Review: The Flash, Ep. 5 "Plastique"

Review: The Flash, Ep. 5 "Plastique"

Flash-TV-Show-Teaser-TrailerThe Flash

Season 1, Episode 5


Rating: A+

Wow, how I missed this show last week. With the constant barrage of comic book television we have today, a lot of stuff tends to run together. The Flash is such a welcome vacation from the dismal trips taken to Arrow or Gotham, where everything is super dark and serious, all the time. The Flash is fun. Pure, comic book-style fun. Barry Allen and company were very much missed on their week off.

At the start of the episode, we find Barry and his friends all out drinking at a bar. The celebrations are short lived, as a few blocks away, an explosion goes off, severing the cables of a window washer’s cart. In yet another one of Flash’s excellent special effects, Barry takes off toward the building, scarlet and gold streaking in his wake and runs straight up the side, catching the window washer just in time and running to safety, mere feet ahead of the falling scaffolding.

The next day, Barry is on scene with investigators, talking about the bomb’s origin. This particular bomb doesn’t seem to have the typical markings of an explosive. This is, of course, because moments before, we saw a young woman in the same hallway Barry’s standing in.

This young woman’s name is Bette Sans Souci, and like many newcomers to this world, she was affected by the explosion at S.T.A.R. labs. Beforehand, she worked as an EOD specialist for the army. After the explosion, her proclivity with explosives became something she held inside. In contrast to a lot of the other players we’ve seen so far, Bette doesn’t want to hurt anyone. Before the explosion at the office building, you hear her tell a security guard to run, to get away. When Barry tries to confront her, she touches the emblem on his chest, then immediately tells him to take it off, to run. Roughly four seconds later, Barry is crouching in his boxers beside open flames. This is the first of the meta humans we’ve seen who isn’t actively trying to use her powers for ill means.

Bette wants answers to why this has happened to her, and she goes to find them. The United States Military is trying to stop her from learning. Luckily, Barry has sympathies for people like her, and pulls off a last-second rescue, right as a flashbang goes off. We learn that she was in the hospital, recovering from a roadside bomb, when the explosion at S.T.A.R. labs happened.  Caitlin posits that the dark matter from the explosion combined with the bomb particulates in her hand, resulting in her turn to living weapon.

In tonight’s B story, Joe and Barry try in vein to stop Iris from blogging about the ‘red streak’ that has been saving random people all over the city for the past couple of months. After an initial attempt by Barry to dissuade her, which fails magnificently, Barry visits her in uniform, obscuring his voice and face so she won’t recognize him. He discovers that the reason Iris is investigating the streak is Barry. She wants to prove that his story, about the yellow blur he saw the night his Mother died.  Cisco rightly points out that if any of the dangerous meta humans that they are dealing with thinks Iris knows something about the Streak, they will use her. It’s an age old superhero problem, and the entire foundation for having a secret identity. While I would like everyone to just know the truth, I can definitely see why Barry would want to keep it from his closest friend, crush, and confidante. At least for now.

Harrison Wells almost gives himself away a couple of times during the course of this episode. While telling Plastique (Cisco’s doing, of course) that the bomb fragments have bonded with her body on a DNA level, he makes a passing comment about the technology needed to fix that hasn’t been invented yet. Yet. Luckily for him, everyone else is to pre-occupied with their own guilt over not being able to help Bette to ask about his turn-of-phrase. Then, Harrison willfully manipulates Bette into trying to kill the men who are after her, General Eiling especially.. Before she can kill anyone, Barry stops her, stepping in front of her, back to the fallen General. Barry doesn’t see him reach for his gun, and isn’t fast enough to stop a bullet from 3 feet away.

This is a pretty morose ending to a character that had a lot of potential. I would have loved to have seen Plastique tend the meta-human prison they are constructing under S.T.A.R. Labs. Sadly, she dies on the shore from her bullet wounds. It’s then that her skin begins to glow the same color that the things she blows up do, a glittery purple glow shining through. She’s going to destruct, and Barry has to get her far enough away from the city that it prevents casualties. He accomplishes this in yet another spectacular effects sequence, running straight out into the ocean, skimming along the top of the water and then outrunning the shockwave of the explosion.

This is a sad end, but a necessary lesson for Barry. He can’t save everyone, the hero never can. Those are the rules. Not of being a superhero, but of life. You can’t always save everyone, and people you care about needlessly die. It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a repeated trope with superheroes. It’s no coincidence that he uses Bette’s death as a justification to get Iris to back down on writing about the streak. Peter Parker uses Gwen Stacy’s death as his own justification for maintaining a secret identity, and it looks like Bette is going to be the same kind of reason for Barry.

Stuff And Things

– Poor Barry, his metabolism won’t let him get drunk anymore. They should have a bar for guys like him. Wolverine would be a regular fixture, hopping universes and everything just to get a useless drink.

– Plastique made a whoooole lot of fans happy by blowing up Barry’s uniform and forcing him to be in boxers in broad daylight. We get to see the lightning abs again too, so, double trouble?

– Anyone else get a little creeped out by Cisco’s interest in Bette? I definitely did.

– Joe’s delight at Barry’s voice trick was absolutely… Well, delightful.

– I am so tired of Harrison Wells being mysterious already. Please just give me answers.

– 500 proof alcohol will get Barry drunk for, oh… about 15 seconds. Long enough to go “Oh man, I’m buzzed!”

– Eiling is catching on to the meta-humans, and comes to Wells to propose a partnership. That doesn’t go over well. Also, I didn’t like seeing Sheriff Corbin as a mean person.

– GRODD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, that is so exciting.

Categories: Entertainment