What would you do to protect your family? That’s the question posed in this week’s episode of The Flash, which found Harrison Wells betraying his trust of Team Flash in an attempt to save his daughter and Iris and Joe voiced their concern for Wally’s safety with his dangerous drag racing hobby.
In “Fast Lane,” it was all about two different family dynamics: the Wests and the Wells. Iris and Joe confront Wally about his dangerous ways while trying to build that familial relationship with Wally while Wells proves he’s willing to do anything to save his daughter Jessie, who is being held captive by Zoom.
For a while it seemed as if The Flash was falling victim to that sophomore jinx. Not that it was bad, but it wasn’t as good as last year or as Arrow is this season. But that has changed over the past couple of weeks, and especially with this episode. The Flash
Here’s the rundown…
Harrison Wells Betrayal 2.0
Ever since the seeds of another Harrison Wells betrayal were planted in the midseason finale, I’ve been terrified about when it would eventually come out and how Barry would have to go through that heartbreaking betrayal yet again. After a couple of quiet episodes in regard to the betrayal front, Harry made his move in stealing The Flash’s speed to give to Zoom.
We find Wells creating a device that when planted in Barry’s suit will essentially drain his speed from him when he accesses the speed force. From the beginning you saw a hint of remorse, but Wells had to do what he felt was necessary to protect his daughter so he planted the device beneath the lightning bolt emblem on the suit. The first time Barry battles the metahuman of the week Tar Pit, we watch as the device drains Barry of his speed essentially making him not as fast as he normally is.
During this time, Barry and Wells are working together to try and close the breaches connecting this world to Earth-2. Wells is sketpic of accepting Barry’s help probably because he doesn’t want to risk the truth about him working with Zoom getting out, but it also seemed like there was another reason. You can tell working with Wells has rejuvenated something within Barry, and he says as much when he tells Wells that “it feels like old times” because the last Wells he worked with was “a mentor” and “like a second father.” Harry is like a ticking time bomb at this point: “I didn’t ask to be your mentor! I already have a kid so scram!” And suddenly it’s clear. The other reason why Wells didn’t want Barry working with him. He’s beginning to develop a bond with this Earth-1 young man. He’s angry because he feels guilty about what he’s doing in betraying Barry, and he might actually be starting to care.
Later when Barry is working on trying to find a way to close the breaches, Wells wanders in and the two have a discussion about what’s going on with Wells. Barry tells him that he’s part of this team, but Wells doesn’t agree. He tells Barry that he is always a father first; how he’ll always choose his daughter; how he’ll betray him. But Barry doesn’t take that betrayal line literally. Why should he? To this point Wells has been an asset and he’s not the Reverse Flash pretending to be a mentor in order to get close to him to take his speed, which only makes what happens later even more heartbreaking.
We see Wells secretly meet Zoom at their breach spot (they have a spot. It’d be cute if Zoom wasn’t so utterly terrifying and Wells wasn’t betraying Barry). Zoom injects Barry’s speed into him and you can see the instantaneous effect that it has. And that’s only some of it. Wells then asks for Zoom to deliver him his daughter and he’ll deliver the rest of Barry’s speed. But Zoom tells Wells he’s in no position to be making demands. He’ll get Jessie back once he’s delivered all of The Flash’s speed to him. But Wells realized that Zoom won’t kill him or his daughter. Zoom needs them both to get The Flash’s speed. But Zoom tells Wells that he doesn’t need to kill Jessie. He can just torture her to the brink of death only to pull her back and repeat the gruesome process.
With that piece of information looming over his head, Wells goes with Barry to use the device they created to close one of the 50-plus breaches out there. Wells begins to see the effects of stealing Barry’s speed is having on him — he’s tired, not feeling like himself. He’s showing concern. After they defied the laws of physics, Barry celebrates by embracing Wells and Wells thanks him. “It’s just the first step in getting your daughter back.” You can see something start to change within Wells. Maybe there’s another way to save Jessie without compromising Barry.
Back at Star Labs, Barry informs Cisco that maybe he was right; that he felt slower tonight. Not significantly slower but enough to raise his concern, as Wells listens from the corner. Barry wonders if it’s the suit, which Wells quickly shoots down. Barry doesn’t feel any different, but he knows he’s slower in the moment. Caitlin reveals that Barry has been operating at 100 percent with the speed force up until now where he’s dropped two percent to 98 percent. Team Flash tries to piece things together. Could it have been as a result of his fight with Zoom? But that was weeks ago. Wells listens as Barry shares his fear that Iris could’ve died tonight because he wasn’t fast enough to save her. And that was just up against a metahuman. When he goes up against Zoom who knows what’ll happen. He’ll need all of his speed and then some. “I can’t lose anyone else,” Barry says, which is all the push Wells needs to come clean: “You won’t. I did it. I stole your speed and I gave it to Zoom.” “I trusted you. We trusted you,” Barry says as Joe decks Wells and drags him to the pipeline. He says that he put him in there because if not he would’ve killed him.
After Team Flash takes care of Tar Pit, Barry visits Wells in the pipeline, and once again Barry finds himself on the opposite side of the glass staring at Wells and asking, “Why?” Wells tells him that he did what he had to protect his daughter. At any cost. “I told you I would betray you. I told you I would have to choose,” Wells tells Barry. Joe says that he chose wrong, which brings us to an interesting point.
After Wells tells Barry that he wants to be sent back to Earth-2 and to have them close the breaches so that Zoom can never return, that and the reasoning behind Wells’ betrayal really makes Barry stop and think. Wells was only doing what he felt he had to do to protect his family. Barry tells his team as much. What would they have done in Wells’ shoes? He has them stop and think about what they would be willing to do or have done in order to protect their family members. And none of them would’ve judged the other because “when it comes to family when it comes to the people that we all love, we’re all vulnerable. None of us are above making a wrong decision.”
But here’s the thing, Wells could’ve done it. He could’ve gotten away with stealing Barry’s speed and none of them would’ve known. But he didn’t. He confessed because suddenly he realized the sacrifice was too great. And that maybe there was another way. Because Wells was doing whatever it took to save his daughter he shouldn’t be held in contempt the way he was because every single person in that room — Barry, Joe, Cisco, and Caitlin — would also be willing to sacrifice anything to protect a family member. So are they just going to send Harry back to Earth-2 and let his daughter die? And they’re going to be okay with that? Barry can’t give up on an entire world being sentenced to death. He’s not going to close the breaches and forget about it; forget about all of those people that Zoom would kill. “We have to help Wells,” Barry pleads. The group eventually agrees to help Wells get his daughter back. You know what that means…we’re going to Earth-2.
The West Family
This episode focused on the building on the West family as Joe and Iris worked hard to try and integrate Wally into their family. Early on during a little family dinner — courtesy of Coast City Pizza — we saw the West family seemingly on good terms. But when talk turned to Wally’s passion of moving the fastest he could, Iris couldn’t help but bring up Wally’s dangerous drag racing hobby, Wally went on the defensive. He ended up leaving dinner early, and Joe asks Iris why she brought that up. It’s clear that Joe is acting more friend than father in an obvious attempt to please Wally and fall into that loving father-son relationship. Meanwhile Iris had taken on the parent role as she voiced her concern for Wally’s safety in his drag racing hobby.
Later, Iris decides to research this whole drag racing thing and ends up turning it into a story for the paper — that’s my girl. She stops by Wally’s drag race where she’s following a suspicious looking man for her story, but it’s also about getting to know Wally and getting to see why this is so special to Wally.
Following Tar Pit’s first attack, Barry assists Joe at the crime scene where things soon turn into talk about Wally’s integration into the family. Joe says that things are going good, that it’s baby steps. He’s trying to give him some space after losing his mom and gaining a father and a big sister. “He just found the best dad he could’ve wished for,” Barry says (and I cry). Joe says that Barry didn’t always think that. But Barry tells him that he was strict, and that “strict isn’t always a bad thing especially when you know it’s coming from love.” And that seems to be Joe’s first eye-opening to being a father to Wally.
Joe stops by Iris’ work to do lunch, and Iris reveals the story she’s working on. Having to do with drag racing. And Iris fears Wally could be the next one. She wants Joe to stop the races, but Joe is hesitant to doing anything that he fears might push Wally away. “Why won’t you be his parent, dad?” Iris asks, and that’s a damn good question. He’s afraid that Wally will reject them and considering the way things went the last time he confronted him he’s afraid of having Wally push them away. And he wants them in her lives. But he believes once he can get Wally to trust him then he can start doing something about that.
Iris confronts Clark, the one hosting the races, and tells him that she wants him to stop hosting the races. She shows him the expose that will go live if he doesn’t, which details all the gruesome details and deaths that resulted from them, as well as the gambling and thefts. This creep threatens Iris and dares her to publish that story and see what happens.
Later Wally pays Iris a visit and warns her of the danger of Clark and the people that run this thing. Wally says that he can stop racing when he wants. Then why hasn’t he stopped? He said he was doing it to pay for his mother’s medical bills, but he’s still at it. While Iris didn’t know Francine the way Wally did she could see the kind and loving person she’d become so she can’t imagine how much he misses her. Wally may try to pretend to be a badass, he’s actually kind. Having someone care about his well-being isn’t something that should be foreign to him.
That night at the drag race, Joe accompanies Iris to the drag race to watch Wally and she points out Clark. Also there? Tar Pit, who has his eyes set on Clark, who was also involved in his “death.” During Wally and Clark’s race, Tar Pit literally gets under the road and is trying to kill Clark, but Wally is also in danger. Barry races over as fast as he can and saves Wally from the car, as well as Clark. But he can’t get to Iris fast enough before a piece of glass hits Iris in the shoulder, which sends her to the hospital.
When Iris wakes up in the hospital, Wally stops by and pays a visit with some flowers. He leaves the flowers, and he can’t seem to find words to say except “feel better” and races out. Joe catches up with Wally and tells him that his sister needs him. Joe understands the whirlwind Wally is going through. He tells him that he’s not alone; that he has people that worry about him; that they’ll not stop worrying about each other. Because that’s what a family does. They put up with each other and they put each other first. Joe is mad at Wally for being reckless as hell, but he’s also mad at himself for being more friend than father. “I ain’t letting you go,” Joe tells him. So Wally goes and waits with Iris while Joe meets with Barry.
Back at the hospital, Iris wakes up to Wally by her side. Wally opens up to Iris about the real reason why drag racing is so important to him. When he was young, they didn’t have money so his mom would take them on long drives. So when he races and feeling that rush of speed it’s like he carries those days with him. And if he stops it’s like he’ll lose that feeling. “See that wasn’t so hard,” Iris teases. “Actually it was hard,” Wally laughs.
Tar Pit Unleashed
This week’s villain of the week had a legitimate reason to be vengeful seeing as three punks dropped him to his death into a burning pit of tar. I can’t even fault Tar Pit for this one. But maybe that’s why I’m not The Flash because it’s his and his team’s job to protect people — even bad people — from the metahumans unleashed on Central City.
Tar Pit was seeking out the three men responsible for his death by tar and two year nap under that stuff. While he’s able to kill the first the same way he died (once again it’s hard to feel bad when he was kind of asking for it), the other two were saved by The Flash, and eventually Tar Pit was stopped, captured, and thrown into the Pipeline.
EPISODE MVP: Grant Gustin
I feel like this is an honor that could go to Grant every freaking week, but in this episode especially Grant did some pretty incredible stuff. His speech to the team at the end about what they would all do to protect their family and how they shouldn’t hold that against Wells was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
- Cisco creating a metahuman Tinder was one of the best things I’ve heard in a long time.
- Cisco: “Who’s the best hacker in the world, people?” Barry and Caitlin in unison: “Felicity Smoak.” Cisco: “What’w wrong with you two? That’s not friendship.”
- God how I’d kill to have Barry’s super speed when it comes to reading. It’s the only way I’d get reading done right now with the busyness of life.
- Barry and Wells 2.0 gave me feels I didn’t think I needed or thought would have.