Remember a couple of weeks ago when we tried to have a minimal powers episode and it just came off wonky and uninspiring, this time I think it actually worked. “Therefore I Am” manages to do what last year failed to do, make the thinker a compelling and fun foil for Barry. Sure, Barry makes some real dumbass mistakes in trying to prove DeVoe is The Thinker, but at the end of the day fun and games are over and Barry is up against a new type fo foe. DeVoe is dynamic, fun, twisted, and best of all motivated by a plausible goal. He doesn’t want to destroy Central City or become a god, he simply wants to be a free man unimpeded by his disease. It’s a simple and beautiful motivation that hopefully will challenge Barry and the team to think outside of the box in how they are confronting him.
First of all I have not seen a ton of Neil Sandilands work before this but he sure can do a heel turn and make it look cool. It was simple enough to have The Thinker just be this grand and elaborate villain for Barry to square off against, but it is much harder to imbue him with any sort of pathos. Here DeVoe isn’t simply being bad for bad sake, he wants a cure so desperately he is willing to do anything, even super villainy. It is also a great added aspect to the character that he is dealing with a monkey paw situation. Sure DeVoe got his wish to be smarter but it was at a great personal cost to himself and those who love him the most. Even the way he interacts with The Mechanic is fun to watch as despite everything that has happened to him DeVoe still loves his wife with all his heart.
Similarly it was great to watch DeVoe’s organ play out now rather than having to wait all season. Here we get a clear picture of his motivations and what has driven him to be the man he is, while at the same time we get to see him morph from a mild mannered professor into The Thinker. It’s clear that his anger is not entirely misplaced and that whatever he has planned for Barry and the bus metas will be interesting. We also were lucky enough to get some really fun flashbacks to the particle accelerator and Thawne. Sometimes I forget how great Tom Cavanaugh is as Eobard and then he has his scene at the podium which even though it is really out of place it adds another level to the character. The level of admiration Thawne has for DeVoe is a beautiful thing and I would have really loved to see the two characters continue to interact. Oh well, I guess The Thinker will just have to be enough.
Even though The Thinker was great there were some major issues with both Barry and the team. The fact no one believed Barry at all was kind of a bummer and there willingness to not go along with paranoid Barry although disheartening makes sense. They should have recognized that nothing is what it seems especially after dealing with multiple villains who lie and manipulate others. It was not the teams weakest moment as it was understandable since Barry was out of his mind, but it still came off as a weakness.
However a strength and weakness of the episode was just how crazy and paranoid Barry was behaving. I completely understand him wanting to get ahead of DeVoe and prove that the mild mannered professor was actually the big bad, but he was just so sloppy about it. I mean how many times has Barry been played by the villain and yet he is still making rookie mistakes. Whether it be breaking into DeVoe’s house and not vibrating his face to be unrecognizable, or simply giving into his paranoia about Devoe and not consulting the team. Barry Should have known better and behaved more cautiously, he has no idea how dangerous DeVoe is and was putting everyone at risk with his behavior. Also how could Barry forget to bring a recorder when going for the confession, did he think DeVoe would figure it out or was it simply Barry’s stupidity. Either way, Barry’s paranoia was both to the episodes credit and weakness in some respects.
At the end of the day however the team now has some understanding of who they are up against. Now it’s just on them and us to figure out what game The Thinker is playing and how this all leads to a cure.
Final Grade A-
+Neil Sandilands performance as DeVoe
+The Thinker’s tragic backstory
+Barry and DeVoe chemistry
-Team not fully trusting Barry
-Barry making stupid mistakes while paranoid
-Wally’s back and apparently he fought Starro which raises two important questions. Who did he team up with and how come no one else was called on for help? Really buried the lead Wally.
-I am really digging the evil couple idea even though I am pretty confident The Mechanic will be part of defeating DeVoe.
-Ralph doesn’t show up this week. I kind of miss the goof.
-As gross as the reveal of The Thinker in the chair was at the end I am just wondering how he functions as an on campus professor? Does he constantly reattach his skull and if so where are the markings?