TV REVIEW: The Flash S4E21, ‘Harry and the Harrisons’ (CONTAINS SPOILERS)

The Flash delivers a mostly filler episode with this week’s “Harry and the Harrisons,” but the team still takes a few important steps towards defeating Devoe by the end of the hour. While Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) does her best to bring back Killer Frost with metahuman slave trader Amunet’s (guest star Katee Sackhoff) help, Cisco (Carlos Valdes) introduces Harry (Tom Cavanagh) to a brand new Council of Wells in order to weaponize his emotional intelligence in the fight against Devoe. And, perhaps most successfully, Iris (Candice Patton) convinces Barry (Grant Gustin) to let her publish an article warning Central City and the world about the Thinker’s technophobic plan.

Logic dictates tackling the biggest story first, and that honor certainly belonged to Caitlin and her hidden motives for seeking out Amunet to join the fight against Devoe. But even though “Harry and the Harrisons” was a step up for Caitlin in terms of making her active and letting her go after what she wants, The Flash still fails her as a character because it refuses to acknowledge who she really is. Despite ostensibly wanting Amunet for the greater good, she is hiding the fact that she just wants her alter ego back and is even willing to do another job for the villainess to get her way. Granted, Joe (Jesse L. Martin) calls her on it, but only out of concern for her and not because her choices are inherently destructive.

Because let’s not forget: Amunet is a human trafficker. She kidnapped metahumans and sold them on the black market, and Caitlin willingly worked for her in exchange for a cure she could’ve obtained from Julian for free. Unlike siding with Savitar and plotting to kill Iris, this wasn’t a choice made by her icy alter ego who turns out to have been inside her all along. This was a decision Caitlin made while in full control of her faculties, one she was about to make again, and it has never been dealt with onscreen. That may be because The Flash prefers to keep things family-friendly, but in that case they shouldn’t introduce literal slavery and allow one of their series regulars to participate in it.

Not even Caitlin’s delayed realization that Killer Frost can only be found within her rather than without saves this plot, because that should’ve been the first conclusion she jumped to after learning she still had cryogenic cells in her body. Nevertheless, Amunet’s affection for her ex-protege results in an addition to the team’s arsenal against Devoe, and that counts for something in the final episodes leading up to their confrontation.

Meanwhile, “Harry and the Harrisons” found its footing with the eponymous Wells storyline, which ended up being a lot funnier and more touching than the first go-round. Herr Wells makes a triumphant and biting return, but even he’s no match for some of the new doppelgangers that Cavanagh must have been perfecting offscreen for weeks. More importantly, Harry actually learns the power of empathy through a combination of Cisco’s gentle prodding and various Wells’ gentle musings about emotion. That alone would be an impressive feat, but he adds onto it by employing his newfound empathy to discover that Devoe has been slow to enact his plan because he’s currently missing his wife. Knowledge is power when you’re battling against the Thinker, and this piece of information could take the team pretty far.

Last but not least, Iris makes the most of her limited screen time and manages to strike what might be the biggest blow against their enemy yet with the might of her journalism. She’s back to blogging with gusto, and not a second too soon. Her idea to inform the public of what they’re up against seems radical to Barry at first, and the best part of “Harry and the Harrisons” is that both spouses have substantial points to back up their arguments. And once again, The Flash resolves what could have turned into a marital conflict by simply having Barry and Iris talk things through and come to a mutually supportive decision. As much as I’d rather see Iris take to the streets to gather intel, the immediate result of her article is both the most satisfying moment of the episode and the most effective victory logged against Devoe thus far. Like I said, knowledge is power – but it’s not a power that’s diluted by sharing it with those who need it.

“Harry and the Harrisons” contained several delightful character beats, especially for Harry and Iris, as well as a particularly energetic battle against Amunet’s snake-eyed minion Norvok. But ultimately it didn’t raise the stakes much given that there are only two episodes left, and it was marred somewhat by the inconsistencies in Caitlin’s storyline. If the show would just lean into her self-serving personality, they could have a complex antiheroine on their hands rather than a half-baked character who has to be literally split in two.

Rating: 3/5

Reviewer: Tatiana Hullender (@myrcellasear)

The Flash airs Tuesdays on the CW at 8/7c in the US.

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