Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Flash Season 6, Episode 5: Kiss Kiss Breach Breach

This week on The Flash there's good news and bad news. Let's do the bad news first— we get yet another episode of filler and padding, as the series kills time until the Crisis On Infinite Earths starts up. 

The good news? For a filler episode, it's pretty damned good! In fact this is one of the better episodes of the season so far, even though little or nothing of consequence actually happens. 

Kiss Kiss Breach Breach is most definitely a character-driven episode rather than plot heavy one, as it focuses almost exclusively on Cisco. We also get the return of a fan-favorite character, and the shocking death of another.

We also briefly check in on Ramsey Rosso Bloodwork subplot, in an effort to remind us he's still ostensibly the season's Big Bad. His appearance this week is so superfluous though that the entire scene could be excised and it wouldn't harm the episode one bit!

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
We begin at the end, with Cisco sitting in the Cortex as a team of Earth-19 Collectors enter and arrest him. 


We then get another infamous "12 Hours Earlier" caption.

At STAR Labs, Barry & Iris have decided this is the absolute best time to go on vacation to Tahiti. Eh, why not? Barry's got a little over a month to live, so he might as well enjoy what little time he has left. Cisco assures him he can handle things while they're gone, as he's invented an AI called B.A.R.I. (Barry Allen Replicated Intelligence). It's an advanced algorithm that duplicates Barry's decision-making skills (of which he has none).

Barry leaves Cisco in charge, and he and Iris zoom off. Cisco consults BARI, which suggests Ralph help Frost stake out Ramsey Rosso's lab.


Meanwhile, Nash Wells is still screwing around in the sewers, attempting to break into The Monitor's secret underground lair. Suddenly Joe appears and announces he's been tracking Nash, and wonders what the hell he's doing. Nash tells him it's none of his business, and the two men begin wrasslin.' In the struggle, Nash's gauntlet blaster fires, causing the ceiling to come crashing down. The two men are then hopelessly trapped. Ah, the old "Trap Two Characters In A Confined Space So They Can Get To Know One Another" trope! Never seen that one before!


Elsewhere, Cisco & Kamilla have apparently moved in together and are preparing for bed. Cisco turns on his white noise generator (PLOT POINT!) and falls asleep. He wakes sometime later in front of the mirror, preparing to cut his flowing locks with a pair of scissors. Kamilla says he's been sleepwalking the past few nights, and he wonders why she never thought to tell him. They go back to bed, and Cisco almost says he loves her before stopping himself. The two then lie awkwardly in bed, with the "L word" hanging over their heads.


Just then a rip appears in space, as Breacher slices a hole in reality and steps through. He sits on the end of Cisco's bed and stares off into space. When Cisco asks what's wrong, he says his daughter Gypsy's dead.


Back at STAR, Breacher explains that Gypsy tracked a mysterious hacker named Echo (hmmmm...) to Earth-1, and he somehow managed to disintegrate her. Her death set off the Collector QT-net, aka the quara-temporal containment barrier, which keeps suspects from escaping by breaching to another Earth. That means Echo's still on Earth-1, and Breacher wants to find him— with Vibe's help. Uh-oh!


Cisco explains that he foolishly took the meta cure last season and can no longer vibe. Breacher says that was a stupid thing to do, as now Cisco's vulnerable to "breach psychosis." He says the syndrome can cause hallucinations, blackouts and even dry mouth (no, not that!). Cisco asks BARI what to do, and it says to visit the crime scene. Breacher can't bring himself to do so, so Cisco and Kamilla (?) go in his place.

Meanwhile, Nash is attempting to free himself from the sewer, as they only have forty two minutes of air left. Joe tells him to relax and says it's only a matter of time before his crew comes looking for him (even though they have absolutely no idea where he is). When Nash asks how he can be so sure, Joe says he has faith. Get used to that word, as it's said at least a dozen times during this ep. Nash says he doesn't believe in such nonsense, and keeps trying to escape.

In this week's superfluous subplot, Ralph finds Frost investigating a couple more deaths caused by Ramsey. She says she never trusted Ramsey from the start, and feels responsible for his trail of corpses. For some reason Ralph tells her she needs to have faith in those around her (?). Frost says she knows exactly who Ramsey has faith in, and goes off to confront him. Ralph warns her not to go alone, and Frost says she won't be.

Cisco and Kamilla arrive at the warehouse where Gypsy was killed. They're met by Earth-19 Collector Agent Zak Zeal, who takes an immediate dislike to Cisco. Zak says they found a spent energy cartridge with no prints, and Cisco realizes Echo killed Gypsy with a transonic-demolecularizer, which vaporized her instantly.


After examining the crime scene, Cisco says he hopes Kamilla doesn't think he's still hung up on Gypsy. She says she understands, and he starts to tell her he loves her. Unfortunately he's interrupted by Zak, who says they're locking down the area and they'll have to go. Cisco begins to suspect Zak, as he's Gypsy's replacement and the only one who'd benefit from her death. He consults BARI, who suggest using the STAR Labs satellites to find the location of the demolecularizer.

Back at STAR, Kamilla has apparently become a computer expert, as she starts scanning for the demolecularizer. Oddly enough, the satellites indicate it's somewhere inside STAR Labs (the call's coming from inside the house!). 


In the lab, Cisco rigs up a technobabble device to replicate his former powers. He grabs Breacher's hand, and they vibe back to the crime scene. There they see a hooded Echo vaporize Gypsy. Echo then steps into the light, dramatically pulls back his hood and reveals to no one's surprise that he's really Cisco! GASP! Breacher roars with anger, pulls his knife and pins Cisco to the wall.

Just then Kamilla enters with the demolecularizer, and yells for Breacher to stop. She says she knows Cisco's innocent, and Gypsy may have been killed by a multiverse doppelganger. Breacher reluctantly releases Cisco, saying it's obvious he's suffering from breach psychosis. Kamilla confirms that Cisco's been sleepwalking, which doesn't really help things. Breacher says that because he respects the man Cisco once was, he'll give him an hour to turn himself in. If he doesn't, then he'll kill him.

Meanwhile, Nash rigs up a primer cord as he prepares to blow a hole in the sewer rubble. Joe offhandedly mentions how The Monitor foretold Barry's death, and Nash is gobsmacked that Joe knows of the cosmic entity. Just as he's about to blow up the place, Elongated Man slithers through a small hole in the rubble and saves them. Joe gloats, saying his faith that they'd be rescued paid off.

Back in the disposable plot, Ramsey— who's now completely transformed into Marvel's Venom— is working in his lab. Caitlin (!!!!) enters and tries to... convince him to turn himself in? I'm honestly not sure. Ramsey drops a major retcon, saying Caitlin was like the daughter his mother never had, and that he always saw her as a sister. 


Ramsey then says he's figured out how to live forever, and urges her to join him, and they can rule the galaxy as father and son. He says if she does so, no one she loves need ever die again. She says his version of life is a nightmare, and he should have faith in himself (groan) as his mother did. He grabs Caitlin by the throat and lifts her into the air, Vader-style. He says her words are madness, throws her to the ground and leaves. 

At STAR, Cisco tells Kamilla he's turning himself in, because he can no longer trust his actions. Kamilla points out he hasn't trusted himself since Barry put him in charge. She gives him a Patented The CW Pep Talk®, saying he needs to have faith in himself (sigh...). She says all his doubts are just "noise in his head." Cisco does the old, "What Did You Say?" trope and gets an idea. He examines his white noise generator and realizes it's been transformed into a micro neural impulse disruptor— which can cause sleepwalking and other effects. He says the only person smart enough to do something like that is... him!

The episode then catches up to the beginning, as Cisco sits in his lab and Zak and his team of Earth-19 Collectors enter and arrest him. Breacher's there too (even though we didn't see him the first time), and Cisco points to a holo-cube and says it'll tell him everything he needs to know about Gypsy's death.

Zak then lowers the QT-net to transport Cisco to Earth-19. He tries to cuff him, but realizes Cisco's a hologram. The real Cisco then appears and traps the Collectors inside a forcefield of his own. He says he's going after Gypsy's real killer and uses a handheld extrapolator to breach away.

Cisco arrives back in the warehouse, where he finds Echo. Cisco says he knew he'd attempt to flee Earth-1 the minute the net was down. He points the demolecularizer at Echo and begins monologuing, describing Echo's plan for the benefit of the audience. He says Echo killed Gypsy, then sauntered past STAR Lab's non-existent security, where he planted the demolecularizer in Cisco's lab. Cisco says Echo then hacked into his white noise machine to cause sleepwalking, in order to frame him. Cisco says that's where he messed up, because he recognized the coding as his "own," and realized he was dealing with a doppelganger.

Echo claps sarcastically and congratulates Cisco for figuring it out. He then asks if he has the guts to pull the trigger. Suddenly he knocks the gun out of Cisco's hand, and the two begin grappling. Echo manages to grab the gun and taunts Cisco, saying Gypsy could have killed him, but froze when she saw his face. He says he took advantage of her hesitation to kill her.

Echo fires, and a forcefield suddenly forms around him. Cisco says Echo may be smart, but he's smarter, as he programmed the gun to create a force bubble instead of a blast. Sure, why not? Just then Zak and his team arrive, and arrest Echo and take him back to Earth-19.

Back at STAR, Breacher says he's sorry he lost faith (ugh) in Cisco. Kamilla says Gypsy never lost faith in him as well (enough with the goddamned faith!). Breacher invites them both to Gypsy's remembrance ceremony, and says she would have like Kamilla. Cisco says, "What's not to love?" inadvertently blurting out his feelings for Kamilla at last. Breacher comments on the awkward scene and is so uncomfortable he goes back to his own Earth. Kamilla says she loves Cisco too, and they kiss.

Barry & Iris return from vacation, and ask how BARI worked out. Cisco says he got rid of it, as he realized he could make his own decisions. Frost, who apparently now has Caitlin's medical knowledge, checks out Joe and Nash and says they're fine. Ralph asks what Nash was doing in the sewer in the first place. He tells Team Flash to meet him in the tunnels at 9am the next morning. When they ask why, he cryptically says because he knows how to save Barry.


Thoughts:

• The title of this week's episode is of course a play on the 2005 movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, directed by Shane Black.

• I was very surprised to see that they actually killed off Gypsy in this episode! And for real too! She ain't gonna be coming back from disintegration anytime soon! They're not fooling around with this Crisis business!

I'm assuming they decided to kill off a character in order to add some weight and a sense of danger to the coming Crisis. Poor Gypsy drew the short straw, most likely because her storyline had run its course. Plus the actress is currently starring on another series and was probably unavailable. Sucks that we don't even get to see her face as she dies though.

I think the most shocking thing about Gypsy's death was that they straight up fridged her! Fridging is when a writer kills off a minor female character, to motivate the hero and give him reason to hate the antagonist. It's a tired but favorite trope of clueless male writers who see women as story elements rather than actual characters.

I'm even more amazed that The CW allowed this. They're the ones who're always crowing about how woke they are. There's nothing progressive about fridging a female character! The episode was written by male/female team, Joshua V. Gilbert and Kelly Wheeler. I guess Kelly must have been OK with using a fellow woman as nothing more than a plot point.

• Kamilla's only been in a handful of episodes, but she already fits in perfectly with the rest of the cast. She was positively delightful this week, as she and Cisco have a fun and breezy chemistry. She could have easily become jealous of Cisco's feelings toward Gypsy, but instead she was supportive and understanding.

In short, she's the perfect girlfriend. Too bad she's doomed.

I'm just theorizing here, but I'm convinced that we got this Cisco-centric episode this week in order to establish his wonderful relationship with Kamilla. That way it'll be all the more tragic when she ends up a casualty of the Crisis.

• Ugh, it's another "12 Hours Earlier" episode. As longtime readers of Bob Canada's BlogWorld know all too well, this is one of my least favorite narrative structures. By starting at the end and then rewinding to the beginning, it removes any and all tension the episode may have had. No matter what happens in the next thirty minutes or so, we already know Cisco's going to be arrested. I hate this trope and wish it would die a quick but painful death.

• Wondering why Barry & Iris felt the sudden need to run off on "vacation" this week, when they should be trying to figure out how to save the Flash? Welp, that would be because the two of them were busy filming scenes on one of the other Arrowverse shows for the upcoming massive Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover. They can't be on two sets at once, hence the impromptu vacation.

Same thing happened last year in The Flash & The Furious, when was temporarily written out of his own show for an episode so he could film Elseworlds. In fact it's happened each season, whenever they shoot one of their crossover events.

Even though I understand why they were written out of the bulk of this episode, I'm not a fan of how. Is this really the best time to be taking a vacation? Talk about fiddling while Rome burns! I feel like Team Flash is almost criminally unconcerned about the upcoming Crisis. Barry's already resigned himself to his death, and Iris seems to be doing her best to deny it. Cisco was upset about Barry's fate in the previous episode, but seems to have completely forgotten all about it this week. 

How about instead of going off on vacation, Barry & Iris went to Earth-3 to consult with Jay Garrick and see if they could come up with a way to stop the Crisis? Or maybe they could have sought out the Council Of Wells and put their brain power to use? Something, anything beside sipping Mai Tais in Tahiti!

• I'm assuming another reason for this vacation storyline is so Barry & Iris can finally, er, get with the baby-making. He's got less than a month to live, so if they ever expect to have a speedster offspring (whether that turns out to be Nora or the Tornado Twins), now's the time!

• This week Cisco invents the BARI, a super-advanced AI that perfectly replicates Barry's mind and decision-making skills. Despite the fact that Cisco's capable of programming such a complex system and designing an interactive animated avatar for it, he inexplicably gives it a primitive ASCI text logo!

• Cisco begins sleepwalking, and wakes in front of a mirror with a pair of scissors in his hand. He's so unnerved by this that he hands the scissors to Kamilla and tells her to hide them from him. Note that she she finds the perfect hiding place for them— casually placed on the nightstand next to her. Great job, Kamilla!

• I'm far from an expert on relationships, but... isn't it a bit weird that Cisco & Kamilla are living together but haven't said "I love you" yet?

• It's always great to see Danny Trejo on The Flash. He somehow manages to be both menacing and funny at the same time, and he and Cisco have a great chemistry together.

As Cisco mentions here, Breacher's real name is Josh Reynolds. Try as I might, I just don't see him as a "Josh."

By the way, if you were wondering why Breacher asked for Cisco's help instead of just vibing the identity of Gypsy's killer himself, it's because he lost his powers. In the Season 4 episode Null And Annoyed, he fought a vampire named Lord Crucifer, who apparently siphoned off his powers.

• When Breacher first appeared in this episode I thought for sure he was gonna say Gypsy died as Earth-19 was destroyed by a wall of anti-matter (much like Earth-2 was annihilated over on Arrow). Nope! I guess the Crisis hasn't reached his world yet. Odd though that he didn't even mention Earth-2 being destroyed. You'd think a dimensional bounty hunter would need to be aware of such things. After all, he can't breach to a world that ain't there anymore!

• So I guess Zak Zeal is a normal name over on Earth-19?

Also, when the Collector team arrives to investigate Gypsy's death, note that they string up red caution tape around the area, rather than yellow. They also set up what appear to be holo-cubes around the crime scene. I guess those are Earth-19 things as well.

So what do we think of Zak here? Is he just an asshole, or is there something more sinister going on with him? Cisco's even suspicious of him, as he says Zak is the only one who stood to benefit from Gypsy's death. Is he just a one-off character, or are they setting up a future villain here?

• I've said it before, but great confusion surrounds the question of just how many Earths there are in the Multiverse. Back in the Crisis On Earth-X crossover, it was definitively stated there were fifty three. And a few weeks ago in A Flash Of The Lightning, Jay Garrick showed Barry a map of the Multiverse, which clearly contained fifty Earths (I guess he hadn't yet located the other three). 

But then in this episode, Cisco's accused of killing Gypsy. Kamilla defends him, saying the real murderer could be a doppelgänger of him. Cisco agrees, saying, "She's right. There's thousands of other versions of me out there."

How could there be thousands of versions of Cisco if there're only fifty three (now fifty two) Earths?

• This week Cisco mentions the QT-net, a "quara-temporal containment barrier" that the Collectors can set up around the planet to prevent criminal suspects from escaping to another Earth.

Has anyone on the show ever mentioned this tech before? I'm gonna say no. Smells like a retcon to me.

According to The Flash lore, Earth-19 has banned their citizens from engaging in inter-dimensional travel. The Collectors are an agency that enforces this ban, and tracks down any Earth-19 citizens who violate it. But... if they have a quara-temporal containment barrier, why not just activate it and leave it up all the time? No one could ever leave the planet that way, and there'd be no need for Collectors to hunt them down.

• In order to find out what happened to Gypsy, Cisco rigs up a technobabble machine that perfectly duplicates his "Peering Into The Past" power he had as Vibe. Wait, what? I thought the whole point of him taking the meta cure last season was because he didn't want his powers to become a crutch, and wanted to rely on his intellect. If he can simply recreate his abilities any time he wants, then what was the hell was the point of the entire "Giving Up His Powers" storyline?

• I said it a couple weeks ago, but it's even more true here— Ramsey is basically Venom now. Any second I expect a little head to pop out of his shoulder and start talking to him.

• Once again, murder doesn't seem to be a crime in the Arrowverse, or at least a cause for alarm. Barry & Frost both know that Ramsey's a murderer, as he killed at least four people last week. And they know where his lab's located, as they've both been there in the past. Caitlin even shows up there this week, after receiving a text from Ramsey! Jesus Christ!

Why the holy frak don't they tell Joe about Ramsey, so he can show up at the lab with an army of cops and haul him off to Iron Heights? Why continue to let him run free so he can kill even more people? It doesn't make any sense.

From this point on, any death Ramsey causes is on Team Flash's collective heads. 

• Interesting to see Caitlin back briefly in this episode. I guess Frost authorized her to come out for a few minutes to confront Ramsey.

• To absolutely no one's surprise, Echo turns out to be the Earth-19 version of Cisco. Thank the maker he didn't have a name that's a synonym for "vibration," as that would have been way too obvious. That was, I say that was sarcasm, son.

OK, we've already had Vibe from Earth-1, Reverb from Earth-2 and now Echo from Earth-19. Looking forward to meeting additional versions of him, such as Pulse, Flux, Tremor, Quake, Quiver and Wave.

By the way, I don't think Cisco understands how guns work. As this scene begins, he's standing a good twenty feet from Echo, and could have blasted him at any time. Yet he just stands there as Echo slowly inches toward him, until the gun's literally touching his chest. Of course then Echo knocks the gun out of his hands and attacks him.

• I loved the scene of Ralph slithering through the rubble to rescue Joe and Nash. Obviously he's all CGI when he first enters the scene, but as the camera pans across the tunnel they do a morph into the real actor. Pretty cool!

Once Ralph inevitably meets up with Sue and they get married, I honestly wouldn't mind them starring in their own series.

• In the wrap-up, Barry & Iris return to STAR Labs. As they enter, Cisco says, "I knew I smelled SPF 90!" I'm assuming this is a dig at Barry's uber pale skin?

• Cisco laments Gypsy's death, saying, "Cynthia wasn't the person I ended up with, but I think she taught me how to be the person I needed to be for when the right person came along, and for that, I will never forget her."

Normally I'm not much for relationship drama, but that is a damn amazing line. Kudos to whoever wrote it.

This Week's Best Lines:
Cisco: "Rest easy, lovebirds. Team Leader is my new middle name."
Ralph: "What was it before?"
Cisco: "Baracus."
Iris: "As in Barracas, Argentina?"
Cisco: "No, as in Mr. T. My mom was a big A-Team fan."
Ralph: "Wish mine was. Could've been Hannibal Dibny."
Cisco: "Hannibal? Please. You're Murdock on your best day."

(Team Flash tests out the BARI.)
Iris: "What is Barry's favorite thing that I make him for breakfast?"
Barry: (answering before the AI does) "Uh... banana?"

(Breacher appears in Cisco's bedroom, startling Kamilla.)
Cisco: "It's okay. I know him. He's my ex's dad. Hey Breacher, long time no try to kill me. What brings you to my bedroom...again?"

Cisco: (to Kamilla) "Earth-19 Collector agents take investigations to a whole other level."
Zak: "Agent Zak Zeal."
Cisco: "Kamilla Hwang, Cisco Ramon."
Zak: (dismissively) "Yeah, I heard you'd be coming. I thought you'd be taller. You know, from the way Gypsy talked about you."
Cisco: "That's funny. She never mentioned you at all."

(All through the episode, Cisco attempts to finally tell Kamilla he loves her.)
Kamilla: "So earlier, when we first got here you were gonna say something?"
Cisco: (nervously) "Kamilla..."
Zak: (interrupting) "We're locking down the area."
Cisco: (exasperated) "For the love of God!"

Breacher: (to Kamilla) "Cynthia would've liked you. I do, too."
Cisco: "What's not to love?"
(Everyone freezes as they realize he just told Kamilla he loves her for the first time.)
Breacher: "AWK-ward! I have to go now."

Ralph: "You know, in all the hubbub of saving your keisters, I never got to ask what the hell you were doing down there."
Nash: "Hey, 1940s, no one says 'keisters!"

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