My name is Iris West and I was supposed to marry The fastest man alive.
But six months ago, he left.
I’d promised him I’d run. So that’s what I’ve been doing these last six months.
As fast as I can.
Finally, after six months on the shelf, The Flash returns and it wastes not a moment of the Season Four premiere setting things up for the rest of the year.
In the six months since Barry walked into the Speed Force to save the world, Team Flash has undergone a few changes. With no Harrison Wells around to be the elder statesman and Caitlin on her own walkabout, as Iris’s somber voiceover makes clear, she’s been moving forward. As a start to that, she’s taken it upon herself to lead this new team comprised of Joe, Wally, and Cisco, with the latter two responsible for the heavy lifting. It’s a choice that doesn’t quite feel right. For the record, I have always liked Candice Patton and what she has brought from an acting perspective to Iris West but, I’ve never really warmed to the way her character’s has been presented for the majority of the three years (the Earth-2 Iris notwithstanding). As there have been snippets of her capability as something other than a damsel in distress or emotional anchor for Barry (an extremely important aspect of the show, I admit) she’s never really been allowed to shine, as it were. It may be the hundred degree turn from who she was for so long with the Iris West of season four that almost seemed as if things were forced…but, one thing “The Flash Reborn” does best is give us peeks into every character’s frame of mind. For Iris, it’s that refusal to look back, to allow herself to grieve, that produces the no-nonsense Iris not quite in line with what we’re used to. Now that Barry’s back, will this part of her retreat into the background or is the newer, stronger Iris here to stay?
Speaking of Barry, was there any doubt they’d bring him back as soon as possible? The Speed Force switcheroo Cisco and Caitlin devise reminded me a bit of Raiders of the Lost Ark, with Indy slapping a bag of sand on the pedestal in place of the gold statue. The science-y aspects were cool but it’s the lead up to it all when Cisco brings a chill—HA!—Caitlin back into the fold that truly warms me. If there was a pair that were more peas in a pod than Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow, I’d like to see it. But as much as their ripostes put a smile on my face, everyone wants to know, what happens when you bring the Flash out of the Speed Force?
For starters, how about some of this dialogue…
“Nora shouldn’t be here…It’s a whole new way of looking at physics…stars so loud…dad and I are both okay…I’m just not sure I’m like you, Oliver…”
Yep, Barry’s talking (and writing) in riddles which, if it wasn’t for the Samuroid threatening to destroy Central City if the Flash doesn’t show himself, wouldn’t be all that pressing. But how do you reset a man’s mind when you don’t know what he’s been through?
Enter Joe West.
Always the speaker of wisdom (when not screaming for his daughter when she’s been taken for the umpteenth time) Joe has two very important moments with Iris. The first is during the dinner with her and Cecile where we get that Iris cannot entertain the thought of grieving for Barry. The second, and most important is towards the climax when Joe shares with his eldest the wisdom he received from a sermon at church. “Strength means nothing without faith,” he tells her. This advice coupled with a still-not-right-in-the-head Barry fuels her to take that leap…right into the arms of the Samuroid. It’s impulsive, ridiculous, and careless…
But it’s the leap of faith she had been lacking since Barry first disappeared. It’s not a coincidence that as she finds faith, Barry finds his way back to her. But this is Barry 2.0. A Barry stronger, faster and, more importantly, free of the painful burdens of loved ones lost. But unlike last year’s Flashpoint, this Barry is here to stay. This Barry is still the Flash…but Reborn.
- While it was good to see an old villain back in Peekaboo, I still have issues how the “B-Team” is portrayed. Both Cisco and Wally are some bad mofos but too often it seems as if they get depowered a bit in order to remind us whose show it is. While that’s understandable against the bigger villains, it just doesn’t seem right to do that against a C-lister like Peekaboo or have Wally get walloped by the Samuroid without landing a significant blow…
- As much as I looked forward to Barry’s return, I was just as excited by Caitlin’s return. For about 55 minutes we saw her calmness in charge…until Milky One Eye thought to put her in her place. And, like Bruce Banner losing control, Killer Frost came out to play. Though she was able to reign it in before causing serious damage, we’re left with two questions: How is she controlling it and who is this mystery woman she had been working for?
- Our final shot is the post credits scene where we glimpse another Samuroid, a no-nonsense looking woman and our season’s Big Bad: the Thinker. What’s his plan for Barry? Does he need the fastest man alive in a similar way that Savitar did or does it go even deeper than that? Well, we’ve got 22 more episodes to see how this all ends.
The Flash: “The Flash Reborn”