The Flash Review: Sharing (Universes) Leaves You Not Caring

 

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The Flash, Season 2, Episode 20 “Rupture”

Agents of SHIELD has been often criticized that its dependence on the events of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has handcuffed its ability to adequately tell stories. The Flash‘s inclusion in the Berlanti/DC television universe came back to bite the show in a big way this week. All the tension, drama and stakes with Barry’s decision to get his powers back is totally undermined by the fact we know he gets them back in time to show up Laurel Lance’s funeral on Arrow (which happened last week on that show).

Plot Snapshot

Despite his best efforts to bluff Central City’s criminal types into believing the Flash is still around using holograms, Barry becomes convinced he needs his powers back to defeat Zoom, who is terrorizing Central City. Harry’s plan to do this rates somewhere between risky to downright insane.

The Big Deal

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This was a very touchy-feely episode, even by The Flash‘s standards. Last time Barry was hit by lightning while mixing chemicals during a dark matter explosion, it put him in a coma for nine months. His hologram ruse with Cisco is working, but he knows it won’t last forever. Someone is going to need to be punched or bantered with, which will end the game right there. While he’s mulling the decision, he collects his people – Joe, his dad, Iris – to sample their opinions on the matter. They are all pretty much on Team You Don’t Need Powers to be a Hero (Team YDNPAH), while Harry is the guy in the back of an AA meeting clicking spoon against a fifth of whiskey labeled SPEED. In the middle of all that, Iris shows up in a lacy sweater and leather pants to drop the Maybe We Were Meant to be Together (Team MWWMTBT) bomb. Barry is willing to give the holograms another try in a trap for Reaper in Jitters. It does fool Reaper, but Zoom sees through the ruse and announces the truth to the world. With Zoom on the loose, Catlin in danger and untold dozens of metahumans lying in wait for a world without the Flash, Barry decides to go with Harry’s plan after 40 minutes of heart-to-heart talks, hugs and crying. The experiment rips Barry apart and sends a blast wave of Speed Force through Wally and Jesse, who just happen to be rounding the corner at the wrong time.

On the Side

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While Barry was circling his family wagons, Cisco was exploring his familial bonds too. During a discussion with Harry, Cisco gets a vibe about his estranged brother. The last time the brothers Ramon met, they were kidnapped by Captain Cold and Heatwave. Dante is a little sore (both literally and figuratively) about that experience, and it’s driven a bigger wedge between the siblings. After being rude to Cisco and alligator-arming the bar tab, Dante still has the stones to demand Cisco give him a ride home. Outside, they run into Earth 2’s Dante aka Reaper, who has a beef of his own with Cisco. Reaper is eventually defeated, but this second adventure exposes Dante to the world of metahumans, super science and interdimensional travel that is a part of Cisco’s everyday life. After seeing Zoom kill Reaper, Cisco extends a hug to his brother and they agree to be more brotherly in the future.

Observation and Speculation

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*Maybe if Harry wouldn’t explain his crazy plan in a more calm manner, people might be more ready to buy into it. The wild-eyed mania isn’t selling the plan.

*Like in the first Grodd episode, poor Caitlin has been reduced to some kind of red-haired Fay Wray using her feminine charms to keep the beast (Zoom) in check. Remember when she was a scientist? Good times, good times.

*Looks like we might have a love triangle on our hands. Wally was doing some flirting with Jesse when locked in the Braille vault. Cisco is going to have to up his game if he wants to be the one who infuriates Harry on the regular by playing kissy face with this daughter.

*No “World’s Greatest Dad” coffee mugs for Harry or Joe this year after locking their kids in that room without wifi or a bucket to do their business in.

*So Zoom wants to kill a bunch of Earth 1 citizens and unlock Caitlin’s dark side so they can have evil sexy-times together (Zoom is a little kinky too, seeing as how he’s clearly into handcuffs). Good to have goals, I guess.

Words to Live By

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“Expecto patronum!” – Cisco with his “Harry Potter” wand trying to attract lighting. Cisco could join the writing staff of Archer after the Potter and World of Warcraft (LeeRoy Jenkins) references he dropped in his episode.

Verdict

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What should have been an emotionally charged episode that left you wondering about Barry’s fate (especially with two potential speedsters exposed to the dark matter), was undercut at every turn because you know Barry ends up well, corporeal and fast enough to attend a funeral in Star City. The hologram device would have been a great tool more in the middle of the season, when there was time for Barry adjust to this new reality, use his scientific knowledge and accept that he can in fact make a difference to his city and his Earth without superpowers. This late in the game, there was just no time to explore that idea, so it’s rush, rush to get his powers back because there’s a season finale to set up next week.

Craig Wack

For a weekly discussion of comic book TV shows please join Craig Wack and Tatiana Torres for the Agents of GEEK podcast updated every Friday and now on iTunes

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