It’s a new year and The CW heroes are coming back, along with a new addition in the form of Black Lightning, so I figured why not shake things up and do these reviews a bit differently to avoid them being the really really long sort of disconnected at times breakdowns of 2017.
Season four of The Flash began with the mission to be more lighthearted & more like the first season after a really all over the place dragging and dramatic third season. That was definitely achieved in the first episodes, but then that began to change towards the end as the drama returned but unlike season three it was more fitting and felt so earned as The Thinker turned out to be a foe worthy of Team Flash. That cliffhanger of a murdered Clifford DeVoe and Barry framed for the murder has left so many questions. Let’s see what happens next!
Hero On Trial
Barry is the one that is on trial for murder, but his trial begins to take it’s toll on everyone & really gives every member of Team Flash some character defining moments. Cisco definitely bent the laws by hacking into the ankle bracelet and into the footage from Barry’s return months before. It’s Iris and Joe that have the most moments where they begin to question being the people they’ve always been, as they consider crossing any line needed to save the one they love. Joe turns to Ralph to try and find the evidence they need and after it’s slapped down by Marlize, he begins to look towards the planting of evidence. When Ralph Dibny begins to be the voice of reason, you know you’re in a bad spot. That poster child of bad police work stands up to prove to Joe that he cannot and should not take this route. No matter how much it might save Barry. Iris tries to blast out Barry’s secret, but Barry himself shuts her down before she can. Both fail for different reasons but it shows just how deeply they care for them.
Just as Barry predicts at the start of the episode, this trial is quick. There is nothing that Barry and Cecile can offer to prove his innocence after the show that Marlize puts on for the court. Heroes going to prison never ever goes well for them, and going forward this season things won’t be great for Barry. It’s an interesting circle because his joining the police and doing things as Flash was all about helping people and trying to prove that his father did not commit a crime he was framed for while his father languished in prison. Now the son will sit in prison, for a crime he did not commit. Truly while the Barry in prison stuff will be interesting, watching what this does to Team Flash and how they re-group and deal with the absence of their friend and the hero they follow is what will truly be intriguing.
Barry’s very life might be on the line with the trial there was still room for a meta-human monster of the week style plot. Honestly, this was the weakest part of the episode. Not that it was bad, the villain was somewhat interesting and it allowed Cisco, Wells, and Caitlin to handle things while the others were gone. Why it is weak is the fact that it takes away from the overall plot of the episode and was not needed. I get it, this is a superhero show and you want some superhero style antics but taking that off for a week would not have been a bad thing. There is little doubt that audiences would have been fine with just focusing on Barry and the effect this trial is having on him and the others. Sometimes a B-plot of an episode can be intriguing, other times it can just bog the episode down or come off as half-way done. This is one of those second cases for sure. Great meta-human plot but wasted in the wrong episode. Granted it eventually tied into the main plot as a way to disrupt Barry’s trial and put him in a dire spot, but it still didnt’ fully fit with what was going on.
The best thing that was done this season was the show finally moving beyond the slew of speedster villains that are just out to hurt Flash for some reason and make him have to go faster to get beyond them. This year Flash and his friends have to actually try to out-think their foes, and currently, they are failing at that which definitely raises the stakes. Also unlike those speedsters that come with some very supervillainy plots, Clifford & Marlize DeVoe are much more sympathetic. Villains that you can sympathize with are always the best. It means they are not cackly evil, they are doing things that to them are not evil even if they go against the law. Clifford was dying after he achieved his goals to be smarter thanks to the Particle Accelerator explosion. His plot was about getting a new body, as well as defeating the Flash to get him out of the way for some unknown greater plan. Marlize though is a loving wife that is smart as well and is part of her husband’s success and is seeking to make sure she doesn’t lose the one she loves.
As Barry and his friends/family struggle with the aftereffects of The Thinker’s plot, the DeVoes are dealing with their own issues. Marlize’s struggles to deal with this new body of her husbands are very understandable. Her husband is still alive but he’s not fully the person she loved. That devotion though is put on full display as Marlize puts on quite the show in the courtroom to try and continue to sway things against Barry. It’s a show, of course, to move their plans forward, but the pain that is being put out there seems to likely pull from how she is feeling about the somewhat loss of her husband in a sense. No matter the play that Team Flash pulled in the case, the DeVoe’s were ready to knock it down. Truly they are the best villains this series has had since the original Reverse Flash/Thawne/Wells. Running faster isn’t going to save Barry or anyone this time.
The Flash continues its stellar season four turn around, by continuing to build up truly dangerous and threatening villains that are ten steps ahead of Barry and his friends. Putting heroes in positions they cannot escape through their powers is always a good move because it allows for more character growth moments. Now that the goofy nature of the first episodes is over, season four is shaping up to some very dramatic must-see TV.
Score: 9 out of 10