The Flash: Plastique


A human bomb stalks the streets of Central City, and Barry Allen struggles with the metaphysics of friendship, evil, and love.

Tonight's episode showed this series isn't going to skimp on the special effects OR the character development – and it's also not going to limit itself to a simplistic view of good and evil. We begin almost exactly where the last episode left off - with our team celebrating a win, and Barry marvelling that he has friends who are really, actually there for him. The celebration doesn't last long: before you know it, there's a bomb going off, and our hero shoots off to save the day. Five minutes later, he's in his underwear. And if that doesn't get you interested in this show, I don't know what will.

A note about Barry. I think this is the first episode where I saw him as a hero. I've been backstabbing the Iris West character. I don't see her as integral to the show yet, and I don't see why Barry's so obsessed with her. But I grudgingly accept that, through her eyes, I saw our overgrown boy become a bit more of an adult. She's far more necessary than I wanted to admit.

Our supervillain of the week is named Plastique by Cisco, who's on a roll with names. From my understanding, she's a lot more pleasant in this episode than she ever was in the comics. Instead of being a terrorist, she's ex-military (Special Forces? I wonder) and became a metahuman in the same accident which spawned Barry. I think Plastique is the first sympathetic metahuman Barry's met, and he sympathizes with her throughout the episode. His powers could have wound up being just as painful-and the introduction of General Eiling (Clancy Brown), who's a true villain without the super in the tradition of Lex Luthor (NB: He turns out to have voiced Lex Luthor, on an animated show.) He doesn't want to kill. He wants to use. In a major conflict towards the end of the episode, we see the two "villains" come head to head and see Barry further develop his own understanding of his abilities. If Plastique gets some special effects here, so does Barry; he truly does the impossible in this episode, running vertically up skyscrapers and quickly enough to run on water.

The secondary plot - about Iris posting publicly about the "streak" - really annoyed me, until the end. Because Barry and Joe are right. The general's own response to seeing the "streak" should warn us. People are going to want to use the Flash - and Iris has just managed to put up a sign saying "I am the way." The moment when she meets the object of her writing was well done–and so was the moment when the two characters "split up." But her obsession with the Flash is clearly shoving out the Hot Boyfriend, and this is going to have consequences.

Finally, what's going on with Wells? This episode left me more confused about him than ever. But again - evil isn't going to be one-sided on this show.

Bits and Pieces

"How serious can you be about an anonymous blog?" Hello? Even I know better than to bait Iris like that, and I don't even like her.

Cisco's ongoing crush led to some cute moments. Another overgrown boy.

Did Plastique really die? I doubt it. In Smallville the character also made an appearance, also appeared to die, and I think made a return many seasons later.

The moment when Flash appears to save General Eiling. The special effects including Plastique's hair blowing were just so well done.

Caitlin looking for a "hot" man. Another precursor of Firestorm?

Husband Discussions Continued: Husband and I felt this episode actually recalled some of the Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman sequences. The relationship between Barry and Cisco, with Barry looking for science to back his testing of his own limits, the army, etc.


Caitlin: Yeah, he's so hot. Genetically. Because I'm a geneticist, of course. Oh god, do I sound like Felicity?

Barry: The alcohol is not affecting me. I mean I literally feel nothing.
Caitlin: It's your hypermetabolism. I need a sample.
Cisco: I'll get more shots.
Caitlin: I swear, I had a vacutainer here.
Barry: Wait, you carry a blood collection kit in your purse?
Cisco: You have your hobbies.

General: Tell me, what does one do after such a spectacular failure?
Wells: One adapts. One evolves.

General: The night your particle accelerator died was the night the impossible was born.


Patrick said...

This was probably my favorite episode so far, and I've legitimately enjoyed them all. Yes, I liked it even more than the one with Felicity showing up looking nine kinds of gorgeous. :)

JRS, in the episode Bette was described as being an EOD tech, which is Explosive Ordinance Disposal, basically the military's version of the Bomb Squad. They're responsible for the safe disposal of their own military's explosives that are considered outdated or no longer safe for use, and they also work in the field disarming IEDs, enemy warheads that didn't properly explode on impact, that sort of thing. NOT a job for the faint of heart.

I liked how the team handled working with a metahuman other than Barry who wasn't automatically a villain. They didn't sugar-coat anything with her, and they didn't stop being science nerds.

I also liked the progress in the Barry/Iris relationship. Barry seemed a little dense when it came to Iris' motive for writing about The Streak(please God let him start going by The Flash soon, I'm getting Smallville flashbacks to "the Red-Blue Blur" and it's hurting my brain), he should've picked up on that sooner. I loved how they staged the scene on the roof when he spoke to her in costume. I don't know if The Flash has ever done that vibrating trick in the comics to obscure his face from view, but I think Superman has in order to avoid being photographed clearly, though it might have been a long time ago.

I REALLY like the relationship between Barry & Joe, they're striking just the right balance with Detective West. He's protective of Barry but isn't irrationally over-protective. He's still very much a cop, dedicated to his job & what it stands for, but he's come to accept that there are situations out there that Barry & his STAR Labs friends are uniquely capable of handling. I think the best example of how well-balanced a character he is was the conversation he & Barry had when Barry tells him the only way to really get Iris to stop writing about The Streak is to tell her the truth. He could've easily just shut Barry down categorically, but you could see that he respected Barry enough to know that Barry wasn't being selfish in saying that. And I liked that Barry had enough courage & respect for Joe to come right out and say it, too. I also loved seeing Joe bust into giggles at Barry's voice-modulation trick. :) Very cool of them to do it that way too, my first thought was that Cisco had worked up a gizmo for him similar to what Oliver Queen uses.

Clancy Brown!!!!! Any show is immediately 23% more awesome when he shows up, especially in a role that looks to be recurring. 55 years old and the dude is still a genuine bad-ass. Plus he's got one of the COOLEST voices around(he'll always be who I think about when I think of Lex Luthor). If he & Gideon Emery ever have dialogue in a scene together, I'm fairly certain my ears would melt from the awesomeness.

Can't say I'm terribly surprised that Dr. Wells tried to get Bette to kill the General, and that she *just* missed her chance to tell Barry about it. A bit cliche, but as long as they don't make a habit of such things I won't mind. I do hope they won't keep us waiting for TOO long before giving us some real answers about Dr. Wells. We know from the last episode that he seemed to have advance knowledge of what would happen to Barry before the accident with the accelerator, did he build the accelerator for the sole purpose of causing the accident and giving Barry his powers?

GRODD!!!! I'm so glad that little bit from the pilot appears to be more than just a one-off wink to comic book fans. I don't know how they're going to do Gorilla Grodd in this show without it seeming like a Planet Of The Apes rip-off, but I can't wait to see them try. :)

JRS said...

I have a little fear about Gorilla Grodd which is why I didn't bring him up too much.

In the comics, pretty much every monkey is represented as using American Sign Language. As a Deaf person I find this sometimes disturbing... So we'll see.

Jess Lynde said...

For me, Iris is still the weak link. Her being kept in the dark needs to stop immediately, because the whole "Lois Lane" thing is not working for me at all. Especially now that her byline has put her in the path of danger. Barry is right that knowing the truth isn't going to put her in the crosshairs any more than she already is. Just let her be part of the team, rather than the unrequited object of Barry's affection and an outside obstacle. Maybe then she can join in on the fun scenes like Joe laughing heartily at Barry's ability to vibrate his vocal chords.

I liked Wells's line about the powerful generally being able to avoid consequences. Lots of subtext going on there.

Billie Doux said...

The Iris/Lois Lane thing is indeed frustrating. It just feels artificial. She needs to know in order to protect herself, and not telling her just doesn't make sense.

But Clancy Brown! And I liked the running-up-a-building and running-on-water sequences, along with Cisco doing quick calculations to see if Barry could even do it. Very nice.

Marianna said...

Joe said, "Must be Tuesday"! I actually yelled "Ha!" when he said that. It's a direct quote from Buffy Both shows aired on Tuesdays! =)