Sunday, March 28, 2021

The Flash Season 7, Episode 3: Mother

Holy shit. Well, THAT was definitely something!

This week on The Flash, we get what may well be the absolute worst episode in the history of the series (and that's saying something!). It was jaw-droppingly bad from start to finish.

Among the "highlights" of this episode: After suffering from a lack of any real motivation, Eva suddenly decides to pull a world-domination scheme out of her ass at literally the last possible second. The Speed Force is restored for good, in the stupidest and most embarrassing way possible. We get an interesting new version of Harrison Wells who makes a hasty retreat and disappears literally minutes after he's introduced. Team Flash saves the day by rehabilitating Eva with the Power Of Love (no really!). And the producers top it all off by taking a huge, steaming shit on actor Hartley Sawyer, the character of Ralph Dibney and the audience as well.

Whew! That's a lot of suck to cram into one episode!

The entire outing was one huge misstep, as every single decision made by the creative team was the wrong one. It was so bad it was actually fascinating to watch, like a car crash in slow motion. At the risk of offending toddlers, it genuinely feels like a five year old wrote it.

Honestly I'm just glad this whole goddamned Mirrorverse Saga is finally over. Jesus Christ, I've never been so sick of a storyline in my life. It began way back in Season 6's Marathon, which originally aired on February 4, 2020! So I'm not just imagining things— it's been dragging on for well over a year now! For a whopping TWELVE episodes!

That would have been fine if the storyline was the least bit interesting, or something actually happened in it. Instead we got episode after episode of Iris and Eva doing nothing but talking incessantly, as they literally stood in the same goddamned set each week. The whole thing was so ploddingly dull that every time they cut to the two of them it was all I could do to keep from changing the channel.

A villain's only as good as their evil plan, and Eva never really had one. She had this vague notion of killing her husband as some sort of revenge, but she never really seemed all that invested in it. If the characters don't even give a shit about the plot, then why should the audience?

Eventually she did actually kill her husband, which then left her without any sort of motivation at all for the next two episodes. It wasn't until her final appearance this week that the writers gave her a half-assed world domination plan.

So what the hell happened to this episode? How did it become such an amateurish, ill-conceived misfire? 

As we all know, the pandemic interrupted the filming of Episode 20 last year, forcing Episode 19 to serve as a makeshift, unintentional season finale. It also left Episodes 21 and 22 (this one) unfilmed. 

When the lockdown was finally lifted, the producers finished the final three episodes from last year and stuck them into the beginning of this season. One might think that's what caused Mother to be so poorly written and to feel so rushed. Eh, I don't think so. 

It takes weeks to put together an episode of a show like this, what with all the costumes, props, sets and effects needed. Which means this script had to have been written well before the pandemic hit. That means they had an ENTIRE YEAR to polish it. There's no earthly reason for it to be such a clusterf*ck, and for the end to the Mirrorverse Saga to feel so rushed. 

And then there's the asinine wrap-up to the Death Of The Speed Force storyline, which is so monumentally stupid and eye-rolling that I honestly wondered if I was watching a real episode of The Flash or an SNL parody of the show. Yeah, it's that bad.

Lastly, this episode featured an off-putting and completely botched sendoff of fan favorite character Ralph Dibney. Due to The CW's ill-advised, overreactive firing of actor Hartley Sawyer, they were forced to dispense with the character even though he and his gal pal Sue Dearbon were in the middle of a major storyline.

To that end, the producers wrote him off the show in the most awkward, boneheaded, cringe-inducing and offensive way possible. It was so bad it actually infuriated me, to the point where I wanted to hurl my TV into the front yard.

I'm hoping this show gets its shit together very soon, else I'm gonna have to think long and hard about whether I even want to continue watching and reviewing it.

Oh, and in case you're wondering why there's a shot of fireworks at the top of the page— I'm so glad the goddamned Mirrorverse Saga is finally over that I'm celebrating. 

SPOILERS, I GUESS.

The Plot:
Picking up right where we left off last week, Barry's just rescued Iris from the Mirrorverse. Unfortunately yanking her out of the other-dimensional realm has caused her to go into convulsions. Cisco, Frost & Allegra— who were knocked out by Barry last week— slowly wake up. They see Barry tearfully kneeling over Iris body. He begs them to help her.

Later in the Medbay we see Frost has changed to Caitlin mode in order to treat Iris. She spouts a bunch of technobabble, stating that pulling Iris from the Mirrorverse broke her brain, and she doesn't know how to fix her.

Barry tells the others he remembers being in speed-thinking mode and how he hurt them last week. Cisco says it's fine, as Barry wasn't himself. He says they're going to put all that behind them so they can concentrate on saving Iris, defeating Eva and rescuing Kamilla and Singh from the Mirrorverse. Oh, and somehow restoring the Speed Force.

Meanwhile at CCPD, officers are getting hundreds of calls from citizens who claim their loved ones aren't really their loved ones. Sue Dearbon's parents speak with Joe, telling him their daughter is one of these duplicates. They ask him to bring her in and arrest her. Just then an officer enters and asks to speak privately with Joe.

Once in private, the officer pulls off an incredibly realistic mask, revealing she's really Sue Dearbon. She tells him those people in the hall aren't her real parents, but mirror duplicates. Based on all the calls they've been getting, Joe believes her. Suddenly a pair of silvery arms reach out for Joe from a picture frame behind him. Sue pulls him away just in time.

At STAR Labs, Team Flash watches in horror as Eva conducts a full blown invasion of Central City, yanking hundreds of citizens into the Mirrorverse and replacing them with duplicates. At least I think that's what's happening. 

Allegra wanders into the Medbay, where she gives the unconscious Iris a Patented The CW Pep Talk©. She says they're doing everything possible to save her, because the love she and Barry have is amazing. Oy.

Cisco says Eva's power is dependent on light, as nothing can reflect in darkness. To that end, he somehow convinces the Mayor to shut down the power all over the city to prevent more Mirrorverse abductions. Sadly, Barry's speed is gone so he's no help. Suddenly he begins hearing voices calling to him. The others look around and notice he's gone.

Barry inexplicably finds himself in Eva's office at McCulloch Tech. She says he and everyone else on Earth have destroyed the planet and squandered their beautiful world, so she's decided to replace everyone with her mirror children. She urges Barry to lead humanity into the Mirrorverse, where they'll spend the rest of their lives. None of this makes a lick of sense, so let's just move on.

Eva returns Barry to STAR, where everyone asks what the hell just happened. He tells them about Eva's plan and says she's too powerful and there's no way they can win. Our hero, ladies & gentlemen!

Barry goes to the Lounge to sulk. Suddenly the Original Harrison Wells appears in a burst of green energy. When Barry asks what the hell, he says a tiny fraction of the other Wellses' multiversal particles survived, and the Universe recreated him in order to restore balance. Believe it or not, this is the least nonsensical thing that happens in this episode.

OG Wells somehow has the memories of all the other Wellses, and offers his help to Team Flash. Allegra enters and thinks he's Nash, and is puzzled when she finds out he's not. 

Barry continues his moping, and Wells reminds him that he became the Paragon Of Love during the Crisis. He tells Barry the answer is to "run towards love." Someone make it stop!

At CCPD, Joe blocks all the windows to keep Eva from abducting any more people. Officer Korber— who's now one of Eva's mirror duplicates— enters and comes after Joe & Cecile. They lock themselves in Barry's Lab (when's the last time he saw THAT set?) and barricade the door. Mirror Korber begins pounding on it. Joe notices the windows in the room aren't blocked, meaning they're screwed.

Back at STAR, Sue enters with a badly-injured Ralph. She says they were investigating McCulloch Tech when a bomb went off, severely melting Ralph's face and making it impossible to tell he's not actually being played by actor Hartley Sawyer. Sue gives Chester a flash drive that "Ralph" found at McCulloch, which will hopefully clear her of Joseph Carver's murder. Cisco leads "Ralph" away to treat his injuries. This entire scene just pisses me off, so let's move on.

In the Medbay, Barry tells Iris he'll never stop trying to reach her. He touches her hand, and a spark passes between them. This gives Barry an idea. A very stupid and preposterous idea.

Barry gathers Team Flash in the Lab, where he tells them that the Speed Force is a fundamental part of the universe, and as such can't disappear entirely. Even though he's been saying just the opposite for the past year. Anyway, he reminds them that Iris was briefly a speedster a few seasons back, and as such still contains traces of the Speed Force in her body. Cisco says he may be able to siphon this energy from her to power the Artificial Speed Force.

Meanwhile, Eva stands atop a building and looks down in satisfaction as her "children" attack the citizens of Central City.

Elsewhere, Mirror Korber is about to break through the door to Barry's Lab. Joe opens a grille to the building's duct system, and tells Cecile to crawl through and escape. Unfortunately he's too big to follow. The door finally breaks down, and Joe's surprised to see Korber's nowhere in sight. Suddenly Cecile appears behind him. Apparently in the two seconds we weren't watching she became a mirror duplicate. She tells Joe the only way to ever be with her again is to give in. Joe reluctantly lowers his gun.

At STAR, Team Flash rewires the Artificial Speed Force. OG Wells warns Barry that if this doesn't work, every atom in his body will be split in two. That sounds... dangerous. Just then Iris somehow regains consciousness and wanders into the Lab. She grabs the Speed Force sphere and tells Barry, "We need you."

Barry heads into the Pipeline and begins running around it. Iris somehow knows to transfer her power into the sphere, which is channeled into Barry. Iris charges him to 100%, giving him back his full speed. Barry returns to the Lab and tells Iris he knew he'd find his way back to her, and that she'll always be his lightning rod. Awwwww! I mean, GAG!

Outside, Eva's "children" are about to capture a crowd of citizens. Suddenly they're all whisked away at superspeed. Eva realizes Barry's back, and tells him they could have worked together to better the world, but now it's too late
. She points her blaster at Barry, but before she can fire, Cisco— now in Mecha-Vibe mode— and Frost appear. They both fire at Eva, distracting her long enough for Barry to steal her blaster.

Eva then goes full Agent Smith and forms an army of duplicates of herself. Team Flash attacks them, and we're treated to a budget-friendly, mildly exciting setpiece battle.

Iris watches the action from STAR Labs, and realizes Barry will need more than speed to defeat Eva. She rushes out onto the street and confronts Eva, telling her she's destroying the world she swore to save. Eva tells Iris to shut it and hurls a cloud of glass shards at her. Iris, who apparently still has some residual Mirrorverse powers or something, stops the shards in midair. The two struggle against one another, and Iris finally flings the shards harmlessly over her shoulder.

At CCPD, Joe accepts his fate and starts to step toward a window, where he'll be pulled into the Mirrorverse.

Iris tells Eva and her children are filling the world with hatred, and asks if that's what she really wants. Barry arrives and starts to deliver a beatdown to Eva, but Iris tells him to stop. Eva looks around at the death and destruction she's caused. She says she only wanted to make things better, but now she's failed two worlds. Barry tells her it's never too late to change and do the right thing.

Eva then tries to absorb her mirror duplicates, but can't, as they now have minds of their own and are too powerful. Iris and Barry then take Eva's hands, lending their strength to her. The three of them then destroy the duplicates with the Power Of Friendship! No seriously! That's actually what happens. I shit you not.

Joe's saved at the last second as Mirror Cecile shatters into a tiny pile of glass on the floor.

Frost asks about all the people they lost. Suddenly a portal opens, and Kamilla & Singh step through, inexplicably conscious and unharmed. Well, that was easy!

Iris asks Eva what she plans to do now. She says she'g going back to the Mirrorverse, where she'll start over and create a new crop of her children— based on love this time instead of hate. Again, none of this makes the least bit of sense, but we're almost done so let's keep moving.

Incredibly, Barry wishes her luck (!!!). Apparently it never occurs to anyone to arrest her for murder, abduction, torture and terrorism. She opens a portal to the Mirrorverse and steps through— hopefully to never, ever be seen again as long as any of us live.

Later at STAR, OG Wells tells Allegra and Cisco he's leaving. So... why the f*ck did they bring him onto the show then? He says he & his wife Tess were married for four blissful years before they were both killed by Eobard Thawne. He says he now has the ability to travel to any point in time, so he's going to relive his four years of marriage over and over (?). He then says goodbye and disappears. What is happening on this show.

Sue and "Ralph" then enter to awkwardly and hurriedly wrap up their storyline. Amazingly, "Ralph" is wearing a large full-faced helmet to hide the fact he's not being played by Hartley Sawyer, er, I mean in order to heal his face. Sue & "Ralph" announce they're going to travel the world and deal with the remnants of Black Hole, and make a hasty retreat. Team Flash wishes them well (!), as the most ham-fisted and cringeworthy scene in The Flash history mercifully ends.

We then see a flashback to a few minutes earlier, when Iris charged up the Artificial Speed Force with the Power Of Love. As she does so, a blast of energy fires straight up into the sky above STAR Labs. Suddenly it splits into four different colored bursts, which shoot out over Central City.

Thoughts: 
• Grab some popcorn, kids, because I'm going into full "Tear The Episode A New Asshole Mode" here.

• In an effort to offset all the bad, I'm gonna try to say something good about Mother

OK, lets's see... I liked the fact that Frost deferred to Caitlin and let her take over their body so she could treat the injured Iris. That was a nice touch.

Oh, and actress Danielle Nicolet was delightful in her all-too-brief scene as Mirror Cecile. She actually seemed to be having a blast playing an evil version of her usually strait-laced character.

OK, that's it! That's all I got! Let the nitpicking begin!

• At CCPD, an officer asks to speak to Joe on an urgent matter. Once they're in private, the officer whips off a highly realistic mask and reveals she's actually Sue Dearbon in disguise.

OK, I get that this is a comic book show, and as such has little or no connection to reality. That said, where in the name of Zeus' Mighty Taint did Sue find a lifelike mask of a CCPD cop that's indistinguishable from the real thing? And in the middle of a city-wide crisis yet?

• All through the episode, whenever a character gets near a mirror or any other reflective surface, tiny silvery arms reach out and pull them into the Mirrorverse.

So... whose skinny little limbs are these supposed to be? Are they Eva's? I doubt it, as they look much too small to be hers, plus she seems kind of busy looking down on the city and chortling at her evil plan. Do they belong to her "mirror children?" Eh, maybe, but doesn't she have to abduct someone first before she makes a duplicate of them?

Or could it be that Eva's using her powers to manipulate reflective surfaces to form grabby, willowy arms? That seems the most likely explanation, but who the hell knows? None of this is ever made clear, and it's unknown how her abduction/duplication scheme actually works. Such is the muddled and murky storytelling that permeates this episode.

• Team Flash watches Eva's Central City assault unfold on live TV. Once again we see that Channel 52 is apparently the only station that exists in the Arrowverse

As I've noted many times before, the numerous "52s" on the show refer to "The New 52," one of DC's many, many attempts to simplify and reboot their comic book line.

• At one point Cisco gives the rest of Team Flash an update:

Cisco: "I analyzed footage from Eva’s live interview. It’s not just mirrors that she’s manipulating. It’s any reflective surface now."


The "now" in his statement implies this is a brand new development. It most definitely is not. Eva first started manipulating reflective surfaces back in the Season 6 finale, Success Is Assured. In fact that's how she abducted Doctor Light, Ultraviolet and Sunshine and recruited them to her cause.

I have a feeling the writers probably knew this, but it's been so long since that episode aired that they included the line anyway to remind the audience of Eva's powers.

• As previously pointed out, Eva can use ANY reflective surface to pull someone into the Mirrorverse— even clear glass. In order to protect Team Flash from her, Cisco closes the shutters on all STAR Labs windows.

There's one MAJOR flaw with this plan. Closing the shutters is useless, as they're on the outside of the windows. The insides are completely uncovered, and just as dangerous as they were before! In fact in this scene they're clearly reflecting the lights in the room! Jesus Christ!

To make things even worse, Barry walks right up to one of the windows and poses dramatically in front of it! Are you f*cking kidding me? What the hell is even happening on this show right now?

• I'd like to officially nominate Eva McCulloch, aka Mirror Master, aka Mirror Monarch, as the All-Time WORST Supervillain In The History Of The Flash.

Don't try to cancel me on Twitter, feminists— it's got nothing to do with her gender. She's simply the most poorly-written Big Bad the show's ever had. NOTHING about her motivations or her evil schemes make the least bit of sense. In fact her plans seems to change on practically a weekly basis, as she has no real clear-cut goal.

Eva was thrown into the Mirrorverse six years ago when the Particle Accelerator exploded. After attempting to escape 1,322 times, she pulled Iris into the realm and replaced her in the real world with a mirror duplicate. She did this in order to... um... OK, I never did figure out exactly why she abducted Iris.

When Iris said Barry would find a way to free her, Eva instructed Mirror Iris to sabotage the Flash. Supposedly Eva did this because she "wasn't ready to escape yet." Um, what? She tried to get out 1,322 times, but isn't ready to leave yet?

I think the writers started realizing Eva was pretty lame, so they cooked up a new scheme for her. Next it was revealed she was driven insane with rage because she believed her husband Joseph Carver abandoned her in the Mirrorverse. She then plotted to escape the realm and murder him as revenge for destroying her life. That was a reasonably understandable reaction, and the only time she ever had a clear motivation.

Eventually Eva left the Mirrorverse and killed Joseph in the Season 6 finale. Once he was dead, there didn't seem to be anything left for her to do, and it would have been the perfect time to wrap up her storyline for good.

Or course they didn't do that. Instead she started going after Black Hole, the secret crime syndicate founded by Joseph Carver. It was during this period that Eva began telling Barry to quit trying to stop her, as they were on the same side (?). Again, this made no sense.

Then at the beginning of this season, she found out she's actually a mirror duplicate, as the real Eva was killed in the Particle Accelerator explosion. Sigh... I assume this was supposed to be a shocking reveal, but all it did was muddle an already confusing plotline.

Note that throughout all this, Eva was STILL keeping Iris, Kamilla and Singh locked away in the Mirrorverse. Why? Because don't ask questions, that's why!

It was at this point that the writers apparently realized they had a villain with no real motivation, who'd overstayed her welcome by at least three episodes. So in her final appearance, Eva became an environmentalist, furious with humanity for "squandering the precious gift of Earth." To remedy this, she began abducting everyone in Central City and replacing them with mirror "children."

This new plan of Eva's came completely out of nowhere, with absolutely no buildup or foreshadowing. Why, it's almost like the writers realized they had to come up with something for her to do, and pulled her scheme out of their collective asses at the 11th hour. And once again, it didn't make a lick of sense.

Given all that, is it any wonder she's the worst villain the show's ever seen?

• At one point Eva abducts Barry to tell him about her new supervillain plan:

Eva: "The applications of my reflective chip technology are endless. I can grow crops tenfold in abundance. I can end starvation overnight!"

I... I don't know what any of that means. What the hell is "reflective chip technology?" Microchips that are actually tiny mirrors? What good would those be? And how the hell could they grow crops? Is it like putting little reflectors in plants so they get more light?

It's not just me, right? Surely none of this makes sense to anyone else either.

• At the end of last week's episode we saw the original Harrison Wells was magically resurrected at some point after his murder at the hands of Eobard Thawne. Exactly when he came back to life wasn't clear though. As filmed, it could have been seconds or even years later.

I was very much looking forward to seeing this original version of Wells, and had a lot of questions about him. Like how the hell was he resurrected? How would he react when he saw that his pet project STAR Labs had become a reality? How would he feel when he found out that his Particle Accelerator exploded and created dozens of metas throughout Central City? And most important, how would he interact with Team Flash?

Welp, apparently none of that's any of our goddamned business. OG Wells shows up at STAR Labs, he hangs around for a few minutes, says "BYEEEEEE" and makes a hasty exit.

What the f*ck?

OK, technically I guess we do sort of find out how he came back to life, in this exchange:

Wells: "Exactly, and when Nash Wells gave his life to power the artificial Speed Force, he transferred all the multiversal particles of all the other Wells into the fusion sphere except for 0.01 percent, and that’s me."
Barry: "How do particles become a person?"
Wells: "I have a theory that when Nash and all the other Wells were removed from the timeline, the universe required… a balancing act. One Wells to make up for all those lost. Isn’t that cosmic?"
Barry: "Crisis. There was an event. It took people from other planets and brought them here together to the same planet in one timeline."
Wells: "A temporal coalescence. That… could explain this."

No! No it couldn't! Saying the universe brought you back to balance its books isn't an explanation at all!

I suppose from now on anytime the writers need some bullshit explanation for something they'll just say, "Crisis did it." Feh.

Honestly OG Wells has so little screen time and has such a minuscule effect on the characters and plot that it makes we wonder why the hell they bothered to introduce him in the first place. Especially since the end of the episode implies he's leaving for good. As with so much else in this episode, it just doesn't make any logical sense!

• Sue shows up at STAR with "Ralph," who was injured when McCulloch Tech exploded (?). Wait, didn't Eva just teleport Barry to her office there a few minutes ago, in order to fill him in on her world domination scheme? The place didn't look very exploded then. Jesus Christ, the writers really did not give a f*ck this week, did they?

Anyway, in the seconds between Barry's visit and the time it blew up, "Ralph" apparently searched the place and managed to find evidence to clear Sue of Joseph Carver's murder. A couple things here:

As we see on this tablet, the "evidence" consists of a split screen image featuring Eva doing the Heil Hitler salute, while the other side shows Joseph looking down at a shard of glass embedded in his chest. The implication of course is that Eva used her mirror telekinesis powers to kill her husband.

Yeah, here's the thing— that's not evidence. Yes, the photos seem to depict Joseph's murder, but there's no way to prove that's actually what's happening. As far as a jury could tell they're two photos that were taken at completely different times. I'm not a lawyer, but I'd think this would be circumstantial evidence at best, and as such doesn't prove a thing.

Secondly, based on the Season 6 finale it's clear that the writers planned on doing a big "Sue's Wanted For Murder" story arc. One that would have gone on for months, as Sue & Ralph went on the run and looked for evidence to clear her name.

Unfortunately the Hartley Sawyer non-scandal put the kibosh on that plan, which was a real shame. I liked Ralph & Sue's chemistry together and looked forward to seeing their further adventures this season. Sadly, that's never gonna happen now. This scene was clearly a clumsy and glaringly obvious way of quickly resolving this arc and hurriedly removing the characters from the show forever. Feh.

• By the way, when Sue shows up with the horrifically-burned "Ralph," she warns Team Flash not to touch him because "his body temp's a toasty five hundred degrees." Wait, what?

Again, I get that this is a comic book show, but Jaysis. If he was really radiating 500° of heat, Sue's skin would have probably been seared off after standing two feet away from him. Plus his feet would probably be melting into the floor of the Lab!

• At one point Joe & Cecile are being chased by Mirror Korber. Joe stuffs Cecile into an air duct so she can escape, and tells her to "kiss Jenna for him." You all remember Baby Jenna? Their invisible child who hasn't been seen in at least three seasons now, and is only mentioned on rare occasions when the writers suddenly remember her existence?

I have a feeling the show's gonna pull the old "Soap Opera Rapid-Aging Trick," and sometime this season Jenna's gonna appear as an angsty fourteen year old.

The Flash has never concerned itself much with realism, as Comic Book Science and technobabble theories have dominated the series since the beginning.

This episode takes the bullshit science to an entirely new level though— particularly in the scene in which Team Flash figures out how to restore the Speed Force and give Barry his powers back. It's so preposterous and nonsensical it's actually fascinating. But don't take my word for it— get the scoop from the characters themselves:

Cisco: "I don’t get it. How are you supposed to get your speed back exactly?"
Barry: "Iris. Iris is the key."
Chester: "Yeah, still not following."
Barry: "The Speed Force, we all thought it was dead, right? I just felt a spark with Iris just now."
Caitlin: "Barry, your speed is gone."
Wells: "No, but the Speed Force is an elemental part of the universe, so theoretically…"
Cisco: "Theoretically it could have never disappeared."
Allegra: "And you think it’s still in Iris."
Barry: "I always wondered why I was chosen as the Paragon of Love and how it related to my speed. I think it’s because of my connection with Iris. Our love is just as strong as the lightning bolt that hit me seven years ago, plus Iris did have speed once."
Caitlin: "And Nora was a speedster whose lightning was purple and yellow."
Chester: "That is so romantic."
Allegra: "If Speed Force energy is still in Iris, how do we get it out of her?"
Wells: "Well…"
Cisco: "We repurpose the ASF to tap into an organic source instead of an artificial one."

Did you get all that? For an entire YEAR now Team Flash has been telling us that the Speed Force is dead as a doornail, and there was no way to bring it back. Suddenly in this episode they want us to believe that it didn't die after all, as it's currently stored inside Iris. Wha...?

See, every time Barry ever touched Iris and accidentally shocked her over the past six seasons, he was actually charging her up with Speed Force energy. They can now siphon that energy out of her and use it to give Barry his powers back.

So basically Barry & Iris' intense love for one another is now powering the Speed Force. Whew! And here I was afraid they'd come up with a stupid explanation!

I'm taking back what I said about Comic Book Science. No self-respecting comic in existence would dare come up with a solution this monumentally ridiculous.

• As stupid as it is, the bit about Barry & Iris generating sparks when they touch has been a thing on the show for years now. In fact at one point we even get a brief montage of all the times it's happened. 

Also, as Barry's getting his groove back, Wells tells him to "run towards love." The whole "Barry Running Back To Iris" thing has been a theme on the show since it started as well.

• When Iris is first yanked out of the Mirrorverse, her brain has been completely fried. She lapses into a some sort of coma, and Team Flash has no idea how to fix her. 

Despite this serious health crisis, at the beginning of the third act she simply gets up out of bed and wanders into the Lab. I guess we're supposed to believe Barry's spark woke & cured her?

Even more amazing, she seems to somehow know Team Flash's plan, and grabs the energy sphere in order to transfer the Speed Force energy from her body and into Barry's.

Why does she wake at the most opportune moment? How does she know she's a Speed Force receptacle? Don't ask questions, just watch!

• By the way, if Iris' body still contained enough of the Speed Force to power Barry, then... why hasn't she been a speedster herself all this time?

• OG Wells tells Barry that if their recharging plan doesn't work, then every atom in his body will be split in half and he'll die. 

Although he clearly means this as a warning to Barry, it sounds just as bad for everyone else in the Lab. Splitting atoms is how atomic bombs work, so a person Barry's size would make quite the mushroom cloud.

• This week we get 2, count 'em TWO "Run, Barry, Runs." OG Wells says it twice to Barry as he's being charged up by the Speed Force.

That raises the Official "Run, Barry, Run" Counter to 15.

Here's the deal with the "Run, Barry, Run" line. First of all, Nash Wells said it just two short weeks ago in All's Wells That Ends Wells. The secret to this catchphrase is that it works best when used sparingly. Once per season is more than enough. Any more than that and it loses its punch.

Its effectiveness also depends on who's saying it. When Dr. Wells said it to Barry for the first time in Season 1, it legitimately gave me chills. In subsequent uses the writers have always given the line to someone important to Barry (usually a Wells), who says it in order to inspire him.

Here it's said (twice) by the Original Harrison Wells. Despite the fact that Barry's always admired him, he only met this particular version five minutes ago. He doesn't really know him, and as such they haven't shared any important moments. As a result the line is completely meaningless when uttered by OG Wells.

• There's a very odd moment during the "Barry Gets His Speed Back (Again)" scene. While everyone's watching in opened-mouthed awe as Iris supercharges Barry, OG Wells glances over to his left. He then does a little double take, as if he sees someone familiar. He even takes off his glasses for emphasis!

It's gotta be a person he sees, as he throws them a slight "How's it goin'?" nod. He wouldn't do that if he saw an inanimate object he recognized, right?

Unfortunately there's no reverse angle to show us who it is he sees. We do get a wide shot of the Lab though, but it clearly shows there's no one standing where he's looking. Obviously he was gazing at someone only he could see.

Based on all that, I assumed this scene was setting up a future storyline, and we'd eventually find out who he saw. But then at the end of the episode OG Wells decides to return to the past and leaves the show, seemingly for good— leaving the matter completely unresolved. So unless the writers plan on bringing him back at some point (which seems unlikely), we'll never find out what the hell this scene was about. 

• Way back in the Season 5 finale Cisco decided that having powers made him "unhappy," and he no longer wanted to be Vibe. He then took the meta cure, which neutralized his powers and turned him into a normal human.

Annnnnd then in this episode we see he's apparently now Mecha-Vibe, wearing high-tech gauntlets that recreate his old powers. What the hell?

If being a meta was such a miserable experience for him, why would he ever want to be Vibe again?

I suppose it's possible that over time he became bored and missed being a superpowered meta. If so, then that would have been an interesting storyline, and given Cisco more to do on the show. Instead this revelation came completely out of nowhere, with absolutely no setup. 

That's not how you write fiction, guys! You gotta hint at stuff like this for a few episodes before making a major change like this to a character.

• Late in the third act, Team Flash tries to stop Eva. She retaliates by creating dozens of duplicates of herself and uses this army to strike back.

This could have been a fun superhero battle, as Barry and the others fought hundreds of identical Evas. Unfortunately the scene's marred by poor stunt work, choppy editing and some truly awful FX. The "Burly Brawl" this is not.

Filmmakers have been shooting scenes with duplicate characters for many decades now— it's a pretty standard special effect. They completely dropped the ball here though. I don't know if the producers simply ran out of time, didn't have the money to properly film the effects or they just did not give a f*ck at this point. Whatever the reason, this entire sequence is laughably bad. 

Don't believe me? Then take a look at the various "special" effect used to depict Eva's clone army:

Here we see they put the real Eva a few inches from the camera, then tried to hide her doubles by shooting them out of focus in the background. Nice try, but even with their faces blurred, it's clear they're all completely different people. Some of them are even shorter than Eva, for crap's sake!

Incredibly, in other scenes the producers avoided costly CGI work by telling the doubles to simply cover their faces with their blasters! My mouth actually dropped open in amazement when I saw this shot, as I couldn't believe they tried to get away with this.

This happened NUMEROUS times during the battle too. Zoom in on the duplicate in the middle of this shot, who's desperately trying to cover her face with her elbow. Shades of Bela Lugosi's double in Plan 9 From Outer Space!

And then there were shots like this one, in which they just completely gave up. I dunno who the hell that woman is there, but it's definitely not Eva!

Lastly, here's a puzzler of a shot. If you zoom in, you'll see that's really Eva on the far right, and it appears they took her face and pasted it on the double in the center. Apparently they ran out of time, money or shits again and didn't bother with the double on the left, as she's sporting her real face!

A few minutes later they reuse this exact same scene, but... this time all three women have Eva's face! What the hell? They clearly used this scene twice, but only finished it the second time. That... that doesn't make any sense! I don't get how something like that could happen.

• Superhero Landing! I wish I'd started keeping a count of these when the series began.

• During the big setpiece battle at the end, Eva looks at the destruction she's wrought on Central City. In the background we see a scant ten or twelve people running back and forth, in a desperate attempt to simulate a crowd. It's a sad and pitiful spectacle.

In all fairness I can't fault the show for this one, as this one isn't their fault. Due to the Covid pandemic, the producers were forced to implement strict safety protocols and drastically limit the number of people on set at any given time. 

Better get used to it, because we're gonna get more small, socially distanced "crowd" scenes like this from now on. Thanks, Covid!

• Eventually Team Flash manages to pull together and finally defeat Eva. 

So how do they accomplish this impressive feat? Does Barry use Speed Force lightning to open a portal and hurl Eva back to the Mirrorverse? Does Frost freeze her solid, causing her to shatter into a million glass shards? Do they wish her into the cornfield?

HA! Those would all be exciting, well written endings, and we can't have something like that in this episode, laws no!

Instead Iris defeats Eva by literally scolding her. I shit you not! She tells Eva to look around at all the destruction she's caused, and asks if this is really what she wants. Eva finally sees the truth, and is horrified by what she and her children have done. She says that no, this isn't what she wants at all, and instantly stops being a villain. 

Well THAT was certainly easy! Oh, wait. I meant "stupid." 

Say, maybe Team Flash should try that more often. I bet no one ever thought to simply tell Eobard Thawne to stop being as asshole. Who knows, maybe it'll work!

Oh, but we're not done yet! Eva tries to absorb her duplicates, but unfortunately they've become too powerful and are now acting independently. So Barry & Iris take Eva's hands and they defeat her rogue duplicates with the Power Of Friendship.

No, really! That actually happens in the episode. 

They honest to gosh used the goddamned Care Bear Stare to defeat the mirror duplicates by literally loving them to death. Jesus Motherf*cking Jetskiing Christ. I need to go lie down in a dark room. I'm getting one of my sick headaches.

• When Eva's mirror duplicates are destroyed, they shatter into fairly large piles of black glass.

For some reason though when Mirror Cecile disintegrates, she leaves a tiny pile of clear glass, about the size of a Coke bottle.

I know Danielle Nicolet is a petite little thing, but why such a big difference?

• After the battle, Eva feels bad about what she's done, so Barry & Iris let her go back to the Mirrorverse.

Um... what about the whole "Eva Killed Her Husband Joseph" thing?

I've often said that 
murder doesn't seem to be a crime in the Arrowverse, based on how many killers Team Flash has simply forgiven and let go over the years.

Even if they somehow excused the whole homicide thing, she's still guilty of abduction, false imprisonment, withholding evidence, obstructing justice and terrorism. And that's just off the top of my head.

But, eh, she feels bad about what she did, so by all means, let her go.

• Eva says this time she's going to back to the Mirrorverse to whip up a new race of "children," but this time they'll be created out of love instead of hate.

But wait... she created her first batch by kidnapping people from the real world. Wouldn't any new "children" she makes involve the same process? Jesus Christ, episode! Why can't you make sense for even five minutes?

• At the end of the episode, OG Wells tells the team he's leaving, which again makes me wonder why the hell they bothered to bring him back in the first place.

Anyway, he tells Cisco & Allegra:

Wells: "The universe gave me my life back somehow, and now I can see all 92 years of that life past, present, and future simultaneously, and somehow can travel to any moment I want."
Cisco: "Timeless Wells. That’s a new one."
Wells: "It’s amazing and utterly useless unless I can share it with the woman that I love, my wife, Tess. We had 4 brilliant years together before she… before we both were killed, and so I now have a choice between moving forward from this point without her… or going back to her. Well, I’m going to relive those 4 years we had together over and over and over again until I’m out of time."

Sounds sweet and romantic, doesn't it? It also doesn't make a lick of sense, even for a show like this. 

Apparently OG Wells is taking a page from Quantum Leap, as he can now travel to any point in his life. He's decided to relive his marriage over and over for twenty three years, until he dies at age ninety two. 

So does he just become a passenger in his own head and simply watch his marriage repeat itself? Or does he become Past Wells and fully experience everything that happened during his marriage? God might know, but the writers certainly don't.

Can OG Wells influence the past when he relives it? His wife's obviously very important to him, so why not prevent her death, as well as his own? That way they'd have decades more to spend with one another. Or is he afraid to tamper with time? 

And why does he only get to relive his marriage until he's scheduled to die at age ninety two? If he's really in a time loop, shouldn't he be able to relive it forever? 

Again, it's impossible to figure out, as none of it makes any sense and never will.

• And now we come to the most insulting, offensive and degrading part of this entire misfire of an episode: The Ralph Scene.

As we all know by now, last year The CW summarily fired actor Hartley Sawyer (aka Ralph) after he jokingly tweeted some remarks (EIGHT YEARS AGO) that gave the blue-haired SJW crowd icky bad feelings. 

I'm not defending Sawyer's tweets here, as the tweets were pretty offensive. But I felt his punishment FAR outweighed the crime, as his career now lies in ruins. I completely disagreed with The CW's actions, and his firing left a bad taste in my mouth.

As I mentioned earlier, the Season 6 finale set up a big storyline in which Sue Dearbon was framed for murder, and Ralph vowed to clear her name. Sadly, Sawyer's unfair firing put a major league kibosh on that plan, and the producers had to figure out a way to write around his absence.

For decades the gold standard of replacing troublesome actors in TV & film was the "George McFly Hanging Upside Down So We Can't Tell He's Not Really Played By Crispin Glover" scene from Back To The Future Part II. As lame as that solution was, the one The CW came up with was a hundred times worse.

So how'd they deal with Sawyer's absence? Welp, they wrote a bullshit scenario in which Ralph's face is obscured for the entire episode, so the audience can't tell they were using a stand-in. Yeah. They did that.

When "Ralph" first appears about halfway through the episode, we see he's been horribly burned and disfigured in an explosion. Amazingly, his ghastly injuries are actually played for laughs! In fact Cisco even says, "Dibs, where's your face? It looks like mashed potatoes!" HAW HAW HAW! Burn victims are always comedy gold! 

This was clearly a desperate attempt on the part of the producers to include Ralph in the episode without actually using Hartley Sawyer. It's a shockingly transparent ploy, and I can't believe they thought they could get away with it.

Ah, but it gets even worse! At the end of the episode, "Ralph" returns to hurriedly wrap up his storyline before he's physically shoved off the set. Incredibly, this time he's played by a stand-in who's desperately trying to sound like Hartley Sawyer, while wearing a Daft Punk helmet that covers his entire head.

Are you fucking kidding me right now? 

This has gotta be the dumbest workaround I've ever seen. Even with his face obscured, it's patently obvious that it's not Sawyer here. Hell, the other actors even look extremely uncomfortable all through the scene, as they're forced to pretend they're talking to their former castmate.

This was all especially ironic, considering the episode's about redemption. Eva's a murderous supervillain, but she feels bad about it so Barry & Iris forgive her and let her go. Meanwhile in the real world, Hartley Sawyer tweets some stupid jokes eight years ago and is fired without being given a second chance.

No matter which side of the Sawyer controversy you're on, you've got to admit this was a cringe-worthy and uncomfortable way to handle it. It was humiliating and disrespectful to the character of Ralph, and to the audience as well. In fact I legitimately felt insulted by this scene!

The CW and The Flash showrunner Eric Wallace should both be deeply ashamed of themselves for the way they treated Sawyer and fans of the show. Fuck you both.

• In the tag scene, we see an extended version of the "Iris Recharges The Speed Force" bit from earlier in the episode. This time though we see a huge bolt of energy shoot high up into the sky above Central City, where it splits into four different colored beams. Several things here.

First of all, this scene seems to indicate the show's adapting a recent storyline from The Flash comic, in which we find out there are numerous other "Forces" in the universe. There's the Speed Force of course, which is yellow. Then there's the Sage Force, which is blue. It enhances the minds of those who wield it. Then there's the Strength Force, which is red. As you can probably guess, it augments strength. Last is the Still Force, which is green. It can induce entropy and drain the life from others.

I assume that the four beams are going to zap several unsuspecting Central City citizens and give them corresponding powers. So we'll likely see a new speedster, a super genius, a powerhouse and an energy vampire.

Secondly, about this massive beam that shot into the sky... is there a big hole in the top of STAR Labs? If there wasn't before, there probably is now. I have to imagine that beam probably blasted through all the floors above the lab.

Lastly, these four beams were the by-product of Iris using the energy stored in her body to recharge the Speed Force. OK, I get that she was supposed to be full of speed energy. But why would she have the OTHER three forces within her body as well? Her Speed Force blast split into three other beams, so those energies had to be inside her as well, right? 

NOW do you see why I said it's like a five year old wrote this crap?

Thursday, March 25, 2021

A Chip Off The Ol' Vax

As we all know, there's a huge contingent of conspiracy theory wingnuts out there who're convinced that the Covid vaccine was cooked up by Bill Gates so he could inject us all with microchips and track our movements for some reason.

To all those people, I would just like to point out that THIS is the actual size of the tracking microchips they inject into dogs. Presumably a human version would be of a similar size.

So just how the holy f*ck do you think they'd be able to cram something like that into a thin hypodermic needle and insert it into your arm?

Jesus wept.

As I've said many, many times before— there's absolutely no need for a tracking chip. These days everyone and their brother is carrying around a computer in their pocket that tracks their movements far better and more effectively than any chip could hope to do.

So shut it about the microchips and nanoparticles and get your godammned shots!

Return The Snyder Cut!

After literally years of fanboy whining, Warner Bros. recently released the infamous "Snyder Cut" of their abysmal Justice League movie. 

Snyder's new Justice League: Do-Over restores his original vision of the film, adding deleted subplots and giving the characters some much needed backstory. It also inflated the runtime to an astonishing FOUR HOURS and three minutes (!).

This morning Snyder announced yet another new version of the film— this one in Black & White! 

For those keeping score at home, this is now the THIRD version of this miserable film.

I'm looking forward to next month, when 
Snyder releases Justice League: The Upside-Down Cut (in which the image is rotated 180ยบ), Justice League: The Backwards Cut (in which the entire film is shown in reverse) and Justice League: The Slow-Motion Cut (in which the whole film is played at 1/8 speed, boosting the runtime to seventeen hours).

Additionally, The Snyder Cut was inexplicably presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio— as were most pre-1950s films. Now he's gone even further back, eliminating color and releasing a Black & White version.

It's only a matter of time before he deletes the soundtrack in his Justice League: The Silent Cut.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Lockdown, Scmockdown!

Today (March 24th) marks a somewhat grim milestone— it's the one year anniversary of the Covid Lockdown here in Indiana. Remember how the authorities assured us it was no big deal, and it'd only last for two weeks? Heh. What innocent babes we all were back then.

I have to admit I never imagined I'd STILL be wearing a mask everywhere I go an entire year later. 

Fortunately I was one of the lucky ones who got to keep my job and work from home— something for which I will be forever grateful. I honestly have no idea what I'd have done if I'd been laid off like so many others. I'd probably have lost my house and been forced to move in with my Dad, I suppose.

Anyway, for weeks before the lockdown we heard rumors and rumblings of a virus spreading throughout bigger cities. No one gave it much thought at the time though. Why would we? Whoever expected a worldwide pandemic was about to happen?

Then I noticed they started mounting dozens of hand sanitizer dispensers in strategic locations in the corridors at work. That seemed... ominous. Suddenly this whole pandemic business got a little more real.

By mid-March the concern began ramping up, as we began hearing reports that cities on the East & West coasts were closing schools, restaurants and movie theaters, as well as canceling sporting events. At my job, management began urging those who could work from home to do so.

Most workers in our building could simply take their laptops home with them and work there with little or no problem. Unfortunately it wasn't that simple for my department. We all have desktop Macs that are loaded with expensive software, and our files are located on a large server in the IT Department. Working from home just wasn't an option for us. 

I was fine with continuing to come into the office though, as the building would be virtually deserted and the danger would be minimal.

Then on March 23rd the Governor announced that the entire state of Indiana was going on mandatory lockdown. Suddenly my department didn't have a choice anymore— we HAD to start working from home.

Fortunately we found an app called Team Viewer, which allows you to connect one computer to another over the internet. It took a while to get it up and running properly, but eventually I was able to connect my home computer to my office one. I could see all my work files, use all our software and access our server— all from the comfort of home!

I set up a makeshift office on my kitchen table— the only place I had enough space to work. We then officially began working from home the next day on March 24th.

I won't lie— the first couple weeks were pretty rough, as it took a while for us to figure out how to work remotely. The biggest problem was communication— ordinarily if I had a question about a project I'd just get up and go ask someone about it. Couldn't do that when we were all sittin' in our individual houses! There were thousands of emails, texts and phone calls flying back & forth between everyone.

Somehow we eventually got the hang of it and it actually worked out. We managed to get all our work done, and on schedule too. Even better, the company's sales were surprisingly great! At times they were even higher than projected! 

Of course the lockdown ended up lasting far, FAR longer than the promised two weeks (which I knew would happen). In fact it stretched on for months and months, as the pandemic raged across the country. I have a feeling the authorities knew from the start it would last way longer than two weeks, but feared we'd all freak out and riot if they revealed that. So they dribbled the news to us a bit at a time, constantly extending the lockdown by an extra week or two.

Many people couldn't handle the isolation and solitude of the lockdown. Fortunately I didn't have a problem in that area. I've always been a loner, and have been living by myself for decades now. In a sense, I'd been training for this lockdown my entire life! Other than the fact that I was no longer driving to the office, little or nothing changed for me. In fact— at the risk of sounding perverse— I actually kind of enjoyed it!

For one thing, my house was far more quiet than our hectic office. For the first time in years I could work in peace without having to overhear dozens of banal and distracting conversations. It was heaven!

Even better, I got to sleep in an hour later each day, since I didn't have to drive to work. I had a lot more free time after work as well, since my evening commute consisted of getting up and walking out of the kitchen. That may have been the biggest perk for me.

Plus no commute meant less wear & tear on my rapidly aging car. And I spent much less on gas, as I went from filling up the car once a week to once a month— if that! Gas prices plummeted in my area, falling to under $2 per gallon at one point. That was great, except... I couldn't really take advantage of the low prices, as there wasn't anywhere to go!

Early on in the lockdown I would just roll out of bed, eat breakfast and then start working at my makeshift desk— often in the clothes I'd slept in. I found that whenever I didn't bother to get dressed or cleaned up, I was much less productive and... well, lazy. So I started treating the situation like a normal job, and showered, shaved and put on regular clothing every morning. I didn't necessarily dress up, mind you, but I wore something better than a t-shirt & boxers. I found that doing so increased my productivity and attitude quite a bit.

There were a couple personal downsides to the lockdown. As readers of my blog know all too well, I used to go see a movie once per week. Suddenly I couldn't go at all, which was a big adjustment. I missed going restaurants too, and eating every meal at home soon became a drag. On the bright side, I saved a sh*t ton of money by staying home.

And then there were the numerous shortages. The second the lockdown was announced, panic-buying began. It was a good two months before I saw any toilet paper in my local grocery. Luckily I was smart enough to buy a couple extra rolls right before the lockdown, so I had plenty to last me.

As a lifelong germaphobe, I'd accumulated a large supply of hand sanitizer long the pandemic began, so I was all set for that. Good thing too, as it was a lonnnnnnng time before any stores around me had any in stock.

I didn't wear a mask in public for the few weeks of the lockdown. Not because I was one of those "But Mah Freedoms" wingnuts, but because it was simply impossible to get one at first. I couldn't find them in any store, and on the rare occasion I found them online, they were ridiculously expensive. 

I ended up cobbling together a makeshift mask out of a bandana and rubber bands, and wore it to the grocery a few times. After that I finally found a website selling masks for a fairly reasonable price and ordered a box. After that I made sure I was always masked up whenever I went out.

We ended up working from home for about six months, from March 24 until September 8th. That's when management decreed we return to the office. I have no idea why they were so dead set on us coming back then, as the pandemic was still in full force at that time. In fact it was still raging wildly out of control in Indiana. I was NOT happy about going back to the office and needlessly risking my life— especially when working from home was going so smoothly.

They implemented all sorts of safety precautions in the office when we returned. Everyone had to mask up of course, which wasn't a problem, as I'd have done so even if it wasn't required. Even though I'm a militant proponent of wearing masks, I have to admit it became quite a drag after a while. There's a big difference between wearing a mask for half an hour while shopping for groceries, versus wearing on for a full NINE HOURS in an office. Phew!

We were also encouraged to constantly disinfect our desks, keyboards, phones and hands. Plus physical meetings were outlawed, the break room kitchen was closed, and on and on. The sheer number of safeguards and protocols seriously made me question why were back in the office in the first place. 

We continued to work in the office until mid-November. That's when management anticipated another spike, fearing that people would go home for the holidays and bring a big ol' load of Covid back to the office. In order to prevent that, we then went on a second lockdown and worked from home again.

Then for no good reason we returned to the office in mid-December. I questioned the wisdom of this decision, and predicted another holiday-fueled Covid spread would send us back home. And that's exactly what happened. We went on a third lockdown right after Xmas!

We eventually came back sometime in January, 2021. Then in February we were hit with a big ice/snow storm, which made traveling dangerous. So we were ordered to work from home a fourth time!

We're back in the office now, seemingly for good this time. Unless the virus mutates and cases spiral out of control again.

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