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TV Review: The Flash - Season 3 Episode 5 "Monster"

11.02.2016

EPISODE 5: "Monster"

SYNOPSIS: Desperate to understand what is happening to her, Caitlin visits her mother, Dr. Tannhauser, a renowned biomedical researcher, in the hopes that her mother can provide some answers about Caitlin's growing meta-human powers. Meanwhile, after a mysterious new meta-human attacks Central City, Barry tries to convince Julian to let him assist on the case.

The Flash, TV Review, The CW, Superhero, DC Comics, Comic Book, Drama, Fantasy, Grant Gustin, Monster

REVIEW: Alright, Flash, my patience is really beginning to wear thin. Five episodes into the third season and we still have yet to find any sort of rythym or stride with our characters or plot points. For a consecutive week, we get no developments regarding Alchemy while spending a good deal of time with one of the most throwaway villains the show has ever produced and two subplots involving Earth-19's Harrison Wells and the burgeoning Killer Frost side of Caitlyn Snow. In any other hour, these would have been vital subplots but instead feel like scraps cobbled together to make another filler episode for the former crown jewel of The CW's superhero programming. "Monster" has so much that could have worked for it that it is a damn shame that it falls as flat as it does.

With Flashpoint still radiating effects on Barry Allen's life, this episode decides to try and develop some of the drama between the alter ego of our titular hero and his workplace nemesis, Julian Albert. Played by Tom Felton, Julian is a lot like Draco Malfoy in that you hate him but still feel a pull to his character despite his clearly douche tendancies. With a gigantic kaiju like monster in Central City, the team needs all the help they can get but Barry is flying blind thanks to Julian tattling on him to Captain Singh at the CCPD. Barry makes a deal with Julian that he will vacate their shared lab if Julain allows Barry to tag along on the investigation. Julian reluctantly obliges. On the Team Flash side of things, Cisco is wary of their new Wells, nicknamed H.R., as he seems to be slightly off their expectations. H.R. does offer some good ideas to try and stop the giant monster but fails in basic computer skills. What could be going on?

The Flash, TV Review, The CW, Superhero, DC Comics, Comic Book, Drama, Fantasy, Grant Gustin, Monster

As it turns out, H.R. is more of a conman/idea man on his Earth and not a brilliant scientist that the team was anticipating. While it seems there may still be more secrets for H.R. to reveal, the fact that he cannot really help the team beyond serving as comic relief should have made his stint on the show a very short one. Instead, he begs for a second chance at redemption and Barry and team cannot resist a good underdog story and oblige. While Tom Cavanaugh brings a totally different approach to his third major take on Harrison Wells, the logic behind the decision to let him stay on our world makes little sense. But, it serves as a reminder for our other narratives this week that redemption is key to every good story. Unfortunately here it just doesn't work.

Our other subplot of the week involves Caitlyn Snow's expanding ice powers. We got to see Killer Frost on Earth-2 but thanks to Flashpoint it looks like she is coming to Earth-1 as well. Caitlyn goes to visit her mother, a renowned scientist named Dr. Tannhauser for help with her symptoms. Of course, she helps but also throws Caitlyn in the grasp of a maniacal scientist who works with her named Nigel. The perilous aspect of Caitlyn's incarceration is short-lived and she is able to reconcile with her mother in just enough time to get back to Central City and help the team with their monster problem. The plot regarding Killer Frost continues to grow and in the closing scene we learn that the more Caitlyn uses her powers, the more quickly they will take her over. it is a foreboding vision for the season and one that could present a villain much more worth seeing than Alchemy has been so far. 

The Flash, TV Review, The CW, Superhero, DC Comics, Comic Book, Drama, Fantasy, Grant Gustin, Monster

Back to our main storyline, the giant monster that continues to appear and disappear in major urban areas? Yeah, it is just a hologram. I am not sure how no one figured it out sooner or why Barry didn't try to punch or attack the beast until the end of the hour, but it is not real. The middling special effects used to bring the beast to life are explained away by this reveal but are completely ruined by the source of the creature: a teenage boy lashing out at the bullies who tormented him. Yeah, a typical and generic afterschool special plot that serves no purpose in the overall tale of The Flash. Don't get me wrong, I fully am on board the anti-bullying train, but this was so ham-handed in execution that it fails to evoke anything remotely genuine. Even the fact that Julian almost shoots the teen and feels guilt is a forced reconciliation between the two CSI technicians and ruins what was beginning to be an interesting rivalry only five episodes into the season.

I am losing it with The Flash this year. The stories are not going anywhere and the whiplash I am getting as the writers pull us from one subplot to another is beginning to get annoying. The Flash still has a great lead actor who manaes to imbue Barry Allen with enough charisma that even the brief scene at the start of the episode in Cisco's apartment make these episodes worth checking out. But, as of right now, the last three episodes have been ones you could easily skip in any binge-watching session. I have still yet to see a single hour since the season premiere that justifies the Flashpoint story arc being used and little in the way of payoff for the characters we have lost since last season. It should not be this difficult to find a worthy villain or season long plot to propel this show to the heights it enjoyed in it's first season. I am hoping this show is not running out of gas so soon as this could be the beginning of the end of the The CW's monopoly of network comic book superiority.

EPISODE GRADE:

NEXT ON THE FLASH: "Shade" airs Novembr 15th - When Wally starts having dreams about being Kid Flash, Barry realizes he has to tell Wally, Iris and Joe about what happened to Wally in Flashpoint in order to keep him safe.

Source: JoBlo.com

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