Some Streams of Consciousness on The Flash, Season 1, Episode 6

It’s Flash Time!

  • Whoa! Switch up in the opening narration. Iris is speaking, not Barry, with her take on ‘you need to believe in the impossible’ spiel from the pilot episode.
  • The Flash can speed-read! I wish I could do that! It’d make my life so much easier.
  • Strike two on the Flash trying to convince Iris to quit reporting on him.
  • Joe shoots at a meta-human, and sees his bullets bouncing off him; thinking this will lead to something bad.
  • Joe saves Detective Pretty Boy’s life; he owes him…I lost count.
  • Flash vs. Colossus! (Or a metahuman that can turn himself into metal…yeah, pretty much like Colossus, on a smaller budget, of course.) Colossus wins! Flawless victory!
  • Dr. Ed-from-Ed making a ‘Man of Steel’ joke.
  • Just noticed that Jaime Paglia co-wrote this episode; this guy co-created Eureka, which is a show worth checking out.
  • Tony Woodward is the name of the Colossus metahuman…who bullied Barry when he was a kid, revealed in a Flashback. Great, a childhood bully episode.
  • Joe talks to Barry about the bullets ‘sparking’ off of Colossus. Barry tries to convince him it’s body armor.
  • Joe visits Dr. Ed-from-Ed at Star Labs for help on the murder of Barry’s mom’s case.
  • Cisco comes up with a fighting robot called Girder. Barry dislocates his shoulder training. D’OH!
  • Detective Pretty Boy calls Barry to check out the abandoned Hummer.
  • Flashback, Joe trains kid Barry in boxing. He also lets Barry know it’s okay to run away.
  • Back to the present; going to check out Keystone brewery as they find barrels at the hummer.
  • Joe talks it out with Dr. Ed-from-Ed, thinking seeing Barry’s superspeed sounds like what kid Barry described when his mom was killed. But Dr. Ed-from-Ed thinks it unlikely someone with superspeed existed 14 years ago.
  • Someone tries to run while Joe and Detective Pretty Boy give chase.
  • Guy that runs gives exposition on how Tony was fired years ago, and fell in an accident, coincidentally when the particle accelerator went kaboom. Obviously, he got better.
  • Colossus visits Iris at where she works. Hits on her…while there’s an alert on TV for Colossus, who leaves.
  • Iris leaves a message for the Flash on her blog…is that smart? She confirms what Cisco and Caitlin were thinking earlier; he’s hiding out at an abandoned iron factory.
  • Flash runs to the factory, rather pissed off that Iris is now in danger.
  • The Flash vs. Colossus, round 2!
  • Colossus shoves shelves on top of the Flash…
  • Well, that was a short, uneventful fight…kinda reminds me of the fights from Smallville; rather lacking in excitement. Even the old Incredible Hulk TV shows had more exciting fights, and all the Hulk ever did was throw people around. He never punched anything.
  • Cisco and Caitlin to the rescue!
  • Back at Star Labs, Dr. Ed-from-Ed is not happy.
  • Barry reveals he feels powerless, just like when Tony bullied him as a kid.
  • Cisco lets Barry know that if he can hit him at Mach 1.1 and the right angle, he can win! Barry apparently needs a head start of 5.3 miles to pull this trick off.
  • Joe checks in on Barry to make sure he’s okay.
  • Detective Pretty Boy wants to let off some steam, so him and Barry go train on the heavy bag. Apparently, Detective Pretty Boy was bullied as a kid too, and gives Barry some pointers. Barry punches a hole in the heavy bag. Yay?
  • Joe and Dr. Ed-from-Ed meet at a bar. Joe has an ‘impossible’ theory, another particle accelerator was around 14 years ago. Apparently, Dr. Ed-from-Ed opened Star Labs 14 years ago, a month after Barry’s mom was killed.
  • Dr. Ed-from-Ed seems annoyed, but gives him a lead; Tess Morgan!
  • Colossus visits Iris at her home; knocks out (or kills, not sure) her police detail.
  • Barry is still undergoing his boxing training with Detective Pretty Boy.
  • Iris has been kidnapped! Duh duh Duuuh!
  • Colossus takes Iris back to…high school? Middle school? He wants her to blog about him, not ‘the Streak’
  • Oh, he took her to their Elementary School…and after Iris pulls the alarm, they stick around.
  • The Flash shows up! The Flash vs. Colossus, round 3!
  • Flash pulls off his supersonic Mach 1 Falcon punch
  • Or, if you prefer:
  • But Iris gets the knockout blow while Colossus is powered down…how did Colossus know to go into metal form? We see him in his human form, he hears what sounds like thunder, and goes into metal form, but wouldn’t the Flash have been fast enough to hit him before he could possibly do that?
  • Probably over-thinking it. It’ s a superhero show.
  • Colossus now trapped in Star Labs…and Barry reveals his secret identity to him! This will be a very bad decision in the future.
  • Joe visits Dr. Ed-from-Ed to make amends; he looked up Tess Morgan, and is sorry for Wells loss. Joe is hoping for Wells help in the future.
  • Barry visits Iris at her work to check up on her. They both apologize! And ‘in a flash,’ Barry gives Iris the idea to name the streak The Flash.
  • Joe at home working late on Barry’s Dad’s case. Yellow streak shows up, steals all of the case file evidence, and leaves a message: Stop or else, with a knife on Iris’s picture. Duh duh duuuh!

Some Streams of Consciousness on The Flash, Season 1, Episode 5

Last week, I was looking forward to watching the Flash and blogging about it, then realized that there was no episode. I was rather disapointed, so before I start watching, I’m hoping for a really good episode. It seemed that a lot of people liked the last episode, but I wasn’t too fond of it, not because the actress for Felicity Smoak didn’t do a great job or have great chemistry with the cast (she did a great job and indeed has great chemistry with the cast.) but because in my mind, it severely weakened the idea of Barry and Iris being a couple as something good.

But I digress, here we go!

  • Star Labs friends hanging out with Iris, Detective Pretty Boy (I can never remember his name) and Barry at a bar…that’s like George’s two worlds colliding theory right there. Barry’s Star Labs world (where his friends help him be a crime fighter) is colliding with his civilian life world (Iris, Detective Pretty Boy, etc.) How many episodes before everything explodes?
  • Barry discovers he can’t get drunk…stealing that from Captain America, I think.
  • Caitlin carries a blood drawing kit in her purse…things have officially become creepy.
  • Robbery in progress elsewhere; robber tosses a bag that explodes. Obviously, she’s the metahuman for the episode.
  • Flash to the rescue; he’s gonna run sideways up a building to save someone.
  • Wait, Iris arrives at the crime scene? She see’s the Flash!
  • Barry can’t find any sign of a bomb…I guess his CSI-vision is on the fritz.
  • Barry searches through filing cabinets at superspeed…I would LOVE the ability to read at superspeed. I read slowly as is…
  • Wait…the army shows up at the police station, and is taking over the investigation? Apparently, the bomber is former army.
  • Joe finds out Iris was at the crime scene and they talk about ‘the Streak!’ Great, Joe-being-mad-at-Barry scene is coming up.
  • General heading up this army contingent has bad history with Dr. Ed-from-Ed, but Team Flash find out the bomber’s address. She apparently can’t control her powers, because she touches his suit, and the Flash suit explodes. He took it off in time, of course.
  • Cisco is angry about his ‘tech’ being destroyed…but then acts like a creepy nerd when he sees a picture of her and is totally fine with it.
  • Writer’s please stop writing Cisco in this way. Please. Pretty please. I mean, seriously.
  • To be fair, she does deserve a Hello Nurse, but that’s not the point.
  • Joe shows up, and they have that scene I predicted. Barry talks to Iris; we know this will end well.
  • Ooohhh, Iris plays the ‘Why can’t you be more supportive’ card. Boom!
  • So Boom Girl is after the surgeon who performed on her; she thinks surgeon and Eiling made her a metahuman.
  • Flash arrives again…the Army happened to arrived on the scene at the same time, but to be fair, they probably figured out her motives and just camped out nearby.
  • Flash superspeeds Bomb Girl to Star Labs. She was in Central City when Star Labs went kaboom.
  • Cisco hits on her…because writing him as a socially-inept nerd is in. Quality of this show is going down a couple of notches.
  • Twist; there was a tracker on Bomb Girl when a bullet grazed her. Army comes to Star Labs.
  • General and Dr. Ed-from-Ed have a nice conversation.
  • Cisco dubs her ‘Plastique’ she has the ‘Rogue problem, where she can’t make skin-to-skin contact with anyone without blowing up.
  • Iris puts her name to her blog; Joe is not happy. Barry & Cisco play up the ‘my enemies will target her’ card.
  • The Flash (with some weird voice modulating thingie) meets up with Iris to try to discourage her blogging. I think they were going with the rooftop scene with Superman and Lois Lane (first Superman movie with Christopher Reeve)
  • Not quite as romantic, to be honest, but maybe it’s because I just can’t see them together, especially after the last episode.
  • So Iris started this whole blog thing and tracking the Flash because she wants Barry’s belief in the impossible to be validated. Touching, but not
  • Bad news at Star Labs; bomb Girl can’t be cured of her condition. Rather ominous foreshadowing with Dr. Ed-from-Ed saying the technology to help her hasn’t been invented yet.
  • Barry wants Bomb Girl to join Team Flash, but the rest of Team Flash thinks it’s a bad idea.
  • Joe and Barry meet up; Barry reveals all, the Flash meeting Iris, the reason Iris is blogging about the Flash.
  • Barry can vibrate his vocal cords to modulate his voice…pretty cool actually.
  • Joe knows Barry loves Iris and has been waiting years to tell her…
  • I know television and movies is like life at warp speed, but if I told a girl I had a thing for I love her, I’m pretty sure she’d freak out. In movies, it’s somewhat forgivable, but this is a serialized show; take the time to build the characters and relationships first.
  • I know the show is playing up that they’ve known each other forever, but still.
  • Dr. Ed-from-Ed has a conversation with Plastique…and manipulates her to try and kill the General. Yes! I was annoyed we didn’t get an evil Dr. Ed-from-Ed moment last episode.
  • Plastique lures General Eiling into a trap; Flash races to the rescue, but doesn’t get there time.
  • General manages to shoot Plastique before biting the dust; she tries to tell Barry (who takes off his mask…what the heck? Does Grant Gustin have Tobey Maguire-envy?) about Dr. Ed-from-Ed’s manipulation.
  • That’s a reference to how in the first Spider-Man trilogy, Peter Parker would have has mask off ALL THE TIME!
  • I get that actors are taught to act with their face, but you’re playing a superhero that wears a mask, so leave the mask on when you’re in uniform! Especially in public! At this point, I’m having a hard time believing that no one knows your “secret” identity.
  • Her body is going to go ka-boom.
  • Barry’s plan; run on water. Team Flash calculates that he has to maintain a velocity of 650 mph to run on water. Neil Degrasse Tyson, assuming for a moment that it’s safe for any creature to move this quickly (it’s not,) is this accurate?
  • Flash runs on water, dumps the body and speeds away, before she goes kaboom.
  • Flash manages to escape the explosion…and takes off his mask yet again before we cut to commercial.
  • General Eiling lives! The explosion is being sold as the military conducting a test. Convenient!
  • Ooohhh, more foreshadowing, with Dr. Ed-from-Ed saying powerful men have a way of avoiding consequences.
  • Barry talks to Iris, trying to get her to quit her blogging by playing the friend dying card. Doesn’t work. He tries to convince her that he’s put the death of his mother behind him. Doesn’t work. Iris knows there’s something Barry isn’t telling her. D’OH!
  • Iris is now gung-ho about the world knowing about the Flash for some reason…
  • Barry is thinking it’s better they don’t see each other for awhile. No, this is good! He can now get that relationship with Felicity going. It’s not like he can’t run to where she resides regularly.
  • Barry at a bar. Caitlin and Cisco show up.
  • Caitlin develop 500-proof alcohol for Barry! He was buzzed for about 10-seconds before it’s gone. Whoa!
  • Barry outro where he talks about friendships ending and how much it hurts.
  • Yes! Another Dr. Ed-from-Ed evil scene. General Eiling shows up. Eiling wants to work together, as he’s seen the Flash in action, and figures out weird stuff has become possible after the Star Labs explosion.
  • But EVIL Dr. Ed-from-Ed says no. Both try to threaten each other, bit of a stand-off ensues. General claims he figured out Dr. Ed-from-Ed’s secret before leaving.
  • Flashback to five years ago where we see Eiling and Dr. Ed-from-Ed’s partnership dissolve. We see a cage with a gorilla in it, and the name ‘Grodd’ on the cage. Wow!
  • Double Wow…I can’t believe it took me this long to realize General Eiling is being played by Clancy Brown.
  • Clancy Brown voiced Lex Luthor in Superman: The Animated Series / Justice League / Justice League Unlimited.

On a side note, if you actually got to the end of this blog post, I must admit that I’ve been jonesing for a pizza with pepperoni, olives, and jalapenos, the pizza Joe gave Barry at the end of episode 2. I’m not even into hot food all that much, but it’s a pizza topping combination I suddenly want to try. I can’t help but think that it’d be pretty good. Interestingly enough, I’m finding a lot of pizza places don’t have jalapenos as a pizza topping. Just as interesting, I found out that the large pizza chains (Dominoes, Pizza Hut) do have jalapenos available. Maybe it’s just me, but I find that to be odd.

Some Streams of Consciousness on the End of the Naruto Manga

NOTE: While I wrote the majority of this post Monday, I couldn’t finish it up and post it until today. Ooops. My bad!

The Naruto manga, created by Masashi Kishimoto, recently ended with the 700th chapter, and I thought I’d write down my thoughts and feelings on the subject. Specifically, I think I’ll unleash my streams of consciousness on the last two chapters, as they came out today in today’s Shonen Jump (the American version.) Since the anime continues, I’m going to keep this blog post exclusively on the manga.

The Naruto manga came into my life around the same time Shonen Jump came to American shores around 2003. Its’ history can be recounted here, so there’s no need for me to recap that, other than I remember it being somewhat weird. I got a letter in the mail basically offering a subscription to Shonen Jump. I’m guessing my name / address was somehow obtained by virtue of me liking comic books, video games, anime; typical nerd stuff. Anywho, I decided to subscribe, being a fan of Yu-Gi-Oh! and Dragonball Z, which were featured in Shonen Jump. Naruto started being featured a couple of months later, and to be perfectly honest…I ignored it.

Than one day, due to curiosity or boredom (or some combination of the two), I gave it a chance, stacking up past issues, and started to read…and I was more or less hooked from that point on. The art style was…actually, in all honesty, I initially didn’t enjoy the art style all that much. But over time, Kishimoto’s art changed a bit over time to a point where it became enjoyable for me. It’s hard to describe, because I’m not an artist (meaning I don’t draw, paint, sculpt, etc.) but if I were to describe it, his lines became more hard and defined and it added a more mature look that I appreciated. Early on, the lines were softer and the look was very…kid-friendly? I’m probably doing a poor job describing this, so I’ll quit while I’m…behind? D’OH!

Anywho, another thing Naruto has going for it is the double-edged sword of a wide-ranging cast of characters, which more or less means there’s at least one person you like and / or could relate to on some level. The flip-side is that not everyone gets an appropriate amount of screentime, and you’re not going to remember everyone. Kinda like Game of Thrones.

Eventually, the anime reached American shores as well…but I’ll save my musings on the anime when that show comes to an end. Considering there’s zero risk of catching up with the manga at this point since it ended, they should be staying away from filler episodes from this point on. Though if they continue to do filler episodes, let alone an entire season of filler episodes, which they’ve totally done before, it’ll probably end sometime after my death.

So here we go, with Chapter 699: Unison Sign

  • Since this is completely and utterly without context, I’m going to actually transcribe the translated first page right…now!
  • “Naruto is a young shinobi with an incorrigible knack for mischief. He’s got a wild sense of humor, but Naruto is completely serious about his mission to be the world’s greatest ninja!”
  • “Previously in Naruto: Thanks to Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, and Kakashi, Cell 7 is able to defeat Kaguya and seemingly put an end to the great ninja war. All that’s left is to release the world’s shinobi trapped in the Infinite Tsukuyomi. However, Sasuke rebels against the plan and claims he will start a revolution in the ninja world. His first planned actions are to kill the previous leadership and wipe out the biju. Naruto stands up to Sasuke and the two of them battle it out until both are battered to within an inch of their lives. And at that moment, Sasuke finally gives in and admits his defeat!”
  • Further context:
    • Naruto and Sasuke are rivals / former friends, formerly on the same Ninja team, Cell 7. Sasuke forsook his friendship to seek power and vengeance, but Naruto never gave up on his friendship with Sasuke. This is tested to extreme levels considering Sasuke keeps trying to kill him and destroy the village Naruto wants to protect.
    • Sakura is madly in love with Sasuke. Considering the latter tried to kill her once, it’s…a rather unhealthy relationship. I guess it’s the equivalent of “I wish I could quit you!”
    • Biju = monsters with incredible levels of energy / power. Nine of them were bonded with people in various villages to “keep the peace.” The ones that were bonded (called ‘jinchuriki’) were often ostracized. Naruto happens to have been one of these people, but he became friends with his Biju, the nine-tailed fox.
    • The nine-tailed fox is now ‘sleeping’ inside Naruto, having given up most of his power so that he could fight Sasuke.
    • Infinite Tsukuyomi = everyone is asleep sharing the exact same illusionary dream. Rather nifty, to be honest. A virtual paradise, I suppose.
  • Context is over! You can find out more details on your own, if you wish, thanks to the mighty interwebs!
  • Japanese (and Asians by extension) are a very symbolic people, sometimes heavy-handed at times. Both Sasuke and Naruto are lying next to each other, both missing an arm. There’s a trail of blood linking the two together, and they happen to be lying on the remains of a giant statue. Specifically, the remains they lie on are two giant hands linked together in respect and friendship. Considering the title of the chapter…
  • Kakashi and Sakura show up; Sakura specializes in medical ninjitsu (think healing superpowers) and starts healing them both. The remain armless, but the bleeding is stopped. Sasuke apologizes to Sakura.
  • Kakashi (possible the best character, and my favorite of the manga / anime) is happy to see that things have returned to the way they were, with Cell 7 as friends / teammates / comrades.
  • Sasuke and Naruto dispel the Infinite Tsukuyomi, freeing everyone that was trapped along with the Biju. You see this over several pages, as Naruto has a MASSIVE cast of characters. MASSIVE!
  • So back in the Village Hidden in the Trees, Kakashi becomes the new leader of the village (known at the Hokage, which is what Naruto wants to become one day.) Thanks to himself, Naruto, and the fact that he helped undo the Infinite Tsukuyomi, he’s able to convince the remaining the leadership, Sasuke is pardoned for his past crimes.
  • Sasuke decides to go on a road trip; saying he wants to see the world for himself, saying he can now see the things he’s overlooked since he’s no longer weighed down by vengeance / being obsessively emo.
  • Sakura asks to go, but Sasuke states it’s also a journey of atonement and that his crimes have nothing to do with her.
  • But he says ‘Maybe next time.’ Hope for a Sasuke / Sakura romance. Yay?
  • Not sure if people care; Sakura is kinda like the Lori Grimes of Naruto…maybe not that useless or bad, but there’s some rather hopeless traits about her. But maybe the author wanted to have a character with those types of flaws.
  • As Sasuke leaves the village, Naruto is also waiting for him. Sasuke thinks to himself that he was saved thanks to Naruto. I guess it’s too hard to actually say this to him, but I also guess the point is that the two know each other’s feelings so well, words don’t need to be spoken.
  • Naruto gives back Sasuke’s headband, which he lost when they fought for the first time when Sasuke initially defected from the village. More symbolism!
  • Sasuke’s internal monologues finally get to the point; the idea that we can claim each other’s pain and truly understand one another, and to keep enduring until it comes to be with everyone around you.

And here’s Chapter 700, in full color! Awesomesauce!

  • Fast-forward to the future, and…I’m not going to go in any order for this. We see the next generation of kids in class. Yes, these kids go to Ninja school. Seriously.
  • Naruto married Hinata (YAY!) and have a boy named Bolt.
  • Sasuke married Sakura (Yay?) and have a girl named Sarada.
  • Shikamaru married Temari and have a boy named Shikadai
  • Lee married…I have no idea who, and has a kid named…okay, they don’t reveal that one either.
  • Okay, there are a bunch of pairings that I’m sure one could find on the interwebs if he / she wanted. Moving on…
  • Kakashi retired from being Hokage, and meets up with Might Guy, who appears to be confined in a wheelchair.
  • Kakashi naturally named Naruto to be his successor. So Naruto has achieved his dream of becoming Hokage, specifically the seventh Hokage. Think of it like the 7th President, though I suppose without elections.
  • So in this village, the leadership’s faces are etched into the mountainside. Think Mount Rushmore.
  • In a callback to the first chapter, Bolt paints on the faces on the mountainside for attention.
  • In a nice nod to his peer, Bolt painted the One Piece symbol on Statue Naruto face’s giant headband.
  • Bolt is being mischievous because his dad can’t give him the attention he got previously now that he has so many more responsibilities being Hokage. Naruto tries to get Bolt to understand where he’s coming from.
  • Naruto meets with the other kage (leaders) from the other main villages to end the manga.
  • We see the nine-tailed fox (named Kurama) is still sleeping inside Naruto. It’s unclear if between this time and this time skip if Kurama ever woke up at all. He could just be taking a nap.

Final thoughts:

All good things come to an end, as the saying goes. Naruto was an enjoyable manga for me that I believe started in 1999, so that’s a decade-and-a-half for Kishimoto on this project. Manga creators can spend an enormous amount of time on their creations, and it’s nice to see that Kishimoto had the opportunity to end it the way he wanted. Oftentimes in entertainment, whether it be movies, television, that opportunity isn’t always there. Sometimes television shows end abruptly. Other times they jump the shark and overstay their welcome. Sometimes a movie franchise ends on a horrible note, but there’s no sequel that gives a satisfying conclusion.

For me personally, the Naruto manga ended at a good time, with a satisfying conclusion. On the other hand, due to all the filler episodes, the Naruto anime at times feels like it’s currently overstaying its welcome, even though I still stick with it, unless it’s a filler episode / arc, in which case I ignore it completely. But I digress; like all serialized entertainment, the manga had its bumps in the road on the way to the end, but that’s okay. That’s the way it should be, in my opinion.

I’m not sure where Kishimoto goes next but like everyone on the planet, I hope he’s happy and healthy doing what he loves and is inspired in whatever art he produces.

Wisdom I Learned From a Kid’s Show

No matter what’s in your past, you can find a new path and move forward. Don’t give up. People can change. You can transform and find a whole new self. If you can’t forgive who you are now, then become someone different. Change yourself.

– Wisdom from the final conversation between Kouta Kazuraba and Takatora Kureshima, from Kamen Rider Gaim