It’s been over a month since we checked in with Barry and the gang, and it’s been anything but a normal month. So it’s a little jarring when “So Long And Goodnight” plunges us right into the action without even a perfunctory catch-up. Iris is still social distancing in the mirror world, working on a way to get out. Her latest idea involves somehow contacting Barry and getting him to phase her and Eva out, which...really, she’s just thinking of this plan now? Eva wants no help from Barry; in fact, she wants him completely drained of his speed, an assignment Mirror Iris takes on with all the subtlety of a runaway freight train.
Here we have another episode in which a character behaves stubbornly beyond all reason, but for once it’s not Barry. Joe is intent on taking down Joseph Carver and his Black Hole operation, and he’s not taking any of the hints that he should back off and leave it to someone else. First his brakes are cut while he’s driving, leaving his car a flaming wreck that Joe manages to jump out of at the last moment. It’s a job that could only have been accomplished by someone who can squeeze into a tiny space, which means it’s time for Rag Doll’s annual appearance. When Joe next encounters Rag Doll, the Flash isn’t fast enough to stop all the bullets heading for him, leaving Joe with a shoulder wound. Time to go into witness protection? Nope, Joe’s got this!
Ignoring Barry’s request to stay put at STAR Labs, Joe sets down his badge and goes straight to the source, showing up at Carver’s house. It doesn’t take long for Carver to slip up and admit he’s behind the Rag Doll attacks, a confession Joe captures on his phone. It’s a shame Joe never heard about the cloud, however, as Carver uses a miniature EMP pulse to take out Joe’s phone before going on to threaten Cecile and baby Jenna. Sure enough, Rag Doll strikes again, capturing Cecile and trapping her on top of a pressure bomb with a timer counting down. I’m not so sure I agree 100 percent with your police work here, Joe.
Relief from this frustrating storyline comes with the welcome return of Ralph, still on the trail of Sue Dearbon, now with a Homeland wall of photos connected by string to help him. He enlists Cisco in a mission to catch her in the act at an investor’s brunch she’s targeted, but she gives them the slip first with a Mission: Impossible January Galore mask and then with a grappling hook straight out of Batman’s utility belt. When Ralph catches up with her again, he reveals that he’s learned she’s not a bad apple after all; her parents are being extorted by Carver (it all ties together). She admits that she finds him tolerable and accepts his offer of help, and the Ralph and Sue team is finally born.
For being such an all-powerful guy, however, Carver is a dud of a villain; he’s your standard-issue slimy rich guy out of any soap opera. His plot against Joe is thwarted when Barry uses up much of his remaining super-speed to whisk Cecile away while Joe takes her place on the hot seat. Even though Barry can’t make it back in time, Joe saves his own ass by guessing which of the many green wires defuses the bomb. Or maybe all of them did and he didn’t have to guess right; Carver only wanted him out of the picture, and after the third failed attempt on his life, Joe finally gets the message and goes into witness protection (without Cecile and Jenna, which is...odd). Joe’s departure is played at such a hyper-dramatic slo-mo pitch, you would think Jesse L. Martin is leaving forever.
The big reveal here is that Singh is also one of Eva’s mirror people, and that she also wanted Joe out of the way, because she doesn’t want anyone else taking down her husband when she could do it herself. Eva’s brief appearances tonight leave me impatient for her to finally break out of her mirror world and do some damage; the shot of her face staring up at Carver from many shattered pieces of mirror was the highlight of the night. For now, though, she’s still operating through Mirror Iris, who isn’t as much fun as she used to be. She harangues Barry into using up his remaining speed so she can say goodbye to Joe, and when he refuses, she throws him out of the apartment. Even Barry should be wising up by now, so it’s a relief to see the previews indicating he learns the truth in the next episode. It’s time to break through the mirror and get this show on the road.
- I don’t think I’ve ever been as surprised by a music cue on this show as I was when the cool jazz on Joe’s car stereo suddenly switched to Ministry’s “Jesus Built My Hotrod.” It was a happy surprise, though.
- It couldn’t have been planned since this episode was originally set to air weeks ago, but nice tribute to Prince on the fourth anniversary of his death with the “Diamonds and Pearls” discourse.
- New episode next week. How many more will follow, and whether any sort of resolution to this season can be expected given the production shutdown, is anyone’s guess.