WARNING! MAJOR SPOILERS!
I think it’s safe to say that The Flash’s villains, outside of Captain Cold, have been the weakest part of the series so far. Multiplex and the Mist were forgettable, but thankfully, Plastique looks like another step in the right direction that this series is taking by casting a meta-human of the week who isn’t actually an evil character, for a change, whilst at the same time introducing an antagonist who is for a change, not only recurring, but also normal. Not a metahuman, not a super powered being. Just an Army General, Wade Eiling (Clancy Brown), who has a shared history with Dr. Wells and it was interesting to see it explored at the end of this week’s episode, which was pretty fantastic, much like every episode of the show so far.
Bette Sans Souci (Kelly Frye) was the meta-human of the week character that this storyline followed in a pretty good way. As mentioned earlier, she, named “Plastique” by Cisco, as the title suggests, wasn’t evil, but more driven on a mission of revenge. Revenge against Wade Eiling, who had, according to her, made her powers, which were the ability to explode anything she touches (apart from, conveniently, her clothes), from the result of experiments conducted without her consult. Of course we know that the powers came from the particle acceleration explosion, much like Barry’s did.
There were plenty of amusing scenes that get the humour of this show spot on. The fact that Barry can’t get drunk in his new metahuman ability was handled pretty well. This also gave us the opportunity to see Caitlin and Cisco outside of S.T.A.R Labs, which was handled pretty well even if they didn’t get much to do. It’ll be interesting to see what route the show goes down if they were to give these characters more time outside of the Labs, but presumably this will come closer to the time when the writers decide to make them become Killer Frost and Vibe respectively. At the moment, the way that the show has written them, I don’t see them becoming supervillain and superhero, but there’s plenty of potential there if the writers choose to go down that route.
The biggest misstep that the show seems to be going down is its all-too conventional Iris-Barry drama, with their relationship being perhaps the most clichéd part of a series like this one. It doesn’t feel exactly new, with the dynamic pretty much being covered already with Superman and Lois Lane being a prominent example. I’d have much preferred the show to take us down a different route, but alas it hasn’t quite worked out that way. But then again, it’s something that you’d expect from the CW.
In comparison, the biggest excitement for me at this episode came from the end. It seems like they’re actually entertaining the possibility of using Gorilla Grodd, on live action TV with all the hints and teasers that they’ve been dropping since his name was first mentioned back in the pilot. This would be great to see unfold, and I really hope that they can pull it off further down the line.
It was also great to see the show exploring Barry’s powers in new and interesting ways, with him running not only up buildings but also across water. It adds an interesting new dynamic and gives the series potential to create fresher plots as the episodes keep going on. And something else that I’m finally going to mention that’s great about this week is Jesse L. Martin’s acting. He’s such an underrated actor and it’s great to see that he gets plenty of stuff to do on The Flash here, which is great to see. (also, his one-liner, “Must be Tuesday in Central City”, was great) His father-son partnership with Barry is actually pulled off well, and it’s refreshing to see a superhero that actually has a parental figure alive, and not killed off before we ever got to know them.
So then, Plastique was a pretty excellent episode aside from the rather clichéd approach to the Iris/Barry storyline. The plot was very entertaining indeed and it’s refreshing to see a well-developed metahuman on the series. As usual, this episode was another one that was pretty good. We’ll see where next week’s episode goes from here.