EPISODE REVIEW: The Flash, S4 EP17 ‘Null and Annoyed’

This week on the Flash, one of the final three bus metas makes herself known, and Team Flash is on it. Though, with ridiculous sub-plots and cringe-worthy acting, humor, etc. this episode, though full of laughs and kicks, falls short below the previous. The Flash rises to the occasion in this episode, but will the show fall short from here on out?

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The Flash, S4 EP17 ‘Null and Annoyed’
Director: Kevin Smith
Writers: Lauren Certo and Kristen Kim

What You Need To Know:
Bus Metas are all the rage now, on ‘The Flash’. Team Flash has figured out that DeVoe is after the bus metas, who were affected by Barry’s return out of the speed force earlier in the season. Thanks to Harry and Cisco, the Thinking Cap has allowed them the ability to find the names of the last two bus metas! But, DeVoe has been quiet; too quiet. Ralph, being a bus meta, has been met with anxiety, though copes with it in an odd way in this episode; as does most of Team Flash.

What You’ll Find Out:

I remember ‘Run Iris, Run’ and how the outcome of my thoughts after watching the episode was somewhat and mostly positive! And then the preview for the episode that aired this week came. I knew the second I saw the premise that the episode wouldn’t be great. Well, I was wrong; it was horrendous. This episode starts in an odd fashion, almost confusing. Barry and Ralph are training, with the help of Cisco who made an interactive hologram training program. The Flash and Elongated Man battle the Thinker, somewhat oddly. A few seconds later, Barry calls for a timeout.
But not before Ralph can crack a joke and suck his head into his body, like a turtle. Hence, why Barry stops the training. We can tell Barry is getting a little pissed at Ralph…and that is pretty much the entirety of Ralph and Barry in the episode.
Barry calls Ralph out for joking all the time and never taking anything seriously; deja vu, anyone? For real, pretty sure we’ve covered this before. Ralph waves him off and things go on. Team Flash, yet again, gather, trying to figure out a way to find one of the last two bus metas out there. Harry get’s antsy again because his device isn’t working, Ralph plants a whoopie cushion on Harry’s chair, Barry scolds. Yup, things seem normal!

Well, at least for Team Flash. We pan over to a pretty odd moment here; DeVoe awaits in his secret, alien-looking base for his wife. She appears, and the words that come from her mouth are, I said it before and I’ll say it again, odd. She states that she feels rested and rejuvenated and ready for the tasks ahead.
Um, okay?
Then, an obviously forced cough from DeVoe leads us on to know the overexposure to the Dark Matter from DeVoe was harming the southern hic-…I mean chic’s body; and of course, he was already on top of finding a way to stabilize it, but he needed his wife’s help in computer/technological knowledge. This entire scene just had me asking why? Also, cringing at the acting, but it’s almost made right later on when they, in a way, replay the scenario.

The current bus meta out in the world, causing trouble, of course, is a woman who can make things levitate with a touch of her hands. I feel like, at this point, there is nothing special about these metahumans they pop into the show anymore. I mean, I know these metahumans are being hunted, and most likely caught by DeVoe in order for him to complete whatever plans he has. But, the significance behind the metahumans has gotten sillier and sillier. And this one is just…meh.

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Well, she makes a move, steals a tiara, and bam, Team Flash is on it. Ralph starts goofing around, Barry gets mad, they get kicked out of the crime scene at the location where this metahuman stole a crown. That’s the super short assessment because…there really isn’t much going on except the growing intolerance Barry has towards Ralph. Barry disregards Ralph’s joking around and gets on his back about how he needs to be serious.
I’m sorry but didn’t we get on Ralph’s case in a previous episode about keeping his spirits up and not getting scared or down about the fact DeVoe wants all these bus metas, and his life is at risk? I mean Ralph taking a fight seriously is one thing, never trying to lighten the mood is another. Things seem to contradict the team’s thoughts for Ralph in this episode from the previous episode. But…I guess that’s fine because Ralph is a useless piece of a puzzle that doesn’t fit anywhere…

Not much is really given in this episode that means anything. It’s meant to kinda show the personal challenges certain characters are having, without delving completely into anything truly important. But, I will mention the entire DeVoe and his wife side plot is intriguing.

Marleze is working hard, trying to find a way to stop this supposed important situation with her husband. While not paying attention, she places her mug of whatever she drinks down; and it drops, and shatters. This pulls her away from her work and gives her something new to work on. In her cup, a gooey, blue substance resides. And somehow she didn’t see/feel that when she drank it previously? Again, CW get’s a pass for quality…bad quality.
So, her supercomputer is able to come to the conclusion…it’s a mix of some sort of scientific stuff mixed with metahuman stuff…I say stuff because it literally DOES NOT explain what is happening until she mentions something about it dilating pupils and making someone feel love. This may be on me, I may be a bad reviewer, but I didn’t catch anything on this subject except for a few words, something about a metahuman, and love. The basic point was, she was being drugged. We found this out in a previous episode a few weeks back, where we see DeVoe dripping something into Marleze’s drink. This was the first hint we got.
But, this entire moment ties into the multiple scenes where we see that sense of doubt in Marleze. I know I’ve mentioned myself that Marleze, I felt, wasn’t all there with DeVoe, and really didn’t agree. But for some reason, she always came back to supporting her husband and loving him. I thought it was supreme dedication, and thought it was that psychotic love you see in couples on tv shows (which is kinda weird, when you think about how we enjoy that kinda stuff).
BUT NO! It was drugs…it was love drugs! DeVoe has been using a previously caught Metahuman’s abilities and some form of chemical to make a love/mind-control drug. Freaky…

So, here’s the plan. We’re gonna find this lady who can make things float, cuff her with special meta cuffs…
Well, the first part worked out. Team Flash finds out that this girl was last seen around the same neighborhood where Ralph’s old partner who has a super thick accent, yeah that one who nobody can remember the name of. So, Barry and Ralph go to investigate! Ralph morphs into Joe West and intimidates the lowlife, getting a little rough, until he spills the beans. Well, spills the jade diamonds from a bowl on his crowded desk.

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Then, a glance at the ceiling causes everything to unfold. Barry yells to Ralph to throw him the dampening cuffs, as the girl jumps from the ceiling where she hid. Yeah, nice hiding space…
But, before Barry can act (you know, the man who can outrun almost anything and shouldn’t have gotten touched), she touches him.

Up, up and away!
Look’s like Barry will float too!

Okay, I’m done now. So, Barry hovers to the ceiling, after being affected by Ralph’s slow timing and the girl’s fast actions. Barry is a balloon now, and someone they manage to get him back to STAR Labs and make a diagnosis.
Caitlin discovers that his density has been shifted to match what would be helium in a balloon. The effects would wear off, and immediately, they did. Things go from bad for Barry to worse for Ralph. Barry grows intolerant with Ralph and blames him for what happened because he didn’t do things the way Barry wanted him. to. Was that on Ralph? Yeah, but it was on Barry too. Not only for being willing to accept Ralph’s way but not being calm and making sure his teammate followed his lead. Ralph knows he’s a jokester and comes back at Barry saying just because it’s not your way doesn’t make it bad.

Yeah, this episode just feels empty. They go back and forth with Barry and Ralph, and try to focus a bit on DeVoe and Marleze which should be important; then there is the entire part of the story that has gone unmentioned because I just can’t bring myself to explain how much I cringed and hated this;
So Cisco and Gypsy are a thing…right? Where has she been? We don’t know, and honestly…I don’t care. But, to stay relevant, the show brings in another old character.

UNCLE MACHETE FROM SPY KI-…oh, nope, sorry it’s Jypsy’s boss. My bad. *Fangirls’ nostalgically*

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So, Gypsy’s boss…anyone remember him? Breacher, or  Danny Trejo. A more important question; does anyone care about him? NOPE. But he somehow get’s to STAR Labs seeking Cisco’s help, because his vibes aren’t working. I’m just going to know this thing out of the park and get it over with here. Taking what shouldn’t have been a long story and making it short; Gypsy’s boss is getting old, which means his energy is growing weaker, which means his vibes have gone from little to no more. Cisco delays telling him, he gets mad at Cisco but comes to forgive him after Cisco saves his life from a vampire guy who tries to kill Gypsy’s boss.
This entire thing was irrelevant, distracting, cringe-worthy (word of the day), and more on top of all that. So, that’s why I summed it up in a single paragraph because it really wasn’t worth slapping all over this review like it was slammed into unnecessary and ill-timed moments in the episode.

 

On to more important matters! Barry has benched Ralph for reasons that include: Exhaustion, intolerance, and jerky attitudes. All those on Barry, of course. But, of course, they find the Floaty-Girl(?) again and The Flash is on it. He tries a trick that took three seconds to figure out and master, which is turn invisible when running so she wouldn’t see him sneak up on her from behind and snap the cuffs on. Such mastery! Such brilliant writing!
No…just, no.

But, they do it that way. Barry catches her off guard after a bank heist ( I think), but she has a contingency plan. A car; but not a getaway car, an airway car! (Yes yes, I know, I’m sorry)
Once the cuffs are on, she alerts Barry that she had a backup plan; a floating car, that was right on the dot, ready to fall RIGHT after Barry cuffed her. And so a choice, either Barry catches her, or lets the man in the car above the city die.
Okay yeah, so, Barry, the fastest man alive, can’t strap her down or put her somewhere THEN take care of the car? BULL! CRAP!

But hey, I’m not the writer, I am just a deeply confused and mentally unstable review writer who really takes it hard when things are done stupidly.
BUT ANYWAYS, Barry saves the man by running up a building, jumping into the car, and somehow speeding through the air and onto the ground. Since when could the Flash do that? But once again, she’s GONE.

BACK TO IMPORTANT THINGS! Marleze has been studying this substance more and more and decided it’s not safe for herself. So, with what seemed like a smart idea at the time, she recorded a message for herself in the future, if anything were to go wrong or she is drugged again. Instead of running and risking her life, she decided to make a message and stay. Clever. But, two things. First, she tried it before. At this moment, she tries to name the video file ‘New Lemonade Recipe’, but there was already a file with that name! It was a video of her, warning herself of DeVoe. This moment had me in goosebumps, honest to gosh. I was just like WHAAAAAA?! I was so excited because it ties into what I have been saying from the beginning. Marleze was faithful to her husband once, but only because of the drug she stayed around. But, numerous times, she had figured out that DeVoe was drugging her, and she warned herself! And every time, she got caught. It was never unending love, it was forced love that we witnessed Marleze going through!
But, as before, she is found. DeVoe catches her and reveals that she has tried the same thing over and over again, naming the file the same thing, leaving the same message. And Marleze becomes legitimately frightened. How many times has this happened?! DeVoe reveals he had a way to wipe her memory, but somehow it was always her imperfect, human ways that lead her away from him. We see this dark, twisted DeVoe now who wants the love of his wife, even if it’s false!
Before Marleze can act…a tentacle from DeVoe’s chair attaches to her head, and knocks Marleze out cold. DeVoe’s wicked ways didn’t end with his torment of the Flash…it went further and showed its effects on his wife. THESE moments, the moments with DeVoe and Marleze in this episode, no matter how short they were, they got me just smiling and feeling completely in awe.

Unfortunately, we get back to a pretty mixed-feeling moment with Ralph and Barry. Barry finds Ralph hiding in the cells below the building, eating his heart out. Barry had come to apologize, but again we get Ralph pouring out his heart about his life. Jokes are his breathing mask, and when things get tough, he straps it on and goes to town because fright is all his life is. Fright, troubles, anxiety. Jokes, tricks, gags, that’s how he copes. I can see how that is a pretty okay excuse; I myself am an optimist and try to lighten any dark mood, but knowing limits to jokes and gags is also important, so I definitely did not fully support Ralph’s ways of coping. But, eh, I guess it was a moment that was supposed to touch the viewers. I felt it was forced.

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After the moment passes, Barry and Ralph get word from Iris, who is randomly in this episode every now and then, and alerts them that Floaty-Girl(?) has been found again. Barry asks for his teammate again, and Ralph takes his offer happily.

So, off they go to a random party at a random museum where the random floaty girl wants random jewels. Okay, so pretty cliche’. But, here come Flash and Elongated Man to the rescue! (I finally got his name implanted in my head, no matter how I choose to think negatively against him!)
But, the reach of Floaty-Girl(?)’s powers were far more then the two were expecting. With a touch to the ground, her energetic ability went in waves, heading for the people of the party. She threatened to send them into the atmosphere, and Barry knew he couldn’t let her. So, he quickly runs to save the good people, but in the process, well…after, he is touched. Again.
*Inhales deeply* BOI!
So, up, up up he goes…
(Ima say it…IMA SAY IT!)
Where he stops, nobody knows!
(I’m sorry.)

Barry begins ascending into the heavens, somehow breaking out of the museum ceiling, and leaves Ralph alone on the ground. Barry reaches a certain height, and Ralph has to think quickly in order to stop Floaty-Girl(?) and save Barry. So, cuffs first! Ralph catches her trying to run away and cuffs her by the legs( because I guess picking a lock on your legs is harder than picking ones on your hands?).
But, Barry begins falling at an unbelievable rate. Down he came, and Ralph had to think. He was put in a position where jokes weren’t useful, and his brain was. So, what better than a giant whoopie cushion to catch Barry from splattering across the museum floor?! NOTHING! Barry falls to safety across Ralph’s air-tight body…then, the moment leaves when Ralph releases the…”air”, from his body.

 

So, from here on out, things end very simplistically. Barry says his apologies to Ralph, the team feels reassured because of the capture of one of the last bus-metas, and all things are good!

 

Except…two things. Two things that allow for much deeper thought. Harry goes off on a walk through STAR Labs and finds his way to Eobard Thawne’s old hideaway. It looks like he’s been there a while, seeing as he had a little charging station for his Thinking Cap in there. But, in he goes. What happens next had me just baffled. So, you know the computer system Thawne used, and how it required his fingerprints? Well, Harry goes to activate it. It works. The computer alerts him that it’s been a little over a thousand days since he had activated the computer…that was around the time Thawne was taken out. But, Harry responds with, “Yes, it has been a long time.” Or something like that.
WHAT?!

So, this opens up the possibility of A) Something regarding Thawne

or B) The Thinking Cap is taking its toll of Harry, and making him something he’s not. VERY INTRIGUING!

Second thing! Because there is a second thing I mentioned before and now it’s time to say it.
DeVoe awaits in his secret, alien-looking base for his wife. She appears, and the words that come from her mouth are probably very familiar. She states that she feels rested and rejuvenated and ready for the tasks ahead.
Followed by a forced cough and explanation from DeVoe, his wife shows her repetitive-feeling love for her husband and gets to work on finding a way to keep his current body from dying.

GUYS! THIS…THIS MOMENT! At first, I asked myself wait, did I skip it back by accident? UH, NO! It was because it was the same scenario! It was a test by DeVoe! It started the episode because, sometime before, Marleze must have figured it out again, the whole drug thing! And DeVoe tested her and put himself in a situation for HER to show him support and love! HE WAS TESTING THE RESULTS OF HIS OWN DRUG AND BRAINWIPING!
Like I said, the entire side-story with Marleze and DeVoe just captured exactly the kind of intriguing, psychotic, and comical ways that I expect from the villain. It was PERFECT, though utterly and unfortunately sidelined, it still made me 1) Sad for Marleze, and 2) FREAKING OUT OVER THE PURE SADISTIC AND PSYCHOTIC WAYS OF DEVOE.

What Just Happened?:
Well, the story took a turn for the better. It exposed obvious moments of mixed emotions and clarity between characters. But, it also kept up with recurring questions, while mixing in NEW elements to continue our questioning. The entire Cisco and Gypsy’s boss thing was stretched farther than it should have been, though I didn’t make it seem relevant because it really wasn’t. But the entire episode was almost a mix of either really good or horribly terrible; the latter, mostly.

Rating: 5/10
Final Thoughts:
The fact I only enjoyed certain segments of this episode leads me to the rating system; I just didn’t feel anything positive, other than what I made obvious. I felt it was an episode that could have had worth, other than what was delivered by DeVoe and Marleze. I felt the acting was just poor, which might have been scripting, might have been actors not giving their all? Ralph and Barry were alright but weren’t given anything that meant much. You look back on older seasons of these shows, like The Arrow, The Flash, etc. and see somewhat decent if not amazing episodes, villains, plots, etc. Now, I think they are running out of creative material and, though some things with a certain eye could be good, fall short and just make for a bummer of an episode. Overall, five out of ten is almost pushing it. It really wasn’t an amazing episode except for certain moments and scenes that caught my attention, which cannot have a full effect on the final rating. I didn’t think it was as bad as other episodes of other seasons, but it makes for a pretty big stinker.

The Flash airs on the CW Network on Tuesday nights. Check your local listings for times.


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