This week Barry was forced to grieve Ralph
Barry’s (Grant Gustin) emotions were put at the center of this week’s episode of The Flash as the team suffered from Ralph’s (Hartley Sawyer) death. Leo Snart (Wentworth Miller) from Earth X was the highlight of the episode when Team Flash enlisted his help to transport an explosive meta to ARGUS, who was originally introduced this season as “Fallout” (Ryan Alexander McDonald). Siren-X (Katie Cassidy) also made an appearance this episode, as the evil Laurel Lance doppelganger traveled to Earth 1 to finish off her fight with Snart. Barry’s inability to properly grieve Ralph set the episode up for many flat moments.
On the quest to reach maximum intelligence, Harry (Tom Cavanagh) ends up doing the opposite as the Thinking Cap mixed with the dark matter affected his brain for the worst. Harry learned that the Cap actually affected his ability to retain new information and so now, the Earth 2 doppelganger will slowly start to forget everything he’s ever known. Cisco’s (Carlos Valdes) desperate attempt to beat Devoe (Neil Sandilands) had him trying to create his own Thinking Cap, but fell short after Harry let him in on his own loss.
Team Flash had a ton of losses this week, and this includes Caitlin’s (Danielle Panabaker) not-so-evil alter-ego Killer Frost. Though she doesn’t seem to make much progress in getting her back, she and Iris (Candice Patton) learned that the dark matter is still in her DNA, but she needs to find a way to trigger it.
Though we are still unaware of what Devoe’s plan is, Marlize (Kim Engelbrecht) continued to grow impatient as she just wanted to spend quality time with her husband since reverting back into his old body — sorry Ralph! The poor woman even tried to get all dolled up for him, but Devoe is too focused on the plan to “entertain” his own wife. His inability to account for other people’s feelings foreshadowed his own demise by Marlize.
Here to discuss doppelgangers, grief, and more is our The Flash roundtable!
Tatiana (@myrcellasear) – Entertainment journalism wannabe and avid pursuer of comics.
Cami (@tarcamwat) – Love sci-fiction, superheroes, strong female characters and sensitive male characters.
Alexis (@alexiswaverider) – Hope we are less screwed in 2018.
Shaddae (@icandyiris) – Iris West-Allen enthusiast.
Tay (@candicekps) – High School Senior, Iris West superfan, and TV show enthusiast.
1. How did you feel about Leo Snart’s return?
Cami (@tarcamwat): I love Wentworth Miller. He’s wonderful anytime he shows up on The Flash. He and Grant have excellent chemistry in particular. It was great to see him back as Citizen Cold helping out Team Flash.
Shaddae (@icandyiris): It’s always nice to have Snart making an appearance and his dynamic with Iris this week was fun to watch.
Tatiana: Excellent. He was one of the brightest spots in the episode, using his signature snark and sincerity to get Barry back on track and help temporarily save the day. I’m thrilled he’s marrying Ray, and I thought that the way he talked about every fallen soldier counting was really heartbreaking and beautiful.
Tay (@candicekps): I love Leo so much! I was ecstatic to see him return. It was nice to see his cute friendship with Iris and his consolation of Barry.
Alexis (@alexiswaverider): I wish the show had done more with the Rogues so I was glad he was back. He brought a different kind of energy this episode. I loved his interactions with all the characters especially Iris. I just love their dynamic and always have since season 2. Also, I was happy to find that Leo’s putting a ring on it. I’m glad they’ll be getting their happy ending. From what I hear, this episode was Wentworth’s final episode so I think he got a fairly decent send-off.
2. Barry had trouble grieving this week. Did you understand why he was feeling this way?
Cami: Barry got Ralph killed plain and simple. He isn’t wrong about that. There are a lot of caveats to that no-kill rule or at least there should be. For instance, if you are cornered one on one with a much more powerful entity it may be best to take them out.
Shaddae: I understood when Barry wanted some space last week but I was completely over it for this episode. I guess it was easier to sympathize with Barry when he lost someone I actually liked.
Tatiana: Given that I did not feel that Ralph had earned his place on the show or in Barry’s heart, it was difficult for me to enjoy this storyline. But I did understand why Barry was trying to shove his feelings to the side, and I thought it was sweet how characters like Leo and Iris came together to help Barry come to terms with the loss. Barry breaking down in front of Joe was poignant, as well, especially since we’ve hardly had West-Allen family scenes this season.
Tay: I understand to an extent. I think, as Ralph’s mentor, Barry felt fully responsible for the events that transpired. He made promises that he could not keep. Along with Ralph being his friend and a team member, I believe that most of his trauma was centered around his guilty conscious. However, I think his behavior was a little irrational, especially towards Iris. Also, to state that Ralph’s death was different for Barry was a slight stretch considering his parents died in front of him — and Iris almost died multiple times.
Alexis: I understand that everyone grieves differently but this aggressive grieving for Ralph was not earned. There’s such an emotional disconnect because up until the last episode, Barry, like the rest of us, could barely stand Ralph and all of a sudden we’re supposed to believe his loss devastated the team this much, especially Barry who has lost Nora, Henry, and almost lost Iris? Which brings me to Barry’s attitude towards Iris, these past two episodes. I get grieving but he still had no excuse for his behavior towards Iris especially since she was only trying to help. She’s your best friend and wife, not your assistant or emotional punching bag for you to take out your frustrations and failures on. It felt out of character from the Barry we’ve come to know. Iris may be forgiving to a fault but I personally wouldn’t have tolerated that nonsense.
3. Turns out Caitlin misses Killer Frost. How do you feel about her development in terms of her killer side?
Cami: This is the best they’ve done with Killer Frost storyline. Hopefully, they’ll be able to settle on the reason(s) why and how she manifests herself.
Shaddae: She wanted so much to get rid of her Killer Frost alter ego so she could have a normal life and now she wants it back? I don’t get it.
Tatiana: I wish this storyline had progressed more consistently onscreen, but I think it’s perfectly natural that Caitlin would have gotten used to her alter ego and come to see her as an entire person on her own. Plus, they always say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. I do think it’s a cop-out that Killer Frost is no longer even a hint of a villain, especially after gleefully being onboard with murdering Iris last year, but if I erase my long-term memory then I have no issues.
Tay: One word: confusing. Her bond with Killer Frost is slightly understandable, but I think they should have had some sort of bond from the beginning. Instead, she resented her. Caitlin wanted Killer Frost gone for so long, and now she wants her back? I just find that a little weird.
Alexis: She spent two seasons trying to get rid of Frost, who might I add was an accomplice to HR’s murder and Iris’s attempted murder but they’ve suddenly swept all that under the rug. Till today she has still not apologized to Iris for her role in what transpired last year. Look, this Frost storyline has never made any sense and I feel like this is their third attempt to reboot this mess of a storyline so let’s hope the third time’s a charm.
4. Harry is convinced his best quality is his intelligence. What would you have told him if you were in Cisco’s place?
Cami: Cisco did great! His intelligence is his best quality, but he’s pretty loyal and he loves his daughter very much.
Shaddae: That intelligence is his best quality. What else does he contribute?
Tatiana: I think Cisco said exactly what Harry needed to hear, but I probably would have been snarkier since science has pretty much never saved the day when chips were down. It’s always sweat, blood, tears and most importantly heart. Harry may be an insufferable grouch from time to time, but he has a big heart and will do anything to protect these kids. That alone is enough to make him or anyone a valuable member of the team.
Tay: I would have told him that every single member of the team has lost a key attribute before, and when that occurs, they are never abandoned or dismissed. Harry’s value goes deeper than his intelligence.
Alexis: I would’ve told him that he must have a sad outlook on life if he thinks that’s his best quality. It feels at times that the show overemphasizes scientific intelligence above all else and attaches self-worth based on that which is wrong on so many levels. A part of me hopes that this is the writers being cognizant of that and attempting to fix it.
5. Siren-X made an appearance this week. What do you think about her motives for vengeance?
Cami: Siren-X is a Nazi. None of her reasons are ever valid. Never ever!
Shaddae: She’s a Nazi so her motives for vengeance was just pure evil and not justifiable.
Tatiana: The Arrowverse will not let Laurel Lance live! They gave her an unrequited crush on Oliver even on Earth-X? So disrespectful, and yet I’m laughing. Anyway, I really wish she had been a Resistance fighter gone wrong or an assassin with no affiliation simply because I don’t want to see another Nazi villain ever again. But I thought the episode made good use of her, and her motivation made more sense than Devoe’s has so far.
Tay: I was more annoyed than intrigued. Despite not wanting Team Flash in danger, I think to go after them rather than CCPD was more suitable for her mission.
Alexis: I have been over the Nazi storyline before the crossover even aired, so. But I will say that it’s nice to always have a version of Laurel appreciated on The Flash than on her parent show.
6. Other than what was mentioned in the episode, why do you think Ralph’s death took a toll on Barry?
Cami: I think Barry loses a lot. His rate of success, in the end, is high, but extremely costly. A lot of people drop dead around Barry. He has trouble saving the ones he loves the most. The Thinker has killed nearly all of the bus metas this season alone. He promised all of them he would save them at one point or the other.
Shaddae: Honestly, I don’t know.
Tatiana: I’d like to think it’s a cumulative effect. Like Leo said, every death takes a toll, and Ralph was like the twelfth this season. All these people who were counting on Barry, and he feels like he failed them. Not to mention that if Ralph hadn’t been following Barry’s directive to not kill, he himself wouldn’t be dead now.
Tay: As his mentor and trainer, Barry developed a relationship with Ralph that was nurtured from resentment to mutual respect. Barry made numerous promises to Ralph regarding his death that he could not meet. Therefore, in a combination of broken promises and seeing these promises broken right in front of you, I think was one of the primary reasons for the heavy weight on his shoulders.
Alexis: Maybe because of the fact that Ralph is his first trainee whose death he’s been directly responsible for.
7. Westallen therapy sessions returned this week. What do you like or dislike about their sessions?
Cami: I love Westallen’s therapy sessions with Dr. Finkle. I think we get to see some of their inner workings as individuals and as a couple. After these sessions, they always come out stronger as a couple too. I wasn’t thrilled with Barry’s behavior towards Iris this episode. I knew he was going through grief because of Ralph, but he never thought of how Iris felt as the leader of the team. I hope we get more therapy sessions in the future.
Shaddae: I’ve always loved them. I hope they continue to go in the future.
Tatiana: First, I was glad Iris got a chance to express her feelings about it even if it was just an opening to Barry not expressing anything. And their final scene together was lovely, with Barry physically leaning into Iris for support while finally sharing his thoughts on the loss. Their intertwined hands really made the moment for me. However, it really felt like the show was making too big a deal out of Ralph, which has been a problem for the last several episodes. It’s never fun when I feel like my viewpoint is diametrically opposed to the show’s.
Tay: I like how WestAllen is subtly promoting that therapy, specifically, therapy with your spouse is a healthy thing. It is also nice how comforting they were to one another in the last scene. Just seeing them both cry over a lost loved one in comfort and ease is refreshing — in an odd way. These therapy sessions show how much they go through together, and it really testifies to their strength as individuals and as a couple.
Alexis: I love the idea of these sessions because it addresses a fundamental need for mental health, therapy, and helps to remove the stigma associated with mental health. I think it strengthens them both as individuals and a couple. What I didn’t like this episode was that it was more about Ralph than them. I was glad that Barry finally opened up with Iris about the feelings he’d been bottling up.
Even in death, Ralph still finds a way to swallow an episode
One of The Flash’s main problems this season is the introduction of Ralph and how he overshadowed Barry on his own show. Between the constant misogyny and questioning of his hero status, this season lacked so much of what we loved about Team Flash before his arrival. Now that Ralph is no longer with us, he still found a way to overshadow Barry. We’re not going to lie, we loved that Barry finally found a way to grieve properly, as he and Iris paid a visit to Dr. Finkle (Donna Pescow) in the end.
Most of the episode was spent trying to get Barry to talk about his grievances. When he finally cracked, the show displayed on of its dramatic montages, featuring flashbacks of Ralph that caused Barry to screw up a mission. Yes, Ralph was Barry’s friend, co-worker and team member. However, his death should not be held to a higher degree than the death of Barry’s parents. While we understand that Barry feels guilty for death, there was so much focus on his death that it ended up creating unrealistic reactions from our Scarlet Speedster. Nonetheless, we are happy that Barry is finally dealing with his grief in a healthy, mature way right beside his understandable wife.
Leo Snart was not only this week’s MVP, but he also proved that he could get a Ph.D. and become a therapist. He provided the best advice for Barry in a way that opened his eyes: “If you don’t confront your feelings, your feelings will confront you.” He even comforted Caitlin in her loss, as he reminded her that though she didn’t need powers to kick butt, it’s understandable why she’s mourning Killer Frost.
In other news, we learn that Snart and freedom fighter Ray Terrill (Russell Tovey) are engaged! Congratulations are in order!
Next week’s episode of The Flash brings back a familiar face, as Team Flash reaches out to Gypsy (Jessica Lisa Camacho) to help foil’s Devoe’s plan, which we will finally get to learn! We are definitely sticking around to watch to get some answers.