It’s always a welcome change of pace in a show like The Flash when the sidekick plays the role of hero. This time around, it’s Cisco’s turn to shine as he stands up for the man who, over the last few months, he’s spent more than a few moments putting down and belittling: yes, that annoying-but-he-grows-on-you Earth-19 doppelganger HR.
Last week’s ‘post-credit’ scene had a mysterious woman popping through a portal before glancing at an image of HR. Didn’t take much to realize she was hunting him down and turns out, that’s her job. As HR tells it, Gypsy’s a Collector, the best Earth-19 has. Evidently, after another Earth incursion nearly destroyed Earth-19, all travel to other worlds was banned. Unfortunately for HR, the punishment isn’t a slap on the wrist or a cozy day or ten in a cell: it’s the ultimate punishment. Death.
Speaking of death, Iris is dealing with her own impending death just like anyone else: putting herself in harm’s way because she’s got her date with death already set. The only issue with that way of thinking is if Barry and the others can change some events of the future, what’s to say going metal to chest with the barrel of a gun won’t change her future? Illogical thinking at its best though, to be fair, not many people would be thinking clearly when a loved one relays the message “I see how you die…in about 5 months.” I’ve been hard on Iris and her up-and-down behavior in the past but must admit, she gets a free pass here.
Back to Cisco and his overly flirtatious challenge of Gypsy. Including this portal-hopper, Cisco’s had the romantic juices flowing for the sister of a big-time criminal (Lisa Snart/Golden Glider) who herself was a criminal and the reincarnated spirit of an immortal warrior priestess (Kendra/Hawk Girl). I must say, Cisco likes his women dangerous. And Gypsy’s the most dangerous of them all. This becomes clear when she takes down both Wally and Barry (on separate occasions) with an unbelievable ease. But the untested Cisco will provide her with a better challenge, right? Right?!
Look, we all know how this is going to end: Cisco’s up for the challenge and, thanks to some good intel from Julian—who’s still integrating himself into the team—takes Gypsy down in their Duel for HR. It’s a cool battle where we’re taken to several parallel Earths (including Earth-2 and Supergirl’s earth as well) but the winning theme of “Dead or Alive” is the apparent solidification of Cisco and HR’s relationship. Tom Cavanagh has done a fantastic job interspersing HR’s generally positive and upbeat attitude with his character’s feelings of uselessness and failure. He’s surrounded by geniuses and super powered individuals in a world he doesn’t know, not to mention coming from a world where he never felt as if he mattered. He admits as much to Cisco when the two men have a heart-to-heart. The latter tells HR of his own bouts of helplessness and the original Wells being there for him. It’s a touching scene that hints at Cisco finally accepting HR for who he is.
Though initially seen as an unforgiving hard-ass, by episode end, we get a better understanding of Gypsy. She takes her responsibilities seriously and, despite the seemingly harmless nature of HR’s crime (to us), for her world that offense means something much greater. Admittedly, the ease at which she dispatched both Barry and Wally were a bit much for me, the way she used her powers is a preview to the strength Cisco carries within him, a strength he has yet to fully tap in to. Add that in with Gypsy’s all-star exit, the odds are good that we’ll be seeing her sometime in the near future.
- Riddle me this, folks: how is it, for the second week in a row that Barry and Wally can’t catch a moving vehicle in the blink of an eye? Last week it was Plunder in his motorcycle and this week arms dealers (coincidentally selling similar weapons as Plunder’s badass rifle) in a cargo van. It’s a small thing sure, and part of the chase is to build on the drama but, come on, if they can outrun tracer rounds, anything on wheels won’t be any problem.
- Piggybacking off those thoughts is Gypsy taking down both the Flash and Kid Flash in a—well—Flash? (Cheesy, I know). Unless she has some yet to be discussed hyper reflexes (which is possible), the way she turned on and cuffed Barry was more than a bit suspect. It’s a small thing true but detracts a bit from the overall experience.
- Keeping Iris’s future circumstance from Joe is not going to end well. By the way things are going so far, my money’s on Joe sussing things out on his own and when he does, who knows how that may change things.
- One very well done aspect of Team Flash this week was Julian’s slow integration into the team. It starts with his “I mapped out 6 different ways you could’ve been more efficient” to delivering key intel to Cisco on how to get the drop on Gypsy, to the awkward social interactions in between, he’s providing a different perspective for the team, one who has yet to find his voice, no doubt a position HR can completely relate to.
- Ending with where we began—HR—it was good to see the interaction he had with Cisco to tie things up. Mr. Ramon has always been cool towards HR, not shy about shaming the Earth-19 Wells about his scientific uselessness. But I’ve harped on it before and maybe Cisco sees it now as well but HR is an asset to the team. He’s able to see things, to give advice the others don’t really see at that time. It took some time for me to see that—and warm up to his spastic behavior—but I’d take HR on my team any day.
The Flash: “Dead or Alive” –3/5