The Flash this Tuesday followed up its solid, cliffhanging winter premiere with a Valentine’s Day-themed outing that was mostly box, and very little candy.
When last we tuned in, Iris had been harrowingly yanked into the large mirror hanging inside Eva McCulloch’s old office. But that thread was not directly picked up on until this week’s very final seconds. Which is a way to go, yes, but only when the 42 minutes in between are engaging and not more than a bit weird.
Opening and closing “Love Is a Battlefield,” we got hints that something is a bit off with Iris, coming out of her middle-of-the-night excursion to McColloch Tech. For one, her pancakes are now round, and edible. And they are not bananas. And then she and Barry go out to dinner, Iris is able to parlez fluent Italian — which she claims she picked up when reporting a story on Little Italy. Date night is cut short by the intrusion of Amunet Black, who storms the restaurant to grab a mysterious case from a patron. Barry starts to intervene as an ID card-waving CSI, but Amunet warns him to bug off lest she let the secret superhero’s Flash-y cat out of the bag. She also warns him not to get in her business as a onesie-wearing speedster, either.
With Barry effectively neutered for the episode, Iris takes the lead and slips into Amunet’s favorite hangout to pose as a tough gal and find out where the boss is — and the bartender is conveniently forthcoming, with this total stranger, about where Amunet’s next heist is. After Barry expresses concern about Iris’ reckless behavior at the bar (she cracked a bottle over a goon’s head), the two slip off to Ivo Labs and look on from the shadows as Amunet steals a second piece of tech — until her ex, Goldface (aka Keith), shows up. WestAllen (and a hapless security guard) look on as the two metas literally quarrel over personal stuff, namely who took whose vinyl LPs after the breakup, and who introduced who to NWA.
When Amunet and Goldface start to actually scuffle, Iris manages to pinch the tech they were both after. Iris the next day delivers it to Amunet, saying that she “wants in.” (Amunet’s endgame is to harvest the pollen of a rare orchid that blooms every 25 years; once heated up, said pollen creates a mind control drug. Iris sells the sting by claiming that she wants the drug to be able to read her superhero hubby’s mind, and avoid more marital issues.) Convinced, Amunet leads Iris to the location of the actual orchid, where they are confronted by Goldface. A quarrel and shootout ensues, and Barry zips to the scene as The Flash to whisk Iris out of harm’s way. After tying up the metas’ respective goons, Barry tries to play mediator, to smooth things over between the exes. After Leslie and Keith team up to subdue the speedster, Iris offers the reckless idea to burn the orchid with a flick of lightning. When Barry does that, the resulting cloud of pollen allows Leslie and Keith to read one another’s minds and realize they are still very much in love… or at least lust, as they begin making out and then drop to the floor to do god knows what with Amunet’s metal gauntlet still on.
Afterward, Barry apologizes to Iris, responding to an outburst she had earlier about how she had to focus on her own future in anticipation of him dying in Crisis, and how she as a successful reporter can no longer ride the pine and be the cheerleader inside his cowl. She, too, needs to be out in the field. Barry agrees, saying that he is proud of all that she has become and done. As the two kiss and then embrace in the loft, we see Iris glare at the full-length mirror nearby… while on the other side of that glass, we see the real Iris pounding her fists and bellowing, “Barry! That’s not me! She’s not me! Barry!!!!”
Elsewhere in this week’s episode: Frost helped Allegra patch things up with an ex she had ghosted instead of revealing that she was a meta. Frost also gleaned that Nash seems to have a paternal interest in Allegra. After Frost made that observation, Nash looked across the room at Jitters to see… regular, bespectacled Harrison Wells, who vanished in the blink of an eye? Or did Nash just “envision” him? Or are they one and the consolidated same, post-Crisis?!
What did you think of “Love Is a Battlefield” (as in BlackGold’s snogging song)?