‘The Flash’ Review: “The Man in the Yellow Suit”
Did the reveal of The Reverse-Flash make any sense?
I guess, kinda. The show has been leaning so heavily in this direction since the pilot that in some ways it’s remarkable they tipped their hand so early. Once you introduce the idea that time is somewhat malleable in this show’s universe, it’s possible for Wells to be training Barry to actually stop Future Evil Wells as much as it’s possible that Wells is doing all of this to go back in time and save his wife as much as it’s possible that Wells is doing all this because he’s mad that no one watched the show ‘Love Monkey.’ Possibilities abound!
But … possibilities are good, right?
Oh sure, but the problem is that the possibilities are so limitless that guessing is beside the point. Time-travel narratives are inherently fraught with peril, so the fact that Wells had to steal a tachyon device in order to activate The Reverse-Flash suit even though the Reverse-Flash suit already exists gives me the type of nose bleeds that are hard to stop.
Is it better or worse to have an identity for The Reverse-Flash?
Actually, I’m not even sure we do, even if Wells spoke in the same deep vibrato as The Man In The Yellow Suit as the last line of the episode. The fact that Reverse-Flash didn’t kill Eddie means that Detective Thawne is still in play as the ultimate wearer of the suit, especially since this episode went a long way towards starting the schism between Eddie and Barry in the present.
Is this show ever going to stop trying to make Barris happen?
Barris is my shipper name for Barry and Iris, and it’s an appropriately terrible name for a terrible couple. No one in the history of ever has said, “I hate this plotline, but I respect the show for doubling down on it rather than abandoning it.” TV is an inherently messy medium, and anything that makes sense over the long haul is the exception that proves the rule. Remember Kalinda’s husband on ‘The Good Wife’? Neither does ‘The Good Wife.’ And yet we’re going full Barris as we head into 2015, because the show is convinced this is a good way to produce drama.
Is the show right?
The show is very wrong.
Would you watch a show involving just Joe West and Harrison Wells called, “Kids, Amirite???”
Absolutely! Each time the show reveals that West and Wells have been talking about Barry, my immediate thought is “I would have liked to have seen that scene!” Jesse Martin and Tom Cavanaugh have great chemistry, and it’s as much fun to see them get along as play mental chess with one another.
Did you cry when Joe said, “I need my Barry Allen?”
I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I totally did.
If Jesse Martin said he would adopt you, would you live with him?
The bag I’ve already packed in the corner of my office says that I would.
Was this actually a good episode of ‘The Flash’?
I’ve been ducking this issue altogether, and even created this gimmicky premise to avoid it even longer. The truth is, this was actually one of the weaker episodes of the year, with about eight minutes of actual good content and 32 minutes of Sad Barry Being Sad That Barris Isn’t A Thing. Those 32 minutes are ‘The Flash’ as its worst.
But doesn’t Grant Gustin give good earnest cry?
He does! Thank God, because he makes those droopy segments far more tolerable than they have any human right to be. It’s just unfortunate that Barry Allen has to devote so much angst over a relationship no one outside of this show’s writers’ room actually cares about.
Are you going to talk about Firestorm or what?
Firestorm was in The Great Eight, no doubt. The fire effects look amazing, his surprise appearance in the Flash/Reverse-Flash fight was fantastic, and I may or may not have cheered when he flew off into the night.
If Future Harrison Wells was really in the suit, why didn’t he know about Firestorm’s appearance?
Shhh, you’re talking paradox and making my head hurt. Present-day Wells didn’t know about Robbie’s existence at the time of the tachyon device theft, but would have known if this was indeed a future version that came back in order to step up Barry’s training for his ultimate sacrifice down the line.
There’s the conundrum. We know from the future newspaper headline that the end of the undefined crisis coincides with Barry’s “disappearance,” which could be coded as “death.” The Reverse-Flash talks of Barry’s ultimate defeat as a part of his destiny, but “destiny” and “time travel” have this weird way of making desire turn into something akin to reality. All of this is a way of saying that Wells may be artificially creating a loop in which the present feeds the future which then bends back to the present and potentially the past.
What’s this about the past?
Cisco tells Joe that the red/yellow lightning he saw made him think that what Barry saw as a child wasn’t one man murdering Nora Allen, but two speedsters fighting around her. That means either 1) the speeds at which Barry ultimately attains allow him to move through time like Reverse-Flash, or 2) the show is actually going to introduce other incarnations of The Flash into this show’s mythology.
Wait, we’re gonna see Wally West?
Well, technically, West was the third incarnation during the Modern Age, whereas Jay Garrick was the Golden Age version that debuted in 1940, and ... I’ve just totally lost most of you. Sorry. Factoring in Oliver Queen’s assertion in the pilot that the bolt of lightning “chose” Barry, it’s not beyond the pale to think that other versions of The Flash have existed before in this show’s universe. If Wells is indeed the Reverse-Flash, then the two are akin to matter and anti-matter, mirrors of one another than can only exist as part of a pair.
Do you have a theory about the future?
If the two cannot exist without the other, then it stands to reason that the death of one potentially means the death of another. If Wells is more than just a maniacal despot desperate to rule the world, maybe the future reveals just how cataclysmic the proliferation of meta-humans ultimately became. By eliminating the source of the meta-humans through the destruction of its source, might that avoid a certain crisis?
This sounds like a bunch of nonsense. Have you been drinking heavily?
Well, I picked “drink anytime someone on this show starts a sentence with the phrase ‘The truth is...’,” so yeah, kinda tipsy.
Was this a satisfying half-season of television?
On the whole, absolutely. The show spun its wheels for a few episodes to get people used to its rhythms, but had the right core cast in place from the outset, delivered a few great episodes, and rarely dropped an outright stinker. Tonight’s episode was paced in a bizarre way, focusing on Barris rather than Reverse-Flash, but if Barry moves on with his life in favor of training to stop the latter come January, then I’ll chalk tonight up as a necessary evil. This is a good show that has the excellent chance of being great before long. Ditching Barris, deploying Firestorm, clarifying Wells’ motivations, and giving us 18% more Cisco per episode will go a long way towards hastening this show’s ascent.
Was any moment cooler on ‘The Flash’ this Fall than that SUPERSONIC PUNCH?
The better question: Was any moment cooler on TV this Fall than that SUPERSONIC PUNCH?
What’s the answer to both?