Upon the return to the action that is the second season of The Flash, we return to Central City, or the outskirts of it. One goal remains, get stronger for what is likely going to happen.
It’s evident, Barry and the rest of Team Flash is doing everything in their power to regain Barry’s speed and figuring out a way that they can do that. The most recent attempt, cliff jumping. Facing a 40+ foot cliff drop, the goal is simple, just have Barry run and jump to show that he is progressing in some way. Ultimately, Barry seems to get off on the right foot, but scares himself from completing the feat and fails to land the jump. What was once a dramatic sequence of events was cut short by a sarcastic Cisco, utilizing a swarm of drones with a net and a fresh catch of Flash flopping about in the net.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, it’s obviously back to the drawing board. With no metahuman activity and Zoom stuck on Earth-2 for the time being, the threat is inevitable that he will return, it’s just a matter of time and a matter of being prepared for his arrival. So for the time being, the only real enemy is pure exhaustion beginning to set in. Demanding a night out, Caitlin, Cisco and Barry decide it’s due. A pleasant addition to the group is Jesse Wells, who hasn’t been heard from much since her transplant into Earth-1. At first, it takes some convincing of Harry, who is reluctant to let his daughter out of his sights again. Finally, he realizes that he brought her to give her a new life, he affixes a metahuman alert bracelet to her wrist and away they go.
In a move that was a whole different change of pace, the team, joined by Iris and Wally, finds themselves at a nightclub, seemingly out of a familiar element that is not S.T.A.R. or CC Jitters. Wally West continues to be enigmatic, as he hits it off with Jesse at the bar but then disappears from the fold entirely. So with inhibitions lowered and the team out of their prime, why not introduce the antagonist of the week? While in the club, Cisco and Caitlin dancing, and Barry and Iris talking, the club fell victim to a new speedster. Leaving no purse or wallet unturned, the mystery scarlet speedster tore through the club. Following suit, Barry sped off to catch the villain. Chasing after, he realized one thing, whoever this person is, they’re fast, and faster than Barry.
So with a person resembling the Flash, one could assume that fingers would soon be pointed towards him. That starts with the Central City Picture News, primarily with the new Editor-in-Chief Scott Evans. Clearly having a vendetta from the start, Evans rolls with the new developments and has a field day with the potential that Central City’s heralded hero could have turned to the bad side. His constant drive to expose any truth and expose the faults in those who are seen as a hero have driven a spike in between him and Iris. She stalls him long enough to find this truth, and shows that while his crusade is impressive, it’s also not applicable to every case. We also see a bit of drama unfold, as a simple coffee run/plan to stall unfolds Evans’ feelings for Iris, setting up an interesting dilemma down the road.
Facing a new speedster is not a new thing to Team Flash, but one with a suit and knowledge of the necessities for a speedster. Obviously, with the developments of the velocity serums, not everything would have necessarily been done in-house. Caitlin obviously had a hunch that her time working with Eliza Harmon and the fear that she somehow reverse engineered a form of the Velocity-9 serum and it fell into the wrong hands. Caitlin and Joe take Harmon’s word that she had no connection to it whatsoever, but little did they know.
The development of Harmon was one of my favorites so far. This scientist seemed true, but is deeply developmentally distraught. In an Edward Nygma-esque fashion, we see Harmon talk to a split personality, one of which we see her in her normal lab coat, but her reflection shows that of her secret identity – Trajectory. Combine her aggressive identity with a dependency on the Velocity-9, Allison Paige delivers a well-scripted character that is one-part schizophrenic and another part junkie, just looking for her next hit of V-9.
Her next attack centers around S.T.A.R. Labs, overpowering Barry into a containment cell and took Jesse at gunpoint, much like you would expect a normal drug-fueled rage to go down. Demanding a batch of fresh V-9, Trajectory doesn’t play as your typical villain, she has no motive other than going from injection to injection, no deep background, she is just kind of there, and it works.
Honestly, her character drives the point of how V-9, while helpful, is also deeply destructive. Barry only learns of V-9 this episode as well, and begins a mental battle of wanting to even the playing field in an already jacked-up game and progressing on his own accord. Caitlin and Harry stand on that bright side, sharing the news of Jay’s cellular degeneration and the toll it was taking. It even rears it’s ugly head once more, when Barry swipes the last vial of V-9 and flirts with the idea of boosting himself, but comes back into the light side and drops it, subtly showing that Barry is willing to fight and grow stronger.
Once she gets her fix, Harmon realizes the risk of taking the serum, so she injects the V-9 into Jesse and speeds off, ready to cause the next set of mayhem on Central City. Hopped up on a pure sample of the chemical, Jesse immediately goes into shock from the dosage. This could be the start to a dramatic chain of events, potentially leading to the introduction of Jesse Quick. However, now was not the case, as Harry was forced to give her a blood transfusion in an effort to flush the drug out of her system. Having saved her, we see the true love that Harry has for his daughter. You can tell that his past wrongs are only designed to protect his daughter, that’s the only reason he still does what he does.
While not wasting the new score, Harmon takes the second bump of V-9, triggering micro-tracers, leading the team to a bridge, where Trajectory is causing mayhem and trying to destroy it, putting close to 200 lives at risk.
Barry quickly runs to action, taking the people on the bridge away from danger as Trajectory raced back and forth. Finally, the bridge collapses, leaving a gap between Barry and Trajectory. Rivaling the earlier plight from the start of the episode, Barry is forced to dig deep and overcome a hurdle unlike anything beat before. Having to sustain a Mach 3.3 speed to clear the gap, Barry seemingly has no issue mustering up the power to do that, which felt a little off to me. He went from not being able to jump over a waterfall to suddenly clearing what looked to be way farther with no practice just seemed like a bit of a stretch. However, he still pulls it off and redeems himself in the end.
In their last face-to-face, Harmon prepares to inject the final vial of V-9, when she is halted by a pretty well-thought out speech from Barry. Going off of what Harry had spoken to him, he shows the true nature of not relying on the V-9. What seemed like an easy talk down took an ugly turn, as she took it anyways and sped off. Noting the change in color from yellow lightning to blue lightning, Barry watches as she disappears while she runs, potentially her dying. Which leads to an interesting thought in the team huddle.
If her lightning turned blue like Zoom’s is blue, does that mean that Zoom is already on V-9? Furthermore, if Jay is known to have taken V-6 through V-9, could he possibly be linked to Zoom. Cisco finally reveals of his recent vibes, and then he does it again, revealing what is already being thought, Jay is Zoom. Barry rushes away to the waterfall from the beginning, screams and the screen cuts to black.
Overall, this was a great return from a month hiatus. It had a relatively simple plot that was designed to get everything rolling again, and it threw in a good depth of character development that set up the rest of the season and furthering the inevitable storylines for future seasons.
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