Cisco finally suited up as Vibe in The Flash Season 3 Episode 11, "Dead or Alive", and his first official outing as a superhero was well worth the wait. As "Collector" Gypsy hopped over from Earth-19 to arrest HR Wells, Cisco and the rest of Team Flash stepped up to the plate to help their hapless buddy. This was one of the strongest episodes of the season yet, with a welcome return to form from Cisco — who's been rather melancholy this season, still mourning the death of his brother.
In the meantime, Julian proved his worth as the newest Team Flash recruit, and his advice was invaluable to Cisco in his final battle with Vibe. Now all Julian's gotta do is work on those interpersonal skills.
"Dead or Alive" was also a really interesting episode for Iris, as we caught a rare glimpse of her life as a reporter. This is one of The Flash's most underused plot points, as poor Iris is usually just there as Barry's moral support. This week however, her apparently inevitable death at the hands of Savitar spurred Iris on to create some kind of journalistic legacy for her to leave behind, resulting in one of this season's most interesting sub plots. Here's hoping we get to see more from Reporter Iris this season, and who knows — maybe she really will win that Pulitzer!
And of course, an episode of The Flash would not be complete without a generous helping of Easter Eggs and pop culture references. So without further ado, let's count them out.
Oh, The Other Avengers
Julian seemed to be pretty unimpressed with Flash and Kid Flash at the beginning of the episode, asking Cisco: "are all your Avengers this disorganized?"
The #Arrowverse already referenced Marvel's mightiest heroes in the "Invasion!" crossover, but it seems this particular reference was to the 1960s British spy-caper show The Avengers — Cisco replied "there is method to my madness" in an English accent.
The Electric Gang Strikes Again!
Remember the incorrigible Electric Gang from the DC Comics? No? Neither did I. But it turns out that gang at the beginning of the episode come straight from the pages of The Flash Issue 242, published in 1976.
It's nice to know that, when searching for a few disposable villains to whet our appetite this episode, the writers still used some from the DC source material. Now that's dedication to the genre.
Cisco Would Make A Great High Elf
In possibly my favorite of Cisco's nerdy references, he channelled Lord of the Rings' Arwen when defending HR from Gypsy.
"You want him, you're going to have to come and claim him."
This line comes straight from the movie The Fellowship of the Ring, in a fantastic sequence that was subtly altered from how it happens in the book — in the movie, Arwen gets a badass entrance when she saves the Hobbits from the Nazgul, but in the book she doesn't appear until the Hobbits reach Rivendell. I prefer the movie version.
Vibe Suits Up
Cisco's awesome superhero suit was appropriately reminiscent of the one his comic book counterpart wore in the short-lived New 52 comic Vibe.
With the same colors and textures, this is some nice work on the part of costume designer Maya Mani. Oh, and as Cisco dons the Vibe suit, we're one step closer to that future-vision he had of battling Killer Frost...
"Let's turn this up to eleven!"
Gypsy and Cisco continued to flirt even during their battle, and before she took them fighting through different dimensions — in a sequence reminiscent of Thor 2: The Dark World — Gypsy referenced the movie This Is Spinal Tap. As if Cisco didn't have enough favorite movies, it turns out this is also his favorite movie!
Further proof that Gypsy and Cisco definitely need to date like, yesterday.
She Has The Higher Ground
Ok, this isn't an Easter Egg so much as a missed opportunity for a really great reference, but whatever. After jumping through Earth-2, and Supergirl's Earth-38, Cisco and Gypsy land on a volcanic, possibly post-apocalyptic version of Earth.
DenOfGeek thinks this might just be the Earth-AD of DC's Kamandi, The Last Boy On Earth — but personally, I'm just disappointed Cisco didn't quote Obi Wan Kenobi in Revenge of the Sith, because this location screamed Mustafar. I guess the writers choked on their ambition, huh.
Tell us in the comments: Did you spot any more Easter Eggs?