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The Flash #1.12 “Crazy For You” Recap & Review

A scattered episode doesn’t work as a whole, but has a slew of entertaining individual stories and developments.

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FLA112A_0331bSummary: A scattered episode doesn’t work as a whole, but has a slew of entertaining individual stories and developments.

Recap

The STAR Labs team searches for Shawna, a metahuman who uses quantum entanglement to teleport. Shawna, who Caitlin names Peek-A-Boo, uses her powers to bust her boyfriend Clay out of Iron Heights, and the two go on a crime spree to pay back Clay’s debts before running away. When Henry snoops around in an attempt to help Joe and Barry solve the crime, he ends up in the infirmary after getting roughed up by inmates. Caitlin decides that she and Barry need to move on from Ronnie and Iris and find new loves so she takes him for a night out at the local karaoke bar. Caitlin doesn’t have any luck making a love connection but Barry meets Linda Park, a sports reporter for the Central City Picture News, and asks her out on a date. Iris, meanwhile, is struggling to keep her job at the Picture News without any new material from The Flash, so Barry decides to pay her a visit in costume to feed her a story — and a photo. Meanwhile, Cisco considers Hartley’s dangerous offer to find Ronnie, and Hartley shows him how Dr. Martin Stein and Ronnie fused on the day of the particle accelerator explosion, yielding the new Firestorm entity. Hartley escapes during the outing, but the team forgives Cisco after he confesses to his guilt about agreeing to lock Ronnie in the particle accelerator that night. When Barry visits his father, Henry says if his son were The Flash, he’d be proud, implying that he knows his identity. In a Central City sewer, a powerful gorilla attacks two sewer workers.

Review

“Crazy for You” is the most unfocused episode of The Flash yet. It’d be unfair to blame that on any semblance of incompetence, or even consider it a mistake, though. This episode has many disparate elements to juggle, all of which are individually fun and worthwhile, but none have enough momentum to drive the episode.

It’s noticeable in how nothing really sticks out as the A-Plot. On paper, Peek-A-Boo is the signature villain-of-the-week that would carry the A-plot, a metahuman that pinpoints the beginning, middle, and end of the episode while creating parallels to the subplots. The Peek-A-Boo plot, while relatively benign, contains a fun, even if two-dimensional villain in teleporter Shawna. Britne Oldford is charming enough that Shawna comes off a bit more likeable than the party girl stereotype she’s written as, and it’d be fun to eventually see her back in an anti-hero capacity. She’s not evil, after all, mostly only out for the thrill and devotion to her cowardly boyfriend. Of all the metahumans, she’s the most likely to become part of a metahuman Suicide Squad, since her “having fun” motivation isn’t particularly malicious.

FLA112B_0034bIt kind of ties together some of the episode, but vaguely; Shawna has a significant other while Barry and Caitlin lament their lackthereofs, but that parallel is barely touched upon. Frankly, Barry and Caitlin’s drunken escapades, Barry’s subsequent relationship shake-up, and Cisco’s Firestorm investigation end up taking significantly more screentime than the supposed A-Plot. And that’s not a wholly bad thing, because the ongoing elements of The Flash are far more interesting than this villain-of-the-week. But without a solid plot to pin everything down, it feels like a bunch of unrelated mini-Flash episodes thrown into the pot without much thought. The stew tastes well enough, because it’s made with roughly the same ingredients as usual, but the imbalance and clash of spices don’t yield the perfect meal we’re used to.

This type of episode might have been unavoidable, though, here at the season’s midpoint. The Flash has carefully paced its main stories so they all carry throughout the season, avoiding mini-arcs in favor of multiple interlocking full-season stories. As much as the show has excelled at pacing those things out, it’s at an awkward place now where everything stands in the middle — not far enough to make huge steps forward, but too far to slow down without looking like wheel-spinning. So maybe “Crazy for You” could get a pass once the season wraps, because if this is the closest thing we get to a wheel-spinning or filler episode, it’s still pretty damn entertaining.

So as such, let’s look at these disparate parts individually:

Barry and Caitlin: The most significant and best part of the episode is the fun Barry and Caitlin have in civilian form. If there’s any reason for “Crazy for You” to be considered a breather episode, this is definitely why. Grant Gustin and Danielle Panabaker are pleasant to hang out with, and there’s a nice balance of platonic-yet-maybe-kinda-romantic sparks within. The door is open for if show wants to try and pair the two together, but there aren’t any hints that need to be followed up on if that isn’t where the show goes. That’s a good thing, because as it stands, Barry and Caitlin have such an endearing friendship free of tension that it’d be silly to abandon it. The bottle is known to bring people together, and it finally lets Caitlin and Barry do that — not in an emotional soul-bearing way, but just in that it makes Caitlin a carefree goofball. That yields some of the funniest material we’ve seen, mostly in a Grease karaoke bit that should have gotten way more screentime. Showing off his Glee roots, Gustin has an amazing voice, and Panabaker…has a really, really funny one. Barry and Caitlin also have a charming little scene post-bar, as Barry tends to his hammered friend with high respect. These characters are just so good to each other all the time.

FLA112A_0045bRomance: It’s brief in the context of the episode, but we finally get a new love interest for Barry in Linda Park. Even in her few scenes, Malese Jow makes a wonderful impression; Linda is smooth and spunky, very reminiscent of Iris, but far more confident and less jittery. She totally fits in with Barry’s type, but she’s a little more grown-up and suave than Iris or Felicity. And of course, that she coincidentally happens to work in the same office as Iris — an extremely silly coincidence, but one that we can probably ignore for the sake of future drama — will yield some classic love triangle escapades. It’ll be interesting seeing Barry have more of a presence at Picture News via his connection with Linda, too, as Flash is getting back in Iris’ good graces.

Cisco and Pied Piper: Much as Pied Piper served as a good momentum-driving villain last week, he’s arguably even more entertaining in the Hannibal Lecter role. There had to be no doubt that he would escape before episode’s end, but we still got a handful of surprises in how it worked. For one, Cisco has some mad fighting skills, in addition to the brains to make what basically amounts to a sonic shock collar. Cisco was not well-handled early in the series, but these recent episodes have utilized his guilt complex and slight mean streak impeccably well without hurting the fun of the character, and it’s given Carlos Valdz much more to do.

Firestorm: While fans of the comics probably already knew this, we get our big confirmation that quantum splicing between Dr. Martin Stein and Ronnie Raymond created the Firestorm entity, which has to be the weirdest development on this show yet. But this might be the only non-Science Channel or Neil deGrasse Tyson show out now that mentions both quantum entanglement and quantum splicing in the same episode, so that’s pretty darn col.

Henry Allen: John Wesley Shipp was an exciting edition to the show initially, but he hasn’t had many opportunities to do anything beyond be teary-eyed behind a glass. “Crazy for You” both disappoints and excels in its handling of Henry Allen, though luckily the latter outweighs the former. The trouble in his story is that all his action happens offscreen; we introduce his connection to this week’s case, and then flashforward to later when he’s had his own investigation and got in a big fight over it. Maybe this was a last minute cut, but the subplot doesn’t really work when we’re being told everything instead of shown it. Luckily, Shipp gets to act his pants off in the final scene, where we all-but-confirm that Henry knows his son is The Flash without anyone outright stating it. It’s a beautifully written and performed scene, much better than the sometimes forced emotional beats between Barry and Henry in past episodes. This one is real and on-point, and even though we don’t know much of anything about Henry, we can easily see why Barry looks up to him so fondly.

Grodd: Grodd. Grodd, Grodd, Grodd. Everything else in this episode is rather disparate and thrown in, so why not add another Grodd scene? He’s only in the shadows now, but man, that tag is awesome. I have to wonder what watching scenes like this is like for someone who’s watching The Flash without much comic book knowledge. Just as the DCAU was an entry point for a lot of kids growing up in the 90s-early 00’s, the constant bombardment of DC characters in the DCwU is surely the same for uninitiated people today. So when they see that The Flash has an underlying thread of a secret experiment and a superpowered gorilla, I can’t help but wonder if they think it’s going a little nuts.

In any case, it’s perfect way to end an episode that’s lackluster as a complete whole, but succeeds in quantity when viewing each bit separately. It’s not the smartest way to handle an episode, but considering how consistent The Flash has been in its freshmen year, it’s allowed a bit of wiggle room like this.

Odds & Ends

  • We desperately need a Flash musical episode.
  • Barry getting almost sorta kinda shot is interesting. The logistics of a superspeed bullet catch is something the show hasn’t touched on, and I’m interested to see how it might handle it further.
  • It’s probably not physically possible to capture an image of The Flash so clearly with a cell phone camera unless it has a really high shutter speed, or Iris happened to time it so that she caught it just as Flash started running but before he burst into his speed. But considering the utterly confusing nature of the particle accelerator prison, this is an extremely unnecessary nitpick.
  • Seriously, though, someone who isn’t really that dangerous like Shawna gets stuck in a tiny padded cell and she doesn’t even have a window? I know we have to overlook the logistics of the particle accelerator prison for the sake of the coolness factor (like “Where’s the bathroom?” and “Who feeds them?”), but the more you think about it, the harsher it seems. It doesn’t make the characters look good when the best thing you can say is “At least they’re not torturing them!” Hopefully this will be addressed later down the line.
  • “How can you speak in 6 languages and sound like a dick in every one of them?”
  • “My social life consists of running at superhuman speed and Netflix.”
  • “I don’t always dress like a high school principal.”
  • “I’d like to yell and wave my arms, but I’m afraid I’d throw up.”

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Halberdier17

    February 6, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Two months ago Andrew Kreisberg said they will show the logistics of the particle accelerator prison. He said they will show it in a 2015 episode.

    Andrew Kreisberg mentioned the “How do they handle bathroom breaks” in the interview.

  2. Rob

    February 9, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    •Seriously, though, someone who isn’t really that dangerous like Shawna gets stuck in a tiny padded cell and she doesn’t even have a window?
    Because otherwise she would escape! How can you write a review this detailed and not remember this fact?

    • Derek B. Gayle

      February 9, 2015 at 1:36 pm

      Right, never said there wasn’t a reason for it. Missed the point of that completely, though: pointing out how inhumane the whole scenario is. The lack of a window emphasizes how bad it is. No attempt at rehabilitation is made, despite that she isn’t that bad. Just thrown in a windowless cell, which is even worse than the conditions of the murderous criminals they have there. It’s solitary confinement. That’s why I emphasized the windowless part.

      • Rob

        February 10, 2015 at 9:50 am

        But you’re holding onto a dogmatic view of right and wrong and dropping context. They aren’t holding her in a windowless cell out of malice. They are doing it to keep her from escaping and stealing. It might be a lamentable stopgap measure, but it’s better than letting her continue to steal in the meantime. What are they supposed to do while they “rehabilitate” her, which is a long process that none of them are qualified to do?

        • Derek B. Gayle

          February 10, 2015 at 10:31 am

          Alright, I think I see more what you’re getting at. I think the issue in general is that it’s such a muddy area — if there was any indication that they had a plan for the people they captured, maybe it’d be a little better (as in, if we were to assume it WAS just a stopgap containing her, when thus far, they seem to be dropping villains into cells with no intention of doing anything else.) It was an easy solution early on for containing a sort of psychopath like The Mist, but the Shawna thing just made it pretty evident that the whole situation is a little weird.

          That said, thinking about it further, it could be intentional; the metahuman stuff is new so they’re just going with the flow and not thinking far ahead, and it will eventually blow up in their faces. That could be a satisfying conclusion, perhaps leading to the creation of an actual government-sanctioned facility for superpowered folks. It just seems strange that none of the characters, especially someone like Joe, has bothered to even question or acknowledge it.

          • Rob

            February 10, 2015 at 4:57 pm

            Ultimately I think many are trying to apply real world ethics to this issue without fully realizing that superpowers would change the application of issues like “cruel and unusual punishment”. You do bring up a good issue of them holding her in the same way they do worse criminals, but it’s not an easy answer.

            My guess is that the writers will hit on this issue down the road. I imagine a Ghostbusters scenario where someone is going to undo all of the hardwork the team has done and release the metahumans all at once.

            There are 40 plus minutes for each episode, so if they can’t hit on issues like this until they need to, it doesn’t bug me. This moral dilemma is at least more interesting than “where do they get their food and go to the bathroom?” Trivialities are sometimes fun to discuss but it’s not a pressing issue. In the 9 seasons of 24, how many times did Jack go to the bathroom or even eat?

  3. Mykgersrd

    February 14, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    There is also the fact that they have no legal jurisdiction. They are basically illegally kidnapping the rogues. Despite the dangers the rogues present to society at large, they all do deserve a fair trial and their constitutional rights. I agree w the Ghostbusters scenario. This situation is temporary at best.

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Blu-ray Review: The Flash: The Complete Sixth Season

Review of The Flash Season 6 Blu-ray set from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

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The Flash: The Complete Sixth Season is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, and we have been provided with a copy of the set to review on the site!

The set features all 19 episodes of The Flash Season 6 plus extras — the Blu-ray includes all of the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover!

Here’s what’s up:

Packaging & Design: Starting with this because it’s probably the first thing you’ll notice. The box art for this set has changed since the original press release — the fired Hartley Sawyer’s Ralph Dibny is no longer on the packaging. While I understand the show distancing themselves — Ralph was indeed an important part of Season 6, with his Sue Dearbon story, and I’m not 100% sure how I think they should have handled it. As it is, it looks odd with just the other four members of Team Flash on it. Though, to be fair, Nash Wells isn’t on the cover either.

With that said, The Flash sets usually have some of the best designed packaging and menu art and this set is no exception.

The Episodes: Also seems I am repeating myself but the Blu-ray presentation on The Flash is loads better than what we see on TV and is pretty cinematic. All 19 episodes of Season 6 are here, and — spoiler warning — because of COVID-19, they were cut off at 19 episodes, so that means some storylines aren’t completely wrapped. With that said, this season saw Eric Wallace taking over as showrunner, and with him came a new tactic that he referred to as “graphic novels.” The first “graphic novel” included the character Bloodwork (Sendhil Ramamurthy) as characters are facing death, and the second, after Crisis, dealt with a new “Mirror Master.”

I will say that The Flash under Eric Wallace has a great vision and I love his enthusiasm, which you can actually hear on the “Kiss Kiss Breach Breach” commentary. He’s as big of a geek as we are, and I mean that in the absolute best way. The only thing I’d have to say negative about Season 6 is that the mirror storyline has gone on way too long — and I wonder, if they had known all along that we’d end with 19 episodes (an impossibility, because who would?), it might have been a bit shorter.

This “graphic novel” set-up, however, does offer the chance to binge the season in parts, which is pretty cool, and the Blu-ray bonus disc of all of Crisis on Infinite Earths is a good thing to throw in the middle to tee up Graphic Novel #2.

The other thing I will say about Season 6 is that I really liked some of the new characters that are set up. Chester P. Runk, Sue Dearbon, Kamilla, and Allegra — all fun characters that add to rather than detract from the series.

The Extras: The set includes a bonus black and white noir version of “Kiss Kiss Breach Breach” with commentary by Eric Wallace. Commentaries don’t happen too often these days, so I’m so glad they put something on this set. There is also a gag reel and deleted scenes. And, of course, all of Crisis which has a lot of great Flash content!

Is It Worth It? If you’re a Flash completist or want to see the most recent season in high definition, sure. You might want to start at the very beginning, though. Still, I think The Flash is on its way back to its former glory and Season 6 is the start of that journey. Can’t wait for Season 7, and for now, this set will be revisited often.

Get your copy of the Blu-ray from Amazon.com at a discounted price and support FlashTVNews!

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Blu-ray Review: The Flash: The Complete Fifth Season

Review of the Flash Season 5 Blu-ray set.

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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided FlashTVNews with a free copy of this set for review in this post. The opinions shared are my own.

The Flash: The Complete Fifth Season hits Blu-ray and DVD this week, containing all 22 episodes of Season 5 plus bonus episodes from the Elseworlds crossover. In addition to the entire season, there are few extra features for all to enjoy, though some are duplicated from other sets that were made available this year. Here’s the review.

The Episodes: As mentioned, all 22 episodes plus extras are on this set. And as I tend to write every year, the show isn’t quite at the high level it was in its first season, but there are definitely standouts in Season 5. A big theme for the season is family, and the conflicts between parents and their children. Caitlin and her parents are a part of that. The season’s villain is a part of that. And the biggest part of that is Nora West-Allen (Jessica Parker Kennedy), the daughter of Barry and Iris brought back from the future. Kennedy is fantastic in the role, though it is at times disappointing to see so much attention on a new character when we are here for the ones we’ve seen for 100+ episodes.

The Flash Season 5 contains the series’ 100th episode which is a great journey through the five years of the show. Sadly absent from Episode 100, though, is Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) who was recovering from an injury for a good part of the season. Martin’s presence was certainly missed though it is nice that the show upgraded Danielle Nicolet (Cecile) to series regular this year.

I’ll be honest: I wasn’t very invested in the Cicada story, at least not as much as I probably should have been. And I was even less into the latest Wells, “Sherloque,” which was a joke that stopped being funny within about 2 minutes, with no offense meant to the writers or Tom Cavanagh. It was nice to see the talented Cavanagh in another role, though part of me still is wondering why it was not Matt Letscher, though I’m forgiving that because, again, Tom Cavanagh.

I’m also not sure what to make of Vibe’s eventual fate, unless it is a way to make things less easy for next year’s crossover. In any event, watching these episodes still has me excited for Season 6, and The Flash is certainly a series that is worth the Blu-Ray upgrade.

The Extras: There’s a fantastic featurette about the origins of Killer Frost which is really well put together. I was, however, surprised that such attention wasn’t paid to XS/Nora as she was also a major arc for Season 5. Was there only room to cover one story? I’m also surprised there wasn’t some kind of 100th episode spotlight, especially since Warner Bros. did have press kit people on the line interviewing the cast.

There are Elseworlds, villains, and Comic-Con featurettes that you can find on the other DC TV shows this year, which I can only imagine is a cost-cutting measure to include them everywhere.

The set also has deleted scenes, with the most notable being Superman running with Oliver Queen from “Elseworlds Part 1.” It’s a shame that was cut. There was also a “My Name Is Barry Allen” from “Elseworlds” with Stephen Amell replacing Grant Gustin as Grant replaced him in the aired Part 2 — this was surely cut and unfinished so as to not blow the reveal that Oliver was Barry in Part 1. It’s still really cute and fun.

Finally, there’s a gag reel. While they are introduced with credits like The Office, they’re still a bit… meh.

Packaging and Design: Seeing Barry and Nora running side by side is the perfect way to sell this. Very nice looking.

Is It Worth It? I’ll always recommend picking up Flash Blu-Rays from the beginning, but this is certainly worthwhile, especially to prepare for Season 6 to premiere on October 8. You can purchase this set (and support this site!) here.

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Blu-ray Review: The Flash: The Complete Fourth Season

Review of the Blu-ray set for The Flash: The Complete Fourth Season

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The Complete Fourth Season of The Flash hits Blu-ray and DVD this week (Tuesday, August 28), and we’ve got our hands on a review copy!

Before we get to the review, here’s how the season is described:

In Season Four, the mission of Barry Allen, aka The Flash (Grant Gustin), is once more to protect Central City from metahuman threats. First, he’ll have to escape the Speed Force. With Barry trapped, the job of protecting Central City falls to his family – Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin); his fiancée, Iris West (Candice Patton); and Wally West/Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale) – and the team at S.T.A.R. Labs – Dr. Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker), Cisco Ramon/Vibe (Carlos Valdes) and brilliant scientist Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh). When a powerful villain threatens to level the city if The Flash doesn’t appear, Cisco risks everything to break Barry out of the Speed Force. But this is only the first move of a life-or-death chess game with Clifford DeVoe aka The Thinker (Neil Sandilands), a mastermind who’s always ten steps ahead of Barry, no matter how fast he’s running. Shocking surprises come fast and furious in all 23 action-packed adventures featuring The Fastest Man Alive.

So, how’s the set?

The Episodes: It’s going to be very hard to ever replicate the greatness that was the first season of The Flash. Unfortunately, one thing that The Flash Season 1 did so well that still didn’t connect for Season 4 is a strong villain. While I have more appreciation for The Thinker after rewatching some episodes and checking out the extra interview features on this set, I still don’t really feel that empathy and care for him that I had for, say, Eobard/Wells.

Season 4 also tried to course correct with more humor to varied success. Sometimes it worked; others the show was far too amused with itself. (I don’t need to see any more Wellses no matter how much I love Tom Cavanagh, for example, and “psychic pregnancy” will never not be too campy for me.)

There’s some good stuff, though. The best version of Barry’s suit so far premieres in Season 4, and Barry and Iris finally get married this year, even if every time they got married, they ended up interrupted. There are some episodes that worked to innovate, and there are also things like Barry in jail which seem to go on for too long. But at least with a DVD or Blu-ray you can fast forward, right?

Season 4 is also where we meet Ralph Dibny. He grows on you until you finally stretch your appreciation levels. By season’s end, you love Ralph as much as everyone else might.

The Extras: Of all the DC TV shows, The Flash usually gets the best treatment as far as extras go. We’ve got deleted scenes (including some WestAllen!), bloopers, and the all-encompassing Comic-Con video… and some other great extras, including Sterling Gates and Eric Wallace with Katee Sackhoff offering commentary on Amunet (who I do enjoy more after seeing Sackhoff speaking about her, but I still don’t understand why the silly accent was a thing). There’s also a really nice feature about the Elongated Man, and all four episodes of this year’s DC TV crossover are represented.

There’s also talk about The Thinker, and as I said, I appreciate the storyline more but I still didn’t have that emotional connection with the character that I feel I needed. The other bodies thing at midseason made that all even worse.

Packaging & Art: This is one of the best looking Flash Blu-ray sets so far. Dynamic design on the box art and on the discs. I like it.

Is It Worth It? As I said, nothing will be Season 1 again, but if you’re a fan of The Flash there are a lot of extras to make this worth it. Order yours from Amazon.com at a discounted rate and support this website!

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