Friday, May 27, 2022

The Flash Season 8, Episode 15: Into The Still Force

This week on The Flash, Iris is lost in time, Barry hunts for her, we get the start of a possible "Dark Deon" storyline and Chillblaine goes all in on Caitlin's insane plan to bring back Frost. Oh, and Barry's future daughter Nora makes an appearance too, for no good reason.

I honestly can't tell if this is another of the show's filler epi, er, I mean "interlude" episodes, or if it's the start of another new story arc. There's a lot going on, but unfortunately none of it amounts to much.

The bulk of this episode concerns the hunt for Iris, who's missing because actress Candace Patton decided she wanted to take some time off— during the middle of the season. Um... correct me if I'm wrong, but don't studios require actors sign contracts for exactly this reason— so they can't just bugger off during filming whenever they feel like it? Apparently not.

I don't know anything about Patton and what she may or may not be going through in her personal life. Maybe she has a good reason for leaving. It just seems disrespectful to the series AND her fellow cast members though to stop showing up for work just because she wanted a break. Her actions literally forced the producers to 
come up with an entirely new storyline in order to explain her absence.

I'm struggling to understand why Nora made a guest appearance this week. She added absolutely nothing to the plot, as she was seemingly there just to give Barry an epic Patented The CW Pep Talk®. You could remove each and every one of her scenes, and it wouldn't affect the plot one bit. So why's she here? Your guess is as good as mine.

Lastly, for some reason this week's episode was directed by current showrunner Eric Wallace. He does a decent job, but I have to wonder why he's directing instead of his regular job of producing and overseeing the series.

This isn't Wallace's first time in the director's chair. He previously helmed an episode of Teen Wolf, as well as several shows on the Food Network that I've never heard of. 


The Plot:

Barry wakes in the loft, and is puzzled when he finds Iris isn't there. He checks his phone and sees a text saying she'll be pulling an all-nighter at CCC Media. He decides to surprise her with breakfast, and zooms to her office with bagels. He's even more worried when she's not there either.

Barry then searches all of Central City at superspeed (!). When he doesn't find Iris, he goes to STAR Labs and tells Team Flash she's missing. They run various scans, which somehow determine she's nowhere on Earth. Barry realizes she's lost in time again.

Cecile suggests contacting Deon (duh!), but Barry says no one's seen him since he vanished. Cecile then suggests contacting Tinya Wazzo in Coast City, as she once made Iris disappear.

Elsewhere, Caitlin tells Chillblaine she intends to restore Frost by cloning her a new body. Chillblaine points out that Caitlin just got through trying to resurrect her late husband Ronnie (with disastrous results!) and now she's going all mad scientist by attempting the same with Frost.

Caitlin's confident her plan will work, as she won't just be recreating Frost's body, she'll use some sort of bullsh*t comic book science to restore how mind and soul as well. 
Unfortunately the hair sample she took from Frost last week is rapidly decaying, so she'll need to obtain a new one. Chillblaine realizes she's talking about grave robbing, says he wants nothing to do with it and storms out.

Barry zooms to the Coast City Jitters, where he just happens to run into Tinya. He tells her Iris has vanished and he needs her help finding her. Tinya flat out says she doesn't care, as Iris stalked her and completely ruined her life (she's not wrong!).

Tinya walks out, and Barry realizes everyone in Jitters is frozen in place. Suddenly a weakened Deon appears. He tells Barry he's been infected by Iris' time sickness, and he needs his help to find her in the Still force. He says they'll need an isotopic sensor to help detect the temporal particle he placed into Iris a few episodes ago, and then promptly vanishes.

Barry returns to STAR, where he finds the sensor and fixes it. Joe wonders why a virtual god like Deon needs a high tech device to locate Iris. Barry makes the excuse that Deon's not at full strength. Joe's still suspicious and suggests Barry take his time before blindly following him into the Still Force. Barry ignores him and says he's going with Deon's plan.

Barry waits in the Speed Lab, and eventually Deon appears. He then pulls Barry into the Still Force with him. Barry's surprised to see it looks just like a green-tinted Central City. Deon says it's a dangerous place, as the past, present and future all exist at the same time. He warns Barry to stick close, because if he gets lost he could be trapped there forever.

Barry's sensor detects Iris' signal, so they head off to find her. They come to a version of CCC Media, where they encounter Allegra arguing with Taylor. Deon says they're seeing future versions of them, and tells Barry to move on.

They then run into Tinya's mom Renee, who Iris banished to the Still Force a while back. Barry wants to help her, but Deon pulls him away, saying they need to focus on their mission.

Back in the real world, Kristen calls Chester into CCPD. She tells him a Central City halfway house exploded, and they found a mysterious device in the rubble. She asks him to examine the tech and see if he can identify it. Chester looks it over, saying it's some sort of EMP. He removes a microchip from the device and stares at it in shock. He hurriedly grabs the device and takes it back to STAR, leaving a puzzled Kristen behind.

Back in the Still Force, Barry and Deon track Iris' signal to the CCC Media bullpen. There they find the staff frozen in time. They enter Iris' office, where they find the temporal particle floating in midair— but no sign of Iris.

Before Barry can react, Deon rushes in, grabs the particle and jams it into his chest. He then disappears, leaving Barry without a ride home.

Barry then inexplicably finds himself in a version of the West home. He zooms out, but instantly ends up back inside. He realizes he's stuck in a time loop with no way out.

Cut to 2049, where Nora West-Allen is apparently now a reporter, dictating a story. She hears a voice in her apartment, and Deon appears as a formless mass of green temporal energy. He tells Nora that Barry's trapped in the Still Force, and only she can save him. He then vanishes. Suddenly Nora's enveloped in temporal energy and disappears.

Back in the Still Force, Barry sits moping in the West house. He hears Nora's voice, and suddenly she appears. The two embrace.

Back at STAR, Chester tells Allegra the device that blew up the halfway house was based on his specs. He says she was right, and he should have never shared his tech online. For no good reason, she does a complete 180º turn and says the incident wasn't his fault (?)

Back in the Still Force, Nora says Deon brought her to the Still Force to help. Barry's puzzled, as he says Deon trapped him there (hmmm...). The two wonder what led to Deon's sudden but inevitable betrayal. Nora then decides this is the absolute best time to tell Barry that she's decided not to be a CSI like him, but to follow in her mother's footsteps and become a reporter.

Nora then gives Barry a Patented The CW Pep Talk®, telling him he has to believe in himself to be a hero or some such hooey. Barry then points out that he and Iris "created" the Still Force, so he must have some of it inside him (?). He reasons that if he can figure out how to access it, they can escape to the real world.

Barry then sits and meditates, attempting to access his inner Still Force. When nothing happens, Nora tells him to focus on Iris' hair brush— which is apparently The Most Important Object In The Entire Universe.

Suddenly they look over and see Joe standing in the living room, and he can see them as well. As Joe watches, the two of them disappear, but the brush stays behind. Well, that was a pointless and nonsensical scene!

Barry's eyes begin glowing green with temporal energy, as he finally accesses the Still Force. He can see all time at once, including Nora and Bart's future families. He says they can only escape by combining their powers, so he takes Nora's hand and transfers temporal energy into her.

The two then manage to speed out of the West home, and zoom to Memorial Park— the only way in or out of the Still Force. Unfortunately they run into a temporal barrier, which knocks them high into the air. They land on the street several blocks away, but are inexplicably fine. They try it a second time with the same results.

Nora says they're still caught in a temporal loop, but Barry says the Still Force is holding them there for some reason. He says they must have already escaped, and the only way out is to focus on the moment they're both out. Sure, why not.

They run at the portal again, and this time break through and find themselves in the Speed Lab.

Sometime later Barry & Nora sit in the Lounge with Joe & Cecile and rehash the plot. Barry apologizes for not listening to Joe's warning. Cecile wonders why Deon trapped him in the Still Force, and Barry says he has no idea. She asks if he can use his new Still Force powers to find Iris and bring her back, but he says those powers are already fading. Somehow he senses she's OK though.

Elsewhere, Chester discovers that wookieelover77, one of his followers, was responsible for the explosion that took out the halfway house. He claims he was just trying to provide the residents with free hot water, but things went wrong— as if that makes it all OK. Chester shuts off his computer and leaves his lab. The second he's gone, a mysterious hacker starts it up remotely and copies all his files.

Chillblaine returns to Caitlin's apartment, where he says Frost helped him become a better man, and he's changed his mind about bringing her back. He makes her Caitlin promise they won't fail, and she says it'll work.

• The episode begins early in the morning, as Barry gets dressed and goes into the kitchen. He calls for Iris, asking what she wants for breakfast, and is puzzled when she doesn't answer.

Wait, what? He didn't notice his wife wasn't in bed with him till he came downstairs? Do they sleep in separate rooms or something?

I suppose it's possible he may have thought she was working late, came in after he fell asleep and then got up before he woke. I suppose that's possible, but it seems a bit sketchy.

To the writers' slight credit, Barry does see a message from Iris saying she's pulling an all-nighter at her office, which apparently explains the situation to his satisfaction. But I can't imagine any loving husband who wouldn't call or text his wife at some point during the night to make sure she's OK.

• This is some really hardcore nitpicking, and probably hitting below the belt, but here goes anyway. Check out this establishing shot of the CCC Media building. Note the two men standing under the awning (indicated by the red arrow).

Now here's another establishing shot of the building from Episode 8. Whaddya know, those same guys were hanging out in the exact same spot back then as well! In fact ALL the people in the shot are the same, along with the vehicles as well. Whoops!

OK, even I don't expect them to go out and shoot new footage of the building every week. I just thought it was kind of funny.

• For a while now, I've noted how Cecile— who's ostensibly a high profile public attorney— seems to spend the vast majority of her time hanging out at STAR Labs.

Apparently I'm not the only one who's noticed this, as this week Chester actually lampshades the situation:

Chester: "Thanks for the company, Cecile."
Ceile: "Any time."
Chester: "You know, I figured you'd be working this time of day."
Cecile: "Oh, I was. Yeah, I'm actually avoiding a new meta-client. So I figured I'd get out of the office, come over, see what Team Flash is up to."

Wow! She's apparently so disinterested in her job that she's actually ditching someone who desperately needs her legal help. Compare this to last week, when she told Iris she'd decided to donate 25% of her time to handling meta cases pro-bono as a way to honor Frost's memory.

Looks like that committment didn't last long!

• Barry alerts Team Flash that Iris is missing, and they spring into action. Wow, a lot to cover here in this brief scene.

First off, Chester says, "Satellites aren't picking Iris up anywhere in the city. I'm gonna expand the physical search radius." A few seconds later he says, "Barry, Iris isn't registering anywhere on the planet!"

Um... so just what kind of signal is Chester trying to detect here? As far as I know Iris isn't wearing any kind of tracking chip, and she's not a meta so they can't track her that way either. Heck, as we saw a few minutes ago she doesn't even have her phone on her! So again, how's he trying to track her?

Then we cut to Cecile, whose eyes are glowing blue white as she says, "I can't sense her either, and I've reached out across a five-state radius. It's like Iris's mind has just vanished."

What the hell? When did she develop this ability? For years now she's just been a lowly telepath, able to sense people's emotions and nothing more. Now suddenly she's turning into freakin' Professor X!

As for her eyes, we've actually seen them glow like this once before— it happened earlier this season in Armageddon, Part 3. Thing is though, in that episode she tethered herself to Rosa Dillon (aka The Top) to boost her powers in order to locate Barry. Apparently the writers forgot that scene took place in an alternate timeline that was erased, and as such it never actually "happened."

I think what's going on is that the producers realize Frost's death left Team Flash seriously depleted, so they're ramping up Cecile's powers to try and fill the gap— and hoping the audience doesn't notice and just goes along with it. It's a major retcon though.

• At Caitlin's apartment, Chillblaine's stunned to find out that she wants to clone Frost.

I talked about this at length last week, pointing out how Caitlin might be able to clone Frost's body, but she wouldn't be able to recreate her mind. I also said it's not possible to clone a person from their hair, as the shafts are made of dead tissue. She'd need to use the roots instead.

Apparently the writers seem to be slightly aware of these problems, as they've come up with some of the most ridiculous comic book science imaginable to handwave them away:

Caitlin: "I'm gonna repurpose Eva McCulloch's R-CEM chip to replicate Frost's cryo-gene so I can create a new body for her."
Chillblaine: "Caitlin, I know you're hurting, and so am I, but listen to yourself."
Caitlin: "It worked before. It will work again."
Chillblaine: "And what about the thing that makes Frost, Frost?"
Caitlin: "I have already identified her latent empathic genes on my DNA."
Chillblaine: "I'm talking about a soul and you give me brainwaves?"
Caitlin: "I'm also going to extract her active imprints from her own DNA. Look, I've already got the sample. Unfortunately, the keratin in the cells is decaying a little too quickly, so... I'm gonna need a better sample."

Wow. Where do I even start?

OK, Caitlin mentions using one of Eva McCulloch's R-Cem mirror chips to synthesize a new body for Frost. If you'll recall, that's exactly how she got her own body back in Season 7's Central City Strong. It doesn't make any sense, but since it's already been established on the show I'm willing to give 'em this one.

Caitlin's line about identifying Frost's latent empathic genes on her own DNA is also complete and utter nonsense, and I'm not even sure what it's supposed to mean. Plus she's got it backwards here— from what I understand, genes are MADE of DNA, not the other way around!

To his credit, Chillblaine echoes my statement that the mind and soul can't be cloned. Caitlin disagrees, saying she's going to use Frost's DNA to extract her "active imprints," whatever those are. Apparently Caitlin believes that a subject's personality stamps itself on the DNA in each individual cell, which registers about an eleven on the Bullsh*t Richter Scale.

• When Caitlin says she needs a better genetic sample of Frost's DNA, Chillblaine accuses her of grave robbing. She replies, "It's called an exhumation, and I am a doctor as well as the next of kin, so getting approval won't be a problem, we just... we need to do it quickly."

I'll say! The human brain can only survive a couple of minutes without oxygen. And the rest of Frost's body has no doubt started to decay already as well.

As for the exhumation— Caitlin's correct that she's a doctor, but the process doesn't just happen. There'd be a ton of official paperwork to fill out, and next of kin or not, she's still gonna need a valid reason for digging up her sister's corpse.

I know, I know, it's a comic book world. But it still needs to make a slight amount of sense.

• I loved it when Chillblaine pointed out, "Caitlin, have you forgotten that you literally just tried to resurrect your dead husband, and it was a complete disaster?"

He's right, you know. Caitlin seems to have a big problem accepting the deaths of people she loves— to the point where she actively keeps trying to bring them back from the dead. She definitely has some deep-seated abandonment issues.

How the hell did Chilblaine of all characters become the show's wise voice of reason?

• One last thing about Caitlin's plan: She tries to convince Chillblaine to help her by saying, "Frost was supposed to live a full and complete life." What a stupid thing to say. Isn't everyone until they're unexpectedly cut down?

• Barry zooms to Coast City to find Tinya Wazzo, hoping she can help rescue Iris from the Still Force. Quite rightly, Tinya says she doesn't care, as Iris completely ruined her life.

And how! Tinya wasn't exactly flourishing on her own, but she managed to get by. Then Iris came along, literally started stalking her, illegally opened her adoption records, located her birth mother and then disintegrated her.

After all that, is it any wonder Tinya's glad Iris is missing?

I'm still puzzled as to why the show's spent so much time setting up this character. I have to assume she's going to end up playing a part in recovering Iris, or that they're gonna make her a member of Team Flash. Maybe even both! There's no other reason for her existence.

• Deon appears and pulls Barry into the Still Force, where they try to find Iris.

Holy crap, check out those lens flares! If I didn't know better I'd think JJ Abrams directed this episode!

• So apparently the Still Force contains an entire population of people going about their daily business. And at one point a car even drives past in the background! Does that seem right? I don't remember ever seeing anything like that whenever Barry entered the Speed Force.

• Deon tells Barry that the past, present and future exist simultaneously inside the Still Force. To prove it, Barry picks up a discarded newspaper that glitches and changes from 2013 to 2024.

By the way, boodos (the opposite of kudos) to whoever cobbled together the trailer for this week's episode. It prominently displayed the shot of the "Zoom And Godspeed Destroy Central City" headline, which strongly implied we'd see the two villains this week. Of course that didn't happen, as it was a blatant bait & switch. Feh!

• Barry's sensor picks up Iris' signal, prompting Deon to say, "All right. Let's ease on down the road, man."

Was... was that a reference to The Wiz?

• Barry & Deon find their way to Still Force CCC Media. There they encounter a version of Allegra, who's screaming at Taylor and saying she had no right to out her as a member of Team Flash.

Clearly this is a moment in time that hasn't happened yet, but I'm betting it will soon, as it was foreshadowed in the previous episode. Like I said last week, that's what Allegra gets for fighting crime in her street clothes with no mask on!

• Back in Reckless, Iris tracked down Tinya's birth mom Renee Wazzo. Before there could be any happy reunion though, Iris inadvertently disintegrated Renee with her time sickness.

At the time I said Iris didn't actually kill Renee, as she was probably just displaced in time.

Sure enough, in this episode Barry encounters Renee, who's wandering around the offices of CCC Media inside the Still Force. Told you she wasn't dead!

• Barry and Deon enter the CCC Media bullpen, where for some reason the various reporters are all frozen in time. One of them was inexplicably tossing a book to another when time stopped, causing it to hover in midair. The book's titled Time And Motion In The New Millennium, by Francois Archambault.

I looked it up, and there's a Francois Archambault who's a playwright, and another who's a cinematographer, but as near as I can tell there's no such book. Which I guess means it's a joke about time freezing? I think?

• Inside Iris' office, Deon locates the temporal tracking particle he placed into her a couple episodes back— but she's nowhere to be found. He grabs the particle, shoves it into his chest, tells Barry he's sorry and then vanishes.

No idea what's going on here, other than maybe they're doing a Dark Deon storyline?

• After Deon vanishes, Barry inexplicably finds himself in the Still Force version of the West home. For some reason, the house comes complete with two glowing green neon tubes in the foyer (?).

I have to assume this was to help give the house its trademark green Still Force glow, but... surely to Thor there was a better place to set these tubes. Like BEHIND the camera maybe?

• For no good reason, we then cut to Barry's future daughter Nora in 2049. She's apparently decided to become a journalist like her mother, and is dictating a story electronically.

Nora dictates: "Shark Stadium erupted in cheers after XS' heroic save. Even without Impulse, her partner in crime-fighting, who was too busy partying to answer his alerts." 

We then hear Bart let loose with a mighty belch offscreen, as Nora says, "Ugh. You are so disgusting!" A couple things here:

First of all, the dictating app transcribes everything Nora says up to the line, "who was too busy..." For some reason it doesn't record her full sentence or her next line about Bart being "so disgusting." So how does the software know when to listen and when to ignore her?

Secondly, the guest star budget must have run dry this week, because even though Nora speaks to Bart, actor Jordan Fisher never actually appears onscreen.

• Nora hears a voice in her apartment, and "Deon" suddenly appears as a mass of glowing temporal energy, telling her that Barry's trapped and he can't help him. She's then pulled into the Still Force as well.

I have a crazy theory as to what's going on, that's probably way off the mark. I suspect the energy blob we see here is actually the REAL Deon. He's likely been weakened by Iris' time sickness, and can no longer form a body for himself. The Dark Deon we saw earlier, who trapped Barry in the Still Force, is most likely an imposter.

What if Iris herself is actually Dark Deon in disguise? Maybe she needed to secretly take his form for reasons, and was forced to trap Barry as part of some convoluted escape plan. 

Do I really think this is where the writers are going? Probably not. But Iris would definitely be the least likely suspect, and it'd make for an interesting twist.

All I know is Dark Deon better not turn out to be Thawne!

• Holy crap, we got a Baby Jenna sighting this week! Well, sort of. As Nora's pulled into the West home inside the Still Force, she sees a family photo of Joe, Cecile and the ever-illusive Baby Jenna— who's now Toddler Jenna!

This is the first time she's actually appeared onscreen in any form since Season 6's A Girl Named Sue. I was beginning to think she'd become an Unseen Character— one who's constantly talked about and who affects the plot, but never actually appears (like Norm's wife Vera on Cheers).

By the way, Jenna was born in the Season 4 finale We Are The Flash, which first aired May 22, 2018. Since The Flash airs more or less in real time, she just turned four!

Not A Nitpick, But An Observation: For some reason Iris' hairbrush has become the Most Important Object In The Entire Universe, and seems to be the key to all the time shenanigans going on.

The brush was first seen at the end of Armageddon, Part 5, where Iris used it and set it on a chair before Barry whisked Team Flash off to Paris for dinner. Seconds later the brush vanished in a puff of temporal energy.

This week we see it's inside the version of the West home in the Still Force, where Barry uses it to focus his powers and try to get himself and Nora back to the real world. It shows up in Joe's actual house too before disappearing again.

There's nothing inherently wrong with this, as I get that the producers needed an easily-recognizable object they could use to represent Iris. It's just funny to me that a hairbrush of all things holds the key to the entire timeline.

• A few weeks ago in Resurrection, Allegra noticed that Chester was posting specs for his various high-tech gadgets online. She then tore him a new one, claiming an evil meta could use his info to create weapons of mass destruction. He realized she had a point, and reluctantly stopped sharing his tech.

This week Chester finds out that Allegra was right, as someone actually used his tech to make a device that leveled a Central City halfway house! 

When Chester tells Allegra what happened, she sticks her finger in his face and screeches, "I TOLD YOU SO!" Nah, I'm just kidding. Instead she inexplicably shrugs and says, "Eh, whatever." In fact she even goes so far as to tell him he's overreacting about the whole situation!

What. The. Hell?

How did Allegra go from literally spending ten minutes of screen time ragging on Chester for being irresponsible with his tech to not giving a flying f*ck? This isn't just a case of her being polite or supportive here, she's acting like her earlier diatribe never happened at all. 

Jaysis, do the writers even watch their own show? At this point her character motivation is nonexistent, as it clearly fluctuates depending on the needs of the script.

• Just a reminder that Jessica Parker Kennedy, who plays Nora/XS, is currently 37 years old (!). Which means she's FIVE years older than Grant Gustin, who's 32! Jesus Christ! She's older than her TV dad!

So let's see if I've got this straight— she's 37, playing a 25 year old who acts like she's 16. Got it!

• After Nora gives Barry an absolutely epic Patented The CW Pep Talk®, we see an exterior shot of the West home— complete with a sabertooth tiger slinking around outside! Wait, what?

I assume this prehistoric feline is here to illustrate Deon's claim that the past, present and future all exist simultaneously in the Still Force. The problem though is this is the ONLY time we see anything remotely like this in the entire episode, which makes it all the more jarring. 

Would it have killed them to throw in the occasional background Viking, Model T or flying saucer? Apparently there was only enough money in the budget for one temporal anomaly.

• As Barry concentrates on accessing the Still Force so they can escape, Nora suits up in her XS costume. Um... where the hell did she get THAT? Does she store it in a little ring like Barry does with his? Or does this temporal realm allow her to conjure up a new costume at will?

And there's that hairbrush again, still acting as The Most Important Object In The Entire Universe. Nora even suggests Barry focus on it to help free them from the Still Force.

• Barry focuses on the Still Force and narrates what he sees:

Barry: "Nora, the temporal stream... I can feel the pure Still Force energy moving through me. I can see the past, present, and future all at once. I can see Jesse and Harry. Cisco and Frost too. I can see Bart's children... your wife. Nora, you're all so happy. I see... Max?"

Lots to unpack here. The Jesse and Harry he mentions would be Jesse Quick and her father Harry Wells of Earth-2. Are they still from Earth-2 after the Crisis? I honestly don't know anymore.

Apparently Bart will start a family of his own at some point, and Nora will marry a woman. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but... has there ever been ANY indication up to now that this version of Nora's gay? No. No there has not. I'm calling this a major retcon.

And the Max that Barry mentions is most likely Max Mercury— a speedster who first appeared in National Comics #5, published in 1940 by Quality Comics. The character was sold to DC Comics sometime in the 1950s. I could write another 50,000 words on his complicated origin and backstory, so I'll attempt to be brief.

Max was a US Calvary scout in 1830, when he was given speedster powers by a dying Native American shaman. Over the years he tried accessing the Speed Force on numerous occasions, but each attempt caused him to jump forward in time.

In the 1890s he adopted a new identity as Whip Whirlwind. Sometime later he jumped to the 1930s, where he called himself Quicksilver. He then became a mentor to the Golden Age Flash and Johnny Quick. Eventually he jumped to the present day, where he became a mentor again, this time to both Kid Flash and Impulse.

There's a LOT more to his backstory, but that'll do for now.

So does Barry's shoutout mean we'll be seeing Max on the show soon? By all accounts Season 9's gonna be the last, so if they plan on brining him in, they'd better hurry!

• Once he accesses the Still Force, Barry fills Nora with temporal energy as well. They then attempt to speed their way out of the Still Force. Unfortunately they hit some sort of barrier that knocks them back into last Wednesday.

So Barry and Nora are both dead now, right? Jesus Christ, they both just fell from five hundred feet and landed on a pile of trash and a dumpster! Being speedsters doesn't mean they're invulnerable! They should have both died on impact.

• Each time Barry & Nora try to escape, they're violently repelled by the energy barrier. Nora says it's hopeless, but Barry figures out what's going on:

Barry: "This isn't a time loop. It's the Still Force pulling us back into the past every time we're about to escape."
Nora: "Why would it do that?"
Barry: "Deon said the past, present, and future all coexist here, so if we've already escaped, the only way to stop us... "
Nora: "Is to keep us stuck in the past."
Barry: "Nora, use the spark I gave you to focus on the moment that's already on the other side of that barrier. The moment you and I get back home. Focus on the moment you and I get back home."

So the answer was they already escaped, and to focus on that. In essence, they got out of the Still Force by fast-forwarding to the end of the episode. Sure, why not. It's no less nonsensical than anything else in this episode.

Writing Time Travel Stories Is Hard! After their escape from the Still Force, Barry & Nora chat with Joe & Cecile. Nora then says, "I'd better get back to 2049, make sure Mom's still there and that she's okay."

With one simple little statement, Nora just completely negated everything that happened in this episode. As well as the whole Time Sickness Saga. If Iris is alive and well in Nora's future, then everything must come out OK, right?

By that same logic, when Barry was filled with Still Force energy a few minutes earlier, he said he could see EVERYTHING— the past, present and future all at once. Which means he should know exactly when, where and how to rescue Iris and bring her back home!

Whether it was intentional or not, the writers just opened up a HUGE and ill-advised can of worms. Since Barry's seen the future, then from this point on he should know when and where every meta villain's going to strike, as well as when every natural disaster and major Arrowverse crisis will occur. 

They literally just torpedoed their own show, as there's no excuse for anything to take Barry by surprise ever again.

• Chester ultimately discovers his tech wasn't used by a meta criminal, but by his online fan "wookieelover77." Apparently he worked at the halfway house, and was trying to use Chester's device to provide free unlimited hot water to the residents.

Amazingly, that's the end of the matter as far as Chester's concerned! Once again, a major crime goes unpunished in the Arrowverse because the perpetrator had good intentions or felt bad about it later. 

Keep in mind that even though it was an accident, wookieelover77 still destroyed an entire building, causing millions in property damage and nearly killing the residents.

In reality he'd be guilty of willful destruction of property, reckless endangerment, attempted murder (or involuntary manslaughter at the very least) and probably more charges I can't think of right now. The owners of the building would likely sue him for millions in damages as well. The fact that it was an accident doesn't matter— in the eyes of the law he's still guilty!

• As Chester exits his lab, he claps twice and the lights go out. Wow, I haven't seen a Clapper™ in decades!

• Of course the second Chester leaves, someone hacks into his computer and downloads all his files. Is it wookieelover77 again? Or someone more insidious? Once again, given how much the writers love him, it's probably Thawne.

Whoever it is, it's probably no one good. Allegra was right all along, even though she's apparently forgotten she ever chastised Chester for his naïveté.

• In the tag scene, we see Caitlin in her dark & gloomy apartment, furiously trying to come up with a way to clone Frost.

Remember last week when I pointed out that actress Danielle Panabaker was pregnant again, and the producers were doing their best to hide that fact by shooting her from the chest up or having her hold boxes and such in front of her stomach? 

Welp, it happens again this week, as she spends the entire episode sitting at a table behind her laptop screen, so we can't see her rapidly expanding baby bump.

• Chillblaine returns to Caitlin's apartment and knocks on her door. She tells him to get lost, so he freezes her lock and busts in.

Um... did the producers forget that Chillblaine doesn't have any inherent powers, and gets his icy abilities from his high-tech gauntlets? I think they did, because unless the gauntlets are invisible or too small to be seen, he's not wearing them here!

• Chillblaine then says he's had a change of heart and wants to help Caitlin bring back Frost.

As I mentioned last week, Danielle Panabaker said she only agreed to the whole Frost's Death storyline if her demise stuck. So I don't think they're gonna succeed in actually bringing her back. I think Team Flash will figure out what Caitlin's doing and Pep Talk her out of it— which will end up pushing Chillblaine over the edge and become a villain again.

More Predictions! If you'll recall, at the end of Armageddon, Part 5, Damien Darhk ended up being erased from Thawne's twisted timeline. Before he disappeared though, he gave his Time Stone to Joe. When he asked why, Damien said, "It's a gift. Father to father. And I think you're gonna need that some day."

What if that day's rapidly approaching? I'm calling it right now— either in the season finale or in next year's premiere, Joe will remember he has the Time Stone and use it to bring Iris home and cure her of her time sickness. 

You read it here first!

Weekend At Stanley's

This week Marvel Studios and Genius Brands signed a twenty year deal with Stan Lee Universe, giving them permission to use the name and likeness of Stan Lee, the beloved co-creator of popular comic book characters such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and hundreds of others.

Lee gained newfound fame and notoriety in his later years, as he made cameo appearances in nearly every Marvel movie and TV project, until his death in November 2018.

Under the terms of this new deal, Marvel Studios will have the rights to use Lee's name, voice and likeness in future films and TV series, as well as in its theme parks and cruise lines. 

According to the agreement, Lee would appear through the use of archival footage, digital technology and "other forms." So you know what that means— Off-putting, uncanny valley CGI Stan Lee!

Andy Heyward, chairman and CEO of Genius Brands (a partner of Stan Lee Universe) had this to say about the deal: "The company is proud to be the stewards of the incredibly valuable rights to Stan Lee's name, likeness, merchandise and intellectual property brand.. we are thrilled to see his memory and legacy will continue to delight fans through this new long-term agreement with Marvel."

Yeah, fuck right off with that, Andy.

This is in poor taste at best, and downright ghoulish at worst. By all accounts, Stan was heavily exploited in his waning years, by his business partners and family alike. He was trotted out to numerous comic cons, where he was forced to sit for photo ops and sign hundreds of autographs, despite his failing health.

Even in death the poor man can't rest, as now Marvel's literally gonna prop up his digital corpse to perform for the masses.

Stan Lee brought me hours and hours of joy as a kid, as I loved reading the stories and characters he helped create. He never wrote down to his youthful audience, and it's because of him I learned words like "annihilate" and "omnipotent."

I can honestly say I loved Stan, and when he died it felt like a family member had passed. I enjoyed seeing his cameos in all the Marvel movies too. It's been four years since he died, and I still miss him.

But all good things must come to an end. Stan's cameos were fun while they lasted, but it's time to close the book on them and move on. I don't want to see an obviously fake Stan Lee pop up in the latest Marvel offering. It just wouldn't be the same, as it'd be in very poor taste.

That said, I wouldn't be completely opposed to a different kind of "appearance." I feel like putting his image on a billboard, magazine cover or TV screen in the background would be acceptable. It'd be a subtle and reasonably respectful reminder of him, without straying into grave robbing territory. 

They did something like this in Deadpool 2 (even though Stan was still alive at the time) and it was fine. It was a nice little "Oh, look, there's Stan's face on that sign" moment.

But I gotta draw the line at dodgy-looking CGI Stan Lee homunculi. Have some respect for the co-architect of your universe, Marvel Studios, and let the guy rest in peace!

Just another in a long line of reasons why the MCU should have ended for good with Avengers: Endgame!

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Happy ACTUAL Fifth Anniversary To Universal Studios' Dark Universe Shared Cinematic Universe!

Correction Time! Back on March 19, 2022, I announced it was the Fifth Anniversary of Universal Studios' Dark Universe Shared Cinematic Universe. Welp, I'm not quite sure where I got that date, because it's wrong. 

TODAY, May 22, 2022, is the ACTUAL Official Fifth Anniversary of Universal Studios' Dark Universe Shared Cinematic Universe. Sorry about that. Hey, if Universal can drop the ball on an entire film franchise, I'm allowed to get a date wrong!

You remember Universal Studios' Dark Universe Shared Cinematic Universe, don't you? They announced it back in 2017, just a couple weeks before The Mummy premiered.

Universal had high hopes for this burgeoning new franchise, as they were confident it was gonna give the MCU a run for its money.

They even released this highly Photoshopped publicity shot of all the stars of the Universal Studios' Dark Universe Shared Cinematic Universe. Russell Crowe was to star as Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde and serve as sort of the Nick Fury of the franchise. Javier Bardem was most likely going to be Frankenstein's Monster. Tom Cruise was the new Action Hero Mummy. Johnny Depp was to be the Invisible Man. And Sofia Boutella was to be the new Scary Mummy.

Remember all their thrilling adventures as they starred in their own individual movies, then teamed up for an epic crossover, ala The Avengers? Remember how awesome that wa... ohhhhhhhhhhh. Right. 

How embarrassing!

Of course to date, not a single one of the subsequent planned movies has been released. Supposedly 2020's The Invisible Man (the one starring Elizabeth Moss) was set in the Universal Studios' Dark Universe Shared Cinematic Universe, but since there's absolutely nothing whatsoever in the film to indicate this, I don't believe it.

There's a lesson here for other studios, even though they'll never learn from it. Something about chickens, eggs and hatching.

By the way, take a close look at that publicity photo. I absolutely GUARANTEE that none of those actors were in the same room at the same time. In addition to that, I'm betting Tom Cruise insisted he appear as tall as the other actors in the shot. As proof of this, note how he's standing behind Javier Bardem's chair, yet his right foot is somehow underneath it! And what's up with Russell Crowe's right hand? It looks for all the world like he's supposed to be holding a cane (as I think his character did). For some reason though, it was Photoshopped out, but they left his hand in the grasping position! Professional!

Thursday, May 19, 2022

The Flash: Season 8, Episode 14: Funeral For A Friend

This week on The Flash, we get a filler episode, er, I mean what showrunner Eric Wallace describes as an "interlude," as the cast comes to grips with the untimely death of Frost.

Actually Funeral For A Friend might be better described as a character study than a filler episode. There's no plot to speak of, as the bulk of the script concerns the members of Team Flash dealing with their emotions and looking for ways to honor Frost's memory.

That's not to say it's bad— as fillers, er, I mean interludes go, it's actually pretty decent. It reminded me a bit of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Family— in which Captain Picard goes visits home in an effort to recover from his assimilation by the Borg. 

It's a good reminder that every episode doesn't have to feature the end of the world, as occasionally it's good to slow down and just let the audience visit with the characters.

Elsewhere, Chester and Allegra's relationship gets even more excruciating this week, I'm still completely uninterested in Iris' time sickness storyline and Joe continues to have nothing whatsoever to do on the show. 

And somehow, the writers are doing the impossible and making me actually like Chillblaine. Believe me, no one's more surprised than I am to hear me say that.

OK, that's all I got for an intro— on with the nitpicking!


The Plot:
We open on the various members of Team Flash trying to cope with Frost's death. 

STAR Labs gets a meta alert, and Chester says the Central City Savings & Loan has just been robbed. An exo-suited villain named Blockbuster exits the bank, as CCPD arrives on the scene. Two officers tell him to stand down, but he picks up their squad car and hurls it at them.

Barry suits up and zooms the cops out of the way before they're flattened. Allegra and Cecile (of all people!) then teleport in, joining Barry. Instead of simply zipping Blockbuster off to jail, Barry radios Chester and asks for intel on the villain's suit. ???

Before anyone can act, Blockbuster stomps his foot, which cracks the ground. This inexplicably causes a skyscraper a block away to crumble and threaten to collapse. Barry speeds off to stabilize the building, leaving Allegra & Cecile (!) to deal with Blockbuster.

Allegra fires a UV blast at Blockbuster, but she misses and explodes a car, which somehow knocks her out. Chester tells Cecile to use her powers to calm the villain, but she's overwhelmed by both her grief over Frost and the terror of the residents of the crumbling building (!!!). Blockbuster laughs at Team Flash's pitiful showing (as well he should!), and teleports away.

Back at STAR, Barry tells Iris that Team Flash needs to find a way to keep their grief from affecting their crimefighting. He calls a meeting to discuss the issue.

Just then Caitlin walks in, curious as to why she didn't get an invite. Barry says he figured she could use some time off to mourn, but she insists she's fine. They ask if they can help with the funeral arrangements, but she says her mother Carla's handling it. Barry says they'll see her at the funeral, and Caitlin hisses that she's not going and storms out.

Joe— who's there for some reason— says they all need to find their own ways to honor Frost in order to get over their grief, which handily sets up the rest of the episode.

Iris meets with Cecile at CCC Media and says she wants to write a special obit for Frost, but fears doing so would reveal she's a member of Team Flash. Plus she admits she really never got to know her very well. She ends up assigning the obit to her employee Aariz— who used to write them for fallen soldiers when he was in the army.

Later Iris meets with Carla at Jitters, and shows her the obit. Carla says it's well-written, but cold and impersonal. She says Frost wouldn't have cared about self-praise, but about her legacy. This sparks an idea in Iris.

Cut to CCC Media, where Iris uses her podcast to interview people whose lives were saved or changed by Frost.

Allegra & Chester
Back at STAR, Chester & Allegra try to think of a way to honor Frost. Chester suggests displaying her costume in a frozen glass case. Allegra ridicules that idea, and the two begin bickering like an old married couple. It's all about as entertaining as waiting while your tires are rotated.

Just then they get an alert about a disturbance at O'Shaughnessy's Pub. When the two arrive, they see a drunken Chillblaine drowning his sorrows as he tears up the place.

Chillblaine sees them and starts fixing drinks. For some reason Chester & Allegra continue their petty argument, prompting Chillblaine to scold them for acting like prats. He then promptly passes out, and they take him back to STAR Labs' Med Bay to sleep it off.

Allegra realizes that Chillblaine was right, and says Chester's idea was a good one. She then places Frost's old sky blue jacket in a display case to honor her.

Barry somehow gets ahold of Frost's bucket list, and decides to complete it as his way of honoring her memory. He goes white water rafting, builds a snowman atop Mt. Everest, learns ice sculpting and wins a hotdog eating contest (?).

He returns to STAR, where a bleary-eyed Chillblaine's just woken up. Barry tells him he thought finishing the bucket list would make him feel better, but it's still not enough. Chillblaine comments that Frost was born to protect Caitlin, and she never lost sight of that. Somehow this prompts Barry to say he knows the perfect way to honor Frost's memory.

Caitlin enters her apartment and starts removing everything that belonged to Frost. She finishes and sits on the couch, staring at the wall for hours. Barry arrives and tries to convince her to go to the funeral, saying she'll regret if forever if she stays home. She accuses him of being more concerned about playing hero than he is with her (?). She tells him to leave, but before he does, he asks her what Frost would want her to do— shut herself off from everyone or let them in?

This strikes a cord in Caitlin, who says if she sees Frost lying in a casket she'll realize she's gone for good. Barry pulls out his best banal greeting card aphorism, saying as long as Frost is in her heart she'll never truly be gone.

Cut to the funeral, where Team Flash is in attendance, along with members of CCPD and CCC Media. They eventually take their seats, and Caitlin nervously enters. She takes the podium and delivers a eulogy to Frost, mentioning her honesty and bravery, as well as her love for her family and friends.

Caitlin then walks over to the casket to say goodbye to Frost. She promises to keep her alive (hmm...) as the others gather round.

Later, Team Flash holds a wake at the West House. As they reminisce about Frost, they get an alert that Blockbuster's back. Barry says this time they're ready for him, and zooms off with Allegra, Chester and Cecile.

Caitlin ducks out of the room and makes a secret phone call to someone.

Sometime later, Caitlin carries a large duffle bag up to her apartment. Chillblaine's waiting for her, and asks why she called him. She lets him in, and he sees her apartment is stuffed to the rafters with high-tech lab equipment. He asks what the hell, and she shows him a hair sample she took from Frost's corpse, and says he's gonna help bring her back.

That night at CCC Media, Iris reads over Taylor's (remember her?) story on Blockbuster (the villain, not the defunct video store). Taylor says it's good to have Iris back at work, as Allegra was a poor substitute for her. She then says there are reports of the Flash working with other people, but no one knows who they are. She suggests they investigate their identities, and a stunned Iris says she'll think about it.

Taylor leaves, realizes she left her phone in Iris' office and returns for it. She's puzzled to see Iris is gone, even though there's no other way out of her office. As she walks out again, we see green temporal energy wafting up from Iris' chair.

• I assume this week's title is a shoutout to the Elton John song of the same name.

• The episode opens with Team Flash mechanically going through the motions of their day as they mourn Frost. Among them is Chester, who mopes inside Jitters. While there he spots a Daily Specials board that features a "Killer Frost" drink.

Wow, how often do they update those specials? Cisco left Central City a year ago, and Kid Flash hasn't been on the show in... three seasons? Four?

And for a high-end Starbucks knockoff, those are some pretty cheap coffee drinks!

• Meanwhile Allegra's at CCC Media, with a thousand yard stare pasted on her face. Hey, she's doing her actual job for a change! Ever since Iris left her in charge back in Phantoms, she's spent every waking moment inside STAR Labs. It's about time she showed up for her real work!

• For several seasons now the opening titles have featured Caitlin and Frost sharing a zooming screen together.

Now that Frost is dead, I wondered how long it'd be before the producers updated the title sequence. Amazingly they changed it already! This week Frost has been completely removed, replaced by a montage of Caitlin faces.

• Team Flash gets an alert as a villain called Blockbuster robs the Central City Savings & Loan. Holy cow, there's so much to talk about here I don't even know where to begin!

Let's start with Blockbuster himself. Lately I've been praising the show for the way they've been accurately translating comic characters into live action. Despero looked like he stepped right off the printed page, and Deathstorm was perfectly realized as well. That all went out the window this week!

THIS is the version of Blockbuster I'm familiar with. Mark Desmond was a chemist who experimented on himself to augment his physical strength. He succeeded, but unfortunately his newfound power came at the cost of his intellect, turning him into a third-rate evil Hulk.

The CW didn't even try with this live action version of Blockbuster, as they gave us this— a guy who looks pretty much like anyone you'd see on a paintball course.

What the hell, guys? Did your costume/CGI budget run out for the month?

If they're not even going to attempt to make him look even remotely like the source material, then why use an existing character at all? Why not make up a new one and call him "Big Bang" or something instead?

Blockbuster then tosses a police car at a couple of CCPD officers in front of the Savings & Loan.

The part of the red-trimmed bank is played by the CBC Regional Broadcast Center in downtown Vancouver. If you look closely, you can see a spindly structure in the center of the screen, about a block away. That's the BC stadium, which is used for STAR Labs closeup exteriors! It looks like they painted it out in the actual episode.

• Barry zooms to the Savings & Loan to confront Blockbuster. A few seconds later Allegra and Cecile (!) teleport to the scene in a puff of blue smoke. 

Looks like Allegra's still using the special teleportation smoke bombs that Nash Wells brought from his unnamed Earth. She's been using these things for two or three seasons now, so either he left her a huge stash of them, or Cisco reverse-engineered and mass produced a warehouse full before he left.

I get why Allegra shows up, as she's now the second most powerful member of Team Flash after Barry. But why in the name of Zeus' Mighty Taint is Cecile there? 
She's just an empath (or a telepath, depending on the whims of the script). What's she gonna do, tell Blockbuster how he's feeling? She definitely doesn't belong on a field mission, as it's like bringing a limp noodle to a boxing match.

Maybe she plans to overwhelm Blockbuster with the power of her leather pants.

It's also odd that these two show up at a bank robbery without making any effort to hide their very public identities. Allegra works for a freakin' news outlet, for corn's sake! An organization whose sole function is to cover high profile events like bank robberies. How long's it gonna be before someone at CCC Media spots their boss firing UV blasts and fighting crime alongside the Flash?

Same goes for Cecile. She's a prominent attorney, who's face is likely plastered all over the news. Someone get these two gals some masks, stat!

Then the producers forget the premise of the show yet again, as Barry just stops and stares at Blockbuster. He then radios Chester and asks him to scan Blockbuster and find out what kind of tech he has in his suit. Wait, what? 

Who gives a flying f*ck what the guy's wearing? Have we forgotten Barry's Flashtime mode? He can literally move so fast that time seems to STOP for the rest of the world. He could have zoomed Blockbuster into a cell at Iron Heights while everyone else was blinking! There was no need for a ferkakte scan!

Ah, but we're still not done with this scene! Before Barry can react, Blockbuster stomps his foot so hard that he cracks the pavement. Somehow this affects a skyscraper a block away, shattering windows and causing catastrophic structural damage (?). None of that makes the least bit of sense, but let's move on or we'll be here all day.

By the way, the skyscraper that's compromised is located at 782 Hamilton Street, about a block from the CBC Broadcast Center.

As the building threatens to come down, Cecile helpfully announces she senses a ton of scared people inside it. Barry says he'll use his Speed Force Lightning to weld the structure's weakened girders back together.

No. NO!!!! That's not how Speed Force Lightning is supposed to work! It's a byproduct of Barry's speed— much like the contrail of a jet airplane or the smoke from a steam train. It's NOT a goddamned superpower in its own right! Yet every week he finds a new way to use it— as a weapon, as stepping disks to hop through the sky and now as a goddamned arc welder. Feh!

He's already the most ridiculously overpowered superhero there is, making it nearly impossible to write a scenario he can't easily handle. The last thing he needs is even MORE abilities!

Allegra then fires one of her patented UV blasts at Blockbuster— through her leather gloves! Sure, why not. I guess there's nothing saying she CAN'T do that, but it seems wrong and made me laugh.

Allegra somehow succeeds in knocking herself out, leaving Cecile to deal with Blockbuster by herself. Chester tells her to use her psychic powers to "calm" the villain, hoping that'll make him stand down.

Woah, woah, woah! Wait just a goddamned minute here! Up to now all Cecile's ever been able to do is sense someone's emotions, and depending on the writer and the episode, their thoughts as well. Suddenly this week they're acting like she's freaking Professor Xavier, able to use her psychic powers as a weapon to incapacitate metas.

This is a HUGE retcon and a giant load of horse sh*t, as it comes completely out of nowhere. You can't suddenly make a major change to a character like this, you have to set it up and lay some groundwork for it.

Of course in the end it doesn't matter, because the second she activates her powers, she's overwhelmed by her grief over Frost and the fear of the people inside the collapsing building. She then crumples like a cheap card table and folds up into the fetal position. Well done, Cecile! What a great addition to the team you are!

In fact she's so useless that even Blockbuster quips, "Pathetic! Worst heroes ever!" You said, it brother! Preach!

Blockbuster then teleports away, and Team Flash isn't able to track him for reasons. Hmm... Just last week, Barry entered the Time Vault and asked Gideon to scan the city for any trace of Deathstorm. So why doesn't he do that this week as well? Did the writers forget about that option already?

Lastly, once he vanishes, Blockbuster never appears again for the rest of the episode. There's a brief mention of him late in the third act, as Team Flash finally captures him— completely offscreen. 

It makes me wonder why they bothered to include him in this episode at all. He was nothing more than a cheap narrative device, created solely to illustrate how Team Flash is currently in chaos after the death of Frost.

OK, I think I've sufficiently torn this scene a new asshole. Moving on!

Nice Attention To Detail: Iris & Cecile sit in the CCC Media break room, where they loudly discuss Team Flash business. At first I thought they were being pretty irresponsible, as Iris' employee Aariz is sitting right there in the background within earshot. On closer inspection, Aariz is wearing old school headphones, drowning out the two women. Well done, writers!

• Iris wants to write an obit for Frost, but worries that by doing so she'll risk outing herself as a member of Team Flash. Did she even know Frost that well? Sure, they were both members of Team Flash, but I can't remember ever seeing the two of them interact in any meaningful way. In fact Iris knows so little about her she ends up assigning the obit to Aariz!

Way to honor Frost's memory there, Iris!

• A bit later Iris meets with Frost's "mother" Carla Tannhauser, who asks her how she's holding up. Seriously? Why is Carla comforting Iris more than she is her own daughter?

• Iris decides to use her podcast to honor Frost  by interviewing people whose lives she changed for the better. Among them is former District Attorney Strong.

You remember Strong— she's first appeared last year in The People Vs. Killer Frost. She was hired by Kristen Kramer to prosecute Frost for her crimes against the state. Strong was played by actress Debbie Podowski, and they brought her back for this episode.

• At Jitters, Marco the barista decides to honor Frost's memory by erasing the "Killer" from her drink special. You show 'em, dude! That'll change the world!

• Last week Chester and Allegra FINALLY professed their love for one another, prompting me to celebrate the fact that we'd no longer have to watch these two thirty year olds act like fumbling adolescents as they awkwardly flirted with one another.

Welp, looks like I celebrated a little too soon. They may be done flirting, but now they're bickering like an old married couple. And what are they arguing about? Why, whether hummus is a condiment or a dip, of course! Oh, my sides— they're aching from laughter— I mean from vomiting!

I'll admit their bickering took my by surprise, and was a nice subversion of the audience's expectations. That doesn't make it any less insufferable though.

• During their insipid argument, Allegra tells Chester, "Easy, Condiment King! I don't need you wrong-splaining hummus to me!"

Believe it or not, Condiment King is an actual DC character, created as a one-off comical villain for Batman: The Animated Series. He was a comedian named Buddy Sandler, who was brainwashed by the Joker into becoming a villain who used various condiments as weapons. No, really!

• Over at O'Shaughnessy's Pub, Chillblaine deals with his grief by getting sh*t-faced and destroying the joint. Eh, at least he kept his shirt on while he did it.

Chester and Allegra then show up at O'Shaughnessy's to deal with Chillblaine. The bartender wants him outta there, saying he just froze half the bar. 

Sooo... how the heck did he manage that? Unlike Frost, Chillblaine doesn't have any inherent powers, as he uses high-tech freeze gauntlets. Which he's currently not wearing!

The bartender also reveals that Chillblaine froze his hand to the counter. Allegra apologizes for his behavior, then uses her UV powers to melt the ice and free the bartender's hand!

So I guess that answers the question of whether Allegra's concerned about people knowing she's a meta or not.

• All season long I've been pointing out how the exterior of O'Shaughnessy's (which in reality is located directly across the street from the BC Place!) doesn't match the interior set in the slightest. Nowhere is that demonstrated better than in this episode.

As you can see, the O'Shaughnessy exterior looks like a converted gas station, with 3, count 'em three bay doors.

For some reason, the interior features at least FIVE sets of somewhat similar windows— but they're inexplicably a good ten feet higher then they ought to be. The whole place is like a TARDIS, bigger on the inside than the outside.

• This is some Heavy Duty Nitpicking, but whatever. Chester & Allegra bring the drunken Chillblaine back to STAR, where they dump him on a bed in the Med Bay to sleep it off. Wouldn't it have made way more sense to have tossed him into one of the cells in the Pipeline? Those units would serve perfectly as a drunk tank.

I get the feeling The Flash's soundstage must have run out of space and they dismantled the Pipeline set, as we haven't seen it all season.

• Chester & Allegra end up honoring Frost by putting her powder blue jacket on display in their "Hall Of Fallen Heroes," or whatever this room's called. 

I don't remember exactly when this jacket first appeared, but she had it at least as far back as Season 4's Girls Night Out.

It's impossible to tell what most of the other items in the Hall are, as we never get a good look at them. That's definitely X-S's purple & white jacket at the right of the screen. I'm not sure how they got ahold of it though, as the original Nora was erased from the timeline and the new Nora is still wearing her version of the jacket.

Not sure what the object in the middle is. It almost looks like some sort of tiara or crown? The glasses at left might be Vibe's, although they don't look much like his. And he's not a fallen hero. Maybe they're Captain Cold's goggles? I really can't tell from this blurry shot.

That's definitely Ronnie Raymond's jacket (complete with the Quantum Splicer) behind Chester though. Again, no idea how they can have this, as Ronnie and his outfit were disintegrated in the Singularity at the end of Season 1. I suppose these could all be replicated artifacts, recreated just for the display?

• Barry decides to honor Frost's memory by doing all the items on her bucket list, which he has for some reason. As we join him, he's putting the finishing touches on a snowman, which he's build atop Mt. Everest.

We then get a good look at the list, which includes: 

– White Water Rafting
– Attend Samurai School In Kyoto (???)
– Swing Dance With Judd Nelson (I think?)
– Build A Snowman Atop Mt. Everest
– Master Ice Sculpting
– Have My Art Displayed In The Louvre
– Win A Hot Dog Eating Contest

Note that the first three items have already been crossed off the list. Earlier in the episode we saw him come back from rafting. At some point after that he apparently went to samurai school (which is apparently a thing) and somehow talked Judd Nelson into dancing with him. 

So how much time passed between Barry's white water rafting adventure and the snowman? Based on the way the episode plays out, it seems like only a couple of hours. Doesn't seem like enough time to attend a semester of samurai school.

Maybe Barry pulled the school instructor into Flashtime, and he spent several months in the class while just a few seconds passed for the rest of us.

I had to laugh at this scene, in which Barry admires his snowman as the camera zooms out to reveal Everest's snowy peaks, which are completely empty and pristine.

Hah! If only! In reality, we'd have seen a massive line of rich idiots with more money than sense, all lined up as they wait for their chance to take a selfie at the top.

As part of the list, Barry then hangs one of Frost's horrible, horrible pieces of art in the Louvre— right next to the Mona Lisa. Wow, that's a ridiculous stretch even for a comic book show like this!

Of course the second the Louvre director sees it, she gushes, "It's magnificent!" Wakka wakka! Because uppity high society snobs are so clueless they can't tell modern art from trash, amirite?

Barry completes Frost's list by competing in a hotdog-eating contest at CCPD. Thanks to his speedster metabolism, he easily wins, beating Officer Korber. So he cheated then, right?

Based on Korber's face, it's clear that she won the contest the previous year, and possibly even farther back. Was it really fair for Barry to use his powers to whup her? Even for Frost's sake?

• The bucket list scene was a lot of fun, and a nice way for Barry to pay tribute to Frost. That said, many of the activities on the list (like the rafting and mountain climbing) were probably meant for her AND Chillblaine to do together. Barry really should have asked him if he wanted to help, instead of hogging the list for himself.

• In the Med Bay, Barry tells Chillblaine (who's become second only to Joe as the team's wise elder):

Barry: "I also... thought finishing this list would be a way to honor her memory, but even with everything crossed off... it still doesn't feel complete."
Chillblaine: "Look, man, as wild and crazy as her lust for adventure was, what my Snowflake lived for, more than the thrills, was taking care of the people she loved. That's what she really wanted to do with her life. Hell, she was literally born to be Caitlin's savior. She never lost sight of that."
Barry: (obviously inspired) "I know how to honor Frost's memory!"

So what was Barry's brilliant idea? We never see him paying any further tribute to her for the rest of the episode. Did the writers forget about this scene?

The only thing he does in the rest of the episode is visit Caitlin and convince her to go to the funeral. Was THAT supposed to be his ultimate way to honor Frost? If so, it was very murky and could have been explained much more clearly.

• After refusing to go to the funeral, Caitlin comes home to her apartment and begins removing all traces that Frost ever lived there.

Looks like Danielle Panabaker is pregnant again! How do I know? Welp, she announced the happy news on Instagram back in January 2022. But also because she spends this entire episode being filmed from the waist up, or holding bulky items in front of her belly to cover her rapidly-growing baby bump! It's pretty obvious once you realize it.

We do get a couple long shots that are ostensibly of Caitlin, but it's clear they're using a non-pregnant body double who's desperately trying to hide her face!

• At one point Caitlin discovers Frost's beloved blue and white flannel shirt and smells it (ewww!). She then sits motionless on the couch and stares at the wall, apparently for an entire day, all through the night and into the next morning.

I assume this is a reference to Twilight: New Moon, in which Bella was so distraught after Edward broke up with her that she sat in her room staring into space for four months straight. Yeah, I can't believe I know that.

• The third act begins with everyone gathering for Frost's funeral. Yeow, that's kind of a provocative funeral dress she's wearing!

I bet that was an interesting conversation with the mortician as well. "Let me get this straight— you want me to put BLUE lipstick on the deceased?"

• Everyone on Team Flash shows up for Frost's funeral, with two MAJOR exceptions— Cisco and Ralph.

OK, I know there were real world reasons for their omission, but the producers really should have tried to get the two actors to come in for a quick cameo. 

Cisco and Caitlin have been friends for close to a decade, and he worked closely with Frost for at least half that time. His absence feels like a slap in the face to both of them.

Same goes for Ralph as well. He and Frost were good friends back in the day, and he even became her life coach in an effort to teach her how to be a real person— sharing his beloved Book Of Ralph with her. He definitely knew her better than Sue Dearbon, and SHE showed up to the funeral, so... 

The only reason Ralph's not there is because showrunner Eric Wallace is a thin-skinned asshole, who senselessly fired actor Hartley Sawyer for a minor lapse in judgement.

* Why the hell is Kristen Kramer at the funeral? She's the brash former State Prosecutor who did her level best to try Frost for her crimes and sentence her to life in prison. Yes, they eventually kissed and made up, but... it still seems like reeeeally poor taste for her to be there.

• I'm puzzled as to why Officer Korber (seen here behind Iris & Barry) is at the funeral as well. Did she even know Frost? I can't imagine she did, and likely knew her only as a criminal.

So how are Barry & Company going to explain to Korber how they know Frost and why they're at her funeral? I guess Team Flash could say they're there to support Caitlin in her time of need, but it still seems sketchy.

If Korber hasn't figured out Barry's secret identity by now, this should be the clincher!

• OK, seriously? Cisco and Ralph don't show up, but CCC Media reporter Aariz does? He LITERALLY does not know Frost, as I'm confident they've never been in the same room together. All he did was write a generic obit for her that Iris ended up not using.

• After delivering a touching eulogy for her sister, Caitlin approaches the casket and says, "I'll keep you alive, Frost. I promise."

Of course the implication here is that she'll keep her alive in her memory, but as we see in the tag scene, her line has an unexpectedly sinister actual meaning!

• Team Flash gathers around the casket to say one last goodbye.

There's that pesky Caitlin double again in the center of the screen, doing her best to obscure her face! Not only does she keep them from having to do costly CGI "twinning" effects here, but now they don't have to try and hide Danielle Panabaker's rapidly growing belly!

• After the funeral, Frost makes a phone call to someone and says, "Hey. We need to talk."

For a second I thought maybe she was calling her ex Marcus, in an effort to get back with him. Her tone was a bit too brusque for that though. 

Instead she called Chillblaine, as she apparently has his number for some reason.

Sometime later she lets Chillblaine into her apartment, where we see she's set up a secret and very elaborate genetic lab. Jesus Christ! How much time passed between her phone call to Chillblaine and this scene? Days? Weeks? Maybe even months?

And where the hell did she get all this high-tech equipment? Did she "borrow" it from STAR Labs? If so, how'd she sneak it all out BY HERSELF, without anyone else noticing? And how'd she carry it all up to her high-rise apartment with no help as well? 

Maybe she ordered it all from Amazon Prime. Or she smuggled it out one piece at a time like Johnny Cash.

I get that this is a comic book world, but c'mon! It still has to make a slight amount of sense.

• So what's Caitlin's endgame here? It's pretty obvious she's so distraught she's planning to clone Frost. But why? Surely a doctor/scientist like her would know that wouldn't work. 

Yes, she might be able to clone Frost's physical body, but she can't duplicate her mind. A Frost clone would be the most tabula of rasas, as her brain would be completely empty. Did Caitlin somehow use some kind of bullsh*t comic book science to make a copy of Frost's brain patterns before she died?

Also, it appears Caitlin's planning on cloning Frost from a hair sample she surreptitiously cut from her corpse during the funeral. Again, as a woman of science she ought to know that's impossible as well.

See, she clearly cut a length from the END of Frost's hair. The hair shaft itself is made up of dead cells, and the DNA inside would quickly break down and no longer be viable. You could use a person's hair to genetically ID them, but cloning would be right out. 

The only way this would work is if she pulled a hunk of Frost's hair out by the roots— which would still contain living cells with undamaged DNA. 

Again, I get that it's a comic book show that isn't much concerned with scientific accuracy. I just thought I'd point out that her plan's complete nonsense.

All that said, I reeeeeeally hope we're not gonna get a resurrected Frost. As I said last week, I hated to see her character die, but now that it's happened it better damn well stick. Having her come back after giving her a heartfelt and emotional death scene would be a HUGE cheat, and completely negate any impact it may have had. It'd be cheap and manipulative, and the audience deserves better. She needs to stay dead.

I may be worrying about this for nothing, as it seems actress Danielle Panabaker is on my side. In a recent interview with TVLine, she said when showrunner Eric Wallace pitched Frost's death to her, she claims her only question was, "Are we really going to kill her? Because it didn’t feel right to do a fake-out. This needed to be her real death, in order to feel truthful and honest."

So I'm hopeful that confirms Frost isn't actually coming back, and Caitlin's just grasping at straws here. 

Actually I wouldn't mind a "Caitlin Turns To The Dark Side And Becomes A Mad Scientist" storyline, as that would give her character some much needed interest. She's been pretty bland lately, as the writers have been neglecting her in favor of the way more fun Frost.

• In the tag scene, Taylor (who I admit I'd totally forgotten about) continues her anti-Allegra campaign. She also mentions that the Flash has been seen working with other people lately, and tells Iris she wants to find out who they are. I'm betting this is the start of a "Taylor Outs Allegra As A Meta And Member Of Team Flash" storyline. And why not? That'll teach Allegra to not wear a mask!
Related Posts with Thumbnails
Site Meter