The Flash’s 16th episode (“Run, Iris, Run”) started off incredibly strong. The Cisco quips (“We’re not Frankenstein-ing innocent people.” and asking Harry, “And which [degree] is in Mad Science?”) were hilarious. Honestly, Harry and Cisco banter is always aces, given the begrudging and sometimes snarky affection between them.
That aside, I knew that this episode had Iris getting powers and donning a speedster suit. I had seriously high hopes that plot point. Unfortunately, a lot of choices made Iris seem entirely week. I mean, yes she had no time to train and Barry couldn’t magically explain how he does what he does. But during the building fire, when she was trapped under the beam, Iris seemed to just…give up. And whine. And then had to be rescued by Cisco. (How did he get her out from underneath that beam? Vibe-ing and breach hopping does not turn him into the Brute Squad, right?)
I know that Iris felt she had something to prove—and needed to be in on the action because of it. And I loved that Caitlin supported her using her speedster powers. But sending her into that building alone (Killer Frost could’ve helped with the fire, y’all.) was a crap story choice, given how little training and experience Iris had.
It did give us the opportunity to see Barry flail and flounder at doing Iris’ job. I mean, he couldn’t even sit in her chair without it sinking to the ground. He was definitely out of sorts without his powers. And it made me a huge mope. He spent a lot of time looking like maudlin and pensive, while feigning the barest level of emotional support. I understand that he cannot be lighthearted all of the time, but he’s almost as emotionally fixated as Harry.
Let’s talk about Harry for a moment, with his death cap and fierce determination. Sure, he almost lit his head on fire pursing the idea. It’s dangerous, as Cisco helpful points out: “The minute you start acting like Locutus of Borg and start assimilating everyone with your borg chair. …” But his zealous singlemindedness pays off. Only time will tell what the price is—and I think there will be a price. I just hope it isn’t Harry’s life.
Lastly, there’s the matter of Iris’ blog. She relinquishes being a speedster, because Barry needs it. (Matthew Kim—played by the lovely Leonardo Nam—is freaking AWESOME, btw. He’s a goodhearted dude, who charmingly wants to help fight DeVoe with no questions asks. His grin and enthusiasm made me smile. I hope he sticks around.) And while one doesn’t need to be a hero and risk their lives to make a difference, we haven’t seen enough of Iris being a reporter/blogger for that statement to carry enough weight. I want Lois Lane-level badassery, not XOXO, Gossip Girl. And again, her blog is all about Barry. Does she never write about anything else? I feel like her character has so much potential, but it isn’t being explored. Hell, give us a day in the life of Iris, sometime, outside of Team Flash. No person can be one thing, and having her life be all about Barry is restrictive and a bad example.
Incidentally, speaking of bad examples, Ralph was mean, withdrawn, cowardly, selfish, and self-pitying for almost the entire episode. He lashes out at Iris, refuses to help anyone, and complains that the team has reservations about Harry risking his life with that flaming death trap of a thinking cap. For someone who can be so earnest and compelling, this turn felt out of character. I wanted a Moonstruck moment where someone slapped him, instead of endless pep talks and sympathetic doe eyes. But it can’t rain all the time, I guess.