Tonight’s episode was a bit slower than the first two, but it contained solid character development and much-needed advancement for a couple of subplots.
We get our first D.C. Comics reference early on as Barry meets Iris for a movie and the theater is playing Blue Devil II – Hell to Play for Blue Devil, the character who is a movie stuntman who is trapped in a exo-skeletal he used to fight a demon on a movie set and The Rita Farr Story, a sly nod to Doom Patrol member Rita Farr aka Elasti Girl, a famous actress who is exposed to volcanic gases while shooting and becomes a reluctant superhero.
Eddie interrupts the friend hang out to call about Iris sleeping over, but it’s just as well as Cisco and Caitlin tell Barry about a car chase, which he races over and stops before Iris finishes her call. The show has made super-speed seem like a great power for all the other things you could do during traditionally tedious moments for the regular person.
Meanwhile, a gang is having a meeting in a bulletproof room when a shifty individual locks them in and unleashes a green gas (not Smilex – that’s two Batman references in one week of recaps) that kills them.
Barry is at the police station with Joe discussing Barry’s high-speed exploits where Joe cracks about Barry fighting crime for the notoriety and Barry responds by saying it’s not like he wants a museum named after him. This is a direct reference to the comics’ Flash Museum, which celebrates all of his accomplishments.
Before the two can resume their work digging into Nora Allen’s case file, Eddie comes by with news of the mobster massacre. Barry finds traces of poison gas at the crime scene and questions if it wasn’t being controlled by someone prompting a visiting to STAR Labs.
Wells, Caitlin and Cisco are fascinated by the discovery and debate how to house these villainous meta-humans. Cisco suggests using the particle accelerator in the basement to hold the criminals. Well, it’s no Iron Heights, but it’ll do in a pinch.
This week’s flashbacks thankfully switch things up a bit taking the focus off of young Barry and cover the night of the particle accelerator accident. We get our first glimpse of Caitlin’s fiance and the device’s structural engineer, Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell, cousin to you know who) as the two discuss their honeymoon plans. No mention of Martin Stein though so the show will deviate a bit in how Ronnie and Stein become the superhero Firestorm.
Joe is back home watching Henry’s interrogation video and busts up Eddie’s surprise visit to see Iris. Joe would be a lousy detective if he can’t see what’s going on with those two.
Cisco reflects on his last encounter with Ronnie, who pulls a Spock (or Kirk depending on your preference) and has Cisco lock him in the chamber to prevent the device from unleashing its energy throughout STAR Labs, resulting in thousands being spared.
Barry takes Caitlin to his lab and asks about Ronnie. She says Ronnie always made her laugh and joked that they were like fire(STORM) and ice (Killer Frost). The difference between this show comic-dropping names and references and “Gotham” is that there’s a 80% chance we’ll get some payoff to these seemingly random remarks.
Cut to the Central City Mall, which in a nice contrast to Arrow, is bathed in bright sunlight and full of windows. The same guy who locked the mob in kills a woman in an elevator. This time, Barry hears a news report of another fatal toxic incident and speeds off in time to confront the murderer, but he turns into gas and pours into Barry in a very cool visual.
Flash rushes back to STAR Labs before he chokes to death and Caitlin is able to whip up an antidote for the poison gases. Cisco is a bit quicker on the name game this week and dubs the assassin, The Mist. In the comics, this is 1940s hero Starman’s arch-rival, but since Starman doesn’t have his own show, The Mist becomes a Flash rogue. Psst, let’s get to Flash’s (actual) Rogues soon. Thanks.
While talking to Joe, Barry shares his frustration with having to do things right even though he could easily race his father out of prison without anyone knowing. Joe has to convince Barry that while it’s easy, that’s not the way to go since he doubts Henry is as fast as Barry. These Joe/Barry scenes are so much better in the formative path of Barry becoming a superhero than the seemingly never-ending saga with Clark and Jonathan on Smallville.
At STAR Labs, Barry puts it together as he has Caitlin look for anyone who was set to be executed the night of the particle device accident. Bingo. Just one – Kyle Nimbus, who was a henchman for the mob that was killed earlier and sentenced to death by the judge killed at the mall. The last person on his list? The detective who busted him, none other than Joe.
Joe is visiting Henry to tell him he knows he didn’t kill Nora and he’s re-opening the case, but The Mist arrives to finish getting his revenge. Flash gives Joe the antidote (taking the time to vibrate his face so Henry can’t make out his identity) and chases after The Mist. The rematch works out better for him as Flash just races back and forth until Mist is exhausted and easy prey for a knockout. While a bit of an easy solution, the visuals looked good and showed why this was a fun opponent for Flash.
In the emergency room, Joe is recovering well and thanks Barry for making the save. Iris and Eddie come in and Joe owns up to knowing they’re dating. It’s small, but it’s one of those annoying subplots that some shows would milk out for too long especially considering Joe’s profession.
Mist is apprehended in a cell at STAR Labs. Cisco and Caitlin celebrate with an ice cream run and Barry visits Henry and learns about his first steps in a nice scene. Wells looks at Flash suit with a somewhat sinister smile and he reflects on the night of the accident. Rather than immediately going down to check on Ronnie, Wells goes to his time portal room and cues a monitor, which shows Barry being hit by lighting and he says “see you soon Barry.”
Anyone with a great theory on Wells? I’d love to hear it as the writers actually have a mystery us obnoxious comic book fans can’t figure out from years of reading making for a fun and unique viewing experience. Let’s see what happens next week.