Katie Yu/The CW
January 16, 2018 at 11:31 PM EST

The Flash

TV Show
run date
Grant Gustin, Danielle Panabaker, Candice Patton
The CW
Current Status
In Season
We gave it a B-

Barry Allen is an innocent man. But no matter how many times you repeat it, it doesn’t change the outcome of the trial that kicks off the back half of The Flash season 4.

Team Flash all agree that DeVoe planned to frame Barry even before he returned from the Speed Force, but for what reason? And why create the other metas on the bus? One possible source of clues is the gibberish Barry spouted following his return; Cisco’s footage shows Barry babbling, “Your honor, I’m innocent. I didn’t do this. I didn’t kill anyone.”

When Cisco suggests that even if he’s convicted, no prison could hold him, Barry calmly asserts that he won’t run. Yeah, we’ll see how long that lasts after a week of prison rations.

Before you know it, the trial of Barry Allen is underway. In his opening statements, prosecutor Anton Slater (Mark Valley) claims that Barry wears a mask. No, not that kind; he means that Barry used his police expertise and connections to stalk and murder beloved professor Clifford DeVoe in cold blood. Slater outlines the restraining order, the breaking and entering, the bloody knife — “He used a wedding gift as a murder weapon. That is a special kind of evil” — and Barry’s skin cells under DeVoe’s nails.

Capt. Singh reluctantly testifies that he found Barry standing over DeVoe’s body. Under Cecile’s cross exam, he says he hired Barry because Barry wanted to help the innocent. “Allen is one of the good ones,” Singh insists.

Then Slater redirects, pointing out Barry’s six-month sabbatical to the Czech Republic and his frequent tardiness — 72 times in the last two years — and argues that this could indicate a secret life. Um, if tardiness makes someone a murderer, lock me up. Slater suggests that Singh not disciplining Barry was actually a way of covering up the ugly truth and proves that Barry’s not one of the “good ones.” That is not the logical leap I’d make, but okay.

During a break, Cecile warns Barry that it’s not going well, but he rejects cutting a deal or pleading insanity. He also refuses to testify because he doesn’t want to perjure himself, and he extra doesn’t want to tell the world that he’s the Flash. Man, he’s a difficult client.

Marlize, however, is more than willing to testify and tearfully recounts the events leading up to her husband’s death: He went to Barry in the spirit of Christmas to ask him to stop the harassment. She slips in a tearful “my husband has…had…” and plays up her grief to the judge. She says she begged him not to go, but despite of his disability, he wanted to protect her. It’s truly a masterful performance.

Ah, but Joe’s been doing some work behind the scenes. He doesn’t want to fail another Allen man and asks for Ralph’s help — not the stretchy kind, but the “underhanded private investigator” kind. Their skulking outside of the DeVoe manse nets them a photo of Marlize kissing a strange man.

It’s Dominic, of course, who used his telepathy to realize that Marlize was struggling to accept her “new” husband. DeVoe-in-Dominic (DeVoenic?) urges her to look past his body and see Clifford. Hence, the kissing.

When Cecile triumphantly presents the photo as evidence that Marlize’s marriage wasn’t so great after all, Marlize bashfully explains that she and DeVoe met Dominic at an ALS function. Seeing their connection, DeVoe encouraged her to turn to Dominic for the “needs and comforts” that he could no longer fulfill as a way to strengthen their marriage. See, this is why lawyers should never ask witnesses a question they don’t already know the answer to!

When Marlize leaves the courtroom, Iris follows her out and tells her to drop the act. She does and tells Iris that she’s doing this because there are problems in the world bigger than Barry, although she declines to elaborate. Then she asks what Iris is willing to do for her husband, then encourages her to enjoy the rest of “the show.”

Iris takes this to heart and bursts into the courtroom to announce, “Barry Allen is—” and we cut to commercial, which is a hugely effective use of a commercial break.

After the break, Barry zips out of his seat and moves both of them so quickly that time essentially stops. He tells Iris that he’s keeping his identity a secret to protect her and everyone who stood with them for four years, even though Iris declares, “I would rather run forever with you than stand alone without you.” It’s dazzlingly romantic, but at the same time, revealing Barry’s identity is soooo not Iris’ decision to make. Not cool, Mrs. West-Allen.

She tells Barry that she can’t be strong, but Barry reminds her that his father went through this, too. Then he’s back in his seat, and Iris is stuck stammering out, “Barry Allen is innocent!” and scampering away. I’m boggled that the judge didn’t hold her in contempt for that outburst.

At this point, the trial’s going badly enough that Joe takes matters into his own hands, asking Ralph to elastic-open the door to the DeVoe manse. Ralph realizes that Joe has carpet fibers from Barry’s loft, which he’ll use to frame Marlize for dumping DeVoe’s body.

And then Ralph gives an incredible speech, applauding Joe for his crafty plan but warning him that he’ll sleep soundly for doing the right thing…for a while. But he’ll get caught, and they’ll take his badge and gun, and his anger will morph into self-pity. And then one night it’ll dawn on him that he did the wrong thing, and by then he’ll have lost his friends, his colleagues, his family. “It’ll be like you were never born because you turned into the very thing that you swore to protect them from,” he says. Then Ralph opens the door with his stretchy finger and wishes Joe luck.

WOW. I know Ralph’s been a divisive character this season, but what a fantastic moment. In the end, Joe shuts the door and leaves, and we better understand why Ralph is…the way that he is. (Next page: Barry gets his verdict)

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