Saturday, September 14, 2019

R.I.P. MoviePass 2011-2019 (Absolutely, Positively The End This Time)

Longtime readers of Bob Canada's Blogworld know all about my combative relationship last year with beleaguered film subscription service MoviePass. In case you missed them, you can read my posts about the company here: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

To refresh your memory: I signed up for MoviePass in May of 2018. It was awesome for the first two months, as I saw a ton of movies on their dime. It was too good to be true though, as the company quickly began hemorrhaging money. In order to survive, they began imposing a series of increasing Draconian restrictions on the card that literally made it impossible to use. I wasn't about to pay ten bucks a month for nothing, so I canceled at the end of October 2018.

Honestly I didn't give them a second thought after that, and pretty much forgot all about them. They pretty much disappeared from the news as well.

Then in July of this year, MoviePass announced that they were "going dark" for a few weeks while they overhauled the functionality of their mobile app (???). Who the hell does that? Can you imagine if utility companies, groceries and hospitals closed down for a month for server maintenance? You work on crap like that behind the scenes and update it on the weekend. You don't shut down your goddamned business. 

I didn't believe their lame "mobile app" story for a second, and predicted that the company would be out of business by the end of the month.

Welp, it took a little longer than a month, but turns out I was right. On September 14, 2019, MoviePass officially shut down.

According to parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics, they chose to shut down the service because "their efforts to recapitalize MoviePass have not been successful to date." Yeah, that's because it was a business that constantly paid out more than it took in. You don't need to be a financial expert to understand that can't work.

MoviePass basically operated on the gym business model: Get as many people as possible to pay for a membership, then hope 90% of them never use it.

Helios is reportedly putting the company up for sale in its entirety. What company? What the hell is there to buy? They produced no tangible product, and the entire company likely consisted of a dozen people in an office. They might have had a server that stored all the account info, so I guess they could sell that off. Maybe a few desks, chairs and phones. But that'd be about it!

They're also looking to sell MoviePass Films, the studio which brought us the hit 2018 cinematic masterpiece Gotti. You know, the film starring John Travolta, that scored 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, cost $10 million to make and earned a whopping $4 million at the box office. That Gotti.

This particular endeavor is a perfect example of MoviePass' brilliant decision making. They bankrolled a movie and released it theatrically. But they reimbursed theaters whenever someone used their service. That means they literally paid people to go see the movie they made! Is it any wonder we're discussing their demise?

I'm actually a bit torn over the news of the death of MoviePass. On the one hand, I'm not the least bit surprised as I knew it would eventually happen. But a part of me's a little sad to see them go. I saw a lot of movies on their dime films I probably wouldn't have seen if I'd had to pay full price.

MoviePass was an awesome concept in theory. It's just too bad it was impossible in reality.

R.I.P. MoviePass 2011-2019.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Never Forget!

We here at Bob Canada's BlogWorld would like to take a moment to honor this special day.

Twenty years ago today, on September 13, 1999, Earth's Moon was blown out of its orbit by the massive explosion of a faulty nuclear waste facility.

Even though the 311 inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha had access to dozens of Eagle ships, which could have easily carried them back to Earth, they chose to remain on the runaway satellite.

Let us honor those brave, pants-suited astronauts who were hurtled into the unknown.

And may we never forget their sacrifice, and the rubber alien monsters they faced on a weekly basis during their journey through deep space.

Happy 50th Anniversary To Scooby-Doo!

Happy 50th Anniversary to Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, which premiered way back on Friday, September 13, 1969. Kind of fitting for a show about ghosts and mysteries to debut on Friday the 13th.

Also, not sure why there's an exclamation point in the title instead of a question mark, but there you go.

The series ran for two seasons, ending on October 31, 1970 (another apt date!). It was so popular it's still being shown to this day, and spawned a successful franchise of spinoff series.

The show featured four teens— Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, Shaggy Rogers and his Great Dane Scooby-Doo— as they investigate various spooky occurrences and solve mysteries.

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! was created by Hanna-Barbera studios in order to appease parent watchdog groups, which were protesting what they considered violent children's TV programming. Seems odd that jittery soccer moms would approve of a show about monsters and ghosts (even if they turned out to be fake), but what do I know.

The show was originally titled Mysteries Five, then changed to Who's S-S-Scared? During this period, Scooby's name was actually "Too Much (?), and he was more of a side character rather than the main focus. In early versions of the script Too Much was a bongo playing sheep dog!

Eventually Too Much was changed to a Great Dane, and it was decided he's be a cowardly character whose over the top reactions could be played for laughs. Fred Silverman, who at that time was the head of CBS daytime programming, changed the name of the character and the show to "Scooby-Doo." According to Silverman, he got the idea after listening to Frank Sinatra's Strangers In The Night, in which Ol' Blue Eyes sang the nonsense line, "Doo-be-doo-bee-doo."

The original voice cast consisted of Frank Welker as Fred, Stefanianna Christopherson (Season 1) and Heather North (Season 2) as Daphne, Nicole Jaffe as Velma, Casey Kasem as Shaggy and Don Messick as Scooby.

Never in the history of television has a series endured so long by relying on just one plot. In EVERY episode, the gang travels to an area being plagued by a monster. After being chased by the creature for most of the runtime, they invariably capture it and reveal it to be a local resident who's trying to scare everyone away from some sort of treasure. 

Note that this happened in literally every single episode. I guess kids like repetition. 

Happy 50th to Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!

It Came From The Cineplex: Ready Or Not

Ready Or Not (not to be confused with 2012's Ready Or Not or 2009's Ready Or Not) was written by Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy. It was directed by Matt Bettinellii-Olpin and Tyler Gillett.

Busick's written mostly for TV. His sole previous theatrical work was Urge (?). Murphy previously wrote The Mill At Calder's End segment of Minutes Past Midnight, whatever that is. Despite this apparent lack of talent, they did a decent job of fleshing out this well-worn and threadbare premise.

Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett are apparently working partners, who previously directed the 10/31/98 segment of V/H/S and Devil's Due (oh, THEY'RE the ones).

Take equal parts Clue and The Most Dangerous Game, throw in a dash of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, stir them all together and you'll have a pretty good idea what this movie's about. The Clue resemblance is particularly strong, as both feature rich people in formal attire killing people inside a mansion.

You don't need to be a film scholar to recognize the movie's theme. It's the One Percent Vs. The Rabble. The Le Domas family is an over the top stand-in for greed and capitalism, and if they have to spill the blood of a few innocents to preserve the lifestyle to which they're accustomed, then so be it. 

This is nothing new, as the "Rich Against Poor" theme has been around since the dawn of cinema. It's just carried to outrageous and literal extremes here.

The movie goes for that "delightfully wicked/ fiendishly clever" dark comedy tone, but somehow never quite manages to completely capture it. The comedy's never taken quite far enough, making one wonder if the humor's deliberate or unintentional.

That said, at the very least it's a fairly original idea, and not another goddamned sequel, remake or soft reboot.

Earlier this year the Borg assimilated, er, I mean Disney bought 20th Century Fox Studios, the latest step in their plan to dominate the entire entertainment industry. Ready Or Not is distributed by Fox Searchlight, a division of Fox. That means that this R-rated dark comedy is officially a Disney movie!

So far the movie's grossed $39 million worldwide against its tiny $6 million budget. Even accounting for marketing, that makes it a modest box office hit.


The Plot:
As the movie opens, our hero Grace (no last names please) is about to marry her fiance Alex. He's a member of the fabulously wealthy Le Domas family, who made their vast fortune from their board & card game empire.

Grace is nervous that Alex's clan will never accept her, due to her less than blue blood. Alex, who's been estranged from his family for years, says screw 'em, as they're all horrible entitled asshole. Having never had a family of her own, Grace says she intends to do whatever it takes to fit in.

After the wedding, Grace and Alex retire to his old room to begin their honeymoon. They're interrupted by Alex's terrifying Aunt Helene, who says "It's time." Grace asks what's going on, and Alex explains that the family has a decades-old tradition, in which any new member has to play a game at midnight. This strikes Grace as odd, but she goes along with it.

Grace and Alex enter the family Game Room, where the entire La Domas clan is assembled. There's Alex's parents Tony & Becky, his younger brother Daniel & his wife Charity, Alex's drugged-out sister Emile and her husband Fitch, and of course Aunt Helene.

Tony explains that after the Civil War, his great-grandfather Victor Le Domas was traveling on a merchant ship and met a man named Le Bail. After becoming acquainted, Le Bail showed Victor a mysterious wooden Puzzle Box. Le Bail said if Victor could figure out how to open the box before they reached port, he'd finance any business he chose. Victor opened the box, and the Le Domas family has prospered ever since.

Tony says it's traditional for all new members of the family to draw a card from the Box and play whatever game it suggests. When Grace looks worried, Charity says it's no big deal, as her game was chess, while Fitch admits his was Old Maid.

Grace takes the Puzzle Box andpulls out a card which reads, "Hide & Seek." Alex visibly blanches at this, and asks if they're really going to do this. Tony looks sympathetic, but says rules are rules. He has their butler Stevens shut off the mansion's security cameras to ensure the game is played the way it would have been in Le Bail's time. Stevens does so, but also locks down the mansion so no one can escape (PLOT POINT).

Grace thinks it's all silly, but goes along with it. Tony plays a bizarre kids' song on a record player, and says Grace has until it's over to hide. She wanders through the mansion looking for a good hiding place. Eventually she climbs into a dumbwaiter and closes the door behind her.

Meanwhile, the La Domas family reveals that this isn't just ANY game of Hide & Seek— it's to the death! They open a secret closet and arm themselves with various antique weapons, then head out to find Grace.

Grace sits in the dumbwaiter for a while, then has enough and exits. Alex finds her and begs her to just leave with him. She refuses, as she wants to be part of a family for once in her life. Just then Emilie enters, sees Grace and tries to shoot her. In her coked-up state she kills a maid instead. 
Alex and Grace flee.

Grace demands to know what's going on, and Alex explains that his family's deadly serious about the game. They believe if they don't kill Grace before dawn, they'll all die at the hand of Mr. Le Bail. Grace says that's crazy, and demands to know why Alex didn't tell her all this BEFORE they were married. He says he was afraid she'd leave him if he did. Alex tells Grace to head for the kitchen exit, while he deactivates the security system and unlocks all the doors.

There's a series of near-misses as Grace encounters various La Domasesses, and another maid's accidentally killed. Grace runs into Daniel, who also hates his family and allows her to escape before "alerting" the others.

Alex manages to deactivate the security system and unlock the doors, but is discovered by the others and captured. They label him a traitor to the family and handcuff him to his old bed.

Grace eventually reaches the kitchen, but is blocked by Stevens, who's making tea. She manages to knock him out and escape the mansion.

Stevens wakes up and informs the family what happened, and says he'll capture Grace. As the others worry about what'll happen if she escapes, Emilie accidentally shoots the third and final maid.

Grace makes it to the front gate, but finds it's locked. She hears Stevens approaching, so she hides in a goat barn. Inside she's shot in the hand by Emilie's young son Georgie and falls into a festering pit full of former Le Domas victims.

She manages to climb out of the pit and squeeze through the iron bars of the fence, slashing her back in the process. She flags down an approaching car, and is stunned to see it's being driven by Stevens. He captures her, but she fights back and knocks him out.

Grace drives off in Stevens' car, but when she uses the fake OnStar service to call the police, they say the car's been reported stolen (?) and remotely shut it down. Stevens wakes, somehow catches up to the car and tranquilizes her. As he's driving her back to the mansion, she comes to (??) and causes the car to crash, killing Stevens.

As Grace runs through the woods she encounters Daniel. He knocks her out and brings her back to the mansion. Grace wakes to find herself tied to a table, as the La Domas family prepares to sacrifice her in a satanic ritual. As part of the ceremony, everyone drinks wine from a cop (except for Daniel). Suddenly they all begin violently vomiting, and realize the wine was poisoned.

Daniel reveals he non-lethally (???) poisoned his family, because they're all terrible assholes who deserve to die. He unties Grace and they run off together. They encounter Daniel's wife Charity, who shoots and kills him. During all this hubbub, the mansion is accidentally set on fire.

Grace then runs into Becky, who attacks her. She almost defeats Grace, until she grabs the Puzzle Bbox and beats Becky to death with it.

Meanwhile, Alex escapes his cuffs and discovers Daniel's dead body. He thinks Grace killed him, and believes she'll do the same to him the first chance she gets. He finds Grace and captures her, alerting the rest of his family.

The La Domasesses then attempt to kill Grace yet AGAIN. Just then, Aunt Becky pulls open a curtain, revealing the dawn. The family members all hiss at the sight of the sun and duck down. After a beat they realize nothing's happening, and laugh at their silly superstition. Aunt Helene grabs a ceremonial dagger and just as she's about to stab Grace, she violently explodes in a fountain of blood & tissue!

One by one, every member of the family (including the kids!) explodes. Alex lingers a while longer, and begs for Grace to forgive him, saying they can still make it work. She pulls off her wedding ring and tosses it to him, saying she wants a divorce. Alex promptly explodes.

Just then the fire spreads to the Game Room. Before she exits, Grace glances at a chair and sees the ghostly image of Mr. Le Bail appear and nod. She exits the burning mansion and sits on the front steps. The fire department arrives, and a paramedic approaches Grace and asks what happened. She replies, "In-laws."


• As stated in the intro, Ready Or Not was directed by Matt Bettinellii-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. I often wonder about just how these co-director situations work. Do they both stand around yelling, "Action?" What if one of them gets an idea and the other hates it? Do they compromise or battle it out? It just seems like a disaster waiting to happen. 

Plus there's the fact that two directors are likely gonna have two completely different visions, which will water down the film's focus. Seems like it'd be infinitely better for a movie to have one voice, and one hand at the helm.

Whenever I see co-directors in a movie's credits, I always think of The Office, when Oscar commented on Michael and Jim becoming co-managers: "Look, it doesn't take a genius to know that every organization thrives when it has two leaders. Go ahead, name a country that doesn't have two presidents. A boat that sets sail without two captains. Where would Catholicism be without the popes?"

• I spent a good half of the movie thinking I was watching actress Margot Robbie in the lead. And why not? Grace looks exactly like her!

Eventually I figured out it wasn't Robbie, and I sat wondering who I the hell I was watching. Turns out Grace was played by Samara Weaving. She's an Australian actress (as is Margot Robbie!), so I'm not overly familiar with her. The only things she's been in that I've seen is Monster Trucks (!) and I honestly don't remember her in it.

She's also the niece of actor Hugo Weaving, of The Matrix and The Lord Of The Rings fame.

Somebody needs to cast Samara Weaving and Margot Robbie as sisters, STAT!

 Ready Or Not features quite a large cast, and the filmmakers did a pretty good job of making them all distinct from one another. Most only had a few seconds of screentime to establish their characters, but that was all that was needed to inform us of 

The only exception is Alex, who's the blandest of the bunch. He also lacked any clear motivation, as his reasons for going along with the game were woefully weak and he constantly switched sides. He's the least interesting character in the movie, and makes one wonder what Grace ever saw in him in the first place.

• Lately I've been ranting a lot about the sorry state of modern movie posters, as most are artless, Photoshopped monstrosities.
To my surprise, Ready Or Not actually features a fairly decent poster. Sure, there's not a line of actual art in it, as it's been cobbled together from dozens of photographs. But they did an admirable job of making it look like a piece of vintage art or a Daguerreotype.

• After the wedding ceremony, Alex and Grace enjoy and intimate moment in his old room. Aunt Helene then barges in on them and growls, "You're going to need to hide better than that!"

Wait, what? Obviously she's referring to the Hide & Seek game here. But Grace hasn't drawn the card from the machine yet. There's no way Helene could have known that's the game they were about to play.

Did the family reeeeeally not approve of Grace, and rigged the game so they could get rid of her?

• Grace & the others gather in the Game Room, where Tony explains the Le Domas family tradition. Charity tells Grace not to worry, as she picked chess, and Fitch got Old Maid. 

Presumably those were both ordinary games and they didn't play to the death. The others non-blood family members probably played normal games as well.

So why is Hide & Seek the only lethal game? Is it like Russian Roulette? Does the Puzzle Box contain eleven safe game cards, and one deadly one?

• Missed Opportunity: As I mentioned in the intro, Ready Or Not bears a strong resemblance to Clue. Heck, the movie's even about a family that made its fortune from board games! 

So it would have been a fun little touch if the Le Domas family armed themselves with the weapons from the Clue game: knife, revolver, monkey wrench, lead pipe, rope and candlestick. As is, the only weapon used from the game is a revolver. Pity.

• Grace is a perfect example of the "Blood-Splattered Bride" trope. I'm not sure why this particular symbol is so popular, but it pops up quite a bit in action and exploitation films. Maybe it's something to do with the contrast between virginal innocence and bloody gore.

• Speaking of brides, there were a whopping seventeen different versions of Grace's wedding dress created for the film. According to costume designer Avery Plewes, each gown was a bit more dirtied and distressed and bloodied than the last, illustrating Grace's ordeal as she attempted to escape from the mansion.

• When Grace escapes the mansion and tries to slip through the wrought iron fence, she injures herself on a decorative metal leaf that severely slashes her back.

A bit later, Stevens drives by and shines a flashlight on the spot where she escaped. We can clearly see that the metal leaves are only in the center of the fence. There are no sharp, pointy filigrees in the bottom third. All Grace had to do was crouch down a bit and she doulc have crawled through the fence without slicing herself open.

• Grace manages to incapacitate Stevens and steal his car. As she roars down the road, she uses a royalty-free version of OnStar (TripSafe?) to try and call the police. The operator immediately notes her car was reported as stolen, and remotely shuts it down.

Note that just forty seconds pass between the time Grace got in the car and when it's deactivated. Forty seconds! 

Wow! That Stevens must have really been on the ball. He managed to regain consciousness, shake his head a few times to clear his mind, take out his cell phone, dial 911, get an answer and report his car as stolen— all in just forty short seconds. I'll let the reader decide if that's anywhere near enough time for even ONE of those things to happen.

• Daniel and Becky are both killed before dawn. Did they explode once the sun came up too, or did their bodies just lie there?

• As in most action movies, Ready Or Not features the old "Impossible To Explain What Happened To The Authorities" ending. Grace manages to win in the end, but she's gonna have to do a LOT of explaining to the police. 

Think about it— the Le Domas family have all mysteriously disappeared, and she's covered from head to toe with their blood. Daniel was shot & killed, while Becky's head was flattened (it's unclear if their corpses exploded after dawn as well). There's also a goat pit containing three recently murdered maids. Just outside the grounds is a stolen car containing the body of Stevens. And to top it all off, the mansion's been set ablaze.

Technically Grace is only responsible for two of those deaths, and even then they were in self defense. Despite that, it's going to be very difficult to convince the authorities that the family exploded and she didn't kill them all and set fire to the house to cover up her crimes. Grace is mostly likely going to prison.

Ready Or Not is a reasonably entertaining dark comedy, that's also a thinly disguised metaphor for the war between the classes. Sadly, the comedy never quite gels, as it doesn't go far enough. The film features a great cast, but sadly most of them aren't given enough to do. But hey, at least it's not a remake! I give it a respectable B.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

It's Official: Star Wars Is Dead

There was a time— not all that long ago— when every toy and department store had an entire Star Wars AISLE, packed on both sides with hundreds of action figures in various scales, dozens of ships and vehicles, toy light sabers and more. Seriously, an entire aisle!

That time is now past.

This is what the Star Wars section currently looks like in every store in my hometown. A spot two feet wide, filled with a few forlorn and unwanted figures (most of which are on clearance) and lots and lots of empty pegs.

If you look closely there at the pitifully small selection of Star Wars figures, you'll see one of Supreme Leader Snoke front & center. Hard to believe he'd be a peg-warmer. After all, what kid wouldn't want an action figure of a withered old man (I think?) in a gold lamé gown?

Jesus, what the hell happened? Many are quick to blame videogames and smart phones, saying they've replaced toys for most modern kids.

I don't think that's true though, as this particular store had large and robust sections of Marvel Legends and Fortnite figures. Kids are still buying and playing with toys. They just don't give two sh*ts about Star Wars.

Congratulations, Disney. With your misguided handling of the franchise, you've succeeded where the Empire failed. You have officially killed off Star Wars once and for all.

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 4, Episode 12: The Eggplant, The Witch & The Wardrobe

I'm playing catch up this month, so please excuse this dreadfully late review. I'm determined to finish the season even if it kills me.

After three mediocre duds in a row, this week we finally get a halfway decent episode. Good thing too, because I'll be honest with you guys— I was coming dangerously close to giving up on this show. 

That said, even though I kind of liked this episode, I gotta admit it wasn't particularly great. As seems to be the norm this year, we get endless scenes of thrilling relationship drama instead of superhero action. Heck, a large chunk of the episode is devoted to Zari struggling to come up with the perfect text to send to Steel! Awesome! Take that, Infinity War & Endgame!

To be fair, there are a couple of scenes in which Constantine and Nora Darhk actually use their magical powers against Neron. Unfortunately they're all too brief.

Once again, I assume this continual lack of action is due that ol' devil The Budget. It's much cheaper to show two women talking about their relationship while mattress shopping than it is to film a team of superheroes battling a giant horned demon.

I'm not sure if The CW ordered massive budget cuts to Legends Of Tomorrow, or the show's expanded the cast so much there's no cash left for superhero stunts. Either way, the audience is the loser here.


The Plot:

There's a crap-ton of storylines in this episode, so I'll do my best to be brief (HAW!). White Canary goes to Sharpe's apartment and asks if they can talk. When there's no answer, she unlocks the door and finds the place deserted, along with signs of a scuffle.

On the Waverider, Constantine discovers that Atom's brought Nora Darhk onboard. Nora says she didn't kill Hank Heywood, but Constantine already knows, stating that Neron did it. Canary enters and tells them that Sharpe's missing. Constantine says it's a sure bet that Neron took her. 

Nora asks Canary to take her to Ava's apartment so she can use her powers to find her. Constantine says that's not a good idea, as Nora's vulnerable to Neron's power and is a liability. Nora assures him she's fine, and Canary agrees to take her.

They go back to Sharpe's apartment, and Nora sees a cracked and bloody mirror on the wall. She touches it and sees a vision of Neron smashing Sharpe against it. She also senses a motel room, and says she knows where to find Sharpe.

Meanwhile, Steel and Gary are going through Hank's files, destroying anything pertaining to the magical theme park he was building (since he was using illegal funding to pay for it). Atom enters and says Director Sharpe's missing. Gary screams and runs off to help find her. Atom convinces Steel that Nora didn't kill Hank. Just then there hear a phone ring from inside a file box (wha...?). Steel answers and it's Mikey T, the foreman who's constructing Hank's park in Buckwood Downs. Steel and Atom head there.

Canary, Constantine and Nora arrive at a seedy motel and find Sharpe inside one of the rooms, sitting in the middle of the floor. They take her back to the Waverider, where Constantine says Neron was likely preparing her as a new host for his spirit. He says Sharpe's soul is now in purgatory, and it's impossible to get her back. 

Canary demands he send her to Purgatory to rescue Sharpe. Constantine warns her that the place is designed to drive souls insane, and he won't be able to protect her there. She lies on a bed next to Sharpe, and Constantine casts a spell to send her down.

Canary wakes up inside the impossibly vast Megastör, which is an obvious riff on IKEA. She spots Sharpe waiting in a checkout line and runs over to her. She says if she checks out she'll die (?) and says they need to find the exit.

Back on the Waverider, there's a completely superfluous subplot in which Zari tries to text Steel about going on a date, and Charlie and Mona (especially Mona) stick their noses in and try to help. Gary arrives on the ship and sees Sharpe laid out on a bed in the Medbay, and does his best to make her comfortable. Constantine takes Charlie and Nora with him to figure out what Neron wants.

Elsewhere, Steel and Atom arrive at the construction site, and see them building a massive arch for a dragon sanctuary. Mikey T recognizes Steel from Hank's descriptions. Steel tells him that Hank's dead, and to tear down the entire park.

In Purgatory, a vision of Gary appears as a Megastör employee and tells Sharpe he's there to help her. An announcement says the store's closing in one hour, putting a ticking clock on their situation. Canary and Sharpe follow the arrows on the floor, but end up right where they started. Canary asks Gary how to get out of the store, but he says he can't answer that question. He does tell them the Ergrik Wardrobe has the answers they seek, and hands them a hex key. They find the proper department and see the wardrobe in pieces. Canary begins putting it together without the instructions. 

Meanwhile, Neron walks to the motel, whistling Pop Goes The Weasel as he goes. He enters a room and sees what appears to be Sharpe, still sitting on the floor. Suddenly "Sharpe" punches him in the face, revealing she's actually Charlie. Nora enters and fires off some mystical blasts at the demon, while Constantine knocks him out with a spell.

Neron wakes in a cell inside the Time Bureau. He begins taunting Constantine, as he's still wearing the form of his beloved Dez. He then tells Nora he's inside her mind and senses she's weak. Nora shoves Constantine out the door, and says that Neron's trying to get to them both. She says between the two of them, they should be able to figure a way to defeat him. 

Back in the Megastör, Canary finishes building the wardrobe, but it instantly falls apart. Sharpe says Canary didn't follow the directions, which is symbolic of her entire life. This leads to a big argument, and Canary agrees to build it again with Sharpe's help. They finish, and the wardrobe opens. They step through, thinking they've found the way out. Superheroics!

Instead they're just transported to the mattress department. Gary appears again and warns them to choose their mattress carefully, as it's the most important decision of their lives. Another salesman enters and tells Gary they need to leave before "Tabitha" arrives. Gary pales and the two salesmen run out. I'm assuming we'll find out who Tabitha is in the season finale. 

Anyway, Canary and Sharpe begin testing mattresses. Canary picks out a cheap one with a five year warranty. This appalls Sharpe, who says they need to get one for the long haul. They choose one with a fifteen year warranty, and eventually a fifty year one. This causes them to age into old women, as they realize mattress shopping's a metaphor for staying together. They then discuss their long-term relationship goals, which is exactly what everyone wants in their superhero shows. Canary says originally she wanted to keep things loose and casual, but now realizes it'd be nice to have someone to grow old with. This causes them to move on to the next phase.

Steel and Atom return to the Time Bureau. Steel sees Neron in the Magic Jail and freaks out. Constantine and Nora tell him to stay out, but he bursts into the Jail and smashes the lock behind him. He confronts Neron, demanding to know why he killed Hank. Neron says Hank betrayed him by siding with Steel, and would still be alive if not for him. He then whistles Pop Goes The Weasel again, to make sure the mouth breathers in the audience know it's his signature tune. Atom manages to open the door and drag Steel out before he does something too stupid.

Neron then gets into Nora's head, causing her to start an argument with Constantine. She storms off, and secretly goes to the Magic Jail to talk with Neron. He asks if the Legends have any idea what she's capable of, and wonders why she's hanging out with Constantine after he failed her. She says Constantine did everything he could to save her as a child. Neron says that "Tabitha" (there's that name again) will be here soon, and will take care of Constantine for good. Nora realizes Neron meant to use Sharpe as a host for Tabitha, whoever she is.

Meanwhile, Canary and Sharpe find themselves back in their apartment. Suddenly the sink fills with dirty dishes, the garbage can begins overflowing and the light fixtures explode. As they deal with these incidents, a huge pile of mail appears. Canary eventually has enough and tells Sharpe to deal with the rapidly deteriorating apartment herself. This leads to another argument, as Sharpe accuses Canary of not wanting to move in with her and deal with everyday domestic problems.

Suddenly Canary finds herself back in the Megastör, in a vast showroom filled with hundreds of different life-sized Sharpe action figures. Gary appears again, saying there's a Sharpe model for everyone, and she has to choose one. Suddenly an announcement says the store's closing in five minutes, when Tabitha will arrive. Gary runs for his life again, as the lights begin going out. Canary starts running, barely keeping up with the dimming lights.

At the Time Bureau, Steel's still in a funk over his father's death. Atom says it sounds like his love actually saved Hank, and they should remember him as a Legend. Steel then changes his mind about the magic theme park, and rushes to the construction site to stop the demolition. Mikey T's just about to obliterate the dragon arch with a wrecking ball. Steel transforms into his metal form (for the first time in... months?) and stops it. 

In the warehouse, Canary stops running demands to know which Sharpe is the real one. She sees a sign reading "As Is" above a door. She goes through the door, and sees Sharpe sitting on the floor of the motel. Sharpe says she could have chosen any of the other, more exciting models, but Canary says she's the only one she wants. They kiss and wake up in the Waverider's medbay, finally escaping from Purgatory.

Elsewhere, Nora's still chatting with Neron. He tempts her by saying he can "bring people back," including her father Damien Darhk. But only if she lets him out, of course. Constantine enters the Jail and tells Nora to get away from Neron. She magically chokes him and hurls him across the room, knocking him out. 

Nora then breaks the containment circle and frees Neron. He reverts to his smoky demon form, exiting Dez's body. Constantine, who wasn't really knocked out, fires a mystic blast at Neron. Nora then reveals she was bluffing the whole time, and begins blasting Neron as well. Just then Atom bursts in and for some reason thinks Nora's under attack. He distracts her long enough for Neron to break free and throw Constantine and Atom across the room. He knocks out Nora and escapes. 

Constantine rushes over to the unconscious Dez. He wakes, wondering where the hell he is and how he got there. Atom goes to the comatose Nora's side.

Charlie and Mona convince Zari to send her text. She does so, and instantly regrets it. She rushes to the Time Bureau, intent on apologizing to Steel for the text. Fortunately for her, she sees that Steel's phone was crushed by the wrecking ball, so he never saw the text. Zari breathes a sigh of relief. 

Dez thanks Constantine for getting Neron out of him, but says he doesn't want anything to do with him (Constantine did damn him to Hell, after all). Constantine offers to wipe his memory of Hell, but Dez refuses and leaves. 

Constantine goes to the medbay, where Atom's sitting with the still-unconscious Nora. Atom's confident she'll be OK, and Constantine takes her hand and says he won't abandon her again.

Later Atom leaves the Time Bureau, whistling Pop Goes The Weasel

• Why do I get the impression that the writers spend an inordinate amount of time coming up with "witty" episode titles on this show? Jerry Seinfeld used to insist his show's episodes have simple names like "The Contest" and "The Pen," so his writers didn't waste precious time coming up with funny titles no one would ever see.

• As I mentioned a few weeks back, there are a ton of fans who absolutely loathe the character of Mona, and wish her a prolonged and agonizing death. I'm not one of them, as I think she's fun and quirky— in small doses.

That said, Mona was EXTREMELY annoying in this episode, as she constantly stuck her nose into Zari's love life and offered sketchy advice about her love life.

• Early on Steel & Gary are in Hank's secret office, destroying all the illegal documents pertaining to HeyWorld. Suddenly a ringing comes from one of the boxes, and they find Hank's cell phone inside.

Wha...? How long was that phone sitting inside that box? How the hell could it possibly still have power? Old school flip phones could hold a charge for up to a week if unused, but this is clearly a current smart phone. They can barely go an entire day without needing recharged!

• Sharpe's idea of Purgatory is an impossibly vast IKEA-like store, from which there's no escape.

Wow, an IKEA parody. Cutting edge! I haven't seen one of those since every day for the past 25 years!

 When Canary finds Sharpe inside the Megastör, she tells her that if she goes through the checkout line, she'll die. How the hell does Canary know THAT? Constantine cautioned her on the conditions she'd encounter in Purgatory, but he never mentioned anything specific like that!

Also, when Sharpe hears this news, she says, "Well that's kind of on the nose, isn't it?" Apparently this has become the new favorite phrase of someone on the writing staff, because this is the third time a character's said it this season.

Constantine said it in Lucha de Apuestas, he said it again in The Getaway and now Sharpe said it this week. Get a new catchphrase already!

 When Gary first steps across the magical boundary that Constantine drew around Canary and Sharpe, everyone acts like it's a really big deal as if he won't be able to get back out. Apparently that's not the case, as later we see he's covered Sharpe with a blanket and set up dozens of scented candles outside the barrier.

I suppose it's possible he talked someone else into shoving the blanket through the boundary and put up the candles around it, but it seems unlikely. He's obviously able to come and go through the circle as he pleases.

 Let's talk about Purgatory, shall we? Constantine states that Sharpe's been sent there, and can never come back. Canary then orders him to send her there too, so she can rescue Sharpe and bring her home. Constantine warns her though that once she's in Purgatory, he won't be able to protect her.

Why not? Why wouldn't he be able to help her? In fact, why can't he go with her? It doesn't look like it takes much effort to send her there, so why can't he tag along as well? Or if he can't send himself, send Nora with her. Hell, send the whole goddamned team to increase the odds of success!

This is one of those arbitrary "plot complication" rules that exists solely because the script says so.

 And another thing about Purgatory! Neron sends Sharpe there to weaken her spirit so she'll become a willing host for Tabitha. According to Constantine, she's been there too long and there's no way for her to escape. Canary goes to Purgatory to bring her back anyway. Suddenly everything changes, and the TWO OF THEM then have to pass a series of trials in order to get out.

Why the big change? Why do the rules change so they BOTH have to work together to escape? And why does Purgatory suddenly decide to test the strength of their relationship? By the time they get out, the obstacles they overcame together has made their love stronger than ever. Isn't that kind of the opposite of how Purgatory's supposed to work?

 What do you do when your TV series' budget has been severely slashed, but you need to depict a ridiculously vast department store? Why, you simply film it in a large warehouse and turn down the lights, hoping the darkness will hide what it really is!

Actually, even though they obviously filmed in a real warehouse, it wouldn't surprise me if they used a healthy dose of CGI to extend the sets to infinity.

 A major part of this episode's thrilling superhero action involves Canary and Sharpe discussing their relationship and growing old together. As they sit on an apparently magic mattress, they each see what they'll look like fifty years in the future.

The producers opted to go with older actresses in this scene, rather than use expensive (and likely unconvincing) prosthetic makeup. Note that they knocked it out of the park with Sharpe's old lady actress. She really does resemble an elderly Jes Macallan.

Canary's older replacement though... oy. Not even close. I guess there must not be a lot of actresses of a certain age in Vancouver, and they had to work with what they had.

 As part of their final test, Canary sees an aisle filled with thousands of life-sized AVA action figures, each with a different personality. There's an Artistic AVA, a Caring AVA, an Adventurous AVA, a Commando AVA and so on. Each with her own specific costume and accessories.

Somebody in the prop department is a big fan of Doctor Who! Right in the middle of all these different models is an "Exploring AVA," who's decked out in a white spacesuit and holding a helmet.

That particular model is a dead ringer for River Song from the Doctor Who two-parter The Silence In The Library / The Forest Of The Dead. It looks like they even gave Exploring AVA red hair, just like River Songs!

AVA's spacesuit is such a dead ringer for River's that I wonder if they just found a publicity photo of her and Photoshopped Jes Macallan's head onto Alex Kingston's body. Surely they didn't have the time or budget to painstakingly recreate the costume for a two second appearance. Or maybe someone on the production staff knows someone at the BBC, and borrowed the real suit? Who knows?

Wherever it came from, it was a fun little in-joke.

 Speaking of the AVA models, it looks like the prop department— and Jes Macallan— had a lot of fun shooting them all. They're pretty elaborate too, as it looks like the scene involved dozens and dozens of costumes and props. I bet they spent an entire day just shooting these boxes.

I wish I could see them all the AVAs close up, as they look pretty fun and interesting. Usually I can find production info like this online, but I searched high and low and came up with bupkiss. Pity.

• Apparently they must have been behind schedule when they filmed the scene of Canary walking past the endless AVA boxes, and cheated to save some time. If you look closely, the scene starts with Canary walking past Exploring AVA, Healthy AVA, Luscious AVA (I think?), Fun AVA, Commander AVA, Chef AVA and Ballerina AVA. We then cut to a reverse angle of her walking, as we supposedly see her from the other side.

In reality, instead of taking the time to move the lights and set up a new camera shot, they simply left everything as is and had Caity Lotz turn around and walk in the opposite direction. You can tell because she walks past the EXACT same AVA boxes, just in reverse order! Sneaky! But not quite sneaky enough.

By the way, I'm just guessing a lot of the AVA model's names. Sadly, they go by too fast to read.

• Neron tempts Nora by telling her he can raise the dead. He's talking about her father Damien Darhk of course, but could this power be used to bring back Hank in the season finale?

• Steel and Atom visit the site of the magical theme park that Hank was secretly building. While there, construction foreman Mikey T fills them in on what they're building, saying, "A unicorn rodeo! Can you imagine? Two unicorns jousting?" Atom laughs nervously and says, "I'd rather not." A couple things here:

First of all, a rodeo and a joust are two ENTIRELY different things. Mikey T sounds like he grew up in the heart of Brooklyn though, so I'll cut him some slack.

Secondly, Atom's unsettled reaction is a callback to the beginning of the season in The Virgin Gary, in which the Legends discovered that unicorns aren't the peaceful, loving creatures depicted in greeting cards and toy aisles.

• Late in the third act, Steel actually uses his superpower for the first time in... weeks? Months? All season? It's honestly been so long since he steeled up I can't remember.

Of course he doesn't use his power to punch a villain, laws no. That'd be silly in a superhero show. Instead he uses it to stop a wrecking ball. I guess it's something though.

• Last week I noted that Hank's attitude toward magical creatures didn't make any sense. Hank wanted to build a theme park full of magical creatures to honor his son Steel. Neron then appeared and offered him unlimited funds if he handed over the creatures so he could torture them. 

I said those two scenarios did not compute. Hank couldn't want to both preserve and torture magical creatures. It had to be one or the other.

Apparently the writers agreed with me, recognized their mistake and attempted to fix it this week. In this episode, Neron says "I gave Hank power and in return, he was to supply me with fear mongering magical creatures to terrorize people into giving up their souls. Instead, he went behind my back and built some deranged zoo."

Nice try, but it still doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Especially the part about people willingly giving up their souls to Neron just because they saw a real unicorn.

• Hard as it is to believe, a good chunk of this episode is devoted to Zari trying to compose a text to send to Steel, that's neither too romantic or too aloof. No, really! Eventually she sends out a text to him, and immediately regrets it. Later she breathes a sigh of relief when she discovers Steel's phone was crushed before he had a chance to read the message.

Wait, what? Just because his phone was destroyed doesn't mean the text was lost too. All he has to do is get a new phone, and he can retrieve all his old info with just a little bit of work. Who wrote this scene, my parents?

As a character who was described as a hacker when first introduced, Zari should know this. Unless they forgot about that already.

 This Week's Best Lines:
Constantine: (to Nora) "You're a liability."
Atom: "She's not a liability.She's a survivor. Unlike you, she's turned her dark experiences into a source of strength, not an excuse for alcoholism or chain smoking.She also saved your life. Sorry. Would you like to add anything?"
Nora: "No, that about covers it."

Canary: (to Zari, as she leaves on a mission) "Woman the ship!" 
(Oh, ham-fisted SJW humor, you are hiLARious!)

Atom: "Actually, Ava's missing."
Gary: "I knew it. I knew it, you know, I had a dream about her where she was driving and I was in a car seat in the back. We were headed to Schul."
("Schul" is a Yiddish word for a synagogue)

Atom: (asking Steel who was on the phone) "Who was it?"
Steel: "I don't know. He sounded like a Soprano, but apparently my dad started building this theme park."

Zari: (to Mona) "You know I'm a superhero, right? With a flick of my wrist I could blast you with my wind powers."
Charlie: "Being honest, wind powers, just not that scary."
Heat Wave: "Yeah, you're like a magical hair dryer."

Steel: "I just hope my dad knew I loved him."
Atom: "Oh, he knew. Look at this place."
Steel: "You know, I just wish he would have found a better way to, you know, tell me he loved me. One that didn't involve teaming up with a demon and embezzling money from the government."
Atom: "It's a bit much."

Canary: (as she and Sharpe are trapped inside the Megastör) "This is starting to feel like that escape room we did."
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