This episode can best be described as “zany”. This is Season 1, taken to 11. The cast not only jokes with each other, but the chemistry among the actors is now being used in addition, and it comes off as honest fun, instead of forced mirth.
And it features the return of Harry, Harrison Wells from Earth-2, and father of Jesse Quick. They have been off doing the father-daughter superhero thing, and his name has been dropped a few times, but this features the return of Tom Cavanagh as a full-time cast member.
It’s also the return of the “villain-of-the-week” format, with The Thinker pulling the strings behind the scenes. Last week, due to scenes from The Thinkers lair, we saw a grid, and knew there were 12 new supervillains that The Thinker was watching. This is the second of the group.
The Thinker mentions, as he watches her, that she might be the most powerful of the group. His assistant asks why they don’t get her immediately, and he replies he wants to watch things unfold. This is a classic chess master move, and lets him analyze how the team reacts to different types of adversity.
The villain, however, is not your typical super. Her power is that of luck manipulation. When she gets good luck, everyone else gets bad luck. her introduction brings the release of marbles to stop a speedster, as she casually drives away. How do you stop someone you can’t get close to?
Harry’s return brings an end to the Wally / Jesse relationship. There’s a beautifully acted, awkward as hell, scene where Harry has to deliver the bad news, but their earth has a “breakup cube” where the breaker records a nice message to the breakee, so they don’t have to actually face them. As Caitlin says, it’s a great way to break someone’s heart. Harry silently agrees in such a way as to make it seem that’s the point. Tom Cavanagh is an amazing actor, and this scene typifies why he needs to stick around, and why they made up new characters for him to play. Wally, of course, is devastated, and is hardly seen the rest of the episode.
So the team works out how her powers work (quantum entanglement says Harry), and discover the luckier she gets, the larger her field spreads. They suspect she can destroy the city if she gets lucky enough. So, of course, she goes to a casino.
The subplot is about the house Joe owns, and raised Iris and Wally in. It’s got pipe issues, and Claire suggests selling it, after a $15,000 repair quote. In almost every scene, Joe is called away for another problem with the house. It started with the pipes making noises (which Iris imitates and Barry says has been made by the house for over 18 years). As the bad luck field expands, the pipes break, leaving Clair trying to catch all the falling water. Then the house starts almost attacking her. Joe gets stuck outside, the door handle falling off in his hands, and the door remaining locked, Claire falls to the ground, in water, as electrical wires start to buzz. It culminates by the end of the episode with Claire and Joe hiding from the house that is almost falling apart around them.
Also caused by bad luck is an airplane trying to land, and one engine gets hit by a goose (it happens all too often). The rest of the engines ALSO go out, so they’re powerless and falling quickly. I assume the rest of the city is similarly affected by the bad-luck field.
Back at STAR Labs, the particle accelerator turns itself on. This must be a bad thing, as Iris says it will blow up. Harry and Cisco race to the core, and try to stop it. Meanwhile, Barry is trying to stop Hazard (that’s what they name her). He shows up at the casino, where she has already won 1.2 million dollars at craps. She sits at the $10 million dollar jackpot slot machine, and plays. This is the slowest slot machine in existence, and it is nearly 5 minutes of action as the wheels spin and lock into place.
Barry zips into the casino, intending to put power-dampening cuffs on Hazard. He slips and falls, and ends up cuffing himself. Iris is unable to uncuff him, as the lab is sparking and exploding around her, and the accelerator continues to power up. The airplane is still crashing. The wheels are still spinning, but now ONE has locked into place.
The field is still expanding. Joe’s house is still exploding. The plane is still crashing. Barry gets trapped underneath a sign, and Iris is unable to get the cuffs off him. The accelerator continues to power up, as the second wheel locks into place. Hazard keeps saying things like “c’mon cherry, pop! Pop cheery, cheery pop!” as her mantra for winning the jackpot.
Barry is still trapped under the sign, th plane is still crashing, Joe’s house is still exploding, Iris still can’t get the cuffs off Barry, Barry is watching helplessly, and the accelerator is still about to blow. “C’mon cherry, pop! Cherry Pop!” Slowly, the last cherry starts to fall into place.
But Harry has an idea about the particle accelerator. He stops Cisco from preventing the explosion, which then explodes. But it’s not a normal explosion. It’s just some sort of electrical field, that sends a pulse out, and passes through everyone.
The wheel ALMOST stops on the last cherry, but somehow clicks over to another symbol. Hazard has lost. Barry slowly walks over to her as she pleads for him not to arrest her. No such luck.
Joe’s house stops blowing up, the airplane gets it’s engines back and flies off to safety, and Hazard is sent to jail.
During the episode, the team discovers that they created the metahumans when Barry returned from the Speed Force. There was a bus of 12, and so far they’ve met 2. Now they have their own grid to work from, for this half-arc!
This was a fun, zany episode. Harry, Barry, and Cisco, walking the streets, and their whole interaction was pure acting chemistry. Harry stopping short, Barry bumping into him, and Cisco bumping into Barry, was very much three guys clowning around, and it was apparent the actors liked each other.
There was a serious subplot, however. Not only did Jesse break up with Wally, but suddenly Wally wants to leave the team and move to “Blue Valley”. Which this is a nice nod to his comicbook history (that’s were Wally grew up in the comics), there was little indication he felt unappreciated. Sure, since Barry came back, two speedsters seemed a little superfluous, but that’s an easy issue for writers to solve. Instead, they wrote him out.
But, as Harry notes – the return of Barry, caused the exist of Wally, and he starts thinking in Chessmaster mode. We all know the first Harrison (which was actually Eobard Thawne) tried to teach Barry chess. Harry is also a chessmaster, and recognizes that they are being played, with the metas as pawns. I’m positive this will be important later. Perhaps the abruptness of Wally’s leaving is actually just part of The Thinkers overall plan. We shall see over the course of this season!
Watch the full episode here:
The trailer for next week “Elongated Journey into Night”
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