The Flash (08×09)- “Phantoms”
Written by: Jeff Hersh
Directed by: Stefan Pleszczynski
At Barry and Iris’ loft, Deon is making sure Iris is okay and while he gives her a clean bill of health Iris is concerned enough about her losing time Deon takes a second look and sees something that could be a problem or it could be nothing so he decides to consult with the other Forces. Later at the Citizen, Sue (and her weird head-tilts and wide-eyed looks) is visiting Iris and Allegra before she heads off to Coast City to chase down a potential Meta that can phase through walls.
It she hangs out with a big Russian dude that turns metal this could be trouble:
So Iris volunteers to go with her. In a totally not suspicious way.
Over at STAR Labs, the rest of the Team is looking into the murders that almost put Jaco away. Chester comes in with a new piece of Chester-tech he hopes will alert him to our new villain. He’s also noticeably freaked out by the photos of the bodies. Later, our fire starter attacks someone and while Barry is too late to save the victim when he and Chester investigate the scene they find our villain has left behind a bit of his black flame. (I felt like this was probably a song title for some Scandinavian metal band but upon inspection it’s the name of an *Italian* Heavy Metal Band) Chester has piece of tech that should be able to contain it at the lab so Barry runs back to get it while Chester is left to look at the terrifying corpse for a moment.
In Coast City, Iris and Sue are looking for their potential Meta but while Iris is all business to a suspicious degree, Sue is pretty sure something’s going on to make Iris drop everything and head off on a potential wild goose chase.
However, this is the Flash so we know two things. One: The characters very rarely get sent on wild goose chases. Two: Iris has some meta-detecting tech that will make sure she can avoid talking about whatever is bothering her at least for a little while.
The device leads them to the Coast City Jitters and they find our Meta is a young girl that is either a runaway or a really big fan of Tim Pool
(Didn’t see that reference coming, did ya!) writing in a journal. She tries to avoid their questions but the barista gives them her name. Tinya.
When they try to get her to open up to them, Tinya fries Iris’ phone and leaves.
Back at STAR Labs, Chester and Barry are looking at the black fire but their initial scans haven’t revealed much. Barry leaves Chester to keep working while he lets Kramer know what they’ve found which goes badly for Chester as the flame escapes containment and torches his office. This turns out to have been a nightmare as Chester has dozed off while working. Allegra, Cecile and Frost wake him up to calm him down but when they ask they what’s wrong he nails out.
The girls stay behind to talk about what happened (which I thought lead to a major plothole when Allegra didn’t know about the incident where young Chester burned his friend’s house down only to realize that never happened after Barry reset the Timeline) and Allegra volunteers to talk to Chester. Probably because this will also give her the chance to make some goo-goo eyes at Chester and vice versa.
Back with Iris and Sue and their trails has gone a little cold so while they re-download Chester’s Meta detection app Sue finally gets Iris to open up about what’s bothering her. Iris is understandably freaked out about whatever is happening to her. Sue tries to get her to relax and stop worrying before there’s even a problem and this gives Iris inspiration on how to find Tinya.
They catch up with Tinya in an abandoned apartment and reveal that Iris tracked her down using the missing person’s database and determined that she’s been trying to track down her birth mother. The woman abandoned her when she was born and she wanted to show her mother her powers in hopes of reconnecting with her. Iris and Sue offer to help her find the woman.
Allegra finds Chester in the lounge and tries to talk to him but Chester is still too spooked to talk so she has to settle for just being supportive. Of course this moment doesn’t last long at all as the flame really does break out of the containment and starts to expand all around them. Chester even explains that the fire suppression system can’t detect the flames since they’re not actually fire. So Allegra hits the panic button in her phone which brings Barry.
Unfortunately Barry can’t do anything either but the flames leave anyway. The real damage is psychological and it has messed Chester up bad. The rest of the Team is worried about their friend but they also have to work on the whole killer coming after them in the form of flames issue first.
Allegra goes after Chester again to reassure him. Chester finally reveals what’s been eating at him about the flames. He believes the Meta is his father returned from the dead and angry at Chester for some reason. Allegra doesn’t believe that Chester’s father would return to terrorize his son but Chester seems pretty convinced because the flames made him feel the pain his father must have been in when he died.
Allegra tries to get through to him but Chester is caught up in a pretty strong mixture of loss, childhood trauma and guilt that has him convinced that his father has returned to haunt him. That’s when the alarms go off, as the flames have returned full force. In fact, they’re burning STAR Labs to the ground. Barry tries to keep Chester on task but he’s barely holding on.
The flames coalesce in the room with Cecile, Allegra and Chester in the form of his father. He asks Chester to come with him so they can be together again however Cecile can see through the illusion. Whatever his “father” is he’s feeding on Chester’s grief, Allegra and Cecile finally convince Chester to remember the kind of person his father really was and how he’d see the man Chester’s become.
Much like your favorite Anime, the power of friendship finally gets through to him and it’s enough to get the flames to retreat. Later, Joe catches the team up on what he’d found out about the Meta. The Meta seems to feed on grief and as they talk about him they realize he doesn’t control the flames he is the flames. So that’s not good at all.
Allegra and Cecile catch up with Chester one more time to make sure he’s okay and Cecile leaves them to have one more goo-goo eyes moment for the episode.
Iris facetimes with Barry to catch him up one what she and Sue have found with Tinya. Barry tells her about what is happening with the flames and suggests she might want to stay in Coast City a while longer. After the pair hang up Deon arrives and tells he Iris he’s figured out what is happening to her and it’s not good.
Pretty average episode this week. Not bad, not good just kind of there. I liked the stuff Chester did this week, I thought McKnight did a lot with it and he had a couple good moments with Kayla Compton. I also liked the Iris plotline, I find it interesting they introduced a member of the Legion of Super Heroes in Tinya aka Phantom Girl, makes me wonder if the Legion is about to play a role.
In the negative column was Sue. This actress is just never going to win me over at this point. Everytime she tilts her head or her eyes widen I just groan.
I do wonder what’s going on with this flame killer, I also wonder if it’s possible that this is a remnant of the Flame of Pytar. As for the Iris storyline, I think this could get interesting. Iris spent a long period of time in the comic unstuck in time so this could be the producers planning to change Iris’ status quo for a time.
So to wrap it up, yeah this is pretty much the definition of Three out of Five.
Things We Learned:
- Metas are now emerging outside of Central City and independent of the Particle Accelerator explosion.
- The Team is dealing with some sort of living flame.
- The Forces know what is wrong with Iris.
- But do the Forces know how to help her?
- How connected is Tinya to her comic counterpart?
- Who or what is the living flame?