[Review] The Flash (2014) – 1×05: “Plastique”

Bethany’s blowing up her social media about this show. That’s more of a general reaction, though, but this week in particular is fairly explosive. Put yourselves at ease, ’cause we’re taking a look at CW’s The Flash.

Hey, guys, Kevin’s having a rough week, so he’s not gonna be joining me this time. The plan is to see him next week. You know what that means? You’re stuck with me, and only me! MWAHAHAHAHA!

This week: we meet a cool new metahuman and I am angry about everything. Spoilers under the cut, guys!

Okay, a lot happened in this episode. Let’s break it down.

Plot A: The team meets a metahuman named Bette. She’s a former soldier who can make things into bombs when she touches them. An evil general is trying to use her towards immoral ends, Dr. Wells encourages Bette to try to kill said general, and she ends up fridged. Also Gorilla Grodd makes an appearance.

Plot B: Gaslighting Iris West.


I promised in my first appearance on Flashcaps that I wouldn’t talk about this much because it’s going to be a recurring theme and it’s gonna get repetitive, but in this episode it’s enough of a plot element that it not only would be conspicuous if I didn’t cover it, but they upped the ante this episode and I am an angry, angry Martian.

I’m so mad there’s gonna be a list.

The breakdown:

  • Iris West actually sees the Flash in person at a crime scene.
  • (He’s still referred to as The Streak, which makes me think of this song every time).
  • Barry knows she saw him because he was there
  • He tells her she didn’t see anything and she was drunk anyway
  • (That’s gaslighting, guys. Like, textbook. It’s crazy-making and I have been there and I like this show and hate that this is in it.)
  • He tells her to stop doing something she’s obviously pretty passionate about and really enjoys.
  • He’s very manipulative in the ways he tries to get her to stop.
  • (Actually he gets her to double down and sign her name to her previously anonymous blog which will give her reporter cred later so suck it, Allen.)
  • He shames her for doing the Thing when she has several very good reasons for doing the Thing.
  • He cannot give her any actual reason to stop doing the Thing other than a pretty unfounded “it’s not safe”.
  • Dude. Neither is driving. Or living in Central City.
  • She’s an adult she can make her own decisions about risk v reward, Jesus
  • The Thing is Not. Hurting. Him.

I’ve been fairly tolerant of him going “oh haha that’s not really a Thing” because that’s…okay, it’s not great. He knows it is, in fact, a Thing. However, in those cases, he’s not dismissing her personal experiences. It’s the equivalent of waving off UFO sightings. Not cool, given his personal knowledge of the truth, but not particularly actively harmful. (Still shitty, but forgivably shitty is what I’m getting at here.)

Barry says that he wants to tell Iris. But, uh, there’s nothing really stopping him? Like, Iris knows that Barry is hiding something. The only reason he’s not telling her is, idk, Joe asked him not to? I guess? Barry even pointed out that it’s actually more dangerous, now, for her not to know what’s going on than it is for her to continue down her current path whilst being ignorant of what’s going on.

(Joe…wants her safe? But she’s an adult and he doesn’t get to make decisions for her unless it’s some kind of medical proxy situation? And I still don’t get anybody’s motivation on this?)

For Barry: What are the consequences of telling Iris? Joe is mad about it for a while, Iris is MEASURABLY SAFER and THE PEOPLE SHE LOVES QUIT MAKING HER FEEL CRAZY. Suck it up, Allen, this is an awful goddamn way to treat someone you supposedly care about.

When I watched this episode the first time, I seriously thought this whole episode was building up to telling Iris, because it is such an unreasonably dick move for Barry to go “haha you didn’t see anything, drunky” that the ONLY acceptable follow-up is “I’m sorry I said that, I’m sorry I’ve been weird, here is the truth, I didn’t know how to tell you and I thought it was safer if you didn’t know, but I shouldn’t be making decisions for you. You’re my friend, I love you, and I hope you can forgive me.” And, just like the first time I watched this episode, I am very pissed that this wasn’t the resolution.

(I knew it wouldn’t be, but still.)

Semi-related: you know what? You know WHAT? I do not care that Barry is “in love” with her. I just don’t. It’s not that crushes on friends can’t turn into something more (healthy or unhealthy – I’ve been there both ways so it’s familiar territory) but his love for Iris does not seem to translate to respect. If he respected her as an equal, he would not keep her in the dark. I hope they never get together.

(They probably do. I know how television works. But they better earn it or grrrrrrrr.)

At the end of the show, because Iris refuses to stop doing something she is passionate about and enjoys doing that is NOT HURTING HIM, Barry FRIEND DUMPS HER. I know I mentioned it once already but…dude.


We need to put Barry Allen in timeout, guys.

I was actually gonna rant about the A plot… but there’s really not much there and I’m kinda tired.

Anyway, a nice lady got fridged, evil dudes ruled the day. Blah blah blah.

Wells is…he closes on Snidely Whiplash levels of evil in this episode. It’s good to keep periodically reminding people that Wells is not a good guy but I almost expected him to tie someone to the train tracks.

Honestly, it felt like the writers had written themselves into a corner with Bette. They didn’t want to put her on the team but they couldn’t figure out a way to have her leave the episode without killing her, I guess. So, like, they just went “uh she dies because Wells is secretly evil. it gives Barry the feels. Whatever.”

Congratulations on killing off your first female metahuman to give Barry a few minutes of being bummed about it!

(Oh, and we saw Gorilla Grodd for a second. Which is actually kind of cool but I’m too mad to talk about it.)

I’m, uh, gonna go drink some nice herbal tea or something, try to calm down. See y’all next week. I’ll probably be less mad.

(No promises.)

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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