The Flash RECAP: Doing the Splits (S1:E2)
We begin this week with voiceover-Barry quipping that he’s supposed to tell us how he’s the fastest man alive, but since we all watched the pilot we know that shit, and he’s skipping right to the action—which is blur-Barry rushing to an apartment fire.
Cisco, wearing what I think is a glow-in-the-dark sweater of a guy in a top hat filled with stars, is with Barry on comms, telling him that he overshot his target because he was too busy narrating to pay attention to where he was going. Instead of turning around, Barry runs backwards six blocks. He gets into the apartment building and panics that “there’s fire everywhere!” No kidding.
Barry dumps a few confused people out on the street (whiplaaaaaash?), and then Caitlin rains on the parade he and Cisco secretly have going and tells him to get back to STAR Labs. Barry starts to head home, but pauses, apparently stricken by a headache or dizzy spell. But he shakes it off and accelerates.
STAR Labs is still under construction, and it looks more like a stadium than a lab—oh, are they trying to make it a large circle, like a particle accelerator? Do they know those are built underground? Or maybe it’s just supposed to look like a stadium. Whatever, back inside Caitlin is nagging Barry about his newfound hobby of amateur firefighter-slash-hero. She’s worried he’s going to get himself killed, although you remember last episode he healed a broken wrist in three hours, right? And ran 700 miles per hour around a tornado with only “out of breath” as a side effect? Barry reminds her that they talked about this, but she apparently draws a line in the sand between “containing other metahumans” and “rescuing normal people from normal disasters.” That’s not a huge distinction, Caitlin, and given you’ve met Barry I can’t imagine why you thought it would hold water as an argument.
Harrison comes rolling in (FAKER) to try to mitigate Caitlin’s anger by cautioning restraint and tells Barry to know his limits. I mean, I don’t know how he’s supposed to have any idea of his limits at this point, but everyone treats Harrison like the voice of reason. Caitlin huffs that she’s not going to patch Barry up when he hurts himself. Again, based on last episode, I don’t think he’s going to need anybody to patch him up.
Back at Barry’s day job, someone murdered a pawn shop clerk and stole six handguns. Although the security camera footage only showed one guy, Barry finds six sets of footprints at the crime scene (Sherlock powers activate!), judging them to be men’s size 10. OMG, it’s Multiple Man! Except he’s Marvel, so I guess it’s…Multiplex? I imagine we’ll see.
FLASHback (that will not stop being funny to me, fair warning) to kid!Barry getting picked up by Officer West while running down the sidewalk. Back at the West home, Joe tells Barry he can’t see his father. Barry tearfully insists that his dad did not kill his mother, because he was there, and he saw a man. Joe wearily says he knows, they’ve talked about it, but Barry can’t visit his dad because he says so. I feel for Joe here; he’s a single father who adopted an angry little kid whose father allegedly killed his mother. Joe doesn’t know how to handle this situation any better than Barry does.
Back in the Worst Crime Lab Ever, Barry is processing evidence. Hey, at least he’s wearing gloves! His centrifuge (it’s actually a vacuum centrifuge, but he isn’t doing anything that requires the vacuum) isn’t working, so he geekily uses his super-speed to swirl the tube. He’s really proud of himself; it’s cute.
As he peels his gloves off, he gets hit by another spell of pain/vertigo/whatever, but he snaps out of it as Iris comes in. She’s complaining about her journalism class because she could’ve taken European Folklore to cover her sociology requirement. This one line implies a lot of things: 1) Iris is apparently an undergraduate, even though she’s the same age as Barry and he has clearly been out of college for a couple years judging by his full-time position as a forensic tech; 2) Iris West, journalist, will likely still be a thing! Yay!; 3) Journalism is for some reason considered a sociology course at CCU, which probably won’t help Iris impress a lot of employers in the mass communications industry; 4) What the hell was that dissertation stuff about last episode? Yes, undergraduates do write theses, but generally it’s a ‘senior thesis’ and if she was writing a senior thesis more than 9 months ago, she would be not an undergraduate anymore, and certainly not fulfilling a sociology requirement. Then again, maybe…humanities grad programs…are really different?
…sorry. ANYWAY, back on the show, Iris is here to remind Barry that he agreed to come with her to an awards ceremony at Central City University for Simon Stagg (comic check: Simon is CEO of Stagg Enterprises, which is perhaps best known for creating a genetically engineered Neandertal; if this award is not for a genetically engineered Neandertal, I’m going to be really disappointed) so that Barry can translate all the pesky science for her article on the ceremony. Detective Zoom Prettyboy Eddie stops by to check on his progress, and Barry tells him and Iris to just kiss already. Eddie thanks Barry for understanding, telling him that he knows it’s hard to keep such a big secret, in case you forgot that Barry is secretly a superhero. This line is much more forgivable if Eddie is also keeping a big secret, so I hope he is.
At the ceremony, which is actually at Stagg Industries according to the sign on the building and not the university, Simon is receiving his award for work on organ transplants and not genetically engineered Neandertals. BOOOO. He gives a forgettable speech, and then Barry starts to break down his research. Iris just wants to drink the complimentary wine because girls don’t like science, and the conversation quickly devolves into her being happy to finally spend some quality time with her best friend and PRACTICALLY BROTHER BARRY and him being angsty because they’re not dating. Before I can vomit all over that storyline, Stagg walks by with a huge bodyguard (comic check: the genetically engineered Neandertal is named Java and is his bodyguard). He blows off Iris’ request for a quote, and then shots ring out in the reception hall.
It’s Multiple Plex! He has everyone line up to deposit their jewelry in his bags, which everyone does because guns. All of him are turning to leave when a lone security guard busts in telling him to drop his weapons. All six gunmen turn simultaneously and fire, and Barry finally speeds into action, depositing the (confused) security guard safely in a stairwell and chasing the thief(ves). However, before Barry can get to the MultiVan, he’s hit with his third dizzy spell of the episode and the van roars off. As an aside, he is clearly wearing his watch in this scene, so I guess it was just…too cheap? To steal? Anyway, this time the dizzy spell is worse, and Barry eases to the ground and passes out.
Barry comes to with Iris calling his name. She wants to know where he went, and he says he chased after the gunmen to try to get the license plate and fainted. How long do you think this show expects us to pretend Iris is this stupid?
Joe quickly realizes that Barry saved the security guard and chased the gunmen, and he asks Barry what he was going to do when he caught them, which is a fair question. Yeah, he can dodge a bullet, but he probably hasn’t had any forensics courses in effectively tying up suspects. Ha, and Joe tells Barry that Iris is not stupid, and he needs better excuses. Ok, good, at least they’re acknowledging Iris should be suspicious.
At STAR Labs, Caitlin is really angry that Barry didn’t tell them about his dizzy spells, which is completely fair. She also tells him that he should know better because in science they share, they don’t keep secrets. Which I really like, actually, because she’s right, science is incredibly collaborative, but it usually isn’t portrayed that way on TV. Go Caitlin! Cisco claims nobody’s made her that angry since “Ronnie”; Barry and Harrison exposit that Ronnie was Caitlin’s fiancé who died in the particle accelerator explosion (comic check: I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that Ronnie Raymond is the real name of the superhero Firestorm?).
They decide to diagnose Barry by having him run on a “Cisco’d” treadmill until he passes out. Seems legit. He does this in jeans and a sweatshirt, rather than the Flash suit that monitors all his vitals and protects him. They figure out what’s happening to him, though: his glucose levels, which they are monitoring through his sweatshirt, I guess, drop when he uses his powers. They’re sighing about how obvious that is when Barry passes out and flies into a protective wall of boxes filled with packing peanuts.
Meanwhile, Joe enters the forensics lab through the sliding metal door oh my god does this lab not even have a lock? looking for Barry. He immediately finds Barry’s obsessive corkboard of articles about his mother’s death, despite having been in that lab probably a million times and never coming across it. It triggers a FLASHback: Joe gets home with groceries and asks kid!Iris where kid!Barry is. She carefully and unsuccessfully lies that he is taking a shower, because seriously, have you ever met a pre-pubescent boy who willingly took showers? Iris tells her dad that it’s ok, she knows where he went, and Joe sighs that he does too. Guys, I really like Joe a lot.
At STAR Labs Stadium, Caitlin tells Barry that he experienced acute hypoglycemia. He’s about to get 40 IV bags worth of…something, and Caitlin and Cisco have reworked his diet (Cisco’s dietary unit is apparently the taco). While all the characters are deciding if that’s racist or if it’s ok because Cisco is clearly written as an anti-stereotype, Joe shows up. He’s just discovered that Barry has been stopping petty crimes and rescuing people from fires for a couple weeks now. He’s angry that Barry is risking his life, because running fast does not equal invincibility. I actually appreciate it a lot more from Joe, because it’s a very parental stance. He literally doesn’t care about any part of it but Barry not getting hurt. But Barry insists that Joe’s not his dad and still can’t tell him what to do, an argument that holds exactly as much water as it did when Barry was ten. Barry gives an impassioned speech about saving people, but it’s hard to pay attention because he was already a dick to Joe.
Joe is clearly hurt and angry (me too, Joe!) and he tells Barry and associated tech support that they don’t know what they don’t know, which is so very true in the context of burgeoning metahumans and leaves. Everyone is appropriately cowed, but Barry clearly isn’t cowed enough to stop.
Back in this week’s villain plot, Multiple Plex is meeting hopefully-Java in a dark alley. Hopefully-Java asks “Black” what he wants (comic check: I was totally right! This is Dalton Black, a.k.a. Multiplex).
He wants Simon dead. Hopefully-Java says he gave Black his chance at the awards ceremony, and that he has a reputation to maintain, so his employer can’t get murdered in his own bedroom. Black says ominously, “You’ll do what I ask, Mr. Java” (BOOYAH), and Java punches him in the face and tells him he can’t do shit without his army. As Java stalks away, Black splits into his army. They start beating up Java.
In the Worst Crime Lab Ever, Barry is hard at work, having apparently consumed three boxes of donuts so far this morning. Joe comes by with skin samples from the scene of Java’s murder (aw, Java). Barry wants to go along to interview Simon, since it seems like an awfully big coincidence that his benefit was attacked the same day that his bodyguard was murdered, but Joe tells Barry to do his actual job, which is not interviewing people of interest. Joe is right.
Iris enters as Joe leaves and wants to know why Joe is mad at Barry. Barry claims it’s work stuff and realizes Iris is also mad at him because he missed a not-date to teach her more about Simon’s science for her article. She (appropriately) chews Barry out for his lack of attention and points out that they grew up a bedroom away (YOU’RE PRETTY MUCH SIBLINGS, BARRY) and she can tell when something is wrong so he better be honest. In the time it takes her to pour a sugar packet into her coffee, Barry buzzes around her, “telling” her that he’s Flash and that he’s in love with her, but of course it’s too fast to see-slash-hear. Before he can make up another shitty lie in real time, his computer beeps.
The screen says “Analysis Complete” and shows an image of. Um. A dividing cell, maybe? Really close up? Anyway, this picture apparently tells Barry that the skin cells from Black—the ones that Joe brought into the lab in an evidence envelope literally two minutes earlier, the ones that Barry set down on a table while he talked to Iris and never even opened, much less analyzed—are not skin cells, but stem cells. Barry tells Iris that they only come from babies (real life check: this is not true, though an adult would of course not shed them like skin cells).
Joe and Eddie are interviewing Simon. He says he’s a scientist and philanthropist, so why on earth would anyone want to kill him?
Joe mentions the stack of pending lawsuits against him, including one by Danton Black, our buddy Multiplex. Oops, I guess it’s Danton, not Dalton. Anyway, Danton was fired by Simon and is now suing him. Just as Simon tells us that Danton can’t possibly be the killer because he’s just a researcher, Danton x3 shows up to murder him with all the bullets.
At Central City PD, everyone is abuzz, grabbing rifles and velcroing bulletproof vests. Captain Singh tells Barry that an armed gunman (as opposed to an unarmed gunman?) is shooting up Stagg Industries. Barry realizes that means Joe is getting shot at and rushes back up to get his Flash suit from his lab. It’s in his locker, so it’s very well hidden.
Back at Stagg Industries, Eddie ducks out with Simon while Joe fires cover. He takes out a Danton, then watches while a remaining one splits again. All three come at him, firing, but before they can do any damage, Barry takes all three guns and drops them at Joe’s feet, commanding him to go. Joe refuses, so Barry takes him to safety and runs back in. He confronts Danton x3, who creepily intones in triplicate that he’s not going anywhere until Simon is dead. Barry knocks out two copies, and Danton splits again into three. Barry punches two more copies out of Danton (I wish I was kidding about that part) and then starts losing as six Dantons begin beating him up. They raise their guns to shoot him, but he runs away, finally.
At STAR Labs, Barry’s already healing while Harrison pulls up Danton’s file, noting that he is a biogeneticist. There actually aren’t any other kinds of geneticists, Harrison. Anyway, Danton was actually the one who came up with the organ transplant therapy, and Simon stole it and then fired him. Um, I don’t know if you guys know how companies work, but Simon didn’t have to “steal” the research; he already owned it if Danton was working for him. But whatever, Barry is pretty depressed by getting his ass kicked and is ready to throw in the proverbial towel. Harrison tries to pep talk him, but Barry is having none of it.
FLASHback: Kid!Barry is meeting his dad at the prison, because this prison allows unaccompanied ten-year-old boys to visit incarcerated murderers. What the fuck, Central City. Barry’s dad tells him Joe isn’t the bad guy, that he’s the one who didn’t want Barry to visit, and that Barry can’t help; he should stay with Joe and be good. They hug even, though the guard specifically told them no physical contact five seconds ago. (Arrested Development check: NO TOUCHING.)
At the precinct, Simon is telling Joe that he doesn’t need police protection; he has his own, and if Danton wants trouble he’ll find plenty. And hey, it’s Harrison! He’s shown up to applaud sarcastically and berate Simon for pretending to be a humanitarian. Simon shows what a nice guy he is by telling Harrison not to get up. Ahh, wheelchair humor. Harrison is exactly as amused as the rest of us, but he’s here to talk to Joe about Barry. Harrison says Joe doubting Barry is going to keep Barry from fulfilling his full potential. Joe appears to be thinking about it. Petition for Joe and Harrison to be the Barry Allen’s Hot Dads Club.
Iris and Barry talk at her coffee shop. He apologizes for being distant and says sincerely that he just wants to be a good friend. GOOD. Iris reveals that her new article topic is…the Flash. Well, this is gonna end well. Just as Barry is gearing up to be a shitty friend and tell her that she’s delusional and that a “whoosh” saving people is obviously science fiction, Caitlin saves him from himself by calling: Danton is at STAR Labs.
Barry whooshes into the lab, afraid that Caitlin and Cisco are being held hostage, which is frankly what she implied, but it turns out that this Danton is just a replicate that Caitlin grew from his blood. She started growing the cells in a dish and they grew into Danton. A fully-clothed Danton, for the record, and not wearing a STAR Labs sweatshirt either—wearing the same clothes as all the Dantons (real life check: stem cells may be a little magical, but they cannot differentiate into synthetic fibers). Anyway, the clone is just a shell and needs input from Danton Prime to function. Just as the team is giving Barry tips on how to identify the real Danton—he’s the tired one—the clone begins to move. But Joe shows up to shoot it in the nick of time. Danton Prime is closing in on Simon, and the police can’t fight him/them. He tells Barry he’s the only one who can fight the metahumans. Barry is clearly rallied and goes to put on his suit, while Joe and Harrison make Hot Dad eyes at each other.
At Stagg Industries, Danton is shooting security guards again. Simon walks out to confront him, and Danton raises his gun… But Barry whisks Simon back into his office. Aww, Danton looks so disappointed. Barry rushes back out to confront Danton(s). He has a pretty good strategy of knocking them over and standing between them so Danton shoots a couple of the clones while he Villain Monologues that he was growing a new heart for his sick wife and he was “almost there” when Simon stole his research for the glory. I still don’t understand the stealing part because Simon would get the glory for anything his research team came up with anyway. Danton spews out a multitude of clones, which beat on Barry for a moment before he runs away, panting that there are too many. Team Flash, of which Joe is apparently a full-fledged member now (yay!), tries to pep talk him.
Inspired, Barry runs through the clones, knocking them aside until he identifies the Prime as the one sweating. He knocks him out, and all the clones pass out. He’s telling Team Flash that it’s done when Danton comes to and attacks Barry from behind. Reflexively, Barry dodges and Danton flies out a window… But Barry rushes over to catch Danton before he can fall. Danton is Done, though, and sort of splits off a hand to escape Barry’s grip, falling to his death.
Barry is angsting over Danton’s death, but Harrison reflects that some people break and can’t be put back together. Barry pointedly says that some people heal even stronger, and Cisco looks equally pointedly at Caitlin. It’s actually a nice team moment, even though Joe has left already.
Apparently Joe has left to get Barry’s favorite pizza, which he brings into the Worst Crime Lab Ever (the open pizza box is about two feet from a bunch of chemical bottles with obvious warning labels and at least three of those big brown glass bottles that highly flammable chemicals come in; they should be in a flammable chemical cabinet especially for flammable chemicals). Joe tells Barry that together they can figure out who really killed his mom. Barry finally apologizes to Joe, saying that he may not be his father, but he did all the things for kid!Barry that a father does. Aw, it makes me cry. Joe is the best dad, and they eat pizza together.
At Stagg Industries, Harrison confronts Simon. Simon is lusting after Barry’s power and tells Harrison he’s gonna get him. Harrison removes his glasses (I KNOW YOU DON’T NEED THOSE HARRISON) and tells Simon that Barry is called “The Flash.” Then he stands up and stabs Simon in the chest, grunting that Barry has to be kept safe. It’s a nice contrast of the two styles of parenting of the members of the Barry Allen’s Hot Dads Club. Joe brings him pizza, Harrison stabs his potential enemies. IT TAKES A VILLAGE.