Listen. I get that this is a kids show. Sometimes you forget because more often than not, The Flash has some pretty complex characters, pretty decent action, and a ton of references that would fly over the head of a twelve-year-old. But every so often, you get reminded that The Flash is, at its core, a show about a guy running around at the speed of light in a red suit fighting people with cold guns and razor-sharp boomerangs based off of a series of illustrated books for children. Monsters reminded me.
I mean wow. Monsters featured not one, not two, but three plots that ended in characters learning an after school special lesson so schmaltzy that it would make Mr. Rogers roll his eyes. And it almost seems like schmaltz was the goal, because all of the realizations were incredibly forced. The conflicts that spurned those speeches were started this week. The computer kid didn’t exist before this episode and as far as the show was concerned, neither did Caitlin’s mom. Julian and Barry had their tension since they met but the whole “I hate meta humans” door was opened and closed in one day.
And what does the meta human angle even have to do with Barry and Julian? Julian doesn’t know Barry’s the Flash. Barry is just nice and because Barry doesn’t also hate the Flash, that means Julian has to be a dick to him? It really doesn’t make much sense. And when they inevitably team up to solve some crime and then become best friends only to have that relationship ruined when Julian learns Barry’s secret, it will be completely unearned. Don’t get me wrong. I really like Tom Felton on the show and I think he brings a lot to the table but unfortunately there isn’t a good table to bring a lot to at the moment.
Now let’s talk about the villain. He was a nuanced character with an interesting set of abilities and a satisfying arc.
(Remember that from a couple weeks ago?)
Hacker boy, as he will forever be known, may have unseated Bee Girl as the dumbest Flash villain yet. Let’s break his character down. He gets bullied so he invents holograms. And does he do the logical thing and use the holograms to scare his bullies or make a hologram girlfriend?
He creates a weird Cloverfield monster and just has it walk around some times so that he can feel powerful. I know teenagers aren’t known for making great decisions but his character is just pure nonsense. I kind of wish Julian did shoot him.
Here is a list of all of my other gripes with the monster and how it was handled.
- So the monster was a hologram? Did it not touch anything in the world around it? Did no one notice that it left no damage or footprint or anything at all to prove that it was actually there?
- Did anyone see the monster phase through something? It should have been pretty obvious that it was a hologram during its first appearance.
- How did you “lose it”? This happens in the 2000 Godzilla movie and it killed me. The monster is in the middle of the city. Someone would always have eyes on it. And since the monster turned out to be a hologram, someone would have to see it disappear. Right?
- Why didn’t the STAR Labs team even consider the fact that the Monster was a hologram? They use holograms A LOT. They used one last week! Whenever something really weird happens, that should always be on the table. Probably top of the list.
- The STAR Labs team can use hacked satellites and security cameras to scan for pretty much anything. In the past they have scanned for heat, radiation, extreme cold, weather anomalies, and even other speedsters. Not worth doing this time Cisco? Okay cool.
- Sometimes the CGI looked pretty solid but there was one shot, right before Julian tried to shoot it, when the Monster looked terrible. They must have seen this. If not for this shot, I would have been really impressed.
- How did this kid manage to create this hologram? Is this software regularly available? Is he the greatest programmer ever? Can everyone that is pretty good at computers do this?
- Did HR Wells invent Carbon Fiber? It must have existed before he came here? Why was this such a revolutionary idea? Also, why can’t Barry just borrow the carbon fiber rope from somewhere in the world where it already exists? Does Cisco really have to make it by hand?
- What exactly was projecting the holograms? How did no one notice that their system was being co-opted? How did this kid have access to the money necessary to make this happen?
- Was the response to a giant monster roaming around a major city nothing but about thirty police officers? It was the whole Central City police department but Come On! When twenty-five Deathstrokes were running around, ARGUS was ready to nuke Starling City. Clearly, that was an over reaction but only using the CCPD was a huge under reaction. Get some tanks!
- When Iris showed up help Barry open the bus door, I was convinced this whole thing was a dream. I can’t be the only one.
There were some saving graces in the episode. Most of them came from HR Wells.
Thank God he isn’t just another secret villain. That would have been such a waste. Turning him into a goof with a terrible sense of style is way better. He will be nice to have around when Caitlin inevitably turns evil and leaves.
Speaking of Caitlin, what was going through the mind of the scientist who attempted to trap Caitlin by locking a door? What was Step 2 of that plan? Kidnap Caitlin and convince her mom that that’s okay? Convince her to stay with a thoughtful conversation? She froze the Tungsten! You aren’t made of molten Tungsten. You’re done. Also why does he have a button that remotely locks the door?
So overall, I think this episode was pretty clearly filler. Next week seems like it will have more substance. So you know what they say.
Oh, wait that a Luke Cage thing. What do they say on Flash? I remember!
Word is bond.
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?