The Flash 4.06: When Harry met Harry

So far, this season has been funnier, more enjoyable to watch and lighter in tone but unfortunately this episode went a bit off the rails. Immediately, the title When Harry met Harry suggests the main focus will be on Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), a much loved and charismatic character who has been there from the start. This isn’t the case as he plays rather a small role in a larger story. Regrettably this episode incorporates silly, sexist and racist behaviour that’s not what we’ve come to love from The Flash.

The general theme this week is ‘working together’. The episode begins with Barry and Ralph getting coffee, when suddenly a mugger appears pointing a gun at them. Nonchalantly our heroes turn around to discuss the situation. The mugger shoots, providing insight into Ralph’s powers as he essentially slingshots the bullet straight back, injuring the mugger. This was a hilarious encounter that created a nice tension between the two as Barry attempted to teach Ralph key lessons of being a hero.

The main sub-plot is discovering the identity of The Thinker (DeVoe), whose appearance at the start alluded to just that. We see him and his assistant in their lair discussing the probability of Team Flash finding out who he is. Unconcerned, he reassures his assistant that he’s been through every conceivable possibility, further developing his character. This is followed by the team struggling to uncover the mystery  which causes Harry to “call his friends”. Turns out it’s Harry's doppelgangers from alternate Earths.

This is one area that turns into an awkward, cringe-inducing and slightly racist moment. We’re introduced to three separate Harry’s, a futuristic cyborg Wells that’s the most tame and enjoyable, a German Wells that is simply played very odd, and the worst of the bunch, a player type Wells, ladies man that in one scene inappropriately shows his genitals. Given the current daily accusations of sexual misconduct and poor workplace behaviour, this character just comes across as inappropriate and nasty, made worse by the comedic performance.

That aside, dubbed “The Council of Wells”, the dopplegangers too must learn to work with one another to find DeVoe and with the help of Cisco they do just that, revealing the Thinker’s secret identity. Barry and Joe decide to pay him a visit to interrogate him but of course DeVoe is one step ahead. When they arrive to a well-kept large suburban house, they’re greeted by a couple portraying themselves as husband and wife, DeVoe appearing as a “normal” guy in a wheelchair. This was an interesting moment, but overshadowed by their reaction to his disability, their facial expressions seemed to say “he can’t be the super villain, he’s in a wheelchair”. This was frustrating; did Barry and the team learn nothing from Reverse Flash who fooled them for an entire series being in a wheelchair. Either way, that’s the end of a quite disappointing episode... Oh wait, I’ve not mentioned this week’s forgettable villain.

I suppose this series should be commended on its approach; it would have been easy to stick to an enjoyable formula as seen in the first few episodes but instead they’ve been trying new and (sometimes) exciting things. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work, often becoming boring and unmemorable. This week specifically, to try and locate more “bus-metas”, they hypnotise Ralph with the intention of clearing his drunken mind. While under we see a flashback of him on the bus where, aside from the already familiar faces, he starts describing women’s measurements. This was sleazy and sexist. He notices a woman with a bison on her jacket this leads them to find “Black Bison” (I guess Cisco was too busy to come up with a better name for her). The dark matter allows her to control inanimate objects like statues and mannequins (yawn!!!)

The reason I’ve yet to mention her is because she’s hugely forgettable in an otherwise cluttered episode. She also isn’t really a villain. Okay, she steals and has little respect for human life, but her backstory creates a more anti-hero persona. She’s a Native American tracking down and reclaiming artefacts belonging to her people. All in, her powers are dull, she was given very little screen time and, if not for some conveniently placed objects, her contribution would’ve been worthless. There is however a small scene involving a T-Rex that was comical and reminded me of the Night at the Museum movies.

Overall When Harry met Harry is overcrowded with characters and plot, unfocused in its message and frankly, inappropriate and sleazy. I’m finding it hard to continue my love for Ralph; his character is becoming uncomfortably sexist and just plain stupid, lacking not only the ability to understand the concept of human empathy, but not concerned about putting it into action. Ok, he rallies at the end but this only creates another awkward, poorly executed scene with a child. I enjoyed certain aspects and had a few chuckles but its abrasive nature is not what I’ve come to expect from this season of The Flash.

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