Catching Up: The Flash Episode 417, "Null and Annoyed"

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The Flash Null and Annoyed

The fourth season of THE FLASH has been, to date, one of the most exciting of the series. It's been running like a well-oiled machine.

Last night, a cylinder misfired.

Now, I don't know where it went off the rails. Maybe the writing. Maybe the directing. Maybe there's just too many episodes and not enough story. Either way, things didn't work.

Things begin with Flash (GRANT GUSTIN) trying to run Ralph (HARTLEY SAWYER) through a training scenario. But Ralph's inability to take it seriously grates on Barry, who keeps reminding Ralph that they're doing this to save his life, since he's one of the remaining Bus Metas that The Thinker (played this week by MIRANDA MACDOUGALL, the former Fiddler) is trying to acquire and absorb.

While a new meta makes her appearance, Barry and Ralph investigate the scene as private investigators. But when their encounter with Null (BETHANY BROWN) finds Barry trapped on the ceiling because of her metahuman ability to negate gravity on an object, Barry ends up blaming Ralph for the mishap and benches him.

Caitlin (DANIELLE PANABAKER) and Cisco (CARLOS VALDES) have their own issue to deal with, after the unexpected arrival of Breacher (DANNY TREJO). He was in the middle of a battle on another Earth, when his vibe-blast powers failed him. He believes the vampire he was fighting stole them and wants Cisco to fix him back up. But what Cisco and Caitlin discover is that the powers have faded because of Breacher's age. Rather than tell him the truth, Cisco tries to fake a fix, then has to intervene when Breacher goes back to finish the fight he started.

Breacher (DANNY TREJO) and Cisco (CARLOS VALDES) have a reunion on THE FLASH.

Over in The Thinker's headquarters, Marlize (KIM ENGELBRECHT) is concerned when her husband stumbles, as the dark matter energy burns up his latest host body. (One figures that one of the meta bodies he wants will overcome this little kink in his plan.) She quickly sets out to make corrections to the life support chair only to find that there are already designs underway, which The Thinker claims to have already begun but which she can finish. While Marlize works, she drops her coffee mug, spills it, and finds the glowing bits of The Weeper's tears in the mixture (because they don't glow in the cup, apparently, just on the floor). She analyzes them and learns that she's been being drugged by her husband, and quickly makes a video message to herself to remind her of what's happening in case she gets drugged again. Surprise, the file she tries to save already exists, because this has already happened to her before!

The Easter eggs are still here, but they're starting to get tiresome. Dibny's joke about forming a superhero comedy team that could go to Washington as the "DC Comics" was forced, and when he refers to The Thinker in the simulation as "Doc Ock" it's just "Oh, look, another reminder that there's another comic book company out there making movies." But that's not really the most annoying parts of "Null and Annoyed." There are several "Flash Flaws" in this episode, such as:

  • The Thinker slipping up with the number of bus metas at large while in conversation with his wife; that's just lazy writing to communicate to the audience that The Weeper is already captured.
  • The Thinker letting Marlize go through the repeating loops of discovery rather than cutting them off -- perhaps by bringing her coffee in a plastic cup with a lid the second time rather than yet another porcelain mug?
  • The Thinker speaking in a southern accent just because he now inhabits the body of Izzy Bowen -- as if vocal chords and accents are one and the same.

Fortunately, there are a few things in the episode that actually did work. The cameo appearances by JASON MEWES and KEVIN SMITH (who directed this episode) as security guards Jay and Silent Bob was a nice bit of nostalgia. And the final moments with Harrison Wells (TOM CAVANAGH) raise certain questions when he goes into the secret room of S.T.A.R. Labs and activates Gideon, who says it's been over 1000 days since their last interaction. That's nearly three years, which would coincide with Gideon's interactions with the Harrison Wells that was actually Eobard Thawne. Given that we've had the ominous "Just like Thawne" phrase floating about, and that we've seen the Wells/Thawne version of the Reverse Flash once again during the "Crisis on Earth X" crossover, are we meant to doubt the veracity of the current Harry Wells' identity? That could be interesting, but I'd have rather made it through the entire season without another speedster villain, although perhaps as a season-ending reveal it would be acceptable.

JASON MEWES and KEVIN SMITH reprise their Jay and Silent Bob roles for THE FLASH.

2.5 / 5.0