By Mina Haq
This week’s episode of “The Flash” was all about time, which I suppose one could contribute to the appearance of the Clock King (who was on “Arrow” a while back as well, for anyone who remembers). References were made to the past and to the future, and our characters often found themselves running out of time or caught in situations with terrible timing.
First of all, we have this week’s meta-human: Farooq, otherwise known as Blackout. He suffered a pretty tragic fate when the particle accelerator went off, what with getting electrocuted, falling off an electric tower and accidentally killing his two best friends who tried to give him CPR. Naturally, he has a bone to pick with Wells (who doesn’t?), and spends the episode trying to find him by infiltrating S.T.A.R. Labs. That’s not before he siphons off Barry’s powers and strips him of his super-speed, on which Barry has become very dependent.
Let’s quickly bounce back to Wells’ super-secret evil lair, which is where Gideon, the robot who shows him the future, lives. A few episodes ago we saw a headline from the future that read “Flash Missing, Vanishes in Crisis” for which Wells was somehow responsible. Now that Barry’s powers are gone, the headline disappears and all traces of the Flash vanish from the future, causing Wells to panic and take drastic measures to get rid of a very rampant and revenge-seeking Blackout. He releases Tony Woodward, who was locked up in the meta-human prison, to kill Blackout, but Tony ultimately fails and Blackout kills him.
Tony’s death just adds to the tension between Wells and Barry, as it causes Barry to accuse Wells of not caring about people at all, just scientific advancement. Wells is also frustrated with Barry since he’s been too busy to uphold his end of their deal, which was to help aid S.T.A.R. Labs in research if they helped him catch the bad guys.
Meanwhile, at the police precinct, Tockman, or The Clock King, is being held as a prisoner. As soon as the case is transferred to Joe, Tockman pulls out a gun and shoots two officers, creating a hostage situation with everyone else in the precinct, including Joe and Iris. This adds to Barry’s difficulties, as he now has to worry about the hostage situation as well as Blackout running around wreaking havoc in the lab, all while moving at the speed of an average person (perhaps slower).
Of course, Wells has a theory to jump start Barry’s abilities again. It involves Barry running on the treadmill while the team basically just electrocutes him an extreme amount. As always, it’s life-threatening, but Barry chooses to do it anyway (after Caitlin’s usual I’m-the-voice-of-reason speech). It doesn’t work, which Cisco assumes is because Barry’s having a very normal case of performance anxiety.
The hostage situation is still as tense as ever, but is made even more suspenseful when we see that Eddie is hiding somewhere in the precinct and is prepared to take a shot at Tockman. Unfortunately, Tockman was wearing a bulletproof vest (because he’s probably not a stupid evil genius) and ends up shooting Eddie instead, right before he takes Iris, who has been sure this whole time that The Flash will show up at any moment.
When Blackout finally finds Wells, he accuses him of being the reason he’s like this and his friends are dead. This creates an oddly tender moment that features Wells reciting the names of everyone who died that night, making him seem less terrifying and a little more human. Apparently Barry thinks so too, because when Blackout electrocutes Wells, his powers are jump started again and he saves the day immediately. Iris acts as a hero as well, shooting Tockman with the gun she stole from Eddie as she said “goodbye” to him (spoiler alert: He survived).
The Flash is back in the end, even visiting Iris at the hospital and assuring her he’ll never “be late again.” It’s clear Barry’s enjoying the effect The Flash has on Iris, which is probably why he keeps having dimly lit rendezvous with her. Barry also tells Wells he’s ready to push himself further and further to help with research, so he’s mended all his fences within 42 minutes once again.
It wouldn’t be an episode of “The Flash” if Wells didn’t do suspicious things to test our trust, however, so obviously the final moments feature him doing exactly that. His final log in his evil secret lair notes how important Barry’s emotional attachments are and how they can be used as an asset, and how the future is still intact (the future meaning Barry’s disappearance). He then makes plans to use Blackout to figure out exactly how he stole Barry’s powers, leading all of us to believe that he definitely needs to do that to complete his grand master plan. The show is doing a fantastic job of creating a season long mystery while bringing fresh plotlines with each episodes, and I’m excited to see where the rest of the season takes us.