Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 1, Episode 5 - Plastique

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


After a bomb explosion rocks downtown Central City, The CCPD is astonished when The US Army -led by General Wade Eiling - moves in to take over the investigation.  It turns out the explosions aren't the work of a mad bomber or terrorist.  They're the work of a metahuman with the power to make anything she touches explode!

As the STAR Labs team try to track down this mysterious woman, Barry must deal with a problem closer to home.  Iris is growing bolder in her investigation of "The Streak" and Joe and Barry's talks about letting it go have only inspired her to put her name on her blog.  Can Barry protect his secret and keep his promise to keep Iris out of his secret life?


The Captain Atom and Flash comics of Cary Bates.


Given that they already knew Barry was immune to the effects of sedatives when they had to perform emergency surgery on him two weeks ago, why are Caitlin and Cisco so surprised that he's also immune to the effects of alcohol?


Clancy Brown brings the perfect sense of authority and menace to General Eiling.

Candice Patton turns in her best performance in the series so far, explaining to The Flash why she can't stop writing about him and how it all goes back to her wanting Barry to be taken seriously regarding everything he's been claiming about his mother's death since he was a kid.


The sequence in which Barry runs up a wall to save a window-washer about to fall off a building is well-shot and the effects are well-handled.

Flash Facts

Plastique is based on a comic book villainess of the same name, who also had the secret identity of Bette Sans Souci. A terrorist working to secure Quebecois independence, she first appeared in Fury of Firestorm #7. Originally an expert bomber, she later received genetic manipulation therapy that gave her the power to project explosive force from her body.  She was a frequent member of The Suicide Squad and was briefly married to the hero Captain Atom.

General Wade Eiling is based on a comic book villain of the same name, who was the commanding officer and enemy of Captain Atom.  It was Eiling who convinced Captain Nathaniel Adam to volunteer for the experiment that transformed him into Captain Atom and caused the Captain to jump forward in time 18 years. During that time, Eiling married Adam's widow and became the adopted father of his two children. General Eiling later became a greater threat during Grant Morrison's run on JLA, after the General had his personality implanted into the inert body of the monstrous Shaggy Man.

Clancy Brown, who plays General Eiling, was also the voice of Lex Luthor in all of the DC Animated Universe television series including Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited.

Caitlin's doctorate is in genetics and she carries a blood collection kit in her purse.

As in the comics, Barry is immune to the effects of alcohol for the same reasons anesthetics don't work on him. His hyperactive metabolism burns the alcohol up before he can feel a buzz.  Even the 500 proof distillation Caitlin creates for him at the end of the episode only causes Barry to feel a buzz for a few seconds.

There is a neat visual pun as Barry sorts through the filing cabinets - speed reading.

Joe describes Plastique as a human bomb.  The Human Bomb was also the name of a superhero with similar powers to Plastique, who was a member of the WWII era superhero team The Freedom Fighters.

As in the comics, Bette Sans Souci is an explosives expert.  Here, she is an EOD specialist in the US Army.

Bette wears a purple shirt throughout the episode.  Plastique's costume in the comics was purple.

Barry is able to track Bette down after learning that she listed Cameron Scott as an emergency contact.  Cameron Scott was the alias used by Captain Atom Adam following his leap into the future, so that The Army could continue to keep the "death" of Nathaniel Adam and the project that created Captain Atom a secret.

Here, Dr. Harold Hadley was a doctor who performed the surgeries on Bette that she thought gave her superpowers.  In the original comics. Dr. Harold Hadley was one of the corrupt government scientists involved in the project that created Captain Atom.

Another visual gag here - The Flash outruns a flash-bang grenade.

One of the objects that Cisco brings to test Plastique's powers on is a boomerang.  Explosive boomerangs are a favorite weapon of long-time Flash baddie Captain Boomerang.

Running on water and running up walls are two classic tricks that The Flash routinely performs in the comics.


Barry notes that most bombers have a signature of sorts, using the same rough blueprint and materials in their explosives and a forensic scientist can use various bits of information to determine that blueprint.  Plastique's explosives are unique in that they do not requiring an oxidizing agent.

Wells describes Bette's power as spontaneous combustion upon tactile contact.

Caitlin notes that Bette's nitrogen levels are off the charts.  Nitrogen is the primarily element in many explosives, including nitroglycerin.

The explosions that Bette generates create 427 kPas of force - the same as plastic explosives.

The speed needed to run across water is 650 MPH.  This is a little less than Barry had to run to reverse a tornado (over 700 MPH)

Dialogue Triumphs

What do you mean it's gone?! What did you do with my suit?!
Barry: It blew up, dude. I managed to get out of it before it went kaboom.
Cisco: My suit went kaboom?!
Barry: Fun fact about Bette San Scouci. She's not carrying bombs. She touched the emblem on the suit and turned it into a bomb. She's a metahuman.

Joe: So. A human bomb.  Must be Tuesday in Central City.

Flash: There's more to this than you can understand. Just trust me, please. I need you to stop.
Iris: Can you stop? Running into buildings and rescuing people without them even knowing why you're there?
Flash: I don't do this for the glory.
Iris: So why do you? Look. I had this friend and he had something terrible happen to him when he was a kid. His whole life, he's been telling stories about this impossible thing and people laughed at him and shrinks analyzed him and he's been searching for an answer ever since. But now, suddenly, it's like he's lost his faith. But you! You are proof that he wasn't crazy. Help me save my friend.
Flash: He's a lucky guy.

Bette: (to General Eiling) All I've ever wanted was to make the world a better place and it will be, when you're not in it.!

Caitlin:  (To Barry) You can walk on water. Puts you in pretty interesting company.


As in F103, Barry blurs his face so he won't be recognized.  He later reveals to Joe that he can vibrate his vocal cords to render his voice unrecognizable.

Cisco and Caitlin have taken to calling their make-shift metahuman prison The Pipeline.

Harrison Wells says that he worked with General Eiling ten years earlier.  Eiling was interested in developing gene therapies that could be used to create super soldiers and he was particularly interested in developing soldiers who could read minds for interrogation purposes.

It is Wells who pushes Bette into attacking Eiling.  She tries to tell Barry this before she dies, but manages only to say the name Wells.

For the first time, we see Barry run up the side of a building and across water.

After five years, Wells terminated his working relationship with Eiling after discovering that Eiling was responsible for numerous cruel acts, including abusing one test animal - a gorilla named Grodd.

The Bottom Line

A solid episode that does a lot to develop Iris as a character beyond the standard CW Soap Opera love interest. It's a shame that Plastique was killed off so early - especially with other elements of The Suicide Squad being developed for this show and Arrow.  Then again, we thought Deadshot was dead after his first appearance, too.  Either way, we still have Clancy Brown cutting a fine figure as General Eiling and Harrison Wells being made into a more disturbing figure even before the revelation that he saw a different future for a certain test animal...

No comments:

Post a Comment