“The Curious Case of Bartholomew Allen” Review of S8 E16 of THE FLASH
The movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” was about a man who aged backward in time. Here, we see “The Curious Case of Bartholomew Allen” dealing with a device that ages him forward in time – by more years than anyone would consider safe for a superhero. Great performances by Grant Gustin and Danielle Nicolet make this an outstanding episode, so if you haven’t watched it yet be sure to catch it on the CW app. Wanna know more? Follow us after the jump!
SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
In the comics Pytor Orloff was a Soviet bioscientist who created the superspeed team Red Trinity. In the Arrowverse, we find Orloff as a genius, but with a very different purpose in mind. He is putting together a device that will essentially grant him immortality. It does so by absorbing the youth and vitality of others, leaving the victim aged and himself revitalized and youthful.
The first victim of this device? The Flash! He is hit with the energy blast and immediately begins aging. Grant Gustin gives an outstanding performance in this episode, showing the signs of aging in a gradual advance. He’s walking a little more like…me (I’m old)…and eventually even showing signs of early dementia. Barry’s reaction to all of this is a realistic as a superhero show can get, even to his fears of the effects of aging and his issues with memory.
Over the course of the episode, Barry continues to age, while Orloff obtains another device that will amplify the effects of his weapon. It would rob all of Central City of whatever years they have left, all in an effort to keep himself eternally young.
Barry is once again stubborn (okay, that’s a frequent thing, but it works here). Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) breaks through to him, to get Barry to embrace this thing, to embrace whatever years he has left. The scenes here amount to a stellar performance by Nicolet. Eventually, Barry takes her advice – though not without risk.
Flash uses his remaining speed, knowing it will continue to age him, to contain the energy blast of this amplified device. Barry ages up to 100, and even experiences a heart attack while running, but manages to save the day as the blast is reversed and contained. It restores Barry to his former self (even better) while Orloff is aged and taken to Iron Heights. A great stand-alone episode.
Of course, there are other story threads here:
- Singh is back! He is giving advice to Joe West, who is having trouble dealing with retirement. He, too, needs to embrace the years ahead for himself. Eventually he does just that, seen through his joining in to the Team Flash D&D with enthusiasm.
- Caitlin is continuing her experiments. Her mother calls Barry, who goes to Caitlin’s apartment and finds all the lab equipment. Here’s where Barry thinks he’s doing good but pulls a jerk move. He uses his lightning to end the experiment, destroying the lab equipment. Caitlin is left overwhelmed and seems to be falling apart. I’m sure we will come back to this soon.
- Singh has a great reaction to Barry early in the show. He’s putting Barry on the case that leads to Orloff, and as Barry puts together all the notes at superspeed, Singh says, “I will never get used to that.”
- Iris (Candice Patton) is not in this episode, having disappeared in time. However, she is still a credited member of the cast for the episode, letting us know that she is not gone for good. More on that in upcoming episodes.
While the “eternal youth at the expense of others” storyline is a familiar one, it’s handled well here. And, Gustin and Nicolet give us great performances that make this episode hit home. I’ll give this episode a 9/10. Of course, that’s just my opinion. What do YOU think? Leave your comments below!