Sometimes taking a step back to center oneself & find what used to make them happy is a good move. The problem sometimes though comes when that step backward becomes the only thing they focus on. That’s season four of The Flash. Producers mission was to take the series back to a time in season one where the characters and audience were having fun instead of the series being bombarded with depressing sadness & hit you hard in the face darkness like season three. Problem is that so far with each week it looks like they are going way too far with the change. The show is fun again and there are laughing moments but at the same time we’re six episodes in and the series is just sort of treading water. While I appreciate a good slow build, this glacial pace full of metahuman hunting & brief teases of the new series big bad Thinker is a bit too slow build.
While I greatly enjoy the character in comics, pretty sure Ralph Dibny in this series has already worn out his welcome. This rude, crude, cocky thing is way too much and it’s especially grating because his presence is part of the reason that Wally was carted off into character limbo a few weeks ago. Instead of having a second speedster that is family and has gelled with the team we’re left with someone that is just grating on so many levels. Harry is a person that is rough and at times has that grumpy nature that conflicts with the team but he’s smart and brings a lot to the team & it’s part of his charm at this point. Ralph doesn’t really add anything to the team so far and his selfish ways even put people in danger. The guy is just annoying.
It doesn’t help that while these new meta-humans are interesting in some ways with their powers, it feels like they are just filler threats that are not really something that should be that tough for Team Flash to take down. This week’s Black Bison had really cool powers, but that she was able to just beat the Flash around because of Dibny’s selfishness and stupidity just was grating. Barry is four years in as the Flash and still, he’s being taken down easily by rank amateurs. Sure that keeps the drama going as it would not be an episode if Flash just zipped in and won right away but at least toss some new things his way that test him in other ways. Watching brand new powered person of the week beat the hero around will begin to get a bit tiresome. Also, returning to the glacial plot mention of before, why are all these new metahumans that were made weeks ago waiting to use their powers and do things after another already has. I get it, Barry can’t face them all at the same time, but it’s a bit silly that they are all just waiting around to go villainous one after the other as more and more weeks go by.
Speaking of the previously mentioned Harry, he got the second part of the plot that actually inspired the episode title as the Council of Wells (Harrison Wells from various worlds) made their debut. It’s an interesting way to continue to let Tom Cavanagh stretch his acting chops without actually shuffling new versions of Wells onto the team every season. They were a bit fun with their various personalities and differences & it gave some time for Cisco and Harry to bond more. It was also the one part of the episode that actually started to move the overall plot forward towards the Thinker. Based on the preview for the next episode it seems that what the Wells accomplished might actually finally keep things moving forward so that is a plus with this whole thing.
Last week I felt like the plot was finally moving forward in some ways but the fun and hilarity of the party seemed to cloud that as much as it feels like the show is moving forward, it’s really not at the same time. Since the creators compared this season to season one, the fact that it’s not actually working the same to build a narrative, in the same way, stands out. Season one took the long route for the Harrison Wells/Reverse Flash plot and reveal but it was interesting and each episode actually did help build things up in the long run. This time around there are moments but it’s not feeling cohesive, or like it’s actually planned out that well and that’s a shame on many levels. Especially because we’re meant to believe that this new villain The Thinker is super smart and that Barry and others are also smart, their intellect being tested. Except, they still haven’t realized that keeping the robot head of something the Thinker sent to kill them in their base is a bad idea. At this point, I’m kind of just ready for the annual crossover to happen so that more interesting things can happen on the show.
Score: 7 out of 10