Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Starman Plays Sam and Max Save The World - Part 14

In which we crank-call for justice, and gain entry to the Oval Office. Unfortunately, we still can't get within arm's each of the President, who has apparently become the latest victim of our unseen hypnotist enemy! Thankfully, a loose interpterion of the facts at hand should give Max just the excuse he needs to knock the block off the President.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 8, Episode 14 - Funeral for a Friend

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

Plot

Team Flash struggles to apprehend a new power-armored bank robber, while figuring out how to best mourn the fallen Frost.

Goofs

In the original synopsis of this episode released with the previews, Blockbuster was described as a metahuman. The Arrowverse version of Blockbuster revealed in this episode gets his powers from a stolen suit of power armor.

Caitlin is clearly being played by a body double in one scene of the montage of Caitlin gathering all of Frost's belongings.(This was likely due to Danielle Panabaker's pregnancy at the time of filming.)


Artistry

The opening montage of everyone on Team Flash remembering Frost is rather touching.


Flash Facts

The title of the episode comes from an Elton John song.

This episode introduces the Arrowverse version of Mark Desmond, aka Blockbuster. First appearing in Detective Comics #345 (November 1965), Desmond was a chemist who developed a formula that increased his strength while decreasing his intellect and making him almost mindlessly aggressive. This made him easy prey for his criminal brother, Roland, who exploited him for his own benefit. The Rogues, Secret Society of Supervillains and Suicide Squad did the same thing until Desmond's death. This version of Blockbuster is not used often in the modern comics, due to his being a rather obvious rip-off of the Incredible Hulk, right down to his torn purple pants.

A different version of Blockbuster was mentioned in A713 as being a crime boss in Bludhaven who Dinah Drake brought down while working undercover. This was likely a reference to the second Blockbuster in the comics, Roland Desmond, who developed the same condition as his brother but made a deal with the Demon Neron to have his intelligence enhanced along with his body. He became the kingpin of Bludhaven's underworld and the archenemy of Nightwing. There is no indication this Blockbuster exists post-Crisis, however.

The Arrowverse version of Mark Desmond steals an exo-suit from Ivo Labs that gives him enhanced strength while making him more mentally unstable. In this way he has the same powers and weakness as his comic book counterpart, without being an obvious Hulk rip-off.

Allegra calls Chester "Condiment King" at one point. The comical villain was confirmed to exist in the Arrowverse in B309, when it was revealed his condiment gun was one of the trophies in Batman's vault of villain weapons.


Technobabble

The Ivo Labs exo-suit worn by Blockbuster amplifies the wearer's biochemistry, so everything from movements to emotions makes them stronger but also makes them more unstable.

The exo-suit also has cloaking technology that prevents it from being tracked.

Caitlin "borrows" a genome sequencer for her new lab.


Dialogue Triumphs

(A hungover Chillblaine emerges from the Med Lab, surprising Barry.)
Barry:
How long were you in there?
Chillblaine: (panting) I was hoping you could tell me. Hey, do you mind telling the contractors to knock off all the hammering or whatever that is?
Barry: Uh, that's... not construction.
Chillblaine: Oh, great. Guess I overdid it with the bourbon... And the tequila... and the vodka. 

Chillblaine: What's impossible for The Flash?

Barry: Look, Caitlin, um... about yesterday morning in the lounge.
Caitlin: It's fine. I know you were just trying to help.
Barry: You know, trying and knowing the right words to say aren't the same thing. And I'm sorry. I said everything wrong.
Caitlin: We've both been through a lot over the last couple of days, so I think it's okay to let ourselves off the hook. But you don't have to worry about me. I'm good, honest.

(Barry tries to talk Caitlin into attending the funeral one more time.)
Caitlin:
Unbelievable. I mean, do you hear yourself right now? This isn't even about me. This is about you and your need to be the hero. I am not one of your missions, okay? And not everything can just be fixed with speed healing. But I need to grieve Frost in my own way. So if you don't mind, will you please leave?
Barry: Look, Caitlin, I will leave you alone if that's what you really want, but before I go, just ask yourself one thing. What would Frost want? For you? You knew her better than anybody. Would she want you to pull away? Would she want us to let you?

Caitlin: I'll keep you alive, Frost. I promise.


Dialogue Disasters

Blockbuster: Pathetic. Worst heroes ever. (He's not wrong, but when your villain sounds like the Comic Book Guy...)

Barry: I think she's preparing for the funeral tomorrow. Maybe we should do the same thing. (Wait... so none of Team Flash were going to Frost's funeral until Barry suggested it?)


Continuity

The opening montage shows Chester, Allegra, Iris and Barry remembering Frost. The reasons why range from Chester seeing a sign promoting the Killer Frost drink at CC Jitters to Barry still staring at the bed where Frost died in 813.

Team Flash is summoned to the site of a bank robber who is wearing some kind of high-tech exo-suit.

Chester determines the exo-suit was stolen from Ivo Labs.

As Chester is formulating a battle plan while Barry tries to save the people in a collapsing building, he forgets that Frost isn't there. This causes Allegra to execute half of a plan with no back-up, as Cecile becomes overwhelmed by Blockbuster's emotions.

Barry suggests the team all need to grieve Frost in order to get their heads back in the game before fighting Blockbuster a second time.

Caitlin is surprised to find Team Flash is having a meeting. Barry explains they thought she was busy preparing for Frost's funeral.

Caitlin revels that her mother is handling all of the arrangements and she isn't going to the funeral.

Joe suggests that everyone find a way to honor Frost's memory, revealing that he's started taking watercolor classes because of her pushing him to try art the same way she did.

Iris and Cecile have lunch together and discuss Joe's idea.

Cecile says she's going to devote 25% of her case load to pro bono work for wrongly imprisoned metahumans.

Iris says she was going to write a special obituary for Frost, but is afraid she may accidentally expose herself as a member of Team Flash by writing about her in detail.

Iris assigns Aariz, a writer for CCC Media who used to write obituaries for "Stars and Stripes" to write Frost's obituary, since he had experience writing about soldiers who had no family or died while on classified missions where he didn't have all the details of their lives.

Iris shows the obituary to Frost and Caitlin's mom. She thinks it sounds cold and impersonal.

Iris admits the real problem is she never really got to know Frost and isn't sure what to say about her.

Carla says that Frost's legacy is not what people thought of her but the lives she saved.

Iris hosts a special episode of her Citizentopia podcast devoted to interviewing people Frost helped. This includes a young couple named Kamiko and Jamal (who got married after Frost saved them during Bloodwork's attack on Central City) and a graffiti artist who Frost let off with a warning after he tagged his territory. He says he's going to open his first gallery exhibit next week. 

Iris also interviews the former DA of Central City, who tried to prosecute Frost in 708. Frost's example during her trial inspired her to quit the state prosecutor's office and become a defense attorney specializing in metahuman law in Star City.

CC Jitters, as a result of Iris' broadcast, changes the name of the Killer Frost drink to Frost.

Allegra disagrees with Joe's idea of doing something special to honor Frost, but Chester thinks it is a good idea.

Chester considers building a special case with cryo coolers to hold Frost's costume, similar to the eternal flame Barry and Supergirl made for Green Arrow's memorial. Allegra thinks that's a stupid idea that would just look like a giant snow globe.

Allegra and Chester keep arguing, with Chester accusing Allegra of never offering ideas of her own while shooting down all of his suggestions.

Allegra and Chester argue about whether or not humus is a condiment or a dip or a side dish and should be put on a sandwich.

Barry interrupts the argument to ask where the team's Arctic parkas are stored.

Barry is carrying an oar and wearing a life vest. This is a reference to his promise to take a whitewater rafting trip with Frost in 619 and foreshadows later in the episode when it is revealed he is trying to complete everything on Frost's bucket list.

Chester and Allegra travel to O'Shaughnessy's after the CCC tip-line picks up multiple reports of something odd happening. This turns out to be a drunken Chillblaine freezing the bar and singing the same sad songs over and over on the karaoke machine.

Allegra uses her powers to thaw out the bar safely.

Chillblaine says Allegra and Chester aren't really fighting - just helping each other see the world in a different way.

Allegra and Chester set Chillblaine up in the medical wing of STAR Labs after he passes out.

They ultimately agree to hang up the jacket from Frost's first superhero costume in the Hall of the Fallen in STAR Labs.

Frost's bucket list includes building a snowman on top of Mt. Everest, mastering ice sculpting, swing dancing with Judd Nelson, attending a samurai school in Kyoto, entered a hot dog eating contest and having her art hung in the Louvre. Barry does all of this in Frost's memory.

Chillblaine tells Barry that Frost was all about experiencing things rather than doing them. He tells Barry that they signed up for a couples tag-team wrestling tournament but they gave their championship belts to some kids at the ramen joint where they celebrated after.

Barry says he knows how to honor Frost's memory, but says it seems impossible. Chillblaine says nothing should be impossible for The Flash.

Caitlin is shown gathering up Frost's belongings in their apartment.

Barry visits Caitlin before the funeral to try and talk her into attending after apologizing for not listening to her reasons for not doing it.

Barry notices that Caitlin has a large bottle of over the counter sleeping pills.

Barry agrees to leave Caitlin alone, but asks her to think about what Frost would want.

Caitlin recalls her promise to Frost in 811 about not closing herself off from the team ever again.

Caitlin ultimately attends the funeral wearing one of Frost's blue dresses. She delivers tender eulogy, talking about Frost's courage, swimming with the sharks and then picking a fight with one and going to poetry slam nights with a poem she'd written on a napkin five minutes earlier.

Joe organizes a wake of sorts for Frost in his home and talks about how Frost took all his cleaning supplies for a collage, which is why he wound up using bleach to clean his curtains.

According to Chester, Wild Dog is using one of Joe's old mop handles as a bo staff.

The wake ends after the team gets an alert of Blockbuster being on the loose.

Joe asks Caitlin to stay with him and tell him more Frost stories.

Caitlin calls Chillblaine and asks her to meet with him at her apartment.

Chillblaine recognizes the device Caitlin is carrying as a genome sequencer.

Caitlin has turned her apartment into a lab. She asks for Chillblaine's help in resurrecting Frost.

Taylor tells Iris that Allegra isn't doing a good job as editor and asks for permission to investigate the heroes who help Flash out. Iris dismisses the story idea.

Iris vanishes from her office shortly after Taylor leaves.


Location

Mount Everest
Paris, France


Untelevised Adventures

Barry apparently swing danced with Judd Nelson, according to Frost's bucket list.

Team Flash defeats Blockbuster off-camera.


The Fridge Factor


Caitlin is made to look unreasonably cold and awful, driving her friends away to grieve alone before finally being guilted into attending Frost's funeral... only to go over the edge into full blown villainy. 


The Bottom Line

Despite some clunky dialogue, most of this episode is surprisingly heart-felt and sincere. Shame the last few minutes and Caitlin's sudden and incredibly out-of-character decision to become a mad scientist completely ruin it.

Starman Plays Sam and Max Save The World - Part 13

In which we begin Chapter 4 in medias res with Sam and Max dispatched to the White House to deal with a rogue President gone mad with power!

No! Not that one! This is one of those generic fictional presidents that exist so nobody is offended by sly political commentary! But being unable to get past the security detail, we return home to harass our neighbors and pick up everything that isn't nailed down.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 8, Episode 13 - Death Falls

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

Plot

Deathstorm attacks each member of Team Flash individually, confronting them as their dead loved ones to feed on their grief and claim Caitlin as his bride.


Influences

Green Lantern: Blackest Night


Goofs

For all their talk earlier in the season about not killing, Team Flash is surprisingly eager to "snuff out" Deathstorm.

Caitlin tries to treat Frost's cardiac arrest with a defibrillator, despite her problem being a slowed heart rate. (Defibrillators are used for restoring a natural rhythm when 


Performances

Jon Cor and Danielle Panabaker have great chemistry as Frost and Chillblaine.


Flash Facts

At one point the fake Eddie Thawne mentions an uncle Robern. In the comics, Robern Thawne was the brother of Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash.

Deathstorm makes reference to being born before Maltus. In the DC Universe, Maltus was the home of the first sentient life and eventually gave rise to the Guardians of the Universe.

The lightning at the end of the episode is tinged blue, in Frost's honor.

Technobabble

Deathstorm is made up of pure thermodynamic energy, so Team Flash use the Mental Augmentation Chamber to harness particles from its home dimension and then beam them into Frost's consciousness. The reaction should transform her into a being like Deathstorm. who can create fire, defy gravity, and consume Deathstorm's fuel source. 

Chester makes reference to the cryo-circuits of the MAC.

Barry puts Gideon to work on tracking extra-dimensional energies and cold fusion anomalies in Central City.

The walls and door of Chester's lab are made of titanium. 

Human beings go hyperthermic at 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chester notes that blood flow starts to decrease in a human body at 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Organs fail and brain function slows at 107.  At 109, the body will die to end its suffering.

The MAC makes use of augmentation receptors. 

Caitlin tries to save Frost by injecting her with cold fusion.


Dialogue Triumphs

Deathstorm: I was born a long time ago-- before Maltus, before the stars, during that lonely, blackest of nights. I was there when the first gas cloud sank and collapsed. I was there when the first beings drew their final, hissing breaths. I am decline. I am entropy. I am the master of death and all of its inhabitants.

Eddie: I thought my sacrifice would mean something. That I could erase the Reverse Flash from existence. That, finally, I could be a hero. But then Eobard Thawne came back, again, and again, and again, and again. What I did didn't matter at all. I died for nothing, and now you've made the same mistake. You sacrificed yourself for nothing.
Iris: I saved Barry, and I helped stop Armageddon.
Eddie: And then, what happened? The timeline got reset, but you're still suffering the consequences. Can't you see? Your death is gonna be just as pointless as mine.

Frost:
Boy, was I stupid for ever thinking that was possible, because it doesn't matter. Doesn't matter how many life coaches I get, or if I get my own body, or do a bunch of art, or get my own boyfriend, because I'll always just be a copy of the original. An echo. 'Cause I've never been really alive. And now, that's gonna get Caity killed.
Chillblaine: Frost... If you are not really alive, where does that leave me? You're the only person I've ever cared about more than myself, or at least equal to myself.
Frost: I guess we're both screwed up then.
Chillblaine: Yeah, that's definitely true. Look, the way I see it, you and I have been through a lot, right? And through all of those ups and downs, I, for one, have seen you have loads of emotions-- all kinds-- especially when it comes to Caitlin. You love your sister like crazy. And wherever that love came from-- you know, whether you were born with it, or your dad gave it to you, or you put it together yourself over time, built it with pain and heartache-- that love is as real as it gets. Believe me.


Continuity

The episode begins later the same evening as 812.

Central City is still under a city-wide curfew.

Eddie Thawne, apparently live and well, suddenly shows up in Iris and Barry's apartment.

Chester confirms that he spent six weeks living in the Mental Augmentation Chamber during Season 6.

Cecile says that Caitlin's biometrics are stable, but she can feel her grief intensifying. 

Caitlin says she keeps having visions of her father's death from 519.

Frost calls Chillblaine in to help.

The power in STAR Labs goes out, as Chester is finishing the upgrades on the MAC.

Barry has Gideon working on identifying the cause of Iris' time sickness.

Allegra is confronted by an illusion of Ultraviolet.

Chester is confronted by an illusion of his father.

Barry is confronted by an illusion of his mother, Nora Allen.

Frost is confronted by an illusion of Ronnie Raymond.

The fake Ronnie tells Frost that he isn't appearing to her as anyone she knows because her grief isn't real. He claims that all her feelings are just echoes of Caitlin's and that she isn't really a person.

Allegra and Chester seal themselves in Chester's lab to escape from Ultraviolet. Unfortunately, she fries the temperature controls and the heat starts building up.

The fake Nora tells Barry that there's no cure for Iris and that he is doomed to lose her forever.

The fake Eddie offers to make Iris some of his Uncle Robern's famous chicken noodle soup.

The fake Eddie is able to burn Iris and Sue when they try to go for the exit and their phone respectively.

Cecile tells Frost that Caitlin's vitals are spiking and her temperature is going up. She can also feel the team's grief and says it is being channeled into Caitlin.

Chillblaine broke into Fast Track Labs to get Frost the cryo-circut needed to compete the modified MAC.

The thermostat in Chester's lab burns out at 137 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The fake Nora taunts Barry with the knowledge that if Iris dies, Bart and Nora will never exist either. She also says that his real legacy is heartbreak, rather than heroism.

The fake Eddie torments Iris with how pointless his death was since it didn't really stop the Reverse-Flash.

Sue was able to use her phone to summon Joe while Deathstorm was focused on Iris.

Deathstorm is able to incapacitate Sue with images of her grandmother and Joe of his former partner, Chyre.

The MAC fails to transform Frost. At first, Frost thinks this is because she doesn't have a true consciousness to manipulate, but Chilblaine figures out the chemical reaction is missing one key ingredient to fuel the transformation - grief. Once Frost allows herself to grieve, she transforms.

Frost's earliest memory is of Caitlin being hit by a car as a child.

Frost calls her new form Hellfrost. She has black hair instead of white.

Chillblaine learns Barry's secret identity.

Frost uses HR's image inducer to make herself look like Caitlin to lure Deathstorm in.

Frost is able to kill Deathstorm, but her vitals crash just after she transforms back to her normal self.

Frost goes into cardiac arrest.

Caitlin tries to save her, despite having just gotten out of a coma herself.

The final scene has Caitlin and Barry entering the lounge in silence, with everyone's reactions suggesting that Frost died.


The Fridge Factor

Frost is killed purely to give the team angst and make Caitlin look incompetent for failing to save her.


The Bottom Line

Some of the best moments of The Flash Season 8 have centered around Frost and her development, so naturally the showrunners have to put a stop that by killing her off, in an episode that seems to be both full of padding and yet underdeveloped in equal measure.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Starman Plays Sam and Max Save The World - Part 12

In which we discover the Commissioner's mole in the Toy Mafia is really a rat. Well, he's a literal mole, too, but he's turned traitor! Can Sam and Max stop his plan to put hypnotic plush bears in every toy store in town?!

Superman and Lois: Season 2, Episode 11 - Truth and Consequences

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

Plot

Jon-El's efforts to start paving the way for Ally Allston's invasion lead to a major change in the status quo between Clark and Lana.


Influences

Classic Superman comics and the drama and comedy that arose from Superman hiding his secret identity from Lana Lang.


Performances

This is another great episode for Tyler Hoechlin, who sells Clark's torment at the pain his secret is causing people.


Artistry

The final scene is one of the most beautiful in the show's history.


Super Trivia

The episode title is a take on an old gameshow, Truth Or Consequences.

In most iterations of the Superman story, Lana Lang was the first person outside of the Kent family to learn about Clark's powers. Superman and Lois is one of the more notable exceptions to this, making this episode's final revelation all the more notable.

This episode establishes that the Arrowverse version of Superman can still use his powers while suffering from Kryptonite poisoning. This is notable as in most Superman comic stories, his powers are completely negated by the presence of Kryptonite. The most notable example of this came in JLA #4, where Superman figured out the green Kryptonite being used to hold him at bay was a telepathic illusion based on the fact that he could hear billions of people suffering in the middle of an alien invasion.

Natalie is revealed to be working on something called the Pasiphae Project. In Greek mythology, Pasiphae was a witch and queen of Crete, who commissioned the inventor Daedalus to fashion an armored cow suit for her so she could mate with the Cretan Bull. She later gave birth to the Minotaur. The implication here seems to be that she is making her own armored suit to help her father, based on the fact that she makes reference to needing a power source.


Technobabble

John Henry describes the process linking doppelganger minds psychically as inter-dimensional kinesthesis. He's not sure he has the means to disrupt it.

Clark finds out that he's been gone for 33 days, but was only in Bizarro World for a day. This suggests that the time flows differently between the two dimensions or in the Negative Zone between rifts.

John Henry's Steel armor is powered by Kryptonite. However, he's been using X-Kryptonite as a power source since allying himself with Superman.


Dialogue Triumphs

Clark: Why didn't you just tell me those drսg belonged to Candice?
Jonathan: Dad, I thought you said that everything was cool between us.
Clark: It is, Jonathan, but I still want to understand what you were thinking.
Jonathan: Okay, well, clearly I didn't want Candice to get in trouble.
Clark: Well, maybe she should have. She was selling drսgs.
Jonathan: See? That's--that is exactly why I didn't say anything. Because you ask me a question and then you don't even listen to what I have to say.
Clark: No, don't make this about me. I'm the one who was lying.
Jonathan: (chuckles) Are you serious? You lied to me for 14 years about who you actually are.
Lois: No, Jonathan, that is not the same thing.
Jonathan: Yeah, it's worse. Because I lied to protect someone else and he lied to protect his own secret.
Clark: That secret keeps this family safe. It allows you to have a normal life. One that isn't in the shadow of me being Superman.
Jonathan: Okay, well, if that's what the secret's doing, it's doing a pretty crap job. 

(John Henry tries to calm Natalie down about the Ally Allston situation.)
John Henry:
You cannot spiral out at the worst case scenario.
Natalie: You mean the one where your entire planet gets destroyed and you lose everyone you care about?

(Lana is driving down a country road. Clark is standing in the middle of it. She stops and gets out of her car.)
Lana: 
Clark. What are you doing here?
Clark: I, um-- I need to talk to you.
Lana: This really isn't a good time.
Clark: Lana, there's... There's something I've... (sighs) Something I've wanted to tell you my entire life.
Lana: How did you even know I was gonna be here? Oh, you know what? It doesn't even matter.
Clark: Lana...
Lana: Clark, listen, I do want to hear what you have to say, but I have had the longest day. You've no idea what I've been through.
Clark: Yeah, yeah, but I do, though, actually.
Lana: What?
Clark: I was there. Lana, I--I-- I was with you.
Lana: What are you talking about?
(Clark sighs and takes off his glasses and levitates off the ground. He uses his ice breath to freeze a tree.)
Lana: (awe-struck) My God... You're Superman. 


Continuity

This episode begins right where the final scenes of 209 and 210 left off.

Jon-El tries to merge with Jonathan, but Clark returns in time to stops him.

Jon-El is much stronger than Jordan.

Jonathan begins to experience visions like Clark had when Bizarro Superman first came to Earth-Prime. He describes the sensation as a "weird brain freeze feeling."

Clark says that Jon-El should start getting weaker on Earth-Prime, like Bizarro did, because the yellow sun drains his strength in the same way a red sun drains him.

Clark makes a point of telling Jonathan that he loves him and always will no matter what before going to talk to John Henry.

Jordan texts Sarah repeatedly, trying to talk to her about the break up.

Lois suggests that Jordan write Sarah a letter to get his feelings out in a clear way instead of sending multiple texts. He decides to try it.

Jon has a vision of Jon-El on the Main Street of Smallville.

Clark goes to confront Jon-El, but runs into Lana. Jon-El makes his escape while Clark tries to make an excuse not to stay and catch-up.

Clark is surprised to learn he's been gone for over a month and that Lois told everyone he was on an assignment.

Lois also didn't have the chance to tell Clark that Lana won the mayoral election and is moving into her new office the next day.

Lois also informs Clark as to Candice being the X-Kryptonite dealer Jonathan was protecting.

Clark isn't happy about Jonathan lying, but he defends his actions saying he was lying to protect someone and pointed out that Clark lied about being Superman to protect his family and it didn't work.

Natalie tries to help John Henry get his suit upgraded.

Lana tells Sarah about how Clark was acting weird when she ran into him the night before.

Sarah says that Jordan was acting the same way, as if he was hiding something and suddenly wanted to be somewhere else.

Sarah packed everything for Lana's office and offers to load them into her car. This leads Lana to surprise Sarah with a car of her own, revealing that Kyle finally got the car they were working on finished and they wanted her to have it.

Jordan shows his letter to Jonathan. He does not discuss what is in it, but is shocked by it.

Jon-El runs into Sarah, who mistakes him for Jonathan. He's rude to her about her car, saying he prefers Lamborghinis. 

Jon-El goes after Lana in her house and captures her.

Lois runs into Sarah at her mom's office, Lois wanted to talk to her, but talks to Sarah about Jordan. She doesn't go into detail, but tries to stick up for Jordan and says there's some family stuff going on.

Lois says Sarah is more mature than she was at her age and that she used to date bad boys purely to upset her father. One of them, Dave, was in a Primus cover band.

Sarah has never hard of Primus.

Lois hasn't told Clark about any of the men she dated before him.

Sarah tells Lois about Jon-El, saying Jonathan looked like he was dressed like he was going to "rave out in The Matrix."

Lois tells Clark that she thinks Jon-El went after Lana.

John Henry builds a device he thinks will prevent Jon-El from having headaches while Jon-El is on Earth-Prime but it will require more power than he has handy. This means he will have to go into the Shuster Mines to get some Kryptonite, which is also the source of power for his suit.

Jon-El chains up Lana with one of the pendants.

Sarah leaves the office to go back home and check on Lana.

Jordan is upset that Lois talked to Sarah without checking with him first.

Sarah later goes to Lois to tell her she thinks her mom has been abducted.

Lois promises to help, but sends Sarah back to her mom's office.

Jordan tries to give Sarah the letter he wrote for her, but she refuses to take it, being worried about her mom and in no mood to deal with Jordan's apology.

John Henry and Natalie see the dimensional rift to Bizarro World as they gather the X-Kryptonite.

John Henry says that Clark told him about the portal not going directly to Bizarro world and that there's some kind of Negative Zone between the dimensional rifts leading to the other planets. Natalie says this sounds like the space she was in before she found the way to Earth-Prime.

Lana thinks Jon-El is Jonathan Kent high on X-Kryptonite.

Clark has started questioning if his secret is worth anything. Lois says it is, but agrees that she felt bad lying to Sarah when her mother was in danger.

Jon has another vision of Jon-El in a place full of bloody meathooks, like a freezer. This is determined to be the old slaughterhouse on Kempsville Road. 

Jon-El sets an ambush for Clark, wounding him with Kryptonite shrapnel before stabbing him through the chest with a Kryptonite crystal.

The Bizarro Lana emerges through the rift while Natalie and John Henry are working.

The Bizarro Lana attacks John Henry, who tries attacking her with one of his red sun weapons. This heals her rather than hurting her.

Lana Lang picks the Kryptonite shards out of Superman's chest.

Bizzaro Lana is driven off when Natalie stabs her with an X-Kryptonite crystal.

Jordan confronts Jon-El but is able to fight back this time.

Jordan passes out trying to carry Jon-El closer to the sun, but both are caught by Superman.

Superman takes Lana Lang home but asks her not to talk about Jon-El.

She agrees to keep the secret - for Clark's sake, afraid of how he'd handle the news of an evil version of his son existing.

Clark almost seems ready to tell Lana his secret but decides against it.

Natalie is working on something secret called Project Pasipahe, which needs power source. She thinks X-Kryptonite may be what she needs.

Jon-El is said to have been taken to a Black Ops site and a special cell like the one for Tal-Rho.

Jordan lets Lois read his letter to Sarah. It is revealed that he planned to tell her about his powers.

Clark comes back to the farmhouse and says he wants to tell Lana his secret, but wants the rest of the family to weigh in on the decision. Everyone agrees it is a good idea.

Lana lies to Sara about having saved Superman.

Clark meets Lana out on the road and tells her he has to tell her something.

Lana shoots down hearing Clark's story. In response he takes off his glasses, levitates and freezes a tree.

Lana realizes Clark is Superman.


The Kryptonite Factor

John Henry really should know better than to use his Red Sun weapons on Bizarro Lana. (It's possible Clark didn't get the chance to explain that aspect of Bizarro World to him.)


The Bottom Line

A powerful episode, from beginning to end.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Starman Plays Sam and Max Save The World - Part 11

In which we continue to explore Ted E. Bear's Mafia-Free Playland and Casino, in a bid to uncover The Commissioner's mole. This leads us to a trio of tasks that will take us deep into the dark heart of the Toy Mafia and send us in search of a stolen sandwich.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Starman Plays Sam and Max Save The World - Part 10

In which, after a brief return to Chapter 1 to score an achievement, we begin Chapter 3 and an investigation into Ted E. Bear's Mafia-Free Playland and Casino. Of course before we begin the investigation, we wander the neighborhood and check out Bosco's latest disguise and Sibyl's latest business venture.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 8, Episode 12 - Death Rises

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

Plot

With Deathstorm on the rampage in Central City, Joe comes out of retirement to help coordinate the police response, as Team Flash uses Cecile's empathy powers to try and track the cold-fusion killer.


Influences

Green Lantern: Blackest Night


Goofs

Iris' sudden reappearance in Central City is perhaps the laziest bit of plot convenience in the show's history, as whatever Phantom Girl did to her is forgotten and never explained.

Deathstorm's motivations suddenly shift from killing the grieving to claiming Caitlin as his bride.

It's pointed out that Deathstorm haunts Allegra for no apparent reason. (If this were like Blackest Night, her light based powers might hold the key to beating him. Unfortunately, this plot point is dropped immediately.)

The "ride the lightning" sequence makes the Speed Force lightsabers from the Season 7 finale look plausible by comparison.


Performances

Danielle Panabaker does a great job playing off herself as Frost and Caitlin.


Artistry


As ridiculous as it is, the effects for the "Ride the Lightning" sequence are well-executed.


Flash Facts

The opening monologue by Deathstorm mimics some of Nekron's musings on life being an aberration and wanting to restore the peace of the early universe by killing everyone from Blackest Night

The Metallica song "Ride The Lightning" is used in the sequence in which Barry chases after Deathstorm by "riding lightning."


Technobabble

According to Iris, all time existence at once in the Still Force, allowing a person to see their past, present and future. However, for some reason, she was unable to see her future.

For some unexplained reason, Deathstorm's transformation changed the nature of his powers enough that Chester can no longer track him by the energy signature of his black flames.

Team Flash track Deathstorm by using a wireless neurogenic array synced with the Med Lab's synaptic monitoring relay to connect Cecile to STAR Labs' satellites.

Deon tries using a modified version of the metahuman tracking app to track Iris' movements in time and space.

Chester describes Allegra's powers as a light-based detonation on the electromagnetic spectrum which registers as a category-three spectral discharge.

Barry's gold boots can redirect most energy sources. This include currents equal to the kinetic output created when he run. According to Chester, the force of those two equal energies cancel each other out. but would create a sensation like running into a brick wall. Barry uses this to create lightning platforms he can use to chase after Deathstorm.

After being abducted by Deathstorm, Caitlin's vitals are elevated, her blood pressure is lower, and so is her body temperature. The strangest thing, however, is that her cells are in a constant state of regenesis, as if she's stopped aging normally.

Chester says they can use the Mental Augmentation Chamber (MAC) which saved his life and use it to emit cosmic radiation instead of absorbing trans-dimensional particles (i.e. the material that makes up black holes) in order to turn someone into an anti-Deathstorm.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Barry laments that he can't really plan against Deathstorm.)
Joe:
 A long time ago, I met someone who was as unprepared as it gets. Young, inexperienced, thrust into this whole new world that was sink or swim. You know what happened that he didn't see coming next? DeVoe. Zoom. Cicada. Bloodwork. But you're still standing, ain't you?

Frost: Okay, that's it. I am done waiting around for the Bachelor from Hell to come give Caity a rose. We need to find this sicko and end him, before he does anything worse to my sister.


Dialogue Disasters


Barry: Time to ride the lightning. 


Continuity

The episode picks up where 811 ended, with Deathstorm seemingly trying to burn Caitlin to death.

The Flash chases Deathstorm off, who flees even though Barry's lightning doesn't seem to effect it.

Caitlin does not have any burns when Barry examines her, despite being engulfed in Black Fire.

Caitlin explains to the rest of the team that Deathstorm is not Ronnie but was created by his death.

The cold fusion sphere is confirmed to be destroyed.

Cecile comes to STAR Labs offering to help, having heard about the attack on Caitlin.

Cecile senses that Barry is truly hurting - more than concern for a friend would cause.

Barry tells Cecile about Iris' disappearance and explains he hadn't told the rest of the team yet because he didn't want to distract them from the Deathstorm problem.

Sue texts Barry and tells him Iris is back.

Barry guesses that Iris' time sickness must have pulled her into the Still Force before Tinya could do whatever she was trying to do to Iris.

Iris tells Barry about her apparently accidentally killing Rene Wazoo in 810.

Deathstorm kills an old man who was apparently visiting a loved one's grave.

Captain Kramer uses the pager Barry gave her to summon The Flash for the first time since she received it in 807.

Sue stays with Iris while Barry is away.

The police field multiple reports regarding Deathstorm going on a rampage, kidnapping one man's wife and one body being burned but nothing else around the body.

Kramer says that there have been 10 Deathstorm victims in the past five months before getting reports of three more confirmed downtown, another two uptown, and at least four reported on the lower East side of Central City.

Kramer says she is out of her depth dealing with this.

Joe agrees to help Kramer lock down the city and coordinate the protocols needed to keep the police safe. This includes keeping any cops grieving loved ones off the street.

Some of the officers involved in the effort to fight Deathstorm are Korber, Matlin, Martinez, and Howe.

Allegra says there are no media tips regarding Deathstorm on the Central City Citizen hotline.

Barry hits upon the idea of using Cecile to track Deathstorm.

Cecile risks overloading her neural synapses using her powers in this way, but she says she has to risk it given that Deathstorm has killed over a dozen people at this point.

Caitlin tells Frost that she feels guilty, blaming herself for Deathstorm's rise to power.

Caitlin also says she feels like she's lost Ronnie a second time.

Sue is shown reading Uncaged Desire by Rebecca Silver - a romance novel by Mick Rory's penname. 

Deon shows up and introduces himself to Sue.

Iris' headaches are getting worse.

Deon already knows about Tinya's mom. However, he didn't learn about it until after it had become a part of the past, which is now how the Still Force is meant to work.

Iris' illness has apparently infected the Still Force, as near as Deon can figure. This is why his powers are weakening.

Deon says he will look for Renee Wazoo once he has his strength back, but right now it's taking all he can do to keep Iris and himself stable. As it is, he can see the future of everyone except Iris.

Deon suddenly dissipates into a cloud of Still Force particles, the same way that Rene Wazoo did..

Once Cecile is connected to STAR Labs tracking satellites, Chester is able to locate Deathstorm inside of STAR Labs.

Deathstorm speaks through Cecile and threatens to kill everyone if they don't give him Cailin.

only way they all live is if he gets Caitlin

Allegra is confronted by a vision of Ultraviolet in the hall of STAR Labs.

Allegra knocks herself out releasing a Spectral discharge trying to fight the fake Ultraviolet.

They determine this was another Deathstorm illusion, but have no idea why he would be trying to haunt Allegra now.

Sue once crashed a royal wedding in some country and bought the castle, which prevented her from being arrested. 

Sue talks Iris through her pain by telling her to fight for her future with Bart, Nora and Barry.

Joe makes mention of  The Thinker, Zoom, Cicada and Bloodwork

Deathstorm attacks Frost and kidnaps Caitlin.

The Flash chases Deathstorm to a carnival, Ripley's Wild World, where it burns several people in a crowd.

Deathstorm abandons Caitlin, saying she is not ready yet.

Cecile says she can feel an intense level of grief inside Caitlin

Deathstorm has killed four more people.

Caitlin says that Deathstorm seems to be trying to change her - not kill her.

Barry noticed that when Deathstorm disappears, there is portal and the space behind it resembles the place he saw in 601 when Chester's consciousness became trapped in a singularity. 

Frost volunteers to be turned into an Anti-Deathstorm with the MAC.

The final scene shows something seeming to stalk Iris and Sue outside Iris and Barry's apartment. This is revealed to be Eddie Thawne, apparently alive and well. It is unclear if this is a Deathstroke illusion or a side-effect of Iris' time sickness.


The Fridge Factor

Captain Kramer is made to look completely incompetent. Granting, that's a completely fair assessment given the way the character was hired into a job for which she had no qualifications, she has a breakdown only to allow Joe to come in and save the day.


The Bottom Line

An utterly nonsensical episode, even ignoring all the technobabble.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Superman and Lois: Season 2, Episode 10 - Bizarros in a Bizarro World

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

Plot

Superman emerges into the Inverse World and finds it quite bizarre. As he tries to navigate his way through a series of familiar faces and work out who is friend and foe, he learns something of just how drastically different he was from the Kal-El of this world.


Influences

Every classic Superman comic containing references to Bizarro World.


Performances

Difficult as it is to single out any one actor when they all do a great job playing their Bizarro counterparts, I have to give the VIP spot to Tyler Hoechlin, who does a fantastic job playing a radically different version of Superman yet still managing to make him seem like a plausible Kal-El variant for all that.


Artistry

The special effects used to change the regular sets into Bizarro World are amazing.

The fight between Jon-El, Anderson and Clark is fantastic.


Super Trivia

This episode was shot with the cameras reversed so as to make everything look further askew.

The title cards at the beginning of the episode flip so that the Superman logo is reversed. It then changes back during the end title-card sequence, as Superman returns to Earth-Prime.

This is the first episode not to feature Sarah.

This episode reveals that Bizarro Superman's appearance was caused by his addiction to Kryptonite. In the Red Hood and the Outlaws comics, Bizarro went through a similar transformation, though in his case Green Kryptonite temporarily enhanced his intelligence. 

The Bizarro Lois Lane sports a number of different hairstyles in the flashbacks - all of which are based on Margot Kidder's hairstyles in the classic Superman movies.

Five of the episode's six segments each focus on a different character. In order, the sections are Superman, Bizarro Jonathan-El, Bizarro Lois Lane, Lt. General Mitchell Anderson and Bizarro Tal-Rho.

Jordan Eliass created the reverse-S-shield hand-sign that becomes Jon-El's trademark.

Jon-El's reference to Bizarro Superman spending more time hanging out with President Seinfeld than with his family is a nod to comedy legend and huge Superman fan Jerry Seinfeld, who starred in series of short films based around his hanging out with Superman.


Dialogue Triumphs

Superman:
You can fly?
Jon-El: (smirking) Do a lot more than that.

Bizarro Superman: I am your father. You do what I tell you to do, you understand?
Jon-El: Oh, so now you wanna be my dad now that I have powers. Where were you before?
Bizarro Superman: Don't you take that tone with me. You know exactly where I was.
Jon-El: Actually, yeah, yeah, I do. Uh, selling your shoe line and hosting the Kevins. Oh, and the trips with President Seinfeld.
Bizarro Superman: I have responsibilities, Jonathan! I thought, by now, you would understand that.
Jon-El: That's the thing, Dad. It's always, always about me understanding you. Maybe, for once in your life, you should think about how I'm feeling. 

Anderson: After everything that I've done, you'd still try and save me?
Superman: I've told you before. To me, everyone's worth saving. 


Continuity

The opening scene replicates the opening of 209, with Superman flying into the Inverse Portal.

Superman heals upon exiting the portal, which is in the Shuster Mines of the Bizarro World. The mine there is full of green Kryptonite rather than X-Kryptonite.

The language of Bizzaro World is backwards, but Superman is able to adjust his way of speaking to make himself understood.

Superman finds a dead man named Anderson in a military uniform. He presumes this is Lt. General Anderson from his Earth.

Bizarro World is cube-shaped and has a red cube-shaped sun.

The Fortress of Solitude is in the same location on Bizarro World as it is on Earth-Prime. However, the Fortress of Bizarro World has been turned into a museum devoted to Bizarro Superman.

The exhibits of the museum include holograms of the bottle city of Kandor and a model of the giant key once used to lock the Fortress of Solitude.

The Fortress is maintained by a hologram of Lara, instead of Jor-El.

The Jonathan Kent of Bizarro World, Jon-El, shows up. He deactivates the Lara hologram and says they need to take it with them. He suggests they go to the farm in Smallville.

Jon-El tells Superman that Ally took over a lot of the world several months earlier. She's made her base of operations in the Department of Defense.

Jon-El reveals that Bizarro Superman had been using green Kryponite to boost his powers, like Jonathan Kent used X-Kryptonite on Earth.

Bizarro Lois Lane shows up and reveals that Jon-El is a follow of Ally Allston.

A flashback reveals that Jordan-El has straight hair.

Bizarro Superman was a celebrity who reveled in his fame and did endorsement deals, as opposed to the humbler Superman of Earth-Prime.

Jon-El first manifested his powers to save a falling window-washer while attending a red-carpet event with his family. His dad was too distracted by his fans to notice him.

Jon-El's superhero look was created by committee, with a consultant named Deb.

Bizarro Superman is revealed to have bought the Kent farm as a remote hideaway for his family to get away from the celebrity life. The familiar Kent mailbox instead reads El.

Jon-El begins dating an actress named Misty, who introduces him to Ally Allston at a Hollywood party.

Jon-El resents Bizarro Superman for only seeing him as an extension of himself and an heir to his empire. This is an ironic reversal of Earth-Prime, where Jon resents Clark for not paying as much attention to his football career as Jordan's powers.

Jon-El makes reference to an awards show called the Kevins (which his father co-hosted) and his going off on trips with President Seinfeld rather than spend time with him before he got powers.

Reference is made to uprisings in Star City. Ally claims the American government faked those to make her look bad.

Ally is said to have a billion followers before Jon-El joins her.

Bizarro Lois is revealed to have left (with Jordan El) because of Superman's Kryptonite abuse and neglect of their family.

Bizarro Lois says that Jonathan changed after joining Ally Allston's cult.

The cars of Bizarro World America are like the British cars of Earth-Prime, with the driver's seat on the right side of the front of the car.

Bizarro Superman burns down the barn on his farm after Lois leaves him, in a fit of anger.

Bizarro General Lane never liked Kal-El and claims to have always supported his daughters in what they wanted to do with their lives. This is the reverse of Earth-Prime, where Sam Lane worked with Superman without issue but was a distant father to his daughters.

Lois notes that people with powers are joining Ally's cult, along with political agitators and ex-military.

Jon-El attacks the Department of Defense and tries to learn the location of the Project 7734 X-Kryptonite weapons stash so that Ally can stop Superman

The Bizarro version of Lieutenant Reno Rosetti is revealed to be part of Ally's cult as well and helps Jon-El to take control of the Department of Defense.

Bizarro Ally Allston is said to have discovered a portal to another Earth.

Bizarro Superman is revealed to have been using Kryponite to make himself stronger. This is the cause of his chalky skin and emaciated appearance. 

Bizarro Superman attacks the Department of Defense after getting high on Kryptonite. This explains the opening sequence from 206.

Jon-El attacks Superman, demanding to know where Anderson is, just before Anderson shows up.

A flashback reveals that Jon-El burned Bizarro Andrerson with his heat vision to keep him from merging with his other self before Ally Allston. This explains the burned corpse in Anderson's uniform that Superman saw earlier in the episode.

In Bizarro World, Chrissy Beppo runs the Daily Smallville Deadline. It is a much bigger paper, with a large staff that includes James Olsen.

Bizarro Chrissy is at work on a story about Lex Luthor when Anderson approaches her.

Bizarro Chrissy has a punky hair-cut.  

Anderson cannot make himself understood, but is able to get directions to where Lois Lane is hiding by writing LOIS backwards on a piece of paper.

Anderson goes to 22 Mill Road and meets Lois and General Lane.

Anderson tells Jordan that his father is dead. He shows clear remorse when he realizes he killed a hero and not the monster he thought Bizarro Superman was.

Anderson apologizes to Superman and reveals he has both pendants still.

Anderson only has one of the X-Kryptonite inhalers left.

Anderson figures out that Superman was lying to him to protect his family and gives him the pendants.

Bizarro Lana Lang and Bizarro Tal-Rho arrive with both versions of Ally Allston.

Anderson dies fighting Jon-El.

The Allys start to merge.

A flashback confirms that, in this world, as stated in 207, Bizarro Tal-Rho and Bizarro Kal-El were best friends and true brothers.

We do not learn the details of Bizarro Tal-Rho's upbringing, but he has a much more positive attitude about living among humans and apparently enjoys the same degree of celebrity as his brother, having been described as an eligible celebrity bachelor in Persons Magazine.

Bizarro Tal-Rho and Bizarro Kal-El celebrated the news that Lois was pregnant in a bar in Smallville, just after Bizarro Superman Kal-El bought the farm to have a quiet place away from the press.

Bizarro Lana Lang was a waitress at the bar in Smallville who flirted with Tal-Rho after he agreed to cover everyone's drinks that night. She later married him.

It is not revealed how Bizarro Lana Lang was given powers, but presumably it involves using Kryptonite.

Bizarro Superman had a cat name Krypto. In the comics, Superman usually has a dog named Krypto.

Tal-Rho joined Ally Allston's cult around the time Bizarro Superman went off the rails with his Kryptonite addiction.

Ally tells Jon-El to go merge with Jonathan Kent and he takes the medallions.

Bizzaro Tal-Rho frees Clark, who flies back to the portal to return to Earth-Prime.


Location

Inverse World


The Bottom Line

A fantastic episode, that suffers only for feeling a bit rushed in how it tries to explore Bizarro World in an hour. The show might have benefited from having two episodes to explore the setting. Apart from that minor hiccup, however, this is darn near perfect in what it accomplishes.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Starman Plays Sam and Max Save The World - Part 8

In which we further embarrass ourselves by appearing on an American Idol rip-off. We also help Sibyl out with a particularly scandalous story and buy some new Bosco-Tech before causing Who's Never Gonna Be A Millionaire? to get cancelled. (Thank goodness!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 8, Episode 11 - Resurrection

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

Plot

Barry and Chester think they've found a way to stop the Cold-Fusion Killer once and for all, but Caitlin may endanger everything when she enacts her own plan, believing the "Black Flame" to be a resurrected Ronnie Raymond.


Influences

Green Lantern: Blackest Night (character of Deathstorm and references to raising the dead.) and Ghostbusters (the Cold Fusion trap resembles the ghost traps)


Goofs

Virtually every character in the show is out of character in this episode. Caitlin, usually the cool, emotionless voice of reason, is pushed to make a leap of faith based on a hunch. Barry, ever the optimist who believes in the power of love, says they can't take the chance Caitlin is wrong in trying to resurrect Ronnie. And every single person who said the sanctity of life prevented them from letting Thawne die six episodes earlier is suddenly all in favor killing Ronnie to prevent further deaths.

Cecile claims she is sure the Blackfire Killer is Ronnie after making mental contact with him. It's unclear how, given that she didn't know Ronnie.

Why did Sue come back to Central City to deliver the news of Iris' disappearance in person? Even allowing that her phone had blipped out of existence, it's not like she couldn't access another phone and call STAR Labs or the Central City Citizen to get a message to Barry. 


Performances

Danielle Panabaker and Robbie Amell have real chemistry in the flashback scenes showing Caitlin and Ronnie's romance. It's a real shame they didn't get to work together more in the earlier seasons of The Flash and their courtship here makes the reveal at the end all the sadder.


Artistry

The design for Deathstorm is nice.


Flash Facts

The Cold Fusion Killer/Black Flame of earlier episodes is revealed to be an entity called Deathstorm. Originally making his first official appearance in Brightest Day #10 in November 2010, Deathstorm was born of a fusion of the Firestorm Matrix and the power of the Black Lantern Corps following Ronnie Raymond's resurrection as a Black Lantern during the Blackest Night event.

The Arrowverse version of Deathstorm seems to have been born as a result of Ronnie Raymond's death. However, it is unclear just what the source of his power is.

Allegra name drops the Blackest Night event, in which the Green Lantern villain Nekkron attempted to take over the universe with an army of the undead. This seems to be teased when Allegra discusses the potential of the Firestorm splicer to resurrected the dead if used improperly.


Technobabble

Chester encodes the Cold Fusion Sphere with Frost and Dr. Tannhauser's cryokinetic RNA signatures. This will enable them to use it to track the Blackfire Killer without risking their lives.

Using the data on the Blackfire Killer gathered from it's brief time within the NCCU, Caitlin determines that the cold fusion radiation readings are 10-to-the-negative 28 watts, aka Hawking radiation. This kind of radiation is only found within a singularity.

The first law of thermodynamics dictates that matter cannot be created or destroyed, only changed. Caitlin theorizes that the pressure from when the horizons of the singularity merged broke down Ronnie's body into pure thermodynamic energy. 

When a human body dies, the brain becomes flooded with ACTH - the same hormone the human brain creates when it experiences grief. Caitlin guesses this gave him an attraction to the same hormone, which is why he's been seeking to merge with grieving people and killing them in the process.

Chester says they can combine the Quantum Splicer that created Firestorm with Eva McCulloch's R-CEM chips to grow a new body for Robbie.

The Quantum Splicer works by bombarding the user's atoms with energy to create fission, but it requires the participant to be willing. If the user rejects the splicer, their atomic structure would become unstable, resulting in an endothermic explosion.

Chester determines that once they trap the Black Fire Killer in the Cold Fusion Sphere, they can kill him by removing the oxidizing agents.

Apart from an occasional irregularity in his amygdala function, Ronnie seems to be perfectly fine according to this post-resurrection physical.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Caitlin reveals that she planned to propose to Ronnie.)
Ronnie:
Whoa, whoa, whoa, you were gonna propose?
Caitlin: Yes. Because I love you so much, Ronnie Raymond, it freaks me out. But everything is ruined now.
Ronnie: No, no, no, no, it's not ruined, okay? I know you wanted to go to that bed and breakfast where we first fell in love, but maybe we need to stop trying to recreate the past and focus on the future, okay? Because when I look at you, I see forever, and I want forever to start right now. 

Frost: I'm really worried, Catie.
Caitlin: Then why won't you help me?
Frost:  Not about Ronnie, about you. Look, when Ronnie died, you and me weren't even you and me. I was still in your subconscious. But even then, I could feel your pain the moment you realized he was gone. And that night when you went to bed, and every night after that. But as bad as that was, watching you pull away from everyone who loves you was even worse, and it's happening again.
Caitlin: I'm sorry you felt all that pain. But did you feel anything else?
Frost: I remember how happy you were before he died. Which is why I got this.
(Frost holds up the Quantum Splicer.)
Caitlin: What about Barry?
Frost: Sure, Barry's family, but you're blood, and I will always have your back. (sighs) But you got to promise me something, all right? You will never shut yourself off from me or the rest of the team, all right?
Caitlin: I promise. And, Frost... Thank you.
Frost: You got it.


Continuity


The episode opens with a flashback to 2012, showing how Caitlin and Ronnie met. She mistook him for a plumber when he came down to the medical lab at STAR Labs seeking treatment for a second degree burn while fitting a high-pressure coil.

Caitlin and Ronnie bonded over a shared love of kit building, with Ronnie saying his job is basically him playing with LEGOs of steel and concrete.

In the present, the Blackfire Killer appears to Caitlin and tells her that she can save him. When asked how, he says "memories in the snow."

Picking up from her last scene in 810, Tinya becomes upset, thinking that Iris just killed her mother and runs off.

Iris passes out while having a time sickness seizure.

Sue tries to call Barry, but her phone disappears in a puff of green Still Force particles.

Joe and Cecile went through Captain Kramer's files and found three people who died in a fire of undetermined origin within the past six months. They are Colin Smith, Megan Landa and Veronica Binning. 

Running on the theory that the Blackfire Killer feeds on grief, Joe determined that Megan and Colin both recently lost a parent and Veronica lost her sister as a child.

Caitlin determines that she is the common link between all the Blackfire Killings and tells Team Flash about her encounter with the killer and her belief that it is Ronnie Raymond resurrected somehow.

Caitlin says Parker Stefano, the third Blackfire Killing victim from 809, was her yoga instructor. The first two victims from 808, Stan Mullen and Donna Winters, were working at O'Shaughnessy during Caitlin and Frost's double date in 807.

Caitlin says the three latest victims attended a bio-chem conference where they were all panelists on an Applied Sciences lecture.

Barry points out that they know the Blackfire Killer is telepathic and can read minds after its encounter with Chester in 809.

Caitlin refers to the events of 201 and points out that Ronnie died in a singularity, which is consistent with the energy put out by the Black Fire Killer.

Barry urges Caitlin to take it slow and give him time to double-check the radiation data. She agrees to let him work on it while she talks to her boyfriend, Marcus, about what is going on.

Caitlin tells Marcus that she works with The Flash and that she thinks her husband has come back from the dead.

Marcus cuts Caitlin off before she can give him the break-up speech and quotes Plato before leaving her.

Frost talks to Barry about what's going on, as they both independently decide to prepare the Cold Fusion Sphere.

Frost says she wants to believe Caitlin, but she shares Barry's concerns about why, if the Black Fire Killer is Ronnie, it's just now coming back.

The events of 810 are confirmed to have taken place one day earlier.

Frost points out Barry's hypocrisy for being reluctant to trust Caitlin's hunch, pointing out that he'd be all on-board for taking a chance if it was Iris' life in danger.

Allegra tells Chester that he should sell merch for his streaming series.

Allegra is shocked to find out Chester is sharing the specs for the Quantum Splicer on his show.

Chester defends his actions, saying that science is all about sharing and cooperation. He points to one follower, WookieLover77, who is using his drone design to deliver supplies to refugees in starving countries.

Allegra says there is a lot of difference between a drone and a quantum splicer and that it isn't worth the risk if someone less ethical than Chester used that technology to raise the dead.

Allegra refers to her cousin's death and says that death is a part of life and should not be experimented with, referring to death as "noche mas negra," - the blackest night. 

Chester finally agrees to keep the splicer specs off-line.

As Cecile arrives in STAR Labs, the lights around her begin flickering and she feels great pain as the Blackfire Killer speaks to her and asks where Caitlin is.

Cecile says that she believes the Blackfire Killer is Ronnie, but that he is in great pain and begging to be set free.

Barry tells Caitlin they can't go through with her plan and should try to end Ronnie's suffering rather than try to bring him back to life. He justifies this decision by referring to the events of 301 and the problems caused by Flashpoint and by his inability to cope with his father's death.

Caitlin points out Barry's hypocrisy and recalls all the times Team Flash moved Heaven and Earth to try and save Iris over a lot less evidence than she has.

Caitlin says that if Barry and the rest of the team won't help her, she will work on her own.

In a flashback to 2013, Caitlin and Ronnie plan to celebrate their one year anniversary with a trip to Mapleville, to the bed and breakfast they went to on their first weekend together as a couple.

Ronnie apparently was forced to stay up all night with Cisco waiting in line to get the new Call of Duty game.

Tinya attacks Iris at her hotel room and seems to phase her out of existence.

When Sue asks what Tinya did, Tinya says Sue will find out if she ever tries to come after her again.

After talking with Cecile, Barry decides to use the Cold Fusion Sphere to trap the Black Fire Killer.

Frost offers to talk to Caitlin about what the team has decided.

In the flashback to 2013, it is revealed that Ronnie and Caitlin got stuck in the snow near Piedmont State Park on the way to Mapleville. Caitlin reveals that she was going to propose to Ronnie. Ronnie, in turn, reveals that he was going to propose to her and he already had the ring picked out.

Frost steals the Quantum Splicer and gives it to Caitlin.

Caitlin remembers where Ronnie proposed and guesses that is where he was talking about "Memories in the snow."

A group of campers is attacked by black fire in Piedmont State Park while telling ghost stories.

Allegra creates a light path to guide the civilians to safety.

Frost freezes the Cold Fusion Sphere before Barry can use it.

Caitlin uses the Quantum Splicer and seemingly restores Ronnie to normal.

Barry admits that he was wrong and says he should have believed in Caitlin and Ronnie.

Caitlin says she thinks the rest of the team who never met Ronnie will like him.

Ronnie reportedly played Dungeons and Dragons in college.

Cecile doesn't understand why her powers were so off-the-mark when it came to Ronnie.

Barry goes home, where Sue is waiting for him and tells him that Iris disappeared.

Caitlin discovers Ronnie has gotten out of his hospital bed. As she looks for him, the lights go out.

When she finds Ronnie, he transforms into a man of black fire and introduces himself as Deathstorm. 

Deathstorm confirms that Ronnie is dead and that he was born when he died.


Location

Central City - 2012
Central City - 2013
Coast City - 2022


The Fridge Factor

Caitlin is made to look unreasonable and overemotional throughout the episode, culminating in the reveal that she's responsible for making Deathstorm more powerful than ever.


The Boomerang Factor

Honestly, it's weird that it took them three weeks to figure out Caitlin was the link between all the Cold Fusion killings and that was somehow because nobody told Caitlin about all the victims until now, despite her working on the case for a week!


The Bottom Line

If the writers aren't intentionally trying to make the audience hate Caitlin's character at this point, I'd be shocked. As it is, this episode is a prime example of bending your characters to suit the story you want to tell rather than the other way around. The only thing that redeems it is how cute Caitlin and Ronnie are together and how well the performances make us want to root for them. It is also gratifying to see Caitlin and Frost call Barry out on his BS, even though it turns out he was right all along.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Starman Plays Sam and Max Save The World - Part 7

In which, having become sitcom stars, we explore the rest of WARP TV and wind up filming a cooking show and appearing on Who's Never Going To Be A Millionaire?

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Starman Plays Sam and Max Save The World - Part 6

In which, after a brief audition, Sam and Max are forced to become sitcom stars in order to access the interior of WARP TV. This leads to us improvising a number of silly scenarios, all in order to win an in-game achievement.