“This Ball of Mud and Meanness” is another landmark episode in the Bruce chronicle towards being Batman and delivers a story that is both revealing of Bruce’s character and a smart trajectory for his journey.
Last week, The Flash took our hero in an unexpected trip through time, after he ran so fast when trying to stop a tidal wave. The question left hanging at the end of the episode, was how many of the big events would be undone now that he’s ruptured the time continuum? As many of us expected and feared, the events of “Out of Time” are completely undone: Cisco discovering that Harrison Wells is the Reverse Flash – Dr. Wells killing Cisco – Iris confessing her feelings for Barry, and Barry revealing his secret identity to Iris – are all wiped clean off the board. The result is very disappointing.
Following the winding down of “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon”, the season continues with an episode that stabilizes the narrative with a case of the week hinting at the iconic Batman villain, The Scarecrow. Unfortunately his characterization is undermined with a poorly-executed exposition dump that feels unearned and unclear; the episode is much more concerned with reinforcing the shifted dynamics that were established in the previous episode. It’s not uncommon for a series to spin its wheels at times during a 22 episode season, but what is disappointing is that it does so here without giving a worthwhile character his due.