Review: The Flash 4×21 – “Harry and The Harrisons”

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Director: Kevin Mock

Writers: Judalina Neira and Lauren Certo

Starring: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanaugh, Jesse L. Martin, Katee Sackhoff, Mark Sweatman

 

Summary

While Harry’s condition gets him kicked out of “The Council of Wells,” Team Flash are forced to team up with Amunet in an attempt to stop DeVoe.

Positives

The one motif that is most prevalent in this week’s installment is the overarching need to tackle a problem from a different avenue. This lesson is learned from all three significant parties, and is done so with much-needed subtlety. We’ll start with the brain-zapped Harry. Yes, he has taken a hit because of his own hubris, and, to add insult to injury, kicked out of the very council he established. Again Cavanaugh offers new versions of Harrison Wells through fellow rejects from the council. The running gag of them having contempt for Cisco’s diminutive size never fails. The point of introducing a council with a different focus – emotion rather than intellect – targets a character flaw in Harry that may be the key to DeVoe’s defeat. Where The Thinker has abandoned all emotional attachments – most notably his wife – in the pursuit of his agenda, Harry approaches the threat from what DeVoe took for granted. Wells’ social skills are inept, and yet by focusing on the heart rather than the brain gives Team Flash a strategy to neutralize The Thinker. Tom got a laugh out of me with his equation’s emoji result resembling DeVoe.

 

Iris also adopts a different tactic, utilizing the power of the press to spread the word about The Thinker’s plan. The writers finally give Iris her mind back and make use of the reporter aspect of her character. While discretion is the way that Team Flash has operated in the past with regards to previous big bads, the need for secrecy has worked against them in the past year. The public has no clue about the threat DeVoe poses, and that has enabled Barry to be arrested and jailed for murder, as well as the villain killing 12 metahumans he created like a farmer harvesting his crops. Iris approaches this article idea from a realistic perspective; this threat could engulf the entire city, and the world with it, so the public has a right to know. Iris has as much faith in the city as Barry, and needs to gently nudge him into giving her the go ahead to involve the public. In the end their faith in Central City is well-placed; this monster’s designs have become too serious to ignore or mask from the public. The readers become their eyes and ears without knowing they’re assisting The Flash. Barry gets to have his cake and eat it too in this sense.

And finally, we have Caitlin, determined to resurrect her Killer Frost identity. It’s appropriate that Joe is the one to counsel her as a father would his daughter. Joe West is a surrogate father to all of those kids at S.T.A.R. Labs, reinforcing the extended family theme without overdoing it. The fierceness in Caitlin’s outrage at the midpoint when things go awry is tense yet not overblown. Danielle conveys a restrained exasperation as the alleged means of bringing back the cold part of her is believable. You can also tell via the Cold Gun she’s trying different subliminal ways to wake Frosty up. At the end of the day, she learns the answer lies within her to get her back as opposed to a magic bullet. As a person living with anxiety, something I manage via learned mindfulness techniques, I can empathize. All the medication in the world cannot amount in my case to repetition of mental strategies. Caitlin, in turn, learns that it is a matter of the mind as opposed to scientific ingenuity to bring back Frost.

Negatives

What to do with a problem like Amunet? From that moment she arrived on the scene, I have never taken her seriously. Katee Sackhoff’s portrayal of this blonde airhead with a gimmick is a complete waste of her talents. In spite of her relevance to a possible solution to both Caitlin’s plight and DeVoe’s satellites, Amunet feels shoehorned in. A Maguffin, at best. I suppose what bugs me the most about this woman is that she has very little growth. She is too one-dimensional. She’s a flight attendant-turned-human trafficker. Two diametrically opposite careers and skill sets and I highly doubt that this woman was even able to hold down her first job. She’s a bargain basement Magneto with a metal-covered fist. In a nutshell, whatever she has to offer the group could have been given within a two-minute scene instead of 45 minutes of her drabble. Her lackey-turned-enemy makes no sense as to his metahuman ability to pop a snake out of his eyeball. Every time she has air time she lowers the quality of an episode. Also, Barry felt like a guest star in this episode. I don’t know whether or not it’s to get away from the “We are the Flash” with Iris and give the rest of the cast relevance, but I just felt that like could have had a bigger role to play in this episode.

 

Verdict

While I applaud the brief Thinker reprieve and seeing Iris be Iris as well as Harry’s new direction, I just can’t stand that metal-wielding blonde twit. Nuff said.

 

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Jay

I'm an Ontario-based news writer, as well as graphic illustrator with his own commission business. I've been a comic collector since I was ten and have enjoyed the lore of these larger than life figures ever since. I graduated with an HBA from the University of Toronto in Humanities and have worked for both local and online news outlets.