Warning: Spoiler Alert
When we last left Central City, the STAR Labs team devised a plan to separate Dr. Stein from Ronnie. The result of which was a nuclear blast. Digital read out confirms there is next to no radiation. Barry picks up Caitlin and they run back into the blast zone. Just inside the cloud we find Ronnie, clothes half burned off. Nothing like making out amidst nuclear winter, at least in their immediate radius.
Dr. Stein: Excuse me. Obviously, I’ll need a change of clothes.
The Ronnie reunion is exactly what you might expect. Broke up by Dr. Stein’s slight condescension towards the moment.
General Eiling’s men are all over the blast zone. With nothing more than two different foot prints, Eiling deduces that it was Firestorm and it has separated.
At Star Labs, the joy of a reunion has begun to wear thin. Now Ronnie and Dr. Stein are exchanging pleasantries about their respective experience as one. Barry agrees to take Dr. Stein home. Stein doesn’t know how to play it, Barry accurately predicts he won’t have to say anything at all.
Joe has something he needs to show Barry, if you remember last episode you know exactly what it is. Barry walks into his old childhood home and you can tell its been a very long time. Joe turns on the machine that Cisco set up to reveal the 3D imaging. He points out the blood spatter. He tells him about the blood and how it belongs to Barry. Adult Barry. He puts two and two together to discover that the second speedster was fighting the first speedster and the second speedster is The Flash.
At the lab, Dr. Wells tries to explain how time travel is theoretically plausible, but comes with it a myriad of hurdles. Each one of which, Cisco has to relate to a popular movie (Terminator, Back to the Future) in order for Joe to make any sense of it. Predictably, Wells is only giving up so much. Cisco suggests there is one other person they could talk to about time travel. I’ll give you three guesses but you’ll only need one.
Iris’ mentor suggests to her that the particle accelerator was not an accident. And while he doesn’t know a thing that goes on at Star Labs, Iris knows people who do.
Barry pays a visit to the Stein’s. All is well. Within reason. Dr. Stein has been excited about pizza. A compulsion more suited to Ronnie than Stein. Side effects perhaps? Regardless, Barry asks about time travel and trips Stein’s intrigue. He takes Barry into his home office and begins to explain his theory. Long and short of it is the space-time continuum is a malleable thing that operates like a highway. All you have to do is access an on ramp. Then Stein jumps right into going back to the World’s Fair of 1893.
Stein: What about you? Would you be interested in taking a trip into history?
Barry: I think…that I already have.
The prospect is exciting to Stein, but depressing for Barry. If its true, if its possible for Barry to move fast enough to go back in time, there is only one conclusion to draw. If he was already there, and Nora Allen is not alive today as a result of his interference, Barry concludes that he is destined to fail.
At the coffee shop, Ronnie attempts to convince Caitlin that leaving Central City is the best thing they can do. As she politely pushes back, a red dot appears on Ronnie’s person. He pushes Caitlin towards the door. When the smoke bombs come in, he’s cool, calm and collected. Not in Ronnie’s wheelhouse. Simultaneously, Stein is experiencing a terrified sensation. It seems part of their respective personalities switched on the separation.
Eiling wants Firestorm and has orchestrated this to get it. Barry shows up and takes out Eiling’s team. Before he can take Ronnie out of there, Eiling dispatches a new toy. A box the releases kinetic shrapnel. Stops Barry in his tracks. A van speeds towards them. Ronnie punches Eiling, then grabs Barry and they all escape in the van. At Star Labs it is determined that Ronnie and Stein are experiencing a shared consciousness, which Caitlin believes is next to impossible. Regardless with Eiling on the hunt they need to change their settings.
Barry offers for Caitlin and Ronnie to stay at Joe’s, which Joe seems to be fine with. Then Iris shows up. Then we get that old comedy standard of a group of people trying to lie to one person without any previous practice. “Cousin Sam is visiting from Coast City”.
Wells pays Eiling a visit. Eiling knows Barry’s identity, which is a huge problem for Wells. Eiling wants both of Firestorm and he hints to the idea of ‘those two going at it’. I’m not 100% clear on who he’s referring to, but I’m sure we’ll find out.
Joe and Barry have a serious conversation the next morning about the burden of truth, which eventually lead to Wells. Barry again is insisting that Wells is completely innocent of any wrong doing. I really wish Barry and Cisco would quit playing that card.
Wells and Stein meet and talk about vague impressions of their respective work when the accelerator happened. Wells and Stein are having a drink during this. Stein gets light-headed. Wells doesn’t react in the slightest. It was all a setup for Wells to deliver Stein to Eiling. Eiling enters the room to take Stein. “See, we do work well together”. Wells looks stoic and then cracks a smile.
Iris starts digging, thinking she’s seen Ronnie before. Going back into her Flash blog archives she finds a picture she used that showed a man with similar features to Ronnie, on fire. Back as Star Labs, Wells plays the victim. As if Eiling overpowered him and took Stein. Then Ronnie asks, “how do we find him?” Kind of a dumb question under the circumstances.
Connected to a machine, Ronnie has trouble sensing Stein. Then he feels a strong sensation of cold. Stein is being held in a very cold room. Eiling plans to poke the bear so to speak with electrocution. Even mutters, “the last time I did this, it was to a gorilla”. For any fans just taking the ride with no context, that was a clear reference to Gorilla Grodd. And about the fourth reference to date.
Ronnie feels every wave of pain Stein feels. When the wave ends, Ronnie asks for water. He breaks the glass and begins cutting his own arm. What he writes appears on Stein’s arm Then Stein uses Morse Code in his head to answer the question on his arm of “Where”? Army base #27. Closed down in the 60’s.
Sensing a gun to Stein’s head, Barry races in and removes Stein just as Eiling pulls the trigger. They are outside the facility for not even 20 seconds when a vehicle approaches. A man with a bazooka emerges and fires. Barry runs to catch the projectile. It then releases a chemical that begins to burn Barry’s suit. You can’t burn in a vacuum. Wait for it…
Wells: Run Barry Run!
The two halves of Firestorm are cornered. There is literally no option but to re-merge. Except this time, Wells suggests they accept the balance. Don’t fight each others presence, embrace it. They merge almost effortlessly. Now it feels more like Ronnie at the controls and Stein at mission control. This new partnership seems to work well. Firestorm takes out Eiling’s entire team. But he still has a trick up his sleeve. Another little grenade like toy. Just when his little ion bomb does its thing and before Eiling can shoot ‘him’, Barry takes him out. Ronnie takes to flight, and Barry races back to Star Labs.
At the lab, both of Firestorm are willing to attempt another separation. Not holding my breath. As it were, the separation not only worked, but with little issue. And no mushroom cloud. Now the next step is to get both parts of Firestorm far away from Eiling’s purview. And that apparently means Pittsburgh? So we have Central City, Coastal City, Starling City and Pittsburgh? In cryptic parting words, Stein suggests to Barry that he will get his second chance. The two merge and fly off.
Iris comes snooping around again, this time directly to Caitlin. Inquiring about her ‘cousin’. The next scene is Iris dropping an 8×10 of Ronnie’s head on fire. Suggesting that her ‘burning man’ may have worked at Star Labs. I really need them to come to a boiling point where Barry has to reveal his secret identity to Iris to get her to stop.
Barry takes Joe back to scene of the crime, his old house. Someday soon he believes he will be able to come back to this house, fifteen years in the past.
Barry: When I face off against the man in yellow, I won’t make the same mistake twice.
Joe: You’re going to change the past?
Barry: Joe, I’m going to save my Mom.
Eiling attempts to have a drink in his Army base #27 bunker. The lights flicker and a flash takes him away dropping him in a sewer. It’s the Reverse Flash. He removes his mask to reveal Harrison Wells. A curious thing happened next. Harrison Wells admits to being a meta-human and said, “and I protect my own”. Most of us are under the impression that the Reverse Flash is building up Barry just to destroy him later. What if the Reverse Flash really is a good guy in the end? Keep in mind, I am no Flash historian, but I am trying to keep all options open. Then Eiling keeps hearing a familiar voice. Once he does the math and Wells refers to that voice as an old friend, Eiling figures it out.
Eiling: Oh God…
Grodd: No. GRODD!
(Then Grodd grabs Eiling and tears out of there)