Remember last week when I said I was tired of the de-powered superhero trope? Well, that also goes for “dying” superhero tropes. You may think that was a huge episode spoiler, but I don’t. Show of hands, who thinks Barry is really dead? No one? Right, because he’s not. The preview for next week confirms it. So what was the value of this ending?
In fact, this entire episode felt like a whole lot of throat-clearing. Barry wrestled with whether or not to subject himself to the replicated particle accelerator explosion. We all knew he was going to, so why did it take all episode? Seeing Zoom kill a bunch of people changed his mind. Was there any doubt that’s what was going to happen? Why did Barry wait for Zoom to do it then? As you can see, I’m asking a lot of rhetorical questions. I do that when I’m annoyed.
Cisco had a nice moment with his brother this week. I continue to enjoy his character arc, and he may have been the only highlight for me this week.
I’m going to channel Van Morrison and Them by singing, F-I-Double L-E-R. FILL-ER! F-I-Double L-E-R. FI-LL-ER! I didn’t buy Barry’s reluctance in replicating the particle accelerator explosion. He knows he can’t beat Zoom without his powers, just like he knew he couldn’t trust Zoom when he gave up his powers in the first place. I didn’t buy the progression of Iris and Barry’s love. Barry’s more Iris’s brother on this Earth, and that’s kind of gross, unless you’re down with a brother-sister getting freak nasty. I didn’t buy Barry dying at the episode’s end. He isn’t dead. Jim and I talked about it and how is Barry even dead? Dr. Wells recreated the original explosion to the letter, so it should’ve yielded similar results. So shouldn’t Barry be in a coma?
The writing is channeling WWJD. You can’t return after a day or two because everyone has to know you’re dead for your return from death to mean anything. Wait for Sunday to come around, when everyone’s looking around thinking where Jesus is, and then announce you’re back. If that last comment offended you, know that this isn’t the first time DC has used the WWJD writing technique this year: Superman at the end of Batman v Superman.
Wally and Jessie were the only two non-metahumans locked up for their own protection. And look how that turned out. They were in the right place at the right time for both of them to get zapped by a bolt of lightning, which should, in turn, transform them into speedsters. Sigh. We’ll watch them run around for an episode, while Barry takes thirty to forty minutes to rematerialize.
On to pleasant things, I also enjoy Cisco’s character arc. The Flash has done a great job with him this season—and last season for that matter—but I worry about what might happen to The Flash if Cisco gets too powerful. The Flash is already an overpowered hero, that’s why we’ve already seen the de-powered trope two or three times in less than two seasons and we’ve gotten one death, too. If you add Cisco’s vibe powers at full-throttle, they’d be nigh unbeatable. So then we’d be back to de-powering and killing.
It’s difficult to write for TV. I’m not trying to be sarcastic with that last comment. It is difficult. A season of The Flash runs about 20 hours, and that’s daunting, and when we take a macro approach to storytelling (an entire series’ run or a block of two or three seasons), it’s even more difficult. But I couldn’t help but hear a drill sergeant or band major bark, “Mark time, march” at the beginning of “Rupture,” and the characters marched in place for forty minutes.
Thanks for reading.