Last week had one of the best episodes of The Flash in months, it was always gonna be kind of hard to follow that up with something just as good, but so far the season seems content to quit putting off its mysteries and cut to the chase . Namely what’s the deal with Julian Albert, Caitlin’s frosty condition, and of course what’s the deal with the all-new Harrison Wells (or “H.R”). While the episode centers around a giant monster appearing in Central City out of nowhere, it makes for a great way of driving the major character arc for this week. One of the strengths the show has had lately is to willingly acknowledge the weirdness of some of the running plots lately. Namely, the sudden inclusion of Barry’s snarky workmate Julian Albert into his life after the Flashpoint effect. While it is nice that there’s someone who doesn’t take Barry to be a saint, the episode kind of undermines it by suddenly making Julian an anti-metahuman cop who despises all metahumans until his mind is changed by the Flash after he stops him from killing the teenager responsible for the false monster. Granted, that doesn’t prevent the episode from giving Julian genuine reasons for disliking Barry, and shows how he might look from the outside in : Barry can look like a bit of a privileged wonder boy who gets away with what he wants.
The show does a fantastic parody of the previous two seasons worth of Harrison Wells stories. While for good reason Team Flash are suspicious of Harrison Wells until they can confirm he’s trustworthy. This makes for some delicious comedy when he turns out to be a con artist, instead of another malevolent figure. While the new H.R isn’t particularly deep, especially given the superior character arcs for the two previous versions of the character, Tom Cavanagh milks every ounce of ham that the character can supply and it’s nice to see the show so willing to make fun of itself.
Sadly, the same cannot be said for the Caitlin Snow plot. While the show has finally given Danielle Panabaker a plot to deal with that doesn’t involve dead and/or evil boyfriends, the decision to have her go seek help and care from her emotionally distant mother is more indicative of the show’s less interesting impulses to create drama. Dr. Tannhauser falls into the more rote “CW-y” side of the show, with very little subtext or attempt to fill a real relationship beyond what’s expressly said in this episode. While a lack of subtext has always been baked into the CW’s DC shows, there’s a limit to how far that can be taken. Things like Caitlin’s mother’s assistant suddenly attempting to turn Caitlin into a guinea pig…kind of shatter any momentum the story was building. While it’s understandable that the show wants to explore who Caitlin is outside of the shadows of the men in her life, it’s kind of hard to root for anything happening when it’s so ham-fisted. Here’s hoping next week is better in that regard.
3 out of 5 Recorders
- So just throwing it out there. But Julian Albert has to be Doctor Alchemy right? Given the economics of casting, it doesn’t really do you much good to cast Tom Felton if he’s not gonna be much more than Barry’s snarky co-worker. Plus he’s a CSI just like the comics version of Doctor Alchemy… just sayin’.
- It’s gonna be hard to learn to love H.R, but his dodginess is such a nice antidote to Harry’s sudden 90’s nostalgia last week.
- Also when can we get the return of Captain Cold? Pretty please? Someone needs to trade cold puns with Caitlin.