Sunday, February 14, 2016

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 1, Episode 4: White Knights

This week's Legends Of Tomorrow was a definite improvement, as the writers seem to be finding their groove and the actors settle into their characters.

While watching this episode, I kept glancing at the clock and wondering how they were going to wrap up everything in sixty seconds, when I finally realized this was the first of a two parter. Dontcha hate when that happens?

This week we finally get an episode without Vandal Savage! His presence was still felt though, as the various characters dropped his name every five seconds. But it was nice to finally go a week without actually seeing him. I feel like the only way this series is going to survive more than a season is if they occasionally change things up now and then and give us the occasional Savage-less episode.

One small complaint— this is the now the fourth episode in a row in which the Legends are forced to decide whether to continue as a team or go their separate ways. Using that subplot once was fine. Twice was stretching it. Four times is just ridiculous.

Part of the fun of this series is seeing the various Legends split up into smaller groups. The writers seem to be having a blast taking wildly disparate character, like Atom and Captain Cold, and forcing them to work together.

Once again Captain Cold gets the best bits and continues to dominate the show. Do not be surprised if he eventually gets his own Arrowverse series.

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
The Legends travel to 1986 to find Vandal Savage. Unfortunately once they arrive, they see that the document that brought them there has been almost completely redacted. To get the unclassified version, they'll have to sneak into the Pentagon. You'd think Gideon could have warned them about the redaction thing beforehand, but let's just go with it or we'll be here all day.

Atom and Captain Cold pose as janitors and get inside the Pentagon (I guess Gideon forged their I.D.?). Cold picks the pocket of a military officer and gets her key card. He passes the card to Hawkgirl and White Canary, who are posing as Pentagon personnel. 

Hawkgirl and Canary use the card to steal the document. Unfortunately they're stopped by security as they try to leave. Firestorm creates a diversion by blowing up the building's power supply, which seems like overkill. It's then every Legend for themselves as they try to make it back to the Waverider.

In the confusion, Hawkgirl's eyes turn red, she pops her wings and begins attacking Pentagon soldiers. Firestorm manages to grab her and fly off before she can kill anyone.

Back on the Waverider, Hunter examines the stolen document, which indicates Savage has defected to the Soviet Union. On the way there, the ship is attacked by both Russian MiGs and Chronos, the Time Master who's trying to capture Hunter and bring him in.

The ship is damaged, but Hunter manages to save everyone by tricking the MiG missiles into hitting Chronos' ship, which explodes. Hunter's convinced Chronos is dead, but since this is a comic book show, that seems unlikely. The Waverider then crashes in Russia. 

The document says that Savage has recruited Russian physicist Valentina Vostok to develop Project Svarog for him. Professor Stein, the big know-it-all, says "svarog" is the god of fire in Slavic mythology. Cold and Atom go undercover to find Vostok and see what she knows. 

Meanwhile there's a dull subplot about Canary trying to pick a fight with Hawkgirl to force her to accept her blood lust and learn to control it or something.

Hunter detects a temporal anomaly in a nearby woods, and he and Heat Wave go investigate. Instead of Chronos, they find Hunter's former mentor, Time Master Druce. He tells Hunter if he ends the Legends mission now, he'll see that he isn't prosecuted. He gives Hunter an hour to decide. Heat Wave tells Hunter that Druce is lying, and plans on killing him when he returns.

Atom and Cold find Vostok at the Russian Ballet. Atom tries to hit on her but strikes out badly. Cold suavely steps in and offers to escort her home. He picks her pocket and gets her key card to Luskavic Labs.

Hunter returns to the woods, and sure enough Druce and Chronos, who's still alive (told you so!), try to kill him. The Legends swoop in and rescue Hunter. Firestorm is hit in the process. Back on the Waverider, Stein lays into Jackson, telling him he needs to be more careful, because he can't stand to lose another partner the way he lost Ronnie Raymond.

Hunter assembles a team, including Stein, to infiltrate Luskavic and see what Savage is up to. Inside, Stein discovers Savage is trying to create his own evil version of Firestorm— aka Project Svarog. Stein discovers a thermal core Vostok has built to transform an unlucky volunteer into a Firestorm. 

Cold and Atom sneak into a control center to deactivate the core so Stein can steal it. Cold sees Vostok and goes to rescue her, but she turns on him and points a gun at his head. Atom is then captured by Vostok's men. Despite the fact that the core is still online, Stein grabs it anyway, absorbing all the radiation. He puts it into a shielded case. Heat Wave shows up to rescue his pal Cold. Everyone's captured except for Cold, who gets away with the core and makes it back to the Waverider.

Hunter vows to rescue Atom, Heat Wave and Stein. Meanwhile, Vostok is holding Stein in a gulag, and tells him the only way to save his friend is to help her create Svarog.

Thoughts:
 It must be tough writing stories about superhero characters, They can use their powers to easily overcome just about any hurdle a writer can come up with.

Case in point— the Atom could have used his shrinking ability to easily solve most of the plot points in this episode. He could have quietly sneaked into the Pentagon to steal the classified document, clandestinely lifted Vostok's security card, and easily infiltrated her lab and taken the Svarog core.

If he'd used his powers at any time, the episode would have been over in about ten minutes. The writers deliberately hamstrung him just so the rest of the team could get captured and turn this into a two part episode.

The Atom even notices this glaring discrepency, as he asks why the others don't let him simply shrink and steal the Pentagon document.

When a character points out a plot hole or other implausibility in a story, it's called lampshading. By deliberately calling attention to something stupid, the writer hopes the audience will accept it and just move on.

 Now that I think about it, why the hell was the Pentagon caper necessary in the first place? Gideon whips up authentic uniforms for the team, as well as forged I.D.s to get them through the tight Pentagon security. Later Gideon even generates a low level EMP that erases all the Pentagon's magnetic media and closed circuit TV camera records, including the footage of Hawkgirl flying around in full view of the staff.

If Gideon is capable of doing all that, why couldn't she just access the file they needed herself? The records wouldn't have been online in 1986 of course, but they would have been stored inside a computer that she could no doubt access with a few seconds of effort.

Obviously the reason the team had to physically sneak into the Pentagon was so we could have a cool superhero battle.

 Something I hadn't thought about until this week— how do Hawkgirl's wings pop out of her back without shredding the hell out of her clothes? And how do they manage to fold up and fit undetected against her body when not in use? Given that she's a reincarnated Egyptian priestess, I'm guessing they have to be some sort of magic wings.

 Hunter gives Atom and Cold "ingestible translators," which will allow them to speak and understand Russian. Shades of the Babel Fish! Someone on the writing staff's a fan of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy!

 Valentina Vostok is actually a character from DC comics. She called herself Negative Woman and was a member of the Doom Patrol. She had the power to generate a "soul self," a superpowered energy being that could leave her body.

So does this mean we could be seeing the Doom Patrol soon in the Arrowverse? How awesome would that be?

 As always, Captain Cold gets the best lines:

Atom: Wow, it's a MIG-21. No one's ever been this close to one before.
Cold: Did you just quote Top Gun?
Atom: Maybe.

Hunter: Better go bone up on Vostok's CV.
Cold: I guess I'll bone up on the ballet. Gideon— bone me.

 Back in the first episode I noted that the Time Masters were exactly the same thing as the Time Lords over on Doctor Who. Nowhere is that more true than this week.

The Doctor stole a TARDIS and began exploring time and space, aiding people and planets that needed his help. He was eventually captured by the Time Lord and put on trial (twice!).

That pretty much describes Rip Hunter and the Time Masters who are after him. The only difference I can see is that the Time Masters want to kill Hunter instead of trying him.

 When the Legends rescue Hunter, Firestorm is hit in the gut by a blast from Chronos' gun. Back on the Waverider, Firestorm splits, and we see Jackson has a nasty belly wound.

The mechanics of the whole Firestorm merging thing are pretty vague (no doubt deliberately so). If Firestorm is wounded and Jackson receives a corresponding injury, shouldn't it affect Professor Stein's body as well?

Jackson can hear Stein's voice in his head after the two men merge into Firestorm. But what happens to Stein's body? Does it somehow disappear completely after they combine? If so, that's sort of not the definition of "merging."

 In Luskavik Labs, Stein sees a powerful nuclear core that Vostok is using to create a Firestorm for Savage. He decides to steal the core in order to prevent this. He grabs ahold of the highly volatile core, confident his boy will absorb the excess energy.

I know that Firestorm is impervious to radiation, but what about Stein? Is he really immune to it even when he's not merged? I have to confess I don't fully understand his convoluted origin over on The Flash, but this seems like retconned info to me.

 Stay tuned for part two next week!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Agent Carter Season 2, Episode 5: The Atomic Job

After a strong start to the season, this week's Agent Carter was yet another filler episode. There were some amusing character interactions as always, but the actual storyline was advanced very little, if at all. 

The whole "heist" plot accomplished nothing of importance, and was seeming there just to fill another episode while the characters kill time waiting for the season finale.

C'mon, Agent Carter writers! What was the point of expanding this season to ten episodes if half of them are going to be filler? If you guys can't come up with enough compelling material to fill ten measly episodes, then maybe it's time Marvel Studios found someone who can.

That's not to say the episode was a total failure. There were tons of fun character interactions this week, as Peggy assembled a makeshift team to infiltrate Roxxon headquarters. But you can't spend forty five minutes watching characters trade witty remarks— eventually you need to get to the plot.

Rumor has it that actress Hayley Atwell, aka Peggy Carter, is currently shooting a pilot in which she plays the daughter of the President of the U.S. (!?). That's ominous news for fans of Agent Carter. If the new pilot is picked up, will she have time to star in both shows? Or does this, plus the dismal ratings, spell doom for the show? It'd be a shame to see the series end before Peggy and Howard Stark have a chance to found S.H.I.E.L.D., but it looks like a real possibility. Stay tuned.

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
Jason Wilkes, still an intangible ghost-man, wakes Peggy in the wee hours of the morning. Apparently since he doesn't have to sleep, he creeps around Stark Mansion watching her? He takes her to the lab and shows her that their sample of Zero Matter seems drawn to him. Suddenly it jumps out of its container and into Wilkesbody. He becomes tangible for a minute, and says he knows where Jane Scott's body is. Her corpse is full of Zero Matter, which is apparently calling to him, wanting to be whole again.

Meanwhile Violet comes home and finds Sousa asleep on the couch. He came to her house & fixed dinner with the intention of proposing to her. As he tries to do so, he realizes he's lost the ring in the couch. She says of course she'll marry him, and they search the cushions for the ring. They're both ridiculously cute, so you know their relationship is doomed.

Peggy and Jarvis break into a local morgue to steal Jane Scott's body. Peggy hopes that if Wilkes can absorb the Zero Matter in Scott's corpse, he'll be cured. They find the body, but just as they're about to steal it, Whitney Frost and her husband Calvin Chadwick enter. The Zero Matter is calling to Frost too, and she wants it. She grabs Scott's body and absorbs all the Zero Matter within. Frost then says she wants an atomic bomb to recreate the original Zero Matter experiment, to obtain even more of the mysterious substance. Sounds like a sane, reasonable plan to me!

Back at Stark's lab, Jarvis says there are two atomic warheads in the area, both housed within a high security Roxxon facility. Peggy says they'll need help to steal the bombs before Whitney Frost does. She rounds up Sousa, Rose the receptionist (who's really a trained field agent) and Dr. Samberly, the SSR's resident tech guru. They come up with a plan so ridiculous it just might work.

First things first— they'll need a special key to get into Roxxon. The only person who has the key is the head of Roxxon, Hugh Jones. Samberly gives Peggy a prototype gizmo that will erase the last two minutes of a person's memory. She dons a very Bettie Page-like disguise and sneaks into Jones' office looking for the key. He catches her snooping, and she zaps him repeatedly with the memory inhibitor until she finds the key inside his belt buckle. Brain damage is hilarious!

Frost visits a mob boss named Joseph Manfredi, and convinces him to loan her some of his goons to help steal the atom bombs from Roxxon.

Peggy and her misfit team use Samberly's tech to sneak into the Roxxon facility. Once inside they realize Frost and her team are already there. They find the room containing the warheads, and Samberly uses his expertise to unlock the door. Unfortunately he's a bit of a doofus, and he accidentally locks Jarvis in the warhead room. Sousa then has to talk Jarvis through removing the warheads from the bombs, which will render them useless. 

Frost and her goons approach, so Peggy and Rose take them out. Peggy spots Frost and says the SSR can cure her. Frost scoffs and says she doesn't want to be fixed. The two women grapple, and Frost grabs Peggy's arm and starts to absorb her. Peggy kicks her away, and ends up hanging from a high railing. As Frost reaches down to finish her off, Peggy lets go. She lands on a pile of debris far below, with a chunk of rebar sticking through her torso. Yikes! Frost leaves her for dead, in true supervillain fashion.

Sanberly manages to unlock the bomb room door, and Jarvis exits with the warheads. The team regroups and finds Peggy's impaled body.

Sousa brings Peggy to Violet's house to treat her. Violet, who's a nurse, patches her up as best she can. She sees Sousa's concern and realizes he's in love with Peggy, and that's why he left New York. Told you they were doomed! Meanwhile, Chadwick realizes his wife is nutsy cuckoo and calls a meeting of the Council Of Nine.

Wilkes visits Peggy, who's recuperating in Stark Mansion. She tells him that her contact with Zero Matter was much more excruciating than she imagined. He tells her that it comes from a dark and painful place, and then unexpectedly fades away.

Thoughts:
 Hardcore nitpicking time— the LA county morgue of 1947 apparently contains air ducts that can easily accommodate two people crawling side by side. That seems unlikely in any decade.

 I like that Jarvis has a "recreation tie." It reminded me of Green Acres, and how Oliver Douglas would always wear a business suit while doing his farm chores. In one episode his neighbors were watching and arguing over which outfit he was wearing, saying, "I think that's his milkin' suit." "Nah, that there's his plowin' suit!"

• Once again Peggy can't see the obvious even when it's right in front of her. She tries to figure out how to get into the Roxxon facility, as Jarvis shoots down her every idea. SO USE WILKES! She's got a goddamned living ghost standing right next to her! Why not use him?

Yes, yes, Wilkes is intangible, so he wouldn't be able to steal the uranium cores or anything, but he could walk through the walls of the facility and scout it out, providing valuable info for Peg and her crew. Why did this show go to the trouble of turning a character into a living ghost if all he's going to do is stand around in a lab and look worried?

• What the hell happened to Mrs. Jarvis? In the first episode of this season, I said I thought it was a mistake to finally introduce her in the flesh, since I thought she worked better as a classic "unseen character." Once I saw her though, I changed my mind and decided I liked her.

And that's the last we've seen of her! She hasn't made an appearance since that initial episode. So why the hell did they bother casting her for one stinkin' appearance? Better they should have left her unseen.

Maybe she'll show up at some point in the back half of the season?

• When Peggy enters the SSR office, she sees a bunch of men standing around Sousa, who's telling them about his engagement. She actually says, "What's all this then?" That may be the most stereotypically British line possible. At least she didn't start out with, "Ello, ello, ello!"

• Sousa asks Peggy how many vacation days she has left, and she tells him she has plenty, as she "hasn't had a day off since Pearl Harbor."

Peggy needs to relax a bit. The Pearl Harbor attack was in December 1941. It's currently July-ish 1947 on the show. That means Peggy hasn't taken a day off in over five years!

• Peggy zaps Roxxon president Hugh Jones with the memory inhibitor, and begins searching his office for the special elevator key that "can't be duplicated." Every time he wakes up, she zaps him again. She ends up doing so at least seven or eight times.

The whole brain zapping scene is played for maximum laughs, which just seems wrong to me.

Yes, Jones is an evil, unscrupulous industrialist, and he's a member of a shadowy group that orchestrates world events for their own benefit. He's even a sleazy womanizer. But does all that still make it right to repeatedly fry his head with an untested device that causes brain damage? And then expect us to laugh about it?

• When Peggy can't find the elevator key in Jones' office, she begins searching his unconscious body. She finally undoes his belt and finds it hidden behind his large buckle. Once she has it, she leaves Jones in his half-dressed, disheveled state. Shouldn't she have put him back the way he was, so he wouldn't wake up and realize his key's missing?

• Believe it or not, mobster Joseph Manfredi is actually from Marvel comics. He's not a 1940s Hollywood mobster there though— he's the son of Spider-Man villain Silvermane, and eventually becomes a bad guy himself called Blackwing.

• As Jarvis is taking the uranium core out of the atomic bomb, Sousa warns him not to let it tip. Jarvis then carefully places the two cores in a metal suitcase. Um... unless he carries the case perfectly horizontal all the way back to Stark Mansion, won't the cores tip inside it?

 Peggy pulls an Empire Strikes Back and chooses to fall rather than be absorbed by Whitney Frost. She lands on a pile of debris and is impaled by rebar! Yikes! I was definitely not expecting Peggy to get gored by a rusty iron rod!

How the hell did Sousa get Peggy out of that predicament and onto Violet's doorstep? And no offense to Violet's nursing skills, but Peggy really should have been taken to a hospital for a wound like that. Even if the rebar did miss all her vital organs, there's still the matter of internal bleeding and infection.

By the way, I was curious as to whether rebar would have existed in 1947. Yep! It was invented in 1849.

 If you didn't see the end of Sousa and Violet's relationship coming, then you've never watched a TV show before. They make a cute couple, but they never had a chance.

We've barely seen Violet and Sousa together all season, which sort of undercuts the drama of their engagement crumbling before their eyes. Instead of being devastated by this turn of events, the audience is left shrugging their shoulders.

Kudos to the writers though, for not turning Violet into a shrieking, hair-pulling harpy when she finds out the truth about Sousa and Peggy, as she instead accepts the news with maturity and an air of sadness.

 It was good to see Calvin Chadwick finally stand up to his psycho wife. I have a feeling he's not going to make it out of the season alive.

It's The End Of The World As We Know It, And I Feel Valentine

Sad news to report today. It seems that tomorrow, February 14, 2016, will be humanity's last day on planet Earth. That's right everyone, the world's scheduled to end tomorrow.

Sorry, all you happy couples celebrating Valentine's Day, the world's most useless holiday!



The prediction was first made back in 1989. At the beginning of Ghostbusters II, we see that Dr. Peter Venkman has been reduced to hosting the World Of The Psychic TV show.


Venkman interviews a psychic named Elaine, who states, "According to my source, the end of the world will be on February 14, in the year 2016.

Dr. Venkman looks into the camera and says, "Valentine's Day." After a beat he adds, "Bummer."

So there you have it, straight from one of the Ghostbusters himself. If you've not yet bought a gift for your sweetheart, you're off the hook! You needn't bother! And if you're single and were dreading spending yet another miserable Valentine's Day alone, cheer up! You'll never have to do it again!

See you all on the other side!

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Flash Season 2, Episode 13: Welcome To Earth-2

Yeah, the recaps are late this week. These things happen sometimes.

This week's Flash was a hoot and a half, as the characters finally pay a long-awaited visit to Earth-2, and the audience is rewarded for sticking with the show for a season and a half. The entire episode was absolutely loaded with tons of little Easter eggs to reward the fans who've been paying attention since the beginning.

It's obvious the actors are having a blast, as everyone's firing on all cylinders here. Alternate world stories tend to bring out the best in actors, as they get to cut loose and do things with their characters they wouldn't normally be allowed to do.

The episode also shone some long overdue spotlights on the cast. Danielle Panabaker finally gets something to do here besides stand around looking worried, as she plays both Caitlin Snow and Earth-2's Killer Frost. Kudos also to Candice Patton, who gets to play a cop as the Earth-2 Iris West-Allen. And who knew Jesse Martin, aka Joe West, was a crooner?!

Jay Garrick even got his super speed back, if only for a few moments. The return of his powers is long, long overdue. I was also very surprised to see the return of Robbie Amell as Firestorm, er, I mean Deathstorm, especially considering he left the show at the end of last season.

The rest of the cast didn't exactly phone it in either. Carlos Valdez was obviously having a ball playing not only Cisco, but his man-bunned evil twin. And the scene in which Grant Gustin as Barry Allen phones the Earth-2 version of his mother was an emotional punch in the gut.

This episode was so jam-packed with crunchy goodness that I barely know where to start, so let's get to it!

BIG, WHOMPIN' SPOILERS AHEAD!

The Plot:
Using the sci-fi grenades he and Harry invented last week, Barry zips from place to place closing all the breaches to Earth-2. Except for the one in STAR Labs' basement, that is. Once that's done Barry, Cisco and Harry prepare to visit Earth-2. Their plan is to rescue Harry's daughter Jesse from Zoom.

Jay and Harry both warn Barry and Cisco not to get emotionally attached to anyone they may meet on Earth-2, which virtually guarantees they'll do so. Barry tells Jay and Caitlin that if the team's not back in forty eight hours, it means Zoom has them and to close the breach forever. Barry, Cisco and Harry use the Speed Cannon to jump through the breach. Unfortunately the instant they're gone, the Cannon falls apart! D'oh! Isn't that always the way! Jay and Caitlin now have to figure out how to fix it, or the others will have no way back.

Barry & Co. successfully jump to Earth-2. Barry and Cisco are amazed by the place, with its art deco aesthetic and advanced science. They're surprised when they spot a few familiar faces who were villains on their world, but are upstanding citizens here.

Cisco tries to vibe in order to detect Zoom, but can't (don't worry Cisco, it happens to all guys now and then). Apparently Earth-2 is on a different frequency or something. Barry sees his doppelganger on TV and gets a bright idea
— he'll kidnap his Earth-2 self and take his place as a CSI at the CCPD, and use their records to locate Zoom.

He does just that, but the plan goes south when he meets the Earth-2 Iris, who's a police detective
— and his wife! Before he knows what's happening, she takes him to their home! There he discovers his mother is still alive in this world, and actually gets to phone her. Why, it's like Barry-2 has everything our Barry's ever wanted.

Meanwhile two familiar looking villains, Killer Frost and Deathstorm, intercept a couple of bank robbers and steal their stolen cash. Killer Frost bears a striking resemblance to our own Caitlin Frost, while Deathstorm looks just like Ronnie Raymond, Caitlin-1's late fiance and former superhero Firestorm! The two appear to be working for Zoom, and have somehow detected the presence of Barry & Co. He orders them to find the Earth-1 intruders.

Back on Earth-1, Jay and Caitlin work to fix the Speed Cannon. They're interrupted by Joe, who says a new metahuman called Geomancer is threatening Central City. Joe suggests Jay take the Velocity 6 drug to temporarily regain his speedster powers, but he refuses. Jay confesses to Caitlin the real reason he lost his powers (don't worry, Jay, it happens to all guys now and then). He began taking Velocity 6 in order to become even faster, but it had the opposite effect, rendering him speedless. And now it's killing him. Caitlin promises to solve his problem.

Over on Earth-2, Barry and Iris go to Jitterbugs, a swanky jazz club. Barry's shocked when he sees the Earth-2 Joe there, singing his little heart out. Unfortunately this version of Joe hates Barry because he's "selfish," which makes no sense, but just roll with it because there's a lot better stuff coming up. Just then Killer Frost and Deathstorm enter, looking for Earth-1 intruders. Iris tries to shoot them, and in the resulting confusion Joe's hit in the chest by a fireball from Deathstorm. Barry uses his powers to take the battle outside (after the horse is out of the barn) and chases off the villains.

Back at STAR Labs-2, Harry is livid with Barry for doing the thing he warned him no to do, namely getting involved in his counterpart's life. He says now that he's revealed his powers, Zoom will know he's here and will most likely kill Jesse. Barry calls him a big stupid head and storms off. Well, he doesn't actually, but he comes close.

Barry goes to the hospital to see Joe, which is the least he can do since he's responsible for getting him injured in the first place. Joe tells Barry to take care of Iris, and promptly dies. Iris vows to go after the metahumans. Barry says he's coming with, and brings Cisco along too, as he has some sort of weapon that can neutralize Killer Frost's powers.

On Earth-1, Geomancer attacks again, and suddenly Jay Garrick appears, his speed powers restored. Apparently Caitlin
— in the space of about twenty minutes— whipped up a batch of Velocity 7 (all the powers, none of the side effects) for him. He attacks Geomancer, and as he's about to finish him off he sputters and slows down to normal (don't worry, Jay, it happens to all guys now and then). Geomancer gets away. Caitlin promises to come up with Velocity 8. Comic fans all shake their heads solemnly, as they know she won't succeed until she gets to Velocity 9.

Cisco, Iris and her partner Floyd Lawton (who's the villain Deadshot on Earth-1, but here is a cop who can't shoot straight
— wakka wakka!) enter a warehouse, looking for Deathstorm and Killer Frost. The two metahumans appear, and there's much trash talking between the groups. Eventually the metahumans' boss appears and it's not Zoom, but Reverb, who's the evil Earth-2 version of Cisco!

Reverb tries to tempt Cisco into joining him, saying that with their combined powers they could be gods. Just then the Flash appears, but Reverb blasts him with powerful vibration waves or something. Deathstorm joins in the fun. Lawton is killed by a stray blast, as the two pummel Barry to within an inch of his life, Suddenly Zoom appears.

Zoom kills Deathstorm and Reverb (we hardly knew ye!) because they were under strict orders not to harm the Flash (so he could steal his powers, see?). He snatches up Barry and zips away.

Barry wakes in a cell. He sees a man in a metal mask in a cell opposite him, and Jesse in the one beside him. He tells Jesse he came to Earth-2 with her dad, and they're going to rescue her. Zoom returns and says nope.


Thoughts:
• As Barry and Cisco prepare to go to Earth-2, everyone treats them like they're condemned men, and are going off to their deaths. Why all the hand wringing? Harry and Jay traveled from one Earth to the other and they're fine, so it can't be that big a deal. I guess maybe everyone's worried because Barry & CO. are going to confront Zoom on his own turf?

• As the group is about to leap into Earth-2, a nervous Cisco says, "I got no spit." Harry correctly identifies this as a Jaws reference, although Cisco claims he was just speaking the truth.

So does that mean Jaws exists on Earth-2? I'm gonna say yes, since Harry doesn't seem very interested in Earth-1 pop culture.

• In last season's finale, Barry ran so fast he broke through the time barrier. Inside the vortex he saw glimpses of the past and possible future events.

The same thing happens in this episode when he and the others jump over to Earth-2. Apparently the time stream and the vortex containing the multiverse must be related, because they look exactly alike.

The scene in which they travel through this energy corridor lasts just a few seconds, but it's a treasure trove of cameos and upcoming character appearances.

As they travel through the vortex, the first image that flashes (heh) by appears to be a hooded Green Arrow. It's hard to tell though if it's Oliver Queen, or his son Connor Hawke. A future version of Ollie is scheduled to appear soon over on Legends Of Tomorrow, so it's possible this is him (especially since it looks like he has some sort of bionic arm).

Next up we see John Wesley Shipp as the 1990 version of the Flash, which is pretty darned awesome.

We also got a brief glimpse of Supergirl, who's currently starring in her own series on CBS. The Flash is supposedly making a crossover appearance on her show soon, so could this be her way of reciprocating?

Next up we see DC Comic's resident Old West antihero Jonah Hex, who'll also be appearing on Legends Of Tomorrow. Hex has a unique facial deformity, and from what I can see here it looks like they absolutely nailed it! Kudos!

The most surprising glimpse was what appears to be the Legion Of Superheroes! 

For non comic fans, the Legion was (will be?) a futuristic team of superpowered teens from various planets and space colonies, who fight crime in the 30th Century. That circular object in the middle right of the image is a Legion Flight Ring. The rings give anyone who wears one the power of flight (hence the name).

I'm assuming their presence here means they'll be appearing on one of the Arrowverse shows soon. Maybe Supergirl, since she and Superboy were very closely associated with the Legion in the comics.

The last flash we get is of an angry Gorilla Grodd, who's currently hiding out somewhere in the jungles of Earth-2.

• Once again we see that Earth-2 is very... golden.

• There were dozens of fun little shoutouts and references in the Earth-2 scenes. Here are the ones I caught.

At STAR Labs-2, Barry and Cisco meet Henry Hewitt. He's a well-adjusted scientist here, but on Earth-1 he became the supervillain Tokamak.

An Earth-2 news report mentions Mayor Snart, So would that be Leonard Snart, aka Captain Cold on Earth-1, or his sister Lisa? I'm guessing Leonard, since he's the better known of the two and has his own show right now.

The Earth-2 version of CCPD Captain Singh is some sort of criminal with amazing facial hair. He reminded me a bit of Gaff from Blade Runner (in fact now that I think of it a lot of the Earth-2 costumes have that Blade Runner retro look).

On Earth-1, Floyd Lawton is the supervillain Deadshot. On Earth-2 Lawton is a cop who can't shoot straight. Comedy ahoy!

Earth-2's Central City has a Royal Bank. So does that mean they have a King or Queen instead of a President? Also, Earth-2 money is square instead of rectangular! I bet that's hard to fit into your wallet.

The HDTVs on Earth-2 are vertical instead of horizontal. I wonder what their movie theater screens look like?

Atlantis exists on Earth-2, and one can fly there (Jay Garrick mentioned this a few episodes back).

The Earth-2 version of Jitters is Jitterbug's, and it's a nightclub.

Joe West exists on Earth-2, but instead of being a cop, he's a lounge singer (!). And a pretty good one, I might add.

Cisco has an Earth-2 counterpart as well, who's a supervillain who calls himself Reverb. * Cisco's E-2 counterpart calls himself Reverb. His vibing powers are much more advanced than Cisco's, as he can project sonic blasts, just like Daisy over on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Reverb was actually in the DC comics, but there he was the brother of the Earth-1 Vibe.

Possibly the bombshell is that the Earth-2 Barry Allen and Iris West (who's a cop) are married!

 After the Flash leaves Earth-1, Adam Fells, aka Geomancer, attacks Central City. He's actually appeared a handful of times in DC Comics.

The lobby of the Earth-1 CCPD features a bas-relief of the Greek Gods, which correspond (more or less) to the members of DC Comics' Justice League Of America.

On Earth-2 the bas relief is a bit different. Instead of gods it features various soldiers and military leaders. The "Truth-Liberty-Justice" motto is replaced with "A Free And Just Society." That's obviously a not-so-subtle reference to the Justice Society, the precursor to the Justice League.

 Iris-2 takes Barry back to "their" home. Despite all of Earth-2's many technological advances, apparently they still use landline phones.

We see several names on Barry-2's speed dial. Among them are "Dad," which is obviously Joe, and "Mom & Dad," meaning Barry's parents, who are both alive on this world.

The names get a bit more interesting after that. Next is "Eddie," meaning Eddie Thawne is alive and well on Earth-2. Then Bruce, Hal and Diana.

That's no doubt Bruce Wayne aka Batman, Hal Jordan aka Green Lantern, and Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman. I'm pretty sure those names are just thrown in for observant fans, and doesn't mean those heroes actually exist on Earth-2.

It's too bad they couldn't have persuaded Rick Cosnett to stick his head in the door for a quick cameo as Eddie Thawne, but he's probably too busy filming Quantico right now.

 Ever since the series started, I've been wondering how they'd handle the whole Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost thing. I actually like Caitlin, so I was hoping they wouldn't make her turn evil.

Once the series introduced the concept of Earth-2, I thought, "That's it! They could have Killer Frost originate from Earth-2, which would preserve the Caitlin we all know and love." And that's exactly what they did!

 When I first saw Deathstorm, I just assumed he was an evil version of Firestorm created just for this episode. Turns out he's actually from the comics (sorry, I haven't been keeping up with DC for a long time now). He has an incredibly complicated origin that would take about an hour to explain, so I won't go into it here. 

 So how do Killer Frost and Deathstorm know the Flash is on Earth-2? Did Zoom tell them to be on the lookout for him?

 At the Earth-1 CCPD, one of the policemen says Geomancer has been spotted at Pasko and Fourth.

This is no doubt a reference to Martin Pasko, a long-time writer of DC comics and animated series.

 So what's up with the whole Velocity 6 through 9 thing? 

In the comics, Velocity 9 was a drug manufactured by Vandal Savage (!). It gave the user super speed, but at a high cost side effects included exhaustion, premature aging and eventually death. There's a lot more to the story, but eventually the drug was perfected and the side effects removed.

 When Joe-2's in the hospital, a doctor holds up what I assume is supposed to be an x-ray, but it looks more like a sonogram. Is Joe pregnant?

 At STAR Labs-2, Cisco imagines that his Earth-2 counterpart is a wealthy inventor, ala Elon Musk, "but with less RBF."

I'm not too proud to admit I have no idea what "RBF" means. A big of googling reveals it means "resting bitch face." Cisco seriously needs to stop reading Buzzfeed. Last week he said, "Bye, Felicia," and now this.

 When Iris confronts Killer Frost and Deathstorm, why does she say, "You killed my father, you evil bitch!" Deathstorm was the one who killed him. He was hit in the chest with a fireball, for frak's sake. Does she really think someone called "Killer Frost" shoots flames out of her hands?

 You know, for a guy who calls himself Zoom, he speaks very slowwwwwwly.

 Reverb, we hardly knew ye! I was actually sorry to see dispatched so quickly, especially since he could have taught out Cisco how to properly use his powers. 

Note that Zoom kills Reverb in exactly the same way the Reverse Flash killed Cisco (in an alternate timeline, of course).

Man, this episode had a seriously high body count. Joe, Lawton, Deathstorm and Reverb all bought the farm. And most of their deaths could be laid at Barry-1's feet.

 At the end of the episode, Barry wakes in a cell in Zoom's dungeon. Jesse's there of course, along with a mysterious man in a metal mask. I have no idea who Helmet Guy could be. Leonardo DiCaprio maybe?

• Although this was one of the best Flash episodes ever, they did drop the ball in one particular area— the costumes. This week we got not one, but two, but three, count 'em 3 villains decked out in the standard boring black leather. Yawn! Again with the leather! 

The first X-Men movie started this ferkakte trend back in 2000, and apparently that film's arm is long indeed, because it's still influencing costume designers sixteen years later.

What I wouldn't give to see some actual comic book costumes on this show. Something featuring an actual color besides black. And if the producers think the audience can't handle such looks, or might laugh at the characters, might I remind them their show already features a villain named Zoom and a goddamned telepathic gorilla? 
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