The Flash – Season 1 Episode 22
One more episode of The Flash to go and things are now fully in place for what is sure to be an interesting season finale next week.
There’s something of a tying up loose ends feel to this episode but that’s not necessarily a bad thing given that The Flash has built such a vast world that there are plenty of loose ends to base an episode around. In this case the metahumans imprisoned in the basement of S.T.A.R. labs have become a problem for Team Flash and need to be moved.
Moving the prisoners becomes necessary when it becomes known that Wells has hidden himself literally right under their noses this whole time and can release the prisoners at any time he wants. It’s apparent that he doesn’t care about them at all so they become cannon fodder while he completes his plan as long as they stay where they are.
Barry being the hero does care about the lives of other people even when they’re bad. He rightly points out that Wells is responsible for what happened to them so he doesn’t blame them for their own actions. It’s a bit one dimensional as thought processes go but I can see where Barry is coming from here. At any rate, I don’t think they should be killed because they are bad people so I’m all on board with Barry’s plan to move them to a safer location.
The mechanics of this plan are interesting. With them being metahumans it’s not a simple case of making sure they have an armed escort since they have super powers and can easily use them so a plan is required. It is decided to move them to the prison on Lian Yu -for non Arrow viewers that’s the island that Oliver was stranded on but don’t worry Barry tells you that in this episode too- so they are far away from anyone they can hurt. It’s a solid plan but the ethics of it are pretty questionable.
Then again the ethics of the current method are very questionable. Team Flash are locking up human beings in a cell that gives them no access to the outside world, furniture or bathroom facilities as far as I’ve seen and just leaving them there. A deleted scene reveals that they do get fed but it’s a very dodgy solution. Of course a normal prison isn’t going to hold these people so an alternative method is needed but this one is very flawed in a lot of ways. I hope that this will be recognised and dealt with in season 2. It’s promising enough that this whole prisoner thing is being addressed in the first place.
I like how the episode addresses the legal issues with it through Joe’s discussion with the DA. She points out that what they are doing is unlawful imprisonment and human trafficking. Joe points out that the situation isn’t a normal one but the law is the law. There’s a veiled threat in all of this as the warns Joe against being involved lest he face some pretty serious consequences. I get the impression that she’s not going to do anything about it as yet but it’s something that can come back later.
The discussion that followed this between Joe and Barry was interesting as it finally has Joe question what it is they are doing as it relates to his job. As he points out there’s a set of rules that Joe as an officer of the law is duty bound to follow and ever since he’s been working with the Flash he’s broken every single one of them. He asks the question that inevitably comes up in every superhero story. The “what makes us any different than the people we fight?” moral question. Barry’s answer to that is that they break the rules to help others which shows how self righteously naive the guy is sometimes. He doesn’t see the wider consequences of his actions at this point and is so fixated on the “right thing” that he’s blind to everything else around him.
Barry decides that he needs some help with the plan so he seeks out Captain Cold for backup on this plan. Wentworth Miller is entertaining as always in this role but his cold related puns are starting to creep onto Batman and Robin levels of cheesy. Asking for a drink to be “ice cold” and having “Cold as Ice” playing on the jukebox during their discussion is a little on the nose.
I do like the character though and it’s always good to see him back. When they last met there was an uneasy truce between them where Barry agreed to leave him be as long as he didn’t step over the line. It was the first step in a long antagonistic relationship between the two of them and with Wentworth Miller appearing in the Legends of Tomorrow spinoff it seems like Captain Cold isn’t going anywhere.
Cold ends up coming out of this in a better position than anyone as he arranges to free a bunch of criminals who now all owe him a favour and he has every trace of himself in law enforcement databases erased. Cold reminds Barry that he is a liar and was taking advantage of an opportunity which speaks to Barry’s naivety as I mentioned above.
When I think about the plan as a whole there’s no real need for Cold to be involved at all since he contributes so little in reality. All he really does is sabotage the whole thing so if he hadn’t been there then everything would have went off without a hitch relatively speaking. Sure his sister can drive an HGV but they could have dug someone else up for that if they really needed to. It felt like more of a contrivance than anything else.
It was really cool to see 5 of the metahumans introduced previously return here and I like how they were incapable of getting along. Continuity is always good in a show like this and having all of those villains on the loose to return again in the future has some excellent potential. The reference to the disappearing Ferris Air test pilot was a nice touch as well. Is this paving the way for Hal Jordan to come into this fold? If the films are going with the John Stewart version as rumours suggest then he’s wide open for adapting here.
The Flash, Arrow and Firestorm team up against the Reverse Flash here was just awesome. It was a very short action scene but delivered while it was on. I love that Wells underestimated Oliver and allowed him to land a hit to disable his speed for a short period to deliver a beating. The visual effects on display here were incredible and the action was executed really well. It’s amusing that Stephen and Robbie Amell are cousins who play characters that aren’t related sharing a scene. I do wonder about the logistics of Oliver’s involvement as it seems he would have little time to sneak away from Nanda Parbat to help Barry out but it sets up something for the Arrow season finale that I’ll just have to wait and see there. I love the interconnectedness of these shows and with 2 more in the same universe coming soon it’s only going to get better.
In terms of Wells’ apparent defeat I’m fine with it. There was a certain deliberateness to the way he casually strolled up to S.T.A.R. Labs as if he was looking for a fight. I suspect that he’s playing possum and this is all part of his plan. Of course the villain wanting to be caught is so played out it’s not funny but it is in keeping with Wells’ character to have everything accounted for.
I’m glad that the team up fight is in this episode rather than the next one as the finale should be about Barry and his relationship with Wells without him needing to call in backup to solve his problems. This show is called The Flash after all so he should have lots of agency within himself to resolve things in his own show. If he calls for help whenever he gets into trouble then that makes for a really boring show. They’ve had their fun so next week it’s all about Team Flash and Wells.
Eddie is freed from Wells’ clutches but the results are pretty underwhelming. Princess Iris is back again and manages to make his detached attitude to being captured for a fortnight all about her somehow. Eddie throws himself into his work because he sees it as a constant but Iris basically feels that he should see their relationship as that constant. Eddie quite rightly tells her to go away and breaks up with her. After learning about her marriage to Barry in the future coupled with his tenuous feelings over their connection already he just decides it’s not an emotional upheaval he wants to deal with any more. I completely agree with him here and he directly addresses the love triangle that has been rammed down our throat all season. I hope that Eddie sticks around as I like his character but I’m glad that he’s no longer stuck with Iris and we can move on from that drama.