Aaron Douglas

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Photo: Katie Yu/The CW

Photo: Katie Yu/The CW

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The new year started out on a sour note in Central City as all the characters on The CW series “The Flash,” faced mental and physical anguish in this first episode after the show’s Christmas hiatus. We watched two romances suffer major setbacks, Joe and Iris West’s relationship with Wally West get off to a rocky start and Cisco Ramon alerting “Team-Flash” of a meta-human he’s tracked for a long time.

If that’s not enough for you a specter still hovers over STAR Labs that’s got everybody in a constant state of dread. If you’re wondering what’s the identity of that harbinger of doom, allow Harry Wells to refresh your memory as he asked at one point during the evening “Do you remember ZOOM?”

The cutesy voiceover from Barry Allen didn’t set the tone for the rest of the hour. Our hero informs us that even things we take for granted like boy meets girl becomes complicated when you’ve got superpowers. Barry’s running late for a date at a fancy restaurant with Patty Spivot and the roses that he’s brought for her pay the price for his acceleration as they burst into flame before he can hand them to her.

After they laugh over the faux pas, Barry looks Patty in the eye and tells her he’s felt unlucky his whole life. When she asks him how he feels now he says like he got struck by lightning twice and they embrace and kiss. The moment’s spoiled as a blue streak appears and then we see ZOOM grab Patty by her neck into the air and speeds away.

The Flash follows them to a skyscraper and holds Spivot over the edge as she screams for help. Flash asks the demon what he wants and the evil speedster replies that everything Barry loves will be his and lets Patty drop to her death. Barry wakes up from his nightmare screaming and then realizes all’s well and he’s actually in bed with Patty, whose sleeping soundly next to him.

Joe and Iris are giving Wally the 25 cent tour of the precinct when they come across Joe’s commanding officer and introduces his son. The Captain tells Wally that his Pops is a great detective and Wally looks him in the eye and says obviously not. The Captain’s confused by Wally’s veiled shot at Joe’s tracking talents and West tries to end the moment as quickly as he can.

Joe asks Wally to come to the house for dinner and the young man says he’s got plans. West tries convincing him they’ll keep it light and they’ll get Chinese take-out. Just then some uniforms bring in a perp in handcuffs, he looks over at Wally and asks where’s your handcuffs Tail-Lights? He’s taken immediately away, but we can tell from the expression on Wally’s face the guy struck a nerve.

Joe asks Wally if he knows that guy and the young man says he just has one of those faces. He says he’s got to take off but he’ll see them both later for dinner, but he seems insincere when he says that. Iris and Joe trade confused looks and shrug to each other as Patty walks up to them.

Spivot apologizes for interrupting then asks if she can talk with one of them and of course Joe assumes its him. However she really wants to talk with Iris about Barry, so they go to CC Jitters for some coffee and girl-talk. She tells Iris she knows she and Barry got very close very quickly but he seems guarded around her. Iris says that Barry’s got a terrible habit of carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders and even burdens that aren’t connected to him. Patty says he doesn’t have to be that way with me and Iris responds tell Barry that.

Before we go on, let me step back and address an issue. I’m not a “SHIPPER,” although I’m pleased for characters to find happiness and romance, I stay away from rooting for relationships. That being said I’ve loved the character of Patty Spivot from the moment the show introduced her and I truly wanted her and Barry Allen to become a long-term match. Unfortunately as Mick Jagger sang so many years ago “You can’t always get what you want.”

Harry Wells is doing calculations on a white-board and realizes the formula he’s attempting to create is flawed and he starts throwing a hissy-fit and flings stuff around the lab. Cisco runs into the lab and treats Wells like a petulant child screaming No, this is unacceptable. You do not get to fling other people’s stuff when you’re angry. Wells stares him in the eye and throws more stuff on the floor.

After Ramon tidies up he looks at the board and asks what it is and Harry responds failed answers. Cisco says perhaps he’s asking the wrong questions. He says he still believes their best chance to defeat ZOOM’s to slow him down. Wells says they tried that with Cisco’s darts and was a disaster. Ramon grins and says he’s got a different tactic in mind.

Team-Flash” convenes in the STAR Labs control-center, Jay Garrick now back full-time in the battle to defeat ZOOM. Cisco starts enlightening the group about a meta-human he’s tracked for an extended period that he’s dubbed “The Turtle.” The meta-human has the ability to slow down everything around him so he’s able to steal price objects of great personal value. We watch on a security camera “The Turtle” walk into a museum and grab a priceless artifact while all around are seemingly standing still.

Ramon says that if they can capture the criminal perhaps they can use his powers to slow down ZOOM enough for the Flash to defeat him. Harry asks how can they track him down and Barry logs into the GCPD computer and says all the crimes he committed got changed to reports of lost or missing items. A message appears on the screen, Barry reads it then speeds off. Caitlin tells the others that the GCPD just announced an impromptu press-conference to announce the recovery of the Vander Vort diamond collection. Cisco smiles and says “From Hell’s Heart I Stab At Thee.”

The representative from the family tells the reporters that they’re most pleased at recovering his grandfather’s ring, the piece that means the most to the family. Flash identifies “The Turtle” and starts to apprehend him when he’s stopped in place by this wave of energy the criminal emits. Flash moves slowly and not far as the thief winks at him as he takes the ring and then walks out. As soon as he leaves the station returns to normal and only Flash realizes what just took place.

When Barry returns to STAR Labs Jay and Harry explain to Allen that “The Turtle” drains kinetic energy from any area he’s in leaving only potential energy. Wells explains because of Barry’s super-speed he’s got more flexibility than any other human. Harry goes to Cisco’s lab to try to work on a formula using that principle to defeat ZOOM and Cisco feeling unappreciated follows him. They’ve got his identity due to their facial recognition software, he’s Russell Glosson a former small time hood who fell off the radar after the particle-accelerator exploded.

Allen realizes he owes Patty an explanation and he blames a lot of it on his mother’s death occurred this time of the year. Patty apologizes and Barry smiles and suggest they have a romantic evening the next night. Patty smiles and says she thinks that’s just what they need.

Joe, Iris and Barry finally give up the ghost that Wally’s coming for dinner and Joe’s visibly shaken. He hugs Iris and thanks Barry for being there for him and then says he’s going to bed. As he heads to bed Iris takes it as an opportunity to tell Barry about her coffee and chat with Patty. She tells Barry that he’s got to reveal his identity to her if his feelings for her are real. He nods and says he’ll tell Patty he’s the Scarlet Speedster.

The next day “Team-Flash” discover Glosson’s next target, the Central City Museum’s holding a gala that evening and will exhibit an incredibly rare and valuable painting “The Crystal Ball.” Barry, Jay and Caitlin will work the museum in tuxes and a gown for Snow, Harry and Cisco will monitor in the truck outside. Allen suddenly realizes he’s got the big date with Patty, but views it as an opportunity rather than a problem. He calls her up and asks if she minds switching to the gala and she’s fine with that and they’ll meet at the museum at seven.

Barry then informs the team that he’s revealing his identity to Patty that evening and that’s why he’s bringing her. Cisco congratulates him, Caitlin shows a concerned smile and Allen starts walking out of the control center when Wells stops him and says don’t tell her. Barry looks at him quizzically and Harry says you’ve got feelings for this woman I’m happy for you. Now if you want her safe you’ll keep her as far out of this as possible because once ZOOM finds out she’s a dead woman. Barry looks at the ground and nods, Wells just confirmed what his nightmares had told him.

Everybody’s in position that evening when Barry sees Patty and she looks just like she’s appeared in his nightmares and he flashes back to it and has a shocked expression on his face when he greets her. She asks if everything’s alright and he says she looks like she came out of a dream and she tells him he looks handsome. He suggests they talk and they start to dance.

Barry seems like he’s just about to tell Patty about him being The Flash as he starts talking about getting struck by lightning. Suddenly Glosson’s sighted and Barry just says he’s sorry but he’s got to leave. Her mind’s blown and she says what now and he just shrugs his shoulders and walks away. Patty turns around to see Glosson stealing the painting, reaches into her purse pulls out her weapon and identifies herself. Glosson steals the energy and suddenly he’s got Spivot’s gun in his hand and pointed at her. He shoots at the chandelier directly above her and somehow Flash forces his way past the energy waves knocking Patty out-of-the-way but the chandelier falls on him. Jay and Caitlin grab him and drag him out as Spivot regains consciousness.

At STAR Labs Barry checks out fine then he speeds off to Patty’s place. She’s hurt and angry when he arrives and she gives him an ultimatum. She says they had lots of fun, but she’s past that stage and if they’re to stay together they have to start caring about each other and trusting each other. She says he needs to decide what he wants and she says he needs to decide fast and stomps away. Barry says aloud fast’s his specialty, but this time he’s not fast enough.

There’s a drag race going on in a secluded area of Central City as Wally West plays chicken against another guy for the title of their cars. West wins easily, hence the nickname Tail-Lights. As the other driver gives Wally the keys and the paper, West sees Joe standing there watching.

The younger man approaches his father and asks if he’s had someone tailing him and Joe asks if that’s the real reason he came to Central City? He smirks and says nobody will race him any longer in his town Keystone. Joe starts talking harsh to the young man and Wally says he doesn’t answer to him. Joe says that he just committed a crime and he’s a police officer and Wally says that’s right the Great Detective that failed to track down his own son.

Wally then says he does what he does to pay for his mother’s medical treatments and Joe says he’ll gladly help so Wally can give it up. He says he’s got savings and he’ll dip into his pension. The younger man screams he doesn’t want his help and says he’s the man of his house. He then tells Joe to go home to his family and walks away.

Patty’s bumming big time and listening to Jazz when there’s a knock at the door and she smiles and scampers to the door thinking it’s Barry.  Bad guess as it’s Glosson who forces his way in as she tries shutting the door on him. She once again pulls her weapon and fires three shots but he steals the energy and they fall to the ground spent. He steals it again and has the gun on her and says he’s got the Flash’s most prized possession, her.

Barry arrives find the door ajar calls for Patty and then does a super-speed search of her place. He steps on the bullets and realizes what happened. He calls Joe and tells him that “The Turtle’s” got Patty and to meet him  at STAR Labs.

They’ve got no address for Glosson Joe says that they haven’t found an item he’s stolen. They realize that he doesn’t fence what he steals he keeps it and collects it. Then they find a record of Glosson’s wife worked for a library that closed not long after the Particle Accelerator exploded and realize that’s his hideout.

Glosson says he’s going to possess the thing that’s most important to him and she asks Barry and he responds The Flash. She asks him why he believes the speedster cares about her and he says he saw the way he saved her. She says he’s a superhero and that’s what he does he saves people’s lives. Glosson says that’s stupid because people are just unappreciative. His wife didn’t appreciate him and tried to leave him so he made her his. He pulls away a curtain and we see her standing in a display case lifeless, there’s a second case where he’ll keep Patty.

Barry’s told the only way to defeat him is to go in between his pulses which gives him two-tenths of a second. Flash enters the library and tries to fight through the waves but he’s stuck and Glosson whacks him about four times and he falls to the ground and then he leaves the library. Glosson looks shocked and says he doesn’t think you’re special and he pulls out a blade and gets ready to gut Spivot. However The Flash makes a second attempt and this time he knocks out his opponent. He cuts Patty’s bond’s and she hugs his torso still in the chair and thanks him whom ever he is.

Glosson’s locked up in a meta-human cell at STAR Labs and his powers are useless. Caitlin whose developed strong romantic feelings for Garrick tells him that she know he’s dying as she got his DNA from a glass he drank from. He tells her the only cure’s for him to regain his speed and for that they have to defeat ZOOM. She says let’s do it then and they hug.

Yes Barry blew it with Patty. She tells him she’s leaving Central City she’d always wanted to be a CSI investigator and four years ago she got accepted to a college to join their program. She said she put it off to become a cop and catch her father’s killer and she’s done that. She kisses Barry on the cheek.

Wally arrives at Joe’s house to pick up a sweater he left there and tells Joe he’s heading back home. He tells Joe if he’s waiting for an apology it’s not coming. West says he’s the one who should apologize, he felt bad that Wally grew up without him and tried to create an instant family. He asks what if they take it slow and just get to know each other, Wally stays and eats the Chinese food with Joe.

Wells keeps an audio-log we find out as he talks to his recorder as if it were his daughter. He recalls their first trip to a museum just her and him and he lost her and panicked and had the guards lock down the museum until he found her. He says he realized at that moment he’d do whatever it took to keep her safe. He then opens Glosson’s cell sticks some metal implement up his nose and it sucks something out of the meta-human and kills him.

Hold on, there’s more! We see a portal open and a speedster emerges wearing Flash’s uniform in a light color, in the flash of the portal opening it’s tough determining the color but we soon see a mouth so it can’t be ZOOM. When the portal closes, the speedster talks to his computer and a hologram appears above his wrist. He asks where the Hell he is as we realize Eobard Thawne’s returned to Central City! Next week The Return Of The Reverse Flash.

The Story Continues Next Tuesday Night at 8:00 pm on The CW.