Thursday, June 9, 2022

The Flash 8x17 Review: "Keep It Dark" (This Little Light) [Contributor: Deborah M]


“Keep It Dark”
Original Airdate: June 8, 2022

Welcome back from the little mini-hiatus, everyone! This week on The Flash, the show perpetuates the ridiculous notion that super speed is anything more than a neat gimmick and tries to convince us all that a new speedster in the city is a Really Big Deal. A lot more of the episode is dedicated to Allegra, who’s dealing with truth and her past and all kinds of thematic character-growing stuff that’s good for Allegra, but executed rather clumsily. Par for the course for this show, really.


At the Central City Citizen, Allegra is interim Editor in Chief and everyone seems cool with her except Taylor, the Office Mean Girl. Taylor wants to run an expose about the “light meta” seen with the Flash. I’m briefly confused because Allegra runs around maskless and costume-less, but then it’s revealed that Allegra obscures her face with light when she’s in the field. Fantastic retcon, The Flash! I would’ve loved to have been in the writers’ room when this “Allegra might get outed as a meta” plotline was pitched, outlined, and written up before the whole room collectively realized they forgot to give Allegra a secret identity in the first place.

Allegra gets a message from someone about “the Arañas” and meets with Lydia, the former-gang-member friend she wrote a story about earlier this season. Apparently, new management in the Arañas has taken the gang from the “petty theft” level of crime they were at when Allegra was a member to more murderous heights. Before their conversation is finished, someone else in the coffee shop where they’re meeting snaps a picture of the two of them together. That picture is delivered to Millie Rawlins and Kimiyo Hoshi, a.k.a. Sunshine and Dr. Light, who are now running the gang.

At the empty CCC offices, Allegra pitches the idea of having Lydia out the leaders of the Arañas in a live interview to her three lead reporters. They’re reluctant but agree, and Chester arrives to help with obscuring Lydia’s identity while she’s on air. It’s lucky for everyone, because before the interview happens they’re attacked by Sunshine and Dr. Light, and it’s only a “photo-kinetic energy shield” launched by Chester that keeps them all protected.

The shield is a temporary solution only meant to hold off enemies until help can be called. Unfortunately, Sunshine and Dr. Light have blocked communications. Allegra and Chester try to reassure everyone that they know what they’re doing and are capable of not being murdered by the Arañas without making it obvious that they’re part of Team Flash, which is probably difficult in a room full of investigative journalists.

Office Mean Girl Taylor is apparently also Office Sociopath Taylor, because she sees nothing wrong with turning Lydia over to save her own skin, knowing full well that Lydia would be killed. Lydia wants to sacrifice herself to save the others, but Chester and Allegra are determined to stop the Arañas without anyone getting hurt. While Chester talks to Lydia, the CCC employees get into a shouting match that ends with Taylor outing Allegra as a former member of the Arañas, which turns the others against Allegra.

Allegra realizes that lying about her past got everyone into trouble (not really; pretty sure the Arañas would’ve attacked whether your co-workers knew about you being in a gang or not, Allegra) so she’s adopting an all-honesty policy and decides to tell them she’s the light meta on Team Flash. 

The resulting united front comes just in time, since Sunshine and Dr. Light figure out a way to get through Chester’s shield. Allegra gets everyone else to safety before taking them on herself, getting shot with Dr. Light’s photon gun for her troubles. Since Allegra has light powers, she’s able to heal herself or suck out the photons from her wound or something? It’s unclear what was actually going on, but she doesn’t die and gets that cool full-body glow effect that I love to see on superheroes.

It turns out Allegra was just distracting the Arañas while the others went live with Lydia’s interview. Lydia decided not to hide her identity after all, names Millie Rawlins and Kimiyo Hoshi as the leaders of the Arañas, and for some reason this is enough to make the two murderers turn tail and run. Or, like… glow-teleport. Either way, the crisis is somehow averted and we later learn that the Arañas are totally financially crippled by this big reveal, Lydia and Allegra are completely safe now, and everything is cool. Murdering criminals with superpowers are still on the loose, people! I do not think this is the neat and tidy story bow you think it is.

Taylor and the other two CCC journalists whose names I haven’t bothered to learn promise to keep Allegra’s secret and have developed a renewed sense of journalistic integrity. Taylor even gets a special little chat with Allegra where she’s all thankful and happy and Allegra calls her a great investigative reporter. I guess we’re just supposed to forget that Taylor wanted to sacrifice a scared human being in order to save herself? Oh, okay, cool.


Earlier in the episode, Barry ran to the site of a fire at a science lab only to find the fire put out and all the scientists thankful for their speedster rescue. He realizes there must be a new speedster in town and, after investigating the scene of the fire and discovering a missing fancy battery, decides this speedster is a villain. Since Barry arrives at this conclusion not even a quarter of the way into the episode, we can assume it’s not correct. But it makes for a good excuse to go visit Eobard Thawne on his island prison of Lian Yu, so I guess it was necessary. From the show’s perspective, I mean. From my perspective, no appearance by Eobard Thawne is necessary.

On Lian Yu, Barry questions Thawne, decides he isn’t involved with the mystery speedster, but sticks around to have a vaguely threatening conversation with him anyway. Why does Barry always trap himself into conversing with this irritating whisper-talker when he should know better? Zip in, zip out, and forget about him, Barry. For the sake of my interest in this show, I am begging you to forget about him.

The weird obsession Thawne has with Barry could almost be an interesting, dark dynamic, but the core of it is so flimsy it falls flat. When you’ve revealed that the only reason why the villain passionately hates the hero is because said hero showed him up at a public event, the mythos has already been demolished. You cannot recover from that. Eobard Thawne, epic enemy through time and reality is gone; Eobard Thawne, whiny attention-seeking baby has taken his place. He isn’t scary, he isn’t enigmatic, and he isn’t compelling — he’s just pitiful and annoying and further interaction with him stops making sense.

Anyway, the vaguely threatening conversation with Thawne leads Barry to realize that the new speedster isn’t a villain (called it!), they’re just trying to figure out their powers. When the denouement recapping scene between Allegra, Chester, and Barry back at S.T.A.R. Labs toward the end of the episode is complete, Barry faces the new speedster with less of an antagonistic approach based on this realization.

After catching the mystery speedster returning the stolen battery to the lab, a cute little speedster-versus-speedster battle unfolds with Barry repeatedly trying to talk to the newbie and failing. Once it’s proven that he can’t be outrun, the speedster reveals herself as Dr. Meena Dhawan, a genius engineer who invented the Newton battery in the first place. She’s created an artificial speed source and wanted the battery to help power it, but she’s been having trouble getting the hang of her powers.

Barry offers to mentor Meena. Meena tells Barry that he “won’t regret this,” which is a sure sign that he will end up regretting this.

Other Things:

  • In his conversation with Joe, Barry lists off a ridiculous number of other speedsters we’ve known over the seasons, further proving my long-standing point that super speed isn’t that special and it makes no sense why so many characters are obsessed with it. 
  • Caitlin’s still upset after Barry destroyed her at-home lab. I don’t blame her, because I’m pretty sure Barry didn’t help her with the cleanup. Also, she’s taking a break from the team for a while.
  • I thought this show decided artificial speedster-ing was bad? Meena’s cool, though?


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