The Flash: Openning Old Wounds To Move Forward

Courtesy of The CW
Courtesy of The CW

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Barry and Iris go out to see a movie. Which must be at least a little frustrating. While exiting the theater Iris gets a call from Thawne. Which is just enough time for Barry to escape to deal with a gunman on a high-speed chase and then return to Iris before she even notices he was gone.

An organized crime family has a public meeting in a restaurant to show they aren’t scared. Maybe they would’ve been. A green fog like smoke killed at least two of them. At the crime scene West and Thawne begin to treat this like a typical gassing. Then Barry says something that tips off West to send Thawne out so Barry can clarify. Based on what Barry can see through his forensic eye, he deduces that this is not typical.

Joe West: My gut feeling…if we’re going to solve this one, you and me are going to need (looks around the room) backup.

At Star Labs, 3/5’s of the team are nerding out over the prospect of a meta-human who can control poisonous gas. Which then leads into the idea that if any of these super criminals survive, they will need a non conventional prison to hold them. Cisco suggests the particle accelerator.

Come the holy hell on CW! I get that your market research tells you that your viewing audience are all 15-30 year olds who are only concerned with pretty people. I understand that you feel the need to dress up a good story in makeup and heels. But why on earth did you feel the need to insert an actor from a different superhero show that failed before it started? We don’t need you polluting what appears to be a quality show like The Flash with a failed image from The Tomorrow People. Did you really think we wouldn’t notice? Did you really think we wouldn’t notice Stephen Jamison, the lead character? But I digress.

To put it into context, we are seeing a flashback to the night of the accident. Caitlin’s fiance, who eventually dies in the accident (or so we’re lead to believe) is in the room with Caitlin, Cisco and Dr. Wells. During this flashback, there is a moment when Wells should say something like “one small step for man”, and instead he says “I feel like I’ve been waiting for this for centuries”. Maybe not a huge Easter egg, but that seems too specific to ignore. Full disclosure, I have no idea what the endgame on Dr. Wells is, but I’m positive he is not just a scientist.

After the flashback Barry can see that Caitlin is uncomfortable going back down to the accelerator. So Barry suggests she come with him to identify the gas. She is visibly relieved. At the station, everyone drops stuff on Barry’s proverbial and figurative desk. Later we find Joe going over evidence from Barry’s father’s case. Iris walks in and Joe immediately closes his laptop. Then moments later, Thawne shows up. He’s there to see Iris. But Joe doesn’t know yet. Making this very uncomfortable. Thawne also makes it very clear to Iris that not telling Joe is killing their relationship. Fine with me. Let that relationship die.

Side note. The particle accelerator is MASSIVE. It’s like they just dressed up a subway tunnel. I see how it could pull duty as a prison for meta-humans.

There was another gas attack, this time in Central City mall. Barry drops everything and Caitlin doesn’t want him to go without knowing exactly what they are up against. Caitlin should stop saying, “Don’t go, it’s not safe”.

Barry finds the assailant and confronts him. It’s your typical, stay out of my way or you’ll be next sort of warning. Barry doesn’t listen and tries to punch a man who can as easily be a gas as he can be a solid. Then he manifests into the gas and goes into Barry’s nasal passage. He is able to compose himself enough to run back to Star Labs. As stupid as it sounds, he ran back while still unable to breathe in order to bring a tissue sample as the gas was still in his system.

Barry heads back to the precinct to speak to Joe. He informs him of the previous encounter, but that is not the point of this scene. This is the Joe West/Jesse L Martin moment of the episode. Barry explains how easily he could break his Dad out of prison. Then Joe has to explain what comes next. “I have a feeling your Dad is not as fast as you”. Apparently, Joe West has not seen the 1990 Flash television series. Not only that, but Joe sheds a little light on where his head is at for making a mistake regarding Barry’s father, and having to live with that.

Caitlin: For so long, I’ve been terrified to go down to that hole.
Barry: What if I went with you?

And thus, the shippers make their way to the front of the line. Like in Smallville, we were all pretty sure that Clark Kent could not end up with Lana Lane long-term, because the story always comes back to Clark Kent and Lois Lane. As is the case here. The Flash lore always speaks to Barry Allen and Iris West. Not Barry and Caitlin. That said, I am perfectly fine with this story line. I’d be OK if in this case Iris was just a family friend that Barry grew up with. I know I’m supposed to side with Iris, but Caitlin feels more right, early in season one.

The team is able to quickly figure out what the gas is and the identity of the criminal. He was a hit man for the aforementioned crime family. They testified against him, so they had to die. The woman at the mall was the judge, she had to die. And the arresting officer was Joe West, presumably this guy believes Joe needs to die. But Joe is at Iron Heights (the prison) to visit Henry Allen.

Alright. Jesse L Martin scene number two. I’m not greedy. One is enough for me to be content with my Jesse L Martin fix (without question the best part of this show by a large margin). But I’ll take a second big scene. The meeting between Henry Allen and Joe West goes a little different from I expected. I knew it wouldn’t be awesome. That they wouldn’t high-five the glass. But It starts off cold to say the least. Joe is there to tell Henry that he knows Henry didn’t kill his wife. Henry is pleased but guarded. And Joe gives a very direct and heartfelt apology. JLM is impressive in this scene. It is a slow build, but he delivers the emotion.

Henry Allen: Doesn’t matter that you didn’t believe in me, because you always believed in my son.

Then ‘gas bag’ or ‘the mist’ as Cisco has named him, shows up in gas form into the visitation room. Joe gets up and the gas does it’s job. Except Caitlin gave Barry a reverse engineered antidote. Which Barry administers about 8 seconds after Joe ingested the gas. Then Barry intercepts the Mist just outside the prison. With the antidote doing its job inside Joe, Barry can’t get infected again. So, enter a meta-human game of keep away. The Mist advances, Barry retreats. Wells believes he can only maintain the mist form for a short period of time. Which works as planned.

At the hospital, Joe is waking and Barry is asleep in a chair. Eventually, Iris and Thawne show up. Timing not being the best, Iris decides to tell her Dad about their relationship. Joe already knows. Detecting is in the job description. It ends well enough. I imagine Joe will give Thawne a hard time for the rest of the season, but he’s not all that mad. Yet.

We get to see the accelerator as a prison and how it will hold “the Mist”. Even a quality explanation on exactly how the prison will hold. And then a thought occurred. Maybe I’m the last to the party on this one, but if Dr. Wells is a bad guy. If he has an agenda outside of saving people and doing good, this prison idea is all he would need as a series big bad to essentially have an army of bad guys at his disposal. Just a thought.

During another flashback to the night of the accident, Dr. Wells claims he’s coming down and stops in his fancy brail room. He manifests a screen where he is able to see Barry Allen’s lab in actual real-time. Whether because of the venting or because Wells has that kind of power, the lightening was targeted to Barry Allen. All of this was put in motion by Dr. Wells. To what end, we still don’t know.

Dr. Wells: See you soon Barry.

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