The Flash‘s tonal correction continues in the season’s second episode, which might be the funniest and most fun outing in quite some time. Writers Jonathan Butler and Gabriel Garza mine a lot of humor — and heart — out of the couple drama at the center of the quippy and banter-filled “Mixed Signals,” which is overflowing in charm. Let’s dive in!
The great thing about the couple drama in tonight’s episode is that it doesn’t drag the story down. In fact, it’s one of the episode’s main sources of humor. First up, we have Barry and Iris, who are adjusting to the new status quo. Barry is living his best life now that he’s freed from the Speed Force and spends his morning reenacting that Risky Business scene, cooking breakfast, handling the wedding plans on his own, and catching up on six months’ worth of television. He’s just happy to be back and expects things to go back to normal — but we know that’s not the case.
The first sign of tension in Barry and Iris’ relationship comes when Barry reveals that he canceled that evening’s training session without telling her. Caitlin observes this little exchange and suggests to Iris that she and Barry might need to see a couples counselor to help them navigate this new status quo, i.e. being engaged and working together. Iris brushes off that suggestion — they’re Barry and Iris! — but Barry’s subsequent performance in the field changes her mind.
See, this week, Team Flash goes up against Kilgore, a metahuman who can control technology and has started using said powers to kill his former business partners who cut him out of the profits of an app that they developed together. (For the umpteenth time, revenge is a boring motive and the show can and should do better when it comes to its villains.) First, he murders Dean Cain lookalike Tim by hacking into an elevator and shaking him to death (thus ensuring Cisco will never look at Sriracha the same way again). Then, he sets his sights on Tim Kwan, sending Tim’s car speeding into traffic at 120 mph. Iris tells Barry to take Wally into the field with him, but Barry, wearing the new and ridiculously tricked-out suit Cisco made for him, speeds off to save the day on his own. Spoiler alert: He almost fails because he arrogantly ignores Iris’ advice and almost sends Tim hurtling into a construction zone. Thankfully, Barry uses his speed to disassemble the car so the car’s seat is all that remains when Tim finally comes skidding to a halt.
This little mishap convinces Iris they need to go therapy for “a little tune-up.” Cue one of the episode’s funnier scenes as Barry and Iris sit down with Dr. Finkle and start becoming very self-conscious about what they say. “I love therapy,” Barry lies before explaining, with a smile on his face, that he saw a therapist when his mother died. And thus the floodgates open and Iris and Barry lightheartedly run through the many funerals they’ve attended and realize just how much dark stuff they’ve been through. They hilariously struggle to talk about their problems at work without revealing that they’re, you know, Team Flash. Alas. Barry ends up running out mid-session when Deacon tries to kill Tim, who is at the police station, and Joe with one of the CCPD’s grenade robots. Barry arrives in time time to catch all of the shrapnel before it hits them.
Barry and Iris aren’t the only couple who hit a rough patch in tonight’s episode. Gypsy pops over to our Earth to spend the day with Cisco, our constant source of comedic relief, who keeps getting distracted by the crisis at hand. So Gypsy is forced to wait around while Cisco goes through his old tech magazine collection (and drools over a motherboard centerfold) in order to figure out the connection between the victims, which he eventually does when he stumbles upon a picture of Kilgore and his partners. They realize a woman named Sheila is the next target, so Joe and Wally stake out her home.
Tim pays Sheila a visit to warn her that their former partner is trying to kill them, but she doesn’t take him seriously until Kilgore shows up and uses her insulin pump to give her an insulin overdose. Luckily, Kid Flash arrives in time with a handy glucose injection to save her, but he fails to stop Kilgore from kidnapping Tim. (Recap continues on the next page)