DeVoe was only recently revealed to Team Flash as the season’s big bad, and this season moved that clash in a fascinating and surprising direction — complete with a big ol’ twist to die for. Literally.
Spoilers ahead for “Don’t Run,” the midseason finale of The CW’s Flash, which aired Tuesday, December 15!
“Don’t run.” -Barry
It’s impressive when the quiet moments can trump the action in a midseason finale, but this one actually managed to give us some solid character growth for newly-married Barry, all in just a few short (but poignant) scenes. When Barry emerged from the Speed Force earlier this season, we were told he came out with much of the weight and angst lifted from him. It was a move designed to lighten the tone of the show following a dour third season, sure, but it also served as a way to reset Barry back to his own hopefulness that had been lost during his jaunts into alternate timelines and grim-dark battles with his future self.
Here, we see a Barry finding joy in the quiet moments, and more importantly, the slow moments. It manifests when he slowly starts to clean up their post-wedding mess at regular speed, telling Iris he’s finally learning to slow down again. Speed isn’t always the answer, and it’s that realization that hits home in the episode’s closing scene. With the police bursting through the door, and Barry processing the fact that he’s been framed for murder, we see things wind into slow motion as he weighs his options. The lightning starts to spark around him, as Barry contemplates running and leaving DeVoe’s murdered corpse on the floor of his home.
Or, he can stay and face the consequences. It all plays out quickly, but it raises some interesting questions. We see Barry’s maturity as he makes the snap decision that the best thing he can do is face this problem head-on, instead of (ahem) running from it. It’s also interesting for the fact that it’s obviously part of DeVoe’s master plan — had he accounted for all the variables had Barry stayed? And ran? Getting the upper-hand on a villain who can see your moves six steps before you do is obviously proving harder than anyone on Team Flash had imagined. It continues to be a nice change of pace when compared to the myriad speedster villains that have come before.
As for DeVoe — it looks like he’s jumped bodies into one that should prove much more formidable in a fist fight. Part of DeVoe’s machinations involved creating a metahuman apparently capable of holding his own mind, meaning he’s effectively escaped his dying body. But, is this escape for good? The problem with his “old” body was that his mind was literally eating the body’s resources. Did this jump somehow fix that? Or simply reset the clock for a couple of years? If nothing else, it’s almost certainly long enough for the season.
It turns out he was manipulating events for the entire episode, all to score an invite to Team Flash’s Christmas so he could plant his own dead body in Barry’s apartment, then call to rub it in his face with his new one. Now that’s both twisted, and brilliant.
*Though the narrative choice to have Barry face these charges and trust the system is admirable, it did prove a head-scratched in a few ways. Namely: Barry has an alibi, as he’s spent the day (since escaping DeVoe) with Team Flash, and those several people would obviously vouch for his whereabouts. So, why not super-speed out of the apartment and back to Joe’s, and cover as if he’d never left? Sure, it’s not as sexy of a cliffhanger, but it would’ve been the smarter play, right? Though, did he already touch the knife earlier? Putting his fingerprints on it? Yeah, that might not have worked, actually. But hey, worth a shot, right?
*The bickering dynamic between Harry and Cisco continues to be a lot of fun, and it’s a testament to Tom Cavanagh that he’s able to strike the perfect balance of mentor and friend within this cast. May we forever have a Wells on this show.
*Caitlin was once again the victim (a tired trope these days), but this time around she at least got to save the day! After seeing Killer Frost kick so much butt, having Caitlin use her wits to escape was a great story this week. Plus, Katee Sackhoff’s Amunet Black continues to be deliciously cheesy and fun, and it’s always a pleasure to see her back in action. Her pep talk to Caitlin struck the balance of both menacing and loving, and she continues to be an excellent addition to the supporting cast.
*For those wondering how DeVoe would fight Barry, whoever had “Straight-up Doctor Octopus Wheelchair” is the winner.
*Having Iris deal with the fact that she had to make a tough decision was a solid next step on her arc this year, but seriously, why not just task the satellite for one, then the other? They wasted so much time trying to do both it bordered on ridiculous, when it was clear it wasn’t working.
*Life raft mode FTW!
*Cisco wins Christmas.
Up next: The Flash vs. the legal system. In January. Merry Christmas!