“Then how could you leave me? You left me, Barry, you just left me. Standing there alone. How could you do that?”
Murder by elevator aside, when your super hero channels his inner Tom Cruise from Risky Business, you know things are going to be airy and fun. It’s true that this week’s helping of The Flash, aptly titled “Mixed Signals” has a sobering moment or two, overall it’s a light and fun examination of the superhero relationship.
One of the things touched on at the end of last week’s premiere is that a perk, if you will, of Barry’s time in the Speed Force is that he’s a new man in both the physical and, more importantly, emotional sense. In regards to the latter, his mother’s death was a gloomy shadow that followed Barry no matter what good things were before him. He had a brief stint of that weight lifted during “Flashpoint” but other than those few moments in time, the tragic events of the past were always in his peripheral. Now, we are seeing that unencumbered Barry and, if his morning dance and breakfast making joy is any indication, it promises to be a good time.
But all that glitters…you know the rest. While Barry may be gung-ho in attacking wedding plans, canceling training sessions, and ignoring battle advice, Iris isn’t skipping rope over her beau’s actions. I may have been a bit harsh last week in my thoughts on Iris anointing herself the brains behind Team Flash despite several years as nothing more than a background Mary Sue, I understood her frustrations. After a hilarious first session with a therapist, the second go-round hits the most emotional note of the episode where Iris voices the pain of Barry leaving her. Sure, she understood his choice from a logical perspective, but the emotional part of her, the part that has loved Barry for so long still felt that sting of betrayal. It is something that could wreck a relationship and, were this a soap drama, that pain would rear its ugly head down the road. Thankfully I don’t believe we’ll have to deal with that type of manufactured drama, especially after the two of them fell back in sync after Barry’s somewhat bland confrontation with the meta-of-the-week (more on that later).
But Barry and Iris weren’t the only ones having some relationship rockiness. We got to see my (second) favorite breacher—and Cisco’s number one—when Gypsy showed up, ready for their date. Unfortunately for her, the murdering meta that was Kilgore took precedence over a few hours of schmoopy-time. Considering she’s a meta that fights crime herself, Gypsy’s cooler reaction to the date cancellation seemed a bit irrational but, much like Iris expressing her deeper emotional sentiment, Gypsy does the same with Cisco. Apparently Earth-19’s weirdly titled 1-1-1 holiday—one day for the one you love where the two of you become one—is a major deal. By her reaction, it’s like Valentine’s Day, an anniversary, and Sweetest Day rolled up into one. Seeing the two of them go back and forth was a treat as Cisco has finally found the one for him.
As far as the meta portion of the episode goes, we’re four paragraphs in and I’m just now getting to it should tell you how exciting Kilgore was to me. The showcase of his abilities and his pre-meta days were as boring as I’ve seen. Were it not for the post-credit involving the Thinker, Kilgore would have been nothing more than a bullet point in my final summary. As it stands though, he looks to be the first of many. Granted, the downplay of his involvement in the episode may have been to parallel the misdirection of his incarceration planned by the Thinker but the latter’s “Now we find the others” line piqued my curiosity but good.
- While I love pretty much everyone on the show, no one delivers their lines with more passion than our Cisco Ramon. From “schmoopy” to “I’m sorry—have we not faced an evil version of Barry before? My mistake”, every time he’s on screen, I know he’s going to make us laugh…or, at the very least, smile.
- I really loved the two sides of the coin the Barry/Iris therapy scenes showcased. The first half was meant for laughs (and boy was that good) but the second session opened up on the real problem behind Iris fully accepting Barry seamlessly into this new life she’s made. The writers did a good job framing it all in a way that promises no lingering drama over it. Not only did Barry trust Iris’s decision when his suit went Babel protocol (very nice Easter Egg, Flash writers) but they left us and a bewildered Joe with promises no contrived drama from things unsaid. Bravo!
- I’ve said my piece last week on how at times both Cisco and Wally seem de-powered but…great googly moogly, what was up with Wally’s hair this week?! A very small thing, I know…but after the sweet cut he had last week, to do a complete 180 on that was quite the downgrade.
- Finally—the Thinker. Sure, we got Barry catching up on months and months of shows in a few minutes but completing an unfinished musical piece by analyzing the composer’s previous 600 works while also setting metas on the board like chess pieces—all in a single afternoon—if we needed any more proof of his abilities aside from the pretentious name, well, we got it in spades.