FULL EPISODE SPOILERS FOLLOW
After a week's hiatus the CW's The Flash returned bringing us a subtle crossover with Arrow. By subtle I mean it didn't feature any of the main, "seasoned" (apostrophes because Laurel) heroes and instead brought Felicity back and debuted Ray Palmer in a newer A.T.O.M. suit. Besides that, the growing conspiracies against Thawne mounted...and Iris was a total idiot this week.
This episode covered the entire spectrum of the season: from really great to really stupid. It was rather incredible, really, how it covered so many different moments. It makes the episode difficult to judge. I know it's a good episode, and has many really funny and memorable moments, but is also has ridiculously stupid moments, too.
This episode returned to a good formula The Flash had early on of keeping things simple and funny. It was little character bits that kept the episode afloat, with really dumb puns that you couldn't help but laugh at. It helps that the Internet is obsessed with bees to make these jokes pretty relevant, but still. Not only did the characters of the show get to go back to their funny roots, but it was also great to see Felicity just be...Felicity. Ray, too. Caitlin's quip about them being practically the same person rung particularly true and is what makes them such a strong couple, even the strongest couple between both shows.
While the action scenes this episode had were really cool--visually some of the best--it was mostly the character dialogue and the scenes where they were just hanging out that were the best. It allowed the actors to bounced off of each other and for the writers to take a break from the constant action and gloom and doom both shows were adopting. Barry felt rather out of character this episode, but at least this was plot-based as he was perturbed having learned about the Reverse Flash.
Just wait til he learns about the giant gorilla walking around the sewer saying, "Not God, Grodd." It'll be great!
Typical of a crossover, this episode had many self-referential moments to poke fun at. Namely Felicity remarking that Central City was supposed to be the "fun one" and this episode proved that it was still way more light-hearted than Arrow, where the villain of the season is the League of Assassins. Just sounds like a group of fun folk, don't it? There was also Eddie remarking that literally everyone but Iris knows that Barry is the Flash, which was pretty funny. And hey, Eddie wasn't a total tool this episode, but I do fear that we may get to that point given where the episode leaves off.
Best fourth-wall break though? When Caitlin and Cisco said, "Is it a bird?" "A plane?" When Brandon Routh was flying in the air. As if they don't want us to forget about Superman Returns. Eh, at least it led to a good joke nearly a decade later.
Also, did anyone else notice the sex jokes in the beginning? Kinda came out of nowhere, honestly, and was a little weird. Oh well, didn't really come up again.
Speaking of sort of irrelevant, the Bug-Eyed Bandit wasn't a really great villain and not necessarily a memorable one, but as a fan of The Walking Dead it's fun seeing Emily Kinney outside of her role as Beth. She's just such a fun person to have around, and it's especially interesting as a fan to see her as a villain, while all I can think of is the young girl by the campfire singing songs after the group cleared the prison lawn of walkers. Classic!
The good thing was that, as a villain, she wasn't annoying. She just was. Her actions led to Ray Palmer showing off (what else is new) and Barry learning from that Mercury Labs lady that Wells "was like a whole new person" after a car accident. Oh and Cisco jumped in front of Ray to take a bee sting to the neck, which was a complete red herring for him seemingly dying. That part was interesting, though.
Just as I think I figure out how time is going to work in this show, too, the show throws us a complete loop by Cisco having memories of a time that never happened. But...what the heck does that mean? And why aren't other characters remembering? Is it a trigger? That makes sense, but, I think it would have been more appropriate if Wells told Cisco he was brilliant just as he did before he killed him rather than Ray. A nitpick, sure, but it would make a little more sense.
How does it work, though? I've tempted many ideas in my mind, like two universes crossing at the right time for Cisco to remember but that's about as sound as Batman appearing on these two shows, but I've decided to leave the theories to the forum boards and comment sections. I just can't wrap my head around it. Is it brilliant or just a forced plot moment so that Caitlin and Cisco can be pushed toward Barry's side against the Reverse Flash? It's interesting to say the least.
Barry's trauma over Thawne, though, was justified and I rather enjoyed seeing him struggle with it as the episode progressed. It could be seen as a small road of maturity for him, as he tried to figure out what to do about it. I do think that he should have trusted Cisco and Caitlin more since they haven't acted suspicious at all throughout the season, so that was a little silly. Him telling them straight up what he thinks was indeed a wise choice.
Wanna know something unwise? Iris. Yeah, she really bugged me this episode. All season I've heard several people have mentioned their disdain for Iris but I never really cared for it. This episode, though, I have to side with the majority. Her decision making was horrendous this episode. All season she's stuck by Eddie through everything and helped him through everything. And then there's one thing that he doesn't mention, and even Barry rationalizes why that is in a very clever and totally legit cover-up for Eddie, and still she doesn't believe him and then leaves him at the end of the episode over ONE thing.
Now, I'm not a relationship specialist, but it's very obvious that there has to be a certain level of trust in a relationship and clearly Iris lost that. But when? And why? I would understand a little more if she had just gone through some traumatic experience--like maybe the loss of her boss affects her--but there's no mention of that with her and it's just a sudden level of distrust. Her scenes had me rolling my eyes and I've pretty much lost all faith in the character. She's just a walking storm of trouble, everywhere she goes she causes problems. She screws with Barry's head, she's now screwing with Eddie's head. This is probably going to make him hate Barry for revealing that he's the Flash even though they did it for the betterment of the city and Eddie should have known what he signed up for. Stupid.
Dumb romance moments aside, though, this was a fairly solid episode for The Flash. The villain stands out because of the actress behind the role but was otherwise average. Our characters, their interactions/ dialogue, and their dealing with the situations at hand were what helped guide the episode into what The Flash is known for: a fun, light-hearted super-hero adventure not afraid to make self-referential jokes and have humor as quick as Barry himself.
It wasn't the strongest episode and isn't the best for coming off of a break, but it does help set the stage for the S.T.A.R. Labs group to be suspicious of Thawne going forward into the homestretch.
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