Congratulations, The CW! The Flash is one of the rare shows that I actually miss when it skips a week. It came back with a bang this week in the explosive episode “Plastique,” which gave nods to no less than three DC characters in a fashion that should please comicbook fans. It manages to do so without ever feeling forced, as the characters have every reason to pop up in the episode’s storyline and it actually makes sense when they do so. The Flash continues to be a high-energy hour of television with compelling stories, sympathetic character relationships, and excellent action sequences week to week. It’s one of the more enjoyable shows on TV at the moment and doesn’t look to change that any time soon.
Hit the jump for The Flash recap.
Not much has changed since last we left The Flash since Barry is still pining for Iris, though he’s becoming more socially well-adjusted by hanging out with Cisco and Caitlin as well. However, he’s apparently developed a drinking problem of sorts, namely that his metabolism converts the alcohol in the shots faster than he can be affected by them.
Meanwhile, a woman robbing a building gets caught in the act by a security guard, but she makes her escape by detonating an explosive device in her backpack. The bomb knocks a late-night window cleaner from his perch, forcing him to dangle from the side of the building. Barry manages to run up, save the man, and run him back down to safety; all in a day’s work. He nearly runs directly into Iris, but does his nifty face-shaking trick to mask his identity.
The next morning, Barry investigates the site of the bombing with Joe and Thawne. Barry’s stumped by the nature of the explosive device, but perhaps some speed reading of the room’s files will yield something interesting. At the least, there’s something interesting going on back at the police station since the Army’s General Eiling (Clancy Brown) has taken over the investigation since one of their own – the red-headed thief – is involved. Joe manages to keep one piece of incriminating evidence out of their hands, and gives it over to Barry and the S.T.A.R. Lab team instead. Dr. Wells is familiar with Eiling’s work, which experimented in developing mind-reading abilities in civilians. The team also track the woman in question, Bette Sans Souci (Kelly Frye), and Barry runs her down. The bad news for him is that she has an ability to make whatever she touches take on an explosive quality. Barry sheds his supersuit and outruns the ensuing explosion.
Sans Souci, who’s apparently a sergeant, pays a visit to an Army doctor who experimented on her. The military intervenes and tries to retrieve her, but Flash makes it there first. He promises to explain everything to her before spiriting her off to safety … or rather, Wells does. She reveals that she’s a war veteran who spent her time dismantling roadside bombs until she was injured by shrapnel that embedded itself in her hand. The team runs some tests on her and Caitlin discovers a tracking device that led the military right to them (crammed all together in an elevator like a clown car).
Eiling threatens Wells with the destruction of the lab unless he gives up Souci. Too bad she’s out with the team showing off her explosive abilities while Barry tries to help her with the psychological side of being a meta-human. The lab results are in, and it’s not great. The shrapnel is now a part of her genetic makeup, which cannot be undone with current technology (which Wells hints may actually be available in the future). Wells has a very different piece of advice for Souci: Kill Eiling, and then she’ll be able to go home. Well that escalated quickly.
Cisco tracks Souci, but Barry knows she’s not turning herself in and he goes off to intervene. Eiling is trying to talk her down, building her up as a living weapon that can help to keep them safe from terrorists. She takes the military men down with explosives before Barry stops her, but then Eiling gets in a killshot. Before Souci dies, she tries to warn Barry about Wells, but doesn’t quite get to finish her thought (treading on tropes here, but that’s okay). There’s a bigger problem now as Souci is about to detonate, so Barry has to run (on water, mind you) out to a safe distance and back again to avoid the blast himself. There’s some pretty great effects on display in this episode, which continues to be a strength of the show.
Tonight’s Wells stinger: Eiling pays the not-so-good doctor a visit at the lab again. They used to work together and Eiling is interested in rekindling that partnership, but Wells isn’t having it. Why? Five years ago, Wells is standing up to cruel treatment of a patient at the hands of Eiling. Who is it exactly? Oh just a gorilla named Grodd! Sure, he was teased before, but it’s good to know that the character could actually be making an appearance in the future rather than just nodding to the comics.
- Caitlin: “Oh my God, do I sound like Felicity?”
- Barry: “How fast would I have to go to run up the side of a building?”
- Oh, hello Bette Sans Souci, aka Plastique. For fans of the DC comics version, you’ll recognize this supervillainess as [spoiler] both appearing in the Firestorm storylines, being a member of the Suicide Squad, and eventually marrying Captain Atom. Should be some good crossover potential … if they bring her back.
- The plot thickens between Barry/The Flash, Iris, and Joe, which will certainly end poorly for all involved. Who gets the worst of it remains to be seen.
- Cisco: “What do you mean it’s gone? What did you do to my suit?” Barry: “It blew up, dude.”
- I love that Wells zips in with well-timed exposition whenever necessary, and that S.T.A.R. Labs’ front door is forever open to anyone and everyone.
- Caitlin holding a boomerang: “Didn’t really think this one through, didja?” A simple joke, or a nod to the DC character?
- Barry’s vibrating “Flash Voice” is … not great. Sounds exactly like him, just with a blender running in the background. At least they’re aware of it and joke about it in the show.
- Caitlin: “Barry, your ability lets you help people. She makes things explode.”
- So the “Pipeline” is the term they’re using for the meta-human prison now? Okay.
- 500 Proof isn’t a thing, but I get what you’re going for, Caitlin.
- Eiling: “I was wrong about your, Harrison. You’re always one step ahead … which is impressive for a man with no legs.”