Friday, March 25, 2022

The Flash Season 8, Episode 7: Lockdown

This week on The Flash, we get a surprisingly decent episode as another old villain returns, Barry and Kristen Kramer come to an understanding and the writers desperately try to make the audience like Chillblaine. Oh, and Barry actually appears in his own series for once!

I actually enjoyed this episode quite a bit, as Goldface captured Barry and neutralized his powers so he couldn't just speed his way out of the situation— causing him to actually have to outthink and outwit his opponent.

The writers even managed to take Kristen— who I've never been able to stand— and made me actually care a little about her this week. She's been a one-note character since she first appeared, so this sudden evolution was a welcome change. 

Unfortunately this episode also saw the return of Mark Blaine, aka Chillblaine— who's officially the worst character on The Flash, and maybe in all of modern pop culture. The writers attempted to give him a personality transplant as well, but it didn't work and felt unearned and out of left field.

If there was a theme to this episode, I'd have to say it was "relationships." We got storylines for Frost and Mark, Caitlin and her new beau Marcus and even Goldface and his squeeze Amunet. Heck, you could even argue that Barry & Kristen formed a relationship this week.

Odd that out of all of those, Mark and Goldface (both of whom are murderers, by the way) have the best and healthiest relationships with their significant others.

Although I liked this episode for the most part, it threw me off with its strange juxtaposition, as the plot kept switching from the deadly serious CCPD storyline to the lighthearted Caitlin/Frost one. Weird.

Lastly, it feels like the producers are cleaning out the old character closet this season. Last week we got the return of the Royal Flush Gang (who appeared in the Armageddon crossover), and then in this episode Goldface pops up again. There's nothing wrong with recycling characters per se, I just thought it was worth a mention.


The Plot:
Chester's pulling monitor duty at STAR Labs. Just as he's about to leave the Cortex to get a quick snack, he runs into Allegra, who's brought him lunch. We're then treated to an interminable scene of the two of them attempting to flirt with one another like awkward teens, despite the fact they're both in their thirties.

Mercifully an alarm sounds, and Chester notes there are three crimes happening simultaneously. The writers remember the show's called The Flash, and Barry's able to round up all three crooks in seconds.

The Flash drops the criminals in the middle of CCPD, then reenters the precinct as Barry. Kristen Kramer, who's apparently now the permanent Chief Of Police, points out that they'll probably have to let the perps go, as she has no idea what crimes they committed. She wishes the Flash would communicate with her more.

Later at the West home, Barry whines to Joe & Cecile about what Kristen said. Joe says maybe it's time Barry let her into the Flash's inner circle.

Back at STAR, Caitlin complains to Chester & Allegra that Frost and Mark (aka Chillblaine) are posting pics of their adventurous dates together (jealous much?). She worries that their activities (such as skydiving) are dangerous and Frost will end up hurt. Allegra basically tells her to mind her own business and concentrate on her upcoming date with Marcus, whoever the hell that is.

Later that night at CCPD, Barry uses his superspeed to gather up comprehensive evidence on the three crooks he brought in and gives it to Kristen so she can prosecute them. She's impressed, but says it won't help with the next batch of criminals the Flash brings in. She says they could clean up the city faster if only they could work together.

Just then an elevator opens, revealing a gas bomb that knocks out everyone— including Barry, who apparently forgot he's a speedster.

Barry wakes sometime later to discover he, Kristen and the rest of CCPD are lined up in the lobby, and all wearing meta-dampening bracelets. Just then Goldface enters with several henchmen. He explains he knows Kristen's a meta, so he's nullified her powers— along with anyone else who might have any (convenient). He also uses a mannequin to demonstrate that if anyone gets out of line, their cuffs will detonate and blow them up real good.

Kristen gets up, says she's the captain and demands Goldface let her people go. Naturally he refuses & orders her to sit down. Just then Goldface recognizes Barry as "The Chemist," from the Season 5 episode Goldfaced. Barry asks what he wants, and he replies that his gal pal Amunet Black has intel that CCPD's storing something valuable in their vault, and he's there to take it.

Meanwhile, Caitlin takes her date Marcus to the seedy O'Shaughnessy's Pub for some reason. She sees to her horror that Frost and Mark are onstage singing karaoke. She tells Marcus they have to leave, but Frost spots them in the crowd. She suggests the four of them turn it into a double date. Marcus enthusiastically agrees, much to Caitlin's chagrin.

Goldface and his henchman break into the armory and locate the weapon case they're looking for. Goldface opens it, only to find it's empty. Why Kristen would keep an empty case in her armory is anyone's guess.

Goldface brings Kristen and Barry to the armory, saying he wants the meta bullets that are supposed to be in the case. Kristen says she'll die before she endangers the city's meta population. Goldface wraps his chain around Barry's neck, and threatens to kill him unless she talks.

Barry croaks out a response, saying the meta bullets contain dark matter, so he can modify a scanner and locate them that way. Goldface releases Barry and tells him to get scanning.

Back at the pub, the two couples chat over drinks. Caitlin makes constant jabs about Mark's criminal past, which gives everyone icky bad feelings. Frost gets pissed and leaves with Mark, and Caitlin tells Marcus to take her home.

In his CSI Lab, Barry works on the scanner while Goldface watches him. He gets a call from Amunet, who asks if he has the meta bullets yet. He tells her he's working on it, then makes kissy noises into the phone. He says Barry's had more than enough time to modify the scanner, brings Kristen in and threatens to kill her if he doesn't finish up.

Barry says he's done, and activates the scanner. Instead of detecting dark matter, it emits a high pitched sonic screech that stuns everyone. Barry & Kristen knock out Goldface and his henchman Carver and escape. Goldface recovers and destroys the scanner.

Barry & Kristen hide in a storage room, where they look for something to help remove their bracelets. Barry notices Kristen's is no longer lit, and realizes her mimicking powers have shorted it out. He says she could absorb Goldface's powers and defeat him. She refuses to even try, saying it wouldn't work.

Elsewhere, Caitlin waits to pay her bill. Mark sidles up and tells her he cares about Frost just as much as she does, and he has no plans to hurt her. He gives her a Patented The CW Pep Talk®, saying she seems more focused on her hatred of him than on her own date, and says she should let go and give Marcus a chance. He then leaves and sticks her with his bill.

Back at CCPD, Barry once again tells Kristen she's their only hope against Goldface. She finally admits that she can't control her powers and is afraid they'll end up killing someone. She says she needs the Flash to help her.

Just then Goldface grabs Officer Kolber and threatens to kill her unless Kristin shows herself. Barry gives Kristen a Patented The CW Pep Talks®, saying it's time for her to trust herself and use her powers. Kristen finally agrees, and confronts Goldface. Before he can react, she absorbs his gold-manipulating powers and takes control of his chain, causing the end of it to wrap around her hand. The two then engage in a tug of war over the chain.

Back in the storage room, Barry works up his nerve and uses a screwdriver to pop the cuff off his wrist. His superspeed then activates, and he's able to outrun the resulting explosion from the cuff.

Just then Kristen's powers start to wear off, and Goldface moves in to kill her. Fortunately the Flash zooms in, tying up Goldface and all his henchmen. Flash thanks Kristen for her help and zips away.

Barry then enters, saying the Flash freed him from his cuff. He praises Kristen for standing up to Goldface, and she says she couldn't have done it without him. He asks where the meta bullets are, and she says she sent them to ARGUS for safe keeping.

Elsewhere, Caitlin visits Frost and apologizes for badmouthing Mark. She says she's been afraid to go all-in on a relationship ever since her fiancé Ronnie Raymond died, and she envies Frost & Mark. Frost invites her and Marcus on another double date, and Caitlin accepts.

Flash appears in Kristen's office, and says it's time the two of them worked together. He gives her a pager so she can reach him any time, then prepares to reveal his secret identity to her. She tells him she already knows he's Barry (as does most of Central City by now).

At the West home, Joe & Iris finish eating dinner. He leaves the room, and Iris has another of her "time sickness attacks," as her eyes glow with green energy.


• Chester pulls monitor duty at STAR Labs, where he realizes it's lunchtime.

He then pulls out a pink Supergirl lunchbox, complete with an attached cape on the back. Clearly this is supposed to be comical and quirky, but it's sad and off-putting, as Chester's a grown-ass man in his thirties.

• Chester mentions his Granny Runk again this week. I just realized she's another Unseen Character on the show— much like Baby Jenna. 

Unseen Characters are those who are constantly mentioned and even have an effect on the plot, despite the fact they never show up on camera. Think Norm's wife Vera on Cheers or Maris on Frasier.

• Allegra brings Chester lunch from an eatery called Hershfield's Market. Since this show loves naming streets and businesses after comic creators, I figured this was another example. Unfortunately I couldn't find anyone by that name who's worked on any Flash comics. 

The closest I could come was Jeff Hersh, who's the Executive Story Editor on the series.

• Back in Armageddon, Part 4, we got a pointless storyline featuring alt-timeline versions of Chester and Allegra, who were in a relationship. At the time I said: 

"I know exactly what's gonna happen here. Even though these versions of Allegra and Chester don't really exist and are about to be erased, their relationship will serve as a setup for their pairing in the real, prime timeline. I'm calling it right now— at some point later in this season, the two of them will sense a faint "time echo" of their affair, which will lead to it happening for real."

Annnnd sure enough, that's EXACTLY what happened, as this episode features the two of them trying to fumble their way in that very direction.

The main problem with this is that the two of them act more like awkward teens experiencing their first crush rather than adults in their thirties. The writers seem determined to force these two characters into a relationship, despite the fact the actors have zero chemistry together. Their scenes are downright painful to watch, as the "will they or won't they" drama is being dragged out as long as possible. Just let 'em screw already and get it over with!

• Chester gets a crime alert, and utters another of his Black History Month oaths, saying, "Holy Alice H. Parker!" As usual, I'd never heard the name before and had to look it up. Alice H. Parker was an African American inventor in the 1920s, famous for her patented system of central heating using natural gas.

While I have no problem with these references per se, I feel like they ought be relevant to the situation— like when Robin says something like "Holy Hotfoot" when he and Batman are being lowered into a bonfire. Instead, Chester detects a mugging, carjacking and holdup all occurring at the same time, and invokes the name of the woman who crated the furnace. It's clear at this point that he just drops these scientist/inventor names at random, and they have nothing to do with what's actually going on at the time.

• Man, that STAR Labs Crime Detection System is something else! Somehow it alerts Chester of a mugging, a carjacking and a holdup while they're all in progress, rather than AFTER the fact like a regular alarm.

• This is some Heavy Duty Nitpicking, but whatever. As Chester's alerted of a carjacking, we cut to a criminal trying to jimmy the door of an empty auto. Um... the definition of a carjacking is "the violent theft of an occupied vehicle." This guy's breaking into a parked car with no one inside it!

Told you it was heavy duty!

• Sterling Brooks returns for the second week in a row! His appearances are a running joke on the show, as he's the comically inept crook who's constantly being caught by various members of Team Flash and CCPD. He previously appeared in The Elongated Knight Rises, The Death Of Vibe, Marathon and last week's Impulsive Excessive Disorder.

Credit Where It's Due: Oftentimes in superhero comics and shows, characters like Superman will capture a criminal, then tie 'em up and "leave them for the police to find." I've often wondered just what good that's supposed to do. Cops need evidence to prosecute a crook! They can't just lock up a person just because Spider-Man pinned a "GUILTY" note to their chest!

Amazingly, this episode actually deals with that subject! The Flash captures the three criminals and deposits them in the lobby of CCPD. He then pauses for a round of applause from the cops and zooms away.

Quite rightly, Kristen then asks what the hell she's supposed to do with this trio of ne'er do wells. She has no earthly idea what crimes they may or may not have committed, and as such can't charge them for anything.

You'd think that as a CSI, Barry would be aware of this when he hauls in criminals as the Flash, but apparently not. Kudos to the writers here for finally addressing this situation, and having Kristen teach the Flash an overdue lesson in due process.

• Barry visits Joe & Cecile at their home, to get their advice on how to deal with Kristen. 

As regular readers of my Flash reviews (both of you) know by now, I like to try and find the show's shooting locations in Vancouver. Despite the fact I've never been within a thousand miles of the place, it's usually surprisingly easy. With one exception— I've never been able to find the real-world location of Joe's house. 

Until now!

Here's the West house in all its glory! You may have noticed I blanked out the actual address— that's because this is a residential home, and I doubt the owners want a bunch of Flash-fans showing up at their door looking for Joe, Cecile & Baby Jenna, so I'm respecting their privacy here.

Note that while the show makes it look like the house is on a quiet little street in a secluded neighborhood, nothing could be further from the truth. The real house is across the street from a muffler shop, and catty-corner from a large shopping/office complex. 

• We get another "Leveled Up" this week, as Cecile says it to Barry when he visits the West home. I should have started a Leveled Up Counter at the beginning of the season— it'd be up to at least fifteen or twenty by now. 

• Back at STAR, Caitlin shows up and mentions her upcoming date with her new beau Marcus. He was mentioned for the first time last week, making me wonder if I'd missed an episode or she met him offscreen while we weren't looking.

Welp, apparently that's exactly what happened, as the elusive Marcus finally appears on camera for the very first time this week.

• When Chester hears about Caitlin dating Marcus, he says, "Oh, man, I can see it now. He doesn't know we're on Team Flash. But soon, you and Marcus are gonna fall in love, and then he's gonna join us for, like, some crazy adventure, then boom! He's on the team!"

He's not wrong! Cecile, Julius Albert, Ralph Dibney, Sue Dearbon, Allegra— heck, even Chester himself— all started out as side characters who quickly graduated to Team Flash membership. 

Also, Marcus is apparently a biologist, a fact Chester somehow knows despite the fact that Caitlin doesn't ever mention it in this scene (he must have read the script). Anyway, Chester quips that once Marcus inevitably becomes a member of Team Flash, he'll learn to control plants.

That was definitely a nod to 2005's Sky High, in which Danielle Panabaker played Layla Williams, a superhero who had the power to control plants!

Sigh... Once again the writers forgot the premise of the show. At CCPD, Barry & Kristen do a walk & talk and then stop in front of an elevator. As it opens, they see a strange canister inside that starts spewing knockout gas. 

Instead of zooming everyone out of harm's way, Barry just stares at it and goes to sleep with the rest of the officers. What the hell?

They try to justify this by having him tend to Kristen, who collapses beside him. Nice try, guys. We've seen numerous times that Barry could have easily evacuated the entire building in the time it would've taken Kristen to blink.

Some fans have suggested he didn't use his speed here because he didn't want to reveal his secret identity to Kristen yet. Again, there are just too many ways he could have sprang into action. He could have entered Flashtime, created a vortex and sucked the gas from the building before she even realized what was happening. 

That's the biggest problem with this series— the main character's so overpowered it's nearly impossible to write a situation he can't easily get out of with his speed.

• When Goldface first enters CCPD, he's wearing a gold plated gas mask that does indeed look like... a gold face!

• Goldface's right hand man in this episode is Carver, who first appeared back in Goldfaced

If you'll recall, back in the execrable Season 6 there was a character named Joseph Carver who was the CEO of McCullough Industries, husband of Eva McCullough and secretly the leader of Black Hole. What the hell? Are the writers having trouble thinking up fictional last names?

I'm assuming this happened because Henchman Carver appeared a full season before Joseph Carver— long before the writers probably decided to adapt the Black Hole storyline from the comics. When they did, they probably realized there was a Carver in that storyline as well, but by then it was too late to change either name.

• Barry, Kristen and the other officers all slowly wake to discover they're captives of Goldface. Wait, why's Barry coming to at the same time as everyone else? Shouldn't his speed healing have caused him to metabolize the gas quicker? 

Maybe not! Goldface fitted the entire precinct with explosive meta-dampening cuffs while they were unconscious. That means Barry's speed healing likely didn't kick in and wake him earlier! Well done, guys!

Speaking of explosive handcuffs, Goldface seems to have a penchant for them. He used 'em extensively in his first appearance in Goldfaced, strapping them to Barry & Ralph's wrists!

• Goldface spends a good amount of this episode chattering about his gal pal Amunet Black and their perfect relationship. In fact she plays such a big role in the plot that I'm convinced she was SUPPOSED to be in this episode, but couldn't appear for some reason— which forced the producers to do a last minute rewrite and work around her absence. 

The fact that Goldface gets several phone calls from Amunet, but we never actually hear her voice on the line, would seem to confirm that!

• While we're on the topic of phones, Amunet's ringtone is Love Is A Battlefield. If you'll recall, that was the title of the Season 6 episode in which they appeared, as well as "their song."

• When Goldface spots Barry, he recognizes him as "The Chemist." That's the code name Barry used back in Goldfaced, when he and Ralph  went undercover to buy a Field Generator on the black market for reasons.

Also in that episode, Barry not only betrayed Goldface, but electrocuted him as well! Given all that, it's a wonder he didn't just shoot Barry on sight in this episode!

By the way, when Goldface was electrocuted, we literally saw molten gold pour out of his eye sockets! Which I guess meant he had a gold skeleton or his body was filled with gold or something. Anyway, based on that scene, I assumed he was killed or at the very least permanently blinded. Nope! He appeared none the worse for wear in Love Is A Battlefield, and here as well.

It's almost like the writers forgot about the whole gold skeleton thing. Or is this yet another detail changed by Crisis On Infinite Earths?

• A Study In Contrasts: Mark Blaine is a straight up murderer, and I hate the character's fictional guts. Goldface is a murderer as well, but I actually liked him quite a bit in this episode. He's funny and charming, as well as a Melville-spouting villain with a BA in Literature from Yale! What's not to like?

In fact it's probably telling that the Big Bad this week was more likable than most of the regular characters!

I've pointed this out before, but Goldface is played by actor Damion Poitier. With a name like that, it's impossible not to wonder if he's related to the late actor Sidney Poitier. Damion says there're no close familial connections, but claims their ancestors "came from the same tribe."

• Caitlin and Marcus go to O'Shaughnessy's Pub on their date. Several things here:

First off, the two were supposed to go to "The Spanish Hamper," Central City's hottest and trendiest eatery, but  couldn't get in and ended up here. How's that happen? Surely there was somewhere better they could have gone besides this crime-ridden, seedy dive bar! They went from five star dining down to zero!

Secondly, this is now the third time O'Shaughnessy's has appeared this season. Hey, can't let a good set go to waste! They build the thing, so they're gonna get their money's worth out of it, dammit!

Lastly, as I did last week, I have to point out that O'Shaughnessy's exterior (with its three prominent garage doors) doesn't match the interior set in the slightest. Whoops!

• If nothing else, the show's getting reeeeally good at the Caitlin/Frost "twinning" scenes. In fact if I didn't know better, I'd think they were really two separate actors here.

In the past, shows always relied on primitive split screen shots to depict doubles. It was always a dead giveaway, as the camera was locked down tight as the actor stood stiffly and awkwardly on opposite sides of the screen.

Here though the camera's freely moving around the set and even changes focus, just as it would in a normal scene. That really helps to sell the illusion!

And then there's this amazing scene. Not only is the camera constantly moving, but if you look closely, Frost sets a glass on the table, and Caitlin actually reaches over and pulls it toward her! I have no idea how the hell they managed to pull that off! Amazing work, FX Team!

• For some reason, Mark's under the impression that Marcus' last name is Ficus.

Mark: "Hey, whoa, whoa, whoa, is this the infamous Marcus, as in Dr. Ficus?"
Marcus: "Um... yes?"

I think Mark is making a joke here about Marcus' profession, but I honestly can't tell. If not, then the writers actually named a character "Marcus Ficus."

• I wonder if there's any significance to the fact that Frost is dating a Mark, and Caitlin's seeing a Marcus. Are the writers implying that the two "sisters" are so alike they chose men with virtually the same name?

• Caitlin ruins everyone's good time by tearing Mark a new asshole, and pointing out that he once seduced Frost in order to steal a weapon, framed her and is straight up a murderer. Her comments upset Frost so much that she stalks off with Mark.

It's interesting that the show paints Caitlin as the bad guy here. Granted, this definitely wasn't the proper time or venue for her to lay into Mark, as she should have raised her concerns to Frost in private.

That said, everything she said about him is true! Mark IS a murderer (among other things), and should be in prison for the rest of his life. Instead he ratted out his fellow criminals in order to save his own skin.

For years now I've been saying that murder doesn't seem to be a crime in the Arrowverse, as numerous characters on the show have started out as killers, then become part of the team after all is forgiven. 

And so it is with Mark. The writers clearly want us to side with him and overlook his past as they attempt a give him a redemption arc— all so he can become the emotionally vulnerable Frost's new love interest.

• As pointed out above, Mark turned state's evidence in order to get his criminal record wiped. Given that fact, should he really be sashaying around in a dive bar like this? Criminals tend to have a low tolerance for snitches. Seems like it's only a matter of time before he gets a knife in the back in retaliation.

• Eventually Goldface reveals his diabolical plan— to steal the meta bullets Kristen commissioned back in Season 7 and sell them on the black market. He breaks into the CCPD armory, finds the relevant storage case, opens it and... sees that it's completely empty. Wait, what?

Apparently at some point Kristen sent the bullets to ARGUS for safe keeping. SO WHY IN THE NAME OF SANITY WOULD SHE KEEP THE EMPTY META BULLET CASE IN THE ARMORY? That... that doesn't make any sense! 

Why not just take the case to ARGUS and hand the whole thing over to them? Why bring the empty case back and place it carefully back in its spot in the armory?

Why, it's almost as if she she did all this just to give viewers a scene of Goldface getting trolled. But that's impossible, right?

For the record, this is what the inside of the case is supposed to look like, complete with glowing blue meta bullets.

• Goldface demands Kristen tell him where she stashed the meta bullets, or else. She hisses, "I'd die before betraying the metas of this city and putting them in any danger." 

Well, sure, she would NOW, after she found out she's a meta too! Before that she was more than willing to forcibly neuter them all!

• Barry overhears a call between Goldface and Amunet. When he comments that the two of them seem to have a good relationship, Goldface says they owe it all to Dr. Finkel.

Sharon Finkel is a couples therapist who appeared on the show several times back in Season 4. Barry & Iris used to see her, as did Joe & Cecile. Caitlin saw her by herself as well.

• Barry tricks Goldface by altering his dark matter scanner to emit an ear-piercing, incapacitating sonic blast. 

Oddly enough, the sound affects Goldface, Kristen and Carver, but not Barry. I was just about to chalk this up as a major mistake, but it turns out it's not!

Just a few seconds before activating the altered scanner, we see Barry pretending to scratch his head. Apparently he was actually discreetly sticking earplugs in his ears. He did it so subtly and smoothly that it totally flew by me at first. Well done, guys!

• As Caitlin waits to pay her bill, Mark returns and tells her the reason she's lashing out at him is because she doesn't want to be hurt and is afraid to go all in on a relationship of her own. Wait, what?

How the hell did Mark get so wise all of a sudden? When he first appeared last season, all he ever did was spout cold-based supervillain puns. Suddenly in this episode he's going around dispensing wisdom and keen emotional insights, like some elder statesman.

So what fueled this startling metamorphosis? I assume we're supposed to believe it was initiated by his relationship with Frost, but I ain't buying it. Especially when his entire transformation happened totally offscreen. You can't have a character make a 180º personality turn in between episodes, and expect the audience to accept it. 

As is, Mark's evolution is completely unearned, and impossible to take seriously.

By the way, how the hell long does it take to pay a bill in this pub? Caitlin told Marcus to pull the car around while she settled the tab. Then she and Mark chat for a good ten minutes, leaving poor Marcus cooling his heels out in the parking lot. Based on the way Caitlin acted on their date, no one would blame if if he got tired of waiting on her ass and just drove home without her.

More Heavy Duty Nitpicking: It really bugs me that Goldface's chain has wobbly slack in it whenever he uses it to choke someone. I feel like the entire chain needs to be taut, not just the last few inches.

It happens again a bit later, when he and Kristen are fighting for control of it. Would it have killed one of them to step back an inch and tighten the thing?

• Goldface gives Kristen an ultimatum, threatening to kill Officer Korber unless she tells him where the meta bullets are hidden. Carver reminds Goldface there's no need for a countdown, as he could just kill Korber and be done with it. Goldface scolds him, saying he has "no sense of drama."

Again, I love the idea of a villain with a flair for the theatrical, who waits for the perfect climactic moment to kill someone.

• We get yet another instance of "leveled up," just before Barry tries removing his meta dampening cuff. He pauses and flashes back to Armageddon, Part 1, where Caitlin says, "Wow, you have seriously leveled up!"

What the hell? Is the constant use of that phrase in this season building up to something? Or just a case of lazy writing?

• On a similar note, the phrase "all in" gives "leveled up" some serious competition this week, as it's utter by various characters a whopping FIVE times during this episode!
• The writers finally remember the premise of the show, as Barry pries the explosive cuff from his hand and outruns the resulting blast! Awesome! 

It's just too bad he didn't think to do this the minute he saw the cuff on his wrist, instead of in the third act.

• In the wrap up, Barry asks Kristen where the meta bullets are. She says she transferred them to ARGUS for safe keeping "thirty five weeks ago." That's... an oddly specific figure.

Just An Observation: At the end of the episode, the Flash meets with Kristen and gives her a pager device. Looks like Kristen decided to decorate her office with artifacts from her tribe!

• In order to initiate better communication between CCPD and the Flash, Barry starts to reveal his "secret" identity to Kristen. Of course she stops him from embarrassing himself further and says she already knows. 

Remember back when Barry used to actually make an effort to hide his secret identity? He'd vibrate his face to blur it, and distort his voice as well. Apparently the writers forgot all about that, as the Flash stood in front of Kristen talking in the exact same voice she'd been hearing Barry use for the past couple hours. And then he was surprised when she figured out who he really was.

• In the tag scene, Joe cooks dinner for Iris. She asks him how he learned to make a "doro wat," and wonders if he spent a year in Ethiopia.

My whiteness is showing again, as I had no idea what the hell "doro wat" was. I looked it up, and it's Ethiopian spiced chicken— and it looks absolutely delicious!

• The past few episodes have shown us a retired Joe living in various alternate and future timelines. Looks like he's now retired in the prime timeline as well!

• Joe makes yet another Baby Jenna reference this week. Are we ever gonna actually see this kid again? At this point she hasn't made an appearance on the show since Season 6's A Girl Named Sue, where she showed up for an entire second.

Like Granny Runk, Jenna's transitioned to Unseen Character status.

• In the final shot, Iris' eyes begin glowing with green energy, meaning her "time sickness"— which I thought the writers had mercifully abandoned— is back.

If you'll recall, back in Season 7's P.O.W., Iris informed Barry that she'd become "unstuck in time," and that Deon was the only thing keeping her from temporally fragmenting or something.

At the time I noted this sounded vaguely like a storyline from The Flash comics. Back in the 1980s they featured a very convoluted story arc in which Iris discovered she was actually from the 30th Century (!). Her real parents sent her back in time for reasons, where she was raised by the West family.

Iris was eventually killed by Zoom, and her biological parents took her body back to the 30th Century, where they were somehow able to revive her. Barry then time traveled to the future as well to live out his life there with her.

I would not be surprised if the writers are planning a simplified version of that arc for the show. I hope not though, because if they reveal that Joe isn't actually Iris' biological father then I'm gonna be royally pissed off!

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