As might be assumed by the title of this episode, we’re going to be dealing with luck and gambling here, especially with the live-action debut of a Golden Age Comics legacy, Hazard. Can The Flash get past her metahuman luck powers and stop her? Find out after the super speed jump for my thoughts on “Luck Be A Lady!”
We open with the Thinker narrating observations about ‘subject two,’ Kilg%re last week being subject one. He is watching a young lady named Becky Sharpe, played by Sugar Lyn Beard of Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. She’s an ex-blackjack dealer (remarkably identical to her Hazard costume in the comics) who’s lactose intolerant and has a cheating boyfriend, but she also believes she’s jinxed.
Becky however is bubbly, almost Harley Quinn-esque, comedic and fresh, and still has a MySpace page. As she makes her way home from losing her job three weeks ago she barely makes a bus. On the bus she sees at least three passengers, one of whom is Ramsey Deacon. There’s a flash and then nothing. Have we just seen the birth of this season’s batch of new villains? You bet we have.
Harry and the Breakup Cube
I liked the opening fake-out of Team Flash playing laser tag with kids, especially Cisco’s “run, Barry, run” and “you have failed this city.” Their picnic after however is interrupted by a breach alert. It’s Harry, coming in Jesse’s place as Wally and Jesse had a date night scheduled. Sooo… a breach was expected, so why did they all race to HQ for the breach alert?
So Wally, with flowers in hand, meets Harry coming through, grumpy terse Harry. Jesse’s dad hands Wally a holographic cube, made of ‘cheap Atlantean plastic,’ so he can get a message from Jesse. When the cube doesn’t work, Harry sputteringly tells Wally that Jesse is breaking up with him. Yeah, long distance relationships suck, but I don’t know which way of telling is worse – holographic cube or date’s father, wow. That Earth sucks.
A child of the 1990s, and rarely used outside of super-villain group settings, Becky Sharpe AKA Hazard is the granddaughter of the Golden Age comic super-villain the Gambler, ironically, a contemporary of the Thinker. Steven Sharpe III came from a long line of gamblers, but was the first to make a play of being a super-villain as one. Taking the name the Gambler he first faced the Golden Age Green Lantern in 1944 with gambling-inspired gimmicks and weapons, and later became a founding member of the Injustice Society. That super-villain group that fought the Justice Society many times over the years also included in its membership such evil luminaries as the Thinker, Vandal Savage, the Shade, and Per Degaton who faced off against DC’s Legends of Tomorrow in their first season.
Eventually the Gambler lost everything in Las Vegas. This loss, combined with countless defeats at the hands of superheroes over his decades-long career, caused him to ultimately give up, and he ended his life with his own trademark Derringer. He had passed his criminal ways down to his heirs however. His grandson, Steven V, took over the mantle of the Gambler, and ran afoul of the Teen Titans and the Justice Society. His granddaughter Rebecca however took a different tact.
Rebecca Sharpe took the name Hazard and joined up with the Injustice Society, and a later version of the same group, Injustice Unlimited. With them, she battled both Infinity Inc. and the Global Guardians. She didn’t just use gimmicks, Hazard had super powers. Psychically she can manipulate luck, good for herself and her allies, and bad for her enemies. In the comics, these powers are linked through a pair of dice.
Hazard’s powers are similar to something we used to call a luck monster back in my game-mastering role-playing games. Other characters with close powers include the Black Cat, the Scarlet Witch, and Longshot. Basically with a roll of percentile dice, a luck monster could reverse a low roll such as a 28 to an 82, and similarly make an opponent’s high roll of 91 a 19. For those who play, you know how much you hate these characters. As game-master, I of course loved them.
When we see Becky again, to the tune of Frank Sinatra’s “Luck Be A Lady,” she is having nothing but good luck while those around are having bad things happen to them. And oh yeah, she’s robbing a bank. In a stunt worthy of the old school Trickster, her luck field causes the Flash to trip on a loosed barrel of marbles. It might be more hilarious if it wasn’t so ridiculous, and shown over and over again in previews all week.
Team Flash susses out that Becky is metahuman, and again hit that Kilg%re wall of her not being in the particle accelerator explosion. Hasn’t the Flash encountered enough metas (on this show and the others in the Arrowverse) not affected that way for it not to be the answer every time? At least they tracked it to another dark matter event. Also I loved Harry’s scientific explanation of luck, so great to have him back.
In the land of the subplots, bad luck seems to be affecting Barry and Iris’s wedding (as if the Crisis on Earth-X won’t be enough), whether it’s due to Hazard or not. Also Cecile is edging for a bigger part in this already big cast, by pushing Joe to fix the plumbing or buy a new house. It’s gets worse, and it’s annoying. Can we just have superheroics, and not bad sitcom b-plots?
Still it is peripherally connected to the a-plot in that it’s about the fluxing luck. The worst bit of this luck thing is that the team discovers where the dark matter came from. They did it. When they pulled Barry from the Speed Force, a wave of dark matter poured after him and hit that bus. They created this new wave of metahumans.
The show takes an interesting tact when Barry goes to talk with Becky in person at Jitters. Not as the Flash, as Barry, CSI guy. The conversation is interesting and tense, the music by Nathaniel Blume is perfection here in giving the scene tone and danger. It seems like innocent coffee chat about Becky’s powers and her life changing, but it is about physical threat.
“Bad things happen to people who get in my way.” With those words, she makes the full transition from unlucky lady turned lucky to full blown super-villain. “Maybe it’s just their turn…” as she causes Jitters to plunge into near chaos in her wake. This scene is a wonderful dance, of stunning choreography, showing exactly how dangerous she could be.
The Kitchen Sink
After that wonderful scene, the showrunners toss it all in the toilet, everything and the kitchen sink. Hazard goes back to her old casino and uses her powers to win. With so much luck generated for her, the bad luck field around her grows to cataclysmic proportions. Joe can’t get in the house to help Cecile who has fallen. The Flash cuffs himself. Believe it or not, Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger is going to make a water landing again. And the particle accelerator is going to explode again.
That sound you hear is The Flash jumping the shark. Boom. When the accelerator goes off, at Harry’s allowance, it shuts down Hazard’s power temporarily. Riiiight. This ain’t mad science, it’s bad science. And Team Flash shucking for Aflac during the commercial break certainly did not help my thoughts on this one. Major disappointment, and it just keeps getting worse after the break.
Perhaps Hazard’s powers affected the showrunners and the episode’s script? So much good about this episode just ruined by the last act and the epilogue. Chief among these ruinations is Cecile being pregnant, because what does a show always do when it jumps the shark? Bring on a baby. Now how long before we get Ted McGinley as Mister Originality?
About the only good thing to come of this ending is Harry staying on. Although I don’t buy that Team Quick kicked him off his Earth. And while I like the Blue Valley name drop (it’s the Nebraska town Kid Flash operated out of in the comics), I hate to see Wally go. I bet he’ll be back for the later battles against the Thinker. Speaking of which, we now know he’s watching Team Flash, knows their every move, and was ultimately responsible for these most recent dark matter villains.
Next: The hunt begins for the others affected by dark matter… and Ralph Dibny… in “Elongated Journey Into Night!”
One Reply to “The Flash S04 E03: ‘Luck Be A Lady’”
Oh … dear.