This week’s episode absolutely gave us chills. Put your seat backs up and your tray tables in their full upright position, because it’s time to take a look at CW’s The Flash.
Home stretch, my friends. We’re almost at the end of Season One, and while there are quite a few plot threads that need to be resolved, this week’s episode does a great deal towards that end. It has action, it has intrigue, and it has our favorite lounging snow leopard hamming it up the way that only Leonard Snart can.
Despite how packed the episode is, however, it doesn’t feel forced. At least, to me, it doesn’t. It’s a natural progression from A to B to C, and the pacing is phenomenal.
Hold onto your butts.
Though this episode is old, spoiler warnings are in full effect after the cut.
Like I said, there’s really so much to talk about here, so I’ll focus on the major story beats before heading to the customary scattered thoughts bullet point list.
First off, we open with Harribard doing the monologue, which previously was exclusively the domain of Barry and, from time to time, Iris. It’s handled extremely well, too, in that we find out that the monologue is actually being recited in the underground bunker, directly to Eddie. I’ve always been a fan of playing with the medium like that, and it works really well.
Side note: What was “taken” from Eobard Thawne? All we know from him is the “go back in time because he hates and wants to kill Barry Allen” part, and he did that all himself. Got trapped in the past? His own fault. Lost his primary connection to the Speed Force in his attempt to murder Barry’s past outer child? Only has himself to blame there.
You fucked up, Eobard. It’s on you.
We also find out that he was using the wheelchair to recharge his internal Speed Force energy. And, you know, that brings up an interesting discussion – one that I’ve had once or twice with my Flash guru.
Barry’s lightning is yellow. In Season Two, we see that Jay Garrick’s lightning is yellow. Trajectory’s lightning, before she gets corrupted by drugs, is yellow. All non-evil speedsters’ lightning is yellow.
Zoom’s and post-corruption Trajectory’s lightning is blue. We find out the reason for it.
The Reverse-Flash’s lightning? Red.
Now, up to this point, all we’ve seen are Barry and Thawne. Thawne’s costume is yellow where Barry’s is red, and red where Barry’s is yellow. His lightning is red where Barry’s is yellow. We don’t question this, until Season Two’s blue lightning and the reason for it.
Why is Thawne’s lightning red?
Current speculation, in our conversations thus far, is because of the wheelchair. Because the connection to the Speed Force is, well, forced. Season Three, (as well as Legends Of Tomorrow‘s Season Two) have sort of thrown a wrench into this theory. But it’s still interesting, and still something I hope they expand on further.
Cisco is doing everything he can with the future tech, but even he has his limits. Gideon’s AI core? Nope, too weird, can’t figure that out in the short amount of time they had. The weird control cylinder in the particle accelerator pipeline? Don’t even think about it.
In the meantime, Eddie is discovered and rescued, still way at the beginning of the episode, because we’ve only got so much time left to finish up these plot threads.
There’s only one other big point I want to discuss before I get to my random notes. I’ve mentioned the differences between Barry and Oliver over and over again. Oliver, as Barry states at the end here, would use everything at his disposal to get the job done. He’s cold, he’s calculating, and he uses people to his advantage.
That’s not who Barry is. Joe knows it, we know it. Barry is the beacon of hope. Barry is the person who realizes what he can’t do, sticks up his middle finger, and tries to save everyone anyway.
“I can’t catch him. I can’t beat him. What I can do is save those people down there.”
That’s my Barry. That’s the Flash.
Snart, on the other hand…
“It’s true, I did, but here’s the thing. I’m a criminal, and a liar, and I hurt people, and I rob them. What did you expect me to do, not be what I am? I saw an opportunity to turn things to my advantage and I did. Who you’re really mad at is yourself. This is on you, Barry.”
The episode ends on Barry and Joe discussing the nature of the superhero business–
Wait. What? There’s more?
The pipeline’s reactivated? Thawne is out there, waiting for Barry? Barry brought friends?
It just keeps going, and we head right into what is, thus far, the most awesome action sequence in the entire season. The Reverse-Flash vs. the Arrow, Firestorm, and the Flash.
We’ve got killer special effects. We’ve got the Arrow-quality fight choreography. We’ve got Blake Neely’s leitmotifs for all the heroes and for Thawne, all mixed together in one amazing medley.
Things to note this episode:
- Cisco goes back for his drink, Caitlin glares at him but it turns out it’s a practical choice.
- We already know that Harribard will use the trapped metas however he can, and that he doesn’t care if they die. The threat to them is absolutely real, and Barry knows it.
- IRIS WEST TO THE MOTHERFUCKIN’ RESCUE!
- “But Lian Yu can.” I have major problems with putting people on Oliver Queen’s secret Chinese island.
- Joe lets the DA know that terrible things are happening. They acknowledge that the way they’re keeping people under S.T.A.R. Labs is really hinky.
- Len plays “Cold As Ice” on the jukebox.
- Everyone just walks right into S.T.A.R. Labs.. Oliver is right; they have like zero security there.
- Then again, over on Arrow, every single main villain gets into the lair every season. Oliver has no room to talk here.
- Len wants to remove himself from the grid. To be honest, that’s worth its weight in gold.
- Lisa Snart genuinely likes Cisco. I…uh. I kinda ship it.
- My Flash guru cosplayed Golden Glider once or twice. It’s one of my favorite costumes of hers.
- HELLO DOUG JONES! If you’re wondering why we never saw him before, that’s because he was the villain of the week over on Arrow. (Episode 3×19, “Broken Arrow”)
- …goodbye, Doug Jones.
- How did Snart sabotage the truck when Cisco only invented the power dampener just then? Well, Snart has field-stripped the cold gun over and over. He’s familiar with Cisco’s tech.
- One of Ferris Air’s test pilots disappeared. Hmmmmmmm.
- “Ever since the beginning, there have been three people in this relationship. You, me, and Barry.” Well uh
- (I ship it.)
- (Look, Barry Allen is biromantic asexual, and you can’t convince me otherwise. Barry/Iris/Eddie cuddlepiles are totally doable.)
- “Look, I might need a favor from you.” That favor is running all the way to Nanda Parbat to break Team Arrow out of the League of Assassins’ prison…and then not stay to help them with that.
In my very first Flash recap, I went on a couple of long rambles about this whole secret prison thing, and I’ve brought it up from time to time since.
I don’t think I’ve really gone off on this before, not full-blown. I’ve mentioned it more than once, but I really never blew up about it because I thought it was gonna be handwaved off, or changed early on. It seemed too dark to keep in the show. Later…well, later, I knew we were going to get here. I saved it up.
There’s no right to attorney, no court, no Miranda rights, no trial. No friends, no family, no phone calls. No moving beyond the few square feet of the prison cell.
Just straight to prison, indefinitely.
Not only is this not remotely legal, it is highly immoral. This amount of time in solitary, without any relief, is just not right. There are many aspects to this prison that are distasteful, and this episode left a bad taste in my mouth the first time I watched it. It’s such a moral gray area. And Caitlin’s “we’ve been a little busy” in response to Joe’s “hey, what about rehabilitation” is kind of flip.
They have a responsibility, especially since they have no legal oversight. And if they don’t have the time to run a prison, they should absolutely not have prisoners, even setting legalities aside. Not if they’re going to claim to be in any kind of moral right. Bottom line.
I understand Barry’s fear and anger and hopelessness. I get that he wants to help people and save the people who would otherwise die, and he’s not cavalier with the lives of even people he’s imprisoned. But he and the team put themselves in this position. This was bound to come down on their heads at some point.
I honestly don’t blame Snart for letting them out. I mean, from his perspective? This whole thing is bad news. (I don’t even buy the “I want them to owe me” thing. I just think he was balking at the purpose of the whole mission. I mean, you ever see a cat on a leash who doesn’t want to be? Like that, but mentally.)
I will say that the the fight at the end is so much fun. It’s exciting and there’s so much going on, and I just really like watching Oliver Queen punching people. It’s very satisfying.
(The everything amazing about Felicity Smoak and watching Oliver hit people is probably half the reason I stayed with Arrow as regularly as I did for a while.)
(I intend to catch up, but I used to watch every week.)
I’ve gone on too long and Kevin has hit a lot of the rest of the notes so here’s a short list to take us out:
- I adore Lisa Snart. I really do. She’s fantastic. That’s all.
- (Okay. I also love that she teases Cisco into making up a name for her. She has to know that he has a thing about it, and that scene was actually pretty adorable? Especially with Cisco’s little grudging smile that breaks out into a full grin. What an adorable goofball.)
- That tornado-arm power thing that Barry does is pretty cool and has been really useful but…I gotta admit, it’s really fucking goofy-lookin’ to me.
- Wells turns on the accelerator from inside the building and all I can think is “THE CALLS ARE COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!!!!”
- Hey, isn’t it really nice that Barry can just tell Iris “hey, I’ve gotta go, Cisco’s calling, Flash stuff” and there’s no lying or bullshit? Like, she just says “yeah, take care of that” and it’s fine.
- Isn’t that nice?
- Isn’t it?
- Isn’t it????????
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