The Flash

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As Barry (Grant Gustin) begins his prison stint, making a few enemies and a new friend (played by former professional wrestler Bill Goldberg), life outside Iron Heights goes on without him. Corinne Bohrer becomes the latest character to reprise her role from the 90s Flash television show where she played the Trickster‘s (Mark Hamill) underappreciated sidekick Prank. Presented here as the mother of the younger Trickster (Devon Graye), Prank helps her son break out of prison and unleash havoc on Central City where a new stretchy hero will have to grow a backbone and answer the call.

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While Central City is slowly being poisoned by a new meta-human who is unknowingly radiating nuclear radiation, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) stands trial for the murder of Clifford DeVoe (Neil Sandilands) without being able to reveal the reasons behind his obsession with the man or the fact that DeVoe is alive in another man’s body (Kendrick Sampson). Unwilling to reveal his identity as the Flash, and unable to present much of a defense against a perfect frame without revealing his secret, Barry is quickly found guilty and sentenced to life without parole in the same prison where his father spent decades for a murder he didn’t commit.

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Christmas comes to Central City, but no one is in a celebratory mood as Barry (Grant Gustin) is abducted by the Thinker and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) is kidnapped by Amunet Black (Katee Sackhoff). With limited resources at their disposal, Iris (Candice Patton) is forced to choose which one becomes the priority for the team to recover. While the episode is apparently the last we will see of Clifford DeVoe (Neil Sandilands), it’s far from the last we’ll see of the Thinker whose need for new metahumans, one in particular, is finally explained.

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The four-part crossover concludes with the death of one of the Legends (helping the show write off the character of Firestorm which it never learned to use properly), the arrival of the other Legends (better late than never), and our heroes’ return to Earth-One for a final confrontation with the Earth-X invaders. Keeping half the Legends in reserve until the final episode does help boost our heroes numbers in the final episode, but is a disservice to Ray (Brandon Routh) who, given his tenure in the Arrowverse, certainly draws the shortest straw this time around. The death of Stein (Victor Garber) is hardly surprising, but how he is kept alive from his critical wounds at the beginning of the episode, and his sacrifice, both work well.

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Things are looking pretty bleak for our heroes at the beginning of “Part 3” (and aren’t a whole hell of a lot better by the end). Most of our leads are captured and imprisoned on Earth-X, the Reverse-Flash (Tom Cavanagh) is preparing to carve out Supergirl‘s (Melissa Benoist) heart, and Cisco (Carlos Valdes), Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), and the Arrow B-team are trapped in the particle accelerator. Enter Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller). Well, a new version at least (complete with his comic book trademark glasses the previous Earth-One Cold was too cool to wear). We also get a new hero in the Ray (Russell Tovey), a grizzled General Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan), and a last-ditch plan for our heroes to make it back to their Earth before it is too late.

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“Part 2” of the four-part crossover focuses on the fallout of Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris‘ (Candice Patton) wedding and the explanation of who the villains from Earth-X are and what they want on Earth-One. While our heroes manage to push back the Nazis in “Part One,” the second episode offers a counterpunch from the evil dopplegangers (whose identities seemed fairly obvious to everyone except, apparently, our heroes). Heavier on action than the first episode, there are still smaller conversations shoehorned in here and there to give those not in the fray something to do. “Part 2” also offers small cameos to Arrow‘s B-team who arrive to provide support against the Nazi horde.

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Unlike last year’s crossover, which tailored each episode to that particular cast, “Crisis on Earth-X” begins in earnest with jumping us right into the action and introducing (nearly) all our characters at once. This time around it feels much more like a cohesive crossover (and Supergirl gets to be in the action from the beginning). The focus on “Part 1” is primarily to get all our characters to Central City in time for Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris‘ (Candice Patton) wedding. We get their wedding reception, various drama between Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Jackson (Franz Drameh) and Stein (Victor Garber), and wedding crashers in the form of the crossover’s big bad villains – Nazis from Earth-X.

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Who is faster, Superman (Jason J. Lewis) or the Flash (Charlie Schlatter)? DC has milked this controversy for decades since the pair’s first race 60 years ago. We’ve seen races in multiple comics as well as on television in Superman: The Animated Series‘ “Speed Demons.” “Race Against Crime” follows the basic format of stories like this as the world gathers to watch the pair race only to see a super-villain interfere and stop from having a true winner ever declared. This time around that villain is Lex Luthor (James Woods) who takes advantage of the tracking technology to bleed speed from both racers and siphon it into his own armor allowing him control of both speed and time.

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The title of the latest episode comes from the B-story as Harry (Tom Cavanagh) reaches out to other versions of himself across the Multiverse in order to aid in the search for the illusive villain DeVoe (Neil Sandilands). While it will eventually bring the Flash (Grant Gustin) face-to-face with the much-discussed character for the first time, neither the quirky versions of Wells nor Cisco‘s (Carlos Valdes) rousing friendship speech can save the groan-worthy sequences (which are given far too much screentime).

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“Girls Night Out” splits the cast into gender-specific groups for typical bachelor/bachelorette party episode, Flash-style. While Barry‘s (Grant Gustin) night is hijacked by Ralph Dinby (Hartley Sawyer), it’s the ladies who get to lead the episode’s main storyline which finally answers some questions about Caitlin‘s (Danielle Panabaker) missing months while also bulking up the roster this week with the inclusion of both Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and guest-star Katee Sackhoff as the D-list villain Amunet Black. While mentioned briefly pre-party, and making an appearance in the show’s epilogue, DeVoe (Neil Sandilands) continues to be a mystery to Team Flash.

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