This Tuesday, as The Flash staged a face-off between the proverbial tortoise and hare, Barry proved too slow on the uptake to save something dear to him. Meanwhile, Joe and Iris got ‘tude from Wally and a speedster’s secret was revealed.
Maybe it’s because I watched this week’s Arrow screener first and it was so emotionally draining, but The Flash‘s return left me a bit cold. And I think that is in part because the seams in Season 2 are really starting to show. Including:
* The woefully inert Jay Garrick aka perhaps the most sadly underserved comic-book hero on the TV landscape. Ten episodes in, now, and we still don’t known quite why he is here, other than to charm Caitlin. Was he brought on just to die/almost die, and in doing so somehow save Barry or someone? Dunno.
* Wally West’s introduction. Being some edgy, secret drag racer and learning to be someone’s son aren’t mutually exclusive things. Unless Francince spoonfed this kid serving after serving of misinformation about his father during childhood, there’s little excuse for the chip looming so huge on his shoulders. Joe is “apparently not” a good detective? Uncalled for, kid.
* So, so many speedsters. Now in addition to Barry, Zoom and the woefully inert Jay Garrick, Eobard Thawne/Reverse-Flash is back in the mix, presumably from Earth-Two. And who’s to say what
Jamie Jesse Well’s ultimate on-screen fate is. My concern here is not just that they’re diluting the impact of each added-on nemesis, but burning through options for Seasons 3, 4….
As for Barry himself: I understand that this episode was ostensibly about teaching him some lessons — to protect those you love and/or don’t be so slow to the draw to open yourself up to someone. Because the fact is that despite his nightmares (which happen to open with whimsical vignettes?) and Harry’s dire warning, Barry was just about to tell Patty his secret… and then abandoned that plan in full, after the scare from the Turtle. (“Holy crap, I’ve been a really, really cool girlfriend,” indeed.) And now hurt Patty is seizing the opportunity to leave Central City and pursue CSI training in Midway.
I conclude this thought with a simple, curt, “Barry, you bonehead.”
Things I liked in “Potential Energy”? Harry and Cisco’s ongoing oil-and-water dynamic, alternately helping and then hindering one another on any given project, then sneaking up on us with a somber scene where Wells opens up about the origin of Zoom’s nickname. Patty and Iris having a not-terribly-serious girl talk just like (I imagine) girls actually do, with Iris simultaneously supporting her longtime friend despite his quirks. The visual effects that contrasted Turtle’s waves of slow-motion with Barry’s speed. Joe ultimately confronting Wally — and young man West later agreeing to some kung pao chicken.
But what I really and have always liked was the Barry/Patty sparkle, the way that when these two went on a date, you wanted to be there with them, you wanted to once again have dates like that in your life. (I’m in the midst of a dry spell, you can tell.) As TVLine’s Vlada Gelman put it during an IM, these two were like a romantic-comedy in the middle of a superhero show. And now, because Barry has yet to learn how to love and risk losing, we have lost a pretty perfect, very pretty pairing.