The Flash 4.05

‘The Flash’ 4.05 Recap: “That’s Not How Feminism Works”

It looks Ralph Dibny, the elongated meta-human without an official nickname confirmed by the show yet, is going to be part of ‘The Flash’ for a while. To balance out adding a sexist ass to the team, this week’s episode focuses on letting the ladies be heroes.

It’s time for Iris’ bachelorette party, and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) pays a visit from Star City to celebrate. Caitlin is hesitant to go out and party, but they talk her into it. Joe’s fiancée Cecille gets invited as well, which speaks to how few female characters this show has. Doesn’t Iris have any work friends from the Picture News who’d go out with her? For that matter, does she even still work there? Was that addressed at some point?

Sadly, the girls’ evening is interrupted by a scuzzy douchebag named Norvok, who demands that Caitlin come with him to see someone named Amunet. To prove how serious he is, he pops out a false eye and a tentacle slithers out of the eye socket. This seems like a pretty useless meta power, honestly. Caitlin goes full Killer Frost and blasts him out of the restaurant’s window. (Who’s going to pay for that damage, I wonder?)

From this point forward, the Killer Frost personality takes over and Caitlin is suppressed. She goes to nightclub to see this Amunet person, whom we learn is a crime boss played by Katee Sackhoff wearing a silly dominatrix outfit. Frost tells her that she’s done with whatever arrangement they had and wants out. Amunet won’t take no for an answer. She shows Frost her latest acquisition, a scrawny meta she calls “The Weeper.” She keeps the man in chains, and when she beats him, he cries tears that act as a powerful narcotic drug. She says that he will make them both very rich.

When Frost declines her offer, the two women have a standoff, each threatening to use her power against the other. At her side, Amunet keeps a pail full of metal bits that she can manipulate like Magneto (but only this particular type of metal, apparently). Fortunately, Iris and the others followed Frost to the club. Iris is able to defuse the situation enough to pull Frost out of there. Amunet vows that nobody gets to leave her employment.

Back at the lab, Frost explains that, during the time she left Team Flash, Amunet gave Caitlin a drug to suppress her Killer Frost side, and in return Caitlin was her henchwoman for a while. She makes plans to leave through a breach and hide on another Earth. However, before she can go, Amunet finds her and, forming a metal glove over her hand, punches Killer Frost a bunch of times in the face until Caitlin comes back. Caitlin is able to slip away when some cops distract Amunet and she has to turn away to kill them.

Iris is determined to save the Weeper with or without Frost’s help. Felicity uses computer magic to track Amunet to one of the city’s inexhaustible supply of empty factory warehouses. Cecille stays behind in the S.T.A.R. Labs van while Iris and Felicity, neither of them superpowered, sneak in with guns and promptly get captured. Caitlin turns up to save them, of course. She turns into Killer Frost again and makes a big ice dome to shield them from Amunet’s attack. I’d think that trapping all the bad guys under such a dome would be a lot more effective than trapping themselves, but I guess nobody thought of that.

Felicity radios Cecille and tells her to hack an electromagnet in the warehouse, and the van very conveniently has a button for that express purpose. The magnet grabs all of Amunet’s metal pellets (but none of the other metal in the warehouse), allowing Frost to defeat her easily. Iris then has to stop Frost from killing Amunet. Rather than capture her, they make an inexplicable conscious decision to let her run away and bother them another day.

The Weeper could be a lot more grateful for his rescue. He runs off and they do nothing to stop him either. Later, the Weeper gets captured by the futuristic villain DeVoe, who looks awfully silly floating around in a flying chair.

At episode’s end, Caitlin reveals that she and Killer Frost are now integrated into one personality, and she can control her transitions from one to the other. Iris asks her to be Maid of Honor at her wedding.

What the Menfolk Are Up To

While the girls are off battling crime, Cisco throws Barry a very sedate bachelor’s party at home. Dibny crashes and obnoxiously takes over, dragging the boys to a skeezy strip club called The Golden Booty, where he’s a regular. They have to give up their cell phones when entering, which means that Iris and Felicity can’t call The Flash to help get them out of their bind.

Cisco gives Barry a special concoction he whipped up that will let him get drunk, and Barry spends most of the episode behaving like an idiot, including announcing to anyone who’ll listen that he’s the Flash.

Joe is horrified to discover that Cecille’s daughter Joanie is a stripper in the club. She sees him and slinks off stage. She claims that she’s only working there as research for an article she’s writing on female empowerment, but clearly finds her job too embarrassing to tell her family and friends about. Later, she admits that the whole thing was a bad idea and quits the club.

Dibny starts a drunken brawl that lands himself, Joe, Cisco and Barry in jail for the night. Harry somehow avoided this and bails them out. Barry has a terrible hangover the next morning. When the boys and girls finally meet up again, both groups claim that they had uneventful evenings.

Episode Verdict

This is a pretty weak episode on the whole. The girl-power theme is pushed so hard and so clumsily that I’m surprised this episode is actually credited to a couple of women as writers. It feels like something a man would write while bragging about being a great feminist. More than one character speaks the phrase “#feminism” unironically. Who does that? Who says “hashtag” anything out loud?

The most galling part would have to be the Joanie storyline, which spouts some token platitudes about a woman’s right to find empowerment in any career she chooses, but ultimately ridicules the character for being foolish and ends with the regressive message that being a sex object is inherently degrading.

I like Katee Sackhoff and think she would normally be a fine addition to this show, but her character is just kind of dumb.

Also, Felicity does practically nothing the whole episode except crack a couple jokes. Aside from the desperate need to have another female character on screen, her presence in this episode serves little purpose.

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