Flash: Liberation

Liberation

Barry? Is it supposed to be doing that? 

After a not-great return, Flash gets back into the swing of things with this week’s episode. The Fake Iris mess comes to a head, there are some unexpected reversals and a great scene with a secondary character who usually doesn’t get to do much. All this and Caitlin’s absence last week is explained, as well as a major step forward for the villain, in “Liberation.”

We open at STAR, with Cisco and Barry trying to make their new Speed Force gadget work, and Ralph providing moral support and bringing up a few decent concerns. Things don’t go as they hoped, which they report to Cecile when she comes by to check in. Cisco is puzzled about how Thawne did this on his own. I have a theory, but I won’t share it for fear of spoilers. Cecile’s real reason for coming by is trying to play peacemaker and get Barry and Iris back together. Barry is clearly sad, but won’t go. I will say I’m pleased we didn’t get an episode of Mopey Barry as I feared. He is obsessed with protecting the city, but then most of the CW heroes are.

In the enemy-occupied offices of the Central City Citizen, Faux-Iris and Not-Kamila report in to their reflective evil overlord about Barry’s ongoing power issues. Cecile continues to make attempts to patch things up between the husband and wife, and gets shut down by both the impostors. Things get a bit weird when the Anti-Iris asks Cecile to use her powers to read her.

I guess Cecile’s law practice isn’t going so well, as she spends most of this episode wandering around. She gets home to find Barry in full-blown conspiracy mode. He’s figured out Iris isn’t really Iris, and is going over a lot of possibilities as to what’s going on. Barry really does seem to have gone over the edge here, and Cecile is doing a lot of nodding and “Uh huh, really?” kind of things through the scene. The thing is, as Barry himself says, they’ve all seen weirder. By the end of it, his sincerity seems to have won her over. Ralph and Cisco, who keep ending up in their own subplots, pay a visit to Caitlin, and get a series of surprises.

Off in the Mirror World, Iris the Real comes up with a way for them to possibly get out. Eva is less than thrilled and stalks off in a huff. About to enact her plan, Iris makes a surprising discovery of her own. Having allowed herself to get talked into a questionable mission, Cecile helps Barry do some research where he finds something troubling. I have to admit, the flimsy excuse to bring Cecile into this scene doesn’t make a lot of sense. Elsewhere, the three evil twins (triplets?) do some redecorating and plot their next move. Anyone else notice that ARGUS can’t seem to handle anything on their own, especially since Oliver died and we don’t see Spartan/Diggle anymore?

Barry moves ahead with his version of an intervention, bringing in Cecile and Nash. Things go seriously off the rails with a few big surprises and nothing goes as expected. As all this goes on, Iris’ situation gets worse, although she learns some things. Cecile does something truly unexpected to resolve a situation, and I didn’t remotely see it coming. Later, she reverses herself because… reasons. Cisco and Ralph do some improbable stuff that helps Caitlin, and she comes to a conclusion that she isn’t happy about. The evil mirror clan pays a call on ARGUS and we get a guest appearance by a villain from the past. It’s a scene with some unexpected twists and results and has the loss of a recurring character. Sorta. It ends with a bad guy saying a variation of one of the show’s recurring catchphrases.

A bad guy meeting and affirmation session gets broken up by the sudden appearance of our titular hero. This goes from villain boasting to a nasty fight, with Barry of the Diminished Powers on one side, and someone channeling a sci fi villain from a popular movie on the other. As is frequently the case with Flash and Supergirl, emotional appeals work where powers don’t, and the bad guy cracks up. Not at all up for it, Barry goes from this fight to the next, and it doesn’t go his way. The episode ends with a sort of simultaneous conversation between people that can’t really see or hear each other.

 

What I liked: First and foremost, this was better than the really lame episode that came before it. That appalling decline in quality seems to have been a one-off, thankfully. The annoying mirror plot is finally moving forward, and I’m glad of that. Cecile pulled a few surprises, a bit inconsistently, but it was good to see. The way Barry’s big plan was foiled made a kind of sense, and upped my appreciation for Eva as a villain.

 

What I didn’t: The secondary characters keep getting stiffed on airtime. We barely got to see Ralph, Cisco, or Caitlin. Wells’ part being reduced I’m ok with. I’m really getting bored with Barry’s power failures.

 

It was better than last time at least. I’ll give this a 3 out of 5.

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