TV REVIEW: The Flash S4E6 ‘When Harry Met Harry’ (Contains Spoilers)

While The Flash has earned a lot of goodwill this season with its lighter tone and comedic antics, ‘When Harry Met Harry’ may have stretched that a tad too thin this week. Last week’s episode was mostly about the ladies coming to terms with each other, so perhaps it’s fitting that this week was the men’s turn – but somehow it wasn’t as satisfying. The main plot revolved around Barry (Grant Gustin) trying to teach hero-in-training Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) to care more about saving victims than catching criminals while they faced the metahuman named Black Bison (guest star Chelsea Kurtz in a pretty badass role). Meanwhile, Harry (Tom Cavanagh) called together a Council of Wells to discover who the Flash’s latest nemesis was as Cisco (Carlos Valdes) looked on in horror and despair.

There are a lot of things to dissect about ‘When Harry Met Harry,’ but first I have to say that the best part of the episode was hands down the return of Sharon Finkle, played by the hilarious and amazing Donna Pescow. Barry and Iris (Candice Patton) drag Dibny to their couples’ therapist for some hypnosis in a scene that not only provides some context for the so-called villain of the week, but also provides some genuine laughs too. Unfortunately the engaged couple don’t get to do much else together for the second week in a row, which makes the upcoming crossover wedding feel a little rushed – though that’s a story for another time. There wasn’t much Joe (Jesse L. Martin) either, but at least he got to hilariously back away from a murderous statue.

The Flash has always been known for its heart, which is perhaps the part that’s most lacking this week. There’s a lot of gags, many of them thanks to Ralph’s powers, but there’s far fewer moving conversations than normal. Black Bison was the most intriguing part of ‘When Harry Met Harry,’ especially when they delved into her motivations as a member of the Sioux tribe on a quest to reclaim her people’s heritage. But while this could have been a complicated issue of the law versus justice when it comes to an underrepresented group, her pain was swept under the rug in favor of giving Ralph a big redemptive moment at the end of the episode. As nice as his final scenes were, his actions in them should have been saved for Mina Chayton’s (aka Black Bison) own redemption and the restoration of her tribe’s history. Not to mention that they still don’t erase his own glaring flaws.

The biggest issue with Ralph in the show’s eyes seems to be that he is reluctant in his heroism and would rather stop crime than save civilians, but there is something far more sinister about his characterization that is being overlooked onscreen. As charming as Sawyer’s performance is, Ralph is still a man who views and treats women as objects. In fact, he literally says Caitlin’s (Danielle Panabaker) measurements out loud to her face while he’s supposed to be complimenting her intelligence. The fact that no one talks to him about his behavior and instead lets it pass with just a look and a shrug makes me hope it’s meant as purposeful commentary on The Flash Andrew Kreisberg, who has been suspended over allegations of sexual harassment. Even though he learned his lessons about heroism at the end of ‘When Harry Met Harry,’ I’m afraid it’ll be awhile longer before he learns that women are people and should be treated as such in the workplace and everywhere else.

Of course, ‘When Harry Met Harry’ was named for the Council of Wells, so something must be said about that subplot. If you are a fan of Tom Cavanagh’s humor and talent, then these scenes were made for you. He makes the most of the time allotted him, with four different Harrison Wells to add to the mix – although tragically Wells the Grey did not last nearly long enough. While these scenes don’t add much to the plot, and in fact the Devoe-related mystery they do solve occurs mostly offscreen, they did add a lot of humor to the episode. Cisco’s exasperated reactions and solid advice were as welcome as ever, injecting an otherwise silly segue with the right amount of heart.

Thankfully The Flash finally gets back to business by the end of the hour, ending with an exciting cliffhanger that paves the way for a darker turn next week and proves that the Thinker (Neil Sandilands) and the Mechanic (Kim Englebrecht) are actually foes to watch out for. If the promo is any indication, next week’s episode is gonna hit the gas pedal and take us full speed ahead when it comes to the Barry’s showdown with Devoe.

Rating: 3/5

Reviewer: Tatiana Hullender (@myrcellasear)

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

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