In a Flash take on a code blue, Martin Stein is shooting out sparking flames and suffering from cardiac issues as a result of losing Ronnie Raymond. Can the Flash team find him a new partner so he stabilizes and lives?
I love the writers for this show. Writers don't get enough recognition. We focus on the actors. But the twists, the surprises, the story, the pacing? Remember the writers. The opening monologue just made me think and wonder so many things - was it about the friend who had to step down so Jax could play? Jax himself, who lost his shot at a football scholarship thanks to the Accelerator explosion? Martin Stein, who clearly needs to change something if he's going to live? Or Iris, who's fighting change with every weapon she's got?
Martin's health is seriously threatened by losing Ronnie. (I guess he really is dead, which sucks, because I wanted to see Robbie Amell again.) Cisco and Caitlin realize quickly Martin's out of balance and start looking for a Ronnie replacement. I think this is a bit of a plot hole that got glossed over - it sounds like several leaps to get to "genetic similarity means we can remake Firestorm;" I always thought Firestorm happened because Martin and Robbie were close by as the Particle Accelerator wave hit - but the show pulled two great characters out of the hole: Tokamak and Jefferson Jackson, AKA Jax. Both Henry Hewitt and Jax are identified by Caitlin as potential replacements for Ronnie, but while Jax is compatible, Henry is activated into a monster. I was bothered by Hewitt's schmoozing and desperation for power from the beginning, and wasn't surprised when his activation led to his going, well, nuclear! I loved the special effects and how they differed from the normal Firestorm from the very beginning. Jax's resistance to heroism and his subsequent acceptance of the mantle of Firestorm felt a little rushed, but worked–and Jax frankly looked good as Firestorm. His team takedown of Tokamak with Flash was pretty well scripted, but again, rushed; Jax needs almost no time to master his powers. Will Cisco take Stein's advice and also attempt to explore what he can do? I hope so, because it looks like Stein and Jax are leaving for a few episodes, or possibly another series.
Last episode left me wondering what the heck we were going to see with Iris and Francine. Commenters made me wonder how the series was going to approach this relationship, and predicting doom. Now, looking back, I realize there was one option we never really discussed: namely that, just maybe, Iris has a lot of cards and that she's been holding them for quite a while. I was intrigued by her responses to Francine all along. She didn't seem very surprised or shocked last episode when Joe told her about Francine, did she? She looked prepared... as if, knowing her father's tendency to keep secrets, she'd decided to investigate everyone after the Singularity, and found out more than she wanted... and is now keeping a secret, the existence of Joe's son, for the purpose of protecting Joe. Iris had no bones about investigating her mother, and she was completely ready to shut her mother down. She wasn't interested in the whole emotional blackmail I'm-gonna-die thing (and she shouldn't be.) I'm shocked Joe fell for that, by the way–not that dying isn't a legitimate reason to want to tie up loose ends, but that the fact of Francine's illness–Macgregor's Syndrome–is being used to manipulate him. While every line Iris had tonight was delivered with snap, I was left wondering: wasn't this total rejection and shut down a little predictable for Iris? I'm looking forward to seeing how this plays out, and hoping the show takes this in a unique direction.
I'm also curious about what's going on inside Barry's head! Is he really attracted to Patty Spivot? She's definitely acting like a girl with a crush, but as he says to Joe, he hasn't gotten over Iris yet–although Joe is rolling his eyes at yet another partner getting involved with his family. Patty tries but fails to get Barry to share her investigation of the mysterious man-shark (formerly on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) I wonder if they're setting up the two for conflict later. What happens when Spivot finds out Barry's a metahuman?
While they flirt, and Barry tries to help the team help Martin and Jax, Harrison Wells is walking around in the background throughout the show, going from lab to lab, motives all unclear and sinister. (Yes, walking.) He's spotted by Dr. McGee, who lets Joe know–but in another stupid move, Joe decides to keep the information from Barry.
Barry is playing stalker and seems to finally decide he wants to go after Patty when he's randomly and suddenly attacked by the Man-Shark, who has totally been working out or taking steroids since Buffy and is quite a bit scarier than Tokamak. Patty gets Man-Shark to drop Barry, but we learn Man-Shark is impervious to bullets. Simultaneously, a mysterious hooded man appears, shocking the monster and allowing Barry and Patty to run free. (And nice that she's saved the Flash already: kind of equalizes any potential relationship to some extent.) Wells reveals himself, sort of (we still don't know which Wells he is, although I think it's a safe bet he's from an alternate universe) and we cut to the credits while the shocked Man-Shark walks off for fish unknown. Can't wait to see if he meets up with Grodd.
|Before and after. All I can say is he looks great for his age.|
I sometimes do a little looking up after the show to find out what connections there are to the comics, and make nerdy notes so I can one day read through them all. It seems that there WAS another Firestorm in the comics, just like in the show–and a character with his name worked at Mercury Labs. But that character in the comics was a teen football player; Jax seems to have some of that character's history. All of which is to say, wow, someone's done their research–and I think the writers are having a lot of fun recreating characters.
Cisco seems to be leading up to having or becoming a power himself. Good, because I think he could be the awesomest.
I really didn't like Hewitt. Maybe because his character was rushed too - we didn't have time for more than a sketch of both Jax and Hewitt.
Does it ever seem like the women in this show are islands surrounded by men? Can we have one episode with Patty, Iris and Caitlin working together to solve crime while there's only one man in each scene? I ask merely for hope.
It seems the Man-Shark is called King Shark in the comics. I had no idea the Flash mythos was so full of walking animals. Meta-animals?
Patty: First a man-shark, then a dead man walking. (Yep, I felt a Buffy vibe here.)
This episode was hectic, with new characters and new approaches to old characters. I enjoyed it, but I think the rushed pace as a result of all this hurt the episode and made the characters more shallow than they could have been. Fun, but not as great as the opening of this season. My favorite part was when Jax effortlessly merged with Martin and they started fighting.
2.5 out of four Man-Sharks.
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