time is ripe for Freeland's hometown hero to return. Unfortunately, there's a new metahuman-hating police chief taking over the department and Jeff's entire hero playing vigilante without him.


Influences

Batman and the Outsiders (Jefferson Pierce retiring from heroism only to be dragged back into action.)


Goofs

How could Freeland go a whole year without a Chief of Police? (This is why they're trying to get the Mayor to quit.)

What happened to TC, Brandon and all the other teen heroes?

What happened to all the talk in last season's finale about starting a school for metahuman teens?


Performances


Cress Williams does some wonderful silent acting staring at bottles thoughtfully at this episode goes on.


Artistry

The episode's use of music is fantastic.

The opening shot as we start off upside down and slowly spiral around to face Jefferson is an effective way of establishing the world is topsy-turvy.


Trivia

This is the first episode in which Grace Choi's actress Chantal Thuy was credited as a regular member of the ensemble.

The new chief rival of The 100 gang is a new group called The Kobra Cabal. This seems to be a nod to the Kobra cult from DC Comics, of which the original Lady Eve villain was a member. While Lady Eve is not seen in this episode, it seems likely this is the gang she's formed to fight with Lala over control of Freeland's underworld.

Technobabble

Jefferson has such fine control of his powers he can erase a person's short-term memory with a focused electric shock

The anti-metahuman guns capable of disabling Lightning's powers are called DEGs.

Lynn notes that the Gravedigger serum she took should have worn off after 12 hours, yet it lasted for 2 days. However, the power proved ineffective on one human trafficker she attempted to control for reasons she cannot explain.


Dialogue Triumphs

Alvin Pierce: Son, from the moment we come out of the womb, the clock starts ticking. So it ain't about the dying. It's about the living. Now... how are we going to live this life to make our dying something to celebrate and not mourn?  

Jefferson: Black Lightning was trying to save the world. I'm just trying to save my family.
Gambi: And the kid?
Jefferson: ...reflex.


Continuity


As the episode opens, it has been one year since the events of 316.

Jefferson has a conversation with the ghost of his father (presumed imaginary) as he visits the grave of Chief Bill Henderson.

It is established that Jeff quit being Black Lightning after testifying before Congress.

Violence in Freeland is still an issue, thanks to The 100 Gang and a new rival group called The Kobra Cartel.

The current mayor of Freeland is a man named Billy Block. He is being pressured to resign, despite an election being months away.

Jefferson attacks two white cops he sees harassing an unarmed black teenager in a hoodie. He blows up their car and electrocutes them to erase their short-term memories.

Grace is still in a coma, but Lynn is trying a new treatment she thinks will work around her shape-shifting powers.

Jennifer is encouraging Anissa to forget about Grace and move on with her life.

Jennifer has started cutting her hair short.

Jefferson and Lynn are in couples' therapy together. They have not been intimate in some time.

Gambi is approached by a woman named Lauren about a job with a private company called Monovista International that is investing in Freeland (i.e. fleecing it.)  Gambi turns down the job.

Lauren and Gambi were apparently involved at one point and she expresses her happiness he is not dead, saying she cried when she heard the news before kissing him.

Jefferson speaks at a televised memorial for Bill Henderson. His speech echoes the words his father said about Henderson earlier.

The new police chief is a woman named Lopez. 

Lopez is quick to blame undocumented metahumans for Bill Henderson's death and promises to put an end to the threat they pose.

The President of the United States is said to have the last name Shaw. A scroll during the news indicates they are meeting with top Democrats in the hope of avoiding a government shut down.

The Vice President of the United States is named Cori Hannette. They just had a meeting with the Vice President of Markovia. 

Congress has just launched another investigation into the ASA.

A Senator Muhammed filibustered the Senate to prevent a bill regarding immigration and metahuman reform from reaching the Senate floor.

Tobisa Whale gives an interview in which he discusses his donating money to reopen basic social services shut down during the war in Freeland.

Anissa and Lynn both want to kill Tobias, but Jefferson is still committed to his oath to never take a life.

Jennifer has apparently begun joyriding with her powers, flying in full costume even when she's not patrolling.

Gambi meets with Jefferson in Two-Bits' bar.

Gambi tells Jefferson that the Freeland PD got a partial plate number from a street cam he didn't destroy after he attacked the cops. He was, however, able to hack the footage identifying Jefferson.

Lala is still running The 100 and is not pleased to see Tobias on TV playing the happy king.

Lala instructs his right-hand, Devante, to make sure the next shipment of their product has anti-metahuman weapons guarding it.

Lynn has apparently become a vigilante and is giving herself temporary metahuman powers in order to try and isolate the metagene and find a way to use it against Gravedigger or anyone else.

Lynn stops a woman from being trafficked off the street.

Someone using the phone Jefferson gave Henderson as Black Lightning calls him and tells him to meet him by the docks at 11 PM that night.

Anissa and Jennifer attack The 100's latest drug shipment in Thunder's custom truck.

A police officer named Hassan Shakar is the cop who has Henderson's phone. He left a letter, written by Henderson before his death, for Black Lightning to find. He claims that Henderson gave him the phone and told him that Black Lightning was a good man.

Hassan Shakar admits he may have a problem with metahumans, but he freely admits to having a problem with Black Lightning, believing he abandoned Freeland.

Lala does not kill his men, instead arming them with anti-metahuman guns and telling them to set an ambush for Thunder and Lightning. He also notes Lightning is the most dangerous of the two.

Jefferson reads the letter from Henderson. It identifies Hassan Shakar s a good man.

Officer Shakar and Chief Lopez confront Jefferson at his office at Garfield High School. They tell him his license plate matches a partial connected to two police officers being beaten. Jefferson says he was driving past the area where the attack happened (15th and Magnolia) but denies any more information.

There are six cars in Freeland ending with the same number as Jefferson Pierce's car and all of those drivers have alibis for where they were at the time the cops were attacked.

Jennifer is shot with an DEG. However, she begins to heal almost immediately.

Anissa says this is the third 100 shipment they've hit this week, but she felt this one was a trap.

Gambi has a new base of operations, much larger than his old basement lair. (Based on the background, i could be set up in what was The Pit.)

After Gambi identifies the man who shot Jennifer, Jefferson confronts him in his home and electrocutes him so badly he'll be crippled for life. This gets the attention of Chief Lopez and Officer Shakar, who reach the same conclusion: Black Lightning is back. It seems to go without saying that they think he's Jefferson Pierce.

Tobias Whale joins the Board of Directors at Lynn's hosptital.

In the final scene, Jennifer blacks out while flying too high and begins to fall to Earth.


Untelevised Adventures

The last year's of events in Freeland are largely unaccounted for beyond the fact that Jefferson quit being Black Lighting, Thunder and Lighting are picking up his slack (with Gambi's help) and Lynn has become a vigilante to further test her meta-human power formulas.

Nothing is said about what happened to TC, Painkiller, or any of the other teen metahumans who operated out of Gambi's basement last year.


The Bottom Line

A lackluster throwback of an episode in which all the promise of the Season 3 finale is abandoned in favor of repeats of the most repetitive character beats of the past three seasons. Jefferson's daughters keep defying him and he's depressed. He and his ex-wife are drifting apart and he's depressed. The only reason change is that now Lynn has shifted her addiction from Green Light to vigilantism. Most of the new supporting cast has vanished without explanation and the only new villain is another cop who hates metahumans. This does not bode well for the coming season and if this is the best they could come up with after a year's hiatus, maybe it's for the best this show is ending after four seasons.