We start out with heartbreak. Barry has a trippy daydream involving victory over Captain Cold and Heat Wave with the help of Firestorm and the gang all together again. Then reality sets in and he’s standing in an dark, dusty STAR Labs. He’s withdrawn and distant from Joe, Iris, and Cisco (who is the new tec adviser for the police department!) and can’t manage an ounce of enthusiasm. Essentially, Barry Allen is a said panda.
A sad panda with a stalker, taking his picture.
Of course, we find out why when we flash back to The Singularity and how it all went down. Defeating the wicked black hole meant sacrificing Robbie Amell to the new X-Files reboot and a couple movies Ronnie Raymond to a nuclear fusion explosion. CAN RONNIE RAYMOND EVER CATCH A BREAK? While everyone else is worried about Barry and Iris (it’ll get there eventually, guys!) or maybe even shipping Snowbarry, we are firmly Caitlin/Ronnie and this is NOT OKAY.
Next, we get to Central City’s “Flash Day” honoring the hero, which reminds us a bit of the beginning of Spider-Man 3. Thankfully, Barry isn’t kissing strangers to get the crowd going.
During the rally, a large hooded man walks through a crowd, bumping everyone along the way. Only Dr. & Mrs. Stein take note, which gives the mysterious figure plenty of time to throw a hot dog stand and cause chaos. The Flash reacts immediately, but this guy’s chest bump of doom proves perilous.
We also kinda sorta see a glimpse of Cisco’s power, but we still have no idea what Cisco’s powers are. Besides looking super fly in a Flash-themed Hawaiian shirt, that is!
Most of Team Flash finds themselves together again and only as a group do they track down Atom Smasher– named so by Dr. Stein, who is definitely growing on us as a character– and then Barry the macho superhero bit. He runs off without any help or communication with the others, only to get his butt handed to him. Because nobody saw that coming!
Everyone is afraid of upsetting Barry, but nobody worries about just popping into Mercury Labs to convince widow Caitlin to re-join the action! Cisco did it earlier in the episode, then Barry does it. They hug it out after blaming themselves for Ronnie’s death, even though the fault belongs to Eobard Thwane and/or Martin Stein for the massive particle accelerator explosion and trapping Ronnie in the Firestorm matrix. It’s sad but also a bit tedious.
With the feels put aside, Caitlin convinces Barry to watch the mysterious flash drive video left to him by Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne. And oh, in the video HE CONFESSES TO MURDERING NORA ALLEN.
After that, it’s all a breeze. He’s ready for Team Flash to reassemble and breaking down the Atom Smasher. Naturally, the odd man out until really this minute has the answer!
To turns out the radiation he consumes is like alcohol: A decent amount makes you feel like you have superpowers, but too much destroys you. But not before he can name drop the man who sent him to kill Barry:
Barry’s dad is finally released from prison and a grand celebration is held! …At which Henry drinks too much and tells Barry he needs to get the helllll outta Central City. Dammit, John Wesley Shipp! Did you have previous work engagements too?!
In the end, Barry lets his daddy-o go, but the rest of the team is together at STAR Labs once again. Cisco introduces him to the suit from Gideon’s future papers seen in Season 1. Apparently, nobody thinks this could be an inevitable step toward Barry’s doom now that Reverse Flash is gone! And naturally, as security updates are discussed, an uninvited stranger walks in.
Creepy Barry photographer is actually Jay Garrick! This isn’t the way we expected to be introduced to the character after all that footage of him manifesting in full costume, so.. What the heck?!
Until next time!