These are the 5 things that elbowed us in the septum (and sometimes in a good way) as we watched The Flash Season 3 Episode 5: “Monster.” And, our observations are a little “spoilery,” so… if you’re catching this later, I would bookmark this article and join us tomorrow morning. Still with us? Good, we’re always glad to have ya’.
A Different Kind of Villain
At first, anyone watching this week’s episode of The Flash would be all like, “Why is Flash fighting a haphazardly animated version of the Cloverfield monster?” And the beastie did indeed look a bit silly — a bit childish. And then the episode drops the bomb that the energy-sucking kaiju is actually the creation of a bullied kid bent on lashing back at the world that hurt him. Because only the imagination of a child could design a monster so derivative.
This is so unexpected and unique, that it makes a seemingly silly episode one of the more powerful episodes of The Flash yet. It also allows for a beautiful moment between Joe West and the tormented kid as West proves why he is the heart and soul of this series. Really, this is a beautifully told episode with a threat that is so mundanely effective that the series deserves props for daring to even try and pull off such a threat.
“Monster” also allows the writers and creatives behind The Flash to really give viewers an insight into Julian Dorn. Of course, genre fans are conditioned to dislike any character played by the Harry Potter alum Tom Felton because, after all, Felton played Draco Malfoy for all those years. And indeed Dorn has been an antagonist for Barry Allen since the character debuted in the season three premiere. But this week, we see Dorn’s vulnerability, his deep desire to make the world a better place, and his bitterness with metahumans who squander their opportunities to improve the world.
Dorn almost kills the broken young man who created the monster hologram, and is very grateful to the Flash for keeping him from making a life-altering mistake. Dorn is not just a bully for the sake of being a bully, he is a deeply nuanced character that can only exist in a world of super-powers, and this episode allowed Dorn to be explored in an incredibly effective way.
This week, as Caitlin Snow continues to struggle with her new cold powers, we meet her estranged mother. Carla Tanhauser is a cold but brilliant woman. When Snow turns to Tanhauser to help with her out of control cold powers, their familial relationship is explored as old wounds are opened. How come I have a feeling that the cold-hearted Tanhauser will do something awful to Caitlin, bringing out Caitlin’s Killer Frost persona?
This week, Tanhauser’s lab assistant tries to use Caitlin’s abilities for his own nefarious purposes. Tanhauser makes the save, but I get the feeling that this is all a ruse to get Snow to trust her estranged mom. It will be pretty ironic if another mom plays a pivotal role in the creation of a super-being, this time a villain, in the world of The Flash.
All’s Wells That Ends Wells
Holy Gardner Fox, is H.R. Wells super-entertaining. He’s so different than either Wells (Wellses?) that we’ve met so far, and Tom Cavanagh looks like he’s having a blast bringing old H.R. to life. Turns out this Wells isn’t so much of a scientist as an idea man and an author, so Team Flash is stuck with a Wells that won’t be able to science his way out of trouble.
Oh, did you catch his reference to the battle of the metas on his Earth? He refers to the event as World War M. Is Wells’ constant string of banter and humor a slight dig at Marvel’s tone and style? Is this Wells’ Earth the Multiverse’s version of the Marvel Universe? It could be, as H.R.’s way of speaking does kind of mirror Tony Stark’s. I have another theory. Since H.R. is somewhat of an admitted fraud, could he be Booster Gold? Stuff to think about.
Elementary My Dear Barry
No Mister Element this week, but so far our candidates are Dorn and now possibly H.R. Wells, because Wells certainly has a few unrevealed secrets. There’s also the constant possibility of Eddie Thawne or even Len Snart. Do you guys have any guesses?