The Flash season 3 episode 11 review: Dead or Alive


This The Flash review contains spoilers.

3.11 Dead Or Alive

Well, here we go again. Another solid episode of The Flash. Ho-hum.

Dead Or Alive felt like a bit of a step down from the recent string of outstanding episodes. But for real, that might just be because roughly 3/4ths of this season has just been so above and beyond my expectations that it’s made it tougher on installments like this one. 

There’s nothing wrong with Dead Or Alive. I just never really felt the stakes of it, and I feel like it brought the tension level of the last few down a little. That’s fine, and it’s understandable. In its defense, though, I wouldn’t call this formulaic, and yet again, The Flash has found ways to make even the episodes that have less to do with the main story feel fresh.

I was all set to blow this episode to bits. The “Christmas came early” line…what hackery is this? But then I realised it was intentional hackery to help set up HR’s little fictions, and suddenly all was forgiven. We were due for an episode that really explored HR and Cisco’s relationship, and “Dead or Alive” was a fine way to do it. I still think that even with what we learned about him and his Earth 19 crimes, there’s still more we’re not privy to, but I think I’ve finally put those Abra Kadabra whispers in my head to rest once and for all. Maybe.

And honestly, can I really hate on a Cisco-centric episode? No. No I cannot. There’s too much fun to be had here, the Vibe costume is entirely too cool, and I think I bought the chemistry with Carlos Valdes and Jessica Camacho, too.

In fact, let me back this up for a moment. Jessica Camacho guest starred as DC Comics hero Gypsy tonight, and I think it’s safe to say that she could slide right into this cast of regulars. Maybe by the time The Flash Season 4 rolls around there will be room for Gypsy at STAR Labs. Failing that, she could probably do some quality work as part of the Legends of Tomorrow team next year. 

I wasn’t buying Iris’ reporter quest this week, mostly because I feel that element of her character has remained sorely underdeveloped for ages now. Lois Lane she ain’t. But then they threw me a curve with her newfound fearlessness because, in her own words, “I don’t die until May.” That’s a helluva way to look at things, and I suspect we haven’t seen the last of this mindset from her. I wonder how else this will affect (or infect) other members of the team in the leadup to the big finale?

Plus, Iris set up two classic Joe West comic timing moments, with “the talk” while Wally snooped around, and Joe’s “hell no, I’m not cool with this” when he finds out how close Iris came to bringing about her own doom. Let’s not forget, Joe isn’t in on a lot of what’s going on. I’m sure that’s going to work out just fine for everyone involved.

Wally’s easy confidence as Kid Flash is really something, and I feel like every week Keiynan Lonsdale becomes more at home in this role. I could totally see this Kid Flash hanging out with a version of the Teen Titans, and I’d be really curious to see what happens if we reach a point where he has to step up and headline this show for awhile. The whole thing with Flashes is that legacy is important, and it would be interesting if in a few seasons Barry has to step down and Wally becomes the show’s main character. We’re not there yet, and won’t be for some time, but I’m starting to think we’d be in good hands if that happened.

But the quiet beauty of this episode is in how Barry just hangs back for so much of it. When he tries to get too actively involved, he blows it. The rest of the time, he lets Wally and Cisco take the lead, fully cementing his role as leader and really taking the shackles off them in terms of their own heroic potential. This is a huge deal, as we’ve seen Barry has a tendency to be something of a workaholic, and in his own way, a control freak. Trust me, I know it when I see it. We recognize our own.

It feels like every week I’m asking the question of whether or not this is the best season of The Flash ever. We’re just about at the halfway point, and I’m feeling more and more confident with the prospect of saying yes to this.

Flash Facts!

– Gypsy was part of the most hated version of the Justice League ever, the legendary “Detroit era” of the team. Incidentally, every member of that team other than Elongated Man has made it onto the CW now. I bet you anything we get Elongated Man next year.

She…looks nothing at all like her original comic book version. That’s not a bad thing:

– Gypsy and Vibe ended up in CatCo on Earth 38 (where Supergirl takes place) with poor Miss Teschmacher looking on. That was a nice touch. 

– So what the hell was that other world they ended up on? The shattered moon in the sky reminded me of Wegthor, one of the moons of Krypton (which was even visible in Man of Steel), so I wonder: was this Krypton? Or just some horrible alternate Earth? Is this the Earth after The Great Disaster? Is this Kamandi’s Earth? Holy moley, did the CW DC Universe just put Kamandi in continuity?!?

– That Vibe costume is pretty rad. It looks a ton like the neat duds he wore in his short-lived (and underrated) solo series:

– Speaking of outfits, was Barry wearing the same outfit he was when we first met him back in Arrow Season 2?

– With that “I don’t die until May” crack, we have our first acknowledgment in a while that the show takes place in real time. At least we know roughly what the season finale is about!



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