The Flash 4×01 Review: “The Flash Reborn”

It’s good to have The Flash back! The season four premiere, “The Flash Reborn,” was exactly what this show needed. Even though it felt a bit like season three in tone, it’s easy to tell that there was a sense of rejuvenation and revitalized energy surrounding everything. The plot wasn’t dark, but the emotions ran high, and were honestly the best parts of the episode. The meta of the week was fun, but his presence was primarily there to lay the groundwork for season four’s big bad. With call backs to the show’s pilot episode, The Flash premiere felt like a fresh start and was one of the show’s stronger openings. 

It’s nice to see that The Flash took advantage of Barry’s absence by bringing Iris and Cisco to the forefront. I’ve always stood by the opinion that they are two of the best and strongest characters on the show and “The Flash Reborn” really allows them to shine in all the best ways. Iris is devastated and heartbroken that Barry’s gone, but she pushes all of her emotions aside to lead the team, keep everyone together, and protect the city. Joe is concerned that she isn’t moving on and allowing herself to grieve and this leads to two wonderful scenes between them. Her strength in the face of despair and the unknown of whether or not Barry will ever return is admirable. And when she talks about her reluctance to believe, it’s hard not to feel all her pain.

Katie Yu/The CW

This episode also gave us the opposite of the more optimistic and supporting Iris that we’ve come to know. These last six months have changed her and although she was bottling up her emotions and pretending she was fine, it’s so refreshing to have her express her feelings as well. Iris let down her guard as soon as Barry was back and allowed herself to talk about the emotions she’d kept locked away. The tenacity she showed in leading the team and keeping the city from danger finally cracked after of seeing Barry alive once again. And now that she’s leading STAR Labs, I sincerely hope that she continues to express her emotions and speak what’s on her mind. Candice Patton really sold this episode. She portrayed two sides of Iris: leader Iris and vulnerable Iris and both were uniquely powerful and full of emotion.

However, her lack of faith in Barry ever coming back caused her to clash with Cisco, who spent the last six months trying to get Barry out of the speed force in secret. Cisco used the excuse of the Samuroid to bring up up what he’d been doing to get Barry out. You can really see he’s struggling and trying to get past the fact that he’s lost two friends over the course of six months. While it’s clear that Iris is the one who lights the way for Barry, Cisco does the same for Caitlin. Getting her back makes him even more giddy to bring Barry back. Iris tries to keep things running while Cisco tries to repair the missing pieces. They both have their own reasons and intentions and, although they operated on opposite sides of the spectrum in this episode, both their hearts were in the right place. Carlos Valdes really sold Cisco’s need to have his friends back and was weighed down by emotion as well. Moving forward, the show needs more of Cisco and Iris’ dynamic. 

The CW

The Flash wouldn’t be The Flash without being centered around Barry and Iris’ love story. It continues in “The Flash Reborn” and doesn’t disappoint. Even though it would have been nice if something other than a machine got Barry out of the speed force, it’s Iris who takes things into her own hands to snap him out of the mind fog the speed force left him in. Their reunion isn’t overdone, but rather beautiful in its simplicity and strength; it once again reinforces the connection between Barry and Iris, as well as Iris to Barry’s powers. The scene in the field was a wonderful standout and boasted one of the best shots in the episode.

Caitlin being gone for six months and immediately coming back to the team with nothing more than a lackluster apology doesn’t sit well because it still doesn’t feel earned. She was absolved far too quickly (Iris calling her out for one second doesn’t really count, nor did Caitlin apologize to her); however, despite the lackluster subplot of her return to the team, I’m curious to see where they take her story this season after a half-hearted attempt to develop it last season. There’s some mystery there that may prove worthwhile. Will she betray the team again? That’s yet to be seen, but Killer Frost isn’t as gone as she’d like everyone to believe and for the first time, I’m fascinated with where they might take Caitlin’s story.

Perhaps one of the things that’s most concerning is that Kid Flash’s story isn’t as fleshed out yet. Keiynan Lonsdale does really well when given good material, but it isn’t clear right now where the writers want to take Wally this season. Will there be jealousy now that Barry has come back and Kid Flash is no longer the only Flash? Will Barry go back to mentoring him? Wally’s development can go so far if the writers gave him some more focus, so hopefully the rest of the season doesn’t completely sideline him.

Katie Yu/The CW

The Samuroid as a villain of the week wasn’t too bad; however, it was who was controlling him that proved to be the most interesting thing about him. It’s refreshing to see The Flash introducing this season’s villain so early on and a nice change from seasons two and three, both of which waited too long for the reveal. The callbacks to the pilot were very present in this episode, what with Iris activating Barry’s powers and Cisco and Caitlin’s bit in the lab to get Barry to wake up. Executive producer Andrew Kreisberg has teased that the first few seasons of The Flash are what he likes to call “The Flash Begins.” With this episode resetting the show in many ways, it’s clear that Barry will be looking ahead instead of behind him and “The Flash Reborn” is very much indicative of that.


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