NOC Recaps The Flash: Explosive Friendships

Let me start off by saying that The Flash intro is getting too long. We’ve got a minute of “My name is Barry Allen…” PLUS a “Last time on…” I know other shows do this occasionally, Arrow too, but I feel like Arrow’s intro has been streamlined at this point. It certainly feels shorter. So hopefully this — as well as the voice over — becomes less frequent. It’s a bit overdone this TV season, and its sister show, Arrow, nixed it by episode 6 of their first season. It’s also not there every episode (it was notably absent last episode), so either stick with it, or drop it. It’ll probably decrease when the plots of each episode get more complex and they need to shave the intros for time.

Moving into the episode, poor Barry can’t get hammered, as he, Cisco, Caitlin, Iris, and Eddie all go out together.

It was really nice to see Barry’s two worlds come together, especially during downtime. I really like how Team Flash (I kind of wish it had a different group name rather than “team,” anyone got any alternatives?) is starting to mesh, both as a unit on the show and for the audience. I feel like we got a lot of great Cisco and Caitlin moments this episode, especially in the way they relate to both Barry but also people outside of the lab.

When the Metahuman of the Week breaks into a building and seemingly throws an explosive at a security guard, Detective Thawne (and Iris [and Barry]) head over to the scene. The window washer on duty is about to fall to his death when The Flash arrives, so Barry races up the side of the building to grab him!

The effects on this show are pretty amazing. And just when you think they have the budget for one spectacular Flash Moment per episode, the climax hits — but we’ll talk about that later. Iris, on scene looking specifically for “the streak,” finds what she’s looking for: she sees The Flash, but Barry pulls his face vibrating trick and runs off.

Iris’ little blogger heart falls for the streak a little bit more and continues to write about it online. Joe, continuing to want Iris to stay ignorant to Barry’s little secret, makes Barry tell her to quit it. But their argument over her stubbornness and his lack of support for her makes her all the more resolved to write. Her next blog post on the Flash features her name on the byline. She’s serious about this.

Hmm too real? LOL

After the explosion, Barry and Joe’s police investigation is hijacked by General Eiling, who comes in and just absconds with all the files like he owns the place.

Clancy Brown as General Eiling.

Wells knew Eiling from when they worked together 10 (to 5) years ago on advanced gene therapy for soldiers. “Our split was less than amicable.” Wells seems to say that about a lot of people…

Cisco finds out that the girl at the scene of the crime was Bette San Souci, an Army bombs expert. (Happy Veterans Day? Hmm.) Barry flashes after her, but when they meet, she touches the emblem on his chest, before warning him to “take off your clothes!” Barry listens just before his suit explodes!

Cisco is less than pleased.

This is what I was talking about earlier with the team dynamics finally melding together. The Caitlin/Cisco friendship and the way they bring Barry in, as well as clear character quirks for Cisco especially, are becoming more and more enjoyable to watch. Except when Cisco is creeping on Bette. But even certain parts of his crush were cute and developed his character nicely.

Wells figures that Eiling knows about her powers and that’s why he’s so interested in her. Barry goes after Bette again and brings her back to S.T.A.R. Labs. While at the lab, they explain about the particle accelerator mishap (and give her a pair of gloves).

While our lovely labrats test Plastique (“first try!”), Eiling uses a tracker to locate Bette and have a stand off with Wells, who’s sent Bette and the team away from the lab. Bette laments her powers, being the first person so far to really wish they didn’t have them, while Barry explains that he feels (because of Oliver’s advice in the pilot) that he was chosen and that he can finally help people like he’s always wanted. The idea of not wanting your superpowers is an important one that I think will certainly come up later, but so far Barry isn’t very conflicted about it. Perhaps once Iris knows it’s him behind the lightning bolt, he’ll wish he wasn’t what he is — but that’d be later down the line.

Iris’ public post worries Barry, so he allows Iris to meet him as The Flash. He does his face-shaking trick but also introduces a new one: voice vibration. Rather than call Oliver in Starling and borrow his voice modulator, Barry realizes that he can just shake his own vocal cords to pull off the same trick. He sounds like he’s singing into a fan (you know you did that when you were a kid, and maybe at least once during this past summer). Barry and Iris hangout on the roof, mostly so Barry can show off for her (we know that’s what all the flitting back and forth was about, you dork!) but also try to convince her to stop writing about it. It doesn’t work and really, it just gets her more interested in him. She also pulls some flirty over the shoulders at him.

Back at the lab, Wells tells Bette that they can’t remove her powers (interesting use of the word “yet” from someone who can see into the future) and when Barry considers Bette joining the team, he gets shut down by Caitlin. I mean, it was a little harsh. We all know Gambit is a valuable part of the X-Men and he just blows stuff up, but she makes a great point about not inviting everyone to join the secret superhero team. Dial it back a bit, Barry, okay?

Wells convinces Bette to go after General Eiling.

A few people on Twitter were noting the parallels between either Professor X or Magneto.

Wells is definitely a little bit of both. The way those two characters are sort of two sides of the same coin, these same sides are present in Wells. He has the nurturing wisdom of Professor X when it comes to Barry, but the controlling and aggressive nature of Magneto. He’s so very protective of Barry, but it seems like anyone could go at any moment. The way he yelled at Cisco last episode; the way he and Eiling go at it near the end of the episode… Wells has a dual persona that I can only see getting worse.

Note: as I was rewatching this episode, I noticed Wells has ombre frames (like I do!) where it’s colored at the top, but clear at the bottom. This ties directly into what I was just saying about his duality. One side of him seems transparent, but the other side is shrouded, but they come together to create one thing. I don’t think I have the same dualities though…

Barry realizes that Bette went after Eiling and follows her there, only to watch her get shot. Her powers activate, meaning she’s about to explode!

He walks on water (like Jesus, and Dash from The Incredibles) and drops her in, speeding away just as her explosion causes a massive tidal wave! Again, kudos to the graphic department because that scene looked AMAZING. Really great stuff on a show that could, even in today’s CGI era, look cheap.

Eiling gets away scot-free. “Powerful men have a way of avoiding consequences.” We are very aware, Wells; but how familiar are you with the idea, hmm? How many consequences have you avoided by being powerful?

I wondered, during the episode, where Barry lived. I assume it’s in that lab/loft space, but that also feels like it’s a police owned office? Perhaps not, but at the very least, he has keys to the West place (since he grew up there after his mom died) and does laundry there. He and Iris have a moment, but neither are willing to budge on their stances — Iris won’t stop writing about the Streak and Barry won’t tell her what’s going on with him. So Barry calls a stalemate–he friend-breaks up with her, leaving them both depressed and emotionally drained.

In what is becoming a Flash tradition, we gets a Wells tag, where we flash back to five years ago (Oliver was in Hong Kong! Felicity was a goth hacker! [Just connecting pieces in case it relates to the crossover]), when Wells and Eiling stopped working together. Wells doesn’t like Eiling’s methods — involving cruelty of some sort — and kicks the general out of S.T.A.R. Labs. Then we meet the subject of the fight: Grodd!

Remember, this image was seen in the pilot:

Should we expect something like this soon?

This episode was truly about my recap subtitle: Explosive Friendships. Between Plastique and basically anyone she encountered, between Barry and Iris, and between Eiling and Wells. All of those relationships explode at some point during the episode (unfortunately, very literally for Bette). It’s very interesting to see the ways certain relationships are forming, as I’ve said with the lab team and Barry, while others are deteriorating, Iris with both her father and Barry. These dynamics should prove interesting in the episodes to come.

Little things (I might start calling them “Flashlettes”):

  • “He’s so hot.” Caitlin’s heart of ice might slowly be melting. “Oh my god, do I sound like Felicity?” I love how even after she’s left the episode, Felicity has made a mark — anyone who watches Arrow knows she has that affect on nearly everyone she meets.
  • Caitlin concocts 500 proof alcohol to help Barry with his “no turn up” problem, but it wears off in seconds.

  • “What if I get a bunch of mattresses and stack ‘em?” “Barry, this isn’t a Road Runner cartoon.”
  • “Blogging about supernatural events doesn’t really pay well.” We feel you, Iris, we really feel you.
  • So, a human bomb. Must be Tuesday in Central City.
  • Barry and Joe’s scene together was so wonderful. Joe’s laughter when Barry shows off his built-in voice modulator was so Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, as well as Joe’s assertion that everyone knows about Barry’s thing for Iris. Joe’s been waiting! Explains his dislike of Eddie and Iris together, he’s been a WestAllen shipper for half of Barry’s life!
  • Can Wells influence people’s thoughts? The way he peers into people’s eyes (I noticed it first in the scene with Eiling) and the way he got Bette to go after Eiling so quickly — seems like he planted the idea in her and willed her to do it? Maybe, maybe not. But I also have to wonder if he wanted Eiling gone or if he knew that Bette wouldn’t make it — lessening their metahuman count by one.

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