FULL EPISODE SPOILERS FOLLOW
It's rather difficult to critique this week's episode of the CW's The Flash because it was an episode filled with really dumb moments but also pretty humorous moments as well as some sweet cameos from [Arrow](series:720988). Normally an episode like this is "meh" at best but this week's seemed to surpass other villains of the week simply because it didn't try anything special outside of being entertaining filler and a growing bond between Thawne and Barry while Cisco and Joe had the brunt of the fun for this week.
We also learned that some images shown in the trailer for the rest of the season were red herrings, such as Eddie shooting the cops (wasn't really him) and Barry kissing Caitlin (wasn't really him, but Caitlin got into it the second time around). It just tells me that the next steamy Olicity moment shown in the trailers for Arrow may not be as people are hoping, mostly because it makes little sense in the context of the episode given what happened last week.
But I digress. This week saw Joe and Cisco head over to Starling City to seek the help of Captain Lance on what happened in the car wreck that killed Wells's wife while Eddie and Barry had a fun sidequest hunting down a shapeshifting metahuman.
A few nitpicky things to get out of the way: (1) When the shapeshifter turned the corner after shapeshifting for the first time, how did Barry lose him? We've seen Barry not only outrun lightning, not only run all the way to Coast City and back in like under a second (nice Easter Egg, writers), but also travel one day back in time. But turning the corner to catch a villain you just saw? Nope. Way too difficult. (2) Caitlin said that the serum was finished right before sucking face with not-Barry, so, why not use it on him while he was still in S.T.A.R. Labs or bring it with her while they carried him to...wherever Iris wanted to go? (3) Did Iris really change her mind that quickly when Eddie was released, really? This girl can't make up her mind and it's rather annoying. Also, since when has she been able to walk in and out of S.T.A.R. Labs so easily, she's never even been there before. (4) The DA tells Barry to be more like a scientist after he pulls up SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that says Eddie is innocent. Side-characters on this show tend to be pretty dumb.
One other thing that somewhat bothered me was the look Barry gave Eddie when he told Iris, as I couldn't read if it were a look of, "And that is why you fail" or "I believe in the you that believes in me" which could really help determine the trust level between the two. I suppose we'll learn more about it next week, but still, it's an odd note to leave off on.
The shining moments of the episode were easily the moments with Cisco and Joe. It's always a pleasure seeing some of the lesser members of Arrow hang out with the team on The Flash and this week was no exception. The father talk that Joe and Lance had about their daughters was especially interesting as both are in contrasting situations. Joe can't tell Iris all the secrets while Lance had information withheld from him thanks to Laurel. Joe was able to provide the more insightful advice, and hopefully that dynamic gets explored in upcoming episodes of Arrow as Lance maybe tries to mend his relationship with Laurel. I was just confused on when this was going on in relation to the events of Arrow. If it happens after "Public Enemies" then maybe it's not for the best that Laurel be hanging around the precinct, given that there is a manhunt out for Oliver and people know he is the Arrow and that the Arrow works with the Black Canary and Lance knows she's the Black Canary and...
You get my point.
What I really, really liked was actually seeing Laurel have a genuine smile on her face. Everything has been so harrowing for not only her character but all of the heroes on Arrow that I forget these people can have happy emotions too. It was just refreshing. Also: I like the Canary Cry for what it is. While it is artificial, it should be pulled off well enough that it gets camouflaged by the black costume she wears and thus will simply look like the Canary Cry we all have come to adore from the character. Plus it makes her losing her cry all the more reasonable should they go for a story-arc like that. Cisco also mentioned he was working more with sound waves recently and I can't recall when or why that was. Just a throwaway line at him becoming Vibe eventually, but still, it confused me.
The whole Wells/ Thawne aspect of the episode was actually in a much smaller light than advertised, but it was still good to watch. Sadly, it felt simply like padding for the next episode in which our characters are going to begin a war against the Reverse Flash, who will likely respond not too kindly. It was cool to see Caitlin come into the fold of confirming Wells is not the man they know, and it was especially neat to see our trio go into the time chamber and see the news report Thawne has been keeping all this time. I can't imagine what must be going through Barry's mind now, and gets me all the more excited for what is to come next week.
While the material with the shapeshifter wasn't particularly interesting it was entertaining and exciting enough to keep me interested in how they would take him down. As usual it came down to S.T.A.R. Labs science to save the day, but it still provided for a nifty fight where Barry was up against Caitlin, Iris, and Eddie at the same time. It was odd that the sight of Caitlin would suddenly stop him since he knows that it isn't really her, but it did segue into the fight so I'm not that upset about it.
I keep thinking about the Barry and Caitlin kiss because I feel like it's going to somewhat change Caitlin's character simply because she seemed traumatized by what she'd done after it happened. It can't be that big a deal, unless she realizes that she wanted to kiss him in which I would like to see more of her coming to grips with that.
Again, a lot of seeds have been planted for a big showdown, or at least the beginnings of a war, with the Reverse Flash, who has spent much of the season putting things in place. Gorilla Grodd is underground, Wells took some mysterious power from Blackout back in Episode 7 (oh yeah, I remember that) and he has a decent amount of villains locked away, while Barry has himself and if he wanted to make a quick phone call, Firestorm. Unless Cold decides to become Citizen Cold for an episode, but I don't see that happening.
While not much happened this week on The Flash in terms of progressing the actual story for the viewer, the characters are now all caught up and ready for a fight. There were some funny and generally entertaining moments over in Central City with the metahuman of the week while the cameos from Arrow provided some excellent crossover material and helped remind me that our characters from Arrow aren't gloom and doom ALL the time. Laurel getting her Canary Cry was fun--with Cisco constantly geeking out--and seeing the two fathers interact was very interesting.
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