Review: The Flash 1.13 – The Nuclear Man

“I didn’t think people your age read actual books.” Ah Millennials bah, bah bum nah nah. The above statement is kind of indicative of the general tone of Flash post mid-season break, which is unfortunate because this has very quickly dropped from my favorite comic related show on television to a sort of middling thing I use to kill time once a week.  It has descended, like a testicle, almost entirely because I feel talked down to now.  Like they got a note from a studio exec that said “Young fresh hip kids like that” on one Post-It note while another just said “Meta…?” and because no one knows what any of that means this is what we get.


Our A-plot revolves around Team Flash finding and helping Firestorm.  I will give credit that Firestorm is probably one of the cooler things to come out of recent Flash episodes even if the Photoshop of Ronnie and Dr. Stein combining looks terrible.  I mean, come on, it’s a cut and paste head floating in some after effects!  That’s where you drew your budget line?  Robbie Amell, who plays Ronnie, and is the brother of Arrow’s Stephen Amell, is alright enough.  He’s not a terrible actor but they give him dialogue that’s supposed to portray the older personality driving the younger body.  Robbie also adds to the performance a very controlled, wooden cadence that feels really unnatural along with stiff unnatural posture.  Together it creates something that grates a little on the ears and is a little hard to watch.  It’s as if they handed him the script and he acted it and then the director was like “No, no, say it ‘older’.  Be more ‘old’.”  It pulls me out of what is otherwise a solid A-plot.  They may have been better off establishing Dr. Stein more, providing some posture cues and maybe some personal ticks that Ronnie could adopt rather than “old, smart people have perfect posture and enunciate.”

The pair of B-plots are respectively stupid and decent.  The stupid one (B minus-plot?) is Barry going on a date with Iris’ newspaper co-worker.  When I asked for more Flash facts that did not include pre-mature ejaculation jokes.  Frankly, I’m not really interested in the show mining super powered sex as either a source of humor or a source of discussion.  They’re stepping all over my erotic/comedy fan fiction business dammit, how am I supposed to sell any books if people can get it in prime time television!  It’s simply more of the “I have to go…” secret identity romance bullshit that has been used since the first Superman show aired back when the world was entirely lived in black and white.


The second B-plot was more interesting and was probably the highlight.  Detective West teams up with Cisco to release a greatest hits album but the former members of Dru Hill won’t give him the rights to their songs and it’s up to Detective West to cap their asses.  Cisco/Sisqo joke nailed!  What actually happens is Detective West and Cisco go to Barry’s old house and examine the crime scene.  The two actors work pretty well together and I look forward to seeing them work together in the future.  Other than being beset by the Cougar that lives there (that was not a joke) and the entirely unrealistic premise of finding evidence in a 20+ year old crime scene it was pretty good.  The chemistry between the two characters was there and it was injected with enough super science to be campy without being anger inducing.

I used to think Flash was a show that was reaching its potential every episode.  Before the mid-season finale every show was better than the last and I felt every show was the best it could be with the Brave and the Bold crossover probably being the best.  Now it feels like there has been a lot of lost potential.  The characters are missing their marks, the plots are a little lackluster, and the set pieces go by too quickly.  The show is now mired in “Boy, you young people sure are different…” jokes, which is fine in moderation, and love subplots that I don’t give a shit about.  There’s enough conflict in the text as is, we don’t need to inject romance.  I do not care about an Iris/Barry/Whatshername triangle or Detective West finding an age appropriate fuck buddy.  Can we have one hero who is just happy to be single because he finds fulfillment in what he does?  Or can we just have him settle with someone who “gets it”?  The relationship stuff is the weakest part of the show for me and lately it has been a focus which takes the attention away from potentially more interesting things.  Like a monkey with mind powers.  GET TO GRODD ALREADY!

Score: 2/5