Two years ago
Two thugs hold a colleague over a vat of tar, demanding he give them some bank account information. After he does, they send him down, down, down into the pit and…moments later, the Particle Accelerator explodes.
“There’s this song lyric I like: All the broken hearts in the world still beat. Mine’s beating, but bruised. Hopefully not for long. The one thing I do know is time changes everything.”
As Barry ventures off, unwilling to break up the family gathering, Iris, Joe and Wally have a quiet evening bonding. Iris breaks up the levity by pinning Wally in the corner re: his drag racing. He leaves almost immediately and Iris starts in on Joe, telling him he’s not acting the father role. But it’s not as simple as that and, later on, after Iris presents him with a bit of show-and-tell on how several drag racers ended up (messed up or dead), Joe admits he’s scared Wally may reject him. He tells her to “let me get [Wally] to trust me; then I can do something about it.” But she doesn’t listen, going so far as to threaten the drag racing organizer, Clark Bronwen, with an expose piece on his operation, something that doesn’t go over too well with him or Wally.
The other major development is Harry’s creation of a speed force siphon. Believing it’s the only way to save his daughter from Zoom, the device, once connected to Barry’s suit, will activate when Barry taps into the speed force, transferring it to a collection device. It’s difficult enough for Harry to betray those that have been so good to him but Barry makes it even more difficult throughout the episode as he works with Harry in an attempt to solve the breach problem. It gets to the point where Harry explodes on him, telling him that he doesn’t want or need a protégé or kid but also admitting that, sooner or later, he will betray them.
It doesn’t stop Barry from helping and, after some research, he presents Harry with a notion on closing the breaches, one written by the evil Wells. After doing a bit of testing, Wells creates a breach implosion reaction that he and Barry end up testing. It’s a success and the two seem to get just a bit closer. But then Barry’s called away, as Tar Pit strikes again.
Oh right, the meta human…
Let’s be honest here, the inclusion of Tar Pit, though cool, seemed to be shoehorned into this hour more than any meta this season. He’s one Joseph Monteleone, the guy dropped into the tar vat by his former ‘friends’ two years prior and he’s out for revenge. He gets it on Daniel Birch but whiffs on Clay Stanley—purported hitman—as well as Clark Bronwen, the latter two saved by Barry. The latter events, occurring while Iris and Joe watch Wally drag race, is a major catalyst in bringing the Wests together. Due to Harry’s siphon, Barry’s not fast enough to save Iris from getting hit by glass shrapnel from Tar Pit’s attempt on Bronwen’s life. She gets put in the hospital and Joe finally confronts Wally about his racing and, more to the point, that there are still people in Wally’s life that care about what happens to him.
While Wally promises Joe to watch over his sister, the detective arrives at STAR Labs just in time for the big reveal. After delivering Zoom the first injection of Barry’s speed, the guilt of Iris nearly dying and Barry questioning himself drives Harry to come clean about his deception. Obviously, the news doesn’t go over well but, after taking down Tar Pit and mulling over Harry’s suggestion to send him back to Earth-2 and close the breaches so Zoom could never return. But Barry’s not having it. He challenges Joe, Kaitlin, and Cisco with “what would we have done if we were in his position?” He sees more clearly than the others that, “when it comes to family, when it comes to the people well all love, we’re all vulnerable. None of us are above making a wrong decision.
“I can’t just give up on a world,” he continues, “this is a world full of people who are facing death. I may not be fast enough to beat Zoom yet but I’m not gonna just close the breaches and forget about it. We have to help Wells.” But he doesn’t want to make the decision alone, telling the others that it is a group decision.
Once made, Barry and the others release Harry from the Pipeline, he delivers the big news. “I told you, we’re a team. Now you’re a part of it.
“We’re going to Earth-2.”
- “Fast Lane” was an episode about family, both by blood and by bond. It may have taken Iris’s near-death experience to shake Wally from his “me against the world” ideals but he finally understand Joe and Iris are there for him. He even opens up to his big sis about why he loves speed so much, particularly the drag racing as the latter reminds him of road trips with his mom. His biggest fear is, if he gave up the race, those feelings could be muted, lost. Iris and Joe’s support has broken through those fears and Wally West knows he still has family.
- On non-blood bonds, the relationship between Barry and Harry this episode was a fascination to watch. Throughout his time on Earth-1, Harry has tried to keep Barry and the gang at arms-length, his focus so much on rescuing his daughter. When Zoom approached him, demanding Harry help steal Barry’s speed, the prof tried to maintain even greater distance between himself and Team Flash. But try as he might, Harry Wells of Earth-2 has become a part of the team and, as Barry tells him, they stick together no matter what.
- Road Trip time! Modifying Harry’s plan to drop him back home, Barry’s decision that everyone’s heading to Earth-2 will add so much fun to an otherwise lackluster run of episodes. The promo showed us our first glimpse of Killer Frost and Deathstorm. If that doesn’t spice things up for ya, not sure anything will.