The Flash Did an Episode with No Flash and it Worked

first_imgStay on target Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. For a show about the Fastest Man Alive, last night’s episode of The Flash was noticeably light on speed. And men. In a cool twist on the standard Flash formula, Barry and the rest of the men spent most of the episode sitting off to the side. Instead, the women had their own superhero adventure, and better still, they barely even mentioned Barry. It’s a nice change for a show that often doesn’t know what to do with the female characters on it. Even the ones with superpowers are usually shoved off to another universe or sent on some mysterious trip to figure themselves out. Which couldn’t happen on screen because… nobody’s allowed to be more interesting than Barry? Iris got it the worst last season, always waiting around to be saved.Last night’s episode went a long way towards fixing that major flaw. The plot revolved around two separate bachelor and bachelorette parties. Barry’s is the boring one. He plans to sit in his living room, drinking brandy while Cisco plays old home movies. There are some very cute shots of him and Iris as kids, but it’s the dullest bachelor party you’ve ever seen. I guess when you’re average night involves beating up supervillains, a quiet night in looks more exciting. Ralph shows up uninvited, not realizing it was a low-key bachelor party and not a secret superhero meeting. When he sees the dull display, he drags everyone to a strip club. He may be a sexist jerk, but at least he saves the night from being a complete bore. At the shockingly PG-rated strip club (they go down to their bikinis!), they find Cecile’s daughter working. This storyline sucks. It’s awkwardly moralistic, and though it provides for some funny moments, I don’t see why it needed to be there. There’s some attempt at justification in that she’s doing research for her book. But in the end, she admits that’s not the only reason, so she quits and tells her mom.Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen (Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW)This… oddly puritanical subplot serves one important purpose: It gets Barry out of the picture. At the almost-strip club, Barry wishes he could get drunk. Cisco has invented just the concoction for that purpose. It’s a highly alcoholic formula that enters Barry’s system even faster than his body can process it. It gets him wasted. As weird as certain parts of this storyline are, drunk Barry is the best Barry. Watching him stumble around the bar, screaming “I am THE FLASH!” will have me laughing all day. More than that though, Barry is completely useless, and he doesn’t have his phone. That means, in the more interesting part of the episode, the women are on their own.Iris’s bachelorette party was shaping up to be a boring affair as well, despite an appearance from Arrow’s Felicity. The crossovers are starting! It was going to be a fancy dinner, a bottle of champagne and that’s it. Then, she invited Caitlin, who was planning to skip town that night. Since she didn’t, her past life chooses tonight to catch up with her. There’s a funny bit of schtick about whether or not the scary dude who came up to the table is a stripper. When the guy is told to “take it off, already” he takes out his eye, revealing a weird, snake-looking appendage beneath it. Caitlin got up to some crazy stuff while she was away. Iris spends all of a scene and a half trying to contact Barry, and then he’s never spoken of again. That was a pretty brilliant move and a much better way to handle her character than anything we saw last season. Barry’s not answering? Who cares? It’s Girls’ Night Out; they got this.Danielle Nicolet as Cecile Horton, Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak and Candice Patton as Iris West (Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW)This episode was really Danielle Panabaker’s time to shine, rapidly swapping back and forth between Caitlin Snow and Killer Frost. It’s only in an episode like this that you can really appreciate how different the two characters are. It was also great to have an episode focused on her growth as a hero. Killer Frost is traditionally a villain. I mean, the word “killer” is right there in her name. The fact that much of the drama hinges on characters hiding completely reasonable things from each other is annoying. It’s the one tool The Flash uses more than any other and it’s always terrible. Thankfully here, it doesn’t last long. It’s Iris’s bachelorette party and she has no time for can-I-talk-to-yous in the hallway.With the power of friendship, Iris and the gang turn Killer Frost into more of an Incredible Hulk figure. (Who actually gets a shout-out in this episode, thanks to Felicity. Isn’t it funny how DC shows can just say “The Incredible Hulk” while Marvel’s keep calling him “the big green guy?” What’s with that?) Over the course of the episode, Caitlin grows more comfortable with allowing Frost to come out when she’s needed. It’s a surprisingly natural bit of character growth for a storyline that takes up little more than half an episode. And it all happens with a pretty fantastic villain. Katee Sackhoff plays Amunet, and she’s clearly having a blast in every scene she’s in. Amunet has captured a metahuman whose tears are a powerful drug. By chaining him up and torturing him, she’s able to make enough of the substance to set up a nice little drug business. She can also control a certain type of metal, forming a gauntlet around her hand. This leads to a pretty great ice vs. metal battle, with an assist from felicity in one of those big crane magnet things. Who needs the Flash when you’ve got this team around?Katee Sackoff as Amunet Black and Mark Sweatman as Norvok (Photo: Jeff Weddell/The CW)The guy who cries drugs escapes, but he’s immediately rounded up by The Thinker. Yes, it seems he too was on the bus that got blasted with dark matter. At this point, it’s hard to care about that. This season is more concerned with righting the wrongs of the last one than it is in setting up it’s big bad. Honestly, I’m fine with that. It’s led to a streak of fun episodes that just weren’t possible last season. I have every confidence this season will set up The Thinker when it’s good and ready. Until then, I hope this episode was more than just a one-off. Just because it course corrected regarding how it treats its female characters doesn’t mean it’s done. Keep going in this direction. Obviously, I don’t want it to do away with the Flash every week, but I hope this is a sign that Iris and Caitlin will have more to do in the future. It was a lot of fun watching them work together last night. I want more of that.center_img Top Movies and TV Panels to Keep on Your Radar for SDCC 2019’The Flash’ Season 5 Finale Recap: 2 Big Bads and 1 Pre-Crisis last_img read more

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