This is the kind of episode you get when a series is deep into its seventh season. We’ve already lost Tom Cavanagh and Carlos Valdes, and within the first two minutes of “Rayo De Luz” it becomes clear that Grant Gustin and Candice Patton won’t be around this week either. Giving the leads a break usually happens once a season anyway, but it’s a starker absence this time given that it only leaves two original cast members, Danielle Panabaker (a triple-threat this week as Caitlin, Frost, and the episode’s director) and Jesse L. Martin (who has more to do in this episode than he has in quite a while).
That means Team Flash is made up of Chester, Allegra, and Sue, a configuration that would baffle any viewer who checked out a couple seasons ago. Allegra has been using the Citizen hotline to track her cousin Esperanza, better known as the Black Hole assassin Ultraviolet. No sooner does she tell Chester that Esperanza is due in Central City for a job than her cousin shows up at Jitters in full attack mode. Sue, who knows Ultraviolet from her days pursuing Black Hole, shows up to join the fun, but Esperanza gets away.
As it turns out, Esperanza is in town to kill Dr. Olsen, the man who made her Ultraviolet and took away her voice. With the help of a stun grenade, Sue and Allegra manage to capture Esperanza and lock her up at STAR Labs, but after hearing her cousin’s story, Allegra makes the mistake of asking herself “What would Barry do?” and then doing that thing. I mean, come on! Everyone knows you ask yourself that question to determine what not to do. This is definitely a George Costanza situation where you should do the opposite, but instead Allegra frees Esperanza, much to Sue’s dismay, and Chester ends up getting blasted when he was only trying to bring the gang some snacks.
Luckily, “Chuck” (as Allegra calls him) only ends up with his arm in a sling, and is able to work out a system based on the yin-yang tattoo Allegra and Esperanza share, allowing them to track Ultraviolet’s location using her cousin’s energy. Once again, Sue’s acrobatics are an episode highlight as she helps Allegra past the guards at the warehouse by dancing all around them with an electrified wire. When Allegra catches up to Esperanza, she learns Dr. Olsen has promised to restore her voice if only she’ll wipe out everyone who knows what he did. She’s happy to go along with this, and it looks like she’ll easily defeat her cousin, but it turns out Allegra has taken Barry’s methods to heart. Literally. Once again, the power of love is too much for hate, as Allegra’s chest lights up and she’s able to blast Ultraviolet. I guess, on some level, you have to admire the writers’ willingness to keep going back to this corny well. On another, more personal level, I’m ready for it to never happen again.
How much one cares about all of this is largely dependent on how much one cares about these particular characters. If you’re more invested in old school Flash, there’s Joe West working a case despite no longer being with CCPD. He confronts Kristen Kramer with his findings and gets thrown out of his former office, but at a later meeting he learns she didn’t betray her unit, but rather has been protecting the man she thought of as a brother. She trust Joe and enlists him in a mission to find the former soldier. Given that this is the woman who tried to lock up Frost forever, it’s hard to feel warm and fuzzy about this development, but at least it’s preferable to any further cringe-inducing moments revolving around Barry and Iris attempting to procreate.
- Once again we get an opening flash-forward action sequence, followed by a “12 hours earlier” title. Not only is this device overused on this show (and many others), it shows a lack of confidence on the part of the creative team, as if they’re worried viewers will tune out if they don’t see people punching each other right away.
- Early on in Chester’s tenure, I felt like everyone involved was trying too hard to make him a lovable goof, but in recent weeks he’s grown into that role. Caring about a potential romance between him and Allegra may be a bridge too far, however.
- Frost captures (her boyfriend?) Chillblaine again, but this time he’s out for legit reasons, having turned state’s witness against his fellow metas.
- Next week: The much-teased reappearance of Godspeed is finally here.