Sometimes Three Speedsters Might Not Be Enough
One thing that has become too common for The CW hero shows (and a lot of other shows) is an overreliance on an overarching bad guy of the season plots that seem to overtake most episodes with plots connected to that plot. One-off episodes become few and far between at times, but when they do find a way to fit one in it’s a welcome change of pace many times. This week for The Flash definitely proved that.
While Clifford DaVoe/Thinker & Marlize DaVoe started off as interesting shadowy villains and the first half of the season showed some fun promise, it quickly became lost as the plots of the villains became over the top and the show got almost as dreary as the last season which turned off most audiences. Seeing the team have to focus on something else actually helped with this, especially when even the characters are mentioning that they need to spend time not as a hero team but also as just themselves. Too bad for them some villains decide to steal an experimental nuke from ARGUS and detonate it in Central City as Flash and company show up to stop them.
Having Barry team-up with Jay Garrick Flash and Jesse Quick in order to try and race fast enough to stop a nuke from destroying the city is very gimmicky, but it had a lot more tension than most of the DaVoe related plots. It’s not often that we see Barry in a genuinely tight spot with little options, not even his time in prison felt that way because he was zipping in and out and around during that time as well. Especially since one by one, his allies are not able to help him and he loses both other speedsters who cannot keep up because they are older like Jay and not as experienced with the speed force like Jesse.
Heroes almost always end up saving the day in the end, but it’s how they do it that becomes interesting at times. Calling back to the season premiere and the way that the team got Barry out of the speed force as a way to generate the energy needed to stop the bomb was a nice move. Especially since it didn’t come from Cisco or Harry just throwing it out there, but it came from Iris who was able to put together what Barry had told her and offer up something that Barry didn’t know about and the others had not really thought about because they didn’t really have the time and/or were occupied by thoughts of others.
It All Comes Down To Character Development
Putting characters in peril is fine and all (especially since it’s a big part of superhero or action stories) but it’s character moments that truly make things shine. Barry’s moments were very powerful as he faces the reality that he very well could fail everyone he loves and the entire city in this moment. Pushing himself to the absolute brink to try and save everyone. Grant Gustin really sells a hero that is breaking inside with every moment that oblivion inches closer.
It was the Welles family that had multiple great moments, especially since it was great to see Jesse return in some capacity that wasn’t her appearing to break up with Wally or just be brought up in conversation by Harry or Wally about how she had abandoned them. We actually got to see things from her perspective at last, which was long past due really. Sure we could assume that the reason her dad was kicked off her support team was him being his usual curmudgeonly self, but hearing that it was also because she was able to call out that his jerk demeanor stretches back to the loss of her mother that he has refused to move past.
Honestly, I really wish we could see more of Jay Garrick outside of these out of the blue episodes. Just having John Wesley Shipp back on the show more often would be nice, as he added a presence during the first seasons that has been missing since Henry Allen was killed and the real Jay was revealed and went back to his own world at the end of season two. Then again, the cast is so stacked lately that they ended up tossing Wally off to limbo in favor of Ralph Dibny who didn’t even show up this week either. What the show actually needs is a cast trimming more so than a cast addition. Though some more guest spots here or there would be nice. Though with his mention of retiring and training some new Flash on his world, it seems likely we’ll see him and or this new Flash at some point this season.
Okay, the whole mystery person that is clearly related to Barry and Iris as their daughter or granddaughter or such that pops up randomly in these final bits of the episode and the wedding needs to be solved. No doubt it’s being saved for the end where Barry and or Iris will end up finding out who she is (maybe even being sent into the future where they have a family like the old comic book canon) at the most inopportune moment. While the actress is doing a great job, it’s being dragged out just a bit too long with no real information being gained at all.
Taking a week off from the Thinker plot really benefitted the series as it’s been spiraling into mediocrity week after week lately with plots that are solved through things that are all too ridiculously convenient. More of these one-offs with less of a cast (just the core of the team) dealing with various threats or puzzles or such would be welcome. Having Jesse and Harry finally iron out their issues was great, and now I’m very curious to find out who this new Earth 3 Flash Jay mentions training will be.
Score: 8 out of 10