The Flash’s 20th episode is aptly titled: “Rupture.” Because just about everything breaks. (Yes, Rupture’s also the name of a meta human from Earth 2, who wields a flaming scythe and goes after Cisco in a very Inigo Montoya way: You’re Princess Bride-ing me right now. You must have me mixed up with somebody else, amigo.”)
But everything falls apart. Wells spends the entire episode trying to persuade (read: badger, harass, cajole) Barry into Weird Science meets Back to the Future-ing his powers back. It’s a spectacularly bad idea, involving things that really can’t be controlled—and ultimately, ends up wreaking more havoc than Cyclops when his glasses fall off.
But you know what? Tom Cavanagh is ridiculously compelling. I know. I’m fangirling, but he carries every scene he’s in. Even when he’s arguing with Henry about Barry’s safety, I’m still listening to what he has to say more than I am Barry’s dad. Speaking of, though, can we talk about how they need to find a better way to use John Wesley Shipp? I think getting him to come back to the city is a start, but we don’t really know a whole lot about him, except that he’s a Papa Bear type. Let Dawson Leery’s dad stretch his legs.
The Nerd Gang has managed some kind of Flash hologram that involves Barry wearing a suit that looks like it fell out of Tron . Anyway, the Flash hologram is the gang’s way of fighting crime. I’m really not sure of the science behind it. It just seemed kind of…weird.
And, unsurprisingly, ineffective. Zoom zips into the police station and only spares everyone at Caitlin’s request. I like that she’s his soft spot, but I want to see more of his humanity. He was obviously convincing while being Jay, so I have to wonder: how much of that was an act? And sure, Zoom is motivated by his desire to not be alone, which is a common human drive. It’s relatable, but I’d also like to see some of his armor crack. Not that I’m shipping these two (ew and no), but I think the more human a villain is, the more effective he is.
Zoom’s interactions with Caitlin (the voice change, the “monster” flashback, etc.) are effective. He’s merciless, but not without affections. He kills Rupture for failing him, but leaves Joe alive because of his feelings for Caitlin. Not exactly parade-worthy, because he did kill a room full of cops. There was a brief moment where she calls him Jay, and then he calls himself Zoom. It shows the power of naming, wearing a mask—how it came allow a person to be something else. But after Caitlin “betrays” him, that’s when he flips out and goes on a minor killing spree.
It’s also when he acted like the villain from Tomorrow Never Dies, grabbing the camera and broadcasting that “there is no hope.” Zoom’s not exactly Elliot Carver, but after snapping necks and not taking any names, it was more than mildly terrifying. It’s also the obvious impetus that brings Barry over to Wells’ side. But we’ll get to that in a second.
I’m still waiting for a reason to care about Dante, aside from the fact that he’s Cisco’s brother. He’s constantly an over-the-top jerk. Their relationship is broken, but by the end of the episode, these two hug it out like Ari Gold and Vinnie Chase, and I just…didn’t care. When Cisco confesses to Dante (“Okay, let’s talk about this now. What did you want me to say? … They needed me to vibe. … I have powers.”), it lacked a certain weight. Not because Carlos Valdes isn’t flawless (he is), but there’s just something missing from the dynamic.
Speaking of missing, Barry lost all reason and sense and agreed to Wells’ experiment: “Being the Flash, that’s the best version of me.” The science was hazy and vague, but that’s fine. All I really needed was Cisco on the roof (“Mozart better watch out. Cisco Ramon’s about to conduct something nasty.”), making Harry Potter and Back to the Future references, while waiting to capture lightning to power the HUGE MISTAKE.
Hey, guys? Barry explodes. No, literally. Like a bag of popcorn someone left in the microwave, right after hitting NUCLEAR. Of course, the consequences are going to be complicated, because the aftermath/debris hits Wally and Jesse, who hotwire/McGuyver’d their way out of the one safe room in Star Labs. Which…*sigh* Stop doing stupid things, y’all.
I will say that I did enjoy Zoom’s gloating at the end. His gruff sarcasm was rather hilarious. Essentially, “Good job, morons.” I never thought I’d agree with a supervillain, but I also never thought Donald Trump would end up being the presumptive Republican nominee, but here we are, possibly in a George Orwell novel. Or the Hunger Games.
My guess is that things will be easier to fix in the Flash universe than reality. If all else fails, I hear there’s a hell of a universe next door—let’s go.