ELN: ‘Flash’ drags back as ‘This Is Us’ continues strong

The week of premieres continued with CW’s The Flash beginning its fourth season. I also made it through the best episode of This Is Us yet.

After season three’s lackluster run, viewers had been promised a fresh start as The Flash is “ reborn.” What we got was an average episode that could have been good, but faltered in its close.

Team Flash faces a dilemma when a powerful samurai demands a duel with The Flash. Unfortunately he’s been prisoner of the Speedforce for the past six months. Luckily, Cisco pieced together an experiment to bring Barry back. But Barry isn’t the same; he’s Emo Barry – speaking in riddles, unshaven, with no memory of this Earth r control of his powers.

To make a long story short, Iris kills two birds with stone. Volunteering as bait, the power of love miraculously restores Barry back to normal and he saves the day.

What transpired for 45 minutes, including Caitlyn’s Jekyll/Hyde transformation into Killer Frost, diminished in value as this drier ordeal was solved in less than five minutes. Hopefully episode two – which previews a non-Speedster villain – puts the pep back in Flash’s step.

The Pearsons fared better as This Is Us saw Randall and Beth prepare a new guest to their home. And Kevin’s secret grief over his father’s death could spell trouble in the future.

Randall and Beth receive the call they’ve been waiting for – their first foster child. But Randall’s high hopes are soon grounded when he discovers this task will be harder than expected. The storyline has the potential to be one of the strongest this season. Adoption is rarely seen on TV, especially with children of color. Several themes could be explored including the effect of class within the Black community. I’m sure we’ll also touch upon the perils of abuse.

On the other side of the country, Kate and Kevin prepare for his film with thee Sylvester Stallone. Stallone was their dad’s favorite actor, and he’s honored by Kate’s warm words of how important he was to their lives. Unfortunately the sentiments stall Kevin on set, and Kate discovers he hasn’t coped with Jack’s death.

To make matters worse, Kevin re-injures his knee from a football accident in high school. With harrowing foreshadowing, we see Kevin not only shares his father’s elusiveness with feelings, but his potential for addictive behavior. Kevin ignores his pain while downing a few pills.

After two episodes that felt a little lukewarm, it seems This Is Us is starting to heat up. We’re even edging closer to the dramatic reveal of how Jack died.

Stay tuned tomorrow for my reviews of Riverdale and USA’s Mr. Robot.

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