The Flash S04E14 “Subject 9” REVIEW

The Flash S04E14 “Subject 9” REVIEW

0 comments 📅28 February 2018, 16:17

Airing Tuesdays at 8pm on Sky 1
Mike Alber & Gabe Snyder
Director: Ralph Hemecker

Essential Plot Points:

  • Team Flash track down the latest bus meta, Izzy Bowin. Izzy is a country and western violinist which Ralph is far from happy about.

  • Barry is placed on indefinite suspension by the CCPD due to the controversy surrounding his trial.
  • Ralph and Barry try and bring Izzy in. Izzy doesn’t believe or trust them and triggers her powers; massive sonic blasts, and escapes.
  • They track Izzy again and Ralph, Cisco and Barry try and persuade her of the truth, in costume. DeVoe appears and reveals they have access to the powers of every previous host. They put the heroes down, effortlessly, and are only stopped when Izzy triggers her own powers.
  • Izzy is finally on board and is briefed on what’s going on. She refuses to let anything get in the way of her career which is finally taking off and leaves, even after the heroes unmask.
  • Ralph, after asking permission, talks Izzy down. He tells her how much he trusts the others and that they’ll keep her safe. And Ralph nails it! Because the stretchy little chap is actually kind of lovely even under the squalid exterior.
  • DeVoe and Marlize bicker as his current host begins to break down. Marlize speculates that the repeated transfer of bodies is starting to hurt DeVoe but DeVoe isn’t having it.

  • At Star Labs, the team trick izzy out with a violin that focuses and amplifies her abilities.
  • Harry helps Cecile out with a device to block her powers and help her sleep. It’s basically a ten pound football helmet and Harry admits he’s frustrated and off his game.
  • Training Izzy isn’t going well. They change things up with Barry throwing clay targets for her and Izzy knocking each one of the sky with her powers. It’s going well, until a piece of shrapnel injures her.
  • Later, Iris calls Barry out for pushing her too hard. He admits that he’s still traumatized by what he saw DeVoe do at Iron Heights.
  • Harry visits Cecile with a much smaller, much more sensible version of the device. Harry admits that he’s lonely and trying to make friends. Cecile is immensely sweet and chats to him, leading to a breakthrough…
  • Izzy gets patched up and leaves. She argues that she’s got hurt worse with them than on her own but she isn’t having it.
  • Harry explains the breakthrough. He’s renaming it the Cerebral Inhibitor, and using it to stop DeVoe from projecting his consciousness into new bodies.
  • Barry and Iris are overjoyed. This is exactly what Savitar told them what would happen last season! Continuity!
  • Harry preps the device and Ralph tells the others that Izzy has made a run for it. Cisco vibes using her violin and…

  • sees Izzy calling DeVoe out. DeVoe appears and SENSES CISCO WATCHING. DeVoe throws him out and Barry and Ralph race to the scene.
  • They arrive just in time to save Izzy and DeVoe takes Barry down using Dominic’s powers. Ralph tells Izzy to run for it and almost gets the inhbitor in place before being taken down.
  • Izzy makes the save! And watches horrorstruck as the inhibitor is hacked.
  • DeVoe traps Izzy and, unable to help, Ralph and Barry watch as DeVoe downloads into their latest victim.
  • Ralph is in bits. Harry is enraged and riddled with guilt.
  • Then, Cisco puts it together. He figures out that DeVoe is hiding in a pocket dimension and if they can track his signature as he moves in and out of it they can find him.
  • Harry and Cecile continue to bond in the most delightfully awkward, sincere way possible.
  • Ralph is listening to Izzy’s CD in his old office. Barry comes to visit him and Ralph gives him a business card. He wants Barry to be his new partner. Barry is overjoyed and Ralph explains that they have three more people to save and then? He’s going to take DeVoe down.


We’ve got a decent way to go yet this season but there’s a refreshing sense of The Flash rounding the home straight and starting to accelerate this week. We get some welcome character development for Barry, Harry and Ralph in particular as all three are faced with the consequences of their actions and power of their foe. It’s a credit to the show’s writers that their three plots are so radically different too; Harry’s light, sweet comedic interludes with Cecile contrast with Barry Allen Dutiful Leader especially well. Best of all though is Ralph who has grown into a sweet, sincere, still kind of disgusting member of the team.

The one problem this week is that the same thing that raises the stakes, Izzy’s death, is also an immensely tired narrative device that superhero stories especially have been guilty of way too often. The script comes very close to collapsing under the weight of it too, either with Ralph quitting in horror or just shrugging it off. Instead we end up with him in a very similar place to Dinah over on Arrow; determined to avenge the loss of a loved one and heading towards a date with his conscience as a result. It’s not played as heavily as it is over on the other show, but the same beats are there.

That’s both a good thing and a bad one. Like we said, it gives the episode real urgency but it sure would be nice if genre TV didn’t reach for the ‘Kill the Lady/Non-White Person’ switch quite so enthusiastically.

If you can deal with that though, there’s a lot to enjoy. The cast are all great, the low-key action sequence of Izzy training with Ralph is great and the season has a real shape to it. It would just have been nice if that shape wasn’t formed out of some very old, overly familiar ideas.

The Good:

  • Cecile’s powers paid off! Again!
  • The fact Central City residents don’t quite believe DeVoe has exonerated Barry is a neat piece of worldbuilding.
  • Izzzy. Who is straight up delightful and has deeply strange powers and will be sorely missed.
  • ‘Reversing the polarity’-Thanks, awesome nerds!
  • Izzy playing classical music rather than country when she’s been taken over by DeVoe.
  • The near miss on Ralph quitting again, which instead turns into a moment of real change for him.

The Bad:

  • On the one hand, the sudden loss of Izzy is a great way to add urgency and stakes to the fight against DeVoe. On the other, it’s basically fridging her and we should be so far beyond that by this stage in human history.
  • No Joe. Booo!

And the Random:

  • Ralph Hemecker has directed for Once Upon A Time and several previous episodes of The Flash including ‘Tricksters’, which saw the return of Mark Hamill’s Trickster.
  • Mike Alber has written for Kirby Buckets, The Thundermans and Death Valley as has his writing partner, Gabe Snyder.
  • In the comics, The Fiddler was Isaac Bowin. He has, of course, died at least twice.

Best Lines:

  • ‘Ralph I love ya, but you sleep on a futon!’
    ‘A futon isn’t that bad.’
    ‘It is when it’s DAMP!’
  • ‘URRRGH country. Music’s tone deaf step child.’
  • ‘Soundwave! That’s a great name!’
    ‘It would be if it wasn’t already taken by a Transformer.’
  • ‘Izzy, just look at me!’-OUR FEELINGS RALPH, ALL OF OUR FEELINGS.
  • ‘What if she doesn’t come.’-OUR FEELINGS HARRY, ALL OF OUR FEELINGS

Click here for more of our The Flash coverage

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