“Luck Be a Lady” might have my favorite intro that The Flash has done in its entire four-season run. It’s essentially a short story about the origin of this week’s villain, as narrated by the Thinker. (Yes, he looks weirdly like Metron and we don’t really know he’s the Thinker yet, but whatever.) The Thinker is a very grave, laconic speaker, which gives his droll narration a dry underline that just tickles me endlessly. The story is Pushing Daisies–esque in its matter-of-fact delivery of absurdity: Rebecca Sharpe, the unluckiest woman in the world, is dealing with a bout of lactose intolerance when she discovers her live-in boyfriend is cheating on her. Then she loses her job as a blackjack dealer. Becky’s luck is just cosmically bad — until it isn’t.
When we next see Becky Sharpe (a.k.a. Hazard, in DC Comics), she’s gained the power to give everyone else her terrible luck, while coasting along on her own incredibly lucky streak. We see this in great effect as she strolls into a bank robbery, where everything goes wrong for everyone around her: a repairman falls from a ladder and yanks the security camera away, while other people trip, choke, and fail to notice her entirely, as she strolls into an open vault and purloins stacks of cash.
As Becky makes her getaway — in a Prius, no less — the Flash arrives to stop her. But a massive shipment of marbles is being delivered next door and they spill out into the street, causing Barry to completely lose his footing, like a Looney Tunes character.
This is, far and away, the funniest episode of The Flash that I can remember. Becky Sharpe is a genius villain who allows for endless comedic scenarios: The show’s writers get to brainstorm ridiculous Rube Goldberg machines of ill fortune and have the characters race through them all. What’s not to love about that? This is an episode in which Becky’s growing power to cause bad luck means Iris and Barry attempt a shotgun wedding after losing their planned venue to a fire caused by a creme brûlée competition that got out of hand. Then their impromptu ceremony — which completely interrupts an unattended funeral, by the way — also falls apart, because the priest breaks out in hives from the cinnamon in the incense.
“Luck Be a Lady” is almost entirely devoted to straight-up hijinks, and I love it. There’s a tightness to the episode, and little character moments that really make it sing. For example: the return of Harry Wells, the Earth Two version of Harrison Wells, who was a gruff and secretive man of angst and now is mostly just gruff and awkward.
Harry is my favorite version of the Wells character. No disrespect to H.R., but I found him deeply corny in a pretty groundless way that didn’t add a whole lot to Team Flash, except for some great moments in Cisco exasperation. Harry, on the other hand, shares the original Harrison Wells’s duplicitous vibes, but they stemmed from trust issues caused by living in a darker timeline. His journey with Team Flash was one of mutual growth for both him and Barry; it redeemed the man whose face was stolen by Eobard Thawne.
Harry is back, we learn, because he hasn’t had a great time being a team player on Earth Two. He’s too out of sorts and is unable to shed his gruffness, so he got kicked out of the hero biz on his native world. But he’s not just orphaned; he’s here with a holographic projector from Jesse Quick that’s meant for Wally West. Poor Wally is waiting for Jesse in S.T.A.R. Labs’ portal room with flowers and a giant teddy bear, when Wells shows up alone.
The projector is a “breakup cube,” something that’s a huge deal on Earth Two. You send it to someone when you want to break up with them. A message plays, and tissues even pop out if you need them. Breakup cube!
I’ll be honest: I love the breakup cube. It’s an obvious bit of necessary plot triage — The Flash has too many speedsters in its family circle, so it needs to come up with excuses to keep them away — and it’s nestled in a ridiculous joke that itself is in an episode full of ridiculous jokes. It also helps that Harry’s delivery of the cube is an all-timer performance in mumbly comedy by Tom Cavanagh that I want to watch over and over again.
The breakup cube’s punchline, however, is a sad one: Wally West is leaving Central City. This is a bit of a drag, obviously. Mentorship would’ve been a good thing for Happy Barry, but so far this season, The Flash has struggled a bit to incorporate Wally in a meaningful way. The fact that he doesn’t appear in most of the episode, and that everyone fails to notice his absence, is a point he brings up in his farewell speech. Like Jesse Quick, he decides that he needs to take time to focus on himself. Let’s hope he figures out his own story and returns down the line.
Meanwhile, as far as big climaxes go, this week’s episode is top-notch stuff: Becky Sharpe’s bad-luck field starts to expand as she experiences more and more good luck. So when she goes to her old casino to clean the place out, bad luck starts to befall everyone, including a commercial airline flight. Barry has to go to the casino and push his luck to try and make it to her, without something awful befalling him. But something does, consistently — and it turns out the only way to stop Becky is by letting the Particle Accelerator literally explode again, to negate her powers.
So yeah, this episode goes places.
And it especially goes places with Joe West, who has spent these early episodes of season four settling into life with Cecile Horton. Much of Joe’s time in “Luck Be a Lady” is spent debating — in a loving and understanding way, of course — whether or not he and Cecile should move somewhere else, rather than maintain this big, old family home. It’s a big question to consider, so there’s a considerable amount of back-and-forth involved. Just when they finally agree to find a new home, though, Cecile changes her mind. Something is suddenly different.
Joe is speechless. He just stares at her. And then, the episode just … ends. Pretty strange reaction, no?