By Mario Wario
Warning: this article contains light spoilers for season 4, episodes 2 and 3 of The Flash.
Hello again, Mr. Scarlet Speedster. What do you have for us this time? Two new villains? Perfect! I must say, the series has shifted from the gloom and doom of last season back to the lighthearted rather quickly. And while it has only been three episodes, meaning that this could change later, I sure hope that this change is here to stay as of right now, this positive attitude does not feel campy, nor over the top.
What makes a show successful (besides certain elements like a good story, acting, etc.) is that the viewer is entertained throughout, as if they are at Universal Studios. Ok, not literally, but I’m sure you get the point. With “Mixed Signals” and “Luck Be a Lady,” both episodes did just that. They were enjoyable to watch.
For instance, “Mixed Signals” starts off nicely with a great nod to Risky Business, in which we see the young Barry Allen dancing in his apartment (with “Old Time Rock & Roll” by Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band playing) while making a yummy breakfast. Once that was done, he goes on a super-fast binge-watch to catch up on the latest TV shows he has missed. I won’t lie, I do envy that power; it would make watching movies/shows on Netflix rather easy. One can only dream…anyway, overall, Grant Gustin did a fine job being goofy, which only helps the humor even more. It is all about being authentic. The rest of the cast conduct themselves similarly, but granted, their acting skills (and chemistry) have always been good in this series. Oh hey, the word “frak” made its comeback, thanks to Cisco saying it out loud in this episode. Battlestar Galactica, you will never be forgotten!
Of course, just as Ash Williams continues to fight the dead, it would not be The Flash if there was no action in it. In both episodes, each scene created enough tension and showed off how fast the Flash is now, but he has a lot of catching up to do due to being away for so long. As always, death can’t touch Barry. The best example of this is when his suit’s self-destruct mode became active thanks to a tech controlling meta called Kilgore (played by Dominic Burgess). Viewers never felt that Barry was in trouble. Really, Kilgore never came across as a menacing figure. There is nothing much else to say in this category other than, Kilgore did its job in setting up certain plot points. Oh, Flash’s new suit is stylish. My question is, does it really need all of that technology in it, as if it was an Iron Man suit? Sure, they work at Star Labs, so going high tech on things is nothing new, plus there are many good reasons to innovate a little bit, although these gadgets will probably make certain plot points easier to get out of. If so, it sounds eerily similar to the Spider-Man: Homecoming film.
But I can’t forget to mention Sugar Lyn Beard as Becky Sharpe, or rather, Hazard in “Luck Be a Lady.” Her personality was a treat to see and the origin story, while short, did enough to help us understand her true motives, which was a nicely done opening sequence for this episode. Meanwhile, the Thinker is, well, thinking. Eventually we will get to his master plan (I still say that he looks like a Doctor Who villain).
And it wouldn’t be a CW show if there were no relationship problems. But instead of making the show dull, the writers had some fun with it, which made each scene satisfying to sit through. Mainly, it was the humor attached to these parts that did the trick. For example, the couples therapy scene in “Mixed Signals” for Barry and Iris did not feel unnecessary. It was thought-provoking, plus it was nice seeing how human they were, regardless of one having super speed or one being the leader of the team. Same with Cisco when he was trying to balance his love life and work, with Gypsy. Episode three also had its fair share of drama, such as Iris on a mission to get married sooner, because of bad luck spreading throughout the city. While it didn’t work out, it was pretty funny to see how it all went down. It does help that this cast know their roles quite well, and has done ever since season one got going.
Now to Wally West/Kid Flash, as both episodes did nothing for this character (a repeated theme for this show so far). I am starting to wonder if the writers are having trouble making him important in this universe, due to being another speedster. He did, however, have one good moment in episode two when saving a person’s life, so at least there’s that, but in the next episode, Wally decides to leave the team to do some ‘soul searching.’ (What?) I know that Jesse Quick (maybe) dumped him, yet does he really need to go just because of that? It doesn’t feel right and this might be an easy way to get rid of another speedster but with all of that said, I am curious to see where this goes. Hopefully, when he does come back, something good comes out of it.
Meanwhile, Tom Cavanagh is back in “Luck Be a Lady.” I won’t say much as to why he returned, only that it has something to do with his daughter. Mainly, he kept getting in the way of her new team, or maybe it was Yogi Bear that did it? Now, it should be noted that when “Elongated Journey Into Night” premieres on October 31, this new episode will be directed by Cavanagh, with Danny Trejo playing as the Breacher!
Finally, things are getting mighty interesting for Joe West—as in, Cecile is pregnant! That said, it sure felt weird that they put this surprise at the very end of episode three after Wally had left the team, and the reaction by Joe was rather strange, too. Everything felt very random, in general.
Overall, both episodes were a blast to watch. True, the cast is the show’s greatest strength and this fun vibe is making things a lot better for this new season. I can’t wait to see what is next as our heroes now know that the main villain is out there, waiting to strike at the right moment. So, keep up the good fight, Team Flash! So far, so good.
Overall score for both episodes: 4/5.
Want to talk about these episodes some more? Just click here to see the TV discussion thread on the FoCC forum.