The fourth season of The Flash continues to push for a lighter and more comedic tone as it brings back a familiar face to rejoin Team Flash, and sets Barry (Grant Gustin) against one of the more interesting villains of the week the series has given us.
‘Luck Be A Lady’ has two main focuses, that of its villain of the week Hazard (Sugar Lyn Beard), and getting Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) back on the team; thankfully, the episode manages to nail both of these stories and is only let down by some minor moments.
With Tom Cavanagh having previously played a different version of Harrison Wells each season thanks to the series making use of parallel worlds, it became a question of who he would be playing following the death of HR Wells at the end of season three. Would it be a Wells that we’ve already met, or would he be yet another version from an Earth we’ve not seen before.
Whilst the show could have had a lot of fun with introducing yet another version of the character (the scene from the previous season where we saw steampunk and cowboy Wells still stands out as particularly fun) the continued introduction of new Wells’ could have become boring over time. As such, the series makes the better choice of having Harry Wells of Earth-2 return.
Thanks to spending a whole season with Team Flash previously, and visiting multiple times during last season, this version of Wells has a lot of history and shorthand with our characters to draw upon, making him fit in almost immediately. We get to skip the set-up of ‘what kind of person is this Wells’, or any question about if he can be trusted, and go straight to having him as a fun addition to the series.
The scene where he attempts to deliver a Break-Up Cube (why is that not being developed in the real world?) to Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) is so awkward and weird that it hits the perfect tone for the series. Thankfully, this shift to humour isn’t limited to just Wells, but also follows the villain of the week around like a lost puppy. With powers that affect the luck of those around her, Hazard is one of the funniest, yet more sympathetic, villains the series has given us.
Spending the whole of the opening scene with Becky, showing how bad her life was before she got her abilities, means that you never really see her as a villain, more a person who is taking advantage of their immense good luck to try and enjoy their life for once. The fact that she never intentionally goes out of her way to hurt or threaten anyone helps a great deal with this. Her luck based powers also means that the writing staff get to have a lot of fun whenever they send Barry up against her, beginning with him slipping over on a pile of marbles, and culminating in him falling down, accidentally cuffing himself with power dampening handcuffs and getting trapped under a big flashing sign.
These moments are so slapstick and over the top that they shouldn’t really work, but manage to fit so well in the episode because the characters know that these moments are ridiculous and acknowledge that. Whilst Hazard is enjoyable as a villain that challenges Barry and the team in a way that we’ve never seen before, her defeat because of a science loophole feels very much like an easy solution to a difficult corner that the writers put themselves in.
This episode also goes a long way to revealing some important answers as to where these new villains are coming from (something that I thought the show would hold back for a few more episodes at least). It turns out that the new metahumans were accidentally created by a burst of dark matter hitting a bus when Barry was released from the Speed Force in the first episode.
Whilst not the first time that the team has created it’s own villains, it does feel different enough in a way for it to still be interesting. Hopefully, this won’t result in Barry or the other members of the team going on to blame themselves for the event of the season. Having just moved away from a season much darker in tone it would be a shame to accidentally slip backwards.
The main stumbling blocks this episode had, however, were the strange scene in which Iris (Candice Patton) and Barry decide to get married on the spot, which feels out of place for the characters and has some jokes that don’t quite stick the landing; and the sudden departure of Wally West. Despite the sudden ending of his relationship at the start of the episode there’s been very little this season to suggest that Wally doesn’t feel a full and integral part of the team as Kid Flash, so it feels out of place at the end of the episode when he chooses to leave town.
Whilst the show was always going to struggle with an additional speedster in the main cast, it’s not an impossible problem to get around, and could be good with some creative storytelling. Instead, Wally has been sidelined because the writers don’t know what to do with him. Hopefully he’ll get the treatment he deserves in future episodes, perhaps even making the leap over to Legends of Tomorrow as some fans have suggested, where he may get better development as part of their ensemble cast.
A fun and enjoyable episode that manages to pack in some great character moments and laugh out loud comedy, The Flash continues to prove to be one of the more enjoyable series in the CW DC Universe.
The Flash Season 4 is airing in the UK on Sky. Let us know what you think of the season.