– by Mark Cook
(Photo Courtesy of The CW.)

The Flash returns coming off the heels of the reveal that Season 1 Dr. Wells…er…DeVose is found to be seemingly human with a disability that has left him wheelchair-bound.  Barry and Joe arrived at his residence to speak to he and his wife.  Will we see a more developed character this week? Will he excite fans? Up to this point he hasn’t, so maybe this week will be different?  Read on to find out.

(Photo Courtesy of The CW.)

Clifford DeVoe — The episode begins with a flashback from four years prior showing DeVoe teaching a highly disengaged college class. He shows his wife the prototype for what he calls his “thinking cap”.  Flash forward to the present time, Barry and Joe are back at the DeVoe residence where they are investigating him for possible connections to four crimes. He denies any type of connection to the individuals on the bus, aside from Mina Chayton from last week who was described as a former colleague, yet Barry and Joe think otherwise (especially after seeing the samurai painting on the wall.  This was a bit of a leap.  Go figure DeVoe has paintings resembling the robot he created.) Barry confronts DeVoe, again, this time taking his coffee mug for DNA.  He’s The Thinker, I am pretty sure he will notice his favorite coffee mug being taken. DeVoe and his wife file a complaint against Barry and Joe, and as a result, Barry seems to be the only one who still believes DeVoe is an evil man.  He finds the camera behind the samurai mask and goes to DeVoe’s house again.  I’m not sure why Barry seemed so nervous.  He was sneaking around like he was afraid of being caught.  He has superhuman speed and at this point has no idea DeVoe is a super genius.  Why is he sneaking around? By taking his own actions, Barry was caught on tape by Mrs. DeVoe and she confronts him at the police station leading to Barry being suspended.  This new threat is really lacking.  Yes, we know DeVoe is intellectually stronger than the team, and is trying to plan his rogues gallery, but that’s it.  Barry says he fears DeVoe is worse than all the others he has faced, and he doesn’t know why.  Neither do we, and that’s the issue. Dramatic irony only works if the reader/viewer is engaged in the story, and that hasn’t happened to date. Barry confronts DeVoe again and reveals that he knows Barry is the Flash, and he also knows everything that the team has been up to. Quick resolution as Barry tells the team and they apologize for not believing him.  This was actually a plot point that could have been drawn out a couple more episodes, but anyways, Wally returns to help the team.  Why did he leave in the first place? I know the reason he gave, but what was the point in him only being gone a couple episodes?

(Photo Courtesy of The CW.)

Iris’ Role — Even though she often plays the role of the damsel in distress, I can’t get on board with Iris’ current role on the team.  She was a journalist, which apparently is no longer true.  When with Team Flash she is often working the computer and, at times, giving orders.  Why?  Because she has been the voice of reason for Barry?  I don’t care as much that she gives orders as I do with her working on the computers.  Once again, why?  In Seasons 1 through most of 3 Cisco and Caitlin (both much more competent in computer technology) work the computers really making Iris’ role useless.  I am not saying Iris shouldn’t be used, but it seems like a waste right now.  It’s as if they are saying, “Well, we are going to need her to pull Barry out of an issue at some point, so let’s throw her on the team somewhere.”  Revealed in a flashback, we find out that she even wrote her dissertation. Maybe it was in computer technology?  Doubtful.

The Creation of The Thinker — The flashback idea that Arrow seemingly dropped has been picked up by The Flash. Viewers get the see the creation of The Thinker through these flashbacks four years earlier. In a flashback,  Mr. and Mrs. DeVoe seemed to figure out that the particle accelerator would not work.  They still needed it for his thinking cap to work. They achieved their intended goal. The result of the particle accelerator and the thinking cap are a success due to Mr. and Mrs. DeVoe working together as he is the brains, but she is the creator, which has continued to transpire over the years.  As he works to understand his new increased knowledge he begins to have seizures and is diagnosed with an illness similar to ALS.  His mind is drawing energy from his body in order to keep up with all of the new intellect. His wife creates the Professor X chair in order to help sustain his body. He needs the chair as much as his wife needs to slick her hair back when she gets down to business in their lab.

So to answer the question posed in my title…the answer is not really.  There wasn’t much action, which there won’t be since they are taking a more intellectual approach this season.  The flip side of that is that if there is not going to be much physical action, there must a different type of suspense that draws the viewer in through curiosity and speculation, but this hasn’t been accomplished yet.  I unfortunately found myself checking the time to see how much of the episode was left.  Luckily, next week begins the crossover event, which will give the fans a bit of a shake-up from the current storyline.

What did you think of this week’s episode?  Did The Thinker bring back excitement for you?  What can be done to increase the suspense and intrigue? Did you enjoy the flashbacks?  Leave your comments in the usual spot, and thanks for reading!

The Flash  returns next Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET for the crossover event on The CW.