TV Review: The Flash [S4Ep23] “We Are The Flash”

The Flash, The Flash review, 4x23, season finale, the flash season 4 finale, Grant Gustin, Danielle Panabaker, Killer Frost, Nora Allen, Justice League Legacy, DT2ComicsChat, The Thinker, Devoe, David Taylor II

ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 5.22.18

Synopsis:

It’s Team Flash vs. The Thinker with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. And in the end? Love, goodness and faith beat Devoe. With a little help from a future Flash.

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Most of what I said was going to happen this episode happened. Barry wasn’t the key to defeating Devoe, Marlize was. It was an emotion-based solution and they had to play hard and fast with the storyworld rules to pull it off. Cecile’s telepathy was a key element in the final fight. Mystery Girl both helped saved the day and set up her arc for next year. And just a small sliver of development with Caitlin.

I’m really having intensely mixed feelings about what I just saw. It was visually stunning, and intensely emotional….but maybe not the most satisfying finale we’ve seen from this show. Mainly because the title of the episode? Is still the order of the day. We are the Flash. Barry is a side character with no development and no leadership on the show that bears his name. But on the bright side, he at least may be getting his old police forensics job back.

Shaken and Stirred

They did a good job setting up what was happening as the Enlightenment began. The growing Purple Haze was indeed menacing. It ate all manner of power in its wake. The problem was, it was a global event, and they kept their scope focused on Central City. Every hero and their momma wold’ve been either flooding Central City or rushing to shut down those satellites, that’s the thing. It’s comic book peril…evil villain does evil thing that puts the planet in danger, but only our hero responds, even though we live on a planet full of heroes. They mention the other heroes, but apparently the bus meta powers Clifford possessed would be enough to defeat every other superhero out there. Not buying that in the slightest, especially with someone like Gypsy that can world hop in the mix, but okay.

The Flash, The Flash review, 4x23, season finale, the flash season 4 finale, Grant Gustin, Danielle Panabaker, Killer Frost, Nora Allen, Justice League Legacy, DT2ComicsChat, The Thinker, Devoe, David Taylor IIAs predicted, Iris and Marlize have to take center stage. Marlize somehow thinks that pulling a Luke Skywalker, and believing in the good left in Darth Devoe will turn him back to the good side. They’re going to port Barry into Devoe’s mind using Cecile’s convenient pregnancy telepathy. Again, this is all very Silver Age, because exactly what would happen if Cecile had no telepathic power? Or if she had never gotten pregnant? Oh well, we knew all this was coming.

We’ll be Right Here

The Flash, The Flash review, 4x23, season finale, the flash season 4 finale, Grant Gustin, Danielle Panabaker, Killer Frost, Nora Allen, Justice League Legacy, DT2ComicsChat, The Thinker, Devoe, David Taylor IIBarry makes it inside Devoe’s mind on the first try, and things get kind of Matrixy from here. Barry’s like Neo, and Devoe is most definitely Agent Smith. The Flash, The Flash review, 4x23, season finale, the flash season 4 finale, Grant Gustin, Danielle Panabaker, Killer Frost, Nora Allen, Justice League Legacy, DT2ComicsChat, The Thinker, Devoe, David Taylor IIAnd if you notice, Marlize’s tech and conclusions were only about 50% accurate all night long. She wasn’t right about everything, and one of the main things she was wrong about was Barry’s presence being masked inside Devoe’s mind. I didn’t buy that for a second, that Devoe wouldn’t know Flash was there. More convenient science to slow up Cecile’s contractions so that Barry doesn’t get stuck in Devoe’s mind.

 

And then? Caitlin’s arc is set up for next year with Cecile’s mystery words:

I found Thomas. He’s been this way all the time.

…..Wait now. I got the sense that Cecile was pulling from Caitlin’s mind, so that was either Killer Frost talking(notice the lip snarl) or maybe a memory of Caitlin’s mom. Either way it disturbs Caitlin enough for us to know that she knows what it’s about, even though she tells Joe she doesn’t. We’re just going to have to wait until next year to find out. My guess is that “Thomas” is a fellow mutant like Caitlin, and was the victim of a witch hunt once his powers manifested. Caitlin’s parents saw him get killed and determined to lock Caitlin’s ice powers up inside of her so she wouldn’t share the same fate. Just a guess.

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True Bromance

The Flash, The Flash review, 4x23, season finale, the flash season 4 finale, Grant Gustin, Danielle Panabaker, Killer Frost, Nora Allen, Justice League Legacy, DT2ComicsChat, The Thinker, Devoe, David Taylor III’m sorry, but once again another couple(not romantic, obviously) outshines Barry and Iris with their love. This time it’s Cisco and Harry. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the love manifested like we did tonight. Cisco loves Harry so much it hurts. It’s in his eyes and on his face. Harry’s story was also the most poignant story of the night, and carried the most emotional weight, bar none. More on that later.

Cisco uses the cap and it restores enough of Harry’s mind to help Harry give Barry a clue about where to go next. But they really played hard and fast with the rules of Harry’s mindwipe all episode long. Also, Cisco sure did waste a lot of time emoting while the world was on purple fire, but it was still really moving.

But guess who Barry does find on the site of the Devoe first dance? That would be none other than Captain Dibny de Long himself.

Reunion

The Flash, The Flash review, 4x23, season finale, the flash season 4 finale, Grant Gustin, Danielle Panabaker, Killer Frost, Nora Allen, Justice League Legacy, DT2ComicsChat, The Thinker, Devoe, David Taylor IIThe question now becomes, is Ralph the only consciousness left in there? There’s an explanation coming for why Ralph is indeed alive, but what about the others that Devoe absorbed? Also, if they are indeed in Devoe’s mind, there’s no way Barry would be fast enough to outrun Devoe’s laser blasts. But okay, again, Wile E. Coyote physics and comic book logic. Ralph’s nose twitches and the next location is discerned, BUT…

Devoe in the real world is on his way to Team Flash. Good thing Marlize is there. She force fields him out, and teleports the whole gang away. Even though Barry’s in the chair, and Cecile’s giving birth, there are no side effects from Marlize’s dimension hopping. Okay. Still loved Devoe’s entrance though, he’s really got that ‘I’m a god’ strut thing down pat. His scenes are always the best. FORCE FIELD, SUCKAH! Devoe even reveals that he knew they’d put Barry in his mind which is why he never felt the need to pursue Barry. And now he’s gonna get all of Barry’s speedforce powers…which means no more limitations in terms of time and space for him. He’s so brilliant.

BUT.

It still defeats the premise of the character to have Marlize always one step ahead of him on some level. Because that means that he actually didn’t calculate everything.

A Bullet in the Left Ventricle

So ‘good’ Devoe is dead. But remember, Devoe anticipated that Barry would be there, remember? Then Barry realizes that Ralph is the good left in Devoe. And all Ralph has to do is get out through the Hellmouth(nice Buffy reference).

Wait, what? If Devoe realized that Ralph is the good, why didn’t he just completely kill him like he did the others? How does keeping Ralph alive ensure that Ralph will never retake Devoe’s body? Doesn’t it guarantee the opposite, the possibility that it could happen? Especially since, again, Devoe knew Barry was coming. The smartest thing to do would’ve been to obliterate all traces of Ralph. But was Devoe’s possession of Ralph’s body contingent upon some measure of Ralph’s consciousness remaining there? I just don’t get it.

Agent Devoe Smith

The Flash, The Flash review, 4x23, season finale, the flash season 4 finale, Grant Gustin, Danielle Panabaker, Killer Frost, Nora Allen, Justice League Legacy, DT2ComicsChat, The Thinker, Devoe, David Taylor IISo then Joe goes full Angry Joe on Marlize. It was so refreshing. He rightly blamed her for helping to unleash all this havoc on the world. Unfortunately, it was just a setup for Iris to say “Strength without faith means nothing.” Joe’s words, but still. Do not misunderstand me, I am a man of faith myself. It’s just that the Flash as a character is based on science. Comic book science for sure, but science. So using emotion and faith based speeches and ‘appealing to the good’ feels like a very weird way to resolve the final villain arc of the season.

So Ralph and Barry fight Devoe in the Mind Matrix and they’re no match for him. Barry says he can read their minds. So then they….fill their minds with Iris and shrimp? So now Devoe can be hit? Apparently so. Devoe rips straight from The Matrix Reloaded and begins to multiply himself, and Barry….just runs through them. That made less than no sense. Did thinking about Iris give him that power? Devoe shows up in the real world again, almost makes Joe kill himself(in spite of Super Will Power Joe) and then proceeds to kill Cecile slowly. Because that’s what villains do to give the hero time to get to there.

Also Ralph was like….Form of..a cape! While he was hanging on to Barry during the exit.

Autobots? Transform!

And low and behold….the one bus meta that Devoe did not completely destroy comes back out of his mind and takes over his body and just like that, Devoe is gone.

Excuse me.

Why didn’t Ralph retain all of the other bus meta powers, or were they only in Devoe’s mind? Oh well, anyway, Purple Haze satellites defeated and depowered in a matter of seconds, and all is right with the world again. Ralph’s reformation in truly becoming a hero gave him enough ‘goodness’ to get rid of Super Brain I thought of Everything Devoe, just like that. Aaaaalrighty then.

It’s Not Over

While Caitlin is being fumbly about delivering Lil’ Baby West, holographic Devoe shows up again! Kilg%re powers acti…oh wait Marlize just goes and pulls the power core out of the chair. But wait! Devoe sent a satellite crashing to Earth, preprogrammed to crash if he died. So of course Iris has to act like she’s coordinating the team effort and Barry can’t figure anything out.

The Flash, The Flash review, 4x23, season finale, the flash season 4 finale, Grant Gustin, Danielle Panabaker, Killer Frost, Nora Allen, Justice League Legacy, DT2ComicsChat, The Thinker, Devoe, David Taylor IIWhat happens next is, I believe Barry was about to die. The satellite punch would’ve taken him out. So somehow Nora reverses time and gets herself in there to co-punch with him, and that saves both her father and the Earth. Well then. The episode is living up to its name, because Barry couldn’t have done anything tonight in solo mode to defeat Devoe. It was all about everybody else. I still have to give Barry credit enough for risking his life and trying, but they again have to cheapen his victory by making it dependent on someone else. Also, HIS MASK IS BURNT UP AT THE END, HOW DOES SINGH NOT RECOGNIZE HIM?

BitterHappy Endings

Marlize says that her cure will restore Harry’s mind……but IT DOESN’T. Marlize gets an offer to join Team Flash, but she wants to go back in he field and use her tech to heal the world.

Once again Barry and Joe play judge, jury and executioner, as any cop or lawyer would know, that Marlize would still have to stand trial for all that she did. Turning ‘good’ like Vader against the Emperor to help stop her husband doesn’t erase all of her prior evil deeds. But on this show it does, if Barry decides to let the villains go. Which he does every single time. They went from piplelining them all, to letting them all walk away. Both extremes are wrong, especially coming from sworn police officers, but okay. Barry tells Iris that he was aware that there was another speedster in that satellite encounter with him.

The Flash, The Flash review, 4x23, season finale, the flash season 4 finale, Grant Gustin, Danielle Panabaker, Killer Frost, Nora Allen, Justice League Legacy, DT2ComicsChat, The Thinker, Devoe, David Taylor III was all happy that there weren’t any deaths in this episode…but there was. Harry’s old self died, along with his intelligence. I doubt it’s for good, but it was still really sad. He can remember his emotions and his relationships, but not his knowledge. That was just a really cheap conclusory move to add unneeded melodrama at that point. He leaves to go find Jesse, he comes back for a group hug, and tells Cisco that he loves him. *sigh* Didn’t need all of that, because I’m really tired of sad feels and I doubt this is the last we see of Harry.

Gang’s All Here from the Future

Back at Casa del Westo, everybody’s excited about new baby Jenna Marie West. Even Wally’s there to toast with them, and he’s full of confidence and new self-esteem. That was actually probably the brightest part of the episode.

And guess who shows up?

The Flash, The Flash review, 4x23, season finale, the flash season 4 finale, Grant Gustin, Danielle Panabaker, Killer Frost, Nora Allen, Justice League Legacy, DT2ComicsChat, The Thinker, Devoe, David Taylor IINora Allen. Okay this is convoluted, but there’s a comic arc called Justice League: Legacy where the Earth gets destroyed by a villain named Sovereign. So the future kids of the Justice League come back in time to fix what happens before it happens and in so doing, meet their parents.

The Flash, The Flash review, 4x23, season finale, the flash season 4 finale, Grant Gustin, Danielle Panabaker, Killer Frost, Nora Allen, Justice League Legacy, DT2ComicsChat, The Thinker, Devoe, David Taylor IINora’s code name is Cruise. She’s not one of the Tornado Twins at all, but is Barry and Jessica Cruz’s child in the comic. Here on the show she is indeed Barry & Iris’ child according to her. So we’ll have to see how much of this plays out like the comic, because Barry says in the comic “how am I going to explain this to Iris?” Does he have an affair with Jessica?

Also. Yikes.

 

 

 

 

 

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Conclusions

WELP. I said that Iris would announce that she was pregnant, and they teased it for real. Then Nora shows up to set up her arc for next year, just like I said. It’ll be a Flashpoint arc with Nora at the center this time. At least maybe we’ll get more Caitlin.

I’m can’t say I’m sorry for the season to be over, because I’m really not. So long Flash Season 4, I’ll probably never watch you again.

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7 Comments

  1. The Flash had two amazing seasons. Then it went to hell. I managed to watch maybe 5 episodes of season 3 before giving up and calling it a wipe.

    I look back fondly on season 1 and 2….Team Flash worked great together and had wonderful friendships. Barry made mistakes but was the glue that held the team together and was a real hero. Cisco was the brains and comedy relief of the team, adorable and brilliant…adorkable. Caitlin was also brilliant and caring and kept the boys from getting too carried away with the whole super hero thing. Harry, in his various iterations, played his role in the team and even when he was evil, was still likeable in some ways. Iris was an actual character and not a prop, pursuing a career in journalism, and never entered Star Labs, not that she had any skills at all to offer Star Labs.

    Barry had occasional dates, but romance was a very very minor part of those episodes, let alone an entire season. Barry was the hero of the show and had his faithful team backing him up and everything else was background and never intruded on the action of the show, of what we wanted to see in the show. Romance never took over an episode. There were no useless trips to a therapist. There was no unqualified “leader” calling the shots. Barry was never reduced to a secondary character so an actual secondary character could be made relevant.

    Good times, season 1 and 2.

    • I read that the focus in S5 will be more on ‘family’ but I think that just means ‘Nora’ in this case. So sad.

      • It will continue in the same vein as it is now. The Iris show with a dumbed down Barry who can’t even take a piss without Iris saying okay. Cisco and Caitlin sidelined and any job that Cisco or Caitlin can and/or should be doing, will suddenly see Iris miraculously having the knowledge/ability and doing it herself. Where at least Barry was able to suit up and go wherever Iris pointed, now we will have Nora instead so Barry will be left doing what….fetching coffee and cleaning up the apartment super fast?

        The show went downhill in season 3, in season 4 it utterly failed. The ratings show it and for someone willing to look at the ratings and what was going on the reason is clear. The writers moved too fast on Westallen (season 6 should have been earliest we saw this starting to develop) and then couldn’t be bothered to actually write Iris as a real character so took anything that other characters should have been doing and gave those jobs to Iris.

        Season 5 will be more of the same. I think Wally was lucky to get out when he did and hopefully finds a more permanent home on LoT. Maybe Cisco and Caitlin will be able to migrate to another show where they can once again be real characters who have a purpose other than to prop up another character. Barry unfortunately will be stuck in the failing show.

        Feel sorry for all the actors in this badly written mess. Iris could have been so much more. Seasons 3 and 4 could have had her as a hard hitting investigative journalist, instead they made her into a prop. That had to have been hard to have to portray. Barry too became something barely recognizable and must have been difficult to pull off each week.

  2. ratings are in. They went up a bit, but the finale was still in the lower half of the seasons ratings, came in as 10th lowest rated episode.

  3. Thanks so much for your reviews. For hanging in there. Much appreciated, what you do weekly.
    Underwhelming finale, IMO.
    God-awful season. To think The Flash used to be my favorite CW show I couldn’t wait til it’s Tuesday again… now sadly it’s a chore to watch an episode. S2 wasn’t as good as S1, IMO, but it was okay. But with S3 and S4, yikes, it’s seriously just been downhill and I honestly find that sad.
    I love the original Team Flash, but I’m not sure my love for them will be enough this time to make me watch S5 and torture myself next season. I’m not optimistic the Flash writers will do anything amazing w either of Caitlin’s characters bc as the seasons progress, I get the feeling that they’re afraid Iris’ character will be overshadowed if they write anything for Caitlin. I’m tired of keeping my fingers crossed, hoping, then being let down. I’m tired of seeing Caitlin, Cisco, Harry & Barry be dumbed down/sidelined/nerfed/their arcs dropped/wasted/be used in advertisements yet are hardly in the ep all just to prop THE most uninteresting character in the show so… I wish my fave actors well and hope the best for their careers but, for now at least, I just can’t promise to be back for S5.

    • I understand exactly what you’re saying. It’s supposed to be fun to watch this show, and it used to be…but it’s getting harder and harder to find any fun in it.

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