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THE FLASH Review: “Potential Energy” Misses the Mark

By on January 20, 2016
The Flash

Pictured (L-R): Shantel Van Santen as Detective Patty Spivot and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW

By Justin Carter

Now that the spinoff of this spinoff is coming in a few days, The Flash doesn’t have to worry about setting up characters whose arcs will pay off in another show, and instead gets right back to the season-long arcs that have largely been in the background until now.

“Potential Energy” does an okay job of speeding between the different plots it’s got going on, but it’s the main one stumbles the most.

Last season dealt with Iris being largely out of the loop of Team Flash’s happenings, and it wasn’t something that was particularly needed or enjoyable. The reasoning the show gave, that Joe and Barry wanted to protect her, didn’t make much sense considering she started a blog dedicated to the Flash of her own accord and had gotten involved in some of the Scarlet Speedster’s fights against his enemies.

With Patty, Barry’s desire to keep her in the dark makes even less sense. Not only is she a cop, but she shot the alternate universe version of the guy who killed his mom (who was referred to multiple times as being dead) and pointed a gun at a giant shark. Even not counting those examples, Barry’s proved that he’s  already pretty bad about keeping his identity a secret, so it doesn’t make any sense in any capacity.

The two have been dorky and cute up to now, but Barry’s dilemma over telling Patty the truth has become kind of annoying with how the show keeps putting it off. During the scene where Barry and Patty are dancing in an art gallery, it felt like something out of every other Batman movie we’ve seen. So much so that I could predict when the villain of the week would show up. Said villain, the Turtle (yes, seriously), is played by Battlestar Galactica’s Aaron Douglas and has the power to drain the speed from people around him. He’s mostly bland, and he’s used mainly as a gag a la everyone except Barry knows who he is. However the curtain is then pulled back to reveal the fact that he didn’t just murder his wife, he framed her as a “keepsake.” It doesn’t entirely work, and besides Wells sucking away his powers to use on Zoom, there isn’t much to him other than that, creepy as it is.

Also thrown into the mix is Joe’s strained attempts to connect with Wally. The kid has been doing street racing to get by and pay his mom’s hospital bills (how much is he betting?), and Joe naturally isn’t happy about it. It’s clear that, like any other rational human being, he won’t be able to resist the magnetic pull of Joe West, but it’s nice watching them begin to bond over some good old Chinese food. With the revelation that Jay’s dying and getting his speed back may be his only hope for a cure, it’s a good chance that Wally will somehow get involved and get powers of his own. If he does, it’d be good for him to have Joe in his corner, since partially that’s what’s made this show such a hit.

“Potential Energy” isn’t the show at its most engaging, which is admittedly a shame. Instead of adding a new dynamic to Patty and Barry’s relationship, the show decides to just move her to another city to avoid him having to spill the beans. That, combined with the inoffensive, yet s creepy villain, makes for the weakest outing this season has had so far. You could skip this one and not miss much.

Additional Notes

  • If nothing else, Cisco was on fire tonight. “30-something, human, not-quite-a-ninja Turtle” was possibly one of the best lines he’s ever been given.
  • Harry is the worst storyteller, telling Cisco that Zoom got his name by killing a bunch of cops. Bedtime stories from him must be torture.
  • Eobard Thawne shows up at the end, more than likely the Earth-2 version from the future. That’s all well and good, but if that isn’t Zoom’s doing, what the hell is he doing in (presumably) the present day?
  • Barry is called “The White Shadow” among the West family, which is….man, that’s a dated reference.

 

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