The Flash recap: 'Don't Run'

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The Flash

type:
TV Show
run date:
10/15/14
performer:
Grant Gustin, Danielle Panabaker, Candice Patton
broadcaster:
The CW
seasons:
3
Current Status:
In Season

We gave it a B-

Last week’s epic crossover “Crisis on Earth-X” was fun, exciting, and brought out the best in both the Arrowverse as a whole and The Flash itself. Unfortunately, that means that anything that follows it is likely to be a bit of a letdown because it’s hard to compete with your favorite heroes teaming up to fight evil super-Nazis. And that’s exactly what happened with The Flash‘s midseason finale. “Don’t Run” had the unenviable task of reinvesting us in this season’s story line, which it struggled to do. That’s not to say the episode was necessarily bad, though. In fact, it included several strong character beats.

It’s Christmastime on The Flash, which means Team Flash is about to face some trouble from the season’s big bad. This year, the team gets hit with a double whammy: Amunet Black returns and kidnaps Caitlin, and the Thinker abducts Barry. Obviously, the loss of both Barry and Caitlin presents a challenge to Team Flash, especially for Iris as team leader because she has to decide how to best use S.T.A.R. Labs’ resources to solve this problem. At first, she decides they need to focus on finding both Barry and Caitlin, which definitely puts a strain on their satellite.

In the first of this episode’s many twists, it turns out that Amunet wants Caitlin and not Killer Frost. Even though it sucks to be kidnapped, this news must make her feel slightly better, because right before she was taken, Caitlin was upset about the fact that Cisco, Ralph, and Harry were having so much fun with her icy alter-ego, to the point where they even had inside jokes. But Amunet actually requires Caitlin’s medical skills — Amunet accidentally injured a telepathic metahuman named Dominic (Kendrick Sampson) while she was trying to capture him, and now she needs to Caitlin to remove the black metal that’s stuck in his neck and save his life.

Caitlin is obviously reluctant to perform the surgery because she doesn’t have the necessary equipment, but Amunet gives her an option: surgery or die. Even though Caitlin can’t use her powers because Amunet slapped a meta-power dampener on her risk, that doesn’t mean Caitlin stops fighting. Using Dominic’s powers, Caitlin and Dominic try to escape, but it’s all for naught because Amunet catches them.

Rather than punish Caitlin and Dominic for trying to escape, Amunet, who realizes Caitlin feels powerless compared to Killer Frost, tries a different tactic to motivate Caitlin to help her: a pep talk. Amunet reveals that before she became this successful businesswoman, she was a stewardess who was constantly being sexually harassed by pilots — but then, the accelerator explosion happened and she was “powerless no more,” and she got her revenge on the pilots. She tells this to Caitlin to point out that unlike her, Caitlin was special before she got her powers, and that she knows Caitlin can figure out how to save Dominic’s life — or else, you know, she’ll end up dead. On the one hand, this pep talk successfully fleshes out Amunet as a character, but on the other, it feels like the writers read all of our tweets about how much we love Killer Frost and set about trying to convince us that Caitlin was cool, too. 

Meanwhile, Barry finds himself trapped inside a prison in the Thinker’s sanctuary. Although DeVoe refuses to reveal his plans to Barry — because they’re too complicated for Barry to comprehend — he assures him that by the end of this experience, he’ll learn there are no happy endings. Joe and Harry show up at DeVoe’s home to question him, but they obviously don’t find Barry because DeVoe is many, many steps ahead of them. So Barry remains trapped in the prison. (NEXT: The Thinker’s plan is revealed)

When Joe and Harry’s search turns up nothing, Harry takes it upon himself to have an important conversation with Iris. He tells her that they’re failing at finding their friends because their resources are stretched too thin. The satellite can’t possibly track Caitlin’s powers and Barry’s Speed Force energy at the same time, so it’s time for Iris to make the tough call as the team’s leader. Obviously, Iris can’t bring herself to choose between her husband and her friend, but eventually she does. She decides to focus their energies on finding Caitlin because she’s in a vulnerable position and Barry can handle himself. If there’s one thing I love about this season, it’s that Iris is being given more to do on the team.

Iris isn’t the only member of Team Flash who has a strong character moment in this episode. After Caitlin’s abduction, Cisco took out his frustration on Ralph, whom he blamed because Ralph drove Caitlin off by saying how much fun Killer Frost is. Eventually Cisco apologizes for putting that all on Ralph, and Ralph apologizes for being a dick and admits that it’s been a while since he’s had actual friends. While I still find Ralph more annoying than charmingly gross, this episode struck a nice balance between his grossness and humor, which is something that was missing the last time he showed up on the show.

Using old equipment she finds in the hospital, Caitlin manages to create what she needs to safely remove the shard of metal from Dominic’s neck. However, she uses the surgery as an opportunity to also knock out Amunet and her men, and she and Dominic make their escape. Amunet quickly recovers and chases after them, but thankfully, Cisco and Elongated Man arrive in time to save her. It’s a pretty disappointing solution because with Caitlin’s Killer Frost powers, there was reason to believe the show wouldn’t use her as a damsel in distress. To be fair, the problem isn’t that bad here, because Caitlin did fight back and wasn’t waiting to be saved, but imagine if she had managed to completely escape on her own and this entire adventure was about her learning how to work with her Killer Frost side.

It turns out Iris was right about Barry being able to handle himself, because Barry tricks DeVoe into opening his cage by vibrating so quickly that it looks like he’s invisible. Once the force field is gone, Barry attacks DeVoe, who teleports them into the air, where their fight happens. Thankfully, Barry manages to escape from DeVoe without killing himself. (Shoutout to the raft function in the suit, which comes in handy).

Given the day’s events, Team Flash, with newcomer Dominic in tow, gathers at Joe’s apartment to celebrate Christmas, because they need some fun. However, the peace doesn’t last long. The alarm in Barry and Iris’ apartment goes off, so Barry speeds off to check on it. When he gets there, he receives a call from Dominic, who is actually the Thinker (Amunet recaptured Dominic and sold him to Marlize and DeVoe). There, in his apartment, Barry finds DeVoe’s old body, which was stabbed with a knife Barry and Iris got during their wedding. The cops arrive and bang on the apartment door, and for some stupid reason, Barry allows himself to be arrested for a crime he didn’t commit instead of using his powers to escape or clean up the crime scene before the cops barge in.

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