Flash: Lockdown

Do I get a spinoff yet?

Every once in a while, they let the writers have fun on a particular episode of an ongoing series. I suspect the writers’ room for Flash had a blast with this one. There’s not as much action as usual this time out, but they have a lot of relationship developments and some great dialogue. We also see the return of a villain from Flash’s Rogue Gallery (although in the comics this is a Green Lantern foe), a bizarre double date, and an interesting development at the end of the episode. It’s almost an Arrowverse version of Diehard in “Lockdown.”

Things open with Chester in the Cortex on that old superhero standby “monitor duty.” After an amusing debate with himself about a lunch break, and the reveal of his lunchbox of choice, Allegra drops by, saving the day (or at least the meal) and then they both make things impressively awkward. These two need to just get together already. The painful not-quite-flirting comes an end when various alarms blare and there’s a sudden mini-crimewave of minor stuff. Really feeling confident today, Flash deals with all the petty events and drops the miscreants off at CCPD, where the officers seem happy for his help and Captain Kramer, less so. Then again, when is she happy? Barry “arrives” a few moments later to be told he’s late for a staff meeting that isn’t happening anyway (so what was the point there, Kramer?) and listen to the captain complain about cleaning up after Flash and not having a way to get in touch with him. Stung by the lack of gratitude, Barry pays a call at the West home, where Joe and Cecile tell him that Kramer might have a point about her concerns.

Back at STAR, Chester is doing one of his live streams (which I’d think would compromise the whole secrecy part of Team Flash) with Allegra playing a very entertaining Vanna White in the background, when Caitlin comes in, ranting about how well Frost and Mark are getting along and their posting pics all over social media. She finally leaves to get ready for her own date, leaving more awkwardness behind her with Chester and Allegra. Barry finds Kramer and offers her a stack of compiled paperwork to help with the cases from Flash’s captures earlier in the day, and she grouses about next time. Would you be happier if he stopped taking crooks off the street, Captain? Her string of complaints comes to a stop when the elevator arrives and comes bearing gas bombs. Barry goes down last, but he’s caught by surprise and collapses with everyone else. The other elevator arrives and Goldface and his crew get off, seeming to be very happy to get to work.

Everyone wakes up slumped against the wall with high tech bracelets on their wrists. Goldface lays out the way the bracelets work, a combination of power nullifiers and explosives to deter tampering or unruliness among the prisoners. After a quick demonstration of what happens if anyone misbehaves, and Barry’s situation worsening, Goldface reveals part one of what he’s there for. Caitlin’s date is off to a rough start when she screwed up their reservation, and they end up in a seedy bar that looks familiar. Sure enough, it proves to be the one that Frost and Mark spend time in, and they’re up on stage doing karaoke. Caitlin wants to bail, but the singers notice them and she’s trapped by being too nice. What’s weird, and no one seems to comment on, is that Frost is dating Mark and Caitlin, her “sister” is dating a Marcus. Also, he’s a botanist whose last name is Ficus. Like the plant.

Kramer and Barry try to strategize about what to do to get out of this mess, and Kramer is remarkably cryptic about what she thinks Goldface is there for. Goldface and his head henchman, Carver, get in some amusing banter but find out that their objective isn’t where it’s supposed to be. We finally find out what they’re after, and Kramer proves to be as brave as she is generally unlikable. Goldface proves to be adaptable and changes tactics to get her to cooperate. Barry makes an offer to Goldface and Kramer glares disapprovingly. Back at the bar, Frost brings a round of drinks and Caitlin grows increasingly uncomfortable. Finally, Caitlin has a major outburst, slamming on Mark and insulting Frost along the way. After driving them off, she tells Marcus she wants to go home. Caitlin is usually one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, so this surprises everyone.

Barry is working on his new idea with Goldface looming over him, and there’s a lot of tension in the air. Things take a turn for the humorous when his girlfriend calls. Sadly, Katie Sackoff doesn’t return as Amunet, but there’s some very similar humor as Goldface has his end of a conversation with her. It turns out Barry and Goldface have an unexpected connection, and Goldface, played really entertainingly by Damion Poitier, holds court and shares some secrets. We also some more about the criminal’s background and get some more good banter. I think the writers really outdid themselves with the dialogue this week. Barry, still unable to use his powers, shows his mind is also a keen weapon, and gets himself and Kramer away from their captors for now. After a very Diehard-like escape, they end up in records, and Barry gives her a pep-talk while she proves remarkably reluctant to use her powers. At the bar, Caitlin tries to settle her tab, has an uncomfortable conversation with Mark (not Marcus), and the reformed supervillain proves to be remarkably insightful. And forgiving, considering how harsh Caitlin was earlier.

Hidden away in the records room, which has a lot of gadgets and not many files, Barry and Kramer look for anything to help them, and we finally learn what Kramer’s hang-up with her powers is, which also leads into why she’s pushing so hard to get a direct line to the Flash. Their almost-bonding gets interrupted by Goldface using the building PA to make a new series of threats. Barry manages to inspire Kramer to try and take on Goldface, and there’s some more great banter, this time with Officer Korber. And finally gives the officer we’ve been seeing for a few episodes a name. Kramer fights Goldface with an unexpected outcome, but buys Barry enough time to finally ditch the cuff and save the day. Even defeated, Goldface gets in a few more good lines. Later, Barry and Kramer talk more and we find out where the items Goldface was after actually were.

Starting to wrap things up, there’s a scene with Caitlin and Frost, where Caitlin offers some overdue apologies and patches things up. Frost stands up for herself well, proves remarkably forgiving, and ropes Caitlin into a new pastime that I don’t see going well at all for the scientist. Flash drops by Kramer’s office, gives her something she wanted, and finds out she’s a damn good investigator. The episode ends with Joe and Iris having dinner, Joe showing off his cooking skills, and the very large hint that something is really not right with Iris.

What I liked: The dialogue was fantastic this week. Goldface stole every scene he was in, and gave the same kind of energy as Sackoff/Amunet. His head goon Carver was entertaining as well. I could see them as a couple. We rarely get to see Barry use his science background, so that was a nice change. I’m intrigued by whatever’s up with Iris, and a have a theory or two.

What I didn’t: Marcus Ficus needs a new name, please. His first one is confusing with Mark Blaine around, and the last is just way too 50’s comic book, considering his job. The scene with Caitlin was painful, and she’s usually enjoyable. I’m really hoping they don’t drag out the Chester/Allegra stuff too long. This stage of stuff is just difficult to watch.

This was better than a lot of the episodes have been of late. I’ll give this one a 4. I guess we’ll see what’s going on with Iris as the season progresses, and hopefully get Allegra and Chester together soon.