Friday, 27 May 2016

The Flash 'Invincible' Review

This review WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS, if you do not want certain plot points or story spoilt, please do not read further.

Following the dramatic conclusion at the end of the last episode that Zoom had amassed himself an army of evil metahumans to conquer Central City, and the episode's initial battle as Zooms army lay waste to the city 'Invincible' look set to be a big action packed prelude to the season finale, but found itself shifting into a fairly standard episode of The Flash, albeit with a surprise guest star.

Having freshly emerged from the speed force full of power and confidence Barry breezes through Zooms army and takes them out in record time, managing to capture most of them before the first ten minutes of the episode is even over.  Whilst this might be a way of showing how much Barry has improved in both his powers and abilities since being in the speed force it does make Barry appear incredibly overpowered, or his army to woefully terrible.

I can't help but feel that straight away the episode proves to be something of a let-down as it builds this notion of Barry and the team having to face off against an entire army of villains, but instead shifts its focus to the standard formula of the team having to fight one villain who manages to overpower Barry, the team working out a plan to beat them and then locking them up inside the particle accelerator.  

Despite falling back on this old formula and failing to deliver on its big promise 'Invincible' does manage to deliver a fairly strong episode thanks to some great acting from Katie Cassidy as the villainous Earth-2 version of Laurel Lance, the Black Siren, and Danielle Panabaker as someone left traumatised from their time as Zoom's captive.

Having recently lost Laurel Lance over on Arrow it's nice for The Flash to be able to bring her back in this kind of way and create an episode that allows her to play a completely different version of her character.  Like the Earth-2 versions of Caitlin and Cisco Laurel's double is a pretty nasty piece of work and relishes causing havoc for Barry and the rest of the team.

One of the nice things done with Black Siren is that like the comic book version of Laurel she's a metahuman, one who can produce her sonic scream herself without needing to use technology.  It's a nice addition to the mythology of the overall universe that connects nicely to the source material, something that The Flash seems to be doing a lot more this season to great effect.

It was also interesting to get a little bit of a look into the behind the scenes of how Zoom's relationship with Black Siren differs from the other metahumans in his army.  Whilst the others see him in the mask and using his Tony Todd voice Earth-2 Laurel knows who he is, that he's been posing as Jay Garrick and pretending to be a hero.  Black Siren is definitely one of Zoom's lieutenants, just like Vibe, Killer Frost and Deathstorm, so it makes me question whether the others knew he Zoom really was too, or if Laurel was a special case.

If she'd been introduced earlier in the season it could have been an interesting dynamic and relationship to have explored and something that could have revealed some more of Zoom's past and his personality.  Sadly this potentially very interesting element is being introduced one episode before the season finale and as such kind of feels wasted.

The episode chiefly uses Laurel as a way of knocking Barry down a few pegs after he returns from the speed force with too much confidence and a sense of being unbeatable.  I understand that having a force of nature literally tell you that you are destined for greatness and that it's giving you massive power will probably give you a boost in confidence it seemed more like a boost in ego.  Maybe it's just the way that Grant Gustin played these scenes, but Barry came across as more like a dick than anything else.  Thankfully this doesn't last for long as Barry learns that he needs the help of his friends to get him through and help him to not only beat Laurel but the rest of Zoom's army too.

The other stand out performance goes to Panabaker's Caitlin Snow, who plays a very different Caitlin to the one we've seen so far.  Even when she lost Ronnie and when she found out Jay was Zoom she wasn't as hurt and broken as she is in this episode.  Despite not being given a massive amount of screen time she really sells the idea that being around Zoom for so long wasn't like the other times villains have taken her prisoner, that somehow he's affected her on a much deeper level.

'Invincible' is a good episode, and has some great performances in it, but it could have been a lot better if it had focused more on Zoom's army instead of an individual villain, and if they had introduced Black Siren earlier in the season.  As it is it's a competent and well-made episode, but one that feels slightly out of place so close to the finale.


No comments:

Post a Comment