In which the MITYS, Reverse Flash, finally makes his presence known to our Flash; Firestorm/Ronnie makes his presence known to Caitlin; Barry makes his presence known to Iris; she makes her presence known to Eddie's apartment–and Cisco makes his presence known to absolutely nobody. Meanwhile, I'm still not quite convinced the man who has the yellow suit is the man who's wearing it: now we know time travel involved, isn't everything open to question?
Christmas has come to Central City, but the episode opens with the unusual as well as the impossible: Barry destroys some Christmas lights. Then we look closer, and we see it's an accident; he's chasing someone. It's the man in the yellow suit, Reverse Flash. And then we go back a day.
For some superheroes, with great power comes great responsibility. And sure, the Flash is here to help people. But this version of the Flash also has an immense amount of joy in who and what he is. He still sees the fun side of the power, and he's still super-sensitive. So when I saw him giving a symbolic ring to Iris, I winced. Eddie's right: friends don't give friends wedding bands. And this episode does have a hefty amount of emotional hand-wringing, but it doesn't take too much away from the story or the character development, thank goodness. In fact, I'm still undecided – the show may have actually pulled off the drama tonight as well as the special effects.
Caitlin's being tailed by an inexplicably still-alive Ronnie, who can burst into flame (the special effects actually make me think of how Firestorm was illustrated in some of the comics, which is awesome.
When Reverse Flash attacks a rival science corporation, Mercury Labs, in search of technology that might allow someone to be invincible, or go faster than light, the merriment ends; Christmas is suspended and everyone needs to go to work and figure out how guards died from a mysterious blur–which seems strongly reminiscent of our titular hero. Joe finally confesses all to Barry, explaining the threat to Iris as well–he figures since Reverse Flash had his cover blown, what's the point? (He's going to be wrong.) Barry's set for revenge. The team is nervous about his anger and what it'll do to his control (possibly because of what happened when Prism came to town, last episode) and asks him to sit this one out while they bait and trap Reverse Flash.
We find out Caitlin is an avid follower of Iris' blog–and that Iris is actually posting reports on more than just the Flash; she's been indexing postings that connect to impossible, meta-human type activities. She has some leads on a Fiery Person. I think it's revealing, though, that Caitlin goes to Cisco for help, not the Flash. And Cisco... in between his kid-masks you get these reveals of a serious adult, someone who knows pain and tries to deal with it. I think the interaction with the Arrow crew has already matured our cast in some ways.
Meanwhile, Our Hero finds out about the Impending Move In. As he wallows in depression, he sees Reverse Flash on a building across the street, and races to confront him. And is soundly beaten. At the same time, he manages to push Mercury into giving them access to their tachyon technology. Right on the heels of his departure, Eddie shows up - to push Joe into giving him access to Joe's investigation, convinced the Flash was present and responsible.
Caitlin and Cisco are hunting for Ronnie–and Caitlin's internal issues are evident. Amazing scene between our two C's as Cisco comforts a crying Caitlin, who admits she worries Ronnie should have died that say. Right on the heels of that, there's this incredible scene between Barry and his father–who isn't interested in being saved. He wants Barry to follow his heart and go after Iris. He wants Barry to live his life. More than his own imprisonment, he sees Reverse Flash as having stolen Barry's life. For a guy who hasn't appeared in many episodes, John Wesley Shipp manages to pull off the feeling of being this giant anchor in Barry's life. And Barry just kind of... pulls himself together emotionally and does the impossible.
He goes to actually tell Iris how he feels. Go, Dad. Barry's heartfelt confession seemed like the truth. Great acting by Grant Gustin. Iris also seems the most human of any point in the series. I saw a real and hurt woman looking back. Her lack of response to his confession really hit me.
The capture of the Reverse Flash, complete with Cisco's force field, seemed way too easy. I was thrilled when Barry showed up - but am terrified the Reverse Flash is going to go after Iris and Joe next. Barry's butt gets kicked again, and he's saved by Stay-Away-From-Me Firestorm, who asks Caitlin to stay away from him. (Hey, Ronnie, wasn't it you stalking her first?) Ronnie leaves.
All this confusion gets Joe to spill the beans to Eddie about the existence of metahumans, and some information about the Flash, though not his identity. Eddie agrees to keep his lips zipped.
Cisco spills the beans about Firestorm, too, and Wells, with his usual creepiness, promises to bring Firestorm back into the fold. We see Joe and Barry bonding again, and Barry confessing his deepest fears. But there's still so many questions. The long-term effects of Barry's crush confession have yet to be explored. We know Wells has the Reverse Flash suit. We know he has some sort of abilities. But I'm not convinced he's the actual suit yet. Getting beaten up by RF... I wonder, actually, even more if this is a red herring. With time travel, isn't anything possible? What if he winds up making someone Reverse Flash in the future, using all the things he's taking from the people trapped in the Particle Accelerator Prison? Or he could be himself beating up himself in a nice little time loop? One of the closing realizations by Cisco is that both a man in a yellow suit and a man in a red suit were there when Barry's mother died. And that's a question, too. And what the heck is that ring Wells was wearing?
I was afraid they were pulling out the main villain of the season too early, but this seemed to work. It really did. The next episode isn't until January - BOO!
Bits and pieces
-The high-speed tree-decorating, and de-decorating; more nice little touches about the Flash's power.
-I love that Cisco recognizes his use of language is odd enough to require clarification about when and what he's naming people!
-I liked Christina McGee and wondered what her relationship was like with Wells. I think any officer would see her resistance of police support as suspicious.
-The chase through the center of the city through to the stadium - nicely done.
Joe: Okay, the only red-suited dude I want in this house right now is Kris Kringle, you got it?
Barry: I don't know who you are.
Reverse Flash: But you do, Barry. We've been at this a long time, you and I, but I'm always one step ahead.
McGee: If Judge Hankerson was gonna sign this, he would have done so already.
Joe: Look, I'm sure you don't want this investigation to get any more public than it's already been, do you, Doctor?
McGee: This has Harrison Wells written all over it in big, black letters. I am not giving you my tachyon prototype.
Barry: It was quite the tour of your facility, doctor. You were fine to let us dumb cops walk around, but I majored in physics and chemistry, and I saw a whole lot of stuff that Science Showcase Magazine would love to hear about. So should I call their editors directly or just leave a few posts on their website?
McGee: (angrily) You'll have the tachyon device within the hour.
Four out of four light-speed-conquering tachyon machines.