And some Caitlin too! Yes!
And stupid but still awesome comic book ridiculousness! Yes!
(Spoilers beyond the fold)
The Flash has been crazy enjoyable since it returned from the holiday break, and this episode is no different. It featured easily one of the coolest freaks-of-the-week villains they've had in a long time, plus more Iris character development that makes her very human, and Flash gets to do one of those rare stupid but awesome and scientifically impossible comic book moves that makes you want to cheer.
First up, freak-of-the-week is Clive Yorkin, a meta whose touch is literally decay and death. Sadly, Clive didn't get a meta nickname, but he still made for a good show. Turns out he is one of those metas created by Dr. Alchemy, and he is on a mission to take out the cops from the Flashpoint timeline that arrested him back there. That includes, of course, Joe West, because of course it does.
The freak-of-the-week plot is intermingled with the ongoing training for Kid Flash, which is boring but necessary. This week, Barry is trying to teach Wally how to run fast enough that he phases through solid objects. Barry is doing a terrible job of teaching though, and poor Wally just isn't getting it, much to his frustration.
Yorkin's first dessicated victim is found at Luigi's, a restaurant that was mentioned in the news reel in the future where Iris is murdered by Savitar. The mention of Luigi's sends Iris into some serious freak-out moments. I genuinely appreciate the care with which The Flash's writers are handling her character development. Initially, when Barry told her about her death, she cried briefly, then toughened up and took charge, then focused on her career, and now she's back to tears and fear. Nothing about her emotional state during this storyline has felt anything but real and well-written and definitely well-acted. I believe every one of her emotional stages. It's so nice to have a woman that is... well, human.
Barry pushes her to tell Joe what is going on, because she clearly is in need of emotional support, but she continues to resist. The whole secret-keeping thing seems to be a lesson that Team Flash is forced to learn in every season, so it's not surprising how it pans out. During a date where Joe and his kids are having coffee with his girlfriend and her daughter, Clive Yorkin shows up to try to kill Joe, and fails. Iris finally admits to her father what is going on and what everyone has been keeping from Joe, and he is rightfully pissed. Can we stop keeping secrets from the team, guys? PLEASE? It has never worked out.
Yorkin decides to torture Joe by attacking his daughter, so he attacks Iris in her apartment, and Kid Flash fails to save her from being touched. To slow down the death touch, the team begs Caitlin to bring out her icy powers, which means we get Caitlin's struggle against the Killer Frost in this episode. Of all people, it's Julian who talks Caitlin back from the brink.
And also thanks to Julian--who is becoming quite unexpendable these days to the team--the team figures out how to neutralize Yorkin. They also figure out his final target and Joe boards a train with her to protect her. When Yorkin attacks the train, he disintegrates a bridge right onto the tracks, so the collision is set to kill not just the cop (and Joe West), but a whole lot of other people. This is that stupid comic book moment that was worth a cheer: Barry phases the whole train through the debris, like a boss. Wally also learns to phase so that he can defeat Yorkin, like a slightly less boss. Not gonna lie, that sound you might have heard was the sound of a delighted squee from me at that line: "Run, Wally. Run!"
I smell another potential romance for Caitlin coming, as she appears to be getting close to Julian, but I hope I'm wrong. I mean, I ship them because the actors have good chemistry together, and also, I would love for the show to keep Draco Malfoy on another season. As much as Julian tends to be an asshole, it's nice to have someone on the show who is the total opposite of Barry and Wally: Julian is dour, sometimes depressing, and has the bedside manner of a box of rocks. But I really, really like him. However, if they aren't going to keep Tom Felton on as a permanent cast member, then I don't want them to put Caitlin through yet another failed romance for yet a third season in a row.
Please, can we not?
So next week not only do we have Gorilla Grodd returning but we also have Jessie Quick and, by extension, Harry Wells! Hurray!
The Flash airs on Tuesdays at 8/7c on the CW.