DeVoe’s machine is almost complete.
Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.
Given where last week’s episode left things, it feels like The Flash could have moved directly into its Season 4 finale this week. The fact that it didn’t is somewhat of a knock against “Think Fast.” Fortunately, there were enough strong moments this week to ensure that this episode didn’t merely play like filler.
In fact, the opening sequence may be one of the most memorable of the entire season. There’s nothing quite like seeing Clifford DeVoe unleash every one of his ill-gotten powers on a group of unsuspecting ARGUS soldiers. DeVoe’s attack was very stylishly presented, with the camera angles, in tandem. It’s a shame we haven’t seen DeVoe unleashed on this scale more often this season. Though to be fair, that sequence can’t have been easy or cheap to put together.
Inevitably, the rest of “Think Fast” couldn’t quite live up to that opening. The idea that DeVoe needed 12 hours to charge his doomsday satellites felt like an unnecessary stalling tactic and plot contrivance. That inevitably drained this episode of some of its momentum. It also raised the question of why no one outside of Team Flash seemed intent on doing anything about DeVoe’s invasion. You’d think ARGUS might have a vested interest in reclaiming its property. On that note, it’s also disappointing that this episode didn’t do more with the notion of Central City becoming the eyes and ears of Team Flash. This episode barely acknowledged that development from last week or explored how the city is contributing to the fight against DeVoe.
Another complaint is that more wasn’t done with David Ramsey’s brief guest appearance. It’s always amusing seeing Diggle bump elbows with other metahumans in the Arrowverse. And while the trash can gag was definitely amusing, Diggle’s limited screen time ultimately raised the question of why he was included at all. Why not keep him around to help in the fight against DeVoe (unless the excuse is that he’s too busy dealing with Ricardo Diaz in Star City)?
But while this conflict mainly played out like a placeholder until the final showdown next week, there was some solid Team Flash drama to be had. What initially seemed like another example of Barry struggling to accept that he can’t do everything alone grew into a larger examination of the team’s failings over the course of the season. Barry reflecting on the death of Ralph hit home. The same for Cisco’s insistence that he’s directly responsible for making DeVoe’s plan possible. Along with that opening sequence, Barry and Cisco’s argument was easily one of the highlights of the evening.
That scene also helped strengthen the emotional stakes of this conflict. In terms of scope and ramifications for the wider world, DeVoe’s plot is as grand as anything we’ve seen in past seasons. But on an emotional level, it doesn’t connect on the same level as Barry confronting Reverse-Flash or Savitar. And the Enlightenment still doesn’t have that level of emotional resonance, but it’s a little closer after this week. And maybe the return of Marlize will help further propel things along in the finale.
It was also great seeing Iris and Harry join forces this week. Tom Cavanagh is doing a fine job of depicting Harry’s deteriorating mental state, playing it both for laughs and tragedy as the situation demands. And it turns out there really is something to the idea of Harry trying to understand the DeVoes on an emotional level rather than an intellectual one. He can’t out-think the Thinker, but he can sense where his emotional weak points are.
I could have done without the other two subplots in play this week. The Caitlin/Killer Frost storyline has been one bad decision after another this year, and introducing this repressed memory business doesn’t seem like a step in the right direction. It continues to be frustrating that the series spent so long building Caitlin to this point and has done so little to take advantage of her potential as a character.
As for the Joe/Cecile subplot, it was fine, but really just more of the same. We’ve seen plenty of Cecile’s metahuman pregnancy hijinks, and this episode didn’t bring much new to the table. At most, this subplot seemed like a way of keeping Cecile in play ahead of the inevitable labor next week. Hopefully the long-awaited birth of this child will justify all the buildup.