‘The Flash’ Post-Show Analysis Season 2 Episode 16: ‘Trajectory’
Welcome back to Up To Speed, in which Flash TV show veteran Dylan Todd and newbie Ziah Grace break down the latest episode of The Flash, dispense some Flash Facts, and talk about what works, what doesn’t, and where the series might be headed.
This week, the gang hits a nightclub, drugs are bad, and there's a new speedster in town who's up to no good. "Trajectory" was directed by Glen Winter and written by Lauren Certo and Lilah Vandenburgh.
Ziah: Well, Dylan, after a long month sitting in hibernation alone with my thoughts, we’re finally back with another Up To Speed, and boy, do we have some things to catch up on this week. Get it? Catch up on? Because of the running?
Anyway, a veritable marathon of speedsters (is that what we can call a group of speedsters?) this week as Flash battles an evil speedster --- Trajectory --- uncovers clues about Zoom, and ground is laid for both Jesse and Wally to get their metahuman powers. Overall, what’d you think about this episode?
Dylan: I liked it! I thought it was a really great way to jump back into the season-long Zoom plot while also giving us a fairly interesting one-off villain in the She-Speedster (Sheedster?), Trajectory. Also, we got to see Cisco dance, so it’s a win-win in my book. Where should we start with this episode, Ziah?
Ziah: Let’s start with the reminder that we’re watching a CW show with an extraneous dance scene in a club. This was honestly my favorite part of the episode. Jokes were exchanged, shots were taken (both fashion and alcohol), and Cisco danced, like you mentioned above. This was honestly a fantastic bit of “hey, these characters are in their mid-20s and bored” and some good character development for the various pairings of the episode. One of those pairings being Jesse and Twells. Dylan, what’d you think of Jesse’s desire to have fun, even though her daddy dear was still number one?
Dylan: I didn’t mind that we finally got a substantial look at Jesse, although a lot of her portion of the episode felt like moving her into place for later on in the season, what with her getting dosed with Velocity-9 and getting a blood transfusion. That’s Heroic Origin Story 101, right there. I did feel like her story went by a little too Quick, if you get my drift. Like, we just got to know her and all of the sudden, she’s on a bus to Opal City to find her fame and/or fortune on Earth-1. She’s one bindle away from a full on hobo by the end there. I’m legitimately worried about her making her way in this earth. How’d you like the Jesse stuff, Ziah?
Ziah: I actually really liked it, since so much of this season has been Twells making it clear just how close to villainy he’ll get for his daughter, so it was nice for them to have some banter and give her a chance to take agency in that whole thing. I especially liked their bit where Twells said “maybe I’ll build an impenetrable daughter-proof box”, and her response was, “you know I’d get out of it”. I still don’t actually see the text supporting how smart all the characters think she is, but that was a nice bit of dialogue at least.
You’re completely right that she’s kind of screwed on Earth-1 though. My very first thought was: “Dude, even the blood types are different, and you think Beyonce’s a senator (they live in a world where election season’s probably a lot more fun), how are you gonna even get a dishwashing job in Opal City?”
But this gives us a nice segue. Seeds were sowed like a farmer in winter this episode, with her and Wally having a flirtation and her metahuman-watch going off near him. Dylan, is Wally already a metahuman? More importantly, can he groove? We didn’t see anyone dance but Cisco --- not that we needed anyone else dancing.
Dylan: Umactually, Caitlin was doing the White Lady Two-Step, but Wally being a meta definitely seems to be the direction they’re headed, doesn’t it? I did like Barry trying to explain to Jesse how he was related to Wally. You gotta wonder if he’s looked into some sort of sheet that he can photocopy and hand out when he meets new people.
Ziah: To be honest, I don’t understand how it’s difficult to say, “Oh, he’s my adopted brother”, but I guess that would make it weird since his very next scene is to hit on Iris. Oh well. Speaking of romantic misconduct, how about Iris’ date with her two-fisted editor?
Dylan: Yeah, I thought we’d retired “Barry & Iris Are A Thing,“ but I mean, if it’s happened on Earth-2 and in the future, it’s meant to be? But Iris’ editor adds a wrinkle to that, because dude likes Iris as much as he hates The Flash.
Ziah: Considering the state of the Spider-Man franchise right now, I’m pretty okay with an angry-yet-talented newspaperman using his undeniable talent and bizarre vendetta against a superhero vigilante.
Dylan: As much as I like the idea of the complication that his addition to the Triangle of Love brings, I thought his motivation was a little flimsy. “One time I lived in a city where the mayor was bad.” Like, I would make a joke about how this gives everybody who ever lived in Toronto an excuse to hate on superheroes, but RIP Rob Ford. Am I right or am I right?
Ziah: He’s (allegedly) covering up crimes in the afterlife, Dylan. But on to the episode, that’s a fairly understandable characterization, distrust in publicly beloved heroes. On the other hand, dude should maybe wait a couple of weeks before just going out on a date with one of his reporters. If that’s not illegal, it’s definitely unethical.
Dylan: He’s going to need to fill out forms with HR at the very least. It’s a whole thing. Shall we talk about Trajectory, the poorly-named Speedster that Barry faced off against this week?
Ziah: Sure! I liked her costume. That was a good look for her. Beyond that, she was mostly in subservience to the rest of the characters’ plots, huh? Caitlin got to be betrayed twice, Joe got to be called cute, Barry got to be reminded why he chooses to play by the rules, Zoom’s identity was (probably) revealed, and everyone was reminded why Cisco chooses the names around here. Oh, and I dug that her disintegration was A) not the heroes’ fault and B) a sly reference to Crisis on Infinite Earths What’d you think of Trajectory, Dylan?
Dylan: I thought she was a really good one-off villain! I kind of wish we were gonna see more of her eventually, but she got straight up de-rezzed like she was in Tron at the end there. They even had music that sounded like Daft Punk’s Tron Legacy soundtrack!
But yeah, Caitlin’s former work bud went all Willem Dafoe in the first Raimi Spider-Man movie once she got a hold of that nasty street drug, Velocity-9. She looked cool, had a good character hook with the V-9 splitting her personality (maybe showing what happened to Jay?), and most importantly, helped Barry overcome his inability to jump long chasms as well as helped twig the Flashers to the fact that Jay Garrick is… (dun dun dun!) Zoom! Somehow! We’re really not sure how just yet but it has something to do with drugs and probably heavy water!
Ziah: Wait wait, we need to talk about how Twells told Barry to be more like Jay, and somehow Barry inferred that that meant not taking drugs. Barry, the only thing Jay liked more than taking drugs was making bad jokes about the differences between earths and throwing shade at Twells. See, Earth-1 speedsters run like this, but Earth-2 speedsters run like this, you know? Just some food for thought.
Dylan: Oh Ziah, how I missed these chats. Were you surprised as I was at how quickly they solved that mystery? I thought for sure they were gonna milk that for another two episodes.
Ziah: I sure was! Which makes me think they’re setting up another twist, but we can’t let ourselves be bogged down in that again. The important thing is that Barry had his scream against an auspicious nature backdrop, so we’re good to go here on fighting the big bad.
Dylan: I may or may not have laughed and punched at the air and did the Electric Slide when Barry let loose his barbaric yawp into the ether. Such a hokey, comic booky thing to do, and somehow, it worked. Dammit, it worked.
Ziah: There’s definitely a certain point at which you gotta just lean into the skid when it comes to comic book adaptations, and The Flash definitely knows when to do it.
I will say, for an episode in which two of Caitlin’s closest people both betray her, it was disappointing for her not to get any real screen time to process that or anything. I almost feel like issuing a disclaimer to the viewing audience that if your identifying character isn’t Barry, Cisco, or Joe’s Business Beanie, you’re gonna be pretty ill-served by the plots and shots of the show.
Dylan: Yeah, when I saw this episode was written by two women, it gave me hope for Caitlin, but she’s doomed to be the least interesting member of Team Flash on Earth-1. When she’s not having boys die on her, that is.
Did you happen to see the preview for next week’s episode?
Ziah: I try not to watch those so I can be surprised! I know there’s a Supergirl crossover coming up, but that’s about it.
Dylan: Well, too bad, knucklehead! It’s about time travel! Pied Piper (last seen in season 1, episode 11, in case you want to watch that before next week) is coming back and Barry is being chased by a timestream Dementor.
Ziah: Do you think he’s gonna be stealing a pack of pickled peppers?
Dylan: Only one way to find out, and that’s by tuning next week. Same Flash time; same Flash channel.