Dunn, Dunn, Dunn, Dunn, Dunn, Dunn… FLASH ! Ah-Aaaaah ! Saviour of the universe ! Wait, what? It’s not that Flash? Oh, then you must mean Jay Garrick ! No? Wally West ! No? Not that one either? Really?! Oh, that’s right, it’s television’s favorite scarlet speedster Barry Allen ! (It’s been so long I almost forgot). After a near month long hiatus, The Flash takes the screen by storm this week (pun intended) in what deceptively starts out as your average monster of week episode and ends up feeling like a full blown season finale!
In “Out of Time” we find Joe going toe to toe with a meta-human out to avenge the death of his brother, Cisco searching deeper in to the shady history of Dr. Wells and Barry’s whacky love triangle (love cube?) between Iris, Eddie and Linda continuing to blossom.
Beginning with a flashback harkening back to the Pilot episode, our very first meta-human Clyde Mardon (remember him the one that can control the weather) is revealed to have a brother Mark who was also in the airplane struck by the wave and gained super powers to (surprise, surprise) control the weather too. I thought it interesting that they chose the “Weather Wizard” in particular, as this episode’s villain as he makes a good metaphor for the coming storm our cast will soon face.
This episode went from one escalation to another with repercussions that there will be no turning back from. All starting with the battle in the police station between Joe and Weather Wizard 2.0 resulting in Captain Singh hospitalized with no prospects of a full recovery. Is this a movie to take Joe out of the field and in to the shoes of Central City’s Police chief? Only time (pun) will tell.
Meanwhile using Caitlin as a distraction Cisco discovers that the Reverse Flash was never in a containment field at all and it was all a prerecorded conversation arranged by Wells to mislead the S.T.A.R. labs team. In another no going back turn, sensing he has been found out, Wells races away leaving his wheelchair and glasses behind in his wake, right in front of Caitlin and then what follows is absolutely heart crushing (pun city). Dr. Wells reveals his true identity to Cisco and in this wrenching scene Carlos Valdes’ shines. Like a little puppy dog knowing he’s about to be put down he listens to Wells cold, calculated confession to Nora Allen’s murder and the extent of his deceit. A single tear streams down his face and then with a shake of his phasing hands Wells reaches in to Cisco’s already broken heart and crushes the life out of it too. Talk of how he’s been stuck “here” in this place for 15 long years and The Flash’s speed being the only key to returning to “his world” and “his time” was a tasty morsel alluding to what’s to come or perhaps already has.
If that still wasn’t enough to quench audiences appetites the last 10 minutes culminates with Joe near death, broken and beaten at the mercy of Mark Mardon. With Barry and Iris in pursuit, Iris decides that now (why not?) is the perfect time to confess her undying love for Barry just as Weather King 2.0 conjures up a giant tsunami ready crush the city in a moment’s time. With not a second to spare Barry is left with no choice but to reveal himself to Iris as The Flash “I wish it wasn’t this way” and make a daring attempt to block the wave by running at speeds never before attempted.
Even though the scale of the episode reached heights grander than anything we’ve seen thus far it’s the quieter moments that really caught me off guard. In a subtle moment Joe and Barry are driving along in the car yet again discussing Barry’s love life involving his sister with his surrogate Father (seriously all these characters need to get out more, make a new circle of friends and leave their sister out of it, can you say creepy). Light rain begins pelting down on the windshield, growing heavier and heavier as the scene plays out, it’s a brilliant foreshadowing of the arrival of the Weather Wizard, followed by a slow motion bullet time style escape from the car as a lightning bolt comes crashing through the sky roof. Throughout the series all the streaking around through city streets has been adequate to show The Flash using his speed to get around, but when everything slows down and Barry moves slowly between targets calculating his moves carefully the series really shows off his powers best.
In fact, for a weekly network television show the special effects on display here are astounding, even big budget blockbusters dealing with effects heavy superhero’s seem to be limited to a “we can only afford to use their powers twice an hour” mentality (I’m looking at you X-Men and Fantastic Four). But here we are treated to weather manipulation, high speed high jinx and city high tidal waves with unabashed awesomeness. I’m worried the last half of the season will have an endless run of street thugs to save on budget but seeing it used here to great effect it may be well worth it.
The scale and the stakes escalated for everyone this week and every actor rose to the occasion. But as though a reward for all our patience during the hiatus all that is topped off in the show’s final moments when we are given what we’ve all been waiting for. Barry racing to stop the tsunami reaches speeds so fast that he finds himself breaking through the barrier of time itself (the image of Flash running alongside himself with an almost eerie calm was successfully creepy) and ending up back at the start of the episode. From here it’s clear now that it’s only a matter of time (pun again) before the season culminates in the fateful night that saw the destruction of Barry’s family forever, but before then please for the love of God hurry up and bring on the Grodd ! With time travel now in the mix this makes for a world, or should I say worlds of possibilities.
Review by Dylan Boaden.