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Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The Flash S2E16: Trajectory.

The Flash
Series 2, Episode 16

You know, you can never say that the writers of The Flash don't make clever visual design choices. Ever since Zoom's first appearance, it's been clear that there's something wrong with his Speed Force, with lightning crackling wildly around him even when he's standing still - enough so that when the same thing started happening to Trajectory in this episode, I immediately recognised it as being akin to Zoom's own condition.

(The lightning changing colours was also nice, because I do always like it when The Flash acknowledges its different lightning colours and works it into the plot.)

In this week's episode, a speedster with yellow lightning begins stealing from people, and while Barry tries to catch her, she's noticeably faster than him. It soon becomes clear that whoever this speedster is, she's using Velocity-9, leading to Barry discovering the drug and wanting to take it himself to defeat Zoom. Iris struggles to convince her boss not to launch a smear campaign against the Flash. Meanwhile, Wells and Jesse's relationship becomes strained when Jesse discovers a recording of Wells saying that he'd kill a man if it meant saving Jesse. Also, Cisco begins vibing visions of Zoom every time he touches the pedestal with Jay's helmet on.

What a nice room.

Okay, so the Wells and Jesse plotline is clearly meant to trim down on an already large cast by having Jesse go off and rediscover herself, but the manner it was done in - repeatedly drawing attention to Jesse's scientific ability - and the slightly ship teasing with Wally makes me think even more that the writers are planning on having Wally replace Barry at some point a series or two into the future, and that they're possibly planning for Jesse to become part of his Team Flash. I might well be wrong about that, especially given how TV series often aren't planned out that far in advance, but it's definitely the impression I got.

I do really like Jesse as a character, incidentally. This episode was the first time we got to really see her, and she was fun, lively, and generally a joy to watch. While I'm kind of sad to see her go, it's pretty obvious that she'll be back sooner or later.

Trajectory was a bit of a lacklustre villain of the week, especially since we barely got time to know her - she showed up in a grand total of six scenes throughout the episode, one of which didn't involve her speaking at all, one of which lasted about four seconds, and one of which was primarily about her good alter-ego, Eliza Harman. And then she dissolves, in a villain fate that is probably meant to be dramatic, but kind of isn't.

Panic ducklings.

Of course, Trajectory is really there to demonstrate the effects of V9, allowing the team to deduce that Jay is actually Zoom, which at this point makes me certain that Jay is not actually Zoom. Because if he is, then that revelation comes at a very odd time and in a very odd way. Instead of a dramatic reveal, his identity comes out in what is basically an afterthought in, of all places, episode sixteen? That would be a very strange choice indeed.

Which puts me at a total loss right now, especially since it's very clearly Jay's face under that mask, and I think going 'lol it's Hunter Zolomon' would be a terrible plot twist at this point.

I admit, Iris grated on me in this episode, too. The return of the Iris/Barry romance subplot was kind of nice, but the fact that instead of just going "It would be poor journalism to write an article saying that the Flash is the thief, when actually all we know is that it's someone with superspeed, and the city's seen no less than four of those and counting. It'd essentially be an op-ed piece, and as the editor, it's your job to write any editorials like that," she instead rambled about heroes and feelings. You're a journalist, West, make journalist-y arguments.

Nice costume, though.

The romance subplot with her editor, meanwhile, is - fine, I guess? I like him just fine, but he's a bit of a non-entity, and since their romance is doomed to end by the end of the series, it's not as if I can get particularly invested in them.

The next episode looks really interesting, involving Barry going back to the first series (and, obviously, the return of Thawne!Wells and Eddie because of that), along with a wraith monster and someone who really, really looks like they might be Tim Hunter. In fact, given that they reference Harry Potter, and the 'is Harry Potter a rip-off of Tim Hunter' debacle was a thing at one point (much to the chagrin of Neil Gaiman), I'd warrant that he probably is. A hint at the CW's next DC series, perhaps?

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