The Flash: 2.19 Back to Normal
I'll admit, after last week's ridiculous finale, which saw Barry Allen hand over his powers to Zoom for no good reason, I was dreading this episode, particularly after reading the title. I had prepared myself of 42 minutes of Barry Allen moping around, struggling to adapt to living at normal speed and worrying that he was helpless to stop the next meta human from destroying Central City. And in truth there were elements of all of that. But Back To Normal proved to be an engaging episode, with a sympathetic bad guy and not too much angst to make The Flash a frustrating watch.
I did find myself shouting at the screen 'yes it is!' every time someone told Barry it wasn't his fault, and continued to appreciate this new season two Harrison Wells even more as the only one with the balls (and snark) to tell Barry he was the reason this world was now under the threat from Zoom. But at least Barry wasn't too down; the cop out of the morning routine scene - one with his powers and one without - clearly showed how much Barry had taken his speed for granted and was a lot of fun to watch. I also enjoyed the deepening relationship with an ever more confident Iris; I am so glad the show didn't take her down the whole 'dating my boss' storyline and now feels the right time to finally get her together with Barry.
We also got a surprisingly sympathetic metahuman this week in Griffin Grey, a man with super-human strength who captured Wells to gain revenge over the Star Labs explosion that hurt him. I did appreciate the irony that while Wells got to relieve his guilt over the incident, he wasn't technically for the explosion on this Earth that affected Grey. The idea that his super strength caused such an effect on Grey's body it aged him made for a tragic figure; he went from a young 18 year old man with the love of his life to an aging man his girlfriend wouldn't even recognise on the street. And while the plan was obvious, forcing Grey to use more and more strength until he aged to death, it was a sad end to a tormented man destroyed by this Earth's Harrison Wells.
Talking of tortured, Caitlin finally got something to do this week after standing in Star Labs or moping after lost loves for most of the season. The twisted object of an ever more deranged Hunter Zolomon (Zoom) she found herself trapped in his evil clifftop lair on Earth 2 (apparently there was an extra portal in a nearby hospital for plot convenience purposes) and came face to face with her evil doppelganger Killer Frost. I really enjoyed seeing Danielle Panabaker play both characters, though I don't remember Frost being quite so hammy in her last couple of appearances. Was she taking over acting lessons from Wentworth Miller (who I disliked on The Flash but now love in the ridiculously OTT Legends Of Tomorrow)?
My only gripe is that she was killed by Zoom (admittedly for trying to murder Caitlin); I would have liked to have seen her cross over to Earth 1 and cause more havoc in future episodes, particularly as Miller's Captain Cold is now on the spin-off show. A waste of potential perhaps? But at least we have the mystery of the man in the iron mask for Caitlin to solve, something I really hope pays off when that revelation finally comes.
Normal Again ended with an audacious plan from Harrison Wells; he's going to create another particle accelerator explosion to give Barry back his powers. It's sure to go terribly wrong while serving as a cool deux ex machina for the Flash but with Zoom setting his sights on conquering Earth 1, now's not the time for holding back. And with only a handful of episodes left I'm looking forward to seeing where all these disastrous plans leave The Flash come season three...