TV Recap: The Flash, ‘Trajectory’

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Plot Synopsis: Trajectory arrives in town intent on creating maximum chaos. Trajectory’s antics are misinterpreted as having been perpetrated by The Flash himself. Barry must thus act quickly to uncover the mystery of who is causing damage in which others think it is him, and what may be driving their mad desire for speed and destruction.

I apologize if I seem distracted this week. There is another crime fighter running around in a red suit that has most of my attention. Thankfully, this episode of The Flash was one of the least consequential ones of the season and there isn’t a ton to pour over. “Trajectory” proved to have plenty of fun on the surface but once you got down a level or two, things really stopped making sense.

The Good

The S.T.A.R. Labs Crew

So there were a couple of things I genuinely liked about Trajectory, chief among them being the S.T.A.R. team. They go out and take shots and Cisco dances like one of the Peanuts. It’s great. Arrow fell into the trap of being so serious that no one was allowed to have any fun. I am glad Flash isn’t making the same mistakes and the characters aren’t always arguing and sulking about. It doesn’t help that the metahumans seem to keep ending up wherever they are and ruining their fun, but at least they’re having some in the first place.

Zoom Double Confirmed

It took the entire episode but in the last few minutes, something important happened. Cisco vibed with Jay’s helmet and was able to confirm to the gang that Jay was in fact Zoom. The strange thing about the realization is that they don’t seem to have the entire story and, like many internet speculators, believe Jay has been Zoom the whole time and when Jay was “killed” it was some kind of speed mirage. We know that Zoom pulled Jay’s body back through the breach, so they were two distinctly different characters. That bit of information will have to be revealed to the gang eventually but this time, unlike the first season, the villain doesn’t get to reveal his evil plan. Now they have the upper hand and can set another trap, since those have been so successful in the past.

Exit Jesse Quick

The Flash -- "Trajectory" -- Image FLA216b_0025b -- Pictured (L-R): Violett Beane as Jesse and Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Flash — “Trajectory” — Image FLA216b_0025b — Pictured (L-R): Violett Beane as Jesse and Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Now I didn’t mind having her around. I thought Jesse actually added a lot to this week’s episode. I do however think having so many main characters sharing time does take away from the main story of the episode. I expected that when Trajectory tested the serum on her, we would get a glimpse of her speedster powers, but that seemed to be a misdirect. I am glad that Flash has a deep bench and we can have an episode without checking in on side characters like Wally every couple of seconds. I am excited for her inevitable return in the season finale where she is either murdered or becomes a superhero. Either is fine with me.

The Bad

Oh, Iris

The beginning of Iris’ story felt a lot like Peter Parker’s in the first Spider-Man movie, which on it’s own is a good thing. She works for a media organization that is intent on smearing the hero she knows isn’t a criminal. That works. By the end of the episode, she ends up clearing the Flash’s good name. That also works. What doesn’t work is Iris’ budding romance with the new editor.

As a fan of the comics, I understand that you have to make some changes. Maybe Barry and Iris where the ultimately end up together, when tough they do in the books. That’s fine. What I am not okay with is the show keeping this “will they, won’t they” thing going for another five seasons. We are seeing on Arrow how frustrating this can be. Throwing another new boyfriend into the mix to make Barry jealous again is only going to make it worse. Give Barry and Iris a shot and stick with it or finish that plotline forever.

Tragic Trajectory

The Flash -- "Trajectory" -- Image FLA216b_0172b -- Pictured: Allison Paige as Trajectory -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Flash — “Trajectory” — Image FLA216b_0172b — Pictured: Allison Paige as Trajectory — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Speaking of Spider-Man movies, was it just me or did Trajectory feel like a carbon copy of Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin? A generally well meaning scientist gets both superpowers and split personality from a dangerous serum that ultimately takes over and gets the scientist killed. Sound familiar? Unfortunately where Spider-Man had two hours, Flash has forty five minutes and Trajectory ended up significantly underdeveloped.

What was Trajectory after anyway? She starts by robbing people at clubs. When she runs out of V9, Trajectory moves on to hostage taking. Not completely warranted but still a logical next step. Then, for a reason that is never adequately explained, Trajectory starts running really fast in an attempt to destroy some random bridge. She ends up destroying that bridge and but then goes too fast and explodes. I’m not expecting all of these character arcs to be Shakespeare but this one didn’t make any sense. It just set up a big gap for Flash to jump and overcome the limitations set up in the beginning of the episode.

Also how did she know to throw Barry in the cell? And where did she get that costume? I’d like to believe there’s more to her than meets the eye, but that’s probably not the case.

How Fast is Flash?

The Flash -- "Trajectory" -- Pictured: Grant Gustin as Barry Allen / The Flash -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Flash — “Trajectory” — Image FLA216a_0130b — Pictured: Grant Gustin as Barry Allen / The Flash — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

This one has been bugging me since the show started but it really got to me tonight. Sometimes Flash is fast enough to run up a wall. Sometimes he can run so fast he goes back in time. Other times he can’t run fast enough to jump a moderately sized canyon. Now I don’t think setting up these limits is a bad thing. I just think some consistency would be nice and if we aren’t getting that, maybe we could have an explanation as to why he can and can’t do certain things.

Good science fiction has well established rules and I really want Flash to be good science fiction. That way, when one of those rules is broken, it has an impact. The rules of the Flash seem to be that Barry can run as fast as he needs to regardless of the circumstance as long as he believes in himself and the power of friendship. Now I can forgive that kind of logic but friends of mine that watch the show have a really hard time with it. Maybe if Barry was tired or hungry or visibly distressed, I would believe he can’t make that jump but he could basically fly, so what’s stopping him now.

Next Week

The next episode of Flash looks bonkers. Barry’s going back in time to the first season and getting chased by a Dementor? I’m intrigued but also very confused. Also look around for the Supergirl crossover episode on Monday. That should be fun and I’ll be doing a recap of that on Tuesday.


Matthew Nando Kelly is an incredibly cool and handsome Senior Staff Writer for Pop-Break who was allowed to write his own bio. Besides weekly Flash recaps, he focuses on film, television, 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 has an unshakable love for U2, cats, and the New Orleans Saints. His twitter handle is @NationofNando. Did we mention how handsome he was?

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.