Warning! SPOILERS for The Flash season 4, episode 13 ahead!
Last week, The Flash did away with coincidence in an episode that seemingly implied The Thinker’s grand plan and Warden Wolfe’s selling of Iron Height’s meta-prisoners to Amunet Black were related. As it turns out, they are not – at least not in the manner we’ve come to expect of The Thinker. Since being first introduced, Clifford DeVoe and his wife, Marlize (AKA The Mechanic) have been able to outwit Team Flash at every turn, but in this week’s episode, it’s Team Flash who scores a win while the DeVoes are left to rethink their plans.
‘True Colors’ finds Barry imprisoned in the metahuman wing alongside those who Team Flash has managed to round up this season: Kilg%re (Ramsey Deacon), Hazard (Becky Sharpe), Black Bison (Mina Chayton), and Dwarfstar (Sylbert Rundine). With the warden making plans to sell them, Barry sciences up a prison break. Meanwhile, Team Flash quickly learns something is up when Cecile can immediately tell the warden is lying about Barry being sent to solitary thanks to her gestational telepathy. They too come up with a plan to thwart Wolfe’s sale by using Ralph’s newly discovered shape-shifting ability to impersonate the warden and call off his deal with Amunet.
As for the DeVoes, their marriage is beginning to show signs of strain. Since transferring his consciousness to Dominic’s body, Clifford hasn’t been as forthcoming to his wife about his plans for this grand enlightenment. At the same time, he’s been using Dominic’s telepathy to pry into Marlize’s mind, making her suspicious and more guarded in his presence. This all comes to a head during a scene in which it’s revealed the DeVoes had nothing to do with Wolfe’s and Amunet’s deal, with Clifford admitting he doesn’t yet know what their next move will be. This is a shock to Marlize, but she needn’t worry because as true to his name, Clifford thinks of way use this new opportunity to their advantage.
The prison break Barry organizes has a bit of that Suicide Squad-vibe as he leads a team of supervillains to freedom, but any camaraderie forged between them is quickly lost when they’re caught by Wolfe and he outs Barry as The Flash. They all turn on Barry except for Hazard/Becky, who doesn’t really wish to be a criminal and uses her luck manipulating ability to protect him from the others. It’s all rather amusing as the bus metas, the warden, the guards, and even Amunet fail spectacularly in their attacks, and it’s an impressive display of what Becky’s powers can really do.
For a moment, it even appears as if she’ll save the day, but just then The Thinker arrives in that ridiculous flying chair (it’s baaaack). Mechanical arms come out of the chair latching on to the head of each bus meta. Clifford’s consciousness moves from one host to the next, stealing their powers and leaving them for dead, before finally landing in Becky’s body. The Thinker then kills the warden and teleports away via the chair.
This is major twist that surely no one saw coming. It’s a good one, too, because while it was a shame when Dominic became The Thinker’s host, having this happen to Becky only moments after proving she has the makings of a real hero is all the more tragic. On the upside, Sugar Lyn Beard was super entertaining as the sweet and bubbly Becky and it should now be doubly entertaining to see her play bad. And it is so bad for Team Flash, because now in addition to telepathy, The Thinker has the ability to control technology, animate effigies, shrink stuff, and guarantee he’ll always have good luck. It’s an incredibly dangerous cocktail of powers for one person to have, let alone a person as calculating as The Thinker. Clifford may not have planned for all this nonsense with Amunet (who bails when she can’t reclaim her merchandise) but he sure found a way to capitalize on it.
It isn’t all bad news, though, because though Barry puts himself right back in his old jail cell – refusing to leave when Cisco and Caitlin come to bust him out – he is freed by the episode’s end. Using that nifty new shape-shifting ability, Ralph pretends to be Clifford DeVoe, the original, and comes to Barry’s appeal hearing. With the murder victim miraculously alive, the judge can’t refuse their appeal and voila! Barry is a free man. It’s all rather anti-climactic and gives the impression that the writers only gave Ralph these new powers so that they could easily clear Barry’s name. Is no one going to fingerprint or DNA test this guy to make sure he’s the real deal? And what happened to the actual dead body in Barry’s apartment? That this is how the ‘Barry in jail’ saga wraps up is ridiculous, making this easily one of the dumbest plots The Flash has ever attempted.
Where this season goes from here, however, could still prove interesting. It’s now obvious The Thinker arranged for these new metas to be created in order to absorb their powers, turning himself (herself?) in to the most powerful adversary Team Flash has ever faced. And Ralph better watch out because he could be next. It remains unclear how The Thinker plans to use these powers to achieve his grand enlightenment, but The Mechanic might still prove to be his undoing. Clifford 3.0 may have drugged her with The Weeper’s tears, but her growing doubt surely won’t be silenced that easily and she may yet turn on him/her.
• Ralph’s new power to shape-shift may be a bit far fetched, but it does lead to that hilarious scene of Ralph acting as Warden Wolfe. Actor Richard Brooks does such great work in this episode, too, both with the comedy of playing the disguised Dibny and the villainous Wolfe. When he’s on the phone with Amunet and pretending as if his meta-inmates hadn’t all just escaped? That was gold. He was so great in this episode it’s actually a bummer he’s dead now.
• Killer Frost, however, is becoming a character who is just whatever the show needs her to be. A villain? Sure. Reluctant hero? Why not. A version of Caitlin who is more forthright in her opinion? Guess so. Killer Frost has been used predominantly to make jokes at Caitlin’s expense this season, which wasn’t great, but now she’s giving pep talks to Ralph? (And how many pep talks does this guy need?) It’s an odd choice for the character, as is the fact Caitlin must cut herself to transform. First it was anger, now physical pain? The whole Caitlin/Killer Frost split personality seemed a neat idea at first, but it’s becoming clear that it was really just a half-baked idea.
• That’s not how tally marks work, Barry.
The Flash season 4 continues Tuesday, February 27 with ‘Subject 9’ at 8pm/9c on The CW.
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