Monday, April 12, 2021

Superman & Lois Season 1, Episode 4: Haywire

This week on Superman & Lois (Man, I keep trying to call this show Lois & Clark!), we get another surprisingly well-written and enjoyable episode. Keep up the good work, production team!

Haywire's quite a busy episode, as there are at least seven different storylines going on at the same time (!). Holy crap, that's a lot! Somehow the show manages to effortless juggle them all and give them room to breathe. It's an impressive feat, and I honestly have no idea how they did it.

Most of this episode feels like setup for storylines that won't pay off till much later. I'm actually fine with that! I don't mind setup as long as it's entertaining and compelling.

I'm continually amazed at the writing on this show. The characters feel like real people rather than cardboard cutouts. Even better, their dialogue feels genuine and authentic, like things actual people would say. 

I especially enjoy the relationship between Clark and Lois. It feels very... mature, for lack of a better word. The two of them actually listen to one another, as each of them make very compelling points. For a comic book show, it's surprisingly deep and adult.

Compare that to other Arrowverse shows like The Flash, where characters pout and sulk because that's the only way the writers know how to create melodrama.

On the character front, there's no Captain Luthor this week, but we do finally learn not Lex Luthor, er I mean Morgan Edge's plan, and why he's so interested in Smallville's mine. We also get a possible new Big Bad in Thaddeus Killgrave, an obscure character from the comic.

In the teen department, this week Jonathan's friend Tag gets a lot more screentime, which means he's gonna play a bigger role later in the season.

I actually feel bad for poor Jonathan here, as he's definitely had his life turned upside down lately. Not only was he forced to leave the friends and fame he made for himself in the big city, but then he finds out his brother has superpowers and he doesn't. Even worse, his brother's now using those powers to push him out of the spotlight and become the star of the football team. It's only a matter of time before Jonathan's had enough and justifiably erupts. 

And General Lane divulges that the military's secretly terrified of Superman and what he might do if he ever went rogue— which prompts him to reveal he's not the trusted ally we thought he was.

They did this same plot in the execrable Man Of Steel movie, but it's a hundred times more logical and subtle here than in that ham-fisted excuse for a film.

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
Six years ago in Saskatchewan, a convoy of military trucks drives through the night as meteors fly low overhead. Morgan Edge is in the lead truck, and orders the group to stop at the edge of a crater. Everyone gets out and looks down into the massive hole, where they see a glowing red object. Edge says the resurrection can now begin.

In the present, Kyle Cushing & Mayor Dean are showing Edge around at a Smallville High football game. Morgan takes a long, hard look at Lana coaching the cheerleaders, and Kyle mentions she's his wife. Edge immediately says that Kyle & Lana should have dinner with him soon. Kyle, who fanboys Edge, happily agrees.

Lois & her editor Chrissy Beppo sit in the stands, glaring at Edge. Lois doesn't buy his "Man Of The People" schtick, figuring he's drumming up support for his mining project. Lois' father General Lane unexpectedly joins her in the stands.

On the sidelines, Coach Gaines sends Jordan into the game. Jordan's nervous, realizing that actually playing is a lot different than practice. Clark, who's now an assistant coach, tells him he'll do fine. Jordan plows through the line and knocks an opposing player twenty feet, which allows Sean to grab the ball and score the winning touchdown. 
In the stands, a stunned General Lane looks at Lois and asks if there's anything she'd like to tell him.

Later at the Kent farm, Lane tells Clark & Lois it's obvious that Jordan has superpowers, and letting him play football will only call undue attention to the family. Clark says it's his and Lois' decision, not Lane's.

General Lane says the military is terrified of Superman and what he might do, and that he's the one who keeps them in check. He says now that Clark's moved to Smallville, Superman hasn't been seen over the skies of Metropolis lately. That's causing criminals to become bolder and more active. As a result of this, the government is moving dangerous inmates such as Thaddeus Killgrave to less visible prisons.

Lane begs Superman to spend more time in Metropolis. Clark refuses, saying his family's now his top priority. Lane then says if that's the case, he's spending the weekend with them.

At the diner, the football team congratulates Jordan. Jonathan, Sarah and Tag Harris watch from afar. Tag's envious, as his broken arm (which was injured when Jordan first manifested his powers a few weeks back) keeps him from playing.

Elsewhere, Kyle & Lana have dinner with Edge. While Kyle chats with the Mayor, Edge brazenly flirts with Lana. He says he's aware of her excellent college records, and says she could be so much more if she left Smallville. He offers to help her "reach her potential," which makes her visibly uncomfortable. She politely declines his offer.

At the Smallville Gazette, Chrissy gushes over the article that Lois wrote about Edge. Just then, Edge's personal assistant Leslie Larr barges in. She says even though Lois quit the Daily Planet, her contract with them prohibits her from working for a rival paper for a given period. Chrissy reluctantly cancels Lois' story, saying she can't risk a lengthy and expensive lawsuit.

Meanwhile, Tag comes home and goes up to his room, where he stares longingly at a past trophy he won. Suddenly his broken arm begins vibrating alarmingly.

The next day Clark's running plays with the boys. Lois asks him to go to the Town Hall meeting that night to speak out against Edge. She figures hearing the truth from Smallville's favorite son would carry more weight than if she said it. He agrees, and Lois says she's going out to the old Shuster Mine to confront Edge.

At the Town Hall, Kyle & Lana set up chairs for the big meeting. Lana's pissed with Kyle because he didn't say anything when Edge was hitting on her. Kyle says Edge didn't do anything wrong, which makes Lana even madder. She says she was clearly skeeved out by Edge's advances, and Kyle didn't even notice.

Lois arrives at the mine and confronts Edge & Leslie. She tells Edge if he sues her, she'll counter-sue and then his records will be revealed in court— something she figures he'd like to avoid. Edge figures there must be something important to her in Smallville, and vows to find out what it is.

At the high school, Coach Gaines lectures the team. Tag leaves and hurries to the restroom, where his arm begins vibrating again. Jonathan follows to see if he's OK. Suddenly the cast on Tag's arm shatters. Clark hears it and investigates.

In Metropolis, a prison convoy carrying known terrorist Thaddeus Killgrave rumbles through town, as it transfers him to another facility. The creepy Killgrave tries to chat with his guards while chewing what appears to be gum. He spits it on the wall of the truck, causing it to explode (!). In the confusion, Killgrave's men attack the convoy and free their leader.

Back in the restroom, Jonathan tells Clark that something's wrong with Tag. Just then Tag emerges from the stall and says he cut off his cast and is fine. Suddenly Clark gets a distress call from General Lane, tells Jonathan he has to go and flies off.

Superman arrives at the aftermath of the explosion, but discovers Killgrave's long gone. He finds a small drone, which plays a recording of Killgrave saying he'll see him soon.

Back in Smallville, the Town Hall meeting begins. Kyle says Morgan Edge has kept all his promises and they should vote to allow him to revitalize the Shuster Mine. Lois waits anxiously for Clark to arrive, but he's a no-show. The people overwhelmingly vote in favor of Edge's proposal, with Chrissy being the only dissenter.

Back at the farm, General Lane packs up to return to the Department Of Defense. He tells the boys that Superman is the most important force for good on the planet, and warns them not to waste his time on teen drama.

Clark arrives and apologizes to Lois for missing the meeting. She says the vote was important to her, but she understands he has obligations and feels bad for being angry. She says that between the boys and the world, she's starting to feel a little neglected. She then tells him she's going out with Lana to have a drink.

Jonathan, Jordan & Sarah go to a party at a friend's cabin. Tag's there, and everyone's amazed that his arm is OK. He begins drinking heavily. Sarah tells Jordan she feels bad for Jonathan, since he's no longer the popular kid. Jordan says he'll survive.

Tag's hand begins vibrating, and he ends up breaking a table. This starts a fight, which Jonathan & Jordan try to break up. Tag runs off into the woods.

Superman goes to the DOD, where General Lane says it's nice of him to show up. They detect Killgrave at Glenmorgan Square in Metropolis. Superman rushes to the scene, where he confronts Killgrave. The terrorist fires a sonic blaster, which instantly incapacitates Superman. Each time he tries to get up, Killgrave blasts him again, rendering him helpless.

The boys follow Tag into the woods, where they see him vibrating unnervingly. Jordan somehow makes the incredibly intuitive leap that he did this to Tag when he used his heat vision several weeks ago. Jordan tries to calm Tag, and holds his arm still. It works at first, but then Tag starts vibrating even more violently. Jordan's thrown backwards, and Jonathan uses the ELT to signal their father.

In Metropolis, Killgrave still has Superman on the ropes. Suddenly Supes hears the ELT and springs into action. He lets loose with a mighty clap, created a massive shock wave that knocks Killgrave & his men on their collective asses. He melts the blaster with his heat vision, radios Lane & tells him to pick up Killgrave & his thugs and zooms back to Smallville.

Superman sees Tag in distress, so he grabs the kid and flies him high into the air, where the thin atmosphere knocks him out.

The next morning, Lane returns to the Kent farm. He says 
they found traces of a yellow phosphorous in Tag's body, which caused his vibrational episodes. Lane says Tag must have inhaled the substance after it was atomized by Jordan's heat vision (meaning it really was his fault after all!). The boys ask what's going to happen to Tag, and Lane says he's being sent to Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters, er, I mean a "special school" where he'll learn to control his abilities.

Clark wonders why the boys didn't signal him sooner. When they indicate their Grandpa told 'em not to, Clark & Lois become furious. Once again Lane says Superman owes a debt to the world, and his family comes second. Lois tells him if he keeps ragging them on the subject he's no longer welcome in their home. Lane leaves in a huff.

That night Clark calls Lois to the barn, where he's set up a special romantic dinner. He says her "neglected" comment got to him, and he wants to make it up to her. Of course just as they sit down to eat, they're interrupted by a call from Lane. He tells Clark there's a situation brewing in Malawi, which will become a priority in an hour or two.

Lois smiles and tells Clark to go. He zooms away as she blows him a kiss.

At the DOD, General Lane looks at the dog tag that Captain Luthor gave him a couple weeks ago. He makes a secure call to a subordinate, and tells him to start a new top secret protocol labeled "Project 7734"— the same number as on the dog tag.

Elsewhere, Edge uses a high tech device to scan the Shuster Mine. It beeps, and he nods to Leslie. She uses her superstrength to punch a hole in the rock, revealing a small chamber filled with multicolored crystals. Edge says there's enough X-Kryptonite inside to create an army.

Thoughts:
• In virtually every location shot in this episode, it's steadily raining as everyone's walking around under umbrellas.

And on the rare occasions when it ain't raining, we can see the ground's a soupy, muddy mess.

Now that I think of it the same thing happens in every Arrowverse show. Hey, that's what you get when you film your shows in the fourth rainiest city in all of Canada. Vancouver gets an average of 168 rainy days a year, for an annual total of 57"!

• General Lane stops by the football game, ostensibly to see his grandson Jonathan play. He's shocked when he sees that Jordan's not only playing instead, but effortless mowing down players twice his size.

I love Lane's side-eyed look at Lois, as he asks her, "Something you wanna tell me?"

• After the game, the perpetually sweaty Coach Gaines congratulates Jordan for singlehandedly winning the game (even though Sean actually scored the winning touchdown).

Is... is that really supposed to be a shirtless high school student there in the foreground? I guess it's not totally outside the realm of possibility, but... I definitely didn't look anything like that back when I was sixteen. You couldn't have hit me with a handful of corn!

• Morgan Edge, who's taken an undue interest in Lana, invites her and Sean to dinner. There he unconfortably corners Lana, revealing he's cyber-stalked her as he hints he can help her career— for a price of course.

Edge: "I glanced at your file. Graduated magna cum laude from Stanhope College. Wide variety of clubs, extracurriculars, travel plans. You could’ve done anything you wanted, and yet, you chose to come back here where your options were… somewhat limited."
Lana: "Smallville’s home. I like it here."
Edge: "Certainly. Perhaps you can find something more worthy of your unique gifts. If you want to make a real impact, I can be a resource."

I may be really reaching here, but this scene reminded me somewhat of 1987's Metropolis 900 Miles, a backup tale written and drawn by John Byrne in Superman Vol. 2, #9.

In that story, Lex Luthor stops by a roadside diner and takes an unhealthy interest in a waitress named Jenny— despite knowing she's married. He offers her one million dollars if she'll go to Metropolis with him and be his consort for one month. 

She's appalled of course, and flat out refuses. Luthor then tells her that everyone has a price, and points out the limited options offered by her current situation. This causes Jenny to reevaluate her life, and she realizes Luthor's right.

In the end it's revealed he had no intention of going through with the deal, and was simply playing a sadistic, psychological game with Jenny for his own twisted amusement.

There are numerous differences here, as the scene's between Morgan Edge and Lana, not Lex Luthor and a random waitress. I still feel there's a similar underlying tone between the two scenes, as an amoral, filthy rich industrialist offers his attentions to someone less fortunate.

• This week's Big Bad is Thaddeus Killgrave, who's described as "a psycho genius who became radicalized from hating Superman."

Killgrave's a fairly obscure character from the comics, where of course he looked completely different. He was created by writer/artist John Byrne, and first appeared in 1988's Superman Vol. 2 #19.

I'm wondering if Byrne used Killgrave to mock former Marvel Editor In Chief Jim Shooter? Byrne had a long-standing beef with Shooter back in the day, and in later years often created villains who resembled his former employer. 

Shooter stood 6' 7" and had an unruly mop of hair in his younger days, so the diminutive, bowl cut-sporting Killgrave might have been a not-so-subtle ironic jab at him.

• Funniest Scene In The Episode: Clark tells Jordan to go long, and lobs him an easy pass. He awkwardly fumbles the ball around for a few seconds before ultimately dropping it, prompting Clark to quip, "Eh, that's why he plays defense." HAW!

I have a feeling Tyler Hoechlin must have improvised that line. You can even see Jordan Elsass, who plays Jonathan, trying to stifle a laugh as well, and he actually glances offscreen for a second, presumably looking at the director to see if he's gonna yell for another take.

I just realized this show features an actor named Jordan who plays the brother of a character named Jordan. I'm sure that never gets confusing at all!

• I LOVED Lois' conversation with Edge when she confronts him at the mine— especially her exasperated "Who cares?" line.

Edge: "Ms. Lane. Have you come to take a tour of our facilities?"
Lois: "Yeah, after what happened in New Carthage, I would rather not follow you into a dark tunnel."
Edge: "Whatever could you be insinuating?"
Lois: "Look, I’m kind of bored with the whole 'faux-British accent, billionaire at a football game trying to fit in' con job."
Edge: "I can assure you, my accent is genuine. I was raised in…"
Lois: "Oh, my God who cares?"


• During practice, Coach Gaines lectures the team and criticizes Tag for getting injured. Tag gets upset and storms out, followed by Jonathan, who goes to see if he's OK. Clark then follows the boys to check on them.

Seriously? What are the odds that a hothead like Gaines would passively watch three people— including his Assistant Coach!— get up and leave during his rant and not say a word about it?

• There's an unintentionally hilarious moment in the episode involving Jonathan and his pal Tag. Coach Gaines upsets Tag, causing him to run to the restroom and lock himself inside a stall. Jonathan follows to see if he's OK. Inside the stall, Tag's powers begin manifesting, causing his arm to vibrate uncontrollably.

Yeah, maybe don't film a scene involving a teen boy and rhythmic, vibrating noises coming from a restroom stall!

• General Lane sends a signal to Clark, alerting him that Killgrave's escaped. Based on Lane's signal, Superman's military codename is apparently "Bishop 6." I have no idea of the significance of that moniker, or what it might mean.

• Superhero Landing!

Actually we get two this episode. And yes, I'm gonna do this every time they happen!

• Lois attends the all-important meeting at the Smallville Town Hall. Notice anything familiar about the building?

Yep, the sign on the front is identical to the logo from the long-running Smallville series! Cool! 

Just looking at that title screen I can hear the theme song in my head! "Somebody saaaa-yaaaaave meeeeeee!"

• Clark promises Lois he'll come to the Town Hall meeting, but misses it due to his Superman duties.

Lois: "I’m not mad."
Clark: "Well, you should be. I said I was gonna be there, and I wasn’t."
Lois: "Clark, can we not do this right now? I’m not in the mood."
Clark: "I just want to apologize. And I want you to know that I…"
Lois: "Babe, I don’t need an excuse. I know you have an excuse. You’re Superman."
Clark: "Lois..."
Lois: "Okay, fine. I’m mad! And I know it’s irrational because I understand that there were lives at stake, but this was so important to me. And we lost the vote, by the way, and now I’m feeling guilty for wanting you to do something you said you would do. When we started dating, I knew what I was getting into. And I don’t get mad about you missing date nights or anniversaries or family dinners because of some idiot with a nuke, but lately, with everything that’s going on with the boys and my dad constantly in your ear, it feels like I’m really far down on your list of priorities."
Clark: "Is that honestly how you feel?"
Lois: "Right now, in this moment that I might regret tomorrow, yeah, I do."

I loved this scene between the two of them— especially the part where she's mad at him for missing the vote, then made at herself for getting mad when she knows he had a good excuse. And then when she said she felt like she was at the bottom of his list of priorities— ouch!

It was a well written, and very adult conversation, and much deeper than I've come to expect from Arrowverse shows— and superhero projects in general. That's why I like this series so much— the characters speak and react like real, actual people. 

Compare that to recent episodes of The Flash, in which every episode features Barry running off to sulk by himself whenever things don't go his way. It's like night & day.

• Lois does the responsible thing and takes a Lyft to her gal's night out with Lana, so she won't drink & drive.

Apparently Smallville's big enough to have Lyfts!

• Lois meets Lana at a bar for drinks, where they drown their collective sorrows. Now there's a dangerous combination for Clark— his wife and his ex together!

It's a fun character-development scene, but it definitely didn't pass the Bechdel Test, as the two of them do nothing but talk about their respective husbands the whole time. 

• Subtlety, thy name is Superman & Lois! 

When Superman chats with General Lane at the DOD, there's a large, very obvious American flag in the background between the two men.

I'm assuming this was placed there as a not-so-subtle commentary on how both men see their jobs. Superman is under no obligation to save the world, but does so because it's the right thing to do. 

Lane's motivation is somewhat similar, except he's far more extreme. Due to his military background, he sees his service as a sacred honor and duty.

• The DOD gets a hit on Killgrave at Glenmorgan Square. Superman rushes to the scene, where he finds a long armed thug waiting for him

Oddly enough, in the long shot we can clearly see eight or ten regular, everyday citizens hanging out in this square after dark— while an armed psychopath nervously paces back & forth. So no one noticed him standing twenty feet away?

Then once Killgrave arrives, he starts blasting away at Supes with a high-tech sonic weapon. For no good reason, these people all nonchalantly stand and watch the spectacle unfold. Did it never occur to any of them to maybe run away from the supervillain who's powerful enough to fell Superman?

• Killgrave's sonic weapon is so powerful it causes Superman's ears and surrounding flesh to begin glowing red hot. Not sure how that would happen, but whatever. Admittedly it looked cool (as well as painful!).

Hopefully this weapon is somehow exclusively keyed to Superman's ears or sonic frequency or something. Because if it's not and ANYONE can hear it, then all those people standing around watching him get attacked are gonna have a really bad day!

• Tag's clearly suffering from "Jittery Modern Horror Movie Spasm Syndrome," a condition that first popped up in 1990's Jacob's Ladder. It's characterized by rapid fire head movements and vibrating body parts.

• So Tag knows the Kent family's secret now, right? 

Once he starts "glitching," he runs from the party into a nearby woods. Jonathan & Jordan follow, and when they see the state their friend's in, they very loudly say:

Jordan: "I think I did this to him."
Jonathan: "What? What are you talking about?"
Jordan: "The bonfire, the party. I think my heat vision caused an explosion and it affected him somehow."
Jonathan: "Okay, well, look, you can run that theory past Bill Nye later, all right? Right now, we need Dad, Jordan."
Jordan: "Remember what Grandpa said? Dad’s too busy saving the world."

Additionally, right after Tag knocks out Jordan, Jonathan yells "Dad" into the ELT several times before Superman swoops in to save the day.

Note that Tag's standing less than twenty feet away during all these outbursts. There's no way he didn't hear them, and it's inevitable that he's gonna figure out that Jordan has superpowers and Clark's really Superman.

On the other hand, Tag was a little busy spasming out during his attack, so maybe he wasn't paying attention to anything that was being said. Stay tuned to future episodes to find out if he realizes the truth.

• Once Jordan's knocked out, Jonathan realizes he's in over his head and signals his Dad with the ELT.

I'm still trying to figure out just what ELT stands for. I even went to the trusty Arrowverse Wiki site, but wasn't any help. I assume the E probably stands for "emergency," but that's as far as I can get. Emergency Lois Transmitter, maybe?

• After hearing Jonathan's ELT signal, Superman zooms to the scene. He grabs the glitching Tag and flies him into the upper atmosphere, where he passes out in the rarified air. He then pauses for a moment to strike a dramatic pose before rushing Tag to a hospital.

Maybe I'm reaching again, but that shot reminded me a LOT of the cover of 1986's Crisis On Infinite Earths #7— in which we see Superman holding the lifeless body of Supergirl. Coincidence, or deliberate homage?

• In the wrap up, General Lane gives the boys an update on Tag's condition.

Jordan: "Did they say I did this to him?"
Lane: "I had a team analyze that cell phone footage. Your heat vision caused a blast, but there was another material present… a yellow phosphorescence. We think that may have triggered the boy’s meta-human development."

Phew! I was afraid they'd come up with a stupid explanation for Tag's powers!

The adults try to convince Jordan he didn't give Tag his destructive powers, as he got them from an unknown chemical substance. But that doesn't change the fact that Jordan's heat vision atomized the chemical. Meaning that he DID cause Tag's powers to develop after all!

Ah, but there's more to Tag's situation:

Lois: "What your grandpa’s trying to say is that he’s gonna go to a special school for kids with these sorts of abilities."
Jonathan: "Wait, there’s a special school for kids with powers? That’s pretty cool."
Jordan: "No, it’s not. How many of these kids are there?"
Lane: "That’s classified."

OK, I know this is the Arrowverse, but when I heard this line I couldn't help but think of the X-Men, and Professor Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters from the Marvel Comics and movies!

Actually it's not an MCU shoutout at all, as I think it's a reference to Black Lightning. Over on that series, the ASA (American Security Agency) conducted experiments to create metahuman children, for the purpose of weaponizing them. Long story short, Black Lightning exposed the ASA, causing a Congressional committee to shut them down. The metahuman kids were then placed in a special school which would cater to their needs and teach them to use their special abilities.

If the school Lois is talking about is the one from Black Lightning, then it's one of the few (maybe the first) mentions of any of the other Arrowverse shows on this series, and proof that Superman & Lois isn't taking place on its own special Earth.

• Stung by Lois' comment that she feels neglected, Clark sets up a lavish date night for the two of them in the barn. Of course seconds later they're interrupted by a Superman call. Lois tells him it's OK, and he zooms off. As he does so, his backdraft extinguishes several candles.

I'm probably reading wayyyyyyyy too much into this, but... was this scene a metaphor for Clark & Lois' relationship? Do the candles Clark inadvertently blew out represent one more broken promise to Lois, as her love for him fades a bit? Is this scene a subtle hint of an upcoming "Marriage On The Rocks" storyline?

Or is a cigar sometimes just a cigar, and the candles went out because Superman moves fast?

• Back in Heritage, Luthor handed General Lane a dog tag that read either "HELL" or "7734," depending on which way it was held.

I noted that the 7734 thing is actually a comic book reference. In the Superman comics, General Lane founded Project 7734— a team of operatives devoted to protecting Earth from rogue Kryptonians who threatened the planet. The team consisted of Doomsday, Metallo and Reactron. I wondered if we'd eventually see something similar here on the show?

Welp, turns out the answer is yes! At the end of the episode, General Lane's upset that Superman wants to live a normal life instead of devoting every waking second to saving the world. Feeling that Superman might actually turn on him, Lane initiates Project 7734— just like he did in the comics!

It's doubtful the Project will be just like the comic version, as so far there's no Doomsday, Metallo or Reactron on this show. But I assume it's still meant to combat and protect against a rogue Superman.

• In the tag scene we finally find out why Edge has such a keen interest in Smallville's old Shuster Mine— the thing's lousy with deposits of X-Kryptonite. When Edge finds it, he chortles, "We now own the rights to this land, which holds enough X-Kryptonite to resurrect an army!"

So what's X-Kryptonite, you ask? It first appeared way back in 1960's Action Comics #261, in which Supergirl accidentally created the substance. It had the ability to temporarily give Superman-like powers to non-Kryptonians. I assume the live action version seen here does the same.

So how does Edge know about X-Kryptonite and what it can do? That's a good question. One I hope will be answered in a future episode.

• So Edge finds a cache of X-Kryptonite, which he plans on using to create his own superpowered army. When Leslie points out he'll have to find enough willing candidates, Edge says, "Oh, I'm not concerned. As you know, I have an eye for talent." Note that edge does everything but turn to the camera and wink as he says his line. 

So earlier in the episode, Edge aggressively hit on Lana, implying that he recognizes raw talent when he sees it. Was that just a coincidence, or are these two scenes connected? He... he's not planning on giving Lana superpowers, is he? I certainly hope not, as that would be the stupidest plot development possible!

Flagged Post (January Through April 2021)

A few years back I used to post this piece every time there was a mass shooting. Not to be funny, or disrespectful to the victims, but to point out the insanity that's infected our country. 

Eventually I stopped posting it. Partly because it was just too damned depressing, but also because I couldn't f*cking keep up. If I posted it every time a mass shooting happened, that's the only content there'd be here.

I'm reviving it today though because the past two weeks have been exceptionally crazy. There've been at least two or three mass shootings every week for the past three months. 

In fact I looked it up today and there've been an astonishing 147 mass shootings so far in 2021. And it's only April 12th. Jesus Jetskiing Christ On A Cracker! How is that even possible? To make things even worse (if that's possible at this point), today's only the 102nd day of the year. That means there've been quite a few "double shooting" days in there.

But eh, who needs gun control. Thoughts And Prayers, amirite?

DATELINE: Cleveland, Ohio–– In response to overwhelming consumer demand, this week the American Association Of Decorative Hardware And Fixtures announced it's making a fundamental design change in all flagpoles. Beginning immediately, all poles manufactured in America will be designed to display flags at half mast only.

Sid Silverbaum, President of the Association, said, "We got a lot of feedback from various groundskeepers, patriots and elderly veterans from around the country, all of whom are exhausted from constantly having to trudge out to their poles and lower their flags to half mast every two to three days. Frankly it just doesn't make sense to make poles that display flags all the way at the top anymore."

According to Silverbaum, the new Half-Master® brand poles will be in stores by the end of the year, just in time for the latest mass shooting or Independence Day, whichever comes first.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

The Flash Season 7, Episode 5: Fear Me

This week on The Flash we get another pretty decent episode. Wow, that's too in a row now! Things continue to look up, now that the awful and interminable Mirrorverse Sage is over.

There's a lot going on in Fear Me, as it's quite the busy episode. As I suspected, it's confirmed this week that the show's adapting the recent Elemental Forces storyline from the comics. We've already met the Strength Force, but this week we get a visit from the Sage Force as well. 

We also get the debut of the Speed Force, which has inexplicably and VERY unexpectedly taken on human form!

The biggest development is the Caitlin/Frost plotline, in which they've become two separate entities. Expect lots of melodrama in this arc, as Caitlin does everything in her power to merge with her "sister," while Frost balks and refuses to give up her new body.

This episode also lays the groundwork for a long overdue "The Trial Of Killer Frost" storyline, in which everyone's favorite ice queen is finally forced to pay for her life of crime.

Cecile gets a rare chance to shine this week as well, as she ends up saving the day. Actress Danielle Nicolet gets to show off her comedic skills in this episode too, which is something I wish the writers would let her do more often.

On the down side, we get yet another of what I'm calling "Pout, Barry, Pout" scenes— in which our favorite speedster suffers a minor defeat and then sulks until the third act. It's not terribly becoming behavior for the ostensible hero of the piece, and they need to stop resorting to it every week. 

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
At STAR Labs, Barry somehow watches a video of his battle with the Behemoth from the previous episode. He tells Iris he's figured out a way to track the creature. Just then Cisco enters and tells them to get ready for a shock. He brings in Caitlin and Frost, who've somehow become two separate entities.

Meanwhile at the West home, Cecile's staying up late doing paperwork. She hears a voice call to her, saying "it's time to come home." She sees a vision of a woman in a straitjacket, with glowing purple eyes. Cecile doubles over in pain, as all the glass in the house shatters. She's then horrified to see bloody stigmata on her hands.

Just then Joe enters and tells Cecile she's having a nightmare. She looks around and sees her hands and the house are fine.

At STAR, Team Flash wonders how the hell Frost can be her own person. Caitlin figures that during Mirror Monarch's assault, one of her "reflective chip" blasts hit Frost and generated a new body for her. Sure, why not. She says she's working on a way to undo the effect and merge their bodies. Frost looks visibly uncomfortable at this prospect.

Just then they get an alert that the Behemoth— who Cisco's dubbed "Fuerza"— is heading for STAR Labs. Suddenly multicolored lightning blasts from the ceiling of the Lab, and a woman appears in midair. Barry catches her, and is stunned when she turns out to be the Speed Force, which once again has taken on the form of Nora Allen (????).

They place Speed Force Nora in the Medbay, where she falls into a coma. Fortunately Barry's speed doesn't seem to be affected by her current state. Barry figures that Fuerza attacked SF Nora, and says he's not going to let her die again.

The next morning Iris chats with Joe in his office. He mentions there've been numerous reports of people having nightmarish visions around the city. Just then a woman enters and introduces herself as Kristin Kramer, of the Governor's Municipal Logistics Commission. After she leaves, Iris tells Joe she has a gut feeling about Kristen and doesn't trust her.

At STAR, Cisco adapts the old Firestorm Matrix contraption, telling Frost it should be able to merge her with Caitlin. Frost says she kind of likes having her own body, but Cisco says Caitlin really misses her. He begins charging the Matrix and leaves, as Frost takes a long, hard glare at the device.

Cecile arrives and tells Barry she's been having visions. Suddenly she doubles over in pain again, and says she's sensing raw fear. Just then Barry gets an alert of a robbery downtown and speeds off.

Cut to two armored truck guards, who're firing at a large monster. Barry arrives on the scene, but can't see what they're shooting at. The guards run off, just as a purple-masked villain (who Cisco eventually dubs "Psych") appears.

Psych's eyes glow purple, and Barry instantly hallucinates that he's back in STAR Labs, where he's confronted by the Reverse Flash. Barry realizes it's an illusion, prompting Savitar to appear and stab him in the chest. Barry wakes in the real world, looks down and sees he's actually bleeding.

Cut to the Medbay, where Barry's being treated. Caitlin says Barry's fear was so real his body must have psychosomatically caused a stab wound. She says that means if someone's killed in one of these hallucinations, they'll die for real (shades of A Nightmare On Elm Street). 

Team Flash detects isotopes from Psych on Barry's body, and realize they're the same particles found on both Fuerza and SF Nora. Obviously there's a link between the three.

Barry has Cisco dust off the mental dampeners they used against Grodd, figuring they might protect them from Psych's, er, psychic attacks.

At CCPD, Iris gives Joe a background check she ran on Kristen. According to the report, she's a former military officer whose file is almost totally redacted. Joe doesn't think that necessarily proves anything, but agrees to read the rest of her file.

Elsewhere, Cisco & Frost are planning a rapids trip. Caitlin storms in with a smoldering Matrix, and accuses Frost of sabotaging it. Caitlin asks why she did it, but Frost is reluctant to say. Just then they get another alarm, this one at the Clearly Capital Offices.

Inside the offices, we see Psych standing over several financial officers, who're terrified by horrific visions of the stock market crashing! Barry whisks them away somewhere, and then he, Mecha-Vibe and Frost (all wearing mental dampeners) confront Psych. He sees the dampeners and laughs, saying they're useless against him.

To prove his point, Psych effortlessly gives Team Flash waking nightmares. Frost finds herself at CCPD, where Joe arrests her for her crimes after Caitlin ratted her out. Barry sees CCPD strewn with the bodies of his friends and family. Cisco's frozen with fear as well, but we never get to see his vision. Barry manages to throw a bolt of Speed Force lightning at Psych, but the villain easily absorbs it and leaves.

Back at STAR, Team Flash licks their wounds and tries to recover from their mental trauma. Barry says Psych didn't take any money from the financial institution, and apparently just wants to create chaos.

Caitlin finds Frost in the Lab, desperately trying to repair the Matrix. She mentions her nightmare vision, and Caitlin assures her she'd never turn her in. Frost admits she likes being a separate person, and doesn't want to merge. Caitlin says she misses having Frost in her head, but understands. She tells Frost she can move into her apartment with her.

Cecile enters the Lounge, where she finds Barry moping after their defeat. He tells her he saw a vision of Iris & the others dead, and fears he won't be able to stop it from happening for real. Cecile gives him a Patented The CW Pep Talk©, telling him he's strong enough to overcome his fears or some such hooey.

The alarms go off again, and Cisco says he's detected Psych's isotopic signature in Sandoval Heights. Barry remembers a few episodes back when Cecile was able to send her own fear into the mind of the Top. He asks if she could do it again. Before she can answer, Barry shows her that Team Flash still has The Thinker's chair in storage. He says Cecile can use the device to expand her own mental powers and save the city.

Meanwhile, Psych unleashes a huge wave of fear across Central City, causing the citizenry to experience terrifying nightmares. At STAR, Cecile's reluctant to climb into The Thinker's chair. Caitlin reassures her, saying it's probably safe to operate the device. As she straps in and turns on the chair, it begins augmenting her powers. Cecile says she can feel the minds of everyone in town.

Barry zooms off to confront Psych in person, but is repelled by another mental attack. He has the same vision as before, but this time the corpses of his friends reanimate and blame him for their deaths. Barry crumples in fear again.

Cecile senses Barry's distress, and gives him yet another Patented The CW Pep Talk©, saying she can feel his courage. She then counters Psych's mental blast with one of her own. He's hit by the powerful energy wave and seemingly disintegrates, as Cecile's eyes briefly glow green (???). All over the city, people come out of their nightmares and return to normal.

Barry returns to STAR, where Cisco says he can't find any trace of Psych or Fuerza. Suddenly Barry grimaces in pain, and Caitlin says he's suffering from the same effect that injured SF Nora. He activates his cryopod and enters it so he can heal.

At CCPD, Joe meets with Kristen and says he read her file and knows she's really from Gotham. He tells her to drop the act and level with him. She admits she's there on the Governor's orders to apprehend the fugitive metahuman Killer Frost and bring her to justice. GASP!

Back at STAR, Caitlin monitors Barry and says he's stabilized for now, but she can't tell if he's fully healed. SF Nora wakes up and states that Barry was injured because she wasn't fast enough. She believes that Psych and Fuerza are just like her— elemental forces in human form!

Thoughts:
• Tom Cavanagh still doesn't appear in this week's opening credits. Man, the producers are really doubling down on their attempt to convince us he's left the show. Spoiler Alert: He hasn't. I'm not exactly sure when he'll be back, but I guarantee you he WILL return.

• We begin with Barry analyzing a play-by-play video of his battle with the Behemoth in the previous episode.

Here's a shot from the Behemoth's attack last week...

And here's the footage Barry watches on his tablet.

Note that every single scene he watches is identical to what we saw in Central City Strong. Same camera angles, same coverage, same shot composition— everything. 

Funny how that worked out, eh? Why, if I didn't know better, I'd think the producers just took the footage from the previous episode and spliced it into this scene! Or maybe Barry used The CW app and downloaded last week's episode of his life.

• When Barry & Iris see that Caitlin & Frost have become separate entities, their jaws drop open in disbelief. 

To illustrate their visible confusion, they actually play the "Needle Scratching Across A Record" sound effect on the soundtrack. Wow, I don't think I've heard that since the 1990s! 

Unfortunately they completely botched the joke here as the record scratch has a weird warbling effect to it.

• I commented on the Caitlin/Frost split in last week's review, saying:

Fortunately the writers spared us the scene in which Caitlin divides in two like an amoeba. They also wisely declined to explain where she acquired the extra mass to create a perfect physical duplicate of herself. Don't worry though, as I'm sure we'll get a perfectly logical bullsh*t comic book science explanation for it next week.

Welp, It's next week and my prediction came all too true! And as expected, it's complete bullsh*t! 
When Team Flash asks how the hell Caitlin & Frost split, the two helpfully explain:

Frost: "So, you remember when Mirror Monarch blasted me with her gun?"
Barry: "Mm-hmm."
Frost: "Well, ever since that blast, we’ve had these crazy headaches. Last night, everything gets fuzzy, Caity passes out, a
nd then we wake up totally fine... but there’s two of us!"
Caitlin: "Uh, Eva’s mirror gauntlet contained a reflective mirror chip. I think it forced Frost’s cryogenes to rapidly replicate and create a whole new form so that she could survive."
Frost: "Crazy, right?"

I'll say! Eva's infamous "reflective mirror chip" strikes again, basically creating a brand new life form! A real one this time, and not a mirror clone. That means Eva's basically God now!

So Frost gets her own body courtesy of Eva's mirror tech shenanigans. Which is odd, because all the other effects caused by Eva— like Iris' powers— disappeared when she went back to the Mirrorverse. Yet luckily for Frost, her new body inexplicably lingers on.

• Caitlin assures the others she's going to reverse the twinning situation, saying, "But don’t worry, I’m gonna figure out a way to get us back together as quickly as possible, because I’m afraid the longer we wait, the harder it’ll be."

Wait a minute... how does Caitlin plan on incorporating an entire adult body back into hers? Wouldn't she have twice as much mass then? Or will she just somehow absorb Frost's mind? That'd be the messier option, as it would then leave a corpse that Team Flash would have to dispose of!

• One last thing about Caitlin and Frost. A couple seasons back we found out that Catilin's father Thomas Snow was suffering from ALS (aka Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). When he discovered Caitlin carried the ALS gene as well, he performed experimental cryogenic experiments on her to freeze the progression of the disease. This somehow caused her to develop an alternate cryogenically powered personality, who eventually became Killer Frost.

Now that Frost is a completely separate entity, does that mean Caitlin's in danger of developing ALS again?

I have a feeling we're not supposed to remember that particular little detail of her life.

• At one point we cut to Cecile, who's at home burning the midnight oil. Literally! I know whenever I'm staying up late writing a report, I always work by candlelight.

• Psych causes Cecile to have a waking nightmare, in which she hears an eerie voice tell her, "It's time to come home." Was that just part of the overall spookiness of her vision, or setup for some future storyline? Is Cecile gonna turn out to be from another Earth or planet or something?

• Joe comes home and finds Cecile freaking the hell out during her nightmare. When she tells him she saw a creepy figure in the house, Joe says, "We're the only ones here." 

Really Joe? According to the clock on the mantle it's 11 pm. Why the hell isn't your baby home too? You know, Jenna? The child you had with Cecile several seasons back? Is Jenna really not in the house for some reason, or did he forget he has an infant again?

Shortly before Joe entered we saw this brief shot featuring a photo of him and Cecile, who appears to be holding Baby Jenna. This is the closest thing that kid's made to an appearance on the show in at least three years now!

• This week Cisco dubs the Behemoth "Fuerza." When the others look at him quizzically, he says, "Fuerza... Spanish for 'strength.' Look, She-Hulk was taken, OK?" Cisco does seem to love his Marvel references.

• Team Flash thinks they're being attacked by Fuerza, but it turns out it's the Speed Force manifesting itself in an actual human body— which of course looks exactly like Barry's late mother Nora. 

Man, I feel like the writers reeeeeeeally glossed over this entire issue.

The Speed Force first took the form of Barry's mom way back in Season 2's The Runaway Dinosaur, and has done so many other times over the years. In each of those cases though his mother's image was just an illusion— an avatar created so that Barry could more easily relate to the Force.

This is completely different though. The Speed Force has now somehow taken physical human form! It literally just became a human being! And yet neither Barry nor anyone else on Team Flash seems the least bit astounded by this! What the hell?

Think of it this way— it's like the freakin' Sun turned into a person, put on some clothes and wandered into STAR Labs. Team Flash looks up from their phones momentarily and sees it, says, "Yeah, that's cool I guess" and then all go back to texting. 

You'd think at least Barry would be a bit more affected by this, as there's now a god who looks like his late Mother parading around STAR!

I get that they've all seen some serious sh*t over the years, but it just felt like this development warranted a much bigger reaction than it got.

• I've mentioned this before, but it's worth a repeat. Actress Michelle Harrison first played Nora Allen way back in Season 1's Pilot— and was killed in that very same episode. I wonder if after that Harrison ever imagined she'd still be playing the same character seven years later.

Agent: "Michelle, baby, I got a gig for you!"
Michelle Harrison: "Great, what is it?"
Agent: "They want you to play the Flash's Mom next week."
Michelle Harrison: "But... didn't she die in the first episode? I don't understand anything that's happening on this show."
Agent: "What's to understand? A job is a job!"

• Welcome to Social Distancing: The Series! 

The cast isn't wearing masks of course, but man are they doing their best to spread themselves out and stay as far away from one another as possible. As silly as it looks, I can't fault them for this though, as The CW's currently enforcing some pretty strict Covid restrictions on all its shows.

• When Kristen first enters Joe's office, we see a framed newspaper article featuring his granddaughter Nora West-Allen in the background. Once again I'm not even gonna begin to try and figure out how this is even possible, considering she was erased from the timeline a couple seasons ago, and as such was never born!

• At one point Psych causes a couple of security guards to hallucinate a giant kaiju attacking them. Remember that he has the power to make people see their greatest fear— which in the case of these two guards is apparently a giant monster (?).

Note that the guards are driving a "Crows Security" truck— that's a Batwoman reference. Over on that show, Crows Security was founded by Jacob Kane, to protect the citizens of Gotham after Batman disappeared. The company's funded by Hamilton Dynamics, and they generally hire ex Navy SEALS and Green Berets.

• Many fans are claiming that the imaginary kaiju is a Dominator— from the alien race first scene in the Invasion! crossover a few years back. Eh, I don't see it myself. Its head and freaky arms are completely different. Plus Dominators weren't fifty feet tall.

• Barry confronts Psych, who wears a garish purple and black mask over his face. It's actually pretty cool looking! 

That said, I can't wait to hear the SJW crowd shriek that Psych is culturally appropriating Maori tribal masks here. You know it's gonna happen!

In the comics, Psych was a man named Bashir, who was from Zandia— a crime-ridden European nation where all supervillains received immunity from prosecution. He became a conduit of the Sage Force, which gave him various mental powers.

Psych made a living by reading the minds of other supervillains, finding out their secrets and and then blackmailing them. Eventually he ran afoul of the Black Flash, who ultimately killed him.

Obviously they've altered the TV Psych quite a bit, as his look and backstory are completely different from the comic version.

• Cisco gives this week's meta the name "Psych," saying, "He’s a psychic psychopath, causing psychosomatic symptoms, I mean, the guy practically named himself."

• At the end of Mother (the all-time worst episode of the entire series), Iris shot a blast of Speed Force energy out of her body, which she'd somehow been storing for years. This somehow jumpstarted the Speed Force and brought it back to life. Then for reasons I don't pretend to understand, the blast split into four different colored beams and spread out over the city.

At the time I said it looked like the show was adapting a recent comic book storyline in which we find out there are other Forces in the universe. There's the Speed Force of course. Then there's the Strength Force, whose effect is self-evident. There's also the Still Force, which controls time. And the Sage Force, that enhances the minds of those who wield it and is seen prominently in this episode.

I said it looked like the four beams would likely zap several unsuspecting Central City citizens and give them corresponding powers.

All that was pretty much confirmed in this episode, as Psych is indeed either a user of or conduit for the Sage Force! Yay for me & my prediction!

• Psych mentally attacks Barry, causing him to hallucinate an encounter with the Reverse Flash. So what do you do if you're a producer and you don't want to bring in Tom Cavanagh or Matt Letscher to play the Thawne for five seconds? Why, just have the character rapidly vibrate his body so the audience can't see his face, that's what! Pret-tee sneaky, sis!

The CW must have cleaned out their storage closet for this episode. Not only did they dig out the Reverse Flash costume and the Savitar suit, they even pulled The Thinker's floating chair out of mothballs!

• Barry realizes that Reverse Flash isn't real and says, "I'm not afraid of you anymore. This is just A hallucination!"

OK, Barry, I realize you're scared and under a lot of stress here, but it's "AN hallucination." Not "A." Unless this is some Vancouver variation of the phrase?

• Psych pops up at Cleary Capital, where he mentally attacks the financial officers there. So what was the greatest fear of these brokers? Watching their loved ones die? Falling from a great height? Seeing a giant kaiju?

Nope! Their worst fear in all the world was the stock market crashing! One broker even wails, "$5.3 trillion gone. It's all gone! Oh, God, I'm ruined!" Haw!

Another broker rocks back and forth, hugging himself as he cries, "Hey, I... it’ll bounce back. The Dow only dropped 789 points. It’ll bounce back. It has to."

Note that while a drop of 789 points is most definitely not a good thing, it's far from a record. In March of 2020, the pandemic caused the Dow to plummet a whopping 2,997 points— the biggest drop ever recorded in a single day.

If this hapless broker's really seeing the worst fear imaginable, you'd think he'd conjure up a vision in which it dropped more than a measly 789 points!

• We've actually seen Cleary Capital before. It first popped up last season in So Long And Goodnight, when Sue Dearbon tried to deposit stolen assets there. Ralph (back when he was allowed on the show) eventually talked her out of it. 

Oddly enough, this is what the Cleary Capital building looked like in its first appearance.

Annnnd here's what it looked like this week. Wow, that's quite a difference! Not to mention a definite step down!

I guess it's possible the company might have more than one location in Central City. Or they may have moved at some point in the last year. Given the fact that the town's attacked by evil metas on a weekly basis, their original building may have even been destroyed!

• Barry, Mecha-Vibe and Frost rush to Cleary Capital, where they confront Psych. Unfortunately he hits them with a psychic assault, causing them all to have horrible waking nightmares.

We get a good look at both Barry & Frost's visions, but for some reason we never see Cisco's. He just looks stricken and says, "No... this can't be how it ends!"

The fact that his is the only vision we don't see is significant, and means it's going to become important later. I have a theory about this scene...

Last week's episode hinted that we'd be seeing the Future Flash Saga at some point this season. In the comics, Kid Flash (who wouldn't really be a kid anymore) is killed twenty years from now. This prompts the older, world-weary Barry to blame himself for Wally's demise. He then begins killing all his old enemies, which somehow gives him the strength to travel back in time and prevent Wally's death.

Obviously they're not gonna use Wally when they adapt this storyline, as his character was Poochied a couple seasons back. So they'll have to kill off someone else to cause Barry's mental breakdown.

What if Cisco saw his own death (again!) in his vision, HE'S the one who dies twenty years from now? That would then prompt Barry to become the Future Flash and prevent Cisco from dying? Works for me!

The only minor problem with this theory is that when Frost asks Cisco about his vision, he mentions he saw Kamilla in danger. Eh, I think he was lying here for some reason. His "This can't be how it ends" line doesn't fit that well with Kamilla's death, but does work perfectly for his own.

• When Barry sees a vision of Zombie Iris, she says, "When you let me die you killed our children too."

This may be a reference to the comics, where Barry & Iris have twins named Don & Dawn. They're both speedsters like their dad, and are known as the Tornado Twins. Also, they live in the future of 2968 for reasons. I honestly don't see this ever happening on the show.

• After Barry's defeated a second time by Psych, he goes off to the Lounge to sulk. Fortunately Cecile's there to give him a Patented The CW Pep Talk© to cheer him up again.

We've had one of these ferkakte moping scenes every week now since Season 7 began. I need to start a "Pout, Barry, Pout" counter, to keep track of just how many times the writers resort to this already tired trope. 

I get that they want to bring Barry to his lowest point before his eventual triumph— that's Screenwriting 101. But there's gotta be a better way to go about it than to have him pitch a hissy fit like a six year old.

• During the third act, Team Flash tries to come up with a way to defeat Psych. Barry suddenly remembers a few episodes back when Cecile was somehow able to send a wave of her own fear into the mind of the Top. He wonders if she could do the same to Psych.

Thing is, Barry wasn't anywhere near Cecile when she did that. She either told him about it later when we weren't looking, or once again he watched his own show.

• Barry's idea involves dusting off The Thinker's hoverchair and having her use it to augment her mental powers. Naturally, Cecile's a bit reluctant to sit in the thing. And for good reason!

Just to refresh everyone's memories (including my own!), back in Season 4 Clifford DeVoe built a "thinking cap" to amplify his brain power. It worked, but caused his body to begin deteriorating. His wife Marlize built the hoverchair in order to slow his physical decline. 

DeVoe began using the chair to siphon the powers of other metas into his own body. After a time he began using it to transfer his mind into others. Eventually he found a way to do this without the chair, and became The Thinker. 

The Thinker then concocted a plan he called The Enlightenment, in which he'd use his powers to diminish the intelligence of everyone on Earth so he could reeducate them to his own specifications.

Marlize realized her husband was going too far, so she used the hoverchair in conjunction with Cecile's powers to defeat The Thinker.

So quite rightly, Cecile's a bit leery of this contraption! Especially since it once contained a copy of his entire mind in its hard drive!

• During the battle with Psych, Cecile uses her augmented powers to send out a massive wave of mental energy. As she does so, her eyes briefly glow green.

So what's up with her glowing eyes? Did Cecile tap into the Sage Force like Psych did? I assume that's supposed to be what's happening here, but the green eyes would suggest otherwise. Whenever Psych used his powers his eyes glowed purple! The psychic energy he manifested was the same color as well.

In the comics, the four Forces have specific colors assigned to their energies. Speed Force energy is yellow, Strength Force is red, Sage Force is blue and Still Force energy (which we've not yet seen) is green.

Additionally, when Cecile generates a mental blast of her own, it's yellow instead of purple, so it seems unlikely she's channeling the Sage Force. So I have no idea what her green eyes meant, or what the hell's going on here.

Of course it's entirely possible that the show isn't following the comic book, and is using completely different colors for the Forces. It may also be that something else is going on with Cecile here, and she tapped into some other form of energy we've haven't seen yet.

• When Cecile's energy wave hits Psych, he's instantly vaporized. Well that was easy! 

This begs the question: Just what is Psych? Is he really a manifestation of the Sage Force? Or is he just a human who somehow found a way to harness it? The fact that he was so easily defeated would suggest the latter. 

On the other hand, earlier in the episode Barry hit Psych with a massive jolt of Speed Force lightning, and he easily absorbed it. Plus in the final seconds of the episode, Speed Force Nora strongly implies that Psych and Fuerza are both Universal Forces in human form like her.

So take your pick! At this point it's unclear which is true.

• When Cecile uses her powers to save the day, her comical and exuberant reaction is absolutely adorable. Cecile's usually pretty straight-laced and serious, so it's easy to forget that actress Danielle Nicolet is actually pretty funny. Too bad she rarely gets to stretch her comedic chops on the show.

• Last week Caitlin mentioned that Frost was still wanted by the law. I thought that was odd, as this revelation came completely out of the blue and Frost has been a "Good Girl" for several seasons now. She and Barry even worked side by side with CCPD officers last year without incident. 

I said this was most likely meant as a "reminder scene," to refresh the audience's memory in prep for an upcoming storyline.

Sure enough, that's exactly what it was! This week we're introduced to government investigator Kristen Kramer, who shows up to arrest and prosecute Killer Frost! 
I've definitely been watching this show too long— I'm starting to spot the writers' tricks.

The episode desperately wants us to hate Kristen, as it very clearly paints her as a big meanie who wants to throw Frost in jail for her past crimes. The thing is... she's not wrong! 

Frost has broken the law on numerous occasions! In Season 3 she kidnapped Julian Albert, joined forces with Savitar, held Cecile hostage and tried to kill Team Flash several times. She also worked as an enforcer for Amunet Black, torturing and maiming her enemies by freezing off their fingers & toes (!).

Sure, she eventually reformed and is now a valued member of Team Flash, but it doesn't change the fact that she's still a criminal. She SHOULD be punished for what she did in the past. That's kind of how the law works. Kristen's not the enemy here— she's simply doing her job.

This has been an issue on the show for years now. Characters aren't required to pay for their crimes as long as they feel bad about them later and pledge to do better. Even murder doesn't seem to be a crime in the Arrowverse!

Also note that Caitlin and Frost JUST HAPPENED to split into separate entities right as Kristen arrived to prosecute Frost. Now Team Flash can't use the defense that jailing Frost would unfairly incarcerate Caitlin.

Technically Caitlin should probably be prosecuted along with Frost. She's known about her "sister's" crimes for years now, which would likely make her an accomplice.

• At the end of the episode, Barry has some sort of painful attack. He zooms into his cryopod, which will put him into a coma and allow his speed-healing to cure him. Hmm...

Presumably a cryopod works by freezing its occupant, or putting them in a state of suspended animation. If that's the case, then how would Barry's healing work when he's in stasis? Whoops!

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