The Flash: True Colors

It doesn’t take a genius to recognize this week’s theme although having the song stuck in your head for the rest of the day may be your price of admission.

We’ll tackle Barry first because he’s the easiest and, well, he’s the star. There are no layers to Barry. What you see is what you get. His story arc has never been about becoming a better person, which is not to say he hasn’t made mistakes. This show is built on them. It just means he’s usually the catalyst for change instead undergoing change himself.

We see this play out as Barry MacGuyver’s his way out of Wolfe's super-secret meta-wing with nothing more than a bottle of water, a spring, a few packets of salt, and two 9-volt batteries. I’m not sure how believable it is that any acid he could create would eat through his cell in a matter of seconds but it was a nice reminder of Barry’s intelligence even without Team Flash. Anyway, back to our story. Barry had every intention of serving out his sentence, but with the prospect of his and his fellow cellmates being sold to the highest criminal bidder, he’s willing to stage a prison break with them despite being the person who put them away. It is that same sense of honor that makes him keep those same criminals from killing an innocent bystander, threaten to send them back to prison (although they don’t realize it) if they should fall off the criminal wagon, and attempt to save them from DeVoe.

Even after the death and chaos left by DeVoe, Barry’s moral compass remains unchanged. With the threat of his powers being used for criminal purposes gone he’s willing to stay in prison until he can be released legally. Lucky for him it happened in a… flash. I’m glad Barry’s stint in prison has come to a close and if this case had taken place anywhere else but Central City I would understand the judge throwing out the case. However, in the birthplace of meta-humans, I would think he might have a tad more proof.

Most of Barry’s partners in crime were as single-layered as Barry. Unfortunately, it had more to do with too many characters and too little time than due to flat story arcs. Rundine’s unjustified vanity, Kilgore’s anger, and Mina’s single-mindedness leave them feeling more like caricatures than well-rounded characters. Only Becky warranted any time and attention. We discover that although her new-found luck may have gone to her head, Becky was basically a decent person whose default position, like Barry’s, is to do the right thing. That The Powers That Be took the opportunity to flesh out her character so her death would tear at our heartstrings was just an added bonus.

Amunet graced our screens once again, and although we don’t learn any more about her as an individual, we do get to learn more about the circles she travels in. She is willing to sell to whoever has the most green. Amunet may have worked with the Thinker and the Mechanic, but they aren’t her only customers. And she definitely wasn’t privy to their grand plan. It is telling that her response to finding out they were involved was to run away as fast as her little legs could carry her.

Dibny’s arc may be more nuanced, but it was also repetitive. Ralph doubts his abilities. His doubts become self-fulfilling prophecies. He gets a pep talk from Team Flash Member of the week and goes on to save the day.  Rinse. Repeat. This week's pep talk was brought to you by Killer Frost. I did like the argument that if she tried to kill members of Team Flash and they hadn't kicked her out then Ralph's position was probably safe.

I don't think it's a secret that Ralph is not my favorite character but at the moment I'm more upset about the screen time he's been gobbling up at the expense of bringing more depth to underserved characters, as mentioned above or spending time on more compelling storylines. Chief among those storylines is whatever is going on with Harry. They’ve obviously been setting him up for some type of crisis for a while now, but he wasn’t even in the episode. If I have to make a choice between Harry and Ralph, there isn’t ANY contest. Sorry, Dibny.

The most fascinating storyline at the moment is the marriage of Clifford and Marlize. While this relationship was built on love and mutual respect, the mental and physical changes Clifford has undergone are undermining it. His intelligence appears to have outstripped his humanity. He remembers the steps that led to their budding romance but can barely conjure the emotions they engendered. The Thinker being the Big Bad of the season was never in doubt, but I admired the strength of his relationship with Marlize. So, realizing that he knew from the beginning there would come a time when he would need the Weeper's abilities to control Marlize was all kinds of wrong.

I do wonder about his beef with Wolfe. Wolfe's death had personal grudge written all over it, but we didn't really see the explanation for the Thinker's animus. Is it possible that the personalities of his victims are bleeding into his own? If so, will he bear any resemblance to Clifford when he’s collected all twelve bus-metas?

Speaking of Wolfe, I had my suspicions about Wolfe since his introduction, and that was before I knew about his existence in the comics. My suspicions were well-founded, and this version's shade of grey had a decidedly darker hue. However, I thought he'd play a more substantial part in this season's story arc. One more victim of this season's inconsistent focus.

So what have we learned?

We now know the Thinker planned to gather most of the bus-metas in the meta-wing of Iron Heights. This would allow him to collect their abilities at his convenience. The question remains, did he set in motion events that would lead to these specific metas with their abilities or are these the only metas he can absorb for lack of a better term? We appear to be leaning heavily towards the former (I’m looking at you Weeper).

We also learned that DeVoe’s powers to predict the future based on the probability of likely outcomes has limits. His plan did not account for Amunet’s involvement or Barry’s release. DeVoe implied that those limits were due to the vast number of variables. Do I detect a weakness for Team Flash to exploit?

Between the focus on the Continuing Saga of Dibny, and a prison break with three cardboard cutouts and a sacrificial lamb, we have an episode more honored in the idea than in the execution.

2.5 out of 5 Gingolds on the rocks

Parting Thoughts:

I get how Dibny's powers lend themselves to shapeshifting.  I even get how it would change the tone of his voice.  But how does it give him an accent or change the melanin in his skin?  Oh yeah, that suspension of disbelief thing...

The basis of Becky's knowledge of injuries made me laugh. I'm sick. I need help.

While impersonating Wolfe, Dibny orders Gingold on the rocks. Gingold is a comic book soft drink supposedly made from a rare fruit called Gingo which is believed to enhance physical elasticity. The essence of this fruit was the source of Dibny's abilities (New Earth).

Killer Frost seems to know whatever Caitlin knows. So, why doesn't Caitlin know about Killer Frost's exploits?

I knew the moment that Wolf outed Barry that everyone was dead. Well, with the possible exception of Becky, but, alas, no such luck. Pun only semi-intended.

I want to know how the Thinker got the Weeper's tears. Is he holding him captive somewhere? He couldn't have absorbed him, or he would have assumed his body. Or am I missing something?

Will Cecile's telepathic powers be used to offset the Thinker's?

Quotes:

Wolfe: "Who would you like?"
Amunet: "Eenie, meenie, miney, all of them!"

Earl: "Clear your calendar, Slim, 'cause I've got a score that'll knock your honey glazed holiday ham into next Christmas."
Ralph: "Yeah, I don't think any of those words mean what you think they do."

Earl: "So, when you let your new friends, give your old one a call."

Joe: "Is everybody crooked in this town?"

Cisco: "He always did look smug in those Italian wool suits. Oh, my God, he's literally a wolf in sheep's clothing."

Cisco: "Do better than try. Barry's life is in your hands, and we're all counting on you."
Ralph: "I think what you meant to say was 'No pressure, Ralphy.'"

Rundine: "Can we continue on with the breaking and exiting, please?"

Becky: "The last time I was out there, I almost destroyed the whole city."
Mina: "Yeah, she can stay."

Kilgore: "Don't look at me, I'm reformed. From now on, I only commit legal crime."
Becky: "Legal crime?"
Kilgore: "The stock market."

Thinker: "Fear not. Once this next phase is complete, I will erase every doubt from your head." (Yeah, that wasn't creepy at all)

Kilgore: "A CSI that killed a teacher in his own apartment and left evidence everywhere." (I'm glad someone stated the obvious)

Amunet: "Boys? Have some orange slices. Mummy needs to work."

Mina: "No brains. No brawn."

Becky: "Orange is not the new anything. Neither is gray."

Killer Frost: "So, unless you do something worse than kidnap and stab them, I think you're going to be just fine."

Dibny: "I gotta see a girl about a guy."

Becky: "Good luck with that."

Cecile: "I submit that Central City is home to the impossible."

Joe: " Today we celebrate Barry. Tomorrow we go back to stopping the man that framed you."

Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, and anything with a cape.

4 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I want to like Dibny, but I just don't. I keep wondering if maybe he's a character that only guys like, or something. Or if the writers are seeing something in him that I don't.

Steve said...

I don't think it is a guy thing, Billie. I dislike Dibny too. Almost everytime he is onscreen I feel impatient to see other characters.

Shari Houtman said...

I agree! Plus, it feels like they spend almost as much time on Ralph as they do on Barry and for the life of me I can't fathom why.

Neal Sastry said...

Perhaps Dibny’s powers can also twist his vocal cords as well?