The Flash – Season 4 Episodes 10 – 18 Review

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Season 4 of the Flash continues to feel fresh and interesting as Barry and co. have to fight The Thinker, a villain that outsmarts them at every turn, rather than being yet another speedster. It’s worked really well, as has the funny addition of Elongated Man to “Team Flash”. While not everything worked perfectly, these middle 9 episodes do a good job of moving the plot towards its end point. So let’s have a closer look then!

Synopsis:

Barry stands trial for the murder of Clifford DeVoe, knowing that all the evidence points to him having done it, and the only way to get out of it would be to reveal that he’s the Flash…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

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The Flash and Elongated Man try to recruit a new member for their band.

Barry Allen / The Flash (Grant Gustin) – Barry made the baffling decision not to use his powers to get out of being framed for murder, and is now on trial… and it’s not looking good…

Iris West (Candice Patton) – Iris was equally baffled as we all were that Barry had let himself get arrested. She now plans on outing him as The Flash in order to save her husband…

Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) – Cisco has accepted that his good friend Barry might end up behind bars, but it willing to do whatever it takes to get him out as soon as possible.

Caitlin Snow / Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) – Caitlin is finally starting to piece her life back together after coming to terms with her Killer Frost personality… Which is handy given the current crisis…

Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) – Joe doesn’t want to see his adoptive son go behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, but also trusts Barry to always make the right decision…

Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) – Wells is becoming more and more frustrated that Clifford DeVoe is outsmarting them, or specifically him, at every turn…

Ralph Dibny / Elongated Man (Hartley Sawyer) – Ralph is getting used to his stretchy powers, and now it seems it might be up to him to keep the city safe in Barry’s absence, but does he have what it takes?

Clifford DeVoe / The Thinker (Neil Sandilands and Various Others) – The Thinker is an apt nickname, as every time Team Flash think they’ve got the better of him, he’s several steps ahead of them. Soon his master plan will come together…

Marlize DeVoe (Kim Engelbrecht) – Marlize is still faithfully attached to her husband and his plans, but is becoming less enthused as he steals different bodies and becomes less and less the person she once knew…

and many more!

The Good:

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I still love that they somehow kept Jay Garrick’s cheesy costume in the show!

The central plot of this season is lead villain DeVoe and his creating of the metahumans that were on the bus hit by Barry’s return from the speedforce in episode 1, and in that sense these middle nine episodes round off this storyline, as by the end of Episode 18 all have been accounted for. The format has lead to a good series of episodes focusing on one-off new heroes / villains, including Episode 12 “Honey, I Shrunk Team Flash” featuring Sylbert Rundine (alias Dwarfstar) and his ability to shrink and enlarge things, Izzy who has sound manipulation, Matthew Kim who can transfer abilities from one person to another, and Edwin Gauss, who can create portals to pocket dimensions. With the exception of Rundine all the people featured are actually nice and just want to lead normal lives. That made it all the more impactful when DeVoe appeared and took all of their powers (and some of their bodies) as his own, at the expense of their lives.

This also spins off into two other good side-plots, the first being Ralph Dibny and his failure to become a “real hero” due to being afraid for his life, and generally a bit of a knob. By Episode 18 though the Elongated Man reaches true “hero status” by capturing DeVoe alive when he could have killed him… which then costs him his life and body to The Thinker (though given all the effort put into developing the character, I assume he’s not actually going to stay dead…) It’s a good and satisfying character arc.

The other key point is as DeVoe keeps stealing bodies (both male and female) he keeps losing a bit more of himself, and his wife Marlize begins to doubt his mental health, or if he still loves her. There is a great scene when she realises she’s being drugged by DeVoe in order to stay obedient and tries to record a message informing herself of the fact for the next time she’s drugged, only to find the same message already recorded and saved… Yes, her loving husband has been keeping her drugged, and then re-drugging her every time she goes off the drugs and figures it all out. It’s cruel, and a great twist when it happened.

Episode 15 “Enter Flashtime” is a standout. A nuclear bomb detonates in a warehouse with Flash et al in, and so Barry runs at such a pace that all time is pretty much frozen and spends the whole episode bringing people into “Flashtime” and asking for help, later being joined by fellow Speedsters Jesse Quick (who was here to have yet another troubled relationship talk with her father) and Jay Garrick, but even they can’t help. Obviously it gets figured out in the end, but in general it was well written and fun to watch.

Episode 18 ends on a good note, in terms of spacing the series out as I do! It has DeVoe, now back to his old, original body in terms of looks thanks to Dibny’s stretchy body, with a full set of powers ready to put the last phase of his plan into action, meanwhile Ralph is “dead” and the rest of the team was either injured, or in the case of Caitlin, had her powers stolen. It’s leading nicely to the last few episodes.

The Bad:

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“So… Tell me again why you didn’t use your powers to avoid jail time?”

I already vented about how stupid it was that Barry let himself get caught, but in the end after all that it didn’t amount to much. He met his dad’s old cellmate Dave Ratchet (or Goldberg!), but that leads to a few befriending conversations and then he’s dumped in China and never mentioned again. Apart from that it just leads to DeVoe getting his hands on the imprisoned bus metas as they all try to escape, and then Barry is let go when the Ralph appears in court pretending to be DeVoe with his stretchy powers. It’s literally episode 13 when Barry is released, meaning his time in prison was three and half episodes…

I’m not sure what to think of Harrison Wells becoming addicted to his version of the Thinker’s “Thinking Cap”. On the one hand it is a good plot point, that he became so desperate to out-think him that he tried to instead out-do him. That desperation combined with his hubris is interesting, but on the other hand we see him going into the future room and talking with Gideon like the original sort-of-Wells from Season 1 did, and generally become unhinged. That means this is most likely either going to lead to bad guy Wells again, or a Wells dying again, both of which don’t appeal in the slightest. I guess we’ll see!

Episode 16 “Run, Iris, Run” wasn’t the best. Iris gets Barry’s speed powers in a rather on-the-nose “she can do it too!” role reversal, and then she gives the powers back and everything goes back to normal. It’s fine as a one-off, I guess, but … I’m just never a fan of “our hero becomes powerless, what will he do now?” storylines…

Brief niggle here, but bringing back Danny Trejo’s Breacher already, only to retire him in the episode, just seemed like re-using the same gag straight away. I can’t help but feel it would have been better to just leave it as it was, or bring him back next season. Instead it’s made the original, funny episode seem somehow less already. It wasn’t bad, not really, just… as I said, a small niggle.

Overall Thoughts:

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Barry makes his dramatic escape from prison after a horrible… week or two.

The Flash Season 4 continues the old Flash mantra of amusing cast member interactions (made better by Ralph!) along with good super-hero action and the odd bit of drama here and there revolving around the season’s big bad. It wasn’t perfect, there were some slip-ups, but it’s still doing a better job than last season was at this point, that’s for sure!

4 Star Watch

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