Thursday, 21 January 2016

The Flash 'Potential Energy' Review

This review WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS for the episode to be discussed, if you do not want certain plot points or story spoilt, please do not read further.

Season 2 of The Flash has definitely been an improvement on the first season, not that there was anything particularly wrong with the first season.  While the show has been gradually getting better and better the opening episode of the second half of season 2 feels a little bit of a let down.

'Potential Energy' follows team flash as they try to get their hands on a new weapon in their fight against Zoom, namely another meta-human with the ability to slow down everything around them.  Fans of the Flash comic will surely be grinning as soon as the name the Turtle is mentioned, sadly though the character isn't as fun and visually engaging as their comic book counterpart.

Instead of a strange troll like man in a turtle costume, complete with shell, we've got Battlestar Galactica's Aaron Douglas in a hoodie.  Whilst I appreciate that the show runners probably want to make the show realistic in many ways, this is the show that has has giant psychic gorillas, sharkmen and people flying around with their heads on fire, so a guy in turtle outfit wouldn't exactly be stretching believability here too much.

Why not a Turtle that looked like this?
Aaron Douglas would rock the shell look.
Elsewhere in the episode we spend some time touching base with all of our cast members, almost like the show is taking the time to remind fans that certain characters exist after a month's break.  'Here's Cisco, he can vibe, remember, he's talking about vibing right now'.  'This is Iris, she's kind of like Barry's sister, but they kind of love each other too'.  None of these moments are out of character, but with each character getting to do a tiny bit this episode it makes certain things feel a little lost.
I'd have preferred to have spent more time with Iris and Joe trying to get to know Wally than the two or three scenes we did have, and the moment between Cisco and Harry in the van where Harry tells the story of how Zoom got his name was a brilliantly written and performed moment, that showed a growing bond between the two and some genuine humanity from Harry, but once again, it was another great moment in a episode full of little moments.  This one scene could have been much better elsewhere, in this episode it felt too dark and deep because it was surrounded by all of these other, lighter moments.

Despite the main thrust of the episode being about trying to capture the Turtle and use his abilities as a weapon in the fight against Zoom, the episode very much felt like it was more about Barry and Patty.  Their relationship has been building all season and finally reached critical mass this episode.  Barry realised that the relationship had reached the point where he either had to commit to Patty and tell her that he's the Flash, or move on.  Considering how many other people know his identity it's a surprise he kept it a secret from her for so long.

Fortunately for those who are sick of people finding out Barry is the Flash, and unfortunately for those who enjoyed Barry and Patty's relationship, Patty decides that she's done with Central City and chooses to leave, breaking up with Barry in the process.  We all knew the relationship wouldn't last, the show was telling us that Barry was going to end up married to Iris in the very first episode (the name Iris West-Allen on the newspaper from the future in the pilot episode, for those with a foggy memory) but that being said it's a shame to lose Patty.  She was a genuine fun and engaging character, who could be kind of goofy and sweet one minute, but pulls a gun on a giant sharkman the next.

The biggest moment in the whole episode came right at the end, however, as the villainous Reverse Flash came running back onto our screens.  This isn't the same Reverse Flash we've already seen in the show, or rather it is, but not at the same point we've seen him.  This is the Reverse Flash the first time he travelled back in time to the present, before he ever met the Flash, before he killed Nora Allen in the past and before he stole Earth 1's Harrison Wells' face.

As such the Reverse Flash still looks like himself here and is played by Matt Letscher rather than Tom Cavanagh.  It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out, and the situations that could arise.  Barry now has two evil speedsters to contend with, and one that he knows will eventually go back in time and kill his mother.  Barry already came to some kind of resolution about his mothers death last season when he travelled back to that point in his time line, but how is that going to play out now?  Plus, Eddie killed himself in the season 1 finale to stop the Reverse Flash, Eddie being his ancestor, and it appeared to erase him from existence.  If that's true, how is the Reverse Flash still around, is there some kind of time travel rules that are coming into play (possibly as a way of introducing Rip Hunter) or is this a Reverse Flash from another dimension?  Whatever the explanation for his return, it's sure to play out in some spectacular ways.


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