MUST WATCH: The Flash “Time Bomb”

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

For the first two Seasons of The Flash, it was one of my top shows. I loved The Flash and The Arrowverse in general as much as shows like Game of Thrones or Netflix’s Daredevil (before you freak out, I’m not saying that The Flash, at its best, was as good as those shows. I’m just saying I enjoyed The Flash almost as much as those series). The first two Seasons are among the best live action superhero stories brought to any screen. Things started to get dicey in the 3rd Season, it wasn’t reaching the heights of what had come before. However, because the way the story in Season 3 is told, the audience doesn’t have the full picture of what’s been going on until much later in the season. Giving Season 3 a rewatch reveals a flawed, but very good/great season. Sadly, after the Season 3 finale, the show had it’s best days behind it. Season 4 sucked and Season 5 (the current season) has me barely interested in the show anymore. However, despite my waning interest, I was really looking forward to Tuesday night’s episode, “Time Bomb”, for reasons I’ll explain below. Imagine my surprise when The Flash put out it’s best episode (non-crossover) episode in a few years with this heartbreaking installment.

   The over arcing story of the season revolves around, Nora Allen, Barry and Iris’s speedster daughter from roughly 30 years in the future, who has come back in time to correct a mistake she made by messing with the timeline. According to Nora, basically Team Flash has to stop a super villain called Cicada, which will somehow correct the timeline, and Nora will return to her own time period. I feel like this show doesn’t do a good job of explaining why Nora needs to fix the timeline in the first place. I get that a dangerous villain called Cicada has become even more dangerous due to the change in the timeline, but beyond that the plans for Nora’s return home are unclear. To me, with time travel being so dangerous in this universe the longer she stays in the past the more damage she would be doing. By hanging around with her parents decades before she was born, seems far more dangerous than stopping any villain. So I haven’t been that invested in the show until the mid season finale when they reveal that 30 years in the future Nora‘s mentor, the person who is giving her instructions on how to properly manipulate the timeline and use the Speed Force is none other than Eobard Thawne! He’s being held in a Supermax version of Iron Heights Prison In 2049 and he seems to genuinely want to help Nora. As we learn from the very first episode of the series, in Thawne’s Timevault there’s a futuristic front page hologram newspapers from the year 2024 that reads “THE FLASH VANISHES IN CRISIS“. So, Nora was a little girl who grew up without her legendary, hero father and then develops the superspeed she inherited from him. She needed a mentor to instructor her in how to use the Speed Force. In Nora’s defense, it’s clear that she didn’t understand just how much damage The Reverse-Flash had done to Barry and his life. Even though I am certain Thawne has an ulterior motive that benefits himself, he seems to truly care about Nora and almost views her as a surrogate daughter. 

       But time has run out, the shit has hit the fan, their plan has fallen apart. A desperate Nora runs into the future to find a despondent Thawne who says there’s nothing else they can do. Thawne tells Nora to do something that terrifies her: tell her father everything. Tell him about working with Thawne, Tell him about their attempts to change the timeline, and tell him the painful reality that she has been lying to him about working with his greatest enemy 

    What really fucked up the timeline was that Dwyer’s niece, Grace, all grown up, has come to the present from the future, using the Time Sphere the team built in Season 1. To continue what she saw as her now “meta-cured” Uncle’s “Mission” to kill all meta humans. She remarks that in her time, about 30 years from now, that meta humans have has grown at an exponential rate. Which makes sense because there are a shitload of other super heroes and super villains in the future. She has become the new Cicada.

Grace, all grown up and a complete fucking psychopath. The new Cicada from 30 years in the future

    Dwyer killed Metas as Cicada to protect and avenge his niece. He wanted to make the world a safer for a place for her when she comes out of her coma. He just wanted her to have a happy life. He is somewhat horrified that his beloved niece is so filled with the same hate and anger that led to him down his path to being Cicada. Grace becoming Cicada is the last thing he wants for her. So during her battle with Team Flash. Dwyer shows up, without his powers because he’s been cured, and tries to talk her down. He tells her that she needs to let go of her anger and move on. I saw this coming a mile away, but just as it looks like he might be getting through to her, she kills him with the meta dampening dagger that now belongs to her. This is where we really see just how much more of a psychopath she is compared to her uncle. As her dies in The Flash’s arms, Dwyer’s touching last words to Barry are “Save my Grace.” Even though she just murdered him, she’s the only thing he’s truly loved. Even if he’s dying all he really cares about is his niece Grace. When he asks Barry to save her I think he means save her from the path to Cicada. From one father to another, Dwyer asks Barry to save his child’s soul.

    Team flash manages to track down Cicada’s next target, a woman named Vickie Bolen. Several years ago, without quite understanding how her powers worked, she accidentally blew up an ATM, seemingly killing Grace’s parents. Because at the time of the explosion meta-humans were being kept under wraps in Central City, so Bolen remarks that she takes blame for the ATM explosion but “Thanks  God that no one was hurt”. She was blissfully ignorant to the fact that she’s probably the person who killed Grace’s parents. I say “probably” because who the fuck knows on a show like this sometimes. CCPD/Team Flash, which is essentially the same thing for all intents and purposes on this mission because everyone involved works for CCPD and Team Flash, realize the incident wasn’t her fault and the team insist on protecting her and her family from this very dangerous new Cicada. Bolen’s daughter was slightly injured, so they wait for the attack at Central City Hospital.

    This leads to an excellent action sequence that relied on special FX, when Grace shows up to kill this woman Team Flash is protecting. Standing outside the hospital, Grace unleashes the Dagger with Barry realizing a split second before anybody that the dagger is coming, which will take away their powers and it’s headed right at the woman they’re trying to protect. In a really cool piece of special FX, everything slows way down to flash time the dagger crashes through the window of the hospital. Nora’s powers start to drain away in the presence of the dagger as she and Barry take off in the other direction to try to save Bolen. However, Barry is a little bit ahead of Nora and he’s able to get around the corner, get his Flash suit on as it blows out of his ring, and get to Bolen just before she’s about to be killed by the dagger. Nora super speeds Bolen out of there with the dagger flying behind them like a heat seeking missile close behind. Meanwhile Barry goes to face off with Grace. It was a really cool scene and I liked seeing Nora try to out run this weapon and save this woman, while Team Flash comes up with a plan to save them. It seems that lately the special Fx haven’t lived up to the amazing standard set by the show’s first three seasons. Their FX is usually great, especially for a network show. Even though I think the FX has dipped a little recently, this was a very cool action sequence.

   And then we come to the end of things…. The team has saved the day, for now, and are looking to head out to grab a well deserved drink together. This is when Cecile picks up on the fact that Nora wants to tell them all something and everything from this moment on in the episode is pretty brutal.

Grant Gustin, Jessica Parker Kennedy, and Tom Cavanuogh each give Excellent performances in this episode. Stand outs include: Barry’s look of utter betrayal and horror when he finds out his daughter was working with Thawne. Nora’s opening scene with Thawne; everything they’ve risked, everything they’ve been working towards has been completely fucked. Nora’s panic and terror that the plan failed and Thawne’s crushed acceptance made for a memorable scene. Jessica Parker Kennedy knocked it out of the park throughout the entire episode; portraying the utter terror and desperation Nora feels at the prospect of her secret coming to light. Especially in the first scene with Thawne and the final scene with Sherloque, (two very different men with the same face,  intense scenes that bookend the episode) she wanted to to tell her family the truth about working with Thawne, she even tried to confess to Barry a few times only to be interrupted. But she waited to long and Sherloque had finally put all the pieces together, which leads to Sherloque’s big speech telling the team how he followed the trail and solved this mystery (It’s a classic troupe of great detective stories, where the brilliant detective like Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot lays out all the facts in front of the characters in the story. Sherloque is definitely more Poirot than Holmes, especially in this scene. I LOVE the “Detective Solved The Mystery And Gives His Speech About What’s Really Going On” scene in any story with a master detective. Tom Cavanough does a great job in this scene.

   There were a couple of times that almost got me a little misty in this episode. Like the wires dying words and the look of a hot air but trail on Barry‘s face when he realizes that Nora and Sean are working together. The final few seconds of nor is it breaking down in one of the pipeline cells was one of the most downbeat endings to a flash episode ever. Like I said before, I don’t think the Flash has had such a strong episode in a few seasons. I look forward to watching the next episode which won’t be airing again until April where we find out the back story of how Nora and Thawne got together in the first place, but this does not mean I’m back on The Flash bandwagon. This was just one excellent episode in a sea of mediocrity over the last several years. If you’re like me and you’ve liked The Flash in the past and maybe have given up on it a little bit, watch this episode. However, It’s so well done that the episode deserved appreciation on its own merits. 

   Anyway, thank you so much for reading as always I appreciate it! I’d love to hear your thoughts about this episode or about The Flash in general, you can leave your comments below or send me a message on Facebook or Twitter.

The Flash (S5, Ep17) “Time Bomb”: 9/10

-Paul

Flash War! A Special Article Co-Written By Mike & Paul!

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I don’t have any comic series that I read consistently, but I do like picking up stories that are either getting a lot of buzz, or are going to be the basis for some adaptation.  I’ve been seeing a lot about the “Flash War” event which will pit Barry Allen against Wally West.  Last week the first issue came out, and I picked it up, along with the ‘prelude’ which was in the annual.

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Barry Allen’s “death” in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Which lasted around 30 years before he was resurrected.

Hey Everybody, Paul here. As the resident comic book expert I thought I’d help fill in some of the blanks in the background with ‘Flash War”. Mike not quite having his comic book super nerd powers yet. So anytime in this article you see italics text like this pop up, that’s me putting in my two cents. It’s two authors for the price of one!

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Flashpoint!

Now, I’ve read Flashpoint, and Flash: Savage World, a couple of the Justice League trade paperbacks, as well as being a fan of the TV show, so take my opinion as that of someone who’s not an expert, but also not diving in for the first time. If you’re interested in this story, I do suggest picking up the annual with the prelude, because I found that it makes things a bit clearer in the first issue.

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The Flash: Blitz by Geoff Johns. A must read to understand Flash War.

Besides the Flash Annual that Mike mentioned earlier, the storyline that is most important to understanding Flash War is a story that goes back to Geoff John’s original run on The Flash BEFORE The New 52 and even before Barry Allen came back from the dead. At this point in DC history Barry Allen had died in the classic mega-event Crisis on Infinite Earths. For the nearly three decades after, Barry’s sidekick Wally West aka Kid Flash became The Flash full time. For a whole generation of readers (or if  you even just knew The Flash from the Justice League animated series) Wally West WAS The Flash. Anyway, this super important story was called BLITZ and it was all about how former FBI criminal profiler Hunter Zolomon, who was a good friend of The Flash, became the super villain Zoom and initiated a devastating attack on Wally West and his family. 

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Zoom AKA Hunter Zolomon VS The Flash (Wally West) during Blitz. Set before The New 52.

I’m not going to review the individual parts, but now that I have an idea of what the story is, I’m going to write about it, and then when the series concludes, I’ll write a review of it as a whole.

So, if you’re familiar with DC’s recent history, they had the “New 52” runs, and then there was Flashpoint which I believe allowed them to reset somethings after that, to try the “Rebirth” runs.  Well, there were some consequences to all of these resets and reboots, and one major one, which apparently directly stems from Flashpoint, is that the Wally West (the third Flash) from pre-“New 52” no longer exists as he did.  He is still around, but he has no history, much of his memory is cloudy due to being lost in the ever-changing timeline, and almost no one remembers him.

 

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Another must read before Flash War.

Ok so there’s actually another super important story that you need to read called DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH, also written by Geoff John’s. When Barry created Flashpoint and created The New 52 as we know it, “classic” Wally West had seemingly been erased from history. This story partially shows how he escaped from The Speed Force and why there are 2 very different Wally West’s in The New 52 continuity. It also, tells us that Barry creating Flashpoint was not the only person responsible for this altered universe… Just read the story, it’s a huge reveal.

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A heartfelt reunion between Barry and Wally from DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH 

*Some minor spoilers from this point out*

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“Classic” Wally West after he’s escaped The Speed Force in DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH 

As Mike goes into here, there are now 2 Wally West’s in this reality. The adult, white, pre-The New 52, FLASH Wally West who escaped The Speed Force in DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH  and teenage, African-American, KID FLASH Wally West.  Now Wally is a white red haired guy, still operating under the title of Flash (although Iris West-Allen, Barry’s wife and Wally’s aunt who doesn’t know who he is, refers to him as the new Flash because Barry is still the Flash as well.)  Wallace on the other hand, is a younger, black teenager (not sure how old he’s supposed to be, but he’s shorter which I’m pretty sure equals younger) Paul chiming in here, he’s roughly in his mid-teens and is Kid-Flash, but is also Iris’s nephew.

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Teenage, The New 52, Kid Flash, Wally West

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All of them together. From left to right: Barry, Adult Wally, Kid Flash Wally

So, they’re the same person but different people.  It’s a little confusing, but I like it, because I’m a big fan of time-travel and the idea that if anything were done differently in a time-line individuals could be genetically different people from one to another.

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Fuck these pricks.

At this point in the article, bless his heart, Mike sort of misinterpreted the chain of events. Basically, Time Agents from the 25th Century (kind of like Minority Report) all dressed like good versions of classic Flash villains, The Rogues, show up at try to arrest Iris for supposedly killing Eodard Thawne (Classic Flash villain The Reverse Flash) at some point… in the future… I guess? Even I’m a little confused on this on, guys. These Time Agents could be full of shit, but adult Wally freaks out at the idea of these assholes taking Iris, where Barry wants to let cooler heads prevail and calmly go with The Time Agents to figure out what’s going on. Some fighting and time travel ensues… One of  The Time Agents has a really cool and surprising power source I won’t spoil here.

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Eobard Thawne AKA The Reverse Flash. Just a real piece of shit. And yes I realize he looks exactly like Zoom. It’s… Well… IT’S A WHOLE THING, OK!

As the first issue comes to a close, we see that Wally has been transported to a future in which he did exist, while Barry, Iris, and Wallace were transported to the alternate future, and Hunter Zolomon aka Zoom tells Wally he’s going to help him change the past and save his children who were erased in Flashpoint.

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Zoom/ Hunter Zolomon 

This issue is kind of framed by Hunter Zolomon and his POV. To the best of my knowledge, the first time we’ve seen this version of Zoom and Wally’s kids since before Flashpoint, because they’re all pre- The New 52 characters.

I’m really excited, because as I said before I really enjoy time-travel and time line stories, I also really enjoy stories in which protagonists conflict with each other, sometimes I find it more interesting than when there is a clear protagonist.  I’m not sure to what level Zoom will participate, my only familiarity with him is from season 2 of the Flash on CW, but I’m really looking forward to what’s coming up.

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    The Hunter Zolomon/Zoom of this comic is VASTLY different from the Zoom from The Flash CW series.  I like Mike’s enthusiasm, but I think this isn’t a great comic for new readers. It’s really more for people who’ve been following The Flash and DC Comics in general for the past decade or so. I recommend new readers check out, as an alternative, the mini-series The Man of Steel by Brian Michael Bendis currently in it’s 3rd issue. You can get at your local comic book store or on your tablet on the ComiXology app. It’s very new reader friendly and all you really need to know is who Superman is and the bare minimum about his world. I hope you guys enjoyed our different takes on Flash War part 1. Thanks for reading, everyone!

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This may be a better option for new readers.

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Paul