The Flash has improved in one key area over the past two episodes. Villains can be more than one and done—The Rogues were introduced in the last episode—and this episode shows that you can develop villains just like heroes.
Plastique fits in with the rest of the cast and has a touch of complexity that makes her shine in this episode. We see her struggle with her power, and that’s a good thing, but it felt rushed. She’s discarded quickly. Even still, people don’t stay dead in comics for very long, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see her again soon. Her former senior officer General Eiling, who wants to use her as a weapon, factors heavily in this episode too. Despite the generic tough-guy military man role—try picking Eiling out from the crowd of other overbearing generals—Clancy Brown, who plays Eiling, has a great onscreen presence. And I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of him either.
Hopefully, we haven’t seen the last of The Flash adding humor to the mix. DC tends to take itself too seriously. It’s nice to see Caitlin Snow drop lines like “Didn’t think this one through” when Cisco picked out a boomerang for Plastique’s power try outs and “I know how to perform a lobotomy” when Cisco tries to make a move on Plastique. I agree with Caitlin’s attitude toward Cisco’s relationship with Plastique. I would like to have seen more fleshing out of Cisco’s deep like.
But we definitely saw more fleshing out of Harrison Wells. He shows more of his hand, and we get a sweet teaser at the end of this episode. The segment’s set “five years ago”—DC loves making things exactly five years ago (Felicity in last week’s Arrow)—and it involves Eiling and the origin of another popular and bizarre Flash super villain. I won’t say who the villain is but we caught a hint of him in the series’ pilot.
Speaking of pilot, the chemistry between Detective West and Barry is so smooth it acts like it’s on auto-pilot. Okay. Those are two different kinds of pilots, but you get the point. I love the moment West has with Barry when he lets him know that he’s aware of Barry’s feelings for Iris. This makes sense for the character. The Flash has done a great job handling West’s character, and Jesse L. Martin (Detective West) is a calming influence on the cast. We need to get as much of him as possible. The same can’t be said for Candice Patton (Iris). She’s a little clunky with her delivery but at least they’re expanding on the West family dynamic.
I don’t agree with the direction The Flash is taking with the triangle of Detective West, Iris, and Barry. Barry and West want to keep Iris in the dark about the Flash. If Arrow’s taught us anything, you can’t keep a secret of that magnitude from your loved ones for too long, and when they do find out about the secret, they’ll resent you for lying to them. I might disagree with the choice of keeping Barry’s identity a secret, but I can’t explain why Barry would cut Iris out of his life for not quitting her Flash blog. They’re so much like Superman and Lois Lane.
Iris and the Flash share a moment at the coffee shop Iris works at that screams the original Christopher Reeve Superman. I liked the explanation (that Barry gives to Detective West) of how the Flash masks his voice. He vibrates his vocal chords. I can’t say that I buy the scene with Iris and the Flash. While I like the tip of the hat to Superman, I don’t like the familiarity the Flash has with Iris.
This episode shows The Flash heading in the right direction. It had more build up than action, but I liked the focus on the characters.
Verdict: The Flash continues to entertain. It builds on its characters—particularly its villains—and complicates the West family dynamic. While some clunky dialogue—and acting—still exists, the show looks like it’s headed in the right direction.
This week’s episode of Arrow is “Guilty” of being as subtle as an elephant charging down Starling City’s Main Street. It turns out that Laurel’s trainer Wildcat was also a former vigilante who had a young sidekick. Sound like someone you know? The parallels between Wildcat and Arrow are shoved down our throat, but unfortunately, “Guilty” focuses on Wildcat’s relationship with his former protégé rather than the relationship between Arrow and Roy despite last episode’s bombshell.
That bombshell proved to be a red herring. I kind of figured it would be, but we do get an idea of who Black Canary’s killer is based on Felicity’s forensic analysis. Still, “Guilty” didn’t give Roy’s story the time and space it needed to play out before letting it waft into the air. I may be a little bitter because we get a lot of Laurel in this episode, and she even sports her patented doe eyes. Laurel will become the new Black Canary, and I suppose she proved herself by staying calm in adversity and every episode shows her training hard. I still don’t know if I buy this many people with top-notch training in one city—Wildcat and his buddy make two more—but at least they’re putting in the time with Laurel.
We don’t get much of the cast outside the two vigilante tandems and Laurel but we do see flashback Ollie learn the skill of meditation which is relevant to “Guilty’s” plot, and more importantly, Roy’s mental health. Why didn’t Ollie teach Roy meditation earlier? I’d think a guy on a Mirakuru bender would need some clarity.
But it’s clear that one great thing happened on Arrow this week. We see the boxing glove arrow in action. This goofy specialty arrow blended into the scene so well and flashed so quickly that I almost missed it at first. That just goes to show you that a boxing glove arrow to the face was more subtle than the parallels between Wildcat and Arrow.
We see Wildcat’s former apprentice getting sprung by a new villain at episode’s end. I don’t believe this new villain has anything to do with Sara’s death either, but we see another wrinkle added to the story. Arrow has a lot of wrinkles this season with the League of Assassins, A.R.G.U.S., Sara’s murder mystery, Thea and Meryln, and this new villain. Let’s hope they find a path to follow before the show gets too pruney.
Verdict: A couple of nice developments are undercut by zeroing in on the wrong crime fighter/sidekick duo. Starling City gets a little more cramped.
Kyle and I pretty much agree. This was an especially disappointing episode. I wasn’t sure what more we ended up learning about Sara’s murder, other than it wasn’t Roy after all. I also hated that Wildcat and his sidekick are too young. Arrow has already been active for 2 years, so another vigilante active 6 years prior to this episode doesn’t fly. When Arrow first started, there was no mention of Wildcat, but the writers of the show would rather cast their own time line and logic aside than have to cast smoke with gray hair.
Gotham has never had a strong narrative arc or character development, and any watchability lies with which actors show up in an episode and in what combinations. Last week’s “Penguin’s Umbrella” focused on Oswald Cobblepot, Don Falcone, and the hint of a buddy cop dynamic between Gordon and Bullock. The plot for “Penguin’s Umbrella” didn’t make much sense, but it was enjoyable if you turned off your brain. This week’s episode “The Mask” drops any kind of pseudo momentum the last episode had.
Be warned, “The Mask” could be Gotham’s jumping the shark moment if it had been good at any point in its short history. I don’t see how they can torture viewers with 22 episodes of 44 minutes apiece, but I’ll spare you and stay brief.
This episode deflates the hint of a relationship between Gordon and Bullock last week. It tries to reestablish things at the end but falls flat. Gotham throws together some half-hearted GCPD come to Gordon’s rescue, complete with Bullock giving a stirring speech—well, a Bullock sarcastic special of a speech—but what the GCPD does makes no difference.
The flavor of Black Mask, this week’s villain, is inconsequential. He runs a corporate Fight Club. Seriously, that’s the lame arc of this police procedural. Things get tied up at the end not because they should be but because the 44 minutes were up, and you can’t have the episode run long or develop any plotlines for the future.
On top of all its other shortcomings Gotham can’t figure out what it wants to be. Are we focusing on Gordon and Bullock, the not-so-subtle power struggle in the mob, Batboy, tweenage Catwoman, a police procedural show, or whatever strikes Gotham’s fancy next week? You can blend a few things together, but you can’t put everything into one show. Let’s get to some quick ones.
1) We don’t get that much of Cobblepot—one of the few consistent performances on the show—but what we do get of him is with his mom—yuck—and Mooney – groan.
2) Mooney continues her ridiculous plot—that the audience already knows will fail—to overthrow Falcone. Penguin should hunt her down already.
3) Batboy returns. As usual he doesn’t deal with issues as Bruce Wayne. He thinks like Batman in Underoos.
4) Tweenage Catwoman shows up. She’s either the world’s worst thief or she wants to get with Jim Gordon at police headquarters.
5) Barbara’s justifiably freaked out, but no one cares.
6) Alfred’s going to be Bruce’s sensei. Okay?
7) Gotham has been so bad that if it continues this way for long, we may have to discontinue our reviews of it. We really don’t want to be too negative.
Verdict: This one’s a stinker. Skip it.