In light of the recent episode ,“The Nuclear Man”, how about we split this review up into a few parts?
As with last week’s, there is quite a few threads running along one another in this week’s episode and for all of the possible pitfalls it could have fallen into, it manages to successfully be another strong and entertaining episode, along with seriously setting us up for the remainder episodes upon us. For the longest time I kept thinking about despite how much had taken place in episodes prior, we were still early enough in the season and I was worried about if the show had enough story in them to tell for the episodes they had ahead. If tonight’s episode is any indication, they have a few more tricks up their sleeves and enough anticipation to keep the thrills coming.
Let’s start with the least intriguing:
Caitlin and Ronnie/Professor Stein
The idea of Ronnie and Professor Stein melding together is an interesting concept–one that by the end of the episode results in some genuine emotional payoff as we watch them seemingly (no onscreen death mind you) explode. And, as much as the word “transmutation” piqued my interest as a Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood fan (yup) the narrative couldn’t sustain my interest and that’s for two very essentially components that were lacking. Daniella Panabaker and Robbie Amell simply aren’t very strong performers and asking them to share a decent amount of time acting off one another doesn’t benefit either one. Panabaker, and Amell, both do better when being able to act off of someone such as Grant Gustin whose natural charm elevates their presence. Victor Garber, on the other hand, did a lot with the few minutes we spent with him and it’s one of the reasons I’m glad the show is pretty obviously not finished with the FIRESTORM plot and hopefully we’ll see more of both characters.
It did, however, offer us one of the more visually pleasing scenes in the episode where Caitlin and Ronnie embrace in the middle of the woods where Ronnie plans to kill himself. Arrow has a distinct visual style and while The Flash has some notes they’ve made as their own (such as the musical cues which are simply wonderful and so deliciously superhero) the direction has never been where they shine so it was nice to see them get to play with it a bit.
Joe and Cisco
Who knew this would be a pairing that worked out so well? Joe has taken a greater interest in Nora Allen’s death as of late after Harrison Wells continues to give him weird vibes and enlists Cisco to take a look at the house Barry’s mom was killed in. Cisco has a Super Light (shortened for convenience which is appreciated by this writer) that will help pick up on any evidence the police missed when they were sure that Barry’s dad was the killer. They spot a mirror that contains remnants of the murder scene that act as a hologram type image that projects the steps of the killers. They also find blood that could lead them to their killer.
Despite being angered at Joe’s suspicion of Harrison Cisco ends up running the scans anyway to find the blood type and, unsurprisingly for fans of the character who either knew of the time travel trick of have read The Flashpoint Paradox, the blood was a match for Barry. So, we know that Barry was in the room both as a child and as an adult the night his mother died, running after the Reverse Flash and was injured. That’s a lot to learn in one episode but as a Flash devotee it’s a moment I’ve been waiting for and it was exciting to hear the confirmation.
My primary concern with this storyline is something I noted in the past episodes and that is that Joe seems to be painting a rather large target on his back at this point and I’m growing more and more fearful that a large part of the heart of the show isn’t going to last the season. Fingers crossed though that I’m proven wrong.
Barry and his Charm
Barry was at his utmost charming and goofy this week and it’s a welcome development. He’s awkward around Linda to the point of actually tripping over himself, putting clothes on backwards and making ridiculous faces. I’m not sure how I feel about Linda’s character yet because the episode was more about Barry reacting to her than her being her own person but the two characters are cute together and it’s nice to see Barry with someone that isn’t afraid to poke fun at his quirks while finding them endearing.
They’re still in the testing the waters stage and Iris nearly messes this up by telling Linda that Barry may be awkward because he’s still hung up on someone else…meaning her which is kind of a weird statement to make if you’re not trying to break people up. However, I’ll continue to be a vocal advocate of Iris getting more storylines because she could certainly handle more and for some reason is being shifted to the side. Also, I’m hoping that the looks she was giving Barry at the end of the episode aren’t ones of dawning love realizations and more at the idea of the uncomfortable nature of the entire situation.
Overall, it was an immensely entertaining episode and with the time travel plot line officially introduced things can only get more action packed from here on out.