After a week away, we’re back with a brand new episode of the Flash! That took forever didn’t it? It’s never fun waiting for a show to return, but at least this break was short and we cam back (forgive the pun) with a bang! This week’s episode, ‘Plastique’ takes long strides in fixing one of the few flaws with the show: uninteresting villains.
With the introduction of the titular ‘Plastique’ and General Wade Eiling, the Flash is showing us that villains can be just as interesting as the heroes. In fact a great deal of this week’s episode was given to focusing on Bette San Souci, aka Plastique, and how she is dealing with her transformation into a meta-human. At first glance it seems that Bette is like every other meta-human introduced on the show: using her newly acquired powers to commit crimes. As the episode continues we are shown she is not trying to harm anyone, but reverse her transformation into a human bomb. As a twist, this was pretty revolutionary as Bette never went full arch. This allowed the show to explore the idea that not every Meta-Human will be a bad guy. Not every interesting story with the Flash will have him go toe to toe with a bad guy of the week.
Instead, the show developed on the idea that some of these meta-humans will be sympathetic if not heroes that join Team Flash as the show continues. Unfortunately this didn’t mean much as we still saw Plastique killed in this week’s climax. If that is her ultimate end, or simply a new evolution of her powers is unclear – but I hope it’s the latter. Keeping characters we can sympathize with will make long term growth of the show infinitely more plausible instead of generic baddies week to week.
We were also given a new long term antagonist in the form of General Wade Elling, portrayed by the incomparable Clancy Brown. While Plastique was given a fair amount of nuance on this week’s episode, Elling was about as cookie cutter as they come. The general sees Better as a new weapon to help win wars, an asset to be attained, studied and implemented when necessary. Seriously, how familiar does that sound? To be fair though, the fact it was portrayed by Clancy Brown made it all ok. If you want a tough as nails badass that’s going to prove a headache for our hero, who better than the Kurgan himself?
While this conflict went on a standard course of Plastique confronting the General, and ultimately dying while he spun the incident as a “training exercise” we are also given some quiet time with Barry and the West Family. While Joe has become fully comfortable with Barry’s newfound powers he is becoming increasingly distressed about Iris’ fascination with “The Streak”. Her blog is picking up followers and she has started signing her real name to the entries. Joe’s fear is she may become a target if someone suspects she knows anything of value. So of course, he asks Barry to intervene and Iris’ crusade. In a touching moment between Iris and Barry (dressed as the Flash) where she reveals she can’t give this up because she’s afraid Barry has stopped believing in the impossible, and she can’t let that happen. She needs Barry to be the dreamer. It’s a fantastic way to give her a legitimate reason to become obsessed and shows that the bond between these two is definitely more than friendship or even adoptive siblings. Of course, the result of this is Barry pushing her away in order to protect her. It’s a trope, it’s overused, and it definitely made my eyes roll. I get the reasons, but it felt like such an uncreative way to create conflict between these two when the writers had just created this beautiful moment, so we have to take off a few points for that.
On the other hand though we were given an entire flurry of new flash powers and wonderful reactions to them. It’s become one of the highlights of each week when Barry comes up with an idea and asks Team Flash if it’s possible. The resulting pseudo-science is hilarious and awesome. For instance, early in the episode Barry finds out he can’t get drunk anymore because his metabolism is too fast. So of course, Team Flash comes up with a 500 proof moonshine that can get him buzzed for 30 seconds. Flash Fact: Barry can only get drunk with SCIENCE! But more towards the powers, there is a moment that Caitlin explains that Barry can defy gravity but has to keep the momentum constant or go “splat” that was simply hilarious. We also have a great scene where Joe geeks out how Barry can disguise his voice and blur his face. There is a moment of pure joy here that is so uniquely Flash I would venture it is my favorite scene of the seasons to date. I wonder if the producers know how lucky they are to have Jessie Martin on this cast, he just nails Joe at ever moment. Also, we have got to give it up to the writers for this week’s coda. Two words people: Gorilla Grodd. I have no idea where they’re going, but as he is my favorite Rogue in the Flash lineup, I can’t wait to see what happens.
In the end, ‘Plastique’ is a flawed but very watchable episode of the Flash, that seems to show that the writer’s have overcome the early issue of flimsy villains. Add this success to the quiet moments shared between the cast as well as some truly creative moments with the Flash’s powers and we have another fantastic entry into the chronicle of the Flash. Till next week Flash Fans!
- 10 Queer Furry Comics You Need To Read Now - September 13, 2021
- 8 Disabled Horror Films That Dismantle Horrible Tropes - September 6, 2021
- 5 Comics That Shine a Spotlight on Eating Disorders - August 2, 2021