On the D/L – The Flash
Season 1 Episode 14 – “Fallout”
The Flash concludes the 2 part Firestorm arc that has ran all season -pretty much- but was brought into the foreground last week.
Picking up right where the last episode left off with the aftermath of Stein/Ronnie’s explosion the episode shows us that the device worked and the pair are separated into their individual identities. On a dramatic level this gives the opportunity for Dr. Stein to reunite with his wife and for Ronnie to reunite with Caitlin.
Caitlin finally gets her wish and has Ronnie back in her life alive and well which seems great at first but it comes with its own complications. As with last week Caitlin anchored the episode emotionally and gave Danielle Panabaker more time to explore the emotional range of her character. I like that having Ronnie back wasn’t as perfect as she originally hoped it would be as evidenced by the scene where he asks her to move away with him and start fresh.
Caitlin has built a life for herself since losing Ronnie by making new friends, finding her inner strength as well as a renewed sense of purpose. The work that she does helping Barry to save people is really important to her and she can’t simply run away from that no matter who asks her to. I like that Caitlin remains true to herself in these scenes instead of planning to disappear only to have her heart broken by the end of the episode. Danielle Panabaker handled this wide variety of emotions excellently and turned in a powerful performance.
The portrayal of Dr. Stein and Ronnie when they were separated was really well done. As you might expect there is a lingering connection that won’t go away that manifests in some clever ways. It starts off with Dr. Stein liking pizza when he used to hate it and ends with a really creative way of relaying messages to one another through a combination of self harm and morse code.
Special attention should be given to Robbie Amell who did a really good job of playing Ronnie adjusting to his life again. There was a lot of anguish on his face when he saw that Caitlin wasn’t as willing to run away with him as he had hoped she would be. I also liked how strong he was in the face of danger and definitely came across as hero material. I liked how the story ends with Ronnie and Dr. Stein accepting their connection and embracing it to become more powerful which ties into the major theme of acceptance within the episode. Caitlin has to accept that her life is different now and Barry is made to accept consequences of his actions (more on that later).
Barry sort of takes a back seat to Ronnie and the Firestorm story which is fine. I like to see the supporting characters given the limelight now and again. The characters are strong enough here to have the show carry on without feeling like it’s missing something. We still got some development of Barry’s situation though as he finds out about his adult presences in his house when his mother was murdered. He begins to seriously consider the possibility of time travel and it’s interesting to think about what the implications of that will be. The conversation where Dr. Wells explains it to Joe with helpful movie references from Cisco to ground it in simplicity was a lot of fun to watch and actually a clever way of covering the possibilities.
It’s clear that time travel will be happening at some point in the near future -pun intended- but I’m really interested to see what they do with it. Barry is adamant that he is going to use his knowledge of the fact that he failed to save his mother and put things right -at least according to him- but is that the right thing for him to do? Could it be that this show is heading to do a version of the DC Universe rebooting story Flashpoint? If so then that is incredibly ambitious and I’m intrigued to see what would be done with it. Would it crossover into Arrow and feature Oliver’s father as The Arrow instead of Bruce Wayne’s father being Batman like in the comic? The possibilities are rife for exploring and I look forward to seeing how far they will take it.
General Eiling returned in a big way this week and sort of plays the standard military type who wants to use super powers as a weapon. This is consistent with his previous appearances but it’s not all that complex. I don’t really mind it as such as Clancy Brown does a great job with that sort of role but they could be doing something more with it. Eiling and his men serve as cannon fodder for Barry and Ronnie but never really seem like all that much of a threat. Again, that’s not really a problem as there was enough ticking along to make the episode interesting.
Eiling is definitely a smart villain who uses his prior connection to Dr. Wells really well. It was great how he threatened Wells with the knowledge of the identity of The Flash. It’s a nice touch that Barry carelessly removing his mask in front of people he thought were unconscious came back to bite him like this. He’s still figuring this hero thing out so it’s good that his mistakes have consequences.
We also get a sense of Wells’ duplicitous nature when he hands Dr. Stein over to Eiling on the off chance that his friends will be safe if he does that. His priorities are clear but his motivation isn’t. I do like that he’s very singularly focused on protecting his friends but I still wonder what his endgame is.
I think the Iris plot could have been left out. It’s nice to see her doing a bit more investigating as a reporter and it might be interesting to have her as something of an antagonist to Barry and his friends as she looks into what they’re up to but it wasn’t executed terribly well. The scene where she walks in and discovers Ronnie there was just really awkward and the excuses being given were just awful. It’s no wonder she was suspicious. Also, where’s Eddie? Haven’t seen him in a while.
The Flash and Firestorm team up in this episode was fantastic stuff. It did lean a bit heavily on Firestorm performing most of the heroics but as the guest hero that was fine. Crossovers are always fun and this certainly managed to be a great time to watch. The shot of them running/flying away together was just great.
I wasn’t expecting the end scene where Dr. Wells in his yellow suit kidnapped Dr. Eiling and revealed his identity as well as showing him -and us- Gorilla Grodd. Grodd looked really convincing surprisingly and his voice sounded really good too. I can’t wait to see what they do with him. Why does this show have to be off for a month? It’s just unfair.
A really entertaining episode of this show that brings the Firestorm story to a temporary conclusion.
Like last week this episode was anchored by Caitlin who now has to deal with having Ronnie back in mind as well as body. She has a lot to think about as he insists that she run away with him to start over but she’s unwilling to leave the life she has built for herself since losing him behind. She feels a real sense of purpose helping Barry and seems to need that more than she needs Ronnie at this point. It’s strong character stuff and Danielle Panabaker handled it really well.
The theme of acceptance runs through this episode through Caitlin having to accept that her life is different now and Ronnie returning doesn’t fix all of her problems, Dr Stein and Ronnie have to accept their connection in order to get the most out of their combined potential and Barry has to accept that his rash actions have consequences. It’s a strong theme and the episode explores it well.
We were given a really awesome Flash/Firestorm team up that gave Ronnie most of the hero stuff but given that he’s the guest that seems fine. A team up is always fun and this episode took full advantage of it.
General Eiling is a bit of a singularly focused villain albeit a really intelligent one. He always manages to come up with a counter to the super powers on display and uses his knowledge to gain the upper hand in interesting ways.
I also really liked how Dr. Wells was so quick to give up Dr. Stein on the assumption it would keep his friends safe. When that didn’t work he was forced to reveal himself and his secret weapon to Eiling.
The show starts to give us some information that will lead to Barry’s trip through time in an attempt to save his mother. How this will turn out I can’t possibly say but we might get some kind of alternate reality hijinks to play around with for a little while. It’ll be disposable but fun if done well.
The Iris part of the story could have been left out. Having her as a pseudo antagonist investigating them is a good idea but the execution left a lot to be desired. The scene where everyone was giving her excuses as to who Ronnie was and where he came from was really awkward and not in a good way.