The Flash – S. 3 -Ep. V “Monster” : A Review

Posted: 11/02/2016 in Uncategorized


Jangled. This is the term that comes to mind regarding Ep. 5 “Monster”. It wasn’t a bad episode but it was a bit all over the place with three story lines and really only two points. The villain du jour was a different take altogether and Tom Felton’s “Julian Dorn” saw some needed character development. Overall, this run didn’t reinvent the wheel but kept things moving toward this season’s big bad – Dr. Alchemy.

We open with a step back, namely Barry (Grant Gustin) rooming with Cisco (Carlow Valdes) which is meant to play for laughs but comes off more as a forced plot device. Cisco rankles with HR Wells (Tom Cavanaugh) and while I laud the actor for portraying a very unique version of the character he has played twice so far, the new Earth 19 variant falls flat. He has a Ciso-esque snappy patter but nothing profound beneath. When we learn the truth behind his presence here and essentially his life story, we are not overly surprised. His “inception” science bit is funny as he offers that as an “idea man” he has value. This version will get tiring soon, I fear as HR will become more of a jokey character without genius intellect. With Cisco we have both. This might just not play.

A new meta threat appears in Central City, one looking like a leftover from Cloverfield. The notion of an actual “monster” running around presents a unique challenge to the team as everything they have thus far dealt with has been human or human-ish. The absence of Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), off on her own journey, forces the team to utilize Wells’ “expertise.” Barry meanwhile attempts to make an enemy a friend by suggesting a “tutorial” partnership with Dorn to allow him to develop his “sloppy methods”. Dorn is well…hateful. We learn his contempt for metas is rivaled only by his dislike of Barry whom he deems a golden boy. Dorn’s reporting Barry’s “violations” to Captain Singh (Patrick Sabonghi) is given the due dismissal it deserves. We need to either love, or hate, this guy; not simply find him acerbic and annoying.

The Caitln Snow arc delivered both as a plot device for her inevitable ascension as “Frost” and a showcase for her plight via a familial back story. Her relationship with her mother, Carla Tannhauser (Susan Walters) explains her generally guarded nature and her fear of being emotionally cold. The presentation of her abilities as with her Earth Two character is top shelf. Caitlin’s powers being emotionally driven makes for some good moments, including her forcing her mother to make time for her at her lab by freezing her desk and declaring “I am the patient”.  Carla’s attempts to help her daughter nearly turn into another story arc before pushing for a healing of wounds between the two. Caitlin’s own confession of loss helps her connect with her mother. There is a near full manifestation of her “Frost” persona including the voice modulation. An end segment later illustrates that regardless of her connection to her mother and her own scientific capabilities, she is still in danger of being overwhelmed by what she is becoming.

The actual monster plot line turns into a statement against bullying and isolation with some success, including requisite Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) “Dadcop” moment. The real point of the ep lies in Barry’s getting to know his office nemesis and fellow CSI. He pushes Julian to reveal why he dislikes metas so much and the initial layer of discovery borders on plain jealousy at not being chosen to be gifted with abilities. As events move along, we learn Julian isn’t completely contemptible. His balking at the presences of meta humans, including the Flash himself, pushes toward a fear of being obsolete, unnecessary after striving to be at the top of his scientific game. Flash’s intercession pushes Dorn into another perspective including and end segment in which the two men agree to meet for a drink and move forward. I have thoughts as to who Dorn might or might not be, but at present the show successfully moves him past a cranky “frenemy” role.

Overall, some good came from the episode, including more traction toward restoring the team dynamic and addressing the damage done by Flashpoint. “Monster” was okay. It was not outstanding but the show is still well worth your time.




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