Thursday, March 25, 2010

Who Names These Things.... Again!

Back (somewhat reluctantly) to The Flash

Episode 13: Tina, is that You?

Plot: Barry's having trouble sleeping but this isn't a problem for Tina so she offers to use a device at STAR Labs to transfer some of her sleep inducing abilities to Barry. When the machine explodes Tina is injured but seems to make a full recovery... or does she? There's something different about the good Doctor -- she's just not herself. Trouble is, the person she's become is a threat to the Flash!

My Take:
Oh boy. Remember all the times I've said comic book science just has to be swallowed? Well, there are exceptions... stuff that is too stupid to take. This is one of those situations.

The writers try to pull a bait and switch at the opening as viewers are stunned to see Tina arrive at Barry's apartment and declare that she loves him... and that he reciprocates. Unrequited sexual tension payoff so early in the series?! Psych! Tina turns out to simultanously be a purse snatcher with a gun. Yes it all turns out to be a bad dream for Barry (and for those of us watching, yeesh). Although one wonders why his "nightmares" start out with Tina telling him she loves him. Also, as far as nightmares go -- someone with a gun (which the Flash can easily outrun) isn't usually as scary as getting chased by a monster (or getting chased by a monster with a chainsaw through a grocery store and having him start to cut you in half at the checkout line... oh... uh... yeah, forget I mentioned that) or not being able to run or escape, etc.

But I digress. The writers on this episode decided to go with a "Jekyll and Hyde" variation. It's pretty common as far as plots go -- the good guy or the sidekick gets turned evil through hypnosis, brain washing, mind control, chemicals, etc. Here they decide to go with an accident which causes Tina to suddenly become a bitch on wheels.

Poor Amanda Pays. She tries her best, she really does, but in the end, she never convincingly comes across as vicious or threatening. Although I confess, I love it when she breaks out with the British insults.

Our big bad villains this episode (aside from Tina, which we will get to in a minute) are a three girl criminal outfit called the Black Rose Gang. Because, you know, they're girls so they have to have a 'girly' gang name. Geeze. Insert eye roll here. But it does get worse... The leader's name is Harley... but before you get your hopes up she is nowhere NEAR as cool as Harley Quinn from Batman: The Animated Series. Sadly, even if she WERE as cool as Harley Quinn it wouldn't do much good because she stupidly decides to try to run down the Flash with her car... despite the fact that she had JUST seen the man outrun bullets... and she crashes the car and ends up a little bit dead. In truth, looking at the crash and knowing how few safety devices would have been in a '57 Caddy (with fins) it's stretching suspension of disbelief what ANY of the gang survives. But survive two of them do and one even manages to get the drop on the Flash and knocks him out by clonking him over the head. Superhero points deducted.

So the remaining two members of the Black Rose Gang go underground (literally) and spend most of the rest of the episode whining about getting revenge on the Flash and modeling the WORST of 90's fashions with a little bit of the 1950's thrown in. It isn't pretty. Oh, and the writers are stupid. At one point the surviving gang members are told that Harley was buried in a pauper's field and one girl tells the other that this is where they bury "outlaws". Uh... no. It isn't. A "Pauper's Field" (sometimes called a "Potter's Field" from the bible where Judas's 30 pieces of silver, which he got for betraying Jesus, were used to buy a field owned by a potter to use to bury those who died in the sity but were strangers to it) is where cities bury the indigent, the poor, and the nameless. It is sometimes used for burying those who die in prisons but usually only if the prisoner has no family and/or no one to claim the body.

And then, woven throughout all of this we have yet another installment of 'Julio: Worst. Co-Worker. Ever.' The running joke of Julio and his girlfriend always trying to set Barry up on blind dates with disasterous results wore thin after the first couple of episodes. Here we see Barry apparently finally striking gold in a woman named Lisa. And then thw writers pretty much draw a big picture that Barry expects to get lucky. On his first date. A BLIND first date. Yeeeaahh... what kind of message were they trying to send here?

Of course, Barry's dreams of not spending the night alone get disrupted by now crazy Tina. Seriously, everything up to now had been rather awkwardly staged but now it starts getting awkward AND stupid. The plot takes a sharp left onto 'What the Hell' street as Tina decides to get all 90's slinky -- teased hair (which is obviously a hair piece), overdone make-up (seriously, at no point in time should blush EVER have been applied as a diagonal slash across the cheekbones, I don't care WHAT the fasion was), a mini-skirt, fishnet stockings, and ankle boots with little kitten heels. Ugh. Just... no.

In addition to what little fashion sense she had running away scared, Tina also decides to join the Black Rose Gang (why? Dunno. How did she find them? Don't really know that either) and promises to give them the Flash on a silver platter. What follows is a series of terribly put together, semi-action sequences with enough plot holes to qualify for swiss cheese. I could go into detail but I'd rather spare myself as much as my readers here.

Eventually, Barry manages to bring Tina back to her senses in a tearful (literally, and by god it's stupid) scene and all is right with the world. Bleh. Ick.

This episode is a waste of disc space unless you want to watch it with a glass (or two) of wine (or other alcoholic beverage) and spend the next hour ripping it to itty, bitty shreds. It's fairly amusing then. If, however, you are under the age of 21 ignore the suggestion about the alcohol. Never let it be said I encouraged the delinquency of minors. In addition to the stupid plot and terrible acting the running jokes about Julio fixing Barry up on blind dates should have stopped a long time ago due to not being funny. And speaking of not being funny... the characters of Keystone (heh. I made an in-joke. Brownie points to whomever gets it) Kops Murphy and Bellows were NEVER funny but with this episode they move from being unfunny to actually being so incompetant one wonders how they've managed to stay on the force.

Flash Facts:
There is a mention of "Keystone Drive". Keystone City was the name of the home of the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick. Originally, Keystone City and Jay Garrick resided on an other-dimensional copy of Earth known as Earth 2. After 1985 DC merged their multiple dimensions into one Earth and Keystone City became the sister city to Central City. Comic book writer Marv Wolfman has always described it as being like Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas.

The Black Rose Gang is hidning out in an old nucelar fallout shelter and, like seeminly EVERYWHERE in Central City, this place has a mural on the back wall. Clearly seen on the mural in one scene is the likeness of President John F. Kennedy. This is probably a reference to the Cuban Missile Crisis during Kennedy's time in office -- many people believed at the time that the Crisis was the closest America came to a nuclear with with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

When Barry finally captures Tina he tells her that it's time to "Tame the shrew" -- this is a reference to William Shakespeare's famous play The Taming of the Shrew

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