The following is another entry in my ongoing reviews for The Flash that appear on Culture Fly
Cheesy moments and superheroes go hand in hand. From the “you-mess-with-one-of-us-you-mess-with-all-of-us” moments in any Spider-Man film to the police uprising in The Dark Knight Rises, superhero stories reek of cheese. Some subvert these moments into humour, others except it for what it is, and The Flash has so far avoided these types of moments, offering up the odd slice of cheddar every now and then, but tonight The Flash went full epoisses. Barry (Grant Gustin) finally had some cheese to go with last week’s whine (sorry, not sorry).
The moment happened at the end of an otherwise stellar episode. After finding out the identity of Zoom, Barry speeds off to a waterfall and screams “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”. It is a moment of anguish that the show thinks is monumental, but — for reasons that will be discussed in a future review so as not to spoil anything — the show doesn’t earn its Luke-Skywalker scream.
Apart from the final couple of seconds, ‘Trajectory’ is an episode that showcases what made the first season of The Flash so great. It features a quippy Cisco (Carlos Valdes) whose lines don’t becoming annoying and offer some meta-commentary on the superhero genre — “Ooooh, it’s always the crazy ones who name themselves”. It features Tom Cavanagh returning to his old mentoring role and it just features the gang chilling out.
The club scene at the beginning of the episode before the villain-of-the-week, Trajectory (Allison Page), appears, is joyous as the characters just have fun. The audience too will enjoy just spending time with these characters. It’s nice to see Barry fumbling over what to call his relation to Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale), to see Caitlyn (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco awkwardly dancing, and to see Iris (Candice Patton) talk about what her future with Barry will be.
This conversation will pique the interest of Iris-Barry shippers because for the first time since the season one time-travel incident, she has shown interest in what her future with Barry holds. There is an awkwardness between the two characters that they are not being awkward about. Gustin and Patton play off each other brilliantly and The CW casting director should be praised for filling out this cast so well.
The writers this week should also be praised. The Flash has never been afraid of science and this week was no difference, but the show tends to have their smart characters make stupid decisions to forward the narrative. Not this week, though. After noticing the similarities between Trajectory and Zoom, the S.T.A.R Labs squad works out the identity of the big bad instead of ignoring the obvious like a lesser show would do. The writers have chosen to be upfront with the audience and not play the dramatic irony card for too long. It’s appreciated.
They also thread in a not-so-thinly-veiled metaphor for athlete drug use as Barry discovers the Velocity-nine speed formula. After some back-and-forth about how the game is rigged and it isn’t fair that people are cheating, Barry does the obvious. He may be tempted to dabble in darkness for a tiny bit, but he is too good to do the wrong thing. Don’t do drugs, kids.