The Flash Is Born Plot Summary:
A new meta-human with the power to transform into living metal starts terrorizing the town and Barry has a strange feeling that they have met before. At the same time, Detective West starts digging deeper into Barry’s mother’s death while Iris attempts to continue her contacts with The Flash, despite the obvious danger.
This week almost everyone on The Flash was dumb. Real dumb. Don’t get me wrong. The episode was good and the show is moving in the right direction but WOW are these guys dumb.
Since The Flash is Born was all about getting into fights, I’m going to split this week’s episode into the different fights that have been brewing. I’ll start with the good and end with the groan inducing.
Barry vs. Eddie
Eddie (Rick Cosnett) has overtaken Joe (Jesse L. Martin) as the most interesting character. The Eddie/Barry (Grant Gustin) relationship has blossomed into something really great . This week, Eddie and Barry start working together on the case of Tony Woodward (Greg Finley). We get a lot of great moments that seem designed to make you really like Eddie. He is interested in the meta-humans in a dorky way. He gives Barry fighting advice. He even tries to help fix Barry and Iris’s (Candice Patton) relationship. He doesn’t seem too perfect either. He may be wrong for Iris, but he genuinely doesn’t seem to be a bad guy.
The confusing part is that Eddie Thawne IS a bad guy. He is THE bad guy. Most people would probably put Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) at the very top of a list of The Flash’s enemies, but right there at number two (possibly tied with a super-intelligent gorilla) is The Reverse Flash aka Professor Zoom aka Eddie Thawne. Now, Eddie’s backstory is all kinds of complicated and silly. He is a plain and simple Flash foil with psychotic intentions. He is all about time traveling and that has led a lot of Flash fans to theorize that Wells (Tom Cavanaugh) is really Professor Zoom and Eddie is just some sort of fake out. If that’s true, the writers are doing a great job because even hardcore Flash fans have no idea who is who, which is a real achievement for a show like Flash. If this keeps up whatever twist ends up coming is guaranteed to be mind blowing.
Detective West vs. Professor Wells
Joe continues to investigate Nora Allen’s murder and he starts with the one person who seems to be connected to all of the other meta-human events in town; Dr. Wells. Here is where our heroes start getting dumb. If you assume, like Joe does, that Wells was connected with Nora’s death, then also you have to assume Wells (or someone he is working with) is a Flash-like meta-human. So instead of secretly investigating Wells and building a case, Joe just gets coffee with Wells and accuses him of being involved with the murder. Wells gives Joe an alibi that in no way proves his innocence and Joe just apologizes. It’s lucky for Joe that Wells isn’t responsible for the murder because if he was, that could put Joe and his family in a lot of danger. Oh wait.
OF COURSE it puts Joe and his family in a lot of danger! Duh! At the end of the episode, the Reverse Flash just shows up at Joe’s house, takes all of his evidence, and threatens to kill Iris. Come on Joe. If you are going to let the supervillain know that you suspect him of murder, you have to assume the supervillain might try to murder you or your idiot daughter. Up until this point, Joe has been doing a good job of being the voice of reason but that was just plain dumb. Luckily for Joe, his dumb was offset by an equal amount of dumb on the other side.
Dr. Wells, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? You tricked Joe! He even bought you a bottle of scotch. Why go to the trouble of threatening him? Maybe Wells didn’t think about this but we, the viewers, know that Joe didn’t tell anyone else about the investigation. Wells was his first lead. So since this Reverse Flash knows that Joe knows, you have to assume that Joe is able to connect the dots and determine that Wells is the reverse Flash. If that’s the plan, why bother telling Joe about your dead wife? Just turn into the Reverse Flash and threaten him from the start. That leads me to believe that maybe, just maaaaaybe Wells is telling the truth and someone else was threatening Joe that night. Maybe that is Thawne. It’s hard to say. Either way, this goes to show that Thawne being a real puzzle is lifting the quality of the entire show.
Flash vs. Girder
This week’s freak is a relatively new Flash enemy known as Girder. In the comics, Tony Woodward is an iron worker who gains the power to turn his body into solid metal at will. The show stays pretty loyal to the origin story adding the detail that Tony is also a bully from Barry’s childhood. What a coincidence! Every villain thus far has had some kind of connection to the team. Weather Wizard was caught by Detective West. Multiplex’s boss was Dr. Well’s old rival. Mist wanted revenge on Detective West. Cold stole Cisco’s gun. Plastique’s boss was Dr. Well’s other old rival. This city is so small, it seems like you wouldn’t be able to find more than two degrees of separation between any two characters.
Girder is super strong and bulletproof, so Barry needs to learn a new trick to beat him. What Cisco and the gang come up with is called the “Super Sonic Punch” which involves Barry running so fast that he breaks the sound barrier, which Cisco rightly assesses as incredibly cool. Once Barry has Girder all locked up in particle accelerator jail he goes and does something real stupid and REVEALS HIS IDENTITY! Are you kidding me, Barry? You got through the whole fight without Girder finding out you were the kid he picked on in grade school. Do you want him to mess everything up when he and the rest of the meta-humans eventually escape? If you do, great job. If not, I would recommend just leaving well enough alone and keeping your identity to yourself.
Iris vs. Common Sense
This is really starting to tick me off. Hey Laurel…I mean Iris, start taking the advice of everyone around you and stop putting your life in danger for no reason. When Iris started writing the blog, I thought it was silly but I didn’t mind. Hopefully we could get a fun J. Jonah Jameson thing going where she criticizes the Flash and Barry has to defend him. That would be good. Instead she just turns into his biggest fan and that causes even more annoying behavior. She signs her name to the blog in the hopes of getting the Flash’s attention and instead almost immediately gets the attention of the dumbest supervillain we’ve seen yet. It is moves like this that really make you wonder why Flash couldn’t just get over himself and get with Felicity.
Also, and this is a small thing, I want you to imagine a scene for me. You are sitting at a coffee shop. You are minding your own business, reading a newspaper or possibly listening to the latest episode of the Mad Bracket Status podcast (shameless plug). Out of the corner of your ear, you hear a big strong idiot shout at a waitress to give him something. She hands over her phone and his arm turns to solid steel and he crushes it. Then you look around the see if anyone else noticed and it turns out that this idiot’s face is all over the TV. Apparently he is a wanted man who is important enough to get his mug shot on every network at the same time. You would do something, right? Maybe you wouldn’t try to fight him but you would probably tweet about it or call NASA or run away. The crazy thing is that no one in the episode does anything about that. They just let him leave. Even Iris doesn’t bother to tell her dad. She just sends the Flash on a suicide mission, which he survives only because Girder grossly overestimates the number of shelves it would take to kill the Flash (which is apparently at least two).
The Flash has made it clear that if the characters are doing silly things, the episode is fine but when characters like Thawne and Wells throw you a curveball Flash really starts to get good. Hopefully characters like Barry and Iris throw away the “loveable nerd” and “romantic idiot” scripts and are able to find a more interesting angle.
P.S. This episode is called The Flash is Born because Iris officially names The Flash, but it isn’t really worth mentioning because it could have happened in literally any episode. This one just happened to be the one with that line of dialogue. Go figure.
Matthew Nando Kelly is a staff writer for Pop-Break. Aside from TV reviews, he 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