Barry drops by Clifford’s class one day to ask him more questions. This doesn’t go anywhere, so he steals Clifford’s mug and tests it. The tests come up negative, and Barry gets in even hotter water when Clifford and Marlize complain to Singh about Barry’s harassment. Singh orders Barry to stay away from Clifford — but that doesn’t stop Barry’s obsession. Barry starts Carrie Mathison-ing, creating his own stringboard to support his investigation. His growing obsession worries Iris, who keeps reminding him that they’re getting married in seven days, like he could possibly forget! (God, if I took a shot each time Iris brought up that their wedding was in a week…)
Because Barry’s unaware of Clifford’s powers, he continues to fall for his gaslighting. Barry discovers the camera inside the Samuroid head and stupidly decides to break into DeVoe’s home to investigate, which frustrated me to no end. Barry, aren’t you supposed to be smarter than this?! Thankfully, the members of Team Flash serve as the audience’s surrogates in this episode and collectively shake their heads at him once they find out what he did. In a predictable development, it turns out the DeVoes caught Barry on camera and reported it to Singh, who suspends Barry for two weeks.
Iris confronts Barry yet again, and he comes clean about what’s driving him so crazy. He’s been so happy since he returned from the Speed Force, and he’s worried about losing this feeling. Believe me, Barry, I’m worried The Flash will slip back into its emo ways, too. Iris assures him that whatever is coming for them, they can face it together because they’re the Flash.
Throwing caution (and a restraining order) to the wind, Barry decides to confront Clifford once again. Obviously, Clifford was expecting this, but this time he doesn’t pretend be a mild-mannered professor. Instead, he comes cleans about the basics of villainy: He has the fastest mind alive; he knows Barry is the Flash; he’s playing an elaborate chess game with Team Flash, and they haven’t done anything yet that he hasn’t predicted and planned for, including the Council of Wells business. This leaves Barry shaken, and I don’t blame him. Clifford sounds scary.
As the episode ends, Barry shares what he learned with the team, leading Cisco to name Clifford the Thinker — which is something Clifford predicted, too! Marlize, back in her futuristic villain look, asks Clifford why he’s willing to let Barry’s marriage go forward, and Clifford has a simple answer: “What is knowledge without love?” This little line further distinguishes Clifford from Barry’s other foes. How many of them had someone they cared about working with them? How many of them cared about anyone apart from themselves, to be honest? While this episode was really underwhelming and mainly concerned with table setting, I’m still excited to see what the show has planned for the Thinker.
Wall of Weird:
- Wally returned from his soul searching at the end of the episode. Apparently during his time away, he fought a giant alien starfish, which is a nod to Starro, the villain that first brought together the Justice League in the comics.
- “You may be the fastest man, Allen, but I’m the fastest mind” — Clifford, to Barry
- During the particle accelerator press conference, Marlize asks Wells a question, and he immediately recognizes Clifford DeVoe as the Thinker. “I’m a big fan of your work. I believe it’ll have an enormous impact on our future,” says Wells, wishing Clifford good luck.
- The flashbacks made me realize I miss Thawne as Harrison Wells.
- Barry referred to his Spidey Sense in this episode.