In its first season, The Flash has managed to find a nice balance between its procedural and serialized elements—until tonight’s episode. After several episodes that sped the show’s mythology forward, The Flash slowed down its pace tonight and gave us a somewhat standalone episode—which felt very much like a speed-bump in its, so far, smooth run. If we’re keeping it 100 Larry Wilmore-style, tonight’s episode may have been the show’s weakest to date: the metahuman-of-the-week was both clichéd and forgettable, and Drunk Caitlin, while amusing at first, eventually became somewhat cringe-worthy and was also a rather unoriginal diversion.
In spite of its many troublesome aspects, “Crazy for You” also had a few bright spots: We got several scenes between Henry and Barry, which, because of the great dynamic between John Wesley Shipp and Grant Gustin, were incredibly poignant. You can’t watch Henry-Barry scenes and (a) not feel like a terrible son or daughter and (b) not want to immediately call your parents and tell them how much you love them. Cisco’s subplot with Hartley was also rather compelling. However, I’m worried that the show is putting way more effort into developing Cisco than it is Caitlin, who, for the most part, still seems to be defined by her tragic relationship with Ronnie. While Caitlin’s lack of substantial development may not be as bad as Iris’, it is still problematic because she is one of two female characters on a show with four other well-drawn male characters. (Yes, I left Eddie out because the show is using him less as a character and more as a plot device because he’s integral to the Reverse Flash-mystery).
METAHUMAN OF THE WEEK: Shawna a.k.a Peek-a-Boo
While Barry and Cisco are bantering on about which possessive pronoun to use in regards to the Flash’s suit and Cisco also is teasing Caitlin about not having a life, Shawna Baez breaks her incarcerated boyfriend Clay out of jail. This isn’t a Neal Caffrey or Ocean’s Eleven kind of deal. Shawna springs her BF from the pokey Alicia Baker on Smallville-style—i.e. via teleportation. The guards notice her on the security cameras, but by time they respond, Bonnie and Clyde are already back in Shawna’s car making out. All is not right in these lovebirds’ relationship however. When we check in with them post-coitus, we quickly realize that Clay may not love Shawna as much as she loves him; he conspicuously changes the subject when she says that breaking him out was no big deal because he would do the same for her. Having freed Clay from jail, Shawna’s anxious to leave Central City and start a new life with him. Unfortunately, that’s gonna have to wait because Clay can’t leave until he pays off the debt he owes to some Ed O’Neill look-alike.
Joe and Barry are called to the crime scene at the prison, and Joe arranges for a guard who owes him a favor to bring Henry by Clay’s cell while Barry’s there. As I said before, any time these two guys are together, you can’t help but catch a few feelz. However, the moment leaves as quickly as it came because Barry found some particulate residue at every location in the prison that Shawna touched. He and Joe take the sample back to the S.T.A.R. Labs team, who do their thing and find two traces of DNA in the residue: Clay and Shawna’s. While Cisco engages Hartley further on the topic of Ronnie (more on that later), Caitlin continues to run tests on the evidence and asks Barry if she agrees with Cisco that she doesn’t have a life. He does, mostly because her definition of a “having a life” is kind of sad and lonely. But, alas, their conversation is interrupted because their computer pings to let them know that Shawna and Clay are committing a crime.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned this season of The Flash, its that it sucks to be a guard and drive an armored car in Central City because it’s all but guaranteed that you’re going to get robbed. Being good ol’ Central City villains, Clay and Shawna go after an armored car transporting cash. While Clay holds the guards at gunpoint, Shawna transports the money back to their cool-looking car. The Flash eventually shows up on the scene and engages in a visually entertaining game of “catch me if you can” with Ms. Teleportation. Unfortunately, Clay and Shawna manage to escape.
While Wells figures out the limits of Shawna’s powers, Caitlin and Barry go out for a night on the town. Because of Cisco’s assessment of her, Caitlin decides that it is time to move on from Ronnie and find new love. She also thinks Barry should do the same because he’s become the embodiment of John Mayer’s song “Man on the Side.” While out at a karaoke bar, Caitlin gets drunk and drags Barry on stage to sing “Summer Lovin.” SPOILER ALERT: Grant Gustin/Barry Allen can sing—and Caitlin can’t. Barry’s performance is so entertaining and charming he catches intrepid reporter Linda Park’s eye (
Unfabulous’ The Vampire Diaries‘ Malese Jow). Taking a brief trip to 2009, Linda uses the “Bump” app to give Barry her number and flirtatiously tells him what he does with it is up to him. As Linda leaves, Caitlin returns from the bathroom and tells Barry she isn’t feeling well. So, Barry superspeeds her home, superspeed changes her into her pajamas, and at her request, stays with her until she falls asleep.
NEXT: Cisco makes a bad decision
Following up on a tip Henry got from talking to some people in prison, Joe and the rest of the CCPD crash Clay and Shawna’s meeting with Marcus, the aforementioned Ed O’Neill look-alike to whom Clay owed money. Clay is struck by a bullet in the ensuing fight, but Shawna teleports him out of there before the police can arrest them. Unfortunately, these events land Henry in the prison’s hospital because snitches get stitches. As soon as Barry finds out, he speeds over to join Joe at his father’s bedside. Barry scolds his father for what he did, but Henry explains that it’s not often that he gets to help out his son from prison, so he jumped on the chance to do so now. The actors and writers do a great job of conveying just how much love is between the Allen men. During his snooping around, Henry found out from one of Marcus’ guys on the inside, the same guy that stabbed Henry, that Marcus is planning a big heist. In costume, Barry yanks Marcus’ guy from the cell and demands he tell him where the heist is supposed to take place or else he’ll leave him out there to be caught by the guards, thereby adding 10 more years onto his sentence for trying to escape.
Because this is Central City, Clay and Shawna, who Marcus enlisted after seeing her powers, are robbing another armored truck with even more money. The Flash quickly arrives on the scene and, like before, can’t seem to get ahold on Shawna. Wells reminds Barry that Shawna can’t use her powers if she can’t see where she’s going, so he needs to limit her field of vision. In an awesome-looking VFX moment, the Flash quickly takes out all of the lights in the tunnel and on Shawna and Clay’s car. No surprise here, by time the Flash reaches the car, Clay fled and left Shawna to be taken straight to the pipeline. Imprisoned in the pipeline, Shawna tells Team Flash that in spite of his betrayal, she still loves Clay.
In the episode’s best scene, Barry pays his father another visit, where Henry makes it clear that he knows his son is The Flash. He saw him save Joe awhile back and he knows that the Flash is responsible for Marcus’ guy getting 10 more years on his sentence. Barry tries to deny it, but Henry clearly doesn’t buy it. Nonetheless, he plays along and says—and I’m going to give you all the entire thing because it’s beautiful.
If the Flash were my son, I’d tell him a few things. First off, I’d tell him it’s a dangerous world, so be careful. Then, I’d tell him he’s a hero and savin’ a lot of lives. But the most important thing for him to know, I feel, is that his father’s proud of him. [Pardon while I clean the teardrops off my keyboard and tell my mom I love her.]
Cisco and Hartley
While Caitlin and Barry tried to find new love, Cisco endeavored to find out what happened to Ronnie the night of the explosion and lets Hartley out of his cell to get information. First, a handcuffed Hartley takes Cisco to the exterior of S.T.A.R. Labs to show him a bomb shadow left by Professor Martin Stein (guest-star Victor Garber) on the night of the explosion. Hartley manages to break free of his handcuffs and tries to escape, but Cisco channels his inner Jack Bauer and uses a device connected to Hartley’s ear implants to cause him pain. “Try that again, and I won’t make it stop. Ever,” threatens Cisco. From there, they go to the CCPD precinct to look at the video footage from the explosion. The video shows Professor Martin Stein walking away from S.T.A.R. Labs carrying a glowing Tesseract-looking thing, except it’s red, when he’s hit by the dark matter blast. Hartley freezes a frame which shows Ronnie, inside the mass of energy, hitting Martin Stein. Basically, Professor Stein and Ronnie, because of the glowing red thing and the theoretical matter, combined bodies. Unfortunately, Hartley’s cooperation ends there as he disarms Cisco and escapes.
After being scolded by Wells, Cisco tells a hungover Caitlin and Barry about the escape. “I’d like to yell and wave my arms, but I’m afraid I’d throw up,” Caitlin says sternly because she told him earlier in the episode that she didn’t want him looking for Ronnie. It’s hard for them to stay mad at him for too long because he’s Cisco and he didn’t mean any harm. Since the night of the explosion, Cisco’s been racked with guilt over having to lock Ronnie in the pipeline and has wondered what would’ve happened if he had waited a few more seconds for Ronnie to return. To Cisco’s surprise, Caitlin is upset by his confession and instead tells him that Ronnie would tell Cisco that he did the right thing and it wasn’t anybody’s fault.
With this new information—that Ronnie and Professor Stein merged bodies—Caitlin firmly decides to find someone new to be crazy about because the merge means that Ronnie is no longer alive. (Little does she know.) On the other hand, Barry, after giving Iris Clay’s file as the Flash for her to track him down, calls Linda and asks her out to lunch. Iris is clearly taken aback when Barry shows up at their office to pick Linda up.
Wall of Weird:
— WE SAW GRODD FOR THE FIRST TIME TONIGHT!!! (#PaidForByAmazonFirePhoneProductPlacement) In the closing stinger, Grodd savagely attacks two city workers examining Central City’s sewers. What did you guys think of his rendering?
— EW‘s Natalie Abrams reports that we’ll be seeing time travel real soon. Are you excited? I definitely am.
— There was very little Wells in tonight’s episode, which makes sense after last week.
— Tonight, during her meeting with the Flash, Iris is quick enough to snap a photo with her phone, which makes the front page of the newspaper as the first official picture of the Flash.
— Tonight, Caitlin picked Shawna’s codename.
— “I know you. You’ll let [Linda Park] slip right through your fingers because you think you don’t deserve happiness. But, what you don’t realize, is that you need a little saving too,” drunk Caitlin says as she struggles to get out of her dress.
— “Did you sneak a peek at my goods?” ” I wouldn’t be much of a hero if I did.” “Yeeeahhh, but it’s okay if you peeked a little. You deserve a peek for all the good that you do,” says Caitlin after Barry gets her into her pajamas.