Warning: Spoiler Alert
We begin tonight with a flashback to the night the particle accelerator exploded. Again. This time from the outskirts of town. A young man has scaled an electrical tower to get the best view. Then the explosion became a relative expanding cloud of bad news. Swallowing up the young man on the tower.
Dr. Wells wheels into his Braille room. Stands up and approaches the control panel (if we can call it that). A ‘Man of Steel’ like animation of a face emerges. He calls it Gideon. I don’t know why but that seems important. He is chronicling Barry’s movements, literally. Now Barry is using his speed to aid in everyday tasks. Like waking up late. Even getting robbed at gun point, he finds a great opportunity to not only get out of the situation but to do it with some flair.
Barry (to a mugger): If there was an Olympics for bad ideas, you haven’t just medal-ed. You Michael Phelps-ed it.
Wells is disappointed that the relationship has become all about how Star Labs can help Barry help people, and not Barry helping Star Labs make medical advancements. Before Wells can pursue further, Barry gets an alert of a homicide and he needs to report to the scene. At the scene, a man has been burnt beyond recognition. According to Barry, probably burned at 2400 degrees or so. Then he takes a photograph of the victim.
Thawne: His face is burned off, how is that going to help identify him?
Barry: I got mad skills.
Joe: Don’t ever say that again.
Joe is visibly on edge. Which is to be expected. At the conclusion of last week’s episode, the ‘reverse Flash’ came to Joe’s living room, stole the reports from the Allen case, put a kitchen knife through a picture of Iris and carved “Stop or Else” in the wall around Iris’ picture. So, his mind is elsewhere.
At Star Labs, Cisco is putting a name to a face. Once they have that identity and place of employment, Caitlin finds activity at said place of employment. The electrical substation. Before Wells can say be careful, Barry is gone. Once there, Barry finds the new meta-human attempting to get or feed off of the substation’s electricity. Then there is a period of the new guy trying to hit Barry with the electricity. Which is comical until he hits Barry. Somehow the electrocution of Barry is appetizing to this new villain. There is a real side effect to letting this guy feed off of Barry.
Wells: Barry, get out of there. RUN!
Barry: I can’t.
It’s kind of depressing to see Barry Allen running like a normal person. While Wells works on restoring Barry’s powers, Barry goes to warn Joe. Lovely little device giving the viewer more information than the characters. Joe needs Barry to get his powers back primarily so that he can better about Iris’ safety. And probably Joe’s for that matter. Then Iris walks in. Fast forward to the important part. If the police can’t protect the people, then the Flash will. Let’s call that Iris-ism #1. As Barry leaves and heads for the elevator, a creepy guy exits (wearing strange little glasses) escorted by to officers. He compliments Barry’s watch. There is something more than off about this guy. And for the first time, I sense a multiple villain episode.
Wells is back in the Braille room again. He asks Gideon to show him the future. No mention of the Flash. None.
Barry sulks while looking at his suit. Wondering if he’ll ever wear it again. I have to commend the show runners for The Flash. While they have taken some liberties with certain details. Up to and including inventing new characters like Harrison Wells and Joe West. You have to give them credit for working the comic book manual. We had the ‘I can’t do this, it’s not me’ episode. We had the ‘reveal yourself to your inner circle and establish your team’ episode. And now we are getting the ‘what if it’s over’ episode. This is uniquely fun because this affords Barry an opportunity to know what you have when it’s gone just to get it back later. Thus, creating a sense of focus to go along with purpose. All of these subtle but noticeable details will eventually contribute to a version of the Flash that is closer to what we envisioned when we heard there would be a Flash series. Comic Book traditionalist, take a deep breath, it’ll come.
The electricity hoarder is actually knocking on the door at Star Labs. Demanding to speak with Dr. Wells.
Meanwhile, the chief asks Joe to cover for him until the shift change. Only one task. Prisoner transfer for a “William Tockman”, which a quick little search tells us is the secret identity of The Clock King. While our electricity guy is busy trying to display his power by jacking Star Labs’ power it is also creating a power surge around the city. Including Joe’s precinct. When Mr. Tockman is attempting to pick his cuffs. Which is successful at. Tockman is surprisingly accurate with a gun, but now the precinct is a large hostage situation. One call to the Chief and now Barry knows that Joe and Iris are inside.
So the only feasible theory in the room is that if this electo-guy has absorbed enough electricity, and he is provoked, he could send enough power at Barry to mimic the particle accelerator that first gave Barry his powers. But first, Barry has the great idea to speak to him first. The idea is not without merit. It actually works for a while. Until the team realizes that this guy is here to take out his frustrations out on Dr. Wells.
The plan changes and now it’s about getting this guy to let out a charge strong enough that can be transmitted to Barry on the treadmill. Cisco refuses (momentarily) to leave Wells. Who then turns to him and gives a much more intense than the moment called for bit about Barry being his greatest invention. And Barry must have a future. Question is to what end?
Eddie Thawne trying to be the hero, trying to impress Iris or Daddy, whatever the reason, gets himself shot. Not fatally but bad enough that it’s an issue.
In a surprising turn of events, Harrison goes down to where last week’s meta-human is kept in a nice prison cell. Wells’ great plan involves letting this guy loose to take out the electo-guy. First thought is that Barry is not going to like that idea at all. The second is more scientific.
Electricity is less than predictable. In most cases electricity is directed by the use of a ‘conductor’ which is almost always a metal.
Meanwhile at the treadmill, which by the way is not something one exercises on, Barry has to give a short speech to Caitlin just to convince her to flip the switch so that maybe Barry’s powers can be restored. She flips the switch and Barry holds on as long as he can. He is then thrown from his position. He’s alive and his hand is doing that things where it vibrates at high speeds. But it didn’t work.
Tony (the meta-human from last week) is fighting valiantly, but losing. Bad. Barry and Caitlin find him flung from across the room. He tries to get up. Leans in and tells Barry to run, then passes out. Caitlin is able to get Barry to what looks like a boiler room where Cisco already is. Wells enters and takes credit for releasing Tony. Which spirals out of control into a conversation pinning Barry’s ideals against Wells’ determination.
Caitlin was able to test a blood sample. His cells are behaving the way they would if he had his powers. So now we have a mental issue. As Cisco puts it, he has the ‘yips’. He doesn’t have his speed because Barry is in his own head.
The helicopter arrived as requested for the Clock King. An incredible job portraying this character by the from Robert Knepper. As insurance, he decides to take Iris with him. Joe does his best to reason with Tockman. Even convinces him to let Iris say goodbye to her dying boyfriend. Then they depart. While she was saying goodbye, Thawne told her to grab his gun stashed above his ankle. She does and allows Tockman to take her. Then she stops and pulls out the gun. He swings at it, and Joe hears the gunshot. Not knowing whether or not that is a good thing.
The Star Labs team tries to make a getaway, but they are not fast enough. Barry gets out of the van and is instantly hit. Next, Wells does what anyone would expect him to do. Sacrifice himself for the good of the Barry and the team. Despite reciting a list of names of people who died the day of the accident, hoping to appeal to “Blackout’s” sense of right, he still send Wells flying.
This introduces one of my personal favorite elements to a ‘power’. The emotional (or mental) manifestation. In this case, if Barry emotes hard enough, he can kick-start his own power. Which is exactly what happens. The fight begins. Halfway through Blackout hits Barry, but this time Barry seemed to be ready for it. They both end up face to face on their knees absorbing electricity. In the end, Blackout wasn’t strong enough.
Barry returns in street clothes to the precinct. The whole place is roped off. Thawne is rolled by in a gurney. He can’t find Joe or Iris. The camera pans up and to the left slowly. Father and daughter sitting holding each other in the middle of the staircase to Barry’s lab.
“Blackout” has gone dark, permanently. Caitlin explains to Barry that he finally let go and connected with his powers instead of thinking about them. He is now generating cells faster than ever before. Which is exactly what Wells wanted him to. Step it up.
Barry does attempt to take back an earlier comment about Wells not caring about people. Wells actually confirmed that in general, he doesn’t care for people. Then he drops some easter eggs. He knows the future, Barry’s in that future, he’d like to see said future but that was anything but declarative.
Barry brings flowers to Thawne in the hospital. Thawne is down right loopy from the pain meds. Iris decides to go get some coffee. Barry walks slowly around to the side of Thawne’s hospital bed. At the foot of which sit the flowers in a vase he brought. The camera slides over to Joe who nonchalantly pushes the flowers off the edge of the table. Barry catches them with ease.
Joe (under his breath and relieved): awesome… Guess you’re feeling better.
Thawne: Did you guys see that?
Joe: y-y- you’re just, high…partner.
Thawne (chuckling): Right…
The Flash races to where Iris is and apologizes for not being there. Then with a twinkle in her eye, Iris says that she has a friend that says that, and he’s always late. He replies with, “you’re worth being on time for”. She heads back to Thawne’s room. She looks up to see Thawne, Joe and Barry there. She looks disappointed, sad even. She was already starting to piece together that maybe Barry is the Flash. Or at least really wanted to believe he was. Seeing him standing there in street clothes burst her bubble. For now.
In the Braille room, Wells gives Gideon a new entry. He has concluded that Barry’s attachment to people is not a distraction but will actually be the catalyst for getting him “up to speed”. Then Wells makes his way to the treadmill room where Barry is getting dressed. Ready to work. On the science side of things one would like to believe.
In the creepy Wells close, he ventures down to the prison. Blackout is in a body bad. Wells unzips it. Takes a blood sample and says, “You were able to steal the Flash’s powers. I’d like to know how you did that”.
Stay tuned boys and girls as next week is the highly promoted and highly anticipated Flash vs Arrow two night event starting Tuesday and carrying over to Wednesday of next week.