Friday, March 25, 2022

The Flash Season 8, Episode 7: Lockdown

This week on The Flash, we get a surprisingly decent episode as another old villain returns, Barry and Kristen Kramer come to an understanding and the writers desperately try to make the audience like Chillblaine. Oh, and Barry actually appears in his own series for once!

I actually enjoyed this episode quite a bit, as Goldface captured Barry and neutralized his powers so he couldn't just speed his way out of the situation— causing him to actually have to outthink and outwit his opponent.

The writers even managed to take Kristen— who I've never been able to stand— and made me actually care a little about her this week. She's been a one-note character since she first appeared, so this sudden evolution was a welcome change. 

Unfortunately this episode also saw the return of Mark Blaine, aka Chillblaine— who's officially the worst character on The Flash, and maybe in all of modern pop culture. The writers attempted to give him a personality transplant as well, but it didn't work and felt unearned and out of left field.

If there was a theme to this episode, I'd have to say it was "relationships." We got storylines for Frost and Mark, Caitlin and her new beau Marcus and even Goldface and his squeeze Amunet. Heck, you could even argue that Barry & Kristen formed a relationship this week.

Odd that out of all of those, Mark and Goldface (both of whom are murderers, by the way) have the best and healthiest relationships with their significant others.

Although I liked this episode for the most part, it threw me off with its strange juxtaposition, as the plot kept switching from the deadly serious CCPD storyline to the lighthearted Caitlin/Frost one. Weird.

Lastly, it feels like the producers are cleaning out the old character closet this season. Last week we got the return of the Royal Flush Gang (who appeared in the Armageddon crossover), and then in this episode Goldface pops up again. There's nothing wrong with recycling characters per se, I just thought it was worth a mention.


The Plot:
Chester's pulling monitor duty at STAR Labs. Just as he's about to leave the Cortex to get a quick snack, he runs into Allegra, who's brought him lunch. We're then treated to an interminable scene of the two of them attempting to flirt with one another like awkward teens, despite the fact they're both in their thirties.

Mercifully an alarm sounds, and Chester notes there are three crimes happening simultaneously. The writers remember the show's called The Flash, and Barry's able to round up all three crooks in seconds.

The Flash drops the criminals in the middle of CCPD, then reenters the precinct as Barry. Kristen Kramer, who's apparently now the permanent Chief Of Police, points out that they'll probably have to let the perps go, as she has no idea what crimes they committed. She wishes the Flash would communicate with her more.

Later at the West home, Barry whines to Joe & Cecile about what Kristen said. Joe says maybe it's time Barry let her into the Flash's inner circle.

Back at STAR, Caitlin complains to Chester & Allegra that Frost and Mark (aka Chillblaine) are posting pics of their adventurous dates together (jealous much?). She worries that their activities (such as skydiving) are dangerous and Frost will end up hurt. Allegra basically tells her to mind her own business and concentrate on her upcoming date with Marcus, whoever the hell that is.

Later that night at CCPD, Barry uses his superspeed to gather up comprehensive evidence on the three crooks he brought in and gives it to Kristen so she can prosecute them. She's impressed, but says it won't help with the next batch of criminals the Flash brings in. She says they could clean up the city faster if only they could work together.

Just then an elevator opens, revealing a gas bomb that knocks out everyone— including Barry, who apparently forgot he's a speedster.

Barry wakes sometime later to discover he, Kristen and the rest of CCPD are lined up in the lobby, and all wearing meta-dampening bracelets. Just then Goldface enters with several henchmen. He explains he knows Kristen's a meta, so he's nullified her powers— along with anyone else who might have any (convenient). He also uses a mannequin to demonstrate that if anyone gets out of line, their cuffs will detonate and blow them up real good.

Kristen gets up, says she's the captain and demands Goldface let her people go. Naturally he refuses & orders her to sit down. Just then Goldface recognizes Barry as "The Chemist," from the Season 5 episode Goldfaced. Barry asks what he wants, and he replies that his gal pal Amunet Black has intel that CCPD's storing something valuable in their vault, and he's there to take it.

Meanwhile, Caitlin takes her date Marcus to the seedy O'Shaughnessy's Pub for some reason. She sees to her horror that Frost and Mark are onstage singing karaoke. She tells Marcus they have to leave, but Frost spots them in the crowd. She suggests the four of them turn it into a double date. Marcus enthusiastically agrees, much to Caitlin's chagrin.

Goldface and his henchman break into the armory and locate the weapon case they're looking for. Goldface opens it, only to find it's empty. Why Kristen would keep an empty case in her armory is anyone's guess.

Goldface brings Kristen and Barry to the armory, saying he wants the meta bullets that are supposed to be in the case. Kristen says she'll die before she endangers the city's meta population. Goldface wraps his chain around Barry's neck, and threatens to kill him unless she talks.

Barry croaks out a response, saying the meta bullets contain dark matter, so he can modify a scanner and locate them that way. Goldface releases Barry and tells him to get scanning.

Back at the pub, the two couples chat over drinks. Caitlin makes constant jabs about Mark's criminal past, which gives everyone icky bad feelings. Frost gets pissed and leaves with Mark, and Caitlin tells Marcus to take her home.

In his CSI Lab, Barry works on the scanner while Goldface watches him. He gets a call from Amunet, who asks if he has the meta bullets yet. He tells her he's working on it, then makes kissy noises into the phone. He says Barry's had more than enough time to modify the scanner, brings Kristen in and threatens to kill her if he doesn't finish up.

Barry says he's done, and activates the scanner. Instead of detecting dark matter, it emits a high pitched sonic screech that stuns everyone. Barry & Kristen knock out Goldface and his henchman Carver and escape. Goldface recovers and destroys the scanner.

Barry & Kristen hide in a storage room, where they look for something to help remove their bracelets. Barry notices Kristen's is no longer lit, and realizes her mimicking powers have shorted it out. He says she could absorb Goldface's powers and defeat him. She refuses to even try, saying it wouldn't work.

Elsewhere, Caitlin waits to pay her bill. Mark sidles up and tells her he cares about Frost just as much as she does, and he has no plans to hurt her. He gives her a Patented The CW Pep Talk®, saying she seems more focused on her hatred of him than on her own date, and says she should let go and give Marcus a chance. He then leaves and sticks her with his bill.

Back at CCPD, Barry once again tells Kristen she's their only hope against Goldface. She finally admits that she can't control her powers and is afraid they'll end up killing someone. She says she needs the Flash to help her.

Just then Goldface grabs Officer Kolber and threatens to kill her unless Kristin shows herself. Barry gives Kristen a Patented The CW Pep Talks®, saying it's time for her to trust herself and use her powers. Kristen finally agrees, and confronts Goldface. Before he can react, she absorbs his gold-manipulating powers and takes control of his chain, causing the end of it to wrap around her hand. The two then engage in a tug of war over the chain.

Back in the storage room, Barry works up his nerve and uses a screwdriver to pop the cuff off his wrist. His superspeed then activates, and he's able to outrun the resulting explosion from the cuff.

Just then Kristen's powers start to wear off, and Goldface moves in to kill her. Fortunately the Flash zooms in, tying up Goldface and all his henchmen. Flash thanks Kristen for her help and zips away.

Barry then enters, saying the Flash freed him from his cuff. He praises Kristen for standing up to Goldface, and she says she couldn't have done it without him. He asks where the meta bullets are, and she says she sent them to ARGUS for safe keeping.

Elsewhere, Caitlin visits Frost and apologizes for badmouthing Mark. She says she's been afraid to go all-in on a relationship ever since her fiancé Ronnie Raymond died, and she envies Frost & Mark. Frost invites her and Marcus on another double date, and Caitlin accepts.

Flash appears in Kristen's office, and says it's time the two of them worked together. He gives her a pager so she can reach him any time, then prepares to reveal his secret identity to her. She tells him she already knows he's Barry (as does most of Central City by now).

At the West home, Joe & Iris finish eating dinner. He leaves the room, and Iris has another of her "time sickness attacks," as her eyes glow with green energy.


• Chester pulls monitor duty at STAR Labs, where he realizes it's lunchtime.

He then pulls out a pink Supergirl lunchbox, complete with an attached cape on the back. Clearly this is supposed to be comical and quirky, but it's sad and off-putting, as Chester's a grown-ass man in his thirties.

• Chester mentions his Granny Runk again this week. I just realized she's another Unseen Character on the show— much like Baby Jenna. 

Unseen Characters are those who are constantly mentioned and even have an effect on the plot, despite the fact they never show up on camera. Think Norm's wife Vera on Cheers or Maris on Frasier.

• Allegra brings Chester lunch from an eatery called Hershfield's Market. Since this show loves naming streets and businesses after comic creators, I figured this was another example. Unfortunately I couldn't find anyone by that name who's worked on any Flash comics. 

The closest I could come was Jeff Hersh, who's the Executive Story Editor on the series.

• Back in Armageddon, Part 4, we got a pointless storyline featuring alt-timeline versions of Chester and Allegra, who were in a relationship. At the time I said: 

"I know exactly what's gonna happen here. Even though these versions of Allegra and Chester don't really exist and are about to be erased, their relationship will serve as a setup for their pairing in the real, prime timeline. I'm calling it right now— at some point later in this season, the two of them will sense a faint "time echo" of their affair, which will lead to it happening for real."

Annnnd sure enough, that's EXACTLY what happened, as this episode features the two of them trying to fumble their way in that very direction.

The main problem with this is that the two of them act more like awkward teens experiencing their first crush rather than adults in their thirties. The writers seem determined to force these two characters into a relationship, despite the fact the actors have zero chemistry together. Their scenes are downright painful to watch, as the "will they or won't they" drama is being dragged out as long as possible. Just let 'em screw already and get it over with!

• Chester gets a crime alert, and utters another of his Black History Month oaths, saying, "Holy Alice H. Parker!" As usual, I'd never heard the name before and had to look it up. Alice H. Parker was an African American inventor in the 1920s, famous for her patented system of central heating using natural gas.

While I have no problem with these references per se, I feel like they ought be relevant to the situation— like when Robin says something like "Holy Hotfoot" when he and Batman are being lowered into a bonfire. Instead, Chester detects a mugging, carjacking and holdup all occurring at the same time, and invokes the name of the woman who crated the furnace. It's clear at this point that he just drops these scientist/inventor names at random, and they have nothing to do with what's actually going on at the time.

• Man, that STAR Labs Crime Detection System is something else! Somehow it alerts Chester of a mugging, a carjacking and a holdup while they're all in progress, rather than AFTER the fact like a regular alarm.

• This is some Heavy Duty Nitpicking, but whatever. As Chester's alerted of a carjacking, we cut to a criminal trying to jimmy the door of an empty auto. Um... the definition of a carjacking is "the violent theft of an occupied vehicle." This guy's breaking into a parked car with no one inside it!

Told you it was heavy duty!

• Sterling Brooks returns for the second week in a row! His appearances are a running joke on the show, as he's the comically inept crook who's constantly being caught by various members of Team Flash and CCPD. He previously appeared in The Elongated Knight Rises, The Death Of Vibe, Marathon and last week's Impulsive Excessive Disorder.

Credit Where It's Due: Oftentimes in superhero comics and shows, characters like Superman will capture a criminal, then tie 'em up and "leave them for the police to find." I've often wondered just what good that's supposed to do. Cops need evidence to prosecute a crook! They can't just lock up a person just because Spider-Man pinned a "GUILTY" note to their chest!

Amazingly, this episode actually deals with that subject! The Flash captures the three criminals and deposits them in the lobby of CCPD. He then pauses for a round of applause from the cops and zooms away.

Quite rightly, Kristen then asks what the hell she's supposed to do with this trio of ne'er do wells. She has no earthly idea what crimes they may or may not have committed, and as such can't charge them for anything.

You'd think that as a CSI, Barry would be aware of this when he hauls in criminals as the Flash, but apparently not. Kudos to the writers here for finally addressing this situation, and having Kristen teach the Flash an overdue lesson in due process.

• Barry visits Joe & Cecile at their home, to get their advice on how to deal with Kristen. 

As regular readers of my Flash reviews (both of you) know by now, I like to try and find the show's shooting locations in Vancouver. Despite the fact I've never been within a thousand miles of the place, it's usually surprisingly easy. With one exception— I've never been able to find the real-world location of Joe's house. 

Until now!

Here's the West house in all its glory! You may have noticed I blanked out the actual address— that's because this is a residential home, and I doubt the owners want a bunch of Flash-fans showing up at their door looking for Joe, Cecile & Baby Jenna, so I'm respecting their privacy here.

Note that while the show makes it look like the house is on a quiet little street in a secluded neighborhood, nothing could be further from the truth. The real house is across the street from a muffler shop, and catty-corner from a large shopping/office complex. 

• We get another "Leveled Up" this week, as Cecile says it to Barry when he visits the West home. I should have started a Leveled Up Counter at the beginning of the season— it'd be up to at least fifteen or twenty by now. 

• Back at STAR, Caitlin shows up and mentions her upcoming date with her new beau Marcus. He was mentioned for the first time last week, making me wonder if I'd missed an episode or she met him offscreen while we weren't looking.

Welp, apparently that's exactly what happened, as the elusive Marcus finally appears on camera for the very first time this week.

• When Chester hears about Caitlin dating Marcus, he says, "Oh, man, I can see it now. He doesn't know we're on Team Flash. But soon, you and Marcus are gonna fall in love, and then he's gonna join us for, like, some crazy adventure, then boom! He's on the team!"

He's not wrong! Cecile, Julius Albert, Ralph Dibney, Sue Dearbon, Allegra— heck, even Chester himself— all started out as side characters who quickly graduated to Team Flash membership. 

Also, Marcus is apparently a biologist, a fact Chester somehow knows despite the fact that Caitlin doesn't ever mention it in this scene (he must have read the script). Anyway, Chester quips that once Marcus inevitably becomes a member of Team Flash, he'll learn to control plants.

That was definitely a nod to 2005's Sky High, in which Danielle Panabaker played Layla Williams, a superhero who had the power to control plants!

Sigh... Once again the writers forgot the premise of the show. At CCPD, Barry & Kristen do a walk & talk and then stop in front of an elevator. As it opens, they see a strange canister inside that starts spewing knockout gas. 

Instead of zooming everyone out of harm's way, Barry just stares at it and goes to sleep with the rest of the officers. What the hell?

They try to justify this by having him tend to Kristen, who collapses beside him. Nice try, guys. We've seen numerous times that Barry could have easily evacuated the entire building in the time it would've taken Kristen to blink.

Some fans have suggested he didn't use his speed here because he didn't want to reveal his secret identity to Kristen yet. Again, there are just too many ways he could have sprang into action. He could have entered Flashtime, created a vortex and sucked the gas from the building before she even realized what was happening. 

That's the biggest problem with this series— the main character's so overpowered it's nearly impossible to write a situation he can't easily get out of with his speed.

• When Goldface first enters CCPD, he's wearing a gold plated gas mask that does indeed look like... a gold face!

• Goldface's right hand man in this episode is Carver, who first appeared back in Goldfaced

If you'll recall, back in the execrable Season 6 there was a character named Joseph Carver who was the CEO of McCullough Industries, husband of Eva McCullough and secretly the leader of Black Hole. What the hell? Are the writers having trouble thinking up fictional last names?

I'm assuming this happened because Henchman Carver appeared a full season before Joseph Carver— long before the writers probably decided to adapt the Black Hole storyline from the comics. When they did, they probably realized there was a Carver in that storyline as well, but by then it was too late to change either name.

• Barry, Kristen and the other officers all slowly wake to discover they're captives of Goldface. Wait, why's Barry coming to at the same time as everyone else? Shouldn't his speed healing have caused him to metabolize the gas quicker? 

Maybe not! Goldface fitted the entire precinct with explosive meta-dampening cuffs while they were unconscious. That means Barry's speed healing likely didn't kick in and wake him earlier! Well done, guys!

Speaking of explosive handcuffs, Goldface seems to have a penchant for them. He used 'em extensively in his first appearance in Goldfaced, strapping them to Barry & Ralph's wrists!

• Goldface spends a good amount of this episode chattering about his gal pal Amunet Black and their perfect relationship. In fact she plays such a big role in the plot that I'm convinced she was SUPPOSED to be in this episode, but couldn't appear for some reason— which forced the producers to do a last minute rewrite and work around her absence. 

The fact that Goldface gets several phone calls from Amunet, but we never actually hear her voice on the line, would seem to confirm that!

• While we're on the topic of phones, Amunet's ringtone is Love Is A Battlefield. If you'll recall, that was the title of the Season 6 episode in which they appeared, as well as "their song."

• When Goldface spots Barry, he recognizes him as "The Chemist." That's the code name Barry used back in Goldfaced, when he and Ralph  went undercover to buy a Field Generator on the black market for reasons.

Also in that episode, Barry not only betrayed Goldface, but electrocuted him as well! Given all that, it's a wonder he didn't just shoot Barry on sight in this episode!

By the way, when Goldface was electrocuted, we literally saw molten gold pour out of his eye sockets! Which I guess meant he had a gold skeleton or his body was filled with gold or something. Anyway, based on that scene, I assumed he was killed or at the very least permanently blinded. Nope! He appeared none the worse for wear in Love Is A Battlefield, and here as well.

It's almost like the writers forgot about the whole gold skeleton thing. Or is this yet another detail changed by Crisis On Infinite Earths?

• A Study In Contrasts: Mark Blaine is a straight up murderer, and I hate the character's fictional guts. Goldface is a murderer as well, but I actually liked him quite a bit in this episode. He's funny and charming, as well as a Melville-spouting villain with a BA in Literature from Yale! What's not to like?

In fact it's probably telling that the Big Bad this week was more likable than most of the regular characters!

I've pointed this out before, but Goldface is played by actor Damion Poitier. With a name like that, it's impossible not to wonder if he's related to the late actor Sidney Poitier. Damion says there're no close familial connections, but claims their ancestors "came from the same tribe."

• Caitlin and Marcus go to O'Shaughnessy's Pub on their date. Several things here:

First off, the two were supposed to go to "The Spanish Hamper," Central City's hottest and trendiest eatery, but  couldn't get in and ended up here. How's that happen? Surely there was somewhere better they could have gone besides this crime-ridden, seedy dive bar! They went from five star dining down to zero!

Secondly, this is now the third time O'Shaughnessy's has appeared this season. Hey, can't let a good set go to waste! They build the thing, so they're gonna get their money's worth out of it, dammit!

Lastly, as I did last week, I have to point out that O'Shaughnessy's exterior (with its three prominent garage doors) doesn't match the interior set in the slightest. Whoops!

• If nothing else, the show's getting reeeeally good at the Caitlin/Frost "twinning" scenes. In fact if I didn't know better, I'd think they were really two separate actors here.

In the past, shows always relied on primitive split screen shots to depict doubles. It was always a dead giveaway, as the camera was locked down tight as the actor stood stiffly and awkwardly on opposite sides of the screen.

Here though the camera's freely moving around the set and even changes focus, just as it would in a normal scene. That really helps to sell the illusion!

And then there's this amazing scene. Not only is the camera constantly moving, but if you look closely, Frost sets a glass on the table, and Caitlin actually reaches over and pulls it toward her! I have no idea how the hell they managed to pull that off! Amazing work, FX Team!

• For some reason, Mark's under the impression that Marcus' last name is Ficus.

Mark: "Hey, whoa, whoa, whoa, is this the infamous Marcus, as in Dr. Ficus?"
Marcus: "Um... yes?"

I think Mark is making a joke here about Marcus' profession, but I honestly can't tell. If not, then the writers actually named a character "Marcus Ficus."

• I wonder if there's any significance to the fact that Frost is dating a Mark, and Caitlin's seeing a Marcus. Are the writers implying that the two "sisters" are so alike they chose men with virtually the same name?

• Caitlin ruins everyone's good time by tearing Mark a new asshole, and pointing out that he once seduced Frost in order to steal a weapon, framed her and is straight up a murderer. Her comments upset Frost so much that she stalks off with Mark.

It's interesting that the show paints Caitlin as the bad guy here. Granted, this definitely wasn't the proper time or venue for her to lay into Mark, as she should have raised her concerns to Frost in private.

That said, everything she said about him is true! Mark IS a murderer (among other things), and should be in prison for the rest of his life. Instead he ratted out his fellow criminals in order to save his own skin.

For years now I've been saying that murder doesn't seem to be a crime in the Arrowverse, as numerous characters on the show have started out as killers, then become part of the team after all is forgiven. 

And so it is with Mark. The writers clearly want us to side with him and overlook his past as they attempt a give him a redemption arc— all so he can become the emotionally vulnerable Frost's new love interest.

• As pointed out above, Mark turned state's evidence in order to get his criminal record wiped. Given that fact, should he really be sashaying around in a dive bar like this? Criminals tend to have a low tolerance for snitches. Seems like it's only a matter of time before he gets a knife in the back in retaliation.

• Eventually Goldface reveals his diabolical plan— to steal the meta bullets Kristen commissioned back in Season 7 and sell them on the black market. He breaks into the CCPD armory, finds the relevant storage case, opens it and... sees that it's completely empty. Wait, what?

Apparently at some point Kristen sent the bullets to ARGUS for safe keeping. SO WHY IN THE NAME OF SANITY WOULD SHE KEEP THE EMPTY META BULLET CASE IN THE ARMORY? That... that doesn't make any sense! 

Why not just take the case to ARGUS and hand the whole thing over to them? Why bring the empty case back and place it carefully back in its spot in the armory?

Why, it's almost as if she she did all this just to give viewers a scene of Goldface getting trolled. But that's impossible, right?

For the record, this is what the inside of the case is supposed to look like, complete with glowing blue meta bullets.

• Goldface demands Kristen tell him where she stashed the meta bullets, or else. She hisses, "I'd die before betraying the metas of this city and putting them in any danger." 

Well, sure, she would NOW, after she found out she's a meta too! Before that she was more than willing to forcibly neuter them all!

• Barry overhears a call between Goldface and Amunet. When he comments that the two of them seem to have a good relationship, Goldface says they owe it all to Dr. Finkel.

Sharon Finkel is a couples therapist who appeared on the show several times back in Season 4. Barry & Iris used to see her, as did Joe & Cecile. Caitlin saw her by herself as well.

• Barry tricks Goldface by altering his dark matter scanner to emit an ear-piercing, incapacitating sonic blast. 

Oddly enough, the sound affects Goldface, Kristen and Carver, but not Barry. I was just about to chalk this up as a major mistake, but it turns out it's not!

Just a few seconds before activating the altered scanner, we see Barry pretending to scratch his head. Apparently he was actually discreetly sticking earplugs in his ears. He did it so subtly and smoothly that it totally flew by me at first. Well done, guys!

• As Caitlin waits to pay her bill, Mark returns and tells her the reason she's lashing out at him is because she doesn't want to be hurt and is afraid to go all in on a relationship of her own. Wait, what?

How the hell did Mark get so wise all of a sudden? When he first appeared last season, all he ever did was spout cold-based supervillain puns. Suddenly in this episode he's going around dispensing wisdom and keen emotional insights, like some elder statesman.

So what fueled this startling metamorphosis? I assume we're supposed to believe it was initiated by his relationship with Frost, but I ain't buying it. Especially when his entire transformation happened totally offscreen. You can't have a character make a 180º personality turn in between episodes, and expect the audience to accept it. 

As is, Mark's evolution is completely unearned, and impossible to take seriously.

By the way, how the hell long does it take to pay a bill in this pub? Caitlin told Marcus to pull the car around while she settled the tab. Then she and Mark chat for a good ten minutes, leaving poor Marcus cooling his heels out in the parking lot. Based on the way Caitlin acted on their date, no one would blame if if he got tired of waiting on her ass and just drove home without her.

More Heavy Duty Nitpicking: It really bugs me that Goldface's chain has wobbly slack in it whenever he uses it to choke someone. I feel like the entire chain needs to be taut, not just the last few inches.

It happens again a bit later, when he and Kristen are fighting for control of it. Would it have killed one of them to step back an inch and tighten the thing?

• Goldface gives Kristen an ultimatum, threatening to kill Officer Korber unless she tells him where the meta bullets are hidden. Carver reminds Goldface there's no need for a countdown, as he could just kill Korber and be done with it. Goldface scolds him, saying he has "no sense of drama."

Again, I love the idea of a villain with a flair for the theatrical, who waits for the perfect climactic moment to kill someone.

• We get yet another instance of "leveled up," just before Barry tries removing his meta dampening cuff. He pauses and flashes back to Armageddon, Part 1, where Caitlin says, "Wow, you have seriously leveled up!"

What the hell? Is the constant use of that phrase in this season building up to something? Or just a case of lazy writing?

• On a similar note, the phrase "all in" gives "leveled up" some serious competition this week, as it's utter by various characters a whopping FIVE times during this episode!
• The writers finally remember the premise of the show, as Barry pries the explosive cuff from his hand and outruns the resulting blast! Awesome! 

It's just too bad he didn't think to do this the minute he saw the cuff on his wrist, instead of in the third act.

• In the wrap up, Barry asks Kristen where the meta bullets are. She says she transferred them to ARGUS for safe keeping "thirty five weeks ago." That's... an oddly specific figure.

Just An Observation: At the end of the episode, the Flash meets with Kristen and gives her a pager device. Looks like Kristen decided to decorate her office with artifacts from her tribe!

• In order to initiate better communication between CCPD and the Flash, Barry starts to reveal his "secret" identity to Kristen. Of course she stops him from embarrassing himself further and says she already knows. 

Remember back when Barry used to actually make an effort to hide his secret identity? He'd vibrate his face to blur it, and distort his voice as well. Apparently the writers forgot all about that, as the Flash stood in front of Kristen talking in the exact same voice she'd been hearing Barry use for the past couple hours. And then he was surprised when she figured out who he really was.

• In the tag scene, Joe cooks dinner for Iris. She asks him how he learned to make a "doro wat," and wonders if he spent a year in Ethiopia.

My whiteness is showing again, as I had no idea what the hell "doro wat" was. I looked it up, and it's Ethiopian spiced chicken— and it looks absolutely delicious!

• The past few episodes have shown us a retired Joe living in various alternate and future timelines. Looks like he's now retired in the prime timeline as well!

• Joe makes yet another Baby Jenna reference this week. Are we ever gonna actually see this kid again? At this point she hasn't made an appearance on the show since Season 6's A Girl Named Sue, where she showed up for an entire second.

Like Granny Runk, Jenna's transitioned to Unseen Character status.

• In the final shot, Iris' eyes begin glowing with green energy, meaning her "time sickness"— which I thought the writers had mercifully abandoned— is back.

If you'll recall, back in Season 7's P.O.W., Iris informed Barry that she'd become "unstuck in time," and that Deon was the only thing keeping her from temporally fragmenting or something.

At the time I noted this sounded vaguely like a storyline from The Flash comics. Back in the 1980s they featured a very convoluted story arc in which Iris discovered she was actually from the 30th Century (!). Her real parents sent her back in time for reasons, where she was raised by the West family.

Iris was eventually killed by Zoom, and her biological parents took her body back to the 30th Century, where they were somehow able to revive her. Barry then time traveled to the future as well to live out his life there with her.

I would not be surprised if the writers are planning a simplified version of that arc for the show. I hope not though, because if they reveal that Joe isn't actually Iris' biological father then I'm gonna be royally pissed off!

It's GIF, With A Hard "G"

RIP Steve Wilhite, who died this week at the age of seventy four. While his name may not be a household word, we're all intimately familiar with his work— he's the man who invented the GIF file.
Sadly, his funeral was marred by unruly guest arguing over whether his name should be pronounced "Wil-HEET" or "Wil-HIGHT."

Eh, It's Pretty Fast, I Guess

Saw this online recently— it's test footage of an experimental "hypersonic sled" on a track. According to the source material, it's traveling at a speed of 6,600 mph! Holy crap! It goes by so fast it's not even visible!

When I saw this I couldn't help but think of The Flash. There was a recent episode of the show in which the title character supposedly ran at a whopping 15,000 mph— well over twice as fast as this sled.

Seeing this video made me realize just how much damage a superhero like the Flash would cause in real life. There'd be no intact windows anywhere in Central City, as the constant barrage of sonic booms from his superspeed would have shattered them all years ago. The citizens would probably all be deaf from him zooming past them as well

The streets would likely be impassable, as the asphalt would constantly melt, cool and melt again as the Flash zoomed back and forth through the city. Heck, the streets might even ignite and burn when he whizzed by!

And pity any poor citizens unlucky enough to be near him when he ran. They'd probably either be incinerated by the superheated air caused by his passing, or sent tumbling end over end in the wake of his vortex.

In fact a real-life Flash would probably be more dangerous than most of the villains that attack Central City!

Doctor Hugh?

This week rumors swirled that award winning actor Hugh Grant had been cast as the 14th Doctor on long-running BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who.

Eh. I'm not a huge fan of Grant, as I've never cared much for his "Befuddled, Sputtering Englishman" persona he uses in virtually every role he plays. 

That said, I'd take him in a second over the gawky, off-putting slag who's currently killing the series with every episode she appears in.

Grant denied the rumors of course, saying he has no idea where they came from. Truth, or misdirection before an official announcement?

This wouldn't be the first time Grant's been associated with the titular Time Lord. Showrunner Russell T Davies approached Grant about playing the Doctor in the 2005 revival of the series.

And he actually played the Doctor in The Curse Of The Fatal Death, a Doctor Who spoof filmed specifically for the 1999 Comic Relief charity.

If Grant does actually become the next Doctor, expect lots of underplayed, "charming" stammering and stuttering. "Um... yes, well, um... yes I'm the, um... the Doctor, aren't I?"

Saturday, March 19, 2022

The Flash Season 8, Episode 6: Impulsive Excessive Disorder

This week on The Flash, we get a dreaded filler episode, as the regular cast takes a breather and lets Bart & Nora take over.

Don't let showrunner Eric Wallace hear you calling it that though! Here's the man himself, explaining why this was most definitely NOT a filler episode:

"So Armageddon was the first graphic novel of Season 8, then we we have our first interlude episode as we like to call them— those are episodes that are more standalone and we’ll have a couple of those."

So there you have it! This wasn't a filler, it was an interlude.

Whatever you want to call it, it felt damned peculiar to me. This is the first show that's aired since December of 2021. Who comes back from a three month hiatus with an episode that doesn't feature the main characters?

To make it even odder, the bulk of this series takes place before the Armageddon crossover! So why the hell did it air after? Who's in charge of the scheduling on this show?

Despite all that, it wasn't a terrible episode, as it was better than most recent ones. In fact it felt less like an episode of The Flash, and more like a backdoor pilot for an XS & Impulse series.

Is it possible that's the plan? All signs point to this being the final season of The Flash, so maybe they're planning to spin off Bart & Nora into their own series, to continue the speedster adventures. Eric Wallace denies this, but he's lied to us before!

As always, time will tell!


The Plot:
Six Months Ago (Yep, it's one of those episodes).
We get a repeat of Barry & Iris renewing their wedding vows, which we already saw back in Heart Of The Matter, Part 2. At least we don't have to hear Bart sing his twenty five minute song again. 

Afterward, Barry tells his future kids Bart & Nora that he checked with Gideon and their participation in the big Godspeed War didn't cause any time anomalies. The kids say their goodbyes and return to their own time in 2049.

Bart & Nora enter their apartment (so they live together?), just as a wave of temporal energy sweeps through it. Seconds later, Jay Garrick, the original Flash, enters with a bag of food. The kids are shocked by his presence, as he's supposed to be dead in this time period.

Nora tells Bart their visit to 2021 must have altered their present and resurrected Jay. Bart's fine with that, as he now has his "Uncle" back. The two question Jay, curious to find out of there are any other changes. Sure enough there are, as they discover he's married to a woman named Rose, and not Joan as they remembered.

The two go to the Hall Of Heroes, where they check the records (I guess there's no Google in 2049?). Nora discovers that Joan Garrick never existed in this timeline, and figures her erasure is their fault.

Nora dives deeper and discovers the discrepancy— their grandpa Joe West was shot during a holdup in 2013, when Barry was still in a coma after the accident that turned him into a speedster. Bart says they can fix the timeline simply by preventing Joe from being shot.

The two then head back to 2013, which just happens to be the year the series started. They arrive at CCPD, where they spot Joe. They watch in embarrassment as he approaches Counselor Cecile Horton, asks her out and is promptly rejected.

Just then Eddie Thawne— Joe's new partner and the man who used to date their Mom— approaches and asks what they're doing sneaking around a restricted area. Nora says they're CSI interns, and Eddie sends them on a coffee run.

The two stand outside in a comically long line for coffee. Bart suggests just using their superspeed to deal with it, but Nora warns that using their powers will result in even more temporal anomalies (?).

Bart accidentally bumps into a young woman behind him, knocking her papers to the ground. As he picks them up, he sees they're about quantum divergence or some other technobabble. Bart asks how she knows about such advanced science, and she jokingly says she's from the future. Delighted, he blurts out that he is as well. She introduces herself as Avery, and says she was only kidding.

Bart & Avery begin hitting it off, till Nora pulls Bart away, reminding him they need to keep a low profile and have as little interaction with the locals as possible. Suddenly Nora gets an alert on her gauntlet that Joe's about to be shot, and they rush off.

Elsewhere, Joe and Eddie arrive at a jewelry store robbery. Bart and Nora arrive seconds later, intent on preventing Joe from being shot. Eddie goes around to the back, while Joe covers the front door.

Just then the robber exits, wearing his ill-gotten bling and awkwardly brandishing a gun. Joe tries to calm the nervous robber, who ends up dropping his gun. It hits the ground and discharges, sending a bullet right at Joe. 

Nora and Bart instinctively enter Flashtime in order to give them a chance to think. Nora says they're too late, as the gun was never supposed to fire (?), and if they stop the bullet they'll cause another anomaly.

As she tries to figure out what to do, the impulsive (heh) Bart zooms over and moves Joe slightly to the right, so the bullet misses him. He zips back to Nora, who tells him he should've moved the bullet instead of Joe, and he's now made everything worse (???). That makes absolutely zero sense, but let's move on.

The two walk away, unaware that a woman named Mona Taylor telepathically overheard their conversation. She realizes she's not the only metahuman in Central City,

Nora sees Eddie come out of the jewelry store with the surveillance camera flash drive, and says they can use it to discover what they might have screwed up (?). They try to get it from him, but he pockets it and returns to CCPD.

Meanwhile, Mona Taylor uses her telepathy to summon three other metas to a dive bar. Now calling herself Queen, she talks the rest of them into becoming the Royal Flush Gang. She says with their powers, they can easily rob the Central City Casino that very night. The others all agree.

At CCPD, Eddie tells Joe he's sorry Cecile shot him down. Joe's puzzled as to how he found out about that, and Eddie says everyone knows. Nora sneaks over, whispers that Joe should try to win over Cecile with lilacs and crumb cake, and slyly pockets the flash drive.

Inside Barry's CSI lab, Nora checks the thumb drive while Bart realizes he's standing in the exact spot where his father gained his powers. Nora reviews the footage and sees Mona Taylor hanging around the vicinity of the robbery. She uses her gauntlet to look up Taylor, and realizes she's Queen of the Royal Flush Gang. Even worse, she sees a newspaper article reporting that the Gang's going to detonate a bomb in a casino heist, which will kill thirty people.

Bart then completely loses it, whining that Nora's better then him and he's a failure at being a hero. It's all quite pathetic, and he ends up speeding off.

Nora zooms to the hospital, where she finds Bart sitting at the bedside of the comatose Barry. She resists the urge to slap him, instead delivering a Patented The CW Pep Talk®, which makes him feel better (Jaysis). Bart then says he knows who can help them.

The two zoom to Fast Track Labs, where they confront Avery and reveal they're really from the future and need her help. She doesn't believe them of course, until she gets a look at Nora's gauntlet and realizes the tech is "decades away" (well, two decades, anyway).

Nora shows Avery the casino article, and says the death toll keeps fluctuating. Avery says the heist is a fixed point in time, and as such can't be changed— so they have to let it happen. They can, however, change the number of victims and save everyone.

Avery wants to go with them, but Bart says it's too dangerous and promises he'll return.

Cut to the casino, where the Royal Flush Gang bursts in. Queen orders Jack and Ten to find the vault and empty it, while she and King make sure none of the guests leave. Bart & Nora suit up and arrive on the scene. Nora looks for the bomb, while Bart zooms various guests to safety.

Unfortunately King notices people disappearing, and threatens to kill a guest unless the culprit shows themselves. Bart disguises himself as the casino manager and says he was helping people escape, but will stop if they let everyone go. Queen doesn't believe he's the manager, and telepathically scans his mind. She detects his thoughts about Avery, and thinks he's just worried about seeing his loved one again.

Jack & Ten return with a surprisingly small amount of loot, and the Gang starts to leave. Bart, who apparently has a short memory, tries to stop them— despite the fact he was warned to let the robbery happen. King knocks him across the room, and Bart breaks his arm as he lands. Queen then tells everyone to "enjoy the fireworks" and the Gang exits.

Nora radios Bart and says she found the bomb. He tells her Queen said something about "fireworks, plural," and they realize there's more than one bomb. For some reason Nora loses her sh*t and says she'll never find them all in time— even at superspeed (?). Bart says he can't help, as he needs his powers to speed-heal his arm. He then gives HER a Patented The CW Pep Talk®, which motivates her to go on.

Nora somehow figures out where the rest of the bombs are, gathers them and zooms outside. She hurls them into the air, where they detonate just as New Year's Eve fireworks go off.

Back at CCPD, Iris enters with food for the big New Year's party. She meets Eddie for the first time, and they begin flirting. Cecile apologizes to Joe for being curt with him earlier, and says she's just through a tough divorce (?). She says when she's ready to date he'll be the first to know. Apparently the lilacs worked.

Nora and Bart return to the station for some reason, and determine they've fixed the timeline. The officers all line up for a photo, and invite the two to join them— in the picture we saw at the end of Armageddon, Part 5.

Bart returns to Fast Track Lans, where he says goodbye to Avery. She's clearly smitten with him, and says he "changed her life (?). He says she saved the day with science, and she plants a kiss on him. Nora enters and says they gotta go, and Bart promises he'll be back.

Bart & Nora return to the Hall Of Heroes in 2049, and confirm that Jay's still alive and Joan is unerased. For some reason they tell Jay what they did and how he's now alive when he shouldn't be. He tells them not to worry too much about screwing the timeline, as Barry did it on a regular basis.

Central City: Present Day
After their vow renewal, Barry & Iris invite everyone to dinner in Paris. Iris combs her hair, then sets her brush on the couch. Barry somehow zooms all six or seven people around the world to Europe. The camera then focuses on Iris' brush, which vanishes in a burst of temporal energy particles.

• This is a very peculiar episode, timeline-wise. Back in Armageddon, Part 1, the Royal Flush Gang's January 1st casino heist was mentioned, and then we actually get to see it happen in this episode. That means the bulk of Impulsive Excessive Disorder takes place entirely before the whole Armageddon crossover. As I said in the intro, why the hell is it just airing now, instead of before Armageddon? 

• There are two things you can count on in The Flash— parallel Earths will always have blimps floating high above cities, and future scenes will inevitably have holographic ads projected in the sky.

Methinks someone on the FX team is a fan of the Cyberpunk 2077 game.

• When the kids return to their apartment in 2049, we see a memorial display featuring the late Jay Garrick's Flash helmet. A couple things here:

Do Bart & Nora really live in the same apartment? There's nothing inherently wrong with that I guess, but you gotta admit a brother and sister living together is a bit unusual. Maybe the rent in 2049 is even more out of control than it is now, and the only way they could afford a place was to cohabitate. 

Note that the commemorative plaque below the helmet calls Jay "The Crimson Comet." I assume that's his nickname as the Flash— like when people call Batman "The Caped Crusader."

That said, doesn't it seem odd the plaque would feature his nickname of "The Flash?" Were the producers afraid that would confuse the audience or something?

• Jay's supposed to be dead in 2049, but thanks to the kids' temporal shenanigans, he's alive and well when they return to their own time.

It's always great to see John Wesley Shipp on the show as Jay. Too bad he's not a regular in 2022— he could fill the badly-needed role of Team Flash's elder mentor!

Also, note that Jay's carrying sacks & sacks of Big Belly Burgers. They're the equivalent of McDonald's in the Arrowverse, and made their debut in Superman comics back in the 1990s.

• So Bart wears silver nail polish all through this episode.

And a few scenes later we can see Nora has silver nails as well.

Is this a fashion statement unique to the Speedster kids, or is it a fashion trend in 2049? For their sakes let's hope it's a fad. Unlike their father, their costumes leave their hairstyles out in the open for everyone to see. As if that wasn't bad enough, Nora wears a tiny little domino mask and Bart "hides" behind a pair of tinted goggles! 

These paltry accoutrements barely hide their secret identities as is, but the silver nails woud be an even bigger giveaway! "Hey look, these two inseparable siblings both have silver nails, just like XS and Impulse! Sayyyyy, wait a minute..."

• Thanks, Opening Credits, for ruining the surprise that Rick Cosnett's back this week as Eddie Thawne.

As always, I get that SAG rules require the show to list the cast up front, but that doesn't make it any less annoying.

• Bart & Nora head to the Hall Of Heroes to find out just how badly they've screwed up the timeline. Several things here:

First of all, among the displays in the museum are Firestorm's costume (seen at left above) and Atom's armored suit (at right).

Secondly, does Google still exist in 2049? If so, then why the 
hell do they have to physically go to a museum in order to look up old newspaper headlines? I can do that in the comfort of my own home right here in backward old 2022, so why can't they do the same twenty seven years from now?

• According to this episode, Central City is quite the media hub! When the kids go to the Hall Of Heroes, Nora looks up a story in the Central City ExplorerIs that yet another newspaper in this ferkakte town? Or is it maybe a web portal, like Yahoo? Whatever it is, according to the dateline it's been around since at least September of 2017.

We then see that Central City inexplicably sports two more newspapers— The Central City Daily News and the Central City Weekly News. Note that these are in addition to The Central City Tribune and The Central City Picture News (where Iris once worked), along with Iris' own Central City Citizen.

That makes at least SIX, count 'em 6 different newspapers or news sources in Central City. Jesus Jetskiing Christ, writers! Traditional print newspapers are dropping like flies all over the country! I don't care how freakin' big Central City is, there's no way in hell it could support that many media outlets!

This glut of newspapers is easily the most unrealistic thing the show's ever given us! Even more so than Barry's powers!

• While trying to figure out just how they altered the timeline, Nora stumbles across an article about Booster Gold. From what I understand, Booster made his live action Arrowverse debut in the recent season finale of Legends Of Tomorrow (a show which, sadly, I had to nope out of this year).

Booster first appeared in DC comics way back in 1986. He's played on Legends Of Tomorrow by former Scrubs actor Donald Faison. 

Wow, great casting, guys! The Arrowverse version of Booster looks exactly like he does in the comic!

• Let's pause a moment here and see if I have a handle on the plot of this week's episode. Back in Heart Of The Matter, Part 1, Godspeed used the Cosmic Treadmill in the Hall Of Heroes to travel back in time from 2049 to 2021. Bart & Nora then followed to try and capture him. Unfortunately their antics in the past caused numerous changes to the timeline.

Check out their conversation for yourself:

Bart: "So that's how we did this?"
Nora: "Yeah, when we chased Godspeed through time using the cosmic treadmill. Only, it wasn't built to handle the energy of three speedsters at once. Our tachyon energies must have caused massive temporal fissures. Oh, this is why Dad has time-travel rules. According to this, Uncle Jay never married Aunt Joan. Oh my God. We erased her. We erased her! My gauntlet just confirmed it!"
Bart: "Is... is that part of those fissures that... That we caused? I'm sorry. How far back does it go? How many are there? Can we fix them? Wait..."
Nora: "Voice down. Okay, we work backwards identifying everything new to the timeline, figure out where things first started changing, and put them back where they're supposed to be. Okay. (reading newspaper records) Corrupt Mayor Bellows Jr. Farther back. Trickster Invades Tibet. Farther back. Who's Booster Gold?"
Bart: "Keep going. Zoom attacks CCPD Chief of Police Joe West. Grandpa Joe wasn't chief then, right?"
Nora: "But he is in this new timeline."
Bart: "When did he get promoted?"
Nora: "There are no time fissures before that.This is where the change happened, and it altered everything that follows like dominoes."

OK, I can fully accept that their presence in 2021 could disrupt the timeline from that point on. But this episode wants us to believe their actions changed the past as well— altering events all the way back to 2013. That... that doesn't make any sense. How could the changes reach backward into time as well as forward?

• Bart & Nora time travel to CCPD in 2013 in order to fix the timeline. When they arrive, we see Bart's decked himself out in the nerdiest outfit possible. When Nora asks what the hell, he says he's going "incognito."

Um... why does he need to disguise himself in an era in which he hasn't been born yet? Who's he think's gonna recognize him?

And where'd he get these new threads? Did he speed-shop for clothes the second they arrived in 2013?

• At CCPD, Joe spots Cecile and desperately wants to ask her out for a date. Officer Korber gives him some badly-needed pointers to help him score. 

Cecile first appeared in Season 1's Who Is Harrison Wells, so it's reasonable to assume she could have been around in Pilot. She didn't become a love interest for Joe until Season 3 though. According to this episode, he was interested in her before the series even started!

Unlike Cecile, Korber's presence here in 2013 constitutes a major retcon, as her first actual appearance on the show was in Season 6's Into The Void. I suppose it's possible she might have worked at CCPD prior to that, but if so she must have been staying just out of camera range for five years.

• Cecile shuts down Joe's fumbling attempt at asking her out by saying she just went through a painful divorce. Wait, what? Did we know that about Cecile before? I guess we probably did, since she has a daughter named Joanie, from a previous marriage. I don't think she's ever mentioned her divorce before though.

Man, that Crisis was a boon for the writers! They can say and do anything they want at this point, and if anyone says it contradicts previously established canon they can just invoke the old "Crisis Changed It" excuse!

• I dunno... at this point in the timeline Joe's partner was just killed and his foster son's currently stretched out in the hospital in a coma. Is this really the best time for him to be thinking about jumping back into the dating pool and wooing Cecile?

• Actor Rick Cosnett returns this week as Eddie Thawne. It's been a long time since we've seen Eddie— in fact his final appearance was wayyyy back in the Season 1 finale Fast Enough.

I always felt Eddie got a raw deal from the writers. When he found out he was the evil Eobard Thawne's ancestor, he deliberately shot himself in the chest to prevent the evil speedster from ever being born! Now THAT'S a baller move! Of course it didn't take long for them to bring Eobard back (over and over and over and...), which completely negated Eddie's sacrifice. Feh.

I don't remember Eddie being quite as dweebish as he's portrayed here either, but that just may be my rapidly failing memory.

• When Eddie confronts the Speedster Kids, they introduce themselves as interns Nora Moy and Bart Waid. So why'd Nora make up such odd and unconventional names? Because it's inside joke time, of course! The character of XS was created by writer Jeff Moy, while Impulse was the brainchild of artist Mark Waid.

• I won't ask where Nora got the apparently legitimate CCPD intern credentials she shows to Eddie. Maybe her magic all-purpose gauntlet conjured them up.

• Eddie orders the kids to go on a coffee run (heh) for the whole department. Unfortunately there's a huge line outside at the coffee truck, which throws a wrench into their mission.

Bart wants to somehow use his superspeed to pick up the coffee in a flash (heh), but Nora shrieks, "What part of 'don't change the timeline' do you not understand? Bart, unless we are absolutely, one hundred percent certain that it won't make things worse, we can't use our speed!"

Annnnnd then of course the two of them spend the rest of the episode zooming around the city with impunity. They arrive at the jewelry heist at superspeed, they enter Flashtime to slow down events in order to save Joe and they use their powers to save the casino and its patrons. 

What the hell, writers? Can they use their powers or can't they?

• While waiting in the coffee line, Bart has a meet-cute with a nerdy young scientist named Avery. The two of them hit it off instantly, further complicating the mission.

Avery is obviously supposed to be Avery Ho, who's the Flash Of China in the comics.

It's a lonnnnng story, but back in 2016's The Flash Vol. 5 #3, a big Speed Force Storm hit Central City (don't ask), striking various citizens and turning them into speedsters. Among them was a woman named Avery Ho. Her newfound speed caused her to vibrate uncontrollably, until the Flash taught her how to use her powers.

Soon afterward the villainous Godspeed began attacking these new superpowered citizens and stealing their speed for himself. The Flash discovered Godspeed was secretly his friend and partner August Heart. He then absorbed the powers from the rest of the new speedsters— except for Avery— which allowed him to defeat Godspeed. 

Avery managed to keep her powers and eventually joined the Justice League Of China, which I guess is a thing in the comics.

Also in the comics, Avery Ho is infatuated with Kid Flash. It looks like they're shifting that storyline a bit so she's now in love with Impulse, since thanks to the strange and bizarre Keiynan Lonsdale, it's unlikely we'll ever see Kid Flash on the show again.

Credit where it's due, I actually liked actress Piper Curda as Avery quite a bit, as she was fun, quirky and a breath of fresh air. That said, the last thing this show needs is another goddamned character.

• Joe arrives at the jewelry store heist just in time to confront a very familiar-looking perp. Longtime fans will instantly recognize him, as he's the same comically inept crook who's popped up numerous times on the show. According to the Official Arrowverse Wiki, he actually has a name— Sterling Brooks. He previously appeared in The Elongated Knight Rises, The Death Of Vibe and Marathon.

• The whole point of the kids' trip to 2013 was to save Joe from being shot in a jewelry store robbery. Thanks to Bart's relentless flirting with Avery though, they arrive to find the heist already in progress.

Unfortunately the inept jewel thief accidentally drops his gun, causing it to go off and fire a bullet at Joe.

I'm struggling to understand how a gun that accidentally discharges in THIS position can shoot a bullet parallel to the ground toward Joe.

• As the bullet heads toward Joe, Nora and Bart enter Flashtime to slow things down and figure out what to do. While Nora frets, Bart impulsively (heh) zips over and moves Joe out of the way of the speeding bullet.

Nora then freaks out, saying, "Bart, the whole timeline's in flux. You might have changed the future even more now.. By moving Grandpa Joe instead of moving the bullet, you created a new series of events, changing the timeline."

OK, that doesn't make a lick of sense, even for this show. Why the hell would it matter if Bart moved Joe or the bullet? Either one should have changed the timeline equally. 1 + 2's the same as 2 + 1.

Plus, isn't the entire reason they're here in the past to prevent Joe from being shot— an event which changed the timeline? So what's the problem here? Mission accomplished!

• After Bart secretly saves Joe, the bullet lodges harmlessly in a nearby junction box. A meta named Mona Taylor sees the bullet, then telepathically hears Nora telling Bart how their actions are going to cause more metahumans to appear. Mona then says, "Metahumans? Then I'm not alone."

That's a pretty odd thing for her to say. She's a freakin' telepath! She can hear the thoughts of everyone around her. How can she not realize she isn't the only meta in town?

• Eric Wallace must reeeeeeally love this new iteration of the Royal Flush Gang. They made their debut a few episodes back in Armageddon, Part 1, and now they're back again already this week for an origin story. At this point he'll be giving them their own show next season!

• After Mona learns she isn't the only person in Central City with powers, she telepathically summons several other metas to O'Shaughessy's Pub, where she recruits them to be in her Royal Flush Gang. Several things here:

First off, the part of O'Shaughnessy's is played by The Back Forty, a bar & grill located in— where else— downtown Vancouver.

Despite the fact that the show made the place look like it's located in a dark & seedy back alley, it's right out in the open on a major street. In fact it's literally right across the street from BC Place— the venue that serves as both STAR Labs and Central City Stadium exteriors!

Note that the bar's clearly an old gas station or garage that's been converted into a trendy eatery. I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't point out that the interior set doesn't feature the three retractable garage doors that are so prominent on the outside. Whoops!

Second, in their first appearance I noted how the Royal Flush Gang constantly peppered their speech with numerous card puns, to the point of annoyance. Apparently they all did this even before they became a team! When Mona psychically summons the other three members to O'Shaughnessy's Pub, King says, "Now if you two jokers didn't promise a score, who did?"

Third, as the newly formed Royal Flush Gang stands around inside the pub, we see there's inexplicably a cinder block sitting in the middle of one of the tables. How odd! Why the hell would that be sitting there in a bar?

Isn't it obvious? It's so King can say he's tired of hiding who he is, and smash the block into dust with his fist! 

What the hell? Why'd he have to smash an incongruously placed cinder block? Wouldn't it have made infinitely more sense if he disintegrated the table instead? Talk about clumsy writing!

Note that as in Armageddon, Part 1, every time King uses his superstrength we hear a mechanical "powering up" sound effect. Once again, is he supposed to be bionic or something?

Lastly, I should also point out that the pub's empty, except for the Gang here. Is it closed and they just broke into it? Or did Queen kill all the patrons inside so she could have her recruitment drive in peace?

• It's the Bart Allen Drinking Game! Take a shot every time Bart cries & says he's not good enough to be a hero in this episode. You'll be dead of alcohol poisoning before the end credits roll.

I'm probably just a soulless monster, but his constant whining annoyed the hell out of me., and made me want to fast-forward through his scenes.

• The kids visit Barry, who's lying comatose in a hospital bed after being struck by the lightning bolt that gave him his powers.

Wait, what? What the hell's he doing in a hospital? Back in Pilot I clearly remember him recovering in the med bay of STAR Labs! Are the writers ignoring their own canon again?

Amazingly, no! I rewatched a bit of Pilot, and it seems that Barry was in a coma for a whopping NINE months! He was indeed in a regular hospital at first, but at some point he was moved to STAR Labs for observation. So there's plenty of wiggle room here for Bart & Nora to have visited him in the hospital.

• Avery's a scientist at Fast Track Labs. Hmm... Have we ever heard of them before? I don't think we have. Crisis must have retconned them into Central City!

• It appears Avery's also a fan of those useless, hard-to-read clear "white boards" that the members of Team Flash all seem to love so well.

• Bart & Nora visit Avery to get her help, and reveal they're from the future. Of course she doesn't believe them, until she catches a glimpse of Nora's gauntlet. 

Avery: "Uh, is that gauntlet using integrated quantum circuitry?"
Nora: "Yes. Last I checked."
Avery: "Liquid processing unit, AI nano cells. This is decades away. You guys are from the future!"

So apparently Avery can take a brief look at the OUTSIDE of Nora's gauntlet and instantly identify the unfamiliar advanced tech INSIDE it. Got it.

• Nora tells Avery they need her help to stop the casino heist and save everyone inside. Avery thinks a minute and then says, "It's too late to stop the casino heist. But since the casualties keep changing, they're not fixed in time. So, you can fix the timeline and save all those people, as long as you let the heist still happen."

Yet another element of this episode that doesn't make any sense. How can it be "too late" to stop the heist WHEN IT HASN"T HAPPENED YET from Avery's point of view?

• Whoops! The writers forgot the premise of the show again!

At the casino, Bart starts zooming customers to safety while the Royal Flush Gangers aren't watching. Eventually King notices people are vanishing, and Queen threatens to kill an innocent woman unless the perpetrator shows himself. Bart then concocts an elaborate scenario in which he pretends to be the casino manager in order to save the woman.

Jesus wept.

Just to refresh everyone's memory, Bart is a speedster. He can move so fast that time stops for everyone else from his point of view. He could have zipped ALL the customers out of the casino AND snatched the woman from King's hands while everyone was blinking.

This all becomes even more ridiculous when you realize he actually took the time to find and changed into a perfectly tailored casino manager disguise!

Jesus wept.

• Queen orders Jack and Ten to find the casino's vault and empty it. A few minutes later they return with two medium sized knapsacks. It's hard to see here, but each one looks about the size of a large microwave oven.

I dunno... I would have thought a casino vault would contain several truckloads of cash! Maybe they just didn't want to be too greedy on their inaugural outing.

• The writers forgot the premise of the show a SECOND time!

Nora searches the bowels of the casino for a bomb planted by the Royal Flush Gang. Bart figures out there are actually multiple bombs inside, and Nora shrieks that she'll never be able to find them all in the thirty seconds before they detonate.

Once again I'm compelled to point out that she and her brother are speedsters, and can move so fast they literally stop time for everyone else. They even did this earlier in the episode, right before Joe was almost shot, for frak's sake!

• Superhero landing!

• After determining they've fixed the timeline, Bart & Nora risk screwing it up again by retuning to CCPD for no good reason. While there, they're invited to join the precinct's annual New Year's photo.

Note that this is the exact same photo we saw at the end of Armageddon, Part 5 (in a shot that was lifted directly from, er, I mean inspired by The Shining). The two photos in both episodes are identical, which means they must have taken it before they shot this week's show!

And I just realized Eddie's in the photo, standing next to Joe. How did I not see him the first time?

• After the photo's taken, Iris meets Eddie for the first time and the two begin flirting. I was puzzled by this at first, as I could have sworn they were already a couple back in Pilot

Once again, Barry was in a coma for nine months after getting zapped by lightning, so there was plenty of time for Iris & Eddie to become an item before he woke up.

Nice Touch: Bart returns to Avery's lab to say goodbye, and she grabs him and plants a big ol' kiss on his lips. Nora then enters with her hand over her eyes to tell him it's time to go. Apparently she covered her eyes so she wouldn't potentially see her brother smooching— or worse! Haw!

• The kids return to 2049, where for some reason they tell Jay he's supposed to be dead but they accidentally brought him back to life. 

So how old is Jay supposed to be in 2049? Although it makes absolutely no sense, actor John Wesley insists that the version of Jay seen here is the same one who appeared in Season 2 of Stargirl (despite the fact that show takes place over on Earth-2).

Stargirl plays fast and loose with its dates and timeline, and always states that the original Justice Society's adventures happened "decades ago." For the sake of argument, let's say the old school JSA was active in the 1980s. 
Jay looked like he was around 50 back then. That would mean he's well over 110 in 2049. Even if you bump up the JSA adventures to the 1990s, he'd still be nearing a hundred. 

Is he really supposed to be that old here? He certainly doesn't look it. Does the Speed Force cause him to age more slowly? Or is he aging normally, but skipped over several decades when he jumped from one Earth to another?

Jay himself makes a vague attempt at explaining his age by saying, "Heck, when I first started to time travel, I ended up fighting Nazis in World War II, and then lived on and off in the past for years. But that was another lifetime." Welp, that cleared up nothing!

• At the end pf the episode, the main characters finally deign to make a short appearance. Chester asks the members of Team Flash if they have any New Year's resolutions. Frost pipes up and says, "I decided to forgive Mark for all of his crime things. What? He's turned over a new leaf, and I made him swear to stay on the straight and narrow!"

Ugh. The "Mark" she's referring to here is Mark Blaine, aka Chillblaine. You know, the industrial terrorist, criminal and murderer who tried to kill Frost, but has inexplicably become her new love interest.

Based on her comment here, it's a given they're planning on making him a member of Team Flash.

Anyone else get the feeling they're grooming Chillblaine to become the new Ralph? After carefully vetting actor Jon Cor's Twitter account, of course.

• Frost then says, "Anybody know anything about Katie's new boyfriend, Marcus? Anybody met him?" Cecile replies, "No, I hear he's really cute though."

Marcus? Who the hell is Marcus? I don't remember seeing her hooking up with anyone during the big Armageddon crossover. Is this something that happened in between episodes, while we weren't looking?

• Barry then tells the members of Team Flash to gather together and hold hands, as he whisks them all off to Paris for an anniversary dinner. Wait, what?

I'll leave it to you to figure out just how he does this. Is he supposed to be carrying them all? Might I point out that Barry doesn't have super strength, he just does normal things really fast— so he can't hold six people in his arms. Maybe he's shoving them along in front of him?  What happens when they get to the Atlantic? He can run across water, but can he do it with six other people in tow?

Maybe we're to believe his Speed Force aura is surrounding the others and allowing them to run fast as well? Ah, good old Comic Book Science.

• Iris sets her hairbrush on the back of the couch right before Team Flash zooms off to Paris. After they leave, we move in on the brush, which disappears in a burst of green energy. As we know by now, green particles indicates the Still Force, aka time. Which means Iris' "time sickness" plotline— which I assumed they'd forgotten about or abandoned last season— is coming back.
Related Posts with Thumbnails
Site Meter