Though Arrow’s taking the week off—presumably in anticipation of his two-part showdown with Central City’s newest hero — Barry Allen and the gang make up for it as they get to deal with a double dose of villainy, including a familiar time-obsessed baddie.
Ten months ago…
Farooq and two friends are enjoying a night out, looking for the best vantage point to catch a glimpse of the Particle Accelerator. Using the highest point he can find, Farooq scales a power transformer and…well, we all know how that night ended.A familiar face shows up in Central City–the Clock King
Back to the now, Wells drops a journal entry into Gideon, his futuristic AI, about Barry’s progress as the Flash. In his eyes, Barry’s doing too much of the ordinary and his desire to help others is impeding his progress. When Barry gets to the lab, Wells tells him just that and reminds him of the promise he made. “Speed is the key to progress,” Wells tells him and adds that what they are trying to do “is not just about you.” Judging by his reaction, Barry doesn’t fully hear what Wells is trying to say. Nevertheless, he’s called into a homicide where the victim was charred and seared, like a body would from dragon fire. Or a major current of electricity. Using facial recognition software at the lab, Cisco ID’s the victim as Casey Donahue, a Petersburg Electrical Substation employee. It just so happens someone’s using his ID to access the station. When Caitlin points out the fluctuations in the power flow, Barry checks it out to find a meta-human Farooq in his search power. “I have to feed,” he murmurs with a zombie-like imperative and sets his sights on Barry. It doesn’t go too well for the world’s fastest man and Barry’s unable to get out of the way of the attacks. Wells instructs him to run and Barry recognizes he can’t. “My speed…it’s gone.”
Barry returns to the lab and the super-smart quartet begins their investigation into Barry’s powers and whether the effects are temporary or a more permanent situation. Wells orders Gideon to search for any future references to Barry but the AI can find no trace of him. For his part, Barry gives West the lowdown on his predicament at the station, even running into Starling City’s Clock King on the way out. He has a heart to heart with Caitlin about his powers and how much he loves the speed and being able to help people. She tries telling him that “you’re still you,” but Barry counters “but I’m not…not the best version of me.” Still working on what happened to Barry, Cisco’s able to identify Farooq just as the living power line comes a knocking at the front door, looking for Wells. It doesn’t take long for him to find his way inside (after siphoning enough energy to black out the entire city), and it prioritizes their need for Barry to regain his powers, especially after getting word from Captain Singh on the hostage situation at the station (more on that later).
With time of the essence, Wells theorizes that Barry just needs a bit of a jumpstart to get his cells revved up again and Cisco suggests using the treadmill for this but they’ll need to reset the power to do it. It doesn’t look like they’ll have much time to do it with Farooq combing the halls and, even without his abilities, Barry has the hero mindset. Against Wells’s advice, he tries talking to the power leech, but it doesn’t go too well and Barry gets a sizzling blast of electricity for his troubles. Knowing time is of the essence, Wells sends Cisco to charge the treadmill while he takes a detour to the imprisoned Tony Woodward and offers him a deal; kill Farooq and earn his freedom.
Barry and Caitlin retreat to the treadmill room where they wait for Cisco to fire it up but Farooq can sense the bits of electricity seeping from their bodies. When Cisco turns on the power, it gives Barry and Caitlin a small window of escape and Farooq finds himself face to face with a man of steel. As the two metahumans battle it out, Barry and Caitlin return to the treadmill and despite the dire situation, she doesn’t want to turn it on as there’s no guarantee Barry will survive the jumpstart. He asks if she believes in him, in what he’s become, and his words reach. She relents and Barry’s hit with the charge. Though his hand temporarily vibrates and Flash-like speeds, that’s all he gets. On their way to meet up with Wells for another solution, they cross paths with the beaten and dying Woodward. Barry tries to help him but it’s too late. “Run,” the former bully says before taking his last breath and Barry, with Caitlin in tow, does just that. When he runs into Wells, Barry’s livid over the scientist’s plan to buy time. “I had a choice to make,” he counters, “him or us.”
Time’s winding down and the gang can’t spare any bickering. After Caitlin reveals that Barry’s cells are regenerating, Cisco theorizes that a mental block inside Barry is holding hisBarry and Farooq…round 2.
powers back. Feeling his need for a boost, Caitlin turns the tables on Barry’s earlier question to her. “You asked if I believed if you were struck by lightning for a reason, if you were chosen. I believe. You should too.” It’s not until Farooq has the four trapped and he readies the coup de grace for Wells that Barry taps into his powers once more. He saves Wells and then, when Farooq tries once again to sucks his powers, overloads the other meta-human, burning him out and saving his friends. One problem taken care of, Barry rushes to the hostage situation at the precinct.
Remember William Tockman, the Starling City bad guy who went by the name Clock King? Nabbed by the CCPD, he was awaiting transfer when the blackout occurred and unbelievably was able to take control of the station, taking several officers (including West) and Iris hostage. Of course, he never saw Thawne and, when West is unable to talk the Clock King down, gives his partner the go ahead to take the shot. It doesn’t go well for Eddie as Tockman’s wearing a vest and is evidently a crack shot, wounding the detective who slowly begins to bleed out on the floor. He does Thawne a solid by putting a tourniquet on the wound but takes Iris as his hostage when the helicopter he demanded arrives on the roof. Playing on Tockman’s lament of not saying goodbye to his terminally ill sister—a blame he places on law enforcement, West convinces him to let Iris say goodbye to her dying boyfriend. The 20 second goodbye is enough for her to take Eddie’s backup gun in his ankle holster and when she and the Clock King are alone, she uses it.
Barry arrives as things are getting under control. The Clock King is being hauled away, bullet in his leg as Iris and West are cozied up on the steps. All is right with the world. Back at the lab, Caitlin points out that Barry’s cells are generating more power than ever before and, in between his apology to Wells, visiting the drugged up Thawne and promising Iris the Flash “will never be late again,” Barry recommits himself to the cause. “I’m ready to do it,” he says to Wells. “I want to push myself. I want to see how fast I can really go. You’re right; this is not just about me.
Wells takes a blood sample from the deceased Farooq. “Now you had the ability to steal the Flash’s powers. And I…I’d love to know how you did that.”
- Despite having a third of the season in the bag, we’re still not sure the game Dr. Wells is playing. On the one hand, he seems to have a vested interest in maintaining the integrity of the future and the Flash’s role in it but his final act—sampling Farooq’s blood and its effects on Barry—throws a bit of a spanner in his ulterior motive. And what is his connection to the future? Is he the Reverse Flash or another time-traveling meta-human? Is he even a meta-human? Something tells me we won’t get the answers to these questions for some time and, until then, just need to enjoy the ride.
- Every episode has seen Barry push his powers farther and farther but after this week and Caitlin’s assertion that he’s banging out far more power than ever, opens the door for him making a quantum leap in his speed. It won’t be long before he’s hitting four then five digits on the speed-o-meter or vibrating through solid objects. And yet, there’s no need to pull those triggers just yet. But we know he’s going to need it, after all, there’s a certain Captain Cold out there who’s already taken him down…