Great news for those of you who have been enjoying The Flash on The CW so far: the show has recently been picked up for a full season! It’s not really a surprising bit of news, but it’s nice to make it official all the same. Now the news may leave fans of the show feeling a bit misty, while those who aren’t yet on board may walk away feeling … gassy. And that, my friends, is how we tie in the Villain of the Week featured on tonight’s episode, “Things You Can’t Outrun.”
Hit the jump for The Flash recap.
Some people aren’t too pleased with the opening and closing monologues from the title character, but I like these little moments where Barry/The Flash gets to let a bit of his personality shine through all on his own. Take it or leave it though, it’s not essential to the show’s enjoyable nature.
Tonight’s open finds Barry and Iris on a date in the Friend Zone. After catching a zombie flick with her, Barry takes a moment to speed off and incapacitate an armed getaway driver by handcuffing him and placing him in the back of a cop car … while they’re both moving at top speed, then gets back to Iris before she notices he went missing. That’s fast! And fun! (And the cops continue to take credit for The Flash’s heroics, of course.) Meanwhile, the Darbinyan crime family try to enjoy a private dinner, but a thick green fog (of pretty bad CG quality) poisons them all. Don’t turn to a life of crime, kids, or this will happen to you, too.
On the crime-fighting side of things, Joe brings up a box of evidence for he and Barry to go through with a new perspective, but the poisoning occupies them instead. (We, the viewing audience, will be piecing this Mystery Box together with them over the course of the season methinks.) Barry figures out that the poison gas was under the control of someone, so they take the case to the science team. Sounds like the meta-human ne’er-do-wells won’t be shacking up next to the criminals at Iron Heights any time soon since S.T.A.R. Labs is modifying the particle accelerator into a makeshift prison. (Sidenote: Wells has a quick quip about removing powers from the meta-humans…)
Barry and Caitlin team up to ID the gas while Wells and Cisco check out the accelerator, which they plan to retrofit as a prison (which has a very cool vibe to it so I’m sure we’ll see much more of it in the future). Barry and Caitlin head to the police department where Barry whips together his police work for his captain in a throwaway scene that still nicely shows off Barry’s powers and personality. In an attempt to get to know Caitlin better (and provide some background for the audience), Barry asks about Ronnie, the structural engineer of the particle accelerator who just so happened to be her fiance. It’s nice to see Snow opening up and talking about him. Ronnie wasn’t supposed to be there so she blames herself for his death… Back on the case, they find two strands of DNA in the gas sample and surmise that the mystery sample is the meta-human himself, a being who becomes gas. Right on cue, the man turns into poison gas in an elevator and kills the judge that sentenced him to death. Caitlin warns him not to run off just yet, but he (of course) runs headlong into trouble.
Meanwhile, Joe watches the interrogation video of Barry’s father, explaining that he’s a doctor and was trying to stabilize his wife, which is why his prints are on the murder weapon (and also that it was in his house…). Iris and Eddie’s relationship hits a bump because she won’t tell her dad about them, but it’s kind of a side story at this point, even when Eddie breaks things off with her (temporarily).
Barry bites off more than he can handle when he tries to fight the Mist (coined by Cisco and borrowed from DC), who turns into gas at every punch. On the upside, Barry manages to inhale a sample of the poison inhalant which they extract via a syringe pulling the gas form his lungs. He heals and takes the info to Joe. They share another nice moment where he doles out another hard lesson: some things you can’t fight, some things you just have to live with. He shares this wisdom with Caitlin before accompanying her to the accelerator. (Not 100% sure why they can’t tell people that Ronnie helped save the city thanks to his heroics…)
Cisco and Wells isolated the toxin in the gas as hydrogen cyanide mixed in with a sedative; Barry makes a logical leap – that rivals Gotham’s James Gordon – that a death row inmate was executed by poison gas on the night of the explosion. Turns out there was one! Kyle Nimbus was a hitman for the Darbinyans and was sentenced to death by the judge; the lead detective on Nimbus’ case was Joe West, and that’s just where Nimbus is headed next. (Good bit of tension here, even if you can see it coming.)
Joe is at Iron Heights to see Henry Allen, and Nimbus is on his way. (I actually like it better when the villain spends more of the show’s time in the shadows.) Barry is excited to break into Iron Heights, just as Joe is telling Henry that he’s finally ready to believe him and will rework the case to set him free. (A little schmaltzy bit of dialogue here…) The guard falls to the Mist, who reforms in front of West and poisons him. Henry is helpless, but then he sees The Flash arrive and give Joe the antidote. (Barry does a very cool trick where he vibrates his face – yeah that sounds weird – so his dad doesn’t recognize him.) When Joe recovers, Barry goes after Nimbus. His poison gas cloud swells until it blots out the moon. Without the antidote, Barry can’t risk fighting him and breathing in the gas. The plan is to exhaust (ha!) Mist until he can no longer sustain his gaseous form; it works and Barry knocks him cold.
Joe recovers in the hospital while Barry waits with him in the room. Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Mist is the first resident of the newly converted prison. Cisco tries to tell Caitlin something about the night of the explosion, but she says she’s okay with it all. Meanwhile, Barry (sans mask and red outfit) visits his dad again. Good stuff in the main arc here, but it was complemented well by some punchy moments in the show’s side plot:
We get our first flashback to nine months ago during the night of the particle accelerator explosion, and we’re introduced to Snow’s fiance, Ronnie Raymond. (Wells gets another quip in about waiting for this moment for centuries…) Raymond goes to shut down the main valve as the lead engineer, and he tells Cisco to seal the door behind him if (when) things go wrong. We don’t get to see what happens to Ronnie, but it’s obvious that Cisco’s actions are still troubling him.
Caitlin arrives just in time to hear Ronnie calling Cisco over the radio; he apparently redirected the blast upwards, saving the majority of the city but sacrificing himself in the process. Upon hearing this news, Wells heads to his secret compartment in order to watch Barry’s transformation into The Flash via a hidden camera in the lab. Creepy stuff!
- Barry may be super fast but he’s incredibly inefficient at running through the city.
- Barry: “It took the jury 52 minutes to come back with a verdict.” Joe: “They moved to fast, which is why we’re going to take our time.”
- Criminal: “I’m gonna rip out your hearts and eat ’em for lunch.”
- Snow: “[Ronnie] used to say we were like fire and ice.”
- Barry: “My chest feels like that one time I had a cigarette. Yeah, teen me lived for danger.”
- Henry Allen to Joe West: “It doesn’t matter that you never believed in me, because you always believed in my son.” Ugh, you guys are pushing the limits of schmaltzy here, but I’ll allow it.
- Barry: “We win.”
- Who will have more lives: Joe West or Quentin Lance?
- Snow: “So we’re just supposed to get used to working above a make-shift prison filled with evil people with superpowers?” Wells: “You’d be surprised what you can get used to, Caitlin.”
- Barry: “The only way I know to honor my mom’s life is to keep running.”
- Felicity Smoak AND Captain Cold on next week’s episode? Sold.