The Flash, Season 3, Episode 5 “Monster”
After a couple of episodes with a lighter tone, The Flash took a more serious turn for “Monster,” and used the drama to explore some of its secondary characters.
It feels like forever since Caitlin has been given something significant to do, so it was nice to see the lion’s share of the spotlight. Her cold powers are manifesting themselves in ways that are scaring her enough to seek help from her super-scientist mother. Their relationship is strained in many ways, but it’s revealed that the heart of their issues stem from when Caitlin’s mom checked out of her parental duties after Caitlin’s dad passed away. In many ways, Caitlin lost both parents at a tender age, and she’s harboring some major resentment that seems to fuel her newfound powers. Caitlin gets mad, and her powers take over. In the end her mother sends a dire warning that the more she uses her powers the less likely that she’ll be able to cure herself, which of course triggers a rage related cold incident.
Secondarily, in Barry’s quest to have everyone like him, he is determined to get to the bottom of why his lab partner Julian (aka CSI Draco Malfoy) hates him so much. Julian’s initial list of complaints is fairly valid given that Barry disappears for long stretches of time during the workday, if he shows up at all. Barry plays to Julian’s ego and asks if he can shadow his partner and lean how to do things the proper way.
This dovetails with the week’s big bad, which is a lizard monster that materializes in Central City, blows up power transformers before vanishing as quickly as it appears. During the investigation, Julian admits to no small amount of metahuman envy that feeds the feelings of inadequacy he’s been carrying around since being a science nerd from a rich family in England. They discover this monster is a hologram, and Julian triangulates the operator’s location and confronts the “evil mastermind” with gun in hand.
Flash gets to the scene just in time to save the operator, a bullied teenager looking to bully the world back a little, from getting shot by Julian. The whole affair gives Julian some new perspective on both the Flash and his alter ego. Barry and Julian bond over beers, and all is right with the world.
Finally, there’s a dive into revealing the true nature of Hipster Harry. At first the audience is led to believe that HR was sinister, but in the end, it’s revealed he’s more of just an idea man than engineer. HR is actually an author whose scientific achievements on his home Earth were built on the backs of underlings. There’s some thought to booting him back to his own planet, but Barry decides to keep him around on a probationary basis. So, we’re stuck with him for the next few episodes, too.
This was one of those hours that series use to fill out the season order. It’s neither good nor bad, it’s just … there. The developments with Caitlin, and resisting the urge to fall back into its maudlin ways kept “Monster” from becoming a total loss.