Flash: We Are The Flash

flash

Babe, this is going to be one of the most screwed up birthdays ever…

Team Flash wraps up season four with “We Are The Flash.” As is often the case with season finales, there will be spoilers here, so don’t read this if you haven’t seen it or care about spoilers. Warning delivered.

Last episode ended with The Thinker’s Enlightenment starting as he, once again, was a few steps ahead of the team of geniuses who somehow didn’t manage to figure out that the man who, among other abilities, can hack anything might just take over their own satellites. Because who could possibly see that coming? Barry’s old boss Captain Singh is at Jitters (The Only Place To Eat Or Get Coffee In Central City) with some good news for Barry for once. Singh never gets to deliver it, as the Enlightenment apparently starts with an EMP and shuts down everything electrical in the city. Hope there wasn’t anyone in the hospital on life support, but somehow this never occurs to the heroes (or the writers). Not to mention airplanes.

STAR has gone dark, too, and they are scrambling to get things running again. If they have a way to keep the place running on its own, why don’t they have the transition set up better? Joe and Cecile drop by, their car having gone dead on the way to the hospital. Barry can’t zip her to the hospital, since the superspeed would somehow be bad for the baby. They figure out that what has happened to Harry was a trial run for the increasingly poorly named Enlightenment. This is when Iris shows up having recruited Marlize to work with them, which I’ve been predicting for several episodes now.

The plan becomes to send Barry into DeVoe’s mind. Marlize believes there is still good in DeVoe, and Barry needs to find it. Cisco reminds everyone his Vibe powers don’t work with DeVoe because reasons, but they have another ace in the hole: Cecile’s weird pregnancy-based telepathy. They sort of deal with the idea of calling any of their allies by saying the bus metas were designed to counter anyone Barry could call for help, although I don’t see how that works. Just to crank up the urgency, the “Enlightenment Grid” is at 24%, and, of course, when it reaches 100, everyone’s brains devolve to idiocy like Harry has been suffering from.

There’s still some tension between the STAR crew and Marlize, particularly Cisco, who blames her for Harry’s condition. They get everything set up, linking Flash’s brain to Cecile’s telepathy with some variation of the damper Harry designed in smarter days, and with Flash parked in Thinker’s chair. I’m not sure I’d use that, personally, but what do I know? The new version of the gizmo on Cecile’s head looks a lot like the Brainiac pattern to me, which isn’t reassuring. But it all works and Barry ends up in Clifford DeVoe’s head, at a recreation of the site of the bus meta accident. Barry hides in the bus as an ominous Thinker floats by in his hover chair.

Barry reports back over some communications rig they’ve managed to cobble together, and Marlize tells him to go their house. With Mask Syndrome in effect (although I guess he doesn’t have a secret to protect here), Barry wanders around the house, cowl back. Anyone else remember a visit he paid to their house and how much trouble it caused? Barry doesn’t learn so good. He’s there long enough to tell everyone the place is empty when their connection glitches as Ceceile has a contraction. Since her power is linked to being pregnant, and she’s in the beginnings of labor, they have another countdown running now. Harry inarticulately persuades Cisco to let him use the helmet once more. He does, gives them a clue, Cisco a hug, and then lapses back into a zombie-like state, staring blankly.

Barry zips off to the site of the picnic we saw in the mostly Cliff and Marlize flashback episode, but he’s not there, either. Marlize is at a loss and then they get another big surprise when a figure lurking in the trees turns out to be the not-quite-dead Ralph. Their reunion is interrupted when Thinker shows up, because of course he knew this was coming, too. Thinker attacks and Barry grabs Ralph and runs off. There’s more tension building from more contractions by Cecile screwing up their link, and possibly Barry’s way out. Thinker comes after the STAR crew in the real world but Marlize holds him off with the chair’s forcefield and then teleports them all away.

Ralph offers a clue about where to look for the “good Clifford,” but what they find isn’t any help, and leaves Marlize looking stricken and worried. They figure out why Ralph is still alive, and try and use that against Thinker, who proves to be even more annoying by doing some Neo/Matrix dodging of all their attacks. Here’s something anyone who has studied any kind of fighting will tell you: action is faster than reaction. Somehow, Thinker is reading their minds, and evading the attacks before they land a punch? I get it with Ralph, maybe, but Barry’s whole thing IS speed, and this just doesn’t make sense to me. Like a lot of this season.

There are various problems back in the real world, and it’s Joe’s turn to rage at Marlize before stomping off. Marlize tells them Thinker should be along soon, just to make everything better. Ralph comes up with a really off the wall idea and starts beating up on Thinker, but then the villain pulls another Matrix trick (I see a pattern forming here) and our heroes have a lot more work to do. That fight rages on as The Thinker attacks the team in the real world as well. Interestingly, he loses a battle of wills to Joe. Point for Detective West. Finally, the heroes pull off a trick that, as far as I can tell, kills the Thinker and leaves no hope of bringing back any of the others he killed, but does bring Ralph back. What I wonder is, does Ralph have his powers, or all the stolen ones now? The heroes have won, right? Well, not quite.

Thinker, in his big dramatic thrashing around, managed to do something blatantly obvious to the chair, which everyone decided to ignore. Maybe the Enlightenment dumbing down is working already. There’s a brief return of the Thinker, which is anticlimactically handled by Marlize. Then the satellites start falling from the sky because… well, there’s no reason for that, but it happens anyway. Flash goes off to deal with that in a way that makes no sense at all, and then gets some unexpected help. The baby is born, Harry is sorta cured (but not quite, God forbid the heroes get a clean win) and leaves, there’s a party at the West’s place. We get two surprise guests, one a sort of going away for a character who has been gone a while anyway, and one a big reveal of someone who has been lurking in the shadows/edges of scenes for most of the season. That, I guess, is the big cliffhanger for next season.

What I liked: I’m glad Ralph is back and really hoping the Thinker is done. It was good to see Singh again, and I hope his good news takes effect next season. The mystery of the lurker wasn’t quite what I thought, but I was on the right track and it makes sense.

What I didn’t: So very much. The satellites suddenly randomly falling from the sky made no sense. The Thinker was annoyingly smug to the end, and still managed way too many “Of course I saw this coming” moments. Wasn’t that Quicksilver’s schtick in Age of Ultron? After everything she did, even if she did help at the end, they just decide to let Marlize wander off? She did some pretty evil things and helped kill a LOT of people. Then again, the CW shows have an indifference to death I’m going to be writing about later. STAR should be much better set up for a loss of power. Caitlin didn’t really get to do anything this episode aside from looking concerned. Yes, she delivered Cecile’s baby, but she was still largely relegated to the sidelines

I’ll give this episode, and the season, a 2.5 out of 5. This used to be one of my favorite shows. I hope they get it back in gear next season. In my opinion, Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl all suffered really poor seasons and need to get things sorted out.

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