Better, but still not good enough.
I praised this show last year, even when it was developing a freak-of-the-week format, because genre shows like that need a few episodes to build its world and construct its character dynamics before it can go back to its serialized nature. But I find it troublesome when a show goes back to its standalone format in its sophomore season. They can’t even be considered as “filler” anymore. They’re just quite simply bad episodes.
There’s nothing memorable or even quite interesting about Tar Pit, our villain of the week. Honestly, even the CGI felt a bit cheap for a show that’s usually impressive in that area, but even worse was whatever backstory the writers were forcing us to care about. I can’t be the only one sick of the flashbacks that go back to the day the particle accelerator went off, and I can’t be the only one wondering why that thing seemed to only affect criminals or revenge-seeking humans.
As with the past few installments, this hour felt unfocused especially when it came to the Zoom-related plot. Sure, there’s the mystery of who is behind that mask (Earth-2 Barry? Harry? Oliver Queen?), but the show isn’t giving it any importance. The saddest part is that Zoom’s presence just doesn’t feel as threatening as Reverse Flash’s because he’s basically just lurking around our Earth without causing much damage, and that doesn’t raise the stakes any higher. A few seconds of screen-time every couple of episodes doesn’t amount for much, writers, and that needs to be fixed. Hopefully, now that Harry’s betrayal is out in the open, the show can start taking this plot somewhere a bit more exciting.
The West family drama continues to be very mediocre which still feels like it’s on a completely different show. There wasn’t anything terrible about it, but that’s because the writers are going by-the-books, taking this subplot down too many predictable paths. I would actually much rather the show develop the Barry/Wally dynamic as that sounds like it would be ripping with potential, but the problem is that there’s so much going on at the moment, all of which are wildly unrelated.
But hey, at least we’re going to Earth-2 next week!
– The mention of Oliver running for mayor was too on-the-nose. I’m actually quite sick of these little bits.
– Thankfully, Harry’s betrayal to the STAR Labs team is over with, even though the fact that neither Barry nor any of the team figured it out on their own is a huge letdown. We’re supposed to have a smart leader as a protagonist, right?
– At least his speech about family was pretty good and his decision to take the team to Earth-2 honestly feels earned. Props for doing something right this week, writers.
– I loved Barry’s body language in this episode, gradually revealing how his speed was deteriorating. However, that Barry/Cisco scene in the STAR Labs hall was VERY unnecessary. It really bothers me when the writers “talk down” to us like that.
– Cisco’s “meta-human Tinder” app is hilarious.
– Look, I get that Iris is a reporter and everything, but going over to the guy in charge of the drag races was very dangerous and kind of stupid to be honest.
– Detective Joe can punch!
– The highlight of the hour: Barry running for the piece of glass but failing to get to it in time. The entire thing was executed well enough to give you a sense of the Flash losing some of his speed. Plus, Iris’ face in that scene is very GIF-able.
– I honestly wish they would have killed off Iris right then and there. She isn’t nearly as annoying as she was last year, but her death would have at least made this season INTERESTING. Plus, imagine how the Barry/Joe dynamic would crumble if that had actually happened.
Red Blurs & One-Liners
Cisco: Who’s the best hacker in the world, people?
Barry & Caitlin: Felicity Smoak.
Cisco: What is wrong with you two? That’s not friendship.
Harry: As much as you all want me to be part of your team, that’s never going to happen. I’m always going to be a father first. And one day, Zoom is gonna make me choose between you and my daughter, and every time, unblinkingly, unflinchingly, I would choose my daughter. I will betray you.
Barry: That’s binary thinking. It doesn’t have to be either/or.
Harry: Life is either/or, yes/no, black/white, love/hate. From the dawn of time to this moment right now.
Cisco: When a hitman is scared, you know something is wrong.
Another mediocre episode of a stumbling season, but the cliffhanger is good enough to be hopeful that next week should be a fun ride.