Saturday, April 3, 2021

The Flash 7x05 Review: "Fear Me" (Psychological War-Fear) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

“Fear Me”
Original Airdate: March 30, 2021

So it looks like the mysterious arc for the season is really starting up this week. I have to admit I have no idea where this might be going, so I’m pretty intrigued — at the very least, it’s nice that the show seems to be integrating their metahuman villains of the week into a much larger picture. Well, I think that’s what they’re doing. Two is a coincidence, three is a pattern and all. We’re still on two for now, so let’s see where this goes.


The episode starts with some re-examination of last week’s events, specifically the giant metahuman that attacked Barry and Abra Kadabra and was capable of destroying an antimatter bomb. Barry has managed to find a way to track the giant meta, named “Fuerza” by Cisco (it’s Spanish for “strength” and “She-Hulk” was taken) but the team has no plan beyond that. No sooner than the news of the tracking system is shared by Barry, Cisco gets an alert for an isotopic signature — but despite what Barry assumes, it’s not Fuerza who’s heading toward S.T.A.R Labs.

Multicolored lightning like we’ve seen previously strikes inside the lab. The origin of the lightning is outlined around the ceiling, and Barry recognizes a human shape fast enough to speed over and catch the person before they hit the ground. It turns out to be the Speed Force, still in the form of Barry’s mom, and she (They? It? Unclear of the pronoun situation when it comes to otherworldly ineffable entities of power, here) looks to be in pretty bad shape.

Caitlin hooks the Speed Force up to monitors, but there’s little she can do to help or even figure out what’s wrong with what basically amounts to a god. Barry’s first guess at a suspect is Fuerza, since being able to demolish an antimatter bomb basically means she can do just about anything, including hurt the Speed Force. Hey, Barry can kill it — Fuerza probably can too, right?

But the injured Speed Force isn’t the A-plot problem this week. No, that belongs to our very purple, mask-wearing metahuman of the week: Psych, dubbed thus by Cisco and not nearly as funny as the USA Network show of the same name. Psych is yet another metahuman with psychic abilities, but he appears to be significantly stronger than any Team Flash has encountered before and his main goal is just to cause chaos, which makes him especially dangerous.

Psych’s primary weapon is fear. We see his first strike when Cecile has a full-on terror hallucination before Joe snaps her out of it, and then Barry encounters Psych when he goes to a rescue call and finds two guards freaking out over a giant alien monster thing only they can see. That’s when Psych appears, equipped with his very own choppy editing effects and spooky audio corruption, to show Barry some of his worst fears: namely, encountering Reverse-Flash and Savitar again. It’s not just a hallucination, though, because when Savitar stabs Barry in the nightmare, Barry ends up with a real wound he only survives because of his speed-healing ability.

When another emergency calls Team Flash to the scene of a bunch of financial people freaking out and crying about how ruined they are — Psych’s doing — Barry smugly tells Psych that he’s already faced his fear and is therefore immune to Psych’s powers. Oh, Barry. Barry, Barry, Barry. How many times do I have to tell you not to gloat at the villains? I swear, it’s like you’re a scripted fictional character and you can’t even hear me! Anyway, Psych sends Barry a vision of all his loved ones dying, which makes a lot more sense as Barry’s worst fear than having to face long-defeated villains.

Frost was also at the scene of the attack and got a vision of her own worst fear: getting arrested for the crimes she committed while evil (actually, “evil” seems like a strong word — rebellious?), and Caitlin turning out to be the person who turned her in. This ties in with the current separation of Frost and Caitlin into two bodies, and how Frost likes her new independence while she fears Caitlin resents her for it. Their storyline is cute, if a little predictable in how it all plays out, and an ending scene where an agent working for the governor says she’s in Central City to apprehend Frost implies there will be more to this story than hugs and Frost becoming Caitlin’s new roomie in episodes to come.

In the meantime, we still gotta deal with Psych. Barry’s feeling down about falling for Psych’s trick a second time — not to mention getting a realistic dose of what it’d be like if everyone he loved died — and it’s actually Cecile who gives him a pep talk and gets him out of his funk. Cecile turns out to be key to defeating this villain, since she’s also a meta of the psychological variety. Barry gets the bright idea to use DeVoe’s old villain chair to amplify Cecile’s ability to project emotions. Ah, the DeVoe season. Remember that, folks? Feels like forever. When Psych’s reach across Central City expands, he sends out a purple fear-fog that has everyone it touches terrified.

Barry hooks Cecile up to DeVoe’s chair while Cecile quietly freaks out about it potentially turning her evil, and then he goes to confront Psych. Barry gets another dose of fear visions, this time with all his dead loved ones standing and stalking toward him with janky movements and gross crunching sound effects. They all blame Barry for their deaths and Barry’s losing it, but Team Flash breaks through to him enough for Cecile to latch onto his courage and send a wave of golden courage-light across the city. When Psych is hit by Cecile’s psychic wave, he flickers out and disappears.

Later, Barry mentions to the team that he’d hit Psych with speed lightning and the guy seemed to just absorb it, and the same thing happened when Barry hit Fuerza. A theory is brewing, but no one can voice it yet. Barry doubles over in pain and has to go into a cryo-pod to recuperate, just in time for the Speed Force to wake up and drop the bomb that both Fuerza and Psych were the ones who hurt her. When asked what could possibly hurt the Speed Force, she says they’re “like [her].” So... implying Psych and Fuerza aren’t so much “metahumans of the week” as they are otherworldly ineffable entities of power, I guess.

Other Things:

  • Frost being worried over Caitlin possibly needing floaties to swim is adorable, as is the implication that Team Flash is planning a river rafting vacation in the future. I love it when shows hint at characters living normal lives outside of episodes.
  • Apparently Cisco is very protective of the show This Is Us. I haven’t heard people mention that show in forever.
  • Next week: Cisco and Chester travel to the 90s! It looks fun.


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