The big fall crossover event is over and, aside from an acknowledgement that Barry and Iris got married, ‘The Flash’ returns to pretty much exactly where it left off beforehand, as if space Nazis hadn’t just destroyed half of Central City. I suppose that’s to be expected, but it’s hard to take a goofy villain like The Thinker seriously again now.
It’s the Christmas season and Team Flash is trying to get into a festive spirit by preparing for a holiday party. Wally has left town again, for reasons only halfheartedly explained. (Given that he wasn’t needed at all in the crossover, this makes me wonder what the point of his brief return was.) In his place, Ralph Dibny is back, though he’s given nothing to do other than be annoying. Cisco laments that his girlfriend Gypsy is busy working and he won’t see her for the holiday. Caitlin feels left out when she learns that other members of the team have been hanging around with her alter ego Killer Frost and seem to have a lot more fun with her.
Barry and Iris open wedding presents and are puzzled by the gift of a single knife with no card to indicate who sent it. This will be important later.
The gang face two crises this episode. First, Caitlin is kidnapped by the villainess Amunet (Katee Sackhoff doing a weirdly entertaining, wacky British accent), who has new tech that can suppress Killer Frost from coming out. Amunet actually wants Caitlin this time anyway, not Frost. She brings her to an abandoned old hospital and demands that she save a meta-human named Dominic (Kendrick Sampson). While capturing him, she shot a shard of metal into his skull. Caitlin attempts to refuse, but relents rather than let the man die.
Meanwhile, Barry also gets kidnapped when Clifford DeVoe, a.k.a. The Thinker, zaps him unconscious with his fancy chair. He wakes up trapped in a forcefield within Devoe’s high-tech lair. He tries to break through or phase through the forcefield to no avail. DeVoe claims that he wants to teach Barry a lesson, and advises, “You should learn to lose every once in a while.”
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, the computers and satellites are overtasked trying to locate both Barry and Caitlin at the same time. (This seems like a weird limitation to occur out of the blue, when the team’s tech has never had any such problems in the past.) Iris is indecisive when forced to choose which of them is more important to rescue first. Eventually, she decides that Caitlin is in the more precarious position and Barry is capable of taking care of himself.
Dominic wakes up before surgery, and Caitlin finds him to be a very nice, sensitive man with telepathic powers. While left unwatched, they attempt to escape, only to get recaptured by Amunet. Caitlin performs the surgery, which appears to go very badly when Dominic flatlines. It turns out, however, that this is a ruse. Caitlin floods the room with anesthesia gas, knocking out Amunet her guards. Although Amunet comes around quickly, this gives Caitlin and Dominic enough chance to run outside and get picked up by Cisco, who portals over to the hospital just exactly when they need him. In the only thing of note he does the entire episode, Ralph uses his rubbery powers to block the others from Amunet’s metal projectiles, then also tries to hit on Amunet as they all leave through the portal.
DeVoe’s body is failing and he may not have much time left. He discusses plans for a “new birth” with his wife Marlize. When DeVoe returns to check on Barry, he finds the cell empty. Dumbfounded, he turns off the forcefield, then learns that Barry was still inside the whole time, vibrating his cells so rapidly that he appeared invisible to the human eye. (Alleged genius DeVoe seems like kind of an idiot for falling for this. Doesn’t he have heat or infrared sensors he can scan the cell with?) With the forcefield off, Barry races over to attack, but DeVoe’s chair teleports them outside. Flying high above the city, Barry damages the chair and is thrown off. He plummets down to the river below but is saved by the floatation mode that Cisco built into his suit. DeVoe and the chair then plunge into the water after him.
Barry returns to the lab safely. DeVoe is missing, unconfirmed whether he’s alive or dead. Assuming that the threat is at least temporarily over, the team follow through on their holiday party. Ralph decorates Joe’s house as an apology for being such an ass. Cisco receives a sexy hologram message from Gypsy. Dominic stops by to thank everyone for saving him, and Cisco dubs him “Brainstorm.”
Barry has to leave the party early when an alarm alerts him of a break-in at his loft. As soon as he gets there, he receives a phone call. The voice is Dominic’s, but the man speaking is DeVoe. He gloats about having outsmarted Barry. In flashback, we learn that Amunet had little problem recapturing Dominic. She turned him over to DeVoe, who’s fancy technology combined with Dominic’s telepathic powers allowed him to transfer his consciousness into Dominic’s body before his own failed. Now DeVoe has a healthy young body, and he’s left Barry another present. His old body lies dead on the floor of the loft, with a big stab wound from the knife Barry had received and handled earlier. Yes, Barry is being framed for DeVoe’s murder. The previous harassment complaints and restraining order make him look like a deranged stalker. Just then, of course, a police SWAT team busts down the door. In a fraction of a second, Barry debates running away, but then stops and surrenders.
Back at Joe’s house, Dominic/DeVoe leaves the party and meets up with Marlize. He tells her that they’re just about ready to bring about something called “The Enlightenment.”
For such a smart guy, DeVoe’s plan seems pretty dumb. The whole thing is hinged on Barry allowing himself to be arrested, because the police certainly would have no chance of capturing him otherwise. Why Barry then does so is equally perplexing. He has every reason in the world to run away from the crime scene in order to give himself enough time to clear his name, which frankly doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to do. Won’t an autopsy pretty quickly reveal that DeVoe’s body didn’t die from the stab wound?
When DeVoe started blabbering about rebirth, I fully expected him to transfer his consciousness into a computer, and he’d wind up being a Braniac-type supervillain. Wouldn’t that make more sense than putting it into another mortal body that will eventually die? He appears to have all the advanced technology he needs to make that happen.
These are mostly nits I’m picking. Plotting and story logic have never been strong suits of this show. The episode is actually fairly decent. I didn’t know what to make of Katee Sackhoff’s character when she was introduced a few episodes ago, but she turns out to be a lot of fun this time.
Side Note: I’m not going to recap it, but I laughed my ass off during the hilarious (if incredibly dumb) “Beebo” episode of ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ this week .