I understand the necessity in serialized television for the case of the week material. I mean not every episode can be a huge mythology driven showstopper, but there is still a certain level of desired story telling. Take for example this week’s episode “Plastique”, it was not a bad or disappointing episode it was just a standard example of a solid episode that didn’t really seem to strive to be anything above the norm. If fact the entire A plot could easily be deemed completely irrelevant to the larger story but all of the plots surrounding it easily made up for the faults of our “primary” story. This was one of the very rare cases where the B and C stories elevated the central plot to be something larger than it would normally be. Iris’ search for answers, Barry continuing to push his limits, the general state of General Eiling’s schemes. Each bit helped to strengthen the Plastique plot well above what it would have been. So let’s dive in.
Can we start a mantra, not every guest star has to die. I mean everything about Plastique as a character was enjoyable at least, she had a solid back story, an interesting foil, and she seemed to play well against the rest of the team. Yet in the end she suffered the same fate as many guest stars as Eiling managed to kill her and trigger some type of nuke within her body. I liked the overall nature of Plastique’s storyline as she easily could have become a member of Barry’s team if she had been influenced by the right people. Unfortunately the only people Plastique ran into were the villains and power hungry mad men of the episode. Eiling’s desire to turn her into a weapon and Wells’ desire to be rid of another threat to Barry were more than enough to push her over the edge and make her want to kill. It seemed as if Barry and the gang were not given the proper chance to help her, so it is debatable as to how future possible heroes will be dealt with.
As for the B story, this could have gone sour so quickly it’s not even funny. I mean Iris’ obsession with The Flash and her getting to have a face to face this early sounds really contrived on paper, but somehow Grant Gustin and Candice Patton made the scene work. Patton really nailed why she is trying so hard to spread the word about The Flash and why he is so great. I was particularly glad that she was not doing it out of some stupid desire to get famous, but rather so that Barry would feel validated after everything he has had to go through in his life. Similarly, Barry gave her just enough of a leash that she will continue to follow him, while at the same time making sure she will keep her distance from his super activities. It shows just how strong these two characters are that this was quite easily the best scene of the entire episode.
Now let’s talk about that C story, which was entirely irrelevant until you actually see the end of the episode. General Eiling, played by the always great Clancy Brown, used to work with Dr. Wells’ five years ago in an attempt to develop mind control. I am sad to say I did not catch on to what was happening until the post credits stinger where it was revealed their primary test subject was Grodd. This raises a few separate questions about Wells’ since we know he is from the future, does this also mean that he is immune to Grodd’s powers or are we yet to see Grodd in his full form. Also, how the hell is Grodd going to be brought onto our screens in a way other than flashbacks. I just hope that this was the first of many appearances for both Eiling and Grodd as one can be a more than formidable human opponent for the team and the other is Gorilla Grodd.
Definitely a fun satisfying episode, although a bit of a let down coming off of “Going Rogue”.
Final Grade B
+Plastique was a fun and surprising well integrated guest
+Barry and Iris scene was really one of the better of the series
+Eiling will be a good recurring antagonist
-Not every guest star needs to die
-What is it with characters putting out hits these days?
-Like Joe I got way to much joy out of the fact that Barry vibrated his vocal cords to distort his voice. Definitely funnier than I expected.
-Barry can’t get drunk due to his metabolism, this better lead to some more antics of trying to get Barry wasted for extended periods of time.
-In case you were wondering Central City is located in the center of the US in most comics and is fairly land locked. So being near that large a boy of water was extremely confusing for me. Writer’s please mark where Central City is on a map soon.
-Another thing I enjoyed about the Barry/Iris scene is that you can see glimpses of various Flash’s in Gustin’s performance. I at least picked up on Wally and Bart.