OK, so I should probably start this off by admitting that I basically know nothing about DC Comics. I mean, I’ve read some old Batman, Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, and a lot of Vertigo imprint stuff. Fans who can keep up with the crossover events and retcons of both DC and Marvel never fail to impress me, but I’m just not that good. I can barely keep up with one, and for whatever reason that has been Marvel.
AND YET — I love watching The Flash. Not love as in “Gee this is an amazing, quality show that deserves all the awards,” but love as in “Gosh this is (usually) a fun, silly diversion and the cast is fucking stacked with charm.” Luckily this season has brought back the fun, in an obvious and ham-fisted way that is still welcome. No more Emo Barry! Cisco’s hair looks great! Even the crankiest Harry is back, being super cranky!
All of which is a longwinded way of saying I don’t know who the fuck Amunet Black/ “Blacksmith” is supposed to be, but she just showed up on this week’s episode — and she’s played by Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff (STARBUCK 4EVA). I never really know much about the villains on these shows, or the heroes for that matter. I mean, Reverse Flash was pretty self-explanatory. Still don’t really understand Savitar. But this Amunet person is confusing as hell, and I’m completely obsessed.
Sackhoff transforms her megawatt smile into a Joker-esque grin, painted in deep purple. She’s also got the English accent of a kid from Ohio playing Bert the Chimney Sweep in a high school production of Mary Poppins. I don’t mean that in a bad way. The whole thing, from the shoulder pads to the hair braids to every goddamn word she says, is the best kind of campy, over-the-top cheese. Take a look:
Pitting her against the chilly (sorry) Killer Frost/Caitlin is genius. Amunet’s aggressively cheerful demeanor, tempered with acid, plays well with Frost’s dangerous purr. Apparently Amunet runs some sort of underground, illegal syndicate — drugs, presumably other things — and Frost was her enforcer. By the end of the episode, I found myself agreeing with Amunet: Those two ladies really COULD have run the town if they’d just worked together! And I would watch the hell out of that show!
Lest you think that Sackhoff was portraying any ol’ criminal mastermind with killer fashion sense, it turns out that Amunet also has superpowers. You see, she carries around a bucket (OF DOOM! A BUCKET OF DOOM!) full of metal shards, that she controls with her mind. Or magnetically. Mind-magnets? I dunno, but her power move is to draw those metal bits to her fist like a gauntlet, then redirect and control them at will — including firing them like projectiles. I googled her character, and it seems like her powers were a little more complex in the comics, but for now she comes off as a fun, unimaginative Magneto.
The episode had A LOT going on, in addition to Vamp Starbuck. [SPOILER ALERT] Barry got wasted at his bachelor party, then ended up puking in a jail cell. Caitlin’s criminal dealings ruin Iris’ bachelorette party, but in true #feminism fashion the ladies decide to band together and help take down Amunet without any of the guys. Literally, they say “hashtag feminism” at one point. It would have been eye-rolly but Felicity came into town to join the fun and somehow she makes everything ok. It’s touch and go for a bit, but in the end the women beat Amunet with… a bigger magnet. I can’t wait for her to come back to exact revenge for that little insult!
This episode, like the rest of the season, is full of poor decisions that are handled with such glee and forward momentum that they don’t feel frustrating (unlike past seasons). The writers seem to have finally struck the right balance between having their characters make mistakes (necessary for drama and conflict) while also having them, you know, LEARN FROM THEIR MISTAKES. By the end of the episode, when a hungover Barry reunites with a somehow-didn’t-die Iris, the pair seem like they’re going to repeat their history of never telling each other the goddamn truth and hide the ordeals they both went through. And then… they do share their rough nights.
I’ve never been so happy to see two characters just fucking talk to one another, but welcome to The Flash Season 4!