Flash: Fear Me

It makes less and less sense that they took Cisco’s powers.

Last episode ended with the surprising appearance of a new bad guy and the sudden death of supervillain-in-the-midst-of -reforming Abra Kadabra. The new monster effortlessly killed the powerful magician and beat Flash down before taking off, leaving everyone with a lot of questions. Now team Flash has to figure out what happened and how to find, let alone beat, this new threat. But that’s only the start of their troubles in “Fear Me.”

The show opens with Barry obsessively watching the video (from where, I’m not sure) of the strange new monster killing off Kadabra. Iris comes in to try and reassure him as they consider what to do. The somberness of the scene gets balanced by Cisco coming in with the newly separated Caitlin and Frost. Between Frost’s expression and Barry and Iris’ reactions, we get our bit of comic relief. At the West house (it’s been a while since we saw that), Cecile is staying up late going over cases and has a very intense and odd nightmare. It’s an omen of things to come, and ends with Joe saying something amazingly naïve considering everything Team Flash has been through in the last seven years or so.

Back at STAR, there’s some vague comic book science to explain Caitlin and Frost splitting up, largely blaming Mirror Monarch, which I think is kind of a stretch. There’s also talk of the newest threat, Cisco doing his naming thing and giving She-Hulk a passing reference, and Caitlin and Frost having very different reactions to recent events. But, before they can even agree on how to proceed with the current threats, things step up a notch as the Speed Force, still wearing Nora Allen’s form, suddenly appears from nowhere with some vivid special effects and looking really, really bad. As they learn a bit about what’s going on with her/it, Cisco is wowed and Barry determinedly optimistic. Joe and Iris discuss a weird robbery (what else is new in Central City?) and then Joe gets a visitor that Iris gets a bad feeling about.

At STAR, Cisco happily fiddles with a gadget we haven’t seen in quite a while which doesn’t make Frost at all happy. In the medbay, Barry keeps obsessively studying Fuerza and Cecile drops by for a visit. She explains a bit about the night before, and then has a flash of pain from her powers going out of control. Barry tries to comfort her and then gets an alarm about a robbery, which Cecile encourages him to go deal with. For what I believe is the first time, Gotham’s Crows Security, such a big part of Batwoman, shows up in another city. Flash saves the guards and then finds yet another villain. They’re coming out of the woodwork this week. They have a very odd conversation about manners before Flash finds out what he’s up against. The conflict has a very surprising outcome for the Fastest Man Alive.

Regrouping at STAR, Caitlin patches up a battered Barry while Cisco has a lot of questions. Cecile points out some similarities to what’s going on and her own experiences, and Caitlin has some theories.  They come up with a plan drawing on some past experience, and Cecile has another episode. Considering how many issues she’s had, I’m surprised she hasn’t signed up for Cisco’s “cure.” Notice how that disappeared after that season and they took Cisco’s powers? By the end of the discussion, Barry is wildly optimistic and Cecile is worried. Joe gets another visit from Iris, who is still following up on her earlier suspicions.

Frost does some entertaining musing on the nature of her separation from Caitlin, and Cisco manages to miss the obvious. Then Caitlin comes in, furious, and confronts Frost about what she’s been up to. This leads to a tense confrontation that Cisco is very glad to have interrupted by blaring alarms. The new villain, dubbed Psych by Cisco, has popped up again, so Flash, Frost, and Vibe 2.0 rush off to confront him. Their plan was good, but didn’t quite work out. Psych makes a very odd little speech before utterly ignoring their preparations. We get some insight into Frost and Flash’s concerns, but they oddly skip Cisco. A very shaken team meets up at STAR again, where Caitlin manages to tell them what happened. Barry has gone from wild optimism to crippling doubt. The others are worried about their hero’s lack of confidence.

Frost tries to fix something from earlier, but finds it’s not her strength. Caitlin finds her at work, and they have a much more honest, and calm, conversation about what’s going on with them. Off on his own, Barry stares out the window, rattled by his earlier experiences. Usually Iris would come rouse him, but this time it’s Cecile who offers Barry some conversation. They compare notes, and Barry talks about some things being different since Crisis. Cecile gives him a good speech, and they resolve to go after Psych again. She comes to regret this almost at once as Barry comes up with a new plan that she thinks is on the risky side. They do seem to be pulling out props from past villains on this episode.

Psych launches a major attack on the city, and the team leaps into action. With a lot of help from Cecile, who becomes a full member of the team this time out in my opinion, Flash prevails. Their celebration ends up being short-lived. In the midst of their post-victory techno-babble, Barry suddenly has some serious problems, with his powers flaring out of control. To contain things and keep everyone else safe, he takes some extreme measures that worry everyone else. While Joe confronts the new person in his life, the rest of the team gets a big surprise as a visitor shares some disturbing news about Barry and their newest villains.

What I liked: I’m actually enjoying the Frost/Caitlin split. I didn’t think I would, but they’re giving Frost some good lines and some believable motivations. Cecile really stepped up, and trusted the team even though she had some doubts. Flash’s initial conversation with Psych was great.

What I didn’t: The episode felt a bit disjointed in spots, possibly because of more COVID restrictions. Joe and Iris spend just about the whole show off on their own. Cisco and Caitlin miss some really obvious stuff with Frost repeatedly. I don’t like Joe’s new associate or the weird subplot she’s brining. Also, they’re making it sound like Central City and Gotham are in the same state, which fits none of DC’s previously established geography.

It was a decent episode that brought in some new concepts. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.

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