Marvel Legends Black Widow Action Figures

I know it’s been forever since I last posted on here. Hopefully this year I’ll be able to make more than the occasional post.

Well, in a few short months the Black Widow movie will be released. The character of Natasha Romanova has been one of my favourite comic book characters long before she turned up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.

So here’s a look at some of the new Hasbro Marvel Legends 6” scale action figures of the character.

First is the deluxe figure featuring the movie Black Widow with a Scarlett Johanssen likeness. She’s wearing the white costume as seen in the trailer. It comes with various explosion accessories plus a display stand by the looks of it.

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That white costume in the movie looks like it’s inspired by a similar white costume from the 2010 Deadly Origin comic miniseries. And as it happens Hasbro are also doing an exclusive figure of the comic book version.


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Finally there’s another exclusive figure of Black Widow in the lesser seen 1980s grey outfit with shorter hair from the comics. If I had to choose I much prefer the character in the black outfit and longer hair but I have to say I do like this alternate look.

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There is another wave of figures which includes a black costume Black Widow from the movie that I have not included here.

Blade Runner 2019 comic book

This was announced a couple of months ago but I’m only discovering it now. There’s going to be an official Blade Runner comic book set in the time period of the original movie. This seems to feature another blade runner so I’m guessing Deckard doesn’t appear in it.

Titled Blade Runner 2019 it is to be a 12-part series and Titan Comics are putting the first issue is out in July.

Here are the four variant covered, including one that is actually concept art by Syd Mead.

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I’d pretty much stopped buying comics but I can see myself making an exception for these.

The Making of Alien by J.W. Rinzler


I’ve just spotted an essential purchase online. The Making of Alien by J. W. Rinzler is to be published next year, no doubt to tie in with the 40th Anniversary of the movie Alien. That movie is one of my all time favourites so this will be a day 1 purchase for me.

Comprehensive and definitive volume telling the complete story of how Alien was made, featuring new interviews with Ridley Scott and other production crew, and including many rarely-seen photos and illustrations from the Fox archives.

In 1979 a movie legend was born, as Twentieth Century-Fox and director Ridley Scott unleashed Alien and gave audiences around the world the scare of their lives.

To celebrate the movie’s fortieth anniversary, author J.W. Rinzler (The Making of Star Wars) tells the whole fascinating story of how Alien evolved from a simple idea in the mind of writer Dan O’Bannon into one of the most memorable sci-fi horror thrillers of all time.

With brand new interviews with Ridley Scott and other key members of the original production crew, and featuring many never-before-seen photographs and artworks from the archives, The Making of Alien is the definitive work on this masterpiece of popular cinema.

The making of Alien is to be published on 23 April 2019.

Rogue One prequel tv series

First of all, yes I know, it’s been ages since I posted anything on here. Life stuff.

Anyway this is moderately exciting news out of the blue. Disney have announced they are going to make a Rogue One prequel TV series featuring the Cassian Andor character as played by Diego Luna.


Actually this is very exciting. Rogue One remains my favourite of the four Disney Star Wars movies to date and any return to that era and type of gritty storytelling will be very welcome.

Both this series plus The Mandaloran will be on the new steaming service called Disney+ along with some Marvel TV shows I believe.

It’s probably not likely that the other Rogue One team members will appear, seeing as Cassian only met Jyn, Baze, Chirut and Bodi during the course of that movie. Maybe K-2SO is a posability, but I don’t know that the makers want to include an expensive cgi droid in every episode.


But I’d be happy if we even saw Genevieve O’Reilly’s Mon Mothma turn up every now and again to give Cassian his new mission. Kind of like M and Bond.

Hey, I’ve just realised that makes Mon Mothma MM…

Solo movie review


So now some of my initial thoughts on seeing Solo. I’ll avoid any major spoilers.

To be honest I find myself in the position of looking forward to these spin off movies more than the “episodes”.

Episode 7 was “fine”. Well, to start with anyway, but as it went on I got more frustrated with its inability to do anything original.

Rogue One on the other hand I loved. I ended up seeing that in the cinema three times, something I’ve not done since I was a kid.

Then episode 8, again “fine”. Yes I’m damming with faint praise, but at least it tried to do something different.

But really I’m treating the sequel trilogy as glorified fan fiction where I’m not particularly thrilled with the new characters and the direction it’s going in. And I find I’m not particularly looking forward to Episode 9.

So here we are with the Solo spin off, with its very troubled production history and shouts of “no one wanted this movie” and “you can’t recast Harrison Ford” and “I’m boycotting it because The Last Jedi sucked.” Seriously.

Well I liked Solo perfectly fine. It’s nothing Earth-shattering but I found it fun. It’s a very different movie from the other instalments. All of the others to date have been about the “Star War” if you will. Including Rogue One as that’s inextricably linked to the original Episode IV. Solo is the first movie to be set in the Star Wars universe and not really have anything to do with the War. I find this quite welcome.

The early scenes are set on Han’s home planet Corellia where the teenage Han (Alden Ehrenreich) and Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) are teenagers pressed into working for an alien crime boss lady. Han wants nothing more than to escape with Qi’ra off Corellia and they flee to a spaceport where they try to get on a ship. I found those scenes very effective with Han being chased by both the criminals and also trying to avoid running afoul of the Imperial Stormtroopers.

Things don’t go to plan and Han finds himself enlisting in the Empire with the intention of becoming a pilot. Some folk online have not liked the origins of Han’s surname here via the recruiting officer but I liked it fine. I always thought the name Solo might have originated because of something like this. Incidentally I liked the recruitment office’s use of the Imperial March in universe

Flash-forward three years and Han is not the pilot he dreamed of being but is stuck as infantry in a ground war on the muddy planet Mimban. Here we have a very World War 1 kind of vibe complete with trenches, going over the top and a new type of Stormtrooper with a gas mask. It is on Mimban that Han first encounters Tobias Becket (Woody Harrelson) and sees a chance to get away from the Empire.

(I don’t believe that the name Mimban is used in the movie. It previously appeared in the first Star Wars spin-off novel Splinter of the Mind’s Eye by Alan Dean Foster, published exactly forty years ago in 1978.)

There are certain boxes that need to be ticked in a Han Solo origin movie. How he met Chewie. How he met Lando. How he got his hands on the Millennium Falcon. Oh, and maybe about how the Millennium Falcon made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs.

And it is great fun and very satisfying to see Han and Chewie meeting for the first time and quickly becoming inseparable.

There are a number of big action sequences, the most notable being a train heist and later on another heist in the Spice Mines of Kessel. As well as that Kessel Run

The droid character L3 seems to be divining opinion. A lot of people seem upset by that character but I found her quite amusing. She delivered one of my favourite lines in the movie plus there’s a lovely bit of business to explain why the Millennium Falcon’s computer gave C-3PO such headaches in The Empire Strikes Back.

Special mention to Paul Bethany who played the principal villain, crime lord Dryden Vos with such impressively casual insincerity. Donald Glover is also clearly having fun playing the smooth cape-loving Lando.

The movie exhibits a bit of a Western vibe in places. The train heist sequence and the confrontation with the marauders near the end come to mind. Also the marauder leader Enfys Nest turned out to be a more interesting character than I expected.

So what about the casting of Alden as Han Solo? I have to say I liked him perfectly fine. I think he played the more youthful Han very well. There is enough of Han’s trademark attitude and swagger there. One of my favourite moments is when Beckett tells Han not to make eye contact with the guests of Dryden Vos and Han casually mingles with eyes downcast. But Alden also portrays younger Han as having a little more youthful optimism and idealism. He tries to convince Qi’ra that he’s a bad guy but she calls him out on it. She and the audience know Han is anything but.

The end of the movie keeps things very open for a sequel. Who knows if that will happen? Apparently Solo has been underperforming at the box office. If we don’t get another instalment it would be a shame.

So in summary Rogue One remains my favourite of the new movies but I liked Solo much more than either of the “episodes”.

Star Wars The Last Jedi review

7EBA0DD7-9938-4BAB-A15D-ECF614F45AD3The following review includes lots of spoilers and assumes you’ve seen The Last Jedi.

Overall I enjoyed the movie. While I don’t think it’s a masterpiece and I think it’s flawed in parts I don’t quite understand the hate it’s getting.

To start this off I think I have to explain how I’m approaching the sequel trilogy movies. When I first saw The Force Awakens in the cinema I was entertained, although I did have reservations, especially about the use of the Starkiller base weapon and the introduction of the new elements to the universe without any context, such as the First Order and Snoke. Where did they come from? It was just a bit too convenient to have these ready-made adversaries there without knowing their origins. But never mind.

After enjoying Rogue One much more that The Force Awakens I realised that the sequels are probably not going to please me as much as the spin-offs. So I thought I’d just take The Last Jedi as I found it.

Over all I liked it. I certainly like it a bit more than The Force Awakens as there a little more meat on the bones of the story and while it does lift elements from Empire and Jedi it’s not a complete remake like The Force Awakens was of A New Hope.

That being said there were a few things I didn’t like about it so I’ll deal with those first.

The humour, especially the Poe-Hux comedy routine right at the start of the movie. It actually felt like something that should be in a parody movie like Spaceballs. It was very bad judgement to include something so comedic, especially right at the start of the movie. Plus they turned Hux into a comedy straight man throughout the rest of the movie.

The constant “we have a bigger ship” routine. This started with the Dreadnaught ship appearing which was much bigger than the already large Star Destroyers. We are expected to believe that Poe in his small fighter can single-handedly rid it of the defence cannons. Then Snoke’s ship appears which is supposedly 60 km wide. And on the planet at the end they have a gigantic battering ram cannon (much larger than the supersized AT-ATs) just to knock a tiny hole in a door. It just feels like overkill and again like self-parody.

The use of the Luke character. I really don’t think Luke has been well used in these movies. The Force Awakens reduced him to a cameo without dialog. This one has him hiding on a distant planet pretty much being very grumpy and refusing to help Rey. I do find it hard to believe that the Luke of the original trilogy just gave up and hid himself away. And then he goes and dies at the end. Indidently Mark Hamill is apparently on record as sayin he doesmt recognise this version of Luke.

The Mary Poppins scene. Or if you like the scene where Leia was blasted into space but used Jedi powers to “fly” back into the ship. Heavy sigh. It was one of those moments where I sat in the cinema asking myself “just what the hell am I looking at here?”

The side mission to the casino planet. Again with the inappropriate humour, especially an inebriated patron putting coins into BB8 mistaking him for a slot machine. This allows BB8 to later fire the coins like a machine gun. Face palm. They also got in a very unsubtle “be nice to animals” message.

BB8 driving a scout walker. Puts head in hands.

There was however much that I liked.

The opening bomber raid on the Dreadnaught was something a little bit different and was quite gripping. The bombardier on the last remaining bomber is unable to press the all important “drop the bombs” button so it’s up to gunner Paige to retrieve said button and drop the bombs without a thought for her own survival. A very tense and eff3ctive opening.

(It occurs to me that I’d like to see a Star Wars movie about that, a single bomber crew on a specific mission with the odds against them.)

Some of the stuff with Rey on Luke’s planet was good. I liked the bit where she has a Jedi vision of herself multiplied. There was some good visually interesting stuff going on.

There was a lovely little moment where R2D2 shows luke the old hologram of Leia asking Obi-Wan for help.

(But that reminds me, R2 was hardly in the movie. That’s two movies in a row he’s hardly used. Why are they so reluctant to do stuff with R2?)

The lightsabre battle with Rey and Kylo having to team up against the Praetorian guards was pretty impressive and was probably one of the strongest sequences in the movie.

The DJ character was interesting. Of course it’s Benicio Del Toro. Respect. But besides that it opened up the universe a little. I liked the scene where DJ shows Finn the holograms of what weapons the arms dealer supplies. There’s the Tie Fighters that the Empire used, and then unexpectedly there’s an X-Wing.

There’s some interesting commentary here on arms dealing in the Star Wars universe that perhaps touches on explaining how the First Order could come about, that war is good for business. But it’s not developed. (That’s another movie I’d like to see.) In the end DJ isn’t really used much.

As a side note some time ago when I heard they were going to a casino planet and would meet Benicio Del Toro I did think “well, Lando betrayed Han, I guess Benicio Del Toro will do the same…”

And I really liked the bit where the Laura Dern character turned her ship and went into hyperspace pointing at Snoke’s ship and basically cuts it in two. The use of silence for that sequence was impressive.

Another highlight was when Luke appeared on the planet at the end to face off against the walkers and Kylo, especially the moment where he brushes the dust off his shoulder.

In general looking back on it I like just how dark things get for the Rebels. They lose their base, they gradually lose their fleet and then their escape shuttles are picked off one by one. There isn’t the expected last minute rescue for the majority of the Rebels. There’s really only a handful of personnel left to continue the fight.

But I’m not sure how I feel about the basic plot, i.e. the Rebels are chased by the First Order at sunlight speeds. For the whole movie. The First Order can’t catch up but the Rebels can’t get outrun them either. It just feels a little limited. I almost wish they had lifted the asteroid sequence from Empire to spice things up a bit. Maybe the Rebel ship could hide in an asteroid and have to wait out the bombardment. But then I’d be complaining that something else was copied from Empire.

What I really find perplexing is that they are making up these movies as they go. George Lucas always had an idea of where each trilogy was heading as he made the earlier movies. I had assumed that Lucasfilm would have done the same for the sequel trilogy. But apparently JJ Abrams just created the story for The Force Awakens, setting up all those mysteries, principally who is Snoke, and who are Rey’s parents.

Only now Writer-Director Rian Johnson has shown that he doesn’t particularly care to answer them so he just killed off Snoke and decided that Rey’s parents were some random people we never met.

Not that I mind Snoke being killed off. He was never that interesting to me and it was a nice surprise that they chose to do it in the middle of the trilogy, replacing him with Kylo.

Unfortunately JJ Abrams Is back to do episode 9. We can anticipate more pointless CGI creature chases. I can’t pretend I’m looking forward to it.

Again this reinforces my thoughts on the sequel trilogy. If you’re going to do a trilogy then you should plot it all out in advance, not make it up as you go. Otherwise why bother making a trilogy at all?

Also the main saga is sometimes referred to as the Skywalker saga. Fine, only now you’ve killed off Luke Skywalker.

While JJ is getting his people to design some new CGI creatures Rian Johnson is going to develop a new Star Wars trilogy. My bet is that it will be about the kid with the broom at the end.

So overall I liked the movie but am aware of its many flaws.

Star Trek Discovery episode 9 review

So now a bit of grand finale of sorts. Well mid-season finale anyway

Following right on from last week’s episode the Discovery is at that fairy dust planet awaiting the Klingons who will certainly attack the planet to destroy the crystal tower thingie. The crew of the Discovery want to stay and protect the fairy dust creatures but Starfleet orders the Discovery to leave.

Lorca has other ideas and instructs his people to find a way to fight the Klingon stealth Ship of the Dead and they come up with a plan that involves mapping the energy of the cloaking device using a couple of transmitters secreted on the Klingon ship. The Discovery will also have to do 133 spore drive jumps in rapid succession to get enough data. For some reason. Hand wave.

The Klingon Ship of the Dead appears. Burnham and Ash Tyler beam over to place the transmitter things. While there they discover Admiral Cornwell is being held captive so they go to rescue her. So she’s not actually dead then. That’s one mystery from last week answered. In fact they find her in the Klingon Dead Body Storage Room along with that lady Klingon. I guess it doubles as a cell.

Ash Tyler has an extreme reaction to seeing the lady Klingon. Admiral Cornwell tells him it’s PTSD. He has flashbacks of being tortured by the lady Klingon. Well it’s either that or he was a Klingon surgically altered to look human and infiltrate Starfleet. But that sounds a bit far-fetched…

Burnham goes to the bridge to place the second device and is able to hear what the Klingons are saying via the universal translator. Which is pretty cool I must say.

The Discovery starts doing the jumps which is going to take a toll on Stamets. We know this because his doctor husband person says it will take a toll on him. (Honestly I can’t remember the doctor’s name. I’ll know it next year. Probably.)

The Klingons get a bit bored with watching the Discovery jump around a lot and decide to leave. This is a Seriously Bad Thing as the Discovery has to get the data from all 133 jumps in order to map the cloaking device. So Burnham has to delay them. She reveals herself and challenges Kol to a fight. They fight.

The Discovery finishes the jumps and beams out Burnham, Tyler and Admiral Cornwell. The Klingon lady manages to but her arms around Tyler to get beamed out as well.

They now have enough data to compute where the Klingon ship is so they open fire and blow it the hell up. So like, the big bad Kol is toast. Everyone is feeling pretty happy and acting like the war is over already.

They put the Klingon lady in the brig (which makes her look a lot like a Klingon Hannibal Lecter actually) so inevitably Ash Tyler goes to confront her. He acts all upset like he’s either been (a) tortured by her or (b) had to take human form to infiltrate Starfleet plus had his memory wiped presumably.

Doing the jumps took a toll on Stamets but he gets better and says he will do one more jump to take the crew home and then he won’t do any more jumps. So he does one more jump. But it Goes Wrong and they end up Somewhere Else.

The End.

Until January apparently.

This was a pretty fast moving and exciting episode. It felt pretty satisfying have Burnham fight Kol on the ship of the dead and get Captain Georgiou’s badge back.

But is that the Klingon war over? If so what will the focus of the show be? Is it going to become a different type of show?

These have been a solid nine episodes that have kept me entertained. I look forward to seeing where the show goes next.

Star Trek Discovery episode 8 review

Ok, I’ll be honest, I’m not quite sure what to make of this episode.

At the start of the episode we see the Discovery jump into action to try to save the USS Gagarin from the Klingons. But the Klingon’s stealth technology gives them the upper hand and the Gagarin is unfortunately toast. The Discovery barely jumps away in time.

The main plot has Burnham, Saru and Ash Tyler beam down to a planet that has little bits of blue fairy dust going on. They want to use this naturally occurring crystal tower thing to send a signal into space that will make the Klingon ships visible. Somehow. It’s kind of hand waved.

So Saru is able to communicate with the fairy dust creatures who it turns out are sentient. Therefore it means they have to get their permission to use their planet. But somehow Saru is changed and he wants to stop Starfleet from using the crystal tower thing. He destroys Burnham’s and Tyler’s communicators.

Burnham heads to the crystal tower to use that to contact the Discovery and Saru goes after her, using his running-really-fast powers. They fight. Burnham prevails and asks the fairy dust creatures to help them beat the Klingons. The fairy dust creatures allow her to contact the Discovery.

But what’s with Saru, was he under an alien influence? It turns out he wasn’t. In fact this was the first time in his life where he didn’t feel fear. It kind of went to his head and he wanted to stay on the fairy dust planet.

But things get really confusing over on the Klingon ship. That Lady Klingon turns up and says she wants to join Kol. In return she will use her expert interrogation techniques to get info out of the lady Starfleet admiral that they captured a couple of weeks back.

So Lady Klingon right away tells the lady admiral that she wants to defect to the Federation. Huh? This is a trick right? Or is she serious? It’s not made clear.
She and lady admiral escape by basically walking down a corridor. Some other Klingons see them so Lady Klingon has to pretend to fight lady admiral and throws her into a wall. Apparently killing her? Or is she just stunned? Or is she faking it? Hey, is she actually dead? It’s not made clear.

Lady Klingon drags lady admiral’s body to the place where they dump bodies. Klingon ships have place for that it seems. There Lady Klingon sees bodies of her former comrades and vows revenge. I think she kind of leaves the admirals body there. So maybe the admiral is actually dead? It’s not made clear.

Lady Klingon goes back to Kol and says sorry about killing the admiral but I did get some info. He welcomes her to his crew. And then promptly says she betrayed him. So he knew all along? It’s not made clear.

The episode ends with Burnham and the others back on the Discovery. She thinks the fairy dust aliens will help them fight the Klingons. But Lorca tells her instead they sent out a signal inviting Kol to the planet so he can make friends with the Discovery. Oops.

So it wasn’t a terrible episode. There’s some good stuff in there, especially with Saru’s character development. And the Klingon stuff is potentially interesting. However I would have liked things to have been a little clearer about what was going on. And to be honest blue fairy dust aliens don’t really work for me.

Star Trek Discovery episode 7 review

Oh, I enjoyed this episode.

The episode opens with Burnham attending a party. A disco on the Disco if you will. She and Ash Tyler, the guy Lorca rescued from the Klingon ship, are called to the bridge. The sensors have picked up an object that turns out to be an endangered space whale. Because clearly in the future endangers space whales are a thing.

The whale is beamed on board but it turns out to be a Trojan horse type of whale as a space suited figure (wearing a gloriously cheap looking Andorian helmet) emerges and starts firing on the crew. It turns out to be Harry Mudd, out for revenge after he was abandoned by Lorca on said Klingon ship.


But he’s talking like he’s done this before. And then the Discovery blows up.


We are back on the Discovery and Burnham is attending the disco on the Disco.


Oh my. They’re doing a time loop episode. Cue happy dancing around the living room. Ok, metaphorical happy dancing. But still.

So the loop begins again. But this time it’s completely different. Stamets somehow knows that it’s happening and warns Burnham and Ash. They are more wary when beaming aboard the whale. But this time Mudd doesn’t emerge from it. He’s elsewhere on the ship causing mayhem. He’s trying to gradually gain the secret of the Discovery’s special drive so he can sell it to the Klingons. And if he gets to kill Lorca a few dozen times along the way then that’s a bonus. Each loop lasts 30 minutes and usually ends with the Discovery blowing up.

Because he injected himself with DNA from the JJ Abrams CGI creature Stamets has a memory of each loop and is looking for information to defeat Mudd. He approaches Burnham again and asks her to tell him something, a secret, that she has never told anyone else so he can prove to her they’re in the loop. Turns out she has never been in love and in the midst of the mayhem they take a loop to talk and slow dance in the ship while discussing if she has feelings for Ash and if Ash has feelings for her. And for the first time I’m starting to “get” Burnham. She’s the outsider character, the one trying to learn to be human. Headslap.


Then it’s back to the Mudd mayhem. Rainn Wilson plays Harcourt Fenton Mudd with relish. There is a mix of genuinely despicable villainy with Mudd happy to vaporise Lorca or indeed any random crewman, but it’s all done with a glint in his eye and a smile on his face. You can’t help liking the guy just a little as he prowls around the ship, locking out the computer and appropriating the captain’s chair. All the while Mudd is thinking up more ingenious ways to kill Lorca which we get to see in an amusing montage.

So I really enjoyed this one. Like, as I was watching it I was thinking “this one is a little bit special”. Rainn Wilson steals the show as Mudd but special mention must be made of Anthony Rapp whose Stamets is turning out to be an interesting character and almost steals the episode back from Wilson.

May Mudd return.

Star Trek Discovery episode 6 review

So in this episode we focus mostly on the relationship between Sarek and Burnham. Sarek is taking off from Vulcan to go to some secret peace talks with some renegade Klingons who apparently are not part of the war. Turns out his companion on the journey is a Vulcan logic extremist. Said extremist blows himself up in the shuttle but Sarek somehow activates a forcefield and survives, although he is injured.

Meanwhile Burnham and Tilly are going for a jog on the Discovery wearing groovy t-shirts that read DISCO. I kid you not. Apparently they are available for purchase too. Anyway Burnham picks up Sarek’s distress through that useful katra-sharing bond they have and she convinces Lorca to go on a rescue mission.

By the way, Lorca has promoted that random starfleet guy (from the Klingon prison ship last week) to be his chief of security. Personally I’d do a bit of a background check and get some character references first. But that’s just me being suspicious of someone I just picked up on a Klingon ship.

The Starfleet lady admiral is annoyed with Lorca using the Discovery for an unsanctioned Sarek rescue mission. She also realises he has PTSD when he pulls a phaser on her after they spence some, ahem, intimate time together. She threatens to take away his command.

Burnham makes contact with Sarek where he is reliving the moment he most regrets, the day Burnham was told she couldn’t join the Vulcan expeditionary mission. There’s a nice little twist that the Vulcans would only allow one of Sarek’s “not quite Vulcan” children to join and he was forced to choose. So he chose Spock. And of course Spock would go on to do his own thing and join Starfleet when the time came.

But Burnham manages to rescue Sarek and get him back to Discovery.

And Lorca spies an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. If Sarek can’t go to the peace talks surely his lady admiral friend could go.

This isn’t going to end well, I think.

And it doesn’t. It’s a trap and lady admiral is captured by the Klingons who are not renegades after all.

Still it means Lorca stays in command. You’d almost think he planed it that way…

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