THE FLASH Season 4 Episode 18 Review: Lose Yourself

One of the weakest elements of this season has been the continuing bus meta plotline. Even during its best moments, The Flash has never managed to handle its guest characters well and the decision to make the rotating cast of metas essential to the Thinker’s scheme only served to draw more attention to how bad the problem really is, with almost every new rogue falling flat in their premiere and taking screen time away from the main cast and the story stretching the formulaic premise out to ridiculous lengths. Finally reaching the end of the journey, as we did this episode, made for both a relieving and tiring viewing experience. 

Take Ralph’s untimely demise, for example. While he’s had brief passing moments of kindness or basic decency, Ralph, without fail, always defaults the same boorish creep by the next episode. Watching him attempt big heroic sacrifice doesn’t feel like the culmination of a season-long character arc, it feels like Ralph mysteriously grew a conscience in between scenes. Hartley Sawyer gave an admirable performance during Ralph’s final scenes, and you can appreciate that under different writers, he could have given us a compelling character. But watching him swear to the heavens he’s happy to die if his friends get to go free means squat when not but two episodes ago he was throwing a tantrum about being asked to help the team in the field when his life was at risk. 

 That said, his tearful goodbye to Barry is as much of a high note as the character could ever have hoped to end on. After spending having take up so much time this season, just shuffling him offstage would have been an awkward transition. Giving him a nice hero ending at least tied up his story in a neat but graceful way that allows the show to move forward without being bogged down by a new addition that never managed to gel with any of the team. 

The downsizing wasn’t limited to Dibney’s sacrifice either, as Caitlin lost her ability to turn to become Killer Frost, which I guess is supposed to be a sad turn of events? There have been a staggering amount of retcons involving how and why Caitlin has Killer Frost as an alter ego, but surely we aren’t supposed to believe Caitlin is torn up over no longer blacking out and turning into a rage assassin? After all, the episode did a great job of showing the non-powered members of Team Flash are still capable of dealing out some serious ass-kicking. In fact, perhaps tellingly, the Wests taking on the Mechanic and the Samuroid were some of the best fights we’ve had in quite a long time. Iris and Marlize’s confrontation was particularly fun to watch, as Candice Patton always bring great intensity to all of her action moments, and Iris never got the chance previously payback Marlize for her taunts at the courthouse. It’s a shame the two haven’t interacted much; you certainly get the sense their rivalry could be just as deadly as their husbands', if given the chance. 

Or only mostly deadly, if Barry’s attitude this episode is going to be the new norm. I’m not exactly sure why Barry has suddenly has become adamant about not using lethal force on DeVoe when he’s killed plenty of foes in the past — his body count in Season 2 outnumbered Oliver Queen’s! Thawne, Zoom, and Savitar all ended up being directly or indirectly killed by members of Team Flash, and no one so much as batted an eyelash. However, the fact it was such a sticking point for Barry during his fight with Ralph leads me to believe it’s probably an element that will end up factoring into DeVoe’s final fate. There’s a certain poetry to resigning him to a fate worse than death after all his attempts to gain immortality. Given the unique way DeVoe kills people, I wouldn’t even be surprised if keeping him alive allows Barry to find a loophole to restore his victims’ minds or give Ralph back his body in some last minute finale twist.

Written by Kaitlin Roberts, THE FLASH Beat Writer

Related Posts:
THE FLASH Season 4 Episode 17 Review: Null and Annoyed

THE FLASH Season 4 Episode 16 Review: Run, Iris, Run