TV Recap: The Flash, ‘Plastique’

Written by Matt Kelly

"Pilot"

Plastique Plot Summary:

Barry (Grant Gustin) has to pursue an explosive new meta-human in Central City and he has to find her before a dangerous General (Clancy Brown) does. At the same item Barry has to deal with Iris’ (Candice Pattoncuriosity as she moves forward with her Streak-centric blog.

Let’s break down the major story lines of this week’s episode…

Barry and Iris

This week Barry and Iris’s relationship took a strange turn. Iris has been on a mission to let people know about “The Streak” that is saving people from house fires and window washing disasters that are all too common on television. (Seriously, have you ever seen a TV window washer just successfully wash a window and go home? Never.) Iris is now blogging about The Streak and for some reason she is using her real name on the blog. Of course, everyone but Iris agrees is a horrible idea. All Iris seems concerned with is meeting up with The Flash.

To show her how no good can come from trying to meet up with The Flash, Barry decides… to meet up with her as the Flash. They go through the rooftop superhero motions that we have seen in so many movies already. It ends with Laurel Iris telling Flash that she is investigating the Flash because of Barry and he gets all emotional and runs away. This interaction and the fact that he can’t tell Iris his secret (for some reason) forces Barry to “break up” with his fake sister for a while. It seems like a pretty good movie for the show since their relationship was going way too well. I am excited to see what happens when Barry gets a little space.

Barry and Joe

This relationship is certainly the part of the show I look forward to the most. This is due to the fact that Jesse L. Martin is such a pro. He walks the line between dad and boss so well and this week he also did a great job playing the role of regular guy, too. The moment where Barry explains how he masks his identity and Joe just thought it was the coolest thing was priceless. It’s reactions like this that make you really notice what separates Flash from other shows like Arrow or SHIELD — Flash acknowledges that having super powers would be awesome.

The craziest single moment between Joe and Barry this week however, had nothing to do with superpowers. My mind was blown by Joe’s admission that he knows how Barry feels about Iris and that he’s okay with it. Even as a Flash fan who knows that Barry and Iris are destined to be together, I think its a little weird that he is in love with his adopted sister. Wouldn’t you assume it would be an even weirder relationship to grasp if they were both your “kids?” That is why Joe is the best. You know he understands how nutty it is, but he internalizes it and pretends he doesn’t mind the borderline incest.

He is truly the perfect dad/cop.

Plastique and The Gang

This week’s freak was a rogue known as Plastique (Kelly Frye). She has the power to turn objects into bombs, which manifests itself the same way Gambit’s powers usually do. Her big issue is that she can’t control the powers and accidentally weaponizes whatever she touches. The lack of self control also manifests in Cisco (Carlos Valdes). This guy, who despite the fact we just established Plastique could explosively-destroy anything she touched, couldn’t help but hit on her throughout the episode. The rest of the interactions with the group were pretty standard. Cisco gives her a goofy name. Barry tells her to not be bad. Caitlin is there. But then…

What on infinite Earths is going on with Dr. Wells (Tom Cavanagh)?!?! His motivations are all over the place. He completely convinces Plastique to murder General Eiling with a single badass quasi-military speech. It worked so well it borders on possibly being mind control. Then Plastique went and get herself killed, which is the only way that plan doesn’t completely sink Wells. If she survived long enough to tell anyone what she was up to, they would all have been on Wells’ case. It seems like everything happened with Plastique for the sole purpose of teaching Barry that he can run on water, which seems like a really roundabout way to do that but who knows. Wells clearly knows exactly what he is doing.

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Wells and Eiling

What a treat having Clancy Brown back in the superhero TV fold. Fans of DC animation will recognize Brown as the voice of Lex Luthor on the animated Superman series as well as the wildly popular Justice League cartoons. He has the perfect voice that exudes both pure evil and pure power. Interestingly enough he also voices Mr. Krabbs so, yeah, he’s got range. He also plays a bizarrely familiar character in General Eiling. He is a general bent on hunting down superpowered individuals and weaponizing their powers for the military. If that sounds familiar, it is because General Eiling has almost exactly the same as the description as classic Hulk villain General Thunderbolt Ross. I am bringing this comparison up because Clancy Brown currently provides the voice for Ross on the Marvel cartoon Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. which makes Brown the perfect person the play Eiling, since he pretty much already is.

The relationship between Wells and Eiling is, no surprise, complicated. They worked together in the olden days of five years ago on weird science projects but once Wells grew a conscience things fell apart. The stinger tacked onto the end of the episode teases the strangest of all of the Flash villains, which is awesome. I don’t want to spoil it here if you haven’t yet seen it yet. Suffice it to say, If I were making a Flash show, I wouldn’t dream of putting him into the first season, let alone the fifth episode. I can’t wait until we have entire story arcs devoted to him.

Rating: 8/10

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Matthew Nando Kelly is a staff writer for Pop-Break. Aside from TV reviews, he also writes about films, music, and video games. Matthew also has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he discusses pop culture related brackets with fellow Pop-Break writer DJ Chapman. He loves U2, cats, and the New Orleans Saints. He can also occasionally be found writing lists on Topless Robot and his twitter handle is @NationofNando

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Matthew Nando Kelly is the cool and tough Managing Editor of Pop Break who was allowed to write his own bio. Besides weekly Flash recaps, he has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he makes pop culture brackets with fellow writer DJ Chapman.