“I don’t have to run when I’m with you.”
Ah, Christmas. The time of the Grinch, Festivus, and all things that bring people together. Unfortunately for Barry and Team Flash, it also signals attacks from all sides when the Thinker hatches his biggest plan yet, one that no one saw coming.
The general rule of mid-season finales is that, while they may start off light and airy, they sure as heck aren’t designed to finish that way. Back at the lab, everyone—including Ralph—is merrily hoisting up the Christmas tree. Cisco and Harry argue (surprise, surprise) about tinsel ratios while all three gents share an inside joke they had with Killer Frost. The latter wouldn’t have been a big deal if Caitlin wasn’t there and realizes that her alter ego’s more popular with the gang than she is. The concept itself is interesting but also emphasizes the fact that, despite early assumptions, Caitlin and her inner Killer are two very different people. She doesn’t get much time to mope though, as a familiar character with a shaky British accent and a mind for metal interrupts her coffee time.
Yep, Amunet Black’s back and she needs Caitlin’s help in saving a new meta. His name is Dominic and he’s another one of the 12 created when Barry returned from the Speed Force. Due to Amunet’s overly enthusiastic approach to catching a target, Dominic, who’s now a telepath, has a potentially life-threatening injury that will affect Black from selling him to a prospective buyer. As things go, Caitlin saves Dominic and, thanks to the team, they escape Black before anything bad really happens…or do they?
But while the Caitlin ordeal was the B story that eventually does intersect with the primary plot line, we all saw the promos and how, finally, after playing at the edges, the Thinker comes strong for Barry, kidnapping him for one single purpose (or so he says): to teach Barry a lesson.
“You should learn to lose every once in a while, Barry. A little humility will prepare you for what lies ahead.”
Like many good villains, DeVoe’s confidence borders on arrogance though, to be fair, he does have every right to feel as such considering his brainpan is cooking much higher than anyone else. One thing we never really learn is if Devoe’s plan to hold Barry was nothing more than a smokescreen. As his body continues to deteriorate, his plan becomes apparent: he needs to transmute his consciousness into a healthy body. Early on I believed he’d attempt to do this to Barry but instead he goes a different route: turns out that the buyer who Amunet was looking to sell Dominic to is Devoe. Somehow the telepath’s extrasensory abilities creates the perfect conditions for a mind/body transfer. But more than that, Devoe reminds us (again) that he’s a few steps ahead of the gang when Barry returns home to find the body of Clifford Devoe in the loft, stabbed through the heart with a knife Barry touched. It’s not a surprise when the cops arrive soon after and, when Barry has a choice on whether to stay or go, he decides not to run to face things head-on.
And Devoe? As his wife, once unsure of whether he’d still be there for her after getting a new body, looks up at him, he whispers words that touch on his grand plan…
“Now let’s bring about The Enlightenment.”
- So often the solution to overcome the baddie has been one character telling our hero to “Run, Barry, run!” But when faced with the decision forced on him by Devoe’s con, Barry embraces his earlier words to Iris when he said “I don’t have to run when I’m with you.” So he surrenders to the cops and that glimpse of Barry Allen in an Iron Heights prison jumper way back in season one now becomes reality. There’s are a few hiccups to Devoe’s plan (if his body was already dead, it’d be obvious the stab wound was post-mortem, how/why did he come up to Barry’s room, etc) but I’m sure the Thinker will have planned for many of these circumstances. And yet…
- It still doesn’t answer why he needed to kidnap Barry? Was it solely as a distraction while Amunet used Caitlin, to grab some footage or more DNA of Barry? I’m still not sure if the entire “Barry in the Thinker’s lair” was really necessary. That goes doubly for their fight traversing the skies in the Thinker’s cheap, floating chair.
- I know this has been called out before but while I’m still not 100% sold on Iris as the de facto leader of Team Flash, the last few episodes have made some strong points in her favor. True, this time around she needed a reminder from Harry that a true leader has to make the tough calls—in this case searching for Caitlin instead of Barry—but still it had to be tough to put off searching for her new hubby who could have been in mortal danger. I’m starting to see Team Flash as more in line with the Legends rather than Team Arrow: the latter has two very strong candidates for leader (Diggle and Oliver) while the Legends don’t have that clear-cut captain where I could say “I’d follow him/her to war”. In a way, the reigns of leadership fall to Iris by default. But unlike Sara on Legends, Iris is showing some worthy traits of leadership. Good thing too because it’s only going to get harder.