Hey there, Flash fans – time for our weekly review of the best superhero show on TV. You excited to tangle with the Snarts? OK, then!
As I said, we’re taking a break this week from the Earth-2 Bad Guy of the Week format that appears to be the pattern for this season. Early in the episode, we find Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears), Earth-2’s Flash, and the other geeks of the Flash Squad puzzling over the largest of the 52 (groan) portals between worlds that were opened by the singularity from the Season 1 finale. Dr. Martin Stein (Victor Garber) is up and around again, so fortunately what appeared to be a stroke last episode was apparently not that serious. Caitlyn (Danielle Panabaker) is still concerned about him, however. Jay and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) tell Barry (Grant Gustin) that the portal is unstable, and nothing can pass through. Garrick thinks it might be possible to create a path for him to get home. After all, Zoom has been using the portals from the Earth-2 side to bring villains across for Barry to face. Barry tries using his super speed, but to avail. Jay thinks he can build a device to stabilize the portal – a Speed Cannon, as he calls it, for reasons that are not entirely clear.
Meanwhile, Joe West (Jesse L. Williams) is meeting with the newly-back-in-town Francine (Vanessa Williams), mother of Iris (Candice Patton), Joe’s daughter. Joe tells her to leave Central City within 48 hours, but she refuses, certain that Iris needs her.
The gang gathers to celebrate the re-opening of C.C. Jitters, and Cisco bumps (literally) into Lisa Snart (Peyton List), aka the Golden Glider (terrible name choice there, Cisco), sister to Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller), aka Captain Cold. When Cisco threatens to call the Flash (as Barry smirks right next to him), she asks him to, saying that Cold has been kidnapped. The Flash reluctantly agrees to help find Snart, and Cisco tracks the signature of his weapon. Lo and behold, however, Cold was not kidnapped, he is working with a man he calls “Dad” (Michael Ironside). He hits Flash with his cold gun, and the two escape while Barry thaws out thanks to new tech Cisco installed in his suit.
Barry confronts Lisa, who insists Leonard would never work with their father, Lewis, due to his cruelty. He beat her repeatedly as a child. She insists to Cisco that if Leonard is working with Lewis, he’s in serious trouble. Barry tracks down Snart (out of costume this time), to find out the story. Snart tells him to back off, threatening to expose him, but Barry refuses to butt out, since Lewis will not keep people from getting killed, as Leonard as agreed in exchange for Barry looking the other way on his robberies.
Papa and Son Snart are planning their heist with the third member of the team, their tech guy, and Lewis isn’t interested in Leonard’s suggestions on how to improve the plan and keep the body count at zero. However, when the third wheel starts to berate Leonard, Lewis triggers a device that literally blows his head off. Does Leonard have one of these bombs in his head, too? I guess we’ll see.
Barry and Joe arrive at a crime scene the next day to find the henchman’s body, and pieces of his head scattered around. Detective Patty Spivot (Shantel VanSanten), Joe’s new partner (and Barry’s new love interest) walks them through the scene, making a grim joke about stepping on a ear and “hearing about it” if she did. (Yeah, it’s exactly as funny as it sounds.) Barry finds explosive residue on the corpse, and they connect the dots to Lewis. Barry thinks it’s unlikely that Leonard has a similar bomb in his head, but what if he’s cooperating with Lewis to protect Lisa? Sadly, Cisco and Caitlyn quickly confirm the presence of the same thermite residue in Lisa’s head.
Joe finally owns up to Iris about his deception. He let her believe that her mother was dead, rather than having just abandoned them, to protect her from Francine’s drug abuse. Iris is shocked, but she tearfully forgives him, knowing he was trying to keep her safe and innocent.
Barry decides to take a risk and infiltrate Lewis and Leonard’s plan as the replacement for their executed tech guy. They roll immediately. When their fake badges don’t work at the desk, Barry talks them past the guards before Lewis can shoot them. Similarly, he whisks the guards on the target floor of the building away when Lewis’s trigger finger gets itchy. Using his super-speed, he pretends to crack the keypad lock outside the vault by trying every combination until he finds the right one. However, Lewis then shoots Barry once he’s served his purpose. Barry, of course, is just fine, having caught the bullet and pretended to be hit.
Cisco preps to remove the bomb from Lisa’s head just as the Snart boys hit the vault. Captain Cold’s gun is the whole reason his father “recruited” him, and he uses it to freeze the laser grid. (Wait, what? Seriously? Even with a gun that shoots absolute zero, you can’t freeze laser beams solid, TV writers. Jeez.) Lewis races the defrosting system to crack the safe, and opens it to reveal the diamonds he’s after. Lewis grabs the diamonds just as the system resets and the alarm goes off. The Flash appears, and Lewis threatens to kill Lisa if Leonard doesn’t kill the Flash. Cisco keeps hesitating to pull the trigger on his device to remove the bomb, and a tense standoff ensues. Lewis is about to trigger the bomb, when Cisco finally extracts it. Once Flash tells Captain Cold his sister is safe, the villain turns the gun on his father, shooting an icy dagger through his heart.
We cut away to Barry visiting Leonard in Iron Heights. Barry, knowing Snart’s devotion to his sister, finally has leverage to keep Cold from divulging his identity. Barry tells Snart he think he can be a hero; Snart isn’t so sure.
Barry has yet another awkward encounter with Patty at Jitters, resulting in her giving him her number, which is not what he was going for, and which she tries to pass off by saying it’s for work purposes. Meanwhile, Cisco says goodbye to Lisa, who bestows a kiss on him as thanks for his heroics.
Through all of this, Jay has been working on his Speed Cannon. Everyone realizes that he is about to go home. Caitlyn tries to convince him to stay and keep helping them, and while he’s reluctant at first, he does agree to stay and help them battle Zoom. He heads out to get a little fresh air, and as he exits, Dr. Stein goes up in flames like when he used to form Firestorm with Ronnie (Robbie Amell), but then the flames turn blue, his eyes turn black, and he faints again.
Our final shot of the episode, later in the room with the portal, is once again of the Speed Cannon. A figure emerges, and who might it be? Why, none other than Earth-2’s Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh)!
Well, so much for my plans to make my episode synopses shorter. I’ll keep trying! Anyhow, my thoughts:
- They’re trying really hard to make Barry and Patty an adorkable couple, but it’s just not gelling.
- The whole show is really struggling to establish a tone so far this season. This was just a very low-energy episode, and the B-plots are very poorly integrated with the narrative structure this time around.
- See the above parenthetical about frozen lasers. Seriously. This is the early leader in our clubhouse for Stupid Science of the Season, and it’s only the third episode. It even narrowly beats out “CFL quark matter” from this same episode, which is as much of a nonsense phrase as I’ve ever heard.
- I know he’s supposed to be as icy as his nickname, but does Captain Cold have any other tone of voice besides Baritone Monotone? Or is Wentworth Miller just that limited an actor?
- The Caitlyn/Jay dynamic is already getting tired, especially knowing that Ronnie has to be coming back soon, to keep Stein from going up in flames.
- Cisco just can’t help himself around the bad girls, can he?
- We’ve now seen the Harrison Wells of Earth-2 twice, and this time he looked positively malevolent, bathed in the blue light of the Speed Cannon. Is that a nod to him possibly being Zoom? (Unlikely, since Zoom has his own way into our world.) Will the team encounter him right away, next week? Or is he going to slip out of S.T.A.R. Labs and into the night?
- I somehow doubt that Francine is here just to see the daughter she abandoned 20 years ago. (Of course, I already have an inkling what the real agenda is, but I’ll avoid spoiling it for those of you who are allergic to that sort of thing.)
- Jay looked better with longer hair.
- Jay does divulge that the particle accelerator exploded on his Earth as well, so that’s that question answered, I guess. It still doesn’t explain why S.T.A.R. Labs on Earth-2 is still a thriving R&D facility, though.
I’ll be off on vacation next week, but one of our other terrific writers here at The Geekly Planet will be filling in. I’ll catch up with you guys in two weeks!
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