This was a somewhat disjointed episode of The Flash, with Barry’s efforts to take down a metahuman Bonnie & Clyde mostly window dressing for some welcome interactions between Barry and Caitlin and Barry and his dad. A big heaping dose of comic book is coming our way around the corner with Firestorm next week and now Gorilla Grodd at some point further down the road. So, in lieu of traditionally reviewing “Crazy For You” I instead looked at 8 main questions I had:
1. Where Do You Stand On Barry and Caitlin Now?
“Crazy For You” was an obvious treat for Barry-Caitlin ‘shippers (or SnowBarry, as it’s being called). We got to see Barry’s reaction to Caitlin not dressing “like a high school principal” for a change, squeal in delight at hearing Barry sing a bit of “Summer Lovin” and maybe cover our ears a little upon hearing drunk Caitlin’s part of the song, giggle at drunk Caitlin asking Barry if he took a peek at her “goods” while helping her change, and let out a long, “Awwwww” when Caitlin told Barry it was time for her to move on from Ronnie and find “someone else to feel crazy about.” This was the moment Barry and Caitlin first realized they could someday become more than friends, although based on the evidence on hand that’s probably a thought Caitlin allowed herself to linger on longer than Barry did.
However, it was also an example of the way this show sometimes allows its characters to actually have lives outside of their respective labs. Granted, this wasn’t quite as innocent as that time Caitlin and Cisco went out for ice cream together. There was a fair bit of seed planting here for an eventual Caitlin-Barry pairing, although probably not for quite a while considering that he’s with Linda now and Ronnie Raymond is on his way back next week. Even so, it was also pure fun seeing Caitlin and Barry hanging out together as friends outside of a work context and without Cisco around as a buffer, commiserating over their shared misery over lost loves. My favorite moment was probably when Caitlin referenced Barry’s speed once he got on the karaoke stage and then immediately shushed herself in a “Speed – get it? Because you’re The Flash. Don’t worry. They have no idea!” kind of way. And of course Barry would be the total nice guy, holding Caitlin’s hair while she threw up and helping her change out of her evil black dress into pajamas without sneaking a peek.
I’m torn, though. It is downright weird the way Flash seems to be following the same general trajectory of Arrow as far as central romances go, with Iris equaling Laurel and Caitlin equaling Felicity, although Iris is far more likable than Laurel and unlike Felicity Caitlin is sort of, kind of already spoken for. The general pattern of comic book canon couple vs. non-canonical pairing is repeating itself. At this point, the Barry-Caitlin side of that equation has only just now reached the “Huh, there might be something there” stage of things, and we shouldn’t make too much out of what happened between them in “Crazy For You.” Caitlin is not even part of any real triangle here. The new triangle is actually Barry-Linda-Iris (I know, I know – it’s not technically a triangle since Iris is with Eddie). However, the way the Oliver-Felicity romance has overtaken everything else on Arrow is my scary Ghost of Christmas Future for Barry-Caitlin.
2. Is It Alarming That Now Both Iris West AND Linda Park (Malese Jow) Are Already Reporters On This Show?I initially found it jarring that both Iris and Linda Park are already reporters on Flash halfway through its first season, but it’s easier to accept Linda as is since this is the first time we’ve met here whereas I am still struggling to accept Iris as an aspiring Lois Lane. Iris suddenly working at the Central City newspaper feels a bit like the first season of Arrow when all of a sudden Thea was working for Laurel’s law firm: It’s a manufactured way of putting a character into a new setting to give them new, more organic storylines. On Arrow, it felt natural. It’s not like Thea had never indicated a desire to essentially intern at a law firm, but then suddenly once she was there she spoke of it as if it was her life’s ambition and she hated how broken the legal system is or something. She was only there because it was preferably to going to prison.
Flash, on the other hand, is forcing the issue. Iris has gone from the girl who couldn’t have cared less about completing an interview to fulfill a journalism requirement for college to the girl who writes a blog about The Flash to prove to her best friend (i.e., Barry) that the impossible is truly possible in this world to the girl who now wants to be a serious journalist and hates being pigeonholed as The Flash girl. They’re missing a step there. The Flash has gone all Gotham on us in not having the patience to bother with giving us insight into how Iris caught the journalism bug. Yes, amateur blogging can be a gateway to ambitions of professional journalism, but they didn’t even really try to make that kind of connection with Iris.
As for Linda, the version we just met is a sports reporter for the paper, not yet the on-air reporter she becomes in the comics. I have an alarming amount of holdover affection for Malese Jow from her time as Anna on Vampire Diaries. So, I am admittedly more prone to like pretty much anything they do with her character. For example, walking straight up to Barry in the bar to hit on him was such an Anna thing to do.
3. Would Cisco Really Be That Stupid?
Cisco was Hannibal Lector’ed by Hartley, and now Pied Piper is likely off to join the Rogues. It was all keyed off of Cisco’s immense guilt for having been the one to seal Ronnie in back during the particle accelerator accident. In fact, if you go back to the earlier episode which showed Ronnie’s “death” Cisco clearly just stopped short of telling Caitlin the truth. It was nice to see them revisit that, especially since beyond delivering comic relief Cisco is not always given much to do. They granted him some new shadings in that he’s apparently not a complete lost cause during physical combat, and when pushed he will go 100% Jack Bauer on someone with torture. The question, though, is whether or not it’s actually believable that Cisco would be duped by Hartley like that. It ultimately gets a pass because Cisco clearly did anticipate Hartley’s treachery; he simply wasn’t able to defeat it two times instead of just once.
4. Did Caitlin Forgive Cisco Just a Wee Bit Too Easily?
Actually, I have no problem with Caitlin forgiving Cisco, sympathetic to all the self-imposed blame he’d been carrying around. My issue was that she told him what happened that night with the particle accelerator was no one’s fault one week after Dr. Wells told the group that it was actually kind of his fault because he’d been warned beforehand that something bad was probably going to happen if they turned it on. The camera cut to Dr. Wells after she said that, but I don’t actually think they were trying to make that connection. I think they just wanted to show us Dr. Wells looking proud of Caitlin for being such a good friend.
5. How Concerned Should We Be That Their Villains Are Usually Pretty Bland?
This was their metahuman Bonnie & Clyde, and in case we didn’t get that they flat out compare them to Bonnie & Clyde in the episode. However, Peek-a-Boo (Britne Oldford) and her boyfriend ultimately felt like they’d received just the bare essentials of a back story, and while Oldford had a good line or two she was ultimately another bland villain, remembered more for her Nightcrawler (from X-Men) power than anything else (although her hair was kind of awesome). It felt like she was meant to be sympathetic, clearly unnerved by the gunfire at the shootout, and slightly pathetic, hopelessly devoted to her man even though he abandoned her. However, her staying put in that car instead of also making a run for it felt like they’d simply run out of time in the episode so Barry had to capture her. This comes after Pied Piper turned out to be a slightly more interesting villain, but that’s not really the norm for this show. Some of the villains are cool special effects, others are carried along by at least interesting line readings (See: Captain Cold), but very few of them are actually that compelling. Firestorm will probably be another change-of-pace adversary next week. For now, their interesting villains are the ones with some personal connection to members of Team Flash.
6. Will We Ever Get Tired of Barry’s Heart-to-Hearts With His Dad?We have seen a lot of John Wesley Shipp’s pearly whites this season, as his Henry Allen seems to coast through this show while utilizing no more than two or three facial expressions. That’s because the material he is given is usually in the same key, so to speak, and getting a sense of the frustration and helplessness he feels behind those bars was a nice new wrinkle. The final scene of him indirectly telling Barry he’s proud of everything he does as The Flash was heartwarming, but will we reach a point where we need to see something more from Papa Allen other than his anguished heart-to-hearts with Barry? That question will probably work itself out once he gets out of prison (assuming he does).
7. Is Gorilla Grodd a Crazy Too Far For You?Let me tell you about when I decided to sop watching Smallville. I had made it through some truly insane plot twists, character turns, and an alarmingly long line of costumed heroes taking on their superhero identities while Clark Kent was stuck with being Superman in every way but name and costume. Then in the final two seasons Hawkman came around, telling Lois all about how he was actually a reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian prince forever seeking the reincarnation of his ancient lover, Shayera, aka, Hawkgril. At that point, I had never read a comic book nor had I watched the animated shows Justice League/Justice League Unlimited, which featured Hawkgirl as a central character. I didn’t know anything about Hawkman and Hawkgirl. I just knew that a reincarnated Egyptian prince wearing a remarkably silly looking chest plate and wings apparatus was the final straw. The show had just become too crazy for my tastes.
I think a lot of people have that same kind of built-in bullshit meter for film and TV, where they know how far they’re willing to go with something until it just seems too silly. For example, I know a once devout Grey’s Anatomy fan who dropped it like a bad habit around the time one of the doctor’s started talking to a ghost. My best friend was pretty much on board with Captain America: The Winter Soldier until a literal talking head with a thick German accent showed up to drop a crap-ton of exposition. A lot of it has to do with the tone and type of reality the show or film has established. For example, I never could get on board with the real-ish Arrow suddenly having glorified super soldiers running around. Flash has such a light, thoroughly comic book-y tone that I don’t judge it nearly as harshly. However, Gorilla Grodd, whenever he might truly arrive, is the point at which I imagine going from watching this show with friends (not all of whom love comic books) with no reservations to them turning to me and asking, “There’s a talking gorilla on this show now? Seriously?” The new Planet of the Apes movies have pulled it off, and I know that the hyper-intelligent Gorilla Grodd is one of Flash’s most iconic enemies. I should probably have more of an open mind to see what they do with it.
8. Is Firestorm a Crazy Too Far For You?
Firestorm is a fancy scientist’s mind trapped inside Ronnie Raymond’s body. They explained that in this episode about as best they could, and Robbie Amell and Victor Garber are both fine choices to pull this off. However, see everything I just said about Gorilla Grodd and apply it to Firestorm: It this a crazy too far you?
THE BOTTOM LINE
This is one of those episodes whose plot will be quickly forgotten, but individual moments will light up Tumblr, like Barry and Caitlin singing “Summer Lovin,” Linda Park making a bold play for a date with Barry, and Henry Allen getting to see Barry without glass and bars between them. Some of the places the show is going worry me, and eventually “It’s just such a fun, lighthearted show” won’t be good enough to excuse certain defects. However, it’s hard to be down on an episode which finally found an excuse for Grant Gustin to sing.
1. Malese Jow has some singing experience of her own. Surely, they’ll get her and Gustin back to that karaoke bar, right?
2. So, there are two Linda Parks now? Probably not, but as you may or may not remember Linda Park, played by a different actress, previously appeared in a small cameo and in an earlier episode of Arrow.
3. I get that Cisco had that torture device and everything, but why would he turn his back on Hartley? That’s how they were positioned at the crime lab, Cisco at the computer, Hartley standing behind him and pointing to the screen. Of course Hartley was going to take advantage of that eventually.
4. Beyond inadvertently letting him back into the world, Cisco also let Hartley jog mental laps around him as he was just not getting the whole Firestorm concept. How exactly Hartley knew all of it is less clear.
5. Take out the lights, Peek-a-Boo is neutralized. I get that, but doing that in a tunnel is one thing. How did she stay neutralized during the trip to STAR Labs? Did they blindfold her or something?
TV.com – “The entire episode could’ve just been that night at the bar, and I think it probably would’ve been the most enjoyable bit of television I’ve watched all week”
Hushcomics.com – “Hush Comics gives ” Crazy for You” a B+ for more references to the future of Cisco, amping up screen time for Caitlin, and teasing more of Gorilla Grodd.”