Flash Review: “Back to Normal”


Jim’s Thoughts

To put it succinctly, this week’s episode of The Flash was an improvement. It was still far from perfect, or even the highs the show has reached in the past, but if nothing else, the plot didn’t feel quite as convoluted.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll say some of what rubbed me the wrong way this week may be DC’s creative direction of late. If you read DC comics, you know they’ve been on something of a “de-powering” kick. By that, I mean they’ve been telling stories about heroes losing their abilities. I’ve grown weary of it, and it’s not the first time Flash has done it, so I wasn’t all that interested in watching Barry flail around, trying to be a vulnerable hero.

This week’s villain of the week went a little deeper than past examples. Mostly it was just used to give a little emotional progress to Wells, and there was something worthwhile there. Jessie sharing a moment with her dad, explaining how Harrison killing to protect her made her feel, might have fleshed out both characters a little bit, even if was all a little too direct. Speaking of family moments, there was also an attempt to give the West family a bit of momentum, though Wally’s declaration that he won’t waste the chance The Flash gave him rang hollow. We don’t know him well enough for his change of heart to mean much.

I’m starting to feel like Zoom being unmasked as some version of Jay has gutted the character. His fixation on Caitlin makes him seem more like a run-of-the-mill headcase than a harbinger of death and despair. While there was something cool about Caitlin confronting her doppelganger, I couldn’t help but ask the same question Killer Frost did. Is she really that gullible?

The more I poke this episode with a stick, the worse it starts to smell. There were a lot of issues with it, but unlike last episode, where the plot became so nonsensical I wouldn’t follow it if I could, this week managed to hold my attention. Here’s hoping this is the start of a tighter focus returning to the show.

Kyle’s Take

I agree with Jim about DC de-powering its heroes in the comic books but I try to view the TV shows and comic books as separate entities. I’m not sure that Barry’s de-powering is as much of a crossover effect from the comics as much as it is a means with which to turn Jessie Quick and Wally West into speedsters and explain why the rest of The Flash’s rogues gallery didn’t change during the first particle accelerator explosion. Yeah. We’re getting a second explosion next week. Say hello to Mirror Master and all your Flash rogue pals.

The Flash presented the idea a few weeks ago that there’s no way a metahuman—to be fair it was specifically a speedster—could hide this long without revealing themselves. (This idea was presented during the episode that featured a lab tech who became a speedster by taking Velocity-9.) I thought this was a silly statement, and “Back to Normal” showed us a metahuman who hid this long without revealing himself. So in the episode The Flash set in motion a second explosion with which to gain more villains, because metahumans can run but they can’t hide, they feature a metahuman who was still in hiding. I don’t know if that makes sense.

I wish all family issues could be solved as quickly as the Wells family’s problems. I’m sorry I called you a murderer for killing someone, Dad. I’m sorry I stalked you, Jessie baby, but if you run again, I will hunt you down. That’s not creepy at all. Let’s hug. I don’t even know why Jessie was a necessity for Barry’s team. What happened to Pied Piper? Aren’t they besties now? Jessie only returned to Central City so she could become Jessie “Quick.” Harry name-dropped her superhero alter ego in a fashion as subtle as the Wells’ story.

Not only do we not know Wally well enough to care about him, he serves no purpose besides his inevitable turn as Kid-Flash or Impulse or whatever speedster name The Flash wants to give him after next week. Zolomon-Garrick isn’t Zoom, that’s why he’s a lesser villain. I don’t care if Zolomon was Zoom in the comics. Again, the TV shows are based on the comic books; they shouldn’t mirror them. Watch out because Earth-Prime Caitlin Snow may be the real Killer Frost. I’m sure she’ll be near Star Labs next week and she may have a change of heart.

I almost forgot about Zoom’s comment about controlling Earth-Two this episode. You can’t tease Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman on Earth-Two (this happened during Flash’s Earth-Two episodes), because Zoom wouldn’t control Earth-Two if these heroes existed in that reality. You aren’t all that, Zoom.

I agree that Flash has regained its focus, but there are plot holes the size of a particle accelerator explosion. Oh, wait, we’re getting one of those next week. Let’s see what happens.

Thanks for reading.

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