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The Flash: Forward

Photo Courtesy Of CW
Photo Courtesy Of CW

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the 2014-2015 TV season turned out to be the CW Network series “The Flash.” Show-runner Greg Berlanti created an incredibly complex universe, going deep into the world of comic-books and sci-fi to tell his tale. Combining that with a cast of characters that fans cared about, helped the show become a breakout hit for the network.

Season one concluded in a cliffhanger as Eddie Thawne shot himself to death, causing his ancestor Eobard Thawne/Harrison Wells to vanish as he never existed. Although the Flash watched the man who murdered his mother disappear he didn’t have any time to celebrate, he raced up a skyscraper and then into the sky trying to keep the black-hole known as the Singularity from devouring Central City and perhaps the planet.

Our first scene in season two starts off with the Flash facing off against Captain Cold and Heatwave. Flash runs away from them and then doubles back, going after Heatwave whom Captain Cold errantly takes out with a blast of his cold gun. Cold says one of these days he’s going to kill Flash, when he’s knocked out by a blast from Firestorm flying above him. Firestorm lands and apologizes for being late, Flash smiles and says right on time.

Inside Star Labs Barry Allen and Cisco Ramon high-five over taking out both criminals at the same time. Ronnie Raymond and Dr. Martin Stein have separated and Ronnie kisses his wife Caitlin. Joe and Iris West come over to congratulate Barry and then we realize something’s amiss as we see Eddie and he congratulates Barry. Then Harrison Wells rolls out in his mechanized wheelchair and tells Barry that he can no longer teach him anything and Barry’s ready to run things on his own. It’s a daydream Allen’s standing alone in a room and we hear a voiceover from him bringing us up to date.

Barry tells us that it’s six-months after the singularity occurred, he no longer works with Team-Flash in order to keep his friends safe. He does however still work with Detective Joe West in his role as a CCPD forensic scientist. Barry’s examining a murder victim when West arrives at the scene. Allen informs him the man got strangled to death by a man much larger and stronger than the victim.

Joe asks Barry if the Flash will make an appearance at the “Flash-Day” celebration the following day. The mayor’s scheduled to present the Flash the key to the city. Barry says he doesn’t think so and West reminds him that Allen loves awards, like the trophies he won when he was 12. Allen says he earned those awards and then tells Joe he’s going to check out the results on the victim.

Cisco’s now working for the CCPD as the science adviser for the Task-Force formed to fight meta-humans which West heads up. We find out that Caitlin’s now working at Mercury Labs and Barry’s referred to as a lone-wolf. Iris walks into the station and greets her father and Cisco and Joe asks her to try to convince Barry to attend the ceremony. She tries but fails to convince him, he tells her she should realize he doesn’t deserve the praise as “The Man Who Saved Central City.”

We then flashback to the Singularity and watch as vehicles and people are swept into the sky. The Flash runs counter to the way that the black-hole’s rotating and he’s stabilized it. However in order to close the hole Martin Stein and Ronnie Raymond will have to go into the hole as Firestorm and then split apart. It could cost them their lives and Caitlin begs her husband not to, but he relies they’ve got no other choice.

Firestorm flies into the black-hole and the two men separate the energy surge causes the Singularity to close, but Stein and Raymond start plummeting to the ground. Barry’s able to save Professor Stein but not Ronnie, he apologizes to Caitlin. So both Eddie and Ronnie lost their lives that day.

We return to the present just in time for the “Flash-Day” celebration as the Mayor of Central City takes the podium and addresses the huge crowd in attendance. He tells the crowd that during the last year they’ve been Ground-Zero for some very weird stuff, including some evil people with super abilities. However the good they received more than overcame the bad, thanks to the Flash.

He then says he wants to present the Flash the key to the city and the crowd including Joe, Cisco, Iris and Caitlin standing in various locations wait for the red-streak to appear. Seconds later the Flash arrives to the stage and waves to the crowd and walks over to the mayor. Just then screams erupt as a trash dumpster’s hurtling out of the sky right to the spot they’re standing on, Flash rescues the mayor and looks for who threw the projectile.

Suddenly a large man with his face encased in a steel mask appears and says he’s glad to meet the man who saved Central City. The Flash tries attacking him but the man’s got super-strength and flings him like a child’s toy. West calls for Cisco to give him the Boot, the weapon Cisco invented to takeout meta-humans. Joe fires the weapon and an ankle bracelet encircles the guys foot and starts to emit energy. The man then triples in size and snaps the boot to pieces.

The Flash arrives at Joe’s side carrying two propane tanks, he tells West he’ll throw them and for Joe to shoot at them. The bullets strike the tanks causing them to explode and burst into flame, causing the giant to flee. As he’s leaving the mask disappears and Joe tells the Flash that the man’s the victim of the strangling they found the day before. Arnold Rothstein. However a check with the morgue confirms that Rothstein’s body’s still there, the villain took Rothstein’s appearance.

Back at the crime-lab Barry gets a visit from an attorney that represents Harrison Wells, turns out that Wells left Allen Star Labs in his living-will. Barry’s ignored all communication from the attorney and the lawyer tells him that Wells left a stipulation in the will that unless Allen watched the contents of a thumb drive with a message from Wells to Barry, he’d lose Star Labs the next day as the six months deadline expired. Barry tells the lawyer he’s not going to watch it and the attorney says he’s done his job and leaves. Suddenly a security alert on his computer informs him there’s a security violation at Star Labs. He arrives to find Joe, Cisco, Iris and Martin Stein using the computer system, trying to figure out where the giant’s hiding.

Cisco visited Caitlin at Mercury Labs earlier and she confirmed that the radiation badge that Rothstein wore, got drained of radiation. Hence they realized that the meta-human feeds off of radiation and Cisco’s able to track the man that Stein names the Atom-Smasher to a three block radius. Barry refuses to let Team-Flash get involved and speeds off leaving his communication device behind.

The Atom-Smasher’s drinking barrels of radioactive sludge when the Flash arrives. He greets the Scarlet Speedster by telling him he thought he’d have to track him down. Flash asks him how he feeds off radiation and has Rothstein’s face and the big guy tells him he wouldn’t believe him if he told him. The Flash starts rotating his arms at super-speed creating a wind that he tries to blow the Atom-Smasher away with, but the big man stands his ground. He then tries punching the big man and he doesn’t even flinch, then the Atom-Smasher says my turn.

He again increases his size so that he’s about five times larger and picks the Flash up by the neck and starts whacking him against a wall. The giant says that he was told his opponent’s a superhero, but he doesn’t seem worthy of the suit or the title.

Cisco’s able to hack into the warehouse’s camera system and they see the Flash getting pummeled. Professor Stein tells Cisco to setoff the alarm in the warehouse and Atom-Smasher loses focus allowing Flash to escape and head back to Star Labs. He makes it to the basement and then passes out and has a dream recalling a memory from his childhood.

We flashback to the West home six months after Barry’s mother got murdered and his father imprisoned for killing her. Joe puts out a bowl of mac and cheese in front of Barry and the boy responds no thank you. West says it’s been six months son, you’ve got to eat. Then he says he realizes how much Barry misses his parents and it’s easier to deal with the loss if he stays angry all the time. However Joe tells him that he’s got to be able to feel and says it’s okay to be sad, his parents wouldn’t be angry if he gets sad. Barry stands up and hugs Joe and starts crying and Joe hugs him back and says that’s alright, I got you.

Barry wakes up in a hospital bed in Star Labs with Joe at his side and West uses the same phrase to calm Allen down. Joe then tells him he tried giving Allen his space for six months but he’s done doing that. He tells Barry he’s shutting out the people in his life and he needs them and they need him. Joe says he’s been hearing rumors that the Flash spends nights repairing area businesses from the damage the Singularity caused. He says Barry needs to start rebuilding things that matter.

Allen goes to visit Caitlin at Mercury Labs and he apologizes for not being in contact, but he says he’s having difficulty accepting he’s responsible for Ronnie’s death. Caitlin tells Barry that she feels she’s the one to blame, that Ronnie had asked for her to leave Central City with him and she refused. She says that if they moved her husband would still be alive.

Barry pulls a hankie out of his pocket to give to Caitlin and the thumb-drive from Wells falls out. Caitlin asks what’s on it and Barry says it’s a message from Wells and he’s been too scared to look at it. Caitlin suggests they look at it together and pop it into her computer, automatically giving Allen ownership of Star Labs.

Eobard Thawne/Harrison Wells appears on the screen and he tells Barry that if he’s watching this, then Wells’ died and he says that’s a bummer. He then says that he never hated Barry and Allen looks back at the screen his face showing his contempt. He says he’s about to give Barry everything he’s ever wanted, but knowing Barry he still won’t be happy. Then Wells says erase everything I just said and give this to the police.

Wells then confesses to killing Barry’s mother and gives in-depth details of the murder to prove he committed the crime. Barry gets on the phone and calls Joe and asks him to get everybody to meet at Star Labs. Caitlin hugs Barry and tells him she’ll drive.

Barry and Joe stand in the hallway as Joe speaks to the District Attorney on the phone, Allen interrupts him and asks what’s she saying. West says that she can’t say for sure yet, but it looks good. Barry then heads into the main facility to share the news that Henry Allen will soon be a free man. However they still have to figure out a way to defeat Atom-Smasher. Caitlin smiles and says if he wants radiation, we’ll give him radiation.

The Atom-Smasher’s sitting in his apartment when he sees the image of a lightning bolt projected into the night sky and says show-time. He tracks down the source of the light and finds the Flash standing next to a huge klieg light with his symbol on it. Back at Star Labs Caitlin asks Cisco how he came up with the idea and Cisco replies he thinks he saw it in a comic-book.

Flash tells his opponent that if he wants him he has to catch him first and takes off at super-speed. Monitoring the pair at Star Labs, Stein remarks how quick the Atom-Smasher is for a big man. Barry heads to a nuclear-facility and about a minute later Atom-Smasher arrives saying that Flash didn’t think he’d catch him. Flash responds he was counting on him catching him and then lowers a containment tube over his opponent. The tube fills with far too much radiation for the Atom-Smasher to contain and takes him out. By the time the tube’s safe for the Flash to open, the Atom-Smasher’s just about to take his last breath.

Flash apologizes but says he didn’t want anymore people hurt, then asks why his opponent tried to kill him. Atom-Smasher says he promised to take me home if I killed you. When Barry asks who the man gasps Zoom and then dies.

Barry goes to pickup his father at Iron Heights Prison as he gets released after serving 14-years for a crime he didn’t commit. They drive to the West home and everybody’s there for a welcome home party for Henry, hugs get shared by all and everybody’s very relaxed and happy, enjoying each other’s company.

Martin Stein asks for everybody to gather for a toast. He says he’s been thinking how far they’ve come in the last year and the folks they lost along the way. He says the occasion brings to mind a Hebrew word associated with graduations, the word’s Kadima translating into forward in English. Stein raises his glass and says forward and each echo the toast and drink up.

Barry pulls his father aside and tells him he’s planned for them to look for an apartment for the two of them the next day and Iris has looked into getting Henry’s doctor’s license reinstated. Henry says this is a party, can’t we talk about this later and Barry asks his father if he’s thinking about leaving?

Henry puts his hands on his son’s shoulders and looks him in the eye. He tells Barry if he needs him, his father will always be there for him. However right now Central City doesn’t need Henry Allen’s son, they need the Flash. He says he has to leave and he needs Barry to say it’s okay. With tears in his eyes the son nods his head and hugs his father. Joe sees what’s going on and figures things out.

Barry meets Joe back at Star Labs and West asks him if his father got off okay. Barry says he dropped him at the station and Joe realizes Barry’s heartbroken. However he pulls the key to the city out of his pocket and hands it to Barry and says well this is pretty cool. Barry smiles and says this is freaking cool and they head out to the main facility to talk to the new Team-Flash including Martin Stein and Iris.

Cisco informs Barry that he upgraded all the security measures at the lab that now belongs to Allen. Iris says nobody can just wander in anymore, when Joe and Barry sees a man in the shadows. West pulls his piece as Barry asks the man to identify himself. The man steps into the light and tells Barry his name’s Jay Garrick and Barry’s world’s in danger.

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

The Flash: Everything That’s Happened Has Lead To This

Courtesy of The CW
Courtesy of The CW

Warning: Spoiler Alert

“And one day I’ll find who killed my mother and get justice for my father…that day, is today”. Barry takes a walk to visit Mr. Eobard Thawne since knowing what he knows now. Barry begins with a simple question with Thawne answers but shuffles off to the big question, why did he kill Nora Allen?

Barry: Why did you kill my mother?
Thawne: Because I hate you. Not you now, you years from now.
Barry: In the future?
Thawne: Any future, yes. We are enemies, rivals, opposites, reverses of one another.
Barry: Why are we enemies?
Thawne: It doesn’t matter. It…doesn’t…matter anymore.
(I’m going to believe that it matters very much)

Thawne, amidst their battles and rivalry discovered future Barry’s real name. Here’s the easy part. Thawne could go back in time and kill young Barry, then return to his time and live Flash free. Only problem is, as we saw weeks ago, Thawne lost the ability to reach the kind of speed that would get him back to his time. Future Barry followed Thawne back and they had an epic fight. Then future Barry got young Barry out of the house. This infuriated Thawne so the next best thing was to cause young Barry to feel a loss so significant that he would never recover and thus, never become The Flash.

The only way to get home was The Flash. However, as previously mentioned, the events laid out that night would prevent Barry Allen from growing up to become The Flash. So Thawne had to make him. Finding Barry, training Barry, nurturing his power, was all a self-serving attempt to use Barry to get home. Thawne needed Barry to get fast. The endgame being, if Barry gets fast enough he could travel through a stable worm hole allowing Thawne to follow. Why do this? Because if Barry does, then Thawne will give Barry what he wants. For that night to have never happened. No slain mother, no imprisoned father, no living with Joe and Iris. Everything goes back and Barry gets to grow up the way he was supposed to.

Barry lashes out slamming his fist on the glass. “I want to kill you right now”. This rage is a familiar feeling to Thawne. It’s the same feeling he’s had playing the nurturer to Barry all this time. Then Thawne says he can see what Joe and Henry see in Barry when they look upon him. Pride with love. Pretty much the exact wrong thing to tell Barry right now.

After a breakdown of the consequences of Barry going back and undoing Thawne’s handiwork, Joe decides with little hesitation that Barry must do this. Even if it means that everything they know, they are and they experienced along the way will have never happened. Henry on the other hand is not on board in any way. In Henry’s mind, everything has to happen for a reason. Nora’s death, Henry’s incarceration, Barry living with Joe and Iris, all contributes to the end result that is adult Barry Allen being specifically the man he is. Very powerful performance from Grant Gustin and John Wesley Shipp by the way.

At Star Labs Caitlin checks out Ronnie’s vitals. He is controlling his powers much better now. Caitlin tells Ronnie how much Barry appreciates him coming back to help. That’s when Ronnie drops the proverbial anvil on Caitlin’s head. Ronnie is back, for good. And back before the particle accelerator, Caitlin agreed to marry Ronnie. So that’s happening.

Iris finds Barry at her favorite thinking time rooftop. The decision is a massive one with uncertain implications. Iris even references the “Iris West-Allen” thing. Barry quickly mentions that her name change and their eventual life as husband and wife isn’t assured either. During a long embrace, Barry flat-out asks Iris for her opinion. He needs someone to tell him what to do, ironic as Joe and Henry both told him what to do.

Iris: I think for the first time in your life, you should stop thinking about other people. I think you should do what’s in your heart. Do what you need to do for yourself.

The ‘plan’ is for Barry to use the particle accelerator. Instead of smashing two particles at each other, they will only send one. Which will collide with Barry and create a wormhole that will connect this time will all other times. If Barry doesn’t reach the optimal speed at the point of impact, Barry will die. To make matters worse, Cisco now has to build a time machine (of Thawne’s specs) so that Thawne can return to his time.

Cisco and Ronnie notice a major flaw in the design. Tungsten at these speeds will become flammable. Cisco heads down to talk to “Dr. Evil”. After a moment, Thawne has a solution. Cisco takes that information and attempts to leave. Thawne tries to appeal to Cisco’s scientific mind when he is interrupted by Cisco’s “is that what you told yourself when you killed me?”

Thawne immediately apologizes. Not for killing Cisco but for the mere fact that Cisco can retain information gained from an alternate timeline. This means Cisco was affected by the particle accelerator. Cisco is a meta-human on some level. Thawne seems to believe that Cisco is about to become so much more than he is now.

Dr. Stein takes great joy in explaining to Eddie that he, not Barry or anyone else is the most interesting person in the mix. He is the only one who gets to choose his future, regardless of what Thawne told him. Then Stein finds an omission of catastrophic implications. Last line of that says that there is a chance this event could create a black hole. A potential extinction level event. Thawne has been planning this a couple of decades. He has considered the risk, and to him the risk is minimal.

Barry walks off and Joe follows. This time Joe is not unwaveringly in support of the plan, but still in support of it. Even if this all works and Barry can run fast enough, the end result is that he will save one parent at the expense of another. He could get Henry and Nora back, but if he does he will all but certainly lose Joe.

After Dr. Stein’s talk with Eddie, he decides to speak to Iris. Eddie is the coincidence and therefore, a number of coincidences lead to Eddie meeting and getting romantic with Iris.

Meanwhile Dr. Stein and Ronnie talk about what or how the kids say or don’t say, it doesn’t matter. Dr. Stein doesn’t want himself and Ronnie to fight on their wedding day. Stein skips over the typical wedding ceremony stuff and dives right into his experience with two lives merging as one.

Barry stands in the corridor saying his goodbyes and good lucks. Over the P.A. system Stein reminds Barry that he has only 1 minute and 52 seconds to save his mother and get back in order to close the wormhole before it transitions into a black hole.

As Barry pushes through Mach 2, he begins to see all of this memories at once. With Thawne in his ear, Barry has to visualize the day in question. The coffee in Stein’s mug levitating is the cue to send the hydrogen particle. And just like that, Barry was gone and wormhole in his place.

Barry arrives in his room during the fight. He ventures down to find future Flash looking back at him shaking his head as if to say no. As it was before future Flash takes young Barry out of there. He closes the door and turns his back on the mission. This is agonizing for Barry to sit through. When it ends, Barry goes out to console his dying mother.

Nora asks who he is. At first, he calls himself The Flash, then he removes his mask. Nora says he looks just like her father. He reveals that he is indeed the man her son grows up to be. He turns this entire mission on its ear. He came back to tell her that he’s alright. He and his Dad are alright. He creates closure to an otherwise unexplainable situation and Nora receives it graciously.

Thawne prepares arrogantly to board his time bubble machine when something flies through the wormhole. My knowledge of early Flash is sketchy at best, but I’m pretty sure the object in question is the helmet from the earliest incarnation of The Flash, worn by Jay Garrick but don’t quote me on that one. Thawne takes one look at it and decides this is his cue to leave. Reveling in the moment too long, Barry comes flying back in taking out the pod and Thawne in it.

The wormhole is becoming unstable, so what better thing to do during this moment of peak importance, than to engage in a speedster vs speedster fist fight. Once again, Thawne gains the upper hand. He starts going to town on Barry’s midsection when the other Thawne (Eddie) decides what his contribution will be. The first line of Stein’s speech to Eddie earlier in the episode was, “Maybe you just haven’t found your contribution yet”. I think he just found it. Eddie was the ‘coincidence’ as Stein put it. Then Eddie turned his on gun barrel pressed into his chest and pulled the trigger.

Joe runs toward Eddie screaming “what’d you do”? Eddie responds with, “there’s no such thing as a coincidence” a notion shared by just about every detective in every precinct in the country. Based on the established timeline (if I have this right) Eddie Thawne is somehow Eobard’s great great great great grandfather. If Eddie dies, at this age, then Eobard will cease to exist. Iris arrives just as Eobard sheds his Harrison Wells meat suit. He will die in her arms as the hero.

Eddie (to Iris): I was wrong. It turns out I’m the hero after all.

Eobard Thawne/Harrison Wells vaporizes out of existence. Just then a floating hole begins to inhale the matter around it. Including Eddie Thawne. In seconds, a massive singularity begins to form over Central City. I hope you’re sitting down, I imagine this is the part of the story when the aspiring hero is faced with an impossible task and becomes the hero he’s supposed to be.

Barry races up a skyscraper and with the requisite speed is able to run in circles opposite to the singularity. Roll credits on Season 1.

The Flash: Leveling The Playing Field

Courtesy of The CW
Courtesy of The CW

Warning: Spoiler Alert

While the team tries to regroup after the events of last week, Cisco has been doing some prying. Under Wells’ wheel chair, Cisco found what looks like a four-pronged flux capacitor. Wells (reverse flash) is faster than Barry because he has been juicing himself regularly with a futuristic power source. While Cisco explains this, an alert begins to sound. The particle accelerator is powering back up.

Joe, Barry and Cisco head down to the makeshift prison thinking that Wells has been in the building the entire time. Cisco brings a cup of orange soda. Every time the Reverse Flash is around, liquid floats. Barry’s fish tank just to name one. They open the main door downstairs and as predicted, Cisco’s soda begins to float out of its cup.

Wells races out of there in a blur and Barry pursues. Meanwhile, Wells triggered an auto release function, releasing at least one of the meta-humans they caught. This particular meta-human is Shawna (aka Peek-A-Boo), the teleporter. She gets out locking Joe and Cisco inside and chasing after Caitlin. She has Caitlin in a compromised position when Iris shows up and knocks her out.

After cleaning up this latest Wells mess, Joe faintly hears something in the distance. Wells was keeping Eddie captive in Star Labs. Eddie looks bad. Not even enough strength to walk on his own. While Joe lifts Eddie out, Iris finds the engagement ring intended for her.

The nugget that in the future Iris marries Barry seems to be in the front of his mind. He’s relieved to be out, but there is something lingering that keeps him distant. He spoke of a metallic tube that Wells claimed was the key. Cisco has now found said tube. The tube is powering the particle accelerator. The new big problem is that the meta-humans will die if the accelerator powers up with them still in there. Ironheights can’t handle meta-humans. Barry gets the idea to transport them to the same island where Oliver Queen was stranded that began the Arrow story line.

Joe seeks an audience with the D.A. to hopefully get her consent to clear a route to transport these unlawfully detained meta-humans out of the city. As predicted, she did not warm to the idea. Barry arrives in a dive bar where Captain Cold just so happens to be enjoying a beverage. Barry would like to have a chat. Barry needs Snart’s help to escort these 5 meta-humans out of the city. But it’s going to cost. The price is still not fleshed out.

Iris confronts Eddie on his way to work. He’s clearly changed since his abduction. She pushes the issue as she tends to do. She even pulls out the ring box and asks if he was trying to propose when he was taken. Then Eddie tells her of the future. A future where she marries Barry, not him.

Joe is not on board with helping Snart. Snart’s price by the way is every single iota of information that creates a trail that he ever existed wiped away. Dental records, criminal records, the whole shebang. Barry feels he cannot stop Wells. Not that he hasn’t but that he can’t. Saving these five people from certain death, is something he can do.

Cisco has retrofitted a big rig with a power source that should render the meta-humans powerless during commute. The prisoners have all awakened and aren’t exactly getting along. The big rig approaches an air field. Would you like to venture a guess as to which air field. I’ll give you three guesses but you’ll only need one. Ferris Air. And in one quick thought, Barry Allen just introduced Green Lantern into the CW/DC television universe.

Snart: Ferris Air…? I thought this place got shut down?
Barry: It did. One of its test pilots disappeared.

While the team waits on the aircraft, the prisoners grow agitated around the same time Cisco’s rig begins to malfunction. The meta-humans aren’t going to be powerless for long. Just like that Marden, using lightning takes down the inbound plane before it can land. They break out of the trailer and its meta-humans vs. bullets. Two of them bear down on Barry. In the chaos Snart fires his freeze gun at one of the meta-humans. But doesn’t fire on the other two. Snart intends to let them walk.

Iris approaches Eddie again in an attempt to salvage their relationship. He’s not interested in her “I choose my own fate” mentality. Eddie’s decision has not come from one single look into the future. It’s an honest realization to himself.

Eddie: This isn’t about the future, Iris. This is about here. Now. Today. Ever since the very beginning, there’s been three people in this relationship. You. Me. And Barry.
Iris: That is not true.
Eddie: You can deny it all you want. but Barry knows it, Joe knows it, and if I’m going to be completely honest with myself…I knew. I always knew. I guess I thought I could love you enough to change things.

Wells approaches Star Labs on foot while Barry and the team watch on a monitor. Everyone warns him against it, but Barry races out of there anyway. Face to face, Wells begins monologuing about what he’s done and not done and how Barry can’t beat him. Then Firestorm descends landing on Barry’s side of the invisible line of demarcation. Wells finds this slightly humorous. Then Arrow jumps down landing on the other side of Barry mirroring Firestorm.

Barry: I don’t care how fast you are, you can fight all of us.
Wells: Oh trust me, this is going to be fun.

Wells raises his arm and from inside a yellow ring flies the actual yellow suit allowing Wells to run into it. He and Barry race around in circles while Arrow and Firestorm watch from the sidelines. Wells gets the upper hand which allows Arrow to shoot Wells in the leg. His arrow using some tech designed by Ray Palmer (aka The Atom) and is currently draining Wells of his ability to use his speed. Wells and Arrow engage in hand to hand fighting at normal speeds.

Probably due to Wells’ ability (like Barry) to heal quickly, the arrow’s effect didn’t last as long as desired. Wells makes a cheesy reference to the history books and slowly begins to kill Oliver Queen by jamming his hand into Oliver’s chest. But Barry grabs him at full speed before he can. Banking on Wells arrogance, Barry gets him to give chase. At the right time, Firestorm lights him up. Wells falls from the apex of the Star Labs building all the way down landing and crushing a car. Then Arrow hits him again with one of his tech arrows. This time Wells seems down for the count.

Barry thanks his friends for the assistance. And it wouldn’t be a comic book adaptation production without some sort of cryptic easter egg type of drop. Here’s a spoiler alert wrap inside a spoiler alert. The CW has officially ordered a pilot season for a project titled “Legends of Tomorrow”. I’m sure this is not breaking news to most of you. It will highlight Flash and Arrow along with a host of other DC Universe good guys and bad guys as the face off amidst an “Unstoppable Threat”. I say all of this to illustrate the importance of Oliver Queen’s last line of this episode.

Barry: I see we’ve abandoned our traditional green?
Oliver: Trying something different. Look, I might need a favor from you…
Barry: Wherever, whenever.

The Flash: Accept The Balance

Courtesy of The CW
Courtesy of The CW

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)

The Flash: Firestorm Is Born

Courtesy of The CW
Courtesy of The CW

Warning: Spoiler Alert

We start this week with Barry Allen going on a date with Linda Park. I can’t emphasize enough how strange I find it that Barry Allen is dating Linda Park. Unless I’m missing some critical factor of The Flash lore. The date gets interrupted by a robbery call from Cisco. Barry wants to defer to the cops so he can finish his date, than Cisco lies on the guilt trip pretty thick. Barry ends up foiling two different crimes in progress and returns before Linda even notices he’s gone.

A middle-aged man walks through a door just to be met by Robbie (or at least we think it’s Robbie). He goes on the tell this man that they were classmates. University of Chicago class of ’74. Robbie probably wasn’t even born by 1974. After a story that this man never told anyone but one person, Robbie is identified as Martin. As in Dr. Martin Stein (played by Victor Garbor).

Barry, Caitlin and Cisco meet up at the coffee shop. After about two minutes making cracks about Barry moving too fast with Linda and how later he may ‘move too fast’, Cisco gets a text. He has to help a friend. The friend is Joe and the reason pertains to the case of the death of Barry’s mother. The woman who now owns Barry’s childhood home is something straight out of Desperate Housewives and someone Joe and Cisco need to avoid. Upon some deep digging Cisco discover silver nitrate. The hope being, that maybe the mirror they found it on may have photographic evidence of what happened that night.

At Star Labs the news report of Firestorm’s alleged attack escalates our team’s sense of urgency over dealing with Ronnie. We now know that the concept behind Firestorm is that Dr. Stein’s mind is controlling Ronnie’s body. Seeing a picture of Dr. Stein sends Barry into a flashback when he met Dr. Stein on a train. When Stein makes it to Star Labs, he is knocked to the ground when the accelerator exploded. When he fell a rig (say six inches cubed) holding a suspended sphere falls from his case. Stein holds the apparatus as a wave of something including Ronnie’s aura or soul collides with Dr. Stein.

Barry, Caitlin and Wells pay a visit to Mrs. Stein. Nothing seems all that helpful until Barry shows her a picture of Ronnie. She believes someone is watching her and that someone has to be Dr. Stein in Ronnie’s body.

Barry has planned out his second date effectively. But with Linda in the house and Joe most certainly not, Linda decides something else should happen. Side note, never in the history of ever has assumed coitus followed a man of any age using the phrase “Fro-Yo”. As it were, things begin to heat up just when Firestorm makes an appearance at the Stein residence where Dr. Wells and Caitlin are on a cop like stake out.

Wells (to Caitlin): So I’m assuming you have Barry on speed dial…?

The call comes at a great time as Barry is having trouble controlling his speed. When he arrives, he finds Ronnie’s body and addresses it as Dr. Stein. He announces his intentions and then too late asks Professor Stein to not “Flame on”. Stein then takes Barry on a ride, flying overhead. He drops Barry but feet before impact catches him and drops him into the windshield of the van Caitlin is driving.

At the old Allen residence, Cisco has created a device that will produce the photographic images. Then stepped it up and created a way to project 3D holographic images instead of 2D. That leads to Joe peeling back wallpaper and finding actual usable blood samples. Dr. Wells should be worried if he knew what was going on.

Barry placed a tracker on Ronnie’s body when Ronnie’s body took him for a ride. This time when they approach, they have a special new addition, Mrs. Stein. Fill in this next part with any Vice Versa/Big style attempt to convey that its him on the inside that knows her. Then surprisingly, Dr. Stein asks for their help.

Now twice Barry has had to cut out on Linda. So Linda pulls Iris aside to ask about Barry’s relationship history as they are ‘BFFs’. The result of which is Iris vaguely telling Linda a story about unrequited love, which Linda immediately interprets as that woman in question is Iris. Which then prompts Linda to decide to break it off. Barry then confronts Iris about it. Including telling her that he no longer has feelings for her (Iris). News flash Barry, you don’t develop feelings for someone over the course of 15 years and shake them in a matter of weeks.

Joe and Cisco use Barry’s lab to run the blood samples. Two different samples. Two speeders were the theory. Cisco goes to run the samples against the CCPD database. Then Joe asks something that will slam on the brakes in a hurry.

Joe: Can you run them against a specific person?
Cisco: Yeah sure, if we have someone to match it to. Who are we looking at?
Joe: Dr. Harrison Wells.

Caitlin preps Dr. Stein for some tests. Then she asks if she can speak with him (Ronnie). Stein conveys that it doesn’t work like that. But the good news is that Stein can feel Ronnie. Possess memories that belong to Ronnie and their respective intensity. One in particular. The place where Ronnie purposed. However, if his temperature keeps rising, he could go nuclear.

After a short but revealing conversation between Barry and Dr. Stein where Stein explains that life is too short to not live, Barry heads straight for Linda. He proclaims that he is not into anyone else. And to prove it he will heat a ridiculously hot ghost pepper if she doesn’t agree to go out with him again. In the cold open she out ate him in hot wings on their first date. She claims he’s bluffing and he wastes no time chomping into something I wouldn’t want to be in the same room with. Of course it works. Much to the dismay of Iris.

In the Braille room Wells pulls a hand gun from the near the Reverse Flash suit. His intention is to use it on Dr. Stein, thus killing both Ronnie and Dr. Stein to prevent a massive nuclear event. Hopefully a last resort. Instead, Wells asks Gideon if the Tachyon prototype can be retrofitted as a quantum splicer? The answer is yes, but it would delay whatever big picture plans Wells has. Naturally, the moment they have a feasible plan, Dr. Stein is gone.

Dr. Stein has taken himself to the ‘badlands’ 30 miles outside the city. Minimum distance for the blast radius to keep Central City safe. They finish converting the splicer and Wells goes to hand it to Barry but Caitlin grabs it first. She insists on going along.

Cisco then calls Joe to admit that while not proud of it, he ran the blood samples. One was unidentifiable and the other was most certainly not. Remember, two speedsters. The assumption is that one was Dr. Wells. If that is true, then Wells is the unidentifiable one.

Cisco: It’s Barry’s.
Joe: We all know Barry was there that night.
Cisco. No. No. You don’t understand. The blood had high levels of P16. A protein that builds up in the blood as we get older. And these levels were way too high for an 11-year-old. This sample was from Barry, as an adult.

Barry and Caitlin arrive just as Stein is about to put a bullet in his brain. She quickly explains the plan. Then painfully and awkwardly, tries to talk to Ronnie. She says, “Ronnie, I love you”. Then Stein pulls back and says, “that was from him”. Say what you will about The CW. They do pursue a specific target audience. But, at the same time with shows like Supernatural , Arrow and now Flash are making strides in quality. And Robbie Amell has done an incredible job channeling his inner Victor Garber.

The splicer is not working and Caitlin has a full on breakdown. Even fighting Barry’s efforts to get her to safety. As Barry sprints away, Stein/Ronnie do in fact go nuclear. The splicer looks like a discus with other small circles attached to it. When Caitlin placed it over his heart, the device expanded. Leaving a very specific design/logo/image on Stein’s chest. One large circle over his heart and two smaller ones over the right side of his chest.

Courtesy of DC Comics and Firestormfan.com
Courtesy of DC Comics and Firestormfan.com

The Flash: Dynamics Are Changing And Bigger Bad Guys Are Emerging

Courtesy of The CW
Courtesy of The CW

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Cisco: Dude. That was insane. I mean, even I’m having a hard time getting mad at you for dirtying up my suit.
Barry: Alright, when are we going to start considering it ‘my suit’?
Cisco: I could be comfortable calling it, our suit.

A mystery woman teleports into a prison. I’d love to say it was more than this, but just a jail break for love. Or at least that’s all it looks like at this point. The next morning, Barry is in the prison doing his forensic work. He tells Joe that he found some residual organic particulates. Or in other words when this mystery woman teleports she leaves pieces of herself. Then Joe walks into the cell revealing Henry Allen (Barry’s father). Probably the first moment they’ve had together without security glass between them.

Cisco cannot part with what Hartley said last week. Ronnie is out there and suffering from something. Despite everything telling him that letting Hartley out is a bad idea, Cisco cannot help himself. The risk/reward is too great to ignore. When they exit the building, Hartley makes it RiddleFest ’15 and eventually tries to flee Cisco. A fight ensues as Cisco actually does alright. Luckily he was carrying a remote that controls Hartley’s ear tech.

There is a robbery in progress. You guessed it, teleporting Bonnie and Clyde. Barry arrives in time to see Shauna putting the money bags in the trunk of the car. She’s arrogant about her powers and challenges Barry to catch her. Which he does. Repeatedly. But she just keeps teleporting out of it. Her male counterpart arrives and attempts to shoot Barry. He’s able to catch the bullet but not before it digs into his neck a little. Then he drops in a cheesy dig at Superman, a character he has yet to encounter based on this particular show’s timeline.

Caitlin: This is a bullet wound, you’re lucky it just barely broke the skin.
Barry: Guess I’m a lot faster than a speeding bullet.

Speeding Bullet

Barry leaves to meet up with Iris and help save her job as a Flash reporter when those plans are foiled by a previous Eddie related dinner date. Barry calls up Caitlin to see what bars our bad couple used to frequent. Caitlin decides to join him. With a quirky smile. If Caitlin is to move on from Ronnie, that means looking to other men as options. Cisco really isn’t an option so the next closest option is Barry. She goes to meet Barry, and Barry notices her immediately in a way one doesn’t notice co-workers. The black outfit didn’t hurt.

Hartley is assisting Cisco in trying to discover what exactly happened to Ronnie. He keeps bringing up Dr. Stein. Eventually there is video footage of Stein at the accelerator. Stein a scientist who specializes in making two things one, merged himself and Ronnie. Then while Cisco was distracted, Hartley removed his ear tech, snapped it, and the result normally in Hartley’s head is now in Cisco’s.

After a karaoke performance that I refused to sit through, Caitlin decides to use the ladies room. Based on how drunk she seems, I’m guessing to throw up. Then “Linda” (Park-you might want to tuck that name away in the back of your mind) approaches the bar and starts talking up Barry. She even pulls out her phone to show him an app that instantly puts her phone number in his phone. Lame but effective. Caitlin didn’t go to the restroom to throw up. That came after returning from the restroom.

Side note:  Why is Linda Park giving her number to Barry Allen?  New fans of The Flash might not understand my meaning.  By all means feel free to Google it if you’d like, but my understanding is that Linda Park becomes Mrs. Wally West.  Wally being ‘A Flash’, but not the Barry Allen Flash.  It might be a small detail, but one that I hope they clarify in some way later.

The man holding the debt our bad couple is attempting to pay back is very intrigued to discover Shauna’s ability. Then Joe busts through the door with SWAT. The raid is effective until the last second. They teleport away. Again.

Barry rushes Caitlin back home who is still very drunk. Barry does the gentlemanly thing and turns on the lights making sure she doesn’t fall or anything. Caitlin does what single people do when they arrive home alone. She starts undressing. Which Barry doesn’t seem to mind. His better instincts kick in and he turns around as to not see something she will regret him seeing tomorrow. She looks up and asks for a little help. Barry undresses her and then dresses her in pajamas in about 2 seconds flat. Probably so he wouldn’t see something she would regret he saw tomorrow.

Caitlin (still very drunk): There you go again. Saving me from that evil dress.
(Barry moves her towards her bed)
Caitlin: Did you sneak a peek? At my goods?
Barry: I wouldn’t be much of a hero if I did.

Barry waits at the Star Labs entrance for Caitlin. Hung over doesn’t quite cover it. When they approach the control room, Wells sits sternly in his wheelchair and tells them that Cisco has something to tell them. The first part is the Hartley misstep. The second and much more important part is the why. It wasn’t for Caitlin, not directly. Cisco comes clean on what he did that night in the accelerator and how he has always felt responsible for Ronnie’s fate. Instead of hitting him or yelling at him or anything predictable, Caitlin does none of that. She tells Cisco that if Ronnie were here, he would say Cisco did the right thing.

After devising a plan to remove Shauna’s ability to see where she’s going, Barry gets a phone call. His Dad has been stabbed. Henry Allen asked around the prison yard for information that might help Barry and Joe. After which Barry made him swear to stop the “cop stuff”. Despite Barry’s warnings, Henry was not going to pass up an opportunity to be useful. Even if that meant taking a beating for it.

Barry convinces his Dad to tell him who beat him. He races over there and removes this ‘Julius’ from his cell taking him outside the fence line. Julius is concerned with the added years they might apply to his sentence for attempting to escape. The sirens from the prison sound and Barry decides to have a little fun with Julius. Julius spills the details of this new heist, which was happening right then. Barry takes off, leaving Julius to get caught trying to escape.

Barry finds the couple fleeing their latest score and engages Shauna. The fight doesn’t go in Barry’s favor. They begin to drive off when Wells reminds Barry to limit her field of vision. So while they are still in tunnel, Barry uses wrenches to take out all the lights. When Barry finally got to her, Shauna sat dejected in the car alone.

Shauna: He left me.

Barry and Caitlin have a conversation after locking up Shauna. But it’s not the conversation it should be. They both decide they need to move on passed the people they’ve individually been hung up on. It gets awkward and Barry leaves. But Caitlin gets that look on her face that women get when the wheels in their head start turning.

Next Barry shows up at Iris’ paper, but not to see her. Barry called Linda and set up a date. (‘Bout time Barry).

Afterwards, Barry goes to visit his Dad who is still in the infirmary. Henry shows Barry a newspaper that has The Flash’s picture on the front page. Henry tells a story about how The Flash saved Joe in front of him and Barry shakes it off as if it were a story he heard. Then the bit about Julius. Barry tries to pivot and suggest that if he were The Flash, his Dad would know it. Then their conversation becomes one in the abstract. They both know, but neither calling it out. They both get teary.

Henry: Well, if the Flash were my son, I’d tell him a few things. First off, I’d tell him its a dangerous world…so be careful. Then I’d tell him he’s a hero and he’s saving a lot of lives. But the most important thing for him to know, is that his father’s proud of him.

Two city workers venture down into the sewer for what has to be maintenance. They point flashlights on the cement walls. Where one very important “Flash” word/name has been scratched in. “G-R-O-D-D”. From the darkness, Grodd pulls these men down and out of view. The image of Grodd is still very limited. He has now appeared in two episodes for a total of maybe 30 seconds. But any Flash historian will tell you (which I am not), the appearance of Grodd is huge. Wells is a character made up for this series. Firestorm is potentially a big bad, but would peril in comparison to Grodd.

Courtesy of The CW and DC Comics
Courtesy of The CW and DC Comics