The Flash

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It’s been almost a years since DC Rebirth #1 relaunched the DCU, retconned a big chunk of the New 52 as the work of a super-villain, and teased a connection behind the entire chain of events to one of the best comic series ever written. Since then DC’s been pretty quiet on the subject for the most part, at least until now. It seems it’s time for the Dark Knight Detective and the Scarlet Speedster to search for the truth.

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As expected after last week’s musical crossover, The Flash falls back into the Savitar storyline. Thankfully, rather than just having the heroes pound their heads against a wall as they have since the character’s reveal, the episode does offer the first appearance of another classic Flash villain in Abra Kadabra (David Dastmalchian). While perhaps not quite as wacky the original Silver Age comic version, this futuristic villain is a welcome change from the glut of speedsters the show seems intent on trotting out (and softens the drop-off from the season’s best episode to business as usual). A time-traveler from the 64th Century, Abra Kadabra has technology so advanced it appears as magic to those of us stuck in the 21st Century. Of course, it helps that the man puts on a show with his antics that further plays into the act.

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“Duet” made me angry. Not because the musical episode failed to impress. No, the episode infuriated me because this is what I want from both Supergirl and The Flash and somehow you just know the writers of both shows will ignore all that works here as each show gets stuck back in the grim and grittiness of its current storylines. “Duet” is what I want both shows to be: bright, fun, energetic, and hopeful. This shouldn’t be a standout. This should be the bar both shows attempt to reach every single week. This year Supergirl has been more successful than The Flash in the regard, but both have struggled juggling darker themes and unnecessarily convoluted relationship drama getting in the way of the fun. I’m not saying never get serious, but embrace more zany hopeful storylines so that when you do need to take a serious moment it will have all the more impact (as opposed to episodes of moping or acting like a dick for weeks at a time to those who love and rely on you).

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“Into the Speed Force” feels like one of those episodes we should learn something from… but I’m not sure exactly what that’s supposed to be. While the episode works well enough on its own I’m also a disheartened by the show’s stubbornness to continue to run from Barry (Grant Gustin) as a hopeful hero and continue down a more lonely path. Like him or not, since getting his speed Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) has been able to embody the exuberance Barry used to enjoy as the Flash (before he became a dick to everyone he loves). The conclusion of the episode seems to be to put Barry on the path to being a better speedster, but the show might be better served if it concentrated on making him a better man.

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the-wrath-of-savitar

Following the two-parter featuring Grodd and his army of apes, The Flash falls back into some bad habits I had hoped were behind the series this season. The return of Savitar means the return of dickish Barry (Grant Gustin). After somehow viewing the scene of the future without Barry and his memories, Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) blurting out a questionable conclusion puts Barry and Iris (Candice Patton) back three steps from last week’s engagement. And the team’s insensitive use of Julian (Tom Felton) puts strain on his burgeoning relationship with Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker). Oh, and Caitlin reveals she’s put everyone’s lives in danger for weeks by hiding a powerful relic in the lab. Seriously, did Grodd mindfuck these people while I wasn’t looking because they are all pretty much acting like bad (and dumb) examples of themselves for the entire episode.

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Barry‘s (Grant Gustin) joy at stopping Grodd (David Sobolov) and preventing an ape attack on Central City is short-lived as the follow-up to last week’s “Attack on Gorilla City” brings Grodd and his army of gorillas to Earth-1. Mind-controlling Gypsy (Jessica Camacho), Grodd is able to bring his entire army over (and somehow hide a large group of armor-covered apes from prying eyes for nearly the entire episode). Fearful both of an attack on the city he’s not sure they can stop, and more of Iris‘ (Candice Patton) future coming true, Barry considers the possibility of putting Grodd down, for good.

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The first-half a a two-part event, “Attack on Gorilla City” finally offers the return of Grodd (David Sobolov). The arrival of Jesse (Violett Beane) on Earth-1 prompts Barry (Grant Gustin), Cisco (Carlos Valdes), Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), and Julian (Tom Felton) to head to Earth-2 to rescue her father who is being held captive in Gorilla City. I’ve been waiting the better part of a year for Grodd’s return, and the episode doesn’t disappoint. Not only one of Barry’s strongest adversaries, Grodd is one of his smartest which is highlighted here in his manipulation of events leading Barry to cause the very event he was attempting to prevent.

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THE FLASH THEME SONG ACAPELLA

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“Dead or Alive” introduces another traveler from Earth-19 in collector, AKA bounty hunter, Gypsy (Jessica Camacho) who shows up on Earth-1 in search of H.R. Wells (Tom Cavanagh) who broke his Earth’s most important law in choosing to travel to a parallel world. Given that H.R.’s sentence is death, his friends attempt to stop Gypsy from leaving with him. Inspired by both a need to save a version of Harrison Wells and his obvious attraction to yet another deadly female, Cisco (Carlos Valdes) volunteers to fight, not realizing it’s a fight to the death with someone with his powers but far more experience using them.

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There’s a good episode at the heart of “Borrowing Problems from the Future,” it’s just unfortunate we have to wade through 20 minutes of Barry (Grant Gustin) being a complete dick to get to it. Troubled by seeing Iris (Candice Patton) killed by Savitar in the near-future, Barry struggles with how to try and prevent the events from coming to pass. His aggression gets taken out on Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) who is finally allowed to strut his stuff as Kid Flash. Once all cards are on the table, “Borrowing Problems from the Future” can begin actually deal with (and attempt to change) the future while teasing us what else may be in store for the show during the second-half of this season.

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