Like many other network shows, ‘The Flash’ will take a break for the rest of the year after this week’s episode. Before it leaves us until mid-January, the series delivered a holiday present from one demented Santa.
Mark Hamill is back as the Trickster this week. So are Wentworth Miller as Capt. Cold and that other guy who plays Weather Wizard. (His name is Liam McIntyre, but the character is still forgettable.) Weather Wizard a.k.a. Mark Mardon breaks into Iron Heights prison to bust out Cold and the Trickster. He wants them to team up with him to kill The Flash. Trickster is definitely on board with that. Cold isn’t so enthusiastic, but plays along.
When the news of this reaches S.T.A.R. Labs, Cisco proposes making a “weather wand” to neutralize Mardon’s power. Barry is way ahead of him on this. He explains how they already did the same thing the last time they faced Mardon, but then Barry went back in time and changed the timeline, so nobody else remembers it. Anyway, he says it’s still a good idea. Dr. Wells V2 is very concerned about the notion of Barry messing around with timelines.
Barry returns home and finds Leonard Snart (that’s Capt. Cold) waiting for him. He says he’s come to warn Barry about Mardon and Trickster, because he still owed Barry a favor. Barry asks him to help them capture the others, but he says he’s “not into non-profit work.”
Interesting to note: After many viewer complaints asking why Barry never just runs up and grabs Snart’s cold-gun out of his hands, Snart has equipped it with a dead-man’s trigger that will cause it to explode if it leaves his hand. I’m glad that was finally addressed.
The Trickster hijacks a TV broadcast to make a public statement vowing to kill The Flash. Picking up on a clue in the video, Barry tracks Trickster and Mardon to an abandoned toy factory. As he arrives there (as The Flash), he runs into Patty, who followed the same clue. Patty is obsessed with capturing Mardon for killing her parents. Unfortunately, when they enter the building, they find that it’s a trap. The two are surrounded by dozens of tiny bombs inside dreidels. I feel like Barry could just zip through or around them without issue, even carrying Patty, but he decides instead to try something new. He spins his arms fast enough to create little whirlwinds of air that lift him up and let him fly out of the building. Yikes, that’s lame.
Meanwhile, the Trickster dresses as Santa and hands out gifts to children. Naturally, all the presents have bombs inside.
Barry next encounters Mardon at the city’s tree lighting ceremony. Mardon pulls a similar trick to Barry’s and uses his powers to fly off a building. He looks slightly less stupid doing it. Barry chases him through the city, bouncing off the rotors of an in-flight helicopter at one point. If I’m not mistaken, that’s a famous image from the comics. It’s neat enough to counteract that dumb whirlwind effect.
Mardon lures Barry to the Trickster, who informs him that 100 bombs have been distributed to 100 little boys and girls. He’ll never have enough time to find them all before a bunch of kids die – unless Flash agrees to exchange his own life for the children’s. He grudgingly accepts and allows Mardon to beat the crap out of him.
As that’s happening, Cisco and Wells locate one bomb and attach it to a drone. Wells tells Cisco to fly it toward a dimensional breach portal in the sky above the city. When Cisco asks how that’s going to help with the other 99 bombs still out there, Wells spouts some ludicrous pseudo-science about how all the bombs will become magnetically attracted to each other and get sucked into the portal as soon as the first one enters. No, this makes no sense at all on any level.
Nevertheless, the plan works. The bombs all fly into the portal and explode. Does that mean that they’ve just set off a big detonation on Earth Two?
As Flash races around to capture Trickster and neutralize Mardon’s powers with Cisco’s magic wand, Patty drives up and shoots him with a high-tech clamp thing that locks his leg to the ground. Basically, she’s booted him. Patty then prepares to kill Mardon, but Flash talks her down. I fully expected at this moment that he’d finally reveal his true identity to her, but no, he doesn’t. Patty does the right thing and arrests Mardon.
The episode opens with Zoom (hey, remember him?) chasing Dr. Wells through the lab. Wells begs for his daughter’s life in exchange for his own. This leaves off without explanation until Wells meets with Zoom again later in the episode. Zoom gives Wells a 24 hour deadline to do something unexplained.
In their final scene together, Wells says that he understands why Zoom has been sending random meta-humans to attack Barry rather than taking care of the job himself. He wants Barry to get faster and stronger. He’s fattening him up like a Christmas goose, so that when Zoom kills Barry, he’ll be able to steal lots of Speed Force. (Hey, wasn’t this also the original Dr. Wells’ exact plan?) Zoom allows Wells to see his daughter for a brief second. Wells agrees to help him steal Flash’s speed.
Separately, Iris spills the beans to Barry about how her father had a secret son he doesn’t know about. She’s eaten up with guilt about this for a while, and Barry advises her to come clean with the truth. (So why haven’t you told your girlfriend Patty that you’re the Flash yet, huh?) They agree to tell Joe together. Some crying occurs when that happens. Joe meets with his ex-wife Francine off-camera and says he’s forgiven her in the spirit of Christmas.
After all the crime-fighting is done, Joe and Barry have a Christmas party at their house. Patty comes as Barry’s date. Caitlin kisses Jay Garrick under the mistletoe. The doorbell rings and Joe answers it to meet Wally, his son.
Frankly, this isn’t a particularly good episode. I enjoy Mark Hamill as the Trickster, but he hardly has anything to do in this one. Weather Wizard is a really weak villain. The episode’s plotting is half-assed, and the longer Barry withholds his secret from Patty, the more frustrated I get with that storyline. Barry may have had a weak justification for keeping Iris in the dark for a long time in order to protect her, but Patty is part of the meta-human task force. Lying to her needlessly puts her in more danger.
This may be the last episode of the series for 2015, but I hesitate to call it a “mid-season finale” because the show returns in January. That’s a much shorter break than many other shows that are going on hiatus around now.