“Think about your best friend. It could be your wife, your father…maybe someone you grew up with. It’s the person you can’t wait to talk to at the end of the day. The person who knows everything about you, who roots for you. Now imagine you discover your best friend has a secret. No, not a secret; a UNIVERSE of secrets. Would you confront him? Would you stay silent? Either way you know nothing will ever be the same again.”
As with all secret identities, it was a foregone conclusion that, sooner or later, Iris would discover Barry’s secret as the Central City speedster. The only questions were ‘when’ and ‘how’. We got both answers last week when, after the Reverse Flash kidnapped Eddie, the electric touch shared between Iris and the Flash confirmed his identity to her. Early on in the episode, she gauges Barry’s honesty with her, not so subtly (well, at least for us viewers) prodding him with questions on the Flash and Eddie, almost daring Barry to be honest with her. He keeps everything under wraps and it’s only after Barry’s recovering from a brain scramble stopping a gold reserves heist that he gets the full brunt of Iris West’s anger at being kept in the dark.In the background, Wells continues with his plans
“This is one of the few times I would not want to be Barry Allen,” Cisco remarks to Caitlin as they watch (and spy) on Barry’s uncomfortable conversation with his best friend. He understands her anger but she’s more disappointed than anything. Of course, that disappointment quickly morphs to anger when she realizes both Eddie and her father knew. Speaking of Joe, when he tries calming Iris soon after the Barry convo, it only goes downhill from there. Making no headway with his daughter, Joe gets a call about another gold reserves shipment going down and, this time, they’re able to stopped the armored masked man. It’s a familiar face, one assumed dead long ago in General Wade Eiling.
It doesn’t take long for the gang to realize this isn’t the Eiling they know; this man’s a vegetable who, off the record, has been missing from ARGUS for months. When Barry speaks to him, something else speaks through the fugue state General. “Eiling hurt me,” the disembodied voice remarks. “I hurt Eiling. I am Grodd. Fear me.”
Once they have the name, Caitlin and Cisco give the lowdown on Grodd. Part of an Eiling/Wells joint venture to create soldiers with psychic abilities, the partnership dissolved when Wells discovered the cruelty Eiling subjected Grodd to. Like all things meta, Grodd was affected by the particle accelerator explosion and now his psychic abilities have granted him the ability to control a host. More to the point though is that Wells is using Grodd as a distraction. Though something more is going on, they need to stop Grodd and what better way to do that than tap the newest pseudo member of the team and unofficial meta-human blogger, Iris. They use her earlier posts to pinpoint Grodd’s location in the sewer tunnels. Barry, Joe and Cisco descend into the tunnel depths but when Barry’s KO’d by another psychic attack, Joe is taken by monstrous Grodd, another friend the gang has to rescue.
While a terrified Joe is held captive by Grodd’s mental capabilities, Barry and the others have to regroup back at the lab. Despite all that’s going on, Iris returns to the subject of being left out in the dark. It’s neither the time nor place for her righteous anger (some of it understood), but Barry gives it right back to her, bringing up the fact that she has been dishonest about her feelings toward him. When she doesn’t respond to his point, Barry walks away.
Temporarily forgotten in all of this is Eddie’s ordeal. Trussed up by Wells, Eddie gets the lesson of a lifetime when the future Eobard Thawne regales him with tales of the Thawne name being one in a long line of greats. All except Eddie. “You are the only Thawne to be forgotten by history. Waste of a life, waste of a man. And, oh no, you don’t even get the girl.” He then shows Eddie proof of Iris’s future with Barry and the revelation defeats him more than any punch or kick.Sent as a distraction for Barry, Grodd’s a bit out of the speedster’s weight class
Back to the Grodd problem; Cisco’s genius comes in handy when he creates an anti-telepathy helmet for Barry that should shield him from Grodd’s attacks. So armed, Barry heads to the tunnels and Cisco drives Grodd deeper into the underground using the steam systems. The purpose? To give Barry the room to deliver his super punch. Well, it doesn’t work and Grodd is quite the physical mismatch for Barry, even with his super speed. One toss through a brick wall and the anti-telepathy contraption is scrap, opening Barry to Grodd’s psychic onslaught. It paralyzes the speedster and he’s right in the way of a train. His fear and pain keep him trapped and only Iris’s voice, pleading him to stand up to Grodd, if only for her, gives him the strength to fight back. Still at a physical disadvantage, Barry lures Grodd in front of a passing train, effectively sending the psychic gorilla on its way. The day is saved and Barry’s bringing Joe home.
In the aftermath, Eiling’s no longer under Grodd’s control and, despite their differences, explains to Barry that, right now, they have a common enemy. Wells. After Joe and Iris have a heart to heart, Barry and Iris meet on the roof of Jitters, the unspoken intensity between them still crackling. He reminds her that, despite not knowing his secret, she was still a part of his alter ego. “Without you,” he confesses, “there wouldn’t be the Flash.” Spurred by his admission, she admits to thinking about Barry, but Eddie’s disappearance forces her to halt those thoughts. When Barry asks what happens when Eddie returns, she’s honest. “I don’t know.”
“Now, I have the Key,” Wells say to Eddie before climbing back up and revealing another particle accelerator. “Time to go home.”
Personal & Future Dynamics
- As mentioned above, it was only a matter of time before everything was out on the table between Iris and Barry. Now that it is, where do they go from here? Yes, their primary responsibility is stopping Wells and rescuing Eddie but what happens then? We all know the potential future of their relationship but isn’t there a chance that doesn’t happen now that Wells has effectively changed the past? Or is his inclusion in the past what shapes the future in the first place?
- Speaking of, it looks as if Wells is ready to do that hop, skip and jump back to the future but the question is, what type of effect will his jump have on the present? Again, we have to take into account the dynamics of time travel and all the paradoxes that arise from messing with the past. We know the primary reason Barry wants Wells—to absolve his father of Nora Allen’s murder—but, aside from that, would it be in everyone’s best interest to let the bad guy go? If he was relegated to never traveling back in time, the answer could be argued yes but we all know that Wells/Eobard Thawne wants Barry dead and would most likely find a way to return and see his desires fulfilled. The biggest hurdle is how to stop a man faster, stronger, smarter and more experienced than you and all those around you?