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"So you carried that around this whole time? Do you know what Ronnie would say if he was here? He would say that you did the right thing. It wasn't your fault."
As The Flash enters the mid-point of its first season, we're at the place where most shows start spinning their wheels. After the introduction of the universe but before the action rises toward the finale, most shows would be biding their time with throwaway, one-off plots by now.
The Flash isn't most shows.
Sure, "Crazy For You" gave us a probable one-off villain in Peek-a-Boo, a one-off bolstered by a cool performance from Britne Oldford and some solid action, but the episode was about so much more than that. It was about Barry's dad understanding that his son is a hero and wanting to be the same. It was about Cisco trying to right what he perceives as his wrong in not waiting for Ronnie to return from the particle accelerator. And it was about a dozen wonderful, meaningful character moments between Caitlin and Barry.
Let's take 'em one at a time.
"Crazy For You" made some strides toward resolving what has long been The Flash's biggest problem (outside of the ethical morass that is STAR Lab's prison, but we all might just have to get over that because it doesn't look like the writers intend to address it any time soon): that of Henry Allen. On paper it makes a lot of sense to bring on John Wesley Shipp, the star of the original The Flash series, as Barry's dad, but the relationship and what it contributes to Barry's motivation have never really gelled onscreen. Who could've guessed that having a character do nothing but tear up manfully behind a pane of glass and occasionally offer sage wisdom would leave viewers cold? As soon as we see Henry taking initiative and showing real agency - even though it resulted in a pretty serious injury - he becomes a real character, more than a walking (or sitting, usually) emblem for Barry's need to avenge his mother. He tells Barry with a slight stammer, "I don't get to feel useful very much in here," and it's a small line that speaks so much to what Henry's suffered over the years. And it was a smart move to have Henry figure out that Barry's The Flash, and to tell him as much right away - we get to skip over the same secretive/guilty dynamic Barry already has with Iris, and we get to see a more poignant interaction than these two have ever shared before.
It's hard to believe there was ever a time that Cisco felt underutilized on this show. Although I can still never get enough of Carlos Valdes, the writers seem to understand what they have in this character, and they're making him count. This week we get our first glimpse at Cisco's hero potential, even as he's doing something as dumb as releasing Hartley Rathaway from prison. Rathaway's given a little more room to become what could be a big bad on The Flash (or at least a medium bad) in a cool Hannibal/Clarice bit that also allows us to see Cisco kicking a fair amount of ass. It seems Ronnie and Professor Stein's Firestorm is gearing up to be a big part of the final half of the season, and this week's episode made some interesting progress on that front. And though Hartley's still MIA, this plot gets a little resolution in the form of Cisco's confession about Ronnie, and Caitlin's sweet, immediate forgiveness.
And finally, we have Barry and Caitlin. These two cuties hit the town to attempt to mend their broken hearts, and it is a BLAST. Caitlin's a messy, hilarious, adorable drunk, and I only wish her duet with Barry had lasted longer. Of course there was some flirtation there that could lead to something more (“We are quite the pair, Mr. Allen.” “Yes we are, Dr. Snow.”), and I'd be lying if I said I was immune to it, but the best part of "Crazy For You" was simply seeing these guys be friends and have fun, fun that they desperately need and deserve. And it's worth noting how handy it is that Barry's able to whoosh a drunk pal outside in time for her to vomit! Danielle Panabaker's another once-underused actor who's now getting her due, and she's doing wonderful things with it.
"Crazy For You" should be some sort of mid-season episode template for advancing story while developing relationships. There were meaningful exchanges among all of the characters this week, lending to a feeling of permanence even when the A-plot is so transitory. And, as has always been the case with The Flash, it was fun. Really, ridiculously fun.
Coolest moments this week:
YOU GUYS, BARRY CAN SING. How old is Grant Gustin? How long until we can elect him President? And it's such a great moment when he's jogging to the stage and Caitlin says, "He's so fast!" and then quickly shushes herself into the microphone.
We had a pretty major cold open this week, as Barry saves a woman from an exploding car, and then stands there in full view in his suit as the husband tells him, "Thank you, Flash."
Barry and Cisco's suit discussions never fail to charm: "Even I'm having a hard time getting mad at you for dirtying up my suit." "Okay, when are we going to start considering it my suit?" "I'd be comfortable calling it our suit."
Because I am petty, I enjoyed Iris' jealousy when she sees Barry leaving for his lunch date with Linda (Malese Jow). She deserves it after sneaking a picture of The Flash when he was just trying to help her land a scoop.
Oh no big deal, just Barry pulling a bullet out of his own head before it can reach his brain. "Guess I’m a lot faster than a speeding bullet.”
Gorilla Grodd! When is this guy going to stop being an end-of-episode tease and start being a real threat?