On this week’s episode of The Flash, we learned that Harry gets testy when he’s feeling guilty, Cisco is basically a yenta and both the West children need to be slapped upside the head. Let’s take a closer look at ‘Fast Lane,’ shall we?
A heartbroken Barry (damn that Patty!) finds himself wandering the streets of Central City, as only a speedster can do. You know, at like a thousand miles an hours or so. Since he’s down a girlfriend and the West’s are playing house with their new foundling, Barry turns to Harry and offers to aid him in his quest to defeat Zoom. When Barry starts waxing poetic about the old Wells and their relationship, Harry gets pissed and kicks Barry out. What Barry doesn’t realize is that it’s due to Harry’s guilt. Harry has finished his device to steal Barry’s speed and has hidden it on the Flash’s suit and man, does he feel bad about it. Not bad enough to stop, mind you, but given that his daughter’s life is on the line, it’s understandable. Man, do I love Tom Cavanagh and his multi-faceted portrayal of this character! When Barry’s out in the field next, Harry does in fact steal some of the speed force, which he then turns around and gives to Zoom. His plan to blackmail the big guy into letting Jessie go in exchange for the rest of Barry’s speed backfires, however, and Zoom just threatens to torture Jessie instead.
Barry, who is apparently clueless to other’s feelings, continues to work with Harry and in fact comes up with a way to close the breaches. Granted, it’s one at a time, but it’s a start. Harry starts feeling even more guilty when Barry insists they continue in order to rescue Jessie. When Barry is unable to save Iris from an injury during a crisis, Harry finally comes clean and admits to stealing some of Barry’s speed and giving it to Zoom. Everyone is understandably shocked and angry and Harry comes up with a solution. They should send him back to Earth-2 and then close the breaches, effectively trapping Zoom in his home dimension. Barry refuses, because he understands why Harry did what he deemed necessary, stating that anyone of the team would have done the same under the circumstances. He then informs Harry that they are going to save Jessie before announcing their headed to Earth-2.
On the villain of the week front (yes, that exasperated sigh you heard was from me), we get another meta-human created during the particle accelerator explosion (surprise, surprise!). This time, it’s a guy who was being killed in a vat of boiling tar when the explosion happened, so you can pretty much guess what came of that, can’t you? Yup, we get Tar Pit, a low level thug out for revenge against the buddies that turned against him and ultimately killed him. Or, so they thought, anyway. He is dispatched rather easily by cooling him down and other than a bit of interesting looking CGI, I’m not exactly sure of the point. And seriously, why was everyone affected by the particle accelerator a bad guy? Were there not any good people affected? People, other than Barry and Firestorm, who want to use their powers for good? It’s got to say, it’s getting rather annoying.
On the I don’t really care front, the West family had their share of issues this week, the main one being Wally’s insistence on continuing to street race. While Joe spends his time being Wally’s buddy in an effort to get him not to turn tail and run, Iris spends her time being stupid and foolish. It’s only when Joe decides to actually act like a father and Iris gets injured, that Wally realizes his family does actually care for him. He then decides to make an effort in regards to becoming a family.
So, there was definitely plenty to like about this episode, but as I said above, I do find myself getting tired of the villain of the week trope. There was enough going on in this episode that I’m not sure it needed the addition of Tar Pit. The changes in Barry’s speed and his inability to save Iris could have easily been explained in other ways, either in regards to a Zoom sighting or possible confrontation or the street racing stuff itself. The interaction and dynamic between Harry and Barry and even the stuff with the West’s was enough to fill the hour without the need for another meta-human threat. Of course, I could watch Tom Cavanagh and Grant Gustin wax poetic about just about anything, and I would be a happy, happy girl. The two of them have such incredible chemistry, it’s hard to find any fault with anything that happens when their on the screen. I’m glad that everything is out in the open now, as well, as it makes for a much more interesting and unexpected bit of storytelling. I will say, the showrunners have a tendency to zig when you think they’re going to zag and I am grateful for it. There’s nothing worse than predictability.
Overall, this was a really strong episode, bolstered by some really great performances. It was interesting and unpredictable and has now altered the direction that it seemed the season was headed, keeping everyone on their toes. I am probably most excited about the trip to Earth-2 next week, though, as I can’t wait to see what life is like on the other side. Here’s hoping it doesn’t disappoint.
Make sure to check back for updates—right here on Geek Nation.
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