This week’s big question: What are you willing to do for love?
Though The Flash returned to its season’s villain, “Lose Yourself” saw various characters do just that. This week, Team Flash finds themselves searching for the last remaining meta from the bus explosion, Edwin Gauss (Arturo Del Puerto) who’s not your typical villainous metahuman. Under the alias “Folded Man,” coined by his hippie friends, Gauss has the ability to create his own pocket dimensions, similar to that of Clifford Devoe (Miranda MacDougall). Love seemed to be a big theme in this week’s episode, as Barry (Grant Gustin) and Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) argued over the “right way” to defeat Devoe. Barry adamantly argues that killing is unacceptable under any circumstances, while Ralph is willing to kill for the ones that he loves. This argument carried the episode, and it even found its way into an epic battle between Iris (Candice Patton) and Marlize (Kim Engelbrecht).
Team Flash was also ready to take down Team Devoe once Harry (Tom Cavanagh) created a thinking cap-like tuning fork that was powerful enough to kill him with two hits. Using Gauss’ powers, the team breaches their way into Devoe’s lair but only there’s one tiny, tiny problem: he isn’t there. As always, the Devoes are a few steps ahead of Team Flash, so the non-powered characters have to deal with the fallout — and it’s epic.
We also learn that Matthew, Team Flash’s newest member (and the bus meta from “Run, Iris, Run”) was killed by Devoe, and the mastermind now has the ability to strip powers away from other metas. This tidbit becomes very interesting for Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), which we will discuss later.
Here to discuss alter-egos, morals, and more is our The Flash roundtable!
Vanessa (@westallenallure) – Rambling and Flash extraordinaire.
Jessica (@newsflash52) – Lover of all things DC, especially The Flash and Iris WestAllen, and podcast host for Ladies w Gumption.
Holly (@hollyanderson30) – Social Media Addict who runs two fan pages and loves everything CW, especially The Flash.
Chelsea (@flezrasbarry) – Ezra Miller and Barry Allen fangirl.
Will Polk (@willmpolk) – Blerd @SceneNNerd podcast producer with host @sjbelmont, Flash fan.
1. Let’s jump right into it. Do you think Ralph is dead like the rest of the metas, or will the team find a way to save him?
Vanessa (@westallenallure): I feel like the team could save the other metas but Ralph is dead, just because DeVoe uses his powers for its physical use to him. Plus, the writers wouldn’t make Barry clear his office with such incredibly angsty music playing in the background if that wasn’t the case.
Jessica (@newsflash52): I think Ralph is dead, dead. But, who knows what will happen in the finale? So many (mostly) innocent people and/or interesting characters have died this season because of Devoe. It wouldn’t feel right to end the series with Devoe defeated and all the people he killed still dead. Plus, they’ve spent SO much time on Ralph this season, and Elongated Man is a classic DCTV character, I can’t imagine they don’t find a way to save him in the end. And hopefully, if/when he is saved, he decides to stretch his limbs somewhere outside Central City. Run free, Dibny! Go find your Sue!
Will (@willmpolk): It is no secret that I’ve not been a fan of Ralph most of this season, but while early on in this episode it seemed liked we were going to again wash, rinse, repeat they finally carried his arc forward. We finally got to the root of his fear, a loss of family. They set that up earlier this season, but they did a good job of carrying it forward with this episode. I hope he stays dead. I think they completed his story arc and should leave it there. However, when they defeat Devoe I could see them somehow having Devoe and all the other metas being cast out of Ralph’s body and he will return to us in season 5.
Chelsea (@flezrasbarry): Yes I do think they find a way to save him because that’s the last thing Barry tells Ralph. I do hope if they find a way to save him it’s not through time travel, and he doesn’t end up permeating the next season.
Holly (@hollyanderson30): I actually don’t think Ralph is dead. Why couldn’t they take DeVoe’s consciousness out of Ralph’s body if they are trying to save him? I am sure Harry with his “thinking cap” could think of a way.
2. Iris stabbed herself for the sake of her husband and team. What do you think that says about her as a person?
Vanessa: “She’s as badass with a sword as she is with a pen.” It speaks volumes of her altruism, her bravery, her love for Barry, and just really showcases how she’s on par with everyone else. Moreover, it showcased that she’s a leader who makes tough calls but also enacts them herself as well. She is willing to get DIRTY if the situation calls for it. Definitely my favorite moment of the episode.
Jessica: Legend. ICONIC. G.O.A.T. Haha! Firstly, I love the dichotomy between Iris and Marlize as two women with powerful husbands. One, Marlize, is, unfortunately, being manipulated and used by hers, but Iris continues to be seen and treated as Barry’s partner. From “We are the Flash” to “Mr. and Mrs. S.T.A.R. Labs,” to showing Iris is just as capable of holding her own as anyone else on the team, the show continues to prove that Iris is just as much a hero in her own right as Barry. And she certainly came through tonight! It was her quick thinking to have a backup escape plan, and she had the guts to pull off a risky move that not only defeated Marlize but also rescued Team Flash stuck in the pocket dimension! This is why she works so well as team leader.
Will: She really is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the team, which I think all members of team Flash would be willing to do.
Chelsea: Iris has always been strong, courageous and willing to do whatever it takes to protect the ones she loves, particularly Barry. She has saved him countless times, doesn’t ask for anything from anyone, and is always willing to see the best in people. While I love seeing this side of her, I think it would also be OK to show her relying on others for a change. Getting stabbed is likely a very traumatic experience for Iris given her past with Savitar, and the fact that she held a katana with her bare hands and stabbed herself had to have taken a toll on her. Ralph was also her friend and she was always the person to see the best in him. It would be nice to her see her grieving and being comforted as well instead of everyone relying on her. Vulnerability is not weakness. Courage is not the lack of fear.
Holly: I think it says a lot about Iris as a person. Not many people would be willing to stab themselves for others. And I got to say she really brought it tonight. I mean her explosive earpiece and that fight with Marlize was awesome!
3. Like Ralph, Caitlin’s icy alter-ego is no longer with us. What are your thoughts on the decision to take away her powers?
Vanessa: I think it’ll make her reconsider just how much she truly values her. The build-up throughout the episode starting with the notes to ending with her face when she discovered she didn’t have her anymore, is a testament to that. Personally, I want her to be full-on Killer Frost or full-on Caitlin. I know she’ll eventually go back to both and that kind of makes this pointless. The way ‘Killer Frost’ works and how it ties to Caitlin is still messy and indecisive, from a writing standpoint.
Jessica: It’s a little frustrating honestly, especially since we never really got to see Killer Frost do anything since she (they?) rejoined the team this season. We went through almost two seasons of Caitlin being either afraid of or not in control of her alter ego. As Killer Frost, she’s often taken out of fights as soon as she gets into them, and I feel like the writers have waffled so much on where they want to go with her that Devoe taking Killer Frost’s powers is effectively a cop out. Of course, I don’t think she’s gone forever. Like Ralph and the other bus metas, I think the key to “saving” Killer Frost lies in defeating Devoe. So Caitlin will get Killer Frost back, but then what?
Will: We finally got the answer (well mostly) to what causes Caitlin to go Frosty, and that including the post-it notes should have been a clue that something was going to happen to our beloved anti-hero ice queen. I think the writers had written themselves into a box with Killer Frost, and they had to find a way to do something with that character and Caitlin. I have a feeling that somehow Killer Frost will return and if she does, there will be no more Harry and Cisco yelling at Caitlin to help her transform, which was never a good look.
Chelsea: I think with four metas on the team, their CGI budget is put to a big test without constantly needing them. I think with her powers taken away, she will get more opportunities without having to be knocked down because it’s rather expensive to show her kicking ass every week. I do however think once The Thinker is defeated, she will return.
Holly: I love Killer Frost and I hate that she is gone, but it was getting to the point they had to do something, either get rid of her powers or combine both characters. Personally for me I think they should have combined them.
4. Harry went off the rails this week, and we saw he now has maximum intelligence. Have any theories as to what this might entail?
Vanessa: Let me just say, that I don’t like this development because it makes me think that the final battle will be ‘two fast minds against each other’ instead of the promise of, ‘the fastest man alive vs. the fastest mind alive.’ Other than that, it’s pretty intriguing to see where this goes. I’d like for it to completely push him off the rails at the end of the season or have long-lasting effects that can’t be cured. Not to be morbid but maybe give him a mental disability or something of the sort. There should be consequences, for once, for other people other than Barry. I don’t want this to be a thing that is just presented for the season for nothing.
Jessica: Joe likened Harry to an addict with a drug addiction, and he just overdosed this episode. So whatever happens after this can’t be anything good.
Will: Well, we had the red herring that Harry was Thawne last week, but I’m actually glad they took it to the addiction storyline, because that was again consistent with his behavior since he started using the cap. It was also a good plot point on how Devoe uses Harry’s hubris against him to achieve his ultimate goal which looks like to be creating a new particle accelerator — which was teased way back to his origin story earlier in the season.
Chelsea: Dark matter is very dangerous and Harry was clearly showing signs of addiction as Joe pointed to him. With even more dark matter infused into his brain, I think he will go down a slippery slope of turning to the dark side, and likely using his intelligence for more bad than good.
Holly: I was honestly shocked by Harry tonight. I knew it was going to get bad but not this quick. And I couldn’t believe Cisco, he didn’t even stay in the same room with him after. I hope “maximum intelligence” whatever it is, is worth losing friends over because if he keeps going like this he will.
5. Barry adamantly agrees that if you have powers, you shouldn’t kill. Do you agree or disagree with him?
Vanessa: Ah, the million dollar question. I was pondering this and I personally agree. I know a lot of people and they say you have to make a “tough call” sometimes like Ralph said; but the ‘tough call’ can be not killing when you can do so. I think people don’t sit down and think how something like that can consume you, even if you did it for the greater good.
Jessica: I see where he’s coming from. If you have powers, you already have an advantage over most people. And there’s that whole saying about how “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” so for metahumans like Ralph or Barry, using your powers to kill your enemies is a really easy solution. Once you’re OK with killing once, that could become a slippery slope. And if you’re a meta, how many people would really be able to stop you? As much as I want to disagree with Barry re: killing Devoe, he does have a point.
Will: I think that is a noble goal of Barry and I agree with it in principle. That is basically what separates our hero who, by the way, despite all the good deeds is still vigilante, but remains someone that people can look up to and does not cross the line to becoming judge, jury, and executioner. Ralph realizes that in his fight with Devoe, but sadly was careless with the metacuffs.
Chelsea: I don’t disagree with this. Killing takes you down a dark path, and we see what kind of toll it takes on the Green Arrow for instance. No matter how much good you do, if you fail to explore the alternatives, you will always have a chip on your shoulder. In Ralph’s case he might have lived if he killed DeVoe, but at what cost. He will never be the same. He might resort to it in the future.
Holly: I wholeheartedly agreed with Barry on this one, until I saw what he did to Ralph and Killer Frost! But no really, I don’t agree there is any reason you should be taking another person’s life.
6. Before Ralph left us, he was conflicted by Barry’s advice. If you were in Ralph’s position, would you do everything it takes to put an end to Devoe?
Vanessa: Despite the writers; switching at the end and saying that Ralph was actually worried about losing everyone, I think he was scared and that didn’t allow him to rationalize for the most part. He was adamant about Barry trying to be ‘too good’ but he didn’t consider how ‘bad’ he might have to become to end DeVoe. The perfect example is Harry, who is doing whatever to become smarter; yet he doesn’t consider the long-lasting effects and how he changes as a person when he’s craving ‘the cap.’’
Jessica: I think I would be tempted, but I also feel like in that moment Ralph felt like he won. He didn’t have to kill because he was strong enough to overcome and be the hero like Barry said. If it were me killing Devoe at that point would have made me feel like I still lost if that makes sense. They still don’t know exactly what Devoe is planning to do. Killing him wouldn’t have necessarily stopped all the bad things from happening.
Will: I think I would have ended up where Ralph did: making sure that we stopped the villain but not completely taking the law into my own hands.
Chelsea: No, I think Ralph was right in not doing everything. If push comes to shove and you are left with no choice it’s one thing. But if you have already been plotting for it, and you’re already there without thinking of other ways then that’s different.
Holly: I really can’t say because I never been there before, but I would not go as far as to kill but to stop them. To catch them? Yes.
7. What was your favorite moment of the episode?
Vanessa: My absolute favorite scene is the one in which Iris stabs herself. It really showcased her strength and willingness to put herself before others. It also really made me think about how suitable she is to be ‘The Flash Matriarch’ and how, if Barry were to not be there for her children due to disappearing in ‘Crisis On Infinite Earths,’ she’d move forward with utmost resilience.
Jessica: By far the Iris/Marlize fight scene! Both Candice Patton and Kim Engelbrecht killed it! Actually, that whole “Devoes Invading the lair” sequence was pretty intense, but “Mrs. STAR Labs” ordering Marlize to “get out of my office” was my favorite line of the night!
Will: This entire episode was a such joy to watch. I, like many fans, have been up and down all season, but for the first time in awhile, I felt this was a complete episode from start to finish. In addition, as we have discussed on our SceneNNerd podcast, our characters were written and portrayed consistent with what we know of them from the past 4 years, and I felt everyone had a significant role in the story this week. However, if I had to pick a moment it is clearly when Cisco was putting the finishing touches on the Enterprise–after all look at my profile picture.
Chelsea: My favorite moment of the episode is clearly Joe and Iris taking on the Samurai and Marlize and defeating them. It shows you don’t have to have superpowers to be extraordinary. It inspires people watching the show to be strong and how you can overcome huge odds. It’s a treat to watch, and hope we continue to see it.
Holly: There was so many but I really enjoyed seeing the Iris and Marlize fight scene.
The non-powered characters were the real MVPs
Iris, Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Harry were stuck in S.T.A.R. labs with the Devoes, which became the highlight of the episode. Joe took on the Samurai, who was previously used to send a message to Ralph by stabbing Caitlin. Though we didn’t get to see Joe finish him off, it was exciting that Joe, the detective, faced off against an engineered weapon. Meanwhile in the Cortex, Iris faces off with Marlize in a battle for love, in which Iris finally proved that she’s willing to do anything for her husband — even stab herself with a katana! The women fought in purple lighting, which could be tied to Iris’ purple lightning in “Run, Iris, Run.” Coincidence? I think not!
Once the rest of Team Flash found their way back to S.T.A.R. Labs, Ralph had Devoe under his mercy and it was then that he finally had some character growth, especially after spending the episode dwelling over his dilemma to kill Devoe. But the character growth only lasted a few seconds when Devoe eventually transferred his mind to Ralph’s body. Though a big loss for Team Flash, it’s not a big loss for us.
Caitlin finally started to warm up to her icy alter-ego, leaving hilarious notes for the other to read. By embracing Killer Frost, the show finally stepped ahead with the development that the storyline has lacked over the course of the show. Sadly, the progress was short-lived when Devoe stripped her powers away.
As mentioned earlier, the non-powered characters were the true stars of the episode, as they were able to win their respective battles. If there’s one thing The Flash has done consistently, it reminds the audience why Iris is the perfect fit as the team leader. Not only did she think about Plan B by having Cisco create an explosive earring, she created a self-inflicted wound for her husband and team. She’s levelheaded, smart, and has the perspective of humanity that metahumans could take for granted. The show really stepped up at the half-hour mark, and Iris was the true star of it all.
Since Devoe now has Ralph’s abilities, he shapeshifts back into his original body (Neil Sandilands), which Marlize appreciated for obvious reasons. The two decided to hold off on their celebrations to continue working on their plan. If you’re wondering what the plan is, we still have no idea. Because of this, the show lacks its ability to reach its full potential.
Next week, Leo Snart a.k.a. Citizen Cold (Wentworth Miller) from Earth X, returns when Barry asks for his assistance to transfer the bus metas from S.T.A.R. Labs. Much like “Rogue Air” from season one, we are sticking around to watch for all the nostalgia!