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THE FLASH “The Trial of the Flash” Review: Barry Tries to Keep Hope Alive

By on January 17, 2018

The Flash — “The Trial of The Flash” — Pictured: Grant Gustin as Barry Allen — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW –

 

THE FLASH “THE TRIAL OF THE FLASH” REVIEW

 

BY JUSTIN CARTER

 

“The Trial of the Flash” turns up the melodrama for this otherwise predominantly lighthearted season of The Flash, and it’s something that I’m honestly not all that on board with.

I get that part of this is Marlize playing up Barry’s involvement in the death of Devoe, but the show suggests that a forensic scientist killing a man is the absolute worst thing that a police officer could do. Living through the real world the last four years, Barry’s false murder claim is, as depressing as it is to admit, hopelessly quaint. Not that I ever really expected the show to take a stab at police brutality and corruption, but it also amps things up way too much to feel anything but bizarre.

Not that Barry seems to really mind all that much. Despite the fact that he’s placed in the same position that his father was decades ago, he’s relatively chill about the whole thing and determined to play his own trial by the book. There was never any real chance of him outing himself as the Flash to prove his own innocence. Iris even tries to make a go for it, but Barry learns to speed him and Iris up so fast that time basically stops so he can assure her that everything will be fine. It’s a touching moment that serves as a good contrast to what Marlize and Devoe are going through in their portion of the plot. It’s so easy to see both sides of Iris and Barry’s argument–yes, unmasking himself as the Flash would wrap all this up in a nice little bow, but there would be some problems to deal with down the line.

Still, as solid of a reason as Barry has, it’s also fairly shaky. Unlike Oliver Queen over on Arrow, Barry has willingly outed his secret to plenty of people in the past, even to those who’ve previously tried to kill him. He may be concerned about his enemies going after his loved ones if his identity is known, but those enemies are either dead, his actual friends, or not powerful enough to go up against the genius inventor or four other metahumans that Barry hangs around with. The other members of Team Flash may have their moments of weakness, sure, but most of them have also gone up against aliens, their own evil doppelgangers, and actual Nazis from another universe. They could handle Tar Pit or whoever else comes knocking for some payback.

Elsewhere, the other members of Team Flash have something of an actual plot going on, though not by much. A new metahuman who’s crazy radioactive and named Fallout keeps making people pass out shortly after he comes near them. It falls to Cisco and Harry to deal with it, and despite how much of a literal ticking time bomb Fallout is, he’s not a threat in the slightest. He’s really just around more than anything else; he’s not even aware of what he’s doing until the episode is 3/5 over, and then Barry bolts from his trial so he can use his speed to funnel the guy’s radioactive energy into a less toxic Earth with Vibe’s help.

Joe and Dibney, meanwhile, conspire to get Barry out of jail by just going to the Devoe household to catch some evidence of their duplicity. Catching Marlize kissing Devoe in Dominic’s body didn’t do the trick, so Joe instead conspires to just straight up plant evidence on her to get the job done. Since Dibney actually has planted evidence before, he subtly tells Joe all the things that’ll go wrong if and when Joe eventually gets caught. It’s a nice moment that gives him more self awareness and depth, and moments like these with him are welcome.

Overall, the supposed “Trial of the Flash” is just…okay, but there is one element that stands out. Kim Engelbrecht has been doing strong work as Marlize, and her standout moment thus far is when she has to play the grieving widow to the court. It’s just enough overacting to make you think she’d be great on Law & Order while also slimy enough to make you buy that she’s evil and in complete control of the situation. Even when confronted with photos of her kissing Dominic, she manages to turn it to her advantage at the blink of an eye. In general, she has a much better presence than her husband does; it’s clear that she’s in over her head in helping her husband do what Get Out only managed to hint at, but also still in some semblance of control of the situation. I’m hoping that as the season continues, she takes more a central role as a villain beyond just helping her body-displaced husband.

With Barry actually in jail, it’s just a matter of time before he gets out and is running in the streets again. As far as getting us prepped for a string of episodes where he tries to survive in Iron Heights, this episode could’ve gone a lot worse–but also a lot better as well.

Additional Notes

  • Cisco and Harry having to needle Caitlin into becoming Killer Frost was a lot funnier than it should’ve been. I like that even Frost wonders if she’s been summoned for work reasons or just to hang out.
  • Shouldn’t the various members of Team Flash be brought to the stand to corroborate that Barry couldn’t have murdered Devoe? It feels like there’s multiple ways to prove that he’s innocent.
  • Wally is heading over to Legends of Tomorrow for a handful of episodes, but even so, what is up with Team Flash just not calling that dude when they need a speedster on hand?
  • Before I wrote this, I caught the season premiere of Black Lightning, and it’s really good! Definitely worth checking out.

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