REVIEW: The Flash, S4 Ep01 – The Flash Reborn

Last season of The Flash concluded with Barry sacrificing himself to the Speed Force in order to keep it at bay. Picking up six months after these events, “The Flash Reborn” starts off with a very different Team Flash led by Iris, with Cisco and Wally serving as Central City’s main superheroes working hand in hand with Joe and the CCPD. There is no Barry and there is also no Caitlin at first. When a new Samurai-themed villain makes his way to Central City requesting the presence of The Flash, Cisco has no choice but to do everything he can, with Caitlin’s help, to return Barry from the Speed Force.

Wally West / Kid Flash and Cisco Ramon / Vibe

Team Kid Flash or Team Vibe?

“The Flash Reborn” isn’t the strongest season premiere we’ve seen in this series, but it does offer some interesting wrinkles in certain characters’ developments and motivations. Iris is a very conflicted character at the episode’s start. She is determined to move forward without Barry, proving herself to be a reliable leader for Team Flash, but even though she’s willing to move forward, she’s not willing to move on. Much of the episode sees Iris unwilling to grieve the loss of Barry, despite strongly believing he won’t be coming home. This leads to a brief but tense confrontation between her and Cisco, who is willing to do whatever it takes to bring Barry back, as well as some heart-to-heart moments between her and her father, Joe.

Once Barry returns to Cental City, thanks to Cisco and some weird science fiction mumbo jumbo, Barry is not the same. He is found spewing nonsense and incoherent, incomplete thoughts. As much as it is unfortunate to see Barry become what he has become, from a critical standpoint Grant Gustin’s performance in this regard is laughable at times. Thankfully it doesn’t take away from the overall quality of the episode, and is over fairly quickly once Iris comes up with a plan to return him back to normal.

Being that the show is called The Flash it’s obvious that Barry would return, but “The Flash Reborn” makes his rebirth seem all too easy. Iris’ plan to use herself as bait works all too well without a hitch, freeing Barry of his dementia. Also, while “The Flash Reborn” brings about an interesting twist involving the Samurai being a robot created by a new villain, it doesn’t seem like Barry’s departure from the Speed Force will have any direct effects, which is something that would have made his return have a little more weight to it. That being said, this new villain, which will come to be known as The Thinker, is already an intriguing addition to The Flash mythos, despite appearing briefly on screen.

Team Flash confronted with an insane Barry

“The Flash Reborn” ends off leaving enough threads untied to address later in the season, whether related to the season’s new villain or even Caitlin’s current state. Despite returning to Team Flash, Caitlin seemed to have been up to no good the last six months and has established connections with some shady characters. How this will affect future episodes and whether or not she will be able to maintain her non-metahuman form is unclear at the moment, but is definitely something to look forward to.

Overall, “The Flash Reborn” was a fun return for the series and even brought about some decent jokes from Cisco and Wally. Still, it was not the series’ strongest premiere and Barry’s seemingly easy return to Central City doesn’t seem to have much consequence just yet. Hopefully, this is overshadowed by the series’ latest threat, The Thinker, and whatever sinister intentions he has planned for The Flash.

Based on the trailer for next week’s episode, “Mixed Signals” comes off as fun one-shot involving some technical difficulties regarding Barry’s new suit. According to the episode’s official synopsis, it will also address some relationship issues between Barry and Iris stemmed from him being away the last six months. Check out the full trailer for “Mixed Signals” below and feel free to let us know what you thought of “The Flash Reborn” in the comments.