Welcome back to Up To Speed, in which Flash TV show recappers Dylan Todd and Ziah Grace break down the latest episode of The Flash and talk about what works, what doesn’t, and where the series might be headed.

This week, Barry tries to avert a grim future, Wally learns that the real hero was him all along, and Cisco and Tupac have one more thing in common than they had in 2016! “Borrowing Problems From The Future” was directed by Millicent Shelton, and written by Grainne Godfrey and David Kob. 

Ziah: As we start a new year with hope for the future, while a grim, scary villain coming to wreck us all in the coming months, it’s nice to see that The Flash gave us a strong start to the second-half of the season, along with a reminder that we’re stronger together than apart. It’s been a long, cold winter without these recaps to keep me warm, and it’s good to be back.

How’d you like The Plight of the Perfidious Plunder (Posthaste, Put Down Under)?

Dylan: It was a good kickoff to the back half of the season! When the episode started and the “Previously On…” bit started rolling, I was shocked at just how much I’d forgotten had happened this season, but this episode did a good job of reminding us what’s happened, while also giving us a glimpses of what’s to come. Also, they teased gorillas, so there’s that, as well.

As far as Plunder goes, he was… fine? Not much to him beyond an eyepatch and a force-gun, but he served as a focus point for the Barry/Wally Speedster stuff.

Ziah: Normally, I feel like we bash the villains of the week for being underdeveloped and boring, and while Plunder’s definitely underdeveloped (his reason for more robberies is literally “once is never enough”), he’s definitely not boring. He’s basically Karl Urban from Dredd, and I loved it. More BMX bikes and weirdly useful sci-fi guns for all the characters please. Let’s get Captain Cold on a snowmobile, come on.



Dylan: Gorilla Grodd on rollerblades or we riot.

Ziah: Or we riot Grr-illa?

Dylan: ...

Ziah: Okay, well, let’s talk about Thrells (or HR as the show calls him). I know you hate him, the only thing I don’t understand is why. He’s perfect. He might not have the raw, spiteful fury of Twells, or the… sexual charisma? (I never saw season 1) of Wells, but doofy, not-a-genius HR is a pretty great addition for me.

Dylan: I hate him, Ziah. He sucks so bad.

Ziah: Lies and slander. You’re the villain on next week’s episode, The Slanderer.

Dylan: His idea for the STAR Labs museum is so poorly executed and dude, what the heck is up with Olga?

Ziah: For single dads visiting open-bar Museum openings to oogle, obviously.

Dylan: But seriously, he has Caitlin, who is a scientist, pulling double duty as a barista for… no pay? And he doesn’t even do any sort of PR for the opening? And the drumsticks, Ziah. the stupid, stupid drumsticks.

Ziah: No, no! Dylan. He clearly did PR for the opening. Remember when he terrified the single dad and daughter and then asked them if they heard of it from “social media?” I bet he bought a Twitter ad.

Dylan: For an “ideas man” on Earth-Douchebag, he sure has some dumb ideas. But still, we got Holo-Cisco out of the deal, so I guess it’s not entirely a wash. Oh, and he also was able to help Barry out with his future fear by, uh, recounting the plot of one of his stupid books.



Ziah: I will cop to Thrells being a problematic fave when he assumed Cisco had “a tough childhood” to become a scientist. And oh yeah! He’s a Nebula winner! Do you think he’s actually Chuck Tingle on Earth-Douchebag? “Pounded in the Butt by Myself From The Future Trying To Solve My Own Murder.”

Dylan: Ah geez, now I gotta go bleach my eyeballs after reading that title.

Ziah: Before we move on, I have to say I loved that he used Barry’s super-speed as a shortcut to set up dominoes for an incredibly simple visual metaphor. What a good use of super-speed! We need more domino hijinx on this show, Dylan.

But speaking of white things that aren’t good for you, what do you think about Julian’s addition to Team Flash? Straight up, that scene where he reluctantly accepts their invitation, only to realize that he had badly misjudged the situation was straight out of my nightmares.

Dylan: Oh yeah, there’s no way this ends well for anybody involved, but as Caitlin says to everybody after she remembers to tell them that she offered him a slot on the HMS Flash Friends, “Y’all owe me so shut up and let Draco Malfoy on the team.”



Ziah: She needs a pasty white dude who might be evil to hook up with this season! Caitlin’s got needs, Dylan, don’t you judge.

Dylan: No joke, in my notes, I wrote, “Oh no. If Caitlin’s starting to get sweet on Julian, bad things are in store for that dude.” He bought her jewelry!

Ziah: Diamonds are a girl’s best friends (because her boyfriends keep getting murdered/killing themselves).

Dylan: And also because all her real best friends are cuckoo crazy metas.

We talked a little about Plunder, but he was really just a framework for them to hang the Barry/Wally mentorship storyline on. Basically, Barry’s doing on-the-job training with Wally, but is also being a humongous jerk to him at the same time. Barry can multitask! How do you think that worked out this episode, Z?

Ziah: It was the most mature Barry’s ever been, but I, no joke, burst out laughing at, “It’s important for you to learn everything I know” to Wally. Give him about five minutes and a video lesson on not changing the timeline, and I think he’s good to go, Slugger.

Dylan: Even with all the things I forgot about this show, Barry Allen continuing to be Very Bad at being a superhero was one I definitely remembered.

Ziah: Although, to be fair, giving Barry and Wally an explicit mentor-mentee relationship smooths over a lot of their occasionally awkward interactions. Them as pseudo-brothers didn’t work great, and neither did Barry’s, “Aw man, The Flash isn’t that great, you don’t wanna hang out with him. I bet he buys his friends ice cream though” last season, so this feels like a good hook to hang a relationship on.

If we’re talking Wally-related highpoints though, how amazing was his dance moves as he dodged the Plunder Pellets? I need a GIF of that for my life.

Dylan: Oh man, the only thing better than the dance moves was him getting completely run the heck over by Plunder’s sick dirtbike. Dude flipped like a Cirque du Soleil performer!

Ziah: Avatar or standard?

Dylan: Oh, are you referring to Cirque’s traveling show, Toruk: First Flight, which recounts the tale of three brave Na’vi who try to ride a dragon to save Pandora’s sacred tree? J/K, I know that’s what you’re referring to.



But like, Barry, being the terrible mentor he is, watches Wally get run over by a motorcycle and is still all, “Myeah, I’m gonna need you to shake it off and arrest Plunder so I can possibly change the timeline --- again, because it’s all I frickin’ do even though it only causes those that love me pain --- so I can continue to bonk your sister.” Heck of a mentor you got there, Wally.

Ziah: More like Boinking Barry, huh? Sometimes I definitely remember that this is a The CW show when there’s multiple Hornt-up Flash in one episode. But hey, at least Wally got to do some motorcycle punching and… run through a cyber force field? I’m pretty pumped for HR to use that gun by the end of that season.

Dylan: But does him having that gun mean that the future is changed or nah? I know the stuff on the see-though whiteboard is referencing future episodes -- the (ech) musical crossover with Supergirl and Music Meister...

Ziah: Oh, I can’t wait for that episode, Dylan. All television shows should have a musical episode. It’s an auditory medium produced serially that usually requires shake-ups to surprise a dependable audience! It makes sense.

Dylan: You are a monster. And not the good kind like Grover or Telly.

But anyway, we also got teased with the return of Grodd, maaaybe Evil Killer Frost --- so I doubt we’ve successfully fought the future, right? Any time Barry seems content, it usually signals that bad stuff is about to go down.

Ziah: Well, the future was changed slightly by Barry seeing a Wild Half-Shaved Thrells on a building (or he was just inattentive the first time he was there), so I imagine they’ll try and change enough things that there’s a swerve to save Iris in the finale. Which actually is May 23, right? That’s a fun nod.

Dylan: What else do we need to discuss: Barry’s new pet? Or that it’s kind of super-rude to give a living animal as a housewarming gift?

Ziah: He very clearly explained that that was a tradition on his earth, Dylan. Don’t be rude to a dude just trying to adjust to a new culture.

Dylan: Sorry I’m being biased against people from Earth-Douchebag, Mister Woke Police.

Ziah: Oh, can you explain Cisco and Thrells doing that “patience” bit? I didn’t get what that was referencing.

Dylan: I don’t know. Probably some nerd thing. Is it like a Gandalf quote or some such BS? (I was gonna leave this joke here and pretend I was above liking Tolkien, but the dude was pretty rad, so I can’t even front.)

Ziah: Tolkien truly was the Lord of the Flies. That’s what he wrote, right?

Dylan: Monster. Anyway, so next week! That lady we saw in the sting is here and she’s gonna kill Thrells, and the only thing that can stop her is… Cisco? What sort of hijinks will he get himself into this time? Only one way to find out, and that is to watch the episode! (Or wait until the day after and read our recap.)

Ziah: Either way, see you next week, Flashers!