“I really think we need to arm the citizens with information and not shield them from it.”
One would think that an episode of The Flash where a second Council of Wells was established and Team Flash (well Caitlin, really) decides they need to attack the DeVoe issue “from a different direction” by recruiting Amunet Black to the squad would be surefire fun. Sadly, that assumption would be incorrect.
In addition to the two plot points mentioned above, a third major one is Iris has decided to get back in touch with her reporter roots. Her focus is giving Central City (and anyone else with internet access) the 411 on the evil machinations of Clifford DeVoe. She believes that armed with the knowledge of their impending doom, people will take action. Barry’s not quite sold on the idea: though he may be a “beacon of hope”, he seems to prescribe towards the “a person is smart; people are stupid” idea of humanity expressed from Tommy Lee Jones’ Agent K from Men in Black. My initial thoughts were that she’s more about the grandstanding and immediately had to backtrack.
Though I admittedly warmed to the Iris character in Season 3 and even in parts this year, the last ten episodes or so I’ve lost all patience for her. It’s not the fault of the talented Candice Patton, either. Similar to Arrow, the writers have stumbled quite a bit with character direction.
With that said, despite at one point stating that keeping the truth from people would make them no better than DeVoe—a preposterous overstatement—she does have a point. If it can be helped, people should be told their fate, though it is a slippery slope. If hopelessness sets in, many will resort to anarchist ways, looting and destroying. But there are the good ones and, according to the post-title tag, these people will be on the streets, ready to communicate DeVoe’s location to Team Flash. The plausibility for this, especially considering DeVoe can basically jump from place to place, is laughable. But we are talking about a show where a man can run so fast that he can break all known laws of physics…
Now, while the Iris storyline was a C from the onset, it wasn’t the most disappointing part of the show. Played for comedy as it was, the first Council of Wells was a hoot. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work as well this go round. The new additions—Sonny the gangster type and the French H.P.—aren’t nearly as interesting as the Cyborg, Heir Wells (who makes a fantastic but brief appearance), and Lothario Wells. The latter does show up, kicked out of the founding Council but even still, his persona doesn’t work quite as well with the newbies. While they are unable to devise a way to keep Harry’s intelligence from diminishing, they offer him a bit more insight as to the power of empathy. This introspection allows him to realize that DeVoe, who’s been inactive the last few days despite having everything he needs, is missing something vital. It doesn’t take much for Harry to connect the dots: if DeVoe’s actions have always been driven by the thing he cares about most, it makes sense that his inaction signals that he must not have that one thing. Yes, Marlize has left DeVoe’s side and, as expected, the team realizes they have a golden opportunity to even the odds if they can find the Mechanic and bring her to their side.
inally, there’s the Amunet Black storyline. Knowing that any tech directed towards knocking the satellites out of the sky will be rebuffed by DeVoe’s Kilgore powers, Caitlin suggests they recruit Amunet and her shard controlling powers to Team Flash. Considering that everyone in the world will be ‘rebooted’ by DeVoe’s plan, the baddie can’t say no, can she? Of course, Caitlin’s motives are quite sugary and pure: she also needs Amunet’s Transmodulated Genetic Splicer (sounds like an invention from a Calvin & Hobbes stripe) to help her get in touch with that inner Killer Frost. Long story short—and skipping over the hunt for Amunet’s stash of shards stolen by her tentacle eyed henchman Norvok—Amunet helps, offering the team a chunk of her shards (sans direction of course) to help in the fight. Just as important is that Amunet gives Caitlin some good news; turns out the Splicer did not work on her and Caitlin’s ability to suppress her inner Frost early on was all on her and not some piece of tech. The key into getting her alter ego back resides all within her.
Now she just needs to figure out how to unleash the beast before it’s too late.
- A few weeks ago, when Ralph was taken by DeVoe, Barry first stepped onto his “no killing” soap box. Yes, the Flash is a good guy and, generally speaking, good guys try not to kill as a first resort. With that said, it was a jarring bout of preaching that had never really been expressed with such vehemence, especially considering they’ve snuffed quite a few bad guys over the last few years. Well, that preaching was back this week as the team let Amunet Black know that they don’t kill; there’s always another way. Sorry to say, Barry, but there’s not always another way. If there was, you wouldn’t have killed (indirectly or not) any of your past adversaries. Maybe the writers didn’t do a good enough job early on expressing Barry’s thoughts on this but making up for that oversight has come across as heavy-handed, disingenuous, and ignoring the series history.
- As mentioned earlier, the snappy dialogue, a staple of the show, has gone a bit stale in recent weeks. In particular, this episode has some cringe-worthy moments: Iris’s “beacon of hope” speech to Barry, Caitlin’s “it’s in here” talk with Joe, and the entire Amunet adventure (though, like a bad movie you love, I’ve come to appreciate Katie Sackoff’s absolute caricature of a villain…she just has so much fun with it!) lacked the usual polish. Let’s hope that the next two weeks picks things up and we get a finale on par with the first three seasons.
The Flash: “Harry and the Harrisons”