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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

DAMN Good Television -- THE FLASH: "Out of Time"


In the immortal words of Barry Allen (and Dr. Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap)..."Oh, boy."

Admit it, you watched last night's episode of The Flash and for a good while there, you thought it was another solid but not overly important outing for the CW series.  And then the last ten minutes happened.

In "Out of Time," written by Todd and Aaron Helbing and directed by Thor Freudenthal, we're finally introduced to Mark Mardon (guest star Liam McIntyre), the Weather Wizard and brother of Clyde Mardon, previously killed off in the series' pilot episode.  As you might expect, Mark isn't overly happy that his bro is pushing up the daisies and joining the bleedin' choir invisible, so he returns to Central City to get all revengey on Clyde's killer, CCPD Detective Joe West.

Our hero Barry Allen, meanwhile, is busy taking his girlfriend Linda Park to a bowling alley, where he just happens to run into the love of his life, Iris West, and her boyfriend Eddie Thawne.  Neither Linda nor Eddie are thrilled by Iris' suggestion that the two couples bowl together, especially when Iris starts wiping food schmutz from the corner of Barry's mouth and carrying on as if they are a couple.  Yeah, slightly awkward.

With the prerequisite CW Romance Angst addressed for the week, we then return to the Wiz, who has a much better handle on his powers than Clyde ever did.  He attempts to kill Joe with a lightning strike while he and Barry are driving around, but Barry is fast enough to rush Joe to safety just before the car goes all asplodey.  Joe gets benched by Captain Singh until Mardon is caught, but no worries, the S.T.A.R. Labs team is on it.

Cisco Ramon whips up a Wizard Wand device that looks rather suspiciously like an oversized Sonic Screwdriver from Doctor Who to short-circuit the Weather Wizard's control, which comes in handy when Mardon attacks CCPD headquarters (because hey, just about every supervillain in this series seems to as well).  The supercops who failed to notice Mardon riding up with them in the elevator easily get taken out by a gust of wind, leaving Mardon to attack Joe with another lightning strike.  Captain Singh jumps in front of the bolt to protect Joe, landing him in the hospital and introducing his gay fiancĂ© to Joe and Barry in the process.

Meanwhile, Cisco is becoming increasingly suspicious about Dr. Harrison Wells' shady behavior, so he asks Caitlin Snow to keep Wells distracted at the local CC Jitters coffee shop while he runs some tests to find out what really happened to the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator.  And there's no possible way that could go wrong, right?

Joe and his partner Eddie go looking for Mardon and since the Flash is nowhere to be found, the search ends with Joe handcuffed to a pier and having a seriously broken leg. Instead of simply killing Joe right there, the Weather Wizard calls Iris to let her know he has her dad, although we're not really sure why unless Mardon wants to capture and torture her as well.

Caitlin proves to be absolutely horrible at subterfuge, so Wells finally says screw it and leaves his wheelchair behind at the coffee shop while he races back to S.T.A.R. Labs.  At this point, the episode steps its game up by showing that Wells' pretense is officially over at last.  Wells catches Cisco replaying the recording of the Reverse Flash from "The Man in the Yellow Suit" and confesses that yes, he's actually Eobard Thawne from the future and Eddie is his 21st century ancestor.  

It seems Eobard's been stuck in the past since killing Barry's mother Nora fifteen years ago and that Barry's super-speed is the key to getting him back to his own time.  And as Cisco looks on with sheer terror (rather convincingly acted by Carlos Valdes), Eobard vibrates his hand into Cisco's chest and kills him.  Well...for now, anyway.

Great ending, right?  Guess again, because just when you think you can't handle any more, Mardon creates a tsunami to level Central City, just as Barry and Iris finally have their first kiss.  This forces Barry to quick-change to the Flash right in front of Iris, officially revealing his identity and his powers to her.  And as Iris stands there going "Wait...what?", the Flash races off to counter the tsunami with one of his own, moving faster and faster.  So fast, in fact, that he ends up breaking the time barrier and travels back to see himself running earlier in the episode.

So.  Much.  Flash goodness.  The wait over the next six days is going to be ridiculously slow and agonizing.

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