This The Flash review contains spoilers.
The Flash Season 4 Episode 21
To quote the formerly brilliant Harry Wells, “This was a colossal waste of time.”
Right after I spent last week talking up how solid the second half of this season has been, The Flash drops “Harry and the Harrisons” on us, perhaps the single greatest argument for condensing the episode orders of, not just The Flash, but the entire Arrowverse. Legends of Tomorrow seems positively conservative with its 16, 17, and 18 episode orders. After “Harry and the Harrisons” I’m ready to make an argument for a Krypton-esque 10 episode order for The Flash Season 5.
Most of the time, all of these shows have achieved the kind of baseline level of quality you expect from, say (I know, it’s sacrilege to say this name here), Marvel Studios. You know that when you tune in, the vast majority of the time, you’re going to get something pretty good, entertaining, and fun. There’s rarely any real lows (but hoo-boy…there have been a few doozies here and there), and the highs (this year those have been “Enter Flashtime” and “Run, Iris, Run”) always make up for everything else.
So “Harry and the Harrisons” is far from the worst episode of The Flash, but might be the worst episode this season. It was certainly the longest hour of TV I think I’ve sat through all year long. An exercise in wheel-spinning, not audacious enough to do something truly foolish or anger the audience, not eye-rollingly obvious in its use of some ridiculous c-list villain to fill time, but nevertheless an hour that could have been better spent on, well, virtually anything. If nothing else, it’s far too late in the season to be burning 44 minutes of story on this stuff.
There are many issues here. Harry’s “Flowers for Algernon” decline doesn’t work when it’s played for laughs in every other scene, and the Council of Harrys was an utterly infuriating way to deal with this issue. Tom Cavanagh is brilliant, always has been from the first episode of this show, and the original Council of Wells thing was a fun gag, to be sure. But that Council of Harrys stuff felt truly endless and tired. You can’t seriously expect us to care about this, do you?
For real, my biggest fear is that next year’s new Harry is Sonny Wells as a series regular.
Anyway, our next problem is the one that hurts me the most to say: Amunet Black is dreadful. It pains me to see the brililant Katee Sackhoff wasted on this role, with that dreadful accent and Power Rangers villain dialogue and posturing. She’s a brilliant performer who deserves better.
I touched on this last week as well, but nobody has been more poorly served by this season than Caitlin. The idea that Killer Frost is some essential part of her that she “misses” is brutal nonsense. It saps both characters of drama, but really kneecaps Caitlin and her entire arc over the last two seasons. Remember her dread when she saw what she could turn into? Remember how much it hurt when she finally did? They’ve turned one of the best character arcs on the show into some kind of desperate, childish power grab, and it’s really just sad to see. The whole “placebo” thing was a multiple eye roll moment.
Oh yeah, and there was something about Iris writing a DeVoe article so that social media can help catch the guy who can change shape and bodies at will. Because, you know, whenever we crowdsource stuff like that it always works out really well.
– Cisco’s “eye snakes” line is a Raiders of the Lost Ark joke. Like the rest of this episode, he wasn’t even trying.
– “Harry and the Harrisons” is a riff on John Lithgow Bigfoot “classic” Harry and the Hendersons.