Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Flash Season 2, Episode 20: Rupture

Thanks to my state's election coverage Tuesday night, I missed at least fifteen minutes of The Flash and had to track it down and watch it online. Last week storms knocked it off the air, this week elections. Apparently the universe doesn't want me watching this show.

This week's The Flash was a surprisingly lackluster outing, especially considering there are only two more episodes left in the season. One would think that at this point the storyline would be barreling along at breakneck speed (heh), instead of slowly meandering and stopping to smell the flowers along the way. 

I'm not quite sure what the problem was here. We've got a powerless superhero desperate to get his speed back, a deadly supervillain with an amazingly evil-looking costume, a fine supporting cast, a wonderfully comic-booky sense of fun and even doppelgangers of the characters living on a parallel Earth. So why was this episode so dull?

Maybe the fact that it was directed by someone named Armen V. Kevorkian had something to do with the downbeat mood.

It was good to see Henry Allen back after his abrupt, puzzling and nonsensical departure at the beginning of the season. Unfortunately he turned out to be a giant wet blanket this week, as he spent the entire episode nagging Barry, telling him not to endanger his life out of a sense of duty to Central City and its residents. Jesus, who is he, Martha Kent

Henry seemed... off somehow in this episode as well. I don't know if it was an issue with actor John Wesley Shipp's performance, or the corny dialogue he was forced to say, but he seemed stiff and uneasy all through the episode. In fact for a few seconds I thought he was going to reveal he was somehow secretly Zoom or some other villain!

I could also have done without watching an entire episode of Barry agonizing over whether to go through with the experiment or not. C'mon, the show's called The Flash, not Barry Allen. We all know damned good and well he's going to get his powers back before the season finale. Get it over with already, and stop wasting the audiences' time.


The Plot:
Now that Barry's powerless, Cisco whips up a holographic Flash to help fight crime. Somehow this idea works, as a car full of crooks mistakes the hologram for the real thing, and surrender to the police. Harry tells Cisco and Barry that it's only a matter of time before Central City's criminal population figures out the hologram isn't real. He urges Barry to let him recreate the particle accelerator explosion to give him back his powers.

Barry drives to the cabin from Evil Dead to visit his father Henry. Barry fills him in, telling him he stupidly gave up his powers to Zoom to honor a promise. Henry thinks it's too dangerous for Barry to try and recharge his powers.

Meanwhile, Wally visits Joe at the police department. Zoom appears with Caitlin in tow, and says he now owns Central City, and will kill anyone who disobeys him. Captain Singh evacuates the building, and tells the police to regroup at Jitters coffee shop, of all places. Zoom handcuffs Caitlin to a desk. She tries to talk him into going easy on the city. He tells her he knows she has a dark side, and all she has to do is unlock it. Uh-oh.

Cisco "vibes" on his asshole of a brother, Dante. He drops everything and goes to meet him at a bar. Predictably, they get into an argument. Cisco sees a news report about Zoom and leaves. Dante follows him out of the bar, and the two are attacked by a metahuman named Rupture (ouch). He removes his mask and reveals he's the Earth-2 version of Dante. He wants revenge on Cisco for killing Reverb (the Earth-2 version of Cisco) a few months back. Rupture attacks Cisco's van, but he and Dante manage to get away.

Back at STAR Labs, Joe stashes Wally and Harry's daughter Jesse inside the Time Vault to keep them safe from Zoom. The two immediately start trying to break out. Joe, Henry and Harry argue about whether Barry should try and regain his powers. Harry's all for it, Henry is dead-set against it, and Joe is on the fence. Barry enters and sees his three father figures discussing him and what he should do. He tells them it's ultimately his decision to make. So make it already, and quit stalling until the end of the episode!

At STAR Labs, Dante finds a note Cisco left for his family, in case he was ever killed. Dante questions Cisco, who admits he has superpowers.

At the police department, Caitlin overhears Zoom telling Rupture to kill all the police at Jitters. She manages to open a drawer and finds a cell phone inside. She texts Zoom's plan to STAR Labs. Cisco, Barry and Joe get the text and go to Jitters to warn the police. They set up the holographic Flash again, to hopefully fool Rupture. He enters Jitters and finds it seemingly empty. The "Flash" appears, and Rupture tries blasting him with his energy scythe, destroying the place in the process. While he's distracted, he's zapped with tasers by the police.

Zoom then appears, furious that the police have disobeyed him and defeated Rupture. He kills every cop in Jitters except for Joe and Singh (lucky he spared the two policemen we know by name, eh?). He then kills Rupture as well, and uses a TV camera to announce to Central City that the Flash no longer exists, and there's no one to stop him. He warns Barry that this is the last time he'll spare him or his friends.

Everyone returns to STAR Labs. Cisco, who just saw the Earth-2 version of his brother die, embraces Dante and says he wants things to change between them. Barry FINALLY decides to get his powers back. Harry puts Barry into a technobabble chamber and injects him with the same chemicals he was exposed to during the explosion. He sends Cisco to the roof with the Weather Wizard's wand, to recreate the bolt of lightning from the accident. He fires up the particle accelerator (which has worked more after it exploded than it did before) and channels all the dark matter energy into the chamber.

Just then, Wally and Jesse successfully break out of the Time Vault. Harry signals Cisco, who uses the wand to conjure up lightning and channel it into the chamber. The lightning combines with the dark matter energy, but instead of charging Barry with the Speed Force, it disintegrates him! The chamber explodes, bathing Wally and Jesse with energy as they enter the room. They both fall to the ground unconscious.

Harry, Joe, Iris, Cisco and Henry all look aghast at the now empty technobabble chamber. Zoom appears, picks up a piece of Barry's charred Flash costume, chuckles to himself and zips away.


• Well, now we know why Henry Allen was in such a hurry to get away from Barry and everyone as quickly as possible back in The Man Who Saved Central City. He had important log-chopping to do at his remote cabin in the woods!

• Barry tells Henry that Zoom is Jay Garrick (well, sort of). Henry says that Garrick was his mom's maiden name. How the hell does Barry not know that? Don't most people know their grandma's maiden name?

Even worse, he doesn't react in the slightest to this bit of news. He just goes droning on about his lack of powers. Um... isn't Barry supposed to be a hotshot CSI? Shouldn't he say something like, "Wait a minute I'm descended from Garrick stock? This has to mean something!" 

Barry's ignorance aside, I'm sure this bit of info is going to significant, especially since Henry showed up out of the blue this week. I'm wondering if this is a clue that Henry's the true identity of Iron Mask, and is somehow the real Earth-2 Jay Garrick in a way I haven't quite figured out yet.

UPDATE: I thought about this some more, and have come to the conclusion that Barry's ignorance isn't completely out of the question. I know my grandma's maiden name because I grew up around her. Barry apparently didn't have that advantage, because he's never mentions any grandparents. In fact it appears he doesn't have any family members, other than his father Henry. And even then, Henry was in prison for decades, so there was probably little time to discuss genealogy with him. So I've changed my mind and am willing to cut Barry some slack here.

This still doesn't explain why he has absolutely zero reaction to this information.

• Way back at the beginning of the season, Zoom was sending Earth-2 metahumans through the breaches to Earth-1 to cause trouble in his name. During the mid-season finale, Team Flash whipped up a technobabble device to permanently close all the breaches and prevent Zoom and his minions from visiting Earth-1.

Now in this episode, Zoom sends Rupture, an Earth-2 supervillain, to Earth-1 to cause trouble. So I guess all that worrying and hand-wringing over closing the breaches was for nothing, because Zoom can apparently enter Earth-1 anytime he likes whether there's a breach or not.

• Wally visits Joe and says after the Flash saved his life, he feels like he's destined for more than engineering. Joe says, "I'm sure there's something out there that will satisfy your need for speed and helping people." I see what you did again there, The Flash writers.

• The villain of the week is Rupture, who's the brother of Reverb, who was the Earth-2 version of Cisco. Once again, you need a program to follow who's who and which Earth they're from on this show.

Not a fan of the name "Rupture." It conjures up unpleasant memories of the old "Turn your head and cough" school physicals.

Rupture is actually from the comics. He first appeared in Justice League #233 in 1984. There he was actually a foe of the superhero Vibe! In the comic Rupture is really Armando Ramon, brother to Cisco and Dante.

 Apparently there was no Fringe TV series over on Earth-2. 

Last week I pointed out that the after the particle accelerator exploded the first time, Barry was in a coma for nine months before waking up with super speed. I said I hoped the writers didn't forget about that, and would address the matter somehow this week.

Welp they didn't! They didn't even mention it as a possibility (unless I missed something during the interminable election coverage that kept pre-empting the episode). I suppose we could be generous here and say that since Barry's gone through this once before, his body's adapted to the stresses of the process and he won't fall into a coma this time, or something like that. I suppose we could say that but I don't see why we should. They could have eliminated this continuity error with one small line of dialogue.

• The sequence with Barry climbing into an apparatus and being struck by lightning to get his powers back is very similar to the storyline in the Flashpoint comic. In that miniseries the Flash travels to another Earth (I think) where he loses his powers. The Batman of that world straps him into an electric chair (!) and shocks him to jump start his powers. Yikes!

• Why does Barry need to wear his Flash suit during the attempt to restore his speed? I guess he's got a flair for theatrics.

• Cisco stands on the roof of STAR Labs so he can use the Weather Wizard's wand to generate the lightning for Barry's experiment. A couple things here.

Of course when Cisco uses the wand to conjure lightning, he shouts, "Expecto Patronum!"

Secondly, Cisco invented and owns a goddamned wand that can control the weather. Are you freakin' kidding me? Why the hell is he farting around in STAR Labs every week? With that kind of power at his fingertips he could be a hundred times richer than Bill Gates! Too bad this never occurs to him.

• In the middle of the experiment, Barry begins screaming in pain. Henry says, "He's going hydrostatic!" I had no idea what that meant, so I had to look it up. Hydrostatic means "the pressure exerted by a fluid at equilibrium at a given point within the fluid, due to the force of gravity."

Henry was a doctor before he was incarcerated, but he must not have been a very good one, because I have absolutely no idea what any of that means or how it applies to Barry.

• Naturally the attempt to restore Barry's power goes horribly wrong, and the lightning, dark matter energy and Speed Force all combine to rip apart his very molecules and disintegrate him. He explodes in a burst of lightning.

I'm betting this is an homage to 1985's Crisis On Infinite Earths. In that comic miniseries, the Flash runs so fast he begins going back in time. He goes all the way back to the day he received his powers, and in a bit of circular time travel logic, literally becomes the lighting bolt that struck him and gave him superspeed.

It appears something similar happens here. Barry merges with the Speed Force, I guess, turns into lightning and washes over Wally and Jesse, no doubt turning them into speedsters like him.

• Annnnnd just like that, Kid Flash and Jesse Quick are born. Apparently the writers didn't feel like giving them individual origins, so they decided to combine them. Efficient!

So do we need two more speedsters on this show? STAR Labs is gonna be crowded next season!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Site Meter