Wedding bells have rung and now it’s time for the jingle bells as Team Flash prepares to celebrate the holidays, but they should know by now that the villains will never actually let them get a chance to celebrate such things. Unlike the Supergirl mid-season finale that chose to fully ignore what happened in the Crisis on Earth-X crossover, The Flash references the event quite a bit because the character moments and the big events like the marriage, of course, carried over. One big positive is that the episode wastes little time before thrusting our heroes into precarious situations as both the Thinker and Amunet Black arrive at different points to take both Barry and Caitlin, meaning Team Flash has two members of their team to save from two powerful villains.
Early scenes gave some good Team Flash banter which is always nice, but the best part was the moments between DeVoe/Thinker and Marlize. One thing that can be said about past Flash big bad villains is that they are not always the most sympathetic villains. They crave power and kill so many in their path to be the fastest or best or whatever the case might be. DeVoe is different in the sense that these moments of him just as himself, especially when with his wife, humanize the villain and his struggle as his body fails him makes him much more sympathetic than any speedster foe. His actions are wrong and harmful to others, but they’re very understandable. The same can be said for Marlize because as she told Barry, she is not just some mindless minion carrying out DeVoe’s plans. She is his partner and she is willing to do whatever it takes to save the one she loves, which as we well know is definitely something Barry would say about Iris. While she might be willing to go into dark areas to save her love, it’s still a human thing to want to sacrifice things for those that we love.
Having such sympathetic villains was a nice counter-point to the more scenery-chewing villain that is Amunet Black. Seeing the resources of Team Flash split and a hard decision made to go after one friend over another was a nice way to divide them so they can’t focus on the big bad fully, but the side plot wasn’t that compelling. Amunet trying to use Caitlin to save another newly created Meta-human that she wants to sell off was only okay. Katee Sackhoff is clearly having fun playing the metal-controlling black market running British villain which is good. At the same time the plotline sort of bogs down until it’s revealed exactly why it’s part of this episode. That being said, there is a nice moment between Amunet and Caitlin where Amunet actually speaks the truth that Caitlin needs to stop thinking that Killer Frost is the strong or better version of herself, as she is powerful and smart all on her own as just Caitlin. This plot had its place in the episode but it was kind of a bummer that it took up so much space that there wasn’t room for a lot of DeVoe/Barry back and forth like two episodes before.
Compared to the drag down brawl that was Supergirl/Reign this week, the Thinker/Flash fight was a bit anticlimactic and a lot of overly visible CGI. It didn’t need to be overly big in scope though because the twist of DeVoe’s true plan was the real draw at this point. It was here that the two plots actually made sense happening at the same time as DeVoe takes over the body of the new meta-human Dominic & frames Barry for his murder. It’s a simple plot but really it’s pretty great because it’s so different from the usual speedster focused cliffhangers we’ve gotten. DeVoe was true to his word, he outsmarted Barry and his team and now they will be left reeling dealing with Barry in jail as DeVoe & Marlize carry out what other plans they have. Quite a great twist cliffhanger.
While Ralph had some moments this week I’m still a bit tired of his whole bit on the team. He’s annoying and it takes away from having Wally here. It makes no sense to keep Keiynan Lonsdale on as a series regular if they are just going to keep giving him the short straw and tossing Wally away. The guy didn’t even get to stick around past the first episode of the crossover last week and now he’s been written off as being in another country for some reason instead of home with his family for the holidays. He’s a speedster, there is no reason he can’t be back quickly to be with his family. I get it, the budget doesn’t allow for a stretching man, two speedsters, a floating chair and all that. But either find a way to keep Wally on the show or just be done with him. Stop teasing with a back and forth type thing.
As promised by producers for this season, Barry is going to have to up his mental game rather quickly as the villain is outthinking him. Normally things are all about Barry needing to get faster to win the day, so the fact that they had him learn that he needs to stop running from things and relying so heavily on his powers was a nice touch. One has to wonder if Barry will reveal himself as the Flash to bring about the trial of the Flash storyline that has been teased in the past. Overall the episode was mostly just okay with some bright spots surrounding DeVoe/Marlize and the twist ending. Amunet is fun but her storyline was a bit boring, even with it’s connection to the twist ending. The biggest positive, the cliffhanger did leave me craving more. So there is that.
Score: 8 out of 10