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The writers lose faith in their viewers on a heavy-handed and Flash-less episode

Danny Trejo, Victoria Park, Carlos Valdes
Photo: Dean Buscher (The CW)
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The sixth season of The Flash has done a better than usual job of thematically unifying its various storylines, but there are limits to the effectiveness of that strategy. If you got as sick of hearing the word “faith” as I did during “Kiss Kiss Breach Breach,” you probably agree that this episode blasted through those limits like a speedster through the sound barrier. It’s fine to organize an hour of television around that concept, but maybe have a little FAITH in your audience to put it together without being hammered over the head.

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At least it’s not another hour of the Sad Barry show. As the episode begins, Barry and Iris are off to Tahiti for a few days to get away from the whole “impending doom” thing for a while. Barry’s absence this close his foretold death feels like a pretty big clue that he’s going to live, since it would be a weird choice to do a Flash-less episode at this point otherwise. Or maybe that’s just what they want us to think!

In any case, it’s a Cisco-dominated hour. The former Vibe has been sleepwalking, something his girlfriend Kamilla has already noticed. Yes, Cisco and Kamilla are sharing a bed, by which I mean sleeping in the same bed about as far apart as possible. Isn’t it odd that The Flash can get away with showing bodies decomposing into goo, but remains an almost entirely sexless viewing experience? I’m not expected The Deuce here, but when Cisco struggles to tell Kamilla he loves her, we might be a little more invested if they were allowed to demonstrate any kind of sexual chemistry at all. In any case, there’s no chance of nookie once Danny Trejo’s Breacher slices his way into the room and sits on the bed to give Cisco the bad news: Cynthia, better known as Gypsy, is dead.

Tom Cavanagh
Photo: Jeff Weddell (The CW)

Cisco and Kamilla examine the crime scene, encountering a hostile red herring of an Earth-19 cop in the process, and determine that Cynthia has been disintegrated by super-hacker Echo, who she’s been chasing for years. When Cisco whips up a gizmo that allows him and Breacher to witness Cynthia’s final moments, Echo is revealed as Cisco himself. Breacher flips out and nearly murders the ex-Vibe, who reminds him about that whole multiverse thing and the plethora of other Ciscos in it. That’s always the plotting problem in a comic book world like this; when Echo is revealed to be a Cisco doppelgänger from another Earth, it comes as no surprise. Sure, we get a Cisco vs. Cisco fight out of the deal, but without Vibe powers, it mostly amounts to a bunch of hair flying around.

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This might be the least super-powered episode in Flash history, all things considered. The production must be saving every penny for the Crisis, which is exciting if you take the long view, but doesn’t do much for us now. Even in Rosso’s brief appearance this week, Frost takes herself out of the picture and lets Caitlin handle it. (Yeah, that doesn’t work out so well.) Only Ralph gets his meta on, in a short-but-sweet stretchy rescue.

That comes about when Joe follows Nash Wells into the tunnels and Nash causes a cave-in that traps them with a limited amount of oxygen. If you miss the old “man of faith vs. man of science” scenes from Lost, here’s your chance to reli the magic. Once again this week, Jesse L. Martin tugs the heartstrings as Joe tells the story of his whole neighborhood turning up with hot food in his moment of crisis following his first wife’s departure, but the effectiveness of the scene is dimmed by the presence of too many other similar speeches in the same episode.

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Cisco realizes he should have faith in himself, not the BARI artificial intelligence he’s been relying on in the real Barry’s absence. Ralph tells Frost she needs to have faith in the team rather than striking out on her own. Caitlin tells Rosso that his mother never lost faith in him, and that needs to have faith in himself to be the good person she remembers. Breacher realizes he lost faith in the man he thought of as a son, but that Cynthia never did. Joe tells Nash he has faith they’ll be rescued despite all indications to the contrary. When Ralph shows up in the nick of time, Joe’s faith is rewarded. My faith in not being spoon-fed a lesson by The Flash, however, has been severely tested.

Stray observations

  • Nash Wells claims he knows how to save Barry’s life, but that will have to wait, because...
  • No new episode next week. In two weeks, Barry and Ralph get their James Bond on.
  • Chester P. Runk is almost done cooking, and should be ready by then.
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About the author

Scott Von Doviak

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