Previously on The Flash
It’s been six months since Barry Allen went into the Speed Force because reasons. Crime stops for no man, so Iris West has been busy leading Team Kid Flash (I’m gonna humor Wally ’cause he’s the best) as they protect the city from criminal meta-humans and regular-ass criminals. She’s been trying to fulfill her promise to Barry to “keep running.” In doing so, she’s left no room for hope or proper mourning.
When a powerful samurai threatens to destroy Central City unless The Flash faces him, Cisco reveals he’s been working on a plan to bring Barry back. Iris’ focus is saving the city and not getting her hopes up, so Cisco agrees to leave it alone.
Of course, Cisco gonna Cisco and he enlists Caitlin (fresh off her new bartending gig) to help him. Behind Iris’ back, they (along with Wally and Joe) do some super science stuff, but it doesn’t work. Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Iris is pissed (What did I say?) and confused (Caitlin? You don’t even go here anymore!). Finger pointing is put on hold because Cecile calls to reveal they found a naked and bearded Barry miles away.
He’s an incoherent mess; yammering nonsense phrases and drawing science ALL THE SHAPES on the walls. Caitlin has two theories: Either Barry is suffering from dementia due to his time (which could be decades to him) in the Speed Force or he’s suffering from Schizophasia, which means what he’s saying does make sense to him; they just need to figure out his code.
Nothing works to bring Barry back until Iris allows herself to be taken by the samurai, hoping it will awaken The Flash. It works and Barry not only rescues Iris (and reveals the samurai was actually a robot), he is back to his normal self — just minus the beard and creepily enthusiastic. He declares himself reborn and we all know what that means: Do you have a moment to talk about our Lord and Savior the Speed Force?
But Wait; There’s More
In super sterile hi-tech lair, the pair behind the samurai (a man connected to a machine and a woman in a lab coat) are revealed.
Up to Speed
This was a fun premiere that managed to insert some of the humor The Flash is good for, and hit the right emotional beats thanks to, once again, inspired acting by Candice Patton, Grant Gustin, and Jesse L. Martin.
The villain at the end may not be the season-long Big Bad, but he’s certainly interesting. If he unleashed the samurai in the hopes of bringing back The Flash then that means at least one part of his plan has already worked.
The possibility that Barry’s ramblings were actually important is a good one. Some of the things he said suggested he’s reliving events that already happened, like pleading as a little boy for someone to believe him about his father’s innocence and reciting lines of the song he sang to Iris when he proposed. Others might be unique to his time in the Speed Force or Flashpoint, like when he says that “Nora isn’t supposed to be here.” The most confusing lines, though, could hint at events yet to happen. Remember: The Speed Force exists outside of time and space. “We’re gonna need more diapers” could be a reference to Barry and Iris finding out she’s pregnant with not just one baby but twins. Also, there’s the possibility that some of the words aren’t his at all. Cisco deciphered one line of symbols to mean “This house is bitchin’.” That doesn’t sound like Barry, but it does sound like something Cisco would say.
While it doesn’t feel authentic that Joe would forgive Caitlin so quickly after her return to the team — no one has seen her for six months and she offered no explanation as to whether or not she still has her Killer Frost powers — I’m happy to have the gang reunited in this episode instead of dragging it out. Also, the reveal that she’s been able to change back and forth between Killer Frost and her regular self is the kind of direction I’d hoped they took with the character last season. Give us a reason for why she couldn’t control the powers. Is Amunet (Caitlin has been doing her bidding) the woman behind the samurai?
That was not nearly enough Peekaboo.
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The Flash S4E1 Review Score
"The Flash Reborn"
Starring: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Jesse L. Martin, Tom Cavanagh, Carlos Valdes, Danielle Panabaker, Keinynan Lonsdale