Flash: Don’t Run

dont run

STAR Labs is not noted for their Christmas parties

Flash hits the mid-season finale. Considering one of the most often repeated lines on the show is, “Run, Barry, Run!” and the nature of his powers, I guess they went for irony with the title, “Don’t Run.” It’s a mess of an episode, that ends with a brilliantly thought out trap, although I have some questions about how it was handled. There will be some spoliers in this review, so be warned.

Things start off well enough, with Cicso setting up a Christmas tree at STAR, and getting mocked by both Wells and Ralph. Then again, those two are probably the least likable characters on the show now that Julian’s gone. Cisco is a little bummed that Gypsy is working the holidays back on her Earth, but he did manage to get her a very fitting gift. Caitlin comes in and gets a surprise when she finds out the others have been hanging out with her chilly alter ego.

Barry and Iris are at their loft, sorting through wedding presents. They got one from Oliver and Felicity that wasn’t on their registry, letting Iris complain about that and the nature of the wedding. Barry is puzzled by a box that has one kitchen knife in it, calling it “sloppy gift giving.” Iris notices he doesn’t use his powers to clean up, and didn’t use them at all on their honeymoon. Barry tells her he used to use them every chance he could because of the feeling of peace it gave him. But now, he feels that way with her, so he doesn’t have to run.

Things are less happy in the DeVoe household. Cliff is shaking so badly he can’t get his sweater buttoned. His wife comes in, concerned about his deteriorating condition, and helps him. They gloat about their evolving plan, and he says he’ll stand beside her in no time. They manage to be both vague and ominous at the same time.

Caitlin is at Jitters, because there’s nowhere else to go in Central City, and isn’t wholly pleased there’s now a Killer Frost drink there. Wells finds her and offers some advice about being jealous of yourself. His pep talk is decent, but ends when Blacksmith shows up, blowing in the doors of the place with a sarcastic, “Ho Ho Ho!”

Barry and Iris talk about some of their more dubious gifts (thank you, Mick). Their banter gets interrupted when the Thinker shows up. The next few scenes are quick cuts between Flash getting captured by the Thinker, and Caitlin being grabbed by Blacksmith. It’s a bad night for our heroes. The others meet up at STAR, where Cisco has the weirdest and strongest reaction to trying to vibe we’ve ever seen.

After we see the high tech prison Flash is being kept in, attention turns to Caitlin. Blacksmith has grabbed her to perform surgery on one of metahuman captives. In true supervillain fashion, she offers the motivation of “He dies, you die.” After more threats, Blacksmith exits commenting on how much she’s enjoying her Killer Frost mocha.

While the Thinker confronts Flash with how well he’s trapped, and his real name, Caitlin tries to improvise what she needs to do a piece of tricky surgery in a closed-down hospital. Her patient finally wakes up. She learns he’s groggy, confused, and telepathic. Caitlin and her new friend try and figure a way out of their mess. Thinker gloats at Barry, and then taunts him worse when Joe shows up, leaving to deal with him, Barry raging and trapped behind him.

Joe and DeVoe fence for a bit, Joe desperate and DeVoe smug. DeVoe also knows Wells is there, and knows what kind of weapon he has. There are a lot of various threats and double-talk. DeVoe lets Joe search his home, seemingly completely unconcerned.

The caged Barry gets a scene with the Mechanic. She sets him straight that she’s her husband’s partner, and knows exactly what he’s up to. Barry tries to bond with her over being married, showing his new ring. She does look a bit sad, but defaults to supreme trust and confidence in her husband, saying that even with a failing body, his brain is far smarter than Barry’s.

Back at STAR, nothing is going well. The satellites are malfunctioning, Cisco’s out of patience, and Ralph is boasting again, now about how many missing persons cases he’s done as a PI. Wells comes back, which ratchets things up further, until Iris steps in and breaks the fight up before it really gets going. Cisco and Ralph finally storm off in opposite directions, and Wells takes the moment alone to give Iris some leadership advice. It’s nothing she wants to hear, but it gives her something to think about.

Caitlin tries, and fails, to get the power damper Blacksmith stuck on her off. Her new psychic friend asks who Killer Frost is, and mentions the name is on Caitlin’s mind, accompanied by a lot of cursing. When Caitlin fills him in and says that Frost is more useful than she is, the man disagrees. They make an escape attempt that ends when Blacksmith shows up, and seems genuinely puzzled why Caitlin is trying to escape. We hear a bit more about Blacksmith’s back story, and then she gives a weird sort of pep talk to Caitlin.

Ralph and Cisco bond a bit, and then Iris comes back in with a decision. Barry can take care of himself, they’re going to focus their efforts on finding Caitlin. Caitlin herself gets forced back to work by Blacksmith, and Dom, the telepathic prisoner, tells her he trusts her. With Blacksmith glaring at her, and fussing in her amusing way, Caitlin does the surgery and also pulls off a clever escape. She manages to get outside, where she gets backup from Vibe and Elongated Man. The heroes retreat through one of Vibe’s portals after some banter and decent teamwork, finally.

Barry pulls off his own clever trick and gets the Thinker to shut down the force field, letting him escape. They get into a fight that goes all over the city, mostly above it. Finally, Flash falls from Thinker’s chair, and is saved by one of the improvements to the Flash suit that everyone made fun of Cisco for, and that we’d been led to believe had been removed. A finally free Barry makes it back to STAR.

No one is able to find DeVoe, and so they decide to go on with their Christmas party at the West home. They even invite Dom along for no real good reason. Cisco gets a special present that almost makes up for Gypsy’s absence. In the midst of the party, the loft alarm goes off and Barry speeds home… leaving the party at speed right in front of Dom. Why DOES he wear a mask again? Dom decides to leave, but he get captured almost at once, and then Blacksmith hands him over to Thinker. Ugly things happen to Dom, and then Barry ends up in a well thought out trap to end the episode. I’ll say that, while it was clever, I think Barry could have gotten out of it instead of making a weird stand on principle. It was a nasty place to leave us for the break, and we’re stuck wondering what next until January 16th.

What I liked: I’m glad we got to see Vibe in action again. That happens too rarely. And it was kind of cool seeing him team with Elongated Man. Dom is an interesting character. Katie Sackhoff’s Blacksmith is vastly entertaining, and I’d like to see more of her. Vibe’s present was hysterical. Cisco’s costume modification saving the day was a nice touch.

What I didn’t: DeVoe is too damn smug and really makes me want to smack him. The containment field in the lab was nicely done, but the trap for Barry at the end seems like it worked because the writers decided it should.

I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5. Hopefully, there are some decent plans afoot to get Barry out of that mess by the time they get back.