Four Color Television - The Flash / Legends of Tomorrow - Week 2 Recap / Review
The Four Color Ark
Four Color Television
The Flash Season 4, Episode 02: “Mixed Signals”
It’s a new day in Central City and Barry Allen is just trying to get caught up with everything he’s missed in the six months he spent trapped inside the Speed Force, but this is still Central City and that means it’s time for another Meta attack. This time it is in the form of a mysterious computer code named Kilg%re which seems to be targeting tech billionaires, the first in a brutal elevator accident and the second by overriding the controls of their Tesla. When Barry makes a wrong turn into a construction zone that endangers the driver, Iris decides that maybe the communication between her and Barry is not where it should be since his return – so she enrolls them in couple’s therapy. Iris and Barry aren’t the only couple having a bit of an issue: Gypsy shows up on Earth One to go on a date with Cisco, but the tech genius is too distracted attempting to crack the hackers Kilg%re code. Caitlyn recognizes that the code seems almost biological which puts them on the trail of a Meta. A disastrous first appointment with the therapist is interrupted by Joe’s Team Flash Panic Button as the Kilg%re code has taken over a bomb squad robot and chucked a grenade at Joe and the billionaire Barry saved from the hacked Tesla. Barry races in and manages to snag all of the grenade shrapnel before it does any damage to Joe, and returns to S.T.A.R. Labs to get going on discovering what is going on with the Kilg%re code. Cisco recognizes the names of the victims so far and races to his collection of teenage magazines, which are sadly just computer magazines (complete with motherboard of the month centerfolds.) Two of the victims are members of a group that created and sold a massive program a decade ago, and the third is a female tech billionaire also living in Central City. Wally and Joe head off to surveil the next victims home, while Barry and Iris are off to a rescheduled appointment with the therapist. What starts out as a back and forth about Barry not listening to Iris about the construction zone earlier in the episode quickly manifests the real issue causing the strife between the two; Iris is still harboring legitimate resentment over the fact that Barry went into the Speed Force without talking it over with her. Cisco confronts Gypsy about her being upset over his missing their date, and she admits that the real issue is that on her Earth this day is a Valentine’s Day like holiday known as 1:1:1 day about the coming together of two individual souls.
Joe and Wally are on site when the Meta controlling Kilg%re, a man named Ramsey Deacon (Dominic Burgess) who helped design Kilg%re but was cut out of the massive profits resulting from its sale, attacks the third member of the team by using his mind to recalibrate her digital insulin pump. Wally shows up and saves her, but is too late as Deacon has escaped and kidnapped the Tesla driver once more. Wally and Barry manage to track Deacon down, but Deacon uses his ability to take control of Barry’s new Flash suit which Cisco has loaded up with all the coolest tech – including a blaster he uses to knock Wally out. Without the ability to remove his own suit and with a self-destruct moments away from going off, Barry is out of ideas – but Iris has a solution and Barry has to demonstrate he trusts her. Iris recommends Barry throw lighting at himself to shock the suit and give him back control, and it works. Deacon is taken into custody, Iris and Barry are communicating again, Cisco finally has his romantic evening with Gypsy – everything is right with the world. Except for one major problem… Deacon wasn’t in Central City the night of the particle accelerator explosion. Joe and Barry come to Iron Heights to ask Deacon how he got his powers, Deacon doesn’t answer, but he does say he wasn’t alone in getting powers from this source… Back in The Thinker’s lair, Thinker and the Mechanic talk about the need to find “the others” to move their plan forward.
After a somewhat tepid season opener, this episode is back to basics Flash. A fun concept, with the S.T.A.R. Labs crew working together and showcasing the things that make them a successful team. There is an A story about The Flash, a B story about Barry himself, and a C story about another member of the team (Cisco in this case) that ties into both the A and B stories – in terms of episodic formula: We back baby. The Iris and Barry plotline is cute and full of some well-placed humor, but not quite as amusing or as well played as the Cisco and Gypsy plotline. The reusing of sets across all four CW shows is getting to be a little much though, the episode opens with a Tech Billionaire looking at an apartment he wants to purchase in Central City and then being killed when the Kilg%re virus takes over the apartments elevator. This is a neat enough premise, except clearly the apartment the billionaire was looking at is the exact same set as Oliver Queen’s apartment from Arrow and the malfunctioning Elevator is the very same one that leads into the Arrow Cave. It feels petty to gripe about set design, but this is becoming a routine thing. This episode also introduced us to a longstanding Flash character in the form of Iron Height Prison’s overbearing Warden Gregory Wolfe – here played by Law and Order alumni Richard Brooks with all his cold menace.
Episode 02 MVP: Jessica Camacho*, who played a silent frustration with Cisco for incredible comedic effect.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 3, Episode 02: “Freakshow”
Nate is melancholy about his breakup with Amaya, Ray has used the pilfered Time Bureau tech and his own designs to create a shrink ray, and Sara is looking for a nice easy Anachronism to solve so that she can prove to Rip and the Bureau that the Legends still have what it takes. Just another Tuesday on the Waverider. Sara and Gideon pick an anachronism that takes them to 1870 where a time anachronism had found its way into P. T. Barnum's Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan & Hippodrome. The Legends check out the Circus, and are keeping an eye on P.T. Barnum himself (Billy Zane) while Ray, Nate and Jax go looking for the anachronism – which turns out to be a Saber-toothed Tiger. Ray uses his shrink ray on the Tiger, but mistakenly enlarges the wild time displaced animal which allows it to easily escape. Knowing that the Legends need an assist from an animal expert, Sara hops in the time shuttle and zips back to 1942 to recruit Amaya to rejoin the team for this one last mission. Sara and Amaya return, and head off to deal with the Sabertooth.
Meanwhile Nate and the other guys hit a saloon where Nate proceeds to get incredibly drunk and accidently exposes his powers to P.T. Barnum. While Sara and Amaya are busy capturing the Sabertooth, P.T. Barnum is busy capturing Ray and Jax – who he forces to act as conjoined twins in his circus. A member of the Time Bureau named Gary is tailing The Legends and Sara captures him, throwing him in the Waverider’s brig to get info on why he is following them; which it turns out is because the level one time anachronism they came to repair has jumped to a level nine in the brief time they have been present. Nate and Amaya have a heart-to-heart where she reveals she broke up with him to return to her own time and thus protect the life of her granddaughter – the current Vixen of 2017. It is at this moment that the two of them are likewise captured by P.T. Barnum who sees the superpowered team of Legends as an opportune way to turn his circus into a rousing success. Agent Sharpe of the Time Bureau shows up to try to rescue Gary and gets into a massive fight with Sara, while Stein and Mick go to rescue their team. Mick fights some clowns, Stein and Jax merge into Firestorm and zip around the sky while Amaya channels the essence of a Bear and loses all control, coming within a stone’s throw of murdering P.T. Barnum. The team goes back to return the Tiger to its own time, Amaya admits that she has lost control of her powers and feels she might murder people, and in the present a mysterious cloaked figure recruits Amaya’s other granddaughter Kuasa for some nefarious purpose.
Episode two of Legends feels far more like the fun adventure series that we were given last year, and it was a welcome return to form. As always the Legends are our favorite screw ups and this was an opportunity to watch them gradually make a simple situation far worse than it ever needed to be. The Nate and Amaya relationship arc makes perfect sense on both sides and is played well as both comedic and as heartbreakingly serious, and the actors are able to deliver on both levels. Brandon Routh’s Ray Palmer is getting a little weirder as this series progresses, and I fear they may push him into truly insane territory. The big news though is that Victor Garber has announced he will soon be leaving the series to return to Broadway, which means our days with Martin Stein are numbered. Billy Zane was incredibly fun and funny as P.T. Barnum, and I hope that they find a way to bring the character back as a foil for the Legends somehow. So far we have very little hint of what might be going on with our mysterious cloaked villain, and it feels nice to not instantly know what is coming for a change. I hope this season can spend a little time going for a slow burn.
Episode 02 MVP: Adam Tsekhman as Gary the inept Time Agent, whom I hope we see very much more of.
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