'We Are The Flash' is a strong, pathos-filled finish to an uneven season

By Chancellor Agard
May 22, 2018 at 10:39 PM EDT
Shane Harvey/The CW
S4 E23
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Yes, this is more like it! Although The Flash‘s fourth season has been rather uneven, that didn’t stop the show from finishing on a strong note. “We Are The Flash” features everything that makes for a great episode of The Flash: exhilarating action with a ton of heart. Because let’s be honest, is it really a Flash finale if you don’t find yourself getting emotional?

Let’s dive in!

From the moment the episode begins, it’s clear that the Enlightenment is wreaking havoc on Central City and the rest of the world. The sky has turned purple, and every single piece of technology has stopped working. It’s absolute chaos in the streets. From the looks of it, Team Flash already has its hands full, but the writers pile one more thing on: Cecile has started going into labor, too. So, Team Flash not only has to save the world but also make sure that Cecile successfully delivers her baby. But the latter ends up being complicated by the former once Marlize shows up at S.T.A.R. Labs to help defeat her husband.

Marlize informs the team that the only way to defeat her crazy husband is for Barry to travel into the Thinker’s mind using Cecile’s telepathic powers, find what little good is left in there, and help that goodness overpower the Thinker. In case you forgot, Cecile’s powers are linked to her pregnancy. While Caitlin works on slowing down Cecile’s contractions, Barry straps himself into the Thinker’s chair for some unintentional Professor X-using-Cerebro cosplay and dives into his foe’s mind. In others words, we’re doing an Inception episode!

When Barry enters the Thinker’s mind, he finds himself standing on the street where he exited the Speed Force. There’s a huge portal there, which Marlize tells him is the nexus of Clifford’s mind. The only way for them to defeat the Thinker is for Barry to lead the good Clifford through the nexus. So, Barry sets off in search of said goodness. His first stop is Marlize and Clifford’s home, but that’s a dead end because the house is completely empty. Inside the Thinker’s mind, that house is definitely not a home.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, Harry, who is on the verge of becoming a vegetable, makes one last ditch effort to help the team and puts his Thinking Cap on, which barely helps him articulate an idea. Nevertheless, he manages to tell Cisco to tell Barry to look for the good DeVoe in the place where he and Marlize fell in love. What I loved about this scene between Cisco and Harry is that it’s the first time Harry’s loss of intelligence has had any kind of poignancy. Cisco is visibly pained watching his friend struggle to speak, and he vows to help him get his mind back. Both Carlos Valdes and Tom Cavanagh gave very moving performances both in this scene and in the entire episode.

Back inside DeVoe’s mind, Barry takes Harry’s advice and travels to Oxford. However, instead of finding DeVoe’s goodness there, he stumbles upon the dearly departed Ralph Dibny. It turns out the Elongated Man is still alive inside his body. Even though I’m not the biggest Ralph fan, I was definitely moved by Barry and Ralph’s tearful reunion.

So Barry has Ralph now, but he still doesn’t have DeVoe. Ralph suggests they visit the DeVoe’s classroom since he loved teaching so much. However, that’s a dead end, too — literally; they find the good DeVoe’s dead body in the classroom. But all hope is not lost because Barry realizes that Ralph is more than capable of taking back control of his body if he makes it through the nexus. “Remember who you are, Ralph: a hero,” says Barry, trying to convince his friend to give it a shot, because every episode needs at least one pep talk.

So, the dynamic duo returns to the street and makes a mad dash for the big wormhole in the Thinker’s mind as they fight off an army of Thinkers. Meanwhile back in the real world, Team Flash is busy trying to evade DeVoe, who obviously knows what they’re up to and is trying to stop them. He tracks them down to the pocket dimension and tries to kill Cecile in order to kill Barry, but Barry and Ralph make it through the nexus in time and Ralph regains control of his body. See, emotional attachments helped Team Flash win! With the Thinker dead, he loses control of the satellites, and Marlize and Team Flash are able to override them and terminate the Enlightenment.

But the beauty of this finale is that it had one more twist: Before Ralph regained control of his body, DeVoe transferred his consciousness to his chair and made a last ditch effort to destroy everything. Marlize destroys the chair, which kills her husband and activates a dead man switch that sends of the satellites hurtling toward Central City. In the season’s most thrilling sequence, Team Flash heads out into the field to handle business. Barry plans on using his sonic punch to destroy the satellite before it reaches Earth, which would kill him, too; however, Mystery Girl arrives in time and helps him destroy it and saves his life in the process.

With the day saved, Cisco uses Marlize’s knowledge to fix Harry’s brain, which doesn’t go as planned. Sure, Harry is able to function again, but he doesn’t regain his intelligence. And in another surprising twist, Harry is more than fine with that because this entire ordeal helped him gain some balance. He may not be the smartest man in the world anymore, but he’s more in touch with his feelings now and he’s no longer just defined by his IQ. Harry learning the importance of emotions is definitely cheesy, but it’s endearing. With his newfound emotional intelligence, Harry decides to return to his Earth and reunite with his daughter. This obviously means we’re probably getting another Wells next season.

After that, Team Flash retires to Joe’s home to celebrate the successful birth of Joe and Cecile’s daughter, Jenna Marie West. Wally West even shows up for the party! However, he’s not the only guest. Our Mystery Girl crashes the party and drops a bomb on everyone: She’s Barry and Iris’ future daughter Nora Allen-West and she has made a “big, big mistake” by traveling back in time — because like father, like daughter. What exactly did she screw up? Well, we’ll have to wait until season 5 for that answer, but I’m happy that this season didn’t end on a dark note.

Season 4 of The Flash was all over the place. While it addressed many of season 3’s problems, it also found a whole host of new ones because despite the writers’ efforts, the Thinker was not a strong enough big bad to carry an entire season. However, despite this season’s rough patches, I feel like it’s worth applauding the writers for how much effort they put into crafting this season. In the end, almost everything that was introduced — from Barry’s Speed Force ramblings to the various bus metas’ powers — ended up playing a role in the end (whether or not all of those elements actually worked is another question entirely). While I don’t think “We Are The Flash” absolves this season at all, it definitely delivered on the season’s “all you need is love” theme.

Wall of Weird:

  • Make sure you read EW’s postmortem with The Flash‘s showrunner here.
  • “There will be no defeating the big bad this year,” the Thinker to Team Flash in a very meta moment.
  • I’m really excited to see what happens with Nora next season.
  • My favorite moment of the episode was when Joe scolded Marlize for ever believing what she and DeVoe were doing was right. It wouldn’t be a Flash finale without an emotional scene with Joe West.

Episode Recaps

After the success of Arrow, Barry Allen (a.k.a. The Flash) gets his own CW treatment in this comic-themed spin-off.
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seasons
  • 5
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  • 10/15/14
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