A human bomb stalks the streets of Central City, and Barry Allen struggles with the metaphysics of friendship, evil, and love.
Tonight's episode showed this series isn't going to skimp on the special effects OR the character development – and it's also not going to limit itself to a simplistic view of good and evil. We begin almost exactly where the last episode left off - with our team celebrating a win, and Barry marvelling that he has friends who are really, actually there for him. The celebration doesn't last long: before you know it, there's a bomb going off, and our hero shoots off to save the day. Five minutes later, he's in his underwear. And if that doesn't get you interested in this show, I don't know what will.
A note about Barry. I think this is the first episode where I saw him as a hero. I've been backstabbing the Iris West character. I don't see her as integral to the show yet, and I don't see why Barry's so obsessed with her. But I grudgingly accept that, through her eyes, I saw our overgrown boy become a bit more of an adult. She's far more necessary than I wanted to admit.
Our supervillain of the week is named Plastique by Cisco, who's on a roll with names. From my understanding, she's a lot more pleasant in this episode than she ever was in the comics. Instead of being a terrorist, she's ex-military (Special Forces? I wonder) and became a metahuman in the same accident which spawned Barry. I think Plastique is the first sympathetic metahuman Barry's met, and he sympathizes with her throughout the episode. His powers could have wound up being just as painful-and the introduction of General Eiling (Clancy Brown), who's a true villain without the super in the tradition of Lex Luthor (NB: He turns out to have voiced Lex Luthor, on an animated show.) He doesn't want to kill. He wants to use. In a major conflict towards the end of the episode, we see the two "villains" come head to head and see Barry further develop his own understanding of his abilities. If Plastique gets some special effects here, so does Barry; he truly does the impossible in this episode, running vertically up skyscrapers and quickly enough to run on water.
The secondary plot - about Iris posting publicly about the "streak" - really annoyed me, until the end. Because Barry and Joe are right. The general's own response to seeing the "streak" should warn us. People are going to want to use the Flash - and Iris has just managed to put up a sign saying "I am the way." The moment when she meets the object of her writing was well done–and so was the moment when the two characters "split up." But her obsession with the Flash is clearly shoving out the Hot Boyfriend, and this is going to have consequences.
Finally, what's going on with Wells? This episode left me more confused about him than ever. But again - evil isn't going to be one-sided on this show.
Bits and Pieces
"How serious can you be about an anonymous blog?" Hello? Even I know better than to bait Iris like that, and I don't even like her.
Cisco's ongoing crush led to some cute moments. Another overgrown boy.
Did Plastique really die? I doubt it. In Smallville the character also made an appearance, also appeared to die, and I think made a return many seasons later.
The moment when Flash appears to save General Eiling. The special effects including Plastique's hair blowing were just so well done.
Caitlin looking for a "hot" man. Another precursor of Firestorm?
Husband Discussions Continued: Husband and I felt this episode actually recalled some of the Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman sequences. The relationship between Barry and Cisco, with Barry looking for science to back his testing of his own limits, the army, etc.
Caitlin: Yeah, he's so hot. Genetically. Because I'm a geneticist, of course. Oh god, do I sound like Felicity?
Barry: The alcohol is not affecting me. I mean I literally feel nothing.
Caitlin: It's your hypermetabolism. I need a sample.
Cisco: I'll get more shots.
Caitlin: I swear, I had a vacutainer here.
Barry: Wait, you carry a blood collection kit in your purse?
Cisco: You have your hobbies.
General: Tell me, what does one do after such a spectacular failure?
Wells: One adapts. One evolves.
General: The night your particle accelerator died was the night the impossible was born.