After a month-long break, Flash returns with a packed episode. Given that the show has already been part of a crossover with Arrow, had a strong mid-season finale, and given a two-part introduction to another superhero, it’s perhaps surprising that there’s so much in this episode. Of course, in line with the lead character’s ‘thing’, the show has not been slow to bring in new elements, and this episode hits us with several big deals, culminating in a blast of awesome. And we’re still quite some weeks away from the finale.
This week nods back to the start of the season and introduces the brother of that episode’s villain (Clyde Mardon), Mark, dubbed by Cisco as the Weather Wizard. Mardon is after revenge for the death of his brother, and sets his targets on Joe. Unlike Clyde, whose powers seemed to be limited to controlling wind, Mark has a much broader control of meteorological activity – giant hailstones, bolts of lightning, tidal waves and so on.
It’s a competent story, comparable to the villain-of-the-week element of many of the previous episodes. Sadly, the show continues to be let down by the attempt to build conflict through the artificial Linda/Barry/Iris/Eddie inter-relationship. One ever-present weakness of superhero shows seems to be the one-true-love interest – Lana in Smallville, Laurel in Arrow, Iris here – none of whom ever seemed to have the remotest chemistry between themselves and their respective leads. That Barry’s identity is revealed to Iris would be an important plot element, given that her place at the newspaper seems to be founded on her being the go-to-girl for Flash Facts – would she be able to keep it under wraps, or would the need to produce something mean she was prepared to sacrifice the privacy of her BFF on the altar of journalism? With what we see later, will this reveal stick?
If that was all there was to the episode, it would have been a decent enough return. However, this show doesn’t deal in short measures, and the final act pushed the episode into overdrive. This is when everything about the show changes.
Harrison Wells finally stands revealed as Eobard Thawne (the Reverse Flash from the future) – although this won’t be a huge surprise to anyone watching the show given the many hints we’ve had over the season, he is not presented solely as a black hat bad guy. He comes across as callous and a little unfeeling, because to him, everyone in the present has been dead for hundreds of years – he distances himself in a similar way that someone today won’t be fazed by the death of someone in the middle ages. This ability to disconnect his emotions from people in the present is what enables him to deal with the discovery of his identity by one of the regulars with some finality were this another show.
However, this isn’t another show… this is a show about the fastest man alive – a man who, with the right motivation could perhaps be fast enough to exceed the limitations of Einstein’s mathematics and travel through time under his own steam. Once that is achieved, everything becomes possible.