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Of Moping and Mercy on THE FLASH

The Flash’s 14th episode (“Attack on Central City”) was full of Cisco puns, HR/Harrison clashes, freakouts, and emotional manipulation. Plot-wise, the mind controlling of a general to get access to missiles wasn’t my favorite. But it did mean I got to yell at the screen—and by the screen, I mean Barry.

This episode really brought Emo Eeyore Barry back to the forefront. He spends most of the episode mope-pouting, convinced he’s going to lose and that everything is doomed. It’s not a good look on him. I mean, he loses so much time panicking while trying to disarm the missiles. Now, I’ve never attempted anything like that, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s the opposite of helpful.

Barry’s epic case of the Mopes (not to be confused with the Mondays) leads him to say he’s got to kill Grodd. To save Iris. To save the city. (Say it with me: Barry, no.) But it’s Iris who reminds him of who he is: “Your humanity, showing mercy. That is what separates you from everyone else. … Don’t compromise who you are ever.”

Solid advice, honestly. Be yourself always. Don’t lose yourself, and be kind. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite get through to Barry, who takes up pout-boxing to blow off some steam. Turns out, he needs a kick in the pants from Harrison: “That might be the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard you say. … Saving one life doesn’t justify taking another. Find the other way.”

And as cheesy as it is, I think that’s a good lesson. It’s easy to feel defeated, like the only option is the bad option. But more often than not, when you start thinking outside the box, inspiration strikes.

This episode had a lot of off-the-wall thinking. One result is that we get to see Joe wearing a magnet helmet, after he asks, “Hold on, y’all want to put a bunch of magnets against my skull to look into the mind of a psychotic, murderous ape?” (The hilariously defeated inflection of his “fine” response was pitch perfect. Cracked me up.)

And I have to say, as worried as I was about Gypsy’s return, I like how the show used her. Obviously, flirting with Cisco is always a win, but we got to glimpse her conflicted feelings about who she is. She did not initially stay and fight. She wasn’t a throw down first, ask questions later hero. But, in the end, she was a hero. I mean, who could argue with Cisco’s doe-eyed speech: “You’re more than this. You’re like me. You wanna do something good. … Please, be the hero I know you want to be.”

And she does. She brings Solovar to Earth 1, who fights Grodd in what has to be the worst game of Rampage ever. (Did anyone else assume Grodd killed Solovar somehow in the last episode or was that just me?) In the end, Barry calls for mercy, beseeching Solovar: “Just spare his life, like I spared yours.” It may have been a little heavy-handed, given Iris’s earlier speech, but in a land of giant gorillas and land sharks, subtle isn’t a thing.

Which explains why Barry’s idea of romance involves all of the flowers/candles ever. Nothing says, “No, I’m totally not going to propose to you!” like a room full of ornate fire hazards But I will say, the saccharine got me in the end. Barry’s story of the heirloom ring was purposefully heart-tugging, and I am a sap. Shut up.

I did cheer, as well, when Gypsy made her exit: “Look, Cisco, even if I was [into you] you couldn’t handle me.” Surprise kissing him in the middle? Genius. These two are my ship, and I would love to see more of their combined snark. Like Captain Planet, but with sass.

Next week, it looks like we find out whether Wally hallucinated Savitar while getting Jesse burgers. And I’m guessing we’ll see if Iris accepts Barry’s proposal. I was surprised the show cut there, unless she’s not going to say yes. Which would interest me more than if she accepted honestly. What? I like drama. Again: shut up.

Catch you next week, nerds. XO


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