It’s the metapocalypse on ‘The Flash’ this week, so why does Barry feel so good about it? Coming back from the dead sure makes a guy cocky.
Central City is in chaos. Zoom and his army of meta-humans are rampaging all over town, setting buildings ablaze and battling what’s left of the police force. Barry isn’t overly concerned. He zips in, puts out fires, and drives back the metas as systematically as he can. The more pop up, the more he deals with them. The rest of the team are worried that he’s overconfident, but Barry insists that the Speed Force is on their side and showed him that they will win the day.
Caitlin returns to S.T.A.R. Labs. Zoom gave her a choice to stay with him and be his queen or go back to her friends and wait to die, and she chose the latter. She’s suffering some PTSD from her time in captivity and is terribly on edge.
Cisco receives an alert that Mercury Labs is being attacked by a meta who screams like a banshee, causing the building to shake as if it’s experiencing an earthquake. (Hey, didn’t a villain on ‘Supergirl’ already claim this power?) Barry races over and rescues Dr. Tina McGee from the collapsing building. The VFX shot of him leaping from one chunk of falling rubble to another is particularly well done. Safely outside, McGee thanks Barry by his real name, not as The Flash. She tells him that it wasn’t exactly difficult to figure out his identity. I’m glad someone finally acknowledges this.
Barry brings McGee to S.T.A.R. Labs, where she meets his father Henry. John Wesley Shipp and Amanda Pays have both had recurring roles on this show for two seasons now, and somehow this is the first official reunion in which the stars of the 1990s ‘Flash’ TV series appear in the same scene together. McGee doesn’t know what’s going on, but mentions that she saw the presumed-dead Dr. Harrison Wells snooping around her lab recently and assumes he must have something to do with it. Wells from Earth-2 steps into the room and says hello. McGee has some catching up to do.
Ever since he was saved by The Flash, Wally has felt compelled to prove himself worthy and be a hero too. He chases a purse snatcher who of course turns out to be a meta-human. Fortunately, Joe steps in and saves his ass. He tells his son to go home and let the police and The Flash take care of things, but Wally doesn’t want to listen.
Zoom lures Barry to CCPD headquarters, not to fight, just to chat. He gives a typical villain’s speech about how the two of them are really the same, but that Barry’s need to save people is his weakness. To demonstrate this, the meta from earlier causes a building across the street to collapse, and Zoom dares Barry to stay and fight him rather than rescue the people inside. Barry can’t do it, and jets off to the building.
After that crisis, Barry tells the team that they need to find a way to stop all the Earth-2 metas at once, because dealing with them one at a time isn’t getting them anywhere. They brainstorm and come up with a plan to use vibrational technology that will disrupt the nervous systems of anyone from Earth-2, even Zoom, and cause them to pass out. The science behind this is ludicrous, of course, but no more so than usual.
Apropos of nothing, Cisco has random vibe visions about dead birds. In his latest, he sees a bunch of birds smashing into the windows of a building. He has no idea what that’s about.
At Joe’s urging, Barry puts on his Flash costume and has a talk with Wally about not trying to be a hero. These damned teens just don’t listen to anybody.
Barry finally encounters the banshee meta and discovers that… oh my gosh, it’s the deceased Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) a.k.a. Black Canary from ‘Arrow’! Rather, it’s her evil Earth-2 doppelganger. She calls herself Black Siren. She screeches out a soundwave blast and, as usual, Barry fails to use his speed to dodge the attack. She knocks him down and gives him a bad case of tinnitus, but Wally actually saves the day by hitting her with his car. Good thing he didn’t take his dad’s or Barry’s advice.
Black Siren is fine, obviously, because comic book villains never get broken bones or internal hemorrhaging. Zoom tells her that he has a secret plan. To keep The Flash occupied while he enacts it, he needs her to knock down more buildings all over town.
Dr. Wells works on the “dimensional shock therapy” weapon. So that he and his daughter Jesse won’t be knocked out by it, he also builds a couple pairs of special headphones that neutralize the effect. Unfortunately, Black Siren starts knocking down buildings before the weapon is done, and Barry can’t deal with her because he’s needed as part of Wells’ plan. Cisco has an idea to buy them some time.
Posing as their evil Earth-2 doppelgangers Reverb and Killer Frost (how did they replicate those costumes so quickly, anyway?), Cisco and Caitlin interrupt Black Siren, claiming that they faked their deaths and want to recruit her to double-cross Zoom and rule Earth-1 with them. Siren isn’t fooled. She figures out the ruse easily, but the distraction gives Wells enough time to complete the sound weapon.
Barry races around the city’s borders fast enough to create a sound barrier that the vibrations from the weapon can bounce off. Everyone from Earth-2 hears a painful sound and passes out. However, Zoom recognizes what’s happening quickly enough that he’s able to open a portal back to Earth-2 and leap through it. (Where did he get this ability to open portals at will, and why didn’t he use it the last time he was trapped on Earth-2?)
When Jesse’s headphones fail, Wells gives her his and sacrifices himself. He passes out. With the threat neutralized, Barry zips around town cleaning up the unconscious metas. Many of them are shipped off to Iron Heights Prison, but some (including Black Siren) are locked up in the Pipeline.
With Zoom gone, Caitlin starts feeling better. The police force returns to its headquarters. Barry tells Joe that they need to let Wally be his own man and make his own decisions. The team throws a big dinner to celebrate their victory. Dr. McGee attends and flirts with Henry. Wally also flirts with Jesse.
Suddenly, Cisco vibes again and has a vision of Earth-2 in ruins, its Central City crumbling and the entire planet splitting apart. Zoom opens another portal, runs right into the party and grabs Henry. Barry chases after him, revealing that he’s The Flash to Wally for the first time.
Zoom leads Barry back to his childhood home, to the very same room where Eobard Thawne murdered his mother. He once again taunts Barry about how they’re the same, and tells him that now they’ll both be orphans. Henry quickly blurts out that he loves his son and is proud of him. As Barry stands by and helplessly watches (seriously, dude, you have super-speed; you can at least try to stop him), Zoom shoves his fist through Henry’s chest.
Is this really the end for Barry’s dad? I tend to doubt it. Remember, this show has already brought back at least three characters (Eobard Thawne, Jay, and most recently Barry) from the dead this season alone. Add in the possibility of alternate dimension doppelgangers, and I have a feeling we’ll see some version of Henry again. A part of me is still holding out hope to see John Wesley Shipp wear his old 1990s Flash uniform again, perhaps as an older Flash mentor from Earth-3 or -4 or the future or something.
After some pretty terrible episodes in the middle of this season, the show seems to be recovering in the last few. I liked quite a lot about this one, even if it’s still plagued by little bits of stupidity here and there. Next week brings the season finale, and my fingers are crossed that it somehow pulls things together satisfactorily.