The Flash: 4.17 Null and Annoyed
When I read this episode was directed by Kevin Smith I assumed we were in for something special. He’s helmed two fantastic episodes of The Flash , full of lore, emotion and passion that were unique and elevated the seasons. With a cameo appearance by Jay and Silent Bob from the start, you’d think this (much like Flashtime and Run Iris Run) would be a winner. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case. Instead we get a silly, overly comedic, run of the mill, villain of the week, hour of irregularity. Ok, it’s not terrible by any stretch and, if nothing else, you get a lot of laughs; but its inconsistent and muddled with story elements all over the place.
The main plot leaves much to be desired and The Thinker has become more and more uninteresting as of late; I am failing to connect with the character due to the constant body hopping and ever changing personalities. DeVoe’s wife, who also started as a powerful, fearful, right hand woman, has been diminished down to a blubbering mess that the Thinker treats as his puppet. I suppose it’s slowly depicting what I had previously theorised, which was her being the key to defeating the Thinker. Sadly the way it’s tackled here is very dull.
The villain of the week, once again, was disposable, and the few spoken lines she had were horrible and clichéd. Additionally, her powers were dull and she had no on screen presence. I’m sure in another world her character could have been brilliant, but in this instance it seemed as though she was thrown to one side for more comedy.
The majority of screen time was dedicated to the bickering between Ralph and Barry, with Barry getting frustrated that Ralph isn’t taking situations seriously enough. This whole back and forth was horrible and unnecessary. Since his first appearance, Ralph has been the comedic relief (second to Cisco), which has worked very well, but there is little to no consistency here. One week he is reasonable and the next, acting like a circus clown. Additionally, Barry’s frustration was highly irritating. With the amount that he’s been through, you’d expect him to accept someone’s individuality, but this episode didn’t feel like the Barry we have come to know and love; he wouldn’t normally be so harsh.
Ralph’s explanation of why he jokingly acts out when scared, was supposed to be touching and emotional. It wasn’t, and it came across as forced and anything but genuine. The whole development between Ralph and Barry seemed unnecessarily and a waste of time that could easily have been used in other areas that would work better.
That’s enough of the bad; let’s discuss the things that do work. Although it may not have always fit into the pacing or tone, the comedy was on fire. Several moments throughout this episode I was in hysterics. What shone the most was the B-story surrounding Cisco and Breacher, with Danny trejo reprising his role as Gypsy's father. Ok, his character was way over the top, but the chemistry between Trejo and Carlos Valdes works perfectly, and would be brilliant for a spin off series. I only hope that Cisco declines his job offer to take over from him, as if he were to leave the show, I can’t see The Flash working as well.
The most interesting element in this episode surrounded Harry, who is woefully underused. His thinking cap is becoming his drug; he gets frustrated when it doesn’t work and has abandoned his own brain for it. I love this development, it feels natural and smooth; add a mysterious trip into the secret Gideon room and I am sold. This little snippet alone makes me long for next week’s episode, simply with the hope of finding out more about this. I can’t help but feel this week’s story would’ve worked better had it encapsulated Harry and Cisco’s arcs rather than what we get.
Null and Annoyed is by no means the worst episode. The issues are pretty standard; low stakes, inconsistency and dull villains, amplified by the over use of comedy. The biggest problem was that it was coming after two of the best episodes of the season, so anything short of perfection was going to be a disappointment. I am still just as excited for the next instalment if for nothing else than to find out about Harry.