The Barry-in-prison storyline was largely sidelined on ‘The Flash’ for the past couple of episodes to focus on other meta-human cases. It’s back front-and-center this week, which means you should brace yourself for a lot more mopiness and whining.
I notice that Barry has grown a mustache and stubble beard while biding his time behind bars. That’s of course supposed to be shorthand for how depressed he is. It brings to mind a question, though. With his rapid metabolism, shouldn’t Barry need to shave and cut his hair multiple times a day to avoid growing a ZZ Top beard and shaggy locks? How does he maintain that perfect disheveled-but-still-handsome look?
The last episode ended with the corrupt Warden Wolfe (and yes, Cisco makes a joke about his name) discovering that Barry is the Flash and locking him in a secret meta-human wing of the prison. This week, he brings Amunet (Katee Sackhoff) in to do a little meta-human shopping. Also locked in cells around Barry are all the metas from the bus incident, from computer guy Kilg%re right up to last week’s shrink ray dude Dwarfstar. Their powers are all dampened in this section of the prison. The warden tells Amunet (and the others) that Barry is a speedster, but doesn’t explicitly say he’s the Flash. For some reason, it never occurs to any of them that he might be. Nevertheless, Amunet is delighted and says she’ll buy the whole lot of them.
Iris and Cecile stop at the prison to visit Barry, but are told by the warden that Barry was involved in a fight and had to be put in isolation. Cecile reads his mind and knows that he’s lying.
Ralph is visited by an old friend named Earl. He’s another shady, drunken P.I. much like Ralph used to be. When Dibny claims that he’s trying to turn his life around, Earl scoffs and accuses him of always letting people down. This puts Ralph in a funk and makes him feel worthless. When he returns to the lab, he gets so worked up about this that he suddenly morphs right into an exact copy of his friend. It seems that his elastic powers are good for more than just stretching. He can contort his face and body into mimicking other people. Naturally, this will come in useful later.
A throwaway line of dialogue explains that Harry went back to Earth-2 to visit his daughter.
Wearing his new body, Clifford DeVoe spies on Barry remotely. His wife Marlize starts to doubt her husband’s plans. She also doesn’t care for the fact that he’s telepathic now, and blocks him from reading her mind by running a song through it over and over.
To avoid being sold to Amunet, Barry clogs his cell’s toilet and then steals some batteries off a plumber who comes to fix it. (What the plumber needed with batteries isn’t clear.) Barry then uses those and some other improvised materials to MacGyver a way to open the doors to his and all the other metas’ cells. They then crawl down a grate into the sewage system and make their way toward the old, abandoned prison that the current Iron Heights was built on top of.
Meanwhile, Barry’s friends concoct a plan for Ralph to imitate Warden Wolfe and tell Amunet that they need to postpone the sale. Unfortunately, she sees through him almost immediately. Feeling like a failure again, Ralph refuses to help the team any further. Caitlin turns into Killer Frost and scolds him. Her words give Ralph a new idea.
Just as soon as Barry and the other prisoners get out of range of the power-dampeners, Warden Wolfe ambushes them, with Amunet following right behind. Wolfe quickly shoots an anti-meta shackle around Barry’s ankle. Before the others fight back, Wolfe tells them that Barry is the Flash, causing them to turn on him. Only bad luck girl Becky remains on Barry’s side. She saves him by creating a chain reaction that results in Amunet accidentally taking out most of her own thugs.
This confrontation is interrupted by DeVoe, who portals to the prison in his flying chair, grabs most of the metas with its tentacle claw things, and sucks out their powers, absorbing them into himself. DeVoe then transfers his own consciousness into Becky’s body. Amunet flees as DeVoe/Becky grabs and kills the warden. For reasons no one but DeVoe himself can understand, he leaves Barry unharmed and vanishes the way he came.
Cisco and Killer Frost arrive on the scene too late to help. They offer to portal Barry to freedom, but he remains adamant that he wants to stay and serve his time until they can legitimately exonerate him. (Yes, in fact, Barry was trying to escape prison just moments earlier. But that was only because of the bad warden, who’s dead now.) With his powers back, Barry races through the prison and phases through the wall back into his old cell.
The next day, Cecile appears in court to mount another appeal on Barry’s behalf. Because she’s a lousy lawyer, she does a poor job of it and the judge isn’t impressed. Just before he slams down his gavel, the courtroom doors open and in rolls murder victim Clifford DeVoe, looking much like his old self. To make sure you get what’s happening, Cecile whispers to everyone in earshot that it’s really Dibny in disguise. Fortunately, the judge doesn’t hear her.
DeVoe/Dibny claims that he has amnesia and doesn’t know what really happened to him, but obviously he’s still alive so Barry couldn’t have murdered him. With no victim, the judge agrees and declares Barry’s conviction overturned.
While celebrating with his friends, Barry is mystified at what the real DeVoe’s game plan could be. However, he feels certain that DeVoe needs all the meta-humans from the bus incident, which means that Ralph may be in danger next.
Back at DeVoe’s secret lair, Marlize continues to doubt him, and seems to be uncomfortable with his latest body. DeVoe doses her drink with what appears to be a love potion that makes her instantly trust him again.
As much as I’m glad this prison storyline is finally over (it is, right?), the resolution to it is pure BS. For the last several episodes, including this one, Barry has stubbornly refused to use his powers to escape prison, insisting that the team need to find a legal and honest way to get him out. But now, out of the blue, he’s suddenly fine with them scamming the judge with such blatant deception – perpetrated by Ralph using his powers? What hypocrisy! Why did we bother sitting through this dumb plot thread for the last two months?
Also, DeVoe is a boring villain and his evil scheme makes less sense the more we learn about it.