Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 8, Episode 19 -- Negative, Part 1

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

Plot

Team Flash go into the fight of their lives, as Iris discovers the true cause of her time sickness. 

Influences

The Flash
comics of Joshua Williamson. 


Goofs


It's weird that nobody at STAR Labs in 2022 didn't check Iris to see if she had negative tachyons in her system after all the work they've done previously with tachyons and negative tachyons.


Performances

Matt Letscher and Kausar Mohammed have great chemistry together as Eobard and Meena.


Artistry

The effects for the fight between the three speedsters and the Negative Force Hosts are good.


Flash Facts

The video game which Impulse and XS play as the episode opens feature a race of squid/clam warriors known as the Klamulons. In Young Justice, the Klamulons are a fictional alien race in the fictional television series Space Trek 3016.

Chester is able to briefly trap the Negative Strength Force host using an inverse energy trap that generates a stronger force field the more power is thrown against it. This is similar to the technology used by the hero Rocket in Milestone Media's superhero universe. 


Technobabble

As of this episode, Mena's top speed is Mach 1.78, which is double her last recorded speed. She tries to push herself to Mach 2, but her heart gives out.

The satellites at STAR Labs can detect major temporal isotopic energy surges.

Chester can't track Deon using STAR Labs isotopic sensor.

The pod Chillblaine designed uses cerebral circuitry that should stimulate, and then reactivate Frost's residual subconscious left inside Caitlin's mind. Once that is done, they can work on creating a new body for her.

Chester uses an inverse energy trap to contain the Negative Strength Force.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Barry has revealed his secret identity to Meena.)
Meena:
So the fastest man alive is a badge with a day job? That's so... Ordinary.
Barry: Yeah, that's my point. You'd be surprised at people's capacity to rise up and help others during a crisis. They just need to be given the opportunity. That suit, that's your opportunity. I think you're gonna be surprised at how well it fits, but you have to give yourself the chance.


Continuity

As the episode opens, XS and Impulse are playing video games together in 2049. XS is naturally talented at the game, to Impulse's disappointment.

Impulse tries to lie to Iris about studying for midterms, but she sees through his deception.

By 2049, Iris has won two Pulitzer Prizes for her reporting.

Iris called to ask Nora to write a follow up to her last article, but suddenly fades out of existence on the phone.

Just after the older Iris vanishes, the 2022 Iris appears in the loft apartment.

Iris says the last thing she remembers is being in her office with Taylor. This occurred in 814.

The 2049 Barry is said to be off world with Jay Garrick.

XS tries to run Iris back to 2022, but a barrier prevents her from doing so. She recognizes the particles that she runs into as being part of the Still Force and thinks that Deon is trying to keep Iris in the future, for some reason.

Back in 2022, Chester and Barry have made a superhero costume for Meena, modeled on the Flash suit, but in black. Like Barry's suit, her costume has sensors that allow her vitals to be tracked at STAR Labs.

Meena doubts that she'll ever be a hero.

Barry reveals his secret identity to Meena and tells her that if someone ordinary like him can help people, so can a genius like her.

Meena struggles with an idea for a superhero name. Barry suggests Fast Track, like her lab.

On Lian Yu, Deon uses his powers to kill the Reverse Flash, seemingly aging him to death in seconds.

Barry runs to Lian Yu after Chester detects a major energy surge there.

Cisco installed a secure comm link on Lian Yu after the last time Barry visited there in 818.

Barry discovers what is left of the Reverse Flash.

Joe discovers that Cecile was patrolling the streets as a superhero. He is upset because she lied about working late.

Cecile says she can now induce vertigo in people, like The Top.

The Top is confirmed to be the figure who was watching Cecile in 818.

Cecile reveals that she got the idea that she could temporarily borrow the mental powers of nearby psychic metahumans.

The Top says it is not temporary and Cecile stole her powers outright.

Joe calls in a favor with Chief Singh to get two visitor passes to the metahuman wing of Iron Heights to test the theory that is why Cecile had done.

In 2049, Jay's wife, Dr. Joan Williams, confirms that the cause of Iris time sickness is her body being flooded with negative tachyons.

Iris has a vison of the Force Hosts - Deon, Bashir and Alexa - but they seem different some how.

XS tries to go back in time to get the 2022 Barry, while Impulse stays behind to protect Iris.

Meena is continuing to push herself harder, despite Eobard telling her she's risking her life doing it.

Deon, Bashir and Alexa appear to Meena and Eobard, saying they've come to kill him.

Deon, Bashir and Alexa claim to be incarnations of the Negative Still Force, Negative Sage Force and Negative Strength Force. They claim to be manifestations of "the true Forces of the universe, ones written in darkness" and say they have come to kill Eobard, the last variant of Eobard Thawne in the timeline, so that he can fulfil his purpose. 

The Negative Force Hosts are responsible for the disappearance of the regular Force Hosts, including Speed Force Nora.

When Eobard asks why they are trying to kill him he is told that he is "not the Avatar" and that his being here makes the Negative Forces weaker.

The Negative Force Hosts also tell Barry that he will pay for what he did.

XS arrives in 2022 at STAR Labs.

Back at Caitlin's apartment, Caitlin and Chillblaine have finished work on the pod he designed.

When XS asks why there is no Negative Speed Force Nora, Barry guesses that he might have erased her from existence when he broke the connection between Reverse-Flash and the Negative Speed Force. He guesses that maybe they think killing all the Thawnes will somehow bring back the Negative Speed Force.

Barry sends XS back to 2049 to help Impulse protect Iris.

STAR Labs detects massive energy spokes of three isotopic energy masses - Electrochemical, Temporal and Geothermal - the energies controlled by the Sage, Still and Strength forces respectively. 

Cecile and Top confront Queen of the Royal Flush Gang (i.e. Mona) while she is in custody.

Cecile steals Queen's telepathic powers and is able to read the mind of every person in Cenrtal City, despite being in a meta-dampened prison cell.

Meena continues to push herself because she's afraid of letting Eobard down.

Eobard says that Meena makes him proud and that he loves how she's using the gift she wanted to give him to help others.

Barry says he thinks he knows a way that Meena can share her power with Thawne, using the connection they share through their love for each other.

Barry gives Eobard a ring containing the Reverse-Flash costume.

Cecile, Allegra and Chester work together to try and delay the Negative Force Hosts as Barry tries to help Meena empower Thawne.

The Negative Still Force sends Cecile, Allegra and Chester away.

In 2049, Iris has more time visions, saying that she can see things changing, but not with any clarity.

Iris goes back to 2022 to see what is happening, arriving just as Barry is trying to throw lightning at the Negative Force Hosts. This seems to kill Iris, who vanishes in a puff of green particles.

The Reverse-Flash with the face or Harrison Wells emerges from the body of Eobard Thawne, after ripping himself out of it.


Location

Central City - 2049
Lian Yu - 2022


The Bottom Line

A bit of a mess, all over. Nobody was clamoring for the Force Avatars to return, and their evil twins are even more shallow and nonsensical somehow. One suspects the story doesn't really make sense and there's way too many subplots that don't go anywhere. Maybe the ending can make this worth it, but I doubt it.

Starman Plays Sam and Max Save The World - Part 23

In which we discover Sibyl's new career and Bosco's latest (and most disturbing) disguise, as we catch up on events in the neighborhood before returning to the moon and meeting a bunch of oddly familiar Prismatologists in Hugh Bliss' secret elite retreat.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Superman and Lois: Season 2, Episode 14 - Worlds War Bizarre

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


Plot

Strange things begin to occur as Ally Allson's plan to merge Earth-Prime and Bizarro World rolls out. With Superman powerless, John Henry and Natalie Irons throw themselves into the task of understanding how Ally's powers work and finding a way to counter them. Meanwhile, Chrissy and Lois threaten to go public with the truth about the worlds merging, as Lana tries to keep the peace in Metropolis.


Influences

Superman: Our Worlds At War
(partial title lift, idea of bar between two planets)


Goofs

Why does merging Earth-Prime and Bizarro World change the sun? Is Ally merging whole dimensions rather than just a single planet? 


Performances

Tyler Hoechlin gets some of his best Superman speeches ever in this episode.


Artistry

The fight between Jordan and Natalie against Jon-El and Lana-Rho is fantastic.


Super Trivia

John enables something called the Vaporlock Protocol to prevent Natalie from following after him into the space between worlds. In the comics, Vaporlock was one of the codenames used by Natasha Irons as a superhero.


Technobabble

John Henry and Natalie guess that Ally can absorb energy from anything she connects with physically, based on the fact that his suit has no loose wires, no effective diodes and that his shields were up and running and yet somehow she was still able to stop his hammer and drain power from his suit.

The Lara hologram confirms that Clark's cells have been damaged and until they heal it will limit his ability to absorb solar energy at the rate to which he's accustomed. 

The DoD cover story for the double sun, also known as a parhelion, is an optical illusion caused by sunlight refracting off atmospheric ice particles.

John Henry determines that the red sun of Bizarro World outputs less than 3% of the total solar radiance of the yellow sun of Earth-Prime. However, that output is growing fast, as the sun phase-shifts into Earth-Prime's dimension. 

John Henry and Natalie believe the merging of people is a complete subatomic recombination.


Dialogue Triumphs

Sam: Clark. Clark. Hey. You gotta stop beatin' yourself up. This isn't on you.
Clark: Look, Sam...
Sam: And the only reason Ally can do this right now is because you stopped her from killing me. If you did anything wrong, it was saving me.
Clark: Saving a life is never a mistake, Sam.

Lois: (To Lana) There have been moments in my life and in my career where I have withheld facts from people because I thought it would protect them more than it would hurt them. Sometimes that was the right thing to do, and sometimes it wasn't. I am telling you all this so that you are armed with the truth. As mayor of this town and all the people in it who you love, it's up to you to decide what to do with it. 

Clark: Yeah, and I'm Superman. I'm supposed to keep people safe.
Lois: Okay. Then do that.
Clark: How? What am I supposed to do? I've never been like this.
Lois: You are more than just your powers.
Clark: (sighs) People look to me to save them.
Lois: No, people look to you for hope. That's what Superman does. He inspires. You inspire me and the boys every day, and it's not because you can fly or because you're strong. It's because of your heart.
Clark: I don't want to give people false hope.
Lois: That's not what I'm saying. The world needs you. You're Superman. Be Superman. 

Superman: I hope by now you all know me as a friend. It's as a friend that I've come here to assure you that your mayor is telling you the truth about everything, and that does not mean that all is lost. I saw what this town was capable of last year, the way you all protected each other. And I know you can do it again. That's starts by listening to your leader. Because I know she's here for you, not to serve her own interest.


Continuity

As the episode open, Clark wakes up in a military hospital, where Lois is sitting at his bedside, waiting.

When Clark and Lois return to the Kent farm, Clark is barely able to walk and trips on the porch steps.

According to the Department of Defense, Clark's cells were completely drained of solar energy.

Clark says that he can't feel himself recharging in the sun like he normally does and thinks they have to consult with the hologram of Lara to figure out what is wrong.

Jordan is nervous about trying to fly Clark to the Fortress, noting that he still can't control his landings.

Lois says Jordan doesn't have to fly if he doesn't want to and they can ask John Henry for help instead.

Sarah is uncharacteristically late getting ready for school, driving Lana crazy.

Ally Allston appears on TVs all across Earth-Prime.

Chrissy's computer at the Smallville Sentinel is glitching when Lois comes in to work,

Chrissy wants to report on everything they know about Ally, but Lois is afraid it would start a panic.

As the computer glitches, the text of it suddenly appears to be backwards.

John Henry takes Clark to the Fortress.

Lara says Clark's cells were altered during the fight with Ally and it may take time for his body to adjust and start absorbing solar energy at the same rate as before.

Clark didn't develop powers until he was four years old.

Clark asks if there is a way to speed up his energy absorption. Lara says there is one but it could kill him before she begins glitching.

Everyone goes outside and sees that a second red sun, shaped like a cube, is overlaying Earth's yellow sun.

Lucy Lane is reportedly working with some DoD analysts, but she only knows what Ally already told the world in her broadcast.

John Henry and Natalie plan to go into the stratosphere and gather data on the red sun.

Lois tells Sam that Chrissy and Lana are having a meeting to discuss what she knows at a town hall meeting in Smallville.

Lois has come around to Chrissy's way of thinking and believes they should be honest with the public.

Lois tells Jordan to listen for trouble and to stay with Jonathan.

The people of Smallville don't believe the DoD story about why there's a second red square sun.

Lana asks Kyle to take the girls and arrange for the firefighters to be at her town hall meeting to help keep the peace.

Chrissy and Lois tell Lana about Bizzaro World and Ally Allston's plan.

When Lana asks why Superman doesn't do something, Lois tells her that Superman list his powers.

Lois tells Lana that they are giving this information to her so she can decide what people find out.

Jordan tells Jonathan that he can hear how much weaker Clark's heartbeat is.

Lana-Rho shows up at the Kent farm.

Jordan moves to protect his father, but Lana-Rho is more powerful than him.

Clark tries to surrender to her, but Lana-Rho flees when John Henry and Natalie arrive in their armor.

At this point, John Henry estimates that they have less than 12 hours until the worlds merge.

John Henry decides to go into the space between worlds and confront Ally with every weapon he can, after tracking her energy trail to the mines.

Kyle senses that something has Lana upset but doesn't ask for the details. She asks him if he thinks it is better to know something terrible is going to happen or live in ignorance. 

Kyle says that the truth comes out eventually, but you have to be brave enough to tell it when it matters. He admits this is part of why he hid the truth about his affair with Tonya from Lana - it was easier to live the lie and hope he could control how the truth came out.

Lana says she wants to talk to their daughters before the town hall meeting.

Jordan is upset because he wasn't able to fight to protect Clark.

Clark is upset because he's not used to being powerless and unable to help, but Lois tells him he can still help by inspiring people.

Lana reveals the truth about Bizarro World at the town hall and tells people to avoid anyone who is acting strangely or looks like them. She also tells the public about Superman losing his powers.

The crowd turn on Chrissy and Lana after they reveal that Chrissy didn't publish the news before now at Lana's request.

The former mayor tries to turn the people against Lana, saying it is clear she doesn't know what she's doing and this is some desperate ploy to stay in power.

Clark shows up at the town hall as Superman and vouches for everything Lana and Lois and Chrissy say.

Sarah figures out that Jordan knew about the Bizarro World crisis and guesses that is why he was acting so weird and wasn't there for her the past few weeks.

Natalie reinforces John Henry's armor with the X-Kryptonite polymer she created that made her armor stronger than his.

John Henry activates a protocol, Vaporlock, which keeps Natalie from activating her armor until ten minutes after he leaves. He says she needs to stay behind to help protect the Kents, because they are their family in this new Earth.

Lana-Rho and Jon-El arrive on Earth-Prime.

Jon-El uses a Kryptonite inhaler to boost his powers.

John Henry confronts Ally Allston in the space between worlds, using missiles rather than his hammer. Unfortunately, they have no affect on her and she sends an energy blast back at him that sends him flying, When we last see him, he's flying through space, unconscious.

Sarah seems ready to forgive Jordan, but asks why he didn't just tell her the truth. Jordan says he wanted to but it wasn't his decision and there was something else.

Lana interrupts them before Jordan can tell Sarah about his powers, but then Lana-Rho arrives.

Jordan reveals his powers to Sarah as his eyes glow red, when he tells her and Lana to run.

Jon-El goes after Superman and starts strangling him.

Natalie decides to join the fight against Jon-El rather than go after her father.

Jon-El and Lana-Rho are taken into custody by the DoD.

Sam goes off to manage the crisis management at the DoD.

Natalie tells the Kents that she lost her dad's signal and she's afraid she'll never see him again.

Sarah figures out that Lana knew Jordan had powers and that the reason she disappeared for six hours in 211 had something to do with her finding out his secret.

Sarah is furious with Lana, but before they can discuss what happened, the world changes around them.

The episode ends with the Kent Farmhouse becoming the rundown house on Bizarro World.


Location

The new Fortress of Solitude.



Untelevised Adventures

Lana's talk with her daughters about the crisis takes place off camera.


The Fridge Factor

Lois turns into a damsel in distress when Jon-El goes after Superman.


The Bottom Line

A great episode with an epic cliffhanger heading into the finale.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Starman Plays Sam and Max Save The World - Part 22

In which we reach the beginning of the end and Episode 6, in which we realize the architect of all our problems is Hugh Bliss! This leads us to travel to the moon and his super secret luxury getaway... but how to get in?!?!

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Starman Plays Sam and Max Save The World - Part 21

In which we shift some filthy lucre around before enduring that most dreaded of hells - a text based adventure game with no graphics!

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 8, Episode 18 - The Man In The Yellow Tie

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

Plot

As Barry begins mentoring a new speedster, an old enemy in a new form emerges. Meanwhile, Cecile's powers undergo a shift that may allow her to help Team Flash in a new way, as John Diggle seeks help from an unlikely source regarding his problem.

Influences

The Flash
comics of Joshua Williamson, Final Crisis (mentions of the Dark Monitor and Bleed) and Blackest Night.


Performances

Matt Letscher has a fantastic turn here as the reformed Thawne. He also has fantastic chemistry with Kausar Mohammed, who is equally impressive in the first full episode with the Negative Flash.


Artistry

The effects work for the speedster fights is some of the best in the show's history.


Flash Facts

The way Cecile sees the emotions of other people and projects new emotions on to them is similar to how emotions manifested from the viewpoint of Black Lanterns in Blackest Night.

Reverse-Flash describes the technology powering Diggle's box as Transmatter Technology. In the classic JSA and JLA comics, both teams used transmatter cubes to travel to one another's respective universes. 

The Reverse-Flash mentions a place called the Orrery of Worlds. In the Post-Crisis DC Comics universe, this was the name given to the core collective of 52 worlds making up the multiverse following Infinite Crisis.

The Reverse-Flash makes mention of a cosmic odyssey awaiting John Diggle. Cosmic Odyssey was the name of a 1988 mini-series which features a major role for the John Stewart Green Lantern.

The Reverse Flash tells Diggle to "drink of the Bleed" within his box once he opens it a second time. In the Post-Flashpoint DC Comics Universe, the Bleed is the limbo realm between realities.

The Reverse-Flash makes mention of a figure named Mandrakk, whom he says was responsible for putting a piece of the Bleed into the cube. In the comics, Mandrakk was a name given to a being known as the Dark Monitor, who became corrupted and began devouring the Bleed between realities, causing the entire multiverse to decay and fall apart. Mandrakk was the final villain of Final Crisis.

The Reverse-Flash also makes reference to the Source Wall. In the mythology of Jack Kirby'sNew Gods, the Source Wall is the boundary between the multiverse and the source of all divine power. Many beings have become trapped in the Source Wall trying to move beyond it and claim ultimate power.

When Ray Palmer calls STAR Labs to describe the Legends' recent encounter with Eobard Thawne, he makes mention of dealing with a minor infestation of serpent creatures from the Morlaidh dimension. In the DC Comics Universe, Morlaidh was the name of a microscopic city located deep in the Amazon jungle, populated by a tribe of aliens who were stranded on Earth and descended into barbarism. Ray Palmer discovered Morlaidh and became its protector in the Sword of the Atom series. 


Technobabble

Something about the lightning Meena generates causes it to interact strangely with the natural lightning Barry generates through the Speed Force. This is later determined, through an analysis of biometrics, to be because of Meena tapping the Negative Speed Force.

Barry says a biokinetic chemical reaction occurred when his natural lightning interacted with Meena's artificial lightning.

The biometric lightning oscillation chamber (or BLOC) uses quantum computing to remotely harness lightning from the Earth's upper atmosphere, transforming it into artificial speed.

Thawne notes that when calculating quantum static in genetic speed, you have to account for the tachyons. 

Reverse-Flash describes the box Diggle found as transmatter technology, forged at the Orrery of Worlds, which has the power to travel across realities.

Before Meena goes mad with power, the BLOC oscillation level is set at 52 million joules. 

Thawne determines that if The Flash can keep Meena running for 119 seconds, that will burn off the rest of her speed, based on her 40% saturation level.


Dialogue Triumphs

Meena: My name is Dr. Meena Dhawan, and for the next three minutes and 52 seconds, I'm the fastest woman alive. 

(Barry runs into the cell block holding the Reverse-Flash.)
Barry: How are you still here?
Reverse-Flash: Well... I wanna see how this ends.
Barry: Don't screw with me! How did you get your speed back?
Reverse-Flash: I didn't?
Barry: Stop lying! I saw you, five minutes ago, 1,000 miles from here wearing your original face, pretending you didn't remember me. So, who is he? A version of you from your past? Answer me!
Reverse-Flash: I don't know. And I don't care. Don't you get it? You took my speed. There's no other versions of me out there, no other tricks up my sleeve. You took everything from me. So, why don't you just leave me alone?

(Diggle rejects the power of the cube, to Reverse-Flash's annoyance.)
Reverse-Flash: 
You're not special. You're not someone important. This was your last chance to be someone powerful.
Diggle: But I am someone special. Now I realize. The cube was trying to make me someone else... something else. And it even tricked me into believing that somehow I wanted it, too, but... I don't. Because there is no power in the universe more powerful than the love I have for my family.
(Diggle laughs. It is a rare but rich sound.)
Diggle: But I suppose a man like you wouldn't understand that. Because if it came down to a choice between some cosmic destiny, or... being a father, a husband... There's really no choice at all.

(In flashback, Thawne places Meena into the BLOC to save her.)
Meena: You gave up your dream. Your chance to save the world.
Thawne: You are my world.
(Cut to the present, as a sobbing Thawne begs The Flash for help.)
Thawne:
So, please. Even if I was this monster somehow, or in another life, don't hold my sins against her. I am begging you. Save her.

The Flash: The Thawne I know has haunted my life since I was just a kid. He's killed people I care for. He deserves to rot. He could never put someone else's needs before his. I'm sorry. You're not the man I thought you were. You're someone better.


Continuity

As the episode opens, Barry is training Dr. Meena Dhawan by running through trees in a national park. Her top speed is said to be 300 meters per second.

Meena accidentally throws a lighting bolt at Barry which knocks him off guard. He notes that she learned to generate electricity with her powers much faster than he did.

Cecile makes reference to a new client who likes to pay in cash.

While Cecile is making a deposit, the bank is robbed. As Cecile watches the robbers, she sees their emotions as a colored aura around them and discovers she can change the auras around, taking the red anger of the robber and trading it with the yellow fear of one of his hostages. 

Cecile causes another robber to feel uncertain (blue), saying they shouldn't be here and should have become an engineer.

According to Gideon and Chester, Cecile's powers have increased 1,000 fold.

Cecile makes reference to being overwhelmed by her powers during the fight with Blockbuster in 814.

Reference is made to Barry becoming emotionless while connected to an artificial Speed Force in 702. He fears the artificial speed source Meena created could have similar unintended side effects, though her emotions seem fine.

Barry goes to Fast Track Labs to examine the speed source, saying that he was informed of the secret project by "a mutual friend who likes to run fast."

Meena agrees to let Barry look at her technology, recognizing him as the new owner of STAR Labs.

Barry says Fast Track Labs is decades ahead of any other lab.

Meena says she understands the physics behind the BLOC just fine, but that her colleague is more familiar with the nuts and bolts of super speed theory. This partner is revealed to be Eobard Thawne, in his original appearance before taking on the appearance of Dr. Harrison Wells.

Thawne introduces himself as the Chief of Engineering at Fast Track Labs and says he's been working there for a year. He is also the only employee who knows about the artificial speed source.

Thawne claims to suffer from a rare form of retrograde amnesia and that he cannot remember anything about his personal life from before one year earlier. Despite this, he still has an amazing knowledge of advanced physics relating to superspeed, which was why Meena hired him despite the worst resume she'd ever seen after he solved an equation that had baffled her for months in seconds.

Barry accuses Thawne of being the Reverse-Flash and being up to something, which Thawne denies.

Barry confirms that ARGUS hasn't posted any alerts about Thawne escaping.

The depowered Thawne is reading The Count of Monte Cristo when Barry visits him in his cell on Lian Yu. This continues a running gag throughout the Arrowverse. Oliver Queen was shown reading the same book while in prison in Arrow season 7 and Lex Luthor was reading it while imprisoned during Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Reverse-Flash denies knowing anything about the other Eobard Thawne.

Barry theorizes that the new Thawne might be from another timeline, like Flashpoint and makes reference to the time remnant Reverse-Flash he created who went on to fight the Legends in Legends of Tomorrow season 2.

Reverse-Flash identifies the BLOC as the same device he built as part of his Negative Speed Force 200 years in the future to replicate The Flash's powers.

Barry realizes this explains why Meena's powers are erratic and interacting badly with his - she's tapping the Negative Speed Force.

Reverse-Flash claims that he's never heard of Meena, so he supposes she is destined to die because continual use of the Negative Speed Force will alter her personality.

As Barry leaves Reverse-Flash behind, it is revealed that John Diggle has been watching their conversation, having come to talk to Reverse-Flash earlier.

Diggle has not encountered the Reverse-Flash since F108, when he was still pretending to be Harrison Wells and that he needed a wheelchair.

Diggle describes his journey since the events of A810trying to open the box that crashed to Earth near him. This is said to have happened two years ago.

Diggle references his appearances in F716, B309 and S612, consulting with his scientist friends on what to do with the box.

Having run out of options among his scientist friends, Diggle thought to check with Reverse-Flash, who might have knowledge of the device being from the 23rd century.

Thawne asks why Diggle didn't have Lyla interview him and deduces that Diggle is on the outs with his wife. Diggle says he's been spending a lot of time away from his family trying to solve the riddle of the box and that he feels compelled to open it again.

Reverse-Flash agrees to help Diggle open the box, in exchange for being allowed to look inside once it is open.

Barry is convinced that the new Thawne is from the Flashpoint reality, though he has no idea how he survived his apparent death at the hands of the Black Flash in L217.

The Flash shows up at Fast Track labs and accuses Thawne of trying to infect Meena with more and more Negative Speed Force Energy.

Meena attacks The Flash and runs off, saying she needs more speed.

Meena begins draining power from the power lines on a remote country road.

Thawne says that cubes like the one Diggle found appear to people with the potential to change the destiny of reality at a turning point in their lives. He claims the box closed because Diggle was not ready to accept the power it offered then.

Under Thawne's direction, Diggle is able to open the box again. However, he throws it away, rejecting it and it vanishes.

Diggle claims to have seen 1000 lives he might have lived, but all of them required him leaving his family. He didn't think it was worth the price.

Diggle leaves the Reverse-Flash behind and calls his wife, Lyla, to tell her he is coming home.

Meena's lightning shorted out Barry's powers and the radio in his costume.

Thawne reveals that he and Meena fell in love as they worked on the BLOC together, as they both had idealistic dreams of what they could do with the power it offered.

Thawne claims that all he remembered of his past life was that he was meant to be a speedster, apart from visions of the BLOC and an understand of the physics of how to make it work.

Thawne was meant to use the BLOC, since it could only work for one person. However, when Meena suffered a cardiac arrest due to her heart condition, Thawne sacrificed his chance at super speed to save her life.

Barry believes that this Thawne has honestly reformed, based on how he talks about truly loving Meena.

Barry and Thawne figure out that the Negative Speed Force is pushing Meena to absorb electricity from power junctions around the city to keep control of her. This leads her to attack the Keystone Cleveland Dam.

Meena is able to cancel out The Flash's power and is about to kill him when Thawne pleads with Meena to fight the Negative Speed Force. His love manages to bring her back.

The Flash suggests that Meena can continue using the BLOC provided she uses her love for Thawne as a lightning rod, like he does with Iris.

Chester agrees to help tinker with the BLOC, like he did with the STAR Labs artificial speed source.

Ray Palmer calls Chester and relates the events of Legends of Tomorrow Season 7 to him, discussing how he met with Dr. Nate Heywood for drinks and learned that the Legends encountered Thawne and witnessed his death in L711. Ray suggests that maybe the Time Wraiths resurrected Thawne and put him in the present day as a reward for his heroic actions.

Cecile goes out on patrol and prevents a mugging by giving a man nausea, like The Top. Unbeknownst to Cecile, however, she is being watched by The Top.

Chillblaine calls Caitlin and tells her that he figured out a way to bring back Frost without the Mirror Gun she was using.

On Lian Yu, Deon appears to the Reverse-Flash and says he had been looking for him, but couldn't find him until the light from Diggle's cube showed him and some other people where to find him. Deon says it is time for the Reverse-Flash to fulfill his destiny.


Location

Lian Yu


Untelevised Adventures

John Diggle has spent most of the two years when he wasn't appearing in other Arrowverse series searching for a way to open the box he found in the Arrow premiere. 


The Bottom Line

This is the kind of Flash story we used to enjoy quite frequently, with deep dives into the lore of DC Comics and some solid performances from the guest stars. 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 8, Episode 17 - Keep It Dark

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

Plot

Barry goes off the grid to track down a new meta criminal, as Allegra pulls out all the stops to protect a story source.

Influences

The Flash comics of Joshua Williamson (creator of Dr. Meena Dhawan/Fast Track), The Silence of the Lambs (Barry interviewing Thawne in his cell) and Assault On Precinct 13 and other "base under siege" stories.


Goofs


Taylor is awfully high and mighty about journalistic ethics for someone who had a contact illegally break into sealed juvenile records to dig up dirt on her supervisor. 

Given that Sunshine and Dr. Light are already wanted for multiple murder charges, it really shouldn't make a difference that their running the Arañas is revealed to the public in a CCC Media report and there really shouldn't be anything stopping them from killing everyone at that point. 


Performances

Tom Cavanagh's performance as Thawne here is brief, but delightfully unhinged. 


Artistry

Danielle Panabaker's direction is suspenseful. 


Flash Facts

This episode was directed by Danielle Panabaker, who plays Caitlin Snow and Frost.

The episode title was taken from a song by the band Genesis. 

Jenna West's backpack has a Batwoman logo on it.

This episode features the first appearance of Dr. Meena Dhawan. She was originally meant to be introduced during The Flash season 7, but her storyline was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her existence was teased, however, with 701 opening with a scene where Chester was reading a book written by Dr. Meena Dhawan.

First appearing in The Flash Vol 5 #3 (September, 2016), Dr. Dhawan was a scientist at STAR Labs who put in charge of a new Speed Force Testing Center after a series of storms began giving random Central City citizens speed powers. This included Dr. Dhawan, who started assisting The Flash in fighting crime and adopted the codename Fast Track. She chose this name due to a unique ability she developed that allowed her to sense other sources of Speed Force energy.

Meena and Barry Allen briefly became romantically involved before she mysteriously disappeared. She reemerged later ,as an agent of the Black Hole crime syndicate, having been brainwashed by Gorilla Grodd. She also became the avatar of the Negative Speed Force and took on the identity of the Negative Flash.

The Arrowverse version of Dr. Meena Dhawan apparently created her own process for moving at super-speed independent of the Speed Force. She seems to be much the same character as she was in the comics, in terms of idealism and knowledge, though she works for her own company, Fast Track Labs, rather than STAR Labs.


Technobabble

Chester confirms that the new speedster doesn't use the Speed Force by tracking tachyon readings using STAR Labs' satellites. 

Barry figures out that the fire in Ivo Labs was started by the mystery speedster, based upon the friction generated by their movement and the low flash point of the acetone used as an accelerant. 

Ivo Labs' Newton Battery is a strong electrochemical cell which requires a temperature-controlled polymer case.

Chester designed a AI-generated filter program that will conceal Lydia's voice and face while she is on camera.

Chester also designed a photo-kinetic energy shield which is bullet-prof, teleport-proof and basically everything-proof.  However, he only designed it to be a temporary measure until help could be summoned, so the enemy could potentially wait out the clock.

Chester says he can build an oscillating transmitter which can block a cell phone jammer.

Thawne cannot sense connections to the Negative Speed Force anymore.

Sunshine is able to use her powers to alter one of Dr. Light's bullets so that it can break the bonds of the photo-kinetic energy shield.

Dr. Meena Dhawan explains that she stole the Newton Battery because she thought it could extend how long her temporary speed powers last and that she borrowed it rather than spend four years calibrating sodium nitrate cells.


Dialogue Triumphs

Allegra: Look, I know you're scared, but the Arañas, they operate in the shadows. The only way to take away their power is bring them into the light.

Dialogue Disasters


Continuity

As the episode opens, The Flash responds to reports of multiple fires at Ivo Labs.

By the time The Flash gets to Ivo Labs, the fires are all out.

The staff think that he's come back and describe a speedster carrying them to safety and creating a wind funnel that extinguished the fires. This leads Barry to conclude that there's a new speedster at work.

Barry checked and made sure August Heart was still locked up in Iron Heights and Eobard Thawne is still powerless and under heavy guard at ARGUS. He also confirmed that all the Velocity X drugs are secure inside STAR Labs.

Barry still cannot contact Speed Force Nora or any of the other Force avatars. 

Caitlin is not returning Barry's calls.

Joe tells Barry that he did the right thing trying to stop Caitlin's experiment but he points out that he may have caused her to lose all hope.

Cecile and Joe are busy with Jenna's kindergarten interviews, so they can't help Barry with this case.

Allegra is running the Central City Citizen in Iris' absence and is currently overseeing a profile regarding the retiring Judge Hankerson and the closing of the nearby Fort Delaney.

Taylor proposes an expose on the light-empowered meta who works with The Flash. She has pulled photos of her revealing that her face is always obscured by lights in security camera footage, but she thinks she can get the images cleared with the right resources.

Allegra shoots down the expose idea, even after Taylor claims Iris approved of it before she left.  Allegra tries to stall and tells her to wait until Iris comes back.

Allegra gets a text from Lydia - the old friend and former gang member she helped in 808.

Lydia tells Allegra that their old gang, the Arañas, are expanding out of Keystone and are trying to pull her back in, because of all she knows about the group.

Lydia also tells Allegra that the gang have become cold-blooded killers under their new leadership, as opposed to the simple car thieves they once were.

Allegra asks Lydia to help her expose the Arañas, promising to quote her as an anonymous source. 

Allegra and Lydia are filmed by a member of the Arañas in Jitters, who takes the footage to the gang's new leaders - Sunshine and Dr. Light.

As Barry and Chester are examining the Ivo Labs fire scene, they discovered an open case with a biometric lock. This leads them to believe the fire was meant to distract from a theft.

Barry decides to go off the grid for a while to talk to Thawne about who the mystery speedster might be, since he has no other leads and it seems clear this speedster isn't a hero.

Allegra outlines how Ultraviolet founded the Arañas as a teenager, before gaining light powers and teaming with Dr. Light and Sunshine as the Assassins Three of the Black Hole Syndicate. She asks for Taylor, Aariz and Vanya to help her with the interview.

Taylor objects to the fact that Allegra is only citing one source regarding the Arañas story and that there's no way of collaborating it. Allegra does not mention that she knows because she fought Ultraviolet and is a former member of the Arañas.

Aariz and Yanya agree to help.

Chester shows up to help with some advanced shielding tech for the interview.

Chester asks Allegra if she told her reporters why this story is so important to her. Allegra says no, because she's afraid they won't trust her anymore if they know she's a former gang member and car thief.

Dr. Light tries to shoot Lydia through the window as Sunshine appears in the CCC Media offices.

Chester is able to blind Sunshine with a flash-bang and sets up a force field around the building that will keep her and Dr. Light out.

Allegra covers Chester's advanced tech by saying that Sue Darbon hired him special to secure their building because he's more than a simple IT guy.

Yanya tries to call for help but discovers her phone isn't working. Chester concludes that Sunshine and Dr. Light must be using some kind of signal jammer to block their phones.

The reports question Allegra about whys he knows so much about Sunshine and Dr. Light's power limits when she starts trying to come up with a plan to counter them.

Thawne mourns the loss of his powers, saying he was once able to run around the world in 5 seconds.

Thawne knows about Frost's death, but says she was in over her head from the beginning.

Yanya writes a letter to her children in case they get killed. 

Lydia wants to surrender herself to Sunshine and Dr. Light in the hopes that they will spare everyone else.

Taylor is in favor of Lydia surrendering herself.

Allegra refuses to let that happen, saying that reporters are supposed to protect their sources. 

Taylor says she saw the code Chester typed into his shield generator so she can shut it down, but she tries to talk Yanya and Aariz into turning on Allegra.

The scene which Barry and Deon saw in the Still Force of Allegra and Taylor arguing in 815 plays out, with Taylor revealing that she learned Allegra used to be part of Arañas after one of her contacts broke into her sealed juvenile records.

The reporters turn on Allegra, saying she can't be trusted since she tried hiding her past from them.

Allegra tells Chester that she was never meant to be a leader and that the whole reason she and her cousin wound up being arrested in the first place was because of her mistakes trying to plan her first idea for a job. 

Both Lydia and Chester say that Allegra is a born leader and that she has to be the one to get them out of this.

Thawne mocks Barry for not being able to figure out an obvious truth about the mystery speedster and refuses to answer Barry when he asks if he ever sensed a mystery speedster hiding themselves in 2022 during his travels.

Barry eventually goads Thawne into explaining it by going on about how this new speedster is going to replace Thawne as Barry's worst enemy.

Thawne says that it's clear that the new speedster created the fire by accident, saved the people because they honestly care about not hurting other people and that they are hiding because they can't control their powers and were afraid of The Flash coming after them. 

Allegra reveals her powers to the other reports and confirms that she is the light meta who has been working with The Flash for the last few years.

Allegra fights Sunshine and Dr. Light as Chester and the other reporters get ready to send out a signal with Lydia's story.

Allegra is shot by Dr. Light but she somehow uses her powers to heal the wound.

Sunshine and Dr. Light flee once they see the news report identifying them as the leaders of the Arañas.

There are APBS out for Sunshine and Dr. Light across the whole state and the information Lydia provided allowed the police to freeze their accounts and seize their assets, which shuts down the gang forever.

The story on the Arañas is CCC Media's biggest yet with 20 million views over the first few hours.

The reporters agree to keep Allegra's identity a secret - even Taylor.

Taylor is stunned that Allegra isn't firing her, but Allegra says that she's a good investigative reporter and she was only trying to save everyone's lives - not just her own.

Taylor reveals she got the photos of Allegra helping The Flash from a social media app called Chirper.

Chester tells Barry about Allegra being an awesome leader, describing her as a combination of Captain Janeway, AOC and Angela Davis.

Caitlin calls STAR Labs and says she's not sure she can ever come back that in person. She tells Barry that she's still not sure how to feel, but she's hurting, and she's going to stay with her mom while she figures some things out.

Barry confronts the mystery speedster at Ivo Labs as they are trying to return the battery they stole.

The speedster can run at the speed of sound, but The Flash is much faster. She also reveals that her speed is temporary, lasting only a few minutes.

The speedster makes reference to creating her speed source with an associate.

The speedster claims to have invented the Newton Battery whens he was a young engineer working at Ivo Labs. This leads Barry to figure out that she is Dr. Meena Dhawan - the CEO of Fast Track Labs.

Barry has read her book - Quantum Gravity and the Universe - three times.

Barry offers to mentor Dr. Dhawan in mastering her powers and helping people.


Location

The ARGUS secure facility on Lian Yu.


Untelevised Adventures

Chester reportedly started a fire by overcooking chicken tenders in the microwave in the STAR Labs lounge. According to Barry, it took forever to get rid of the smell.

Reference is made to The Flash using a wind tunnel to stop The Hotness - something that did not happen in his previous encounters with The Hotness in 416 and 808.


The Boomerang Factor

When you get right down to it, this is another Arrowverse story where the conflict wouldn't exist if people didn't keep needless secrets.


The Bottom Line

Well directed and well-acted, but certain aspects of the story don't make sense if you think about them for more than a second. Despite this, this is one of the best episodes in recent memory.

Superman and Lois: Season 2, Episode 13 - All Is Lost

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


Plot

John Henry makes a surprising discovery, as Lois sets about tracking down her missing sister, Lucy, while Clark takes some time to bond with his boys.


Influences

The Superman: Lois and Clark comic (Clark and Jordan's training resembles the training regiment Clark ran Jonathan Kent through in the comics) and Star Wars (Clark calls his favorite flying obstacle course The Kessel Run)


Performances

The moment where Clark and Jordan get excited about Jordan's first controlled flight is a great moment for ,Tyler Hoechlin and Alex Garfin.


Artistry

The effects on the sequence where Clark teaches Jordan how to fly are great.


Super Trivia

Clark makes reference to a flying course he dubbed the Kessel run. This is a reference to a particularly difficult smuggling run from the Star Wars universe, which Han Solo apparently broke the record on running.


Technobabble


John Henry determines that, for some reason, his armor protected him from Ally Allston's energy draining powers. He also believes that she absorbs life energy as well as the superpowers of metahumans and aliens she encounters.

Natalie created a special lacquer made from X-Kryptonite, which she applied to her suit. This makes it stronger than John Henry's armor, despite being made of the same base metal.


Dialogue Triumphs

(John Henry has ordered Natalie to destroy her suit.)
Natalie: I've been helping you with your suit from day one. I'm the reason it withstood Ally, and now I'm too young to wear one?
John Henry: You can die in that suit.
Natalie: I almost died in jeans and a jacket two days ago when Mrs. Cushing's killer clone tried to murder us. And I saved your life, by the way.
John Henry: That is not fair.
Natalie: I am qualified to do more than sit on the sidelines. You need me.
John Henry: I need you alive.
(There is a log pause as Natalie scowls at John Henry.)
John Henry: You gonna take this thing apart, or am I?
Natalie: (bitter) I build things. I don't destroy them.

Clark: Think there's anything I can do to make things better?
Jonathan: You really want my advice? I mean, I'm the lying son that let everyone down, remember?
Clark: That's not who you are, Jon.
Jonathan: Really? Look at the other Jon. I messed up on two worlds.
Clark: No, you're just kids dealing with circumstances the best you can. And it's not too late for either of you to make things right.
Jonathan: You really believe that?
Clark: (sighs) Anyone can make a bad decision. The true measure of someone's character is what you do afterwards. And you've been putting in the work to make amends.
Jonathan: So does that mean... does that mean you're not mad at me anymore?
Clark: I was never mad, Jonathan. It's just... look, as a parent, you care so much about your kids. And I wanna protect you from everything, but I have to learn to let you make your own mistakes. Just like everyone else. And that's really hard. But I promise you, I will always be here for you when you do.


Continuity


The episode opens with a flashback set "Five Years Ago" showing how Ally Allston met Lucy Lane at one of her book signings.

Ally guessed immediately that Lucy was Lois Lane's sister and began building on Lucy's resentment of her more successful sister from their first meeting.

Ally's followers have been revealed to have been waiting for her to return for the past month, but most of them are abandoning the cult's compound. Lucy stays behind with the ones who remain loyal.

Clark wants to return to Bizarro World to see if Ally returned there, but Lois refuses to let him go due to the time difference that already caused him to lose a month with his family.

Lois suggests he might spend some time with Jonathan and Jordan, unless there's some disaster that really needs his attention. She also says they need to talk to them about Lana's decision to keep their families separated. 

John Henry discovers Natalie's secret suit after he asks her AI, Hedy, for the latest file regarding "the suit" and she asks him to specify which one he means.

Lana overhears Sarah as she's watching a video Kyle shot of her performance in 212. She compares her to Alanis Morrissette. (Sarah has no idea who that is.)

Lana becomes angry when she realizes where Sarah was playing, though Sarah tells her that Tonya was not there and made a point to not be there while they were there.

Clark tells Jordan and Jonathan about Lana's decision to keep Sarah in the dark about their family. Unsurprisingly, they both think Sarah has a right to know the the truth about Jordan.

Clark has a full day of farm chores planned for them. The boys are less than thrilled..

Chrissy Beppo reads Lois the riot act because Lana Lang apparently asked her about the month-long assignment Clark was working on and Chrissy had no idea that Clark was apparently working for her now.

Lois lies and says that Clark wants to get back into newspaper writing again, but he wanted to have a big story to come to Chrissy with so he could prove himself and not just be hired as Lois' husband. 

Lois and Sam get a lead on former First Sergeant Erin Wu - a former member of Lt. General Anderson's staff who is part of Ally's cult. 

Chrissy demands to come along as Lois and Sam go to talk to Lucy, saying she has a stake in this after nearly getting killed by Ally and her cult. Lois agrees and Sam eventually lets her come along as an extra set of eyes.

On Bizarro World, the Bizarro Lois Lane and Bizarro Sam Lane watch Ally give a speech in Paris, telling her followers that they are going to merge their world with Earth-Prime rather than merge individuals a few at a time.

On Bizarro World, The Eiffel Tower is made up of two towers, joined at the top, resembling a giant hour glass.

John Henry tells Natalie to disassemble her suit and threatens to do it if she won't, despite her protests that she can do more to help him than sit on the sidelines fixing his tech.

Chrissy acts as the look-out while Lois and Sam go inside the cabin Ally's followers are using as a hideout.

Sam and Lois tell Ally's followers that Superman destroyed Ally's pendant, so now she can't merge anyone else.

Lucy refuses to believe Lois and Sam.

Sam handcuffs himself to Lucy.

Jordan refuses to come out of his room, while Clark and Jonathan fix the tractor.

Clark asks Jonathan for his advice on getting to Jordan. This surprises Jonathan, who thought Clark was still mad at him about covering for Candice. Clark says he was never mad at Jonathan and says he has a hard time not trying to protect his children from their own mistakes.

Jonathan feels like everyone hates him and he's afraid he'll never play sports again and that he doesn't have a future.

Jordan confronts Lana at her office and asks her permission, directly, to tell Sarah the truth about his powers and try to explain why he was so distance.

Lana refuses and tells Jordan that he's endangering Sarah by being around her. She specifically makes reference to Tag Harris kidnapping Sarah in 106 to try and get to Jordan. 

At some point in the past, Ally helped Lucy move into her own apartment. She spoke to Lucy about trying to win Lois over to her philosophy, but Lucy believes Lois will try and destroy her instead because she can't accept being wrong about anyone. 

Sam Lane is searched and he doesn't have the key to his handcuffs. All he has in his pockets are the device he uses to call Superman and his car keys.

Lucy complains that Lois has viewed her as a problem to be fixed ever since their mother left and that Ally is the only person who has ever shown her any real love or respect.

Clark finds Jordan in downtown Smallville. Jordan says he's come to accept that telling the truth to Sarah may be what is best for him but not for her.

Clark takes Jordan off to train his powers.

Sarah finds Kyle as he's grocery shopping with the other firemen.

Kyle says he will talk to Lana about Sarah singing in the bar and explain that she should be mad at him and not her and that he is not seeing Tonya again.

Lois didn't join any clubs or do any teams in school because she was trying to raise Lucy - a child raising a child.

San blames himself for that, because he didn't trust a sitter to raise his girls so he thought it best they raise themselves.

Lois tells Lucy that the reason she threw herself into mothering her wasn't because she wanted to control her life but because it helped her feel like she had control of her own life after their mother left them.

Sam releases the cuffs after Lucy and Lois reconcile, the cuffs apparently having an electronic release.

Ally Allston returns

Clark starts teaching Jordan how to fly by having him jump into a chasm. It works, but Jordan has a little trouble slowing himself to land properly.

Clark runs Jordan through a flying obstacle course he calls the Kessel Run, after a difficult path from the Star Wars movies.

Ally tells her followers that she can merge the two worlds with enough power, but she needs Superman's strength to start the process.

John Henry is not able to cut through Natalie's suit.

Natalie says that after having lost one world, she can't sit idly and risk losing another one. John Henry reluctantly agrees but asks her to walk him through every upgrade on her costume.

Lana's leg twitches when she is worried.

Kyle talks with Lana and she tells him, without going into detail, that she feels like a bad person because of a number of secrets she's been asked to keep. Kyle says she's the best person he knows and a good mom and he's sure she has good reasons for whatever she's done. He then offers to take her and the girls out to dinner.

Lana is suspicious of his motives, but Kyle assures her it is just about them spending time with their kids - not an effort to win her back.

Lana says they are still going to talk about Sarah singing in a bar.

Lucy uses Sam's ELT pager to call Superman.

Jonathan finished Clark's list of chores by himself.

Ally starts draining Sam.

Chrissy discovers that Clark listed himself as a reporter for the Smallville Sentinel on his social media.

Ally starts draining Superman as soon as he gets closer to her and seems to take all his power.

Chrissy calls the DOD emergency number Sam gave her in case there was trouble. The message also goes to John Henry.

John Henry and Natalie go to the scene in their respective armored suits.

John Henry tries to fight Ally, but she is able to catch his hammer telekinetically and throw it back at him.

Ally flees once Superman is drained.

Natalie is able to restart Superman's heart with a maximum force electrical blast acting as an improvised defibrillator.

In another flashback, we see Lucy's reaction to her first attempt to bring Lois into Ally's cult.

Sam is in the hospital, being held for observation.

Superman is still unconscious and is in such a bad state the doctors at the Department of Defense were actually able to take a blood sample from him.

Kyle says that Sarah got a standing ovation at her show. Sarah says that all of the crowd were drunk and there were only 10 people.

Lana demands to be at the next show.

Lois tells Jordan and Jonathan that the DoD Doctors say that Clark's cells look normal, but from what little they know about his physiology they shouldn't. She's afraid he may never recover to where he once was.

Back on Bizarro World, Ally tells Lana-Rho to go to Earth-Prime and finish Superman off.


Location

One of Ally Allston's book signings, sometime in 2017.
Lucy's new apartment, sometime in the last five years.
Paris, France in Bizarro World
Somewhere in the Arctic Circle, near the former Fortress of Solitude.
A cabin in Burnham Woods


The Fridge Factor

Lana and Lois are both oddly passive facing down Ally as she's killing their father and then Superman.


The Bottom Line

Another fantastic episode with one heck of a cliffhanger.

Starman Plays Sam and Max Save The World - Part 19

In which we seek out an entry into Reality 2.0 and the Easter egg for this chapter. We then start exploring this brave new world... which looks a lot like the old brave world, but with a neon palette.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Starman Plays Sam and Max Save The World - Part 18

In which we start Chapter Five and find ourselves facing a most dangerous foe - the Internet itself! But first we have to free Sibyl from the siren song of beta-test bliss with the help of some heavy ordinance and a pesky rodent.

Superman and Lois: Season 2, Episode 12 - Lies That Bind

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


Plot

Lana is left reeling by the revelation of Clark's secret identity. as Superman turns to an unexpected ally for assistance in destroying the pendant he recovered from Bizarro World.


Influences

Smallville (Lana makes reference to the weird things that happened in their town when she and Clark were young.) and The Lord of the Rings. (The destruction of the pendant scene.)


Goofs

The series' refusal to acknowledge Supergirl's existence reaches new heights of absurdity with Clark going out of his way to get Tal-Rho to help him destroy the pendant rather than ask Kara for help. (Granting this is born of Clark just seeing a heroic Tal-Rho on another world and wanting to give his half-brother a shot at redemption, time is of the essence and there's too many steps to the plan.)


Performances

Adam Rayner has a subtlety hilarious and powerful performance as Tal-Rho here.


Artistry

The effects work of the volcano fight is great.


Super Trivia

The episode title is a play on the phrase "The Ties That Bind," which was also the title of 202.

This episode confirms that Natalie was working on an armored suit of her own. In the comics, Natasha Irons created her own armored suit and adopted her uncle John Henry's Steel identity.


Technobabble

John Henry and Sam Lane determine that Ally's pendant is nearly impossible to destroy in practical terms. It is not indestructible, but destroying it requires more power than even Superman has and it requires a level of energy that is dangerous to attempt with all the tech they have.


Dialogue Triumphs

Lana: Did you ever love me?
Clark: Lana, of course I did.
Lana: (bitterly) Just not enough.

(Superman is told he can't save the people of Bizzaro World.)
Superman:
 I have to try. It's the promise I made. The promise we made.

(Lana confronts Lois over Clark's secret.)
Lana: I don't blame him for not telling me the truth back then. It hurts, but I can't be mad about it.
Lois: Are you sure? 'Cause you seem kind of mad.
Lana: I'm mad at you.
Lois: Me?
Lana: When you moved to Smallville, we didn't have to become friends. We could have been neighborly, waving hello at the bus stop, but you sought me out, and I trusted you.
Lois: Lana, I understand how this must feel for you.
Lana: No, you don't, Lois, because I've told you a lot. After Sarah's quinceañera, when my marriage was falling apart, I called you. You've become the person that I call. And this whole time you've been keeping this huge secret from me.
Lois: It wasn't my secret to share.
Lana: But you knew, and I didn't, which means our entire friendship was built on a lie. There's nothing real between us.
Lois: Please don't say that. It's not true, and it's not how I feel.
Lana: Maybe not... but it is how I feel. And the worst part about it is that you've made me a liar, too.

Tal-Rho: Hello, Lois.
Lois: What the hell is he doing here?
Clark: (sighs) It's complicated, but if I'm gonna have any chance of destroying Ally's pendant, I need his help.
Tal-Rho: I've come to try and make amends.
Lois: Oh, really? Well, which part did you want me to forgive first... how you kidnapped my son? Or how you tried to eradicate all of humanity?
Clark: Lois....
Lois: Or was it when you rewrote my article in the Daily Planet?
Tal-Rho: (To Clark) I told you she'd bring that up. 


Continuity

The episode begins right where 211 ended, with Lana and Clark on the highway after Clark demonstrated his powers.

Lana asks how she never saw this before. Clark says that people see what they want to.

Lana makes reference to the car crash that she, Clark and Pete Woods somehow survived while driving back from a Soul Asylum concert in 101.

Clark explains to Lana that the reason he left Smallville so suddenly after that concert was because he needed to figure out exactly how to best use his powers. He also reveals that he came back for Lana, but she was already engaged to Kyle Cushing when he decided to rekindle their romance and tell her his plans to become Superman.

Jon is allowed to return to in-person classes.

Jordan wants to stay home in case Clark needs help, but Clark says he will get Jordan if he needs him.

Clark tries to call Lana to warn her about Lana-Rho, but Lana is not taking his calls.

John Henry and Sam Lane are reportedly running tests on the Pendant Clark recovered together.

Sarah says hi to Natalie in the hallway while she is with Jon and Jordan, but ignores the boys and doesn't stop to talk.

Jon is greeted by his former friends on the football team and given a hard time about getting the season cancelled. Jon counters by pointing out that he could have outed them all as X-K users and didn't.  He also dismisses high school sports, and high school, as unimportant because the world is coming to an end.

Jordan counters this by saying Jon has gotten into eco-activism and is worried about climate change.

There is a brief montage of scenes where Lana noticed clues that Clark was Superman. These include noticing that Clark has barely aged after he moved back to Smallville (101), her comment that Clark looked like he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders (102) and Superman telling Lana she is a hero (110) although this last scene is edited out of sequence, with the last line being Lana wondering if Superman just lied to her.

Kyle meets with Lana at the diner and asks her how Sarah liked the car they gave her. He quickly realizes Lana is troubled about something and asks what is going on. Lana dodges the question and asks him to pick up their daughters from school, after Lois texts her and says they need to talk.

This is the first time Lana has ever lied to Kyle about anything.

Clark visits Jon-El in custody and asks him for help in stopping Ally Allston. Jon-El refuses.

John Henry agrees the pendant is almost impossible to destroy. He suggests they use a controlled explosion to close the portal to Bizzaro World instead.

Clark refuses to consider this, since it will leave the people on Bizarro World trapped under Ally Allston's thumb.

Lana meets with Lois, but tells her off for not telling her Clark's secret and becoming her friend with that weight hanging over them.

Natalie, Jordan and Jon skip class.

Natalie shows Jordan and Jon the super-suit she's built after they promise not to tell their parents.

Natalie says she can refit the suit for Jon so he can protect himself from his doppelganger.

Natalie asks Jon and Jordan for help in getting some X-Kryptonite so she can power her suit.

Clark visits Tal-Rho in his prison, where he is reading a Pictorial History of Mines.

Tal-Rho makes reference to "The Fault In Our Stars," which is apparently in his library.

Clark tells Tal-Rho about the Bizarro Tal-Rho who helped him and suggests that together they could destroy Ally's pendant.

Tal-Rho asks what he gets in exchange for his help and Clark offers to get him more books. Tal-Rho says he knows he'll never be released and the only thing he really wants is a chance to be a brother to Superman.

Clark gets Tal-Rho out of prison and takes him to the farm house to meet with Lois and ask her forgiveness for everything he did as Morgan Edge.

Lois refuses to forgive Tal-Rho.

John Henry and Sam Lane are not happy with Clark's idea to work with Tal-Rho to destroy the pendant. Neither is Lois, but she agrees it is the best plan they have.

Jon, Jordan and Natalie go into the Shuster Mines looking for another deposit of X-Kryptonite.

Kyle picks up Sarah from school and starts asking her if she has noticed Lana acting strangely. Sarah tells him about Lana's lie that she went on a six hour walk the day before - her lie to cover up her kidnapping.

Jordan tries to use his heat vision to cut the X-Kryptonite out of the rock around it. This triggers a cave in.

Jordan is able to run Natalie and Jon out of the mines at super-speed. Unfortunately, he leaves all the X-Kryptonite they had behind.

John Henry confirms the theory proposed by the Bizarro Lara hologram - that two Kryptonians could destroy the pendant together.

Sarah has started writing her own songs in the wake of her break-up with Jordan.

Kyle overhears Sarah singing and says she is good.

Kyle starts grilling Sara for information on Lana's dating someone new and Sarah tells him she's having enough trouble with her own break-up without having to deal with his too. Kyle withdraws the question.

Kyle calls Tonya - the woman with whom he had the affair.

Lois confronts Lana at her office and apologizes for hiding the truth from her.

Lois says that she never really had a lot of friends in Metropolis, devoting herself completely to her work and her sons. Knowing how close she was to Clark, she really hoped they could become friends too.

Lois tells Lana that there's more she needs to know about Clark's life. She starts by telling her that Jordan has powers and that was why he wasn't there for Sarah.

Clark and Tal-Rho take the pendant into the heart of an active volcano to destroy it.

Ally Allston shows up and starts draining the energy from Tal-Rho and Clark as they fight to keep her from the pendant. 

Steel is able to save Superman from Ally, as her powers don't seem to work on him for some reason.

The pendant is destroyed, but Tal-Rho escapes in the confusion.

Superman notes that Ally was somehow able to siphon his power to make herself stronger. He felt the same sensation when trying to stop her from merging with her Bizarro self in 210 but this time it was 10 times worse.

Lois isn't worried about Tal-Rho being a threat, pointing out that he risked his life to help Superman twice.

Lois also notes that Tal-Rho brought her peonies, which are her favorite flower.

Sarah makes dinner for her mom - salad with hot dogs and pumpkin seeds.

Sarah tells Lana that Kyle knows something is up and asks if she is dating someone new. She says she doesn't care if she is, but that Kyle deserves to know if she is moving on.

Sarah also tells Lana that whatever is going on, she can be trusted. Lana agrees she can.

Lana offers Sarah an internship working in her office. She says she will consider it.

Jon and Jordan join John Henry and Natalie for dinner. He tells them that the pendant has been destroyed.

Lois and Clark ask Lana to speak privately.

Lana decided not to tell Sarah about Jordan or Clark because she can't ask Sarah to lie to her father or sister.

Lana says she isn't mad at Lois or Clark anymore but she wants their families to cut ties so she doesn't feel like she's lying to her family every time they hang out.

Kyle takes Sarah to Tonya's bar, revealing that he got her a gig playing her songs there.

Back on Bizarro World, Ally drains the Bizarro Tal-Rho ro death.


Location

The government facility where Jon-El and Tal-Rho are being held.
A government prison on Bizarro World.


The Bottom Line

Ignoring that Clark has a cousin he could turn to for help far easier than Tal-Rho, this is a fantastic episode that builds the stakes and develops all the relationships well.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Monday, June 6, 2022

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 8, Episode 16 - The Curious Case of Bartholomew Allen

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

Plot

An odd energy attack leaves Barry aging prematurely whenever he uses his powers.


I
nfluences

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button and Star Wars (villain uses a thermal detonator).


Goofs

Why doesn't Dr. Orloff just kill The Flash either of the times he knocks him out?

Why doesn't Team Flash try to call Caitlin to see if she can figure out some kind of way to cure Barry or at least negate the process that is causing him to age when he uses his powers?

It's a minor thing, but Joe dresses up as a wizard when his character is an Orc barbarian. (He even makes Gandalf references.)

There's no good reason for Barry to trash Caitlin's lab with a lightning explosion other than it looks impressive. It's also potentially dangerous given all the chemicals and equipment she has and he could just as easily disassemble everything at super-speed.


Performances

The scenes of Barry discussing dementia with Cecile are a powerful moment for both Grant Gustin and Danielle Nicolet are powerfully played.


Artistry

The old-age make-up for Grant Gustin is good.

The direction for the episode is top-notch, with the comedic elements being perfectly telegraphed.


Flash Facts

The episode title comes from a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who aged in reverse, being born as a 70 year old man and regressing into infancy. It was famously adapted into a movie starring Brad Pitt in 2008.

This episode was directed by Caity Lotz, who plays Sara Lance in all the Arrowverse series.

Chief Singh makes reference to a Steve Palmer case which gave him and Joe trouble back in the day. Steve Palmer was the name of an actor who played The Flash in a movie in The Flash Vol, 1 #118.

The villain of the episode is a scientist named Dr. Pytor Orloff. In the comics, the Wally West Flash befriended a Russian bio-geneticist named Dr. Pytor Orloff and helped him to defect to the United States. This Dr. Orloff was a heroic man, who tried to help Wally West regain his lost speed powers. 


Technobabble

A Gamma Absorption Array use bursts of gamma radiation to interact with cellular structures. It could be used for almost anything, from growing super crops to taking out an entire army. 

A full body diagnostic scan of Barry's body after the first energy blast detects multiple biological abnormalities, including moderate signs of arthritis, hearing loss, osteoporosis, high cholesterol and heartburn.

Gideon estimates that Barry's metahuman powers became 29% less effective as a result of Dr. Orloff's attack.

Based on the second scan, Chester determines that the gamma radiation in his cells is being activated by the Speed Force energy in his body. In short, the more Barry uses his powers, the faster it wears down his body and makes him age.

A 10-85 is the police code for a delay due to an unspecified event - in this case, a coffee break.

After Barry's third full-body scan, Gideon declares that the connections of Barry's hippocampus are showing gradual decay, although his using his powers seems to be accelerating the decay.

The energy amplifier Dr. Orloff stole from Magnus Labs could allow him to expand the energy wave generated by the Gamma Absorption Array 100 fold. This would allow him to drain all life force from everyone in Central City, making him immortal at the cost of their lives.

Chester tracks Dr. Orloff after finding a radiation spike equal to 3,000 millisieverts. It becomes fully charged at 100,000 millisieverts.

When Chester says the device can't be unplugged due to the cascading degradation cycle in the gamma isotopes, Barry gets the idea to overload the machine with his own energy instead.

Barry's forcing the gamma array's field backwards completely inverted its energy charge. This not only restored Barry to his original age, but actually deaged him to the point that he is 29 years old biologically. (Barry is supposed to be 33.)


Dialogue Triumphs

The Flash: You okay? Don't worry about that guy. I just dropped him off at CCPD.
Old Woman: Saved by Mr. Flashy himself! (reaching into her purse) Oh, I've gotta give you a nice, big reward.
The Flash: Oh, no, that's not necessary. I can't accept your money, I...
Old Woman: But it's butterscotch.
The Flash: Oh. (laughs) Thank you. That's very sweet of you.

(Barry describes the decay of his body to Cecile and his fear of dementia.)
Barry: When I run, my bones ache. Like they're made of glass, and... my hands won't stop shaking. I'm always out of breath, and it's getting harder...  It's getting harder to... remember the people I love.  My friends. Nora, Bart, Joe. Even Iris. What if I forget who she is... before she comes back?  I thought I had plenty of time to get Iris back...And live my live my life with her. Now it's all fading away, like my body. And now, with my mind going, too... it's like losing everyone you love...  All at once. 


Continuity

As the episode opens, Barry stops two robberies (one at CC Jitters) and saves an old woman from being run over by a distracted driver. 

Ironically, the distracted driver is listening to the novelty song Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer while looking at his phone while driving.

The old woman offers Barry a butterscotch for saving her.

Allegra runs a Dungeons and Dragons game for Barry, Joe, Cecile and Chester. Barry is the group' cleric and Joe is playing Karash the Orc.

Joe can't get into D&D.

Barry started playing D&D after Iris made him try it.

Barry still has no idea what happened to Iris, but is confident she'll be okay since she apparently still exists in the future of 2049.

Barry is called into work by Chief Singh, who has been covering for him the whole day, saying that Barry was in his lab.

Chief Singh had no idea that Captain Kramer knew that Barry was The Flash or that she had figured it out on her own. He does take pride, however, that he figured it out first and far more quickly.

Chief Singh called Barry in on a high-profile tech heist at Mercury Labs. Whoever the thief was, they were smart enough to wipe the security footage before stealing a Gamma Absorption Array.

After quickly searching every abandoned warehouse in the docks, Barry finds a van with the same tire treads as the one used in the Mercury Labs robbery. It contains the array, but it's been heavily modified.

Barry is hit by an energy wave which knocks him out, after being confronted by a gloating older man in a lab coat.

Chester determines the energy wave caused Barry's internal organs to age 30 years overnight. This explains why he looks young on the outside, but his joints, bones and organs are weakened.

The blast also caused Barry to lose control of his powers, so he can no longer phase through solid matter or create focused wind blasts with his arms.

Captain Singh checks in on Joe and finds him getting frustrated while trying to program a robotic vacuum. He offers to help him.

Jenna is said to be in pre-school now, giving Joe much more free time at home.

Barry guesses that his top speed is now Mach 10, but thinks that is still fast enough to stop this scientist,

Barry responds to reports of a break-in at Magnus Labs. This time, the scientist does not bother to wipe the security footage.

Barry can no longer throw lightning and is once again knocked out by the evil scientist.

Upon returning from the Magnus Labs break-in, Chester determines that Barry is now near-sighted and his hair is now going gray.

A second scan determines that Barry has aged another ten years.

The team identify the scientist as Dr. Pytor Orloff - a former technician at Corbin Taft Industries, who was fired for using company resources on unsanctioned research.

Barry mistakenly calls Dr. Orloff Dr. Olsen. as he decides to go to Corbin Taft Industries to see what they can learn about him and his work.

Cecile insists on going with Barry, staying her powers will warn her if he tries anything.

Joe and Singh can't get the vacuum to work and Joe becomes very frustrrated.

Singh recalls how he hadn't seen Joe that upset since the Steve Palmer case.

Barry finds Orloff's old laptop in storage, but accidentally triggers a facial ID scan. This triggers an automatic erasure of the hard drive.

Barry becomes confused again, saying he needs to run the laptop to Chester at the CCPD instead of STAR Labs. 

Barry tries to run himself and Cecile to STAR Labs and they wind up in China instead.

Chester determines that Barry using his speed again could kill him at this point.

Chester was able to stop the countdown on Orloff's laptop, but says it will take more time for him to hack it.

Barry checks the Starchives for something to contain the Gamma Absorption Array while the rest of the team monitor STAR Labs satellite feeds looking for gamma radiation spikes.

Singh reminds Joe that the reason why the Steve Palmer case took them so long to crack was that Joe refused to learn how to use the new computer system the police had adopted. He suggests that Joe has always been slow to react to change.

Singh also points out that all the best things in Joe's life came from his embracing the unexpected... like his raising Barry Allen.

Cecile finds Barry wandering the halls of STAR Labs, having forgotten where the Starchives are.

Barry tells Cecile he's scared that he might die before finding Iris, but he's even more scared that he keeps forgetting the people he loves as his mind deteriorates. 

Cecile tells Barry about her grandmother's battle with dementia but how it didn't stop her from trying to make every moment count for as long as she lived.

Chester breaks the encryption on Dr. Orloff's computer and discovers he was trying to find a way to reserve the aging process. He concludes that the device Orloff stole from Magnus Labs, coupled with the Gamma Absorption Array, could make him immortal at the cost of killing millions.

Barry has a heart-attack while running around Orloff and Chester determines he just aged past 100.

Barry is able to match the energy output of Dr. Orloff's devide, containing the energy wave and then overloading it.

The second inverted energy wave restores both Barry and Orloff to their original ages.

One week later, Allegra is running another RPG. This time, Chief Singh has been invited to join in.

Chief Singh asks Allegra if she ever considered taking on a code name. Allegra says she prefers to be more low-key about her powers.

Allegra planned to run a police-themed game Joe would be able to get into more. Joe surprises everyone by dressing up as a fantasy character and suggesting that he use barbarian rage and his vorpal sword to kill a monster.

Dr. Tannhauser calls Barry and asks if he's seen Caitlin. Barry says he thought she was with her.

Barry goes to Caitlin's apartment and discovers her secret lab.

Caitlin tells Barry about her plan to bring Frost back, but Barry says this is wrong.

Caitlin asks Barry if he can honestly say he wouldn't do the same to save his parents.

Barry destroys the lab with a focused lightning blast and leaves Caitlin in the wreckage, crying.


Location

Somewhere in China, along the Great Wall.


The Bottom Line

A solid filler episode which manages a surprisingly sensitive and accurate portrayal of the problems of dementia amid the science-fiction scenario. Shame it's ruined by Barry's uncharacteristic lack of compassion for Caitlin in the final scene.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Starman Plays Sam and Max Save The World - Part 16

In which we try to gain access to the War Room and the arsenal we need to stop a rampaging Abe Lincoln statue. Of course you realize this means war! But how to go about setting up an appropriate conflict AND get rid of Agent Superball, who STILL won't let us in even with Max being President?!

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 8, Episode 15 - Into the Still Force

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

Plot

When Iris disappears, Barry and Deon must travel into the Still Force to find her. Meanwhile, Chester makes a horrifying discovery when the CCPD call him in to look at some strange technology, as Caitlin forms an unlikely alliance with Chillblaine to bring Frost back to life.


Influences

The Flash comics of Joshua Williamson and Frankenstein (Chillblaine compares Caitlin to Dr. Frankenstein in her efforts to create life.)


Goofs

Sue Dearbon disappears from the storyline without explanation at this point. (Come to that, we didn't see her at Frost's funeral...)

Chillblaine's sudden decision to help Caitlin after refusing to do anything seems to be based around the need to stretch out her storyline and add some drama to it and nothing else.

Deon's heel-turn similarly comes out of nowhere.

The CGI saber-tooth tiger that randomly appears outside of Joe's house in the Still Force is completely random and not that convincing to boot.

The revelation that Bart and Nora are okay seriously undercuts all the tension regarding Iris' disappearance.


Performances

Jessica Parker Kennedy is as engaging as ever as Nora and single-handedly steals the episode.


Artistry

The direction used to distinguish the Still Force from reality is rather effective.


Flash Facts

While Barry is in the Still Force and having visions of his past, present and future, he joyfully says the name Max. This is likely a reference to Max Mercury - a time-traveling speedster from the comics who was a mentor to Barry Allen and, later, the guardian of Bart "Impulse" Allen. 

Barry also makes reference to seeing XS's wife in the future. This confirms that the new XS is a lesbian. The original XS from The Flash season 5 was also a lesbian according to showrunner Eric Wallace, but it was never referred to beyond the suggestion that Nora had a crush on the best friend who was killed by Godspeed and her flirting with Spin in 504.


Technobabble

By using one of Mirror Monarch's R-CEM chips to replicate Frost's cryogene, Caitlin thinks she can create a new body for Frost and recreate her through the same process that gave her a separate body.

Caitlin says she has identified Frost's latent empathic genes within her own DNA and believes she can extract her active imprints from the DNA of Frost's body.

Caitlin says the keratin in the sample of Frost's hair she took is decaying too quickly, so she needs a stronger DNA sample.

Barry uses an isotopic sensor to find the particle Deon planted in Iris.

The strange device Chester is asked to analyze emits trace radioactive particles and contains quantum coiling.

Chester confirms that the strange device from the halfway house is based on his quantum coil transformer, after he discovers that the interior was hardwired with a unique energy converter he designed.


Dialogue Triumphs

Barry: I'm proud of you.
Nora: So you're not mad I didn't join CCPD like you and Grandpa Joe?
Barry: No, of course not. I'm just... I'm glad you found a path that's right for you.
Nora: Phew. So, um, the thing is, is that I'm having a really hard time finding my voice as a reporter. But Mom is teaching me to have faith in myself and listen to my instincts. And if she were here right now, she'd tell you to do the same. And that everyone loses faith in themselves sometimes, even heroes. But learning how to keep believing in yourself when the whole world is telling you the opposite, that's what makes a hero.
Barry: You really are your mom's daughter.
Nora: (beaming) Well, I'm yours too.


Continuity

Barry wakes up to find Iris isn't there for breakfast. He checks his phone and finds a text message informing him she planned to pull an all-nighter at work.

Barry goes to the Central City Citizen with breakfast to find Iris isn't there either. She left her phone behind, which has 8 text messages she didn't respond to and 5 missed calls. Also, her latest article, about Fast Track Labs, is barely started and still pulled up on the computer..

Barry can't find Iris after running around Central City.

Cecile is at STAR Labs when Barry arrives, intending to use the satellites to search the globe for Iris. She claims to be hanging out there to avoid a new metahuman client. for some reason.

Cecile is unable to sense Iris' presence with her empathy powers and is confirmed to be powerful enough now to scan a 5-state radius around Central City.

It is suggested that Tinya Wazoo's powers might have had a hand in causing Iris to vanish, leading Barry to travel to Central City to search for her.

Caitlin tries to get Chillblaine to help her make a new body for Frost.

Chillblaine asks how they can restore Frost's soul.

Chillblaine objects to Caitlin's plan, even before she talks about an exhumation, which she can order as a medical doctor and Frost's next of kin. 

Chillblaine makes reference to Caitlin trying to resurrect Ronnie Raymond in 811 and that being a total disaster. He compares her to Dr. Frankenstein and says he wants no part of her plan.

Tinya Wazoo tells Barry she doesn't care about Iris and won't help him, because she ruined her life.

As Tinya leaves Barry, time stops around him and Deon Owens shows up.

Deon says that Iris is in the Still Force, but that the time sickness is making it hard for him to stay focused, so he needs Barry to come with him to find her.

Chester plans to repair the isotopic sensor so Barry can use it to find Iris in the Still Force. He says it will take him less than an hour.

Joe asks Barry how they can be sure Deon can be trusted, being skeptical of his statement that he needs Barry's help.

Barry says he tried to speak to the other Force avatars, but can't find them. Deon says he thinks the time sickness may have spread to them as well. 

Captain Kramer calls Chester to ask for his help in analyzing a strange high-tech device they found at a crime scene. Chester agrees to help having just finished getting the isotopic censor fixed.

Barry and Deon return to the same point where Deon first explained the time-sickness to Barry in 716. This is later identified as Central City Memorial Park, though Deon refers to it as his front porch since he can see everything from there.

Barry sees first-hand what Deon said about the Still Force becoming more dangerous and unstable, with night suddenly shifting to day in the blink of an eye and people aging and de-aging at random.

Barry picks up a newspaper which originally described the explosion of the STAR Labs Particle Accelerator in 2013. It changes to a May 4. 2024 edition, which discusses the destruction of Central City at the hands of Zoom and Godspeed teamed-up.

As Barry and Deon track the particle into the Central City Citizen offices, they see a hologram of Taylor and Allegra arguing. Allegra keeps saying "Taylor, don't. This is my life, my decision. It's not what you think." as Taylor repeats " They need to know... they... they need to know what you've been hiding." This seems to suggest that Taylor, who was wanting to investigate Team Flash and had threatened to destroy Allegra's career, will figure out that Allegra is a metahuman and part of Team Flash at some point in the future and threaten to expose her.

Barry and Deon discover Renee Wazoo, who disappeared into the Still Force after she touched Iris in 810.

Barry wants to stop the search for Iris to try and find Renee after she disappears, but Deon says they have to stay focused on Iris.

Captain Kramer has decorated her office with Indigenous artwork, which reminds her of the reservation she grew up on.

The device the CCFD found came from a halfway house in downtown Central City, where there was an explosion. The device in question was attached to the water heater of the house. Thankfully, nobody was harmed thanks to a tip being called in regarding the explosion before it happened. All 37 occupants of the house were evacuated before an energy wave took out the building.

Chester seems to recognize something about the device after opening it up, but lies when Captain Kramer notices him looking stunned.

As Barry and Deon move further into the CCC offices, they walk past screens with a headline about Trickster invading Tibet at some point where Vanya is now the Editor-In-Chief of the Central City Citizen instead of Iris. This event was referred to in 806 as XS and Impulse read the records at the Flash Museum in 2049.

Deon turns on Barry and traps him in a part of the Still Force resembling Joe West's home.

It is revealed that the new XS is a reporter in 2049, like her mother, and she's writing a story about her latest solo adventure, saving a crowd at Shark Stadium while Impulse was busy partying.

XS uses her father's Gideon AI as a personal assistant.

XS becomes trapped in the Still Force as well after following Deon's voice.

Barry and XS find Iris' brush which disappeared from Joe's home during the final scene of 806.

Chester confirms that the device from the exploding half-way house is based on a design he put on-line as part of his streaming science show.

Chester references Allegra's warning in 811 that bad people might use his tech to do harm. 

Allegra points out that someone called in a warning to evacuate the halfway house, suggesting that what happened was an accident rather than a planned terrorist attack.

XS tells Barry that she's a writer rather than a CSI, like the original Nora from Season 5.

Barry tells XS that he's proud of her regardless of what her job is.

Nora's speech about the connections between their family causes him to remember that he has a small connection to the Still Force, which he should be able to use to escape.

Barry and Nora appear to Joe as green-tinted ghosts at his home in 2022 as Barry connects to the Still Force.

Barry says he has visions of Cisco and Frost from the past, and also sees future visions of Bart's children and XS's wife. He also sees someone he seemingly recognizes and forgets named Max.

Barry and Nora are able to escape the Still Force and emerge in Central City in 2022, because Barry figured out he must somehow escape if Nora was still alive. This also causes him to belief that Iris must be okay and will turn up eventually, given that his children are okay in the future.

Barry loses his connection to the Still Force and still has no idea why Deon turned on him.

Chester identifies the bomber as one of his followers, Wookielover77, who worked as a volunteer at the halfway house and was trying to fit the water heater with a clean power source. Unfortunately, he wasn't quite good enough to install the device safely.

Someone hacks Chester's computer and starts downloading his designs remotely after he leaves his lab with Allegra.

Chillblaine changes his mind and agrees to help Caitlin bring Frost back to life.


Location

Coast City - 2022.
The Still Force.
Central City - 2049.


Untelevised Adventures

Wally West taught Barry how to meditate to access the various forces besides the Still Force at some point in the past.

Wally also teaches Bart how to create constructs made of lightning in the future.


The Bottom Line

Somehow manages to feel packed with filler while being completely underwritten.