Staring contest, GO!
Ahh, nothing like a cosplay party to get the odd looks from the taxi drivers. Good times.
The episode opens 10 months in the past, where we see a young man climbing an electric tower the night of the explosion. While trying to climb down he got caught in the blast and fell, his two friends rushing to help him. Jumping to the present, we join Wells in his secret future room, reviewing his stalker logs of Barry. He seems to believe that Barry’s attachment to people, and being a hero is holding him back. We jump to Barry doing various super speed stuff before arriving at S.T.A.R. Labs, late as usual. Wells tells Barry that he needs to start going faster, to push his limits beyond the current. Before we can get what I can only assume would be an 80’s style training montage, Barry gets a call about a dead body and rushes off to work. The body is found electrocuted to death, the odd thing, no power lines or sources of electricity near the body. (obviously Static Shock has become a villain, tis a dark day) While trying to figure who done it, the bad guy alarm goes off at a nearby power plant and Barry rushes out to do his hero thing. He confronts the baddie and gets zapped for his trouble, the baddie saying that he needs to feed. Turns out that the zap not only gave Barry a shock, but drained his powers. Wells and the others are shocked by this, Barry’s powers coming from his altered DNA and therefore being impossible to be drained, but it happened. At the same time, a prisoner transfer is going down at the police station, those of you who also watched Arrow will recognize the prisoner as none other than Williams Tockman, aka, The Clock King. The shit hits the fan when Farooq, the zappy guy, shows up at S.T.A.R., intending to kill Wells, blaming him for the death of his friends, the two being shocked to death trying to revive him with CPR on explosion night. Farooq rips into the power lines and drains the power of the entire city, trapping Barry inside the labs while across town Clock King grabs a gun and holds the few people in the police station hostage, Iris and Joe included. Cisco figures that Barry’s powers are just drained and not permanently gone, all they need is a powerful enough shock to juice them up. While they go about this, Wells says that he is going to try and buy them time, he does this by releasing Tony, the bad guy from last week, telling him that if he kills Farooq he can go free. After a heart to heart between Barry and Caitlin, in which Barry must give a motivational speech to convince Caitlin to zap him, she does it. Sadly it doesn’t work. The two attempt to escape the lab only to come across a badly injured Tony, who tells them to run just before he dies. The two meet up with Cisco and Wells, where Barry blows up at Wells over Tony, accusing him of not caring about human life, and that no matter Tony did or was, he did not deserve to die.
Across town, the Clock King has given his demands, and has shot Eddie, who is now bleeding to death. When his demands are met, CK grabs Iris as his hostage and drags her away, she gets a moment to say goodbye to Eddie, who whispers to her about his back up gun in his ankle holster. She sneaks it out and when she is alone with CK pulls the gun. We got back to Joe, seeing his reaction as a gunshot is heard through the building. Back to S.T.A.R. Labs, we see Barry and friends trying to escape the building, but are stopped by Farooq as he drains the power from their van. Barry gets another zap, Caitlin rushing to his side. In a truly noble scene, Wells offers himself up to save the others. At the same time, Barry starts to show signs that his powers are returning, all that is stopping him is a mental block, which he overcomes as he sees Farooq about to zap Wells. He saves him, and stops captain zappy when he tries to drain Barry’s powers again, turns out that Barry has now fully accepted his powers on a mental level, bringing them to new heights and essentially chocking Farooq on them (Caitlin’s words, not mine) With the baddie down for the count, Barry pays a visit to a stoned Eddie in the hospital, and appears to Iris in costume, apologizing for not being there to help, Iris forgives him, saying that sometimes people need to be there own hero. Barry and Wells have a heart to heart, Barry apologizing (wow he is doing that a lot) for his earlier harsh words, Wells says that Barry wasn’t far off, but accepts the apology and the two kick up Barry’s training. We close out with Wells taking a blood sample from the dead Farooq, interested in how he drained Barry’s powers.
After lasts weeks episode, where hit new levels of speed and awesomeness with his Mach Punch, we see the opposite, a totally powerless Barry. I will be honest, this wasn’t as great as I had hoped it would be. I was expecting a powerless Barry having to rely on his smarts and wits to stop the baddie, with help from Cisco and Caitlin of course, but sadly that didn’t happen. Instead, we got a heartbroken Barry. In a lot of cases, the loss of powers would cause a hero to question their worth as a hero, but I am happy to note that that was not the case here. This entire experience only reaffirmed Barry’s commitment to being a hero, even quoting Oliver’s words of wisdom in the pilot, about him being chosen by the lightning. Seeing him say this to Caitlin, helping to reaffirm her faith in him as well, was a nice touch, and did help to show how much Oliver’s faith in him matters to Barry. Gustin was just flat out fantastic in this episode, and in most episodes to be honest. His refusal to give up, his desire to truly be a hero and protect others, his rage at Wells over his presumed lack of caring in others, all perfectly played, and a fantastic representation of the character of Flash.
The death of Tony was a surprise, but in only the best way. When you have a villain that knows the hero’s identity, there are a slew of options for them. I was honestly expecting him to break out later down the line, using his knowledge of Flash’s identity against him or possibly a redemption story, instead, we got him back the very next week in an almost heroic death. Sure, he planned on killing Farooq for his freedom, preventing him from ever being a full on hero, but his final words, telling Barry and Caitlin to run, says so much about his character. He was never a full on villain, just an average guy, bit of a jackass sure, but not evil. His death was honestly a sad moment for the episode, and the series as whole so far, and very unexpected. It made me feel things guys, and that freaks me out, a lot.
Farooq himself was another interesting villain. Like Tony he was just a guy that got powers, powers that did something horrible to his friends and basically gave him an incurable sickness. He didn’t have some horrible plot to wreak havoc, his first kill most likely being an accident, and not even trying to take Barry’s powers. To his mind, Wells was a villain that needed to be punished, and he was the only one willing to do so. That is two weeks in a row that we have gotten villains that aren’t full on bad guys, I hope we continue to see more interesting villains like this in the future, they are nice break from the traditional baddie.
Sadly, Cisco didn’t do much this week, kinda falling to the wayside, popping up to provide the tech bits needed to help Barry but that’s it. However, we had some truly amazing Caitlin and Barry moments. While I doubt it will happen, I totally ship those two together. These moments were nice and really helped to build the relationship between the characters, which is always an important thing to do in order to help flesh out stories and characters. Speaking of that, lets talk about Wells.
Here is what we know thus far:
– He has a connection to the future
– Is super smart
– Can totally still walk
– Has a vested interest in Barry’s future
After this week, I think I am willing to add another thing to that list. TOTALLY A VILLAIN! I was honestly not sure up till now. I knew he was a far from noble character, what with the lying and killing and all, but his total willingness to throw Tony to the wolves, his interest in how Barry’s powers were drained. Dude is totally a villain. I am thinking he might be the Anti-Flash, who will be appearing a couple episodes down the line, but that seems a bit to obvious. Either way, my interest in this character has grown exponentially because of this episode and can’t wait for more.
As for a subplot, it was amazing. I really enjoyed the inclusion a second villain, one that continues to help tie Arrow and The Flash together and building up the shared universe. I love this, ever so much. Clock King himself was a great choice for a villain. He was cold and calculating, had a certain charisma about him that makes him a likable villain, and was honestly a major threat. What was best about this was Iris. I will be honest, she has not done much to wow me so far. While I don’t hate her or think of her as a useless character like I do with Laurel on Arrow, I was still waiting for something to be done to make her more interesting. Her stepping up and being a hero when the situation demanded it was perfect. I give her all the props for this, and a nod to Candice Patton for playing the part well.
Overall, great episode. Barry was fantastic in his depowered state, had some solid moments with Caitlin. Wells has becoming even more interesting and is shaping up to be a solid, if secret, villain. Iris actually did something, other than provide Barry with some advice or heartache, and we had some really interesting moments with the villains.