'Written by Ang
So, mid-season finale season is upon us! It is difficult to believe that we have already come so far in such a short amount of time, but, as usual, the future still holds a lot of great plot twists. The Flash is really no stranger to tormenting their audience with huge cliffhangers both in the mid-season finales and the season finales proper. Arguably, my favorite of all Flash cliffhangers has been the end of Season 3 where Barry enters the Speed Force prison. It is poetic, completes the storyline perfectly, let leaves plenty of room for an excellent entrance into Season 4.
This mid-season finale delivers and excellent, if not entirely poignant cliffhanger that is sure to leave many a Flash fan wanting a whole lot more. I won’t spoil anything about it just yet, but it does satisfactorily – and in some ways finally – bring into focus some of the Thinker’s grander plan for Barry Allen. After seven episodes of vague hinting at what the Thinker is up too, this episode finally reveals a bit of what the future is going to be like for Team Flash as they try to wiggle their way out from under DeVoe’s thumb. But, I’ll let the rest of the episode speak for itself. I now present, “Don’t Run.”
When we last left Barry Allen/The Flash and Iris West, they had just finished up their third – and successful – attempt at getting married, officiated by none other than Arrow’s John Diggle/Spartan. Wedded bliss can finally begin for one of TV’s most amazing couples.
How long it will last is up for debate. I’m hoping we make it at least until the end of the season before Hollywood decides they need a needless divorce to “make things more interesting.”
But, for the moment, Barry and Iris are enjoying some much-needed down time, including but not limited to opening all of the wedding presents that have come from their superhero friends from across time, space, and the multiverse. Gifts such as 40+ toasters from Mick Rory/Heatwave, an expresso machine from Felicity Smoak and Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, and an odd knife set with only one knife they dismiss out of hand.
Also Clifford and Marlize DeVoe, aka the Thinker and the Mechanic, are still out there, on the loose, so there’s that.
The rest of Team Flash is pretty much going about their normal holiday plans and traditions, slight squabbling included. Things really don’t go bad until Cisco Ramon/Vibe, Harry Wells, and Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man reveal that they have been spending time with Caitlin Snow’s alter ego, Killer Frost. To make matters worse, they actually like hanging out with good old Killer, who actually hasn’t killed anyone just yet.
Actually, the entirety of Central City seems to be somewhat infatuated with the newest anti-hero on the block, with C.C. Jitters even introducing a Killer Frost-inspired iced coffee. After all, Killer did help take down the evil Nazis from another dimension who had come to this Earth to steal Supergirl’s (who was also visiting from another dimension) heart and give it to Overgirl, Supergirl’s evil, Nazi doppelganger*.
Caitlin, understandably upset that everyone seems to prefer Killer Frost over her, heads to C.C. Jitters for a normal, not-inspired-by-her-slightly-unhinged-alter-ego coffee. Harry shows up and does his best to encourage Caitlin, succeeding mostly. The conversation is unfortunately cut short when none other than Amunet Black/Blacksmith/Caitlin and Killer’s old and evil boss shows up and trashes the place.
Amunet incapacitates Harry quickly, utilizing her metal-covered arm and powers of metal manipulation, and captures Caitlin, slapping an anti-metahuman bracelet on her wrist to prevent Killer Frost from coming to life. Believe it or not, that is only our first of at least three kidnappings that take place on-screen**.
In another part of town, Iris and Barry are returning all of their unneeded wedding presents – including Rory’s toasters, which they realize he probably stole – to the store. While on their way back home, they are intercepted by the Thinker in his patented hoverchair, who quickly captures Barry utilizing a supped-up taser that looks really painful. That’s Kidnapping No. 2 for this episode.
The rest of Team Flash immediately begins to mount a rescue effort for both Caitlin and Barry, but searching for both Barry’s residual energy signature and Caitlin’s cold signature is overtaxing the S.T.A.R. satellite. Plus, Team Flash is down two whole members. This leads to the conclusion that they really only have the resources to track down one missing member, and since Iris is team leader, she has to make the call as to who they track down.
Meanwhile, Amunet reveals exactly why she kidnapped Caitlin and suppressed Killer Frost: she needs a doctor, not a slightly psychopathic metahuman with freezing powers. As it turns out, Amunet is still in the metahuman extortion business***, this time kidnapping a specific metahuman for a buyer.
Unfortunately, the metahuman didn’t want to comply with this plan and Amunet was forced to shoot him. The wedge of metal is still lodged in his neck, requiring a delicate procedure to remove it. Good news, Caitlin is a surgeon. Bad news, where the metahuman is being held – an old, dusty abandoned hospital – is not exactly a great environment for this kind of procedure, but, Amunet doesn’t really care.
The metahuman eventually wakes up, introduces himself as Dominic and shows off his telepathic abilities. Caitlin realizes that they can use his talents to elude the guards and escape Amunet’s grasp. They attempt such a procedure but it ultimately fails. But, after Amunet gives her a rousing pep talk, Caitlin is – or at least pretends to be – compliant and agrees to perform the surgery.
For Barry, however, he was not captured for any of his talents per se. In fact, the Thinker is holding him in a small, impenetrable cell in the heart of his secret lair. Barry tries everything from phasing to throwing lighting in order to break out of the box, but the cell remains. He does get to discuss the situation with the Mechanic and she hints at the fact that she and the Thinker are interested in Barry’s abilities.
Joe West and Harry attempt to confront the Thinker head-on since Iris did see DeVoe kidnap Barry. They search DeVoe’s house, at his behest, but can find nothing to lead them to where DeVoe is hiding Barry. Harry did finally meet someone more intelligence and arrogant than himself, however, so it wasn’t a complete waste of a trip.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, the situation is tense and about to get tenser as everyone is feeling helpless to find and rescue either Barry or Caitlin. Iris is finally forced to make a decision: find Caitlin first or Barry. After some reflection, she finally decides to go after Caitlin due to the fact that she is in a more vulnerable position than Barry.
Speaking of Caitlin, Escape Attempt No. 2 is about to commence. In keeping with her compliant act, she made an MRI out of garbage and proceeded to remove the piece of metal out of Dominic’s neck while he is under anesthesia.
Or is he?
As it turns out, Caitlin didn’t hook Dominic up to the anesthetic, instead allowing the sleeping gas to fill up the room and knock everybody out, except for herself and Dominic who were wearing masks. They make a break for the parking lot and seem to be free, but Amunet catches up with them. The good news is that she is still groggy and not at peak fighting condition.
Even better news is that the satellite found Caitlin’s residual cold signature and Cisco breaches himself and Ralph to the scene. Ralph protects Caitlin and Dominic from Amuent’s volley of metal shards and Cisco blasts the villainess with enough force to send her flying. All the good guys escape back to S.T.A.R. Labs, leaving a seriously torqued off Amunet.
Meanwhile, Barry attempts a new method to escape. See, the thing about the Thinker is the fact that although his mind is still lightyears ahead of everyone else, his body is still human. So Barry vibrates too fast for the human eye to see, tricking the Thinker into thinking that the Flash had escaped and open the cell.
It works, the Thinker is taken completely by surprise when the Flash does the unthinkable.
See what I did there? Unthinkable? The Thinker? Yeah.
In any event, Barry escapes (if that is what we are calling it) and attacks the Thinker. So the Thinker teleports into Central City, dragging Barry along with him. Eventually, he tries to attack Barry directly using his chair’s cool octopus-like arms with tasers for hands, but Barry phases through the tasers and they hit the Thinker’s chair, shorting out the hoverchair and sending them all crashing into the river.
So, everyone who is kidnapped is now freed, although there is still one more kidnapping to take place, that technically doesn’t occur until later, so hang on just a minute.
Team Flash decides that, since DeVoe seems to be dead, the next step is to enjoy the Christmas season at Joe’s house. Everything actually goes really well; Ralph decorated the house, everybody is enjoying being together, and there is not a villain in sight. The only problem that occurs happens when the alarm at Barry and Iris’ loft goes off and the former, assuming it is just an accident, goes to turn it off.
Barry arrives, turns off the alarm and gets a phone call. The call is Dominic, the telepathic metahuman from earlier. Except it isn’t Dominic technically. It is actually the Thinker, reborn in a brand new body. Thus explains Kidnapping No. 3 for this episode.
As it turns out, Amunet caught up with Dominic after he escaped with Caitlin earlier. She re-captured him and turned him over to her buyer, the Mechanic. Then, the Thinker and the Mechanic transferred the former’s mind to Dominic’s body, a procedure made possible through his innate telepathic abilities.
What happens to the Thinker’s old body, you ask? Great question. It is lying, “stabbed” to death on Barry’s carpet, complete with blood spatter and bloodied knife. Yep. Barry is so much under arrest for a murder he didn’t commit it’s not even funny.
So, Barry is about to be locked up, Christmas is somewhat ruined, and the Thinker has a new body.
See you in January.
“Your tinsel-to-surface ratio is terrible.” - Harry, criticizing Cisco’s Christmas decorating.
“Well, if you don’t want to spend Christmas conning your grandma, you could join you’re friends at the West.. family… party…” – Caitlin, inviting Ralph to the West Family Christmas party before getting no-go signals from Harry and Cisco
“Why would he think we need 40 toasters?”
“I dunno, he said there was some kind of fire sale…”
“He stole them.”
“He definitely stole them.” – Iris and Barry coming to a realization about Mick Rory’s wedding present
“You know, a sprinkle of enthusiasm would not kill you.” - Amunet, trying to encourage Caitlin
“I have not stabbed you, or punched you, or shot you with a piece of metal… today.” – Amunet
*Explained in the Crisis on Earth-X mega Arrowverse crossover.
**Technically four kidnappings happen during this particular story, but one happened before the episode started. Also two of the four are the same, unlucky guy so it doesn’t really count.
***Amuent once kidnapped a metahuman called The Weeper, who cried tears that acted like drugs on other humans (Season 4, Episode 5, “Girls’ Night Out”)