The Flash: Dead Man Running

"This isn't anger. This is the pain beneath my anger. It takes courage to fight death."

"Maybe it takes more to accept it."

By nature I love brevity: On average, this is about the same quality as the previous two episodes. But this one isn't quite as consistent as those two; it's that the heights are higher than before and the lows are lower.

I'm a little torn on this one, for a lot of reasons. I'm a huge fan of large chunks of this episode, first of all. But one of the B plotlines fell a little flat for me, and one of them did very little to serve the episode.

We'll start with the negatives, so we can end out on a positive note. I was somewhat positive about Killer Frost's arc in my review of last episode, perhaps a bit undeservedly. But I actually liked her childish mentality about the world, because she has basically spent her entire life watching somebody else from the sidelines. The only emotion she's ever been able to express is anger, and that only when she is released for the purpose of murdering people. That's bound to create a person who is emotionally unhealthy in the extreme. But even with that in mind, her scenes in this episode still come across as a little dumb. Danielle Panabaker is giving it her all, but the lines as written just don't wind up landing.

Next we have the new Wells, who doesn't really give us enough to judge him by. It is nice to see Tom Cavanagh again, though, so there's that. But the lack of meaningful content kind of bogs down the episode. I get that it's setup for the rest of the season, but none of it serves this episode's goals and it mainly just keeps Cisco and Iris busy because the story doesn't need to use them. The one useful thing the plot line provides for is some further development of Iris and Allegra's relationship. I really like that Iris uses some common sense in assuring Allegra that she can't tell her the truth yet, but that she will when Allegra is ready. And to top it all off, Allegra reacts in a mature and reasonable manner, disagreeing respectfully but still accepting Iris' decision.

In a similar vein, Barry and Iris' secret keeping is already over after only two episodes. Should they have told the team that Barry is set to die in Crisis immediately? Yes. But they're learning, which is better than nothing. It is definitely refreshing to see Team Flash sharing information once they have verified that it's accurate. We'll see how the team's reaction goes in the next few episodes, but at least they have the opportunity to react.

I won't say too much about Ralph and his mom. Amy Pietz delivers a good performance, and Hartley Sawyer is in top form. It's also interesting to see the patterns in Ralph's family that made him the person we first met in Season Four. Ralph's mom is emotionally evasive, condescending, and passive-aggressive. Her emotional unhealthiness almost certainly contributed to Ralph's, and it doesn't help that she tried to 'protect' him by lying to him about her breakups. To his credit, Ralph handles it well. Anyway, I like this part, but it isn't the most entertaining.

Here we come to the main attraction, and boy, is it worth the wait. That one scene between Barry and Ramsey was the highlight of the season for me so far. I liked that Barry was smart and took precautions about Ramsey; I actually groaned when he left the room, and then when he returned I was pleasantly surprised. And their conversation was electrifying. The tension was built masterfully, and every line of dialogue hit harder than the last. Sendhil Ramamurthy's every word is captivating, and it works especially well with Grant Gustin's restrained performance to bounce off of. I liked their interaction so much, I have three quotes from those maybe two minutes of screen time.

Running Plot Threads:

-Ramsey has now injected himself with Mitch Romero's blood, which seemed to allow Ramsey to control Romero's actions. Not a good sign.

-The team now knows that Barry is going to die in the Crisis, and Barry has added that he won't let them try and save him.

-Harrison 'Nash' Wells is an inter-dimensional Indiana Jones type looking for Eternium. He found readings of it on Iris, and appears to be headed now for the sewer.

-Allegra is aware that something's up with Iris and the gang, and that it has to do with Wells. For now, though, she's content with waiting for Iris to confide in her.

Pensees:

-Mitch Romero's demise was pretty gruesome. Also, does S.T.A.R. Labs not have any dark matter anymore?

-Yeah, sure, Ralph's mom and his life coach thing are cool, but can we get back to him looking for Sue Dearbon? Please?

-I like that Ramsey still hasn't fully crossed the line into villain territory. Criminal, yes, but not villain.

-What the heck was up with the new Wells' random 'Gods aren't real' tangent? That was bizarre and a little out of place.

-I really like Kamilla and I'm starting to like Allegra, so I hope Iris' paper continues to be important.

-Norvock is the DJ at Frost's birthday party. I'm curious how they got all of those people to come on such short notice. Or, for that matter, why so many people are willing to come to a party for Killer Frost, who is not known for her wild and vibrant social life.

Quotes:

Ramsey: "I am marking a calendar every day until I die. Waiting to fall off a cliff, powerless to grab onto anything or anyone. I watched my mother dive off that same cliff with a smile on her face."

Ramsey: "Where do you get your strength?"
Barry: "The people I love."
Ramsey: "Then it must have been incredibly hard to tell them."
Oof. That one was visibly painful.

Barry: "You can't let the threat of losing tomorrow keep you from making the most of today."

A lot of good exploration of death, the fear of it, and people's reactions to their own mortality. I loved it. 5 out of 6 vials of dark matter (For the third straight week! Keep it up!)


CoramDeo has no fear, nor no one should.

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