– 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.

  • newscynic

    Flash was AMAZING this week. It felt like a movie. I don’t know who is playing The Thinker but their acting ability was through the roof!

  • Kronx

    My problem is I’m still fuzzy on what DeVoe wants (other than to find Bell and Biv).

    He wanted to help mankind by selflessly becoming a supergenius. That made his body begin to deteriorate. So now he wants to somehow cure himself by making metahumans, and I assume study them to find a way to fix his body.

    But there really isn’t much reason to go against the Flash at all. The Thinker has no emotional connection to Barry and would have access to a meta with regen powers, as well as, multidimensional and time travel.

    Creating metas seems counterproductive since most of them seem to become criminal with little provocation, and, once more, there’s already a meta with the powerset you want. Barry may have been in the speed force but Wally wasn’t.

    • MC

      I feel like I need to go back each week and rewatch the episode to figure out what just happened. The problem there is that I don’t want to because the episodes haven’t been entertaining.

      It’s as if DeVoe’s motive is, “Damn you Harrison Wells for creating the particle accelerator that gave me exactly what I wanted aside from an awful side effect. Oh, and damn you too Barry.”

  • Weresmurf

    I’m loving Flash this season. The fact The Thinker isn’t a Speedster, he’s outwitting Barry and he’s setting himself up to be a great foil, is such a welcome change to yet another villain Barry must outrun.

    • randomironicname

      I agree, I’m so happy that the villain isn’t a speedster and’or emo-Barry in disguise that I am willing to overlook a lot of flaws. Much prefer a big bad like Grod but this guy seems more budget friendly.
      That said, all the complaints about Iris being in charge are spot on. I’ve always found the character annoying but this season magnifies that.

      • secretAGENTman

        What you didn’t like last season’s Barry wig floppy-greasy hair and stupid face scarring?

        OK, that’s fair since it sucked.

        • randomironicname

          There should have been a sad trombone sound effect when they revealed that after a whole season buildup. At least he didn’t sing in that episode.

          • secretAGENTman

            So so true! 🎺🤔

            I’d already forgotten about the musical episode… 🎼🎤

          • Weresmurf

            God now I want someone to edit that and put it on youtube lol

      • Weresmurf

        Iris is definitely ‘Felicitied’ this season. Her comment ‘We are the Flash’… oh dear lord I felt like screaming “NO YOU AREN’T!” Iris is literally the most disposable one of the team.
        Barry is the Flash
        Cisco is the Flash
        Caitlin is the Flash
        Joe is the Flash

        Iris is just window dressing.

  • secretAGENTman

    Good call out on the laxyband jarring nature of Iris’ promotion or whatever one wants to call it.

    When she was all swaggy in the premier episode barking orders AND giving a newly returned Barry the ‘biz’ the first couple episodes, I went: “Hold up, who the f•ck are you?! Ah yes, the cafe barista AND somehow turned BS internet reporter, cough, blogger – Now team leader?! Nope, not happening.”

    …I wanted her sorry-attitude strutting-self GONE.

  • Smerdyakov

    The main problem with the Flash is that they’ve pretty much run through Flash’s rogue’s gallery (and Firestorm’s) and 80 percent of them were pretty much underwhelming one shots. I used to go “Oooh this week they’re going to do the Mirror Master and then they did and you go “meh”. At this point the anticipation is pretty much gone. We still haven’t seen a gathering of the Rogues, just the “Freak of the Week” who is never seen again. However I have to give them credit for finding an actor who actually looks like the Elongated Man.

    • MC

      Agreed. The meta-of-the-week has shot through so many possible good storylines.

  • Smerdyakov

    Another problem is we already know that at some point in the future Cisco is going to whip up some kind of invention to defeat the Thinker so whatever threat he poses comes to nought.

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  • Mad Barchetta

    I mostly enjoyed this episode as something fresh, compared to previous seasons. We got a full background on this character, who he was, how he got to where he is. It humanized him a bit, and we don’t have to go through the whole “Who is the Man Behind the Mask” mystery like we’ve done all the previous seasons.

    However…I’m still a bit unclear about his real plan and why he’s after the Flash Mob (TM). One line I heard seemed to suggest he’s still focused on bringing complete knowledge to people, as he was with his students, and he wants to start with the Flash Mob (TM). But, he seems a big sinister and antagonistic to be a guy who’s now maniacally wanting to force something beneficial on the world. I would expect someone like that to act more like an obsessed zealot.

    Of course, I still think Barry acts like an idiot in service of story. So…Barry…bad guy has a camera in your place, and it doesn’t occur to you at all that he might have cameras in HIS OWN PLACE. This is soap opera level story-telling, where people do all kinds of dumb things, just advance the plot because the writers apparently can’t come up with anything more complex.

    It’s things like this that keep most of the Arrowverse from being more than a popcorn-munching diversion for me.