This month is shaping up to be a good time for the supporting cast of this series. After delving into the mysteries of Harrison Wells, this week gives us some time with the largely pretty sidelined Caitlin Snow.
I have to say, for still being in its first season, this show is doing a bang-up job with building up its cast and world right now.
First thing’s first, let’s follow up on part of last week. Yes, there is follow up on Hartley’s deal with Cisco. Along with this, we do also get some extra development from Cisco. It’s mostly in the form of things we already knew- such as his guilt over what happened to Ronnie as well as his enmity towards Hartley- but it’s expanded on quite well here.
While the writing has been great here, I do also have to give credit to Carlos Valdes for what he’s done with the role.
In early episodes, he was mostly just set up to be a comic relief character, and he did well with that. He even gets to show some of that further here in his interactions with Mientus as the ever-smug Hartley. The two have an entertaining back and forth and I do hope we get to see that again in the future.
However, the humor was tempered with the Ronnie storyline, and Valdes has done well integrating that guilt and Cisco’s attempts to keep it hidden. This week, we saw that come to the forefront when his gamble with Hartley resulted in him having to come clean with the STAR Labs crew.
The resulting moment is a good payoff without feeling overly dramatic, and does great things for both Cisco and Caitlin, who have each been living with the ghosts of that incident.
In the latter case, this leads to her deciding she and Barry both need to make a leap and each learn to move on from their former unrequited loves. What results is an arc that’s equal parts funny, awkward, and strangely endearing. Seeing Caitlin get this much focus this week was a nice break, given how often the show has relegated her to support duty. On top of which, the interaction with Barry while they’re both off the job is just a fun dynamic and a good counter to the Cisco-Hartley antagonism.
After last week’s deep focus on Harrison- which I really liked, don’t get me wrong – it’s nice to see the other STAR Labs team members getting their focus in turn. It could have been easy for the show to shunt them all off to being just talking head support crew for Barry. The fact it didn’t and has, instead, fleshed them all out as much as they have is one of the other reasons I’ve been enjoying this series as much as I have to this point.
For Barry’s part, he still gets a solid story this week with the Flash aspect of his life. This time coming in the form of another meta-human (Britne Oldford) who can effectively teleport. This leads to some of the most creative fights the series has seen up to this episode, and they’re definitely a sign the show’s effects budget is being used to its fullest.
As the designated meta-human of the week, Oldford’s in an interesting spot. She’s one of those rare meta-humans who is comfortable in her power and not actually using it for her own gain. Instead, she uses it to aid her convict boyfriend (Micah Parker). It’s a nice shift on the possible angles that would drive a meta-human to crime. Which also makes the ending a sad note, but that’s a lot of the stories for the meta-humans in this series.
All this and the episode ending on a great ‘oh crap’ level open note by presenting the first on-screen appearance of Gorilla Grodd is why I’m still willing to mark this as the winner of DC’s new arrivals.
With that and the show resuming revelations about the fate of Ronnie Raymond to play into next week, I look forward to seeing what The Nuclear Man has in store.
Until next time.
-Some welcome development for Caitlin
-Great action scenes between Gustin and Oldford
-First half does a great job building on the Raymond mystery then just leaves it hanging for next week
-You know, I’m torn. I like Candice Patton, but I also wouldn’t mind distancing from Iris’s current story for a while