Flash: Back to Normal


I miss my powers…

At the end of “Versus Zoom,” Barry made the really bad choice of giving his powers to Zoom in order to save Wally’s life. Now, he is “Back to Normal.” They do a contrast of Barry’s morning routine, when he had his powers and now. He’s clearly missing his powers. I don’t know what he expected to happen when he made that deal with Zoom…

At STAR, Cisco is using his powers and the goggles to try and find Caitlin. He hates using Zoom’s helmet, but is resigned to the necessity. Cisco does manage to tune in that she’s on Earth 2, in Zoom’s lair, much like Jessie used to be. Wells, in his usual brusque manner, blames Barry for all this. He’s not entirely wrong. I get wanting to save Wally, I do, but putting two Earths in danger from a superpowered madman, and, at the same time, depriving the one person with the best chance of stopping him of his ability to do so, is just dumb no matter how you look at it.

Barry is working at his actual job in the lab because now it’s the only way he can fight crime. Again, I don’t know what he was expecting. Wells, meanwhile, decides he’s had enough of the STAR crew and goes to find his daughter. It seems like a more productive thing to do than the moping the rest of them are up to.

Over on Earth 2, Zoom has decided he’s in love with Caitlin. Either her appeal to him last time got through, or he’s even more unstable than I thought. To try and appeal to Caitlin, Zoom changes out of his costume, which somehow or other changes his voice. Maybe he’s got one of those digital distorters in his costume like Green Arrow uses sometimes? After he leaves, Caitlin meets the man in the metal mask, and then gets a bigger shock when Killer Frost, her doppleganger, shows up. Caitlin manages to goad Killer Frost into almost killing her when Zoom saves her and shoves Frost into one of the cells.

Back on Earth 1, Wally comes to visit Joe at the police department. Wally was really impressed with Flash’s sacrifice, and wants to meet him. To comic book fans, this is a somewhat familiar set up. In the comics, Wally West was a Flash’s biggest fan, and, when he finally met his idol, the same accident recurred, giving Wally the same powers as Barry, the Flash. A lot is different on the show, but I’m sure I’m not the only comic fan that was wondering if we were going to see the origin of Kid-Flash.

Wells has a pretty bad day. He finds Jessie, but she’s not interested in coming back. She calls him out on all the horrible things he’s done in the name of keeping him safe. Wells leaves, and then gets ambushed on the way back to STAR. A new supervillain has emerged, and now Central City is fresh out of superheroes.

Petty crime is on the rise in Central since their resident hero is missing (which makes it seem like there’s been a decent-sized gap between last episode and this one). Barry is moping about this when one of Cisco’s monitoring alarms goes off. Evidently, the STAR vans have cameras in them, so Barry and Cisco watch Wells get abducted by the newest bad guy.

Caitlin and Killer Frost compare notes about their lives, probably each trying to figure out why the other is so different. Apparently neither of them have good relationships with their mother, although for somewhat different reasons. They eventually decide to work together against Zoom, at least long enough to free Killer Frost. Personally, I’m not sure I’d be in that much of a hurry to free my murderous, superpowerd doppleganger, but I guess Caitlin has other ideas. Frost, too, claims to be ignorant of who the man in the mask is.

Wally pesters Joe more about meeting the Flash. Apparently, Wally’s brush with death got him thinking, and then Flash impressed him with heroics. What was interesting is that when Wally was annoyed, he kept calling him “Joe,” but when he got his way, he called him “Dad.” I wonder if he’s even aware he’s doing that?

Griffin Grey, the bad guy du jour, has strength and invulnerability, but he ages every time he uses his powers. He looks like an adult, but he was a kid not long ago. This character is somewhat based on one from the era when Bart Allen grew up to become the Flash briefly. Barry and company try to stop him, and fail, since Barry has no powers.

Jessie comes back to STAR after she learns her father is missing, and goes off with Cisco to work on a new idea. Jessie is apparently a genius level intellect, much like her father. Barry continues to mope about his lost speed powers, and Iris tries to comfort him.

Grey rants at Wells about his problems, and how Wells caused them. Of course, Grey has mistaken Earth 2 Wells for the Wells/Thawne hybrid that was running around in the past, but there’s really no good way to explain that. Would you believe that story?

Back in Zoom’s grim hideaway, Caitlin proves Barry isn’t the only STAR Labs scientist prone to bad ideas. She and Killer Frost, after debating Caitlin’s wardrobe choices, decide to work together to free her. Sure, let loose your murderous, super-powered doppleganger who already tried to kill you once. What could possibly go wrong there? Me, I’d free Mask Man, if only to finally see who the heck he is. They eventually free Killer Frost, and then several surprises happen, which results in a really bad day for one of the characters involved.

Jessie has learned that her father has been taken, and comes back to STAR. She helps Cisco with a few scientific tests, and figures out a way to find her father as well. Jessie seems to be at least as smart as her father, if not smarter. I guess she’ll be taking Caitlin’s place until she gets back from Earth 2.

Cisco calls in a favor from (sadly off-screen) Felicity and gets some of Ray Palmer’s dwarf star alloy to reinforce the Flash suit. It won’t give Barry his powers back, but it will give him some protection from Griffin’s strength. The heroes manage to win, but it’s an ugly victory.

In various wrap up scenes, a few different things happen: Wally gets his meeting with the Flash; Caitlin learns what Zoom’s next plan is; and Wells comes to a surprising decision as far as Barry’s current problem. Next episode looks like it’ll get messy, but at least Henry will be back.

What I liked: Barry, while he does make some bad calls, has the heart of a hero. Wells finally seems to be turning a corner on his attitude about the STAR folks and Barry in particular. Wally’s sudden interest in the Flash makes some degree of sense. Jessie finally got to do something besides play hostage/plot point.

What I didn’t: For a bunch of smart people, the STAR crew makes some really dumb decisions, like almost everything Caitlin did this episode. I really don’t like the way they are handling the Jay/Zoom mess they’ve made. And Griffin Grey seemed to be a kind of pointless bad guy.

I’ll give this one a 3 out of 5, and I really hope Barry sans powers doesn’t last too long.


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