The Flash: 2.12 Fast Lane
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There was a real sense of momentum this week - the reveal that Zoom was manipulating Harrison Wells and a great bad guy for the Flash to fight - that made Fast Lane a good improvement over the last couple of episodes that have been missing the magic of what made the first season so great.
Perhaps it was the return to basics; a metahuman caused as a result of the Star Labs explosion and the villain of the week Joey Monteleone / Tar Pit was something a little different, a sort of Clayface from Batman that was hunting down the men who harmed him. The accident that turned him into the metahuman with the ability to manipulate tar to kill his victims was a particularly nasty one for the show. Petty criminal Monteleone is thrown of a ledge by two hitmen and plunges into a pit of hot tar where he literally melts. The simultaneous explosion at Star Labs causes him to survive, consumed with hatred beneath the ground before he is dug up and released two years later.
While there wasn't a lot to the character, you had to feel for the horror Monteleone endured and in the moments where he was confronted by the Flash we were treated to some innovative and exciting action sequences. I particularly liked his attack at the drag race, manipulating the tarmac Wally West and his rival were racing on in order to get to the criminal Clark Bronwen who ordered his death. It was a nice converge with the other main storyline that saw Iris try to save her newfound brother Wally from killing himself drag racing, even facing near death herself as Tar Pit's attack saw glass from Wally broken car catch her in the shoulder.
I've mentioned that I've found the whole return of Iris's mother and the angsty side storyline for the Wests a little tiresome, but perhaps it was because Keiynan Lonsdale's Wally West is an engaging character and Candice Patton got something to do as Iris but I liked how the plot moved on, without dragging on beyond the episode.
Finally we had Harrison reveal that he was being forced to work for Zoom to save his daughter after he built a device to steal some of Barry's power and give it to the master villain. Again, the episode didn't drag out all the hiding and secrecy around his deception; the moment they realised Barry was loosing speed he owned up at the cost of his own daughter. The fact that Barry rallied his team to help Harrison and agreed to travel back with him to Earth 2 meant that the conflict with the season two baddie is showing signs of actually developing now and I am excited to see what happens when the gang cross over into the alternate Earth.
There was great direction from Rachel Talalay, who has recently proven herself directing the last two series finales of Doctor Who and finally a sense of progression. It wasn't the most exciting episode of The Flash but it was very fun. "Whose the best hacker in the world?" asks Cisco. "Felicity Smoak" everyone responded and that really made me laugh. If the show can build on the momentum of Fast Lane then things could get very exciting indeed.