This Week on TV, May 22, 2015

Spoiler Alert!

Not only has The Flash had its very first season finale, but iZombie is nearing its own season finale. Also, as I had sooooooo much spaaaaace to work with, what with eight out of ten of my shows having finale’d already, I may have rambled just a wee bit! 🙂

izombie-banneriZombie

“Mr. Berserk”

Lowell’s murder leaves Liv traumatized, and while she still has last episode’s PTSD brain in her system. The combination leaves her completely unable to function until she gets a new brain into her, and it’s not a great step up. True, it’s the brain of a determined, focused woman, but she was also an alcoholic. Fortunately, her drunken state throughout much of this episode is easily chalked up to grief over Lowell’s death.

Speaking of, as the Homicide captain, whose name I finally caught as Suzuki, pushes the story of Lowell committing suicide, Liv and Ravi are able to deduce that he’s covering for Blaine. Everything snaps into focus, as they reconnect the droves of missing people directly back to Blaine through Suzuki’s involvement in “finding” the grotesque horde of their bodies. At least now they know they can’t trust Suzuki, but it leaves the hanging question of what other friends in high places Blaine has made for himself.

Coincidentally, the alcoholic woman was named Rebecca, and she was the same reporter Major was working with in order to expose the police activity, or the lack thereof, concerning those people, many of them kids, whom Blaine made “disappear” from off the streets. My first foreboding thought was that Blaine had something to do with her death as well, but even he can’t be responsible for every evil in the city.

Rebecca was investigating a story involving a power drink called Max Rager, its connection to several incidents of extreme, out-of-character aggression, and a corporate cover up. It turns out, there was a memo sent from research to company management, a copy of which would prove Max Rager knew the risks of their drink and ignored them, jeopardizing the lives of everyone who drank it and everyone around them. Rebecca found no less than three separate incidents of people suddenly losing control, even killing people, because they were full of Max Rager, and Liv herself was killed in a fourth, when Max Rager happened to be combined with the drug Utopium.

Yep. Dangerous power drink which heightens aggression, plus brain frying experimental drug, equals zombie apocalypse. And once again, everything becomes personal for Liv. While she’s suffering grief and guilt over Lowell’s death.

Liv’s drunkenness doesn’t keep her from pursuing the truth. In fact, that pursuit is almost the only thing that can pull her away from the bottle. She learns that a kid who’d had a promising future, but snapped while high on Max Rager, was already under a great deal of stress because his “brothers” made him believe he had drunkenly murdered a girl, and within a couple days, he flipped, killed people, and was committed to a mental institution. That kid now knows the truth, but it doesn’t look like he’s in a very good position to do anything about it.

It seems much more promising when Liv finds one of Rebecca’s sources, a man named Sebastian, who puts her onto the existence of another. Note: things are not always what they seem. The first moment I saw the “source,” I suspected something. It might have been his serendipitous, voluntary appearance, or how Rebecca’s notes only mention one source, or the fact that he has the same eyes as Rebecca’s murderer. Sebastian is a killer, possibly for hire, and a sick psychopath, and he uses Liv to smoke out the real source: a secretary named Adelle.

Sebastian killed Adelle, dumped her body in deep waters, and intended to do the same to Liv. Her only salvation was her status as a zombie. Well, that and how evil her would-be killer was. He took his time to sweetly savor the moment of killing her, taunting her with how Adelle never meant to come forward, only to blackmail the company. He even took a drop of her blood and licked it off his finger, looking her in the eye as he did so. Oh, and having seen her wake up once already, he waited for a second time, to share this intimate moment with her, before dropping her in the lake, fully conscious.

Fortunately, he never got that far. He got close. In fact, he got a little too close to Liv, and she was able to surprise him with “zombie rage mode,” sending him into the lake instead. As he tried to climb back in, as she gunned the engine and turned away, he met a poetic end on the propeller of his own boat. The whole ordeal of facing death (again) even helped Liv confront her current inner demons and survive.

While she was wrestling with that, Ravi was a very good, supportive friend, even while facing some hard decisions. For one, knowing Lowell was murdered, he still had to contemplate, and advocate, going along with the “suicide” story. For one, they don’t know the potential dangers of keeping a rotting zombie corpse around, so it’s better to destroy it as quickly as possible, which they can’t do if they press the truth of his murder. For another, Ravi and Liv are finding themselves in opposition of a very dangerous enemy, but unable to tell anyone why Blaine is so dangerous. Any officer who investigates will be in imminent danger, far worse than they realize, much like Clive was when he stopped by the butcher shop. If they’re going to keep the zombie thing under wraps, Liv and Ravi have to take Blaine on by themselves, and that means playing along with his lies, for the moment.

Not sure what would hit harder: having to say the one you loved committed suicide when you saw his murder with your own two eyes, after failing to kill his murderer, or having to let a dear friend and former fiance believe he’s going nuts after someone tried to kill him in his own house.

Major can’t explain how Julien is still alive, and benching weights, the day after he shot him three times. Clive is straight with him, recommending he get some help, and between every other crazy thing that’s been happening, Major listens to him. I mean, when the rules of reality seem to be broken, and with his friends telling him stuff like that, then is has to be Major who’s gone crazy, right? It’s a much more preferable, I’d say, than this particular truth. But even as he checks himself into a mental institution, he’s still there for Liv, pulling her out of the bottle and taking her home. He even apologizes for “going nuts” right when she needs him the most.

Major really is one of the good ones.

And now he’s utterly discredited and in a loony bin.

Rather good for Blaine. Either his marks die or their committed, and he remains safely anonymous in the deed.

Ravi even wanted to tell Major everything, unable to see his friend suffering so badly without doing something. Liv, however, made a good counter-argument: with his erratic, dangerous behavior already, what will he do if he learns the truth? In the loony bin, one hopes, Major might at least be physically safe. Unfortunately, he’s also found another patient, who knows about zombies. So, not so safe, and when he finds out Liv didn’t tell him the truth, he’s going to feel so betrayed.

The episode ends with Liv weeping over Lowell’s corpse, swearing to find Blaine and properly, permanently, end him this time.

Oh, and the deceased Sebastian, with a chopped-up face, washes ashore. And gets up.

You know, with all the harm Blaine has caused, he’s been pretty well established as the main antagonist. No competition. Not until this episode’s introduction of Sebastian did we see anyone as evil, and he might be even worse. Even Blaine didn’t ingest his victims’ blood, or talk to them and caress them like a lover as he killed them, before he was a zombie. He’s far too cold and efficient for that. But for all the devastation Blaine leaves in his wake, he remains calm and controlled, calculating. Sebastian strikes me as far less disciplined, a trait which I highly doubt will improve now that he’s a zombie.

Sebastian is a third power introduced to the conflict between Liv and Blaine, a rogue zombie outside either one’s influence. He’s a creature whose evil rivals Blaine’s and he represents a danger neither Liv nor Blaine want to entertain: a full-fledged zombie apocalypse.

Is it about to explode, now, onto an unsuspecting world?

Flash-TV-Show-Teaser-TrailerThe Flash

“Fast Enough”

What would you do, if offered the chance to go back in time and right one wrong? What if that wrong was the one which scarred you for life and is still hurting your family fifteen years later? And has since multiplied exponentially to harm an untold number of people? It’s the wounds we receive as a child which we carry into adulthood, becoming our greatest vulnerabilities.

Thawne, the Reverse Flash, offers Barry the one thing he wants most: the chance to save his mother, Nora Allen.

Arrow‘s season finale felt a bit lackluster, even if they were fighting to save an entire city from a madman again. The Flash, by contrast, wasn’t about saving a city. It was about saving just one life who no one outside a time traveler could even think to save fifteen years after her death: Barry’s mother, Nora. And far different from the physical turmoil Barry has faced in fighting superpowered criminals and killers, this gauntlet he is forced to run is almost entire emotional.

It’s interesting to me that the only one who opposes, forcefully, Barry running back in time to save his mother, and everyone else Thawne has since murdered, including Harrison Wells, Tess Morgan, and so many more, is Barry’s father, Henry Allen. The man who has been stuck in prison with no hope of release, who had his chance to raise Barry stolen away from him, whose best friend, Joe, raised Barry even while filled with spite towards Henry… in short, the man who has the least for himself is the man who values what he has more than anyone else. What he has is this: a remarkable son who is becoming an extraordinary man, saving lives every day. He sees Barry, and sees what is has cost him, and says, “Worth it.”

And he knows Nora would feel the same, and would never want Barry to sacrifice such an important part of himself, everything he has, just for her.

Everyone else has their own view of Thawne’s tempting offer, but they pretty much align with, “Do it, Barry, do it.” Caitlin sees it as Barry’s chance to be with someone he loves, and Ronnie certainly doesn’t voice any disagreement on that count. In fact they get married in this episode, which is a very tender moment. Joe doesn’t see any choice to be made, though he doesn’t like the idea of not having Barry grow up in his house, he thinks it would be worth it to save Nora and keep Barry’s family from being broken apart. Iris doesn’t come down on either side, though she and Barry speculate that perhaps that little bit of distance, of not growing up in the same house and knowing absolutely everything about each other, just might have made the difference of whether or not they got together. Whatever choice he makes, though, she just tells him to follow his heart.

Basically, she tells him to trust himself.

Stein and Cisco are the first ones to realize the true potential cost in all of this. Not only do they realize that they’re all currently living in an alternate dimension, and one which would be erased and replaced if Barry changes the past, but they also learn, via simulations, the sheer danger of performing Thawne’s plan. That plan is, basically, to have Barry run at great speed in the particle accelerator and then, the reason Thawne turned it back on in the first place, insert a particle into it, to be propelled in the opposite direction. When Barry and the particle collide, if he’s going fast enough, he’ll create a stable wormhole, through which Barry goes back to save his mother, and Thawne uses a time machine ship to go forward, back to his home.

There are two small details: 1) if Barry isn’t moving fast enough, then the plan will kill him, which is where Cisco voices some strong opposition to this plan, and 2) if he is going fast enough, then the collision will, if not shut down, create a black whole that eats up the entire planet, to start with.

Now, here’s where I would simply stop.

I would like to think that I wouldn’t take Thawne up on his offer anyway, but, having never suffered a loss as Barry has, I can’t say that for certain. I mean, without the bad things that I have experienced, I don’t believe I’d be experiencing the same good I am right now. Without my mistakes, I would not have learned what I have. I wouldn’t know what I know. And there is great peace and joy to be found in letting go of one’s losses, to be thankful for what one has.

However, where I know I would stop is when we start talking about black holes.

Thawne, in case anyone has forgotten, is a cold-hearted killer who thinks nothing of killing anyone in the present day because “they’ve been dead for centuries.” He even tells Cisco that living in the past is like living among the dead. And Cisco himself does remember Thawne killing him. Which leads Thawne to realize that, while Cisco has not manifested any powers as of yet, he, too, was affected by the particle accelerator explosion. He’s a metahuman. But I digress.

Point is: they have first hand knowledge that Thawne does not value any of their lives, with sole exception to Eddie, and that is out of sheer self-preservation. But once Thawne is gone, and the timeline is rewritten, Thawne will be free of even that consideration. In short: I am fairly convinced that he knew the black hole was going to form no matter what, and simply didn’t care, so long as he got out of the way first. Once he’s free, everyone in this timeline can die in horrible, screaming terror, and he won’t care one bit. He’ll have what he’s wanted and worked fifteen years for, and he’ll be safe from the destruction.

With such selfishness, and perhaps knowing of his imminent demise, it makes perfect sense for Thawne to turn on Barry when Barry does not “do anything it takes” to get what he wants.

After all the opinions, all the perspectives, Barry chose to run back in time, and he succeeded. He had visions of the past, present, and future (including several Easter eggs and foreboding glimpses of what lies ahead) granted him by the Speed Force. He focused on what he wanted, and arrived at the time he needed, that night in his house, when Thawne murdered his mother. He had a chance… but then, he saw the other version of himself, the Flash, who saw him in return and waved him away. Stay away, don’t change this. That was the message. And Barry trusted… himself.

All he was able to do was hold his mother as she died, and tell her good-bye.

And then he returns with a vengeance to take down Thawne again, for the murder of his mother. Thawne returns Barry’s anger with his own, uncomprehending of how any man could not grasp at anything he wants no matter the cost, and promises to kill everyone for depriving him of his way home. The two speedsters are at it again, and this time there’s no Arrow or Firestorm to help the Flash. In fact, most of the team are trying to shut down the black hole that’s forming in their basement, so kind of busy, ya know?

Who saves them all from the Reverse Flash?

Eddie.

Just as Eddie, thanks to a conversation with Stein, begins to have hope again, to believe he can choose his own destiny, that he and Iris can be together in this timeline… he makes the ultimate sacrifice. He shoots himself, and erases his murderous descendant from existence.

Thawne told Eddie he was the one who never amounted to anything, that he mattered least of all, but Eddie was the one to stop the Reverse Flash, to protect Iris, and Barry, and all the rest.

It is the humble man who becomes the greatest of heroes.

Iris is left distraught and in tears, and they can’t even grab Eddie’s body, needing to flee the black hole as it begins swallowing everything. Eddie’s body vanishes into the black maelstrom, even as it rises above the city, growing and growing, stronger and stronger. (somehow Star Labs is still intact… meh, physics!) Everything in the city, from skyscrapers to people, is being drawn upwards, falling into the sky. There is only one chance left: if Barry can just counter its force, like he did the tornado, he can make it collapse. So, everyone watching, and hoping, and desperate, he runs straight up, runs around in a circle, and falls into the black hole, still running.

Cliffhanger.

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