Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Flash Season 2, Episode 10: Potential Energy

The Flash is back, after what seems like several months off.

As always, there was a lot going on this week, but for the first time in a long time, The Flash actually told its own story, and didn't spend an entire episode setting up Legends Of Tomorrow. And you know what? It was wonderful. Finally, some progress for the show's own characters and subplots. What a concept!

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
Barry keeps having nightmares in which Zoom kills Patty. Harry continues to try and find a way to increase Barry's speed (so Zoom can steal it). Cisco says instead of trying to speed up Barry, why not try to slow down Zoom (even they already tried that and failed)? Cisco says that for months he's been tracking a metahuman he dubbed "The Turtle," who can somehow project a field that slows down everyone around him. Cisco believes if they could somehow tap the Turtle's power they could slow Zoom. Barry's stunned that everyone seems to know about the Turtle except him.

Joe shows his estranged son Wally around the CCPD, but he's not impressed. Joe then invites Wally to dinner that night in an effort to get to know him better. Predictably, Wally blows off the dinner date. Patty meets with Iris to talk about Barry, and ask why he seems like he's hiding something. Iris tells Barry it may be time to tell Patty he's the Flash. The Turtle appears at the CCPD, uses his power to slow Barry to a crawl, and steals a valuable diamond. The STAR Labs Gang then deduces that the Turtle's next hit will be at an art exhibit. Barry invites Patty to the exhibit, determined to reveal his true identity as he captures the Turtle or something.

Barry and Patty's "date" goes well until the Turtle shows up. Patty sees him stealing the painting and draws her gun, as Barry speeds off to change into the Flash. The Turtle slows everyone down and easily disarms Patty, then shoots at a chandelier above her. Barry, who's also affected by the Turtle's slow-waves, pours on the speed and barely manages to save Patty from the falling chandelier. Somehow Patty still doesn't suspect the truth about Barry.

Cut to Wally, who's street racing in Central City. He win his race, but as the crowd thins out he sees Joe waiting for him. Wally explains that he races to make money to pay for his mother's medical bills. Joe offers to help out, but Wally's refuses, saying he doesn't want help from a man who was never part of his life. Meanwhile Caitlin discovers that Jay Garrick is seriously ill with some vague TV disease, and will die if he doesn't regain his super speed.

The next day Patty stares meaningfully at a letter from Midway City. Barry arrives at her apartment to try and explain why he ditched her at the exhibit. She tells him it's been fun, but he needs to decide if he wants a real relationship or not. This would have been a great time to tell Patty the truth, but in the interest of stretching out their drama for as many episodes as possible, he doesn't, and leaves. Cue the Turtle, who breaks into Patty's apartment. He realized at the art exhibit that Patty was important to the Flash, so he abducts her.

The Turtle takes Patty to his lair, where he plans to turn her into a frozen exhibit, just like he did to his wife when she threatened to leave him. Barry returns to Patty's apartment and finds her missing. With the STAR Lab Gang's help, he tracks her to the Turtle's lair. He desperately fights against the Turtle's distortion waves, eventually getting close enough to knock him out. He frees Patty, who says hugs him and says, "Thank you, whoever you are." Again, this would have been a great time to tell her the truth, but once again he chickens out.

The next day Barry finally decides to tell Patty, but before he can she tells him she's moving to Midway City to become a CSI. Whoops! Wally shows up at Joe's house, and the two tentatively reconcile.

In the tag scene, Eobard Thawne, aka the Reverse Flash, pops out of a vortex. He asks his personal intelligent computer Gideon where he is.

Thoughts:
• The reveal that Cisco's been searching for the Turtle for the past three years is a blatant bit of retconning on the part of the show, but hey, it worked! I particularly liked the fact that everyone seemed to know about Cisco's "Great White Whale" except for Barry.

• Believe it or not, the Turtle's from The Flash comics. There were actually two different Turtles.

The original Turtle first appeared in 1945, and clashed with the Golden Age Flash. He had no powers, instead using "slow, deliberate planning" to trip up the Flash, which sounds like about the dumbest idea ever.

Turtle Man was his successor, and plagued the Silver Age Flash. He first appeared in 1955 and had no actual powers either, instead using slow-themed gadgets of his own invention against the Flash.

This  new TV version of the turtle, who has the power to drain the speed from those around him, is a very nice update of the character. And in a surprising twist, he seemed like the most useless super villain ever at first, but turned out to be every bit as sinister and dangerous as Zoom! Well done, writers!

• The original Turtle was created by Gardner Fox and Martin Naydel. That explains why the TV Turtle's headquarters was in the abandoned Naydel Library.

• At one point Barry types on a STAR Labs computer at super speed. Nice try, The Flash. Barry can tap away on the keys at light speed all he wants, but it's not going to make the computer work any faster.

• Fun lines:

Cisco: "From Hell's heart I stab at thee!" I'm guessing Cisco probably got that from Wrath Of Khan rather than Moby Dick.

Cisco again: "This thirty-something metahuman not-a-ninja turtle."

Barry: "Keep your eyes open for the Turtle. That's a sentence I never thought I'd say."

• Let's talk about the STAR Labs building. We're currently in Season 2, and Barry was in a coma for nine months after it exploded, so that means the STAR Labs particle accelerator exploded about three years ago. 

So just how long are they going to leave that one damaged tower (that looks like it has a bite taken out of it) as is? I'm assuming there must be no critical equipment inside it.

• The priceless painting at the Crystal Ball was from Markovia. The fictional country has been mentioned many times over on Arrow. In the comics, the superhero Geo-Force is secretly Brion Markov, the prince of Markovia. He was a member of The Outsiders super team. 

• Poor Joe. First he finds out that he has a son he never knew about, then he meets him and he turns out to be a bad boy who's a Fast & Furious street racer. But it turns out he's not really bad, he's only endangering himself and innocent bystanders by illegally racing high performance cars on city streets in order to raise money for his dying mom's medical bills. So that makes it OK.

I don't know whose idea it was to make Wally a gear head, but he feels eerily similar to Michael B. Jordan's character from last year's Fant4stic debacle (which I still refuse to watch). I wonder if they filmed this episode before that movie came out? If they were really trying to copy that characters, it was a very, very bad idea.

All that said, it did feel natural for Wally to be a bit standoffish toward Joe, and not immediately embrace his brand new family.

• ARGGGGH! I actually yelled at the screen after Barry rescued Patty and then just stood there like a dope without telling her who he really is. No wonder Patty decided to leave him!

This is a classic example of TV Couples Drama 101. You don't want two people to get together too quickly or have an easy time of it, or the audience will become bored. So you need to throw as many obstacles in their way as possible. 

I'm positive that's what's happening here with Patty moving to Midway City. I seriously doubt we've seen the last of her.

• Writing for superhero shows must be tough. Barry's devastated when Patty tells him she's moving to Midway City, implying their relationship is doomed by the distance between their two towns.

Sorry, but I ain't buying that. Last season Barry actually ran to Coast City and back for pizza, a feat that took him less than ten seconds of screen time. 

There's no such thing as a long distance relationship with Barry. No matter how far it is to Midway City, if Patty called and asked him to come over, he could zoom there before she could hang up her phone.

• After the Turtle's captured, Barry stores him in STAR Labs Secret Super Jail. At the end of the episode, Harry, who's looking for a way to slow Zoom, enters the Turtle's cell and takes samples of his brain tissue, apparently killing him in the process.

How the hell's Harry going to explain the Turtle's sudden and mysterious death to the Gang? 

• I have no idea what's going on with this new Reverse Flash we see in the tag scene. Supposedly he was wiped out of existence when his distant ancestor Eddie Thawne killed himself in last season's finale.

Maybe this is the Earth-2 Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash?

I love all the comic book insanity on this show, but before long we're gonna need a program to sort out who all's from which Earth!

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