‘The Flash’ (Season 4): Another Barry Allen Backslide

Barry and Iris - The Flash

The Flash spent much of the early part of the fourth season showing a new dedication to lighthearted fun that really worked for the show. It’s frustrating, then, that the show has started to fall back on old habits heading into its winter hiatus. I’m not saying the show shouldn’t have drama; it’d just be nice if Barry Allen could stop being such an idiot about how he handles things.

Yes, Barry is facing his smartest opponent yet in The Thinker, but it’s not exactly like the fastest man alive is a dullard. He’s a CSI as well as an all-around scientific, logical person. And yet, whenever he thinks he’s right about something, he gets the worst case of tunnel vision that leads to him disregarding the rest of his team and doing stupid stuff.

That’s been the case in the last few episodes, crossover excluded. Just a week before his wedding, Barry became obsessed with proving Clifford DeVoe was the man tormenting the team. And while the audience knew he was correct, his in-universe reasoning was infuriating. He ignored all of the evidence, and the pleading of Team Flash, to continually harass DeVoe. The only reason he even learned the truth was because DeVoe decided to admit it to him, well after he’d ruined any chances to take the man down legally.

It didn’t even really take super-genius planning to entrap Barry. Barry’s obsessive mind has gotten him in trouble numerous times before, so of course he gave DeVoe the ammo to get a restraining order. Heck, he even made the baffling decision to break into DeVoe’s house in his civilian clothes instead of as The Flash, which would’ve at least given him some deniability. Instead, his actions led to a situation where it looks like he was a nut that, for some reason, decided to stab DeVoe to death in his own apartment.

It’s a cliffhanger that seems destined to give us a few episodes of courtroom drama – Ollie and Barry both have it pretty rough right now – but it feels like a rushed, unsatisfying way to get some holiday drama; the direct conflict with DeVoe has only really heated up in the past two episodes. So instead of actual development on that front, it depended on a Barry Allen backslide.

Overall, this has been an up-and-down season of The Flash so far, and I’m hoping that these stumbling moments from Barry can be shaken off in the new year. At the very least, his decision to face the consequences of his own actions and try to fight the murder charges suggest he may finally be learning his lesson about ignoring the others? Well, probably not, but maybe he can go longer than a couple months before he makes such a bone-headed mistake once more.