We have made it to the mid-season finale of The Flash and, while the show has added some new characters and made some relatively large changes to the status quo, it feels pretty stodgy and unmotivated moving into its hiatus.
1. I still don’t understand why DeVoe is such a dick
Over the past few weeks (not counting the crossover), the show has worked hard to get us into DeVoe’s headspace, and I applaud it for that. We now understand a little better what the circumstances beyond his transformation are, as well as his need/desire to cure himself. What we still don’t understand, at least not very clearly, as to why he wants to get Barry so badly.
This show, after its first season, has had a really hard time with villains. I’ve mentioned this before, but most of the big bads don’t have any real beef with Barry, or even a ‘take over the world’ scheme. It is often “I’m going to prove I’m the best” or something of the like. A little bit of focus on why DeVoe is trying to ruin Barry’s life would be so incredibly helpful.
The show is trying to make Ralph not the worst, but then writes him as the worst 88% of the time. He says one nice thing to Caitlin, and we’re supposed to ignore how obnoxious he is the rest of the time, and it just doesn’t work that way. There is almost nothing about his character that we are given that is anything but annoying, except for hypothetical bad feelings for him losing his job/being lonely.
But now he has a job, and has friends, and he’s still the worst. The show has introduced new members to Team Flash so well in the past; even Julian wound up as a good member by the Christmas party invite last year. But Ralph just seems like a lost cause, which is such a shame.
3. Killer Caitlin
The one character that has really grown and changed this season is Caitlin. Her control over her meta abilities is limited to when she changes over, but that control has given her enough agency to make her character really interesting. It’s not quite Jekyll and Hyde or Banner/Hulk, but it is certainly more of a shift than we see for most heroes and their alter egos.
Danielle Panabaker is acting her ass off this season, and she helps to make all the Amunet Black stuff not totally intolerable. Katie Sackoff is doing what actors do on The Flash – hamming it up – but there isn’t enough of a connection there to make her appearances feel like anything other than dull, empty scenes. Her importance in this episode was slightly more, for reasons we will get to shortly, but I can’t help feel that this is yet another villain being wasted.
4. Random thoughts
There were a few quick notes I want to hit before digging into the end of the episode, so let’s plow through these:
– Wally is in Cambodia? Wait, huh?
– Flotation mode – nice callback to Barry’s new suit.
– Cisco and Iris have the same hair – I never really noticed it this week until there was a scene were I mistook one for the other from behind.
– For a yearly tradition, doesn’t the West Christmas Party always seem to be slapdash and thrown together? You’ve gotta prep, Joe!
– Iris was pretty down on Felicity and Oliver joining in on their impromptu wedding – a wedding only made possible by their friend who is an ordained minister. To be fair, brides should have their own big day, but Iris set herself up to have the least ‘my day’ wedding of all time, so you can’t really blame Felicity.
5. DeVoe’s Plan
So, I’m still not sure why DeVoe is doing what he’s doing, but now we understand why he did it. Dominic, the new meta that Caitlin saved through surgery, has a strong enough brain, through his meta ESP ability, to take on DeVoe’s consciousness and intelligence. So, DeVoe transfers his mojo to Dominic, leaving his old body dead and gone. After stabbing his dead body with a knife he gave Barry and Iris as a wedding gift, with his body left at the Allen apartment, we see Barry get arrested for murder. This is a clever plan and, for a show that loves actors having to pretend to be other actors due to weird body-swapping storylines, fits right in with what The Flash has done for years now.Continued below
But it also sets up a faux-‘The Trial of the Flash,’ one of the more iconic Barry Allen stories. I doubt it will resemble it all that much in actuality, but the nod is a nice bit of Flash-nip for us old school fans.
Well, that’s it until the new year. See ya in 6 weeks!