Ever since we were introduced to Barry Allen’s horrific experience as he watched his mother die in a hurricane of red and yellow, we’ve waited for the moment Central City’s hero came face to face with his mother’s killer. Well, that time is now and, from the very beginning, we watch as the two speedsters race through the streets and…
One Day Earlier…
It’s the Christmasy time of year with Barry and West trimming the tree when the detective is called away. The best friends have some one-on-one time where they exchange gifts before Eddie interrupts their pre-Christmas festivities. Barry takes that as his queue to head to STAR Labs where he and his colleagues do their own bit of gift givings—save for Wells, who’s not all that cheery about the holidays. Not many people are going to be cheery after Mercury Labs is infiltrated by the man in the yellow suit and Barry realizes the masked stranger has been in town for weeks and threatened Iris in the process. So why was yellow suit interested in Mercury Labs in the first place? Tina McGee, the brains behind Mercury, and a tachyon prototype. In theory, it would allow someone to travel faster than light. Barry and Wells pay a visit to McGee about the break-in and propose using the prototype as a lure for Yellow Suit. She brushes them off, stating that “Mercury is quite capable of protecting its own assets.”Caitlin and Cisco track down Firestorm
After seeing her long thought dead fiancé, Caitlin approaches Iris about blog posts on the “burning man.” Iris promises to get her the notes on his sightings and then asks her own questions. Eddie’s comment about Barry’s possible feelings for her is the impetus behind Iris’s curiosity. Caitlin tells her that if she has something to ask Barry, she needs to do it. As far as Ronnie goes, Caitlin tells Cisco that he’s alive “and he’s out there; alone and scared.”
We flashback to Barry’s final moments with his mother. “See you’re not afraid of the dark, Barry. You’re afraid of being alone in the dark. And that goes away when you realize something: you’re never really alone.”
Iris comes in and returns Barry to the present. Taking Caitlin’s advice, Iris probes Barry on his feelings but he brushes it off and when she leaves, Barry has but a moment to wallow in his sacrificial lie when he spots the Man in the Yellow Suit. And just like that, the chase is on. The game of ‘catch me if you can’ goes through the city, with the Reverse Flash taunting Barry the entire time. When they finally come to blows, Barry’s beaten from pillar to post, with the final ‘in your face’ taunt by the Reverse Flash telling him “It is your destiny to lose to me, Flash. Just as it was your mother’s destiny to die that night.” The failure doesn’t sit well with Barry and he fills the others in as Wells preps the force field trap—the only thing speed can’t outrun. Using a bit of intimidation, Barry’s able to wrangle the Tachyon prototype from McGee to use as bait but, once things are in place, West and Wells agree that Barry’s too close to the situation. He reluctantly agrees to stay away but it won’t be long before he’s called up off the bench.
While waiting for the cheese to catch its mouse, Caitlin is dealing with her latest encounter with Ronnie. He’s not answering to Ronnie Raymond anymore; he’s Firestorm. Caitlin admits to Cisco that she wished he had died. Dismissed from the trap, Barry goes to see his father and tells Henry Allen everything. The soul crushing guilt threatens to suffocate Barry but his father demands that he “let it go,” Henry continues “the man in the yellow suit has taken enough from us already. Don’t let him take anymore.” Strengthened by his father’s words, Barry pays a return visit to Iris and admits his true feelings. She’s flummoxed by the admission, though a part of her probably knew from the start. He leaves her, alleviated from the guilt and fear of being alone and in the dark.Saved by Firestorm
The trap at STAR Labs catches its prey and the Reverse Flash addresses his audience. “Dr. Wells, we meet at last,” he says. West tries questioning the opposing speedster but doesn’t get much and when the fluctuations in the force field begin, Reverse Flash somehow is able to break through long enough to pull Wells in with him and starts giving him a most epic beat down. Knowing the good doctor is dead if they don’t lower the field, West takes out the generator itself. It may have spared Wells but the Reverse Flash takes down Thawne’s task force, pilfers the tachyon prototype and offers Thawne an in your face moment…and then Barry’s there, ready for round two. Unfortunately the second round is even more lopsided than the first and, just as Reverse Flash looks to apply the coup de grace, Firestorm arrives long enough to save Barry’s skin. “Don’t look for me again,” he tells Caitlin before propelling himself into the night sky.
In the aftermath, West fills his partner in on metahumans, Wells promises Caitlin he’ll bring Ronnie home and Barry has a heart-to-heart with his surrogate dad. “I’ve been afraid of the man in yellow my whole life,” he confides, “that’s why I lost.” But West sees something else in him; he still sees the light Barry exudes and cautions him not to “lose that light now…The world may need the Flash but…I need my Barry Allen.” The closing moments are spent with friends and family; Barry’s confession has Iris feeling uneasy while Thawne may be sensing the tension or dealing with his post-metahuman chat. But Cisco throws a wrench in the Nora Allen murder theory when he tells detective West that there were two speedsters in the house that night…
Wells paces through his hidden chamber and reveals…his Reverse Flash suit. He attaches the tachyon prototype to it and murmurs a good old “Merry Christmas.”
Light in a World Full of Darkness
- Finally we’ve crossed the halfway mark and though we were rewarded with the Reverse Flash’s identity (one that was not 100% surprise) we are still left with plenty of questions. What does Wells want with Barry? Why did Nora Allen have to die? Who was the second speedster in the room that time? Most importantly, how will these events shape Barry through the remainder of season one? I know, I know…lots of questions. Guess we’ll all be tuning in to find out the answers.
- It was quite a curious moment when, after taking possession of the tachyon prototype, the Reverse Flash stopped right in front of Eddie Thawne. In the comic world, Thawne also goes by the name Professor Zoom, aka Reverse Flash, so was the face-to-face homage to that relationship or was it a foreshadowing of events to come? Guess we’ll have to add that to the list of questions we already have waiting to be answered.
- Barry had two of the most poignant scenes in the first half of the season with his conversations with his two dads. Henry Allen’s plea not to let the man in the yellow suit take anything else away from them spurs Barry to admitting his true feelings for Iris. Everyone around her knew the truth but, as it often happens, the person of interest was the last two know. The admission will irrevocably change their relationship and hers with Eddie, I’d assume. After the Reverse Flash escaped, Barry owns up to his fears of the man in the yellow suit to West. The veteran detective, perhaps seeing the path Barry could take in tracking down the antagonistic speedster, reminds Barry to remember his true self. It’s a powerful reminder, especially for someone living two lives in the interest of protecting others.