[Review] The Flash (2014) – 1×14: “Fallout”

Kevin and Bethany have their marching orders. Grab some pizza and make yourselves comfortable, because it’s time to take a look at CW’s The Flash.


KEVIN

The problem with two-parters that aren’t really two-parters is that they still feel like the second half of a story. This is not normally an issue, of course – there’s nothing inherently wrong with two-part episodes – but it does bring the issue of having to make the continuation of the base storyline also self-contained, to stand on its own.

“Fallout” does a pretty good job of it, all things considered, but it really is dependent on the previous episode, more so than any other episode in a serialized drama. I feel like they should have just called it a two-parter and been done with it.

Then again, even with more obvious continuations, they still don’t do that with the titles. The closest they come is in the Season Two mega-crossover that also sets up the soon-to-be-spun-off Legends Of Tomorrow: “Legends Of Yesterday” and “Legends Of Today”, respectively.1

Let’s take a closer look at the fallout from last week’s episode oh I just got that.

Though this episode is old, spoiler warnings are still in effect after the cut.

If they had handled it any differently, I’d have said this episode was a bit much crammed into one. You have the continuation of the Firestorm plot from “The Nuclear Man”, the continuing subplot of Barry’s Upcoming Timetravel Fuckups, a standard-but-timely discussion of military policing on domestic soil and the casual disregard authorities have for marginalized citizens, the cathartic setup of Iris finally deciding she’s had enough of the runaround and starting to figure out the weirdness of S.T.A.R. Labs on her own, and another creepy Grodd scene.

And yet, they’re able to pull it off. It’s impressive, really – the pacing is natural and everything seems naturally layered in.

Things have been a bit scattered this week, so I’m just going to skip right to the similarly-scattered list.

  • Convenient there’s a Geiger Counter in the suit. And Bluetooth, and wi-fi, and a heart rate monitor and thermometer and all sorts of other sensitive electronics that can somehow survive the massive heat from friction and also Barry’s lightning.
  • I love that Cisco can translate from science to pop culture coherently enough for Joe to understand. Boiling down the theories of temporal instability and paradox into movies that Joe has seen that have used those as plot devices? Genius.
    • Predestination Paradox? Oh, that was Terminator.
    • Multiverse theory? Back To the Future Part II, man.
  • I mean, that’s what proper pop-culture references are supposed to be able to do. A+ gold star, folks.
  • Iris’s mentor now appreciates her journalistic integrity, but also has no problem manipulating her because he knows she has an in.
  • For that matter, Iris knowing that she’s being manipulated for her contacts, but not caring because she wants to tackle this story too. And the dude is finally taking her seriously.
  • Barry, I know you’re incredibly smart, and you use your powers for good. But dude. There is no excuse for having a pizza loaded with pineapple.
    • Bethany is a Pizza Master. COME AT ME BRO. FIGHT ME.
  • “The resulting kinetic energy buildup smashes a hole in the space-time continuum.” Ah, yes. The Superboy Prime Punches Time theorem.
  • Ronnie’s actor – Robbie Amell – is actually Stephen Amell’s cousin. The family resemblance is none more pronounced than when he’s arguing with Caitlin about moving out of Central City; the physical and vocal mannerisms are almost exactly the same.
  • Quantum enganglement! Ronnie feels what Dr. Stein is feeling, and vice-versa.
  • Firestorm’s leitmotif is a mixture of two very different sounds into one resonating harmony.

Race you!

  • It’s so great that Barry has another superhero friend. It’s what he’s wanted forever.
    • The Arrow doesn’t count; Ollie doesn’t have powers.
  • General Eiling already has multiple weapons designed to take down speedsters. This is really smart but also really kind of terrifying. Additionally, he’s already got them ready to go any time he operates in Central City, which is just good sense.
  • “You guys are like ten seasons of Ross and Rachel but smooshed into one year.” YOU FUCKING TAKE THAT BACK, FRANCISCO RAMON.
  • They really, really want to draw out this Grodd thing. But now Evil Science Dad is revealing himself to more people, so that’s also pretty neat.

[Angry Helicopter Noises]


BETHANY

Okay, first things first, pineapple on pizza.

Listen.

I have been in pizza for too long, I have seen too much, I do not care. I have seen a double anchovy double pineapple pizza. You can never come back from that. That was honestly the soggiest, grossest-smelling pizza I have encountered in my eight-ish years of being a pizza pro, and my car stank for days.

Also: when you have a pizza oven and dough at your disposal, an inventive disposition and boredom at your hands, you get some weird pizzas, okay? I have eaten black-eyed pea pizza and I have liked it. I have no stones to throw. Eat whatever weird shit you like.

For the curious, I do actually have a pizza pet peeve. People who order more than triple pepperoni on a pizza. Just…stop there. Seriously, if you order quadruple or quintuple pepperoni (or more, sweet fuck) A: I hate you, and I will concentrate my hate into every slice of pepperoni I put on the pizza for the interminable period of time it takes me to do that and B: there is no way that pizza is gonna be anything other than a soggy, gloppy, grease slick. I have seen it; it ain’t pretty. Stick to triple pepperoni at most (if you want your pepperoni to be crispy, go to double) or, if that’s not pepperoni-y enough for you, just go to the dadgum store and buy a bag of pepperoni and eat it straight out of the bag. It’ll be cheaper and if you really want it hot, microwave it on some paper towels or something. Dang.

(I don’t know how applicable this is to Chicago-style, which I have only had once and only vaguely remember, but that wasn’t the style featured, so.)

Er, right, the show.

Actually I’m still thinking about that pizza. It takes anywhere from 6.5 to 8 minutes to bake a pizza (at least on belt-fed ovens; I think brick oven pizza takes longer) so either Barry stole someone’s pineapple pizza (I think we can agree that this is unlikely) or he intercepted the delivery driver en route, and the driver was just so jaded that they didn’t care.

I mean, I once gave a ride to a guy who was crashing a party nearby (with pizza, which is why I was there). Complete stranger. We couldn’t find the party so he cut through a pasture. We were definitely trespassing at some point.

Got fifteen bucks out of it, though.

Really anyway, though:

This was a really great episode, I enjoyed the hell out of it.

Dr. Stein and Ronnie sniping at each other after they’ve been divided makes me think of people who were on a car trip with each other for far, far too long. Like, even if they’d been inclined to like each other or had been friends, I can imagine coming out of that hating each other. (I am in a gaming group with my ex-husband – not my choice, it’s just the way the social group is set up – so I only see him once a week and sometimes he does this thing where he fidgets and starts trying to spin his dice on their points and I have not lived with him in three years and I still want to scream STOP THAT STOP DOING THAT at him. I imagine he feels the same way when I start jiggling my leg and he feels the vibrations through the floorboards, so I restrain myself from knocking the dice out of his hand and flipping my shit. Point is: relatable.)

I do hope Joe gave Barry some kind of warning when they were on the way to the house that contained the worst moment of Barry’s life (which he then played in 3D). Barry honestly handled it pretty well, which maybe Joe thought he would. But, man, could that have just gone so badly.

I like that we delved deeper into talking about time travel for the episode, and exploring the different ways things could go in the future when Barry goes back to the past to try to save his mom. (Also, is it just me, or was Harrison’s Doc Brown impression surprisingly good, even for its brevity?)

When the military attacked and the Flash came to the rescue, it seemed like the Party Van was really close. Where is S.T.A.R. Labs in relation to the coffee joint? I got the feeling it was on the edge of town, and the coffee joint is kinda downtown-ish, right?. Was the Party Van, like, chilling close by and Barry dropped them off? Did he just carry the van???

(Look, it takes time to drive places. It’s actually probably one of those weird things that irritates me about TV, when they show people showing up in a vehicle somewhere in a frame of time that is either highly unlikely or completely impossible. Like, if you ever have free time, time yourself from the moment you start to leave the house to the moment you get back. Just roughly, is fine. For most of you, it’s gonna be longer than you think.)

This was such a satisfying subplot for Iris, this episode. They shouldn’t all be exactly this, but they all should be like this – she gets relatively little screen time, so when she’s onscreen it should always reinforce or explore her characterization, regardless of whether or not she moves plot. She’s too important to just throw her characterization on a plot grenade (especially if could have been done better by not sacrificing her characterization, ugh). This is the point I was trying to get to last week, but was too apoplectic to express very well. We know she’s going to be important in the future, but her characterization when she is incidental to the main plot of an episode has been kinda hit or miss.

To the list!

  • “I don’t know how Cisco did it, however…” I think Joe has embraced the Silver Age science thing that’s going down waaaay better than I have. He just rolls with it. I wanna know.
  • Dr. Stein kinda channels Doc Brown when he’s talking about time travel. Is it just me?
  • Regarding the metahuman turning into poison gas and expressions of disbelief, Cisco goes “Dude that was, like, week three.”
  • Caitlin’s black dress was awesome. With the kind of strappy thing going on at the top? Just excellent.
  • Stein took a hit from a stun baton and kept his mouth shut. That’s super impressive. Stone cold bad-ass.
  • You know, you combine that with the fact that he has memorized Morse code, and it’s not out of line to think that the good doctor might have had a hairy war experience. Dunno if that ever comes up, or maybe I’m off base, but just a thought for the future.
  • I actually thought they were trying to freeze Barry with the bomb and when they mentioned phosphorus, I actually yelled out loud “Did they just hit Barry Allen with white phosphorus?” because I was horrified. In the Shadowrun game I’m in, our chaotic evil (ish) characters regularly have debates over whether or not they should use the white phos grenades.
  • “We love you,” the departing Firestorm says to Mrs. Stein and Caitlin, which is…weirdly adorable?
  • Look, if anybody deserves to be left at the mercy of Gorilla Grodd, it is definitely General Asshole.
  • Firestorm just looks so, so cool. And the effect when the wonder twins combine is also really cool. A+, effects guys. A+

Kevin O’Shea is a writer and wannabe investigative journalist. You can find him on Twitter (@osheamobile), Tumblr (osheamobile), or shaking his head at the need for people to put pineapple on pizza, seriously people.

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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  1. I don’t know how it is on the discs, or through any of the other online purchases, but my Google Play Season Pass of the second season also included that crossover episode of Arrow, so that it was a cohesive story. It was very convenient and I really appreciated it.
    • I don’t know if my Season Pass for Season Three will include the episodes from Arrow, Legends Of Tomorrow, and Supergirl that are supposedly an interconnected mega-crossover. I hope it does, but I’m afraid it might be too much to ask.

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