Sunday, February 9, 2020

The Flash Season 6, Episode 10: Marathon

Welcome to the first Post-Crisis episode of The Flash!

To be honest I was expecting to see a bit more fallout from the Crisis, since Team Flash is now living on the brand new world of Earth-Prime. A world that differs radically from Earth-1, with a totally different geography and history.

We did get a couple scenes of Cisco talking about the changes, but that was it. I assume this will be an ongoing thing, and we'll learn more about the changes as the season progresses.

I was also disappointed we didn't get any kind of heartfelt reunion between Barry and Iris. Especially since she was vaporized by the antimatter wave in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part Three, and she was AWOL for the rest of the crossover. That's why I was sure we'd finally see them reconnect in this episode, but nope. Heck, they barely even had any scenes together in Marathon.

The series did get a fancy new opening title sequence in this episode. More on that below.

The theme of this episode seems to be "Slow Down," which I guess is apt for a show about a speedster. Oddly enough both John Diggle and Joe West give this same advice to Barry and Iris respectively. It's a fairly relevant message, especially for Barry, who's suffering from survivor's guilt after the death of his pal Oliver Queen. Oh, spoilers, I guess.

I also enjoyed the scene in which Joe pointed out that Iris was throwing herself into potentially deadly situations as if there was no tomorrow. It made perfect sense when he gently reminded her the Crisis was over, and the world is no longer ending.

Cisco seemingly takes a leave of absence at the end of this episode, and will presumably sit out the next few weeks. He was AWOL quite a bit last season as well. I'm not gonna start wildly theorizing that he's leaving the show like I did last year, but I have to wonder... is he getting tired of the weekly grind?


The Plot:
This first Post-Crisis episode begins in a newly reopened Jitters, which is instantly robbed by bumbling career criminal Sterling Brooks. He begins shooting up the place, but Barry appears and saves the day. The Jitters customers rejoice.

At STAR Labs, Cisco's making a revamped map and timeline of Earth-Prime. Frost asks why he cares, and he replies that there's a lot they don't know about their brave new world. He shows her a binder of trading cards featuring Team Flash's most prominent villains, and says he doesn't recognize half of them. Nash requests a "cryptocircuit" from Cisco, in order to test the sewers and make sure no one ever opens the Antimatter Universe again (wait, why would it still exist?). Cisco dismisses his concerns, saying he's already run the tests.

Iris sits in her apartment, admiring her Citizen story about how the Flash saved Earth in the Crisis (grrr....). Barry returns home, with Arrow's pal John Diggle in tow. Digg says Oliver left Barry something in his will, and hands him a wooden box. Barry opens it, and finds the domino mask he made for Oliver inside. Barry's touched, then notices a small mark on the mask and immediately jumps to the massive conclusion that it's a clue that Oliver left for him. Iris gets a message and says she has to leave to meet with a source.

Cut to a parking garage, where Iris recreates the informant scene from All The President's Men. She meets with Gene Huskk, a former employer of the sinister McCullogh Technologies. He tells her he developed a prototype photon rifle for McCullogh, but it was stolen by a Mystery Man (the same one Iris spoke with in The Last Temptation Of Barry Allen, Part 1). When Huskk reported the theft, he was summarily fired. He believes an organization called Black Hole stole the rifle.

At the Citizen, Iris tells Kamilla, Allegra and Cecile (who I guess are all working for her now?) about Black Hole. She says they've been operating in Central City for years, and are the ones who abducted Allegra's cousin Esperanza. Iris wants to run the story about Black Hole stealing weapons from McCullogh. Cecile warns her against it, saying McCullough could sue. Iris smugly replies that reporters don't run away from stories.

Back at Barry's place, he analyzes Oliver's mask and finds traces of Mirakuru, the super-soldier serum that created Deathstroke. Barry believes there's still Mirakuru on the island of Lian Yu, and they have to destroy it before someone finds it and creates an unstoppable army. Digg's skeptical, but Barry speeds him off to the island.

Iris goes to McCullogh Tech, where she interviews CEO Joseph Carver. He seems innocent enough, telling her he started the company with his wife Eva McCullogh. Iris says she knows about the theft, but Carver tells her Huskk was a troublemaker, and nothing was stolen from McCullogh. He asks her not to run the story, but she refuses and leaves.

Cut to the Citizen, where Iris has posted the story and smugly points out how many views it's received. Cecile enters and tells Iris that Carver is suing her— exactly as she warned he would. Just then Cecile gets a premonition of danger, and tells them all to duck. We see a Japanese woman across the street, aiming the stolen photo rifle at the building. She fires, and an energy bolt hits the wall behind them and disintegrates it. Iris tells the others to get to STAR, while she escapes through Nash's tunnels (?).

Kamilla, Allegra and Cecile arrive at STAR. Cisco tries to call Barry, but can't reach him on Lian Yu. Allegra asks why he doesn't just use an extrapolator to breach to the island. Cisco says now that the Multiverse is gone (???), breaching is no longer possible. 

Nash enters and immediately checks to see if Allegra's OK, since he seemingly has some odd connection to her (gosh, I wonder what it could be?). Nash lashes out at Cisco for not warning the Team they were in danger. Cisco fires back, saying Nash only shows up at STAR when he wants something, and is responsible for freeing The Anti-Monitor and causing the "deaths" of trillions.

Iris returns to the parking garage, where she meets with Huskk again. As he hands her a flash drive, he's shot by the Japanese woman and begins disintegrating. He manages to croak out, "Mirror" to Iris before he completely disappears. Iris grabs the flash drive off the ground and jumps into Huskk's car. She takes off as the woman shoots out the back window. Iris is struck in the arm by stray energy particles, but gets away. 

Iris returns to STAR, where she looks through Cisco's trading cards. She realizes the assassin was Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi, aka a new version of Doctor Light— a meta with the power to funnel star light. Iris pulls out Huskk's flash drive, but is crushed to see it's broken and useless. She then collapses from her wounds.

At Lian Yu, Barry searches the island at superspeed and finds a box in an old ARGUS facility. He opens it, expecting it to be filled with Mirakuru. Instead it's completely empty. Frustrated, his hand begins sparking with Speed Force lightning. Digg asks if he's OK, and Barry says it's never happened to him before (I smell a future plotline!). 

Barry insists they keep searching, but Digg tells him he's chasing something that doesn't exist, and sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Barry says he has to protect Earth so Oliver didn't die in vain. Digg says Oliver gave his life for the people he loved to live theirs, and suggests Barry slow down and appreciate his.

At STAR, Cisco watches a holo-cube from Harry Wells of Earth-2 (which no longer exists in the Post-Crisis world, so what the hell?). Caitlin (not Frost) enters, and asks if he regrets taking the meta-cure. He says he doesn't know. She tells him he should compile all the changes on Earth-Prime, and he agrees that's a good idea. He says he can't do it sitting inside STAR Labs though (?), and will have to leave.

Joe arrives and checks on Iris, who's been treated by Caitlin. He's upset that she's seemingly rushing headlong into danger, as if there's no tomorrow. He tells her Crisis is over, and she needs to slow down (did Joe compare notes with Digg?). Joe asks if anyone else knew about Black Hole, and Iris realizes Carver mentioned it.

Sometime later at McCullogh Tech, Carver places a call to Doctor Light and tells her to eliminate her target. We then see that Light is outside of Joe's house, where he and Iris are relaxing. Light enters and fires a blast directly at Iris, and is puzzled when it goes right through her. We then see that Iris is a hologram controlled by Kamilla, who's safe and sound in STAR Labs. Joe appears and points a shotgun at Doctor Light, while Frost comes from behind and threatens her with ice daggers.

We then see Iris is alive and well at McCullogh, where she confronts Carver. She tries to blackmail him, saying she has evidence linking McCulloch to Black Hole and knows he orchestrated the theft of the rifle. He says she doesn't have the whole story, or she wouldn't be trying to scare him. She says he's right, but if anything happens to her or her family she has contacts who'll release everything to the public.

Back at the West house, Joe & Frost still have Doctor Light surrounded. Suddenly she grabs a bowl and hurls it at Joe's stuntman, knocking him out. Light shoots Frost in the shoulder, and she collapses onto the couch. Luckily for her she doesn't instantly disintegrate like every other person who was shot in this episode. Instead she sticks her fingers into the wound and pulls out the bullet (?). Light starts to shoot her again, but she gets a call from Carver, who tells her to stand down. Light immediately walks out.

Back at McCulloch, Carver tells the press he's dropping the lawsuit against the Citizen.

Later at STAR, Cisco's packing for his walkabout. He apologizes to Nash and asks him to fill in while he's gone. Cisco leaves, and Nash pulls out an old photo of himself standing with someone who looks like Allegra.

That night, Iris gets up to get a drink. She glances at a mirror and remembers what Huskk said. Iris recalls seeing a room labeled AV3 inside McCulloch. She writes down the word and holds it up to the mirror, where it spells "EVA." She realizes that's the name of Carver's late wife. She scrawls a note to Barry and runs out in the middle of the night.

Iris uses Huskk's security badge to break into McCullogh and sneak around. She enters the AV3 room, which is filled with office furniture covered with tarps. She pulls a tarp off the wall, revealing a large floor to ceiling mirror. She looks away for a second, as two reflective arms reach out of the mirror and pull her into it.


• So now that Arrow's over and done with, are we still calling the shared world of these shows the Arrowverse?

• This episode takes place before Fadeout, the final episode of Arrow (even though it aired after it). This explains why Digg doesn't say anything about the Green Lantern ring he found at the end of that episode.

• This week we get a brand new spiffy opening sequence, featuring the faces of the main cast zooming toward us. For some reason it reminds me a bit of the Tennant-era Doctor Who titles. It's also somewhat reminiscent of the Smallville opening.

It looks nice and all, but I'm not gonna lie— I kind of miss the old "My Name Is Barry Allen, And I Am The Fastest Man Alive" opening. I've always been a sucker for title sequences that set up a show's premise (see The Beverly Hillbillies or Green Acres).

• Ralph sits out yet another episode this week, which is unfortunate. I get that the show has a limited budget and they can't feature every member of the bloated cast each week. But we saw Ralph literally get vaporized at the end of Crisis On Infinite Earths: Part Three. He definitely needed to show up in this first Post-Crisis episode, to let everyone know he was restored along with everyone else. At the very least they could have thrown in a line explaining that he was out chasing a lead.

And yes, I'm aware he appears in the new title sequence, but that's not the same.

• The episode begins with the grand reopening of CC Jitters, which is immediately robbed seconds later by a trio of incompetent gunmen armed with laser blasters.

If this leader of this hapless gang seems familiar to you, there's a good reason for that! He's appeared twice before on the show, and even has a name— Sterling Brooks.

He first popped up in the Season 4 episode The Elongated Knight Rises, where he wore a bomb strapped to his chest, took several hostages and attempted to rob a bank. His plan was foiled by Ralph, who used his stretchy powers to rescue the hostages right under Brooks' nose.

He appeared again in the Season 5's The Death Of Vibe. In that episode he attempted to rob a convenience store, again with a high tech blaster. He was foiled once again by Ralph, who knocked him out with one punch.

Looking at these scenes, I gotta ask— are there any conventional firearms in Central City? Every time we see a criminal they're toting a laser rifle, energy blaster or photon bazooka. Where the hell would a petty thief like Brooks get such high tech weaponry? It reminds me of Batman: The Animated Series, in which everyone— even the police— had laser guns.

• One last thing about the robbery scene— when Barry first arrives, he saves all the Jitters patrons from falling debris and such. Then he zips over to Sterling Brooks and his gang and ties them up at superspeed. He does so off camera, but it you look closely you can see the reflection of his Speed Force lighting in the glass door and the waitress' mugs! Now that's attention to detail! Well done, FX Team!

• Inside STAR Labs we see that Cisco's been busily working on a map of the newly-formed Earth-Prime. Apparently due to the merging of the various Earths during the Crisis, the geography of the planet has changed quite a bit. New cities have popped up out of nowhere, while others have shifted position— something which must be disturbing to people who remember the Pre-Crisis world (like Cisco).

His map is a goldmine of Arrowverse and comic book references. Here are all the ones I spotted (get comfortable— it's a long one):

NORTH AMERICA: — Star City: Home of Oliver Queen, it's on the West Coast and appears to be where Seattle is on our world.
— National City: Home of Supergirl. It looks like it's located somewhere on the Northern California coast.
— Metropolis: Home of Superman, of course. It's located where New York City should be.
— Gotham City: Home of Batwoman, it's near the Great Lakes. I'm assuming it's Earth-Prime's version of Chicago.
— Freeland: Home of Black Lightning. It appears to be somewhere near Atlana.
— Happy Harbour: In the comics, this was the site of the original Justice League's secret hideout. It was located in Rhode Island of all places, and that looks to be where the Arrowverse version is as well.
— Central City: Home of the Flash. Note that it doesn't appear on the map, presumably because Cisco knows where he lives. In past seasons it's been located somewhere in Missouri. 

— San Monte: This is a pretty deep cut from the comics. It's where Clark Kent covered his first story as a reporter WAYYYYYY back in Action Comics #1!
— Santa Prisca: In the comics, this was a notorious island prison in the Caribbean. It's also where Batman villain Bane was born. It was mentioned once in Season 3 of Arrow.
— Corto Maltese: An island nation near Brazil, notorious for corruption. It's appeared in the comics and in Arrow. It was also mentioned by Vicki Vale in the 1989 Batman movie.

— Markovia: In the comics, Markovia was the home to the superhero known as Geoforce. In the Arrowverse, it appeared in the Arrow Season 2 episode Suicide Squad, which featured the TV debut of that team. It's also appeared on Black Lightning. It's generally been portrayed as a European nation, but Cisco's map has it located in Russia!
— Kasnia: An Eastern European country featured in Season 3 of Arrow, as well as Season 4 of Supergirl (where it was called Kaznia).

— Qurac: In the comics, it's the country of choice whenever they need to set a story in the Middle East. It appeared in Season 7 of Arrow.
Nanda Parbat: In the comics it was home to a peaceful order of monks. In the Arrowverse it's the base of the League Of Assassins, and is somewhere between Nepal and Tibet.

— Tokyo: Not really sure why Cisco included this one, as it doesn't appear to have changed any. It was featured in the Legends Of Tomorrow Season 4 episode Tagumo Attacks!!!, in which the Legends fought a giant kaiju.

Zambesi: A Central African nation that's the home of Vixen (from Legends Of Tomorrow) and the six magic Totems. 
— Tinasha: In the comics, Tinasha is somewhere south of Zambesi and is home to the vigilante Batwing. It's not appeared in the Arrowverse until now.
— Gorilla City: In the comics, it's a secret African nation housing a race of highly intelligent gorillas. The Flash was the only human who knew its location and visited there. In the Arrowverse, it was originally located on Earth-2 and was home to evil telepathic ape Gorilla Grodd. As a result of the Crisis, Gorilla City is now on Earth-Prime.

The Pacific:
— Kooey Kooey Kooey Island: In the comics it was a South Pacific island that was the base of operations for the Justice League International. Blue Beetle and Booster Gold (members of the JLI) also founded a tropical casino called Club JLI on the island. This is its first mention in the Arrowverse.
— Dinosaur Island: In the comics it was, as its name implies, and island that was inexplicably filled with living dinosaurs. In WWII, a group of American and Japanese soldiers were stranded there, and had to work together to battle the dinosaurs in The War That Time Forgot series. It appears to be new to the Arrowverse.
— Lian Yu: The mysterious island location that played a huge role in Arrow. Filled with terrorists and other undesirables, Oliver Queen was stranded there for five years. It's located somewhere between Japan and Taiwan.

The Arctic:
— The Fortress Of Solitude: The Super Cousins' private little hideout, located at the top of the map in the Arctic.

Whew! I'm not sure it was a good idea to actually map out where all these cities and locations are— especially the American ones. I have a feeling this will eventually come back to bite the producers in their collective asses, especially when a character without superspeed needs to get from Metropolis to Star City quickly.

I've also never been a fan of DC Comics' habit of basing their heroes in fake cities (many of which actually have the word "City" in their name). It's a tacit reminder that their characters aren't real, and unavoidably distances the audience from them. Who the hell knows where Metropolis is?

Give me Marvel Comics and their real world locations any day! When I was a kid it was easy to believe that if I every visited New York City, I could conceivably run into the Fantastic Four or see Spider-Man swinging overhead.

• Cisco also makes a second board, which features a revised timeline of Earth-Prime. Note that it's labeled "Post-Crisis Timeline Draft V.52," which of course is yet another reference to DC Comics' The New 52. The board reads:

2000: The Murder of Nora Allen

2003: Kara Jor El's pod lands on Earth
2005: J'onn J'onzz becomes Hank Henshaw
2007: Oliver Queen is stranded on Lian Yu
2008: Slade Wilson is injected by Mirakuru
Hong Kong is hit by the Alpha-Omega virus, Black Lightning retires from vigilantism.
2012: The Hood debuts in Starling City (The Hood was what the public originally called Green Arrow, aka Oliver Queen)
2013: The Undertaking occurs
2014: The Particle Accelerator explodes. Slade invades Starling City with his Mirakuru Army. Barry wakes up from his coma and becomes The Flash. John Diggle Jr. and Sara Diggle is born.
2015: Bruce Wayne leaves Gotham City. Supergirl debuts in National City. Rip Hunter recruits the Legends
2016: Flash and Supergirl team up. Zoom invades Central City. The Dominators invade Central City. The Ray debuts
2017: Barry and Iris's wedding is interrupted by time travelling nazi clones (whose wedding hasn't?).
2018: Batwoman debuts. Black Lightning returns. Thunder debuts. President Marsdin is exposed as an alien
2019: The Crisis begins
2020: The heroes return and defeat the Anti-Monitor.

At the end of Crisis On Infinite Earths, Part Five, the President aired a special speech thanking Oliver Queen for sacrificing his life to save the world in the Crisis. She made a big deal out of the fact that Ollie was "the first superhero" in the Arrowverse.

I said I had my doubts about that statement, as I could easily name two or three heroes who were likely operating well before Oliver.

This timeline proves I was right (and blows a big ol' hole in the President's statement). It clearly states that Black Lightning retired in 2009, THREE YEARS before The Hood (aka Oliver Queen) debuted in Star City! Whoops!

And yes, I know Black Lightning was originally from an unnamed Earth in the Multiverse. But the President made her claim on Earth-Prime, after all the worlds were merged!

• One last thing about Cisco, who's apparently been quite the busy boy since the Crisis. In this episode it's revealed he's been working on a binder filled with trading cards (!) of Team Flash's most notorious villains! Lots to unpack in this brief little scene:

First of all, Cisco's Who's Who Binder is an obvious nod to Who's Who: The Definitive Directory Of The DC Universe, a comic series published from 1985 to 1987. It listed virtually every DC character, complete with their origins and a rundown of their powers.

Secondly, a frustrated Cisco tells Frost "Not a single one of our doppelgangers survived to make it to Earth-Prime as far as I can tell, but we did manage to pick up a butt-ton of bad guys and aliens and more metas. And you know the best part? The best part is a bunch of our old villains are back, with fresh paint jobs!

Obviously the fact that Cisco remembers the Pre-Crisis world means that J'onn J'onzz swung by STAR Labs and restored his memory of the way things used to be. Also, it's unlikely that Team Flash has had time to encounter all these new, Post-Crisis threats yet, so I have to assume Cisco assembled a list of them from police records?

Thirdly, when Frost sees the binder she says, "When did you have time to do all this?" Good question! It's unclear just how long this episode takes place after the Crisis, but since The Flash operates more or less in real time, it can't be more than a couple weeks. 

How the hell did Cisco compile a list of all their foes, find professionally photographed shots of them all, design a series of trading cards, write up detailed stats on their origins and powers and get them printed out (in addition to all his regular duties) in that short amount of time?

Lastly, it's hard to get a really good look at the cards due to the glare, but here are the ones I spotted:

PAGE ONE (note that these all seem to be Pre-Crisis metas):
— Abra Kadabra: A time traveler from 64th Century Earth-19, who used futuristic technology that looked like magic to us. Apparently he now lives on Earth-Prime. He appeared in Season 3.
— Amunet Black: Aka Leslie Jocoy, a crime boss who can control metal alloys. She first appeared in Season 4, and eventually helped Team Flash battle The Thinker.
— Block: Aka Vanessa Jansen, a meta who can create masses of concentrated air molecules. First appeared in Season 5, where she died. Apparently due to the Crisis she's alive again.
— Bug Eyed Bandit: Aka Brie Larvan, an engineer at Mercury Labs who created a mechanical bee to help pollinate crops. She was fired from Mercury, and used her bees to exact revenge on those who wronged her. She first appeared in Season 1.
— The Dominators: A race of telepathic aliens who attempted to take over Earth-1 in the Invasion! crossover. There were also Dominators on Earth-38.
— Girder: Aka Tony Woodward. As a result of the Particle Accelerator explosion, he can transform his body into living steel. He was killed by fellow meta Blackout in Season 1, but was reanimated in Season 2. He appears to be back to his pre-death old self in the Post-Crisis world.
— Grodd: An evil telepathic gorilla from Gorilla City, which was originally on Earth-2. Due to the Crisis, it appears it's now located on Earth-Prime.
— The Hotness: Aka Jaco Birch, who was accidentally given flame powers by metahuman Matthew Kim in Season 4. 
— King Shark: Aka Dr. Shay Lamden of Earth-2. Due to the Particle Accelerator explosion again, he was transformed into a terrifying humanoid shark. He eventually immigrated to Earth-1, and apparently still exists on Earth-Prime.

— Magenta: Aka Frankie Bridge, who had the power to magnetically manipulate metal. First appeared in Season 3.
— The Mist: Aka Kyle Nimbus (oy gevalt!). Thanks to the Particle Accelerator explosion, he could transform himself into a living cloud of toxic gas. First appeared in Season 1.
— Emily Palizzi: This is Emily's first appearance, and nothing is known about her or her abilities. Apparently she's one of the new Post-Crisis threats Cisco mentioned. 
— Unknown: I can't make out his name, but he looks for all the world like Wesley Snipes as Blade!
— Null: Aka Janet Petty, she was one of The Thinker's bus metas and had the power to manipulate gravity. She first appeared in Season 4.
— Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi: Aka Doctor Light. Another Post-Crisis meta, she makes her first appearance in this episode. .
— The Trickster: Aka Axel Walker. Son of the original Trickster and his partner Prank. The new Trickster followed in his father's footsteps, wreaking wacky havoc on Central City. First appeared in Season 1.
— Ultraviolet: Aka Esperanza Garcia, cousin of Team Citizen member Allegra Garcia. Ultraviolet has the power to manipulate electromagnetic energy. She was recruited as an assassin by Black Hole in Season 6.
Weather Witch: Aka Joslyn Jackam, she's the daughter of Mark Mardon, aka the Weather Wizard. She uses her meta-tech staff to control weather. First appeared in Season 4.

In the interest of wayyyy over the top nitpicking, it should be noted that later in the episode when Iris flips through the binder, the arrangement of Page Two has changed. When Frost leafed through it, Null was next to Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi. For some reason, Weather Witch is now next to Hoshi's card. Trickster also went from the bottom left to the bottom right slot. Maybe Frost took the cards out and rearranged them while we weren't looking?

— Dr. Derek Strickler: Another Post-Crisis villain who's never appeared until now.
— Pied Piper: Aka Hartley Rathaway. A former employee of STAR Labs, the Particle Accelerator explosion altered his hearing. He uses sonic gloves to emit powerful sound blasts that can level an office building.
— Unknown: 
— Dan Fisk: Another Post-Crisis villain who's never appeared until now.
— Arielle Macalpin: Another Post-Crisis villain who's never appeared until now.
— Top: Aka Rosa Dillon. She and her boyfriend Sam Scudder were caught in the Particle Accelerator explosion. She gained the power to induce vertigo in others, and called herself the Top. Scudder became the original Mirror Master.
— Unknown:
— Unknown: 
— Unknown: 

We don't see their cards, but during his rant Cisco mentions both Eden Corps and Rainbow Raider

Eden Corps was a terrorist group who almost blew up Central City with a nuclear bomb in Season 4. Barry stopped them by speeding up and entering "Flashtime," giving him a chance to stop and think how to reverse the detonation.

The Rainbow Raider, aka Roy G. Bivalo (ugh...) has the ability to manipulate the emotions of others, and first appeared in Season 1.

Whew! I think that's it!

• In the first act, Iris sits and admires the latest edition of the Citizen, which proclaims, FLASH RETURNS. STOPS CRISIS." You have no idea how much that headline pisses me off.

I covered this issue in excruciating detail in Crisis On Infinite Earths, Part Four, and you can read my full opinion on the matter there. 

Briefly though, the "FLASH MISSING. VANISHES IN CRISIS" newspaper first appeared way back in Season 1. The series teased the moment for the next six years, promising something epic. Then the writers of the Crisis crossover decided they "didn't want to be beholden to something someone else came up with six seasons ago," so they completely ignored it, resolving the matter in the stupidest and most anticlimactic way possible.

It was unprofessional, a HUGE misstep and a slap in the face to fans of The Flash. It makes me angry every time I'm reminded of it.

• What's with the visible atmosphere and god rays streaming through the window of the Citizen office? Is Iris or someone on her team a heavy smoker? OK, I get that they're doing it for effect, but it makes it look like either something's desperately wrong with the heating system or the building's on fire. Crack a window why dontcha?

• Do Kamilla and Allegra work for Iris? How's she affording to pay them AND hire Cecile as a consultant? I find it hard to believe the Citizen
— which appears to be an online newspaper— rakes in that much cash.

• When Iris tells Team Citizen about Black Hole, Cecile asks if she's informed Joe about it. Iris replies, "Yeah, I have, but Dad would have to launch a RICO investigation to pursue a conspiracy like this."

In case you're wondering, RICO's a real thing and stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Unfortunately that's a federal law, and Joe's a city cop. So there's no way he could open such an investigation. Whoops!

• Oh my god, Iris and her crew actually made a McCullogh Tech conspiracy board! Complete with red strings connecting the photos and clippings! What is this, the 1950s?

POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT! aIn the comic, Black Hole was attempting to take control of the Speed Force and turn it into a weapon. At one point they managed to access the Speed Force and turn several Central City citizens into speedsters— including August Heart, aka Godspeed. Eventually it was discovered that Grodd was the mastermind behind Black Hole.

I doubt that's where the Arrowverse storyline's going, but I thought it was worth a mention.

• For years it's been a running joke on the show that Digg suffers violent motion sickness any time Barry transports him at superspeed. In this episode, Barry determines that he and Digg need to travel to Lian Yu for answers. Before they go, Digg downs a huge mouthful of Dramamine before Barry speeds him off. Haw!

Also, pay close attention to Digg's face as Barry runs off with him...

For one brief frame, he makes this face as he's zipped away!

By the way, there's something I've always wondered about Barry transporting people at superspeed— how the hell does it work? Does he grab 'em by the collar and belt and raise them slightly off the ground as he runs along with them? Does he pick 'em up and carry them like a bride? Or does he throw them over his shoulder in a fireman carry?

There's probably a reason why they've never shown us how he actually transports someone— no matter what method he uses, it likely looks very, very silly.

• After noticing a spot on Oliver''s old mask, Barry's convinced there's still Mirakuru on the island of Lian Yu. To refresh your memory, Mirakuru was a Japanese supersoldier serum develped in WWII. It enhanced a subject's physical strength, but ran the risk of driving them insane. It first appeared in Season 2 of Arrow, and popped up many times since.

• At one point Iris pays a visit to McCullogh Tech.

Oddly enough McCullogh looks a LOT like the Aerospace Technology Campus at the BCIT (aka British Columbia Institute Of Technology) in Richmond— just a stone's throw away from Vancouver, where all the Arrowverse shows are filmed.

• Iris talks with CEO Joseph Carver about former McCulloch employee Gene Huskk. Carver says Huskk was a crackpot, and shows her his HR file to prove it.

Despite the fact that that's likely a violation of some kind of privacy law, I was impressed that The Flash's prop department mocked up a very convincing personnel file. Good job, guys!

Oh, one other thing— there's a Joseph Carver in the comics. He was a completely different character there though, where he was experimenting with the Speed Force, trying to come up with a way to weaponize it.

• Iris ignores Cecile's advice and publishes a hatchet piece on McCulloch Tech. Right on cue, Carver retaliates by ordering his personal assassin Kimiyo Hoshi, aka Doctor Light, to eliminate Iris.

Doctor Light has a complicated history in the Arrowverse. Barry briefly dated a woman named Linda Park, who was a reporter for KSFZ Channel 8. There was also an Earth-2 Linda Park, who was a small-time thief on that world. She was exposed to the Particle Accelerator explosion (on Earth-2?), which gave her light-based powers. She then became the supervillain known as Doctor Light. 

Zoom brought Doctor Light to Earth-1, where he forced her to try and kill Barry Allen. Light refused, and tried to fake her death by killing the Earth-1 Linda Park and taking her place. When this plan failed she fled Central City and was never seen again. Got all that?

The Doctor Light in this episode is a brand new version, apparently created by the merging of the Earths in the Crisis.

The Kimiyo Hoshi Doctor Light made her debut in the Crisis On Infinite Earths comic. She was an astronomer who was given superpowers by The Monitor in order to fight his evil counterpart, The Anti-Monitor. In the comic she started out sort of as a villain, but dedicated her life to heroism after seeing Supergirl sacrifice her herself to stop The Anti-Monitor.

• Did the Crisis mess with Cecile's powers? Before she could read minds and was a low level empath. In this episode she senses imminent danger (right before Doctor Light attacks), which is a completely different power.

• When I first saw this shot of STAR Labs, it looked for all the world like the damaged pylon was finally, at long, long last, fixed. I assumed this was another ripple effect of the Crisis Reboot. I'll be honest, I actually cheered out loud when I saw this shot. It's been six long years— high time that goddamned pylon was repaired!

Alas, my celebration was premature. There was another angle later in the episode, and the frakin' thing's still broken! What the hell? Wouldn't this have been the perfect time to see it's finally been fixed?

• After Black Hole attacks the Citizen office, Cisco tries to contact Barry on Lian Yu, but can't reach him. Allegra says, "What about those clicky things you guys use?" Cisco replies, "The extrapolators don't work. Now that the Multiverse is gone, the physics behind breaching has changed entirely."

Wait, what? The Multiverse is most definitely NOT gone! We saw proof of that in the final seconds of Crisis On Infinite Earths, Part Five. There're still many, many Earths out there. 

I guess maybe somehow Team Flash doesn't know about that yet? Hopefully this is another future storyline waiting to happen.

• In Crisis On Infinite Earths, Part Three, The Monitor told Cisco that Vibe had an important part to play, and fully restored his powers. In my review of that episode I predicted his powers would be temporary, and disappear once the Crisis was over and the Earth was rebooted.

And that's exactly what happened. Based on this episode, it looks like he's back to plain old non-powered Cisco again.

• At one point Cisco and Nash have the following argument:
Cisco: "A Crisis you started! Billions of worlds, trillions of people gone, like they were never even born."

Nash: "And I paid for it! As Pariah I paid for it and still managed to help defeat the Anti-Monitor."
Cisco: "Which did nothing for the people who died. Oliver. Harry. Jesse. An infinite number of Harrison Wells. And we're stuck with the one who killed the Multiverse."

Cisco makes a good point here, one echoed by my own thoughts. An infinite number of lives were lost in the Crisis, as an equally infinite number of universes were wiped out. Heck, even the merging of the surviving worlds into Earth-Prime was a blood bath. Cisco seems to be the only one aware of this fact. The populations of Earth-38 and Black Lightning's world were likely lost during the reboot of the Universe!

Or did they? I guess it depends on how you look at it. ALL of reality was destroyed and then rebooted, as if it never happened. So did all those people who died ever really exist in the first place? I'm getting another one of my sick headaches.

• Huskk tries to give Iris a flash (heh) drive containing the info needed to take down McCullogh Tech, but is killed by Doctor Light. Iris retrieves the drive, but when she gets to STAR Labs she sees it's been destroyed and is worthless.

OK, so the USB connector looks like it's toast, but that doesn't mean the chip inside the drive is ruined. She doesn't even ask Cisco if he can salvage it, as she throws it down and stalks away. Seems like it'd be simple for Cisco to crack it open and extract the info from it, but he doesn't even try.

• On Lian Yu, Barry's investigation reaches a dead end. Frustrated, Speed Force lightning unexpectedly erupts from his hand. 

I'm assuming this is a setup for a future storyline, as it's never addressed for the rest of the episode. I'm also predicting this may be fallout from the moment in Crisis On Infinite Earths, Part Four, in which Spectre Oliver touched Barry on the forehead and "unlocked his potential," whatever that means.

By the way, there's something very wrong in this episode. Barry and Digg travel to Lian Yu, and not once do either of them ever mention that the island's name means "purgatory" in Mandarin! I was sure that was a federal law.

• "Help me, Obi-Wan Cisco. You're my only hope!"

Cisco watches a holo-cube from his pal Harry Wells of Earth-2, and mourns his presumed death. A couple things here:

First of all, in the message Harry says, "So my latest experiment jump starts my neurons. They're currently firing at 120 times per second. And I think we can get to 200. Yeah, so this is, you know, progress. It's real progress. I'll let you know."

See, back in Season 4, Harry devised an electronic "thinking cap" that augmented his intelligence, so he could outwit Clifford DeVoe and come up with a way to defeat him. Unfortunately the cap damaged Harry's brain, so the more he used his intellect, the faster he lost it. Believing he was no longer a productive member of Team Flash, Harry returned to Earth-2 to try and restore his mind.

Secondly, Harry ends his message by telling Cisco, "Anyway. Miss you."

Yeah, that doesn't sound like the Harry Wells I remember. He always seemed cold, aloof and kind of an asshole. I know his personality changed for the better when he lost his intellect, but still... "Miss you" feels a little out of character for him.

Lastly, and most importantly— how the holy frak does Cisco even have this holo-cube? Harry was from Earth-2, which was the first world wiped out in the Crisis. Harry, his daughter Jesse Quick and the Earth-2 versions of Barry, Iris and Joe— all gone. 

Even worse, once Oliver and the Paragons rebooted the Universe, that particular version of Earth-2 NEVER existed! Meaning that in the Post-Crisis timeline, there was never a Harry Wells to record a holo-cube in the first place!

So I repeat— how can Cisco have a recording from Harry?

Heck, now that I think about it, how is Nash still around as well? He was from an as-yet unnamed Earth in the Pre-Crisis Multiverse— which again, no longer exists. So why didn't he vanish when the Universe was rebooted? Because he was Pariah? My head hurts.

In the past, whenever a really big plot hole would pop up on the show, fans would hand wave it away by saying, "Flashpoint did it!" I suppose now when something impossible like this happens, we can all shout, "It's fallout from Crisis!"

• Wondering why Frost spends most of this episode sitting in a chair with her feet up on the desk? It may have something to do with the fact that actress Danielle Panabaker, who plays Caitlin/Frost, is currently pregnant. No doubt Frost's pose was an attempt to hide Panabaker's burgeoning baby bump.

There's a scene in the third act where Frost has reverted to Caitlin and sits next to Cisco to give him a Patented The CW Pep Talk®. If you take a good look, you can see it appears her belly's a little more... rounded than normal. Thought we wouldn't notice that one, didn't you, guys?

• Caitlin suggests Cisco catalogue all the changes to Earth-Prime (which he kind of already did with his trading card binder), in order to occupy his mind or something. He jumps on the idea, but says he can't do so from STAR Labs and decides to go out and explore their brave new world.

Eh, this seems like a reeeeeeeally flimsy and unconvincing excuse to give Carlos Valdes some time off from the show. Sure there was a better way to write him out for a while?

And what about Kamilla? Did Cisco just leave her alone so he could go on his little walkabout? Did he even tell her goodbye while we weren't looking?

• In most episodes, The Flash does a decent job at hiding the stuntment they use in dangerous scenes. This is not one of those episodes.

At one point Joe and Frost surround Doctor Light and force her to lay down her weapon. Light complies, then quickly picks up a bowl and hurls it at Joe's face. Well, at least it's supposed to be Joe. Unfortunately it's painfully obvious that Jess Martin Jr. was nowhere near the set the day they filmed this particular scene!

• Once again, Frost either forgets she has powers, or doesn't understand how they work. When she and Joe confront Doctor Light, Frost generates a couple ice daggers. She then stands a good ten or fifteen feet away from Light, vaguely threatening her with the knives.

Um... why didn't she blast Doctor Light and encase her in a large block of ice? That way Light couldn't have shot her and escaped.

• After Doctor Light beans the stuntman in the head, she shoots Frost in the shoulder with her disintegrator gun. FOR SOME REASON, this particular bullet or dart is polite enough to work very slowly on Frost, giving her enough time to actually dig it out of her shoulder before it incinerates her. 

That was quite sporting of the bullet! Particularly since every other victim of the gun vaporized less than five seconds after being shot! I guess Frost must have been protected by all that plot armor she's wearing.

By the way, why do Frost's eyes revert to their natural glowing blue-white color here? If you'll recall, a few months ago in A Flash Of The Lightning, Cisco injected Frost with some kind of special nanite juice that made her eyes look normal and her voice sound human.

Cisco claimed he did this so Frost didn't scare "the ever-loving crap out of people," but the real reason they did it is because it cost too much to add the glowing effect to her eyes in every episode.

Anyway, I'm not sure why her eyes revert here. I guess the photonic power of the light bullet temporarily overwhelmed the nanites in her body? Her eyes go back to "normal" once she recovers.

• Back in License To Elongate, Nash met Allegra and talked her into helping him uncover the door to The Monitor's secret room hidden in the sewers of Central City. He even gave her a Patented The CW Pep Talk® when she doubted herself.

Later on she asked him why he was being so nice to her. He said she reminded him of someone, as he flashed her a melancholy smile.

At the time I said I saw two possible situations for this: Allegra is the Earth-1 version of Nash's daughter who may or may not be dead. That, or Nash had a non-doppelganger daughter, but Allegra just reminded him of her.

It looks like I was at least partially right. At the end of this episode, Nash pulls out a worn, dog-eared photo of himself standing with what I assume is his daughter, who looks exactly like Allegra. It's still too early to know if she's dead or just estranged from him.

I've already pointed out that Nash shouldn't exist, since he was from another Earth which was wiped out in the Crisis. That means his daughter and this photo of her shouldn't exist either. My head's hurting again!

• Iris violates quite a few laws in this episode, all in the name of journalistic integrity. For example, she meets with Joseph Carver and literally blackmails him into dropping his lawsuit against the Citizen

Later that night she decides to check out a lead, so she uses Gene Huskk's old security badge to enter secretly enter McCulloch Tech without permission. Which of course is breaking and entering.

Yeah, blackmail, extortion and breaking and entering are all illegal, Iris. It doesn't matter if you're a journalist or not, or that you're doing it for a story. You're still breaking the law.

• In the tag scene, Iris stands in front of a giant mirror and is abducted by Eva McCulloch, the new Post-Crisis Mirror Master.

In the comics, the Mirror Master was one of the Flash's oldest enemies, and a member of his Rogues Gallery. Samuel Scudder was the original Mirror Master, and oddly enough he died during in the Crisis On Infinite Earths comic. 

Evan McCullogh was the second Mirror Master and had a reeeeally dark origin that I'm not gonna get into here. Obviously they've gender-flipped the character into Eva McCulloch here on The Flash.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Site Meter