A disclaimer: I usually try to make my reviews fairly spoiler free. That won’t be the case with this one. Be warned.
The plot with the Thinker as the apparently unstoppable villain continues with “Subject 9″ on The Flash. At first, I thought that was some veiled reference to Velocity 9, a drug from the comics that temporarily grants superspeed, although usually ends up killing the users. They touched on that drug when Zoom was pretending to be Jay Garrick, so it had been used before, but I ended up being wrong. Instead, they’re still in pursuit of the “bus metas” as they’re calling them, and next up is unlucky number nine.
The show starts off on a downer note, as what should be Barry’s triumphant return to work after being acquitted doesn’t go so well. Ralph impersonating DeVoe in the trial seems to be the only time they’ve gotten ahead of the mad genius, and even that hasn’t lasted. Captain Singh offers his sympathies, but doesn’t have good news for Barry.
Back at STAR, Iris and Caitlin try to offer condolences to Barry. They’re worried about the last four bus metas. Ralph and Cisco went to the bus depot and raided the lost and found in search of clues. Since Ralph is a potential target, and finally developed a useful power, he might be of interest to DeVoe. I can’t imagine that DeVoe would have wanted to be stretchy, but impersonating someone flawlessly could be of use to a criminal mastermind. Between an item left behind and Cisco’s powers, they manage to find the new meta, a talented and very attractive fiddle player. Ralph’s immediate reaction is to voice his disdain of country music.
Izzy Bowin (a pun on bowing, using the bow to play?) is on stage performing. She’s very good, but trouble lies on the horizon. Marlize and Becky/Thinker are watching her, which in recent history doesn’t bode well for her survival. Ralph and Barry also show up, which doesn’t please Mrs. and Mrs. Thinker. Barry and Ralph sort of bumble their explanation of who they are and why they’re there, and end up getting a first hand taste of Izzy’s power.
Regrouping back at STAR, Barry and Ralph are recovering from the attack, and Ralph shows he is nowhere near Cisco’s equal in naming metas. As this goes on, we see Harry is back from Earth 2, and he runs into Cecile at Jitters. They have an amusing awkward exchange, and she mentions trouble sleeping due to her unique condition.
Ralph shows he’s useful when the rest of the team misses a really basic step to find the fugitive Izzy. This time, Flash, Elongated Man, and Vibe all go. Izzy is a bit friendlier to the heroes, but still not impressed. Becky/Thinker shows up, and Izzy surprises everyone. They take her back to STAR, and she’s really unimpressed with Becky as a threat (“That three foot tall chick?”). Barry, because he’s known her for all of five minutes, unmasks. Seriously, why does his costume still have a cowl? Izzy ignores the heroes’ explanations, starts to storm off, and gets talked down by Ralph of all people. He’s really a lot more serious this episode, and more useful.
In their weird hideout, Marlize and Thinker go over Izzy’s readouts. Marlize is worried that the Becky body is wearing out, the strain of all the additional powers not helping at all. They bicker, and Becky/Thinker is kinda being a bitch.
Team Flash suggest using her fiddle to focus Izzy’s powers, and she makes a Devil Went Down to Georgia joke. She’s getting better at using her powers, which is good for everyone. Meanwhile, Cecile and Harry have another awkward exchange when she points out the flaws in his gadget. Six hours later, Barry is still pushing Izzy to train harder, and he goes a bit too far.
After getting her hurt to the point she needs stitches, neither Izzy nor the clearly smitten Ralph are very happy with Barry. Iris even suggests he’s pushing too hard. Barry isn’t just driven by wanting to beat DeVoe. He’s haunted by the slaughter at Iron Heights when Thinker killed off several metas, plus Warden Wolfe and his thugs.
Harry stops by the West home and gives Cecile an improved version of his gadget. This touches off more entertaining conversation, and gives Harry an idea about how to help beat Thinker. A frustrated Izzy leaves STAR, knocking over Ralph in the process with her powers. She’s determined, Izzy.
Harry explains his plan to stop DeVoe from body hopping again. He names it the Cerebral Inhibitor, which is a name some of them have heard before. Savitar mentioned it when he was talking about his past, their future. Ralph comes in to tell them Izzy is gone, and he and Barry bicker. Cisco vibes in on Izzy, but not only are they too late to get there before Becky finds her, but Becky somehow senses Cisco and blasts him through the vision. Because the Thinker can apparently do damn near anything.
Becky taunts Izzy and dubs her Fiddler, usurping Cisco’s usual duty. Elongated Man and Flash show up, and Thinker out powers them, drawing on his/her stolen powers. Then things get both stupid and tragic. Harry’s gadget is, well, a gadget. Somehow, NO ONE managed to remember Thinker has machine control powers from Kilgore. So it works for a second or two. After it fails, Thinker summons the chair and takes command of Izzy, killing her in the process before Ralph’s horrified eyes. So not only do they make a really dumb error, they lose a cool new character. I’m also wondering what happened to Becky’s body. Did they leave her in the alley?
A very dispirited group gets back to STAR. Ralph is crushed, Barry is pissed, and Wells blames himself (rightly, although the others should have picked up on it). Cisco at least manages to figure out how to possibly track down Thinker. Wells and Cecile have another chat, and she encourages him to reach out to Jesse again. Izzy/Thinker enjoy their new talents, and Marlize applauds. Ralph and Barry have a touching scene near the end which gives Barry something to do as he waits for politics to play out in Central City.
What I liked: Izzy was really cool. I enjoyed her, thought she was well written, and that Miranda MacDougall played her well. The Cecile/Harry scenes were great. I liked Ralph finally stepping up and being a lot more heroic. Ralph and Barry’s scene at the end was good.
What I didn’t: Too much. No one figured out that Kilgore’s power would screw with Wells’ new toy? Really? I liked Izzy and they pretty much threw her away. Why did Barry unmask to her so soon? What happened to Becky’s body? Where the heck was Joe in all this? Did we need the extra drama with Barry’s job? For that matter, why did they feel the need this season to copy the annoying Arrow “villain is always ahead of us” plot?
This one started off strong and went horribly wrong. I’m going low 2.5 out of 5 for this, and hoping they get better soon.