“So…how does a super hero get ready for a date? Same as everybody else. Everyone tells you to just be yourself. But…who is that really?”

We’ve all been waiting for this and it’s finally here. Barry’s shaken off his love bug for Iris and has moved on to the vivacious Linda Park. Okay, so this may not be the pomp and circumstance everyone has been anticipating but it’s a big part of this week’s ‘The Flash.’ Oh, and there may be something or the other about ghost peppers and Firestorm, too.

As mentioned, Barry and Linda have their first date, one in which the Central City speedster’s still on the clock for, foiling a robbery and saving a jumper and not once drawing any suspicions from the sports reporter. In fact, after the end of the night kiss, Linda’s more than ready for date number two. The next day, an excited Barry goes over his successful night with Caitlin and Cisco who are concerned about that very excitement, more specifically the extra umph those Flash-like particles may have on his hormones and libido. Before the trio (and an obviously jealous Iris, who just so happens to hear the tail end of Barry’s dating exploits) get into the finer details of Barry’s love life, they are called away: Cisco’s tasked by Joe West to go over the detective’s theory of evidence to Nora Allen’s murder may still be cooped up in the old house while Barry and Caitlin are called to bat by Professor Wells after a well-known scientist is left in critical condition by the Burning Man, aka, Firestorm.

Barry faces off against the fury of Firestorm

Starting with Joe, the detective wants to use Cisco’s STAR Labs tech to go over the crime scene with more detail than the old technology would allow. The new owner of the house—a sultry blonde by the name of Sherry—is all for the two’s entrance into her abode, and isn’t too subtle about her attraction to our favorite detective. Were he a weaker man, I’m sure Wells’s composure would have been shattered the moment Sherry opened the door. As it is, he powers through his baser needs and, with Cisco’s super tech (and silver nitrate from the only remaining piece of furniture in the room) recreates a 3D picture slide of the crime in addition to a pair of blood samples belonging to the two speedsters that were present on the fateful night.

Traversing the background of Central City, Ronnie/Stein Firestorm complex has finally taken top spot in Wells and company’s crosshairs. Based on Firestorm reaching out to Quentin Quail, a former colleague of Stein, Wells theorizes the meta-human will reach out to Stein’s wife, Clarissa. When they show her a picture of Ronnie, she acknowledges he’d been there not long after the explosion. Since they can’t be certain of when Firestorm will re-appear, Wells and Caitlin stick around in a bit of a stakeout while Barry goes on date number two with Linda. Vixen that she is, Linda eschews Barry’s carefully laid plans and puts the moves on him. He’s a willing participant…until he receives the dreaded interruption. This time, there’s not hiding it and he leaves her high and dry. Things don’t go any better for the Flash when he gets back to the Steins. Confronting Firestorm, he’s taken for a ride and is nearly served with a fiery coup de grace before Caitlin steps in, halting the possibly deadly attack.

Trying to prove he’s not a flake, Barry pays Linda a visit at work only to—you guessed it—get another interruption. Though, with Clarissa’s help, Barry, Caitlin and Wells convince Firestorm to return to the lab for help, things on the Linda front don’t look as promising, especially after Iris nearly sabotages any potential reparations when she hints that young Mr. Allen isn’t quite over his past love which, we all know, was her. When he hears about it, Barry lets Iris know in no uncertain terms, he doesn’t have those feelings for her anymore and has to figure out the best way to make amends with Linda.

Inspiration sometimes comes from the unlikeliest of places. Now that Ronnie/Stein is all cleaned up and down an anti-psychotic cocktail, he’s able to hold normal conversations. Not only does he share a moment with Caitlin about memories that aren’t his own, he recalls a train conversation the year before with Barry and his ‘not-girlfriend’. His advice to Barry, taken from Einstein, is that “Any man who drives safely while kissing a pretty girl is not giving the pretty girl the attention she deserves.” It’s a kick in the butt for Barry, who declares his like for Linda by downing a chunky helping of ghost pepper, promising not to let his job get in the way of their courtship. If only everything was that easy.

Wells has to make the tough call on what to do with Ronnie/Stein

For Firestorm, the news is dire. Ronnie’s body seems to be rejecting Stein’s DNA and, if it’s not halted, the unstable Firestorm matrix will go nuclear and level the city. Wells brings up the only surefire option: kill the host. The idea stuns everyone (Cisco’s sure rethinking West’s supposition that the professor could be one of the speedsters) and Wells goes to his hidden vault and procures a weapon. There he has an idea: use the tachyon prototype and convert it into a quantum splicer. Gideon agrees with the possibility but warns the professor that doing so will slow down his timetable. It doesn’t matter as it’s the only option that doesn’t involve killing Ronnie/Stein. When he returns to the group, he finds that Firestorm has retreated to the Badlands, 30 miles from the city and minimal safe distance should he go nuclear. With Caitlin in tow, Barry rushes out to the badlands and they get the slicer attached to Ronnie/Stein but it doesn’t work. Though Barry’s able to outrun the explosion, General Wade Eiling captures it on military sensors. The camera pans to him and he orders “Bring me Firestorm.”

Future Imperfect

  • There are quite a few plot strands from this week’s episode that will shape the future, both immediate and distant. Starting with the a bit of levity and romance; Barry’s relationship with Linda looks to be back on track, despite Iris’s attempts to submarine it. There’s a spark between the two, one Barry seemed to lack with his best friend and it shows that his time as the Flash is good for both himself and the city. Almost as good is Joe’s awkward interactions with Sherry. Here’s hoping we see more of her over the course of the season; hell, West deserves a bit of the nookie.
  • General Wade Eiling. We last saw the hard-ass, focused military man in the “Plastique” episode. Though the character is somewhat of a cliché—military presence who believes such weapons fall into his purview—truthfully, he’s not wrong. One only wonders just how rigid he is during his second stint on the show. If they want to steer clear of his one-note song, methinks a threat where the Flash and Eiling must team up for the good of Central City’s future.
  • Speaking of the city’s future, how will West react to Cisco’s news that an older Barry’s blood was discovered at the scene of Nora Allen’s murder? To add to that, how about the fact that Wells’s blood was not a match for the second sample. Does this mean he’s not the true Reverse Flash? If so, who is he and what is this timetable Gideon mentioned? These answers won’t be soon in coming and will most likely play out over the remainder of this season, possibly into the next. Either way, we’re in for a wild, wild ride.