5 Point Discussions – The Flash 4.9: “Don’t Run”

by Sage Ashford

It’s the mid-season finale of The Flash! When Barry and Caitlin find themselves both kidnapped, can Team Flash find a way to save them both? Or will they have to choose? 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. I’ll admit, when they decided to make Killer Frost Caitlin’s version of the Hulk and be a personality that stays dormant unless she gets angry or frightened, the last thing I expected was for Killer Frost to go full-on decent human being. Though that has unfortunately happened off-screen, she has still become so close with the rest of Team Flash they have their own inside jokes with her. It’s not a complete surprise–even at the end of season three she seemed a lot more human than she was letting on–but it’s welcome nonetheless. It did feel like the show was specifically talking about people like me, though, as the episode centered around the idea of Caitlin feeling like she didn’t matter or wasn’t special because Killer Frost had super-powers and seemed far more useful than her normal self.
And, for what it’s worth…my opinion still hasn’t changed. Merging the two personalities would’ve been a bolder creative choice and shaken the show up in the same way they were hoping Ralph Dibny would.
2. First off, I just want to say that I totally called Iris being ticked about Felicity getting married at her wedding. It’s one of those “it’s not a big deal, but it’s totally a big deal” sort of things–it was supposed to be her (their) day and Felicity stole it–after spending days contemplating whether or not she even wanted to GET married. Ugh.
Secondly, I appreciate that they’re not only sticking to Iris as Team Leader, but they’re not just making her perfect at everything. After Barry winds up kidnapped by The Thinker, and Caitlin gets kidnapped by Amunet, Iris initially tells the team they can look for them both. And admittedly, if they had been at full power, this would’ve been possible–but with both speedsters gone and Vibe’s ability to tell where people were at knocked out, the group found their resources stretched too thin. As a result, Iris is forced to make the hard choice of deciding which person to look for first. It’s her first big test as leader, and it leads to quite a bit of friction between members before she finally gets it in gear–but that’s okay.
When this series started, Iris was just a normal human running a blog, now she’s leading her own super-team just four years later–that’s a huge jump, and it’s fine that she’s not perfect all the time. What I love is that she was given the room to make mistakes, but was willing to trust in her team and her husband and correct it as well. Far too often writers fall into the trap of trying to make diverse characters “strong”, when they should be going for well-written, three-dimensional characters who have their strong moments but screw up too. Glad that The Flash writers not only realized this, but embraced it.

3. Having said that, the entire Amunet Black subplot is another example of how they let Team Flash act like a bunch of scrubs sometimes. It’s understandable that back in “Girls’ Night Out”, they didn’t follow up on Amunet because they were suffering from a severe lack of firepower and just wanted to get away safely. But they didn’t even bother to try and track her down afterwards, which is why Amunet was able to walk right into Jitters and kidnap Caitlin with literally zero assistance required. But even if we let that go, assuming the search went on off-camera, there’s no excusing them letting her get away all over again.
Amunet kidnaps Caitlin in order to help her with a meta that possesses the ability to read minds that she’s assaulted in order to sell him to a buyer interested in this particular meta’s abilities. Now setting aside the fact that Flash thought it was a good idea to talk about selling/buying an African American character…And setting aside that the character supposedly was injured in such a way that it should’ve been impossible to keep him from bleeding out…When Caitlin is eventually saved by Cisco and Ralph, they don’t even try to capture Amunet. Their inaction then leads directly to the character being murdered later by DeVoe, because they can’t decide if they’re real superheroes or the Scooby Doo gang. Ralph might be inexperienced with this, but Cisco spent the time between season 3 and 4 being a key member capturing metas–so why let her go?
4. Cisco and Ralph spend a bit of time butting heads this episode, presumably over who’s going to be the team’s comedic relief. Joking aside, I like moments of conflict like this, because they help flesh out relationships that would otherwise go ignored, like how “Girls’ Night Out” helped to develop Caitlin and Iris’ friendship. Ralph is slowly re-learning what it means to be a decent friend and a good person, and Hartley Sawyer is still doing a fantastic job making Ralph’s otherwise prickly character seem totally affable.

5. Almost everything about the A plot of this episode left me with nothing but questions. While Barry and Iris are out in Central City, they get attacked by The Thinker. Flash manages to save Iris but gets himself captured by weapons in the Thinker’s chair. How are those weapons fast enough to pull that off? He wakes up captured by DeVoe and spends time in DeVoe’s hidden laboratory while trapped in a tiny box that won’t allow him to vibrate through or run long enough to actually break through the forcefields. This takes Flash off the field long enough for Thinker to enact his true plan: buying the meta Amunet (re-)kidnaps and swapping his mind with the mind of that meta, allowing him to maintain his impressive intelligence while also gaining the ability to read minds. Again, why allow Amunet to get away in the first place, and why wouldn’t you keep watch over this meta who’s been kidnapped once already?

Lastly, DeVoe manages to out think Barry in this game of four-dimensional chess they’re playing, by framing him for the murder of his old body. He leaves Barry in the hands of the police, who break down the door just after Barry arrives. He thinks about leaving for a few seconds, but decides to stay because…? I’m sure they’ll come up with a flimsy explanation, but ultimately he just forced his team to work without their most powerful member, while DeVoe gets ever closer to his plan. Oh well. At least DeVoe’s plan didn’t simply involve stealing Barry’s body–that’s been done.
The Flash returns in January 2018 on The CW.

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