Thursday, August 09, 2007

Live Action: "Tina, Is That You?"

“Tina, Is That You?” (February 14, 1991)

Writer: David L. Newman
Story: Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes, and David L. Newman
Director: William A. Fraker
Editor: Lawrence J. Gleason

Synopsis: Barry Allen is being tormented by recurring nightmares, dark dreams in which anxieties regarding his uncertain relationship with Tina McGee manifest themselves. When Tina tries to help him using a Star Labs experiment in bio-feedback, the content of Barry’s nightmares is accidentally transferred to her mind. Tina awakens as a different woman, a sinister version of herself, bitter and hell-bent on destroying Barry Allen. The Flash is thus forced to face-off against his friend and confidant as she threatens the city in her new role as the wicked leader of the all-girl Black Rose Gang!

Commentary: It’s difficult to take an adventure like this seriously. Everything in the unimaginatively titled “Tina, Is That You?” is a tad too ridiculous, from the over-the-top dream sequence that opens the episode to the scientifically absurd premise to the loose, sloppy characterization. The plot seems little more than a joke spun from the fact that The Flash’s writers have been prolonging the forced romantic tension between their lead characters for more than a dozen episodes. The angst that is implied to exist between Tina and Barry isn’t any more believable here than it was at the start of the series, however. Appropriately enough, this installment was first broadcast on Valentine’s Day. (This may explain the last-minute shift in the show’s broadcast order. A distinct reference to the events of this episode can be heard in “The Trickster,” an episode that was filmed later but broadcast prior to “Tina, Is That You?”) Amanda Pays is granted the opportunity to play Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde--both a good and an evil Dr. Tina McGee--and she does a decent job with both roles in spite of the script. Unfortunately, the Black Rose Gang she comes to lead is a weak, underdeveloped cliché. Guest stars Courtney Gebhart and Denise Dillard, who serve as Tina’s embittered henchwomen, aren’t given much to work with. It would have been nice to see their roles expanded, to see the Black Rose Gang take on further dimension. As it stands, this story is no stunning testament to feminism. This is also one of those tales in which the Central City police are implied to be embarrassingly inept. “Tina, Is That You?” is one of the sillier installments of the series, and that’s saying something in the wake of “The Trickster.”

High-Speed Highlight: Using the blade from an exhaust fan and a rod of scrap metal, the Flash creates a high-speed saw in order to slice his way out of a makeshift gas chamber engineered by Tina and the Black Rose Gang.

Quotable: “You need me. Together we can tear this city apart… Work with me and you never need worry about [the Flash] again... I can do anything I want to him. I can speed him up, I can slow him down. I can let him live, or I can make him die!” --Tina McGee takes leadership of the Black Rose Gang

1 comment:

Simon DelMonte's Escape Hatch said...

This episode was shown out of order because it was pre-empted due to coverage of the first war with Iraq. Some have suggested that the spurt of interrupted and pre-empted shows that accompanying that war only served to hurt the weak ratings.

In addition, "Good Night, Central City" was not aired in its entirety in the East and Midwest due to news that Pres. George HW Bush had briefly come down ill (I think). Clearly Barry had no luck with reality.