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TV REVIEWS: FTN Reviews The Flash Season 8 Episode 16: The Curious Case Of Bartholomew Allen

May 26th, 2022 by Todd Black Comments

So, remember a few reviews back when I said that The Flash Season 8 felt like they were just “throwing stuff at the wall” to see what sticks, AND, that they were just repeating past lessons and trying to make them sound new? Well, “The Curious Case Of Bartholomew Allen” was that in spades…and I can honestly say that this episode (in my opinion), sucked as a result.

Because the whole crux of this episode was about time and what we do with it, and if they played it a certain way, it could’ve come off as great and meaningful, but instead, like many other recent episodes of this season (including Armageddon), they play it so fast and loose that there are no meaningful consequences, and it all came off as hokey.

In the episode, Barry gets blasted by a machine that ages him…on the inside. And somehow (and it’s never explained why) his speed healing doesn’t fix him. In fact, his Speed Force makes things worse…somehow. But, because “Barry is stubborn”, he keeps rushing out to try and stop the bad guy (who barely gets a backstory in the episode) and that makes him worse and worse. At this point, I’m REALLY tired of the excuse for everything being, “they don’t listen” or, “they don’t believe me”, and of course, “why are you so stubborn about this?”

We’ve seriously had multiple episodes (including last episode, literally) where Barry or others have rushed into danger and paid for it, and this was yet another example. And the “lesson” of it all was that Barry was afraid of having “no time left” with Iris or others, and to just “embrace the time you have left”.

…except…we’ve already had that plotline…TWICE! When Iris was “going to die” at the end of Season 3, and when Barry was supposed to die in Crisis. And both times he and the others did their best to make the most of their time, including Barry trying to setup the others so that they could BE Team Flash without him. Where did that all go? Where did all that progression go? Why is Barry suddenly “stubborn” above all else instead of trusting his team to fix things like he asked them to trust him MULTIPLE TIMES this season when he was right about things? It just doesn’t make sense.

And as noted, there were no consequences here, because Barry was willing to “die” and then despite being 100 years old, he suddenly gets the energy to get back all of his youth…even though he only took a few years from the bad guy? Huh?

Then there was Joe, who was wallowing in self-loathing and depression because of his retirement. I still maintain that Joe retiring was a major step backward for the character (and a waste of Jesse L. Martin). And here, it just shows why. With how much Joe likes to help people, there is NO WAY that he wouldn’t have gone and become a private detective, or just asked for his job back once Kramer was on the good side, or be a consultant for the CCPD! He could do his own hours and still be there for Jenna. But instead, he’s…trying to make vacuum cleaners work? And his lesson was that he was “afraid to embrace something new”? His life the past 8 years has about embracing the new and the impossible so…how does that work?

Finally, the Barry/Caitlin scene was all kinds of cringe. How is it that it took OVER A WEEK for someone to realize something was wrong with Caitlin? Then for Barry to just go postal on Caitlin’s apartment? That was just overkill. Take the mirror gun, sure, that’s totally fine. But lightning blasting everything else, really? That’s how supervillains are made, Barry.

In the end, “The Curious Case Of Bartholomew Allen” was just hollow from start to finish and no real advancement was made on any real level. And now we have to wait two weeks to get things going again. Not fun.


Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians ( He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!