Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Flash Season 5, Episode 10: The Flash & The Furious

This week The Flash returns from its mid season break with one of the most "meh" episodes in the series' entire run.

The biggest problem with The Flash & The Furious is that nothing actually happens, as the episode spends the majority of its runtime setting up plotlines for the back half of the season. Setup episodes are always a good time!

There's also some puzzling character motivation, as Cisco suddenly decides he no longer wants to be a superhero, which may or may not be paving the way for his departure from the show. It also brings back a minor villain from a few episodes back and would have us believe she's turned over a new leaf. Trouble is, she's had so little screen time the audience has no connection with her, and couldn't care less about her one way or the other.

Cicada's a no-show this week, dragging his arc out even longer. Why the hell is he even still on the show? Ideally he should have been dealt with once and for all in the mid season finale, so the series could focus on the return of Thawne.

Eh, let's get this over with.


The Plot:
In 2049, Nora visits Thawne in Iron Heights Prison. She's furious with him after finding out he killed her grandmother (and namesake). He tells her he regrets what he's done, but she says she can no longer trust him. He reminds her he taught her how to time travel so she could meet the father she never knew. She tells him their deal's off, and she's not going to work with him anymore.

Cut to present day STAR Labs. Team Flash discusses how to find Cicada. In the meantime, they've stationed guards outside of Grace's hospital room, to prevent Cicada from trying to visit her.

Barry, Iris and Nora then attend the trial of Jocelyn Jackam, aka the Weather Witch. Cecile's serving as prosecuting attorney, while Barry's a witness in the trial. Nora savagely comments that she can't wait to see a villain like Joss get what's coming to her. This attitude upsets Iris.

Cecile's a bit nervous, as it's her first day back in court since her pregnancy. She begins her opening statement, stating she intends to prove Joss Jackam used her dark matter weather vane to harm the citizens of Central City, cause extensive property damage and attempt to murder her own father.

Suddenly Cecile's ESP powers act up (even though we were told they'd fade after her pregnancy) and she inadvertently reads Joss's mind. She senses great remorse from Joss, and actually starts feeling sorry for her. She falters, but still finishes her statement.

Back at STAR, Caitlin removes the dark matter shards from Cisco's hands. She then briefly becomes Killer Frost and applies "ice sutures" to his hands to heal the wounds. Yeah, let's just ignore that and keep going. Cisco looks at the shards lying in a tray and gets an idea.

Meanwhile, a woman clad in black leather (of course) pulls out a glowing key fob and steals a Lamborghini, leading the cops on a poorly-edited chase through downtown Central City. In the courtroom, Barry gets an alert and tells Cecile he has to go. She reminds him she's planning on calling him to the stand. Barry promises he'll be quick (heh) and speeds off. Apparently a petty car theft takes precedence over a supervillain who's already been captured and being tried.

Barry and Nora then chase after the car thief. He catches up to the black clad driver, but when he tries to grab the car, it glows with dark energy and causes his powers to go haywire. He begins phasing uncontrollably, as his feet fall into the ground.

Nora grabs Barry and is somehow able to counter his phasing. She zooms him back to STAR Labs, where Team Flash discusses how to fix the problem. Cisco suggests placing Barry in a cell in the STAR Labs Secret Super Jail, which will dampen his powers and prevent him from phasing to the center of the Earth. Nora lets go of Barry and he falls through the floor and into the cell. Barry remembers he's due in court, and Nora says she'll testify in his place, since she's an honorary CSI or something.

Back in the courtroom, Cecile tells Iris she senses remorse in Joss, and is going to recommend a lighter sentence. Nora takes the stand, but Cecile cuts her questioning short. This upsets Nora, who doesn't share Cecile's compassion and feels Joss should be punished to the full extent of the law. Suddenly Joss stands up and admits her guilt, which pretty much ends the trial.

At STAR, Cisco studies the shards and realizes they weren't dampening his powers, but actually removing them. He tells Caitlin he could use them to synthesize a "meta cure" to remove the powers from all metahumans everywhere. Caitlin's horrified by this notion, saying not all metas want to be "cured."

Cut to a prison transport that's taking Joss to Iron Heights (that was quick!). Suddenly the Lamborghini blocks the road, and the black-clad woman exits. She uses her key fob to disable the transport, then opens the door and tells Joss to come with her. Joss offers a few weak protests, but the woman insists.

Team Flash examines the prison transport's surveillance video and determines the black clad woman is Raya Van Zandt, a former airman who was dishonorably discharged. They determine her key fob must be another piece of meta tech. Cisco notes that Raya's pilot call sign was "Silver Ghost," and the name sticks.

Silver Ghost takes Joss to her garage hideout, and says she's recruiting a team of "Young Rogues." She also asks Joss for help in stealing something big and valuable from ARGUS. Joss says she doesn't want anything to do with her or her team, and demands to be taken back to jail where she can turn herself in and pay for her crimes.

Meanwhile, Sherloque's still suspicious of Nora— in particular the "time language" she claims to have invented. He visits Barry in his cell and asks him about the language he was writing when he first emerged from the Speed Force a year or two ago. Suddenly Team Flash gets an alarm that a hurricane's heading for Central City. You know, the inland metropolis of Central City.

Nora speeds to the eye of the "hurricane," and finds Joss waiting there. She says she faked the hurricane alert, and tells Nora wants to turn herself in. She thinks the police would be more likely to believe her story if a superhero vouched for her. Nora agrees, and zooms Joss to CCPD. She then betrays Joss by telling the cops to lock her up pronto. Joss seethes at Nora as she's hauled away.

At STAR, Cisco's hard at work distilling a meta cure from his dark matter shards. Killer Frost fires an ice blast at the experiment, ruining it. Cisco ask her what the hell, and she says that in the wrong hands, the cure he's working on could be perverted into a weapon that depowers ALL metas everywhere. She has a point!

Iris looks up Silver Ghost's military record and realizes she was discharged as part of a Department Of Defense coverup, and not due to anything she did. She tells the bloodthirsty Nora that some "criminals" aren't actually bad. Nora chats with Barry, who tells her he thinks some people can change, and deserve a second chance.

Silver Ghost enters the CCPD and breaks Joss out of jail again. Smarting from being punished for trying to do the right thing, Joss agrees to go with her this time. They travel to ARGUS (Which is in Star City, right? Or is there a Central City branch?) and Weather Witch uses her weather vane to call up some lightning and fry the facility's security system.

They enter a vault and Silver Ghost unveils a $24 million prototype car, containing all kinds of Wayne Industries tech. Oddly enough, this advanced piece of stealth technology looks suspiciously like a Chevy Chevelle. Silver Ghost uses her key fob to energize the car, and the two gals take off on a joy ride.

At STAR Labs, Team Flash is alerted to the theft, and begin tracking the car. Nora and Killer Frost take off after it.

Silver Ghost and Weather Witch roar through the streets of Central City. Or is it Star City? I'm so confused as to where all this is happening. Suddenly they see Nora in the road ahead. Silver Ghost fires a missile at her, which somehow doesn't kill her. As they drive on, they see a giant wall of ice blocking the road, courtesy of Killer Frost. Silver Ghost pushes a button, and the experimental car phases through the ice wall. She then activates the stealth mode, and the car turns invisible.

Nora sends out a radio signal, hoping Joss will hear it. She says she was wrong about her, and that people can change and deserve a second chance. Silver Ghost sees Nora up ahead and floors it, intending to run her down with the invisible car. Nora stands in the middle of the road, somehow oblivious to the unseen car's roaring engine as it hurtles toward her.

Suddenly the road ices up and the car slides and avoids Nora. Joss opens the sunroof, and she and Silver Ghost fly off on a bolt of lightning. No, really!

Killer Frost catches up, and Nora thanks her for icing up the road. Frost says she didn't do anything, and Nora realizes Joss was the one who saved her. Apparently her The CW Patented Pep Talk® worked and got through to Joss.

Back at STAR, Barry's dark matter phasing finally wears off, and he leaves his cell. Caitlin uses an extrapolator to take Cisco to her father's arctic lab. She says Frost was wrong to destroy his chance for a cure. She says he may be able to use her dad's research to develop a meta cure after all. I'm sure this will never, ever come back to cause trouble for any of the characters.

Nora goes to 2049 and tells Thawne she's learned a valuable lesson about second chances. She tells him she wants to believe there's good somewhere inside him. He says, "Let me prove that there is." She agrees to help him again, but he warns her there's not much time. We then cut to a clock, ominously counting down the minutes until... something. Thawne's execution? She asks him what's next.

In STAR Labs, Sherloque figures out how to enter the Time Vault, and activates Gideon. Amazingly she thinks he's Harrison Wells, despite his outrageous accent. He asks to see all the files on Nora, but Gideon says they've been deleted. When he asks who did the deleting, Gideon says it was Nora...

• At the beginning of the episode, Nora visits Thawne in the future and the two have the following conversation:

Nora: "You killed my grandmother?"
Thawne: "I did."
Nora: "In front of my father?"
Thawne: "I did."
Nora: "He was a boy."
Thawne: "Nora..."
Nora: "He was just a kid!"

How is she just now finding about this? Jesus, even Thawne himself seems surprised, as he says, "I thought you must know. Your mother would've told you. I was wrong. I see that."

Did Future Iris think this was info that Nora just didn't need to know? Or did they become estranged before she had a chance to tell her?

• During Thawne's talk with Nora, he says, "That's the realization that led me to do the things that I did. The terrible, horrible, evil things I did."

For a second I thought he was actually gonna say "the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things I did."

• Where the hell's Ralph again this week? There's a line about him being "off visiting his mother," but it's pretty lame. I like Ralph a lot, but it's obvious the creators have absolutely no idea what to do with him. Especially after introducing Sherloque, who essentially duplicates his role as the team's detective. Which is exactly what I said would happen, and why it was a bad idea. I have an omnious feeling we'd better not get too attached to Ralph, because he's probably gonna be visiting his mom permanently next season.

• Take a look at that ridiculously tiny jury box at Jocelyn Jackam's trial! It looks like it's two feet deep! How are those poor jurors even wedged in there? It doesn't look like there's room in there for their knees! Are they standing up and leaning against the wall?

• This episode desperately wants us to believe that poor, misunderstood Jocelyn Jackam feels deep remorse for her many, many crimes. To that end, every time we see her in the courtroom she wears the same penitent, sorrowful expression in every scene.

Seriously? Just three episodes ago in O Come, All Ye Thankful, she looked like this! Does that look like the face of someone who regrets their actions? She was a shrieking, murderous harpy, who killed her own father by literally dropping a car on him! Granted, she didn't actually succeed because what she thought was her pops was really a hologram, but she still made the attempt!

But despite all that, we're suddenly supposed to feel sorry for her and believe she deserves a second chance. The problem here is that Joss' remorse feels completely unearned. You can't have a character act like a raving lunatic one week, and then do a 180 degree turn around the next. Well, you can't if you want to be a good writer, that is.

Ideally at some point between O Come, All Ye Thankful and this episode there should have been a scene in which we saw Joss in jail, telling her lawyer she regrets her actions. Something to foreshadow the fact that she's turning over a new leaf. As is her repentance is completely unbelievable.

• During Joss' trial, Barry gets an alert of a car theft and tells Cecile he absolutely has to go deal with it. Does this car theft really take precedence over Weather Witch's criminal trial? Couldn't Barry just leave it to Nora? Or better yet, the police? 

• As we all know by now, The Flash loves to name building and streets after prominent comic creators. This week during the big car chase, Cisco says, "Guys, the car just turned north on 8th, headed towards Wakefield." I poked around Google and couldn't find any DC artist or writer named Wakefield. Not saying there isn't, just that I couldn't find any mention of 'em.

• After an encounter with Silver Ghost and her dark matter-infected keyfob, Barry begins phasing uncontrollably and can't stop. When Nora helps him back to STAR Labs, he actually begins falling through the floor.

This brings up a good point. How does Barry keep from sinking to the center of the Earth whenever he phases? Seems like that would be a constant problem every time he uses this power.

Maybe when he's phasing while running his momentum carries him along the surface of the ground just long enough to get through an obstacle. He can run across the surface of the ocean without sinking, so I suppose it's not that big a stretch to imagine he could do the same on land.

• I guess it never occurred to anyone to just put the meta cuffs on Barry to stop his phasing?

• When Team Flash is trying to figure out how to deal with Barry's out of control phasing, Cisco suggests letting him fall through the floor into one of the cells in the STAR Labs Secret Super Jail, which will negate his powers. Sherloque says their timing will have to be precise. He tells Barry if it's not, "Your torso would be severed from your legs as you enter the cell."

OK, this is some heavy duty nitpicking, but why the hell would he say it that way? Why wouldn't he say his legs would be severed like a human being would?

• How does Team Flash know that Barry's out of control phasing will only last 24 hours? And why does it end up lasting that long down to the second?

Read more: https://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/episode_scripts.php?tv-show=the-flash-2014&season=
• Wondering why Barry sits out most of this week's episode in the STAR Labs Secret Super Jail, appearing sporadically on a monitor? That would be because he was busy filming the Arrow and Supergirl chapters of the big Elseworlds crossover a few weeks ago. He couldn't be in three places at once, so they had to temporarily write him out of his own show for an episode or two.

• So this week, Caitlin easily removes the dark matter shards from Cisco's hands. He's glad to be shed of them, since they caused him great pain every time he used his powers. Um... I could SWEAR that a few episodes back (in The Death Of Vibe?) we were told it was impossible to remove the shards. I guess Caitlin must have decided they weren't. Or the writers forgot what they said.

• Ever since it began, The Flash has been filled with preposterous comic book "science." For proof you need look no further than the Season 2 episode Family Of Rogues, in which Captain Cold froze a hallway full of laser beams and then shattered them (!!!). 

This episode is no exception. At one point Caitlin performs "microsurgery" on Cisco, removing the tiny dark matter shards from his palms. She then transforms into Killer Frost for a few seconds as she applies "ice sutures" to his incisions. She says, "So those sutures should stay frozen while the wound heals. Once they melt, you can take the bandages off."

Wha...? That's... that's not how ice works. How the hell can her sutures stay frozen until his hands heal? Either Cisco has the power of speed-healing, or Killer Frost can make ice that takes a week to melt. Neither option makes the least bit of sense.

• Meta Humor (not human) Alert! During this impromptu operation, Cisco says, "I got used to being Cisco again sans Vibe-age, you know? And not having villains breathing down my neck once a week, I have to say, is pretty schway."

Apparently Cisco's aware that he's in a TV show, and faces off against bad guys once a week!

• So this week Cisco gets the bright idea to use the shards of dark matter taken from his hands to concoct a serum or something that will "cure" all metas of their powers. When Caitlin asks him why the hell he'd want to do such a thing, he says he's tired of having superpowers and wants to settle down and start a family.

Where the hell did all this come from? Cisco's always been a metahuman fanboy, gleefully coming up with names for each supervillain that pops up each week. He always seemed to revel in his own powers too, delighting in the ability to jump between worlds.

This sudden reversal of attitude comes completely out of nowhere and once again, feels totally unearned. Over in my Walking Dead reviews, I often jokes that there must be a "Wheel Of Motivation" in their writer's room, to explain how the characters on that show switch attitudes, beliefs and even sides from episode to episode. I'm starting to wonder if The Flash writers borrowed that wheel.

• Is Cisco's speech about wanting a wife and kid some foreshadowing that he's leaving the show? It's been five years after all. Maybe Carlos Valdes is ready to move on to other things?

• Cisco's meta cure seems like a reeeeeeally bad idea, and one that will almost certainly come back to bite the cast in the ass. I guarantee someone's going to lose their powers before the season's over. Most likely Caitlin, since she and Killer Frost have finally learned to work together.

• Speaking of Killer Frost, why's she so against Cisco's meta cure idea? A few weeks ago in The Icicle Cometh, Caitlin's dad told her that her powers didn't come from dark matter, but from some serum he was screwing around with.

If Cisco's cure is dark matter-based, would it even have an affect on Caitlin/Killer Frost?

• While Barry's cooling his heels in the Super Jail, Sherloque brings him a copy of Uncaged Desire to help pass the time. The book's written by Rebecca Silver, who all good Legends Of Tomorrow fans will recognize as the pen name of one Mick Rory, aka Heat Wave!

• Nora wanders into the Super Jail and sees Barry reading Heat Wave's book. She then asks Barry if he thinks villains can change. Despite the fact that he's literally holding a book written by a former criminal who's now a hero, he uses Leonard Snart, aka Captain Cold, as an example of a villain who went straight.

Sometimes I wonder if the writers on this show truly know what the hell they're doing.

• Nora has a heart to heart talk with Barry, asking whether villains can ever change. He says he believes they are. She then asks if he thinks Thawne's capable of turning over a new leaf. Amazingly, Barry says he'd like to believe he is.

What the hell? Thawne's caused Barry more heartache and pain than any other villain he's ever encountered. What's Thawne ever done to instill such faith in Barry? Absolutely nothing, that's what!

• How do you film an exciting, high speed Fast & Furious style car chase in the middle of downtown Vancouver when you don't have permission to shut down several blocks of city streets during the day?

Simple! You get the city to let you close a single block, and then drive up and down it several dozen times at a moderate speed. You then edit the scene so no shot lasts longer than a fifteen frames, preventing the audience from getting a good look at anything and figuring out what you've done!

• When Team Flash sees Silver Ghost pop up on security footage, Cisco says, "OK, let's run that face through the DOD database." They then discover she's Raya Van Zandt, a former air force pilot and mechanic.

Um... does the Department Of Defense know that Cisco can access their files? Did the military make some kind of deal with Team Flash? If not, wouldn't hacking into their database be illegal?

• Silver Ghost is from the comics, but as is par for the course by now, the TV version resembles the character in name only. The print version was actually a male named Raphael Van Zandt, and wore a skin-tight silver bodysuit. As you might also suspect, he didn't have a magic key fob that could control any vehicle. He had the power to turn objects into silver!

• If Joss really wanted to turn herself in as badly as she claims, then why does she go to Silver Ghost's hideout? Did she drag her there? Why couldn't she have just told her to piss off and stay put in the paddy wagon?

• Silver Ghost somehow convinces Weather Witch to follow her to her garage hideout. On the wall of the garage is a sign reading "King Samson Auto Works." In the comics, King Samson was an oversized muscle bound brute who worked alongside the Silver Ghost.

• Silver Ghost says she's assembling a new team of younger, hipper Rogues, and asks Weather Witch if she wants in. She hands her a folder containing files on potential members. Among them is Spencer Young, aka Spyn, who debuted in News Flash.

I assume this means Silver Ghost is gonna recruit the other Season 5 villains we've seen so far, including Block and Rag Doll.

• Joss decides to switch sides yet again, and join forces with Silver Ghost. She hands Joss her dark matter weather vane, which she uses to fry ARGUS' security system. Several things here:

Where'd Silver Ghost get the weather vane? Last we saw, it was being used as evidence in Joss' trial. Did Silver Ghost steal it from the courthouse while we weren't looking?

Secondly, if Silver Ghost already had the vane in her possession, why didn't she use it herself? Is Weather Witch the only one who can control it? Is all this dark matter tech somehow connected to the people who own it, and no one else can use it?

• Silver Ghost and Weather Witch arrive at ARGUS. Silver Ghost reveals why she brought Weather Witch along, sayiing, "You ever heard of A.R.G.U.S.? It's an off-the-grid facility primed with bleeding-edge tech, and it's protected by one of the most advanced security systems on Earth. The only thing that can short it out is a billion jolts of electricity. So a few bolts of lightning."

She ain't exaggerating here. In fact if anything she's underestimating the power of lighting. The average lightning bolt contains about FIVE billion joules of electricity!

• Once again the show's Canadianess shows through. When Weather Witch knocks out the ARGUS security grid, a commander looks around and says, "What the hell is that?" A tech replies, "I don't know sir, but it knocked oot security grids 41 through 60."

• Silver Ghost and Weather Witch break into ARGUS and steal their $24 million dollar prototype stealth car, which is loaded with super-advanced tech from Wayne Industries.

For reasons known only to ARGUS, they decided to house all this technology in a Chevy Chevelle. A muscle car that was manufactured from 1964 to 1977. Such a perfectly preserved classic is sure to blend right in with all the other cars on the road, and won't stand out or seem suspicious at all! Well done, ARGUS techs!

• The stealth car's equipped with a large touch screen, which for some reason is controlled by an emoji-based operating system, which appears to have been designed for five year olds.

For example, tapping an emoji of a watermelon slice (?) arms a missile. Tapping a second icon of a person with a bloody hole in their chest fires it. OK, the latter makes sense, but what the hell do watermelons have to do with missiles?

Tapping a ghost emoji causes the car to phase. OK, I can live with that one.

This dapper emoji activates the car's stealth mode and turns it invisible. I guess it's supposed to represent the Invisible Man?

This animation of two tin cans joined by a string means the car's receiving an external transmission. Who programmed this thing, the Little Rascals?

Lastly, this whimsical sun emoji opens the car's sunroof. Which must be very skillfully camouflaged, as earlier in the episode we clearly see it doesn't have one.

• How the hell is Nora still alive? At one point she confronts Silver Ghost and Weather Witch in their stolen high-tech Chevelle. Silver Ghost arms a missile and fires it at her. That's it in the lower left corner.

Nora's superspeed kicks in, causing the missile to seemingly pass by her in slow motion.

It then explodes right in front of Nora's face!

Lest you think maybe Nora sped away from the explosion before it could harm her, take a look at this scene. It clearly blows her backwards into last week. As I said, how the hell is she not dead? I guess maybe she might have phased before the explosion could tear her body to shreds? Either that or the missile was a dud.

• As the gals speed away in their Chevelle, Killer Frost throws up a massive ice wall to block their path. Silver Ghost simply activates the car's phase mode and drives right through the icy barrier.

For the record, THIS is the face of an cold-powered metahuman when someone phases through their ice wall.

• When Nora visits Thawne at the end of the episode, she tells him it'll take some time before she learns to trust him. He tells her she'd better hurry, because time isn't on his side. We then cut to a digital clock counting down from 51 minutes and 56 seconds.

So what's the countdown all about? The most obvious answer is that Thawne's about to be executed, which I guess is something people still do in the future, and he has less than an hour left.

• When Sherloque sneaks into the Time Vault, he tries to activate Gideon by clapping his hands. I guess whatever Earth he's from, they have The Clapper there as well?

• When Sherloque finally figures out how to start up Gideon, she addresses him as Dr. Wells. I guess that makes sense if she's just going by sight alone, but I'd think an AI as advanced as Gideon might do some sort of DNA or retinal scan. Surely people from different Earths aren't identical down to the genetic level?

• This Week's Best Lines:
Meh. Nothing this week.

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