Last episode ended with Iris proving why it’s often not a great idea to go off by yourself in this kind of show. Now, things are different although no one can put their finger on what’s going on. We also get Valentine’s Day drama, the return of a very entertaining foe, and have several missing cast members once again. All this and Pat Benatar’s hit in “Love Is A Battlefield.”
Iris is definitely different, and shows this from breakfast forward. Her cooking skills are legend, and Barry is very surprised at the sudden change. There’s a passing reference to some of her past attempts as they plan their day with Alexa (fairly blatant product placement, but I imagine it’s good for the show’s budget). Over at the offices of the Citizen, Frost is all excited about her first Valentine’s Day (does Caitlin get to come out any more at all?), while Allegra is less so and tells a tale of past romantic woe. Frost decides to step into Ralph’s role as life coach (where is he, anyway?) whether Allegra wants the help or not.
Acknowledging how often the superhero life interferes with plans, Barry and Iris have a pre-Valentine’s dinner at a fancy Italian place. Iris shows more surprising skills and offers weak explanations. Sure enough, dinner is interrupted as Amunet Black returns, played in delightfully over the top style by Katee Sackhoff. For reasons never explained, a courier with a special high tech gizmo decided it was a good idea to bring the thing to dinner. Amunet wants it, and when Barry steps in, she blackmails him with some knowledge she gained a while back. See, Barry? Secret identities are IMPORTANT. She leaves, with Barry feeling frustrated and Iris, worried. Later, they talk to the cops about what happened, learn nothing useful in return, and Iris devises a plan to learn more.
Frost’s attempt to fix Allegra’s love life goes disastrously wrong before it even gets started, derailing both women. In a borrowed STAR Labs van, Barry and Iris argue about what to do next before she goes undercover in a seedy bar. I know it’s likely the kind of thing we’re not supposed to think about, but I really wonder where STAR gets its money. They have a huge building, a lot of expensive equipment, and what I imagine is a really impressive electricity bill if nothing else. At any rate, Iris goes in, Barry worries in the van, and she does a few unexpected things to get some answers. Putting his concerns aside for now, Barry goes with Iris to Ivo Labs (a nod to comic book mad scientist Professor Ivo, who created Amazo among other bad things). Things get even worse as it turns out Amunet is in competition with Goldface for the same tech, and the two of them have some personal issues. While Barry saves a civilian, the villains clash and Iris proves she’s not done being surprising.
Later, Barry is feeling the effects of patrolling the city at superspeed, moving so fast that he’s practically invisible, as the gangs belonging to Goldface and Amunet clash throughout Central. Barry’s bad day gets much worse as Iris blows up at him about his lack of faith in her and her accomplishments before she storms off. Frost is drowning her sorrows alone when Nash wanders in, mentioning some gadget he’s supposed to give Allegra. They chat for a bit, and Nash offers some insightful advice, which is especially kind after Frost trips over her tongue and brings up the end of the Multiverse and the other Wells.
At least Barry isn’t the only one taken by surprise by the “new” Iris. The intrepid reporter goes to Amunet and offers a deal, leaving the villain blinking at the turn of events. Iris has an emotionally charged reason for throwing in with the bad guy, and Amunet delightedly accepts. Worried about what’s going on, Barry visits Joe at work and they talk about special task forces, gang war, and a story about branches and roots. Frost takes another crack at helping Allegra and offers some good, if secondhand, advice.
Closing in on the MacGuffin for the episode, Amunet babbles about how things went bad with her and Goldface, and ignores Iris’ suggestions to try and talk to him. Naturally, the man himself shows up and Goldface and Amunet square off in a weapons duel, hurling insults at each other, as their gangs exchange blaster fire and Iris ducks. This seems like a lot of high tech weapons in the hands of gangs not run by inventors or scientists, but I guess that’s another “Don’t look too closely” detail. As the bad guys fight, Flash shows up to yank Iris out of the literal line of fire, and they compare notes about what’s going on. Iris gets an interesting idea, and Flash goes with it. I’m not sure cementing an alliance between two villains is the best plan, but there are some benefits to it. One thing’s for sure, it brings the fight to an end in a unique way.
The subplots get wrapped up, and another one is introduced, at Jitters. Allegra gets a decent outcome to her story after following Frost’s advice, and accepts herself a little more as well. Nash shows up, and he and Frost have a very implication-heavy conversation. There are some interesting ideas hinted at about Nash’s past. Before he goes, he sees something he really shouldn’t, which implies that either he’s hallucinating or at least part of Crisis didn’t go as expected.
Reunited at home, Barry and Iris talk about plans for next year’s Valentine’s Day. They patch up their earlier spat in the expected “Hey, it’s the end of the episode” kind of way. As they hug, Iris looks over Barry’s shoulder and firmly answers some questions about the end of last episode and some unexpected events from this one. I suspect there are going to be a lot more visits to that occasional marriage counselor down the road.
What I liked: Amunet is always entertaining, and Katee Sackhoff does a fantastic job with her. I’ll happily watch any episode she’s in. Her feud with Goldface was done well and fun to watch. It’s fun watching Frost trying to figure out how to live her life now that she’s out more. Joe remains the font of sage advice, and I’m glad Barry has someone to talk to about his problems when he can’t turn to Iris.
What I didn’t: We seem to have the randomly vanishing cast. I knew Cisco was leaving, which I’m still not happy about, but Ralph, Cecile, and Kamilla also took this one off with no explanation. Why the heck did that courier bring his high-tech toy out to dinner? Where did the thugs get all those blasters, conveniently color-coded ala the old GI Joe cartoon? The big conspiracy/secret agency that was so much a part of last episode seems to have been completely forgotten.
I didn’t love this one. I’ll give it a low 3 out of 5, mostly due to Amunet/Sackhoff. We’ll see how these new plots develop.