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Recap / The Flash (2014) S1 E5 "Plastique"

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Barry encounters a former soldier given metahuman abilities who is on the run from the military.


  • Artistic License – Chemistry: In an effort to create something that Barry won't metabolize immediately, Caitlin gives him some alcohol she claims is equivalent to a 500 proof drink. Which means it's 250% alcohol. Presumably, she was speaking poetically, meaning that it was 2.5 times more potent than 100% alcohol.
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  • Bad Powers, Good People: Wells points out that it's a bad idea for Bette to join the team because of this: Even though she means well, her Action Bomb powers aren't as readily turned into a force of good as Barry's Super Speed. This being Wells, he probably has his own reasons for not wanting her on the team, but it's still a valid point.
  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: Barry starts being a jerk to Iris about her interest in the streak in an attempt to get her to stop blogging about him. It backfires when she starts signing her name.
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: As a result of her powers, Bette can no longer touch anyone without them turning into a bomb.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Caitlin begins babbling and worries she's starting to sound like Felicity Smoak.
    • Barry tells Bette that a friend (Oliver) told him that his powers chose him.
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  • Determinator: Nothing, not even the two most important people in her life will stop Iris from blogging about the Streak.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Caitlin says this almost word-for-word when she sees one of the things Cisco brought for Bette to blow up is a boomerang.
  • Disposable Love Interest: Cisco's interest in Plastique is very shallow, based almost entirely on her appearance. Perhaps, after meeting her, he gets a little bit of Florence Nightingale going on with her tragic situation. Even so, he never really seems to see her as a person, so the show pushing it as a serious crush is a little off.
  • Dramatic Irony: Wells' words on how General Eiling is a Karma Houdini, considering he was the one who sent Bette to kill Eiling and is now escaping any responsibility for her death.
    Wells: Powerful men have a way of avoiding consequences.
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  • Drowning My Sorrows: Barry is first annoyed and then depressed he can't get drunk because he metabolizes alcohol too fast for it to have any effect on him.
  • Eating the Eye Candy:
    • At the beginning, Caitlin notes how "sexy" Eddie is but tries to gloss it over.
    • Cisco is angry that Bette accidentally destroyed Barry's suit until he sees a photo of her and starts drooling about her good looks.
  • Everyone Can See It: Joe points out to Barry just how transparent his feelings for Iris are.
  • Expy: The way Plastique's powers work in this episode are not too different from Gambit's, including the glowing purple effects, though hers are much more involuntary.
  • False Friend: Wells goes along with Team Flash's plan to help Plastique find a cure and appears to sympathize with her when they find out they can't, then the minute they leave the room he takes advantage of her Despair Event Horizon to manipulate her into going after Eiling which gets her killed.
  • Flash Step: Barry tries to stop Bette by standing before her when she leaves. This makes her accidentally burn Barry's suit.
  • Foreshadowing: Wells tells Bette that the technology to separate DNA hasn't been invented yet.
  • Funny Background Event: While Barry and Bette are having a conversation, Caitlyn can be seen holding a boomerang, asking Cisco, "Didn't think this through, did you?"
  • Gargle Blaster: After it's revealed Barry metabolizes alcohol so fast he can't get drunk anymore, Caitlin distills him a "high-fermented potent suspension" that she describes as being "basically 500 proof." The highest proof possible is only 200, Barry drinks it, it clearly packs a wallop, but his buzz is still gone in a little over ten seconds.
  • His Name Is...: Plastique dies just before she can tell Barry that Wells was the one who sent her to kill Eiling.
  • Hollywood Law: The Posse Comitatus Act (which has been on the books since the Reconstruction Era) makes it illegal for the US Military to involve itself in enforcing the laws of the state unless the parties involved are given explicit authorization to do so by Congress or the President. There are documented real-life cases of soldiers being arrested and successfully prosecuted under this law just for helping direct traffic around a crime scene. Eiling's walking into a police station and trying to assume control of an investigation should have gotten him two years in prison.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Barry tells Iris at the end that if she keeps writing about The Streak they can't see each other for a while.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: The army shows up to take the case away from Joe and his team. Joe is reluctant. Barry, without needing to be told, knows to use his speed to steal a key piece of evidence so they can continue the investigation at S.T.A.R. labs.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Joe's comment of "Human bomb, it must be Tuesday in Central City" of course refers to the fact that the show airs on Tuesdays in the US.
  • Meta Origin: Grodd's powers and intellect are being tied into Wells' experiments.
  • More Than Mind Control: Essentially how Wells convinces Bette of attacking Eiling. He plays on her hatred and distrust of him to convince her that he is a threat to her and other metahumans.
  • Mundane Utility: Barry uses his super spped to search the files of the case.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Bette Sans Souci is located at the residence of Cameron Scott. Cameron Scott was the cover identity given to Captain Atom by the government, and Plastique had an affair with and briefly married him.
    • One of the objects that Cisco wants Bette to turn into an explosive is a boomerang; a reference to another of the Flash's rogues, Captain Boomerang, who uses trick boomerangs like exploding ones himself.
    • Caitlin threatening Cisco with lobotomy, to those familiar with Identity Crisis and/or the "A Better World" episodes from Justice League.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Acknowledged with the window-washer who Barry saves from falling. When Barry considers stacking a bunch of mattresses to catch him, Caitlin quickly reminds him that this isn't a Road Runner cartoon.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: even Cisco knows of the kind of danger Iris puts herself in writing about the Flash.
  • Pet the Dog: In a flashback, it was seen that Wells was protective of Gorilla Grodd and stopped General Eiling from abusing him. He broke his association with him.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Take Off Your Clothes: When Bette accidentally makes Barry's suit explosive, she tells Barry to strip so he doesn't die when the suit explodes. He manages to survive in his underwear.
  • Voice of the Legion: Barry uses this to keep Iris from recognizing his voice.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: When Bette's whole body is about to detonate, they worry that an explosion of that size would devastate the city, and they have to get her to a minimum safe distance. Unfortunately, her power works by making things blow up exactly like plastic explosives (hence the name). Being a healthy adult female, she likely weighs somewhere in the area of 1/15 ton. This means that, if you wanted to actually devastate a city, it would literally take approximately 15,000 of her to produce even a one-kiloton explosion.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Plastique is initially convinced her powers are the product of a Government Conspiracy.


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