Flash: Null and Annoyed


Things are looking up for the new meta-villain

Team Flash continue their efforts to account for the remaining “bus metas” and defeat the annoyingly all-knowing Thinker in “Null and Annoyed.” The episode opens with a training scenario that, as usual, Flash is taking too seriously (when he did start following Oliver’s humorless path, anyway?) and Elongated Man isn’t taking seriously enough. The session ends with Barry annoyed, Ralph making jokes, and Iris trying to reassure Barry.

Elsewhere at STAR, Wells is still working on his version of the Thinking Cap, and it’s going problematically at best. The team compares notes on the last two missing metas, a petty thief now calling herself Null, and a man who seems to have vanished since the day of the bus incident. Even this planning doesn’t go smoothly as Wells storms off and then Cisco gets an unexpected visitor: Breacher, Gypsy’s father, played by the always intimidating Danny Trejo. He’s having some issues that, as much as it pains him to admit, he needs Cisco’s help on.

In the Thinker’s hideout/lab, Izzy’s captured body is breaking down, like all the ones before it. Marlize is worried and tries to come up with a fix, which leads to her finding a surprise on the computer. The Thinker also then make a very uncharacteristic mistake that starts to make Marlize suspicious.

Null shows up and we get a demonstration of how her powers work in a heist scene. The scene also features a cameo from guest director Kevin Smith and his buddy Jason Mewes, sort of reprising their famed roles as Jay and Silent Bob. Joe gets the case, which should have Cisco there as meta expert, but he’s not. Instead, Barry and Ralph show up with no real standing, and Ralph’s clowning makes things worse. Caitlin and Cisco run Breacher through some tests, which tick him off even more, before Caitlin figures out what’s wrong after Breacher storms out. It’s not news Cisco is eager to share.

While Marlize gets a series of surprises that she doesn’t like, Joe drops by STAR to tell Barry and Ralph that, thanks to Ralph’s earlier antics, they can’t come to crime scenes anymore. By the way, the whole issue with Barry being fired even though he was cleared is ridiculous. Police unions are powerful organizations, and they should be protecting Barry in this case. Wells uses his Cap once again, and gets them a lead. Barry and Ralph meet up with Ralph’s old shady contact Earl Cox, which leads to a confrontation with Null that goes badly for Barry, while Ralph isn’t quite himself and doesn’t really do anything to help. Yep, he’s some hero.

Somehow, Ralph gets Barry back to STAR. Barry is floating like a balloon with a rope around his leg, which is an amusing visual, but it’s a gag that falls apart if you think about it. How in hell did Ralph get Barry back there without drawing stares, a crowd, and ending up on YouTube? Wells once again goes to the Thinking Cap to get an answer they were about to get anyway, with a final joke at Barry’s expense. Barry and Ralph bicker more, and Marlize starts to realize that her husband, whatever body he may be in, is even more of a slimeball than we thought.

Cisco fires off several ideas about what to do for Breacher, and Caitlin shoots them all down. Cisco can’t bring himself to tell Breacher the truth, and gets caught up in escalating lies. Barry and Iris talk over the lack of progress on their quest for the Thinker, and Iris points out Barry might be conflating a few issues. They get a heads up that Null is striking again. Flash goes by himself, and finds out that Null is smarter than she’s been given credit for so far. Null gets away although we do get to see Flash play the hero and some cool effects.

Wells temporarily pulls ahead of Barry in the Blaming Yourself For Everything race, cursing that he didn’t see Null’s trick coming. Iris, who must be getting sick of this by now, tries to talk him down. Sometimes, the poor woman seems to be more cheerleader than team leader, but that’s not her fault, that’s so many other people spending so much time sulking. Iris points out to Barry that maybe Ralph’s way isn’t so bad.

Breacher, believing Cisco’s lies, takes off to settle a score with an old foe. Cisco feels guilty and dashes off to the rescue, although taking time to change into his Vibe costume. After Cisco learns that there’s more than one kind of vampire on some Earths, he gets Breacher back to STAR, and tells him the truth, which goes about as well as you’d expect from the temper that walks on two legs. Caitlin tries to tell Cisco he did the right thing, but Cisco is worried about both letting Breacher down and how this will effect his relationship with Gypsy.

Marlize tries to save herself from her predicament, but gets a new series of nasty surprises. As much of a pain in the neck as she’s been, and a willing participant in some vile things, I do feel a tiny bit bad for her. Just a bit. Izzy Thinker shows up long enough to get even slimier.

Ralph has picked a weird place to hang out, and Barry comes to talk. He admits he’s been pushing Ralph too hard, and Ralph ends up sharing some of his background with Barry. They patch things up just in time to get a new alarm about Null striking again, now at a Museum Gala.

At any rate, the heroes spring into action, the Fastest Man Alive gets tagged by someone with no increased reaction time or reflexes, and Ralph has to save the day with his weird approach to things. He does manage to come up with a novel way to use the damper cuffs to kill Null’s power, I’ll give him that.

The heroes win, Barry and Ralph patch things up, and Null is safely in the Pipeline (the only one there right now, I believe). Breacher comes back to talk to Cisco and makes a surprising offer. Marlize has a familiar scene play out, which gets a bit weird when the super-intelligent Thinker makes the same mistake as before again. Wells, desperate to make progress, does something that looks like it will lead to bad places.

What I liked: He’s being a bit of a jerk lately, but I like that through everything, Barry is still a hero. Null’s getaway trick was really clever. I admire Iris keeping a level head during all the whining that goes on around her. Wells is dedicated to the cause, if maybe foolishly so.

What I didn’t: The gags are getting out of hand here. I get Ralph is a clown, the comic book version can be, too, but he doesn’t let it get in the way of the mission. I mentioned the issue with getting Barry back to STAR. I think I see where they’re going with Marlize, but I still don’t like it, her, or what they’re doing to her.

It was an ok episode. I’m really about done with the bus metas. I’ll give this one a low 3 out of 5. I hate to say it, but I’m kind of disappointed in Flash and Arrow both this season. I hope Supergirl is better when she comes back.