Team Flash continues to fend for itself without its namesake — and they are definitely struggling. Barry Allen is still behind bars in tonight’s episode, which has in turn made Harry even more curmudgeonly than usual. While the rest of the team is willing to tackle other issues — like figuring out why Cecile ‘s pregnancy has given her the ability to read minds (more on that later) — Harry wants to stay focused on freeing Barry, even though they’ve hit a roadblock in that area. Sure, he cares about Barry, but the real heart of the matter is that Harry hates being outsmarted by The Thinker.
To be fair to the team, Barry isn’t suffering that much in prison. When we check in with him at the top of tonight’s episode, he’s found ways to keep himself busy — like using his powers to cheat at poker and win more yogurt. However, he finds a new heroic project thanks to Big Sir, who opens up about how he got locked up. It turns out he was found guilty of murdering a security guard during a robbery 15 years earlier. Big Sir says he didn’t do it and was only on the scene because he heard the shots and tried to save the guard, but people just assumed he did it because of flimsy evidence and the way he looks — i.e. his muscular stature. (Did The Flash miss an opportunity to comment on the U.S. criminal justice system by casting a white dude in the role of Big Sir? Definitely yes.) Obviously, Barry takes it upon himself to find the real killer and free Big Sir.
Since Barry is in prison, that task falls onto Team Flash. Harry thinks they should do it because Barry hasn’t asked for anything since being in the clink. It just so happens that the real murderer may have just fallen into their lap: While all of this is going on, Sylbert Rundin, a metahuman with the ability to shrink objects, shrinks Kord Tech’s supposedly metahuman-proof building. When Joe, Cisco, and Ralph eventually track him down, they discover he looked like Big Sir 15 years ago, leading them to believe that he may have been responsible for that crime, too. Unfortunately, they don’t get to question him because Sylbert manages to escape using all sorts of toys he has shrunk since gaining his powers on that bus — a car, a parachute, a laser gun. However, before fleeing, he shrinks Cisco and Ralph.
Look, when I saw the preview and the title for tonight’s episode, I was worried that the episode would be unbearably silly; however, I think writers Sam Chalsen and Judalina Neira never let the tone of the episode get away from them. Having a shrunken Cisco and Ralph is obviously played up for humor, but it works, and the bit actually made me laugh — especially Ralph and Cisco’s failed attempts to stretch and breach their way out of this little predicament. Even funnier: Iris accidentally stepping on Ralph, and Harry declaring that the two boys are just as annoying miniaturized.
Team Flash discovers that Sylbert got his powers because he stole some of Ray Palmer’s dwarf-star and rode the bus the same day Barry came running out of the Speed Force. So, Harry uses Ray’s research to modify Cisco’s bazooka in order to save Cisco and Ralph. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work and actually makes the problem worse: The bazooka blast destabilizes Cisco and Ralph’s molecules and they now only have 10 hours before they explode. (Next: A quick trip to China)
Back in Iron Heights, Barry catches Big Sir up to speed on the status of his case. At first Big Sir resists Barry’s help because hope, he believes, is a dangerous thing to have in prison. Warden Wolfe suggests the same thing to Barry, cautioning him that Big Sir might take out his anger on Barry if this doesn’t work. Little do they know that spreading hope is kind of Barry’s thing. While I don’t care much for this story line (it’s stalling at best), I do appreciate it when the show returns to the idea that Barry’s super power is hope.
At this point, Harry could use some hope too. He’s freaking out about screwing up the bazooka and about the fact that The Thinker has outsmarted him, but Tiny Cisco gives him the pep talk he needs to figure this problem out. Harry realizes that the only way to restore Cisco and Ralph to their rightful size is for Sylbert to blast them again. So they once again confront Sylbert, whose main attack move is “restoring tiny vehicles to their rightful size as he throws them at people” — which felt like a bit of an Ant Man knockoff. Sylbert is determined not to “embiggen” them (Iris, if it’s not a word, tell that to Ms. Marvel), but Harry outsmarts him and tricks him into doing it.
Yes, the day was saved! Unfortunately, Sylbert refuses to admit to being the one who killed the guard Big Sir was imprisoned for killing, so Big Sir’s appeal falls through. However, Barry won’t let that sit, damn it. The moment the camera turns away from his cell, he speeds Big Sir out of Iron Heights and deposits him in Jiaju, China, which was Big Sir’s dream getaway. Again, I was not invested in Big Sir at all, but I love that Barry’s still finding a way to be a hero inside.
Unfortunately, this heroic act makes life worse for him. Warden Wolfe installed a secret camera by Barry’s cell that caught his speedy prison break. The warden knocks Barry out, tosses him in the metahuman part of the prison, and calls none other than Amunet Black because he plans on selling Barry.
While all of that was going on, Joe and Cecile were dealing with Cecile’s mind-reading powers, which are the result of Cecile’s pregnancy activating residual dark matter in her brain from the first accelerator explosion or something. (It’s science something!) At first, Cecile loves her new powers and uses them with abandon; however, they slowly start to unnerve Joe. When therapy fails to help them deal with this new and unusual problem (what’s the point of any of these characters going to therapy if they can’t be honest about what’s going on?), Iris suggests Cecile simply ask Joe how he’s feeling. That works, and Joe admits that he hates that she now knows all of his fears. Cecile says she’s fine with that, and she even shares some of hers. It’s all very sweet, and I love anything having to do with Joe and Cecile.
Wall of Weird:
- As the episode ends, Harry also declares that he’s going to figure out what the Thinker is up to because everything that happened in the episode — Barry’s prison friend being imprisoned for a crime committed by the metahuman of the week — couldn’t be a coincidence.
- We also discover that Cecile is pregnant with a daughter.
- Cecile, reading Cisco’s mind: “Why are you still thinking about bulbasaurs?!” Cisco: “He’s the cutest one of all!”
- “Gorilla prison is worse. They throw their scat at you” — Harry, on the time he was imprisoned in Gorilla City
- “Why does every villain in this city have a name that sounds like it came out of a comic book?” — Iris on Sylbert’s name (a line that’s almost too meta for the show’s good)