Tuesday, July 6, 2021

The Flash 7x15 Review: "Enemy at the Gates" (Gotta Get Godspeed) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

“Enemy at the Gates”
Original Airdate: June 29, 2021

We welcome back Godspeed on this week’s episode, and by “welcome back,” I mean whatever the opposite of that would be. Last time he was on the show, I think I called him something along the lines of — paraphrasing, here — “a forgettable tool with terrible taste in catchphrases.” He’s only scoring two out of three on that front this week because he doesn’t actually say anything all episode, just screams like he’s possessed by dial-up internet. It’s not an improvement.


At the start of the episode, Barry is having a dream: Nora (the daughter from the future, not the mother or the Speed Force mother lookalike — boy, they sure get a lot of mileage out of that name, huh?) visits him and tells him everything is going to be okay. They hug, and Barry wakes up with the revelation that Iris must be pregnant, because why else would he have a dream like that? Certainly couldn’t be because the future-daughter he wants has been on his mind a lot. Barry, I know your life is full of a lot of weird, but I’m pretty sure prophetic pregnancy dreams aren’t on the list.

But Barry is full-tilt into “we’re gonna have a baby” mode and tells Iris (who — speaking of weird — is not on screen this entire episode, even when people talk to her) he’s going to do the tests to prove it himself. Barry’s bizarre behavior catches the attention of everyone who sees him, which means the secret of Iris possibly being pregnant is out in no time at all. Thanks to her empathy powers, Cecile is the first to figure it out but her excitement is interrupted by an explosion in the lab where Barry is working.

The explosion turns out to be caused by the arrival of Godspeed. Funnily enough, even the characters have a general vibe of “we don’t know who this villain is or where they came from or what we’re supposed to do about him even though he’s shown up multiple times now — and also, remember those robot clones of him? That was odd.” It doesn’t give me a lot of hope for this storyline evolving into something compelling or interesting.

After a bit of a chase with multiple Godspeed, Barry ends up back at S.T.A.R. Labs with a forcefield up to keep the Godspeeds out. The Godspeeds are trying to punch their way into the lab, which sends shockwaves through the whole building. This is bad because Caitlin happens to have scheduled Ultraviolet’s throat surgery during the Godspeed invasion just so there’s a bit more tension in the episode than generic speedster villains punching things.

Despite the attempt at adding tension with Ultraviolet’s surgery during an evil speedster attack, there’s only one moment of potential danger and it’s because Ultraviolet’s anesthesia starts wearing off, not because the building is about to fall down around them. This tension doesn’t even last a whole scene, as Cecile steps in to calm Ultraviolet with her empathy powers. There’s a lot in this episode that feels like it was written on the fly.

Chester has the idea to play the Godspeed modem sound over the speaker system in order to confuse them, then Barry could take them all out one by one. Before they can really enact this plan, though, the forcefield goes down and the Godspeeds enter the building. Everyone has fight duty (including Frost and that bartender love interest of hers, whose name I just remembered is Mark) except Chester, who runs to the Time Vault-turned-panic room for cover.

In the Time Vault, Chester asks Gideon for ideas on what to do next, and Gideon offers to go through with his initial plan by playing the Godspeed noise through the intercom system of S.T.A.R. Labs. Thankfully, the show plays “Diesel Power” by The Prodigy instead of the screeching modem noise for the duration of the fight sequence that follows. Unfortunately, one Godspeed finds the source of the sound and breaks into the Time Vault, which I assumed was impossible but okay, fine. The Godspeed destroys the console playing the sound and postures in a way that says Chester is about to die. Just as a side note: the coolness of Godspeed’s costume is seriously wasted on this nothingburger of a character.

Barry launches himself at a few of the Godspeeds and runs out so they’ll follow him and leave everyone else in S.T.A.R. Labs alone. He speeds through the city but gets stopped and is about to be set upon by some Godspeeds when they suddenly start fighting each other. Barry is confused, as am I. Remember what I wrote about how a lot of this episode feels like it was written on the fly? This sort of thing is what I meant.

Later, Barry theorizes that the Godspeeds weren’t compelled to fight each other by any outside force but were just fighting each other to fight each other. Everyone looks around in shock and dismay at the prospect of “speedsters against speedsters” as if this hasn’t been the modus operandi for every speedster Barry has ever encountered who wasn’t related to him in some way. It’s remarkable we’ve had yet another Godspeed episode on this show in which we learn nothing about him, his motivations beyond stealing speed (which, again, is pretty much what every evil speedster wants), or why he had robot duplicates that one time.

By the end of the episode we learn that Ultraviolet has survived her surgery (maybe I should start calling her Esperanza?) and Barry learns that the pregnancy test he’s been waiting all episode to perform turns out negative. He proves he’s not just a literal speedster but also an emotional one, as this single negative result in light of his seemingly prophetic dream sends him into a “Iris and I will never, ever be parents” funk faster than the speed of light. Barry, stop being so dramatic.

Other Things:

  • Will Joe and Kramer’s subplot ever be significant enough to get a spot in the main review? Well, since their car got exploded at the end of this episode, I suppose there’s a chance.
  • Frost and her bartender non-boyfriend are still boring. I wonder if I’d like this storyline better if Mark weren’t such a bad boy cliche. I liked him more when he first showed up and was pretending to be nice.
  • I know it’s silly of me to try and keep track of what the scientists in this show can do, but I swear Caitlin was a bio-engineer and not a surgeon, so why is she doing surgery on Ultraviolet? Also, why is she doing surgery without any assistance whatsoever?
  • Next week: More Godspeeds. Did someone spill a box of “Oops! All Godspeeds” on the back half of this season?


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