CW PILOTS 2017/2018 – FLOPS AND FAVES

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The CW has a long time honoured tradition of having the best TV any young woman who enjoys trash and heart could want. The lineup this year has been mostly locked up into its new role as the official home of DCTV but this is the CW and it is a requirement to us all to have the trashy cheese that we all want. Let’s break down the new series on the schedule for the CW this fall.

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The Flash 321 – Cause and Effect

neetz talks tv, the flash

Previously | Iris gonna die. Caitlin goes full Killer Frost. The 2017 Team Flash enlist Tracy Brand to help them create the tech that will eventually trap Savitar. Oh yes and after 20 episodes of dragging this shit out: Future Barry Allen is Savitar.

THE FUTURE IS EMO | Future Savitar is actually one of the time remnants that Barry creates in his repeated quests to save Iris. As 2024 Barry specifically notes “he kills MOST of the time remnants”. This one survived, and was shunned for being an aberration. He was Barry Duplicate not Barry Actual and this repeated rejection and loss drove Barry Duplicate to seek out becoming a God to feel no pain. 2017 Barry tries to take on Savi-Barry but his Savitar suit is pretty badass and attacks 2017 Barry.

CONTINUITY | This is used to justify that Easter Egg from Legends of Tomorrow where Barry can’t be trusted. The theory that we’re meant to believe is that Duplicate Barry upon becoming Savitar went back into time to kill Iris, this setting the stage in motion for 2017 Barry’s descent into darkness and confirming the time remnants that 2024 Barry made that would lead to his eventual creation. It’s some sort of closed loop ish but once Savitar is formed he doesn’t care about the rules of time travel and somehow the time wraiths don’t get him. Thus “I created myself” and “I am the future Flash” now add up. There is one other thing he needs but he keeps that to himself. Once fully formed as Savitar, Savi time travels all over time creating his myth of him being the strongest speedster, which adds in to how Jay Garrick refers to him as the first speedster ever created. Barry Duplicate was basically his own hype man.

FORGET ME NOT | Savitar has 2017-Barry’s memories because he lived them. Even 2017-Barry can acknowledge he sees the coagulation of pain and loss that created Savitar: the losses of Nora, Henry and Iris is too much to bear. Added to the rejection of the team to Duplicate Barry and it all creates Savitar. Cisco comes up with the idea to stop Barry’s short term memory in order to kill Savitar’s preview pass to Barry’s life. Of course it doesn’t work but the big payoff of this the revelation that Carlos Valdes can act off of anyone and here proves to have lovely chemistry with Tom Felton. Barry’s brain is fried and he can’t remember much of anything. No Iris, No Henry, No the Flash. He doesn’t even remember his own name. In a nice Easter egg “Bart Allen” gets a little name check.

WESTALLEN REVISITED | This new memory scrubbed Barry doesn’t have the weight of the multiple losses and pain on his soul. It’s Iris that leads Barry through the darkness, reminding him of all of their trials throughout the year. The sweetest part of this episode is seeing this Barry fall in love with Iris once more. Iris tells him of the moment when their love story began: as children, when Iris comforted Barry after the loss of his mother. One thing that stands out about this episode is how much Iris wants to protect this new light Barry who wants to help her plan their wedding and go through their high school yearbooks and doesn’t have years of guilt on him. It’s never mentioned anywhere that if Barry stays this way, Iris doesn’t die. Is that because Iris is truly selfless or the writers just dgaf?

CAUSE AND EFFECT | Barry’s memory scrub has consequences: Barry doesn’t know he has powers and Savitar can’t remember who he is either. The B story here involves newly minted Team Flash member Cecile who needs Barry’s testimony as the CSI expert to testify against budget Heatwave “Heatmonger”. Barry flops his testimony in a hilarious scene orchestrated with some special glasses designed by Cisco and Julian feeding Barry the answers. How no one in the court room doesn’t notice this transparent tomfoolery is beyond me. Anyway, Heatmonger is released. Memory scrubbed Barry eventually taps into his powers right before kissing Iris for the first time. This Barry is thrilled and irreverent at having powers but is thoroughly unfit to be a hero. Heatmonger eventually decides to tear shit up though and Kid Flash can’t save the day because with the memory scrub, he doesn’t get his powers!

Killer Frost shows up to help the team restore Barry and thus Savitar, but refuses to say what she gets out of his revival. Cisco tries to thaw Killer Frost’s heart with memories of Ronnie, Hartley and their early Star Labs days. They eventually create a device to help Barry’s memories. Julian’s admission of love is thrown back to his face but in private, Killer Frost’s eyes flicker briefly to Caitlin.

FILLER | The HR and Tracy storyline is complete filler. Basically they like their other and like coffee. They build the speed trap by the end of the episode. The end.

I REMEMBER | Barry’s memory returns with your standard Iris West pep talk. Barry’s memories trigger Kid Flash’s powers being restored and Savitar revived. Wally and Barry save innocents from Heatmonger. Barry admits to Iris that he had the perfect pain free life in Flashpoint but the cost of losing Iris, Cisco, Caitlin and everyone else was too great. Those hardships helped shape him. The episode closes with Team Flash and Tracy going over the Speed Bazooka and the gigantic amount of energy it needs to power up (more energy than the sun!) to trap Savitar and then we cut to King Shark swimming away in Argus.
Stray Observations | How do they really afford to live in that bomb ass apartment?

“Hartley was such a dick, you reminded me of him when you joined the team”

The current Team Flash had more than enough power in Cisco to battle the metas while memory scrubbed Barry trained to be The Flash

I would have liked it if memory scrubbed Barry could have understood the gravity of restoring his memories would lead to the revival of Savitar and Iris’ death. I wanted to see him confront the reality that they could live this life and be happy.

FFFASHION | I’m living for this pink dress that Iris is wearing in this episode. Cisco’s hair is completely beautiful. Gawd he’s gorgeous.

Next: Captain Cold returns somehow to help Barry release King Shark

The Flash 3×22 “Infantino Street”  – With only 24 hours left until Savitar murders Iris (Candice Patton), Barry (Grant Gustin) struggles to save the woman he loves and makes the choice to use any means necessary to do so. Realizing he has one option left to save her, The Flash turns to Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) for help.

 

 

 

The Flash 3×11 – Dead or Alive

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New intro! Barry is all about saving Iris as we kick off Season 3B.

VIBE | The A Story: Cisco gets a taste of what his powers can evolve too when Gypsy, a collector from Earth 19, turns up to take HR back. In a strange twist of timing, considering the last 11 days, HR is being sentenced to death for defying a travel ban between Earths. The only way to save him is “trial by combat”. Cisco shows some traditional sass in his flirtations with Gypsy, I guess he got over Golden Glider.He just wants to negotiate over HR’s impending death with some coffee and food by that Thai place across the street.

The Vibe training montage is long overdue because Cisco’s powers are a formidable asset to the team. Barry and HR are not impressed and their plan to take on Gypsy themselves backfires when Gypsy takes HR as collateral until the duel with Cisco.

 

THE DUEL | Cisco turns it out in the eventual duel. It’s a great scene that takes them to Earth-2 and Kara’s Earth-39 for a dust up in Kat Grant’s office. It’s the apt observation from Julian that eventually leads to Cisco besting Gypsy with his abilities. Cisco spares her life and the caveat being that HR can never return to Earth 19.

 

YASS IRIS | Iris is shown doing actual journalism. Actual contribution to the team. And getting an entire season arc around her character. And not relegated to damsel in distress status either, Iris wants to make the most out of the possibly four months of her life left. Everyone tries to dissuade her from looking for trouble but Iris isn’t having it and recruits Wally to help her. Iris distracts Joe while Wally speedily takes pictures of the investigative files on his desk. Candice Patton gets a chance to show off comedic timing in the conversation distracting Joe. I’d like to see this element developed in the future because Wally/Iris make a compelling team.

Iris’ eventual breakdown to Barry is that her biggest fear is that she won’t leave her mark in the world like her mother. Iris wants to leave a legacy in the short time she may have left. It’s a short scene but it’s touching and effective. The payoff for Iris and Wally’s team-up is also shown where we see Iris showing Barry the completed article lauding her brother. His love and pride for her is on full display. It’s great. It’s how a normal couple acts.

It’s development of their relationship and it heightens the stakes and gets the audience invested in Iris as the team tries to save her life. One flaw of the past episodes where Barry was trapped in the Speedforce fell a bit flat because we never really saw them interact as a couple doing normal couple things. As the season progresses, the evolution of their relationship and Iris West as a whole is on a good track for rounding out her character to make for an exciting season finale showdown with Savitar.

JULIAN YAS | Tom Felton also shows off excellent comedic timing, bringing the lighter flair that they’re taken from Cisco this season. He’s also another genius character made to dilute Barry being smart himself. I like Julian being a part of Team Flash but it’s a catch 22 because now the show has reverted to having way too many scenes in Star Labs again and there is less focus on CCPD.

KID FLASH | Barry adorably lets Wally shine as Kid Flash with a group of cheerleaders.

 

Adding to his subplot with Iris and FINALLY THEY LET THIS KID LIVE.Throughout the episode, the task of increasing Barry’s speed in four months doesn’t track with his growth thus far, as Julian points out graphically. Barry finally connects the dots as he realizes Wally’s meteoric rise in increasing his abilities could be the answer. The episode closes with Barry telling Wally he won’t save Iris from Savitar – Wally will have the task of saving his sister.

Grade: A
Despite being a mostly filler episode, all players get fair screen time and meaningful development: Cisco develops his powers, Iris uses her journalism and ain’t no damsel, Wally gets numerous times to shine, Barry didn’t need any pep talks, Julian brought a needed element of levity to the team. The episode was FUN. No brooding and mooding. MVP performances all around.

 

Next:

 

 

The Flash 3×12 “Untouchable” – THE TOUCH OF DEATH – Barry (Grant Gustin) and the team at S.T.A.R. Labs work together to bring down Clive Yorkin (guest star Matthew Kevin Anderson), a criminal meta-human who is methodically killing people by causing them to decompose at an accelerated rate. Joe (Jesse L. Martin) becomes his next target but it’s Iris (Candice Patton) who is caught in the crossfire. The Flash mentors Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale) and begins to elevate the newer speedster’s training to another level. Rob Hardy directed the episode written by Brooke Roberts & Judalina Neira (312). Original airdate 2/7/2017

Please follow us on social media @neetztalks on Twitter and Facebook for updates!

The Flash: 3×07 – Killer Frost

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Killer Frost and Kid Flash emerge. HR remains useless. Dr. Alchemy’s true identity is revealed.

CAIT | Caitlin finally cracks and goes off the rails with her powers when she saves loser Barry from Savitar. Cait’s powers make her the most formidable and compelling meta this season, which has been filled with loser filler villains. I especially like how easily she bests Barry in combat. He really is an idiot now.  Cait seeks out Dr. Alchemy to remove her powers. She battles Vibe and The Flash and it’s pretty exciting to watch a fight between the three friends and the complicated relationships they have. She can’t actually go through with killing her friends (though she really should have rid us all of loser Barry when we now have the superior Wally West).

(PLEASE CAIT, SAVE US)
CISCO | Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Cait’s friendship development this season is one of the emotional high beats of the season. The grief over Dante and its fallout with his relationship with Barry is being slow burned which makes it realistic (I mean how do you forgive someone and find it in your heart to help them, when they killed your blood family as a consequence for their own selfish gains) but the show really suffers without Valdes’ great comedic timing.

TOM C. GOTTA GET PAID | In order to make lame duck HR Wells appear substantial, the writers turn Cisco into an idiot to prop HR. In what world would Cisco not figure out to track Killer Frost the same way he did to Captain Cold? I could write about how annoying this character is for pages. As always #KILLHR

BARRY IS A LOSER | First, Barry hilariously gets beaten up by bae Savitar. Then, he pushes Caitlin into Killer Frost trying to save him. Thirdly, he is responsible for the less fun Cisco we have to endure this season and fourthly and most amazingly, Wally is faster than Barry despite being hours new to his powers. ROFL. Please kill off Barry and give us Kid Flash forever.

PANDERING | How much pandering did the writers pay to the insane #snowbarry shippers with that misleading frosty kiss? Did Julie Plec  (The Vampire Diaries) or Stephanie Savage (Gossip Girl) give them tips?

DEJA VU FLASH WRITERS | There better be some twist to this because the repetitive “friend turned foe” trope of The Flash is TIRED. The third time is not the charm, the third time is lazy writing. Turning bae Julian Arnold (Tom Felton) into Dr. Alchemy is just… uninspired. They did this the best in the first season with Eo-Wells and flopped majorly with Joom (Jay/Zoom)

In exchange for protecting Cait’s identity as Killer Frost, Julian blackmails Barry into quitting his job at the CCPD as a CSI. Barry agrees and is actually selfless for the first time this season. So, now in addition to all the reasons above why Barry is a loser, he is now also unemployed and still crashing on the couch of a guy who’s brother he killed. Cheers!

GRADE: B

Stray Observations:

  • I am enjoying the Killer Frost storyline and how they improved the portrayal of Killer Frost from the atrocity of last season’s campiness.
  • Savitar has great plans for Killer Frost. The pay off for this should be interesting. Armen’s FX are really impressive for simple network television.
  • Now that Wally is a speedster, are Jesse Quick and Harry Wells coming back? Tom C. might as well get his paycheck for a slightly more bearable character.

Highlight of the episode | Cait dressing down Barry for his selfishness.She’s not lying when she says he did this to her. And name checking Ronnie, Dante and all the countless selfish things Barry has done at the expense of other people.

 

Next: FOUR DAY CROSSOVER EVENT: INVASION!

The Flash RECAP: 3×06 – Shade

neetz talks tv, the flash

Too many filler plots cloud the re-emergence of Wally West as Kid Flash.

Air Date: 15th November 2016

CAIT | Cait (Danielle Panabaker) finally confides in Cisco about her powers. I really like that she told Cisco about it first. It plays to the established brother-sister camaraderie that the two have. He vibes them fighting each other as Vibe and Killer Frost. It looks pretty awesome ngl. He eventually makes her reveal her powers to the team.

 

OH CISCO WHERE ART THOU | Flashpoint has removed all of the characteristic sass and fun we’ve come to expect from Cisco (Carlos Valdes). His new persona doesn’t have the charisma it did in previous seasons. His hair still looks fine af though, he can still get it.

#BARRIAN | Barry (Grant Gustin) asks out Julian for their second date. Turns out Julian (Tom Felton) has a girlfriend. Barry is CRUSHED. Whomp-whomp.

TOM C. HAS TO GET PAID | Another pointless subplot involving H.R. and a transmogrification toy. This gadget allows the Flash Fam to only see him but appear to the world as someone else. It is genuinely some of the worst plot ever written for television. This soul sucking character further wastes air time with another sub-plot of him hitting on Joe’s girlfriend.Still pointless, boring and a waste of time. But I guess everyone needs pee breaks.

#WESTALLEN | After being rejected by his tru luv Julian, Barry has a touching moment with Iris. She confides that she doesn’t have powers and Barry doesn’t need her to help people, to which he replies:

More of this please @FlashWriters!

COME THRU WALLY! | Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) starts to get flashbacks of his Flashpoint-era life as Kid Flash. He is eventually locked in the pipeline to protect him from Dr. Alchemy but it eventually proves futile. Wally is plagued with seizures from Dr. Alchemy, one of which results in Iris nawt standing for any of his shit with this sucker punch.

It all comes to a head at a standoff against Dr. Alchemy where after seeing Barry and Joe in trouble against a force moving so fast only Barry can see it, Wally accepts his Kid Flash powers… and turns into an icicle? (My stream cut off at this point, so this will be updated soon)

VILLAINS | This week juggled three villains – Shade (who looked more promising in the first scene than the wuss he turned out to be) was defeated with some Monsters Inc. shit by simply turning on nightlights. Okay then. Then, there was the aforementioned Dr. Alchemy, who didn’t do much except bestow Wally with his powers and in the final seconds of the new episode, my new bae Savitar, the God of Speed shows up. Now this looks like a villain. He can be my Zaddy any day.

Stray Observations:

  • That damn drumstick is annoying. #killhr
  • Every supporting cast member had a storyline this episode except for Iris.
  • Really enjoying @armenfx’s special effects for Savitar
  • I want Taylor Swift to play at this wedding

GRADE: C

Next: Cait joins the long list of metas who have kicked Barry’s ass all across Central City because he is a selfish turd.

Directed by returning fan fave Kevin Smith, the episode description of 3×07 – “Killer Frost” reads:

Caitlin uses her powers to save Barry but as her mother predicted, the effort unleashes her inner Killer Frost. Killer Frost goes on a rampage looking for Dr. Alchemy, kidnapping Julian and battling both The Flash and Vibe. Meanwhile, Joe and H.R. have a heart to heart talk.

The Flash: 3×05 – Monster

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Supporting players get a chance to shine this week as Caitlin explores her nascent powers and Julian Arnold gets a backstory.

One of the problems of The Flash has been finding a compelling villain. This week’s “Monster” is a filler villain of the week and also coincidentally Barry battles a monster on the week of Halloween.

NO SCRUBS | Barry is still a scrub, mooching off of Cisco because he “doesn’t have time” to find a new apartment. Sure Jan. Can we appreciate that Cisco has ten bottles of hot sauce above his stove though?

MY FATHER CAPTAIN WILL HEAR ABOUT THIS| We get some insight into Julian Arnold this week. Tom Felton is such a great addition to this cast. A lot of the show is spent in the STAR Labs set and I like that Julian brings a bit of reality to the show, like finally someone challenges that Barry is absent from work for long periods of time and reports him to Captain Singh. Julian brings out the scientist side of Barry, which is too often overshadowed by all the brainiacs of Star Labs which makes Barry stupider to make them smarter. Remember when Barry was Beautiful Mind-ing it in the pilot?

Julian has military training and is taking over for Patty Spivot in just shooting at everyone and anyone. Turns out Julian comes from lots of money which he turned his back on to help people. He doesn’t hate metas, just that they squander their extraordinary abilities. Barry and Julian make up by the end of the episode and go on their first date. #Barrian

VILLAIN OF THE WEEK | It was actually a hologram made by a bullied kid. Lol. Points to Barry who made the connection with the transformers to realize this. Three times as many points to Julian, who without the fancy tech of Star Labs actually figured out where the position of the hologram came from. Is he smarter than Cisco?

TOM CAVANAGH GETS HIS PAYCHECK | Harrison Wells of Earth-19, or H.R., is added to the show because, Tom C. gotta get paid. He is actually a novelist, does trust games, is useless, walks around with drumsticks (?), has no comedic resonance with Cisco and is apparently a “muse” on his earth or the lamest version of Steve Jobs. They decide to let him stay because again, Tom C. gotta get paid. This subplot is useless and brings no value to anything but is best summarized as:

KILLER FROST | Cait is actually super powerful, despite her powers being nascent to her. I don’t understand why Cait is keeping it a secret when so many people in her life are metas. She goes to her mother Dr. Tanhauser , an expert in cryogenics to help understand her new powers. Some familial backstory on Caitlin: her father died despite her mother’s great efforts to save him, Ronnie is dead in this timeline also and Cait and her mother have a very strained relationship. With the Flashpoint reset, I’m a bit disappointed they didn’t maximize the death of Ronnie dying, I have always felt like that should have been part of the trigger for her to spiral into Killer Frost.

Turns out the more Cait uses her powers, the more irreversible they become. When an assistant at her mother’s lab tries to violate her as a lab rat, Cait fucks his shit up which is pretty bad ass.

The show is gradually developing the emotional arc of Cait becoming a meta which is interesting because it seems as though she can’t control hers at all and there are real stakes when her abilities go haywire in a different way to Cisco or Barry.

I am super into Cait’s bobby pin look btw, I think I’m gonna recreate it tbh!

Stray Observations:

  • There was a lot of random pop music in the score this week, I did appreciate them using Blake Neely’s “The Scientist” cue when Barry asks Julian to mentor him. Comedic and very season 1.
  • Who is The Flash on Earth 19?
  • Predictions: Julian comes from money, I bet he dies and leaves Barry and Star Labs all his wealth to continue the fight in season 4 because how are they running these operations? with what money? it’s not like they’re Oliver Queen and are actual billionaires. Either that or he becomes a vigilante because money plus military training equals vigilante

GRADE: C

Next: It appears Dr. Alchemy has set his sights on ressurecting Kid Flash and Iris is nawt havin’ it.

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When Wally starts having dreams about being Kid Flash, Barry realizes he has to tell Wally, Iris and Joe about what happened to Wally in Flashpoint in order to keep him safe: check out the promo for Shade, the next episode of The Flash set to return on November 15th

The Flash 3x 03 / 04: Magenta & The New Rogues

the flash

 

 

The Flash hits its first clunker of the season with Magenta but bounces back  with The New Rogues.

Previously:

3×03: Magenta.

Air date: October 18th, 2016

Magenta sucked as a villain. I hated watching this episode. Joey King (Magenta) was a good child actress but this week, girl was not the business. Worst episode of the season. Westallen was cute though. It saved this episode from a flat out F.

Grade: D

3×04: The New Rogues.

Air date: October 25th, 2016 

Excellent episode. I loved the return of Wentworth Miller as Captain Cold (get that money boo) in his new status as series regular across all of the DCTV shows. Mirror Master and Top were worthy villains of the week. I enjoyed them a lot and I hope they return. Very nice to see the return of Iris West (Candice Patton) at CCPN. Joe (Jesse L. Martin) is getting a girlfriend!

The return of Jesse Quick (Violette Beane) and Whisper Wells! Jesse’s latent powers kick in and Wally (Keiyan Lionsdale) feels inferior. Poor Jesse Quick has to use Trajectory’s old suit. That is straight up ugly. I like Jesse and Wally, but Wally’s insecurity at not getting powers surely means he seeks out Dr. Alchemy at some point right? The idea of auditioning Harrison Wellses from other Earths is dumb and just pandering to keep Tom Cavanaugh in the cast somehow. It feels like an easy cop out. Barry mentoring Jesse was very lovely and his self realization that he has become more like Oliver Queen is hilarious.

Also if Tom Felton or H.R. Wells is Savitar I am going to log out of The Flash forever because they just cannot do the whole “our friend was secretly our foe” trope for a third time after Eo-Wells and Jay-Zoom. And lastly, I like the comedic beats of Joe dealing with Iris and Barry in a relationship. Barry is such a scrub though, like why is he living rent-free at Joe’s house, when he has an actual salary as a CSI? Even Iris has moved out. I am also enjoying Caitlin’s (Danielle Panabaker) descent into Killer Frost. It is being handled and acted much better than the corny disaster of Season 2. I mean, #neverforget lmfao.

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I would look for more gifs but I don’t hate myself that much. Anyway, “The New Rogues” is the best episode of the season thus far.

Grade: A-

Next: Barry battles a monster, is hopefully less of an idiot and/or scrub.

RECAP: The Flash – 3X02 – Parodox

neetz talks tv, the flash

Air Date: 11th October 2016

The Flash resets with the new alterations from Flashpoint. It’s a pretty miserable life and further proof that Barry ruins everything.

The consequences of Flashpoint reverberate throughout the episode with some huge changes. Barry seeks out Felicity Smoak (“Arrow”) for help on his new reality. It turns out Flashpoint has affected Star City – Sarah Diggle is no more, in this reality John Diggle (David Ramsey) has a son – Connor Diggle – which is a nice nod to the continuity of the Connor Diggle we saw taking over for the Green Arrow in “Legends of Tomorrow“.

Seems like Barry screwed up everyone in his life as well: Cisco’s (Carlos Valdes) brother Dante is dead and is no longer the bubbly effervescent personality we’ve come to know. This Cisco is depressed and sombre; attends grief counselling and isn’t naming our metahumans of the week. He’s resentful towards Barry as he refuses to change back the timeline to prevent Dante from being hit by a drunk driver. The relationship between Iris (Candice Patton) and Joe (Jesse L. Martin) remains fractured due to him lying about her mother Francine. It’s unclear if she’s alive in this timeline.

OG Daddy Flash Jay Garrick (John Wesley Shipp) returns when Barry once again tries to reset the timeline by saving Dante. I love that Dawson’s Creek is playing in the diner where they have their heart to heart. This is amazing for several reasons: JWS played Dawson’s dad, Dawson’s Creek originally aired on the network that spawned the CW – the WB; and I really wish they had shown the iconic scene of Dawson Leery’s ugly crying face. The BARRY ALLEN PEP TALK counter goes to 2 for season 3 as OGDF explains to Barry that he can’t use time travel as an out for every problem he faces because he keeps fucking things up. He has to be the hero that owns up to his decisions. “Are you gonna take a do-over every time you make a mistake, or are you going to move forward? The parodox of time and the paradox of life. I love seeing John Wesley Shipp on the show, he brings such a different gravity to the show and in his interactions with Barry. They are much better than the ones with Tom Cavanaugh. (Stray observation: why hasn’t a time wraith come for Barry yet? He has reset time at least three times for personal gain in a space of months)

Barry is forced to come clean about Flashpoint but I like that it’s Iris that figures out something is wrong. Iris West’s involvement in season three continues to be prominent. It’s also Iris who brings everyone together and confronts the ethics of Barry’s decision and to forgive him. A huge highlight of this episode is Cisco’s realization that Barry’s selfishness has caused the death of his brother. Carlos Valdes sells the hell out of the scene where you see the full capacity of Cisco’s grief. It’s

The addition of Julian (Tom Felton) is actually quite excellent. It brings the show out of Star Labs and reminds us that Barry Allen has an actual job. Barry and Draco have really good chemistry. Julian is acidic toward Barry and makes a good comedic foil with Cisco being so subdued. We’re so used to seeing people challenge Barry as a superhero but this is the first time we’re seeing him being challenged as a CSI. Barry uses Draco’s intelligence to locate The Rival (this week’s villain, repowered by Dr. Alchemy) because Barry only gets to use his science background once per season other than that he is strictly phone-a-friend. It’s always good to have someone not kiss Barry’s ass, Wally (Keiyan Lionsdale) was like that originally but then drank the Barry kool-aid. The episodes where Wally was just unimpressed with Barry were hilarious. Julian is smart, smarter than Barry, like literally everyone else is.

The Rival makes for a boring villain. He is nawt like Zaddy Zoom. Claris (The Rival) acknowledges that the only speedsters in the Flashpoint timeline were himself and Wally and for a second I thought it was gonna have a plot point where a powerless Wally was in danger in this reality but it’s not even addressed. The Rival and Dr. Alchemy give Barry his biannual ass-kicking throughout Central City. Barry goes full on customer service rep to Dr. Alchemy, “Well, what do you want?”. Alchemy is apparently preparing this world for something ominous. Right as The Rival is about the finish Barry for good, VIBE SHOWS UP and OMG YASSSS Cisco BAE OMG YASSS uses his powers to save Barry. In this reality, Cisco has full control of his abilities and it’s AMAZING. They team-up and it’s very fun. I really hope eventually Cisco is integrated more in this way.

And as  the episode closes, we see that Cait has her killer frosty powers in this timeline but no one knows. Julian, still smarter than Barry, gets him to falter and admit that something is up with him. Westallen have another lovely scene on the West’s front porch. “We will always find each other”. They share yet another first kiss as the Westallen theme music swells, it’s in slow motion and it lingers on their faces. It’s perfect (#internalscreamz, I hope this one sticks, stop fucking up the timeline Barry!) and we cut to the epilogue where we see The Rival being murdered by Dr. Alchemy in Iron Heights. I guess he won’t be in Rush Hour 4 either.

Stray Observations: I love the girl’s wardrobe this season. Iris and Cait look great. In a way, the entire episode  felt like a pilot because so many small details have changed and it’s a good way to improve upon the same premise after seeing what has and has not worked. I enjoyed this episode a lot, more so for the character development. The villains of the week were not impressive.

GRADE: B+

Up next: The return of Harrison Wells and newly minted speedster: Jesse Quick

Also apologies these entries are so belated! Work and life have had me busy. Thank you to everyone who has liked the Facebook page,. followed on Twitter and read any of my posts. It’s a real thrill to read the stats everyday and see all the parts of the world where my words reach. It’s surreal and a dream come true. Thank you.

In defense of Iris West

opinion, the flash

In its third season, one of the major failings of The Flash is the criminal way in which its female lead is portrayed at the expense of supporting female characters (Caitlin Snow, Patty Spivot, Jesse Quick). A genuine critique of this show is that they cannot write for multiple female characters at the same time. Iris West has been sidelined now for two complete seasons while the writers have developed storylines for all the supporting female cast members. A different creative choice could have been to develop all of these characters alongside each other, instead of sidelining the lead at the expense of her supporting cast members. A greater critique in general can be made of the treatment of women of colour in The Flash: Linda Park, Iris West, Francine West? All three have had their arcs never truly fleshed out or seen as anything as props for the men in their lives. Every season, poor Candice Patton has to peddle the same repeated promises of the showrunners that she will finally get to be a real reporter and contribute to the team.

Patty Spivot had a back story and an entire half-season to develop her as a character and she had motivations outside her relationship with Barry. She has career ambitions. She has a backstory of avenging her father. She is independent and doesn’t take Barry’s shit.

Caitlin Snow is shown to be an (albeit unrealistic) multi-hyphenate member of Team Flash: microbiologist, doctor, botanist, secretary of state etc. Caitlin Snow lost a fiancé, just like Iris West, but there is barely a mention of Iris’ grief while that was made a central part of Caitlin’s growth. Iris is just shown to “get over Eddie” in a passing line to make her available for Barry.

Jesse Quick is another one of the most developed characters in the last season. The father-daughter relationship of Wells and Jesse has incredible emotional depth and despite being higher billed and having similar threads of loss and overprotectiveness, there is no real equivalent to the Iris West/Joe West relationship.

The loss or complicated relationships of mother figures runs as a common thread for many of The Flash’s characters: Barry Allen, Caitlin Snow, Iris West and Jesse Quick. All of these complicated losses are shown to be integral parts of the developments of these characters except Iris and Francine West.  Iris also had a fractured relationship: her father let her believe she was dead for years! Yet this was a throwaway offscreen plot point when dies of her terminal illness! Yet Francine dies offscreen and we never truly see her grieve.

There have been a few episodes where Iris has been given her due diligence and they all stand out as massive moments in the series: “The Runaway Dinosaur” and “Welcome to Earth-2” are notables. “Welcome to Earth-2” is my favorite Iris episode because she is shown to be a rich, fully developed character. She has her marriage to nerdy E-2 Barry Allen but she is also a fearless detective.

Mention also has to be made of Linda Park. What happened to Linda Park? What happened to CCPN? Linda was just there to prop Barry while he silently pined over Iris while she was with Eddie. We never even get to see any of the Linda-Iris relationship or how the realistic story thread of investigative reporters helping a superhero is never used. Lois Lane can do it, Cat Grant can do it, so why can’t Iris West?

I sincerely hope this season gives us more rich development to these characters instead of constantly bloating the call sheet to stuff characters into the show without the depth to truly hit us all in the feels. I fully believe that female characters can be fully developed and have motivations for being something other than pep talk props for male superheroes. For effective storytelling, we have to know Iris West outside of her being Barry’s prop. If they are infusing the show with these iconic characters of the mythos or going the canonical route of Barry and Iris then for it to truly feel be impactful, we have to know these characters, we have to feel their motivations. I am a big believer of the slow burn arc for love storylines and there is so much opportunity here for a more nuanced rich payoff for the show’s canon couple. Perhaps the reset of Flashpoint can remedy the mistakes of earlier seasons with a reset of WestAllen and Iris West.

The Flash has an abundance of rich, complicated and smart female characters that can be just as thrilling and super as The Flash. Here’s to season three showing us more of that!

RECAP: The Flash – 3×01 FLASHPOINT

the flash

Air Date: Tuesday 4th October 2016

The Flash ambitiously starts Season 3  tackling FlashPoint Paradox arc. While this was fleshed out in a two hour animated movie, the CW series’ version  unfortunately wraps this major development in one episode. There have been nods to the Flashpoint arc before, most notably in last season’s “The Runaway Dinosaur”. The Flashpoint arc here limits the events of the Berlantiverse to just The Flash and Central City. Had DCTV been as meticulous and synergistic as their Marvel counterparts, this could have been a great opportunity across all the DCTV platform shows – newly minted “Supergirl”, dire in need of repair “Arrow” and the clunky “Legends of Tomorrow”.

We find Barry three months after he saved his mother from Reverse Flash. This is where I find it a little weird. He saved Nora Allen when that Barry was 8 years old. But did he save her and then go forward back to 2016? Continuity? Whatever. Anyway, we meet Nora in present day looking very fetch with some hipster librarian classes. It’s actually quite sweet to see the Allen family reunited and normal. Barry is clearly glowing and relishing being with his departed parents. The selfishness of his actions has no real impact on him yet.

Mirroring the pilot, Barry always seeks out his true love Iris in every version of every timeline of every Earth. I have a lot of affection for the underused and underplayed Iris West (Candice Patton) so it’s always wonderful to see Iris getting more of her due screen time. WestAllen is lovely and beautiful; Grant and Patton have a playful, natural chemistry. I also love that Iris gets to play an actual role besides love interest and minor prop for Barry. She is a full-fledged reporter in this reality and gets her true screen time as a lead. WestAllen is always a great thing to see. Gustin plays Barry’s giddiness of courting Iris with great excitement and glee. I genuinely love the way Gustin portrays Barry’s absolute love for Iris.

Joe West is also an alcoholic in this reality.  This is a brief part of this plotline and ultimately contributes to nothing of substance in the short time that we are in Flashpoint, I found this to be cliché and lazy in storytelling. Must the Wests be drug addicts and alcoholics? It’s a poorly played stereotype. I feel like for something with truly no payoff, the conflict between Joe West and his children could have been so much more interesting. Perhaps if Joe West was a crooked cop in this reality? It would explain a fractured relationship with father and children and make for an interesting conflict if his children were fighting crime and he was the source of it. Perhaps if in this reality Francine had also been killed as a result of his shady cop ways? To make the black father an alcoholic, and the black mother a crack head?? ICU The Flash Execs. NAGL.

In this reality, Iris and Wally (Keiyan Lionsdale) are a brother/sister crime fighting duo. The best part of this, of course, is finally seeing Kid Flash. This was teased last season when Jesse (Violett Beane) and Wally were hit with the particle accelerator. With Jesse Wells safely ensconced in the Flashpoint unaffected Earth-2, this timeline sees Wally receiving his powers in an almost nod for nod take as Barry did. Keiynan Lionsale is absolutely enthusiastic in the role and thrives with the bravado and the same childlike excitement of Season 1 Barry Allen but still unique all the same.

Barry has locked up Eobard Thawne in some random holding cell that he seems to have MacGyvered a way to depress his speed. It doesn’t really look like a realistic setup but let’s go with it; we only have 42 minutes after all. Reverse Flash (Matt Letscher) lacks all the menace of the character, which was infinitely better played in the animated comic and by Tom Cavanaugh. His hatred and steel doesn’t really bite and his portrayal of the character shows no real intrigue. Letscher was far more adapt at playing this type of character as Billy Chambers on “Scandal”. His lines come off as cartoony (no pun intended) and it all feels like filler. His taunts come off as not even schoolyard affecting. His one real input comes in naming the phenomenon of what Barry has created (Flashpoint) and deducing that the more Barry uses his powers, the weaker he becomes as the older timeline is erased and the new one is cemented. This was not a part of the animated movie. It’s a nice twist that could have been the end of episode one instead of the end of the first act.

Barry reveals himself to Iris and Wally and they all team up to defeat The Rival: one of the big bads of this season. In this new reality, Team Flash is also much different. Cisco (Carlos Valdes) is a playboy tech billionaire who I guess was supposed to be a version of Tony Stark but Valdes is too sweet to come off that way and instead it plays as a childhood nerd finally getting to be a cool kid. Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) gets minimal screen time but uses it for effective comic relief as a pediatric ophthalmologist. This is the highlight of her appearance:

“Have I been kidnapped?” “Unclear”

But before long, Cait is back to shitting out unbelievable science to push our plot along.

 

Its total fun watching Kid Flash and The Flash in action but its short lived as Kid Flash is unrealistically stabbed by The Rival. It makes no sense and really cuts short what could have been a real high point of the Flashpoint arc over a season instead of mere minutes in an episode.  Barry is weakened as his the realities of Flashpoint on his powers overtake him as he battles The Rival. This leads us to the first BARRY ALLEN PEP TALK of the season.  The debut pep talk of season three is from Iris West who reminds Barry (yet again) that he can do it, blah blah whatever. I’ve never read the comics but is this also canon there too? That Barry always needs pep talks? The portrayal of heroes as vulnerable and needing encouragement is not new but it has bordered on trope and parody at this point with Barry Allen.

There is another WestAllen scene where Iris and Barry profess their love for each other. It’s sweet but it doesn’t pack quite the punch because it’s so rushed. Barry sees the true consequences of his actions and accepts that he has to let his mother die and reset the timeline. It really aggravates me that something as huge as Flashpoint is captured in less than 40 minutes. Barry has spent his entire life wishing for a life with both of his parents and his finally had his biggest dreams come true, he is finally able to court Iris and not have the responsibilities of saving Central City to prevent their relationship, the crux of everything he has ever wanted but it is all rushed by so fast. The culmination of two seasons worth of Barry Allen’s deepest pain and angst and it’s literally gone by in a flash (pun intended). I would have loved to see a few episodes of slow burn where you can truly see the payoff of Barry’s deepest desires, to have his love Iris and his family intact, to truly make us feel the loss of losing this perfect reality for the greater good.

Nora Allen dies (yet again, why do we keep punishing this chick) and Barry returns to a Nora-less timeline. But wait, Henry is dead, Nora is dead, Wally is alive but…. Iris and her father are apparently deeply estranged. Oh Barry what has your dumb ass done?

Elsewhere, we see a sleeping dude wake up. I forget his name but this is Alchemy: the other big bad of Season 3A.

GRADE: C

What did y’all think of the premiere?

Next Week: Caitlin gets Frosty, Jesse and Harry return and as well as Original Daddy Flash: Jay Garrick. Also Draco Malfoy makes his debut!