OK, so here we are again. Back in Central City. A city full of Speedsters, supervillains, Big Belly Burger, and CC Jitters coffee. Strap in, grab a cuppa, and let’s see what this episode has to show us! On to “Mixed Signals”!
So, we all know that this season is supposed to bring back the “Lighter hearted” Barry. The show-runners have promised us less melancholy, less brooding, and more *FUN*.
But….we’re FOUR seasons in. Shouldn’t they have a handle on how The Flash should be handled?
As it turns out, they’re still working on it. This is a step in the right direction, though, as there were a lot more genuine “fun” moments, as well as plenty of optimistic, fun-loving, darting around at full speed Barry. Unfortunately, this is still the CW version of Barry Allen, so he’s a bit of a self-centered jerk. Let’s hope this is the last we see of him.
The opening scene is fun. Barry re-enacts the most popular scene from Risky Business, the “singing in my underwear” scene, set to the tune of “Old Time Rock n’ Roll” by Bob Seger. Of course, hes not just dancing around in his boxers, he’s also making breakfast. And, since he needs more calories than an entire football team after practice, he makes a huge breakfast – pancakes, sausage, eggs, French toast, bacon, even a bowl of “fruity cereal”. It really helped establish he is in a great mood, happy to be home, and loving his powers. Much like season 1! So far, good job guys! He even uses his super speed to catch up on 6 months of television (“Oh, Jon Snow died..Yay, he’s alive again!”). It was a pretty funny scene.
He’s also finished planning the wedding for Iris, which doesn’t exactly hit the mark, but he’s too absorbed in himself to notice. Off he speeds to work/save the day. Iris is left a little put-out. But hey, at least Barry is having a good time, and is enjoying himself, right? But it shouldn’t be at the expense of his friends, or his fiancée.
This episodes villain of the week is a schlubby guy who can control technology. I mean, it’s pretty damned stereotypical – scruffy beard, poorly dressed in wrinkled jeans and a sweat shirt, and over weight. You can’t get much more stereotypical “computer nerd” than this guy. Hell, at one point they even call him out for living in his parents garage (not basement). So, clearly, he’s the bad guy, named Kilg%re (pronounced “Kilgore”). I did like the square, digital eye effect, though. Good visual representation of him using his powers.
His first kill is a billionaire (well-dressed, with a clean-shave, who is trim and fit), who is as arrogant as he is rich. He rent/buys the most expensive penthouse in Central City (which looks EXACTLY like the penthouse Green Arrow owns back in Star City…which we can chalk up to producers trying to save money by re-using locations). On his way from the 100th floor, the elevator goes crazy, and shakes him like a Bond martini.
This leads to Barry and Joe investigating. They’ve called in “Weird Tech” specialist Cisco, who struts around flashing his plastic badge to gain access to the crime scene. He quickly finds out a hacker killed the billionaire, and as Sherlock would say “The game is afoot!”
But, while they’re investigating, The Flash returns to it’s CW roots – relationships. Iris and Barry aren’t communicating well, so Iris signs them up for couple’s therapy. And, like most people, Barry thinks it’s a bad thing, and that they are “on the rocks” because therapy has been suggested. So, he’s pretty resistant to it during the therapy scenes. Sure, the parts where he has to run off due to ‘work issues’ and Iris and he have to make excuses about it was funny….but overall, the entire sub-lot between the two left me a little wanting. Iris has been strong, forceful, and the leader while Barry was gone (much like she was with Kid Flash in the Flashpoint timeline), and Barry pretty well ignores all that she accomplished while he was gone. This comes up in therapy, when Iris is reduced to “the girlfriend” again, and says that he left her, without any sort of reasoning. Except, it’s not like he went to Arruba for a 6 month vacation. He was stuck in the Speed Force, for who knows how long. He did it to save the city and the world. And she was there. It’s not like she didn’t know why he did it. This entire sub-plot wasn’t that good, due to how it treated Iris. Fortunately, the resolution by the end of the episode, with Barry finally listening, helped get them back on track.
The other relationship sub-plot is for Cisco. He’s been flirting with Gypsy for a season or more now, and they’ve finally moved on to ‘dating’. Except, he keeps having to put her off, due to the “rampaging psychopath”. Which, as he points out later, is an every day thing in Central City. So it shouldn’t stop him from being able to spend time with the woman he cares about. There’s some parts about 111 day, which on Earth-19 is sort of live Valentine’s Day, and was super important for her. Because it was a day you spent with your lvoed ones, and that’s why she wanted to spend it with Cisco. Well, Cisco gets it, and by the end of the episode, he and Gypsy are all good. It’s a pretty minor sub-plot, but we’ve seen Joe and his GF, Wally and Jesse Quick, HR and Tracy, and Caitlin with Robbie and Julian. It’s about TIME Cisco gets a relationship plotline!
The second attack from Kilg%re is on a man driving a high-tech car. Again, well-dressed, slim and trim, and cleanly shaved. Team Flash doesn’t know it’s connected, yet, and since “it’s just one car.” Barry speeds off alone to save the day, leaving Wally and Iris standing there. Barry catches up to the car, confirms it’s a runaway, and then goes help. He doesn’t listen to Iris who tells him to push it left, and he turns it right for some reason. Turns out, left was the correct choice, since the road to the right is under construction. Barry solves the runaway car issue by dismantling it before it hits the construction barriers. It was a great visual, but Barry not listening caused more issues than it saved.
Barry confronts Deacon (aka Kilg%re) who takes control of the new high-tech suit Cisco put together for him. How much tech is in the new suit? According to Cisco “so much tech”. So Barry has to fight his suit, while Kilg%re is controlling it, setting off all it’s functions. Including the self-destruct! Fortunately, Team Flash has Barry’s back, and now that he is listening, they figure out a way to short out the suit – hit himself with a Speed Lightning Bolt. it works, and Barry is back in action, sans the tech suit.
By the third attack they’ve finally figured out the connection (thanks to magazines Cisco saved from when he was a teenager). There were four members of a tech group, and two have been attacked, and one was recognized as the man Joe ran into at the first attack. So they know it’s the woman int he picture who is next. Kilg%re shows up, and attacks. But this time Wally and Barry are there to save the day. Barry stops the bullet Kilg%re fired, while Wally stabs Kilg%re with a serum. Since he was powered by a bio-virus, Caitlin and Cisco created an anti-bio-virus. it works, and Kilg%re is brought into custody, and two of the three billionaires are saved.
The end of the episode shows Kilg%re in an entirely non-tech cell, surrounded by multiple layers of wi-fi signal killing walls. They find out, though, that Kilg%re didn’t get his super-powers from the exploding particle accelerator. So, this leaves them perplexed, but confident that he has been dealt with.
The stinger at the end shows The Thinker speaking to The Mechanic, discussing Deacon (aka Kilg%re). The Mechanic applauds The Thinker, getting Deacon exactly where he wanted him (in the Prison, I guess), and asks about their next step.
The Thinker then says it’s time to bring “the rest of them together”. The computer screen shows Deacon, and space for 11 others (12 slots total). This gives us a total 13 week/half-season arc to follow!
Final Thoughts: This was a good episode. It helped re-establish Barry’s lighter mood, and an overall lighter tone to the show (thankfully!) Everyone has their subplots going on, with Caitlin having to deal with her Killer Frost side. Only now, she feels it coming, and can help keep it from happening. I liken it to The Hulk, or a werewolf (which is basically what the Hulk is, a werewolf story). It’s an involuntary transformation, due to outside circumstances, and she will have to fight to keep it under control. It’s a nice way to keep her drama present, without making it too ‘in your face’. And let’s be honest. Caitlin Snow, MD, is a good support character. But Killer Frost, the meta, is a MUCH more interesting character, with a LOT more potential. I’m excited to see where her story goes.
I’m also interested to see the next version of Harrison Wells. Harry was brought up in episode 1, as well as HR. I really want to see what the next one is like!
Here is a full copy of the show, if you want to watch it.
And a preview for next week “Luck be a Lady”:
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