The Flash: Think Fast
May 15, 2018 7:35 PM - Season 4, Episode 22 - Subscribe

DeVoe assaults an A.R.G.U.S. facility to complete his Enlightenment Machine, in the penultimate episode of the season.
posted by oh yeah! (10 comments total)
The opening teaser sequence where DeVoe staged a one-man raid on ARGUS was the highlight of the hour. Now this is a dangerous guy! This is the villain we've needed all along, but the need to draw the plot out all season slowed everything down and required some spinning of wheels. I'd like to see this show do two story arcs per year much like Agents of SHIELD has been doing the past few seasons. Finish off one arc into the midseason break and launch into a second for the back half of the season.

Also, I don't think we need or really have time for new Killer Frost angst right now.
posted by Servo5678 at 5:27 AM on May 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Can I get everyone else to start calling it the Unlightenment Machine along with me?

Killer Frost angst I can take or leave, but establishing a world where not all superpowers are due to Star City dark matter might be interesting. I mean, other than Vixen.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:16 AM on May 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Pizza delivery guy was a zombie bartender from Seattle!
posted by plastic_animals at 4:36 PM on May 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

Not only was that opening THE way to demonstrate DeVoe's full power set, and a highly creative way to stage a one-against-many fight scene, it perfectly highlighted just how dangerous this guy is. Many the people over at Arrow should use this as a template for how to showcase the true villainy and force of the big bad of the season (and not just have everybody fear the guy for no discernible reason whatsoever).

The quality of that opening carried through to to a lot of the rest of the episode. Cisco told Barry exactly what he needed to hear (and what fans have been complaining about for ages). That scene alone earned the episode a whole bunch of brownie points.

The actress who plays Cecile was also a highlight this time around. She did a nice, subtle, but still obvious job mimicking the other characters when she was in their minds.

It wasn't all good. I don't like the sudden repressed-trauma angle they've pulled out of thin air for Caitlin. Okay, so she had aspects of Killer Frost before the particle accelerator accident, that's fine and interesting in its own way, but for the shrink and then Cecile to both suddenly hone in on it out of the blue, that's pushing it more than a little bit.

Also, I'm really done with these counselling sessions. I understand why the show is using them--to help characters come to self-realizations or draw conclusions about what's going on in the spandex world--but they're not effective for the viewer. Now maybe if they would open up about their true identities that would be interesting. I mean what's one more person knowing their secret IDs at this point? I think the current count is every bad guy they've ever run into and half the population of Central City know who they are (and how to walk into STAR Labs uninvited).

The other big problem with this episode was Iris giving Marlize the "I believe in you" speech. She's wrong. Marlize doesn't really believe mankind is good and technology will save humanity. She saw the militants attack the camp for her water purifier. That was what turned her, not being lead starry-eyed astray by DeVoe. While she may have issues with her husband's behaviour, there is no evidence that she has completely turned against him and will turn and destroy his plans. Maybe if they had set this up two or three episodes ago, it might have felt better, but for her to join team Flash in the final episode and work with them is a cop-out and some lazy writing.
posted by sardonyx at 9:27 PM on May 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I forgot to mention, now that the Blackhawks are officially part of this universe, wouldn't it be fun for the Legends team to drop in on them at some point while they're time hopping?
posted by sardonyx at 10:04 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Pizza delivery guy was a zombie bartender from Seattle!

posted by numaner at 11:19 PM on May 18, 2018

Who are the Blackhawks?
posted by numaner at 11:23 PM on May 18, 2018

The episode felt tighter than most of the season, but that's due to how everything is already set up, even though it took the dumb train to get here. I don't mind the repressed memory stuff so much, since it's another series-long development for the character; sure it's convenient for them to write it in as a boost to this coming season finale, but that's how you sync character development for these shows and letting them have relevance.

The DeVoe fight was pretty amazing. But with all of this going on I'm scratching my head as why this wasn't another cross-over plot with at least Arrow and Legends, because I'm pretty sure this villain plan affects everyone. You would think they can call in both Sirens to attack him since sonic weapons work well, and the Totems could definitely hurt him.

I actually teared up a bit at Cisco telling Barry exactly what he needs to hear. It was very affecting. That's what I want to see more of, show!
posted by numaner at 11:30 PM on May 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Over land, over sea,
We fight to make men free,
Of danger we don't care...
We're Blackhawks!

When Barry is recounting the airports he checked while looking for DeVoe's missiles, he mentions Blackhawk Island. (So there's our starting point in case anybody missed it.)

War comics were never really my thing, so this group (and knowledge of it) isn't really my strength but if you read enough stuff in a comic universe, you pick up the histories of characters you don't care about by osmosis. (I'm just saying this to preface any errors I might make in the following description.)

The Blackhawk Squadron was a team of ace fighter WWII fighter pilots operating out of a base on what became known as Blackhawk Island.

The head of the squadron was a Polish (or Polish American, depending on the year and the version and the creative team) flyer who went by the name Blackhawk.

The (typically) seven member team was made up of pilots from a variety of nationalities. The usual mix went something like this: Blackhawk, Stanislaus (Polish, second in command), Chuck (American), Hendrickson (German), André (French), Olaf (Swedish), Chop-Chop (Chinese). There was a Lady Lady Blackhawk (Zinda) who was an ally of the team (and became one of Barbara Gordon's/Oracle's Birds of Prey). (For those who are curious, that picture also includes Black Canary in the fishnets and Huntress in the purple accents--names that are familiar in the Arrowverse.)

They mostly fought Nazis (perfect for this era), wild Nazi technological creations (the War Wheel) and sometimes mythical creatures.

If you're not a comic fan but have heard of the team fairly recently, it's because there have been announcements that Steven Spielberg is being set to direct a Blackhawk movie. (Which probably means they're off limits for the Arrowverse.)

(That first link is the version of the team I'm most familiar with. That was followed by a Howard Chaykin version which was pretty well acclaimed (although it didn't really do anything for me, as a reader, but as I said, war comics weren't my thing).
posted by sardonyx at 8:50 AM on May 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

I think I've hit 'bitch eating crackers' with this show, because I didn't even really enjoy DeVoe's initial romp. By technical standards, I think it may be the best superpowered action sequence ever shot in the CWverse, but all I could think was 'not this guy again.' Especially when he went on about how Marlize had been the only one keeping him from wanton murder - dude has been murdering people all season, and it's been a real downer to watch.

That's also where I'm at with Barry: his selfish, childish decision to try and exclude Caitlin and Cisco from the mission was just tiring. I think after a certain point, the protagonist of a show maybe needs to be with the program all episode and not require so many pep talks.

I'm also disappointed with the 'where's Killer Frost?' angle because I liked Killer Frost, and getting rid of her temporarily mostly just annoys me. (That one is a little mitigated by Caitlin using Snart's old gun.)

And I'm annoyed by the Dumb Wells plot. Tom Cavanaugh can carry it off - his talent has been enough to keep me watching the show through some other really dumb times - but I liked Earth-2 Wells the way he was. Between losing his snark and Killer Frost's snark, the show took a heavy blow to watchability for me.

About the only thread that was just fun to me was Cecile having an excuse to do impressions of everybody. That was silly, but she was sufficiently game to keep it light.

I'm uncertain what the show could possibly do at this point to fix what a huge drag it's become for me. Getting rid of DeVoe during the finale is a start, but they really just don't seem to get what was fun about this show in S1. (It's like a reverse Legends of Tomorrow.)
posted by mordax at 9:20 AM on May 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

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