A pair of Arrow regulars escape to Central City as the tension between several Flash characters comes to a boil.
Let’s bitch it out…
Secrets abound in superhero narratives, often around secret identities. It makes sense, then, that as The Flash nears the end of its spectacular first season the weight of all of those secrets are starting to be felt.
For Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), his relationship with mentor / father figure Dr. Wells (Tom Cavanaugh) was irreparably altered during the events of 1×15 ‘Out Of Time’. Since then Barry has barely been able to spend time in the same room with the man and pretty much everyone has noticed. Despite this, he’s kept a lid on what he knows; only Joe (Jesse L. Martin) is aware of Wells’ true identity as the Reverse Flash, but Barry wants to change that by confiding in Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker). It’s a dangerous suggestion, as Joe rightfully points out. After all, they have no idea who is loyal to who and revealing their suspicions could end up tipping Wells off in one way or another.
A similar identity crisis is playing out in Iris (Candice Patton) and Eddie’s (Rick Cosnett) relationship. Since learning The Flash’s secret, Eddie, like Barry, is struggling – and failing – to maintain his composure. Iris immediately picks up on her boyfriend’s change in behaviour, but Eddie can’t confide in her. This is a more difficult conflict to invest in, if only because we care less about its resolution. The Barry vs Wells conflict is at the heart of the series. Whether Iris and Eddie stick it out is secondary, and the writers have communicated that fairly clearly throughout the season by focusing less on Iris & Eddie than Barry’s longstanding affection for Iris.
Despite all this, I still found this story line enjoyable. I can complain that I’m not invested in Iris and Eddie, but bringing Eddie into the inner sanctum was still a smart idea because now he gets to do more. This episode is exhibit A: all of the sudden Eddie is stuck in a really difficult situation because Barry confided in him. Telling Iris the truth isn’t an option because it’s not his secret to tell, but as her ultimatum at the end of the episode proves, he’s the one who will suffer for keeping silent. It will be interesting to see how Cisco and Caitlin handle the responsibility of keeping something from someone they care about moving forward.
The fifth wheel date is a great way to bring both story lines together. Felicity’s (Emily Bett Rickards) appearance in Starling City introduces an objective outsider into the mix and together with Ray (Brandon Routh), the pair bring a nice levity to the proceedings.* When Felicity suggests another double-date to smooth things over, Eddie leaps at the chance to normalize his relationship with Iris. Unfortunately Felicity and Ray’s endearingly sweet honeymoon phase only reinforces what is missing in Iris and Eddie’s relationship. Add to this Ray’s hero-worship of Dr. Wells, which sends Barry running to the bathroom to clear his head, and the dinner is an all-around failure.
*Or at least they do for the first half of the episode, which plays like a mile-a-minute joke-cracking machine.
The Flash‘s writers clearly have an affection for Felicity because the computer genius once again saves the day in her second appearance on the show. Not only does she eventually manage to stop the electronic honey bees, she talks Barry through his trust issues so that by the end of the episode he is in a position to reveal his Dr. Wells info board.
Iris and Eddie, however? Things aren’t looking so rosy for them. Maybe Iris needs to get Felicity on speed dial…
- The case of the week is pretty weak, even by The Flash standards. We’ve seen the jilted former co-worker who wreaks revenge story line before and ‘All Star Team Up’ has nothing new to contribute. Even the suggested parallel between Barry/Wells and Brie (Emily Kinney) and her mentor, Dr. Tina McGee (Amanda Pays) fizzles.
- The way Kinney’s guest appearance was being promoted, I was genuinely shocked at how little she was given to do. She barely had any lines! Her ludicrous Jessica Simpson hair extensions got to do more than she did!
- The opening murder of the bees attacking the woman in the car gave me all kinds of The X-Files vibes, specifically 1×19 ‘Darkness Falls’ (Fun Fact: that was the first episode of that supernatural series I ever saw)
- In the wake of Barry’s run back in time, I lamented that the series hit the reset and pretended nothing had happened. It’s nice to see that that’s not entirely the case as Cisco begins remembering snippets of what happened, including the revelation that Wells killed him,
- Does that mean that others will begin remembering what happened to them in the alt-timeline? Is Iris having dreams of confessing her love to Barry as a tidal wave rushes towards them?
- Watching Cisco and Ray bro-bond over their shared love of technology and naming villains is a ton of fun. Maybe Cisco can pop by to visit The Atom should the proposed Arrow/The Flash spin-off get greenlit.
- Also fun: Barry and Joe’s tag-team approach to preventing crime in the opening scene, although it seems risky moving Joe between cars during a high speed chase (and into the driver’s seat to boot!) I wonder what my driver’s ed instructor would say about that unsafe driving practice.
- Finally, considering what happened the last time she went singing, I’m surprised Caitlin was so eager to revisit karaoke.
- Joe (to a man charged with indecent exposure): “That ain’t something you should be showing off.”
- Cisco: “Bees. Why did it have to be bees?” Cisco loves a good movie reference.
- Caitlin (observing Ray in the sky): “Is that a bird?” Cisco: “It’s a plane.” Felicity: “It’s…my boyfriend”
- Cisco (after Ray names himself The Atom): “You married to that?”
- Caitlin (as Felicity and Ray bungle their way through a sexy-filled explanation): “God there’s two of them”
- Felicity (after Barry nearly dying): “I was very specific that you not die.”
- Barry (as Iris and Eddie fight): “Oh thank god. It’s the food. The food is here.”
- Felicity (hack battling Brie): “Oh she’s good. She’s like my nemesis. I’ve never had a nemesis before. I don’t like it.”
Your turn: were you disappointed in the case of the week? Hoping for more from Kinney? Were you excited to see Felicity and Ray in Central? Do you care if Eddie and Iris break up? Glad that Barry came to his senses and confided in his co-workers about his suspicion of Wells? Were you expecting more or less awkwardness from the dinner date? Sound off below.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8pm EST on The CW