Monday, April 23, 2018

The Flash Season 4, Episode 18: Lose Yourself

This week on The Flash, the series goes really dark, as The Thinker finally puts his master plan into motion, and the Gang loses one of their own.

SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT! I have to say I wasn't expecting Ralph to bite the dust in this episode. Sure, the show's been alluding to it for weeks now, as DeVoe began circling Ralph like a shark, putting him in increasing danger with each passing episode. But somehow I didn't think it was ever gonna happen, and Team Flash would find an out. That's what heroes do, right?

I actually like Ralph, but Lordy, the writers sure don't make it easy. I think maybe I like the idea of him, more than the actual character. He has a lot of potential as an addition to the show, but the writers have botched his character at every possible turn. 

The hero's journey Ralph's been on all season has been incredibly frustrating, as each week he goofs up, learns a valuable lesson, then immediately forgets about it so it can happen all over again in the next episode.

I wouldn't mourn poor Ralph too strenuously though. This is a comic book show after all, so there's no way in hell he— or any of the other eleven bus metas— are gonna stay dead for good. I have no doubt Harry's gonna find a way to siphon them all out of DeVoe's body and restore them somehow.

Speaking of Harry, the scenes with him struggling with his Thinking Cap addiction were very well done, and I'm hoping this arc doesn't signal his departure from the show. I know it's a tradition to keep swapping out the Wellses, but I've grown to like Harry, and would hate to see him go.

The final battle in this episode was very well done, and it was actually amazing to see DeVoe— now with the abilities of eleven of the twelve bus metas— effortlessly deflecting Team Flash's attacks by combining his various new powers in cool and unusual ways. Well done!

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
Barry and Ralph locate the "meta bus," and scan it for dark matter. By doing so, they hope to find a clue to the whereabouts of Edwin Gauss, the last of the bus metas.

As usual, Ralph's reset button has been activated this week, so he can learn how to be a hero again for the fifteenth time. In the previous episode he was constantly joking around, but this week he's turned deadly serious. He says he hopes they find DeVoe soon, so he can end him forever. Barry scolds him and says Superheroes Absolutely Don't Kill (except when they do).

Just then Harry calls them back to STAR Labs. Once there, Harry demonstrates his latest Thinking Cap-inspired breakthrough— the Sonic Scepter. By tapping it on the floor, it'll shoot out a blast of powerful sound waves, which Harry believes will neutralize DeVoe.

Joe notices Harry acting squirrely and constantly talking about his Thinking Cap, and decides to keep an eye on him. 


Meanwhile, Caitlin, who in the past has always resisted turning into Killer Frost, announces she's found a way to willingly transform. She says the change is linked to her adrenal glands, so by injecting herself with an epi pen, she'll instantly turn into her murderous and unpredictable alter ego. Um... why would she want that?

Suddenly the Gang gets an alert that DeVoe's teleported out of his pocket dimension. Cisco vibes himself, Barry and Killer Frost to DeVoe's alleged location. Instead they find the elusive Edwin Gauss, aka the Folded Man, exiting his own little private universe. They try to talk to him, but Gauss gets spooked and teleports away.

Back at STAR, Harry uses his newfound smarts to figure out where to locate Gauss. Joe then takes Harry aside and says he seems to be relying on the Thinking Cap quite a bit, and worries he's become addicted to it. Harry poo-poos this notion, assuring Joe he can quit the Cap anytime he wants. Joe doesn't believe him for a second, but nods and leaves. Harry immediately enters the secret Time Vault built by his evil doppelganger Eobard Thawne. Joe sneaks around the corner and sees Harry dart into the room.

Barry, Ralph and Caitlin visit Gauss' location, which is located in the middle of a hippie commune for maximum hilarity. They eventually find and capture him. Just then one of DeVoe's Samuroids appears and runs his sword through Caitlin's shoulder (!).

The Gang rushes Caitlin and Gauss back to STAR. Fortunately Caitlin's Killer Frost powers quickly heal her (even though she's currently in normal Caitlin mode). Gauss is placed in the Secret Super Jail to protect him from DeVoe. Once again, Ralph says they should just murder DeVoe and get it over with.

Later Ralph chats with Gauss, who tells him about the various dimensions he's visited. He mentions one with a "crazy dude in a wheelchair and a lady in a white coat." Ralph realizes Gauss accidentally blundered into DeVoe's pocket dimension, and asks if he could find it again. Gauss says sure, and Ralph cooks up a plan.

A furious Harry enters Cisco's lab, accusing him of stealing his Thinking Cap. Cisco says he has no idea what he's talking about, and Harry shoves him against the wall, ready to kill him. Just then Joe appears, holding the Cap. He says his late wife Francine was an addict, and Harry's beginning to show all the same signs. He gives Harry the Cap, on the condition he that he stop and think (heh) about how using it will affect his friends.

Meanwhile, Ralph gets suited up, ready for Gauss to take him to DeVoe's pocket lair. He's even swiped the Sonic Scepter so he can use it to kill DeVoe. Barry appears, tells Ralph it's not gonna happen and demands he hand over the Scepter. Ralph sticks it deep inside his chest (ew!) and dares him to try and take it. The two fight, and Barry easily knocks out Ralph.

Later Ralph comes to and he explains himself to Barry. He says the reason he wants to kill DeVoe so badly is because he's worried about Team Flash. They're all the closest thing to a family he's ever had, and he'll do anything to protect them— even if that means killing. Barry finally understands Ralph's motivation, even if he doesn't agree with it.

Barry tells the others that Ralph had the right idea, sort of. He says now that they have Gauss, they can attack DeVoe's inside his little pocket dimension, giving them the element of surprise. He says it'll be dangerous though, and everyone has to be onboard. The entire Gang agrees with the plan.

Team Flash gears up for war. Gauss opens a doorway into DeVoe's lair, and Barry, Cisco and Killer Frost leap through. They see DeVoe (still in Izzy's body) floating in his chair. Barry uses the Sonic Scepter and blasts him with it. Unfortunately the shockwave goes right through DeVoe, revealing him to be a hologram. They realize they've been outsmarted yet again, and 
are now trapped in the pocket dimension.

DeVoe and The Mechanic then teleport into STAR Labs. He uses his Kilg%re powers to fry all the electronics, locking Iris, Joe and Harry inside the Cortex. Iris then reveals her earrings are actually miniature bombs, cooked up by Cisco. She plants one on the door and it blows a hole clean through it.

DeVoe enters the Secret Super Jail, intent on killing and absorbing Gauss' powers. Ralph protects Gauss, saying he'll have to go through him first. DeVoe then pulls a tiny dinosaur skeleton from his pocket, and uses Dwarf Star's power to enlarge it, and Black Bison's to animate it. The now full-sized T-Rex skeleton begins chasing Ralph around the Pipeline.

Iris sees DeVoe's chair and realizes she can use it to rescue Barry and the others. Before she can get to it, she's stopped by The Mechanic, who wields an electrified Samuroid sword. The two begin fighting.

Ralph stops running, faces the T-Rex skeleton and punches it into a million pieces. He rushes back to the Super Jail. He sees dead bodies strewn all over the floor, including Melting Point (!) and Izzy Bowen. He realizes that DeVoe's already taken over Gauss' body. Ralph then turns his hand into a replica of the Sonic Scepter (???) and taps it on the floor, knocking DeVoe off his feet. Ralph hesitates, as he knows that one more blast will kill DeVoe.

Meanwhile, Joe battles one of DeVoe's Samuroids, and somehow defeats it. Harry rushes to the Time Vault and puts on his Thinking Cap, in a desperate effort to come up with an idea to defeat DeVoe. When he comes up empty, he orders Gideon to increase the Cap's dark matter feed, well beyond safety limits. As the dark matter flows into his brain, he passes out and slumps to the floor.

Iris and The Mechanic continue their fight. Iris grabs a hidden blaster and fires away at The Mechanic. She easily dodges the blasts, then disarms Iris and pins her against a console with her sword. Suddenly Iris grasps the end of the sword and plunges it into her shoulder (!), drawing The Mechanic close enough so she can grab her head and bang it against the table, knocking her out. She runs over to DeVoe's flying chair and somehow figures out how to activate it. She transports to the pocket dimension, where she rescues Barry and the others.

Team Flash returns to STAR Labs. Barry rushes to the Super Jail, where he sees Ralph's had a change of heart, and decided to cuff DeVoe instead of killing him. Suddenly DeVoe uses Kilg%re's power to deactivate the electronic cuffs. He then uses Null's powers to alter Barry's weight and pin him to the floor.

Barry then watches helplessly as DeVoe then absorbs Ralph's lifeforce, killing him!

Cisco and Caitlin rush in and try to save Ralph, but they're too late. DeVoe, now in Ralph's body, uses his many powers to fling Cisco across the room. Killer Frost attacks, but DeVoe grabs her and absorbs her power as well. He then teleports away.

Sometime later, Team Flash lick their collective wounds. Caitlin has Cisco examine her, and they realize her Killer Frost persona is completely gone. Harry's apparently recovered from his dark matter overdose. Barry goes to Ralph's private detective office and cleans it out.

Back in DeVoe's hideout, he and Marlize celebrate their victory with champagne. He tells Marlize he has an extra surprise for her, and uses Ralph's shapeshifting abilities to morph himself into the original form of Clifford DeVoe. He then reveals he stole the dark matter from Harry's Thinking Cap, and plans to use it for... something.

Thoughts:

• I went into this in great detail last week, but it's still relevant— once again, DeVoe speaks in the accent of the person whose body he's currently inhabiting. I still don't think that should be the case. He should instantly begin speaking in his native South African accent.

• This week Ralph confirms the fact that he can stretch EVERY part of his body. EVERY. PART. Especially the one you're thinking of right now. I guess that's why he's called the Elongated Man, amirite?

Congratulations, The Flash writers, for this week's finely crafted dick joke.

• Hey, Dirty Hippie Humor, how you been, man? It's been what... twenty, thirty years since I've seen you? You're lookin' good. How's your mom?

Seriously, writers? It's 2018 and we're still doing tired old jokes about how weird and smelly hippies are? Are there even any active hippie communes left in this century?

• When Team Flash first confronts Gauss, he's so startled he reflexively forms a portal, falls backward into it and disappears.

Later they track Gauss to the hippie commune, and Barry tackles him and throws him to the ground. For some reason, Gauss doesn't "fold" away this time, and just lays there yelling that he surrenders.

So why the difference? Other than because the writers needed the Team to finally find and recruit him, of course? Did he momentarily forget how to fold?

• This week we discover that Cisco's apparently a Classic Trekkie! Good to know.

• At one point Ralph steal's Harry's Sonic Scepter, intent on using it to kill DeVoe once and for all. Barry orders him to give it back, prompting Ralph to hide it inside his body for safe keeping. Yuck!

So how does this work? Did Ralph sort of fold his skin around the Scepter, or did he open a slit in his chest, stick it inside his body and then seal up the seam? Either way, it's kind of gross.

• Ralph and Barry then get into a fight over the whole "To Kill Or Not To Kill" thing. Ralph forms his right hand into a giant mallet and tries to smash Barry with it.

Eh, I dunno...Wouldn't a hammer made out of human flesh be pretty soft? I suppose Ralph could have concentrated the tissue in his hand to make it harder and more rigid, but... I still don't see how it could ever be as hard as steel. At most I think it'd be like getting hit with a fist. A differently shaped fist, sure, but a fist nonetheless.

• In the third act, The Thinker invades STAR Labs and uses Kilg%re's powers to fry the electronics and trap Iris, Harry and Joe inside the Cortex. Iris says not to worry, pulls off a secret, explosive earring that Cisco cooked up for her, and uses it to blast their way out!

Let's hope Cisco added a very reliable safety switch on those earrings, lest Iris accidentally set one off while she adjusts them during the day!

• So Iris' earring blows a hole in the door of the Cortex. Curiously, this explosion is filmed from down the hall and around the corner, so we only see a bright light and a few chunks of debris hit the opposing wall.

Wondering why the cameraman's being so coy, and not framing the explosion in the middle of the screen? Welp, that'd be the show couldn't afford to damage the Cortex set by blowing it up just for one little scene, so they got creative and implied the explosion.

• In order to distract what's left of Team Flash, DeVoe turns a Samuroid loose inside STAR Labs. Joe tells Iris "he's got this," and then walks purposefully toward it, firing a gun with one hand while brandishing a sword in the other. Annnnnd, then we cut away!

Goddammit! I wanted to see Joe vs the Samuroid! You can't just set up something that awesome and then not show us what happens!

• I guess I missed the episode in which The Mechanic revealed she's secretly a Jedi. Seriously, where the hell did she learn to swing an electrified sword fast enough to deflect energy bolts?

• I get that Ralph's stretchy-leg stride is supposed to look goofy, but... it looked a little TOO silly. Even for this show.

Also, the Pipeline was pretty obviously a CGI environment as well. I guess every effect can't be a winner.

• Man, this episode took a dark and sudden turn in the third act! The Thinker and The Mechanic teleport into STAR Labs, and lock it down. At one point we see that DeVoe's broken into the STAR Labs Secret Super Jail and has apparently absorbed everyone inside it— including poor Melting Point! Dang! I really liked him, and was hoping he'd be a cool temporary addition to Team Flash! I guess not!

We then see DeVoe's also discarded Izzy's body, and absorbed Null (who made her debut in last week's episode) and is currently residing inside Edwin Gauss! Jesus Christ! I told you it was dark! DeVoe's been a busy boy in the five minutes since we last saw him!

• Harry sees the carnage caused by DeVoe, says enough's enough and finally decides to kill him. What follows is tough to make out, and I had to watch the scene several times to figure out exactly what happened.

Barry took the only copy of the Sonic Scepter with him to DeVoe's pocket universe. So apparently at some point when we weren't looking, Ralph pressed the Scepter against his  pliable skin, making a crude mold of it in his flesh.

He then de-solidified his right hand, allowing it to flow into the mold on his chest.

He then hardened his hand, forming it into a perfect replica of the Scepter. And once again, he somehow increased the density of his flesh so he could tap this faux Scepter on the floor and it'd resonate like the real thing.

• The third act darkness continues! During Iris' battle with The Mechanic, she looks over and sees The Thinker's chair. She realizes she can use it to rescue Barry and the others from DeVoe's pocket dimension, but she's too far away to activate it, as The Mechanic has her pinned against a table.

In order to end the battle and reach the button, Iris actually grabs The Mechanic's sword with her hands, then plunges it into her shoulder! This brings The Mechanic close enough for Iris to grab her and bang her head against the chair button!

Dayum! That is some hardcore strategy on Iris' part!

The Mechanic's actually startled and appalled by Iris' actions as well, as she gets a definite "This Bitch Be Crazy!" expression on her face (right before she's knocked out)!

• The final battle is a thing to behold, as DeVoe now possesses the powers of eleven of the twelve bus metas, and uses them against Team Flash. I especially liked the scene in which Cisco blasts DeVoe, only for him to open a portal next to him. This effectively reroutes the vibe energy, causing Cisco to blast himself! Clever!

• With Barry and Cisco down for the count, it's Killer Frost's turn to attack DeVoe. She rushes toward him, intent on stabbing him with an icicle. For absolutely no good reason at all, she runs right up to him and places her hand on his shoulder as she rears back with the ice dagger. DeVoe then simply absorbs Frost's powers and mind from Caitlin's body.

Gosh, it's too bad Killer Frost doesn't have some sort of long range offensive power, so she could have blasted DeVoe from a safe distance. OH WAIT, SHE DOES!

C'mon, writers! I get that you wanted DeVoe to absorb Killer Frost too, but there had to be a less... stupid way to go about it.

• At the end of the episode, DeVoe— now in residing in Ralph's body— uses his stretchy powers to morph back into a reasonable facsimile of his old self.

The best part about this? It means we get the long-awaited return of actor Neil Sandilands as Clifford DeVoe. The downside of this season has been the endless parade of other actors who've portrayed DeVoe since he "died" back in Don't Run. Let's face it, none of those other actors had the chops of Sandilands, and just couldn't pull off his sense of gravitas. Heck, they didn't even bother to try and copy his mannerisms or speech patterns! So it's nice to finally have him back on the show.

This Week's Best Lines:
Ralph: "Good old CCTA, bus number 405, where I was gifted with pretty much the best powers ever. If it wasn't for this old girl, I'd still have to leave the couch when I need to use the bathroom, you know, because I can..."
Barry: (horrified) "Yes, I know."
(Yep, you heard right, folks. Ralph can stretch his dick clear into another room.)

Barry: "Ralph, you think we're gonna kill DeVoe? "
Ralph: "The way that you're saying that makes me think I'm supposed to say no."

Ralph: "I think I may have left my wallet in my other pants."
Bus Driver: "Look, buddy, you either pay the fare or you hit the sidewalk."
Edwin Gauss: "Whoa, whoa, whoa! Mr. bus driver dude, allow me to pay his fare. Who are we to be the gatekeepers of whatever path this fellow traveler is on? Have a seat."
Ralph: "Uh, thanks."
Gauss: "Oh, namaste, hermano."
Ralph: "Na ma stay in the back of the bus!"
Gauss: "Funny fat dude!"

Joe: "Hey, Harry's really loving that Thinking Cap, huh?"
Cisco: "Oh, my God. It's like the best friend he never had. I mean, he wears this thing everywhere. I'm pretty sure I saw him step out of the shower with it. I want to know what kinda problem he was trying to solve in there. Nope. Nope, I I don't wanna know."

Cisco: "And figuring out those distinctions, I'm sorry, but that's too big even for your britches, Harry."
Harry: "My britches are plenty big, okay? I fill my britches."

Cisco: "This glue's really something else. I should probably wear a respirator."

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Slab Bulkhead • Dirk Hardpec • Big McLargehuge • Therm Scissorpunch

Apparently in Disney's new Star Wars: Solo: A Star Wars Story movie, there's a new alien character named "Therm Scissorpunch."

THERM SCISSORPUNCH.

I'm pretty sure that's one of the "manly names" that Mike & the Bots made up in the Space Mutiny episode of MST3K!

Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Something Something

Saw this article on Yahoo a couple days ago. Jeffrey Dean Morgan says his performance as Harvey Russell in the new Rampage movie might remind audiences of Negan.

Might? MIGHT? There ain't no might about it!

Russell IS for all intents and purposes Negan. He's got the same cocked head, the same bizarre hip tilt, and the same sh*t-eating grin all through the movie. 

Hell, he even says some of the same dialogue as Negan! In Russell's very first appearance in Rampage, he says to Dwayne Johnson's character, "You're havin' a hell of a DAY!" And a few minutes later he says, "When science sh*ts the bed, I'm the guy who changes the sheets."

Same (or very similar) lines as Negan, with the exact same inflections. It's honestly amazing just how Negan-esque he is in Rampage. I was sitting in the theater imagining that Russell and Negan were actually the same person. I figured Russell was a government agent in Washington DC, then after the zombie apocalypse started he changed his name and formed his own little empire a few miles away in Virginia.

Can a studio copyright a performance? Can AMC sue Jeffrey Dean Morgan for acting exactly like their character in another property? If so, Morgan better lawyer up!

The Flash Season 4, Episode 17: Null And Annoyed

This week on The Flash, the series begins placing all the pieces on the gameboard, as it sets up the rapidly approaching season finale.

For at least the fifteenth time this season, the A-plot in this episode involves Ralph learning to be a hero. This time he's joking around and refusing to take the situation seriously. That's odd, as just last week he was so terrified that DeVoe was going to absorb his brain that he refused to even come out of his room.

Over on The Walking Dead, I've often joked that there's a "Wheel Of Motivation" in the writer's room, and they spin it each week to determine how various characters will act in each episode. I'm starting to think The Flash writers may have borrowed this wheel, or built one of their own.

Barry spends a good deal of the episode scolding Ralph for not taking the situation seriously. The episode obviously wants us to side with Ralph here, and think Barry's being an old stick-in-the-mud. 

Thing is... Barry's actually right! There's a time and place for joking, and it's definitely not when you're on a serious, life-threatening mission.

I really do wish the writers would think of something to do with Ralph besides his weekly "How To Be A Hero" lesson, that he completely forgets by the time the next episode roles around.

For weeks now we've been seeing Marlize, aka The Mechanic, begin having second thoughts about her husband Clifford DeVoe's master plan. I predicted she'd end up switching sides and joining Team Flash to take him down. I really thought that was gonna happen this week, until DeVoe drugged her and wiped her memory.

I still think she's going to end up being his downfall, but first she's gonna have to get out from under the influence of Weeper's tears.


In other big news, Breacher offers Cisco a bounty hunter job over on Earth-19. Which means we're doing the old "Will He Or Won't He Leave His Friends" storyline. Meh. No matter what happens, we know Cisco's not going anywhere, or at least not permanently. There's no doubt in my mind he'll be back next season.

The most interesting development in this episode comes at the end, when it appears that Harry's Thinking Cap is having an adverse affect on him, and may be slowly turning into Harrison Wells, aka Eobard Thawne, aka the Reverse Flash. It's traditional for the series to have a different version of Wells each season, and this is Harry's second. Is this how they're going to write him off the show, to make way for a brand new Wells in Season 5?

SPOILERS!


The Plot:
In the Danger Room, er, I mean STAR Labs, Barry and Ralph practice battling a hologram of DeVoe, aka The Thinker. Despite the fact that last week Ralph was scared crapless at the thought of DeVoe stealing his body, suddenly he's joking and clowning around. Frustrated with Ralph's antics, Barry shuts down the simulation. Iris tells Barry to chill, but he's furious with Ralph for not taking the situation seriously.

In the Cortex, Harry says he used his Thinking Cap to figure out the identities of the remaining two bus metas— Edwin Gauss and Janet Petty. Unfortunately Gauss has seemingly disappeared from the face of the Earth, and Petty is a career criminal with a long list of aliases that'll make her hard to locate.

This frustrates Harry, who punishes himself for not being smart enough to find the metas— especially after his Thinking Cap augmented his brain. He sits down hard in frustration, right on a Whoopee Cushion planted by Ralph. He hurls the cushion at Ralph in anger, as the others roll their eyes at the juvenile humor. Don't worry, this'll all become important later on.

Just then Breacher 
vibes in and grabs Cisco by the throat. As you'll recall, he's the father of Gypsy, Cisco's other-dimensional sort of girlfriend. He also has a strong hatred of Cisco, as he feels he's not good enough for his "little girl." Breacher explains he was on another Earth fighting Lord Crucifer and his horde of vampires, when his vibe blasts suddenly fizzled out. Amazingly he asks for Cisco's help, saying he's the smartest person he knows. A wary Cisco agrees to run some tests on him.


Cut to DeVoe's lair, where he and his wife Marlize discuss their evil plan. DeVoe's still in the body of Izzy Bowen, by the way. Suddenly he/she stumbles and coughs, and Marlize catches him. DeVoe says his new body's deteriorating faster than expected, and Marlize says she'll recalibrate his flying chair to prolong his life. 


She pulls up the chair schematics, and is puzzled to see the alterations are already in progress. DeVoe explains that he started without her, but needs her superior mechanical skills to finish the upgrade. Marlize is suspicious, but buys his explanation.

Sigh... we then cut to goddamned Jay and Silent Bob, who are apparently now part of the Arrowverse and work at a Central City museum. The two of them try to move a crate, but it's too heavy for them to budge. While they wander off to find a dolly, Janet Petty, who calls herself Null, wanders in. She places her hand on the crate, which causes it to float high into the air. It crashes back to the ground and splinters open. She opens a case inside, takes a priceless crown from it and scampers off.

At STAR Labs, Cisco and Caitlin run several tests on Breacher. Caitlin comes to the conclusion that he can't vibe blast anymore simply because he's old. Cisco agrees, but is reluctant to tell him, fearing he'll kill him for suggesting he doesn't have what it takes anymore.

Meanwhile, Marlize works on DeVoe's chair. She drops her mug of tea, and as she's cleaning it up she notices an odd chemical on the floor. She scoops up the substance and studies it.

Team Flash analyze the fingerprints on the museum crate and discover they belong to Null. They somehow track her to an apartment rented by Earl Cox, Ralph's sleazy acquaintance. Barry and Ralph decide to pay Earl a visit. For some reason, Ralph uses his stretchy powers to morph into a facsimile of Joe, who plays "bad cop" and interrogates Earl.

Ralph and Barry notice Earl has a bag full of jewels, and then spot Null hiding out on the ceiling. Suddenly she drops to the floor and touches Barry. He floats up and hits the ceiling, and in the confusion Null gets away.

Back at STAR, the Gang tries to figure out how to cure Barry's weightlessness. Harry uses his amplified intellect to predict the effect will wear off soon, and sure enough, a few seconds later Barry plops to the floor. He rips Ralph a new one for not taking the interrogation seriously, and benches him.

A worried Breacher asks Cisco about his test results. Cisco can't bring himself to tell Breacher that he's simply too old to vibe anymore, so he lies and gives him some antihistamine pills, saying they'll cure him.

Just then Iris gets an alert saying Null's robbing a jewelry store. Barry rushes to the scene and plants power dampening handcuffs on her writsts. She then motions toward the sky, indicating her "getaway car." Apparently she anticipated the Flash's arrival, so she levitated a car before the robbery. It's now plummeting back to Earth, with a terrified driver inside. She tells Barry he can save the citizen or capture her— it's his choice. Naturally, Barry uses his powers to save the panicked driver, allowing Null to pick the cuffs and scamper off.

Cisco finds Breacher's empty bottle of pills, and realizes he thinks he's cured. He vibes the pill bottle and sees Breacher facing off against Lord Crucifer. Breacher tries to vibe blast the vampire lord, but of course nothing happens. Just as Crucifer's about to attack, Cisco appears, grabs Breacher and they vibe back to Earth-1.

Cisco finally comes clean and explains that Breacher's powers don't work because of his age. He doesn't take it well. He tells Cisco he hates his guts and then vibes away. Caitlin says tells Cisco he did the right thing.

Marlize studies the mystery substance, and realizes DeVoe's been drugging her with Weeper's psychoactive tears. 
Appalled, she records a message to warn herself about her husband. She saves the message under a fake file name, only to find it's already been used. DeVoe then appears and tells her she always picks that same file name. Apparently he's been using Weeper and Brainstorm's powers to erase her memory for weeks, so she'll continue to help him. He then drugs her yet again. 


Iris tells Barry he should lighten up on Ralph, so he decides to unbench him. Just then there's an alert of a robbery at a museum gala. Null's there, using her powers to steal the upper crust's jewelry. Barry and Ralph arrive to stop her. Null touches the floor, sending out a wave of gravity-cancelling energy into the crowd.

Barry scoops all the party guests away from the energy wave at superspeed. Unfortunately Null sneaks up behind him and taps his shoulder, sending him flying upwards. With no roof in the way this time, he zooms up into the open sky. Team Flash tries to come up with a way to rescue Barry, but no one can think of anything— including an ever-more frustrated Harry.

Barry rises high into the stratosphere. Suddenly the effect wears off, and he plummets back to Earth. Luckily, Ralph gets an idea. He stretches his arms over to Null and places the dampening cuffs on her feet. He then forms his body into the shape of a giant Whoppee Cushion. His inflated body manages to cushion Barry's fall as he lands. See, I told you this'd pay off later!

Barry thanks Ralph, and says for once his bizarre antics saved his life. Ralph, still in the form of a Whoopee Cushion, lets the air out of his body with a massive, prolonged fart sound.

At STAR Labs, Null's placed in the Secret Super Jail. Breacher appears, dressed in leisure clothing for once. He tells Cisco he realizes he was right, and he's retiring from the interdimensional bounty hunter business. He says Gypsy'll need help, and offers him his old job. Great, a "Will He Or Won't He Quit" storyline for Cisco.

Harry sneaks off, carrying his Thinking Cap. He opens the door to the secret Time Room— the one created by his doppelganger Eobard Thawne—and enters. He places the Cap inside a wall panel, and then activates Gideon. She welcomes him, and he tells her a lot's changed since they last spoke.

Thoughts:

• What's the deal with Ralph in this episode? For the past two episodes he's been clinically depressed, worrying that any second DeVoe would appear and absorb his brain. Then suddenly this week he's constantly joking and clowning around. He's even cracking wise while fighting a hologram of the woman he was sweet on a few weeks ago! Why the sudden and jarring change?

It's been like this ever since Ralph appeared. Every week he acts like a jerk, learns a valuable After School Special lesson about being a hero, and becomes a better person. Then the next week it happens all over again. It's like there's a giant red reset button on his chest. I've honestly never seen anything quite like it on a series before.


• Apparently STAR Labs has its very own Danger Room, that can conjure up solid holographic enemies for Team Flash to practice fighting. That's new!

• It's always a treat to see the awesome Danny Trejo on the show! I hope this retirement storyline doesn't mean we've seen the end of him on The Flash!

• As part of Ralph's jokery in this episode, he plants a Whoopee Cushion in Harry's chair, and of course it makes an embarrassing fart sound when he sits down hard on it. An enraged Harry then hurls the Cushion at Ralph, who catches it and cries, "That was expensive!"

I dunno how things are in the Arrowverse, but here on our Earth you can buy a Whoopee Cushion at the dollar store!


• It's no secret that I am NOT a fan of Kevin Smith's films. I'm sure he's probably a nice guy and all, but I find his films overly talky, poorly filmed and extremely self indulgent. That's why I was less than enthused when I saw these words appear on screen during the opening credits.

Despite his involvement, the episode turned out reasonably well. That may be due to the fact that Smith didn't have anything to do with the script. Maybe he works better when he's directing someone else's work.


• Since Kevin Smith directed this episode, it's inevitable that we'd get a cameo from Jay and Silent Bob. Sigh... I guess that means they're now part of the Arrowverse? What next, finding out that The Flash is part of the Tommy Westphall Universe?

• Jay and Silent Bob crank up the "hilarity" as they sweat and strain, trying to budge a large crate from the museum loading dock. Eventually they give up and search for a dolly in order to move it.


After Null destroys the crate, Joe investigates the crime scene. He tells Barry and Ralph that the reinforced crate weighed two hundred pounds.


Seriously? Two hundred pounds? That's it? So two full-grown men couldn't budge a crate weighing that much? Jesus Christ, you'd think at the least they could have "walked" it into the museum by twisting it back and forth.


• Joe also notes that the crate contained the family crown of the Kahndaq Dynasty. Kahndaq is a fictional Middle Eastern country that's shown up several times over on Arrow. It also appears in various DC comics.


• So Breacher can no longer fire off vibe blasts because of his age, yet he can still freely use his power to open portals to other Earths. Wha...? I guess they're two completely different powers then? That seems... unlikely. 


The vibe blasts and the portal-opening energy seem like they're the same power. He shoots 'em both out of his hands and they look identical as well. Seems like if one aspect of his power was on the fritz, they'd both be.


Of course if his powers failed altogether, then he wouldn't have been able to visit Earth-1 and ask for help, or teleport off to Lord Crucifer's Earth, so... there's the answer.

• At one point Cisco runs a series of tests on Breacher, who then announces he's hungry. Cisco says, "Um, there's donuts in the downstairs break room. Help yourself. It's a huge selection. Yeah. Try the pineapple fritters. And don't forget to try the nacho donuts. Those are really good."


Wondering why Cisco's describing the donut spread in such minute detail? Welp, that's because it's a shameless plug. See, Danny Trejo owns his own Coffee & Donuts chain in California. And yes, they serve pineapple fritters and nacho donuts, among many others. I wonder... was this bit of product placement one of Trejo's conditions for appearing on the show?

• I appreciate the level of detail that went into creating all of Null's many aliases. The production crew went to a lot of trouble to dress up actress Bethany Brown in a variety of wigs and costumes, all for a scene that lasted just a couple of seconds. Kudos!

• Team Flash tracks down Null to an apartment at the corner of Orchard & Broome. As we all know by now, The Flash lovvvvves tossing in references to DC comic book creators. I don't know if anyone named Orchard ever worked on the book, but John Broome was a prolific Flash writer back in the Silver Age.


• Null's a VERY obscure character from DC comics, who first appeared in the 1980s Hawkworld series (which, as you might have guessed, starred Hawkman and Hawkgirl).

As is typical for The Flash, the live action version looks absolutely NOTHING like the source material. The character's been race-swapped, gender-flipped and pretty much anything else you can think of.

For once I'm not gonna complain, as this live-action version of Null is a vast improvement over the faux Tom Petty-looking goon that graced the comic book pages.

• Null appears to be a fan of the Superhero Landing.

• I've brought this up several times over the season, but it's still a fair point. Whenever DeVoe transfers his mind into a new body, he then speaks in
their natural accent. For example, for the past few week's he's been occupying the body of Izzy Bowen, so he speaks in her characteristic Southern drawl.


That just doesn't seem right to me. I don't think your body's physically constrained to a particular accent. Normally I speak like the Southern Indiana hillbilly that I am, but if I had to I could do a passable British, German or French accent. It's my brain that drives how I sound, not my body.


The same applies to DeVoe. The minute he enters another person's body, we should see them speaking with his South African accent.


• Jesse L. Martin does an AWESOME job in this episode, as he plays Ralph pretending to be Joe. Somehow Martin convinced me he WAS Ralph in this scene. It was pretty amazing to watch.

This is the second time this season that Ralph's used his stretching powers to morph into a black man. I get that his powers allow him to change the shape of his face, but how's he changing his skin tone?


• Cisco discovers Breacher's powers are fading simply because of his age. He's afraid to tell him this though, so he lies and gives him some blue antihistamine pills, saying they'll balance out his stamina and restore his powers.

Did you catch that? He gives Breacher little blue pills to restore his stamina. Eh? EH? Get it?


• OK, now I want an episode in which Team Flash joins forces with Breacher and fights Lord Crucifer and his Tenth Circle.

• In a nice little callback to the beginning of the episode, late in the third act Ralph forms his body into a giant Whoopee Cushion in order to break Barry's fall and save his life.

I... I don't want to know what part of Ralph's body formed the Cushion's valve stem though.

The twelve year old in me appreciated the fact that Ralph's Whoopee Cushion-shaped body deflated with a drawn out fart sound.

• I liked Breacher's retirement clothes. Something tells me that outfit's probably pretty close to what Danny Trejo wears on a daily basis.

• According to Breacher, Earth-48 contains a dragon farm.

• This is some heavy duty nitpicking, but whatever. t the end of the episode, Harry enters the secret Time Vault that was created by his futuristic doppelganger, Eobard Thawne.

If you zoom in and look at the above image, you can see that all the wall panels in the corridor are perfectly smooth, except for the one hiding the Time Vault. For some reason, it's covered in a rough, stucco texture. 


Why would anyone make the invisible doorway to their secret room stand out like that? Wouldn't it make more sense for it to look exactly like all the other panels?


• When Harry enters the secret Time Vault, he activates Gideon, the STAR Labs sentient computer. Gideon apparently doesn't realize that Harry's from Earth-2, and thinks he's actually Dr. Harrison Wells, aka Eobard Thawne (I guess?). The two of them then have the following conversation: 

Gideon: "Good evening, Dr. Wells. It's been 1,078 days since we last spoke. How can I be of service?"

Harry: "Hello, Gideon. A lot has changed since then."

That 1,078 day figure sounds suspiciously specific. I wonder... is it accurate?


The last time Harrison Wells/Thawne spoke to Gideon was in the Season 1 episode The Trap, which aired on Tuesday, April 28, 2015. This episode aired on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. There are exactly 1,057 days between those two events! Amazing!


• By the way, speaking of this particular version of Gideon, we were told back in Season 1 that Barry invented her at some point in the future. We never find out exactly when, but most fans are convinced he does it sometime before 2024. That's only six short years from now.


No offense to Barry, but he doesn't seem like he has the skill or know-how to cobble together a conventional computer, much less a SENTIENT one! He'd better start studying computer science STAT!


This Week's Best Lines: 
Ralph: "I still think it's a pretty good plan. I hide my face, I save my ass."

Ralph: "We'd make a fortune. An improv group made up of superheroes? We can take it to Washington. We'd be the DC Comics."
(GROAN!)

Ralph: "Can pigs fly?"
Barry: "No."
Ralph: "They can if you put them on an airplane."
(I didn't include this line because it was good, but because it was so BAD. It's almost as bad as Storm's "Do you know what happens when a toad gets struck by lightning" line from the very first X-Men movie)

Barry: "I just want to get down from here as soon as possible."
Ralph: "Maybe you should try to burp yourself down. Like Charlie Bucket."

Caitlin: "Well, as best I can tell, Null's powers effect the density of his cells. It's like you've been filled with helium."
Barry: "Terrific."
Ralph: "Always knew you were a lightweight."
Barry: "I swear Ralph"

Barry: "Out of the twelve bus metas we've found, DeVoe is in control of seven of them. If he gets Null, it'll be eight. If he gets control of her powers, we're talking about your life here."
Ralph: "Sorry, I was just thinking about the end of LOST. I mean, were they in purgatory? What did Kate really see in Jack?"
Barry: "Ralph!"

Breacher: "You said your antimatter-histamine would cure me!"

Breacher: "I went back to my earth. Saw my reflection in my knife. I saw an older man."
Cisco: "I'm curious. Have you never looked in a mirror before?"
Breacher: "I'm not a teenage girl!"
Cisco: "Okay, you're not a teenage girl!"
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