The Flash – Season 9 Episode 6
“The Good, the Bad and the Lucky”
The Flash focuses on Cecile adjusting to her recent lifestyle change as attempts are made to understand the mystery that is Khione.
Filler is a term that comes up a lot these days. People criticised episodes of The Last of Us for being filler because the ongoing narrative of the show wasn’t progressed much within the confines of an episode. It’s my view that those episodes don’t count as filler as they give you an important look at the world and tell engaging character stories that can only be told in that world. The point of an episode of TV isn’t always simply to progress the narrative from point A to point B as there are always opportunities to add texture to the world the show inhabits. Spending time doing that is worthwhile and enhances what follows because that work is done.
This is an episode where the word “filler” absolutely applies. It’s an episode that exists to fill time with very little contained within its running time that hasn’t been dealt with extensively elsewhere. No characters are meaningfully developed, texture isn’t added to the world the show inhabits at all so it could comfortably be skipped with nothing important having been missed.
Filler isn’t by itself a bad thing. TV shows have been delivering disposable episodes for a very long time. Time was that episodic television was designed for each episode to stand completely on its own so that viewers who didn’t watch everything would still be able to follow the action once they did catch one. The move to serialisation even on shows like this means that “filler” is more of a charged term as viewers expect their investment of time to be rewarded with something significant. The standalone episode designed to do nothing more than be an entertaining hour of television in its own right would seem to be a dying breed. It’s easy to see why that’s the case but sometimes an episode that allows for recalibration after a major arc that can just be a fun adventure by itself is a refreshing change of pace.
Sadly, that isn’t the case here. This episode is almost entirely tedious and becomes more frustrating when considering this is a shortened final season of this show where there shouldn’t be time to waste. The showrunner even talked about having no time to include some kind of conclusion for the Legends of Tomorrow characters which proves not to be the case when the show is delivering episodes like this.
Cecile is the main focus of the episode with a loose arc formed around her attempting to adjust to only seeing Joe and her daughter two days a week. She gets pulled into a case involving Becky Sharpe who was luckily brought back to life thanks to Crisis but unluckily named as the only suspect in the attempted murder of her fiancé. Cecile wants to prove Becky’s innocence in time to catch her train to spend Jenna’s birthday with her.
The plot that plays out isn’t especially interesting. It’s supposed to be a mystery with twists and turns as Cecile, Allegra and Becky herself investigate but it ends up losing momentum very quickly. It turns out that Becky is framed by her brother-in-law to be because he’s in a lot of debt and needs to use her ability to manipulate luck to alter his own fortune in order to pay back all the money he owes. It’s an overly convoluted plan that doesn’t really make sense which would be forgivable if the act of getting to that eventuality was fun by itself but it’s a collection of tedious scenes that fill time until the characters start to notice the obvious.
Sugar Lyn Beard is always a fun presence on this show and Becky stands out as a character because of her unique ability to manipulate luck. She wants nothing more than to live a normal life and have the universe not constantly punish her for existing. The montage of bad luck in this episode was a good example of how innately sympathetic the character is so her presence elevated the episode slightly She’s a recurring character who is neither hero nor villain which stands out. The episode lacks a strong villain to create a threat surrounding her which results in a forgettable adventure where the climax has no stakes. It does seem to be a happy ending for Becky which is comforting in its own way.
This plot also exists to have Cecile reminded that she is someone who can juggle a career and family, even when faced with the current pressure created by Joe taking Jenna out to live in the country. It’s baffling that the writers are peddling this as if it’s the only sensible solution to a problem that was manufactured only to write Joe out but we’re stuck with it so the only two choices are to try and spin engaging character development out of it or ignore it entirely. Based on the show’s handling of Jenna anyone would be forgiven for assuming the latter but it turns out we get an episode dedicated to Cecile figuring out how to create that balance.
Unfortunately, she doesn’t actually do that in this episode as she ends up missing her train and forgetting she has access to teleporting smoke bombs to ensure an instant commute. Missing the train causes her to doubt her ability to do this which prompts a speech from Allegra telling her that she’s an amazing woman who can accomplish anything. Feeding into that is Cecile’s powers misfiring on a couple of occasions because she is so distracted by missing her family and worrying about finding that balance. This adventure plus a pep talk from Allegra is enough to silence that doubt and she ends the episode far more confident about herself than she started. It’s a predictable and boring arc that fails to resonate because there is no weight to it.
The secondary plot involves trying to figure out what Khione is. Revising Mark with a kiss in the previous episode prompts a scientific investigation into what powers she has. Mark points out that they know nothing about her so should do what they can to learn and Khione agrees because having a better idea of who she is can only be a good thing.
Initial attempts to trigger powers fail which deeply upsets Mark. After some prodding from Khione, he opens up to her about the kiss being overwhelming for him because he felt for a brief moment that Frost was back and the realisation that she wasn’t brought back all the hurt and grief. She uses another nature comparison to tell Mark that his memories of her still exist and that he can get comfort from them. For some reason Mark’s emotional vulnerability and Khione’s compassion cause it to snow indoors, therefore, indicating that Khione has powers of some kind. Her ability to talk to plants and random nature facts also point to her having powers.
The end of the episode brings the reveal that Khione isn’t a Metahuman or a Human which means that nobody has any idea what she is. Naturally, the writers have forgotten that Frost wasn’t a Metahuman but continuity isn’t to be expected on this show. It’s difficult to believe that Khione being something new will turn out to be in any way interesting. It’s likely she will solve a problem that crops up where she just so happens to be exactly what’s needed to resolve the situation. As reveals go it’s an empty one because it comes with no extra information that points towards anything compelling.
Khione is a frustrating character as it’s not clear why she exists. This is the final season of the show and they have replaced two established characters with a new one played by the same actress. I’ve pointed out in previous reviews that this does Danielle Panabaker a massive disservice as the show ends without her achieving meaningful closure on Caitin. Frost died in a heroic sacrifice that didn’t entirely work but at least was dealt with on-screen and Caitlin was killed off in favour of Khione without any actual finality to the character. It’s no wonder that Danielle Panabaker’s performances in this season are so tepid as she has no reason to care any more since there seems to be no respect for her or the characters she plays.
Her new role is characterised almost entirely by making nature comparisons to explain every situation and being passively optimistic about everything. The final season is nearing the halfway point and nothing noteworthy has been done with Khione which makes her introduction all the more pointless as there was clearly no need to replace Caitlin for the final season. In many ways, Khione is The Flash in microcosm – wasting time with irrelevant additions that add nothing of value. There seems to be no coherent plan for the final season judging by how meandering it has been so far. It doesn’t bode well for the conclusion of not only this show but the entire Arrowverse itself.
A tedious episode that attempts to craft a fun mystery but fails to keep up the momentum and does nothing to justify Khione’s presence.
- Becky Sharpe always being a fun fixture on the show
- the uninteresting mystery surrounding Becky rapidly losing momentum
- Cecile’s clumsy arc around balancing her new life circumstances
- the reveal about Khione having no weight to it
- failing to show how Khione is a worthwhile addition to the cast
- wasting one of the final episodes with bland filler
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