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TV Review: The Flash - Season 1 Episode 13 "The Nuclear Man"

02.11.2015

EPISODE 13: "The Nuclear Man"

SYNOPSIS: While Barry tries to balance his love life with his superhero duties, the team sets off to track down and help Firestorm (Dr. Stein and Ronnie Raymond) once and for all. But his nuclear potential may present more of a problem than the team originally expected. Meanwhile, Joe brings Cisco in to help him re-investigate Barry's mother's murder.

RECAP (Beware of spoilers!):

Well, it’s official! Barry Allen, at some point in the future, learns to time-travel, meaning there are some mind-blowing episodes coming down the pike. At least I hope so, because although tonight's episode was entertaining (as always) and had some kick-ass CGI work, it was unfortunate that the side storylines felt a bit disconnected. That's not to say they weren't interesting, but there was too much going on in this episode for them to be properly fleshed out. And since the Firestorm conflict is supposed to be such an important catalyst for the rest of the season, it seems the focus should have been primarily on that. Not to mention, due to the cuts between Firestorm, Barry’s love life, and Joe and Cisco’s investigation, at times the tone was off. It’s hard to go from the silliness of Barry eating a ghost pepper to the potential nuclear decimation of an entire city. But, although this episode did have issues, it’s obvious that “The Nuclear Man” is building up to an explosive (literally) episode next week and I cannot wait!

“The Nuclear Man” is technically the first episode where Barry has not had to battle a villain. This time, Barry and co. are trying to prevent Firestorm (Dr. Stein and Ronnie) from unintentionally causing damage in Central City. As Dr. Wells explains, Firestorm has ensured it is the strongest being possible, utilizing Dr. Stein’s mind and Ronnie’s body. However, because of this duality, Firestorm is inherently unstable. After Firestorm approaches Stein’s former colleague for help and accidentally injures him, the team realizes they can’t ignore his existence anymore; he’s too dangerous.

So, they go to Stein’s house and learn he (as Firestorm) came by a month after the explosion to check on his wife. Not only that, she feels he is still watching her. Knowing Firestorm will return to check on her, Caitlin and Dr. Wells stakeout the location, waiting for him to reappear. When he does arrive, Barry is there to confront him. During their first interaction, Firestorm almost kills Barry, but thanks to Caitlin throwing herself in front of Barry a la Pocahontas, he is left unharmed. It appears Firestorm wants to protect the women both Dr. Stein and Ronnie love.  

Little did Firestorm know, Barry put a tracker on him during their fight, so the team easily traces him to his hideout under a bridge. Using Caitlin and Stein’s wife, the team is able to convince Firestorm to come back to S.T.A.R. Labs for help. Back at the lab, Stein tells them about his plan to separate from Ronnie’s body using nuclear fission. While this will theoretically work, Dr. Wells is scared such a dangerous process could lead to a nuclear explosion. The stakes get even higher as Firestorm’s body temperature starts to rise. Due to the stress from the fight with Barry, Ronnie’s body is rejecting Stein’s mind like a host rejects a parasite. In a matter of hours, this could lead to a nuclear explosion that would level Central City.

At first, Dr. Wells wants to kill Firestorm, which would allegedly stop his body from exploding. However, Caitlin begs him to hold off for a little while longer and try to find a better solution. So, he decides to convert his tachyon prototype into a quantum slicer, which will bombard Firestorm’s atoms with as much energy as the accelerator explosion and separate him back into Dr. Stein and Ronnie. But where would Stein’s body come from? Although this will delay Wells’ long-term plan, he has to prevent Central City from being destroyed.

However, when Dr. Wells goes to use the splicer on Firestorm, he is gone. As it turns out, he left S.T.A.R. Labs and went to a place 30 miles outside of Central City called the Badlands to kill himself there and save Central City. Barry and Caitlin speed to the area, though, and just as Firestorm is about to shoot himself, they attach the quantum splicer to his heart. But, unfortunately Firestorm still explodes, and the episode ends with Barry and Caitlin racing away from the blast. Side note: I wish the nuclear blast hadn’t turned the Badlands into a giant area of radioactive contamination because it looked really cool! I wanted more battle scenes to go down out there.

While all of this craziness with Firestorm was going on, Barry was dealing with some personal problems. Now that he has control over his powers, Barry is faced with the age-old superhero problem of balancing his personal/romantic life with saving the world. Unfortunately, Central City does not rest when Barry is on a date. Much like Clark Kent having to rush away from Lois Lane, tonight’s episode found Barry doing the same thing while on his first date with Linda Park. At first, Barry is able to multi-task pretty well. While Linda is in the bathroom he saves a man from jumping off of a building and stops a robbery. However, as their relationship begins to get more intimate, Barry has to leave a steamy make-out session to go handle the Firestorm issue.

Of course, Barry's weird behavior does not sit well with Linda. Since she knows Iris and Barry are best friends, Linda goes to Iris for advice. And, in case we didn’t already dislike Iris enough, she tries to sabotage Barry's love life by alluding to the fact that he is in love with her. Now Linda thinks Barry is hung up on Iris and wants to end it with him. But thankfully (or not thankfully for us Barry/Caitlin shippers) he convinces her to change her mind by eating the world’s hottest pepper, the ghost pepper, in front of her. How.... romantic? Barry then confronts Iris about her not-so-secret sabotage and tells her that it’s unfair that she doesn’t want to be with him, but also doesn’t want anyone else to be with him. He then lays the final smack-down, telling her he doesn’t have feelings for her anymore. 

Meanwhile, Joe and Cisco are busy re-investigating Barry’s mom’s murder. Even with his “super light”, Cisco doesn’t find any new evidence. But thanks to some outlandish comic book science, Cisco is able to render images that were burned into the silver nitrate on the back of a vintage mirror (that happens to still be in the house, fifteen years later). Silver nitrate was historically used in photography and the flashes from the two speedsters that night exposed images on the surface. Cisco then turns these images into a 3D hologram, which points them in the direction of previously uninvestigated blood splatter. Joe wants Cisco to test the blood against Dr. Wells, but Cisco doesn’t believe Dr. Wells could be involved. Back at the lab, Cisco doesn’t find a match on either blood sample for Dr. Wells, but does find a match for an adult Barry, which means Barry will eventually be able to travel back in time!

 

STINGER: General Eiling is alerted to the thermonuclear explosion and deploys a rapid response team to handle the situation. He says, “Brings me Firestorm,” which means he knows a lot more about what is going on than expected.

DC UNIVERSE EASTER EGGS: When Linda comes over to Barry’s house for their date he says he is going to take her to see Mal Duncan playing at an underground jazz club. Duncan (currently known as “Vox”) was first introduced in Teen Titans and has also been “the Guardian”, “the Herald”, and “Hornblower”! In the comics, he was a jazz musician and even owned his own club called “Gabriel’s Horn.” I guess that is where Barry was taking Linda for their date!

COOL ALTERNATE USE OF "THE FLASH" POWERS: Barry used his powers to do tons of quick changes for his date with Linda. I'll let you decide whether his unintentional vibrating during the make out scene was a positive or negative.

FAVORITE QUOTE: Warning Barry that his :ahem: quickness may also mean he is “fast” in bed, Cisco says, “Look, I mean, you're fast, but there's fast, and then there's fast. Am I being subtle enough?... You’re going to have to think about a lot of dead puppies."

FINAL VERDICT:

 

Source: JoBlo.com

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