Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Flash Season 6, Episode 16: So Long And Good Night

Huzzah! After a five week absence, The Flash is finally back!

Back in March, The CW put both The Flash and Legends Of Tomorrow on temporary hiatus due to the viral apocalypse that's currently sweeping the world. I gotta admit I don't understand their thinking here. The entire country's on a forced lockdown. People are stuck inside their homes with nothing to do but... talk to their families (shudder!). The nation NEEDS the distraction these shows can provide!

Besides, you'd think airing new episodes during a lockdown would be a no-brainer for the network. After all, the whole nation's at home— it's not like everyone's gonna be at a ball game or sitting in a bar while The Flash airs. They've literally got a captive audience right now. Seems like new episodes would score the biggest ratings the series has ever had!v Maybe it has something to do with Sweeps Week, I dunno. 

It's also unclear what effect the shutdown will have on the rest of the season. According to reports, the show had just finished either Episode 21 or 22 when the lockdown began and production was shut down. That means there were likely one or two episodes left to film. Will they finish out the season if the lockdown is lifted in time? Or will the Season 6 just end without an actual conclusion? It's all up in the air right now.

Anyway, on with the intro!

This week on The Flash we get another dreaded filler episode, as little or nothing happens. Wait, technically that's not true. Things actually do happen in the episode, it's just that none of them matter.

We get the return of Rag Doll, who shows up for no good reason and is in serious danger of becoming as overused as the Weeping Angels over on Doctor Who. Joe gets sent off to Witness Protection for no good reason, other to inject some feels into the episode. Barry's still tapping his seemingly endless supply of energy, even though the Speed Force is gone. And of course the interminable Mirrorverse subplot goes into its fifty seventh week. OK, maybe it just seems like it.

As you've probably gathered, I am officially done with the whole Mirrorverse storyline. I didn't mind it when it initially appeared, as I thought the idea of Iris being replaced by an evil twin was somewhat interesting. But it's gone on FAR too long now, and should have been wrapped up weeks ago.

It's also maddeningly vague and ill-defined. What was Eva trying to accomplish with her new technology before her husband Joseph trapped her in the Mirrorverse? Has that ever been established? Or are they saving the answer for a big season finale reveal?

And why is Eva creating all these mirror clones? At first I thought she made them to help facilitate her escape. But this week her motivation seems to have changed, as she's using them to get revenge against her husband. 

That's it? That's what this whole storyline's about? She's not trying to take over Central City or kill the Flash? She just wants to punish her asshole husband? Wow, how... anticlimactic. 

And who's the bad guy here? Eva or Joseph? Or are they both villains? Am I supposed to feel bad for Eva and side with her? It's all so nebulous and muddled. Here's an idea— how about telling the audience what the hell's going on?

It's not all bad news though. Ralph's finally back this week, after a very lengthy absence! Huzzah! I was beginning to wonder if he was still on the show or not. Even better, we also get the return of his gal pal Sue Dearbon. I love the chemistry between these two, and it's always a treat when they show up. Give 'em their own series already!

Of course now that Ralph's back, that means we have to bump another member of the cast from the show, as Caitlin sits out this week. I'm assuming actress Danielle Panabaker may have been giving birth during this episode?


The Plot:
McCullogh Tech CEO Joseph Carver sits sipping scotch in his spacious mansion. His aide enters and says Joe West has Millie Rawlins, aka Sunshine, in custody, and is attempting to connect her to Carver and McCullogh Tech. Carver says he's not worried, as he's hired an associate to eliminate Joe. Just then we hear creepy slithery, bone-cracking sounds, and Carver says his associate has arrived. Gosh, I wonder who THAT could be?

At the West House, Joe gets a call from Chief Singh, who says Sunshine isn't talking. He tells Joe he's taking him off the case because he's too close to it (wow, I've never heard a TV cop say THAT line before!). Joe objects, and Singh instantly gives in, which isn't the least bit suspicious. Barry says he wants to help, but Joe tells him to conserve his Speed Force energy.

Cut to the Mirrorverse, where Iris has been trapped for seventeen years. OK, it just seems like this plotline's been going on that long. She's finally able to read the backwards text in the mirror world, and tells Eva she studied her theory that someone can pass through the mirror portal if their molecular structure is destabilized. She confesses to Eva that her husband is the Flash, and he could use his superspeed to phase into the mirror and get them out. 

Eva's seemingly so stunned by this revelation that she says she needs to recuperate, so Iris excuses herself. Eva then contacts Mirror Iris, and tells her that Joe is still investigating Black Hole, and the Flash will eventually help him. She says she can't have that, as she wants to destroy her husband Joseph Carver all by herself. She orders Mirror Iris to drain the last of Barry's residual Speed Force energy from him, so he won't be able to take down Carver. None of this makes any sense, but let's just move on.

Meanwhile, Ralph finally returns to the show, and is still tracking Sue Dearbon. He tells Cisco she's been hacking into various banks while their staff and security are distracted by special events. He says the First National Central City Bank is hosting a brunch, and Sue's sure to strike. He wants Cisco to help him catch her. 

That night Joe's out driving, when suddenly his car speeds up and the brakes fail. As he careens through the streets, he hears laughter coming from the engine. Hmm. I wonder what meta's flexible enough to squeeze under a car hood? He heads toward a construction site and leaps from the car (which is traveling at 120 MPH!) just before it crashes into a brick wall.

A bit later, Barry, Cecile and Chief Singh are at the crash site with Joe. He tells them what happened, and says he's sure Joseph Carver was responsible. Singh says Joe needs to go into Witness Protection for his own safety, but he refuses.

The next day, Ralph and Cisco attend the bank brunch. Cisco discreetly hacks into the security system, but is interrupted by a British woman named January Galore. She flirts with Cisco, distracting him while she does something to the security panel. After she leaves, Cisco rejoins Ralph, who says there's no sign of Sue. When Cisco tells him about the mysterious woman he met, Ralph realizes it was Sue in disguise.

They run to the server room, where they find a discarded mask of January Galore's face. They spot Sue, who waves and escapes through a convenient skylight (in a server room?). Cisco pulls a device from a panel, and realizes Sue just transferred ALL the bank's assets into her account.

At STAR Labs, Barry examines the wreckage of Joe's car. He says the saboteur would have had to be inside the engine to make the car accelerate so wildly, which is impossible. Just then he finds a red hair, and realizes it belongs to Rag Doll.

At CCPD, Joe interrogates Millie Rawlins, but she refuses to talk. Just then Rag Doll emerges from a small file box in the back of the room. He attacks Joe, who shoots back at him. Rag Doll rapidly twists his body, which somehow causes the bullets to fly back right at Joe.

Just then Barry enters and speeds across the room, plucking the bullets out of the air. He reaches for the last one, but his rapidly draining speed gives out and he can't grab it in time. The bullet hits Joe in the arm and he collapses in pain. Barry says he's sorry he wasn't fast enough, then turns to see that both Rag Doll and Sunshine are gone.

Joe gets bandaged up and starts to head back to work. Barry tells him maybe he should go into Witness Protection, as he can no longer protect him. Joe refuses, so Barry makes him a deal— stay inside STAR Labs while he hunts for Rag Doll. Joe reluctantly agrees. 

Mirror Iris enters, and Barry tells her what happened. She sees his watch is glowing red, meaning he's somehow using Speed Force energy at that moment. She says he needs to step up and protect her father, trying to guilt him into using the rest of his residual speed.

That night, Joe paces the halls at STAR. He comes to a decision and takes off his badge and lays it on a table (another TV cop cliche!). He then pays a visit to Joseph Carver at his home. He tells Carver he knows he sent Rag Doll to kill him. Carver blatantly admits it, and Joe pulls out his phone, indicating he's been recording their conversation. Carver pushes a button on his watch that fries the phone and erases the message.

Carver he's worse than Joe can possibly imagine, and threatens Cecile and Baby Jenna. Joe then punches Carver in the face and leaves.

Back at STAR, Barry scolds Joe for running off and confronting Carver alone. Joe says he's terrified he won't be able to protect his family. Once again Barry suggests Witness Protection.

Sue meets with a financial advisor to discuss investing the millions she just stole. They're interrupted by Ralph, who asks to speak to his "associate" Sue alone. He tells Sue he knows she's been putting the stolen money into her parents' bank account. He figures they must have a terrible secret and are being blackmailed by Carver. He asks her to let him help. Despite the fact that the two have been antagonists since they met, Sue suddenly softens and says she can tell Ralph's a good person. She gives him the diamond she stole from Black Hole and tells him to look into it.

Allegra visits Cecile in her office. She says she heard about the attacks on Joe, and that Carver will target Cecile and Jenna next. She assures Cecile that if Carver tries anything, he'll have to go through her first (how reassuring!). 

Nash enters, having apparently eavesdropped, and says he'll protect them as well. Allegra, who's still weirded out that Nash had a fatherly relationship with her doppelganger, rolls her eyes and leaves. Nash follows, apologizing and asking how he can fix things between them. She says he can't, and to get lost.

Allegra enters the Citizen office, but discovers the lights won't work. She looks up and sees Rag Doll clinging to the ceiling. He drops down onto her, just as Nash enters. Rag Doll throws Nash across the room, knocking him out (convenient!). Allegra fires a blast of UV rays at Rag Doll, blinding him. She tries to run out, but he manages to grab her.

Cecile's telepathy senses Allegra's pain, causing her to double over. Just then Rag Doll crashes through the transom, grabs Cecile and says he's going to make her suffer.

At STAR, Joe bursts into the lab and shows Barry a video that Rag Doll sent to his phone. It shows Cecile tied up in a Central City warehouse. Barry uses the phone to track Cecile's location, then grabs Joe and speeds him to the warehouse.

Rag Doll instantly attacks Barry, who tells Joe to run. Rag Doll jumps into a series of pipes to escape, and Barry tries to flush him out. Joe finds Cecile tied to a chair inside a room. He opens the door, which activates a timed bomb strapped to the side of her chair. Joe tries to help her up, but she says it's a pressure bomb that will go off if she so much as moves.

Barry continues searching for Rag Doll. He slithers out of one of the pipes, wraps his arms around Barry and starts crushing him. 

Joe calls Allegra and says he needs her help to diffuse a bomb (?). He wakes and asks Joe to describe the bomb to him. Joe reads off the name and serial number, and Nash uses his gauntlet to research the bomb. He says diffusing it is easy— all Joe has to do is take off a panel and cut the green wire. Joe pulls off the panel and sees there are numerous wires inside— all green.

Joe comes to a decision and pushes Cecile off the chair and takes her place. His action causes the bomb's clock to momentarily speed up, costing them a minute. 

Barry somehow manages to grab a wrench and shoves in into the eye hole of Rag Doll's mask. He releases him and slithers back into the pipes. Barry bangs on the pipes, causing Rag Doll to crawl back out. Barry uses the meta dampeners to cuff him to one of the pipes. 

Barry tells Rag Doll that Black Hole can't help him now. Rag Doll says Black Hole's not paying him— he's just trying to make Joe suffer. He mentions that any second they'll all suffer with a boom or something. 

Barry figures out he means a bomb, and speeds into the room where he finds Joe in the chair. Joe tells him to get Cecile to safety. Realizing there's no time to argue, Barry zooms her back to STAR Labs (I think). In the warehouse, Joe reaches down and grabs a green wire. Barry then runs several blocks back to the warehouse (????). He finds Joe staring out a window, having apparently pulled the correct green wire. He tells Barry he's ready to go into Witness Protection.

Later that night, Joe says goodbye to Barry and Cecile. Barry promises Joe he'll bring down Black Hole and Carver as soon as he can so he can come back home. Singh leads Joe to an SUV, which drives off with him.

Singh enters his car and looks into the rear view mirror. Eva's face appears in the mirror, and she says he's done well by taking Joe out of the picture. GASP!

Carver gets a call that Joe's gone. He then discovers a large gift in his living room. When he opens it, he sees it's a full length mirror. Eva appears in it, saying Carver's a hard man to get a hold of. She says she wanted to use her discoveries to help the world, but he trapped her in the Mirrorverse and corrupted her work. She demands an apology from him.

Carver says threats are for real people, not phantoms, and smashes the mirror. He looks down and sees Eva's smiling face in the shattered pieces.

Barry returns to his apartment, where Mirror Iris is waiting. She's livid that he let her father enter Witness Protection without giving her a chance to say goodbye to him. She demands to know where he is, but Barry says he honestly doesn't know. She tells him to use his superspeed to search the city for Joe—in an effort to get him to use up the last of his power.

Barry says he can't, so Mirror Iris tells him to get the hell out. He tries to talk sense into her, but she refuses to listen. He exits the apartment, as his watch glows red.

• The episode begins with a shot of Joseph Carver's stately brutalist-style home, somewhere on the outskirts of Central City. Since all the Arrowverse shows are filmed in Vancouver, it's a good bet this house is located somewhere in British Columbia, right? Wrong!

This is actually a piece of video stock art from Getty Images— one that anybody can download for a small fee. Smart! It was probably far cheaper to just nab a shot off the internet than having a film crew schlep out to a location for half a day.

I suppose even though this is clip art, the house could actually be in Vancouver, but it seems unlikely.

• By the way... are we still calling this the Arrowverse, even though the Arrow series has wrapped up?

• In the previous episode, Caitlin gave Barry a special watch that monitors his powers, so he doesn't use up his residual Speed Force energy too soon. It glowed green when he wasn't using any speed, but red when he used a lot. Got it.

This week though the device has seemingly transformed into a mood watch. All through the episode, every time Barry gets angry the watch glows yellow, then eventually bright red. Wait... that's not how it's supposed to work! Why the hell would he be tapping Speed Force energy when he gets mad? Are we supposed to believe he angers at super speed?

• For years now, Team Flash has used Extrapolators to open portals in space and instantly travel from one location to another.

Unfortunately, the Extrapolators no longer function after the Multiverse was destroyed in the Crisis.

Oddly enough, over on Legends Of Tomorrow the team is equipped with Time Couriers. These devices can open portals in time as well as space, allowing the Legends to travel to any place in any era.

Maybe Team Flash should give the Legends a call and see if they can spare a couple of Time Couriers!

• Man, this show is positively obsessed with clue/conspiracy boards. Iris & Team Citizen made one earlier in the season in Marathon, and now this week Ralph's cobbled one together to try and find Sue Dearbon. Like I said before, what is this, the 1950s?

Has anyone ever made one of these things in real life? I'm gonna guess no, and this is one of those things that only happens in movie and TV shows.

• Ralph suspects Sue will show up to rob the First National Central City Bank during their upcoming Investors Brunch. I love that the Bank's website designer actually included a photo of a salad, as if the investors might not understand what foods they might encounter at a brunch.

• Rag Doll slithers under the hood of Joe's car in order to sabotage the engine. As Joe takes a leisurely drive, there's light jazz playing on his car stereo. Hilariously, the second Rag Doll cuts the brakes and causes the car to accelerate, speed metal blasts from the speakers. I guess he changed the radio station while he was at it? 

To be honest I'm not sure the music was supposed to be coming from the stereo, as it continues once the car explodes.

• If his speedometer can be believed, Joe's car is traveling at over 120 MPH when he jumps out. So Joe's dead now, right? It's unlikely anyone could survive landing on the pavement at that speed.

It's also abundantly clear that his car isn't going anywhere near that fast, especially when we see him turning corners on city streets.

And what happened to Rag Doll? Did he crawl out from under the hood a second before the car crashed and exploded?

• We get an establishing shot of the First National Central City Bank, as Ralph and Cisco stake out the brunch in hopes of finding Sue.

Oddly enough the bank looks a LOT like the John A. Wilson building in Washington DC! Identical, in fact.

• Cisco only agrees to go to the brunch if there'll be waffles. Once they get there, Ralph says it looks like they only have apple fritters. 

He's not very observant for a detective, because as the scene begins we clearly see someone loading their plate with piping hot, delicious-looking waffles.

This may have been meant as a joke, but I'm honestly not sure.

 At the brunch, Cisco hacks into the bank's security system before he's interrupted by a woman named January Galore.

We briefly met Ms. Galore earlier this season back in License To Elongate. Once again, I'm assuming her name is an homage to Pussy Galore, the most famous Bond girl from the James Bond franchise.

• Of course January Galore turns out to be Sue Dearbon in disguise. So where the hell is she getting these elaborate, lifelike masks that are indistinguishable from the real thing? Is she a special effects makeup artist as well as a high tech bank robber?

This brings up an interesting question— IS there an actual January Galore? Was that really her at the charity ball in License To Elongate, or was it Sue in disguise? Is January Galore an alias she uses to infiltrate high society functions?

• I gotta say it was great to see Sue again as always. Actress Natalie Dreyfuss brings a breath of fresh air to the show whenever she appears, and I hope she becomes a regular soon. She'd definitely be a better addition to the cast than Chester or Allegra!

• For a superhero, Ralph has some pretty poor reflexes. After Sue digitally robs the bank blind, she reaches up and fires some sort of cable, escaping through a convenient skylight. Ralph stretches his arm out to try and catch her, but misses her by a good second and a half.

Why the hell did he stretch his arm straight out when she was obviously zooming upward? And once he missed her, couldn't he, oh, I don't know... simply raise his arm up toward the ceiling?

And why the hell is there a skylight in a server room in the first place? Don't such rooms generally require a darkened and cool environment?

• This is some heavy-grade nitpicking, but whatever. After cleaning out the First National Central City Bank, Sue rushes to Cleary Capital Investments to open an account. Thing is, an establishing shot of the building shows it's well after dark, probably around 8 or 9pm. 

Is that really a thing? Do investment bankers have office hours that late? Told you it was heavy-grade!

I suppose it's possible that Sue could have made a special appointment and the place agreed to stay open for her. But there's no reason to have to come up with excuses for the writers. All they had to do was splice in a DAYTIME establishing shot of the building, and everything would have been fine!

• When Sue first met Ralph (in A Girl Named Sue) she played him like a fiddle, locking him in a vault, using him to steal a priceless diamond and even framing him for robbery. framed him for robbery. 

She's equally vicious toward him at the beginning of this episode as well, robbing the First National Central City Bank right under his nose, and taunting him as she gets away.

But then in the second act Ralph confronts Sue and says he knows her parents are being blackmailed by Joseph Carver, and that she's been robbing banks to get them out of trouble. When she says what of it, he simply asks her to let him help.

And just like that, her attitude toward him completely changes! She says she thinks he's a decent guy, and actually treats him like a friend. Wow, that was easy! Talk about turning on a dime!

• At CCPD, Joe interrogates Millie Rawlins, aka Sunshine. If you'll recall from her first appearance in The Exorcism Of Nash Wells, she's a meta who can control sunlight and use it as a weapon. 

When I first watched this scene I thought, "Woah, Joe's got her sitting in a room with sunlight clearly streaming through the windows!" It looked like she just had regular cuffs on, so any second I expected her to fry him with a blast of light.

Then when Rag Doll attacked Joe, Millie ducked down and you could see she the glow of the meta-dampening cuffs around her wrists. The glow's only visible for a split second though, and very easy to miss. Whoever directed this episode needed to establish the meta-cuffs a big better.

• Oh my god— Joe actually did the "Cop Takes Off His Badge And Lays It On The Table Thing" to go confront Carver as a private citizen.

• Supervillain Landing! Sorry about the quality, this was the least blurry frame I could capture.

• When Rag Doll first appeared, he was a freaky contortionist who could squeeze his body through any opening or stuff himself into an impossibly small box. Suddenly in this episode he's stretching his arms and wrapping them around his victims like ropes. He pretty much has the same powers as Elongated Man. So when the hell did that happen? Did I miss an episode or something?

• Sometimes the writing on this show just baffles me. After dispatching Rag Doll, Barry finds that Joe's switched places with Cecile and is now sitting on the bomb. Joe orders Barry not to worry about him, and to get Cecile to safety. With no time left to argue, Barry zooms her out of the building. 

It appears that he deposits her a block or so away. Yet when he races back to try and save Joe, we're treated to an overhead shot of the city as Barry runs several dozen blocks back to the warehouse!

Why the holy hell did he take Cecile so far away? Did he really think the small C4 bomb under Joe's chair would have a radius of several miles?

• After the bomb incident, Joe agrees to go into the Witness Protection Program until the Joseph Carver mess is straightened out. Why's Joe being written out of the show again? Last time he disappeared it was because actor Jesse L. Martin hurt his back in real life. Is Martin having more health problems?

• At the end of the episode we see that Chief Singh has apparently been replaced by one of Eva's mirror clones. I'm not exactly sure when this happened, but it must have been between episodes because we never got to see him taken over.

Welp, there goes my theory!

See, back in The Exorcism Of Nash Wells, I noted that Singh was acting suspicious and squirelly after Joe suggested there was a mole inside CCPD. I said that based on his actions, it was clear the writers wanted us to think it was Singh. I thought that was a bit too obvious though.

Instead I thought the mole would turn out to be Corber, the female officer who popped up in A Girl Named Sue and became a semi-regular character on the show. There was literally no reason for her character to exist, other than to be the one who betrays CCPD.

Eh, looks like I was wrong about all that. Corber turned out to be a red herring, and Singh really is the mole. Meh. Better luck to my deductive reasoning next time!

• In the tag scene, Joseph Carver discovers a full length mirror's been delivered to his house. Of course when he unwraps the mirror, his wife Eva appears in it. Based on their reactions, it's heavily implied that this is the first time they've spoken to one another since she became trapped in the Mirrorverse six years ago.

That doesn't make a lick of sense. We see all through this episode that Eva can appear in ANY mirror, anywhere in Central City (and probably on Earth). So you're telling me that for the past six years she's sat in the Mirrorverse stewing, and it never once occurred to her to appear in his medicine cabinet mirror and speak to him?

This Week's Best Lines (most of which go to Ralph):
Ralph: "I need a hacker who can set up a net to help catch her, somebody who can monitor the security feed. Somebody who speaks bandwidth and knows binary."
Cisco: "Mm, I'm not sure you know how hacking works."
Ralph: "Please. I've seen You've Got Mail several times."

Ralph: "Okay, the investors' brunch is in full swing. Now, you go get us eyes on that server room. I got to tinkle."
(Cisco gives him a long, hard look.)
Ralph: "Yeah, I heard what I said."

Sue: "Hi, Slick. You miss me?"
Ralph: "Almost as much as I miss Fredrico, my tapeworm."

Ralph: "Still up to your old tricks? Swiping diamonds and pearls?"
Sue: "Oh, you like Prince? Me too."

(Cisco discovers a flash drive plugged into the bank's server system.)
Cisco: " If this is what she used, she has access to ALL the bank's financial holdings."
Ralph: "Oh, well... It's only several... billion... dollars."

Ralph: "Then let me help you."
Sue: "I barely know you."
Ralph: "You know everything that matters."
Sue: "For the record, I didn't enjoy tricking you. Okay, I enjoyed it. But, honestly, I felt pretty crappy afterwards."

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