Sunday, March 13, 2022

The Flash 8x06 Review: “Impulsive Excessive Disorder” (More Time Trouble) [Contributor: Deborah M]

“Impulsive Excessive Disorder”
Original Airdate: March 9, 2022

Welcome back from the long hiatus, The Flash fans! The show’s on a new night, we’re in a new year, but the speedster hijinks remain the same. Well... mostly the same. We’ve got some second-generation speedster hijinks this week, but in a show where people regularly travel through time despite established reasons why traveling through time is a bad idea, second-generation speedstering isn’t exactly new.


The episode opens with a flashback to Barry and Iris’s vow renewal at the end of last season. Bart and Nora apparently stuck around to chat with their parents a bit and make jokes about accidentally changing the timeline via the Allen family curse of never learning that time travel has consequences. Barry assures them that he checked with Gideon and the timeline’s fine, but I’ve read the plot synopsis on this episode so I know that is false.

Bart and Nora also learn that that is false when they return to 2049 and are hit with a temporal wave that changes various things around them, including bringing their “Uncle Jay” back from the dead. Instead of being a dead inspiration for Bart’s journey as a hero, Jay Garrick happily wanders into their apartment carrying cheeseburgers.

Jay is understandably confused as to why Bart and Nora are acting so weird and asking about stuff they should already know, but then he undercuts that by clumsily recapping even more events they should already know. He gets a message from “Aunt Rose,” and — rather than learning and playing along — Bart and Nora question him, since their original timeline had an “Aunt Joan” instead.

The speedster siblings visit the Flash Museum and Nora theorizes some technobabble about tachyons and the cosmic treadmill as an explanation for how they ended up changing their timeline. I guess the Flash Museum just has personal data about everyone tangentially related to the Flash, because Nora clicks a couple things at a console in the middle of the museum and learns that their Uncle Jay never married Joan — as a matter of fact, she no longer exists. I’m sure I would be very sad if I could remember who Joan was.

Nora methodically goes through the archives to figure out where the timeline split and decides it was Joe getting shot in a jewelry store robbery in 2013. Naturally, this means going back to 2013. You know, because the solution to time travel consequences is to time travel even harder. Duh-doy.

Landing in 2013 CCPD, they’re approached by Eddie Thawne. Hey, I remember that guy! They pretend to be interns, so Eddie tells them to get him and the rest of the bullpen some coffee and just hands over his credit card to two complete strangers. He also doesn’t tell them how many coffees to buy, or what varieties of coffee to buy. This is not the best way to get coffee, bud.

While gesturing wildly in the line for coffee, Bart knocks some papers out of the hands of the person behind him and, as he’s helping pick them up, notices the documents are all about quantum theory. Bart and the woman — Avery (probably Avery Ho, another DC speedster) — make brief googly eyes at each other before getting into a conversation about time travel. Then Nora’s gauntlet beeps that it’s time for Joe to get shot, so they say goodbye to Avery and run off to save their grandpa.

I guess Nora and Bart are a lot faster than Barry, because they have time to get into an argument about how to save Joe after the bullet is accidentally fired by the inept jewelry store robber. Bart gets impatient again and just nudges Joe slightly out of the path of the bullet, which seems smart to me but for some reason it causes more temporal fluctuations or whatever because he should’ve moved the bullet instead. How? Why? Will time travel in this show ever make sense, or will it continue to throw more ludicrous plot contrivances at us?

When Bart suggests going back fifteen minutes to stop the mistake he made while saving Joe, Nora mocks the idea of traveling back in time to solve their time travel screw-ups like that isn’t literally what they’ve just done. I desperately need this show to stop with the time travel plots if they’re not going to establish how things work and stick to it. At this point, the writers are basically that kid on the playground who changes the rules of the game according to whatever will allow him to win. Hey, writers: everyone hated that kid!

Nora and Bart run into Eddie again and try to get the flash drive with surveillance footage of the robbery incident so they can figure out where they went wrong, only to be rebuffed and told to make another coffee run because Eddie isn’t currently holding his “decaf cappuccino.” Okay, one: you never told them your coffee order in the first place, Eddie, and two: what cop orders decaf? Be a better cop stereotype, Eddie Thawne.

Using the coffee she’s finally gotten everyone at CCPD as a distraction, Nora swipes the flash drive off Joe’s desk and reviews it on a computer in Barry’s lab. She and Bart spot Mona Taylor/”Queen” of the Royal Flush Gang in the background and surmise that the RFG has been established ahead of schedule. Then they realize Mona got the idea to form the RFG early because she overheard the two of them at the scene of the robbery, and now the gang’s early debut casino heist will lead to 30 people dying. Bart is panicking, saying that “[Barry] would’ve gotten it right the first time,” and oh. Oh, no, no, my child. He would not have. Your papa’s inept.

Bart feels dejected about screwing up and has a bit of a cry before running off to talk to his comatose dad. Nora tries comforting her sad brother with a pep talk and, once he feels better, they go to chat with Avery since she’s a time travel expert. I wouldn’t call someone who still believes time travel is purely theoretical an expert, but you do you. They want Avery to give them advice on how to change things without actually affecting the timeline.

When Nora shows Avery the future news article about the casino heist, the death toll keeps changing. Avery explains via technobabble that this is because the casino heist is a fixed point in time, but the deaths are not — so while Bart and Nora can’t stop the heist, they can stop people from dying.

The Royal Flushes arrive at the casino and perform some boring posturing. The RFG has planted a bomb that’ll go off at midnight. While Nora looks for the bomb, Bart starts super-speeding people out of the casino, which seems like it should be a lot more conspicuous and timeline-altering than anything these two have done so far. “King” notices the missing people and Bart is forced to think on his feet, impersonating the casino manager to convince the gang to let hostages go. Mona tries reading Bart’s mind to see if he’s a cop (why would it matter?) but Bart clouds the reading with thoughts about his crush on Avery.

Nora finds the bomb, but it’s too small to be the only one. It has about 30 seconds left, but Nora still stops to fully explain why it took her so long to find the bomb, which is slightly infuriating. Nora eventually finds all the bombs and runs them out of the building as Bart counts down to midnight, then she tosses them into the air and they explode into fireworks. I guess the Royal Flush Gang wanted their mass murder to be pretty?

After the heist, Joe and Eddie are going over the events and the witness testimony that they were “streaked” out of the building. Again, this seems like it should cause a lot more issues with the timeline. Iris and Eddie meet, beginning their early-seasons romance right here in season eight. Cecile and Joe have a nice interaction to usher in their eventual romance, too. Also, we get the CCPD photo with Bart and Nora in it that was teased at the end of the last episode.

Before returning to the future, Bart shares a kiss with Avery and promises to see her again. This is questionable, Bart, since she’d be around your parents’ ages if you stayed in the correct timeline. Then again, Avery is a time travel expert so maybe she’ll just move to the future. When Bart and Nora return to 2049, Jay is still alive but so is Joan so I guess the timeline is fixed. I’m going to stop trying to understand it.

Aaaand back in the present, the extended Team Flash family is going to brunch. We learn Frost is still dating the horribly-named Chillblaine, Caitlin is dating someone named Marcus, and their brunch reservation is actually in Paris. Barry can zip that many people to Paris? How? Like, physically how? The man might have super speed, but he only has two hands.

Final shot: the brush Iris was using and left on the couch disappears in green sparkles. Dun dun dun!

Other Things:

  • The writers are starting to get so clever with episode titles that it leaves me nothing for my jokey parenthetical subtitles.
  • “This is why dad has time travel rules!” Nora exclaims, as if Barry Allen has ever followed any rules regarding time travel.
  • I don’t remember Eddie being so charmingly awkward in the first couple seasons, but he’s pretty charmingly awkward in this episode.
  • It’s really weird Avery calls Nora’s gauntlet a “gauntlet.” Anyone who had no idea what it was would probably just call it a wristband.


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