I hadn’t realized just how much I’d missed The Flash until its mid-season return tonight. Granted, it’s only been a few weeks, but I’d missed the ideal balance of crazy comic book action, just the right amount of humor and this show’s terrific cast. And it didn’t take long for the show to pick right up where it left off having me anxiously awaiting next week’s installment of my Flash fix.
Proving the show has solidly found its niche, this episode even managed to find a way to make The Turtle a threatening, menacing villain. This is a Rogue that Rainbow Raider makes fun of, but taken seriously, a foe who can slow everything around him — including The Flash — is a genuine problem. Aaron Douglas may have been one of the best casting choices as well. While I’m still pining for more costumed villains, I appreciated Turtle wearing a green, bubble vest to at least simulate the comic look somewhat.
This episode did a great job of advancing the season-long story arc of the rematch with Zoom without making every plot line squarely focused on him. Attempting to find a way to counter Zoom’s speed advantage, Cisco and the rest of Team Flash let Barry in on the mysterious Turtle, a meta human with the ability to slow down the kinetic force around him.
Barry was dealing with nightmares about Zoom coming after Patty and was terrified of him killing her. Zoom pulling the Gwen Stacy on Patty could be a fascinating place for the show, but I wonder if the main character’s love interest getting killed off wouldn’t be too dark for the series. After a pep talk with Iris, Barry was convinced his best move was to tell Patty the truth of his secret.
In a subtle exchange, Caitlin was less enthused with Barry’s plan while Cisco was fully on board with it. Wells waited in the background until Barry was alone before warning him that Zoom would come after anyone Barry cared for so he shouldn’t tell her. So often the secret identity gimmick becomes a crutch, but Wells is proof of why it’s not necessarily a bad idea. And as the Turtle actually went after Patty because he realized Flash cared for her, Barry got a practical example of the risks.
The episode also had some strong scenes with Cisco and Wells. Cisco just plays well with everyone on the cast, but his lighthearted nature mixed with Wells’ intense focus makes for an intriguing combination. The highlight was Wells’ scolding Cisco for nicknaming the Rogues in relaying the horrific nature in which Zoom earned his name. It helped convey Zoom’s threat and Wells’s legitimate concern they can stop him. The cast is all around outstanding, but Tom Cavanagh especially stepped his game up in this episode.
Not to be outdone, Joe continued to dive in to his new subplot of getting acquainted with his long-lost son Wally. I was kinda hoping the show wouldn’t go down the “you were never around for me when I needed a father” bit, but that’s probably unavoidable. Instead, the writers took several interesting approaches to the Joe/Wally dynamic. Wally came to Central City to do some Fast & Furious style street racing, which helps foreshadow his love of speed and eventual evolution to Kid Flash, or maybe Impulse since I doubt that name would work for the show. Not to just joyride, but to raise money for his mother’s medical bills and he’s too prideful to accept Joe’s help. Secondly, Joe realized he couldn’t immediately shift to new dad overnight and the two came to an agreement to take things slowly.
Moving slow isn’t in the cards for Caitlin and Jay though as she discovers he’s slowly dying as a result of losing his speed. I’m glad the writers finally covered that Jay has been hard at work on his own trying to recover his speed and was bothered by his new role as spectator. Now Team Flash has more incentive for defeating Zoom. It’ll be interesting to see if these various agendas — Wells to get his daughter back, Jay to recover his powers and Barry for peace of mind — cause a rift between Team Flash.
I loved Barry revisiting the sonic punch from early last season and straining against Turtle’s slow down power made it feel new all over again. The effects of the slowdown power, done in green naturally, was well done and utilized the slow-motion Flash movements from a different perspective. Despite Turtle’s attack, Barry wanted to tell Patty the truth, but she revealed she’s headed to Midway City to enroll in a CSI course.
Patty’s departure felt nearly as abrupt as Henry Allen’s release from prison and immediate exit stage right. I did like that Patty wasn’t willing to sit around and wait on Barry to get his act together regarding their relationship. Barry had been flaky enough that Patty was justified in deciding to break things off, but it was jarring in the same episode she’s telling Iris she’s so committed to Barry that a few segments later she’s willing to skip town out the blue. As a committed Barry/Patty shipper, this was somewhat disappointing, but this at least provides Barry a worst case scenario when he’s stalling in revealing his secret identity to the next girlfriend. While the temptation no doubt is there, the Iris/Barry dynamic is too perfect right now to ruin by rushing them into a relationship.
Besides, there’s major problems the team has to handle. Wells appears to kill The Turtle in the Star Labs prison to get a sample of his power and Reverse Flash (!) reappears. So where does that leave Eddie?
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
While the Patty subplot was abruptly ended, the terrific introduction of Turtle and threat of Flash’s deadliest foe returning made for an exciting episode proving the break did little to stall the season’s momentum.
[amazon asin=B00T5D4SLU&template=iframe image][amazon asin=B0044AHBAE&template=iframe image][amazon asin=1401235549&template=iframe image]