Kevin and Bethany have no bars on their expectations for this week’s episode. Sing out when you’re ready, because it’s time to take a look at CW’s The Flash.
People do a lot of crazy things for love. This is a known fact, proven true time and time again across the multiverse. Love is what binds the universe together. It’s the power the Dark Lord knows not. It inspires people to hide swords in rocket launchers. It lifts us up where we belong, where the eagles cry on a mountain high.
It’s a curious thing, it makes one man weep and another man sing.
There are so many songs about it that Meat Loaf decided that a twelve-minute song about what he wouldn’t do for love was, in fact, the shorter list.1
There’s a lot going on this week, but about 95% of it comes back around to what we would do for love.
Though this episode is old, spoiler warnings are still in effect after the cut.
One of the things I’ve always appreciated about this series is that its expressions of love are not restricted to the romantic. I’ve talked before about the comparisons between blood family and found family, and how neither of which is more or less “real” than the other.
I’d even go so far as to say that romantic love takes a backseat to the displays of familial and platonic love in this episode. Shauna Baez breaks her boyfriend out of prison so they can run away together, but is repeatedly used for her powers – first by the boyfriend, who bails on her when it looks like she’s going to get caught, and then by the boyfriend’s crime boss.
Interspersed with this, of course, is the love of Barry’s dads, and how they do whatever they can for him. Cop Dad manages to get an in-person visit arranged between Barry and Jailbird Dad while Barry’s at Iron Heights investigating the breakout.
Jailbird Dad, for that matter, puts himself in harm’s way multiple times trying to get information that will help Barry’s case. Because Henry Allen was not fooled for one minute back in Episode Three when Barry blurred his face. He knows his son. And he knows his son is the Flash.
…shut up. You’re crying.
Parallel to that is the constant Science Siblingosity, where Barry and Cisco bicker cheerfully about the suit, or Cisco does things and talks to people he hates to try to help Caitlin – although it should be said that Cisco also liked Robbie quite a lot as well, so it was also for his own benefit to try to research what happened with F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M. (We’re not going to use that abbreviation again, promise.)
There is a very minor ship tease between Barry and Caitlin, which normally I’d be all over, but honestly the two of them work so much better as friends – as I’ve said multiple times – and you will take the Science Siblings away from my scorched and twisted corpse.
Barry cares a lot about Caitlin, and taking care of her after the Bar Incident is incredibly sweet, and proper friend behavior.
What would all of these people do for love? We’ve seen that throughout the entire episode.
(We just don’t have a twelve-minute song about it.)
Things to note this episode:
- SCIENCE. SIBLINGS.
- Drunk Caitlin is my everything.
- You fucked up a perfectly good monkey is what you did. Look at it, it’s got a murdercave.
This episode was a fun return to format! We have a villain of the week and honestly it was really fun (Drunk Caitlin is SO GREAT) so I’m gonna hyperfocus on one thing and maybe touch on some other stuff because why not?
So, remember back in Episode Four, when Snart got his hands on a weapon Cisco made and wreaked havoc with it? It’s been a little while, but I wanted to bring it up because, at the time, I pointed out that the team crisis this created in the episode was only as much of a crisis as it was because of timing. In fact, let’s grab a quote.
“This could have shattered this team, because it came at a crucial time. If they were a newer team, Barry might have been more willing to jump over that stumbling block, he may have felt less betrayed. If they were more established and experienced, it probably wouldn’t have been such an issue.”
In this episode, Cisco let Hartley escape. And yes, he was seeking information that will probably prove very important. He took some precautions. But you know, I know, and Cisco knows that Hartley was using Cisco to get free. There’s no way around it. Hartley is dangerous, and came as close as anyone’s come to truly killing the Flash, and opening the door to that cell was an irreversible decision.
This is a dangerous man to have on the loose (regardless of my feelings on the shady logistics of the secret prison) and while the cold gun Snart got hold of took several lives, Cisco made it for a good reason. At the time, they truly didn’t know if Barry was untrustworthy or dangerous, and it pays to be prepared. I still don’t blame him in the slightest for doing what he did. It wasn’t his fault that the gun was stolen, and I honestly feel like Cisco took a lot of undeserved blame.
Hartley escaping? That was Cisco’s fault. It’s on him. I don’t say this to impugn Cisco, because I understand his actions. I cannot say that, in his place, I wouldn’t do the same thing. But he still bears the responsibility for it.
I have to disagree with Kevin here, a little. Cisco is not digging into this for Caitlin (whom he, undoubtedly, loves dearly). If it had been just for her sake, he’d have stopped when she asked him to. I’m sure that’s part of it, but I do think it’s mostly for himself.
Not only was Ronnie his friend, but Cisco is suffering from extreme, crushing guilt about what happened to Ronnie – he’s the one who locked Ronnie in. At Ronnie’s request, sure. Within reason, of course – one could argue that it had to be done. (I’m not sure but this is Silver Age science shit so I’m just rolling with that assumption.) Lives were saved. But that doesn’t make Cisco feel any less awful.
So, yes, Hartley escaping? That’s Cisco’s fault. He didn’t bring anybody in on his decision, he didn’t ask for help, he just did what he felt he had to get the answers he needed.
And yet, Cisco didn’t have to work at all to earn forgiveness. Wells was disapproving and Caitlin was angry for a minute, but once everyone understood his motivation…I won’t say it was okay, because this is gonna come up when Hartley comes back. But the anger dissolved. Compassion and understanding took its place. It really shows how far they’ve come as a team, and a family. This is like the opposite of last episode, where things seemed to regress – this is genuine progress.
Bullet points, because lists are fun!
- Shawna, more than any other Villain Of the Week so far, probably really just needs regular counseling sessions and some compassion. She screwed up big, but she’s not irretrievable, and I hate the idea of her being locked up forever (possibly in inhumane conditions) for being stupid about someone she loved.
- I know it’s for TV reasons (they have one set with a cell) but it genuinely looks like they’re using the same cell for everyone and it’s a little confusing. At least give the cell different placards or something?
- I wonder if Shawna’s powers work on line of sight, or if it’s anywhere real she can see. Like, if she were watching a live traffic cam feed in Texas, could she go there? Maybe she could do work release or something? She’s just a thief, she’s not like the poison gas dude who MURDERED THE FUCK out of people (and would do it again, if given a chance).
- Her metahuman cells slowing down without light = Shawna has to be able to see where she’s going doesn’t make any sense to me.
- *handwave* ~Silver Age~
- Barry kinda ruined the “trying to help Iris” thing he did early in the episode when he admitted that he was doing it hoping it would change her mind about him.
- But this episode was about closure, and it ended on him going on a date with a nice-looking young lady he met in a bar. Like a normal person! (So I’ve heard, anyway.) Good job!
- (I 100% believe that she gave him her number based on the fact that he can sing and was cool about being called up onstage with his adorably drunk friend.)
- (Also, that makes his gesture as the Flash at the end much more genuine – he’s not trying to get Friend Credits for it, he just genuinely wants to help her out at work.)
- SNEAKY IRIS, SNAPPIN’ A PIC
- Jail Dad is not at all fooled by Barry’s “who? me?? the Flash??? surely you jest!!!!” act and gives him a wonderful Proud Dad speech and…yeah. It’s great.
- (Related – I still think Iris not having even the smallest hint of “could Barry maybe be the Flash?” is a problem with the writing and overall arc of the show.)
- Barry helping Caitlin when she’s drunk is probably the greatest friend moment. I don’t care that it was (probably) intended to be a ship tease. That whole scene of him taking care of her after she started getting sick was wonderful, and really just struck me as friends being friends? Anyway, it was sweet.
- The whole “I wouldn’t blame you for taking a peek” thing was very sweet, IMO, because it is really impossible for Barry to undress and redress Caitlin without seeing something, and she was trying to reassure him that it was okay and she didn’t mind. That’s what I got out of it, anyway.
- I know it was too fast for us to see but that’s the speed Barry moves at. He saw something, and he was a gentleman about it, because they’re friends. She was just trying to make sure he didn’t feel bad about it, because they’re friends.
- I spent half the episode wondering where I’d seen Linda before (the girl Barry ends up going on a date with) before remembering that she was a character on The Vampire Diaries. (TVD fans: Anna from the first season? She and Jeremy Gilbert had a thing.)
- Her name is Malese Jow and she’s a fellow Oklahoman. She’s from Tulsa! (Fun facts for all to enjoy!)
- GORILLA GRODD!!!!
- (I am unreasonably excited about this.)
Bethany the Martian is an abuser of parentheses and works in the Pizza Mines. She can be found on Twitter (@martianbethany – the account is locked for safety, not privacy, most follow requests will be accepted) and on Tumblr (bethanythemartian).
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- The full, comprehensive list:
- Lie to you
- Forget the way you feel right now
- Forgive himself if you don’t go all the way tonight2
- Do it better than he does it with you
- Stop dreaming of you every night of his life
- Forget everything and see that it’s time to move on
- Screw around
- Which isn’t a creeptastic thing to say at all.