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The Flash tries to make us care about the Thinker, with limited success

Kim Engelbrecht
Photo: Jack Rowand (The CW)
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“Therefore She Is” is a crucial episode for anyone truly invested in the overarching Thinker storyline this season. It provides the backstory and motivation for the season’s villain, and fills in the remaining blanks about the relationship between the DeVoes. For those of us who aren’t terribly invested in that story, however, the information presented tonight isn’t compelling enough to turn the Thinker into a worthy season-long adversary.


He has some good points, though! As is usually the case with your big-brained supervillains, Clifford DeVoe starts from a defensible position. The flashback to his first meeting with Marlize reveals his deep distrust for technology, and his feeling that every advancement that can be used to hurt people will be. The fact that he presents this opinion by cutting off Marlize with a condescending chuckle foreshadows his full-blown mansplaining turn last week. Marlize still believes in the power of technology for good, but as their relationship evolves to the point that they are moving in together, she stumbles on his journal detailing his plans for the Enlightenment, which involves returning humanity to a pre-technology state. He calls this “rebooting the population’s brains,” a strange term for a technophobe to use. Marlize calls it mass lobotomization and walks out on him.

As it turns out, DeVoe’s Enlightenment is literally an Endarkenment, since he plans to use a series of satellites to project enough dark matter back at the Earth to give everyone a case of Harry Wells-itis. As to why Marlize has been helping him with this goal, the answer comes in another flashback that finds her in Kenya perfecting a water purification system. The village is overrun by goons who slaughter women and children to get their hands on the system, convincing her of technology’s evils. I’m not sure her logic is airtight there, but the fact remains that she is the one to push DeVoe to pursue his plan.

Carlos Valdes, Jessica Camacho
Photo: Jack Rowand (The CW)

Those who don’t care at all about the Thinker plot better be invested in the Cisco/Gypsy relationship, or else there’s not much to hang onto this week at all. Since this is a thread that disappears for weeks or even months at a time, it’s not easy to feel anything about it. Breacher’s offer to make Cisco his replacement is still hanging out there, and finally becomes public when Barry overhears Cisco and Gypsy talking about it. (Between this and Harry’s diminished brain situation, we’re back in “Team Flash keeping secrets from each other” territory, although thankfully both are revealed this week.) That means it’s time for an another installment of “Stop Helping, Barry!” as our favorite speedster decides to mediate a couple’s therapy session. Yeah, that doesn’t go well.


As it turns out, neither of them want Cisco to take the job. Gypsy is happy with the long-distance, trans-dimensional arrangement as she’s focused on her career. Cisco wants to wake up with her every morning, and he’s just not going to win this one. Putting an end to a relationship the writers could barely remember to service definitely strikes me as the right call. It was always hard to buy that she had as much interest in Cisco as he had in her, and that turns out to be the case.

In the unending quest to get one step ahead of DeVoe, Harry gets a timely assist from Cecile, speaking of characters who have been forgotten about for weeks at a time. She can read his thoughts faster than they can disappear from his brain, and together they figure out that DeVoe will be jacking the quantum computers he needs from Mercury Labs. (Whatever the villains need, it’s always at Mercury Labs.) If the irony is lost on DeVoe that he’s using the latest in cutting-edge technology to bring about his post-tech paradise, Marlize probably gets it. She sees right through his plan and the corruption of his goal toward world domination, and leaves him stranded in the pocket dimension. The only real mystery now is how The Flash is going to squeeze three more episodes out of this creaky storyline.


Stray observations

  • On the subject of characters who vanish for months at a time, Jitters Girl is back this week, delivering diapers to Cecile’s baby shower. Given her exact knowledge of the due-date, could she be the grown-up version of said baby from the future? Possibly, but given that we see she’s a speedster, the odds that her last name is West-Allen are greater.
  • Caitlin is trying to bring Killer Frost back by subjecting herself to various dangers in order to get the adrenaline flowing. Can’t she just go on a roller coaster or something?

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About the author

Scott Von Doviak

My debut novel Charlesgate Confidential is now available from Hard Case Crime.