Barry Allen’s plan to escape alongside the villains this episode failed — miserably.
The Flash returned this week with an all-new episode, “True Colors,” which finally took a step in the right direction. By the end of the episode, our main villains and storyline of the season returned. After getting taken for Amunet Black’s (Katee Sackhoff) metahuman auction, Barry (Grant Gustin) enlists the help of all the bus metas to find a way out –the same metas he spent episodes trying to lock up. Hazard (Sugar Lyn Beard), Black Bison (Chelsea Kurtz), Kilgore (Dominic Burgess) and Sylbert Rundine (Derek Mars) returned this episode, filling it with much villainy banter (though we still wouldn’t call Black Bison a villain!)
The Flash has been known for introducing convenient powers at the right time, and this episode, Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) discovered he has the ability to shapeshift into anyone. To save Barry from captivity, Iris (Candice Patton) comes up with a plan to use Ralph to pose as Warden Wolfe (Richard Brooks). If the plan worked, it would call off the deal with Amunet before it’s too late. This provides the episode with comedic relief, even though that plan goes awry. In the middle of a conversation with Amunet, Ralph accidentally reverts back to his true self, ruining the plan and exposing himself. Because of this, Ralph spends another episode sulking about his un-heroic personality, but in the end, pulls through.
Here to discuss shapeshifting and more is our The Flash roundtable!
Jessica (@newsflash52) – Lover of all things DC, especially The Flash and Iris WestAllen, and podcast host for Ladies w Gumption.
Tay (@candicekps) – High School Senior, Iris West superfan, and TV show enthusiast.
Alexis (@alexiswaverider) – Hope we are less screwed in 2018.
Tatiana (@myrcellasear) – Entertainment journalism wannabe and an avid pursuer of comics.
Shaddae (@icandyiris) – Iris West-Allen enthusiast.
1. Barry joined forces with the villains he spent episodes trying to lock up. Did you enjoy their interactions?
Jessica (@newsflash52): I thought it was great watching Barry step up as a leader inside the prison, coming up with smart ideas and getting people who don’t even like each other to work together. Even if most of the prisoners eventually turned on him, it was nice that he at least got through to Becky and inspired her to be a good person. It kind of makes what ultimately happened to her even sadder.
Tay (@candicekps): I loved their interactions until the end when they found out his identity.
Alexis (@alexiswaverider): Yes, I did, especially his interaction with Becky who ended up being his ally when the rest realized Barry’s secret and turned against him. I, however, wish more time was devoted to the other metas in Iron Heights like Mirror Master, Peek A Boo, etc but instead, yet again we get hyperfocused on Ralph.
Tatiana (@myrcellasear): I enjoyed the Becky and Barry interactions the most. It was sweet to see how her devil-may-care attitude from 4.03 was mostly bluster and the excitement of having these powers and turning her luck around. In the end, she didn’t want to hurt more people, and she was inspired to be a hero like Barry. It was especially sad to see her go the way of Bette Sans Souci after that. As for the rest of the metas, they weren’t really given much chance to shine or develop their personalities further. Mina (Black Bison) was the one I found more interesting in 4.06, but she had no depth here – and the other two were never interesting to begin with.
Shaddae (@icandyiris): I did actually and what was funny to me is Becky’s new interest in Barry after she made it clear that he was not her type, maybe it’s the beard.
2. Barry got to be smart this episode and put his skills to good use! Do you want to see more of that this season?
Jessica: Oh my goodness yes! I was so pleasantly surprised Barry was able to MacGyver his way out of the meta prison and help all the captured metas escape. We rarely ever get to see Barry using his CSI background in situations like this. When he’s The Flash, it almost always goes back to having to ask the team what to do. The one good thing about Barry being in jail without his powers was separating him from Star Labs and allowing him to think quickly on his own. I would love to see more Smart Barry this season.
Tay: I want to see that for the rest of the show! I literally got so excited when he devised an escape plan all by himself. That’s the Flash we deserve!
Alexis: A brilliant, independent, witty, capable and self-reliant Barry, of course. This is the Barry we know from the comics and the Barry we’ve all been yearning for. Barry has been dumbed down so much the past 3+ seasons just so Cisco, Caitlin, and Harry can have dialogue. These past few episodes have again shown that Star Labs as the central location and “team flash” at its core is a hindrance to Barry’s development and to the rest of the characters as well. Iris also got to devise a plan. It is my sincere hope that the structure around everything and everyone being tethered to Star Labs ends this season. Let the characters go on their individual journey which in turn allows the show to evolve for the better.
Tatiana: Of course! I love Barry putting his natural intelligence and scientific knowledge to good use. Sometimes it’s good to see him separated from the whole team because then he can’t rely on them to give him the answers or solve problems for him. It’s moments like these that we see that Barry Allen is more than a kind heart and an optimistic nature, he’s a scientist and a detective in his own right.
Shaddae: Barry’s ability to think for himself and use his scientific knowledge has been reduced to facilitate the storylines of other characters. It took him being in jail to finally lead on his own and it was refreshing to see, I hope it’s not a one-time thing.
3. “Frosty Oprah” made an appearance this episode, and gave self-doubtful Ralph a pep talk. Did you enjoy that scene? Confusing or amusing?
Jessica: I thought the “Frosty Oprah” line was funny, but the whole scene of Killer Frost giving Ralph advice was a little confusing. I guess since we never really see much of Killer Frost to know anything about her, I was kind of wondering when she came to this self-realization about herself. Good for the writers for addressing that she knew she was in the wrong, but it’s a little weird that this is the first time she’s really vocalized it. I guess though it was fitting for Killer Frost to be the one to break through to Ralph, one imperfect person to another.
Tay: Confusing! I still don’t understand how her powers are triggered. Also, it completely contradicted what Barry said to Becky about how powers do not affect whether you are good or bad.
Alexis: I will reiterate again that Frost, her origins, motivations or how her power works still makes no damn sense and it felt like the writers acknowledged that this episode. They wanted to have their cake and eat it too. They wanted Frost as a formidable villain and yet good enough to stay on the team. Caitlin has to be threatened with puppies to save lives but she was able to tap into Frost this episode without hesitation, pep talks or self-doubt? Also, how is Snow/Frost now cognizant of what their alter egos have been up to but we were just told the opposite merely 7 episodes ago. Her arc is inconsistent and she only serves as a plot device. Her character will be better served on a show like Legends.
Tatiana: I actually liked the Killer Frost scene, though I disliked that there was a need for it. But I was glad to hear her admit that she had done them wrong and it was ludicrous that they had forgiven her. If they’ll forgive her, they will literally forgive anyone! Also, I saw some people confused about how she could control the transformation, but I think cutting herself probably induces the same rage and fear as being yelled at by her friends. Not a trick she wants to try every time, but it worked fine for me.
Shaddae: I was thoroughly confused. In my opinion, the writers lack continuity and they have no clue as to where this Caitlin arc is going. It was so easy for her to turn into her Killer Frost persona but she has to be begged to save lives every other time. Is she all of sudden able to control her powers when did this transition take place? I have so many questions!
4. Barry Allen is free! Did you like the way Team Flash figured out how to release him?
Jessica: That was a brilliant use of Ralph’s shape-shifting skills! I wasn’t sure where he was going with it when he left his office talking about villains, but I cheered when I saw him roll into the court as Devoe and the look on Marlize’s face! For once, Team Flash was finally able to out-think the Thinker.
Tay: It was a pretty good idea. I love how Barry always sticks to his morals though.
Alexis: The moment we suddenly discovered that Ralph can shapeshift into anyone, I figured that’d be their solution to getting Barry released so the moment “Devoe” wheeled himself into the courtroom I knew. It is a great move even though it only generates more problems down the road that I know the writers won’t address which is what frustrates me about the series. For example, you’d expect police and press to follow up with “Devoe”, what about his class, I’d assume the university would want him to get back to it so what happens when he doesn’t show up, etc. Can Ralph now manage his contortions for long periods of time? We didn’t have a lengthy reunion with Barry and Iris but I did love that Barry reaffirmed Iris as his home.
Tatiana: First, I have to say I loved that Iris had the initial plan to make Ralph pose as Warden Wolfe. She continues to show great and subtle leadership skills, and that plot point gave actor Richard Brooks a chance to have fun with the role before being unceremoniously killed off. As for the actual plan of having Devoe walk right in, that was awesome! My only question was why it seemed like Cecile knew about it and Iris didn’t. Maybe Ralph didn’t want to let anyone down if it didn’t work? Not sure. Finally, the scene with all of them at the West home was sweet, but I would have loved a moment of Barry walking out of prison to see Iris waiting for him – paralleling how Henry got out in the S2 premiere.
Shaddae: A part of me wanted him to escape completely on his own but Team Flash did their part as usual and I’m glad he’s out.
5. With a shocker, Devoe is now inhabiting the body of Becky. Did you see that coming, and how shook were you?
Jessica: Initially I had no idea what was going on when Devoe came out of nowhere and hooked the bus metas up to his chair. Are they all Devoe? Is “Alpha Devoe” now Becky instead of Dominic? Does that mean Dominic is free? So many questions! The ending scene with BeckyVoe and Marlize was so creepy! I wondered how the Weeper’s tears from the intro would come back into play, so seeing BeckyVoe use them to force Marlize to love him again was a shock. I’m actually really worried about Marlize!
Tay: I definitely did not see that coming. Furthermore, I feel like this constant body swapping along with Devoe’s murderous tendencies will inevitably make Marlize betray him.
Alexis: I knew it would happen eventually but I didn’t see it being in that scene with Becky. But in hindsight, Devoe did say that Becky is the most useful of his metas so that was clearly foreshadowing that I should have seen coming.
Tatiana: I did not think of him inhabiting Becky’s body, so I was indeed shook. But more than that, I was horrified at the thought that all these metas were dying and then I guess being absorbed into him. That was some nasty stuff. And tragically, I guess this means Dominic is dead for good, he can’t get his mind back after Devoe leaves his body. Which means Becky is too.
Shaddae: I didn’t expect that outcome but I’m sure here for it. This is the first time the show has introduced a relationship like this and I want to see how this dynamic plays out for more than one episode so here’s to hoping Devoe doesn’t inhabit another body soon.
6. Ralph doubted himself again this episode but came through in the end for his friends. Do you think he has the potential to be a great hero?
Jessica: I think, clearly, Ralph wants to be a better person. When faced with adversity, he has his moments of doubt, but in the end, continues to choose to do the right thing rather than be the disappoint his friend Earl told him he’d be. That being said, I do feel like his existential crisis was a little bit unnecessary this week seeing as how he just went through one like 2 weeks ago.
Tay: He definitely has the potential to be a great hero! I still prefer Wally West as the metahuman side kick though.
Alexis: Just when I think we’re making headway with Ralph, the writers take 10 steps back. Why does he have to be continually convinced to be a hero? We spent roughly one-third of the episode with Ralph sulking or someone pep talking him. Wally would’ve done that without a moment’s hesitation. In fact most of the time, the team has discouraged Wally for doing the same thing they’re begging Ralph to do. My question is why trade Wally, a fully-fledged hero for another who has to be coerced into doing a heroic act. To be honest, I hope we’re done with Ralph this season.
Tatiana: I thought Ralph’s insecurities were properly handled in 4.11, so it was disappointing to see them rear their ugly head once more here. Especially because they emerged due to a scene with a character we don’t even know, talking about events to which we have no connection. Ralph’s heroic journey has been consistently dwarfing any stories that we could tell with Cisco and Caitlin, even at times Iris. And let’s not forget that he’s getting arcs that could easily have gone to Wally. So it’s really hard to get invested in whether he has what it takes – which I’m sure he does because the writers seem to love him – or not.
Shaddae: What I think is that a lot of quality screen time that could be utilized elsewhere is spent on Ralph. However, I have to give credit where it’s due and he did get Barry out so he deserves laud for that. He could make a good superhero but I’m just not personally interested in his storyline.
7. Marlize has been mind-blocking her husband and now wife this episode. Do you think she will turn against Clifford?
Jessica: Absolutely! The cracks have been starting to show for a few episodes now, ever since Devoe took over Dominic’s body. I don’t blame Marlize for being a little creeped out. Devoe was using Dominic’s powers to intrude on her thoughts (Hey! Marlize and Joe have something in common). It seems more and more that the “equal partnership” she thought she had with her husband keeps getting less and less the stronger Clifford gets. And this episode, the fact that he killed Warden Wolfe, seemed to genuinely come as a shock to her. I really do hope she’s the key to stopping him once and for all.
Tay: I definitely think she will turn against Clifford. I hope we get another Marlize vs. Iris scene though.
Alexis: I’ve always known she would be critical in taking down Devoe who has, by the way, completely lost sight of everything. He went from having good intentions for humanity, albeit his means of getting there was twisted and wrong, to a plain crazy and selfish megalomaniac. I thought the Devoe plot had been great up until this episode. I’m still not sure why the writers went with this particular route but whether he remains a great villain by the end of the season is yet to be seen. Also, it wasn’t clear but has Devoe been drugging her this entire time or was this episode the first incident? Interesting enough, this is the first deviation the Devoes have had from Westallen. Also, do we think that was “Weeper’s tears” that Clifford drugged Marlize with? To answer your question, yes Marlize will turn on Clifford, it’s just a matter of when.
Tatiana: I can’t wait to see her turn on him. I just wish we had a clearer picture of what plan they devised so that Devoe’s betrayal of it would be more poignant. I loved how they were introduced as a supervillain foil to Westallen, so it’s too bad the show could find time to follow through on how the two partnerships diverge in this episode. But it’s important to note that when Barry says, “We are the Flash,” he means it. He includes Iris in all his decisions and she feels confident disagreeing with him, knowing he will take her into account. Meanwhile, you have Marlize who is forced to literally block Clifford from her mind, and who is drugged when she starts to show the backbone that Clifford supposedly loves her for.
Shaddae: I’ve had this headcanon for a while that in the end, she’ll be in the big plan to take down Devoe. Love is the only thing I could see perplexing him, I feel like he wouldn’t expect Marlize to turn on him and that will be his downfall. It’s visible that she’s already having conflicting thoughts.
Final Verdict: Finally! The Flash returned to its main storyline, but it only leaves us with more questions!
This episode left us with many questions that we hope to have answered soon. Obviously, Barry and the bus metas couldn’t escape without a fight, as Wolfe shows up to capture them. When Wolfe realizes Barry and the metas won’t be taken without a fight, he quickly turns the tables and reveals to them that Barry is The Flash, aka the same man who put them in this position in the first place. Suddenly the bus metas turn on him, while “lucky” Becky sticks by his side. Before things could happen to our beloved Scarlet Speedster, Devoe (Kendrick Sampson) shows up and “kills” the bus metas by stealing their powers, or as we think. As Becky is the last to be killed, we are led to believe that he stole her powers too. But with a huge shocker, Devoe is now standing, but this time in Becky’s body. That’s right! Devoe is no longer using Dominic’s body as a host! This comes as a shock to Marlize (Kim Engelbrecht), who was mentally blocking Devoe from reading her thoughts the entire episode. For the past couple of episodes, there have been hints of the Mrs. Devoe betraying her husband, and this episode solidifies it once again — we can’t wait!
It remains a mystery as to what Devoe has planned, but the end of the episode is leading us in that direction. After Ralph receives a hilarious pep-talk from villainous Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker), Ralph shapeshifts into the original Clifford Devoe (Neil Sandilands) after Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) calls for an appeal, which comes as a surprise to everyone — so now everyone believes Clifford Devoe is alive, which meant Barry is free! It remains a mystery as to what Devoe has planned, but the end of the episode is leading us in that direction.
Ralph spent another episode questioning his hero status, even though he did that three times already. The fans understand the show wants to spend time on his heroic journey, but constantly reiterating his struggles isn’t the right way to do it. Ralph believes that being a hero means you get to choose when you want to save people, and this is the third time he doubted his capabilities in the team that caused plans to be stalled.
Team Flash reunites with Barry at the West home, where he shared his theories about Devoe’s plan. Since Devoe’s initial plan was to create the metas for his own gain, Barry realizes that nothing stopped him from acquiring their powers before — so why now? Why did Devoe kill them at this specific time? And why didn’t he just acquire powers from any of the other metas in Iron Heights? Devoe wants the bus metas, and this includes Ralph. This means he may be coming after The Elongated Man soon (which means he will inevitably be put at the center again).
The Flash is going on a three-week hiatus due to the Winter Olympics, so not much information about the next episode has been revealed. However, the show did air a promo for “Subject 9,” as Barry and Ralph try to save a country music star from being taken by Devoe. We don’t have any details about this character (assumed to be another bus meta), but we are sticking around to find out!