The Flash: The Curious Case of Bartholomew Allen review S8E16
This has been a slow and very forgettable season of The Flash. If you’re a fan of the Frost/Caitlin dynamic your opinion might be a little different, but the series has quickly felt tired and old.
Coincidentally that’s the focus of this episode as Team Flash tangles with a brilliant scientist, Pytor Orloff (Jeff Meadows) that has created a gadget to make him immortal. All for the low cost of the energy within every Coast City citizen.
Orloff definitely won’t be able to nab it from Iris, who still seems like she’s on an extended time out. It almost feels like Candice Patton is on that Carlos Valdes and Tom Cavanagh path where she’s missing a ton of episodes before announcing she won’t be back for Season 9. At least The Flash has rarely made Iris the focus of enough to make her departure as series-altering like Arrow without Felicity.
To kill time, Team Flash gets in some quality D&D time though Joe doesn’t have much use for it.
Singh returns for some reason. Ah, it’s to help Joe navigate the challenges of retirement. That was a random cameo and is another reminder that Kramer has been noticeably absent since she learned Barry is The Flash.
This also provides more bonding time for Allegra and Chester in their element. And it puts Joe in a socially uncomfortable situation for a change. Turns out all he needed was a better perspective on retirement. This seems like a conversation Joe would have had with his wife, but the effort to show Joe has at least one friend his age was appreciated.
Orloff zaps Flash with his new gadget, which causes Barry to dramatically age. It kinda takes away some of the fun when Chester outright states the reference with a “Holy Benjamin Buttons.” On the plus side they weren’t referring to a Marvel movie for a change.
The age zap means Barry can’t really use his powers. It’s honestly impressive how many ways the writing team can come up with to keep The Flash out of action every episode.
Cecile offers to help Barry since he can’t really use his speed. This was kinda odd and it sure feels worthless giving Allegra powers if she’s going to constantly be on the sidelines compared to Cecile, who doesn’t really have an offensive power.
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Barry’s memory is slipping now. Why have the writers made Barry so frustratingly stubborn this season? It’s like he’s surrounded himself with this all-new, all-different Team Flash only for him to blow off their suggestions and advice.
And they really should have gone all in with the Benjamin Button gimmick and have Barry start aging dramatically.
Barry feeling sad cause he’s losing his memory feels like some incredibly forced drama. Bless him, Grant Gustin tries to wring all of the potential emotion out of this segment. Danielle Nicolet does just as well with the dialogue. It’s just simply a matter of this feeling like a lousy diversion from a better villain/episode.
Of course, the problem is by the 16th episode of the season, a better villain should have long ago been established. I liked the idea of a season full of multiple “big bads,” but the execution here has been underwhelming and made too many episodes feel aimless.
It’s really hard to determine if the writers are in on the joke that having a character say “Run Barry Run” doesn’t have the same dramatic effect as it did in Season 1. Either way Cecile gets to say it this week with full seriousness and earnest.
Orloff was hardly a problem so Barry just running fast enough to overwhelm the gadget was enough to stop him. This makes Orloff seem like a 10-minute villain instead of an entire episode nuisance.
Fast forward a week and it’s time for another round of D&D. Joe’s committed now and even drops a Gandalf line. Yes! Stick in the WB family with the call outs.
Carla calls Barry to check in on Caitlin because heaven forbid an episode passes without Caitlin…unlike Iris.
Caitlin sounds like a crazy super villain here trying to explain to Barry why she’s got all of the materials to resurrect Frost. She asks what he would do to bring his mom or dad back. Dude, you were actually around through Flashpoint!! You know what Barry would do. Make a mess of things for everyone and then try to fix it after multiple pep talks from Iris and Joe.
In a pretty gangster moment for him, Barry decides there’s no talking Caitlin off the ledge and just electrifies her equipment. Good luck bringing Frost back now, partner!
Yep, that should totally send Caitlin over the edge and pretty much kill off her security deposit.
It feels like the back stretch of the season is building towards Barry vs. Caitlin/Frost. That doesn’t seem like the worst idea at this point and would justify the heavy screen time for Caitlin. Hopefully someone will remind Barry (and the writers) that he probably needs to track down and save his wife while he’s at it.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW
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