The Flash: Crazy For You

"I wouldn't be much of a hero if I took a peek."

The "monster of the week" format is quickly slipping away as we start to see a complex story behind the metahuman crisis. Plus, who can resist a villain with a name like Peekaboo?

I almost wish this had been two or even three episodes. It felt like so much was happening throughout, from the opening rescue to the semi-surprise ending.

To begin with, though, I give myself kudos: in the comments to last week's review, I pointed out that this show was all about the daddy issues–but we need to see Barry's biological father appear soon. And presto! A few minutes after the show begins, Detective West arranges for Barry to be present just when his dad happens to be in transit, escorted by a guard. This opens the door to what turns out to be a psychological jungle I really didn't believe could exist in the beginning of this season. Barry's been taking care of his Dad, fighting for him, and their roles in some ways have been reversed. This explains why Barry has so many daddy-substitutes. But the elder Allen has issues with this; he's trying to play cop from behind bars and resume the partnership he had with Detective West by helping them catch Shawna Baez, or Peekaboo (Lashawna in the comics, I think), who's busted her boyfriend out of jail. I actually really loved this superpower and was reminded of the British show Misfits: shouldn't we be seeing more ordinary folks with metahuman powers?

Meanwhile, Cisco and the Pied Piper are playing who-blinks-first, with Cisco trying to divine his predecessor's secrets. The Piper convinces Cisco to let him out of prison so he can show Cisco the truth. At this point I said out loud: "Please don't handcuff him with his hands in front." It turns out that Firestorm is two people, not one, and there's more than one reason Firestorm's staying away. The Piper overwhelms Cisco with secrets and a few well-placed kicks, then escapes, using his evil cochlear implants.

Iris is trying to get actual reporter status, but is still trapped on Flash duty. This doesn't really change through the episode. Seeing her with Eddie, however, does prompt Barry to try moving on. He and Caitlin go and try to get drunk and sing karaoke in a fantastic scene (was this real singing or just Autotune?) that ends with Barry getting asked out, but going to Caitlin's home to watch her puke and fall asleep drunkenly in what ends up being a poignant moment.

The next day Cisco's compelled by Wells to confess his guilt to Caitlin: he blames himself for Firestorm's death and re-creation. Caitlin, despite being hungover, really shines: she exonerates Cisco, points out Ronnie would probably say Cisco did the right thing, and moves on. I'm liking this actress more and more; she's pulling off the innocence, but she's also making me buy into the character.

Poor Iris also has to meet her competition, the lady from our favorite hero's singing action. 

I don't want to spoil the rest of the episode but there's some excellent action scenes; the Flash even catches a bullet. By the end I even felt bad for poor Peekaboo, trapped in a mirrored room. But then came a scene which made me cry.

See, Barry's father recognizes him as the Flash. Right off. No question. And it reminded me of Joyce on Buffy in Season 5, when she recognizes Dawn. Buffy didn't have to say anything. Joyce just knew, in that way that parents know and still love and still care sometimes. Barry and Buffy and I all had our teary moment. It was very well done... and proves what I said last review: that Barry has three fathers, and in many ways, this drives who he is.

The cliffhanger ending has to do with our favorite Gorilla, and I predict we'll be seeing him very, very soon.

I think this episode showed the Flash crew can pull off drama and excitement. While I loved the special effects, it was the relationship moments that really had the power in this episode. From Iris touching Barry on the wrist, to Caitlin touching Cisco, to Barry's father touching Barry's heart. We didn't really touch on the great mystery that is Wells, but who has time?

Bits and pieces

The reference to the Holocaust was nicely done.

Barry taking revenge on the man who beat up his father in jail.

I'm still weirded out by the Pied Piper's evil hearing aids of death.


Cisco: "How can you speak six languages and sound like a dick in every one of them?"


Keeping up the pace here, but maybe getting a little too frenetic! Nah, you expect that for a show like The Flash. 3.5 out of 4 bomb shadows.


Anonymous said...

Grant Gustin sang on "Glee" for a season and a half or so I reckon that was he singing. Check youtube "glee criminal" for probably his best song from Glee.

Loved the episode. Kaitlin was a hoot as drunk and Barry was very sweet with her.


Jess Lynde said...

Well, Turnipseed just sent me down a mini-rabbit hole of Glee videos. I stopped watching that show long ago, and had no idea that Grant Gustin was even on it. It was kind of fun seeing him singing and dancing! Of the ones I watched, I think 'I Want You Back' was my favorite. I'm glad he gets to be so darn lovable as The Flash though. He seemed like kind of "a jerk who can sometimes be a dick" on Glee. Thanks, Turnipseed!

I liked the Caitlin and Barry "date night" stuff, although I wish it didn't appear to be turning into a one-way interest. They're cute together! I also really enjoyed the understated simplicity of the emotion the first time Barry got to hold his dad's hand in Iron Heights. (The later scenes in the hospital were touching, but a bit more on the "overdone and schmaltzy" side.)

But, overall, this was a weaker episode for me. The villain-of-the-week had nice visual effects but not much meat on the story, and --- aside from the reveals about Firestorm --- much of the stuff around the edges is starting to get a bit repetitive for me. And the way everyone just forgave Cisco made me go, "Wait, what?!" It didn't ring true to me that "Oh, it's okay, you did the right thing by letting that really dangerous criminal back out into the world" is the way that particular fallout would go.

Patrick said...

Loved this episode! The teleporting villain was kinda dull personality-wise, but the effects they used were well-done even if they were a straight up rip-off of Nightcrawler. The choreography of the battle in the tunnel at the end between her & Flash was on par with Nightcrawler's assault on the White House in X2. I don't know what the budget of this show is, but it's clear that every dollar of it goes onto the screen.

Lots of great moments in this episode, but my favorites had to be the scenes with Barry & his Dad. All three actors managed to say so much without even speaking during that first scene in the prison. And the last scene with Barry & his father was lovely. There's no doubt now that his Dad knows he's the Flash, the scene reminded me a lot of Arrow's "Seeing Red" from last year, when Moira confessed to Oliver that she knew he was the Arrow. His dad's words suggested that he pieced it together when the guy he told Barry about was later busted out by the Flash, but I'm pretty sure he knew way earlier, back when he first saw Barry in costume. Their conversation afterward when he talked about Barry's first steps definitely hinted at it. It would definitely be nice to see them talk more about it, I'd really love to see Henry & Joe talk about Barry's gift.

Barry & Caitlin's night out at the bar was a riot, Caitlin's quite a funny drunk. I was impressed that they managed to show what lovely chemistry those two have, without making me want to beat them over the head and scream "will you two hook up already?!?" I do still hope Barry & Caitlin give it a go at some point during the show's run, however.

For now though I'm willing to give Barry & Linda a chance, for two reasons. One, Malese Jow is freaking adorable. Two, the petty side of me wants to see Iris deal with the jealousy she's clearly going to have. :)

GRODD!!! Sorry, but I think I'm physically incapable of saying his name unless it's in all caps and with at least two exclamation points. I can't wait to see what they decide to do with him! If he's mishandled it could be a disaster, but the writers have been doing really well so far.

Bea said...

Yes, Grant Gustin has a lovely voice, so that was definetely him singing. (And yes, his character on Glee was indeed "a jerk who can sometimes be a dick" but actually one of the highlights of a show that was already on its way to a terrible death).

I felt there was too much going on in this episode, and the meta-human bit felt like the weakest link for me. Which was a shame, because she was cool power-wise. Alas.

The character bits were fantastic, though, and we were indeed in need of some Barry-dad time now. The scenes they had together fit the bill.

I'm really, really enjoying the way the characters are developing on this show. I was afraid for Cisco turning into the comedic sidekick especially, but he's turning into a favorite. And drunk Caitlinn was a hoot and a half!

Billie Doux said...

I am still enjoying this show, and I have to echo what everyone has already said about how cute Caitlin was. I was still watching Glee when Grant Gustin was on it, so I've been wondering if they would let him sing as Barry.

My favorite line was "My social life consists of running at superhuman speed and Netflix." :)

Josie Kafka said...

By the end I even felt bad for poor Peekaboo, trapped in a mirrored room.

I felt really bad for her. Uncomfortably bad. Sure, she was a criminal. But Team Flash has essentially sentenced her to a lifetime of solitary confinement. That makes me sad, and makes me look forward to the inevitable cliffhanger episode in which all the baddies escape.

Deborah Gallegos said...

Linda and Wally West Flash.
Iris and Barry Allen Flash.
Is it time that they're switching things up in the wife/girlfriend department with the Fllash?

Marianna said...

The little speech Barry's dad gave after recognizing him was perfect! I don't think it's possible for him to have a better reaction! It's interesting that Joe had a harder time seeing Barry as a hero and needed some convincing, but Henry accepted it right away. It's probably because Joe did most of the raising of Barry and like most parents has a hard time seeing him as an adult. Whereas Barry has done more to take care of Henry than Henry has for Barry since Henry has been in prison.

Iris once again showed that she has the maturity of a high-school girl by getting jealous of Barry going on a date.