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The Flash 4.18 Review – ‘Lose Yourself’

April 17, 2018 | Posted by Daniel Alvarez
The Flash - Lose Yourself Image Credit: The CW
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The Flash 4.18 Review – ‘Lose Yourself’  

So, was anyone sad when DeVoe captured Ralph? Anyone? I will admit that the sequence had some genuine emotion. Ralph saying that Barry already saved him (i.e., helped turn him into a better person) was touching. But, Ralph’s scenes prior to this moment did not help. Ralph as a character has been as jarring as possible ever since his premiere episode, so this sequence of him losing isn’t as emotional as it could be, because it has been almost impossible to root for Ralph. As you can guess by now, “Lose Yourself” is hit with the same negative as last week’s episode: Ralph being annoying. But, unlike last week’s episode, this one has at least a couple of compelling Ralph moments, and overall important things happen. Though the first half was slow, the episode greatly picked up when DeVoe arrived at S.T.A.R. Labs.

You’re probably sick of hearing about Ralph, so I will get him out of the way here. The big story aspect is Ralph questioning Barry’s stance about heroes not killing. This debate is nothing new (we’ve seen that in Arrow), but it typically makes for an interesting discussion. Ralph comments that they should do everything possible to stop DeVoe. Barry is adamant about not killing DeVoe, claiming there is always another way. Some of Ralph’s statements on this is interesting, but ultimately he comes across as a complainer. If this was another character, it could have been a great conflict. So, what does Ralph intend to do? Why, go behind Barry’s back and try to face off with DeVoe alone, of course!

Ralph doesn’t get very far, because Barry catches him in the act. So, Ralph was going to bring himself, and Edwin Gauss (we’ll address him soon), the two meta humans DeVoe is after, to the villain’s lair? Ralph comes across as incompetent and just simply annoying. The brief battle that ensues between Barry and Ralph is fun, though Barry not locking Ralph up afterward was almost shocking. How many talks have these two characters had? The writing then attempts to have the viewer be sympathetic by having Ralph say he was doing it for his newfound family. It’s a little too late for that.

One substantial subplot is Harry’s obsession with the Thinking Cap. The writing went overboard a bit on some of the dialogue, but Tom Cavanagh portrays a man who has become addicted to this device well. The sequence where Harry knocks over Cisco’s Star Trek USS Enterprise model (probably the most tragic scene of the episode if you’re a collector) is extremely well done, as well as when Joe first confronts Harry about the Cap. Later, Harry has Gideon inject himself with a maximum voltage of dark matter. The implications of this should be fascinating to see.

As stated earlier, the first half is on the slower side, with many of the characters just talking. Things get interesting when Barry, Caitlin, and Ralph head over to a hippie gathering in search of Gauss. This show has a problem with delivering genuine comedy, but this sequence was definitely humorous. Caitlin’s response, “The folded man?” was hilarious, as was the general atmosphere of the sequence. Unfortunately, Edwin Gauss does not contribute to genuine laughter. His dialogue is over the top bad. When he started talking to Ralph back at S.T.A.R. Labs, and que the goofy music, I knew things were about to get groan worthy. Thankfully, Edwin is taken out by DeVoe later.

The stakes become great when DeVoe and Marlize teleport to S.T.A.R. Labs. This is especially interesting because Barry, Cisco, and Caitlin had gone off to DeVoe’s lair, only to run into a hologram of the villain. So, for the time being, it’s up to Joe, Iris, and Ralph to hold the fort. There are some great scenes. DeVoe bringing back the Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton from “When Harry Met Harry.. to chase Ralph made for a memorable sequence. Meanwhile, Joe runs into a Samuroid. There’s solid build-up, and somehow Joe is able to beat it. (The episode goes the cop-out way by having the battle be almost entirely off screen.) Perhaps the best aspect is Iris running into a sword-wielding Marlize. The two exchange heated dialogue, and engage in combat. It’s an excellent sequence, which is primarily helped by Kim Engelbrecht’s portrayal of Marlize. Kim Engelbrecht might just be the greatest of the actors on this show. She shows genuine passion, and this is evidenced again in the last scene of the episode.

Finally, Barry and friends arrive back at S.T.A.R. Labs. Ralph had the opportunity to kill DeVoe, but shows Barry that advice was followed. DeVoe is in handcuffs. Unfortunately, the handcuffs were not enough, so DeVoe manages to get ahold of Ralph. This is an admittedly emotional scene, so it’s a shame that prior to this Ralph wasn’t a great character. Ralph, now an empty shell for DeVoe, retreats back to the lair.

On a couple of last notes, after touching DeVoe, Caitlin seems to have lost her Killer Frost persona. The implications of this should be interesting to see. The final scene is back at DeVoe’s lair, where we get to see Hartley Sawyer portray a villainous Ralph briefly. I say briefly, because DeVoe uses Ralph’s stretching ability to change his appearance to his original face. So, how we saw DeVoe way back then, is back. This is fantastic, because Neil Sandilands easily portrays DeVoe’s unique, almost tragic character. Even more fantastic is Marlize in this scene. As she embraces her husband, the viewer can see tears rolling down, showcasing her genuine joy that her husband as he originally was appearance-wise is back. The tears don’t look fake; Engelbrecht makes it look like that her long lost husband is finally back to her. Absolutely stellar performance.

Overall, “Lose Yourself” isn’t a great episode. Ralph once again argues with Barry, and Edwin Gauss is extremely annoying. (He might be even more annoyingly written than Ralph!) But, this ended up being an important episode with quite a few fantastic moments. DeVoe’s invasion of S.T.A.R. Labs was excellent, and his taking over of Ralph was genuinely emotional. There is some quality action in the second half, from a skeleton T-Rex running around, to Iris trading blows with Marlize. The stakes are very high by the end. We’ll see if the show can build on these stakes.

The final score: review Good
The 411
"Lose Yourself" has a few things preventing it from being a great episode, namely Ralph being annoying as usual and the painfully cringe-worthy Edwin Gauss. Still, there are quite a few excellent moments. The action in the second half is engaging, and with genuine emotion.