Friday, June 11, 2021

The Flash 7x12 Review: "Good-Bye Vibrations" (Somewhere Over the Rainbow) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

“Good-Bye Vibrations”
Original Airdate: June 8, 2021

After the painfully bad Forces plot making up the first half of this season, The Flash has thrown me for a loop with a well-written, kind, and fitting send-off to one of the original members of Team Flash. We’re saying goodbye to Cisco this episode, which is sad — but also, thanks to the metahuman of the week, more than a little bit joyous. In a way, the balance between funny and bittersweet we get in "Good-Bye Vibrations" is exactly what the show needed in order to properly commemorate the hilarious and heartfelt Cisco Ramon. Good job, show! I knew you had decent writing left in you.


Without wasting any time, the episode begins with Cisco and Kamilla having gathered Iris, Barry, and Caitlin together in order to tell them the news: they’re leaving Central City. Tomorrow. Yikes, guys — sitting on that news for a while is one thing, but waiting until the day before the move? Kind of messed up. Also, it’s mentioned that Cisco is moving to Star City while Kamilla has a gallery showing of her photography in Miami and she’ll move back to Star City when it’s over, but I have no idea how significant these moves are because I actually don’t have a clue where Central City is geographically. I would assume somewhere... central?

Cisco is a little miffed by how well his friends seem to be taking his impending egress, but he assumes the magnitude of the event simply hasn’t hit them yet. Chester makes him feel a little better by calling Cisco leaving S.T.A.R. Labs “the end of an era,” which it definitely is, but that is undone a bit when Cisco gets to his office and finds that Barry has already speed-packed all his stuff. And then Cisco’s mood is dampened even more when Caitlin cheerfully asks for his security pass and access codes back. At least Frost passes on a nice, very Frost message to him: “You suck forever. But I love you anyway.”

Then the villain of the week strikes! A woman dressed in rainbows hypnotizes a banker into happily handing over a check for $10 million, made out to “cash.” I feel like no bank would actually cash that much money? Or even have that much on hand? Whatever, I’m not going to look this gift horse too closely in the mouth because the show isn’t actively driving me insane for the first time in over a month. When Team Flash gets news of this new meta, Cisco is excited about making it OG Team Flash’s final mission together.

Cisco quickly recognizes a similarity in the most recent attack and an attack from the past: Rainbow Raider, who hypnotized people into anger. The new meta — whom Cisco dubs Rainbow Raider 2.0 but I’m going to call Carrie because I’ve learned my lesson about staying away from the wordier nicknames — has the opposite effect on her victims, instead making them so happy and blissed out they’re highly susceptible to suggestions. Cisco wants to use the same prism grid on Carrie that Team Flash used to defeat the first iteration of Rainbow Raider, thus quickly and cleanly wrapping up their last case together with a wonderful win.

Unfortunately for Cisco, when he and Barry arrive on the scene of Carrie making off with a rolling suitcase full of jewels and jewelry, the prism grid doesn’t work. Carrie is able to rainbow-hypnotize a nearby valet into stealing the fancy car parked outside, which means that Barry has to stop the guy and Cisco gets left behind to be mind-whammied. The good news is, Cisco is no longer bummed out about all his friends’ apparent apathy toward his movie. The bad news is, Cisco is now too into singing and dancing to be of much use to anyone.

Chester is tasked with babysitting Cisco, who is now essentially a hyperactive child, but loses track of him almost immediately. Cisco runs up to the Team Flash command room expecting a surprise party and, when no party appears imminent, starts his own but queuing up an animation of laser-shooting disco cats on every screen, including one that projects directly in front of Barry’s face via the Flash suit. While he’s running. Okay, my first question is why “laser cat disco party animation” is a thing that Cisco can pull up with a few keystrokes, and my second question is why Barry’s suit projects anything directly in his face. Seems dangerous for a hero whose whole deal is running really fast.

Anyway, Barry slams face-first into a van. Carrie witnesses this as she’s on her way to steal more stuff and takes the opportunity to mind-whammy Barry as well. Barry returns to S.T.A.R. Labs, having joined Cisco in the realm of loopy giggling and dance parties. Poor Caitlin is left as the only sane person of OG Team Flash.

What Chester lacks in babysitting ability, he makes up for in technical know-how. Barry and Cisco’s party is fun (there’s breakdancing!) but short-lived, as Chester runs up and hits them with a flashing technobabble thing that cancels out whatever power Carrie had over them. This is followed by the news that Carrie is stealing a blimp, which is... possibly the weirdest thing anyone’s ever stolen on this show. Why does anyone in Central City possess a blimp to steal? Did Barry go back in time again and turn this timeline into a post-Steampunk universe?

The mood was already lowered by the lack of meta-induced glee, but it’s brought down even further when Barry asks Cisco if he could use his new ARGUS connections to help them figure out what to do next about Carrie. It’s the final straw on Cisco’s situation with his friends, and Cisco storms off. Barry and Caitlin, having realized that the brave front they’d clearly been putting on for Cisco has backfired, follow to confess how torn up they actually are about him leaving. It’s a wonderfully sweet, sad scene between the three people who started Team Flash that Carlos Valdes in particular totally knocks out of the park.

With the emotional stuff dealt with (for now), OG Team Flash gets back to work figuring out Carrie’s next move. Barry learns that she used to be a debt collector, but turned to a life of Robin Hood-esque crime after she was fired for cancelling people’s medical debt instead of collecting it. Well, I’m immediately on her side now. Still, she’s about to launch millions of dollars worth of cash and jewels out of a blimp, thereby causing complete chaos in Central City, so apparently our heroes need to stop her.

And stop her they do, as Barry, Allegra, and Cisco hop into the aircraft’s cab (is that what the non-balloon part of a blimp is called? Or like... a gondola?) and cuff Carrie. Since Carrie isn’t really a villain, Barry promises she won’t go to jail and will instead work off her crime by working with the mayor on Central City’s community spending. Barry speeds Allegra and Carrie off the airship while Cisco mans the controls and stops it from careening into a stadium full of people, thus ending his final mission with Team Flash as a totally awesome hero.

Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Cisco gifts Chester with a new workshop and officially passes the torch of designated team nerd on to him. He also reminisces about his past with Team Flash, starting from the first moment Barry woke up from his coma and including a wide array of metahuman nicknames. It’s a very nice moment, eventually followed by another very nice moment of a completely different tone: Cisco, Barry, Joe, and Caitlin all singing a karaoke version of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” — the song Cisco had played for Barry while he was in his coma. 

Again I have to give kudos to the show for treating Cisco’s departure with exactly the right degrees of levity and pathos, perfectly balanced around a classic variety metahuman of the week plotline. There were a lot of ways this storyline could’ve gone wrong, but the show skirted around every one of them and managed an incredibly fitting send-off to a beloved character.

Other Things:

  • At the end of the episode something weird happens with Cecile. We’re not given any context so I’m not gonna bother speculating.
  • Best of luck to Carlos Valdes! You made Cisco great.


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