“People nowadays will believe anything. Fake news, social media; allegations are treated as facts.”
It’s incredibly difficult for a show sporting a 22-episode season to succeed every week. This season of The Flash has had some winners. Unfortunately, “Subject 9” is not one of them.
The focal point of the episode is Izzy Bowin. As with Ralph and the others DeVoe is after, she received her powers on that same bus incident. It just so happens that, as an aspiring musician, Izzy’s powers would indeed be sound-based. Her ability is that to control sound waves and fashion them as weapons. Barry and Ralph experience her power first-hand on their initial attempts to bring her into the fold. Used to being on her own, Izzy is strong-willed, fearless, and focused on making it big. As a character, Izzy works. Miranda MacDougall does a wonderful job bringing Izzy’s fire to life. While she initially seems to be the tough talking (and can back it up) person that’s used to hard times, we also get to see a more vulnerable side of her that brings out the same in Ralph. The pair—bonded by their own personal heartbreaks click, and not in that overt “we are trying to make you care about this new character” way. It’s natural, with a definitely rocky start. But, as Izzy works her way into the fold and starts her training with Team Flash, Ralph is the one there to give Izzy the perspective and encouragement she needs.
And that’s why it’s so damn disappointing that DeVoe gets his technical tentacle on her, taking possession of her body. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that, for the story to move forward, Izzy’s fate was pretty much sealed the moment she showed up on screen. Part of me hoped she’d last at least until next week but alas, that wasn’t to be. But her fate wasn’t what caused me such an annoyance. It’s a pattern in The Flash that seems to have gotten worse this season. I’ve mentioned my issues with how the show has treated powerhouses like Cisco, Wally, and Killer Frost; in order for Barry titular persona to be the hero, the others need to be toned down and shown that they can’t hack it without him. It’s true Barry is the most powerful meta on Team Flash but the laziness of showcasing that has really bugged me lately. This episode took things a step farther, with Barry himself being taken down with ease by Izzy and, in the fight finale, DeVoe. I get there’s a set budget and time constraints but when we get the ridiculousness that was the Barry/Ralph/Izzy vs ‘Becky DeVoe’, I can’t help but roll my eyes.
Now, that’s not to say that “Subject 9” was all bad. As mentioned, Izzy was a strong addition but there were some cool one-on-one character moments between our favorite cast. The most surprising of which is a burgeoning friendship between Cecile and Harry. First off, the pair work well together. Cecile’s mile-a-minute conversational bursts coupled with Harry’s oftentimes erratic and confrontational displacements of his own personal issues is wonderful to see. But theatrics aside, there is a true understanding between the two and, as two middle-aged adults surrounded by a pack of youngins, their life experiences (including the fact that both have a daughter) makes for a natural connection.
Finally, we get to see Barry and Ralph have a heart-to-heart of their own. All throughout the episode, Ralph championed Team Flash to Izzy, how they would not abandon her, especially when times get tough. Ralph has found a family in the team and, as a family, you look out for one another. That’s why it was so touching to see the PI/new superhero reach out to Barry with an opportunity to work for him while Barry’s position as CIS is up in the air. “I remember after I lost my job,” he admits to Barry, “I felt like I lost a piece of my identity. And now you won’t have to deal with that problem. “ It’s a touching moment and Barry realizes the truth. “You like me,” he smiles at his new partner, “you really like me.”
Yes, Barry, everyone likes you. Now buck up and get rid of DeVoe.
- So, it only took 14 episodes for the gang to create the cerebral inhibitor. Considering Savitar mentioned it last season in relation to DeVoe, I’m not sure how they didn’t think of exploring this beforehand. I know, I know, it’s not like you can create something so technical in a day or two…oh wait. Still, if Barry would have mentioned this the first time DeVoe came calling, maybe they would have brainstormed long enough to have had a working model ready prior to him taking Killgore’s powers.
- Give credit where it’s due, Iris has, once again shown the development and growth of her character. She doesn’t have much to do per se, but on more than one occasion hers is the voice of reason as Barry, afraid of failing someone else, is pushing Izzy to the brink. She also reminds him that not everyone becomes a hero. It’s an idea I’d like them to explore more; just because you gain powers doesn’t mean you’re ready to fight the good fight or, conversely, become a criminal.
- I was never a fan of DeVoe as the big bad but was never openly hostile towards the character. That has changed over the last few weeks as, every chance the Thinker gets, he reminds us how brilliant he is. I know these boasts are both true and a foreshadowing to him getting his comeuppance but I have lost any desire to see his persona on screen and am looking forward to Team Flash taking him down so I don’t have to listen to his postulations anymore.