This The Flash review contains spoilers.
The Flash Season 4, Episode 13
While the major villain of The Flash Season 4 has undoubtedly been Devoe, the bus metas, as Team Flash has taken to calling them, have formed a sort of minor villain team to keep the good guys busy. Along with Amunet, who continues to gloriously recur in Season 4, The Flash has done a good job of not putting all of its eggs in one villain basket, as it has in previous season to lackluster results.
The benefits of this narrative strategy really came to the fore tonight, as we saw Barry team up with the captured bus metas in an attempt to avoid falling into Amunet’s hands. While the logistics of the prison break were pretty ho-hum, it continues to be nice to see Barry Allen amongst an ensemble that isn’t Team Flash. Here, he becomes temporary allies with Kilgore, Black Bison, Dwarfstar, and Hazard—all metas he helped throw into prison in the first place.
While I would have liked to see more nuance in the characterization of the bus metas (why are so many metas just straight-up evil?), especially Black Bison, Barry does have time for a heart-to-heart with Hazard. Apparently, her turn in the slammer has given her the time to think about the ill effects of her powers. She wants to be a better person… like Barry.
The scene is designed to make us care when DeVoe eventually shows up at the Amunet deal to steal the bus metas powers, killing them in the process. (Again, it would have been nice to see some redeeming qualities in the non-Hazard characters, too. Aside from Hazard’s, these fates are played like tragedies for the additional power they give DeVoe, not for the loss of life.)
A power-less Barry is too slow to save his new friend Hazard from her fate—a slightly less gruesome or slightly more horrifying outcome, depending on how you look at it. DeVoe doesn’t just take Hazard’s powers, he also takes her body. He now inhabits the petite, blonde, female frame. (He remarks that it is an unassuming form, but Hazard is technically an escaped prisoner now, which seems like a con.)
Apparently, it’s all one unilateral decision too far for The Mechanic, who has increasingly had doubts about her husband’s plans in recent episodes. Sensing that he does not have the same level of allegiance from his wife as he once did, The Thinker uses his Weeper powers to make The Mechanic fall in love with him again. It’s not clear if this is a strategic decision, an emotional one, or both.
There’s something powerful about the idea of a love that survives through multiple body swaps, but the final scene doesn’t play like a love story. With the Thinker taking away The Mechanic’s ability to consent and the feelings of The Thinker being so unclear here, the motivations of this partnership has been murkier than ever.
Interestingly, The Mechanic’s doubts aren’t the only sign that The Thinker is starting to lose some of his power. When Ralph accidentally discovers a new power—the ability to shapeshift into the form of other people—the gang eventually uses it to pretend that DeVoe’s original body is still alive. Ralph-as-DeVoe wheels into the courtroom just as the judge is about to throw out Cecile’s appeal.
The sight of the man Barry was meant to have killed alive and well is enough for even the most curmudgeonly of judges. It’s a bit of an abrupt, anti-climactic ending for the Barry Goes to Jail Arc, but I supposed he couldn’t have stayed in jail forever, and it serves as a neat, thematic ending for this episode’s Ralph Deals With His Insecurities subplot, which was… fine.
With the Barry Goes to Jail arc out of the way, The Flash is ready to enter the next phase of Season 4: protect the remaining bus metas at all costs. This has taken on more emotional weight after Barry was forced to watch DeVoe slaughter his jail break companions in front of him. It also puts Ralph in a pretty precarious position. Not only is he a bus meta, but he also recently realized he can shapeshift, a power that the ever-shapeshifting DeVoe would no doubt want for himself.
Damn, it’s always nice to see Katee Sackhoff as Amunet. The actress ups the charisma of whatever scene she’s in by about 1000%.
Cecile uses her telepathic powers in a much more responsible, helpful way this week, reading the Warden Wolfe’s mind and finding out that Barry is about the be sold to Amunet. I feel like Team Flash didn’t give her enough credit for this major save? Like, they wouldn’t have even known there was a problem
In watching the lawless nature of Wolfe’s black market meta prison, I couldn’t help think about all of the metas Team Flash has just casually imprisoned in S.T.A.R. Labs over the seasons without any kind of due process. Did Barry think about them at all in this episode?
Killer Frost reluctantly giving Ralph the pep talk he needs was a pretty great character combo. I fully expect for Ralph to fulfill his reciprocal pep talk duties for Killer Frost in the future.
Barry is finally back home! And Joe gives him the longest hug in the history of hugs, as we all knew he would. Let’s take some time to revel in this relative calm while we have the chance.
You’re regularly-scheduled reviewer Mike Cecchini is off on a Very Important Editor Mission, but will be back to review the next episode of The Flash!