This week's episode of The CW's The Flash runs somewhat in a circle as it introduces a new villain, Psych, who has powers to make people be overcome by their worst fears. While this feels tonally much more like a Gotham villain than a Central City villain, we also find that his powers are somehow tied to the new speed force, which brings some interesting wrinkles. But the real heart of the episode comes from its side-plot involving Caitlin and Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker).
Psych as a villain is interesting, and The Flash has dabbled with doing darker genre work previously (like last season's arc with Bloodwork and its zombie apocalypse episode) but ultimately this feels very out of sync with the rest of the series. The larger problem is that generally speaking the concept of fear seems to be somewhat separate from The Flash's normal themes. Psych comes off more like a technology-based rather than chemical-based version of Scarecrow or other Batman villains.
However, considering that we learn there is likely a larger setup and that there are multiple enemies Team Flash will have to deal with, we can somewhat forgive the setup. But the time the episode really seems to gel is using this fear power to drive a wedge between Caitlin and Killer Frost, whose biggest fear is apparently betrayal by her doppelganger. There are some fun and a lot of pathos between the two of them, and we also get hints of further stakes down the line for Killer Frost. Again, this episode feels like a lot of setup.
Setup for what, exactly? Well, apparently next week Cisco and Chester get to go back in time in "The One With the Nineties" airing April 6 at 8/7 pm on The CW.
The Flash Season 7, Episode 6 "The One With The Nineties": CISCO AND CHESTER GO BACK IN TIME – Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Chester (Brandon McKnight) travel back in time and get stuck in 1998, repeating the same day over and over again. The key to returning home is at Chester's childhood home but he refuses to visit. Meanwhile, Iris (Candice Patton) forges a connection with the speed force. Jeff Byrd directed the episode written by Kelly Wheeler & Emily Palizzi.
The Flash, Season 7 Episode 5, "Fear Me"
While the main storyline mostly serves to set things up for later, the best part of the episode is the ongoing dilemma and friendship between Caitlin and Killer Frost.