Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Flash Season 4, Episode 5: Girls Night Out

This week's episode wasn't quite as fun as last week's, but overall it wasn't a bad hour of TV (strike that— forty two minutes of TV).

Girls Night Out
finally introduces the mysterious, oft-hinted at Amunet Black, played by Katee Sackhoff (of BattleStar Galactica fame). Her performance is wonderfully hammy and a lot of fun, but for some reason the Oregon-born Sackhoff plays Amunet with a dodgy British accent that's only a step or two above Dick Van Dyke's in Mary Poppins. Why she chose to adopt that particular accent (or any at all, for that matter), I have no idea.

Ralph's back this week, meaning I guess he's now an official member of Team Flash and not just an occasional guest star. I'm growing to like Ralph more and more, as his irreverent tone and moral ambiguity is a breath of fresh air. He's definitely a better fit for the team than Julian Albert ever was (sorry, Tom Felton!).

Oddly enough Ralph's personality seems less like the Elongated Man of the comics, and more like Plastic Man (who was doing Deadpool's shtick back in the 1940s!). Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I just thought it was worth a mention.

Poor Team Flash. This week Barry and Iris have their respective pre-wedding parties, and both of them can only manage to scrape up two or three work friends. In fact neither of them really seem to know anyone outside of STAR Labs (Caitlin even points this out in the episode, as she mentions that she and Iris aren't exactly besties).

I get why this is— the cast is big enough already, and the show doesn't need a bunch of extra characters for the leads to pal around with. 
Still, it seems a bit sad.

Lastly, I don't think Barry used his powers once in this episode. Or did he?


The Plot:
Team Flash is in STAR Labs, trying to figure out who Barry's future foe "DeVoe" could be. Suddenly Felicity Smoak wanders in from the set of Arrow, ready to celebrate Iris' bachelorette party. Caitlin's prepping to leave town because of the whole Killer Frost thing, but Iris and Felicity talk her into partying with them.

Meanwhile at Joe's house, Cecile's showing her ultrasound pictures to her daughter Joanie, who the writers apparently remembered is a character on the show. Just then Joe, Barry, Cisco and Harry arrive. They shoo the gals away so they can start Barry's "wild" bachelor party.

Cisco plays home movies of Barry and Iris growing up together as foster siblings, which would be of interest to every psychiatrist in Central City. Suddenly Ralph Dibney barges in uninvited, declares the party a sausage fest and talks the gang into coming with him.

Iris, Felicity, Caitlin are joined by Cecile at a fancy restaurant, where they celebrate with drinks and feather boas. Suddenly Norvok, the guy who's been threatening Killer Frost since the season premiere, shows up. Once again he tells Caitlin that Amunet isn't finished with her, and to come with him. Iris thinks Norvok's a stripper, until he pulls out his glass eye and a large, disgusting tentacle then slithers out of the empty socket and grabs at the women. Caitlin uncontrollably transforms into Killer Frost and blasts Norvak through the window.

Ralph takes the guys to The Golden Booty, a sleazy strip club. Not surprisingly, he's on a first name basis with the staff. Despite the depressing nature of the club, the guys decide they might as well stay. A bouncer tells them to hand over their cell phones (so they can't take videos of the dancers, I guess?) and they toss 'em in a box. If you don't realize this will become a plot point in a few minutes, then you've never seen a TV show before.

The guys all sidle up to the bar and order drinks. Barry says he wishes he could get drunk with them, but his speedster metabolism burns off the alcohol as fast as he can drink it. Cisco tells him never fear, and presents him with a special speedster brew guaranteed to get him hammered. We then see a shot of Barry's cell phone ringing away in a box, as Iris frantically tries calling him. Told you!

The girls return to STAR Labs, and Killer Frost inexplicably comes along with them. She packs some clothes (does Caitlin live at STAR?) as she tells Iris that Caitlin was planning to leave anyway. Iris tries to stop her, but Frost threatens her until she lets her go.

At the club, a drunken Barry staggers around telling everyone he's the Flash. Fortunately the customers all laugh and dismiss this as drunken rantings. The gang sits down to watch the next dancer take the stage, and they're shocked when it turns out to be Joanie! Gasp!

Killer Frost then enters a different nightclub, which isn't at all confusing, as it looks much like the strip joint. Iris, Felicity and Cecile secretly follow her, in order to save her or something. Frost approaches a woman in a slinky black leather catsuit (of course), who we find out is the mysterious Amunet. Frost asks why she sent her snake-eyed lackey to attack her. Amunet apologizes, and says she wanted to show her something in person.

Amunet takes Killer Frost to the club's basement, where she has an alarmingly skinny guy chained up. She says the man's a metahuman named "Weeper," and kicks him hard in the gut. The bruised and battered man sheds a single tear that glows bright blue. Amunet takes the tear and says it's somehow a powerful drug. She explains she plans on selling the drug, and needs the powerful Killer Frost as a bodyguard. Frost refuses and Amunet threatens to kill her if she tries to leave. Wait, Amunet's powerful enough to take on Killer Frost, but she can't protect herself? I'm confused. Just then Iris enters and tells everyone to calm down. For some reason, Amunet doesn't instantly execute Iris for her buttinskiness, and lets her and Frost leave.

At STAR, Killer Frost explains how she got mixed up in this mess. She says Caitlin heard rumors that Amunet had technology that could cure her, so she went to work for her as hired muscle. Of course the tech didn't work, and now she's bound to Amunet. Frost says she's planning to leave Earth-1 for good (with the help of an unknown breacher) and start a new life on another world.

Iris tells Felicity and Cecile about Weeper, who's one of the twelve metas that Barry accidentally created, and says they have to save him from Amunet. Amazingly they all agree to go along with this plan.

Back at the club, Joe talks with Joanie and asks her what the hell she's doing. She feeds him a huge line of bull, saying she's not a stripper, but is simply dancing in order to research a book on the strength of women. That... that doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Just then a dancer accuses Ralph of stealing $20 from her. Naturally this causes a huge row in the club, made even worse when Joe tries to calm everyone down by announcing he's a cop.

Amunet confronts Killer Frost under an overpass. She finally demonstrates her power by controlling a bucket full of metal shards, which fly up and form a gauntlet around her hand (more on that later). The two metas then engage in a brief fight, and Amunet fires a blast of shards at Frost, knocking her down. She then starts beating Frost, literally punching her out of Caitlin's body. She continues hitting the now powerless Caitlin, and just as she's about to deliver the killing blow, the cops arrive. Amunet easily kills them, but in the confusion Caitlin gets away.

Meanwhile Barry, Joe, Cisco and Ralph are cooling their heels in jail after the club fight. Joe tells Barry he's terrified of becoming a father again at his age. Barry says Joe raised him and Iris alone, and assures him he'll do just fine. Harry arrives and bails them out.

Iris finds Caitlin in STAR Labs, stitching up her surprisingly mild wounds. Iris persuades her to let them help take down Amunet. Caitlin reluctantly agrees, and says Amunet can control amnico, a specific metal alloy. Felicity scans the city and detects a large amount of the metal in an abandoned industrial park (of course). Iris, Caitlin and Felicity sneak into Amunet's hideout, while Cecile monitors them in a van.

Inside the building, Amunet presents Weeper to a group of Japanese mobsters, and demonstrates his power. The lead mobster tries the tear drug and immediately offers to buy all of it that Amunet has. Just then Iris and Felicity move in with their STAR-Labs brand blasters, telling everyone to freeze. Unfortunately two of the mobsters sneak up behind them and tell 'em to drop their weapons. D'oh!

Iris and Felicity are brought before Amunet, who says she'll have to kill them. Just then Caitlin shows up and says she'll come back to work for her if she lets the two women go. Amunet says that ship's passed, and attacks with her metal shards. Caitlin transforms back into Killer Frost, forming a protective ice dome around herself, Iris and Felicity.

As the shards begin chewing through the ice dome, Iris radios Cecile and tells her to turn on the powerful electromagnet in the ceiling of the factory. Just how and why it's possible for Cecile to be able to do this is left to our imaginations. Anyway, she turns on the magnet and Amunet's metal shards are ripped off her hand, leaving her powerless.

Killer Frost then forms a large icicle, intending to stab Amunet in the heart with it. Iris talks her down, and Amunet sneaks away in all the confusion. They free Weeper and he scampers off into the night as well.

Back at STAR, the guys and gals run into one another, and both groups lie, saying their special nights out were completely uneventful. Frost turns back into Caitlin, and Iris asks her to be maid of honor in her upcoming wedding. Joe admits to Cecile that he's scared about their baby, and she admits she is too. They feel better knowing they're scared together.

Cut to Weeper sneaking through the alleys of Central City. Suddenly he's confronted by The Thinker in his flying Barcalounger. He tells Weeper he went to a lot of trouble to create him, and isn't nearly done with him.

• At the beginning of the episode, Team Flash is trying to figure out just who the mysterious "DeVoe" is. Barry asks why it's taking so long, and Cisco says, "Do you know how many people in this state are named DeVoe?" Hmm... exactly which state would that be, Cisco? They've never established just where Central City's located.

• At one point we see Caitlin booking a plane ticket from the Ferris Air website. Does that mean Green Lantern exists somewhere in the Arrowverse? C'mon guys! Stop teasing us and introduce Hal Jordan already!

• For the second week in a row, a character waltzes into STAR Labs unchallenged and points it out to Team Flash. When Felicity enters STAR Labs she tells the gang, "
I literally walked in here. You have no security, you have no alarms, you have nothing on your door. You guys might wanna consider something, anything at all."

Breacher said much the same thing in last week's episode. I thought Cisco said he took care of the security situation last season? Maybe he did and Flashpoint undid it.

• Cisco plays home videos of Barry and Iris at the bachelor party. I'm betting at least some of it was actual footage of a young Grant Gustin, as the kid in the video looks a lot like him.

• We got a "This house is bitchin" joke this week. When Ralph barges uninvited into the West house, he and Cisco have the following conversation:

Cisco: "You weren't invited."
Ralph: "Wow, this house is, uh..."
Cisco: "Bitchin'?"
Ralph: "No. Small. Looks much bigger from the street."

This of course is a callback to the season premiere, in which Barry was drawing alien symbols on the walls just after he got out of the Speed Force. Still no idea what it means, but the fact that they brought it up again implies it's eventually gonna be important.

• It makes perfect sense that Ralph is The Golden Booty's #1 Customer!

• At the club, a very drunken Barry loudly announces to everyone that he's the Flash. Joe hurriedly whisks him away before he can blow his secret identity.

Why bother? At this point Barry's told his "secret" to so many people that the strip club customers probably already know who he is.

• Joe's horrified when he sees Cecile's daughter Joanie seemingly working as a stripper at The Golden Booty. When he asks her what the hell she's doing there, she tells him she's researching a book about feminism, saying, "Because we live in a society that's dictated by the male gaze. I wanna control the narrative of feminism, okay? I wanna show the world that a powerful, strong woman can wear anything, be it a bikini or a pantsuit."

So... help me out here, because I'm confused. Joanie thinks stripping for a living's demeaning to women, so she's stripping to... empower herself, or some bullsh*t like that? I officially hate this character.

• So how come Harry didn't get arrested at during the big fight at The Golden Booty? Did he sit calmly in his seat and not get involved in the fight? Or was he in the can when it started? Whatever the reason, it's a good thing he didn't get arrested too, so he could bail out the others.

It's also a good thing that no one at the CCPD recognized Harry when he sauntered in rescue the guys. Despite the fact that Harry's from Earth-2, he still looks exactly like Harrison Wells, the man who publicly announced he killed Barry's mother. The police could have easily thrown him in the slammer and charged him with murder!

Seems like it might be a good idea for him to wear a hat and dark glasses whenever he goes out in public on Earth-1.

• Amunet's bodyguard with the tentacle growing out of his eye socket is named Norvock. According to the Arrowverse wiki page, his full name is Hunk Norvock. Sure, why not?

I looked him up, and amazingly Hunk Norvock is actually from The Flash comic! He appeared in All Flash Quarterly #12, way back in 1943. Not surprisingly the comic version didn't have a gross tentacle that slithered out of his eye hole. Instead he was a crime boss killed by The Thinker. 

Somebody on the writing staff's been doing their homework!

• This week's big bad is Amunet Black, who's a low-rent Magneto knockoff who can psychically control metal.

Welllll, that's not quite true. Apparently Amumet can't control just any kind of metal. Instead she can only manipulate alnico, an alloy of aluminum, nickel and cobalt (which is a real thing, by the way). Jesus, talk about a specific power!

In order to use her power, Amunet carries around a bucket full of alnico shards, which she can form into a gauntlet around her hand, or fire at an enemy. Yes, that's right, this supervillain can only use her power if she's carrying around a bucketfull of a very particular metal!

I guess it never occurred to her to, oh, I don't know, maybe form the shards into an elaborate necklace or chest plate until she needs it? But no, carrying them around in a goddamned bucket is fine too.

It kind of undermines Amunet's danger if a superhero confronts her and she says, "Don't move, guv! Gimme 'alf a mo to nip off and get me bucket!"

Amunet's actually from the comics, and was created by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver back in The Flash: Iron Heights special back in 2001.

She calls herself "Blacksmith" in the comics, and of course has a completely different look and backstory. Although she did run "The Network," an underground black market for supervillains to buy and sell contraband items, much like she did in this episode.

The comic version's powers are completely different though. Blacksmith's body has been mutated into the perfect combination of flesh and metal, and she has the ability to fuse organic and inorganic matter together. I don't see how that's useful, but there you go.

• Jesus Christ, would someone please get Weeper a sandwich? He's practically transparent!

• Caitlin must have an incredibly hard and durable skull. Amunet forms a large METALLIC gauntlet around her hand and uses it to repeatedly punch Killer Frost in the face. She apparently knocks out Frost, who then transforms into plain old powerless Caitlin. Undeterred, Amunet continues punching her four or five more times with her metal-clad hand. Amazingly Caitlin's skull doesn't split in half, and she's only knocked unconscious.

Later in STAR Labs we do see her stitching up her arm, but her face only has a couple of superficial cuts on it.

• Amunet's hideout is in Lawrence Hills. The Flash loves to name streets and buildings after famous comic book creators, but I couldn't find any mention of anyone named Lawrence. Sometimes a cigar's just a cigar.

• Iris and Felicity sneak into Amunet's hideout and try to capture her. Note that Felicity wield's Cisco's freeze gun, which is just like the one Captain Cold stole from him. They're really getting their money's worth out of that prop lately, as Caitlin used it a couple weeks ago in Mixed Signals.

• It seems odd that Killer Frost let Amunet run off instead of freezing her feet to the ground and calling the cops. Heck, there's already a cop in their little group!

• At the end of the episode, Weeper runs through the city, but is confronted by The Thinker in his floating recliner.

It's amazing just how much The Thinker looks like Metron here. Metron's a DC character who's an ally of the New Gods, and explores the time and space in his Moebius Chair.

I'm sure this is nothing more than a coincidence, as The Thinker and Metron are about as unrelated as two characters can be, and it's also extremely unlikely that the Arrowverse would introduce the New Gods anytime soon. But it's interesting how much the two characters look alike.

• This Week's Best Lines:

Barry: "We had a heads-up that someday, someone named DeVoe would be one of my greatest foes. 
Cisco: "And the other thing to think about is, do you know how many people there are in this state alone with the name DeVoe?"
Barry: "No."
Harry: "Thousands. And we still don't have an age."
Cisco: "Unless one of your greatest foes is the three-month-old William DeVoe who lives four blocks from here."
Barry: "I don't think one of my greatest enemies is a baby."
Cisco: "Evil killer baby."
Harry: "Ehh, could happen."
Barry: "You're right."

Cisco: (seeing Harry chug his brandy, which is meant to be sipped) "That was meant to be enjoyed!"

Harry: "I enjoyed it."
(I gotta admit, that line made me laugh out loud)

Harry: (seeing Ralph's photo in The Golden Booty) "Uh, Disney, you're a regular in this joint?" 

Iris: "I am not just gonna abandon our teammate."

Cecile: "Fine. I'm coming with you."
Iris: "No, Cecile, you're pregnant."
Cecile: "And your father will kill me if you get killed at your own bachelorette party!"

Barry: (drunkenly whooping it up at the strip club) "Because I'm the Flash!"

Joe: "Let's get you back to the table."
(Joe sits Barry at a table. Suddenly Barry's body jerks a bit, as there's a whooshing sound)
Joe: "Barry? What did you just do?:
Barry: "I just went and got peanuts from the bar."
Joe: "You didn't even move."
Barry: "Or did I?"

Amunet: "You and I could have been gods."

Killer Frost: "I used to work with a god. Over it."

(Cecile activates the electromagnet, stripping Amunet of her metal gauntlet) 
Killer Frost: (to Amunet) "Not so scary without your bling now, are ya, sister?"

Barry: (to Iris) "Hey. I saw you called seventeen times, everything okay?"

(This line made me laugh too. Sure, Barry! Everyone calls seventeen times in a row when there's no emergency!)

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