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THE FLASH: Barry Finds Himself in a Sticky Situation in “Fast Lane”

By on February 3, 2016
The Flash

Pictured: Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW

By Justin Carter

There are times where I wish The Flash didn’t have a villain of the week.

I don’t mean this as a bad thing, since after all, this is a superhero show. As such, it has to deliver heroic thrills on an hourly basis each week, and I’m totally fine with that. But there are also moments where the show is best suited to letting the characters be themselves and interacting rather than giving Barry a reason to run around all over the place. Last season’s finale was great partly because it spent the majority of its time having the characters interact before Barry got down to the action. With multiple subplots about the various characters going on this season — hey, remember that Jay’s still dying? Because he’s nowhere to be seen yet again — it’d be great if a bad guy could take a holiday so we could take a breather and learn something more about our heroes (or our still cool looking, but admittedly very underdeveloped villain).

I say this because while “Fast Lane” is a solid episode, I couldn’t have cared much about its metahuman of the week, Tar Pit. So named because he was dropped into a pit of tar the night of the accelerator explosion and awakens after spending two years covered in asphalt. He’s given the power to turn his body to sticky or molten tar and he wants revenge on the guys who dropped him, and aside from his creepy looking design, that’s more or less where his interesting characteristics end. He and Flash don’t face off all that much in the episode, which sucks, given that his tar powers could’ve been used to slow Barry down as he tries to stop a glass shard from entering Iris’ shoulder.

Instead, the slowdown is courtesy of Harry finally doing what he promised Zoom and draining Barry’s speed. Thankfully, the show lets Harry tell the rest of Team Flash about his goings-on, then he gets punched and thrown in the pipeline for a bit. Tom Cavanaugh can sell just about anything the writers want him to, and he is able to sell Harry’s declaration to Barry that he’ll betray the team for his daughter. Harry lives in a black and white world, but Barry still sees good in him, and it’s nice to finally see those two interact as science geeks. Like Barry says, everyone does something crazy when family gets involved, and while Harry wasn’t making the smartest moves, he was making the best of a bad situation.

On the subject of family and bad moves, Iris finally gets something to do after weeks of not doing very much. While Joe is happy to try and let Wally go on with racing, his big sister very much isn’t. It’s nice that she’s calling out Joe and Wally at every turn, able to to confront the truth that neither of them are really willing to face. It’s a very Iris thing to do, and it finally lets her connect with her brother as he tries to come to grips with losing his mom. Sure, at this point, it’s been made more than clear the West family will ride or die for each other, but it’s still nice to see that Joe giving his son a lecture on family. I could probably take a full hour of Jesse L Martin giving the various characters of the show a speech or lecture of some kind, and the guidance is something Wally needs right now.

“Fast Lane” is a good episode, and it looks like it’s leading to some more action packed episodes down the line. Next week: Earth-2!

Additional Notes

  • Harry is very insistent on saying our Earth-1 is his Earth-2. He almost sounds offended by it.
  • “Who’s the best hacker in the world, people?” “Felicity Smoak.”
  • Cisco creates a metahuman social media app, saying it’s like Tinder for people with superpowers. Given how Tar Pit looks like he belongs in The Grudge, I’d swipe left.

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