Tuesday, November 7, 2017

"Girls Night Out" On The Flash Gives The Heroines A Chance To Shine!

The Good: Good performances, Moments of humor, Generally good plot
The Bad: Derivative character arcs, Lip service dialogue about feminism
The Basics: "Girls Night Out" almost makes The Flash into a lame episode of Supergirl, but manages to find the right balance for the women of the show.

It is strange to see how fast some shows go from being essential, exciting viewing to tiresome and a chore to stick with. It was not long ago at all - less than two years, that my wife and I would eagerly curl up together on the couch for the new episode of The Flash. It did not take long into the third season of The Flash before she finally gave up on the series out of her disappointment with it. I've stuck in with The Flash, mostly because I am a reviewer, but also because the series opened with the implication that it would be ending with a rework of Crisis On Infinite Earth and I'm interested in seeing how the show pulls that off. But, as "Girls Night Out" began, it was hard for me not to acknowledge that I was not particularly excited about the episode; the chemistry between Barry Allen and Iris West has long since died and The Flash has been meandering as a team show (though, to be fair, this season's villain is not yet another Speedster, which is nice). Despite that, "Girls Night Out" quickly became engaging and enjoyable, sucking me into its narrative that effectively balanced menace and humorous lines in the a-plot and b-plot, respectively.

"Girls Night Out" begins after the events of "Elongated Journey Into Night" (reviewed here!), which added Ralph Dibny to the narrative. Dibny referenced DeVoe, whose name Barry Allen recalled from something Savitar said. As well, "Elongated Journey Into Night" also insinuated that Dr. Snow was being menaced by someone she dealt with during the six months Barry Allen spent within the Speed Force prison.

While Ramon, Harry, and Barry Allen are testing Ralph Dibny's abilities, Felicity Smoak appears for the bachelorette party of Iris West. When the guys throw a low-key bachelor party for Barry, Ralph Dibny crashes and abducts the guys to a strip club. While the women are out, Dr. Snow is accosted by a metahuman with a gross eye tentacle. Killer Snow manifests and prepares to ditch Smoak, D.A. Horton and Iris West, while the Flash actually gets drunk at his bachelor party.

Killer Frost hunts Amunet Black, her former employer, and when she finds her, she discovers that Black has a metahuman locked up. The metahuman's tears are a powerful drug and The Blacksmith wants to sell that drug and needs Killer Frost back in her employ to feel safe. While Iris West talks down Frost and Black, Joe discovers that his fiance's daughter is working at the strip club Dibny took the guys to. With the men from S.T.A.R. Labs locked up, the women confront Blacksmith.

"Girls Night Out" neglects one of the deepest character aspects of Dr. Snow. Snow is intending to flee Central City because she was previously warned that Norvok was coming for her. The writers for The Flash neglect the best reason Dr. Snow would not want to go to a bachelorette party; she lost Ronnie and did not get a bachelorette party of her own back in the day. But, instead, that character aspect is completely neglected and Snow is given a more generic desire to flee Central City - as opposed to the bachelorette party in specific.

For the first part of the fourth season, there have been incredibly parallels between The Flash and the sixth season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. For that analogy to hold, Killer Frost is now taking on the role of Willow and the whole out of control aspect feels very familiar. The backstory elements of Dr. Snow and Killer Frost during Barry Allen's hiatus from Earth is detailed well in "Girls Night Out." But the best character moments focused on Dr. Snow are the moments when she honestly confronts Iris about how the two are not actually friends. That bit of realism and directness is refreshing on television today.

Sadly, that level of maturity is not maintained throughout the entire episode. "Girls Night Out" features Iris and Felciity freaking out when Killer Frost changes in front of them. That reads as juvenile and ridiculous. Similarly, the whole repetition of "hashtag feminism" feels forced - like the way Cat Grant on Supergirl would cheerlead Kara in the early episodes of that show.

"Girls Night Out" is well-performed, but lacks the big moments for anyone but Danielle Panabaker. Panabaker manages to play the duality of Dr. Snow and Killer Frost exceptionally well. There is no campiness in Panabaker's performance in "Girls Night Out," which is refreshing.

Jesse L. Martin does a decent job of playing Joe West as adult afraid. It is rare to see on television and Martin rocks the key moments where he has to express his concerns about becoming a father again at fifty.

Ultimately, "Girls Night Out" does a good job of revealing the gap in Killer Frost's story by keeping the focus on the main characters instead of the Metahuman Of The Week.

For other works with Katee Sackhoff, please check out my reviews of:


For other television reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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