The Flash’s 14th episode (“Subject 9”) was filled with feelings, but it was a bit clunky overall. The major source of tension is Izzy, a fiddle-playing country singer who Ralph cares for faster than I can decide what coffee to buy at Starbucks. It turns out her powers can hurt DeVoe, and Team Flash decides to train her. Really super fast! Even though she’s telegraphing NOPE so hard.
While Miranda MacDougall sells the character, everything happens too fast for my liking. Barry thinks they can train her to fight the “evil chipmunk” in a span of six hours. Izzy has zero interest in being a hero, having survived on her own for so long. For a second, it appears that Ralph’s doe eyes and well-meaning pep talks break through her tough girl armor. But here’s the thing: they really haven’t spent enough time together for this relationship to truly solidify. So this rings hollow, and I’m not surprised when she knocked him out and flees.
I would’ve preferred more emotional depth here, a bit of a slow burn. Ralph’s feelings seemed to spring up out of nowhere, and I didn’t really get the sense that Izzy reciprocated. Her humor was consistently great, though (“Keep walking, Stretch. I don’t talk to creeps in dark hallways wearing purple leather.”). Ralph having a crush would’ve been more reasonable, instead of him listening to country music in the dark at the end of the episode. (Side note: A wet futon? Ew.) Hartley Sawyer gives his soul to the part, from the goofy comedy to the stark heartbreak.
Barry, on the other hand, spent the episode annoyingly pushing too hard. Sure, he just lost his job. And yes, he’s tired of DeVoe always winning. But if it weren’t for Iris reminding him to be human, I wonder if Izzy would’ve been hurt more during training. I don’t particularly care for that regression.
I was surprisingly amused by Harry and Cecile striking up a bizarre friendship. While we’ve not seen much of Cecile succeeding in court (I’m still bitter that she defended Barry, only to lose), it’s nice to get a glimpse of her as a friend. Paring her with Harry was not something I ever excepted, but it works, in its strange way. The mind reading thrown into their little chat sessions was fun.
But we’ve obviously got to talk about DeVoe. Obviously, the relationship with the Mechanic is frakked up beyond all reason. But DeVoe is becoming increasingly meaner and more villain-y as time passes. Maybe it’s the extra dark matter. Maybe it’s all the body hopping. Maybe it’s a side effect of the floating Professor X/Doc Ock chair. Who knows. But it’s starting to grate on my nerves, possibly because Neil Sandilands had such gravitas, a quiet menace. I prefer that.
It will be interesting to see Barry Allen as a PI. But I’m sure teaming up with Ralph to get their best Dick Tracey on will be a hoot. There better be fedoras.