On the D/L – The Flash

Nov 13, 2014 | Posted by in TV
The Flash

Season 1 Episode 5 – “Plastique”

The Flash introduces another DC character in the titular villain as well as having Barry deal with the complications of a military presence stepping in.

As I have said in previous reviews, the one aspect of The Flash that hasn’t been quite right has been the use of villains. This improved dramatically last week with Wentworth Miller’s Captain Cold and the trend continues in this installment.

The approach taken here is to make Plastique or Bette Sans Souci’s (Kelly Frye) story a sympathetic one and having her be something of a tragic figure who isn’t really a bad person. It’s nothing new sure but it’s done pretty well here. I liked there was as much focus on her narrative as there was on Barry’s and their stories run almost parallel to one another. It’s also refreshing to see that Barry won’t be in a fight to the death with every Metahuman he encounters. It’s only natural that not everyone would turn to outright villainy when imbued with powers so it’s nice to see that addressed.

The Flash

Barry meets with Iris as The Flash

I really liked the portrayal of Plastique as a Gulf War veteran who finds herself with powers and then finds herself being used by the military in an attempt to create a super-soldier. There was a nice contrast to the warmth of Barry’s treatment of her as a human being against the Military treatment as a resource that they could use.

There are some good callbacks to the pilot as Barry and his team test Bette’s powers as well as use Barry’s experience to help her contextualise her powers and learn to come to terms with them. In the beginning she is keen to have them reversed but changes her mind after some persuasion from Barry. Their interactions are some of the strongest parts of the episode and Grant Gustin plays Barry’s reaction to her death really well. He seems genuinely distraught by it and it’s good to see that she made such an impression on him.

Her character arc feels somewhat rushed as it both begins and -apparently- ends in this episode. There was plenty of scope for them to do a lot more with her super powered bond with Barry and explore their relationship as kindred spirits. There was also Cisco’s infatuation with her which kinda went nowhere but could have been given more time. There is an interesting scene between Bette and Dr Wells where he is far more open with his true intentions than he has been previously. There’s an indication that Barry finding out the truth about him isn’t all that far off.

The other antagonistic force came from Clancy Brown’s General Eiling. He was a good character but not overly imaginative; coming across as your standard Military tough guy here. His characterisation may have been a bit thin but Clancy Brown -DC aficionados will recognise him as the voice of Lex Luthor in Superman: The Animated SeriesJustice League and Justice League Unlimited) was a great choice to play him. He had great presence and injected lots of menacing authority into his dialogue. It’s clear the character will be back so hopefully he will be better handled next time. I find his past with Dr Wells interesting.

The Flash

Barry runs over water to outrun an explosion

I’m not overly impressed with this manufactured rift between Barry and Iris. Joe constantly tells Barry that he should dissuade Iris from investigating The Flash due to the inherent danger in doing so but this creates friction between them. I like that Iris is intelligent enough to think something is amiss when Barry isn’t excited about the notion of a superhero running around since it runs counter to everything that she knows about him. Barry is still learning how to lie to those close to him but I think they could handle the problems of the secret identity a lot better than this.

I do like the scene where Barry talks to Iris as The Flash and found the way he hides his identity really clever. The vibrating of his vocal chords to alter his voice was a nice touch and the constant switching positions as well as cleverly hiding his face in light and shade was great. It was a fun scene and Barry’s inexperience with his Flash persona was great to see.

This show continues to do really cool things with Barry’s powers, it seems that each week for now Barry learns something new about his capabilities. In this episode he learns that he can run fast enough to climb a vertical surface as well as running on water. The sequence where he outruns the massive explosion looked fantastic and was wonderfully exciting. So far every episode has had an abundance of memorable sequences involving Barry using his powers in creative ways.


  • 8/10
    Plastique - 8/10


Not as good as last week but a very solid outing for this show. Plastique makes for a very sympathetic antagonist and helps Barry contextualise all that he has learned since gaining his powers. Her arc comes across as a little rushed but in general she is used really well. General Eiling is a little typical but Clancy Brown’s performance goes some way to make up for these shortcomings.

Barry’s relationship with Iris hits some manufactured tension this week which doesn’t feel entirely genuine. It wasn’t offensively bad but it did seem to be somewhat overdone. Perhaps it will evolve into something more realistic but for now it runs the risk of being irritating.

As always, the use of Barry’s powers is incredibly creative and creates some really exciting moments in the episodes. The growth of his abilities seems to be running in tandem to his growth as a character.

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