In a dreary episode, The Flash tries to stop another Clifford DeVoe scheme.

We’re sticking with the main plot for “Subject 9,” as the titular character is one of the new bus metas that The Thinker aims to use to transfer his consciousness. While Barry is out of prison, the threat of his main adversary grew exponentially when he absorbed the powers of four other metas, ending up in the body of Becky Sharpe. Although this episode contains a couple of light moments, it’s a mostly dour affair, not the best look for The Flash.

While Barry is a free man, the public has some trouble trusting that he’s really alive in a city full of metas. And well…they’re right that it’s not DeVoe that showed up, but Ralph in disguise. But DeVoe is also alive and well. Just in a different body. Central City! It makes the legal system a nightmare to navigate. To keep the controversy to a minimum, the Mayor forces Captain Singh to suspend Barry indefinitely. It knocks Barry into a glum mood, one that unfortunately sticks around.

DeVoe may have a ton of new abilities but the extra dark matter is causing his bodies to deteriorate far faster. Plus, his cruelty has grown, as The Thinker frequently insults his wife’s efforts to help him. Whatever he’s doing, it’s changing him from the sophisticated, egotistical, but logical villain into something far more callous. With Becky’s body fading fast, DeVoe sets his sights on Izzy, a country singer and fiddler. Her power? She can manipulate sound waves, turning them into “molecular shrapnel.”

Barry, Ralph and Cisco, aware of Izzy as well, move to protect her from The Thinker. When DeVoe shows up though, he makes short work of our heroes, just through his tech and luck powers. But Izzy manages to knock him back with her soundwaves, the first hit anyone’s landed against him.

While she’s scared and skeptical, Izzy is convinced by Ralph to train with the team. Barry tries to push her to hone her powers, but he goes too far. She gets injured during the training and decides to bail. Barry reveals that the reason he’s going a bit nuts on the training is due to seeing what DeVoe did to the other bus metas. Yep, Sad Barry makes a return and he’s a bit obsessed with stopping The Thinker. Just like he went a bit crazy trying to save Iris last season. Let’s hope this doesn’t last long.

But thankfully, Harry works up a cerebral inhibitor as part of a subplot to help stop Cecile from reading Joe’s dreams. This device could stop DeVoe from transferring his consciousness to other bodies. Izzy, rather stupidly, calls out The Thinker. Once DeVoe shows up, he makes quick work of her, Flash and Ralph. The inhibitor fails as his tech powers disable it. And DeVoe transfers his consciousness to Izzy’s body. Ralph is particularly devastated, as she’s the first person he failed as a hero. This scene would have had more impact though if the writers didn’t spend the whole episode showing Izzy use her powers with her hands and even just a whistle. But when DeVoe uses his luck powers to break her fiddle strings, she panics and doesn’t even try to attack him another way. Pretty lazy.

While “Subject 9” did a good job of showing DeVoe grow into an ever-more dangerous threat, the gloomy nature and inattentive writing makes this ep a bit of a slog to get through. Next week looks like a far more exciting and dramatic bottle episode. Let’s hope it gives The Flash a needed boost.

Show Notes:

  • How does Ralph convince Izzy to stay? As he says, by “following her into the hallway and giving her one of those inspirational talks.” The Flash has finally achieved self-awareness for the hallway talks.
  • Ralph’s apartment uses neon beer signs for lamps and a kitchen sink as a shower. Ralph needs some home decorating advice.
  • Ralph thinks to give Izzy the meta name of Soundwave. But as Cisco says, that’d be great if not already taken by a Transformer.
  • Since Barry can no longer call himself a member of the CCPD, Ralph gives him a private investigator card. But will they change his job in the title sequence?