The Flash’s 11th episode (“Dead or Alive”) was so charming and so delightful. With the addition of HR and Julian, the dynamic is really working perfectly this season. And I’ve barely had the urge to yell at Barry, lately—something I honestly never thought I’d say.
Julian’s role in this episode mostly involved snark masquerading as people skills (“Surely all your adventures are not this disorganized.” And “She must’ve been having an off day.”). However, aside from pulling off a vest quite nicely, he jumps right into the Flash Gang fray, without hesitation. He’s immediately helpful (math!), although not as positive as the rest of the crew. I have to admit, I like the clash of his derisive British eye rolling and the Goonies Never Say Die attitude.
Of course, the main conflict comes from the Collector, Gypsy (Jessica Camacho), who is supposed to take HR back to meet his death for breaking the law. She’s gorgeous and loves coffee—and despite challenging her for HR’s life, Cisco spends the entirety of the episode flirting with her (“If you want, we can solve this another way. There’s a great spot for drinks.”) and basically asking her out in the middle of a crisis. For all her badass bravado (and flawless record), she matches him, innuendo for innuendo—even tossing in a wonderful Spinal Tap quip (“Time to turn things up to 11.”). In short, I ship it. I ship it so hard that I might break Mach 3.
And her presence does several things, aside from getting Cisco all hot and bothered. It provides an opportunity for Barry to screw up and apologize (he meddled at HR’s probing and it backfired), gives us a nice scene with HR and Cisco (“We’re all making investments in each other. I made an investment in you.”), and offers us a bit of humor. The traveling-through-rifts bit brought a lighthearted counterbalance to the Iris Might Die storyline. (Poor Ms. Teschmacher!) Given the chemistry between Camacho and Carlos Valdes, it highlighted both their conflict and their potential. And I certainly hope we see more of Gypsy (“I guess some laws are worth breaking, for the right person.” Amen. Hallelujah.). Because, as Cisco put it, “Wow, what an exit.” (Did I mention I ship it?)
I do have to say, as well, that HR makes me smile. He’s a writer nerd who makes himself the hero of his own story (don’t we all? Shouldn’t we all?), but he’s fiercely loyal and remarkably good. To Gypsy, he defends Cisco: “He’s not a coward. He’s one of the finest men I’ve ever known.” And this friendship between them is a different power dynamic than the other Wells incarnations—it is…heartwarming. Truthfully, they’re all functioning as part of a team, possibly more than they have in the past.
Now, Iris. Good freaking gravy, girl. While I understand her desire to leave something behind, she’s taken over Barry’s penchant for recklessness. Not only that, she roped Wally into helping her, whom she played like a fiddle. I do appreciate her refusal to give up her work, because she might die. That resonates hard with any illness. Knowing your days are numbered definitely has a way of making your brave. Iris is no exception. In the end, she gets her story. I did enjoy her squirming and being nervous while Barry is reading her piece, because that is every writer ever. It’s torture, and that was spot on.
My only qualm about Iris’s storyline (and Barry enlisting Wally to help) is that I really want Iris to save herself. I want her to have some agency here. I want her to not be a damsel reporter. I know she isn’t a metahuman. But Princess Leia strangled Jabba the Hut. I want Iris to have that kind of moment. It would be bloody brilliant.
Until next time, darlings—cheers.