They say the truth will set you free, but apparently superheroes on The CW have a problem understanding the importance of that statement. It’s not all talk. It’s actually freeing. While Arrow‘s Oliver Queen has been overtly criticized for his lack of honesty at times, I cannot go on without calling out Barry Allen for doing the exact same thing. How many times have we seen Barry keep the truth from someone he cares about? And how many times have we seen it end badly? You’d think Barry would learn his lesson by now (third time’s the charm?)
In The Flash‘s midseason premiere (“Potential Energy”), Barry was faced with the daunting weight of telling Patty the truth about who he is; that he’s The Flash. The fact that we began the episode with Barry having a nightmare about Zoom killing Patty right in front of him — and him not being able to stop him — it was another way for Barry to seemingly justify why he’s keeping the truth from her. But in the end, all Barry ended up hurting was himself. And he never got to come clean.
One of the things that was addressed in this episode that I’ve been thinking for quite awhile was how fast that Barry and Patty’s relationship has been moving. It was something that was left unspoken and I was able to forgive because they were just so damn cute together and, you know what, it worked. Somehow it just worked for these two lovable people. But since the episode addressed it head-on in this episode, it’s worth noting.
We came into this episode with the preconception that Barry, at the very least, wanted to tell Patty that he’s The Flash. He’s been lying to her since the beginning of their relationship, and it was the final bullet point that would allow Barry to be truly open with Patty. I understand Barry’s fear in revealing the truth and Patty becoming a target because of it — hell, we saw that in this episode when the Turtle kidnapped her because he believed she was precious to The Flash — but at the same time it’s not his decision to make whether or not she should have to deal with this in her life. It’s his responsibility to tell her, and it’s her responsibility to make the decision if she believes he’s worth that risk. And you know what, I believe that she would find him worth it. Plus, girl can handle herself.
They had a very important conversation about their relationship and addressed their rushed relationship. But it wasn’t that it was a mistake so much as that Patty was ready to move forward from the fun and onto the serious aspect of their relationship. She wanted something more. She wanted Barry to be open with her the way she was beginning to be open with him. But he wasn’t giving that to her.
This entire episode felt like it was building towards the moment of truth when Barry would come clean to Patty. There were several instances — from the beginning of the episode to the middle when she was kidnapped to their final scene in the police department. Barry wants her to know who he is, but he’s afraid. He’s afraid that once again he’ll be the cause of someone’s hurt or death, just like Eddie and just like Ronnie. But that’s because Barry carries the weight of the world on his shoulders, as Iris noted in this episode. So he’s going to shoulder the blame for things that are out of his control and are, quite frankly, not his decision to make.
But can we please talk about Barry’s problem when it comes to honesty? Barry is the sweetest guy alive, but he still can’t manage to be completely honest. I understand he has his reasons — we all do — but there comes a time when you have to let the truth be set free because sooner or later the truth will have its day and you’ll be on the wrong end of it. Whether it was lying to Iris last season or Patty this year, Barry has been guarding what’s probably one of the most important parts about himself. God love him, he thinks he’s protecting people, but not informing people of the danger that awaits them is not protecting them, it’s throwing them to the wolves, blind.
Just when it seemed like Barry was going to finally tell Patty that he’s The Flash, our dear, sweet Patty revealed that she’s leaving Central City. She had put off going to a CSI school until she found her father’s killer. Well, she found Weather Wizard, who is now imprisoned, so she feels like she can finally move on. Of course Barry’s natural reaction is: to move on from us? And, unfortunately for the moment, that seems to be the case. MY HEART BREAKS.
What? No. No. Why?! Patty come back. What will it take for you to come back?!
Look, I’m all for Patty taking a stand and going after her dream of being a CSI agent, but then there’s the selfish part of me that’s screaming in anger that she has to leave Central City to do it. I’m happy for Patty, I truly am, but here is this incredibly strong and empowering female character in a genre where you don’t find those kind of characters too often and she was taken away from us. Thankfully it wasn’t permanent like death, but they took her nonetheless. But something tells me she’ll come back. She just has to. She has unfinished business. And a woman like Patty will damn well take care of what needs to be taken care of.
Let’s take a look at the highlights from the midseason premiere, “Potential Energy,” which includes
The Key to Defeating Zoom?
A villain of the week that might actually prove to be much more was introduced as a potential catalyst to Zoom and his super speed. The Turtle, who has the ability to slow down time, has intrigued Cisco for some time, and now we’re even more intrigued when Cisco revealed that this guy might be the key to stopping Zoom.
Zoom is the fastest man alive right now (sorry, Barry), so how do you stop a guy like that? You’ve got to slow him down. How do you slow him down? Well, now they can try and use The Turtle’s ability to do so. If Team Flash can find a way to slow Zoom down, Barry will be able to defeat him, get Jay Garrick’s speed back, and save a ton of lives. That is if Harrison “Harry” Wells doesn’t betray him first.
A Not-So-Happy Family Reunion
One of the storylines that will be a huge part of the second half of this second season is the new West family dynamic. No longer is it just Joe, Iris, and Barry, but now there has been the new addition of Wally West, who made his brief cameo in the midseason finale. But Wally was back in full force in this midseason premiere. While it seemed like things might be well for the West family in the beginning, things soon shifted to a point of discomfort.
Something I was not happy about was the complete and utter lack of acknowledgement that Francine was the one who didn’t tell Joe that he had a son. Wally made it out to sound like Joe was some kind of terrible father who abandoned his son when, truth was, he never knew. He never knew and yet he still blamed himself because that’s the kind of man Joe West is. Joe, much like Barry, is someone who puts the weight of the world on his shoulders. He’ll shoulder the blame for something that was never — and never will be — his fault. Because to him, that’s the responsible thing to do as a parent and as a man. And gosh darn if I don’t love Joe even more for that.
But part of the problem here was that they all seemingly rushed into this newfound family-hood expecting to just fall into a good place where they could forget all of the things that have happened — that Wally was never a part of their lives — and just move on from there. But they couldn’t. The past is a huge part of that dynamic, and thankfully Joe and Wally decided to move slow when it comes to getting on track as a family.
Is Jay Garrick Doomed?
Ever since Jay Garrick of Earth-2 arrived in our world without his super speed something has been off with him. The Flash of Earth-2, who fought and lost in a battle with Zoom, just seemed off. Without his speed he seemed to have lost his purpose. But more than that we learned that he’s losing something else: his life.
It turns out that Jay is dying, which was brought about when Zoom took his speed. The only way to save Jay is to get his speed back. And the only way to get his speed back is to defeat Zoom. Hmm…I sense an intense, emotional arc for Jay coming later this season. For so long Garrick has been the one saving people as The Flash, now it’s time for someone to save him.
Reverse Flash Returns
What. An. Ending. As if Barry isn’t facing a big enough threat in Zoom now his arch nemesis Reverse Flash has returned. The question is: how? Another question is: why? And the most important question: what the hell is he planning on doing? All will be revealed in an episode aptly titled “The Reverse-Flash Returns,” which promises an emotional hour seeing as Reverse Flash has made it personal with Barry. But I will say this, STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM CISCO.
NEXT TIME ON “THE FLASH”
“The Reverse-Flash Returns”
January 26, 2016
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
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