By MIna Haq
This week on “The Flash,” Barry temporarily reverted back to his roots as the underdog when he faced off against his childhood nemesis and newest meta-human opponent with the help of Cisco and Caitlin, Iris’s fixation with The Streak grew stronger and actually put her in danger this time, and Joe sought the help of Wells in solving Barry’s mom’s murder case.
Tony Woodward, the classic childhood bully from Barry’s elementary school years, re-enters his life in a big way when he steals a car and almost destroys Barry when he tries to stop him. To make matters worse, whenever Barry touches him, Tony turns to metal (hence the whole “Man of Steel” thing) and is virtually unstoppable since super-speed can’t really destroy metal. When it comes to his history with Tony, Barry has always let his emotions cloud his abilities and can never win.
So, Barry has this seemingly unbeatable rival who, as it turns out, also knows Iris. She is currently elbows deep in writing about everything The Streak does. It makes sense then when Tony decides to give Iris a few not-so-friendly visits to learn more about the streak, putting her in exactly the danger that Barry/The Streak/Joe/Eddie/basically everyone in the world warned her would happen.
Cisco and Caitlin, being the geniuses that they are, find a pretty dangerous but effective way for Barry to defeat Tony for good. Technically, all he needs to do is land one good punch while travelling at a speed fast enough to make an impact on his metallic armor. Unfortunately for Barry, this means he’ll have to travel at the speed of sound and if he fails could shatter every bone in his body. However, when Tony abducts Iris, Barry doesn’t seem to have much of a choice.
Meanwhile, Joe is still devoting a good portion of his time to figuring out Barry’s mom’s murder case. He goes to see Wells for more information and initially seems to want to know whether or not it’s possible that a meta-human with Barry’s abilities killed Nora. Obviously, since there was no particle accelerator at the time, Wells says that this is “highly improbable.” However, Joe ends up having some ulterior motives and basically accuses Wells of playing a part in the whole thing, questioning why he moved to Central City at the same time as Nora’s murder. This means we finally learn a little more about Wells besides the fact that he’s a creepy scientist, since he actually has a past! He moved to Central City to start over after his wife and research partner, Tess Morgan, died in a car accident. Joe apologizes for doubting Wells and lets him know that he still really needs help on the case.
After taking Iris hostage, Tony demands that she start writing about him instead of The Streak and it becomes clear that he’s one of those people who peaked in high school and can’t seem to get past the glory days. Barry shows up to save the day and, to Cisco’s excitement and Caitlin’s shock, actually manages to travel at the speed of sound and achieve the super-sonic punch necessary to knock Tony out (of course, Iris gets in the last blow). He locks him up in their meta-human prison and finally gets the last words everyone wants when it comes to their childhood bully (except in a much cooler way). Barry even makes amends with Iris in the end after their falling out last week, so everything seems to be working out for him. She’s still running her suddenly very popular blog, but Barry seems to be okay with it for now since she’s out of immediate danger.
The final scene shows Joe being visited by the exact same flash of light that Barry described the night of his mother’s murder, leaving him with a threatening photograph of Iris with a message saying “Stop, or else,” ending any idea that she’s out of immediate danger. It’s sort of suspicious how this happened right after Joe went to Wells for information, but that might just be because Wells is the least trustworthy character on the show and I feel like he definitely played some part in Barry’s mom’s death.