Friday, October 27, 2017

The Flash 4x03 Review: "Luck Be a Lady" (Murphy’s Law) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

"Luck Be a Lady"
Original Airdate: October 24, 2017 

The Flash continues its winning streak of light-hearted episodes with “Luck Be a Lady.” The dialogue was wonderful (thanks in no small part to the return of Harry, whose semi-confrontational relationship with Cisco always leads to some great lines) and the situations were funny, bordering on slapstick — much like the hijinks associated with Barry’s malfunctioning, techy suit last episode. If they continue down the path set by the past two weeks, I think The Flash might actually be able to recover from last season’s failed attempt at “darker and edgier” storytelling.

Unfortunately, “Luck Be a Lady” fumbles a character exit (whether that exit be permanent or temporary), which makes for a real downer ending for what was otherwise a fun, engaging episode.


In a switch from the Thinker codas of the previous two episodes, this episode actually begins with the Thinker... thinking out loud, I guess? He’s narrating some of the grand scheme he’s got going on and giving us a little bit more information about what’s happening (or will be happening) in this season’s main arc. Thankfully, the show has learned from its bad habit of trying to plant huge, critical mysteries into the identities of its villains: The Thinker is enigmatic but his identity is less important than what he’s doing with the new metahumans, and Team Flash and the viewers are pretty much on pace together with big reveals regarding him. Eobard “I’d Forgotten How Terrible This Name Is” Thawne, Zoom, and Savitar all had identity mysteries injected into their very character, which made things boring when we figured out who they actually were, but it looks like the Thinker might just be... a villain. Just, doin’ nefarious things for capital-R Reasons.

“Subject was born in Sarasota, Florida,” says the Thinker, “the first indignity in a life full of unfortunate circumstances.” Wow, serious burn on Sarasota out of nowhere, The Flash! Anyway, he’s talking about our metahuman of the week, Becky, who has had bad luck her entire life — until that bad luck suddenly turned around three weeks ago, when she caught a bus with a bunch of other people and ended up blasted by a bright light. Now Becky is so lucky she can just walk into a bank and walk out with bags full of cash and no one will stop her. Mostly because they’re all tripping over stuff, falling off ladders, so on and so on. Even Barry falls into Becky’s bad luck field when he goes after her, tripping on a bunch of marbles “like a cartoon.”

Basically, Becky is doing whatever she wants, the lives of the people around her be darned, and Team Flash can’t get near her without being subjected to the same terrible luck as everyone else. Also, it seems like bad luck is contagious, as even things unrelated to Becky start going wrong. Barry and Iris lose their wedding venue, Joe’s house is falling apart, Wally got dumped, and here’s the real kicker: Team Flash made Becky (“Hazard,” as Cisco has dubbed her) in the first place. That bright light outside the bus Becky was on? That was Barry returning from the Speed Force, bringing a wave of dark matter with him and creating at least twelve new metas.

It’s only the third episode of the season and the biggest mystery (where new metas like last week’s Kilg%re came from) is already getting solved. I’m happy that the show is being straightforward about what’s going on, because this is, for some reason, more fun than dragging out a pointless mystery. The Samuroid from the season opener? Sent by the Thinker so the team would need Barry back. The Thinker needed Barry back to create the new metas. Now all that’s left to figure out is why he wanted to create new metas in the first place.

But first: the Becky problem. It seems that the quantum field causing the bad luck around Becky is expanding in proportion to the amount of good luck she’s having, pulling in a large radius of the city that includes Joe’s house going from some leaky pipes to a full-on danger to life and limb, an airplane getting a bird to the turbine, and the particle accelerator... which is going to explode. Again.

The team rushes to fight against everything that’s going wrong, but they know that whatever they do to stop Becky will only increase her good luck and thereby increase their bad luck. Harry, taking refuge from Earth-2 where he’d been kicked off his own daughter’s superhero team, is actually the one who figures out how to stop Becky by just letting the particle accelerator explode. Why’d that work? Well, blah blah technobabble blah, negated Becky’s quantum field and stopped her luck. Barry slaps her in cuffs, ships her off to Iron Heights, and the day is saved.


Let’s rewind back to the beginning of the episode, when Team Flash (minus Wally) got a Breach Alert on all their phones while they were out for a family lunch (minus Wally). It turned out that the alert was because Wally had a date scheduled with Jesse from Earth-2, but — as he stood there, giant teddy bear and flowers in his arms and an adorable, adorable grin on his face — Harry ends up stepping through the portal instead, in order to deliver a Breakup Cube. The name of the cube speaks for itself. We get a very weak excuse from Harry on behalf of Jesse, whose recorded hologram fuzzes out so she can’t even deliver the breakup in person, and it’s all just the beginning of this episode dealing Wally West one bad hand after another.

During the climax of the episode, pretty much everyone tapped into The Flash on Twitter noticed a curious lack of Wally as everything around Team Flash fell apart. There were three different crises happening at once: Barry trapped in the casino with Bad Luck Becky, Harry and Cisco dealing with the explosion, and Cecile and Joe getting attacked by the West house. Wally was absent for all of them. Furthermore, Wally’s name wasn’t even mentioned — not so much as a “Where’s Wally?” was uttered by any of the characters despite the fact that Wally is a speedster with abilities comparable to the metahuman leader of the team.

And that, I suppose, is the problem: The Flash can’t find something for two speedsters to do in every episode. When the big final battle happens, Barry must be the one to save the day, so Wally must be incapacitated or completely ignored, or else there’s no tension for the viewers. Aren’t there ways for The Flash writers to write themselves out of this corner without sidelining Wally? I mean yeah, it is kind of understandable that this show is called The Flash, so the Flash shouldn’t have to share the spotlight with someone of similar power, intelligence, and even, in some ways, personality — but writing off Wally by ignoring him, and then making that part of the reason he’s going? That’s a bit ridiculous.

Because yes, Wally confronts his friends and family about no one noticing his absence during the Becky battle. How freaking sad is that? He went to go see Jesse on Earth-2 and get a better breakup message than a fuzzy hologram and a stuttered explanation from her dad, then comes back to find an entire episode climax happened while he was gone and no one cared enough to notice his absence. With this revelation, Wally decides to leave Central City and stay in Blue Valley (holy smokes, a city that doesn’t have the word “city” in the name!) for the foreseeable future. Everyone makes sad faces at the idea, but no one fights him on it. Hugs all around.

Wally deserved a lot better than this.

Other Things:
  • Becky has a MySpace page? Really?
  • There are so many little things I adored in this episode that have been noticeably absent in previous seasons. The team hanging out outside of work, having fun, for one.
  • Iris trying to speed-marry Barry right after a funeral had me cackling. “I love this coffin, is that cedar?” Candice Patton’s comedy skills are absolutely stellar.


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