TV Review: The Flash - Season 2 Episode 10 "Potential Energy"
EPISODE 10: "Potential Energyl"
SYNOPSIS: Now that they've grown closer, Barry considers telling Patty that he is The Flash. Meanwhile, Joe and Iris try to get to know Wally, and the team hunts down a meta-human who can slow time itself.
REVIEW: Things have been somewhat up and down on The Flash in recent episodes. With the focus being put on introducing the cast of characters headlining Legends of Tomorrow, the writing has suffered a bit in the Barry Allen saga. Overall, this season has offered us some compelling stories centered on Barry and the Earth-2 foe Zoom, but tonight's hour finally gives us an intriguing standalone villain who not only helps the team develop a plan to stop their archnemesis but also deepens the relationship between Barry and Patty Spivot. This also marks an episode that truly delves into the alter ego conundrum that faces superheroes of all kinds and yet has been sorely lacking on The Flash.
For a long time, it seemed like Barry was content to tell everyone who he really was. With Iris learning the truth last season, there was really nobody left who didn't know Barry's secret. Patty Spivot has been a great addition to the roster of Flash characters, but her not knowing who Barry really is has been treated more as a punchline than a serious subject. This week's episode has Barry suffering nightmares of Zoom killing Patty, leading him to question whether or not he should tell his girlfriend who he really is. While Cisco and Iris are all for the reveal, Harrison Wells cautions Barry from risking the life of the woman he holds dear.
And so enters The Turtle. Based on the first villain Barry Allen faced in DC Comics, The Turtle is the opposite of The Flash in that he slows everything around him down. This enables him to steal priceless artifacts. He has become Cisco's White Whale while also presenting a potential way for the team to finally stop Zoom. They plan to stop The Turtle but Barry finds that even his speed is no match for Turtle's ability and he fails. At a trap set at an art exhibition, Barry barely saves Patty from a falling chandelier while also alerting the villain to the connection between Patty and The Flash. This gives Turtle motivation to kidnap Patty to cause The Flash pain. Barry powers through the Turtle's pulses and manages to incapacitate him enough to save Patty.
Alas, Patty has had enough. Barry finally works up enough courage to tell her he loves her and that he is The Flash when Patty drops the bombshell that she is leaving Central City. Heading to Midway City, comic book home to Hawkman and Hawkgirl and a setting in the upcoming SUICIDE SQUAD, Patty breaks off her relationship with Barry without hearing him out. While I would assume Patty may return in future episodes, this could be another heartbreak for Barry Allen in a long line of failed relationships. The future may still hold a romance with Iris West, but it all depends on which direction the showrunners want to take this story.
That may seem like an easily wrapped up plot, but this episode was chock full of reveals. The secondary plot this week involved Caitlyn and Jay Garrick. Jay has repeatedly refused to find scientific ways to get his speed back which leads Caitlyn to test the DNA on the rim of a champagne glass. This allows her to learn Jay's secret: he is dying. Jay reveals the only way to save his life is to get his speed back and the only way to do that is by stopping Zoom. We also learn from Harrison Wells about how Zoom got his name and it involves the gruesome murder of over a dozen Earth-2 CCPD officers to which Cisco is shocked and offers his help to Wells. Wells is still indentured to Zoom to steal Barry's speed and kills The Turtle to take something key from his ability to try and do just that. How that will be accomplished remains to be seen. In the closing stinger scene of the episode, we see Earth-2's Eobard Thawne return as the Reverse-Flash, unknowning how he arrived in our timeline. Time will tell what his motivations will be in this appearance.
And, lest I forget, this hour also brought our first full interactions with Wally West. The young son of Joe West begrudgingly accepts an invite to spend time with his father and sister only to stand them up for a family dinner. We soon find out that Wally is a drag racer who uses his winnings to pay for his mother's medical bills. Wally does not seem interested in forging a relationship with Joe, but the two soon decide to start over while sharing some Chinese take-out. The Wally West story arc already feels a bit forced, but I am just waiting to see if Barry losing his speed will somehow force Wally to manifest powers. At this point, there is a chance we could see five speedsters on a single episode (Flash, Earth 2 Flash, Wally West, Zoom, and Earth-2 Reverse-Flash). How cool would that be? For now, this hour was a nice return to the balance of season-long story building and a well crafted standalone villain.
NEXT ON THE FLASH: "The Reverse-Flash Returns" airs January 26th - When Cisco gets a vibe of Eobard Thawne, Barry and the team don't believe it. But, after an attack at Mercury Labs, Christina McGee confirms that the Reverse Flash is back. Meanwhile, Irisand Francine share a nice moment that brings Iris closer to her brother, Wally.