Barry finally confronts the mysterious Clifford DeVoe! But as Team Flash decides not to regard him as a threat, Barry digs deeper and discovers all is not as it seems. Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.
1. In just a third of the season, The Thinker has already proven himself a more compelling villain than any of the ones Barry’s faced thus far. Reverse-Flash was a guy complaining about a timeline we never saw (and won’t ever see), Zoom was a very boring nutjob, and Savitar was just a mess of plotholes cobbled together inside some Speed Force armor. But with this single episode, they’ve turned Clifford DeVoe into a real person–a man with a love of learning and teaching, in a loving relationship with a woman that cares for him deeply, and a person that faced a tragic accident. If he weren’t risking everyone’s lives for some shadowy goal that I’m sure will eventually prove eeeevil, he’d be a likable (and even redeemable) character. Unsurprisingly, picking a villain that WASN’T yet another Speedster was the best thing they could’ve done for freshening this series up again.
2. During one of Clifford DeVoe’s lectures, he utters a form of the Italian novelist’s classic phrase: “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.” It’s a great way to explain Barry’s zeal this episode concerning DeVoe. After being at this job for years, he’s experienced enough to notice when something doesn’t feel right, and as a result he’s able to see through DeVoe’s helplessness even when the rest of his friends and family are convinced there’s nothing wrong. It’s good development on his part, and if anything it’s frustrating that the rest of Team Flash couldn’t see it as well. After being betrayed not once but twice (technically three times if we’re counting when Savitar!Barry pretended he wasn’t evil), you’d think they could have all realized that people aren’t always what they seem.
3. How many times can you believably say “in just one week, we’re getting married”? Over the course of this episode, I heard Barry and Iris bring it up at least three times in an episode that only spanned about two days’ time, and I can’t decide if its just bad writing that got made it the drafting process or if they’re doing it on purpose to remind you of the marriage episode next week that just happens to be part three of their MASSIVE four-part crossover that I’m guessing they hope will be a nice surge to their ratings.
4. There were a lot of flashbacks this episode to explain just how DeVoe’s powers came about, with tons of really cool little nods to pre-meta Central City. Seeking a way to increase his intelligence for his plan, DeVoe decides to take advantage of the activation of Wells’ particle accelerator. His wife, an engineering genius, invents a literal “thinking cap” for him that will enhance his intelligence exponentially…but without an immense power source it’s just a pile of junk.
Both Clifford and his wife Marlize attend Harrison Wells’ press conference before the accelerator is activated, and there’s a pretty neat conversation that occurs between them and Wells where you’re reminded that during that period in time DeVoe was actually talking to Eobard Thawne. Since seemingly all the different time-traveling villains seem to be aware of all of Flash’s rogues, there’s a good chance that Thawne knew exactly what DeVoe was trying to achieve and how it all turned out, adding an extra layer to their discussion. This all just makes me wish we could get a look at their original timeline, but four seasons in I’m sure that’s a lost cause.
In any case, DeVoe tries to absorb the energy with his cap except he gets hit by not one but TWO lightning bolts back to back, which overload the cap and grant him the higher-order level of intelligence he’s been seeking since the beginning. Strangely, despite possessing as much knowledge as he does he’s still overcome with the ability to make puns about his origins, though. Seriously, when asked how an experiment went after getting struck by lightning bolt(s), who responds: “It was…enlightening.” Is Flash trying to confirm puns as the highest level of humor?
5. Ending the episode off, Wally returns! It feels like he hasn’t been gone for very long at all but it’s technically been a whole month, and during that time apparently Kid Flash managed to stave off Starro the Conqueror? Off-screen competence strikes again!
Still, I’m all for how this season feels like it’s absolutely jam-packed with things that require the plot to consistently move forward every episode. Not only does Wally return, but Barry actually gets to face down The Thinker, as DeVoe decides to reveal himself far earlier than anyone would have guessed after he spent nearly the entire episode pretending to be helpless. Even after spending most of the episode going to the police to keep Barry away from him! It was weird, but with his level of intelligence one supposes hubris is inescapable. But now that we’ve revealed that tidbit of information, at least they don’t have to waste another season trying to figure out who the hell they’re fighting to begin with.
The Flash airs on The CW on Tuesday nights.