The Flash season 4, episode 2 review: Mixed Signals


Mixed Signals introduces the Flash to a new adversary, a meta with a techno-organic based power pool. On top of that, some of our heroes have to deal with relationship woes.

The episode of The Flash starts with an unnamed billionaire “schmuck” checking out an expensive apartment. He makes his way to the elevator, unaware that he’s about to take his last ride. The elevator moves up and down at frantic pace before smashing into the ground floor. Before the cut to the opening credits, we glimpse a hooded figure with glowing eyes (our bad guy meta for the episode).

We shift to the home of Barry Allen and Iris West, where we are treated to a Flash-paced breakfast montage. Following breakfast, Barry is shown to be catching up on 6 months of TV at super speed (“Aw Jon Snow died, oh he’s alive!”) when he gets a call from Joe. It looks like Barry Allen is needed at the CCPD. It is also revealed that Barry tackled Iris’s wedding binder without her.

Finally, back at work as a CSI, Barry is assessing the situation when Cisco arrives on the scene, as he is the “weird tech expert”. After a quick check, Cisco discovers that the elevator death wasn’t the result of a glitch, it was hacked.

We jump to S.T.A.R. Labs where Cisco is running the encryption from the elevator in the Lab’s computer systems. Cisco gives Barry and the team a quick rundown of all the new toys on the new Flash suit. Barry exits, as he is needed back at the police department. After Barry’s exit, Caitlin brings up the idea of couple’s therapy to Iris after Iris and Barry seem to miscommunicate. As they wrap up their conversation an alarm goes off and Iris, Caitlin, and Wally rush to defend against a dimensional breach (but not before we catch a glimpse of Caitlin struggling to suppress her Killer Frost persona).

Cisco quickly runs in to make sure no hasty moves are made and Gypsy, Cisco’s interdimensional beaux hops out of the breach. Unfortunately, Cisco has to delay their romantic plans due to the team’s current tech mystery. We cut to a gentleman in an electric car who struggles with the electronic interface, and as he does the name Kilg%re flashes across the display.

The car starts to slow down when the mystery meta from the beginning of the episode appears on the side of the road. He gives the driver a sinister look and seemingly causes the car to speed and lose control. Barry quickly jumps at the opportunity to suit up as the Flash, even leaving Wally behind. While trying to save the day, he neglects to listen to Iris back at S.T.A.R. Labs and almost causes the car to crash. The Flash redoubles his efforts and uses a toolbox to take the car apart (saving the driver).

The team examines the computer system from the car back at the lab and realize it has been targeted by the same hacker who interfered with the elevator. While looking over the encryption Caitlin notes that it looks like a virus, an organic virus. The team comes to the conclusion that the hacker is controlling the electronics and is a meta. Barry and Iris discuss their communication issue and Iris brings up couple’s therapy.

We find Barry and Iris in therapy where Barry is clearly uncomfortable. Jump to Cisco and Caitlin looking through old tech magazines to find information on the targets and hopefully the meta targeting them. Cisco connects two of the victims to a tech startup, identifies a possible third victim and is confused by the presence of a fourth member of the startup (our mysterious meta).

Meanwhile, at the Central City Police Department, we see the meta stranger who is up to no good. A bomb squad robot is then seen carrying a grenade through the CCPD, clearly looking for Joe and the driver of the doomed electronic car (Tim of the tech startup). It finds its intended target and Joe has just enough time to put out a distress signal. Barry leaves therapy and speeds down to the CCPD. Barry is able to save both Joe and the driver by pulling all the grenade shrapnel from the air, just in time.

The driver flees CCPD, but the team is able to start putting pieces together. They discover that Ramsay Deacon is their meta with a motive, the odd man out of the tech group. Caitlin dubs him a living computer virus and reminds Cisco that Deacon is bio-digital. While they devise a new way to approach him, Cisco is forced to cancel again on Gypsy.

Back at the therapist with Barry and Iris, we discover the truth about what has been bothering Iris. Barry’s decision to enter the Speed Force six months prior had wounded Iris more than she let on. Barry is clearly blindsided by this revelation when we cut away. Joe and Wally are at the third tech member’s house planting bugs. Tim shows up and blames Sheila for Deacon’s targeting of the group.

Deacon arrives and confronts his former colleagues, attacking Sheila through her computer controlled insulin pump. Thankfully Joe and Wally make the save, but Deacon had already made off with Tim.

Cisco and Gypsy discuss their relationship at S.T.A.R. Labs and when Gypsy reveals that she had wanted to celebrate 1/1/1 day (Earth 19’s Valentines Day) with him, Cisco gets an idea. Barry and Iris have a heart to heart and reconcile (“We are the Flash”).

More from TV

Team Flash receives a broadcast from Tim, stating that Tim and his other tech colleagues had stolen Deacon’s idea. The team discusses the game plan, Cisco and Caitlin reveal that the serum they created should provide a Binary Inverse to Deacon’s bio-digital system. After using the lab’s satellite to find Deacon, Barry and Wally arrive on the scene as the Flash and Kid-Flash.

Deacon begins to mess with the electronics in the new Flash suit, causing Kid-Flash to be incapacitated. After Deacon cuts Barry’s comms off, Barry creates some separation and uses a pay phone to call the team at S.T.A.R. Labs. Barry, finally listening to Iris, decides to hit himself with a lightning bolt (to reboot the suit). As Deacon is about to attack Tim, the Flash stops him using the Binary Inverse serum.

While Cisco gets dressed up and makes up his date to Gypsy, Barry and Joe visit Deacon in his electronic-free prison cell. Deacon implies that his powers were granted by something other than the Reactor explosion, and that he is not the only one who received powers in this mysterious way.

The final scene of the episode brings us back to the Big Bad who was introduced at the end of the season premiere. We catch a glimpse of this mysterious villain’s plan, which seems to include at least 11 more metas.

The Good

Barry’s Risky Business moment during his Speed Breakfast was fun.

The Flash’s fat suit moment during the electronic freakout was good for a chuckle.

Cisco looked great in a tux. I plan on stealing the word “schmoopy” for my personal use.

I always enjoy when the Flash gets the opportunity to break something down at superspeed, so the car scene was fun for me. In that vein, I think the gathering of shrapnel to save Joe and Tim was a fun use of the Flash’s powers.

The Bad

While I enjoyed the super science-y binary inverse serum solution to be fun science fiction, I thought the 1/1/1 Day connection felt a little hokey. While the personal relationship developments were necessary and handled fairly, I think that they really slowed down the episode.

The Grade

Mixed Signals was a decent entry for The Flash as it seeks to pick up moment for the rest of the season. It featured a great meta with a challenging yet refreshing power, some great Flash moments and a good tease for what’s to come. The “shmoopy” stuff was a little heavy handed, but as always, I look forward to next week.

This episode gets a 3/5 Stars.

Next: Top 50 super villains in comic book history

The Flash returns on Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 8:00 p.m. ET on The CW.