The Flash – Season 8 Episode 7

Mar 17, 2022 | Posted by in TV


The Flash deals with relationships as various characters navigate their connections to each other.

Developing ongoing relationships is something this show struggles with because most of the attention given to a particular connection is in service of the story being told so things will appear and disappear depending on the needs of the plot. This breeds inconsistencies and makes it difficult to track the development of a relationship in any logical way.


Just get on with it!

Four relationships are featured in this episode with two of them being in the same subplot. The least prominent is Chester and Allegra who are still dancing around their feelings for one another with neither willing to make the first move. There isn’t a lot to say about it beyond the characters being engaging when they share screen time and being done no favours with repetitive material performs no other function than delaying what could be a highly watchable romantic connection. It’s unclear how long this will drag on for but delaying the progression is beyond tiresome and getting in the way of far more engaging content.

Frost and Caitlin double date with Mark/Chillblaine and Marcus (Andres Soto) which dredges up some tension. There are a few elements to this plot and different aspects to draw attention to. The first is that Caitlin is jealous of Frost and Mark having what appears to be a really exciting life with daring and adventurous dates where she lives a comparatively mundane existence. This jealousy comes to a head when they all happen to be in the same place and agree to take the opportunity to double date.

Caitlin is on some level operating from a place of concern for Frost as she’s worried that Mark might not be what he appears to be. She hasn’t forgotten that not so long ago he was a criminal and murderer so worries that he may be a bad influence on Frost. This is consistent from Caitlin who has spent a lot of time looking out for Frost as she works to find an identity for herself. Interestingly the audience doesn’t have much more than Caitlin’s perspective on Mark as prior episodes have only shown the highlights of their developing relationship so it’s reasonable to assume that he may not be entirely over his criminal leanings.


Powerless again!

The double date plays out in ways that would be at home in your average sitcom. There’s a palpable awkwardness at the table as they struggle to find topics of conversation, Mark takes periodic jabs at Marcus for being less than interesting and Caitlin constantly bites her tongue to stop herself from expressing her true opinion until she blurts it out. It’s competently handled if predictable and uninteresting though Danielle Panabaker should be commended on her dual performance. She is so good in these two roles that it’s easy to forget that she is playing both roles. This is something she definitely deserves a lot of credit for.

This plot is a great example of a plot created to be explored and resolved within a single episode. Mark has appeared previously alternately as a love interest and antagonist but very little time was spent giving any texture to the attraction Frost has for him. As such the relationship is a very shallow one with dialogue filling in gaps. Their shared adventurous spirit is a new addition designed to prompt Caitlin to be jealous and question choices she has made in her own life. In fairness the contrast between Frost’s desire to live life to the fullest and Caitlin’s subdued attitude is an interesting one with Caitlin’s history on the show fully justifying her more cautious approach so it is a dynamic that can work but it needs a lot of room to breathe in order to be a developed conflict. It looks likely it will disappear after this episode as it comes to some form of resolution.

Mark shows himself to be more than he seems when he approaches Caitlin about her overprotective attitude and his observation that she’s afraid to let her walls down around someone else which manifests as more intense concern for Frost. Mark does seem genuine in his feelings for Frost and wants to prove that to Caitlin but also doesn’t want to continually be justifying himself to her. It’s an expected development as it allows Mark to be a continue presence in some form while waking Caitlin up to her own issues that hold her back. Marcus isn’t really a character within this plot as his main purpose is for Catilin to allow herself to properly notice him. Eventually she is able to admit to Frost that she is envious and it comes with Frost admitting that there are issues in the relationship that aren’t outwardly visible. Once again it’s the expected resolution to this problem but it works well.



The third relationship driven plot is Barry and Kramer. Conflict is caused by Barry’s exploits as the Flash, specifically around his approach to rounding up criminals. He stops crimes as they’re happening and brings those committing them to CCPD to be put in holding. The trouble with that is that there’s no actual evidence of what those people were doing which makes it hard to make a conviction stick. It’s a reasonable obstacle that definitely should have come up far earlier than the eighth season. There is an attempt to justify it through a conversation with Joe and Cecile where they talk about their jobs being easier because they know Barry and the Flash are one in the same but that doesn’t alter the fact that there’s no actual paper work associated with many of the crimes Barry stops. Despite that it is being brought up now and it’s a reasonable problem for someone in Kramer’s position to be dealing with.

Her frustration comes from an inability to do her job as effectively as she needs to. She recognises that the CCPD and the Flash are aligned in their goals but disconnected in the way they go about them. Kramer sees the Flash as a potentially strong asset but needs more direct collaboration so that the connection can reach its full potential. Barry understands this but is reluctant to have that kind of connection with Kramer because he doesn’t trust her in the way he trusts Joe. He’s also worried about sharing his identity with other people which is a laughable concern from him at this point considering how casual he is with unmasking in front of people.

This plot is all about Barry and Kramer finding a way to work together through handling a crisis situation. It’s a very contained problem as they are held hostage in CCPD but there is a limitation placed on Barry due to Metahuman Dampening Cuffs so using his speed is out of the question. Pushing aside the fact he could have used his speed the instant he realised that sleeping gas had been deployed rather than standing around waiting for it to affect him this is a decent setup as it forces Barry to use his intelligence to fix the problem.


Clearing the air

On some level this is designed to teach Barry a lesson about the importance of thorough police work through working directly with Kramer though it doesn’t entirely come across. What does come across is that he gains greater respect for her and her morality through witnessing first hand what motivates her to do the job she does. He also recognises her skill and intelligence so it’s almost a reaffirmation of why he maintains the CSI aspect of his life even though he doesn’t really need to. Ultimately it’s a learning experience where Barry comes to recognise the need for a more open connection to the CCPD in order for both of them to be more effective. This culminates in Kramer figuring out Barry’s identity and removing the unnecessary secrecy that would doubtlessly prove frustrating before long.

The addition of Goldface feeds into the idea of transparency being a necessity for a strong relationship through the way he talks about Amunet. They are partners in life and in crime which makes them both better, at least according to him. A loose yet defined link can be drawn to Barry being conflicted over how closely he should align the Flash with Kramer. According to Goldface he should be all in because that gets the best results. Mileage will vary on how welcome Goldface’s presence is depending on how individuals felt about his prior appearances but to my mind he was far less obnoxious than previously and had a defined connection to the ongoing plot. His personality never overpowered the narrative.

Goldface also represents an opportunity for Kramer to develop in regards to accepting her powers. The flip from hatred of Metahumans to wanting to protect them may have been difficult to accept but fearing what she is capable of is very well established and works into this plot nicely. For ill defined reasons the cuffs don’t work on Kramer so she can mimic Goldface’s powers in order to fight him. She is reluctant to do that because she fears a loss of control that will make the situation worse but Barry gives her the usual pep talk about self belief and doing what is required for the greater good which prompts her to have a go. Whether she fully overcomes those anxieties or not is unknown but it’s an important step forward and further endears Kramer to the audience.

This entire episode was refreshingly small scale with jeopardy only existing in one of the three plots. Goldface was never presented as a serious threat even though Barry and Kramer’s lives were in very real danger so it allowed the actual purpose of the plot to shine through. It isn’t enough to be considered a true return to form as many of the scenarios are painfully manufactured but it was a refreshing change of pace and good to see the actors playing with more light hearted material that allowed them to widen the scope of their characters.


Taking a step forward


A good episode that delivers decent exploration of different relationships across three refreshingly low scale plots. Not much can be said about Chester and Allegra who are still dancing around their feelings for one another while neither of them is prepared to make the first move. It’s repetitive and getting in the way of what could be far stronger content. They are engaging to watch play off one another but they are held back by their interactions never progressing. Caitlin and Frost engaging in a double date plays out like a sitcom with Frost and Mark taking jabs at Caitlin’s less adventurous date and Caitlin biting her tongue before eventually expressing her true feelings. It’s competently handled and Danielle Panabaker should be more widely recognised for pulling double duty so brilliantly. There are a few underlying elements to the tension here with envy being at the root of Caitlin’s lack of approval. She is jealous of their adventurous lifestyle and regrets that she always plays it safe. Caitlin’s attitude comes from her history on the show while Frost and Mark’s traits are largely invented for the purposes of creating a problem to be solved in this episode; something that is common in this show. It plays out in expected ways but is handled well enough.

The third plot involving Barry and Kramer also works well though it’s bizarre that the Flash causing problems with due process for the CCPD hasn’t come up before now. A limitation is placed on Barry when he is robbed of his powers which allows him to work with Kramer to understand the importance of thorough police work. On some level it’s designed to teach Barry that lesson though it doesn’t entirely come across. What does come across is that he gains greater respect for her and her morality through witnessing first hand what motivates her to do the job she does. It’s almost a reaffirmation of why he maintains the CSI aspect of his life even though he doesn’t really need to. Goldface feeds into the idea of transparency through the example of his relationship with Amunet. Their connection makes them better, at least according to him. A loose yet defined link can be drawn to Barry over how closely he should align himself to Kramer and the CCPD. Goldface also represents an opportunity for Kramer to develop in regards to accepting her powers. It comes with the standard pep talk from Barry prompting her to have a go. It works albeit well travelled ground for the show. The entire episode was refreshingly small scale with jeopardy only existing in one of the three plots. This allows the actors to engage with more light hearted material that allows them to widen the scope of their characters.

  • 7/10
    Lockdown - 7/10


Kneel Before…

  • the competently handled sitcom setup of the double date
  • Danielle Panabaker continuing to excel in her dual role
  • expected yet well handled exploration of the conflict at play during the double date
  • Barry dealing with practical considerations around his connection to the CCPD
  • the lack of powers presenting him with an opportunity to gain respect for her
  • something of a reaffirmation of why he maintains the CSI aspects of his life
  • Goldface feeding into the plot without overpowering it and helping Barry understand the importance of transparency
  • Kramer taking a massive step forward in accepting her powers
  • refreshingly low stakes and engaging light hearted material


Rise Against…

  • repetitive content in the developing Chester/Allegra relationship
  • inventing problems for the purpose of only this episode


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User Review
5.67/10 (3 votes)

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