Review: The Flash ‘Potential Energy’ – Secrets Muddy The Water

In last night’s midseason premiere of The Flash, we were teased throughout with quite possibly one of the biggest reveals this season – the reveal of Barry’s secret identity to current girlfriend Patty Spivot.

Haunted by nightmares of a terrible fate to his significant other at the hands of Zoom, Barry and Patty have hit a rough spot. Reeling from the nightmares, Barry is closed off and further edging himself towards his imminent reveal. From the get-go, we see Patty and Barry enjoying a night out, only to be cut short by a speedster tearing her away. A chase ensues to the top of a building, and Zoom drops her to her death, with Barry watching, just out of time to save her.

Knowing full well that something is putting him off, Patty fully expresses her care for Barry, her hopes of a brighter future and a desire for him to be open with her. With a seemingly unnatural amount of people knowing Barry’s secret, it’s only a matter of time before he does reveal it.

But, really, just tell her!

However, this show wasn’t just a battle of mentality, despite the large amount of the inner battles occurring. Between Barry’s fight between telling Patty and keeping her in the dark, Harry’s secret rendezvous with Zoom and the larger picture and a hidden secret with Jay, an additional foe just adds to the drama.

Introducing, Russell Glosson A.K.A. The Turtle.

In a show full of speedsters, it’s definitely a curve ball when the baddie of the week turns out to slow things down, literally. When a series of robberies occur and no one has a face to put to it, it was easy for the team to assume that another speedster is to blame, until it’s discovered that the robberies are done in real time, just with everything in the vicinity entirely frozen in time.

With the ability to manipulate kinetic energy, the Turtle is able to “pulse” and stop everything in it’s tracks. With that, he easily just walks through and nonchalantly grabs his prize, which share a common theme of something that is personally treasured by the owner. Wish is the perfect way to spring Team Flash’s trap on him.

Via an art exhibit with a timeless piece of art; Jay, Barry and Caitlin dress to the nines with the correct assumption that Turtle will walk into town. Disguised as a date night to make up for his distant nature with Patty, the night seemed to have everything figured out. But, as the story goes, they had no control in their first attempt. Patty goes all gun-ho and accelerates the process in which the team anticipates the attempt to capture him. From there, we see him use his power to hold everyone in their place. Even with the Flash’s speed, he was no match for the misunderstood burglar. Add the attempt at Patty’s life and a chandelier falling, Barry chose love over his enemy and pushed Patty out of the way, but getting knocked out by the chandelier in the meantime.

While unconscious, Jay and Caitlin dragged Flash away and out of sight, leaving Patty to awaken alone in the middle of the expo. Furthering the conflict between the two, Barry and Patty duke it out over the fact that Patty feels like no matter how close they get, there will always be something that keeps them distant. Once Barry is finally ready to tell her, Patty reveals to Barry that she plans on leaving Central City. With Weather Wizard behind bars, she is finally ready to join the CSI program she has wanted to pursue for so many years before devoting herself to putting her fathers killer away.

In the theme of keeping the distance, we get more looks at Keiynan Lonsdale’s Wally West as the father-son dynamic put through the ringer. Obviously, the news of having a son was both a shock and a welcoming relief to Joe, who desperately tries to establish a relationship with Wally, who doesn’t have any of the same feelings. His rebellion against his father is key, as he is constantly dropping his father down a peg, mocking his detective abilities (you know, being that he couldn’t figure out that he had a son) and even ditching a dinner invitation. From this, Joe seems to lose all optimism that he can still be a father to him.

Later on, we see a scene with just Wally and why exactly he came to Central City. In a very Fast and Furious kind of way, it’s apparent Wally’s thrill of speed goes a lot further than his future fate. Leaving Keystone City for a new racing scene, Wally is a successful street racer, pulling off an aggressive victory against another racer. His victory is short lived, with Joe in the crowd watching him. They mix words and it’s clear, Wally knows he is the man of his house, resorting to his winnings to pay for his mothers hospital bills.

Back to the main plot, Barry is mulling over finally revealing himself, going through the motions of bringing her into his double life, getting the support from the team, minus Harry. Bringing the point up that he can cause more harm than good by letting her know, he muddies the water and clouds his thought process.

Mirroring his want to bring her in to his world, we turn to a shot of Patty in her home, when a knock at the door catches her attention. She answers to the Turtle, who busts into her house and confronts her. Relying on her gun once more, she fires three shots, which he pulsed and stopped in mid air and lets them fall to the ground. Barry arrives to discover her missing, her pistol and the bullets on the ground. With fears of his nightmares turning to a reality, he ramps up his fight against his slow counterpart.

Racing off, Team Flash look for connections in the same detective-ish way that it’s always done. Through complex analysis and computer databases, the team managed to connect the dots of Turtle and his past wife’s former place of employment in the Central City archives. Taking residence in an abandoned building is a typical place of operations in the Flash universe, so it was a bit obvious that they found his fortress fairly quickly.

The next sequence of events gets a bit off of the beaten path, as Turtle reveals his motivation behind what he does, citing his wife as his precious possession being taken from him, thats why he takes what is the most precious from them. With a sense of urgency regarding the villain taking his best girl hostage, Barry does what Barry does best. Racing off with no real plan in action, Barry thinks on his feet and quickly bolts in. Acting solely on quick thinking, Barry is easily stopped on the first pulse, despite the team advising him to work in between his pulses. After the first attempt, he races out and runs back, gaining more speed to push through the pulses.

After an easy victory, the team is back at S.T.A.R. Labs celebrating when it takes an odd turn. Harry is clearly feeling the pressure from a lack of success in saving his daughter and his hidden agenda in trying to make Barry stronger and faster. He’s distraught, he is overly focused on his work, slaving at every possible option to get his family back. He’s keeping voice memos, trying to remain grounded in his seemingly endless battle of pure knowledge. He goes to Turtle’s cell and without warning, rams a syringe up his nose and takes a blood sample.

Caitlin, taking a cell sample from Jay in secret, finally opens up conversation, confronting him about it. It’s finally out there, Jay is dying. Without his speed and powers, he will continually get worse and worse until it ultimately kills him.

If it wasn’t clear already, Barry is getting stronger with each passing episode, and these B-list bad guys are just tools to continuously getting stronger and faster, which, ironically, is where Zoom wants him to be. Obviously, his mindset is cloudy with his dilemma in Patty leaving and him unable to voice his secrets to her. Will she really leave? We aren’t sure, but it is clear that if Barry can’t reveal himself soon, then we will not be seeing Patty for much longer.

I love the drama played out on so many levels. While a lot of times it dilutes the actual story, Flash is handling them really well. People have their conflicts, and it’s nice to see a human side of conflict between an otherwise successful group of individuals. It’s the secrets now that will play the big roles later. Therefore, I will obviously be tuning in next week to see what happens next.

Overall, this episode is ripe with plotlines and it was a great start to the second part of this season, throw in the fact that Eobard Thawne makes his mysterious reappearance and kickstarts his “origin story.” Clearly the parallel universes are playing another confusing role in this constantly expanding show.




Sean McGrath
Sean McGrath
2015 Journalism graduate of State University of New York at Fredonia. Loves sports, movies, TV, video games, cold drinks on hot nights and hot drinks on cold nights, and anything thats classified as nerdy. Married with two cats.