TV REVIEW: The Flash S4E5 ‘Girls Night Out’ (Spoilers)

The Flash aimed to give audiences a real first this week with ‘Girls Night Out’ – give the ladies some spotlight without involving the men. In order to achieve this, Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton) had separate bachelor and bachelorette parties on the same night where nothing went as planned. While the ladies did indeed get a hefty amount of screentime and a lot of fun interactions, thanks in part to guest appearances by Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) and new metahuman head hunter Amunet Black (Katee Sackhoff), there were parts of the episode that were a little rocky.

Another first for The Flash this week was not having Barry suit up even once throughout ‘Girls Night Out,’ and it was made for some comedy gold. Cisco (Carlos Valdes) planned a night of home videos, cigars and steak that was totally upended by Ralph (guest star Hartley Sawyer) inviting himself along and dragging the boys to a strip club. So instead of watching footage of Iris and Barry’s first wedding when they were ten – a ceremony presided over by a dinosaur, no less! – they were forced to watch Ralph ogle dancers instead. Thankfully, Cisco made his best friend a bachelor elixir that was guaranteed to get him drunk, which led to Barry yelling “I’m the Flash!” to anyone who would listen and crying over chicken wings. All in all not that different from sober Barry, come to think of it.

The strip club plot also contains some amusing side plots for Joe (Jesse L. Martin), who must deal with Cecile’s (guest star Danielle Nicolet) daughter Joanie as well as his own future child, and Ralph, who can’t leave well enough alone even in the happiest place on Earth. The former successfully mixed awkward dad humor with the heart-to-hearts that made The Flash‘s first season so beloved, while the latter simply served as a device to get the boys out of way for the night. Even though Cisco promised to be the designated superhero, the evening’s shenanigans get so out of hand that there’s no boy left to save the day in ‘Girls Night Out.’

Which means the ladies had to fend for themselves when Caitlin’s (Danielle Panabaker) past came back to bite them all once more. One of the most convoluted plots last year was her Killer Frost storyline, seeing as they never managed to explain why she was the only meta who had an evil persona living inside her – or at least the only one not previously diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder. It’s a good thing The Flash glossed over that this episode by merely likening her to the Hulk, but it was still odd to see Iris defending her so fiercely when she was one of Killer Frost’s victims last year. Though Iris was given the opportunity to prove once more why she’s such an appropriate leader for Team Flash, getting Cecile and Felicity into formation when needed to help Caitlin with her demons, the crux of ‘Girls Night Out’ came from Caitlin and Killer Frost both accepting each other.

This is where the episode got a little murky. Killer Frost isn’t evil (anymore?) and doesn’t want to kill people, but she also goes out of her way to act as if she does. Meanwhile, Caitlin refused the cure provided by her friends last season and instead sought out a woman who sells metahumans on the black market to help her control her powers. No real explanation was given for why she didn’t confide in the team earlier, outside of the fact that she and Iris weren’t friends outside of work and therefore didn’t share secrets. Admittedly, some of the conversations the two women had were necessary to move forward with a female friendship on The Flash, but it was still obvious that the writers were cramming seasons of missed chances into one hour of television. The resolution to the arc was a little too pat, and there were a few too many references to “#feminism,” but at least it cleared a path to passing the Bechdel Test.

Amunet herself was a fun villain, and Sackhoff was clearly enjoying herself in the role. While the faux British accent was overbearing at times, there’s no doubt she made the role her own. ‘Girls Night Out’ provided Amunet some tenuous links to the Thinker (Neil Sandilands) and planting the seeds for a large-scale investigation into her business, which makes the likelihood of a future appearance very appealing.

Overall, ‘Girls Night Out’ had moments of genuine emotion and a whole lot of laughs, but it was one of the more surface-level episodes of the season. As the crossover nears, hopefully the Thinker’s plan will kick into high gear so that the stakes can rise with it. I don’t want to lose the lighthearted tone that they’ve recaptured recently, but I do think Barry and company could stand to face some bigger consequences soon.

Rating: 3.5/5

Reviewer: Tatiana Hullender (@myrcellasear)

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

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