Mmm, Power Bars. A superheros best friend.
We open like we did last time, with a voice over from Barry, usual stuff, I’m a hero, I do heroic stuff, blah blah blah, pretty usual fair. Then things actually get going, we see that Barry is on his way to burning building, Cisco running ops from back at S.T.A.R. Labs. Barry successfully pulls out the people stuck in the building and returns to base. Caitlin is unhappy about this, thinking that Barry is being stupid and taking needless risks, that he is supposed to be focusing on the Meta-Humans and not the things that police should be handling. Cisco also asks Barry if he is feeling okay, noticing some odd readings in his suit. Barry tells him its nothing to worry about and speeds off to a crime scene at a gun store. Thawne pulls security camera footage which shows the crime was done by one person, but Barry finds foot prints for six different men, all of them of the same shoe size. Joe is quick to figure out what Barry has been up too, and comes down hard on him. He tells Barry that he isn’t a hero and shouldn’t be involving himself in situations that the police should be handling. Back at his lab, Barry is hard at work when Iris comes in. At Barry’s insistence she took a journalism course (another nod to the characters comic book counterpart) and she has a report to write on a local scientist/CEO who is being given an award, Barry having promised to come along and translate the science talk. At the ceremony masked gunmen storm in, planning to kill the guest of honor but just end up robbing the place since he had already left. When a security guard tries to stop the thieves, they pull guns and shoot on the guard. Barry springs into action and pulls the guard out of the way before giving chase, but passes out before he can catch them. His plucky team of scientist friends discover that his metabolism is running faster than a normal persons, a side effect of his powers, and needs to up his food intake to counteract it. Joe comes down hard on Barry again for putting himself in harms way, and possible revealing his powers to Iris. We learn the group of gunmen is in fact just one guy that can clone himself, another Meta-Human affected by the accelerator explosion. They discover that the killer is a former employee of the Simon Stagg, the CEO from before, and had stolen the baddies research and fired him. Barry tries to stop him, and while Stagg is able to get away, Barry is unable to stop the baddie. In light of his failure, and Joe’s lingering words, Barry chooses to walk away from the hero life, not believing that he is cut out for it.
(despite Oliver’s pep talk last week) Dr. Wells goes to Joe, telling him that the real reason Barry doesn’t have faith in himself is because Joe, the man who raised him and was a second father to him, doesn’t believe he can. Seeing the error of his eyes, and fully realizing what all Barry can do, Joe goes to him and tells him to stop the baddie, that he is the only one. Inspired by the words of his friend and father figure, and armed with Cisco’s new super power bar, Barry once again suits up and goes to be a hero. With Caitlin’s discovery about how the clones only work when the Prime baddie is controlling them, Barry is able to isolate him and knock him out, after a pretty awesome fight scene. We learn that the baddie is after revenge not because he was fired but because his wife died because Stagg stole his research. He charges Barry, who dodges out of the way, and goes flying out the window. Barry tries to save him, but the baddie lets go, refusing to be saved and falling to his death. Dr. Wells goes to confront Stagg, who witnessed Barry in action, making plans to find a way to control Barry’s powers and probably do evil stuff with it. Wells stabs him, dick move I know, stating that The Flash must be protected, casting more mystery on Well’s connection to the Scarlet Speedster and what his motivations are. The episode closes out with Barry and Joe making amends in a rather touching scene, Barry telling Joe because of everything he has done for him over the years, he is in fact a father to him and Joe deciding to help Barry find his mother’s real killer and prove his father’s innocence. We also have Iris finding a new goal, to learn as much about this mysterious “Red Streak” as possible.
Like Arrow, we are also treated to a flashback subplot revovling around young Barry and his relationship with Joe. This doesn’t take place long after Barry goes to live with Joe and Iris, and still hurting and angry over his father’s imprisonment, is naturally rebellious against Joe. He constantly is sneaking out to try and go to visit his father in prison, getting into fights and arguments with Joe when he is stopped. There is a nice scene between young Barry and his dad (who I just learned is played by the same actor from the 90’s Flash series) but not much else happens with this story.
This show continues to be great. This week we are treated to Barry’s first pot hole on his road to being hero, something that happens to every hero at some point. This one is handled very well too. Barry at the beginning is full on embracing his new found role as a hero, going out of his way save people, to be the hero he was always meant to be. At the same time, Caitlin and Joe falling into the role of his detractors felt real and natural. Joe is obviously worried about Barry, seeing him as a son and not wanting any harm to befall him. He is also concerned about Iris, worried that she will figure out Barry’s secret and be placed in danger as well. Another factor to this is that Joe is just flat out scared of Barry’s powers. His normal world has been shattered by the reveal of Barry’s powers and the existence of Meta-Humans, he doesn’t know how to handle this new information and tries to bury it, make Barry stay in the role of the CSI tech because that is what he knows and his comfortable with. Dr. Wells appearing to him was an amazing moment, giving Joe that outside viewpoint allowing him to see everything that Barry can do, all that he is capable of, and most important, just how much Barry values his advice. Learning that he can’t hold his son back, he has to stand with him and support him. In a word, it was amazing.
For Caitlin, its pretty obvious that she is starting to care for Barry as a friend, her anger over his placing himself in danger and not telling them about his dizzy spells evidence to that. This all goes back to the death of her fiance Ronnie, she already lost one person she cared about (or did she?) and doesn’t want to lose another. In the end, she is moved by Joe’s words just as much as Barry, realizing what Barry can do, and the amazing things he can do.
We have some subplots here, the big one focusing on Iris and new found passion for journalism, but this was really more for seeding future story lines than anything else. It is mentioned but nothing much is done with it. Overall, it is a nice bit to help break up the story and flesh out the character of Iris a bit more, but it is a minimal part of the episode and doesn’t really bring much to the table.
The whole Barry and his metabolism thing, another small part, but was nice. The ultra fast metabolism is a part of the Flash’s powers, and their touching on it was a nice point, mostly because it was used to minimally. It was played up as a bigger problem than it was, just a fun thing to throw in to show us more of the effects of Barry’s super speed on how it is impacting his life. The whole Flash specific power bar is something that is well integrated in Flash Lore, appearing several other media sources that contain the character. I hope it is something kept around as a running thing in the background, Barry randomly munching on one at times, or going to Cisco to pick up more, small things like that can really help to expand on the universe.
Finally, Wells, what is up with that guy? I am gonna start keeping a count of what we learn about him, and here is what he have so far:
A) He is lying about being paralyzed
B) He is from the future, or at the very least has some knowledge of it
C) It appears that he wants to protect Barry, but for what purpose we don’t know.
Overall, great episode, Barry’s self doubts were believable and it was nice to see how important the relationship between Barry and Joe is. The other characters played smaller, but solid supporting roles, and we got some nice little bits that helped to flesh out the world a bit more, and give us some nice nods to different parts of Flash Lore.