Get a life! Was the message of last night’s The Flash. And according to this definition, getting a life entails going to a karaoke bar, getting tanked, singing from Grease, barfing in the parking lot and telling your platonic friend that’s okay to peak when using super-speed to change you into PJs because he’s a hero and deserves a peak. The heart was firmly on the sleeve in “Crazy for You,” which is fine because a) The Flash can do that, and b) the “Freak of the Week” was a B-team stringer not worthy to be labelled “rogue.” The lesson of the night was that the heart wants what it wants, even if you’re a girl with teleporting powers and what you want is some hipster jailbird that ditches you at the first sign of danger.
The villain of this week’s Flash was Peek-a-Boo (Caitlin gets to name one!), AKA: Shawna Baez. Spot on casting because Britne Oldford looks like she was taken right off the comic book page to play Peek-a-Boom and with the ability to teleport Nightcrawler-style, Shawna was more than a match for Barry. If only she wasn’t limited by the fact that she can’t teleport in the dark though. (She has to be able to see where she’s going.) Easily taken out of the equation by breaking every light in a long dark tunnel, Shawna has no where she can go, except S.T.A.R. Labs’ super-villain jail. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. That’s fine, there was more interesting stuff going on this week anyway.
For instance, as the super-jail gained a new occupant, it lost an old one. As promised, or teased, in last week’s episode, Hartley “The Pied Piper” Rathaway had put just enough to a bug in Cisco’s ear to get his former colleague to give him a furlough in the effort to unravel the mystery of Ronnie Raymond. Kudos to Cisco for recognizing immediately that Hartley was going to use the first possible opportunity to escape, and kudos again to Cisco for having some skill at the hand-to-hand, or at least as much skill as Laurel’s Black Canary on Arrow seems to. Too bad that Hartley was eventually able to outsmart Cisco and escape. Presumably, he will be joining the growing list of free bad guys with an axe to grind against the Flash.
Seeing Cisco get serious was a nice touch for an episode that saw a lot of our favorites acting out of character. Sometimes I fear that the only thing that Cisco, and his portrayer Carlos Valdes, has going for him is his jokey, nickname spinning, laid back attitude, and that’s why giving Cisco a darker edge resulting in his feeling responsible for Ronnie’s “death” is an interesting shade. It says something that the character buries those feelings and tries to move on, while characters like Barry, Caitlin and Dr. Wells wear their guilt like a comfortable old sweater.
As Cisco took a walk on the dark side, Barry and Caitlin went for something lighter. Trying to track Shawna and her boyfriend by visiting some of their old haunts, like a karaoke bar, they killed two birds with one stone by also trying to “get back out there.” Caitlin, knowing that Ronnie wants nothing to do with her, feels ready to move on to someone new, and Barry, having struck out with Iris after admitting his feelings, is also on the market. Like a typical karaoke night out, it ends with drinking, singing and not-so-vague suspicions that we’re looking at a future coupling. We know that Barry likes his science chicks, and by the episode’s end it seems pretty obvious it seems that Caitlin might be digging the Flash in more than a friendly way.
The episode MVP was definitely Danielle Panabaker, not just because she added new highlights to Caitlin, or because the situation allowed her to dress “less like a high school principal,” but because she attacked “Summer Lovin'” with reckless abandon even though even though her pipes are obviously not on par with Grant Gustin‘s. Of course Gustin has Glee experience working in his favor, so he’s clearly going to own any karaoke that happens in the course of the series, but Panabaker gives it great gusto. She may not sing like Olivia Newton-John, but she’s got the heart of a true Sandy.
So is a “SnowBarry” ‘ship in the offing? Gustin and Panabaker definitely have chemistry, but even if next week’s return to the Ronnie mystery didn’t threaten Caitlin’s new found status as a carefree single girl in Central City, she’s got some competition for Barry’s affections in the short term. That’s Malese Jow as the app-savvy Linda Park, coincidentally a sports writer at the same newspaper Iris works for now. Admittedly, it was kind of satisfying seeing Iris have a case of the green-eyed monster, even if Linda Park is technically Wally West’s love interest in the comic books. What am I talking about, everyone loves Iris, right?
Also moving forward in this episode was Barry’s relationship with his father. It was nice that Henry Allen got a little bit more to do this week than stare lovingly at his son through dirty prison glass. Henry helps Joe and Barry get info on Shawna’s boyfriend, who was conveniently jailed at Iron Heights till she broke him out. Henry was given an old-fashioned prison shanking for his efforts, and Barry gets his payback not with equivalent violence, but by dropping the guy that did it just outside the prison wall as if he were trying to escape. Once again The Flash nods to the idea that the difference between a hero and a vigilante is the small things.
Still, Flash’s little reprise on behalf of Henry did lead Barry’s dad to realize that his son and the Scarlet Speedster are one and the same. It was a small, but touching scene in which the matter isn’t directly addressed seeing as how Henry and Barry were in the prison infirmary, but it was sold for tremendous emotion in the way that John Wesley Shipp delivered his lives, especially that last one – “But the most important thing for him to know, I feel, is that his father’s proud of him” – which was tearfully beautiful. That moment, we all wish Henry was our dad.
With the human element was running on all cylinders in “Crazy for You,” but there was still time for some bits of comic book lore. We get our first look at Martin Stein as essayed by Victor Garber, and we come to understand that the explosion of the accelerator put his mind in Ronnie’s body. And if understanding the nature of Firestorm weren’t enough, the end tag took us into the sewers where some hapless red shirted city employees literally saw the writing on the wall – “Grodd” – before being attacked by super-smart gorilla. He does exist.