Sometimes a show just shouldn’t work. Whether it’s the dialogue, the energy of the cast, or the overall story pacing, even the best shows have those moments. For thirty-odd minutes, this week’s The Flash, accurately titled “Rupture”, seemed to fall into that forgettable filler category. But then something magical happened and…enough of the lead-in, let’s get into it.
It’s week two—in episode time—of Barry running without his powers. To combat the city’s need for the Flash, Cisco, and the gang have created a Flash hologram, controlled by Cisco and using some motion-capture tech for Barry. It’s a stop-gap, a half measure and one that will do diddly-squat in the fight against Zoom. Harry is quite adamant about this. “I can recreate the circumstances to get your speed back,” he tells Barry but the man who was once the Flash hesitates, but why? Sure, his concerns about Harry being able to contain the particle accelerator explosion are legitimate, but it seems bigger than that. To help with his decision, Barry pays a visit to his father, Henry Allen, who ends up returning to Central City with his son. As Henry gets briefed on Harry’s plan, he lets his thoughts on the matter be known. No father wants their son purposely put in harm’s way, and Henry’s no different in that regard. Throughout the episode, Barry wrestles with the decision—and make no mistake, it’s his decision to make—ultimately deciding Harry’s plan puts the city in danger and that the need to find another way to take down the latest Earth-2 meta-human, Rupture.
Backtracking a bit, another important part of the episode is Cisco’s relationship with his brother Dante. Despite the harrowing experience they went through being kidnapped by Leonard Snart and company last season, the two Ramons are still at odds. But when they’re attacked by Rupture (who just so happens to be Dante’s Earth-2 counterpart) Cisco’s forced to bring his brother into the lab for protection. Rupture, who projects energy from a deadly scythe, has his sights set on the man who killed his own brother, Reverb. Turns out, he’s still working from Zoom and has been fed a bit of a not-truth. As we see during their meet at the police station, Zoom wants Rupture to spread his message and teach the people of Central City a lesson. Unfortunately, Rupture fails to live up to his badass look, taken down by Barry’s holographic Flash, Joe, Singh and the Anti-Meta Human Task Force before being murdered on live TV by a pissed off Zoom.
Last week, the mad speedster let his new plan be known: conquer as many Earths as possible. Now that Earth-2 has been subjugated by his terror, Earth-1 is his new target. Though Caitlin convinces him not to kill anyone, after taking over the police station, Zoom wants everyone to know that Central City is under his rule. If that wasn’t bold enough, Zoom wants Caitlin at his side and presses her to unleash the darkness bubbling under her good exterior. Until then, he goes about his business and it’s not until he finds out Caitlin tipped off the gang about Rupture that he embraces his inner psycho. Not only does he kill Rupture, he also slaughters the entire Anti-Meta-Human Task Force, save for Joe and Singh. His actions are the final straw and the once-hesitant Barry makes the call: it’s time to get his powers back.
Though Harry is confident in his calculations, there is a very real danger to Barry. Knowing that, the three most important people in Barry’s life—Henry Allen, Joe, and Iris, say their peace to him. But it’s to his father that we finally see what the Flash persona means to our hero. “Being the Flash,” he says, “that’s the best version of me. If I don’t have my speed, I’ll never be that person anymore. I have to do this.”
Sentiments conveyed, they begin the process. At first, things seem to be going smoothly, including the first pulse of lighting that hits Barry…and then it all goes to hell. Something changes about the process and the Flash gang watches helplessly as Barry dissipates, seemingly burned to ash, with the scorched remnants of his suit as the only evidence that he was there.
The Flash…is dead?
- It’s a testament to the writers and actors that, despite the complete waste of potential represented by Rupture, this episode worked. As mentioned in the lead-in, for the first thirty minutes, things moved along well enough but, aside from Iris laying her feelings out to Barry (and the cool Henry Allen Easter Egg), there were no earth-shattering events. But then, quite a few things happened.
- First off, we all know Barry’s not dead. Based on the look of his de-stabilization, has Barry fallen into the Speed Force? Additionally, did the dark matter wave that exploded from his disintegrated body imbue Jesse and Wally with the Speed Force? Comic fans know that both characters are important and speedsters in their own right but the question remains, what avenue will the show take with the pair? This is one of those plot points we won’t see play out until season three.
- How about Henry’s little revelation that “Garrick” was his mom’s maiden name? While the writers have thrown in an Easter Egg or two that was solely a nod to fans, there’s no way that this nugget was that; somewhere down the road, we’ll get more out of this particular news and I’m pretty sure it will be a game-changer.
- On the relationship front, Iris bared her soul to Barry. While we knew it was coming, based on everything that’s gone on between the two, it’s a change I have to get used to. It’s been awhile since I considered them anything other than friends and despite Iris’s heartfelt confession, I’m sure Barry, once he returns to the real world, of course, will also need some time to adjust to the changing dynamic. Needless to say, this won’t be resolved immediately upon Barry’s return.
- Finally, it was good to see Cisco and his brother Dante make amends. All it took was for Zoom to murder Dante’s Earth-2 doppelganger on live television. Sure, we may not see Dante involved with the narrative in any important way, but that doesn’t change the fact that maybe the recompense will be a boon for Cisco and his confidence in his abilities.