Friday, May 28, 2021

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 6, Episode 3: The Ex-Factor

Apologies for the lateness of this review. Blame it on The CW, who in their infinite wisdom decided it'd be a great idea to air new episodes of all the Arrowverse shows at the same time. Which means I gotta try and write up a whopping THREE reviews per week! Impossible! I'll muscle through and catch up eventually, but it's gonna take me a while.

This week on Legends Of Tomorrow, we get an episode that combines everything I dislike about the show and TV in general. Hooray, I guess?

I'm not a fan of Zari 2.0-centric episodes, I can't stand the inexplicable pairing of her and Constantine and I absolutely hate reality/talent TV shows. Take the central premise of Psycho Goreman, cross it with The X Factor and you'll have a pretty good idea of what this outing's like.

The Canary/Gary angle really got the short end of the stick this week, as the episode spent as little time as possible on their storyline. That's a sure sign that a plot doesn't contain enough material for the entire half season, so they're doling it out in small bites in order to drag it out longer.

I really don't understand the whole Constantine/Zari 2.0 romance, as it's completely unrealistic and nonsensical. The sooner this storyline runs its course and is forgotten about, the better.

Lately the writers seem to be doing their best to make Heat Wave as unlikeable as possible. Is this their ham-handed way of cushioning the blow when he eventually leaves at the end of the season? Are they trying to make it so we'll be happy to see him go?

Lastly, this episode also features a ton of familiar sci-fi tropes. While I'm sure they were meant as playful shoutouts, they go far beyond simple homage and straight into outright theft!


The Plot:
In 2045 (the era that Zari 2.0 & Behrad are from), an armor-clad alien called Lord Knoxacrillion barges into a convenience store, demanding to speak with Earth's ruler. He sees an ad featuring DJ S'More Money, the host of the Da Throne talent show and Zari 2.0's ex-boyfriend. For some reason Knoxacrillion assumes 
S'More is the planet's leader, and demands to know where to find him. A teen buying a slurpee says S'More lives in Hollywood. Knoxacrillion declares he'll go there and challenge him to a duel to the death.

t the House Of Mystery, Constantine and Zari 2.0 are making out on the couch (blech). She hears a song playing on Constantine's record player, and asks what it's called. He says it's Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've) by the Buzzcocks (FORESHADOWING ALERT!). Just then Zari 2.0's personal assistant Les-Lay (oy) calls her, and reports that S'More's been murdered.

On the Waverider, Gideon displays video from Da Throne, which depicts Lord Knoxacrillion eviscerating S'More on live TV (or whatever they have in 2045). Behrad says Knoxacrillion must have mistaken S'More for an actual ruler, and killed him to usurp his throne. Zari 2.0 doesn't seem all that torn up about his death.

Sharpe says they need to get to 2045 Hollywood to prevent S'More's murder. Heat Wave balks, saying they should be using their SPACE ship to search SPACE for Canary. When Sharpe says they're doing everything they can to find her, Heat Wave disagrees and refuses to participate in the mission.

On the alien planet, Canary's still poisoned rom the sting she received from "Amelia Earhart" last week. Gary tells her they're surrounded by aliens with glowing eyes. Canary says she's too weak to fight, and he'll have to hold them off.

The Legends arrive in 2045 Hollywood, shortly before S'More's death. They show up at the Da Throne studio, but see it's under heavy security. Zari 2.0 uses her status as an influencer to cause a distraction, allowing Sharpe, Steel and Behrad to sneak in.

As they wander around the studio, they see a would-be star called Saucey performing. Once she's done, S'More (who's apparently the show's sole judge) calls her performance weak, and she stalks off. Knoxacrillion then takes the stage, and claims he's there to challenge S'More . Steel & Behrad attack the alien (actually using their powers for once!), but he easily knocks them out. The audience goes wild, thinking it was all part of an act. S'More tells Knoxacrillion he's going to the finals of the show.

Sharpe approaches Knoxacrillion, opens a portal and invites him into the "green room." Once he steps through, he finds himself in the Waverider's Lab. She cons him into stepping onto the Brig platform, activates the force field and traps him.

Sharpe asks him where Canary is, but he has no idea who she's talking about. He explains he was abducted by aliens and placed in a holding pod. Sometime later his pod was jettisoned and crashed in the desert, where he wandered around looking for the planet's ruler.

Just then Spooner enters, sees Knoxacrillion and aims her blaster at him. He easily deactivates the forcefield, and says if they insist on using violence he'll summon his space armada to destroy the planet. Sharpe talks him down, saying he doesn't understand the rules. She says on Earth they compete for the chance to rule through song and dance. He accepts the challenge— meaning the fate of the entire planet rests on the results of a stupid TV talent show!

Meanwhile, Les-Lay askes Zari 2.0 where she's been for the past year or so, claiming her absence has hurt her business empire. S'More enters and begins insulting Zari 2.0, prompting her to introduce Constantine as her new boyfriend. S'More tells her that her career's dead, and Constantine casts a spell to set his giant mascot head on fire.

Sharpe contacts Zari 2.0 and tells her that if Knoxacrillion wins on Da Throne, he'll invade Earth and become its ruler. This inspires Zari 2.0 to announce to the cameras that she's the show's new Wildcard, and is there to claim "Da Throne."

The talent show begins, and Zari 2.0 takes the stage and performs a rousing number. The audience goes wild, and she easily beats her competition.

On the planet, Canary collapses against a tree. The alien hunters attack, but Gary reverts to his true form and eats them all (!). Canary hallucinates (I think?) a vision of Sharpe and begins following her.

Back on Da Throne, Steel & Behrad become Zari 2.0's handlers (?). They say the audience are suckers for a good love story, and decide to give Constantine a makeover. Zari 2.0's Mom arrives and demands to know why she's been avoiding her calls. She somehow knows about Constantine, and says that while she doesn't approve of him, she'll still support her daughter. Zari 2.0 assures her that Constantine's just a meaningless fling. Right on cue, we see him outside the door eavesdropping (What is this, Three's Company?).

Sometime later Zari 2.0 & Constantine (now decked out like a punk rocker) sit down for an interview with the Host of Da Throne. She explains her absence by saying she went on a self-care binge, and makes up a lie that Constantine is "minor royalty." He gets fed up and walks out of the interview.

Later Zari 2.0 asks what that was about, and he says he overheard her tell her Mom that their relationship isn't real, and storms off again. S'More sees this and offers to take Zari 2.0 back.

On the planet, a delirious Canary's still following what she believes is Sharpe. They come to another spaceship, and "Sharpe" opens the hatch and motions for Canary to go inside. She thinks it's a trap, and attacks "Sharpe," knocking her out. Or maybe she kills her, it's hard to tell. For no good reason, she then enters the ship anyway (?).

Back on Da Throne, the Host interviews Knoxacrillion. Heat Wave sees the broadcast, and asks Sharpe why they don't just attack him. He orders Gideon to fire on the studio and wipe out the alien. Knoxacrillion's suit senses the Waverider's weapons powering up, and he summons his alien fleet. A massive armada appears in orbit around Earth, their weapons charged and ready. Heat Wave says the Earth was screwed anyway and wanders off.

Sharpe chases after Heat Wave and demands to know what's wrong with him. He says if Sharpe was the one abducted, Canary would have found her by now. Sharpe agrees, but says she's doing her best (is she, though?). She tells him she's still the captain (!), and orders him to clean up his act or get off the ship (man, are we gonna talk about this later!).

Back at Da Throne, S'More meets with Knoxacrillion and says he's prepared a special song for his performance— a female empowerment anthem. Knoxacrillion is nonplussed, as his race is gender-free. He uses his suit to process the voices of 500,000 of the best Earth vocalists, and says he WILL win the crown.

Constantine, Steel and Behrad then burst into S'More's dressing room and demand to know what he's up to. He says he just gave Knoxacrillion the same song that Zari 2.0 chose. Since the alien will sing it first, he'll end up winning the contest. Behrad knocks him out with an air blast.

Knoxacrillion takes the stage and belts out a surprisingly good rendition of his ballad, and the audience goes wild, upvoting him like crazy.

Zari 2.0 realizes he's singing her song, and says she's already lost. Constantine thinks that's the absolute perfect time to ask why she told her Mom that their relationship won't last. She admits she said it because all her relationships ultimately go bad. Constantine says his do as well, but he wants this one to work.

Zari 2.0 then takes the stage, and starts singing an a cappella version of Ever Fallen In Love (told you it'd come up again later!). Constantine comes out and joins her on his guitar. They kiss as the song ends, and the audience votes her the winner and new Queen of Da Throne.

Knoxacrillion approaches, bows to the new ruler of Earth and offers his services to her. Out in space, his armada leaves.

Later on the Waverider, the Legends celebrate their victory. Knoxacrillion then opens his armored suit, revealing he's actually a tiny alien controlling it. He rides an elevator to the floor, and walks over to them. Just then Heat Wave walks in and deliberately stomps on the minuscule alien, squashing him dead (!).

Heat Wave says he's figured out how to find Canary. Based on Knoxacrillion's earlier interview, he knows she was abducted by an alien named Kayla, and somehow draws a surprisingly accurate image of her. He says if they find Kayla, they'll find Canary.

Back on the planet, Canary enters the other ship. She staggers through the corridors, and eventually finds a handsome man cooking dinner. He looks up and says he's been waiting a long time for her.

• The title of this week's episode is an obvious nod to The X Factor, a British TV talent show created by Simon Cowell (of American Idol fame). It's also a reference to the fact that DJ S'More is Zari 2.0's ex-boyfriend.

I've said it before, but sometimes I think the writers put more time, thought & energy into the show's titles (which 98% of the audience will never even see) than they do the episodes themselves!

• According to this episode, we'll still have gas pumps in 2045. That seems unlikely to me. Surely twenty four years from now electric cars and charging stations will be much more prominent!

Sci-Fi Homage #1: Lord Knoxacrillion enters a convenience store, where we're treated to his "robo-vision" point of view as he scans the customers. Just like the T-800 did in The Terminator franchise.

By the way, when he scans the teen boy he identifies him as "Earthling, Carbon Based, Mostly Water." He's not wrong!

• A good portion of this episode is taken up by the baffling Constantine/Zari 2.0 romance.

I do NOT get this pairing. At all. The two of them have absolutely nothing in common, and it doesn't make a lick of sense that they'd ever get together. Constantine's an ex-punk rocker & anarchist who couldn't possibly care less about his image or what people think of him. Zari 2.0 is a shallow influencer and savvy businesswoman, whose "brand" is her lifeblood, and whose self-worth is dependent on how many strangers "like" her.

They're complete and utter opposites who would never give one another the time of day in real life— much less hook up.

The writers lampshade this by actually having the characters point out their incompatibility. Nice try, guys, but it didn't work. Just because you pointed it out doesn't mean it suddenly makes sense.

So why would the writers graft this nonsensical relationship onto Constantine? Because now that his "Operation: Rescue Astra From Hell" storyline has wrapped up, there's nothing left for him to do on the show and no reason for him to stay. Hence an ill-advised romance plot. Historically that's always been the writers' go-to move for characters when they can't think of anything else to do with them.

• Apparently Zari 2.0's phone can receive calls from her era of 2045, no matter what year she's in. Shades of Doctor Who and Rose Tyler's cell with "universal roaming."

• The most far-fetched sci-fi concept this week isn't time travel, intergalactic space fleets or a tiny alien in a man-sized battle suit, but the fact that network TV will last another twenty four years.

Behrad: (referring to Da Throne) "In our future it's a wildly popular singing competition, and is single-handedly keeping network television alive in 2045."
Steel: "I don't know what's more surprising: an alien attacking Zara's ex-boyfriend, or the fact that network TV still exists."

Funny, but I seriously doubt networks will still be a thing by the end of this decade, much less in 2045.

• In the first act, Knoxacrillion mistakes Zari 2.0's ex-boyfriend DJ S'More for the ruler of Earth and brutally kills him. 

Oddly enough, Zari 2.0 doesn't seem very upset by his death. Granted, she and S'More are no longer an item, and he is quite the douchebag. Still, he's a human being and she saw him get brutally murdered. Maybe she knew the Legends would use time travel to undo his death, I dunno.

• Based on some less-than-subtle hints we've seen the past few weeks, it looks like the writers are setting up a "Dark Gideon" storyline.

In the season premiere, Gideon scanned Spooner for alien implants, found nothing and then gleefully said, "If I removed and thoroughly dissected her brain, we might find something the scan did not detect. May I proceed?"

Then last week in Meat: The Legends, she tells the team about "The Massacre On Main Street" in 1955 San Bernadino, which killed the entire population of the city overnight. She illustrates this disturbing turn of events by displaying a large splatter of digital blood on her screens.

Finally in this episode the Legends ask her to replay a video of S'Mores' death, and she chirpily replies, "Smashing. I love an evisceration."

Sounds like our favorite AI is starting to go off the deep end here. I'm assuming once this space story arc is over, the team will have to deal with a murderous, psychotic Gideon.

• This isn't the first time we've seen DJ S'More Money on the show (unfortunately). He first appeared back in Season 5's A Head Of Her Time.

He's clearly based on real-world "celebrity" and professional hanger-on DJ Marshmello, and once again I feel stupider for even knowing that.

• According to Behrad, former wrestler turned actor Dwayne Johnson is the President in 2045. Dear god, no! NO!!!!!!! Did we learn nothing from the 2016 election? We already had a woefully ill-equipped game show host squatting in the White House— we don't need an ex-wrestler as the Commander-In-Chief as well.

Johnson is by all accounts a good and decent person, but a politician he ain't. Our country needs leaders familiar with national and world policy, not celebrities who treat the office like a vanity project.

Behrad also explains that Johnson was a former celebrity contestant on Da Throne, saying, "Last year President Dwayne Johnson showed up, and for an old guy he can still get down!" Johnson was born in 1972, so he'll be 73 in 2045.

• Amazingly, both Steel and Behrad use their powers to prevent S'More from being killed by Knoxacrillion. This marks the first time Steel's actually "steeled up" in... weeks? Months? A year? I honestly can't remember the last time he did it.

Obviously the reason Steel rarely uses his power is because the CGI required is prohibitively expensive, and the show just doesn't have the budget for it. 

This has been confirmed by actor Nick Zano, who in a recent interview said, "Unfortunately, I have been assigned a superpower that’s very expensive to do. I’ve floated around giving Nate a different superpower on top of his steel, because steel is very, very costly. I don’t know that they factored that in early on, because I don’t think they would have made me steel. They would have made me something else, if they knew long-term cost and usage.”

Really, the producers didn't realize that having a character who can turn into living chrome steel would be an expensive special effect? Jesus Christ, a six year old could have figured out that!

This is a perfect example of what I used to call "Odo Syndrome." Way back in the early 1990s I read an article about the upcoming Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series, listing the various characters. Among them was Odo, described as a shapeshifting alien who can morph into any object or animal.

The second I read the word "morph" I knew they'd be using CGI to accomplish the effect. Morphing was all the rage at the time, as it popped up constantly in movies, TV shows, music videos (remember those?) and even commercials.

Even back then I knew that CGI was very labor intensive, which made it extremely expensive. I predicted that such an effect would be too costly to use on a weekly basis, so their shapeshifter character would rarely shift his shape. Sure enough, months would go by without Odo ever once morphing, as the writers would constantly come up with various reasons for him not to use his powers. There were times I honestly forgot he could do it!

• There's a running joke all through the episode in which Zari 2.0's assistant Les-Lay appears out of nowhere next to Constantine, which startles him every time. Note that each of her sudden appearances is accompanied by a "whooshing" sound effect. Is she a speedster or a teleporter?

Whatever she is, it's apparently none of our business as the situation's never addressed or resolved.

By the way, I didn't notice the spelling of Les-Lay's name in her first appearance in A Head Of Her Time. I assume her name's a not-so-subtle joke?

• On the planet, Canary & Gary are pursued by what they assume are alien hunters. Gary kills and eats several before discovering they're actually AVA clones, who of course look just like Sharpe.

The delirious Canary then sees what appears to be "her" Sharpe, and follows her through the jungle to another spaceship. Ultimately realizes this Sharpe is a fake and kills her as well. A LOT to unpack here!

First of all, I don't have a clue why there are AVA clones on this alien planet. Who brought 'em here? And why? Is their presence in this episode a cost-cutting measure? Could the show not afford to create a dozen alien prosthetics, so they just said, "Eh, we'll use an army of Sharpe clones instead?"

Also, the AVA clones were created in the early 2200s! Did someone bring a batch of 'em back in time? Did Canary & Gary unknowingly travel into the future? Or did the writers forget all about the I, AVA episode?

Lastly, Gary switches to alien mode and stops the clones by opening up his chest and eating them alive. Since this is Gary we're talking about, naturally his horrific actions are played for laughs, and the fact that he just straight up murdered several people is quickly swept under the rug. As is Canary's killing of another clone.

I've often said that murder doesn't seem to be a crime in the Arrowverse, and this is just another instance that proves it.

• At one point the Legends temporarily trap Knoxacrillion on the Waverider, where they question him. Behrad says, "Okay, say you win. You... hitch a ride home with, like, a space cabbie?"

Although it sounds like a lame joke that didn't land, it's actually a reference to an obscure character from the comics. Space Cabbie debuted in a backup story in 1954's Mystery In Space #21, and has made sporadic appearances ever since.

The character lives in the 22nd Century, driving a small, cab-like spaceship for the 9-Planet Taxi company. His stories usually consist of him narrating tales of the various interesting fares he's picked up over the years. Think of it as a kid-friendly, proto Taxicab Confessions.

Since this season's all about aliens, expect lots more references to DC's space-based characters.

• Sci-Fi Homage #2: The Host of Da Throne is clearly based on Caesar Flickerman from The Hunger Games franchise. His smarmy, sycophantic schtick apes Flickerman's so precisely that it goes beyond tribute and into outright plagiarism.

• How long does the Da Throne competition last, anyway? As filmed, it feels like it went on for several days. But then the episode keeps cutting back to the Waverider, where we see Spooner & Sharpe breathlessly watching the contest on TV— implying it all took place in just an hour or so. Unless they sat in those same chairs munching snacks for a week straight.

• I loved Knoxacrillion's invasion fleet. Very over the top and Looney Tunes-esque. I could easily see Marvin The Martian commanding a silly fleet like this.

• Heat Wave's been a major league asshole since the show began, but he really ramped it up to eleven this week. He badmouths the crew for not trying to find Canary, he refuses to participate in the mission and then to top it all off he threatens the entire planet by instigating an interstellar conflict with Knoxacrillion's people. 

As I said in the intro, it's as if the writers are deliberately sabotaging his character now that actor Dominic Purcell's announced he's leaving the series.

I suppose it's possible that his lashing out is an attempt to give him some depth and show that he's deeply affected by the loss of Canary. If that's really what the writers are trying to do, surely there was less clumsy and heavy-handed way to go about it.

• At one point Sharpe's had enough of Heat Wave's assholery and demands to know what's wrong with him. He says that now his daughter Lita's away at college, she's stopped returning his calls, and he fears she's cutting him out of her life.

Sharpe then tells him, "Mick, just because Lita's busy, it doesn't mean she doesn't love you anymore. It just means she doesn't need you."

Wait, what? Was... was that supposed to make him feel better? Holy crap!

• Speaking of Sharpe, she reeeeeeally pissed me off this week, to the point where I'm close to actively hating her character.

After Heat Wave provokes Knoxacrillion's alien fleet, Sharpe reads him the riot act, saying she knows he's upset about Canary's abduction, but he's not the only one hurting. She finishes up by telling him to get his act together or get the hell off of HER ship (!).

What. The. F*ck.

I was all for it when Rip named Canary as the new captain back in Season 2, as she was the perfect choice and grew into a competent leader. Then last season Sharpe was appointed her "co-captain," for no discernable reason other than that the writers couldn't think of anything else to do with her on the show.

Heat Wave was a member of the Waverider crew long before Sharpe was ever flushed out of her cloning tank or however the hell she was born. He has far more right to be on the ship than she ever will. Sharpe did nothing to earn her supposed rank, and was made a captain by writer's fiat alone. The fact that she's now calling the Waverider HER ship and ordering people off it makes me want to vomit with rage.

• S'More gives Knoxacrillion a "female empowerment anthem" to sing during the Da Throne competition. Knoxacrillion then examines the song and says, "I am synthesizing 500,000 of Earth's supreme vocalists" in order to win.

First of all, 500,000? Are there really that many "supreme" vocalists on the planet? I guess there might be if he included every one from the time recording technology was invented all the way up to 2045. It still seems iffy though.

Secondly, we then see Knoxacrillion's "robo-vision," as he rapidly scrolls through the names of these 500,000 vocalists. I took this as a personal challenge, and attempted to list all the ones that are visible. It's tough to make them all out, but I spotted:

Jeff Buckley, Julie Andrews, Barbra Streisand, Stevie Wonder, Luthor Vandross, Lauryn Hill, Luciano Pavarotti, Jasmine Sullivan, Freddie Mercury, Nina Simone, Callie Day, The Clark Sisters, Beyonce, Avery Wilson, Nat King Cole, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Little Richard, Prince, David Bowie, Amy Winehouse, Otis Redding, Leontine Price, Stevie Nicks, Joe Cocker, Morrissey, Dolly Parton, James Taylor, David Ruffin, Mavis Staples, Bonnie Raitt, Chuck Berry, Curtis Mayfield, Bruce Springfield (I'm assuming they meant SpringSTEEN here). Ellie Fitzgerald (I believe that should be ELLA), Jackie Wilson, Etta James, Bob Marley, Johnny Cash, Mick Jagger, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Gladys Knight, George Michael, Andrea Bocelli, Adelle, Josh Groban, Patti Lupone, Colm Wilkenson, Ben Platt, Lea Salonga, Audra McDonald, Edina Menzel, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Esme Salzman, Donny Hathaway and Patsy Cline.

Note that the next name immediately after Patsy Cline is Jeff Buckley again, as the list begins repeating itself.

• Can't say I'm a fan of Constantine's "Criss Angel" look. Lay off the mascara already, Johnny!

• Apparently Zari 2.0 must have an eidetic memory. She briefly hears Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've) by the Buzzcocks exactly ONE time at the beginning of the episode. Later on during the Da Throne competition, she's able to belt out every line of the entire song by heart. Impressive!

Sci-Fi Homage #3: As I said in the intro, someone on the writing staff was reeeeeeally impressed by Psycho Goreman. If you've not seen it, it's about a young girl who accidentally gains control of an alien Warlord.

It then becomes sort of a "Fish Out Of Water" tale, as the Warlord (dubbed Psycho Goreman by the girl) is forced to do her bidding— accompanying her to a diner, eliminating her enemies and playing the drums in her band.

Knoxacrillion's actions are VERY similar to Psycho Goreman's, as he comedically threatens to destroy the planet one minute, then sings a heartfelt ballad the next.

Heck, after Zari 2.0 defeats him in the singling competition, he tells her he's "her humble servant." Exactly like Psycho Goreman did to the little girl who controlled him.

Additionally, both aliens have a poor grasp on Earth idioms, so they take every statement literally— for maximum yuks.

Nice Attention To Detail: In the wrap up, the Legends toast their success with champagne.

Fortunately the producers (or more likely actress Tala Ashe) remembered that as Muslims, Zari 2.0 and Behrad are forbidden to drink alcohol, so they're toasting with what appears to be orange juice. Or maybe it's one of Zari 2.0's ubiquitous smoothies.

Funny that Behrad goes along with the no alcohol thing, but doesn't seem to have a problem smoking copious amounts of pot. The Quran doesn't specifically mention marijuana, but it does forbid substances that "curtain the mind." That certainly sounds like pot to me!

• Sci-Fi Homage #4: After the Legends' celebration, Lord Knoxacrillion reveals he's not a humanoid at all, but a tiny alien controlling a powerful armored suit.

Note that this is exactly like the Arquillians in Men In Black.

• After emerging from his battle armor, Lord Knoxacrillion tells the Legends that he's from an ancient race with super-advanced technology. Technology that could probably be used to locate Canary.

Annnnnnd then he's violently stomped on and killed by Heat Wave! 

Make no mistake, this wasn't an accident. Heat Wave didn't inadvertently tread on Knoxacrillion, he smashed his foot down with all the force of a safe falling from a third story window. 

Even worse, Heat Wave's deliberate act of murder is then treated as a comedic moment! And after an initial second or two of shock, the rest of the Legends seem completely OK with this. 

• At the end of the episode, Heat Wave cleans up his act and says Kayla's the alien who abducted Canary. He reasons that if they find the alien, they'll find Canary. 
To facilitate this, he somehow draws a pretty accurate representation of Kayla, despite having never seen her in person.

The writers try to smooth this over by having him overhear Knoxacrillion's interview on Da Throne, where he described Kayla, saying, "I was ambushed by a gangster feared all over the galaxy. You would say she has a face with chicken wings on it. Her name was Kayla.

Apparently we're to believe that Heat Wave was able to conjure up her image from that sparse description. He got her name from Knox's interview as well.

• OK, I'm confused. Earlier in the episode, Canary followed what appeared to be Sharpe through the alien jungle. "Sharpe" then came to a spaceship, opened the airlock and motioned for Canary to enter. Canary then kills this imposter, saying, "You think I don't know my own girl?"

Then in the tag scene, we see Canary's staggering through the alien ship! So she sensed "Sharpe" was a fake and was leading her into a trap, so she  killed her and then entered the ship anyway! What the hell?

• A few months ago there were rumors that this season of Legends would feature Canary being abducted by aliens and forced to fight on Warworld. Naturally I assumed that meant we'd be seeing Not Thanos, I mean Mongul on the show. As I've explained before, he's a large alien warlord who rules the Warworld planetoid and holds gladiatorial contests between alien captives there. I couldn't wait to see that happen on the screen!

Unfortunately, so far we've gotten Canary briefly teaming up with Spartacus onboard a spaceship, discovering Gary's an alien, crash-landing on a planet and encountering what may or may not have been Amelia Earhart.

That's definitely not what I was expecting, and it looks like Warworld's a no-go.

Ah, but it gets worse. At the end of the episode Canary wanders around another alien ship and runs into a man-bunned hipster who's cooking an artisanally-sourced organic meal for her.

According to online sources (SPOILERS, I guess), this is Bishop— "a once-in-a-generation genius, who's seen the end of the world and thinks he has a way to save it." Supposedly he treats all living creatures as scientific playthings, and has enhanced his body to allow him to live long enough to prevent the nightmarish future he's witnessed.

Wow, that all sounds WAY more fun than a Thanos clone forcing aliens to fight for his amusement. Feh.

The only way the writers can redeem themselves here is if Bishop pulls off a mask and reveals Mongul's face underneath it, but I don't see that happening.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

R.I.P. Enzio Sciotti

This obit's a little late, but sometimes these things happen.

R.I.P. to Enzio Sciotti, who died April 11 at the age of 76. 

Born in Rome to a family of painters, Sciotti was a talented and prolific illustrator. When he was just sixteen, he got a job illustrating movie posters for the booming Italian film industry, specializing in the horror genre. 

Over the course of his six decade career, he painted over 3,000 movie posters. His work graced the films of numerous Italian horror powerhouses, including Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento and Lamberto Bava.

Sciotti's name may not have been a household word, but anyone who visited a video store in the 1980s and 1990s will instantly recognize his work. His bold, lurid artwork adorned the cover of many a videotape in the horror/sci-fi section. 

He also had the amazing ability to take even the worst low budget film and make it look like the most awesome movie ever. Many's the time I rented a tape solely because his art sold me on  it. Video stores of that era owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to Sciotti for increasing their sales.

Sciotti seemed to have a thing for Sam Raimi's Evil Dead films, as he illustrated posters for all three.

I always assumed this was a manipulated photograph. I'm gobsmacked to find out it's one of Sciotti's illustrations.

That structure in the back looks more like a haunted house than a castle to me, but, eh... I'll allow it.

It's not labeled, but this is the poster for George Romero's Knightriders.

The Italian poster for Near Dark (or Dark Approaches, as it was known there).

Although he primarily illustrated horror posters, Sciotti dabbled in sci-fi as well.

He also painted numerous action movie posters, which again, always looked more exciting than the actual film.

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