In the recap for ‘The Flash’ season 4 debut, the team works to get Barry back from the Speed Force after a villain shows up demanding a showdown….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The writers and producers behind ‘The Flash’ promised that season 4 would shift to a much lighter tone than the grim picture that was painted throughout season 3 as Barry fought against an older time remnant of himself that transformed into the murderous Savitar.
The plot was rather straight forward — Barry had to find a way to stop Savitar from killing the woman he loved as a glimpse of the future showed Savitar murdering Iris West.
It was a tension filled season, one that ended with another not so happy moment as Barry was dragged away into the Speed Force as he sacrificed himself to prevent the destruction of Central City and perhaps the world.
As season 4 got underway on Tuesday night, ‘The Flash’ not only got off to a fast start (no pun intended) but the show was quick to get the team back together in rapid order. Of course it all happened without much friction so you’d hope there will be a little more fallout as the season progresses — Barry starts to remember what happened while he was in the Speed Force or maybe a flashback to what happened to Caitlin in those six months she was struggling between two personalities.
Either way, ‘The Flash’ is back and it’s full of heart, humor and spectacle — the three tenets that this series was built upon and by the end of the episode there are two new villains revealed who will give the Scarlet Speedster plenty to worry about now that he’s back in charge of protecting Central City.
With that said, let’s recap the season 4 debut of ‘The Flash’ titled ‘The Flash Reborn’…
Getting the Band Back Together
It’s been six months since Barry sacrificed himself into the Speed Force as the remainder of Team Flash attempts to carry on without him. With Caitlin gone and Julian back in London as well, the team is now under the watchful eye of Iris West, who is running point back at STAR Labs while she acts as the coach while helping Wally aka Kid Flash and Cisco aka Vibe catch the bad guys.
This time around it’s Peek-a-boo — a returning villain from a season past — and it’s taking everything Kid Flash and Vibe can do to stop her. Thankfully with some helpful quarterbacking from Iris, they are able to take her out and put her back in prison. Unfortunately, Team Flash isn’t as efficient without Barry around because one out of every three criminals are escaping.
Matters only get worse when a Samurai with a jet pack shows up in Central City demanding a showdown with the real Flash. When Cisco and Wally try to stand up to him, the Samurai slams his sword into the ground causing a massive explosion that proves to the team that they are going to need a lot more fire power to take this guy down than any of the other threats they’ve faced thus far in Barry’s absence. The Samurai then issues an ultimatum — deliver the real Flash within 24-hours or Central City will burn.
That’s when Cisco reveals to the team that he’s secretly been working on a plan to get Barry back from the Speed Force ever since the day he left. Iris is irate that he would keep something like this from her, much less give them all false hope that he can return considering the dire consequences attached to his exit in the first place.
Iris is the one who took Barry’s exit the hardest — for obvious reasons — and that’s why she’s struggling at the mere mention of his return because if it all falls apart, she’s still all alone and she got her hopes up only to have them dashed. At home, Iris has been sleeping on the couch because she can’t even contemplating laying down in the bed she once shared with Barry. At family dinners, Iris is happy to see that her father and Cecile are moving in together but it’s just another reminder of what she no longer has in her own life.
Still despite Iris’ objections, Cisco is determined to get Barry back but he’s going to need some help.
The Stars are Melting
To assist with his plan to rescue Barry, Cisco needs some assistance from his old pal Caitlin Snow, who is now working as a bartender in a local dive, slinging drinks to all sorts of people from Central City. It seems Caitlin has re-emerged and Killer Frost has taken a backseat again so Cisco is happy to reunite with his friend after giving her the past six months to find herself.
With the team in dire need of Barry’s help not to mention everyone just wanting him back, Caitlin agrees to help, which puts the final pieces of the puzzle in place.
Cisco assembles the team — minus Iris — a familiar site to show off his plan to get Barry back. He takes them to the runway where Barry first started training to become the Flash back in season one and then Cisco shows off how he transformed the Speed Force Bazooka into a tool that will fire into the Speed Force, connect with Barry’s specific signature and then pull him out. Simultaneously a “quark-sphere” assembled by Caitlin with Barry’s DNA will get dumped into his place to trick the Speed Force into believing that he’s still occupying a spot in the prison to keep the entire thing stabilized.
Just before the attempt is made to bring Barry back, Iris show sup and she’s not happy that they did this behind her back but at this point it’s too late to argue so it’s time to try. Unfortunately, Cisco’s experiment seemingly fails with the sphere disappears into the Speed Force but Barry is nowhere to be found.
A few towns over another portal opens up and a very naked Barry emerges from the Speed Force before the police are called and return him to the Central City Police Department.
Cecile informs Joe and the rest of the team that Barry is back but when they arrive it doesn’t take them long to realize something is very wrong. Barry is spouting gibberish and drawing symbols all over the walls as if his brain, mouth and hands are all operating on a different frequency. Caitlin suggests that this is one of two problems — either Barry has been stricken with Schizophasia — a disorder where the brain turns everything into a word salad and nothing quite connects correctly — or because Barry has been stuck in the Speed Force for so long that perhaps he just has dementia.
The team returns him to STAR Labs for testing but nothing seems to be snapping him out of this state. Even when Cisco attempts to unscramble Barry’s strange new language, he only gets a message that says “this house is bitchin'”, which means nothing to anyone.
When Barry snaps back into a speedster and runs havoc throughout STAR Labs accidentally, they are forced to put him into a holding cell and hope that they can find a way for him to recover. Meanwhile, Wally attempts to trick the Samurai by showing up in Barry’s costume but he’s easily defeated and the new bad guy in town warns them that they have just hours remaining until he destroys the city until the real Flash shows his face.
At STAR Labs, the team is out of ideas for how to bring Barry back to himself and even Iris is beginning to think that the man she loves is gone forever even though he’s right back in front of her now. Thankfully, Joe tells his daughter that over the past few months he’s found his faith again thanks to some gentle nudging from his new girlfriend and he realized that strength is nothing without faith. Iris has been strong in these six months since Barry has been gone — she stepped up into a leadership role and kept Team Flash together.
But somewhere along the line, Iris lost her faith that Barry would ever return to her. Now she has to show that faith in him again if she truly wants him back.
That’s when Iris comes up with a new plan — as she turns herself over to the Samurai, which she hopes will snap Barry out of his mental coma when he realizes that she’s in danger.
Like magic as Joe returns to the holding cell to tell Barry that Iris may die, suddenly he bursts through the containment center, takes the new suit that Cisco made for him while he was gone and then goes racing off to save the woman he loves.
A race through a windmill farm ends with Barry defeating the Samurai, getting Iris back with his mind in tact as sharp as its ever been before. Before they can celebrate too much, Barry first has to find out who this person is that threatened to destroy the city but removing the mask reveals that the Samurai is nothing more than a robot. Before it stops functioning, the Samuroid (it’s from the comics so an actual piece of Flash history) says ‘Flash, welcome home’.
Back at STAR Labs, Caitlin tests Barry and finds that his mind and body are operating at an even higher level than when he left. In fact, Barry is running faster now than at any time in his past. Add to that, Barry’s spirit is better than ever as he remarks to Iris that it feels like a weight has been lifted off his chest as if all the skeletons he’s been dragging around for all these years have been buried in the round once and for all.
Barry Allen is happy and that’s been a rare site over these past few seasons.
To make matters even better, Caitlin says she’s back for good as well although there will be some past entanglements that will come back to haunt her. That mostly includes quitting her old job at the bar and a former co-worker reminding Caitlin that she still owes Amunet Black — a new villain joining ‘The Flash’ this season played by Katee Sackhoff — but when he puts his hands on her, she turns cold and Killer Frost returns.
Killer Frost puts the guy in check before leaving the bar and promising to have some fun. That’s when Caitlin takes over and she’s clearly frightened because her worst fears are coming back as this vicious cycle is starting again.
And back at home, Barry and Iris reunite in their apartment just long enough for a siren to be heard in the distance as the call for the Flash to get back in action.
Finally our closing scene in the debut introduces us to the big bad this season and the master of puppets behind the Samuroid that attacked Central City. His name is Clifford DeVoe aka ‘The Thinker’ and he’s the one who orchestrated the entire ordeal in an effort to get the Flash back from the Speed Force. DeVoe is a meta-human with beyond genius level intelligence and might offer up an interesting foe to Team Flash this season. Where brawn has failed, perhaps brains will succeed.
But why does he want the Flash and what does he plan to do next?
He’s thinking about it.
‘The Flash’ returns with a brand new episode next Tuesday night at 8pm ET on the CW.