The Thinker’s plan to frame Barry Allen is working, as Barry stands trial for murder. Meanwhile, the rest of Team Flash work together to take down a meta that could cause a nuclear disaster! 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. This episode kicks off with confirmation of a theory I had back during the debut episode of The Flash. When he came back, he was speaking absolute gibberish that didn’t seem to make sense, but I thought it was just that being in the Speed Force had briefly “detached” him from time. If that’s the case, then Barry could have been experiencing events that were happening both in the past as well as the future and responding to them. So far he’s tipped us off to the new baby Joe and Cecile are having, and now we know he’s been framed for murder.
I suspect there’s a strong chance that however Barry and the gang stop DeVoe and Marlize’s plan, it’ll involve this bit of information that no one could have possibly accounted for. Already they’ve managed to upset his plans slightly by discovering him sooner than they expected due to time travel, so it isn’t difficult to believe it could happen again.
2. Forgive me if someone else noticed this already, but “Trial of the Flash” had some incredibly creepy Get Out vibes. It’s possible people spotted this at the mid-season finale, but it looks so much worse with this episode. DeVoe was an older white man trying to escape death and so he stole the body of a young and healthy black man. The parallels are so similar that it’s hard to think they weren’t at least partially inspired by a film that was so incredibly popular.
Fortunately, at least Marlize was somewhat creeped out by the sudden change. Generally when something this comic book-y happens, characters can adapt to what’s intended to be the new normal pretty quickly, but Kim Engelbrecht did a solid job playing someone who was trying to acclimate to the fact that her husband was inhabiting the body of someone completely different.
3. The central conflict of this week’s episode was the famed “Trial of Barry Allen”, a spin on the legendary Trial of the Flash story from the early 80’s. And honestly? It was pretty terrible. All of it relies on a ton of excuses from Barry in order to railroad him into going to jail. Barry doesn’t just move the body or at least super-speed out of the building so he’s not there when the cops arrive. He refuses to take the stand because he would have to “lie”, and even refuses to reveal his identity as The Flash in an attempt to prove his innocence.
He makes zero attempts to defend himself, which feels more like the actions of a man with a guilty conscience rather than someone who hasn’t actually committed a crime. At least during the Trial of the Flash, contrition makes sense because he had actually killed the Reverse-Flash. Here it’s happening out of some misplaced sense of duty and honesty that just makes him look silly, and the whole plotline feels like they needed him to be at Point C to get to Point D, but didn’t really pay enough attention to the road between B and C.
Having said that, it was pretty cool to see Barry show off a MAJOR speed increase. Iris tries to tell the court that Barry’s The Flash, and although I’m not sure how that would’ve solved anything (though at least it would’ve been doing SOMETHING), Barry actually displays the power to speed her perception of time up so they could have an entire conversation in super-speed before sitting back down. Getting rid of the speed villains seems to have been the best thing for his powers because he keeps one-upping himself this season and resembling the power levels of his comic book self.
Still, the one thing I have to single out as truly horrible is the whole “Henry Allen Was Here” part pictured above. Writers (and individuals, really) tend to love symbolism, and that’s understandable. But this just kind of pushed things over the line from sentimental into corny, and I’m usually a guy with a massive tolerance level for displays like this. It’s just…what are the odds that the cell his father hadn’t been in for years would be uninhabited long enough for him to wind up there?
4. This week, Hartley Sawyer proved that it’s not really how much time you get per episode, but how you use it. He and Joe served as something of a C plot, as the two of them attempted to discover something to prove that Marlize and DeVoe had tricked the Central City justice system. Eventually, as a loyal father trying to keep his boy out of jail, Joe finally snaps and decides to plant some evidence in Marlize’s home in an attempt to frame her so Barry could avoid jail time. (Somehow everyone’s trying to keep Barry out of jail this week besides Barry.)
But since Ralph tags along, he’s able to give Joe some advice on the road he’s trying to travel, having once planted evidence on a guilty person himself, only for things to turn out quite poorly. It’s a sobering speech that offers an astounding amount of insight into the type of person Ralph is–he knows exactly what’s wrong with his life and exactly how other people view him, and it looks like by all appearances he’s become his own harshest critic. It’s moments like this that make Ralph feel worthy of redemption, and make the viewer want to see him shine just as brightly as Barry has.
5. The B plot for this week’s episode involves a meta named Fallout, a character with the power of nuclear radiation. I don’t have much to say about this character, because he never should have been a part of this week’s episode in the first place. There’s next to zero development given to his character, he’s just some goober that drives a nuclear waste truck who doesn’t even realize what he’s doing until he notices he’s knocking out whole roads full of people due to the intense nuclear radiation his body’s emitting.
Eventually Barry manages to stop him by leaving the court during the pronouncement of the verdict, making him look even more guilty than he is, but I mean…it feels like it only happened so they could intentionally juxtapose the Flash’s heroism to Barry’s jail sentencing. It’s a logical decision, but the kind that’s so obviously orchestrated that it rings false instead of hitting hard like it should.
The Flash airs on the CW on Tuesdays.