Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The Flash Season 8, Episode 17: Keep It Dark

This week on The Flash, we get another exciting... oh, it's an Allegra episode.

(Cue Price Is Right Sad Trombone music)

I'm reminded of Family Guy here, and their infamous Meg episodes.

Eh, I kid, I kid. I don't really mind Allegra, as so many other fans seem to. And Keep It Dark isn't a classic, but it's far from the worst thing the show's ever done (that would still be the execrable Mother). But it is another standalone "interlude" episode, designed solely as a buffer between story arcs to pad out the season.

Wondering why we're getting yet another Allegra-centric episode? Well, that would be because she was created in the comics by one Eric Wallace, who's currently the showrunner of The Flash

I have to assume Wallace inserted her into the show as sort of an avatar for himself— much the same way Steven Moffat used River Song as a self-surrogate over on Doctor Who. Or it could be that Wallace is trying to redeem the character, as Comic Book Allegra was a supervillain and nothing like the TV version. She may be getting extra screen time on the show so he can "fix" her.

As it stands, Allegra's always felt like a missed opportunity to me. She has the potential to be the most powerful member of Team Flash, yet she rarely gets to demonstrate her abilities. It appears that Wallace is finally taking steps to correct this, and let her cut loose and become the hero she was meant to be. It's about time!

A few weeks back, the writers introduced the character of Taylor, the conniving CCC Media reporter who threatened to out Allegra as a meta. It felt like this was gonna be a major storyline on the show, and a huge turning point in Allegra's life. Nope! This week Taylor does indeed spill the beans about Allegra, but everything's tied up in a neat little bow in just a single episode! In fact, Taylor even does a 180º turn and becomes friends with Allegra by the end! Well THAT was certainly easy!

In other news, Eobard Thawne's back this week, since it's been a good eight or nine episodes since we last saw him. Can't keep him away from the show for too long, or the fans might actually get a chance to miss him!

His appearance here doesn't amount to anything substantial, so I assume it was setup for a larger storyline— one that'll probably be the season-ending cliffhanger.

This week's episode was directed by Danielle Panabaker, who must have wrapped it up seconds before going off on maternity leave! This isn't her first time in the director's chair, as she previously helmed Godspeed, License To Elongate and Rayo de Luz.

She does a decent job here as usual, as she seems to have a pretty good handle on the whole directing thing. 

Lastly, Iris is still MIA as actress Candice Patton continues her ill-timed sabbatical from the show. Hilariously, she's barely even mentioned in this episode, as the characters and actors themselves absolutely do not care that she's gone!

In fact Barry meets a new speedster this week, and has more chemistry with her than he ever had with Iris— prompting me to wish they'd make Patton's vacation a permanent one!


The Plot:
Chester gets an alert of a fire at IVO Labs, and Barry zooms to the scene. There he discovers the blaze is already out, and the techs there wonder why the Flash has returned. Barry's confused, as he was never there before. He suspects there's a new speedster in town.

Later Barry chats with Joe, and says Caitlin hasn't returned any of his calls. Joe says that's only natural, as he went too far when he trashed her lab. Cecile brings up Baby Jenna (who's no longer a baby), but at no time does anyone ever mention Iris.

At CCC Media, Taylor tells Allegra she's working on a story about the identity of the metas helping out the Flash. Realizing she's about to be outed, Allegra gulps and tells her to put the story on the back burner till Iris returns.

Later at Jitters, Allegra meets with her former fellow gang member Lydia, who she recently helped to get a better job. Lydia says their old gang the Arañas are growing in power, and are trying to drag her back in. She says they'll kill if she refuses, so she's trying to sneak out of town.

Instead of going to the police like a normal human would, Allegra convinces Lydia to tell her story to CCC Media and expose the Arañas, promising her full protection. Sure, what could possibly go wrong with that plan?

As the two chat, a woman takes their photo, then sends it to Sunshine and Doctor Light— who're now the leaders of the Arañas.

Barry & Chester check out IVO Labs, where they somehow determine the fire was accidentally caused by the speedster, who then put it out. Barry finds a high-tech case that was broken into, and Chester confirms it held some sort of advanced battery. Barry figures the fire was a distraction for the theft, and says he needs answers.

Barry tells Chester he's going "off grid" (?) to find info on the Mystery Speedster, and warns him that Team Flash will be on their own while he's gone. In case you didn't get it, that's called foreshadowing, folks.

At CCC Media, Allegra gathers the staff— Aariz, Vanya and Taylor— and fills them in on the history of the Arañas. She says the gang was started by Ultraviolet, and now that she's dead it's being run by Sunshine and Doctor Light. She says they're killing anyone who gets in their way, so it's their duty to expose them. The others wonder how Allegra knows so much about this criminal gang, but she blurs over that and asks them to trust her.

Chester arrives to set up a device to protect Lydia's identity. He asks Allegra how the staff reacted when she revealed she was a former Araña, and she sputters and says she hasn't told them yet.

Lydia then gets cold feet, so Allegra gives her a Patented The CW Pep Talk®, telling her she's strong enough to stand up to the Arañas. Suddenly Doctor Light fires at them through the window, which pretty much negates any "protection" Allegra promised. They duck and run, and Allegra activates her Flash alert. Unfortunately he wasn't kidding about being "off grid," so she'll have to deal with the threat alone.

Sunshine teleports in front of Allegra and Lydia. so they switch direction and barricade themselves in the office's bullpen. Chester throws up a forcefield that somehow prevents Sunshine from teleporting in. She says they can't keep her out forever and vanishes.

The other staffers try to use their phones to call for help, but they're jammed by the Arañas. Chester warns Allegra that his forcefield is only a temporary fix, and the Arañas will eventually break through. Just then Sunshine burns a message into the ceiling, ordering them to hand over Lydia or die.

Meanwhile, Barry zooms to the ARGUS Supermax Prison on Lian Yu (seen many times over on Arrow). There he meets with Eobard Thawne, who's apparently being held there. Barry says they need to talk, but all Thawne's concerned about is the loss of his speed (which happened in the Armageddon crossover).

Barry realizes Thawne had nothing to do with the theft and turns to leave. Desperate for company— even that of his mortal enemy— Thawne asks what's going on. Barry tells him there's a new speedster in Central City.

Back at CCC Media, Allegra tells the staff to stick to the plan, but they're all uneasy— especially Taylor. Lydia doesn't want anyone to die because of her, and orders Chester to open the forcefield so she can give herself up. Of course Taylor's all for this idea, but Vanya and Aariz say there has to be another way.

Taylor says she saw the code Chester entered into the forcefield device, and threatens to deactivate it. Allegra stops her, saying they're not giving Lydia to the Arañas. Taylor then plays her hand, telling the others that Allegra's a former Araña. Shocked, Allegra admits it's true, and apologizes for not telling them sooner. Vanya and Aariz both say they can no longer trust her.

Allegra joins Chester and Lydia, saying it was stupid to ever believe she could be a leader. She tells them how she got someone seriously injured when she led the Arañas, and how all she does is hurt people. Lydia gives her a Patented The CW Pep Talk®, saying she inspired her to leave the gang and work toward a better life. Chester joins in, saying Allegra's past is what makes her a good leader.

Back on Lian Yu, Barry tells Thawne about the new speedster, wondering if she's tapping into the Negative Speed Force. Thawne taunts him, saying the answer's obvious but he's not going to tell him what it is. He says Barry's actually jealous of the new speedster and pities him.

Thawne then flies off the deep end and starts screaming that no one will ever hate Barry as much as he does (?). Somehow this makes Barry realize the Mystery Speedster is hiding because they can't control their abilities. He speeds off, leaving Thawne smiling in his cell.

Meanwhile, Taylor's trying to convince the others to let her deactivate the forcefield. Just then Allegra enters and takes charge, saying she can save everyone but they'll need to trust her. Vanya and Aariz agree, but of course Taylor refuses. Allegra says she's done hiding, and demonstrates her powers, saying she's the one in the photos who's been helping the Flash. Everyone's suitably amazed.

Just then Sunshine and Doctor Light reappear. Sunshine takes a bullet from Light's gun and somehow supercharges it with her photonic energy. Light uses it to shoot the forcefield and actually disrupts it. Allegra fires a light burst to blind the villains (?), and orders the staffers to hide. They barricade themselves in another room.

Allegra tells Sunshine and Doctor Light they need to leave. Of course they attack, and we're finally treated to a brief bout of action. Light shoots Allegra in the side, causing a burning wound that grows bigger with each second. She somehow absorbs the light energy from the wound, then blasts Light into unconsciousness. 

Allegra then powers up fully and battles Sunshine, eventually getting her on the ropes. Sunshine says she can't beat her, and Allegra says she doesn't have to. 
Suddenly Chester starts the live feed, and Lydia's message is beamed all over Central City as she exposes the Arañas and their leaders. She urges any other gang members who are listening to abandon the gang like she did.

Allegra tells Sunshine that if they ever come after Lydia or anyone from CCC Media, the whole world will know about it. Sunshine says this isn't over, and teleports away with Light.

Sometime later, Officer Korber tells Allegra that thanks to Lydia, they've frozen the Arañas bank accounts and put out APBs on Sunshine and Doctor Light. Lydia decides to stay in Central City after all.

The CCC Media staff write up the story, and say it's their biggest one yet. Allegra thanks them for trusting her, and they agree not to blab her secret identity. Even Taylor apologizes and goes along with the others. Wow, that was easy! Taylor does ask though how long Allegra thinks she can keep her secret from the rest of the world.

The next day at STAR Labs, Team Flash receives a recorded message from Caitlin. She says she's on maternity leave, er, I mean that she's still trying to process Barry destroying her lab (no doubt!), and is going to stay with Carla while she thinks things through.

That night at IVO Labs, the Mystery Speedster returns and replaces the battery they stole. Barry's there waiting for them, and when they try to get away, he easily blocks them. He says he just wants to talk, and the speedster removes her hood, revealing she's a woman named Meena Dhawan.

Barry's shocked, as she's the CEO of Fast Track Labs, and he's read her book three times. She says her speed is only temporary, and she "borrowed" the battery to try and extend it. When it didn't work, she returned it to IVO. She says she's having trouble mastering her speed, and Barry offers to mentor her. She happily accepts.

• Iris was mentioned in passing this week by the CCC Media staff, but there were ZERO references to her from Team Flash. They really DO NOT care that she's still lost in the Still Force!

• I was gonna point out that this week's title is likely a shoutout to Keep It Dark by Genesis. Then I realized no one on the writing staff was probably even born when that song was released, so never mind.

• The episode opens as Barry speeds to IVO Labs to put out a fire. A couple things here:

First off, the part of IVO Labs is played by Powertech Labs, located in Surrey— just a few miles outside Vancouver.

Secondly, when Barry arrives at IVO, he sees the fire's already been put out, and the grateful scientists ask why he's returned. Barry's puzzled as to why they think he'd already been there.

That makes two of us! Late in the third act we find out that the Mystery Speedster who extinguished the blaze was dressed like a ninja from a 1980's action movie. Somehow these scientists mistook her for the Flash, with his bright red costume. 

Get those people to LensCrafters, stat!

• Barry goes to the West House, where he tells Joe his troubles:

Barry: "I still can't reach Speed Force Nora or any of the other Forces."
Joe: "Is there more?"
Barry: "I just... Caitlin still hasn't returned my calls since I stopped her experiment to resurrect Frost."

Note that he doesn't mention his missing wife in his list of woes! As I keep saying, he really does not care! And no real person would ever spout a sentence like that last one! I'm surprised he didn't start it by saying, "As you know..."

• When Barry mentions he stopped Caitlin's attempt to bring back Frost, Joe says, "You did more than stop it!"

See? Even Joe agrees with me that Barry stepped WAY over the line when he trashed Caitlin's lab.

• At one point we see Joe holding Baby Jenna's backpack, which is emblazoned with the Batwoman logo. I guess Jenna (who's no longer a baby!) didn't get the memo that the show was recently canceled.

By the way, according to this episode, Jenna's now in kindergarten! She was born on May 22, 2018, which would make her just four years old at this point. That's a little young for kindergarten, as kids generally don't start going till they're five. Maybe Crisis aged her up a year.

Still no appearance by her though. I honesty thought it might happen this week.

• At CCC Media, Taylor wants Allegra's approval to do a story investigating the new meta helping out the Flash. She shows her a photo she pulled, saying, "Whoever this is, her face is always hidden by light, but I think I could ID her with enough resources."

The pic in question is of Allegra of course, and comes from Funeral For A Friend. In my review of that episode, I said:

"It's also odd that these two show up at a bank robbery without making any effort to hide their very public identities. Allegra works for a freakin' news outlet, for corn's sake! An organization whose sole function is to cover high profile events like bank robberies. How long's it gonna be before someone at CCC Media spots their boss firing UV blasts and fighting crime alongside the Flash? Same goes for Cecile. She's a prominent attorney, who's face is likely plastered all over the news. Someone get these two gals some masks, stat!"

Welp, looks like I was right! Here we are just three episodes later, and someone's about to discover Allegra's not-so-secret identity.

Also, what's up with the glare of light obscuring Allegra's face in the photo? As you can see here, that wasn't a thing in the actual episode. Is this some effect of her powers that's invisible to the naked eye, and only shows up on film?

Lastly, when Allegra tries to kill the story to preserve her identity, Taylor argues that a new hero in town is "big news." Is it though? This is Central City! The place is lousy with 'em! In fact the general public is likely sick of metas (good and bad!) at this point.

• Allegra meets with Lydia, who says she desperately wants out of the Arañas gang, but is being pulled back in by them. A couple things here:

First of all, why does everyone always have their secret meetings in this very public, very bustling place? Are there no back alleys in Central City?

Secondly, we first saw Lydia earlier this season in The Fire Next Time, where she was sweeping up at Jitters and fairly bitter toward Allegra for having a better life than her. 

Note that Allegra and Lydia were supposedly in the Arañas at the same time. Maybe it's just me, but Lydia looks to be a good ten years older than Allegra! Jaysis, how long was she in that gang? Did she join when she was five?

As for this whole Arañas thing... yes, we've known for years now that Allegra was in a gang when she was younger. But I'm pretty sure she never mentioned their name until this episode. I'm calling retcon here!

• We then get an establishing shot of the Arañas secret hideout— which I think is located in Keystone City.

In reality, the hideout is actually Fisher Body Plant 21, an abandoned factory located in Detroit.

• Sunshine and Doctor Light previously worked as enforcers for Black Hole, and later for Eva McCulloch. Now they're apparently the leaders of the Arañas, which is a gang of small-time, penny-ante car thieves. Quite a step down for the two of them!

• Sunshine and Doctor Light both have a yin-yang tattoo, which for some reason is the official logo of the Arañas. I dunno... wouldn't a spider make more sense? 

Anyway, their tattoos both glow red at dramatically appropriate times. Allegra has one of these tattoos as well, but as far as I know hers doesn't glow. Do the others' glow because they both have light-based powers? What's happening here?

• Barry tells Chester he's going "off the grid" in order to visit Thawne in Lian Yu. Wait, what? He's a speedster who can run around the world in two seconds! No matter how remote Lian Yu may be, he could get back to Central City if need be in... well, in a flash!

This may be the dumbest idea the show's ever come up with, and that's saying something. Obviously they did this to give Grant Gustin a lighter workload this week, but surely they could have come up with a better excuse for his absence.

• At CCC Media, Allegra makes a good old fashioned clue board detailing everything they know about the Arañas. Man, this show sure loves these things, despite the fact that every set is filled with high tech flatscreens and sophisticated software. The only thing missing here is the red yarn to connect the clues!

• Allegra lays out the history of the Arañas and says she has a source who can help take them down. The CCC Media staff are all skeptical of this one and only mystery person:

Taylor: "And you got all this from one source? Is there anyone else who can corroborate her story?"
Allegra: "She is all we need. Which is why we're doing a live interview with her... tonight."
Vanya: "I mean, you can't be serious. We'd have no time to fact check her story!"
Aariz: "And this source... how do you even know if she's reliable?"
Allegra: "I just do."
Taylor: "I don't get it. Why are you so passionate about this story?"

Although it seems like they're being contrarian here, they're all absolutely right. It's incredibly irresponsible to trust a single source and not vet their information before reporting their story. Heck, that's Journalism 101!. Saying, "Trust me on this one" isn't a wise or valid procedure.

Plot Trickery Alert: Allegra brings in Chester to use an "AI-generated filter" to disguise Lydia's face and voice to protect her identity during the big interview. Yeah, news shows have been doing that kind of thing for decades now by placing a figure in shadow and electronically altering their voice. There's no need for a high-tech solution.

This was clearly just an excuse to get Chester in on the action at CCC Media.

• When the Arañas inevitably attack CCC Media, Allegra tries to activate the Flash Alert app on her phone. Of course it fails, because he's "off the grid."

I was gonna ask how the heck this stupid app would know Barry was incommunicado? It's just a simple program that sends out a signal. And it can't be failing because of the forcefield Chester throws up around the office, because at this point in the episode he hasn't done that yet.

Turns out there's actually an explanation for all this! A few scenes from now, Chester will discover that the Arañas are using a jamming device to prevent anyone from calling for help. So I'll give the writers this one.

• Sunshine teleports into CCC Media and attacks Lydia. Chester comes to the rescue though, as he tosses some sort of photonic grenade into the room. It releases a flash (heh) of intense light that temporarily blinds Sunshine, allowing Allegra and Lydia to get away.

So he incapacitates Sunshine with a light grenade. Sunshine, whose powers are based on light and who controls light, is vulnerable to light. Sure, why not.

Sometimes I wonder if the writers ever proofread their scripts before filming?

• Chester gathers everyone into an office, then activates an impenetrable forcefield around it. Note that he does so by punching a keypad and button built into the wall! When in the name of Stan Lee's Mighty Toupee did he have time to install all that?

Actually the writers covered this one:

Aariz: "We need to get to a secure location!"
Chester: "We're in one. I just activated a photo-kinetic energy shield around the whole building. It's... it's bulletproof, teleport-proof, basically everything-proof."
Aariz: "How'd you know to do that? You're just an IT guy!"
Chester: "Well, I... I..."
Allegra: "Back when we were The Citizen, Doctor Light attacked us. That's why Sue Dearbon hired him to secure the building."

It's an awfully convenient contrivance, but eh, I'll allow it.

• For some reason, Chester's forcefield is able to keep Sunshine from teleporting through it. 

That... that doesn't make any sense. The whole concept of teleportation is that a person disappears from one location and appears in another. At no point should she need to pass through the walls of the protected room— she should just materialize inside it. I don't see how or why the field would prevent that from happening.

• So Chester's forcefield prevents Sunshine from teleporting into the office, but she can still use her powers to burn a message into the ceiling. Sure, why not.

• Barry then pays a visit to the ARGUS Supermax Site on Lian Yu, lovingly rendered by the best CGI that 1997 had to offer.

Of course Lian Yu figured prominently over on Arrow, and is the island where Oliver Queen learned his sweet bow skills. In the past, it's been Federal Law that anytime the place is mentioned, someone HAS to point out that the place's name translates as "purgatory." Amazingly no one says that in this episode.

• At the Supermax Site, Barry visits Thawne, hoping to find out if he's the Mystery Speedster who appeared in Central City.

He's not of course, but somehow he knows that Frost died. How'd the hell did he find THAT out? Does he get the internet in his primitive cell?

• Back at CCC Media, Lydia wants to give herself up to the Arañas to save everyone else. Allegra won't let her, but Taylor says she saw the code Chester entered into the forcefield keypad and threatens to deactivate it. 

She must have really good eyes! As you can see above, Chester's punching in the code there at the right of the screen, while Allegra's at the left, looking up. Taylor's nowhere to be found in the shot!

• Taylor finally gets fed up with Allegra and outs her as a member of the Arañas.

I predicted this would happen, as we got a brief preview of this moment in Into The Still Force. In that episode, Barry saw a vision of Allegra screaming at Taylor, saying she had no right to reveal her as a member of Team Flash.

That's actually pretty cool that they had this planned out far enough in advance that they could plant the seeds of the confrontation three episodes back.

• We then get a rare TRIPLE Patented The CW Pep Talk®— all in one epic scene! First Lydia wants to turn herself in to the Arañas, and Chester Pep Talks her out of it. Then Allegra doubts her abilities as a leader, and Lydia Pep Talks her, saying she inspired her to leave her gang. Then Chester follows up with by agreeing with Lydia and Pep Talking Allegra even more.

It's a sight to behold, and one never likely to repeat itself!

• Back at Lian Yu, Barry asks Thawne if he can sense any new speedsters operating in Central City. I laughed out loud when Thawne replied with a petulant "NO!," exactly like a cranky child! Maybe he's overdue for his afternoon nap.

• While listening to Thawne's insane monologue, Barry strikes this specific and deliberate pose...

This may be a stretch, but was his stance a shoutout to this poster, featuring the amazing art of Alex Ross?

• I reeeeally wish they'd stop having Allegra and other Hispanic character suddenly switch to Spanish during their dialogue scenes. I'm not a Spanish speaker, but even I can tell actress Kayla Compton's delivery is stilted and awkward. It sounds for all the world like she learns all her Spanish lines phonetically.

• After Taylor outs Allegra as a former member of the Arañas, she goes on to reveal she's also a meta with UV powers. Her secret exposed, Allegra confesses:

"And the truth is, I was ashamed of being in the Arañas, and I was afraid if I told you the truth about my past that you would stop trusting me. I thought there was too much at stake for me to be honest about who I really am. But it was lying about my past and keeping you in the dark that lost your trust. So I'm done hiding. I am the light meta in those photos, and I've never really told anyone that before."

Gosh, that all sounds amazingly similar to what a gay or trans person would say when they decide to be honest about who they are. Do you think maybe it's possible this entire storyline is a metaphor for coming out? Especially since it originally aired during Pride Month?

Subtlety, thy name is The CW!

• Since it began, The Flash has always been more superhero fantasy than hard sci-fi. That said, the early episodes would often include actual scientific concepts in their scripts.

Welp, not anymore. These days they've flushed scientific accuracy right down the crapper, in lieu of straight up magic!

Case in point: Doctor Light examines Chester's forcefield and says, "This is a photo-kinetic energy shield. It'll take time to split the bonds." Sunshine then grabs one of Light's bullets, stares at it and somehow supercharges it with photonic energy (I guess?), then hands it back to her. Light then uses this literal magic bullet to shoot through the field!

As I said, the writers have completely given up on any semblance of science here. Sunshine and Light might as well be wizards.

• Welcome to Dutch Angle Theater! For some reason when Allegra confronts Sunshine & Doctor Light directly, the cameraman suffers a serious bout of vertigo and begins wobbling on his feet.

I assume this was a stylistic choice by director Danielle Panabaker, but I'm not quite sure what she was trying to accomplish here.

• Finally, some action in this episode! In the third act we get a pretty well-choreographed fight scene between Allegra, Sunshine and Doctor Light. Well done!

• The magical nonsense continues, as Doctor Light shoots Allegra with her photon blaster. The shot hits her in the gut, where it does... something. Burns her? Eats a hole through her side? Your guess is as good as mine.

Allegra then uses her powers to absorb the light energy from the wound, I guess. Sure, that might was well happen.

This is why the lack of any sort of actual science is a bad thing. We have no idea what kind of ammo Light's gun uses or what it does to its victims. As a result we don't know how bad Allegra's situation is. Is this a life threatening injury, or is it not that serious? And what's she doing with her hand? When the show's filled with magic like this, these questions are impossible to answer.

• Allegra then goes all Super Saiyan on Sunshine and Light's collective asses. I do like seeing her fully powered up like this. Too bad she doesn't get to cut loose more often. Surely this effect isn't any more time consuming or costly than Barry's Speed Force Lightning.

• Sunshine then teleports away, but Allegra manages to stop her and hurl her to the floor like a wrestler. How? I'm honestly not sure. The second Sunshine vanishes, it looks for all the world like Allegra reaches up, grabs at nothing and still somehow manages to yank her back into reality. It's almost like Sunshine teleports by entering and exiting some other dimension!

Again, I feel like the writers down't understand what teleportation is or how it works.

• The other staffers then interview Lydia on live TV, as she exposes Sunshine and Light as the leaders of the Arañas— even going so far as to announce their real names. Allegra then hisses that they'd better scram and never harm Lydia or anyone else in Central City again or the whole world will know it was them.

So what? Who cares if "the whole world will know it was them?" Is that really a deterrent for two meta criminals? Couldn't they just go into hiding for a while till things blow over? Even better, why not just adopt new identities?

Apparently Allegra's threat is enough to spook the two metas so badly that they teleport away.

A bit later CCPD arrives, and Officer Korber says the Arañas' assets have been frozen and they're out of business for good. Again, so what? Surely they have secret stashes of cash they could access. I just don't get why everyone thinks this one simple interview would stop them forever.

• After the Arañas Affair's sewn up, Vanya and Aariz want to do a follow up story. Aariz says, "Let's hit our old contacts at McCulloch Tech."

Wait, what? McCulloch Tech's still in business? How? Joseph McCulloch was killed back in Season 7, and Eva McCulloch went off to build a civilization of her own inside the Mirrorverse. So who's left to run the place?

• As I said in the intro, I assumed Taylor's discovery that Allegra was a meta would lead to a long, drawn out story arc, with her going on a witch hunt against her. Nope! The entire thing's resolved in one episode! The writers didn't even break a sweat wrapping it up! In fact, Taylor seems to have had a complete change of heart, and is now pals with Allegra.

Yeah, I don't think so. In real life she'd have been fired from CCC Media long ago. For weeks now she's constantly criticized Allegra— who's her supervisor, mind you— in front of the other staff. Then she disparaged and undermined her to Iris, hoping to get her fired. And if all that wasn't enough, this week she reveals personal info about Allegra, then threatens to hand over Lydia to the Arañas. She really needs to be shown the door and thrown out on her ass. 

Heck, Taylor's not even a proper character, she's a plot device. She existed solely to instigate a story arc for Allegra, and now that it's run its course she serves no further purpose on the show.

• Allegra asks Taylor where she got the photos of her helping the Flash. She replies she found 'em on "Chirper."

Sigh... I assume that must be the Arrowverse version of Twitter?

• Caitlin then sends a video message to Team Flash, explaining that she's taking a leave of absence after Barry trashed her lab, and doesn't know when she'll be back.

And who could blame her? Yes, Caitlin went off the deep end a couple weeks ago, turning her apartment into a mad scientist's lab as she attempted to resurrect her dead sister. Rather than recognize that she desperately needed mental help and seeing that she got it though, Barry played judge, jury and executioner and summarily wiped out any hope of bringing back Frost. 

With friends like him, enemies she doesn't need!

The writers aren't fooling anyone though, as Caitlin's little sabbatical was obviously created to give actress Danielle Panabaker time off for maternity leave.

• And then there were three!

A few weeks ago in Resurrection, I pointed out how crowded STAR Labs was getting as I counted a whopping SEVEN members of Team Flash milling around the Cortex. And that wasn't even all of them, as Iris & Chillblaine were missing from the shot I posted.

I said there were so many current cast members that they could barely all fit on the screen at the same time. It also made it difficult for the writers to properly service them all and give them something to do each week, as they've resorted to splitting up paragraphs of exposition among everyone, so they all speak a sentence of it. 

I claimed it was high time for a good culling of the cast, to get the team down to a more manageable level. And here we are!

I'm telling you... the producers are reading my blog!

• In the tag scene, the Mystery Speedster returns the battery they stole back to IVO Labs. Barry's lying in wait there and confronts them.

Knowing how much The CW loves inclusion and diversity, for a second I thought this Mystery Speedster was going to turn out to be a Muslim woman who'd wear a Niqab in every scene!

Nope! Although that wasn't the craziest guess I've ever had! Apparently she just decided to dress like a ninja to rob the lab.

Anyway, the Mystery Speedster turns out to be Meena Dhawan, formerly of IVO Lans and now CEO of Fast Track Labs (a pretty appropriate name!).

In the comics, Meena was a STAR Labs scientist who was became a speedster during the Speed Force storm that struck Central City. She called herself Fast Track, and worked with the Flash to help other citizens who became speedsterized during the storm, to teach them how to use their powers. 

Honest to god, Barry had more chemistry with Meena in the five minutes they were together in this episode than he's had with Iris in eight seasons! 

There may be a precedent for that— in the comics, Barry and Meena became romantically involved for a while! Wouldn't it be cool if that happened on the show as well?

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