The return of [SPOILER] to Earth-1 is one of the strongest signs yet that season 4 wants to bring The Flash back to basics.
[WARNING – This review contains SPOILERS for The Flash season 4, episode 3.]
The Flash season 4 has been very concerned with getting back to basics. In its season premiere, the series brought Barry back from the Speed Force, refreshed and renewed; the following episode, Barry and Iris were forced to work on their relationship, strengthening what has always been a core pillar of the series. Tonight’s episode – ‘Luck Be A Lady’ – gets the band back together, so to speak, with Harrison “Harry” Wells returning from Earth-2 to rejoin Team Flash.
Harry arrives bearing some bad news – well, bearing a cube actually, a break-up cube from Jessie that he delivers to Wally. Yes, it’s splitsville for the two young speedsters, but that isn’t even the worst bit of bad luck to happen in this episode. Barry and Iris keep can’t find a venue for their wedding, all of the water pipes in Joe’s house burst, and to top it all off, Team Flash learns that they are responsible for creating this most recent rash of new meta-humans. Sure, they can pass some of that blame over to the Thinker and his master plan (whatever that actually is), but in the end it was them pulling Barry back from the Speed Force that exposed a bus full of people to dark matter, causing their meta powers to manifest.
This week’s meta is Hazard, aka Becky Sharp, a woefully unlucky woman who when hit by the dark matter gains the ability to alter the quantum field around her – a power that is expressed by creating good luck for herself and bad luck for everyone else. Hazard’s role as this week’s villain feels like a throwback to earlier Flash, too, with her being a dangerous but not altogether evil villain. She has no agenda, she hasn’t been sent specifically to antagonize the Flash, she’s just enjoying her unpredictable powers and letting them loose on an unsuspecting Central City. Hazard is a fun baddie and she puts Team Flash in some precarious and amusing situations, bringing an energy that the show’s one-off villains are usually lacking.
But back to Harry, his return to Team Flash is one of the strongest signs yet that season 4 wants to bring back the basics. As enjoyable as it’s been with new characters, what’s a Team Flash without a Harrison Wells? After all, that’s how it all began, and bringing Harry back is the quickest way the show can regain that familiar dynamic. For as fun and lovable a character as H.R. grew to be, there’s really no replacement for Harry – the first actual Wells that the team got to know.
The timing of Harry’s return couldn’t be better, either, because the Thinker’s plan is a complicated one and no one else on Team Flash is smart enough to figure it out. No one had even put it together that these recent events could all be related until Harry showed up! The samuroid, Barry’s return, the bus full of innocent people being doused with dark matter (something else they wouldn’t have uncovered without Harry’s help) – all of it was orchestrated by the Thinker. Just why he’s doing all of this remains unclear, but at least with Harry back with Team Flash, they’ve got a shot at figuring it out in time to stop him.
With Harry back, Wally leaving to follow his own path, and Julian still MIA, Team Flash is beginning to look a lot more like it did early on in its run. Even Caitlin is back with the gang, acting as if absolutely nothing strange or unusual happened at all last season. It’s weird, making Killer Frost out to be the elephant in the room, but The Flash seems content to simply wait for a more convenient time to explain what’s really going on there.
‘Luck Be A Lady’ largely follows the tone that’s been set by season 4’s previous two episodes – keep it light, keep it fun, and embrace the familiar dynamic between the core cast that got viewers on board in the first place. But before it becomes too entrenched in duplicating what worked before, The Flash goes and drops a huge bombshell – Cecile is pregnant. That means Joe is going to be dad, again, and for just how that makes him feel, well, his look says it all.
The Flash season 4 continues next Tuesday with ‘Elongated Journey Into Night’ at 8pm/9c on The CW.
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