When last we saw Barry Allen and Team Flash at the end of 2015, things were all over the place with lots of things going on in the complex but amazingly awesome narrative of my current favorite *network* superhero show. The two key issues were the arrival of Joe's son & Iris' brother, Wally West whom neither of them ever knew about. It looks like Wally is going to be a new and seemingly difficult character to work into an already crowded roster of characters. I thought that in the 2015 finale, Wally was really kind of a boring addition to Team Flash and I am not sure how it is going to play out but I am willing to give actor Keiynan Lonsdale a chance before the verdict is in. Still, after a long month of no new Flash episodes, I am damn happy that the Scarlet Speedster is back with piping hot and fresh new episodes.
The classic dream sequence where we see a character die opens up the episode with Zoom dropping Patty off of a highrise building. I gotta tell you that I really would not have minded if it were not a dream because it's pretty clear that Patty is just a temporary 6-episode character whose arc is probably coming to an end soon. Don't get me wrong, I think that Shantel VanSanten is quite the yummy dish but since she avenged her father's death by putting Weather Wizard behind bars, she's kind of become persona non-grata and kind of a hanger-on and the too clingy new girlfriend type. Back to reality and Joe is showing his new son Wally around the CCPD station where he pretty obviously flirts with the openly gay and married Chief Singh. He makes some kind of comment about his father, Joe not being that great a detective alluding to him not having figured out that Wally is gay. I am sure it will be revealed down the line in another episode as Wally becomes more of a focal point. A criminal at the station recognizes Wally but he says to Joe that he just has one of those faces which is a trigger letting us know that Wally obviously is involved in some shady doings.
Patty does what every new girlfriend should not and goes and talks to Iris about Barry being distant, his nightmares, etc. so you just know that this relationship is coming to an end. More on that later because Iris' love life has been dormant since Eddie died last season and she seems to have become the de-facto relationship counselor for the rest of the team at STAR Labs. Harry is throwing yet another tantrum in Cisco's lab as he is harboring what happened at the end of the Fall finale. Zoom has his daughter and Harry agreed to steal Barry's speed force in exchange for the release of his daughter. Cisco makes the suggestion that rather than making Barry faster, they can make Zoom slower and Harry is totally aboard on this revelation. The resident comic relief then reveals that he has a "white whale," a villain that he has been tracking but keeping to himself that he calls, "The Turtle." This villain, another metahuman, can literally slow time and steal stuff. So when the CCPD announces that they have recovered some famous diamonds, Barry runs to the locations and sure enough The Turtle is there to steal the recovered gems and actually slows down the Flash while trying to stop him. Back at STAR Labs, Cisco explains that Barry was caught in "Turtle Time" where the villain can transfer all of the surrounding kinetic energy into himself leaving everyone else in a state of potential energy. The Turtle is just a small-time thief by the name of Russel Blossom but his abilities, when you think about it, can be a very big deal to Team Flash.
I think it is interesting that Cisco keeps a list of Metahuman's that he has not revealed to the rest of the team, especially with his abilities as Vibe continues to develop. Joe is understandably very nervous about having dinner with Wally and asks Barry to come to be a buffer but of course, Wally does not show up. Meanwhile, Iris decides to tell Barry that Patty came to her asking about Barry and it is all very 8th-grade nonsense but Barry does want to make things right with his new but increasingly difficult girlfriend. At a Central City black tie event, a recently recovered famous painting is being unveiled virtually guaranteeing that The Turtle is going to be there to lift the prize right off the easel. Barry makes the call to both invite Patty to the event, promising a romantic night but has to additionally alter those plans to incorporate Team Flash's crime-fighting and stopping the Turtle. Barry decides that he is going to tell Patty his secret identity but Harry says not to because if Zoom finds out, he will use the ones he loves against him. Just like he's done with Jesse.
The constant naming of both heroes and mainly villains by Cisco may stop after this episode because of one important scene. Cisco & Harry are standing by in the STAR Labs van watching the black-tie event when Wells starts in with Ramon about giving people nicknames all the time. He defends his habit and says that "Zoom" is a lousy nickname but is soon silenced when Harry tells the story of how that name came to be. On Earth 2, where Zoom set a trap for the police and killed 14 police officers and left one alive to tell the story, that officer said he saw blue lightning "zooming" all around the scene hence the name Zoom. That officer was also later killed by Zoom to seal the deal. Feeling bad, Cisco offers to "vibe" Harry if he wants to see if his daughter is still alive but he balks at the opportunity. I have to think that there will soon be an episode where Cisco is able to harness his powers because they truly are some of the coolest powers gained by the particle accelerator's explosion.
While Patty & Barry are enjoying a dance at the black-tie event, it is only natural that just as they are easing into the moment and prepping to tell her his identity, the Turtle strikes to take the painting and everything from there happens really fast. No pun intended! But in a quick scene, Barry is able to save Patty from a falling chandelier that Turtle shot after stealing her gun in "Turtle Time." Bottom line, Turtle gets away with the painting and gives Patty more than enough evidence to deduce that Barry is the Flash without him even telling her. To her, it looks like Barry ditched her right when the Flash showed up to save the save the day and Barry chooses to go apologize instead of going after Turtle. To be honest, I am kind of Patty'd out already. She is super clingy and although very beautiful, is boring the heck out of me so when they make it a point to zoom in on a package she received from Midway University and their CSI program, I immediately started thinking that her time is up in Central City.
Joe discovers that the reason Wally did not show up for their dinner is that he is an illegal street racer and really has only popped up in Central City for the new competition. He races so that he can pay for his sick mother and tells Joe to just go home. While Patty is pissed and Barry has no real concrete answers for her, Turtle breaks into her apartment, uses his powers, and kidnaps her after she discharges her revolver, saying he wants what is most precious to the Flash. Because of his abilities, Turtle was able to figure out that the Flash purposely saved Patty and she wasn't just some random female cop. Barry again goes to Patty's, sees the slugs on the floor and puts it all together.
Patty is tied up and Turtle talks real damn slow making me want to reach for the fast forward button. He has accumulated a virtual museum of stuff he has lifted by using his powers. One of his trophies is actually his ex-wife who is stuffed and on display like a Madame Tussaud's wax museum display. Super creepy. Team Flash easily figures out where Patty is being held (as always) after they discover that Blossom's stuffed wife used to be an antiquities archivist. Barry locates them and does his trademark 5.3 miles super punch and it takes out the Turtle and he is then inserted into the Pipeline prison at STAR Labs for safe keeping. It was all kind of melodramatic and it was a little too rushed for me if that is possible on a show called The Flash. Predictable I guess is the word more than anything. I was hoping for more of a battle because when you break it down, Turtle's abilities are very dangerous.
It is revealed that Jay Garrick from Earth 2, whose speed was stolen by Zoom is very sick. Caitlyn was able to get his DNA off of a champagne flute at the black-tie event. The only way he can become healthy again is by regaining his speed from Zoom. I am hoping that Jay sticks around for a while because I like the idea of two different Flash's at full speed force power working together, speeding around Central City, cracking heads and fighting crime. Naturally, Joe & Wally have a quiet dinner together as the veteran's cop's son starts to realize he needs his father even if it is over a silent meal of takeout Chinese. The package I mentioned earlier that Patty received is from the forensics department at Midway University so she quickly breaks it to Barry that her dream has always been to be a CSI (like Barry) so she is leaving Central City and him to join their program. Harry is talking into some kind of voice recorder log and regaling a story about how he once lost his daughter at the Planetarium on Earth 2. While he is telling this, it becomes a voice over as they show him sneak into the Pipeline, go to Turtle's cell and stick a Total Recall-type injection up his nose which steals the small-time crook's powers. Turtle is left in his cell, nose bleeding and dead for the rest of Team Flash to find at a later date. Thinking that the episode was over, I grabbed for the clicker to rewind when suddenly, what looks like Barry's childhood street, the Reverse Flash, Eobard Thawne, shows up out of nowhere when a "Holo-Gideon" pops up in his hand and he asks, "Where the hell am I?" WHOA!!!
I liked the episode but didn't love it. I actually thought that the Turtle would be around more than one episode because he could have been an asset to Team Flash even though he's a bad guy. Second, Patty's time is up in Central City. I secretly was hoping the opening dream sequence was real and Zoom really threw her off a rooftop. They have barely been out half a dozen times and she makes everything into a life or death decision which Barry does not need in his life on top of his other duties. So I think her time is up sooner than later. Maybe one or two more episodes but that is it. Harry is turning out to be both a good and bad guy but how can you blame him when Zoom has his baby girl. I honestly feel like he is a part of the team but has special circumstances. He is certainly better than last year's Harrison Wells. The addition of Wally West has been terribly boring so far and I am hoping that they at least make it a bit more interesting going forward. Finally, the arrival of Reverse Flash had me on total geek overload and I was supremely psyched that we are now going to see the origin of the Flash's most dastardly villain who just hates Flash because he is not the Flash. So I am psyched to see how this plays out.