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THE FLASH “Mixed Signals” Review

By on October 18, 2017

The Flash — “Mixed Signals” Pictured (L-R): Grant Gustin as Barry Allen and Candice Patton as Iris West — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW

 

THE FLASH “MIXED SIGNALS”

BY JUSTIN CARTER

 

We’re only a little over a month away from the big Arrowverse crossover, Crisis on Earth-X, which will conveniently be taking place during Barry and Iris’ wedding. But before we can get to that momentous occasion, the couple first has to go through some rough patches that have understandably cropped up in the months of Barry’s disappearance and the days since his return.

Despite Iris’ denials to Caitlin that they’re fine, they are so clearly not fine, and that just won’t do for the “golden standard” of romance that those two are, as the show itself puts it.

And that can mean only one thing: couples therapy! As far as setups go for Barry and Iris to hash out their problems, this is probably the best way to go about without derailing the show too much. The path to getting the two of them to the point they’re at now has been messy–by normal relationship standards, not the CW curve this would typically be graded on. While the beats are what you’d expect from any show with couples therapy, the interplay between Gustin and Patton lends it some charm as they dance around their real lives while getting to the root of their problems. (Iris in particular listing all the people who’ve died during the show’s run while Barry insists they haven’t had much trauma is downright hilarious.)

Of course, the therapy session isn’t just to provide some laughs; it actually does address Iris’ big gripe with Barry. Namely, that she still harbors anger at him for leaving to go to Speed Force jail back in May. The months without him and dodging questions from friends and family understandably made her insecure about their relationship. But, Barry argues that if he hesitated or she told him stay, he very well would have. Like any good couple, the two acknowledge that they need to work together and communicate a lot better than they used to, which is good, given that Iris is technically his boss now. Like I said, the beats are as you’d expect, but the two characters play off each other nicely, and it’s good that this is resolved now as opposed to when they’re actually married.

Meanwhile, Cisco and Gypsy — hey, remember her? — didn’t go to couples therapy, but they may as well have. The episode saw Gypsy hopping over to Earth Prime for a date night with Cisco since the day is the Earth-19 equivalent of Valentine’s Day, but Cisco’s too caught up with work and she’s too stubborn to say anything about the significance of the date, namely that it’s her way of saying she loves him. I’m not entirely sure all of this works; it depends on how much one really buys into the two of them as a couple, and this schedule conflict can’t be the first time it’s happened on either of their ends. But there is admittedly an infectious charm that spreads throughout their scenes together, and Cisco is just so likable that it makes it understandable why Gypsy would fall for him, even as he’s blissfully unaware of her emotions.

There actually is something else going on besides all the love woes, though there probably doesn’t need to be. A metahuman with control over machines is gunning for a trio of tech billionaires who royally screwed him out of the riches from a malware program the four of them made years ago. It’s a fine enough setup for a villain of the week, though the three billionaires are all cartoonishly dickish or frightened. The villain himself, named Kilgore after the malware program that was stolen from under him, is just sort of there. His crowning moment comes when he hacks into Barry’s new suit and turns Cisco’s fancy gadgets against him, but that’s about it. Though given the Thinker stinger at the end, that may have just been the whole point.

Two episodes in, and this season of Flash is clearly determined to stick to the lighthearted and breezy affairs of the original season. That’s all well and good, but they do have to be careful not to milk it for the rest of the season. Not that they’re in danger of doing that anytime soon. I found this one enjoyable overall, but this approach could wear its welcome out fast if they’re not careful.

Additional Notes

  • Barry catches up on all his shows thanks to Cisco playing all of them at ultra-speed. “Aw, Jon Snow’s dead. Oh, he’s alive again!” Would love to hear his thoughts on the season seven finale.
  • I find it incredibly amusing that Iris and Barry consider themselves the “gold standard” for romance among their circle of friends. That is just hilarious for a lot of reasons.
  • The Thinker’s screen shows that he’s got a dozen “subjects” that he’s testing against Team Flash. Kilgore is one. Who are the remaining 11? That, we’ll likely find out over the course of the season.
  • Hey, Harry’s back next week!

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