Spoilers ahead for “Rupture,” the latest episode of The CW’s Flash!
The short version: Left without his powers, Barry works with Cisco to create a holographic Flash to try and at least fool people into thinking the speedster is still on the job. It doesn't last long, however, as Zoom comes to town and declares himself Evil Mayor of Central City. Oh, and Barry is apparently vaporized while trying to regain his speed powers. Let’s dig in!
So what, exactly, happened to Barry?
What, you thought it’d be easy to recreate the exact circumstances of the particle accelerator and give Barry back his speed powers? Pfft, think again. In a subtle nod to the Flashpoint comic storyline, Barry attempts to regain his speed powers at the behest of Harry, who thinks he’s figured out how to perfectly duplicate the experiment that did it the first time. But he ends up (seemingly) vaporizing Barry into a rush of lightning and a charred suit.
Obviously, Barry Allen isn’t dead (though what a twist it would be to hand the mantle over to Wally now, right?), and the teaser for next week’s episode showed Barry trapped in ... umm ... an alternate dimension, or something? It might take another episode or two, but you’d assume Barry will almost certainly regain his speed at some point for the climactic battle with Zoom. But nice twist not to just have this thing work and move on. There seem to be some consequences to Barry’s decision, and we’ll seemingly see that play out.
Also: I’d imagine it was no coincidence the lightning from the failed attempt to restore Barry’s powers landed right on top of Wally and Jesse. In the comics, they’re both speedsters, so it stands to reason this could be the catalyst to get them moving by the end of the year (or maybe in Season 3). We could have a (not-so) Kid Flash pretty soon, after all.
But Barry’s ‘struggle’ felt forced
It’s not an easy decision to put your life on the line for an experiment you don’t even know will work, but the Barry Allen we’ve come to know over the past two seasons wouldn’t hesitate to strap into that particle accelerator and give it a shot if it meant stopping Zoom and saving lives. Yes, having Barry waffle over the decision to attempt to regain his powers created some drama, but it also didn’t feel entirely true to the character. It isn’t just a question of wanting his powers back — Zoom is literally holding the city hostage, and this is the only shot they have to stop it. It took Barry way too long (and cost the lives of several police officers) to reach that conclusion.
Having Harry, Henry (who is apparently back from his bizarre sojourn living at a cabin?) and Joe debate Barry’s decision was a nice angle, showing how they all three serve as semi (and literal) father figures to Barry. Then Barry takes ownership of the decision by telling them it’s his call. Nice scene to show how Barry has matured, even if it does (again) take him entirely too long to actually make the decision.
We might be on the verge of, umm, what’s the shipping nickname for Barry and Iris?
It’s WestAllen, probably, right? Anyway, the potential will-they, won’t-they relationship between Iris and Barry took a major step forward this week (in an already packed episode), as Iris declared her feelings for Barry before he decides to try and get his powers back. This potential ‘ship has been at the forefront of the show for a long time, and they’ve never played coy with the fact that it’s literal destiny for them to end up together. It’ll be interesting to see if they finally get that first date once things settle down. Plus, if this relationship is about to become a major component of the show, here’s hoping these two can actually generate some chemistry.
Cisco’s brother’s doppelgänger comes Vibe hunting
Zoom apparently led the doppelgänger of Reverb’s brother, a metahuman named Rupture, to believe Cisco/Vibe killed Reverb. So Rupture shows up with his cooler-than-expected scythe and starts wreaking havoc in Central City as he tries to take out Cisco. This helps kick off a story to bring Cisco and his brother closer together, as Cisco vows to actually make an effort to reconnect with his brother (apparently in circumstances where they’re not being hunted by supervillains). Rupture’s power set is a bit strange, and the Central City PD thankfully take him out fairly quickly after setting a trap
Other good stuff: The Flash hologram was a smart move, and having Barry mo-cap the action was cute; the character of Henry Allen has been one of the most weirdly underutilized characters in this series. Here’s hoping they actually give him something to do in the ramp up to the season finale; Also: Barry’s dad’s mother’s maiden name was Garrick(?!) What does it mean?!; The scene where Zoom took out the room full of cops before they could blink was positively chilling.
Line of the night: “No Fringe on Earth-2? Noted.” - Cisco
Other line of the night: ”How do you know about the Harry Potter convention?" - Cisco
Next week: Barry is stuck somewhere? Like, another dimension, apparently? Next week’s episode is directed by geek icon Kevin Smith, and will follow the gang as they try to hold down the fort and take on old enemy Girder (Greg Finley) in Barry’s absence. Oh, and Barry will apparently spend the ep “fighting to return to his old life,” whatever that might mean.