On the D-L – The Flash
Season 1 Episode 12 – “Crazy for You”
Now that The Flash is firmly into the second half of the debut season the plot lines are starting to come into focus a lot more. The Firestorm (Or should that be F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M?) arc is gaining more steam and definitely feels like the momentum is building there.
Most of the development of this is through Cisco who enlists the help of Hartley Rathaway who seems a little Hannibal Lecteresque in his scenes here. On more than one occasion he manages to lull Cisco into a false sense of security where his vulnerability is concerned and manages to manipulate him expertly.
It was great to see Cisco given a more meaty plot and for the character to be deeply conflicted about his choices and feeling responsible for what happened to Ronnie Raymond. It makes sense that he would feel the need to get to the bottom of this as he needs to appease his on conscience. More than that he feels devoted to his friend and therefore owes it to him to try to help. It’s a nicely layered character arc for Cisco and Carlos Valdez does a fantastic job of seeming tortured yet proactive. It’s new to see him noticeably bereft of wisecracks and having an all business outlook on a situation.
Cisco getting a fight scene was awesome to see as well. It seemed real in the sense that he wasn’t very good but very in character for him to rig up some tech assistance in case things went South. Could this be the first hint of his journey into becoming the character Vibe? I wouldn’t count it out, that’s for sure.
Andy Mientus did a much better job as Hartley aka Pied Piper this week and imbued the character with a lot of menace for his second outing. I like how he outsmarted Cisco and managed to escape. I wonder what will bring this character back and what his plan will be when he returns.
Caitlin had a lot to do in this episode too. She seemed frustrated with the fact that her life had remained static since she lost Ronnie and that she’s never done anything about getting it back on track. Recently she has had hope that Ronnie is alive but the revelation that he seems to have merged with another human being has apparently given her the closure she needs to start moving on with her life. Whether it’ll be as simple as that or not remains to be seen.
For me the highlights of the episode were the scenes involving Caitlin and Barry spending time together as friends. I liked that their relationship was allowed to develop without romance entering the equation. I hate it when it’s shoehorned in like that. Maybe someday these characters have romantic potential but for now I like them as friends and colleagues.
Their trip to the karaoke bar was a lot of fun though it did a poor job of seeming like the seedy part of town. I’ve been in worse looking nice pubs so what was so bad about it? Danielle Panabaker plays a drunk Caitlin very well and gives us some genuine laughs. It turns out that she’s a terrible singer and that Barry is very good -no surprises there given Grant Gustin’s previous stint on Glee- and that she can’t handle her drink. There was a definite sense that a weight has been lifted from her shoulders so it’s clear that the character needed to let off some steam in some way.
Barry meets a sports reporter named Linda Park (Malese Jow) who immediately shows interest in him and gives him her number. I’d quite like this to go somewhere as I like it when TV shows give us a temporary relationship for the characters to enter into without that character being among the main cast. She seems OK so far and definitely has plenty of chemistry with Barry. It seems that Iris is a little jealous when she sees them together so I’m hopeful for a love triangle that doesn’t overpower the show. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt as they’ve done so well so far.
The Flash had to take down the villain Peek-A-Boo -so named by Caitlin and a different version than the linked article- who brought back the metahuman opponent after a couple of weeks of gadget based villains. She was OK if a little 1 dimensional but it seems like she existed to give the episode the required action beats. Britne Oldford did a good job of playing her and definitely did the best with what she was given.
I enjoyed how the action was handled with Barry’s super speed trying to keep up with her instant teleportation. It was believable that Barry would have trouble with her and the simple solution to defeating her made a lot of sense. Her apparent betrayal by her boyfriend should give the character some interesting things to do in her inevitable follow up appearance.
After sitting the last few episodes out John Wesley Shipp returns as Barry’s father and has a number of great scenes. I really liked the scene in the prison where Barry got to be face to face with him for the first time in years without any barriers separating them. Both actors did a great job of conveying the genuine joy at this rare moment of contact between them. I also really liked the scene where he basically told Barry that he knows his identity and lets him know how proud he is of his son. Given that John Wesley Shipp played the other live action version of the character it felt like something of a passing of the torch moment and it was really moving to boot. I hope for more scenes like this between the two of them.
Last but not least I liked the Gorilla Grodd cameo at the end. He was left mostly in darkness which made him seem really monstrous and the hints at his intelligence with his name scrawled on the wall were wonderfully subtle. I suspect the darkness was also designed to cover up a crude render of the character but it worked really well as a horror scene. I look forward to seeing how this is handled.
A really strong character driven episode that gives some of the secondary characters more time to develop in their own stories.
Cisco spends the episode investigating Ronnie’s apparent resurrection and plays a sort of cat and mouse game with Hartley Rathaway who does a great job of manipulating him by playing on his hopes and desired before striking when Cisco is at his most vulnerable. I like that Cisco isn’t easily outwitted and definitely feels like a good foil for Rathaway who ultimately escapes.
Caitlin has plenty to do by trying to get her life back on track and attempting to socialise with Barry. She gets a little too drunk and sings karaoke but she has let off some much needed steam and seems more clear headed as a result. New information about Ronnie gives her some of the closure she needs to move on with her life. I also appreciated that her relationship with Barry was allowed to develop without unnecessary romance bogging it down.
The return of Barry’s father was a nice touch and the material given to him is the strongest he’s had. John Wesley Shipp and Grant Gustin have some fantastic scenes together, one of which feels like a passing of the torch from Flash to Flash.
A teleported fulfilled the villain portion of the episode and Peek-A-Boo was handled well enough if a little 1 dimensionally. Her power was cool and she seemed like a credible match for Barry in a fight so it was entertaining enough to watch. I think subsequent appearances from her will be a lot stronger.