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The Flash - Borrowing Problems from the Future - Review: "In Transition"

30 Jan 2017

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The Flash’s return this past week was pretty good. Not perfect, but a pleasant return that, thankfully, kept itself from making the most obvious mistakes: making Wally insufferable and cocky, and keeping Iris and the team in the dark about her future. Joe gets out of the secret loop, but after what he did to Wally when he was in the cocoon, I think Joe gets a timeout when it comes to secrets. However, we all know he’ll figure it out eventually.

This episode feels mainly as transition; it’s fun, but light in the action and epicness, it is rooted in character progression, but nothing is explored too deep. It’s a good episode that could use a bit work to make it work better, but it’s still a pretty solid Flash showing, and it has a trajectory that I hope doesn’t derail. I like having Tom Felton around, and Julian is a character that has grown on me, so here’s hoping he can stay in team Flash.

So, let’s talk about the bad things about the episode first: the villain is boring. I like that the show expands from metahuman to villains who are rooted in technology (that gave us Captain Cold after all), but this Morello guy has no charisma to sell his appearance. Maybe it’s casting choice flaw or a writing flaw, but the guy I couldn’t care less about, he wasn’t threatening and the action sequences were just ok, which made for very bland scenes when he was around.

Also, I think people were unnecessarily harsh to HR at the beginning (sans Barry who was actually a bit supportive) and the gags with the hologram and everything didn’t work quite well. I knew I was supposed to be laughing at some times, but it just didn’t click with me.

Now, everything else about the episode was pretty good. I’m still not sold on Wally (mostly because the actor needs to improve), but I do like that he was both will to learn and willing to take action. He didn’t want to be seen as coward, but he didn’t go out of his way to do something stupid to prove that policeman and Barry wrong. Instead, he learnt some stuff and then took the opportunity to be a hero when Barry gave it to him. And while there was a brief moment where I was worried he’d rant at Barry for taking him on a mission just to change the future, he quickly understood that there was something much more important at stake and that was saving Iris’ life. That made him a much better and much more likeable character.

Speaking of Iris, I really like what this story is doing for her character and I want to see it explored further: first of all, thank god Barry didn’t keep it a secret for even one more episode! Now we will be seeing not only how they are trying to save her, but we also get to see how she is going to react to all of it, because it won’t hit all at once, but rather we’ll see how knowing her days are counted will affect her, and very likely it will affect her relationship with Barry.

I’ll briefly say that their relationship is cute: I’m slowly walking away from that incestous feeling I had, but then when Joe gives them the photo of them together as kids… it became weird again. Look, I know, they are not blood relatives and they didn’t live all their lives together, but they both call Joe dad! And they did have a family setting. So forgive me: their relationship is cute, and I like that they feel like a real couple with honest feelings of affections towards each other (and not just crazy chemistry like lesser shows like to play it), but you have to understand me: that aspect of the relationship is just really weird to me, and I haven’t been able to shake it off.

Moving on to other stuff: Caitlin and Julian make a good combo. They both know what it is like to lose control to other versions of themselves, to be scared, so to play out that empathy and understanding makes complete sense, and makes for a powerful scene when Julian opens up about his guilt. They both have done regrettable things under the influence of power, so I like how the show pairs them up. They are probably the only people who can understand each other in their given situation, and I was left wanting more of them.

And now, my favorite parts of the episode: the exploration of the future. For the last 3 seasons The Flash seemed to be obsessed with the past, to the point where it became frustrating that the characters didn’t seem able to move forward. Now, we finally get to see time travel from another angle and tackling a very hard problem, which is changing the future. And everyone is aware that the wrong move may set in motion the very same future they want to prevent.

Everything about this plotline is delivered in a smart way, they are not rushing to change stuff, they know all the events leading up to Iris’ death and they will start changing it one by one instead of rushing off to do something stupid to set that future in motion. Also, this is all made even more awesome by Cisco dropping a back to the future reference. I really dig what The Flash is doing here, and I hope they keep up this dance of changing the future / causing the future, because it is filled with a lot of possibilities and interesting ramifications, and my bet is that, in order to save Iris, there is going to be a big price, and the interesting part of it all is if they are ready to afford it.

All in all, I enjoyed this episode of The Flash a lot. I think it came back with the right feet and the bitter taste of Flashpoint is slowly fading away. Maybe now I can start looking at the show different: I myself need to stop looking back to The Flash season 1 and look forward for what’s to come, and I think this time I may be pleasantly surprised. I’m cautiously optimistic at least.

Grade: B+

About 2 missing reviews

So, November and December were crazy months for me. Internship, thesis and classes, all of it made it impossible to write the reviews for Invasion and The Present at the time, and I was going to ask someone else to do them, but sadly I got way above my head and thought I could handle it. Well, I didn’t, and as a result there wasn’t a review for either episode. Now, in the future, if I have an issue that’s preventing me from reviewing an episode, instead of letting in pile on forever, I’ll have someone take over for a week (or two if needed) so that the space of the review is not lost for a week or two and you guys can write about all you like, and even have a different viewpoint to the show.

With that being said, I’ll briefly say that I liked both episodes. “Invasion!” was fun, but nothing stellar in the context of The Flash, but a very good kick off to the crossover event, and I really liked the Oliver and Barry interactions the most, which surprised me since I had very big character problems with both up to that point. It was a solid B+-

As for “The Present”, all the Dante trickery was so old and cliché that it seriously dragged down the episode, and it ended in too much of a gloomy mood with my being nervous about Barry keeping Iris in the dark about her fate. Thankfully, that didn’t end up being for long, but the episode itself was a bit inconsistent, but still good. I kinda go back and forth with the grade with either B- or B, but probably B- since I want to be a bit more strict with the grades, so As and A- feel something more special than they have to this point.

In any case: so far, The Flash is on a better track than season 2. Keep it up show! Don’t slow down!