The Flash returned from hiatus with the slowest episode yet
After the longest three-week hiatus known to man, The Flash returned with a brand new episode called “Null and Annoyed,” and annoyed we were. This week, Team Flash faces off with a new bus meta, Null (Bethany Brown), who has the ability to control gravity and is the ultimate thief of jewels and money. This power affects Barry (Grant Gustin) many times throughout the episode, and eventually leads to a falling out between him and Ralph (Hartley Sawyer).
The episode also sheds light on the Devoes, as the two try to figure out how to get to the remaining bus metas. Through this, Marlize (Kim Engelbrecht) discovers Clifford (Miranda MacDougall) has been “weeping” her into a state of euphoria, but it’s a dead end when Clifford drugs her all over again. Talk about an abusive relationship!
Earth 19’s one and only bounty hunter returns to Earth 1 when Breacher (Danny Trejo) makes a surprise visit to ask Cisco (Carlos Valdes) for a favor. While fighting Crucifix, a vampire of his Earth, Breacher’s powers shorted and he needs Cisco’s help to get them back. After learning that the shortage was due to Breacher’s old age, Cisco deals with a difficult dilemma in telling him due to the reason of not seeing Cynthia (Jessica Lisa Camacho) again.
Once again, Harry (Tom Cavanagh) takes his smarts (or lack thereof) to heart as he continues to work with the Thinking Cap. As speculated in “Run, Iris Run,” Harry may be heading down a dark path to prove his intelligence, and in the end, revisits Eobard Thawne’s time vault to chat with Gideon. The season one nostalgia is real!
Here to discuss vibing, backstories, 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. Lots to discuss but first, what was your favorite moment from the episode?
Tatiana (@myrcellasear): My favorite moment of the episode has to be Marlize leaving herself the message to get the hell out of dodge only to discover she’s done this before. It was shocking, upsetting and thrilling – and Kim Engelbrecht sold every second of horror and determination.
Cami (@tarcamwat): The most interesting part of the episode was Marlize and Clifford. Clifford keeps trying to create a Stepford wife and Marlize keeps breaking free. It’s twisted, dark, and intriguing. How will Marlize finally break free?
Shaddae (@icandyiris): There really wasn’t much to enjoy this episode, but when Barry called out Ralph, that was rewarding because he speaks for all of us.
Tay (@candicekps): My favorite moment of the episode was the scene where Marlize found out that she was being drugged. When she tried to save her warning video, and Devoe told her that this situation has happened “too many times,” I almost fell out of my seat! That scene was definitely the best moment of the episode.
Alexis (@alexiswaverider): The Marlize plotline and the scene where we find out that she’s been over this with Clifford repeatedly but is doomed to remain his victim was the most emotional for me.
2. We got some answers as to why Ralph is the way he is. Are you more or less understanding of him now?
Tatiana: I am no more or less understanding than before, simply because I’m tired of the writers repeating the same story with him every week. I don’t care that he uses humor to deflect from negative emotions because all his humor is deflecting from is the plot and the heart that’s supposed to make up The Flash.
Cami: I understand him. A lot of people handle tension by cracking jokes and laughter.
Shaddae: It was a sad story but it’s hard to sympathize this far on when he’s become just annoying and his arc lacks interest.
Tay: I understand him more, but his character still isn’t one of my favorites. His situation can be comparable to Barry’s — or even Iris– in many ways, yet they don’t carry themselves in that manner. However, I do realize that his personality is unique to him.
Alexis: I just don’t care about Ralph and I fear he may have done irreparable damage to the series at this point.
3. Breacher offered Cisco a job as a full-time bounty hunter on Earth 47. Do you think Cisco should take it?
Tatiana: If Cisco were real, then yes, I would tell him to take it. An opportunity to be his own boss, actually get paid, and live with the woman he loves? Why not! Especially considering he never sees his family anyway. But because he is one of my favorite characters on a TV show, I cannot allow it. He must nobly turn it down because Barry needs him to stop Devoe, and then Cynthia can come to him once Taken gets canceled. (Sorry, Jessica Camacho!)
Cami: Cisco SHOULD leave. He is underappreciated on Team Flash. He could really use his powers to their full potential and be with his girl. But we’d all miss him so much. So, no!
Shaddae: I’m torn on this one. On one hand, I want him to because maybe this would lead to less S.T.A.R. Labs, but I love Cisco so much.
Tay: From a selfless standpoint, yes! Yet, I love Cisco too much for him to leave!
Alexis: For the evolution of Cisco’s character and the betterment of the series, I hope so. Any storyline that moves us away from S.T.A.R. Labs is a good one.
4. Harry is channeling his inner Reverse Flash in the last scene. Have any theories as to why he needs Gideon?
Tatiana: My guess is that Gideon can see the future, sort of how Thawne used her as a marker for whether things were going right or not in season one. So the only way for Harry to think ahead of the Thinker is to actually… know ahead? Unfortunately, there’s no way that cap isn’t turning him into a mix of Thinker 2.0 and Thawne 2.0, so things are gonna get hairy real soon.
Cami: He needs Gideon to give him information about the future so he can outsmart Devoe.
Shaddae: I guess because Gideon is a futuristic artificial intelligence that knows all. He might be slowly turning evil but Reverse Flash isn’t intimidating anymore so I hope we’re not going down that road for the next season.
Tay: That scene left me shook! I think he may need Gideon to help him in his mission to defeat Devoe. Since his helmet cap isn’t working as it should, he’s most likely confiding in Gideon to aid him in this internal struggle.
Alexis: I think all signs point to Tom reprising his role as Wells/Eobard which was a smart decision by the showrunners because this is the role that Tom excels in and the only version of Harry Wells that makes sense in the series.
5. Iris really went to bat for Ralph tonight. Did you understand her point of view in defending him, or not?
Tatiana: I know that Iris West-Allen is a woman capable of immense understanding and forgiveness, but this week felt like a stretch too far. It really seemed like the writers were using her as a mouthpiece, hoping that the people who haven’t been sold on Ralph yet would magically fall in line once Iris told them to. She was technically right that thinking outside the box can be helpful, but Ralph’s “help” was very forced.
Cami: Sure, there are different types of intelligence and many ways to skin a cat. Iris understands that.
Shaddae: Iris has always been understanding and rational. Her standing up for Ralph, however, was a reach.
Tay: She’s such an understanding and loving individual, so I certainly do understand her. I think that after her conversation with Ralph in the last episode, she was more empathetic to his persona.
Alexis: Iris going to bat for Ralph is in character for her regardless of her point of view which is part of what makes a great leader. Ralph’s motivation tonight is not in sync with the Ralph of the last fifteen episodes so it makes it all the more difficult for me to buy into it. I got the impression that tonight’s storyline for Ralph was an attempt by the remaining showrunner and writers to explain his misogyny and cowardice ways, but it, unfortunately, didn’t work for me tonight. I applaud them for at least trying.
6. Marlize and Clifford’s relationship has taken an awful turn. What did you think is the endgame to their partnership?
Tatiana: I think Marlize absolutely needs to be made aware of what Clifford has done to her somewhere away from Clifford, so that she can take protective measures before turning against him. I kind of hope that Iris helps her see the light, from one woman in an equal partnership to another woman in an unequal one.
Cami: Marlize will break free from Clifford’s mind control and help Team Flash defeat him.
Shaddae: I was really hopeful about Marlize and Devoe but after finding out how abusive he is, I hope Marlize joins forces with Team Flash to take him down and explain what he’s doing.
Tay: She’s going to find a way to leave him and, out of betrayal, she’s going to help Team Flash defeat him.
Alexis: What I want for their partnership is for Marlize to help Barry and Iris take down Devoe for good and if possible, return for season 5.
7. Barry wanted Ralph to think like him. How did you feel about this? Agree or disagree?
Tatiana: The one thing I’ll give Ralph is that he is allowed to think for himself, which I wish Barry was given the chance to do more often. It’s interesting in theory that Ralph would have something to teach him after Barry’s taught him so much, but in practice I just agree with my man and want Ralph to shut up.
Cami: Diversity of thought and process is very important when it comes to problem solving and creativity. Barry sounded like one of those tech executives that only hire white and Asian males because they “fit the culture.”
Shaddae: I agree because obviously, Ralph’s brain is all over the place.
Tay: Despite Ralph’s insufferable personality, I don’t agree with Barry’s perspective on Ralph’s humorous prowess. No member of Team Flash is identical, so I definitely think that it’s unfair for Barry to project that on Ralph.
Alexis: These two characters have completely different traits, personalities, and goals, so Ralph will never think like Barry. However, Ralph thinking like Barry would be a massive improvement for his character.
The Flash has a Ralph problem that needs fixing
As mentioned earlier, Barry and Ralph had a falling out which pertained to Ralph’s continuous joking when it comes to saving his life. After Barry gets frustrated to the point where he puts Ralph “on the bench,” Ralph explains why tends to crack jokes in dire times. We learn that his father walked out on him and his mother at a young age, and he always cracked jokes to cheer his mother up. While it’s nice we finally get an insight into Ralph’s jesting personality, we don’t care! We’re sorry, but we don’t. This is the fifth time this season that an episode that was centered around Ralph and dealt with his everlasting “heroic” journey. Because of this, the season hasn’t reached its full potential and has been a letdown.
Though he’s undeserving of her defense, Iris (Candice Patton) made Barry realize that Ralph doesn’t need to “think” like him to be a hero. In the end, she was right and Ralph eventually saved the day in his own way. Iris continues to be the voice of reason and shares the best advice, but we do not need other characters going to bat for Ralph. The writers seem to be going through lengths to prove that he’s a growing hero. But after five episodes of the same storyline, the only thing that is proved is his inability to grow as a person.
When the Devoes were first introduced on the show, we couldn’t help but ship the villainous couple, as they contrasted to Barry and Iris’ pure relationship. Clifford and Marlize began as a partnership, and although they were facing off with our favorites, they were a power couple who would do anything to protect another in reaching their goal (which we still don’t know about, but we digress). We understood that, and we still rooted for them nonetheless. Now, the once-power couple has turned into an abusive one, which isn’t nice to see on-screen. We just hope poor Marlize finds her way out of the relationship soon, safely and soundly.
When The Flash returns next week, Team Flash finally faces off with The Thinker in what seems to be an epic showdown. The show seems to be moving in the right direction again, and we are sticking around to watch!