‘The Flash’ Review: We Answer 15 Questions About Tonight’s ‘Trap’
The Flash is often resistant to the type of analysis that helps populate episodic recaps. That’s not to say it’s not good, which it often is. That’s not to say it’s not entertaining, because Lordy was “The Trap” entertaining. It’s just that everything that’s good about “The Trap” is right there on the surface. There are no metaphors, similes, or subtext to the episode. It’s pure plot, deployed in expert fashion. You saw the same things I did. There’s not much for me to explain. I’d simply be regurgitating the episode right back at you. And that’s neither good nor entertaining.
So rather than telling you what you already know, let’s ask 15 questions about “The Trap” instead, now that the Wells-as-Thawne cat is out of the bag.
What’s the likelihood that Thawne’s long time spent with the S.T.A.R. Labs crew will soften his resolve as the season winds down?
If you watch the final scene, not much! He’s grown fond (in a sort of Stockholm Syndrome way) towards Barry, Caitlin, and Cisco. But there’s something Future Barry does that angers Eobard something fierce, and I’m guessing Gideon knows exactly what that is.
How cool was it to learn that Future Barry created Gideon?
Very cool indeed. The entire opening sequence was fantastic, one of those once-a-season scenes in which a show finally stops withholding all the cool secrets it’s been keeping and snaps a lot of pieces into official place.
Did you catch that sly reference to The Justice League?
You mean that whole, “Founding member of…” snippet that Gideon spat out before being unfortunately cut off? You betcha. I know Grant Gustin won’t be the DC Comics Cinematic Universe version of this character, but that’s too bad. Hell, it’s too bad those making this TV show can’t make the cinematic version of it. But that’s other gripe for other time.
Is Cisco the best new character on TV in 2014-5?
It’s close. I can’t decide between him or Rogelio De La Vega on Jane The Virgin. Maybe The CW can launch “The Cisco/Rogelio Extremely Entertaining Variety Hour” this summer so I can compare the two on an equal playing field. But Cisco is close to a perfect character, a wisecracking genius who earns audience sympathy simply with a simple grin.
Does it make our heroes any less worthy of our admiration after learning Thawne turned all of Central City into the hotel from the movie Sliver?
Nah, I’m fine for a super mastermind reveal of that nature, especially since The Flash has told an elliptical season-long story that nevertheless hangs together in the aggregate. For months, we’ve wondered how Wells/Thawne could be simultaneously helping Barry while also plotting his demise. Then the characters started to wonder that same thing out loud. Then Thawne (and by extension, the show) had a pretty airtight answer, at least within the confusing boundaries of time-travel narratives. Barry’s speed might catch up to Eboard’s, but his mind is still far, far behind. The best fights on The Flash have always been about wits, not brawn.
What about “waving your arms really fast”? Doesn’t that also help?
Well, yes, that seemed to work with the fire tonight. Fair point.
As thrilling as all the reveals were tonight, were they too little too late in the overall scope of things?
It’s easy to sit here and say yes, but I see both sides of the issue here. On the one hand, this is The CW, and episodes are churned out from September to May. This isn’t FX or HBO. On the flip side, I can’t help but think about what this show might have been as an airtight 8-10 episodes. Had the show spent half of its episodes simply spending time with its characters in between big mythological beats, that would have been fine. That’s pretty much how a show like Buffy The Vampire Slayer built its seasons, interspersing big-arc stories with standalones that were entertaining hours unto themselves. But The Flash had about 10 episodes of story in a 22-gallon hat, which left the major plot hanging in the wind far longer than need be, and also stranded certain characters to the point of sheer ridiculousness.
Are we going to talk about Iris now?
We’re going to talk about Iris now.
How relieved are we that this timeline’s Iris knows?
We’re very relieved, both in the royal and collective sense of the word “we.” When a show plots out a season of TV, it does so on a micro and a macro level. One of the macro elements has apparently been “Iris is the last damn person to find out Barry’s secret.” Now, the show could have deviated from that path, and either thought it didn’t have to do so or, more likely, didn’t know how to do so. When viewed objectively, everything’s been building towards this moment: Her increasingly keen journalistic sense, her loyalty towards Eddie, and her slow-burn feelings for Barry all stem from the by-line on that future newspaper. The show has known (and many of you have suspected) that her name is on that paper, and that by-line confirms the show has planned to move these two together since day one.
So have all the teases with Eddie, Felicity, and Linda been a waste of time?
They’ve only been a waste in that they have served as filler rather than interesting steps along the journey. How I Met Your Mother had several girlfriends for Ted that were entertaining in their own right, and helped get him to the place he inevitably wound up. But The Flash has done itself no favors by not really making any particular romantic pairing on the show have much spark, even Barry/Iris.
But I thought you said you liked Iris finding out tonight?
I did, because Iris is a totally different person when learning Barry’s identity, and Candace Patton gets to play totally different notes when that occurs. It’s the difference between The Flash telling us these two are Destined To Be Together and showing us. Simply putting “Iris West-Allen” on a by-line does not a One True Pairing (OTP) make. Now that there’s a literal spark between them, perhaps the show’s one weak link is finally gone. (Again, the weak link is NOT Patton, but the writers’ treatment of that character.)
Is there a real OTP on this show?
Well, clearly it’s Cisco and Joe, but somehow I don’t think the show would agree.
How do you feel about being nearly 40 years old yet using “OTP” in an article published on the internet?
Look, I’ve felt better about other choices in my life.
Do you see a long-term plan for Eobard Thawne in the show?
I certainly hope he’s not a one-and-done character, season-wise. Breaking up the status quo for a few episodes here at the end of the season will be fun, but I think somehow, Tom Cavanagh stays on the show for the forseeable future. The Flash is laying groundwork for Eobard to either inspire Eddie to pick up his mantle or wrestle with whatever consciousness might be still around from the real Harrison Wells. Both scenarios keep Cavanagh employed and give the show the type of mastermind it needs. Sure, it’s POSSIBLE that The Flash can still use S.T.A.R. Labs as a base with either Cisco or Caitlin running point. But it’s just not the same show. And what both television and comic books crave is the familiar: Sure, they will occasionally throw you a curve ball, but then drift back to something approximating the status quo.
Are you saying that Season 2 won’t be All Grodd, All The Time?
As cool as that would be, no. But we’re apparently getting him next week, so let’s just enjoy what we can get.