After the rapid plunge of last week’s lame comedy episode, the rollercoaster ride that ‘The Flash’ is taking us on this season makes another ascent with a very eventful and even surprising new entry.
While searching for the last remaining bus meta (a guy named Edwin Gauss), Ralph expresses to Barry that he believes they need to kill DeVoe as soon as they find him. This prompts goody-two-shoes Barry to lecture Ralph about why real heroes don’t kill their opponents. Ralph thinks he’s being unreasonable and unrealistic. They continue this debate throughout the episode.
Remembering that Izzy’s sound wave power was the only thing to harm DeVoe so far, Harry unveils a new invention called the “Sonic Scepter” that fires similar sonic blasts. He says that one hit will knock down DeVoe and two will kill him. This seems promising. Even better, he boasts that he used his Thinking Cap to develop an algorithm that can predict where DeVoe’s pocket dimension will open next.
Joe notices that Harry has become very dependent on his Thinking Cap and worries that he’s showing signs of addiction. Harry dismisses these concerns, but Joe decides to keep an eye on him anyway. Later, the Thinking Cap goes missing and Harry freaks out until Joe gives it back and they have a heart-to-heart.
Caitlin finally figures out that her Killer Frost personality is triggered by an adrenaline rush. She believes that she will therefore be able to control how and when Killer Frost comes out.
When Harry’s alarm detects a pocket dimension about to open, Cisco portals the team to its location. However, instead of DeVoe, stoner Edwin Gauss saunters out, is surprised when they call his name, and falls back in. Harry and Cisco then determine that opening pocket dimensions must be Gauss’ meta power. They track local breach activity to find him at a hippie commune in the woods. Unfortunately, before they can bring him back to the lab, a samuroid robot appears from out of nowhere and stabs Caitlin in the shoulder with its sword. Barry uses his speed to disassemble the robot and rush Caitlin back to the lab.
Caitlin is OK. In fact, her Killer Frost powers apparently include rapid healing now. Nevertheless, Ralph grows increasingly frustrated that Barry still insists they can’t kill DeVoe. Ralph believes that he’s the only one willing to make the “tough call.”
After hearing about DeVoe, Edwin voluntarily agrees to stay in the Pipeline until he’s out of danger. He and Ralph sit for a chat, and Edwin reveals that he’s actually seen DeVoe inside one of the pocket dimensions he opened. He can not only create his own pockets, he can enter others’ as well. This is a huge development.
Determined to do what his friends won’t, Ralph suits up, takes the Sonic Scepter, and asks Edwin to open an entry to DeVoe’s pocket. When Barry blocks him and starts another lecture, Ralph absorbs the Scepter into his own chest and takes a swing at Barry with a giant hammer fist. Barry dodges it and knocks Ralph out with a speed-punch. (Didn’t we previously establish that he’d just bounce back from any blow?) After he wakes up, the two of them have another talk, in which Ralph explains that he’s not concerned with his own safety anymore. What he’s really worried about are his friends, and he’d do anything to keep them safe, even risk his own life. Barry appreciates that, but says they still need to take DeVoe alive.
Barry concocts a new plan in which he, Cisco, and Killer Frost will all enter the pocket dimension and capture DeVoe. Edwin will open a door for them, close it immediately after, and then open another one in 15 minutes so they can come back. The whole team agrees to this. As soon as they enter, they run into DeVoe (in the Izzy body) sitting in his chair. Barry immediately fires the Sonic Scepter, but the blast goes right through him. DeVoe is just a hologram. The real DeVoe expected and was waiting for this. As the heroes are all stuck in the pocket dimension for the next 15 minutes, DeVoe and the brainwashed Marlize portal into the lab, hack its computers, and put the building on lockdown.
Harry, Joe, Iris, and Ralph split up. Joe has to fight another samuroid. Iris grabs a rifle and battles a sword-swinging Marlize. Ralph faces off with DeVoe in the Pipeline, but DeVoe combines some of his various powers to enlarge and animate a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton that keeps Ralph busy by chasing him through the reactor core. Harry runs to the Time Vault and orders Gideon to fill the Thinking Cap with Dark Matter (which he told Cisco he wouldn’t do).
The Thinking Cap overloads and causes Harry to pass out. Ralph punches the dinosaur with a giant fist and smashes it to pieces, but he’s too late to stop DeVoe from capturing Edwin and stealing his body. As DeVoe opens his pocket again, Ralph goes in with him. This seems like a bad idea until Ralph reveals that his chest still has a perfect mold of the Sonic Scepter. He morphs his hand into a new one and blasts DeVoe, knocking him down.
When it seems like she’s losing her fight, Iris grabs Marlize’s arm and intentionally impales herself on the sword so that she can then reach the control panel on DeVoe’s chair, open the pocket dimension, and push Marlize into it. With the door open for a moment, Barry, Cisco and Killer Frost return to the lab, but by this point all the battles are done. Iris somehow isn’t badly hurt, Joe defeated the samuroid, and Ralph returns with DeVoe in custody. Even though he had the opportunity, he heeded Barry’s advice and didn’t kill the villain. Barry is very proud of Ralph… for a few seconds.
Suddenly, DeVoe reveals that he’s still ahead of all of them. The anti-meta cuffs fail to contain him. He uses his powers to turn Barry into the density of cement and likewise incapacitate Ralph, whose brains he promptly sucks out while Barry and the rest of the team are forced to watch. By the time Barry figures out that he can free himself by phasing his cells, DeVoe has completed the process and transferred his consciousness into Ralph’s body. The now-evil Ralph beats down Barry, Cisco and Killer Frost, and then returns to his pocket dimension.
Iris has her arm in a sling but is otherwise fine. (This really leaves me puzzled by the physics of how she pulled a sword toward herself and impaled her arm rather than her torso.) Caitlin, who touched DeVoe during her fight, believes he sucked Killer Frost right out of her. She’s saddened by this; she was just starting to like her other self. A sulky Barry packs up Ralph’s P.I. office and pushes Iris away when she tries to comfort him.
In the pocket dimension, DeVoe and Marlize celebrate their victory. DeVoe announces that not only is Ralph’s body stable enough to keep him healthy for the long term, but his elastic power will allow DeVoe to morph into the shape of his original appearance. Marlize is delighted to have her husband fully back.
DeVoe then boasts that he also siphoned Dark Matter out of Wells’ Thinking Cap, and this will set the stage for the so-called “Enlightenment” they’re planning, whatever that may be.
I have to give it to the writers, this episode is, for me, easily the most interesting in the DeVoe storyline so far. I feel like it’s the first time DeVoe has actually seemed like a credible threat. Barry had a solid plan to defeat him, but The Thinker lived up to his name and had an even better plan that (a rarity in this show) made some form of logical sense.
I’m also genuinely surprised by Ralph’s death. Perhaps we’ll find out later that it’s not permanent, but barring that, I really expected the team to keep him safe. The way this episode builds up his personal development story arc and then takes him away at the end is very well done.