Superhero shows — and The CW Arrowverse shows in particular — have a rather strange format. It’s sort of a hybrid between seeing a monster of the week and long form, season-length storytelling. Because of this, seasons tend to have these weird filler episodes that feel slow and meandering, but contain a lot of important information that moves the plot along. It just moves that plot slowly, especially if the season is twenty plus episodes long. That is where The Flash finds itself now.
This week’s episode essentially focused on two developing plot threads. One has to do with this season’s villain as the Flash (Grant Gustin) and his team start to uncover a strange black fire that feeds off of grief and despair. It’s not quite clear who the villain is yet, but more details have emerged and a bigger picture is starting to take shape. The other plot concerns whatever is going on with Iris (Candice Patton) as she is suffering from some time related anomaly.
Although a lot of details are still left in the dark, enough information was gathered from each of these two storylines to push the season forward. While that was taking place, the episode itself focused on two different monster of the week type plots. One focusing on Chester (Brandon McKnight) and his dead father while the other saw Sue (Natalie Dreyfuss) searching out a new meta-human. They were okay stories, but neither was particularly engaging enough to hold the episode on their own. They merely served as vehicles to inch closer to the season’s main overarching plots. After a couple of fresh episodes, The Flash can get a pass for slowing down a bit, but if they are to turn this season into something special, then they need to start ramping things up sooner rather than later.
The Flash airs Wednesdays on The CW.