‘The Flash’ 2×10 Roundtable: Discussing ‘Potential Energy’

Every week, Fangirlish writers will be discussing new episodes of The Flash and sharing their thoughts, feelings, and speculation about the hour’s hot topics in a little something we like to call Fangirlish Roundtables.

Today, we’re breaking down episode 10 of The Flash, “Potential Energy,” where we discuss Barry’s struggle with being able to tell the truth, whether we’ll see Patty again, and this new West family dynamic.

For so long Barry has been keeping the secret that he’s The Flash from Patty. And in this episode he had multiple opportunities to do so but didn’t. What are your thoughts on that?

ALYSSA

If I took a shot for every time that I yelled at my television for Barry to “tell her!” I would’ve been wasted by the end of the episode. Every time that the hour progressed it seemed to build towards this big reveal. You just had a feeling that everything was building towards Barry finally telling Patty his secret or at the very least Patty learning it on her own. But he didn’t and she didn’t either.

I love Barry, but he has a problem when it comes to telling the truth. Arrow’s Oliver Queen gets a lot of flack for that, especially considering his recent lie about his son, but Barry is just as guilty. It’s just that Barry doesn’t often receive the criticism that Oliver does. But Barry has lied – whether it was to Iris or Patty – and it didn’t end well either way. I understand that he feels like he’s lying to protect those that he cares about, but there has to come a time when Barry understands that he can’t control what happens. The only thing he can control is the truth.

LIZZIE

I waited to answer this question, because I figured, if I did, I would be in a better position to answer this from my brain, and not my heart, but yeah, apparently that’s not happening. What are my thoughts? I want to strangle Barry, that’s what I want. Usually I love him, and defend him, and just …am able to appreciate him not as he is in comparison to others, but as his own person, but after this episode? Yeah, I’m having trouble defending Barry.

So, I’m still mad, but I’ve found perspective, so at least on that front, waiting did help. And here’s what perspective is telling me: Barry can’t be perfect all the time. He can’t deal with the issues in his life the way we’d want him to every single time. He can’t even do it most of the times. If he did, then there would be no need to make a show about him. He’d just be the perfect superhero. And you know what perfect superhero is the recipe for? Boring superhero.

And, no, we don’t want Barry to be boring. But we don’t want him to be stupid either. The lying is bad lesson is something he should have already learned. But, of course, superheroes apparently have thick skulls, because our boy didn’t learn anything. Even when he decided he should TELL Patty, he never really found the guts to go through with it. This, for a guy who walked up to face Zoom, is saying a lot. Barry doesn’t do emotional intimacy well, and even when he wants something (especially when he wants something), it seems like he’s unable to put his fears aside and just go get it.

Patty was all in. She left because she thought he wasn’t. Yes, she wanted to be CSI, but I think she wanted Barry more. The problem wasn’t that Barry didn’t want a future with Patty, he did. The problem was he didn’t know how to grab it. And, as much as I like Barry, I hate that. I remember how this part of the story went with Oliver Queen. And it sucks.

LYRA

First off, he was afraid. Barry knows how much she values honesty. He remembers his experience with Iris and how shocked she was at the secret being kept from her. Iris is family, she’d never leave him, but Patty is his girlfriend. He can lose her at the drop of a dime because they aren’t bound. Secondly when he was going to tell her everything went wrong. It wasn’t like he imagined and…I couldn’t be mad at him. Sure I roll my eyes and groan ‘oh Barry’ but I understand him.

The Flash -- "Potential Energy" -- Image FLA210b_0035b -- Pictured: Grant Gustin as Barry Allen -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

This isn’t the first time Barry has lied about this. If you could sit down and talk to Barry, what would you say?

ALYSSA

Listen, Barry. This isn’t going to be easy to hear, but it needs to be said. I understand that when you lie to people for the most part you have their genuine interest at heart. It’s not mal-intent, but that doesn’t make it right either. Have you ever heard the phrase “the truth will set you free?” It’s not all hype. It’s the real deal. When you confess the truth – even a truth that’s so impactful and revealing about who you are – you’re freeing that significant weight from your shoulders. You’re opening yourself up to the people that care about you, and you’re accepting help from them. But you’re also protecting them from the danger out there. Remember last year when you and Joe lied to Iris for so long? She wound up caught in the middle of your feud with Reverse Flash without knowing what the hell is happening. Had she known she might’ve been able to protect herself from the imminent danger. You think that keeping a dark truth secret from the people you care about is protecting them, but it’s not.

I know that after the events of the season one finale that you have trust issues. More than that you’re absolutely terrified about someone else you care about dying and blaming yourself. But this isn’t the first time that you’ve lied with people’s best interests at heart. I understand that your first instinct is to protect those that you care about. But in protecting them you need to understand that concealing the truth from them might actually do more harm than good. Like it or not they’re involved in this with you. By being an important person in your life they’re automatically a part of this. But they also have the right to choose whether they want to be a part of it. You’re a good man, Barry, but you need to learn that honesty will only help you moving forward. You can’t protect everyone. They can protect themselves. You just need to give them the chance.

LIZZIE

There are plenty of ways this could go. If I were talking to Barry as myself, I’d probably tell him something along the lines of: Learn your lessons, Barry. LEARN THEM. The people who care about you are always going to be in danger. You can either prove that you care enough about them to give them the courtesy of KNOWING why they are in danger, or you can run scared. Heroes don’t run away, Barry. They don’t.

But, can we picture for a moment how this conversation would go, if, for example, Felicity were the one talking to him?

Felicity: Are you an idiot, Barry? Is that what you are? AN IDIOT? No, no, don’t answer me. I already know the answer. Because only an idiot could screw up his chances with TWO different girls for EXACTLY the same reason! God, you’re worse than Oliver. And I didn’t think ANYONE could be worse than Oliver!

And Oliver?

Oliver: Bad move. I’d say apologize. Just, apologize a lot. But fast, Barry. Fast.

See, now I kind of want THAT to happen.

LYRA

Have you never watched a movie or read a book? When has it ever ended well. End scene.

Patty is leaving Central City to go to CSI school. What are your thoughts on that and do you believe we’ll see her again on The Flash?

ALYSSA

While Patty is seemingly leaving Central City I don’t believe that this is the last time that we see her. Whether it’s her getting dragged back through her importance to The Flash (which I could totally see happening) or her choosing to come back for Barry, that will not be the last time we see Patty. It’s far too early in the season for Patty to simply walk away. For me that just hints that she’ll have a greater significance down the line this season.

On the one hand I was really proud of Patty for choosing to go after her original dream of being a CSI. But on the other hand I can’t help but wonder if the only reason she’s pursuing it is because things didn’t work with her and Barry. Regardless, Patty is a character that has shown incredible strength and courage in life and in love. Sometimes you just need to walk away to regain some perspective on what you want in life. Maybe that is becoming a CSI or maybe she needs some time to realize that she really wants to make things with Barry work. But I remain confident that Patty will find her way back to Central City, and I’ll be awaiting her with open arms.

LIZZIE

I’m 150% sure we’ll see her again, probably this season. And, in a way, I’m glad she left. I enjoyed the character a lot, and I love the actress, but it says a lot about who Patty is that she didn’t stick around with a guy she thought wasn’t all in. She had a chance to do what she’d always dreamed of, and she took it, and she didn’t let a relationship that she, personally, wasn’t sure of, derail her dreams. That’s not something ever girl can say.

Maybe, if she’d gotten the right feedback from Barry, she would have stayed. I’m pretty sure she would have, at least. But we’ll never know, because she didn’t, and Patty Spivot loves herself enough to put herself first. That’s a pretty amazing message.

LYRA

We’ll definitely see Patty again. Her leave is only temporary. She’s a smart girl that knows something dangerous is happening in Central City. She’s bouncing before anything serious happens to her…again. When she returns she’ll be a stronger, smarter, and more capable woman. You better be ready Barry!

The Flash -- "Potential Energy" -- Image FLA210a_9517b -- Pictured: Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West -- Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

The West family reunion wasn’t a happy one and they clearly have a lot of work to do. What did you think of Wally’s behavior and the entire situation? 

ALYSSA

Here’s the thing, I love the prospect of Wally West entering this universe and becoming a part of the West family, but the kid acted straight up childish and inconsiderate in this episode. I can understand where he’s coming from – he grew up without a father – but that wasn’t Joe’s fault. Wally was making it out to sound like Joe actively chose not to be a part of his son’s life growing up when in fact it was Wally’s mother that kept Wally’s father from him. You’d think that he’d understand that considering his mother told him, but he tackled the situation blaming Joe.

Granted, Joe and Iris sort of approached this new dynamic in thinking that everything would just fall into place and they could start acting like the family they are. But they couldn’t, and they eventually understood that. Rebuilding this family is going to take time and discussion. It’s not an instant fix. The West dynamic is changing, but eventually they’ll get to a place that’s good.

LIZZIE

I’m trying to keep an open mind here, since we don’t know enough about Wally yet, but his whole attitude just gives off a woe is me vibe that’s putting me off. So, yeah, he didn’t have a Dad. That’s not Joe’s fault. So, his mom is sick. That’s ALSO not Joe’s fault. So, he doesn’t know how to be a decent human being because no one raised him right? BS. He’s a grown man. Your parents get the blame for a lot, but at some point, you have to take responsibility for your life, and your choices. And Wally doesn’t seem like he’s doing that.

To make matters worse, Joe is so desperate to make a connection with his son that he’s not even acting like himself. Wally doesn’t need a buddy, he needs a Dad, and if Joe wants to be a positive influence, if he wants a healthy relationship with Wally, he’s gotta figure that out.

LYRA

“I wanted to smack him on the back of the head. How dare you blame Joe for what your mother did? Your mother is the one who took you away and never came back. She’s responsible for the fact that you never knew your father!”

All of this would be yelled at him in a quiet tone that would put the fear in him. Sure, he came back and had dinner with Joe. And sure they are bonding for the first time. But did he have to be a jerk about it? Nope.

So it sounds like Team Flash may have found a way to help stop Zoom in The Turtle. What are your thoughts on that?

ALYSSA

I appreciate that what appeared at first glance to be a villain-of-the-week might turn out to be something more significant. Zoom poses an interesting threat this season: how does one stop him? Granted I felt the same about Reverse Flash, but the show can’t possibly pull the same move twice, right? Which means that there’s going to be need to be a specific way for Team Flash to ultimately stop him. And starting with trying to slow him down – or take his speed – seems like a good place to start. While this might not ultimately be the way that they stop Zoom I like that the show is incorporating the metahumans as a means of stopping the big bad.

LIZZIE

Oh, the whole thing is probably going to backfire spectacularly. I’m kind of intrigued as to how bad it can get, really. Especially because Harry is essentially playing both sides and Harry’s a smart guy. He might figure it out before they do. Question is, if he has a chance to STOP Zoom for good, will he do it, or will he still turn on Barry and the team? Jury’s still out on that one.

LYRA

It’s a good idea to slow down Zoom to Barry’s speed, because he’ll still be hella fast, but why Turtle? *thinks it over* The Turtle defeats the villain Zoom. Can’t wait to read that on The Flash wiki.

Jay Garrick is essentially dying now that Zoom has taken his speed. But there is a way to save him: get his speed back. How do you see that story ending — happily or not?

ALYSSA

My gut is telling me that this is a story that does not end well for Jay. But I’m glad that the show has finally revealed why Jay losing his speed – and the prospect of him eventually regaining it – is so significant. It isn’t just becoming The Flash again it’s to ensure his survival. But then it also explains why Zoom is hellbent on taking Barry’s speed, as well. Not only is Zoom getting more powerful because of it but he’s also accomplishing his goal of eliminating all of speedsters in every world. But I also admit part of that gut feeling of a not-so-happy ending has to do with Caitlin. While we’re getting Killer Frost in Earth-2 I feel like The Flash might want to hint that there’s a possibility that Caitlin might become her Earth-2 counterpart down the road in this world. And could you imagine if Caitlin has to lose someone else that she deeply cares about?

LIZZIE

Not. And it sucks that I care more for Caitlin than I care for Jay, right? I mean, I like Jay, but I don’t like Jay. I’m not emotionally invested. He’s helpful sometimes, and I don’t mind when he’s around, but he’s no Ronnie, and I won’t cry if he dies. Unless Caitlin cries. And then I might cry. Because I love Caitlin.

LYRA

It’ll end sadly…for Caitlin. I think she’ll do everything in her power to get his powers back. He’ll get his powers back, Turtle power will slow down Zoom, Flash & Co. defeat Zoom, and then Jay will go back to his world. I can feel shipper hearts breaking as we speak.

Reverse Flash is back. What do you think happens next?

ALYSSA

Nothing good, of course. From what the preview hinted at this is Reverse Flash’s origin story. And considering Barry and Eobard’s rivalry this is nothing good for Barry. But the big question I have is, how is this possible? With Eddie dying Eobard Thawne was wiped from existence. There is no him without Eddie. So how the hell does he come back? And does this mean that Eddie will return? Or some form of him? I know this is more questions than speculation, but I need to know how it’s possible in the first place for Eobard to return.

LIZZIE

I have no earthly clue, but whatever it is, it can’t be good, right? This is the kick-Barry-when-he’s-down stretch of the season, after all. It’s all been pretty smooth sailing for Barry so far in Season 2, and that’s just not acceptable. This is a TV show, dangit. We need drama. We need to raise the stakes. We need to hit Barry so hard that it seems like he’s never going to be able to get up. That’s the only way to make a real superhero.

LYRA

I have no flipping idea. No idea. If it wasn’t that I love timey wimey stuff my head would be spinning. I have to ask though…does alive Reverse Flash mean that Eddie is out there?!

What are your thoughts on “Potential Energy?” Sound off in the comments to keep the discussion going!

Join us for another The Flash roundtable next Monday!

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.