It seems H.R. Wells has gotten himself into a bit of a pickle, and the only one who can save him is… Cisco (Carlos Valdes)? Yes, that’s right, our valiant Vibe tests his powers against Gypsy, another dimension-warper, in this week’s episode, “Dead or Alive”. Here’s my Top 5:
#5: Iris West, Investigative Reporter
While all in all, Iris (Candice Patton) is taking the news of her impending murder in stride, it seems she’s bothered by something besides just dying. She wants to leave a lasting mark on journalism. Not content to follow the leads she’s got, trying to track a ring of advanced weaponry brokers (the ones who supplied Plunder in last episode), she ropes her brother Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) into stealing the police file from her father Joe (Jesse L. Martin).
There seems to be something invigorating about knowing when you’re going to die, too. When they track the ringleader to his warehouse, Iris puts her life in danger, daring him to shoot her. Wally saves her, of course, but either Iris now thinks she’s invincible until May 23rd, or she has a death wish. (It seems she might be wrong based on next week’s preview, but something tells me she’ll beat the odds.) Joe, who isn’t in the know about Savitar’s plans for Iris, is furious, of course. Nonetheless, Iris gets a cracker-jack piece out of the caper, a front-page article heavily featuring her brother, Kid Flash, though I don’t know if it’s the world-changing story she was hoping for.
The root of Iris’s insecurity, of course, is a belief that her mother (played last year by Vanessa Williams) died without leaving anything noteworthy behind. A call-out of some subtle sexism here: Barry (Grant Gustin), ever the consoler, assures Iris that her mother left behind a “powerful, capable” son (or words to that effect), and “the woman I love.” C’mon, Barry! Just because she doesn’t have superpowers doesn’t mean that all Iris has to offer is being your girlfriend. You can do better, Flash writers.
#4: Death Penalty? That’s a Bit Harsh
So, it turns out that H.R. Wells (Tom Cavanagh) didn’t really have permission to leave Earth-19 to come to Earth-1. In fact, it turns out that it’s an offense punishable by death back home. He probably would have been fine, and never would have been caught, except that he’s been sending his new book back to Earth-19 one chapter at a time. His book details Team Flash’s heroics on Earth-1, but of course he has embellished his role a teensy bit.
The law against dimensional travel apparently stems from an invasion of his Earth about 25 years ago, when armies from another Earth crossed the dimensional barrier and killed many of Earth-19’s people. But why, in the name of the multiverse, does that make it a crime to leave? It reminds me of the ST:TNG episode “Justice,” where Wesley is sentenced to death for trampling a flowerbed. It’s completely disproportionate to the crime. If the goal is to prevent other realities from learning about Earth-19, sending out the Collectors to retrieve unauthorized dimension jumpers only seems to heighten the risk.
#3: Cisco’s New Femme Fatale
Cisco sure has a thing for the deadly ones, doesn’t he? The Collector who comes after Wells, Gypsy (Jessica Camacho), has the same power set as Cisco: the ability to sense things across time and space, to harness and weaponize vibrational energy, and to travel between dimensions. Even as he tries to protect Wells from her, Cisco can’t keep from flirting with her (or “negotiating,” as he sees it). Unfortunately, he foolishly demands Trial by Combat, according to the laws of Earth-19, in defense of Wells. It’s obvious that Gypsy’s powers are far more developed than Cisco’s, so he has some serious work to do if he doesn’t want to end up dead.
Gypsy’s powers are really impressive: she can use breaches to get behind enemies, and her vibrational energy is powerful to stop Wally dead in his tracks. She also, it turns out, has a heart, and takes quite a liking to Cisco, in return.
#2: Across the Multiverse
Because of a short-sighted attempt by Barry and H.R. to stop Gypsy before the Trial by Combat, Gypsy insists that Cisco must face her. While he isn’t able to train in a mere 24 hours to be able to match her move for move, Julian (Tom Felton) does find a flaw in her fighting style that Cisco will be able to beat her, if he can find the right moment. Before the fight reaches that point, however, we get a really fun battle sequence that jumps across the known multiverse, taking us to Earth-2, then Supergirl‘s Earth (Earth-3?), and even to a dimension where the Earth appears to be nothing but rock and lava. The bit on Kara’s Earth is fun, as they literally come crashing from mid-air into the Catco office, terrifying Eve Teschmacher (Andrea Brooks) before disappearing again.
Finally, the moment comes for Cisco to catch Gypsy off-balance thanks to Julian’s observation, and the fight is over. Cisco, of course, spares Gypsy’s life, and she returns home without Wells, who will be allowed to live out his days in exile. She also takes back two giant bags of coffee beans (coffee is extinct on Earth-19), and a sly promise that she might be back someday, which is good, since dimension jumping is so frowned-on over there, it doesn’t seem like Cisco will be travelling to visit her anytime soon.
#1: Speed Limit
Julian, in his characteristically brusque and inconsiderate fashion, informs Barry early on in the episode that he simply won’t be able to get fast enough, quickly enough, to close the distance with Savitar and prevent him from murdering Iris when the time comes. Wally, however, is getting faster very rapidly; he already can run nearly as fast as Barry can, with only a few weeks of training under his belt. He is also growing more capable in a fight (although Gypsy handles him with ease), and while Barry doesn’t quite get his love of the spotlight, he knows that the two of them make a great team. So, at the end of the episode, he informs Wally that is Kid Flash who will be responsible for getting faster, and preventing Iris’s murder.
This fills me with a little foreboding. As much fun as it is to have Kid Flash on the show, the series isn’t called The Flash and Kid Flash. I’ve wondered for quite some time if there would be room in Central City, long-term, for two speedsters. My fear, hopefully unfounded, is that Wally will indeed save the day in the season finale, but at the cost of his life, his powers, or both. I hope I’m wrong.
Bonus LoT Coverage: Eobard Thawne and the Black Racer
Legends of Tomorrow has moved to Tuesdays following The Flash, and last night’s episode was all about the newly-christened Legion of Doom. The mastermind of the group, as we’ve all known since the beginning of the season, is Eobard Thawne (Matt Letscher), the Reverse Flash, but his identity is a mystery to the Legends. The episode answers some really nagging questions for Flash fans, so I wanted to touch on it here.
We find out that Thawne is “unstuck” in time, a “time remnant” as Hunter Zolomon (Zoom) called it last year, since the version that Barry pulled out when he prevented him from murdering Nora Allen was a paradox, and should never have existed once his ancestor Eddie killed himself. As far as history is concerned, he never did exist. That’s why all the Legends’ research wasn’t revealing his identity, and it’s only because Martin Stein (Victor Garber) was there when Eddie killed himself and erased Eobard that he knows about him at all.
That’s why Thawne wants the Spear of Destiny: to rewrite reality itself and make him a “real boy” again. That’s interesting in and of itself, but the really fun part of the episode was seeing why Thawne never stays in one place for more than a few minutes, and why he has recruited Damien Darhk and Malcolm Merlyn to help him. He’s being pursued through time by the Black Racer. The Black Racer is the personification of death for those imbued with the Speed Force. It seems to be looking to kill Thawne and thus completely erase him from history. The CGI on the Racer was fantastic, by the way.
I’ve been a little ambivalent about LoT so far this season, but this turn of events has me very excited to see what’s coming. I hope that there’s an unannounced cross-over with The Flash (or at least an appearance by Barry, perhaps in 2067?) planned for later in the season.
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