The Flash: Lose Yourself

“Tonight we take on The Thinker.”

And then there was one.

Phase One of The Thinker’s plan is complete, and Team Flash is back where they started. On to the Enlightenment.

This week we have the age-old argument of superheroes everywhere – to kill or not to kill.  DeVoe has killed eight people that Team Flash knows of. If they could locate DeVoe, shouldn't they be obligated to stop him by whatever means available? Dibny, a former police officer and lifelong pragmatist, is not averse to using lethal force on a known murderer. Especially one with the abilities of The Thinker. Barry argues that when you possess enhanced abilities, there is always another way. Although I expect nothing less from Barry, it is surprising that he defines a hero as someone who doesn’t kill given that he was trained by Oliver Queen, a man he admires, but who has and continues to kill. Then again, Oliver has no special powers, so maybe that rule doesn’t apply to him.

Meanwhile, Harry’s use of the now dark matter infused Thinking Cap has led to the creation of the Sonic Scepter, the giant tuning fork capable of incapacitating or killing The Thinker. He has also devised a new algorithm that can predict the opening of pocket dimensions. This pleases everyone but Joe. It makes complete sense that Joe would be the first one to recognize the signs of addiction in Harry. As Joe reminds us, he lived through this with his wife. Joe attempts to stop Harry from going down a similar path but realizes that only Harry can make that choice. Harry, unsurprisingly, doesn’t listen.

Harry’s predictor succeeds in predicting the pocket dimension. However, it belongs to Edwin Gauss and not The Thinker. Gauss flees before Team Flash realize what happened. Harry then finds a way to isolate Edwin’s pocket dimension activity from The Thinker’s and the rest of Team Flash begins to share Joe’s concern, but the search for Gauss takes precedence. They find Gauss but so does DeVoe's samuroid, and Caitlin is injured in the process. This convinces Dibny that The Thinker needs to be put down. When Dibny realizes that Gauss can take him to The Thinker’s pocket dimension, his argument with Barry becomes a lot less theoretical. Dibny is willing to make the hard choice even if Barry can’t.

Barry stops him and makes one last pitch to convince Dibny that killing is wrong. Killing DeVoe would mean destroying the good in Ralph. Killing will keep Dibny from being the hero he was destined to be. Ralph already understood that. He just believed that saving his friends from DeVoe was worth the cost. But when the moment finally comes, he can’t bring himself to do it. Barry got through to him after all.

Considering what happens next, you can be forgiven for taking Ralph’s side of the argument.  DeVoe takes advantage of Barry’s predictability and sneaks into S.T.A.R Labs when most of Team Flash has left for The Thinker’s Lair. In the best scene we never saw, Joe takes out the samuroid.  Ralph is reunited with his prehistoric nemesis. Harry runs for his Thinking Cap and has what looks like a dark matter overdose. And Marlize and Iris face off once more. This time the argument between Marlize and Iris regarding the nature of love and partnership is fought with swords and guns instead of just words. If we are equating love for their husbands with their ability to fight then, Iris was destined to win. The genuine article trumps the chemical imitation every time. Too bad Marlize doesn’t realize it.

In the end, it doesn’t matter. Everything played out just as Ralph predicted. He assumes the mantle of hero refusing to kill DeVoe. As a consequence, Barry and the rest of Team Flash are easily defeated by DeVoe, and in the process stripping Caitlin of all her dark matter, effectively killing Frost (no pun intended). DeVoe then forces Barry to watch Ralph die. And to add insult to injury, DeVoe also predicted Harry’s self-destruction and siphons dark matter from the Braille room to power phase two.

Does that make Barry wrong? We, the audience, know Team Flash will find a way to defeat The Thinker without killing him by the end of the season. But as Barry packed up Ralph’s office, he had to have his doubts. At what point should DeVoe's murders be laid at Barry's feet if Barry could have stopped him and didn't?

So what do we know?

Harry was last seen unconscious in the Braille Room. Is he alive? Will he be suffering from ALS-like symptoms as DeVoe was? Will Tom Cavanaugh be back in his motorized wheelchair? That image doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it should.

DeVoe now possesses the powers of all the bus-metas except Fallout. Could Fallout be the answer to defeating DeVoe?

The Thinker needs dark matter to power some machine that will bring about The Enlightenment. Originally DeVoe wanted to augment his mind to be a better teacher, but somehow I don’t think The Enlightenment is a new teaching method.

“I am nothing without you,” made another appearance. I still think Marlize will be part of The Thinker downfall. She has to wake up at some point, and I don’t care how smart Clifford is, I wouldn’t want to be him when she does.

Despite numerous laugh out loud moments this episode was probably the darkest of the season. But I like that in my superhero shows. It also succeeded in the one thing that will always garner high marks from me. It delivered the unexpected. The Powers That Be may have purposely led us to Ralph's death but that doesn't mean we saw it coming.

4 out of 5 pocket dimensions.

Parting Thoughts:

They finally explain (sort of) why there were 12 bus-metas and the bus driver and yet only 12 heat signatures.

Another Marvel reference – “There was this bald dude in a Professor X floaty chair.”

Since when has Marlize been a sword master? Or could the sword direct her movements? They made a point of showing it was not a normal sword.

I understand why Null was in the Pipeline but why were the other bus-metas staying where they couldn't defend themselves?

Speaking of which, Barry says the plan is to throw DeVoe into the Pipeline. Then what? Hold him there indefinitely and throw away the key?

Quotes:

Dibny: “Whoa, I got something.
Barry: “What?”
Dibny: “My Big Belly Punch Card. I’m only five away from a free kids' meal.”

Harry: (about to use the Sonic Scepter) “Maybe you should take a couple steps back if you value your internal organs.”

Joe: “Harry’s really loving that Thinking Cap, huh?”
Cisco: “Oh, my God. It’s like the best friend he never had. I mean he wears this thing everywhere. I’m pretty sure I saw him step out of the shower with it. I want to know what kind of problem he was trying to solve in there… Nope. Nope, I-I don’t want to know.”

Caitlin: (reading Frost’s note) “’Thanks for the badass new jacket, I got some blood on it. Don’t worry. It’s not ours.’ I guess her humor is sort of an acquired taste.”

Cisco: “I’m sorry, but that’s too big even for your britches, Harry.”
Harry: “My britches are plenty big, okay? I fill my britches.”

Dibny: “Unwashed flower child, have you seen this man?”

Hippie Guy: “Time for the reflection hike everyone. Don’t forget to leash your spirit animals.”

Dibny: “Same plan again. And you wonder why he’s always ahead of us."

Gauss: “If you ascend your mind to a high enough plane – You can go anywhere. And my mind is really high.”

Cisco: (as Scotty) “If I apply any more hobby glue this ship is gonna blow!”

Dibny: “DeVoe has taken out everyone who has gotten in his way. And Team Flash will always be in his way.”

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

4 comments:

CoramDeo said...

I loved this episode, and this was a great review. One thing I'll point out is that we saw Harry again at the end of this episode, helping Cisco diagnose Caitlin.

Billie Doux said...

It's been awhile since I saw this episode, but I remember finding the "we can't kill this horrible killer bad guy" argument of Barry's to be very frustrating.

CoramDeo said...

I noticed that a few of Caitlin's notes she swapped with Killer Frost were visible at one point in the episode. Here is a transcription of those notes, for everyone's enjoyment. Note that Caitlin always uses dashes, and Killer Frost uses colons. Also, Frost's are on blue sticky notes, and Caitlin's are on yellow ones:
Quick question: Do you think you can use hair products that are a little more 'Frost Friendly'? K.F.
Hey KF - No worries about the damage to my jean jacket. I like it sleeveless. (Caitlin)
Borrowed your car, had a little accident. Upside: You have a new convertible. K.F.
You don't have to leave the freezer open. I get it - Let's agree on what 'Room Temp' is for us. (Caitlin)
Still say you should make 'Scan, Caitlin, Scan' a thing. K.F.
We should get a mini-bar. Or just a bar-bar. K.F.

Shari Houtman said...

That is so cool! I never notice those things being as vision deprived as I am. LOL!