Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of The Flash. To catch up on previous coverage, click here.
There is one critical flaw in an otherwise very strong episode of The Flash and that’s it’s villain. The villain, Tar Pit, is so bad on all fronts that even Barry defeating him is treated as an afterthought. The CGI used for the character is uncharacteristically bad for the show and when it reaches it’s full strength at the end, goes beyond bad into cartoony where the character talks and the mouth doesn’t even move. With no motive, no considerable performance strengths or anything to tie to the rest of the episodes storyline the villain wasn’t just weak, he was instantly forgettable.
Tar Pit’s main purpose of the episode is to put Iris in the hospital and serve as a catalyst to Barry finding out about Harry stealing his speed.
The rest of the episode has such great individual moments and plot lines though that it finally feels that the show is righting itself. With no Legends of Tomorrow set up and Patty’s absence meaning that Barry can shake the angst like residue off of him, the show feels lighter on it’s feet, transitioning between it’s multiple storylines without feeling completely bogged down.
This in large part is due to the show smartly sectioning off it’s characters, re-teaming Barry and Wells after the two have remained largely separated for season to since Wells’s reappearance and the West family continuing to be the emotional crutch of these recent episodes. As someone who has been a vocal supporter of Iris’s screen-time and bemoans the fact that the show is completely incapable of writing stories for more than one female character at a time, it was nice to see Iris so heavily in the fold of the hour, playing not only a big part in Wally, Joe and Barry’s storylines but also getting incentives of her own and scenes where she’s acting on her own impulses. She has the capability to be a terrific character on the series if the show continues to let her. On top of that, her and Wally’s dynamic is already fantastic to watch especially as she cuts through Joe’s buddy relationship bullshit. She see’s not only the double standard in how Joe is treating his new found son but also the incredible danger, all of which culminates in the most exciting sequence of the show.
But more of that in a moment.
The other great duo that comes out of the episode is Barry and Wells, something that in season one would have been an obvious pairing. We see hints of their earlier father and son dynamic, especially when Wells compares Barry’s ten year old determination to his daughter, but similarly to Cisco, he reacts to him with a forced annoyance and here it’s even more apparent that he’s doing this to distance himself from his new team.
It’s hard to grow attached when he’s draining Barry of his speed force.
To his credit, Wells definitely warned Barry that he’d betray him and that if it was between them and his daughter he’d choose his daughter each and every time.
In the end the speed force taken, only two percent, is little but it’s enough so that when Tar Pit shows up at Wally’s drag race where Joe and Iris are standing by, Barry’s able to save Wally but isn’t quick enough before a shard of glass hits Iris in the shoulder. She’s okay, clearly, but it shakes him enough to figure out what’s wrong. Wells, hit with sudden guilt, tells them the truth of what he’s been doing and the reactions are perfectly in character.
Joe decking him and locking him up for his own protection makes sense after seeing his daughter in the hospital due to him. Even better though is Barry who genuinely seems a little crushed, his naive nature once again getting the better of him. What’s better though is how he reacts after Wells proposes they throw him back into the breach to his world, leave him to deal with his daughter and team Flash close the rest of the breaches so that Zoom can’t come back. Barry points out that he can’t just leave an entire world to peril for that, even if it saves their own skins, and that they all have weak spots when it comes to family, that any of them would have made the same bargain had it been about someone they love.
This is the Barry that’s become one of my favorite superheros on television. He’s earnest wants to see the best in everyone.
So, there’s a new plan for them to go through Earth 2 together and save Harry’s daughter. Next week is going to be a blast.