FULL EPISODE SPOILERS
We needed an "eh" episode of the CW's The Flash one of these days, right? It reminds me a lot of some of the "eh" episodes of Arrow's first season, with episodes like "Dodger" coming to mind. The villain is alright and is a pretty decent test for our hero, but, in the end, there could have been a much better one to replace them.
It was one of those things where the sub-par villains got way too much screen time and moments could have been dedicated to other more important players. Like Cisco and Hartley. We could have learned why they were at Barry's loft specifically, but no. Instead we had to get several minutes showing us some heist that was going on out of nowhere with two random villains that have little personality and are just there for the sake of being there. Not like there's a massive mystery going on with Wells, or someone's formerly-dead fiance being able to turn into a flame man (who can somehow maintain his clothing, I just realized). Nope. Gotta talk about freaking PEEK-A-BOO of all the famous Flash villains.
I've freely admitted in the past that I'm not an expert in Flash villains, but, I wouldn't have been mad if this episode featured Pied Piper as the villain again. Certainly it would have been more interesting, and would give more depth to the character. Had they simply forgone Peek-a-Boo entirely and just had the main conflict be Cisco trying to keep Hartley under some leash, I think it would have been better. Sure we would have left out a few crucial scenes with Barry's father but I'm sure there were plenty of other ways to get him involved. The most emotional, and the best scene probably, of the episode could have been there without the need for the rest of the episode.
The villains just really did not do it for me this week. The boyfriend, Clay, was just some random guy in over his head in a shark tank and Peek-A-Boo (okay, forget it, I'm calling her Shawna) was just some girl with super-powers in over her head as well. The only thing notable about her powers was that she cared a lot for a boyfriend that was basically some guy with black hair and a tattoo. And indebted $80,000 to a major mobster.
It's just so abnormal for me to have a problem with villains on The Flash. The only other one I had a problem with was Gurder because, well, that was just stupid. That fight was just...God dang that was dumb. There weren't any stupid moments in this episode, in fact the final "battle" was a rather clever one on Barry's part, showing once again that he is definitely growing as a hero, but every time the two were on screen I just rolled my eyes and wanted them to go away. The episode gave me no reason to care about the two of them nor was their little fiasco of any importance to main thread of the episode.
That being the fact that Cisco (once again) went behind everyone's back and looked into Firestorm with the help of Hartley. Those scenes I like, those scenes delivered both good little plot elements into the greater story of Firestorm as well as had good tension. You knew Hartley was constantly up to something, you just didn't know what he would do. It was obvious that these two had tricks up their sleeves to get at one another, and I really liked how Cisco was able to take down Hartley the first time. It was a well-planned move and showed that Cisco isn't as reluctant as one would think. Well, unless you don't believe the saying "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me," because that's exactly what wound up happening.
Though the tidbits of information we learned about Firestorm were vital to unraveling the mystery. In fact, I don't even think there's much of a mystery if you know the comic books. From what I understand, the only thing missing is the Firestorm costume. And no, I have not looked at it yet. I'm trying to stay away from as many spoilers as I can for these two shows so I can be legitimately surprised when I see them.
Apparently, Professor Stein was at S.T.A.R. Labs the night of the accelerator explosion. When it happened, he seemed to be holding what might be the "key" to the Firestorm matrix, and then he was slammed by an energy wave that contained matter of Ronnie Raymond. Thus, the two fused and now, as per Firestorm lore, two minds are in one body: Ronnie's. That would explain the turmoil he's been feeling as well as how Stein went missing. So, all those episodes where I've been saying it's "half-Firestorm" I was totally wrong and I am sorry.
In true The Flash tradition, though, we had a lot of fun this episode, too, namely with Barry and Caitlin trying to go out on the town and have a little fun. Those scenes worked very well and was significantly helped by the chemistry Grant Gustin and Danielle Panabaker have on-screen. Not in a romantic way (though, they may be going for that...!!!), but just in two very close people who have very close lives having a good time. There are some hints that Caitlin is falling for Barry which is probably not a good thing but I can't help but feel that they are great together.
Also: Glee fans totally got to fan-girl over Grant Gustin singing again. I'm surprised they didn't make a more direct reference to it.
We even got to meet Linda Park, who was actually the woman reporting the night of the explosion. Which makes me wonder: was she affected? There has to be more to this character than meets the eye. I don't think she's related to the Reverse Flash in any way, but, something tells me that she's related to another big boss for our Scarlet Speedster, given what we saw in the final scene. She's cute (and from Unfabulous) and seems like she'll mesh well with Barry. I hope she doesn't just end up being a means to an end for Iris to get jealous. Though maybe she'll dump Eddie for Barry and that'll tip him off into becoming the Reverse Flash. But, that would be stupid.
Oh, why did I just get a feeling of impending doom typing that?
Like I said earlier, though, the best scene of the episode was the scene where Barry got to see his father. Heck, all the scenes with Barry and his dad worked very well. It's always great to see Barry get a little emotional around his dad and his dad always has something great to say. This time, he told Barry, indirectly, that he knows about the Flash.
Which also makes me realize that any detective should be able to put together that Barry has been helping out specific people this whole time, but, whatever. Super-heroes.
It was a great scene that was almost tear-jerking and really hit home to end the episode. Really makes you feel for Barry and really makes you want him to bring the Reverse Flash to justice so his dad can be freed and they can be together again. Darn you Reverse Flash (whoever you are, still haven't figured that out yet)!
Oh, and, the end scene, well you know it was all right...
TEENAGE MUTANT GORILLA GRODD BABY!!!
Yes! I knew I stayed away from spoilers for a reason! Apparently I lucked out, stayed off the Interwebs for a solid couple of hours before the show, and it'd been leaked that Grodd was appearing. I flipped when I saw him...or, rather, half of his body in the sunlight. Grodd is here. Grodd is also not quite Grodd yet but that's okay. I would question why he's in a sewer, but I can also answer that question quite easily: he is intelligent, and is keeping himself out of the public eye until he can figure out what is going on up above.
A delegate of sorts. Someone whose always out in the field. Someone who always has to have an eye on things. A reporter, perhaps. Not gonna name names, but, I'll just say that isn't it a coincidence that the same episode Linda walks straight up to Barry after only hearing him sing and quite abruptly giving him her phone number is the same episode that we see Grodd doing stuff and thangs in the sewer? I dunno. Crazy fan theory is all. (EDIT: Wonderful commenter let me know who Linda Park really is, so, this is probably 99% not gonna happen, I just won't remove it for the 1% chance I'm somewhat right :p).
Anyway, this was, like I said, an "eh" episode of The Flash. Had we forsaken the boring villains, it would have been better. But there was way too much time dedicated too them for me to care about and had me hoping that other characters would pop up sooner. Still, we got some great material out of Barry and Caitlin, some wonderful scenes with Henry Allen, and a big, BIG tease for Grodd. Next week, also: more Firestorm!
For real this time.