Welcome to Same Geek Channel’s review of The Flash.
This week, Corrina is too adoring of Victor Garber to pay that much attention to the flaws in the episode, which Mordechai spots because he’s not as enthralled by Garber as she is
Corrina: So, Victor Garber. He makes all things better. I remember watching Alias back in the day at the same time debate was raging in geek circles about whether a gay man could play a convincing bad-ass. My answer was always to point to Garber’s Jack Bristow and say “And your point would be?”
But, Jack Bristow aside, Garber was also wonderful in Titanic and a number of other things, and he’s great at Dr. Martin Stein, especially when craving pizza, a leftover from being the merged being Firestorm with Ronnie Raymond.
And props to Robbie Amell for channeling Garber so well, too, in these Firestorm episodes.
Mordechai: Agreed. Excellent acting there. I confess to not being a Firestorm fan. The comic book version was always a bit overpowered and under-written, with the exception of John Ostrander’s run waaaay back in the 80s. Yet this show managed to make the concept entertaining.
Corrina: Confession: I read the Ostrander run off the spinner rack. Stein’s floating head was hokey and I’m glad they avoided that on television. However, television viewers must be confused because they know Firestorm as a merging of Ronnie Raymond, stupid jock, and Jason Rusch, African-American geek. The show went back to the original but if I were a Rusch fan, I’d be annoyed. At least Jason made an appearance in the show.
Oh, and stuff happened with Barry and company too. I think. Yes, big things, like the reveal that Barry time-traveled to the point of his mother’s murder, that Wells is the Reverse Flash or at least one of them, and that Iris is now suspicious because Barry is keeping things from her.
Which, duh, Iris should be suspicious.
Mordechai: Not just Barry, but her dad, , and Cisco. Interestingly, she calls them her friends when defending them. Has she interacted with them on screen for more than five minutes each? No. Because I’ve wanted to see that.
Corrina: Here is a handy guide to who knows what on The Flash, at least until this:
Iris: knows nothing.
Everybody else: knows Barry is Flash.
Why? Some sort of paternalistic nonsense. I’ve been busy binge-watching episodes of Hart to Hart for the last month because it’s breezy and relaxing and because it lacks the patronizing and condescending attitude toward women so prevalent in Arrow and Flash. Heck, I hadn’t noticed how bad this attitude was until I started binging on Hart to Hart. And this is a show that started in 1979.
No, we haven’t come a long way, baby.
Heck, General Eiling knows who the Flash is. Random soldier who saw Barry pull down his mask knows who Flash is.
Mordechai: At this point, I think Captain Singh, Eddie, and Iris are the only ones in the dark.
Corrina: Mrs. Stein (who has a first name but that’s not important right now) knows who Barry is. After all, he brought pizza.
Mordechai: It’s sad how much this scene bugged me. So Barry runs off, is gone for seconds, and comes back. No matter how fast he is, we still have to allow for the actual transaction. Even assuming the store he ran to was close and had pizza (with pineapple – ew) just ready to go, it should have taken longer.
Like I said, sad.
Corrina: I wonder if the pizza should get cold due to the speed force. Or would that heat it up? Where’s Mark Waid to answer this question?
Back to Iris knowing nuthin.’
I liked her banter with the reporter over the pastry and his request to look into STAR labs. Candice Patton is capable of playing so much more than Iris has been given so far. That’s because the writers aren’t sure what role to give Iris. I guess she has one now but I’m skeptical since I think her current suspicion is only there to keep the Iris/Barry relationship from happening, rather than serve a real story purpose.
Mordechai: The problem with Iris is that once again, her story-arc is entirely dependant on Barry. Which, as we have said before, is the big issue with how this show writes women. An almost perfect example is when Firestorm leaves. Stein and Raymond have to go on the run, and Caitlin and Mrs. Stein just accept this, don’t try to go with them, and gaze on lovingly as their men merge and fly off (which is again, just a horrible way to keep a low profile).
Because that is the role of women on this show – to stand around and be there while the boys have adventures.
Corrina: Wait, there was the former female soldier…oh, she died. Um, wait, there was the female thief from two episodes ago. Wait, she did what she did for her boyfriend. Wait, there’s Linda…oh, wait, she’s just there to create romantic tension between Barry and Iris.
Like Iris, I got nuthin.’
But I did love other elements about this episode…
For instance, Joe and Barry in Barry’s old house, contemplating what their discoveries mean. Go Barry, save your Mom. I totally would. But I’m guessing she stays dead, somehow. I’m guessing that because I’ve read Flashpoint.
Mordechai: You know, the new house’s owner is being really, really understanding about them basically taking over her house. That holograph projector must be running a hell of an electric bill.
Corrina: The new owner has a thing for Joe. Who can blame her?
I also liked Caitlin’s newfound confidence, as she’s now freed of her grief about Ronnie.
Mordechai: What struck me oddest about that scene was Cisco’s Friends reference. Just seemed dated. Then again, if Cisco is supposed to be the same age as his actor, he was 24 when it went off the air.
Corrina: My son is 19 and he’s binge-watched Friends. It happens. He hates Ross and Rachel, by the way. It’s Phoebe he loves.
Back to Flash, I believe this episode passed the Bechdel test. Well, barely. But still, it’s better than not. The bar is low for this show.
Mordechai: Blink and you’ll miss it, folks!
Corrina: So, what do you make of the mystery of Well’s motivations? Did he kill Barry’s mom? Is that someone else? Tom Cavanaugh made me care this episode, for some reason. Maybe it was his reaction to Stein and that his self-confidence seems to be taking a hit.
Mordechai: Welcome to how Cavanaugh makes me feel every episode. What I find interesting is that last episode we saw a Wells who was willing to sacrifice his larger plan to save Ronnie/Martin. Now we see a return to the murderous Wells from the first few episodes, with a declaration that as a metahuman, he protects his own.
Could this be his motivation for killing Barry’s mom? If Barry’s mom doesn’t die, then no Flash? This would fit with Johns’s hackneyed idea of backstory.
Corrina: I hate that idea that a parent has to be dead to motivate someone to be a hero. I refer everyone back to Alan Brennert and Dick Giordano’s magnificent “To Kill a Legend,” in which Batman goes to a parallel universe and saves the Thomas and Martha Wayne of that world and yet the young Bruce, with family intact, still becomes a hero:
“Years from now, he will make a decision, choose a direction for his life. And when he does, it will not be a decision born of grief, or guilt or vengeance…but of awe…and mystery…and gratitude.”
I’m also beginning to hate the one-dimensional motivation of General Eiling. If he were more one-dimensional, would fade away into nothingness. I get that he’s there to be an antagonist but at least give Eiling some motivation for simply executing or torturing people. I’ve become very bored with evil soldiers in superhero fiction. Even Amanda Waller on Arrow can be more layered. Why torture Stein, for instance?
Aside: I’m sick of Flash and Arrow with the torture. As proven in the real world, torture is ineffective. Know what works? Getting the person interrogated to trust you. Having Eiling point out the dangerous aspect of metahumans to a smart guy like Stein might have worked far better than a cattle prod. Especially since Eiling can point out that STAR and Harrison Wells are keeping a bunch of people locked up in their basment! In insolation, without trials or even bathrooms, so far as I can tell.
Mordechai: I’m a sucker for Clancy Brown, but I have to agree. Yes, Eiling in the 80s Captain Atom comics is a tad one-note (as an aside, if you can ever find issues 1-50 of that comic; buy them. Brilliant super hero military conspiracy book. After that it all falls apart), but for goodness sake, have him do something. And if he knew Barry was the Flash this whole time, why didn’t he come after him till now?
Then there’s Grodd. I have to admit to being impressed that the show is doing Grodd at all, and they’re doing him this soon? Excellent. This ties back to Wells too, as Grodd was a test animal at S.T.A.R. and now it seems the not-so-good doctor still has ties to the sinister simian.
Corrina: I’d guess Eiling isn’t dead, as Grodd in the comics is a telepath. So we’re about to get an Eiling brainwashed by Grodd and doing evil stuff to take down the Flash? Of course, that’s not different from what we have now…
Modechai: There are nine episodes left to the first season of The Flash. There’s plenty of time to see where these threads lead. But in those episodes, will the writers ever give the female cast members a fair shake?