Season Two, Episode Sixteen — “Trajectory”
By Jarrod Jones. With a crackle of lightning in his eye, Barry Allen is more determined than ever to take down Zoom. Jay Garrick is dead, the S.T.A.R. Kids have suffered a terrible blow, and it’s time to observe the worst-case scenario: Barry may never be fast enough to stop his nemesis. If only he had some sort of an edge… some magical elixir that would solve all of this problems… yeah. You do see where this is going, right?
Yes, The Flash has finally returned to us after a month-long hiatus, and it has this snoozer of an episode to lay at our feet. Barry’s desire to juice up using Caitlin Snow’s Velocity-9 is meant to stand in for whatever drug most after-school specials typically concern themselves with, a trope I never figured a show as intelligent as The Flash would ever bother itself with. But here we are. “Trajectory” is The Flash at its most Very Special Episode. And what’s worse, it doesn’t stop there.
Caitlin Snow’s former co-worker at Mercury Labs, Eliza Hammond, has developed quite a taste for Velocity-9, so much in fact that her burgeoning addiction is leading her to petty theft, assault, and referring to the drug simply as “V”. (Because no Very Special Episode is without completely fabricated, tin-eared slang.) With “V” coursing through her veins, Trajectory proves to be faster than Barry has ever been — but what is the Velocity-9 doing to her… on the inside? Break open the Häagen-Dazs; The Flash wants to get topical this week.
WHAT WORKED: It’s nice to have our S.T.A.R. Kids back on Tuesday nights. I’ve missed them so very much. But really, this episode is a practice in what not to do with your superhero tv show. So let’s get to that instead.
WHAT DIDN’T: Joe, Joe, Joe. Since when are you the lousiest detective in Central City? Catlin told you that she worked on Velocity-9 with only one other person, and that one person can’t give a straight answer without occupying herself with anything else but the authority figure in the room. “Take her at her word?” Joe! You have your culprit! Call for backup! Swarm! Swarm!
I don’t know what backwater community theater The Flash dug up Iris’ new editor (comedian Tone Bell), but he is the absolute worst. His unjustified swagger around the offices of the Central City Picture News, his insistence on shitting on The Flash at every available opportunity, and his obnoxiously twee wardrobe (pilfered from the closet of John Oliver, presumably) is making me wish that a murderous meta-human came along and took this guy out. (What’s more? He automatically interprets “coffee with a colleague” as “a date”. This guy.) What makes matters worse is the show’s insistence on putting the most cringe-inducing dialogue in his mouth: “From Street to Freak“? As an editor, I’m disgusted. As a human being, I’m appalled.
“‘Bad Flash’? What? No. Losing my touch over here.” – Cisco.
“The next time she punches me in the face, I’ll be sure to get her number.” – Barry, to Cisco.
Trajectory: “Eliza’s not here right now. My name is Trajectory.” Cisco: “Oh, why do the crazy ones always name themselves?”
BEST MOMENT: More like “Best 10 Seconds”. Barry and his cohorts finally put a few more pieces into place concerning the puzzle that is Zoom, and they don’t like what they see. So Barry, facing what he is currently perceiving as the truth about Jay and Zoom, runs away to find a secluded area in which he can indulge a good, exasperated scream. We still don’t know if Zoom is actually Jay, or his Earth-1 counterpart (Hunter Zolomon), but Barry seems pretty convinced he has all the answers right now. Is the narrative spinning its wheels, or is this a brilliant development for the S.T.A.R. Kids? Only time will tell.
EPISODE’S MVP: Pass. Barry wants to ‘roid out, Iris is leading on her moron boss, Joe can’t police to save his life, Jessie realizes that she’s weighing this show down and takes a powder, and poor Cisco can’t dance. Seems like everyone is suffering from this week’s doldrums. No one made it out the other end unscathed.
– Figures Beyonce would be a United States senator on Earth-2.
– Am I old? Are clubs that prevalent? Am I some aging codger buried under a mountain of comic books? Because when I was in my twenties, a club was the last place I’d want to spend my time. Kamikaze shots? Never. What demographic does the CW hope to cater to when these club scenes are shot? Because they make me cringe.
– Eliza Hammond, aka Trajectory, first appeared in 52 #17. A test subject for Lex Luthor’s Everyman project, Eliza was granted superspeed and hoped to one day become the next Kid Flash. She died, rather unceremoniously, just weeks later, in 52 #21.
– So Jessie’s peacing out to Opal City. With what money? Does she have an I.D.? What is she gonna do for a living? Oh, jeez. I am becoming a fogey.
4.5 out of 10
Next: “Flash Back”, soon.
Before: “King Shark”, here.