The acting, especially from Kim Engelbrecht and Candice Patton, was outstanding.
Barry and Iris continue to be one of the most well-written relationships on television.
This episode seems to be setting up for a great storyline.
For something as highly anticipated as “The Trial of the Flash” the episode fell short.
The trial itself was way to rushed, and should’ve been given more time.
The secondary storyline felt a bit shoehorned into the larger plot.
“Trial of the Flash” isn’t a bad episode – but for such a long-awaited storyline, we expected more
It finally happened – Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) is behind bars. We knew this was coming, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. In the mid-season premiere of The Flash, Cecile works to defend Barry in court, while Iris (Candice Patton) grows increasingly desperate about her newlywed husband’s situation. Meanwhile, Team Flash (just Caitlin, Cisco, and Harry this week) deal with a radioactive metahuman situation sans The Flash. It’s the long-awaited “Trial of the Flash” storyline, but did the episode hit the mark?
As far as spring season openers go, “Trial of the Flash” certainly works, and it’s impossible to deny that it’s an entertaining hour of television. If such a beloved comic book storyline wasn’t attached to the episode, it perhaps would function better – but prior knowledge and anticipation turned this episode into, well, a bit of a disappointment. The trial itself is rushed, which takes away the emotional weight that should be ever-present in an episode such as this. The actors work with what they have, but it’s difficult to really sell the gravity of Barry’s trial in such a short amount of time. It’s clear what the show was going for – its B plot perfectly sets up a moment in which we see the hypocrisy of Central City’s turn against Barry Allen and adoration of The Flash, but it certainly would have been done better given (again) more time.
Despite being one of the most highly anticipated storylines on the show, “Trial of the Flash” was extremely short-lived and surprisingly rushed
It’s not quite clear why The Flash chose to condense its trial storyline into one episode. Perhaps they are more interested in a Barry-in-prison story than a trial. For whatever reason, the show chose to speed through the legal process in order to keep it under an hour. The result is a feeling of whiplash and frustration. We hear much more from the prosecution than the defense, and it leaves us screaming at our televisions. Why didn’t Cecile question Barry’s motive? Why didn’t she point out that, as a CSI, Barry would know better than to murder someone in his own home with his own wedding gift? And why does her defense consist purely of proving that Barry is a good person? It’s not bad writing, exactly, but it’s certainly bad planning. By giving themselves only one episode to spend on the actual trial, the showrunners wrote themselves into a corner, and the only way out was by bypassing key details that would’ve really helped sell this story.
“I hereby order that Bartholemew Henry Allen should be incarcerated for the rest of his natural life without the possibility of parole.”
There are only about twenty minutes between the beginning of Barry’s trial and Iris’s climactic and desperate attempt to reveal his secret. Crime shows do this all the time – Law and Order fits an entire investigation and legal process into an hour on a regular basis. The problem, though, is that we are invested in the defendant, rather than the prosecution, of this case. We only have minutes to root for Barry and Cecile to succeed, and the show asks us to understand the emotional impact of this trial while we are still attempting to process the fact that it’s even happening. A story like this deserved at least two episodes to be fully fleshed out, but the choice to shorten it isn’t entirely surprising. The Flash loves to take on a comic storyline (in name only, usually) and speed through it – just look at last season’s attempt at Flashpoint. The Flash would do well to slow things down, take a breath, and give the audience a chance to invest in a storyline before we are thrown into the next one.
The secondary storyline is unnecessary and feels shoehorned into the larger episode
The Flash certainly has a formula, one that the Arrowverse in general regularly follows. You’ve got the A storyline, usually featuring Barry, and a B and sometimes C storyline following other characters. It’s a great set up normally, but it okay to break the mold once and a while. The show seemed reluctant to do so, and as a result delivered a choppy B storyline about Cisco, Caitlin, and Harry fighting a radioactive metahuman. Just when the audience began to settle into the trial, we were ripped across town and asked to care that some truck driver was turning green. It’s a fine story on its own, but it created an imbalance – while Barry and Iris deal with the most devastating event a couple can deal with, we are expected also care about some other horrible thing endangering the city. The result is a disjointed mashup that cheapens the entire episode.
Cisco: “The city’s about to explode. Everyone, everything you know and love, the birds, the trees, the fish, the puppies! The puppies are going down because you didn’t want to… show up for work!”
As is common on The Flash, the two storylines converge toward the end, but the episode is not made better for it. Is it even legal to leave your own murder sentencing because you got a phone call? We completely see the point of the scene – even as he’s on trial for a murder he didn’t commit, Barry puts the city accusing him above all else. It really does testify to the very point Cecile was attempting to make – Barry Allen is a hero and Central City is lucky to have him. But the fact that he misses his own sentencing is unrealistic. Barry is hanging at STAR Labs moments after he was legally declared a murderer – what? Can you really just mosey on up to the courthouse for your life sentence whenever you feel like it? The choice does pay off, at least partially, with the justaposition of Barry’s sentencing and the Flash’s Award of Valor, but the set up to that moment was too clunky for it to fully resonate.
The episode is carried by its actors, who’s performances lend an emotional weight to the story that the writing failed to provide
Two performers absolutely shine in “Trial of the Flash.” In an episode about the conflict between two men, their wives steal the show. Candice Patton and Kim Engelbrecht each deliver emotional gut punches with very little dialogue. Engelbrecht’s Marlize DeVoe mourns the loss of her husband (or, more accurately, the loss of his physical body) and struggles to kiss another man’s face. Later, she puts on a performance in the courtroom of a woman in shock and grief. The truly impressive thing about Engelbrecht is that she somehow manages to make these two moments different – in both, she is crying over her husband, but the first one feels real and raw while the second is convincing enough for a jury, but feels artificial after the prior moment. It’s truly outstanding that Engelbrecht can distinguish her own acting from DeVoe’s in such a convincing manner.
Marlize DeVoe: “I am doing what I have to do for my husband, Mrs. West-Allen. The question you should truly be asking is: what are you willing to do for your’s?”
Candice Patton, arguably The Flash’s most valuable resource, never fails to impress with her acting ability. Her strength lies in her wordless expression – we see so much on Iris’s face without her saying anything at all. We see anger in her eyes when she speaks to Mrs.DeVoe, hope when she tries to convince Barry to reveal his secret, and devastation and resignation after Barry is found guilty. Patton’s chemistry with Grant Gustin is truly exceptional, and the two of them easily sell us on their love for one another – so much, so, that it even distracts from the nonsensical nature of their speedster conversation in the courtroom.
Perhaps over-hyped, “Trial of the Flash” is a rushed but nonetheless emotional episode full of noteworthy performances (especially from its female cast)
Flash fans have been talking about “The Trial of the Flash” for years, ever since that brief moment in season one when we saw a flash of Barry behind bars. Perhaps this is why this episode feels like a letdown. With no expectation, the episode would have been simply “good,” rather than “good but disappointing.” Still, there are brief moments that show us what could have been – Marlize’s testimony, Iris’s interjection, and the juxtaposition of Barry’s sentencing and The Flash’s award ceremony were truly outstanding moments, however short-lived.
The episode was largely a set up for a coming storyline about Barry in prison, so we have high hopes for what comes next. Hopefully, The Flash has a plan for the rest of the season that’s going to justify the rushing of this particular story. With one of the show’s best villains so far, and a great cast dynamic, the potential for an A+ spring season is certainly there, let’s just hope they deliver.
QUESTIONS & COMMENTS
- Someone please explain to me how that courtroom scene worked?? Barry was moving so fast that everyone else was still?? Was Iris moving that fast too?? Does that mean that they were talking at superspeed?? How would Iris, a human, be able to understand a conversation at superspeed?
- Don’t let my review fool you, I still loved this episode. I love every episode of The Flash, and that’s why I found this one disappointing – I know they can do better.
- Kim Engelbrecht is going places – mark my words.
- Barry is in his father’s cell?? Ouch. My heart.
- Barry and Iris’s relationship is truly one of the best examples of love on TV right now. They are just so… real.
- Seriously, if you can explain that courtroom conversation please comment below because I do not understand.