This Flash review contains spoilers.
It was bound to happen. An episode of The Flash that I genuinely didn’t like. “Crazy for You” isn’t terrible. It has its moments. But it’s so utterly disposable that I just can’t see myself ever sitting through it again, even on a full season binge.
Where does “Crazy for You” go so wrong? It’s dull. But as last week’s episode proved, we don’t necessarily need a ton of action to make a good Flash episode, so that isn’t quite it. Plus, “Revenge of the Rogues” showed us that even tons of spectacular action isn’t a guaranteed formula for a memorable episode, either.
And it’s not that it’s poorly written. The characters behave the way they should, and everyone is as charming as ever. Malese Jow makes her debut as Linda Park, and I suspect she’s going to fit right in with the rest of the ensemble. It just all felt very disconnected. Here are some emotional moments with Barry and his Dad. Here’s some Caitlin Snow comic relief. Here’s a reminder that Grant Gustin can sing. Here’s the villain of the week.
Maybe that’s the problem. Peek-a-boo is simply bad news. Never mind the fact that her code name is basically a living, breathing case against superhero/supervillain codenames, she’s a fun visual, but nothing else. At one point, when Caitlin says “don’t we have a teleporter to catch?” I realized I had almost forgotten. Why? Because this was a tedious, meandering episode. I consider “Power Outage” to be a better example of a disposable villain of the week done right, while “Plastique” was the low point. I’m no longer sure “Plastique” is the series low, though.
Oh, Britne Oldford is just fine as Shauna Baez, and she seriously couldn’t look any more like she stepped off the comic page, but…who cares? The fact that she just earned herself a life sentence in solitary confinement in the STAR Labs basement where she doesn’t even get the basic amenity of seeing out of her cell makes things even worse. This was a pretty disposable character from the comics, co-created by Flash executive producer Geoff Johns, who probably earned himself a nice “usage” bonus with her appearance this week. See also: the dreadful Cupid who appeared on Arrow this year, a character co-created in the comics by Arrow exec Andrew Kreisberg…although that disaster was far tougher to sit through than “Crazy for You.”
I should note that hungover Caitlin is my new favorite Caitlin, so that’s cool. But…and this is gonna get me in trouble with shippers across the internet…I’m not feeling the sexual tension with Barry and Ms. Snow. Arrow has this problem. Oliver Queen ends up sleeping with every attractive woman who isn’t a blood relative. Barry has his hands full in the friend zone, and Linda Park will complicate that. I don’t think we need to add a workplace romance to this situation. It’s not super icky or anything, it just feels like something that popped up this episode because they knew they weren’t really throwing us many other bones.
While we’re on the subject of Ms. Snow, teasing out the Firestorm (I refuse to type this as an acronym) story for this long is looking like more and more of a mistake. I did dig the security camera origin sequence, but the whole “look! It’s Ronnie’s energy face flying into the professor!” thing felt like video game logic. Then again, it’s best not to think too hard about the logistics of Firestorm’s origin on its best day. There have just been too many side trips into this over the last few episodes, and it hasn’t felt earned, despite Caitlin’s repeated reminders that she lost her boyfriend in the big disaster. I’m very much looking forward to seeing Firestorm next week, but I’m also looking forward to the build up being over so they can get on with things. Piper playing Hannibal Lecter was super tedious, made more inexcusable since they’re probably going to use a similar angle for the upcoming Trickster episode.
I’m tempted to give “Crazy for You” an extra half a star because of the extra John Wesley Shipp screentime and our first ever genuine look at Gorilla Frakkin’ Grodd (his full name as far as I’m concerned), but I’m not going to. I call out other things I love for leaning on fan service at the expense of a good story, and The Flash (as entertaining as it is, even on a bad week like this one) can’t coast by on charm.
– The opening sequence was a nice way to show that Flash is a public figure now, but…he only does his whole vibrating voice/face thing around people he knows? This is a personal preference, but I think it’s a little dopey. Barry’s body language even changes when he’s hiding his identity from Iris. I feel like his “public persona” should be more in line with that. Plus it’s such a cool audio/visual thing that I want to see more of it. I’m not advocating for “grimdark” Flash or anything like that, but he shouldn’t be that familiar and accessible to people. Maybe this will play out later.
– Off of that, he DEFINITELY should have been doing “the voice” when he interrogated the douchebag who stabbed his Dad at Iron Heights. That little complaint aside, that was a nice touch. This is how Flash intimidates/interrogates guys. He isn’t Batman dangling you off the top of a skyscraper to get answers. It was creative, it was non-threatening, and it felt very right for the character.
– 75 years ago, Flash (albeit Jay Garrick) caught a bullet in his hand on the cover of Flash Comics #1. This week had a really neat variation on that. I enjoyed the way they played it, with the bullet just nicking him before he caught it.
– Drawing a blank on Marcus Stockheimer, unless that’s an alias. I don’t expect every episode to deliver DC Comics nods for every little character we meet, but this felt like another instance of them phoning it in.
– Grodd. Gorilla F. Grodd! A sentient gorilla with highly evolved mental powers. We just saw him. That means we’re going to see him again. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen.
Mike Cecchini remains the biggest Flash fan you know, even after this week’s episode. Try and keep up with him on Twitter.