'The Flash' Episode 1.5 "Plastique" (9 out of 10) Starring Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Rick Cosnett, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Tom Kavanaugh, and Jesse L. Martin. Guest starring Kelly Frye and Clancy Brown. Tuesdays on The CW.
"The Flash" was a rerun last week, which was a shame. I mean, I enjoy election night coverage as much as the next guy, but I really would have rather been hanging out with the Scarlet Speedster than political pundits. This week's episode brings not just one, not just two, but three DC Comics villains into the DC television universe. Ostensibly the most important one is Bette San Souci, AKA Plastique. I mean, that's the title of the episode, she's the hottie who drives much of the episode, but she's not as important as others we meet later.
Plastique is important, and instead of being a straight-up supervillain, we see that she's a veteran from Afghanistan who was in a Central City hospital when the accident at S.T.A.R. Labs exploded. Like many others, she ended up with superpowers. Bette's is that she can infuse objects with explosive energy with a touch. So she holds a frisbee, and the frisbee turns into a bomb. A golf ball, a bomb. A sandwich--wow, her life must suck. But she has really really good hair. She's a more sympathetic character than I expected. I know Plastique primarily as a member of the Suicide Squad, and she's also a villain who fought against the superhero Firestorm. She's always on the verge of being a good guy, but here that's more evident than usual. I liked it more than just a mustache-twirling villain.
"The Flash" makes "Gotham" seem downright dismal
That villain is embodied in General Wade Eiling. Played here by Clancy Brown (best known to me as the voice of Lex Luthor in various animated projects), he's commanding a military team collecting metahumans, and Plastique is on his list. He's got a cool intellect, he's got power, he's got a history with Dr. Harrison Wells. Wells has more screen time in this episode, and he continues to develop as one of the most interesting characters in the series. .He's got some knowledge of the future, but we're not exactly sure how, or what his real agenda is. He spurs Plastique toward a showdown with Eliing, but we're not exactly sure why. All of the S.T.A.R. Labs support team are moving forward in their individual stories, and whether it happens in this first season or comes later, they're each going to be transforming into heroes and villains in their own right. They bring more humor and humanity into "The Flash" than we see on "Arrow," and make "Gotham" seem downright dismal. Actually, it's "Gotham" that makes "Gotham" dismal, but that's Batman's problem.
The Flash himself has some interesting developments during the episode -- he's becoming more public (known as "The Streak,) which has to change soon), partially thanks to his not-girlfriend Iris writing blog posts about him. He confronts her both in costume and out, trying to keep her safe. For those of us who are Flash nerds, he also demonstrated several new powers in this episode--the ability to run up the sides of buildings, run on water, and vibrate his vocal cords super fast to disguise his voice. He also did his face-vibratey thing to blur his features to protect his identity, and he can't get drunk. It's a rough life for Barry Allen.
This continues to be an entertaining series, with more forward momentum than any of the other superhero TV series airing right now. Barry's a likable guy, the heroism is good, the villains are entertaining, and it's just getting better with each episode. It's a well-plotted series, with arcs building and seeds being planted for future events. Catch up with "The Flash" while you can.
Oh yeah. Gorilla Grodd. That should be good.