Monday, March 21, 2022

The Flash 8x07 Review: “Lockdown” (Cooperation is Golden) [Contributor: Deborah M]

Original Airdate: March 16, 2022

The Flash is back to more typical storytelling this week after five episodes of crossover event and one episode in which Barry barely appears. Now it’s just one metahuman villain, a little bit of Team Flash personal drama, explosions... You know. Normal stuff. “Lockdown” brings us the return of Goldface (awful name; pretty funny dude) and the first real chance for Barry and new-Chief Kristen Kramer to truly bond as all vigilantes and law officers eventually must. It’s the only way for the superhero brand of legally questionable codependency to survive.


We begin with Chester P. Runk and Allegra’s awkward flirting being interrupted by Team Flash’s alert system. Three crimes are happening simultaneously. Luckily, Central City’s primary superhero is a speedster, so Barry gets the criminals cuffed and delivered to CCPD in a matter of moments.

Barry — now in the role of his CSI day job — is proud of a job well done, but Chief Kramer complains about the Flash’s methods. She has no information on the suspects or the crimes they committed, so she can’t actually press charges. Barry has been superheroing for almost ten years and he’s only now catching on to the problem of simply throwing random criminals into the CCPD lobby without context or evidence? Kramer ropes Barry in on doing legwork for the cases while lamenting the lack of connection between the cops and the superheroes in the city. Wait, so Team Flash’s hyper-intelligent surveillance system that was able to identify a mugging, a car break-in, and a coffee shop robbery in seconds is just... privately owned? No link to the legal system whatsoever? Jeez, that’s terrifying. And realistic!

After Barry brings up Kramer’s desire to have a direct connection to the Flash to Joe and Cecile, Joe agrees with Kramer. He makes a point that it was just the luck of being in Barry’s family circle that gave him a direct line to the Flash (still unsure how they handled that vis-à-vis court admissibility) when he was on the force. With Joe retired, Kramer is working with a handicap no other Chief has had to deal with since metas became a thing.

Barry argues that he’s super good at his job now, though, and implies that him not needing CCPD as much as he used to means that Kramer doesn’t deserve a direct line to the Flash. That’s some weird logic, Barry. It’s not about quid pro quo, it’s about things falling through the cracks and getting a bunch of cases dismissed on technicalities because all the judges and jurors have to go on is the word of a masked vigilante who can’t even be summoned to court. Weirdly, neither Joe nor Cecile argue that point. Instead, Joe says Kramer’s a good cop and if she wants a line to the Flash it’s “for a good reason.” Yeah, and the good reason should be a fair legal system.

Later at CCPD, Barry has done loads of extra work to make up for dropping those three suspects on Kramer without having to give her any actual contact with the Flash. Kramer just wonders about what they’ll do for the next suspects they gain via the Flash. As she and Barry are about to step onto an elevator, they notice a blinking device that spits out a fog that knocks out everyone in the building.

When all of CCPD comes to, it’s to find Goldface and his crew have taken over the building and cuffed everyone with power-dampening bracelets. Kramer tries to do the responsible leader thing and negotiate a release for everyone, but Goldface isn’t having it and demonstrates via a dummy the bracelets are also rigged as explosive devices in case anyone steps out of line. Then Goldace recognizes Barry from the events of his introductory episode, “Goldfaced,” in which Barry pretended to be a hardcore criminal named The Chemist and foiled plans to steal an organ printer. Barry glosses over that by saying he was undercover and asks what Goldface wants. 

Turns out, Goldface wants something in the CCPD armory: the meta-bullets Kramer had made for her task force back when she was a worse character. Unfortunately for everyone, those bullets are missing and Goldface is quite unhappy about it. He’s clearly holding a grudge against Barry for the Chemist thing, so he’s targeted him and Kramer in most of his threats and orders the two down to the armory to explain where the bullets went. 

Kramer makes a big speech about how the bullets are only for the most severe emergencies and she’d die for the metas of the city now and blah, blah, blah. Why doesn’t she just say she had a change of heart and the bullets were destroyed? Goldface uses his chain to strangle Barry as an incentive for Kramer telling him where the bullets are. Before Kramer can give up the info, Barry tells Goldface he can adjust his dark matter scanner to find the bullets instead.

While Barry works on his scanner, Goldface shows himself to be the most emotionally intelligent gold-themed villain this show has ever seen. Wait, not just emotionally intelligent: he’s also very well-read! Goldface mocks his minion’s literary knowledge and quotes Moby Dick, trying to help him along by using lines quoted in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. He bought that minion a first edition for his birthday! Goldface has a B.A. in Literature from Yale! Has this guy suddenly become my favorite The Flash villain? Anyway, Barry’s been tinkering with his scanner this whole time but he was actually switching it from infrared to infrasonic so it would emit a painful, high-pitched screech. Barry and Kramer block out the noise with earplugs and use the distraction to escape.

Hiding in a storage room, Barry and Kramer start looking for anything that could help them. Barry notices that Kramer’s power-dampening bracelet is no longer glowing. He theorizes that her mimic powers mean fluctuating genes, which the bracelet wasn’t equipped to handle and shorted out. Barry thinks it’s great because now Kramer can mimic Goldface’s powers and help, but Kramer says she’s “not ready” for that and we learn that Kramer has no control over her powers. It’s part of the reason why she wanted direct contact with the Flash — she wants him to teach her. Of all the metas, the Flash seems least likely to be helpful in the “dangerous, uncontrollable powers” department that Kramer needs help in, but okay.

Over the intercom, Goldface announces he’s going to start strangling officers unless Kramer comes out and tells him where the meta-bullets are. Kramer is still struggling, but you know what that means? It’s time for a The Flash pep talk! Oooh, a rare one delivered by Barry instead of given to Barry this time. He tells Kramer that trust in her own instincts is all she needs to control her powers and asks her to stall for long enough to get his own bracelet off. Kramer is suspicious as to why mild-mannered CSI Barry Allen needs to take his bracelet off, but if Barry talks fast enough and uses enough go-getter lingo he can distract anyone into doing anything.

After a The Flash pep talk Kramer can do anything, so she successfully mimics Goldface’s powers and takes control of his chain long enough to rescue the officer he was strangling. Barry has finally figured out how to get his bracelet off and uses an unnecessary flashback of Caitlin telling him he’s “leveled up” to outrun the ensuing explosion. Said explosion distracts Kramer and she loses control of Goldface’s power. He retrieves his chain, but the Flash is zipping through the office collecting all the criminals so it doesn’t matter. CCPD is back in control of the officers and the day is saved. Hurrah! Sure hope there was nothing important in that storage room Barry blew up!

When all is said and done, Barry realizes Kramer really does deserve a line to the Flash and tries to do her one better by revealing his secret identity, but she already knows. I love collecting these moments of Barry being comically bad at having a secret identity.

Other Things:

  • I paused to read the livestream chat on Chester’s screen. Shout out to “Techluver5897” and their repeated commentary about cats.
  • Caitlin is finally ready to go “all in” on another relationship after her dead fiancé died! Wow, just in time for that dead fiancé to show up again for two episodes later in the season.
  • Goldface and Amunet are hilariously lovey-dovey, even long distance. He calls her “Ammy Wammy.”
  • Last scene: After dinner with Joe, Iris experiences some blips in time and memory and more suspicious green glowing. Intriguing!


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