How do you start off an episode Barry Allen? Talking to the woman you care about most on the phone, normal. Hearing gunshots in the background of said conversation, not normal. Now telling her to jump out of a window, yeah this is episode three of The Flash.
We cut to Jay Garrick, Cisco and Caitlin inside the holding area for the primary “breach” that looks like unstable matter acting as a wormhole. In trying to figure out how Zoom would use the breaches, Barry figures that only a speedster would be able to access them…and of course Barry gets repelled to the other side of the room. Jay explains it quite well actually; “think of the breaches as doors, in between them there is a hallway that is ever-shifting with the doors following suit.” Just when Cisco agrees with Jay’s naming of said explanation as the ‘Speed Cannon”, Professor Stein kicks everyone out telling them to get some rest, for their youth’s sake.
While not the main plot of the episode, there were two components that served as the meat and potatoes of what I wanted to expound upon. The “potatoes” if you will was Francine, Joe’s former wife re-entering the picture wanting to see Iris again. Joseph, as she calls him, says that divorced men take off their wedding rings, widowers don’t. Francine probably appreciated the sentiment behind him wearing the ring, but that was before Joe’s response which was arguably the most coldest moment for him since the pilot when he outright told Barry his father killed his mother. Think about the line for a second. We know what a widow is, which will give some subtext to something else that happens later on, but he is basically telling this woman that she is dead. Do not get that message misconstrued; there is nothing underlying about what Joe said. Then comes the left cross; Joe places an envelope full of money in front of Francine and tells her to leave town. So not only does Joe see Francine as dead but so dead that he is willing to pay money out of his own pocket to keep it that way. If I can be transparent for just a moment, what things in our lives from our pasts would cause us to reach down and sink into desperation that would prevent those memories from coming back to the forefront of our present? It had been twenty years since Francine presumably “left” and her response to Joe’s obvious question with “Now I’m ready”, Joe interrupts with “Now, you’re too late.” Time is funny but not when you are at its mercy. Time plays no favorites, nor does care about our personal issues and happenstances. Time is the great equalizer. Does it heal all wounds? From personal experience, no but time does allow for life to go on after the fact. No one man is more powerful than the hands of time. Time can never truly be up simply because we say so, as long as we have breath, there is always a bit of time left. I get that Iris losing Eddie is a bitter pill and to be fair Joe has to not only see it as that being his daughter’s boyfriend but his partner on the force and his second one lost at that. So when Francine says she knows what it means to lose the love her of life, Joe adamantly questions this and gives her 48 hours to leave Central City and walks out of the bar leaving Francine defiantly proclaiming that she is not going anywhere.
Now we have special coffees that are being called “The Flash.” Anything to get Patty and Barry interaction…I guess. Oh and speaking of potentials bumping into each other, “You can bump into me anytime” says an inviting Lisa Snart to Cisco. (Which by the way Barry’s reaction to this while drinking his coffee was gold!) This leads to Lisa (also known as Golden Glider) explaining to Team Flash that her brother Captain Cold has been kidnapped and needs to be rescued. Lenny (Leonard Snart) has an interesting relationship with The Flash in that he not only knows his secret identity, but he didn’t kill him during the metahuman transport late in the first season (which Cold sabotaged by the way). Lisa is calling out that debt Flash owes to Captain Cold, yes Lisa does not know the Flash is Barry Allen. We also find out that Cisco can always track the Cold Gun by it’s ultraviolet cold signatures. So when the Flash goes off to intervene, we find that Snart is working with his father and promptly blasts Barry freezing him up to his chest. Unlike last season, Flash’s suit has a built in thermal threading that expounds from his insignia thawing out the Scarlet Speedster.
Lewis Snart: Lisa and Lenny’s father is as much the criminal as his kids, but that’s not what’s pressing. The real “meat” of the episode is after being questioned why Lenny would work his dad isn’t so out of the ordinary, Lisa reveals a bruise on her neck explaining that it came from her not being a criminal but a daughter. Child abuse is a very sensitive and hot-button issue, especially with the backdrop of the equally touchy issue of how parent raise their kids. Without going into detail, I can appreciate this show for tackling this in such a way that it gives character development and much needed depth to Lisa and by extension, Lenny. There has always been a certain lightheartedness with the Flash’s Rogues and giving them some empathy makes me not only care about our heroes but wanting to see their antagonists come out from the other side in one piece as well. Without struggle there is no progress, you know. We then see Barry and Lenny talking over dinner, yeah… The Flash and his Rogues. Lenny warning Barry to stay out his family business or else and Barry trying to be the inspiring hero. Then Lenny leaves Barry with the bill…because, you should know.
We go back home to Barry looking at old family pictures and Joe revealing that he had lied to everyone about Iris’ mother being dead. You ever a tell a lie for so long that not only other people start to believe it but you yourself? It gives that earlier bar scene a different spin when you look at it that way. Joe could have been rationalizing this in his own mind, this woman who has been out of my life returns from out of nowhere and I now have to deal with this. In what ultimately makes Joe the MVP of the episode, he goes into what went through his head and his heart in constructing this illusion. To me this doesn’t fall into the category of the long list of lies that are the real driving force behind this show. Joe had not only the burden of becoming a single father to his lone daughter but also to Barry and his circumstances. I think he felt keeping Iris’ stability from the truth that she was basically abandoned by her mother attributed to his own dealings with Francine as his wife not to mention both Joe and Iris being a support system for Barry. I don’t think Joe would have been able to deal with two kids with two different mother issues as a father. To Barry’s advice (for a change) Joe later tells Iris the truth and completely breaks down and my heart broke for him because you could tell that he not only hurt for Iris but for himself because he tried to hold his family together when his very family (Francine) was tearing them apart. Iris wasn’t very good last season with people keeping things from her. (Even though the first of these on the show was Iris keeping her relationship with Eddie from her dad.) Iris consoles her dad and tells him that she understands and it’s okay; she also makes the decision to go see her mother for herself.
After Patty, Joe and Barry discover traces of thermite on Lewis’ headless victim, Joe thinks that maybe Lewis put a bomb in his own son to get him to do these jobs. Barry deduces that Captain Cold does care about one thing and Team Flash make that same discovery when they find traces of thermite in Lisa’s neck. In dire situations desperation leads to either two things; panic or trust. Due to this, as well as the earlier moment of Lisa explaining the plight of being child that wasn’t good enough to Cisco (who understands that all to well himself) Lisa puts her trust in Cisco when he comes up with a way to save her. There is a risk however. Thermite’s explosive properties come from concentrated air, which is going be used in a device that will literally suck the bomb from out of neck, Ghostbusters-style. Barry’s next big idea: go undercover as a tech assistant for Snart to buy Team Flash some time. Nice of the show to give credibility for Barry to Lewis when in doing a favor for Lenny last season he was able to crack the same firewall that is on tap now. Oh and the look Captain Cold gives Barry after convincing his father to let him in on the job, gold! Barry uses his super speed to catch the bullet and play dead after unlocking the security firewall when Lewis shoots him. Lenny uses his Cold Gun to freeze the laser defenses but warns his father that they will go active in just over two minutes. All the while Cisco is preparing to remove the bomb from Lisa’s neck with Captain Cold holding the Flash at gunpoint with his father demanding he ice him over or else his sister, Lewis’ daughter dies. Cisco succeeds which I assume would break Lewis’ heart…then Captain Cold proceeds to do just that, literally, with his cold gun. And next to Joe’s conversation with Iris, the most surreal moment of the episode happens when the Flash asks why, Lenny says, “He broke my sister’s heart, only fair I break his.”
The episode ends when Jay, agreeing to stay in Central City until they stop Zoom, along with Team Flash witness Stein pass out again but not before flaring up like Firestorm. Oh and those breaches…it looks our old friend Harrison Wells just came through one.
Line(s) of the Night: “You’re a criminal, but you have a code.” Barry talking to Lenny over dinner.
“It’s good to go out on a high note.” Lewis Snart to Barry after he cracks the security code…and then shoots him.
Flashlines: Lewis Snart blows up a henchman’s head…Amanda Waller style. Guess Jay Garrick’s Central City has a Big Belly Burger as well; it’s all relative. Speaking of Jay, it seems that Caitlin has taken a liking to the physicist. We find out Francine was a drug addict…heavy stuff. Captain Cold telling Barry that he’ll be out of jail sooner than he thinks, don’t all villains? Oh and Patty giving Barry her number, score!
Until next week guys, Flame…I mean Flashout!