ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 11.21.17
We get the backstory of the Thinker. Unfortunately the villain comes off as more sympathetic than the Flash, and it just makes us miss the original glory days of this show even more.
Meet Clifford Devoe
The Flash presents Devoe as a bit of a lovable loser. A professor that can’t hold the interest of his students. He’s frustrated by their short attention spans and their preferred methods of learning (YouTube). And so he wants to become a better teacher. A better thinker. A better mind.
As you’ll see throughout this episode, they have a hard time making him someone you would hate. When we first meet Thawne as Wells, we discover very quickly that he’s a liar, a manipulator, a user, and a murderer. In meeting Devoe, we see a man that’s frustrated by his limits and wants to shatter them. And so he does. He has a concept for a Thinking Cap that will increase his capacity to retain and deliver knowledge.
He also has a super intelligent, super supportive, and unbelievably hot professor wife. I’m still trying to figure out how this guy thinks life gave him the short end of the stick just because some college kids would rather watch cat videos.😐
You’re not a suspect (of COURSE you are)
So Barry and Joe are questioning the Devoes. We get to hear everything about their prior life, and how they got to Central City. There’s a moment there where Devoe says he’s the luckiest man alive because of his gorgeous wife’s three cheese macaroni. The look on Barry’s face there is priceless. It says “Waitaminnit…Iris doesn’t cook for me.” HAH. Laughage.
Also we see something, and maybe it’s just the way Grant chose to play it, but Barry is literally giving this guy the evil eye from minute one. Barry has clearly already made up his mind that he’s found his foe. And therein lies the weakness of the episode. From this point forward, Barry will be trying to prove a hypotheses for which he has no evidence, and will look crazy, unprofessional, and sloppy in doing it. That’s not the Barry Allen that I know. Nor one I’d be inspired by.
And speaking Japanese and loving the Samurai doesn’t make a person a villain.
Those bases need covering
So Barry takes his ideas to Team Flash. And I must say here, I still can’t stand Iris as Team Coordinator. This job, and those skills, appeared out of nowhere. She doesn’t have the training in any of the things she’s speaking about. And they all humor her, as if they wouldn’t have done all the things they did to investigate Devoe without her telling them to. That, boys and girls, is the definition of a shoehorned character. The standard is the same for any show you might watch:
If you take them out of the scene, would the scene play just fine without them?
And that answer is still yes. The work that Cisco, Harry, Joe and Caitlin did, they would’ve done anyway.
And they just flat out refuse to make this character the actual Iris West. So whatever.
I’m starting to get physically ill every time I see Barry and Iris together onscreen. I don’t think the main couple of a show is supposed to affect you that way.
Now comes the best part of the episode. And no, it’s not Devoe’s wife making the Thinking Cap a reality. It’s seeing Season 1 Harrison Wells again. We know that he’s Thawne, but no one else does yet. Tom Cavanagh is so good as an actor, until every time he’s onscreen he projects that quiet, controlled yet seethingly intense menace that made Thawne/Wells the best villain this show has ever produced.
The Devoes realize they need an expanded power source, and Wells just happens to be unveiling one.
Barry is back in Devoe’s face, this time in his classroom. Very stalkery if you ask me. Not really a law enforcement professional’s way. Again, remember that Barry has already drawn his conclusion, he’s working backwards from that. Barry steals Devoe’s cup at super speed which felt super shady, honestly.
Clifford Devoe is not a Meta
To underscore my earlier point, I’d like you to notice that in this scene, each member of Team Flash shows their respective strengths. Caitlin, Harry, Cisco. Joe in absentia. What does Iris do? Stand there and ask questions. What does Barry do? He just comes off as paranoid and unreasonable. And then we need the outside talk. Where Barry’s spidey sense is tingling.
Iris instantly makes it about her and the wedding. Nope. But it’s here that we see that Barry is afraid. He’s going off the words that Savitar and Kadabra dropped on him about Devoe. And that’s what makes him Crazy Barry for the entire episode.
Are you ready for the press conference?
That’s what flashback Caitlin asks flashback Thawne/Wells. And immediately we realize that we would’ve rather seen even more of that than anything else. And Caitlin looked so happy. Little did she know that everything in her life was about to go to crap.
Younger Barry and younger Iris are in the audience. He goes off chasing the thief we met in the pilot. And reminds us of Iris’ never-heard-of-again dissertation. And we know that the end of that scene is Eddie. Iris’ true love. She’s never, EVER loved Barry the way she loved Eddie. The end.
And again here, Cavanagh is brilliant. He gives a wink to the Devoes and to us as the audience. Basically it’s a “I know who you are” wink. Masterful.
What happens next was kind of ridiculous. I was glad that Marlize called him on the foolishness of it, but still. His plan was just to stand there with his Thinking Cap on and let the dark matter wash over him as the particle accelerator exploded.🙄 That also landed him not one, but two lightning strikes. That plan was so stupid on so many levels it kind of knocked me out of the episode. But, the Thinker was born, so I guess we have to go with it. Hot wife does 5 seconds of half CPR and boom. Yeah okay.
But then back in present day…Devoe is filing a formal complaint against Care Bear and I honestly can’t blame him. Barry is still giving this guy the evil eye, but the episode still hasn’t convinced us of why he’s evil.
Blah blah blah the stretched scene thing with Iris and Dibny by Microsoft.
And she can’t resist telling him to “never interrupt a bride while in wedding plan mode.” This is why this character is so unlikable. She can’t resist putting people in check even over the smallest of things. Was her day really adversely affected by a 60 second conversation with The Elongated Goof? Go away.
The most telling thing about the next scene? The fact that Barry is once again hiding what he’s doing from Iris. How is that not a clue, one week before you get married? You can’t tell your fiancé, your betrothed, your (supposed) lifelong best friend, the (supposed) love of your life (aaaaaand your sister!) the truth unless she busts you in it.
This is the scene where Barry accurately deduces what’s going on with the Devoes, yet he comes off as unbelievably paranoid and frantic. Ugh. You’re not supposed to make Barry Allen that unlikable or unreasonable. He is literally one of the most intelligent, reasonable, faith-filled, and pragmatic heroes in the DCU.
Then he finds the camera in the Samuroid head, and does the opposite of what a cop would do. Especially a forensic cop. He doesn’t gather any evidence about it at all. He doesn’t link it to the Devoes in any way. He just goes with his gut. Then he breaks and enters into their home. Also a stupid move for a cop, especially a cop who’s the Flash. It doesn’t seem to occur to him that someone who he suspects of planting a camera at I.R.I.S. Labs would have cameras set up in their home.
He also should not be using his speed out of costume. If he was going to break and enter as he did, he should’ve worn a black/stealth mode type costume like the one Batman gave Wally in Young Justice. If the Flash gets busted for B & E, that’s no heat on Barry. He is also once again the Clumsiest Man Alive.
A Beautiful Mind, but oh so parasitic
In the past the Devoes begin to see the price they have to pay for Clifford’s intelligence boost. But once again…the show makes him more sympathetic than anything else. He in fact states that other metas get their power and go evil, but he’s trying to expand the capabilities of the human mind and gets punished for it.
Why is this guy evil? Who is he mad at? Himself? Did I mention he has a supportive, intelligent, hot wife?
Barry’s back on max paranoia. He admits his B & E. He can’t even see how wrong he is, and it’s just awful. This guy is unlikable and literally never learns. From the beginning, Barry’s problems have always stemmed from him making impulsive decisions without thinking them through. This time, every single member of Team Flash calls him on it, and he still doesn’t get it.
Don’t get me wrong, they are all guilty of crimes as well. Not the least of which are ignoring due process, searches without a warrant, hazardous work conditions, and harboring a known fugitive. But we still don’t hate them for it. Barry however is so annoying we have to ask again, how is he the main hero?
Then the Devoes are at the station again, with EVIDENCE of Barry’s crime and Barry gets suspended. After she just slaps him, isn’t that assault? Yeah um, room full of cops, but whatever.
Trendy Music Scene
More Iris and Barry talking. And she’s trying to bring him to his senses. And he’s still running off his feelings. She actually gives some good, grounded advice here tho. Then it goes to crap. She of course has to be painted as the strong one, because Barry asks “how are you not scared?” And they have Iris double down on the stupidest line in the show’s history: “because we’re the Flash.” That’s basically a ‘screw you’ to the audience if we didn’t like or agree with that line. Okay then.
I honestly cannot wait to stop watching this show.
Devoe’s body is deteriorating and his wife, once again, dutifully stands by his side. Then she comes up with the Metron chair idea to help him stay alive longer. Again, they do not come off as evil. Just a deeply loving couple struggling to deal with the fallout of their choices.
Barry, however, wins Jerk of the Year status by directly confronting Devoe. In violation of a restraining order. *sigh* Every time Barry’s in a situation, he always does the exact opposite of what he should do. And then something even more ridiculous happens: Devoe just admits everything.
I was kind of done with the episode when that happened. Know why? Because they have failed to establish why Devoe is evil, and why he specifically wants to fight Barry. His motivation is just to prove that he’s smarter than Barry? And he knows everything about what Team Flash is doing. And then he stupidly reveals the nature of his powers to Barry. Because he thinks he has nothing to fear. Classic villain mistake. They never seem to learn either.
Barry had a reason to hate and hunt Thawne. He killed his mom if nothing else. These two are squaring off because…?
He knows I’m the Flash
So they now know that Devoe is super-intelligent. They dub him the Thinker. And they have to stop him.
Stop him from doing what?
Wally’s back. He mentions Starro. Too bad we’ll never see that adventure. We do see the Thinker power up his Metron chair, and they confirm that he’s still dying. Next up? Flash nuptials and the 2017 #Arrowverse crossover.
This episode was a complete tonal departure from everything we’ve seen this season. So far it’s been jokes, slapstick, goofballage, snark, quip, and more jokes. This was suddenly more intense. But was Barry even in the costume once this episode? And Devoe came off as more sympathetic than Barry.
We now know how Devoe became the Thinker. We still however don’t know what he wants with Team Flash. We also got a reminder glimpse of why Cavanagh’s Thawne/Wells remains, to this day, the best villain the show has ever seen.
Also. I don’t root for the main couple. I can’t stand when the leading lady is on the screen. She in no way qualifies to be team leader. I’m not inspired by the main hero. Flash’s team is more interesting than he is. And Caitlin Frost steals the show every single time she shows up.
Why exactly am I still watching this show?
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