This The Flash review contains spoilers.
The Flash Season 3 Episode 10
When you think about it, these midseason breaks are really quite long. Ordinarily, by episode 10 of a 22 or 23 episode season, I’ve usually called out about 3-4 episodes as being “disposable” and indicative of why most network TV shows could benefit from moving to the cable model. Anyway, I’m not going to do that tonight, even though Plunder is a completely lame villain of the week.
Ah, but this is where The Flash proved me wrong once again. You see, much like they did with Magenta or Shade, who both hung around in two of this season’s lesser installments, the show isn’t here to sell you on these cases. Instead, these minor, disposable villains are here because this is simply the kind of stuff a superhero has to deal with every week in Central City, even when there are much more pressing matters like, y’know, preventing the future murder of the love of your life. Everything is still in service to this, and Plunder doesn’t get in the way of that at all. And also, those tracking bullets were cool as can be.
Meanwhile, for a guy that we only see in flashback (ahem, I mean, flash-forward), Savitar’s presence looms large. But really, he’s completely absent in every appreciable way from the episode, but his presence is still felt heavily in nearly every scene. You can thank Grant Gustin’s performance for that, and I think finally, after Barry’s manic episodes that ultimately led to Flashpoint, the character has settled into that perfect groove of “the weight of the world, perhaps multiple worlds, is on my shoulders” without compromising his otherwise appropriate exuberance and positivity.
And I do think that the scene where Barry tells Iris about her fate might be the single most powerful moment these two have had together. Candice Patton and Grant Gustin have had wonderful chemistry since the first episode, and it’s hard not to root for these two characters. But the moment in original Wells’ secret room is, I think, the best they’ve had. It’s safe to say that’s saying quite a bit. On the other hand, Barry telling Iris “I swear on both my parents’ lives” shouldn’t exactly fill anybody with confidence now that I think about it.
While I’m at it, I think that Barry has finally started to grow into the experience hero/mentor role that Oliver Queen eventually did on Arrow. Barry is more naturally accepting of it than Oliver was, which is why it won’t take as long (but Ollie is doing great work with it over on Arrow‘s much improved 5th season these days) for him, and that moment when he finally lets Wally have his moment was just about perfect.
And speaking of Wally, I sure do love that Kid Flash costume. And I really loved his initial square off with Plunder on the motorcycle there. That might have been the best blend of practical stuntwork and the CGI (yeah, I know, lot of “bests” this week from me…cut me some slack, I missed this show) I’ve seen this show attempt. It was brief, but it was cool. And c’mon, how can you not pop for Wally when he literally got lightning in his eyes when Barry gave him the “Iris needs a hero right now” pep talk?
Of course, if Iris is saved, the future is probably going to find a way to take another West away, and Wally seems to be having way too much fun and Joe West is having way too easy a time of things right now so…let’s not get too attached to anybody, OK?
What I might be most impressed by, though, is how this episode sets up a new mission for the rest of the season. Usually, the instinct with these midseason premieres is to open with a bang and try to get everyone accustomed to formula again. But here, “Borrowing Problems From The Future” almost feels like the start of a brand new season for a show that has been quite happy to subvert its own formula for the last nine episodes. Flashpoint is behind us, and they quite literally spell out the plan for the rest of the season on that snappy clear wipeboard. There’s your formula right there: change the future by changing the events that lead up to it. I’m down for this, and the fact that we only get ten or so episodes to do it should keep everybody honest.
I was prepared to write about what a slow-moving, downbeat episode “Borrowing Problems From the Future” was, but then The Flash, as it has been known to do this season, just went ahead and proved me wrong. Seriously, for a show that now boasts at least two speedsters a week on it, The Flash has been a remarkably patient affair all season long. It’s not in a hurry to get anywhere. But if the first ten episodes of this season are anything to go by, well, everything is going to be worth the wait.
– Plunder has only made a handful of appearances in DC Comics, and you aren’t missing much, and really, he doesn’t bear much in common with the guy we met here. He was created by Geoff Johns and Angel Unzueta during one of my favorite periods of Flash comics, though, and he was really one of Wally’s enemies, so there’s some appropriate symmetry in having Wally take him down.
Now, let’s talk headlines…
– Unfortunately, I think Ms. Snow’s return to Killer Frost-dom is inevitable, and I’m afraid she’s going to take poor Julian down with her, one way or the other. I like both of these characters so much. On the other hand, maybe this is one of those events that they’ll be able to put off, and we won’t see Caitlin return to her villainous ways again until The Flash Season 4. I advocated patience with revealing Killer Frost, and it worked quite well. The next challenge is for the show not to overuse her.
– The gorilla attack is totally happening, as there’s a Grodd two-parter on the way! I have more details on that here.
– I have to laugh at “Music Meister gets six figure book deal.” We know that there’s a musical Flash/Supergirl crossover episode coming. But the idea of a fictional despicable, flamboyant villain getting a “six figure book deal” that our heroes have to stop mirrors how Simon and Schuster gave a “six figure book deal” to that real life despicable, flamboyant, racist fuckface Milo Yiannopoulos. Yeah, yeah, “keep your politics out of my entertainment.” Save it. That guy is vile.
Anyway, I bet the joke is that Music Meister gets his book deal even after Supergirl and Flash expose what a jerk he is.
– I’m calling it right now: STAR Labs Museum closes…but becomes The Flash Museum! Here’s the thing: we’ve already “seen” The Flash Museum in the season one finale and we sorta met its proprietor in the season one episode “Going Rogue” (where he was played by Bruce Harwood) when he was in charge of just The Central City Museum. But it’s not like these shows haven’t swept names under the rug before (Hello, season one Linda Park!), and really…doesn’t HR Wells seem like more of a Dexter Myles to you? C’mon, how can you not be rooting for poor HR to succeed right now?
– That was Gypsy popping out of that portal at the end of the episode. More on her next week.
– Regardless of what happens with Savitar, things are going to be difficult for Iris in the future. I won’t go into detail here, because it’s like, season 4 or 5 spoilers, but it’s something else they’ve teased in the speed force visions in the past. OK, fine, I wrote a little more about it here, but spoilers!
Alright speedsters, what did I miss? Hit me up on Twitter or let me know in the comments! It’s good to be back!