The Flash is back for the back half of season 2 and “Potential Energy” comes in to lay the groundwork for what’s yet to come. Featuring more West family drama, trouble in paradise for Barry and Patty, and a villain who likes to take things slow, this episode was quite the ride. To kick things off, let’s start with . . .
Like any good episode of The Flash, the midseason premiere featured plenty of humor and drama. Cisco, as usual, provided most of the humor, especially having him refer to The Turtle as his white whale and his continually antagonistic relationship with Harry. As a bonus, having Barry be so clueless about The Turtle when everyone else knew about him was highly entertaining.One of the best parts of having The Turtle in this episode was getting to see his power in action. It was really fascinating to watch him create those zones of potential energy and to see Barry trying so hard to push through them. We’ve seen villains working to slow Barry down in the past, but this was a new approach that I really appreciated.
Speaking of seeing his power in action, that scene at the art gallery was very enjoyable. Not only was Team Flash decked out in their finest attire, but there were some great moments once The Turtle made his move. Patty may have been her gun-happy detective self, but that dramatic slow-mo scene of Barry trying to get to her before she was crushed looked awesome.Central to the conflict in this episode was The Turtle targeting things of high emotional value, not just monetary value. He steals (and hoards) items that the owners value above anything (or just about) else, and doesn’t stop at just things. So when he kidnaps Patty, The Flash’s person of high value, it ups the ante in more ways than one. The Turtle is not the most memorable “villain of the week” but the use of his power is what sets him apart. Not to mention the highly dramatic moment towards the end when Harry viciously takes a sample of his power to use against Barry (or maybe even Zoom).
One of the best parts of the overall episode was Iris West playing relationship counselor to Barry and Patty. She was supportive and well meaning, which earns her plenty of brownie points in my book. Plus, she was approaching the issue as someone who used to be in Patty’s situation: completely in the dark about Barry’s secret. Plus, she was very supportive toward her new brother, Wally, and her father. While I (and other viewers) appreciate drama and conflict in story, it’s also refreshing to see characters just being there for each other. Iris has been dishing out wisdom and warm fuzzies in high doses, and I approve.We also saw a lot of Wally West, played by newcomer Keiynan Lonsdale, and he did a great job as the conflicted youth trying to understand a family that he never got to see together. I appreciated him as a new character and the strained relationship he developed with his father, Joe. Despite the whiplash between last episode and this one (he makes the long trip to meet his long-lost family and then gets hostile toward Joe?), the two actors really pulled off their scenes and made the West family dynamic riveting. I understand that they are setting up a multi-episode arc of Joe and Wally building their father-son bond, but Wally’s motivations did leave me scratching my head. Which leads me to . . .
Caitlin and Jay are great characters on their own, but as a couple they continue to be unappealing. Even this week, when the show tried to highlight how much Jay has helped Caitlin deal with the loss of Ronnie, it was still starkly obvious that Caitlin has done much on-screen grieving. This is probably making me sound like a broken record, but it bears repeating: regardless of what she does off-screen, it’s important to me (and probably other viewers) that she properly mourn her husband before being romantic with Jay. Because it seems that will never happen, I can’t see the Caitlin/Jay relationship in a very positive light. Kudos to the actors for trying, though.
The other aspect of this episode that didn’t work well for me was the abrupt departure of Patty. I had a feeling that Barry and Patty weren’t going to last very long as a couple (things were going too well, and that’s usually a bad sign). But to drop the bomb of us that Patty is leaving not only Barry, but also Central City behind, was way too sudden. It felt shoehorned in at the last moment, as though the actress playing Patty only signed up to star until that episode, so they had to find a quick way to get her out of the show. The actors, as usual, did phenomenal jobs in making that goodbye scene dramatic and heartfelt, but the circumstances and timing made it fall short.The Verdict:
I give this episode 8 out of 10. It was, as The Flash usually is, a good episode and enjoyable to watch. But some of the issues I had forced me to dock a couple points. Still, it was a good way to get things rolling for the rest of Season 2, especially when Eobard Thawne showed up—the Reverse Flash is back! If things continue on this track, Barry will have more on his plate than he’ll know what to do with, and that means we’re in for a lot of superhero thrills.
What did you think of the episode? Share your thoughts in the comments and enjoy these quotes from “Potential Energy.”
Barry to Patty: “You’ve been wanting me to share more . . . so I thought that I would share that . . . I love art.”
Caitlin: “How do you look in a tux?”
Cisco: “Come on, he’s 6’ 2”, he’s square-jawed, and he’s jacked. I think he looks fine.”
Jay: “I’m 6’ 4”.”
Iris: “Here’s the thing about Barry. He has a bad habit of carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Burdens that aren’t even his to bear.”
Patty: “But he doesn’t have to do that with me.”
Iris: “Which is exactly what you should tell him.”
Iris: “You realize that you can’t keep things from her forever, right? One day, you’re gonna have to tell her the truth.”
Barry: “That I’m The Flash? I can’t do that.”
Iris: “Barry, I wish a year ago that you had told me the truth.”
Barry: “So, what, you think that I should just tell her?”
Iris: “I think that if you are serious about being with her, you have to.”
Harry Wells: “I could feel the fear rise in the back of my throat and something else rising also, some dark instinct inside me about what I would do to the person who had taken you [Jess], the things I would do. Unspeakable things. And it was in that moment that I realized, for certain, that I would do anything to get you back.”
Iris: “I’m glad you’re here, Wally. I’ve always wanted a baby brother.”
Wally: “What about the white shadow?”
Iris: “You’re joking, but yeah, we do call Barry that.”
Captain Singh: “Your pops is a hell of a detective.”
Wally: “Obviously not.”
Cisco: “Hey! No, absolutely not. You don’t get to throw somebody else’s stuff when you’re pissed off.”
Harry: *Throws more stuff *
Caitlin: “It’s [The Turtle] Cisco’s white whale.”
Jay: “Half whale, half turtle.”
Cisco: “Huh . . . No! Do you see what you’re doing, Caitlin? Everybody’s confused now!”
Barry: “I’m gonna tell Patty . . . that I’m The Flash. What, is that a bad idea? What do we think?”
Cisco: “I will say she put bullets in King Shark and Harry. So as far as I’m concerned, that’s Team Flash material to me.”
Barry: “All right. Yes! Thank you, Cisco.”
Barry: “Why have you never mentioned this guy [The Turtle] before?”
Cisco: “Oh, I don’t know. I think we’ve just been a little distracted. You know, with Captain Cold, Weather Wizard, Gorilla Grodd. Do I need to go on?”
Cisco: “Excuse me. Where are you going?”
Harry: “To figure out how to use this against Zoom. Remember Zoom?”
Cisco: *Imitating Harry* “Cisco, please join me. We’ll use your idea and take it to new scientific heights and save the world. Yes, I’d love to!”
Patty: “It’s time to move on.”
Barry: “From the job . . .”
Patty: “From everything.”
Gideon: “Yes, Professor Thawne?”
Eobard: “Where the hell am I?”