Same Geek Channel: ‘The Flash’ 1: 17: Tricksters

Same Geek Channel Television
Me, after watching the last scene with Iris. Image via CW
Me, after watching the last scene with Iris. Image via CW

Once upon a time, I was beta-reading a story for a New York Times Bestselling Author. In the opening scene, he had a woman committing a certain adult act below the belt on a male character. Now, the woman was the antagonist of the story and a main character and there was no reason for her to be doing what she was doing because she was the boss, and the guy was a slimy jerk. That particular act was there because the author just wanted to write it into the scene.

I sent him a note that said “what part of your reptile brain wrote this?” (It was not in the published book.)

Now, granted, that’s not exactly the position Iris West finds herself in at the end of this Flash episode. But she is in the kitchen, making dinner for all the men, while they sit around and calmly discuss her fate without her input.

Let me repeat:

Iris is literally sent to the kitchen to make dinner while the men who supposedly love her lie to her and decide her life for her. 

So, again, I ask: Flash writers, what part of your reptile brain wrote this?

Source: Sleepy Hollow 213 "Pittura Infamante".
Yeah, Abbie, I’m not too happy with it either. Maybe you need to set the Flash dudes straight. Image via Fox Television

I know. I’m one of the outliers not squeeing about this episode, as my social media feeds were full of happiness about it. And Mordechai is busy this week and can’t back me up, so I’m the lone voice ranting in the wilderness.

But momentary fan service isn’t going to make me love a show, not with horribly written characters that drag it down.

However, since we’re talking about the episode, there were some cool things:

  • Mark Hamill reprises his role as the Trickster from the previous Flash series, even getting scenes with the original Flash, John Wesley Shipp as Barry’s dad. Though let’s admit that Hamill played not the Trickster but a live action version of his Joker.
  • “I am your father.” Yes, that was fun.
  • Barry vibrating through objects. Also very cool and one of my favorite speedster powers.
  • Speed force pep talk. Tom Cavanaugh sells this scene brilliantly.
  • Joe and Barry consulting each other about Harrison Wells’ secret.

Yet the Trickster(s) were really a side-show to the Reverse Flash plot this week, as we finally see how Wells became the Reverse Flash. Or, rather, how Reverse Flash became Wells, including a nice special effects sequence that plays out the night Barry’s mother was murdered.

We see Barry save himself (as I suspected might be the case) and again fail to save his mother. And we see Reverse Flash revealed as Eobard Thawne, though he’s not Harrison Wells until he kills the real scientist and his fiancée, Tess Morgan.

Since we’re probably getting a time travel reset button at some point (as Eobard has already altered the timestream), I hope that Tess will eventually become more than yet another woman in the fridge. I’m ‘meh’ on the revelation that the real Wells is dead. That seemed random. Originally, I thought Reverse Flash was Eddie when he first took off the hood, which would have been interesting, even if it bent the plot a bit.

As the episode plays out, Barry learns to put on a false face for Wells, he defeats the Tricksters with the use of the vibrating ability, and saves his dad from Joker/Trickster. Hugs all around.

Sorry, dude, you were the least interesting part of the show. Image via CW.
Sorry, dude, you were the least interesting part of the show. Image via CW.

Except for Iris. Who’s in the kitchen. Making dinner. While everyone lies to her because it will keep her “safe.”

Wells/Reverse Flash already threatened to kill Iris when she didn’t know anything earlier this season, and now that Joe is investigating anyway, she’s in still in danger and can’t plan or anticipate or even know that a superpowered killer is targeting her.

How does keeping her in the dark make Iris any safer? Eddie knows, Joe knows, Barry knows. The three people who know her best know that Wells is likely a bad guy. If Eobard is going around cleaning up secrets, Iris is already firmly in his sights because it’s a smart assumption that one of these guys have told her already.

::walks around muttering about reptile brains for a while::

Know what would have been interesting? If instead of investigating the reporter’s disappearance by telling Eddie and the Flash to investigate, Iris had gone to Linda Park with her suspicions, and the two of them began working together to uncover just what happened.

But that would mean several episodes in a row would have women out of the kitchen doing something. And several episodes in a row that would pass the Bechdel test.

Nah.

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17 thoughts on “Same Geek Channel: ‘The Flash’ 1: 17: Tricksters

  1. I can not stand how they are writing Iris. This latest gave me acid flashbacks to the Silver Age comics. This isn’t the 1950s and we’re supposed to have come a long way (baby). So what was that all about? I am sick of the trope of keeping the Love interest in the dark to protect her. How does that even work? They’re going after her presumably to hurt the Flash, does it matter is she knows the duality? It’s about hurting him not extracting information from her.

  2. I, too, am upset at how Iris was portrayed in this episode. Not one — NOT ONCE — while she was in the kitchen was she sown A) barefoot, or 2) pregnant! And, by the time she fetches each of them a beer, they’ll be warm.

    Sorry, April Fool’s Day getting the better of me again.

  3. I know Flash has the power to phase through objects, but how do you tell him over the radio that it’s possible, then suddenly he’s able to do it?

    I admit that their marketing worked, and Mark Hamill’s cameo brought me back for the first time since the premiere to give the series another shot. The writing is just too weak, and the characters are just too 1-dimensional.

    Still waiting for DC to make a series I can enjoy.

  4. The bigger plot hole to me is how Eobard knew Wells would live through the car crash, as he’d already decided to alter the timestream. Would his little trick still have worked if Wells had been dead? Does some part of Wells’ intellect live inside him?

      1. This was my thought as well, as it is in too many TV shows – bad guy (occasionally good) does something that could easily kill the person they want to capture, interrogate, etc. Sloppy writing to set up an action scene and show their toughness.

        Maybe in this case we can give them a pass since it’s possible Eobard’s transformation device doesn’t need the target to still be alive (just mostly dead 🙂 And I suppose he did need Tess to die in a believable way. Given the often weak plotting of the show, this was not too bad. Still a passably entertaining show, but they definitely need to do something with Iris.

  5. I’ll admit Mark Hamill totally made the episode for me. The man does bad so well that I’m almost hoping Luke goes over to the Dark Side in “The Force Awakens”. I really hope he comes back for another appearance before the season ends.

    But I was baffled as to why Eddie needed to be brought in on the secret. Yes, Iris went to him first for help with the reporter, but he was understandably busy with the Trickster stuff to do anything about it so she went to the Flash. If the writers wanted to continue keeping her in the dark why couldn’t he just tell her the story Joe and Barry fabricated? Eddie wasn’t necessary for that. It just re-enforces the stupidity of her not knowing the secret.

    A couple other nitpicky things that bugged me.
    1. If Jesse hasn’t been to his lair for 20 years why is the electric still on? If the bill’s not getting paid shouldn’t it have been cut off years ago?
    2. When the Flash vibrated thru the truck why did his suit go with him but the wrist bomb didn’t? Theoretically, if the suit goes so should the bomb.

    1. Eddie needs to be brought in because the plot requires it. This is a flaw that I’ve noticed before in the creative team both on Arrow and Flash. Characters do inexplicable things to get the plot to move to where it’s supposed to go.

      Electricity on? Eh, probably Trickster I had someone paying the bill.

  6. Hammil as Joker rather than Trickster didn’t annoy me as much as the terrible script he was left with. A total rip of Hannibal for the first 30 minutes & the Joker for last 30 minutes. I can only imagine how good this show would be with one good supervising editor in the room when ideas get tossed out.

  7. I was also annoyed by Iris’ situation, but I appreciated that Eddie, even though he went along with it, at least raised an objection.

    And yeah, having Iris and Linda team up to do some, you know, *investigating* would be awesome.

  8. Y’know, based on the content of the above review, I would’ve guessed that you actually LIKED the episode. In that you listed off a decent-sized list of things you enjoyed, and identified only one* complaint: the show’s treatment of Iris in the final scene.

    And yet when you sum up your overall opinion, it’s to say that “momentary fan service isn’t going to make me love a show, not with horribly written characters that drag it down.” By contrast, I find that a momentary bad scene isn’t going to make me hate a show, not when it’s otherwise filled with terrific scenes and actors I otherwise enjoy. Then again, what I expect from “The Flash” is a solid superhero show; if they botch the writing on the main character’s step-sister that’s certainly a demerit, but she’s still just one supporting character out of several.

    “Know what would have been interesting? If instead of investigating the reporter’s disappearance by telling Eddie and the Flash to investigate, Iris had gone to Linda Park with her suspicions, and the two of them began working together to uncover just what happened. But that would mean several episodes in a row would have women out of the kitchen doing something.”

    First, Linda is a SPORTS reporter. And Iris isn’t independently her friend. So she’d be a strange pick to help investigate a missing person.

    Second, what would the point of this subplot have been? To discover that Wells was involved in Mason Bridge’s disappearance? Barry and Joe *already* came to that conclusion.

    So is the idea that the show should spend several episodes showing a supporting character and a guest star trying to discover something our main character already knows? That would certainly give Iris something to *do*, but it’d make for some mighty pointless investigative reporting scenes that ultimately wouldn’t contribute to or advance the plot in any way (and taking up screentime that could otherwise be devoted to, y’know, superheroes and supervillains).

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