Welcome back to Flashcaps, where we review previous seasons of the CW’s The Flash.
After six months stuck in a pan-temporal extra dimension, I’ve returned to save the world. Or write more reviews of The Flash, one of the two. Let’s try the second one, see how that works out.
Spoilers under the cut.
Iris is in a bad place when we open the episode. While on the surface she’s holding Team Cisco – er, Team Kid Flash…no, let’s go with Team S.T.A.R. Labs – together, it’s obvious within the first ten minutes just how hurt she is by having to say goodbye to Barry. From punishing Wally for trying to bring a little levity, to stonewalling Cisco’s plan to bring Barry back, to even arguing with Joe about not having a funeral for Barry, she’s spent the last six months not coping with the trauma while still trying to fulfill her last promise to her husband. When Cisco goes behind her back, the pure anger she directs at him made me back up a bit. When Barry finally comes back from the Speed Force, the heartbreak on her face when he doesn’t recognize her…y’all, I’m beginning to suspect that Candice Patton may be good at the whole acting thing.
Cisco, on the other hand, is dealing with his trauma in a different way. He hasn’t given up hope that Barry can come back and has been working on a way to do it for the past six months. His confidence-bordering-on-arrogance that he can bring Barry back and not destroy the world, his crestfallen state when he thinks it didn’t work, and then his blowup at Iris just a few minutes later shows that while he’s maybe dealt with a little bit of the emotional damage he suffered, he still has an open emotional wound. The conflict between Cisco and Iris at the start of the episode is both riveting and heartbreaking, and I’m so glad it doesn’t last beyond this episode.
Plot-wise, this episode was good at reintroducing the audience to the series, showing them how much the Flash was needed. It’s clear now in hindsight that they were dropping hints for not just this season, but for Season Five (which I have seen) as well as the upcoming Crisis. Grant Gustin had his work cut out for him portraying Barry through most of this episode as basically suffering dementia, and he pulled it off nicely. In fact, if there was a slight stutter to this episode, it was his goofy, grinning everything’s-all-right-now attitude at the end. It felt a little forced, but maybe this is setting something up for later on this season.
Caitlin’s transformation and the Thinker are obviously being set up for answers later on, and I’m intrigued by these mysteries. The grumblings I’ve heard from friends about one of these arcs indicate that I might be disappointed with where it heads, but I’m going to give it a shot.
I’m also kinda disappointed by how badly Wally kept getting jobbed out in this episode. I know they wanted to make Barry seem strong, but it really kills any potential for Wally to be viewed as a successor to the Flash one day if he keeps making the same mistakes over and over…wait, I just remembered what show I’m watching. Never mind.
Anyway, next week is Episode 4×02. Except for the crossover stuff, I haven’t seen anything from this season, so I honestly don’t know what’s next. Should be fun.