The Christmas Special
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
The Christmas special for The Flash might not be as great as its predecessor, but it is chalk full of absolute dizziness. Various plot lines from throughout the series culminate together in a jam-packed hour that leaves me the most excited for the future of this series. So naturally it’s taking a couple weeks off. As it is, The Man in The Yellow Suit feels like a breather after last week and that’s perfectly acceptable. I don’t need high octane action for half an hour in every episode, especially considering the next episode is titled Revenge of the Rogues. What truly makes this episode click, however, are all the quiet, character building scenes that are as vital to this series as any action sequence. Sure, seeing The Flash and the Reverse Flash go at each other is fun, truly fun. But it’s the emotional stakes behind the fight that elevate the sequences to an entirely different level.
The hour kicks off with lovely Christmas tidings with Barry and Joe, with Barry not being able to resist using his super speed to put up the Christmas decorations. Joe gets him to reverse his speedy decoration just as Iris show up, with alcoholic eggnog (which, let’s be real, is the best kind of eggnog). Barry gives her a truly thoughtful gift, a replica of her mother’s ring that Iris had lost as a child. Iris is truly touched and it’s a sweet moment between the two, culminating in her giving him a microscope. After a decent amount of screen time devoted to this relationship, it at last makes sense that Barry would be so attached to her. Eddie, being Eddie, naturally makes an assumption that Barry must be into Iris because he gave her a thoughtful gift. I was under the impression that this love triangle thing that’s not really a love triangle would be sort of dragged out for the entire season, but nope. Barry quietly and without any pomp or circumstance, tells Iris the truth – terrible timing, as he notes, because Iris is going to move in with Eddie. It’s a neat crack in their relationship and it feels like the most germane thing to ever happen between the two.
For Barry, this week was even more emotional. The appearance of the Reverse Flash (courtesy of the always reliable Cisco) opened up old wounds from the night his mother died and all that he could remember were flashes of red and gold. If he can capture this man, he can finally get some closure on his mother’s death and prove the innocent of his father. It’s a powerful motivation and Grant Gustin’s portrayal of that angst is the best acting he’s ever done on the show. His phone call with his father easily ranks as some of the best emotional work this series has done, aptly reminding the audience of why the stakes are so high just in case they have forgotten. As his father somberly notes, that night as one would expect changed Barry’s life forever, grounding him towards a certain path that he could never stray from. Joe mentions that he even offered Barry a chance to study abroad, but he could never truly get away from the city where all of it began and where all of it had to be solved. The reappearance of his greatest nemesis all but solidifies that ardent belief.
This week could also have been aptly titled “Flash vs. Flash”, which is kind of what the action sequences are like (the one in the stadium might make you a bit dizzy, to be perfectly honest). To Barry’s immense frustration, the nemesis that killed his mother and sent his father to prison for her murder always remains one step ahead of him, as if taunting him for all of those years of trauma. And he came so close to being finished off, saved at the last minute by Burning Man. This episode, outside of the major emotional crux of Barry, answers as many questions as it raises. Cisco makes the pertinent observation that the Reverse Flash wasn’t the only one in Barry’s home the night of his mother’s murder. The Burning Man clearly has some part of Ronnie, but like the comics, is there someone who’s merged with him? And if so, is Ronnie trying to break free and that’s why he saved the Flash? But the most burning question of the night, pun intended, is the revelation of Dr. Wells being intricately linked to the Reverse Flash. Now that time travel is in play, what does all of this mean? I have never been more eager to find out. Happy Holidays!
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+“I always loved her definition of light.”
+Has a line like “You’ve been a gift, Barry” been uttered with such subtle menace?
+The golden key
+Somehow, Wells not liking Hawking makes sense
+Mercury vs STAR Labs
+“Barry’s been keeping a secret from me.”
+“You’re not afraid of the dark. You’re afraid of being alone in the dark.”
+“Don’t move, or we will shoot.” Really, Eddie? Did you think that was going to work?
+“There were two of them.” Was I the only one that saw a Star Wars reference right there?
+The Force field trick was a neat one
+“The Flash saved both of our lives today.” What happens to Eddie’s task force now?+Caitlin’s faith in Ronnie
+“We will bring Ronnie home.”
+“I couldn’t take off.”
+“The world needs the Flash, but I need my Barry.” Oh Joe, you heartbreaker.
-Caitlin’s calm running away at the initial sighting of Ronnie
Title: The Man in The Yellow Suit
Written By: Todd Helbing & Aaron Helbing
Directed By: Ralph Hemecker
Image Courtesy: Dual Pixels