The Flash returns! And, well, he’s not making a whole lot of sense, to be honest.
The Flash returned on Tuesday for it’s fourth season, and, man, do we have a lot to discuss. The premiere picks up a few months after the events of the season three finale, with Team Flash coping the best they can in Barry’s absence. This episode primarily deals with a couple things – one, getting Barry (Grant Gustin) out of the speedforce, and two, defeating Samurai. Neither of these things is an easy task, and the two conflicts come together beautifully in a display of absolute trust from post-hiatus team leader Iris West (Candice Patton.)
Samurai, a terrifying villain threatening Central City, demands The Flash turn himself over. The only problem, of course, is that Barry has been on a speed force vacation for months and it’s not exactly easy to call him up. Luckily, Cisco (Carlos Valdes) reveals that he’s been developing a plan to pull Barry out of the speedforce. Once they accomplish this, they have another problem to confront – Barry is entirely incoherent, speaking it fractured phrases and writing strange symbols all over the walls. The only thing that can pull our Scarlet Speedster out of this madness is Iris, who risks her life by intentionally getting captured by Samurai – fully confident in the fact that Barry will save her. It’s a big risk, but it pays off – someone take this lady to Vegas!
Here to discuss this choice and others is our The Flash roundtable!
Holly (@hollyanderson30) – Social Media Addict who runs two fan pages and loves everything CW, especially The Flash
Tay (@candicekps) – High School Senior, Iris West superfan, and TV show enthusiast
Sam (@pandecker_) – High School student, aspiring actress, and lover of TV
Fowsia (@iriswestallens) – Lover of all things Iris West and Westallen
Ket (@ketfb) – Artist, lover of shows with superheroes and movies, sports lover
1. Did anyone else briefly think Iris somehow had super speed in the beginning?! In all seriousness, how much did you love seeing her in a leadership role?
Holly (@hollyanderson30): Right off I knew they made an excellent decision with putting Iris in charge of Star Labs. As much as I was hoping for the Ace Reporter to come this season Iris absolutely thrived at being in charge at Star Labs and she was excellent at getting the boys to do what they should be doing.Look at how quick she was at figuring out their was a pattern peek-a-boo was using to escape.
Tay (@candicekps): I loved Iris’s new role as a leader! I feel like her investigate and analytical skills will take Team Flash to new heights. I loved when she was able to determine the pattern and plan of Peek-a-Boo. Iris as a leader was so fun to watch. Candice Patton definitely has the acting range to successfully perform as a leader for the rest of the season!
Sam (@pandecker_): I absolutely loved Iris in a leadership role. It’s something I have looked forward to seeing for a long time. She is such a powerful and lovely character. My favorite character in that show for a fact. So to see her take control of everything and to put all others before her despite her hurting too was showing people what most of us already knew. Iris West is the best.
Fowsia (@iriswestallens): As an Iris West (soon to be Allen) enthusiast, all summer I’ve been so excited to see Iris take the leadership role. Not only is she capable, but she also adds the heart to the team filled with superpowered-people. The thing I’ve always loved about Iris is her belief in Barry, and the hope that she’s always carried in situations. Her unwavering belief in people always made the show more human. This episode, however, was different. She lost the love of her life, and that belief and hope dissipated which was completely understandable. Even though that was a quality I’ve always loved about Iris, seeing her hardened by Barry’s absence was so interesting to watch, and I loved how it contrasted with Iris’ usual hopeful qualities. Candice did amazing, showcasing the range she has as an actress which makes fans, like myself, resonate with Iris’ experience with loss. Iris was always meant to be a leader, whether at Central City Picture News or Star Labs, but this time we actually get to see her take charge, take names, and make demands! She even learned how to program! Candice Patton absolutely shined this episode, per usual and I totally think “Team Flash” should be renamed to “Team Iris,” just saying!
Ket (@ketfb): No, at no time did I think she could have super speed. I just thought she had moved on. Honestly, I think she has no attributes to lead, But I know she wanted to help save the city, in her own way.
I just wanted to see her working more as a reporter.
2. Wally speaks Japanese! Awesome, but totally unexpected! Do you think there’s a backstory there?
Holly: OMG…thank you for bring that up, in all seriousness my one thought was WTF…I hope we get an backstory because he how does he go from the boy who raced fast cars to speaking Japanese?
Tay: When Wally effortlessly started speaking Japanese, I almost jumped out of my chair. That was so awesome and unexpected. I do not think the writers plan to venture in his backstory for that, but my personal theory is that he took Japanese language classes in high school (for his Japanese film obsession, of course!)
Sam: Honestly maybe. Maybe Wally has had a friend who spoke/speaks Japanese and he learned it from them. I think it’s a great thing that we now know he can speak more than 1 language. I hope to see more of him speaking Japanese and to learn who taught him it.
Fowsia: First off, I have to say that I love that Wally is such a bigger part of the team now, and how much he’s grown from just wanting powers, to actually knowing his worth with them and using it to fight crime. Wally speaking Japanese was totally unexpected, but it was hilarious and very fun to see. Keiynan Lonsdale recently came back from a trip to Japan, so it’s plausible that he insisted he speak Japanese to prepare for his then, upcoming trip!
Ket: Yes, maybe has a backstory there but I don’t think that’s the case we want to know now. It’s just not that important.
3. Wow, Grant Gustin’s performance this episode was incredible. What was your reaction to Barry’s post-speedforce mental state? Surprised?
Holly: Grant Gustin’s performance absolutely blew me away in 4.01 I was expecting confusion but what we got blew my mind. The fragmented pieces of the past, present and future all coming from him at once made you wonder just what was going thru his mind.Then when he said those precious words “I think we are going to need more diapers” please say Tornado Twins
Tay: Grant Gustin was absolutely amazing! I was definitely surprised and a little scared. I loved the line: “we’re going to need more diapers.” I predict that we will be seeing the Tornado Twins soon! I also noticed that whenever post-speedforce Barry was talking to Iris, his facial expression was a disgruntled joy — like he knew she was there.
Sam: Barry’s post-speedforce mental state was no expected to be okay. But I did not picture in my head what had actually happened but I knew things wouldn’t be fine right off the bat. Not many have realized because it was so quick past but he spoke a bit of “Running Home To You” in the monologue. Which Grant did really well doing. His acting was great this episode. Also there was hints of things to come in the future, which if you know anything about the comics you were able to catch. I caught it and I can’t wait to see what happens.
Fowsia: Much like Candice Patton, Grant Gustin absolutely carried this episode. Grant is very talented, so I would assume it’s difficult to outshine himself — this episode, he unreservedly did. Since Barry was in the speed force for six months (which could’ve been equivalent to years for him), it makes sense that Barry could experience post traumatic stress, and this allowed Grant to put his acting skills to a new test — which he totally passed. I was in awe watching Grant perform dementia-Barry because it felt realistic. I really felt for Barry this episode, and it’s partially due to Grant’s portrayal and the way he understands his character. Bravo to him!
Ket: Yes, Grant was incredible! I was not surprised. Barry spent a lot of time on Speed Force, I think it’s normal for him to be confused, he must have seen a lot there.
4. Did you notice the wardrobes of our main cast this episode? Almost all of them dressed in black and white. Do you think this is representative of their emotional state?
Holly: I noticed that but I think it may not have meant to do it on purpose but a way to show their emotions since they hadn’t really grieved for Barry, still believing he could come back.
Tay: I am a strong believer of color symbolism, so I definitely think that their wardrobe was a representation of their emotional state.
Sam: I do think that their clothes were representative of their emotional state. I know personally when certain things happen small things about people change. So for them be wearing black and white after Barry’s absence was definitely purposeful. He was their friend, their family, of course if something happened to him things would shift in their lives.
Fowsia: That’s a good question! I actually didn’t notice that almost everyone was dressed in black and white. Though, if I’m being honest, I only paid attention to Iris’ wardrobe because time and time again, she kills it. I seriously want her clothes. If the wardrobe colors were intentional, bravo to the wardrobe department because black and white seemed to be the emotion that was prevalent in this episode. It’s easy to believe that getting Barry out of the speed force is as simple as black and white i.e. getting him out vs. not getting him out, but there was so much more to it. If you get Barry out, Central City would be possibly destroyed. The color white is usually associated with safety (along with purity), and residents of Central City safety was on the line.. But if you don’t get Barry out, Central City would crumble due to the Samurai anyways. There is a very clear distinction in everyone’s feelings involved with getting Barry out, especially Iris. There wasn’t a simple view in what was right or what was wrong, so putting the characters in black and white was actually perfect when you look at it that way. Kudos to you guys for thinking so!
Ket: Absolutely, and loved it! I really think it’s their emotional state, but I’d like it to stay that way, especially Caitlin’s clothes, but I don’t think they will keep that, unfortunately.
5. Iris took a huge leap of faith this episode – she had absolute faith that Barry would come for her. Brave, or stupid?
Holly: Iris always had absolute faith in Barry, I actually think she was desperate enough to have Barry back that it made her brave enough to do something extremely reckless, I think that is one thing that won’t change on The Flash.
Tay: Brave! I love the fact that she’s always willing to risk everything for him, and vice versa. After seeing her with little faith for most of the episode, I was beyond ecstatic to see an Iris reminiscent to the Iris of previous seasons. She knew that Barry would snap out of his trance once she was in trouble — which is just a huge testament to their relationship. I love the fact that Barry was able to pinpoint her exact location (lighting rod!!). I also loved that Iris was able to activate his powers (again)!
Sam: Her absolute faith in Barry was Brave. Not stupid whatsoever. She’s known Barry since she was kid, they’ve grown together, and she trusts him completely. If you actually go back to Season 2 Episode 3 Family of Rogues Iris is trying to get a story and these men are trying to shoot at her. And so she had called Barry… and because she trusted him so much when he said for her to jump out the window she did because she knew that he would always be there to catch her. He always has and always will be there for her.
Fowsia: When spoilers and interviews have been slowly coming out for the premiere, I pieced it together a long time ago that Iris would get herself taken by the Samurai to trigger Barry’s emotions, considering he wasn’t the same as the Barry that went into the speed force. Belief in each other has always been a central concept in Barry and Iris’ relationship, a concept that saved Barry’s life many times because Iris simply believed in him. The most significant event involving belief is when 11 year-old Barry told Iris that his father didn’t murder his mother, and Iris responded with “I believe you” (episode 2×18). Since that moment, it shaped Barry’s life. Without Iris, Barry wouldn’t be the hero he is today. Because of her belief in him, he is able to optimistic and to have hope and to save the people of Central City. Last season, Zoom even admitted himself that if it weren’t for the people around Barry, he would’ve ended up just like him. What Iris did this episode was something so in-character for her, so I cheered when she confronted the Samurai. She believed in their love for one another so much that she offered herself to save him, essentially. She needed to save his mind, and who Barry was as a person, so she risked her life to do so. Iris always puts herself in danger, but not without good reason. This episode solidified how selfless she is and the lengths she will go through to save the ones she loves.
Ket: I think it wasn’t very clever of her, but in the end it worked, of course.
6. Do you think Barry’s symbols meant anything? Will that come up again later?
Holly: I absolutely think that the symbols mean something. When I first saw Cisco uncovered “This House Is Bitchin'” it reminded me of Bart Allen on Smallville and I wondered if the symbols were different things he heard in the speed force. But I think we will come back around to them and they will be important!
Tay: I think Barry’s symbols is one of the key elements to defeating the Thinker later on. Therefore, I definitely think we’ll be seeing the symbols again.
Sam: Well from what he saw what he wrote aka “This house is bitchin” I think it does indeed alluede to a character that is well known in the comics. But we will see where they go with that, hopefully soon.
Fowsia: Barry’s symbols definitely meant something and I’m looking forward to finding out what they mean. The saying “this house is bitchin’” actually reminds me of something another speedster would say, Bart Allen. Initially, when the symbols translated to that, I assumed Barry was talking about his loft with Iris because come on, that place is amazing. However, when it was revealed that Barry couldn’t recall anything about his time in the speed force, and the words he uttered, I felt that it was something bigger. The show put emphasis on the translation, and Caitlin even mentioned that is something Barry wouldn’t say, which implies someone else does. I think tiny easter eggs have been placed to Bart’s arrival and I for sure can’t wait!
Ket: Surely they mean something. I think so, and I hope they mean something interesting.
7. How are we feeling about Killer Frost being back?
Holly: I love that Killer Frost is back, I also love what they have done with her character. Killer Frost only appeared when Caitlin was in trouble so that should make for some interesting times especially considering she is coming back to Team Flash
Tay: I have mixed feelings. I am anxious to see where her storyline goes as the team finally trusts her again. I definitely hope that she’s more of an anti-hero this time around.
Sam: I’m not feeling good at all about her being back. She has her powers pretty well under control but after everything that has happened in the past I don’t trust her. But she makes many characters on the show happy so that minuses the dislike by a little bit. But no I am not feeling good.
Fowsia: Is Killer Frost back? Or is she just Caitlin? Well for starters, the show hasn’t really explained if Caitlin and Killer Frost are two different people. However, I am choosing to believe, especially after tonight’s episode, that Killer Frost is just an extension of Caitlin, and somehow she is a manifestation of Caitlin’s inner demons — is she innately evil? Caitlin working in a bar wasn’t exciting, though the change of setting was interesting. At the end of the episode, it seems like Caitlin is still battling between transitioning into Killer Frost and into her “regular” self. Though I have to ask, Caitlin’s opposition when turning back into herself made me question if she wanted to stay Killer Frost. In other words, why would she oppose transitioning into her “regular” self? Moving on from that, I was really expecting Caitlin to be held accountable for her actions in helping Savitar essentially murder Iris, not to mention hurting Cecile. In the end, it was almost like it was ignored by everyone what she did, except by Iris. As an advocate for Iris’ expression, I enjoyed seeing her shed light on Caitlin’s lack of involvement in getting Barry out. I hope that she apologizes to Iris in the part she played in Iris’ impending doom so that I would at least enjoy female interaction on the show between the two characters.
Ket: I really loved that, I just love Killer Frost and she’s one of the most interesting characters to me.
I hope to see the development of how she will control her powers and maybe help Barry and Cisco save the city, even though I love her as a villain. It would be very interesting to see her as an anti-hero as well. I also have to say thanks and praise Danielle Panabaker for the way she plays both Caitlin Snow and Killer Frost, and now I think I can say Caitlin Frost, as they are calling her now.
Final Verdict: With an abundance of hints at what’s to come, The Flash’s fourth season premiere has us incredibly excited for the remainder of the season
As many of our astute roundtablers have pointed out, this episode was littered with easter eggs and hints about the upcoming season. From possible teases of the future (“we’re gonna need more diapers”) to what might be a reference to speedster Bart Allen (“This house is bitchin’.”), The Flash is set to provide its best season yet, as long as it follows through on the promises made in its premiere. With Killer Frost clearly still a part of Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) we hope the scientist can learn to balance her alter ego and use it to fight for good. In other Team Flash news, it’s great to see Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) as such a prominent member of the speedster squad, even if we are still a little confused about his Japanese abilities. And who can forget Joe West (Jesse L. Martin,) who finally found romantic happiness, and actually has a living and present daughter and foster son/son in law again? With Team Flash once again operating at full capacity, season four is sure to be one heck of a ride.
THE FLASH returns next TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17th at 8/7C on THE CW.
Not so fast!There’s no need to speed away – keep it right here at TV After Dark for news, reviews, and roundtables about The Flash, all season long!