What happens when the fastest man in the world gets struck by lightning a second time–and loses his powers? Will he still be a hero?
This episode is my least favorite so far, period, of The Flash. The antagonist, Farooq Gibran, is electrocuted and becomes the latest victim of the Particle Accelerator Apocalypse, leading to his becoming the latest Monster of the Week (MOTW)... who can shoot electrical bolts which drain people and things of power. While rushing to defend the city, The Flash gets attacked... and his "speed" gets stolen from him. He shows up at STAR Labs chasing Dr. Wells, trying to figure out what happened to him and how to fix it.
Simultaneously, an arrested madman with an obsession with time makes a reappearance - William Tockman, the CW version of the Clock King from the comic books, previously seen getting blown up by Felicity from Arrow. When Farooq attacks STAR Labs, he causes a city-wide blackout... and William Tockman takes control, holding Joe and Iris West hostage (some good personal scenes between these two).
The big danger for this show is it growing into a MOTW where Bad Guys appear, get beaten, and disappear. Farooq seemed like a pretty happy pothead partying with friends. From whence comes the whole Evil Feeder attitude? Hunger, yes, but the personality change doesn't make sense. And why is he a "vampire" when nobody else has been? The whole thing comes across as A Way To Teach Barry A Lesson, and the lesson is too soon. It was nice seeing the Tockman again, but I get the feeling Blackout is not going to come back as a semi-hero after this episode (although the possibility is certainly held out there). It was exciting seeing Tony Woodward return and be used in a different way, but boom – ten minutes after he shows, he's dead.
What I did like about this episode was the developing banter between Detective West, Eddie Thawne and Barry. They sounded somewhat like a team that worked together. But even there, the dialogue disappointed. You're telling me that Thawne, an experienced officer who's clearly been promoted once or twice, knows nothing about reconstructive technology and has no idea you can identify burn victims? I'm hoping they bring these elements together more effectively soon. Right now, it's sort of like a caricature of a cop show at times.
I actually felt Tockman's attack, coldly rationally insane, was more chilling than Blackout's unreasoning rampage. Essentially, Blackout's raging and frustrated because he accidentally killed his friends. He blames Dr. Wells for making him a killer, so he wants to kill more people. Compare this to Tockman - who is angry at the system for making him miss the death of his sister.
I also liked Barry's struggle to let go of his powers and his need to feel needed. It's true: in a short space of time he's changed the city and provided protection which hadn't been there before. I also like that his problems accessing his speed are mostly psychological. While he keeps talking about helping people – enough to make me gag, in this episode – what he's seeing and doing daily is taking a toll on him, especially with his particular level of innocence.
I'm also seeing - again - Wells reveal himself to Cisco, just a little more than he opens up to anyone else. I don't think he sees Cisco as important, so he's willing to show Cisco his insanity. That moment when he says The Flash is his greatest creation - hmm! And when he nearly attacks the computer for not finding historical examples of The Flash - whoa! And then... that smile at the end, when he tells Barry how much he cares about him. CREEPY. And yet... it's Wells in danger which makes Barry's speed return. When is Barry going to find out about Wells' double nature? Will Wells make a play for Barry's powers? Will this "Gideon" guy get involved?
Bits and pieces
-Farooq's abilities make no sense to me. You can't burn someone up and suck out their energy at the same time. Maybe the burning and sucking balance each other out so he winds up not actually ever gaining or losing energy? I don't know. When you have to try figuring out that kind of thing, it's usually a bad sign.
-Caitlin seemed to be dressing down in this episode - isn't she usually a lot more formal?
-Eddie Thawne on pain meds. Cute.
Eddie: So how was this guy electrocuted?
Barry: Well, the first thing we need to do is ID him.
Eddie: Yeah. His face is melted off. How's that picture gonna help ID him?
Barry: I got mad skills.
Joe: Please don't ever say that again.
Wells: I don't care much for people, Barry. I find them misinformed, shortsighted.
Barry: So why do you do what you do? Why get up in the morning?
Wells: Because I believe in a better future.
Another monster of the week. Some good ideas, some great special effects, but nothing seemed well developed except some bits of good personal interaction and development - but this show is going to need more to keep my interest! Jesse Martin and Tom Cavanagh once again pull through. Two out of four electrocuted buddies.