TV Review: The Flash - Season 2 Episode 19 "Back To Normal"
EPISODE 19: "Back To Normal"
SYNOPSIS: A meta-human with super strength named Griffin Grey mistakes Harry for Earth-1 Harrison Wells and kidnaps him, demanding that Wells cure him from his current condition. Realizing another brilliant Wells could help track Griffin's location, Barry asks Jesse to help. Meanwhile, Wally corners Joe about The Flash.
REVIEW: One of my favorite superhero moments is in SUPERMAN II when Clark Kent has to deal with giving up his Kryptonian powers in order to live a normal life with Lois Lane. It is humbling to see a hero reduced to something less than super, but it also makes that character's truimphant return all the more exciting. The Flash is now in the midst of an arc that gives us Barry Allen without his speed for the first time since the pilot episode. But, instead of wallowing in his humanity, this story forces our hero and the team surrounding him to find creative ways to defeat the metahumans threatening the world while still keeping the story from getting too unbelievable. While this is a superhero show, the suspension of disbelief must still be kept in check and this hour does a good job of keeping that balance.
Starting out with Barry going back to his old routine of slow-paced monotony, the episode quickly establishes that this is not the Barry Allen we want to see on television. Barry is not a bad guy by any stretch, but he is also incredibly ordinary when he doesn't have his powers. While his friends try to talk up how great he is, Barry misses the rush of speeding around to save people as well as get his normal tasks done in mere seconds. Harrison Wells isn't having any of it and decides now is the time to find Jesse. He locates her using the cellular dead zone surrounding Earth-2 refugees but she is not ready to forgive him and come home. On his way back to Central City, Wells is attacked by the super strong Griffin Gray, an 18-year-old who is as strong as Superman but also ages rapidly with each feat of strength. He blames Wells for the particle accelerator explosion and demands he be cured.
Barry and the team bring Jesse back to STAR Labs to help find her father. Tracking down Gray and Wells to an abandoned amusement park, Barry tries to save the day as a civilian but is wounded by a barrel thrown by the metahuman Gray. Realizing they need something more to stop Gray, Cisco enlists Felicity Smoak to provide some dwarf star material (like Ray Palmer's A.T.O.M. suit) to reinforce the Flash outfit, but it is only enough to absorb one punch to the chest. Barry realizes he has to make it count to try and age Gray enough that he cannot fight back. All the while, the team is feeling the loss of Caitlyn who was taken by Zoom last episode. Joe also contends with Wally who wants to meet The Flash to thank him for saving his life in the prior hour. At the same time, Barry is still struggling to cope with his normalcy.
On Earth-2, Hunter Zolomon is keeping Caitlyn prisoner and swears his love to her. He unchains her, giving her free reign of his compound and urges her to get used to being with him. While he is gone, Caitlyn runs into Killer Frost whom Zoom has been keeping prisoner because of her physical resemblance. Frost promises that if Caitlyn frees her, they can escape together. The masked man remains a mystery as he signals his disapproval of the partnership. Caitlyn, ever the pure soul, frees Frost who immediately turns on her. Before a bolt of ice can kill Caitlyn, Zoom redirects it and kills Frost. Caitlyn is further disgusted by Hunter/Zoom who says if she tries the same thing to the masked man he will suffer the same fate. I am enjoying Zoom unmasked as much as I did masked but I am dying to find out who the hell is in the iron mask!
Barry and the crew confront Griffin Grey after he learns there is nothing Wells can do to cure his aging. The Flash and Grey come to blows but before the strongman can hit The Flash again, he collapses from his advanced years. The day saved, Barry returns to pay a visit to Wally who thanks him in person, giving the younger West a chance to put his talents to better use. Wells and Jesse reconcile and he swears he will protect her but also realizes there is something else he must do. Meeting with Barry, Wells vows to give The Flash his powers back. When Barry asks how, Wells says they will create another particle accelerator explosion. We also get the closing promise from Zoom to Caitlyn that they will head back to Earth-1 as he has his sights set on dominating our world like he did with his own.
Whether or not a controlled explosion can be accomplished will most definitely be a topic for next week's episode, but it does make me wonder if it will also be the key to creating a plot thread for the third season of the show. Whether more metahumans or a different villain is generated, this could go in either a fresh direction of become a third season much like the first two. The Flash has done such a great job of bringing the complexities of the parallel worlds of DC Comics that I would love to see it continue and I would not be opposed to having Zoom return for a second round. No series based on a comic book has allowed major villains to return for multiple go rounds (aside from Gotham) but it would make for even more dramatic build up after everything Zoom has done to these characters. Next week's episode should set everything up for the final hours of the show so stay tuned to see if Barry gets his powers back.
NEXT ON THE FLASH: "Rupture" airs May 3rd - Zoom arrives back on Earth-1 intent on taking over Central City.Barry and Wells come up with a plan to stop Zoom once and for all but it's extremely dangerous. Unsure if he should take the risk, Barry reaches out to both fathers for advice. Henry is adamantly opposed to Barry risking his life again but Joe thinks he can handle it which puts the two men at odds with each other. Meanwhile, Cisco is shocked when he vibes the Earth-2 villainRupture, who happens to be his brother Dante's doppelganger. Rupture came to this Earth seeking justice for Reverb's death. Irisdecides she's finally ready to open up to Barry about her feelings for him.