By Mario Wario
Warning: this article contains light spoilers for season 4, episode 7 of The Flash.
Yippie-Ki-Yay! At long last the Thinker has the spotlight; it only took seven episodes to get here. But since this guest has a frightening side to him, the lighter tone of this season took a backseat as “Therefore I Am” had a darker theme attached to it. Luckily, this episode did not enter the realm of being over-the-top like last season was, when we saw every character being down and depressed about anything. That said, I am curious to see if every Thinker-centric episode will be ‘dark’ versus episodes that won’t completely focus on him. Ideally, I would want to see the show keeping its work consistent with how it began, but for now I won’t judge this until I have seen the whole season.
As for the Thinker, we are treated to his origin story in a series of flashbacks. These scenes provide enough information as to why a simple college professor at Central City University would become a major threat to Central City. But Clifford DeVoe’s personal backstory will show you that he wasn’t a bad person from the start. For instance, he wanted to be a better teacher. He wanted to understand why today’s youth are so glued to their electronics instead of focusing on their educations more, wasting their potential. He saw himself as being the problem in his classroom, so this lead him on a quest to find a solution. Yet, by doing so, his new-found gift came with a cost: a life-changing sickness that really gave birth to the Thinker.
Even in the present day, unless I’m wrong here, I see a lot of similarities between DeVoe and another doctor named Otto Octavius from Spider-Man 2. Both characters see intelligence as an honor and only want to leave a legacy behind to help the world. But once the mechanical side takes over (whether a thinking cap or AI controlled tentacles), that is when their downfall begins. I am anxious to see if DeVoe will redeem himself like Otto did, or not. I won’t be surprised if DeVoe dies just to close out that character.
Before leaving this subject, Neil Sandilands’ performance was good and same with Kim Engelbrecht as Marlize DeVoe, the wife of the Thinker. However, we still don’t know what the endgame is for the DeVoes. Would it truly hurt the main plot if we knew it by now? I don’t believe that it would, but I guess the writers disagree. I also want to know how the DeVoes got the resources to make that floating chair, the lab, the thinking cap, etc. Both are college professors, so how did they do it? Are they stealing money offscreen or is someone helping them? I don’t think the university provided all of it, but that they took what they needed. I need answers here to satisfy my curiosity, otherwise this is a plot hole if we get nothing.
As for Barry, he is finally able to talk to the DeVoes but those encounters do not go according to plan. They are able to fool most of Team Flash, which leads to Barry to go on his own personal mission to show that the DeVoes are hiding a dark secret. I did like the cat-and-mouse game we saw between the two parties, but this part of the story did present how dumb Barry can be. It was rather painful to watch. For instance, when investigating a certain location at night, Barry never bothered to wear a mask nor blur his face to keep it hidden. Before that, he found out that Team Flash was being spied on with a hidden camera inside the Samuroid head, yet he didn’t bother to think that there could be more cameras inside the place he’s investigating? Heck, I have a Ring Doorbell camera for my home! Simple logic would tell you that a criminal mastermind would most likely have hidden cameras all over his/her headquarters. What really annoyed me is when Barry finally thought of this, but after doing what he did. He’s not a rookie anymore, so please, writers of the series, no more of this type of weak storytelling.
Finally, I’m so thrilled that a certain member of Team Flash is back after doing some soul searching, yet another was nowhere to be seen. Where was Ralph? Should all hands be on deck right now? Very strange. Maybe it’s Hartley Sawyer’s work schedule, so no blame should be put on anyone if so, but it still feels odd that he wasn’t there. He was training to be a good superhero after all.
Minus a few issues, “Therefore I Am” was really good. I thought the Thinker’s origin story was well done and what I saw in this episode, I can’t wait to see more of this character going against the Scarlet Speedster. It was entertaining. I do, however, want to know the villain’s endgame, so hopefully that comes very soon.
My score for this episode: 4.4/5
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