The Arrowverse – The Flash 4×02 “Mixed Signals” review

The Flash 4x02_

Season three of The Flash was quite a dour affair full of a lot of brooding & dread. Season four’s premiere carried over a bit of that feeling as it tried to bring everything back to get the series on a brighter trajectory. It somewhat failed at doing much with the season three cliffhanger, as it just followed suit of previous seasons where the cliffhanger is wrapped up quickly, but in bringing things back towards a more fun season one vibe it sowed positive seeds. Those seeds took root and began to show promise with the second episode of the season.

Right away the best move that the writers & producers made was to get Team Flash all back together and have them in a spot where their fun banter is just easily flowing. They are confident and able to have fun, the darkness of season three in their rear view mirror. Even things like Barry and Iris’ couples counseling (outside of Iris big breakthrough reveal moment) & the hunt for the latest metahuman villain had some humor and lightness baked in. The Flash is at it’s best when even the dramatic things like romance or the villains come with fun and lighthearted moments. Leave the brooding and darkness for Arrow.

While the Kilg%re plotline was simplistic, that was a nice change. Serialized story telling is a quite a great thing but sometimes it feels like shows worry so much about building some long over-arching season story that they forget how to just have some one-off fun episodes that might build into the story-arc but don’t beat it over our head. Season three had some of that but everything was so dark and dreary and fed into the narrative that it was hard to really think about it. Barry and Wally and the team just taking down a tech controlling metahuman was vintage season one style villain of the week. It also led to the fun scene with all the ridiculous tech of Flash’s suit going haywire because of Kilg%re.

The Flash 4x02

Based upon the bit of the plan revealed for the season’s big foe the Thinker, it looks like some of these lower key villain of the week stories are on the way and I’m perfectly fine with that. Additionally the revelation that there will be more metahumans or foes that are not tied to the particle accelerator explosion is a more than welcome one. Continuously finding ways to keep tying new villains to that no doubt was tiring for the writers and was a bit of a stretch at times for fans too. After four years since the explosion, finding new ways to create and bring foes in is the best way to go. It frees the writers up more and moves the team away from having to always be worried about what that old Wells did so long ago.

Another interesting bit of the episode revolved around Barry and his speed. Scenes with him taking apart a car, catching bits of an exploded grenade and throwing lightning at himself highlight just how much faster Barry has gotten after his return from the speed force, and beg the question of just how fast he is. It is nice to see that it’s not being seen as a problem or a giant weight on his shoulders. It’s just a new aspect that he’s settling into, even allowing for some fun at the start with his breakfast making and speed watching of television.

Final Thoughts:

The Flash is firmly back on the road to being a really fun good time and this episode helped it take a great leap back there. Allowing the characters to breathe and actually enjoy what they do is so much better than the weight of the world upon their shoulders. The Thinker’s background presence rather than being firmly out there and known by the team right away is a very welcome change. It finally gives the Flash a new type of foe that isn’t weighing on his mind and it’s someone close to him revealed to be a traitor or such. Last week’s Rebirth for the series was a good move that continues to pay off.

Score: 9 out of 10

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