This weeks episode of the Flash is quite possibly one of the quirkiest of the season. The episode opens with Barry and Ralph getting the day started with coffee. It’s during this scene that Barry and Ralph run into a mugger which Barry takes as an opportunity to teach Ralph about what he refers to as “Superhero 101”. Here we get to see part of the shows attempt at getting back to a lighter tone because we see Barry and Ralph contemplating how to handle the mugger….mid-mugging. Ultimately the mugger grows tired of being dismissed like he’s not a threat and he shoots Ralph, but due to the elastic nature of his skin the bullet bounces back off of Ralph and hits the mugger in the leg. This continues when the mugger shoots again and essentially shoots himself in the butt. It’s a pretty fun and comedic way to start the episode off especially considering the fact that the rest of the season seems like its going to take a bit of a darker turn.
Tonight’s episode villain is a reworked version of the obscure Firestorm villain Black Bison. This version of Black Bison is a meta who is a Native woman with the ability to animate inanimate objects. The character is named Mina Chayton and she is played by actress Chelsea Kurtz. The Black Bison’s goal is to protect and return Native American objects to the tribes that they were stolen from and to preserve her culture. While I understanding the character was robbing museums….nothing about the character’s goals felt like something villainous to me. This show literally villainized a Native American woman taking stollen Native artifacts from museums and returning them, that has got to quite possibly be one of the whitest things this show has ever done. The character’s goals were extremely interesting to me and I actually found the character herself interesting which is a first this season considering I haven’t enjoyed a single villain this season. The writing for the character was a little ham-fisted and a little too on the nose and obvious, but overall I was really interested in Mina.
While I want to give the Flash kudos on featuring a Native character, I’m going to completely refrain from that. As I sat watching the episode I kept thinking to myself “Okay I see we have a Native character but is the actress Native?”. After googling actress Chelsea Kurtz during a commercial break I discover that true to CW form they have a non-Native Actress playing a Native American character. The CW has this history of trying to either pass off white women as woc or trying to pass off characters of color as other races. I am genuinely confused as to why the CW thinks this is okay to do and why they insist on continuing to do something that they know will earn them slack. After finding out that actress Chelsea Kurtz is Japanese, German, and Italian any interest that I had in this version of the character became hollow. It would have been amazing to see a Native actress playing a character who wants to protect and restore their culture, but instead, we got another instance of the CW thinking its okay to swap out PoC.
On top of my many issues with seeing a non-Native actress portraying a Native character this episode continued the issue of a complete and utter lack of Iris. This season we were promised that Iris would have a much more prominent storyline and that we would get to see more of her and yet those instances have been few and far between. I’m going to continue to harp about this until we see Iris get the development and the storylines that she deserves. In the near 4 years of this show Iris has had minimal development and its more than time that changes.
The episode ends with Wells and Cisco with the help of a team comprised of other Earth Wells, discover just who DeVoe is. His name is Clifford DeVoe and for the first time as Barry points out, it seems like Team Flash can finally get ahead of their foe. However, as we have seen from The Thinker it’s very clear that Team Flash is anything but ahead of him and this is proven at the end of the episode. When Joe and Barry head over to DeVoe’s residence they are met at the door by DeVoe’s “Wife”, the mysterious woman assisting him, and then by DeVoe himself. When DeVoe arrives at the door Barry and Joe are met with a surprise because he is the complete opposite of what they imagined. When Devoe arrives at the door Joe and Barry are met by a middle-aged man in a motorized chair.
Overall this weeks episode of the Flash had the potential to be interesting but it sort of fizzled which was made even worse by some problematic casting choices. This weeks episode of the Flash is a solid 5/10.