THE FLASH Season 4 Episode 5 Review: Girls Night Out

With the West/Allen wedding fast approaching, the show predictably took a break from the ongoing Thinker plot to have some standard light-hearted bachelor/bachelorette party shenanigans. Arrow’s Felicity Smoak even dropped by to help Iris celebrate in what was by far her most pointless crossover on the show yet. I suppose isn’t that surprising considering she and Iris have never interacted very much, but you’d think the writers would have at least given her something to contribute after she came all the way to Central City. In reality, it seemed like she was there mostly so there would be more bodies in the room. Iris’s bachelorette party was already woefully small with her father’s girlfriend and one lone co-worker and adding one of her fiancĂ©’s friends didn’t help much. 

The series has always hinted that Iris has a larger life outside of Barry and the team what with her grad school classes and journalism career, but all of these story lines have fizzled out before they amounted to anything. I’m happy she seems to have found her groove now as the leader of Team Flash, but it’s strange to such an extroverted person have such a seemingly small social circle. Even Caitlin, the show’s only other female lead, awkwardly admits halfway through the episode that she doesn’t know Iris very well. 

Of course, Iris attempts to extend an olive branch by asking Caitlin to be her maid of honor. While the two have long been overdue for some actual interaction, it seemed a bit much to have Iris put her in the wedding party an hour or so after they resolve to be friends, especially considering Caitlin was a part of a plot to kill Iris last season. But then again considering all the wedding planning seems to have been thrown together at the last minute, being Iris’s maid of honor probably isn’t much of a commitment. At any rate, it’d be nice to see them continue to develop the relationship after the wedding hullabaloo dies down. 

As for the return of Killer Frost, well, I won’t lie, I’m still pretty disappointed that the set-up for a middle ground antihero Killer Frost that the Season Three Finale hinted at has been tossed aside in favor of a Jekyll/Hyde plot, but I’m a big believer in not pre-judging things because they didn’t turn out the way you hoped. With that in mind, having Killer Frost moonlight as bodyguard for a drug lord so Caitlin can have control of her body during the days is probably one of the more interesting double personality routes the show could have gone. It still does give Caitlin a fair amount of culpability in what Killer Frost does, since she purposefully chooses to let her off the leash, which makes for an interesting conflict. I do wish she’d had a more menacing foe to play off of though. Amunet (Katee Sackhoff) had a little more charisma than your run-of- the-mill Flash villain, but her powers were so underwhelming (can she really only control that one, very specific kind of metal?) it was hard to see why everyone was so intimidated by her. It seems unlikely that Barry or Cisco would have found her very threatening had they not been distracted by goofier antics. 

Despite what some angry Internet comments would have you to believe, most people enjoy a good filler episode so long as we get to see an exciting new location or different side of a character we love. The issues start arising when the audience feels like they’re wasting their time. The Flash hasn’t ever done a “girl power” episode before, but it’s a familiar enough episode type for long running series. The problems is that all too often these girls-only jaunts are just one-offs, that have no real bearing on the rest of the series. The writers can toss out as many “#feminism jokes” as they please, but are we ever going to see Iris have a non-Barry centered storyline? Will the show ever take the time to explain how exactly Caitlin’s transformations work? Seeing the Team Flash ladies scare off jerks is all good and fun, but y’know what would be even more exciting? Seeing the writers build upon the groundwork laid in a seemingly fluff episode to launch actual arcs for its female characters, so that an episode where they interact isn’t a special occasion.

Written by Kaitlin Roberts, THE FLASH Beat Writer

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