Was “Mixed Signals” One of The Flash's Best Episodes Ever?

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Was “Mixed Signals” One of The Flash's Best Episodes Ever?

Barry’s back, baby. 

The past three seasons of The Flash have been good. The season four premiere of The Flash was very good. Tonight’s episode felt like a whole new show in the best way possible. 

The Flash‘s strongest episodes have always been the ones that leaned a little more on humor, a little less on the angst that tends to come with being a superhero on the CW. That was what was different about this show from the beginning, especially when compared to Arrow. Oliver Queen was racked with guilt and secrets, but Barry Allen was a funny, awkward kid with cool powers. 

Then, the more the Flash used those powers, the more mistakes he made, and the more guilt he started carrying around. It made sense, but as we talked about last week, it wasn’t the same Flash, and it wasn’t really sustainable without getting real dark and real depressing.

Last week’s premiere brought back the new Barry and showed us that something had definitely changed during those six months in the speed force, and tonight’s premiere showed off what that new Barry is really like, and how he works within the new, more collaborative Team Flash. 

Part of that collaboration involves a whole new Flash suit, with self-repairing armor, some kinda circuitry, a hood filled with maps and delivery menus, and a whole bunch of other features that made for one hell of a sequence when Barry came face to face with a guy who could control all electricity, meaning he could make Barry’s new suit go completely haywire in one of the funniest scenes the show has possibly ever had. 

The kicker was that this new computers-controlling guy wasn’t a meta created by the particle accelerator, but he was actually created by (or at least associated with) new baddie, The Thinker. 

The rest of the episode was all about the couples. Gypsy was determined to go on a date with Cisco while Cisco was consumed with the man who controlled computers, but it took her a while to admit that she had been excited to finally get to celebrate a Valentine’s Day-esque holiday from her earth. 

Iris was also finding that the new Barry was a little harder to communicate with, especially when he was doing things that he thought were helpful—cancelling their training session, planning their entire wedding without her, not listening to her instructions in the field. 

They even went to couples counseling, and it eventually came out that Iris was most upset that Barry left in the first place without consulting her. 

“Sometimes, it’s not about us, or the team. Sometimes the weight of the whole city falls on my shoulders, and it’s up to me to carry it. I’m the Flash,” he said, in a typical dude sort of way while Iris rolled her eyes. 

“See that’s what you don’t get,” Iris told him. “When I put this ring on my finger, it wasn’t just about you or me anymore. It was about us. You are not the Flash, Barry. We are.” 

Iris is both the partner and the boss Barry has always needed, and putting her in charge and taking so some of Barry’s burden away from him is one of the best things—if not the best thing—this show has ever done. Pair that with the promising fun of a non-speedster bad guy with an intriguing new plan and we are all in on season four of this show.

Hopefully this momentum keeps up in the episodes to come!

Also: We’ll take all the Risky Business tributes anyone on this show would like to give us. That was delightful.

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW. 

Published at Wed, 18 Oct 2017 01:00:00 +0000

8 Things We Learned From Fixer Upper Star Chip Gaines' New Memoir Capital Gaines

Chip Gaines‘ upcoming memoir is a must-read for any Fixer Upper fanatic. 

Titled Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned From Doing Stupid Stuff, Chip pulls the curtain back on his and wife Joanna Gaineshome remodeling empire. Readers will get to know the fun-loving HGTV star like never before, as he discusses life growing up in Coleyville, Tex., descending into a “deep depression” over his failed baseball career and the moment Jo expressed her desire to shut Magnolia Homes down forever. 

Chip also serves up a healthy dose of inspiration, with thoughtful messages on pioneering an entrepreneurial spirit, picking up the pieces after facing adversity and his and Jo’s “big secret” to happily owning a business together. 

Before picking up Capital Gaines, read on for eight secrets from the force behind Fixer Upper

1. Chip’s learning disability helped him value an “underdog” mentality: As a child, Gaines revealed teachers separated him from other students to properly address his learning difficulties. He shared, “My positive outlook has blinded me to plenty of things over the years. Maybe it also protected me at times from the things I didn’t need to see… Here’s how that mind-set played out back in first grade. Kids can be cruel.”

“So looking back,” Gaines continued, “there’s a decent chance that at least one of the kids in my class was calling me names while I was off learning to recite my ABCs. But rather than think about these possibilities, I was excited that I was invited to the gym in the first place. Honored even.”

Chip Gaines, Book

Courtesy Thomas Nelson

2. His battle with depression ultimately inspired the origins of his first landscaping business: Unexpectedly cut from the baseball team at Baylor University, Chip was forced to come up with a Plan B for his future. “The news hit me like a sucker punch to the gut,” Gaines described, “and in the following months, I fell into something I can only describe as a deep depression. The only dream I’d ever had was crushed. The weight of that held me down for the better part of the year.”

Gaines then got a job helping the campus landscaper, which after some time parlayed itself into launching his own venture. He recalled thinking, “Why am I sitting in her learning concepts and hypothetical business principles while he is out there grabbing the bill by the horns and actually making it happen?”

ESC: Chip and Joanna Gaines

Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

3. Jo threatened to end things over a Spanish immersion program gone terribly wrong: Only six months into their relationship, Chip left his business endeavors to Jo while he traveled to Mexico for a three-month trip to learn the language. Gaines’ preparations proved inadequate, with his then girlfriend calling him to say, “‘…You have three days to get back to Texas, or this relationship is over.'”

“My heart broke. There are hard moments in life when you see yourself for the tonto that you are. This all felt so much bigger than a few bounced checks… It became my mission to prove to Jo, my parents her parents, and myself that I could do this—that I was the real deal, and I wouldn’t stop until I made this entrepreneurial dream of mine a reality.”

Joanna Gaines, Chip Gaines, Fixer Upper, HGTV

HGTV

4. It wasn’t love at first sight for Chip and Jo: The handyman met his future wife at the age of 26, reflecting in his memoir, “The first time I saw Joanna, I knew for sure that I wanted to date her, but I wouldn’t say I knew for sure that she was ‘the one.’ Several dates in, I still wasn’t plotting to buy the ring.”

5. He considers their differences the glue that keeps their marriage strong: Gaines sheds a ton of light onto his relationship with Jo, explaining, “They say opposites attract. I don’t what kind of research has been conducted to back up this theory, but if mine and Jo’s relationship is any sort of testament, that statement couldn’t be more accurate. During our dating years, it was glaringly obvious how different we were from each other. She’s a quiet, detailed, cautiously safe door locker, and I’m a wild, obnoxious break-every-rule-in-the-book risk taker.”

6. So what’s their secret to mixing business and pleasure soharmoniously?: Chip’s advice is as follows—After a “few big fights” he said the couple realized, “The key is always giving each other enough slack in the rope to make mistakes. Affording each other a little extra rope has (mostly) equaled smooth sailing for us.”

7. Jo wanted to shut down her home accessory store to focus on motherhood: Most can’t imagine a world without Fixer Upper, but about three years after Chip and Jo opened Magnolia in 2003, the Gaines matriarch wanted to pull out of the project completely.

With two of their four kids already born, Chip remembered, “Joanna is an all-or-nothing kind of woman. This characteristic made it hard for her to balance home and work and feel like she was doing either one with excellence… To be able to give the babies her full attention, she knew she’d have to give up the shop.” While filming the first season of Fixer Upper in 2013, Jo decided to reopen Magnolia and the rest, as they say, was history!

8. HGTV was reluctant to film in WacoFixer Upper is totally synonymous with the quaint city in central Texas, but as Chip revealed in Capital Gaines, the network wasn’t completely convinced of its star power. In his words, “Considering Waco’s reputation and relatively small size, it was hard to convince HGTV to believe that basing our show solely in Waco, Texas, would be a recipe for success… Then a miracle happened: HGTV got excited about the city being featured as part of the show background of our new show.”

Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned From Doing Stupid Stuff is now available everywhere books are sold. 

Published at Wed, 18 Oct 2017 00:50:00 +0000