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When The Flash chose to waste no time in bringing back Barry Allen, it felt like a good move as long as the show didn’t fully ignore the main character’s absence. One of the biggest problems this posed was the show beginning to feel like it had no consequences; on one hand, the show doesn’t feel right without Barry, but on the other hand, The Flash also cannot ignore the decision to stick Barry into the Speed Force for a long period of time. “Mixed Signals” followed up the fourth season premiere with solid steps forward, continuing to navigate how everyone deals with having Barry back in the fold.
One of the biggest changes that became clear in The Flash’s premiere episode, “The Flash Reborn,” is that Iris had taken over a larger role on the team, almost becoming their Overwatch. This becomes the main conflict of “Mixed Signals,” because Barry returns to a team that has developed a new dynamic without him. Barry has no problem returning to his daily job of being The Flash, but the character falls back into his old tendencies of becoming selfish. Barry spends the episode constantly doing things while keeping Iris on the sideline when all she wants is for the two of them to work as a team and accomplish everything together. For once, it’s nice that Iris gets to stand up for herself because The Flash tends to always back her into a corner with plots that leave her feeling like the girlfriend (or fiancé depending on where you reference). The show definitely needed to give Barry a little bit of a wake up call about how things have changed, which is what “Mixed Signals” does a nice job of.
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