Quickies: The Flash and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Posted on November 12, 2014


Kelly Frye and Grant Gustin in The CW’s “The Flash”

The Flash: “Plastique”

Okay, Flash creative team, you’ve been doing a bang-up job of translating the pure joy of the superhero genre to the small screen, something that very few creative people have ever managed. But we’re here to lay some nerd-truth on y’all. Sit back, because here it comes:

You can’t have the hero struggling over whether to tell his lady friend the truth about his secret identity if she is the only person in the cast who doesn’t know it already. Not only is all the potential tension removed from the scene (because it’s not really much of a secret to tell), but it simply makes no sense. All of his new friends at STAR Labs, who have been introduced to Iris and they’ve all socialized together, know his secret, as does her father, and the girl she tried to set him up with a few weeks back. It’s like Superman making a big deal out of telling Lois Lane he’s Clark Kent – after he’s told half the staff at the Daily Planet. It just doesn’t work.

And why isn’t he telling her, anyway? Especially since he thinks she’s putting herself in danger by pursuing this “Streak” story? If you love her, and you think she’s in danger, and almost everyone in your life already knows this secret, what possible reason could you have for not telling her?

It’s a shame, because this was the first episode in which Iris felt like a real person with a functioning brain and personality instead of the bizarrely child-like narcissist she sometimes came off as earlier in the season. The revelation that she’s fascinated with the “Streak” because she wants to restore Barry’s faith in a world more fantastical than the one we see every day, is a lovely note for the character. Of course the pure lust on her face when she set eyes on the “Streak” in all his glory belies that altruistic take and places her infatuation firmly within the cliched realm of superhero love interests (i.e., the dude is unnoticeable to her in civvies, but suddenly becomes hot when he puts on leather and acts like a hero).

Oh, and the weirdly paternalistic, condescending crap coming from Joe needs to stop. He and Barry talk about her like she’s some sort of wayward child who needs guidance. Why was it Barry’s job to tell her to stop writing about the “Streak” anyway? If Joe was so concerned about his daughter’s welfare, why not, you know, act like a father and say something to her?

It was another fun episode that set up future villainy down the road (loved the intro of Clancy Brown as General Eiling) and gave us some great action sequences and special effects. We never would have thought that the old “running up the side of a building” and “running on water” tricks would look so good on screen. And we’re sorry to see Plastique go so soon, since she had a lot of potential. But the West family remains a serious drag on the whole story and that needs to be rectified fairly soon. We really don’t need another Laurel Lance.


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “The Writing on the Wall”

This was a place-setting episode in a lot of ways, which means there’s not much to say about it. As an hour of TV, it did its job, but in the light of day we find there’s very little to pick apart and discuss.

When the newly revitalized and stripped-bare S.H.I.E.L.D. goes up against HYDRA in some fun Spy vs. Spy-style action, we’re totally there and loving it. When they spend so much time on this goddamn “TAHITI” crap, we couldn’t possibly be more bored by it. Does the reveal of a hidden city (which is probably Attilan, but that might interfere with Marvel’s cinematic plans) mean we won’t be treated to any more scenes of Coulson destroying the wall in his office? Because if so, we’re all for it. That stuff was never as scintillating as the writers seemed to believe. On the other hand, the FX budget on this show makes us fearful for any attempts to portray a fantastical hidden city. Maybe the show will focus on the quest and leave the reveal to the Inhumans movie when it comes out in 2060, or whenever.

But to be fair, the flashback scenes were effectively weird and disorienting, so kudos to that bit of direction.

To our immense surprise, Agent Meathead actually makes a pretty good Hannibal Lecter-type character to Skye’s Clarice Starling. We didn’t know what they were planning on doing with him after last season, but making him the amoral, psychopathic guy who has no loyalties to any team works surprisingly well. Just give us a scene where May, Skye and Bobbi all get to wipe the smug off his face by kicking his ass.

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