The Flash Season 2, Episode 11 “The Reverse-Flash Returns” (mild spoilers)
Bechdel-Wallace Score: 3/3 – Probably more than one scene aces the test this week, but for sure the standout is Iris and Francine.
Shukla Score: 3/3 – The show has several significant non-white characters, including an African-American family (the Wests), who are crucial players in almost every plot and sub-plot on the show. Like above, multiple scenes got 3/3 points this week and the standout is Iris (Candice Patton) visiting Francine (Vanessa Williams) at the hospital.
Russo Score: 0/3 – There is no LGBTQ representation in this episode. Surely the particle accelerator explosion, or some dark matter, hit a lesbian somewhere in the city and she could be the meta-human-of-the-week. Earth-2 Garrick and Wells could have a shattered romance in their past, which wouldn’t even require any change in their dialogue or dynamic – just some exposition! At least the Captain of the Central City Police and/or his husband could get written into the show for a few minutes, each week. I wasn’t reviewing episodes or scoring for representation back in season one, but I seem to remember the show doing better then. Hopefully it will come again, and soon.
Kittehs: 😿😿😿😿😿/5 – This episode was really exciting and also upsetting, but in a good storytelling, hand-me-a-Kleenix way. It would have taken five out of five kittehs to distract me, and even then I would have just cuddled them in a pile for comfort while we watched all of the grief and pain that was in this episode. The kittehs are crying because this episode causes, as the interwebs say, all the feels.
Low points: I tend to think of low points as being either critical problems and/or unenjoyable moments of the show. Neither of those things happened in this episode. Every scene was important, most of them included world building for future episodes, several of them were deeply touching (I cried three times, not gonna lie). And so without any complaints, all I will say is this: I don’t want to watch Patty and Barry break up any more times. They’ve all been well done, but let’s not get maudlin about this.
Highlights: Cisco, as always, has all the best scenes and best lines – especially when a bad guy or Harry are involved. The West family drama is compelling and the show-runners are spending real time on it. I think it is really deepening the show this season, which risked missing that dynamic since the Allen family drama that powered season 1 has been resolved. And the Wests are making for a great story without time travel or superpowers (so far) to spice things up. Speaking of time travel, with the exception of Cisco going all Marty-McFly-polaroid for a few minutes, the show is doing the hard work of good storytelling with a concept that is easy to fail at, and fail hard. Season 1 was the Reverse-Flash’s final fight with Barry, but it was Barry’s first fight with the Reverse-Flash. This episode was the beginning of their rivalry, which is even cooler to watch since we have already seen its end.
Dad edits: This was my favorite kind of episode what with the good family scenes, good relationship scenes (not happy maybe, but good), no guns, and a singularity! My boy loves singularities. Barry does go a bit berserker on Reverse-Flash when he gets the chance, but that was depicted more in the dialogue and music than in the actual violence, which was mild. I say relax and watch the whole thing, no edits.
The Flash airs on Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW