With one episode to go to the finale, The Flash serves up a real fan pleaser that not only allows familiar faces from throughout the first season to make a reappearance, but also works nicely to continue building up Barry’s character as he finds his way as a hero.
Indeed it’s Barry’s story that forms the meat of the episode. The spectre of the Reverse Flash looms large as Barry allows his inability to defeat Wells to make him doubt himself. As Wells activates the particle accelerator Barry is determined to save the Metahumans they’ve got locked up in it, but finds himself up against obstacles and bad choices at every turn.
I think a key part of the success of the Arrow and Flash as a pair of shows has been their contrast. No more apparent than in the crossover, Oliver represents the DC TV Batman, with Barry the optimistic Superman. But in finding his place as a hero, Oliver’s perceived success as the Arrow has always loomed over Barry, and once again he pushes himself to be more Arrow than Flash with poor results. Of course, viewers of both shows will recognise that Oliver isn’t the perfect hero Barry holds him up as, and frequently makes his own mistakes, which have, ironically, positioned him to adopt a more Flash-esque hopeful tone himself.
Its nice to see the episode address the “judge and jury” aspect of what Flash and STAR Labs have been up to over the course of the season. It was always morally dubious what they were doing, and that finds itself at the heart of Barry’s problems here, as potential allies don’t want anything to do with it. As a viewer, its also interesting to see this dismantled, since with key figures in Barry’s department now learning of the Metahuman threat, it seems a matter of time before a more official solution comes into play.
Also fairing better this week is Iris. A character who has often been saddled with being the love interest and not much else (a common trap sadly in these shows), seems to have a renewed lease on life since finding out Barry’s secret. Here I think the production team have been quite wise in letting her find out in season one, rather than dragging it out. Her break up with Eddie in the wake of his rescue is well played, with Eddie clearly worn down by the events over the last several episodes and realising enough is enough. Although finding out exactly why Eobard/Wells captured Eddie in the first place should be interesting.
However despite all of this, one character in particular steals the show. With Barry desperate, he’s forced to turn to Captain Cold for help, and as in previous episodes Wentworth Miller seems to be having a great time playing the villainous character. Sadly no Dominic Purcell as Heatwave this time around, but Peyton List’s Golden Glider proves to be equally fun, and her constant hitting on Cisco provides no small amount of amusement. And after betraying Barry, and now having the other Rogues-to-be owing him a favour, I’m left hoping we’re going to see a more fully-fledged group of Rogues next season.
I can’t finish out the review, without mentioning the final bit of fan pleasing as Stephen and Robbie Amell finally get to team up in their costumed guises to help Barry take down Wells. As a final act goes, its a bit of a surprise (promo pictures not withstanding), to suddenly have Wells turn up at Star Labs, especially when he admits that all the events of the episode (other than the accelerator starting up) had nothing to do with him (unlike unleashing Grodd last week). Having the three heroes team up is great fun, and special mention must go to the fun use of the Reverse Flash costume coming out of Wells’ ring, but more so the showdown between Flash and Reverse Flash on the roof of Star Labs. As with the sneak peak of their battle in the past we got earlier in the season, the show is really capturing those high speed fights beautifully. That said, you can’t help but think that Wells is exactly where he wants to be…