THE FLASH Season 1, Episode 5 'Plastique'

PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Pollard

The last time we were in the company of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), the Scarlet Speedster had a visit from Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) and had butted heads with Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller). This time out, The Flash introduces us to three familiar DC faces as long-time comic book villain Plastique (Kelly Frye) makes her debut. This adaptation of the comic character is somebody who is essentially a walking bomb, with Barry and Team Flash looking to assist the troubled Bette Sans Souci. And whilst Barry and his crew are aiming to help Sgt Sans Souci, General Wade Eiling (Clancy Brown) is also on her trail and with the plan of utilising her as a human bomb for military purposes. Again, “The General” is another familiar DC comic book character, although The Flash’s version of the character is again a lot more scaled back than the over-the-top behemoth that DC fans are accustomed to.

Whilst the above paragraph pretty much covers the weekly plot, the greater story of Barry Allen is also progressed nicely in Plastique. For example, during the show’s opening few minutes we get to see an impressive new use of Barry’s powers. Similarly, we also get to see an old trick used once more as Barry attempts to disguise his identity from a familiar face. But it’s with the addition of Plastique that we get to see a different side to Barry Allen, with it giving us the first time that Barry has had the chance to have a sensible conversation with a fellow meta-human rather than just having a bit of fisticuffs. Whereas the comic book version of Plastique is an out-and-out villain, largely going up against Firestorm, The Flash’s version of the character is far more balanced, just a victim of circumstance and a horrible accident.

Much like the super-powered side of Barry Allen spends most of this episode entangled with the Plastique problem, regular old Barry has some serious troubles appear in his relationship with Iris West (Candice Patton). Where this element of the show goes from here, that seems uncertain, but there was a nice scene used here that was reminiscent of a certain Man of Steel and feisty journalist duo. However things pan out with Iris, though, we’ve still got Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) on the scene. It’s no exaggeration to say that Martin steals every scene that he’s in, with the Joe character capable of bringing much to The Flash, whether it’s a humourous edge, whether it’s an “in” for the audience, whether it’s a family dynamic for Barry. We can only hope that Joe isn’t being built up to merely prove to be a disposable character to further the arc of the titular Flash. Hopefully the initial trauma of the young Barry’s mother being killed and his father being incarcerated is enough tragedy to keep Barry motivated for now.

Another stellar episode of The Flash and yet another week where Barry Allen is being tested, whether it’s by the villain-of-the-week or by the sinister-yet-charming Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh). Whenever Wells speaks, the character talks with both a sense of foreboding and retrospect, and using words like “reverse” is only going to give long-time Flash fans something to grab onto. But like Martin, Cavanagh is an engaging presence whose charismas regularly grabs your attention. Also grabbing attention are the visuals that The Flash uses. With each new power or new threat, we get some truly stunning visuals to behold. At first, we were mesmerised by the mere sight of Barry running at super-speed. Now we get to see a whole lot more, whether it’s up walls or across water.

Wrapping things up, the opening of this review talked about the appearance of three familiar DC faces. In the closing moments, we’re shown our first glimpse of a character teased in the show’s pilot. How The Flash handles this truly ambitious character is going to prove mighty interesting. It’s one thing to show characters who control the weather or who can duplicate themselves. Making a super-intelligent, super-strong, often-psychic gorilla credible could prove to be the biggest challenge we've seen in either The Flash or sister show Arrow. Gorilla Grodd, we await your presence with great anticipation.
 

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