Saturday, March 17, 2018

An Open Letter To Companies Who Pull Stunts Like This

Got this lovely item in the mail yesterday, and just had to comment on it. If you own a company and you do this, then f*ck you!

I pay every bill I get the very next day, so I know damned good and well none of them are overdue. Still, when I saw "Second Notice" printed on this envelope, I have to admit I freaked out a little. What if there was a glitch somewhere and the electric company (or whoever) didn't get my payment? Oh god, are the lights gonna go out any second? How much time, energy and trouble is it gonna take to straighten this out?

Of course once I opened the damned thing, it turned out to be a stupid offer for a stupid product from a stupid company. Assholes. This is a despicable practice and if isn't illegal, it should be. Surely it's some form of mail fraud? I hope someone sues the lying pants off the owner of this business.

To the douche nozzle who owns this company— do you really think I'm gonna buy something from you after you pulled a reprehensible stunt like this? Screw you!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Pew, Pew!

In an interview with Stephen Colbert this week, actress Laura Dern confessed that she kept inadvertently saying "Pew! Pew!" while firing her blaster in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

That's funny, I said "PEW!" when I first saw that movie too! Thank you, ladies and gents, I'm here all week!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Flash Season 4, Episode 15: Enter Flashtime

This week on The Flash, Barry and his speedster pals are stumped when they have to figure out how to save Central City from a nuclear bomb that's already gone off!

So far I've been enjoying The Thinker arc that's been going on all season. That said, it was nice to take a break from it this week. 

The bulk of Enter Flashtime takes place in just a fraction of a second a concept that could only happen on a superhero show. Best of all, it's VERY loosely based on one of my all-time favorite stories from The Flash comic. Just don't think about any of it for too long, or the whole idea will come tumbling down!

The whole "Flashtime" concept was first introduced a few episodes back in The Trial Of The Flash. In that episode, Barry accidentally discovered he could accelerate himself and anyone he touched to super duper speed so fast in fact, that the rest of the world seems frozen in time.

It's an interesting ability, and one that seems like it was set up just so it could be used here. I'm pretty sure the comic version of the Flash never developed that particular power (unless it happened after 2000, when comics became too expensive for me!).

This week we also get the welcome return of Jesse Quick. That said, I'm puzzled by her feud with her dad Harry. Suddenly she's pissed off at him because he refuses to share his feelings about his late wife. Huh? Where the hell did that come from? Unless I missed an episode (and I didn't), the two of them have never fought about that before.

Always great to see Jay Garrick on the show. Sadly, based on the end of the episode it looks like his days on the series are numbered.
Lastly, we get another glimpse of the mysterious, er, Mystery Girl, who keeps popping up in the lives of Team Flash. Is she Barry and Iris' daughter from the future? That's how it looks to me, which of course means it's too obvious and she'll turn out to be someone else.


The Plot:
We begin as a sweaty, disheveled Barry enters STAR Labs. He sees Iris, grabs hold of her and speeds her up into "Flashtime," so she's moving as fast as him, because that's a thing he can do now (since his murder trial). He apologizes and explains that he can't save her this time.

Flash back to 8 minutes ago and 46 seconds ago. Inside STAR's Speed Lab, Barry's practicing running fast enough to dive into one of Cisco's breaches (not his britches). Why? So next time DeVoe teleports, he can follow him back into his pocket dimension. Unfortunately, Barry just can't seem to run fast enough. Cisco says he's had enough practice for one day and leaves. Iris tells Barry he needs to relax, and amazingly he agrees. He plans a romantic evening for the two of them.

Inside the Cortex, Jesse Quick unexpectedly shows up from Earth-2 (even though I could've sworn she went to live on Earth-3 last season). She's there to confront her father Harry, blaming their strained relationship on his inability to talk about her mother's death (a problem that's never been alluded to before).

Just then Team Flash gets an alert from Joe. Cisco tracks the signal to a Central City hangar. Cut to Joe and a group of ARGUS soldiers shooting it out with a group of terrorists. As Joe and the others are pinned down, Veronica Dale, leader of the terrorists, opens a large cargo container in the middle of the room.

Inside the container we see a large nuclear device. She arms it, grabs the detonator and backs out. Suddenly Barry, Jesse, Cisco and Caitlin (as Killer Frost) arrive on the scene. The speedsters take out the other terrorists with ease, saving Joe and the ARGUS guards. Barry confronts Veronica, but before he can stop her, she presses the button on the detonator, activating the bomb!

Barry and Jesse then instinctively shift into "Flashtime"— a hyper-accelerated state that's thousands, maybe millions of times faster than normal. Because they're moving so fast, everyone else appears to be frozen in time. She asks how they can deactivate the bomb, but Barry says they can't, as it's already gone off— it just hasn't exploded yet. Jesse runs down a list of possible options, but Barry poo-poos them all in order for the plot to happen. He says veteran speedster Jay Garrick might know what to do, so Jesse heads for Earth-3 to bring him back.

Meanwhile, Barry drags Cisco into Flashtime. He tries to open a breach to send the bomb to a dead Earth, but  his power sputters and fizzles out. Cisco theorizes that he's moving so fast there's no time for a breach to form. He then becomes dizzy and stumbles, as his non-speedster body can't handle being in Flashtime for more than a few seconds. He apologizes as Barry drops him back into normal time. 

Barry then runs to STAR Labs and Flashtimes Harry. The only idea he can come up with is to toss the bomb into the Speed Force and hope for the best. He makes Barry promise to save Jesse no matter what.

Barry returns to the warehouse, just as Jesse and Jay show up. Jay flips out when he hears Barry plan, saying that detonating the bomb inside the Speed Force could irreparably damage it, causing every speedster in the entire multiverse to permanently lose their powers!

Jay suggests cooling the nuclear reaction inside the bomb. Barry speeds up Killer Frost, who tries her best to encase it in ice. Unfortunately she can't handle Flashtime either, and her powers quickly fail. He leaves her in normal time again.

Jesse suggests neutralizing the bomb with Speed Force lightning (Comic Book Science!). Jay says it might work, but they'd need the power generated by the lightning of all three of them simultaneously. They begin running around the warehouse, building up energy. Barry and Jesse throw their lightning at the bomb, but Jay stumbles and falls. He says he's getting too old for this sh*t, and can't handle being in Flashtime this long. He reluctantly drops out and freezes in place.

Barry and Jesse realize they're starting to slow down as well, as the explosion is visibly expanding. He tells her to save herself and hightail it back to Earth-2. She refuses to go, but he insists, saying Harry made him promise to save her. She says goodbye and zips off. Instead of heading for Earth-2 though, she returns to STAR Labs to see Harry. She tries to bring him into Flashtime with her, but either doesn't know how or is too tired. Her energy finally gives out, and she slows down to normal time and freezes.

Back at the warehouse, Barry begins tiring and realizes he can't keep operating at this speed forever. Out of ideas, he speeds back to STAR Labs and finds Iris. He yanks her into Flashtime and says he can't save her, as we catch up to the opening scene.

Suddenly Iris comes up with a bright idea. Back in The Flash Reborn, Cisco invented a "quark sphere" that was imprinted with Barry's DNA. He tossed it into the Speed Force to fool it into thinking Barry was inside, so he could escape from it. Iris says he might be able to use the sphere to draw lighting out of the Speed Force and use it to neutralize the bomb. Sure, why not?

Barry decides to give it a shot. He uses the last of his strength to open a portal into the Speed Force. Inside, he finds the quark sphere just sitting there, and yoinks it away. Immediately a storm of lightning begins following him through the vortex. He exits into the real world, the lightning close behind. He tosses the sphere at the bomb, and the Speed Force lightning strikes it, somehow rendering it inert.

Barry finally slows down and promptly passes out. He wakes up inside STAR Labs. Joe shows the team a taped message from Veronica Dale, meant to be played after the bomb went off. She claims to be a member of Eden Corps, an eco-terrorist group. Jay, who's now recovered, says goodbye to the gang. He says he's returning to Earth-3, where he plans to retire and train a new speedster to replace him.

Meanwhile, Harry says he's still not ready to talk about Jesse's mother with her. Instead, he uses a modified version of the cerebral inhibitor he invented last week, to allow Jesse to experience his thoughts and feelings toward his late wife.

Sometime later, Harry and Caitlin go to Jitters for coffee. While there, a young woman accidentally spills her coffee on them and apologizes profusely. It's the same mystery girl we've seen a couple times before, who we're not supposed to realize is Barry and Iris' future daughter.

• At the beginning of the episode, Barry's struggling to jump through one of Cisco's breaches before it closes. Unfortunately he consistently fails. Iris helpfully says, "
Look, Barry, a bridge closes in three picoseconds. DeVoe's could shut even faster."

The upshot here is that Barry's just not fast enough. I'd say not! A picosecond is equal to ONE TRILLIONTH of a second! No wonder he can't jump though a breach in time!

• At one point the camera slowly pans across a board inside STAR Labs, and we see the formula "3X2(9YZ)4A" scrawled on it. DC Comic fans will recognize this as the Speed Force formula!

In the comics, Golden Age speedster Johnny Quick would recite this formula to gain access to the Speed Force and activate his powers. So... does that mean anyone who says the formula out loud could do this? Probably not.

Also, to complicate matters, Johnny Quick is Jesse Quick's dad in the comics. Here on the show though, Jesse's the daughter of the Earth-2 Harrison Wells. Confused yet?

For some reason Ralph's AWOL in this episode. At one point Barry asks if anyone's seen him, and Caitlin says he's downstairs moving in. The implication here is that Ralph's nervous about becoming DeVoe's next victim, so he's holing up in STAR Labs for safety's sake.

Ah yes, that super-safe impenetrable fortress known as Star Labs. The only high tech think tank in the world with no apparent way to keep out unwanted intruders. Surely no harm could ever come to him there.

• In a stunning subversion of our expectations, this week Team Flash confronts a villain inside an airplane hangar, rather than the typical "abandoned warehouse." 

• Cisco tracks Joe's alert signal to Waid Airfield.

That would be a reference to Mark Waid, who began an epic eight year run on The Flash comic back in 1992.

• Veronica Dale's the one who ends up setting off the nuke in this episode. She's from the comics, but oddly enough she's not a Flash villain. She's actually one of Green Arrow's foes, called Hyrax!

The comic version was an eco-terrorist who headed Eden Corps, just like in this episode. She tried to set off a nuclear device, but Green Arrow, aka Oliver Queen, stopped her. Unfortunately he died in the process, clearing the way for his son Conner Hawke to become the new Green Arrow. Eventually Oliver got better after being resurrected by Green Lantern (!). Comic books!

• The basic concept of this episode— in which Barry has less than a second to solve a deadly problem by moving so fast the rest of the world seems frozen— seems to be taken from The Flash #30, published back in 1989 (it's entirely possible the comic's used this same plot many times since, but this is the only instance I'm aware of).

Anyway, in the comic, Wally West (who was the Flash at that time) takes in a movie with his girlfriend Connie Noleski (whoever she is). They both act like jerks and talk during the movie, until Wally realizes Connie's seemingly frozen.

By the way, are they watching a porno here or what?

Suddenly Wally feels something pressing against the back of his neck, and discovers it's a bullet! 

Apparently the instant it touched his skin, his superspeed instinctively kicked in, causing the rest of the world to seemingly freeze in place.

So yeah. The Flash published a comic about a nut job shooting up a darkened movie theater with an automatic weapon, twenty three years before James Holmes did it in real life back in 2012. Gulp! Talk about unfortunate coincidences!

Fortunately for the residents of the DC Universe, Wally's able to hunt down all the bullets in the theater and pluck 'em out of the air before they can do any damage.

I'm betting DC's editors probably wouldn't approve this story in our current dark times.

• Once the nuke is detonated, Barry and Jesse both enter Flashtime and try to figure out what to do. Jesse and the entire cast run down a list of options, but because there's still half an hour left in the episode, Barry rejects every one of them for increasingly vague and unsatisfying reasons.

Among the solutions suggested:

Jesse proposes running the bomb into the Badlands. Barry says no, stating, "If we run that long, it'll speed up the reaction. We won't make it outside the city before it explodes." I don't understand any of that, but whatever. 

Cisco wants to try breaching it to a dead Earth. Unfortunately he's moving too fast to open a breach.

Harry suggests tossing the bomb into the Speed Force. Jay forbids this, fearing it'll destroy the mysterious realm and rob all speedsters of their powers.

Jesse actually comes up with one of the better ideas— why not just run back in time a few minutes and "yoink" the detonator away from Veronica, and prevent the bomb from ever exploding in the first place? Sounds logical to me! Barry stupidly shoots down this notion as well, saying it's too risky. He tells Jesse, "The second you alter the timeline, everything changes, especially the people you love. Trust me. I learned that the hard way."

Jesus wept.

Yes, Barry, you learned NOT to go back twenty some years and prevent your mother from being killed (several times). But we're not talking about decades here. We're talking about five minutes, tops! How the hell much damage could they do in that short amount of time? Even in the unlikely event that five minutes could "alter their loved ones," wouldn't it be worth it to save hundreds of thousands of lives?

Look, I get it. The writers came up with a high concept threat, and then had to invent a bunch of reasons why it couldn't be resolved in a few seconds. I understand that. But surely they could have came up with some more credible sounding excuses for why they couldn't shut down this bomb.

• As much as I enjoyed this episode, even I have to agree that its concept doesn't hold up to much scrutiny. Shortly after the nuke goes off, Barry speeds up Cisco to have him try and breach the bomb to a dead Earth. Unfortunately, they're moving faster than a breach can be generated.

But... at the beginning of the episode, Barry's too slow to jump through a breach before it slams shut. Now he's moving faster than they can even form? Whoops!

And then there's Jesse. Somehow she zips over to Earth-3 and brings Jay back with her. Wait a minute... if everyone's moving faster than a breach can form, then she shouldn't be able to travel between Earths, right? Whoops again!

But let's throw the writers a bone and say Jesse figured out a shortcut. That means she got to Earth-3, searched the city and eventually located Jay, explained to him what was going on and brought him back all while she was in Flashtime. She had to, right? If she'd slowed down for even a second, she'd have returned to Earth-1 AFTER the bomb exploded.

• So just how fast are Barry and the other speedsters moving in this episode? Pretty darned quick. In fact they're running far, FAR faster than any of them have ever been able to go before.

Back in Season 2 it was mentioned in dialogue that Barry's top speed was Mach 2, which is approximately 1,534 mph. That's pretty speedy, but nowhere near fast enough for the world to appear frozen in place, or to accomplish everything they did in this episode before the bomb finished exploding.

When Cisco enters Flashtime, he says he's moving too fast to form a breach. That means the speedsters are all 

Remember that it takes 3 picoseconds for a breach to close. That means it likely takes the same amount of time for one to open. When Cisco enters Flashtime, he says he's moving too fast for a breach to form.

That means Barry and the other speedsters are all running faster than 3 picoseconds. As stated earlier, a picosecond is one TRILLIONTH of a second. I don't know what that is in miles per hour, but I'm betting it's considerably more than Mach 2! In this episode at least, Barry's powers have suddenly gone from impressive to utterly ridiculous!

• Say, you know who might have been helpful in this situation? Wally West! You guys on the writing staff remember him, right? He's the character you created back in Season 2, and then promptly ignored for the next two years, never quite figuring out what to do with him.

Sure, he's on another show now (and doing great there, thanks!), but he probably have come in really handy once Jay weakened and was forced to drop out.

• It's always great to see Jay Garrick again. He's obviously from an earlier era where people were more polite. He even insists on calling sometime-supervillain Killer Frost "Ms. Frost!" Haw!

That said, I hated seeing him become winded and fall. Superheroes aren't supposed to get old and weak, dammit!

At the end of the episode, Caitlin examines Jay and notes that his glucose levels are low. She gives him some kind of supplements (sugar, I guess?) and tells him to get some rest.

Hmm... Was Jay really just tired? Or is this a bit of ominous foreshadowing before we find out he's really dying? Remember, nothing happens by accident in fiction— nine times out of ten, when a character coughs at the beginning of an episode, they're on their deathbed by the end. Hopefully this isn't the case, and he really is just winded.

• For some reason, Iris— who's a former newspaper reporter, mind you
 is the one who comes up with a way to cancel out the nuclear explosion. Not Cisco. Not Caitlin. Not Harry. But Iris

• In the third act, Barry removes the removes the quark sphere from the Speed Force in order to undo the explosion. The very same quark sphere that Team Flash was using to fool the Speed Force into thinking a speedster was inside it.

So now what? We've been told in the past that the Speed Force always needs to contain a speedster, else it goes haywire and threatens to destroy the real world. Now not only is there no speedster residing there, but there's no longer a fake one either. Surely that's got to have some sort of dire consequences, right?

• Barry steals the quark sphere and uses it to pull lightning out of the Speed Force, and use it to neutralize the nuke.

Wow, look at how close he that lightning gets to Joe as Barry drags it past him! Luckily there were no stray bolts that branched off and fried Joe where he stood!

• After the crisis is over, Team Flash plays Veronica's manifesto recording, in which she explains her plan. Basically she's against nuclear power. So in order to prove just how dangerous it is, she decided to blow up Central City.

Um... that doesn't make any sense. It's like shooting yourself in the head to prove that guns aren't safe.

• At the end of the episode, Caitlin and Harry meet in Jitters. Suddenly they're interrupted by the Mystery Girl we first saw in Crisis On Earth-X Part 1. You know, the young woman who showed up at Barry & Iris' wedding.

We still have no idea who exactly she is, but most fans (myself included) are betting she's either Barry & Iris' future daughter or granddaughter, who's come back to the past for some reason.

This week I heard a new theory, that's she actually Joe & Cecile's daughter. I hadn't considered that before, but it's entirely possible! It would depend on what her powers are. If she's a speedster, then she's definitely related to Barry. If she's got some other ability (like mental powers, perhaps?) than I could buy that she's Cecile's offspring.

We'll find out sometime around the end of the season.

Whoever she is, she seems to be systematically running into all the various members of Team Flash. So far she's encountered Barry, Cisco and Ralph, and now Caitlin and Harry. It's almost like she's "collecting" members.

But for what purpose? Based on the unsettling and malicious look she shoots Caitlin and Harry in the final shot, it can't be for anything good.

This Week's Best Lines: 
Cisco: "Listen, Miyagi..."
Barry: "What?"
Cisco: "I've been here all day, opening breaches, all right, so unless you wanna rub your hands together and do some magic shoulder popping..."
Barry: "I'm not rubbing your shoulder."
Cisco: "That's what I thought."

Barry: "How is it we live together, work together, sleep in the same bed together, but it stills feels like we don't spend any real time as husband and wife?"
Harry: (over intercom) "ALLEN! WEST-ALLEN! CORTEX! NOW!"
Iris: "I have no idea."

Jesse: "Oh, that's a nuclear bomb."
Barry: "I know."
Jesse: "And its core has already gone critical."
Barry: "I know."
Jesse: "The second we slow down, it's over."
Barry: "I know. That's not helping."

Cisco: "Whoa, what is going on?"
Barry: "You're moving with me at super-speed."
Cisco: "What? Is this what it looks like when you run?"
Barry: "More or less."
Cisco: "I have to say, it's a little uneventful."

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 3, Episode 13: No Country For Old Dads

Well, that was... different!

This week's Legends Of Tomorrow wasn't necessarily bad, but lordy was it odd. 

At the very end of last week's episode, Atom was captured by the Darhks. So I naturally assumed this installment would be a dark and somber affair, as the Darhks would ransom Atom in exchange for the rest of the Totems.

The last thing I expected was a wacky Cold War spy romp, which is pretty much what we got!

The cinematic homages continue this week, which has been a theme all through Season 3. So far we've had tributes to E.T., Apocalypse Now and even the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise. This week we get a Coen Brothers-inspired episode, one that features many of their trademark cinematic touches

The big news this week was Wally West, aka Kid Flash, officially joining the Legends, which was something I predicted a few months back. Amazingly, he seems completely at home onboard the Waverider after just one episode!

The way Wally was treated over on The Flash was downright criminal, as the writers didn't understand who the character was or what to do with him. The Legends writers don't seem to have that problem, as they've already integrated him seamlessly into the group. Hopefully he'll stick around for the rest of the series.

This week's episode continues to build up the connection between Atom and Nora Darhk. Since nothing happens in fiction without a reason (or at least it shouldn't), so I'm assuming there's a purpose to this. I'm betting that in the season finale, Nora will use the power of her love for Atom (or some such hoeey) to rise up and expel the demon Mallus from her body. And then she'll either kill her dad or die in Atom's arms. Maybe even both! Remember, you heard it here first!


The Plot:
Onboard the Waverider, we see that Agent Sharpe obviously spent the night with White Canary in her cabin. Zari wanders into the galley and notes the dishes haven't been done in some time— a chore that Atom usually enjoys doing. Canary realizes she hasn't seen Atom onboard in a while. Suddenly Sharpe gets a call from Time Agent Gary, who's received a message from Atom, saying he's been captured by Damien Darhk and his daughter. He begs the Legends not to come looking for him, as the Darhks will kill him if they do.

Somewhere in a secret hideout, the Darhks meet with Kuasa. Nora Darhk tries to get Vixen's stolen Spirit Totem to work, but can't. Kuasa explains that it won't work for her unless she finds a selfless reason to use it. Damien orders Atom to repair his stolen Fire Totem, or else. Atom reluctantly agrees, but says he'll need a lab with the proper tools. Darhk teleports the group to Upswipz, the startup tech company where Atom briefly worked at the beginning of the season.

On the Waverider, Canary and Sharpe scan time & space for Atom. Suddenly Rip Hunter and Wally West teleport onto the ship. Rip asks for their help in stopping Mallus, which is kind of what they've been doing the past twelve episodes. Vixen says if she meditates and accesses her "ancestral plane," she might be able to locate her Totem. Wally, who's big into meditation, volunteers to help.

Atom examines the broken Fire Totem and says he'd need the power of the Big Bang itself to fuse the pieces back together. Either that or cold fusion, which doesn't exist. Damien begs to differ, saying cold fusion was invented in 1962 by a German physicist named Bernhard Vogal. Atom asks why he's never heard of this, and Darhk replies it's because he was hired by the oil cartel to assassinate Vogel in '62, to prevent cold fusion from replacing fossil fuels.

Nora and Atom then time travel back to 1962, in order to rescue Dr. Vogal from Damien's ruthless, younger self. They find Vogal in a safe house, but he refuses to leave without a doll he bought for his daughter (gosh, I wonder what could possibly be inside that?).

A group of armed guards enter and attempt to stop Atom and Nora. She tries to use her magic to stop them, but her powers sputters and fizzles out. She realizes she hasn't fully recovered from Atom's nanite attack last week. Just then Young Damien shows up (wearing a bizarre Anton Chigurh bowl cut)  and takes out the rest of the guards. Nora tries to time travel them out of the safe house, but her time stone is destroyed by a stray shot from young Damien. D'oh! Atom, Nora and Vogal somehow manage to escape from Damien just in time.

They hole up in a building somewhere, and Nora's angry with herself for messing up, as her father still sees her as a child who can't do anything for herself. She decides to torture Vogal to get the cold fusion formula, but Atom talks her out of it. With no way out of East Germany, the group enters the home of a known document forger. They carefully create immigration papers for themselves (exciting!) so they can safely pass into West Berlin and freedom. They drive to the border, where a guard carefully scrutinizes their papers. After a tense moment, he finally lets them pass.

In the present, Old Damien is worried that Nora hasn't yet returned from the past. He uses his time stone (I guess they both have one?) to go back to 1962 and see what's holding her up. He shows up just in time to save Nora, Atom and Vogal from his younger self. Nora's furious that her father came back to rescue her, rather than let her figure things out on her own, and storms out of the room. Is this really the best time and place to be having this argument?

Meanwhile in the present day, Vixen and Zari meditate, and transport their minds to the ancestral plane. Vixen's shocked, as the mystic realm now looks like a desolate, lifeless space. Her ancestor appears and explains that the plane became dark and lifeless the minute Nora stole the Spirit Totem. She also reveals the Darhks' plan— by constantly causing anachronisms, they're weakening the fabric of time, which will allow Mallus to escape into the real world. Oh, and she also tells Vixen she needs to save her granddaughter Kuasa from darkness.

Back in 1962, Nora's captured by Young Damien. For some reason, Old Damien ties up Atom, and the two have a heart to heart talk about Nora.

Young Damien then somehow calls Old Damien and threatens to kill Nora unless he hands Dr. Vogal over to him. The two Damiens meet on the rooftop of a nearby building for the exchange. Young Damien shoots Vogal, and tosses Nora off the roof. Old Damien uses his magic to catch her. Before he can raise her to safety though, Young Damien attacks him.

While all of this is going on, Atom sees his tiny, shrunken suit sticking out of Damien's discarded coat and manages to activate it and escape.

On the rooftop, the two Damiens fight, as Nora hangs far above the street. She finally tells her father to let her fall in order to save himself. He refuses, but she finally convinces him it's the only way. He lets her go, and beats Young Damien unconscious. As he rushes to the edge of the roof, he sees Nora rise up under her own power, having finally figured out how to use Vixen's Totem.

Atom then flies up to the rooftop and tends to Dr. Vogal. He pulls the head off the doll he's been awkwardly carrying all episode, and to no one's surprise, shows Atom that the formula for cold fusion was inside it all along. Just then Old Damien shoots Vogal dead, so as not to ruin his perfect assassination record.

Damien and Nora then turn to Atom, demanding he hand over the formula or else. Atom tries a desperate gamble by shooting a hole in the Berlin Wall, hoping that'll get the attention of the Legends. Sure enough, in the present day, Gideon detects an anachronism at the Wall in 1962. Canary orders the ship to fly there.

Just as the Darhks are about to kill Atom, the Waverider arrives. Wally West zips to the scene and whisks Atom to safety. Damien remarks that he hates speedsters.

Back on the Waverider, Atom says he has the cold fusion formula, but the Darhks still have the Fire Totem. Wally then reveals he swiped the Totem from Darhk's pocket while he was rescuing Atom. Huzzah! Vixen tells the Legends how the Darhks intend to release Mallus. Agent Sharpe calls Director Bennett of the Time Bureau  to alert him of the plan.

As they Skype with Bennett, they see Gorilla Grodd appear in the background and begin running amok. Unfortunately he kills Bennett in front of their eyes. Rip points out that Sharpe is now the director of the Time Bureau.

Canary asks Wally to stay with the Legends. Happily, he agrees. Rip says his goodbyes, but before he does, he secretly commands Gideon to delete File 354-Z, because Canary must never find out the truth about Sharpe. Ominous!

• This week's episode was directed by "Viet Nguyen." Gosh, I wonder where he's from? That's the equivalent of naming someone "America Jones."

• Wow! What a difference a show makes! Wally West officially joins the Legends this week, and already he's getting more screen time than he had over on The Flash!

It's a real shame that The Flash writers never quite figure out what to do with Wally once they introduced him, so it's nice to see him finally getting the attention he deserves here. I think he'll fit in a lot better with this team too. Already he seems energized and more interesting.

Plus actor Keiynan Lonsdale has some actual comic chops, something he rarely if ever got to demonstrate on The Flash. I was surprised to see Wally could actually be funny!

Now let's just hope the Legends writers don't hobble Wally and constantly come up with reasons why he can't use his power, as they're prone to do with the rest of the characters on this show.

• Last week I pointed out that Atom was an idiot for leaving his armored suit at home when he confronted the Darhks, which of course resulted in him getting captured.

This week we find out he actually had his suit in his pocket the whole time, but just didn't wear it when he approached these two known villains. 
Somehow this makes Atom seem like an even bigger idiot!

• When Ray sends his "ransom message" to the Legends, he offhandedly mentions that Damien Darhk keeps asking him if he wants to go to a Greatful Dead concert. We then find out that Damien said that as a distraction, knowing that the Legends would time travel to every concert the Dead ever played, looking for Atom.

Sure enough, a bit later we see Steel and Heat Wave enter the ship, decked out in Dead shirts! Nice bit of detail there!

• I guess it makes sense that Kuasa would be leery of the Fire Totem, since she can transform herself into living water. 

She also mentions how she was once killed by the Fire Totem. If you're scratching your head trying to remember when that happened, you're not alone. It actually happened in an episode of the Vixen animated web series, and not on Legends.

• Nora tries on the stolen Spirit Totem, but can't get it to work. She angrily asks Kuasa why she can't access its powers. Kuasa replies, "Because power is all it is to you. Until you find a selfless reason to wield it, my grandmother's bond to the totem, even at a distance, will remain stronger than yours."

So the Totems can only be used for selfless purposes. Fair enough. But what about Kuasa? Was it a "selfless act" when she tried to drown Steel by shoving her watery arm up his nose a couple weeks ago in Daddy Darhkest? 

Everything Kuasa does with her Totem is downright evil! If her explanation is true, then she should never be able to get hers to work either!

• So far every time we've seen Nora Darhk, she's been portrayed as a cold, ruthless psychopath. Suddenly in this episode she acts like a sullen, eye-rolling teen! She stopped just short of running to her room, throwing herself on her bed and sobbing into her pillow while moaning "It's not fair!"

We've never seen any hints of this type of behavior before, which made it all the more bizarre and jarring here.

• This week I learned that Brandon Routh, aka Atom and Courtney Ford, aka Nora Darhk, are married in real life! I guess that explains Atom's strange preoccupation and attraction to Nora!

• So apparently the Darhks' plan is to cause as many anachronisms as possible, in an effort to weaken the fabric of time and free Mallus.

That's actually not a bad little plot. Too bad it's just now being mentioned in the goddamned THIRTEENTH EPISODE!

• There's no way I can look at "Upswipz" and pronounce the second half as "swipes." All I see is "swips," as in rhymes with "sips."

By the way, when Damien's searching the Upswipz app, there's a lingering closeup of his phone as he "likes" the profile of a woman named Carrie C.

That would be Carrie Cutter, aka Cupid, who's a supervillain over on Arrow! A nice little shared universe detail there!
• There's some subtle cinematography and color coding going on in this episode, which probably sailed under the radar of most viewers.

The scenes onboard the Waverider are all suitably bright and colorful, as they generally are.

Contrast this with the scenes set in 1962 Berlin, which are all gray, drab and washed out.

Finally the scenes inside the ancestral realm are all garish and oversaturated.

It's a nice little touch to help sell the idea that the episode's taking place in different times, as well as dimensions.

• Speaking of cinematography, there's a lot of split screen shots in the 1962 scenes. I'm assuming this was an homage to the spy thrillers of the 60s and 70s, which used this effect quite a bit. The Coen Brothers— whose work this episode references, right down to its title— make use of these kinds of shots as well.

• As is typical of all Arrowverse series, this episode featured some truly atrocious and fake-looking wigs. The mop on Young Damien Darhk's head in particular was a stand out, as it appeared to be some unholy union between Anton Chigurh and Hannah Montana-era Billy Ray Cyrus.

I'm still not sure if they were serious with this wig, or if I was supposed to be laughing at its ridiculousness.

And for the second week in a row, Vixen appears to be wearing an ill-fitting wig as well. Did she cut her hair between episodes? Was there some hair coloring or trimming accident? Why else would she suddenly start wearing this sad thing on her head?

• In the third act, there's a rooftop battle between Old Damien Darhk and his younger, even more psychotic self. The two punch, jab and strangle each other in a brutal and savage fight. For absolutely no good reason, Old Damien wears a ski mask over his face during most of this fight. Convenient!

Since both versions of Damien were played by Neil McDonough, I'm betting they put the mask on one of him so the FX team didn't have to work overtime on dozens of "twin" effects.

• I don't know why, but I loved the scenes where Old Damien stops a hail of bullets with his magic! It's just such a cool effect!

• The scenes of the ancestral plane were very obviously filmed on a soundstage, with a few trees strategically placed around the set as the fog machine was cranked up to eleven. But you know what? It actually worked here! This mystical realm isn't supposed to look like any place on Earth, so the fake setting worked to their advantage. It actually reminded me of old Hammer Horror movies and their "foggy moor" set!

• This week we get a very brief cameo by Gorilla Grodd, as he murderizes Director Bennett.

• At the end of the episode, Rip realizes Canary and Sharpe are together. He tells Gideon to delete file 354-Z, and then says, "Sara can never find out the truth about Ava."

So what's Sharpe's big secret? Is she a time anachronism? Is she unknowingly possessed by Mallus? Maybe she's somehow the mysterious Sixth Totem in human form?

This Week's Best Lines
Zari: "Sara, can we take the Waverider to when Mount St. Helens erupted? I've always wanted..."
(she sees Agent Sharpe, and suddenly changes her tune)
Zari: "Psych. That would not be a cool thing to do. This is, uh, a very important time vehicle. We we would never use it for recreational or dangerous purposes. Hey, Ava. You look great in... what you were wearing yesterday. Right. I'm gonna I'm gonna stop talking now, yeah"

Atom: (in a video message) "If you're finding this, it's me, Ray, obviously. You've probably guessed by now that I have been abducted by the Darhks."
Zari: "Hey, when we see him, do we tell him we didn't even notice he was gone?"
Canary: "Yeah, definitely not."

Agent Sharpe: (to Rip) "If you're here to apologize for burgling the Bureau and, and, and humiliating Gary..."
Wally: "Well, we actually did that for a good reason, because we have to stop Mollusk."
Canary And Sharpe: "Mallus!"

Canary: Wally, it's good to see you. I remember you from Barry and Iris's wedding."
Wally: "Yeah, wasn't that so fun? It was such a beautiful ceremony. The hors d'oeuvres were, like, meh. And then, the Nazi invasion!"

Damien: (fiddling with the Upswipz app) "Trouble is I haven't had a single match yet. I think the thing is broken."
Alan: "If I may... you might have more luck if you talk about your hobbies."
Damien: "I just said that I enjoy destroying the world to remake it in my image. Oh! I like trying new restaurants."
Alan: "Also, your profile says you're 199 years old."
Damien: "Yeah, it it wouldn't go any higher. Can you fix that?"
Alan: "Well, everyone lies about their age, brah."

Wally: "The incense will calm you, and I'm just gonna ease you into the altered state through some guided meditation."
Vixen: "Thank you for helping us."
Wally: "Yeah."
Vixen: "So how do you know Nathaniel?"
Wally: "I was kind of like his wingman back in Central City. Just helped him get over a broken heart, actually, because this basic bitch just dumped him on his birthday. Can you believe that?"
Vixen: "Yeah, 'cause I was actually that basic bitch."
Zari: "Great vibe, Wally. I think we can take it from here."
Wally: "Yeah, yeah, okay, I'm gonna go."
(he zips out of the room as superspeed)

Damien: (to Nora) "Okay. What has gotten into you? I send you off on one lousy mission by yourself, and suddenly the... Oh of course. I should have known Ray Palmer would be a good influence on you."

Nora: (to Damien) "You know what? I thought I raised my father from the dead, but instead I see I just got a selfish man-child!"

Atom: (to Damien) "If you really care that much about Nora, then maybe you shouldn't let her be a conduit for a primordial evil."

Young Damien: (seeing Old Damien levitate Nora) "Huh. Magic. I should look into that."

Director Bennett: "Make it fast, Agent Sharpe, because I've got to stop Alexander Hamilton from seeing Hamilton the musical."

Atom: "Thank you for searching all of history to save me from a demented supervillain."
Steel: "Two demented supervillains. Are you forgetting the apple of Damien Darhk's eye?"
Atom: "She's had a tough life. She may come off all mean and witchy, but underneath all that, she's a real person."
Steel: "Wait. Do you have the hots for Nora Darhk?"
Atom: "What? No! No. No?"
Steel: "Look, I'm not blind. She's hot. But she's also bonkers, which is kind of hot."
Atom: "I just think that you know, maybe there's hope for her."
Steel: "You would, you big softie. But you're a delicate flower, Raymond Palmer. Take care of that heart of yours."

Agent Sharpe: "Well, I wish we could stay longer, but my boss was just murdered by a gorilla, not to mention the mess in Berlin that needs fixing."
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