This episode encapsulates everything I love and hate about this show.
First, the good stuff. To say that Katie Cassidy’s special guest appearance invigorated an otherwise bland season is an understatement; her role as the Black Canary on Arrow was undeniably the best part about that show before she was killed off in the most disrespectful and lazy matter, so I knew that Laurel Lance’s earth-two doppelganger Black Siren would not disappoint even if she would be underutilized. Cassidy has so much fun playing a villain for once, looking more badass than ever in a tight, leather suit, and I sincerely hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of her on The Flash (can she please escape the metahuman prison soon?). All of her scenes, whether it’s fun banter with The Flash or Zoom or crumbling down buildings left or right, are a blast.
The episode does make some awfully odd choices, however. After a fantastic opening teaser (one of the show’s best scenes to date), the hour takes a puzzling nosedive. The cliffhanger from last week’s episode is put to rest way too quickly, and I was highly disappointed that the metahumans attacking Central City (or “metapocalypse”) was mostly done off-screen. Whether this was a creative decision (The CW budget certainly doesn’t help) or a writing one remains a mystery, but regardless of the reason it still makes for a very flawed hour of television.
The flaws in this episode are within its little pieces and not the overall result. Take Zoom’s entire storyline, for example. It’s fun to watch him send Black Siren to wreak havoc around the city, but his intentions and motivations continue to baffle me, especially as he murders Henry in the closing moments. The writing continues to be atrocious and highly predictable, one has to wonder how many times Zoom gets to kidnap someone without it becoming excruciatingly tedious to watch. Plus, the Big Bad killing the hero’s parent (which wasn’t even slightly heartbreaking) is a ridiculously old trope, and the only reason it exists here is to raise the stakes for next week’s finale.
Where Zoom’s characterization fails, Barry’s suddenly emerges as the episode’s highlight. It’s no secret Barry has turned into an unlikable moron this past season, so to watch a more upbeat, optimistic hero take the lead for once is a huge relief. Why the writers waited two years to turn The Flash into an overconfident character is beyond me, and if his father’s death will be the ticket back to a mopey, depressed Barry, I might just call it quits on this show. There’s nothing wrong with going a bit dark sometimes, but there’s no reason to retread that theme when it’s clearly the wrong suit for this show.
– The show realized Iris is still a reporter and gave her a scene! Other than that, she went back to being useless again after some very promising character development last week.
– Katie Cassidy’s snarky delivery of the line “boom” while walking away from Mercury Labs crashing behind her: EPIC.
– The best thing about Black Siren is that she had a Canary Cry that was way more consistent and impactful than whatever the Black Canary had.
– Wally’s infatuation with The Flash has become unbearable, and the part where Barry “accidentally” tells Wally where he’d be fighting Black Siren was the most cringe-inducing thing I’ve seen all year. Unacceptable, writers!
– Caitlin keeps seeing Zoom even after she’s released (what a horribly subplot that’s been), and it’s the most interesting thing this character has been given in the past two years.
– I’m not even sure how Cisco’s vibes work anymore (isn’t he supposed to touch something in order for his powers to work?), but being able to stop Black Siren’s attack and seeing the future do hold some potential.
– There was absolutely no reason for everyone to still hide The Flash’s identity from Wally, and I’m both glad he found out by hour’s end and annoyed it took him this long.
– Cisco and Caitlin being undercover as their dead doppelgangers was kind of brilliant and cheesy, but boy do I wish it was a twist we didn’t see coming just two seconds earlier.
– I probably sound like a broken record now, but I am so done with how the team ends up taking down every villain in super procedural fashion – Barry has to run fast – and thinking they can get away with it with some cute banter involving Joe making “science” jokes.
– Henry and Dr. McGee share their first scene together since John Wesley Shipp and Amanda Pays (their respective actors) co-starred on the 1990 version of The Flash.
– Well, everyone was quick to celebrate even though they know Zoom is still lurking out there (how is he suddenly able to go back to Earth-2 though?).
– This episode featured several lines that seemed like they’re straight out of a comic book including Jay repeatedly telling Barry that they’re alike and the Zoom/Flash final scene where Zoom says “our story continues, Flash”.
Red Blurs & One-Liners
Cisco: Earth-2 Laurel.
Harry: You knew her doppelganger?
Caitlin: We didn’t just know her, we loved her.
Harry: We’re synced up with whatever the heck that thing is.
Joe: Finally something we’re both baffled by.
Barry: I’ve seen what interacting with your family’s doppelgangers can do. It’s not even Laurel.
Cisco: No, it’s just a poor imitation.
Cisco: Tell me I didn’t just vibe the future. Please tell me I did not just see the end of the world!
Katie Cassidy’s long anticipated arrival proves to be bucketloads of fun, even when the writing continues to suffer tremendously on this show.