What I Watched Today: The Flash (episode 5) & Lucha Underground (episodes 1 & 2)

The Flash:

TheFlashLogo

The big question Barry Allen posits at both the beginning and the end of this episode of the The Flash was about why certain people enter other people’s lives and why some friendships last a lifetime while others do not. I think there was actually a much bigger theme to the episode than that, and that was the theme of beginnings and endings (as I kind of mentioned in the first sentence already).

So, beginnings and endings. Obviously the first instance is the big question about relationships being posed at the beginning and the end of the episode, but that was far from the only instance of the them throughout the episode. The next best instance would be the metahuman-of-the-week/primary focus of this week’s narrative, Plastique. Yes, Plastique. Not a huge character from DC Comics and not one I know a whole lot about (most my knowledge comes from the current Futures End series) but she still makes for an interesting guest star all the same. The most important thing to note about her is that she’s not actually the bad guy, which makes her the first metahuman the series has introduced so far (other than Barry obviously) who isn’t focused on criminal acts. That means while she’s there she gets to play friend to Barry, (SPOILER) which is why it hurts him so much when she dies. And what a death it was as you can see below. But that leaves the position of villain-of-the-week open for General Eiling, official representative of evil military figures for the series who when the reactor blew in episode one went from just overseeing sketchy genetic experiments to attempting to exploit metahumans (Plastique being the first). While I wasn’t overly thrilled with his role in the episode, but I’m sure he’ll be back with some far more interesting villainy. And the last example of beginnings and endings goes to Iris West. Through conversation between Barry and Detective West we get a glimpse at the beginning of Barry’s love for Iris and we get the start of a relationship between iris and the Flash. In the end though, we’re left with the apparent, and heartbreaking, end of iris and Barry’s friendship. While I’m sure they aren’t done, that was still pretty crushing, and a perfect excuse for them to go back to Barry’s inability to get drunk which they explored earlier in the episode.

None of this is the most important part of the episode. No, without question, that distinction goes to Grodd! Yes! We get more Grodd this episode! It’s not a lot to be sure, but it was enough to actually make me confident that they are legitimately planning on using Grodd as a villain at some point, which is amazing! I’m still not sure it’ll be this season, but the knowledge that the plan is there is enough. Runner-up for most important, another step forward for Harrison wells’ villainy as he was, in his way, the driving factor behind Plastique’s death, and played an important role in the Grodd scene as well. Whatever this series is building towards, I’m definitely getting excited for it (which is rough cause it’s still really early in the season).

TheFlashEpisode5

Lucha Underground:

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Not so long ago I sat here and talked about my long time love for professional wrestling and some of the “credentials” or history of that love. Well, it appears now there may be a new entrant into that love, and it goes by the name of Lucha Underground. I hesitate to call this a knew wrestling promotion in the same wein as WWE, ROH and TNA because I’m not certain that’s exactly what it is.

The base line on Lucha Underground is that is a series executive produced by Mark Burnett (of Survivor fame) and airs on Robert Rodriguez’s (director of the “Mexico Trilogy” El Rey Network. My understanding is that they currently have no live events in the tradition of other wrestling promotions, instead only doing TV tapings. All that is why I hesitate to call this a new wrestling promotion, as it is definitely something outside the ordinary. the reason I checked out the first two episodes though is because in looking around the internet for wrestling news, I heard about the involvement of guys such as Chavo Guerrero, Jr, Konnan, Vampiro and John Morrison (now Johnny Mundo), and the future involvement of Alberto Del Rio. That sounds like a pretty good lineup of guys to me, so it got my attention. And let me tell you, once you start watching Lucha Underground, it definitely does not feel like any wrestling show that you’ve ever watched. The best comparisons I can make are to a show like WMAC Masters or a cartoon like Ultimate Muscle, or maybe something like a Rocky movie. Yes, there are matches like any other wrestling show, but with much more dynamic camera work. And outside the matches, the backstage scenes that the show presents are more akin to something you would see in, well, a Robert Rodriguez movie, than to what you see every week on WWE programming.

The matches themselves, particularly the Johnny Mundo vs. Prince Puma match on the first episode is certainly entertaining, and have the potential to maintain a high-level of quality, but that isn’t the real focus here. Lucha Underground seems like it’s going to be all about the narrative. These guys are there to tell stories, the wrestling is just the medium for those stories. I definitely find that to be a very intriguing idea. I would be remiss though to not mention another unique aspect of Lucha Underground. They have no qualms with putting men in matches against women. Personally, I don’t really have a problem with the general idea there. I already know it’s choreographed and pre-determined, I can suspend my disbelief a little bit further. The bigger issue is that I think this matches (so far anyway) have been a downgrade in quality for the matches. But when they can put together one of these intergender matches that is as good as any other “Match of the Year,” contender, then any real wrestling fan will more than happy to stand behind the concept, I know I certainly will.

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