This eighth season of The Flash has had a bit of an identity crisis. There are times when it appears that this particular season is a bit of a passing of the torch. There was even one episode where The Flash was entirely about Barry and Iris's kids. On the other hand, there have definitely been episodes where it appeared the focus was heading back to a territory where the Flash was at its absolute best. Sometimes the show can hop between those two focuses in the span of one episode.

To be clear, this time around, there was just a little bit of the passing of the torch to open the show. However, it was clear that this was really just about trying to set the stakes. The problem is that the show has bounced around so much and tried to tell the audience what was important and what wasn't so often that it's hard to know just what the stakes are and what viewers are supposed to care about at this point. Even when there was one moment in the show that was clearly supposed to elicit emotion, the series had a big problem in that it made it very clear that The Flash was working towards this all the time. Even when that moment came and there should have been a gasp and some real shock, it just felt as though it was something that was going to happen in some form all along.

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That isn't to say that the moment didn't set up at least one pretty decent surprise. Of course, as has been the case for most of the season with The Flash the surprise was mostly a surprise because it didn't make much sense. The show wanted to have a big turning point and reveal and so it got exactly that. It's not clear how exactly the situation specifically led to that moment or how the audience could have ever seen it coming. That is, of course how the best shows work. Something big goes down and the audience has an "aha!" moment. In this show, there tends to just be an endpoint that the writers are aiming for and no real thought about the steps to get there.

The show starts off well enough, which is was a bit of a surprise considering that for the most part, the worst aspects of this season have come when the series focused on Barry's kids. However, this episode of The Flash did seem to find the happy medium between dwelling with the future children and the present. And while Iris was backburnered for most of the episode, as she has been most of the season, at least the reason she wasn't with Flash and the rest of the gang made some sense. She wasn't just "away" without anyone caring that she wasn't around. Still, there were significant problems with the episode, especially with a group of villains who haven't been around all season.

While Deon has popped up here and there and previous episodes of The Flash showed that he had turned bad for some reason, the other two "forces" have not really been present in any real way. To make matters worse, when they are brought back in this installment, there's no explanation for who they are. While most of the season has been stand-alone more or less, people that didn't pay quite a bit of attention to previous seasons would have absolutely no idea who the bad guys are or why they were there. That's never a particularly great thing for a show to do. Considering how much this season has skipped around, started and stopped and then restarted different storylines, their sudden appearance was even confusing for people who have been following the series since the beginning.

It's true that The Flash is always at its best when the bad guys are really and truly tough to beat. There have been some times when it seemed like the show was pitting the gang against a toughie. Only to have that villain fall very, very short. At least this episode introduced a couple of different bad guys and bad girls that were indeed a real match for Flash and the crew. There is a question of too little and too late with the group though. Especially considering there is one more episode in the season.

There's also the continued sidelining of Caitlyn Snow. Certainly, there is a reason why she might be looking to sit things out. She's dealing with the loss of her "sister," and doesn't have any powers so there isn't a real need for her to get in a fight. On the other hand, that Barry and the rest of the gang are apparently completely ignoring her is a repeat of the problem this season has had quite a lot. It just doesn't make a lot of sense that the crew wouldn't wonder what was up with her and what she was doing.

Perhaps yet another sign that this episode and several that came before it are simply not getting things done is that the most excitement they tend to build up is the hope that next week is going to be more interesting. That was certainly the case with this episode. There were bits and pieces that did have some promise. When Eobard Thawne and The Flash were fighting side by side, that was a moment that was about as special as it was supposed to be, even if Thawne looked a tad bit goofy in his costume.

Overall, it feels as if the end of the season is coming at just the right time so that The Flash writers can reset and really figure out what they want to do with the next season. Episode 19 was yet another installment that fell well short of the standard that was set a couple of years back. Though there was promise for a Season Finale of The Flash that could actually be pretty darn good.

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