Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Flash Season 1, Episode 12: Crazy For You

This week The Flash takes a break from the Dr. Wells/Reverse Flash storyline, as we focus mainly on Barry and his dad, along with the requisite Firestorm subplot. We also get to see Caitlin finally loosen up a bit. Eh, make that a lot. Oh, and there's a villain of the week who seems like more of an afterthought than a real threat.

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
Shawna Baez is a young woman with the ability to teleport to anyplace she can see. She can apparently think of nothing better to do with this gift from the gods than use it to spring her no-good boyfriend Clay Parker out of Iron Heights prison. After the escape, Barry examines Parker's cell and finds some of Baez's jittery DNA that's been altered by her power. Detective West arranges for Barry to briefly meet his father Henry in the cell, without the usual pane of glass between them.

Henry's tired of slowly rotting in jail, so he begins doing some amateur snooping and discovers that Clay owed money to local crime boss Marcus Stockheimer. Henry apparently forgets that snitches get stitches, and ends up getting stabbed for his trouble. 

Meanwhile, Barry and Caitlin, depressed over the dismal state of their love lives, go out to a bar as friends. They sing karaoke, Caitlin gets sloppy drunk, Barry holds her hair back while she vomits and then innocently takes her home and tucks her into bed.

Cisco interrogates Hartley Rathaway, aka the Pied Piper, who claims to know what happened to Ronnie Raymond (Caitlin's fiancé) the night of the particle accelerator explosion. Cisco stupidly lets him out of their homemade prison in order to advance the plot. Piper shows Cisco security footage of Ronnie merging with Dr. Martin Stein, causing all the Firestorm fans in the audience to soil their garments. Rathaway escapes, but not before Cisco gets in a few surprisingly effective punches, which absolutely doesn't point to the fact that he'll become Vibe one day.

Shawna (who Caitlin nicknames Peek-a-Boo) and Clay rob an armored car and attempt to flee. As they drive through a tunnel on their way out of the city, Barry knocks out all the lights, plunging it into darkness. Since Peek-a-Boo has to see where she's going, this prevents her from teleporting away. Clay manages to escape somehow.

Barry then visits his snitch dad in the slammer. Henry tells him that he's very proud of him, and pretty much comes right out and tells him he knows he's the Flash. At this point, the only person who doesn't know is Iris.

In the tag scene, two unlucky sewer workers are inspecting the lines when they hear strange noises.They see the name "Grodd" scrawled all over the sewer walls, right before they're attacked by a huge gorilla! Maybe someone flushed a gorilla down the toilet?

Thoughts:
• When Barry's discussing his ever-increasing speed with the STAR Labs Gang, he says, "I know I can get even faster!" Creepy Dr. Wells says, "And I'm sure one day you will." Somehow he manages to keep from saying, "Heh, heh, not that I'm from the future or anything. Nope, perfectly normal 21st Century man here. Heh."

• Nightcrawler, er, I mean Peek-a-Boo's power looked pretty cool, and was actually fairly well thought out. It makes perfect sense that you'd need to see where you were going to teleport, so you didn't materialize inside a wall or something.

• I've never heard of Peek-a-Boo, but she really is from The Flash comic. She first appeared in 2002, long after I stopped buying and reading them. The comic version of Peek-a-Boo is a bit different— there she was named Lashawn Baez (why the name change?) a medical student who attempted to donate a kidney to her ailing father, but instead developed teleportation powers (wha...?). She then used teleportation to try and procure a kidney, which led to a run-in with the Flash. 

According to her official history: "Peek-a-Boo can teleport by breaking down her molecular structure and then reassembling her body elsewhere by unconsciously entangling her molecules with those local to her destination. Whenever someone touches her, she automatically teleports a short distance away, making her difficult to capture." Wow, that took a lot of words to say absolutely nothing.

At least the TV version didn't wear roller blades.

• During his first battle with Peek-a-Boo, her boyfriend Clay Parker shoots at Barry. The instant the bullet touches the back of his neck his super-speed automatically kicks in. He's then able to grab the bullet before it kills him.

This exact same scenario happened in The Flash comic in the late 1980s. There Wally West, who became the Flash after Barry Allen, was watching a movie when an armed gunman opened fire in the crowded theater. Wally was puzzled when the film appeared to freeze, and realized his super-speed had activated due to a bullet pressing against his neck. He was able to zoom around the theater and collect the rest of the bullets and capture the gunman before the audience even realized anything had happened.

• Caitlin calls the STAR Labs Holding Unit their "Supervillain Basement Jail," which is pretty darned close to what I've been calling it the past few months.

• At the bar, a very drunk Caitlin talks Barry into singing a karaoke duet with her. The writers seem to be doing their best to thaw Caitlin out a bit, which is a good thing. She was pretty stiff and uninteresting in the first few episodes, so any chance she gets to let her hair down a bit is welcome by me.

We also learn that Caitlin sings like a rusty hinge. Barry, however, can sing quite well, as Grant Gustin puts the time he spent on Glee to good use here.

The reason Barry and Caitlin are in this bar in the first place is because it's supposedly one of Clay and Shawna's regular hangouts. We're supposed to think it's a seedy bar on the bad side of town, but it looks like a pretty nice place to me.

• Barry meets reporter Linda Park in the bar. In the comic, Linda was the Wally West Flash's girlfriend, and later his wife (!).

• Linda very elaborately explains her hi-tech phone's amazing ability to transfer contact info to Barry's simply by "bumping" it. She did everything but pull out diagrams explaining how this brain-melting technology works. Um... haven't most phones been able to do this since at least the late 2000s?

• This is a pretty minor nit, but what the hell. With Shawna's help, Clay's able to steal enough money to pay off his debt to Marcus Stockheimer. When Stockheimer sees Shawna's teleportation abilities, he exclaims, "Holy crap!" Somehow I think a crime lord's vocabulary would be a bit more colorful than that.

• Detective West and the Central City Police raid Stockheimer's headquarters. Peek-a-Boo teleports away with Clay. West yells, "Damn!" and appears to give up. He should have started looking around the hideout. Peek-a-Boo can only teleport to where she can see, so she's probably still somewhere inside the building.

• Hartley Rathaway expertly manipulates Cisco into letting him out of his cell, so he can show him what happened to Ronnie. Of course he ends up incapacitating Cisco and escaping. Did anyone NOT see this coming? Besides Cisco, that is?

• Cisco has some impressive fighting moves! Cisco gives Rathaway quite the beatdown before he cheats and gets away. I'm assuming this demonstration of Cisco's fighting prowess was meant to lay the groundwork for when he eventually becomes Vibe, which I hope will be at least a couple of seasons from now. We need to let the Flash have a whole season to himself before we start building the TV Justice League.

• Cisco confesses to Caitlin that he sealed Ronnie inside the reactor, which led to his death. Caitlin surprisingly forgives him and says what happened that night (the accelerator explosion) wasn't anyone's fault. Well, no one's fault except Dr. Wells, who activated it even though he knew full well it would likely explode.

• Barry captures Peek-a-Boo, but what happened to Clay? Did he just run away while no one was looking? Or did he teleport away? Dr. Wells said something hand-wavy about Clay's cells taking on Shawna's abilities. It was all pretty vague and I'm still not sure what actually happened to him.

• In the prison hospital, Henry Allen tells Barry that he's proud of him, and implies that he knows he's the Flash. Once again, the Flash's true identity is the worst-kept secret in Central City.

Henry's seen his son about three times in the past year and he was able to figure out he's the Flash. Meanwhile, Iris sees Barry virtually every day and still has no clue.

• Iris tells Barry that she's afraid she'll get fired from the newspaper if she doesn't come up with some primo Flash content, and pronto. Shortly afterward, the Flash meets Iris in an alley and hands her a story, saying she's the only reporter he knows.

She should have figured out his identity right then. She just became a reporter, and admits she hasn't actually written any stories yet, so there's no way the Flash would know what she did for a living.

• Iris also manages to snap a photo of the Flash, in non face-vibrating mode, which I'm sure will become a major plot point sometime around the season finale.

• GRODD! I can't believe I live in a world in which we actually get to see a live action Gorilla Grodd on TV. Excuse me while I go scream like a little girl into my pillow.

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