The Flash: Masquerade review S7 E13

Masquerade had some issues and fell into some familiar patterns, but it was better than most episodes this season. While that doesn’t mean much given the quality of some of these episodes, I felt a lot more optimistic about the direction of the second half of this season now.

Cecile’s found some dirt that should help Joe as he tries to take down Kristen Kramer. It’s weird cause I felt like a few episodes ago Joe decided he was taking the high ground with her. Kramer is such a weird character that it makes more sense for her to be a villain as opposed to a by the books stickler with flexible agendas.

Chester decides to makeover Cisco’s old lab complete with pictures of Martin Luther King Jr. and 2Pac. Wouldn’t someone Chester’s age be far more likely to have a President Obama poster? Wait, far more important question.  Why is he dancing? Now he’s doing the robot. And he’s moonwalking. This is awful. Almost turn the episode off awful.

the flash - masquerade review - chester, caitlin, iris and cecile

The thing with Chester is he’s not a bad character and doesn’t come off like Cisco lite. I just need the writers to lay off of the dancing, geeky black guy trope. It’s OK for the black tech guy to not be a socially awkward buffoon 60% of the time. And those moments when Chester isn’t being played for laughs, he’s actually a good character and fits in well despite being a late addition to the series.

Chester goes to another section of STAR Labs and nearly walks in on Barry and Iris hooking up. Good for them. Nice to see someone on this show acting normal.

Meanwhile, Cecile is trapped in her head — did she go back to the Mirror Verse? It’s not good when a series starts rehashing plot lines from the same season. I mean, we just got done with a bad guy masquerading as one of Team Flash with the Mirror Monarch storyline.

the flash - masquerade review - iris and cecile

Not-Cecile traps Barry into the padded room with the real Cecile. I miss when Barry actually was The Flash on The Flash. You know there’s zero chance of him actually being in costume at this rate. Ironically, the costume had more screen time just hanging in the background of STAR Labs than Barry actually wearing it.

Faux-Cecile steers Team Flash into figuring Psycho Pirate is behind Barry’s disappearance and tracking it down to a museum exhibit. Its former user, Roger Hayden, is still tucked away in Arkham. Remember how the tease of Crisis on Infinite Earths suggested he was going to be as big a player in the crossover as he was in the comic? Good times.

You know what would be interesting? If the evil corrupted version of a character wore white instead of black. Just to shake things up a bit. And of course, good Cecile is wearing a white shirt. You’d think a black showrunner would avoid those kinds of clichés.

the flash - masquerade review - sue

When it’s time to steal something, it’s time to call Sue Dearbon. Why is Sue back without Ralph? At this point they really just need to recast Ralph instead of doing these goofy backflips to work around it. Sue is one of my all-time favorite supporting characters. I loathed with the passion of a million infernos what DC did to her, but this version of Sue is basically an entirely different character.

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Sue asks Chester if this is going too easy and he brushes off her concern. She’s not wrong, but it’s not like Sue has been around so long that she’s an expert on Cecile or anything. Sue dances through the laser lights. It’s not going to make me forget that iconic scene from Ocean’s 12 anytime soon.

Iris pieces it together that Cecile is not in control of herself. And hey look, a former dude villain has been replaced by a woman on The Flash. Take a shot. It was nice to see Chester and Iris interacting. That hasn’t been the norm and his frustration with not being tight with Team Flash helped explain why Psycho Cecile fooled him.

So the psychic spirit of the mask took over Cecile’s body. This is reminiscent of the increasingly convoluted Thinker storyline when DeVoe had a mega power and decided to go with lesser metas for…reasons?

It seems pretty stupid for the spirit of the mask to opt for the powerless Cecile when Barry/The Flash is right there. How much easier would the whole retrieve the mask plan had been if the spirit inhabited Barry? It’s a quick speed through the vault using his vibration powers and it’s a done deal. None of the long build up and subterfuge needed.

the flash - masquerade review - iris

At least there’s some explanation for why the spirit went with Cecile as she’d make for a better long-term host. Still, let Flash do all the hard work and then settle into Cecile. And ironically, Psycho Cecile needs to use The Thinker’s chair to create a lasting bond with Cecile.

Not sure why Iris is bothering to have a shootout with Psycho Cecile. All she’s got to do is just pull the plug. It was just a distraction so Chester could skewer the chair and help Cecile break free.

Cecile finally tells Barry about their location in her head — she was a patient at a psychiatric clinic after having a breakdown following her mother’s death.  I hated the goofy effects and awful editing for Straightjacket Cecile. It just made the whole Cecile conflict come off silly.

This battle within Cecile’s mind could have been done better, but it was very hokey. The real question is if she told Joe.

And she hadn’t, which actually led to a thoughtful conversation about the stigma in the black community about mental health. This was good and made up for the goofy Cecile fight scene.

the flash - masquerade review - cecile and joe

Joe’s research paid off as he suspects Kramer might be working with the enemy. Whoever those guys are as Joe wasn’t real specific.

For now, this gives the next arc of the season somewhere to go. This season has lacked purpose so this was a very encouraging development.  Masquerade had some issues, but it set the stage well for the rest of the season.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Photo Credit: The CW

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