The Flash, ‘Mixed Signals’: Barry and Iris’ Relationship Takes Center Stage

The Flash, Season 4, Episode 2, “Mixed Signals”

After two seasons of a downbeat tone, the fourth season of The Flash is trying to make up for lost time by incorporating a lot of comedic elements throughout the show. Although a lighter tone is what fans have asked for, the show is giving off a real overcompensation vibe. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest episode of The Flash:

What’s the scoop: Barry is so happy to be out of the Speed Force, he’s downright manic, and it’s stressing Iris out because in his desire to be a good boyfriend, he still isn’t listening to Iris. At first, Iris thinks it’s because they are working together, but after some couples counseling, Iris is still dealing with the hurt associated with Barry leaving and her left to deal with the aftermath. Cisco is acting equally crazed, trying to clear the decks at work so he can have a hot date with his interdimensional girlfriend, Gypsy.

Anything new?: It looks like Barry and Iris are officially working together. There was no mention of Iris as a reporter anymore, further proving my theory of why her name disappeared from the future paper in that STAR Labs broom closet. Barry also has a new suit, built by a bored Cisco during Barry’s exile, that’s chock full of all kinds of handy techno-gadgets. Wally has changed hairstyles, and he could really stand to borrow Cisco’s conditioner.

Nerdy reference scoreboard: Evidently the writers were watching a lot of HBO during the creation of this episode, as Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley earned some extended riffs.

What about the action: Kilgore, a dumpy, disheveled tech genius who developed a malware app, was cut out by his three partners when the government bought the software for billions. While the partners are living the good life, Kilgore has mysteriously been granted the metahuman ability to mess with electronics. He’s now out for revenge. We get some fun scenes of Barry trying to stop a runaway car. Things go awry when he fails to follow Felicity’s Iris’ instructions, but some quick wrench work saves the day. In the final showdown, Kilgore infects Barry’s technology laden suit, causing all kinds of issues including triggering the self-destruct sequence (it seemed like a good idea at the time). Barry has to step in front of a lightning bolt he creates, in order to short out the suit and regain control. Once that is done, dispatching Kilgore is somewhat easy.

Did Barry cry?: Despite some emotional work with a couples counselor, Barry has now gone two consecutive episodes without shedding major tears. Once again Iris makes up for Barry’s lack of waterworks.

GIF quote of the week:

What’s next: In the episode’s stinger, we learned The Flash writers watched the first half of Arrow last year. Taking a page out of that show’s storyline, Kilgore is just one of a dozen folks who were granted superhuman powers from a mysterious benefactor. Our futuristic bad guy, The Thinker wants to collect ’em all. Also, the new warden of Iron Heights prison seems shady as hell.

Last impressions: The whole Barry-Iris relationship has never been a favorite of mine, and it still seems creepy to me despite all time-traveling attempts to erase the fact they were raised as brother and sister. So, with the extreme shift in tone and the focus of the show now centering on Barry and Iris’ relationship, the show still feels … off. It’s leaning into the screwball comedy pretty hard –- we got the old “the couple tries to be honest with their shrink, but not too honest” chestnut, and next week it looks like Barry is going to be literally tripped up by a barrel of spilled marbles. With that said, I’ll take the group generally getting along and being nice to each other over the constant bickering of past seasons. The new villain setup is well-worn, but it returns the show to those monster of the week roots that served it so well in Season 1.

Craig Wack

For a weekly discussion of comic book TV shows please join Craig Wack and Tatiana Torres for the Agents of GEEK podcast updated every Friday and now on iTunes

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