The Flash is back in business! After a couple of seasons of doom and gloom, the producers of The Flash have apparently returned to the lighter touch of Season 1. The jokes are back, Cisco’s hair is looking better than ever, and Joe West isn’t about to have a nervous breakdown every other minute. Granted, while the premiere of Season 4 had some darker moments, these moments weren’t overwhelming. A special treat in the first episode was the fact that Iris was front and center as the leader of Team Flash. This was refreshing, as last season spent an inordinate amount of time focusing on her brutal murder by chrome baddie, Savitar. It also should be noted that Candice Patton really acted her butt off in the premiere, allowing for complicated emotions of loss, denial, strength, and stubbornness to shine through in Iris.

The only complaint about Rebirth is the that Cisco and Wally get their butts whooped a little too often. Sure, they took out a teleporting baddie in the first few seconds of the premiere, but dang it would have been nice to see them have a few more wins. However, it was awesome to see Cisco as a full-on superhero. Seeing him and Wally race about Central City in superhero garb inspired the following reaction:

Anyway, overall, the premiere was stellar, and the direction the series is going in seems excellent. Here are some highlights from the episode.

Barry is still trapped in the Speed Force. It’s been six months since Barry followed his Speed Force mom into Speed Force prison. With no way to rescue him without destroying the world, Iris leads Team Flash. Wally and Cisco use their powers to get the baddies, and Joe West rocks out with some new metahuman tech. We get to see some of the team dynamics, and our protagonists have some fun arguing about what they should call the team. Are you Team Vibe or Team Kid Flash?

A new villain introduces himself. It’s not long before the team comes up against a formidable villain by the name of Samuroid. He wants to fight The Flash and threatens to destroy Central City if Barry doesn’t accept his challenge in the next 24 hours. While Iris tries to come up with a plan to defeat this new villain, Cisco reveals that he’s been working on some tech that will not only locate Barry in the Speed Force, but will allow them to save their friend without destroying the world (you go, Cisco!). Iris has some feelings about Cisco’s plan and surprisingly doesn’t want him to go through with it. She’s afraid that Barry is already dead and lets her fear and pint up emotions get the best of her. Cisco has other ideas though.

Caitlin Snow is back — but so is Killer Frost. Cisco uses his vibe skills to locate Caitlin who now works in a bar. He enlists her to help complete the tech he plans on using to bust Barry out of the Speed Force. Caitlin, who is so over pencil skirts and heels, reveals that she is no longer Killer Frost and agrees to help. Cisco’s plan works, except Barry is all confused and loopy, speaking in a sort of word salad and writing numerous symbols on any flat surface he has access to. Iris is relieved he is alive, yet saddened by his neurological state. Cisco is baffled when he deciphers some of Barry’s symbols and they don’t make sense. While Caitlin claims Killer is gone — Lady Frost makes a reappearance at the end of the episode. What’s up with the Jekyll and Hide?

Iris West is the Key. When all their efforts to stabilize Barry’s neurological state fails, Iris surrenders herself to Samuroid in hopes that by endangering herself, Barry will snap out of it.  Her plan works, and Barry, who is faster than ever, saves her from Samuroid. Samuroid, who turns out to be a robot, belongs to the series’ new villains; The Mechanic and The Thinker. (Who are, for once, not speedsters!)

As mentioned earlier, this episode was fun. Not only was the old comedy back, new special effects were introduced (Barry has Speed Force lightning eyes that are pretty rad), there’s a new suit, and Iris appears to have a proactive role on Team Flash now. In terms of story, it was engaging. The actors did a great job expressing their emotions, especially Candice Patton and Grant Gustin, Carlos Valdes…heck all of them.

The next episode of The Flash titled “Mixed Signals,” looks like it will focus on therapy sessions between Iris and Barry. This is an aspect of the series that has always been needed as the power dynamics between the two characters has always been superhero boyfriend (Barry) and his personal cheerleader (Iris). The sneak peek of the therapy episode hints at developing these characters’ relationship in a mature and fun manner.

The Flash airs Tuesdays on the CW.

Photo courtesy of the CW.

Jahkotta Lewis is a professional archaeologist, an amateur astronomer, and a part-time writer. When she is not documenting Pacific Island archaeology, she spends her days hiking through native forests, spelunking within the depths of an active volcano, and watching/reading all things fantasy and science fiction. Follow her on Twitter @jahkotta