‘The Flash’ Season 4 Episode 17 Recap and Review: Null and Annoyed

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The Flash Season 4 Episode 17 Recap

Candice Patton and Grant Gustin in ‘The Flash’ season 4 episode 17 (Photo: Shane Harvey © 2018 The CW Network)

“Cisco, I need your help,” grunts Breacher (Danny Trejo) as he grabs Cisco by the throat and pushes him up against a wall. “Little bit of a mixed message here,” replies Cisco (Carlos Valdes) hoarsely in season four episode 17 of The CW series, The Flash.

As the episode begins, Barry (Grant Gustin), Iris (Candice Patton), and Cisco are training to go up against DeVoe. They’re increasingly frustrated with Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) who keeps making jokes and not going along with Barry’s plan of how to get the upper hand on their enemy. Barry feels that Ralph isn’t taking things seriously.

Gypsy’s dad, Breacher, shows up unexpectedly looking for Cisco to help him. Breacher tells Cisco and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) that just as he was about to take down an enemy, he lost his ability to vibe blast. After all the compliments Gypsy has given Cisco, Breacher believes Cisco is the one who will be able to fix him. As Breacher goes off to have tea, Cisco’s feeling pretty good about himself. However, Caitlin’s justifiably concerned about whether they’ll be able to help him.


In another part of Central City, two delivery guys (Jay and Silent Bob cameos by Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith, who directed the episode) are trying to figure out how to deliver a huge crate. They decide they need to grab some equipment to help and while they’re gone, the crate floats into the air. It then crashes down, breaking open. A woman walks up and takes what was inside the crate, a jeweled crown.

In DeVoe’s lair, Marlize (Kim Engelbrecht) enters saying she feels refreshed and determined to make their plan a success. DeVoe (Miranda MacDougall) tells Marlize he only has a week left in this host’s body. Marlize becomes determined to buy him more time, searching the computer and discovering plans have already begun to do just that. DeVoe says he started the plans knowing she would be able to finish them.

Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Caitlin has figured out what’s wrong with Breacher. It turns out his age is the problem and there’s no cure for getting old. She believes Cisco needs to tell Breacher, but Cisco doesn’t want to. He’s afraid Breacher might kill him and or it might end his relationship with Gypsy.

A little later, Harry (Tom Cavanagh) is using his thinking cap to try to find Janet Petty (Bethany Brown), one of the other metas from the bus who it so happens is also the thief of the jeweled crown. Harry gets a lock on a known fence, Earl, who Ralph knows from his shadier days as a P.I.

Ralph and Barry talk to Earl and Ralph – in one of the best scenes in the episode – shapeshifts into Joe West and becomes the “bad cop” during the investigation. That ticks off Barry and effectively scares Earl who denies ever meeting Janet Petty. However, he accidentally knocks something over and a few jewels from the crown she stole are revealed. Barry and Ralph realizes he’s lying. Earl looks up suddenly and Ralph and Barry follow his glance. Janet’s on the wall near the ceiling. She’s pissed she’s been spotted and tells Earl the deal is off. She jumps down and Barry yells for Ralph to hand him the power-reducing cuffs. Ralph just stands there surprised by the look and powers of the new meta. Janet touches Barry and he begins to float up into the air as she escapes.

Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Team Flash realize that Janet’s powers are being able to manipulate gravity but only for a certain period of time. As Barry finally returns to the ground, he tears into Ralph who has been cracking jokes and not taking Janet’s escape seriously…at least not to Barry who tells Ralph he’s had enough of his antics and is benching him. Ralph walks away, hurt and upset, while Iris suggests Barry shouldn’t be so hard on him. She reminds Barry that Ralph isn’t him.

Breacher confronts Cisco and asks how he’s going to fix him. Cisco lies and gives him some pills saying they should do the trick. Breacher thanks Cisco and leaves. When he’s gone, Caitlin warns Cisco he’s just making things worse.

The gang gets an alert that Janet, who Cisco nicknamed Null, is up to her old tricks. Barry heads out to stop her using Harry’s advice to vibrate so fast she won’t see him coming. The Flash does exactly that and it works; he’s able to get the power-reducing cuffs on her. It’s unfortunate that The Flash didn’t know about the SUV high up in the air with a terrified driver who’s now plummeting to the ground. Null tells Flash to let her get away or that poor soul dies. Not having a choice, The Flash speeds off to save the driver. When he returns to where he left Null, he finds the power-reducing cuffs on the ground and Null nowhere in sight.

In The Thinker’s lair, Marlize discovers to her horror she’s been drugged by her husband to make her forget things and to make her more dutiful. She makes a video for herself about being drugged in case her memories get wiped again. When she attempts to save it, she finds videos with the same title. She’s been doing this in a Groundhog Day-ish repeat way for a while.

DeVoe returns to confirm he’s been erasing her memories and drugging her because the thing he loves so much about her – her humanity – is the same quality that will endanger his grand plan. He drugs her again and uses the meta Weeper’s tears to make her dedicated to him.

The Flash Season 4 Episode 17 Recap

Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon and Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow (Photo: Katie Yu © 2018 The CW Network)

At S.T.A.R. Labs, Cisco discovers all the pills he gave Breacher are gone. He realizes Breacher has gone after the vampire who got away. Cisco vibes and sees the Earth Breacher’s on. Cisco arrives just in time to breach both of them back to S.T.A.R. Labs. Cisco comes clean and tells Breacher he has lost his vibe blast for good because of his age. Extremely angry, Breacher tells Cisco he hates him and leaves. Caitlin overhears the conversation and assures Cisco he did the right thing.

Iris has a heart-to-heart with Barry about Ralph. She reminds Barry that when he was in prison Ralph did a good job keeping the city safe with Cisco and Frost. Even if his style’s different than Barry’s, Ralph is still a hero.

Barry finds Ralph and tells him it’s been bothering him that Ralph isn’t taking The Thinker threat seriously. Ralph assures Barry he is, but Barry brings up Ralph joking around. Ralph confesses that using humor is his defense mechanism and has been since his dad walked out on him and his mom. Barry realizes his mistake benching Ralph and the two heroes team up again to take down Null.

Null attends the museum gala to rob everyone of their jewels. The Flash and Elongated Man arrive to stop her. Null attempts to raise all the guests into the air but The Flash superspeeds the guests out and to safety. When he speeds back, Null touches him from behind and he starts to float up higher and higher into the night sky. Elongated Man stretches but can’t reach The Flash to stop him so he puts the power-reducing cuffs on Null. The Flash starts to plummet to earth and Elongated Man shapeshifts himself into a giant whoopee cushion to catch the falling speedster.

Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Ralph and Barry are happy they’re back to being a good team and are working together again to find the last bus meta and to stop DeVoe.

Breacher visits Cisco again but this time he’s wearing comfortable vacation clothes. He informs Cisco it’s time for him to retire and that he wants Cisco to replace him at the collection agency. He tells him this way he and Gypsy will spend lots more time together.

The last scene is with Harry walking the halls of S.T.A.R. Labs. He opens the secret room where Eobard Thawne used to keep his Reverse Flash suit. He plugs the helmet into a device to power it and tries to activate Gideon. Gideon appears and says, “Good evening, Dr. Wells. It’s been 1,078 days since we last spoke. How may I be of service?” “Hello Gideon, a lot has changed since then,” replies Harry…or is it Harry?!

The Flash Season 4 Episode 17 Review:

Funny, lighthearted, and revisiting a recurring storyline, episode 17 titled “Null and Annoyed” once again has Team Flash struggling to get Ralph on board about being a hero and dealing with his inappropriate humor. It also opens the door for a series regular to possibly exit the show.

The strongest part of the episode, which to be honest is a bit weak and a soft return to the series after being off for a few weeks, is Grant Gustin and Hartley Sawyer’s chemistry as the straight and serious hero trying to get his cocky and goofy protégé to step up and do what is needed. Sawyer and Gustin have great chemistry together and it’s been the introduction of Ralph joining Team Flash that has been the best storyline of the season. However, the episode felt a bit redundant since this particular storyline of getting Ralph to rise to the occasion has been the main theme in two earlier and much stronger episodes.

The two biggest surprises in the episode were the possibility of Cisco leaving Team Flash to be with Gypsy and replacing her father as a bounty hunter, and Harry knowing about the secret Gideon room and talking to the A.I. as Wells (aka Eobard Thawne) did in the first season. Is the Reverse Flash back?! Will Cisco leave Team Flash and Caitlin after they defeat The Thinker?! Things just got very complicated for Team Flash.

GRADE: B-

More on The Flash Season 4:
The Flash Season 4 Episode 1 Recap
The Flash Season 4 Episode 2 Recap
The Flash Season 4 Episode 3 Recap
The Flash Season 4 Episode 4 Recap
The Flash Season 4 Episode 5 Recap
The Flash Season 4 Episode 6 Recap
The Flash Season 4 Episode 7 Recap
The Flash Season 4 Episode 8 Recap
The Flash Season 4 Episode 9 Recap
The Flash Season 4 Episode 10 Recap
The Flash Season 4 Episode 11 Recap
The Flash Season 4 Episode 12 Recap
The Flash Season 4 Episode 13 Recap
The Flash Season 4 Episode 14 Recap
The Flash Season 4 Episode 15 Recap
The Flash Season 4 Episode 16 Recap
The Flash Season 4 Episode 18 Recap
The Flash Season 4 Episode 19 Recap
The Flash Season 4 Episode 21 Recap
The Flash Season 4 Episode 22 Recap

Grant Gustin Interview
Danielle Panabaker Interview
Candice Patton Interview
Todd Helbing Interview
Tom Cavanagh Interview
Keiynan Lonsdale Interview
Carlos Valdes Interview




Kevin Finnerty

Kevin Finnerty

Professional film critic since 2003 and a member of the San Diego Film Critics Society. Host of “The Movie Guys” radio film review show from 2007 through 2013. Film and television critic for Showbizjunkies.com and a movie buff since 1973.
Kevin Finnerty
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