REVIEW: The Flash – Season 8, Episode 7 “Lockdown”

Maybe The Flash needed a week to get the suck out of its system (give or take the odd Chester scene) because “Lockdown” is a quick return to form. It’s a focused, thematically connected, character-driven episode that manages to be both fun and legitimately funny. And Danielle Panabaker finally has stuff to do again!

As Barry wrestles with trusting Kramer, Goldface and his henchmen take the police station hostage. Caitlin starts seeing someone – only for her and her date to run into Frost and Mark “Chillblaine” Blaine, who are entirely too eager for a double-date.

“Lockdown” gets its cringe out of the way early by opening with Chester being annoying. Remember how Cisco weaved his pop culture references into a conversation like they were the phrases and stories that came to his mind naturally?C Chester speaks entirely in references, even when he’s alone, like he’s a schizophrenic who has to out-geek himself. Aside from being overwrought, it isn’t good writing; Cisco’s indulgences in his fandoms were clever turns of phrase, while Chester’s amount to “here is a thing.” Allegra shows up as well, reminding us that she’s on the show too and that she and Chester like each other but won’t act on it despite saying it out loud to each other. After these scenes, I was set for another dud, but “Lockdown” gets better – it gets much better.


Something else happens before the “Lockdown” opening titles: the Flash saves the day three times in as many seconds and deposits a trio of crooks in the police station’s lobby. It’s a great superhero moment, the kind of thing the series used to do a lot, where we can smile and cheer on the Flash as he keeps Central City safe. But things get complicated when Barry turns up in his normal clothes to see how happy he’s made his new boss, Captain Kramer. She’s less than thrilled that the Flash dropped three random perps in their lap with no explanation of who they are or what they’ve done, meaning Barry has to work overtime to pin them all to the crimes he knows they’ve committed. This is smart, not only because it makes sense – how would the cops know what these three people did to warrant the Flash rounding them up? – but because it’s happening now, when the Flash isn’t communicating directly with the captain. Barry sees the necessity in working closer with the police, but can he trust Kramer the way he did Joe?

Trust is the theme of “Lockdown,” particularly that it has to be earned. Barry wants to trust Kramer just as she wants to trust the Flash, but outside of their general good works, neither has given the other a big enough reason for it. That’s when Goldface comes in, taking the station hostage and forcing Barry and Kramer to work together like the thematically relevant villain he is. Kramer has gone public as a metahuman, so Goldface brings power-dampening bracelets to make sure that she and any other metas who may work for the Central City Police Department – like forensic scientist Barry Allen – can’t go super and foil his plan. That means Barry can’t just take them all down at the speed of light, but more importantly, it means he and Kramer are on an even playing field, having to trust each other when they can’t trust their powers.

But “Lockdown” goes a step further; Kramer’s mimicking powers do some science fiction who’s-it-what’s that short out her bracelet, leaving her full use of her metahuman abilities. The twist is it’s Kramer’s fear that prevents her from using her powers. She doesn’t know how to control them yet, and she’s had a few episodes where they’ve caused problems for her. So far, they’ve been relatively harmless, but now she’s up against a cold-blooded criminal with bombs strapped to her officers; one wrong move and people under her command are dead. Barry’s obstacle is trusting Kramer, but hers is trusting herself, and the resolution comes in Barry encouraging her to use her powers, then later agreeing to teach her how to control them. Their actions all service the trust theme, from Barry pushing Kramer to him rescuing the police station once he gets away from his bracelet to Barry being willing to show her his identity to Kramer revealing that she already knows and is keeping it a secret. This is great writing, and every element clicks.

The Flash Lockdown

The subplot also follows the trust theme. Caitlin is finally putting herself out there, seeing the kind of guy who, on paper, seems perfect for her. He’s a botanist who appears to enjoy a quiet date at a fancy restaurant, which is Caitlin’s speed. But then she screws up the dinner reservation (which is set up well with Allegra’s surprise that Caitlin was able to score one on such short notice), and the pair end up in a dive bar on karaoke night – just as Frost and Mark are mangling “Cold as Ice.” Of course, they want to double-date, and of course, Caitlin’s distaste for Mark doesn’t take long to set her off on a diatribe. Caitlin doesn’t trust Mark, but he helps her understand that she also doesn’t trust her date, or really any potential date, after the loss she’s suffered through Ronnie’s death. So, while Barry and Kramer learn to trust each other, Caitlin learns to trust the world again, and trust Frost to make her own decisions. (I have to say, though, Caitlin made it pretty clear she didn’t want to stick around with Frost and Mark, so the botanist was a bit at fault for her outburst too.)

Aside from the trust theme, “Lockdown” is a lot of fun. Goldface makes for a good villain, and Damion Poitier strikes just the right balance between theatricality and overacting. He makes good use of that villainous Thanos grin, too. He gets right everything that Katee Sackhoff gets wrong in her awful portrayal of Amunet – who is still in a relationship with Goldface but, mercifully, only “appears” this week on the other end of a phone conversation. I like how Goldface is able to teach Barry about trust in the same way Mark does for Caitlin. Speaking of the latter two, it’s an interesting point that Frost has done as much evil as Mark; he’s trusting her too, and maybe it takes someone who’s made as many mistakes as those two have to trust each other enough to be in a relationship. There are also some good laughs sprinkled throughout, like Caitlin’s reaction to one of Chester’s followers saying that Frost is more fun or Goldface’s ringtone being “Love is a Battlefield” (a nice reference to the episode where he and Amunet met). This is a great one.

The Flash – "Lockdown"

Plot - 10
Acting - 8
Progression - 7
Production Design - 8
Themes - 10



“Lockdown” is a tightly-plotted, character-driven episode that explores some of the better characters (for a change) learning to trust. A good villain and some genuinely funny lines make up for a couple of brief scenes of Chester and Allegra’s nonsense.

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