Flash: Keep It Dark

You ever have one of those days where you just can’t leave the office?

The Arrowverse has been through a lot of changes since it first started up. It’s grown and shrunk, built a tightly fitting world, and then had the shows seem to become totally independent of each other. Some are either predicting, or hoping for, it to end soon. Personally, I’m still enjoying more than I’m not, but I admit I’m not wild about some of the changes. Flash has been through a lot, and I’m not loving a lot of the current set up. Most of the big names take a backseat this week, as the show focuses on the supporting cast and some new developments. There’s a lot to keep the reduced Team Flash busy in “Keep It Dark.”

We open with Flash zipping through the city, homing on some fire alarms, and some banter between our hero and Chester about an accident in the kitchen. Arriving at Ivo Labs, one of the places they love to revisit, Flash shows up and gets a very confusing reception. He concludes that there’s yet another speedster in Central City, and isn’t sure what to do about it. Later, he compares notes with Joe, and mentions he hasn’t been able to contact of the various Forces, which is about as close as we get to an acknowledgement that Iris is still missing. They also touch on Barry’s visit to Caitlin, and the Fastest Man Alive seems to be a bit slow on the uptake, almost surprised she’s not returning his calls after he damn near burned her apartment down. Cecile makes her one appearance, coming downstairs all aflutter about some interviews for Jenna’s new school interviews, and questions she and Joe need to go over. After a joke anyone could see coming a mile away, we mercifully shift focus to Allegra.

Allegra deftly handles a few issues at the Central City Citizen, and then has a more problematic talk with Taylor the Unpleasant. Taylor is pushing to do a story that could cause problems for some of Team Flash, and Allegra comes up with some bad excuses to not do it. Allegra then gets a text and, of course, meets someone at Jitters, The Only Place In Town That Has Coffee. Her friend Lydia is in trouble with their former gang, the Aranas (Spanish for Spiders), and Allegra manages to sound sympathetic while also turning this into an excuse to get Lydia to give the Citizen a big story. Their meeting wraps up, but they’re being spied on, and we see some familiar faces that are going to cause problems later.

Chester and Barry talk over the puzzling new developments about the speedster they are more or less sure exists. Barry decides he needs to go talk to someone and will be “off the grid.” Chester isn’t sure this is a good idea, but gets a call for help from Allegra and so is distracted. Allegra runs through some facts about the Aranas, Sunshine, and Dr. Light with her staff, which seems to consist of redhead Vanya, military vet Aariz, and the aforementioned Taylor. True to form, Vanya and Aariz are fine with the things Allegra proposes, and Taylor disagrees. Much as I hate to side with Taylor, she raises a few legitimate points that pretty much ignored. Chester meets Lydia, gets his excuse for being there, and Lydia goes on about how important it is that she tells her story. Naturally, this is when things go bad in the form of the obligatory lights going out and them being shot at. Sunshine, who can apparently teleport (I think that’s new?) shows up to be the sadistic, plays-with-her-food villain, and stalks Lydia and Allegra. Chester shows up at just the right moment and has this week’s techno-plot device, which keeps them safe… for now. Of course, there’s a time limit, they can’t call for help, and Allegra’s alarm, that she used before all this, doesn’t get to Flash and is never mentioned again.

In a nice callback to Arrowverse history, we learn that ARGUS’ supermax prison is on Lian Yu, the remote island that was such a big part of Oliver Queen’s story. Barry goes to see Thawne, and there’s the usual evil villain blather about how much he hates the hero. Back at the Citizen, we get reminded that Aariz is a veteran and that Vanya is a mother. I suppose this is their character development for the show. Those two are willing to follow Allegra’s lead and resist the bad guys, while Taylor has no spine and whines a lot. Have I mentioned I don’t like her? Closing off part of a time loop we saw a while ago, Taylor and Allegra have a confrontation about some things Taylor has learned. She learned them by breaking the law, but that, too, never gets mentioned. Vanya and Aariz prove to be weathervanes, pointing in whatever direction the wind blows, variously siding with Taylor and Allegra throughout the episode. Lydia offers to give up to protect everyone else, Chester won’t hear of it, and we learn a bit more about Allegra’s past.

Barry chats with his old foe, and gradually figures out at least some of what the speedster is up to. After another impressively hate-fueled tirade from Thawne, Flash takes off to try and learn more. Allegra finally believes in herself after Chester gives a pep talk, and makes a really questionable choice that seems to show she’s learning the wrong things from Barry What-Secret-Identity Allen. Given what just happened a scene ago, Allegra’s decision here makes no sense at all. Dr. Light and Sunshine find a new way to deal with Chester’s troublesome technology, and get inside at last. Allegra has, oddly, taken time for a wardrobe change (but still no costume or mask) and fights the invaders off. She gets badly hurt and shows a new power to heal herself. Actually, she shows off a few new powers that I’m not sure make a lot of sense, but look cool at least.

In the chaos and aftermath, Officer Kormer, the personification of the CCPD, talks with Allegra and the others. The staff of the Citizen launches into their next project, and Taylor and Allegra reach a sort of truce. Proof that Allegra is a better person than I am; I’d have tossed Taylor out as soon as the threat was over. Maybe before. Taylor does give Allegra a warning that wouldn’t be needed if she’d do the damn mask and costume thing. At STAR, Chester babbles about how great Allegra was, while Barry listens and nods. Caitlin makes her one appearance for the show, leaving a sad video message for the team.

The episode wraps up back at Ivo Labs. The mysterious new speedster shows up, and does something utterly unexpected. Flash shows up, there’s a sort of race/fight, and they finally get to actually talk. Flash offers to teach the newcomer, and, even though she reveals her identity, he uncharacteristically keeps his mask on. That’s a nice change. The scene ends with what sounds like a big chunk of foreshadowing.

What I Liked: Allegra got to step out of the supporting role and be a hero, which was good to see. Flash going to see Thawne was unexpected, and I like that the prison is on Lian Yu. The new speedster is intriguing, as long as things don’t go down the few stereotypical lanes we’ve seen before.

What I Didn’t: Taylor. Everything about her. Every time she opens her mouth. Can she be a tragic victim of a supervillain attack, please? Allegra is managing the amazingly difficult combination of keeping the wrong secrets and lying to her staff, while not doing what she needs to in order to safeguard her biggest secret. She’s going to get herself, or someone else, killed. Her not having a costume and mask by now is ridiculous, given, again, that Barry not only got one early but convinced Oliver to wear one.

I’ll give this a 3 out of 5. Hopefully the new speedster turns out to be a good thing, and Taylor gets hit by a bus. But not the one that gave people powers a few seasons ago.