Back from the annual crossover and holiday break, The Flash returns with the obviously derivative title, “The Flash and The Furious.” The episode starts off with Nora’s visit to Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash, in Iron Heights in the year 2049. In addition to this being emotionally exhausting for her as she confronts him with the horrible things she’s learned about him, I guess this is where she was during the big crossover event. He pleads his case with her, but Nora isn’t interested in listening at this point, and speeds back “home” to the present.
Team Flash talks about what to do about Cicada, where all roads lead this season. His niece’s hospital room is under observation by the Central City Police Department, but he knows that connection is known at this point, so he’s not likely to turn up there. Today is Cecile’s first day back at work after her maternity leave, with Barry scheduled to testify against Jocelyn Mardon/Weather Witch. There’s a joke about Barry in green, harking back to the crossover, and a passing reference to Joe being out of town. This is the writers still covering for actor Jesse Martin’s health issues. Caitlin is going to work on Cisco’s hands again to try and get the rest of the dark matter bits from Cicada’s weapon out. Cisco remarks on this being actual free time, and cautions Wells not to bill them for it. Wells comments to himself that some mysteries he will work on for free, and returns to his latest hobby: cracking Nora’s diary and its strange language. If it truly is the one we saw Barry using when he returned from the Speed Force, it looks like Interlac, the language of the 30th century, home of the Legion of Super Heroes. In the comics, that’s the team XS belongs to.
Cecile starts her case with a decent opening, but loses her rhythm every time she looks at Jocelyn. Caitlin finishes her minor surgery on Cisco’s hands, and shifts to Killer Frost to numb the pain. Killer Frost admonishes Cisco to not be a wuss and shifts back, demonstrating how easy this has gotten for Caitlin. Coming from nowhere suddenly, Cisco comments he’s enjoyed not having his powers the last few weeks, which is completely against pretty much everything we’ve seen or heard from him in the series to date. Caitlin comments they need a fully functioning Vibe to beat Cicada and leaves. Cisco ponders the fragments she removed from his wounds.
This is about the point the episode starts to take a quality and logic nose dive, which I hate to say as a fan of the show. On the streets, a cop does a DUI stop with a clearly drunk man when a very attractive woman slips in, steals the car, and takes off. Barry, sitting waiting to testify in court, gets paged and tells Cecile he has to go. Ok, let’s look at that. Witnesses don’t get to watch trials they are testifying in, so they don’t contaminate their testimony. No judge allows cellphones in their room, and certainly not that much whispering/chatting. And they paged Flash to go after a car thief? Really? What’s next, speeders?
The still-nameless woman speeds through the streets, evading the police. Flash catches up with her, tries to phase through the car to grab her, and gets blasted back by some kind of energy effect. Stunned, he tries to get back up and finds his hand won’t stop vibrating. XS helps him back to STAR, where we see the effect spreading, leaving him unable to control his phasing power. Cisco directs them to just the right spot in STAR so that when Barry falls through the floor, he lands in a Pipeline cell which negates his powers. I swear, those cells have had more heroes in them than villains at this point. They figure out the car is another example of meta-tech, like the phone and weather staff from earlier, and it has affected Barry’s powers. With him locked in a cell, Nora offers to testify for him.
Nora is on file with the police as a CSI (intern, though, if I remember correctly), so she sort of has some kind of credentials. Cecile, not having a lot of choice, agrees to this bad sitcom in the making plot. They decide to tell the judge Barry was in a traffic accident (an inside joke about what’s going on, but something someone could check on, so not a great plan). Cecile also decides she’s going to go easy on Jocelyn, because she can feel remorse coming off her. Whether this is a new mother’s empathy or residual mind reading (which doesn’t detect emotions, that’s empathy) isn’t clear. Cecile then proceeds to undermine her own case, which is NOT how you go about doing that kind of thing. The defense attorney, Mr. Lee, ticks off Nora, who has an emotional outburst on the stand. Just before she gets held in contempt of court, Jocelyn surprises everyone by saying she did these things, is guilty, and should be punished.
Cisco has been studying the fragments Caitlin removed from his hands, and has discovered that they weren’t dampening his powers, they were removing them. Continuing his bizarre character shift, Cisco excitedly proclaims this could be a metahuman “cure.” That sounds like bad territory, as anyone who reads the X-Men comics or watches The Gifted could tell you. An unsure Caitlin asks him if that’s something they actually need. They disagree on this topic a good bit here and throughout the episode.
Jocelyn is being taken back to prison when her transport van is attacked by the woman from earlier, who manages to shut it down, lock the guards in, and free Jocelyn. Jocelyn is very unsure about this, but isn’t given a lot of choice about her “rescue.” The team talks over the escape, gets some video, and somehow determines that a salute means the woman is military, and that there’s a Department of Defense facial recognition bank of their personnel. That all sounds unlikely to me, but it’s the writers idea so it works, and we learn this is Raya Van Zandt. She gets dubbed Silver Ghost for no reason we learn, but that is the name of an obscure villain from the Freedom Fighters whose real name was Raphael Van Zandt. That’s the extent of the similarity. They also figure out her car remote is now meta-tech, which is really pushing things in my humble opinion. Iris and Nora clash over whether or not people can change, and the imprisoned Barry calls up asking for food.
Silver Ghost has brought Weather Witch to a secret base for the “Young Rogues.” That doesn’t really work either. In the comics, Flash’s foes are called the Rogues, but here they haven’t been around that much, rarely work together, and just aren’t that well known. Jocelyn isn’t really interested in this, but Ghost reveals her secret plan to hit an ARGUS facility anyway.
Wells brings Barry his food (Big Belly Burger, of course) and slips in a few questions about his weird language when he got back from the Speed Force. Wells also gives Barry something to occupy his time: Rory’s novel from over on Legends (a nice touch and one of the small things that makes me really enjoy this shared universe). The team gets a new series of alarms, which at first appears to be a hurricane hitting the city. XS charges off to find that it really is Jocelyn, but she wants to turn herself in and asks for XS’s help. Nora, still raw from the emotional shock about Thawne earlier, refuses to believe Jocelyn and zips over to the police without listening. Iris, who is making the really questionable choice of exchanging secret information she’s not supposed to have from a military guy in public, witnesses this.
Concerned, Iris talks to Nora when the younger speedster is done working out in the Speed Lab, telling her to not rush to judgment. She uses the ultimate convincer with Nora: your father doesn’t do that. Cisco is making progress on his “cure” when Killer Frost stops by to register her objections very forcefully. Cisco keeps whining about wanting a normal life, which, again, is unlike him in pretty much every other appearance until now. Barry gets very into Rory’s “surprisingly well written” novel, and talks to Nora about the good in everyone.
A cop trying to start her shift experiences some strange things in the parking lot and calls in a “595,” which appears to be their code for some kind of metahuman activity. I don’t know of any significance to that number, and police nationwide have been moving away from number codes for several years. At any rate, all this is, of course, distraction so Silver Ghost can steal Jocelyn’s weather staff and break her out. Again. This time, angered by XS’s refusal to listen, Jocelyn goes with it.
Somehow or other, shorting out the alarms at ARGUS makes a big roll door go up (who designed THAT?), and they get in to steal a highly experimental car from Wayne Enterprises (who doesn’t do military contracts, they seem to have them confused with Stark over in Marvel). The women steal the car, and Barry gives Nora some hurried advice before she goes after them, aided by the last meta standing, Killer Frost (Ralph is out of town for… reasons).
Among the silliness here is the car, some super-secret project, having ground effects (the lights under a car that some street racers use). It also has an unbelievable array of weapons and powers of its own (maybe the car is meta-tech?). Nora gets Cisco to patch her coms into the car’s, and pleads with Jocelyn to give herself up and apologizing for earlier. Killer Frost helps a bit, but the super car avoids her barrier, and then goes invisible. Really. Jocelyn saves XS’s life, but still helps Silver Ghost get away.
Barry is finally cured of his power glitch, and they let him out to test that. His welcoming committee is Nora, Iris, and Cecile. Why Cecile is there, and why the scientists who could help if something goes wrong aren’t, we never learn. Caitlin decides to help Cisco after all as long as they establish some ground rules. Nora goes back to see Thawne and agrees to at least hear him out, learning from her father’s example. Wells ends the episode by making a somewhat disturbing discovery in the Time Vault.
What I liked: Killer Frost managed to keep her head here. When the one making the best decisions is the sorta-reformed supervillain, you have some issues. Finding Silver Ghost and sort of using his name was a deep dive in the DC archives, I give the writers credit for that. Wells is very determined to unravel Nora’s mystery. I loved the nod to Legends with Rory’s book. I wonder if that will become a best seller? Tom Cavanagh is doing amazingly well playing multiple characters who are very definitely different.
What I didn’t: Most of it, I hate to say. I mentioned many of my issues above. Sending Flash after a car thief, the numerous court and police procedure errors, and Cisco’s sudden new obsession are among the problems. The car itself was unbelievable. In a world where you’ve just finished confirming Batman exists (or existed, anyway), having a car with more gadgets and capabilities than the Batmobile is just ridiculous. XS is acting a lot more like her cousin, the well-named Impulse. The Rogues thing didn’t really work for me. They don’t need a metahuman cure, but maybe a way to depower the meta-tech would be a good use of Cisco’s talents?
I’ve been a fan of this show since it started, and I truly think this might be their worst individual episode. I’ll give it a 2.5 out of 5. Y’all can do better than this. I’ve seen it.