Candice Patton, Grant Gustin/The CW

How’s this for a busy episode: another metahuman on the loose, Cisco partnering with Pied Piper to learn the truth about Firestorm, Barry’s father getting in on the crimefighting action. more Barry/Iris angst followed by a potential new love interest for the Scarlet Speedster, and to top it all off, drunken Grease karaoke. And yet “Crazy For You” did anything but live up to its title; despite some strong moments, it was an oddly subdued and disjointed hour of The Flash.

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Granted, the series can’t bust out an A-list supervillain every week, but Peek-a-Boo still came as a letdown on the heels of Reverse-Flash, Captain Cold and company. Any metahuman whose powers don’t work in the dark is pretty easily dealt with. which may be part of the reason this episode is so crowded with other subplots. Britne Oldford brings a spark to Shawna Baez, who has mastered the power of teleportation via quantum entanglement, but the script doesn’t do much to flesh out the character. Her motivation for villainy is basically her bad taste in men: the boyfriend she broke out of jail and helped rob armored trucks abandons her to her fate. Shawna was so nonthreatening by the end, I thought she might eventually end up an ally of the STAR Labs gang, and maybe she still will.

As one cell in the “supervillain basement jail” is filled, another one is emptied. Cisco letting Hartley Rathaway out was a bad idea from the start, and one that could only end one way. (Any doubt that the Pied Piper will be invited to the next meeting of the Rogues?) Give Cisco credit for having better ultimate fighting skills than I would have suspected and a decent backup plan in the sound wave distorter that sends Hartley’s ear implants into overdrive. Take credit away for Cisco not figuring out that Hartley would simply remove the implants and use them against him (as he already did once before. How did he get those things back anyway?).

In the end, Cisco is forgiven because his intentions are pure. He wants to find Ronnie because he feels responsible for locking him inside the accelerator, something he confesses to the rest of the group. Ronnie isn’t really Ronnie anymore, however; he’s been fused with Dr. Martin Stein via quantum splicing. (Yes, this episode features both quantum entanglement and quantum splicing. Double your theoretical physics value.) As exposition downloads go, the Firestorm backstory is handled about as well as could be expected, but it functions more as set-up for future episodes than as an integral part of this one.

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“Crazy For You” is strongest in dealing with the characters’ civilian lives rather than their superheroics. The Henry Allen subplot is clunky, mainly because most of it happens offscreen. John Wesley Shipp doesn’t get to do much besides talk to people through glass, and here was an opportunity to give him some action, but instead we only hear about it later. But his last scene with Barry, where he lets on that he knows he’s the Flash without coming out and saying it, is probably Shipp’s best moment in the series to date.

Best of all is Barry’s night out with Caitlin, which no doubt launched whole new waves of ‘shipping in the Flash-iverse. Drunk Caitlin is charming as hell, and their duet of “Summer Lovin’” is cut far too short. (Barry can actually sing, and sounds like a dead ringer for Travolta. Caitlin…well, not so much.) Barry ends up getting another girl’s phone number — Linda the sportswriter, who happens to be Iris’ co-worker at the newspaper — and although his evening ends with undressing Caitlin and putting her to bed, it’s all very innocent. There’s a hint of mutual attraction the next day (more on Caitlin’s part than Barry’s, because of course he’s still hung up on Iris), but whether the show will pursue this pairing or simply keep teasing it is anyone’s guess. Whatever the case, here’s hoping that Barry’s life inside the suit gets more interesting after a subpar couple of weeks.

Stray observations:

  • Hungover Caitlin is also charming, in a different way.
  • “Did you sneak a peek at my goods?”
  • I liked the way Barry handled Julian, the prisoner who stabbed his father. Violent retribution isn’t the Flash’s style. Leaving the guy outside the prison to be recaptured and have years added to his sentence is more his speed.
  • GRODD GRODD GRODD GRODD GRODD

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