The Flash recap: 'Subject 9'
Welcome back to The Flash! The Scarlet Speedster returned from his annoying Winter Olympics-imposed hiatus with an episode that featured some fascinating developments in the whole DeVoe saga. As has been the case this season, “Subject 9” is another okay episode that’s elevated by how humorous it is. Harry and Cecile’s pairing may be the most inspired development on this show in a long time.
Last time we checked in with The Flash, Barry had just been released from prison in the wake of DeVoe sucking the life and powers out of Barry’s fellow Iron Heights metahumans. Barry assumes he can just return to his normal life, but Singh asks him to take a permanent leave of absence until people in Central City fully believe DeVoe is back. In the grand scheme of things, this is a minor plot point, but I actually like that the show didn’t assume Barry’s life could go back to normal, especially in a city where metahumans are a thing. It makes sense that many people would question everything that went down with how Barry got out of prison.
Needless to say Barry’s feeling a bit down, but luckily his mood doesn’t drag the episode down with it — and the reason for that is that Cisco and Ralph continue to be reliable sources of humor. For example, Cisco, who was unfortunately tasked with babysitting Ralph, is suffering in Ralph’s living conditions. Think: a sweat-filled futon and using a sink as a shower. Anyway, Cisco and Ralph’s brief team-up helps Team Flash find one of the bus metas: Izzy, a country musician who can control sound waves.
Izzy initially turns down Barry and Ralph’s offer of protection and uses her powers to send them flying. However, she quickly changes her tune (sorry) after Becky/DeVoe comes after her because he wants to transfer his consciousness into her body since his current body has started failing. Izzy’s able to fight off DeVoe because it turns out her powers accelerate the deterioration.
As we saw last week, DeVoe and Marlize are going through a bit of a rough patch, so much so that DeVoe felt it necessary to drug her with Weeper tears. While the Weeper tears don’t make an appearance in tonight’s episode, the tension is still there. DeVoe is frustrated that Becky’s body is deteriorating already and he’s taking it out on Marlize, who thinks his hot temper is a sign that each transference is affected his cognitive function, too. DeVoe doesn’t react well to that suggestion.
Again, Izzy rejects Team Flash’s protection, but then Ralph gives her a pep talk that changes her mind. It helps that Izzy is also attracted to Ralph. In general, The Flash‘s repeated use of inspirational pep talks is starting to wear on my patience, but I really appreciated how the show acknowledged how often they use them in this episode:
Sure, meta-humor doesn’t absolve The Flash for frequently falling back on this storytelling device, but it helps make it a bit more palatable. (Next: Izzy vs. DeVoe)
After witnessing her fending off DeVoe, Barry decides they need to train Becky. I love it when The Flash enters mentor mode, and this episode doesn’t disappoint. Unfortunately, training doesn’t go exactly as planned. At first, Izzy is able to use a violin to channel her powers, but after that, she continues to miss her target. Nevertheless, Barry, who is uniquely focused on stopping DeVoe, pushes her even harder and ends up hurting her. Iris pulls her husband aside and helps him realize that ruthlessly turning Izzy into a weapon isn’t the right approach. Thankfully, Harry may have a solution to help things…
While Team Flash deals with Izzy, Harry’s busy grumpily helping Cecile with a new problem: She’s having trouble sleeping because Joe’s insane-sounding dreams are keeping her up. Harry’s first attempt at helping her doesn’t work, and he throws a tantrum, which Cecile has no patience for. Obviously, Harry’s gruff exterior mixing with Cecile’s bubbly personality is the source of much humor. See: Cecile’s reaction to Harry throwing a tantrum when she says his solution to her problem doesn’t help; Cecile has no time for his man-baby tantrums.
Eventually, Harry makes a device that will prevent Cecile from hearing Joe’s dreams. When he visits her, he also admits that (a) he may have tendency to get angry when he makes a mistake (which just confirms what we’ve seen with him and DeVoe), and (b) he was trying to befriend her, which he explains in the most Harry way possible: “Yes, the transitive property: I respect West, West respects you, so…,” explains Harry.Cecile offers to talk to him about his problems, and their very brief chat helps him figure out how to use this new device he made her to defeat DeVoe.
So Harry rushes back to S.T.A.R. Labs and creates the cerebral inhibitor — you know, that thing Savitar mentioned last season — which will, hopefully, interrupt the Thinker’s brain or something. And Team Flash is going to get a chance to test it out immediately because Izzy stormed off to confront DeVoe on her own after injuring herself in training. The Flash and Elongated Man head out into the field to help Izzy, but fail in that regard. Izzy manages to place the cerebral inhibitor on DeVoe’s forehead, but DeVoe uses Kilgore’s powers to deactivate it. He then summons his Not-Mobius chair and uses a tentacle to transfer his consciousness into Izzy’s body.
Sure, Team Flash lost this latest battle, meaning DeVoe lives to torment them another day, but they did earn a small victory: Cisco figured out that DeVoe’s lair must be in a pocket dimension. Hopefully this means Team Flash will stage an assault on a pocket dimension in the near future. As the episode ends, Barry finds Ralph brooding his apartment; however, Ralph isn’t disheartened after losing Izzy. No, in fact, it has given him a renewed sense of purpose in defeating DeVoe. Morevoer, Ralph also invites Barry to join his P.I. firm because he knows how it feels to lose a job. Isn’t friendship nice? Until next week!
After the success of Arrow, Barry Allen (a.k.a. the Flash) gets his own CW treatment in this comic-themed spin-off.