The winter premieres are all coming back and CW’s latest superhero is more motivated than ever to take down the man responsible for the death of his mother. Because of that, I confess to expecting more (about this plot) from the winter premiere of The Flash. But when all is said and done, this episode was really quite good.
“I am Not the Fastest Man Alive.”
The story kicks off (following the cursory recap) with Barry admitting he is not the fastest man alive. That distinction belongs to the man who killed his mother. But he’s not going to be slower for long. Because of this, Barry is more driven and focused than he’s ever been. Since his brush with the Man in the Yellow Suit, Barry knows what to expect next time he comes into contact with him. This means he is pushing his training and striving for more – to be faster and stronger than before. Cisco challenges him with exercises, rising to meet Barry’s request. Barry rises to the occasion and demolishes the drone chasing him. This action very nearly causes Dr. Wells to give away his carefully guarded secret. Or it seemed that way as he clutched his wheelchair almost pushing up on his chair, the excitement getting him to even move his legs. (Fortunately for him, everyone else was too distracted.) Following the conversation about “reverse flash” (as dubbed by Cisco), Barry resets for more training.
Elsewhere, a phenomenon is making its presence known in a warehouse full of high end cars. By breaking into the warehouse, an alarm for law enforcement is triggered. Only the man in charge isn’t waiting for police, he’s waiting for “him,” whom we presume to be Barry. Cops show up after the villainous partners have left, only to discover nothing is missing. Barry’s forensics reports the steel door shattered like glass leading him to investigate further and realize the door was frozen. Lenard Snart (a.k.a Captain Cold) is back. Clearly, Barry is the reason Snart has returned and is setting the trap. Once back in their lair, Snart’s partner is anxious to prove his worth and questions Snart. He wants to know how it is he’s so confident the Flash is still alive. To pacify his partner he reveals the item, a painting, they’re about to steal.
Barry discusses bringing down Captain Cold with the STAR Labs team. Wells is of the opinion that he shouldn’t pursue Snart. He thinks that the Yellow Man proves a bigger threat to them all and that he should be the focus of all their investigations. And until he reappears, Barry’s training takes all his time. Regardless, he claims he’ll offer support no matter what he decides. Barry agrees to go with Wells advice and is off to the police station. There he runs into a surprise. Iris is at the station visiting Eddie when Barry walks through the door. He awkwardly says “hello” to Iris then asks Eddie where Joe is. As he walks off, Iris watches Barry walk away and the two exchange no more words. In Barry’s lab, he tells Joe about giving up the case against Snart. Reciting the words of Wells, he informs Joe he’ll have to solve the case without him. He can’t focus right now on anything other than the “Man in the Yellow Suit.” Barry tells Joe he can work with STAR Labs on this case without the Flash.
Moving on, we go to the West house. Iris is busy packing up her entire childhood in preparation to move in with Eddie. Joe reminisces with her when he finds her favorite childhood sleeping buddy, a stuffed turtle. Enter Barry, who Iris called asking him to come over. In her closet she found his old backpack full of comics and other childhood items. But, not wishing to stick around following their last serious conversation, Iris leaves for work. This enables Barry to admit why he and Iris aren’t “fine” to Joe. Barry tells him that he told Iris the truth: he loves her.
Central City moves ahead with their investigation, however, hoping to fight what they don’t understand prompts the force to consult with STAR Labs. Cisco gives the police station a demonstration how to use the weapons he designed to use against Snart. The men aren’t very trusting since last year STAR labs took out the entire city with the blackout. Joe tells Wells he thinks Barry should help them with Snart. Joe reinforces to Wells that any cases the Flash becomes entangled in is Barry’s choice. Joe doesn’t believe Wells has no influence over him despite Wells telling him that’s exactly what this was.
At STAR Labs, Caitlin and Barry talk about Barry’s confessing his love. Barry cannot figure out what’s “normal” between him and Iris anymore with everything now completely different. Caitlin remembers all the ways Ronnie changed her and challenged her, all of which she believes was for the better. During their talk, something clicks into place and Barry tells her there could be a way to help Ronnie. F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M. might be more than merely an acronym.
Battle in Central City – the Flash Exposed
Back to Snart and his shifty-eyed partner, the pair is busy stealing their pay day. They hit the owners just when they are disembarking their private plane. The dramatic entrance brings out the police force in droves. What Snart didn’t anticipate was law enforcement being prepared for him with their STAR Labs gear. But what the police didn’t plan on was his partner’s ability to create fire. His specialty is a “handheld flamethrower” that combats the good guys, injuring several cops. Once they are by themselves, the partners square off and nearly kill each other when Snart accuses “Heat Wave” of losing control and becoming obsessed. They decide they need each other more and the two are again pairing up to take down Central City. “Heat” burns the painting and the two plot how to get to The Flash.
Meanwhile, Caitlin meets with someone who knows about project F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M. Desperate to find anything linking to Ronnie or that will help her fiancé, she questions the unsuspecting man about the project. She learns that Professor Stein was the lead on the study. He tells her that when Stein went missing the Army showed up to take all of their research. Because of this, he’s paranoid about anything relating to the very project’s name. Later, when leaving the café, Caitlin is caught off guard and is taken by Snart.
As Barry is leaving STAR Labs, Wells tells him he hopes they aren’t enemies because he pressured him to give up Snart in pursuit of training. Wells tells Barry he pushes him to be better. They are interrupted by a discovery made by Crisco. His tests revealed something telling: the two weapons can cancel each other out. During this conversation Barry gets a call from Joe telling him Caitlin has been kidnapped. All they know for sure is that her car has been abandoned with the door frozen. Eddie discovers the partner’s identity is Mick Rory – an arsonist who was burned badly in a fire and escaped the ambulance never to be seen again. Coinciding with this is Snart appearing on a live TV feed on every channel proving he has Caitlin. During this appearance, he calls out the Flash – setting a time and place to face off. He says Caitlin will die if he doesn’t.
Mick tells Caitlin that the fire he was in revealed who he truly “was.” Barry’s choice to meet Snart is about to confirm to the city he really does exist and Joe asks him if he’s “ready” for that to happen. Barry arrives at the time and place where police have surrounded and cordoned off the area. Snart and Mick arrive taunting him and brandishing their weapons. Barry immediately sets off by doing what he does best: running. But Snart has had a lot of time planning this and they present him with more than one obstacle.
Into this mess walks Iris who happened to see Eddie’s car. (Can I just take a minute to say how very not smart this is..? Sorry, Iris. Truth is truth.) In the interim Joe and Cisco have found the warehouse where Caitlin is being held. A bomb is set up under Caitlin’s chair, which Cisco sets off. Joe keeps them all alive. Downtown, Barry continues to try and get the partner’s weapons to cross paths. Eddie rushes to help the Flash with the tools STAR Labs equipped them with. Thanks to Wells talking in his earpiece, Barry recognizes the only way to stop them lies in Barry going slower instead of faster. This technique works and the two are knocked out. The Flash lets Eddie take Snart into custody and quietly disappears. The police parade the villains in front of the station which is met with applause. Eddie hands over the weapons to Cisco, who assures him the weapons will never hurt anyone again. Now that they’ve seen him, the police station wonders who the Flash is.
Closing things out, the rest of Iris’ things are moved from the West house. Joe and Iris say goodbye. Eddie jokes with Joe about coming by to visit, but first give them a “head’s up” and in response to Joe’s stern look, he offers a key before making a quick exit. Everyone leaves Iris and Barry to have a minute alone. Barry tells her he knows things have been weird, but he sees Iris and Eddie being really happy and everything going back to normal. Iris takes a photo of her and Barry, gives her dad one last hug, a fist bump for Barry and out the door she walks. Joe asks Barry if he’s okay. The two guys order pizza and watch the game, joking about old times. Joe suggests Barry move back in. Cheekily, Barry rushes off to get his suitcases and returns seconds later with his stuff.
But wait there is one more big scene. Mick berates Snart for his plan. Their police transport is attacked and the partners are again freed. Mick’s confused, Snart’s happy; “sis” has broken them free.
What did you think of last night’s winter premiere? It was a good “growing” and learning experience for Barry I thought. To be honest, I am still not shipping the whole Iris/Barry romance, but am interested in who this new female villain will be and also if Snart is going to continue plaguing the Flash. If that prison escape was any indication, I’d say yes! If you have any theories, sound off below.
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