5 Point Discussions – The Flash S4.16: “Run, Iris, Run”

by Sage Ashford

Her name is Iris West-Allen.  And she’s the Fastest Woman Alive.  And yes, you better believe you’re still watching the right show. 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. Once again, Ralph’s cowardice is the driving point of the show. With the group stacking up so many defeats, it’s only natural Ralph has started to become terrified of DeVoe, who’s hunted down the vast majority of the remaining bus metahumans. He’s taken to locking himself into S.T.A.R. Labs, which is weird because so far as we know nothing’s stopping DeVoe from just warping in there and taking him. But he’s also become something of a surly jerk, walking around judging everyone by what they do or don’t do. It’s understandable, but he was wearing on my patience by the end, even if Hartley Sawyer is still pretty hilarious in the role.

He confronts Iris for trying to encourage him, and points out she doesn’t know what it’s like to risk her life in the field. Now Iris could’ve just explained she spent an entire year before he got there running from Savitar, but that’s not enough drama? Instead, their conversation at the beginning of the show eventually pushes Iris into the field and results in quite the unexpected development later on.

By the end though, Ralph’s able to apologize and they’re able to form something of a bond together over both of them having had season villains try to kill them. One thing I’m liking about Ralph being inserted as a series regular is seeing the show take the time to develop a relationship between him and every member of the team, so it feels normal to have him there.

2. With the team under pressure to succeed, certain relationships that are already usually tenuous at best become more strained. The biggest one in this is Harry and Cisco. As the two try to figure out both where the remaining bus metahumans are and where to put them, they wind up in an argument this episode about Harry’s latest idea to stop DeVoe.

This is exactly what the show was missing; although it wasn’t the A-plot, this week’s episode sees Harry use some clever detective skills to discover how DeVoe obtained his vast cognitive abilities.  …And he decides to replicate that. This seems like a recipe for disaster at first, given DeVoe was fairly normal until he let this happen and suddenly he became a supervillain. But thanks to Cisco, Harry’s talked out of trying to use dark matter to develop his own thinking cap and instead relies on what he and Cisco can create. Through technology alone, he increases his brain capacity several times over, and while it’s not enough to match the Thinker, it does feel like they’re finally near evening the odds.

3. The big trouble this week comes from the introduction of not one, but two new metahumans.   Well, technically three. The first is Erik Fry, a guy with incredible flame powers that’s taken to bank robberies. In a universe where the Flash is constantly dealing with speedsters and now a villainous super genius, this guy’s powers and motives were refreshingly quaint. He runs into one Matthew Kim (played by Leonardo Nam), a bus metahuman with the power to swap one meta’s powers to another.  He confronts Erik while he’s trying to rob the bank, and shuts down his powers once and for all…or so he thinks.

First off, this answers the question of whether or not Flash managed to catch everyone affected by the initial dark matter explosion. We’ve been so caught up in dealing with metahumans from DeVoe’s bus incident, we haven’t brought up other metas all season. Secondly, it turns out his power isn’t negating abilities…but giving them to other people. He gives Fry’s powers to Jaco Birch, played by former Glee regular Max Adler. Jaco Birch…also wants to rob people for money, but he’s much more stupid about it. More on that later. But Max absolutely hams it up with his time as a supervillain, making it hilarious for the brief time he’s actually a threat.

My biggest problem with this episode is it now introduces a way for DeVoe to shut this entire show down. If he gets Matthew (or as Cisco dubbed him, Melting Point)’s powers? He can take and give powers to whomever he wants, and without a great excuse, that should be game over for Team Flash. I’m fine with the character, but I really don’t want anymore lucky breaks saving the team. Hopefully this is just a way of transferring the powers back into other people…but I’m thinking we get something else here. Regardless, I see Kim playing a big role in either the story’s finish, or its false finish if Team Flash comes up with another way to shut down DeVoe.

4. Melting Point’s abilities result in Barry’s powers being swapped over to Iris for the duration of the episode. It’s pretty cool seeing her adapt, even if the comic geek in me was screaming that no one should be capable of cutting off Barry’s connection to the Speed Force like that. It’s great they gave her a chance to see what it was like being the Flash, and just as she wanted to get back out in the field and be as useful as the rest of the team.

Barry handles being powerless surprisingly well, even if he’s understandably bummed because DeVoe has now taken not only his job but now is indirectly responsible for losing his powers.  I would say DeVoe’s taken more than anyone else, but Thawne killed his mom and Zoom his dad, so that isn’t true. He’s far and away more impressive than Savitar though; the only thing that guy ever did to Flash was hand out a beat down; everyone’s done that.

At any point, with super speed, Iris gets to save the day for once. She pulls a bunch of trapped people from a burning building, then later shuts down Jaco Birch when he starts demanding people give him money before he sets fire to Central City. She’s new to things, but her powers developed much faster than Barry’s, taking her from below Mach 1 to above Mach 2 in just a day.   …Plus, the villain of the week this time was a moron, so she had that in her favor, too.

5. The episode ends with Cisco and Harry pushing the thinking cap to its limits, but they get what they need: the names of the last two bus metahumans. It’s unlikely they figured it out before DeVoe did, but even if they did I’m betting catching them won’t be easy.

The series is going on a brief hiatus again, waiting until April 10th to start the last seven episodes of its run. We’ll be back then with Episode 17: “Null and Annoyed”.

The Flash airs on The CW, on Tuesday nights.

Sage Ashford

A writer with way too many hobbies, Sage can often be found catching up on the latest anime, or reading a stack of comics between Wednesdays and Thursdays.

%d bloggers like this: