THE FLASH 4.04 Review “Girl’s Night Out”

#Feminism.

Read the previous review here
This post contains spoilers for The Flash.

Poor Barry and Iris. Each one just wanted a low-key Bachelor and Bachelorette party. Normal and calm have never been anyone in the DCTV universe’s forte, unfortunately. Barry’s chill at home, cigar-smoking, brandy-sipping, movie-watching shindig gets led astray by the apparently infamous Ralph Dibney, insisting the sausage party portion of Team Flash head to a not-quite strip club. The ladies all seem to be on the same page, but no one sent the “quite and classy dinner” memo to the henchman that comes after Caitlin.

We knew that Caitlin had been keeping things close to the vest since her return, and that she had someone less than pleasant who expected her to return to whatever life she’d been living while away from the team for those six months. What we didn’t know was just what she was up to while she was gone. Turns out she ran across a Meta who could help her keep Killer Frost at bay. As payment, Frost had to act as her muscle. Ladies like Amunette don’t like it much when people in their debt skip out and try to live a normal life.

It was exciting to hear that we’d have a Killer Frost/Caitlin centric episode that could also play as a superhero The Hangover-lite. But “Girl’s Night Out” doesn’t really excel at either of those things. Everything revolving around Caitlin and Frost seemed more awkward than tense, and while the boys’ escapades had some humor involved, it wasn't anything to write home about. The episode also had the chance to play up the girl power aspect, with all of the women of Team Flash and borrowing a critical part of Team Arrow, Felicity Smoak.

Instead, they made each woman less capable than they’ve been represented in the past, and wrapped it all up in a nice and trite #feminism bow. The one exception to this was Cecile’s daughter and her justification for exploring a job at a strip club. Despite the fact that she ultimately decides it was a problem for her, all of her decisions were rooted in research and, you know, actual feminism. It’s not that Felicity, Iris, Caitlin and Cecile aren’t all feminine badasses, it’s just not how it was portrayed in “Girl’s Night Out”.

While the ladies deal with their Meta problem, Barry gets drunk and can absolutely not handle his alcohol. In his defense, he probably hasn’t been drunk much in his life, and his drunken moments were some of the few giggle-worthy ones that didn’t involve Wells’ straight-man humor. Woven into the grand old time that the strip club was supposed to be are Joe’s concerns about being a father again. It’s always nice to see Barry and Joe’s father/son moments, but this one seemed out of place. Cecile’s stressed out about it too, so no worries if you’re looking forward to more of this weird drama?

Amunette’s evil plan revolved around a Meta currently called The Crier. His tears create some weird kind of dark matter drug that’s highly addictive after even the first dose, and she thinks she’s going to get rich. Frost has a chance to kill her when all’s said and done, but that wouldn’t work out with this direction of merging Frost and Caitlin into one and using her powers for good. Despite the fact that the two women have had very little interaction outside of the team (which is even called out by the episode) Iris successfully talks Frost off the edge, and gains a Maid of Honor before all is said and done.

It was an off-kilter episode, but it doesn’t take The Flash off its current trajectory. While the show isn’t great at high stakes, it’s fixed many of its other issues in season four. Barry Allen’s funny again, and the show’s gotten itself back on track after a rough season three. Next week we’ll be playing with the Elongated Man’s power, and we’ll see what kind of hero Dibney can be. If you had thoughts on the episode, you know what to do!

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