The latest episode of THE FLASH gives us a somewhat Wally West-themed look at the developing power set of TV’s Barry Allen, up against a bad guy who literally adds a huge spark to the show (ouch! Sorry for the pun). Barry also gets to see another side of Harrison Wells…and we see the nature of time in a way in this episode as well. Welcome to another fast-paced, action-packed episode of THE FLASH!
LIGHT SPOILERS ONLY
We start with the origin of this one-time FLASHPOINT character, soon to be known as Blackout. He was with some friends, trying to get a better view of that big particle accelerator start-up (the one that has created all the metahumans in the show). He climbs a framework tower just in time to receive a big blast of energy from the accelerator accident. That, and the large amount of electricity he received from the tower, changed him into a metahuman described in some advance stories as an “electrical vampire”.
Blackout has the ability to pull electricity from any source…and when he faces the Flash he finds that he can also pull Barry’s powers right out of his body! Barry is left powerless, and returns to S.T.A.R. Labs for help. Harrison Wells is checking his favorite secret room, speaking to his A.I. system (named Gideon), and that famous future headline is now gone! Yes, Barry’s losing his powers means that the future has changed…and I have a feeling that will be something we will revisit in future episodes.
We also have a second villain in play (and a third, but we’ll get to that in a moment). The Clock King has been brought in to the Central City P.D. for processing…but he breaks free and creates a hostage situation that includes Joe and Iris West! Barry finds out about this, placing an even bigger premium on getting his speed back.
There is a potential way for Barry to gain that speed once again, as his DNA (with speed energy) is intact. But, it involves great risk and a rather large jolt of electricity. Most of the crew is against trying, but Barry will not listen – he wants to take that risk.
While all this is going on, Harrison Wells frees Girder – yes, you heard me right, he frees Girder…but on condition that he kills Blackout! Wells refers elsewhere in the episode to the Flash as his “greatest invention”, and he won’t allow anything to happen to Barry Allen. There is a big battle here, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get a final showdown with Barry and Blackout.
The key to Barry’s return to speed is only partly the electricity…he has been held back by his own mental blocks from attaining maximum speed (and THAT is where we get that connection to Wally’s early stories as the Flash – nice to see that nod). What happens after that is best seen for yourself – but let’s also note that the hostage situation gets solved during the battle, without the Flash being needed. It was a great twist on the “damsel in distress” trope – turns out Iris is nobody’s “damsel in distress”, and I’m glad to see this portrayal of her in the show.
Of course there is another strange reveal at the end of the show. Time has been reset in a way (that headline from the future is back), but Harrison Wells does one more thing to make you truly wonder just who he is and where (and when) he’s from.
This episode had a lot of action, with multiple storylines advancing simultaneously. Still, the show juggled all those threads well throughout the show – the cuts back and forth only heightened the tension and made for an excellent tale. The writers of this show have a great sense of timing and have given this unapologetic comic-book tale a real punch.
As for the acting – once again we had stellar performances from Grant Gustin as Barry Allen and Jesse L. Martin as Joe West. Candice Patton has really found her mark as Iris West, and Tom Cavanagh has everyone guessing about just who Harrison Wells may really be with a chilling portrayal.
One last note – we got a sneak peek in this episode at the upcoming FLASH/ARROW crossover…and it looks to be a whole lot of fun coming our way. That wraps up another excellent episode – please add your comments below!