The Flash "Back to Normal" (REVIEW)
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
My name is Barry Allen and I am the most regular man alive, by day I’m a forensic scientist… by night I’m also a forensic scientist… I gave up my powers to save my family and now I’m just a regular guy… I was the Flash!
Hot on the heels of last week’s episode, Zoom finally got what he wanted at such a high price. Barry gave Zoom all his power, in effect making him just a regular man. To make matters worse, Zoom whisks Caitlin away to Earth 2, leaving Team Flash down one genius scientist.
As if being just a regular guy wasn’t a kick in the teeth, the gut punch was when Harrison Wells is taken hostage by Griffin Gray, a meta-human with a distinctly unique power set. Griffin has super strength at the expense of his life, each time he uses his power he ages. When we first see him he looks to be in his 40s when in reality he’s a scared teenager, holding a grudge against Wells… at least Wellsobard… for the particle accelerator.
Back on Earth 2, Caitlin is trapped in Zoom’s lair with the Man in the Iron Mask and her E2 double Killer Frost. The two Caits devise a plan to break out but I beg to ponder if Caitlin and truly trust her evil twin.
After my first watch… I realized something; watching The Flash sans speedforce is pretty boring. These de-powered story arcs always end up as a play-by-numbers narrative; hero has powers, hero loses powers, hero faces existential crisis about what it means to be a hero now without powers, hero mopes, hero tries to fight the bad guys sans powers, hero gets lucky and somehow accomplishes his tasks.
I was hoping that the episode would end with Barry getting his power back, but instead we get an entire hour of sad-mopey Barry lamenting losing the ability to outrun a fighter jet. While you can compare this to other times Barry lost his powers, this one episode felt like a wet rag… ended up being the most boring episode of The Flash for me all season.
One point that did give me hope for the future and the Flash family was Wally West and his newfound adoration for the Flash. Wally figures out that his father works with the Flash (while still being in the dark about Barry) and begs Joe to arrange a meeting for him to express his gratitude. This feels like the first steps to Wally eventually getting his powers, becoming Kid Flash. While back at STAR labs, Iris makes eyes and Barry but never gets around to telling him how she feels.
As for Harry, his run in with Griffin Gray left him feeling a heavy sense of guilt. Realizing that while it was Wellsobard who caused the influx of Earth 1 metas to come out of the woodwork, he still hasn’t paid for what he did on his Earth… especially since his actions are what gave rise to a monster like Zoom.
Speaking of Zoom, a shining beacon in this otherwise lackluster episode was more of Teddy Sears going full darkside as Hunter Zolomon.
Next week should give us super-speed Barry back again, I just hope it comes sooner than later in the episode since I don’t know how I can deal with another mopey Barry Allen facing a personal existential crisis about what it means to be a hero episode.