After a several week pause from the chaos sweeping the real world from the coronavirus, the fictional world of the Arrowverse returns with the Flash in “So Long, and Goodnight.” The looming threats of the Black Hole organization and Eva and her Mirror Universe shenanigans are back to make life complicated for the West family and their STAR allies. I have to admit, I was really looking forward to the shows coming back, and I found this to be a disappointing start. Or re-start.
The show opens with Joseph Carver, the annoying CEO of McCulloch Technologies, enjoying a night at home. He’s not happy about the ongoing investigation by Captain Joe West of the Central City PD, and is taking steps to end it. It’s an ominous setup that foreshadows a lot of the problems this episode. From wealthy splendor we go to middle class comfort, as we see a game night at the West house (did they pick that up from Kara’s group over in National City?). Barry is clearly not adapting well to his reduced abilities, and the wristband he wears now is just as annoying a plot device as I thought it would be. Joe gets called away by Singh with some complications in his case. Barry is worried about Joe, as is Singh, but Joe is determined to keep going in best obsessive-cop-from-almost-every-crime-show manner. Once again, I’ll point out this is an unlikely level of involvement from a police captain. I don’t think they thought out his promotion very well.
In the Mirror World, Iris comes up with an idea to possibly escape. The brilliant investigative reporter still hasn’t figured out that Eva is the bad guy here, or at least one of them, and her plot involves letting yet another person in on Barry’s secret. I’m starting to wonder why the man wears a mask. Iris is making progress in adapting to the Mirror World, and Eva spins some techno-babble at her. Iris wanders off to go… somewhere? It’s not like she has her own room in this wacked out place. Or maybe she does? At any rate, after Iris conveniently exits, Eva chats with the evil Iris-clone and gives her a new task. The major subplot kicks in as Ralph summons Cisco to help him with his ongoing case/obsession with Sue Dearbon. These scenes are some of the best in the episode. Oddly, Caitlin/Frost not only never shows up this week, she’s never mentioned/referred to.
Joe has an attempt made on his life with a cliched out of control car scene. It ends in a way that makes no sense at all, unless Joe has some meta-abilities of his own we’ve never been told about. In the aftermath, Joe is more determined than ever to press ahead with his case, while Singh and Barry worry about him. Cecile is there, too, but “Iris” is off being a villain or something. Ralph and Cisco move ahead with their plot involving bank jobs, a very James Bond-sounding arms dealer, and waffles. They do manage to briefly catch up with Sue, but she somehow eludes an active superhero and a former one who both have a lot of experience.
Joe tries to interrogate the killer with the really deceptive name of Sunshine. I think Ms. Rawlins needs a better codename. He gets interrupted by the unwelcome appearance of Ragdoll, this week’s problem child, who has gone from borderline human to full-on meta now, and seems more like Elongated Man. Barry figures out what’s happening just a bit too late, and as Flash speeds across the city, his powers fail at the Dramatically Appropriate Moment ™ so Joe gets injured, and Ragdoll and Sunshine get away. The aftermath is more worry about Joe, Joe refusing to back down, and “Iris” pushing Barry to keep her dad safe. Annoyed, Joe continues the cop cliché moments by putting down the file on the bad guy and leaving his badge on top of it. Moving on in this vein, Joe visits Carver at home for an exchange of threats, and Joe being really naïve, or at least underestimating his opponent. In the follow up scene, Barry and Joe argue more. I think the Fastest Man Alive needs to switch to the Seriously Decaffeinated.
Meanwhile, back in the B (for better, this week) plot, Ralph finds Sue at another financial institution, setting up another scam. They argue, banter, take a swipe at the comic book versions of themselves, and then Sue gives him something. Those two have a some really good chemistry together, as did Cisco and Gypsy before she died and joined the Watchmen. Allegra and Wells are both worried about Cecile, who is touched. However, those two are so wrapped up in their own drama that they argue and both walk off, leaving Cecile unprotected anyway. Nice job, guys. Shortly after this, Ragdoll attacks, defeats both of Cecile’s would-be protectors, and Cecile’s power, which is more like a liability half the time, does her no favors here.
Cue the dramatic showdown in a warehouse (this episode really is like a bad 80’s cop flick) as Barry promises to do everything he can, which really isn’t a lot. His powers come and go, Ragdoll has the upper hand (and foot), and Joe finds a fiendishly complicated death trap, as required by super-villain local unions everywhere. There’s a lot of fighting, worrying, and big emotional scenes before everything gets wrapped up. One of the big holes here is Flash, who is allegedly trying to conserve his fading powers, getting Cecile “safe” by running her apparently halfway across the city, then not quite making it back in time before another convenient power failure. Convinced by the attack, Joe and everyone else somehow decide it’s a good idea for him to go into hiding, but without Cecile, who is the one who was just kidnapped, because… reasons.
Our wrap-ups this week include: a revelation about a supporting character I saw coming a mile away; an argument between two different villains, neither of whom I really care anything about at this point; and a big, bad, emotional wreck of a scene between Barry and “Iris.” In that last one, we go from bad cop flick to weird soap opera, and, even as shaken up as he is, Barry really should figure out something isn’t right here. I’m sure there will be a lot of mopey Barry next episode.
What I liked: Ralph and Sue’s scenes were great. I like those two together, and the mystery behind what’s going on progressed nicely. Cisco’s few scenes were nicely done. Ragdoll is a good, creepy villain, even if he’s pretty damn far now from the character that he’s based on.
What I didn’t: Pretty much everything else. Barry’s power flickers are annoying. There were so many small things that made no sense, like Joe’s car scene, what they figured out about the villain in it, Allegra and Wells being so worried about Cecile they leave her alone, the apparently multiple hidden rooms in Mirror World, leaving Cecile behind… ok, there are more, but you get the idea. Where the heck was Caitlin/Frost?
This was a sub-standard episode, even more so for being the first one back after the long delay. I’m giving this a low 2 out of 5. I don’t if we can blame this on the delays/changes from the outbreak, or if this was a bad outing. I hope they get better soon.