The Flash: Plastique
November 13, 2014 1:54 PM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

A new metahuman with an explosive power strikes Central City, but she might not be an enemy to the Flash. Meanwhile, Barry tries to convince Iris to stop reporting on "The Streak," and Clancy Brown -- no stranger to DC Comics adaptations -- makes his first live-action appearance in a superhero production as Gen. Wade Eiling.

Bary shows off some more advanced speed tricks to hide his identity, including voice modulation and blurring his facial features -- both of which the comics have leaned on in the past.

On the subject of the metahuman of the week: Flash physics in general are nonsense, but I stopped trying to figure out how Plastique's powers work about ten minutes into the episode. If she touches Flash's costume with her bare hands it'll explode (by the way, looking good, Mr. Allen) but she can wear gloves. Just go with it.

Today's stinger: Gorilla Grodd! The more forward-thinking viewers may have put two and two together when Dr. Wells talked about mind-control experiments midway through the episode, but now it's absolutely confirmed. We're getting a psychic super-ape, and that's why I love this show.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Of course the General survived: he's an immortal.

The Flash vs. the Kurgan. There can be only one.
posted by homunculus at 2:42 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

The question is - is Grodd nearby? Is he controlling Wells? Is that why Wells was able to "push" Plastique? Or does Wells have some sort of Maxwell Lord sort of power himself?
posted by phearlez at 7:45 PM on November 13, 2014

I've been waiting for someone for Fanfare this episode. Because that water running was a 100% Mike Jittlov homage folks.

I hated that they killed Plastique, but guess they had to. But but but comic books! Well, they did show her pretty well dead and blowed up, so...

Can that Cisco character get any more annoying?

And of course GRODD! Yeah!
posted by Catblack at 8:01 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

The question is - is Grodd nearby? Is he controlling Wells? Is that why Wells was able to "push" Plastique? Or does Wells have some sort of Maxwell Lord sort of power himself?

Gods, I hope so, because if that was just supposed to be pure power of persuasion, Plastique must have been some kind of moron.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:29 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Well this episode was kind of terrible. It felt like half unrequited feelings "plot". I really hope they just let it go already.

Though I haven't finished the episode so maybe they do? Wishful thinking.
posted by ODiV at 12:01 AM on November 14, 2014

I thought it was middlin'; the sexual politics are still kind of gross, especially Joe's explicit endorsement of his daughter and (kinda) son bangin'.

My wife and I now like to imagine how long Harrison spends waiting JUST OUTSIDE doors for key words to be spoken aloud so he can zip in and interject. There are like three perfectly timed Wellesterruptions this episode, so we figure he spends most of his time lurking outside door frames, playing Angry Birds with one hand so the other hand can rest perpetually ready on his chair controller.
posted by Shepherd at 4:32 AM on November 14, 2014 [10 favorites]

i need to pay more attention when i watch this. I watched the first four episodes last night and now I'm watching the fifth, and there's specific parts of the intro to this episode that I don't remember! Specifically, the "I thought you were majoring in journalism, not science fiction" line, and the line after that about her maybe thinking his dad was innocent. I feel like i would have remembered those bits!
posted by rebent at 4:49 AM on November 14, 2014

Can that Cisco character get any more annoying?

I enjoy the show, but I feel like it would improve significantly if Cisco just left. He adds nothing and at least half his lines make me cringe. I don't even really like the Caitlin character as much as I feel like I could, because she's always on screen with Cisco.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:01 AM on November 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

I don't feel that Plastique needed any psychic nudge to attempt to off Eiling. Essentially she knew her life was never going to be normal and she was never going to be cured, so really Harrison Wells offering the option of revenge on the person who was never going to stop coming after her seemed like a pretty easy leap.

Yeah, very weirded out by Joe's awareness of Barry's love for Iris and being totally "you should tell her." It's like, I know he more or less raised Barry alongside his daughter lo these many years, but I was assuming it was done in a "here is your adoptive brother" rather than "here is your future mate."

I actually don't mind Cisco--he's goofy--but having him say some pretty inappropriate lines about Plastique made me unhappy.

Can I just say it was nice to see the gang at a bar after work hours instead of believing these good-looking twentysomethings are tossing back espresso shots instead? It's more realistic though RIP Barry's ability to get a buzz.
posted by Kitteh at 7:24 AM on November 14, 2014

I also feel that the show would be much improved if every episode ended with Harrison Wells standing up and stabbing the crap out of somebody. Even as a nerd who knows the general importance of Eiling to the DC Universe (at least pre-Shaggy-Man-nonsense), I was yelling MAKIN' HARRISON GRUMPY, THAT'S A STABBIN' at the screen during the last few minutes of the episode.

Over time, The Room With The LEGO Door just gets jam-packed with corpses, and Harrison has to pick his way through mounds of stabbified bodies to get to his Future Newspaper Reader. Eventually he gets fed up at having to literally shove corpses out of the way and starts zipping into the lab at inappropriate moments to badger Cisco into making a corpse-shrinking ray, which for some reason doesn't elicit the amount of curiosity that it should.
posted by Shepherd at 7:29 AM on November 14, 2014 [13 favorites]

Catblack, that has also been my theory since around Episode 2. I feel very strongly it's true based on past scenes where we've seen Wells walking and phrasing like "that technology hasn't been invented... YET."

I kinda dig Cisco; in the comics he is from Detroit but I have a bad feeling he is getting the "supervillain/friend-foe" origin treatment here. Like when Wells admonishes him for the cold gun invention and he seems shocked that Cisco did something 1) out of character/unforeseen by Wells that could have killed Barry, and 2) his "naming" trick with each new villain and being undervalued for his contributions to Team Flash.

Current theory: Cisco will break Grodd out because Grodd is influencing Cisco (or will be, now that his insta-crush is gone). Grodd + Cisco = timeline alteration, throwing Wells completely into unknown future territory. That's how I think S1 will end, with a cliffhanger implying everything Wells thinks he knows about the future being destroyed.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:37 AM on November 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

I will agree with that except I do not at all believe the Wells-is-future-hero theory. But I do think he will learn that the future is not as set in stone as he thinks it is.
posted by Kitteh at 7:43 AM on November 14, 2014

Also, since I in no way believe that this incarnation of Eddie Thawne will be end up being Professor Zoom, I secretly suspect that Wells is Zoom, who once had the ability to go back in time and murdered Barry's mom, to ensure that Barry would become who he is. Why? Still fuzzy on that except that maybe every supervillain needs his archenemy, even if he has to create him?
posted by Kitteh at 7:52 AM on November 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh good, I'm glad I'm not the only person grossed out by Barry and his sorta-sister and the way everybody is encouraging them to stop being besties and get romantic. I've seen stuff fly by on tumblr about how it's racist to not like Iris with Barry, and I just can't get over that. I don't ship Barry with anyone, not even Felicity (though I'd go for that before either Barry/Iris or Felicity/Ollie) but I'm just squicked by the sorta siblingcest, with even Papa Joe encouraging it.

As for this episode, the science stuff doesn't need to make perfect sense to me as long as we have sufficient fun with the plot, which I did. Even though I made faces at the demise of Plastique, I'm all over Clancy Brown as Eiling and I'm equally excited about Grodd. The people who are doing this show have gotten the Guardians of the Galaxy message about cool factor: "And here's a telepathic gorilla!" Bring it on!
posted by immlass at 9:05 AM on November 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

I hope that Grodd is part of DC's plan to outdo Marvel.

Marvel: Here's a raccoon with a machine gun.
DC: Here's a super intelligent psychic gorilla. Your move, Marvel. Ant guy, right?
posted by Mad_Carew at 9:07 AM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

My concern is that when we do get Grodd that that shit is gonna look goofy as hell.

And no, it is not racist to not want to ship Barry/Iris because they're supposed to have been raised as siblings together. Incest, DO NOT WANT, even if it's adoptive incest.
posted by Kitteh at 9:09 AM on November 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

If we're lucky, Iris is from the 30th Century...
posted by Mad_Carew at 11:13 AM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm okay with the idea that he came into their home late enough that he brother-sister dynamic never developed. I am just tired of the unrequited pining plot. It's marginally less awful here since Barry actually does know her well enough to have feelings that aren't purely dopey childish infatuation. But I guess I have gotten too old to find that sort of one-sided thing as anything other than unhealthy immaturity, rather than charming and/or reasonable.
posted by phearlez at 4:58 PM on November 14, 2014

Actually, I thought the Unrequited Pining FriendZone thing was even more awful in this particular episode because it was explicitly laid out in the beginning voiceover. (AAAAARRRGGGHH!!!1!!) That plus Joe essentially giving the Iris/Barry hookup his blessing, which, WTF, Joe?

I mean before this it was obvious that Barry had a thing for Iris, but still just understated enough that you could hope that maybe they wouldn't really actually go there, that they'd just let it drop or develop in another direction. (Yes, I know Iris & Barry are husband and wife in the comics, but the CW showrunners are clearly OK with not sticking strictly to comics canon.)

But NOOOOOOOO, right there at the top of the episode there's Barry blathering about "hope to be more than friends, knowhatimean nudge nudge wink wink."


Also, they have got to ditch the voiceovers. I can figure out the "lesson" of the episode on my own, thankyouverymuch.

Besides that, though, I liked the episode. Cisco I could take or leave, but Caitlin's finally developing as a character, and Wells is somehow becoming both more sympathetic and spookier at the same time.

And I'm with Kitteh about Plastique's motivation to take out Eiling.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:56 PM on November 15, 2014

Actually, I thought the Unrequited Pining FriendZone thing was even more awful in this particular episode because it was explicitly laid out in the beginning voiceover. (AAAAARRRGGGHH!!!1!!)

The pining bugs me - it's boring and trite - but I am heartened by the total lack of 'it's not fair, she should be with me'.

Barry accepts that Good Looking Cop is a decent guy, and that he makes Iris happy. He doesn't push a 'nice guys always finish last' line. It's just 'she made a choice, and it wasn't me, but I wish it was'.

The character's acceptance of Iris' choices and agency is a long way from the MRAesque nonsense it could have been. It's not perfect, but it's not nothing.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:25 PM on November 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

I loved Joe's reaction to Barry's voice modulation abilities. It's nice to have a show where people can just acknowledge that sometimes, superpowers can be cool.

I am another person who finds the Barry/Iris pairing (and Joe's "go for it" reaction) weird only because of their foster sibling relationship.

I am sort of baffled about some of the writers' decisions. I understand that DC considers certain points of canon to be sacrosanct things that the TV writers can't change. I'm guessing that Barry/Iris is one of those things. So, knowing that going in, why create a situation (practically foster siblings) that is going to alienate some of your viewership against that pairing? And now Barry and Iris have apparently broken up as friends, which means that her involvement in the show will be 1) plucky girl reporter, or 2) damsel in distress. it just feels like they're shooting themselves in the foot with Iris for no reason at all.

I really hope the Wells theory linked above isn't true. One of the most appealing aspects of the show for me is Barry's sense of idealism and altruism and I would hate any theory where that was destroyed.

I was glad to see another metahuman who wasn't evil. I was sorry she had to die but I'm guessing it's a bit early in the show for Barry to have metahuman allies.
posted by creepygirl at 7:33 PM on November 16, 2014

I understand that DC considers certain points of canon to be sacrosanct things that the TV writers can't change. I'm guessing that Barry/Iris is one of those things.

I did a bit of quick wiki research on this.

Comics Iris is definetely Barry's gf and/or wife depending on timey wimey stuff. But the whole foster sister thing seems to have been written in by this show only.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:15 PM on November 16, 2014

Iris West has long been Barry's companion, and aunt to Wally West who was Kid Flash (and Flash himself for a long time after Barry's not-so-final death in Crisis on Infinite Earths in the middle 80s). The whole thing about Barry's mother being dead is a very new concept to the last dozen years or so; I am relatively certain it was ginned up entirely to support the Flashpoint scheme that DC used to reboot their relative worlds all over again.

It certainly wasn't the concept when I was a kid and reading Flash comics. At that time Barry came from a perfectly pedestrian home with a living mom & dad.
posted by phearlez at 8:30 AM on November 17, 2014

Forcing Barry to not tell Iris makes the show look so bad. I love the charming adorkableness of Barry, and I don't think the chick that plays Iris is the screen suck that is her equivalent on Arrow, but...frankly, not telling just sucks.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:09 PM on November 24, 2014

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