THE FLASH Takes a Bette and Bombs

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Episode 105 “Plastique”

[Photos: Cate Cameron/The CW]

After taking Election Night off, The Flash is back with an “explosive” episode! And yes, I did that on purpose. This week, we get a new not-so-villain in Plastique and a maybe-more-villain with General Wade Eiling. And a tease for a really magilla-villain for later!

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This episode starts innocently enough, with Bookend Part A — the friends at the bar. Barry has got Team Flash out drinking with Iris and Eddie, something Iris sees as a way to be nice to the people what saved her boy. Barry, of course, is still looking for any excuse to spend time with Iris. And oh, by the way, he’s incredibly frustrated that he can no longer get even a buzz from alcohol because of his accelerated metabolism.

Probably a good thing, because no one should drink and Flash…

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… which is what Barry has to do when Eddie gets a page about a bomb going off downtown, leading everyone to make excuses about how they have to be somewhere else. Barry runs out to the bomb site. Eddie, of course, is a first responder. And Iris is chasing the Streak for her blog. Because everyone has a blog these days. (Even we have a blog…) And yes, Iris sees the Streak come to the rescue of a window washer hanging on the side of the building. By running up the side of the building.

Let’s review that for a moment. Running up the side of the building.

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Iris, of course, sees him. She now knows that this man in red tights actually exists, and she’s more determined than ever to tell his story so the people of Central City will feel hope in the wake of the STAR Labs disaster. Little does she know that Mr. Blurry Face is someone very close to her… something that has her father courting apoplexy because he can’t get her to stop with the blogging and the showing up at the crime scene-ing and the putting her self in danger-ing. So he asks Barry to say something.

Which of course, makes her even more determined.

Joe’s concern about this particular case is compounded by the fact that General Wade Eiling has come in with his soldiers and taken every bit of evidence from the investigation. Turns out there’s a Sergeant Bette Sans Souci who seems to be a “person of interest” in the case — a former bomb unit soldier in the Middle East who had shrapnel being removed about the same time as the accelerator explosion. Naturally, the shrapnel was affected, fusing to her DNA and giving her the ability to turn anything she touches into a bomb.

Like Barry’s suit.

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Fortunately, Cisco has others (which means we’re not getting the red suit yet…), but he’s not too thrilled that Bette’s done away with his favorite one. (Do they all have different features?) His frustration is short-lived, though, once he gets a glimpse of Bette’s photo. Hello, nurse!

Y’see, Bette’s not really a villain. It just so happens that anything she touches automatically turns into a ticking time bomb. And some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb. So she’s trying to figure out how to get rid of this power she has. Unfortunately, the technology doesn’t yet exist to separate her DNA from the spiked shrapnel, so she’s stuck. Barry wants to add her to Team Flash. But she’s probably more Team Flashpoint, and with Wells’ encouragement, decides to confront Eiling and turn him into a bottle rocket.

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Eiling wants to turn her into a weapon, his own personal trump card for those times when you have to do a little more for national security. She’s not having it, but when Barry interferes and tries to stop her from killing Eiling, he manages to get the drop on her and shoots her point blank. Dead.

Then the Flash is suddenly faced with the fact that some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb. He manages, though, taking Bette’s body out into the bay before she self-combusts and explodes. So, not only do we get Barry running up the side of a building, but we also get running on water in the same episode. Clearly demonstrating that the show has fully embraced the comic book. Want more proof? Stay with me.

The other thread tonight: Iris and her blog. Not only does it run the risk of putting her in danger, but every encounter only increases the chance that she’ll figure out who’s under the mask. Even though Barry has this cool trick he can do with modulating his voice — and Joe thinks it’s really super-cool — that will only make her more determined to ferret out the secrets of the Streak. (Ick. Shows keep doing this. They need to stop.)

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So when Barry, meaning to get her to stop, drops into the coffee shop to ask her to stop, she’s now feeling vindicated because both Barry and Joe said the Streak wasn’t real. Now, she’s actually talked with him, and it puts her even more in his camp. Because the existence of the Flash is proof that her friend Barry wasn’t wrong about what he saw the night his mother died. And he’s not wrong in his pursuit of “the impossible”. Even when Barry tries to get her to stop, telling her he’s putting it all behind him, she’s ready to go to the mat for her best friend. Even if she has to fight her best friend, who’s now acting totally out of character to the point where it may damage their friendship.

And of course, Joe knows Barry’s in love with Iris. He’s a detective, and Barry isn’t a very good liar.

The one disappointment I have with this episode is the death of Bette Sans Souci. Plastique would have been a nice addition to have on the show in a recurring role, especially since she’s a metahuman who’s not bent on crime, chaos, or world domination. Her struggle to deal with her powers would have made a nice counterpoint to Barry’s figuring out his own. That got a little bit of time in this hour, as the two discussed why Barry does what he does, but since Bette’s dead, that particular exploration may not ever happen. (Unless it’s a comic book death…)

OK. So now back to embracing the comic book. The last scene gives us the falling out between Wells and Eiling from five years ago. A dispute between them leads to Wells shutting down an experiment and kicking Eiling out with the threat of negative publicity and bad press if “certain things” ever came to light. Eiling has been in charge of a project to develop mind control in an effort to produce a new kind of soldier. But when the experiment starts to stray into torture territory, Wells has had enough. Because he’s got a different future in mind for the gorilla named Grodd.

And the Internet exploded slightly.

What does it mean? For those not in the know, Gorilla Grodd is a hyper-intelligent ape who rules Gorilla City, and he’s one of the Flash’s most formidable foes. Not sure they’ll bring the whole package to the show, but linking Grodd with mind control is certainly consistent with some of his origin stories. And since Wells is from the future, he obviously knows what’s going to happen when Grodd reaches his full potential. It looks like Wells may be manipulating events to make sure things transpire as they should, but is he trying to avoid the Crisis event or cause it?

[Show web site at CW]     [Previous Recap: “Going Rogue”]

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Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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