Man, I really got to get me some super powers, they are just so neat!
Returning again to Central City we rejoin Barry Allen, aka The Flash. When last we left him he and Iris had a falling out over her writing her Streak related blog. Sadly, the patching up has yet to commence, and before anything can be done a new baddie makes himself known on the scene. His name is Tony, and he can turn himself into metal (don’t worry, the Superman joke was already made) Barry comes across just after he has stolen a car and is running from the cops. Eddie takes some shots at him, all of them bouncing off his metal skin, before Joe tackles him out of the way of the speeding car. Barry catches up to him, but is unable to stop him, takes a pretty massive beating instead. He limps back to S.T.A.R. Labs and is patched up by the ever so lovely Caitlin, where Barry reveals that the baddie is none other than a grade school bully who used to torment him. With Barry unable to do any real damage to the Tin Man, Cisco goes to work figuring out how Barry can take him down. While Cisco is hard at work, Barry goes back to his day job, where we are treated to some surprisingly nice scenes between Barry and Eddie, some good ol’ fashioned manly bonding! Things take a turn for the worse when Tony shows up at Iris’s place of work, he is surprisingly mellow and calm for most of the scene, showing he isn’t really evil, just not all that great. He runs when Iris mentions her cop boyfriend, but not before smashing her phone and leaving a very generous tip. When Barry learns of this, he grows enraged, concern over his friend overwriting his common sense and he goes to the iron foundry that Tony used to work at. The two fight again, and once again Barry is pounded into the ground. Tony leaves him for dead, but Cisco and Caitlin find him and pull him out. Barry has a break down, feeling powerless that he couldn’t fight his bully then, and can’t fight him now. His moping is cut short when he learns that Iris has been taken by Tony and he has to go save her. Cisco has learned that in order to have any effect on Tony, Barry would need to hit mach 1.3, causing a sonic boom in the process. As we learn, Tony took Iris because of her blog. He wants her to start writing about him, making him famous. He was a guy that hit the top in highschool and after that was nothing but downhill for him, and he sees Iris and her blog as a way to get back on top. Barry shows up to save him, this time taking his brief boxing match with Eddie to heart, fighting smart and is able to hold his own, if only for awhile. Tony gains the upper hand and starts swatting Barry around again, when Barry remembers words of advice from Joe about running from a fight you can’t win. He runs, 5.3 miles away, the needed distance he needs to hit mach 1.3. With a sonic boom in his wake, Barry slams a super sonic punch into Tony’s jaw. Tony gets hurt, but doesn’t go down until Iris lands a punch. Tony comes too in his new cell at S.T.A.R. Labs, shocked to see that Barry was the speedster that put him down. For a second there he looks almost ashamed of his actions as Barry lectures him, but grows enraged as Barry walks away, ignoring him. At the close, Barry pays a visit to Iris, the two patch things up, and Iris. via her blog, officially bestows the name Flash on Barry’s superhero identity.
On a subplot, we see Joe hard at work on solving the murder of Barry’s mom. He approaches Wells, asking if it is possible that someone with Barry’s powers could have been around back then, but Wells shoots the idea down. Joe later accuses him, angering Wells, who reveals a bit of backstory to him about a lost love. Joe learns he screwed up and apologizes to Wells, asking if it was at possible for another speedster to be around, but Wells still says no. We close out with Joe working the case at home when a yellow and red streak blazes into the room, knocking him back. The streak briefly resolves into the image of a man like we saw in the pilot, before leaving. Left behind is a picture of Iris pinned to the wall with a knife, warning Joe off the case.
I loved this episode, honestly did. Primarily because of the villain. It was nice to see one that could so easily toss Barry around, it showed that while he is indeed powerful, and very competent, he can still be beaten in a fight. Making things even better was the villain himself. Tony wasn’t a psycho with newly gained powers trying to murder people or cause mass chaos, he was just a guy. Sure he had some anger issues, and obviously a bit of an inferiority complex from peaking so young in life, but he was very much the type of person that anyone could be become, that you could see on the street. Sure, he used his powers to do illegal stuff, but stealing cars and kegs hardly makes one a super villain.
This episode was not about the Flash taking down a villain, it was about Barry laying a past demon to rest, and it was played perfectly. Barry’s scene where he breaks down, believing that he can’t defeat Tony and is still just the same powerless kid who was bullied in school was amazing. Gustin sold that scene perfectly, and was even more amazing in his closing speech to Tony. It was a bit surprising to see him reveal his identity, but it made sense, it was Barry finally slaying his demons. And that is all there is to say about that.
In regards to the subplot, it was nice to see Joe finally taking some steps to solve the case, instead of it just being some vague thing in the background that is mentioned but never touched upon. However, I feel his accusing Wells just came out of nowhere. While we the audience totally know he is up to something, Joe’s only hunch was that Wells didn’t think there could have been another speedster so long before the particle accelerator exploding seemed to be a bit of a leap, but it does show that Joe was willing to follow any lead in order to find justice, so I can commend him for that. Seeing Anti-Flash/Prof. Zoom show up at the end to swipe the files and scare Joe off seemed a bit premature. As it stands, Joe wasn’t really any closer to solving the murder, I think it would have worked better to hold off on this, give us more of Joe and Barry working to solve the case before the appearance of a major baddie, that way it could be spun into a motivating factor for Barry and Joe, the both of them knowing for certain the killer is real, still out there, and needs to be caught.
Overall, I can honestly say that this was my favorite episode of the season to date. Gustin was fantastic, the villain was interesting, we could have gotten a bit more of Caitlin and Cisco, but they were there and played their roles well.