Flash: “Back to Normal” (Season 2, Episode 19)

Comics, reviews, TV


WARNING: Spoilers


 The Flash has seemingly returned to form with the most recent episode. We had a solid story that didn’t rely as much on a super-powered baddie (excluding, of course, Zoom), as it did on the  characters confronting their new realities. That being said, there was obviously a super powered bad guy by the name of Griffin Grey. In terms of plots, we had Barry coming to grips with not having his speed, along with Wells, after being captured by Grey, being forced to confront his choices about the particle accelerator on Earth-2. Caitlin also had to struggle with being trapped in Zoom’s lair. There is also a minor side story of Wally wanting to speak to the Flash, and gets to do so by the end of the episode– but it really was nothing more than giving Joe and Wally’s actors something to do.

The episode begins with a montage of what Barry used to do to get ready in the mornings, versus what he has to endure now. Fast forward to S.T.A.R. labs, and Wells (once again) is dramatically packing and leaving to go find his daughter now that Barry has given up his speed. Cisco and Barry also discover that petty thefts have spiked now that the Flash hasn’t appeared in a while to take them down.

Meanwhile, on Earth-2, Zoom has Caitlin chained up in his lair. He tells Caitlin that he kidnapped her because he loves her, and that he knows, in time, she will come to love him too. Zoom then undoes her chains and speeds off to do whatever dastardly things it is Zoom does while away. Caitlin begins to explore the lair, and discovers that Zoom has taken Killer Frost hostage versus having killed her. He still has the man in the iron mask captured, as well.

Whisk back to our Earth, and Wells has managed to track down his daughter… only for her to refuse to go with him, stating that she is afraid of him and what he’s willing to do. Wells leaves, and as he is driving back, Griffin Grey stops the S.T.A.R. labs van…with his body, and abducts Wells. When Wells awakes, Griffin explains who he is and that while his super powers were, at first, great, they are rapidly aging his body. He diatribes about how selfish Wells was, and how he didn’t think about anyone else but himself.

Meanwhile, the team discovers what has happened to Wells, and with Jesse’s help (and a clever plan to give non-superpowered Barry an edge) they manage to defeat Griffin. On Earth-2, Caitlin helps Killer Frost escape her cell, only to have Killer Frost attempt to kill her. Zoom races back just in time, dispatches of Killer Frost, and chains Caitlin back up.

Our episode ends with a meeting between Wally and Barry (as the Flash), and Wells and Barry having a conversation about Wells’ abduction by Griffin Grey. Wells states that he’d never been forced to confront what he’d done, and that he was going to start correcting that by recreating the particle accelerator accident so Barry could gain his powers back.

Overall, this episode was very good. We got to see changes within the characters, and get more backstory/underlying motivations. One of my major complaints about the episode was just how quickly Jesse seemed to forgive Wells. Their initial meeting in the episode had her proverbially hitting Wells with the revelation that his actions inspired just as much fear in her as Zoom does. However, once the rest of Team Flash discovers that Wells has been abducted, and goes to speak with Jesse about it, she seems far too eager to jump in and help. I understand the father/daughter connection, however, but there didn’t seem to be a middle ground. She wanted nothing to do with him, then seemed to be overly happy to have him back. It felt very…convenient, and given just how good both actors are, I was hoping for more than what we got.

This week’s episode just felt refreshing. I feel as though the rest of the cast’s talent was put on full display. We got to see Barry struggle, dejectedly, as he came to grips with not having his speed. Not only that, but we also go to see the pre-powers Barry that was introduced to us in Arrow. His pluck, his determination– it was a nice change to my previously complaint of always seeing superpowered Barry be two steps behind his major antagonists. (That being said, I’ll be very happy to see him get his speed back.) I also loved seeing Caitlin come face to face with Killer Frost. Though not an overly long scene, it was fascinating to watch one actress show such range in character. One other thing that I noticed in this episode (and a few previous episodes) is that they seem to still be struggling with what to do with the West family. Joe is a major part of the team, given his special task force assignment with the CCPD, but both Wally and Iris seem to get bit storylines that go nowhere. Given how solid both actors are, I’m really hoping they start to play larger roles going forward!

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