‘The Flash’ Post-Show Analysis Season 3, Episode 5: ‘Monster’
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, a giant monster terrorizes the city, Caitlin sees a doctor about her “killer” cold, Barry tries to make a friend, and we all learn a valuable lesson about guest etiquette. "Monster" was directed by C. Kim Miles and written by Zack Stenz.
Dylan: Oh hey, so how literal is this episode, though? Caitlin’s mom sure is... cold, eh?
Ziah: Colder than the icy planet of Hoth.
Dylan: And what’s cooler than being cool, Ziah? (Spoilers: it’s “ice cold.”)
Ziah: So, Dylan, not too bad of an episode this week, huh? Granted, the show’s new tack seems to be only cordoning off character development for one pairing per week, but it’s not the worst way to spend the time. What’d you think of this week’s episode, “Notzilla?”
Dylan: You know I live for giant monsters. Yeah, I dug Noperfield, mostly because it’s a nice change of pace from the usual “Metahuman In Street Clothes” gimmick we get every week. Plus, it gave us a chance to get to know New Twells, who is still super annoying, right? (Though I did like that the version of Gladiator on Earth-Whatever was titled Sweaty Men.)
Ziah: New Wells living in a world apparently devoid of marketing teams was a joke that honestly didn’t get old for me the whole time. Hitchcock did a Titanic movie, but about a murder that happens as it sinks? Sign me up.
Ziah: So, before we get started on this episode proper, how good was Barry’s guest etiquette? He’s staying at Cisco’s place while he moves out of Papa Joe’s house, and he made him breakfast. I know we give a lot of crap to the ol’ hibernating Barr, but making your host breakfast and cleaning up is a good habit to have. Granted, he was annoyingly Flash-y about it, but still. Credit where it’s due.
Dylan: Barry Allen, the Consideratest Man Alive. But seriously, dude is a little much first thing in the morning. As much as I like a nice fried egg with bacon and toast, I’m with Cisco in this. Pump the brakes, bro. Let a dude open his eyes a little before you hit him with breakfast options.
Ziah: Fair, fair. It’s kinda like when we were all living in the ComicsAlliance apartment, and some writers just weren’t ready for that mandatory 8 AM French toast.
Dylan: Like I said then, I appreciated your gesture, but maybe wait until I put some pants on before you start shoving waffles at me.
Ziah: They had syrup smiles, Dylan!
Dylan: Yeah, so Barry’s trying to figure out what Julian’s deal is, we’re left wondering what New-Wells’ deal is, The Starriors are trying to figure out the deal with this giant monster, Caitlin’s trying to figure out what her meta-deal is, and her mom has all sorts of deals.
Ziah: In this universe, the art of the deal is apparently abandoning your kid to do Science™ and then forgetting her birthday, so this checks out.
Dylan: I loved the part where Caitlin was like, “Oh yeah, and my husband died like last year and also the year before that and was a being made of pure fire in-between,” and Mama Snow was like, “What’s that? Sorry, I wasn’t listening because I’m important, Caitlin.” Some real parenting goals there.
Ziah: Yeah, so was Caitlin’s relationship with her mom a plot point in season 1? Hopefully they hinted at it a little bit, because otherwise they just rushed through it.
Dylan: This is literally the first we’ve heard of Doctor Momma Snow. Probably not the last?
Ziah: Well, that’s a shame. I want to like Caitlin Snow, but Danielle Panabaker’s not the best actress, and she’s hamstrung by some real bad writing.
Dylan: They really just do not have any idea what to do with her, which is a shame. I’ve seen Panabaker in other stuff and she’s not terrible, but as we’ve seen, when she has something fun to do --- like her Earth-2 Killer Frost --- she excels, but all she does is vacillate between being mournful and being a person who says science stuff while perched behind a desk.
Ziah: Oh yeah, that’s true! She was great when she was vamping it up like an Asylum original movie villain, so maybe we’ll get back to that. But Science doesn’t just do itself. She has to do the science, and then she’s got to correct the use of science in modern sci-fi movies so everyone knows what science is.
Also, why was her lab assistant so mad at the Snow family that he was willing to lock Caitlin up? Just, like… science stuff?
Dylan: He was suffering from Science Madness. It’s a thing.
Ziah: Is it like Marble Madness?
Dylan: It’s like Marble Madness mixed with March Madness with a little bit of the ska band Madness thrown in for good measure.
Ziah: Back to a more interesting character. So, at first I thought New Wells was a dork, so Dork Wells, but then he might have been evil, so Dark Wells, but at the end he turns out to be Dimwitted Wells. So should we call him Dwells?
Dylan: Let’s not Dwells on what to call him just now. (Ba-dum-dum-ching!) But we do need to figure out a shorthand name for him. Maybe just HR? And speaking if HR, if you come into my bedroom with waffles again while I’m sleeping, I will call HR on you.
Ziah: To be fair, you were wearing pajama pants with waffles on them, so I thought the synergy was fitting.
Dylan: But seriously, I’m not entirely sure I get the reasoning behind this choice, of this HR being a bit of a goldbricker. It’s a weird call, right? How much mileage are they going to get out of this when what we all really want is Earth-2 Wells and Jesse, right?
Ziah: This whole thing was weird, but man, Tom Cavanagh could sell me my own wallet at this rate. He sold every single one of those dumb jokes, and HR being a dummy who’s worked with The Flash before, but as a Funky Flashman-esque character, is a pretty great swerve. Oh man, Dylan, do you think we’ll ever get Funky Flashman on The Flash?
Dylan: Only if he’s played by Stan “The Man” himself. Do you think he’d be open to do a cameo? Has he ever done something like that before?
Ziah: I think it would be a good chance to stretch his legs. He hasn’t done anything since Striperella, right?
Dylan: Just Imagine… Stan Lee Creating A Cartoon Where Pamela Anderson Is A Crime-Fighting Stripper.
Ziah: So, let’s talk about the main monster. This was a pretty fun design! I even liked how it disappeared when it went around corners as kind of a subtle (I hope) nod towards that weird trope of a giant monster sneaking up on people a la Cloverfield.
Dylan: I am fully in favor of more monsters on this show, even if this out turned out to be spoilers, a bullied kid who can somehow make very intricate and realistic hologram monsters.
Ziah: Haha, yeah they skipped over his backstory... In a flash.
Dylan: This show has a history of real flimsy villains with the vaguest of backstories, so whatever, I guess. But at least we got more Joe West being the best dad imaginable, which I feel like we haven’t seen in a long time.
Ziah: Joe West is the best, sans vest, keep that information close to your chest.
Dylan: Ziah, no. Please no.
Ziah: So, my favorite bit this episode was definitely Julian. I’ve been really enjoying how every intro basically ends with “but when I returned to my original timeline, things had changed” and we just see Tom Felton doing work. Barry’s basically forgotten every part of Flashpoint except this dude, who he hates so much.
And Julian’s got a point! Barry is kind of bad at his job. He just steals stuff and runs off. Honestly, it’s not even clear why he’s still working this job when he literally owns a laboratory, but secret identity yadda yadda.
Point being, I really liked their interplay this episode. And maybe I’ve just been watching too much Gilmore Girls this week, month, year, but his backstory as a rich kid who turned his back on his family to make his own way in the world struck a chord with me!
Dylan: Yeah, it was nice to see him open up a little and be vulnerable to Barry. I am very okay with their budding bromance. I’m on Team Barrian.
Ziah: Barry also needs a new person to lie about his secret identity this season, so Julian’s drawn the short straw I guess. Hey, at least he doesn’t have to date Barry! That’s a win for him.
Dylan: Just wait until I get my fan fiction written.
Ziah: I can’t wait for Faster Than The Speed Of Love by Dylan “Your Boy” Todd.
So, what’s next? I don’t watch the promos cause I like to read it from a fellow Flasher.
Dylan: Next episode, which is in two weeks; Wally’s getting powers! And also Doctor Alchemy shows up in his weird crow mask. It’s gonna be nuts, maybe!
Ziah: Already? Good for Wally! We’ll see you in two weeks!