The Flash’s first season is quickly drawing to a close. Fans of the series have been sitting on the edge of their seats throughout the season to see just how the inevitable fight between Flash and Reverse Flash would turn out. After all, the rivalry, that started back when Barry was just a child, has been the backbone of the series since its premiere. Last night, audiences were finally presented with that fight and while it was pretty cool, there is no question that the series writers are getting a bit tired, i.e. lazy at this point. The good news is that The Flash writers at their laziest still produce television that is better than any other comic book property on the tube. As always, spoilers ahead.
Now that Wells has gone full-fledged supervillain, the STAR Labs team is desperate to find him before something horrible happens to Eddie. While they are trying to come up with a plan of attack, they are suddenly alerted to the fact that the particle accelerator has been fixed and is coming back on line, thanks to some future tech installed by Wells/Thawne. Why Reverse Flash waited until now to do this or how he was able to hide in the building without the team seeing him or, even, how this massive reconstruction of the particle accelerator could have been completed under their noses is never mentioned or discussed, which is the first clue that the writers have definitely gotten a bit (I hate to say “lazy”, so let’s use “tired”. Yeah, that’ll work.) tired now that the season is drawing to a close. They assume that the audience will not question this new development and, at this point, they may be right. However, that doesn’t alleviate the writers’ responsibility to provide the best product possible with each and every episode. We will get back to this.
With the particle accelerator ramping up, the team is now tasked with finding a way to move the metahumans that they are keeping prisoner beneath the lab and finding a place to house them before the particle accelerator is active, which will likely kill them all. This situation provides the show with the opportunity to discuss the fact that the team, while still being the “good guys”, are keeping people prisoner without trial, i.e., kidnapping them. Obviously, these are not the type of criminals that can be kept in a normal, everyday prison but there has to be something in the middle; something that keeps the city safe from the bad guys without effectively turning the good guys into criminals. Considering how things turn out by the end of the episode, finding new containment will likely be a big point in season 2. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Barry gets the great idea to transport the bad guys to Lian Yu, which is the island Oliver Queen was stranded for years but is now being used as a black bag maximum security prison. Finding his two favorite superheroes (Arrow and F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M.) unavailable, Barry decides to enlist the help of Leonard Snart (heh, heh, “Snart”) aka Captain Cold and his sister, Golden Glider, to get the prisoners transported with minimal incident. Now, here is an example of where the writers went right this week. By throwing Barry in cahoots with Snart, it showed that even superheroes, who also happen to be super geniuses, can sometimes lack common sense. Snart may be a bad guy who has a bit of a truce with The Flash but that doesn’t make him trustworthy and there were living rooms across the country last night where fans screamed at Barry through the screen, possibly while shaking their fists in the air. This was an example of Barry trying to do things on his own and everyone, the other characters and their audience alike, knew it couldn’t end well. At first, Snart refuses but he later thinks of the one thing Barry can give him in return that would be of value: Snart wants every trace of his existence wiped from, um, existence. Of course, since the writers were tired this week, they didn’t even try to make it seem like Snart walking right into STAR Labs to present Barry with the proposal was a big deal. No one even batted an eye. Not so much as a “hey, we should really talk about setting up an alarm”. Basically, the writers didn’t feel like explaining this in the episode and hoped it would go by without notice. It didn’t.
Of course, no Flash episode is complete without a bit of Iris drama. Once Eddie is found, the repercussions of his new knowledge of the future are immediately apparent. Instead of being the loving boyfriend with the puppy dog eyes that he has been up to this point, he is a bit colder to Iris; a bit more distant. In yet another smart move on the writers’ part, the Iris/Eddie relationship was only a small part of the episode, mainly discussed so that it set up the Barry/Iris relationship down the line and so that the audience knew that Eddie now has a reason to get even with Barry, which may lead to his turn as Reverse Flash. When confronted by Iris about his new attitude, not to mention the engagement ring she happened to find when they freed him, Eddie spills the beans about the future Mrs. Barry Allen. Iris insists that the future that he was shown is not her future but Eddie refuses to listen and asks that she just let him go, which she does. However, is it Eddie that broke up with Iris or was it Eobard? Eddie was held captive long enough to be replaced by Eobard and even though Wells/Thawne does show up later in the episode, it is possible that the tech that he is using allows him to change between faces or, even, take over the mind of another. At this point, the writers could really go anywhere with it, since each of these solutions would be a result of technology that has not even been invented or thought of yet. Is it possible that Eddie is just a jilted Eddie and that Wells/Thawne has absolutely no influence over him? Sure and it’s even likely! However, with so many different possibilities, it’s tough to take things as they are given.
As the prisoners are being transported in a vehicle that can neutralize their abilities, something goes terribly wrong (believe it or not), allowing the metahumans to break free from their containment, which leads to some pretty cool fighting before they eventually escape. Turns out that Captain Cold and Golden Glider (whose relationship with Cisco is absolutely fantastic) double crossed the team and sabotaged the transport (who could have seen that coming??). Why? Simply so that the prisoners would owe Snart a favor.
By the way…
The hangar that the STARS team was trying to get the prisoners to just happened to be at Ferris Air, which was closed when a test pilot mysteriously went missing. This was yet another nod to Green Lantern; the latest in a long string of Green Lantern Easter eggs on The Flash. Sure, it could all be innocent fun but if audiences don’t see Hal Jordan in the series soon, they may revolt.
Back to the episode.
After the prisoners escape and Barry is given a nice big slice of humble pie, he makes his way back to the lab just in time for the particle accelerator to be brought online. With his plan now working, Wells/Thawne slowly makes his way through the STAR Labs gates, taunting Barry through the security cameras. Barry knows he cannot win, yet he rushes out to face his old mentor like a boss. Luckily for him, just when things are getting heated, Arrow and F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M. both happen to show up at the exact same time, ready to fight. This was yet another example of the writers being lazy tired. How did the heroes know to show up at that exact moment? Were they having a nice dinner together when they realized it was time to go save Barry’s bacon? Why are they together in the first place? It would make sense if they had contacted the team before dropping in but they were just as surprised to see the other heroes drop in; MORE in fact, as Caitlin at least made a surprised comment while Barry seemed to have been expecting them all along. It was a fight that has been teased for months, and a team up fans have been waiting for just as long, and while it was much shorter than it should have been, it was still a very cool fight scene. Basically, it was like Mini-Justice League vs. Reverse Flash. Thanks to a nanite injection arrow from Arrow, Wells goes down, powerless but without the underground prison, where does the team plan on keeping him? Hopefully, we will see this answered next week.
As usual, The Flash brought on the thrills and the fun that it is known for, even with a bit of weak writing. The thing is that even with the tired writers at the wheel, the series still gave audiences some of the best comic book television that they have seen. At its heart, The Flash is all about the team and their dynamics, and the series doesn’t feel the need to go down the dark and gritty road like Arrow or their spiritual brother Gotham. There is no big screen tie-in to promote, so the episodes feel complete, rather than feeling like they are merely building up to bigger things to come, like Agents of SHIELD. As mentioned at the beginning of the recap, it is the writers’ responsibility to provide the best product possible to the audience and while the episode could have been stronger had a few plot holes been covered before production, it is easy to forgive the small missteps, considering just how on point they have been all season. Let’s just hope that next week’s season finale has the writers at their peak performance.
Speaking of the season finale, here’s a quick look at next week’s “Fast Enough”:
How did you like the episode last night? Was the Arrow/F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M./Flash team up everything you wanted it to be?