REVIEW: The Flash, S4 Ep02 – Mixed Signals

Two episodes into The Flash‘s fourth season and it’s already feeling like the series is returning to its fun roots. We see a departure from the last season’s somewhat depressing and dark tone, which constantly reminded us of Iris West’s possible, inevitable death. “Mixed Signals” is not without its drama, though, introducing us to a new meta-human who seeks vengeance on the colleagues who screwed him out of some successful tech he was responsible for creating. On top of that, “Mixed Signals” is appropriately titled for dealing with communication issues between not only Barry and Iris, who are having a bit of struggle in their relationship after his recent return to Central City, but also Cisco and his pan-dimensional girlfriend Gypsy.

Barry rocking his new suit

While the actual villain in the villain-of-the-week plot line was not all that compelling, the story did provide some fun moments regarding Barry and the team. Some moments led to progress in the relationships of certain characters. Barry, being faster than he ever was, is getting way too confident in his crime fighting abilities, going as far as ignoring some solid advice from Iris. Their communication issues eventually lead to the two of them going to couple’s therapy, which for the most part is played for laughs. It’s not until their second session that Iris fully comes out with her feelings, stating how upset she is at Barry for having to leave Central City for the speed force months ago.

One of my biggest issues with this season’s premiere was that Barry’s departure from Central City seemed to have little consequence. With “Mixed Signals” bringing out these details involving Iris, we do see that there are some ramifications. Iris even goes into how hard things were when he was gone. She talks about the lies she had to tell others about him, and what those people possibly thought was going on between them. There was more to it than just simply stating Barry took a sabbatical from work.

The other “mixed signals” in this week’s episode had to do with Cisco and Gypsy. While this was definitely a minor element in the episode, it did lead to some enjoyable moments. Their relationship does seem to blossom after the reveal of “1-1-1 Day,” and even though these two literally live dimensions apart, they may have a bright future ahead of them.

The villain, who is eventually referred to as Kilgore, inspired by the name of the app he created, wasn’t all that interesting. His power set was definitely cool to say the least, as he had the ability to hack into software with his mind, but his revenge story was definitely cliché. He does eventually hack into Barry’s new tech-filled suit, which lead to some humorous circumstances including a self inflating function to prevent drowning and a self destruct program. The self destruct program, dubbed the “Babel Protocol,” was created by Cisco in case Barry went bad and had to be taken down, or an evil speedster gained access to his suit. DC Comics readers should get this as a direct reference to the famous Justice League comic book story line, “Tower of Babel,” in which Batman’s contingency plans for taking out members of the Justice League were used against them by their enemies.

Don’t mess with Iris

While Kilgore wasn’t the greatest villain-of-the-week, his appearance does hint at the emergence of more meta-humans that were created by something other than the particle accelerator explosion. This also ties directly into this season’s main antagonist, The Thinker, as we find out he is keeping tabs, one by one, on these meta-humans for nefarious purposes. It’s still early, so we don’t know the full extent of his plan, but I will say I am intrigued. Also, I’m happy to see that this season’s antagonist isn’t just another evil speedster.

Overall, “Mixed Signals” was a decent episode that continues to bring the fun back to a series that became a bit dire at times in its prior season. This contained a couple of humorous moments, moments in which Barry pushed his speed even further (dismantling a grenade mid-explosion), and compelling character driven elements in regards to two significant romantic relationships. Season four, so far so good.

Next week it looks like the fun will continue as Team Flash will have to track down a meta-human who’s good luck causes others to have some very bad luck. Check out The CW’s official trailer for “Luck Be A Lady” below and feel free to let us know what you thought about “Mixed Signals” in the comments.