Team Flash is continuing to take the biggest losses
After what felt like the longest hiatus ever, The Flash finally returns to our screens with a brand new episode. “Subject 9” introduces another bus meta, one that we actually enjoyed–country music and all! Coined by Devoe (Sugar Lyn Beard), “The Fiddler” aka Izzy (Miranda MacDougall) is a victim of the bus explosion that causes her to receive powers that allow her to alter sound–similar to the Black Canary. After learning that Devoe is targeting the bus metas for his grand plan, Barry (Grant Gustin) and Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) team up to keep Izzy safe. And since Ralph was one of the victims of the bus explosion, Team Flash creates a buddy system to keep him out of harm’s way, alternating between Barry and Cisco (Carlos Valdes). Only for some reason, Devoe hasn’t come after him just yet.
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After convincing Izzy to let Team Flash protect her, Barry puts her to work so she can learn how to control her powers. Not only does he want her to learn, but Barry wants to eventually use Izzy as a weapon against Devoe. He keeps pushing her to try harder in training, which leads to Izzy getting hurt. Seeing his frustrations and need to get ahead of the villain, Iris (Candice Patton) steps in to give him great advice: “Heroes aren’t made overnight.”
Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) is still suffering from her telepathic abilities, which causes Harry (Tom Cavanagh) to step in and help her. Because of this, the two get to bond (when he isn’t screaming at her) and unravel all of Harry’s current frustrations.
Here to discuss Team Flash’s various losses 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. Though we still have yet to learn about Devoe’s final plan, Team DeVoe made plenty of moves tonight. Any idea what their plan is?
Vanessa (@westallenallure): I have no idea what their plan is and it’s making me a little anxious. I don’t want them to drag this out and then it is unsatisfying or lukewarm-compared to the build up. I’m hoping they don’t drag it until the last three episodes like they did last season. Granted, the build-up for DeVoe as a character has been much better and more cultivated than Savitar’s.
Jessica (@newsflash52): No clue! Lol. I mean. We can gather that he’s trying to piece together all the meta powers to form an ultimate metahuman like Power Rangers connecting up to form their own MegaZord. How did he know these specific people would develop these specific powers? All the bus meta powers so far have been wildly different so how do they all fit together to get to the “enlightenment”? It doesn’t make sense, and I’m starting to think Clifford is just full of crap and sold Marlize on a false dream. He doesn’t want to make the world a better place. He’s just arrogant and power hungry.
Holly (@hollyanderson30): I first thought DeVoe was going to be taking all their powers before taking Barry’s body but now I don’t think that’s possible. He seems to be losing his mind more with each body that he transfers his mind into, so for now, I’m left guessing.
Chelsea (@flezrasbarry): I think it was alluded to in 4×07, they have a vision for Central City and really mankind, and the meta powers he has been absorbing are specifically necessary for him/Marlize to build towards this vision of utopia they have. But I do think the sacrifices, as well as how ruthless DeVoe has gotten is slowly changing Marlize’s mind about going along with this plan.
Will (@willmpolk): It seems that the plan is to become the most powerful meta ever. There obviously appears to be several motivations for DeVoe including prolonging his life and tormenting Barry by trying to ruin his life. At this point, the whole collection of metas and killing them is getting repetitive and even with the gee-whiz moment of an inter-dimensional hideout sounds pretty interesting. I just feel they are stretching this out and then we will get a hurried conclusion.
2. Looks like Ralph fell in love tonight! Before Izzy tragically died, were you here for that ship?
Vanessa: I was not here for that ship, lol. It was super abrupt and a plot device to aid the underlying plot (in every episode it seems) of how Ralph is becoming a more sensitive/better man. The show couldn’t even hide that is was for the mere purpose of progressing Ralph’s story. Especially when they made Ralph give a hero speech, and made a point about him doing it and it ultimately working; and then him saying ‘he’ was going to stop DeVoe. It was rushed, unearned, and it’s so people can invest in the character’s emotions. Also, if Ralph is sticking around, Sue is the one they should save this stuff for.
Jessica: Ehhh…I’m not a fan that usually every time The Flash introduces a female character, she’s almost immediately brought into the story as a love interest for one of the male main characters. Izzy reiterated so many times throughout the episode that she was a strong woman who could take care of herself, but the episode mostly paired her with Ralph as something for him to protect. I like that Ralph making a connection with Izzy is what hardens his resolve not to run away from DeVoe. But, I feel like they could have accomplished that without the love connection. If Barry can have a heart to heart with Becky and mourn her death without it becoming a thing, then Ralph can inspire Izzy and mourn the death of a new friend without trying to connect her in the story as the love of his life.
Holly: I think it would have have been cute and everyone deserves love but I am waiting for Ralph to find his Sue.
Chelsea: Not really. It was kind of hard to get invested in Ralph’s romantic intentions because some of his actions towards women in the past was in the back of my mind. If I had just seen Ralph in this episode, I would have found that love at first sight puppy love adorable. Izzy did deserve better though, not just because of her connection to Ralph, but because she was a good person who only used her powers to work hard and pursue her dreams. She might not have wanted to be a hero, but she never let what happened to her corrupt her.
Will: The Arrowverse loves their ships! At least it was not Caitlin, lol. But seriously, I am glad that Ralph is showing some growth in his character, but I feel it has come at the expense of Caitlin and Cisco this season.
3. Harry and Cecile did a little bonding this episode! Is this a friendship we deserve?
Vanessa: I enjoyed their friendship, it was something I didn’t expect to be a thing but it worked. Harry is so outside of his emotions and the team’s life outside of Star Labs, that it was good to see him indulge in an interpersonal relationship. They also both have strong personalities but in different ways, which works. It was an attempt at developing more friendships within Team Flash and it was executed well.
Jessica: I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked their dynamic! The synopsis made it seem like Harry would be interacting with Joe, but I really like that it was Cecile instead. Harry and Cecile together is a perfect balance of sweet and salty. I was a little annoyed when he got frustrated and started yelling and throwing things at her (Who does that?!), but I thought it was sweet, in his own gruff way, that he genuinely wanted to reach out and help her get some rest. Probably the most amusing thing about their relationship is how he always refers to her by her full name. Harry is usually so sour and sarcastic all the time and brings down the mood of his scene partners, but even he is no match for the cuteness of DA Cecile Horton!
Holly: It’s not one I would ever expect that’s for sure.
Chelsea: Yes, I found their friendship refreshing. Cecile makes Harry sane, and Harry trying his best to help Cecile through her predicament was endearing. It was also nice seeing him get a subplot of dealing with his personal issues, as well as grasping at not being able to outsmart the villain for the first time ever. The vulnerability they gave was a nice touch.
Will: I think it was a natural friendship and it was acknowledged in the episode that he misses being around people in his peer group age wise. Harry is feeling very much alone and trying to find his place on Earth 1 and Team Flash. So Cecile’s new meta condition provided a convenient way to build this friendship.
4. There was a nice juxtaposition in the methods that Barry and Iris use, vs. those of the DeVoe’s. Do you believe these parallels are intentional?
Vanessa: I do believe the parallels are intentional and they are there to showcase how love can be present, but how it can become something ugly if you don’t nurture it. I still think a face-off may be in place despite DeVoe and Marlize not really being a team though and I believe it will drive the juxtaposition further.
Jessica: Of course! The parallels between the two married couples just further illustrates how the WestAllens will persevere over the DeVoes in the end. Barry and Iris are first and foremost a team, and they acted like it this episode, strategizing together how to train Izzy to fight DeVoe. When Iris disagreed with Barry’s “tough love” training and talked to him about it, Barry at first respectfully disagreed without tearing Iris down and then later came around to see Iris’ point of view. Clifford, on the other hand, treats Marlize more and more like his servant and not at all like his partner or equal– yelling at her and questioning her intelligence when all she wants to do is help him. Barry and Iris’ teamwork is making them stronger, while Clifford and Marlize’s lack of trust and respect is breaking them apart.
Holly: I really don’t think they are intentional.
Chelsea: Yes, I definitely think so. In the beginning, they were both paralleled in terms of the deep affection and loyalty they had for each other but we slowly saw DeVoe’s personality change. As he absorbed more metas, he became dismissive and abusive of Marlize. I wonder if he’s not just absorbing the powers of the metas, but the personalities as well and that’s what’s led to this drastic change in how Marlize/DeVoe were portrayed initially, and are now such a stark contrast to Barry and Iris as a couple.
Will: Clearly there are parallels. This season has been set up as a love story for both the main hero, the main villain, and their respective spouses on the lengths and methods that each will use to support their partners to achieve their objective.
5. Ralph has always been struggling to be a ‘hero’ for the wrong reasons. Did you enjoy the fact that he’s more motivated in the end, or do you believe it’s still for the wrong reasons?
Vanessa: I don’t think he’s motivated for the wrong reasons but I still think his journey to being a hero has been rapidly handled. I’m one who is not here for all the attention Ralph gets but I feel like if we are investing in him so much, let’s make it gradual, believable, and poignant. Ralph was a complete pig and over the course of the 10+ episodes, we’ve seen him “grow.” I still can’t shake that.
Jessica: I think it’s legit this time. Ralph sort of had to step up as the mentor this episode to Izzy, and I think he really started to understand the responsibility to others that Barry feels as a hero. Plus, losing Izzy even after he tried so hard to save her might be a turning point for him. After her “death” I was so expecting a classic Ralph “I don’t want to be a hero anymore” depression spiral. So I was relieved the experience strengthened his resolve to fight DeVoe rather than weaken it. That’s not to say Ralph won’t have any more relapses in his hero journey, but, hopefully, he’s finally on the right track and he’ll stay on it.
Holly: I think it’s partly out of friendship to Barry and the S.T.A.R. Labs gang but also there is now a part of him that wants revenge and that is never a good thing.
Chelsea: It was nice to see Ralph stepping up to the plate. I would have preferred it wasn’t over losing one woman, but rather because he was called out for his actions, and he faced repercussions for them. It would also be appreciated if he actually apologized to the women he wronged in the past, instead of it being glossed over. This whole storyline with him should have been avoided from the start in my opinion, and he should have remained more close to his comic book roots, being a sweet, loyal gentleman. At last, he’s gotten to a place where he’s willing to fight for something instead of cowering which is always welcome.
Will: Ralph is falling into the typical trope of seeking to avenge his loss, so as the season plays out Barry will teach Ralph to not let vengeance be the motivation of being a superhero.
6. Another meta bites the dust, sadly. What did you think of Izzy? Did she make you like country music? Hah!
Vanessa: I like country music, I don’t avidly listen to it – but it’s enjoyable when I do. I actually liked her (and her sass) and the actress does a good job of being a female DeVoe.
Jessica: I loved Izzy and I was so sad when she died. She had such a fiery personality and determination, very Carrie Underwood “I will take a baseball bat to your car and carve my name into your leather seats with my keys if you mess with me.” I’m not a huge country music fan, but I really enjoyed her performance. It would have been nice to be able to bring back Izzy (and some of the other bus metas) in later seasons, just as a fun call back. Maybe Team Flash could have gone to one of her shows. It sucks that this DeVoe storyline means interesting metas keep getting killed off. Miranda MacDougall did such a wonderful job, and I will miss her performance as Izzy. Even though we will see her again, I feel like “Clifford” tends to dull the shine off the characters he inhabits. Same happened with Dominic, Becky, and now Izzy.
Holly: I actually really liked Izzy, she was one of the first metas to actually go looking for DeVoe, not willing to be the victim.
Chelsea: Izzy was a nice woman who wanted to make a living for herself and chase her dreams. She might not have wanted to be a hero, but like Iris said that’s not for everyone. She did deserve better. As for liking country music, it’s not the time for Christmas miracles yet so that would be a no for me!
Will: Going into this episode, I was very skeptical of this character and unfortunately my expectations were confirmed. No fault of the actress portraying this character, but Izzy just left me feeling meh.
7. Lastly, tons of things happened this episode. What was your favorite moment from it?
Vanessa: I had two favorite moments. One was the scene of Barry getting fired, even though that may sound a little peculiar. I liked that they didn’t gloss over how the precinct would feel after such a public case. The other one would have to be, of course, when Iris had a talk with Barry and made him think rationally. I love how she’s the embodiment of a moral compass when he’s ready to forget the rules, forget sensibility, and act out on a whim. It also showed how much of a unit they are because she’s in tune with how desperate he is and he listens to her rather than look down upon her suggestions.
Jessica: As much as I weirdly enjoyed Harry and Cecile and Izzy’s “everything,” I would say my favorite moment is Barry and Iris talking through Barry’s tough love approach and Iris getting to the bottom of why Barry was being so hard on Izzy. It really just connects back to their communication, and how they tell each other everything. And I want to combine this scene with the scene that followed it when Ralph got mad and blamed Barry for Izzy leaving and Iris was like “Woah! Hold up!” because, even though Ralph had a point, she’s gonna defend her man and have his back! Lol.
Holly: All WestAllen moments. I really missed those. I loved in the beginning when the boys ended up in a tangled puppy pile but I hated that Barry lost his job for an “indefinite” amount of time — Ralph to the rescue on that one!
Chelsea: My favorite moment was Barry speaking to Iris regarding the psychological trauma he was dealing with not just due to being incarcerated but also from the fact that he watched all those metas die. Iris offering him consolation and helping him see the error of his ways was beautiful and reminiscent of why she’s his lightning rod and his “light in the dark.” I was concerned all of that would be swept under the rug, to make up for the lighter tone that the show is aiming for, so seeing it get addressed was a welcome surprise.
Will: Tonight the VFX was the winner for me, the rest of the episode was mostly forgettable, but for the nice callback to season 3 with the cerebral inhibitor. We will see that tech again this season I am sure!
Final Verdict: Though Team Devoe took some wins, we still have no idea what their endgame is!
Finally, the people of Central City are becoming aware! Week after week, the poor citizens have to endure chaos and havoc that the metahumans are wreaking, and they have had enough! They are slowly asking questions and because of this, Barry was unable to return to his role as C.S.I. at the Central City Police Department indefinitely, following the murder trial. Even though Barry was absolved of all charges, the mayor and Captain Singh (Patrick Sabongui) believe its best because the people need to believe DeVoe is actually alive. But no worries! At the end of the episode, Ralph offers Barry a job as his P.I. partner, so Barry won’t be saying goodbye to the CCPD anytime soon.
Similar to our roundtable, it came as a surprise to us that Harry and Cecile may have developed a friendship! It’s not one that we asked for or foresaw, but it’s one we certainly enjoyed. In the process of creating a mind-blocking device for Cecile, Harry takes his frustrations out on her. In previous episodes, Harry realized that he isn’t the smartest man in the world and because of this, he believes he isn’t fully capable of helping the team in defeating Devoe. Cecile quickly puts him in his place, but in the end, Harry was able to take her advice and use his smarts for good! He realizes that Cecile’s mind-blocking device could also be able to block Devoe’s powers as well, and then creates the cerebral inhibitor. Sound familiar?
Iris made a good point in that the team (and most importantly, the audience) isn’t aware of what the DeVoes’ plans are. Other than implying that the citizens of Central City are unintelligent, we have no idea why he needs every power that the bus metas acquire. As mentioned before, The Flash may have learned a thing or two about revealing the villain’s identity early on. However, now that we know who DeVoe really is and what he’s capable of, it’s time to get the show on the run and reveal what his plan is already! What is his endgame? After hopping in yet another metahuman’s body (Izzy you will be missed!), it tells us nothing other than wanting to acquire their powers. We know it’s only been 15 episodes, but it’s doing the show a huge disservice to stall for the sake of meeting quota.
Ralph really stepped up his game this episode, but we’re afraid he may have been doing it for the wrong reasons. After 3 episodes, we’re glad he isn’t spending his screen time questioning his hero status. After bonding with Izzy and her tragic death, Ralph was suddenly motivated to take down DeVoe — mainly wanting to avenge her death. Props to him! But we wish this motivation sprung when the rest of his friends were in danger.
Nonetheless, the episode was enjoyable following a long hiatus. Next week, Jay Garrick (John Wesley Shipp) and Jesse Quick (Violett Beane) return to Central City to help Barry deactivate a bomb. While it may it tough for them, we’re excited the show is centering on The Flash legacy for an episode!