Friday, March 31, 2017

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 2, Episode 16: Doomworld

This week on Legends Of Tomorrow, the Legion Of Doom finally gets to use the Spear Of Destiny and rewrite reality in their own image.

Oddly enough it's a curiously low-key reality, that's not all that much different from our current one. It even has the same president! I guess the Legion's desire to posses the Spear was much like a dog chasing a car— they didn't know what to do with it once they caught it!

Overall it's a fun, if underwhelming episode. It gives the cast a chance to play different versions of their characters, which is always fun— for the actors as well as the audience.

As usual in this type of story, the writers have to stack the deck a bit in favor of the heroes, in order to give them a fighting chance. Logically the Legion should have used the Spear to erase the Legends completely from reality, but for some reason they make the boneheaded decision to keep them alive and just erase their memories. 

Then the writers litter the story landscape with little chances for the heroes to win. Steel just happens to remember the way things used to be. Atom just happens to invent a gun that can restore everyone's memories. Heat Wave just happens to decide to help the Legends win. It's an overused trope of course, but if the writers didn't use it this would be the final episode of the series!

It kind of reminds me of the final Hunger Games movies. The Districts have 1930s Dustbowl-era technology, and are going up against the futuristic Capitol. There's no way the Districts could last more than five minutes against their technologically superior enemy. Author Suzanne Collins realized this as well, which is why she pulled District 13 out of her ass. A previously unheard of District that just happened to be filled to the rafters with highly trained soldiers, high tech weapons and tons of ammo, and gave the heroes a fighting chance. Funny how that just happened to work out, eh?


The Plot:
Now that the Legion Of Doom possesses the Spear Of Destiny, they've forever altered the world. The Legionaries are all in positions of power, while the Legends toil away in menial jobs, without their powers and with no memories of their former lives.

In Star City, White Canary and Vixen, both clad in black leather cat suits (of course), chase a masked vigilante through the streets. After a brief fight they capture her, and we see she's really Felicity Smoake (from Arrow), who's apparently a superhero in this reality.

The two bring Felicity to the office of Damien Darhk, who's now the mayor of Star City (Really? That's it? Just the mayor?). He monologues a bit, then orders Canary to kill Felicity. OK, so... that was all pointless, other than to get a guest star from Arrow into the episode.

Over in Central City, Malcom Merlyn bursts into a restored STAR Labs, demanding to see Eobard Thawne. Merlyn notices that Thawne has apparently captured the Black Flash and imprisoned him in his office, meaning he's no longer in danger of being eradicated from the timeline. Merlyn wants to use the Spear to alter a few things for himself, but Thawne tells him that's impossible, as he destroyed the Kalobros (aka the instruction book for the Spear). Merlyn isn't happy about this.

Thawne then summons Jefferson Jackson to his office, and asks how the big project's proceeding. Jackson says it'll be up and running that night. Thawne threateningly says it'd better be, or else. After Jackson leaves, Merlyn asks why the hell Thawne let the Legends live in his brave new world. Thawne says it's "poetic justice," which doesn't make the least bit of sense, but lets just move on.

We then see Captain Cold and Heat Wave robbing a bank. As they run down the street, they're suddenly surrounded by cops. The police then recognize Cold, put down their guns and walk off. Heat Wave asks what the hell that was all about. Cold says that all Heat Wave wanted was a life of crime, so that's what he's got now in this reality. An entire world to rob, unfettered by interference from the law. Heat Wave doesn't like the sound of this, and appears to be regretting his decision to hand the Spear over to the Legion.

Meanwhile, Rip Hunter is apparently living inside the Waverider in this reality, spending his days playing Cake Boss (?). This doesn't make the least big of sense, but let's just move on. Gideon, who also apparently still exists, suggests they try and rescue their former teammates. Rip says it's impossible, as the Legion is too powerful.

In a lab that looks amazingly like the Hall Of Doom from the Super Friends cartoon, Jackson berates his employee, Professor Stein, and tells him he'd better get the project up and running immediately. We see Atom works in this lab as well, as a janitor (!).

Back In Thawne's office, he tells Cold and Heat Wave to keep and eye on Merlyn, who he thinks is acting squirrely. It's the old "Divide And Conquer" trick! Suddenly Steel barges into the office. In this reality he's a conspiracy theorist who live in his mother's basement, and has an embarrassing Lloyd Christmas-esque haircut. He tells Thawne that the world isn't "right," as he's somehow sensed that reality has changed. He calls these subtle differences "scars." Thawne realizes that Steel's onto something, and tells Cold and Heat Wave to take him out and kill him.

The two drive Steel out to a remote location. Just as Cold's about to kill Steel, Heat Wave stops him. The two fight, and Heat Wave knocks out Cold. He then grabs Steel and they drive off.

They drive to Atom's apartment (um... how does Heat Wave know where he lives?), and Heat Wave tells him he needs his help to fix things. Atom says he's just a janitor, but Heat Wave disagrees, telling him he's "a geek, a nerd, a genius." Atom sheepishly admits he also feels there's something wrong with reality, and shows them something he's been working on— a Transreality Multiplexer. He says the raygun-like device will "reset" a person's brain to its original settings.

Heat Wave takes the Multiplexer and shoots Steel in the head with it. Steel shakes his head for a few seconds, sees Heat Wave, calls him a son of a bitch and punches him in the face for betraying the Legends! The gun works! He then shoots Atom with it, and he punches him in the face as well!

Cold meets with Darhk and Merlyn to discuss Heat Wave's apparent defection. Darhk is worried that he's trying to reuinite the Legends (smart boy!). He calls Canary and Vixen, and tells them to find Heat Wave (who has a tracker on him, courtesy of Cold).

Back at Atom's place, Canary and Vixen barge in. They attack the three men, and a big battle ensues. Vixen gets away, but Heat Wave manages to shoot Canary with the Multiplexer, restoring her memory. She also punches him in the face!

Canary says the Legion knows where they are and will be coming from them, so they go to the only place they'll be safe— Steel's mom's house. Canary says the Legion doesn't know she's been restored, so she can sneak back into Darhk's office and "fix" Vixen. Steel wonders how they can restore Jackson and Stein.

Meahwhile in the Waverider, a slovenly and disheveled Rip finishes decorating another cake (?). Gideon announces she's figured out a way to get around Thawne's dampening field, so they can send out a message to the Legends. This seems to recharge Rip, who says it's time clean himself up and finally take some action.

Darhk, Merlyn and Cold discuss Thawne's actions, and decide he needs to be eliminated. Vixen enters and says she was separated from Canary, and that three of the Legends have been restored. Just then Canary enters, apologizing for being late and acting like she's still under Thawne's influence.

Darhk is suspicious of her, and taunts her about killing her sister Laurel. She goes along with it as long as she can, but eventually reaches her breaking point. She punches Darhk in the face (lots of face punching in this episode!) and he levitates her with his magic powers, which have been restored in this reality. Just as he's about to kill her, Canary pulls out the Multiplexer and shoots Vixen with it. The two of them escape.

They find Jackson, shoot him with the Multiplexer and take him to Steel's basement. Jackson says Thawne was having him build some sort of nuclear incinerator, one that burns "a thousand times hotter than the sun." They theorize that Thawne plans to use the incinerator to destroy the Spear Of Destiny, which would cement this reality in place forever.

The Legends then decide to get the Spear back before Thawne can destroy it. Amazingly Heat Wave remembers the Kalobros incantation that controls the Spear, so they'll be able to actually use it once they get it. Because the Legends are still dicks though, they tell him to stay behind, since he's the reason they're in this mess. After they leave, he joins his pal Cold again.

At the lab, Thawne threatens Stein, who says the reactor is finally ready. He powers it up and it hums to life. Meanwhile, Cold & Heat Wave tell Darhk and Merlyn that Thawne is planning to incinerate the Spear. They refuse to let that happen, and decide to grab the Spear while the Legends are attacking Thawne.

Jackson enters the lab and tries to shoot Stein with the Muliplexer, but he swats it out of his hand, breaking it. Thawne enters with the Spear, right as the rest of the Legends AND the Legion arrive. Just as Thawne's about the drop the Spear into the reactor, Heat Wave shoots it out of his hand. The Legends and the Legion then fight over the Spear, as it changes hands many times.

Finally Heat Wave grabs the Spear. Both sides try to convince him to hand it over. He finally gives it to Vixen, the only person he really trusts. She starts chanting the incantation in order to undo Thawne's changes. Suddenly she's hit with an extra strong blast from Cold's gun. She freezes solid and shatters into a million pieces (!). Cold grabs the Spear, and for some reason gives it to Thawne. He drops it into the reactor, where it's instantly incinerated!

Both the Legends and the Legion threaten to kill Thawne, but he reminds them that he's a speedster and could murder them all while they're blinking. He then speeds away.

Back in Steel's basement, the Legends mope over their defeat. Canary says they could undo all this if they could go back in time and prevent the Legion from getting the Spear in the first place. Unfortunately they don't know where to find Rip.

Cut to Rip in the Waverider, as he begins sending out a distress call. The camera pulls back, and we see the ship's been miniaturized and is now a decoration on Thawne's desk!

• Eobard Thawne does this week's intro. I'm pretty sure it's his first time.

• Once again, the Legion's logos replace those of the Legends as they fly onto the screen and form the title in this episode. The last time this happened was a few weeks ago in the appropriately titled The Legion Of Doom!

• Darhk keeps a trophy case in his office, filled with the masks of superheroes he's killed in this reality. Gosh, we've never seen a super villain do anything like that before!

From the top left the masks are:

Ragman   /   Arrow
Wildcat    /    Vigilante
Black Canary    /    The Flash
Unknown?    /    Spartan

I have no idea what the object at lower left is. If anybody has any ideas, let me know.

• Although I liked this episode for the most part, it does contain one whopper of an oddity— the Legion Of Doom's "Brave New World" that they created with the Spear Of Destiny doesn't seem all that different from our own!

Eobard Thane spends his time as a research scientist. Malcolm Merlyn seems content to have his family and his hand back. And Captain Cold and Heat Wave want nothing more out of life than a bank to rob and a star to steer her by, or something like that.

Weirdest of all is Damien Darhk, who's now the Mayor of Star City in this new reality. Really, the mayor? I guess maybe in a few years he'll run for Governor, and if that works out, he'll eventually become a Senator. Then if all goes well, maybe twenty or thirty years from now, he might have a shot at President!

I dunno, I was expecting their custom-built reality to be a little more... grand.

Obviously this is yet another case of budgetary limitations. Creating a bold new world full of wonders we've never seen before is expensive. Showing us one that's more or less the same as ours is cheap!

Another oddity about the Legion's altered reality: When Steel first meets Thawne, he gushes to him about all the wonderful ways in which he's changed the world for the better. He says Thawne eliminated global warming, saved the polar bears, made desalination feasible, figured out cold fusion and more!

Honestly this new reality doesn't sound all that bad! Instead of inflicting pain and suffering on the world, Thawne actually seems to have made it better! So what's the downside here? That some of the Legends are forced to work in menial jobs? The horror... the horror...

• In this reality, Eobard Thawne conducts research in a restored STAR Labs, complete with an intact upper left pylon.

I'm pretty sure this is this is the first time we've seen the building whole since The Flash's Pilot episode!

• Steel barges into Thawne's office and tells him there's something "wrong" with reality. Having Steel be the one who senses the world isn't right is a nice little callback to the first episode of the season, in which he said he was a "Time Detective" who noticed the Legends were making small changes to the past.

Somewhat less than believable was the idea that Atom just happened to cobble together a gun which would restore everyone's memories. Talk about convenient!

• This episode continues the series' (and the Arrowverse in general) tradition of horrible, horrible wigs. Especially Steel's Lloyd Christmas haircut. Was that even hair on top of his head?

Thawne jokes to Merlyn that he kept the Legion alive in his new world, but made sure each was living in their own "personal hell." Is this the normally perfectly-coiffed Steel's personal hell— to live out his life with horrible-looking hair?

• The idea that Rip Hunter's spending his days inside a miniaturized Waverider baking and decorating elaborate cakes is... odd, to say the least. I don't mean the miniaturization thing— that's just par for the course on this series. I'm talking about his sudden talent for baking. He's never indicated any interest in cake decorating, or demonstrated a talent of any kind in any previous episode. So where the hell did that come from?

I assume Thawne knows Rip's inside the Waverider, right? Trapping him in there is part of Rip's "personal hell" and all that? Additionally, Rip seems to be the only one who remembers his former life. Why the hell would Thawne let him keep his memories?

By the way, did you notice Rip's Doctor Who cake? If features a time motif, surrounded by a ribbon filled with clock face numbers...

...that is very reminiscent of the current opening titles of Doctor Who

That had to be deliberate. Both shows are about time travel, not to mention the fact that actor Arthur Darvill, who plays Rip, also starred as Rory Williams a few seasons ago on Doctor Who!

• Thawne's other lab, in which Professor Stein is working on the nuclear incinerator, looks amazingly like the Hall Of Doom from the Super Friends cartoon. It's where the animated Legion Of Doom held their monthly meetings.

That. Is. Awesome! For all my whingeing, I really do love this show!

• At one point we see Thawne on the phone, saying: 
"Yes, Mr. President, you know I'll be there. You know I love receiving medals. And then, uh, golf on Sunday. And dinner at your hotel after? All right, all right, best to Mel. Bye-bye."

Naturally Donald Trump is still the president in Thawne's dark new reality!

I'm not exactly sure when this episode was filmed, but it has to have been pretty recently, as they very accurately referenced Trump's constant weekend golf retreats. He's our country's first forty hour a week president!

One thing they missed the ball on though was the "Best to Mel" line. Our new first lady doesn't even live in the same goddamned city as her husband, as she shudders at his very touch. In fact I doubt they've been in the same room since the inauguration!

• After Thawne remakes the world, he plans to build a nuclear incinerator so he can destroy the Spear Of Destiny, which will cement this reality in place permanently. A couple things here:

First of all, why does Thawne order Jackson and Stein to build the incinerator? Can't he just use the Spear to create one instantly?

Secondly, Thawne needs the incinerator to disintegrate the Spear, since it can't be destroyed by conventional means. Does he really need the incinerator? Is the Spear capable of destroying itself?

Lastly, all through the episode Thawne threatens and badgers Stein to hurry up and finish the incinerator. What the hell's his hurry? I get that he wants to destroy the Spear to cement his new reality, but why does it have to be eliminated RIGHT NOW???!? Is he afraid the rest of the Legion might get ahold of it and undo his changes?

• Did you notice that in the video game Atom's playing, he's shooting what look like Dominators from Invasion!, last year's big four part Arrowverse crossover event?

• Really, Legends? Last week you were all such insufferable dicks to Heat Wave, that you caused him to defect and join the Legion. It could be argued that you're partially responsible for this whole mess.

Then this week Heat Wave tries to undo the situation, and you all STILL act like dicks to him, refusing to let him go on the mission to retrieve the Spear!

I'm starting to think you all deserve your crappy jobs and bad haircuts!

• My favorite part of the episode? When Steel used the Spear to knock Thawne into last Tuesday, and he and Darhk came thissss close to high-fifing one another. Hilarious!

• Nice to see the Blue Laser™ getting work again! When Thawne drops the Spear Of Destiny into the incinerator, it disintegrates and releases a massive amount of energy, that for some reason takes the form of the standard superhero movie blue laser that shoots straight up into the air.

• At the end of the episode, pre-reformation Captain Cold kills Vixen. I wouldn't mourn too hard for her though, as there's no way she's gonna stay dead. If she dies here, then her granddaughter, the modern day Vixen, will never be born, which would screw up Arrow's continuity. I'm sure she'll get better next week (which will totally undercut her emotional farewell in this episode).

• All through the episode I assumed Rip & the Waverider were marooned in the Vanishing Point (which I'm sure is what we were all supposed to think). Nope! Turns out that the Waverider's actually been miniaturized and is acting as a decoration on Thawne's desk! Did NOT see that coming!

Let's hope that in addition to shrinking the Waverider (and Rip), Thawne remembered to shrink their mass as well. Otherwise that's gotta be one strong desk!

The "Waverider Desktop Reveal" was actually telegraphed earlier in the episode. In one scene we see Thawne has a couple of aircraft models sitting on his desk!

Once I saw the reveal, I went back through the episode to see if I could spot the Waverider on the desk in any scenes. There's an early shot where you can see something vaguely ship-shaped on Thawne's desk, but I can't tell for sure if it's the Waverider or not.

• This Week's Best Lines:
Steel: (to Cold and Heat Wave) "Look, I don't understand. If this is about my work, nobody pays attention to it. My mom's the only person that reads my blog."
Heat Wave: "Stop talking."

Steel: (again, to Heat Wave) "This could be one of my scars talking, but I'm sensing you're telling me the truth."

Merlyn: "I knew we should've killed them all. It was a dangerous oversight to keep them alive in any capacity."
Cold: "Does that include Mick?"
Merlyn: "At the very least we should've wiped his brain, such as it is."

Heat Wave: (to Atom and Steel, after their minds have been restored) "Hey, if it wasn't for me, you'd all be dead."
Steel: "Yeah, Mick, thanks a lot. You trapped each of us in our own personal hell."
Atom: "Do you have any idea how many toilets I've cleaned? (shudders) So many."

Atom: (to Canary and Vixen) "I know this may sound crazy, but doesn't it seem like there's something wrong with this world?"
Canary: "Yeah. Rory sold out the boss."
Vixen: "To throw in with you losers."
Steel: (to Vixen) "Losers? I'll have you know in my reality, you and I had sex, and we both liked it very much!"

Steel: (trying to prove to Canary and Vixen that he's a superhero) "Okay. Allow me to demonstrate my superpowers. Okay?" 
(Steel grunts as he tries to "steel" up)
Heat Wave: "Knock it off, you idiot. The Spear took away your powers."

Heat Wave: (after three of the restored Legends punches him) "One more person hits me, I'm gonna punch back!"

Atom: (after the restored Legends meet in Steel's basement) "Your mom's basement? Really?"
Steel: "I pay rent, so legally it's my basement, kinda."
Heat Wave: "Mommy makes great sandwiches."

Rip: "I don't know if I can do this, Gideon."
Gideon: "I believe in you. Now, let's get to work."
Rip: "First I'm going to vomit. And second let's do this."

Cold: "When your minions bring Mick back, I want to arrange a meeting with Thawne. When I say 'arrange a meeting,' I mean..."
Merlyn: "One between Thawne and his maker? Cute."
Darhk: "A little mustache-twirly for my taste."
Merlyn: "You're really gonna have to step up your tactics, Leonard."
Darhk: "Yeah, you didn't think that Thawne was actually gonna fall for that fake meeting trick?"
Merlyn: "This is not The Godfather."

Darhk: (using his magic to kill Canary) "I'm gonna miss you, Ms. Lance. Having you around to attend to my every whim was too enticing to pass up. Plus, it's so hard to find good help these days."
Cold: "Really? Now's the time for a bad guy monologue?"

Jackson: (in Steel's basement) "There's just one thing I don't understand. If Thawne made this world to punish us, how are your mom's sandwiches so good, bro?"
Steel: "Her condiment game's on point, right?"
Atom: "She even had gluten-free bread for me!"

Jackson: (after finding out Thawne intends to destroy the Spear) "Okay, we better get that Spear before he can make that happen."
Vixen: "But even if we find it, we don't know how to access its powers."
Canary: "Rory does. You were there, right, when they used the Spear? "
Heat Wave: "Mm-hmm. They read out of some book called the, uh, Calibrick... Cal... Caliber... Kalablow... Kalabalos... uh, something like that."
Steel: "Do you remember what language it was in?"
Heat Wave: "Aramaic."
Jackson: "Dude, how do you even know what Aramaic sounds like?"
Heat Wave: "Passion of the Christ. Good movie."

Jackson: (trying to restore Stein) "Did you just press the silent alarm?"
Stein: "What? No, it's It's a secondary radiation sensor for the nuclear core."
Jackson: "Grey, you are a crappy liar in any reality."

Thawne: (to the Legends) "Well, looks like you losers managed to remember who you are. I should've wiped you from existence when I had the chance. Do you have any idea how infuriating it is to know that Merlyn was right?"

Cold: (after freezing Vixen solid and shattering her) "I am sorry about your friend, Mick. I know you loved her to pieces."
(you just know Wentworth Miller loved delivering that line!)

Let's Spend Way Too Much Time And Effort Dissecting The Walking Dead Season 7 Opening Credits!

A few seasons ago I was watching The Walking Dead, and noticed that the opening credits featured a series of images that were seemingly appropriate for each actor and their character.

Well, almost. While the majority of the title images seem to have something to do with a specific character, some of them seem to be completely random, which sort of torpedoes my little theory. Or maybe they really do relate to the characters somehow, and I'm just to dense to see the connection. I dunno.

I meant to write a post about this years ago, but never quite got around to it. What can I say, my duties here as CEO of Bob Canada's BlogWorld keep me busy!

Anyway, I finally found a few extra seconds today, so at long, long last, well after everyone else on the planet's figured this out for themselves, Let's Spend Way Too Much Time And Effort Dissecting The Walking Dead Season 7 Opening Credits!

As the credits begin, AMC reminds us what channel we're watching, as we see zombies shuffling along behind a closed door.

The first title credit is of course Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes. OK, this image is pretty easy to figure out— it's a shot of Rick's trusty police revolver, that he's had since the first episode (I think).

Norman Reeds as Daryl Dixon. This one's REALLY easy. It's a shot of Daryl's ubiquitous "angel wing" vest, as seen through the wheel of his motorcycle.

Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene-Rhee. Her image appears to be a shot of a burning photo. 

This one's fairly easy to get as well. Way back in the Season 4 episode Us, Maggie and Glenn were reunited for the tenth or twelfth time since they met. Maggie saw that Glenn was carrying a tattered photo of her, and she immediately set fire to it, saying, "You won't need a picture of me. You never will again." I guess this was her way of saying nothing would ever tear them apart again.

Yeah... how'd that work out for you, Maggie?

Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes. Hmm. This one features an image of an abandoned building with the words "Away With You" spray painted on it. I'm honestly not sure if this one means anything or not, but I have a vague theory about it.

Sometime around Season 2, when Carl was actually a child instead of an awkward teen, people noticed that everyone on the show was constantly yelling at him to "stay in the house" when walkers were attacking. "Stay In The House, Carl!" became a popular internet meme for a while.

In fact in the Season 3 opening credits, Riggs' name is actually superimposed over a creepy-looking house, which I'm 100% sure was a reference to that meme!

So I'm wondering— is "Away With You" supposed to be a variation of "Stay In The House, Carl?"

Danai Gurira as Michonne (no last name, please). Once again, I don't have a clue here. If this image is related to her character in any way, it's beyond me. Anyone out there have any ideas?

Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier. Eh, you can probably decipher this one for yourself. It's an image of a knife. Carol's a badass. Nuff said.

Lennie James as Morgan Jones. I think this one's my favorite of all the title images. It's just a shot of a path in the woods, but it warps and vibrates, which perfectly simulates Morgan's patented "Crazy Vision"— the way he sees the world when he starts becoming unhinged, which is usually once per season.

Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha Williams. First of all, I freely admit I didn't even know Sasha had a last name. 

Secondly, this is another one I can't decode. It appears to be just a trash-filled tunnel or hallway. I have no idea how that might relate to her character, if it does at all.

By the way, don't get too attached to this title image, if you know what I mean...

Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler. Another last name I didn't know! This one's easy, especially if you've seen Swear. It's a decaying boat, that I'm sure is supposed to represent the Oceanside community!

Josh McDermitt as Eugene Porter. OK, that last name I did know. And this is another easy one. It's a piece of equipment from the foundry Eugene discovered, which he planned to use to make bullets for Alexandria.

Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa. Nope. Did not know her last name. I also have no idea what this title image might mean.  Does Rosita like breaking windows?

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan. I'm assuming that's his last name, and we'll never find out his first one.

This one should be pretty obvious to you— that's Negan's bat Lucille in the foreground, and that's the red hot iron in the fire there, which he uses to dole out punishment to anyone who breaks the rules in the Sanctuary.

Scott Gimple is not only the executive producer on the series, but also the showrunner. What the hell does a showrunner do, you ask? Well... they run the show! The showrunner is typically the head writer, and is responsible for the overall creative decisions and direction of a TV series.

How appropriate then that Gimple's title image is a map, since there are times I swear he has no f*cking idea where he's going!

Frank Darabont took The Walking Dead comic and developed it for AMC. Despite the fact that the show was a huge hit, the network had some problem with him regarding the budget or something, and unceremoniously fired him at the end of Season 2. So it's appropriate that his title screen prominently features crows, poised to pick the flesh off his bones...

Lastly of course we have the increasingly deteriorated logo, which I'll cover soon!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Flash Season 3, Episode 18: Abra Kadabra

This week on The Flash, we get the long-awaited first appearance of Silver Age villain Abra Kadabra, although he's criminally underused, another hare-brained "Save Iris" scheme from Barry, and the not-so-unexpected return of Killer Frost. Best of all, there were no musical numbers this week!

As a long time reader of comics, I was happy when I found out that Abra Kadabra was appearing on the show. That happiness soon turned to disappointment when the writers took such an important and iconic villain from the mythology and completely and utterly wasted him.

We get a few very brief scenes of him performing his trademark "magic," but he spend the majority of the episode going on and on about Savitar. Seriously, the way he crushes on the guy, I was ready to tell the two of 'em to get a room! 

Then when he's not preaching the gospel of the God Of Speed, he's playing coy with Joe and Barry, teasing, but never quite revealing, Savitar's true identity.

The writer's are really working overtime on drawing out the Big Reveal of Savitar's True Identity. Such plotlines can be tricky business, as instead of fueling fan speculation, they can easily cause them to shrug and say, "Who cares?" After all this buildup, I have a bad feeling when we finally do learn who Savitar really is, it's gonna be a big "meh" moment.


The Plot:
Inside Stagg Industries (remember them from Season 1?), two security guards run into Abra Kadabra, a supervillain/magician (!) from the 64th Century. Kadabra's looking for a piece of tech, and sees it locked inside a secure case. The guards pull their guns on him, and Kadabra disappears and reappears inside the case. He grabs the piece of tech and with a snap of his fingers, changes place with the guards trapping them inside the case. He snaps his fingers again and it fills with water, drowning the men.

Cut to Barry, Iris, Joe and Cecile double dating at Jitters. Cecile says her sister has four tickets to Hamilton she can't use, and offers two of them to Barry & Iris. They're eager to take them, until Cecile says the tickets are for a July show. Iris looks uncomfortable, since she's destined to be killed by Savitar in the season finale in May. Barry, who's trying to be optimistic, says they'd be delighted to take the tickets.

Barry and Joe investigate the "drowning" at Stagg Industries. While there, they get an alert of a robbery in progress at Kord Industries, another technology company (which should sound familiar to fans of the Blue Beetle). Barry changes into the Flash and zooms to the scene, and finds Kadabra in the middle of another heist.

Kadabra recognizes the Flash as Barry Allen, and knows everything about him— including the fact that Savitar will kill Iris soon (because he's from the future, and this is all ancient history to him, duh!). Suddenly Gypsy vibes in from Earth-19, and announces that Kadabra's under arrest. He throws a playing card at the heroes, which instantly multiplies into thousands, distracting them while he teleports away.

Back at STAR Labs, Gypsy tells Barry and the Gang that Kadabra is a criminal from the 64th Century who uses his era's extremely advanced technology (which seems like magic to us) to commit his crimes. Apparently he committed a series of robberies and murders on Earth-19, which is why she's after him.

Cisco tries making a very awkward move on his crush Gyspy, which she brusquely rejects. In other relationship subplots, Julian still thinks Caitlin only wanted him so he could cure her of her Killer Frostism (which is partially true), and says they're through. 

Suddenly yet another alarm goes off, indicating a break-in at Mercury Labs. Barry and Wally speed to the scene, as Cisco and Gypsy vibe there. Sure enough, they spot Kadabra there. The heroes surround him as Gypsy blasts him with a vibe ray, but it goes right through him, revealing he's a hologram. Foiled again!

The Mercury "break-in" was all a distraction, as Kadabra shows up at STAR Labs looking for something. Barry races in and cuffs Kadabra (Really? He can't get out of a pair of handcuffs?). Gypsy appears and demands to take him back to Earth-19 immediately. Kadabra then whispers to Barry that he knows Savitar's true identity, which he'll reveal if he's released. Barry thinks for a moment, then knocks out Kadabra and throws him in the STAR Labs Secret Super Jail. Needless to say, Gypsy's not pleased with this development, as she just wants to extradite Kadabra and go back to her own dimension.

At home, Barry and Iris discuss Kadabra. He wants to let him go so he'll reveal Savitar's identity, while Iris says he's a criminal and needs to stay locked up.

It's all moot anyway, as Joe sneaks into STAR and makes a deal with Kadabra: tell him Savitar's identity to potentially save Iris, and he'll let him walk. Kadabra agrees, and Joe opens the cell door. Kadabra very theatrically and deliberately states, "Savitar's... true... identity... is..." Suddenly Gypsy appears and asks Joe what the hell? Kadabra uses the distraction to teleport away. Nice going, Gypsy!

Joe, Caitlin and Julian track Kadabra to the elevators, where they try to stop him. He causes a huge explosion and escapes. The Gang groggily crawls from the wreckage, and Caitlin looks down to see a large pipe sticking out of her side! Julian wants to rush her to a hospital, but Cisco says they can't as she'll be identified as a metahuman (?).

Cisco mentions that in her Killer Frost persona, Caitlin's body has impressive regenerative powers, which is an obvious set up, and something I don't think has ever been mentioned before. Caitlin refuses to risk turning into her own nemesis, and says she'd rather talk Julian through the operation (!). They give her a local anesthetic (I guess?) and with her help, Julian successfully performs the procedure.

After the operation, Cisco asks Gypsy why she's being such an asshole in this episode. She says it's because she used to have a partner on Earth-19, and Kadabra murdered him, hence all the rage and vengeance. 

Gypsy has a theory about what Kadabra's doing. She believes he's stuck here in the 21st Century, and is stealing tech from various companies to build a time machine to take him back... to the future! Um... isn't that EXACTLY the same motivation that Eobard Thawne had back in Season 1? Are we really doing this same plot again?

Cisco figures out that Kadabra stole Eobard Thawne's compact power supply from the STAR Labs Time Vault to power his time machine. He tracks the power supply and says Kadabra's on the move, flying his time ship over the city. Team Flash springs into action, as Barry, Wally, Cisco and Gypsy chase after him.

Kadabra opens a portal and prepares to fly his ship through it back to the 64th Century. Barry runs up the side of a nearby building, then jumps down toward the time ship. He vibrates into it, grabs Kadabra and vibrates the two of them back out as the ship flies through the time portal and disappears. OK, I gotta admit that was pretty cool.

On the ground, Gypsy officially places Kadabra under arrest. Again. She prepares to take him to Earth-19 for execution. Barry asks Kadabra one last time, literally begging him to reveal Savitar's identity. He says that in the future, he and the Flash have been enemies for years, but it was Savitar who truly broke him by killing Iris. He says by not revealing Savitar's identity, he gets to hurt the Flash one last time too. What a dick! Gypsy vibes a portal and takes him through it to Earth-19 (where I'm sure he'll never escape and pop up to pester Barry ever again).

Back at the West house, Joe & Iris are moping about the whole Kadabra/Savitar thing. Suddenly Barry enters and says he has a brilliant new idea to save Iris. He says their lives are all ancient history to entities from the future like Kadabra and Savitar. He says this is why their enemies are always two steps ahead of them. In order to fix this, Barry decides he's going to run to the future (again) to save Iris. That doesn't make a lick of sense, but I guess we've still got five episodes left to fill this season, so whatever.

In the med bay, Julian sits with Caitlin. She wakes up, and the two of them share a tender moment. Hooray, they're back together! HR enters, after being mysteriously absent for the entire episode (hmmm...). After some witty banter among the cast, Caitlin suddenly begins seizing and her heart stops beating. Cisco and Julian or course try using a defibrillator machine the wrong way to jumpstart her heart. Nothing works, and Caitlin dies (!).

A distraught Julian then yanks the power-dampening pendant from Caitlin's neck. Suddenly her wound heals, the room goes cold and there's a huge explosion of snow and ice. Killer Frost then emerges from the fog.

• Stagg Industries first appeared wayyyy back in the Season 1 episode Fastest Man Alive. It was owned by Simon Stagg (a character who popped up in the comics from time to time), who was killed in the episode by Multiplex (who was traditionally a Firestorm villain in the comics). 

• While Barry's investigating the incident at Stagg Industries, he gets an alert that there's a break-in at Kord Industries, and rushes to the scene. He arrives just in time to catch Kadabra in the act.

According to the Official Arrowverse Wiki, Kord Industries is in Star City, which is where Arrow and his crew live. Somehow Barry runs from Central City to Star City before Kadabra has a chance to escape with his stolen piece of tech. I guess he really is the fastest man alive!

Note: I suppose it's possible there might be a much closer, Central City branch of Kord, but there's nothing in the dialogue to indicate this.

• Abra Kadabra was a major Flash foe in the comics, and was created by writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino. He first appeared in 1962 in The Flash #128.

Much like in this episode, the comic version of Kadabra was from the 64th Century, a time when "science rendered stage magic obsolete." He wanted a career as a magician though, so he went back in time to the 20th Century and used his technology to dazzle audiences. He eventually became bored with showbiz and turned to crime, which is when he began clashing with the Flash.

Don't you just love that comic book cover above? "I've got the strangest feeling I'm being turned into a puppet!" Only in the Silver Age would you see a line like that!

By the way, back in Season 1 when we were all still trying to figure out Harrison Wells' true identity, I actually suggested he might really turn out to be Abra Kadabra (!). Obviously that was a hilariously wrong guess. In my defense, Wells was from the future, just like Kadabra, so it was only 98% unlikely. Hey, you can't guess 'em all right!

• Abra Kadabra is played here by actor David Dastmalchian. He was most recently in The Belko Experiment, where he played an assistant maintenance man alongside Michael Rooker.

He also played Kurt the computer hacker in Ant-Man (where he did his best David Tennant impression). That means Dastmalchian has played parts in both the Marvel and DC cinematic universes!

• Oh, The Flash costume designers. Why do you continue to vex me? Once again we get a supervillain wearing a bland, black, non-costume. I don't understand the problem. Barry, Wally and Jesse all wear traditional colorful superhero costumes. So why can't the various Arrowverse villains do the same?

Mirror Master, Mr. Mxyzptlk,  Music Meister— virtually every bad guy we've seen on the shows this year have worn the same damned thing— a plain black suit. Although in a burst of creative energy, Music Meister did accent his drab outfit with a bright red pocket square! Astonishing!

And of course Abra Kadabra is no different. Yet another plain black kind-of-tuxedo looking thing. I suppose I can cut them a slight bit of slack here, since he's supposed to be a stage magician, and his non-costume makes a certain amount of sense. It's still pretty drab though. Would it have killed them to have given him a cape, for Thor's sake?

• Gypsy says that Kadabra uses sophisticated technology instead of actual magic to perform his "tricks." Cisco and Caitlin both chime in with Clarke's Third Law, saying, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." That's actually a real saying, coined by noted sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke.

• So Kadabra uses advanced technology that's like magic to us, but he can't get out of a pair of 21st Century handcuffs. Got it.

• Kadabra refuses to help save Iris by telling Barry who Savitar really is. Barry and Joe then mope about the fact that they have no idea how to save Iris. Joe says, "Sometimes I wish you hadn't told me what was gonna happen."

Really? Wasn't he the guy who was pissed a few weeks ago when they finally told him the truth after keeping it from him for months? And wasn't he all butt-hurt when Barry didn't come to him and ask his permission to marry Iris? Make up your mind, Joe! You want to truth or don't you?

• When Caitlin's injured, Cisco says they can't take her to a hospital because they'd identify her as a metahuman. Wha...? Do Central City hospitals routinely check patients for metahumanness before treatment? What do they do if someone does turn out to be a meta? Tell 'em to hit the bricks?

This was all just some extremely contrived writing in order to put Julian in the position of treating Caitlin, so the writers could force them back together. Well, for a little while.

• Caitlin's "death" was pretty heavily telegraphed early on in the episode. Julian points to the "Killer Frost Still At Large" headline, which hasn't changed. A bit later Cisco comments to Caitlin, "
Looks like things between you and Julian are a little frosty, huh?"

Then once she was injured, Cisco suddenly mentions that Caitlin has a Wolverine-like healing factor when she's in her Killer Frost persona (which I'm pretty sure is a retcon). Caitlin also stubbornly says she'd rather die than use her powers to fix herself.

Once you add up all that, an appearance by Killer Frost was practically guaranteed!

The real question is whether or not Caitlin is really dead. Is it possible for her to ever come back? I'm sure the writers would love us to think no, but I can't imagine they'd kill her off and just leave her villainous side running around from now on.

• When Julian rips the pendant from Caitlin's neck, her Killer Frost powers are unleashed. We then get a shot of her ugly incision healing itself almost instantly. Oddly enough, her stitches seem to fade away instead of falling off her torso. Weird.

• At one point Cisco tracks Kadabra's movements through Central City to help Barry catch him. He tells Barry, "Okay, now he's on Thurlow and Eighth."

We all know that The Flash writers love to name their fictional streets after real-life comic book creators. I did some extensive research (OK, more like a few seconds) and couldn't find any writers or artists named "Thurlow." However, there is a Thurlow Street in Vancouver, where The Flash (and all the other Arrowverse shows) are filmed.

• Kadabra may have just inadvertently revealed the identity of Season 4's Big Bad. Right before Gypsy takes Kadabra to Earth-19, Barry pleads with him to reveal the true identity of Savitar. 

Kadabra then monologues briefly, saying, "See, here it is. In the future, you and I have been enemies for years. Oh, there have been others, of course. There was Thawne, Zoom, DeVoe, but none of them hurt you like Savitar. He truly broke you."

Of course we're all too familiar with those first two names he mentions, but DeVoe's a new one. There's no way that's just some random name the writers came up with, to sell the idea that Kadabra's from the future. Especially since there's a DeVoe in the comics.

Clifford DeVoe, aka The Thinker, first appeared wayyyy back in 1943. He often clashed with the Golden Age Flash, aka Jay Garrick. DeVoe wore a Louis Tully-like "thinking cap," which amplified his psionic abilities. Later on in the Modern Age he was killed and became some sort of living artificial intelligence.

The producers have already stated that the main villain of Season 4 would NOT be another speedster (thank the Maker!), so it's a pretty good bet that Kadabra's comment was foreshadowing The Thinker.

• At the end of the episode, Barry decides he's gonna save Iris once and for all, by traveling to the future again, which will somehow give him an added advantage.

As I said earlier, this doesn't make a bit of sense. He's already seen Iris' future, many times now, and knows every detail about what's going to happen to her. What more is there to learn? I honestly don't understand how running to the future again is going to change anything.

This feels like more plot trickery, to give us another "Messed Up Alternate World" storyline, that we've already had twice this season.
Related Posts with Thumbnails
Site Meter