TV REVIEW: The Flash S4E10, ‘The Trial of the Flash’ (Contains Spoilers)

The Flash returned with an adaptation of yet another classic comic book story in ‘The Trial of the Flash,’ and once again it sped through the plot a little too quickly. After ending 2017 with an excellent cliffhanger, the show jumped right into Barry’s (Grant Gustin) court case in an episode that was rich in terms of emotion but somewhat poor when it came to logistics and execution.

The first question, right off the bat, is how Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) managed to get Barry out on bail and on house arrest instead – especially given that a large part of the prosecution’s case rests on how unreliable Barry is and how he disappears for long stretches of time. But ‘The Trial of the Flash’ skips right past the part that would showcase her competence as a lawyer in order to get to the verdict as quickly as possible, which makes for some excellent scenes for Barry and Iris (Candice Patton) but shortchanges the other characters and the legal process at the same time. Gustin and Patton make the most of their chemistry, though, and the episode touches on their lightning rod connection once more without explicitly confirming it.

Aside from the newly married couple being torn apart so quickly, the other part that really hit home was Captain Singh’s (Patrick Sabongui) testimony and his struggle to protect Barry while still being used against him. Forced to testify against his employee, Singh still made a case for why Barry Allen was “one of the good ones” in a way that felt totally natural and was proof of how well The Flash has used him as a bit character over the last four years. And his ode to Central City’s superhero – juxtaposed against the judge’s tirade against Barry in a sequence that was as poignant as it was on the nose – felt earned whether or not he knows the truth behind his identity.

But the plot holes in ‘The Trial of the Flash’ cannot be overstated, and the emotional impact of a few great scenes cannot cover them completely. It was especially frustrating because of how many avenues the mid season finale left open for Barry and his friends to take, yet The Flash opens the year on a note of resignation that’s hard to shake. Perhaps it’s because the writers were eager to get to the next phase of Devoe’s plan, but if the journey isn’t believable then it doesn’t matter how epic the outcome is. And while Iris and Joe (Jesse L. Martin) both got big moments to grapple with what it would mean to lose Barry, the rest of the team wasn’t afforded much consideration on that front. Given how important he is to all of them, it would have made sense to have at least one group scene dealing with the weight of the trial and whatever the verdict might be. Not to mention that Wally remaining absent when the Wests are in this much pain borders on ludicrous.

There were still quite a few humorous moments in ‘The Trial of the Flash,’ however, when it came to Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Harry (Tom Cavanagh) trying to fight off the metahuman of the week without either their main hero or their leader. Fallout wasn’t much to write home about on his own, but the boys’ attempts to coax Killer Frost out of Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) with the thought of puppies in danger was hilarious. Though not quite as funny, Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) wising up and doling out some sage advice to Joe about what kind of example he wants to set for his family was surprising. Thankfully he already seems to be maturing and coming into his own as a character, but until The Flash tackles his misogyny directly he’ll continue to leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Despite the court proceedings faltering in places and leaving more holes than desired, Kim Engelbrecht’s performance as Marlize must be commended throughout. Her crocodile tears ranged from moving at times to comedic, always striking the right note for the scene – and her confrontation with Iris was electric on both sides. ‘The Trial of the Flash’ continued drawing parallels between both couples, and it’s interesting to note that as Marlize and Clifford (Kendrick Sampson, who has big shoes to fill after Sandilands’ work but who is coming into his own) grow physically closer, they are still no match for Iris and Barry’s spiritual connection.

Much like with last season’s ‘Flashpoint,’ The Flash still hasn’t learned to take its time with big story lines such as ‘The Trial of the Flash’ and explore the ramifications of its intricate plots. But while the mid season premiere is an underwhelming entry in an otherwise strong season, the complex dynamics between certain characters and the almost uniformly solid performances from the cast make the episode engaging nevertheless.

Rating: 3/5

Reviewer: Tatiana Hullender (@myrcellasear)

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

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One comment

  1. Cindy /

    Really great review. Wish Cisco was getting more content.

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