5 Point Discussions – The Flash 3.05: “Girls Night Out”

by Sage Ashford

The men and women of Team Flash split up to enjoy bachelor/bachelorette dinners, but what happens when both of them go wrong and neither group can get in touch with the other?  Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it, it really helps!  And if you have any questions or comments, hit me up on Twitter @SageShinigami!

1. One of the benefits to this connected CW-verse is that characters can move seamlessly between shows and it’s logical. It’s reminiscent of the best parts of the DC Universe; the sense of community and camaraderie between the heroes and their loved ones always seems to be ever-present, even during some of the most serious moments in the comics. I mean, once you save the world together it’s pretty much a guarantee that you’ll be close friends together,  so it would really be more weird if Emily Rickards didn’t guest-star for Iris’ bachelorette party.

Still though, the whole “no security” thing is seeming more and more like a Chekhov’s Gun. This is their equivalent of the Batcave and it’s already out in the open, but you can excuse that. Hiding in plain sight has been a smart move for years. But to have zero security, zero offensive measures, where people can just stroll in? Feels like only a matter of time before a villain takes advantage of it and something needlessly stupid happens. Keyword there being “needless”, because holy crap how hard is it to get Cisco, Caitlin, AND Harry to create some measures so you can’t just walk into the Flash’s secret lair?

2. Despite the seriousness of the A plot, this episode came off like more of an unwind episode before things start to ramp up, what with Barry and Iris splitting up with the men and women of the cast to enjoy bachelor and bachelorette dinners. Despite Barry and Cisco’s attempt to stay home and keep things lowkey, a sudden appearance of Ralph at the West home leads to them all being dragged out to the most absurdly named strip club I’d ever heard of: The Golden Booty. There’s all the hallmarks of a proper bachelor party: Barry’s introduced to a special concoction from Cisco that leads to our hero getting incredibly wasted and drunkenly screaming to the entire club that he’s really the Flash, while Ralph’s propensity for shadiness leads to him getting caught stealing and dragging them all into a bar fight, before they get thrown in jail.  It’s Superhero Hangover, which has almost certainly already been pitched to an exec somewhere.

Meanwhile, the girls trying to have a bachelorette dinner at a fancy restaurant leads to Caitlin getting accosted by Norvok, the creep from the first episode who demands that Caitlin return to Amunet Black, a meta that’s slowly gained control over the underworld of Central City. More on that later, since it’s the real focus of the episode, but while some people can think any episode in these series that doesn’t move the plot is a waste, I’m here to argue that unwind episodes are actually the most crucial to the series.

They offer a look into what these characters are like when the world (or the city) isn’t at stake, and allow the audience to develop closer ties to the characters, where later on they’re more invested in what’s happening when the drama actually starts. Often, these are some of my favorite episodes of live-action drama series, and this one didn’t really let me down in the entertainment department. Still, if you’re concerned because technically we’ve had two of these in a row, let’s remember that the crossover is just three weeks away, and with that the mid-season break isn’t too far behind–everything from the rush to that point up to the break itself will do its best to pack as much action and drama into the series as possible, so hold out a bit of hope.

3. And we’ve finally brought the story of Killer Frost to a complete close, with an explanation of where Caitlin’s been and how the two characters feel interacting with one another. My one major problem with things as they unfolded this episode is that Frost…doesn’t really seem all that threatening. It’s been this way since after the first time Killer Frost came out during season three. She betrayed the team for Savitar, but couldn’t stick to that. We thought she left to be this new person that was neither Caitlin nor Frost, but then they backpedaled on that so we could get Caitlin back instead of forcing Team Flash to adapt to a new dynamic.

And even that was fine, but you figure at least that when Frost comes out, bad things happen. She brings the hurt to anyone who gets in her way…right? Nope, she’s just emo Caitlin. She faces off this episode against Katie Sackhoff’s Amunet Black character, a being who can control certain metals and mold them to her will. Caitlin owes Amunet for supplying her with technology to suppress Frost, but when Amunet comes calling for the debt, Caitlin owes Frost literally goes from “I’m going to kill her” to “I’m just going to run away” to trying to fight Amunet when she has no choice and getting beaten down with such ease you’d think she was Wally. They’ve given us legitimately no reason to fear Frost at all, and honestly at this point they might as well have Frost’s persona subsume entirely and just let Caitlin have ice powers. It’s what you’re doing anyway, this way you’ll save money on hair dye and lipstick.

4. I’ll admit I cringed at “#feminism” being used as a team rallying cry (I just don’t believe we should use “#” in daily conversation seriously), but still I appreciate the way they handled the women characters this episode. Though Iris and Felicity still kinda came off as the Scooby Doo gang when they attempted to stop the drug deal between Amunet and a group of yakuza only to get caught, most of the episode saw them as incredibly competent counterparts to the men, and they didn’t just need a dude to run in and save the day. Iris is still just as confident a leader as ever, Felicity works as tech support regardless of the team she’s on, and Caitlin served as the “muscle”.  (And Cecile was just..there, but I appreciate them for keeping the pregnant woman away from possible danger.  Let’s not fridge any kids, ok?)

There’s also a B plot to this, where Cecille (Joe’s girlfriend)’s daughter pops up, but opts out of her stepsister’s bachelorette party…only for Joe and the other guys to find her stripping. This one could’ve been handled a bit more strongly, as it starts out as making this strong point about how a woman’s sexual freedom shouldn’t be defined by society, but then breaks down into being a simple act of childhood defiance, but the backpedaling wasn’t too hard so I can’t get mad at them.

5. This episode featured not one, but two(!) new metas, in Katee Sackhoff’s Amunet Black, and The Weeper, a guy who’s tears can literally become a drug. CW’s definitely keeping it topical this fall.  There are callbacks to President Trump’s “Mexico sends us their rapists and murderers” pre-election comments in Supergirl, and now here there’s not only a Girl Power episode, but the background plot to that is a reference to America’s opioid epidemic. It’s managing to keep things relevant, but I also doubt things will look all that dated if you watch these episodes five to ten years from now.

It’s baffling how they they allowed the episode to play out, though. Despite defeating Amunet Black, they let her escape from the cops for seemingly NO reason (when they could’ve at least imprisoned her), and don’t even try to save The Weeper, who’d spent the past three weeks being tortured in order to produce the drug that makes him so valuable. In all honesty, I’m not even sure why he ran away–he didn’t seem to have any idea where he to go afterwards, just aimlessly escaping, despite them literally showing up just to save him, and he gets captured before the episode ends. It’s an unfortunate case of a character being handed the Idiot Ball, I guess.

The Flash airs on CW, on Tuesday nights.