Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Flash Season 1, Episode 15: Out Of Time

The Flash is back, after yet another lengthy and annoying break. Wow, so much happened in this week's episode— especially in the last fifteen minutes— that it could very well have served as the season finale. And this was only the fifteenth episode— I can't imagine what they've got planned for the actual end of the season.

The Flash has rapidly (heh) become my new favorite show, but as I've said before I'm kind of concerned that they may be moving too fast. Save some storylines for next season, eh guys?

On the other hand, I was an avid viewer of LOST, and spent six long, fruitless years waiting for that series to deliver answers that never came. So it's nice to see many of The Flash's questions being resolved in such a timely manner.

BIG HONKIN' SPOILERS AHEAD!

The Plot:
We start with a flashback to Episode 1, where we see criminal brothers Clyde and Mark Mardon escaping in a small plane. The plane was blasted by Dr. Wells' particle accelerator explosion, which naturally gives the Mardon boys weather controlling powers. Joe later kills Clyde Mardon.

Back in the present, Mark is now back in Central City to kill Joe and avenge his brother. His powers are much more formidable than Clyde's ever were, prompting Cisco to dub him the Weather Wizard. On the way to a crime scene, Barry sees what appears to be himself speeding past him, which you've gotta admit is kind of weird.

In the usual The CW teen drama crap that no one cares about, Barry and Linda go bowling, and inadvertently end up on a double date with Iris and Eddie. Linda and Eddie are both disgusted by Iris, who appears to have renewed interest in Barry. Whatever.

Iris' boss Mason Bridge suspects that Dr. Wells killed Simon Stagg (which he did). He tells Iris he wants her to start investigating Wells. Meanwhile, the Weather Wizard attacks Joe in his car, but Barry saves him.

Cisco invents a sonic screwdriver, er weather wand that can reverse the polarity of the neutron flow in the atmosphere, negating the Wizard's power. He presents the wand to Joe, and shortly afterward the Weather Wizard arrives at the police station and attacks. He unleashes a bolt of lightning at Joe, but grumpy ol' Captain Singh shoves him out of the way and is zapped. Barry arrives and uses the weather wand to shut down the Wizard's power. The Wizard utters a typical supervillain, "You haven't seen the last of me," quip and hurries off.

Barry zooms Capt. Singh to the hospital, where we learn he's been paralyzed by the lightning bolt. Iris starts poking her nose into STAR Labs business, sowing seeds of doubt about Dr. Wells to Cisco and Caitlin. Cisco gets Caitlin to keep Wells out of the Lab for a while, so he can investigate the containment field that Wells built to capture the Reverse Flash. Cisco discovers there's nothing wrong with the field, even though it failed and let the Reverse Flash escape. He turns it on, and sees there's a hologram of the RF inside-- which was used to fool them all into thinking they'd momentarily captured him a few episodes back.

Just then Dr. Wells walks into the Lab and congratulates Cisco for figuring it out. He tells him that he's really Eobard Thawne, and hails from the future. He came to our time in order to kill Barry for some reason, but accidentally killed his mother instead. Now he's trapped here, and is somehow training Barry to help him get Back To The Future. Wells then kills Cisco with a patented vibro-hand to the heart.

The Weather Wizard then abducts Joe and holds him hostage at Central City's inexplicable waterfront. He calls Iris to lure her there, and then whips up a tsunami (more on that later) in order to kill her and the entire city in front of Joe. Barry arrives with Iris. When he sees the not-tsunami bearing down on them, he realizes only the Flash can save everyone. He reveals his secret identity to Iris and begins running as fast as possible in order to create some kind of barrier against the not-tsunami.

Barry runs so fast he pokes a hole in the space/time continuum and goes back a day or two (passing his earlier self along the way, get it?) and finds himself in the past, where I'm sure he won't try to undo most of the events of this episode.

Thoughts:
• Apparently Barry's speed training has really paid off. He carries Joe out of his car just ahead of the Weather Wizard's lightning bolt, meaning he's now literally faster than lightning.

The speed of lightning varies depending on atmospheric conditions, but it generally moves at 224,000 mph, or 3,700 miles per second. That's pretty darned fast.

I'm assuming Barry somehow protected Joe's body when he zoomed him away from the lightning, since he wasn't killed by suddenly moving at such high velocities.

• Cisco gives Joe a magic "weather wand" that can neutralize Weather Wizard's power. This is a reversal of the comics, where the Weather Wizard was the one with a wand, and used it to control the weather.

Oddly enough when Cisco brings the wand to Joe, he places it carefully on a pedestal in the middle of the Central City police station, where anyone could pick it up. Why wouldn't Joe put it on his desk, or even better, carry it around?

• Speaking of the weather wand, it looks a lot like the Doctor's sonic screwdriver from Doctor Who. Just look at that thing! Look at it! It couldn't look more like a sonic if it tried. Was that intentional, since this episode dabbles in time travel?

• Iris the reporter finally does some reporterly things this week, as she starts investigating Dr. Wells.

I'm wondering though why her boss Mason told her to look into Wells, when it seems he's already collected enough evidence to put him away.

• So Dr. Wells is really Eobard Thawne. I guess that torpedoes the theory a lot of fans (me included) had that Eddie Thawne was secretly Eobard, and would someday, somehow become a second Reverse Flash.

I kind of worry that the series is tipping its hand too soon concerning Wells. Moving too fast, you might say. I guess they know what they're doing. And I suppose if they dragged out his mystery for five seasons we'd end up sick of it and stop caring.

• Kudos to actor Carlos Valdes as Cisco. He really nailed his confrontation with Dr. Wells/Reverse Flash/Eobard Thawne. It was obvious that he realized he was going to die right then and there, and no matter what he did, Wells would be infinitely faster and kill him anyway. Especially when Wells said, "Forgive me, but to me, you've been dead for centuries." Chilling!

Still, I was hoping he'd whip out some high-tech device at the last second to neutralize Wells long enough for him to escape. 

Ah well. I wouldn't mourn Cisco too awfully much. Thanks to this episode's time travel shenanigans, next week Barry will no doubt prevent him from being killed. In fact, I'm betting pretty much everything that happened in this episode— Caitlin seeing Dr. Wells' empty wheelchair, Captain Singh's paralysis, Iris professing her love for Barry and kissing him, Barry revealing his true identity to her will all be undone next week as the writers push the big red RESET button.

• Weather Wizard calls Iris and tells her he's holding Joe captive. He tells her to come to the waterfront alone, obviously intending to kill her in front of Joe. When Barry hears this, he actually accompanies Iris (at normal speed yet) to the waterfront!

I can't understand why Barry didn't just zoom to the waterfront, pick up Joe and get the hell out of there while the Weather Wizard was blinking. If he can outrun lightning...

This was nothing more than classic plot trickery. The only reason why he tagged along with Iris is so she could be endangered by the wave, they could have their camera-spinning kiss, and he'd be forced to reveal his true identity to her.

This is also the problem with having a character with super speed. Most any threat could be easily and instantly neutralized in a split second, so the writers constantly have to find half-baked reasons why Barry doesn't use his powers.

• Once again we see some more of that crazy malleable Central City geography. Now it's apparently next to the ocean. Based on the "Central" in its name, I kind of assumed it was, oh, I don't know, in the center of the country!

• The Weather Wizard conjures up a tsunami to wipe out Central City. Was the weather wand a one-use only deal? Couldn't Barry have tried it again? Or was it too small to have an effect on a phenomenon as big as a tidal wave?

• Whoops! Someone on the writing staff needs to pick up a science textbook. A tsumani is caused by the displacement of a large body of water, usually by an earthquake or underwater volcano. There's no type of weather that can generate one.

There is such a thing as a storm surge though, which is a large, damaging wave of water generated by the winds of a hurricane. They probably should have used that instead. Maybe "storm surge" doesn't sound as sexy as tsunami.

• I'm having trouble trying to figure out the time travel scene at the end. First Barry sees another, faster version of himself while he's running. Then he stops in an intersection and witnesses a series of distinctive events. Later he runs so fast he literally goes back in time, passes himself and stops in that same intersection and sees those same events. Huh? So where'd Past Barry go? Shouldn't there now be two of him? He went into his own past, right? His present and past selves should be standing there gaping at one another.

I gotta stop now, it's making my head hurt. 

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