Flash- Season II- Ep. 10 ‘Borrowing Problems From the Future’: A Review

Posted: 01/26/2017 in Uncategorized

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The return from the winter finale was a mixed bag. This season while still quite engaging has struggled in spots. With the introduction of yet another speedster, namely Wally West/Kid Flash (Kienan Lonsdale) and another sub par villain, Plunder (Stephen Huszar), the series featuring the ‘fastest man alive’ seems to have lost some traction. This season’s big bad is a good part of the reason. Looking like a Transformer and needing acolytes such as Julian Albert (Tom Felton) to act as proxies, “Savitar” just lacks. He is more defined by what he is going to do in the future than any true ‘master evil’ motivation. That each preceding season featured superior villains does not help.

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The  opening sequence is on point featuring Barry/Flash (Grant Gustin) reliving Iris’ potential fate in his nightmares. This scene is followed by a domestic bliss sequence which honestly this character…these characters…have earned. The Barry and Iris (Candice Patton) dynamic has finally received commitment which I can only hope isn’t eliminated with another pointless character death. For a show presented as a “lighter” alternative as I have said before…there is an awful lot of loss and sorrow with two seasons taking away both of Barry’s parents. To lose the love of his life would be too much and would make the series, renewed recently for a fourth season, a study in sadness with the “who will die next” trope governing each subsequent season. Iris’ character now far better written is now an indelible part of the show. Her reaction to Barry’s revelation of her possible death is real. Her struggle to keep it together, as she has to appreciate the bitter irony of his swearing to protect her on his parents’ memories, is well acted. Gone is the haughty, flighty character that rankled on season 1 and part of season II.

I will continue with the negative before returning to the positive as honestly, Ep. 10 was far removed from bad. It was just…bumpy. Part of this bumpiness is easily the worst character ever brought forth in the show’s three year history, “HR” (Tom Cavanaugh). Cavanaugh deserves props for playing a completely different version of the same character but this version so pales before season 1’s “Thawne/Wells” and Season II’s “Harry Wells” that the final presentation is just cloying. His caffeine addicted madcap persona is just awful. He has moments of intelligence but is such an incredible tool that it absolutely distracts and detracts from the strong team dynamic that has informed the series so far. Even with the extra obstacles of Caitlin Snow’s (Danielle Panabaker) “Frost Rising” arc and Cisco’s (Carlos Valdes) angrier, grieving version of himself, both characters are still strong and invaluable to the show. HR is just silly. The S.T.A.R. Labs museum plan is just puerile. Cisco’s angry dismissals and lashing out at him seem perfectly justified.

Enter Plunder. A bad buy with a super gun and zero charisma. This is particularly noteworthy when one recalls what Wentworth Miller did with a similar role, establishing himself as a worthy villain/antihero on numerous series. Plunder’s villainy, however, is not the point. His presence is. The revelation that he is part of the potential future awaiting Iris is a cool reveal and guides the show in a stronger direction bringing even HR’s worth up a level. The notion of the immutability of time is posited and is at the heart of the episode.

The part Wally plays in pushing forward one potential future made for a cool plot line as the Flash’s perceived anger could easily have been played as jealousy versus what it truly is…fear. I am not sold on Lonsdale’s Kid Flash yet though his moments in this ep did bring both a levity and hopefulness that was lacking in a goodly part of the run. The notion of KF being able to carry his weight via Barry’s guidance was a step in the right direction. The domino presentation and the idea that a larger event can be altered via changing other events around it allowed the episode to avoid a more low key, filler presentation. The quick reach out by Barry and Iris to the rest of the team was a smart play, avoiding the more self-destructive secretive path offered on various other superhero genre shows.

A good game is being set up. The introduction of another long term DC character in an end sequence sets the stage for a more engaging, hopefully even run next week. Flash “Borrowing Problems” was not outstanding but it was still well worth your time and does prep us for an arc rife with potential . Here’s hoping.

 

 

 

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