WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!
They’ve done it again! They have delivered us an absolute beauty of an episode for Flash Season 2 Episode 20. We are now feeing like we are building to the climax of the season and towards a tremendous season finale. This episode has great action, a real sense on consequence and a reminder of what it means to take responsibility. The plot focuses around the decision of whether or not Barry should participate in Doctor Harrison Wells’ plan to cause, and contain, another particle accelerator explosion, whilst developing his choice through the constant theme of relationships. In short, Zoom threatens to take over Central City and wants to make an example of the Central City Police Department; Team Flash have to decide what is the best way to try and stop him, do they need the Flash? Sub-plot, the doppelganger of Cisco Ramone’s brother, Dante, from Earth 2 is a Meta-Human called Rupture who comes to Earth 1 to kill Cisco Ramone, who he believes killed his Earth 2 counterpart. Team Flash, and CCPD, stop Rupture but Zoom makes an example of them anyway. Although, the major plot point comes right at the end of the episode and we shall be discussing this later, right now, its all about how they visualised this story, points to Armen V. Kevorkian who I believe directed the episode.
There are several elements that I loved about this episode, firstly we are introduced to Team Flash’s idea to maintain the “image” of the Flash as a symbol for hope and help the CCPD at the same time…a hologram, via satellite! Running the streets, using light and movement as a weapon of disorientation to fight crime and aid the police is a really nifty idea, although its obvious limitations were bluntly pointed out immediately by Harrison Wells…I mean…not being able to go indoors…all of sudden the Flash is claustrophobic? This mechanism simply sets the context of their predicament and a plot device that extends the period for which the Flash can go without his powers, because, if we are honest, we just want to see him start running again!
Secondly, Rupture is pretty bad ass, his weapon is cool and his demeanour is just as sharp. The outfit and the weapon do flirt with hockey pads and garden tool rather than advanced armour and magical/energy scythe, but it still works as a sub-plot and the fact that he is Dante’s doppelganger brings it a little closer to home.
This leads me to my next point of the use of relationships. It is a bit clichéd in the genre for those of close relations to our heroes act as one of their greatest weaknesses…ahem…Dawn of Justice…ahem. However, this episode is about relationships being a point of strength, and in so many ways. From the rebuilding of a brotherly relationship between Cisco and Dante to Iris admitting her feelings towards Barry (but not in a soppy kiss; teary eyed; you make me whole kind of way), Wells and West locking their respective daughter and son away in order to keep them safe and the admission from Zoom that he is keeping Caitlin because he never wants to be lonely again just shows how much it means to have relationships. However, my favourite scene has to be the discussion between Henry Allen, Joe West and Dr. Harrison Wells about what Barry Allen should do and why. These guys have all been father figures or mentors to Barry at some point in the series, in one form or another…quite literally. They all have their own interests and reservations but how Barry views these characters, who he cares about, and views their opinion is fascinating leaving the fact resonating that the greatest strength of any hero or protagonist is the people he has around him and who he fights for.
What I also like is the sense of responsibility that you get from this episode. Barry makes his decision based upon his own reasons that were not argued to him by one of his mentors; a mark of a true hero, however, he is reminded by Joe that whatever his decision was going to be he “will have to live with it”, and that is the weight of decision making and the responsibility of a hero. His decision arguably leads to the death of an entire squad or precinct of police officers and is a shocking consequence which can be attributed by his own inaction.
If my favourite scene was the three mentors discussing Barry’s decision, then my second favourite scene is this one; where Zoom annihilates the police squad. Visualised brilliantly but briefly, obviously only lasting a couple of seconds, there is a pause as Zoom seems to ‘charge up’ and then zooms around the room, breaking the neck of every officer with what looks like a slight touch, to then return to his original position to watch them all slump to the ground. It has been a staple of the entire show that the primary antagonist is effectively shown to be ominous and intimidating and they once again hit the nail on the head here! A true display of power against a helpless police force and speedforce-less Barry Allen.
Then we get to the good bit! Barry Allen dies! After the incident with Zoom killing off the police he decides to participate in Wells’ plan. An injection of chemicals, a particle accelerator explosion and a lightning strike later and Barry Allen disintegrates in proper Julian Glover in Indian Jones: The Last Crusade style, he simply disintegrates and turns to dust. WOW! Although, he’s not really dead. We are simply creating the conditions for another monumental event in the Barry Allen ‘Flash’ storyline. There have been numerous occasions in the comics, in animated series and elsewhere where Barry Allen has seemingly disintegrated or disappeared. He goes into the Speed Force! Only to appear when he is needed most! Cue spectacular return in a future episode! So obviously, they are not going to kill off the main character so its nothing to get really excited about but it is a great plot point and nod to the comics and if done correctly could be a fantastic climax or scene to put Zoom on the back foot…I cannot wait!
On a final note, I liked how Henry Allen just dropped an Easter Egg that his mother’s maiden name was Garrick, so Wally may be descended from the original speedster Jay Garrick after all. Wally West and Jesse Wells were also caught in the wave from the particle accelerator explosion, which was not adequately contained. This surely must mean that Wally West may get at least a stint as Kid Flash, especially as earlier in the episode Joe West said he may get a chance to satisfy his desire for speed and helping people some day, although I do not really like the idea of the Flash having a side kick in the show. Arrow got a little crowded and arguably still is and what I like about the concept of super powers is that they are special, having too many that can do the same thing, and this goes for villains too, diminishes that unique quality of the character. As it is said, saying “everybody is special” is just another way of saying nobody is; and we want special!
So that is my two cents on the latest episode of the Flash, hope it was of value to you. I want to know what you think; did you enjoy the episode? What do you think has happened to Barry? When and how do you think we shall see him again? Will he come back stronger than ever? We are getting towards a season finale, chance of a crossover soon perhaps? Thanks for the read and let me know your perspective.