Barry and Linda end up on an awkward double date with Eddie and Iris. Mark Mardon aka The Weather Wizard appears in Central City intent on avenging his brother Clyde’s death, and sets his sights on Joe, who shot Clyde back in the pilot episode. When Mardon attacks Joe and Barry, Barry is able to super-speed them to safety but Mardon gets away. Mardon incapacitates Captain Singh, potentially paralyzing him. Barry warns Joe not to go after a meta-human alone but Joe doesn’t listen and ends up in grave danger. Meanwhile, Cisco looks into the night the team captured the Reverse Flash and realizes something doesn’t add up and begins to wonder whether Joe was right about Dr. Wells. He realizes that the Reverse Flash was a hologram displayed in the forcefield that night, and Wells used a type of speed mirage to make it look as if he was beaten by the Reverse Flash. Wells realizes that Cisco has discovered his secret, and confronts Cisco, revealing that his is named Eobard Thawne and comes from the future. He tried to kill Barry in the past, and when he failed, his second attempt is making Barry fast enough to use his speed to send him back to the future. He also reveals that Eddie Thawne is his ancestor. Wells tells Cisco he is like a son to him, and kills him. Meanwhile, Mardon causes a tsunami, and after Iris and Barry share a kiss and Barry reveals his secret identity, he tries to use his speed to stop the tsunami, instead going so fast that he is shot back to the beginning of the day.
Time travel, right? It makes it so easy to throw out all the most insane plot points — or in The Flash’s case, basically have everything expected to happen in its season finale — without having to deal with the aftermath. “Out of Time” is incredibly indulgent in its last quarter, smartly pretending that all of this could stick before everything hits the fan. There are obvious hints at the beginning, of course; the mirror Flash appearance, the random events from bystanders that make no impact on the scene other than making it memorable when we inevitably revisit the scene, and the title of the episode literally being called “Out of Time.” But outside of those little bits, enough happens in between the hints and the actual time travel that it becomes rather easy to forget that’s where we’d be heading.
It’s not uncommon for shows to throw out all their big guns when any kind of time travel or memory wipe is involved, and it’s easy to turn the reset button into a crutch. Remember how many times every character learned Clark’s secret in Smallville only to forget it because of a reset button? “Out of Time” hits many of the same story beats of Smallville‘s 100th episode, “Reckoning”, in fact, but it’s looking like the outcome will be less focused on tragedy and more on screwing with time in general. And Tru Calling (which I’m bringing up because there’s an ongoing flashback for it happening on KSiteTV) hit the reset button on a weekly basis; just peering into that series alone is a good showcase of both the successes and pitfalls of do-overs. It’s easy to get overindulgent with throwing out big stuff because you know it won’t matter. But it’s also a unique way to showcase a specific character trait or give more information to the audience without hurting the narrative. The key is making sure there’s a reason those scenes happened in the first place, and more importantly, why they’re still relevant now even if they didn’t happen in the new timeline of the show.
What matters, then, is how the show proceeds with the undone information. Perhaps it’s a parallel to events in the new timeline to better display how much better or worse things are now. In this timeline, Iris and Barry stop hiding their feelings, Barry reveals his secret identity to her, and STAR Labs is finally onto Wells (the good), while Cisco is dead, Joe very well might be dead, Captain Singh is paralyzed and maybe worse, and that “triumphant” kiss shows that Barry and Iris’ current significant others are second best (the bad.) Chances are the events will be flipped in the new timeline, because all the good things are pretty clearly not going to happen again.
More importantly, though — and what many shows often have a hard time doing well — is that this time line should ultimately give us a new perspective on these characters moving forward now that we know what they’re capable of. We can judge what they do next in the new timeline based on what we know they did on an alternate one, which provides a whole new shade to characterization we could only get by a plot as out-there as this one.
The clearest example of this is Dr. Wells, AKA Eobard Thawne. In one brief monologue we get just about every answer laid right out to us, and then a clear answer to “is he good or is he evil” — evil, evil, evil. No misguided intentions, no ends justify the means. He’s just a selfish guy who wants to get home by any means necessary, and by doing “good” to keep Flash alive and getting strong, that’s his way of doing it. On one hand, it’s a little disappointing that a character as potentially rich and complex as Wells is now explicitly a bad guy, even if he’s one so expertly played by Tom Cavanaugh. But it’s also satisfying to just get a freakin’ answer already; the way the Wells mystery had been tapered out recently was an improvement over the oft-grating end tags of the early episodes, but it’s still a mystery that has only made baby steps in 15 episodes. That’s not explicitly a criticism, though; the slower unraveling of Wells’ identity has led to an incredibly engaging first season mystery. It also means that when such a huge exposition dump happens practically out of nowhere, we’re even more taken aback given how slowly the answers had been leaking out before.
“Out of Time” also shows how, despite being the resident weirdo, Cisco is probably the smartest character on the show in terms of common sense. He vehemently denies the accusations that Wells is a bad guy, as a good friend should, but he isn’t blinded by loyalty; in both cases, he checked out the suspicions to confirm or deny them. Really, it makes total sense to investigate his friend, because if he really is innocent, it’d only prove that everything is okay and the accusations are wrong. Cisco has been completely sensible in this situation; he might have made mistakes before, like letting Pied Piper out, but his more clever contributions outnumber his mistakes by this point.
That makes his death scene so much more poignant now than it would have weeks ago. It’s frustrating and tense to an uncomfortable level – in a good, intentional dramatic way – to have someone finally make headway on the ongoing Wells mystery, only to be struck down immediately. Cisco had a hard time clicking as a character initially; he had funny lines and his shirts were great, but the show had a hard time integrating him into a dramatic story or letting him feel like a real person. The past few weeks have done wonderful work letting Cisco flourish as a character, and has given Carlos Valdes so much more to do. Valdes does his best work this week, which isn’t a surprise, jumping from his typical comic side to the more obsessively suspicious version, to the emotionally destroyed person in his death scene. This scene wouldn’t have worked earlier in the show, nor would it have worked if Valdes didn’t imbue Cisco with a deeper humanity.
Joe gets second place for having some of the best material. Most of the memorable action doesn’t happen until the last ten minutes of the episode, but it’s worth remembering how relentless the build-up is throughout the hour, at least in terms of Joe’s story. Bringing in the new/real Weather Wizard, whose powers are honestly more interesting than his brother’s, yields a potentially fun recurring villain for Joe personally. Jesse L. Martin gets to be on edge for the entire hour, and Martin’s very good at making Joe as realistically stressed as possible. Joe’s fatherly side is his biggest character beat, and he sells it well. It’s also got some of the bigger emotional pathos of the episode outside of the Cisco scene, with the paralyzing of Captain Singh. We haven’t seen much of that character, and his incapacitation is used more for the sake of pushing Joe to his brink, but the inclusion of Singh’s fiance at least brings in quick weight to the plot point. It’s another thing that will likely be undone in the new timeline since Barry is fully aware of it, which is probably good, since killing/damaging a sexual minority character for the sake of straight characters’ development could become a problematic trend, no matter how well it’s handled.
It’s hard to hate this episode even from the most cynical “ugh a reset button” point of view, so even its weaknesses probably only bump it down from an A to an A-. But this is not an episode that hits the ground running, with much time spent on the love rhombus between Barry, Iris, Linda, and Eddie. Romantic entanglements are a valid and often necessary part of dramatic storytelling, especially operatic superhero stories, and so far The Flash hasn’t really been that bad about handling them. Iris has been hard to pin down as a relevant character sometimes, but Candice Patton has been a delightful enough presence that things have at least stayed fun to watch. The awkward bowling date and even more awkward aftermath is just a slog to get through much of the time, for no other reason than it’s material we’ve already tread to an extent. We’ve already seen Linda and Iris be uncomfortable with each other, or Linda jealous of Iris, or Barry and Iris having too special of a connection by lying to each other about it.
It’s worse this time, because now Eddie is starting to jump on the jealousy bandwagon — for good reason, really, considering he’s been nothing but a decent guy throughout all of this. Eddie now officially has potential to be more since we know for sure he’s an ancestor of Wells, but at this moment, he’s pretty much squarely a victim of Barry and Iris’s frustrating game. It’s not as if it’s been poorly handled throughout the entire season — it’s actually been one of the least frustrating superhero TV romances up until recently — but it’s starting to tread on too many typical tired notes. With the awkward sibling stuff between Iris and Barry pretty much settled, it’s now become frustrating to see them still in such denial. Granted, much of the stuff in “Out of Time” is set-up to make the big kiss between Barry and Iris more powerful. Near-death experiences have a knack for bringing out true feelings, but it has the unfortunate effect of making them also seem pretty awful to their significant others, which isn’t good.
But it’s the big stuff that’s now being undone that everyone is talking about. And that’s for good reason; regardless of where things go from here, “Out of Time” is extremely fun, as The Flash is at its best. It’s an episode that feels dire, with the tension gradually building throughout its entire running time, and the weaker relationship material doesn’t stop the momentum. Even if most of the events of this episode no longer exist, the episode it not at all a waste of time.
Odds & Ends
- Man, the trailers kind of ruined this one, didn’t it? We’d seen the scenes of Wells revealing himself to Cisco and Caitlin spotting the empty wheelchair in the episode previews, and the sizzle reel very clearly had Cisco doing memorable stuff that made it pretty clear his death would get undone. Yeah, all of that got me excited for the rest of the show’s run, I’ll give it that. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t say it affected my investment in the big Cisco/Wells scene.
- The scene when Barry saves Joe from the isolated lightning storm is awesome.
- “In many ways, you have shown me what it’s like to have a son. Forgive me, but to me, you’ve been dead for centuries.” – Killer line, but what a downer.
Blu-ray Review: The Flash: The Complete Sixth Season
Review of The Flash Season 6 Blu-ray set from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
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.
Blu-ray Review: The Flash: The Complete Fifth Season
Review of the Flash Season 5 Blu-ray set.
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.
Blu-ray Review: The Flash: The Complete Fourth Season
Review of the Blu-ray set for The Flash: The Complete Fourth Season
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!