Flash: Enemy at the Gates

Wait, we’re all cosplaying the same obscure character?

Flash’s long-term planning has been all sorts of thrown off over the last year or so. COVID changed the spacing and timing on a few major plot elements, and in some ways it feels like they’ve been struggling to get back on track ever since. When in doubt, they toss the mysterious Godspeed into the mix. That enigmatic speedster returns, along with some developments for the personal lives of various characters, in Enemy at the Gates.

The show opens with Barry working late in his lab. His work gets interrupted by an unexpected Ghost of Flash’s Future who delivers a nice, if vague, message. Barry then suddenly starts awake, makes a call, and jumps to an interesting conclusion. Iris does not appear in this episode at all, and a few scenes make it seem like this was a last-minute development. One of these was Barry babbling on about various scientific stuff as he looks for his car keys. He’s allegedly talking to Iris, who is in the bedroom because she’s not feeling well. Barry’s attempt to get going is frustrated by the sudden appearance of Cecile who is dropping something off for Iris, Cecile is cheery and friendly and full of questions, and Barry is suffering from what I’ve dubbed Smallville Syndrome, keeping needless secrets because… reasons. I get not saying he thinks Iris is pregnant, but at least say she’s sick or something instead of the babbling nonsense he came out with. At STAR Labs, Frost is expressing her artistic side in a way that seems very in character when Chester shows up and brings news of Frost’s flame/foe Mark Blaine (a version of the Chillblaine character from the comics). Frost gets an interesting idea, and Chester is unable to talk her out of it. In his defense, I’m not sure anyone can talk her down when she gets going.

Joe West is continuing his crusade to help Kramer track down the man she holds responsible for the ambush that killed her military unit. I still think this is a remarkably bad idea, and puts Joe in the common CW position of “I am doing a lot of things and have no job to pay for any of it.” They go over what Joe has dug up so far, and Kramer acknowledges he is a very skilled investigator. Joe gets a new lead and they’re off for Midway City, another fictional DC metropolis that has been home to an early incarnation of the Doom Patrol and Hawkman and Hawkwoman in the comics. While Joe cautions her on the difference between justice and revenge, Godspeed shows up in Central City. Then shows up again, and the two of them share some kind of communication before zooming off.

Finally making it to STAR, Barry gets surprised by Chester showing up in one of the hallways. Once again, Barry keeps secrets and Chester is enthusiastically awkward about things. Barry’s babbling and lies cue up the next scene, where Caitlin is examining UltraViolet. The semi-reformed villain was experimented on by Black Hole, and Catlin is trying to find a way to undo the damage while Allegra offers moral support. At the same dive bar we’ve seen several times, Mark Blaine is getting beat on. The deal he made to get out of Iron Heights isn’t popular with some of his fellow criminals. Frost shows up and saves him, her mixed emotions about the man on full display. Finally, after he rattles off reasons he can’t go to various medical centers for attention to the wounds he just got, an exasperated Frost suggests bringing him to STAR. At his actual CCPD lab where he allegedly works, although we never see him there, Barry is still trying to get this same test done when Cecile shows up yet again with lots of questions. She uses the edge her powers give her, finds out what’s going on, and gets adorably excited. Then the lab gets attacked and Barry saves her, but loses his samples in the process.

Most of the team regroups at STAR and tries to figure out what Godspeed wants this time. There is a lot of talk about past motivations, but no useful ideas are reached. The team gets reports of Godspeed attacks, Barry figures out there are two of them, and then his keeping secrets makes things a bit awkward as Allegra suggests a plan. Chester gets his own idea and gets to work as Barry takes off to search the city. Down in medbay, Caitlin patches Mark up and he asks for dating advice. Frost comes to check on him, Mark shows he’s a pretty smart guy, and they argue a bit about motivations. With assorted Godspeed attacks all over, Frost locks Mark in the lounge to keep him out of trouble and out of the way. Catlin gets ready to go work on UltraViolet, and they really, really do a bad job depicting what an Operating Room should either look or run like. Chester gets another alert about more Godspeed attacks and Barry runs off to deal with them.

Flash faces off with Godspeed at the power plant the villain is attacking. Chester’s idea finally starts working, and barely gives Barry enough warning about an ambush. After another superspeed chase through the city, Flash barely gets back to STAR in time to be on the right side of the big protective forcefield we’ve seen before. It turns out there are more Godspeeds around than we thought and they all start attacking the force field, which immediately starts weakening ala Star Trek. Barry slips off to call Iris and leave a voicemail for her, which is when Chester overhears something he wasn’t supposed to. Barry tells Chester about another new upgrade Cisco left behind for taking off for ARGUS. Down in the medbay, Catilin stays focused on her task, despite distractions from Allegra and Cecile, and the building shaking from the Godspeed onslaught.

Mark picks the lock to get out of the lounge just as Frost arrives to talk to him. She gives him his tech gear for his costume, although why she had it I’m not sure. They talk about heroes, villains, and trust, and agree to help each other out. Caitlin’s surgery on UltraViolet hits a snag, but gets helped out by a new use of Cecile’s powers. The Godspeeds prove to be adaptable and find a way past the forcefield, triggering all sorts of alarms. Flash, Frost, and Chillblaine end up fighting them, because Allegra is too busy watching Caitlin operate to do anything useful I guess. Inexplicably, Frost and Mark switch to hand to hand for a while, forgetting their powers. Chester gets some help from Gideon (it still seems odd to me that this one doesn’t sound like the Gideon on the Waverider) and puts his plan in action. For a time, it works. Then, somehow, a Godspeed gets into the room that’s supposed to be fortified against speedsters and shuts it all down. Desperate, Flash leads the Godspeed Group away from STAR and doesn’t really do a great job fighting them. Then Barry gets a last minute save from an utterly unexpected quarter, leaving him puzzled.

The team debate what happened, and all agree they don’t know what any of it means. After they go their various ways, we get a few short scenes. Mark and Frost enjoy each other’s company, almost get serious, and then he does something odd that makes no sense. Barry finally finishes his test, with Cecile as his cheering section, and gets surprising results. He seems very lost and confused. The last we see is Joe and Kramer on a stakeout. They talk for a bit, and then get ambushed in a really spectacular way to end the episode.

What I liked: Chester is really coming in to his own as the team’s tech guy. I admire Allegra’s focus on helping her cousin. I don’t agree with Joe’s current mission, but it’s very in character for the man. Frost trying to figure things out with Mark is fun to watch.

What I didn’t: Iris’ absence felt very last-minute and there was no reason for Barry to lie about it the way he did. The operating room scenes were painful to watch. Allegra could have been a help during the fight. Why did Frost have Mark’s gear? Why did Barry, a scientist, put so much stock in a dream?

It was an ok episode, but felt a bit like filler. Not a lot happened. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5. Hopefully the Godspeed mess is explained soon.

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