What exactly is the point of ending a TV episode on a cliffhanger if the preview for the following episode immediately gives up the answer? That’s the burning question after watching ‘The Flash’ this week.
We’ll get to that shortly. First, episode ‘Rupture’ opens with a police chase in which The Flash races in to cause the criminals to crash their car. How did Barry get his powers back? He didn’t. Fearing that news of The Flash being depowered will spread, Cisco rigged up an elaborate and wholly implausible hologram projector that allows an image of The Flash to appear anywhere in town (outdoors, at least).
Dr. Wells is not impressed by this. He calls it a distraction and a Band-Aid solution. It won’t fool people for long, and worse, it won’t help rescue Caitlin from Earth-2. Wells is adamant that he needs to recreate the particle accelerator explosion that gave Barry his powers in the first place, but nobody else is on board with this plan. They all think it’s too dangerous, no matter how much Wells insists that he can contain the dark matter this time.
Barry visits his father, Henry (John Wesley Shipp), to tell him that he’s lost his powers. He also tells him about Jay Garrick being Zoom. This is the first time Henry ever heard Jay’s last name, and comments that it’s also his own mother’s maiden name. What a coincidence…
Barry brings Henry back to S.T.A.R. Labs. Henry says that it’s about time he stayed in town for good.
Cisco vibes and sees a vision of his brother Dante that leaves him worried that something bad will happen to him.
Wally questions his direction in life. Ever since being saved by The Flash, he feels a need to step up and help other people, and he doesn’t think being an engineer will do that. Gee, could this be foreshadowing?
Zoom returns to Earth-1 and invades Central City police headquarters. He dragged Caitlin with him, and she begs him not to hurt anyone. Zoom orders the cops to, “Tell everyone that this city is mine” and clear out of the headquarters building. He’s taking over the city, starting there. He handcuffs Caitlin to a desk. The cops all retreat and set up a temporary base of operations at Jitters.
Cisco meets up with Dante at a bar to check in on him, only to be reminded that Dante is a major jerk and the two of them still don’t get along.
With Zoom in town, Wells and Joe lock their children, Jesse and Wally, into the Time Vault room to keep them safe. They aren’t happy about being stuck in there.
Henry confronts Wells over his crazy plan to create another reactor explosion. Wells once again insists that he knows what he’s doing.
After leaving the bar together, Cisco and Dante are attacked on the street by a new meta-human dressed up in a crazy reaper costume and wielding a big scythe. The meta says he’s looking for Vibe. Dante doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The meta removes his mask and reveals himself to be… Dante’s Earth-2 doppelganger! His name is Rupture, and he wants revenge on Vibe for killing his brother Reverb. (Obviously, Zoom must have lied to him about that.) Cisco blurts out, “Oh my god! You’re Princess Briding me right now!”
This Rupture guy attacks, but Cisco hits him with a van and escapes. He brings Dante back to S.T.A.R. Labs with him.
Barry is indecisive about whether to go through with Wells’ reactor experiment or not. Iris tells him that she’s been thinking maybe they’re meant to be together after all, and she likes him whether he has powers or not. (Doesn’t she currently have a boyfriend?)
While Zoom is away causing trouble, Caitlin finds a cell phone in a police evidence box. Before she can use it, Zoom returns with Rupture in tow. Caitlin overhears Zoom order Rupture to go to Jitters that night (why wait?) and kill all the cops. As soon as she has a chance, Caitlin texts a warning about this to S.T.A.R. Labs.
Barry says no to the reactor experiment. Cisco comes out as a meta-human to his brother, who suddenly finds him a lot more interesting. When they get the text from Caitlin, Barry and Cisco set a trap for Rupture using the hologram of The Flash.
The plan works. Rupture is distracted by the hologram enough for Joe to taze him and the cops to pull away his scythe, which is the source of all his power.
When Zoom hears that Rupture has been captured, he realizes that Caitlin must have betrayed him. Angry at her, he goes to Jitters to take care of the situation himself.
Zoom arrives at the coffee shop and kills everyone there (including a TV news reporter) except Joe, Capt. Singh and Rupture. Barry comes out of hiding and begs him to stop. To prove that he will not brook failure, Zoom kills Rupture. He then picks up the TV camera and announces on live TV that the Flash running around town is just a hologram – a trick – and that the real one has no more power. He also demands that Capt. Singh disband the entire police force.
Cisco and his brother make up. Bored and feeling useless in the Time Vault, Wally and Jesse decide to help her father find a way to defeat Zoom.
With no more Flash hologram, Barry worries that all sorts of meta-humans will come out of the woodworks to join Zoom. He agrees to do the reactor experiment. Wells is pleased. He has already built a small reactor that will be much safer than the original full-size version.
Unfortunately, in order to recreate all of the original conditions that led him to become The Flash, Barry will need to get struck by lightning again. Cisco suggests that the Weather Wizard wand could attract the lightning, so he goes up to the roof with it. Wells clamps Barry into the small reactor.
Jesse jury-rigs a way to open the Time Vault door so that she and Wally can leave. When they feel shaking in the building, they run toward the lab to find out what’s going on.
Wells injects Barry with a bunch of chemicals. Cisco attracts a bolt of lightning and sends it surging down into Wells’ equipment. This happens in perfect conjunction with the reactor releasing dark matter into Barry, just as Wells planned. It looks like this crazy scheme just might work…
… until Barry screams in agony and disintegrates before everyone’s eyes. Wally and Jesse enter the room just as a shockwave blast from the reactor wallops the two of them.
Zoom saw the lightning hit S.T.A.R. Labs and pieces together what must be happening. He races over to the lab just in time to see Barry die. He gloats to rub it in everybody else’s faces how stupid they are and how utterly they’ve failed.
Given that this is not the season finale and that we still have three more episodes left in the season – not to mention that the show has already been renewed for a third year and, as far as I know, will continue to be called ‘The Flash’ – it stands to reason that Barry isn’t dead. At least, not permanently. Lest we should have even the slightest bit of doubt about that, the network preview for the next episode goes right ahead and shows that he’s trapped in another dimension or universe. Thanks a lot, guys.
Also very obvious is that Wally and Jesse will now become speedsters. That’s hardly a shock, because both have been speedsters in the comics for years. This is as good an excuse to make that happen on TV as any, I suppose.
Wouldn’t it be great if Barry’s dad became a speedster as well, and John Wesley Shipp got to wear his original 1990 costume? That would even tie in with the image Barry saw when he first crossed universes through the Speed Cannon.
I like the idea of Evil Cisco’s brother coming to Earth-1 to get revenge on Good Cisco for something he didn’t do. This episode in general is pretty good – or perhaps it just feels that way after the last couple. It’s difficult for me to judge this show anymore.