‘The Flash’ Recap and Review: “The Flash Reborn”
Last week, after a summer break wondering how The Flash crew and its writer’s room would pick up after a season three dealing with the consequences of flashpoint and a vengeful future Barry, the DC series returned with its season four premiere. The episode kind of gives away the big point of the plot in the title: “The Flash Reborn” though. Here’s what went down last week.
Team Flash has been running the streets in Barry’s absence to keep Central City safe. The only missing member is Caitlin. Another missing member is Julian Albert (Tom Felton), who won’t be returning this season. The story is that Julian went back to London. The set up during Barry’s absence the last six month is Iris on comms and tech in Star Labs with Joe, and the others out on the street. The first scenes of the episode show Cisco and Wally running and vibing through the city to capture Shawna Baez also known as the teleporting metahuman, Peek-a-boo, who we haven’t seen since season one. Iris is able to track her pattern and set up the capture.
At S.T.A.R. Labs, we learn that one out of every three metas they try to capture has escaped. While Iris and Joe have dinner with Cecile, Wally is forced to undergo a training session. Joe brings up that CCPD has been pushing to hire someone else because they’ve been short-staffed since Julian left and Barry is supposedly on sabbatical in the Czech Republic. Unlike the others, Iris seems to believe that Barry isn’t coming back and that they need to move on despite that fact that she hasn’t organized any type of memorial for him and she’s been sleeping on the couch in their apartment.
That night, a flying object shakes the city. It turns out to be a samurai. In an unexpected moment, Wally speaks flawless Japanese. The samurai demands the “real” flash and threatens to destroy the city. When Cisco questions if the samurai can hold his own against them with a sword, he thrusts the blade into the street creating a blast that knocks them back and flips a car. With a final threat, he flies off.
When the team tries to come up with an idea, Cisco tries to talk the others into bringing Barry back. The others argue that it could disrupt the speed force, but Cisco says he may be able to stop that from happening. Apparently, he’s been working on a way to stabilize the speed force prison with the help of Curtis, Felicity, Tina, Tracy, and Harry. Iris is pissed that he hasn’t told any of them and doesn’t support the idea because of its uncertainties.
He goes to see Caitlin at the bar where she’s a bartender. She seems to have Killer Frost under control but wants to be left alone. One of the people in the bar approaches them but Caitlin tells them everything is fine. She finally agrees to help Cisco when he tells her that he’s going to bring Barry back.
The team and Caitlin, minus Iris, head back the airstrip that Barry trained on back in season one to test out Cisco’s plan. Caitlin apologizes to Joe for everything that’s happened and the pair share a hug. Cisco unveils the speed force bazooka that’s been modified to track Barry’s DNA specifically. The portal isn’t open long before they get a system failure message.
Elsewhere, a huge portal opens and a naked and disoriented Barry comes speeding out. He runs into a truck on a back road 300 miles away from the city before passing out. Cecile calls the others who’ve been arguing at S.T.A.R. Labs to come to the police station. She takes them to see Barry, but unfortunately, he’s been drawing symbols all over the walls and talking in riddles and saying things that aren’t coherent to the others. They inject him and take him back to the lab.
They wake him up and play Lady Gaga like in the pilot. He immediately starts talking in circles again and grabs his head. Iris talks to Barry privately and expresses all her emotions to reach him. This sets off his speed which causes some destruction to the lab. Caitlin shoots him with a cold gun and they lock him in the pipeline prison.
The samurai appears again and Wally heads out to fight him in Barry’s suit. He can’t hold his own and gets stabbed in the leg. With Wally injured, Cisco attempts to decrypt Barry’s message but only comes up with the message “This house is bitchin’.” During their next encounter, Iris gives herself over to the samurai, believing that Barry will come after her. When Joe tells Barry that Iris is in danger, he breaks out of the cell and goes after her wearing his suit. He’s faster than they’ve seen before. It turns out that the samurai is a droid that says “Flash, welcome home” as it short circuits. Barry and Iris share a kiss with some pretty nice scenery.
Barry has no memory of being in the speed force or his time when he first returned. Caitlin returns to the bar to quit but it seems like she’s involved in something more because she says, “Tell Amunet, I’m out.” The man who hovered while she and Cisco talked the other night grabbed her and told her that it wasn’t that easy. She loses her temper momentarily becoming Killer Frost. Outside, she regains control.
Barry leaves Iris in their apartment to respond to the sound of sirens. Elsewhere, a woman repairs a Samuroid and says the plan has worked. She asks about the next step and a man wearing a helmet that’s connected to some kind of chair turns to tell her that he’s thinking.
Final thoughts and ranking on the season four premiere of The Flash
While I’m happy to see Barry back, the show really didn’t explore what it was like for Cisco to be a hero full time and for Wally to try and step into Barry’s shoes. The angle the writers took makes you wonder what Wally’s role beyond being the rookie who’s still not fast enough. Nobody expects Kid Flash to take over as the main character, but I would have liked to see what that would look like for more than the first bit of an episode.
Watching Iris take the lead at S.T.A.R. Labs was cool, but left me wondering what happened to her journalism and who taught her how to use all the lab tech. A big deal has always been made about tampering with the speed force, yet the team did so easily in the episode. If there aren’t consequences for Barry returning the dramatic ending of season three seems to fall flat. Will they forget about the signs he was writing not that he’s back to normal? We’ll see. I’m also looking forward to seeing how this season handles a non-speedster villain.
I’m giving “The Flash Reborn” a 7.5/10.
Kira McCall covers entertainment for MFST. She’s a freelance writer and alum of Towson University where she studied advertising, public relations, and creative writing. Follow her on Twitter at cocovanilla45 (GirlsofManyFandoms) and kiramira_.
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