Each week Panelteers Chris and Ali sit down and chat about the CW’s newest superhero series, The Flash! They are trying to avoid the crushing existential questions that come with seeing headlines from the future, like in that Early Edition show. Spoilers ahead (for The Flash, not Early Edition).
Ali: This week’s episode picks up right where last week’s left off. Which I think might be a first for this show?
Chris: I think you’re right. It actually felt kind of jarring, but the more I think about it, it’s kind of the only place to pick it up. You can’t do the normal “hey it’s next week and we’re on to the next thing” after what they stumbled into last week.
Ali: Exactly! I think I wasn’t expecting to be almost mid-scene when the episode started. But I think it worked really well. Because, like you said, they can’t really pick up anywhere else.
Chris: They did pick up where our very first cliffhanger left off! THE HEADLINE… and to a slightly more ridiculous extent THE BYLINE!!!
Ali: Chris. I don’t think you want to get me started and the terrible handling of Iris’ character this early in the recap. But Cisco’s “Masel tov?” was one of my favorite things this episode.
Chris: He is everyone watching this show in the moment. If this were any other iteration of The Flash, I’d be jumping for joy. With what we’ve got on our hands… not so much. It’s kinda like “hey… good for you, buddy,” as you look around the room to see how everyone else is reacting.
Ali: I feel like we mentioned this in an earlier recap, but they haven’t really given us a reason to root for Barry and Iris as a couple. They’re just assuming that we’ll want them to get together because they’re “supposed to” be together. This should have been a better moment; we as an audience, and Cisco and Caitlin as Barry’s friends, should have been excited about this. But it kinda fell flat with more of a question mark than a woohoo!
Chris: Do you think they get that? The way Cisco reacted could be read as “oh that’s hella awkward because she’s with Eddie and you kinda keep messing things up” or it could be “hey even we know this is weird.”
Ali: I don’t know that they do. I think they get the awkward, but I’m not sure they get that they’ve given these characters ZERO reasons to be together. I know I said I wasn’t going to rant about Iris this early. But I’m gonna rant about Iris.
Chris: I’m all ears.
Ali: Because I think how she’s been handled as a character, especially in the last 5 or 6 episodes, plays into why no one cares about Iris and Barry being a couple. While Iris does get a few moments of being super-smart investigative report, the writers have her spending more time being jealous of Barry’s girlfriend, being mad at Eddie for hiding things, and having all of her decisions made for her. I actually got up and threw things when Joe said he wouldn’t let Iris marry Eddie because he thought she should be with Barry. The only reason(s) the audience has been given to root for Barry and Iris ending up together is because Barry’s a creeper who’s spent a decade secretly pining for her and because Joe said so. Not to mention the fact that they’ve taken Joe from obsessively over-protective to someone who thinks so little of his daughter’s capability that he doesn’t think she can choose who she should or should not marry. It’s barbaric and I’ve lost any sympathy or empathy for Joe as a character. Excuse me, while I take a gulp of whisky for emphasis.
Chris: Yeah, at this point why would we not think Eddie is a better choice for her (that she could actually make for herself). The only crappy thing he’s done is lie, but… that’s Barry’s fault too. Man… remember how adorable we thought Barry was the first couple of weeks.
Ali: He’s still adorable. And he has the potential to be more adorable once he drops the Iris thing. But we’ve now had multiple scenes where Barry is actually fighting for Eddie and Iris’s relationship.
Chris: This plot needs to get tied up and I have a feeling that’s not going to happen any time soon. Clearly, this isn’t going away. Future Iris apparently allowed everyone to straight up bully her into marrying Barry.
Ali: Let’s get back to the rest of the episode. Because, as usual, a whole lot happened!!
Chris: What did you think of Team Science’s eponymous Trap.
Ali: I like that when he came up with this idea, Barry said, “I have a dumb idea.” It is not the smartest, but it was effective and my poor Cisco worked out a way to keep himself safe. Mostly.
Chris: Ooof. He really took one for the team. They made him relive his death!
Ali: He’s a hero. That’s one of the things I love most about Cisco; he has a hero’s heart. I know we kind of joked about Cisco taking the bee for Ray a couple episodes back. But it kind of laid the groundwork that Cisco will face his greatest fears for his friends. He’s wonderful and I want to make out with his face.
Chris: Dude came out lookin’ like a dream in this one. It was great. Solidarity on him being bummed out about losing that shirt, though.
Ali: Unrelated, there’s a site that compiles all of Cisco’s shirts and where to buy them online. It’s amazing.
Chris: Also completely unrelated, but I lied about something last week. I said I wasn’t going to double check if HANNIBAL BATES was based on a comic character. It was probably the first thing I did after we published. I couldn’t help myself. I can confirm that he shows up in 52, which is one of my favorite comic stunts that actually gave us some really great stuff.
Ali: Hannibal Bates: the man with the most evil name in the history of ever. Speaking of Mr. Bates, he played a pretty key role in how this week’s episode turned out.
Chris: The last act of this episode was kinda bananas.
Ali: Chris! Save the “bananas” for the imminent Grodd episode!! But you’re right, it was pretty nuts. It almost reminded me of a heist movie, where something inevitably goes awry. But instead of the “good guys” having the foresight to maneuver around it, Thawne-Wells was two-steps ahead of Team Science. And in a spectacularly creepy Big Brother kind of way.
Chris: Not only did we get the super tense moment of Joe firing three shots at what we Wells with Barry lunging to catch two of them; we got the reveal that it wasn’t even Wells! Hannibal Bates’ gross-ass corpse suddenly taking the place of Wells/Thawne really threw me off.
Ali: I was not expecting it at all!! I mean, it made perfect sense. But still! I have to say, Barry losing it when he thought they lost all hope of Thawne-Wells confessing to his mother’s murder broke my heart a bit.
Chris: All the actors were pretty dang spot-on this week. This stuff is big and melodramatic. It needs to have consequences or it’ll start to feel kinda pointless. They all sold me on it.
Ali: This cast is really fantastic. And as much as I moan about Iris and Joe as characters, I think Candice Patton and Jesse L. Martin are doing truly wonderful work with the material they have. Alright! Let’s jump into the Lighting Round!!
Chris: I’m gonna go with Barry being the creator of Gideon. Not only is Future Barry the Director of the Central City Police, he’s an inventor cooking up cool stuff. Those are both things I wouldn’t mind seeing this show work towards. It gives Barry something to be instead of just a protagonist. Oh, and it was a fun tongue in cheek way to get them out of that problem. “Oh you made me so like… don’t worry about it.”
Ali: I love that Barry’s only idea to get them out of that mess was to ask the AI nicely not to tell on them. It was an adorably Barry moment.
Chris: Is it bad if that was my first thought, too? I was all “You could just ask.”
Ali: This is why we do the recaps together, Chris. I know it wasn’t technically in the episode, but the clips for next week. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE HAVE A GRODD. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. WE HAVE A GRODD.
Chris: There’s gonna be a whole lot of monkey business next week. (I’m so, so sorry.)
Ali: (I’m not sorry. We’re very punny people.)
Chris: If you guys think this is bad, just come back next week when a super powered man eating psychic gorilla scientist attacks Central City. I kind of love that this is happening in the middle of the biggest reveal of the show. It’s like – oh hey, evil asshole from the future. Can you hang on a sec? We have to go fight a telepathic gorilla.
Ali: Like you do. It looks like from the preview that Thawne-Wells send Grodd after Team Science. Which I don’t know if I like. Because Grodd is so much better than Reverse Flash’s lackey. But we’ll have to wait and see.
Chris: As much as I’d like Grodd to be his own Big Bad Dude, it’s pretty hard for me not to get behind a supervillain whose contingency plan consists of getting a big-ass gorilla and sending it after people.
Ali: Now THAT’S bananas!!
(Screen grabs from flashfans.org)
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