Welcome back to Flashcaps, where we review previous seasons of the CW’s The Flash.
written by George Hatch
The season tries to go out with a bang, but ends with a dull thud instead.
Spoilers under the cut.
The Plot: With the Thinker’s plan for Enlightenment begun, Team Flash must somehow defeat the Thinker and shut down the satellites in order to prevent all of humanity from becoming the intellectual equals of that one internet commenter who replies “First!” on every post. To do that, they use
Metron’sthe Thinker’s chair in tandem with Cecille’s telepathy to beam Barry’s consciousness into the Thinker’s mind, hoping Barry can find what little good is left in Clifford. Barry ends up finding not Clifford, but Ralph, who is still alive for some reason. They track down the good that was in DeVoe, but find it has been killed. Barry and Ralph fight their way out of DeVoe’s mind, which gives Ralph control of his body again.
However, the Thinker had a backup plan to destroy the S.T.A.R. Labs satellite and send it hurtling towards Central City. Team Flash manages to rescue some civilians, and Barry risks his life to punch the falling satellite at supersonic speed. Just before the punch connects, time reverses, and we see a mysterious speedster with purple and yellow lightning join Barry. They stop the satellite, saving Barry from certain death.
Back at Joe and Cecille’s house, the Flash family welcomes baby Jenna Marie West. As the family celebrates and Barry bluescreens when Iris mentions she’d like kids someday, there’s a knock at the door. It’s the mysterious girl we first saw at Barry and Iris’ wedding, and several times afterward. She introduces herself as Nora West-Allen, Barry and Iris’ daughter from the future, and asks for their help fixing a big mistake she made.
The Good: JOE MOTHERFUCKIN’ WEST! There’s a moment in this episode when the Thinker is threatening Cecille, and the most badass cop in Central City aims his gun at him. The Thinker tries to take control of Joe’s mind to the point that Joe has the gun pointed at his own head for a second, but Joe Motherfuckin’ West resists, growls “Stay away from my girls!” and points it right back at DeVoe. I stan a legend.
Ralph being alive was also welcome because, in spite of his trash beginnings, he’s genuinely become a good character. And I know some people are going to hate this take, but Iris hugging Marlize at the end was the right call. Marlize was in the thrall of an abusive relationship (now with mind control and ecstasy tears!) when she skewered Iris, and Iris forgiving her reinforced the point that Marlize made the right decision in the end.
The Bad: I have never seen a finale try to be this aggressively average in all my life. There are some really good ideas in there that aren’t fully fleshed out, like… Okay, so even though Ralph killed DeVoe by reasserting dominance, that means Ralph’s body should still have the powers of all the other metas.
Letting Marlize go was an odd choice as well. Yes, I know what I just said above, but she was still party to the murder of at least a half-dozen people. Just because Iris forgave her doesn’t mean the law should. The Nora reveal was the most anti-climactic ending for a season I think I’ve ever seen. Like, we’ve all known that she was going to revealed to be Barry and Iris’ daughter as far back as “Crisis on Earth-X.” I don’t get why they didn’t save that reveal for the beginning of next season. Finally, Harry having his mind reduced to average intelligence and calling that a win because he’s more emotionally mature is such bullshit. You can, in fact, be really smart (a genius, even) and not be an asshole.
With that, we close out Season Four. Pretty bumpy ride, but we did get “Enter Flashtime” out of it. DeVoe ended up being pretty awful as a villain, and not just because he was written as a mustache-twirling Snidely Whiplash-type. The domestic abuse stuff tossed enough cold water on the proceedings to sink the Titanic, and the show couldn’t make up for that in the back end of the season. Andrew Kreisberg’s firing probably did Ralph’s character a world of good, but it felt like the show lost clarity of purpose afterwards.
I’ll be back this summer with Season Five, which I can already tell you I had just as many problems with. Before then, however, you’ll see me next month for the Arrow portion of “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” Stay tuned!