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Bell Is a Big Dang Hero This Week on Elementary

Veronica

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Even tortoises need pedicures (I’m sorry, PETicures), as it turns out, and this episode open finds Joan and Sherlock in that particular moment of platonic bliss. Slash bickering. But in true Elementary tradition, a phone call interrupts the moment. It’s not Bell this time; it’s Joan’s dad. Her mother, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, has taken the car and gone missing.

As this domestic drama unfolds, Bell and the captain are dealing with their own situation. After successfully wrapping up a murder case, Bell notices a bag abandoned in the hallway. A man sitting nearby denies ownership of it. As Bell moves closer to investigate the bag, a mysterious gas hisses out.

I, personally, in such a scenario, would run away crying. Bell chooses instead to be what I believe is properly called “a big dang hero” and grabs the bag, runs down the hall, and throws it into an empty interrogation room. He shields his face as he does so, but surely he must be exposed to the gas. He ducks into the observation room next door and watches through the two-way glass as the gas spreads. The bag opened to reveal a bomb-like device. This was an attack.

Gregson quickly locks down and mobilizes the precinct. No one is leaving the building and he contacts the CDC. Bell has quarantined himself in the observation room, but tells Gregson through the door that he still feels physically okay. But he’s noticed something. The bomb has a cell phone trigger on it. He knows that the bag wasn’t sitting there very long. It went off right after he noticed it, like someone set it off. All this makes him suspect something scary: the bomber is still in the building, locked down with everyone else.

Joan and Sherlock, meanwhile, unaware of the situation at the precinct, are still searching for Joan’s mom. They attempt to contact Gregson but are, of course, unsuccessful. Luckily, they don’t have to look hard for Mrs. Watson. She comes right to them. She’s confused and thinks that she and Joan are supposed to meet at a restaurant that’s been closed for years. Of course, with a serious diagnoses like Alzheimer’s, Joan knew that moments like this were coming, but it’s different to know that and to actually see it.

At last, they’re able to get in contact with the police and learn about the situation. Joan’s stepdad comes to pick up her mom, and our detective duo is on the case! A bit of research reveals that there was an attack on a police station in Mexico that was remarkably similar. In that case, the attack was carried out by the Leone drug cartel and the bio agent was anthrax. Several people died. Major Cases recently took on a case against, you guessed it, the Leone Cartel.

Unfortunately, there’s currently no way to know for sure if the gas used in this attack was anthrax again. It could take the CDC hours to identify the agent used in the attack. Until they know, they can’t treat people properly.

But there’s one other way to figure out what was used in the bomb. Just ask the cartel themselves! Gregson flatly forbids Joan and Sherlock from anything dangerous. He’s got enough to worry about. He has to cut the call short there, because the CDC has arrived at last.

There’s a quick scene where Gregson updates the head of the CDC squad. Considering he’s just telling her stuff that we, the audience, already know, I’m not sure this scene was really necessary. One thing of interest: the CDC will be able to decontaminate Bell and let him out of his makeshift quarantine.

In a shocking, totally unpredictable turn of events, Joan and Sherlock go talk to the leader of the Leone cartel. Sherlock decides the best way to facilitate this is to piss off the cartel boss’s nephew. I bring this up because I suspect it’s not the last we’re going to hear about it. The cartel leader, Felipe Diaz, of course denies being responsible for the attack. Politely disbelieving, Sherlock offers Diaz information on how to take down a rival gang in exchange for what bio agent was used.

But Diaz, perhaps feeling honest, explains that the cartel really didn’t carry out the attack. They couldn’t. The man who made the bomb for the previous attack has passed away and they don’t know how to replicate his design. The cartel isn’t responsible.

Captain: Don’t do the thing!   Joan and Sherlock: [do the thing anyway]

Sherlock believes him this time. But as he and Joan go to leave, Diaz asks if he can buy the information Sherlock was offering before. Sherlock turns him down. The gang that Sherlock has information on, by the way? Those nice gentlemen that he bought heroin from earlier this season! Yeah, I bet we hear more about this later.

The CDC makes themselves useful, decontaminating Bell so that, even if he is sick, he won’t be contagious. They also retrieve the cell phone used in the bomb. Going through the phone, Gregson finds something curious. There’s a series of photos of the empty precinct. Someone must have come before the attack to scope the station out.

Not a great clue, but the only one they’ve got so far. The situation is getting more dire at the precinct. The man who was sitting near the bag before suddenly suffers from a seizure.

Without any suspect in mind, Gregson shares the cell phone photos with Joan and Sherlock. Then he and Bell begin to interview all the civilians that were in the station when the bomb went off. Surely one of them must be the bomber, but none of them stand out as more (or less) obviously suspicious than the others. During the interviews, another one of the civilians begins to show symptoms.

Bell is still fine, but the interviews gave him an idea. How did the bomb get into the precinct in the first place? There’s a metal detector at the door. Bell has a theory. A month ago, there was construction on the roof. Maybe one of the construction workers smuggled it in then and now one of the suspicious civilians set it off.

I consider it my sacred duty to document Joan’s best #Looks

The mysterious cell phone pictures don’t have a timestamp, so Sherlock sets out to figure out when they were taken, using ~science~. As he sciences, he and Joan discuss the situation with her mother more. Joan thinks it’s time to get her mom professional help but she worries her mom won’t be open to the idea.

There doesn’t seem to be any strong connection between the construction workers and the civilians in the station. The CDC has new information that scraps that idea anyway. They’ve started taking the bomb apart. It looks like the bomb was smuggled into the station in pieces and then put together. That means there’s no reason to think the construction workers were involved. The CDC has identified spores in the gas, but they haven’t identified them yet.

But fear not, science has done it’s work and Sherlock knows when the photos are from. The team was intending to use that information to cross check the guest log against people in the station now. But that won’t be necessary or even possible. The photos were taken smack in the middle of a police union meeting. No civvies present. The person that took the photos and set the bomb off was a cop.

Based on that, Joan and Sherlock come up with a suspect, one Officer Sean O’Grady. He was passed over for promotion recently and reacted with rage, so he has reason to resent the police. Bell and Gregson pull him aside to interview him as Joan and Sherlock carry out further research. But then our consulting detectives run into an unexpected problem; the police server has suddenly stopped working. Not just for them, either, but across the whole precinct.

There’s a good reason for that, as Gregson quickly finds. All of the precinct server towers are torn out and missing. He asks the CDC workers if one of them took them for some reason. The CDC squad leader says no, but another worker pipes up that she in fact saw someone in a hazmat suit carry the towers away. She assumed it was one of her fellow workers, but a quick check reveals it wasn’t. So who was it, and why?

Well, there’s a lot of information on those servers and anyone who had the server towers would have access. That’s information that might be very valuable to any of the bad guys that Major Crimes is investigating. For anyone wanting to carry out such a theft, the confusion of a biohazard lockdown would be the perfect time and a hazmat suit the ideal disguise. Maybe this was never a terrorist attack, but—dramatic pause— heist!

Bell takes it one step further. Who says there was ever even a real biohazard threat? Bell still isn’t sick and he got a faceful. Plus, if the thieves were planning to use an attack to steal information, they wouldn’t want to risk their own health by having a contaminant floating around. The CDC acknowledges that the spores they detected could be something harmless.

If that’s the case, it’s awfully suspicious that two people got sick…

With that information in hand, the police are able to figure things out quickly. It was a heist, planned by a mastermind and carried out by our two “sick” civilians and O’Grady. I won’t reveal who the mastermind is, partially because I…didn’t really get it…? Either I missed something earlier in the episode or it came out of left field. I refuse to admit I have any flaws, so it must be the second option. But the police retrieve their servers, so all’s well that ends well!

Speaking of ending well, Joan and her mom meet up again. Joan braces herself to confront her mom about her health issues and force her to get help. But to her surprise, her mother has reached that same conclusion herself. They have a heartfelt conversation. It was a little soppy, but as someone who has also dealt with Alzheimer’s in the family, touching too.

Thoughts:

  • Another episode without murder! We go five seasons with a murder every episode (often more than one!) and then two whole episodes this season without murder.  I’m so proud of them. It’s fun to solve other kinds of crimes.
  • That being said, I felt like the writers didn’t quite have enough plot this episode. Some of the scenes felt padded in order to fill the whole episode run. The ending, like I said, was sort of random. But you know what, I’m still proud of them for trying something new. They’ll get the hang of it.
  • I love when stories have plot elements that initially seem like mistakes but then turn out to be intentional. So for instance, I was thinking it was weird that other people were getting sick before Bell despite his big dang hero move. But I just figured he was a main character so the writers didn’t want to knock him out yet. Instead, that was A Clue. As Jake Peralta would say, “smurt!”
  • Speaking of Brooklyn Nine Nine there was totally an episode of B99 that had almost the exact same plot of this episode. Where is my crossover episode, huh? Keep your eyes open for my forthcoming fanfic. (Just kidding, mostly.)

Images courtesy of CBS

Veronica is an English graduate who likes to spend her time reading way too deeply into science fiction, murder mysteries, and children's cartoons.

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Away In A Manger: Black Lightning 2×09, “Gift of Magi”

Sarah

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Black Lightning, Anissa, and Jennifer with the phrase Get Lit

Well, my friends, we’re nearing the end of Black Lightning S2, and I think it’s time to declare a sophomore slump. Anyone here with me? Let’s get into this week’s episode and discuss.

Jen and Kahlil are still on the run, but Kahlil was cut with one of Cutter’s Special aka Poison knives, so he’s quickly succumbing. The pair find a barn, where there’s a lot of soft lantern light and Kahlil can curl up in the hay. At first they swap cute-funny stories about when they first met, but soon Kahlil can’t manage talking let alone breathing well, so Jen goes out to steal some antibiotics from a hospital. (They don’t yet know that it’s poison, they assume his wound is infected). Jen is getting really good not only at controlling her powers, but using them for specific tasks, and I’m here for it although I really wish it wasn’t in the context of this storyline.

Manger

She manages to get the antibiotics and injects Kahlil with it, but it doesn’t work. She grows increasingly desperate, and as Kahlil’s death seems imminent, she goes outside for some air and a good cry. That’s when she goes back to her brain-salon, where she sees Perenna (her brain-version of Perenna, not the real one) and a twin version of herself. Mind-Perenna tells Jen that she already has everything she needs inside of her; it’s very Inside Out. Together with her brain creations she figures out that Cutter is actually *right there* watching them through binoculars. She manages to capture her and tie her up, tasering her with her hands as a form of torture in order to get her to tell her what she did to Kahlil. It’s not long before she figures out it was a poison knife, and cuts Cutter with it so that she’ll be forced to show Jen where on her person the antidote is. Turns out, it’s in that very obvious vial on her necklace!

Twins

Jen goes to a dark place when she’s torturing Cutter, which is kind of hard to watch. Again, I’d be more interested if this whole thing didn’t revolve around Kahlil. Anyway, Jen gives both Kahlil and Cutter the antidote and they’re on their way again. But only after they declare their undying love for each other.

I’m happy to report that no one left Kahlil’s aunt for dead in her house, as Black Lightning, Thunder, and Gambi have set up camp there to help her recover from what turned out to be one of Kahlil’s pain pills and try to figure out how to find Jen. They know Kahlil is hurt so they check hospitals, and end up being in the same hospital as Jen at the same time!

So close, yet so far

Jefferson and Anissa figure out Jen was there because she left a trail aka scorch mark in her path, but the fact that she keep eluding them is driving Jefferson to be irrational and reckless. Gambi and Anissa manage to keep him under control, but Lynn is losing it too. When she’s not crying in the wreckage of Jen’s room that she destroyed, she’s trying to get Kahlil’s mom, and then his dad, to give her clues as to where they might be.

Of course neither of them can help, but along the way she grabs a gun from the Inner Sanctum aka Gambi’s basement so that’s concerning, considering her emotional state.

My heart breaks for this heartbreak

In a parallel storyline, Tobias has set his sights on a kid named Todd, an academic prodigy who has just been rejected for a research grant in favor of the white kid whose rich dad just funded a new wing of the university. It’s unclear what Tobias wants Todd to do, and Todd seems dubious at best until Tobias deposits $100,000 into his bank account. Money is the root of all evil, amirite? I mean, capitalism is. But that’s a discussion for another place.

An invitation I hope to never get

Lastly, this episode ends with a scene in which a mysterious someone murders everyone in a bar in Texas before getting a phone call from his boss telling him that his next job is in Freeland. I feel like we’re about to meet a bigger bad than Tobias, but time will tell! Just someone end this Kahlil-Jen nonsense and give us our family back kthanks.

What do you think is in store for the final episodes? Are you happy with this season so far? Black Lightning is going on hiatus until the end of January, so I’ll be back then to see where we’re at. Enjoy what’s left of the year, friends!


Images courtesy of The CW

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Winter Hiatus Blues

Seher

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Even in December with the broadcast networks hiatus for scripted series starting, and pilot season underway, there’s so much to discuss!

The continuing behind the scenes drama of Les Moonves’ ouster from CBS, ABC’s entertainment president Channing Dungey stepping down, NBC’s Greenblatt moving on, and FOX setting up for its new leadership once the merger goes through…every big 4 network has a lot to deal with between now and the TCAs in early February. The exec panels will sure be a time… Especially if ratings come up at all.

Ratings Race

As of this Tuesday, and as always, I’m talking about scripted ratings: FOX is number 1 with a 1.13 average followed by NBC, ABC, and CBS. CW of course is last with .35. Last month, four of the five networks had six shows at or above their overall average.

Now, ABC has eight shows, the CW has five, and the rest have six.

Across the five networks, only a third of new shows are performing above the average on their network. The Connors (considered a new show), FBI, The NeighborhoodLast Man StandingNew Amsterdam, and Manifest. The highest rated new show on The CW, Legacies hovers right below the network’s average.

Interestingly, across the board, long running shows are still high rating performers (or what’s high now) for the networks. The exception to this is SVU at a tenth below the average.

Their “success” indicates that we probably won’t lose any of the longest running shows anytime soon. Still, the network with the largest average season length (including shows yet to premiere) is FOX at 5.3 followed by CBS at 4.5. Removing the shows already cancelled and predicted as canceled doesn’t make an impact because of The Simpsons‘ whopping thirty seasons! (Unrelated but with the announcement for Crisis on Infinite Earths, DCTV isn’t going anywhere either.)

Of course some of this will shift when the rest of the new slate premieres begin in January. I do not envy the folks in charge of scheduling spring shows, especially as more time slots are lost to winter reality or competition shows.

Scheduling Shenanigans

You can put whatever new show after strong shows and still have a dud in the ratings race.

On The CW, ableist In The Dark has had zero promotion beyond the scheduling announcement that it starts after Supernatural. Their other new show Roswell: New Mexico or Roswell: TVD received the coveted post Flash slot plus actual promo. Except for The 100, their other spring shows already received cancellations, so ratings definitely don’t matter.

FOX  only has two newbies to premiere, with The Passage starting after The Resident and Proven Innocent taking the 9PM slot after Cool Kids. I don’t know that people watching an hour of comedy will stick around for a procedural, but anything can happen these days.

ABC on Wednesday revealed that in a vote of confidence (or in hopes to increase viewers or to get Whiskey Cavalier onto the schedule earlier) is moving the last bit of A Million Little Things behind Grey’s leaving current slot holder Station 19 off the schedule until March. Considering AMLT  hit a .7 last week… The Fix is the only other newbie to get a spring slot, starting in March in The Good Doctor‘s place. Grand Hotel is now a summer show. ABC what are you doing?!

NBC and CBS have yet to fully unveil their new schedules so more on that in January! However, pilot development is in full swing and reboots (and spin-offs) continue to rule the pack.

Pilot Predictions

Predicting what pilots will make it to series this early is silly, but I do think that a chunk of the reboots in development will definitely make it to air. If they’ll get renewed is another question. Even though this year, only Charmed received a back 9 order (Last Man Standing was ordered with 22 episodes). Last year, all the shows that received fewer than 9 episodes in the fall except for Good Doctor were cancelled. So now in May, that trend continues, or the new trend is that any back order indicates a renewal.

Which is why even though I think it’s silly to bank on so many reboots in development, I know that networks are still going to do it. I won’t list all of the shows in development because there are a lot and many will die by January. The CW has three alone! And NBC already has a series order for Law and Order: Hate Crimes or as my friend calls it, “SVU but grittier” making it the seventh L&O series.

By late January, early February, the big entertainment sites will have lists of all the pilots in contention and then we can really get into the details. Until then, what shows are y’all waiting to see for the first time (or again)?


 

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‘Legends of To-Meow-Meow’ Cranks the Insanity up to Eleven

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It’s that time year of again. The Arrowverse crossover, but the Legends misplaced their invites. While Kara, Barry, and Oliver were getting acquainted with Batwoman and dealing with body switching, the Legends were dealing with their own alternate reality issues. Or should I say the Custodians were dealing with their own issues. Or, should that be the Sirens? Or the Puppets?

Yep, this was one of those kinds of episodes. ‘Legends of To-Meow-Meow’ didn’t just surpass the insanity of every other episode this season. It multiplied it, as Charlie and Constantine broke the timeline more with each attempt to fix it.

At first, Charlie hits the town on her own, going to Las Vegas to stretch her newly returned powers. Going out as Marilyn Monroe, she runs into a prison buddy, a leprechaun. She barely has the chance to warn him about faulting his powers when Mick, Nate, and Ray strut in dressed like they just walked out of an 80’s action show. Which they did, apparently, as they introduce themselves as the Custodians of the Chronology and we get ‘A-Team’ style opening credits. They kill the leprechaun without hesitation, which is a big clue for Charlie that not everything is right.

Legends already planning their own spin offs.

She returns to the Waverider with cat-Zari to figure out why the team is suddenly so murder-happy. She transforms into Sara, planning on just ordering them to stop. But it doesn’t work because in this timeline, without help from Constantine, Sara was killed by the unicorn at Woodstock. The team attacks her, recognizing her as a shapeshifter. Charlie makes a quick retreat from the ship, taking cat-Zari along to find John.

He’s being kept imprisoned at the Time Bureau. Because he was the epicentre of the timeline shift, he has memories from both timelines and his brain isn’t keeping up very well. When they find him, John turns Zari back into a human. Only to turn her right back when she’s against his and Charlie’s idea to save Sara instead of fixing their alteration. Charlie breaks John out, with some help from Mona and a very emo Ava. Some of the Lege- Custodians die in their fight out, but everything will be fine once they save Sara. At least that’s what Charlie and John tell themselves.

They travel to Woodstock, blasting the unicorn into rainbow gloop before it can gore anyone. But this time, when they return to their time Nate, Ray, and Mick are the ones with the memorial plaques. Plus, without the guys around, Sara, Ava, and an android?Gideon have formed a Charlie’s Angels style team that assassinates fugitives. Charlie attempts to infiltrate the team as Amaya, but her cover is blown almost instantly. She does learn the boys were killed by the Fairy Godmother. The fairy is also the reason Zari’s a cat.

I’d watch this show.

John and Charlie go to Salem for their next patch job. Charlie transforms into the Fairy Godmother to trick Prudence into releasing the fairy before she can kill the boys. It seems to go off without a hitch until she returns to the jumpship. Good news, Zari is no longer a cat. Bad news, she’s now a puppet.

So is the entire team, as John learns when he boards the Waverider. They aren’t just puppets. They’re puppets that sing their own intro and have a historical figure of the day. Since the Fairy Godmother didn’t kill Mick, he became her new charge. She turned the team into puppets before Mick took her along on a crime spree.

Charlie and John keep trying to Band-Aid the timeline, but each fix ends with someone else dead in the new timeline. Yet, even when they get to a point where no one has died, John’s mind has so many timelines clashing in his mind he collapses from the strain.

He finally agrees with Zari that they need to fix the timeline properly and stop Dez from leaving. When Charlie refuses to help they leave her behind, but she’s not giving up without a fight. She transforms into Ava, heading to the Waverider to clue the team in on the magical ongoings in New Orleans. But there’s something still wrong with this timeline. All the Legends are alive. No one is made of cloth. But they still have a ‘shoot first ask questions never’ policy when it comes the fugitives. Gideon picks up on the three Constantines at that point in time. The team assumes the extras are shapeshifters, sending Mick and Ray to blast them.

Charlie finally realizes it wasn’t just John’s absence from the team that caused the changes. It was her absence. Without her, the Legends don’t learn fugitives aren’t all unicorns with a taste for hearts or Fairy Godmothers that sing about murder.

…And with true love’s kiss, the curse was broken.

In New Orleans, this-episode’s-John stops Desmond after last-episode’s-Constantine broke up with him. He tells him he’s sorry for all the pain he’s going to cause him and wipes his memory just before still-in-a-relationship John can return. As Mick and Ray fire on this-episode-John, past-John and Desmond share a kiss which becomes the point from which the timeline fixes itself. Reality is right once again, where the only puppet person is the possessed Professor Stein and the Legends aren’t mythical creature murders. Ava and Mick even heal their rift from the last episode, finding some common ground.

John comes clean to Sara about their misadventure. He even tells her about Neron. Sara promises to help him take down his demon. So all’s well that ends well. Except, there’s no word on what happens to Mona after she met the business of the Kaupe’s claws. Nor is Hank happy the Kaupe escaped, which he learns about in the middle of a golf game with someone… something wearing Desmond’s face.

Analysis

Was this the strongest’s episode of Legends? Probably not. It sacrificed some substance for the sake of 80’s spoofs and sing-alongs. But that’s not to say this episode wasn’t good. Far from it. The alternate timelines were laugh out loud funny and the Puppets of Tomorrow song is going to be stuck in my head. They were so good I’m willing to overlook characters like Ray, Nate, Sara, and Ava feeling so drastically different in their respective spoof realities. I’ll chalk up to the discrepancies in their characterizations to time being so broken.

It could have easily become frustrating watching John and Charlie patch broke timeline after broken timeline while they ignored the obvious answer. But it never got to that point because every step of the way you knew John was doing this to keep Desmond alive. John Constantine, always the tortured soul, willing to let his mind be torn apart by multiple timelines before he gives up on his love again. It’s a tragedy the timeline being fixed has to come at the cost of Dez’s soul. But maybe it isn’t lost forever.

The scene between John and Desmond pulled at the heartstrings. As did the moment when Charlie finally realized she was the missing the link for the Legends. It’s always a good moment when a Legend finds their place on this mismatched, rag-tag team. It’s hard not to compare this episode to ‘Here I Go Again’, when Zari found her place on the team. Which is a glowing compliment when that episode is one of the best of Legends entire run.

The brief callbacks to the earlier episodes was a nice way to tie off the first half of the season as well. The Unicorn was only eight episodes ago. Yet, monsters, magic, and pure insanity feel like they’re always been a part of Legends of Tomorrow. Well, pure insanity has been a fundamental part of Legends since season two.

It just shows how this series isn’t afraid to shake up its own formula. Thus far it’s worked every time, with each season being better than the last. It’s still early to call season’s four place for certain. Season’s three back half had some heavy ringers, but so far this season is on the right tracks to be the most memorable one yet. They’re sure to come back strong when they return in April.

Only Legends Could

  • “You missed calls from Barry Allen, Oliver Queen, and Kara Zor-El,”
    “Sounds like the annual crossover,”
    “Yeah, that’s going to be a hard pass,”
    This whole exchange is amazing. Easily wins favorite lines of the episode.
  • You can tick off Sara Lance’s annual dalliance with death. Sara dying, almost dying, or faking dying should be a running gag at this point, but for some reason, I can never find it funny.
  • Everyone just understands cat-Zari. No explanation needed. Much like when Nate understood pig-Ray.
  • The CW tradition of bad wigs continues with emo Ava. (Kate Kane, by some miracle, avoided the curse.)
  • In the Siren’s reality, Sara’s wielding Mick’s gun and Gideon has Rip’s.
  • I want more of DC’s Puppets of Tomorrow.
  • There’s a timeline where Nate and Hank die from a Garden Gnome.
  • Why yes, Legends did give us the true love’s kiss fixes everything. And yes, it was a kiss for a mlm couple. Legends never ceases to amaze.
  • I got a flirty vibe from Charlie and Zari at the end. Time will tell where that goes.

Images courtesy of the CW

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