At long last Clifford DaVoe, the Thinker enlightens the rest of us (yeah I went there) to the specifics of his plan for a so-called “Enlightenment” that he’s been declaring all season long. Through flashbacks we’re shown the growth of Clifford and Marlize DaVoe’s relationship (including some rocky parts we were previously unaware of), where she discovers that he has radical ideas about how technology is a cancer upon society and the best way to deal with it would be to essentially lobotomize the population to erase their knowledge of and dependence upon technology. Creating another Enlightenment like in history where people can create new ideas that are not tech-based.
In the present, Team Flash is racing the clock to try and catch the DaVoes as they are grabbing piece after piece of technology (the irony) to use to create a device to make this enlightenment happen. It will bathe the world in Dark Matter which will reboot all the world’s brains back to a more simple state and they will begin to lose their intelligence. At the same time, Cisco and Gypsy are dealing with relationship issues, both want different things, and Harry’s mind is continuing to deteriorate but Cecile (who had all but vanished for a chunk of this season) finds a way to somewhat help him at least with his ideas.
It’s really nice of Thinker, with all these 12 metahuman powers he has including being able to teleport anywhere at any moment and shrink things and all that, to go so slow at collecting the pieces of tech that Team Flash has time to catch onto his plot. This is truly the issue with stretching out a villain that can “out think” everyone for an entire season. Eventually, the writers have to be dumbing them down for plot reasons, to give the heroes a shot. Honestly, the DaVoe’s should have been able to grab all the pieces and have built their machine before Team Flash even could blink and realize what was going on. Instead, just like a typical villain, Thinker wastes time monologuing, taunting, slowly gathering pieces because the plot needs to be stretched out for more episodes and the heroes need to win.
While I, of course, don’t want her to die, the slow show of almost killing Gypsy is a perfect example of this. With his abilities, her death should have been instant, but Thinker, who claims to not be like other villains, is toying with his prey and showing off. This has been one of the most major flaws this season, Thinker’s plan should have happened long ago. Instead, he spent just as many months as Team Flash, searching out the Metahumans that he created and should have known where they were the whole time waiting till the final 1/3 of the season to actually do anything remotely close to his actual plan.
As stated in previous reviews, the thing that saves the season most times is the interpersonal relationships and development of the characters. Cisco and Gypsy realize that they want different things in their lives and break-up, both of them clearly in pain, but likely the plot won’t end here. Harry finally comes clean with the group and they remind him they are a family and will do what they can to save him. Despite the tragedy that led to it, shrinking Team Flash back down to a more manageable level has definitely helped with this regard of development.
What doesn’t work as well, while working at the same time, is the flashbacks of the DaVoes. It definitely builds up how their relationship came together, and how they ended up on the same page for at least part of the time. Overall there is nothing wrong with the flashbacks but they are blunted by the fact that over the course of the second half of the season we quickly found out how much of a monster Clifford had become since moving beyond his broken body into others. Drugging his wife to be compliant the biggest indicator of that.
It did though fit nicely with the episode ending though, seeing Marlize reaching a breaking point where once again, much as she did earlier in their courtship, she leaves Clifford. Marlize proves to be steps ahead of the Thinker, protecting herself with his chair (that he put her in to heal her) and porting away. How that will affect the rest of the season remains to be seen, but likely she’ll hold some key to defeating him. Guaranteed she’ll end up teaming up with or assisting Flash at some point. It is inevitable.
As the finale speeds ever closer, things begin to finally come together with the villain and what his plan is despite this having should have been made clear a long time ago. With each passing week, the Thinker becomes a weaker and weaker villain, not even coming close to the levels of season one’s Reverse Flash/Wells. Relationship drama rears its head but this time its very realistic relationship issues that needed to be addressed & were handled well. Marlize’s heel turn was interesting and actually added some intrigue to the villain side of things. Mystery girl, who clearly from the start was obviously related to Barry and Iris, shows up again & proves her connection more with her pink speed force signature after she runs & hides upon seeing Iris.
Score: 7 out of 10