Tag Archives: the flash recap

The Flash Season 3 Premiere: 5 Quotes That Need Payoff This Season

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The CW

The Flash season 3 premiere ended with a giant question mark, as we are left to guess what has changed in the wake of Barry turning back time. While Flashpoint opens up all sorts of wild new plot opportunities for the show to explore, I hope that they take a few moments to remember to give a proper payoff to these plot threads that they previously set up.

“Suit or no suit that guy is a hero.” (Iris West)

“You don’t need a suit to be a hero” is a theme that has been touched upon in The Flash but not really explored as much as I’d like. The fact is that at the moment, there are more heroes in the show who do NOT wear suits (at least at present) than ones that do. Iris, as a reporter shining light on crime and corruption in the city, is heroic. Though we don’t see it nearly often enough, Joe’s work as a detective is heroic. Wells, Cisco and Caitlin are heroic when they do what is necessary to help the Flash.

Of course, the show has touched upon this theme on occasion. However, it is something that I think they would do well to highlight more significantly in the future. I always enjoy when any Superman series focuses on Clark’s ability to make a change as Clark Kent, a reporter for the Daily Planet. That you don’t need a cape – or a leather suit – to be a hero is a vital lesson in any superhero story.

Barry has a legion of supporting characters who aren’t superheroes (or aren’t superheroes yet). I would love to see an episode where the Flash is running around doing his thing, but the actual focus is on the ways the non-powered people in his life are also being true — if unsung — heroes. While we’ve had snippets, I would like the occasional spotlight.

“[H]e can do no wrong. And yet, they never fail to remind me that I can do no right.” (Cisco Ramon)

Cisco is one of the most interesting characters in the show to me, in the way he broke out of a rather bland and forgettable role as comic relief early on to become one of the best parts of the series.

At this point in the show, it’s hard to argue that Cisco doesn’t deserve a little love. He’s been a strong, steadfast friend to Barry and the rest of the team. He injects a little much-needed humor into every situation. And he has occasionally provided the pragmatic viewpoint that helps keep the team grounded. He has been, in his unwavering support and inventiveness, a true hero, but he likely doesn’t think of himself as one.

In the last season, Cisco has started to embrace his powers, which have even helped the team a time or two. He has also begun to mend the rift with his brother, extending an olive branch that I personally would prefer to use to beat some sense into Dante. And, of course, as part of Flash’s support system, he’s usually out of the spotlight.

For all the good he’s done, I think Cisco still thinks of himself as the less-favored brother. Moreover, I suspect he doesn’t see himself as a hero. This year, I would love to see him realize that he is a hero, even if he isn’t the one in the spotlight. Even if Cisco didn’t have his powers, his heart, along with his desire and ability to do whatever he can to help, make him a hero – and certainly make him the kind of son of whom any parent should be proud.

Also, get that man a girlfriend. Let’s be honest: he’s a hell of a catch.

“If Dr. Wells is who you say he is, then everything I’ve done since I’ve set foot in S.T.A.R. Labs has been a lie.” (Caitlin Snow)

It always annoyed me that Caitlin didn’t get a payoff to this line in the first season. After everything that happened in the last two years, it is even more important that the sentiment behind this line be addressed.

Everyone close to the Flash has had trials and tribulations in the past two years, and certainly Caitlin has faced her fair share. From the beginning, it was established that the life she was living was not the life she would have chosen, once upon a time. Losing Ronnie and facing Jay’s betrayal had to be bitter blows.

She has been more than one villain’s pawn, and her trust in the wrong person cost her a promising career and the man she loved. The show tried to sweep the latter under the rug last season, in her inexplicable and poorly developed romance with Jay. It’s time for the show to face these things head-on, and for them to give Caitlin’s character the respect of a proper payoff (and perhaps even character growth) for the things she’s been put through.

“[E]verything that’s happened to me the past few days is the best story I can never write.” (Linda Park)

For two years, fans have been clamoring for the show to give more highlight to Iris’s role as a reporter. As I’ve explored in other articles, she can play a key role in a story like The Flash, and as a reporter, she’s a hero in her own right.

But in a superhero story like this, being a reporter is a double-edged sword. True, her stories can help expose crime and corruption, every city’s more everyday (but in their own way, no less dangerous) villains. She can also continue to give the city hope in heroes like the Flash, giving them someone to look up to, to trust, to admire. It was, after all, what got her into reporting in the first place.

That said, she is no longer a reporter on the sideline, an outsider looking in. She not only knows the Flash’s identity, but she loves him. She knows his secrets, and she wants to protect him. Sometimes that will be at odds with the stories she needs to tell.

This push-and-pull was touched upon in the second season, when Scott wanted her to write a negative article about the Flash. She refused to do it then, but this will not be the last time she will be faced with such a task. She will also likely face moments in the future when she is privy to information that the people would feel they have a right – or even need – to know, but exposing it could put the man she loves at risk.

Seeing her struggle with her own dual identity, as the woman in love with Barry (and thus the Flash) and as a reporter, would be fascinating to watch. After all, heroes are defined by the way they respond to adversity, and Iris is a hero in her own right. Just as Barry has to balance his private life with his life as the Flash, so too does Iris have to balance her need to reveal the truth with protecting the man she loves.

“If Zoom finds out who you care for, who you love, who you live for, he’ll take them from you.” (Harry)

Talk about a line that had no payoff! Harrison Wells gave Barry this rather dire prediction last year, but it never came to pass, outside of a dream sequence. True, Zoom ended up using Wally to steal the Flash’s speed, and he did kidnap Caitlin. However, his motivations for kidnapping Caitlin were unequivocally to suit his own needs, his own desire for her. And was Wally the best way to pay off this line? I don’t think so, given that Barry and Wally were not terribly close at the time this happened.

Every superhero story has dealt with the question of how heroes keep the people they love safe. Everyone in Barry’s life has been endangered at one point or another because of their closeness to the speedster. However, there is certainly more depth to this plot than has been explored in the past. Just as I would like to see an episode focused on the team’s heroism, I would also love to see a sustained threat against the people closest to the Flash. I would love to see them have to acknowledge that what they are doing puts them in personal danger over the course of several episodes if not a decent chunk of a season, and for them to continue to choose to keep doing it.

And, of course, if one is looking for the person Barry loves and lives for, that person is Iris West, without question. As “Flashpoint” demonstrated, they always find their way back to each other. Of course, we have seen her ability to defend herself, but the threat of a villain that even Barry may not be able to stop would always be looming overhead. In the comics, characters like the Reverse Flash have tried to target Iris because of her relationship with Barry. Loving her may have helped him become the Flash, but the fear of losing her would also be his greatest weakness. Harry’s line offers a promise and a threat that provides the potential for such great drama, and I would love to see more payoff for it in the future.

“Flashpoint” offered a solid premiere that set The Flash on a very promising path in season 3, particularly after the comparative drudgery of season 2. If nothing else, it brought back the lighthearted, happy Barry that we so dearly missed last year. It is clear that they have definite ideas for where they want to take this season, but as excited as I am to see what they have in store for the future, I hope they haven’t completely forgotten these threads from the past.

If they can give these moments their proper payoff while moving forward into the bright new post-Flashpoint world, I think the show will be better than ever.

The Flash Season 2 Finale Recap: Control-Alt… Reboot

the flash season 2 finale race of his life barry allen grant gustin cw
CW

The Flash season 2 finale had a number of things people were waiting eagerly for. The reveal of the Man in the Iron Mask. The final face-off against Zoom. A Westallen kiss. And then, in true Flash style, they took all those wrapped up storylines and threw a curve ball to undo everything and cause all fan’s heads to explode all summer long.

Bye, Zoom

Admittedly the most necessary – if least interesting – part of this episode had to do with the season’s Big Bad himself: Zoom. Zoom’s story hasn’t made a lot of sense this season, and it wasn’t much clarified in this episode.

Essentially, he wants to race against Barry to siphon off their energy to power a device that’s called a Magnatar – that in no way makes me feel like a Transformers villain. Once it’s powered up, it’ll send out a pulse that will destroy every other Earth. It appears he doesn’t want to take the chance that anyone from any other Earth will ever be faster than he is.

Zoom’s always been petty.

Nobody else is down with the “Barry races Zoom and maybe destroys the multiverse” plan – even knowing Zoom plans to kill them all if Barry refuses or loses the race. They think Barry is currently too emotional (he is) and focused on revenge (he DEFINITELY is) and in this mindset, he may not be able to win (a definite concern). Wells and Joe team up to shoot him in the back with what looks like an elephant tranquilizer and lock him in a cell while they try Plan B.

Plan B consists of Caitlin distracting Jay by talking to him about the darkness in her while the others shoot him with a tranquilizer and shove him through the breach, sealing it for good thereafter. Things don’t go quite as planned. For one, although Jay falls for Cailtin’s act, he decides it’s too late and tries to kill her. Fortunately for her, she’s a hologram. The tranquilizer gun jams, so Joe has to race forward to stab him by hand, and when Harry shoots Zoom through the portal, he takes Joe along for the ride.

When Wally finds out that Joe is at Zoom’s mercy and that the team had preemptively agreed to seal the breaches for good regardless of the consequences, he decides he’s having none of this “Team Flash” nonsense and lets Barry out of the cell. Everyone is still concerned about his state of mind, but it’s hard to argue that they’re running out of time.

Race against Zoom he does, and they charge up the Magnatar, which supposedly can’t be turned off once it’s charged. However, in a twist, Barry has made a time remnant of his own for just this eventuality. While he faces off against Zoom, the remnant races around the Doomsday Machine to counteract its frequency. The action kills him, but it also saves the multiverse, so job well done!

However, all these remnants have gotten the time wraiths’ attention from wherever I presume they were vacationing in Bali, since Zoom’s been going through remnants like they’re tissues during a Barry/Nora scene. The wraiths come for Barry but realize Zoom’s a more attractive meal and drag him off in a storm of special effects that are a little reminiscent of The Mummy.

Who Is That Masked Man?

In a soliloquy, Jay confesses to Joe that the Man in the Iron Mask is Jay Garrick, a speedster from yet another Earth. He captured him to try to steal his speed but couldn’t, so he keeps him as a trophy since he got what he wanted from Barry. Of course, once Barry loses the race, he plans to put him in another cell like the world’s creepiest zoo.

Once Zoom is defeated, they manage to get the mask off and discover its – dun dun DUUUUN! – John Wesley Shipp, playing Earth 3 Jay Garrick. The penny finally drops for Barry that his dad’s throwaway line that “Garrick” is an old family name was actually important. He is a speedster but seems to have no relation to Barry or knowledge he’s E1 Henry Allen’s doppelganger. He does wear a classic Flash costume and decides to add Hunter’s helmet to the ensemble to make it a symbol of hope again.

Guys, seriously. When an item has become a totem for a serial killer, you can really just bury it and never mention it again.

Barry freaks out at seeing his dad’s double but holds his tongue while Harry and Jesse decide to go back to Earth 2 to try to find a way to get Jay back home to Earth 3. Jay takes them into the portal, but I’m sure it’s hardly the last we’ll see of them. Jesse’s friends can’t be THAT interesting.

The Path of Guilt

While fans had hoped to see a happier Barry in Earth 2, we see him at his darkest hour in this episode. He asks Iris how he can ever find peace with losing his dad when he’d just found it over his mom. She points out that he has to find a way or it’ll tear him apart. Wise words, but guilt over a parent’s death is never easy to let go of, believe me.

After seeing his dad’s double, Barry confesses to Iris that seeing him should have made his loss easier but it really just makes him miss his father more. Iris hopes that maybe a future for the two of them will give him something to look forward to. Sadly, while that’s all he’s ever wanted, Barry is concerned that he’s too broken to give her that future at the moment.

Their love is too strong to be deterred for long, so Iris reassures him that she’ll wait for him for as long as he waited for her, if need be. He should go do whatever he needs to do because she’ll be waiting for him when he gets back. They confess their love for each other – they love each other and always will – and have a sweet, simple kiss.

However, if Westallen fans thought they might have a summer to relish this newfound relationship and their love for each other, the show wasn’t quite done with us yet. Looking through the window at Iris, Barry apologizes for what he has to do.

He races away, into the past, running back to the moment when his mother was murdered. This time, he stops Reverse Flash from murdering her. His past (Season 1) self evaporates, and Nora begs him not to hurt her but he reassures her he won’t. He’s saved her life – Flashpoint Paradox, anyone?

This is what everyone was expecting at the end of last season, and it’s certainly going to throw a monkey wrench into the next one. However, I have no doubt that the timeline will be returned to its current status.

Remember, when Barry tried to save her in Season 1, his future self stopped him – as if he knew that the consequences for saving her would be worse than letting her go. I’m sure that Barry was the Barry for Season 3, and I’m curious to know what they’ll do in the interim.

But once this gets put to rights, can we stop going back into the past to rewrite history every time these two lovebirds finally get on the same page and kiss?

The Flash Recap: A Journey Home

the flash season 2 the runaway dinosaur barry allen nora allen grant gustin cw
CW

Kevin Smith, the director of this episode of The Flash, described this episode as a hero reborn. I think that’s an apt description. After a year of being far less chipper than he was in the first season, Barry is forced to come to terms with a few things and takes one more step on the path to being the hero he’s destined to be.

It Takes a Dream to Accept Reality

A good portion of this episode takes place within the Speed Force itself, which is where Barry was lost after disintegrating last episode. He wakes up in the home he shared with his parents and is confused to find both crime scene tape and Joe there. Joe explains that he’s not really the man Barry knows, but they thought it would be easier for Barry if he was in a place and with people he knew. He tries to explain about the speed force, which is a little hard for Barry to process. Realizing he’s talking to the Speed Force itself is a bit too much for Barry to process, and he’s not really ready to listen. He wants to get home to see his friends, but Joe tells him that he won’t get back until he catches the streak he sees running by.

He chases after it and ends up by the lake where he and Iris shared their first kiss. At first he’s happy to see her, until he realizes that she is no more real than Joe was. He’s angry that the Speed Force is keeping him trapped when he needs to get back to his friends and his city, but Speed-Force Iris explains that he was given a rare gift when he became the Flash and he gave it away.

Meanwhile, Cisco has realized Barry is lost in the Speed Force and tries to reach him. At first, Barry is tempted to try to return with him. However, when Speed-Force Iris tells him that leaving now would mean he never gets his powers back and he has to choose what he wants, Barry decides to stay. He chases the blur once again, this time to a graveyard with Henry.

This is where the Speed Force’s true purpose in talking to Barry this way becomes clear. Henry forces Barry to confront his mother’s grave. Speed-Force Henry explains that the loss of Nora is what made him the Flash but he hasn’t really accepted that yet. He asks if Barry is at peace with letting her go when he took his trip to the past, and Barry counters by asking how anyone can be at peace with deciding to let their mother die in a decision that their own life is more valuable?

Although Speed-Force Henry tries to explain that his mother wouldn’t have wanted him to die for her and that the lives of the people Flash has saved have value too, Barry still isn’t ready to hear it. He chases after the streak once again and this time, it leads him home to where Nora awaits him.

This was truly the most heart-wrenching part of the episode. Nora reads him a board book – the titular Runaway Dinosaur – about a mother who will always love her child, and he admits that he has never accepted the choice he made and probably never will. Their entire scene both made me tear up and gave Barry the message that he needed to hear. No matter how fast he is, he will never be able to do everything. Bad things will follow, no matter how hard he tries to outrun them. She tells him she’s proud of him, both as the speed force and as his mother, and he finally comes to terms with the decisions of the past and is ready to move forward. He reaches out, grabs the blur, and finds out that it’s himself in his Flash costume.

Back in the world, Cisco decides to try one more time to get through to Barry and they realize someone else can reach out to him if they’re touching Cisco. Iris asks to do it, and when she sees Barry in the Speed Force, she reaches out to him and asks him to come home to her. With one last look at his mother, Barry smiles, reaches out, and takes Iris’s hand so that she can bring him home.

Meanwhile, Back at Star Labs

While Barry was having a personal revelation in the Speed Force, the team at Star Labs was dealing with problems of their own. Jesse and Wally were knocked out by the particle accelerator explosion, and though Wally wakes up pretty quickly, Jesse lingers in a coma similar to Barry’s. We find out nobody apparently told poor Henry about what happened to Barry during his time in a coma, since he seems to be pretty surprised by the revelation. Joe suspects they may have gotten powers like Barry did, but when he tries to find out if Wally is suffering any side effects in the most awkward pseudo-puberty talk ever, it seems that perhaps Wally is still without powers.

The particle accelerator explosion reanimated Girder from the Morgue, much to everyone’s chagrin. Well, almost everyone’s. Henry takes it more or less in stride, which really makes one wonder what kinds of things he saw during his stint in prison. Girder escapes and when Iris realizes that Girder is after her (as he was back when he was alive), she lures him back to Star Labs so Cisco and Harry can try to kill him again using the power of electromagnets. It fails at first, and so they all have to take refuge.

Iris volunteers to lead Girder away, but luckily, they bring back Barry in time to prevent her from having to take the chance. Barry grabs Iris and lures Girder away so that the team can try to turn the power to the magnets back on, but it turns on there’s no need. In the end, he runs around fast enough to charge the magnets and take Girder down on his own.

Once things have calmed down, Barry goes to Jesse and shocks her with the Speed Force, waking her up. It seems they’re about to have a second speedster on their hands. Barry also admits to Henry that he’s finally accepted that everything that has happened to them – good and bad – happened for a reason and made them who they are. He has finally accepted that he wouldn’t change the past, and Henry announces he’s decided to stay in Central City to be with his son. I sense bad things ahead now.

There is some final unresolved business to attend to, however. For the first time, Barry goes to visit his mother’s grave, and he takes Iris along. When he tells Iris about The Runaway Dinosaur, she admits she’s never been a fan of the book since it’s about a mother who was always there for her child, and that was never the case for Barry and Iris. They never had someone who was just right for them.

In a move so smooth he had to pick up some tips from the Speed Force, Barry counters that they did. He confesses that he’s been seeing things differently, and that he’d been too focused on what he’d lost when he had so much. Finally, he tells her that, while he may not know what there is between the two of them and where they go from here, “You’re everything to me and you always have been. And the sound of your voice will always bring me home.”

I was screaming at the screen for them to kiss right then because how do you NOT kiss when someone says something like that to you? Sadly, these two dorks still continue to thwart me because they give a really heartwarming hug instead. I know they’re building to an epic kiss (possibly in the finale) but it’s killing me that they’re drawing it out!

In the last teaser before the episode end, Zoom sweeps Caitlin off her feet by telling her she can either stay with him or leave and be with her friends. If she chooses the latter, of course, he’ll show her the same mercy he plans to show them. Apparently, Zoom’s twisted definition of romance has its limits. He leaves to go address the metahumans he’s collected and brought back from Earth 2 to conquer Earth 1’s CCPD, and in his absence, it’s suggested Caitlin decides to stay since she doesn’t move.

All in all, it was a fantastic episode and I’m really looking forward to what happens next! Also, those two adorable dorks, Iris and Barry, really need to kiss already.

The Flash Recap: Silence Isn’t Golden

the flash season 2 rupture westallen iris west barry allen grant gustin candice patton cw
CW

I suppose there are a few themes of this episode of The Flash, but I can’t help but think that one is “Family don’t tell each other anything.” There seems to be an awful lot of catching various family members up on things they probably should have known about before. Oh, and of course there’s the continuing thread of love (Westallen) versus obsession (Zaitlin). Team and family are pretty divided on a decision Barry has to make.

And, oh yeah, there’s murder. So much murder.

Getting Up to Speed

We start this episode with a little subterfuge. To keep the city from finding out about the Flash’s fate, Barry, Iris, and Cisco have concocted a plan. A hologram of Flash races through the city after a getaway car. After the team can’t quite decide whether he should try to throw lightning (leading to some hilarious arm movements from Grant Gustin) and Cisco rocks an old Atari joystick, the bad guys are captured and Flash poses in the cockiest stance ever for a non-corporeal being.

They get all of three seconds to celebrate their clever solution to a big problem when Harry comes in to rain on their parade. He points out that this ruse won’t hold up forever, and he insists that anther particle accelerator explosion is the only way to rectify the problem. He’s actually a little uncomfortably ride-or-die with this plan; if I didn’t know better, I’d think we were dealing with Harribard again.

Barry still isn’t convinced. He drives to go see his dad, who’s apparently off fishing and still without a phone because he is in no way up to speed on any major event going on in his son’s life. He isn’t aware that Barry lost his speed, and he has no idea who Jay Garrick supposed to be. He does drop a pretty significant tidbit: Garrick is Henry’s mother’s maiden name. Call me crazy, but I suspect that will be important in the future.

Henry returns to the lab with Barry, and the various father figures hash it out. Harry really wants Barry to risk his life to get his speed back. Henry is adamantly opposed to his son taking such a risk. He has a point when he mentions that even with his speed, Zoom broke his back earlier in the year, so he’s going from one risk to another. Joe is somewhat on the fence. However, before they can come to a consensus, Barry walks in and reminds them all that it’s really his choice to make and he’ll be the one to make it, thank you very much.

It’s a refreshing change from last season, when he had a decision to make and went to everyone for their advice before he made it. Of course, before the end of the episode, he still manages to get everyone’s advice in this episode. But it’s nice to at least see him standing up and acknowledging that, at the end of the day, he’s the one who has to make that call.

While Barry deals with his own interpersonal familial drama, Cisco seeks out his own after unintentionally flashing on Earth 2 Dante, his brother. He meets up with his Earth 1 counterpart to check in, and we find out that he’s no more pleasant to Cisco than he was before his little brother saved his life. Some gratitude. Not only is Cisco cuter than his brother, he’s an all-around better person, too.

Cisco reconciles himself to the idea that he and Dante will never have the relationship he wants, and he goes to leave but big brother follows. More sibling bickering is gearing up when they’re attacked by a man in a mask, holding a glowing Scythe of Doom. It’s Earth 2 Dante, going by the name Rupture, out for revenge against the man he believes killed his brother. Dante is understandably freaked out. Cisco has some explaining to do.

Although he tries to keep the truth to himself for a time, Dante finds a letter Cisco wrote before heading to Earth 2 and learns the truth. Cisco confesses about his powers, and the two men hug as they decide they would like a better relationship in the future.

A Not-So-Fine Line Between Love and Obsession

Three romantic relationships are really at the heart of the show this episode. Caitlin is being dragged everywhere by Zoom, who keeps her handcuffed and brings her along presumably to impress her with his homicidal inclinations. She’s still pretty firm on the point that she’ll never love him, but he isn’t too fussed because he senses darkness in her. His obsession – it’s hard to call it love – does cause him to not kill quite as many people as he otherwise might have done, but he’s still pretty free with the murder.

Meanwhile, in a scenario that has launched many a One True Pairing in fanfics, Jesse and Wally are locked in the time vault to keep them safe. Wally isn’t having any of it; he wants to help in any way he can. They finally decide to team up to get out and they work pretty well together. I admit they’re cute, but I still am sorry we aren’t getting any Wally/Linda since that is such a great relationship in the comics. Perhaps in the future, this will change.

Of course, the main relationship is between Barry and Iris. Iris is afraid of what will happen to Barry if he takes the chance to get his powers back, but she lets him know she supports him whatever he chooses. However, she also confesses that she’s been thinking about the two of them lately and that she’s always been the person he could come home to. Barry calls her on not saying this sooner, and she admits that she wasn’t available when he confessed but, regardless of what he chooses and whether he becomes the Flash again, it’s Barry Allen she wants to know if she has a future with. If he wants that too. He doesn’t respond so she walks away.

It’s an interesting parallel to season one, when Barry confessed and Iris needed time to process. I think the fact that they didn’t resolve this issue will be an important plot point in next week’s episode.

Betrayal and Sacrifice

At first, Barry isn’t keen on Harry’s plan. He wants his speed back, but he also wants to make sure the collateral damage of the first explosion isn’t recreated as well. He tries to solve the problem without his powers, and they do manage to take Rupture down when he goes to Jitters to kill police officers who thought Zoom had spared their lives.

Unfortunately, while they manage to stop Rupture, Zoom catches on to the situation when it’s reported on the news. He isn’t too happy with Caitlin, once he figures out that she clued the team in on his plan. She points out that he betrayed her first, since he’d promised to let the officers live. She also finally pieces it together that he changes his voice to scare people, which one would think would be obvious from the beginning.

He races off and kills all the officers and reporters Rupture failed to kill, then takes out his former partner as revenge for failure. He grabs the camera and reveals Flash’s secret to the city, telling them that there’s nobody left to protect them. Before running off again, he tells the team that they’re only alive because of his affection for Caitlin, but that won’t protect them in the future.

This is the final straw for Barry. Harry points out that Zoom will recruit every metahuman he can find, many of whom have probably stayed in hiding as long as Flash was on the case. Now that they know that he’s no longer protecting the city, Harry predicts they’ll come out of the woodwork. Barry decides that the murders are his fault for giving up his speed and leaving the city unprotected. Although he still has concerns, he decides to go ahead with the plan.

Harry is convinced he can contain the explosion, and the show relishes a little Harry Potter geekdom as Cisco takes to the rooftop with Weather Wizard’s wand to call down the lightning. Barry is strapped in to the accelerator, and Iris reassures him that her feelings for him won’t change, no matter what happens. Henry tries one last time to tell him he doesn’t have to do this if he doesn’t want to, but Barry admits that Flash is the best part of him and he needs his speed to be that person.

Everyone is ready for Barry to take the risk, so Harry injects chemicals into him similar to the ones he was exposed to during the first explosion, making Iris’s façade crack and she shows the fear she feels at the risk Barry is about to happen. Wally and Jesse break out of their room just in time to be caught up in the explosion, which will undoubtedly lead to both developing their powers in the near future.

At first, it seems like their plan may be successful, but then Barry disintegrates before their eyes. Iris’s sobs at the thought Barry is dead are positively heartbreaking, and Zoom shows what kind of villain he is when he comes back just to rub a little salt in their wounds. At least he doesn’t kill anyone before racing off again, leaving them to their grief at the thought Barry is dead.

For the record, next week’s episode – directed by Kevin Smith – looks absolutely amazing. I’m pretty sure this next week will be absolute torture as we wait!

The Flash Recap: Truth and Consequences

the flash versus zoom barry allen cisco ramon grant gustin carlos valdes cw
The CW

After teasing the audience with questions in the second half of the season, The Flash started giving us answers tonight – about Jay/Zoom and about the nature of Iris’s feelings for Barry. Even better, Barry is able to be proactive, smart, and willing to put his life on the line to save a world that isn’t even his own. He comes up with a plan that actually seems like it might work… and then, of course, everything goes spectacularly wrong.

The Best Laid Plans

Barry’s been determined to get faster all season, and he finally gets some payoff. The tachyon device does in fact make him four times faster than usual – as fast as Zoom. He’s ready to open a breach to take on the evil speedster, but not everyone is so eager. Harry is concerned that opening a breach will put Jesse in danger, and Caitlin agrees it may be a bad idea. Cisco is okay with the idea in theory, but when it becomes clear that he’s going to have to get further in touch with his powers – further in touch with the powers Reverb demonstrated – he’s more cautious. He’s worried using his powers to their full extent will turn him to the Dark Side, like Anakin Skywalker. Oh, Cisco, you should know you’re nowhere near as emo as him.

Barry is determined, however. As a true hero, he’s not just interested in saving his world; he wants to save all the worlds. He convinces Cisco that his friends will stop him from going to the Dark Side, and Cisco finally feels confident enough to give it a real shot. After a talk with Joe – in which Joe expresses concern that Barry won’t succeed in facing off against Zoom without help – Harry also agrees to do his part and creates a new set of glasses for Cisco to use to help with his Vibe powers.

While Cisco struggles with his demons, Caitlin spills what she knows about Jay’s doppleganger, which is basically that he’s named Hunter Zolomon and that’s the extent of it. Wells becomes alarmed at this revelation, since Hunter is a known serial killer on his world, his face known by everyone – though not well enough for anyone to have made the connection between Hunter and Jay earlier. In their defense, Hunter rocks a pretty wicked beard.

Decisions to Make

While plans are being made by some, others have come to crossroads in their lives and have decisions to make. Wally’s having a hard time making ends meet, though he’s too proud to ask for money. Barry finally wakes Joe up to the reality that Wally really wants to move in, though he doesn’t want to outwardly ask. Kicking himself for not catching on sooner, Joe extends the offer and Wally happily accepts. Where is Iris living?

Harry’s torn between helping Barry and not wanting to put Jesse in danger, though he does eventually accept that the Flash needs his help. However, Jesse’s still his primary concern. He finally leaves the lab to ask Joe for help tracking down Jesse. Unfortunately, he bumps into Wally, who recognizes that he looks an awful lot like You Know Who. Poor Harry. He is OVER being confused for Harribard. That’s what you get when a murderer comes back in time and steals your face, I guess!

Meanwhile, Iris is struggling with a romantic quandary and goes to Caitlin for advice. She was supposed to go on a date the night before (much to Barry’s chagrin), but she’d cancelled at the last minute. Caitlin calls her on the fact she’s struggling with feelings for Barry and encourages her to act on her feelings. It turns out she believes in destiny – at least when it comes to Barry and Iris.

Plans Go Awry

When it comes time to face off against Zoom, Caitlin is unnerved at the idea of facing Jay again. However, Barry realizes he can use his knowledge of Zoom’s identity against him. He creates cardboard cutouts of Jay’s parents and uses them to unnerve the bad guy long enough to take him down. Not for long, however. With a vague threat that “You can’t escape the darkness,” Jay’s eyes go black, his voice changes, and he gets enough speed to break out of his tether and escape.

He’s not going far, though. He kidnaps Wally and suggests a trade: Barry’s speed for Wally’s life. Joe doesn’t want him to do it – though he doesn’t want Wally to die, either – but Barry tells him it’s not his call to make. Barry’s really stepping up and making his own decisions this season, and so he agrees to the trade.

Feeling chatty this episode, Jay/Hunter/Zoom confesses that he told Caitlin about Hunter in order to get her to stop trying to fix him. He’s dying, he needs a cure, and he doesn’t think the team is up for the task. Barry seems frankly astonished that a known serial killer with over 20 kills under his belt would be willing to kill additional people to get what he wants.

While waiting to take Barry’s speed, he gets even more chatty. He admits this had been his plan all along. The Jay they knew was a past version of himself – and somehow this didn’t catch the attention of Time Wraiths. His other version wasn’t thrilled to be a sacrificial lamb to get the team so upset they would find a way to get Barry faster, but he eventually agreed.

Appalled, Caitlin calls Jay a monster, which reminds him of his mother calling his father the same thing. He steals Barry’s speed and runs off with Caitlin because it seems he really did love her after all.

The Flash Recap: Back to the Future

the flash season 2 flash back barry allen harrison wells grant gustin tom cavanagh cw
CW

If last week’s episode was about hope, this episode of The Flash is about accepting the past and moving forward. It’s a shame that an episode that is this strong (and wraps up the emotional storyline left behind after Eddie’s death in a very satisfying way) is followed by another hiatus.

Back In Time

Barry is desperate to get faster but he seems to have hit a wall. He’s read everything available (incidentally, the reflection of his book in his eyes in the opening shot was really pretty), but he can’t seem to break the speed equation.

First Iris gives him a pep talk, telling him it’s not his fault for trusting Jay and Joe admits he also blames himself. Then, in a touching scene, she confesses she’s conflicted after going on a date with Scott because she still thinks about Eddie every day. Although Barry tells her Eddie would want her to find love again, their long-overdue heart-to-heart is interrupted by Wally, who shows up to dinner just in time to unintentionally gives Barry an idea.

He has to go back in time to talk to Harribard, to see if he can get the solution from his Murder Mentor. (As another side note, the exchange between Wally and Joe where Wally says, “That dude gets weirder every time I see him” and Joe agrees with the biggest long-suffering sigh ever was ludicrously funny.)

Harry thinks this is a terrible idea, but Barry isn’t listening. He’s determined to get faster, and this is the only solution that comes to mind. Still, Harry has a point. Reverse Flash studied him for 15 years, so he’s unlikely to be fooled. Barry is notorious for having a pretty bad poker face.

Even with the risks, Barry decides to go ahead. Of course, regardless of Harry’s dire warnings and his promises, he begins to mess with the timeline almost immediately. Although he does knock himself out and capture Pied Piper, he reveals the secret to his ear implants to stop the explosion that would have happened. Naturally, Harribard is no fool and catches on to Barry’s suspicious behavior right away. It doesn’t hurt that Dementors are after Barry and Harribard knows what they are: time wraiths, who go after speedsters who mess with the time stream.

After a sucker punch to the back of the head to knock him out, Harribard takes Barry to his secret room so they can face off. He’s tempted to kill Barry, but Barry talks him out of it – first by selective sharing in a way that leads Harribard to believe he does get home and then by lying that he left a letter for this Barry with the truth, should he die.

It turns out Harribard isn’t needed to stop the wraiths. Although Cisco’s apparently more sadistic than one would think, torturing Hartley with “Never Gonna Give You Up,” old grudges are quickly forgotten when a wraith invades the lab and Cisco and Caitlin have to take refuge in Hartley’s cell.

Hartley helps drive the wraith off, in almost perfect time for past Barry to wake up and return to the lab. Cisco, Caitlin, and the two Barrys face off, as they try to figure out if he’s a doppelganger. He eventually tells them the truth, and after wrapping up a couple loose ends (getting a tachyon device from Harribard to help him go faster and telling Cisco that Hartley knows of Ronnie’s location so the timeline in that regard stays on track), Barry races back to the present.

Unfortunately for him, the wraith follows, and Cisco and Caitlin have failed to find a way to stop him. Luckily, Hartley is there. The changes to the past have made him a good guy in the present, and so while he’s not a member of the team, he’s apparently willing to collaborate with them on occasion.

Time to Put the Past in the Past

As I said before, this episode is about coming to terms with the past so that the characters can move forward. To a degree, Barry has a chance to come to terms with Harribard in their scene in his secret room. He’s had a year to grow in his powers, a year to grow more confident in his abilities and role as a hero. He’s also had a year to come to terms with his relationship with Wells, both the good and the bad. Although their positions are quite different – Barry is handcuffed to Harribard’s wheelchair – they are able to come to the discussion as near-equals. Barry is able to anticipate Harribard’s actions and threats, and now he’s the one who knows how to play on his old mentor’s hopes and fears to get what he wants, or near enough to it.

But Barry isn’t the only one who comes to terms with the past in this episode. Perhaps more importantly, Iris’ storyline and feelings for Eddie are finally addressed head-on so she can move on. Currently, her feelings for Eddie are holding her back. Barry even warns her that she could miss out on wonderful things if she closes herself off to the world entirely.

In what is probably the most pure act of true love on the series to date, while he’s in the past, Barry does what he can to help her move on. Under pretext of putting together a birthday montage for her, he asks Eddie to record a message for her. He tells him to speak from the heart and tell her what he would want her to know, if this turned out to be his last chance to speak to her.

Eddie records a beautiful message about why he loves her – for her inner beauty and her strength. She is the best thing that ever happened to him, and every day with her is a gift. He tells her she deserves to be happy for the rest of her life, and nobody wants that for her more than him.

In the present, Barry finds Iris looking at a photo album of Eddie. He gives her the video and gives her the privacy she needs to say goodbye to Eddie so she can put her grief in the past and finally open herself up to the future and all the joy it may bring.

The Flash Recap: ‘We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Flash’

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CW

Yes, a giant talking shark is cheesy, but if you can’t get behind that kind of cheesy, then you not only don’t have any joy in your life but you probably shouldn’t be watching a comic book show like The Flash. King Shark was officially the most fun thing this episode, because Barry certainly wasn’t. I love the guy, but I increasingly wonder what happened to the carefree, happy superhero we were promised this season? If I wanted to see someone this moody and depressed on a regular basis, I’d watch Arrow. Or Man of Steel. Or entirely too many other superhero shows nowadays. Yeesh. Let our hero lighten up, please!

Quint Isn’t the Only One Who Dies

Did I mention that the Villain of the Week is a talking shark? He’s been trapped in an ARGUS facility, but showing a lack of foresight that is downright alarming in people responsible for incarcerating super-powered bad guys, they turn off the restraining grid when they get the feeling he might be dead. They don’t even try to poke him with a stick first! Have they never seen Jurassic Park? Or any prison break movie? You should be ashamed of yourselves.

He gets out and tries to track down Flash. To show how big of a bad guy he is, they not only show him eating people, but he also ruins family night with Barry and the Wests. I say he ruins it, but really Barry was well on his way to doing that himself. Iris and Joe want him to bond with Wally, but neither man is really here for that. Wally is jealous of the favored son (and, contrary to Joe’s protestations, he does favor Barry over Iris. Fans had to create a hashtag movement to remind the writers that Iris is his daughter, too). And Barry is…really rather inexplicably irritated by Wally’s very existence. In all of their scenes, he seemed snotty at best. Perhaps he is jealous of Wally’s role as biological son? I think the show is intending to indicate that he’s just distracted and upset about his experience on Earth 2, but it really came off as a personal grudge, so I don’t know.

Flash proves himself to be literally the worst at calming down angry metahumans, and it’s on. He does manage to trap King Shark, but this doesn’t help his relationship with Wally. Wally is convinced he’s a coward who ran off and left his family in danger and, although he can’t be told the truth of the matter, Joe does try to smooth things out between them. Time will tell if he succeeded, but I success there are still rocky roads ahead for these two.

Earth 2 Dreaming

Not that Barry doesn’t have cause to be upset this episode – it’s just a recurring theme that makes me really miss the carefree hero from the first season and that we were promised in this one. At the moment, he’s dealing with the fact that the breaches have been closed and cannot be reopened, because science.

He’s also upset about Jay’s death, the level of which doesn’t really work for me. He’s grieving like he lost a good friend, but 99% of Jay’s scenes were with Caitlin so while I buy her grief on that issue, I don’t really believe he and Barry were that good of friends.

But Barry’s hung up on his “everything is my fault” mantra, which even Diggle points out is excessive. Though Diggle’s pep talk seems to snap Barry out of it enough to resolve to find a way back to Earth 2, he still gives a big speech about how everything is his fault. I think writers of these superhero shows are allergic to the concept of a hero who isn’t bogged down in guilt, self-flagellation, and Emo Tears of Manpain.

I can only imagine that things will get worse for him when he realizes that Zoom on Earth 2 is Jay, although he did kill Wet Blanket Jay last episode. That makes at least two Jays in the works, so I may have to continue to nickname them to keep them straight.

Barry isn’t the only one dealing with emotional issues. Cisco is worried that her grief will turn Caitlin into Killer Frost. He’s concerned that she seems “cold” this episode, but really she’s more angry. Against Harry’s wishes, Cisco caves with very little arm-twisting (though more than Barry needed to tell Iris and Joe about their Earth 2 counterparts) and tells her about her villainous alter-ego. She reassures him that she won’t become Killer Frost – and is even back to teasing him at the end of the episode, so this bout of “coldness” was only shorter than her stint last season – though she does say she needs time to process this newest tragedy. It’s a shame that they focus so much of her story arcs on her love life and subsequent tragedy, and I really hope they break this recurring pattern next season. That her character has been defined by tragedy doesn’t mean she must continue to be so.

For the most part, this was an episode of filler, but we did learn Zoom’s identity. And, hey, as filler goes, an episode with a giant talking shark isn’t a bad way to go!

The Flash Recap: Say Goodbye to Earth-2

the flash escape from earth 2 barry allen grant gustin cw
CW

Well, The Flash‘s trip to Earth-2 is over, but it left a few questions in its wake – as well as a lot of potential for storyline development.

Wanted: Dead of Alive

Zoom is on the hunt for Harry, taking a page out of The Dark Knight Rises’ playbook and leaving a message in fire on a building to make his point. Instead of being concerned for the famous scientist’s welfare, the newscasters seem ready to throw him under a bus if it means staying off Zoom’s bad side.

While Harry freaks out and Cisco tries to be supportive, Barry 2 is Deeply Disappointed in their behavior. In fact, he’s crushed to find that they’ve locked him up for a day and is concerned that his wife isn’t going to be very happy with them, either. I’d worry, too – having Barry 2 mad at you may ruin your day, but Iris 2 seems like she’d be willing to ruin your life if you mess with the people she loves.

Cisco has learned all his 1950s slang from Back to the Future, but before he can indulge too much, Zoom comes looking for Harry right where one might assume he would most logically be found – at his own lab. They all hide behind a fake wall. Barry 2 hyperventilates a little at the experience. I would be remiss if I failed to note that Grant Gustin really did a great job of distinguishing the Barrys.

Meanwhile, our Barry tries to comfort Jessie from his cell, giving her hope that her father will come for her. Of course, Zoom has to try to ruin all of his efforts, because he’s exactly that kind of villain. He’s not above a little monologuing, though, as he tells them both that he’ll kill Harry once he’s stolen Barry’s speed.

Wet Blanket Jay Helps Out

Back on Earth-1, Jay fixes the breach but continues to pout because that never gets old. Caitlin is working on Velocity 8, then Velocity 9, and he uses it to save people from a falling building, thanks for Geomancer. For a moment, he remembers the character he could be if his job wasn’t to shoot down every idea and then pout about it, only getting on board if it’s the absolute last option. It’s an all too brief moment.

Meanwhile, Iris’s new editor wants her to write a scathing article about the Flash, but she decides to write about the Flash who has stepped up in his place instead. She’s determined to give people hope, although her new editor, Scott Evans, wants her to take it away. Naturally, Jay rejects this idea because he never says “yes” to a suggestion when “no” is an option, but when she sees him in action, she decides she doesn’t need a sound bite for her story anyway. If she doesn’t want to depress people by quoting Jay on all the things he can’t do, she’s probably making the right call.

Some Explanation Is Necessary

Barry 2 finds out another version of himself kissed his wife and is not happy about it, though the idea of another Earth makes him geek out in a way that is excessive, even to Cisco. (For the record, though, it was adorable.) Iris 2 finds out that the man she kissed was not her husband and isn’t terribly pleased either. However, she remains focused on the task at hand, and she and Cisco come up with the idea to use Killer Frost to find Barry 1. Killer Frost was kept alive because she always obeys Zoom, but Cisco is confident that he can use her love for Ronnie to get her to see the light.

Barry 2 proves himself worthy of Iris’ faith in him and helps by using a metahuman database to track her down, and he insists upon coming along. Absolutely nobody is thrilled with the idea, but he refuses to let his wife walk into danger alone so they eventually give in – which makes for glorious comedy later on, from his wing tipped shoes to “Her name starts with Killer! THIS comes as a shock to you?”

Love: Both the Affliction and the Cure

While the Man in the Iron Mask tries to tell Barry 1 something important about Jay, Caitlin thinks she’s finally cracked Velocity 9. My suspicions of him grow when she isn’t able to get hold of him to tell him the good news; in fact, he doesn’t show up until after she and Iris take on Geomancer in the lab. I really hope Barry’s heavily insured the place, because all sorts of unfortunate things go on in that facility.

Naturally, Caitlin doesn’t find anything sketchy in his convenient absence (or any of the shady things he’s done since he showed up on this Earth) and focuses on telling him the good news – with a kiss – instead.

Caitlin may be distracted by her attraction to Jay on Earth-1, but Earth-2 Killer Frost is convinced to join their side when Cisco reminds her of her love for Ronnie. She helps them break into Zoom’s lair, even though – horror of horrors! – Barry 2 has to climb ice to get up there. Do you know what he’s willing to do for you, Barry 1? ICE!

Jessie is saved, and although Barry is probably the only one to have not given Barry a pep talk, that’s rectified as Barry 2 tells him what he needs to hear to phase out of his cell. He doesn’t want to leave the Man in the Iron Mask behind, but it turns out he doesn’t have a choice. Zoom has arrived on the scene and he’s not very happy. He’s also unsurprised. It turns out Killer Frost was double-crossing them all along.

Cisco’s reminders about the depth of her love for Ronnie on both worlds haven’t fallen on deaf ears, though, as she decides to get a little revenge for his death. This provides just the time everyone – except the masked man – needs to escape, though it probably doesn’t bode well for her in the near future. They manage to get back to Earth-1 just in time to seal the breach… but not before Zoom reaches through and pulls Jay back to his Earth.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip to Earth-2, and I’m going to miss the characters we met there. Still, it’ll be nice to see Jay utilized in a story outside of his romance with Caitlin. Even with the ending, I’m still skeptical of his intentions, but I’ll get into that in my other article this week. I will definitely miss Earth-2 Westallen, as both Iris and Barry in that world were utterly charming. However, I can’t wait to see how our Earth-1 characters will be affected by what they’ve learned about that other world.

They need to bring Ronnie back for a while without killing him though. He and Caitlin play off each other in a way that she simply doesn’t with Jay. Oh, well! Maybe when we get a trip to Earth-3 someday!

The Flash Recap: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad (Awesome) World

the flash season 2 welcome to earth 2 joe west cw
CW

This episode of The Flash was so good, it’s making me wish we could have two shows – one for each universe so we never run out of sheer awesomeness. If you take nothing else from this recap, take this: This week’s episode was absolutely everything a comic book show in general and Flash in particular can and should be.

I can’t even begin to break it down by story, so this will actually be a rare chronological recap. Buckle up, because this was one awesome ride!

After weeks of putting the Zoom issue on the back burner (seriously, they did nothing about this problem for like 9 episodes before resolving the problem in a half an episode), Barry steps up this week to finish what he started last episode – he closes all the portals but one, and he, Cisco, and Harry gear up to take the battle to Zoom’s home turf.

We start off on a good note as one final thing Barry has to take care of before he goes? A family dinner with Joe and Iris. Iris is concerned that he’s going to escape this world, but he reassures her and she tells him to “Go win, and then come home.” A bit of foreshadowing because, Iris, he’ll always come home to you.

Unfortunately, once they cross the breach, things don’t go quite according to plan. Without the other portals, this one overloads and shuts down, leaving Joe, Caitlin, and Jay with only two days to fix the problem, or they’ll be trapped forever. With the track record of at least two of those three, the odds aren’t good. Of course, on the way they see many glimpses of other worlds (including Supergirl and Shipp’s Flash), which probably could be an article of analysis all its own.

Without making this recap about 18 pages, it would be impossible to get into everything. However, I would be remiss if I failed to point out that Cisco is an absolute delight throughout the episode. His terror going through the portal, his excitement (along with Barry’s) at this strange new world, his horror at seeing Henry Hewitt, his surprise at the end…? He’s an absolute gem.

On Earth 2, Cisco reveals himself to be a nervous Vibe-r – he can’t perform when others are crowding him. It turns out the frequencies of the realities aren’t the same, so his glasses won’t work. They aren’t set back for long, since Barry sees himself on television, talking about Zoom and “Detective West’s” taskforce. Everyone fails to notice the wedding ring and assumes he’s talking about Joe. But, of course, he isn’t, and Barry soon finds out that Iris isn’t just a detective in this world — she’s also his wife.

About that Westallen kiss? All I have to say about it is “hot damn.” I’m not even sure if cursing is allowed in reviews, but I honestly can’t think of a tamer reaction. Boy are they incredible in this episode, and seeing them together like this has certainly been a long time coming. Naturally, this unexpected revelation derails Barry’s plans a bit because it’s impossible for him to stay emotionally detached when it comes to Iris (and seeing her in her bra probably doesn’t help). She is every bit the badass, absolutely determined to stop Zoom and not letting anything get in her way. Barry also finds out his mom is still alive, and a glimpse at the phone suggests that not only is E2 Eddie also likely in the land of the living, but E2 Barry may be friends with Batman.

Not every revelation is good. Joe is a singer at Jitterbugs – E2’s version of CC Jitters. He and E2 Barry apparently don’t get along, since he thinks Iris is in the dangerous profession of detective to pay Barry’s school bills for CSI school. Caitlin is Killer Frost and hates the name Caitlin. Ronnie is alive and they’re together (even she says that the only person she can kiss is the only one she wants to). She likes killing “breachers” who cross over from other Earths, making me wonder how many she’s found. That could be an interesting story to explore, even if it would probably be impossible to do so.

Iris tries to take down Killer Frost and Deathstorm (DeathFrost? KillerStorm?) to save the innocent people at the coffee house, and they kill Joe when he tries to protect his daughter. I admittedly have a hot and cold relationship with E1 Joe, but I absolutely adored E2 Joe. I would love an E2 spinoff… but they’d have to bring Joe back. Barry attacks Killer Frost with one of Deathstorm’s fireballs, scaring them off.

He’s not the only one who has difficulty keeping his eye on the ball. Cisco is more distracted by the thought of who his doppelganger may be than focusing on saving Jessie. On Earth 1, a meta named Geomancer has appeared to challenge the Flash and Wet Blanket Jay protests against taking a serum for speed to stop him. Caitlin realizes that he never had the speed force and Zoom never took it – his speed was always given him by Velocity serum, and that’s also what’s killing him. She resolves to find a Velocity serum that won’t. (Pro tip for the future: When E2 is so amazing, don’t even bother distracting us by what’s going on with E1. I don’t know that anybody honestly cared about that story, with everything else that was happening.) He eventually does use it, but it wears off too quickly for him to do any real good, so Joe has to save the day anyway.

Finally, Cisco teams up with Iris to take down Killer Frost, while Barry is still distracted by wanting to protect the woman he loves. Cisco’s curiosity about his doppelganger is unfortunately satisfied when he discovers that on E2, he’s not only a bad guy, but he has an “unfortunate samurai [hair] situation” going on and is working for Zoom.

Or, rather, he was working for Zoom, but he tries to get Cisco to join him on the Dark Side. Cisco refuses, so Evil Cisco teams up with Deathstorm to try to kill Barry, but Zoom stops them just in time. And by “stops them” I mean “kills them.”

The episode ends with Barry trapped in a metahuman zoo. He’s now Zoom’s prisoner.

The Flash Season 2: The Old Flash Returns

the flash season 2 fast lane barry allen harrison wells grant gustin tom cavanagh cw
CW

The Flash season 2 may not overtly recognize that it’s been a different show than it was in the first season, but it’s something many have noticed.

As I’ve written before, I think that’s largely because the first part of the season had other priorities and was focused on launching a different series. This week felt like the first episode where they actually focused on where they wanted to go moving forward with The Flash, now that they’ve finished wrapping up loose ends from where they were treading water in the first part of the season.

I think it would be hard to argue that this was the best episode of the series. The Villain of the Week was hardly the most memorable, and Barry was still lacking a degree of that happy-go-lucky attitude of season 1.  To me, he lacked energy, even before Harry stole his speed, as though the actor was fighting off a bit of a bug. But, even with the occasional weakness, it was a breath of fresh air for the season. It finally felt like the old Flash was back.

To a degree, that was due to the renewed focus on the characters we came to know and love throughout the first season – and the reminder why it is we love them so much. Barry was at his absolute heroic best (and most mature) when he gave the team a much-needed reality check, pointing out that all of them would – and have – acted similarly in Harry’s position. If it is true that we judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions, it sometimes takes a hero to point out to one’s friends that the line between good and evil might not be as easily defined as they would like to pretend.

And, long overdue, Iris was finally allowed to step into the spotlight. After months of promises over a non-existent journalism arc, we finally got to see her step into that role, facing off against an irrefutably bad guy in order to both protect her brother and get her story. She was a delight in every one of her scenes and once again proved what a treasure she is for the show. It bears noting that the audience was given more insight into her perspective in the last two weeks than we’ve gotten since Barry’s confession in the first season. As I have written before, this has been a critical oversight for the show, so these are definite steps in the right direction.

Beyond that, the newcomer on the scene, Wally, was given some background and depth. The audience was reminded of emotional stakes too easily forgotten this season with both the appearance of Zoom and the acknowledgment that Harry’s daughter is in peril every minute of every episode and that should mean something to all of them. Caitlin was even allowed to worry about something other than her romantic status with Jay and/or Ronnie. Even her determination in the last few episodes to stop Zoom has been because she doesn’t want to lose Jay the way she lost Ronnie. She should be more than just her romantic status, so she really needs to be given more to her arc this season.

Naturally, there were still flaws and places where the show needs focus. Although Zoom was absolutely terrifying in his face-off with Barry earlier this season, overall, he’s been an underwhelming (sadly forgettable and indeed often forgotten) threat. The purpose behind his actions is still unclear – in that “too murky for the audience to follow or care about” way, not in the way that the audience is on the edge of their seats, wanting to know more, as was the case with Reverse Flash. He wants speed because…he wants to be the fastest? Is that really it? So he wants to steal Barry’s speed so he can be the fastest, but he also wants to make Barry faster so he can get even more speed? So why is he stealing his speed now? Isn’t that counter-productive? And if he could steal Jay’s speed – and literally wipe the floor with Flash – without any help from Harry, why is he bothering with Harry at all?

There are still too many questions when it comes to the Big Bad of the season, so The Flash has some work to do if they want to build the tension and momentum that carried them so effectively through their first year.

However, this episode was a good start. We were reminded that there are emotional stakes this season. The tepid romantic drama between both Barry/Patty and Jay/Caitlin was put aside. And Iris was finally given a storyline worthy of a leading lady female character.

It’s good to have our old show back.