Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Flash Season 2, Episode 9: Running To Stand Still

Now that The Flash has seemingly finished it's elaborate setup of Legends Of Tomorrow, the show can finally get back to focusing on its main character and its own storylines. It's about damned time.

This episode also sneaked in one last setup for Legends Of Tomorrow, as it sprung Captain Cold from Iron Heights Prison, leaving him free to join the team in January. It's too bad this will probably be his last appearance on The Flash for a while, as he'll be busy causing trouble on his own series. Cold and the Flash have an interesting dynamic.

This episode was about as packed as one can be. We had three villains, there were two burgeoning romances and Joe found out about his long-lost son, and even got to meet him. Somehow it all worked and didn't feel too awfully rushed.

You know, Iris isn't such a bad character when she's actually given something to do. 

Lastly, why the hell is Jay Garrick on this show? When it was first announced he'd be joining the cast, I thought it would be cool to see the "Golden Age" Flash facing off against the "Silver Age" one. 

But then he appeared in the season premiere, and for some inexplicable reason he'd been drained of his powers. And here we are none episodes in and he STILL doesn't have them. So far all he's done is yell at Harry and flirt with Caitlin. What the heck was the point of adding him to the show if they're not going to utilize his speed?

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
Mark Mardon, aka the Weather Wizard, uses his powers to break into Iron Heights Prison. He frees Captain Cold and the Trickster, suggesting the three of them team up to kill the Flash. The Trickster, who's now obsessed with the Flash, readily agrees. Cold says "Eh" and goes along for the ride.

Iris gives Joe a Flash action figure for Christmas. Joe says he hasn't bought anything for Barry yet. He looks at his watch, which was given to him by his father, and says he wishes he had a son to pass it along to. Iris awkwardly changes the subject. She goes to visit Barry, and tells him her estranged mother Francine had a son with Joe that he doesn't know about. His name is Wally. Barry says Joe needs to know about his son, and says he'll help her tell him. Patty goes ballistic when she learns Weather Wizard is back in town, as he killed her father years ago.

In an abandoned factory, the three villains discuss their plan to kill the Flash. Captain Cold says he works best alone, and leaves.

At STAR Labs, Barry tells Cisco that last year he invented a Weather Wand, that would neutralize Weather Wizard's powers. That was all wiped out though when Barry went back in time and erased that particular timeline. Cisco says he thinks he can invent the Wand again, "for the first time."

Barry and Iris meet with Joe and tell him about his son. He takes the news surprisingly well. Barry and Iris then go home, and find Captain Cold waiting there for them. He tells Barry that Weather Wizard and the Trickster are planning to kill him. Barry tries to get him to help, but Cold refuses. He then leaves to join his own series.

The Trickster then hacks into every TV broadcast in Central City,calling out the Flash. The STAR Labs Gang use the foolproof CSI "zoom and enhance" technique to determine the Trickster's location. Amazingly, Patty does the same thing. Somehow she and the Flash arrive at the Trickster's lair at the same time. The villains aren't home, but hundreds of dreidels made out of C4 surround the two. The Flash saves himself and Patty by creating a super-speed cyclone and flying them out of the factory before it explodes.

Patty then tells the Flash (not Barry) how her father died. He had his own business, in which Patty worked. One day she ditched her job, forcing her father to have to take his deposit to the bank. Mark Mardon just happened to be robbing the bank that day, and killed her father. She then dedicated her life to becoming a cop, to prevent any future killings (good luck with that).

Meanwhile, the Trickster has become a mall Santa, and is passing out festively-wrapped bombs to the kids of Central City, warning them not to open them until Christmas.

Zoom jumps through the stable breach in the basement of STAR Labs and tells Harry he has one day left to decide. He then hops back into the breach. That wasn't ominous at all! The STAR Labs Gang figures out that the villains will strike at Central City's tree lighting ceremony. Barry zooms to the scene and finds Weather Wizard on a rooftop, deciding how to wipe out the crowd below. As Barry moves to stop him, Weather Wizard flies away. Barry uses the Wand to deactivate WW's powers, and he falls to the ground. Barry's about to haul him in, when the Trickster– dressed as Santa– appears. He explains that he's handed out a hundred gift-bombs to the kids of Central City, and he'll detonate them if Barry lifts a lighting-tinged finger against either one of them. Barry's now helpless, and the two villains begin beating him like schoolyard bullies.

Cisco and Harry are monitoring the situation, and come up with a piece of outrageous comic book science to destroy the bombs. Barry's now free to fight back. He ties the Trickster to a lamp post with Christmas lights, and uses the Wand to defeat Weather Wizard. Just then Patty arrives and uses Cisco's boot device (that he invented to incapacitate Zoom) and immobilizes the Flash. She then points her gun at Maron and intends on getting revenge. Luckily the Flash is able to talk her out of it, and she stands down.

Later at STAR Labs, Joe says he's ready to meet his secret son. He gives his special watch to Barry, saying he always said he'd give it to his son someday. Barry then sees Harry working in the lab, and, even though he's not the same Harrison Wells that killed his mother and ruined his life, says he forgives him.

Back at Joe's house, the Christmas party is in full swing. Jay and Caitlin finally kiss (meaning Ronnie will be returning soon). Patty arrives and gives Barry a gift, saying she needs to tell him something (which she already did earlier, but she didn't know it). There's a knock at the door, and it's Wally West. Joe invites him in to the party.

Zoom confronts Harry again, telling him his time's up. Wells says he knows why Zoom's sending Earth-2 metahumans to battle Barry– to force him to become faster. To "fatten him up," so to speak, so the speed force in him will be extra powerful when he drains Barry of his power. Harry agrees to this, in return for Zoom sparing his daughter Jesse's life.

Thoughts:
• I was going to bring up the fact (again) that Mark Hamill's Trickster is basically just a warmed over version of his Joker from Batman: The Animated Series. But then I realized that Hamill played the Trickster on the original Flash series before he was ever the Joker.

So Hamill's playing the Trickster as a copy of his Joker who was a copy of his Trickster. Mind blown!
• That Flash action figure Iris was carrying is the exact same one from the TV series that you can buy here on Earth-0, or whatever number we are. They didn't change the packaging or anything– the prop department just grabbed one from the toy shelf.

• So Joe's secret son is named Wally (we already knew he had a son, but is this the first time we've heard his name?). Wally West. Doesn't take a genius to see where this is headed.

• Cisco was awfully chipper in this episode, especially after his girlfriend Kendra dumped him for a reincarnated hawk god last week. To be fair, the series may not be happening in real time. Even though we saw Cisco's dumping last week, it might have happened months ago for the characters.

• Captain Cold breaks into Barry's house and makes some cocoa (haw!). When Barry sees him, he pins him against the wall. Cold warns him that he's modified his gun, and if he loses consciousness and drops it, it'll explode. He tells Barry that he'll probably make it to safety before being injured, but Iris won't.

Why the heck not? Barry could have zipped Iris out of the room before Cold even finished that sentence. This is another example of the show's "selective speed." The Flash is as fast– or as slow– as the plot needs him to be.

• Jay's "What's (fill in the blank)?" jokes are gonna get old real quick.

• When the Trickster appears on TV, Captain Singh angrily shouts, "Get T.A.R.U. down here." I had no idea what he was talking about, but a little bit of googling reveals it means Tactical Assistance Response Unit. Oh, that! Why didn't he just say so?

• Harry and Patty must both be fans of the various CSI series. They're able to figure out the Trickster's location by taking a still image of him, zooming in on his eye, "enhancing" it, and seeing an image of a Mr. Jiggle Wiggle teddy bear reflected in his cornea. From that they're able to accurately determine his location.

• The Trickster's headquarters are in an old abandoned factory. There seem to be an awful lot of those in Central City. Their economy must be comparable to Detroit's.

• Patty must be a real lead foot. Somehow she makes it to the Trickster's hideout before Barry does. Granted she figures out the location and leaves a few minutes before Barry, but c'mon! He can run over a thousand miles an hour.

• When the Flash and Patty are surrounded by deadly explosive dreidels (!), he spins his arms at superspeed, which lifts him high into the air. So essentially the Flash can now fly.

Oddly enough, a few minutes later Weather Wizard performs a similar stunt and flies away. For some reason Barry seems absolutely astonished by this, even though he just did it himself.

• When Patty told the Flash her life story, it didn't add up to me at first. Her story implied that Mardon killed her father when she was a teen, but she appears to be at least twenty five now. Mardon just became the Weather Wizard a year or two ago.

But then I remembered that Mardon had a long history of robbing banks way before heever  got his powers. It's entirely possible he could have killed her dad before he got his powers. So her timeline works out after all.

• Cisco reinvents his anti-Weather Wizard Wand, that he cobbled together last year in a now erased timeline (just go with it). And it still looks like the Doctor's sonic screwdriver.

• Harry's method of getting rid of the Trickster's Christmas bombs is a thing of beauty. All he has to do is find one of the bombs and attach it to Cisco's drone. Then all they have to do is fly the bomb into the air, right below one of the dimensional breaches dotting Central City. The breach energy will then magnetize the bomb, which will attract all ninety nine of the others to it, where they'll all be harmlessly detonated. Makes perfect sense to me! Comic book science!

I wonder if, when the ninety nine bombs were magnetized, they smashed right through the walls and windows of the homes they were in? Hopefully no kids were standing over any of them when this happened.

When they put this ridiculous plan into motion, it looked for all the world like all the bombs had been distributed on the same street. Maybe they came from all over the city and just converged on that one street.

• Best line of the episode was when Harry needed to find one of the bombs, went to a home, knocked on a door and told a kid, "Your toys. Give them to me."

I guess they have Terminator movies on Earth-2 as well.

• As Weather Wizard and the Trickster are beating the living hell out of Barry, we can see several police cars a few hundred feet away. Several cops mill about the cars, nonchalantly watching the Flash get his ass handed to him.

What the...? Couldn't one of them have squeezed off a couple of rounds into the villains' heads? Or at the very least shot 'em both in the leg?

• There was a nice little scene at the end, as Joe gave Barry his special watch, and told him he'll always be his son.

• At the Christmas party, Wally shows up on Joe's door. 

Wally's got to be younger than Iris, but he looks the same age or even older. Of course twenty-somethings playing teens is par for the course on The CW.

Maybe Wally had a recent growth spurt.

• So Zoom is forcing Harry to help him Barry's speed so there'll be more to steal from him. Um... isn't that pretty much the same thing Harrison Wells was doing last year? Didn't he "create" the Flash so he could steal his power and return to his own time? 

I'm not sure turning Harry into a copy of Harrison is a good idea.

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