Progressive/nerd/parent review (spoilers)
The Flash Season 2, Episode 17 “Flash Back”
Bechdel-Wallace Score: 1/3 – Down to only two regular female characters on the show and they did not interact with each other this week.
Shukla Score: 2.5/3 – The West family has a discussion that is, like, three sentences long and about Barry (right after Barry leaves in a hurry). Technically it passes the test, but I don’t do perfect scores on a technicality so 2.5.
Russo Score: 3/3 – Hartley Rathaway, aka the Pied Piper, was a significant part of the show this week. I don’t remember if he identifies himself as gay during the episode or not, but he sure did the first time we saw him, and this episode mostly takes place during that time, so I am counting it. I am also hoping timeline changes might mean more Hartley on the show going forward.
Kittehs: 😺😺😺😺/5 – My kid and I were both abnormally engaged with this episode. Me because I love the almost campy approach this show has to time travel and my kid because (1) two Flashes and (2) dementors! This week’s show did have some flaws, but over all I would say it was engaging and had a better than average story.
Low points: Well, yeah. So the timeline tracking was really sloppy. I’m all for fun, but Barry made some serious modifications to the timeline that should have played out in much bigger ways than just Hartley being chummy with Team Flash. Having had another super-genius collaborator would no doubt have had other impacts on the last year of life in Central City. Not to mention that surely learning he can time travel by meeting his future self would surely have changed season-1-Barry’s life a bit. But I digress. The CGI fight between two Flashes was also distractingly not good. I would rather a more terrestrial live-action fight than an up-the-walls brawl if it means bad CGI stuff. The only other problem was the hokey Eddie video that Barry made for Iris, then lied about how he got it. What is it with superheroes and lying a bunch? Cut it out, folks.
Highlights: Getting a break from the bad guy of the week formula was a highlight in and of itself. As a bonus the assortment of bad guys included a time wraith (cool!) and season 1’s best villains – Hartley and evil Thawne/Wells. I also love that time travel is just a thing Barry knows how to do now, like whenever. He can just put it on his errand list: Go to store to get eggs; go to bank to deposit check; swing by 2015 to get speed formula from time-traveling, body-snatching former mentor-turned-nemesis; walk the dog; meditate (time permitting).
Dad edits: It was all good. I suppose if your kid scares easily, that time wraith would be a bit freaky. My kid just wanted to know why the Flash was fighting a dementor and if Harry Potter would come help him the way the Flash helped Supergirl on Monday. Good stuff.
The Flash airs on Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW