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The Flash - Null and Annoyed - Review

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It usually takes me a few days to get a review up because I like to watch episodes at least twice before forming an opinion; in the case of Null and Annoyed, no second viewing was necessary. I've never had to force myself to keep watching an episode of The Flash until this one aired. Sure, they've had some duds- most shows do. (And with 23 episodes, there's much more room for error.) This one was different though. It was a filler episode that actually felt like a filler episode, and that's pretty bad. Fart jokes and a particularly boring meta only added to the tired story line of Ralph the Ridiculous and Reluctant. Barry and Iris are usually able to save an episode for me, but even they weren't enough to put me out of my misery. In all seriousness, the final few minutes of the episode with Marlize, Cisco, Breacher and Thawne (I mean Harry) were the only things that should have made it out of the editing room. Sorry Kevin Smith. And sorry there will be no pictures because all I have is strong words for this one.

When you don't have anything nice to say, its proper etiquette not to say anything, right? Well, I have to break protocol. Null and Annoyed wasn't good. That's just how I feel. I thought of different variations of Null and Annoyed to play around with like Null and Void, Null and Please Avoid, Dull and Annoying. You get the picture. Then I figured some really smart reviewer probably beat me to the punch, so I decided not to title my piece that way, but those words are still swirling around as I think about how the episode crashed and burned.

For one, Ralph's endless whining and perpetual snark grate my nerves. Just like it grated my nerves when Cisco insisted on being mad about Dante's alternate timeline death, Ralph's continued wavering about his loyalty to Team Flash is irritating. Not because he doesn't have a right to be scared or silly, but because the routine is washed up. How many times do Barry or Iris have to reassure him that his safety is important to them or that he is a valued member of the team before he believes it? And if he doesn't believe it, why is he there living off of the team in the basement of S.T.A.R. Labs? If Barry was keeping Ralph around because of the guilt he harbors about getting him fired, I'd be able to swallow it a bit more, but that hasn't been established so I can't go with that. This will he, won't he part of Ralph's story should have been over in the first half of the season- two or three episodes of it maybe, but his antics at this point aren't believable nor are the team's reactions to him.

His pretending to be a turtle when all of their lives are at stake wasn't funny to anyone at the lab working or at home with me watching. Barry's semi-smack down was a day late and pretty weak after Ralph berated Iris a few weeks back. The way Barry loves Iris, there is no way he would let Ralph get away with all of his micro-aggression towards her. And Joe has threatened to go "Floyd Mayweather" on Barry just for spilling a secret so do we really think he'd let Ralph get away with endangering his "baby girl" or his son? Nope, I don't think so either. Writers should do better for Ralph or let him go. Elongated Man may have been a good idea when they were story boarding the season, but somewhere along the way Ralph's added value disappeared and now I just want him to.

The meta Null. Where to start. B-O-R-I-N-G. I know everyone can't be Captain Cold, but come on. She was cute and all, but even Barry didn't have the stomach to pep talk her, and if Barry is good for something other than speed, it's the pep talk. You know the one where he tries to get the bad girl or guy to go straight. "You don't have to do this" is usually his go to phrase. He simply caught her and stuffed her in the pipeline. No explanation about DeVoe chasing her and no offer to join the winning side. We didn't learn anything except that she had a bunch of aliases. Oh, well.

Null and Annoyed fell flat because it just seemed like a bad stew- chunks of ingredients with no taste. All of the things that The Flash usually excels in with story telling were missing. The attempts at humor bombed and the "emotional" scenes mostly missed the mark. The writers are trying to make us care about Ralph's growth, but I just don't. It's difficult to care about Ralph because the show has done a poor job of giving us the true essence of his character. It's hard to know if he really is a good guy to invest in because HE doesn't seem to know. It's time for Ralph to pick a side and stay on it or hit the road. They also need to leave the humor to Cisco. It comes more naturally from him and even though this episode was a mess, Vibe wasn't.

The episode started to pick up at the four minute mark. Cisco's offer to become the new Breacher gave me the emotional stakes I was looking for. Even though I think I know what Cisco will choose in the end, the idea of him leaving S.T.A.R. Labs to chase bad guys with his lady love is exciting. Then we got the mind-bending reveal that Marlize has been living in a drugged up time-loop for who knows how long and why- I had started to sit up at that point. But, the kicker for the night was good ole' Harry going in the time vault. We hadn't been there in a long time. The creepy smile of Harry-Thawne as he summoned Gideon was the Flash stuff of old, and I can't be annoyed at that. Can we pick up there and get this season on the road? I sure hope so.

What did you think of Null and Annoyed? Please sound off below. Thanks for reading!

The Flash airs on Tuesday nights on the CW.

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