After last week’s introduction of Pied Piper, and his cliffhanger admission that he knows what happened to Ronnie, I expected this week’s episode to jump head first into the Firestorm storyline, once and for all. Instead, episode 12 brought a goofy hour, one that had broad strokes of comedy and a less than impactful main story.
Easily one of The Flash’s weakest hours, “Crazy for You” featured, though that’s a strong word, Lashawn Baez, AKA Peek-a-Boo, a metahuman that has the ability teleport. Truthfully, the hour seemed to have little interest in Baez, her story, or what sort of obstacle she might present to Barry. What the episode gave us was a run-of-the-mill plot involving two criminals using a newfound power to steal money in order to pay back debts, though ultimately failing, thanks to the Scarlet Speedster. It lacked any sort of intrigue or excitement due, mostly, to the lack of focus given to Baez. “Crazy for You” was similarly constructed to the fall finale, with three important plots crammed together and, once again, the cohesiveness of the episode suffered due to the lack of proper hierarchy.
What this episode was interested in was developing the relationship between Caitlin and Barry, both of whom have spent the majority of the first season pining over others they can’t have. For Barry, it’s longtime friend Iris, who is of course dating the ever-smiling Eddie Thawne. On the other side, Caitlin’s one-time fiancé, Ronnie Raymond was sealed in with the particle accelerator the night it exploded, and became a man made of flames. Heartbreak all around. To get over their collective sadsack-ery, Caitlin and Barry head to a bar where Caitlin gets very drunk and the two sing “Summer Nights.” It was one of several large comedic swings the episode took, few of which were able to connect. Danielle Panabaker’s strength is not in drunk acting, though little blame can be placed on her shoulders. The writing of last night’s episode simply did not feel up to par with many of the previous hours. It felt much broader, going for the easy get, rather than doing the legwork to set up an effective moment.
But this progression of Caitlin and Barry’s relationship is rather interesting. It is undeniable that Panabaker and Grant Gustin have developed serious chemistry, the two always seem to pop when on screen together, and the possibility of romantic entanglement is intriguing moving forward, especially given the fact that the Firestorm storyline is far from over, or fully explained. Nothing should come to fruition in the next few weeks, however, since Barry found himself occupied with a new suitor he met at the karaoke bar. But there is clearly something afoot between the writers and these two characters, and if (when) Ronnie is added back into the mix, it could get extremely complicated.
Another good development in the hour was seeing Cisco do something other than hang in the background and offer a quip every few lines. This week, he took it upon himself to dig deeper into the mystery surrounding Ronnie, eventually discovering (with help from Hartley Rathaway, who would later escape) that Ronnie fused with Martin Stein, the scientist behind the F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M project. This is status quo for those familiar with the comic iteration of Firestorm, in which the character is created in a nuclear accident with Raymond and Stein being fused together. While in the Firestorm form, Ronnie has control of the body and powers, while Stein is essentially the “brains,” a sentient figure in Ronnie’s mind that is able to offer him advice. So far, The Flash is adhering fairly closely to this backstory, and once again proving to have little fear for even the most convoluted of comic stories.
The final big progression worth noting is between Barry and his father. After encountering The Flash several times, Henry Allen began to put the pieces together. This week, after Henry was stabbed for aiding the police in their investigation, Barry took it upon himself to ensure that his father would never have to face his attacker again. This was the final sign that Henry needed, and in the closing moments he revealed, without explicitly stating, that he knows his son is The Fastest Man Alive.
?Though it moved along many important storylines, “Crazy for You” ultimately felt disjointed and lacking in any sort of definitive structure. That fact led to it being one of The Flash’s weaker efforts, though, still, not an entirely terrible hour of television. The next few weeks should, hopefully, bring a finality to the Firestorm saga and, with it, some needed fireworks after this week’s arguable dud. This subpar outing, thanks in part to the upcoming Firestorm-centric episodes, as well as a gripping tag to close out the “Crazy for You” featuring Gorilla Grodd, did little to curb anticipation. Grodd has been alluded to several times over the course of the first dozen episodes, and the writers have stated he is coming, but tonight we got our first (admittedly dark) look at the villain. With the show in a bit of a lull, it could use a strong antagonist to whip Team Flash back into shape, and few come stronger than Gorilla Grodd.
Eric Walters is a Detroit-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. For more of his TV musings, follow him on Twitter.