This The Flash review contains spoilers.
The Flash Season 2 Episode 20
“Breaking news coming out of Jitters Coffee Shop…”
That was an actual line written for this episode. And it may not even be the worst one. Here’s some “breaking news” of my own. “Rupture” might be the low point of the longest sustained stretch of bad episodes The Flash has ever had.
And for real, it’s tough to put a brave face on for “Rupture.” It pulls it together towards the end, but holy moley, this one is bad news.
Remember how annoyed I was with “Versus Zoom?” I admit, some of that was just me being a brat about some story choices I wasn’t terribly fond of. The episode still was lousy, mind you, but I confess, I took it a little personally.
That’s not the case with “Rupture.” No, this was just a mess. I should have started keeping score of every horrific piece of hack supervillain dialogue in this episode, from Zoom’s “Hello, old friend,” all the way through to that ridiculous moment where Rupture and Zoom are talking in cliches to each other with their modified voices. It was like an episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, except it was meant to be deadly serious.
But the worst crime of all was just how impossibly boring everything was. I haven’t believed in this season’s stakes for quite some time, even when I had a sunnier view of the episodes themselves. We’ve just been plodding along towards the inevitable moment when Wally and Jesse become speedsters, the Zoom story is resolved, and we hopefully never have to spend another minute on Earth-2 (boy, I’ve changed my tune on that one, haven’t I?).
When not even the always welcome presence of John Wesley Shipp can’t cheer me up, well, something ain’t right. But Shipp’s guest slot (along with the usual sterling performance from most of the core cast) did help keep this from becoming too much of a slog, particularly in the final act. In this episode, as in all episodes, I absolutely buy into Grant’s “tougher” Barry moments, and this was no exception. But, for real, there’s only so many times they can do the “Flash loses his powers” thing, and if we’re going straight to “recreating the accident” (more on that down below), then it’s not something you can get away with more than once. Despite my howling the last few weeks, I do still love this show, and expect it to continue on for at least another three seasons. You can’t come back to this well.
For that matter, the “Barry is dead” cliffhanger seems particularly empty, although I do admit, they pulled off some pretty compelling visuals with it. Harry Wells, a character that had no business being as compelling as he was for most of the season, may have another side to show us, because I do believe that was some genuine concern for Barry that he was showing there at the end.
And I know this, far more than Barry’s “death,” was supposed to be the most important part of the episode, but the Barry/Iris stuff didn’t move me. I’m a fan of these two. I’m just shy of being a cheerleader for that relationship. And it’s all been happening so organically…until the last few weeks. I don’t get the need to accelerate this any more than necessary when it was just unfolding as it should. That, I admit, is just a personal preference. But the other stuff: the dreadful Earth-2 dopplevillain, the inexcusable dialogue, the fact that Zoom is now little more than a Scooby-Doo villain, it’s just too much for this show to outrun this week.
– Rupture first appeared in Justice League of of America #233. Believe it or not, he was a Vibe villain! The version we meet this week is much more in keeping with the character’s New 52 appearances from the underrated (and short-lived) Vibe series by Geoff Johns, Andrew Kreisberg (yes, that Andrew Kreisberg), and Pete Woods.
– So, there’s a long tradition of “recreating the accident” in Flash lore, and this episode touched on two of them…
One is Flashpoint, a story that was much cooler in theory than it was in practice. In that story, which I know this show references kinda sideways a lot and everyone says is some kind of definitive Flash tale (but it isn’t), Barry ends up in another timeline with no powers and the Batman of that world (don’t ask) straps him into an electric chair and summons the lightning.
The other key here is Wally West’s Kid Flash origin story. See, in the comics, for some completely baffling reason, Barry Allen decides to arrange the exact chemicals the exact same way as the night of the accident and a lightning bolt comes in and…oh, you get the idea. Anyway, for all my grousing, things made much more sense here.
But I gotta say, there was one thing that really got me, and it’s pretty awesome. Barry kinda discorporates and it seems to be his energy that passes through Wally and Jesse. Remember the weird energy that passed through Barry the night of the accident? Well, there was a particular comic story where Barry did kind of, in a weird way, become the lightning bolt that gave him powers. There’s definitely something up here, and I’m all about it.
Mike Cecchini made a joke on Twitter earlier tonight and now his phone is melting. It’s been fun.