THE FLASH MID-SEASON FINALE “DON’T RUN” REVIEW
BY JUSTIN CARTER
Following a rather eventful wedding, you have might expected this mid-season episode of The Flash to play out over a relatively low speed (pardon the pun) by comparison. In the past, these episodes have served that purpose, save for the first season’s sort of revelation that Harrison Wells was the Reverse Flash. Considering that the last two years of midseason finales have fallen into something of a routine of being just fine, “Don’t Run” instead takes some of the leftover momentum from last week’s charged crossover to do something actually surprising with its big bad for the year.
Being relatively close to Christmas time means we get a present. And in this case, that would be the return of Katee Sackhoff’s Amunet Black from Iris’ incredibly nuts bachelorette party. Having busted in on Caitlin while she’s having a self pity party, the evil metahuman kidnaps the former evil metahuman not for some Frost action, but for Cait’s surgery knowhow. Her recently acquired telepath metahuman, a Dominic Lance who got one of her metal shards stuck in the back of his head, can’t be saved with brute force, so Caitlin has to save him or else she’ll get killed.
Amunet was a very silly villain last time around, one who honestly wouldn’t have felt out of place in an early 90s superhero film, thanks to a combination of Katee Sackhoff’s performance and Amunet’s general demeanor and outfit. It’s understandable why Frost would be afraid of someone like her, an equally understandable shakeup was necessary in the Frost-Amunet dynamic. Appropriately enough, neutering Caitlin’s powers is the best way to work around that, and that in turn gives new shades to Amunet as a person.
Prior to gaining her powers, she grew up with no real future prospects and spent her adult life working as a stewardess forced to deal with being sexually harassed by her coworkers. For her, getting her powers marked a change in her life in which she’d no longer take anyone’s shit, and given the recent rumblings in the world, it’s hard to not sympathize with her on that front. That she views Caitlin as someone worthy of respect (and offering her a pep talk while also kidnapping her) makes for a twisted mentor/mentee relationship that I really hope we get more of in future episodes.
The Caitlin story ends up taking more time than you would think, which course turns out to be on purpose in order to hide the true nature of the A-plot. Having been so benevolent as to let Barry and Iris get married last week, the Thinker is now back on the offensive, having kidnapped the Scarlet Speedster and just locking him up in his glowing blue basement. Nothing really comes of this, save for some clever banter between Flash and Thinker relating to the latter being a teacher, and you might be forgiven for thinking that this was the show’s way of taking a breather after a full week of some expensive CG work. However, in the final moments, it turns out the Thinker kidnapped Barry to get his DNA and frame him for DeVoe’s murder, while Thinker had swapped brains with Dominic after he was rescued by Caitlin.
As far as cliffhangers go, it’s a pretty effective one. Rewatching the episode, it’s more clear what was being intended to set up those final moments–Barry’s gloves being removed, a conversation between the Mechanic and Barry about doing just about anything for those you love, etc. But how well this sets up the second half of the season is going to be up to the viewer; there’s definitely enough time for Barry to have used his speed to get rid of the body — or hell, even to go back to punch Dominic in the face, since he was still with the others at Joe’s home. I personally thought this worked, and a lot of that has to do with the heel turn from Dominic. Kendrick Samson’s turn as DeVoe is well acted, and there are very good shades of uncomfortable in the short moments between him and Kim Englebrecht, who is already clearly having second thoughts about her husband’s devious plans. What comes from this will have to wait until January, but if you’re able to suspend all the disbelief from that last minute reveal, there’s a pretty good episode and future tease in here.
- Ralph finally gets some more depth to him, which at this point, is very much needed. I continue to enjoy Hartley Sawyer, but there’s definitely a need for him to be something beyond wacky misogynist.
- I’m really curious what a Killer Frost-themed drink tastes like. And I’d also like an episode devoted to whatever wacky adventures Frost gets up to with the guys when she takes over.
- Poor STAR Labs. You have crappy security, and you can’t keep a Christmas tree up for longer than a minute.
- Really glad to hear Iris throw shade at Felicity for hijacking their wedding last week — seriously, what the hell?
- Wally doesn’t show up yet again, apparently in Cambodia for … some reason or another.
- “Are you from the past? Because those white girl dreads are so 90s.” — Cisco with the best and accurate burn on Amunet.
- Congrats on Cisco for receiving the multiversal equivalent of holiday nudes. His reaction, as always, was hilarious.
- Coming in January: The Trial of Barry Allen!