Stay on target
Barry Allen didn’t have much to do in last night’s episode of The Flash, and that’s a good thing. Instead of another hour obsessing over changing the future, we got some much-needed character development for H.R. and Iris. Plus, a different superhero got to take the spotlight. The episode opens with the two Flashes saving a bus stopping a van full of criminals and saving a bus full of cheerleaders. Since Barry is spoken for, he lets Wally take the credit and bask in the admiration. That’s basically his role this episode.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Julian is still learning how to work as part of the team. He lets the Flashes know that they could have been more efficient, and is generally a downer when the topic of changing the future comes up. Iris won’t let the fact that she might be murdered by Savitar stop her from living her life, though. She tells Barry she’s pursuing a story about the arms dealer who may have given last week’s villain, Plunder his gun. Barry and Joe aren’t thrilled about this and Barry asks her to lay off the story. She promises she will, but seriously, Barry. Let the Wests live their lives.
There are bigger problems, though. Gypsy is warping around the city through portals, and she’s tracked down H.R. She shows up at S.T.A.R. Labs, and flirting with Cisco all the while, announces to everyone why she’s there. Inter-dimensional travel is illegal on Earth-19. And it’s punishable by death. She gives H.R. one hour to get his affairs in order and then she’ll take him back to his universe.
Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, Tom Cavanagh as H.R. (Photo via The CW)
We learn more about H.R., and why he came to Earth-1 in the first place. He tells the team that he felt like a fraud on Earth-19. He had all the fame but didn’t really do anything. He wanted a fresh start. A chance to make something of himself for real. H.R.’s story was possibly the best part of this episode. He’s been little more than comic relief all season, and it’s great that they’re giving his character more meat. His brief scenes in this episode made me care about him more, which will hopefully make for better stories as the season goes on.
Gypsy shows up to take him away, but Cisco has a plan. He’s done some research on Earth-19 and challenges her to trial by combat. If he wins, H.R.’s life is his. Cisco has also grown to care for H.R., it seems. He starts training to fight Gypsy, who according to H.R., no one has ever beaten. Fortunately, H.R. tagged her with a tracer. He and Barry track her to the waterfront, so Barry can capture her before the fight ever happens. The plan completely backfires, ending with Barry in handcuffs. Gypsy takes H.R. as insurance and sends a message to Cisco. The fight is on; there’s no backing out.
Cisco is understandably pissed about his friends’ lack of confidence in him. He and Barry have a heart-to-heart about having to play hero. Barry has some encouraging words about how it’s OK to be scared. Of course, that won’t actually fix anything. That’s why Julian is on the team now. He’s devised a practical plan for Cisco to defeat Gypsy. Awkwardness aside, he’s a pretty good addition to the team.
Jessica Camacho as Gypsy. (Photo via The CW)
Meanwhile, Iris enlists Wally to help her with the arms dealer story. Come on, you didn’t expect her to actually let that go, did you? They steal some information from Joe, who is in the middle of a sting operation to catch the arms dealer. After tracking down the warehouse the dealer is operating out of, we learn exactly how Iris is taking the news of her impending demise. It’s made her reckless. The dealer catches her rifling through his stuff and points a gun at her. Knowing that this isn’t how she dies, she walks right up to the barrel, confusing the dealer and scaring the hell out of Wally.
The police show up, and Joe isn’t happy about his two kids putting themselves in danger and messing up his sting operation. Barry pulls Iris aside and asks her why she’s running into danger. Iris confesses that she’s not afraid of dying. She’s afraid of not leaving anything behind. She wants to write an article that has an impact on the world. Barry lightens up, and Iris writes the article. Another dispute settled in record time.
Cisco gets to be the hero this episode, which is a nice change of pace. Vibe finally gets an entire action scene to himself. It’s a fun one, too. Gypsy is clearly more powerful, pulling Cisco through portals and blasting him with her vibe powers. Thanks to Julian’s strategy tips, though, Cisco gets the last shot in, and forces her to surrender. H.R. is safe, though he must never return to Earth-19. He’s O.K. with that. He has a family here now.
Vibe and Gypsy face off. (Photo via the CW)
The Flash had very little to do on his own show this week, but that turned out to be what it needed. H.R. and Iris haven’t been given much recently, so it was nice to see an episode focusing on them. News of her impending death has given her more drive and ambition, which is way better than just being Barry’s girlfriend. It also makes her possible death sentence slightly less depressing. If she’s O.K. with it, how can we not be?
Showing Vibe in action by himself was also a great choice. Cisco so rarely puts on his costume you almost forget that he’s a superhero too. It was fun watching him flirt with Gypsy during the fight as well. Carlos Valdes and Jessica Camacho have great chemistry together, and I’m looking forward to seeing how their relationship develops. Because you know she’s coming back. Vibe needs love too, and if last night was anything to go by, The Flash could use more Vibe fight scenes.