Have you seen this plushie? Contact Becky if you have, and meanwhile, here’s this week’s recap of CW’s The Flash.
Okay, so I missed reviewing the last episode because I was at Dragon*Con meeting John Wesley Shipp and Rick Cosnett (#ProtectEddieThawne2017) in person. This is probably for the best because the villain that week was Griffin Grey, and that unlocks my rants about The Flash: Fastest Man Alive‘s story arc and how to do 90% of your Flash writing wrong. Starting with– nope. Not doing that.
Spoilers under the cut.
In this week’s episode, Barry’s still powerless, Caitlin’s still a prisoner at the Speed Menagerie, and Wally is still uninformed about the family secret. It’s like I never left!
…wait, Harry wants to do what? No. That has never worked out in the general positive, so let’s not repeat things already doomed to failure, okay? Get some new plot points, writer’s room.
The hologram obviously isn’t a long-term solution, but I love it in the short term for reinforcing that fisticuffs is not an essential part of how the Flash protects the city. It also allows Cisco to be a nerd, and Iris to be an active part of the team and co-strategist.
A quick visit to Henry Allen reinforces that Harry has the worst plan, don’t do that (again), and adds in the side note of Garrick being his mother’s maiden name. In another timeline, on another world, Henry might have been a Jay Garrick. He’s certainly fulfilling the traditional comics role here as the elder veteran the younger speedsters confide in. I really like having him back this episode, saying all of the things viewers are likely yelling at the screen.
It’s a regular family reunion day with Henry returning to Central City, Cisco running off to visit Dante, Joe and Wally hanging out at CCPD, and Zoom coming to Earth-1 (with Caitlin in tow) to take over the CCPD headquarters.
I get the parental knee-jerk reaction to throw Wally and Jesse in the speedster panic room to protect them, but you’ve got two brilliant, stubborn, young engineers with a drive to help people. Any amount of thinking that idea through would tell you that they’re not going to stay put. The better plan would have been to have them doing something to both help and keep them occupied, like involving them with building Harry’s Terrible Plan Mini-Accelerator (patent pending). Harry’s like the devil on one’s shoulder all episode. With every setback, every bad thing that happens, he’s there telling everyone that they must do this thing they all know has had consistently terrible side effects.
This episode also has Iris confessing her feelings to Barry, making his decision more difficult, but finally putting the traditional power couple of the Flash mythos on the same page. About time.
Of course we need our villain of the week too, and that comes in the form of Rupture – Earth-2 Dante Ramon – coming to murder Cisco for Reverb’s death…which exposes Earth-1 Dante to knowledge of the entire situation.
Watching Cisco and Dante deal with the distance that’s grown between them over the years is a poignant side story full of metaphors and family issues, one I think a lot of folk can identify with. In this instance, Cisco doesn’t live up to the Ramon family’s idea of “living a good life,” and he’s forced by circumstances to come out to Dante as a metahuman rather than choosing to. It’s a coda to Cisco’s long struggle with accepting his powers, and I certainly connected with the metaphor. I’m really glad it’s a story the writers chose to include. It’s not a perfect, clean happy ending in how it wraps up this episode, but I think it’s all the more powerful for that.
I feel like Barry made the right call at the episode’s midpoint in when he said “no” to exploding another particle accelerator. Being the Flash is wonderful, but everything else that came out of the initial explosion has generally been terrible for tons of people, and it’s just not a heroic risk to play. Unfortunately, Zoom goes and kills every unnamed CCPD officer we’ve had on screen this episode, along with Rupture. With the ongoing pressure from Harry, Barry finally opts to go through with the terrible plan. We need the Flash back; that’s the show. I just hate that this is the only way they can see doing it.
They do the “controlled” particle accelerator explosion, and Barry disintegrates into pure Speed Force energy, causing everyone to reasonably assume he’s dead. Said energy passes through Wally and Jesse (which I’m sure will have no speed-related side effects whatsoever), and Zoom shows up to gloat as Team Flash sinks into despair.
Next episode: somebody please punch Harry.
We open with a recap of Harry’s “OMG YOU WANT TO DO WHAT?!?!?!” plan.
The overall theme this week is duplicity in all its meanings, because after the recap we get Barry taking down a pair of robbers using Cisco’s new holo-projector. (You just know that, during its testing, Cisco uttered the phrase “help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; you’re my only hope” at least once.) Barry still doesn’t have his speed, and this isn’t going to stop Zoom, but it can at least keep Central City’s ordinary criminal element in check.
Harry is still gung-ho about getting Barry his speed back, but Cisco isn’t too keen on it when he gets a vision of his brother, Dante. Cisco goes to check in on Dante, who is still (surprise!) a self-absorbed prick. However, he’s nowhere near as bad as his Earth-2 doppelgänger, Rupture, who shows up to kill Cisco. Turns out Zoom set Rupture on Cisco by telling him that Cisco killed Reverb. Don’t these criminally murderous supervillains know that lying is bad?
Meanwhile, Zoom has taken over the CCPD, but spares the lives of all the officers because Caitlin begs him to. While she’s a prisoner, she manages to get to a cellphone and text Team Flash that Zoom is going to have Rupture murder the cops who are set up at Jitters. Team Flash puts together a plan wherein Holo-Flash darts around the coffee shop until Rupture is fully distracted, allowing the CCPD to tase him, bro. The plan works, and a network news cameraman is on the scene to capture the victory. When Zoom finds out, he views Caitlin’s actions as duplicitous and goes back on his promise to her, killing most of the cops himself. Then he kills Rupture for good measure and takes over the live news broadcast to tell the city the Flash is just a hologram.
This forces Barry to make the choice he didn’t want to make and go with Harry’s stupid-as-hell plan to get his speed back. The episode opened with a moment of duplicity directed towards the audience, making us wonder how Barry got his speed back before telling us he didn’t. It closes with one of these moments as well, when it makes us think that Barry is getting his speed back in Harry’s isolated particle accelerator explosion but he ends up being vaporized.
Oh noes, Barry’s dead?! Yeah, no, not buying it. Anyway, the stench of weed and the sound of snootchie-bootchies awaits us next time. Ciao.
George Hatch, who can be found on Twitter at @Raeseti, nearly wrote “the sound of weed and the stench of snootchie-bootchies,” and is now wondering what those would be like.
Becky Shire is everyone’s favorite Flash Guru, cosplayer and all-around badass. You can find her on Twitter at @ElfGrove.
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