‘The Flash’ Running on Emotion
This week’s The Flash was a fallout from the previous week’s episode where everything came apart. The entirety of Team Flash protecting the Metas from Clifford Davoe, The Thinker, hit its apex. With the loss of Ralph Dibny (Elongated Man), and failing to protect another meta who can create pocket dimensions in the same way Davoe’s chair does, it all came crashing down around Barry Allen.
Barry Turns off His Emotions
At the beginning of the episode, it seems as though Barry is just ignoring what happened the previous week. He seems to be clearly burying his feelings about this situation, while Iris talks about how close she was to Ralph. The focus for Barry lies in just stopping the villain now. Pretty sure he would’ve considered killing him at this point.
A professional gives Barry the advice that he can’t just turn off his emotions. I feel as though he was considering it like some kind of light switch he could just turn on and off. He isn’t dealing with his grief anymore and is focused on revenge. After losing his mother and father to villains, as well as Ronnie, Snart, Professor Stein, and Laurel, what was another friend really?
He was leaving himself in the dark while those who were dealing with their grief were able to see everything around them. He was blind to the situation at hand. Barry seemed to think he could bury his grief until Davoe is beaten.
The Flash Comes Up With a New Plan
With the loss of Killer Frost, Harry losing his intellect, Cisco wanting his own thinking cap, and Barry just wanting to think, plan, and hurt his enemy, it’s a giant argument on what to do with the last Meta. Fallout needs to go somewhere safe yet not a plan seen miles away.
Barry tells the team to get ready and speeds off to a scene being played out on Earth-X. Now if you don’t remember, this is Nazi Earth. It’s a place where during the 4 part crossover, every hero of the Arrowverse had to fight a Nazi-run world.
They pop back to their Earth with an ally in Citizen Cold and immediately begin planning. Leo Snart is told about the situation, with backstory on all the loss. However, they probably should’ve made sure the breach closed. That was a lapse in judgment because Barry is so focused on “stopping Davoe” – or it seems to just hurt him now.
Now is where Barry’s real struggle begins.
Citizen Cold Tries to Cool off the Situation
Leo talking to Barry about how he isn’t handling his grief and how it will cause his judgment to be off during the mission is a good setup. Moving this dangerous meta to another facility meant everything had to go precisely as planned. His head had to be in the game, secondary to what’s really going on.
As soon as Davoe assumed the voice of Ralph and called Barry a rookie, that was the beginning of the end. In not dealing with his grief, The Flash freezes up with emotional anguish of his loss. If he had just dealt with it, they wouldn’t be in this situation.
Flash and crew are bested by Siren-X because Barry can’t get his head on straight. This leaves the group down by two and vulnerable because Barry isn’t accepting; he is only hating and wanting revenge. It’s not even about saving Fallout, so much as hurting Davoe.
The Flash Relives It All
Leonard pointing out how everything went wrong, that loss is necessary, and that he lost 3000+ soldiers is delivered amazingly by Wentworth Miller. Iris attempting to break down this wall Barry had created is natural. It seems tough love from a man with Snart’s face, one of the people who taught him, is the push he needs.
It takes some time but making Barry relive every terrible situation leading up to that moment when he lost his protégé was a huge step in the right direction. Leo has this means of breaking down every wall put up by the team when they can’t face their own demons.
It finally comes time for the showdown with Siren-X. Though the team is successful in a rather anti-climactic battle, they put her down rather quickly when Barry finally accepts what is happening – and what has happened.
The Beginning of the End
In a moment that is so heavily emotional, Barry finally accepts that he failed to save Ralph even after making a promise to protect him. The heartfelt situation where Ralph tells him he already saved him speaks volumes of a character who was really a horrible person when introduced.
We’ve come to find out that Davoe can’t handle every situation. He can’t predict or understand how people feel any longer. Because of his intelligence, he has forgotten basic human emotion. Davoe only sees variables and not people now.
Cisco and Harry Hash It Out
So, now to the elephant in the room: Harry using the thinking cap to obtain more intelligence and the deep side story. Harry is losing his intellect because of the thinking cap. He thinks his intellect is his only contribution.
Cisco points out his best quality isn’t his mind, reminding him that he raised a wonderful daughter, who’s become a major hero. He is the father of Jessie Quick and without him, she wouldn’t have those values that make her a hero. He passed on his most important characteristics, his heart, and guidance.
This parallel was the most important part of the story for me. Barry will always save the day even after the loss. Team Flash will always bounce back in the end. A line was blurred, and Harry could’ve become Davoe and forgotten human emotion.
Davoe doesn’t see people, only variables and pieces on the board like it’s all a giant game. Harry only saw this while wearing the thinking cap. He immediately came to the conclusion he’d have to leave because of losing his intellect. The fact that he raised his daughter to do right by the world meant his intelligence was second to that.
This story shows that Harry and Davoe are worlds apart, and not just because of intellect. Harry understands and cares about people. He sees them as allies and friends, while The Thinker only thinks about people and doesn’t feel them.
The very nature of this episode was deep. This was the basis of human emotion, and how their new threat has none. Barry attempted to shut his emotions off, just thinking and planning. This created a huge weakness.
Can Team Flash prevail, save Harry’s intellect, and recover Ralph’s body intact? Let’s hear your theories in the comments.