Curse whoever invented the cliffhanger ending, curse them to the special level of hell reserved for child molesters and people who talk at the theater.
We depart from the usual Flash format, where we see Barry squaring off against a new super powered baddie and instead dealing with something a little closer to home, for everyone. In the main story we see the continuation of the Ronnie/Firestorm subplot. Team Flash has successfully discovered what happened to Ronnie, and who he merged with, a Professor Stein, who Barry reveals that he met briefly on a train the day the accelerator went boom. He apparently made a favorable impression on the scientist because he mentions later that he remembers meeting him. They are able track Stein down by way of his wife, who Stein has been watching in secret. They bring him back to S.T.A.R. Labs and do their science thing on him. Wells learns that the Ronnie part of the body is rejecting the Stein part and building up heat that will result in a thermonuclear explosion. The only option, kill Ronnie/Stein before that happens. Caitlin refuses this, not wanting to loose her fiance again, and after a brief consultation with his disembodied voice, Wells figures that he can re-purpose the stolen dark matter dohickey into a device that would safely separate the two. However, Stein, hearing about his impending meltdown, runs away to avoid hurting anyone. Barry and Caitlin rush out to the badlands after him, but and slap on the science MacGuffin on him to no avail. Barry rushes them out as Ronnie goes boom in what was one of the best visuals of the show to date. The episode closing out with General Eiling (last seen in the episode Plastique) sending out a response team to claim F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M.
In subplot one, Barry’s got a girlfriend! This runs just about as well as you would expect. The two have fun on their date, play off each other well, on the second date when things start heating up Barry has to rush out to handle Flash business. Instead of getting angry Linda takes it in stride, and after a talk with Iris, believes it would be best to just walk away, thinking that Barry still has feelings for Iris. Barry assures her this isn’t the case, even
eating the hottest pepper known to man to secure a second date, and the two patch things up.
In the final subplot, Joe brings in Cisco to help him solve Nora’s murder. The two go to Barry’s old house and discover that a mirror in the room was there at the time of the murder, and because of weird sciencey reasons they are able to extract pictures from the materiel on the back of the mirror and convert it into a 3D hologram (again, weird sciencey stuff) this leads them to an old blood spatter on the wall they are able to extract two different blood types from. Joe asks Cisco to run the samples against Wells, but Cisco refuses, not willing to believe that Wells could be a killer. Later on, he does run the samples though, and discovers that one of them is a match for adult Barry. (cue dramatic music here)
This was a really great episode, they have been teasing us with Firestorm for quite some time now, so actually getting an episode mostly centered on that story was fantastic to see. The whole two in body thing was taken right out of the comics, and was a lot of fun to see play out. Robbie Amell (who is the cousin of Stephen Amell aka Oliver Queen from Arrow) played the crazed fire starter fairly well, and did an even better job when he was stabilized thanks to a fancy drug cocktail. It was a bit of an odd experience seeing a young man act like a much older person, but it worked, Amell did it well and he was able to really bring out that awkwardness of a stranger being surrounded by people who know the body he is stuck in, but not him himself. (have I confused you yet?) We sadly did not get a resolution to the story, they are obviously still building up the character for his planned spin off, so luckily we will get to see more him in the future.
In the romantic subplot, we got a fun break from the tension that was building with the Ronnie story. Most of this very lighthearted, Cisco even making jokes about Barry being to fast. This does take a turn for the mildly dramatic when Linda thinks that Barry’s odd behavior is from unresolved feelings for Iris. They write this off quickly, Stein even giving Barry some advice on how to deal with the situation. His end plan of eating the pepper to win the second date was a fun play off their first date in the beginning of episode, but it felt a bit wasted. I feel they could have worked up more to this scene, maybe hold it off for an episode or two, that way making it a fun callback to a previous episode, but its obvious they didn’t want to spend to much time on this little relationship hiccup, so I understand why. Regardless, it was still fun and cute to watch. The only downside, was Iris at the end. Her little downtrodden look upon seeing Barry and Linda kiss was just rage inducing. She has never shown any interest in Barry outside of their friendship, so if she is going to start getting jealous because Barry doesn’t have unrequited feelings for her anymore I am gonna end up hating her
character even more. If they spin this as her just being worried about losing her friend, I can get behind that, and could lead to a sweet friendship moment between the two.
With Joe, it was a bit surprising to see him bring Cisco in, but makes sense. He needs some tech help with investigation and wants to keep Barry out of it until he knows more, so that leaves Cisco. This had some amusing parts to it, the big one being the middle age divorcee who was hitting on Joe, and the neat hologram stuff. The biggest part being Joe confiding in Cisco his suspicion of Wells. Cisco response was spot on what I would expect from the character, the total denial that his friend and mentor could be a killer, but also showed that Cisco does not blindly follow his boss. When Wells talks about killing Ronnie/Stein, Cisco shows that he has some doubts about Wells, and does indeed perform the blood test for Joe. The reveal that Barry’s was there at the night of the murder is no surprise, as they have been advertising the time travel aspect of Flash for sometime now. Still, it was nice build up for one of Flash’s big powers, and good forshadowing for future events.
Overall, this was a damn good episode, it balanced out the drama and humor, Barry had some positive steps in his new relationship, Firestorm was awesome, and great set up for future events. The cliffhanger ending was annoying, because lord knows I hate those, and the potential love triangles building up will surely fill me with rage if/when they come to pass, but all in all, a great episode.