As much as everyone was excited for the crossover episodes with Arrow, the mid-season finale has had viewers just as excited with the promise of a huge reveal! The man who killed Barry’s mother and framed his father has been haunting him for the past fourteen years. Now, Barry comes face to blurred face with the man responsible. But he’s not the only one dealing with issues as Caitlin, with Cisco’s help, is also on the trail of Ronnie. He’s already displaying his powers as Firestorm though slightly different from his comic interpretation. He also seems to have no memory of his friends or who he was.
In the midst of all of the metahuman mayhem going on in Coast City it’s nice to see that the regular people get play a significant role in the series. Joe’s surrogate father role to Barry is one of the best relationships in the show. Actually it’s one of the most believable ones since the show started. This episode gives him a chance to amp things up a bit and Jesse L. Martin delivers the drama without making things corny. Whereas Iris not being able to see that Barry is in love with her seems like it’s forced but it was good that the writers finally had Barry get his feelings out there.
With Reverse Flash (or Professor Zoom for you comic purists) finally going up against Barry it immediately brought to mind that classic cover by Carmine Infantino. And what do you know, we get a variation of that in this very episode! Everything you’d expect from Reverse Flash is here and it’s frustrating to Barry to know that he can’t stop he man who killed his mother and destroyed his family. He’s dangerous, more experienced, and a lot faster than Barry which is clearly shown in their fight scenes. The speed effects are some of the best here and so it doesn’t get too confusing things slow down at crucial points while Flash is getting his butt kicked by the villain. It’s embarrassingly bad how much of a better fighter our bad guy is when up against Barry so hopefully the kid learns a few new tricks before they meet again.
The identity of Reverse Flash is revealed in this episode and many won’t see it coming while others have had this character on their radar for some time. However, as you and I know, liberties can be taken when comics are translated to television and we have been fooled before. Considering that he didn’t kill a certain character when he had the perfect opportunity to do so also makes me question the reveal. So I’m not fully convinced yet but it will be pretty shocking if this is the direction the story is going. Though if it is who it was revealed to be then that just brings up the question of time travel which has been a huge plot device in Flash comics.
What was a bit confusing and seemed forced was the save from Firestorm towards the end. He comes in just to tell them not to look for him again but why was he there in the first place? If the writers wanted to show off his powers then he could have flown off earlier during the first encounter with Caitlin. The entire interaction just seemed to throw things off. Also Barry still can’t keep his mask on and it’s a wonder how someone outside of the inner circle hasn’t figured out his identity.
Overall, this mid-season finale delivered some quality fan service and it’s going to be a long wait until January! So much about this show has been great because the writers “get” the characters. There’s a nice balance of how dark things can get and when it needs to just lighten up and let some heart in. This aptly timed Christmas episode shows off a lot of that while also delivering on the super powered action consistently and with some very good special effects. Even though at times things do get a bit formulaic and it seems as if Barry can’t keep his mask on, The Flash has been one of the better of the new comic based television shows to debut this year.