Jessie Robertson reviews the ninth episode of The Flash…
It’s the mid-season finale, so things are going to get hectic; so much goes down in this episode, it does feel like an overload to process. I guess you could say the theme of this episode is love; Barry’s soft, requited confession to Iris, the euphoric look in Eddie’s eye as he and Iris take their relationship to the next step, the confusion and relief Caitlin goes through when seeing Ronnie, it’s all here and what better time than Christmas to stand fool-hardy on the balance of love and see what happens?
The most exciting thing going on is we finally get to see the Man in Yellow up close (Curious George fans, steer clear of this guy!). When you get a reveal like this, that’s been building, it’s all about the clues, and I was glued to my TV watching for them. The chase scene kicking off the episode and barreling through the middle is exactly what Flash fans have been dying to see since the series was announced: a Speedster chase! And it delivers in spades. The effects team on this show deserve heavy accolade for the visual perfection they achieve nearly weekly. “We’ve done this before” and “I always beat you” are damn intriguing subtext from the man in yellow (can we just call him Reverse Flash already?) as he pounds Barry into mincemeat, not once, but twice. It seems Reverse Flash is after a Takion device which could make him, as Wells puts it, “invincible.” So, CCPD work with STAR Labs to create a force field to trap him in it. Eddie, now head of the Flash Capture Task Force (the same path Arrow took, which makes total sense), coerces Joe, forcefully, to allow his group to be at the scene; one person Joe forbids to be there is Barry; as Joe tells him, “it’s not your fight today.” Don’t forget; Reverse Flash threatened Iris’ life and Joe is now coming clean about it, and shuts it down when Barry becomes indignant over the fact he didn’t say anything. Remember, Barry, Joe’s a proud papa and it’s his right. Reverse Flash does get capture, but proceeds to beat Wells down brutally in the mean time, right before he escapes. Joe questions him; why he killed Nora Allen 14 years ago? That, Detective, is something that won’t be revealed until late the in season, by my estimation.
Back to papas, since Barry is shut out of the capture, he visits his father in prison. It plays nicely against the flashback when Barry remembers last having both his parents tuck him in at night. He was a lucky kid; his mother tells him not to be afraid and his father reiterates the sentiment from behind glass to let the fear go, the man in yellow has taken enough from us. Barry later categorizes his fear as the the thing that allowed the Reverse Flash to best him twice; and if I had seen that yellow creep watching me from a rooftop across the city like he had, I’d be damn freaked out too! Jesse L. Martin (Joe West) also gets another chance to shine; as he too breaks down the trials bringing Barry into his life were going to be, but were immediately dashed when he moved in, as he was a ray of light to their world. It’s a speech that puts this show on an upper shelf in regards to programming, and he’s the soul of this show. In fact, there’s a warmth to these characters that both separates it from it’s sister show (Arrow) and leaves enough room to grow into Arrow’s gritty despair. I mean, who would want to have Christmas in that house? It exuded love, and holiday spirit, and even as Barry watched the love of his life smooching on her man in the corner, all he could was wish her well.
The other big plot thread this week was the complete introduction of Ronnie Raymond, or Firestorm, as he proclaims himself. He moves like a zombie, looks like a hobo, and seems as confused and scared as a stray cat. Danielle Panabaker (Caitlin Snow) can often come off as cold, then the next moment, overly nice and sweet, but this week she got two sincere moments to shine; one with Cisco, recounting what she would sacrifice to have one more minute with her love, and she got it and wished it hadn’t happened. That’s a profound statement and was really well acted. The second came later when she was patching up Dr. Wells and he reassured her they would bring him back. Not only did we get to see Ronnie flame up (twice), he took flight in one of the standout moments for me. My theory: he will be somehow conjoined, as in the comics, being parts of two people to combine into this special meta-human, as it was Ronnie Raymond, a normal high schooler and Martin Stein, a Nobel winning scientist that merged to create the original Firestorm. I only theorize this because “Ronnie” didn’t seem to recognize Caitlin at all but he was still drawn to her, so maybe someone else’s psyche confined to Ronnie’s body? Time will tell.
I lastly want to talk about another huge moment that went down tonight: Barry’s confession of love to Iris. I understand the events that brought it forth (holiday season, his dad’s speech to him) but this felt packed into an already heavily packed show and I fear this will be the storyline that has less impact because it has no time to breathe. Barry and Iris were in a scene together no later than 10 minutes after the fact, and have to act normally. I thought what Barry said, his delivery, his sentiment, Iris’ reaction, were all completely normal, and done well, but when you look at the other revelations here, the appearance of Firestorm, Wells’ secret revealed, those will not be right back in the forefront like Barry and Iris will; but I have faith in these creators to have a plan so I am looking forward to seeing how it all shakes out. A tremendous closer to 2014, cementing The Flash as a staple of prime time television.
– How does Eddie see Barry’s love and Iris doesn’t??? Is she just too close to it? BTW, as I said before, Eddie is a great dude and good character to this cast and I like that’s very decent to Iris so not to make a Barry decision easier on her.
– Amanda Pays (Tina McGee), who starred on the original Flash series as Barry’s love interest, reprises her same character in this version but this time as a STAR Lab’s chief competitor, Mercury Labs, who created the Takion device Wells is after.
– Cisco gives Joe a potential lead to Nora Allen’s murder by telling him the red and yellow lightning young Barry describes, he saw the very same thing tonight when Flash and Reverse Flash were fighting; MIC DROP!
– Can we get the recipe to Grandma Esther’s Egg Nog ?
SUPER SPOILERS AHEAD!
– Okay, so I was correct in guessing Wells is indeed Reverse Flash! It’s something I think most ardent fans could come up with and I applaud them for not trying to pull a fast one and switch it up. It makes the most sense; now I just have to figure out how he beat himself up in the past?
Jessie Robertson is a contributing writer who loves all things comic books. He currently has one novel on Amazon.com, exploring people able to consciously do what they want in dreams. Yeah, sounds good right? Feel free to email him anything, questions, comments, critiques or Lost trivia at firstname.lastname@example.org.