TV Review: The Flash - Season 1 Episode 14 "Fallout"
EPISODE 14: "Fallout"
SYNOPSIS: The S.T.A.R. Labs team finally discovers how to separate Firestorm, but will the separation last forever? Meanwhile, Joe tells Barry that time travel is in his future. After all, he was one of the speedsters there at his mother's death!
RECAP (Beware of spoilers!):
“Not God, Grodd!” Did anyone else get chills from that bellowing quote? How freakin’ incredible did that massive gorilla look?! I have to give major praise to the AMAZING production value on THE FLASH. This episode was a showcase of the time, money, and effort the CW and its amazing VFX team devotes to the effects on this show. It’s a testament to their fantastic CGI work that scenes, like the ones featuring Barry’s super-speed and Firestorm’s fire, never look hokey or unrealistic. Fire is a really hard effect to pull off, just look at the first HUNGER GAMES movie, and I think Firestorm’s flames look ten times better than those following behind Katniss’ chariot. Other shows should take serious note; it’s not acceptable to have shitty, amateurish graphics on television anymore!
Tonight’s episode meshed a lot better than last week. The two major storylines (Firestorm and time travel) worked well together and every character (besides Iris) was given great material. The action picks up where we left off last week, with Barry and Caitlin speeding away from Firestorm’s nuclear explosion. When they finally stop, however, readings from Barry’s suit show the blast didn’t include any radiation. Since they don’t have to worry about radiation poisoning, Barry and Caitlin go back to the blast site and find the separation worked; Dr. Stein and Ronnie are now independent from each other.
But after extensive tests, the team realizes that due to the separation, neither man can utilize nuclear energy anymore; their Firestorm powers are gone. It also becomes apparent that the two men had issues with their previous joint-living situation. Ronnie didn’t like that Stein had complete control over their mind and made them live under a bridge eating garbage, whereas Stein thought he was protecting their loved ones. As we come to find out later, this conflict is what caused a lot of the imbalance in Firestorm’s personality and powers.
On the time travel front, Joe shows Barry the hologram of his mother and the two speedsters on the night of her death. He also breaks the news that one of the speedsters is Barry himself. Apparently, since Dr. Wells’ blood was not a match with the blood found at the crime scene, Joe kinda trusts him again. So, he and Barry go to S.T.A.R. Labs to pick Wells' brain about time travel. There, Wells gives two great examples of how time travel could work. First is the TERMINATOR theory: if you travel back in time to change something, you would end up being the causal factor of that event. Second is the BACK TO THE FUTURE theory: time is plastic and any changes could create an alternate timeline. Wells isn’t sure which of these is the correct answer, so they refer to Dr. Stein.
Dr. Stein, channeling his best Doc Brown, has written many academic papers about time-travel and passionately believes it is possible to travel to the past AND the future. As he says to Barry in another cool time travel example, space-time is like a free-flowing highway that intersects the physical world; we live in between the off and on ramps. In order to travel through time, Barry just needs to use his speed to create a kinetic buildup that will blast through the space-time continuum, allowing him to find a way to the aforementioned “highway”. But because Barry knows he already went back in time and failed, he’s afraid his destiny may be failure.
Meanwhile, General Eiling’s military unit has been investigating the Firestorm explosion. Again Eiling shows he knows quite a bit about Firestorm, and even knows Barry Allen is The Flash. He thinks the Firestorm technology will create a whole new type of warfare that will make the war on terrorism look like nothing. So he and a bunch of commandos storm Jitters, while Ronnie and Caitlin are getting coffee, to take Ronnie into custody and prevent him from joining up with Dr. Stein again. It becomes apparent that Stein and Ronnie may not be as separated as they once thought because Stein can feel Ronnie’s panic during the attack. Barry rushes to help Ronnie, but is made into a human pincushion by Eiling’s specially-made weapon, a bomb that rained down micro-fragment quills attracted to kinetic energy. Thankfully, Caitlin saves the day and rescues both men.
In “who cares about Iris” news, Iris has decided to buddy up with her journalist mentor, Mason, to help him figure out what is going on in S.T.A.R. Labs. After all, Mason believes Dr. Wells wanted the accelerator to explode and thinks Iris can use her “in” with the S.T.A.R. Labs team to get intel. Their interests are further peaked when Mason discovers surveillance footage of Caitlin's involvement in the military operation at the coffee shop with the man she calls her “cousin”, Sam. Iris thinks Caitlin’s “cousin” looks familiar and after some research, discovers he looks a lot like the “Burning Man” (Firestorm). Since Iris also thinks the “Burning Man” used to work at S.T.A.R. Labs, it shouldn’t take her long to put together that Sam= the deceased Ronnie Raymond.
Back at the lab, Dr. Wells seems to be having some bonding time with Dr. Stein, but of course, things aren’t always as they appear. As the two men throw back some drinks, Stein begins to get woozy. As it turns out, Wells drugged him so General Eiling could take him into custody without incident. However, to the team, Wells pretends Eiling walked in and took Stein by force. So Barry and co. devise a plan to get Stein back. Using his voodoo doll-like connection with Ronnie, the team is able to determine that Stein is being held in a run-down government facility. Ronnie wants to go with Barry to save Stein but Caitlin is concerned that Stein and Ronnie’s close proximity may cause them to remerge and they may not be able to split again. Ronnie still insists that he go, but takes the quantum splicer with him so he can hopefully stay himself.
At the facility, Barry quickly saves Stein from being shot by Eiling. However, when they get back outside, Barry is struck with weaponized phosphorus. In order for him to get it off of his suit, and prevent it from burning his skin, Barry has to run really fast. With Barry busy, Ronnie uses the quantum splicer to safely merge with Stein again so they can defeat Eiling. This time, both men accept their role in the combined Firestorm entity, and are able to defeat General Eiling. Because the combination was so balanced and they had the quantum splicer, Stein and Ronnie are then able to separate in the lab at will. Plot hole alert: why doesn’t Stein call Wells out for drugging him and handing him over to Eiling? Does he not understand that he was drugged?
Realizing they need to get away from General Eiling, Ronnie and Stein decide to leave their loved ones behind and visit Stein’s colleague in Pittsburg, who will hopefully give them more information about their abilities. Ronnie promises Caitlin he will be back. And Stein tells Barry he believes in second chances, meaning he believes Barry can change the past. Barry takes this idea and runs with it. He now believes the hologram is a lesson on what NOT to do when he goes back in time. He won’t make the same mistake twice; he will go back in time and save his mom.
STINGER: Dr. Wells, as Reverse-Flash, drags General Eiling into the sewers. There, Wells reveals his true identity and says he “protects his own” before “feeding” Eiling to Gorilla Grodd. As we know from the torture scene with Dr. Stein, Eiling tortured Grodd with an electric prod, so I assume Grodd will revel in his revenge. But Dr. Wells saying he “protects his own” is interesting…
DC UNIVERSE EASTER EGGS: When Caitlin is trying to disguise Ronnie’s identity from Iris, she says he is her cousin. First she says he’s from Coast City (the home of the Green Lantern) then she says he is from Midway City (the home of Hawkman and Hawkwoman).
COOL ALTERNATE USE OF "THE FLASH" POWERS: To curb Dr. Stein’s pizza craving, Barry uses his speed to make the fastest pizza delivery of all time.
FAVORITE QUOTE: Tie between Cisco’s meta comment, “Dude that was in week 3!” and his great FRIENDS reference (regarding Ronnie and Caitlin’s relationship), “You guys are ten seasons of Ross and Rachel, but smushed into one year.”