FULL EPISODE SPOILERS FOLLOW
Well this was a very disappointing episode. You'd think on the final stretch of the show they'd try to hit everything home, but, what happened tonight was a really boring, unexciting episode featuring a really annoying side-character, a villain that was cool to see but didn't really do anything, and a severe lack of humor. Like, really no humor at all.
So let's just address the worst part, or just character, of the episode first (though I really don't want to): Iris West. My God I hate her character. She's selfish, intrusive, and completely idiotic in everything she says. It's like the writers forgot how to, well, write. Everything that surrounds her characters is moronic.
The way she found out Barry is the Flash? Stupid. How she can just waltz right into S.T.A.R. Labs? Stupid (seriously, no locks?!). Her complete angst toward everyone because they aren't going after Eddie and not trying to save the city at large? Stupid.
She also gets in the way a lot. She keeps telling Barry and the team how ineffective they are in their attempts to find Eddie and how wrong the are to keep secrets, never stopping to think that since Eddie knows about the Flash, maybe that's why he was captured. Maybe her knowing puts her in that same risk. And considering how Grodd is psychic that he would figure that out and, you know, tell someone about it.
When I think of Iris like this I can only think of Laurel from Season 2 of Arrow. But the difference with Laurel was that her character was going through an arc. She had to dive low in order to rise up ever stronger. Plus, it pushed Sara closer to Oliver, which helped advance the overall plot.
With Iris, what has she done at all this season? There's nothing significant that she's been a part of, especially in the new timeline of the last few episodes. She just negatively effects Barry and Eddie forcing them to question their decisions. And even in the one moment she was effective, it was so cheesy and so predictable that I couldn't help but roll my eyes at it.
It almost feels like the writers are getting a bit lazy on The Flash, hoping that these cool villains and reveals are enough to keep us excited. And yes, the end of the episode is exciting. But, rather than them spending time on Iris being a babbling fool, why not show us how and when Thawne started working with the Particle Accelerator? I feel like that would be extremely interesting to see, as maybe he could be working on it with Grodd and further their relationship outside of Grodd calling him "father" and their writings on the wall.
Suppose now's a good time to talk about Grodd. He is really, really cool, yeah. But, he was put to little use this episode. His motivation was to be a distraction and he was good at it. But only once during the entire episode did Grodd feel imposing. When Cisco, Joe, and Barry were going in the cave, that was a cool, tense, and pretty spooky moment that really showed the imposition Grodd can have on our heroes. His stopping Barry's punch was (unrealistic, Barry's arm should have shattered but this is a show were a dude can become a human fire ball) also pretty neat. But everything besides that? The psychic stuff was okay, and solved rather quickly and Cisco and Caitlin made this invention overnight despite mentioning they had no idea where to begin with it.
I feel like he will become the legendary villain he's meant to be but right now all he's meant to do is serve a role as Wells's lackey. The end of the episode also confused me. Sure it's meant to say that Grodd isn't gone, but, he jumped off of the building to...who? Barry? Can he really jump that far?
Another thing that really bugged me, and also shows me that the writers might actually be getting lazy, is that they seem to have forgotten that Eiling already knew Barry was the Flash. He found out in "Plastique" and told Barry in "Fallout" that he knew his secret identity. So when he tells Barry, again, how he knows who he is and Barry is surprised, no. It's not surprising. It's inconsistent.
In the end, this was a weak episode for The Flash, which is frustrating since things are really meant to be heating up now. Grodd was cool to see but in the end didn't serve much of a role outside of what a normal villain of the week may have. Iris continued to be a ridiculously frustrating character and just makes me hope we see less and less of her (we won't, because she's the love interest). There was very little humor--Cisco's movie references are fun with space, not thrown at us every episode--and just overall this was a boring experience.
But given that next week we'll see the Flash, Firestorm, and Al Sa-Him square off with Thawne, I expect the action to boost us into the season finale. So, there is hope!
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