The Flash: “Invincible” Season 2 Episode 22 Review

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After last week’s masterwork of superhero television, The Flash returns to some of season two’s more glaring problems, mainly nonsensical character arcs and a sheer lack of scope.

“Invincible” opens as if we skipped an episode. Zoom’s army of metahumans are already terrorizing Central City, while Caitlin has somehow escaped Zoom’s clutches and just sort of shows up at S.T.A.R. Labs. Flash races around town putting out fires as quickly as the spurt up. Has a supervillain siege ever been so boring and low-stakes? When Zoom unleashed his army at the closing moments of last week’s episode, it looked like we were going to get some late Arrow season two material. Deathstroke’s army of super soldiers rampaged the streets of Starling City in a way that really made the city feel like it was in genuine danger. Did The Flash spend too much money animating King Shark to give this attack the same sort of scope? Either way, this episode was a major disappointment right from the start. The stakes continue to just be too low, especially with just one episode of the season left.

But speaking of Arrow‘s successes, The Flash exploited a recent one this week to pretty good effect. SPOILERS FOR SEASON FOUR OF ARROW STARTING HERE: In rhythm with the strikingly different Earth-2 doppelgängers, the other world’s Laurel Lance is one of Zoom’s most powerful henchmen, calling herself the Black Siren and using her Canary Cry to rip buildings apart. With Laurel of Earth-1 recently killed off, it was kind of endearing to have The Flash say their own goodbye to the character. Katie Cassidy looked to be having fun as the villain, even if she ended up easily defeated by the frequency thing Wells explained. END OF SPOILERS FOR SEASON FOUR OF ARROW.

So while the siege ends unremarkably, the episode itself doesn’t, with Zoom interrupting a happy family dinner to kill Henry Allen in the very same spot Reverse-Flash killed Nora Allen. It was obvious this was happening. John Wesley Shipp was gone almost all season for no reason, and there were too many speeches about his pride for his son and his future. But it was still effective, easily the best moment of this underwhelming penultimate episode. Though I do hope Henry’s death isn’t used as a lesson in arrogance for Barry. This brings me to the episode’s biggest crime.

“Invincible” takes a lot of measures in ruining the excellent character work done with Barry in “The Runaway Dinosaur.” Flash just went through an insane Speed Force fever dream that challenged him mentally and forced him to decide what kind of hero he is. It was inspiring and emotional all the way through. So why the hell does this episode portray Barry as an over-confident prick? I’m pretty sure that’s not the type of hero he learned how to be last week. After such a pivotal, poignant moment in Barry’s arc this season, the show tears it down and changes its mind on what that arc is supposed to be about. It’s perhaps the most infuriating move The Flash has made this year in a season full of frustrations.

Maybe “Invincible” never could have lived up to “The Runaway Dinosaur.” But it shouldn’t have been this bad. If you can’t pay for a metahuman siege, at least don’t completely botch the main hero’s character arc. Henry’s death kept the episode from completely derailing what momentum the season has gained so far, but that’s one of the few positive things I can say about this penultimate episode. After such a rousing success, this one was just an out and out dud. Grade: C

Some Other Notes:

  • Where did Cisco and Caitlin get their doppelgängers’ costumes from?
  • I actually really like Joe’s arc concerning Wally in this episode. We all know what’s going to eventually happen to Wally, so Joe might as well embrace his son’s heroism now.
  • I also liked how Cisco’s vibes developed into madness on Earth-2 over the course of the episode. Whether these visions are in fact of the future or Zoom has completely destroyed the planet is likely to be revealed next week, but either way, whatever is happening looks scary.
  • I’m about 50/50 on whether I’m watching The Flash next season. The highs are really high, but few and far between and the show has lost its consistent quality this season. If the main villain is going to be another speedster there’s no way. If it’s Gorilla Grodd, then I’m in.

By Matt Dougherty

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