A quick recap and then on to the important stuff: Patty Spivot starts tracking down her own leads and tries to enlist Barry’s help. Iris and Joe decide to have it out with Francine and make a final decision on whether to allow her back into their lives or not. The entire S.T.A.R. Labs team must work together to help their friend, Professor Stein, before he loses himself entirely to the Firestorm Matrix.
There was a LOT going on in this episode. So much so that at certain points I felt like it was running the risk of going all Spider-Man 3 and throwing the kitchen sink in with the bathwater. Or however that old saying goes. For all that was in this smorgasbord of an episode, there were really only two things that excited me. I am assuming at this point that you have watched the episode and are familiar with the points I’ll touch on. So. Let’s do this.
I am full on in love with Patty Spivot. Which means that now I am becoming more and more concerned that she will be targeted by the writing staff to be killed off (or was already targeted; giving her the perfect excuse to be just as cute as a button every episode). I like the progression in this episode and Joe’s counsel to Barry that he needs to give himself the freedom to explore a relationship with Patty. It runs in stark contrast, of course, to Oliver’s message to him last season that relationships with them do not work. Of course, Ollie has, in the meantime, shacked up with F. Smoak for the better part of the summer. Hypocrite. Perhaps more importantly, it extends the message that Barry and the S.T.A.R. Labs Team cannot let their experiences with not-Dr. Harrison Wells of Earth-1 color their outlook on all of life.
That all being said, Patty Spivot is NOT one of the two things I was most impressed by this episode. The first is the endpoint of the back-and-forth scenes between Joe, Iris, and Francine West. Of course, as you have seen, when Iris confronts her mother about her claim that she is dying, Iris lets drop that in digging around to confirm her story, she discovered that Francine has a son that was born 8 months after she left Central City. The suggestion here is that the kid’s father is someone other than Joe, and that Francine was already pregnant when she left. There’s a lot of room left here to play. Maybe it IS the natural-born son of Joe and Francine West. Maybe it’s another addict’s kid who was dying and asked Francine to take the kid on; and you can substitute that “another addict’s” as the parental figure with any number of other substitutes. Point is (exclamation mark), this leaves the door wide open for Francine to have kept her married name, passed it on to this kid, and for him to show up at some point this season or next as…Wally West!!! Maybe that’s already been discounted by one inside leak or another, but I do not care. Let me have my little fantasy for a second before the internet ruins it, thank you very much.
The second thing that I found surprisingly touching was the taking on of the Firestorm mantle by one Jefferson Jackson. It is the story of an inner city kid, who had one shot to make it out and go to college. That opportunity was taken away from him by the Particle Accelerator explosion. But what not-Harrison Wells taketh away, he gives back.
I was pretty bored with this episode up until the point where Jefferson decides to join the heroes. This is not a kid who has grown up on comics and sci-fi. He holds no romanticism of anyone acting out the role of a hero. His job as a mechanic probably barely keeps food on the table. He does not feel any sense of obligation to the world. So for this character to make the leap that comes more naturally to many of us, it is that much more profound. And it definitely left me a bit choked up.
The front half of this episode felt a bit off from a pacing standpoint. But things pulled together nicely and sailed to a photo finish, as is the case with most episodes of The Flash. I can’t wait to see what the Berlanti team cooks up next.
(Editor’s Note: Thanks to Agasicles for guest writing on this The Flash Zoom-In column! Had to come in and add that in the weekly contest between The Flash and Arrow, I would have given Arrow the point this week, but the guest writers ended up giving the point to The Flash! Find out what Sarah thought in this week’s Arrow Re-Nocked! – Everett)