The Flash: 4.10 The Trial of the Flash
Another show mid-season break is over; it’s now time to resume the excitement … or is it? Frankly this episode was missing something. Perhaps it was flare or excitement; I personally put it down to high expectations. If you really look at it, this episode wasn't terrible, ok it has MANY flaws but because we’ve been away from it for so long our anticipation levels are higher, making anything outside of brilliant come across as unworthy.
The Trial of the Flash begins directly where it left off (if you need a recap check out my last review here); Barry’s on trial for the murder of Clifford DeVoe. The majority of the episode takes place on a courtroom drama / detective theme (similar to CSI or Law and Order). However the hefty amount of flaws come from its unnecessary, run of the mill, villain of the week sub-plot, which seeps into the main story, tainting any entertainment value.
Barry’s trial begins with Cecil (Joe’s partner) representing him, while Cisco and Joe leave on a meta-human related incident. Meanwhile we get a scene with new DeVoe and his wife, as a reminder that he now has telepathic abilities as gained from his host, also depicting his wife’s psychological struggle with his new body. (Side theory, I think she is going to be the key to defeating The Thinker, yes she’s his wife and yes she’s clearly on his side but it wouldn’t surprise me if she turned)
With the prosecution clearly having the upper hand, Joe enlists the help of Dibney (Elongated Man) and his past sleazy private investigator skills. They go to DeVoe’s house and take pictures of his wife kissing Dominic in order to make others believe she’s having an affair. When she takes the stand in court, tears in her eyes, explaining about her husband’s disability and Mr Allen’s harassment, she clearly wins over the jury. Joe enters giving the photos to Cecil who presents them to the court, to which Mrs DeVoe explains he is her lover as blessed by her husband. This being Barry’s last hope practically seals his fate.
Now comes arguably the best part of the episode. Joe wants to do everything he can to stop Barry going to jail, stating “I don’t want to fail him like I did his father”. He asks Dibney to open the door to DeVoe’s house so he can plant evidence. Here, Ralph gives a moving speech that outlines the morality of Joe’s decision; this develops him beautifully, depicting the progression and growth of his character. Deciding not to do it, they return to the courthouse where Barry’s told by Cecil his only way out is to reveal to the city his true identity. Barry refuses, additionally stating that if he is found guilty he will not run or escape.
I’ve not spoken much about the meta-human side plot, that’s because it’s worthless. I mentioned the episode running a villain of the week scenario which I suppose is unfair, given that aside from DeVoe there is no “villain”. The distraction is a random guy who works hauling radioactive material, I guess during the bus incident he developed the ability to give everyone radiation poisoning, causing all who are near to faint. The most idiotic thing about it was that he didn’t even notice. This shoehorned in subplot would’ve worked to show the team’s ability to “fight crime” without Barry / The Flash, but instead they had to include him one last time (I suppose). Towards the end of the episode, the Radioactive Man (this makes me think of The Simpsons) turns critical with potential to cause a nuclear explosion. In court Barry gets a text message and interrupts the judge stating “I have to go, someone needs me”. Now I’m no lawyer but surely this isn’t allowed and even if it is, it’s stupid, just tells me he has no faith in his team or respect for the court. What makes it worse is that he wasn’t even needed for the final battle, ok he helped but they could’ve achieved the same result alone.
The episode ends with Barry being sentenced to life with no bail. He enters Iron Heights prison in chains. Now, in what can only be described as cheesy and ‘tut’ worthy, Barry sees an engraving on the wall that says “Henry Allen was here”. I understand the whole episode was emulating his father’s struggles, but wow does this shove it in your face unnecessarily. This is why I believe DeVoe’s wife is the key, as the only logical way Barry can be saved is by the truth, which only she can give.
The Trial of the Flash was a disappointing return; the story was all over the place with differing themes and elements throughout. The side plot added nothing and took away everything, changing the dramatic tone attempting to provide some normality to the shows come back. Personally, given that we’re now 4 seasons in, I would’ve liked to see Barry reveal himself and see how that story plays out; it could provide something different and potentially exciting, not to mention it eradicates the question, ‘how do you not know who The Flash is?’
Fingers crossed this was just a bump in the road and we will be firmly back on track next episode.