The Flash: Therefore I Am

“Ask me anything.”

So what do we know?

We now know that Clifford DeVoe is an absentminded but well-liked professor that has never been arrested, pays his taxes, his mortgage, and has a very reasonable 401K plan. He also donates to the Sierra Club and volunteers at an orphanage as a big brother. Or as Barry says – he’s too perfect.

After weeks of breadcrumbs, we are finally treated to an episode devoted (no pun intended) to this season's supervillain. Like many villains, DeVoe didn't start out that way. Clifford’s original plan was to expand his mind to an infinite capacity in an effort to impart knowledge in a new way, which will somehow save humanity. To do this, he designed a "Thinking Cap" which his wife, Marlize, created. It helps to have a doctor of both mechanical engineering and advanced robotics in the family.

DeVoe succeeds in the first half of his goal by using the particle accelerator explosion to power the Thinking Cap. Unfortunately, his augmented mental capacity comes at a price. He is now suffering from a degenerative disease similar to ALS and unless a solution can be found it will kill him. Expanding the minds of future generations takes a back seat to survival.

That's what his grand scheme is about, right? The bus-metas, Barry, and the rest of Team Flash are all part of the master plan to save his life. I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate that if his brain is using too much energy to the detriment of the rest of his body than he must somehow want Barry's ability to tap into the Speedforce. I have no idea how this plan is supposed to work, but that's got to be the end game. Or am I way off base?

I just want to take a moment to discuss the DeVoes' marriage. Until this episode, I had believed the relationship between The Thinker and The Mechanic to be at least mildly antagonistic. This is demonstrably untrue. Marlize loves all the variations of her husband although it would appear that connecting with him has become increasingly difficult. At first, this was due to the depression that stemmed from his deteriorating body. While Marlize manages to give him hope in the form of a chair designed to extend his life, it appears that his ever-expanding intellect is now crowding out his emotions and empathy. I don't particularly like The Thinker, but I did feel for Marlize.

On the other side of the equation, we have Barry, who is suspicious right out of the gate. No matter how justified he may be, he has very few facts to support his suspicions. And unlike most villains, the DeVoes choose legal methods of fighting back. They file a complaint against Barry with the police department after he steals a mug to get DeVoe’s DNA (which Caitlin claims has none of the qualities of a meta-human). Despite this and the repeated warnings from Joe and Iris, Barry breaks into their home leading to his suspension and a restraining order. Which he promptly violates.

Clifford opens up to Barry which is enough to convince Team Flash but will not hold much weight with the SCPD now that his credibility is shot. Is it just me or has Barry's behavior seemed odd, both for good and ill? He came out of the speedforce utterly joyous and no longer burdened by loss and guilt. To balance out his new-found joy is his willingness to pigeon-hole metas as villains and to disregard everything he holds dear in order to "get" DeVoe. Did something happen to Barry while he was in the speedforce?

While this episode answered a ton of my questions, it left me with about a million more – in the best sense. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on my mood) it doesn't look like we'll be getting those answers anytime soon since next week is the crossover extravaganza, including the wedding!

4.5 out of 5 Thinking Caps

Parting Thoughts:

In the “good to know” category, Lyft really is wheelchair friendly.

Eobard knew exactly what was about to happen to Clifford DeVoe. After all these years he still creeps me out.

Not only do I love that Iris is "Large and In Charge," I love that she knows Barry so well. She walks into his office and not only knows he’s hiding something (which was not hard to guess) but knows immediately where to look.

How does being incredibly intelligent solve a series of murders that occurred over a hundred years ago? Does he now have access to all information through osmosis or does he just have the ability to make connections no one else would think of making? Curious minds want to know.

I'd also love to know how DeVoe managed to change his DNA and pick exactly the right moment for Cisco to Vibe because if "I'm smarter than you" is the only answer we get I'll be very disappointed.

Barry discovers that DeVoe has been watching them for months and then is surprised that DeVoe knows he's The Flash. Is Barry losing IQ points as The Thinker gets smarter?

Wally’s back. Yay! Hopefully, they’ve found a storyline for him.


Clifford: “History moves in cycles we must, therefore, learn what came before in order to carve a path.” (Why do I think this is going to matter at some point)

Barry: “I’m just trying to solve a mystery.”
Clifford: “Mysteries are for novelists and archaeologists. You are supposed to be ruling me out as a suspect.”

Cisco: “It could just be the wheelchair. I mean, you do kinda have a bad history with. (points to Harry)
Harry: “That wasn’t me.”

Barry: “My spider sense is just tingling way off the charts.”

Iris: “Right now I have to go lock down a new DJ because the last one got fired for drinking too much and wouldn’t stop dancing with the father of the bride.”
Barry: “Joe might be into that actually.”

Marlize: “How do you feel?”
Clifford: “Enlightened.”

Officer: “I don’t know, Allen. Singh’s making that face again. You might want to hurry.”

Singh: “Do me a favor and stay away from the nice professor and his wife.”

Clifford: “You could gather every genius on every planet, and you still couldn’t outthink me.”

Joe: “What now, boss lady?
Iris: (looking at Barry)“We get married.

Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, and anything with a cape.


Patryk said...

I guess it's easier to make the hero stupid then to write an actual genius if the writers are not geniuses themselves. But I do like DeVoe, it's a different kind of villian for the Flash not only through his methods but also motivations. Wanting to live is the most human of goals.

Shari Houtman said...

I guess I should clarify. I like DeVoe as a villain and I'm glad they didn't have another speedster this year. I just don't like him as a person and I don't really think The Powers That Be want me to so that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Onanymous said...

It's funny - I'm so used to hearing really bad South African accents on tv, that it actually took me a while to recognise an authentic one. :)

I'm also glad that we didn't get another speedster as the villain, so that getting Barry to 'just run faster' hopefully won't be the solution (again.

I also agree that showing us the history and genuine affection between Clifford and Marlize actually made them a lot more interesting.