Kevin and Bethany take a well-deserved prison break to talk about their new favorite show. Chill out and stick around for a while, ’cause we’re taking a look at CW’s The Flash.
This week, Barry and his team take on a new, more dangerous villain than they have faced so far, and an old friend from Barry’s (relatively recent past) comes to visit him in Central City.
Spoilers abound under the cut.
So, I started watching The Flash because I was watching Arrow at the time (I’m behind on that show, too, by a lot) and, well, if you don’t watch that show let me just tell you that Felicity Smoak is a bright ray of sunshine and most of the time Ollie doesn’t deserve to have her on his team tbqh.
I had forgotten she showed up in this episode and may have actually squealed when I saw her. She shows up and gives Barry a hard time for not calling her up after waking up from his friggin’ coma because: dude, seriously, Barry.
She gets to meet Iris (and oh god, she and Iris should be BFFs, that would be awesome, are you kidding?) and the team who backs up Barry.
One of my favorite things she does is immediately start grilling them about Barry’s health – not just now, but in the future. Is he gonna age faster? Is Barry goNNA BE ALL RIGHT TELL ME YOU’RE NOT JUST TAKING HIS PULSE AND SHRUGGING. (Which is probably the EXACT SAME THING IRIS WOULD HAVE DONE IF SHE KNEW okay okay, I’m okay, I had to get one in, I feel better now.)
Anyway this episode they meet Leonard Snart, a.k.a. Captain Cold, who somehow gets hold of a freeze ray and uses it to wreak havoc and also kills a guy. (Okay. He kills several guys, but Barry only sees one of them.)
Someone dies, and Barry can’t stop it, and the reason someone dies is that Cisco (precious cinnamon roll that he is) made a weapon in case they needed to stop this strange kid with the ability to run faster than the laws of physics.
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. It’s just the right bombshell at just the right time to really screw everything up royally, and probably would have if it weren’t for Felicity Smoak.
Felicity Smoak is the veteran, in this case. She’s awkward and adorable and dorky and wore a sizzling hot black dress to trivia night (to be fair to her, she is used to a very different nightlife than what was presented to her) but she is also Experienced In These Matters. When Barry runs off without his communicator and everybody was like “well I guess that’s how he wants it” she’s the one who says “YOU! ARE! A! TEAM!”
Barry needs them as much as Central City needs him. He needs people who he know will always watch his back, and he needs to know that disagreements or interpersonal BS is not gonna change that – they are gonna be there for him. He needs to know that.
This is about friendship. Not just the person you occasionally meet for lunch, but the people who you know will back you up even if they’re mad at you, or if you’re mad at them, or if you move out of state for two years because your life falls apart and then show back up suddenly (talking from personal experience here).
Friends are the people who hold your hand when you watch Jessica Jones because it’s a little too close for comfort (but you wanna watch), who’ll take you to the park and talk to you about silly shit to cheer you up because you’ve just been broken up with, and who show up with vacuum cleaners (with LEDs) to threaten Captain Cold. That’s the core of what I look for in most things – people who bond, who’ve got each other’s backs, who love each other even when they’re pissed as hell at each other, and that’s an excellent takeaway for this episode.
(Though, truly, I honestly think that a full 80% of Snart not calling their bluff was that Cisco called him Captain Cold. Did you see the look on his face? He was barely concealing an “aww, that’s precious”. It’s not just me, right?)
The episode ends with Felicity and Barry both talking about how great they’d be for each other if they weren’t both pining for other people, and they share a sweet, sad goodbye kiss. It’s an interesting situation for them to be in – on paper, they’re a couple who look like they could work. They’re great friends, they clicked immediately, there’s plenty of chemistry, but they are too hung up on other people to make anything work out. And they both acknowledge what is, what could be, what won’t be, and essentially agree to move on from that like goddamn adults. (There is nothing wrong with saying “this could be right, but it’s not right now” and I like that this is addressed.)
Anyway, Felicity Smoak is my queen.
I, too, pretty much only watched Arrow1 for Felicity. Purest sunshine. I think she fits better on The Flash than on Arrow, but beggars can’t be choosers.
However, there’s one more person that really stands out on this series, and he’s pretty cool, you guys.
Leonard Snart is unique as one of the only regular, mundane, non-metahuman Muggles to not only keep up with Barry, but constantly put him on the defensive. The only other two so far are Oliver – who can basically match Barry’s speed with skill alone – and a particular tricky individual whom we’ll see in the second half of the season.
Snart, however, is smooth as ice, and he’s good at what he does. It’s not a matter of money, it’s a matter of pride. Pride in his work, pride in his professionalism, and he really doesn’t like when people deviate from his plans.
“You lost your cool. You know the rules. We don’t shoot guards or cops unless it’s the only option. We don’t need the heat.”
Leonard Snart matches the tone of The Flash in that he is an absolute treasure. He does what he does out of pure joy, the fun of the crime, and not only is he damned good at what he does, but he knows it. His leitmotif is sinuous and almost sensual, which match the purring tone of his voice, the vocal swagger that really just informs you how cunning and mischievous he can be.2
(I’m really in love with the music for this show, can you tell? Here, have a listen and see what I mean.)
A major part of the episode’s conflict is about how Snart’s cold gun was actually made by (and summarily stolen from) our own Cisco Ramon. And though Wells pushes the drama and drives a wedge between Cisco and Barry…Cisco’s kind of not wrong. They had no idea what kind of person Barry was going to end up being, they didn’t know if they ever needed to stop him.
I mean, let’s face it. You can yell at Batman for having prepared multiple ways to take down every single one of his teammates, but in a world where mind control and magic and other forms of coercion exist, you cannot sit there and tell me he was wrong for doing so. The primary fault is allowing these to be stolen and used against them, but how many times have they needed to stop each other from going too far?
…I may have Opinions.
But back to Snart. He loves it. He loves the cold gun, he loves outsmarting the police and Barry, and he takes genuine pleasure in doing what he does. It’s refreshing, really, because that’s it. No proving himself, no revenge plots, just knowing what you love and what you’re good at, and owning it.
That’s why, when Cisco gives him a name, he smiles. He takes it. Because they recognized him for who he is.
A peer. An equal.
The bulleted-point list!
- Did Felicity change her clothes on the way to S.T.A.R. Labs? Why?
- Barry falling off the treadmill will never stop being funny.
- Bartholomew Henry Allen.
- I’m still waiting for Cattle Rancher Bobby “Bovine” McFeely to have more relevance in the plot. He’ll be the linchpin of Season 3, I’m sure of it.
- Caitlin defending Cisco is the best. I love their relationship so much. The science siblings!
- The lightning in Barry’s eyes as he’s getting ready to do something awesome is my favorite.
Bethany the Martian is an abuser of parenthesis 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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- At the time of this writing, all the way through Season 3, which is what was available on Netflix at the time.
- Captain Cold’s theme gets mixed in with another character’s leitmotif in Season 2 and it’s amazing.