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Friday, June 24, 2022

The Flash 8x18 Review: "The Man in the Yellow Tie" (A New-Old Thawne) [Contributor: Deborah M]

“The Man in the Yellow Tie”
Original Airdate: June 15, 2022

This week on The Flash, we have all the telltale signs of an approaching season finale: ramping up the stakes! Surprising guest appearances! More instances of closed captioning-dubbed “dramatic  music” than you can shake a stick at! It’s also so haphazard with its dangling plot threads that I get the impression the writers took a look at everything they had left to explain, then the number of episodes they had left to explain it all in, and just started throwing things at the wall. How has this show been going on for eight freaking seasons and it still has trouble with pacing? Is it a meta-irony because it revolves around speed?


The episode begins with a voiceover from the newly-introduced Meena Dhawan, who’s running through the woods as part of a training exercise with Barry. As I brought up during last episode’s review, for some reason artificial speed is no longer considered a bad thing, even though it’s been likened to a drug or something all-around dehumanizing, like the Velocity serums or the Artificial Speed Force that made Barry think so fast he forgot emotions. Instead, Barry instantly trusts Meena and is enthusiastic about her project creating fake super speed.

While running, Meena accidentally hits Barry with lightning that makes his own speed-lightning go haywire. Curious about this odd effect of artificial speed on his “natural” speed, Barry decides to pay a visit to Meena’s lab as Barry Allen so he can see the actual device she’s using to create her speed. I’m not sure what logic made Barry visit as Scientist Barry Allen, Friend of the Flash instead of just visiting as the Flash, but since he doesn’t disguise his voice or mannerisms around Meena in any way I’m just going to use it as more evidence that his secret identity is a joke and everyone’s playing along. Because... seriously. There is no way Meena doesn’t recognize Barry.

Speaking of recognizing: Meena’s lab partner is Eobard Thawne, Original Recipe! Holy crap, that means the show did remember that Thawne used to have a face that wasn’t Tom Cavanagh’s face. This raises so many questions. Actually, it mostly raises a single question and that question is “Why did Eobard Thawne keep Tom Cavanagh’s face for hundreds of years?”

Anyway, Barry confronts Thawne, whose convenient case of amnesia means he genuinely doesn’t know what Barry is talking so angrily at him about. I know the show needs to give Barry one fatal flaw and they’ve decided his blind hatred of everything associated with Thawne is it, but do they have to make every interaction he has with him so riddled with secondhand embarrassment? Barry is the dumbest man alive when he’s angry, which means I have to cringe my way through him yelling at two Eobard Thawne faces this week.

Because, yes, Barry goes to see the Tom Cavanagh Thawne, still in jail on Lian Yu, and accuses him of both getting his speed back and changing his face. Amidst all the accusations, Barry figures out that the currently-jailed Thawne had his timeline erased, so the other Thawne must be from a different timeline entirely. This Thawne does recognize the device that Meena and Other-Thawne created together, though, and the reason why interaction between Meena and Barry’s powers was so strange was because Meena taps into the Negative Speed Force with it.

The Negative Speed Force is bad news because it changes the personality of the people connected to it. As previously mentioned, Barry is the dumbest man alive when he’s angry so of course he confronts Original Recipe Thawne and accuses him of wanting to turn Meena into a villain. This cascades into a self-fulfilling prophecy, because Meena sees Barry threatening Thawne and her anger activates the machine, turning her into a villain. Excellent work, Barry! Why are you only ever cool and collected when it makes no sense? When you're dealing with proven murderers you're all "let's forgive and forget and we can all go home happy" but throw a Thawne into the equation and you lose all sense of strategy. 

I feel like there’s an ever-so-slight implication that Evil Thawne’s ongoing issues with being evil might be connected to his use of the Negative Speed Force, because when Meena is under its influence she has some of the same characteristics as Thawne does: not just glowing red eyes, but also a thirst for speed and a fixation on killing Barry. I don’t know if this is intentional or not.

Meena’s run as a villain doesn’t last long. As it turns out, she and Eobard are in love and he sacrificed his dream of being a speedster superhero in order to save her life. When Barry hears Eobard’s story and listens to him beg for him to save Meena, he realizes that this Eobard Thawne is not like the other Eobard Thawne at all.

In the confrontation with Meena, who’s trying to absorb energy from a large dam that would then collapse and kill a lot of people, Eobard uses the Power of Love (a The Flash staple) to drag Meena out of her villainous mindset. Later, when the day is saved and Meena laments not being able to work on her super speed without turning into a villain, Barry revisits the concept of love as a “lightning rod” for speedsters and suggests the two of them use their connection to ground Meena. Sounds like a pretty risky plan, Barry, but okay.


John Diggle shows up in this episode in maybe the most bizarrely critical but pointless little plot I’ve ever seen on this show. The starting premise is that the Arrowverse has been hinting at Diggle becoming the Green Lantern for ages now, to the point where it seemed like a foregone conclusion that it would happen as soon as he found a glowing green box from outer space.

That glowing green box is what brings him into this episode. He wants the Eobard Thawne on Lian Yu to tell him how to open it before it drives him insane and even further away from his family. Thawne succeeds in getting him to open the box, but Diggle throws it away and rejects the opportunity to become the Green Lantern, thus unraveling the hints and foreshadowing the CW DC universe has been threading throughout shows. Not that Diggle’s reasoning for rejecting the ring in favor of staying with his family wasn’t sound, but it’s very weird to see such a meticulously planted plotline thrown away like that.

Also, Diggle opening the box around Thawne turns out to be the thing necessary for Deon (who’s now evil, maybe?) to find him, which is so incredibly convenient for the wrap-up storyline of this season that I have to assume it was a last-minute addition before the writers started their hiatus. Like... wow. Either way, it’s unclear what Deon wants Thawne for — Thawne is special because he has no timeline, and the only thing Deon says is that it’s time for him to complete his “destiny.” 

Other Things:

  • Third plot of the episode: Cecile’s empath powers are now an offensive weapon and she’s seen superheroing (in a close facsimile of a costume) alone at the end of the episode.
  • I can’t help noticing that Meena’s odd black-glow speedster electricity is very similar to the black-glow flames of Deathstorm. Reusing some favorite special effects settings, there, The Flash?
  • Wait, the show also remembered Time Wraiths exist? So are those guys just on coffee breaks whenever Barry and his family members tinker with time?

Saturday, June 11, 2022

7th Annual Golden Trio Awards — SPECIAL CATEGORY NOMINEES!

Who's ready for some very special awards? We've got a few for you to choose from this year, so whether you're swooning over your OTP or celebrating a new favorite television show, be sure to cast your votes in our Special Category below!

And vote for your favorite COMEDY and DRAMA categories too! 





7th Annual Golden Trio Awards — DRAMA NOMINEES!

Welcome to the category that always brings the drama. That's right, it's time for you to vote for your favorite series and performers who made a dramatic impact on you this year! Remember that the top three winners will be chosen next week. And whether it's a period drama, a psychological thriller, or a family drama, these shows brought you all the stress (and tears) this year. 

And be sure to vote in our COMEDY and SPECIAL CATEGORY posts too!






7th Annual Golden Trio Awards — COMEDY NOMINEES!

Welcome to the Comedy category of our Golden Trio Awards!

But for now, be sure to vote for your favorite shows and performers in each of these categories. We gave a lot of love to Mythic Quest and Ted Lasso last year, so you won't see them represented this year. What you will see, however, is a ton of new comedies! So whether you're laughing along with an elementary school crew of teachers, off in your own musical alternate reality, or trying to solve a whodunnit, these shows and performers brought joy this year.

And don't forget to vote in our DRAMA and SPECIAL CATEGORY posts too!






Welcome to Your 7th Annual Golden Trio Awards!

WELCOME to the 7th Annual Just About Write Golden Trio Awards! 

We are back and ready to reward some of our favorite shows and performers that the "real" awards shows may not. Are you?

You're probably wondering exactly what these award are, and why this is so important to us. Our Golden Trio Awards are named after that famous BFF trio, so that means we actually give away three awards in each category! It's your job to narrow those winners down from the six nominees we've created. (Gold is awarded to the most votes, silver to the next, and bronze to the third highest.)

To give you a bit of a background, my friend and editor Chels is going to explain the Twitter game (see: obsession) that she created a few years ago that has inspired these awards. We run through this every year, but if you're new around here or to the awards, here's a bit of a refresher course!:

So in July 2013 I started this little thing called #Top3 on my Twitter and personal blog as a small scheme to figure out somebody's favorite movie. It quickly escalated into a five-day-a-week competition game with winners and wonderful bragging rights. I'd give people a random Film or TV category and they would respond with their #Top3 choices for the category. No more, no less, and you had to have #RUTHLESSNESS when making your picks. There were three winners because some things just do not compare.   

My Top 3 films (To Kill a Mockingbird, Beauty and the Beast, Lost in Translation), for instance, have nothing in common writing, editing, or directing wise other than the fact that they are films. Honoring multiple pieces shows just how rich we are in quality content. I did this game for about six months before I grew tired of it, but at least once a week since the game ended I've had at least one person ask if I would ever bring it back. It was a fun way to talk about pop culture and get people interested in things they may not have seen.   

I brought the idea of bringing back the game to Jenn a few weeks ago after the Emmy nominations and we brainstormed a way to bring it back in a more self-contained format. We asked all the lovely ladies of this site to fill out their top choices for each category, then Jenn and I compiled all the ballots before narrowing down each category to seven. The overlap in the ballots helped us narrow down and we ruthlessly managed to cut down the rest until we represented as many shows as we could. #Top3 for me was always about showcasing as much great content as possible with all the winners.   

I owe Jenn and the entire Just About Write team a big thank-you for helping me with this elaborate scheme and making me love the idea of #Top3 again. You ladies are amazing and I am proud to be working with you.   

Back to you, Jenn!

When Chels approached me with the idea to combine #Top3 and an awards ceremony a few years ago, I was automatically on board. This year, we compiled nominations together as we always do and Chels and I managed to narrow down the nominations in each category! (Shocking, I know. It was hard!)

We're so excited to be doing this another year and that you all have responded so positively to it over the past few years. In the posts below, you'll be met with a few different ballots:




Comedy and Drama are pretty self-explanatory, but our Special Category ballots contain an awesome array of fandom-focused categories from OTP of the Year to Favorite Ensemble and more!

The nominations open today and polls will be closed at 8 a.m. ET on Saturday, June 18. By mid-week that week, I'll round up the top 3 people/shows with the most votes in each category and those will be your third annual Golden Trio Award winners!

Did I mention that we're excited? Because we are! Take time and fill out your ballots. You can vote as many times as you would like. Share on social media! But most importantly, have half as much fun voting in these as we did creating them! :)

Thursday, June 9, 2022

The Flash 8x17 Review: "Keep It Dark" (This Little Light) [Contributor: Deborah M]


“Keep It Dark”
Original Airdate: June 8, 2022

Welcome back from the little mini-hiatus, everyone! This week on The Flash, the show perpetuates the ridiculous notion that super speed is anything more than a neat gimmick and tries to convince us all that a new speedster in the city is a Really Big Deal. A lot more of the episode is dedicated to Allegra, who’s dealing with truth and her past and all kinds of thematic character-growing stuff that’s good for Allegra, but executed rather clumsily. Par for the course for this show, really.


At the Central City Citizen, Allegra is interim Editor in Chief and everyone seems cool with her except Taylor, the Office Mean Girl. Taylor wants to run an expose about the “light meta” seen with the Flash. I’m briefly confused because Allegra runs around maskless and costume-less, but then it’s revealed that Allegra obscures her face with light when she’s in the field. Fantastic retcon, The Flash! I would’ve loved to have been in the writers’ room when this “Allegra might get outed as a meta” plotline was pitched, outlined, and written up before the whole room collectively realized they forgot to give Allegra a secret identity in the first place.

Allegra gets a message from someone about “the Arañas” and meets with Lydia, the former-gang-member friend she wrote a story about earlier this season. Apparently, new management in the Arañas has taken the gang from the “petty theft” level of crime they were at when Allegra was a member to more murderous heights. Before their conversation is finished, someone else in the coffee shop where they’re meeting snaps a picture of the two of them together. That picture is delivered to Millie Rawlins and Kimiyo Hoshi, a.k.a. Sunshine and Dr. Light, who are now running the gang.

At the empty CCC offices, Allegra pitches the idea of having Lydia out the leaders of the Arañas in a live interview to her three lead reporters. They’re reluctant but agree, and Chester arrives to help with obscuring Lydia’s identity while she’s on air. It’s lucky for everyone, because before the interview happens they’re attacked by Sunshine and Dr. Light, and it’s only a “photo-kinetic energy shield” launched by Chester that keeps them all protected.

The shield is a temporary solution only meant to hold off enemies until help can be called. Unfortunately, Sunshine and Dr. Light have blocked communications. Allegra and Chester try to reassure everyone that they know what they’re doing and are capable of not being murdered by the Arañas without making it obvious that they’re part of Team Flash, which is probably difficult in a room full of investigative journalists.

Office Mean Girl Taylor is apparently also Office Sociopath Taylor, because she sees nothing wrong with turning Lydia over to save her own skin, knowing full well that Lydia would be killed. Lydia wants to sacrifice herself to save the others, but Chester and Allegra are determined to stop the Arañas without anyone getting hurt. While Chester talks to Lydia, the CCC employees get into a shouting match that ends with Taylor outing Allegra as a former member of the Arañas, which turns the others against Allegra.

Allegra realizes that lying about her past got everyone into trouble (not really; pretty sure the Arañas would’ve attacked whether your co-workers knew about you being in a gang or not, Allegra) so she’s adopting an all-honesty policy and decides to tell them she’s the light meta on Team Flash. 

The resulting united front comes just in time, since Sunshine and Dr. Light figure out a way to get through Chester’s shield. Allegra gets everyone else to safety before taking them on herself, getting shot with Dr. Light’s photon gun for her troubles. Since Allegra has light powers, she’s able to heal herself or suck out the photons from her wound or something? It’s unclear what was actually going on, but she doesn’t die and gets that cool full-body glow effect that I love to see on superheroes.

It turns out Allegra was just distracting the Arañas while the others went live with Lydia’s interview. Lydia decided not to hide her identity after all, names Millie Rawlins and Kimiyo Hoshi as the leaders of the Arañas, and for some reason this is enough to make the two murderers turn tail and run. Or, like… glow-teleport. Either way, the crisis is somehow averted and we later learn that the Arañas are totally financially crippled by this big reveal, Lydia and Allegra are completely safe now, and everything is cool. Murdering criminals with superpowers are still on the loose, people! I do not think this is the neat and tidy story bow you think it is.

Taylor and the other two CCC journalists whose names I haven’t bothered to learn promise to keep Allegra’s secret and have developed a renewed sense of journalistic integrity. Taylor even gets a special little chat with Allegra where she’s all thankful and happy and Allegra calls her a great investigative reporter. I guess we’re just supposed to forget that Taylor wanted to sacrifice a scared human being in order to save herself? Oh, okay, cool.


Earlier in the episode, Barry ran to the site of a fire at a science lab only to find the fire put out and all the scientists thankful for their speedster rescue. He realizes there must be a new speedster in town and, after investigating the scene of the fire and discovering a missing fancy battery, decides this speedster is a villain. Since Barry arrives at this conclusion not even a quarter of the way into the episode, we can assume it’s not correct. But it makes for a good excuse to go visit Eobard Thawne on his island prison of Lian Yu, so I guess it was necessary. From the show’s perspective, I mean. From my perspective, no appearance by Eobard Thawne is necessary.

On Lian Yu, Barry questions Thawne, decides he isn’t involved with the mystery speedster, but sticks around to have a vaguely threatening conversation with him anyway. Why does Barry always trap himself into conversing with this irritating whisper-talker when he should know better? Zip in, zip out, and forget about him, Barry. For the sake of my interest in this show, I am begging you to forget about him.

The weird obsession Thawne has with Barry could almost be an interesting, dark dynamic, but the core of it is so flimsy it falls flat. When you’ve revealed that the only reason why the villain passionately hates the hero is because said hero showed him up at a public event, the mythos has already been demolished. You cannot recover from that. Eobard Thawne, epic enemy through time and reality is gone; Eobard Thawne, whiny attention-seeking baby has taken his place. He isn’t scary, he isn’t enigmatic, and he isn’t compelling — he’s just pitiful and annoying and further interaction with him stops making sense.

Anyway, the vaguely threatening conversation with Thawne leads Barry to realize that the new speedster isn’t a villain (called it!), they’re just trying to figure out their powers. When the denouement recapping scene between Allegra, Chester, and Barry back at S.T.A.R. Labs toward the end of the episode is complete, Barry faces the new speedster with less of an antagonistic approach based on this realization.

After catching the mystery speedster returning the stolen battery to the lab, a cute little speedster-versus-speedster battle unfolds with Barry repeatedly trying to talk to the newbie and failing. Once it’s proven that he can’t be outrun, the speedster reveals herself as Dr. Meena Dhawan, a genius engineer who invented the Newton battery in the first place. She’s created an artificial speed source and wanted the battery to help power it, but she’s been having trouble getting the hang of her powers.

Barry offers to mentor Meena. Meena tells Barry that he “won’t regret this,” which is a sure sign that he will end up regretting this.

Other Things:

  • In his conversation with Joe, Barry lists off a ridiculous number of other speedsters we’ve known over the seasons, further proving my long-standing point that super speed isn’t that special and it makes no sense why so many characters are obsessed with it. 
  • Caitlin’s still upset after Barry destroyed her at-home lab. I don’t blame her, because I’m pretty sure Barry didn’t help her with the cleanup. Also, she’s taking a break from the team for a while.
  • I thought this show decided artificial speedster-ing was bad? Meena’s cool, though?

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

The Flash 8x16 Review: "The Curious Case of Bartholomew Allen" (Aging Ain’t Easy) [Contributor: Deborah M]

“The Curious Case of Bartholomew Allen”
Original Airdate: May 25, 2022

With this season consisting of episode after episode weighed down by death, grief, and general doom and gloom vibes, “The Curious Case of Bartholomew Allen” boasts more lighthearted moments... for a little bit, at least. Then it becomes about growing old and it’s right back to all that depressing stuff. I did end up putting some funny quotes in the “Other Things” section of this review, though! It feels like forever since I did that, which is really saying something because funny quotes in the bullets used to be a good chunk of my word count for reviews of this show. Ah, the times they have a-changed. Remember when I used to do cute puppy GIFs for every episode?


Barry races around the city, saving people from petty crimes and distracted drivers, all while Chester implores him over his earpiece to return to whatever fight the team is involved in. Of course, when all of Barry’s hero errands are run, it’s revealed that the fight was actually taking place in the Dungeons & Dragons game everyone — including a miserable-looking Joe — is playing. Joe’s grumpiness during his next turn ends the game for the night, which makes me wonder how the game progressed at all. Like, what did Joe do during his turns for the past few hours the game had clearly been going on?

After a heart-to-heart with Joe and a brief reminder to the audience that Iris is still stuck in another dimension or whatever, Barry gets a call from former police chief David Singh. Singh, visiting town for a bit, asks for Barry’s help stopping a gamma ray thief and Barry tracks the guy down in a matter of minutes, heading out to the docks to confront him. The thief has fully embraced his life as a comic book supervillain (Mad Scientist variety) and hits Barry with the newly-modified gamma ray.

Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry goes through some diagnostics and testing that conclude he’s been aged — internally, so far — about 30 years. He’s got arthritis and osteoporosis and his more advanced speedster powers, like phasing, no longer function. Chester says he could reverse the effects, but only if he can look at the machine that caused them.

Barry runs off to confront Dr. Villain again, and the guy looks significantly younger. Considering that he was wearing a watch that read “Energy Consumption Complete” when Barry got hit the first time, I’m connecting some dots here. Instead of hitting Barry with another gamma blast, Dr. Villain throws a fancy tech grenade at him and Barry fails every attempt to stop it because he’s just not fast enough anymore. Barry gets electrocuted into unconsciousness.

The next we see Barry, he’s at S.T.A.R. Labs and he can’t see. Well, he’s nearsighted now. Welcome to the club, Barry. Allegra also notices that Barry’s aging is no longer just internal, and he now has gray hair. Again, welcome to the club, Barry. Chester runs some more tests and declares that Barry has aged another ten years, then theorizes that the gamma radiation is activated by Barry’s Speed Force energy. He runs, he ages. The others insist Barry stop using his speed, but Barry continues to believe he’s the only one who can stop Dr. Villain.

We learn that Dr. Villain’s name is actually Dr. Pytor Orloff, which means I should probably stop calling him Dr. Villain. When devising a next plan of action, Barry forgets Orloff’s name, which prompts Cecile to tag along with him just in case more old person symptoms disrupt the investigation. While looking through files at Orloff’s former place of employment, Barry finds a laptop with a failsafe that will erase the data if he doesn’t get it to Chester for hacking. Cecile tries to get Barry to think of a plan that doesn’t include speeding to S.T.A.R. Labs but fails, which ends with Barry accidentally speeding the two of them to China instead.

Yet again, the next scene finds us in S.T.A.R. Labs. Look, I get chopping out the details of travel for the sake of time, but it’s a bit ridiculous how often Barry is just suddenly in S.T.A.R. Labs this episode. How many tries did it take for him and Cecile to get back from China? Whatever it was, if Barry uses the same amount of speed again, the gamma radiation could kill him. Barry wants to check the Starchives for info while Chester tries to hack into Orloff’s laptop and heads off.

Cecile later finds Barry wandering the halls and he confesses he forgot where he was going. She finally outright questions his stubbornness, which also parallels the B-plot with Joe and Singh this episode. Like Barry dealing with aging, Joe seems frustrated with retired life and getting old. Singh insists that Joe’s problem isn’t retirement, but being too set in his ways and refusing to embrace new ideas and experiences — like his grumpiness during the D&D campaign in the episode opener. 

Echoing Singh’s words to Joe about embracing changes, Cecile shares a touching story about her grandmother and then tells Barry that — despite his new aches and pains, his fading memory, and his worries about the future — he can’t outrun time. He can only embrace it. Pity all those speed-obsessed villains Barry has to deal with constantly can’t get that through their thick skulls. Anyway, I’m really glad the show decided against the usual path of putting an actor in old age makeup for a plot like this, because it would definitely distract from emotional moments like the one between Barry and Cecile here.

Chester breaks into said moment with the news that he’s cracked Orloff’s laptop and, as pretty much anyone would have figured out the moment they discovered an age ray, Orloff is trying to suck youth out of other people in order to stay young himself. They’ve also clued into the guy de-aging. Did I jump the gun on that? Was that not obvious when Barry confronted Orloff the second time? Anyway, if Orloff uses that amplifier he stole with his gamma ray, he’ll become immortal and Central City’s entire population will age hundreds of years and die.

Orloff starts up his machine and Barry plans to overload it with energy to stop it from sucking the life from everyone. It could potentially kill Barry and Cecile protests, but her earlier pep talk has inspired him and earned her a chance to deliver a “run, Barry, run.” Congrats, Cecile!

Through science fiction nonsense I refuse to understand, Barry runs fast enough (despite being biologically over a hundred years old) to overload the machine, regain his youth, and age Orloff in a single blast. In fact, when everyone is back at S.T.A.R. Labs again in the next scene (of course), Chester tells Barry that he’s technically 29 again. Wow. Throw some gamma rays at me, please. I liked being 29.

Cecile and Barry have another nice little moment, and then we get a flash-forward to one week later, where Captain Singh has joined the team for another D&D session. This time, having taken the lessons of the episode to heart, Joe has fully embraced tabletop gaming and even dons a nerdy costume. 

Unfortunately, as with any levity in this show these days, the fun is interrupted by doom and gloom. In this case, it’s Barry finding out about Caitlin’s Frankenstein plans and destroying her at-home laboratory.

Other Things:

  • Why do people constantly want to rob the Jitters coffee shop? How much money can they hope to gain from a coffee shop in 2022, when most people don’t use cash?
  • Barry about Kramer knowing he’s the Flash: “She figured it out on her own.” Singh: “Well, I figured it out first!” Barry, alarmed and reassuring: “You did.”
  • “Hey. You’re the bad guy, aren’t ya?” I really miss snark on The Flash.
  • They should’ve crazied Caitlin’s look up a bit for her appearance this episode. She’s gone off the mad scientist deep end but still finds time to ever so slightly curl her hair? Let mad scientist women have bedhead!