This The Flash review contains spoilers.
The Flash Season 4 Episode 20
So, for starters…sorry about last week, folks. A DVR mishap kept me from handling “Fury Rogue” in a reasonably timely fashion, and then a little indie movie came out that ended up taking up all of my time. I doubt you’ve heard of it. It’s about an angry environmentalist looking to bring balance to the universe by any means necessary. If it comes to your town, do go see it.
Anyway, so much for me reviewing “Fury Rogue.” Which is a damn shame, because I rather enjoyed that episode, which, among other things, was a perfect sendoff for Wentworth Miller. Miller’s intro as Captain Cold was the first ever five star review I gave to an episode of The Flash, and I feel like the show clicked early on by nailing that particular villainous performance. It won’t be the same without him.
Usually, I worry that I am the cranky Flash reviewer on the internet. I was especially hard on season two, and I don’t think I’ve been particularly nice to this season, either. But I’ve been keeping an eye on fan reaction to this recent stretch of episodes (kids, even when I’m not rambling aimlessly in an official capacity, know that I am with you in spirit in the Speed Force), and…I rather liked them? Who am I?
Look, I’ve pretty much given up on this season ever really reaching the heights of late first season, or even the masterful exercise in tension/release that was the home stretch of season three (look, I still liked it). And while Thinker and Friends ™ remains a fairly murkily motivated villain, and certainly not the most dynamic visual the show has ever offered us, I’ve finally managed to get invested in his story. And then I remember that he’s actually using Ralph’s body to disguise himself as his past self and…I get less invested.
But when I don’t think about some of the dopey baggage that comes with this season, “Therefore She Is” is pretty darn good. It’s got the “balance” that I had been screaming for during the first half of the season, and its tone and pacing feel more like the show that we’ve all come to love over the last few years than it often has this season. But it still feels a little too little, too late at times, and I think we could have used this episode like, four episodes ago. At least.
Still, it’s great to see an episode focusing a little more heavily on Marlize, and lest we think they’ve been making DeVoe too sympathetic lately, this was a perfect reminder that he has always been a manipulative, emotionally abusive thinking cap of dicks. It helped make that final shot of Marlize leaving him all that much better. And I’ve gotta say, that gunshot going off as they both portaled out of there as the poor guard blew his brains out was a dark, shocking moment, and one that didn’t need anything other than that sound effect. Effective stuff, and something that simple ends up being one of the darkest moments of the season.
But remember what I said about balance? The episode also managed to move Cisco’s story along, and give fans a sense of relief that Carlos isn’t leaving the show any time soon. Seriously, Cisco’s avoiding the whole Breacher issue for as long as he could basically mirrored my avoiding the thought of what this show would look like without him. And that was a genuinely heartbreaking goodbye between Vibe and Gypsy. Great stuff, and while Cisco is often this show’s secret weapon, he’s had an especially strong back half of the season this year.
Really, most of the problems with “Therefore She Is” are season problems, not episode problems. I loathe the current Caitlin arc and the way they’ve been writing her “relationship” with Killer Frost, which is utterly nonsensical, and Cecile’s mind-reading remains an absurd convenience and abuse of writerly privilege. But those elements aside, I’ve felt better about this current stretch of episodes than I have about any multiple episode run so far this year. Even though Thinker isn’t our strongest big bad, when the show focuses on telling a story and isn’t scraping the bottom of the barrel to get obligatory villains of the week in, The Flash can still deliver a solid hour of TV.
– “Going Out of My Head” is an all-time classic by Little Anthony & The Imperials. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of that song in so long, but it was an appropriate choice here.
– So Cecile and Joe’s baby is due in 21 days…which just happens to be the date of the season finale. I do love when this show takes place in real time.
– And yesssss! I was right! That has to be Dawn Allen. Or maybe Jenni Ognats. In any case, that is a West-Allen descendant with super speed here from the future for some reason. I just wonder if she’s in any way involved with the Legion of Superheroes over on Supergirl. Anyway, my “I was right” usually holds until it turns out I was wrong.