“Wheel of morality, turn, turn, turn. Tell us the lesson that we must learn.”
This week’s episode of The Flash let Cisco take center stage as he investigated the murder of his ex-girlfriend. Some shows use a theme as a subtle underpinning to the plot, expertly woven between storylines. Other shows are as subtle as a sledgehammer to the side of the head. If you missed this week’s message, sing along with me and you’ll catch on soon enough.
Well, I guess it would be nice if I could touch your body…
Barry and Iris were surprisingly light on screen time this week, deciding to spend a few of their last days together on a beach in Tahiti. I guess if you know you’re likely going to die soon, you want to make the most of the time you have left. (And with as good as Iris looked this episode with her natural hair, who could blame Barry for wanting a little alone time?)
While I was thrilled to see the show finally give Cisco an episode to shine on his own, I found the timing a little strange. It isn’t unusual for a show to give the lead actor (or actors) some time off, particularly leading into a big event like Crisis. However, this episode is still far enough removed from this year’s crossover that I wonder if that was really the cause for the reduced screen time.
Whatever the cause, as Barry and Iris headed off for sun, sand, and Mai Tais, Barry leaves Cisco in charge. While Cisco professes he’s up to the challenge, he also shows that he has a little help – an AI Barry, B.A.R.I., pre-programmed with every decision Barry has made as leader. When in doubt, Cisco is ready to ask, “What would Barry do?” (Conveniently forgetting that all too often, what Barry has done has been to ask the team what he should do. But we’ll ignore that for now.)
I know not everybody has got a body like you…
Unless your name is any iteration of Harrison Wells. In which case, yeah…a lot of people have your body. And almost all of those people have been arrogant jerks. There are still more questions than answers about the newest Nash Wells, and Joe isn’t willing to take in on faith that this Wells is one of the good ones. When they get trapped together underground (thanks to Wells), Joe talks about having faith in other people. Previously in the season, the team tried to extend faith in Ramsey, only to have it end badly. Only time will tell if the faith they will inevitably put in Wells will pay off.
Still, as Nash claims to have a plan to save Barry Allen, is there any doubt they’ll give him the benefit of the doubt?
But I gotta think twice before I give my heart away…
The central plot of the episode revolved around Cisco (and Kamilla). Cisco is having episodes of sleepwalking and is ready to shrug them off when Breacher comes from another Earth and tells him that Jessica’s been murdered. I understand that the actress is likely busy on other projects and thus unavailable for the episode. Cisco and Kamilla are sweet, but the chemistry between Cynthia and Cisco was on fire. Cisco and Kamilla spend the entire episode dancing around their feelings, before they finally grow brave enough to confess their love for each other. All this while Cisco finds out that Cynthia was killed by another, evil version of him named Echo.
I enjoyed seeing Cisco step into the forefront for an episode, and it was yet another reminder what a good actor Carlos is when given a chance to shine. However a couple of the beats didn’t really work for me. I like Danny Trejo as Breacher, and his interactions with Cisco are always fun. But it was a little hard for me to buy that he sees Cisco as a son, given that he spent an entire episode trying to kill him. (People in this show sometimes show their love in the strangest ways, I suppose.)
But my bigger problem was the underlying love story between Cisco and Kamilla. They’re cute, but…come on. We’ve seen them together, what? Four times? Five? We simply haven’t gotten enough of this couple for me to really buy that they’re so in love with each other. Let alone that Kamilla knows him so well to have faith in him when he can’t have faith in himself.
I’m glad Cisco is happy, and I’m really happy that he’s happy in love. He had a rough year last year, mourning Cynthia. But I just couldn’t connect to the love story they were supposedly telling enough to root for these two lovebirds to get together by the end. (I certainly didn’t understand why he was so ready to confess his feelings at the site of his ex-girlfriend’s murder.) They did, and that’s fine. They’re sweet. But if they had decided they weren’t ready to take that next step, I would have found that somewhat more believable.
It was more disappointing that his episodes of sleepwalking weren’t due to latent powers. From Barry’s flash of Crisis, it appears Vibe will get his powers back before the crossover. Somehow. Otherwise, it’s unclear why he’d wear his Vibe costume. I thought this episode was leading to that, but apparently not.
And I know all the games you play, because I played them too.
Finally, we get a sort-of villain face-off this episode, between Ramsey and Frost. Only not really, because while Frost is determined to track him down (using her good old human trafficking buddies to do so – and I thought she didn’t have friends), she doesn’t actually confront him. Caitlin does that instead. It didn’t even register with me that it was Caitlin and not Killer Frost at first, since they’ve been writing the latter increasingly like the former this season, but I guess I should have caught on sooner. They needed to put a damsel in distress, and that usually is when they call on Caitlin.
Ramsey’s apparently racked up quite a few murders under his belt since we last saw him, and he doesn’t seem ready to quit any time soon. In fact, he extends an offer for Caitlin to join him, promising her that she will never lose the people she loves again. People like her father and Ronnie, who she lost too soon. It’s nice when the show remembers its own continuity like that. Of course, Caitlin doesn’t agree, but it was a strange choice to have for a scene, nonetheless. Since the second episode of the season, I’ve been waiting for Caitlin to have a chance to express her feelings about Crisis. Or even to have it confirmed that she does, in fact, know it’s coming. I’ve been curious to know how she’s dealing with the knowledge of what is to come.
Since she was finally on the screen again as herself and not as Frost, I thought we might get a moment. A line. Anything. But we didn’t. She came into the episode just long enough to be choked by Ramsey. (Has anyone been choked as many times as she has been on the show? And, once again, Frost didn’t intervene to try to save her.) When a character needed medical treatment at the end of the episode, I thought we might get another Caitlin scene. But, no, it was once again Frost. Making it even more glaring how much the show is treating Caitlin as irrelevant this year. She can appear when they need a character to be choked by the villain, I guess, but not for pretty much anything else. Okay.
Because I gotta have faith, faith, faith…I got to have faith, faith, faith…
Yes, this week’s theme was about finding faith. Faith in yourself, as Cisco does when he takes down his evil counterpart and gives up B.A.R.I. in the end. If he’s going to be a leader in Barry’s absence, he’s going to have to find the strength to do it on his own, as Iris did over the last few seasons.
And faith in each other, as Barry and Iris have in Cisco. As Kamilla has in Cisco. As Breacher has in Cisco. And undoubtedly as the team will put in Nash, as they grow closer to Crisis and try to find a way to defy their fate.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.