After the last episode of “The Flash” with a wild ride with Captain Cold, filled with all sorts of good Flash-iness, we’re reverting back to Firestorm foes, although Plastique is one of most dangerous of the bunch. Meet me after the super-speed jump for my thoughts on “Plastique.”
Codenamed Plastique, Bette Sans Souci was originally a human bomb of the terrorist variety with bombs strapped to her body when she first encountered Firestorm. Later she was genetically engineered and developed the actual superpower to manipulate and direct explosive forces, blowing up anything she could point at basically. She always struck me as a bit of psychopath, and was usually on someone else’s payroll.
The mercenary life seemed to suit her as she was involved with the Suicide Squad for some time, and may well be in this version as well because the Suicide Squad is a big part of the Arrowverse from which “The Flash” was spun off. Later Plastique fought Captain Atom, and then they became romantically linked, and eventually married. I guess he likes crazy chicks. Notably, this is not Plastique’s first foray into live action, as she was an adversary in “Smallville.”
Also springing from Captain Atom comics is General Wade Eiling, who is basically DC Comics’ version of Marvel’s General ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross, frequent adversary of the Hulk. Eiling is just a bit more evil, where Ross usually means well. He is cast well as perennial heavy Clancy Brown, known for years as the voice of Lex Luthor in the DC Animated Universe. It would take almost that long to mention the list Eiling’s crimes against various heroes of the DC Universe. He is not a fan of metahuman vigilantes, unless they are on his side, and doing his bidding.
Perhaps his most notable crime against the heroes was placing his brain inside the mindless monster called the Shaggy Man. The Shaggy Man was an artificial creature, immortal with impossible regenerative powers that would make Wolverine blush, who had fought the Justice League to a standstill on many occasions. With a devious mind behind all that power, The General, as Eiling called himself after he shaved, is nearly unstoppable. Since his melding with the Shaggy Man, Eiling has become a powerful figure in the villain community.
We open in a bar with Barry closing his circle of friends. He’s chilling with Cisco and Caitlin at the same bar with Iris and Eddie. It’s good that now everyone knows everyone, one less secret on the show that’s supposed to be the bright secretless daylight side of the Arrowverse. Barry learns fairly quickly that alcohol doesn’t affect him because of his super speed metabolism. I love that when Caitlin wants to take blood and test this new power, Cisco immediately jumps in to help by getting more shots.
Of course, alcohol immunity isn’t the only new power on the books here. When Plastique, played by Kelly Frye, who certainly looks the part and the purple hues of her wardrobe definitely bring the comics costume to mind, blows up an office in a skyscraper downtown, Barry tests his limits once again by running up the side of a building. This episode also features Barry altering his voice, and running across water. Much like the running against a tornado stunt he pulled in the pilot, this is something we comics fans know the Flash can do – but man oh man, is it amazing to actually see!
Tuesday in Central City
A human bomb? As Joe says, it must be Tuesday in Central City. As it turns out Plastique is a metahuman that can blow things up by simply touching them. She even does it to Barry’s Flash uniform, good thing he’s a super speed stripper. General Eiling who has a decidedly unfriendly past with Dr. Wells, they had once worked together trying to create soldiers with ESP powers. Meanwhile, Barry, being the good guy again, brings her back to STAR Labs to try to help her. This is a nice change of pace, a switcheroo on comics readers, yes, but perfectly in sync with Barry’s character. He really wants to help people.
Eiling comes after Plastique of course, having hit her with a tracker and followed her to STAR Labs. After a chilling confrontation Eiling and Wells, the rest of the crew takes it out back to test Plastique’s powers. With Eiling’s soldiers running about in the building I have to wonder why they wouldn’t have discovered the Mist incarcerated there. Outside, Caitlin and Cisco have learned that Bett was changed by the particle accelerator accident just like Barry. Later, Wells convinces her, in a very chilling scene, to kill Eiling. Hmmm… first Simon Stagg, now Wade Eiling…
In a not-so-subtle but still important subplot, Iris is getting obsessed with The Streak, the urban legend name for the Flash, and is now taking credit for her blog. Not only is Joe determined to make her stop, but Barry is starting to worry that enemies might start to target her, thinking she knows who the Flash is. It doesn’t help that they came face to face earlier in the episode, while Barry was doing that Golden Age Flash vibrating face trick so she wouldn’t recognize him.
In order to make her stop writing about him, Barry pays her an after hours visit at Jitters in costume. When he insists she stop the blog, Iris turns the tables on him, and tells him she’s doing this blog for Barry. The Streak’s existence is proof that everything Barry’s been talking about all these years – the impossible, is possible. We are all as crushed as Barry is. Damn, these writers are good.
Perplexed with what to do, Barry talks to Joe about it. Barry suggests that he just tell Iris, after all, he tells Iris everything. Joe laughs, no, not everything. Yes, Joe knows. He’s known Barry has been in love with his daughter for as long as he could have known what love is. Thankfully Joe isn’t put off by it, as most folks would be by this weird Greg/Marcia relationship. I’m still put off by it a little bit, but then again I also know that in the comics that Barry and Iris are true soul mates that not even time, space, and death itself can separate.
I hope that Joe will relent and let Barry tell her, even though that’s not how it happened in the comics. And you know me, straight edge fanboy that I am, if I want it, you know these TV people are doing a fantastic job to have convinced me. Or, perhaps the Flash could reveal his existence to the world… that just might solve this problem as well. I think it might end up being the latter answer.
In the end, Eiling kills Plastique, and it turns out she’s not the villain she was in the comics. I have to wonder however if she might have lived? It would seem quite a waste not to include her in the aforementioned Suicide Squad over in “Arrow.” As Flash foe Captain Boomerang is on his way over on that show, it might be nice to have the comics line-up of that team mildly intact.
There’s a nice moment as Team Flash is back in the bar drinking to Plastique to the sounds of a lounge lizard version of A Flock of Seagulls’ “I Ran (So Far Away),” such an apt song for this series. When Eiling confronts Wells once more at STAR, we learn that the General knows what’s up with the accident, and we also find out, via flashback, what the experiment they were working on so long ago was. A gorilla named Grodd. Yeah, baby. This is going to be sooo cool…