The Flash: 4.09 Don't Run
After Crisis on Earth X gave us an epic, action-packed, DCTV crossover, Don’t Run feels like the writers want to cram in as much conventional The Flash plot as possible before the midseason break. Granted it’s got everything you need, tension, drama and a mind-blowing twist, but everything felt too convenient and coincidental.
Don’t Run begins with the team at Star Labs decorating a Christmas tree where, during playful conversation, Dibney upsets Caitlin who leaves. In their loft, Barry and Iris are unwrapping wedding presents which provided a moment of clarity as Iris complains at having to share her “I Do” moment with Felicity. This was hilarious! While cleaning, Iris asks why Barry isn’t cleaning “quickly” and he responds with some monologue of wanting to slow down and be together normally, blah blah blah. This dull scene actually ended up being a pivotal part to the final sequence.
While out shopping, Barry is caught off guard and kidnapped by The Thinker. Additionally, at Jitters, Caitlin is kidnapped by Amunet. Yes, the English speaking; bucket carrying meta-human is back and she’s a fantastic addition and essential element to the story.
Back at Star Labs, Cisco tries to locate Barry and Caitlin using satellites to find their meta-human signatures. Searching for both proves too much, so Iris (the leader) must make the difficult decision of who to search for, her husband or her friend. Thinking that Barry could take care of himself she decides to search primarily for Caitlin. As obvious as this situation / decision was, it provided a nice heartfelt moment and developed her leadership status.
We discover that Amunet requires the help of Caitlin (as opposed to her villainous alter-ego Killer Frost), to save a man’s life who she “accidently” stabbed with her metal shards. After refusing, Amunet delivers a good girl speech that although worked for the scene convincing Caitlin to help, slightly diminished her character's evil persona. It turns out, the man Caitlin’s trying to save, just so happens to be another bus meta, who has telepathic powers. Together they manage to escape, eventually getting help from Cisco and Ralph. Quick side note, in order for them to escape Caitlin managed to knock out Amunet (presumably with a drug or something), when the two flee I couldn’t help but shout at the screen “GRAB HER BAG OF METAL SHARDS!!!!” I mean this is virtually the source of her power.
Meanwhile, Barry is being held in DeVoe’s lair, trapped by a force field that Barry cannot phase out of. After some back and forth Barry manages to out think The Thinker… or did he? For a moment Barry was invisible by vibrating his whole body. Shocked, DeVoe released the force field allowing the escape. With any situation involving the Thinker, it’s hard to fathom anything happening that he’s unaware of or didn’t previously predict. On a plus note this makes the story interesting and keeps the audience thinking throughout. On a less than positive note, thus far there appears to be no weaknesses, and at any moment DeVoe can simply say “I planned that” which feels like a cop out.
After Barry’s escape, DeVoe pursues him in his flying chair. This whole sequence was horrible, the effects ridiculous. I tend to give a pass to the effects, where possible, as it’s only a TV show after all and generally they're pretty good. A perfect example would be the sequence where Barry is kidnapped, the effects were poor, but small, so didn’t take away from the overall atmosphere. Regardless, Barry seems to get the upper hand with both crashing into the water, Barry’s saved by his suits flotation device, while DeVoe you assume has died … sorry did I say die, I meant temporarily unavailable.
All appearing well the team go to Joe’s to celebrate Christmas where Caitlin invites Dominic (the new meta-human) to join them. After some smiles and festivities Barry's home security alarm buzzes so he runs of to check it. At this moment my mind was blown. Don’t get me wrong, I knew the twist was imminent but this was just superb. Arriving home Barry discoveres the dead body of DeVoe and in flashbacks we see both him and Amunet working together showing that DeVoe wanted Dominic in order to transfer his mind over due to his deteriorating body. Back at Barry’s apartment he receives a phone call from Dominic (still at Joe's) revealing his new identity. Afterwards the police break down his door, for a split second he considers running but doesn’t. This was well written and brilliantly executed.
As a midseason finale Don’t Run is excellent, it unveils a lot of The Thinkers plan while still leaving an air of mystery surrounding his end goal. It's left the story open enough to keep anticipation levels high and leaves plenty to ponder rather than leaving one annoyed with the lack of progression.
I look forward to it returning in the new year.