Review: ‘The Flash’ – ‘Plastique’

Senior Television Writer
11.11.14 80 Comments


A quick review of tonight's “The Flash” coming up just as soon as blogging about supernatural events doesn't really pay well…

For the most part, “Plastique” continued to demonstrate all the things “The Flash” has learned to do well in such a short span of time. We got cool demonstrations of super-speed, with Barry running up walls and across water for the first time. We got a welcome twist on the Freak of the Week format by having Plastique turn out to be a good guy who couldn't control her powers. (Though how it hadn't occurred to her to wear gloves until Caitlin suggested it didn't speak well of her brains.) Clancy Brown was impeccable casting as General Eiling, a longtime DC Comics heavy(*) who should have uses on both this show and “Arrow” if need be, and the initial teases of Gorilla Grodd have me excited, even if we have to see if they can pull off the character once he's out of the shadows and at the center of an episode. Oh, and Joe's reaction to Barry's vibrated voice was perfect: sometimes, a superhero's tricks should just seem funny to the people who know him, you know?

(*) Eiling was introduced as a supporting character to Captain Atom, and Plastique appeared often in the pages of that comic (though she was introduced as a Firestorm villain). Harold Hadley, the scientist Bette was trying to see, was also a minor player in Captain Atom stories. Can the Cap himself be far behind? Or would that be too confusing if “Arrow” is in the process of introducing a different hero with Atom in his name?

Then, though, there is the ongoing Iris problem, though it was a bit different this week than last time. The scene where she tries to interview “the Streak” was actually terrific: not only echoing the famous scene at Lois Lane's apartment in the first “Superman” film, but establishing a reason for Iris' Streak obsession that both fit her history and made me like her more. But once we got to Barry and Joe discussing the problem in Barry's lab, Barry raised a question neither Joe nor the show adequately answered: why doesn't he just tell her the truth? Once upon a time, Joe might have thought keeping Barry's identity secret would protect Iris, but now the exact opposite is true. And even if Joe has this ridiculous blind spot, it doesn't explain why Barry would go along with it. He had no problem unmasking in front of a woman whom at the time still could have been another supervillain, but he won't tell his best friend and perpetual crush? As with the Oliver/Thea situation on “Arrow” at the moment, it plays like something where the creative team doesn't want to entirely let go of the secret identity bit from the comics, even if it makes the hero look dumb for it in the context of the TV show. 

Another strong episode overall, but various things relating to Iris are going to continue to be a problem until she's either written out or radically overhauled. Or, at least, until the Streak stops blurring his face in front of her.

What did everybody else think?

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