'The Flash' 2×19 Roundtable: 'Back to Normal'

The Flash -- "Back to Normal" -- Image: FLA219a_0085b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West, Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen-- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
The CW

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 19 of The Flash, “Back to Normal,” where we discuss Barry’s heroism, the future of WestAllen, and whether Zoom really loves Caitlin.

What were your overall thoughts on “Back to Normal?”

ALYSSA

I enjoyed “Back to Normal,” but with that said it wasn’t anything special in the grand scheme of things. While it was interesting to see Barry without his powers, it was even more intriguing to see how Barry viewed himself. He had a moment of self-doubt when it came to believing he’s a hero. For a moment he was focused too much on the superpowers of it all and doubted himself. But with some help from Iris he understood that being a hero isn’t about powers it’s about heart. I wasn’t really impressed with this week’s metahuman. It was just weird and didn’t really generate a response from me. But I did enjoy Caitlin on Earth-2 as she came face-to-face with Killer Frost and that dynamic. Zoom as a villain continues to intrigue me as far as what makes him tick. He obviously has some sort of feelings for Caitlin – he believes he loves her – and I’m interested to see if that ends up being his downfall as I suspect.

LIZZIE

Honestly, it was better than I expected. Less moping, more actual planning, even if the plans were ill advised, and just…a good episode of The Flash. A fun episode, even without Barry’s powers. Heck, even Jessie wasn’t that bad in the end, and that’s saying a lot, because Jessie and I…we just don’t see eye to eye on, like, anything. Also, I really enjoyed The Flash ladies this episode, mostly Iris and Caitlin/Killer Frost. (Not gonna rant about Jessie again, nope) With a little bit more of the focus than they usually get, they really shined, even if not everything worked out in their favor.

LYRA

Despite my hate for Jesse and the idea to recreate the particle accelerator, I liked this episode. It angered, confused, and left me wanting more of crazy pants Hunter. Better yet, it left me with tons of questions and discussion topics for later on. Now that’s the kind of episode I want to watch weekly.





P.S. Don’t forget that cool moment when Zoom phased through Killer Frost. That was amazingggg!

Barry believed that just because he lost his powers that he wasn’t a hero anymore. Do you agree or disagree?

ALYSSA

I wholeheartedly disagree, and I believe Barry now understands that being a hero isn’t about having superpowers, a suit, or a snazzy nickname. It’s about having the heart – that’s the thing that drives a hero to do what it best to protect those he cares about. I understand how Barry might feel insignificant after losing the thing that made him special – he lives being The Flash, a symbol of hope for this city. He didn’t know who he was without it. But underneath, as Iris reminded him, Barry is the same man that he is when he wears the suit and has the super speed. That man still exists. Barry might’ve lost his super speed, but he didn’t lose the heart that makes him the hero we all know, love, and sometimes shake our heads at.
“Suit or no suit. That guy is a hero,” Iris so wisely reminded Barry. Because as we’ve seen with the big bads that litter DC television, having powers isn’t what makes you a hero. It’s what you choose to do with them that does, which comes right back to the heart of it all.

LIZZIE

Disagree completely. Oliver has never had powers, and yet he’s a hero. Sara has never had powers. Laurel never did. Or Diggle. Or Thea. Heroism isn’t about having supernatural abilities, and Barry should know better than this. He has enough people in his life that prove the opposite can be true. But, this is Barry we’re talking about, and he’s just not good at seeing beyond his own pain, his own issues. That’s why he’s not a fully realized hero, not yet. But, maybe this episode will help convince him that being a hero is more heart than powers. Not saying the powers don’t help, of course they do. But they don’t automatically make you one. They could very well make you a villain. It’s you, not your powers.

LYRA

I disagree with him. Powers don’t make a hero. If that were true then Caitlin, Cisco, Joe, and Iris wouldn’t be heroes. He’s just experiencing a batch of doubt. It’s expected after such a traumatic break from his powers. Luckily enough he won’t fall far because he has a support system that will knock sense into him.

The Flash -- "Back to Normal" -- Image: FLA219a_0034b.jpg -- Pictured: Candice Patton as Iris West -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
The CW

With each passing episode it appears as if we’re getting closer to WestAllen. What are your thoughts on Barry and Iris’ relationship? Are they ready to be together?

ALYSSA

I’m ready for WestAllen. Give it to me. This show has made it no secret its intentions for Barry and Iris – the hints about them being married in the future, being married on Earth-2, that chemistry between them. It’s not a matter of it but when, as far as I’m concerned. With that said, I believe that they’re both ready to take that next step. For so long it had been Barry pining after her and Iris being completely oblivious. Then Iris found love with Eddie, and when she lost him it broke something inside of her. She needed to find a way to move forward from Eddie before she could be with Barry. She owed that to both of them. But she finally has, and she’s accepting that she feels something more for Barry than just friendship. And as far as she’s concerned the universe(s) are throwing multiple signs at her that she’s meant to be with Barry. Iris is ready; Barry’s been ready; they’re both ready.

LIZZIE

I’m not sure, but I could be convinced. I’m not against it, nor am I sure it’s the right time. But it’s certainly a better time than before. We might be getting closer to right time. And, even if it’s not, maybe the gotta pull the trigger anyway, see where that leads us? We don’t want WestAllen to be one of those “they waited too long” things. At this point, it just seems inevitable, so either they give it to us and we go through ups and downs to make it work, or they give it to us and then burn it to the ground. Either way they should probably give it to us sometime soon. Viewers don’t have the patience they had in The X-Files days.

LYRA

I don’t think they’re ready to be together. They’re just starting to get into the flow of things as friends and companions. I’d like to see them spending more time in each other’s worlds before they take a step forward into a romantic relationship. I loved seeing Iris out in the field with Barry. Give me more of that. Strengthen their bond as saviors of the city and then I could see a romance budding between them again. Right now, they’re just contemplating it because the Earth 2 versions of themselves are together. That’s not enough of a reason to plan their future together.

Zoom revealed that the reason he took Caitlin is because he loves her and believes she’ll come to love him again. Do you believe him?

ALYSSA

At first I wasn’t so sure – I was certain that Zoom had taken her as some ploy to use against Team Flash. But then I thought about it, and I realized that Zoom really does care about Caitlin – he might even love her, in his own psychotic way. Think about it, Caitlin was the first person he really opened up to. He got to know and care about her – and she in turn did the same. They had something special. While it might’ve been based on a lie, the thing that Zoom hones in on is that Caitlin is the first person – after his deceased mother – to love him. And that’s something he wants to experience. Think about it, Zoom is the way he is because he didn’t grow up in a loving environment much like the way Barry is the way he is because he grew up in a loving environment. But the interesting thing is that Caitlin might ultimately prove to be Zoom’s weakness, and he doesn’t even realize it. Loving someone, caring about someone is something that shapes the kind of person you are. Zoom has never had that. Until now. Perhaps it’s too late for Zoom to be redeemed, which I believe it is, but it just goes to show you how powerful love can be in shaping who we ultimately are.

LIZZIE

Ha. No. I don’t think he knows what love is. I think for him love is like possession, and since Caitlin was nice to him, he “wants” her, as in he wants to have her. And this is not even the good kind of want, because not only is it not reciprocal, he’s the only one getting something out of it. So, no. A man like Zoom can’t really love. We shouldn’t expect his idea of love to be anything like ours. From what we’ve seen so far his idea involves imprisonment and lack of free will, after all. Don’t know how it can get better after that.

LYRA

I want to believe him. Zoom is insane and I love it. Why not push it further by making him irrevocably in love with Caitlin? Now that’s a storyline I’d love to see. I want to experience the lengths that this psycho would go for someone he’s connected to. His promise to take her home and conquer her world is the kind of twisted and delusional love that will make Hunter stand out amongst all the other villains on The Flash. Hell, maybe returning to Earth 1 just as the particle accelerator goes off will transform Caitlin into a darker version of herself. One that would match up with Hunter as a companion or adversary. Basically I want everything to go to sh**. That’s my ideal storyline.

The Flash -- "Back to Normal" -- Image: FLA219b_0131b.jpg -- Pictured: Grant Gustin as The Flash -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
The CW

Wells and Jesse were finally able to make amends. What were your thoughts on their relationship in this episode?

ALYSSA

The Flash has always been about family – whether it’s the Allens or the Wests – and one of the familiar relationships I’ve enjoyed in what we’ve gotten to see this season has been between Harrison and Jesse Wells of Earth-2. From the start we’ve seen how protective Wells has been over his daughter after Zoom kidnapped her. He was willing to do anything, including giving Zoom Barry’s speed, but he was able to pull back from that and team up with them to help take Zoom back. Ever since Wells got Jesse back he’s been even more overbearing, and she finally had enough and left town. They’ve had a strained relationship because of the things he did to get her back, but after she lost him for a day she understood why he did what he did. And they both promised not to do what they’re known to do – Wells to hurt someone in her name and Jesse to run away – ever again. I’ve got feels for them.

LIZZIE

I think Jessie is a spoiled brat and I can’t stand her. Wait, that wasn’t the question. It’s still true, though. I can’t with her. She took it a step too far in this episode, comparing her father with a villain. And yes, maybe Wells hasn’t been the perfect father, or what she wanted, but he loves her. He was willing to give up everything for her. Now, I’m not saying that means Jessie has to completely forgive him for everything or see eye to eye with him, but I think the guy has earned at least the benefit of the doubt. And, though, at the end of the episode, it seemed like she’d taken a firm step towards finally understanding him, I can’t forgive her just yet. Her father might, that’s what fathers do. I won’t.

LYRA

It was so convenient that all of a sudden Jesse cared. She spent the first half of the episode throwing shade at her father because he rescued her. Does she not remember begging her father to help her? To get her away from Zoom? So now that he did rescue her and saved her life, Wells is suddenly not good enough. She’s foolish and as self centered as the first time she appeared. I honestly don’t know how Wells manages with such a dramatic and egocentric daughter. It’s all about Jesse’s pain. It’s never about her father or the fact that their all they have left in this world. Until she stops thinking about herself and takes into account her father’s feelings, I really don’t care about her.

So Wells has a plan to get Barry’s speed back: to recreate another Particle Accelerator explosion. How are you feeling about that?

ALYSSA

Um, when Wells first announced his plan I’d thought he’d gone cuckoo. We’re going to subject Central City to another Particle Accelerator disaster? But after watching promo for the next episode it appears to be in a more contained setting, where it’s just Barry experiencing the effects. Well, at least that’s the plan. But even after that somewhat reassuring fact, our concern should focus on Barry. This could ultimately kill him. Again. Are they willing to risk Barry’s life for this? Better yet, how can we be so sure that Barry gets his super speed back? They’d have to recreate the setting to a T in order to ensure that Barry regains the speed force. This sounds all kinds of dangerous. But luckily The Flash is one of the hottest shows on television right now and it’s more than highly unlikely that it’ll kill the titular hero that makes it the success it is.

LIZZIE

You know when you have what you think is a brilliant idea and yet everyone else tells you that it’s going to go bad, but you ignore them because you know better and then it all goes bad? That’s what this feels like. It has disaster written all over it. I mean, I don’t even see a way it COULD possibly go right. Why is this the only plan a bunch of smart people have? Create a potentially catastrophic explosion and just hope for the best? Why isn’t anyone going NOPE, NOT DOING THIS? Why?

LYRA

It’s the stupidest idea ever. I don’t understand how recreating something that hurt so many people is a good idea. They just did an entire episode where the bad guy was affected negatively by the explosion! He died! How can they act like none of that happened? They’re taking the easy way out.
What are your thoughts on “Back to Normal?” 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.
 
 



 

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