We’re back and court is in session.
In last year’s mid-season finale, Christmas celebrations were interrupted when Barry was framed for the murder of Clifford DeVoe. Meanwhile, The Thinker had actually transported his consciousness into a new body, one with telepathic abilities. Now, it’s up to the team to find a way out of this mess.
A courthouse setting is a change of pace for The Flash, forcing the writers to slow things down and let the proceedings run their natural course. Unfortunately, the scenes themselves aren’t that gripping, as they mostly go over stuff we know, like the restraining order against Barry. Plus, DeVoe’s lawyer bring up Barry’s six-month sabbatical when he was trapped in the Speed Force and his frequent lateness due to Flash responsibilities to cast doubt on his last couple years of work. Even a last-minute Hail Mary by Ralph Dibny, who takes photos of Marlize kissing Clifford in his new body, doesn’t work, as she has a sob story prepped there too.
Honestly, both Barry and Cecile do a poor job of even trying for a decent defense. Barry’s a forensics expert and she’s the city’s district attorney. But their strategy seems to be non-existent, beyond Cecile’s idea to tell the city that he’s The Flash. I get that DeVoe’s super-intelligence likely means he thought of everything, but I would’ve liked to see a few different defenses tried out and countered by The Thinker’s planning, rather than a shrug from our heroes.
In a dramatic scene, Iris tries to tell the courtroom, but Barry, moving so fast that everyone else appears frozen in time, stops her from doing so. He tells her that if everyone knows he’s The Flash, then everyone they know will be in danger. Of course, this scene would work better if like two-thirds of the people who know Barry, including several baddies, didn’t already know his secret identity. Joe even considers planting evidence to implicate Marlize, only to be talked out of it by Ralph, who’s been down that path.
In the end, predictably, Barry is found guilty by the jury and the judge sentences him to life in prison. He winds up in the cell formerly occupied by his father (what are the chance?), as his friends and family are left to try and find a way forward. While I appreciate the idea of a prison subplot to challenge Barry without having him face another speedster, this episode is let down by its writing and poor pacing. Hopefully, Barry’s time in jail will prove more fruitful for the plot and the characters.
- Meanwhile, there’s another meta on the loose, a guy accidently spreading radiation everywhere. Cisco calls him Fallout. Once they track him down, as Fallout’s radiation output hits critical mass, Barry runs out of his court case and uses his speed to create a funnel into a breach by Cisco that leads to a dead Earth.
- I love the shot of cars casually driving by on the freeway while a radiation funnel and breach takes place a few blocks away. No panicking. Just business as usual in Central City.
- When Barry got out of the Speed Force, among the gibberish he spouted was his innocence to a judge. Looks like those discombobulated moments from the season premiere are going to come into play.
- As they wait to hear about Barry’s trial, Caitlin says, “No news is good news, right?” Harry, of course, responds: No, good news is good news. No news is miscommunication.” He’s not wrong!
The Super Cinco:
- Clifford DeVoe / The Thinker – His scheme goes off without a hitch. Everyone outside of Team Flash thinks he’s dead, when he inhabits a younger, stronger meta body instead. Plus, Barry is now serving a life sentence in prison and is out of the picture. The Thinker can now move forward with his mysterious grand scheme.
- Ralph Dibny / Elongated Man – He does the most amount of work to help Barry’s case, actually. First, he gets the photos of Marlize kissing Clifford in his new body, to try and prove infidelity. Then, he stops Joe from planting evidence, something that he knows from experience that Joe would regret.
- Cisco Ramon / Vibe – While the rest of the team deals with Barry’s trial, Cisco works with Harry to find and stop a radioactive meta threat. He gets another great meta name out of the case with Fallout, and he uses his abilities to make sure all that radiation harmless goes through a breach to a dead Earth.
- Iris West-Allen – She does all she can to try and protect Barry, even willing to go in front of the court and reveal his secret identity. Barry prevents her from doing so, but she still makes sure to stay by his side throughout the proceedings, confronting Marlize at one point. But she’s left devastated by Barry’s guilty verdict and sentencing.
- Barry Allen / The Flash – He’s going to prison for life for a crime he didn’t commit and didn’t put together that great of a defense. He spends most of this episode staring into space, not even giving a passionate closing statement to the judge. But he does help save the day from Fallout.