This week we’re spending quality time with friends and family. Grab a latte and chill, because it’s time to take a look at CW’s The Flash.
Family is an interesting thing, isn’t it? We’ve discussed before the importance of found family vs. the kind you’re saddled with, and this week’s episode is no exception.
The full phrase, after all, is “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb“1. Which means that it’s the family you choose that is the most important, and can result in the strongest interpersonal bonds you can ever find.
Often this includes members of your blood family. Sometimes it doesn’t. This is your choice, and yours alone.
Sometimes your family is toxic, and you have to cut them out of your life. Sometimes, of course, your family will stick a bomb in your head to get you to case a vault with them.
Though this episode is old, spoiler warnings are in effect after the cut.
We talked about parallels last episode, and I’m really sorry but it’s going to keep coming up. Parallels and duality are the major themes of the season.
For example, here we have two women with awkward family relationships. One has a father who has been emotionally abusive, a liar, and who created a rift between her and her other family members for as long as she can remember.
The other one is Lisa Snart.
Folks, I think Iris is a bit too quick to forgive Joe. Should she have? Absolutely, but that was a lot of information to get all at once, and let’s not forget that it comes on the heels of the Year Of Gaslighting that was the whole thing with Barry. Joe has been lying to her about her mother, he lied to her about Barry (and got both Barry himself and her boyfriend Eddie to keep to the lies as well) – she has to be wondering how deep the rabbit hole goes. What else has he lied about, in the name of Keeping Iris Safe?
Should Iris have accepted Joe’s reasoning? Once again, I believe so, but it was too much, too fast, in my opinion. I don’t know, I’ve never been in this kind of a situation so I could be way off base here.
The point, though, is that Iris does forgive him, because they love each other. This may be an awkward and inappropriate lesson to take from this, but it’s there nonetheless.
Contrast that to the physically abusive and murderous father of Leonard and Lisa Snart. Who beat his children, placed a bomb in Lisa’s skull, and did it all so he could get Len’s cold gun for a job.
Speaking of Len, the parallels between him and Barry are put in place as well. Both had Jailbird Dads; both had sister figures they loved more than anything else. Barry in particular keeps trying to make the connection between the two of them, trying to say that Snart is a hero inside – despite seeing absolutely nothing about this aside from caring about his sister. This comes just in time to be the lead-in to the next Arrowverse spin-off, Legends Of Tomorrow2.
While all this is going on, of course, the man from the alternate dimension who calls himself Jay Garrick builds a stabilizing device around the rift in S.T.A.R. Labs. Caitlin continues to be smitten. Dr. Stein has another episode, this time bursting into Firestorm flames, and then inverting them (red to blue, white eyes to black).
I don’t have a lot more to discuss in-depth, so let’s get to the scattered bullet-pointed thoughts:
- I love the cold open of Iris calling Barry from a crime scene. It really sets up their dynamic as friends-but-also-superhero-squad, and once again is just further proof that Iris should have been part of Team Flash from day one.
- Actual comics readers, can you tell me if Iris and Lois get into an investigative-journalism-off at some point? [EDITOR’S NOTE: I Googled like crazy, but all I could find was a horrible page from Superman v1 #311.]
- Barry runs headlong into the breach. Everyone is like oh Barry
- The Flash drink is adorable, I love how much the city loves their hero.
- “Snart!” “Barry!”
- Snart just leaves Barry with the check.
- Is that the same villain bar from “Rogue Air”? Does Barry just now go to dive bars and hang out with the Rogues on his off days?
- Patty makes forensics puns!
- Len really seems actually sorry that Barry “died”. Although he didn’t react when he showed back up alive, he was genuinely remorseful.
- Is this because he’s ~secretly a good guy~? Or, more realistically, the fact that it’s one more thing to chalk up to his father’s assholery, especially since Barry was acting to save Lisa just as much as Len was.
- All right, all right, we finally got to it. Freezing the laser beams. Freezing. The laser beams. This show runs on Silver Age Science and just doesn’t give a fuck.
- Okay, it’s going to bug me if I don’t get this off my chest. They handwave it a bit afterwards by saying that the security system itself is frozen and needs to thaw, but freezing the laser beams.
- He froze the laser beams. I mean, brain-breaking as it was, that was cooler than being cool, it was ice cold.3
- I actually really genuinely like the Cisco/Lisa ship. I really hope they bring it back.
- HI, HARRISON WELLS!
I can’t talk about the Joe/Iris’ Mom/Iris thing.
I’ve been trying to write this for a couple of days now, and I keep going in circles. I do understand Joe’s reason for lying to Iris. I’m sympathetic, even. But the plot point infuriates me beyond being reasonable about it, and it’s not fun, or funny, or interesting. So I’m gonna take a hard pass. Okay? Okay.
I will edge at something around the plot point, though. Related.
While convincing Joe to tell Iris the truth, Barry points out how strong and wonderful and forgiving Iris is. Barry has learned from his mistake with Iris, and is passing that lesson on to Joe. (And, let’s be clear, whether or not Joe has some burden to bear – and I would argue there is some – for keeping Barry’s secret from Iris, it was still Barry’s secret to tell. It was Barry’s responsibility to reveal that, so the majority of the fault lay with Barry, which he owned up to last season.) It was a great moment, and something Joe takes to heart.
I don’t know what it is about Leonard Snart that makes him so fun to watch, exactly. There’re a lot of factors, I suppose, and a lot of credit due to Wentworth Miller. But he’s always fun to watch, and Lisa Snart is also a delight, especially her flirtation with Cisco.
(The wonderful thing about Lisa is that she adores Cisco as he is, for the same reasons we all love him. He’s adorable, dorky, smart, and is super into naming the bad guys. So much so that she specifically asked him to give her a cool villain name. She is forward and unapologetic about it, and that’s fantastic.)
Cisco and Lisa’s bond is wonderful, and I think his empathy and compassion are what really make this plot point turn. He’s willing to reach out to her, across the boundaries of all that separates them, and talk to her. His compassion lets her trust him when it comes time to use a super-powered gun to pull a tiny bomb out of her body. It’s what makes the whole ship believable.
- I like that they point out that the reason the cafe has a drink named for the Flash is because he helped rebuild it.
- Cisco’s imitation of Professor Stein is hysterical.
- I don’t think Len actually hates the Flash, as his father believes. I think there’s antipathy mixed with respect, too complex to boil down to a simple emotion. I do think it’s definitely something he’d tell people, though.
- That little scene between Linda and Iris where Linda is super pumped about Iris’s story being such a big deal. It’s just really super nice, okay?
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- I prefer the term “kith and krannt“, myself. Are you looking forward to Andromeda? Because I am.
- Kate’s awesome! Go read her stuff!
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