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REVIEW: The Flash 3×11 “Dead or Alive”

Written by Scott Swartz

Oh filler episodes, when will you manage to be more than just a simple fun distraction. I mean you can’t seriously just be here to stall us from actually dealing with Savitar, there has to be a hell of a lot more that you can do. I mean “Dead or Alive” isn’t necessarily a bad episode, it simply doesn’t fully capitalize on what it should be. Sure we get Cisco’s coming out party as Vibe and Iris taking some steps to cementing her legacy as a damn fine reporter. However, at the end of it all I was feeling slightly hollow, like there was some part of Barry’s plot that was missing from the entire affair. I mean we all know who the major players are in this story so why are we biding our time like we don’t have better things to do. You remember that ticking clock we instituted all of two episodes ago right.

So, lets focus on the good which really was Carlos Valdes’ performance to night and finally getting to see Vibe in the suit. Valdes has been touch and go as moody Cisco and being a dick to HR, but tonight everything was put into perspective. To Cisco HR is not the man he has known, admired, or even considered a friend in any sense of the word. He is merely an associate who is a painful reminder of all those people he has looked up to and now Cisco has to be the adult. Cisco has to be someone he was always told he could become and here is where Valdes manages to shine as he is telling HR that he can become something great something better than the goofball everyone believes him to be. Its really one of the better moments of the entire season as you can see the parallels between season one Cisco and season one Thawne. Both are determined to prove themselves in some manner and they are constantly being challenged by these brilliant men. Really fun stuff if I do say so.

Similarly you have Iris who now knowing she will die soon is seeking to cement her legacy. This actually is turning into a great plot as Iris has constantly been underserved and sidelined as a member of the team. Having her be an active participant in her own legacy is a fun and having Iris do anything at this point is a major step for her character. She is being selfish and dealing with her own self interest sure, but it fits with the scenario and doesn’t make her feel like an annoying part of the plot. Candice Patton does a good job of playing this layer of Iris and her fear that she will not amount to anything. It would be easy for all of this to come off as too needy or being blind to the actual problems, but here it feels entirely natural and within the scope of the arc. The question is what exactly will this all mean moving forward? Is legacy all Iris cares about or is there some deeper reason to her behavior?

We also managed to have a solid if slightly underwhelming introduction to a new character in the form of Gypsy. I mean sure, it was fun to see how intense and dangerous she is, but she really didn’t manage to add much else to the plot as a whole. I mean her interactions with Barry were limited and if she is supposed to all of a sudden be connected to the team Barry is building against Savitar I don’t see it. Granted it was quite the show watching her and Vibe battle through dimensions even if it was pretty one sided. I am glad she is alive I am just wondering where we go from here.

The other under developed part of the plot was watching Julian attempt to bond with the team. It wasn’t that it was entirely unenjoyable, it was just there wasn’t enough to warrant it being considered. I mean I understand the need of showing how Julian will integrate with the team, but there needed to be a more well developed arc than him simply showing up to give Cisco the key to victory. It just felt very condensed, but hopefully in the coming weeks we will see a more natural integration of Julian into the team.

Overall it was a solidly fun episode, I just don’t know how long the filler can last.

Final Grade B

+Cisco manning up

+Gypsy is kind of fun

+Iris plot

-Julian intro to the team was clunky

-Filler episodes detract from the threat of the villains

Extra Thoughts

-So HR’s world was invaded by another earth. Please be Crime Syndicate.

-Something so fun about Wally saving cheerleaders and then making a flaming lightning bolt. Just such a Wally move.

-So Wally is going to beat Savitar somehow. This is totally going to backfire.

About the author

Scott Swartz

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