Now back in Central City after his extended absence, Barry is eager to resume his duties as ‘The Flash’. That means it’s time to deal with a new metahuman-of-the-week. Too bad he can’t also do anything about Wally’s dorky new haircut.
The villain this week is a guy named Ramsey Deacon, a.k.a. Kilg%re (Dominic Burgess from ‘Feud: Betty and Joan’), a former tech genius who got shafted by his business partners and now wants revenge. Of course, his meta power is the ability to hack pretty much any form of technology. He starts off killing a rich prick by hacking his building’s elevator and slamming him up and down at high speeds until there’s nothing left of the guy but a puddle of douchebag soup. When he hacks his next victim’s car and sends the man careening down the road at 120 mph, Barry has to dismantle the entire vehicle before it crashes. Deacon then tries to set off an explosion in police headquarters (Barry catches the shrapnel to save Joe) and sends his final partner (who’s diabetic) into insulin shock by overdriving her automated medicine pump.
When Barry and Wally race to confront the meta, Deacon takes control over Barry’s suit, which Cisco had recently tricked-out with loads of fancy new tech. He forces Barry to attack Wally, then sets off a self-destruct timer. At Iris’ suggestion, Barry tosses a lightning bolt and then runs around to get hit by it himself, shorting out the suit and ending Deacon’s control. Determining that Deacon is a “bio-digital living computer virus” or somesuch nonsense, Cisco whipped up “digital antibodies” that Barry injects into the villain to subdue him.
Locked away in an Iron Heights cell behind multiple layers of signal-dampening walls, Deacon reveals that he was nowhere near Central City during the S.T.A.R. Labs meltdown that turned half the city’s population into meta-humans. This leaves Barry and Cisco puzzled as to how he could have gotten his powers. (Are they forgetting that their primary antagonist last season could create meta-humans at will? Not to mention the nearly daily intrusion of metas from other dimensions.) Deacon taunts them that many more like him are waiting to reveal themselves.
An epilogue scene shows the Borg-looking guy (credited at “The Thinker”) and his henchwoman (“The Mechanic”) monitoring Deacon, which suggests that they’re pulling the strings behind a new wave of meta-human mayhem.
“…Stupid, Schmoopy Things”
Side-plots this week put a big focus on romantic relationships. Barry has a problem listening to Iris. He keeps ignoring her during missions and trying to do things for her (like finish all their wedding planning) in their personal lives, without her involvement or approval. Iris basically forces him to attend couple’s counseling with her. Though they both insist to the therapist (TV mom Donna Pescow from ‘Out of This World’ and ‘Even Stevens’) that their problems are minor and they just need a little relationship tune-up, Iris later admits that she still feels hurt by the way Barry abandoned her when he went into the Speed Force prison.
Meanwhile, Gypsy pops in through a dimensional portal to go on a date with Cisco. On her Earth, it’s “1-1-1 Day,” which is their equivalent to Valentine’s Day. When Cisco delays and then cancels the date to help his friends deal with the meta-human, he doesn’t understand what a doghouse he’s in until Caitlin explains some things about girls to him.
Both storylines are of course ultimately resolved with fences being mended and the menfolk learning valuable lessons about not taking their girlfriends for granted.
The meta-human plot this week is pretty goofy stuff, but the bits where Barry loses control over his suit are fun. The therapy scenes have some amusing banter but are dragged out a bit much. Likewise, even though they’re pleasant enough to watch the characters interacting, Cisco’s romance with Gypsy feels like time-filler and doesn’t add much to the episode.
That said, there seems to be a concerted effort among the writers to lighten the tone this season (at least so far) and bring back some of the fun from Season 1, which is very much appreciated after the gloomy misery-fests that dominated the last two seasons.