Feb 21, 2020
The Flash: You Can't Outrun Your Past
All the secrets come out this week on The Flash, and not everybody in the opening credits makes it out alive. Also, the Weather Wizard, time travel, and semi-incestuous makeout sessions, just in case things weren’t complicated enough
Previously, a million days ago, on the Flash: Clyde Mardon controls the weather but also Joe shot him to death, Barry loves Iris, and Reverse Flash and Harrison Wells are a conundrum that Team Flash hasn’t yet figured out.
We begin in flashback. The Mardon brothers kill Joe’s partner and fly off in a crop duster, but this time we see their side of things: little brother Clyde is grinning that he shot one of the cops, but elder Mark is less thrilled. They exposit that Mark has been caring for Clyde since he was ten; they banter a bit. We see the explosive wave from the accelerator hit their plane; it breaks apart, and they go down.
Back in real time, Barry and Linda are bowling on a date. Barry’s talking up his game pretty big, at least until they come across Iris and Eddie, because Iris is a pretty mean bowler herself. Linda is noticeably reluctant to turn this into a double date, but she agrees, because saying no is kinda an asshole move. Barry and Iris are dominating, and Eddie and Linda are bonding over how bowling isn’t a real sport and, more importantly, how Barry and Iris are adorably close; there’s no awkwardness between them.
At the Central City morgue, the coroner is finishing up an autopsy, ruling some random body’s death a homicide, when Mark Mardon comes in out of the rain. He’s looking for the name of the cop who killed his brother Clyde, and the coroner is disinclined to reveal that information, so Mark hits him in the chest with a snowball. It…looks more painful than it sounds. Looks like Mark’s going to get Joe’s name.
At STARLS, Cisco and Harrison are watching something in black and white that maybe I should recognize, but I’m not really a movie buff, so I don’t. Cisco can’t believe Harrison has never seen this silent classic, and Harrison jokes that it was before his time, which is kind of a loaded statement coming from Harrison. Cisco is actually using movie night to get out of going to dinner with his brother, and for the first time we get a look at Cisco’s history. Apparently things aren’t great between him and his family, and he’s handled this by just avoiding them. Before he can elaborate, though, an alarm goes off on his computer, corresponding to the silent alarm at the morgue.
Eddie gets the notification as he’s turning in his bowling shoes, and he takes off without even kissing Iris; Barry claims they’ll need someone from the crime lab too, even though there’s been no indication that the emergency at the morgue involves a CSI. Iris and Linda part ways awkwardly.
Flash speeds through the streets to the morgue, and as Barry’s running, a second Flash shows up, faded out, like an echo, running alongside him. When he stops, the other him is gone. So he races on and finds the coroner dead at the scene.
A few minutes later, the morgue is swarming with cops. Barry, who promptly runs into Captain Singh, spilling a drink all over his jacket. The Captain growls that his fiancé just bought him that jacket, which is cute because last time he mentioned his significant other, he was his boyfriend. There’s water all over the floor, as well as little pieces of ice, and the bruising on the coroner’s chest makes Barry suspect he was killed by hail. Horizontal hail, apparently. Barry quickly rules out Captain Cold as the culprit, but they don’t have to speculate further because the morgue has an automatic dictation system, so they have a record of what happened.
At STARLS, Team Flash muses about both brothers surviving the plane crash with virtually the same powerset, but Barry thinks Mark has a lot more precision than Clyde, to be conjuring hail indoors. Then again, he’s had six more months to practice. Cisco promptly names him Weather Wizard, delightfully. Luckily, he’s also been working on a device that could negate weather-based powers. Harrison assures Joe that they’ll find Mark, and then he assures Barry they’ll find Mark. Everyone is very assured. Anyway, Barry confesses that he saw himself while running. Harrison hypothesizes a “speed mirage,” which Barry doesn’t buy, but either way Mark has to be their first priority.
Back at the CCPD, Joe wants to take point on figuring out what Mark wants, but Captain Singh orders him to coordinate the investigation instead. Iris shows up, and Joe orders Eddie and Barry to say nothing about the crazy metahuman currently gunning for Joe. Eddie says nothing to her, and Iris is suspicious; while Barry and Joe take off, she confronts Eddie about his lack of communication. He admits – to his credit – that he didn’t like watching her and Barry interact at the bowling alley. Iris insists that Barry is both a friend and family. Eddie says he understands, but no, we can tell something has changed between them. You kinda want to hate him for being a jealous boyfriend, but he’s right and being pretty reasonable about it.
Barry and Joe are eating burgers in the car, and Barry thinks Joe is being cavalier about the whole being-targeted-by-a-dude-who-makes-hail. Joe insists they not talk about that, so Barry asks about relationships instead. He says things with Iris are complicated again, and Joe giggles, because Barry’s asking his adopted dad about his daughter who’s dating his partner. He has a point. Also it’s started raining, so I’m sure the part of the show where Barry gets his ass kicked by the Meta of the Week is imminent. Joe’s advice is basically that the ball’s in Iris’ court, so Barry just needs to let things be, and they finally notice it’s not raining anywhere else in Central City. Sure enough, Mark pulls up behind them in a truck and directs a bolt of lightning down into their car. Despite the fact that you learn at a very young age that cars are a safe place to be during a lightning storm, this bolt penetrates the sun roof and is gunning for Barry and Joe, but of course Barry speeds them both to safety in a very cool slow-motion scene.
Back at the precinct, Singh tells Joe that under no circumstances is he to leave the precinct again. Joe laments his lack of action, but Barry tells him Team Flash can pick up the slack.
At the newspaper, Iris is writing an article about the Flash (surprise!) when mentor Mason summons her for show and tell. Remember that time Harrison straight up murdered a guy because he got too close to Barry? Well, turns out it isn’t an unsolved murder – it’s an unsolved disappearance, and rumor is the man, Simon, just turned recluse. Except that Mason has security images showing Harrison leaving the building the night Simon “disappeared.” He presents Iris with a file of other weird Harrison coincidences, telling her she needs to start asking questions. Flipping through the file, Iris runs into a cold Linda at the coffee stand. She apologizes for interrupting their date, but Linda isn’t impressed. Linda says, hey, when you admitted Barry has feelings for you, you kind of forgot to mention you have feelings for him, too. Iris protests, but Linda isn’t buying it.
At the coffee shop, Iris has called Barry to talk about Harrison. She shows him the picture of Harrison at Simon’s office. Barry is reluctant to agree that he could be involved in anything shady – even though he knows Harrison deliberately let the accelerator explode – and tells Iris that he’s a good man, and therefore not a story. Mmhm.
At STARLS, Cisco presents his lightsaber-hilt-esque device for nullifying Weather Wizard’s powers. Harrison heads off, and Barry breaks to Cisco and Caitlin the news that Iris thinks Harrison is suspicious. It isn’t much of a conversation, though, as Cisco just asks what Barry told her and Barry said he told her nothing.
Cisco takes the Wizard’s wand to the precinct for Joe, and while he’s there, he asks Joe why exactly he suspected Harrison in Barry’s mom murder. Joe says he doesn’t matter, because he was wrong, but Cisco persists. Finally Joe just says he can’t talk about it right now and sends Cisco off. As he’s getting off the elevator, though, Cisco sees a rather suspicious-looking fellow: the Weather Wizard himself. Is there no security at this precinct? Mark is the biggest case going right now, and the entire elevator full of cops didn’t recognize him? Cisco immediately calls Barry.
Joe is a little shocked to find Mark in his lobby, but he reminds him that killing Clyde was kind of a necessity, considering he was all murdering innocent people. Mark agrees that Clyde was a dick, but he was still his brother, so he has to avenge him. Joe goes for the wand, but Mark tosses him back with a gust of air, alerting the rest of the precinct to the goings-on. Singh orders them to open fire, but Mark blows out the windows and brings everybody down. Then he gathers lightning into his hand and throws the bolt at Joe—but Singh knocks him out of the way, taking the bolt in the chest. He’s thrown back as Flash rushes in and grabs the wand, and suddenly Mark’s power is gone. He flees as everyone else recovers, and Joe nods at Flash to take Singh to the hospital rather than pursue Mark.
At STARLS, Cisco is super distracted, and apparently this has been a point of contention between him and Caitlin because she says, fine, she’ll watch all The Walking Dead with him (or she could just read our recaps!). She insists Cisco couldn’t have done anything to prevent the attack on the precinct, but he says that isn’t the problem—he wants to know if Caitlin thinks Harrison’s capable of doing bad things and tells her about Joe’s hypothesis. Even though Joe was wrong (allegedly), Cisco can’t stop thinking that some things aren’t adding up, and he shows Caitlin something new: the night they trapped Reverse Flash, he supposedly escaped because the containment system failed, but when he checked the numbers, everything was fully operational—the system shouldn’t have failed. Caitlin points out that Reverse Flash nearly killed Harrison, and Cisco says, yeah, nearly. Cisco asks Caitlin if she can keep Harrison away from STARLS the next day.
At the hospital, Joe and Barry wait with Singh’s fiancé—who looks totally younger than him and is totally hot. Rob, the fiancé, tells Barry that Singh speaks highly of him, and Barry looks confused by that, because Singh mostly seems to hate him. Rob insists Singh is all bark. The outlook isn’t positive from the doctor – there’s paralysis and maybe brain damage. Rob heads into Singh’s hospital room, and Joe storms off, telling Barry that he’s going to end this. Joe orders Barry to stay with Iris instead of helping him.
Barry heads to the newspaper to find Iris, but Mason says she’s already gone. Instead of going to find her, Barry decides now is a good time to confront Mason about his theories on Harrison. Mason seems confused that Barry doesn’t see his obvious sociopathy since they spend so much time together. How Mason knows that, Barry doesn’t know, but Mason admits that when he’s bored he follows Harrison around. I like Mason. He can be on Team Iris West’s Hot Dads. Barry suggests that even if he did believe Mason, Harrison is in a wheelchair, so he couldn’t have killed anybody! Sure, because paraplegics can’t use guns? Mason tells Barry he has evidence, but Barry will just have to wait and read about it in the paper. Why do I get the feeling Barry is not going to wait for the front page story?
At STARLS, Cisco is hooking up the Flash Trap again to try and figure out what really happened to make it fail, while Joe goes looking for Mark by himself – and finds Eddie. Eddie says they’re partners, and Joe shouldn’t be doing this alone. Joe seems sort of relieved to see him.
At the West home, Iris is looking for Joe when Barry shows up. She’s worried that Joe isn’t answering his cell, but Barry coopts that discussion by claiming he was looking for her because he met Mason. He asks if Iris knows what Mason’s smoking gun is, but she says he hasn’t told her and asks how things are going with Linda. Barry thinks she’s comparing her to a terrible high school girlfriend, but Iris claims Linda is perfectly fine. She’s just not right for Barry. Who is, Barry wants to know?
Cisco’s test is running with another failure, even though it shouldn’t be. He comes over to check some machinery, and an image of Reverse Flash suddenly appears in the trap.
Eddie and Joe bust into a former Mardon brothers hideout, and they realize Mark was just there — and is still there, because Joe is sucked out the window unceremoniously. He wakes up handcuffed to a railing at the docks, with a broken leg. He tells Mark to just kill him, if that’s the whole point of this, but Mark says he wants more than an eye for an eye.
At the precinct, Eddie is prepping the force to search for Joe, while Iris and Barry look on. She’s scared, obviously, but Barry promises to bring him back. For some reason, she is reassured by the CSI guy over the entire police force. As everyone disperses, Iris gets a phone call—it’s Mark. He tells Iris to come meet him, and if she tells the police, he’ll kill Joe. As Barry leaves with Iris, of course Linda comes in. So she’s made out to be the bad guy for being suspicious of Barry when she has no way of knowing what’s going on!
Harrison and Caitlin are at the coffee shop as Caitlin tries to keep him away from STARLS long enough for Cisco to run his tests. She thanks him (again) for everything he’s done for her and Ronnie. He’s totally suspicious, though, because he immediately comes up with a plan to detect forming storm cells to detect Mark and says they should head back to STARLS to implement the idea. With no choice, Caitlin takes their coffees up to get to-go cups, but when she turns around, Harrison is gone – not the wheelchair, just Harrison.
In STARLS, the Reverse Flash is saying the exact lines it said the first time it was in the trap, while Cisco watches in disbelief. It was just a holographic recording all along. “Oh, I’m not like the Flash at all,” says the hologram, and from behind Cisco a standing Harrison finishes, “Some would say I’m the reverse.”
Mark watches Barry and Iris approach, taunting Joe, who pleads for their lives to no avail. They’ll pay for his sins, says Mark, and summons the thunder.
Harrison tells Cisco he’s very clever, but Cisco just looks devastated as he states the obvious: that Harrison is Reverse Flash. Harrison says they actually haven’t been properly introduced—his name is actually Eobard Thawne (comic check! You know this one, because I pulled it out when Eddie was introduced; turns out Eddie’s name was a red herring). Harrison says Eddie is a “distant relative,” though I feel like he’s talking about time, not genetics. Cisco is still puzzling all of this out, though, and muses about there being two Harrisons when they fought Reverse Flash. Harrison reveals a neat party trick – he can move fast enough to create an afterimage.
Cisco states with some disbelief that Harrison did kill Nora Allen, and Harrison says he never meant to kill her: he was trying to kill Barry. Cisco is again floored because he’s training Barry, but Harrison villain monologues that it’s a means to an end: he’s been stuck in this place (he means time) for 15 years, and Flash is the key. Cisco knows damn well how villain monologues work, and knows that his time is running out, and he tells Harrison he can help. Harrison is vibrating his hand weirdly fast – like a knife, I imagine – and he tells Cisco he’s grown fond of him but he’s not smart enough to help. Cisco is crying, you guys, this is awful. He calls Cisco the closest thing he’s had to a son, and then he hand-stabs him.
That’s not even the end of the episode; how is that not the end of the episode? Iris and Barry see the storm start up, and Barry begs her to just get away. She thinks this is a good time to admit she hasn’t stopped thinking about Barry since he confessed his feelings, and they kiss. It’s all very sweet except for how Cisco is lying dead on the STARLS floor and Joe is handcuffed on a pier bleeding from his horribly broken leg. But sure, now’s a great time for kissing.
As they break, Mark sends a tsunami toward the city from the other side of the bay: he’s summoned Iris to the coastline to kill her from afar, so he’s smarter than the average villain. Barry calls Caitlin for help. She’s back at STARLS but hasn’t found Cisco. She tells him that he can block the giant wall of water headed toward the city by creating a wall of wind along the coast by running back and forth really fast. With no other options, he changes to Flash in front of Iris, who gapes at him, and then he takes off to try and block the wave. The effects are pretty badass, actually, but there’s not a lot to type other than “Mark strains to throw water at the entire city” and “Barry runs really fast.” But then Barry runs so damn fast that suddenly he’s… somewhere else. Sometime else. He’s running alongside himself, his earlier self, on the way to the morgue.
And that’s the cliffhanger.