We knew when we heard Reverse Flash would make an appearance that the midseason finale of The Flash would be something that we’d be talking about in the weeks to come before the show’s late January 2015 return.
The hype did not disappoint as Barry Allen not only came face-to-face with the man that murdered his mother but battled him not once but twice. There were bombs dropped, confessions made and secrets revealed. Want to know how to do a midseason finale right? Look no further than The Flash.
One of the great things that the producers have done with The Flash — and also its parent show Arrow — is not hold back when it comes to big name characters or story lines. Write like it’s your last episode. And that’s a strategy that brought fans the brilliance that was The Flash‘s midseason finale.
Barry Allen’s quest to finding the man that murdered his mother and sent his father to prison has taken a seat on the back burner these last few episodes. But it’s brought immediately to the forefront as Central City PD are called in to investigate a break in at Mercury. A witness said he saw a blur — a blur that looked like a man. And that was the beginning of the end of the happy-go-lucky Barry Allen of this episode.
When Reverse Flash seeks out Barry, he immediately dives headfirst into a battle he’s not yet prepared to partake in. His impulsivity leaves him beaten and alone at a football stadium as he tries to let the realization of the situation sink in. He just battled the man that murdered his mother. The man responsible for his father’s imprisonment. The man that has represented fear in the eyes of Barry for the past 14 years.
The effect that Reverse Flash had on Barry was noticeable. He was able to get inside of Barry’s mind and mess with him to the point where he reverted back to his 11-year-old self and his fear of that man in yellow. There was so much emotion building up inside of Barry as old memories and feelings came rushing to the surface. And they all came pouring out when Barry visited his father at Iron Heights.
Barry tells Henry that he found the man that murdered his mother. That he had him within reach but he got away. Every day that Henry had been in prison and been because of the man in yellow, but now Barry blames himself because he let him get away. Barry is breaking down as he opens himself up to all the guilt. But Henry makes a very important point as he counters Barry’s guilt. This man has taken enough from Barry already. Don’t let him take anything else. It’s that speech that gives him the courage to open up to Iris (more on that later).
Because Reverse Flash is always two steps ahead, Barry and Team Flash have to find a way to be three steps ahead. How do they stop a guy that Barry himself cannot? By outsmarting him. They plan on drawing Reverse Flash out at Mercury, where an invisible force field will be waiting to entrap him. And their plan works.
There is Reverse Flash trapped and ready to get answers from. Only things go wrong. Because of course they do. Somehow Reverse Flash manages to get Wells inside the barrier and is beating him to death before Joe makes the tough call of turning the force field off to get to Wells before he’s killed. Reverse Flash then starts attacking those at the scene before Barry intervenes. The two fight for the second time, but it yields the same results with one exception: The Flash gets a save from Firestorm.
As our Central City gang is celebrating Christmas at the Wests’, Cisco reveals an interesting piece of information to Joe. When Cisco was watching Barry and Reverse Flash fighting he saw a streak of yellow and one of red. He remembered Barry describing the night of his mother’s murder where there were two streaks — the man in yellow and a man in red. Could the man in red be Barry of the future? The producers have said that time travel will come into play in the show…
With a title like “The Man in the Yellow Suit” you just knew that we’d come to close to learning his identity. But we got one better. We actually learned his identity. As that mysterious closing scene approached, we knew that we were about to learn something significant.
The suspicion surrounding Wells since the series premiere was ultimately paid off as we saw Wells go in his super-secret-hidey-room where he revealed the yellow suit that had been terrorizing Barry and us for the entire hour. And if that wasn’t in your face enough, we got a “Merry Christmas” muttered in that deep tone that Reverse Flash had been speaking in. Everything makes so much more sense — why Wells has been so intent on making sure The Flash has a future. Because in a way perhaps Reverse Flash doesn’t have a future without The Flash.
We’ve been watching Barry struggle with his feelings for Iris since the series premiere. He’s been too afraid to open up to her because he was afraid he’d lose her. But he realized he did lose her. Early in the episode Barry has a chance to come clean about his feelings for Iris when she tells him that Eddie suspected Barry might have romantic feelings for her. He shook it off and went back to the pining slow burn we’re set for in the series.
But Barry got a second chance after his conversation with his father in prison. Barry wasn’t going to let anything — Reverse Flash or fear — stand in the way of him living his life. So he went home to Iris, gave her a hug and opened up about his feelings. About how he’s been in love with her since before his mother was murdered and he moved in with her and Joe. Through all of the years of friendship. He was too afraid that if he told her how he felt and she didn’t feel the same way that he’d lose her. “That’s the irony, I was so scared to lose you, that I did.”
As for where Barry and Iris stand headed into the midseason break, things are a little strained. Iris agreed to move in with Eddie as their romantic relationship continues to blossom. But there’s no denying that confession. It happened. It’s out there. Feelings were made aware of. And feelings weren’t denied. After all, Iris never said she didn’t feel the same way. It might just take her some time.
After last week’s reveal that Ronnie Raymond is very much alive — and now going by Firestorm — we were a tad surprised that we got to see his reunion with Caitlin so fast. But it did a great job of illustrating where Ronnie is at right now. He’s not in complete control, but you can tell that he wants to be.
There were some great moments between Caitlin and Cisco, as they tracked down Ronnie, but the scene where Caitlin opened up to Cisco about this new Ronnie was some fantastic acting on Danielle Panabaker’s part. Cisco promised to help bring Ronnie home, but Caitlin didn’t want to just lock him up in their metahuman prison with all the other psychos. Caitlin opens up about how she used to tell herself that she would have given anything for one more minute with Ronnie. But she got that minute in this episode. Where Ronnie didn’t recognize her, where he could’ve hurt her. And she realized that she wishes he would have died rather than become this metahuman.
There’s a reason that shows wait for their season premieres, midseason finales and season finales to deliver television like this episode right here. It’s enough to keep you more than satisfied with what you’ve watched, but not nearly enough to tide you over six weeks as you wait for the midseason premiere.
BREAKING IT DOWN
WHAT WE LIKED
- Grant Gustin’s performance in this episode was absolutely incredible. He seriously brought it.
- The Flash didn’t hold back when it came to bringing Barry face-to-face with Reverse Flash so soon.
- Ronnie Raymond saves the day. Everything is better with an Amell man involved.
- Barry and Joe continue to make me cry like none other. The best relationship on this show.
- Barry finally coming clean to Iris about his feelings.
- Eddie is brought into the metahuman reveal.
- The big reveal.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE
- Barry crying. Stop making Barry cry!
- Iris not saying anything after Barry confessed his love for her. We understand but come on girl! In the immortal words of “A Great Big World,” say something.
- That’s it really.
WTF MOMENT OF THE WEEK
- This is more of a I KNEW IT Moment of the Week, but the reveal of Dr. Wells as Reverse Flash was executed brilliantly. I had my doubts when Wells was getting the shit kicked out of him by Reverse Flash (which I assume is himself from the future). The slow build-up to the scene we all suspected was coming made it all the more intense. When we finally caught glimpse of the yellow suit and that deep voice that belonged to Reverse Flash came out of Wells’ mouth, we knew the show had changed forever.
NEXT TIME ON “THE FLASH”
Episode 1×010 “Revenge of the Rogues”
Airing: Tuesday, Jan. 20, 8/7c on The CW
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.