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Wednesday, 20 January 2016

The Flash S2E10: Potential Energy

The Flash
Series 2, Episode 10
Potential Energy

So, The Flash is back. It's back much earlier than I expected, actually, since I assumed that both it and Arrow would be resuming after Legends of Tomorrow was over and done with, much like how Agents of SHIELD resumes after the close of a series of Agent Carter. Apparently not, though,.

The first act of the series ended on an interesting note, as we discovered that Wells is allied with Zoom, who wants to steal Barry's speed (no surprise there) and got our first glimpse of Wally, dropping in on Joe and Iris to join their Christmas party.

As this episode picks up, Barry and the gang set out to catch the Turtle, a thief who uses his ability to slow other things down in order to steal rare items of personal significance to people. Hoping they can use his powers to derive a way to slow Zoom down and defeat him, the gang lays a trap for him, with Barry seeing it as an opportunity to tell Patty about his secret identity. Meanwhile, Caitlin runs tests on Jay without his knowledge and finds out something terrible, and Wally chafes at Joe's attempts to be a father.

Also, there's dancing, briefly.

So,this is a fairly standard issue meta-of-the-week episode, and actually one that would probably have been slightly more at home in the first series, since it doesn't really involve any world-hopping shenanigans. The set-up is the same as usual: There's a wrong'un with superpowers that need stopping, and this gets in the way of personal issues, and so on - and, as usual, what sells it is that it's fairly relentlessly fun.

The Turtle has one of the more interesting powersets of the Flash's villains, essentially making himself a speedster by virtue of slowing everything else nearby down. He kind of jumps the shark a little the moment he starts kidnapping people and tying them up because they're 'precious to the Flash', when it actually would have worked better, I think, if he was just a thief who stole valuable items without harming anyone - or, at least, not harming anyone unless it was absolutely necessary.

This is also quite a heavily Patty-centric episode, which is, you know, a thing. I do like Patty as a character, but more and more it feels like hers and Barry's romance is hackneyed and poorly written, and like their romantic subplot is just overtaking any chance for Patty to be an interesting character with her own goals and agendas. The episode ends with her saying that she's leaving, and although I expect she'll change her mind, because the writers want to keep her around for more romantic nonsense, I kind of hope that either she goes or, at the very least, that she breaks up with Barry.

Running in slow motion.

The fact that he ended up not telling her that he was the Flash despite the episode teasing it also bothered me, because I don't like secret identity plots much. They're almost never fun, they just tend to be maudlin and cliche.

The Wally plotline, meanwhile, was fun enough, but did kind of come out of the blue. It's a little odd to have Wally nervously show up for a Christmas party and then, just an episode later, be apparently nearly totally uninterested in getting to know Joe or Iris. To be honest, while this plotine is generally fine, I think I would have preferred it somewhat if it had been between Iris and Wally, since I'm a bit more invested in their sibling relationship.

I do really like Wally so far, though, and I'm eager to see more of him. He seems like he could be a lot of fun, and played right, the process of him getting to know Iris and Joe (and Barry) could be really interesting and touching.

The last subplot in this episode was Caitlin finding out that Jay is dying, and I just kind of shrugged at that. I don't much care for Jay, so him being ill is of very little concern to me, to be honest, especially when - spoiler alert - Ronnie has already been confirmed to be returning, as Firestorm villain Deathstorm.

Crime and stuff.

Like a lot of Flash episodes, we get most of our big plot developments at the end - in this case, by way of Wells killing the Turtle (and possibly extracting something from him? I wasn't clear in this scene whether he was killing him to stop the team from trying to stop Zoom, or because it was a quicker way to devise a way to stop Zoom) and by way of the Reverse-Flash (addressed by Gideon as Professor Thawne, which is always nice) arriving and having no idea where he is. Possibly a Reverse-Flash from before he met Barry? Or Earth-2's Reverse-Flash?

All in all, though, a fairly strong opener to the second half of the series, and I'm looking forward to seeing more.

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