Airing Tuesdays at 8pm on Sky 1
Writers: Jeff Hersh & Josh GIlbert
Director: Rachel Talalay
Essential Plot Points:
- Harry discovers the price of the Thinking Cap; it’s destroying his memory. Soon he’ll have to re-learn everything he’s ever known.
- Barry and Iris are at grief counselling. Iris is completely open about hard she’s finding Ralph’s death. Barry is…numb. He’s fine. Or at least he says he is.
- At the Thinker’s tesseract, DeVoe is overjoyed. His body is stable, it even has the ability to hold other metahuman abilities too. Marlize is delighted, but DeVoe is ready to push the plan forward.
- At STAR Labs Cisco is about to use the Thinking Cap when Harry interrupts him. Cisco is furious, convinced they’ve stopped using the Cap just as it was doing some good. Harry admits he’s addicted and…Cisco has an idea;. a second Thinking Cap. Network the pair of them. Out think DeVoe by being twice as smart as him, Literally.
- Caitlin is replaying the footage of DeVoe destroying her powers. There’s no evidence of cold spots anywhere in town. Killer Frost is gone.
- The alarm goes off. Three pocket dimensions open and close in seconds. One of them at Tracy’s lab, where Fallout was being held. If DeVoe gets his hands on Fallout’s powers all their problems triple…
- Barry asks Iris to call Argus to see if they’ve got a containment facility that could be used.
- MEANWHILE ON EARTH-X!!!!
- Citizen Cold! The Rebellion is in charge now, the Nazis have been dismantled. And Cold is stalking the Earth X- Black Siren. Who is kicking his ass when Barry and Cisco arrive, save him and breach home. Unnoticed, the Earth X Black Siren screams the breach open and follows them.
- Cisco testruns the new Cap which immediately shorts out. Harry is oddly relaxed about it…
- At the tesseract, DeVoe’s plan has its first misstep; Team Flash move Fallout somewhere he didn’t predict. Marlize shows up in DeVoe’s favorite dress and he tears into her. She has one role, to be his technician until the Enlightenment. Nothing else matters.
- Citizen Cold gives Barry a pep talk and they explain the plan; a modified containment suit for Fallout which is cooled using Cold’s gun. Caitlin injects the team with a cocktail of chemicals that may help protect them from Fallout’s powers. Then they divide up the tasks and get ready to roll out.
- The journey stats well. Caitlin finds a note from Killer Frost and Leo counsels her through the grief. Suddenly, pocket dimension activity hits. The truck is bounced off the road and DeVoe appears. Barry triggers the Sonic Scepter and, because of Ralphs’ powers, they have no effect. Barry freezes up, DeVoe moves to kill him and…Black Siren, or rather Siren X, attacks them and steals the truck.
- Back at STAR Labs, they regroup. Siren X now has both the cold gun and the nuke as well as Joe and Caitlin as hostages.
- Cisco works out how to fix the Thinking Cap and, panicking, Harry breaks it. With no choice, he comes clean. When Cisco pushes him, he lashes out, explaining that without his intelligence he’s nothing.
- At the Tesseract, DeVoe is FURIOUS. It turns out he was banking on Barry taking Siren X down and can’t understand why he froze up. Marlize sees what he can’t and tries to explain; DeVoe can’t account for how someone is feeling. He can’t predict how people who are grieving will act.
- Leo confronts Barry about his grief. Because Leo is amazing and we don’t deserve him, he even makes a pun about it.
- Siren X attacks the CCPD with Joe and Caitlin as hostages. The alarm goes off and Barry and Leo start their run.
- At the precinct, Siren X screams at Fallout, bringing him up to critical. She puts Barry down and Caitlin and Leo use their cold guns to cool him down but get taken out.
- Barry comes to, with Leo screaming at him that he has no choice but to face his pain and if he doesn’t they’re all dead. Barry gets it together, knocks out Siren X and gives Caitlin and Leo the time they need to cool Fallout down. They get Fallout contained and notice the Flash is missing.
- They find him at Ralph’s office. Barry breaks down, sobbing and blaming himself as his dad hugs him.
- Later, Leo is getting ready to leave for the wedding. Because Leo is amazing, he makes a point of thanking all of them and finishes by giving Barry one last pep talk. Then he’s off to the wedding.
- Barry agrees to go back to grief counselling. Iris checks in on Caitlin who reveals she’s run tests on herself to see if Killer Frost really is gone. Caitlin backs her friend up as she finally opens the test results and…discovers Killer Frost is still in there! She just has to wake her up…
- Harry is getting ready to leave, convinced that his brain is all he can give give the team. Cisco, because he’s amazing, talks Harry down. But first, he needs to come clean. Harry isn’t ready. Yet. But he will be.
- At Doctor Finkle’s, Barry finally opens up about Ralph, their differences and how Barry struggled to see how Ralph and changed for a long time and that he wishes he could tell him how proud he is of him.
- Fallout is contained in a VR system designed to keep him calm. One that DeVoe has found. And he’s so pleased with himself he doesn’t notice how angry Marlize is getting…
The much needed pause for breath after last week, this is nonetheless not exactly low-key. Citizen Cold, Siren X, Fallout (And who new we’d be happy to see Fallout again?!) and Harry’s plot all collide with a study of grief in all it’s forms and the first crack in DeVoe’s armor. It’s a jam packed hour and most of it works brilliantly well.
The elements that work the best are the subtlest. Citizen Cold continues to be wonderful and Wentworth Miller chews every line with delicious, self-aware relish. Better still, it’s surprising how happy the news of victory on Earth-X makes you. We only met these characters for the first time this year but they’re already so endearing you’re cheering them on. Plus, we’re pretty sure the tuxedo/parka combo Leo is going to rock at the wedding is going be AMAZING. Joking aside, Leo as the Arrowverse’s wandering grief counselor pays off once again. He’s completely sincere, endlessly compassionate and pulls no punches. His scenes with Caitlin are great but it’s his work with Barry that makes the episode.
Barry is a thousand miles away from the sentient growlstorm that is Oliver Queen on his best day, but he’s about as far from his own best day right now. This has been a massively rough year for the fastest man alive and this week he finally lets himself feel that. There’s no histrionics, no dropping to the knees screaming ‘WHYYYYYYYY?!’ in the rain. Just Grant Gustin showing us a tough, kind man who is pushed to the edge and finally able to see that. It’s subtle, poignant stuff that has a lot to say about how men are conditioned to choke down emotion at the same time as driving the plot along. Impressively done all around.
There’s a lot to enjoy elsewhere too, especially a nicely handled exploration of addiction and Cisco and Harry’s friendship. The episode even brings back Fallout in a way that does the character the justice he was utterly denied the first time out. And, crucially, it gives the team the first hint DeVoe isn’t unbeatable. While the Siren-X stuff is a little arbitrary, the rest of the episode more than makes up for it and keeps the show running at full speed towards the end of the year. All in all, more good work from the best season The Flash has had so far.
- Wentworth Miller. Citizen Cold’s combination of evil monologue, charm and caring a lot about people is just massively endearing.
- HE DOESN’T DIE! Every time he talked about getting married we were convinced he was dead meat.
- Cisco telling Harry he trusts him and Harry’s little smile are so sweet.
- Likewise Cisco being so hurt because Harry lied to him is just heartbreaking.
- Fallout being helpful and kind of penitent is a really nice touch. Especially given how fumbled his first appearance was.
- Leo basically giving Barry advice from Mysterymen.
- Joe has trucker dice.
- DeVoe using Ralph’s voice is chilling.
- Barry losing it in Ralph’s office and his dad being there for him.
- Barry breaking down during the counselling session. Grant Gustin does low key work this week but it’s all subtle and moving and real.
- ‘A nuke is a terrible thing to waste’
- Honestly, pretty much all the Siren-X stuff. Katie Cassidy gets very little to do here, which is a shame
And the Random:
- Rachel Talalay is an all-time genre great. She directed the magnificent Tank Girl, episodes of Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow and is a frequent flier on the TARDIS, having directed classics like Heaven Sent, Hell Bent and Twice Upon A Time.
- Jeff Hersh has written for The Flash, The Sin Bin and others.
- Josh Gilbert has written for The Flash, Drop Dead Diva and others.
- ‘Leave the thinking to me.’-Seconds away from telling her to ‘smile’.
- ‘Right now, I’m kinda busy.’
‘Doing what, dying?’
- ‘I tease.’
- ‘Sounds like a plan., Barry! You know how I feel about plans..’
Because if I die before Ray and I are married? Ray will kill me.’
- ‘Some protection? How…vaguely reassuring.’
- ‘And I’ll be driving, and reciting every prayer Cecile has ever taught me.’
‘I may join you.’
- ‘I’m on an Alt Earth transporting a human bomb with an escort who can literally run back to the future. Your story is the least crazy thing I’ve heard all day.’
- ‘Well, that deescalated quickly.’
- ‘Leo, we’re on.’
‘Barry, I’m always on.’
- ‘Time to get COLD BLOODED.’
- ‘How far off the grid?’
‘Like, it would take Jack Ryan two Tom Clancy novels to find him.’
- ‘You treat everyone around you with kindness and respect. Just make sure you do the same for yourself every once in a while.’
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