Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Flash Season 4, Episode 2: Mixed Signals

This week's The Flash is a muddled and incomprehensible mess, with yet another poorly-realized version of a classic comic book villain. Somehow though it manages to coast by due to the charm and chemistry of the cast.

The highlight of the episode was definitely the interplay between Barry and Iris as they decide to go to couples therapy. "Charming" is not a word I use easily or often, but it definitely applies here. It was also nice to see Barry enjoy being a superhero again and revel in his powers, especially after last season's mope-fest.

Wally continues to devolve into little more than set dressing on the show. He did absolutely nothing in this episode, except stand around and somehow get knocked on his ass by an energy blast (um... speedster powers?). 


I hate to say it, but it's beginning to look like he was only brought onto the series as a way to eat up a few Season 3 episodes, and now that his origin story's played itself out, the writers have absolutely no idea what to do with him. Maybe he could move over to Legends Of Tomorrow? They could use a good speedster.

Last week Barry returned from his self-imposed exile in the Speed Force, and suffered a few odd side effects for exactly ten minutes before snapping completely back to normal. I was sure this was just a diversion on the part of the writers, as they'd tip their hand this week and show us that the Barry who returned isn't quite the same as the one who went in. Nope! If this episode is any indication as to how the rest of the season's going to go, Barry was completely unaffected by his time in a bizarre dimension. Strange.

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
A real estate agent shows a penthouse suite to tech billionaire Kurt Weaver. He says he'll take it and gets in the elevator. Halfway down the elevator stops, then begins jerking rapidly up and down (heh), as Weaver's shaken around inside like a rag doll. Finally the elevator plummets and crashes to the bottom of the shaft, killing Weaver. On the ground floor, an overweight man in a hoodie ominously watches, as his eyes glow purple.

Barry cheerfully makes breakfast at superspeed. Iris says she needs to get busy planning their wedding, and Barry says he's already done it— at superspeed, of course. Iris is hurt and angered that he didn't consult her first.

Barry, Cisco and Joe inspect the scene of the deadly elevator crash. Cisco hooks up a computer to the elevator's computer memory (?) and proclaims it was no accident— it was hacked by someone.

Back at STAR Labs, Cisco reveals the latest Iron Man, er, I mean Spider-Man, er, I mean Flash costume he's made for Barry. This one's the most advanced yet, full of all sorts of unnecessary high-tech bells and whistles. Iris says she's looking forward to their "training session," whatever that means, and Barry says he cancelled it and blissfully rushes off. Again, Iris is irked that Barry didn't discuss it with her, prompting Caitlin to suggest they go to couples therapy.

The Breach Alarm goes off, and Iris, Caitlin and Wally rush down to confront whatever comes through. It turns out to be Gypsy, who's apparently visiting Earth-1 to go on a date with Cisco. Um... isn't dimension-hopping illegal on her Earth?

Cut to Tim Kwon, another tech billionaire, as he drives along in his expensive new car. Suddenly it stops in the middle of the street, right in front of the same purple-eyed man we saw by the elevator. The man glares at the car, causing its dashboard screen to start glitching and display the word "KILG%RE." It then speeds down a crowded Central City street at 120 mph (well, sort of). Barry zooms to the scene and stops the car by completely taking it apart with a large wrench (!).

Cisco examines the car's computer and finds it was hacked as well, with the same virus that was in the elevator. Cisco can't find any link between the two victims online, so he searches through his stash of old tech magazines (?).

Iris approaches Barry and announces they're going to couples therapy. Barry reluctantly agrees. They visit the therapist, and their session is both humorous and painfully awkward.

At CCPD, Joe's questions Tim Kwon, asking if he can think of anyone who'd want to kill him. Ramsey Deacon, the purple-eyed man, shows up at the station and uses his power to take control of a bomb squad robot. The robot grabs a grenade and crashes into Joe's office. It tosses the grenade, and Joe and Tim dive for cover. Just then Barry enters and grabs all the grenade shrapnel at super speed, saving them.

Cisco talks with Gypsy and says he's got to call off their date because of the Kilg%re crisis. She says she understands and wanders off. Caitlin tells Cisco he's in big trouble, as whenever a woman says she understands, she means the exact opposite. Cisco discovers a photo of Kurt Weaver, Tim Kwon, 
Ramsey Deacona and a woman named Shelia Agnani, who were all computer science students years ago. Kurt, Tim and Shelia later started up a tech company called "Kilg%ore," apparently shutting out Deacon. Cisco theorizes that Deacon must have a grudge against the others and is targeting them somehow. He says Shelia is likely next on Deacon's list.

Barry and Iris return to therapy (is all this happening on the same day?). Iris breaks down and tearfully asks why Barry left her to join the Speed Force. Um... maybe to save the world? She tells him that he's not the Flash— they both are, and they need to do this together. Oy.

Tim goes to Shelia's mansion to warn her about Deacon. Just then Deacon appears and uses his tech-manipulating powers to hack her insulin pump, which puts her in shock. Luckily for her, Wally appears (hey, he finally gets something to do in this episode!) and gives her a shot of glucose to save her. Shelia tells Wally that Deacon abducted Tim.

Back at STAR, Cisco tries to apologize to Gypsy. She says she's angry he canceled their date because today's One/One/One Day, which is a special occasion where she's from on Earth-19. It symbolizes "one soul plus one soul equaling one soul." This sparks an idea in Cisco's head and he takes off again to test out a theory or whip up a solution.

Cisco whips up some kind of technobabble serum that'll theoretically cancel out Deacon's powers. Tim Kwon then appears on all TV channels, confessing that he, Kurt and Shelia stole the Kilg%re malware software (?) from Deacon and sold it for billions, leaving him destitute. It's unclear if Deacon is just trying to ruin the others or wants their money or both. Cisco traces the source of the TV signal and Barry and Wally rush to the scene, where they confront Deacon.

Deacon hacks into Barry's new high tech suit, causing him to incapacitate Wally with an energy blast (that he apparently couldn't dodge?). Deacon then makes Barry's suit run amok, toying with him like a cat does a mouse. He even shuts down the suit's comm system, so Barry can't talk to Team Flash. Somehow Barry's able to gain enough control to call STAR Labs on a pay phone (ask your parents, kids).

Deacon then activates the self destruct system in Barry's suit. Cisco says there's no way to shut it down, and Iris suggest Barry through speed lightning at himself. He does so, which fries the suit and severs Deacon's control over it. Deacon then makes a last ditch attempt at killing Tim by shooting him, but Barry stops the bullet. He then injects Deacon with Cisco's magic serum, rendering him powerless.

Cisco and Gypsy finally have their date.

Cut to Iron Heights Prison, where Deacon's being held in a shielded room with no tech of any kind— it's even lit by candles! Joe says Deacon wasn't in Central City when the particle accelerator exploded, and wonders how he got his powers. Deacon refuses to tell him, but says he's not the only metahuman coming for them.

In the Thinker's lair, he monitors Deacon in his cell (um... didn't they just say there's no tech in there?). He says it's time to find the others, and the Mechanic activates a screen with spaces for eleven other metas.

Thoughts:
• The episode begins with Barry lip synching in his underwear, recreating Tom Cruise's iconic dance number from Risky Business.


Really, writers? That scene was just downright painful. Not to mention the fact that three fourths of your audience wasn't even alive when that movie premiered, so the reference is gonna sail a mile over their heads. 

• Last week Cecile mentioned that now that Julian and Barry were both gone, she was going to have to hire a new CSI. Barry's back of course, but this week Cisco also stepped in to take a look at a crime scene. Is Cisco the new CSI hire? Is he doing that in addition to his duties and inventing at STAR Labs? When the hell does he sleep?


• Iris, Caitlin and Wally arm themselves and run to the Breach Room, ready to attack whatever comes through the portal. No, wait, that's wrong. The others run, while Iris minces in her pencil skirt and lace-up stiletto heels, like the floor's make of solid ice.

Why the impractical getup? She works for a crime-fighting think tank! There's likely going to be chaos and running on a regular basis! Why's she dressing like a supermodel?


• In the Breach Room, Caitlin brandishes a freeze gun which looks exactly like Captain Cold's. It even has the same glowing "V" shaped cryo-emitters on the end! This makes sense, since Cisco invented the gun (to stop Barry in case he ever went Rogue) and Cold stole it from him.

Funny how Caitlin's struggling to control her Killer Frost persona, but her weapon of choice is a freeze gun.

• In this episode Gypsy pays a visit to Earth-1 for a date with Cisco. Um... isn't dimensional travel forbidden on her world of Earth-19? Last season she came to STAR Labs to arrest HR for violating the "No World Hopping" law.

I guess that law doesn't apply to special bounty hunters like her, and she can breach to any Earth anytime she wants— even for something as non-essential as a date!

Not a fan of Wally's new Cab Calloway hairdo.


Sigh... once again, The Flash seemingly goes out of its way to underwhelm with its live action depiction of a long-time comic book character. This week, they completely botch Kilg%re.


Kilg%re first appeared in The Flash (Vol. 2) #3 back in 1987. It was an evil alien entity that could infect and animate any kind of machinery or electronics, and usually took the form of a constantly changing metal robot or monster. Later runs of the comic depicted Kilg%re as a silvery metallic man.

So of course it's only natural that the TV show would depict Kilg%re as an overweight schlub in a hoodie, with eyes that occasionally glow purple. Jesus Christ. It's like they're not even trying anymore! If they're not gonna put any more effort into their villains than this, then why bother producing a superhero show at all?

• I was excited when I read that Kilg%re would be appearing this season on The Flash, if for no other reason than we'd finally get an answer to that age old question— just how the hell do you pronounce that name?

See, I used to read The Flash comic back in the 1980s, and when Kilg%re first appeared there was a HUGE controversy as to just how you were supposed to say his name. The book's letter column was abuzz for months, as fans practically came to blows over the matter. Half the readers passionately argued that it was simply "kill-gore," and the percent sign was there just to make it seem more high tech or alien. The other side vehemently contended that the symbol represented electrical static, and it should be pronounced "Kill (squeeeeee) Gore" or something like that. 


Turns out it's just plain old "kill-gore" after all. Disappointing!


• The Flash has featured some lame villains in the past, but Deacon's gotta be the lamest. Everything about him is muddled and unclear, as the writers don't even understand him. I've watched the episode twice now, and I still have no idea what the hell he is or how his powers are supposed to work. Just listen to Cisco and Caitlin discussing him:

Cailin: "This guy is a living computer virus. That’s a new one.
Cisco: "Look at this code. From the elevator, to the car, to the bomb robot, this code keeps changing [grumbles] But I can’t figure out why."
Caitlin: "Okay, we have to remember that it’s not just digital. It’s bio-digital. Most organic viruses mutate to avoid being killed."

Cisco: "So, if we managed to create digital antibodies, then we can shut this guy down. Oh, nice one!"

A bit later they say:

Cisco: Deacon's powers are derived from the binary code in his DNA. So we created a compound encoded with a numerical string pattern of ones and zeroes, to invert the order of the code.
Caitlin: "Ones become zeroes and vice versa."

I... I don't understand what any of that means. So Deacon is a living computer virus? Or he can infect electronics with a living computer virus? Is he no longer human? Is he a piece of computer code in human form? I honestly have no idea.

Deacon has the ability to infect and manipulate electronics. That's a pretty formidable power in this day and age, but how's it supposed to work? All we ever see him do is stare at an object as his eyes glow purple and his pupils become square. At no time does he ever actually touch anything. How can he infect a device without ever touching it? Is he using wi-fi?

• The whole Kilg%re software thing is just as bewildering. Listen to Cisco try to explain what it is:

Cisco: "Four years ago, Kurt Weaver and Tim Kwon created an app in their garage with two other programmers. Some kind of malware called Kilgore. And then they sold it off to a big tech company."

So Kilg%re is an app, but it's also a piece of malware. Um... those two things aren't even remotely alike, writers! An app is a program written for a mobile device. Malware is a piece of software that's intended to damage or disable a computer. I could see a tech company being interested in an app, but no one would ever BUY a piece of malware!

• Deacon takes control of Tim Kwon's car and causes it to drive 120 mph down a busy Central City street. We'll have to take the show's word for that, as it looked for all the world like it was puttering along at 30 mph— at the most!


• Credit where it's due: Barry and Iris' couples therapy scenes were very well done. Grant Gustin has a goofy, nerdy charm, and he and Candice Patton have some great chemistry together. 


Gustin also has some pretty good comedy chops, and I loved his increasing awkwardness as Doctor Finkle jotted down everything he said. It's a shame he rarely gets to be funny on the show.

By the way, Doctor Finkle ought to have a field day with the fact that Barry and Iris grew up as foster siblings and are now engaged!

• Cisco recognizes the names of Deacon's victims, but can't seem to find anything about them online (???). He then starts leafing through his collection of old tech magazines in order to figure out who they are. Wha...? This show IS set in 2017, right? Does Google not exist in the Arrowverse?

And how could there not be any online info about a trio of startup billionaires? Are we really supposed to believe that people who made their fortune in computer science have no social media presence of any kind? Nothing about this scene makes the least bit of sense.


Yes, yes, at one point Tim Kwon does say that Kurt Weaver "scrubbed any connection between us from the net." If that's true, then Kurt must be one of the world's most brilliant scientific minds indeed. The idea that a person can erase their presence from the entire internet is more unbelievable than a man who can run at the speed of light!


By the way, Cisco's old computer magazine (complete with a centerfold of a mother board) is called "Noughty Bytes." OK, I'll admit that was kind of amusing.

• Whenever there's an establishing shot of STAR Labs, we can always see that one of the upper pylons is riddle with holes, presumably damaged during the particle accelerator explosion four years ago.

In this episode we get a different angle of the building, and it looks like a huge chunk of the side was completely blown away! Has that hole always been there? I suppose it has, although I honestly don't remember ever seeing it before.

You'd think after four years they might want to get that patched up, before the entire building's ruined.

• When Cisco decides to talk out his problems with Gypsy, he reaches up and vibes a breach into thin air. Gypsy INSTANTLY walks through it and nonchalantly says, "What's up?"

So... was she just standing there on Earth-19 waiting for him to call? Or did the portal he opened somehow drag her away from whatever she was doing on her world?

• When Cisco unveils Barry's new high-tech suit, he hands him a comically thick user manual and tells him to read up on its new features. Barry gives the manual a disdainful look and tosses it aside, as if reading something that huge is out of the question.

OK, I get that this is supposed to be funny, but it doesn't make any sense. In the past we've seen Barry speed-read (literally!) lengthy technical manuals and science papers to instantly bring himself up to speed on a topic. And earlier in this very episode, Barry catches up on six months' worth of DVRed TV by watching it at a thousand times normal speed. So what's the problem here? Why can't he read through this gigantic manual in ten seconds and be done with it?


Answer: Because if he did read the instructions, then we wouldn't have the "comical" scenes of Barry fumbling with the new suit's features as he tries to figure out how to control it.


• So Barry now has a suit that's pretty much identical to Iron Man's armor and Spider-Man's Homecoming costume, complete with dozens of weapons and defensive capabilities. It even has an onboard A.I. assistant (which uses Cisco's voice)!

Among its new features are retractable HUD goggles, self-repairing armor, nano-liquid circuitry, full spectrum scanning, a pulse cannon and full weapon system, a targeting scanner, a defibrillator (!), an inflatable flotation function, fire suppression, temperature control and navigation.

I can't say I'm a fan of all these fancy gewgaws. It's hard enough for the writers to come up with a believable opponent for Barry when he just has superspeed. Adding even more abilities is gonna make it virtually impossible for anyone to ever defeat him.

The suit gets fried near the end of the episode, so I'm hoping this is the last we'll see of it.


• When Gypsy talks about One-One-One Day, she triggers the old, "Someone Says Something Mundane That Inspires A Bright Idea" cliche, causing Cisco to come up with a way to defeat Deacon.


• When Deacon takes control of Barry's suit, he forces him to fire an Iron Man repulsor ray at Wally. Despite the fact that Wally's a speedster, he can't dodge a simple energy blast and is thrown across the room and knocked out.

• Deacon then uses the suit's built-in defibrillator function to try and kill Barry. At the very least, it's good to see that Deacon knows a defibrillator actually STOPS the heart, not jump starts it!

• Barry's new suit has a self destruct function called "The Babel Protocol."


This is probably a reference to the Tower Of Babel storyline in the Justice League comic. In that tale, Batman accumulated files on how to take down his team members in the event any of them ever turned bad. 


Cisco sort of references this, saying he added the function to the suit in case he ever had to stop an evil version of Barry.

• As the self destruct timer counts down, Iris gets an idea and tells Barry to generate speedster lightning to short out the suit. He's not sure he's up to the task, so Iris whispers, "Run, Barry, Run!"


I wish I'd started a counter listing every time they've used that phrase throughout the seasons. It'd be up to twenty by now, at least.

• Earth-19 Watch:
According to Gypsy, Earth-19 celebrates Saint Shaquille O'Neal Day. That seems unlikely, on ANY Earth!

Also they definitely don't have Santa Claus. It's unclear if they have Xmas or not.


Gypsy throws around the word "schmoopy" a lot in this episode. Does that mean Earth-19 has Seinfeld, or is it just a coincidence?

• At the end of the episode, Joe's puzzled and says, "
How is it possible that Deacon’s a meta if he didn’t get his powers from Wells’ particle accelerator blowing up?" This implies that the explosion is responsible for every metahuman who's ever appeared on the show. That can't be right, can it? Surely they've faced villains who got their powers some other way before now?


• So the head of Iron Heights Prison is Warden Wolfe. Gosh, that's not a sinister name at all. Who named this character, Charles Dickens?

• Something just occurred to me: The Thinker appears to be built into his high tech chair, and is completely immobile. He's literally the exact opposite of the Flash, who's main power is movement! Interesting.


• This Week's Best Lines:

Cisco: (at a crime scene) "Excuse me. Coming through. CCPD Tech Consultant. That’s right. Look at the badge. That means it’s official."
Captain Singh: "He’s aware that badge is plastic, right?"

Barry: (at couples therapy) "I love therapy."
Dr. Finkle: "Oh. Have you been before?"
Barry: "Just once, when I was a kid, after my mom died."
Dr. Finkle: "Oh, your mom."
(she writes in her notebook)
Barry: "Oh. But I’m okay with that. I mean, I’m not okay with it, obviously. I mean, I’d prefer that she was alive. I just meant that I’ve already dealt with it is I don’t think it’s worth writing down."
Dr. Finkle: "These notes are just for me. No one is judging you guys."
Iris: "Yes, we know."

Barry: "Oh, my dad died too. Just for your notes."
Dr. Finkle: "So, Barry, Iris filled me in a little bit about the two of you on the phone before. Getting married?"
Iris: "Yeah. Yeah, it’s been a long road getting here."
Barry: "Mm-hmm."
Iris: "First, um us growing up together, and then, um, I was engaged to someone else."
Dr. Finkle: "Oh, okay."
Barry: "That’s worth a write-down?"
Iris: "He’s actually dead too."
Dr. Finkle: "Oh, you two have had to deal with a lot of trauma."
Iris: "Well..."
Barry: "No, not a... "
Iris: "Eddie and Ronnie."
Barry: "I mean, a little."
Iris: "My mom. HR."
Barry: "Not too much."
Iris: "Laurel."
Barry: "Some."
Iris: "Snart."
Barry: "We’ve been... to a few funerals."
Iris: "Yeah."

Caitlin: (angrily) "How much tech did you put in this suit?"

Cisco: (sheepishly) "Sooooo much."

It Came From The Cineplex: Flatliners (2017)

Flatliners (2017) was written by Ben Ripley and directed by Niels Arden Oplev.

Ripley is a very mediocre screenwriter who previously penned Species III, Species— The Awakening, The Watch, Source Code (oy) and Boychoir.

Opleve directed Dead Man Down and Speed Walking, along with episodes of various TV series such as Millennium, Under The Dome, Mr. Robot and Midnight, Texas. He also directed the original Swedish version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which was a very good film. So what the hell happened here?


Oh... That explains everything.

Sony Pictures is the wonderful studio that pumps out hit after hit, year after year to universal critical accla... HAW, HAW, HAW! Sorry, I couldn't finish that sentence with a straight face. 

Seriously, the second I saw that logo flash across the screen, I wanted to get up and leave the cineplex, but my movie-going pal stopped me. Sony's the absolute worst, as they consistently churn out flop after flop. With the exception of Spider-Man: Homecoming (which they made with the help of Marvel Studios) and Baby Driver, this year was another grim one for Sony. Seeing them desperately try to come up with a hit is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Virtually every decision they make as a corporation is wrong. How the hell do Anthony Vinciquerra and Tom Rothman keep their jobs?

Flatliners asks the burning question, "Is There Something Beyond Death?" The answer is yes, but it's really, really boring and not the least bit scary.

The movie is of course a remake of the 1990 film of the same name. I was never much of a fan of the original (which was directed by Joel Schumacher of Batman & Robin fame!) what with its silly new-age pop psychology plotline. The film was a decent hit back in the day though, grossing $61 million against its $26 million budget. A big part of its success was no doubt due to its all Brat Pack cast, which included Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland, who were all red hot at the time.

The new Flatliners is virtually a carbon copy of the original, recreating it practically scene for scene. I don't understand why studios keep doing this. Why bother remaking a film if you're not going to bring something new to it? Give us some new insights or a different perspective. Anything besides the exact same movie.

Actually there's apparently great confusion as to whether this film is a sequel to the original or a reboot. According to the filmmakers it's a sequel, but there's absolutely nothing in the movie to indicate this. 

The only connection between the two versions is actor Kiefer Sutherland, who starred in the original as main character Dr. Nelson Wright. Sutherland shows up in Flatliners 2017 as well, playing Dr. Barry Wolfson, chief resident of the hospital.

For some reason, Sutherland seems convinced he's playing the same character in the new film, despite the fact that his name is different. In an interview, Sutherland said:
I play a professor at the medical university. It is never stated, but it will probably be very clearly understood that I'm the same character I was in the original Flatliners but that I have changed my name and I've done some things to move on from the experiments that we were doing in the original film.
Yeah, sorry Kiefer, but that was not clearly understood. In fact it's not mentioned at all, even in passing. There's no way the new Flatliners can possibly be a sequel, unless the filmmakers expect us to believe that the events that occurred in 1990 are playing out the exact same way here in 2017. Despite what Kiefer Sutherland thinks, it's a remake, plain and simple.

Sony chose not to screen Flatliners 2017 for critics, which of course is always a bad, bad sign. By keeping the film under wraps until the last possible moment, critics wouldn't have time to right unfavorable reviews, increasing the chances of a decent opening weekend. Nice try, Sony, but it didn't work.

So far the film is a HUGE flop, grossing just $16 million in the States against its meager $19 million budget. It's only made another $8 million overseas, for a worldwide total of just $24 million! Since movies need to gross twice their production budgets just to break even, it's unlikely that Flatliners will ever turn a profit. Better luck next time, Sony!

SPOILERS, I GUESS!

The Plot:
The movie opens with Courtney Holmes (played by Ellen Page) happily driving along with her little sister Tessa. They laugh and smile at one another, as they're obviously having the most perfect day ever. Uh-oh! If you don't sense disaster's about to happen, then you've never seen a movie before.


Right on cue, the film takes a dark turn as Courtney gets a text and takes her eyes off the road for just a second. Tessa screams, and Courtney looks up just in time to see construction equipment blocking the bridge ahead (I guess flagmen don't exist in this universe). Courtney swerves and her SUV slams into the bridge and violently flips into the stream below. A construction worker pulls Courtney from the water as the SUV sinks with Tessa trapped inside.

Nine years later, Courtney is now a med student, and is obsessed with the question of life after death (due to the guilt she feels about the whole killing her sister thing). She's constantly pestering patients who've experienced clinical death, asking what they remember about the experience. Some don't remember anything, while others give the standard "Bright Light/Peaceful Feeling/Dead Relatives Welcoming Them" answer.


Determined to know the truth, Courtney comes up with a hare-brained scheme, er I mean brilliant plan, enlisting her fellow med students to help her. Among them are Jamie, a spoiled rich kid who'd rather party than study, Marlo, a straight-laced, ambitious young resident, Sophia, a shy student whose mother controls every aspect of her life and Ray (played by Diego Luna, of Rogue One fame), a former firefighter who switched to medicine.

Courtney's experiment is simple. With her classmates' help she'll stop her heart, then once she's dead she'll look around and see if anything lies beyond. At the end of sixty seconds the others will revive her and she'll report her findings (if any). Naturally the other students are reluctant to deliberately kill a fellow student, since that's considered murder and all, but eventually they all agree except for Ray.

Courtney brings Jamie, Marlo and Sophia down to a little-known basement area of the hospital to perform the experiment. They set up the monitoring equipment, inject her with drugs and then stop her heart with a defibrillator. Once Courtney's dead, Ray shows up (I guess he got an invitation anyway?), and is horrified to see she went through with it. When the minute's up, the students try to resuscitate her, but can't. Ray, whose fireman training makes him more experienced at bringing people back to life (I guess?) finally steps in and successfully revives her.

The others excitedly ask Courtney what it was like on the other side. Unfortunately she can't tell them, as she says it's hard to remember or articulate. They examine the recordings and note there were sparks of electricity in Courtney's supposedly dead brain, indicating something was happening while she was dead. Ray spoils the fun by saying the spikes could have been just the death throes of an oxygen-starved brain (which is the correct answer).

Later the students go to a bar, and Courtney suddenly starts playing Clair De Lune on the piano. The next day she effortlessly offers complex and intricate diagnoses in class, which greatly impresses Dr. Barry Wolfson (played by Kiefer Sutherland), her grumpy, no-nonsense mentor. Apparently dying and getting better has somehow enhanced Courtney's brain.

Once the others see this, they all want to become Flatliners and kill themselves too, in order to soup up their own brains. Jamie goes first, determined to beat Courtney's paltry one minute of clinical death. Marlo goes next, upping the time limit even further. Finally even the meek and mild Sophia manages to drum up enough courage to die. The only one who refuses to participate is Ray, who's presumably seen enough sh*t to know better than to play around with death.

Shortly afterward, the Flatliners all begin experiencing disturbing visions. Courtney sees her dead sister Tessa popping up at random. Jamie sees an ex-girlfriend and a mysterious young boy. Marlo keeps seeing a patient she failed to save. Sophia's haunted by visions of a nude girl. Ray dismisses their visions, saying they're all crazy. Courtney becomes racked with guilt and admits to the others that she performed the experiment in order to see her dead sister, not to try and further medical knowledge. Really? I thought that was pretty obvious from the start.

The Flatliners' visions begin intensifying, eventually becoming physical. Marlo's attacked by the man in her vision, who tries to suffocate her with a roll of plastic. She ends up crashing her car, but survives. Jamie's stabbed in the hand by the boy in his vision. Sophia's assaulted by her vision as well. Courtney gets it the worst though, as the vision of her sister Tessa stalks her through her apartment. Ghost Tessa chases Courtney onto the fire escape and actually pushes her to her death (!).

The others then realize they're being haunted by their inner demons, which Flatlining has somehow brought to life. Jamie admits he got his ex-girlfriend pregnant, and left her to fend for herself. Marlo says she killed her patient by giving him the wrong meds and altering the records so no one would find out. Sophia says that in high school she sent a classmate's nude photos to the whole school to sabotage her chances of being valedictorian.

The Flatliners then spring into action to reconcile their pasts before they're killed by their respective demons. Jamie tracks down his ex, and sees she's now raising his young son. He tells her he's finally ready to take responsibility for his actions, and says he'll help in any way he can. And just like that, his demons disappear. Marlo meets with the hospital brass and admits she falsified the records. She's put on academic probation, and her demon vanishes as well. Finally Sophia finds the girl she bullied and apologizes to her, which immediately releases her from her repressed guilt.

And that's pretty much it! Once the Flatliners make amends to everyone, the hauntings and visions stop. The gang then meets in the bar again to celebrate. As they all toast themselves, the chords of Clair De Lune suddenly emanate from the bar's piano. They look at one another for a few seconds, then start laughing, as the camera pulls back and the movie sputters and wheezes to a stop. A few minutes later the audience wakes up, stretches and files out of the theater.

Thoughts:
• There's little or nothing to say about this cine-turd, so this'll be mercifully brief.


• The biggest problem with Flatliners (both versions) is its silly core concept. The film concerns a group of med students who explore the afterlife by deliberately dying and coming back. For some reason this causes their past sins to take physical form and try to kill them.

Of course this entire notion is complete and utter bullsh*t, which makes it tough to take any of it seriously or care about anything that happens to the characters. Yeah, yeah, I know, it's a movie, and suspension of disbelief and all that. But clinical death is a well known medical phenomenon. There's nothing supernatural about it. All the stories about seeing bright lights and watching your life pass before your eyes are just synapses firing uncontrollably as the brain slowly dies.

Thousands and thousands of people have experienced it over the years, and not a single one of them ever brought back a deadly physical manifestations of their deepest guilt. It's like saying that getting an x-ray gives you the power to walk through walls.

Instead of presenting the supernatural as a side effect of a well-known medical phenomenon, why not just make it a simple ghost story? Why not give us a young doctor who interns at an old hospital with a history, who's haunted by the ghosts of every patient that ever died there over the years? Now there's your movie!

• When Courtney's trying to convince the others to kill her in the name of science, she produces a letter she wrote that she claims will absolve them of all responsibility. Yeah, no. There's no way something like that would hold up in court. The exact same thing happens in the original film.

• Courtney performs the flatline experiment in an empty wing of the hospital, which she says was built to handle emergencies and natural disasters, but never used. She says they'll be safe because "no one ever comes down here." 


Later in the film the Flatliners are almost discovered by a cleaning crew. So which is it, Courtney? Does no one ever come down there or is it cleaned regularly?

• Virtually every movie and TV show ever made has depicted the use of defibrillator machines completely and utterly wrong.

We've all seen it a thousand times before. A patient's heart stops, and the Doctor calls for a crash cart. He activates the defibrillator machine, which emits an audible, high-pitched electronic whine as it powers up. The Doctor will then rub the defib paddles together a bit, place them on the patients's chest and shout, "CLEAR!" He then activates the paddles, and there's a loud "THUNK" as the patient's body stiffens, practically lifting off the table. The Doctor then glances at the heart monitor, looking for any sort of spike. He'll usually need to shock the patient a few more times before their heart finally resumes a normal rhythm.

NOTHING in that scenario is even remotely accurate.

When a patient's heart stops (or flatlines), it's called asystole (pronounced "a-sis-toll-ee"). As you might expect, that's a very bad thing. It's absolutely imperative that the Doctor get that heart beating again ASAP. To do that, they usually inject the patient's heart with a drug, often adrenalin. 

That usually starts the heart to beating again, but it'll be an arhythmic, chaotic beating. This is called "fibrillation," and it's just as bad as no beating at all. This is where the defib unit comes in. The Doctor uses the DEfibrillator to stop the Fibrillation, and hopefully get the heart beating at a normal rhythm again.

So contrary to popular belief, a defibrillator actually STOPS a person's heart. It doesn't jump start it like it's a car battery. You could shock a stopped heart from now until St. Swithin's Day, and it won't do one bit of good.

I was fully expecting Flatliners to continue this trope, and be filled with dozens of scenes of erroneous defib use. Imagine my surprise when the movie actually got it right! Wellllllll, almost.

In the movie, Jamie injects Courtney with a drug (sodium something?), and shocks her with the defib paddles, which stops her heart. PRAISE BE! At long, long last, someone FINALLY understands that the goddamned paddles STOP the heart, not START it! 

Once Courtney's out for a minute or two, Jamie starts CPR to get her heart beating again! Woohoo! Exactly like he should! Unfortunately things fall apart a bit after that. The CPR doesn't work (as is often the case in real life), so they inject a drug into her heart and immediately drag out the defib paddles and start shocking her. It's foggy as to whether she was in fibrillation or not. If she was, they never mentioned it.

Too bad. They came thisssssss close to getting it absolutely right. By the way, I recently rewatched the original 1990 Flatliners, and they did the exact same thing as this one, getting the defib process right up to the same point, before messing up.

Unfortunately things go completely off the rails during Courtney's final "death." None of the other Flatliners can seem to revive her, so they just grab the paddles and start shocking the ever-loving holy crap out of her, which eventually brings her back. 

Despite these minor glitches, I'm giving the movie credit for almost getting it right. Sure, they still goofed up the end of the procedure, but they got 90% of it right, which is 90% more than most movies do.

• The film's nonsensical premise is bad enough, but the ending is somehow even worse.

The Flatliners figure out that due to the experiment, their past sins have become solid and are physically attacking them (Courtney's even manages to kill her!). So how do the Flatliners defeat them? Do they whip up some sort of laser to fry the demons? Do they wave crosses in their faces to drive them back to the netherworld from whence they came? Do they change their addresses so the spirits can't track them down?

Nope! Instead, each of the Flatliners simply make amends for their past transgressions and forgive themselves, which causes their demons to evaporate (!). No, really! That's it! They literally defeat their sins with the power of pop psychology!

Forget Frankenstein's fear of fire, or Dracula's susceptibility to sunlight. These monsters can be killed by forgiveness! Jesus wept!

Flatliners 2017 is a pointless, shot-for-shot remake of a previous film that wasn't all that great to begin with. It's core premise is downright silly, as it attempts to graft a supernatural element onto a well known medical phenomenon, with predictably laughable results. Worst of all, it's not the least bit scary. But hey, at least they sort of understand how a defibrillator works! I give it a much deserved D+.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 3, Episode 1: Aruba-Con

I'm way, way behind on reviews this week, so bear with me as I try to catch up!

It's the Season 3 premiere of Legends Of Tomorrow!

If you're a regular viewer of the show, you'll remember that Season 1 was pretty dire. The sole Big Bad for the entire season was the lame and uninteresting Vandal Savage, played by the horribly miscast Casper Crump. Since Savage was the only villain, that meant the Legends couldn't defeat him until the season finale, else the series would be over. That led to an entire season of wheel spinning and dull stories.

Fortunately the producers seemed to learn from their mistakes, and Season 2 of the show was a VAST improvement. Legends quickly became my favorite show, as it gleefully embraced its goofy Silver Age comic book roots, and all the insanity that implies. Hopefully Season 3 will give us more of the same.

Unfortunately this Season 3 premiere got off to a bit of a rocky start though. Last season ended with a cliffhanger, in which the Legends discovered they'd "broken time," as modern day LA was overrun with dinosaurs and other temporal anomalies. Based on this compelling setup, most fans, including myself, assumed that the Legends having to "fix time" would be the theme of Season 3.

Nope! Apparently the writers changed their minds, because this cliffhanger was resolved in the quickest and most off-handed way humanly possible. It's like they couldn't wait to torpedo this storyline and get on with a different one.

Oddly enough, the exact same thing happened on Legend's sister show The Flash, as the writer's there unceremoniously resolved their cliffhanger in a similarly disinterested way.

The Legends now have to deal with former captain Rip Hunter and his brand new Time Bureau. The Bureau is a thinly disguised Men In Black, right down to their 1960s suits, high tech weaponry and handheld memory erasers. It's actually shocking how deliberately the show's copied the MIB franchise, and I'm not quite sure how they're getting away with it.

The show's never quite known what to do with the Rip character, so who knows, maybe this new role will finally give him a purpose.

Now the bad news. The day after this episode aired, the Hollywood Reporter announced that actor Victor Garber, who plays Professor Stein on Legends, is leaving the show sometime this season. Garber's exiting to star in a Broadway production of Hello Dolly! with Bernadette Peters.

Goddammit! This is a kick in the gut indeed, as Garber is undoubtedly the best actor on the show, and his Professor Stein character is one of the main highlights of the series. Jesus, Legends usually has truncated seasons that are sixteen or seventeen episodes long. Couldn't Garber tread the boards in his off-time from the show?

This means that once again we'll be getting a new half of Firestorm. Robbie Amell was one half of the original due before deciding he'd rather be making quality theatrical films like The Duff and Max. Now they're gonna have to replace Garber as well, which is gonna be damned near impossible. Feh!

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
We pick up right where we left off in the Season 2 cliffhanger. The Legends were headed for Aruba when the Waverider was caught in a "time storm" and crash-landed in present day L.A. As a result of their actions, time is now "broken" and they find themselves in a city where dinosaurs roam the streets and spaceships fill the sky.

As the Legends look around the city in astonishment, a T-Rex runs right toward them. Suddenly Rip Hunter, dressed in a snappy Men In Black suit, appears out of nowhere and opens a time portal. The dinosaur runs safely through it, back to its own era. All around the city, similarly dressed agents use portals to clean up the time aberrations in minutes. Well, that was certainly easy!

Rip explains that since he left the ship in last season's finale (which was about fifteen minutes ago from the Legends' point of view), he's been busy founding the Time Bureau, a highly advanced organization that protects the time stream. He confiscates the Waverider and tells the Legends their services are no longer needed and are free to go.

Six months pass. White Canary's now working at Sinks, Showers And Stuff (I guess the assassin business must be slow?), where she's yelled at by a way too serious boss. Atom works at a Silicon Valley startup company called UpSwipes, which is a slight variation on Tinder. He tells his boss— who's a good fifteen years younger than him— about his shrinking tech, but he's too occupied with making the next big app to listen. Steel is in Central City for some reason, fighting crime with Kid Flash. He's upset because his gal pal Vixen decided to return home to 1942 after all.

Heat Wave of course is relaxing on a beach in Aruba. He's approached by the real Julius Caesar, who apparently slipped past the notice of the Time Bureau. Heat Wave calls Canary and says he's got a time aberration on his hands. She tells him not to let Caesar out of his sight, and quits her dead-end job. She meets with Atom and Steel and they all decide to help Heat Wave in Aruba. But first they're gonna need their old ride back.

In Aruba, Heat Wave's tied up Caesar and is holding him captive in his hut. Caesar breaks loose, dropping a leather pouch full of gold coins (Plot Point!). He escapes and runs onto the beach, right into a Spring Break party full of toga-clad college students.

Canary, Atom and Steel travel to Star City, where they sneak into Time Bureau HQ, where they're immediately surrounded by security. Canary demands to see Rip, and tells him that Heat Wave captured Caesar in Aruba, and they need their ship. Rip takes them to a vast hangar, where they see the Waverider's been decommissioned and is now used a training simulator for new Time Bureau recruits.

The Legends finally convince Rip to at least check out Heat Wave's claim, so he opens a portal to Aruba. They go through, and see Heat Wave fighting with Caesar. Rip summons his agents, who take Heat Wave and Caesar back to the Time Bureau. Once there, they discover it's not Caesar at all, but a drunken frat boy in a toga. An angry Rip kicks the Legends out of the building.

On the way out, Heat Wave tries to buy a coke with a gold coin. Steel recognizes it as currency from Caesar's era, and they realize Heat Wave was telling the truth (told you it was a Plot Point!). They decide to capture him themselves, to prove to Rip they're still a viable team. They sneak into the hangar, throw the students out of the Waverider and fly it out of the building.

Cut to Professor Stein's house, where we see his time aberration daughter Lilly is now pregnant. Jackson shows up for their weekly Firestorm "bonding session," so they don't blow up. He says he's dropped out of school because it's boring after saving the world so many times. Just then the Waverider appears and lands in Stein's front yard. Canary says they're getting the band back together. Jackson's all for it, but Stein's reluctant to leave his family again. Jackson talks him into it and boards the ship.

The Waverider lands in Aruba, where Caesar's trying to recruit a bunch of drunken frat boys to join his army. Canary fights Caesar and eventually knocks him out. Rip then contacts the Legends, congratulating them on capturing Caesar (I guess he was monitoring them through the Waverider?). He orders them to return to the Time Bureau so he can put Caesar back where he belongs. The others want to finish the mission themselves, but tell Canary (their captain) they'll go along with whatever she decides. She thinks for a moment and orders Gideon to Ancient Rome. Woohoo!

Canary and Steel— who's carrying a Roman history book for no apparent reason— walk Caesar to the edge of his camp. They zap his memory with a Men In Black gizmo they stole from the Time Bureau, and send him on his way. They return to the ship, and Canary orders Gideon to take them home. She says she can't, as there's no home to go to. According to her database, North America is now called "Magna Hesperia."

Steel, who's apparently the most unobservant person on Earth, realizes that Caesar must have stolen the large, heavy history book he was carrying without him noticing. Caesar now has knowledge of what's to come and changed the future (even though the Waverider's still sitting there in 49 AD).

Rip and a team of Time Agents create a portal and enter the Waverider. Rip tells the Legends to sit quietly and not screw up any more history, thanks. His Time Agents move out to retrieve the history book, but they're easily captured by Caesar and his Centurions. Canary tells Rip that they can help, and he reluctantly lets them try.

There's a big battle between Caesar's men and the Legends. The Legends eventually rescue the Agents, destroy the book, wipe everyone's memories and restore history. For no reason other than because the script says so, Rip decides to let the Legends keep the Waverider, and tells them to try and stay out of trouble.

After Rip leaves, Heat Wave reveals he stole one of the Time Agent's portal openers. Stein decides to stay with the team a while longer. Atom sees Steel looking wistfully at photos of Vixen.

Cut to 1942, as a group of Belgian soldiers approach Vixen's village in Zambesi. They ominously say they have business here, and she tells them they should leave, as the village is under her protection. When they refuse, she summons several spirit animals who attack and kill the soldiers (!), which is a definite upgrade to her powers.

Thoughts:
• There's no opening narration this week, which is something the show's done since day one. I've always liked the narrations, and the fact that each of the cast members gets their own version, so I hope they start using them again soon.

• After exiting a time storm, the Waverider smashes through several buildings and crash-lands in present day LA. The Legends then see that their time travel shenanigans have broken time, as the past, present and future have seemingly merged. Dinosaurs roam the streets, as ancient buildings stand next to futuristic skyscrapers.

Luckily for the residents of LA, Rip Hunter and the Time Bureau appear. Within seconds, they send all the time aberrations back to their appropriate periods, and restore the city to normal.

Hmm. When the Waverider first appeared, it plowed right through the center of a downtown LA high-rise. I wonder... did the Time Bureau fix THAT too? Did they somehow restore the dozens of floors wiped out by the ship, as well as resurrecting the hundreds, if not thousands of people who were killed in the crash?

• Rip says he's spent the past five years forming the Time Bureau, a massive, top secret FBI-type organization, complete with its own weapons, technology and bureaucracy.

At first I scoffed at the idea that one man could do all that in just five years. But the more I thought about it, I realized it wouldn't be impossible for a time traveler.

The first thing Rip would need is money, and lots of it. That'd be no problem for a time traveler, as he could use his knowledge of the future to play the stock market and easily amass a vast fortune. He'd also be able to use time travel to outfit his agents with advanced technology that hasn't yet been invented. So it's not as far-fetched as it first seems.

• Nice attention to detail: When Heat Wave's sunning himself, we see his arms are covered in burn scars. Makes perfect sense for someone who's a pyromaniac.

We first saw his scars back in the Season 1 episode Fail-Safe, in which he and Atom were tortured by Russian agents. Good to see someone on the crew (probably Dominic Purcell himself!) remembered this little detail about Heat Wave. 

Oddly enough, the scars he has in Fail-Safe seem to be much worse than the ones here! Maybe Gideon partially healed them last season while we weren't watching?

• Was there any reason for Steel to be hanging out and fighting crime in Central City, other than to give Wally West, aka Kid Flash, a cameo?

• When Caesar appears in 2017, he can inexplicably understand everything Heat Wave says, and vice versa. According to Rip, this is a side effect of time travel, called "Temporal Linguistic Dysplasia." It allows anyone from any time period to comprehend any language. Well that's certainly convenient!

This is similar to the translation explanation over on Doctor Who. Supposedly the Doctor's TARDIS features a "translation circuit," which is a telepathic field that enters a passenger's brain and allows them to instantly understand anyone from any time period.

• As Caesar approaches Heat Wave, we see he's wearing a typical Roman helmet. Unfortunately whenever he speaks, the helmet's cheek guards flap back and forth in front of his mouth. It's pretty funny once you notice it! Hopefully real Roman helmets didn't flop around like that, else the Britains would have fallen off their horses laughing.

• Caesar escapes from Heat Wave and runs into Aruba-Con, a Roman-themed beach party filled with drunken frat boys dressed in togas. It's called Aruba-Con because they're in Aruba, and also because in 49 BC, Caesar crossed the Rubicon river. Get it? Rubicon, Aruba-Con? Eh? Get it?

• Rip asks Agent Sharpe if she knows where Heat Wave is located in Aruba. Sharpe says, "Mm, we followed a trail of petty larceny reports. He's been holed up on the beach, running up a room service tab and a serious collection of STDs."

Ew! I could happily live out the rest of my life without ever having to hear about Heat Wave's STDs again!

• The Time Bureau is filled with dozens of transparent monitors depicting the various aberrations caused by the Legends. Those screens look pretty cool. I wonder— are they real, or CGI? If it's a special effect, it's a very well done one. Not only can you see through the screens a bit, but you can see the reflections of the Agents' heads in them. And a soft blue glow from the screens on their faces!

• Inside the Time Bureau, Rip takes a break from screaming at the Legends to zap King Arthur with a high tech memory eraser before sending him home. A couple things here:

First of all, this is the same King Arthur (played by actor Nils Hognestad) we saw last season in Camelot 3000

Secondly, man, they're not even attempting to hide the fact that the Time Bureau is lifted straight from the Men In Black franchise. Not only do the Time Agents look like the Men In Black, they've got the exact same technology as well!

Is that legal? Aren't there copyright laws in place to prevent one show from shamelessly copying another? Apparently not, since over on Fox The Orville's currently lifting practically every element from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

I have a feeling Sony (who owns Men In Black) may be sending a cease and desist letter to Warner Bros. (owners of the Arrowverse) in the near future.

• Something to think about: Somehow this vast space...

And this one...

As well as this...

All somehow fit inside a ship of this shape and size. There's also a brig, a medbay, a mess hall, individual crew quarters, an engine room, a cargo hold and a small hangar with at least one shuttle inside.

I would dearly love to see a blueprint of the inside of this ship! I still say the Waverider's like the Doctor's TARDIS, and is bigger on the inside. It's the only explanation that makes sense.

• Of course it makes sense that a conquerer like Julius Caesar would be a "manspreader."

Ye gods, how I hate that word. That and "mansplaining."

• There's some wonky time travel (is there any other kind?) going on near the end of the episode. The Legends take Caesar back to 49 BC, and order Gideon to take them home. She says she can't, as Caesar secretly stole Steel's history book and changed the future. Wha...?

I don't have a problem with the concept of Caesar using knowledge of history to alter the future. Makes perfect sense. But how could the future change the instant they leave him? He's only been back in 49 BC for thirty seconds. He hasn't had time to do any changing yet! 

I could understand it if they returned to 2017 and found it drastically altered by Caesar's actions. But it makes zero sense for the future to change before he has a chance to modify it!

You could also argue that if Caesar's altered the future so radically, then the Legends would likely have never been born. I guess you could say that the Waverider protects them from changes to the time stream or something.

By the way, after Caesar alters the future, the U.S. is now known as "Magna Hesperia." According to the inter webs, that means "The Great West."

• At one point the Legends team up with the Time Bureau to retrieve Steel's history book and prevent Caesar from changing the future. During the battle, there's a reeeeally cool stunt in which Canary literally runs across the shields of several Roman Centurions. 

I suspect Canary, aka Caity Lots, was on some kind of wire rig here. Even so, it was still pretty impressive. I bet they went through a ton of takes to get it right!

• Apparently Vixen's powers have changed drastically since we last saw her. Last season she'd touch the amulet around her neck to summon the power of various animals. For example, a glowing blue image of an elephant would briefly appear around her, and she'd then have the proportionate strength of one. She could only invoke the powers of one animal at a time.

In this episode she activates her amulet and huge waves of energy flow out of her body...


Which then form into four or five different INDEPENDENT glowing animals. These ghostly beasts are apparently solid, as they attack and kill the soldiers who threatened her.

That's a hell of an upgrade! Vixen's supposed to return to the crew full time, so I'm assuming we'll eventually get the whole story and find out what the heck happened to her.

• When we first catch up with the Legends, Jackson's anxious to rejoin the team, while Professor Stein would rather spend time at home with his family. At the end of the episode, Professor Stein agrees to return to the Legends for the sake of his pal Jackson.

This was a nice little moment, since if you'll recall, Stein practically kidnapped Jackson and forced him to join the Legends way back in the first episode. It was good to see Stein acknowledge that mistake and try to make up for it.
On the other hand, it didn't take much arm-twisting to get Stein to join the old gang again. I'm starting to get the feeling he doesn't like spending time with his real family as much as he claims he does!

• I'm still not sure why Rip let the Legends keep the Waverider, especially after he spent the entire episode being a dick and telling them all what screw ups they are. The writers try to smooth this over by having Rip say he senses they have a destiny or role to play in coming events or something. Nice try, guys, but I don't buy it. His sudden turn was clunky and unbelievable.

• As the Legends depart, Heat Wave secretly steals Rip's "Time Courier" (his wrist-mounted time portal opener). A few seconds later Rip realizes it's gone and nonchalantly says, "Hmm... I must have misplaced it." He then asks Agent Sharpe to open a portal back to the Time Bureau. 

Rip can't possibly be stupid enough to not realize what happened. I'm assuming he knows the Legends have it, and it's all part of some plan, otherwise he'd be appearing on the Waverider and demanding they give it back. 

• At the end of the episode, Rip hints at this season's big bad:

Agent Sharpe: "They are irresponsible, undependable, unpredictable, dangerous."
Rip: "And yet effective. At least on occasion."
Sharpe: "Is that the reason they're not warming a cell back at headquarters as we speak?"
Rip: "They're not warming a cell, Agent Sharpe, because they might just be our best hope of defeating what's coming."
Sharpe: "They are the reason Mallus is a threat."
Rip: "Indeed. But there might just come a day when we need the Legends to do what they do best."

So, who the heck is Mallus? I have no idea. I searched the internet, and there doesn't appear to be any character with that name in any DC comic. 

Since this is Legends Of Tomorrow, it's a safe bet to assume Mallus will have something to do with time travel. In this episode we just happen to find out that Professor Stein's time aberration daughter Lily is pregnant. I'm calling it right now— Lily's unborn child will somehow turn out to be Mallus! Eh, maybe not. We'll see.

• This Week's Best Lines:
Heat Wave: (to Caesar) "Your salad sucks!"

Canary: (as the Legends steal the Waverider) "Gideon, engines to power, turbines to speed!"
(Apparently Canary's a fan of the 1966 Batman TV show. That's what the Dynamic Duo would shout as they powered up the Batmobile)

Steel: "The point is, sometimes we screw things up for the better."
Canary: "That's a good motto. We should use that."

Steel: "We know how to handle ourselves."
Rip: "Not against Julius Caesar, who has an entire legion at his command."
Steel: "We're pretty good at taking down legions."
(this is a reference to last season, when the Legends defeated the Legion Of Doom— all for members of it!)

Stein: (after the Legends fix the Caesar time aberration) "We came, we saw..."
Atom and Steel: "We kicked Caesar's ass!"
(yep, that's a Ghostbusters reference)

Agent Sharpe: "I've got to say, Ms. Lance, now that I've seen your team in action with my own eyes, you are even worse than I imagined."
Canary: "You're welcome. Well, like Nate said, sometimes we screw things up for the better."
Agent Sharpe: "I fail to see how that's true in this case."
Canary: "It's our new motto."
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