TV Rundown: April 19 - 24 | Part 2: Cisco & Joe Visit Starling City on 'The Flash' as Eyes are Opened on 'Bates Motel'

The Flash | In another super episode, Barry and Eddie joined forces to fight one of the season’s best villains of the week, while Joe and Cisco’s investigation into Harrison Wells took them to Starling City. This episode was a prime example of what makes "The Flash" the best superhero TV show airing right now (sorry "Daredevil").

It's witty, sly and entertaining in an exceedingly breezy way. While its peers focus on broody melancholia and angsty "realism", "The Flash" demonstrates you can have an adequate mix of humor and still be serious without overburdening the audience to depressing levels.

Joe and Cisco's stellar energy rubbed off on Laurel and Captain Lance during their visit to Starling City (aka Arrow HQ). Never in the history of "Arrow" has Laurel been as likable as she was interacting with a star struck, Cisco. Carlos Valdes exuded Cisco’s zeal and enthusiasm to contagious levels.

Not since "Arrow" began has Katie Cassidy shined as bright in the role of Laurel Lance, emitting a radiance that hasn't been seen since her days on "Melrose Place". Joe also softened up the stiff Captain Lance and as the two compared their father/daughter clashes, Joe seemed to help Lance reconsider his ridiculous grudge against Laurel.

The most surprising development of the episode was the terrific buddy chemistry that arose between Barry and Eddie as they pursued the face/body shifter (?). The scene where they awkwardly attempted to share a couch while interviewing a witness was perfectly done with expert comedic timing from both actors. Grant Gustin also showed an impressive range whilst tackling a dual role when meta-human Hannibal Bates, shifted into Barry’s form. Danielle Panabaker similarly impressed as a flustered Caitlin. 

Side Notes/Burning Questions: Cisco’s picture with the Black Canary almost made her feel like a viable superhero. Can Cisco and Joe make regular visits to Starling City so it can be a better place? Does Caitlin have secret feelings for Barry?

What is her and Ronnie’s relationship status? Is there anyone Cisco can’t make more likable? Will Barry ever clear his father’s name? Can Eddie and Barry’s bromance survive whatever each other’s status is with Iris in the future? 

Bates Motel | "The Last Supper" found Norma catching up on what she missed during her night away from White Pine Bay, Norman pouting over his mother's brief departure and Dylan and Emma getting closer. Elsewhere, light was shed on the mysterious past of Sheriff Romero aka Alex. Yes, he's now going by his first name!

An aspect that sets "Bates Motel" apart is that it is one of the few series honestly exploring mental illness and the impact it has on the loved ones of those afflicted. Norma was forced to face reality about Norman's condition when Dylan revealed what had transpired during her absence. He warned they could no longer ignore Norman's psychological issues and she seemed to finally come to terms that something needed to be done.

Norma loves her son and knows he's careening towards the edge of madness. The conflict and turmoil she endures realizing that truth is sympathetically heartrending. The writers have formulated a situation in which the family involved is trying to do the best they can in an impossible situation. They’re trying to do the “right” thing for Norman and for those he poses a threat too and that is a very slippery thin line. The tragedy lies in knowing their efforts will prove futile.

Learning more about Romero was incredibly exciting. It's been evident there's a tortured soul lying beneath his tough exterior and "The Last Supper" shed some light on where that torment comes from. Romantic tension continued to build between him and Norma, furthering their status as one of television's hottest non-couples. Vera Farmiga and Nestor Carbonell's chemistry is off the charts so let's hope, the "non-" portion of their characters’ coupling is dropped soon.

Norma and Romero weren't the only ones getting friendly in White Pine Bay. Emma and Dylan's connection continued to deepen, a development this viewer couldn't be more ecstatic about it. Three seasons of patience has finally paid off. Dylan did some probing into Emma's prognosis and after learning a monetary "donation" could move her up the donor's list, he hatched a plan to make some fast cash.

Unfortunately, that means getting re-involved in criminal activity. Crime has a way of finding the Bates family and just as they’ve made their way out of, something (usually a good cause) pulls them back in. Sadly, the outcome this go-around seems inevitably disastrous. The question is for whom?

Side Notes/Burning Questions: Has Emma officially ended things with Norman? They had a big fight two episodes ago and it was pretty obvious that his feelings for her weren't all that genuine to begin with so maybe there's nothing else to say on the matter. Norma and Caleb's interaction before she extended a hesitant invite to dinner offered another grand slam performance from Farmiga and Kenny Johnson.

Given the dysfunctional family dynamics at play, an initial sense of reunion awkwardness was unavoidable and the way it tenderly subsided into this rare feel good moment of family togetherness was masterfully conveyed. Translation: another stupendous episode.

[Featured Image by The CW]

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